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Another Disappointing Disney Biography

Hourly History’s short bio of Walt Disney lets readers down, but not for the typical reasons.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been a fan of the Hourly History book series. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re short histories or biographies that are written to be read in an hour or less. I love finding an Hourly History book about an era or person with whom I’m not familiar and getting a quick education.

I signed up for the Hourly History newsletter a few months back because they offer several free e-books every week. Not long ago, one of the free books was a bio of Walt Disney. As a Disney fanatic – and somewhat of an amateur Disney historian – I was intrigued to see what the Hourly History treatment would bring to the long list of Walt Disney biographies.

Is The Mandalorian the Best Star Wars since the Original Trilogy?

Can traditional storytelling save the Star Wars franchise from the epic failures of the sequel trilogy?

Futurism made the argument last week: “Now while many believe that Disney’s takeover of the franchise wasn’t the best decision, there are also many that believe that it has turned the otherwise tired franchise to new direction. Perhaps the greatest thing in live action Star Wars since the original trilogy is The Mandalorian.”

The Hero With a Thousand Options: The Anti-Mythology of the Star Wars Sequels

The original Star Wars trilogy stands as one of the greatest cinematic trilogies ever made. It spawned a franchise that consists of additional movies, novels, comic books, video games, and even radio dramas. The genius of the Star Wars franchise is in how it created something that feels entirely original, but is deeply indebted to millenia of stories that came before it. Star Wars contains influences from not only space adventure serials and Westerns, but also Arthurian tales, Greek Myth, and even religion.

That being said, the Star Wars movies have not always lived up to their original standard. For years, George Lucas’s prequel films detailing the transformation of Jedi Anakin Skywalker into the evil Darth Vader were reviled as some of the worst films ever made. When Disney announced its acquisition of the franchise and subsequent plans to make new movies in 2012, fans went wild. It couldn’t possibly get any worse than the prequels.

Or could it…?

Midnight Diner: Where Everybody Knows Your Ramen

Which brings me to the other night, a frustrating roam through Netflix trying to find something worth watching. An evening laziness that sought something distracting but not annoying. A night of tourist entertainment. Even with that low bar I couldn’t find anything. I tolerated a few shows or movies and had to switch them off. Reluctantly I clicked on “Midnight Diner,” a Japanese show now streaming on Netflix. I wasn’t looking for subtitles or something foreign, but I was out of options. And I was delighted from the beginning.

“The Congress” Vs. “Ready Player One”

Watching “Ready, Player One”, I was struck by the similarities to “The Congress”. Their initial similarities include a plea to appreciate reality and connect to each other.  Furthermore, each has an underground fighting the corporate controlled artificial reality that most are immersed in.

Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood-Revisionism Is Much Better than Quentin Tarantino’s

The Netflix miniseries Hollywood offers more depth than the overrated “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.”

If you had to ask most cinephiles the question, “Who would do better telling a story set in classic Hollywood: Glee-creator Ryan Murphy or Pulp Fiction auteur Quentin Tarantino?” then the answer would seemingly be obvious.

Book Review: Avengers Infinity Saga and Philosophy

Avengers Infinity Saga and Philosophy is a collection of philosophy essays seeking to use Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame to present various philosophical ideas. For example, the multiverse theory means that those who use the likely consequences of their actions to determine the right thing do to are paralyzed, while those with a clear moral structure can still act decisively. There are more than thirty essays in Avengers Infinity Saga and Philosophy, so there’s literally something for everyone. (Including those who agree with Thanos’ doomer worldview or literally see him as the hero.)

Django Unchained ’s Bleak Racial Vision

In an interview years before he made Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino said, “[I want] to do movies that deal with America’s horrible past with slavery and stuff but do them like Spaghetti Westerns, not like big issue movies. I want to do them like they’re genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it’s ashamed of it, and other countries don’t really deal with because they don’t feel they have the right to.”

Tarantino called this new genre the “Southern,” as opposed to the “Western.” And just as the Spaghetti Westerns from the Sixties (Westerns made by Italian directors) were often quite violent (at least, for the time) to portray the rugged realities of the Old West, Tarantino could bring his signature style of violence to this new genre in a way that displayed the awful exploitation and racial hierarchy that was the nexus of the Antebellum South.

This is Part 2 in an ongoing series analyzing Quentin Tarantino’s filmography. For Part 1 on Inglourious Basterds click here.

Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Fantasies

I like Quentin Tarantino. His films, often laced with profanity and brutal violence, have witty dialogue, interesting characters, and can make mundane events such as dinner at a diner endlessly entertaining. It was for this reason that I decided to watch Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino’s gory revenge thriller about a fictional group of Jews that succeed in an attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler. 

Why I Choose Star Wars Over “Real” Life

Recently I had to choose which movie I was going to see. There was a variety of choices—war, a sex scandal, a generic action movie. Let me tell you what I seek from art: an experience of the ideal, a feeling of spiritual replenishment through the sight of human greatness. Now you know why I chose Star Wars. I will elaborate, quickly mentioning that, throughout this article, I’m drawing heavily on the aesthetic philosophy of Ayn Rand.

I do not seek out characters I can “relate to”, but I do seek out characters I understand, with the heroes’ greatness or the evil they vanquish on full, naked display. I do not seek out the everyday world, I see that every day. What I seek is Romanticism.

Do not tell me that the art of something like Star Wars is silly because “real life isn’t like that”. What Star Warsrepresents is real life, in essence. Star Wars represents the essential differences between good and evil, and does it with great consistency through each aspect of the film: in terms of the characters’ goals and actions, in terms of the characters’ looks, in terms of the characters’ dialogue, in terms of the music. Notice the colours of the villains: black suits and masks, fiery red lightsabers, the sterile uniformity of the stormtroopers or the lifeless grey of the Starkiller base. Notice the colours of the heroes: beautiful people wearing brighter and varicoloured clothing, blue lightsabers, their base amidst a lush forest. This is not a blind resort to a cliché; it is a subconscious pull towards one of the most important functions of art: to present the essentials of existence through a recreation of reality.

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