Articles by Michael Doane

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"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce

I. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce Bierce is clever. We are given a scene of a man, a Confederate sympathizer during the Civil War, about to be hanged for attempting to sabotage a crucial bridge for Union advancement. We flashback to his deeds, his farm and family, his actions leading up to his sentence. Then as he is dropped from the very bridge he’s failed to destroy, the line breaks. We follow this man, Farquhar, as …

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Seven Psychopaths Poster
This will be a quick one: Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths is good. Nothing more, nothing less. The writing is a bit shaky at times, the shots are neither interesting nor boring, I can’t really remember the soundtrack. But the story (and acting) won me over and held my attention undyingly. This alone makes the movie worth seeing.

It is the interwoven story of a struggling screenwriter (who’s writing the very movie we’re watching), his loyal friend, a few ruffians, and many many “dream sequenced” stories within stories within stories. All of this revolves around a simple dog-kidnapping ring. As the story progresses, the plot thickens. The jumbled setup that is the beginning starts to make good sense. And the ending makes everything meaningful, its message deep.

In the end, the story won me over solely on its Borgesian nature, its labyrinthian twists and turns. I also enjoyed its self-consciousness, and the comment it makes about other action-comedies (mainly that they are absent of good plot, unrealistic to any degree, and overly showy). And suprisingly it knows what’s wrong with itself and acknowledges those flaws.

What I commend the most is McDonagh’s character development. We grow to like these men who are absolutely out of their mind. We understand them and their motives, despite the illogicality of it all. And they all can agree on at least one thing: animal cruelty is the most horrible crime one could ever commit. Though it’s gruesome at times, it’s a funny movie that gets your gears turning. For that, I recommend it.

Louis C.K., Shakespearean Fool

The state of television comedy is in a recession to say the least. New comedies are often not fresh, buying into the same old sitcom or mockumentary styles, with nothing new to add but the same jokes heard for the past couple decades updated for modern audiences. Old ones are worn to the bone, either offering nothing new and in serious need of retirement, or simply tiresome for their lack of innovation and monotonous structure. The most ballsy thing they …

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The Eclipse by James Fenimore Cooper

I. “The Eclipse” by James Fenimore Cooper This one’s from a time when poetry was still defined by true verses and structured forms. Language itself was an artform and it shows in this story. Cooper weaves images and plotlines together with a poetic tongue that towers above the epidemic of bad free verse we have today (broken prose I call it, where line breaks have no function, and content is often lacking). And the story being a memoir too competes …

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  Two world wars, an economic depression, the exploitation of the just and equal principles of nineteenth century socialism for tyrannical purposes, and the perversion of the industrial age for the creation of violent war machines and the establishment of a military industrial complex. These are only some of the things that destroyed what George Orwell saw as two millenia of progress and preservation in Western thought. The prominent rise in technology no longer had promising prospects. All other advances …

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