Topics: CriticalOtaku

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The Success of Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life

This article would analyze the structure of Tobias Wolff’s memoir and why it is considered a significant work among other memoirs. It would also discuss the general structure of memoirs and how they’ve evolved (or have not evolved) through time by taking a look at several notable ones by different authors.

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    The Growth of Tobias Wolff's Short Stories

    This article would take a look at a few notable short stories written by Tobias Wolff (each story taken from a different collection) and discuss how his earlier work has informed his later work or vice versa. It should discuss the themes which are often explored in his writing and whether the presentation of his ideas has changed since he first started writing.

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      The Prolific Joyce Carol Oates

      A discussion of whether Oates’ writing has benefited or suffered due to how prolific she is. This article would take a look at her earlier work and the critical reception it has received, and compare it with her most recent work. This article would also offer some insight as to how and why a prolific writing career can affect an author’s craft.

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        Significance of the Short Story

        A look at the medium of short stories and the reasons behind why they should be regarded as highly as the novel. This article would look at several famous short stories or short story writers and the influence they’ve had on writers throughout history (including the influence they’ve had on the medium of the novel). It might also be helpful to discuss the status of the short story–how it’s risen or declined in popularity through time.

        • A very interesting topic, but fairly daunting and possibly a little too broad. For whoever's attempting this though: would be interesting to bring in Maupassant, Poe, Hardy, Kipling, etc, and if possible, tie it right back to our contemporary times, with a little nod to Alice Munro. – Matchbox 5 years ago
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        The Success and Failings of Recent Biopics

        This article would take a look at biopics from within the past two decades and discuss which ones were successful commercially and/or critically, and which ones have failed in those respects. The article would discuss the subjects of the biopics, the accuracy with which they are presented, and whether or not these films received enough publicity at the times they were being made.

        • I think it would also be interesting to look at who the biopics are about and if they are relevant in the times that the movies were made. By this I mean if a particular scientific breakthrough has made popular news is there a biopic made about somebody in that field. This topic could definitely say something about social history. – DClarke 6 years ago
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        • There's no doubt that talking about the historical veracity of any given biographical film will be difficult since, ultimately, they are only an interpretation of history rather than a clear record of it.With that said, I figure this article does have a lot of potential and could be taken in a number of different directions. One could write a list about the best and worst biopics and what made them good or bad. Another possible angle would be to talk about all the things that biopics have left out. The 1982 film Gandhi didn't make any mention (from what I can recall) of Gandhi's relationship with Hitler, and how he conducted an eerily formal correspondence with him.DClarke also has a solid suggestion; are there some biopics that shouldn't be made on the grounds that their subject doesn't really matter? The only angle I'd stay away from is whether historical accuracy matters in movies seeing as how John Wilson is currently writing a piece about that very topic. – August Merz 5 years ago
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        • This would be a very interesting topic to write about, since biopics tend to always receive less publicity than high action Hollywood movies. Good films to talk about would be "Girl with a pearl earring" and the relatively new "Theory of Everything". Both didnt recieve much publicity, but both were received very well by critics. Perhaps this article could also discuss how directors and producers find their sources and their information for these films. – Valeria Sharivker 5 years ago
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        The Popularity of Daredevil

        Compare the film adaptation and the recent TV adaptation by Netflix and discuss some of the reasons why the latter seems to have proved very successful with audiences and critics while the former received more of a mixed reception.

        • What Daredevil does is show a superhero unlike the other marvel cinematic universe characters. He is human, and cannot take a punch as easily as Captain American or Iron Man can. He is the first real street level superhero we have seen in this universe. – Aaron Hatch 6 years ago
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        • I think some characteristics to be discussed could be the cinematography, the sound effects (particularly in the film), the choice to kill in the film and the moral decision of choosing not to kill in the series, the use of sonar in the film vs heightened senses and a world on fire in the series, the lack of humour in the film, the fight choreography, and the characterization of the villains in the series. Etc. – VelvetRose 6 years ago
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        The Success and Failings of Shaft's Anime

        A retrospective look at the various anime produced by the company Shaft and an anaylsis of the common elements of their anime that have made them either successful or infamous.

        • It would be helpful to look at and discuss the various animation quirks that Shaft is known for like fanservice and the Shaft head tilt. – DullahanLi 6 years ago
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        • It would help when talking about successes to go inn detail about Puella Magi Madoka Magica and the significance it had on the entire 'Magical Girl' genre. – Wolfstar96 6 years ago
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        Stephen King Retrospective

        A look back on the writing of Stephen King, and a discussion on why his stories have been as successful as they are. This article would analyze common themes in King’s writing, whether there is a recurring format to his stories in terms of plot progression and character development, and the subjects he’s chosen to write about.

        • It would be important to discuss the tropes in his books, like how almost every story is set in Maine, or how a lot of his characters are alcoholics. This should not demonstrate why he is a bad writer, but instead it should shows how many writers have recurring themes in there books. In a way it gives King distance style. – Aaron Hatch 6 years ago
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        • I think it would also be interesting to perhaps include what he says of his own writing or writing in general. I've read some of his writing on writing and he has some pretty distinct ideas about what a writer should do or have. This might be a slight tangent but an exclusive look into his writing nonetheless. – Nof 6 years ago
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        • Aaron and Nof make really good points -- King definitely has a style and a set of favorite tropes. I'd love to see an analysis of how his own "rules of writing" and advice play out in his own work, and how the tropes stay fresh. Assuming one believes they do; personally I quit reading King b/c I felt I'd see the "writer trapped in a physical space goes crazy" story in every version I needed to -- that might be worth addressing as part of the analysis. – Monique 6 years ago
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        True Detective Season 2 Comparison

        An in-depth comparison of seasons 1 and 2 and how they differ, how they are similar, and whether or not the changes made are for the best.

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          The Work of Christopher Nolan

          A retrospective look at Nolan’s films and a discussion on aspects of his work that attracts most audiences while detracting from others. This article can involve looking at the themes in his work, character development, or the general scope of the worlds his stories take place in.

          • I love Christopher Nolan's work, so it'd be great to read an article about his approach. I think he does a great job of balancing dark and intellectual themes while reaching a broad audience and achieving commercial success at the same time. I'm personally drawn to his portrayal of Batman in his The Dark Knight series, and think he conveys a level of depth to the characters that most other super hero movies don't. At the same time, there's still a lot of action, great graphics, and humour at play. Overall I think this could be an interesting topic, and there's a lot to cover! I would suggest focusing on a few connecting threads across all his works, or focusing on a few specific films and making connections between them to have a more focused approach for some strong writing! Would love to read more on Nolan. – Kim 6 years ago
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          • This article should certainly include an analysis of "Memento" ! – Rachel Watson 6 years ago
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          Film Adaptations of Cormac McCarthy's novels

          An analysis of the film adaptations of McCarthy’s works (The Road, No Country for Old Men, Child of God, and The Sunset Limited), and a discussion of how they deviate or stay faithful to the original works and whether that has paid off or failed in terms of critical reception.

          • There's also All the Pretty Horses that came out in 2000; besides that, though, the author could also talk about McCarthy films that have not been made and discuss whether or not they should be. For the longest time, Blood Meridian was scheduled to be directed by Ridley Scott but has since been deemed, "unfilmable" (which probably led to Scott working with McCarthy on The Counselor). Mariana, an author here at The Artifice, wrote an article about this subject so I'd say don't write too much about Blood Meridian; either mention it a bit or you could even have a link to her article in yours. – August Merz 6 years ago
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          • I think there's a lot of scope in a piece like this. I'd be particularly interested in contrasting the successes of each adaptation, especially since the reaction to each of these films has varied so much. – Luke Stephenson 6 years ago
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          Expectations for True Detective Season 2

          Drawing from various interviews Nic Pizzolatto (the showrunner for True Detective) has given, the recent season 2 teaser, and the themes explored in season 1, discuss what audiences may come to expect from season 2 (premiering on June 21).

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            Lars Von Trier's Depression Trilogy

            A look at Von Trier’s three films (AntiChrist, Melancholia, and Nymphomaniac) and an analysis on the theme of depression and how it is portrayed in each film. Questions to consider include: does Von Trier start and end with the same perspective on depression? Are there parallels between the films and, if so, how are they explored?

            • I would offer that to go forward with this topic, you would need to first distinguish "depression" from other forms of mental illness. For example, does the couple in Antichrist truly battle with depression, or is it PTSD as a result of losing their child? The language of mental illness that you would intend to use would need to be solidified--I'm not an expert at all in the different psychological make-ups of mental illnesses, but I know there are others that would appreciate the distinction.Secondly, I would note the difference between a film that showcases a character with "depression" (or another mental illness), and a film that is "depressing" to the audience. For example, I have watched Melancholia several times and I actually find the film to be beautiful and even uplifting rather than depressing. Is this a consequence of my own personal viewing of the film, or did Von Trier in fact strive for a more ambiguous feeling in Melancholia rather than a slew of sadness and despair as the film's title implies? Certainly it would be interesting to draw parallels between the three films, and you could do so on many levels: marriage, sexuality, children/adult relationships, the significance of scenery and mise-en-scene, etc. This is an interesting topic, but maybe narrowing the subject matter down to looking at depression in the three films but through one lens (again, whether that's mise-en-scene, gender relations, etc.) would make this topic more narrow and therefore more specific. Good luck! – RachelWatson 6 years ago
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            The Success of Paul Thomas Anderson's Films

            A retrospective look at all the work Anderson has done (including notable examples like There Will Be Blood and Boogie Nights) and a discussion on why his films have resonated with audiences and critics–whether similar themes are explored in each film, or if he constantly changes direction with the subjects he chooses to explore.

            • His art style in very interesting and distinctive; he basically make his sets look like a giant doll house. His strange and at times dark humor is also what makes his films so distinctive. – Aaron Hatch 6 years ago
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            Cormac McCarthy's The Counselor

            A discussion of why this film received such a polarizing reception, comparing critics’ opinions to those of the casual viewers as well as the issues critics who have given the film negative reviews to those who gave it positive reviews.

            • As a casual viewer, I found the dialogue to be too metaphorical. It didn't fit with the movie and made it seem like the characters were talking about something else the entire time. I really wanted to like this movie because the screenplay was written by McCarthy, but it just didn't work for me. – S.A. Takacs 6 years ago
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            Influence of Metatheatre

            A discussion on the popularity of metatheatre in film or television and whether it is used to create commentary on a particular subject or used to enhance the entertainment experience of the genre being depicted. For example, the tv cult comedy Community uses metatheatre frequently through Abed’s character and is mainly employed for parody and humor.

            • Supernatural (also tv) has many elements which are specifically meta. Far from being a comedic aside, 4th-wall-breaking is a major component of the overall plot of the show. – Monique 6 years ago
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            • Would The Avengers series be eligible? The humour revolves around the ridiculousness of each pressing situation. – Thomas Munday 6 years ago
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            History of the Southern Gothic Genre

            A discussion of the works of well-known writers, going back to Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, Truman Capote, and Cormac McCarthy and how each author has contributed or innovated within the Southern Gothic tradition of fiction.

            • Would love to see this article contain a list of modern-bests of the genre. Books, movies, and tv shows, for that matter. – Monique 6 years ago
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            • You have an extremely broad topic here. :) Have you considered choosing 2-3 favorite books and authors to analyze in light of the genre? – Stephanie M. 3 years ago
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