New Web Series Reimagines Monica Lewinsky’s New York Years

After their affair almost took down the Clinton presidency, Bill Clinton stayed in the White House, seemingly invincible, while Monica Lewinsky slunk out of public view.

But not for long. At age 27, Lewinsky arrived in New York as one of the most infamous women in American history. It was the age of post-millennial excess, the New York City of Candace Bushnell and designer everything. Into this glamorous universe, Monica — no last name necessary — was ushered. She became an “It Girl,” but also an object of constant surveillance, and the subject of a memorable profile by Vanessa Grigoriadis in New York Magazine. … Read More

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‘Parks and Recreation’s’ Donna Meagle Is the Fat Heroine of My Dreams

Parks and Recreation ends its seven-season run Tuesday night on NBC. To celebrate the show’s unforgettable characters, Flavorwire is publishing a series of tributes to our favorite Pawnee residents. Click here to follow our coverage.

The most shocking thing a fat woman can do is to have a loving boyfriend — especially a loving boyfriend who finds her genuinely attractive, instead of merely developing an affection for the quirks of her misshape in the way one finds a crooked nose or awkward birthmark sort of adorable over time. … Read More

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A Sherlock Holmes Story Was Found in an Attic! And It’s Probably Fan-fiction

A man named Walter Elliot — an historian, writer, broadcaster, and amateur ethnographer of the Scottish border — has discovered a 1903 pamphlet with an unsigned contribution that is, maybe, a rediscovered Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I say “maybe” because it probably… Read More

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Can Guests Like Charlamagne and Angel Haze Keep ‘Catfish’ Fresh in Season 4?

Catfish was already beginning to show signs of wear and tear in its third season. It remained entertaining throughout, but it was clear that the catfish were different, more self-aware, and perhaps even catfishing purely for the purpose of appearing on the show. It’s the problem that most reality shows face after a few seasons: How do you continue to stay real — or even “real” — if participants know the rules and can easily fit themselves to the mold? Catfish hasn’t figured that out quite yet, but it has found one way to shake things up this season. Because Max is off filming a movie, Nev has a string of celebrity guest hosts to fill Max’s void. It’s just too bad that this change doesn’t really add anything, making the Season 4 premiere disappointingly boring. … Read More

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‘Electric Boogaloo': How Cannon Films’ ’80s Trash Tactics Took Over Hollywood

It would be tempting to say that documentarian Mark Hartley’s in trouble once he runs out of schlocky movie subcultures to turn into films, but who am I kidding? Hollywood will never stop turning out schlocky movies. He broke out with the 2008 film Not Quite Hollywood, a raucous celebration of “Ozploitation,” the exploitation pictures of his native Australia; he followed it up with 2010’s Machete Maidens Unleashed!, which looked at the (frequently foreign) exploitation filmmaking of the Philippines in the 1970s and 1980s. His latest, Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (which opened the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s “Film Comment Selects” series last weekend), dives into the rich story of the notorious mini-studio run by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. It is, as per usual for Hartley, a giddy, lightning-paced celebration of cheerfully terrible movies. But in a post-movie discussion with Hartley and some of his participants, it became clear that it’s also not some piece of moldy, irrelevant movie history. … Read More

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The Jace Connors Fiasco Shows That Gamergate Is Beyond Satire

How do you distinguish between a real death threat and a joke death threat? The all-in-good-fun, we’re-on-the-same-side-here death threats? The ones that look like death threats, sound like death threats, and certainly feel like death threats — but are actually death threats for a cause? It’s a trick question, of course, because you don’t. Brianna Wu certainly didn’t, which is why she reported a man named Jace Connors to the police earlier this month.  … Read More

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‘Birdman,’ ‘Maps to the Stars,’ and Hollywood’s Current Vogue for Self-Obsession

“Pray that those that eat, those that are eaten, and the act of eating be universally devoid of self,” celebrity therapist Dr. Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) says smugly in Maps to the Stars, director David Cronenberg’s big, wet defecation on the deadening influence of Hollywood. He’s quoting the Dalai Lama, he says, but long before his cushy life goes up in flames, it’s clear that Weiss’ Buddhist wisdom is all smoke and mirrors, a vain stab at profundity from an exceedingly shallow man. Indeed, here, as in other recent depictions of Tinseltown’s insider baseball, such noble sentiments ring false, or are otherwise crushed by an industry no longer much interested in altruism. That four films from four directors, each with its own distinct style and tone, should tread such similar thematic ground in this short span of time suggests a certain discomfort with the changing rules of the game, a fear that the dog-eat-dog business of filmmaking threatens to annihilate a particular brand of film art. Call it the unexpected anxiety of obsolescence. … Read More

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Knoptimism vs. Liz Lemonism: How ‘Parks and Recreation’ Took a Different Feminist Route

Parks and Recreation ends its seven-season run Tuesday night on NBC. To celebrate the show’s unforgettable characters, Flavorwire is publishing a series of tributes to our favorite Pawnee residents. Click here to follow our coverage.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are colleagues, co-hosts, and friends — and Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock, their respective sitcom vehicles, both find the comedians playing successful professional women. Each lovingly spoofs a neurotic, limited-worldview mold of feminism. But as other writers have already noted, the two show’s approaches to their protagonists’ feminism are a study in feminist contrasts. … Read More

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The 6 Best Movies to Buy or Stream This Week: ‘Whiplash,’ ‘Big Hero 6’

We usually use this space to recommend the week’s five best new releases streaming and on disc, but some weeks that’s just not enough — and this is one of those weeks. Making their debuts are two of last year’s most entertaining flicks, fresh off of big wins on Oscar night; one of 2014’s best documentaries (and a surprising exclusion from that category); and three terrific catalog titles with spiffy new Blu-ray upgrades. … Read More

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‘Better Call Saul’ Season 1 Episode 4 Recap: “Hero”

How long did it take you to realize that “Saul Goodman” was a play on “It’s all good, man”? I’m ashamed to admit that I breezed through four seasons of Breaking Bad and three episodes of Better Call Saul without it ever occurring to me — until last night’s cold open. (And judging by my Twitter timeline, I’m not the only one.) The flashback not only explains the joke behind the alias, but also reveals that its use dates back to the Slippin’ Jimmy era. … Read More

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