Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

July 23 2015 7:04 PM

The X-Files’ Lone Gunmen Are Coming Back to Fight the Good Fight

Over the course of the nine seasons they appeared on The X-Files, Byers, Frohike, and Langly—collectively known as the conspiracy theorists The Lone Gunmen—went from kooky, basement-dwelling comic relief to some of the show’s most beloved characters. They even (briefly) got their own spinoff series. Now, fans will be pleased to know that the trio is coming back for the show’s revival—as has now been confirmed by Lone Gunmen actor Dean Haglund himself.

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July 23 2015 4:42 PM

A Concise Video History of Teens Climbing Through Each Others’ Windows   

In the trailer for Paper Towns—the movie based on a John Green novel that is set to be released on Friday—Cara Delevingne’s character performs a teen movie rite of passage: She climbs through another teenager’s window. It’s easy to see why the climbing-through-window trope is an appealing one for filmmakers: It’s a convenient set piece that allows characters to bypass nosy parents and jump straight into a scene.

So over the years, teen movies have given us hundreds of notable window entrances. Sometimes it’s your close friend; other times it’s your boyfriend who may or may not also be trying to murder you; and other times it’s that werewolf kid who insists on making your vampire boyfriend—who also loves to climb in through your window to watch you sleep—uncomfortable. The point is, it’s always cool. Especially when it's done to the tune of the right ’90s song.

July 23 2015 2:17 PM

Katniss Fights President Snow, Freaky Mutants in the Full Trailer for the Final Hunger Games

In case it hasn’t become abundantly clear over the past few Hunger Games movies, Panem’s leader, President Snow (Donald Sutherland), is not a nice guy. In the franchise’s final installment, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen is ready to finally destroy him: Whereas in a previous trailer, she implored everyone to turn their weapons to the Capitol, now she’s got one final command, “Turn your weapons to Snow.”

But first, she’ll have to get past countless deadly traps, hopeless Capitol goons, and … freaky-looking mutants? Those appear to be the lizard mutts (or “muttations”) described in the books as appearing part–lizard and part-human. Here they look a little like the Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth or even that creature from Louie’s nightmares—which is to say they look every bit as terrifying and un–kid-friendly as this final installment promises to be. We’ll see whether the franchise can stick its landing on Nov. 20.

July 23 2015 12:16 PM

William Shatner’s Cover of Pulp’s “Common People” Is Even Better With This Fan-Made Music Video

It’s easy to forget that in 2004 William Shatner released a relatively well-received album that included a genuinely good cover of the ’90s Pulp song “Common People.” (It wasn’t even Shatner’s first album.) But this fan-made video is even more impressive than the original. It stiches together clips from Star Trek: The Original Series with a soundtrack of Shatner's soothing, mellow voice, and even lines up some of Pulp’s lyrics with footage of characters speaking the same lines on the show. If nothing else, the video is worth watching just to see Kirk sob, “I want to live!

July 23 2015 11:55 AM

Pharrell Dances Through the World’s Most Oppressed Places in His Moving Video for “Freedom”

In Pharrell Williams’ evocative, beautiful video for “Freedom,” Pharrell once again dances his way across the world, this time through abandoned shopping malls and work camps and sweatshops—a grim, poignant, ultimately hopeful tour of all the places where basic human liberty is under threat.

We see time lapse videos of soaring American landscapes, old footage of Muhammad Ali throwing punches, and Lego renderings of Tiananmen Square. Pharrell points to the prison of commercial culture, too, with shots of him singing next to rows of expressionless, heavily-made-up models and crumbling escalators in an abandoned mall atrium. There are moments of joy and promise, too: babies being born, happy children playing. The video premiered on Apple Music a few weeks ago, but was just made available on YouTube.

July 23 2015 8:02 AM

Meet Your New Fantasy Man: The Emotional Bodyguard

This article originally appeared in New York magazine.

Here’s a fun game: You’re a woman — maybe a famous comedian. (Maybe a blonde one who’s had a banner year, I don’t know, not getting specific.) You’re writing an “unconventional” romantic comedy that you will also star in and in that process, you have been given the keys to the casting castle — you can dream up any sort of romantic lead you want to act opposite you.

Now, in male-engineered fantasy pairings, the love interest tends to be straightforwardly hot (see: Adam Sandler and Salma HayekAdam Sandler and Jessica BielAdam Sandler and Brooklyn Decker). And if I myself were given this power, I’d cast Tom Hardy or Idris Elba (or, hell, both, it's my fantasy), then during the third-act climax, he'd perform a song for me written in the key of Drake. That's just my taste. But I've noticed that as more women are put in the driver’s seat and get to choose their passengers, the love interest of choice has taken a particular, consistent shape: the average-looking dude with above-average emotional intelligence. The Emotional Bodyguard.

He's not a dangerously sexy reformed bad boy like Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love., or a sweep-you-off-your-feet billionaire like Ralph Fiennes in Maid in Manhattanand he's certainly not a deranged, moody sex-fiend à la Christian Grey, or even an ardent emo outsider like John Cusack in Say Anything. This brand of semi-hunk is white and approximately Duplass-level attractive — handsome enough to catch your eye, but goofy enough so you feel safe. He isn't suave, but he is reliable, employed (he probably has a 401(k) and a five-year-plan), and emotionally stable enough to weather the hurricanes of falling for a wacky, difficult female protagonist. He's taken the form of Chris O'Dowd's gentle and playful cop in Bridesmaids, which Kristen Wiig both co-wrote and starred in; and of Jake Lacy, who has played both the butter-warming love interest of Jenny Slate in Gillian Robespierre's Obvious Child, AND Lena Dunham's non-neurotic boyfriend "a man named Fran" on season four of Girls. And here's the Emotional Bodyguard again, this time as Bill Hader’s character, Aaron Conners, the love interest in Trainwreck.

Amy Schumer’s debut movie, which opened last weekend, follows the traditional rom-com model with an added dose of Schumer's gender-flipping raunchiness: Girl meets Boy, Girl falls for Boy, Girl loses Boy, and Couple is reunited after Girl makes a hokey grand gesture. Schumer plays Amy, a booze-swilling, man-eating magazine journalist with an active sex life and underdeveloped emotional maturity. She fears monogamy, sobriety, and personal growth; loves dick. But the audience knows her boozy, hedonistic lifestyle cannot last.

And so, the love interest she selects to lead her down the antiheroine’s path of redemption and stability is Hader, whose rubber face becomes unconventionally dreamy in the role of a surgeon Amy is assigned to profile. He is emotionally stable, emotionally available, and supportive. He calls after sex. He wants a relationship. He’s not afraid to communicate. He knows how to have a healthy fight and set healthy boundaries. He also has a nice apartment, which he owns. He sees that Schumer's character is skittish, and so, determined to be with her, creates a space where she can feel safe and vulnerable. Hader is an exemplary Emotional Bodyguard: He woos her, he makes her laugh, he supports her through a family tragedy, he buys her ravioli when she's sad, he goes down on her a lot. Most hunkily, he’s tolerates all of Schumer’s emotional deficits. He doesn’t run away yelling “Crazy bitch!” over his shoulder. Instead, he waits patiently until she comes to her senses, just as countless women in rom-coms have done before.

July 22 2015 8:56 PM

Julianne Moore Shines as LGBT Pioneer Laurel Hester in the First Freeheld Trailer

There’s nothing like a good hump day cry, and here to loosen up those tear ducts is the first trailer for Freeheld, which stars Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as, respectively, Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree, the real-life couple who were among the first to fight for pension benefits for same-sex domestic partners.

July 22 2015 5:24 PM

Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, and Judd Apatow Re-Enacted a Classic Real Housewives Fight Scene

When Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, and Judd Apatow stopped by Bravo’s Watch What Happens: Live last night to promote Trainwreck, host Andy Cohen decided to play director. For a game called Clubhouse Playhouse, Cohen had the trio re-enact this classic Real Housewives of New York City kerfuffle.

Apatow and Hader outed themselves almost immediately as having never actually seen Housewives, with Apatow playing LuAnn de Lesseps—better known as the Countess—with a thick north Jersey accent, something that would no doubt have horrified the real de Lesseps. Schumer even interrupts the sketch to tell Hader he sounds nothing like Bethenny Frankel. To be fair, Schumer’s own Sonja Morgan impression is pretty spot-on—but it’s not nearly as funny as Apatow’s Countess.

July 22 2015 4:45 PM

The Hilarious New Vacation Trailer Features a Lot of Well-Placed F-Bombs

In the new Vacation trailer, Ed Helms is a grown-up Rusty Griswold, who drags his family on an ill-fated road trip to Walley World. Christina Applegate plays matriarch Debbie Griswold, who, it turns out, was once called “Debbie Do Anything” in college. And then there are their two sons, James and Kevin. James might be the big brother, but Kevin mercilessly (and hilariously) bullies him—when he isn’t busy dropping F-bombs in random conversation. Also, Keegan Michael-Key is briefly visible in a cameo.

This might be a reboot of 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation, but as a previous trailer promised, it looks like this one might be even wilder—or, at the very least, be willing to make rim job jokes. The movie hits theaters July 29.

July 22 2015 2:18 PM

Watch the Most Legendary Movie Boxers Hit Each Other—and Get Hit—in This Video Mashup

“It's not about how hard you can hit,” said Rocky Balboa. “It's about how hard you can get hit.” He and other famous movie boxers do quite a bit of both in this movie mashup of cinema’s most inspiring scenes in the ring. Sylvester Stallone, who will reprise his iconic role as Rocky in Creed, is well-represented, as is Robert De Niro, who took on Stallone in Grudge Match. They’re joined by other bloody, bruised fighters from big-screen boxing history, from The Set-Up to The Fighter.