Silence is Golden—Especially If It’s a Silent Phone

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silenced phones

If you’re willing to dress up like a cow on Chick-Fil-A’s “Cow Appreciation Day,” you can be assured you’ll be dining on a free entrée. On 7-Eleven’s “Free Slurpee Day,” you’ll quench your thirst without dipping into your wallet. If you traipse into any number of restaurants on your birthday, you’re almost certain to get a […]

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“Bandersnatch”: The Possibility—and Peril—of Story

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bandersnatch

Stories are never one-way streets. It’s not just what the story’s creator pours into them; we, the consumer, bring elements to the party as well—our experiences, our ideals, our moods. These elements inherently shape a given story we’re reading or viewing or playing. So even while watching the same movie, two people can have two […]

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Pop Culture’s Top 10 Movers and Shakers (2018 Edition)

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movers and shakers

See ya, 2018. Wouldn’t want to be ya. Who would? The year was so crazy that even Vincent Van Gogh would have suggested it get a hold of itself. Terrible fires in California. Terrible cold out east. A Tesla Roadster is driving around in space. Certain eels are compulsively swimming into the noses of certain […]

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Why Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old is a Doc Worth Seeing

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shall not grow old

What a Christmas present. My daughter gifted me the other night with tickets to see the five-year passion project of director Peter Jackson. (The Fathom Event played Dec. 17 in about 500 theaters, and it’ll be in theaters again tomorrow, Dec. 27.) And I just had to type out a quick blog to say … […]

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Aquaman’s Box-Office Stocking Overflows

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mm aquaman

Nothing says Christmas like a soggy superhero with a big fork. So said the masses that scurried to their local theaters this weekend in advance of the holiday—plunking down whatever they had left over from their Christmas shopping for tickets to Aquaman. The DC superhero flick earned $67.4 million to take the box-office crown. That’s […]

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A Few of My Favorite Things, Part 4

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This time of year we’re offered a lot of “best of” lists: Most important news stories for 2018. Top 10 sports highlights for the year. Best eco-friendly companies for ’18. Even when it’s not an annual compilation, most of us are drawn to these sorts of lists. We love lists. Why, members of the Plugged […]

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Social Animals Showcases the Inspiring, Terrifying World of Instagram

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Social Animals

In Social Animals, a new documentary directed by Jonathan Ignatius Green, a teen laments the chaos that is Instagram: “You have to deal with the perverts, the disrespectful teenagers, the racist people, and family members,” she says. “That’s too much.” But is she going to delete her account? Probably not. Instagram may be “too much,” […]

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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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