Weeks after I lost Esther, I somehow found myself back into Night in the Woods for reasons that I have difficulty verbalizing. On paper, it appeared to be the antithesis of what I needed during the grieving process. It was a story full of characters experiencing resentment, anger, apathy, nihilism, depression and anxiety, all emotions that I deemed to be negative.
It eventually became evident that I wasn’t looking for escapism with this video game, but rather enlightenment.
How Red Dead Redemption 2 Attempts (and Struggles) to Emulate the Modern Western (DualShockers)
At this point, Red Dead Redemption 2 feels like a video game attempting to tell a story with modern sensibilities about trying to keep the past alive. There is a fear from the characters that their way of life will be eradicated, and similarly, some creative forces behind this game could very well be afraid that their opportunity to tell a story in this genre is under danger. Like Dutch himself, Red Dead Redemption 2 is afraid of being forgotten and irrelevant and fights to justify the existence of its story and characters.
I always question what the role of the Western genre, with all of its baggage, can be in this day and age. Regardless of the answer, so many parts of Red Dead Redemption 2‘s story felt like a pale imitation of more celebrated examples of the genre. If it hasn’t come already, there will come a time where this modern tale will have been told too many times. What will result is an irony where media is overstuffed with Westerns arguing that the Western shouldn’t die out.
How Daredevil Season 3 Depicts the Fight Against Real and Present Fears (AP Marvel)
If anyone is looking towards fantasy for solutions to real-life problems, they will find themselves sorely mistaken. Our current problems with combating cynicism, authoritarianism, and other negative forces will not be solved by two macho guys mercilessly punching each other in the face. While nothing will convince me that all art and media isn’t political, I will concede that entertainment such as Daredevil is meant to be escapism. I would argue, however, that the concept of “escapism” is grossly understood.
Not all escapist fiction is meant to completely take you away from the clear and present societal and personal anxieties. Rather, much of it is meant to take you to a place where those fears and anxieties can be confronted and defeated in a fantastical way — maybe it’s with a sword and shield, super strength, or the ability to fly. This is the fantasy that superhero fiction is able to provide.
Super Mario Odyssey Proves Nintendo Knows How to Soothe Anxiety (Paste Magazine)
Our world is a mess. People are losing their homes from natural disasters, lives are lost at the hands of violent madmen on a daily basis, the risk of international war hovers over us all and the political climate is more toxic now than ever. In our current society and culture, anxiety reigns supreme.
While our real world fends with external sources of anxiety, we as individuals still have our internal anxieties to fight. For myself, a summer of personally shaking and traumatic events—a major breakup, a series of career rejections and an extended self-identity crisis—led me to explore my anxiety, depression and hypomania. I searched for healthy methods to cope with these afflictions. But whether one’s anxiety is based on external, worldwide factors or internal, deeply personal ones, an avenue one can take is to temporarily escape into another world. During my tumultuous summer, I found that Nintendo games became my medium for keeping my mental health issues at bay. The company’s newest game might be better suited for that task than any other.
Jackie Brown—Quentin Tarantino's De-Romantization of Criminal Life (Flixist)
The word "restraint" just keeps coming back to me every time I think about this film. We as audience members are so used to the "movie universes" of Inglourious Basterds and Death Proof that we forget what happens when Tarantino is back in the real world. It becomes less about familiar cinematic imagery, less about recycling favorite tropes, and more about characters bouncing off of each other.
There is nothing efficient about Tarantino's storytelling in Jackie Brown—so many details are described in five minutes when it could have taken just one minute. Despite this, I would still call this method "effective."
If there is one thing that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is good at doing, it is carving out different worlds for each of their protagonists. We’ve seen the worlds of science, mythology, mysticism, politics and espionage through the various films and television shows. But like many of the Marvel comic books, the Netflix shows have New York City at its heart. While New York may seem relatively small in size compared to the wider Marvel worlds, each Defenders’ show is able to carve out its own space—and there’s no better place to spot these differences than in the opening titles of each show.
Noah Hawley’s FARGO & The Gospel Of The Coen Brothers (Film Inquiry)
Film buffs everywhere had healthy skepticism when FX announced a Fargo television show. The classic 1996 film by Joel and Ethan Coen, that blends the genres of dark comedy and crime, is sacred ground for many. A television adaptation of sorts might cynically be considered as just a money grab, capitalizing on a well-known title. To everyone’s surprise, however, the anthology show, helmed by novelist Noah Hawley, exceeded all expectations.