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.

PCHH regular Stephen Thompson had the week off from the show, so I was joined by Glen Weldon as well as our pals Chris Klimek and Bob Mondello to talk about the Coen Brothers' Hail, Caesar!. Chris engagingly reviewed it for NPR, and Bob has covered the Coens plenty of times, so we've got lots to discuss.

In September 2014, Glen Weldon (a great recommendation engine for podcasts) talked in our What's Making Us Happy This Week segment about Pitch, a show I'd never heard of about which I said with some interest, "I'd listen to that." Hit your little fast-forward button and jump about a year and a half, during which we adopted Pitch as one of the things we think is nifty and befriended its producers, Alex Kapelman and

Sure, people fight about superhero movies and sci-fi movies and who was the best James Bond. But if you want to see some deeply felt disagreement, get in a fight about romantic comedies. Or, if you don't care to, just enjoy this Twitter debate I had a couple of weeks ago with actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani, who has almost as many opinions about such things as I do. (Almost. And I really do think we should have a podcast called "Isn't It Romantic?" where we fight about this weekly, because I think it would take a long time to run out of ideas.)

Sunday night's Super Bowl landed a huge TV audience for its battle between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, which the Broncos took 24-10. While a football game is a football game, the Super Bowl is also a huge pop culture event, from the halftime show to the buildup and the barrage of advertising. We sat down the Monday morning after to take apart the highs, the lows, and the Beyonce of it all.

As you know if you are interacting with American commerce or popular entertainment at the moment, the Super Bowl is this weekend. Stephen Thompson, as he has explained for NPR in the past, has an annual Super Bowl party and chicken-eating contest called Chicken Bowl. This year will be Chicken Bowl XX — that is, Chicken Bowl 20, for those of you who are not Romans.

This week's show had our toes tapping, you can believe that.

Breaking the fourth wall is like putting gold leaf on a dessert: good for a quick jolt of surprise and superficial specialness, but the more common it becomes in the culture, the less impressive its deployment by any particular creator.

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Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GREASE")

JOHN TRAVOLTA: (As Danny Zuko, singing) Why, this car is automatic. It's systematic. It's hydromatic. Why, it's greased lightning.

This is a fun week for me, as Stephen and Glen and I get to welcome Sarah Bunting, who is not only the East Coast editor of Previously.tv, but also my former boss at Television Without Pity, the first site where I ever wrote professionally. Sarah and I have known each other a long time, and I was excited that we could bring her in to talk about something she cares about a lot: the true crime genre.

Sitting down to talk about a Quentin Tarantino movie — particularly in his modern incarnation in which he puts all kinds of gnarly material on the screen that wrestles, with varying degrees of success, with aspects of identity and politics and identity politics, not to mention history, sociology, and (perhaps most enthusiastically) film and filmmaking. This week, we sat down with Chris Klimek to talk about The Hateful Eight, Tarantino's latest, which finds a collection of folks — tense ones, to say the least — waiting out a blizzard together. There's a lot to unpack.

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