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.

HBO has built a robust and popular online presence over the past couple of years with its app, HBO GO. But to get it — as is the case with many streaming services that offer television over the Internet — you've needed a cable subscription. In other words, HBO GO was an add-on for people who already had HBO, not an alternative way of getting shows for people who didn't.

I'm not sure I've ever seen a comedy use an opening scene to put a main character in a hole as deep as the one Marry Me digs for Annie, played by Casey Wilson. We meet her as she and her longtime boyfriend Jake (Ken Marino) return from a vacation during which she believed he would propose and he didn't.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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."

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.

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.

[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.]

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.

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.

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.

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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.

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.

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.

Pages