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 films about a physicist and a doll. But both movies are also, in no small part, California-based stories about global nightmares, about the Earth-altering threat of bombs and bombshells alike.

Embedded in those nightmares are warnings about the damage that Northern and Southern California can do when we send our ideas out into the world.

Oppenheimer is the Northern California nightmare. While …

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 …

The Blackface of White Christmas | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Blackface of White Christmas

The Irving Berlin Song ‘Mandy’ Cloaked Racism in Nostalgia on American Stages and Screens for Nearly 40 Years

White Christmas is a staple of the holiday season. Every winter, the 1954 movie-musical brings Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen into our homes to sing and dance their way through …

Can Uncle Vanya Work in Four Different Languages? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Can Uncle Vanya Work in Four Different Languages?

The Play Featured in the Oscar-Nominated Japanese Film Drive My Car Offers a Window Into How Drama Brings Us Together

“If you want to work on your art, work on your life.” —Chekhov

Like any great aphorism, the dramatist Anton Chekhov’s advice can be taken many ways. In our 21st century …