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…

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,…

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…

Wait a Minute…Is 2013 A Great Year for Movies?

Let’s start with a list. Here are the movies currently playing at my local independent movie theater: Blue Jasmine, Before Midnight, The Attack, Fruitvale Station, and The Way, Way Back. Earlier this summer, it screened The Bling Ring, Frances Ha, and Much Ado About Nothing. Tastes may vary, but I saw most of those, and…

Responding to the Forbes Article

First of all, I’m flattered by the attention. Yesterday, Erik Kain of Forbes.com published a rebuke of my article in The Atlantic on a recent trend in Hollywood blockbusters of depicting war profiteers as villains. He makes a couple good points but gets some crucial details wrong. Here is an excerpt: Gittell argues that Iron Man…

The Scary, Silly Hypocrisy of “White House Down”

If future historians are ever looking for evidence of the political schizophrenia and tribalism that engulfed American in the post-9/11 era, they could do much worse than White House Down, a film that presents itself as an argument for peace and reason but is built on a foundation of cartoonish, consequence-free movie violence and a…