I grew up in the 5,000 person town of Canal Fulton, Ohio. Started writing poetry at 14. Fiction at 19. Movie analysis at 23.
My primary focus on this site is explaining movie endings, narrative construction, and how movies connect to the psychology of our day to day lives.
I had always loved movies, but it wasn’t until college at Case Western Reserve University that I studied film and discovered a natural ability to understand and explain movies. At Case Western, I studied with Robert Spadoni and Linda Ehrlich. At the University of New South Wales, Jodi Brooks.
I’m a novelist. I’ve written two books, and have another on the way. A major part of my life is deconstructing and understanding and utilizing narrative technique. I’ve been formally trained in poetry (Sarah Gridley; Mette Jakobsen), fiction (Wayne Johnson; Mary Grimm), and non-fiction (Ted Gup). I’m the editor-in-chief of the literary journal Red Fez.
So when it comes to explaining the narrative art of a movie, you’re in the hands of a professional!
Articles by Chris
- The Art of the Surprise Smash: why we love Goose the Cat, Hulk, and Groot
- The Giant Explanation of Black Swan
- How Miles Morales found his spark, and how you can too
- Creed II: how fathers influence sons and sons influence fathers
- Drawing in the sand—Velvet Buzzsaw is a $21 million “fuck you” to the film industry
- Serenity, computer simulation, and why the twist of Patrick murdering his step-father makes sense
- Suspiria explained: why Susie erased Klemperer’s memories (and more)
- Explaining the end of Anomalisa, what the mechanical Japanese woman means, why Lisa is an anomaly, and Michael’s mechanical face
- A Star Is Born: explained
- Clouds of Sils Maria: explained
- Explaining the end of Stonewall, loving someone who doesn’t love you, being loved by someone you don’t love, and self-acceptance as a step toward acceptance
- Explaining the season 7 Winterfell plot between Arya, Sansa, and Little Finger in Game of Thrones
- Split and The Dusty Finish, the Shyamalan Twist, and M. Night’s Resurrection
- Embers and Groundhog Day and what they teach us about memory, experience, and the human condition
- Explaining the end of Frank, how Bigdungsromans work, and whether or not Jon commits suicide
- Meet Matthew Puccini, writer/director of The Mess He Made
- Meet Eric Schefter, co-director and editor of Weather House
- Exploring why Lights Out was more popular than The Babadook and why the two are siblings
- Explaining the thematic development and goodness of Creed by using examples from T.S. Eliot, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Fight Club, The Untouchables, and Battleship Potemkin
- How Vintage Tomorrows defamiliarizes sci-fi fan culture
- Explaining the ghost metaphor in Crimson Peak and why it’s sort of lackluster
- The Martian and why Mark Watney’s lack of love interest is the best thing for science. Also: Neil deGrasse Tyson.
- Chemical Cut, Fight Club, Groundhog Day, The Natural and the secret of dealing with life when it’s overwhelming and you feel stuck
- The earthen heart of American Fable and how it connects to The Offspring and your own childhood
- Shin Godzilla and 2014’s Godzilla, major differences and the expectations for a Godzilla movie
- Interview with Filmmaker Sudhanshu Saria (Loev)
- The Handmaiden and The Natural and how each explores the role of sex in our lives
- Was Rudderless based on a true story?
- Closet Monster and the secrets of originality, using American Beauty and The Sword in the Stone
- Hands of Stone and why the relationships in boxing movies often make them Oscar contenders
- Tools of the Trade
- Explaining the end of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, the theme of moral ambiguity, how endings inform the story, and whether or not Mildred kills the soldier
- Explaining the end of A Cure for Wellness, the various ways movies end, what “wellness” is in this story, what the “cure” was, and how this gives us Lockhart’s creepy smile
- Explaining the end of The Shape of Water, the origins of Elisa, the similarities to Pan’s Labyrinth, and whether or not Elisa actually died
- Marjorie Conrad on Chemical Cut, character creation, how to treat a character, filmmaking lessons, modeling, and Patricia Highsmith
- Explaining the end of The Lobster, how philosophical endings differ from the norm and why
- Explaining the end of Blow-Up, how thematic endings differ from plot and philosophy, transience, elusiveness, and more
- Explaining the end of The Fountain, how there’s a fantastic ending and a grounded ending, and the theme of coming to terms with death
- Big in Japan and “the three branches of narrative tension” for the win
- Explaining the end of No Country for Old Men, how showing versus telling works, the importance of the title, and the concept of generational push
- The Glena Avila Documentary
- Find Your Way and how important context is in our daily life
- Sex Ed versus Boyhood and the depth of one over the other
- Explaining the ending of Vanilla Sky, why it’s all a dream, the glitch, and how Inception helps
- Explaining the end of Donnie Darko, the many implications of deus ex machina, and the relationship with Inception
- Explaining the end of Manchester by the Sea, showing versus telling, why Lee is the way he is, and if Lee has a decent future
- Time Lapse and a discussion on what I think makes for great sci-fi
- OMG, I’m a Robot! as an important look into the dynamic between manliness and vulnerability
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the symbolism in the destruction of Jedha and Scarif—an appreciation of Gareth Edwards and mise-en-scene
- The Tribe and Rogue One and the impact of cynicism and hope on the future of humanity
- Explaining the opening scene of Nocturnal Animals and how to find meaning in movies
- Explaining the end of Nocturnal Animals, why Edward didn’t show up, why this is existential revenge, and why Susan is doomed
- Narrative Question Sam Mendes In Spectre, why does it take such a short amount of time for Madeleine to fall in love with James Bond?
- Is Olaf the Snowman in Frozen gay? A discussion on the multi-faceted nature of people followed by sexuality in Disney movies
- In Spectre, why did Madeleine Swann try to leave James Bond?
- The failure of Ashley’s foot/leg creature thing in Blair Witch
- The end of The Ides of March explained
- In Sicario, what was the role of Silvio, the Mexican police officer? Why did he say “Medellin”?
- What Art of the Prank reveals about news media, featuring Making a Murderer, Peace Officer, and The Hunting Ground