Why I Won’t Review a John Wayne Film

In film, John Wayne is an American icon. He was the quintessential cowboy, the most recognizable face in what was probably America’s favorite movie genre for decades.

As someone who reviews classic films, it may seem like a really bad idea to exclude John Wayne films—and, honestly, even with my reasoning, it may still be a really bad idea. But I just can’t bring myself to do it. Wayne was a product of his time, but he refused to let go of an America made for and run by people exactly like Wayne himself. With every decade that went by, America became more diverse, Wayne became angrier about it, and his refusal to change became more of an issue.

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In the Movies, Nice Girls Finish Last

I just watched Ready Player One for the first time. Here’s a (very) loose synopsis of the plot. A young male player named Parzival competes in games for a fantastic prize. He meets Art3mis, a young female player known for being one of the best in the game, who plays for a more noble cause than Parzival. Art3mis teaches Parzival to play for a higher purpose and helps him succeed. In the end, Parzival is declared the winner and he chooses Art3mis to stand by his side.

This is an odd comparison, but the story reminded me of Harry Potter. Harry knows nothing of the wizarding world when he goes off to Hogwarts, and he meets Hermione, who is probably the smartest girl in school and is pretty much better than Harry at everything. She educates him about magic and the wizarding world and even sets him straight a few times when he begins to stray morally. In the end, Harry wins the battle against the villain Voldemort with Hermione and his friend Ron at his side.

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Let’s Talk About Mental Illness in the Movies

Screenshots from Me, Myself, and Irene; One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; A Beautiful Mind; and Silver Linings Playbook

Mental illness in the movies is about as mixed a bag as you can get. Portrayals range from surprisingly accurate, as in Silver Linings Playbook, to horribly offensive, as in Me, Myself & Irene. But does it matter? Well, when you consider that an academic study showed that 90% of community college students surveyed learned about mental illness primarily through movies, yes, it makes a huge difference.

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