What We Talk About When We Talk About Fan Theories

I’ve been trying to write this article for a while. Years. While I try to avoid listicles, I’ve found that, at times, they have their uses. These are my opinions and observations on what we talk about when we talk about fan theories, and what they are, and how we should talk about them.

No one has an agreed-upon definition for “fan theory.”

Fan theory is not listed on Urban Dictionary. It is not explained on Know Your Meme. Even the /r/FanTheories subreddit does not have any official stance on what makes a fan theory a fan theory.

This is largely because the phrase “fan theory” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Part of why I’m writing this is to reach some kind of definition and meaning, and to refute what I see as being inaccurate uses of the phrase.

A fan theory is a form of contemporary critical theory, in which the audience analyzes the text and creates a new interpretation that explains “what really happened,” creating a separate narrative aside from or within the narrative.

This is what I’ve come up with. I don’t know if it’s perfect, but I think it says a lot.

Now, more importantly, I’d like to explore both what makes a fan theory good and what makes a fan theory bad and what makes a fan theory not a fan theory. Part of this will include citing particularly good and bad fan theories.

westworld-theory.jpg
And yes, I’ll address so-called Westworld fan theories.

A weak fan theory is anything that suggests “it was all a dream” or “the main character was dead the whole time” or any variation of this.

Continue reading “What We Talk About When We Talk About Fan Theories”

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My Only Complaints About Interstellar

It’s been out for a while, but there are still two things that bug me about Interstellar.

And no, neither of them is the science of it.  I’m not expert in theories of time travel, interstellar travel, worm holes, quantum mechanics, etc.  I’m not even very interested in such things.  I know that some people explain the science of Interstellar isn’t good, but I don’t care.  My two concerns are more from a story and character perspective.

No, my complaints are not related to the over-use of Dylan Thomas.
No, my complaints are not related to the over-use of Dylan Thomas.

That’s Some Bizarre Parenting

I am not a parent, so I cannot say that I am 100% correct on this, but something did strike me very strange in Interstellar.  When McConaughey is trying to reassure his daughter about his trip into the stars, he says something along the lines of “by the time I return, we might be the same age.”  This is bizarre on so many levels.  First of all, is he really telling her “it’s okay, because I’m only going to be gone for a couple decades.”  And he’s also telling her, “don’t worry, this is going to mess up all the laws of space and time so intensely, that I’m no longer going to be older than you.” Continue reading “My Only Complaints About Interstellar”

The Top Ten Christian Bale Films of 2013

A lot of movies happened in 2013.  Only a few of them had Bale in them, but many were connected to Bale, either through themes, tone, extended universes, future sequels, Nolan-esque qualities, etc.  This is a list of the Top Ten Christian Bale films, whether or not they actually had Christian Bale in them.

10. Man of Steel

It’s on the list, but barely.  The strangest thing about this movie has to be that it’s ostensibly a gritty reboot, yet it still features basically the exact same opening as the Superman movie from the 1970s.  Why so boring?

Try making it through the alien-explosion-flying scene at the beginning of Man of Steel and still call it a "gritty reboot" with a straight face.
Try making it through the alien-explosion-flying scene at the beginning of Man of Steel and still call it a “gritty reboot” with a straight face.

9.  The Great Gatsby

The success of The Great Gatsby demands a sequel, setting things up nicely for DiCaprio and Bale to make The Greater Gatsby in the next few years. Continue reading “The Top Ten Christian Bale Films of 2013”

Why Bale Will Be Referred to as a Member of “The Bat Pack”

I am seriously disappointed that I’m not the one who came up with this, but website “The Wrap” (I don’t know what it is; I googled it) wrote an article in February of this year on something that I was going to write about this week: The Bat Pack.

The Bat Pack, meaning the team of actors (plus cinematographer and art designer) who Nolan frequently collaborates with.  Yes – it’s an obvious riff on the previously existing Rat Pack, Brat Pack, Frat Pack, etc.

Caine is at the top of the list, having been in five Christopher Nolan films. Also, I like how proud he looks of the dove in this photo.

Unfortunately, I think the above-linked-to article fails to do anything beyond give it a catchy name. I think that you can look at this crowd and extend it the fact that the actors who Nolan prefers to work with are gradually becoming the most respected actors working today.  The older and more established among them are Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, arguably two of the greatest living actors, but every one of the younger actors has also been in other incredible films within the last several years.  Marion Cotillard just proved her abilities in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris; Tom Hardy is in three films being released in 2011 and another three in 2012; Joseph Gordon-Levitt has gradually gone from child TV actor in the 90s to star of Brick in 2005 to 500 Days of Summer in 2009 to The Dark Knight Rises next summer; and Cillian Murphy is tremendous in everything, and is not only a frequent choice for Nolan, but also for Danny Boyle (the Slumdog Millionaire guy, who direct Murphy in 28 Days Later and Sunshine.)

These actors aren’t just the cornerstone of Nolan’s films, but they are the cornerstone of film today.  These are some of the greatest working actors and actresses, and in many cases their abilities were not fully realized until cast in a Nolan film.

Continue reading “Why Bale Will Be Referred to as a Member of “The Bat Pack””