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Newsletter Pick

  1. emergency discussion
    The Backlash Came for Drew BarrymoreThe View did it. The Talk did it. But after Barrymore crossed the picket line, the daytime TV host faced a unique wave of scrutiny. Why?
  2. screen time
    The Decomposition of Rotten TomatoesThe most overrated metric in entertainment is erratic, reductive, and easily hacked — and yet has Hollywood in its grip.
  3. book review
    How Zadie Smith Lost Her TeethSince her audacious debut, she has been moving toward character-driven realism. In the process, she’s become the least interesting version of herself.
  4. theater
    The Final SondheimThe complete, from-beginning-to-end story of how Stephen Sondheim, David Ives, and Joe Mantello created the musical Here We Are.
  5. movie review
    The Flash in a PanThe latest DC movie is the cinematic equivalent of a snake eating its own tail. This isn’t a film so much as brand management in flailing motion.
  6. fall preview 2023
    Finally, the Lesbian Incel Comedy America Has Been Waiting ForHow NYU friends Ayo Edebiri, Rachel Sennott, and Emma Seligman made Bottoms — and won over Hollywood along the way.
  7. emergency discussion
    And Just Like That … Can’t Let Go and Neither Can WeNo matter how hard this season tried to push us away with unhinged coat choices and olive-slurping, we kept smashing that play button.
  8. fall preview 2023
    24 Books We Can’t Wait to Read This FallThere’s even a book by Babs.
  9. reality tv
    Whoever Starves Least, WinsBehind the making of Alone, the most genuinely perilous show on television.
  10. close read
    And Just Like That … Can’t Stop Failing Its New CharactersI couldn’t help but wonder, Why is this show patently unable to render Lisa, Seema, Nya, and Che in unembarrassing ways?
  11. docuseries
    The Call Is Coming From Inside the CubicleThe creators of the new HBO docuseries Telemarketers started filming their own office — where they’d later learn they were part of a nationwide grift.
  12. dinner party
    How to Talk About Lizzo’s New LawsuitHer team is gonna go one of two ways.
  13. close read
    What Is Greta Gerwig Trying to Tell Us?From Barnard to Barbie, the director has always been interested in female ambition, including her own.
  14. in conversation
    ‘I Can Do Things to You With My Voice’Fifty-one years of acting. Hundreds of roles. One Samuel L. Jackson.
  15. movie review
    We Shouldn’t Have to Grade Barbie on a CurveGreta Gerwig made a weird movie based on a famous toy line. Should that be enough?
  16. profile
    Hand Ashley Park the KeysThe actress took Broadway, then Paris. Now, she heads to Beijing for Joy Ride, this summer’s raunchiest R-rated buddy comedy.
  17. endings
    Let’s Talk About the Ending of Beau Is AfraidIt would be tempting to say that Beau Is Afraid is the story of Beau’s journey back home, but really, there isn’t much of a journey.
  18. the industry
    The Binge PurgeTV’s streaming model is broken. It’s also not going away. For Hollywood, figuring that out will be a horror show.
  19. profile
    Drew Barrymore Is Figuring It Out LiveHer radically intimate daytime show is as much therapy for her as it is for her guests.
  20. vulture lists
    The 100 Hardest Video-Game Levels of All TimeDizzying shooters, agonizing puzzles, and water stages (ugh) that raise the question: Continue?
  21. chat room
    Juliana Canfield’s Jess Is Not Invisible. She’s Indispensable.And Succession’s right-hand woman is feeling conflicted about her complicity in Mencken’s election.
  22. story behind the script
    Air Exists Because One Underemployed Guy in His 20s Saw The Last DanceAlex Convery had zero TV or movie credits when he saw three key minutes of the 2020 Michael Jordan docuseries and thought, Man, this is a movie.
  23. ted talk
    Ted Lasso Has a Major Character FlawIn the spirit of “Be curious, not judgmental,” we’re curious whether the show remembers why we cared about these people in the first place.
  24. movie review
    We’re Still Pretty Bad at Making Video-Game Movies, Huh?All the best parts of The Super Mario Bros. Movie evoke gameplay. Too bad that’s just a fraction of the movie.
  25. performance review
    The Self-possession of Angela BassettShe has an unmatched ability to portray the interior complications and cultural reverberations of Black women’s anger — onscreen and off.
  26. drawing conclusions
    ‘It’s Kind of Embarrassing’: Why Animators Are Unhappy With the OscarsTwo decades in, the Academy’s Best Animated Feature category isn’t living up to its promise.
  27. video games
    Hogwarts Legacy Is J.K. Rowling’s Legacy, Summed Up in a Dud of a GameThe feverishly anticipated Harry Potter video game can’t muster the fantasy escapism it so desperately wants.
  28. close read
    The Last of Us Is Not a Video-Game AdaptationHBO turned the story into unmissable television. So why does it feel like something’s missing?
  29. the industry
    The Documentary World’s Identity CrisisThe boom — or glut — in streaming documentaries has sparked a reckoning among filmmakers and their subjects.
  30. emergency discussion
    Velma and the Case of the Condescending RebootThree new TV revamps of varying quality offer a lesson in how to wield nostalgia responsibly.
  31. close reads
    The Winners and Losers of Prince Harry’s SpareWinner: Stewie.
  32. profile
    Allison Williams Comes AliveThe star of the already viral M3gan has made a career of subverting her own image.
  33. screen time
    Soon You’ll Be Able to Make Your Own Feature-Length Movie With AISome argue that AI is too derivative. But in Hollywood, shallow riffing on preexisting IP is a lucrative skill.
  34. survey says
    The Best Podcasts of 2022, According to People Who Make PodcastsWe asked over 220 creators, producers, and hosts what they’ve been listening to.
  35. the year of the nepo baby
    How a Nepo Baby Is BornHollywood has always loved the children of famous people. In 2022, the internet reduced them to two little words.
  36. a long talk
    ‘If You Need to Throw Anyone Under the Bus, Let It Be Me’Kelli Giddish joined SVU in 2011 as Olivia Benson’s new partner. She departs a beloved figure in her own right.
  37. remembrance
    Christine McVie’s Perfect VoiceShe was Fleetwood Mac’s most reliable songwriter, but the ache in her voice was just as important as her words.
  38. close read
    The Crown Did Diana DirtySeason five’s diminishment of the “people’s princess” as petulant and reckless feels like nefarious intent hidden behind fictional license.
  39. into it
    Atlanta Wasn’t for EveryoneStephen Glover on testing the boundaries of television as his (and his brother’s) show signs off.
  40. power
    House of SpearsOne year ago, Britney Spears was freed from a notorious conservatorship. What possessed her father to seize near-total control of her life?
  41. exit interview
    ‘I Couldn’t Believe the Things I Was Aspiring to Be’For Selena Gomez, watching herself through the lens of My Mind & Me documentarian Alek Keshishian was shocking, upsetting, and necessary.
  42. performance review
    What Was Brangelina?The couple were always known for their image-making savvy. Now, as their divorce reenters the press cycle, we’re reminded of who’s better at it.
  43. 657 boulevard
    Investigating The Watcher With Its Star ReporterA conversation with Reeves Wiedeman about what the Netflix series got right and wrong about 657 Boulevard.
  44. a long talk
    Ken Jennings Ascends the PodiumThe Jeopardy! co-host (and its greatest champion) settles into his dream job, one year after the show’s legacy was almost tarnished.
  45. highway to hell
    The Live-Music Industry Is BrokenSupply-chain issues, mental health crises, positive COVID tests. As artists continue to struggle, is any of this even worth it?
  46. into it
    The Immense Powers of Kim Kardashian Are in Transition — Not DeclineOne doesn’t become a “cultural fractal icon” by being easily put away.
  47. 1.5x speed
    Podcasting Is Just Radio NowIt’s been ages since the last blockbuster narrative show. What does that mean for the medium as an art form?
  48. royals
    Queen Elizabeth Was the First Monarch We Thought We KnewCrowned at the dawn of the TV age, she was defined by her distance as much as her ubiquity.
  49. a twenty-four
    Every A24 Movie, RankedNeon lights, creepy birds, white people rapping — the studio spawned an aesthetic universe. Here are the good, bad, and vibe-y.
  50. let’s do it again
    The 102 Best Movie Sequels of All TimeWho in the world wanted a Top Gun sequel? Not even Tom Cruise, but that didn’t stop Maverick from getting made and soaring in our ranks.
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