Film Review: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs written and directed by Ethan and Joel Coen (Annapurna Pictures, Mike Zoss Productions, Netflix, R, 133 min) Starring Tim Blake Nelson, David Krumholtz, James Franco, Stephen Root, Liam Neeson, Harry Melling, Tom Waits, Sam Dillon, Bill Heck, Zoe Kazan, Brendan Gleeson, and Tyne Daly. The Next Great American Author Ever since Mark Twain, the literary-minded in the United States have been clamoring for the next Great American author. Well, maybe arguing more than clamoring. However, as I explore the many genres of the written word, I’m starting to believe the argument for or against a specific author is fruitless. Instead, I’m coming to believe there’s a Great American genre, the short story. About a year… Read More →

Film Review: Green Room

Green Room

Green Room written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier (A24, Broad Green Pictures, Film Science, R, 95 min) Starring Anton Yelchin, Joe Cole, Alia Shawkat, Callum Turner, David W. Thompson, Eric Edelstein, Macon Blair, Imogen Poots, and Patrick Stewart. A Tough Genre to Master When it comes to uncomfortable viewing, the horror/suspense genre takes the cake. The viewer knows most of the characters aren’t going to make it; the question becomes the “why” and the “how” of the demise. The difficulty of the genre lies in replicating realism. Most days, killers aren’t stalking groups of friends a la I Know What You Did Last Summer. The writer and director must think carefully about the best possible way to conjure a scenario… Read More →

Book Review: The Passage

The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage: A Novel by Justin Cronin (New York: Ballantine Books, 2014. 912 pp) Justin Cronin is the author of The Passage, The Twelve, Mary and O’Neil, and The Summer Guest. His work has earned him a PEN/Hemingway Award, a Stephen Crane Prize, Whiting Writer’s Award, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in Houston, Texas with his family. The Politics of Story Portion a story into its disparate parts. If you dive deeply enough, you’ll find political positioning no matter the plot and structure. Dissect the story and throw it under a microscope. You’ll find a tendency toward conservativism in plot-heavy action narratives and liberalism in literary fiction. The forward motion of many action… Read More →

Book Review: The Road

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. 256 pp) Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island in 1933. One of six children, Cormac’s family moved multiple times in his childhood as his father accepted different occupations. In 1951, McCarthy attended the University of Tennessee majoring in Liberal Arts. Midway through his studies, McCarthy served in the Air Force for four years. After his service, McCarthy returned to college, writing his first short stories. In 1959 and 1960, he won the Ingram-Merrill Award for Creative Writing. Mccarthy’s first novel, The Orchard Keeper, was published in 1965. Several years, grants, and fellowships later, McCarthy published Suttree, Blood Meridian, and All the Pretty Horses marking his rise in literary acclaim…. Read More →

Book Review: The Corrections

The Corrections: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001. 576 pp) Jonathan Franzen is an American author. He graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in German. Franzen has received widespread acclaim for his book, The Corrections. He has won the National Book Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He lives in New York City and Santa Cruz, California. A New Reading Style Without having read any of his work, Jonathan Franzen was the source for rethinking the books I read. After garnering more acclaim for his latest book, Freedom, a few female authors expressed displeasure about his books gaining prestige as literary novels while their books—highlighting the same themes—were labeled “chick lit.”… Read More →