Culture News

Is Trump Tom Cruise or Renée Zellweger in "Jerry Maguire"?

An "accidental" comparison on The 11th Hour with Brian Williams leaves us wondering which role fits ex-president Trump.

On Thursday night MSNBC's Brian Williams hosted author and activist Baratunde Thurston and Iraq-war-cheerleader-turned-Trump-critic Bill Kristol to discuss the Republican party's steps in reconciling with disgraced ex-president Donald Trump.

Many had pointed out that just a few short weeks after then-president Trump sent a rally of his supporters to the Capitol building and goaded them into a violent act of insurrection targeting our nations lawmakers, GOP leadership already seemed eager to welcome him back into the fold. Among the most desperate sycophants is House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who met with Donald Trump this week with a purported goal to coordinate an electoral strategy for expanding the regaining control of Congress in 2022.

Keep Reading Show less
Film Lists

How to Stream All the 2020 Oscar Winning Movies

Its not too late to find out what all the hype is about.

The Academy Awards have the power to cement certain films into our collective cultural consciousness.

Just being nominated for an Oscar tends to lend a second life to a film, and a win adds even more to a movie's legacy. Last night, Parasite swept the major categories winning four awards including Best Picture. Its safe to say that anyone who hasn't yet seen Parasite will make it a priority in the coming days to find out what all the hype is about. If you're like many people, you probably didn't see the majority of the nominated films that took home golden statues last night. But don't worry, its not too late.

How to watch the Oscar winning films:

Parasite—Best picture, director, international feature film and original screenplay

Rent or buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

Joker—Joaquin Phoenix for best actor

Rent or buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

Judy—Renée Zellweger for best actress

Rent or buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood—Brad Pitt for best supporting actor

Rent or buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

Marriage Story—Laura Dern for best supporting actress

Stream on Netflix

1917—Best cinematography, visual efforts and sound mixing

preorder on Amazon

Little Women—Best costume design

preorder on Amazon

Bombshell—Best makeup and hairstyling

preorder on Amazon

American Factory—Best documentary feature

Stream on Netflix

How to watch the Oscar-nominated films:

The Irishman—Nominated for best picture, director, supporting actor

Stream on Netflix

Jojo Rabbit—Nominated for best picture, best supporting actress

Buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

Ford v Ferrari—Nominated for best picture

Buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

Pain and Glory—Nominated for best actor

Rent or buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

The Two Popes—Nominated for Best actor

Stream on Netflix

Harriet—Nominated for best actress

Rent or buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

Richard Jewell—Nominated for best supporting actress

preorder on Amazon

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood—Nominated for best supporting actor

Buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

How to watch the Oscar winning/nominated short films:


Streaming on Vimeo and YouTube.

Dcera (Daughter)

Streaming on Vimeo

Hair Love

Streaming on YouTube.

In the Absence

Streaming on Vimeo.


Streaming on Disney+ and YouTube.

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're A Girl)

Streaming on A&E, Sling TV, and Philo.

Life Overtakes Me

Streaming on Netflix.

Nefta Football Club

Streaming on Vimeo and YouTube.


Streaming on YouTube.

The Neighbors' Window

Streaming on Vimeo and YouTube.

Walk Run Cha-Cha

Streaming on Vimeo.

Photo: LD Entertainment/Roadside Attractions

Hollywood is no exception when it comes to the history of great trauma producing great art.

Unfortunately for Judy Garland, children were far from immune to the predatory behaviors and systemic injustices of early show business. As poignantly displayed in Rupert Goold's new movie, Judy, Garland was a tragic victim of maltreatment despite her many successes throughout the Golden Age of Hollywood.

In the film, Garland (played by Renée Zellweger in a career-high performance) arrives in London in 1968 for a string of sold-out shows at the nightclub The Talk of the Town. Garland is a haggard and unhealthy mother of three whose behavior and unpredictability have put her on an unspoken blacklist back in the States. It's only because she's strapped for cash and increasingly desperate that she accepts the headlining gig in the UK, leaving her kids behind to profit from the European market still pining for more Judy.

From Zellweger's very first scenes, we see the depths of Garland's diminishing mental and physical health, as the actress struggles with pill addiction, depression, alcoholism, and insomnia. But rather than harping on Garland's downfalls, Judy focuses on the cause of her dysfunction, flashing back periodically to her childhood, which, by today's standards, was fraught with undeniable child abuse.

Judy Trailer #2 (2019) | Movieclips Trailers

Garland was only 16 when she was cast as Dorothy Gale in the classic film The Wizard of Oz. The unsuspecting teenager was pumped full of uppers and downers by her mother to control her mood, sleep, energy and ultimately ensure that she'd deliver a dazzling performance. We see a young Judy struggling to hold onto her youth, acting out in protest of the abusive manipulation of her mother, film producers, and handlers. We see them starve her, dangling promises of money and stardom in front of her face while verbally abusing her. They stage photo shoots at burger joints to make her look like the kid she desperately wants to be, but she's cruelly forbidden from eating in order to keep her weight stable (she's given even more pills to suppress her hunger).

Knowing the legend's heartbreaking tale and its fatal conclusion makes it all the more shocking to witness on the big screen. By the time young Judy is reprimanded by Louis B. Mayer, producer and co-founder of MGM, Zellweger is in the thick of depression and self-sabotage, with each night becoming a question of whether or not Garland can continue performing. Zellweger gives an excellent performance, fully embodying the singer's quirks, twisting and stretching her limbs to match Garland's bendy physicality on stage. She nails Garland's signature facial twitches, gait, and cadence. Though her singing does differ in octave compared to Garland's lowered register during that time, Zellweger still sounds angelic, even if blips of Renée break through.

Goold filmed the musical performances live, with Zellweger singing in front of a live band: a decision that paid off, as the authenticity is heard, seen, and felt on screen. The actress wraps herself in the blanket of Garland's sadness, turning heel in the film's climax to deliver a showstopping scene that transforms Garland's trauma into a triumph, reminding us exactly why Garland touched so many of her fans. Audience members are forced to simultaneously mourn and laud the tragedy of Judy Garland, who was a storm of emotions and charisma, on stage and off.

Judy serves up a revelatory performance that not only uncovers the depths of Zellweger's abilities but offers a peek behind the curtain of who Garland was, what drove her, and how she became so tortured and distrusting. With her joy and childlike innocence smothered by bureaucracy and constant stressors, Garland sought love from the only place it was readily accessible to her: the stage. Her audience was key to her survival; their applause kept her from breaking even earlier than she did. By contextualizing Garland's childhood, Judy allows Zellweger to deliver a beautiful testament to an icon who left us far too soon.

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡⚡/5


Netflix's "What/If" Proves That Art Is Dead

"What/If" is an outright attack on creative people and all their struggles to make worthwhile art. It's also really fun.


Netflix's What/If transcends the good-bad spectrum.

What/If has spawned countless reviews, articles, and think pieces, all trying to parse some iota of sense from a TV show that seems purposely designed to be terrible. It's not exactly so-bad-it's-good, because that implies an earnestness of intent and What/If clearly does not hold itself to any conceivable standard. And yet, What/If is just on the cusp of being generic enough to gaslight a viewer into believing that maybe, possibly, someone at some stage of production thought they were making an unironic TV drama, as opposed to an absolute dumpster fire of a show.

But that's probably not the case. If anything, when Netflix ordered What/If to series, their goal was clear as day: to take a massive dump on anyone who has ever wanted to work in television and failed to achieve their dreams.

Every year, thousands of eager, fresh-faced young hopefuls make their way out to Los Angeles in hopes of becoming the next great actor, writer, director, etc. Most of them quickly grow jaded as they come face-to-face with the limits of their own talents and the hierarchical crapshoot nature of Hollywood. Many fail, regardless of talent. So they move back home to their parents' houses with their glossy reels and their dusty scripts and say, "I tried my best, but I just couldn't cut it."

Then Netflix releases What/If, a series so ridiculously stupid that it boggles the mind. From the opening shots of psychotic, gazillionaire investor Anne Montgomery (Renée Zellweger) pruning a tree as she recites Ayn Randian garble about morality, What/If is a special breed of awful. The dialogue is inhuman, so overwritten and on-the-nose that it's laughable. The sets look cheap. Even the camera work is terrible, featuring strange close-ups of characters' faces, poor angle choices, and cheesy zooms. What/If feels like watching a lost soap opera from the early 2000s, except that's unnecessarily insulting towards all the people who work on soap operas.

By the time What/If forces you to witness a chimp-faced man with a '90s haircut dance around a bedroom in his underwear and a torn Backstreet Boys t-shirt, you must know on some level that this show is an elaborate joke. But is that the punchline, or are you?

what/if Netflix

Anyone who has ever tried to make it in a creative field knows the blood, sweat, and tears that go into making art. Directors break scenes apart from every possible angle to determine the best course of action to tell a given story. Writers craft draft after draft, tweaking dialogue and structure until every scene is just right. Actors perform take after take, becoming one with the mind of their characters.

And yet, here stands What/If, a show wherein the characters talk incessantly about playing psychological chess with one another yet continue to be surprised when their opponents do something dirty.

Thousands of scripts, hundreds of thousands of hours of work, sit unread on laptop hard drives. Talented actors grow old without ever catching their break. Great indie shorts go unwatched on no-name YouTube channels.

And yet, here stands What/If, a show in which a man claims he has a dad bod before revealing chiseled six-pack abs, as if even the casting director wanted to give the middle finger to the audience.

Indeed, What/If is a big middle finger to anyone who has ever worked hard on a piece of art and failed to see their creation thrive. What/If is proof that talent doesn't matter and that quality is irrelevant. What/If is a creative wasteland devoid of talent and vision, and the fact that it's so fun to watch makes all your failures that much more bitter.