No One Writes Utopian Novels Anymore Because Utopian Novels Are Boring

This morning over at Vulture, Adam Sternbergh wrote about the dystopian novel craze — and the fact that we have, in his words, “hit Peak Dystopia.” True enough — even Lois Lowry says so. He suggests that if we’re burned out on dystopian novels, “there might be an opening for a return to Utopian novels — if such a thing as ‘Utopian novels’ actually existed anymore.” Towards the end of the article, he writes, “increasingly my hunch is that the next Great American Novel, or earth-rattling film, will be a Utopian one. Wouldn’t you love to read a modern Utopian vision by Margaret Atwood? Or Zadie Smith? Or Cory Doctorow?” … Read More

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‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ and the Woes of the Long-Delayed Sequel

When the first Sin City movie was released, George W. Bush had just begun his second term. Pope John Paul II died during its opening weekend; Hunter S. Thompson had taken his own life about six weeks earlier. People were talking about Terri Schiavo. Doctor Who had just returned to television after a 16-year absence, and Dan Rather and Peter Jennings had just anchored their final evening newscasts. The #1 single in the country was 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop.” Hitch, Million Dollar Baby, and Miss Congeniality 2 were still in theaters. Sin City opened against the Queen Latifah vehicle Beauty Shop, but neither film’s trailer was unveiled on YouTube, which would not launch until three weeks after their release date. In other words, the first Sin City came out a long, long time ago, and while the duration between that film and its sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For doesn’t fully explain the new film’s flaws, it’s quite instructive when examining the reactions to them. … Read More

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Every ‘My So-Called Life’ Episode, Ranked

The teenager as we know it in contemporary pop culture was invented 20 years ago, when My So-Called Life made its debut on August 25, 1994. A show noted for its emotional realism and pinpoint-perfect voice, My So-Called Life introduced us to introspective, average Angela Chase (Claire Danes), a girl growing up in the suburbs. In the midst of a very recognizable teenage reinvention phase, she ditches her familiar friends — “good girl” Sharon Cherski and Brian Krakow, the brainiac boy next door who’s hopelessly in love with Angela — in order to dye her hair red and hang out with “bad girl” Rayanne Graff (A.J. Langer), Rickie Vasquez (Wilson Cruz), whose coming-out story was quietly revolutionary for the era, and the dreamboat to end all dreamboats, blue-eyed hunk Jordan Catalano (played by future Oscar winner Jared Leto, who is now 42). … Read More

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Why Can’t TV’s Beloved “Difficult Men” Make Good Movies?

Considering the kind of dancing in the streets that greets every new season of Mad Men (particularly now that we’re in the home stretch), you’d think Are You Here, the feature filmmaking debut of Mad Men creator/mastermind Matthew Weiner, would be accompanied by a bit more fanfare. But it’s getting a muted, multi-platform, limited release today, after a Toronto Film Festival premiere under a different title, to decidedly mixed reviews. If you see the film — and this is not much of an endorsement to do so — it’s easy to see why; Are You Here is a bit of a mess. But there’s an odd and interesting trend at work here, where genuinely gifted television creators, with distinctive voices and unique styles, try their hand at filmmaking and whiff that transition completely. … Read More

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Fuck Suicide? No, Henry Rollins, Fuck You

Last week, I wrote here about depression and suicide, apropos of the death of Robin Williams. In the week since, I’ve thought a lot about the media coverage of his death, and how impressive and non-sensationalist most (albeit not all) of it has been. Well, the tone changed yesterday afternoon, when Henry fucking Rollins waded in with a column for the LA Weekly entitled “Fuck Suicide.” In it, Rollins addressed the death of Robin Williams with his usual sledgehammer subtlety — leading with an acknowledgement that “I am sure some will strongly disagree with what I’m about to say,” and wheeling out pretty much every manifestation of the “suicide is weak/selfish/etc” trope one can imagine. … Read More

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Flavorwire’s Official VMAs 2014 Drinking Game

Happy one-year anniversary to the moment Miley Cyrus killed twerk! Oh yeah, and there’s another Video Music Awards upon us. They air at 9 p.m. Sunday (August 24) on MTV, and the performers include Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea, and more. Here are a bunch of ways to drink along with the VMAs. … Read More

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Your Weekly TV News Roundup: Megan Mullally Returns to Pawnee, WE tv Actually Picks Up ‘Sex Box’

The television world moves so fast that by the time you learn of a show’s premiere, it could already be canceled. It’s hard to keep track of the constant stream of television news, so Flavorwire is here to provide a weekly roundup of the most exciting — and baffling — casting and development updates. This week, Megan Mullally returns to Parks and Recreation, HBO and Fox both pick up musical comedies, and just about everything gets renewed! … Read More

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25 Best Writing Emmy Winners You Can Stream Now

The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will air this coming Monday, August 25. The ceremony will celebrate the best of the best in television, including handing out awards for writing. This year, the drama and comedy writing categories are brimming with amazing episodes from Breaking Bad, True Detective, Veep, Orange Is the New Black, and more. The writing categories have a long history of awarding tremendous episodes of television in both genres — and, thanks to the Internet, you can now watch most of them online. Here are 25 of the best winners, with links so you can stream them… Read More

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‘Sweetness # 9′: Is Commodity Horror Becoming a Cliché in American Satire?

Imagine if every problem your cranky grandparent might identify as part of the current “American condition” – whatever that is – could be blamed on a certain product. Anxiety-addled yet apathetic? Obese yet calorie-counting? Double-speaking to oblivion? In Stephen Eirik Clark’s Colbert-bumped debut novel Sweetness #9, the (possible) culprit for all negative facets of the American condition is a pink sugar substitute called Sweetness #9. The guilt-stricken narrator tested the substance on monkeys and rats in the ’70s, and spends most of his life trying to hide his involvement with the cloying agent responsible for American malaise. … Read More

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