The Atlantic's Week in Culture

A roundup of our recent writing on arts and entertainment

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Revisiting the Nightmarish Twin Peaks MovieDavid Sims looks back on Fire Walk With Me, David Lynch’s film version of the hit series, in anticipation of the show’s upcoming revival.

20th Century Fox


Alien: Covenant Is the Best Installment Since AliensChristopher Orr praises Ridley Scott’s latest movie for wisely focusing on extraterrestrial suspense, not windy philosophizing.

The Wizard of Lies’s Brutal Portrait of Bernie MadoffDavid Sims watches the new HBO film starring Robert De Niro, which finds little to love in its infamous protagonist.

Why Prometheus Deserves to Be Taken SeriouslyDavid Sims makes the case for Ridley Scott’s often-maligned sci-fi epic.

Wakefield Is a Bizarre Showcase for Bryan CranstonDavid Sims reviews the strange, muted drama based on a short story by E.L. Doctorow.



How Insightful Is Dear White People?Vann R. Newkirk II, Adrienne Green, Gillian B. White, and Ta-Nehisi Coates weigh in on the Netflix show’s portrayal of a group of black students at a mostly white elite university.

The Leftovers: Among the Sea LionsSophie Gilbert and Spencer Kornhaber unpack the fifth episode of the HBO show’s final season.

Is Trump Breaking Saturday Night Live?Megan Garber digs into the show’s latest episode, which featured a lot of little jokes—but very few big ones.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Feels a Bit StuckDavid Sims believes Tina Fey’s Netflix show, now in its third season, could use a shake-up.

The Therapist Comforts the Troubled MusicianSpencer Kornhaber discusses Viceland’s new show pairing rappers and rockers with a shrink.



The Intimate, Political Power of the Open LetterEmily Lordi delves into a new collection titled Radical Hope, which shows how the format has become a vehicle for literary activism by writers of color.

The Leavers Is a Wrenching Tale of ParenthoodAmy Weiss-Meyer reads Lisa Ko’s novel about the disappearance of an undocumented mother.

Anne Garréta’s Very Different Sort of Confessional WritingStephanie Hayes shows how the experimental novelist’s newly translated work tackles assumptions about the genre.

Keeping Track of Every Book You’ve Ever ReadJoe Fassler talks to the New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul about the coffee-stained list she’s kept for almost three decades, as part of The Atlantic’s ongoing “By Heart” series.

Mark Blinch / Reuters


The Hope of Chris CornellSpencer Kornhaber remembers the late Soundgarden singer, who frequently voiced pain, but also optimism, wit, and a sense of justice.

How the Beatles Wrote ‘A Day in the Life’Nicholas Dawidoff explores the history behind one of the British band’s most ambitious songs.

‘Throw It in Their Faces’: Artists Grapple With North Carolina’s ‘Bathroom Bill’David A. Graham talks to artists using this year’s Moogfest in Durham as an opportunity for protest.

Harry Styles Dons the Costume of Classic RockSpencer Kornhaber listens to the One Direction singer’s nostalgic solo debut.

Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports / Reuters


Better, Slower, Safer PitchingRobert O’Connell analyzes the Houston Astros’ Dallas Keuchel, who has mastered a less flashy yet more sustainable style of throwing.

The Healthy Nostalgia of Derek JeterHayley Glatter considers the former New York Yankee’s legacy.

Fred Prouser / Reuters


Roger Ailes’s (Other) LegacyMegan Garber argues that remembering the founder of Fox News also demands remembering the many women in his orbit—women who refused to be silent.

When Mother’s Day Is EmpoweringMegan Garber explains how the century-old holiday is the latest thing to take on the rhetoric of commercialized feminism.

The ‘Leak’ in the Age of Alternative FactsMegan Garber traces the history of the weaponized word from Ben Franklin to Uncle Tom’s Cabin to H.R. McMaster.