Linda Holmes

Linda Holmes writes and edits NPR's entertainment and pop-culture blog, Monkey See. She has several elaborate theories involving pop culture and monkeys, all of which are available on request.

Holmes began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living-room space to DVD sets of The Wire and never looked back.

Holmes was a writer and editor at Television Without Pity, where she recapped several hundred hours of programming — including both High School Musical movies, for which she did not receive hazard pay. Since 2003, she has been a contributor to MSNBC.com, where she has written about books, movies, television and pop-culture miscellany.

Holmes' work has also appeared on Vulture (New York magazine's entertainment blog), in TV Guide and in many, many legal documents.

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Monkey See
7:34 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Gone Girl' And What Pop Culture Can Teach

NPR

You've had a week now since the release of David Fincher's Gone Girl, the adaptation of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, so we hope that the most fervently excited of you have already seen it.

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Monkey See
9:41 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch: 'Twin Peaks' Returns

Sherilyn Fenn and Kyle MacLachlan starred in the original run of Twin Peaks. MacLachlan is rumored to be reprising the role of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper in the new episodes.
ABC Photo Archives Getty Images

Regular PCHH listeners know that our own Glen Weldon is a big fan of Twin Peaks, so we knew that he would be excited to sit down and talk about the big news that it's returning to Showtime for nine new episodes, picking up the story 25 years later.

He and Stephen Thompson therefore sat down for a chat about where the show might be going from here, why Glen believes having both original creators on board is so important, and which two favorites from public television he imagines when he thinks about their collaborative process.

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Monkey See
8:58 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Cameron Esposito And The Comedy Of Confidence

The opening track on Cameron Esposito's new album, Same Sex Symbol, is an accelerating and elegant display of something often in short supply in great comedy: confidence.

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Monkey See
10:16 am
Tue October 7, 2014

'The Flash' Winks At History And Keeps Its Superhero Tone Light

After being struck by lightning, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) realizes he's gained super speed and takes on the persona of the Flash.
The CW

The most telling feature of the CW's new superhero drama The Flash is the casting of John Wesley Shipp as the tragically and wrongfully imprisoned father of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who in the opening hour becomes The Flash.

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Monkey See
9:02 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch: 'House Hunters International'

NPR

Do you fantasize about living in Hong Kong or Paris or on an Australian beach? And do you wonder whether you could fit it into your budget? And do you wonder how you would resolve petty little conflicts with your spouse or partner or roommate about being near work versus having a pool?

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Monkey See
9:28 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Please Don't Judge John Mulaney By 'Mulaney'

Martin Short and John Mulaney in FOX's Mulaney.
Ray Mickshaw FOX

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 1:22 pm

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Monkey See
7:23 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Denzel Washington And 'Gilligan's Island'

NPR

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 9:20 am

The Equalizer, starring Denzel Washington in the kind of role (the "Sad Jedi," as our own Chris Klimek put it in his terrific review) that Liam Neeson has been specializing in for several years, hit theaters last weekend. It made a lot of money, and that got us thinking: How does this fit into the larger arc of Denzel Washington?

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Monkey See
2:22 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

The Overworked 'Bad Judge' Still Doesn't Work

Kate Walsh as Rebecca in NBC's Bad Judge.
John Fleenor NBC

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 2:38 pm

The bummer about Bad Judge, a comedy premiering Thursday night on NBC, is that Kate Walsh is funny. There's a particular moment when she decides to sing something she's just said, and just in that brief moment, she's legitimately funny.

But boy, she is stuck in a stinker here, a show that they've substantially revamped from the weak original pilot until it still isn't very good, but now it doesn't even make any sense.

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Monkey See
12:13 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

'A To Z': Not A Great Romantic Comedy Yet, But Give It A Letter Or Two

Cristin Milioti as Zelda, Ben Feldman as Andrew in NBC's A to Z.
Jessica Brooks NBC

We've been over this point before: particularly with comedy, it can be hard to tell from a pilot what the show is going to be like. But when you've seen a few, you can sometimes tell the difference between fundamentally misbegotten projects, like the ABC romantic comedy Manhattan Love Story, and fundamentally functional shows that have kinks to work out, like the NBC romantic comedy A To Z.

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Monkey See
6:45 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Adam Sandler Signs Up With Netflix For 4 New Movies

Adam Sandler, seen here at the recent premiere of Jason Reitman's Men, Women & Children, probably didn't mean it when he said he signed on with Netflix because it rhymes with "wet chicks."
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 8:02 am

Netflix has thus far found its highest-profile successes in original content by competing with award-ready premium television with Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards.

But there's more to running a network than winning awards, and the reminder of that came this morning with an announcement that Netflix has made a deal to be the exclusive home of four movies to star and be produced by Adam Sandler.

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Monkey See
10:21 am
Tue September 30, 2014

The Strange, Split 'Selfie' Pilot

Social Media superstar Eliza Dooley has 263,000 followers who hang on to her every post, tweet and selfie. But she needs help from Henry (John Cho).
Nicole Wilder ABC

The pilot of the ABC show Selfie, starring Karen Gillan and John Cho in a Pygmalion update built on the notion that being obsessed with Twitter is the new Flawed But Fixable Personality Problem, is only about 22 minutes long — a little less. Given that pilots always have to contain a certain amount of pure exposition, that barely seems like enough time for the pilot to have both good parts and bad parts.

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Monkey See
9:23 am
Tue September 30, 2014

'Gone Girl,' Take Two: The Very, Very Spoiled Edition

Rosamund Pike plays Amy Dunne, whose mysterious disappearance turns her husband into a murder suspect.
Merrick Morton Twentieth Century Fox

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 10:42 am

Please understand that this post contains information about the plot of Gone Girl that has the capacity to rob it of many of its best and most delicious surprises for anyone not already aware of them. It's most appropriate for people who have already either read the book or seen the film, or for people who don't plan to read the book or see the film, or for people who don't like to be surprised, or for people who read the Wikipedia summary of a mystery before they watch it, or for people who hate having a good time.

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Monkey See
4:07 am
Tue September 30, 2014

'Gone Girl': A Missing Wife And A Cloud Of Suspicion

Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) finds himself the chief suspect behind the shocking disappearance of his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike), on their fifth anniversary.
Merrick Morton Twentieth Century Fox

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 10:40 am

At the opening of Gone Girl, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) is literally a man on the street. Standing by his trash cans in the half-light of an early morning at his gorgeous Missouri home in a T-shirt and sweatpants, he is what might be mistaken for "comfortable," but he is painfully, powerfully ordinary. And in keeping with the title, he is about to learn that his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), is missing. Suspicious to both the authorities and the audience, Nick has lost his wife to either an act of violence he committed or an act of violence he did not commit.

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Monkey See
8:18 am
Fri September 26, 2014

25 Humble Suggestions For 'The Equalizer' Brand Extensions

Denzel Washington stars as a retired intelligence officer in The Equalizer.
Scott Garfield Sony Pictures

Originally published on Fri September 26, 2014 1:36 pm

Our pal Chris Klimek has a fine review of the film The Equalizer, in which Denzel Washington plays a man who gets revenge on all manner of bad guys, and maybe annoying people, and maybe just other people? Anyway, it seems inevitable that if the movie comes back, they'll be looking for ways to extend the brand. Fortunately, we've got some ideas.

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Monkey See
7:15 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Fall Books And Great Detectives

NPR

When we learned that our treasured friends Barrie Hardymon and Margaret "Hulahoop" Willison (thus named for her actual middle initial, H, as well as her whimsical and irresistible delightfulness) were both going to be in town when we taped this episode, there was only one thing to do: fire Stephen.

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Monkey See
11:18 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Making The Case 'Against Football'

Steve Almond's blistering book Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto is exactly what it advertises itself to be: an exasperated, frustrated, wide-ranging argument that the time has come to abandon football — particularly but not exclusively the NFL — as a sport built on violence, racism, economic exploitation of poor kids, corrupt dealmaking with local governments over stadiums, and a willingness to find it entertaining to watch people suffer brain damage.

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Monkey See
7:57 am
Wed September 24, 2014

'Black-ish' And The Color Of Money

Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross star in ABC's Black-ish.
Adam Taylor ABC

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 8:30 am

"When brothers start getting a little money, stuff starts getting a little weird."

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Monkey See
7:33 am
Mon September 22, 2014

The Only One: A Talk With Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes speaks onstage at the How to Get Away with Murder panel during the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 12:02 pm

I saw Shonda Rhimes at a panel presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour this summer where she helped introduce How to Get Away with Murder, the new ABC drama she helps produce but did not create. I found her pleasantly (and a little amusingly) transparent in not loving some of the questions she was asked (including one about whether she was worried that #HTGAWM, which was printed on the promotional cookies ABC handed out, was an unwieldy hashtag), and I thought, "She is an interview for which you would want to be on your toes."

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Movie Reviews
6:52 am
Fri September 19, 2014

'This Is Where I Leave You' Makes A Family Story Too Ordinary

Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll play the quarrelsome Altman siblings, each with their own share of emotional baggage.
Nicole Rivelli Warner Brothers Pictures

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 7:48 am

Ordinariness is a quality in movies that likely bothers critics and enthusiasts more than it does other people. The more films you see, the more the enemy becomes not just poor quality but familiarity, simply because even an inoffensive cliche becomes a cinematic earworm after a while — something that makes your brain flinch simply at the "this again!" of it all. This Is Where I Leave You, a family comedy-drama adapted by Jonathan Tropper from his 2009 novel, is unfortunately a very ordinary film, particularly for one adapted from such a thoughtful and tonally tricky book.

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Monkey See
6:51 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: A Fall Films Preview And Betting On New Television

NPR

We've had a lively summer on PCHH, full of live events and quizzes and special guests and even Stephen hosting episodes (!) (kidding!), but this week, we've got our pal Bob Mondello in the studio for some good old-fashioned movie and TV chatter.

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Monkey See
11:45 am
Tue September 16, 2014

'Mindy' And 'New Girl' Navigate Their Worlds Of Crazy Love

Danny (Chris Messina) and Mindy (Mindy Kaling) find themselves in a new position in the premiere of The Mindy Project.
Isabella Vosmikova Fox

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 1:48 pm

[This post contains information about where main characters stand relative to each other at the opening of the new seasons of The Mindy Project and New Girl. Be advised.]

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Monkey See
10:07 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Kids, Pants, Booze, Music: Trouble In River City And Always

Robert Preston and Shirley Jones in the film version of The Music Man.
AP

Perhaps the most static conversation in American culture is the one about its constant decline. Today's music, today's actors, today's movies, today's media, today's food, today's habits, today's language — it's all going to hell, all of it, and it's taking us with it, no matter when today is.

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Monkey See
6:26 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Toronto, Day 6: Jennifer Aniston, Jon Stewart And Earnestness

Gael Garcia Bernal in Jon Stewart's Rosewater.
TIFF

Cake: Jennifer Aniston plays Claire, a woman we first meet as she's shocking her chronic pain support group with her barbed reactions to the recent suicide of a group member named Nina. Claire's face and body are crisscrossed with scars, and she moves uncomfortably at every moment — which is why she gobbles pain pills and has to constantly invent new methods for getting more. Her marriage has recently broken up, despite the fact that she and her husband (Chris Messina) clearly still care about each other.

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Monkey See
6:39 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Toronto, Day 5: A Different Steve Carell And The Sad Tale Of Alan Turing

Keira Knightley, Matthew Beard, Matthew Goode, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Allen Leech star in The Imitation Game.
Jack English TIFF

Steve Carell is not unrecognizable in Foxcatcher, from director Bennett Miller (who also made Moneyball and Capote) but it's instantly clear that his transformation is meant to be substantial. Carell plays the very rich and very strange (and very real) John du Pont, who in 1996 killed Dave Schultz (played here by Mark Ruffalo), an Olympic wrestler who was working as a coach in the elite wrestling program du Pont operated on his enormous estate.

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Movies
2:16 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Oscar Buzz Builds At Toronto Film Fest

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 4:40 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Monkey See
5:07 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Toronto, Day 4: Pop Stars, Chess Prodigies And Battling Science

Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a pop star and Minnie Driver as her controlling mother in Beyond the Lights.
Suzanne Tenner TIFF

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 8:27 am

Beyond the Lights: Gina Prince-Bythewood wrote and directed the terrific 2000 romance Love & Basketball, and here, she looks at the intersection of love and celebrity. Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is a rapidly rising pop star whose hard-driving mother (Minnie Driver) has been pushing her hard all her life. Career-wise, she's doing great. Personally, not so much. On a particularly bad night, Noni meets a cop named Kaz (Nate Parker), who winds up knowing more than she (or her mom) would like about her state of mind.

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Monkey See
6:03 am
Sun September 7, 2014

Toronto, Day 3: Reitman, Costner, Kendrick, Race, Gender And Euthanasia

Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick in The Last Five Years.
Thomas Concordia TIFF

Men, Women & Children: If you can't get enough alarmist local news segments about how all the kids are sexting and everyone is giving up their families for free online pornography that's infected with malware, you'll love Jason Reitman's Men, Women & Children, a cautionary tale about fighting the real enemies: the internet and terrible mothers.

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Monkey See
6:29 am
Sat September 6, 2014

Toronto, Day 2: Franco And Faulkner, Love, And A Steely Patricia Clarkson

Patricia Clarkson tends to a bleeding Scott Speedman in October Gale.
TIFF

The idea of a James Franco-directed adaptation of William Faulkner's The Sound And The Fury sounds like the setup for a bit on Funny Or Die, or maybe for the thing you'd have someone mention offhand in our satire about Hollywood. Franco does so many different things that he's almost killed any specific image he could possibly have, but you can say this for him: he tries things.

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Monkey See
6:25 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Toronto, Day 1: David Cronenberg, Drumming, 'The Judge' And Serendipity

David Gulpilil stars in the drama Charlie's Country, the best find on our first day at the Toronto International Film Festival.
TIFF

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 1:13 pm

Critics all have our idiosyncratic ways of handling the scheduling of a film festival like Toronto. There are planners, improvisers, pragmatists and poll-takers, all counting on some combination of research, serendipity, instinct, word of mouth and logistics to put them in the right rooms at the right times to see the right things.

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Monkey See
12:18 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Lifetime Promises To Bring Out The 'Strong Black Woman' In White Women

Beauty pro Tracy Balan, fashion maven Tiffiny Dixon, home/sanctuary guru Nikki Chu and soul coach Tanisha Thomas host Girlfriend Intervention, which is a real show, believe it or not.
Richard Knapp Lifetime

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 12:56 pm

Lifetime's new show Girlfriend Intervention is not subtle about its message. Its premise is four black women giving a makeover to a white woman on the theory that, as they put it, "Trapped inside of every white girl is a strong black woman ready to bust out."

They don't even have to say "weak white girl" or "lame white girl" or "ugly white girl" or "unfashionable white girl" or "boring white girl," because all those things are, before long, implied.

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