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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics


    Movies based around soundtracks

    We’re seeing an increasing number of movies where the majority of the music is unoriginal, but the music is one of the best parts of these movies for many people. Examples include both Guardians of the Galaxy movies, the Shrek series, and Gnomeo and Juliet. For the movie Baby Driver, action scenes were carefully choreographed to match the soundtrack, rather than music being composed or selected to match the action. Movies about musicians, like Bohemian Rhapsody and the upcoming Rocketman and Yesterday, are in similar situations. Can we call these films Art Films? Is their unoriginality a flaw? Can they be compared to movies with iconic, original scores by John Williams or Michael Giacchino? Are they only becoming more popular because we are in an era with so much good “classic” music to fall back on?

    • Something interesting to look into would be artists chosen to compose these "various artist" soundtracks for movies: such as how Lorde was in charged with the Hunger Games series. Another interesting thing to note is that many of these movies now have two OSTs -- one with orchestral music and the other with a compilation of more "pop" tracks. – Pamela Maria 2 years ago
    • Definitely something to look into is why these are so popular psychologically for the public and its most likely to do recognition and glossy easy watching. They make the most money but are films that are structurally disorganized, though are constantly stimulating bc of everything visually pleasurable and most importantly: a song we recognize. Think about why films like pitch perfect or Sing were successful... it could be because the time we just wanna sing along because its one big nostalgic throwback. Guardians of galaxy example taking tracks that were canonized by past films, knowing people will love them but give the image of being ‘retro’ hits even tho we didnt grow up hearing those songs on the radio.... we just watched pulp fiction or virgin suicides – ariannacancian 2 years ago
    • I agree with the notes about nostalgia and how OSTs are being carefully crafted to fit films that rely so heavily on songs that are not originally created for the film. More specifically, to the question of art, I'm not sure if comparing them to original scores would be beneficial, but viewing them as a different form of art could be extremely interesting since it does take a lot of thought, time, and artistic skill to select and place songs that will effectively improve certain scenes within films. Baby Driver is a great example that you note because it is a little jarring at times when some songs don't seem to fully fit or hit nostalgia as much as others, showing how the artistic slip-ups can have an impact on the structure of the visuals. Something that affects your engagement with a film so much deserves recognition as art, especially when it is done well. I would love to see this topic fully researched and expanded! – Aaron 2 years ago
    • I have to say that original music is vital to a good movie and I cannot think of one great movie that was written for a soundtrack. I know of a great work in which a director and songwriter collaborated but the screenplay was brilliant and nominated for an Oscar. It is in my top ten American films: P.T. Andersen's:Magnolia. – youngmollflanders 2 years ago

    Analysis of Spider-Man’s origin story

    In the comments section of my recently published article on Batman’s origin story, the topic of Spider-Man’s origin came up. I’d be fascinated to see an analysis of it. This includes the spider that bit Peter Parker and the death of his Uncle Ben, inspiring him to be a hero.
    What changes in the origin story when Spider-Man is rebooted or we get an alternate universe version? What stays the same, and what meaning can be found in that?
    What tropes does Spider-Man’s origin story include? Does it subvert any tropes? What impact do these tropes have?
    How original, deep, or personally impactful is Spider-Man’s origin compared to others?

    • Oh, one more thing. A commenter pointed out Spider-Man’s origin seems similar to Dr. Octopus’ backstory. That would be an interesting point of comparison and contrast. – noahspud 2 years ago
    • I think there is a significant overlap in content that would be discussed, considering that both involve a murdered love one at some point. Regardless, it would still be interesting to contrast and compare. – Gliese436B 2 years ago

    Love for fictional characters in fan fiction

    I wrote an Artifice article called "Can You Really Fall in Love with a Fictional Character?" (That’s not shameless self-promotion, that’s context for this topic). I got a comment about what the topic looks like in the context of fan fiction.

    Based on comments I’ve seen, many people express their love for a fictional character by writing “self-insert” fan fiction in which they have a relationship with that character.
    Fan fiction could also be used to express agape, non-personal interest in the well-being of the character. A fan can rewrite the ending of a story so it is happier for a particular character. This is often called “fix-it” fiction.

    I’m not sure if there is enough subject matter here for a full article, but then again, I am not enough of a subject matter expert on fan fiction to write it myself. If you know more about fan fiction, perhaps you could flesh it out more?

    • Oh, this I love. I don't write self-insert fan fiction, but I am a big fan of "fix it" fiction. The best personal example I can give you is, I just finished reading Harry Potter for the first time, and I have a *lot* of feelings about Severus Snape. Not a character crush, but I identify with him on some significant levels, and I hate the way his life and arc ended. So recently, I've been hunting fan fiction that redeems this character (without making him nicey-nice), and have even written a bit. It's inspired me to think about other characters and plots I might want to fix, and changed my attitude about canon. (I used to think, if it's canon, you have to accept it, period. You don't mess with it. But now, I'm not so sure). Anyway, as I said, I love the topic and think there is definitely an article in there somewhere. – Stephanie M. 3 years ago
    • I think this would be a very interesting article and I would love to read it once it's written! You definitely have the general topic of it down, but as far as fleshing it out there are a couple of things you could do. The main one would be to read fan fiction. By reading it you can try to understand how and why people choose to write self-insert or reader x *insert fictional character here*. How does it feel to read it? Why did you pick that character to read about? Does reading it satisfy or heighten your feelings towards the character? Another would be to try to reach out to the authors of these fan fictions. No one knows the work better than the ones who create it. Websites like wattpad,, and even tumblr are your best bets for getting replies from authors.I hope these help you start to expand your topic. G'luck! – isabelladannunzio 3 years ago
    • I do read fan fiction, and I probably would reach out to some authors if I was going to write the article myself. But I posted the topic here so someone else - maybe someone with firsthand experience writing self insert fanfic - can write it. That's how this works. Those are definitely good suggestions for whoever wants to take the topic. Thanks for the input. – noahspud 3 years ago
    • I would love to read something about this, since it is rarely discussed, even on sites where it happens almost exclusively, such as Archive of Our Own. I used to write fanfic, mostly "fix it", about The X-Files. But when Mulder and Scully finally did spend the night together in the ep. "Amor Fati", it felt a bit of a letdown. Still, there were many more arcs and great characters, such as the mind-reading Gibson Praise and of course The Smoking Man, a.k.a. Carl Spender. When Duchovny left the series and Mulder went into self-exile, I definitely would have fixed that, since I felt the show began a slow death then. Shippers will often tell you that it all started with Mulder and Scully, though they compared them to the couple on Moonlighting. The lasting favorite seems to be Sherlock, with more fanfiction than you can tally up, usually "fix-it", regarding Sherlock's and John's teased-at romance. Self-insert in this show seems counterproductive, since you would then interfere with the two flatmates and any budding love. Then again, you could always fall in love with Lestrade! Another great companion to fanfic is the Meta, or analysis of a character, arc or trope. Mary Watson, the psychopath, spawned LOTS of these, which went along quite well with both fix-it and self-insert fanfic, usually disposing of her in various, violent and some more humane ways! I just don't know enough about the fanfic of other shows or movies, like Harry Potter, which seems too popular to just leave out of such an article. – SharonGenet 3 years ago

    Fascination with Groundhog Day-esque stories

    Buffy, Angel, Supernatural, Community, the Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Farscape, Person of Interest, and many other science fiction/fantasy shows have had episodes inspired by the movie Groundhog Day. A character relives a series of events multiple times, occasionally making changes to see what the effects are. There have also been movies revolving around the same idea, including Happy Death Day and When I First Met Her. Explore the reasons why the idea presented in this movie (or possibly originating earlier, if you can find past examples) is such a crowd favorite. Are there deeper meanings to be found here, or is it just a comedy bit that other writers reuse because it’s well-liked?

    • I think it has something to do with our fascination of wondering what we could do differently if we could go through the same day again. After a hard decision, who hasn't thought: "what if I did this instead?" I suppose it's a fun and easy thing to explore for an episode or two in a TV show. A fascinating look at these time loop stories is 2016's "Re:Zero" a fascinating anime about a boy in a fantasy world who after dying discovers that he comes back to life several hours before his death. The disturbing nature of facing unavoidable fates and dying repeatedly to save the people he loves is the emotional core of the show, and showcases the true horror of endless time loops. It's a dark and interesting look on the genre/cliche. – Dimitri 3 years ago
    • An intriguing topic suggestion and one that deserves a broader and deeper investigation. I'd suggest breaking away from the limitations of 'Groundhog Day' to consider how other cultures have addressed the same, or similar theme. Off the top of my head I'd recommend the very clever and fiendishly evasive Korean time-loop tale 'A Day' (2016. Directed by Jo Seon-ho) in which not one, but three disparate characters experience the same day, each from his own perspective. No spoilers as to the outcome, but it is unexpected. – Amyus 3 years ago
    • Excellent feedback. I wouldn't have thought of those examples because I know very little about anime, Korean drama, etc. Considering how other cultures see the concept of quantum do-overs would be a great addition to this article. – noahspud 3 years ago

    How do fans ruin fandoms?

    For this, I define "fandom" as the content – the book, show, movie, etc. – well-loved by fans. But some fans say their fandom has been ruined by other fans. Whether a fandom can be ruined for a fan is, of course, subjective; it’s more interesting to consider why the fans say the fandom is ruined for them, how it’s even possible, and what fans can do about it. Examples may include H.P. Lovecraft’s books and, more recently, Rick and Morty.

    • I would suggest a few more examples of how some fans can be considered to ruin fandom for other fans. What might be viewed as enthusiasm by some fans might equally be considered obsession by others - such as Star Trek fans who love their shows so much that they buy Star Trek pyjamas; and how far can fandom go before it becomes idol worship. All fans are 'guilty' of overdoing it in other fans' eyes or conversely failing to take their fandom seriously. You're right when you state that it is subjective. I'd also suggest looking at how some fans who don't have the money to buy official merchandise can be very creative in making their own props and costumes. An example of this would be the incredible costumes made by some Dr.Who fans in Latin America (where the show is titled 'Doctor Mysterio') who did so simply because they had no ready access to official merchandise. – Amyus 3 years ago
    • Interesting topic. I ran into this as recently as last night when the second episode of Once Upon a Time season 7 aired. Fans are already griping and moaning about the writers' decision regarding Hook (won't spoil it if you haven't seen it). Reading all that griping had me bummed because I thought, "They've got a point; this could be the death knell for my favorite series." But then I thought, that's stupid. I still love the series, and in cases like this, what matters is what I think. Then again, being a fan isn't as fun if a bunch of other fans are dissing your show, your movies, your books...whatever. I'll be interested to read about these and other thought processes, and the conclusions different fans of different media come to. – Stephanie M. 3 years ago
    • I think you should use a more formal definition of the term fandom or even give a few definitions. It will help someone writing this topic really get a grasp of what you are trying to ask here. Also, I think if you do write this topic you should consider writing about things that are similar and not so broad. For example, writing about H.P. Lovecraft and J.R.R. Tolkeins. Or comparing Rick and Morty, Adventure Time and The Regular Show. It will help you keep focused and it could be neat to see if any of the fandoms overlap for similar shows or similar genres. – IAmToast 3 years ago
    • Here's what I'm thinking: Fan A and Fan B watch Rick and Morty. Fan A throws a riot in a McDonald's because of the show. Fan B says that the show is now "ruined" for him, and gives Fan A as a reason. That's an example; I may not have a clear definition, but the definition doesn't matter. The author who takes the topic can use whatever terms they want. – noahspud 3 years ago

    Prequel-itis: Causes, symptoms, and cures

    Symptoms of prequel-itis, in TV shows specifically, include 1) pointless cameos and foreshadowing for the sake of fan service and 2) backtracking to keep the plot from progressing "too far," which would result in the show ending. Examples of victims include Gotham, Smallville, and Merlin.
    What I don’t know about, and what I’d be interested in reading, is possible cures for this problem. I am unfamiliar with the Star Wars cartoon prequels, but I’m told they do a better job, so they may hold answers.
    Another possible piece of this topic is causes of prequel-itis. Why do prequels exhibit these problems so often? Is there something inherently problematic with prequels in general?

    • Sounds like a good topic in my opinion. Although a more specific definition of prequel-itis would definitely help. You might also include a third point to them. Which is: retroactively improving the already established lore and story of the series. The best example for this include the Walking Dead, as well as Flash. Looking forward to reading about this topic :) – shehrozeameen 4 years ago
    • @shehrozeameen Prequel-itis, as I see it, is like a syndrome, a set of symptoms that commonly occur together. There isn't really a definition other than "a set of symptoms experienced by prequels including x, y, z...." If the author of the topic could think of a specific definition, of course, he/she'd be welcome to apply it. – noahspud 4 years ago
    • I'd certainly be interested to read this. Would you also consider doing one for sequelitis, because there are a ton of bad sequels out there. Disney is particularly guilty when it comes to both prequels and sequels. They're also fond of the midquel for some reason. – Stephanie M. 4 years ago
    • To be clear, this topic is a suggestion for someone else to write (that's how this works). Also, you do have a point, but sequelitis is a separate thing, and I felt that prequelitis was a topical subject that hadn't gotten much attention. – noahspud 4 years ago
    • I think this is a very interesting topic but I disagree with Merlin being placed in the prequel category. Although the show did begin before Arthur was King, the show very much did hit every major event in Arthurian Legend. It included everything from the sword in the stone, knights of the round table, Guinevere's Affair and Arthur's (spoiler alert) eventual death in the series finale. I'd argue that rather than backtracking, the show fast forwarded a bit to hit all these plot points before their pre-decided series end in season 5. The only real difference was that Merlin was depicted as young rather than a wizened old sorcerer adviser. (The series has a host of finale issues that I could probably write a whole different article about but that's not relevant to this comment) – LC Morisset 4 years ago
    • Fair point. Except for the first, what, three seasons, Arthur isn't king, Morgan isn't evil, and Merlin isn't a respected advisor. So it certainly begins as a prequel, and it does indeed backtrack: Arthur starts to think magic is okay. Merlin almost tells his secret. Something bad happens. Arthur is once again convinced that magic is bad. Repeat. Morgan dies as punishment for her bad deeds. Oh wait, she has more to do later. Let's bring her back and let her sit in a cottage for a year. All the Arthurian mythology stuff happens in those last couple seasons, and we see the set up for all of them: the lady in the lake, Excalibur, each major knight of the round table, and Morgan's descent into villainy. I call that a prequel. – noahspud 4 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    Excellent point. Love for people we want to protect is Agape, the healthiest form of love, although rarely the basis for the “in love with” type love the rest of the article was about.

    Can You Really Fall In Love With a Fictional Character?

    This is the core conflict of the movie. Killmonger wanted to use the resources of Wakanda to help people. But if he’d gotten his way, many people would have died, including many Caucasians who did not actively contribute to institutional racism.
    As you mentioned, when Black Panther was created, America was grappling with the morality of getting involved in the Vietnam War. We gave resources to people who didn’t have them, and we regretted it. Wakanda didn’t want to repeat that.
    You are right about the humanitarian issues of the movie, but the answer is not complaining that the governments of first-world nations should do more. Everyone who feels like people need help is capable of helping those people themselves. Many churches are full of people who choose generosity over selfishness, and their combined efforts form a movement that makes a difference in the world.

    The Moral Horror of Black Panther

    Nice analysis, finding Mulan’s true motivation. At first, I thought Mulan is actually one of the less relatable Disney heroines because what modern moviegoer gets the opportunity to fight a war in place of our father, masquerading as someone else, and then save an entire country almost singlehandedly? But you’re very right; she’s relatable because she discovers things about herself through difficult circumstances.
    I also like how you related selfishness, selflessness, and self-discovery together. I’ve been thinking about those topics quite a bit; right now I’m in an internship-type program that gives me many opportunities to be selfless and help a lot of people. The whole thing, though, is engineered to help my teammates and I learn things about ourselves and then improve ourselves. It’s not “selfish,” per se, but understanding the benefit to ourselves is a great motivator to do these things for others. Mulan had the same motivation.

    Mulan's Relatability, Self-Discovery, and Selfishness

    Wow. Thank you for your honesty.
    I do get what you’re talking about, somewhat. I also have stories running through my head all the time; they don’t normally feature me, but sometimes they have characters I relate to and I imagine them going through what I’m going through and succeeding, which is nice. And I too sometimes worry I’m spending too much time daydreaming.
    My solution: writing.
    One of the reasons I’m a writer is to get the stories in my head out into the world, even if it’s just long enough to realize it doesn’t make any sense or it’s too similar to someone else’s. At some point I intend to get some of my stories published, and then I’ll be able to say all the daydreaming was worth it; there are plenty of authors who would probably say they’ve done the same thing.
    I don’t know what your career field of choice is, but if you want my two cents, try writing your daydreams down and see how that feels. You’ve made the first step writing about them here. Thanks again for the input.

    Can You Really Fall In Love With a Fictional Character?

    Ah, yes. The Flashpoint Paradox, an alternate world in which Bruce dies instead of his parents. I actually mentioned it in an article I wrote about Batman’s origin story. Have you read it? It should be easy to find if you’ve found this comment section. 🙂

    Why Has Batman's Origin Remained So Iconic?

    Okay, okay. No need to be rude.
    It sounds like someone should do an analysis of Spider-Man’s origin story similar to this article. Research into variations across reboots and alternate universes would add clarity. And you may have a point that Spider-Man’s is more original, deep, and/or personally impactful than others. Peter Parker has not one but two Dead Father Figures; does his story use any other tropes?
    I’m putting this topic in the Suggestion section. Thanks for the input, folks.

    Why Has Batman's Origin Remained So Iconic?

    Interesting perspective. Say more?

    Why Has Batman's Origin Remained So Iconic?

    Back when Batman was first created, no one wanted to see a comic-book superhero kill anyone. And again, Batman has remained mostly unchanged for decades. Nerds have come up with various reasons why that aspect of his character has stayed the same, but the important part is changing it would ruin the hero we all know and love. Just look at Batfleck.

    Why Has Batman's Origin Remained So Iconic?