Boys State Shows Us Democracy in Action—For Better and Worse

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As you hop across your channels and streaming services, looking for something (anything?) new to watch, you might cross paths with Boys State, a documentary that just hit Apple TV+ today. It’s a fascinating, depressing and oddly inspiring look at politics in America—if it was driven by high school guys. A little background: The Boys […]

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What We Get—and Lose—by Turning History Into Entertainment

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History, they say, is written by the victors. We might also say that history’s written by the entertainers. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—but it does bring its share of asterisks to the party. Take Hamilton, the smash Broadway hit that became another smash on Disney+ this year. The musical comes with some issues that […]

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What’s New and Streaming for Families in August (2020)

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We’re well into the dog days of summer now And thanks to the ongoing COVID crisis, we’re wondering if the kids will ever leave the house again. We’re worried that huge social-distancing hoop skirts might soon become a fashion craze, hoping that breathing our own carbon dioxide in a mask doesn’t make you lose your […]

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The Virus That Ate the Summer Multiplex

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The coronavirus has ravaged our world for the last six months, forcing unprecedented closures, quarantines and adjustments to our normal ways of living. And that’s been especially true when it comes to movies. The big studios have repeatedly shifted opening dates for summer tentpole movies, each time hoping and believing the next date will really […]

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The Plugged In Show, Episode 35: The Enduring Appeal of War Movies

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War is among the most terrible of human experiences. And yet, the struggles that vast armies and individual soldiers face in combat has been the stuff of epic stories as far back as we have written records. War is horrible, yet we cannot look away from it. Perhaps that helps to explain appeal of war […]

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New Flannery O’Connor Doc Unpacks Her Life and Faith

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When she was attending the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the mid-1940s, Flannery O’Connor asked her priest whether she could write about “difficult things.” We can only assume that the priest gave O’Connor his blessing: Few writers have tackled more “difficult things” than O’Connor. The new documentary Flannery, playing at a variety of “virtual cinemas” […]

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Can’t Keep a Good Evil Empire Down

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The empire did indeed strike back: The Disney empire, that is. We’re back again with an encore Movie Monday, but only because the box-office charts are just too interesting to let go without comment. According to Deadline, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back climbed back to the top of the box-office 40 years after its […]

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Hamilton! (Oh, and some other important news, too.)

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The coronavirus continues to change the world of entertainment. We’ve chronicled those changes in this space over the last several months, watching as the box-office dollars shrank from the hundreds of millions to the just plain hundreds, and as movies moved from the multiplex to streaming services and video on demand. Well, we’re changing a […]

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Studios Play Wait-and-See While Will Ferrell Wins the Weekend

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We were this close. It looked like the movie business was just a month away from returning to some semblance of normalcy. Disney’s live-action Mulan was set to crack open the delayed summer season July 24. Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was set to premiere July 31. Theaters were warming up their popcorn poppers in gleeful anticipation. […]

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Words Can Hurt Us. Especially the Bad Ones.

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Sometimes when people ask what I do for a living, I tell them I count profanities in movies. That’s not entirely true, of course, but it is an important part of my job. But why is it important? In a culture that grows ever coarser and, linguistically, less creative, it’s a fair question. And today, […]

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An Interview With Selfie Dad’s Michael Jr.

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In the new faith-based movie Selfie Dad, now available at streaming outlets online, comedian Michael Jr. plays Ben Marcus. He’s a struggling father and husband who’s quietly slipping into a mid-life crisis—at home, at work, in his faith. Everything changes one day as Ben’s trying to pry his tween son off the computer. Jack is […]

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Culture Clips: Waiting a Little Longer for the Oscars

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We’ve all gotten used to waves of cancellations and delays due to the coronavirus. Now, on the cusp of Father’s Day, it’s impacted the daddy of all awards extravaganzas. The board of governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it’ll delay the Oscars by two months, pushing the ceremony from […]

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And the Cinematic Shuffling Continues

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The coronavirus is still out there, of course. But for many of us, life is returning to some semblance of normalcy. Restaurants are opening again. Businesses are welcoming back workers. Even movie theaters are thinking about how they’re going to serve their returning movie-hungry patrons. But will those patrons have anything to watch? That remains […]

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