Author: Samantha Sanders

Be (Reluctantly) the Change You Wish to See in the World: A Cornetto Trilogy Appreciation

Throughout the month of March, Audiences Everywhere will be sharing appreciation for film trilogies, including personal reflections from our writers on some of their favorites. This week, we’re starting with The Cornetto Trilogy. “Be (Reluctantly) the Change You Wish to See in the World: A Cornetto Trilogy Appreciation” Shortly before the release of Rogue One, amid all the media hoopla and internet chatter, something compelled my older sister to call me. Not a rare occurrence, but not a regular one either. She was calling, she explained, because she wanted me to know that I’d been there for the original,...

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Mindhunter Trailer: Fincher Gives True Crime Fans a Small Screen Thrill

It looks like director David Fincher will be revisiting familiar ground in the just-released trailer for his upcoming Netflix series, Mindhunter—and with Fincher, that’s rarely a bad thing. He’s tackled serial killers before and if he manages to do on the small screen what he accomplished in Seven and Zodiac, expect this much-hyped series to be among the fall’s most-talked about premieres. The series is based on the book, Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, by John Douglas, a former special agent, who worked on some of the most high-profile cases of recent decades, including those...

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Happy Birthday, Paul Lieberstein, AKA “Toby”!

While the American version of The Office was filled with lovable oddballs (as was the British one, I’m sure, but I can’t with Gervais), for some reason, it was always Paul Lieberstein’s Toby that resonated with me. Toby radiated awkward sincerity in every interaction with his co-workers and the earnestness with which he approached his thankless job—which admittedly he was not terrific at, but look what he was working with—was laudable. His performance is endearing without being treacly, and somehow sad sack despite the likelihood he’s probably one of the most high-functioning people at the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin. So today...

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Samantha Sanders Talks Elle With Pop Culture Case Study

Where do you even start in a discussion of the power dynamics, the unflinching violence, and the sheer Verhoeven-ness of the mesmerizing French film, Elle? Lucky for me, the always-reliable and ever-curious David Hart of Pop Culture Case Study had that covered. You can listen to the conversation here. I hope you enjoy our lively discussion of each twist and turn of what, for me, was one of the most engrossing films of 2016. We even managed to keep our Isabelle Huppert fawning down to just a few minutes! (Be happy Hart didn’t give me unlimited time) If you...

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Heed its Warning and Beware The Slenderman

Overview: An internet bogeyman inspires two Wisconsin girls to attempt murder in an effort to earn his approval, as recounted in this documentary that takes a closer look at the case and surrounding phenomenon. HBO; Not Rated; 2016; 114 minutes. “Some kids are just big believers”: Beware the Slenderman, premiering on HBO this week, is a long-awaited look at the story behind the vicious near-fatal stabbing of a young Wisconsin girl by two of her friends in 2014. The story gained national attention not just for the outlier aspect of its perpetrators—two 12-year old girls—but because of their declared...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #95: The Sons of Katie Elder

The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) Director: Henry Hathaway Genre: Western Paramount Pictures Synopsis: Four men return home for their mother’s funeral to find that the small Texas town they left behind is no longer very welcoming, in this classic late-era Western. Overview: Like any good Western, the climax of The Sons of Katie Elder plays out as a gunfight crescendo against a gorgeous backdrop. But the more satisfying emotional payoff happens near the beginning, as the four Elder brothers return home for their mother’s funeral only to be repeatedly shamed by everyone—from the town minister to the woman running the...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #93: The Parent Trap

The Parent Trap (1961) Director: David Swift Genre: Comedy Buena Vista Distribution When The Parent Trap was released nationwide in June of 1961, love and marriage were on our minds. Life Magazine that week featured a cover touting “Weddings Worldwide” in its pages and in the White House a young family was seemingly living out our ever-after daydreams. June 21 was a Wednesday (it will be in 2017, too) and, if astrology is your thing, this was all taking place under the zodiac sign, Gemini—the twins. All of this is to say that it was a pretty auspicious time for...

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We See the Ships in the Distance on Apocalypto’s 10th Anniversary

I never saw Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto when it was released in 2006. I remember being vaguely interested, appreciating that it seemed ambitious in scope and subject, and filing it away as a movie I’d maybe get around to. For whatever reason, that didn’t happen—not for years anyway. It wasn’t until a weekend, in the middle of doing a few loads of laundry, that I caught an afternoon cable showing. I sat down to watch just the opening scene to see what it was all about before getting back to the laundry. I didn’t move until the closing credits. So...

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The Edge of Seventeen Navigates the Awkwardness of High School

Overview: Four years after the loss of her father (and biggest champion), awkward and acerbic Nadine must learn to navigate the perils of 11th grade without lifelong best friend Krista, exiled by Nadine after hooking up with her popular older brother (and sometimes enemy), Darian. Sony Pictures Entertainment; 2016; Rated R; 104 minutes. Familiar Ground: It’s easy to immediately identify with The Edge of Seventeen since the viewer has likely been here before, whether in real life or at the movies. Awkwardness, it would seem, is a teenage universal. The story begins with a voiceover from Nadine (True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld) recounting...

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The Violence of Grief and Coping

‘Yes! Very funny this terrible thing is. A man that is born falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea. If he tries to climb out into the air as inexperienced people endeavour to do, he drowns […] The way is to the destructive element submit yourself, and with the exertions of your hands and feet in the water make the deep, deep sea keep you up. ‘ -Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim If the simplest, conventional definition of an antihero is “one who lacks most, if not all, of the attributes of the hero,” then...

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