Me, John Green and the Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Unfolding Paper Towns

The opening minutes of Paper Towns, the latest instalment in the John Green Cinematic Universe, aren’t especially promising. Our middle-class white teenage protagonist explains, in faux-profound seriousness, that “everyone gets a miracle.” Maybe you win the lottery, maybe you “marry the Queen of England.” Said middle-class white teenager, Quentin (Nat Wolff), has already found his…

Wild (2014)

In the mid 90s, Cheryl Strayed hiked over a thousand miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. Her book, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, published in 2012, described both the challenges of her external journey and the traumas that drove her to the trek: her mother’s death, her divorce, her drug…

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

The Fault in Our Stars is carefully constructed to tear plaintively at your heartstrings. It works best not as a weepy, but as a gentle evocation of romance through the subjective perspective of teenage protagonist, Hazel Grace (Shailene Woodley). Hazel has cancer, yes, and the story is in many ways about that. It’s also about…

Wild at Heart (1990)

David Lynch is one of my favourite filmmakers, so I thought Wild at Heart, which left me cold on first viewing, warranted a second chance. I’ve heard many others unimpressed by Lynch’s work, even masterpieces like Mulholland Drive, describing them as simply random events strung together. Sadly, Wild at Heart puts me in their shoes.…