The Atlantic's Week in Culture

A roundup of our recent writing on arts and entertainment

Wilson Webb / Sony / TriStar

Don’t Miss

Baby Driver Is a Tribute to the Magic of the EarbudSpencer Kornhaber dives into how Edgar Wright’s car-chase caper explores the wonders—and the dangers—of everyone having their own soundtrack.

Amazon / Lionsgate


What The Big Sick Gets Right About ParenthoodInkoo Kang unpacks the romantic comedy’s fleshing out of the poignant supporting roles that mothers and fathers can play.

Has Michael Bay Fallen Out of Love With the Military?David Sims traces the Transformers director’s history of portraying soldiers in his films.

Will Ferrell Needs to Be Weird AgainDavid Sims believes films like The House, which cast the actor as a frustrated suburban everyman, are a waste of his unique comic talents.

The Little Hours Is an Alt-Comedy Gone MedievalDavid Sims watches Jeff Baena’s new film, which juxtaposes foul-mouthed 21st-century humor with bawdy tales from the Middle Ages.



The Bachelorette Reveals Itself for What It IsMegan Garber argues that the show, with exploitative plotlines that treat racism as entertainment, is becoming harder and harder to defend.

How Will Silicon Valley Work Without T.J. Miller?David Sims considers the future of the HBO show after the mercurial comedian departed under mysterious circumstances.

Sasha Velour and Drag’s Permanent RevolutionSpencer Kornhaber recaps the finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The Norwegian Teen-Drama Series Loved Around the WorldBoyd van Hoeij looks at the recently ended Skam, a wildly popular web show about Oslo high-schoolers that resonated for its realism.

The Most Pessimistic Episode of Veep YetMegan Garber explains how the show’s Season 6 finale highlighted the sometimes suffocating nature of American politics.

David Heald / Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation


Anicka Yi’s Strangely Persuasive World of SmellsJane Yong Kim explores the artist’s Guggenheim show, which uses olfactory experiments to overturn assumptions about gender, race, and hygiene.

Gerald Herbert / AP


Jay-Z’s Pitch for Generational WealthSpencer Kornhaber unpacks what the rapper’s new album 4:44 says about commerce and racial progress.

What Jeff Tweedy Has Been Trying to SaySpencer Kornhaber listens closely to songwriting on the Wilco singer’s new acoustic album.

Doug McLean


How Rudyard Kipling Turned His Guilt Into FictionJoe Fassler chats with the novelist Scott Spencer about the English author’s short story “The Gardener,” as part of The Atlantic’s ongoing “By Heart Series.”

Nathan Congleton / MSNBC


Mika Brzezinski and Donald Trump’s Penchant for Blood FeudsMegan Garber weighs in on the president’s controversial comments about the MSNBC host.

C2 Photography

Aspen Ideas Festival

How Activism Can Advocate for ArtSophie Gilbert discusses how Lil Buck and Jon Boogz use their performances to get people to reconsider what movement can do.

The Perils of MeritocracyMegan Garber makes the case against one of the most loved ideas in American life.

The Power of Art That Makes You PauseSophie Gilbert attends a talk by the art historian Sarah Lewis and the architect Michael Murphy.

Hamilton’s Peaceful ProtestSophie Gilbert reports on how the show’s November statement to Vice President-elect Mike Pence came about.

The Vital Role of Political TheaterSophie Gilbert discusses how a recent production of Julius Caesar fits into a grand artistic tradition.