This week's show features something you will very rarely hear from us: bleeping! By which I mean: actual, literal bleeps. Because we're kicking things off with a discussion of profanity, in movies including Anchorman and Die Hard, and in TV shows on cable and broadcast.
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 12:06 pm
There are, among connoisseurs of pornography, many stratified tastes. To cater to those tastes, there are many levels to which the pornography itself might rise (or sink, depending on your moral stance on the topic). There are categories, boundaries, territories of smut that run the gamut from the (relatively) tame to the out-and-out horrifying.
This week, New York City lost a cultural landmark. The site known as 5Pointz was a graffiti museum, of sorts — the walls of a 200,000-square-foot warehouse complex covered with ever-evolving spray-painted art. It spread across a block in Long Island City right across the water from Manhattan in the borough of Queens.
Effie Trinket taps Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence, right) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) for the Hunger Games arena again — but this time the rules are different and the stakes are higher as rebellion brews in Panem.
Credit Murray Close / Lionsgate
The third point of the movie's love triangle, Katniss' hunting partner Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth), remains stranded in District 12 without as much to do as the other two.
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 2:10 pm
There's a moment of chilling violence in Catching Fire, the second of four planned movies adapting Suzanne Collins' dystopian Hunger Games novels, a moment in which the difference a director makes becomes immediately clear — and one that should give hope to readers who might have felt some disappointment with the first movie.
In Narco Cultura, director and photojournalist Shaul Schwarz interrogates the collision of pop culture and Mexico's drug cartels — as personified by bands like Los Bukanas de Culiacan (above), who perform narcocorridos, or songs glorifying the drug trade.
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 1:03 pm
Following police through Mexico's Ciudad Juárez — reputedly the world's homicide capital — the Israeli filmmaker Shaul Schwarz finds mutilated corpses and gutters running with blood. But the resulting documentary, Narco Cultura, is not nearly so vivid as its most gruesome footage.
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 1:02 pm
Back in 2002, french fry lovers around the world received a nasty bit of news: Those crunchy, fried strips of potato contained a known carcinogen. Now, all these years later, a new warning from the Food and Drug Administration has consumers once again puzzling over whether to fear the chemical acrylamide.
You are probably aware that in Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem, the titular raven repeatedly says, "Nevermore." Turns out, while he "still is sitting, still is sitting," that raven has moved on to quoth'ing celebrity names that rhyme with "-moore." Naturally, host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton perform the clues about these famous folks in verse.
Puzzle guru Will Hines leads this final round, in which every correct answer is a word, phrase or proper noun that contains the letters "a-p-p" in order. For example, if he said, "It's what you tear off your birthday presents," you would say, "wrapping paper." Word nerds everywhere who rule this game, we applaud you.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
You'd think a guy who writes scary books for a living would know a thing or two about what makes our hearts race and our palms sweat. We put the best-selling horror author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series to the test in this Ask Me Another Challenge based on an audience poll. Did Stine know what scares our listeners more: ghosts, or being alone for the rest of your life?
Mick Jagger was reportedly inspired to write The Rolling Stones' hit song "Sympathy for the Devil" after reading Mikhaíl Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita. We were inspired to re-write "Sympathy for the Devil" after watching Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes. As such, house musician Jonathan Coulton's musical clues in this game are about various Looney Tunes characters, from Tweety to Elmer Fudd.
Zombies eat brains, everyone knows that. But if brains aren't available, zombies are not picky; they'll eat anything that rhymes with "brains." In this round, host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton serve up clues to groups of nouns or names that follow this rhyming pattern. Points awarded to those who answer in a scary zombie voice.
If you're a person of a certain age, R.L. Stine probably scared or delighted you with his Goosebumps and Fear Street series. (And you'll be happy to hear Stine recently announced a Fear Street reboot.) But the man who declares "terrify[ing] kids" as his job description actually started out as a humor writer — and his "jovial" nature remains intact.
They say that love is the universal language, but they're wrong — it's pain. In this game, house musician Jonathan Coulton will tell you how people around the world say "ouch," and you have to name the language. "Úff, this eruption by the volcano Eyjafjallajökull is making me really hot!"...you said, in Icelan-glish. (That's Icelandic + English.)
Many organic farmers are hopping mad at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and their reason involves perhaps the most underappreciated part of agriculture: plant food, aka fertilizer. Specifically, the FDA, as part of its overhaul of food safety regulations, wants to limit the use of animal manure.
"We think of it as the best thing in the world," says organic farmer Jim Crawford, "and they think of it as toxic and nasty and disgusting."
In his new book released this week, Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker reflects on the political firestorm he survived at home in 2012 — and diagnoses what went wrong for the national party.
Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 4:18 pm
If you were black and female and grew up in the '70s, you were used to looking at pretty white women on the covers of major fashion and beauty magazines. If you wanted to borrow their look, you had to adapt. Ebony helped, with its Fashion Fair cavalcade of models — but they were fantasy ideals: lots of polish, no funk. Ebony was your mother's magazine.
Anjelica Huston is best-known for her performances in Prizzi's Honor, The Grifters, The Addams Family, The Royal Tenenbaums and the TV series Smash. But her new memoir about her early life, A Story Lately Told, ends just as her successful acting career begins. That part of her life will be in a second volume, now in the works.
In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, William Blake served up one of those mind-bending proverbs he's known for: "The road of excess leads," he wrote, "to the palace of wisdom." I thought about this line as I watched two terrific new movies that put Blake's words to the test.
Paolo Sorrentino's thrillingly good The Great Beauty tackles the idea head-on — it's an excessive film about excess. Sorrentino doesn't merely aim to update one of the most famous movies of all time (Fellini's portrait of decadent Rome, La Dolce Vita). He intends to better it.
Participants compete in the 2013 Pokemon World Championships in Vancouver, Canada, on Aug. 10. The Pokemon franchise has become a billion-dollar franchise since it debuted on American shores 15 years ago.
Fifteen years ago, pocket-sized characters known as Pokemon arrived on American shores from Japan. The cute creatures were suddenly everywhere: television, video games, card games and a movie.
When the Pokemon cartoon theme song first hit American TV airwaves in 1998, "Gotta catch 'em all" became a mantra for kids. But few people imagined that in 2013 the stars of this cartoon would still be going strong.
The Taj Mahal Palace hotel on the night of the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008. Nearly 80 people were killed and an estimated 200 to 350 injured across the city that night. The Siege chronicles the events in the hotel.
Credit Greg Peters / Universal Pictures
In Lone Survivor, Mark Wahlberg (left) stars as former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, who was the lone survivor of a mission in Afghanistan in 2005.
Credit Daniel Daza / Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate
In his latest film, Robert Redford plays a man who is stranded at sea and must survive completely on his own.
Daily Beast editor Tina Brown joins NPR's Steve Inskeep from time to time as part of an ongoing conversation Morning Edition calls Word of Mouth. This month she's talking about stories of survival — from a dangerous Navy SEAL mission in Afghanistan to a terrorist attack in Mumbai. And then there's survival of a different sort: sticking out a very long career in Hollywood.