Sharon Stone is pleading with America to vote Donald Trump out of office so we can improve our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a series of Instagram posts, the Basic Instinct and Ratched actress has detailed the horrifying circumstances her family has been dealing with.

Already this year Stone has lost her grandmother and her godmother to the coronavirus pandemic. Now her younger sister, Kelly, along with Kelly's husband Bruce, have both been hospitalized with the viral infection in their home state of Montana. Stone first posted an image of her sister's hospital room on Sunday with the accompanying message, "One of you non-mask wearers did this," and "Can YOU FACE THIS ROOM ALONE?"

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CULTURE

How Dating Apps Changed Romance in the 2010s

It's cool to be vulnerable–sort of.

Vocal

Why is Sharon Stone, one of the world's most prominent "sex symbols," using a dating app?

If you're not sure, then you're out of touch with how online love will be in the 2020s. Since the dawn of online dating in the mid-1990s, we've come full circle from shaming online romance to trying it out "ironically" to swiping right on possible mates while waiting in line at Starbucks.

When the 61-year-old actress (of salacious Basic Instinct fame) took to Twitter to lament that she'd been blocked from Bumble because users were reporting her profile was fake, we were collectively reminded that online dating's become too prosaic to exclude celebrities. "Hey @bumble, is being me exclusionary? Don't shut me out of the hive," she tweeted. Soon the company reinstated her account, with Bumble's editorial director Clare O'Connor stating, "Trust us, we *definitely* want you on the Hive."

In fact, the hive is buzzing, and not just on Bumble. Seven years ago, five dudes and one woman launched Tinder. Today, dating apps are estimated to be a $12 billion dollar industry in 2020. As swiping has creeped into our daily rituals, critics have fretted that dating has been superficially "gamified" by Tinder, killed off the subtlety of courtship, and resulted in a "dating apocalypse" that's prioritized sexual gratification over genuine human connection.

Earlier this year, writer Derek Thompson tweeted a simple graph showing Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld's 10 years of research on how modern heterosexual couples meet. While he expected the data to point out the obvious to people, the general response was despair at the emptiness of modern existence, marked by "heightened isolation and a diminished sense of belonging within communities," as one user noted (which is an impressive impact for a sociologist to have on the Twitterverse, so kudos to Rosenfield, who received a barrage of messages on his own social media accounts). It's the opposite of the 1950s' "stranger danger," Thompson noted, to the extent that finding a partner is like ordering on Amazon. Like online shopping, we're struck with choice paralysis when confronted with seemingly every conceivable fish in the sea.

Is modern love emotionally bankrupt? Is our reliance on technology trapping us in isolated bubbles of ids and impulses? Eh, maybe. But one overarching effect of searching for a potential partner online is that we have to get very clever at communication, or at least faking it through shorthand. From cringey neologisms like "sapiosexual" or "lumbersexual," listing your Meyers-Briggs personality type, or inexplicably sticking your baby photo in the middle of your profile, what makes us stand out from the nameless, impersonal crowd is personal details–or, as Brene Brown loves to say, "the power of being vulnerable."

For instance, as universally appalling as identifying as a "sapiosexual" (one who is attracted to intelligence) is, the unfortunate trend took off because it "fill[ed] a gap between the language we have available and the language we need to find connection in the online dating world," Mashable noted. Psychologist, author, and sex coach Liz Powell emphasized the importance of communication via dating app: "On the internet, all you have is words. So while IRL you can watch how someone interacts with others or dances, online you just have what you type at each other." She added, "Sapiosexuality is a highly controversial term these days because of the ways it can enshrine classist, ableist, sexist, and racist ideas about what it means to be 'smart.'" But, at its core, the word is emblematic of our desire to be seen as individuals rather than a profile picture. The CEO of a dating app exclusively designed to appeal to self-identifying sapiosexuals, called Sapio, even acknowledges, "For many, defining oneself as sapiosexual has become [a] statement against the current status quo of hookup culture and superficiality, where looks are prized above all else." It's a white flag of surrender to hookup culture and an odd plea to be seen holistically.

Similarly, the CEO of Hinge has noted that the latest approach to online dating values "authentic and vulnerable" profiles. The app grew in popularity because of its requirement to answer distinct and personal questions on your profile, such as "the most personal thing I'm willing to admit," "pet peeves," "I will never tell my grandchildren," or "what I am thankful for."

Undoubtedly, we're still grappling with the linguistic challenges of presenting a curated online version of ourselves that appeals to strangers within the average three to seven seconds we have before being sentenced to a swipe left or right. But maybe the bright side of our Instagram-laden, commodified, and robot-driven daily rituals is that our banal, unsexy humanity is becoming one of our most appreciated assets—even if we don't look like Sharon Stone.

FILM & TV

BOX OFFICE BREAKDOWN | All is fair in love and its consequences

MARCH 30TH - APRIL 1ST | What's coming to theaters this weekend?

Take a break from Easter egg hunts and Passover seders to take a trip to your local cinema.

In Popdust's column, Box Office Breakdown, we aim to inform you of the top flicks to check out every weekend depending on what you're in the mood to enjoy. Looking to laugh? What about having your pants scared off? Maybe you just need a little love? Whatever the case may be, we have you covered. Take a peek at our top picks for this week…

God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness | Just in time for the religious holiday season, Reverend Dave Hill is put in a troubled position when his church burns down in a fire and the neighboring university looks to throw the group off-campus instead of rebuilding it. The community and the church are at odds when they disagree on how to move forward with the process. Legal battles quickly come up. Reverend Dave must reach out to his estranged brother, an atheist, to help him with the case. It will bring up the question of who believes, who does not, and the power of choice.

Purchase Tickets for God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness

PG | Running Time 1hr 46m | Pure Flix Productions | Director: Michael Mason

Starring: David A.R. White, John Corbett, Shane Harper, and more!

All I Wish | The question of what to do on your birthday can sometimes be a challenging one. For Senna, it's also another reminder of how she is getting older and still doesn't have a steady relationship (something her mother reminds her of frequently). Then, she meets a man who might just change her mind on the whole 'not needing to get married' business. He's nice. He's funny. And she suddenly thinks she might want more. No, there is nothing more complicated about it than that, so don't expect there to be. But do be prepared for seeing the age-defying Sharon Stone in a bikini!

Purchase Tickets for All I Wish

R | Running Time 1hr 34m | ETA Films | Director: Susan Walter

Starring: Sharon Stone, Tony Goldwyn, Ellen Burstyn, and more!


The Last Movie Star | It's nice to get an award, especially when you hear that other legendary actors have also been awarded the same title. However, no other actors were stupid enough to fall for the invitation to come to the teeny tiny Nashville, Tennessee film awards. One actor makes that mistake when he is honored late in his career and then begins a strange journey back through time. He meets the film buffs who are obsessed with his work and tries to revisit those he's met from his past. In this odd and heart-warming tale, see what it means to have a so-so second act and to bring it back with a killer finale.

Purchase Tickets for The Last Movie Star

R | Running Time 1hr 43m | Broken Twig Productions Inc. | Director: Adam Rifkin

Starring: Burt Reynolds, Ariel Winter, Clark Duke, and more!


Finding Your Feet | It's apparently never too late for a little romance, as we found out this week at the movies. When Sandra realizes that her beloved husband has been having a long-standing affair with her best friend, she runs off and takes refuge with her wild, eccentric sister, Bif. Though the two couldn't possibly be any more different, they lean on one another for support as they work to restore their relationship, their faith in love, and their dancing skills in a community class Bif signs up for. Love, lust, and an inability to fear the possibility of getting old make this a delightful treat.

Purchase Tickets for Finding Your Feet

PG-13 | Running Time 1hr 51m | Eclipse Films | Director: Richard Loncraine

Starring: Timothy Spall, Joanna Lumley, Imelda Staunton, and more!


And our ⭐️ TOP PICK ⭐️ ...

Tyler Perry's Acrimony | Oh, how complicated matters of the heart can be... and dark, too. In this film, we have a wife who thought she had it all in her husband. However, it quickly becomes clear to her that there must be something he is hiding. The question is who and what. One woman will go as far as it takes to figure out why her husband has decided to deceive her, and how she is going to get back at him for it. Complex, thrilling, and as dangerous as all romantic affairs, you will be nervous until the end as this couple unravels in a dramatic fashion.

Purchase Tickets for Tyler Perry's Acrimony

R | Running Time 2hr | The Tyler Perry Company | Director: Tyler Perry

Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Lyriq Bent, Crystle Stewart, and more!


Really like a film you've seen or know of one coming out soon that we should check out? Shoot me an email and let me know!

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