Forget Ghosts and Goblins and Things that Go Bump in the Night. What’s Really Scary? Technology.

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scared of technology

E-mail inboxes are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. Sometimes it’s recipes from your grandma. Sometimes it’s ads from furniture outlets begging you to buy a coffee table. Sometimes it’s notifications from Nigerian princes, telling you you’re wealthy beyond your wildest dreams. And every once in a while, you […]

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Culture Clips: When a Shooter Streams a Massacre

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New Zealand

The world was horrified last week when news spread of the horrific shooting that claimed the lives of 50 people at two New Zealand mosques on March 15. And though similar mass shootings around the world have become a terrible recurring story over the last couple of decades, such wanton carnage increasingly has a disturbing […]

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When Stars Get Depressed

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Justin Bieber depression

Young people are stressed out, anxious and often depressed. In a recent study by the Pew Research Center, some 70% of teens surveyed reported that anxiety and depression are the biggest issues that they see among their peers. Another study published in February in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that about one in seven children […]

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Plugged In Movie Awards: Best Christian Movie

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best christian movie PIMA 2019

It’s the last day to unveil our nominations, and we’ve saved the most spiritual for last. Christian movies are getting better with each passing year, and this year’s crop of nominees suggests the variety we’re seeing from them—from historical epics to modern dramas to the story of a bestselling song. As always, chime in with […]

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Plugged In Movie Awards: Best Movies for Adults

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PIMA adults 2019

I gotta be honest: This might be my favorite category, in part because it triggers such robust discussions inside our little team. How do we weigh a film’s adult content against its inspiring messages? Does a beautifully made movie with just a pretty-good point outclass a just-pretty-good film with an outstanding moral behind it? These […]

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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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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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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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How Stan Lee Changed the World

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Stan Lee

As you’ve probably heard by now, Stan Lee died yesterday at the age of 95. Many have eulogized Lee as a “comics legend,” and that’s wholly fair. As a writer, editor, publisher and eventually chairman of Marvel Comics, he created or co-created some of the world’s most famous superheroes and helped redefine the genre itself. […]

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Culture Clips: Why Do People Want to Be Scared for Fun?

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halloween dog

For most of us, being genuinely frightened is probably something we try to avoid in the real world. But when it comes to entertainment, the opposite is often true. Many people love being scared. Especially this time of year, the time when horror movies rule the multiplexes and haunted houses pop up in seemingly every […]

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Sometimes Free Costs Too Much

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eighth grade

I get a lot of emails that make me scratch my head. I’m guessing you can relate. For instance, I regularly get one from a female gynecologist wanting me to interview her. I also get frequent emails from some “cannabis-something-or-other” business excited about their various products infused with THC. (I’m not sure what the official […]

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