Normalizing the Upper-Middle-Class in Movies and Television

Alyssa Rosenberg worries that the introduction of characters like Ashton Kutcher’s Walden Schmidt – the replacement for Charlie Sheen’s character on Two and a Half Men – could ‘normalize’ the very wealthy: The thing that’s annoying about having a very rich character (it doesn’t sound from this description like Kutcher’s character will have lost his…

Tits! Swords! Edginess!

(Editor’s note: Erik’s praise for “Game of Thrones” drew me out of semi-retirement. Bear with me) One of the problems with easing constraints on a creative medium is that creators are inevitably tempted to prove their boundary-pushing bona fides. Cable television has been widely hailed as this decade’s dominant cultural force, but I can think…

“Nuclear chivalry.”

As many have said before, it’s no coincidence that in the world of Hollywood blockbusters the last decade has been the decade of the superhero film. In the nineties our blockbusters brought us fantasy about the apocalyptic near-destruction of society. In the country’s most globally dominant decade, it was as if our only possible challengers…

Capra-corn and the life of our time

There’s a quote about Carl Jung that I’ve come across a couple of times and shamelessly stolen every chance I’ve had: “We live a double life whether we know it or not. We live our own life and we live the life of our time.”  Economists are now warning of a double-dip recession, even though…

Community, technology, & work

I think this Amanda Marcotte piece is pretty interesting.  She touches on the idea of work and community and how the modern workplace has, until very recently, served to cut us off entirely from our loved ones during the day.  This, she asserts, was not always the case.  People used to come into more contact…

Holiday Movie Recommendation

Our end-of-year movie podcast featured plenty of spirited argument, but one point of unanimous agreement was the excellence of “The Hurt Locker,” which manages to do justice to the Iraq War without lapsing into cheap moralism or clumsy political commentary. If you’re interested, I recommend you check out this interview with the film’s screenwriter, who…

Podcast: Holiday Movie Edition

Blogging is going to be pretty slow around these parts for the next few days, but before everyone disconnects for Christmas, we’ve got a year-in-review movie podcast for your enjoyment. I’m joined by Freddie and Sonny Bunch, film critic at The Washington Times and a blogger at Conventional Folly, for an hour-and-a-half (!) discussion of…

Podcast: The Golden Age of Television

I sat down with Freddie and Sonny Bunch, film critic for the Washington Times and a blogger at Conventional Folly, to talk about the A.V. Club’s much-discussed list of the decade’s best television shows. The whole thing is below the fold – gold star to whomever finishes the entire podcast.

The Golden Age

I know the League’s commentariat already went a few rounds over The A.V. Club’s “decade in television” rankings, but The Hollywood Reporter has just released another top ten compilation with more than a few surprising entries. I don’t think the list is particularly good, but it does lend support to the “golden age of television”…

Son of The Wire

Matt Yglesias says: What’s really depressing to me about the current TV landscape isn’t so much that we haven’t seen another Wire-quality show as it is that we haven’t even seen a serious effort to produce another show that’d be as good. The aesthetic message of the The Wire is that it’s possible to create…

Best Television Shows of the Decade

The Onion ranks ’em – let the arguments commence! After reading the list, you begin to realize how consistently excellent the last few years of television have been. My personal top five consists of The Wire, The Office (UK), Deadwood, Freaks and Geeks, and the first two and a half seasons of Battlestar Galactica in…

Lost vs. Heroes

Following up a little on my last post wherein I quoted Peter Suderman lamenting the lack of direction and planning for the show Battlestar Galactica, let me just add that two other shows I watch have fallen into similar traps. Heroes started out quite good and has since deteriorated into what I can best describe…

Time Travel

My favorite movie that involves time traveling is Twelve Monkeys.  Anybody know a better time-travel flick?  And, beyond that, has anyone ever seen a time traveling film that made enough sense to be believable?  I find time travel to be the most difficult plot device – it is either used lazily or despite its clever…

Star Trek

By the way, I saw Star Trek this past weekend and it was great fun.  I’m not a big Trek fan – though I loved some of the old movies when I was a kid – but this movie was sheer entertainment and you didn’t really need to be a fan to appreciate it, though…

Observe and report.

Observe and Report is going to surprise many people who go see it this weekend. And perhaps not in a good way. From the TV spots for Seth Rogen’s new movie, you might think he’s revisiting the irresponsible-yet-good-hearted cop character he played in Superbad (i.e. the irresponsible-yet-good-hearted character he’s played in all his movies so…