Hollywood v ‘The Masses’

movie theater

The lede on the New York Times‘s box office roundup from the weekend is … odd.

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If You Want a Movie About Churchill, I’ve Got Good News for You


I just got out of a screening of Atomic Blonde, a movie set in the midst of Berlin in 1989 as the Wall is about to come tumbling down. It’s an odd little flick—a hybrid of an action film and an intricately plotted spy-thriller, a bit like James Bond but with more cinematic flair and a far subtler plot or a dumbed down Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy that takes place in the John Wick universe.

What it isn’t is an Olympian-level view of American-Soviet relations as the primary symbol of the Cold War was dismantled brick by brick. I’m sure there’s an interesting movie to be made about the heated phone calls taking place on opposite sides of the world, one that focuses on the domestic Soviet intrigue as Gorbachev watched the Evil Empire crumble into dust—a Thirteen Days by way of The Lives of Others, perhaps. But this isn’t that film. And it wouldn’t make much sense—nor would it be particularly useful to potential audiences, nor would it be particularly useful as a way of measuring the work of art in question—to write a piece of criticism arguing that an entirely different type of movie would have been, well, entirely different. Better, perhaps; more revealing of a time and a place, maybe. More to your specific interests? Sure, why not.

But, mostly, just different.

Which brings me to Dunkirk.

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Anthony Scaramucci’s Other Deleted Tweets

On Wednesday, the new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci tweeted—and then deleted—the following:

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IMAX Admits 3D Sucks, Increasing 2D Offerings

Here’s a thing that literally everyone knows and yet few people in the movie industry want to admit:

3D is fucking garbage and audiences hate it.

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Angela Merkel Vacations Her Way to Victory

Angela Merkel

August is a popular month for Germans to go on holiday. They take a few weeks off and head south to Italy, the Greek isles, and Mallorca—especially Mallorca. So why begrudge German chancellor Angela Merkel for taking some personal time—three weeks to be exact—and heading to the Italian Alps? Three consecutive weeks off is a bit much by American standards. But more to the point: Federal elections are now less than two months away. Shouldn’t she be campaigning? After all, there’s an immigration crisis in her country—one that many blame on Merkel. There’s the ever-present threat of terrorism too. And the economy!

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Christopher Nolan Movies, Ranked (Again)

So, if you listen to this week’s Substandard (Subscribe! Review!), you’ll hear me be embarrassingly unprepared for the segment in which we rank Christopher Nolan films. Forgot my notes and wasn’t able to do it off the top of my head. My bad. As penance, after the embed below, I shall re-rank the Nolan movies. I say re-rank because I’ve done this before, but not since before Interstellar was released. Plus, opinions change. Time is a flat circle, all this has happened before, etc.

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Jeff Sessions: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

As of this moment, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has yet to resign from his cabinet post despite being publicly attacked by his own boss, President Donald Trump.

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Planet of the Apes Movies Ranked! (New Substandard)

This week on the Substandard we talked about War for the Planet of the Apes after JVL got done yelling about Tesla. Man, he hates Tesla. I mean, REALLY hates Tesla. I can’t wait for him to be forced to buy one by President Zuckerberg and Secretary of Cool Cars Musk!

Anyway, after the podcast (review/subscribe here!), I thought we should rank the Planet of the Apes movies. THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM.

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George Romero, 1940-2017 (Updated)

George Romero, the progenitor of the modern zombie whose offspring have completely captured popular culture, died after a brief bout with lung cancer this weekend.

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Google Smart Reply: Rise of the Machines

Although it was launched last year, Google Smart Reply didn’t come to my attention until this past May. At the bottom of an email, I noticed three boxed selections containing built-in responses.

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Actually, the Guy Who Emailed Marc Kasowitz Is a Real Dick

angry email

So, you know, note to self: don’t email Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz unsolicited career advice. He doesn’t care for it:

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Theory: ‘Wonder Woman’ Is Holding Well in Part Because This Summer Has SUCKED

The Hollywood Reporter has a piece up highlighting the fact that Wonder Woman has had a really solid hold at the box office:

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Your Friendly Neighborhood Substandard

In this latest episode of the Substandard, Sonny, JVL, and I discuss Spider-Man: Homecoming, the second reboot of our webbed hero.

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The Problem with David Brooks’s Sandwich Shop Anecdote

fancy sandwiches

So, the internet had a great deal of fun with David Brooks’s column yesterday. (See, for instance, all this.) For the most part, it was … actually a pretty good column! More or less uncontroversial, really. Brooks writes that upper-middle-class families use their cultural and financial capital to pass along their advantages to the next generation of upper-middle-class strivers while also simultaneously erecting a set of barriers, legal and social, that makes it uncomfortable for those unfamiliar with the codes of the upper-middle classes to move up a station in life.

The trouble is this anecdote that Brooks uses to share the second half of that lesson:

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Blessed Prime Day, PrimeCitizens!

On the latest mini-episode of the Substandard, JVL, Vic, and I celebrated the most wonderful day of the year: Prime Day!

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