Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison made anthems out of agony

“I guess that’s what life has come to mean to me: It’s not ever quite right, but that’s okay,” Scott Hutchison told us in 2016. Josh Modell, our devoted ambassador to Frightened Rabbit, had asked him what he liked best about his job. Scott (forget journalistic practice; “Hutchison” doesn’t feel right for someone who’s…

Atlanta, Westworld, and the episode-description revolution

There’s always too much good TV to keep up with, but in a packed spring—The Americans, Westworld, The Terror, Legion, sigh—Atlanta’s second season has felt like uniquely essential viewing. Comedies go “dark” all the time, but few manage to delve all the way into horror, as Donald Glover’s has, while still retaining…

This season, The Handmaid’s Tale is making the connection between Gilead and present-day America explicit

Premiering three months after Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, The Handmaid’s Tale couldn’t help but feel significant. The relevancy hits because Margaret Atwood pulled every detail about the controlling and punishment of women in her dystopian novel from real-world examples, mostly historical (going as far…

The rainy, smoky, lovesick world of Alan Rudolph, the last of the romantics

Alan Rudolph, recently unretired film director and slept-on romantic of American movies, is speaking to me by phone from Bainbridge Island in Washington’s Puget Sound. The seaplanes are taking off, he says, and he’ll move if they get too noisy. His voice is an older man’s, reedy and sweetish with a California sound.…

No one in Marvel's Avengers universe has a character arc that compares to Tony Stark's

As easy as it often looks to be Tony Stark—the success, the money, the endless array of awesome gadgets—the question of who, exactly, Tony Stark is as a person is more difficult to pin down. From movie to movie (and often even within a single film), no other character goes on as transformative a journey as Iron Man.

Netflix’s sci-fi thriller 3% is helping viewers conquer their fear of subtitles

Have you seen the Brazilian sci-fi thriller 3%? According to Netflix, there’s a good chance you not only saw it, but binged it. The streaming behemoth’s 2017 statistics (at least, the ones it released to the public) included a list of the most-binged shows globally, and coming in at number two—ahead of The OA, …

From femme fatale to complex superhero: The evolution of the MCU’s Black Widow

The Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t just changed the way people consume movie franchises. It’s also changed the way audiences engage with cinematic characters. Heroes introduced as the lead of their own film can go on to be tertiary characters in another and vice versa. And no character better embodies this new form…

A visit to the new Marvel museum exhibit, where the MCU movies are the real heroes

Anyone who’s read Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold Story or Blake Bell and Michael Vassallo’s The Secret History Of Marvel Comics knows there’s a rich background and involving narrative surrounding the creation of some of our most iconic and enduring superheroes. But a new exhibit makes a simpler argument:…

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A spoonful of sitcom synergy: 25 years of the "Disney episode"

If you’ve watched sitcoms over the past 25 years, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a “Disney episode.” They all follow the same basic formula: A family (it’s always a family) is suddenly presented with an opportunity to go to Walt Disney World (it’s nearly always Walt Disney World). Maybe the uncle’s band is playing…

Ready Player One’s real nostalgia trip is to an era when critics didn’t hate pop culture references

Get ready for a blast of crazy pop-culture nostalgia: Remember when pop culture references weren’t considered a creative cheap shot? There was a time when a well-timed zinger about an old TV show or a recent movie was considered refreshing, rather than about on par with the band name-checking the town that they’re…

From a breakup to a StartUp: ABC attempts to deconstruct the family sitcom

With ABC rolling out multiple new comedies this week, now would be a good time for a family (sitcom) meeting. The network’s reputation for shows centered around the home goes back to Ozzie and Harriet—a tradition kept alive by Modern Family—but the last decade has seen ABC struggle to keep any comedy afloat without…

The Justice League Blu-ray is a bizarre exercise in hiding the truth about moviemaking

The behind-the-scenes drama that went into Warner Bros.’ tentpole superhero team-up Justice League this past fall ended up being a far more compelling story than the one that played out in front of the cameras. Anyone who was paying attention to the ongoing shakeups, studio meddling, and eventual overhaul of the…

The most talked-about political mystery of 1996 involving Bill Clinton wasn’t Whitewater

Twenty years ago today, the film Primary Colors was released in theaters, disappointing audiences who expected something more than John Travolta and Emma Thompson doing their best Halloween-costume versions of Bill and Hillary Clinton. But it’s hard to imagine anyone queueing up for the movie could have been anywhere…