Brian Doan

Writer & Blogger

Oberlin, Ohio

Brian Doan

Film Scholar, Pop Culture Writer/Blogger, Freelancer.

Engaged and Engaging Prose.



One Life, Furnished in Early Geekery: Harlan Ellison and "The Twilight Zone"

It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. Ellison: It is one of the most ridiculous, stupid pieces of shit I have ever seen in my life. It’s a rip-off, a steal from Bob Heinlen’s Time Enough for Love, to begin with. Link to Story

A Sorta Vibe: "Party Girl"

Bright Wall/Dark Room Link to Story

Keeping the Elegant End Up: "The Spy Who Loves Me" at 40 Link to Story

Watch The Skies: "Empire of the Sun" and the Difficult Third Album

Bright Wall/Dark Room Link to Story

Before the First Avenger: "The Rocketeer" 25 Years Later

"All my vague cartoon ambitions suddenly fused into one crystal clear goal: to draw dramatic, emotionally-charged, energized scenes of power, grandeur, and intensity. It was like movie-making on paper, and you were the writer, designer, and director." Dave Stevens, creator of The Rocketeer. "I’ve bought a ticket in a lottery, the grand prize of which amounts to this: being read in 1935." Link to Story

Post-Apocalyptic Alienation Revue: Richard Lester's The Bed-Sitting Room (1969) and the Dream of London at the End of the World

In my own life, my hand gets caught in my sleeve in most of my dramatic exits. “It was a depressing film to work on. It was painful. And that comes over,” Richard Lester admitted to interviewer Steven Soderbergh, as they looked back at his 1969 post-apocalyptic comedy The Bed-Sitting Room in their book-length dialogue Getting Away With It.
Bright Wall/Dark Room Link to Story

The Best Performances of 2015

A living legend. A lonely shopgirl. A scientist. Several assassins. The best performances of 2015 came from various corners of the world, from actors who we expect to see in features like this to ones we had never heard of before 2015. Watching a new crop of young actors rise in some of the year's best films (and click here for our top ten) can be invigorating, and seeing performers who we thought may have given their last great performance deliver the best work of their career can be breathtaking. Link to Story

The Individual Top Tens of 2015

Yesterday, we released the consensus Top Ten Films of 2015, led by George Miller's "Mad Max: Fury Road." Today, we dig deeper, presenting you with all submitted lists from our brilliant critics and independent contributors. There are over two hundred films cited below as among the best of 2015, displaying both the diversity in quality at the cinema this year and the unique voices that cover it for our site. Link to Story

Magical Realism: "Northern Exposure" 25 Years Later

"We used Alaska more for what it represents than what it is. It is disconnected both physically and mentally from the lower 48, and it has an attractive mystery." CHRIS: Soapy once told me that the thing he loved most about country music was its sense of myth. There's heroes and villains, good and bad, right and wrong. Link to Story

The Act of Not Having An Act: Cameron Crowe's Ambivalent Humanism

These images have certain elements in common: movie stars, longing, a search for some sense of community (even in a Manhattan dreamscape). They reinforce Crowe’s interest in human faces (close-ups are like a chorus he’s constantly returning to for emotional reinforcement), display his adept deployment of pop music, and extend Crowe’s reputation as a middlebrow humanist, the quintessential Nice Guy of contemporary Hollywood. Link to Story

Everyone's A Hero In Their Own Way: Tracing the Superheroic Roots of Joss Whedon

It was early 2004, and I was sitting with some fellow graduate students at an outdoor table at the Market Street Pub in Gainesville, Florida (one of the glories of Gainesville was that you could sit at an outdoor table in January or February). Somehow, the subject of comics came up. We talked about the characters, creators and titles that we'd loved as kids, and my friend Roger asked me if I still read superhero comics, as he did. Link to Story

Seasick, But Still Floating: Blur and "The Great Escape"

This essay explores Blur's 1995 album THE GREAT ESCAPE, combining formal analysis with historical and theoretical context, while thinking about what the record meant in the broader contexts of British and American pop music.
PopMatters Link to Story


Brian Doan

Brian Doan is an Affiliate Scholar with Oberlin College, where he taught courses in cinema and popular culture from 2006-2011. He has a Ph.D. in English (with a concentration in Cinema Studies) from the University of Florida.

He's the author of The Song That You Hear In Your Head: U2's Pop (forthcoming from Thought Catalog). He has contributed essays on film, television and popular culture to, BrightWall/Dark Room, PopMatters, and other sites, as well as essays to several academic collections. He also blogs at Bubblegum Aesthetics ( He lives in Oberlin, Ohio.