The Kennedys

Culture Warrior

Television’s manufacturing of nostalgia often reduces the past to its most obvious series of events. Whether in revisiting popular culture on VH1’s I Love the ‘70s or in TV movies ranging from The ‘60s to The Kennedys, “the past” rarely adds up to anything more than what we already know about it. The past, then, becomes reduced to a series of iconic historical events that are imbued with the hindsight-benefit of the present rather than portrayed in a way that provides any sense of convincing every-dayness. AMC’s Mad Men has largely avoided this trap. Where NBC’s The ‘60s framed the entire decide as a monolithic event whose every singular moment one nuclear family was improbably involved in, Mad Men integrates personal storylines into major events in a way that gives them a believable microscopic intimacy which make them feel like artifacts of the present: the Kennedy/Nixon election occurs in the background during a raucous and promiscuous office party in Season 1, Don Draper’s (John Hamm) marriage dissolves as the Cuban missile crisis escalates in Season 2, and Roger Sterling’s (John Slattery) daughter’s wedding is forebodingly scheduled on November 22, 1963 in Season 3. But these are the events we have come to expect and anticipate Mad Men to touch upon as its timeline moves forward. What the show is particularly adept at doing – and what separates its from traditional and redundant encapsulations of our culture’s most-revisited decade – is its use of smaller moments. Examine the news landscape each […]

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This Week in DVD

Welcome back to another jammed to the gills edition of This Week In DVD! Once again there’s a lot to love hitting shelves today including new movies like Bridesmaids and Bride Flight, TV on DVD releases like Modern Family, Castle, and Happy Endings, a new Bruce Willis movie that never saw the inside of a theater, and even a few re-issues of older movies you may never have heard of before… like the one starring a young Charlie Sheen as a mass murdering punk from the Midwest. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. HitRECord Recollection Volume 1 Joseph Gordon-Levitt is well known and well liked as an actor from TV and films like Third Rock From the Sun and 500 Days of Summer, but he’s interested in more than just a life in front of the camera. HitRECord.org is his web-centered creation that sees projects small and smaller develop from the ground up as collaborative efforts with friends and strangers alike. Everything submitted is up for remix and recreation. One person’s short story can see pictures, animation, voice-overs, a score, and more added by any number of people. It’s an intriguing concept, and while some of the end results have premiered at Sundance and SXSW, this collection is the first retail release. The book itself is very McSweeney’s-ish, which is awesome, and includes a wraparound half-sleeve, creative text and artwork, a CD, and a DVD of short films, videos, and more. […]

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Editor’s Note: This article will be updated in real time as the winners come in during the Primetime Emmys broadcast. Winners will be highlighted in bold and you can check out the winners that were already announced at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. The very first Emmy Award was given to a ventriloquist named Shirley Dinsdale who worked with a puppet called Judy Splinters. Is that significant? Of course it is. That fact coupled with the design of the award itself – a woman holding an atom – represent the true heart of television’s most significant celebration: artistic inspiration, scientific technology, and wooden humanoids that only talk with a hand shoved up their back. Ponder that while you bask in the glory of the victorious. Here are the winners of the 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards.

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