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Mar 27, 2018

The Hero's Journey, as described by Joseph Campbell, is one of the most influential ideas in modern storytelling. Every Hero's Journey starts with a call to adventure.

But what happens when the call is confusing or contradictory... or when it never comes?

This is the final episode of Season One of Quite Useless.


Feb 26, 2018

Why should the idea of a person having sex with a dead chicken bother us? And what insight can films like Deliverance, Indecent Proposal, and Nightcrawler give us into the thornier terrain of contemporary moral philosophy?


Feb 19, 2018

After a bit of a delay, Episode 6: Boundaries, will be landing soon. In this episode, we wade into some of the murkiest terrain in modern moral philosophy, seen through the lens of movies. Forget your grandparents' moral dilemmas -- we're talking about moral discomfort and dumbfounding.

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Dec 18, 2017

Screenwriter Charlie Kaufmann couldn't figure out how to tell the story he was trying to tell... until he figured out how to frame it.

A story about adaptations (framed as a story about frames), with reference to Stephen Belber, Richard Linklater, Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick, and some wild fan theories (including my...


Nov 15, 2017

First Blood, the first installment in the iconic Rambo franchise, was released 35 years ago this fall. In this episode, I take a look at how the franchise has both reflected and influenced American culture--and question both the ethical and epistemic implications of the films' success.

This is the second part of a...