Closing the Almanac

On the Fandom-Industrial Complex and Moving Forward from Back to the Future The day Back to the Future fans have waited for is finally here. The thirty-year countdown to October 21, 2015, one of the most well-known dates in movie history (despite how often it has been incorrectly reported on the interwebs), is over [1].… Read more Closing the Almanac

The Martian

I conducted an experiment with The Martian. Too many times I’ve read a book before seeing its movie version and have come out of the theater disappointed they didn’t show this or showed too much of that, and above all that I knew what was going to happen. Seems the conventional wisdom is that you… Read more The Martian

We Don’t Need Roads

Caseen Gaines, author of Inside Pee-wee’s Playhouse: The Untold, Unauthorized, and Unpredictable Story of a Pop Phenomenon, leads this year’s deluge of commentary honoring the Back to the Future trilogy’s 30th anniversary with a wide-ranging and lovingly crafted retrospective on the development, production, and long afterlife of the 1985 time-travel classic. Built upon extensive interviews with cast, crew, studio executives,… Read more We Don’t Need Roads

Pay Attention during Children of Men

I noticed the bustling in the background during my first viewing of Children of Men, but it was overshadowed by the main plot and everything else going on. It wasn’t until the second or third viewing when I started paying attention.

Slow West

The refrain from Thomas Hood’s nineteenth century poem “The Haunted House” stands out not only because it appears about halfway through Slow West, John Mclean’s darkly funny reverie of a western, but because its final line—“The place is Haunted!”—breaks the iambic pentameter the poem employs throughout the rest of its eighty-five stanzas. Such a break jars… Read more Slow West

Inside Out

Here be spoilers. So just go see Inside Out. The part of Inside Out that made me teary was at the end when Riley returns home from her aborted runaway attempt and admits to her parents her true feelings, which by then had been overtaken by Sadness, Anger, and Fear mostly. Her parents don’t yell at… Read more Inside Out

H is for Hawk

David Fincher’s Gone Girl opens gazing upon the back of Amy’s blond head. Her husband Nick, in voice-over: “The primal questions of a marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? What have we done to each other?” I thought of this while reading Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk, when Macdonald’s gaze tried… Read more H is for Hawk

Favorite Films of 2014

Because synchronicity has been on my mind recently, I wondered while considering my favorite films of 2014 if any of them were thematically aligned, explicitly or otherwise. Turns out they are. The ten-ish films that lodged themselves into my brain this year naturally arranged themselves into pairs or groups—some odd ones, to be sure, but nevertheless interesting. I… Read more Favorite Films of 2014

Breaking Newsies

My betrothed and I caught the penultimate performance of Newsies: The Musical in Chicago on Saturday night. We’d been watching prices on StubHub for a while and finally jumped on them Saturday morning for the 8 PM showing. So glad it worked out because I’ve been excited to see it since its announcement years ago. I went with “Breaking… Read more Breaking Newsies

So Runs the Man Away or (The Unexpected Virtue of Synchronicity)

The theme that has defined my 2014, I only now realize, is synchronicity. That Jungian concept (“the occurrence of two or more events that appear to be meaningfully related but not causally related”) bubbled up several times this year, especially in what I was reading, watching, or listening to concurrently. For instance: Seeing Interstellar as I… Read more So Runs the Man Away or (The Unexpected Virtue of Synchronicity)