Quarantine Short Story Contest 1st Place Winner: “Orange and Yellow” by Kennedy Matchett

Quarantine Short Story Contest

A quick note from Ben Boruff, teacher and founder of this blog:

Author Neil Gaiman once said that the “joy of being an author is the joy of feeling I can do anything.” If writing is truly an act of limitlessness, as Gaiman describes, then it is a particularly valuable tool for those who feel limited. This is why, near the beginning of the coronavirus-related lockdown, I decided to host a friendly short story contest.

Shortly after the announcement of the Quarantine Short Story Contest, Chautauqua in the Dunes offered to partner with the event. We found some experienced educators to judge the event, and we invited all to participate.

Weeks later, we received many brilliant stories. All contestants should be proud of their submissions. And special congratulations to Kennedy Matchett, the winner of the Quarantine Short Story Competition. Thank you for sharing your impressive story with us!

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Why DC Universe’s Harley Quinn Is the Perfect Quarantine Show for You


The pilot episode of the Justice League television show—the seminal two-season animated show from the early 2000s—allows tension to build, slow and steady. The opening, pre-title scenes tease the enigmatic demise of a couple unsuspecting astronauts. After the theme song plays (and as our goosebumps of admiration slowly begin to subside), we see Batman. He moves in the shadows, stalking a few questionable scientists who are tinkering with unknown technology. More than five minutes into the first episode, Batman—equipped with Kevin Conroy’s stoic, limestone voice—says the Justice League’s first line: “I doubt that modification’s legal.” Thus begins a show about honor and justice.

In her DC Universe animated show, what is Harley Quinn’s first line? Continue reading

Top Ten Movies of 2019: Jeremiah’s Picks


Tony Stark

This is Jeremiah back with a top 9 movies that I loved most out of the 40 movies that I saw this year. As always this isn’t ranking every movie that came out this year since I clearly missed a lot of movies that came out, but instead its me telling you that these movies right here are amazing and you should check them out.

Number 9

Captain Marvel Continue reading

Every Movie I Watched for the First Time in 2019: An Analysis

2019 Analysis

Near the beginning of 2019, I watched Life Itself, the 2014 documentary about the life and work of famous film critic Roger Ebert. Consider this quote from Ebert:

“We are all born with a certain package. We are who we are. Where we were born, who we were born as, how we were raised. We are kind of stuck inside that person, and the purpose of civilization and growth is to be able to reach out and empathize a little bit with other people, find out what makes them tick, what they care about. For me, the movies are like a machine that generates empathy. If it’s a great movie, it lets you understand a little bit more about what it’s like to be a different gender, a different race, a different age, a different economic class, a different nationality, a different profession, different hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears. It helps us to identify with the people who are sharing this journey with us. And that, to me, is the most noble thing that good movies can do and it’s a reason to encourage them and to support them and to go to them.”

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Top Ten Movies of 2019: Big B’s Picks

Best of 2019

MPAA ratings vary. Not all movies are suitable for all audiences.

10. Picture Character – directed by Ian Cheney and Martha Shane

I saw Picture Character at the Traverse City Film Festival, and an older man seated in front of me did not appreciate this movie. He peppered his movie-watching experience with a variety of muttered comments—”Oh my god,” “This is ridiculous,” “I can’t watch this”—designed to communicate his dissatisfaction to everyone seated near him. And the man, apparently a perfectionist, was not willing to subject his comments to misinterpretation: twenty minutes before the end of the movie, he stood up and left the movie theater, mumbling incoherently as he shuffled his way toward the aisle in the dark. A grand display of angry incredulity. 🙄 Continue reading

Planet of the Humans: Possibly the Most Important Movie of 2019


I was silent during the post-film Q&A. Like many in the audience, it took some time for me to emotionally and intellectually process the information I had just received.

In the fight against climate change, only a few things offer comfort: the semi-frequent construction of wind farms, the increasingly busy solar panel market, and the slow-but-steady decline of our dependence on coal.

But what if those things were not helping us? What if they were, in fact, causing new problems? What if our current green solutions were just as black as coal? Continue reading

Captain Marvel (2019) Review: “I just want to go on the record and say that this film is great”


Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel is a Marvel installment directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. It stars Brie Larson in her debut as Captain Marvel and is groundbreaking in that it’s Marvel’s first film to star a female superhero. The first thing I want to say is that this movie is good. I’ve been watching reviews since I saw it, and I’ve found myself confused and bewildered by the response to the film and the critiques I’ve seen. So, I just want to go on the record and say that this film is great and the article is going to read more as a rebuttal to some stuff I’ve seen that’s confusing me. Continue reading

Every Movie I Watched for the First Time in 2018: An Analysis


Movies impact us.

In 2016, I argued that if “movies can impact a moviegoer’s worldview (by stimulating creativity, encouraging empathy, and raising awareness), then moviegoers should thoughtfully consider which movies they choose to watch.” And I stand by that argument.

But now, in 2019, I offer two clarifications: Continue reading