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  5. After spending all of February recommending Valentine’s Day-friendly love stories, we’ll be recommending a movie that will make you think twice about romance for each week in the month of March. This week, a double-feature of Alex Karpovsky movies: The unnerving thriller Rubberneck and the quirky, navel-gazing comedy Red Flag.

    Alex Karpovsky is most famous for his supporting role as Ray on HBO’s Girls. But Karpovsky is an accomplished filmmaker in his own right, and the best example of his talent and range comes with a pair of his films released as a double feature in 2013: Rubberneck and Red Flag, in which Karpovsky serves as writer, director, and star.

    Watch trailers for these films here.

    Subscribe and listen to all of The Week’s mini-podcasts on SoundCloud hereand on iTunes here.

     

  6. Could your Tumblr win a book deal? 

    The book publishing industry, a notorious slouch when it comes to emerging trends on the internet, is not going to let this Tumblr thing come and go without earning a buck or two. 

     

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  8. Last night’s episode of Girls was yet another round in what has become a competition to see who can be the show’s most sociopathically unlikable character, as the girls in Lena Dunham’s HBO dramedy grappled with the untimely passing of Hannah’s editor.

    Hannah, in predictable fashion, uses the death as an opportunity to get attention, while admitting the only real remorse she feels is for the unclear future of her e-book. Jessa and Shoshana share stories about their own experiences with death, with Shosh conceding that it was ultimately a good thing for her high school clique, and Jessa getting so involved in her own story that she forgot Shoshana’s altogether. Marnie continues in her tireless efforts to become the kind of girl “fancy people want to work with,” and then Hannah, Laird, and Caroline cart-wheel through a cemetery.

    In other words, it was the usual display of self-involved delusion and tragically poor communication that has become a hallmark of the series. After each episode since the conclusion of the brilliant first season, I’ve asked myself: Why do I continue watching this show? Is it because the whole series has become such a spectacle? Am I challenging myself to white-knuckle through one uncomfortable scene after the next? Is it because as a twenty-something writer living in New York I’d feel totally irrelevant not watching it?

    No, I realized, it’s because of the boys.

    — Monica Nickelsburg, in Why I only watch Girls for the guys

     


  9. Patrick, Agustin, and Dom have partners of various ethnicities, ages, and social groups. They discuss politics or social issues in passing, just like the rest of us. They don’t exist to teach us lessons or preach about gay rights, nor to incessantly navel-gaze about their problems. They’re just three regular guys who happen to like guys. In 2014, that’s (sadly) still remarkable.
     


  10. It’s because it’s a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive, I think, and I totally get it. If you are not into me, that’s your problem.
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    Lena Dunham, answering a critic who “doesn’t get” why she’s “naked, at random times, for no reason” so often on Girls.

    Lena Dunham’s body reveals the naked truth about our distorted values

     


  11. The success of The Hunger Games meant that [Jennifer] Lawrence said goodbye to her old life — which allowed her to disappear into roles in films like Winter’s Bone — and embraced life in the spotlight. Thus far, celebrity has been ridiculously kind to Lawrence. Far and wide, people tweet wishes to be her BFF, or pit her against actresses who have fallen out of favor. Her every stumble or statement is fawned over. But the adoration hints at the backlash that will inevitably come when her very human actions fail to live up to the superhuman expectations thrust upon her.
     

  12. Even as Girls disappoints by implicitly endorsing the utterly toxic relationships of Hannah/Adam and Marnie/Charlie, it does something even more disappointing by putting so much emphasis on romantic relationships at all. Remember when Girls was about more than boys? What this episode lacks — and, on reflection, this season has lacked — is an emphasis on the relationships between the central four women. The episode doesn’t come close to passing the Bechdel Test, because the women don’t talk to each other at all, and it’s frustrating to watch Girls push the characters’ romantic entanglements to the forefront while it pushes the rest of their lives aside.

    Hannah’s crippling O.C.D. made it impossible for her to finish the book that would represent the culmination of her personal and professional dreams — but that’s okay, because Adam is there to scoop her into his arms! Marnie and Charlie have reached their “endpoint,” even though neither of them mentions her budding singing career — but that’s okay, because Charlie’s making enough money for both of them! And Shoshanna… what does Shoshanna do again? College student? Maybe we should actually find out what she’s studying sometime.”

    Scott Meslow really, really hated last night’s Girls finale

     

  13. Ray is quickly becoming one of our favorite characters on Girls. Scott Meslow sat down with Alex Karpovsky, the man who plays Ray: 

    • How much do you want people to read the “real you” into the character?

      I want people to be engaged by the character. If that means they have to apply a lot of similarities between him and me, so be it — I don’t care, I’m not offended. He’s not a necessarily a likable person, and it’s okay if you don’t think I’m a likable person, as long as you are engaged by the character. 

    • This isn’t the first time you’ve played a character named after yourself — you also wrote and starred in a film about “Alex Karpovsky” called The Hole Story in 2005, and your character on HBO’s Girls was originally named “Karpovsky.”

      Right. Lena [Dunham] wrote the pilot and asked me to be in it. When she sent it to me, and it said “Karpovsky,” the only note I had was, “Can we change the name?”

    • Why do you think you end up playing “yourself” so often?

      Different directors would have different reasons, each of which you could probably analyze, [but] I think oftentimes stories need a character to agitate, or stir things up — unsubtle things, just to keep the story going forward. And for whatever reason, people think sometimes, in certain contexts, I can do that with a comedic wit. Maybe that’s why they cast me. But I don’tknow why. Maybe they have their own reasons. It’s not to be the romantic lead. Not to have a pretty face. [laughs]

    Read the full interview