buzz

NaNoWriMo Is Upon Us: How to Get Inspired Even If You’re Not Participating

A day before it begins, NaNoWriMo, the November novel write-a-thon that boasts half a million participants rushing in tandem towards 50,000-word rough drafts, is already giving me a major dose of writerly anxiety. Writers love it, agents supposedly dread it, but one way or another, a lot of writing gets done. … Read More

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10 TV Events to Look Out for in November

After September and October’s slew of premieres, November is a bit of a weird month for TV. Late fall is a grab bag of cable shows, reality TV, Lifetime specials, and stand-up comedy, with a few scattered network dramas in between. Still, with Grumpy Cat, Gordon Ramsay, and Aaron Sorkin on the agenda, November’s hardly lacking in water cooler conversation material. Here are the top ten events to line up on your DVR this month. … Read More

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10 Terrible American Remakes of Great Foreign Films

This week, the Criterion Collection unveiled a new Blu-ray edition of The Vanishing, George Sluizer’s critically acclaimed and bluntly effective 1988 Dutch thriller. But it’s also a film with a tainted legacy, as most American moviegoers are far more familiar with the inferior and ill-conceived 1993 remake, starring Jeff Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland, and Sandra Bullock. Yes, it was another case of the disastrous American remake, and rest assured, for every Departed or Birdcage, there are three or four stinkers like these. … Read More

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‘Bruk Out!': Inside the Hypersexual and Totally Empowered World of Dancehall Queens

“Bruk out” may be a phrase known only to Jamaican dancehall novices via the early Major Lazer song of the same name. Essentially it means to get wild, and by Major Lazer’s interpretation, the “Bruk Out” world centers around a gold-digging stripper named Jill. If documentary director Cori McKenna has her way, however, some may come to associate the phrase with a portrait of female strength via dancehall’s hypersexualized moves. … Read More

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10 Creepy and Haunting Poems About Ghosts, Madness, and Fairy Abductions

With Halloween coming up and spookiness in the air, it seemed like a good time to share ten of the most haunting, uncanny, and unsettling poems — that are also the most beautiful. … Read More

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In Praise of Literary Failure

I’ll be honest: I’m baffled by the contemporary mania for the slogan “fail better.” Sure, in context, I appreciate Samuel Beckett’s famous line, but I can’t shake the notion that it comes from a piece called Worstward Ho. “Ever tried,” he writes, “Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” The way it’s often used today, “fail better” implies that we’re lurching and stumbling, toddler-like, toward a better world. But the speaker in Beckett’s fiction isn’t moving toward success; he’s moving worstward. If we take the Oxford English Dictionary’s first-order definition of failure as a “lack of success,” we can appreciate that to fail better is to screw up more drastically, more spectacularly than ever before. To “fail better” is to lurch and stumble ever closer to the abyss. … Read More

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Let’s Not Break Our Arms Patting Marvel on the Back For “Diversity”

Tuesday morning, a packed house of fans, filmmakers, actors, and media gathered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood for a mysterious “event” hosted by Marvel Studios. But as the event began, the mystery evaporated: studio president Kevin Feige was there to announce the entire slate for Marvel’s “Phase 3,” the presumed blockbusters that will roll out following next summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. In many ways, it was the very essence of hype: an advertising event at which a throng of superfans freaked out over dates and title fonts. But it was a morning of mostly good news — particularly with regards to expanding representation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has to this point been dominated by straight white guys. The only question is, did they go far enough? … Read More

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Nicki Minaj and Drake Are Trolling You on “Only”

Perhaps your outrage entry point into “Only,” the Pinkprint track Nicki Minaj dropped yesterday, was Chris Brown. Before you heard Brown relegated to hook-boy status within Nicki’s hip-hop power shift, maybe you questioned why she would bring in such a divisive character (who doesn’t even get to be in the single artwork). But once you’ve actually heard the song, Brown’s tame vocal contributions are far from the takeaway. I lost my goddamn mind the first four times I listened to “Only,” for four different reasons. And that’s exactly the point. The song is catnip for the kinds of listeners who read rap verses and trust them as accurate representations of the stars who recite them, instead of what they sometimes are: juicy stories. … Read More

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‘Tinseltown,’ ‘Classic Hollywood,’ and the Secret, Sexy History of Movie Scandals

“To the boys and the girls of the land these mock heroes and heroines have been pictured and painted, for box office purposes, as the living symbol of all the virtues,” Ed Roberts wrote in 1922. “Privately they have lived, and are still living, lives of wild debauchery.” Roberts, a former editor of the movie magazine Photoplay, wrote those words in the introduction of The Sins of Hollywood: An Exposé of Movie Vice, a slender volume that cast a decidedly more cynical eye on the stars of Tinseltown than the worshipful periodical where he’d previously worked. Cataloging and detailing the gossipy whispers surrounding such figures as Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Rudolph Valentino, and Mabel Normand, Sins was aimed squarely at a public starving for dirty details, imagining their silver-screen faves drifting through Hollywood’s wild gin riots and cocaine soirees and outrageous orgies, readers simultaneously tsk-tsking their indulgences and living vicariously through them. … Read More

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How Did the ‘Hobbit’ Movies Go So Horribly Awry?

Hello there, fantasy fans! As you may or may not know, this December 17th will bring us the release of the third and (hopefully!) final Hobbit film, The Hobbit: Can You Believe They’re Still Making These Fucking Things? The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies — and just in case you were planning on sitting this one out (and seriously, who could blame you?), distributor Warner Brothers has a couple of strategically timed information leaks to lure you in. First, they’ve engaged fellow Time Warner subsidiary Entertainment Weekly to run an early feature on director Peter Jackson’s “battle plans,” trumpeting the film’s climactic, 45-minute battle sequence. And secondly, the studio has told Forbes that the film will be preceded by the first teaser trailer for Batman v Superman. Put together, these two announcements smack mostly of desperation — a quality that has come to overwhelm this increasingly irrelevant… Read More

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