Culture Movies/TV

“Winning Time” Recap: ‘Is That All There Is?’

A single piece of confetti. A dead fly. Some strands of hair.

The second episode of Winning Time throws us back even further—this time to 1972 as the Lakers win the NBA championship and Jerry West finally gets to take home a trophy. Though just a few hours after that monumental win, he’s drinking alone at a bar, unhappy with himself.

Not realizing that he’s at the repast of a funeral, he strikes up a conversation with a random woman whom he ends up sleeping with almost immediately. Unaware of who he is or what he just accomplished that night, she finds a piece of confetti in his hair. Staring at it for a while, he drops it to the dirty hotel room carpet, where it ends up resting alongside a dead fly and some hair—which just about sums up what that win meant to him.

Warrick Page / HBO

As we return to 1979, owner Jerry Buss is trying to figure out what’s going on in Coach West’s head. As West complains about not having been able to craft a team capable of winning in the past few years, Buss finally gives him an open door, allowing him to have complete control over who’s on the team.

With no constraints on money, West now has to figure out exactly what this new team structure will look like. Buss then attends a shindig for a bunch of the other NBA team owners and has a quick chat with the most famous (and rude) of them all: Boston Celtics general manager and legendary coach, Red Auerbach.

We cut back to Lansing, Michigan, where Magic Johnson celebrates with his family and friends, except his mother is still unhappy that he’s moving on without finishing college. In an effort to win her over, he decides to buy her a new bathtub, though she sees right through his plan.

Apparently, West has been holed up in his room for days, wracking his brain around what he should do about the team. Bill Sharman (Brett Cullen) finally shows up and has to come in through the window to talk to West, who’s lying on the floor. He’s able to talk some sense into him and releases him of the vision that Magic has to be the point guard—he can put Magic anywhere; after all, he is the coach.

At the Lakers’ office, Buss’ daughter, Jeanie, (who also works in the office as an assistant) has accidentally let Frank Mariani take over 20 years worth of budget documents from the office, which greatly upsets Claire Rothman. Promptly after this, Rothman marches over to Buss to address the budgets, and he eventually asks her to take on more responsibilities by trying to book the arena (The Forum) every day of the year. Later on, Rothman hosts a pitch meeting to figure out different ways to bring in revenue. Still, when Jeanie offers up a good suggestion, she’s shot down by Rothman as punishment for letting the budget documents be taken.

After his meeting with Rothman, Buss brings the documents to his mother, Jessie (Sally Field), who works as an accountant. Though fairly unhinged in her personality, she’s not happy with the documents and thinks that her son is in over his head.

Warrick Page / HBO

West takes off to visit a few of the other players separately—Norm Nixon and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar—to let them know about his plans with Magic. On the other end of things, Buss meets Auerbach at a restaurant and asks him for advice about starting a basketball dynasty. He basically laughs him off, insults Buss’ experience, and then gets angry with him about having even asked him for advice at all.

At the same time as all of this, Magic is experiencing some personal troubles of his own. His ex-girlfriend, Cookie (Tamera Tomakili), is currently dating someone else—and that’s on top of the issues he’s already having with his mother. He visits Cookie at the shoe store she’s working at and tries to convince her to leave her new boyfriend, Brian (Carter Redwood), but it’s no use. Later on, Magic pulls up to a pick-up basketball game that Brian’s playing in and decides to join in just to show him up in front of Cookie. Though angry at first at the terrible things that he was saying and doing to Brian, the performance ended up winning her over, as the two met up later on and seemed to reconcile.

As West decides to glue back the MVP trophy that he threw out his office window, we end this week’s episode in the same place where we finished the last: in the middle of the court at The Forum. Except that this time, Auerbach joins him in the middle (apparently, the arena has bad security), and he alludes again to the fact that Buss has no chance at creating a dynasty. In response, Buss tells him that he’ll cut his (Auerbach’s) heart out and beat him with it, “this year, next year—every other year. And every other you. Until nobody even remembers Boston or the Celtics or the great Red Auerbach won a God damned thing.”

However—that’s not exactly the entire ending. We quickly cut back to the office, where Buss gathers everyone for a bit of a pep talk about how they’re all collectively going to create one of the greatest basketball dynasties. And with that, West tenders his resignation letter.

Culture Movies/TV

“The Andy Warhol Diaries”: A Glimpse Under the Wig

Though we instantly know an Andy Warhol painting when we see one, it’s a bit flip-flopped when we shift our focus to the man behind the paintings. He maintained a (mostly) personal anonymity while being one of the most well-known figures and greatest artists ever to live. Known for blatantly lying to the press and speaking sparingly, there remains an aura of mystery when it comes to Warhol himself and his psyche.

Based upon the well-known book of the same name, Netflix’s newest docuseries, The Andy Warhol Diaries, takes us through the diary entries that he recorded with editor Pat Hackett following the 1968 shooting that almost killed him.

The series is a beautifully-made rendering of his entire life—from his upbringing in Pittsburgh and ultimate move to New York City to his first successes in commercial art and breakthrough into the industry. Not only is it a look into Warhol, but the series spends quite a bit of time on those closest to him, including both romantic relationships and friendships.

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Quite a few of Warhol’s friends appear in interviews for the docuseries, like Jerry Hall, who noted that if Warhol painted your portrait and didn’t follow your lip line, it meant that he didn’t like you very much. Though that hasn’t been confirmed, Warhol was known to slip little things into his paintings; Debbie Harry’s portrait was the only one he painted with white hearts in her eyes—it was because he adored her so much.

Throughout the series, it’s clear that even after all of the success he had, Warhol still felt like an outsider in a number of ways. Because he wasn’t taken seriously by art critics at various points in his career, it would sometimes cause him to lash out at those critics in person. He recalled one instance where Rene Ricard said that his work was “just decorative,” After telling him off, those around him were shocked to see him become so angry, as it rarely happened with Warhol. About the event, he said, “Everybody saw the real me.”

But who was the real Warhol? Everything that he did relied upon the visual, whether it be paintings, films, his TV series, Interview Magazine, and with himself simply as someone to look at. He wasn’t a huge chatterbox—he was quite the opposite, which made him a bit hard to read and decide whether or not the few things he did say were actually true. The only way to get a real look into a human is through their innermost thoughts, which we’re able to hear (almost) firsthand as an AI-generated Warhol voice reads through a number of his diary entries.

Though speaking in his classic monotone and gentle way, after the breakup of his relationship with Jed Johnson, he lamented about not being the right type of person to have a relationship with. “I’m just a freak,” Warhol said. “I can’t change it. I’m too unusual.” Immediately following that relationship, he began courting Jon Gould, an executive at Paramount Studios. This marked a bit of a turning point for him in relation to love, as it was obvious from the letters that the two would exchange that Warhol truly felt deep emotions and love for Gould.

Andy Warhol Foundation / Netflix

In the fourth episode of the series, we jump into the early 1980s, where Warhol would become once again the head of the art parade—well, basically the parade in general. As he saw the young talent rising, he quipped that “a few years into a decade is when it really becomes a decade”—and he was right. Warhol was quickly introduced to Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, the latter of which he would become very close to. From 1983 to 1985, they produced over 200 pieces of art together, with Basquiat convincing Warhol to get back into freehand painting.

As a whole, this series might be the most comprehensive documentary of Warhol ever created. Sure, The Andy Warhol Diaries book definitely gives a much more complete look into his mind, but this show creates a fuller picture of the artist as it’s paired with other insights not included in the book. Because we’re able to hear Warhol reciting those entries (despite being AI-generated), it definitely adds to that emotional factor that is painted across the entire series. For someone who came off as so emotionless in public, there’s a very sweet and gentle nature to him; it’s probably why the song of the intro is the classic “Nature Boy” by Nat King Cole.

Where certain documentaries can be too heavy on certain parts of the story being told, the series evenly distributes its focus throughout each period of Warhol’s life. It also emphasizes the parts that truly mattered most to Warhol himself, like his relationship with Gould and deep friendship with Basquiat, creating a much fairer and more realistic depiction of who Warhol liked to spend his time with.

As it’s currently the ninth most-popular show to watch on Netflix, all six episodes of The Andy Warhol Diaries are available for streaming now.

Culture Movies/TV

“The Gilded Age”: Get to Know The Ladies Who Punch

From the outside looking in, it could seem like The Gilded Age is very much a “ladies-who-lunch” type of show. There are women in elaborate outfits being toted around town by horse and carriage. They are dining on the finest of meals while being waited on by men in coats and tails. In many ways, this show is more so “ladies-who-punch” than anything else—but not with their fists, however, as that would be very improper.

Instead, they use selfless charities like The Red Cross to social climb and steal each others’ butlers for their own gain. In a city where new inventions are just around the corner and enemies are perched right across the street, it’s not always easy to get a full read on the rundown of the day. With one conflict playing into another that’s occurring across town, it’s important to narrow its theme down in order to understand the full scope of the many plots of The Gilded Age.

Old vs. New Money
Alison Cohen Rosa / HBO

It’s one of the oldest wars of all time: the everlasting battle between the new and the old. Things were very much in flux in the late 1800s, creating a race around the track to see who would burst through the finish line first.

The thing is, it’s not just as simple as the van Rhijns against the Russells; there’s much more that comprises the two houses, including those in the families themselves as well as the staff that operates beneath them.

The way that each house spends its own money goes directly into how they wish to come off as people. For one, the Russells tout their money by dumping much of it into the creation of their mansion, in hiring a French chef to be on duty at all times, and by their actions outside of the house itself. This includes how George Russell (Morgan Spector) willingly bought up the entire merchandise at a charity event simply to make a social statement.

On the other hand, the van Rhijns live in a beautiful, stately home, though it looks like nothing compared to the Russell’s bustling estate right across the street. They have a devoted staff who seem genuinely more invested in the family itself than the Russell’s staff does, and while they don’t have a French chef cooking all their food, their meals are most likely just as well-made.

Where the two houses converge, however, is the way in which they raise their children, though, on the van Rhijn’s side, this also applies to Agnes (Christine Baranski) and Ada’s (Cynthia Nixon) niece, Marian (Louisa Jacobson). Marian found someone that she loves but that Agnes disapproves of; Mr. Tom Raikes (Thomas Cocquerel) isn’t quite up to Agnes’ standards, and she believes he will want someone with more money than Marian. Because of this, she practically forbids Marian from seeing him.

In the same way, Bertha Russell (Carrie Coon) is extremely protective over her daughter, Gladys (Taissa Farmiga), making her wait too long to officially come out in her debutante ball. Her father sends other suitors away, paying them off by providing them with lucrative jobs in his industry.

Speaking of jobs, Mr. Russell also doesn’t approve of his son’s sudden interest in a new career path: architecture. Wanting Larry (Harry Richardson) to continue working for him and eventually take over the company someday, it’s going to be tough for him to convince his father otherwise.

Basically, there’s no pleasing either of the household heads.

The main thing that separates the two houses is that Agnes doesn’t care about Bertha’s attempts to one-up her and those around her. Because Agnes is part of the old money crew, she doesn’t need to one-up anyone—she’s already above Bertha. However, as she watches Bertha climb further and further up the ladder, the air up there is starting to feel a bit suffocating to Agnes.

The Role of Charity
Alison Cohen Rosa / HBO

If you looked up “charity” in a dictionary from the late 1800s, you might just find a photo of various women climbing up ladders. That is to say, regardless of the pure intentions behind charity, it’s really just used as a tool for social climbing in this time period.

Good ole Clara Barton (Linda Emond) is simply trying to do something good for the world with The Red Cross, yet Bertha, Aurora Fane (Kelli O’Hara), and many others see it as the perfect opportunity to hoist themselves up even further into the glittering eyes of society. Though Barton recognizes their true intentions behind wanting to be involved, she admits to just being happy that they’re willing to donate their time and money to her.

At the same time, the charity also has a funny way of showing people’s true personalities, which most notably came into the open with regard to Fane, whose glances and mutterings about Peggy Scott’s (Denée Benton) presence were not lost on Barton. She subtly made the point that racism had no place in her charity, as she constantly applauded Scott for her continued writings about The Red Cross in the New York Globe.

As a whole, the Russells certainly have made their mark on the charity industry, especially at the event that occurred in the second episode of the season. Beyond upset about how Aurora refused to host a charity event at her new home, she arrived at the event alongside her husband, who proceeded to buy the stock of every stall at the event, as they were selling handmade goods for the proceeds to be donated. In one fell swoop, the Russells solidified their spot on the social scene.

Booming Industries
Alison Cohen Rosa / HBO

Inventions and expanding upon those very inventions are at the heart of the industry boom in this time period. Run by robber barons like George Russell, we have to remember that very few people saw the same sort of success that he did during this era—and even with that, he’s still hitting some fairly rough bumps along the way.

Leading a new train empire, Russell put everything on the line for his company, and many others followed suit. While the exploding transportation industry represented a promising era of new growth, it was also teetering the line of acceptable risk and losing everything.

And in fact, that’s just what ended up happening with quite a few of Russell’s colleagues after retreating on their promises to push for his new train line within the political sphere. As Russell bought up the remainder of his company’s shares that he had lost, his colleagues’ net worths plummeted, with many of them becoming bankrupt as a result of it, forcing them to beg him for mercy.

Following this, one of his colleagues—Mr. Morris—ended up killing himself as he exhausted his funds and was left with nothing. In a way, things were later flipped on Russell as one of his trains crashed, killing quite a few people because of older and faulty parts. Facing possible legal action, Russell sees firsthand the dark side of the coin; as he sits atop his proverbial throne in his glittering new home, he’s far removed from the nitty-gritty of what’s actually going on. Had he been down in the dirt with the rest of them, perhaps this tragedy could’ve been avoided.

Culture Movies/TV

10 Emerging Female Directors to Watch for Women’s History Month

March 8 marks International Women’s Day, and while any day is apt for rounding up emerging female directors, today is a bit more special. As women continue to break down barriers both in the world at large and within the film industry, we’re seeing a bit more progress occur before our eyes.

Last year’s Academy Awards marked the second time that a woman has won Best Director—yes, that’s only twice in an awards show that’s been going on for 92 years. In total, only seven women have been nominated for Best Director over those years. While the Academy Awards are by no means the correct way to judge the actual progress being made behind the scenes, it’s certainly one of the most public indicators.

As the United States Women’s National Team recently (and finally) came to an agreement in their fight for equal pay for female soccer players, we’re at the beginning of another long (but necessary) road in the constant fight for equality.

In no specific order, these 10 emerging female directors are not only at the top of their field, but they’re also at the forefront of representation in a historically male-dominated industry.

1. Nikyatu Jusu
Dimitrios Kambouris / WireImage / Getty Images

Nikyatu Jusu (seen in the middle of the photograph above) has steadily climbed up the directing ladder, beginning her career by writing and directing smaller films with lower budgets. Three of her earlier projects—African Booty Scratcher, Say Grace Before Drowning, and Flowers—were all acquired by HBO. Her latest films have been Suicide by Sunlight and Nanny, which were both shown at the Sundance Film Festival. Jusu’s next project (as of now Untitled) is currently in the works, and there’s no telling just how huge of a mark she’s going to make on the industry in the years to come.

2. Amy Aniobi
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Amy Aniobi played a large role in the success of HBO’s Insecure, where she was the co-executive producer and one of the head writers. Although she spent the bulk of her time on the show within the writing side of it, Aniobi directed Episode 7, “Chillin’, Okay?,” in Insecure‘s final season. She’ll also be teaming up with Issa Rae once again for the upcoming HBO Max series, Rap Sh*t, which will be an eight-episode series that Aniobi will be directing and writing alongside Rae.

3. Nia DaCosta
Rachel Murray / Getty Images

Not only did Nia DaCosta direct Candyman (2021), but the film also debuted at number one in the box office, making her the first African-American female director to ever have that happen. DaCosta is directing the upcoming and long-awaited The Marvels, which focuses on Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and Monica Rambeau. At just 32 years old, this will make her the youngest person to ever direct a Marvel film, a massive achievement both for herself and for women everywhere.

4. Kitty Green
Matthias Nareyek / Getty Images

Australian director, Kitty Green, focuses on creating some of the most detailed documentaries, including Casting JonBenet and Ukraine is not a Brothel. Green also wrote and directed the feature film, The Assistant, which starred Julia Garner and focused on one entire day of a girl’s life, addressing the #MeToo movement just a few years after Harvey Weinstein was first accused of sexual abuse. Through her work, she’s able to bring more awareness to these important movements that are occurring both within the United States and in the world as a whole.

5. Lulu Wang
Araya Doheny / Getty Images

Lulu Wang’s (seen in the middle of the photograph above) main focus over the past few years has been with romantic comedies, making real strides in the way that we view the genre. Her major breakthrough came with Posthumous, a comedy-drama film that she both wrote and directed; it was also her debut as a director.

Following that success, Wang wrote, directed, and produced her second feature film, The Farewell, which centers around the grandmother of a Chinese-American family who’s about to pass away, earning a few Golden Globe nominations following its premiere. Currently, Wang is working on an upcoming Amazon Prime series, Expats, which stars Nicole Kidman and is based on the novel, The Expatriates, by Janice Y. K. Lee.

6. Kris Rey
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Kris Rey (seen on the left of the photograph above)—who occasionally goes by Kris Swanberg in the context of crediting—has directed documentary films, feature films, and television episodes, spanning a wide variety of mediums and topics; in addition, she’s acted in quite a number of different roles. She’s also responsible for directing one of the best episodes of Work in Progress entitled “Take Your Child To Work Day,” which was a sweet (and hilarious) look into the relationship between aunt and nephew in the episode. Her most recent work as director came with the film, I Used to Go Here, which follows an author who makes the trek back to her old college as part of a speaking opportunity from her university.

7. Anu Valia
Mitch Haaseth /ABC / Getty Images

Anu Valia tells incredible stories about women, including the award-winning short film that she wrote and directed, Lucia, Before and After, which focuses on abortion, namely a young woman named Lucia and her journey in Texas. In addition, she has directed episodes of series like the very recent And Just Like That… and Mixed-ish; Valia will also be directing the upcoming Marvel series on Disney+, She-Hulk, another female director who’s becoming part of the (behind-the-scenes) Marvel Cinematic Universe.

8. Tayarisha Poe
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Tayarisha Poe is a master at creating a balance with dark undertones in the films, episodes, and shorts that she both writes and directs. With Selah and the Spades, Poe beautifully captured the undergrounds of a prominent boarding school and the different factions within it. Up next for Poe is a Netflix original movie titled, The Young Wife, which deals with one woman’s decision to get married and the changes that follow in its wake at a party.

9. Iryna Tsilyk
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Ukrainian writer and director, Iryna Tsilyk, not only works in the film industry but has also published several books and poems over the years—and she’s just 39 years old. Her most recent film, The Earth is Blue as an Orange, won her a Directing Award for World Cinema Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, which is also where it premiered. While Tyislyk has more recently been focusing on documentary films, she has also done quite a few short films in her past.

10. Chloé Zhao
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If Chloé Zhao wasn’t on the map already, her work as the writer and director of Nomadland certainly solidified her even further on the directing scene. The film ended up taking home Best Picture at the 2021 Academy Awards and Zhao received the award for Best Director, making her the second woman to do so. She also directed and co-wrote Marvel’s Eternals, which was a major blockbuster in November of 2021. One of her future projects includes creating and directing a new Dracula film, which we’ll most likely see in the next year or two.

Culture Movies/TV

“Winning Time” Recap: ‘The Swan’

Before the Lakers were the Lakers, they were almost in the trash. At one of the lowest points of their franchise, HBO Max’s newest series, Winning Time, tracks the team as they claw their way out of the dungeon to become one of the most successful basketball teams of all time.

This first episode focuses mostly on Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s (Quincy Isaiah) drafting onto the team as well as Dr. Jerry Buss’s (John C. Reilly) acquisition of the team itself. The series is filmed both in a regular and mockumentary style, with certain front office staff (mainly Buss) dishing out clever quips about what’s going on.

While we track the team during the 1980s, this episode kicks off at a doctor’s office on November 5, 1991—the day that Johnson found out that he had contracted HIV. While we’re only in this scene for a short moment, it shows the ultimate trajectory of his career, and with that moment, we’re thrown back into the 1980s.

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We’re introduced to the wild-yet-charming Buss who’s set on buying the Lakers for a cool $15,750,000. Though he only has $120k in his bank, it doesn’t stop him from being extremely confident that he’ll scrounge up the rest of the money in time for the payment to go through. His business partner, Frank Mariani (Stephen Adly Guirgis)—who apparently has bad reflux—feels much differently and thinks that it’s not a great idea.

Back home and assuming that her father’s deal will go through, Buss’s daughter, Jeanie (Hadley Robinson), asks him for a job at the company. His one interview question: who should he choose in the upcoming NBA draft: Larry Bird or Earvin Johnson? Knowing that Bird has already signed with the Boston Celtics, it’s a no-brainer.

At this point, we’re introduced to Johnson, who’s back at home in Lansing, Michigan with his family and friends as he anxiously awaits the news of who he’ll be drafted by. At the NBA offices in New York City, the winner is decided with a simple coin flip: whoever wins will get the first pick of the draft, and given that Johnson is number one on everyone’s list, his fate will be decided by a coin.

Facing off against the Chicago Bulls in this monumental, over-the-phone coin flip, the Lakers get the first pick as the coin lands on tails. Back in Michigan, Johnson feels much more excited about heading to Los Angeles than the rest of his family does. Hoping he’d stay closer in Chicago, Johnson is now headed off to an entirely new world in California.

Warrick Page / HBO

Back in Los Angeles and on the golf course, Jerry West (Jason Clarke)—the head coach of the Lakers—has a bit of a tantrum about the prospect of Johnson joining the team, threatening to quit if they end up fully signing him. Before snapping his golf club and storming off, we get a quick look into West’s past as a former-Lakers player and one-time MVP. A hothead obsessed with winning, West is still unhappy with how his career went. Even though he won the MVP Award in 1969, won the NBA Championship in 1972, and even had his silhouette become the NBA’s logo, it still wasn’t enough to make up for not winning in the way that he wanted to.

In a Los Angeles salon, Lakers point guard Norm Nixon (DeVaughn Nixon) is chatting with the women there who ask him how Johnson will fit into the team as he’s also a point guard. It eventually turns into a bit of an argument as the women complement Johnson and Nixon leaves the salon in a huff.

Another central member of the team, center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Solomon Hughes), is introduced, as we see him taking on an acting role in the movie, Airplane!. Later on, Nixon stops by to complain to Abdul-Jabbar about Johnson. However, he’s not hearing any of it—literally, because he’s blasting music in his headphones, eventually telling Nixon to hit the road.

Johnson finally arrives in Los Angeles with his father, Earvin Johnson Sr. (Rob Morgan), and the two quickly find themselves in a tense lunch meeting with Buss and Jack Cooke, where they (attempt to) eat some sand dabs. Johnson asks for a burger instead, along with Buss and Earvin Sr., as they do not love their meal. Cooke is visibly annoyed by this and declines the burger offer, stating, “I’m enjoying my sanddab.”

Upset with the Johnsons and Buss for taking Johnson’s side, Cooke tells Johnson that the Lakers can simply go with someone else because he’s not technically signed yet. At this point, Johnson demands $600k; Cooke offers $400k instead, but Johnson keeps pushing for more money. Cooke suggests that Magic should take a few more years in college, and after he calls him “boy,” Johnson decides it’s time to leave the meeting entirely. Realizing that he’s on the brink of losing his star player, Buss steps in and tries to smooth things over as his colleague isn’t treating Johnson fairly.

Warrick Page / HBO

At their hotel room, Magic’s dad thinks that he’s being stupid with the deal, emphasizing just how much money $400k is. Magic knows that he’s worth more given the fact that Larry Bird was just given $600k to play for the Celtics. The two reminisce on all of the work that’s taken them to get to this place, both on Magic’s end and on his father’s.

Johnson is invited to a white-themed party that’s filled with tons of people in the basketball industry. Buss walks around with Magic, introducing him to various people, including Don Sterling (the “second worst Donald of the ’80s”), played by Kirk Bovill. Johnson eventually meets Nixon, who still has his reservations about his potential new replacement, and the two of them end up outside on the basketball court together as quite a crowd gathers. At first, they’re just casually shooting hoops and talking, but it eventually becomes a one-on-one match between the two.

Nixon makes quick work of Johnson, who has a tough time keeping up with the veteran point guard. At one point, Johnson even ends up face down on the ground, making himself feel profoundly stupid as he’s supposed to be coming onto the Lakers as this unstoppable force. Kneeling down next to him, Nixon advises him to go back to college as he’s not ready for the NBA.

Reflecting afterward on his performance at the white party one-on-one, Johnson speaks to his dad and tells him that he’s leaning towards going back to college because the hype is getting to be too much. His father fully supports his son in whatever he chooses to do; it’s a sweet, quiet moment as Johnson’s father tells him that he loves him regardless.

Warrick Page / HBO

Buss is still trying to solve his financial situation, so he finally resorts to calling his ex-wife to loan him the remainder of the money to pay for the team. Though unhappy about the prospect of this, she forks over the money, and Buss heads to Cooke to hand it off via check.

Before this, Claire Rothman (Gaby Hoffmann), who does administrative work for the Lakers, lets Buss know that Cooke is thinking about asking for the entire sum of money in cash.

At his lavish home fit with literal swans, Cooke tells Buss that he could technically demand that he pays it in cash, knowing that Buss wouldn’t be able to afford it that way. Buss has a great comeback, explaining how nobody else would want the franchise and that it would take quite a while to find another buyer. With that, Cooke takes the check, and Buss officially acquires the Lakers.

Johnson heads to Buss’s office to break the news to him, and though he understands, things seem a bit fishy when he offers to walk Johnson out of the building and ends up getting lost. He excuses himself to find someone who knows the way out, conveniently leaving Johnson to roam the memorabilia-filled hallways. He keeps walking around, eventually finding himself in the famed Lakers locker room, where he discovers his own locker, which has his name written atop it in Sharpie on a strip of masking tape; below it hangs his jersey: number 32.

By the end of the episode, it’s finally the draft day, and the Lakers officially have Johnson sign on with the team for $500k. It’s a day of celebration for mostly everyone—except for Cooke, who decides to throw his MVP trophy through his office window. Buss celebrates by having quite a few swigs of alcohol in the middle of the arena by himself, eventually lying down in the middle of the court. “I own this,” he proudly says to himself.

Culture Movies/TV

Hulu’s “The Dropout”: A Perfectly-Chaotic Snapshot of a Bloodthirsty Inventor

Who knew that Aéropostale polos and Yoda quotes would play such a large role in the making of Silicon Valley’s newest (and extremely fraudulent) inventor?

Hulu’s The Dropout focuses on the life and times of Elizabeth Holmes, founder and former CEO of Theranos, a start-up company that quickly became famous for its (supposed) small device that could perform up to 70 tests with just a single drop of blood.

Amanda Seyfried plays an outrageously odd and bizarre Holmes, paying special attention to her mannerisms, voice, and overall demeanor. While Kate McKinnon was originally cast as Holmes, Seyfried smoothly transforms herself into the role.

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The series kicks off at the beginning of summer, a few months before Holmes starts her freshman year of college. Being the over-achiever that she is, she decides to travel to China that summer to practice her Chinese as part of a program at Stanford. Although Holmes was paired with other American roommates, she refused to speak in English to them because she wouldn’t be getting the full experience, making her come off as an elitist weirdo to them and isolating her in the process.

Because of this, the only friend she ends up making is Sunny Balwani (Naveen Andrews), an older, successful man who is also taking part in the program (there’s almost a 20-year difference between him and Holmes). They hit it off and begin to hang out with each other each day, exploring China and learning about one another in the process. As the program comes to a close, they decide to stay in touch as they’re practically inseparable at this point. This relationship is one that would end up lasting for the majority of Holmes’ future life, as she would later make Balwani the COO of Theranos and become romantically involved with him.

At Stanford, Holmes’ oddities stick with her, though she’s able to nab herself a spot in a graduate-level research group under the leadership of Dr. Channing Robertson (Bill Irwin), a professor of Chemical, Medical, and Biological Engineering. After introducing a new invention to another professor, Dr. Phyllis Gardner (Laurie Metcalf), she is immediately shut down. Despite having no validity to it, Holmes throws in a Yoda quote as a means to win her over, specifically this one: “Do or do not, there is no try.” If you can imagine, this didn’t go over too well with Dr. Gardner, who eventually ended up addressing that moment by giving Holmes some advice: “One other thing, don’t ever quote Yoda to anybody ever again.”

Beth Dubber / Hulu

Through her work in the graduate program, Holmes eventually came up with the idea that would become Theranos’ selling point: creating a small device that can run multiple tests with a simple drop of blood. She quickly raises $6 million (no biggie) and has her professor come on as Theranos’ first board member.

Things take off relatively fast both with the company as a whole and within the creative department, which is responsible for coming up with the working device (given Holmes’ lack of knowledge on the subject). After all, it’s great to start a company specializing in medical engineering if you don’t understand any of the processes, right?

After tons of test runs and instances of blood-leaking out of the machine (which was surprisingly chilling to watch), the team is finally able to get the device to work.


That’s it.

They literally only get the device to work once and then decide to bring it to Pfizer and then to a clinical trial with real cancer patients, fully knowing that the devices aren’t functional. In just three episodes, things are already chaotic with Holmes and Theranos as she’s essentially touting widespread lies to receive more funding.

Regardless of the series being more of a time commitment given that the episodes are about an hour-long, each second is pure gold; not a moment is wasted as the bits of the past that are shown of Holmes are absolutely necessary for getting a better sense of her as an all-encompassing person. We see slices of the younger Holmes that are sprinkled in throughout later episodes, including her odd and offbeat dancing, which continues to appear even in her days at Theranos.

Beth Dubber / Hulu

Though she becomes the CEO of a company that eventually amounts to $10 billion, those old portions of her never seemed to fade away. At college, she would practice regular conversations in front of her mirror, saying things like “That’s so funny!” and “Hey!” This later turns into her practicing a new (and unsettling) voice for herself. Unfortunately, Holmes didn’t keep her multicolored Aéropostale polos around; instead, she switched them in for black turtlenecks in an act of idolizing Steve Jobs.

While we’re obviously supposed to hate Holmes, there are aspects of the series that speak to women as a whole, making us feel a bit more empathetic towards her (emphasis on “a bit”). In the same conversation from before that involved the Yoda quote, Dr. Gardner also makes a painfully true statement about being a woman in the industry: “As a woman, let me explain something to you. You don’t get to skip any steps. You have to do the work. Your work, other people’s work—you have to do so much work that they have to admit that you did it and nobody helped you. You have to take away all their excuses. And then if you get anything, anything wrong, they’ll destroy you, and they’ll be so happy to do it.”

Though knowing what we know now, it’s clear that she did skip quite a few steps in her invention. And if that wasn’t enough, by the end of the third episode, the Yoda line that Holmes was told never to reference again is plastered across the wall of Theranos’ main lobby.

Culture Movies/TV

“Drive My Car” Is a Deft Examination of the Complexities of the Human Connection

In this car, we raise cigarettes out the sunroof, not peace signs.

In the same way that Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved, throws you right into the story, sans explanation, Drive My Car progresses in just about the same way. It’s like walking around without glasses for a bit—you can only vaguely see everything and kind of understand what’s going on, but it isn’t until you get further into the story and put on your glasses that things become clearer.

Based on Haruki Murakami’s novel of the same name, Drive My Car tracks YÅ«suke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) both prior to and after his wife, Oto’s (Reika Kirishima), sudden and unexpected death. As the fog begins to clear at about one-quarter of the way through, we get a better sense of what’s actually going on here.

Kafuku and Oto are both writers involved in the entertainment industry: Kafuku primarily works in the theater, both as an actor and director, while Oto is a well-known screenwriter. The two are very closely bonded, often orally writing screenplays together and physically writing down the dialogue later on. After the death of their four-year-old daughter, their bond became even closer as they needed each other to go on with their lives following the tragedy.

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However, as the years went by, Kafuku became aware of Oto’s infidelities as she would sometimes bring men to their own home, thinking that Kafuku wasn’t there. We see this specifically with a younger actor, Kōji Takatsuki (Masaki Okada), whom Oto had recently introduced to Kafuku. Despite Kafuku knowing about this, he decided not to address it and stayed regardless, fearing a life without her.

The bulk of the film occurs in Hiroshima—two years after Oto’s sudden death from a brain hemorrhage—where Kafuku has taken a directing residency at a theater company. He’s directing a production of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, the very same play that he had acted in just before (and had a breakdown during it). Approaching the play from an outside angle, Kafuku is able to see the story in a new light, especially in both leading the auditions for and later deciding on who will be assigned each part in the production.

Upon arriving in Hiroshima, it comes as a shock to Kafuku when he’s assigned a driver to drive him to and from work each day. Initially outright dismissing the idea, he’s eventually forced to accept the driver as the other program leaders insist. Most people would be excited at the prospect of having their own driver, but Kafuku has a longstanding routine that revolves around driving his beloved old, red car before each rehearsal in order to rehearse his lines. He plays a tape—in which his late wife, Oto, has recorded her readings—and talks aloud in the tape breaks to both get his lines correct and listen to his wife.

Despite Kafuku’s skepticism, he’s finally introduced to Misaki Watari (Tōko Miura), a 23-year-old woman who becomes his driver. At first not trusting her with his car or with her driving skills probably because of her overly-casual (and chain-smoking) demeanor, Kafuku—over time—admits that she’s the most talented driver he’s ever seen, making the car practically defy gravity with the lack of bumps or disturbances on each ride.

Kafuku has her play the cassette tapes of dialogue and the two would listen in silence on each trip, though upon getting to know one another, they began to talk—sparsely at first, yet after learning more about the deep parts of each other’s pasts, the talking began to drown out the tape.

Janus Films

While exploring the growing friendship between Kafuku and Watari, the film also focuses on Kafuku’s life at the theater company. The very same man whom he had caught sleeping with his wife, Takatsuki, shows up for the audition and gives a well-done yet physically aggressive performance. In addition to him, many actors, spanning a wide array of countries, audition for various roles, yet once at the end of the audition, Kafuku is left with the tough task of assigning each part.

Kafuku assigned Takatsuki the toughest part of all: Uncle Vanya, who Kafuku himself had played before. Confused about why he had been given the role of a man much older in age than he is, it quickly became more obvious as to why Takatsuki was given that role. Through watching intently as the group goes rehearses each line over and over again, it becomes clear that there are major parallels between the story of Uncle Vanya and that of Kafuku as well as Takasuki.

The film’s director, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, did an outstanding job of giving you just enough information to still be engaged with the film without giving away too much at the beginning. By leaving viewers a bit in the dark, it provides an almost psychological and mysterious aspect of the film that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.

Janus Films

Clocking in at just under three hours, the film is definitely a bit on the longer side. While an intermission would’ve been nice about halfway through the film, there’s not a specific set of scenes that could’ve been cut. Because one of the main points of the film seemed to be to actually get to know the characters as you would in real life, and in doing so, it takes a bit of time to build up that understanding.

In that sense, what this film truly nails is the ever-changing nature of the human connection. Sure, Drive My Car is also about the technical side of the theater, but by focusing on the actual words in the dialogue—and by staying on those words and repeating them—we’re able to see connections that we would’ve never seen had the director glossed over those moments.

The last hour of the film specifically was done with the utmost care, as Kafuku and Watari get to the point where they truly understand each other. Even their friendship ends up overlapping with the play, and as she watches the performance live in the theater, you can almost see all of the moving pieces in her head clicking right into place.

As it’s nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, it’ll be interesting to see how the film measures up to the others nominated, as that it’s coming off a win for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes as well as earning a ton of other awards at Cannes and other festivals. On top of Best Picture, Hamaguchi is also up for Best Director, along with Best Adapted Screenplay and Best International Feature Film.

While dialogue-heavy films are sometimes overtaken by their own words, Drive My Car finds its own groove in a way that doesn’t feel as oppressive as other movies have felt. Each word leaves you wanting to hear another, just as Kafuku feels in replaying those beloved cassette tapes over and over.

Culture Movies/TV

The 20 Best Movies to Stream for Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month kicked off on March 1, and while there’s a ton to celebrate all across the board, the stories told by and for women through film have made impressive impacts on the lives of both Americans and people worldwide. With true stories like Hidden Figures and On the Basis of Sex as well as blockbusters like Captain Marvel and Alien, women have led the way. In 1940s baseball games like in A League of Their Own, women have proven time and time again that they’re able to persevere and push the limits like no other. In no specific order, these next 20 films are just scratching the surface of the incredible strides that women have made over the years.

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1. “Hidden Figures”

Following three women who changed the course of representation at NASA, Hidden Figures focuses on three women—Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), and Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer)—who worked as mathematicians in the early 1960s. In a time and industry that was dominated by white males, these three women truly had to forge their own path, becoming instrumental in America’s space race.

Watch on Disney+
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2. “A League of Their Own”

Donning light pink uniforms that the team deemed unsuitable to play in, A League of Their Own follows the Rockford Peaches as they make their way up the ranks in the All-American Girls Professional League, a women’s baseball league that existed in real life in the early 1940s. The entire story is based on the creation of this league during World War II, though the specific story told in the film centers around one team specifically, which is led by Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, and Rosie O’Donnell. Their coach is former MLB baseball player, Jimmy Dugan, a washed-up alcoholic who doesn’t care much about the team, portrayed by Tom Hanks.

Watch on Peacock
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3. “Alien”

The embodiment of both physical and mental power just might be Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) from Alien. Female empowerment might not be the first thing that pops into mind when thinking about this film; it’s probably the fact that an alien jumps out of a man’s chest and then stalks a group of people on a spacecraft. Despite this, Ripley steals the movie and is able to narrowly escape death as she eventually becomes the last one on board with the alien.

Watch on Hulu
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4. “Fargo”

Despite being seven months pregnant, Police Chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) trucks along on her mission to find the men responsible for a trail of murders. The main plot is that Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) decides to have his wife fake-kidnapped in order to receive the ransom that will be put out for her finding. However, he hires Carl (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear (Peter Stormare), who are pretty lousy at their job and end up murdering quite a few people in the process. Marge, being the casually incredible detective that she is, sets out on her own to catch Carl and Gaear.

Watch on Prime Video
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5. “Birds of Prey”

Harley Quinn finally got her much-deserved spin-off movie in Birds of Prey, a chaotic ode to the character along with a few other women who joined her, unofficially forming the Birds of Prey. Margot Robbie continues her outstanding portrayal of Quinn, alongside The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco). The crew takes on Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) as he searches for a diamond containing important data.

Watch on HBO Max
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6. “9 to 5”

9 to 5 is an absolute classic starring Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, and Jane Fonda, who all work at the same office helmed by their boss, Frank Hart Jr., played by Dabney Coleman. Noticing how they’re all being treated and paid poorly by him, the three women get together and decide how to make things more equal at work and get back at their boss in the process. It’s also where Parton’s hit song, “9 to 5,” was born, becoming an instant hit and even being nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards.

Watch on Tubi
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7. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Led by Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is based on the real story of Ma Rainey (Davis), who was a blues singer back in the 1920s. Her performance as Ma Rainey earned Davis a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

The film itself focuses on one specific recording session on July 2, 1927, where just about everything goes wrong. Fights within the band, disagreements, and technical malfunctions are just a few of the many things that occur throughout the day, with Ma Rainey attempting to helm the creation of her music.

Watch on Netflix
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8. “The Iron Lady”

Earning Meryl Streep her third Academy Award for Best Actress, The Iron Lady focuses on one of the most iconic women in history: Margaret Thatcher. The story weaves back and forth from her present old age to back when she was leading the United Kingdom as its Prime Minister. It documents multiple major points in her career, including her childhood, her first foray into politics, major decisions made as Prime Minister, as well as the bombing of a hotel she was staying at.

Watch on HBO Max
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9. “Mermaids”

Despite not actually being about mermaids, this film tracks the Flax family as they move—once again—to a new state, this time to Eastport, Massachusetts. Cher plays Rachel, a single mother to Charlotte (Winona Ryder) and Kate (Christina Ricci), whose oddities and flirtations around men greatly annoy Charlotte, who is devoted to practicing Catholicism despite actually being Jewish. It’s a coming-of-age film, both focusing on the relationship between Rachel and Charlotte as well as Charlotte’s obsession with a new neighbor, Joe (Michael Schoeffling).

Watch on Tubi
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10. “Black Panther”

While Black Panther obviously focuses on T’Challa, the Black Panther, the women featured in this film make their presence well-known, supporting T’Challa and exhibiting their strengths in the process. For one, there’s Shuri (Letitia Wright), T’Challa’s younger sister who’s basically a genius and is able to create almost anything technological that her brother needs. Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) is a fearless fighter who also works as a spy for her country of Wakanda and Angela Bassett portrays the Queen of Wakanda, Ramonda, whose children are T’Challa and Shuri.

Watch on Disney+
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11. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a long, complicated title that perfectly matches the character of Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand), whom the film is focused on. Hayes pays for three billboards to display an ad not for something to be sold, but as a call to action directed towards the Ebbing Police Department, which has been unable to find the man who murdered her daughter.

Watch on Prime Video
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12. “Julie and Julia”

Telling two true stories in one film, Julie and Julia tracks two women in different time periods as they explore the role that cooking has in their lives. Meryl Streep plays Julia Child, who became famous later in life for her iconic cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, as well as her television show. On the other hand, we have Julie Powell (Amy Adams), a young woman in the early 2000s who decides to blog her way through each recipe in Child’s cookbook, gaining a following through the process.

Watch on Hulu
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13. “The First Wives Club”

If you haven’t seen the entirety of The First Wives Club, there’s still a fair chance that you’ve seen its iconic scene, which features Diane Keaton, Bette Midler, and Goldie Hawn plummeting down the side of an apartment building while on a window-cleaning cart. Aside from that scene, the story follows three old friends—Annie (Keaton), Brenda (Midler), and Elise (Hawn)—who reunite following the death of their college friend, Cynthia (Stockard Channing). The three decide to wreak havoc on Morty (Dan Hedaya), Brenda’s ex-husband who has moved on with a much younger woman, portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker.

Watch on Hulu
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14. “On the Basis of Sex”

Based on the real story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (portrayed by Felicity Jones), On the Basis of Sex follows Ginsburg as she first makes her way onto the law scene. It’s a particularly rough journey for her, as women were not being taken very seriously in the profession at the time. Specifically focusing on the landmark case that changed the course of her career, Moritz v. Commissioner, Ginsburg takes it on with her husband as it deals with gender discrimination.

Watch on Prime Video
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15. “Little Women” (2019)

A story that has been remade quite a few times on film, Little Women is based on the novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott, which is based on the author’s experiences growing up. Its latest iteration was particularly well done, as it was directed and adapted by Greta Gerwig, who gathered a stacked cast lead by Saoirse Ronan as the iconic Jo March.

Watch on Prime Video
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16. “Captain Marvel”

The Avenger who has long been hailed one of the strongest and underrated of the bunch, Captain Marvel is all about that very character and how she received her life-altering powers. Following a bit of her life as the pilot Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), we get a better sense of who she is as a person and how that person remains true to herself even after sustaining a massive blast and becoming a superhero.

Watch on Disney+
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17. “The Color Purple”

Based on the novel of the same name by Alice Walker which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize, The Color Purple follows Celie Harris (Whoopi Goldberg) in the early 1900s as she endures abuse, racism, and sexism but is able to seek comfort in Shug (Margaret Avery) and Sofia (Oprah Winfrey). The film also touches on poverty and sexuality, creating a story that shines a light on a number of different issues that African-Americans faced both in that era and in the present day.

Watch on Tubi
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18. “Erin Brockovich”

Julia Roberts stars as Erin Brokovich in the film with the same name, a true story about a woman (Brockovich) who starts working at a law firm for Ed Masry (Albert Finney) and discovers a case that catches her attention. Though not a lawyer herself, she ends up getting invested in the case and is able to figure out that the Pacific Gas & Electric Company is responsible for causing illnesses in a number of residents in California. Roberts ended up taking home the Academy Award for Best Actress and the film was also up for quite a few other nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Watch on Peacock
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19. “Selena”

Telling the real story of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, the film tracks the Tejano singer from her childhood to the massive success she saw later in life. Jennifer Lopez plays Quintanilla-Pérez in a beautiful ode to a woman who had such an incredible influence yet was murdered at the young age of 23, sending shockwaves through her fanbase and those who greatly respected her work and artistry over her short years. The film was even added to the Library of Congress for its cultural significance in the years since its release.

Watch on HBO Max
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20. “Spencer”

Still a fairly new movie as Kristen Stewart is currently in the running for her first Academy Award for Best Actress, Spencer focuses deeply on Princess Diana during the Christmas weekend of 1991. It’s more so a psychological drama than just a drama as it pays careful attention to Diana’s every move and facial expression, with Stewart doing an incredible job of nailing each tiny mannerism perfectly. It’s a snapshot of a woman who knows she doesn’t fit in—and doesn’t want to give in to—the Royal Family and their constricting ways.

Watch on Hulu
Culture Movies/TV

“Somebody Somewhere,” a Show About Life—That’s It.

“I am home,” were the last words of Sam’s song to Joel (Jeff Hiller), which she sang to him in her practically empty barn during Somebody Somewhere‘s season finale. And judging by where Sam (Bridget Everett) started off this season, the fact that she was able to say those words and mean them shows how far she’s come in just seven episodes.

Though she was living at “home” with her “family,” neither quite felt like the definitions of those words, meaning that she would have to find those two things elsewhere—a seemingly impossible task given her negative feelings about Kansas and her disdain for her job. With nothing grounding her, she felt like she was floating in space.

The thing is, there has always been this debate over what “home” really is: some say it’s a physical place while others deem it to be a mentality or a certain “feeling.” For Sam, it ended up becoming both, as her unlikely friendship with Joel became her home, in addition to choir practice, which was both a physical and mental place of comfort to her. Choir practice introduced her to a whole new group of people just like her, giving her a family that would actually be there for her.

For the entirety of the season, Sam slept on the couch in her parents’ house in lieu of sleeping in Holly’s old room—the room of her sister who had recently died of cancer. Staring at the ceiling one night, about to go to sleep as she usually does on the couch, Sam decided to get up and walk into Holly’s room. Finally lying down on her sister’s old bed, she turns out the lights and the series ends.

Matt Dinerstein / HBO

Somebody Somewhere is quiet, as its meaning lies between its words and with its title directed right towards you, the viewer: you’re somebody somewhere. It reminds us of the little things that make up the human experience while telling a story of growth along the way. Sometimes we don’t notice the little wins in our lives because they don’t feel like “wins” to us; seeing them on-screen gives them a larger spotlight.

We live in an instantaneous world: if a website doesn’t load in two seconds, there’s something “wrong” with our phone. We’re so used to insane things happening on screen that Somebody Somewhere felt like such a fresh breeze. One of the greatest scenes in the entire show happens at the end of episode five when Sam lies down on her couch, calls Joel, and the two immediately start talking about nothing and laughing on the phone together. Sometimes we forget about how genuinely nice those tiny moments in life are—it took seeing that on-screen to remember that.

Tracking the gradual process of one woman’s journey isn’t always something that’s front and center in a show—usually, it’s woven in by a larger plot that has nothing to do with the journey itself. Sam’s journey is what the series is all about, and not even with Sam herself, as it extends past her and to those who surround her; we see the ups and down with Joel, Tricia, Sam’s parents, and Rick. While from Sam’s angle it seemed like Tricia had it all together, over time, it was revealed that her marriage was headed downhill as Rick was having an affair. And what makes that even worse than it already is: it was with Tricia’s business partner and best friend, Charity.

Sam had spent all of that time thinking that Tricia had a perfect life, yet that sentiment was quickly proven otherwise. In that sense, comparisons truly mean nothing as we never really know what’s going on behind the scenes.

Matt Dinerstein / HBO

In this same fashion, Sam and Joel flip places towards the end of the series, as Joel and Michael break up and Sam decides to quit her job at the essay-grading facility. Joel—who had been the more social one—was now left without a partner both in life and within his job. This is short-lived, however, as Sam has learned a valuable lesson in being friends with Joel: as soon as she realizes how both situations are affecting him, she drives over to his house, grabs him, and leaves, setting off to change the course of his day and showing him that even though it’s the end of their days together at work, it’s nowhere near the end of their friendship.

More than anything, Somebody Somewhere is brutally honest. It’s honest about the truth behind perceptions, the falsity of façades, and real friendship, which is probably why the show is so hard to sum up when describing it to others: it’s about life. That’s really it. It’s about you, me (and Dupree), and anyone else who is in the process of going through life.

Culture Movies/TV

Throwback: 24 of the Best 2000s Animated Movies and Where to Watch Them

What might possibly be the best decade that animated films have ever seen, the 2000s became a home to some of the greatest original animations in cinema. One after the next, it was a welcomed avalanche of the genre, and they weren’t just appealing to children—it’s why the kids who saw The Incredibles in 2004 were the same young adults who went out to see The Incredibles 2 in 2018.

In no specific order, these 24 films are some of the greatest to come out of the decade, from huge hits like Shrek to more underrated movies like Shark Tale and Robots.

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1. “Ratatouille”

Aspiring rat-chef, Remy, gets to take a crack at his dream job when he befriends Linguini, a low-level worker at a renowned restaurant in Paris. The story follows Remy as he works under Linguini’s chef hat, using his hair to control his motor skills and cooking his way to the top of the ranks.

Watch on Disney+
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2. “Over the Hedge”

This underrated classic focuses on a group of rodents and other animals whose goal is to steal food from the humans who took over their forest with a housing development. This is all following RJ, the raccoon, who was caught by Vincent the bear for stealing his hibernation food. If RJ doesn’t replace the stolen food in a week, Vincent will wreak havoc on him.

Watch on Prime Video
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3. “Up”

The Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature in 2009, Up is a story about Carl Fredericksen, an older man and widower who ties a bunch of balloons to his house in order to travel to South America. However, he doesn’t realize that Russell, a Wilderness Explorer, was also in the house when it took off on its journey. The film tracks the two as they develop a friendship and meet new creatures along the way, like Dug, a golden retriever.

Watch on Disney+
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4. “Robots”

Starring Ewan McGregor as Rodney Copperbottom, the story tracks him as he sets out to fulfill his dream of being a famous inventor. He leaves his hometown and heads to Robot City to find his idol, Bigweld, who is a world-famous inventor, but Copperbottom eventually realizes that there’s a massive scam behind the man he has idolized for so long.

Watch on Prime Video
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5. “Barnyard”

When his father dies after being attacked by a coyote, Otis, a cow, has to take the lead of his farm and the animals within it. The story follows Otis in his new role, which he doesn’t take very seriously, forcing others to do the work that he should be doing. Throughout the film, Otis faces off with Dag, the head of a coyote pack, who eventually kidnaps some of the farm’s hens. Given this, Otis has to figure out a way to retrieve them before they’re killed.

Watch on Prime Video
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6. “Shrek”

The infamous green ogre, Shrek (Mike Myers), is upset to find that the swamp he calls home has been taken over by a horde of different creatures. When he agrees upon terms with Lord Farquaad to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) in exchange for Farquaad getting rid of the creatures, Shrek sets off on his journey. Taking Donkey (Eddie Murphy) with him on his expedition, Shrek soon realizes his love for Fiona through the act of saving her.

Watch on Prime Video
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7. “Ice Age”

Sid, a sloth, and Manny, a wooly mammoth, team up and decide to travel north, where they end up coming into the possession of a human child, who they have to care for. In their travels, they encounter a pack of saber-tooth tigers, though one specific saber, Diego, spares them—except it’s for a different purpose than Sid and Manny think.

Watch on Disney+
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8. “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie”

Incorporating both animated and live scenes into the film, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie reunites us with SpongeBob and Patrick, who are tasked with finding King Neptune’s crown in Shell City before Plankton is able to get his hands on it. Plankton’s plan is to steal the crown, steal the Krabby Patty secret formula (as always), and take over the world. We stick with SpongeBob and Patrick as they traverse the underwater scene, encountering different places and people while under and later, above water.

Watch on Prime Video
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9. “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius”

This film iteration of the TV series finds Jimmy and his friends in a situation that they’re not used to: all of their parents are gone. At first not realizing that it’s because of an alien invasion, all of the kids in town go wild, celebrating by eating tons of junk food and running through the streets, making a huge mess. When they figure out that a group called the Yolkians have brainwashed their parents, the kids have to come to the rescue and save them before their parents are fed to Poultra, the almighty alien chicken.

Watch on Hulu
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10. “Shark Tale”

A bit of an underwater mob story, Shark Tale is about Oscar (Will Smith), who works at the Whale Wash, an underwater car wash. Oscar ends up being mistaken for killing a mob boss’s son, but when people start to believe that he’s super tough, he goes along with it to further his popularity. However, it ends up backfiring when the other fish begin to find out and Oscar is put into situations where he’s not able to defend himself as well as he should.

Watch on Peacock
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11. “Happy Feet”

Happy Feet is a musical comedy that centers around Mumble, a penguin who is incredible at tap dancing but not so great at singing, which makes it tough for him to find a mate. However, he meets Ramón, who helps introduce him to Gloria, which makes Mumble extremely happy. However, when Mumble refuses to stop tap dancing, it gets him exiled from the land and onto the forbidden shore.

Watch on Netflix
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12. “Madagascar”

Set at the Central Park Zoo in New York City, a group of animals tries to stop a few penguins from escaping the zoo, though end up lost on the island of Madagascar when things go awry. Thousands of miles away from their home, the group encounters King Julien XIII, a lemur who rules the land. Each animal has a different reaction to being in the wild, with some enjoying it while others deeply miss their home.

Watch on Apple TV
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13. “Monsters, Inc.”

Billy Crystal and John Goodman play Mike and Sulley, respectively, two monsters from Monstropolis who have very different personalities. The two of them work for a factory that generates its energy by scaring young children, so the monsters have to be extremely good at their jobs. When Boo, a little girl, gets into the facility, Mike and Sulley have to figure out how to shield her from the others, as children are usually toxic to monsters (though Boo is not).

Watch on Disney+
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14. “Bee Movie”

Starring Jerry Seinfeld as Barry, Bee Movie is exactly what it sounds like: it’s about bees. However, these bees are a whole lot more intelligent than we thought, as they hold various jobs across their hive and take huge risks by going out into the real world. Inspired by this, Barry dreams of becoming a Pollen Jock, which would allow him to explore New York City and pollinate flowers as his daily job. Sneaking out one day, Barry meets Vanessa, a human, after she saves his life, which prompts him to start a deep friendship with her.

Watch on Netflix
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15. “Spirited Away”

One of the most adored films to have come out of Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away is about Chihiro, a 10-year-old who gets wrapped up in another dimension after her parents are turned into pigs (I know). Wanting to free her parents, she sets out to find the person responsible for this, who turns out to be Yubaba, a powerful witch, encountering tons of spirits along the way.

Watch on HBO Max
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16. “The Incredibles”

The Incredibles follows a family of superheroes, helmed by former superheroes, Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl. Though they had hung up their suits a while ago, the entire family quickly jumps into action when their town is being threatened by a massive robot. Later in the movie, they take on Syndrome, a former wannabe-sidekick of Mr. Incredible’s, who’s looking to take revenge on him and his family.

Watch on Disney+
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17. “Surf’s Up”

This penguin-focused surfing movie was meant to be a spoof of the classic surfing documentaries of the past, as we watch a crew of penguins take on the waves at Pen-Gu Island. There’s a massive surfing contest about to occur there, and the young surfer, Cody Maverick, is determined to win it. While there, he meets his surfing idol, Big Z, and they develop a friendship over the course of the film.

Watch on Tubi
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18. “Finding Nemo”

Is it a grouping of the best 2000s animation without Finding Nemo? Premiering in 2003, this film was a massive hit, as it follows the little clownfish, Nemo, who has gotten separated from his father, Marlin. Alone in the ocean, Nemo meets a number of different sea creatures as he searches for his father, including Crush, Gill, and of course, Dory, who got her own spinoff in 2016’s Finding Dory.

Watch on Disney+
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19. “Open Season”

Open Season stars Martin Lawrence as Boog, a massive grizzly bear, and Elliot, a mule deer who is unable to remember things, voiced by Ashton Kutcher. The pair meet under unlikely circumstances but end up becoming friends, deciding to get rid of all of the humans who hunt animals. In addition to these two, we also get to see other animals like McSquizzy, a squirrel, and Deni, a mallard duck.

Watch on Prime Video
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20. “Monster House”

Monster House is probably one of the most underrated films to come out of this decade, and possibly one of the most underrated movies to exist. I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to see a dilapidated house come to life and experience the discovery of an exoskeleton of an old woman in the basement? All joking aside, this film is incredibly done, tracking a group of kids—D.J., Chowder, and Jenny—as they try to find out more about the Monster House, which is owned by Horace Nebbercracker.

Watch on Netflix
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21. “WALL-E”

WALL-E is a sad-looking robot who works alone on Earth in the year 2805, tasked with cleaning up garbage on the planet. Though living a fairly lonely life, the robot, EVE, comes to Earth and befriends WALL-E, who falls in love with her. The film was beautifully made and ended up winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2008.

Watch on Disney+
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22. “Lilo and Stitch”

Six-year-old Lilo adopts Stitch, who’s actually an extraterrestrial creature, and they quickly become best friends, exploring Hawaii together and getting to know one another. Though Stitch was purposely created to cause destruction, he’s the opposite and instead tries to conceal himself from being discovered by his creators. The film became an instant classic, highlighting friendship and the Hawaiian tradition of extended families.

Watch on Disney+
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23. “Cars”

Lightning McQueen is the star of Cars, which follows both him and his buddies as they gear up for the Piston Cup, which is a major car race that McQueen is destined to win. He meets new cars as he prepares for his race, though he has a selfish personality, which makes things difficult. Eventually ending up in Radiator Springs, McQueen meets Mater (a rusty pick-up truck and new friend) and gets a bit of a restart to his life.

Watch on Disney+
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24. “Coraline”

Based on Neil Gaiman’s novella, Coraline tracks its namesake—and very curious—character as she follows a doll, who shows her an entirely new world when she opens up a secret door in her house. The story is all about this universe, which Coraline doesn’t realize has some secrets of its own in store for her.

Watch on Apple TV