Adele and the Women of Hollywood: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

The highlights from seven days of reading about entertainment

Joel Ryan / AP

The Women of Hollywood Speak Out
Maureen Dowd | The New York Times Magazine
“The Orson Welles model still stands. Male directors who act out are seen as moody, eccentric geniuses. Women are dragons. ‘There’s an assumption that directors, showrunners, creators can be, and somehow benefit from being, tyrants,’ Karyn Kusama says. ‘The assumption is that a man is a much better monster.’”

Adele’s 25 and Our Problem With Unstoppable Sadness
Chris Richards | The Washington Post
“If that’s the big proposition here, 25 is merely another totem built to remind us that human sadness will always feel more universal than human happiness. It’s a gracious, obvious, expertly sung album filled with truths we already know. It elicits no new feelings, produces no deeper knowledge.”

Selfie: The Revolutionary Potential of Your Own Face, in Seven Chapters
Rachel Syme | Matter
“Selfies are just one way of making up lost time, all of that yearning and desire that we never got to see because the powerless didn’t have their own cameras and printing presses. Types of people who never got to be looked at before are getting looked at, and are creating entire communities surrounding that looking, and these communities are getting stronger and stronger every day.”

Even Michael Lewis Was Surprised Hollywood Bet on The Big Short
Michael Lewis | The Vanity Fair
“The movie people long for ‘true stories.’ The reason for this is not that they long for the truth. Actually, I don’t know the reason for this: It may be as simple as that it is a lot easier to excite other movie people, without demanding they read anything, if you can claim that the story is true.”

Let’s Talk About TV’s Obsession With Police Violence and Black Lives Matter
Pilot Viruet | Flavorwire
“Because how do you grade an episode that is so emotionally devastating, possibly triggering, and a reflection on the racial trauma that black people face every day? ‘The Lawn Chair’ is a good example of why it’s so hard to write critically about these sort of episodes—and, perhaps, why so many viewers prefer that shows keep things light.”

The R. Kelly Problem
David Marchese | Vulture
“Kelly swears that he’s not intentionally tweaking listeners by releasing music that evokes his alleged real-life deviance. He’s just giving people what they want. Or, as he puts it, ‘When someone orders a sausage-and-cheese pizza, you don’t give them pepperoni. When their mouths are fixed for some R. Kelly, they want the freaky stuff.’”

Journalists Love Spotlight. That Doesn’t Mean the Academy Will Rush to Crown it Best Picture.
Aisha Harris | Slate
Spotlight isn’t just any journalism movie; it depicts journalism in its most pure, honorable form (in that The Globe’s team exposed a grave injustice, deservedly winning a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service). It’s a tribute to shoe-leather reporting in the pre-Internet era. To top it all off, it’s a good movie about journalism, in a world where so many such films get it wrong.”

The Force Will Be With Us. Always.
Adam Rogers | Wired
“The shared universe represents something rare in Hollywood: a new idea. It evolved from the narrative techniques not of auteur or blockbuster films but of comic books and TV, and porting that model over isn’t easy. It needs different kinds of writers and directors and a different way of looking at the structure of storytelling itself. Marvel prototyped the process; Lucasfilm is trying to industrialize it.”

I Worked in a Video Store for 25 Years. Here’s What I Learned as My Industry Died.
Dennis Perkins | Vox
“A great video store’s library of films is like a little bubble outside the march of technology or economics, preserving the fringes, the forgotten, the noncommercial, or the straight-up weird … The decision to leave a movie behind on the next technological leap is market-driven, which makes video stores the last safety net for things our corporate overlords discard.”

Zayn Malik’s Next Direction
Duncan Cooper | Fader
“So far, Zayn’s has been a story about how your life gets boxed in by other people’s perceptions of you, and how easily that can spiral out of control. This happens to everyone, but in a famous boy band, the gulf between who you are and who the rest of the world thinks you are is tenfold. As the band’s only person of color, and the West’s single most prominent Muslim celebrity, Zayn has faced misunderstanding to an unimaginable degree.”