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Growing Up

Who Invented the ‘Teenager’?

Neither child nor adult, this volatile group is a relatively new creation. A new documentary, opening in theaters Friday, looks at the evolving expectations for ever-angsty youth.

The angsty, hazy mind of a teenager is a source of constant befuddlement and dismay for full-grown observers. Each era of youth has a vice deeply unsettling to prior generations: be it the gin-swilling flappers, shrieking Beatlemaniacs, or fiercely political Vietnam protesters.


But this volatile period between childhood and adulthood and its distinction as a separate societal group is a relatively new invention, one that a new documentary called Teenage seeks to find the root of. 


Africa's Ugly Big Oil Problem

Rachel Boynton reveals the dramatic story of how she uncovered the truth about African oil corruption.

Sometimes it’s not who you know, it’s who you get to know.


In late 2006, documentary filmmaker Rachel Boynton was trekking through the oil-rich Niger Delta region of southern Nigeria, and gaining zero traction with masked militants who were regularly blowing up pipelines to disrupt the global economy and protest the official corruption and income disparity arising from the exploitation of their nation's precious natural resource.


World According to Wes Anderson


Mike Pont/FilmMagic

Wes Anderson opened the spring season of ‘LIVE From the NYPL’ by talking about his new film, Stefan Zweig, Francois Truffaut, and Marcel Proust.

Filmmaker Wes Anderson opened the LIVE From the New York Public Library’s Spring season on Feb. 27, chatting with the library’s Paul Holdengraber about his new movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which was deeply influenced by the work of Austrian author Stefan Zweig. “I stole from Zweig,” Anderson said, and the result is an extraordinary tapestry of an imaginary Austro-Hungarian Empire from grandeur to decay. Though The Grand Budapest Hotel is a comedy, it is a dark comedy that foreshadows the sinister history of the two world wars and their aftermath. The film on one level illustrates Alain Finkielkraut’s observation that “Barbarism is not the prehistory of humanity but the faithful shadow that accompanies its every step.”

On Stefan Zweig:

Obsessive-Compulsive Noir

The First ‘True Detective’

Two detectives and millions of viewers consumed with solving wayward clues in the hunt for a killer—we’re talking about ‘Twin Peaks,’ of course.

No show has so happily scattered clues and jealously guarded its secrets as this one. A woman is found dead in a doom-gray town. Two detectives are dispatched to hunt down the killer. Their differences grate on the case. They sink into a nightmare as it soon becomes clear that there could be more than one victim—multiple girls have vanished. They interrogate members of this strange community and discover that many of them might be complicit in a dark conspiracy. You could twist yourself into a knot trying to untie the leads, but that hasn’t stopped obsessed viewers. It’s the obsession that matters, the procedural of code-breaking and theorizing that gnaws at you. What’s worse, there could be no solution to the mysteries.

Twin Peaks

ABC Photo Archives/Getty

I am of course referring to Twin Peaks.


Tim Graham/Getty

The jury at the phone hacking trial in London hears that Princess Diana sought allies to ‘take on’ Prince Charles in the media.

Princess Diana leaked information to the press in an effort to ‘take on’ her husband, Clive Goodman, a former royal reporter at the shuttered tabloid News of The World said in court today.

Diana was sensationally named by Clive Goodman, a defendant, as the source of a 1992 internal royal phone directory found in his possession.

At the phone hacking trial in London today, Goodman said that the high-level phone directory, known as the Green Book, which contained the personal phone numbers of senior royals, was sent under plain cover to his office in an envelope with his name on it. Princess Diana called him in person later that day, asking Goodman whether he received it. 


Rust Cohle Doesn’t Want Children

No seriously, the antinatalist nihilist doesn’t want to start a family.

“If you’re going to live being so honest, without illusion, you said, then you can’t be serious. If you really think the reason you don’t want to have kids is philosophical, then you’re a blind man describing an elephant.”


Jim Bridges/HBO

This isn’t actually a line from Matthew McConaughey’s Failure to Launch, the 2006 romantic comedy about a 35-year-old man who just keeps livin’ at his parents’ house. It’s from ponderous, story of bro detectives that is True Detective.

Watch the Throne

Hip-Hop’s Power Duo Hits SXSW

For just over two hours Wednesday night, hip hop gods Jay Z and Kanye West tantalized a packed crowd at Austin Music Hall with hit after hit after hit.

“Hey, Tim Cook, the head of Apple, stop trying to get performers to play your festivals for free. You are rich as fuck. Quit trying to act like you’re so dumb.”


Jay-Z, left, and Kanye West perform at Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., Nov. 5, 2011. (Willie Davis/The New York Times, via Redux)

None other than Kanye West uttered those words during a concert last month in Newark, New Jersey. And anyone curious about how Samsung has achieved the upper hand in the smartphone market need look no further than SXSW.

Before She Was Famous

Yale Classmates Dish on Lupita

Hollywood’s It Girl was known at the prestigious drama school as a hard worker with raw talent and an intuitive gift for language, wowing in her audition for ‘Romeo and Juliet.’

When Lupita Nyong’o’s name was called at the Oscars, the town of New Haven, Connecticut, erupted with joy. Most Oscar acceptance speeches are a boring list of industry executives, agents, and managers, but Nyong’o’s speech for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave was notable for its shout out to her alma mater, the Yale School of Drama, and her class, nicknamed, “The Wilsons.”


Jessica Hill/AP

While many actresses have toiled on the Hollywood casting circuit for years, the 31-year-old Oscar winner was a full-time student until relatively recently. She graduated in 2012 from the prestigious drama school, and has had one major TV role, in a Kenyan drama produced by MTV, called Shuga.


Full Metal Parrot

With three hit singles to his name and more than 4,600 fans, Hatebeak is the best black metal band you’ve never heard of—fronted by a 25-year-old African Grey Parrot named Waldo.

There’s nothing worse than a preening musician—although in the case of black metal band Hatebeak’s lead vocalist, we might give him some leeway. He is, after all, a parrot.



It used to be an insult to compare a singer to a shrieking animal—Taylor Swift is probably still furious—but in the case of Waldo, a 25-year-old African Grey Parrot, it’s a spot-on analysis of his, um, “singing” style. Backed up by Baltimore-area audio engineers Blake Harrison and Mark Sloan, Waldo is the world’s only avian vocalist, with three singles under his beak and more than 4,600 fans on MySpace, sure to climb after a video of one of the band’s signature singles, “Bird Seeds of Vengeance,” went viral.

Breaking Through

Why Can’t I Be a Moviestar, B*tch?

Cable dramas like ‘Breaking Bad’ do everything movies do, only better. The shows’ leading men deserve to be movie stars, but do the movies deserve them?

In the spring of 2011, I visited the set of Breaking Bad in Albuquerque, N.M., where I had the distinct pleasure of watching Vince Gilligan & Co. shoot a pivotal scene from the penultimate episode of Season 4. For 14 grueling hours, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul clashed like prizefighters in Walter White’s darkened living room—pushing, shoving, shouting, sweating—as they struggled to capture every nuance of the confrontation in which Walt convinces Jesse that it was Gustavo Fring who poisoned his girlfriend’s son. It was the most remarkable display of raw acting power I’ve ever seen, and it convinced me, once and for all, that Cranston and Paul deserved to be two of the biggest stars in Hollywood.


Melinda Sue Gordon/DreamWorks

And yet when I asked each of them what was next after Breaking Bad, career-wise, neither Cranston nor Paul could point to a headlining role in a big Hollywood production. Cranston was testing for the part of the villain Cohaagen in 2012’s Total Recall remake—not exactly George Clooney territory. (The film would go on to bomb with critics.) And Paul had even less to hang his hat on—just a part in a small independent film called Quad (which still hasn’t been released, as far as I can tell).

Bad History

‘300’ Is No Match for Herodotus

Hollywood would never grossly distort the Civil War or D-Day. So why let ‘300’ get by with mangling the 2,500-year-old Greco-Persian War?

Of all the war-torn eras in the all the history of the world, why, Frank Miller and Zack Snyder, did you have to wander into mine? Such is my cry, and that of my fellow Greek historians, following the opening weekend of 300: Rise of a Franchise (oops, I meant “Empire”).


Legendary Pictures

We tried to accept the original 300 with patience and grace, happy at least that the public had gotten some insight, however warped and distorted, into the iconic Spartan defeat by invading Persians at the battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C.  We looked forward hopefully to the sequel, which, to judge by its many ads and previews, concerned the battle of Salamis, the miraculous naval victory of the Greeks that same year in the waters off Athens. Some of us, myself included, even encouraged our students to see the movie, thinking that digital technology might do much to illustrate the action of triremes, the oar-powered warships deployed by both sides in that battle.


Republican Robert Duvall Bolts GOP

The film legend opens up about his favorite roles, the film industry, why he’s fed up with conservatives, and more in an in-depth interview at SXSW.

A century from now, when Venice is underwater, reality TV has gone the way of The Hunger Games, and Russia’s president is a dead ringer for Johnny Weir, a budding cinephile will enroll in an American Studies course entitled, “Legends of Cinema.” And an entire section of that class will be dedicated to the work of Robert Duvall.


Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty

The 83-year-old icon has won an Academy Award, four Golden Globes, and an Emmy. He’s appeared in six films on the American Film Institute’s list of the Top 100 Films, more than any other actor. The Godfather. The Godfather Part II. Apocalypse Now. To Kill A Mockingbird. M*A*S*H. Network. Many view the Duvall-starring miniseries, Lonesome Dove, as one of the greatest westerns ever.

Who should Daryl sleep with? Should the crossbow aficionado cut his hair? ‘The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus wants everyone to just calm down.

For three and a half years he’s been the object of cult-like fan love. Crowds amass to catch a glimpse whenever he leaves The Walking Dead’s set in Georgia. “If Daryl Dies, We Riot” is a slogan turned merchandise gold. And while he isn’t married, there’s more than one “Mrs. Reedus” on his Twitter feed. Norman Reedus, alternately known as crossbow aficionado Daryl Dixon on AMC’s zombie show, is cool with most of the attention. There are a few things he’s pretty much sick of though—enough to make him consider quitting social media. Chief among these is hearing about Daryl’s supposed “romances.”


Frank Ockenfels/AMC

“It’s not a reality show,” he says of how some viewers pair Daryl up with Carol (Melissa McBride) or, most recently, Beth (Emily Kinney). (Daryl himself has never shown more than close friendship with any female on the show.) And don’t even get Reedus started on the people nagging him to cut his hair.


Car Crashes Into Crowd at SXSW


Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman, via AP

Early Thursday morning, a sedan ran over a crowd of people outside of the Mohawk in Downtown Austin, Texas, during SXSW. Police are reporting 23 injured, 5 in critical condition, and two deceased.

At approximately 12:30 a.m. Thursday morning, a silver Toyota sedan with a cracked windshield plowed through barricades and crashed into a crowd of over twenty pedestrians in Downtown Austin, Texas, during SXSW, according to the Austin Police Department and multiple eyewitness reports. Austin PD is reporting that 23 people were transported to the hospital. Of those, five are in critical condition, and two are deceased. The two deceased were reportedly operating a moped.


A man is transported to an ambulance after being struck by a vehicle on Red River Street in downtown Austin, Texas, during SXSW on March 12, 2014. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman, via AP)

The accident occurred between 9th Street and Red River outside The Mohawk, a celebrated outdoor music venue. Rapper Tyler, The Creator, was playing a hotly anticipated show when the crash occurred, with the vehicle running over a crowd of people assembled outside. The suspect is reportedly in custody and was under the influence of alcohol, according to numerous reports. Several journalists were on hand to capture the aftermath. This is a developing story...

Francis Fans

Russell Crowe Twitter Stalks Pope

The Gladiator star has been avidly tweeting at Pope Francis, asking for a screening for his upcoming film ‘Noah’. Too bad Francis likes old Italian flicks.

Pope Francis apparently does not watch a lot of newly-released movies. Last fall, he told the Jesuit America Magazine that his favorite flicks were Federico Fellini’s 1954 film La Strada and Roberto Rossellini’s 1945 film Rome: Open City. He also said he liked anything that starred Italian legend Anna Magnani, who was born in 1908.  Given that, one might find the pontiff’s movie acumen just a little bit dated. Perhaps there just hasn’t been a movie since then worth seeing.  Or, more likely, as leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics, the pope probably doesn’t have a lot of free time on his hands, what with fixing the church’s complex problems and generally making headlines with good deeds.


Niko Tavernise

As such, it is fairly unlikely that the pope will break his habit and succumb to the pressure being applied by megastar Russell Crowe, whom the Italian press has accused of “stalking” the pontiff about his upcoming Bible-inspired movie, Noah, which will be released in Italy on April 10.  Crowe has allegeldy even offered to arrange a private screening just for Francis, but so far the Vatican is not biting.

Kate Upton Beats a Serial Cheater

In a given year, 4 percent of married people have extramarital affairs. Find out more stats about infidelity tied to the new comedy ‘The Other Woman,’ with Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton.

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