Efficient, nasty action scenes can't overcome mostly bland characterizations and a half-baked story.
"Elaine Stritch, Broadway's Enduring Dame, Dies at 89": Bruce Weber and Robert Berkvist of The New York Times pen an obit to the legendary entertainer, who passed away on Thursday. Related: Michael Phillips of The Chicago Tribune and Odie Henderson of RogerEbert.com also pay their respects. See also: Our content editor, Brian Tallerico, reviews this year's excellent documentary, "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me."
“Plain-spoken, egalitarian, impatient with fools and foolishness, and admittedly fond of cigarettes, alcohol and late nights — she finally gave up smoking and drinking in her 60s, after learning she had diabetes, though she returned to alcohol in her 80s — Ms. Stritch might be the only actor ever to work as a bartender after starring on Broadway, and she was completely unabashed about her good-time-girl attitude. ‘I’m not a bit opposed to your mentioning in this article that Frieda Fun here has had a reputation in the theater, for the past five or six years, for drinking,’ she said to a reporter for The New York Times in 1968. ‘I drink, and I love to drink, and it’s part of my life.’ In an interview this year in The New York Times Magazine, she said of her resumption of drinking: ‘I’m almost 89, I’m gonna have a drink a day or two. I know how to handle it, so there.’”
"A Blog Post About That Time a White Couple I Know Made Me the Eddie Murphy Raw Burger": By RogerEbert.com contributor Craig Lindsey of Uncle Crizzle & the Crap He's Written.
“Tom, Shonna and I were all around the round, black grill outside as these babies sizzled up, the sun beginning to set on the evening. I tried to be as subtle as I could by reading a book I bought, not giving away that I was psyched to be eating the ‘welfare, green-pepper burger’ that Eddie talked about in his standup. Also, I was well-aware I was imposing myself on these people; there they were all ready to have a quiet, grilled dinner and here is my broke ass, ratcheting the whole thing up! I should mention how Shonna was baffled by why this burger was perceived as such a lower-class thing by Mr. Murphy. When she was growing up, burgers filled with vegetables and eggs between Wonder bread was not a big deal. It definitely wasn’t a black thing for her. I must say that was quite revelatory.”
"Daquan is a White Girl and Black Twitter is Dead": Medium's "dex digital" charts the "death of black comedy" in the age of online entertainment.
“The audience for black entertainment has always been primarily non-black. It’s a simple numbers game. In the same way that it doesn’t make any sense to call BET ‘Black Entertainment Television’ unless you mean ‘Television for people that want to be Entertained by Blacks’, ‘Black Twitter’ can’t be understood as some sort of closed-off, coherent force — particularly when you’re talking about politics. And as a space for uniquely ‘black’ cultural expression in which black people would call the shots, Black Twitter was dead long ago. Or really, it was stillborn. It never had a chance. After all, there are very few things that rile white people up more than being excluded from minority spaces. For example, think about how most conversations about race play out. When black people bring up the fact that they are afraid of police, some white people will occasionally retort by saying that if they go into a poor black neighborhood at night, they will also feel unsafe.”
“It’s amazing what you can do to a child once you’ve tenderized him just right. You can, as Scotty did with me, incubate entirely new ways of being frightened, of feeling acidic mistrust and self-contempt. Like the Bacon-esque images of twinks being sodomized by cruel lions that Scotty liked to decorate his coffee and end tables with for god knows what sick reason, there are many things that are his that I will never be able to entirely clean out of my head. One night he finally made his sexual move. Brushing his hand away, I said, ‘I’m sorry, but please, no.’ He stopped, but only, I believe, because my parents’ room was right next-door. By the time he actually took me to The House, I was primed. Disconnected. Able to become less-than-me depending on the situation. In retrospect, the incredible thing is that, in his twisted way, Scotty thought he was doing what was best for me. That he was a helper. A good guy.”
"'Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces' Makes You See 'Fire Walk With Me' in a Different Way": BuzzFeed's Jace Lacob discusses the 90 minutes of deleted and extended scenes from the 1992 film recently screened by iconic director David Lynch in Los Angeles.
“These deleted scenes range from the bizarre to the truly heartbreaking; they shine a stark light on Laura’s relationships with those around her, including the dynamic at play between her, her fragile mother (Grace Zabriskie), and her father, and that with Donna Hayward (Moira Kelly, replacing the show’s Lara Flynn Boyle), her far more innocent best friend. One sequence depicts Laura at the Haywards’ house and reveals a sad longing for a sense of normalcy, one glimpsed in the easy intimacy between Dr. Will Hayward (Warren Frost), Eileen (Mary Jo Deschanel), and Donna… which is at odds with the horror unfolding at Laura’s house. While the film goes to great lengths to capture the trauma experienced by Laura, there are scenes of exquisite happiness as well, such as when Leland, Sarah, and Laura join hands to recite a Norwegian phrase ('Hello! How are you? My name is Leland/Laura/Sarah.') around the dining room table. These light and playful scenes — Sarah’s crazy laugh alone making it worth inclusion — are in stark contrast to the pain and sorrow of many of Laura’s other scenes, including one in the Briggs’ basement in which she begs Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) for cocaine in order to dull the constant horror of her life.”
Twenty Two Words shares a spectacularly enjoyable YouTube montage featuring, "Christopher Walken dancing in over 50 movies."