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Illustration by JR Fleming

2019 has proven an interesting year for adaptations. Creators have recently felt emboldened to impose their unique vision on preexisting stories and characters. Todd Phillips’s Joker was only loosely informed by the Batman comics, and Damon Lindelof is in the midst of an audacious take on Alan Moore’s Watchmen which, unlike the source material, focuses on America’s history of racial injustice. With Doctor Sleep, both an adaptation of Steven King’s novel of the same name, and a direct sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (a film that King notoriously hates), writer/director Mike Flanagan takes on a uniquely difficult task. Unlike…


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Illustration by Jacob Salamon

A few weeks ago, South Park burst into the zeitgeist with one of their most talked-about episodes in years: “Band in China,” which chastised U.S. companies for yielding to the Chinese government’s pressure to censor its critics. Perhaps most impressively, the episode proved extremely prescient. Days after it aired, Blizzard, a U.S. video game developer, banned a non-American player from its tournament for voicing his support of the Hong Kong protests (a move that was later mollified), and more recently, banned a whole college team for holding a “Free Hong Kong” sign. Similarly, the NBA scrambled to do damage control…


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Illustration by JR Fleming

If you’ve watched even a handful of Food Network’s 500+ Chopped episodes, you may have noticed a trend: While the show is ostensibly about cooking with weird ingredients, many contestants come with a dramatic backstory. Of course, this is not unique to Chopped. Whether it’s Queer Eye, America’s Got Talent, or The Voice, trauma seems like a requirement for appearing on reality TV. …


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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood might have left you asking one basic question: what was the point of that? Quentin Tarantino’s allegedly penultimate film is a nearly three-hour aimless bro-mantic romp through old Hollywood. While undoubtedly fun, does it lend itself to a deeper commentary on the future of cinema?

The film follows Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) as they navigate Rick’s fading career at the end of the summer of love. It is also, both literally and metaphorically, about movies.

Aside from the Hollywood-centric plot, there are a number of stylistic…

Jared Bauer

Co-founder of Wisecrack. Cinephile, dog-lover, gamer

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