Great books tell stories. Here’s our pick of vivid and insightful new releases for better understanding America, world events, history, science, and theology
A New York moment:
Vulture reported last week that Disney is blocking its catalog of Fox films from repertory screenings. What that means is you won’t be able to go see old Twentieth Century Fox films in a theater: Miracle on 34th Street, All About Eve, The Sound of Music, and many more classics. The article from Vulture explains Disney’s possible reasoning: It is trying to put films in its famous “vault” to create more demand for its new streaming platform Disney Plus, or it is trying to open up more theatrical screens for its new films from franchises like Star Wars.
Whatever the reason, this move is a huge disappointment to me. Some of the best, most memorable theatrical experiences I’ve had have been repertory screenings, including seeing All About Eve (1950), now one of my favorite movies, at a theater in New York a few years ago. Recently I saw Sunset Boulevard on the big screen—also a wonderful experience—and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. There is something special about setting aside a night, buying a ticket, and sitting down with a group of strangers to watch an old classic on the big screen.
I would bet that many people wouldn’t sit down and watch some of these films on their couches at home, when Netflix has new and exciting content to offer. I think those repertory screenings also help smaller theaters across the country keep their lights on, since patrons want to come for a single special screening of an old film they love. With old films on Disney Plus and not in a theater, more people will sit alone at home being entertained, when they could be out laughing with their neighbors in a theater.
Worth your time:
The annual tradition in Tokyo of a “mundane costume party” for Halloween is just what I would want from a costume party. This year, one person dressed up as “Guy who washed his hands and wiped them on his clothes,” another as “Guy who got woken up by an Amazon delivery.”
This week I learned:
Democratic presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Bernie Sanders appear to have the most donations from working-class voters.
A court case you might not know about:
Almost exactly a year ago, some members of the Proud Boys group got in a street fight after their event at the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York. Now two group members have been sentenced to four years in prison for assault in that fight.
“I know enough about history to know what happened in Europe in the ’30s when political street brawls were allowed to go ahead without any type of check from the criminal justice system,” said Justice Mark Dwyer at the sentencing. “We don’t want that to happen in New York, especially at this time in the country when people are so divided.”
Culture I am consuming:
The World Series. I, a Washington Nationals fan, watched a few of the games with our editors and staff (which includes some diehard Houston Astros fans) last week while we were all in one place together for our staff retreat. Everyone was cordial. I give my apologies to my Twitter followers for the flood of baseball tweets—they’ll slow down to a dribble now, as we enter a bleak baseball-less winter.
Last night ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt interviewed Anthony Rendon, the Nationals’ third baseman and one of the big stars of the season who always keeps a calm demeanor regardless of the situation. He showed not a shred of emotion after hitting a home run last night to start the Nationals’ come-from-behind victory.
“I joke with [Nationals first baseman] Ryan Zimmerman that your resting heart rate is 4 and when you get excited it’s 12,” said Van Pelt. “How are you able to at least project to the world total peace and calm regardless of the situation?”
“I think I understand that there are bigger things going on in this world,” said Rendon. “And my Savior Jesus Christ gives me that patience and that slow heart rate. It’s better than taking bullets for your country on the other side of the world. This should be a breeze for us.”
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