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Ramy is a Muslim millennial comedy with impressively big questions on its mind Ramy is a Muslim millennial comedy with impressively big questions on its mind

The latest entry in the ever-growing genre of contemplative half-hour dramedies created by singular young comedic voices (think Girls, Master Of None, and Shrill), Ramy has a couple of unique calling cards: It offers a nuanced portrayal of the daily lives of a diverse Muslim community in New Jersey. It explores the…

Teen Spirit has plenty of it Teen Spirit has plenty of it

In 2010, while promoting The Social Network, Max Minghella revealed that before he wanted to act, his original teenage dream was to direct music videos. Nine years later, the Handmaid’s Tale actor-turned-writer-director finally gets to live out that adolescent fantasy in his debut feature, Teen Spirit, which is as…

After thinks it’s beautiful, that’s what makes it tiresome After thinks it’s beautiful, that’s what makes it tiresome

The origin story of After is more interesting than the film itself. This tale of college love and lust began life as a piece of One Direction fan fiction, putting a bad boy version of Harry Styles in a hot and heavy love affair with a bookish, sheltered freshman girl. Several character name changes…

Lloyd Dobler is Cameron Crowe’s original manic pixie dream date Lloyd Dobler is Cameron Crowe’s original manic pixie dream date

The image of John Cusack’s Lloyd Dobler earnestly, defiantly holding a boombox above his head has become such an indelible part of pop culture that it’s easy to forget that Lloyd is not, in fact, the protagonist of Say Anything. He has the screen time of a co-lead, but in the way the narrative frames him, he’s “the…

This Is Us’ season finale leaves you asking, “Her?” This Is Us’ season finale leaves you asking, “Her?”

There’s only one moment in the This Is Us third season finale that genuinely surprised me. It’s the moment in the flashforward where a pre-teen kid wanders through the room and the dialogue casually reveals that he’s Kevin’s son. It’s a routine interaction for the characters, but a shocking…

Supergirl gets its ducks in a row before blowing up its world Supergirl gets its ducks in a row before blowing up its world

We’re in the endgame now. After last week’s episode flashed back to show us the role Lex had secretly played in manipulating the events of the season, “All About Eve” feels like the official kickoff of the final act of Supergirl’s fourth season. To some extent, it’s a table-setting episode, one…

20 years later, 10 Things I Hate About You remains a model for how to do the teen rom-com right 20 years later, 10 Things I Hate About You remains a model for how to do the teen rom-com right

One of the most prevalent of rom-com tropes is the random, unmotivated musical number. The “Say A Little Prayer” sequence in My Best Friend’s Wedding. The drunken karaoke in 27 Dresses. The elaborately choreographed dance routines in Something Borrowed, 13 Going On 30, and She’s All That. But when it comes time for 10…

This Is Us puts Randall and Beth through the wringer in every era This Is Us puts Randall and Beth through the wringer in every era

This Is Us has a habit of using poetic, overwritten monologues to clunkily explain the emotional realities of its characters. So when a sleep deprived Beth started philosophizing about nachos, I preemptively rolled my eyes. And then she hit upon maybe the most profound observation This Is Us has…

Supergirl reveals Lex Luthor’s master plan Supergirl reveals Lex Luthor’s master plan

What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall in the Supergirl writers’ room. It seems likely that the idea of Lex Luthor manipulating the whole season is at least a little bit of a retcon, but when did the writers come up with it? Had they just been dropping in random scenes of Kara’s Kaznian…

This Is Us adds welcome nuance to stories desperately in need of some This Is Us adds welcome nuance to stories desperately in need of some

On paper, “Don’t Take My Sunshine Away” is exactly the kind of This Is Us episode I usually find pretty lackluster: It’s mostly set in the present day, with a middle school-set flashback that doesn’t do much more than provide some This Is Us comfort food. And it centers on the kind of …

Jon Cryer’s Lex Luthor makes his Supergirl debut in an overstuffed episode Jon Cryer’s Lex Luthor makes his Supergirl debut in an overstuffed episode

Given that Lex Luthor is arguably the most iconic comic book villain of all time—not to mention a frequently name-checked element of Supergirl’s own lore—it makes sense that the show would pull out all the stops for his arrival. “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is one of the most bombastic, jam-packed…

For one brief, wonderful moment, Eddie Murphy reinvented himself as a romantic-comedy star For one brief, wonderful moment, Eddie Murphy reinvented himself as a romantic-comedy star

Eddie Murphy is kind of a dreamboat. That can be hard to remember after the decades in which he settled into (or perhaps settled for) a career in broad comedic roles in lackluster family films. Indeed, it can be especially hard to remember if, like me, you were part of the generation that knew Murphy as the Nutty…

The maudlin Five Feet Apart anoints a new pair of winning young stars The maudlin Five Feet Apart anoints a new pair of winning young stars

What Five Feet Apart has going for it is Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse. And that’s no small thing. The Riverdale star and Support The Girls scene-stealer are two of the most appealing young actors working at the moment, with Richardson in particular emerging as one of the sharpest talents of…

This Is Us’ waiting room bottle episode is tedious rather than tense This Is Us’ waiting room bottle episode is tedious rather than tense

Thank god for Madison. She’s the one bright spot in this otherwise incredibly tedious episode, which takes place almost exclusively in the waiting room of Kate’s maternity ward. Though it’s not the first This Is Us episode to take place entirely in the present, it’s the first to feature one…

Supergirl leads a peaceful protest in a moving, messy episode Supergirl leads a peaceful protest in a moving, messy episode

More so than maybe any episode since the show moved to The CW, “Stand And Deliver” really reminded me of Supergirl’s first season. It’s earnest, optimistic, and incredibly unsubtle in ways that still felt really moving in the moment (I teared up when Kara joined the pro-alien protest). Yet it also…

A jam-packed This Is Us sends the Pearsons spiraling into crisis A jam-packed This Is Us sends the Pearsons spiraling into crisis

To borrow a term from Rebecca Pearson, there sure is a whole lot of friggin’ stuff that happens in this episode. “The Graduates” dives into an underexplored past timeline while moving some present-day stories forward in a major way. Befitting the episode’s title, all that tumult is anchored around three graduation…

Supergirl finally gives Kara a team of Super Friends worthy of her Supergirl finally gives Kara a team of Super Friends worthy of her

“What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, And The American Way?” is my favorite kind of Supergirl episode: Thematically meaty and aesthetically goofy. It’s an episode that features gloriously campy villains reveling in their fashion choices, but also raises genuinely challenging questions about…

In 1990, Pretty Woman changed romantic comedies forever In 1990, Pretty Woman changed romantic comedies forever

If you want a marker of just how iconic Pretty Woman is, consider that the film contains at least four or five different outfits one could wear as instantly recognizable Halloween costumes. That’s a pretty impressive track record for any film, let alone a contemporary romantic comedy. In fact, when it comes to sheer…

This Is Us finally puts Beth Pearson center stage This Is Us finally puts Beth Pearson center stage

What’s revolutionary about This Is Us isn’t the stories it tells, but the way that it tells them. There are other movies and TV shows and plays that explore issues of family conflict with even more nuance and complexity. But This Is Us has created a visual language and an expansive storytelling…

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