How to Fix “The Last Jedi”

Star Wars is one of the mega-dynasties of filmmaking, and everyone has an opinion. Today you guys get to hear MINE.

Since this is a space to talk storytelling, I want to momentarily set aside things like aesthetics, sound design, and performance to instead focus on comparing The Last Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back.

The stories are similar. In Empire: heroes Han, Leia, and Luke are being tracked and harassed by The Empire. In The Last Jedi : Our heroes Rey, Poe, and Finn are being tracked and harassed by The First Order. Both are the second installment in trilogies, both are set in the Star Wars Universe, and yet one is a beloved cinematic classic and the other I found really disappointing. Why? Continue reading “How to Fix “The Last Jedi””

Gender, Pronouns, and Storytelling

One of the many perks of having a child is that I have the opportunity to read a lot of children’s books. I have a great collection. Some are old classics lovingly saved by my parents, some are new gifts from friends and family. I love being able to look again at books I remember being read as a child, as well as reading the … Continue reading Gender, Pronouns, and Storytelling

Does The Hero’s Journey Limit Heroism?

The origin story of the phrase “the hero’s journey” comes from Joseph Campbell’s work and his book “A Hero with a Thousand Faces”.  Campbell took a look at myths and stories across many different cultures and throughout history for similarities.  It brings forward questions like: What makes a story a story?  and What makes stories so important to humans?  Campbell has been a conscious influence on everything from “Star Wars” to “Community”, and a subconscious influence on countless others.

His work is basically, exactly my jam.  These are the questions I ponder and struggle with and argue about with friends and loved ones.

His work is used as a kind of writer’s 101.  When you’re stuck, or the story isn’t working, or you don’t know what should happen next, check your story against the framework of “The Hero’s Journey”.

The thing is, I worry that some heroes are left out of this model. Like maybe the heroes from my stories? Continue reading “Does The Hero’s Journey Limit Heroism?”

A Feminist Ranks the Avenger’s Girlfriends

Now for the sake of this article, I consider The Avengers to be the OG  crew of: Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Bruce Banner, Clint Barton, and Natasha Romanoff. I’m going to remove Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff from this equation, since they are kind of an item/power couple and yet both of them have an ‘it’s complicated’ status on Facebook right now. And to keep the list from feeling sparse, I’m going to include Ant-Man for the purposes of this discussion only.

As a feminist, do I see the irony in making a list that ranks women? Yes.

Is that going to stop me? No. Continue reading “A Feminist Ranks the Avenger’s Girlfriends”