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
7:40 am
Thu June 5, 2014

The Muscle-Flexing, Mind-Blowing Book Girls Will Inherit The Earth

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 8:14 am

The first ever BookCon, planned as an extension of the mega trade show Book Expo America by the same people who do Comic-Con, took place last weekend. It was headlined by, among other things, a robust diversity debate that bloomed on social media around the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks. But it also functioned as an impressive, invigorating show of force for one of the most important nascent cultural interest groups we have: the Book Girls.

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Monkey See
6:31 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Godzilla' And Things That Got Better

NPR

First of all: LIVE SHOW TICKETS! (On sale June 2 — that's a week from this coming Monday — at noon Eastern.)

Just wanted to put that up there; we'll get back to it.

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Monkey See
12:40 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

'Batman V Superman': A Legal Thriller (We Hope)

Henry Cavill played Superman in Man Of Steel and will return to go to court with Batman (we hope) next year.
Clay Enos Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 12:52 pm

We learned today that the upcoming sequel to Man Of Steel will be called Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

This is interesting for several reasons. First of all, "Dawn Of Justice" sounds like a dirty movie about sheriffs. Second of all, "Dawn Of Justice" sounds like it precedes the Morning Of Reckoning, the Afternoon Of Relief, the Dusk Of Regret, the Evening Of Resignation, and the Hot Muggy Midnight Of History Repeating Itself, all leading up to Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice: The Next Day.

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Monkey See
10:02 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Be Wary And Bury The Very Scary 'I Wanna Marry Harry'

This is Matt. He looks slightly more like Prince Harry than you do.
Chris Raphael Fox

Gather round, children, and I will tell you of a dark time. A cruel time.

It was a time when reality dating shows were even worse than they are now.

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Monkey See
7:00 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Fairy Tales And A Fall TV Quiz

A drawing of a snoozing Sleeping Beauty.
iStockphoto.com

We could not be happier to bring back our friend Barrie Hardymon, who's out in California but still made time to come and chat with us. In recognition that we are soon to see the live-action Maleficent coming from Disney, we chat about fairy tales. "These are stories we tell our kids to get them to abandon us," Glen says. "We're giving them the psychic armor, the psychic tools, to say goodbye." We talk about old fairy tales, Disney-fied versions, and Glen's recognition that Germany hasn't had an easy time of it with their own versions.

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Monkey See
8:19 am
Wed May 14, 2014

An Interview With The Alleged Purse Of Solange Knowles

Solange Knowles attends the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

This is the third in a very occasional series of posts in which we interview inanimate objects during fever dreams.

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Monkey See
11:57 am
Tue May 13, 2014

A First Glimpse: Sometimes You're The Batmobile, Sometimes You're The Bat

Today, Zack Snyder, the director of Batman vs. Superman, due in 2016, tweeted what he said was the first photo of the Batmobile. Beside it is ... Batman! Or, as Snyder put it, "#Batman." Because that's what we do now instead of using our words.

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Monkey See
7:51 am
Mon May 12, 2014

The Comb, The Thrill And The Flop

Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze's 1851 painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware" seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2012.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Saturday at about 10:30 in the morning, as New York took a turn for the muggy in what turned out to be anticipation of rain, I climbed the steps to the Metropolitan Museum Of Art and rented one of the audio guide units that hang around your neck on an orange strap. I stayed about five hours, wearing out the battery on the audio unit and turning it in for another, wandering from the Egyptian art into the Temple of Dendur, through European sculptures to Arms and Armor and the American Wing, through Oceania, Africa and the Americas.

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Monkey See
9:41 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Daniel Radcliffe And The Blood And Breath Of Live Theater

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 12:55 pm

There is a strong crossover between your Daniel Radcliffe People and your Harry Potter People, for obvious reasons. Next to me at Broadway's Cort Theater on Thursday night, watching Radcliffe in Martin McDonagh's comedy The Cripple Of Inishmaan (a production that's Tony-nominated for Best Revival Of A Play) were three young women. Their first priority: finding out where to await him when the show was over, and strategically how to get a good spot.

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Monkey See
8:19 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Star Wars,' 'Louie' And Other Phenomena

NPR

We're joined this week by the lovely Petra Mayer of NPR Books, who brings her serious sci-fi and fandom chops to our opening chat about the big Star Wars news.

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Monkey See
7:19 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Once More Into The Jaws Of The TV Dinosaur Known As Upfrontasaurus

Look, this is a dinosaur, okay? It could be any dinosaur. It has sunglasses on. We're not in scientific reality. Don't ask specific dinosaur questions.
iStockphoto

Next week, the broadcast networks — ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and the CW — will make their upfront presentations in New York. (There are some scattered cable ones too, like ESPN and TNT/TBS.) This is where they present their new shows, in the form of clips and sizzle reels, to advertisers. From a business perspective, it's really important in the same way that any sales pitch is really important: they sell ads, they make money, and when they get the advertising people excited, a show becomes a presumed frontrunner before it even premieres.

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Monkey See
7:09 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Posthumous Projects And People We're Pulling For

NPR

This week's show finds us chatting with our pal Gene Demby of NPR's Code Switch about, among other things, posthumous projects. There are still films coming out from Paul Walker and Philip Seymour Hoffman, there's an upcoming release of Michael Jackson recordings, and life after death for musicians is practically a tradition. We talk about Kafka, J Dilla, David Foster Wallace, and the ethics of piecing together work that was unfinished or perhaps even abandoned when the artist is no longer around to say yes or no.

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Monkey See
6:07 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Comedy, The News And A Bat Quiz

NPR

All Things Considered host Audie Cornish joins us this week for an episode full of tough questions, comedy theory, and some really surprising information about all the ways that Batman has gotten weird over the last 75 years.

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Monkey See
1:33 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

A Punching Movie That Packs A Punch For People Who Like Punching

Paul Walker stars in Brick Mansions.
Relativity Media

It is never not awkward to talk about a film after one of the stars has died. That's perhaps never any more true than it is in the case of Brick Mansions, one of the last films of Paul Walker. Walker died in November of last year after a career that included a lot of movies like this one: silly, hyper action thrillers that often included, as this one does, moments in which everybody in the theater chortled at their insane, cartoonish brutality.

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Monkey See
9:58 am
Thu April 24, 2014

'The Other Woman': When Terrible Movies Happen To Funny Actresses

Leslie Mann, Nicki Minaj, Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton have nothing to do in The Other Woman.
Barry Wetcher Twentieth Century Fox

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 6:19 am

There is a moment in The Other Woman in which Leslie Mann and Cameron Diaz, playing a wife and her husband's former mistress — now friends — fall into a hedge together. When they're spotted, there's a little bit of physical business that's legitimately funny. If you can ignore the fact that the moments of this kind scattered through the film are decorating such a conceptually odious, stupid-to-the-bone enterprise, some of them may make you laugh.

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Monkey See
6:47 am
Wed April 23, 2014

What Do 'The Simpsons' Look Like In Lego?

The Simpsons enters the world of Lego in the upcoming episode "Brick Like Me."
Fox

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 7:26 am

Fox has started to release images of the Simpsons from the upcoming episode "Brick Like Me," which is — get this — the 550th episode. That means you could watch a different episode of The Simpsons every day for roughly a year and a half, weekends and weekdays, before you ran out of new ones.

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Monkey See
7:22 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Shirley, This Is The Dawn Of A New 'Mad Men'

Teyonah Parris as Dawn Chambers, whose future changed quite a bit on Sunday night's Mad Men.
Jordin Althaus AMC

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 8:33 am

[This post discusses the plot of Sunday night's episode.]

Once Mad Men moved into the early-middle part of the 1960s, people began to ask an increasingly urgent question: Where was the civil rights movement? Where were the black people? Was Sterling Cooper (Draper Pryce) (And Partners) really so sheltered that race barely touched its tiny world?

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Monkey See
11:11 am
Sun April 20, 2014

From 'Field Of Dreams' To 'Draft Day': Who Cares About The Front Office?

Kevin Costner warms up to pitch in the 1989 film Field Of Dreams.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 9:23 am

Sports movies were powerful once. In the '80s and '90s, there were hits about football, baseball, basketball, hockey, boxing, karate – and they were movies about teams and players and coaches, not scouts and executives.

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Movie Reviews
6:12 am
Sat April 19, 2014

'Say Anything,' Still Full Of Guileless Affection

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 9:44 am

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

Twenty-five years ago, Lloyd Dobler raised a boombox over his head and changed the world of movie boyfriends forever.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IN YOUR EYES")

PETER GABRIEL: (Singing) All my instincts, they return...

GOODWYN: Linda Holmes, of our pop culture blog "Monkey See," was a teenager when she first saw the film "Say Anything..." She says all these years later, she has a new appreciation of it.

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Monkey See
9:15 am
Fri April 18, 2014

So, 'Scandal' Writers, How Did You Write That Awful Wrist Thing?

Kerry Washington, Shonda Rhimes and Jim Rash chat about how Scandal is written on Sundance's The Writers' Room.
JC Dhien Sundance Channel

Sundance has been making strides in scripted television with series like Rectify and Top Of The Lake, but Friday night also brings back a charming little interview show they have — sort of a perfect Friday night show, actually.

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Monkey See
1:36 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Tatiana Maslany On Looking Herself In The Eye

Tatiana Maslany plays Sarah, as well as some other characters, on BBC America's Orphan Black.
Steve Wilkie BBC America

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 9:10 am

Tatiana Maslany plays Sarah — and some other people — on BBC America's sci-fi show Orphan Black. On Friday's Morning Edition, she speaks to Kelly McEvers about how she manages to play all those different women from different cultural backgrounds, not to mention women with different mixes of malevolence and likability. Technically, it's no picnic: Just ask the tennis ball that sometimes plays her head.

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Monkey See
7:10 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Is 'Heaven' Real, Or Just A Place On Earth?

Colton Burpo (Connor Corum) tells Todd (Greg Kinnear) about heaven in Heaven Is for Real.
Allen Fraser Sony Pictures

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 6:20 am

Heaven Is for Real has an earnestness and an inertness that make it something of a bulletproof fish in a barrel. It's easy to take shots at because it's utterly artless and corny, but it's immune to criticism because it's not intended to be otherwise. It's simply intended to be affirming to people who go to church a lot, encouraging to people who go to church a little, and inoffensively irrelevant to people who don't go to church at all.

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Monkey See
11:04 am
Thu April 17, 2014

God, Man And Lots Of Corridors In 'Transcendence'

Rebecca Hall plays Evelyn Caster, who makes a tough choice about her husband in Transcendence.
Peter Mountain Warner Brothers Pictures

Transcendence is a science fiction story, but it's very much about faith. Early on, a member of a "neo-Luddite" group confronts Will Caster (Johnny Depp) about his work. Caster is promising a future in which a massive artificial intelligence will contain more knowledge than the world has ever collectively possessed, and the man – played by Lukas Haas, whom many of us first saw as a tiny Amish child in Witness, where he was also counseled about the dangers of modernity and technology – accuses him of trying to create a god.

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Monkey See
9:41 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Lusting For Spring In Our Hearts

A cherry blossom tree on the Potomac. Not bad, eh?
Mark Wilson Getty Images

A friend of mine grumbled on Facebook recently about the phenomenon of people moaning in despair over April's weather. There's often a cold snap around this time, she pointed out. There's often unpleasant rain. There's often unpredictability.

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Monkey See
9:11 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Ken Burns Tackles Lincoln, Education And Money In 'The Address'

Cooper and Ned are two of the boys working on learning the Gettysburg Address in Ken Burns' latest documentary.
Lindsay Taylor Jackson/Florentine Films PBS

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 5:07 pm

The Ken Burns documentary The Address, premiering on most PBS stations Tuesday night, opens at the Greenwood School in Vermont, where students are being introduced to a longstanding tradition: studying the Gettysburg Address until they can recite it from memory in front of a large audience of students, staff and parents. If they succeed, they receive a special commemorative coin that is only given for this achievement. A first, second and third prize will be awarded — one for middle school, one for high school — for these performances.

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Monkey See
1:12 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

The Bitter Tundra Returns As 'Fargo' Comes To Television

Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in FX's Fargo.
Matthias Clamer FX

There are a lot of ways to adapt a film to a TV show, and it's not as common as it was for a while there. For a while, you had strange experiments like TV telling the story of Ferris Bueller, TV telling the story of Baby and Johnny from Dirty Dancing, and TV revisiting 9 to 5. Usually, it meant just moving the characters over to a series, having them played by new actors, and following new stories about them. (Melora Hardin as Baby Houseman!) Every now and then, it worked: you might have heard of M*A*S*H.

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Monkey See
7:22 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Kristen Wiig, Alice Munro And Negative Space In Fiction

Kristen Wiig plays Johanna Parry in Hateship Loveship, adapted from an Alice Munro short story.
IFC Films

[This piece discusses the plot of both the Alice Munro short story on which Hateship Loveship is based and the film itself, although it's frankly nothing you can't intuit from the trailer.]

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Monkey See
3:35 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

'Say Anything' At 25: Nothing Bought, Sold Or Processed

John Cusack and Ione Skye in Say Anything.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 4:42 pm

"I don't feel anything."

Those are, surprisingly enough, the first words of the deeply felt Say Anything, which turns 25 years old on Monday. It opened April 14, 1989, and that weekend, it made $5.2 million. It wasn't enough to come anywhere close to what Major League pulled down in its second week ($9.1 million), but it was enough to come in one slot ahead of the opening weekend of the Tony Danza comedy She's Out of Control ($4.6 million).

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Monkey See
7:34 am
Sun April 13, 2014

'Mad Men' Returns, Full Of Footnotes

As Mad Men returns for its seventh season, its entire sprawling cast has plenty to do.
Frank Ockenfels AMC

Imagine a scene in which a man is sitting on a park bench reading a book. A woman comes up and sits beside him. He looks up at her. She hands him a letter. "It's over," she says.

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Monkey See
6:57 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Fargo, A Farewell, And Pop Culture Breadcrumbs

NPR

This week's show opens on a wistful note for us: our pal Trey Graham, a founding member of the PCHH family, has taken his leave from NPR, and thus from us. He checks in with a message about his plans, we all thank him for his profound effects on our personal and professional lives, and Glen points out what is, indeed, "the Trey-Graham-iest mic drop" that could ever be.

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