A Completely Unnecessary Rebuttal of Roger Ebert’s Review of Swing Kids (1993)

Every now and then when Roger Ebert would review a film, you could just tell it had rubbed him the wrong way. North, the 1994 movie directed by Rob Reiner, springs to mind. Ebert gave it one star, declaring it "one of the most unpleasant, contrived, artificial, cloying experiences I've had at the movies." The … Continue reading A Completely Unnecessary Rebuttal of Roger Ebert’s Review of Swing Kids (1993)

How Jaws (1975) Conveys Trauma By Showing and Telling

There are three men in Jaws (1975) who have important backstories dealing with ocean-related trauma. Two of them involve sharks. And these backstories are relayed to the audience through the characters' own words, as they describe their personal experiences in their own unique ways. And while these self-descriptions inform their actions throughout the rest of … Continue reading How Jaws (1975) Conveys Trauma By Showing and Telling

A Ghost Story (2017) and the Question of Permanence

If you have the patience, this is a very rewarding movie. Starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, and directed by David Lowery (Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Pete's Dragon), it's about a man who dies in a car accident and then, as a ghost, returns to his home to haunt his wife. Sounds straightforward, but there's … Continue reading A Ghost Story (2017) and the Question of Permanence

Personal Shopper, Ingrid Goes West and the Perils of Parasocial Relationships

Here's where I get meta for a moment. Just this year I learned about "parasocial relationships," when media icons address the audience directly and, consequently, audience members form a one-sided relationship with a persona. This video by Shannon Strucci talks about everything from Johnny Carson to modern vloggers: Ironically, I first learned about this video … Continue reading Personal Shopper, Ingrid Goes West and the Perils of Parasocial Relationships

mother! (2017), “This is America” and the Pitfalls of Full Allegory

It's been exactly a year tomorrow since the release of mother!, and it's been divisive to say the least. It's a beautifully shot movie, but I would've appreciated if there was a plot operating on the surface, with the allegory as subtext. Still, it's one I've thought about often since I first watched it at home … Continue reading mother! (2017), “This is America” and the Pitfalls of Full Allegory

Do the Right Thing (1989)

The United States is a country that is reluctant to confront its past. Slavery is, of course, the albatross hung around this nation’s neck, and racism is the legacy of that albatross. Hollywood hasn’t always been the best about racism, often times oversimplifying it or robbing the minority of agency in favor of using them … Continue reading Do the Right Thing (1989)