Don't Swing Away: The entries are pouring into my e-mailbox, with the Shyamster, M. Night Shyamalan, predictably far out in front. It's going to take the weekend (at least) to sift through them all, especially with Robots, Millions, Hostage, and In My Country still demanding your humble critic's attention. But it would be useful to define the term "twist" before too many more people submit the dread "Swing away" from the dread Signs.
For my purposes (if not O. Henry's), a twist is a particular kind of surprise: one that not only forces us to reorient ourselves radically, but that comes close to demolishing the very premise of everything that has preceded it. The Shyamster's three other mature films have premise-demolishing finales, but I would classify "Swing away" as a "surprise," as well as "retarded."
TODAY IN SLATE
The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
Is It Offensive When Kids Use Bad Words for Good Causes?
Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data
The Real Secret of Serial
What reporter Sarah Koenig actually believes.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.