Minor tweaks by Irvin Kershner helped transform Darth Vader into an icon

There might be no more iconic character in pop culture than Darth Vader, whose sloping, passionless mask you’ll see on the heads of children and adults every Halloween. What’s wild is that, as Nerdwriter points out in his latest video essay, Vader is barely in the original Star Wars trilogy. Of that trilogy’s 6 and a…

Some of Nathan For You's best moments came when its star broke character

Comedy Central’s Nathan For You is one of the best series on TV, but articulating that to the uninitiated is tough. On its surface, the show, which finds lonely “business consultant” Nathan Fielder conjuring up elaborate marketing stunts for small businesses, can feel callous and cruel, as if he’s punking them or…

Why do we let Black Mirror torture us?

In case you weren’t feeling anxious enough, Charlie Brooker’s dystopian anthology series Black Mirror is returning later this year with a new batch of episodes that will at least entertain you while piercing your gut with an existential distrust of all things digital. If you don’t watch the show, and haven’t read any…

Let's talk about Norm Macdonald, divisive comic genius

“Norm splits people,” says Nerdwriter at the top of his latest video essay on stand-up icon Norm Macdonald. He’s not wrong. Macdonald has spent his career alienating audiences with jokes that repeatedly test an audience’s patience, whether it be through an “offensive” punchline (revisit his time hosting SNL’s…

How The Handmaid’s Tale breathed new life into a tired cinematic trick

With the rising ubiquity of DSLR cameras over the last decade, budding filmmakers have discovered (and subsequently exploited) the freedoms allowed by the full frame sensor. As the Nerdwriter points out in his latest video essay, creating a super shallow depth of field has become the go-to technique for giving your…

There’s one very simple rule to not fucking up your film adaptation

With reviews for Sony’s troubled adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower arriving (and confirming some of our worst fears about the movie), it’s probably a good time to reexamine just what makes for a good adaptation. Luckily, the Nerdwriter’s latest video essay tackles that very topic, boiling the question down…

There’s never a bad time to obsess over There Will Be Blood

This video is not about There Will Be Blood—it is, rather, about using Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2007 masterpiece as a case study for the exercise of counting a movie’s cuts. In so doing, the latest Nerdwriter video elucidates a method of understanding a movie’s rhythms, and taking a more objective viewpoint of its…