Blumhouse Productions Is Handily Winning 2017 Thus Far

As someone who checks box office data pretty religiously, I’m fascinated by the fact that a.) there have only been two real surprises at the box office so far this year, and b.) they both are from the same production company: Blumhouse.

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We Need a Better Metaphor for Mutants

Logan

In the latest edition of The Substandard, JVL, Vic, and I discussed Logan and the other X-Men movies as well as improvements in the theatergoing experience. (Listen below, subscribe here, leave a review!) One thing I didn’t spend too much time on in the Logan podcast, but will here, is my annoyance with the way that comic books and the movies have treated mutants as a metaphor for the various civil rights struggles of our day.

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Here is definitive proof that reporters are the laziest people on the planet

Journalists are the laziest people on planet earth. They spend all their time on Twitter, except for when they’re working, which is to say, writing about what people are doing on Twitter. Not just the president or Kellyanne Conway or Chelsea Clinton either. Total randos. Take an item I saw in the Washington Post this morning: …

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Janet Yellen Eats at Subway—What Does This Mean for Interest Rates?

Subway sandwich

Next week the Federal Reserve convenes its Federal Open Market Committee meeting where financial analysts are anticipating hikes in the interest rate. The sense is that the rate hikes indicate a booming economy. Not so fast: It is now less certain the economy is getting back on track. Indeed, it may be headed for trouble. And the reason for concern? Fed chair Janet Yellin was just seen eating at a Subway.

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Parents: Think Before You Take Little Kids to R-Rated Movies

movie theater

Apparently it’s time for my biannual* complaint about movie theater audiences. Because, as the great Matt Zoller Seitz reminded us this weekend, you people are all terrible.

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Will ‘Battle of the Network Stars’ Make ABC Great Again?

Battle of the Network Stars logo

According to Variety, ABC is planning to revive Battle of the Network Stars. The original program, which ran from 1976 to 1985, showcased the talent of three networks in an amateur Olympic competition. So now imagine an actor from Chicago Med swimming against an actor from Quantico. Or an actress from Conviction running against an actress from NCIS: New Orleans.

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Opinion: The Whole Jeff Sessions Story Is Rooted in Fake News

Jeff Sessions

The question Democrats are now using to accuse Attorney General Jeff Sessions of lying under oath was based on a discredited news report published by CNN.

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Bill Paxton’s Best (New Substandard!)

This week on the Substandard (subscribe! Leave a review!), JVL, Vic, and I spent a lot of time talking about gambling and gambling movies; if you listen, you’ll discover just how big a degen online poker junkie I was in my college days (spoiler: not a very big one). But we also talked a bit about Bill Paxton, the widely beloved actor who suddenly died last weekend. A few thoughts on his best performances below.

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A List of Horrible Things to Be Done to Terrible People

puppy

Could Trump Try a Reverse Nixon Strategy With Russia and China?

Several articles have been published since the 2016 election raising the possibility that President Trump could try warming U.S. relations with Russia to counter a rising and increasingly assertive China. Such “triangular diplomacy” to pit Moscow against Beijing does sound like innovative strategic maneuvering that could prove groundbreaking. But it won’t work in practice.

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Our New Afghanistan Strategy Must Get Tough on Pakistan

Yesterday the Pentagon presented its recommendations to the White House for how to defeat ISIS. It is likely that the military campaign that will follow President Trump’s final decision will look a good deal like President Obama’s, albeit with looser restrictions, and possibly a dimmer view towards Iranian influence in Iraq. Meanwhile, the Pentagon, the State Department, and the National Security Council are all hard at work formulating a new approach in Afghanistan. They must resist the temptation to recommend a “more-of-the-same-but-with-a-freer-hand” approach to the president.

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Best. Oscars. Ever. (Updated!)

Random thoughts, in no particular order:

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The Best Decade in Filmmaking History (Plus: New Podcast!)

In this week’s episode of The Substandard, JVL, Vic, and I discuss the Oscars! Not what’s going to happen this year, really—La La Land is going to win best picture, director, and actress; the only real drama revolves around Casey Affleck and Denzel Washington duking it out for best actor—but what’s happened in past years. JVL chose the five worst winners of all time, Vic picked the five best, and I picked the five worst omissions. It was a lot of fun to record and I think you’ll really enjoy it too. Subscribe! Leave a review.

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Are You Ready For the Coming Chafee Moment?

Regular Beacon readers will remember that my first full-time writing job at this publication was Chafee correspondent during the last election. It was very short-lived, alas. On October 23, scarcely a week after his breakout, “I’ve never had a scandal” performance at the first Democratic presidential debate, he stunned the world by announcing to those of …

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President Trump: Build Up That Death Star!

Big news people: We are almost definitely still alone not alone! According to the Science™:

Life may have evolved on at least three planets in a newly discovered solar system just 39 light years from Earth, NASA has announced.

Astronomers have detected no less than seven Earth-sized worlds orbiting a cool dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1.

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