The House


Jason Segel

1. "The Rewriting of David Foster Wallace." Christian Lorentzen on the author's ever-morphing legacy.

"Nobody owns David Foster Wallace anymore. In the seven years since his suicide, he's slipped out of the hands of those who knew him, and those who read him in his lifetime, and into the cultural maelstrom, which has flattened him. He has become a character, an icon, and in some circles a saint. A writer who courted contradiction and paradox, who could come on as a curmudgeon and a scold, who emerged from an avant-garde tradition and never retreated into conventional realism, he has been reduced to a wisdom-dispensing sage on the one hand and shorthand for the Writer As Tortured Soul on the other."

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TAGS: a poem is a naked person, angelo muredda, christian lorentzen, david foster wallace, ela bittencourt, film comment, gaspar noé, gay marriage, john lasseter, les blank, Love, piotr szulkin, pixar, supreme court of the united states


Supreme Court

1. "Supreme Court Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide." In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the court ruled, 5-4, that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage

"'No longer may this liberty be denied,' Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. 'No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.' Marriage is a 'keystone of our social order,' Justice Kennedy said, adding that the plaintiffs in the case were seeking 'equal dignity in the eyes of the law.' The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off jubilation and tearful embraces across the country, the first same-sex marriages in several states, and resistance—or at least stalling—in others. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions."

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TAGS: adam cook, amir ganjavie, gay marriage, jelani cobb, jia zhang-ke, legend, rape, Sean Baker, sonia saraiya, supreme court of the united states, tangerine, tom hardy


Barack Obama

1. "Just a chat with your friendly neighborhood president." President Obama spent an hour Friday in a garage in Highland Park with comedian Marc Maron, taping an episode of Maron's "WTF" podcast.

"There were limits, of course. An unguarded politician is a contradiction in terms, where oversharing is a comic's stock in trade: You take your darkest garbage and spread it around on the table for a laugh. And yet the curious mix of introspection and extroversion that creates a comic is surely not foreign to many politicians—though one senses from this president that, like some performers and politicians, he does not need to look for approval outside himself. (Obama: 'Stuff that was buggin' ya, by the time you're 53, either you've worked it out or you've just forgiven yourself and you've said, 'Look, this is who I am.' 'Maron: 'Oh, I've got to write that down—I can just forgive myself?') Politicians live in the future; they plan, they predict, they promise. What the president says in light of a tragedy like the Charleston shootings, which the two discussed, has to consider both the awfulness of the moment and the better, saner place we might get to; declaring himself an optimist, Obama described Americans as 'overwhelmingly good, decent generous people' who are divided by politics and 'a media that is so splintered now that we're not in a common conversation.' Comedy can also take you to a better, saner place, by making you think and by making you laugh, but it is not in the business of delivering hope. It has a different slant on the human condition."

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TAGS: barack obama, eli roth, garden of allah, inside out, manohla dargis, marc maron, pixar, richard brody, seth macfarlane, ted 2, the green inferno, wesley morris


The Third Man

1. "Martin Scorsese on The Third Man: The best revelation in all cinema." The Hollywood director Martin Scorsese reveals how Carol Reed's classic British noir from 1949 has influenced him and why it feels as fresh as ever.

"[That] leads right into the great revelation of Harry Lime in the doorway with the cat—which is iconic. But it's more than that—it's one of the great epiphanies in movies: the cat turning the corner and nestling itself on those wing-tip shoes, and then Harry Lime being revealed when the light is turned on in the doorway and it shines in his face. Remember Walker Percy's great novel The Moviegoer? He refers to that moment in such a beautiful, special way. It became a moment internationally, a shared experience for a vast audience seeing that film. It's not just a dramatic revelation—there's something about Orson Welles' smile at that point that shifts everything to another level, and it sustains no matter how many times you see it. Welles comes into the picture about halfway through. That's the first time you actually see him, after you've spent so much time picturing him in your mind because everyone has been talking about him and thinking about him. So that might be the best revelation—or the best reveal, as they say—in all of cinema."

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TAGS: Ashley Clark, carol reed, hbo, james cameron, james horner, Jennie Livingston, los angeles review of books, marlon brando, martin scorsese, michelle chihara, Paris Is Burning, richard brody, sleeping with other people, terrence rafferty, the third man, titanic, true detective


Jaws

1. "How Jaws took a bite out of America." Glenn Kenny on how, forty years ago, a little movie filmed on Martha's Vineyard changed everything.

"Watching Jaws today, the film shows its age from the very start. The cheesy TV-movie typeface of the credits, the hair and clothes, the normalization of smoking — all very '70s. But there's more. Jaws, especially relative to its more frenetic ostensible inheritors, has a control and a coherence that's cinematically classical, as opposed to classic. It doesn't shrug off death the way so many of today's big summer movies do. Five people fall victim to the shark in Spielberg's movie. Asked how many people were killed in his 2013 blockbuster Man of Steel, director Zack Snyder replied, 'Probably five thousand.' Jaws takes its time, letting the horrors wrought by the shark's destructive path sink in. Actress Lee Fierro, as the mother of a young child killed by the beast, has one of the film's most memorable moments when she slowly approaches Roy Scheider's Sheriff Brody and then slaps him in the face, saying: 'My boy is dead. I wanted you to know that.'"

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TAGS: bilge ebiri, cinema scope, ex machina, glenn kenny, j. hoberman, jaws, jonathan rosenbaum, li'l quinquin, new museum, stanislaw lem, steven spielberg, studio museum, terry gilliam, the criterion collection, the fisher king, the new york times, the wire, wet hot american summer: first day of camp


James Horner

1. "James Horner Dies at 61." The two-time Oscar winner, 61, worked on three James Cameron films, two Star Trek movies and classics like A Beautiful Mind, Field of Dreams and Apollo 13.

"James Horner, the consummate film composer known for his heart-tugging scores for Field of Dreams, Braveheart and Titanic, for which he won two Academy Awards, died Monday in a plane crash near Santa Barbara. He was 61. His death was confirmed by Sylvia Patrycja, who is identified on Horner's film music page as his assistant. 'We have lost an amazing person with a huge heart and unbelievable talent,' Patrycja wrote on Facebook on Monday. 'He died doing what he loved. Thank you for all your support and love and see you down the road.' Horner was piloting the small aircraft when it crashed into a remote area about 60 miles north of Santa Barbara, officials said. An earlier report noted that the plane, which was registered to the composer, had gone down, but the pilot had not been identified."

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TAGS: goodfellas, harmony korine, inside out, james horner, kids, larry clark, Leo Fitzpatrick, los angeles, love is free, martin scorsese, mubi, neil young, reverse shot, richard brody, robyn, titanic


The Decline of the American Actor

1. "The Decline of the American Actor." Why the under-40 generation of American leading men is struggling—and what to do about it.

"It's a keen and peculiar pleasure, and one that, in the livelier young minds, can grow into a desire to keep organizing the world that way, understanding by pretending. If they're driven enough to try to do this for a living—to become actors, and dedicate themselves to searching for truth in make-believe characters—they have to find a way to retain at least a portion of their original delight in the let's-pretend game. In acting classes, play takes the disciplined form of directed improvisations. Those who haven't been to acting school aren't always comfortable making things up when the cameras are rolling, and it shows: there's not much spontaneity in their readings or gestures, none of the pleasant illusion of life just happening that is, or should be, the aim of their art. (On the sets of big-budget movies, spontaneity isn't highly prized, so nobody objects.)"

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TAGS: bombast, brin-jonathan butler, daryl hannah, film comment, James Salter, jurassic park, nick pinkerton, st. vincent, terrence rafferty, the chemical brothers, the domino diaries, under neon lights


Mental Illness

1. "It's not about mental illness: The big lie that always follows mass shootings by white males." Arthur Chu says that blaming "mental illness" is a cop-out—and one that lets us avoid talking about race, guns, hatred and terrorism

"I get really really tired of hearing the phrase 'mental illness' thrown around as a way to avoid saying other terms like 'toxic masculinity,' 'white supremacy,' 'misogyny' or 'racism.' We barely know anything about the suspect in the Charleston, South Carolina, atrocity. We certainly don’t have testimony from a mental health professional responsible for his care that he suffered from any specific mental illness, or that he suffered from a mental illness at all. We do have statistics showing that the vast majority of people who commit acts of violence do not have a diagnosis of mental illness and, conversely, people who have mental illness are far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators. We know that the stigma of people who suffer from mental illness as scary, dangerous potential murderers hurts people every single day—it costs people relationships and jobs, it scares people away from seeking help who need it, it brings shame and fear down on the heads of people who already have it bad enough."

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TAGS: adam nayman, american horror story, arthur chu, bamcinemafest, charleston shooting, confederate flag, dylann roof, eden, jessica lange, lady gaga, mia hansen-løve, reverse shot, richard brody, sicario, ta-nehisi coates, the new yorker


Mia Hansen-Løve

1. "Paradise Lost and Found." Interview's Colleen Kelsey chats with Mia Hansen-Løve.

"I'm obsessed with Patrick Modiano's last book. Modiano is a very famous, great French writer that for some reason I feel very connected to. He's always writing about memory. He used to write about memory and then it became about difficulty, the memory that's disappearing. The more it goes, the more it seems to be about recovering memories, the loss of memories, the fog. His books become more and more abstract. In the one I just read, I think in the front of the book, there is a quote from Stendhal saying, 'There is no reality, there is just memory of reality.' I have this obsession with the relationship to reality. What is real? What is not real? Reality doesn't exist. It's just the way we reconstruct it and the dialogue between the past and the present; how to be present in the world, how to connect with yourself and the past. I guess that's why all my films are connected [and] have to do with passing of time. It's always about constructing a past or a life, so that at some point in the film you have the present of the film and you have the memory. The film has its own memory."

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TAGS: artforum, bamcinemafest, brandon harris, cathy young, colleen kelsey, donald trump, dope, eden, game of thrones, interview magazine, jon stewart, laurel and hardy, melissa anderson, mia hansen-løve, the battle of the century


Rachel Dolezal

1. "Black Like Her." For The New Yorker, Jelani Cobb on the Rachel Dolezal scandal.

"Among African-Americans, there is a particular contempt, rooted in the understanding that black culture was formed in a crucible of degradation, for what Norman Mailer hailed as the 'white Negro.' Whatever elements of beauty or cool, whatever truth or marketable lies there are that we associate with blackness, they are ultimately the product of a community's quest to be recognized as human in a society that is only ambivalently willing to see it as such. And it is this root that cannot be assimilated. The white Negroes, whose genealogy stretches backward from Azalea through Elvis and Paul Whiteman, share the luxury of being able to slough off blackness the moment it becomes disadvantageous, cumbersome, or dangerous. It is an identity as impermanent as burnt cork, whose profitability rests upon an unspoken suggestion that the surest evidence of white superiority is the capacity to exceed blacks even at being black. The black suspicion of whites thus steeped in black culture wasn't bigotry; it was a cultural tariff—an abiding sense that, if they knew all that came with the category, they would be far less eager to enlist."

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TAGS: a pigeon sat on a branch reflecting on existence, annie baker, brandon harris, jelani cobb, jurassic world, mark harris, nelson carvajal, rachel dolezal, Roy Andersson, shade rupe, the flick, the new inquiry, the new yorker







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