The Yellow King Unveiled! Five Theories, in the Style of True Detective Magazine.
True Detective is not just the title of a TV series. From 1924 to 1995, it was the name of a pulpy “true crime” magazine that, especially in its early days, had terrifically lurid covers advertising the shocking stories within.
We decided to pay tribute to those wonderful covers and guess at the revelations in this weekend’s finale at the same time. Below, you’ll find five mock-ups, each one fingering a single suspect as the Yellow King. Who do you think it is? Pick your favorite cover and share it with the world by clicking on one of the buttons below.
Spoiler Special: The Grand Budapest Hotel
On the Spoiler Special podcast, Slate critics discuss movies—and the occasional TV show—in full, spoiler-filled detail. Below, Slate film critic Dana Stevens talks with senior editor David Haglund, video producer Chris Wade, and staff writer Forrest Wickman about The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson's vivid ode to nostalgia. Is the star-studded movie a witty, delightful addition to the Anderson canon? Or has the auteur's knack for expansive world-building grown too self-referential for his own good? And how fantastic is Ralph Fiennes?
Here’s What John Oliver’s New Show Will Be Like
Everyone’s favorite Daily Show fill-in host, John Oliver, is getting his own show on HBO: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. As Oliver himself explains above, it may not be as on top of the news as other shows. But if it’s as clever and funny as he usually is, we’ll watch anyway.
It premieres Sunday, April 27, at 11 p.m. Eastern.
French Baker Misses the Point of Chocolate Chip Cookies
The food world was abuzz this week with news that Dominique Ansel, the baker behind the blockbuster doughnut-croissant hybrid known as the Cronut, had invented another pastry composite: “Chocolate Cookie Milk Shots.” “Dominique Ansel has done it again,” gushed the Huffington Post, rather prematurely. The dessert consists of a shot-glass-shaped chocolate chip cookie containing a tablespoon or two of milk. You must sip (or pound) the milk before you eat the cookie, although I suppose you could take turns sipping and nibbling, as though you were eating an ice cream cone. Ansel figured that “if everyone was drinking milk with cookies, you might as well make a dessert that allows them both to be combined,” a representative of Ansel’s eponymous bakery told Eater.
Already, there are signs that this will not be another Cronut. For one thing, the cookie cups pose a practical problem not present with most desserts: There is a reasonable risk that you will spill milk all over your shirt, or shoes, or date. The traditional way of eating cookies with milk reduces this risk by confining the milk to a glass, which is unlikely to crumble or split open while you’re eating. If the cookie cup is soft and chewy—as chocolate chip cookies ought to be—you’ll have only a few seconds before it starts getting soggy. And if it isn’t soft and chewy—well, who’d want to eat that? (For the record, Ansel’s rep claims the cookie, which debuts this Sunday at SXSW, “stayed crispy and moist in parts.”)
The bigger problem with the cookie cups, though, is that they get the entire milk-and-cookies ritual backwards. As supermodel Chrissy Teigen put it:
The Beauty, Violence, and Sheer Skill of Stanley Kubrick
There have been numerous video essays and tributes to Stanley Kubrick, who is many a film-lover’s favorite auteur to praise, criticize, or wildly speculate about. On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of his death, filmmaker and photographer Larry Wright points to this very well made montage of Kubrick’s oeuvre by Alexandre Gasulla.
Carefully constructed and choreographed with music from his films, the tribute is a reminder of some of the directors’ signature themes and techniques: the bursts of violence evident in A Clockwork Orange, the moments of eerie quiet and internal character struggle in The Shining, the sheer breadth and beauty of landscape and space found in Eyes Wide Shut.
By the end, you’ll likely want to revisit the director’s work in full again.
Play Wes Anderson Bingo, Special Grand Budapest Hotel Edition!
Wes Anderson’s style continues to evolve, and so must Wes Anderson Bingo. With The Grand Budapest Hotel out this week, it’s time for a revised and expanded edition of the Wes Anderson Bingo board, with several new squares—for a total of more than 40 possible squares—representing the latest elements of Anderson’s style.
What are the new elements? For starters, stop-motion animation, which Anderson began using in The Life Aquatic and which has since appeared in Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Budapest also has Anderson killing off yet another character’s beloved pet, a feline who follows in the bloody paw-prints of poor Buckley (Royal Tenenbaums) and Snoopy (Moonrise Kingdom), R.I.P. And speaking of Snoopy, we’ve added a square for Anderson’s tributes to Charlie Brown cartoons. We’ve also beefed up the board’s roster of actors, to reflect the growing cast of regulars who appear in at least three of Anderson’s films.
In Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson Defends Wes Anderson
This post contains spoilers about The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Wes Anderson is often criticized for pulling from the same monogrammed Louis Vuitton bag of tricks: He creates fastidiously arranged dollhouse worlds populated by the same ensemble of actors who deliver droll dialog in films suffused with nostalgia. For Anderson’s detractors, an aesthetic that felt so richly original in Rushmore—Anderson’s second feature, but the first to feel truly Andersonian—has in the ensuing years come to seem like a schtick, and a limitation. These critics want Anderson to engage with new themes on a bigger stage, but like Richie Tenenbaum, the director remains stubbornly zipped away in his childhood tent, pining for the past.
Those who have tired of Anderson’s approach will likely find little to love about The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is set in Anderson’s most magnificent dollhouse yet—the titular hotel—and is arguably his most nostalgic film to date as well. It’s misty-eyed not merely for lost boyhood, as has often been the case in his work, but for an entire Old World way of life, an era of handmade macaron towers, restorative mineral baths, and highly personalized concierge service. It’s easy to dismiss the film as an elegantly calligraphed love letter to more civilized times.
It’s undoubtedly that, but it’s also more than that—it’s a self-portrait of sorts, a glimpse of the man in corduroy behind the camera.
Is Pharrell’s “Happy” Too Happy for You? Then Maybe You’ll Enjoy This.
But the Gregory Brothers just want to bring everyone down. The guys behind many past viral hits have turned the song’s delightful chords into a broodingly paced, minor-keyed bit of musical mopery. The accompanying video is a funny, melancholy counterpoint to Williams’ chipper exuberance.
What True Detective Shares With Cary Fukunaga’s First Film
Television, it’s often said, is a writer’s medium. Audiences have gotten used to crediting creators and showrunners like David Simon, Matthew Weiner, and Jenji Kohan as the creative visionaries behind their shows, while directors are still more often thought of as hired guns, brought in for an episode or two, their contributions relatively short-lived.
True Detective, though perhaps primarily the creation of its writer—novelist Nic Pizzolatto—is an exception: Every episode of its soon-to-be-completed first season is directed by Cary Fukunaga. The 36-year-old filmmaker deserves credit for the show’s distinctive visual style, coaxing some incredible performances out of Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, and a few feats of virtuoso filmmaking as well—notably a riveting six-minute scene, filmed in one uninterrupted take, that follows McConaughey’s character through a pitched gun battle in a suburban housing project.
Those who have seen Fukunaga’s first film, the highly acclaimed Sin Nombre, are not surprised by the director’s bravura work on the HBO series.
You’re Doing It Wrong: Plantains
When I was a kid, my only exposure to plantains came when my dad thinly sliced and fried up a batch of green ones to make homemade plantain chips. They were rough-hewn: mostly crisp but still a little chewy, with oil-slicked exteriors that were like a magnet for salt.
These days, plantain chips—the mass-produced, evenly sliced, thoroughly crunchy ones—are everywhere. You can buy them at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, even Walmart. You can find them arranged between bags of Lay’s and Dorito’s in the vending machine in my office. They are the Lorde of snacks: They originated in the Southern Hemisphere, and now they are everywhere. All in all, the ubiquity of plantain chips is a coup for Musa × paradisiaca, the species to which many plantains and bananas belong. (Contrary to the emphatic belief of many plantain advocates, the distinction between bananas and plantains is mostly cultural, not genetic: Plantains are eaten cooked, bananas are eaten raw.) Starchy as potato chips, plantain chips are a pleasant introduction to plantains’ subtle but distinctively savory flavor.
But plantains can be so much more than crispy, salty snack food.