The 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth is based on a 1963 novel of the same name, but it seems like it was written specifically for and about its alien-like star David Bowie. When Bowie agreed to make the movie, he was in the middle of a whirlwind of pop success. After several years of trying to break onto the scene, his career had shot off like a rocket. The dizzying rise was getting to him, though, he… Read more »

The Right To Die debate in the U.S is seeing a slow increase in states willing to take on statues allowing terminally ill people to peacefully end their lives when they want to. People like Brittany Maynard, who moved to Oregan so she could end her life before brain cancer made her life unbearable, give faces and stories to champion the right of an individual to legally end their life when they’re up against the ravages of a devastating illness. But, should patients be able to end their lives over distressing chronic mental disorders like depression and anorexia? In Belgium and the Netherlands, people are doing just that.

The first thing you’ll notice in Aokigahara is the still silence. The foliage here is especially dense, it grows on a bed of nutrient-rich lava from a 10-day 864 Mt. Fuji eruption, and its lush expanse blocks outside sound. There is an uncommon lack of wildlife, so even the rustle of scurrying creatures or trills of a birdsong is rare. Most of the time all that can be heard is the crunch of your own feet.

Home Alone‘s’s a light-hearted comedy, or at least that’s the way it felt in the 90s when us older Millenials were kids. Watching the film as an adult is nostalgic, fu, and also pretty horrific. Kevin McAllister is adorable and spunky, but also small, vulnerable, utterly alone, and at the mercy of two extremely dangerous robbers who take great delight in taunting him. The fantasy is that Kevin’s not only perfectly okay in this scenario, but that he, an abandoned eight-year-old who’s already been terrified by his stalkers, can turn his sprawling suburban house into a complicated labyrinth of effective traps. Turns out that experience took it’s tole on Kevin, and he’s still haunted by his past.

“Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way that I’m supposed to feel.” – Charlie Brown (Charles Shulz)

Just about everyone feels like that at some point, if not about Christmas, then some other big, stressful event bathed in cultural expectations. For 50 years, A Charlie Brown Christmas has reminded us how to be a human during the holidays, and how to appreciate a small, wilted Christmas tree in a sea of artificial glitz.

The word demon usually isn’t taken literally anymore, but even figuratively, wrestling with demons is a serious issue. We’re usually talking about intense personal struggles with mental health issues and addiction that are robbing us and our loved ones of our selves, our identities, our peace, and our happiness. Many, though, believe demons are literal spirits that can overtake our bodies, turning us, unwittingly into puppet-type monsters.

The Bobby Fischer biopic Pawn Sacrifice implies that a brilliant mind obsessed with chess is at risk for madness: the threat is that closed system of logic with a massive amount of possibilities can bring you close to some kind of edge of sanity, a rabbit hole towards a maddening peak at the true vastness of the universe. Peter Sarsgaard’s Fr. William Lombardy ominously predicts Bobby’s unraveling by recounting a story about 19th century American chess legend Paul Morphy, who also had a short and illustrious chess career followed by a life of personal failures and mental illness. But, while Bobby Fischer’s antics were highly documented, extreme and political, Paul Morphy’s supposed madness is a bit more of a myth grown larger in the shadow of Bobby Fischer’s rocky life.