Screening Room

April 4, 2013

The Rapist Next Door: On Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers 10


If Spring Breakers can have any place in our culture, if it can be something worth seeing, its worth must be located in its frightening capacity to capture a world we dismiss as “just fun,” to capture the seductions of a world we refuse to understand.

February 21, 2013

Stages of Television Grief: On the Decline of Downton Abbey 15


There is something notable about the backlash when a television character is killed: fans take the opportunity to tear apart the writers’ choices beyond the decision to bump off an individual: across the show, all the indignities they’d have suffered through if everyone had been permitted to live.

February 8, 2013

How Joe Wright Got Anna Right, and the Critics Got It Wrong 7


But to criticize is easy. To create is hard. And Wright has shown himself to be every inch the creator, not on the level of Tolstoy, of course, but certainly on the same emotional and philosophical wave length.

January 29, 2013

Think of Bread in General: On Making Books Into Movies 12


“Everyone accepts that stories and movies are different things.” Indeed. But how, exactly? Is one a higher art form than the other? Does one strengthen children’s brains while the other is more likely to rot them?

January 10, 2013

Ten Books to Read Now That HBO’s Girls Is Back 17


These are books that — like Girls — explore what it is like to be young and hungry — hungry for love and hungry for sex, but most of all, hungry for recognition and hungry for adulthood. Ultimately, the girls in these books, like the girls of Girls, are hungry to become the women they will one day be.

October 30, 2012

Big Bird is History: Why We Fund PBS 17


CTW’s Sesame Street started in 1969 as a grand experiment to see what would happen if you gave all children (inner city, rural kids, and suburban alike) entertaining pre-school lessons as a head start. When you consider the alternatives, this is an awfully cheap way to educate and unite kids all over the country.

October 26, 2012

Filming the Unfilmmable: On David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas 2


Cloud Atlas is no mere adaptation: it’s a big, ambitious structural overhaul, one that has been likened by Mitchell, amongst others, to a mosaic, all of his Russian dolls smashed to pieces and carefully reassembled.

October 5, 2012

When Costner Was King: An Actor’s Rise and Fall (and Rise?) 8


With 1989’s Field of Dreams, my Costner man crush truly began. I honestly don’t remember seeing it in the theater. It must have been VHS. Either way, I remember the feeling. That film, pie-in-the-sky as it may be, still gets me.

September 18, 2012

How to Write a Movie About a Writer 9


Films rely on our familiarity with Hollywood-established Literary Personality tropes: needy yet reclusive, lecherous yet noble, wise yet drug-addled. You know, writers.

July 12, 2012

The Not-So-Silver Screen: Writers Acting in Film 27


He tries his best, but let’s face it: SALMAN RUSHDIE, fatwa survivor, ex-husband of Padma Lakshmi, plays an obstetrician who is not using enough gel while operating an ultrasound machine. Disbelief has not been suspended if the audience starts yelling, “Use more gel, Rushdie! Use more gel!”