July 17, 2019

Hollywood

"Befitting Stranger Things’ loving ode to the ’80s, the golden age of merchandising, there sure is a lot of Stranger Things crap for sale. Need a copy of Hopper’s Magnum P.I.–inspired Hawaiian shirt for your own date night? Provided you’re not...."

"To live in California is to make a wary peace with an existential dichotomy: breathtaking weather, astounding natural beauty, bounteous food and wine, stimulating multiculturalism and … the possibility of imminent, unpredictable disaster...."

"Scarlett Johansson became something of a conservative hero on Friday for speaking out against identity politics. She told As If magazine, in quotes excerpted by the Daily Mail, “You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or..."

"There’s something oddly poetic and strangely redundant about a stateside spin on ITV2’s feverishly compulsive hit Love Island. It’s an American remake of a British dating show modelled on a dusty American blueprint, making it the televisual..."

"“I get angry easily” sounds like hyperbole, but for Rip Torn, it may have been the understatement of the century. The actor, who died Tuesday at his home in Connecticut at 88, was well known for his outsize outlaw persona. Most famously, he..."

"Watching a ragtag group of kids save the day never seems to get old. That’s what the Netflix series “Stranger Things,” the third season of which premièred on July 4th, continues to bet its success on. The Duffer brothers, the creative team..."

"Hundreds of thousands of fans anticipated the release of Stranger Things 3 last week, but not everyone was happy about the show’s new season. The Truth Initiative, an anti-tobacco organization, recently released a report showing that Netflix’s..."

"Does watching television make people stupid? Are stupid people more likely to vote for populist parties? And can these effects linger for years, or even decades? If you had asked me a few days ago, I would have been highly skeptical of these..."

"When the casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid was announced earlier this week, it was met with positive surprise. Fans who want to see greater diversity on screen have come to expect disappointment when it..."

"Seinfeld, one of the most successful TV shows ever made, turns 30 on July 5, 2019. Its pilot, “The Seinfeld Chronicles,” aired that evening in 1989, but the show wouldn’t return for nearly a full year — its second episode didn’t air until May of..."

"Katherine Ryan’s Netflix comedy special is like a saucy Gilmore Girls, and she’s a woke Lorelai who doesn’t need a man — and pretty much hopes never to have one. The Canadian comedian follows up her 2017 stand-up, In Trouble, with a new release..."

"It's hard to think of Midsommar as a horror movie. No, not because we use genre-stigmatizing terms that anxiously reclassify great horror films as "thrillers" or "elevated horror" or "post-horror." And it's also not because of the film's..."

"To keep viewers immersed in their version of the 1980s, producers of the sci-fi horror series “Stranger Things” built their biggest shrine to the decade yet: a shopping mall. To replicate a mall from 1985—the year when the third season of the..."

"The art of the counterfactual is a tricky one, and it takes all sorts. If you are Philip Roth, you plow your deep dread into the thought of Franklin D. Roosevelt being defeated by Charles Lindbergh in the election of 1940, and of Jewish citizens..."

"Yesterday, a new musical dramedy debuting this Friday, conjures up a world we can’t begin to imagine: one in which the Beatles never existed. Somehow, after a global blackout, no one on Earth has ever heard of the band, except for the protagonist.."

"The first season of Big Little Lies was a clever trap. The show took what would have otherwise been an easily satirized narrative about affluent women and complicated it with their trauma; The Week's Lili Loofbourow succinctly called it "a kind..."

"Woody and Buzz Lightyear couldn't save Hollywood from its summer slump, and movie theater chains are feeling the pressure. Shares of AMC Entertainment (AMC) fell 5% Monday to a new all-time low, the first day of trading after the opening..."

"I get why Murder Mystery is absolutely smashing Netflix records. Because all Netflix movies are created by an all-knowing corporate algorithm, it has successfully paired two universally beloved movie stars—Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston—with..."

"Last Wednesday, Gady Levy, the executive director of the Streicker Center at New York’s Temple Emanu-El, herded the Israeli actors Neta Riskin and Dov Glickman through the cavernous synagogue’s hallways. Riskin and Glickman, who play the..."

"The Toy Story movies are about the secret lives of dolls and action figures that find their deepest fulfillment in a child's embrace. But they're really about what it means to be human: the joys of love and friendship and the pains of rejection..."

"I haven’t been able to stop thinking about “Striking Vipers.” Black Mirror’s best episodes are about relationships, and how technology can facilitate forms previously impossible in a pre-digital era. That’s why “San Junipero” has remained such a..."

"In 2013, I was executive editor of the NY Daily News, and we, like every other publication in the country, were covering the series finale of Breaking Bad. As one of the most popular and critically acclaimed shows in history, the finale was..."

"Taylor Swift released the second single from her just-announced forthcoming album Lover on Thursday, and the gist of it is classic Swift: “You Need to Calm Down” tells Swift’s haters that their mission to diminish her brilliance is doomed, that..."

"TWENTY YEARS AGO, George Lucas kicked off his reviled Star Wars prequel trilogy with Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Despite grossing over a billion dollars worldwide, the film received tepid reviews and continues to be a sore spot for Star Wars..."

"Love, in the world of Walt Disney films, has changed. Between Tangled (2010) and Moana (2016), the ideal of heterosexual romance has been dethroned by a new ideal: family love. The happy ending of our most-watched childhood stories is no longer..."

"Last night was the season two premiere of HBO’s Big Little Lies with the original actresses all returning. There’s also the addition of Meryl Streep, who is playing the mother of Alexander Skarsgård’s character, Perry, who died in the season one..."

""If you’ve read the reviews of the Israeli television series Shtisel, available on Netflix, then you know that it’s the first mainstream drama to portray Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews as, well, people. Until Shtisel, Haredim were more..."

"Chernobyl, which wrapped up its five-episode run on HBO last week, is one of the more unlikely hits of 2019—a bleak, panicky, emetic drama about a nuclear disaster whose defining stylistic qualities were British accents, a fanatical commitment..."

"On Friday, Variety confirmed that Robert Pattinson will play Batman in a 2021 Warner Bros. film, likely the first of a trilogy, directed by Matt Reeves and tentatively titled The Batman. As DC casts its third Batman in a decade..."

"National Geographic's 'The Hot Zone' Is the Ebola Drama Series You Never Asked For: Julianna Margulies isn't very convincing as a scientist in National Geographic's 'The Hot Zone,' but it's still a nice watch if you're into deadly viruses..."

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JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"As Europe moved toward war in the summer of 1914, two battleships were being built for the Ottoman Empire in British shipyards. Worried about signs of an Ottoman-German alliance, Winston Churchill, then first lord of the admiralty, seized the..."

"For most of this year, Joe Biden has strutted across stages in New Hampshire and Iowa, and at swanky fundraisers in New York and California, as if he were already the Democratic nominee. Questions about attacks from his rivals were, more often..."

"A vast city that may have had as many as 1,500 to 3,000 inhabitants in its heyday 9,000 years ago was part of a sprawling Neolithic network of barter. Fresh findings in the mega site at Motza, the Jerusalem foothills, include an obsidian blade..."

"Befitting Stranger Things’ loving ode to the ’80s, the golden age of merchandising, there sure is a lot of Stranger Things crap for sale. Need a copy of Hopper’s Magnum P.I.–inspired Hawaiian shirt for your own date night? Provided you’re not...."

"Big Government lobbyists and entrenched bureaucrats are predictably hysterical about a common-sense congressional push to improve transparency and accountability about wasteful taxpayer-funded monkey experiments. They’re worried that once..."

"The economic summit in Bahrain organized by the Trump administration last month was the latest example of how Israel’s hi-tech industry created new diplomatic opportunities for a country with no apparent natural resources. While Israel had no..."

"The early ‘90s, famously, saw the “End of History,” as it was dubbed by the right-Hegelian political theorist Francis Fukuyama. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and thus the ostensibly final victory of capitalism and liberal democracy..."

"“Almost all books of aphorisms, which have ever acquired a reputation, have retained it,” John Stuart Mill wrote in 1837, aphoristically—that is to say, with a neat if slightly dubious finality. (“How wofully the reverse is the case with systems..."

"While we can easily misjudge, misunderstand, or even avoid a pregnant individual’s experience of miscarriage, we can also forget that the loss of a pregnancy may impact a wide range of other people too. There’s usually one other person..."

"I have never tried psychedelic drugs, but I imagine the experience is a lot like drinking a Starbucks Frappuccino. Strange sensations, unnatural colors, increased heart rate, heightened emotions, paranoia: It’s all there in that plastic cup..."

"Fifty years ago this week, more than a million Americans drove, flew and even boated to Florida’s Cape Canaveral to witness the launch of Apollo 11, which would culminate four days later on July 20, 1969, with America’s victory over the Soviet..."

"The incidents now pass without much notice, a steady, familiar drumbeat of violence and hate targeting visibly Jewish people in New York City. Early on the morning of June 15, a Saturday, two men in a white Infiniti drove around Borough Park..."