tclaytor

tclaytor

I'm an historical England enthusiast who would gladly step back into that past, but only for a day and only as a rich person. My specialities are literature and film.

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Latest Articles

Latest Topics

4

Hallmark movies and their appeal

Every year, Hallmark makes a hefty profit on their Hallmark movies, particularly the Christmas ones. What makes them so popular? They are obviously predictable with recurring actors and events (interrupted kiss, small town preference, fall in love within days,etc) yet people flock to them with enthusiasm.

  • I always see a few of these a year. I assume that writing a script cannot take up much time since there are basic themes they have in common--like interchangeable parts. I can never understand the appeal of the "sensitive" man who always has the day-old not shaved look. If I don't shave for a day or two I look like a bum--how much time do make-up people spend getting the leading man to have that facial hair look? – Joseph Cernik 1 year ago
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  • Ha! I've noticed that scruffy not-shaved look being more prevalent lately as well and do not understand the appeal. It's not clean-shaven and it's not a beard--it's like some weird hybrid thing. Make a choice! – tclaytor 1 year ago
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  • There appears to be a repeated formula in the repetitive parts a new Hall Mark Movie usually includes. (Don't forget where the main character and the love interests don't see eye to eye at first. Usually one of them hates Christmas while the other one adores it) That being said.. Hall Mark does have a "feel good" vibe present in those movies. That may be more important than the plot itself – Amanda30697 1 year ago
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  • I think that it's also important to note that hallmark movies are very family friendly and provides a chance for people to watch it communally, regardless of their age. The family friendly aspect and popularity of these movies during Christmastime also makes them kind of nostalgic and warm. While these type of movies are predictable, the simplicity of these films make them pretty easy to understand and follow which makes them marketable to nearly all age groups. – jay 1 year ago
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Why do we like scary movies?

This time of year is filled with the macabre–from movies to haunted houses. Why do people enjoy this kind of entertainment? Is it because it makes us value our humanity as we know we are safe? I would love to see an exploration of this topic perhaps through a few specific popular horror films (slasher, demonic, etc).

  • I would recommend look at the video from James Cameron's story of science fiction episode about monsters. It examine different elements of horror/sci fi monsters and interviews people about their role in our human psyche. – Sean Gadus 2 years ago
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  • Honestly, don't like horrors at all. Especially screamers, bruhhh... – Deana 2 years ago
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  • What's great about horror movies is its ability to suck people in to a world where they can experience fear without actually physically being harmed. The essay "On the Pleasure Derived from Objects of Terror; with Sir Bertrand, a Fragment" might be helpful for this topic. The essay focuses on why people like horror and gothic stories and what this means in regards to our morality. – jay 1 year ago
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Modern villains in kids' movies are too nice

Many modern movies that are marketed to kids like Pirates of the Caribbean and Maleficent try to portray the villain in a more positive light. I think an interesting article would talk about the genre of kids’ films and how villains have changed over the years. For example, Goonies and Disney’s Little Mermaid have clear, evil villains.

  • Thank you for the help! I ended up clarifying the genre (removing the 80's reference) and focusing it a bit more. – tclaytor 2 years ago
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  • Are they "modern villains," or are they villains in "modern kids' movies"? Also might be nice to explore the apparent sanitization of movies targeted towards children over the last several decades. Do any characters ever die (murder, etc.) anymore, or does everyone end up talking about feelings by the end? – LaPlant0 2 years ago
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  • it's also interesting to explore how villains may change with demographic. For example, it might be easier to present a villain in a child's movie as inherently evil, to better teach morals. Versus, villains for older audiences are presented as morally ambiguous and complicated, which makes them relatable to us. – vmainella 2 years ago
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  • Such a cool topic! It might be interesting to see if this shift was due to any real world events that may have influenced society's opinion on how to portray villains. – MaddyKellas 2 years ago
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  • I have thought about this so much. I would also like to add the villains in the my little pony movies from the 80s/90s were really dark. The TV film called Rescue from Midnight Castle had a villian named Tirek and Scorpan who are dark and very creepy. Modern adaptations of these two were much less frightening. – ivyskiss 2 years ago
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Artificial Intelligence--when are they considered alive?

As soon as technology introduced the idea, movies have been wrestling with what to do with artificial intelligence. Once they are thinking on their own, do they have rights as a sentient being? This is seen very clearly with Data in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Series. It is also seen in animated films such as Astro Boy when the audience comes to see the robot more as a real child. The list goes on: AI, even Terminator 2 as the audience mourns the first Terminator’s demise, iRobot, Dark Matter (a Netflix series) etc. Since this is a very real part of our future, the varying views on this would be interesting to consider.

  • I think this topic could dip into real life exams such as with AI and even the creation of Sophia -- a real life AI who was even granted Saudian Arabian citizenship – Pamela Maria 2 years ago
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  • Wow--I didn't even know about that! I find that most responses, at least in the film industry, have been fearful about this topic. There's so much to discuss here! – tclaytor 2 years ago
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  • An additional suggestion. Look in to Ray Kurzweil and his Frankenstein like 'Transhumanist' agenda. It may not be a case of 'Once they are thinking on their own', but once we have been forcibly fused with AI (as Kurzweil wants), will we still be sentient humans in our own right? Now, where's my sabot? – Amyus 2 years ago
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  • The films Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, are focused on the concept of what it means to alive or "human". It is the one of core theme of both films. – Sean Gadus 2 years ago
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Movies that Shape our Childhood

I think it would be interesting to consider the movies of different decades and how they define the different generations. As a child of the 80s, I grew up watching Goonies, Space Camp, and Red Dawn which all impacted the way I viewed life. They presented a picture of adventure (with danger), enemies to fight, and things to hope for. What about the movies of the 90s or the early 2000’s?

  • This would be a great tie-in to the history of cinema through the decades (a topic I very much enjoyed in my Film Analysis class back in college). It would also be interesting to discuss the ways those films from those decades emulate the culture at the time, as films tend to do. – Sara L. 2 years ago
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  • Sara--Film Analysis sounds like a fascinating class! I agree too that films emulate culture as well as create it. – tclaytor 2 years ago
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The Art of Having a Sufficiently Bad Ending

I love the scene in The Matrix when Agent Smith is interrogating Morpheus, and he explains why the world they created was so unpleasant. He said initially that they created a good world but that people rejected it. In fact, they lost whole crops of humans who couldn’t accept the utopia. People rejected what wasn’t believable to them.

This is true of good stories also, particularly in how they end. If the ending is too happy, the story loses its impact. On the flip side, many modern stories end without a real conclusion or with the protagonist still struggling. I’m curious about how to find that perfect balance of satisfying resolution and believable pain that reflects the real difficulties of this world and a hope of redemption.

  • In essence you have quite an interesting topic suggestion here with the potential for deeper study. Why do we find a Utopian dream to be unrealistic, when that is supposedly the end goal that we all desire? Is this perhaps something that has become so ingrained into our collective psyche that only a wicked world is believable? A few more examples (other than a stereotypical Hollywood movie) would be useful, perhaps expanding into the realm of literature. Off the top of my head, I'd suggest Butler's 'Erewhon'. I'd also be careful not to be too religiously orientated in your suggestion. After all, not all of us are Christians and there are other equally valid, non-religious views to consider. One size doesn't fit all. – Amyus 2 years ago
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  • Thanks! I did reword my topic to reflect an overall hope of redemption (or meaning). : ) – tclaytor 2 years ago
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  • Noted. Nicely done :) If this hadn't already been approved then you would have got my vote. – Amyus 2 years ago
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  • This is quite the heavy subject, wow. You could really approach this from different angles. Exploring what constitutes a 'bad ending' would be a good start. Is it when the protagonist doesn't achieve their goal? A phyrric victory? Martyr's victory? No victory at all? Interested to see how this topic plays out. – Starfire 2 years ago
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  • Very cool topic! – Stephanie M. 2 years ago
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Latest Comments

tclaytor

I think it’s a matter of not really understanding what the audience/reader wants. Yes, we want it to be fantastic and larger than life, but we also respect when some realities of our existence come into play. It creates a connection point that helps us buy into the movies and comics.

Cheating Audiences with Fake Sacrifices
Cheating Audiences with Fake Sacrifices
tclaytor

Excellent observation! I think the emphasis is too much on big, showy productions which lack depth. I know it’s the superhero genre and expectations can’t be too high, but I believe there is much scope for meaningful plot lines and character development in every genre.

Cheating Audiences with Fake Sacrifices
Cheating Audiences with Fake Sacrifices
tclaytor

I must confess that the only DC movie I’ve watched is Wonder Woman which I actually enjoyed. I just couldn’t muster enough interest to watch the others.

Cheating Audiences with Fake Sacrifices
tclaytor

I love fairy tales for the very reason that each culture adapts it to communicate its own ideals. For example, they have traced the original Cinderella fairy tale to China–Yeh Xian. There is an adaptation called Yeh-Shen to that is very well done!

The Developed Role of the Prince in Disney’s Live Action Cinderella (2015)
tclaytor

Yes! It makes me hesitate to show these films to my daughters or at the very least prompts a discussion on what is appropriate and not appropriate.

The Dark Side of Romance in Movies
tclaytor

I think that’s a great idea! When we really think about, as much as we love them, they are a bit egotistical and not as great leaders as we’d think.

True Superheroes Should be Replaceable