Sports Illustrated's downfall is a symbol of sports journalism's ongoing erosion

When I was a teenager, there was this mall my friends and I used to go to. The space outside school and our houses was where we could just be high schoolers. We would stop by the food court and peruse the many stores inside. If one of us had money, we could buy clothes or a video game. Most importantly, there was a place where we could just be ourselves outside the watchful eyes of the adults in our lives. As I got older, that mall started to disintegrate piece by piece. First, the big retail st

'Your Monster' review: Where Theater, A Disney Affinity, and Toxic Exes Reside

If I told you Laura Franco (Melissa Barrera) was going through a rough patch, I would be underselling how big her problems are. On the way, striving for Broadway fame and stardom, she gets cancer and has to undergo surgery. Her boyfriend Jacob (Edmund Donovan) suddenly breaks up with her as she recovers because “it’s too much to handle.” As an insult to injury, he has taken full ownership of the musical they worked on together and intends to hold auditions without her knowing. (Did I mention the

'Handling The Undead' review: Zombie Drama Focuses On the Grief of the Living

Zombie films almost have too much immediacy to incorporate grief’s slow, suffocating feel. There’s the reanimation part, which usually happens in seconds and the person/people you once knew to turn into ravenous, flesh-eating creatures with a void in their eyes. From there on, it’s the principles of survival and not getting bit as the need to be on the go constantly acts as a numbing device. But think about what would happen if that process was prolonged. Instead of the story we’ve all come to k

‘The American Society of Magical Negroes’

Many of us know the phrase “go along to get along,” and that can apply to the classic “magical negro” stereotype. Films such as The Legend of Bagger Vance and The Green Mile share a commonality of the leading white protagonist having an issue and a supporting Black character possessing some mystical insight/powers to make it disappear. Only when this ailment is cured the Black person is looked at as some equal — usually inside a world that sees them as being less than others. That role is proble

The Essentialness of Music Journalism Must Be Recognized

Music is magical. It’s one of the few mediums where you can relive the feeling of hearing something for the first time in repetition. It will always repay you if you allow yourself to be overtaken by melodies, rhythm, and the shared stories of instrumentals and lyricism. For me, it was my late grandmother’s love for the piano and Gospel music. Then, it grew from my uncle’s vast CD collection full of R&B and classic hip-hop. Soon, I would make my own discoveries by watching MTV, where Nirvana’s “

'Echo' Review: A Good Enough MCU Limited Series

If you haven’t heard yet, as has been said through most of the MCU transition from 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, things are in flux. Since the inclusion of Disney+ shows into its extensive canon, the universe has been pulled in multiple directions with more projects on the docket, resulting in uneven results on both big and small screens. Going into 2024, Marvel had to decide how to welcome those who felt the weight of the number of projects they had to follow. This is where the Marvel Spotlight ser

The Bear's Fan Fiction Invades Ayo Edebiri's Golden Globes Win

This past summer, I had the pleasure of reviewing the fantastic second season of The Bear, and one of the prevailing wants of some people who watched was a supposed love story between Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) and Sydney (Ayo Edebiri). Of course, art is open to interpretation, but I saw a friendship and mutual respect forged by the life and death of a restaurant. Once Carmy’s focus was pulled into the direction of his budding relationship with Claire (Molly Gordon), Sydney felt that. It’s no di

Life, Art, and the Uncomfortable Middle of 'May December'

Films and stories of all kinds in some way, either large or small, infuse some truth into them. This may be a real-world scenario, a person, or perhaps a fear the collective audience shares. It’s remarkable how the tool of the story can invoke such a reaction where the viewer can attach its meaning or voice to something outside the screen. Netflix’s May December has done that job and then some. People have notably taken to the comedic and soap opera feel of the “we’re out of hot dogs” scene in t

'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom' review: A DCEU clock out

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom already had a plethora of significant headwinds it was venturing into. Despite the 2018 first installment being the highest-grossing DCEU film, an underwhelming sense of finality is attached to the sequel. The DCEU, as we have known it, with its varying spaces of quality, is effective no more. James Gunn and Peter Saffron are ahead in crafting their vision of the next iteration. James Wan’s sequel made it to the finish line through many delays and reshoots. For all t

'Night Swim' review: Take a dip in the pool at your own risk

1982’s Poltergeist might not be the first haunted house film, but it made you fear the white static of a television set. 2010’s Insidious does something similar, but added a twist of astral projection and possession to change things up. Water is scary because sometimes you have no choice but to be at the mercy of it. The ocean has a mind of its own, and despite knowing how to swim, the elements and animals might have something to say about it. The concept of a haunted pool might seem silly initi

The Pat McAfee and Aaron Rodgers song and dance flew too close to the sun

Last week, Fox Sports' Nick Wright spoke about Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers and likened his thinking to being a relative at Thanksgiving: "Nobody wants to get caught in a corner with because this guy tells you the hard truths." Those "truths" have regularly found a home on ESPN's The Pat McAfee Show. In this weekly segment, Rodgers made jokes about Travis Kelce and his Pfizer ads and bizarrely challenged him and Dr. Anthony Fauci to a team debate with Robert F. Kennedy. He's also used McAfee's

No, we don't need a Chris Benoit biopic

The Iron Claw has been out for more than a week, and naturally, people are looking forward to the next wrestling biopic. Wrestling does a unique dance between the lines of athleticism and theatrical storytelling elements. It's a natural marriage!

But something has been bothering me concerning the next name some people are championing to get the silver screen treatment. Even though it's been picked and prodded to death, there is probably a market for a "fall of WCW" miniseries on one of these st

'Maestro' review: Leonard Bernstein's dynamic dualities at play

During a crucial conversation at the beginning of Maestro‘s third act, Leonard Bernstein’s sister Shirley (Sarah Silverman) talks to his then-estranged wife, Felicia Montealegre Cohn (Carey Mulligan). She explains that he has trouble being merely one thing, and it’s a big theme Cooper invests a lot of time in during this biopic. Indeed, Bernstein’s life was a whole of dualities that sometimes ran into one another. They either created great works in various mediums or were the source of great tur

'The Iron Claw' brings the real-life challenges of the wrestling world to life

The Von Erich family circles together in The Iron Claw.

My first memory of professional wrestling is when my uncle ordered (then) WWF SummerSlam ’91 on pay-per-view. It was billed as “A Match Made In Heaven and a Match Made In Hell,” a little intense for a small kid on both fronts, but you go with it. On the same show, you had a wedding between the late Macho Man Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth, a match where somebody had to spend the night in a New York prison, and a team of Hulk Hogan and The

'Fallen Leaves' review: Routine and classic romance collide

Love is a universal language that can be spoken with physicality, a whisper, an outburst, or in a deadpan manner — which is the case of Aki Kaurismäki’s Fallen Leaves. The style delivery of dialogue won’t deter you from sinking into this simple love story of two people getting through the redundancy of life in Helsinki. This modern-day story is layered with melancholy, from radio news bullets chronicling the Ukraine war to songs that portray a longing for a fuller existence. On one side, you hav

'Manodrome' review: Alpha male look leads deeper themes alone

Ralphie (Jesse Eisenberg) is having a rough go at things lately (and that might be a sort of an understatement). He recently lost his full-time job and is ride-sharing until he decides what to do next. His girlfriend, Sal (Odessa Young), is pregnant and is very close to going into labor while working at a convenience store. The pressure of trying to make a decent living wage and carve out somewhat of a personal direction works together as an emotional ticking time bomb inside him. The first scen

'The Iron Claw' review: A sad, tragic requiem for a decorated wrestling family

Editor’s Note: Murjani Rawls is a ten-year culture editor, writer, and critic who has worked in places like DraftKings Network/Vox Media, The Root, and Substream Magazine. He is a member of the Critics Choice Association; his beats are music, television, film, pop culture, and sports. You can find him at the gym or the Trader Joe’s Hummus aisle when he’s not writing.

The adage often goes that greatness comes with a cost, but what are you willing to pay to reach the top of the mountain? What if

Director William Oldroyd speaks on ‘Eileen’ and the art of adapting a romantic mystery

Eileen often feels like it marches to the beat of a ticking clock, and it’s not necessarily one thing bound to erupt. It’s the 1960s small town Massechutes life that bounds one woman like a tomb. The title character (played by Thomasin McKenzie) prefers to fade into the background as a secretary at a private correctional facility for young men. She calls it Moorehead, and it might as well mirror a personal prison she’s locked within. Her co-workers don’t care for her; Eileen’s former police offi

‘Good Burger 2’ is the same order with some interchangeable condiments

“Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger. Can I take your order?” If you grew up during the peak of Nickeldeon’s 90s hit sketch comedy show All That, you could probably mimic the voice and cadence on call. That recurring segment would then have a Good Burger feature film in 1997 that cemented the Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell partnership's strength. It’s been about 26 years since the first film, and every studio has been looking to have some skin in the game when it comes to scratching

‘Raging Grace’ moves like a gothic mystery, more about the dangerous plights of immigrant workers

Paris Zarcilla’s Raging Grace is not so much of a horror movie outside of some well-timed jump scares and a few nightmares here and there. Instead, the U.K. gothic drama focuses on the exploitation of immigrants and how people dilute customs and take them on themselves. These are the people who take care of every essential need those who might be well off are too passe to do themselves. They even use that same power structure as a means of control or a gross sense of ownership over those seeking

‘Monarch: Legacy of Monsters’ episode 3 review: War and the impulsiveness it creates

One thing I like that Monarch: Legacy of Monsters gets across is how this monster story ties into real-world implications – at least in the 1950s timeline, hitting a big point during “Secrets and Lies.” To think of enormous kaiju walking around the earth with the potential ability for massive amounts of destruction is terrifying. We’ve seen what happened in the current timeline with G-Day. That said, you can speak to the post-WW2 mindset of America. The improvements in the military, having new w

‘Monarch: Legacy of Monsters’ episode 2 review: Abandon ship!

There’s a reason why ‘Monarch: Legacy of Monster’ is doing a dual storyline with this particular pace. It’s all about uncovering the mystery surrounding the shadowy government entity and the gloriously dangerous monster they track. It’s to temper expectations from the audience that they will be swimming in a Godzilla-laden destructive path (hence, monsters in the title). But also approach things from a more ground-level perspective. In “Aftermath,” we get not only Endoswarmers presumably killing

CM Punk and the WWE are banking on a third return being the charm

“I’m back!” CM Punk proclaimed to a sold-out AEW crowd at Chicago’s United Center in August 2021. The First Dance feels like a lifetime ago, given all that’s transpired since then. For Punk’s seven-year retirement to be broken with a significant competitor to WWE felt like a seismic shift. All Elite Wrestling managed to get the man behind the “pipebomb” promo and seemingly helped fuel the counterculture spirit that molded itself within the ethos of wrestling’s number two promotion.

But the hone

‘The Curse’ episode 3 review: The ails of TikTok curses and the biases attached to "good" deeds

“I know your heart is in the right place, and I give you the benefit of the doubt.” Asher says it in his fight with Whitney at the end of “Questa Lane.” The tagline for The Curse could very well be “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” because no matter how “good” their intentions may be, Whitney and Asher are just unable to see themselves. Hell, they cannot see that Flipanthropy might not be the HGTV hit they are hoping for.

But don’t take that from me. The focus group gave enough e
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