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Groupthink in the Cave: A New Perspective on The Matrix

Kelly Salsbery
Stephen F. Austin State University
Nacogdoches TX USA

Anne Collins Smith
Stephen F. Austin State University
Nacogdoches TX USA


While analyses of the movie The Matrix abound, the authors propose a new perspective, particularly useful in the current polarized political milieu in the US. The Matrix provides an excellent example of the phenomenon known as “groupthink,” and a pedagogically helpful way to address it. It is especially significant that the hero of the movie, with whom students identify, has to struggle to overcome groupthink within himself.

Keywords: The Matrix, The Wachowskis, groupthink, Plato, Manuel Velasquez, Irving Janis

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Film Review: Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing: Whedon, Branagh, and the Anxiety of Influence

Jessica Maerz
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona, USA

Long before he was the internationally famous head of a major Hollywood superhero franchise, Joss Whedon was a beloved writer/director of cult TV shows, boasting a dedicated following of fanatics who parsed his every quirky turn of phrase.  In the 1990s, when Whedon was building his fanbase with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Kenneth Branagh was at the height of his dominance as a mainstream interpreter of screen Shakespeare, thanks to the series of adaptations that he inaugurated with 1989’s Henry V.  While Shakespeare plays like Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth have received multiple big-screen adaptations, Much Ado About Nothing has received only two: Kenneth Branagh’s own in 1993, and Joss Whedon’s, exactly twenty years later.  This essay examines Whedon’s adaptation through the lens of Branagh’s, noting the many conceptual, stylistic, and industrial similarities that unite them—for despite Whedon’s insistence that Branagh’s Much Ado did not provide him with an adaptational roadmap, the films demonstrate striking similarities in context and content that can’t be simply explained by their shared source text. Continue Reading →