The early forms of comedy in mass entertainment (vaudeville, the Marx Brothers, the Three Stooges) were unapologetically absurd. They embraced silliness. We see that tradition in more modern British comedy (Monty Python, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore). And yet, American comedy seems to suffer from an unwillingness to be silly, as if silliness is somehow beneath us. There are notable exceptions of course (The Simpsons, Steve Martin’s early standup), but, by and large, we seem to be mired in a bog of socially relevant comedy, or rigidly responsible satire. Where’s the silliness? Is comedy allowed to be funny for funny’s sake? And here, I’m referring mostly to film and sitcoms, not to stand up comedians who are as varied in their style as they have always been.
This would be a good topic for one to explore the evolution of comedy in the US; how we went from vaudeville & Marx to more contemporary comedic styles. From there, one could argue whether the decline of absurd comedy is just a sign of the times, or a result of something else. – majorlariviere6 days ago
I would be interested to discover if the rise of the United States and the decline of the British Empire as respective world powers had anything to do with a more collective trend toward silliness in comedy. Perhaps it’s a potential thesis, mere speculation or something else. – J.D. Jankowski1 day ago
Sound (or lack thereof) plays an important role in Lost in Translation. From the opening moments with Bob Harris (Bill Murray) filming a commercial in Japanese to the jazz singer in the bar to the culmination of the film with the muted exchange between Bob Harris and Charlotte (Scarlett Johhansson). Analyze the various ways in which sound and silence function in the film.
This would likely require at least 5 scene-by-scene analysis to prove significance. You could also check screenwriting patterns and indicate whether sound and silence specifically navigate through the plot points. – hazalse1 week ago
Particularly following their purchase of 20th Century Fox and their gallery of successful IP, Disney now stand to own the primary market share of global box office. Many critics are decrying the ‘Disney-fication’ of culture as the death of diversity, a crushing blow to independent production, and the continuation of a soulless future of endless sequels and franchises.
Is this, however, a fair approximation? Are Disney simply representing what audiences have sought since the birth of the blockbuster in the mid-1970’s and the arrival of the high concept in the 1980’s? Is the jewel in their crown, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not simply the ultimate expression of audiences’ desire for cinema to be the ultimate escapist entertainment? Are Disney destroying originality or simply reconfiguring the way we engage with culture and media?
This is a great topic. I run into many people who think that Disney is trying to monopolize the market, but I don't think it's an evil agenda. I think Disney, like all corporations and businesses, are trying to do their job and make money. If purchasing 20th Century Fox will help them do that then that's what they're going to do.
Disney has been creating entertainment for years and they are in some ways the standard for entertainment. Finally, if you really think Disney is destroying film and is a terrible corporation, stop seeing their movies. If you really believe that's a problem, you are contributing to that problem by watching their movies and buying their merchandise. – OliviaS5 months ago
Prequels are often seen as cash-ins that don’t add much to the original text. For example, even Solo’s fans tend to admit that the movie wasn’t particularly necessary: it does not add much to the themes, ideas, or lore of Star Wars. But other prequels have offered deeper insight (or counterpoints) to the original text. For instance, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was used to deepen the apocalyptic themes of the main text.
So: what makes a valuable prequel? If a prequel isn’t adding anything to the original, then should it be "re-skinned"?
I think there are a lot of really good and really important prequels especially in the superhero genre. X-Men is a really good example. Also I think its important to add spinoffs of tv shows that are meant to be prequels because I think you can see a strong difference in a film that is a prequel and a series that is a prequel. – tingittens2 weeks ago
"Re-skinning" a prequel is a waste of time and money, especially if we keep getting stuck in a rut (with some sequels I can mention).
I think a good prequel gives enough information without being stuffed while staying faithful to the original. Peter Jackson's The Hobbit series would be a good example of how that did NOT happen (at least in the second film). – OkaNaimo08192 weeks ago
Since its technological and artistic breakthrough in the character of Gollum from Lord of the Rings, filmmakers have experimented with the possibilities and limits of the technology, with varying success. From single characters (like King Kong) to whole races and worlds (like Avatar and several Robert Zemekis films), motion capture elicits anything from wonder in the face of its breathtaking realism, to criticisms that overuse of the technology dumps the audience smack dab in the center of "Uncanny Valley." Why does motion capture draw from critics and audiences such polarizing responses? What films use the technology wisely, and which overuse it to the extent of alienating its audience? Look at both the original instances, like Gollum, and more recent instances, such as Alita in Alita: Battle Angel, and analyse how the different instances work and how they avoid or encapsulate "Uncanny Valley" in their films and characters.
I wonder if this is an issue with veracity, a sense of truth in what we're seeing. One of the most unerring examples I remember was 2001's Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, a film with such weirdly photo-realistic animation it made little sense that real actors were not simply used. It's different with physical creatures or aliens, or say Caesar in the Planet of the Apes trilogy, as they can benefit from strong motion capture, but humans? I suspect it feels like a blurred line. – A J. Black6 months ago
Interesting topic. It would be topical to tie it into the upcoming "Cats" adaptation. I suggest you check out Patrick Willems' recent YouTube video essay on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1nQoWnFBSw&t=1264s – Matt Hampton5 months ago
I think it's important to define a "wise" use of technology. How much is too much? Is it possible to draw a line applicable to all films or do we have to take it on a case by case basis? We rush to embrace technology for all of its spectacle and newness, but do how often do filmmakers ask themselves, "Is this really necessary?" I'm of the opinion (for what it's worth) that technology should be used as sparingly as possible. As an audience member, too much technology overwhelms me and creates an emotional distance from the narrative. – fspinelli2 weeks ago
Make a top ten list of the amazing settings that have added richness to their movies. From the iconic scene of King Kong on the Empire State Building, to Central Park, to Chicago and LA. How have various scenes been influenced by their settings? Go as far back as Hitchcock. Discuss Central Park as a location that has added a certain flavour to movies.
All of these are US locations. Perhaps it would be good to compare with movies set in eg London or Paris? Are there differences in the way locations are used across the cutlrual settings? – CharlotteG3 months ago
I think making a list with so many options would be hard maybe if it was broken by individual city like New York City, you could list all the notable places within it. New York City and San Francisco I would say have some the most popular locations so I feel like it wouldn't be doing other cities justice to put them on the same list when you might much more information on these two cities – tingittens2 weeks ago
With films such as Memento, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Marjorie Prime exploring the concept of memory and how they seemingly define us. I’d like to suggest a further investigation into the use of memory in film as a narrative tool. How have writers/directors effectively used this device to engage viewers. Are there consistencies within the more successful examples? How could we look to utilise memory as a concept in future films, or even other forms of media.
Analyse how films such as The Avengers, Harry Potter, and A Wrinkle in Time help motivate youth and adults alike and different.
I meant positive motivators such as improving one's life for the better, not giving up easily, etc. – Yvonne T.8 months ago
Yes, SaraiMW, I meant in very similar films' plots can help youth and adults. – Yvonne T.8 months ago
I'd say such films help kids and adults feel more motivated to be brave. They also motivate both kids and adults to get more into reading and watching movies. They also motivate adults more so than they do kids to get in touch with their inner child from their childhood days. They motivate kids to greatly appreciate the childhood they have now of reading and watching movies and adventure. I think that they motivate both kids and adults alike to enjoy good storytelling in books and in films. They motivate kids probably more so than adults to exercise and use their imaginations. These are some of the ways that I think such films as The Avengers, Harry Potter, and A Wrinkle in Time help motivate youth and adults in ways that are alike and different. – autenarocks8 months ago
I think that these types of movies create new worlds for people to lose themselves in. There are endless possibilities for people to see and perhaps want to create in. It allows for creativity to be passed down to new generations. Also, the characters can create new interests for viewers, and who they want to be in the future. – BookieRheaWookie1 month ago