Jeannette Walls wrote The Glass Castle to conquer shame about her hardscrabble past, but the metaphor of the Glass Castle is almost universally relatable. It represents the impossible dreams for the future that most of weave for ourselves, the glittering dreams instilled in childhood, a fantastic goal to reach for that we can never quite touch.

In 1994-5, Marcia Clark wasn’t just under the immense pressure of the massively scrutinized O. J. Simpson case, she was also a mother going through a divorce. On top of everything, in a trial that was intentionally needling at the depths of the race problem in American, Marcia Clark’s hair really stirred things up as well. Why did Marcia Clark’s hair symbolize so much to us then, and what does it all mean now?

The Coen brothers’ latest effort, Hail, Caesar, shines not when it’s lambasting showbiz, but when it’s celebrating it. The over-the-top musical numbers are stunning and just as magical as the iconic performances they’re inspired by. These types of displays are the essence of entertainment: an attempt to pull you out of yourself and into a looking glass world that sparkles with song and graceful, effortless movements. They’re dream sequences of the human spirit.

In 1950’s Sunset Boulevard, Norma Desmond’s anachronistic glamour singes in its desperation. And still, we can’t get enough of her. She represents for us something awful, a monster choosing to reside in a delusion, trapped in a narcissistic painting of the past.

Cheryl Strayed, like many, found in an opiate a temporary patch for life’s wretched emotional churning. Thankfully, she didn’t dance with it long enough to become physically or psychologically addicted. Instead, she sought out a different cure: solitude and physical pain on the Pacific Crest Trail. 17 years later, she published a memoir about that experience brimming with insights about memory, love, and wrestling with the self.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s film Birdman, or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, is an electric fever-dream of a movie. It’s a swan dive into ego and madness shot with the kinetic motion of a seemingly unedited single shot.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

I’m still not really over the death of Amy Winehouse, or James Gandolfini, Philip Seymour Hoffman, or Kurt Cobain, for that matter. People we don’t know die all the time, but when someone we don’t know who created art that touched us in some profound way dies, we mourn them almost as if they were family. It’s like we lost a part of ourselves, and very, very important part. When an artist dies who touched us, we mourn them fiercely… Read more »