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Existentialism and Moral Relativity as an Artistic Crutch

Judging by volume, it seems easier to write morally ambiguous screenplays. Such screenplays also seem to benefit from the default of events being meaningless or random in a meaningless or random existence (e.g., Tony Soprano’s series-ending "dirt nap"), while works regarding morality as objective, ala Breaking Bad, must convincingly explain actions and repercussions without the easy shrug of "stuff happens." If we set the Way Way Back Machine to say, a century ago, the bar of acceptance for atheistic works was high, but today, its bar for justification seems awfully low. Whaddya think about that, my friend?

  • I approve. Ambiguousness can be done well, but I have seen few authors and especially screenwriters pull it off. Moral relativity gives the appearance of freedom, but I think artistically, it actually boxes people in because they have to be careful not to make definitive statements about what's right and wrong, or why they think so. I'm not saying everything has to be squeaky clean--Lord knows that would be boring--but I'd definitely like to see less relativism. I think sometimes filmmakers, screenwriters, what have you, get caught in the trap of relativism vs. a *specific worldview*. That is, some people feel if a work does not appear to support a certain worldview, it has to be completely relative or it doesn't work. Judeo-Christian works, especially films, are particularly guilty. A happy medium is desperately needed. – Stephanie M. 6 years ago
  • I think the impact of 9-11 is acutely felt here. Up until that point, people were happy to be moral relativists but once those planes hit those towers the world turned around and said 'this is definitively evil'. So we live in a world where there are both unknowns and knowns. – jackanapes 6 years ago
  • jackanapes, no atheists in foxholes? – Tigey 6 years ago

Gene Wilder's Legacy

On August 29, 2016, Gene Wilder passed away from complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Whether playing Dr. Frankenstein in "Young Frankenstein," or Willie Wonka in "Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," Wilder’s whimsical, gentle spirit drew smiles from people of all ages. Which performances are Wilder’s finest? What makes his contribution to film especially memorable? In general, what is Gene Wilder’s legacy?


    Aging in Cinema

    Which movie or movies show(s) the most realistic human aging? What makes the portrayal of the aging process especially realistic or effective? Besides physical changes, what psychological, mental, or spiritual changes are shown in the film(s)? What, if any, abilities lost with youth are most dearly missed?

    • The first film that came to mind after reading this topic was Mr. Holmes starring Ian McKellen. It does a fantastic job showing how someone like Sherlock Holmes, famous for his sharp intellect, also must eventually deal with the challenges of old age, specifically memory loss. – KennethC 6 years ago
    • Interesting topic. Some films that come to mind: Burn After Reading (the Coen brothers' ode to aging), Up (an all around perfect film, that forces its audience - comprised predominantly of children - to confront mortality in its first fifteen minutes), While We're Young (a heartwarming indie flick about middle age), and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (not exactly "realistic" per se, but examines the subject well and seriously drives home the point of "youth is wasted on the young"). – ProtoCanon 6 years ago
    • Kenneth, your comment makes me think of Flowers for Algernon where the intellectual drop-off for a genius is sharper than for an average person. I know that's a special case, but wonder if it's generally true. ProtoCanon, I saw that someone had written either an article or a topic regarding unusual aging (I think), and it included Benjamin Button, Eric Roth's Forrest Gump part two, in my opinion. I also love Up. If you like music, Bob Dylan's "Highlands" - an ode to longing for youth - will steal 16 minutes of your brief life in what seems like five. It'll also bring a whole new meaning to hard-boiled eggs and an artist's pencil. – Tigey 6 years ago
    • Perhaps I'm biased because I've been thinking of this film A LOT lately, but I'm fascinated with the representation of age and mental health portrayed in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" Obviously, this film is quite dramatic given it's both a psychological thriller and from the 60's, however, its dedication to representing the damaging effects of untreated mental illness is inspired. Both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were in their 50's at the time, and neither was cinched, glamorized, or portrayed too empathetically; indeed, both of them were, through makeup and wardrobe, pushed to their frumpiest. Although I'm sure Simone de Beauvior would have something to say about the connection of age and madness or age and disgust (a la her book, "The Coming of Age"), the film pulls no stops examining how haggard these sisters have become after exceptionally rough lives, both due to the unfairness of their childhood and their choices as adults. – Kitty Davies 6 years ago
    • Kitty, that's a whole new angle on the topic: dysfunctional child is father to the dysfunctional man and how that accelerates aging. Our choices live past our deaths through our survivors. It's easy for me to blame ancestors for the poor choices I make today, but not easy to determine how much of my stuff is really their stuff, and how much is my own lack of character. It's important to choose the right parents. – Tigey 6 years ago
    • What do you mean by "realistic aging"? Every person ages differently. – T. Palomino 5 months ago

    Who's Your Daddy: Great Thespian Families

    This topic is about families of actors, and directors, not movies about fictional or real families. Besides the long line of Barrymores, who are drama’s greatest families? The Bridges? Kirk Douglass, his son, Michael Douglas, and his sons? Blythe Danner and daughter, Gwynneth Paltrow? John Carradine and sons, Richard and Keith?

    Who are they? What makes them great? Is their dramatic influence expected to continue? By which younger family members? In acting or directing?

    Relatively speaking, this could be a mother of a topic.

    • Donald and Kiefer Sutherland are also father/son acting legends. The two recently starred in a father/son role together in a western called "Forsaken". – ZBetts 6 years ago

    Top Ten Beautiful Voices in Cinema’s "The All-Time Top 100 Voices in the Movies" list begs for debate. It’s top ten is below. These are not the rubber-voiced talents of a Mel Blanc or Seth McFarlane whose faces don’t appear on screen. Nor are they the distinctive but (to many) annoying – pipes of a Melanie Griffith, Gilbert Gottfried, Rosie Perez, or Bobcat Goldthwaite. These are the actresses or actors whose dulcet voices are as memorable as any other part of their skill set.

    What is it about their voices that sets them apart? Which cinematic performance is their most interesting and distinctive? Who would you add – say Valeria Golino, Ossie Davis (my favorite male voice), Gene Hackman, Marion Cotillard, or Bryan Cranston? – to the list? Who would you drop, if anyone, from the list? And, finally, what makes the voice of someone such as Holly Hunter (my favorite female voice) so attractive, while another’s voice misses the mark?’s "Top Ten Voices" list:

    10. Peter Sellers
    9. Holly Hunter
    8. John Wayne
    7. Al Pacino
    6. Marilyn Monroe
    5. Jack Nicholson
    4. James Earl Jones
    3. Christopher Walken
    2. Orson Welles
    1. Clint Eastwood

    • I think the Marilyn Monroe should have been the fourth instead of James Earl Jones just because I find her more passionating. – mmq2 6 years ago
    • What about Morgan Freeman -I adore his perfect tone and enunciation – ZBetts 6 years ago

    Labor Unions in the Movies

    In about 45 days (about the time it takes to write an article for this site), on October 15, it will be the 102nd anniversary of the Clayton Anti-Trust Act, which laborer leader Samuel Gompers called “labor’s charter of freedom,” exempting unions from anti-trust laws. It also legalized boycotts, pickets, and strikes. It also banned the monopolizing practice of price-setting.

    Below is Time Magazine’s list of Top Ten Labor Union Movies

    How Green Was My Valley, 1941
    Native Land, 1942
    On the Waterfront, 1954
    The Pajama Game, 1957
    I’m All Right Jack, 1959
    The Organizer, 1963
    Harlan County, U.S.A., 1976
    Norma Rae, 1979
    Matewan, 1987
    Waiting for ‘Superman,’ 2010

    Choose at least one film, either on the list or not on the list, and analyze whether the film portrayals of labor unions have been prophetic, inaccurate, or somewhere in between.


      That's the Spirit: Best Movies about Alcohol

      This just in from your House of Representatives via ((link) my fellow Americans:

      "Every time you drink a beer, you pay extra because federal law adds an excise tax. In fact, an estimated 40 percent of beer’s cost is due to taxes, higher than for many other consumer products. A bill currently pending in Congress would eliminate that tax for more than 90 percent of distributors. And even for the biggest distributors like Budweiser and Miller, it would still significantly cut the tax for them too. Which would mean lower prices for you."

      Congress’ conversations about alcohol taxation, of course, begs the question, What are the best movies about alcohol, be they legal booze, Prohibition and mafia-produced hooch, or films about alcoholism – such as Leaving Las Vegas, Lost Weekend, etc.? What makes the films especially valuable? Should movies about alcohol speak only of the dangers of booze or should they show just the fun side of alcohol, or can they show both the fun and dark sides of the stuff? Feel free to use as many or as few films to make your point(s).

      • A relevant article that was published a while back: – Misagh 6 years ago
      • Thanks, misagh. I enjoyed the article. – Tigey 6 years ago

      Ugly Ducklings: Actors Whose Craft Has Improved

      I have never been a fan of Ben Affleck. His solo scene in Good Will Hunting in which his character (Chuckie Sullivan) realizes that Matt Damon’s character (Will Hunting) has indeed left for California is awful. However, in Argo, his acting was much better.

      This topic is not about the Jack Nicholsons, Robert Duvalls, and Michael Caines of the cinema world who started off as gifted actors who’ve achieved greatness. It’s more about the Paul Newmans who initially got by with looks (like Redford), but improved exponentially with experience (unlike Redford). Nor is it about the Harrison Fords who started out mediocre and never got much better.

      Which actors, in your opinion, have shown tremendous growth after a less than auspicious start? How does this happen? Which early performance(s) left you underwhelmed? Why? Which later performance(s) convinced you of their improvement? Why?

      One challenge of this topic is communicating the actor’s progression beyond, "Pauline Kael says…" But hey, that’s a start.

      • Is this topic just concerning actors who got parts based on attractiveness (rather than talent), but improved with more acting experience (hence the irony of the "ugly ducklings" title)? If so, then it sounds like an interesting topic since it narrows down the scope from the many actors one can think of. Since it can be such a subjective response, what criteria should one give for how well certain actors performed? – aprosaicpintofpisces 6 years ago
      • It's about any actor, attractive or not, whose craft has improved. The last paragraph alludes to the difficulty of the topic. – Tigey 6 years ago
      • aprosaiintofpisces, how would we know whether if someone were hired for looks alone? Also, what other criteria are you alluding to? If you have something specific, please let me know. – Tigey 6 years ago
      • I agree, TKing. I don’t think we’d ever know that for sure, but there are definitely people whose careers have begun and continued despite an obvious lack of talent. There have been models, singers, or individuals who were simply related to already-established actors. For example, there was that controversy at the Golden Globes about Lady Gaga winning for “Best Actress.” I’ve never watched American Horror Story so I can’t give my own opinion about her performance, but the incident did stir up controversy about whether she won simply because she’s Lady Gaga. Some have succeeded despite a rough start while others haven’t gained much talent despite continued acting careers. I was just talking about actors’ attractiveness as a suggestion since you happened to mention it offhandedly. It could focus on just about anything else that led them into having continued acting careers despite evidence to the contrary. I was only asking for more specificity regarding the types of actors we’re examining. – aprosaicpintofpisces 6 years ago
      • I meant to say, "I agree, Tigey." I apologize for mixing up usernames. – aprosaicpintofpisces 6 years ago
      • Paulie Shore's mom owns (or owned) a Comedy Store, so he got as much stage time as he wanted. My dad's funeral was funnier than Paulie Shore on his best day. Then there are the awards that are do-overs. Christopher Paul Curtis wrote a beautiful adolescent book, The Watsons Go to Birmingham, the Newberry Award panel goofs, gives the award to a lesser work, then realizes its mistake and "makes up" for it by awarding him the Newberry for Bud, Not Buddy, a good book, but not as good as The Watsons. Likewise, Bob Dylan got a Grammy for Serve Somebody, but nothing for Blood on the Tracks, Like a Rolling Stone or (cue up the angelic choir) Blonde on Blonde. Surely we see through a glass darkly. Don't worry about the name thing. A rosy Tigey burning brightly by another name is just as Swede. – Tigey 6 years ago
      • Multiple articles could be spun from this topic to include more diverse nationalities and industries. Can new kids who get breaks into movies solely on the basis of nepotism learn quickly on the job and become versatile actors crafting special niches for themselves? Illustrate for and against the thesis statement with comprehensive examples. – Dr. Vishnu Unnithan 3 years ago

      The Look: Cinematic Masters of Expression

      In The Night of the Hunter, serial killer, Harry Powell’s (Robert Mitchum) slightly-raised eyebrow is genius, the tiny movement revealing his heartlessness. To those who’ve seen the film, even still photos of Mitchum in character resend Powell’s bone-chilling indifference to life.

      Another fine example of communicative expression occurs in The Devil Wears Prada when Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) smugly and finalistically hummed, "Um-huh," not quite under her breath, making audiences frown. Streep’s acting was brilliant: anything more or less alters the message.

      What other actors in a particular role – as opposed to say, Bruce Willis’ role-to-role, smart-assed half-smile – use a powerful, signature expression – including facial, verbal, or body language – to define a specific character? What does the expression communicate? Are there actors able to reproduce this mastery via different expressions for different roles? In which roles? With which expressions?

      • First I could think of is Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II. In most of his scenes he's silent, seated, listening to others speak or thinking by himself. Yet even if his actions don't vary much, his brooding face express so many emotions: anger, shock, pain, amusement, and even when he's worried. Still one of Pacino's best, and establishes Michael Corleone's taking over of their family business – Joie 6 years ago
      • A great film for this topic is Caché. Haneke is a master director and auteur, he always gets supreme performance out of his actors. Caché has minimal dialogue -- forcing his actors to use their eyes to convey emotion. Maybe include the interest of foreign films particularly -- since, if the viewer doesn't understand the language, they must rely solely on physical performance (besides subtitles). – Brandon T. Gass 6 years ago

      Great Spy Movies

      On October 15, 2016, it will be the 99th anniversary of the execution of Mata Hari, a Parisian dancer convicted of pro-German espionage against France.

      The question is, what is the/are the greatest spy movie(s) of all time? Why? And what is it about a spy movie that make them so thrilling? You can comment on only one, or several if you are up on the genre.

      Below is the list of Top Ten Spy Movies compiled by Esquire Magazine. You don’t have to consult this list, but it’s there if you want or need it.

      10. The Ipcress File (1965)
      9. No Way Out (1987)
      8. The Bourne Identity (2002)
      7. Notorious (1946)
      6. Three Days Of The Condor (1975)
      5. From Russia With Love (1963)
      4. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
      3. North By Northwest (1959)
      2. The Lives Of Others (2006)
      1. The Third Man (1949)

      Personally, I’d have to add Hitchcock’s "The 39 Steps," but I’d watch a Hitchcock movie even if he showed up in it.

      • It might also be worth looking at Mata Hari, the fact that she was a performer, so would be a great subject for film, yet no films about her that spring to mind. Perhaps it could be addressed as a 'Great Women Spy Movies' (although Charlotte Grey and Spy are the only two that spring to mind...) – Francesca Turauskis 6 years ago
      • Kind of want to add The Man from UNCLE (2015), just because it is incredibly stylish, and style has almost always been a brand of spy movies (I think) – Joie 6 years ago

      Realistic Drug Use in Cinema

      Washington, Colorado, Alaska, and Oregon have legalized pot, and other states are sure to follow. Libertarians and liberals say, "About time," while conservatives fear the slippery slope-influence of a "gateway drug." Which movies do the best job of either satirizing unnecessary fears of recreational drug use, or portraying the horrors of drug use? Which films do you think offer the most realistic portrayal of the use of alcohol, pot, cocaine, LSD (or other hallucinogens such as psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, etc.), and heroin, respectively? Why?

      • No discussion of this subject would be complete without mentioning the 1936 propaganda film, Reefer Madness, and the 2005 musical parody film of the same name. Together, they cover the full spectrum of hyper-conservativism and liberal satire. It is especially important to address how the former was rediscovered in the 1970s and usurped by youth culture as an "easy target for mocking" cult film, which ultimately gave rise to the latter. – ProtoCanon 6 years ago
      • Thanks. I'm writing an article about Offensive comedy right now and it's interesting to see George Carlin's remarks about drugs. He didn't do a complete 180, but he did say there's a point where the pain outweighed the pleasure. One of my favorite Carlin jokes about drugs is: "The problem with people petitioning about marijuana laws is that they can't remember where they put the petitions." – Tigey 6 years ago
      • I'm attached to this - even made a feature film on it myself with "Cleaners" back in 2011. I think there are many films with realistic depictions, but then some sensationalized work that makes for them less on realism and more as some kind of animated (and often comical) touch on a story that isn't interested in legitimacy. "The Panic in Needle Park", with Al Pacino and Kitty Winn, is a great film. It shows their aimlessness - and their hope for one another in a way that is unheard of during such a pinnacle post-"Midnight Cowboy" / Warhol and Morrissey cinema of neo-realism. – reesepd 6 years ago
      • reesepd, I'll see if I can find "Cleaners." It seems right now we're caught between the perils of self-medication and the medical industry pimping truth for the pharmaceuticals. – Tigey 6 years ago
      • I think "Requiem for a Dream" would be a perfect movie to illustrate the horrors of drug use. The horrific ending alone would perfectly show how drugs completely destroy people’s lives, as well as showing the highs of the drugs too (demonstrating why people choose to take them). "Trainspotting" is another example of a movie that shows a lot of the horrors of drug use (the toilet scene alone), as well as the obsessive nature of drugs. It could also be interesting to use this film, because the sequel is coming out at the beginning of next year, so it is relevant to bring up the original. – ojc131 6 years ago

      Best Actors of the 21st Century has many user-posted lists, and one of them is a list of the 25 Best Actors of the 21st Century. The list below excerpts their top 25, which includes late greats Heath Ledger and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Are there any glaring omissions? Is there anyone on the list who shouldn’t be? Anyone need to move up or down? What makes an actor either worthy of your list or unworthy of this list? For your favorites, please describe their best performances. For your least favorites, please explain their shortcomings. If you want to deal only with the top ten or pick and choose, that’s fine too.

      1. Daniel Day-Lewis
      2. Leonardo DiCaprio
      3. Philip Seymour Hoffman
      4. Jack Nicholson
      5. Morgan Freeman
      6. Russell Crowe
      7. George Clooney
      8. Javier Bardem
      9. Brad Pitt
      10. Christian Bale
      11. Jeff Bridges
      12. Sean Penn
      13. Joaquin Phoenix
      14. Heath Ledger
      15. Johnny Depp
      16. Denzel Washington
      17. Tom Hanks
      18. Clint Eastwood
      19. Geoffrey Rush
      20. Colin Firth
      21. Viggo Mortensen
      22. Tom Wilkinson
      23. Gary Oldman
      24. Bill Murray
      25. Don Cheadle

      • Perhaps shorten the list to a top 5 or a top 10 at the most; otherwise, your work would be overwhelmingly long. – J.D. Jankowski 6 years ago
      • Good point. One reason I included the last sentence of the descrption... – Tigey 6 years ago
      • Is there a more up to date listing? Writing an article about a 2014 listing seems quite after the fact. Otherwise, sounds like a fun article. – LondonFog 6 years ago
      • I think the writer did a great job posting this, but I feel like the list should condense down to top 10 because then it would be able to seek the audience attention. Personally, I don't like Bill Murray!! – mmq2 6 years ago
      • How is Tom Hanks #17?--the man is a chameleon!! A relatively solid list, but I would definitely delete Russel Crowe and move Viggo Mortensen way up the list. Also, whomever takes on this topic should only take on part of this list or an aspect dealing with this list. – danielle577 6 years ago
      • Agree on all three counts, danielle577. I still hold a private grudge against Leonard Maltin for panning Forrest Gump. And Hanks' performance in Road to Perdition was one of his best (and perhaps Paul Newman's very best). How about the omission of Forrest Whitaker? James McAvoy? Benicio Del Toro? Jude Law? Laurence Fishburne? My Top Ten is now in triple digits. – Tigey 6 years ago
      • For what it's worth, perhaps the best piece of acting I've seen in a Hollywood movie in years is Matthew McConaughey's lunch scene with Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street. McConaughey would be on my list. – Tigey 6 years ago

      Best Actresses of the 21st Century

      In June 2012, posted its list of 25 Best Actresses of the 21st Century. Any glaring omissions? Anyone on it who shouldn’t be? Anyone need to move up or down? What makes an actress either worthy of your list or unworthy of this list? For your favorites, please describe their best performances. For your least favorites, please explain their shortcomings. If you want to deal only with the top ten or pick and choose, that’s fine too. Extra love for anyone who can explain, sanely, why Tilda Swinton’s not on this list – for her Broken Flowers performance alone (c’mon, you didn’t know she was in the film ’til the credits, right?) – gets an e-high five.

      1. Helena Bonham Carter
      2. Natalie Portman
      3. Meryl Streep
      4. Renée Zellweger
      5. Sandra Bullock
      6. Nicole Kidman
      7. Hilary Swank
      8. Emma Stone
      9. Cate Blanchett
      10. Jennifer Lawrence
      11. Gwyneth Paltrow
      12. Scarlett Johansson
      13. Kate Hudson
      14. Mila Kunis
      15. Anne Hathaway
      16. Amanda Seyfried
      17. Keira Knightley
      18. Kristen Stewart
      19. Julia Roberts
      20. Milla Jovovich
      21. Noomi Rapace
      22. Octavia Spencer
      23. Rachel McAdams
      24. Dakota Fanning
      25. Drew Barrymore

      • I feel like Viola Davis should've been included. She always brings such dignity and emotional weight to her roles. – Emily Deibler 6 years ago
      • I agree. – Tigey 6 years ago
      • I have never thought of Anne Hathaway as one of the best actresses of any century. I think her acting is one of an intermingling between trying too hard and arrogance. – sydneelarson 6 years ago
      • One test of an actor is how she looks when playing opposite a great actor. For Hathaway the obvious challenge was The Devil Wears Prada with the incomparable Meryl Streep, one of my favorites, and I think Hathaway was fine. Who knows, maybe working with Streep is playing basketball with Bill Russell, who made his teammates better. A case in point, regarding Streep, might be Kevin Kline's fine performance with Streep in Sophie's Choice. – Tigey 6 years ago
      • I also agree that Viola Davis should have been included in this list, definitely since Emma Stone (nothing against Emma because I love her and she has had some great performances) has made top 10. – NyeMaxwell 6 years ago
      • I feel that Mila Kunis isn't deserving of this list. She isn't a terrible actress, but I don't see her as one of the best. – Jai Modo 6 years ago

      Top Ten Cinematic Figures - Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers - Who Passed Away Too Soon

      Who are the ten cinematic creators or performers whose untimely deaths have most deeply affected cinema? What is/are their lasting impact(s) on cinema? Which, if any, posthumous advances in film seem likely to have been achieved by these cinematic legends if not for their early deaths?

      • I like this topic due to there being so many different direction in which the writer of this article can delve into. I cannot wait to see what people come up with. Very nicely done. – danielle577 6 years ago
      • Critical phrase you've used: " whose untimely deaths have most deeply affected cinema?" How has it affected CINEMA? Not individual people, or the audience, but the concept of cinema itself. Did Heath Ledger's death really affect cienma that much, for example? Was his posthumous Academy Award something that redefined cinema? Not really, others have been awarded posthumous awards before. What about how his death affected "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus"? Several actors took on Ledger's character, and that would've affected the film and is one aspect that I think the writer could look at - how an actor/director's death during filming affected said film. – Jamie White 6 years ago
      • Great point, Jamie. I think my last question especially addresses that point, asking, not what a great performer, etc. that (s)he was, but what direction in cinema appears to have been curtailed or redirected by the individual's death. The answers to that question are challenging since the writer must know cinematic history well enough to trace it and see the changes caused by the contributor's death. – Tigey 6 years ago

      "Grotesques" in the film From Here to Eternity

      Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio – a collection of short stories – presents what the authors refers to as "grotesques," people who harm themselves by believing in one truth or ideal while ignoring all others. The eight-Oscar-winning film, "From Here to Eternity," seems to follow the same theme. Which characters in the film are "grotesques?" To what truth or ideal does each "grotesque" cling? What truth(s) or ideal(s) do(es) each "grotesque" ignore? How do these characters suffer for their constrained beliefs? How would each character – if they expanded their beliefs – not only reduce their own suffering, but better their own life, as well as (perhaps) others?

      • I'll pm you. I don't want to suggest/state too much and steal an epiphany from someone. – Tigey 6 years ago
      • Danielle, I'm assuming my email clarified things, so I marked fixed. If not... oops. I can always try again. – Tigey 6 years ago
      • This is correct! – danielle577 6 years ago
      • It should be author, singular, since Winesburg was written by only Anderson. – Tigey 6 years ago

      Dream On: The Language of Dreams in Film

      A recent conversation with a friend about his strange, meaningful dreams led to a conversation about dream theory. Which films, current or not, use significant dream sequences, and what messages do those dream sequences convey? What symbols and metaphors appear in the dreams? What messages are conveyed via this imagery? Which dream theory or theories are employed by these film makers? And, last, how – if at all – does a film maker’s cultural and religious background affect her film presentation of dreams? A list of films to consider might include Un Chien Andalu, Spellbound, 3 Women, The Wizard of Oz, 8-1/2, Waking Life, Living in Oblivion, Inception, and Kurosawa’s Dreams.


        Dynamic Duos: For Better or Worse

        Sometimes there’s a beautiful balance – like peas and carrots, pie and ice cream, Laurel and Hardy – between entertainment partners. Sometimes… not so much. In politics, Nancy whispered answers to Ronnie, Cheney pulled Bush’s strings, and for eight years Hillary ran the White House while Bill diddled.

        Of course, the same is true in entertainment. In music, Simon really didn’t need Garfunkel, Hall didn’t need Oates, and Diana Ross didn’t need the Supremes. Regarding TV, it’s said that "Eddie Murphy’s success went to Joe Piscopo’s head."

        Which comic book character duos – for example, Batman and Robin – are equally necessary? Which are not? Which seem equal but are imbalanced? Which seem imbalanced but are equal? Why do these pairings either work or fail?

        • This looks like a really good concept. I would narrow it down to comics though as that is the topic. For example, Green Hornet and Kato and the Lone Ranger and Tonto. One perspective to take could be how this portrayal has changed over time. I read that when Jay Chou took over Bruce Lee's role as Kato, there were changes made to his role. Here is a link: Also, Seth Rogen playing the Green Hornet made it clear that Jay Chou, charismatic music star, wouldn't be a suitable person to be following orders. Also, I would re-examine the title. How about "Dynamic Duos: For Better or Worse.". Just a suggestion. I have a thing about titles, and not just trying to maximize the search engine optimization, although that is very, very important. I try to put myself in the reader's seat so that when scrolling through all that is present on the internet, hopefully this will be a competitive title which will grab the elusive attention of an audience bombarded with all kinds of attention grabbing headlines. – Munjeera 6 years ago
        • I don't agree with all the claims made here, but I like the way you've written it and I'm sure it could be a very engaging article. – TKing 6 years ago
        • Munjeera, that's not some arbitrary "thing about titles," that's just good writing and I appreciate your sharp intellect catching my oversight. TKing, everything I wrote must be true. I read it on the Internet. 😜 – Tigey 6 years ago

        The Games of Life: How Binary Code and Pixellation Makes Me More Humane

        There’s great concern about video games influencing today’s youth in becoming worse people. My questions are, what are the good games, and how do they teach good behavior and compassion?

        • A few notes. "The Good Ones" is far too vague of a topic sentence as it doesn't really say what this topic is about. "Good" is also far too subjective since the concept of good changes from person to person. It might be a good idea to focus the topic on say... games that encourage good behaviour and compassion (or don't) through active choices (Life is Strange, Bioshock, ect.). Maybe look at the percentages of what people pick which options? Also, as a more personal and less professional side note, it is sort of offensive to gamers to make a sweeping statement that games are making people bad and there are such thing as morally "good" and "bad" games. You might step on a few toes with that. Games don't need to be morally good to be a mechanically fun game. – LondonFog 6 years ago
        • Maybe a good idea would be to pose your question from the viewpoint of a bystander that would like to do an assessment comparing the "good," versus the "bad," games and see if there really is a difference on gamer's behavior? In doing so, it is NOT you stating what is good and what is bad, but doing a bit of research in the composing a list of the most often mentioned good/bad games; and then devising research on the supposed effect these games, whether positive or negative, these games have on individuals. When conducing research such as this, you are not the one stating the "hypothesis,"therefore you have nothing to gain, nor lose, and you cannot be blamed for posing such questions. You are basically just highlighting conceptions and misconceptions that are continuously disseminated. – danielle577 6 years ago
        • Munjeera, that's exactly why I posed the question. If my changes aren't adequate, please let me know. I appreciate your help. – Tigey 6 years ago
        • Somehow my new title disappeared. It's supposed to be "The Games of Life: How Binary Code and Pixellation Makes Me More Humane." I will email misagh regarding my error. Also, the thanks was for more than just Munjeera. – Tigey 6 years ago
        • Hi Tigey, uw : ) Quick turnaround for the revision. Kudos! Looks really good now. Could you also list 3-5 games with the age appropriate target audience that in your opinion are the "good ones?" – Munjeera 6 years ago
        • Munjeera, no I cannot list target games since I know nothing about video games. As I said, I'd like to know for my offspring. I'd also like to know more about the topic since I've heard such good things about "Undertale." – Tigey 6 years ago
        • Wow, you've really reworked this topic significantly. I at first thought I was reading someone else's post. I feel mixed about this reworded question..I guess it does force one to get right to the point in expressing the positive aspects of gaming and describing what exactly these facets are and how they contribute in building up a person's character. I guess with this revision, you are placing whom ever takes on this topic to write with "more at stake." There is not much wiggle room for b.s. I like that. – danielle577 6 years ago
        • I have hope that the topic can be written as it now appears, but I think as a recovering vidiot, my initial bias was showing. I'm hoping video games can improve one's psyche - specifically my kids - but for me they did little more than help store calories along my midsection. Perhaps I'm the exception rather than the rule. – Tigey 6 years ago

        More Than Intimations of Immortality

        Are there any contemporary writers who might live on in the Pantheon of greatness alongside the likes of Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Dickens, Dostoyevsky, etc.? If so, who are they? Explain why their greatness transcends time and place. If not, why not? Why doesn’t their work transcend our time?

        • I agree with Munjeera, especially since your tag is literature, that you stick to literature in answering this question. This alone is already a rich and difficult question to broach, but if adding aesthetics into the equation, the topic deems nearly impossible to adequately answer. – danielle577 6 years ago
        • Must this writer begin with the assumption that such a thing is possible? I think achieving canonical "greatness" requires a considerable degree of cultural concentration, a society with a sure sense of its own aesthetics. No doubt, this is true somewhere in the world. But where? – TKing 6 years ago
        • Good point, TKing. Would you please request a revision so I could please change it? – Tigey 6 years ago
        • Nice reworking of this topic. Samson Rushdie comes to mind, Thomas Pynchon, David Foster Wallace, Charles Bukowski, one of my personal favorites--Michael Cunningham, and I consider myself very difficult to please. Ouch, just realized I didn't mention one female writer!! I know people are going to read this--please note, quick, incomplete list, briefly off the top of my head--and think I'm insane by those I mentioned, and those I've forgotten. – danielle577 6 years ago
        • Fantastic topic. However, for the writer, it might be worth mentioning for clarity that the placing of contemporary writers in an established literary 'canon' is something that does not necessarily equate with their current popularity/how many books they've sold? See as examples: Austen, Keats, Melville. – lucyviolets 6 years ago

        Was Jesse Walt's Version of Dorian Gray's Picture?

        Did Walter White use Jesse Pinkman as a proxy conscience? If so, in which instances, and what were the effects on Walt and Jesse?

        • To be more specific, throughout BB, Jesse learns of Walt's heinous acts - through witness, discovery, or Walt's admission - and this "education" seems to take a toll on Jesse, but never Walt. Is there a "type" of sin that hurts Jesse most deeply? Is there a group of people for whom Jesse suffers most deeply? How is Jesse's spiritual and physical suffering manifested? Finally, can someone who murdered Gale Boetticher and Todd Alquist be a character of conscience? – Tigey 7 years ago
        • Juxtaposing Dorian Gray and Breaking Bad is quite genius! Wow, I never really considered that pairing, and I am still having a bit of difficulty doing so, while thoroughly enjoying the task. This is a rare topic because it is the first one I've come across on this site that I feel I need to contemplate a bit before formulating an answer. Ironically, I recently taught a literature class that focused on the series Breaking Bad, and some pieces of literature were juxtaposed with the series, as well as multiple comparisons of numerous aesthetic mediums. You tackle numerous questions, and yes, Jesse always seems to find out about Walt's misdeeds in the worst possible ways. Isn't it odd how such an intelligent, definitive genius, lies so poorly, and has no means of "covering his tracks." Makes one wonder if he didn't care if he got caught doing these "heinous acts,"--I'm not referring to the cooking; he did not want to get caught and was obsessed with making the finest product with the highest monetary profit--or if he overestimated his intelligence and underestimated the aptitude of those around him? Walt's ego, by the close of the series, reaches a monumental level of pure self consumption. He really thinks he's Ozymandias?! – danielle577 7 years ago
        • Thank you, danielle577, for the compliment. – Tigey 7 years ago
        • Danielle, I think Walt didn't get people, in a sense. It seems he may have seen people as problems to solve, therefore if he wasn't aware of a problem, he was blindsided. Regarding his bad lies, I think that was a subtle "eff you," a way of saying, "You're not even worth a good lie." That's Walt's main problem: He's Walt and we're not. – Tigey 6 years ago