Tag Archives: In Review

2016 In Review

Essays, Not Rants! 250: 2016 In Review

Year’s over, so this means I’m looking at the rants essays from this past year. Here we go!

Five Most Popular/Viewed Posts

#5: *general internet frustrations*

Mockingbird became my favorite comic this year for a variety of reasons (feminist, funny, fantastic). But when the final issue was published people got mad. This is about that and why we can’t have nice things, and why Mockingbird and the fallout remain important in the larger dialogue of fiction and fandom.

#4: A (Civil) War of Flaws

I really liked Civil War, in particular for how well done and earned I thought the conflict was. This is primarily because it was born out of character flaws, something that’s terribly important in developing good conflict. Makes it engaging and, rightly, tragic.

#3: Where Josh Explains Why You Should Fund His Movie

I made a thesis film this year! And it’s finally almost done! I’m mad proud of it still and really can’t wait to have it done (just need a few sound effects, mixing, and a score!). It was also a lot of me putting my money where my mouth is, what with diversity and all that, as this post goes into (also, we ended up within budget! Woo!).

#2: The Beauty of Pokémon Go

If you’re wondering, I still play Pokémon Go (I finally got a Blastoise yesterday!). I really think the community and hype that sprung up around it when it was released was truly beautiful. The blurring of the line between gaming and reality is fascinating, and Go illustrates just how it can build a community.

#1: Of Zootopia

Man. Zootopia was – is – important. It’s about bigotry and ignorance and forgiveness and prejudice. It was relevant at the beginning of the year and is, frustratingly, even more relevant at the end of 2016. This movie shows how effective stories are at conveying truths while saying so much about, frankly, racial tensions is magnificent.

Josh’s Pick of Three

#3: To Tell The Truth

I love the idea of storytelling as lies that tell the truth. This is me exploring that while somehow managing to tie in poetry, theatre, and television. It’s fun, and, well, this is pretty much what I studied at university.

#2: The Give And Take of Books

Since graduating, I’ve made an effort to read more (the past six months have consisted of: Ready Player One, The Windup Girl, Pawn’s Gambit, Homegoing, The Chinese in America: A Narrative History, Scoundrals, and Life Moves Pretty Fast). Homegoing was particularly wonderful and it ended on a personal note. This post is about books and the way we interact with them. It’s what makes books so important.

#1: Letting Different People Be Different, Visible Diversity, and Something Something Diversity Something Star Wars

Between Rogue One and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, its been a great year to see people who look kinda like me on the big screen (Kubo and The Two Strings doesn’t count for a variety of reasons that I will rant about later). Diversity’s important, it’s always been important, and I will never not be excited about the fact that there are now Asian protagonists in the Star Wars world. Crazy Ex also does away with stereotyping and, y’know, it’s important that we let people just be people.

And that’s it for 2016. Thanks for sticking with this blog even when the post is just a ramble about science fiction. 2017’s coming up, expect more rants essays about diversity, Marvel movies and Star Wars, feminism, and whatever I want, really.

Cheers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2015 in Review

Well. It’s 2016. Since it’s tradition (and since I’m in South Africa on a school trip and don’t wanna write a normal post), let’s take a look at my rants essays from this past year.

Five Most Popular/Viewed Posts

#5: Let’s Talk About That Whole Black Widow Thing

Hoo boy, yeah, that’s one way to start off this year-in-review. I stand by this post (that there’s nothing inherently problematic with Black Widow’s characterization in Age of Ultron, rather the real issue is that we have one female character to tell every female narrative) and yeah, that’s about all there is to say about that.

#4: Masculinity in Age of Ultron

While we’re on the topic of Age of Ultron, one thing it did well was offer multiple narratives for how masculinity looks (which it could have stood to done for Widow, see above). This one was fun to do, ‘cuz I do always like getting into the bits and bobs of story.

#3: Sorry Nate, There’s No Princess In This Castle

2015 is when Essays, Not Rants! inadvertently became a mildly feminist blog. Combined with A Manic Pixie Dream Problem and Another Boyband Saving The World, I accidentally spent three weeks really digging into the way woman are portrayed in fiction. It’s not something I have much of a background in, but it is certainly something I enjoy.

#2: But What Is A Strong Female Protagonist?

Speak of the devil. I guess there is a demand of sorts for this sort of essay. What I wanted to do here was look at the idea that ‘strong female protagonists/characters’ have to physically kick ass. They don’t They just gotta be written like actual people who want stuff. Who knew?

#1: Why I Take Issue With Johnny Storm Being Black

I’m sorry. That’s a clickbait title if I ever saw one. I’m worse than Buzzfeed. If you don’t wanna click the clickbait, basically it’s great that they’re willing to diversify the Fantastic Four. Less great is that it leaves me wishing they went all the way and decided to make Sue black too. Again, sorry about the title.

Josh’s Pick of Three

#3: Just So We’re Clear, Rey Is The Best

I have no other reason for listing this one except for the fact that Rey is very much the best.

#2: (Re)Constructing Narratives

The past six months have been big for me. I wrote (and defended) what is essentially my thesis at school and a lot of the posts on this blog have been related to it. This one especially, and it actually has the name I’d eventually give my concentration (Narrative (Re)Construction).

#1: Jessica Jones: Not Your Victim

This was a post well outside my wheelhouse, and I’m pretty proud that I managed to write it kinda successfully. Essays, Not Rants! is often a place for me to sound out ideas or tackle subjects I’m not used to. This is one of those, and it’s moments like that that make the blog for me.

So there you have it. A post about a bunch of other posts. That, well, that would have been 2015. Onwards to 2016!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2014 In Review

2014 is a few days from being over. So once again it’s time to go through my rants essays from this year and pick out the special ones.
Five Most Popular/Viewed Posts

#5: Relationship Advice from Scott Pilgrim
The thing about Edgar Wright movies is that they work on so many levels. I was… off put the first time I watched Scott Pilgrim vs The World, so I watched it again, realizing what I was in for and loved it. One of the reasons is that despite (or perhaps because of) it creating a video game sort of reality, it tells a very serious story about love and self-respect.

#4: Representation, Big Hero Six, and Me
Representation is something that I care about, in case my running commentary on female protagonists didn’t tip you off. But Big Hero Six is special to me because there’s a kid like me starring in a Disney action movie! And that makes me very happy.

#3: Verified Fiction
The idea for this one had actually been brewing since I saw that TIME article a couple years back. Took a while for it to come together in and now it’s something that’s pretty bloggish and yet still about storytelling.

#2: About That Noah Movie
Look at me being topical. I suppose this was more for me to collect my thoughts and weigh in on the film. Seems that jumping on the train got my a bunch of views, so there’s that.

#1: The LEGO Hero’s Journey Part One and Part Two
I could do two separate entries for these, each of which got three times as many views as the Noah one, but I figure they should go together since they’re interlinked. The LEGO Movie is easily one of the best movies of this year, in no small part because it’s about a very normal boring person undergoing the Hero’s Journey. It was a lot of fun linking up the beats of the movie with the Monomyth, and hey, I guess some other people enjoyed it too.

And there we have the five most viewed posts. As with last year, what follows will be a few posts that I really like, for various reasons. These posts are also posts that aren’t in the afore top five.

Josh’s Pick of Three

#3: Of Ludonarrative Dissonance
I took a class on video game theory this past spring, which probably shows when I use terms like ‘ludnoarrative’ and ‘narrative architecture.’ Video games really warrant a closer look than they’re often given.

#2: The Mustache of Self-Actualization
Okay, so this is a more recent one, but I love when I’m able to use this blog to write a scholarish rant essay on something that isn’t very scholarlish (see a close reading of Pentecost’s speech). Being able to write about Hot Rod like this was a lot of fun and also good practice. So hey.

#1: Nerd Culture, The Big Bang Theory, and Chuck
I know it very much comes down to opinion, but I still love the way nerd culture was portrayed in Chuck and I’m waiting for something to do it as well (though SHIELD is doing alright, with Mack and Fitz bonding over Halo and Bobbi wearing a Star Wars tee). Man, Chuck was a special show.

So there you have it. Nine posts out of the fifty-two that made up 2014. Thank you for reading!

Here’s to 2015.

(And then it’s 2016 and then 2017 and then 2018 AND A CAPTAIN MARVEL MOVIE)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2013 in Review

That’s right people, I’m doing it again.

Once again instead of a usual post I’m going to look through some of the posts from this year and link ‘em. Because it’s something appropriate to do at year’s end and not because a buddy of mine and I watched two movies in two separate cinemas and last night and I’m working today.

Five Most Popular/Viewed Posts

#5: Two More Hours
On occasion my blog posts are, there I say it, topical. This usually happens during those weeks when I get time to see a new movie (this last semester was spent mostly working on a movie of my own). One of these was Ender’s Game and in that post I explain why it needed two more hours. Hence the title.

#4: Science Fiction, Parables, and Gravity
I had a creative writing class this semester that took a hard approach to genre fiction so a handful of my posts were rants essays of my addressing some of those thoughts. I do like this one because Gravity was fantastic and I love getting to talk about science fiction.

#3: Projection and Empathy
This is one of those spitball essays where I figure out what I’m writing a paper on that, surprisingly, found quite an audience. So here’s to you, dear readers, for reading me bouncing thoughts. And yes, I did quite well in that class.

#2: Too Many Characters, Too Little Time
Behold, another instance of me being topical. I really enjoy Game of Thrones (even The Red Wedding, though that’s a very different sort of enjoyment), so writing about it was fun. I still stand by this post, and I still want Joffery to die, and I still haven’t read the books.

#1: Why I (seldom) Write About Ships?
Another one of those that grew out of my creative writing class, this one’s my defense of setting my stories in space. It ended up being a rather bloggy post, mostly due to me talking more about me than stuff, but I do really like it.

Fun Fact: My dad shared this one on Facebook, giving me one of my busiest days and instantly propelling it to the second most viewed post of all time (behind that one post that keeps catching search queries).

And there we have the five most viewed posts. As with last year, what follows will be a few posts that I really like, for various reasons. These posts are also posts that aren’t in the afore top five.

Josh’s Pick of Three

#3: Becoming Iron Man
I wrote a few posts on Iron Man 3, most of them analyzing Tony Stark’s character (hey, I wrote a big paper with him as one of the subjects around the same time). I’m picking this one out because it’s one of those occasions when I pick something apart. And it’s about Iron Man and I had to have at least one Iron Man post here.

#2: A Grownup Video Game
I love The Last of Us. It’s all over this blog and I wrote a paper on it. This was written when I was only a few hours in to the game, but it still hits the nail on the head. That game is phenomenal. On a side note, I was thinking of calling the post something along the lines of Adult Video Game or Video Game for Adults, but, well, I feel like I would have gotten the wrong sort of attention.

#1: Humanity, Hubris, and Canceling The Apocalypse
Pacific Rim is my favorite film of the year. Granted, I’m still catching up with movies (I really want to see Inside Llewyn Davis and her, for example), but Pacific Rim wins my pick for not only its awesome mechas-fighting-kaiju action, but for its themes. It’s a movie that goes beyond its action into a very hopeful movie about making the world a better place.

I also did a close reading of Pentecost’s speech, which I’m quite proud of.

And bam. That’s 2013. Fifty two posts in as many weeks, so here’s to you, readers, for actually reading the stuff I write. See you next week wherein I will most likely cite two completely unrelated works to described a point.

Here’s to 2014.

Also, watch my movie.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2012 in Review

It’s 2013. Dang.

So instead of a usual post I’m going to look through some of the posts from the prior year! I’m also supposed to be packing and more or less forgot about this week’s post and don’t have time to write one due to errands and packing. Oops.

But hey!

Five Most Popular/Viewed Posts

#5: The Artificial Family

This was a fun one; it’s about how family isn’t just by blood and all. It’s a topic I like to explore in my fiction and hey, I wrote a post about it. I really like seeing it show up in fiction too, and I suppose I’m not the only one.

#4: The Avengers > The Dark Knight Rises

Guess people were looking for argumentative proof/reasons to get mad. I still stand by this position, for the record. The Avengers isn’t a technically perfect movie, but it winds up being a better movie than The Dark Knight Rises because, well, of the reasons I list.

#3: Cortana, Chloe, and Changing Trends

This being so high on the list surprises me considering I just posted it, well, last Saturday. I’m fairly content with it (and it’s also a subject that I take issue with, so there’s that). Guess it also gets more popularity due to tis topical nature and all. I’m perfectly okay with that.

#2: Christian Movies Don’t Have To Suck

Second post ever, yay! This is another one of those issues that bothers me. I also think this post happens to be particularly well written, so cheers. Oh, and did wind up seeing Blue Like Jazz and loved it (and all its imperfections).

#1: Doth Mother Know You Weareth Her Drapes?

This phrase also happens to be the search term that gets me the most traffic. Sorry people looking for Avengers quotes, you wound up on my blog instead!

Fun Fact: I spent more time than I should have making sure I had the right quote. Checked several different websites and saw the movie (again[again{again}]) after posting it to make sure. And to go see The Avengers again. It’s not knoweth.

So those are your five favorite posts. Since, well, y’know, you’re the ones who read this blog and accumulate the views I use to tally the list. You must be so proud.

But what about my favorites? Truth be told, I love all my posts equally but some more than others. These three are some of those (and I’m intentionally not repeating any from above).

Josh’s Pick of Three

#3: Throwing Burritos

Right, so this one isn’t my best post. Not my strongest point nor my best piece of writing, but man, it was fun. It also wound up being one of my more bloggish posts in that I brought in usual life into it.

#2: One Kind of Folks in the ‘Verse: Folks

Dude. I got to compare Firefly and To Kill a Mockingbird. It was a pleasure to write and I like to think I have a valid point. Sadly, it also happens to have one of the lowest page views of all of mine. But hey. I love this post and the two works in question.

#1: Storytelling Lessons from Jesus

I wrote an essay (not a rant) about Jesus and ended it with a quote from Phineas and Ferb after drawing references from Firefly, Thor, and Avatar. This was one of the too few posts I finished a few days ahead and was also so much fun to write. I think I cut out some bits in the long run, actually. Another reason for it being my favorite is that it’s the sort of storytelling I wanna do. And ya gotta admit, it’s a cool post.

And there you have it folks. The top posts form 2012 here at Essays, Not Rants!. I’ll be back in a week with a new post wherein I compare something outlandish or some other thing like that. Thanks to all of you who read this blog, and especially you who comment. I love the feedback.

Here’s to 2013.

Oh, and if you will, buy my book.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized