In Midnight Interview, Dracula Sees Bright Future for Democracy

‘Democracy and Vampires Have a Lot in Common,’ Says 600-Year-Old Romanian Count

I emailed Dracula’s people because I was heading to Romania, for a global democracy forum that I help lead.

While I’m in Bucharest, I asked, could I take the train up to Transylvania and spend a day chopping it up with the Count? After all, he’s been around for 600 years and has seen many, many dark times for governance and democracy.

In reply, I got a cryptic text telling me to arrive by midnight at an address in Beachwood Canyon, high in the Hollywood Hills above L.A. The place was invisible …

A Movie That Might Be Worse Than Civil War

‘Civil War’ Offers A Vision of California Fighting the U.S. That Matches Foreign Propaganda—and Misses the Point

The new film Civil War is a historic cinematic achievement. British director Alex Garland has made a movie that might be worse than a real American civil war.

Perhaps that was …

Will SoCal’s Barbie Doll or NorCal’s Bobby Oppenheimer Destroy the World First?

Forget the Big Box Office War of Summer 2023. Barbenheimer Is a Tale of Two Competing California Apocalypses

Which region is the greater threat to humanity: Northern California or Southern California?

That’s the most urgent question raised by 2023’s great cinematic contest between Oppenheimer and Barbie.

Sure, these are entertaining …

Is the Indiana Jones Era Really Over?

Harrison Ford Might Be Hanging Up His Fedora, But the Imperial Theft His Movies Glorify Lingers

In 2009, soon after the fourth Indiana Jones film came out, the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) awarded Harrison Ford with the Bandelier Award for Public Service in Archaeology.

In his …

Welcome Back, Mermaidcore

For a Century, a Collective Love of Tails and Fins Has Helped Women Transgress on Land and Sea

Shell-adorned bikini tops. Fishtail skirts. Starfish accessories. Seafoam green eyeshadow. Expect to see all of this and more riding the waves of Disney’s latest live-action blockbuster, The Little Mermaid.

In other …

What Terrible Movies Can Teach Us

‘The Room’ Isn’t Just So Bad It’s Good. It’s a Master Class on the Pretensions of the Film Industry

It’s film awards season, which means movie lovers and Academy/Screen Actors Guild/Nickelodeon-watching kid voters alike have been busy sorting out the best films from last year.

Many of the most hyped-up …