NFL Week 14 Picks, Featuring Charlotte McKinney

Charlotte McKinney

People these days take any factual criticism, no matter how big or small, as an affront to entire institutions. One example came this week. The Washington Free Beacon pointed out that the Virginia Military Institute was giving its students coloring books to relieve stress. In response, the VMI community unraveled in outrage thinking the entire institution was under attack, rather …

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A.O. Scott Should’ve Been Paying More Attention ‘Then’

Green Room

In the New York Times’ critics’ list of the best films of the year, there’s this little riff from A.O. Scott:

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Top Ten Reasons Andy Puzder Is a Great Pick for Labor Secretary


Reports indicate that Donald Trump has made another magnificent decision and will nominate Andy Puzder to be his labor secretary.

I do not know anything about Puzder’s thoughts on labor—I assume he thinks a $15 minimum wage is stupid, which is good enough for me. But I have closely analyzed his marketing strategy at Carl’s Jr. and let me tell you, the man knows a thing or two about business.

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‘Krisha’ Mini-Review


One of the benefits of awards season is getting to catch up on smaller films that floated through theaters without much fanfare. Krisha is one such flick; it played for a few weeks but never hit more than 26 theaters at a time, grossing just under $145,000 in its short run. But it’s picking up some awards season buzz, and for good reason: The debut feature from Trey Edward Shults is among most engrossing 80-or-so minutes you’ll see all year.

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The Empire in Star Wars Was Good (New Substandard Podcast!)

space terrorist

This week’s episode of the Substandard is probably the best episode of the Substandard ever. In it, JVL and Victorino and I use the news peg of Rogue One to spend 20 minutes talking about old Star Wars toys and 30 minutes talking about why the Empire in Star Wars is actually Good. Give it a listen! Subscribe here!

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Guy Who Wrote Book Arguing U.S. Should ‘Talk to’ Terrorists Really Doesn’t Like Jim Mattis

James Mattis

People hold grudges for any number of reasons: bullying in high school, stealing girlfriends, or, in more extreme circumstances, framing them for wrongdoings. But no reasonable person would characterize wanting accountability for the murder of hundreds of U.S. Marines in a brutal terrorist attack as a “grudge,” right? Well, you obviously have not read a new article published Sunday in Politico: “James Mattis’ 33-Year Grudge Against Iran.” Written by Mark Perry, who once authored a book in which he advocated that the U.S. “talk to” terrorists in order to stop terrorism, the piece describes the Marine Corps as a “cult” suffering from 30-plus-years of uncompromising, warmongering hostility toward Iran.

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My WAFCA Ballot

The Witch

The Washington Area Film Critics Association, which was foolish enough to induct me into its ranks years ago, released its nominees for its annual year-end awards yesterday; winners will be announced tomorrow. In the interest of transparency,* I figured I’d share my nominees and some thoughts on the choices with y’all. (I’ll update this post Monday morning when the winners are announced.)

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NFL Week 13 Picks, With Paige Spiranac


It has been almost a year since golfer Paige Spiranac has appeared on the Washington Free Beacon. That is my fault, and I apologize. I failed to keep up with the women’s circuit during the presidential election, and unfortunately missed Paige win her first professional event over the summer. Won my first tournament as a professional today on …

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Clinton Campaign Blames James Comey for Losing

FBI Director James Comey testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Going Dark: Encryption, Technology, and the Balance Between Public Safety and Privacy" in Washington July 8

A real headline: Clinton’s Campaign Manager Blames James Comey For Her Loss.

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Buzzfeed and Late Capitalist Decadence; Or, Gay Marriage Is False Consciousness Part 454


I couldn’t stop laughing. A day after Buzzfeed ran Kate Aurthur’s breathtaking scoop about how—brace yourself—not all American Christians are Unitarians, I saw this hilarious letter written by some flunky on the business side of things at the former cat blog’s London bureau in response to employees’ attempts to unionize. Forgive me for quoting it in full: Dear …

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Jim Mattis Is Going to Make the Military Great Again

Gen. James Mattis

He commanded the first Marines to take the fight home to al Qaeda and the Taliban after 9/11. The first conventional U.S. troops into Afghanistan, these Marines made their way to Kandahar on the longest ship-to-shore assault in American history.

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New Substandard Podcast Tackles ‘Die Hard,’ Christmas Gifts

Pajama Boy Die Hard

Fantastic new episode of the Substandard podcast, in which JVL is wronger than usual (he both believes Die Hard is a Christmas movie (it isn’t) and thinks that A Christmas Story is a bad Christmas movie; he’s basically history’s greatest monster) and Free Beacon director of food and beverage services Vic Matus is bluer than usual (seriously, it was gross). Check it out:

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Important Questions (About Movies) for Trump’s Incoming Treasury Secretary

Snyder, Zack. Neocon Jesus of Steel at Golgotha. 2016.

So, Steven Mnuchin is going to be Trump’s pick for Treasury Secretary. I don’t have particularly strong feelings about Dodd-Frank or anything like that—what do I look like, some kind of nerd?—but I do have very strong feelings about the fact that he has served as executive producer (read: financier) of a number of films over the last few years.

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Why ‘Westworld’ Works (Spoilers)

My fan theory is that Dr. Ford is the hero of Westworld; he's the only one trying to prevent a robot uprising!

Plot points up to and including the ninth episode of the first season of Westworld discussed below.

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Thanksgiving NFL Picks, with Holiday Advice and Great Pictures

nowthatsamerican Instagram

Every Thanksgiving a bunch of pieces pop up about how to argue about politics with your family around the dinner table. The New York Times offered its readers a crash course of the “most effective ways to argue” that was crafted by psychologists and philosophers. The geniuses at Vox have prepped their readers to win arguments on topics …

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