I've been writing since fourth grade and blogging since 2014. I've been a nerd my whole life.

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Latest Articles

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"Gods" in the MCU: Are Any of Them Worthy?

In Thor: Love and Thunder, Gorr the God Butcher wanted to destroy all the deities in the MCU. His motivation was he had found the god of his civilization quite disappointing, and he assumed all deities were just as selfish and uncaring. The movie hoped the audience would think Gorr was wrong because Thor, the god of Thunder, is not selfish. Unfortunately, we have not met many other "god" characters in the MCU with redeeming qualities.
Analyze the MCU characters referred to as gods or god-like beings – not only the Asgardians but also Dormammu from Dr. Strange, Ego from Guardians of the Galaxy, Arishem from Eternals, the Egyptian gods from Moon Knight, and Zeus. How valid was Gorr’s anti-god position? Is there a deeper meaning in this repeated theme?
Consider the fact that Odin said, "We are not gods," but other characters nonetheless refer to Asgardians as gods. Does a character need to be chosen by a mortal civilization to "count" as a god?


    Do Disabled Characters Need to be Played by Disabled Actors?

    Movies and TV shows often feature able-bodied actors/actresses playing disabled characters. Some audience members with disabilities are not content to see characters who are like them; some of them believe these characters must be played by people who actually have the disability they are portraying. Discuss the validity of this argument and the validity of the counterargument: representation doesn’t matter any less if it’s just acting.
    Examples for the discussion include Ben Affleck in The Accountant and Daredevil, Charlie Cox in Daredevil, Patrick Stewart in X-Men, Bryan Cranston in The Upside, Freddie Highmore in The Good Doctor, Danny Pudi in Community, and Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man.

    • Scholars who have been developing important advancements in the field of Disability Studies over the last 30 years have established through their work that it is not necessary to use euphemisms to refer to disabled people because it creates confusion about the important distinction between “disability” and “impairment.” – T. Palomino 1 year ago
    • Hey, thanks for this! I'm disabled myself (cerebral palsy/Asperger's), and I can see both sides of this argument. For instance, if you want to show a severe case of CP, where the person experiences quadriplegia and the inability to speak, for instance, it might be difficult to find an actor who fits that profile. But at the same time, that leads back to the question of why the acting arena has been so "closed" to people with disabilities over the centuries, so that actors with disabilities can't make spaces for themselves. I personally have experience in theater, where I believe I was denied roles not necessarily because of ableism, but just because the concepts of inclusion and modification were not part of consciousness yet. So when I see actors and actresses like Ali Stoker (Stroker? Her last name escapes me), getting roles on Broadway, I feel like we're progressing. But then I see, for instance, able-bodied actors still being cast for roles like Crutchie in Newsies, and I'm like, just, why? When there are a ton of ambulatory actors out there who still use or have experiences with mobility aids? And, as noted with Rain Man, why are we giving Oscars to able-bodied actors for portraying disabled people, especially in a way that continues to feed inspiration porn? So all that to say...yeah, please write this. – Stephanie M. 1 year ago
    • This is something I've pondered often. Some actors are able to play a good role and pull it off but those with the actual disabilities and have the knack for acting should be considered first for those roles. Granted, sometimes--and often--Hollywood doesn't try to be politically correct in its casting. This stems from various reasons, including household name. – Montayj79 1 year ago
    • This is a difficult one. If acting can be difficult and tiring for people without any disability imagine how strenuous it'll be for a person with a disability - the shooting and re-shooting, the long scripts, the long nights, the travel and moving from one location to another, etc. It would really be difficult – Laurika Nxumalo 1 year ago
    • I don't think so. Coming from a guy who has Autsim, I don't think an actor has to be disabled to play a disabled role. All that matters is can the person act? – JohnMcKinney 11 months ago

    The Power of Movie Musical Protagonists

    In the world of movie musicals and musical episodes of TV shows, characters process their emotions and make decisions through song-and-dance numbers. The protagonists of these stories often seem to have an uncanny ability to influence people around them and make them break into song and dance.

    In Encanto, Mirabelle’s gift seems to be making her family sing about their feelings, especially when they don’t want to talk about them: she makes Luisa admit she’s nervous about the Pressure, she gets the whole family to sing about Bruno, etc.
    In the High School Musical series, Troy Bolton turns a basketball practice into a song-and-dance number because he can’t stop thinking about musical theatre. Then he convinces all of his friends to work at a country club even though it’s hard.

    In The Greatest Showman, P.T. Barnum uses the power of song-and-dance to turn his group of social outcasts into the greatest show on Earth and to convince Zac Efron’s character to join his team.

    If the songs are diegetic (the characters are aware they are singing and dancing), they are conscious choices by the characters, so they can be considered part of the characters’ development. If the songs are non-diegetic (only the audience is aware of what’s happening), they are mainly plot devices.

    Other examples include Zooey’s Extraordinary Playlist, The Flash/Supergirl crossover "Duet," and The Magicians’ annual musical episodes.

    Analyze the narrative impact of these characters and their musical influence. Does this phenomenon work better as character development, a plot device, or a combination of both?

    • You could also discuss Orpheus in Hadestown, who is both a musician and musical protagonst (with Eurydices). Singing is part of his identity in the show. – Sean Gadus 2 years ago

    Mario, Link, and Scott Pilgrim: Relationships in Video Games

    Scott Pilgrim vs The World uses a video-game-like series of boss battles as a thinly veiled metaphor for relationship drama. It has been compared to Mario’s video game series, in which the hero fights giant gorillas and dragon turtles in order to win back his lady love. The Legend of Zelda is another famous example of this trope. What other video games and game-related movies portray relationships with this kind of drama? What are the pros and cons of the different portrayals? Are these relationships healthy? If not, is that made clear enough to dissuade people from following their example?

    • Examples include Legend of Zelda, Mario, Scott Pilgrim, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Edge of Tomorrow (Live Die Repeat). – noahspud 2 years ago
    • I'd recommend tackling Scott Pilgrims source material the graphic novels and what it has to say about video games and romance. Especially since the video game is based on the movie which is rushed and lacks a proper payoff that the comics have. – Roneish 2 years ago

    The Hulk's Character Development (or lack thereof)

    The Incredible Hulk is the movie most likely to be forgotten when thinking about the MCU. Arguably, its poor reception is the reason Mark Ruffalo has yet to get his own Hulk movie. Because Hulk/Bruce Banner doesn’t get solo movies like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, all of his character development has to happen in the Avengers movies and Thor: Ragnarok. Analyze what arc or Hero’s Journey he has, if any. Perhaps compare his arc to that of other Avengers.

    • I'm not certain why Mark Ruffalo never got a solo Movie as the Hulk. But, the reason Edward Norton was let go of was, due to problematic interactions with the rest of the cast. I think this topic is interesting as many fans complained about Ruffalo's and Johanson having no romantic chemistry in the films. I would say his arc is more about gaining control over his darker nature (something we see at the happen in Avenger End Game.) – Blackcat130 2 years ago
    • I think this is a good topic. Mark Ruffalo was a major star even before his casting as the Hulk, so for him to not have his own solo film is definitely a question mark on the studio's part. I think it's also interesting to look at his relationships with the other characters and Avengers as a whole. Why is he now paired with Thor? Why did his relationship with Black Widow not grab audiences attention? Also of note is that Ruffalo has worked with multiple directors in his turn as the Hulk, including Joss Whedon, the Russo Brothers, and Taika Waititi. It might be interesting to analyze which of these directors, if any, have captured the strongest essence of who the Hulk should be. – Sarah 2 years ago
    • To clarify something. The main reason the Hulk has only appeared in team-up movies and hasn't been given the solo treatment is that the film rights to a Hulk solo film are still with Universal studios, rendering Marvel's ability to produce a solo Hulk film themselves impossible. If you go back to look at the 2008 Edward Norton Hulk film, it is produced by Marvel Studios but distributed by Universal. Seen as how big Marvel, also Disney, is right now, it is unlikely they would want to have another studio distribute the film and get all the revenue. This is also different from the deal Marvel and Sony made for Spiderman, since the box office revenue and production cost are shared between Marvel and Sony if I remember correctly. – askthepen 2 years ago
    • All these comments render the topic's premises inaccurate. It's not always about character development or arcs only. – T. Palomino 1 year ago

    Pros and Cons of Fan Theories

    Theorizing about things going on in TV/movies/books that may or may not ever be confirmed in canon is a favorite pastime of many fans. But some fan theories take the fun out of things rather than inspiring fun conversations. Analyze what features or circumstances, if any, make a fan theory "worth considering" or not.
    Examples to consider include Jon Negroni’s Unified Theory of the Pixar Theory, the 007 Codename Theory, and any of the "They were dead the whole time" theories.

    • This is an interesting discussion, and fan theorizing has certainly boomed alongside social media. It might also be helpful to consider how fan theories might have an affect on ongoing creative work. Fans often theorize what might be happening in a show or series before the finale is written. Do writers ignore these theories? Do the intentionally thwart them? Or do they read fan theories for inspiration? – JaniceElaine 2 years ago
    • One pro I find is that several fans (presumably from all over the world) are able to geek about their respective fandom, and get together and engage in whatever they are discussing. It is a great way to discuss new ideas, and further immerse oneself into the show/game/whatever a group is talking about. One con, however, is someone can go too far with proposing a theory and not letting anyone discuss their disagreements with said theory. People are allowed to have their own ideas, but only if they are allowed to open up criticism to the theories they present. – DrSpaghet 2 years ago

    What Makes a Scientist

    Dr. Henry Jekyll, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, Doc Emmet Brown, Dr. Walter Bishop from Fringe, and characters like them throughout literature and film are categorized as "mad scientists." Sometimes it’s because their science is taboo or outside what society believes is even possible; sometimes they’re suspected of madness or some other kind of mental illness; sometimes it’s both. Why are these characters appealing to audiences, even if they’re not well-liked by the fictional societies they live in.

    An analysis could include comparing them to real-life scientists like Galileo and Copernicus who were considered "kooks" but turned out to be right. Also, consider how driven these characters are to prove their theories, even pushing moral and societal boundaries – if they weren’t actually mad before, they can more easily be perceived that way by the end of their story.

    • Hmmm, intriguing. You might begin exploring this topic with what it meant or means to be "mad," both in past eras and now. For instance, Jekyll, Frankenstein, and even Brown were considered "mad" for their eras but would that be true now? If so, is that because of their methods? Should scientists be expected to work within certain boundaries so they and their work will be acceptable to society, or is that too much like "playing God?" I think you have a lot to explore here and look forward to reading a full article. – Stephanie M. 3 years ago
    • Through some mishap, the title of this topic left out the word "Mad." That bugs me, but I imagine y'all understand what I meant. – noahspud 2 years ago
    • Real-life examples could also include scientists we would consider downright evil, like those working in concentration camps during WWII. This would contribute to the moral/ethical boundaries of science. – EditingWithEmily 2 years ago

    WandaVision: a Sitcom about Superheroes

    WandaVision seems to be one of the most unique TV shows ever, yet it pays homage to sitcoms throughout the decades. An analysis could include the aspect ratios, the laugh tracks, the archetypical characters, the wardrobe and set design, the special effects, and much more. Do these comparisons add extra depth or meaning to the show, or are they just fun references for older viewers who remember these classic shows?

    • Fun topic! WandaVision has a lot to analyze! While I was never a big sitcom fan, a lot can be said about the fact that it builds on a lot of tropes and plots from older shows like Bewitched. Another interesting analysis could be how it falls into the "Abnormal person trying to live a normal life" type of sitcoms and why those types of shows relate so well to audiences. – alittle 3 years ago
    • A little bit of this, and a little bit of that. – T. Palomino 8 months ago

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    Latest Comments

    How about Fender’s Dance Battle in Robots? In the world of a comedy movie, especially an animated one, anything unexpected and funny becomes super-powerful.

    Exploring the Sensual Power of Dance in Cinema

    True. She still values one person’s happiness above the well-being of everyone else – it just happens to be her son instead of herself.

    Villains of the Shrek Universe: From Nursery Rhymes to the Grim Reaper

    I mean, there’s no Hard and Fast Rule for defining most tropes. Even the definitions of genres like comedy vs tragedy change over time. It’s all pretty subjective and open to conversation, hence articles like this and videos like the one you mentioned.

    The Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Manipulative or Unrealistic?

    The short answer is the MCU is continually trying to raise the stakes. The Avengers saved the entire universe at the end of Phase 3; their next threat will involve more than one universe.
    In the meantime, as the main timeline continues to expand, they can continue to tell those other cool stories.

    Marvel Movies and the Multiverse: Different Worlds, Same People

    You’re not wrong.

    Marvel Movies and the Multiverse: Different Worlds, Same People

    I recommend Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. I’d say that movie takes the multiverse concept to some very good conclusions, such as mixing different animation styles to visually show different universes intersecting and exploring ideas of destiny through the lens of Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen, and their relationship. It goes even deeper than the first movie in the series.
    I wish I’d had the chance to include that movie in my article, but the two were released at about the same time.

    Marvel Movies and the Multiverse: Different Worlds, Same People

    I imagine the trick with YA fiction in particular is how quickly young adults grow up. If an author takes “too long,” the intended audience of the first book in a series may not be in the target demographic anymore by the time the story is complete. Imagine if A Song of Ice and Fire or the Kingkiller Chronicles were intended for young audiences. There would be a lot of kids growing up to be very disappointed adults.

    How Does a YA Series Remain Whole as it Grows?

    As far as I know, one of the original scripted web series on YouTube, lonelygirl15, could fit the analog horror genre. As a classic vlog-style video series, it has become nostalgic the same way the horror classics like Halloween are nostalgic.

    Analog Horror: Analyzing an Eerily Nostalgic Genre