Rick McGinnis

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Appreciating Whit Stillman’s comedies of manners

Appreciating Whit Stillman’s comedies of manners

Whit Stillman, New York City August 1990. My youngest daughter is fond of asking unanswerable questions like “what’s your favorite food?” or “who’s your favorite band?” I usually answer that I’m too old to have favorite anythings anymore, but she hasn’t asked me “who’s your favorite living movie director?” yet, and that would be easy to answer: Whit Stillman. Stillman is an American who burst ... (Continue reading)

Facebook and politics

Amusements Rick McGinnis Facebook was launched a dozen years ago as a place for Ivy League college students to connect online and answer burning collegiate questions like “Who’s hot and who’s not?” But even before they made a movie about it, Facebook had gone from being an online distraction only potentially more interesting than World of Warcraft into something between a broadcast network and a public utility. Perhaps this ... (Continue reading)

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Escaping radical feminism

Amusements Rick McGinnis As the father of daughters, I always feel a bit guilty when I find myself railing against the excesses and absurdities of contemporary feminism. I mentally prepare myself for the counterarguments my position will invite: Don’t you believe women should have the same opportunities as men? Don’t you think equal work should mean equal pay? Do you want to return to a time when women ... (Continue reading)

Waking up from the ‘American Dream’

Waking up from the ‘American Dream’

"The children are our future” is probably among the most sententious phrases you can utter in politics, a sure tell that the person using it has no plan that will immediately have an impact on the children – yours or anyone else’s – or the future. So it’s reasonable to raise an eyebrow at a book that makes some dire claims about the dim prospects of future generations if ... (Continue reading)

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Jian Ghomeshi and the sexual revolution hangover

Jian Ghomeshi and the sexual revolution hangover

Former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi leaving a Toronto courtroom with lawyer Marie Henein. As I write this, the trial of former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi is in recess until the judge hands down a verdict later this March. What was supposed to be an open and shut indictment of the onetime media darling turned out to be ... (Continue reading)

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Hollywood goes boldly pro-abortion

Since I began writing this column almost seven years ago, I have had a few mantras – dictums that I’ve thought you can rely on when judging popular culture and its baleful evolution. One is that cheaper usually beats better (as in mp3s or video on cellphones versus high end audio gear and movie theatres). Another is that there’s no such thing as a period film; every film is ... (Continue reading)

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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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