Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Marquette

Revised Game Studies Syllabus for Spring 2023 (“Oops, All Disco Elysium”)!

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With my new role as chair, I’ve only got one class this term, but it’s a good one: a upper-division version of my Game Studies class, with this term’s special Disco Elysium focus. Here’s the week by week:

DAYDATE ASSIGNMENT
WJan 18STARTFIRST DAY OF CLASS
FJan 20NARRATIVEGame: The Stanley Parable

Corey Mohler, Existential Comics: “Candyland and the Nature of the Absurd”
Interview with Davey Wreden, Creator of The Stanley Parable
    
MJan 23ARTGame: Doom

Roger Ebert, “Doom,” “Critics vs. Games on Doom,” “Why Did The Chicken Cross the Genders,” “Video Games Can Never Be Art”
Ian Bogost, “Art”
WJan 25MEANINGGame: Journey
Mäyrä, “What Is Game Studies?” and “Meaning in Games”
FJan 27CHOICEGame/Film: Black Mirror:Bandersnatch (in-class viewing)
    
MJan 30DESIGNGame/Film: Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (in-class viewing and discussion)

Nele Van de Mosselaer and Stefano Gualeni, “The Implied Designer and the Experience of Gameworlds”
WFeb 1FILMGalloway, “Gamic Action, Four Moments”
FFeb 3DISCO!DE: CHARACTER CREATION SCREEN AND GETTING OUT OF YOUR HOTEL ROOM
    
MFeb 6ROLEPLAYGame: Dungeons and Dragons 

Vox.com, “Dungeons and Dragons, Explained”
Aaron Trammell, “From Where Do Dungeons Come?”
Aaron Trammell, “Misogyny and the Female Body in Dungeons and Dragons”
WFeb 8CRITIQUEGame: The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild 

Gerry Canavan, “The Legend of Zelda in the Anthropocene”
FFeb 10DISCO!DE: Day 1
   
MFeb 13HABITGame: Tetris

Bogost, “Habituation”
Chris Higgins, “Playing to Lose”
Sam Anderson, “Just One More Game…”
Film excerpts: The Ecstasy of Order
WFeb 15ADDICTIONGame: Candy Crush, League of Legends, Hearthstone, Marvel Snap!, etc. 

Ramin Shokrizade, “The Top F2P Monetization Tricks”
June Thomas, “Sugar Coma”
Julia Lepetit and Andrew Bridgman, “The Most Realistic Game Ever”
Ian Bogost, “Rage Against the Machines” and Cow Clicker
FFeb 17DISCO!DE: Day 1 (replay)
    
MFeb 20VIOLENCEGame: Doom revisited, Call of Duty, etc.

Galloway, “Origins of the First Person Shooter”and “Social Realism”
Ludus Novus, “Why So Few Violent Games?”
WFeb 22EMPIREBogost, “Titilation”
Stephen Kline, Nick Dyer-Witheford, and Greig de Peuter, “Designing Militarized Masculinity: Violence, Gender, and the Bias of Game Experience”
Mathieu Triclot, Raphaël Verchère, “Video Game Violence: A Philosophical Conversation with Mathieu Triclot”
FFeb 24DISCO!DE: Day 2
    
MFeb 27SIMULATIONGame: Sid Meier’s Civilization, etc. 

Galloway, “Allegories of Control”
Kacper Pobłocki, “Becoming-State: The Bio-Cultural Imperialism of Sid Meier’s Civilization”
WMar 1IDEOLOGYGame: SimCity, etc. 

Ava Kofman, “Les Simerables”
Mike Sterry, “The Totalitarian Buddhist Who Beat Sim City”
FMar 3DISCO!DE: Day 3
    
MMar 6DECEPTIONGame: Werewolf, etc. 

Nathan Cutietta, “A Mental Model Approach to Deception in Single Player Games”
WMar 8WORKMäyrä, “Preparing for a Game Studies Project”
FMar 10DISCO!DE: Day 4
    
M-FMar 13-17PAUSESPRING BREAK—NO CLASS
    
MMar 20ENDGAME 1Disco Elysium endgame discussion 
WMar 22ENDGAME 2Disco Elysium endgame discussion
FMar 24ENDGAME 3Disco Elysium endgame discussion
    
MMar 27CRITICISMDisco Elysium criticism
WMar 29CRITICISMDisco Elysium criticism
FMar 31CRITICISMDisco Elysium criticism 
    
MApr 3SEQUELDisco Elysium 2 discussion
WApr 5WORKSHOPpaper/project workshop (in class)
FApr 7DEATHEASTER BREAK—NO CLASS
    
MApr 10RESPAWNEASTER BREAK—NO CLASS
    
M-FApr 12-21DLCWe will choose the special topics for this part of the class together.
    
MApr 24FLOWStephen Johnson, Everything Bad Is Good for You(excerpt) 
Jane McGonigal, Reality Is Broken (excerpt)
Braxton Soderman, Against Flow (excerpt)
WApr 26RESISTCountergames: molleindustria.org

Galloway, “Countergaming”
FApr 28TUTORIALGRAD STUDENT PRESENTATIONS
    
M-FMay 1-May 5LEVEL UPUNDERGRAD PRESENTATIONS
    
FMay 9GAME OVERFINAL PAPER/PROJECT DUE ON D2L BY 10 AM

Written by gerrycanavan

January 13, 2023 at 5:59 pm

Thanksgiving Links!

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* It’s been a time: Health experts monitor ‘tri-demic’ as respiratory viruses spread around US. Colorado River conditions are worsening quicker than expected. Competition between respiratory viruses may hold off a ‘tripledemic’ this winter. Children’s hospitals call on Biden to declare emergency in response to ‘unprecedented’ RSV surge. How long COVID ruined my life, from crushing fatigue to brain fog. About 37% of small businesses, which between them employ almost half of all Americans working in the private sector, were unable to pay their rent in full in October. Parents are buying fewer baby clothes, a sign of deep financial distress. The world’s baby shortfall is so bad that the labor shortage will last for years, major employment firms predict. Chris Hemsworth ‘Taking Time Off,’ Discovered Genetic Predisposition for Alzheimer’s Disease: ‘I’m Going to Just Simplify.’ Et tu, Coca-Cola? Massive flock of sheep has been walking in a circle for 12 days straight in China. The Problem With Letting Therapy-Speak Invade Everything. Inside the violent, misogynistic world of TikTok’s new star, Andrew Tate. A Quarter of Americans at Risk of Winter Power Blackouts, Grid Emergencies. Stock up on bottled water and canned food, official tells Germans. What if We Cancel the Apocalypse? this comic is almost 14 years old and could have been made yesterday

* I’m giving the last “Tolkien Tuesdays” talk at the Haggerty on next Tuesday, November 28, on Tolkien and pop culture.

* A truly obscene trend in higher ed: How Colleges and Sports-Betting Companies ‘Caesarized’ Campus Life.

* ‘A Culture of Disposability’: New School Part-Time Faculty Go On Strike. Never Cross a Picket Line: A Primer for Solidarity in the Academic Workplace. The Academic Wheel of Privilege. The Cruelty of Faculty Churn. The Deadline Dilemma. The gutting of the liberal arts continues.

* Vulture had a nice Octavia Butler cluster this week: The Spectacular Life of Octavia Butler. Misreading Octavia Butler. How to Write Like Octavia E. Butler. The Butler Journal Entry I Always Return To. This one at the Times was beautiful, too, in more ways than one: The Visions of Octavia Butler. And just a few weeks away: ‘Kindred’ Trailer: Octavia Butler’s Time Travel Novel Comes to Terrifying Life.

* The new Science Fiction Film and Television is out, with articles on steampunk, cryonics, domestic violence in Tau and Upstream Color, and Marvel’s Agent Carter. I can’t tell for sure, but from where I am access to all issues of SFFTV is free right now. And so is the fall issue of SFRA Review! And Uneven Futures is almost here!

* Marxist Literary Criticism: An Introductory Reading Guide.

* One of last year’s student papers is already out in Games and Culture: “Go. Just take him.”: PTSD and the Player-Character Relationship in The Last of Us Part II.

* Marvel got trolled into losing one of its best assets to DC permanently. You hate to see it.

* I Don’t Worry About My Oeuvre: A Conversation with John Carpenter.

* I want Picardo back as the Doctor and I don’t really care how they do it. Just don’t let the Picard showrunners anywhere near it and we’re good to go.

* Online Speed Chess as Self-Soothing, Tetris, or Collaborative Troll Art.

* Middle schoolers tackle climate change in a new alternate reality game.

* The Dirt on Pig-Pen.

* The Incredibly Stupid Catastrophe Caused by Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX. Tumblr Blog Linked to Ex-Alameda CEO Explored Race Science, ‘Imperial Chinese Harem’ Polyamory. Queen Caroline. Every Shady Thing Sam Bankman-Fried Has Confessed or Pseudo-Confessed to Since FTX Collapsed. Effective altruism gave rise to Sam Bankman-Fried. Now it’s facing a moral reckoning. Crypto Bro Sam Bankman-Fried Was the Perfect Liberal Hero. Sam Bankman-Fried tries to explain himself.

* Larry David, Tom Brady, Stephen Curry, Other Celebs Sued Over FTX Crypto Exchange Collapse. Larry David was telling you not to buy, you just didn’t listen…

* Billionaires like Elon Musk want to save civilization by having tons of genetically superior kids. Inside the movement to take ‘control of human evolution.’ Jeff Bezos pledges to donate majority of his $124 billion fortune to fight climate change and unify humanity.

* In the end, Yuji Naka, creator of Sonic the Hedgehog, just couldn’t run fast enough.

* Are Trees Talking Underground? For Scientists, It’s in Dispute.

* If you’re keeping score, a guy made a homemade shotgun out of plumbing parts and iced a former PM with it in broad daylight and the Japanese govt is giving him everything he demanded because they realize he had a point. Utterly wild story.

* Federal judge strikes down Biden student debt relief program. What Went Wrong With Biden’s Student Loan Cancellation Plan— And How He Can Make It Right. Joe Biden Is Finally Moving Toward Allowing Bankruptcy to Eliminate Student Debt. Biden Administration Caves To Pressure On Student Debt Bankruptcy.

* ‘A World Cup Built on Modern Slavery’: Stadium Workers Blow the Whistle on Qatar’s ‘Coverup’ of Migrant Deaths and Suffering.

* Thousands were released from prison during covid. The results are shocking.

* The Bike Thieves of Burlington, Vermont.

* Abortion, Every Day.

* New Rules for a New Game.

* Welcome to the Infinite Conversation: an AI generated, never-ending discussion between Werner Herzog and Slavoj Žižek.

* ‘I was ecstatic to be given the opportunity to be there’: Milwaukee student’s poetry takes her to the White House.

* Elsewhere on the Milwaukee beat: The Landlord & the Tenant.

* The Race to Save Fanfiction History Before It’s Lost Forever.

* what is the crime for which the turkey was sentenced to death & the sentence nullified by the US President? & what guarantee do we have that the turkey won’t be executed anyway, as soon as the cameras are gone.

* It’s that time of year. How to avoid gender bias when writing recommendation letters.

* How ‘Andor’ Drew from… Joseph Stalin? I Can’t Fucking Believe How Good ‘Andor’ Is.

* Multiculturalism in Middle-earth: On Amazon’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.”

* Yes, but: the comic.

* ‘Doing Nothing’ course helps students build skills to unplug, think deeply.

* Indy’s going to the Moon folks.

* ‘How Did This Man Think He Had the Right to Adopt This Baby?’

* Words Added to the Scrabble Dictionary.

* Might not make my traditional Thanksgiving post this year, so here it is a few days early.

* From the archives: “Utopia, LOL?”

* And in honor of the end of Twitter: one last Twitter roundup.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 22, 2022 at 11:35 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Fall Break Links? In This Economy?

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I’ve been very busy! It might not get better anytime soon! But at least I’ve closed all my tabs...

Baldwin: The defunding of public education has accelerated all the public universities’ forays into the realm of what they call “becoming entrepreneurial,” which I described above—land grabs, leveraging tax-free real estate, public-private partnerships, capturing intellectual property, and more. This story has to begin with the Higher Education Act of 1965. That legislation failed to directly fund higher education and instead offered indirect funding in the form of “student assistance” for tuition—a few grants but mostly loans, most of them private. Only through tuition, paid by most students through loans and debt, could institutions receive federal funds. This prompted a drive toward skyrocketing tuitions, the competition for higher-paying out-of-state and international students, and the debt financing of amenities to draw those students, which has created the massive national student-debt crisis. But even more, this strategy of raising tuition, funded through debt, wasn’t enough to offset decreases in public spending. So, at the same time, colleges and universities ramped up their participation in revenue-generating, community-destroying practices.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 24, 2022 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Summer Online Course: Afrofuturism and Africanfuturism!

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I don’t think I’ve ever put up the syllabus for my asynchronous online course on Afrofuturism and Africanfuturism, which was filmed and designed before COVID and is just really well put-together (if I do say so myself). In the first half we study US Afrofuturist texts like Get Out, “Dirty Computer,” Bloodchild and Other Stories, and Black Panther (film and comics); in the second half we study Africanfuturist texts like District 9, “Pumzi,” Lagoon, and In the United States of Africa. Check out the syllabus! I’m really excited to get back to this one when it starts next month.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 28, 2022 at 7:13 pm

new fall course: “Histories of Anti-Capitalism”!

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I’ve got a great schedule lined up for Fall: a special version of my Tolkien course partnering with UWM and linking up with the Haggerty’s “Art of the Manuscript” exhibit, and a grad special topics course called “Histories of Anti-Capitalism.” Here’s a course description — suggestions very welcome!

Other English Fall course descriptions are trickling in here

Course Title: Histories of Anti-Capitalism

Coure Description: “We live in capitalism,” Ursula K. Le Guin once said. “Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.” This course will take a long view of anti-capitalist thought, from the Luddite revolt of the early nineteenth century to the ongoing climate strikes of Greta Thunberg—investigating where resistance to capitalism has flourished and where it has failed, as well as where it has intersected with important trends in feminist, antiracist, anticolonial, LGBTQ+, ecological, and disability activism. We will also explore the speculative literary genre of utopia, and explore how its utopian, quasi-utopian, heterotopian, dystopian, and downright anti-utopian figurations have reflected, inspired, and critiqued the left’s centuries-long struggle against capitalist realism.

Readings: We will consider a wide mix of literary, historical, and critical-theoretical documents of anti-capitalist and counter-hegemonic thought from the last two-hundred-plus years. A final reading list is still being constructed (and very open to suggestions!), but major literary authors could include such figures as Edward Bellamy, Samuel Butler, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Chinua Achebe, Gene Roddenberry, Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia E. Butler, and Kim Stanley Robinson, and major theorists could include Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Fredric Jameson, Mark Fisher, C.L.R. James, Frantz Fanon, bell hooks, Vandana Shiva, Enrique Dussel, Donna Haraway, David Graeber, and José Esteban Muñoz, among many others.

Assignments: Final critical paper or creative project; symposium presentation; weekly sandbox posts on D2L; enthusiastic and informed class participation

Carefully Curated Spring Break Links! Definitely Not Too Many!

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Why, I say, oh why, is it so hard to simply serve the concept and write the adventures of a smart, creative and kind-hearted teenage girl with superpowers? What purpose earthly or unearthly is served by making this character an embittered space tyrant?

… I questioned the desire to attribute the worst aspects of human behaviour to characters whose only useful function, as I see it, aside from simply entertaining young people and anyone else who fancies an uplifting holiday in a storybook world far from the grinding monotony of pessimism and disillusion, is to provide a primary-coloured cartoon taste of how we all might be if we had the wit and the will and the self-sacrifice it takes to privilege our best selves and loftiest aspirations over our base instincts. While that great day is unlikely to happen any time soon in any halfway familiar real world, why not let comic book universes be playgrounds for the kind of utopian impulses that have in the past brought out the best in us?

Written by gerrycanavan

March 12, 2022 at 6:38 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Lost Semester Linkblogging!

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For a variety of reasons, this was an extremely busy semester, and I simply wasn’t able to keep up with my open tabs (I had several hundred open at one point!). An irrecoverable browser crash killed any possibility of ever doing even an omnibus record of what I’ve been reading and thinking about — but I do have a tiny number of highlights from the semester that I will link here just to close the book on it. I’m hopeful, if not exactly optimistic, that I can get back to a more regular update schedule in the spring…

Apologies!

The podcast will also be coming back too for the end of the Achebe season! Stay tuned.

Spring 2022 Courses!

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Marquette’s English department has put up its course descriptions for the spring, which you can find here: https://www.marquette.edu/english/courses-offered-spring-2022.php

Here are mine!

ENGLISH 4762/5762: Neuroscience and Literature
101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Gerry Canavan

Course Title: Disability and Narrative

Course Description: From the Shakespearean soliloquy (famously credited by Yale’s Harold Bloom with “the invention of the human” as such) to James Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness narration, and beyond, literature has long been fascinated by the inner workings of the mind, and the so-called “cognitive turn” in literary studies of the 2000s created a vast subfield devoted to understanding these representations with more specificity and in more detail. Marquette’s new “Neuroscience and Literature” course, included in the Cognitive Science interdisciplinary major, draws on this critical archive to explore how literature understands consciousness, particularly in the way literature has posited disability and neurodivergence. Narratives about disability follow predictable and often quite hurtful patterns, typically centering compulsory optimism around concepts like “cure” and “inspiration,” or else fixating on inexorable decline—but emerging narratives about neurodivergence also register the efforts of social and political movements to expand awareness about the lives of people whose minds and brains are not neurotypical, and to change social structures, especially in education and medicine, in order to improve the quality of those lives. In literary terms, representing neurodiversity raises questions such as: What narrative strategies do writers use to represent various ways of perceiving the world? What are autistic voices, or amnesiac voices, Tourettic voices, sociopathic voices? Do these differ, and in what ways, from so-called neurotypical voices? How do fictional voices compare to autobiographical ones? How does centering neurodivergence impact the way we tell and understand stories? Modules in the course will pair scientific and therapeutic writing with literary examples that center the lived experiences of disabled people. 

Readings: The final reading list is still being developed, but this semester’s reading list will likely focus on autism, Huntington’s disease, addiction, and depression. Readings will be balanced among fiction, memoir/nonfiction, popular science writing, and literary and philosophical theory around disability studies. Interested students are invited to contact the instructor in advance of registration to discuss material that will be studied in the course.

Assignments: Enthusiastic class discussion; two papers and one final project; online discussion posts; presentations 

ENGLISH 4717/5717: Comics
101 TuTh 11:00-12:30 Professor Gerry Canavan

Course Title: Comics as Literature
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Post-1900
Discovery Tier: Cognition, Memory, and Intelligence

Course Description: This course surveys the history and reception of comics and graphic narrative since 1945. We will explore the history of the comics form from its origins to the present moment, watching as the medium shifts from a predominantly American, predominantly male fixation on the superhero towards an increasingly popular international art movement crossing gender, class, and ethnic lines. What are comics today, and who are they for—and why, as Thierry Groensteen has pointedly asked, are comics still in search of cultural legitimization? As in previous instances of the course, we will consider science fictional and superheroic comics alongside high literary novels and confessional autobiographies to gain a full understanding of the medium and its possibilities. In addition to studying comics as literary scholars, along the way we will also consider alternative modes of comics reception, including the great comic book panic of the 1950s, the underground “hippie” counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s, film and television adaptation, and Internet fandom today.

Readings: I will poll the class for their particular interests once registration is done but core texts I have taught in this course in the past include Warren Ellis and John Cassady’s Planetary; Mark Millar and Dave Johnson’s Superman: Red Son; G. Willow Wilson, Jacob Wyatt, and Adrian Alphona’s Ms. Marvel; Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead; Art Spiegelman’s Maus I and II; Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home; Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth and Building Stories; Ben Passmore’s “Your Black Friend”; Marjane Satrapi’s The Complete Persepolis; David Mazzuchelli’s Asterios Polyp; Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon’s Daytripper; and Richard McGuire’s Here. I am, of course, always open to suggestions of new texts.

Assignments: Enthusiastic class discussion; two papers and one final project; online discussion posts; presentations

Written by gerrycanavan

October 26, 2021 at 8:18 pm

Brand New Semester, Same Old Pandemic

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I’ve finally beaten my syllabi into shape for the semester:

ENGLISH 3241: “Crafting the Short Story” (my summer/J-term lit/creative writing hybrid, now in person!)

ENGLISH 4716/5716: “Classics of Science Fiction” (featuring Slaughterhouse-Five, The Female Man, Kindred, Ted Chiang, The Fifth Season, and a NCAA-style tournament to determine which 1980s SF movie we’re going to watch instead of reading Neuromancer)

Comments and suggestions welcome, as always!

Written by gerrycanavan

August 29, 2021 at 6:19 pm

Just Another Monday Morning, Just Another Set of Monday Morning Links

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Monday Morning Links!

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A Whole Summer’s Worth of Links Crammed into a Two-Weeks-Sized Bag

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Written by gerrycanavan

August 10, 2021 at 7:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet, Look at what I put on the Internet

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Thursday Night Links!

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Drastic as the decision may seem, particularly given that Pokémon cards aren’t the only things people wait in line for hours to buy, it comes days following a fight in a Brookfield, Wisconsin Target’s parking lot in which four people attacked a man, who then pulled his legally-owned gun on his assailants, prompting them to flee before later being arrested by the police. Target’s decision also comes just weeks after the company implemented new policies to curtail people camping out overnight at their stores. Beyond telling people not to line up like this, an alleged note to employees asked them to consider calling the police in order to force people to disperse.

Teaching PARASITE!

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I’d solicited Parasite readings on Twitter and Facebook, and there was some interest in the results, so I figured I’d consolidate what i’m doing on the blog for anyone who wants to see what I’ll be doing.

This is for the course on the “hypercontemporary,” all texts that were either created or rose to prominence between 2019 and 2021. It’s one of two films the students chose for the film sequence in the course; the other one they picked is Soul, which makes for a nicely odd one-two punch.

I landed on a two-day structure. Day one is politics:

Day two is devoted to matters of form, both with respect to the way Bong puts the film together but also the complicated way we read Parasite as Westerners encountering a subtitled film from an Asian nation whose politics and culture are not especially well-known to the US and European audience:

The sandbox post is wide open this week but I do invite their thoughts about what the rumored HBO adaptation might do differently.

As I noted on Twitter, Parasite was the last film I saw in a movie theater before the world ended so this is very much a “nature is healing” moment for me personally. I can’t wait to talk about it.

I got a good question on Twitter: “Did you come across any pieces critical of the film?” Here’s the answer, such as it is…

Written by gerrycanavan

March 27, 2021 at 1:16 pm

Friday Links!

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