In ‘Bandersnatch,’ Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Meets ‘Black Mirror’ Fatalism


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Just finished watching this. Great concept. And that’s why today’s needull is on Bandersnatch.

Besides the frustratingly grating message, “Bandersnatch” does have its better moments. One of the more complicated endings involves Stefan going back in time, and allowing his child-self to die with his mother in a train crash. In the present day, Stefan dies quietly in his chair, and it’s clear that he’s achieved some sort of peace or resolution from the past trauma, even though it’s one that leaves his father distraught, and perhaps, the player uncomfortable with the events unfolding in front of them. The scene is one of “Black Mirror”’s best for this reason: There is no clear-cut answer of right or wrong when it comes to this choice, making its unresolved question all the more thoughtful.

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Grace Z. Li — The Harvard Crimson

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Things only adults notice in A Christmas Story


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Merry Christmas!!

Ralphie’s father, only ever referred to as The Old Man (Darren McGavin) is a typical representation of a Midwestern father figure in the early 20th century. He’s stern but not cruel, caring but not affectionate, and distant but not absent. He’s a man’s man, and he spends most of the film just trying to read his newspaper and enjoy a little bit of turkey while his sons get into trouble around him. If you look close enough, though, there are little hints of eccentricity in The Old Man’s life. He insists on being timed when he changes a tire, for example, and went through the trouble of burying his “major award” in the backyard and supposedly playing “Taps” in tribute to it as he did. He even takes some time in the department store to skip along with the Wizard of Oz characters. Ralphie doesn’t think much about it, but there’s more to his Old Man than newspapers and furnace battles. He has a rich inner life that we only see glimpses of.

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Matthew Jackson — Looper

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Reflections on Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman (2017)


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Some will argue that without certain heterosocial tropes——dress-buying with witnesses, slow dancing, melting with some man into a softly-lit chamber——Diana of Themiscyra could not realistically grow her long-term interest in defending human innocents. For my part, a hero driven to joy and follow-through by something like Kant’s sense of duty is feasible for Wonder Woman, and worth wishing for.

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Joseph Spece — Berfrois

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Stan Lee Breaks His Silence: Those I Trusted Betrayed Me


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Lee’s legacy has long been solidified. In his time as the president and chairman of Marvel Comics in the early to mid-1960s, he co-created superheroes including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Iron Man, the X-Men and the Avengers, characters which now dominate pop culture and headline multi-billion-dollar film franchises. The Marvel Cinematic Universe alone has grossed nearly $18 billion globally while turning Lee’s creations—and Lee himself—into household names. The comics’ legend, who pocketed $10 million in Marvel’s $4 billion sale to Disney in 2010 and cameos in almost every Marvel blockbuster, is estimated to be worth between $50 million and $70 million. He is an icon, as revered among comic-book geeks as the fictional crusaders he helped invent. He was also a regular, reliably charismatic fixture of the convention circuit until the aforementioned bout of pneumonia that sidelined him earlier this year.

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Mark Ebner — The Daily Beast

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Living Our Own Truman Show


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To me it does seem like we are getting closer and closer to living The Truman Show.

One (real-life) reviewer described the series Teen Mom 2 similarly, writing “The show doesn’t resemble a show. It’s more like boring old life, strenuous and unyielding.” The Teen Mom franchise, which follows very young women raising children with limited support, has millions of viewers. It has even been granted qualified praise by some scholars for possibly reducing teen pregnancy rates. Several of the Kardashians—famously described by Kim to Barbara Walters as “famous for being ourselves”—have also given birth and raised children on their shows. And of course, there is our president, a former reality star who sets himself against “fake news” and whom no one seems to be able to stop watching. In a number of ways, including our desire to watch “real people” and our willingness to see the lives of infants and young children unfold on camera, we have accepted the morality of The Truman Show.

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Devorah Goldman — Public Discourse

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Juliet, Naked Is Everything a Mainstream Rom-Com Should Be But No Longer Is


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It’s an irresistible premise: an increasingly intimate intercontinental relationship between a superfan’s idol and his own girlfriend. It’s a Platonic cuckolding. Juliet, Naked is based on a Nick Hornby novel that funnels a lot of Hornby’s fanboy impulses — including his self-loathing, paranoid ones — into a single breezy vehicle. Duncan, his dark alter ego, is insufferable bordering on pitiful. When an acquaintance looks at a photo of the young Crowe and pronounces him “gorgeous,” Duncan says, “Thank you,” beaming. Of Crowe’s critics, including Annie, he says, “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, however un-nuanced” — a line I should use more often when people disagree with me. He does not know as yet that Crowe’s opinion is similarly un-nuanced.

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David Edelstein — Vulture

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Did Stephen King’s Son Just Solve a 44-Year-Old Murder Mystery?


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It wasn’t your typical jump-scare, no image of a hungry Great White Shark attacking a beachgoer. Instead, it was a scene in which a crowd boards a ferry on the Fourth of July, a seemingly innocuous moment in Steven Spielberg’s iconic masterpiece. In the shot, a female extra wearing a blue bandana over her auburn hair caught Hill’s attention. She was “almost a twin of the figure” in a forensic recreation image he recently saw of the Lady of the Dunes, the still-unidentified murder victim discovered in Provincetown in 1974—the very same year Jaws was filmed on nearby Martha’s Vineyard.