‘Fargo’ Season 1 Premiere Recap: “The Crocodile’s Dilemma”

It’s fitting that the premiere episode of Fargo starts off on a freezing cold note: a car crashing through a snow bank, a shivering bloody deer on his last legs, the icy stare of a murderer, and the frigid conversation between an unhappy married couple who painfully smile to keep up appearances. Between the snow in the background of every outdoor shot, the giant furry hats that so many people don, and the way you can see every characters’ breath when they talk, it’s as if Fargo wants you to shiver right along with it.  … Read More

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Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss Are Mutating: Links You Need to See

To quote the Jackson 5, “togetherness, well it’s all I’m after.” So, in the spirit of that song, we give you an afternoon of love in all its creepy forms hearts, hugs and rainbows. … Read More

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Breathtaking Aerial Photos of Water — and Its Absence

We interact with water constantly — and in so many different ways — that its ubiquity makes it seem both inevitable and invisible. We drink it, bathe in it, play in it, and are mostly made of it (a fact that I can never recall without also thinking about The Secret World of Alex Mack). But do we ever really stop and consider the ways it impacts us — and in turn, how we impact it? Photographer Edward Burtynsky and award-winning filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal took these questions as a creative and human challenge as they traveled the world making their documentary, Watermark. … Read More

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Flavorwire Interview: ‘Over Easy’ Author Mimi Pond on the “Moral Swamp of the ’70s” and What Restaurants Teach Us About Life

Mimi Pond’s Over Easy is a charming fictionalized memoir/graphic novel based on Pond’s real-life experience of coming-of-age in the druggy late ’70s as an art school dropout who finds employment working at the seedy Imperial Cafe. It’s gentle and generous, a smart and well drawn look at how a girl, in this case, Pond’s alter ego Margaret, learns how to be a person through her experiences with the patrons at the diner, becoming an artist in the process. Each line and scene is infused with weight, love, and memory. Pond is one of the great cartoonists working today, with an eclectic resume that includes writing a cult classic, The Valley Girls’ Guide to Life, and writing episodes of The Simpsons and Pee Wee’s Playhouse. I had the chance to talk with her about Over Easy and other highlights in her career. … Read More

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How ‘Game of Thrones’ Book Fans Investigated Joffrey’s Murder

One could write several books, or at least media studies doctoral dissertations, on the differences between Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series on which it’s based. There are many, ranging from the insignificant (Theon’s sister has a different name) to the more substantial (the original Mrs. Robb Stark was a complete nonentity). Perhaps the most important, though, is the simple difference between the experiences of reading about 5000 pages of material at one’s own pace and watching a show. And there’s no better demonstration of that difference than the mystery of who killed Joffrey Baratheon, an event viewers have had just a few days to process but readers have been picking apart for the last 14 years. … Read More

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5 Reasons Why Indie Bookstores Are Perfect Models for American Small Businesses

I don’t recall exactly which sky-is-falling installment of the 2008 economic meltdown was in the news on a day when I was working at a nonprofit job that entailed dealing with the children of really rich people in Lower Manhattan, but I remember every mother who came in was in a panic. And for good reason: it felt like we, as a nation, were going to lose everything. If the one percent freak out over a financial crisis, the rest of us can only worry we’re mere days away from living like characters in a Steinbeck novel. Fearing the market-inflicted doom, all I could do was go to a reading in a Brooklyn bookstore and drink the free wine there. The plan to get drunk and not think about my future worked until I was about three or four cups in, when I started wondering how the beloved indie bookstore I was standing in expected to survive when pretty much everything else looked like it was going to hell. … Read More

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Why ‘The Mindy Project’ Fails at Everything It Attempts

When Danny and Mindy got together a few episodes ago on The Mindy Project, the reaction from fans rivaled that of New Girl’s Nick and Jess shippers. The difference between the two audiences, of course, was that New Girl fans had earned the Nick and Jess relationship after two seasons that did not rely solely on the “will they or won’t they?” tease to carry them through. Moreover, New Girl fans were given an opportunity to actually enjoy the relationship before — spoiler alert — Nick and Jess broke up. Mindy and Danny shippers got one perfect scene of romantic bliss (the airplane kiss) and a couple episodes rife with drama before the split. One episode later, Mindy is back to guest-star flavors of the week, like New Girl’s Schmidt in tonight’s episode, and Danny is hooking up with Peter’s sister. A show has not made me feel so much like I’m doing dating in New York wrong since Sex and the City. Hell, even Girls gets it right more often than Mindy. … Read More

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The Creepy Victorian-Era Stuffed Rabbits and Squirrels of ‘Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy’

Great British eccentrics come in all different stripes and colors, and no era produced more interesting ones than during the reign of Queen Victoria. From 1837 to 1901, England produced some of its strangest and most interesting figures, including the master of Victorian whimsy in stuffed animal form, Walter Potter. … Read More

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25 Incredibly Tough Movies for Extreme Viewers

We’ve been talking a lot about Lars von Trier lately, prompted by the release of Nymphomaniac, and now Criterion Collection has given us one more reason to think about his work: their new special edition of his 1996 masterpiece Breaking the Waves. It’s a key entry in the von Trier filmography, its themes echoing throughout Nymphomaniac and Melancholia, but it takes something big like the Criterion release to warrant a revisit; Breaking the Waves is both a masterful movie and one that’s incredibly difficult to subject yourself to. We’ve looked previously at great books and important albums that are just plain hard to take; here’s a few movies that warrant the same kind of… Read More

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FX’s Darkly Funny ‘Fargo’ Is Far More Than a Coen Brothers Rehash

Here are the reservations that we must get out of the way first: Fargo the series is not a strict adaptation of Fargo the film. It is superficially similar but should be seen as a separate entity. Although Fargo borrows settings, themes, accents, violence, and a hell of a lot of snow from the movie, it is a distant cousin, twice removed, not a copycat child. It should also be said that, aside from its origin (and other films from the Coen brothers), Fargo will be compared to a handful of recent television dramas. There are shades of Breaking Bad and True Detective, two shows that are still lingering in our minds. Fargo does not take place in a unique universe. We have already seen detective thrillers, middle-class white dude antiheroes, unfortunate women, questions of masculinity, gleeful acts of disturbing violence, and good people who suddenly realize that they are capable of not-so-good actions. That said? Fargo is a thoroughly enjoyable watch (particularly the first episode), beautifully shot, and very, very funny.  … Read More

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