Inspired by the creepy new trailer for Rings—the sequel/reboot/whatever of the 2002 J-horror remake The Ring—I decided to watch the original (well, the original American iteration) last night. While watching, I tossed off a tweet that it was probably one of the five scariest films of the last 30 years. This, of course, inspired people to ask what the other four were.
Washington, D.C. — New York gossip rag Gawker ceased operations yesterday following owner Nick Denton’s inability to unload the property at auction, prompting a seemingly endless flow of sentimental essays, whiny laments about the power of the wealthy, and treacly thinkpieces about the demise of the once-proud website. Visitors to the site in its final …
Any American who has ever traveled to a non-English-speaking third-world craphole knows one simple fact: the locals are always trying to shake you down for some of that sweet sweet cash you’re carrying. Always. There’s always a scam in the offing, always a cabbie looking to take you for a literal and figurative ride. You have to be on the lookout, because foreigners know that Americans would rather throw money at a problem to make it go away than get involved with local authorities.
News broke yesterday that Jared Leto had been cast in the forthcoming Blade Runner sequel, and reaction was mixed-to-hostile. The hostility stems in part, I think, from the fact that “the forthcoming Blade Runner sequel” is a thing that exists and is unnecessary to the point of annoyance. But there also seems to be a legitimate strain of Leto Fatigue in the critical world.
I have a piece up this morning at the Washington Post reiterating my belief that it’s the duty of the critic (and, frankly, anyone interested in the arts) to separate an artist from their art. This is more or less the crux of my argument:
One of the things you learn very quickly as a new parent is that the time you can dedicate to binging programming via Netflix is extremely limited. I’ve missed a lot over the last year—the latest seasons of Bojack Horseman and Orange Is the New Black, just for starters—and probably won’t make up the lost ground. (Somewhere, the world’s smallest violin plays.)
I was able to carve out a weekend’s worth of viewing time to catch Stranger Things, however, and I have to say: I loved every minute of the show. It’s as good as everyone has said, something along the lines of a Steven Spielberg adaptation of a Stephen King novel that John Carpenter did second unit work on. Funny, scary, emotionally sweet and sad, and filled to the rafters with good performances by a crop of talented young actors, Stranger Things is the best new TV show I’ve seen since … Silicon Valley debuted, I guess. Four stars. No complaints.
Well. One complaint. (Spoilers after the image.)
A while back, I was reading Revolution in the Air, a book on the history of the New Left, and I noticed an annoying linguistic tic. The author repeatedly used words like “rebellion” and “uprising” to describe race riots. For instance: How could it be otherwise, when they saw such juxtapositions as SNCC leader Stokely Carmichael (later …