Painting from Alan Lee to put after that discussion

Context Matters More Than You Think

A common refrain amongst those who write on fiction, in whatever medium, is that the art is a product of its time and place. What is curious about this idea is that what the speaker intends is a disclaimer toward the piece’s ethics or technical refinement, rather than a notation of something that makes a book or…Read On

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Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Like many, I blithely dismissed Star Wars: The Clone Wars soon after it aired its first episode on Cartoon Network ten years ago. I was not without grounds: the film heralding the show’s release is a dismal affair, a few television episodes too obviously strung together into a feature-length movie, and the early seasons only…Read On

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Undefended: Teachers

School is back in session. FilmFisher is a site for educators and students, and though few of our writers currently fit into either of these categories, this month we went for an academic theme and picked our favorite cinematic teachers…Read On


Inside a Scene: Mad Men (Season 7.2 – Lost Horizon)

This is how college went for me: I thought I knew everything my first year, then one of my professors got fed up with my fat mouth and told me to stop talking in front of the whole class. I hardly said anything in my classes for the next two years because I was nervous people would judge me. In my senior year, another professor told me, “You aren’t your ideas,” which was an exhortation to be less afraid of what people thought of my contributions. Some of my ideas are indeed terrible, but that doesn’t mean I’m terrible…Read On


Inside a Scene: Mad Men (Season 7.1 – Waterloo)

If something is on television, chances are it’s been done before. This is no less true of Mad Men. TV might not be the last or latest medium for human expression, but its ideas and artistry have filtered down from so many sources that hardly anything can be called “new.” For a show set in the 1960s, this is especially unavoidable. Creator Matthew Weiner’s encyclopedic knowledge of the decade extended well past the usual associations conjured up by popular historical fiction…Read On


An Ode to Po: Celebrating Goodness in the Kung Fu Panda Trilogy

How’s this for a youth group or team meeting icebreaker: If you could bring one action hero to life, in the belief that their existence in the real world would make it a better place, who would you choose? Actually, let’s make the question more challenging: If you could bring one action hero to life…Read On


Inside A Scene: Mad Men (Season 6 – The Flood)

Like “Meditations In An Emergency,” which I previously wrote about for this series, Mad Men’s sixth season episode “The Flood” revolves around the way its characters struggle to react to events that carry great import but seem distant from the reality of their lives. Here, the tragedy in question is the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the responses range from callous selfishness to outraged hysteria…Read On


Undefended: Truths and Lies

FilmFisher is currently running a series of essays on the television series Mad Men, one of the core themes of which is the complex relationship between fictions and realities. According to Jean-Luc Godard, “The cinema is truth twenty-four times per second,” but according to Michael Haneke, it is “twenty-four lies per second at the service of the truth.” For this month’s Undefended, FilmFisher’s writers were asked to list five favorite cinematic truths and lies…Read On

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Inside A Scene: Mad Men (Season 5 – Signal 30)

Of the 92 episodes produced over the course of Mad Men’s seven seasons, it is nearly impossible to select a single favorite – but if I had to, there is a good chance I would select the fifth season’s “Signal 30.” Directed by series regular John Slattery and co-written by Frank Pierson, who wrote Cool Hand Luke and Dog Day Afternoon, the entire episode is an inspection of flawed ideals of masculinity, and the self-loathing felt by men who cannot measure up to them…Read On

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Inside A Scene: Mad Men (Season 3 – Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency…)

... and he doesn’t walk out. Instead he gets his foot run over by a lawn mower. “He’s lost the foot … He’ll never golf again,” they say. And thus Mad Men receives what is perhaps the most shocking moment in the whole series. Yet the rest of the episode is delightful and lighthearted – even after the foot mowing and blood splattering in the middle of the office. The tense parts come with the smaller things: office politics, Joan’s husband Greg not receiving chief residency, and Lane’s transfer to India. And this points to the way Mad Men reflects real life…Read On


Inside A Scene: Mad Men (Season 2 – Meditations In An Emergency)

The second season finale of Mad Men takes place during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and concerns the way people respond to the possibility of annihilation. The threat posed by nuclear war is both imminent and abstract; near enough that some are prompted to seriously consider their mortality, distant enough that some choose to simply numb themselves by seeking bodily pleasure. Though the term is often used to refer to the end of the world, “apocalypse” simply means “uncovering,” and while “Meditations In An Emergency” does not conclude with nuclear catastrophe, it finds characters prompted to contemplation and revelation of what might otherwise remain hidden…Read On


Inside A Scene: Mad Men (Season 1 – The Wheel)

The Carousel pitch from the first season finale of AMC’s Mad Men is perhaps the most famous scene in the entire series. It is probably the greatest pitch of the myriad pitches given throughout the series. It acts as a microcosm not only for the concept of the ad, but for the series as a whole, and even art in general. The lure of technology and the deeper, delicate pull of nostalgia are stand ins for a truth that is the same now as it was fifty years ago, and probably since man was created…Read On


Undefended: Action Scenes of the 2000s

Mission: Impossible – Fallout is currently being hailed by critics as one of the greatest action movies ever made, and I recently used a sequence from the series’ Ghost Protocol to tackle the question of what makes for good cinematic action. As part of FilmFisher’s returning Undefended series, our writers were asked to name their top five action scenes of the new millennium thus far…Read On

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Inside A Scene: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

What makes an action scene good? We are in the midst of the summer movie season, the time of year when theaters are swamped in Dionysian revels of car chases, fistfights, and explosions, the kind of stuff that often draws the ire and disdain of snobby, self-serious critics. I, for one, seem to find myself less…Read On

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Inside A Scene: The Bourne Supremacy

I’m going to cheat a little and write about two scenes. When Timothy asked if I could write an article for FilmFisher’s “Inside a Scene” series, I automatically thought of the Moscow apartment scene at the end of Paul Greengrass’ 2004 espionage-thriller sequel, The Bourne Supremacy. I’ve always been intrigued and moved by this scene, and it continues to…Read On


Peace In Our Time: A Conversation on Marvel and Star Wars

Right now, Marvel and Star Wars are the two biggest franchises in Hollywood, producing a seemingly endless stream of movies and revenue. The past half-year alone has seen the release of two Star Wars films and two Marvel films – or three, if you stretch a little to include November’s Thor: Ragnarok. For several months…Read On


Inside A Scene: Mad Men (The Doorway)

One of my favorite memories from college was watching the series finale of Mad Men with a few friends on the big screen in my university’s Cinema and Media Arts building. When everything faded, we sat there in the glow of the projector trying to find words for what had just ended. I don’t know…Read On