1. Your weekly streaming recommendation: The War Room

    It’s June, which means we’re in the heart of summer blockbuster season — and you might already be tired of superheroes, giant monsters, and mind-numbing explosions. Fortunately, video-on-demand presents no shortage of alternatives. 2014 happens to be the 30th anniversary of the Criterion Collection, which aims to father “the greatest films from around the world.” All month, we’ll be counting down a few of their strong offerings currently available to stream on Hulu. This week: the fast-paced, Oscar-nominated political documentary The War Room.

    There are some people who argue that a piece of art gets better when you impose limitations on it. A poem, written in meter, forces the writer to be more creative with their word choice than they would need to be in free verse. An artist with a limited palate is forced to explore the complexity of a a few color.

    By that same logic: When a filmmaker has $165 million dollars and more than a month to shoot, you get a bloated behemoth like the latest Transformers movie. When a filmmaker has no money, two cameras and limited access to their subject, you get a tight, focused documentary like The War Room.

    In 1992, D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus set out to follow Bill Clinton through the Democratic primaries to Election Day, which marked the end of his (ultimately successful) bid for the presidency. It’s a format Pennebaker had already explored with great success in 1960, when he followed the Kennedy and Humphrey campaigns in Primary

    The only problem: Pennebaker and Hegedus had minimal time with Bill Clinton, and no access whatsoever to his campaign manager. Under those constraints, Pennebaker and Hegedus turned their lenses to two unexpected but fascinating subjects: communications director George Stephanopoulos and chief strategist James Carville.

    Stephanopoulos and Carville turn out to be the perfect narrators for the documentary, offering an unprecedented and honest perspective on the nuts and bolts of a modern presidential campaigns. They’re the leaders of the ground troops of the Clinton campaign, processing and repackaging the daily news as they guide their candidate towards his victory. Regardless of your political affiliation, The War Room will make you consider the high-stakes gamesmanship of a high-profile election — what it takes to win, and whoreally deserves credit for the person who ends up in the White House.

    A final note: If you’re in the mood for a double feature, The War Room would make a fascinating counterpoint to Mitt, the documentary about the Romney campaign that premiered on Netflix earlier this year. The War Room chronicles a successful Democratic presidential campaign while spending almost no time with the actual candidate; Mitt chronicles a failed Republican presidential campaign while spending time almost exclusively with the actual candidate. Taken together, they paint a fascinating picture of the ways in which the campaign trail has changed over the past 20 years.

     


  2. So GM’s known for a decade about a deadly design flaw, waited years to attempt to fix it, botched the fix, threatened to recoup legal costs from anybody who tried to litigate the issue, and then when the sh*t hit the fan, decided maybe it’s time to promote Car Gal.
     


  3. The backlash against her Vogue cover is very telling

    Read more on this story here.

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  4. I just want to say that I am not a racist. I don’t even see race — not even my own. People tell me I’m white and I believe them because I just devoted six minutes to explaining how I’m not a racist.
     


  5. It really wraps it all up. We not only get to see them meet each other for the first time but also we’re jumping forward into the future so we get to see these characters and their relationships twenty years in the future.
     


  6. "Dear Diary: My teen angst now has a body count."

    How Heathers changed teen movies forever

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

     

  7. Watching not one, not two, but three Bar Refaelis simulate sex with a puppet is apparently too hot for Israeli daytime television.
     


  8. 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: Billy Wilder’s film noir classic Double Indemnity.

    Looking for proof that Hollywood’s older movies can be just as biting and cynical as the so-called ‘darker,’ ‘grittier’ dramas that studios traffic in today? Look no further than Billy Wilder’s immortal noir Double Indemnity, which was nominated for seven Oscars in the wake of its 1944 release. 

    Watch a trailer for Double Indemnity

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  9. There is one thing she is exceptional at, an art that, like anything else, she mastered through discipline and well-played instinct. This is being famous.
     

  10. Heathers was a revolutionary experience because it didn’t follow the narrow confines the ratings system had imposed on teen narratives in the name of morality. It was real and raw, even in its candy-colored satiric absurdity. Heathers was a scathing response to the “very special” issue episodes of the ’80s. All of the same teen laments were present — eating disorders, date rape, bullying, gossip, suicide, drinking, cliques — but without the melodrama that demanded that teenage darkness be matched with an obvious moral message”

    Girls on Film: Why no teen film compares to Heathers

     

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  12. 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.

     

  13. On Thursday, the internet briefly lit up with a totally unexpected announcement: The as-yet untitled 24th movie in the James Bond franchise had suddenly been revealed. A 30-second teaser trailer revealed that the film would be titled Come and Dive, which would see Bond “swept away by a dangerous love story. As MI6 rises from its ashes, 007 must protect a mysterious stranger and unveil long forgotten secrets.”

    The only problem? All of that — literally all of that — was totally fake.

    Anatomy of an internet hoax: How so many people were fooled by a fake James Bond trailer