Television Tops 2016: Paul Asay’s Year-End Picks

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Bacteria and today’s television landscape have a lot in common. Like bacteria, television shows seem to be multiplying at a dizzying rate: Networks and streaming agencies gave viewers 409 scripted shows in the 2015-16 season, more than double the number we saw just six years ago, and even more are on track for this year. […]

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A Big Year For Jesus (at the Movies)

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Christians sometimes complain, especially this time of year, that Jesus is being taken out of everything. We bemoan the lack of traditional Nativity scenes on public property. We lament when people wish us “happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Last year, Starbucks was lambasted for serving up a plain red cup for the holidays instead […]

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Culture Clips: What the Famous Think of Fame

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Most of us gave thanks last Thursday, acknowledging our many blessings. Many celebrities likely did the same. But Lady Gaga suggested that, for all the fame and success she’s achieved (and is surely thankful for), something’s been lost along the way. “I miss people,” she said on CBS Sunday Morning, breaking down in tears. “I […]

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Moana Sails Past Fantastic Beasts

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Another long Thanksgiving weekend, another Disney princess atop the box office. Three years ago, Disney’s Frozen climbed to the box office dais during the gobble-gob holiday, collecting a cool $67.4 million over the weekend and $93.6 million spanning the full five-day Thanksgiving span. The latter mark was an all-time record, incidentally, and hinted at the […]

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Culture Clips: The Post-Truth Edition

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We live in a post-truth world. Or, at least, so says the Oxford English Dictionary. The hallowed caretaker of the King’s English dubbed the phrase “post-truth” as its Word of the Year. It’s not the first time that Oxford’s made a rather unusual pick for its annual word: Last year it ignored words entirely and […]

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Arrival and Us: Are We All Speaking the Same Language?

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Almost everyone likes Arrival. The $24.1 million worth of people who saw it thought it was just fine. (It gets a “B” from viewers, according to Cinemascore.) Secular critics thought it was fantastic. (It’s got a 93% “freshness” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and plenty of reviewers are calling it one of the best movies of […]

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Culture Clips: Hollywood Reacts to the Election

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We begin this week where we began last: with the election. Even though President-Elect Donald Trump was a former reality star himself, that doesn’t mean that Hollywood was thrilled with his win. The Los Angeles Times gathered celebrity reactions on Twitter and discovered that while Scott Baio and Kirstie Alley were cool with the results, […]

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Doctor Strange Wins Again

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It’s autumn, no question. We’re watching football. We’re raking leaves. Some of us may already be basting the Thanksgiving Turducken. But at the movies, it sure looks an awful lot like summer. For the second straight weekend, a Marvel superhero movie—Doctor Strange—stood atop the box office wearing its nifty sentient cape, collecting an estimated $43 […]

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Vodcast: The Curious Case of Doctor Strange

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Myth and the Curious Case of Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is nothing if not an odd, curious duck. Both the character and the movie, to be clear. The “good” doctor himself is a bit of a roguish hero who, while outwardly projecting confidence and bravado, inwardly struggles with a massive identity crisis due to a severely misplaced sense of self-worth. The movie itself, […]

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When Doctor Strange Went to Ephesus

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Doctor Strange is casting its lucrative spell on the box office. It’s Marvel’s latest successful introduction of a character whom only really “inside baseball” comic book fans likely even knew existed. And in translating the mystical story of Dr. Stephen Strange to the big screen, director Scott Derrickson has managed to do something paradoxically compelling: […]

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Strange Days at the Box Office

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Never underestimate the drawing power of Benedict Cumberbatch in a cape. Doctor Strange, the latest fringe Marvel character to get his own big movie deal, performed a nifty little magic trick this weekend. His titular movie teleported straight to the top of the box office, conjuring an estimated $85 million into Disney’s already packed coffers. […]

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