Media Crit

Note: All work titles are hyperlinked to their original postings.


Luce (2019): Movie Review

Starring Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts, Luce is a psychological thriller that will make moviegoers question their own perceptions: of the film’s namesake protagonist, of the events in question, of their own understanding of race relations in the United States.

Gone Girl (2014): The Most Comprehensive Comparison You’ll Find on the Internet

Gone Girl’s movie release on Friday, October 3rd, has been highly anticipated since the novel made the best-seller list last year. Gillian Flynn, the author of the novel, crafted the screenplay adaptation herself, ensuring that the movie remained true (mostly) to the original plot. I want to explore scene cuts in the movie and whether or not these omissions “worked” for the story. I’m assuming that you’re reading this article because you have either already read or watched Gone Girl and want to determine whether or not it’s worth your time to absorb the story through its alternate medium. (It is; let’s just get that out there. It totally is). That being said, this review will be littered with spoilers. Stop reading at once if you don’t already know what happens.

Books (Prose)

The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder: Review and Critique

Danger go vroom is the usual cadence of most psychological thrillers, works that are worthy of the harsh 3.5 star–ratings on Goodreads. However, this book not only “understood the assignment,” as the kids are saying, but it was also lyrical in its depictions, and the dialogue was actually believable.

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado: Summary and Review

The author, Carmen Maria Machado, reflects on her long-term relationship with a woman and the slow buildup of psychological abuse techniques her girlfriend employs over time: gaslighting, name-calling, self-victimization, privacy violation, triangulated communication and more.

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese laymon: Summary and Review

In Heavy: An American Memoir, Kiese Laymon investigates the intersectionality of male privilege alongside his oppression by writing an open letter to his mother, a professional academic who beat and abused him — and loved him.

Between the World and Me: Book Summary and Analysis

A major theme that runs like a current through Coates’ letter is this: Although black people are no longer physically in chains, they are imprisoned by their bodies, their inescapable skin color that communicates to white culture that they are less than human, different and, therefore, dangerous. A motif in Between the World and Me is the effort that black people make to escape this social slavery. The first and most pressing example Coates uses to describe this instinct to flee is his own son’s reaction to learning that Michael Brown’s killer would not be convicted of the crime: “I’ve got to go” (Coates, 2015, p. 11).

Books (Poetry)

Obit: Poems by Victoria Chang: Summary and Review

[Chang] makes obituaries into poems, punctuating them occasionally with tankas about her children, what it means to raise children with the too-close knowledge that one day we’ll all die.


The One with the Failed Gender Ideals: What the Jokes in Friends Tell Us about American Culture

Because these failures are staged, not a true threat on the notion of personhood in American society, it’s OK for the audience to laugh and remind themselves that their identity is safe. In the same breath, however, viewers at home learn what is acceptable to do as a man or woman—and what is not.

Video Games

Falling in Love with Fallout 4: A Study and Analysis

First, I decided to look to the experts: The “Let’s Play” YouTube stars. “Let’s Play” is a genre of YouTube videos in which gamers will record themselves playing a game and commenting on it. (I only know what this is because I stalked my ex-boyfriend on Facebook a few years ago to discover that this was one of his new hobbies.)

I watched “Let’s Play – Fallout 4 – Part 1” for three different YouTubers: SplatterCatGaming, Tetra Ninja and TmarTn2 (pronounced T-Martin-2). This actually proved to be really insightful. Not only were the players’ comments indicative of their hobbies, beliefs and past-times, but also, how they chose to play the first 20 minutes of the game was extremely telling.

This experience helped me devise a series of questions for my interviewees.

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