Rick McGinnis

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They don’t make Christmas movies like they used to

They don’t make Christmas movies like they used to

They still make Christmas movies, as far as I can tell, but we’re a long way from Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney singing Irving Berlin tunes for a war-weary generation. This Christmas, for instance, we have the very wry Bill Murray spoofing the holiday TV special in A Very Murray Christmas, and The Night Before, a seasonal buddy film where Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Antony Mackie binge their ... (Continue reading)

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Three movies for families

Three movies for families

Perhaps it’s a quirk of our family, but sitting down together for a movie regularly has always been as important as sitting down for a meal. I have spent 30 years, on and off, writing about movies and other entertainment, so I’ve always wanted to be there for those moments I remember so well from my own childhood, when something I saw in a theatre or on TV exploded ... (Continue reading)

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The lesson of the Ashley Madison leaks

  Amusements Rick McGinnis As I write this, the media frenzy surrounding the leak of a reported 32 million user accounts from the adultery website Ashley Madison has subsided into the background hum behind Donald Trump and the U.S. elections, the Pope’s visit to Cuba and the United States, and the apparently shocking news that Volkswagen diesel motors produce exhaust emissions. For the last half of August, however, news of ... (Continue reading)

Trainwreck an unusual rom-com

Trainwreck an unusual rom-com

It’s generally accepted that the romantic comedy went into decline at some point in the ‘90s and hasn’t quite been itself since its final heyday, with films like When Harry Met Sally and Working Girl. If the genre has any life left in it, its saviour has come in the shape of writer/director Judd Apatow, whose innovation was to scour away most of the “chick flick” conventions – sassy girlfriends, ... (Continue reading)

Little reality in reality TV

The recent scandal involving Josh Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting has prompted calls for the cancellation of the show and speculation that the whole genre of reality TV might have played itself out. While I don’t think that the end is in sight for the most cost-effective production model TV has invented since the game show, ... (Continue reading)

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Getting out of the echo chamber

Getting out of the echo chamber

Six years after I was laid off from my job at a national daily newspaper and sent back out to the uncertainties of freelancing as a writer and photographer, I’ve found myself with a steady gig again. Of those six years I can’t say much except that it’s no way to earn a living. The new job is more interesting – editing a Huffington Post-style group blog called The ... (Continue reading)

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Whatever happened to Peggy’s baby in Mad Men?

Whatever happened to Peggy’s baby in Mad Men?

Rick McGinnis wonders whatever happened to Peggy Olson's baby. By the time you read this the last episode of Mad Men will be about to air, and since it’s unlikely that that last hour will satisfy everyone that’s followed the show for eight years, there might be some shouting. The series finale probably won’t be the Shakespearean tragedy that concluded Breaking Bad ... (Continue reading)

The pornification of Hollywood

The pornification of Hollywood

When Fifty Shades of Grey made the transition from best-selling novel to box office smash movie – on Valentine’s Day, no less – we were given another opportunity to watch the border between the mainstream movie industry and its pornographic cousin evaporate into further irrelevance. For anyone living in blissful isolation for the last couple of years, Fifty Shades began life as the first part of a trilogy written by ... (Continue reading)

Charlie Hebdo and Pope Francis

Charlie Hebdo and Pope Francis

The slaughter of the cartoonists and staff of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by Islamic terrorists last month forced us to define precisely what we mean by “freedom of speech.” This was long overdue, and judging by some of the attempts made in the weeks after the murders, it would seem we have a long way to go. As everyone must be aware by now, Charlie Hebdo specialized in ... (Continue reading)

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Elite ideology as class warfare

Elite ideology as class warfare

I blame Karl Marx for a lot of things, but after inspiring some of the most destructive and blood-thirsty governments in modern history, his most abidingly destructive legacy is hobbling our understanding of the word “class.” For as long as I’ve been alive, when almost anyone talks about the class system they end up invoking images frozen somewhere in the middle of the European 19th century. Arrogant entitled aristocrats and heartless mill owners; upright bourgeois, dispirited workers and peasants. It’s a ... (Continue reading)

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Media elite unplugged

Media elite unplugged

Last month I wrote about the unease and apprehension that the internet and social media have inspired, within society and even in the precincts of Hollywood. The story so far is that, after marvelling at the massive new fortunes made by entities like Facebook and Twitter, we’ve begun worrying that moving parts of our social and emotional life online might not be healthy for us, and definitely won’t do ... (Continue reading)

Social dysfunction

Social dysfunction

No one’s really sure who coined the term “social media,” but there’s a loose consensus that it came about almost 20 years ago, in and around AOL and the small but vital nexus of tech companies that were busy birthing the internet as we know it today. What no one seems to dispute is the idea that, with social media, something wholly new had been brought into the world, ... (Continue reading)

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The broken culture

Amusements Rick McGinnis Critics are used to playing Cassandra – lamenting the fallen state of the world and prophesying its woeful future, all while giving you the latest news on gross-out comedies, reality television or the state of young adult fiction. As such, you can be forgiven if the latest prediction of cultural calamity strikes you as more than one too many, inspiring more yawning than hand-wringing. That’s my ... (Continue reading)

Boyhood cannot escape the emotional facts

Boyhood cannot escape the emotional facts

I was sitting on a midway ride recently, waiting for the lights to start flashing and the machinery to start hurling us around when I realized that my life might not actually get better than this moment. I was with my family, near the end of a lovely day at the end of our summer vacation, and it felt like a line was drawing itself around the moment to ... (Continue reading)

Enraptured

The rapture used to be top of the list whenever it came time to make fun of “things Crazy Christians believe,” or at least it was until Tim LaHaye published his bestselling Left Behind series of novels. Spawning a burgeoning franchise of further books and movies, it made the rapture of sudden social and monetary interest to the entertainment industry in general, so it’s no surprise that we’re about ... (Continue reading)

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