The House That Jack Built
Ultimately, it’s more of an inconsistent cry into the void than the conversation starter it could have been.
It is with sadness that we report the death of one of our film writing Contributors, Brian Doan, and send our sincere condolences to his wife Denise and his parents, two siblings, 6 nieces and nephews and 4 God-nieces and nephews. Brian was born in New Jersey in 1973, and raised in Michigan. He received his B.A. from Indiana University, and an MA and Ph.D from the University of Florida. He was on the faculty of the Oberlin Cinema Studies Program. In addition to RogerEbert.com, he contributed to blogs at Bubblegum Aestethics (where he wrote a moving obituary about Roger Ebert); the now defunct, Cinespect, and Bright Wall/Dark Room.
Whether he was writing about the Twelve Scenes of Christmas, or Cameron Crowe, or tracing the superheroic roots of Josh Whedon, Brian’s contributions were always inviting, full of ideas, and sometimes even mystical. His passion for film came through in every article. His last article written for this website in September was about the attempted revival of The Twilight Zone. It was entitled: One Life, Furnished in Early Geekery: Harlan Ellison and “The Twilight Zone.” He started it with a reprint of the original opening narration by Rod Serling:
“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middleground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.”
In Brian’s honor we are publishing below the links to all of the articles he contributed to RogerEbert.com. He was well respected here. With her permission, we are also publishing the statement his wife Denise posted on Facebook. May he rest in peace.
Statement on Facebook from his Wife:
"Hi everyone. I am heartsick to tell you that Brian, my husband, died suddenly last night. I'm sorry if it would have been better to notify you personally; I've been trying to do that, but I'm sure you understand.
To his former students I want to tell you how much you sustained him. One of the things he loved most was sharing movies, TV shows, comics, and music/als he loved--and hated--with others. He was so proud of you and the great things you have gone on, and will go on, to do. I'm so grateful that he got to teach the musicals class he loved so much, one last time. He was happiest when he was teaching, and it's because of you.
To the many, many of you whom Brian knew from grad school, his time in Oberlin, and elsewhere in the film scholarship world, please know that he was so excited to see what you all were doing. He eagerly read your books and talked about you.
To his film and media colleagues on social media, I want to thank you for being his cinephilic peeps. He would talk about all the great things you said on Facebook and Twitter, and you made him feel so welcomed. I've gotten to know so many of you from what he told me about you. I don't have access to his Twitter account at the moment, so if you want to tweet about him to spread the word to those who aren't on Facebook with him, please do so. Thank you for giving, and sharing with him, the joy, pleasure, and consternation you share about film, Film Twitter, and all the rest of it.
I'll be switching his Facebook account to a memorial account soon, but in the mean time, please feel very welcome to share memories of him, whether now or down the road."
Brian Doan enters the Twilight Zone.
Brian Doan celebrates a James Bond classic.
A celebration of Disney's "The Rocketeer" on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.
An appreciation of the influential CBS series 25 years after it premiered.
A piece on the history of Cameron Crowe in light of this week's Aloha.
Digging into the catalog of Joss Whedon to chart how the director of Avengers: Age of Ultron got here.
The completion of our countdown of twelve great Chirstmas-set scenes from the movies. Check out #4–#1.
Part two of our countdown of twelve great scenes set around Christmas: #8–#5.
We're counting down twelve great movie scenes set around Christmas. Here is the first batch, with #12 through #9.
Brian Doan wonders if Mark Cousins' "The Story of Film," showing over 15 weeks on TCM this fall, deserves all the praise it has received.
Recent books by Alan Sepinwall and Brett Martin talk about the new “TV revolution,” but looking at the medium’s past is a reminder that revolutions are always cyclical.
If we said there was a clear throughline from "Bonnie and Clyde" and Richard Donner's "Superman: The Movie," you'd say we were crazy, right? Get ready to eat your words as we prove once again that showbiz works in mysterious ways.
The staff choices for the best films of 2018.
A review of Fallout 76.
The ten best films of 2018, according to Glenn Kenny.
If you want to understand David Lynch, maybe the place to start is with his paintings. He paints in a style he descri...