film, tv, & literature
The Glamorization of Controversial Issues in TV and Film
It’s important to address sensitive and controversial topics in television and film. Oftentimes, however, these shows and movies can come off as glamorizing and using these issues for pure entertainment purposes.
For instance, Thirteen Reasons Why faced backlash for its portrayal of depression and suicide. Another example would be the depiction of Joe Goldberg, a killer and stalker, in Netflix’s YOU and how it caused some viewers to lust for him. Likwise, the brief movie trailer for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile where Zac Efron plays Ted Bundy had many people upset about how the trailer seemed to romanticize the killer.
Do these shows and movies use controversial topics and issues as a mechanism for entertainment? And if yes, to what extent? Perhaps, it invites discussion and attention to these issues that people would not have become a part of had they not seen these shows and movies in the first place.
Analyze how shows and films approach controversial and sensitive topics, how viewers respond to it, and what this ultimately reveals about our society.
Ex Machina: Is Caleb a Robot?
In Ex Machina, Caleb is picked to have conversations with an artificial intelligence, Ava. While it is clear that Ava is an android, Caleb is introduced as human. However, there have been many theories that Caleb himself is a robot. Caleb even suspected that he might not be human at one point and slices his arm open to confirm it.
What details in the movie and Caleb’s characterization point to the possibility that he’s an android? For starters, Caleb is introduced to us like a blank slate and sometimes appears robotic. During his conversations with Ava, he’s the one in the box, while Ava has free space to roam her room. When asked whether he likes Mozart, Caleb says he likes “Depeche Mode,” a music group in the electronic genre. Even his reaction to cutting his arm open is unsettling.
Perhaps, if Caleb isn’t an android, other questions that can be addressed is: Why was he picked to test Ava? What does his character bring to the realm of artificial intelligence? Was he doomed from the start or did he have a chance? How is his characterization approached in the film and does it offer any insight to human interaction with artificial intelligence, such as an emphasis to the differences (or similarities) between humans and androids?
literatureWrite this topic
Gothic Literature and its Impact on Modern Day Horror
While gothic literature and horror are separate genres, the two share a connection in inducing similar emotions of fear and thus often overlap with each other. Explore both genres in relation to each other, such as the genres’ similarities and differences. How has earlier gothic literature novels influenced later works of horror?
Some gothic literature works that an be focused on is The Castle of Otranto, Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and The Mysteries of Udolpho. The popularity of Stephen King’s works in both literature and film in addition to the great amount of praise Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House received can also be other points of interest for this topic.
Nostalgia in the Modern Era
Discuss and analyze how many tv series adapt a sense of nostalgia. Many hit tv shows present an underlying sense of nostalgia. For instance, Hulu’s This is Us intertwines plot events that take place in not only the present but also the past. In Netflix’s Stranger Things, the series takes place in the 1980s. Aside from these examples, there have also been many older shows that have gotten modern day spinoffs: Boy Meets World and Girl Meets World, Full House and Fuller House, and That’s So Raven and Raven’s House. How does nostalgia function in tv and what does it say about our society?
Good job addressing the many qualities that make Mulan such a great character. I liked the relatability section a lot and how you emphasized Mulan’s connection to many different groups of people. Growing up, I’ve watched Mulan many times and have always enjoyed the movie!
I felt the same way about the book! That’s actually one of the reasons why I found the story interesting.
I’ve never really realized how many different versions and changes there were to Batman’s origin story. It’s really interesting to see how each change still works accordingly to his character. I most definitely agree with you about how Batman’s humanity is what makes him so relatable and timeless. I have watched Batman cartoons since I was a child and still enjoy watching anything that involves Batman even now!
Great discussion of The Dark Knight and True Detective and their relationship to one another! I most definitely agree with you about how Batman and the Joker are “two equal, yet opposite forces.” You raise a lot of interesting points. Good job!
I know how you feel! I always took breaks in between watching episodes since the content was pretty dark. The story is most definitely overwhelming but I like how it addresses and draws attention to multiple societal issues.
I haven’t gotten a chance to see The Shape of Water but did get to see A Quiet Place. I thoroughly enjoyed A Quiet Place and how ASL played such a huge role to the movie. Wonderful article and good job addressing important topics regarding ASL and the Deaf community!
Great article! Loved how you analyzed the film in a different angle and focused on the negative aspects of isolationism. You did a great job at connecting the film to our real world and emphasizing the importance of helping others in need.
Thank you so much! I loved the novel, too, and was super excited when I first heard about the show. I agree with you about how the show impacts today’s culture and hope that it continues to do so!