Avatar Korra

In the fourth and final season of Legend of Korra, we reunite with one of the franchise’s most beloved characters, Toph Beifong. As she helps a battered and broken Korra heal from her many battles over the previous seasons and glean potential lessons from her opponents, she shares an important insight: “Amon wanted equality for all, Unaloq brought back the spirits, and Zaheer believed in freedom. The problem was those guys were out of balance, and they took their ideologies too far.” This definitely rings true for Unaloq. While his motives are mostly benign, his plan would result in the…

The thing that sets Scream apart from many of its contemporaries in the slasher genre, what it’s likely most remembered for, is its explicit self-referencing. Randy Meeks, who serves as the mouthpiece for the film’s meta-commentary, almost seems to taunt the audience by acknowledging the common archetypes and tropes within horror movies as they’re happening onscreen. It follows all the same beats as a typical slasher flick, but it acknowledges that it’s doing so, so that it’s operating on multiple layers at all times. That layer of self-awareness is Scream’s signature — it’s a horror movie that knows it’s a…

Tom Nook and Isabelle

Animal Crossing is a slow, mundane, boring video game. It’s essentially a life simulator, akin to The Sims or maybe even Minecraft (with a much smaller map and far fewer monsters to worry about, though the tarantulas have given me a good jump once or twice, if we’re being honest), but unlike other simulators, there’s no way to speed things up.

Animal Crossing’s signature feature is that it’s real-time, meaning it runs on the system clock of the console being played on. If it’s 12:30 when you boot up the game, it’s 12:30 on your island, and when you’re told…

“I’d rather be a good man than a great king.”

Chris Hemsworth and Sir Anthony Hopkins as Thor and Odin

When we first meet the God of Thunder, he is a bratty and overconfident heir to a mighty throne in Thor. His hubris leads him to start a war and throw the Nine Realms into chaos over little more than ego and pride. In response, his father banishes him to Earth, his beloved weapon, Mjölnir, deems him unworthy, and he spends the rest of the movie processing the lessons presented to him. By the end of the movie, he turns down the throne he once coveted, citing its inherent brutality…

Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck/Joker

(Spoilers ahead!)

My concerns going into Joker were the same as everyone else who was troubled after the first trailer dropped: that it would ask me to sympathize with the kind of miserable white man that eventually turns to indiscriminate violence and use “mental illness” as a scapegoat to rationalize it. We immediately made the connection to the larger trend of media that attempts to humanize violent white men, which is what fueled the major controversy leading up to its release.

After having seen the movie, however, my concern has shifted a bit. Don’t get me wrong, it most definitely…

Love, Simon’s Ethan Problem

(Yes, there are spoilers ahead.)

Love, Simon is a cute and sweet film about coming of age, and coming out, as a gay teenager. It does things both structurally and visually that I appreciate, and the mother’s monologue in the end was particularly moving. As a gay teen romance, I don’t have many issues with the movie itself. But because it’s the first LGBT movie being released by a major studio, its cultural significance is being grossly overstated and the discourse building up around the film is becoming harmful and, quite frankly, very insulting.

I’ve seen…

A few disclaimers before I get started:
I have not read the book. I am engaging this show on its own merit, and am not interested in comparison. Nothing wrong with comparison, it’s just not how I’m engaging the series.

The following piece examines season 1 as a whole, but you can find my livetweets on each episode in this Twitter Moment I’ve created for reference.

And yes, there are spoilers.

This show is perhaps the first time I’ve watched a TV series that was adapted from a novel, and after the first season, I realize there are some major…

I typically don’t care for writing on each individual episode of a show; I usually prefer to wait at least until the mid-season finale to reflect on the narrative on a macro level. But this show just has so much going on that I’m compelled to unpack each episode. I livetweeted the show on airing, which you can find here. There, you’ll find my more minute thoughts and observations over the course of the episode.

Quick disclaimer before I get started: this is not a review. Merely a reflection. And yes, there are spoilers. Like…hella spoilers.

So, here we go.

Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon

Stevie Mat

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