“Rejoice! The broken are the more evolved! Rejoice!” – The Beast M. Night Shyamalan’s unexpected blockbuster Split wasn’t initially billed as a comic book origin story, but the spoilers immediately revealed that’s exactly what it is. Going into it without that knowledge possibly makes the journey a bit more fun, at least it did for me, because it gives a hindsight context to the initial tone of the film. It made the standard Shyamalan twist feel a little more satisfying…. Read more »

The tin foil hat (misnomer for aluminum foil, which is the product actually sold in stores) is a pervasive metaphor for paranoia and conspiracy theorists, but there’s no record of any real life conspiracy theorist ever seriously fashioning some Reynold’s wrap into headwear. How, then, did this bit of absurd fashion come to be associated with paranoia and mind control prevention?

“Do you really mean it when you say that?” Rinko asks her boyfriend before they say goodnight. She’s an empathetic, caring girlfriend, but she also has insecurities, flares of jealousy. She can be demanding and stay icy for days if you slight her, but she always forgives as long as you stay attentive. She doesn’t judge.

We all think we have full autonomy and sovereignty over our thoughts and actions. Sure, we have the hardware of our DNA, we are shaped by our upbringing and experiences, we are inspired by our heroes, and seek figures of wisdom to help us fumble our way through life – We learn from each other, we seek community, we share and grow. But, when it comes down to dire situations, someone couldn’t possibly “wash” our brains clean and fill it with new thoughts that go against our best interests and core values! That’s what it feels like, but psychological experiments like the 1961 Milgram study have proven that we aren’t always in control of our actions when we’re told what to do by an authority figure we trust.

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.

A large component of our melancholy moods is a sadness and horror over how fragile we are. Our bodies, always betrayers in the end, are surprisingly strong, but vulnerable to any number of unforeseeable events that could attack us from without or within. Our emotional states, too, are susceptible to hurt and trauma. A way to describe heartbreak or shock from a devastating event is that we feel “shattered.”

Shannon Whisnant has always had a thirst for the spotlight, and the spotlight loves him right back. He’s a natural for reality shows; charismatic and hungry. When he bought a grill at a storage locker auction that happened to have somebody’s misplaced amputated calf and foot inside it, he thought he’d finally found his ticket to fame. He was right, and his obsession took him and the foot’s original owner on a stressful, dizzying, and somewhat redemptive ride. Independent documentary Finders Keepers, which is out in select theaters and available to be rented or bought on Amazon (which is what I did,) tells this strange, funny, and emotional tale with dignity and candor. Usually a leg is just a leg, but for these two men, it’s so much more.