Top Television 2018: Paul Asay and Kristin Smith’s Year-End Picks

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television tops

Fun fact: About 495 scripted television series were reportedly aired in 2018. If true, that’s a new record—up from the old record of 487 set last year, which in turn was up from the previous record of 455 set the year before. That’s a lot of television. And even for Plugged In’s intrepid television reviewers […]

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Culture Clips: Is ‘VeggieTales’ Racist?

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veggietales

Hardly a week goes by these days without something somewhere in popular culture offending someone, it seems. Several more such stories made the rounds on the internet the last few days. And this week’s list includes a couple of surprising new “offenders.” Starting with VeggieTales. Yeah, that’s right, Bob, Larry and the gang have apparently […]

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Is a PG-13 Deadpool Movie a Good Thing?

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deadpool once

I’ll be seeing Once Upon a Deadpool today—the new PG-13 version of the very, very, VERRRRRY R-rated Deadpool 2. But already, without having seen a second of the new cut, I’m super conflicted. On one hand, Deadpool (actor Ryan Reynolds under the mask and prosthetics) can be pretty funny, and much of Deadpool 2’s humor […]

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Musical Musings 2018: Adam Holz’s Year-End Picks

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Music picks 2018

Every year, I find a handful of music releases to look forward to. (Imagine Dragons and Mumford & Sons, for instance, were on the list this year, even if I wasn’t able to include those two bands’ most recent, more-positive-than-not releases here.) And then, there are surprises. Sometimes big ones. Last year, for example, I […]

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Culture Clips: What Do Teens Talk About on Social Media?

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social media

If you’ve ever wondered exactly what teens tend to post on social media, well, wonder no more! Pew Research just published an in-depth look at “Teens’ Social Media Habits and Experiences.” And the data mavens at statista.com have broken down those results into this infographic: You will find more infographics at Statista. In addition to […]

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Ralph (and Disney) Win Again

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The best thing about Thanksgiving? The leftovers. And this weekend, the same could be said of the box office—at least for the movies in question. With just one new release in theaters (and that one not very prominent), the weekend’s box-office derby featured a veritable cornucopia of reheated cinematic holdovers. Indeed, the whole top five […]

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Culture Clips: Nostalgia Cuts Both Ways

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Nostalgia is big business. If it’s been a hit in the last century, whether on the big screen or small, someone in Hollywood is figuring out a way to reboot, repackage or relaunch it. That’s because familiar entertainment properties from the past pack built-in marketing muscle, full of yesteryear’s fond memories. Disney, of course, has […]

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Of Turkeys, Technology and Accidental Texts

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thanksgiving

Many of us likely spent our Thanksgivings with family and friends, passing the mashed potatoes and side-stepping politics as much as humanly possible. But Thanksgiving at Wanda Dench’s house looks a little different. In 2016, 59-year-old Wanda invited her teen grandson and his girlfriend over for Thanksgiving dinner via text. Or, at least, that’s who […]

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Ralph Breaks the Box Office

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Have a nice Thanksgiving, dear reader? Had your fill of turkey? Asking Santa Claus for roomier sweatpants? Well, my friends, you have company. You’re not the only ones who stuffed yourselves over the Thanksgiving weekend. Take Disney, for instance, which cooked Ralph Breaks the Internet for Thanksgiving film feasters. The sly and sweetish animated flick […]

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Can 13 Reasons Why be tragically influential? A Grieving Mom Says Yes, and Why.

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13 Reasons why

When researching a book I wrote about media discernment, I found scores of studies linking numerous negative human behaviors to entertainment. For instance, researchers believe that kids who see characters smoke onscreen are more likely to light up in real life. Other studies link onscreen sexual activities and actual sexual behaviors. But what about suicides? […]

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Grindelwald Grabs Gold

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grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald stole the box-office championship win this weekend, snatched an estimated $62.2 million in North America. (We won’t blame the movie’s notoriously sticky-pawed Niffler, but its presence couldn’t have hurt.) That’s about $13 million less than its predecessor pitchforked into its own monetary barn, but still certainly enough to keep […]

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