Abraham Lincoln, “a natural born piggy-backer”: Why “It Happened One Night” is a classic.

I recently learned that a pun I came up with was already well established in the puniverse. You see, my pun went something like Frank Capricorn; it was going to involve a film director, someone born between December 21st and January 20th, a hot dog, and candy corn. But to my chagrin, the term capricorn has been around quite a while, and it refers to … Continue reading Abraham Lincoln, “a natural born piggy-backer”: Why “It Happened One Night” is a classic.

Clue, the Mere Exposure Effect, the Costanza Gambit, and the Musical without a Song

Warning Spoilers!!!! Warning Spoilers!!! Warning Spoilers!!! Warning Spoilers!!! The Perils of A Favorite Film In the following post, I’m going to argue something a bit odd about a movie I love. I’m going to argue that Clue (1985) can be thought of–or at least discussed in terms of–a musical, even though none of the characters sing. Now, you might be saying to yourself, “but Clue … Continue reading Clue, the Mere Exposure Effect, the Costanza Gambit, and the Musical without a Song

The Genre of Calvinball: American Hustle and the Art of Improvisation

In this sense, one of the key skills of Calvinball–perhaps, the central skill–is persuasion. Can you get others to accept your form of reality, and if so, for how long? Finally, there’s what you might call the Kipling rule, “If you can keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you.” This sentiment is most clearly expressed in … Continue reading The Genre of Calvinball: American Hustle and the Art of Improvisation