Film

Jason Mittell's picture

Best Stuff of 2014

This is not an organized or ranked list. This is a collection of the cultural things (mostly TV, but not exclusively) that I most loved in 2014, presented in alphabetical order. There are many things not on this list – they are absent because either I did not love them or I did not consume them. (If it is a movie, it’s probably the latter, as I saw almost no new films this year.) ... read more »

Jason Mittell's picture

Gravity and the Power of Narrative Limits

I saw Gravity this weekend, and like many viewers and critics, I loved it. And as a sign of that enjoyment, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. As I always do when I encounter a piece of culture that I love, I’ve been reading about it, looking for critics who can explore some of the ideas I’ve been obsessing about. The review that best captures my feeling about it is Matt Zoller Seitz’s piece, highlighting the juxtaposition of grandiose visual splendor and simple narrative intimacy. ... read more »

Jason Mittell's picture

Veronica Mars and Exchanges of Value Revisited

Wednesday was one of the more interesting days on Twitter I’ve ever seen, from the snarking about the new Pope (same as the old Pope), to the anger over Google mothballing Reader, to the more local disappointment of Wes Welker signing with the Broncos. ... read more »

Tanner Higgin's picture

The Killer of Sheep of Videogames

[NOTE: A version of this work was presented at the 2013 Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference. Here is a PDF of the slide deck.]

Measured Representation ... read more »

Jason Mittell's picture

Haunted by Seriality: The Formal Uncanny of Mulholland Drive

In my 18 years in academia, I’ve never been to the MLA convention – until now. For those who don’t know, the Modern Language Association is the largest humanities organization, and their annual convention is an iconic event, known as a massive academic job meat market and an object of mockery in the press for dense theoretical jargon. ... read more »

Jason Mittell's picture

Caption Mining at the Crossroads of Digital Humanities & Media ...

Lately I’ve become more and more intrigued by Digital Humanities as a subfield/movement/trend/etc. within academia, in large part because the people who are actively driving much of DH are super engaging & welcoming via social networks like Twitter and various blogs. As I am committed to open access publishing, public-facing scholarship, and innovative modes of academic engagement, Digital Humanists feel like fellow travelers. ... read more »

Jason Mittell's picture

Back to the Classroom

Summer is over (even though it remains in the 80s in Vermont this week), which means my sabbatical is completely over. It was a great one, with a wonderful fellowship in Germany, a lot of writing, travel for lectures & conferences, and lots of quality family time. But yesterday, I returned to the Middlebury classroom for the first time in 16 months, officially marking the return to normal professional life (and a reminder of how exhausting a day of teaching can be!). ... read more »

Jason Mittell's picture

Behind the Scenes of a Serialized Intertext

One of the reasons I most enjoy studying the fan culture side of media studies is that fans can come up with some fascinating stuff, a boggling array of creativity discovered through the contraints provided by the source texts. I document some of the most interesting examples I’ve found in my chapter on “Orienting Paratexts,” ranging from The Tommy Westphall Universe Theory to The Wire‘s D&D alignment chart. ... read more »

Jason Mittell's picture

I made a remix!, or The Wire Gets Vertigo-ed

Recently there has been a debate raging within the film world around The Artist‘s appropriation of Bernard Hermann’s score to Vertigo (which itself appropriates Wagner), and Kim Novak’s poorly-worded attack on this act of cultural borrowing. ... read more »

Jason Mittell's picture

Toy Story 3 and Serial Pleasures

On the eve of the Oscars, one of many award ceremonies that I’ve grown tired of watching, Inside Higher Ed posted an interesting little feature asking film scholars to weigh in on Best Picture. While I varyingly agreed, disagreed, and laughed at their points, I was shocked that none of the seven academics mentioned the best film I saw last year, Toy Story 3. ... read more »