johnny_depp_tonto_train

Reel Change’s Top 5 Posts of 2013

On this last day of 2013, here is a quick look back at my top posts of the year, listed in order of popularity. If you like these, don’t forget to check out my work at other publications, such as The Atlantic and Movie Mezzanine. Thank you for reading this year and for making Reel Change a…

article-2318840-199AF94C000005DC-892_634x393

2013: The Movie of the Year

When parsing the releases of 2013 for the film that best captured the national mood, there is no shortage of contenders. Wolf of Wall Street and its magnetic lunacy captured our complicated relationship with wealth in America. 12 Years a Slave brought us closer to revealing the raw, tender heart of our racial issues than…

American-Hustle_612x380

The Surprising Politics of “American Hustle”

There is an old, possibly apocryphal story about a senator who stormed into the White House during the Coolidge Administration to complain that a man under consideration for being nominated to the Senate was “an SOB.” “That could be,” Coolidge reportedly conceded, “but there are a lot of those in the country, and I think…

tumblr_my487ytxfs1qd9dz2o1_1280

The Radical, Reassuring Message of “Her”

Key to any discussion about science-fiction movies, including Spike Jonze’s new film Her, is the concept of “singularity,” the predicted moment when human beings will create true artificial intelligence. Writers like Vernon Vinge and Ray Kurzweil have predicted when this moment will occur (Vinge says 2030, while Kurzweil thinks it will be closer to 2045),…

Man-Of-Steel-Henry-Cavill-Kal_El-3

2013: The 5 Most Conservative Movies of the Year

Believe it or not, most Hollywood movies are conservative. I mean conservative in the traditional sense, not in the sense of today’s mainstream Republicans, who helped us rack up a crippling deficit by launching pre-emptive wars. Those aren’t conservative values. Conservatism, in a cultural sense, is about preserving the status quo or making incremental social…

index

2013: The 5 Most Progressive Movies of the Year

Parsing out the politics of a Hollywood film can be tricky. What makes for a conservative film? Or a progressive one? Unless the film is about a politician or political issue, you have to analyze the values embedded in its themes, plot, and characters, and the conclusions are always debatable. It has gotten easier, however,…

White-House-Down

2013: Love/Hate List

It’s that silly time of year again. I’m not talking about the holidays; no, it’s the season of Top 10 lists that gets me down. All across the country, film critics are toiling in front of warm laptops trying to decide which movies were the best of the year. I understand why these lists are…