Reading: The Cure’s Best Songs, Seeing Star Wars in ‘77, Facebook’s Latest Debacle, Trump’s Declining Speech & More

Also: Marvel’s comic woes, revisiting Code 46,’ an atheist biopic, pretentious movies, the Republicans’ pro-life fail, and living the Lego dream.
Robert Smith of The Cure
The Cure’s Robert Smith

Slicing Up Eyeballs has posted the results of a readers’ survey to rank all 225 of The Cure’s songs. The top ten isn’t really too surprising, though I am pleased to see that it contains several of my favorite Cure songs.

Rod Dreher remembers what it was like to see Star Wars back in 1977. “[T]he experience was so overwhelming, so hyperrealistic, that I lost myself in the story. The climactic assault on the Death Star was so anxiety-producing that it’s a wonder my heart didn’t burst. I can see it in my mind’s eye now… I didn’t want it to end. Did not. How could something so unutterably great exist in the world?!”

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Marvel movies are making money hand over first. Marvel comic books? Not so much. “Despite movies that dominate the cultural landscape and regularly clear millions of dollars, the entire edifice of corporate superhero comics represented by [Marvel and DC] has been quietly crumbling for years, partially due to Marvel’s own business practices. Marvel can’t seem to actually sell comics, diverse or not — and the company only has itself to blame.”

Kurt Halfyard explores the themes of Michael Winterbottom’s excellent, but underrated, Code 46. “[I]t is so wrapped up in moody layers of ideas, dreams, ethics, and morality that it burrows right into the whole human experience. It attempts to answer why life is worth a damn even when things are so spectacularly broken and pointless.”

Facebook Screenshot
Who will Facebook target next?(Spencer E HoltawayCC BY-ND 2.0)

Facebook is facing yet another privacy-related backlash, this time revolving around their ability to target younger users. “[A] leaked confidential document prepared by Facebook… revealed the company had offered advertisers the opportunity to target 6.4 million younger users, some only 14 years old, during moments of psychological vulnerability, such as when they felt worthless,’ insecure,’ stressed,’ defeated,’ anxious,’ and like a failure.’ ”

Kaitlyn Schiess reviews Netflix’s The Most Hated Woman in America, a biopic about noted atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair. “The Most Hated Woman does an excellent job at revealing the fundamental contradiction of O’Hair’s life — that while she spent it fighting against the evils of organized religion, she also built an elaborate organization around her beliefs and embezzled large sums of money. More than either celebrating or discrediting O’Hair, however, The Most Hated Woman highlights the disastrous allure of oppositional politics.”

Netflix Logo
Why can’t Netflix and France just get along?

I wrote about the Cannes/Netflix controversy earlier this week. Alissa Wilkinson considers the cultural differences that it’s exposed. “More fascinating are the festival discussions prompted by the ideological gulf between French laws governing cinema and the United States’ Wild West approach to streaming content, and what those discussions reveal about the different ways of thinking about cinema. For some, cinema culture is all about shared experience and preservation of a medium; for others, it’s about individuals having the freedom and ability to choose what they want to watch, when and how they want to watch it.”

What are the most pretentious movies of all time? Some of the titles on this list might surprise you. Then again, maybe not.

Donald Trump
The Donald(Gage SkidmoreCC BY-SA 3.0)

Have you noticed that Trump might not be speaking as coherently as he once did? “STAT therefore asked experts in neurolinguistics and cognitive assessment, as well as psychologists and psychiatrists, to compare Trump’s speech from decades ago to that in 2017; they all agreed there had been a deterioration, and some said it could reflect changes in the health of Trump’s brain.”

Katelyn Beaty argues that Republicans are failing to live up to their “pro-life” credentials. “Protecting unborn life must mean more than defunding Planned Parenthood and overturning Roe v. Wade. Protecting unborn life must at root mean putting our money where our mouth is: enacting programs and policies that make it easier for millions of women to choose life, from pre- and postnatal care to delivery to high-quality child care and education and beyond.”

And finally, something a little more positive and encouraging: this guy is living the Lego dream. “[Nathan] Sawaya is one of the world’s eight Lego Master Builders, having left his job at a New York law firm when he was 32 to dedicate his life to building Lego constructions full-time.”

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