The Greatest Form of Flattery

By Isaac H.

There’s a saying that “imitation is the greatest form of flattery”. This may not always be true, but it can be in many instances. Particularly in the case of film and television. There are many examples of imitations, re-creations, parodies, spoofs and homages that hold a place a higher place of honor in my heart than the more iconic originals they were based on. What follows is a list of movies that were made as spoofs, parodies or homages to other more serious films.

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Looking Behind the Curtain, 30 Years Later

by Denise D.


Late summer finds me thinking about the Cold War and the Iron Curtain. It started with the HBO show Chernobyl which flung me back to April 1986, my friend, Chris, racing into my college dorm room to shout about a nuclear accident in the Soviet Union.

Chris and I had bonded during that freshman year over our shared fascination with all things Russia. It was the height of the Cold War. The USSR was still shrouded in darkness and secrecy, a fascinating enigma. Our Russian language professor, among the few who had traveled to the Soviet Union, peppered our vocabulary and grammar lessons with endlessly fascinating tales about Russian history, literature and traveling behind the Iron Curtain.

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Movies That Should Have Won Best Picture

by Craig B.

I shouldn’t let petty things get stuck in my craw, but every time I watch Apocalypse Now, I’m somewhat perplexed that it didn’t win Best Picture; It’s one of my favorite flicks. Its primeval mass pulls you down the Nung River and deposits you in the jungle like a fragment of Kurtz’s broken life. And If you wish to learn just how broken director Francis Ford Coppola was at that time, watch Hearts of Darkness, the phenomenal documentary Eleanor Coppola made during her husband’s movie-induced existential meltdown.

The Best Picture winner that year was Kramer vs. Kramer. A fine film, to be sure, with solid performances by Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman. It had its finger on America’s contemporaneous social pulse, but it didn’t (and still doesn’t) have the gravitas of Coppola’s juggernaut. It also wasn’t (and still isn’t) considered one of the greatest movies ever made. Apocalypse Now was…and still is. Hence my chagrin. Like I said, I shouldn’t let the details bother me, but in this case, the devil really is in the details.

Following is a list of movies I think should have won Best Picture of the year, but didn’t.


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Crossing Borders

By Kristi S.

I’ve written before about the power of fiction to both educate and entertain. Obviously, nonfiction is incredibly important, giving voice to real experiences, but fiction adds extra emotion for me. For that reason, I turn to fiction when I am looking to take a deep dive into current events. I want to be able to feel everything that a character is feeling, to see the experience as it is happening, and to connect on a deep level with the story.

Immigration is a divisive and complex subject constantly talked about in the news today. I find that after being bombarded with news story after news story, fiction helps me to take a breath and think critically about the immigrant experience.

Crossing Borders

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Beyond Bestsellers: If You Like The Goldfinch

By Jennifer K.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt was one of 2013’s big bestsellers. A new movie based on the book, starring Ansel Elgort and Nicole Kidman, is coming out this month.
It’s about Theo Decker, whose life changed explosively one morning when he was thirteen. Theo now has a huge secret, the possession of which warps the course of his life. He grows up confused, dishonest, selfish, occasionally lovable, always protective of a mystery that he dares not reveal. How many of his experiences were avoidable, if things had gone differently that day? How much of his fate formed due to these circumstances?
Did you like The Goldfinch? For the month of September, we’re highlighting similarly rich, character-driven reading experiences. Here you’ll find coming-of-age novels, novels about the effect of loss on young people, novels that explore identity, novels that take a look at the events and experiences that change lives. Some are sorrowful, some are uplifting; most are a combination of both.
If that kind of novel is your jam, read on!

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Stars! They’re (Kinda) Just Like Us!

By Julie T.

Less tabloid, more tell-all! Celebrity memoirs are a dish best devoured audiobook-style. Up close and personal with your speakers or headphones, you’ll often feel connected with these performers in a way that transcends print. It’s like they’re sharing their childhood foibles and adulting struggles with you over a cup of coffee.

Jane Doe Celebrity: “You know that alleged wardrobe malfunction I experienced while taking my kids to soccer practice? O…M…G! You might as well hear it from me…”
You: *audible gasp, leans forward*.

  Easy Street (the Hard Way)

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Harvey Awards

By Kaley

Image result for harvey awards

Nominees for the Harvey Awards have been announced, and it looks like a solid selection to choose from. The Harvey Awards started in 1988 as a way for peers in the comics industry to celebrate exceptional work. This year they’ll award creators for Book of the Year, Digital Book of the Year, Best Children or Young Adult Book, Best Adaptation from Comic/Graphic Novel, Best Manga, Best European Book, and Comics Adaptation Award. I’m most excited about the Book of the Year award and will be covering those books today. Be sure to check out this Washington Post article for the rest! Continue reading »

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You Might be a Word Nerd if…

by Melleny T.

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

Have you looked up a word in the dictionary just to learn its etymology?

Are you entertained by anagrams, pangrams, lipograms, isograms, and especially ambigrams?

Do you have a strong opinion about the Oxford comma?

I hate to tell you, but you might be a word nerd. It’s okay though – you’re in good company. I, and most of my closest friends and coworkers, are also proud Scrabble-playing, portmanteau-making, thesaurus-browsing, spelling-bee-crushing word nerds.

Why not embrace your love of words by digging deeper into a linguistic topic that catches your eye?

Whether you’ve thought about inventing your own language, you know how to use a semicolon correctly, you diagram sentences in your dreams, or you’re fascinated by collective nouns, you’ll probably find something on this book list that will make your heart go pitter-patter.


Infernal Adaptations

by Lois H.

Every summer, I look forward to packing a perfect picnic and settling in to enjoy some Shakespeare in the park. Recently, I attended performances of the three plays in the Island Shakespeare Festival’s tenth anniversary season. I cried through The Winter’s Tale. Cried with laughter through A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

On the last day of my triple feature island weekend, I was blown away by the company’s hilarious and poignant adaption of Dante’s Inferno.

Actors posing on the set of Inferno

Actors posing on the set of the Island Shakespeare Festival’s 2019 production of Inferno

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Eating Weeds

by Karen A.

Sometimes I miss the big, beautiful views when I am out hiking because I am looking down at the ground.  Why, you ask?  Because even when I am hiking I am thinking about food, and I don’t want to walk right over something tasty!  There is something deeply rewarding in the process of finding food in the wild outdoors.  It connects us to the earth in an intimate way, a way (I like to believe) that was meant to be.  Continue reading »

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