Is Oakland Too Real for the Oscars?

The Bay Area’s Second City Gave Us the Year’s Surprise Hits—Black Panther, Blindspotting, and Sorry to Bother You—But the Academy Hasn’t Returned the Love

The best California movie scene of recent vintage is the opening of the 2018 film Sorry to Bother You. A young man and his girlfriend are getting intimate in what appears to be a dark apartment when the room suddenly fills with daylight, making their union visible to the people outside on an Oakland street.

What the heck happened? In short, the Bay Area housing crisis. The apartment is really a garage and the garage door has abruptly opened, at just the wrong time.

This example of love interrupted is indicative of …

Why George Bailey Is the American Jesus

Reflecting a Postwar Religious Revival, the Long-Suffering Hero Played by Jimmy Stewart Lives a Life of Self-Sacrifice and Resists Temptation

In the 15 years after World War II, a religious revival swept through America. Records were set for church attendance and new church construction, a succession of religious books …

How Movies and TV Are Helping Venezuelans Negotiate Their Country’s Collapse

Amid Food Shortages and Rising Crime, My Students Turn to The Hunger Games and Walking Dead

Last March, I was teaching twice a week at the Universidad Bicentenaria de Aragua, 75 miles west of Caracas, Venezuela. While protests were breaking out in the streets around the …

Is Batgirl the Next Great Feminist Superhero?

Like Wonder Woman, the DC Comics Heroine Is Overcoming Sexist Plot Lines

Last year, DC Comics’ bestselling graphic novel was Batman: The Killing Joke. Originally published in 1988, it’s one of the most famous, and infamous, superhero stories of all time. The …