Topics: Jamie White


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The Flashback in Film (and Possibly Television)

What use do flashbacks actually have? To merely give backstory to a character(s), to add a tension, to foreshadow something?
What are good (and bad) examples of flashbacks in film and do they make use of the flashback in a suitable and compelling manner.
One example that could be used is this "Saw" short film ((link) which uses flashbacks to portray the main ction and torture scenes. The torture scenes should create suspense with not knowning whther this man is going to live or die, but by seeing him being interviewed about what happened, any tension is lost.
Tarantino’s "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill" could be an interesting point of discussion, as well as "Red Dragon" which uses a scene to introduce the audience to Will Graham and Hannibal Lector, but it is also set before "Silence of the Lambs;" is this film a flashback in itself? Are there better examples of entire films being a flashback?
DC CW television shows have also use flashbacks extensively (mostly in "Arrow" as a rhetoric device linking Oliver’s experiences on the island to present-day turmoils.)


    The Ultimate Arrow "Who's in the Grave?" Theory Roundup

    Arrow season 4 spoilers.

    Going on the Arrow sub-reddit there seems to be several "who’s in the grave?" everyday. I suggest having a definitive roundup of who could be the person theorised about so much. Whose death would have the biggest impact on the show? Are Felicity and Thea in the clear now that they’ve survived near death experiences? The writers/show-runners say Felicity is not in the grave, but could her body be elsewhere and the Felicity in the car with Oliver be a hallucination much like Shado was in the flashbacks.
    What about Oliver’s son? He seems like the next character the show is teasing to die after Malcom told Darkh about him. Would a character the audience has seen maybe just two times leave a big enough impact on the viewers? Would they even go so far as killing off a child? Even with its somewhat darker tone, Arrow still doesn’t seem like the sort of show that would do this.

    This should aim to be the definitive piece for the "who’s in the grave?" theories. Which characters make sense? Which characters don’t?

    Prime candidates: Diggle, Laurel, Felicity, Thea, William Hawke and possibly Quentin Lance.
    Finally, is this who grave talk taking away from the rest of the show? This seems like a tunt to get the fandom in on speculating who is going to be killed off when this could have been handled as a surprise death.


      Mental Disorders and Illnesses in Children's Animation

      What are some examples of representations of mental ilnesses/disorders in animations aimed at children? Who exactly are the characters that exhibit certain maneurisms of such things for? Are they for the children to idenify and connect with or for the parents to have an awareness and to help spot any symptoms?

      The big example for both it’s animation adaptation and book is Winnie the Pooh. Essentially all the characters appear to be diagnosable with specific mental disorders; Eeyore is perhaps the instantly recognisable one with depression, but Poo exhibits symptoms of ADHD, Owl dyslexia and even Christopher Robin with schizophrenia.

      Other animated characters that could be mentioned I can think of off the top of my head come from Pixar. There are various examples of depression in the Pixar film universe – Marlin(Finding Nemo, Carl (Up), Jessie (Toy Story) and Wall-E may exhibit some signs of OCD and/or anxiety disorders.

      There are plenty of different animations that could be mentioned for this, but the real driving point should be the questions mentioned at the beginning. How can these characters be read in terms of what illnesses they may portray? Who are these representations for? What purpose (if any) do they serve and is it useful?

      • I feel as though this topic is especially important since the new character released on Sesame Street (or that has been announced to be, anyways, I'm not sure if she's on the show yet). Julia is a puppet new to Sesame Street meant to demonstrate the struggles of autism and help alleviate stigma towards it. Will children identify the character as autistic, or just another puppet? Is she there for the kids or the parents? – Slaidey 7 years ago
      • I think one thing worth mentioning is whether or not the characters were intentionally made for children to identify with or if the character is only speculated to embody that trait. Like the aforementioned Winnie the Pooh characters or Julia from Sesame Street. – Austin Bender 7 years ago
      • I think there are a couple different reasons as to why as to why an artist or author would depict character traits so diversely without singling them down to just one. For instance, to add depth and diversity to the overall dynamics rather than having a variety of essentially all the same character archetypes, by differentiating personality traits, not only does the plot to the overall story thicken, but also the intended audience is no longer targeted down to one specific person or point of view. In doing so, anyone experiencing the show may be able to relate to a certain character that might reflect a certain quality or aspect in their own life and take comfort in that, especially children who are easily influenced and captivated by what they are watching. A young child may not have the capacity to fully understand the psychology behind a character depicted, but this doesn't necessarily mean they are not already processing that information and learning to recognize certain behaviors that they will inevitably learn to recognize in the real world or within themselves. In most animated shows, someone going through a tribulation learns to overcome it all the while taking away a hard earned life lesson, the road to happiness isn't always painted in bright colors. – IsabellasIncendia 7 years ago
      • Don't forget the film Inside Out. I believe there's already been some discussion on how those characters can help children understand mental illness (i.e. sadness governs the mother's head = depression, anger governs the father's = anger issues). I found it particularly striking that the little girl was unable to access her joy and her sadness, so anger pretty much took over. Anger is commonly a cover for other emotions such as sadness. I also thought that it was interesting that the movie demonstrated that there was a place for every emotion... and ALL of them were trying to help the little girl, whether or not we might perceive them as negative. Overall, it really encouraged healthy psychological functioning! – Laura Jones 6 years ago

      2016 Acadamy Awards Analysis and Rundown

      The nominations for the 2016 Acadamy Awards are out! Analyse the nominations for their respective categories, mentioning whether any film/actor/director etc. to have missed out and maybe even some predictions.
      This could also look at how the Awards are potentially already won by certain individuals. Has the DiCaprio joke run its course and helped the actor to win an award regardless of whether he deserves it (on this performance in The Revenant) or not. Will earlier Awards ceremonies have any effect on the Oscars? And generally, how strong a year in film has it been?

      • This is a good topic. I would also mention how obvious blockbusters (such as Star Wars) might affect other worthy films and possibly hinder awards they might otherwise win. I'm interested to see where this goes! – Stephen Matthias 6 years ago
      • One of the more controversial aspects of this year's nominations is the blatant lack of racial diversity, particularly through various African American actors getting "snubbed." – Christen Mandracchia 6 years ago

      Animal Symbolism in Life is Strange

      The use of various different animals in the episodic video game "Life is Strange" span from spirit animals to breeds of dogs assigned to people who buy drugs from Frank to even scientific theories (ie the Butterfly effect). There is a wide selection of animals to choose from, but the five with the most subject matter on would probably be: the deer, butterflies, dogs, whales and birds (specifically, the blue jay).

      Discuss the meanings and connotations certain animals have in "Life is Strange" and perhaps which human they can be assigned with.

      Does Frank’s buyers list accurately reflect who he has assigned to a certain breed? Is there any significant meaning to the list at all?

      What do the various appearances of the butterfly represent? Does it always show up when the Butterfly Effect in practice?

      • Max points out that the deer is specifically a doe and it seems to be connected directly to her. What is their relation? – LaRose 6 years ago

      "If it's not Scary, it's not a Horror Film"

      A discussion revolving around how horror films are more than just about how scary they are and that the scare factor does not solely define a movie as a horror.

      There are films that are visually/semantically not horror films (Alien is THE example) yet the arc of the film strongly resembles that of a horror film.

      Horror films usually have some sort of political/social/cultural message to them. There was an Israeli called "Rabies" (or "Kalevet") that had incredibly strong political viewpoints about it’s home country wonderfully summed up by the last line in the film, "Country full of shits."

      Of course, this could be taken to include how horror movies should also be scary and how that is still an important but not integral aspect to the genre. Also the concept of how what we are scared by/how scared we are is more subjective than objective would be an interesting point for discussion.

      • I love this topic idea. I feel like "scary" in modern terms tends to deal with "how many jumpscares are there," which is a technique typically misused in many contemporary horror movies. There are many movies as you mentioned that create a certain atmosphere (Alien; Silence of the Lambs) to the point that while they don't traditionally get labeled as horror (sci-fi; thriller), they have a certain tension and resonate on certain visceral levels of both the audience's and the characters' fears. This is similar to how a lot of people didn't see "The Babadook" as scary because it didn't have many jumpscares or scenes where it openly showed the monster, but it relied on dread and the topic of suppressed grief. Similar to how the movie you mention deals with politics, sometimes horror movies are terrifying because of what they reveal about humanity, i.e. Psycho. I'd also say that this goes back to Ann Radcliffe's "horror vs. terror" debate and the issue of ambiguity and unclearness. Unclearness creates terror, but it seems obscuring certain elements like not revealing the monster or not having obvious jumpscares can make viewers impatient or have the movie be seen as "not trying to be scary enough." For this topic, I'd definitely look into what "scary" means to viewers and if that element is necessary for an effective movie. Or can "scary" be wielded effectively? – emilydeibler 7 years ago
      • I forgot to add in the main body of the topic that also the "monster" within a horror film can also represent fears of nations, societies, governments etc. For example, in the film "Them!" giant ants attack an American city and they are portayals of the fears of nuclear and atomic bombs, both those used during WWII and the testing of such weapons done in some unpopulated space in America. Along with this the "monster" can also be representative of sexual repression of certain groups (homosexuals I think is one example) of people; I believe Robin Wood wrote something regarding this that would be incredibly helpful. – Jamie White 7 years ago
      • Along the same lines of what Emily wrote, it seems these days that a "good" horror film incorporates a lot of gore, jump scares, and violence. I don't think a horror film has to have all of these, but they do have to be scary in SOME way to be billed as a horror film. That being said, horror, like violence, can be implemented into a film in a purposeful way without making it simply spectacular or gratuitous. It's about balancing between cringe-worthy and necessary. – Christina Legler 7 years ago

      Televison to Film: The Right Decision After a Show Finishes?

      Hannibal show creator Bryan Fuller has recently spoken of the possibility to bring his show back in the form of a film. There are a few examples of this happening before with shows like Spooks and The Inbetweeners (both British, I know; a possible comparison to American shows could be done).

      Is this creatively the right choice? Have these sorts of jumps from small to big-screen worked well before?

      • Interesting topic. X files is a good example to look at. – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun 7 years ago
      • I haven't watched it but I've heard Firefly made a movie after the disappointment from fans at it's cancellation. I hear it was a bit of a wrong decision, and that in a hurry to wrap up loose ends people with dissatisfied with certain character's ends. Firefly could contribute to this topic. – Slaidey 7 years ago
      • This is a good and current topic idea. Perhaps if you include more examples within your research- it would help to paint a better picture for readers. Are you planning to branch out into other works- past, present and or current? Additionally, will you include some opinions from valid critics? Will you provide a prediction of TV shows shifting to film for the future? – arielsilkett 7 years ago

      Adult Cartoon Shows and Their Apparent Decline in Quality

      The Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy. These three programmes in particular have received a fair amount of criticism in recent years for their apparent decline in quality and a lot of he time earlier seasons are superior. But is this really the case?
      Are earlier seasons genuinely better than later ones or have the shows themselves just evolved into something slightly different? Or is it even the case of the audience changing overtime; these shows have run for a staggering amount of time.
      With The Simpsons, for example, a person who first watched the show at Bart’s age would now be watching the show as someone the same age as Homer.
      This can be done show by show and can, of course, include other long running shows that may not be exclusive to animation.

      • Good insight about how part of the change might have to do with the audience. Fans who have been watching since a show's inception will respond differently than newer fans to a changes in a show. A show that has been on the air for a long time will have to face shifts in audience expectations and perceptions. – S.A. Takacs 7 years ago
      • Perhaps you can compare this to newer adult cartoons, such as Archer, Bob's Burgers, and Rick & Morty? – Nicole Wethington 7 years ago
      • Thank you! I still love The Simpsons. I think it is the same quality, but people are just bored of the humor even though it is the same as ever. But people must like it as it keeps getting renewed. As to Family Guy, even Seth McFarlene wonders why it is still going. – Erin Derwin 7 years ago

      Supervillain Analysis

      I recenly read an article which had Geroge R.R. Martin criticising Marvel’s villains saying how similar they are to the heroes in terms of their powers. (link)

      He made some interesting points and while there’s a lot of ranking of villains there’s hardly any proper analysis of them and their relation to the hero. This should obviously range from villains with similar powers to the hero, to those who are startlingly different, or those who have no powers at all.

      This could be done with specific villains in mind or franchise by franchise i.e. Marvel, The Dark Knight Trilogy, X-Men, Spiderman etc.

      • There is a lot of good potential to analyze supervillains, but there are too many of them to count if you includes everyone from the likes of Marvel and DC. It would be helpful to limit it to either some of the most notable ones (regardless of which publisher they come from) or to villains specifically derived from certain franchises. You also might want to limit your analysis to one form of media (looking into movie adaptations over comic books and vice verca). – Seth Childers 7 years ago
      • I've always been partial to Spiderman, but I can see this working for any of the major franchises. Interesting take--a strong focus on the social and political pressures of the time in which the selected franchise analyzed will help provide a comprehensive and detailed explanation for the motives of such villains. – RobertCutrera 7 years ago
      • I was having a discussion about this once with a friend - he made the point that comic book/graphic novel villains are purposely made to be the opposite/fear of the hero. Batman = conquering fear; Joker = anarchy and uncertainty, meaning fear. Spiderman = spider; Dr Conners = reptile. Reptiles eat insects. Bruce Banner = Ego; Hulk = Id etc etc. Therefore the point that they are basically made to be challengers for the hero could sometimes mean that they are reduced to placeholders, and therefore aren't given enough of an identity in themselves. I think it's a great topic, especially considering the recent huge popularity of some of the villains. – Nat Parsons 7 years ago

      When Great TV Shows Die

      With what seems to be the last season of Hannibal ending very soon, are shows that don’t get excellent ratings, but are constantl raved about, being mistreated? Should these shows be allowed to carry on regardless? Why do these shows A) not get higher ratings? B) get cancelled regardless of quality.

      I know the overriding reason will be money, but there must be more to this, surely?

      • Yes and no. To your first question, I think we have to think about whether those critics rating these shows actually have the audience in mind. A show may affect each person differently based on their paradigm. Often times, I find that I disagree with critics' reviews. There are shows that only become famous or have more views long after their first season, and if they weren't allowed to keep airing, no one would have discovered them. If you take money out of the equation, shows need time to develop and to really have their own "voice". It's a shame that a budget defines the show and it's potential, but money cannot be taken out of the equation completely, unfortunately. So where do we draw the line? – Nof 7 years ago
      • I think it all depends on the type of budget that the TV show has. I feel it is also difficult to get a TV show "going" in a sense when you have shows such as Greys Anatomy and other "regular" shows that have a strong fan base and have had a TV spot for years. – mkhonnn 7 years ago
      • Money is defiantly not the only reason a show lives or dies. Placement can have a huge factor in a shows success. Take Dark Angel for example, extremely popular but was put on Friday nights and seemingly died. The show had all the elements of a great show but didn't make it. Some shows like Andromeda and Smallville loose their luster near the end and try to end things without completely falling apart. I don't think money is always the reason a show ends. If the people involved with the show aren't dedicated to it then it will fall apart and end. A show like Supernatural has had its obvious hiccups but each year comes back with a new season. Fans see the dedication and commitment put into the show. They reward it with loyalty. A great show needs some money for sure but what it needs more is dedicated quality people producing it, enough fans that see it's potential for growth to become loyal, and a little bit of luck. – Marshal 7 years ago

      The Ultimate Gender Stereotypes in Friends

      As good as Friends was it still portrayed its wonderful characters as gender stereotypes, as most sit-coms do, of course, but they very cleverly split these steroetypical traits and spread them across the six main characters.

      The girls: a cook, a compulsive cleaner, essentially the housewife (Monica), an avid shopper, emotional, (Rachel), the ditzy, promiscuous blonde (Phoebe).

      The boys: a misogynistic, chauvinist who is somewhat lazy (Joey), the funny one, who uses humour as a shield (Chandler) and a nerd with a love for science (Ross). Plus the objectification of women.

      Do these stereotypes make up the ultimate stereotype for each gender? Is there anything that’s been missed out? Is this, quite possibly, a load of rubbish? And has the variety of stereotypes been replicated in any other shows?

      • I think there definitely is a lot to say about gender and how its portrayed in friends. On top of how heteronormative the show is. Part of it most likely is a product of the times. The show began airing in 1994, and things were definitely very different. I think it would be interesting to compare it to Will and Grace to a certain extent. While Will and Grace still has problems, it came out when Friends was in the middle of its 10 year run, and was handling Gender much differently. Both were vary successful. I think we can see these stereotypes played out in many sitcoms. – Talcon 7 years ago
      • Can we get an example of mysogyny on friend. I think that word is so overused and its meaning is changing with is usage. I don't think that I saw any hatred or dislike of women in friends, though their definitely wad some objectification. I do think that their were definitely sterotypival gender roles in friends but misogyny, no. Even objectification through sexualization is debatable, as the idea of objectification changed to state that men who are able to gaze at a woman only sexually at first glance but then be able to relate to her as a person, this omits the idea of objectification as their ideas of the person are not completely based on her looks. – fchery 7 years ago
      • Fchery, that's a fair point and my mistake. You are right the word's meaning has become confusing and, as you said, overused. But that could be taken as part of the topic. How in some ways the stereotypes are enforced and how certain stigmas in the show are misplaced. – Jamie 7 years ago

      "Fringe" actors in Game of Thrones (or tv in general) who deserve more recognition

      Season 5 of Game of Thrones is nearly finished and once again you’d expect that Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey will be nominated for Emmys etc. But there are so many actors that don’t get that same recognition as the "bigger" names. Alfie Allen, Iain Glenn, Carice van Houten and even Birgitte Hjort Sørensen (a wildling with only 20 minutes or so screen time in Hardhome).

      Do these actors deserve more credit? Why don’t they get the credit they potentially deserve? This could be looked at in a way of how the awards ceremonies are also potentially "broken".

      And, of course, this could be looked at with regards to more televiosn shows too.

      • I like the broken award ceremonies angle. I would compare the Golden Globes TV categories with the Emmys. The X-files won for best actor, actress, and drama one year but never at the Emmys. (They won for writing if I remember.) If you want to take a look at the UK brigade, like Iain Glenn, you can look at the way Brit awards recognize actors around BAFTA time, and contrast with their American counterparts. I see a lot of potential justs needs fine tuning. – fdemelo 7 years ago

      The Film Cameo: The Fine Line Between Pointless and Purpose

      So many films have cameos now. The Marvel films always have a cameo from Stan Lee. but this is getting pretty excessive, ridiculous and pointless.
      So what exactly makes a good cameo now? How can cameos feel warranted within a film?
      This could make mention of Quentin Tarantino’s cameos in his films and embedding them into the narrative slightly and any other director who similarly does this. Maybe also mention the rumoured cameos set to appear in Batman vs Superman and how many of those are going to be purposeful.
      Or are cameos solely just there as a nod to the fans/audience and are nothing more than a glorified easter egg.

      • Great topic! This could make for a really interesting article. I would imagine that a cameo is purposeful if it does something to move the plot forward. This being said, I think you'll need to consider whether easter eggs and nods to the fans/audience are truly meaningless. Even if a cameo does not advance the film in a particular way, are there other ways that cameos can add value to a movie or to an audience's reception of a movie? – NicoleEWilliams 7 years ago
      • One of the more memorable film cameos I can recall is the appearance of Marshall McLuhan in Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" (1977). This does nothing to advance the plot -- though that implies the film has a really coherent plot. What this does accomplish is to puncture the pomposity of people who try to sound like an expert on a subject about which they know nothing. It's a very rewarding scene. – jgwilson 7 years ago

      Are Telltale Games Going About How They Release Their Games in the Right Way?

      Telltale Games use an episodic formula to their games releasing each individual episode around 5-8 weeks apart from each other. They’ve obviously had success in the past but should they perhaps look to how Netflix release their television series’ (all at once) and therefore potentially release more seasons every year (many fans are eagerly anticipating the next Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us season).
      Could they improve, change, evolve in the wy they do things or are they doing it right making people wait and building their excitement (and possible frustrations, too).
      Games that could be mentioned: The Walking Dead (and its 400 Days accompaniment), The Wolf Among Us, Game of Thrones, Tales from the Borderlands.

      • I love all of the TellTale games, yes, some more than others, and I've found the most frustrating thing to be their release schedule. They have so many properties now, including the promising Minecraft: Story Mode. I believe that with so many different series going on at once that they should attempt to release one episode for one property a week. For example: 1/1- Game of Thrones s.1 ep.1 1/8-Tales from the Borderlands s.1 ep. 1 1/15-Wolf Among Us s.1 ep.1 and so on. This schedule (or a bi-weekly) would still give each department time to release a new title, while still giving players a healthy schedule to follow. – G Anderson Lake 7 years ago
      • I agree with G Anderson Lake's point, the release schedule is horrible. I loved The Wolf Among Us but its release schedule almost made me not want to play the game. Telltale seems to get larger with each new franchise they take on and it seems to be effecting how often they can release new episodes for each of their series. – Nathan 7 years ago
      • While I agree with you that the 5-8 week release date gap is very long, I disagree with your idea that they should be released all at once. These games are meant to be more like television episodes than traditional video games. Especially Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. There is a benefit to the overall experience from the suspense in waiting between releases. Just as one would experience from watching a new television show. Half the fun of Game of Thrones is anticipating the next episode, and having that time set aside in your life for something you enjoy each week. As a society we have been conditioned to want more, bigger, longer. For me, the Telltale games are something fresher than that. I think quality over quantity is a highly undervalued ideal which Telltale games embraces gloriously. – Visenya 7 years ago