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Film

'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Has the Most Relatable Peter Parker

The teen-focused, John Hughes-inspired approach not only makes Spider-Man: Homecoming feel fresh in the realm of Spider-Man films, but in superhero films in general.

Recent
Books

Reading 'Paradise Rot' Will Leave You Feeling Woozy

Jenny Hval is writing for the senses, conjuring with almost nauseating accuracy sensations both mundane and extraordinary.

Film

'Mid90s' Is a Winning Story about the Losers

Jonah Hill's directorial debut is a deceptively rich examination of the male psyche.

Film

A Stranger Thing: Shannon Purser on 'Sierra Burgess Is a Loser'

Shannon Purser discusses her debut role in film, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, catfishing, and the unrealistic expectations imposed on today's youth.

Hans Rollman
Film

To All the Boys I've Loved Before Updates the Romantic Comedy for the #MeToo Era

Self-reliance, personal agency, boundaries, and respect -- Jenny Hans' YA novel, and in turn, Susan Johnson's film adaptation, show young viewers how healthy their relationships can be.

Film

Social Media and Identity Formation in Bo Burnham’s Film, 'Eighth Grade'

Rather than moralize, critique, or make grandiose statements about "digital natives", writer-director-wunderkind Bo Burnham brilliantly visualizes what it means to live in a world in which social media is omnipresent.

Film

Sympathy Over God-like Judgement: Interview with 'Flower' Director Max Winkler

Winkler discusses the morally dubious world of Flower, wherein audiences can explore darker shades of themselves -- and darker aspects of their sympathy.

Film

'Eighth Grade' and the Act of Disappearing in Plain Sight, Online

Bo Burnham's big-hearted, emotional tidal wave of a movie shows how the look-at-me / leave-me-alone contradictions of adolescence, powered by social media, are cranked up to 11.

Film

Fantasia 2018: Interview with 'Blue My Mind' Director Lisa Brühlmann

Dreams tell stories, but movies are so much more than just dreams. Brühlmann discusses her coming-of-age feature debut, Blue My Mind.

Film

In 'Breath', Surfing Is Captured From a Bookish Introvert's Perspective

It's refreshing, in an era when so many coming-of-age sports films feature devil-may-care extroverts, to instead experience the introverted, quiet, enlightened narrator.

Film

Tribeca 2018: 'The Miseducation of Cameron Post' and 'Tully'

The Miseducation of Cameron Post explores a teenager's struggles at a gay conversion therapy camp, and Tully a suburban wife's depression after having a third child. Both aim at empathy.

Film

The Magical Ordinariness of 'Love, Simon'

In a different world Love, Simon could simply be what it is; a funny, sincere, gently moving story about a young boy working out the parameters of his own happiness.

Film

'Ready Player One' Is Vintage Spielberg… for Better and Worse

Spielberg's sci-fi actioner doesn't have a thought in its pretty little head, but it's still relentlessly entertaining, thanks to his knack for visual storytelling and his uncanny feel for action pacing.

Film

George A. Romero's 'Martin': On Lasting Intimacy with a Cult Cinema Vampire

Why do horror fans take Romero's 1978 indie masterpiece so personally? A close look at the film, its novelization, its soundtrack, the Soft Cell pop song it inspired, and other pop culture obsessions.

Books

'Blue Is the Warmest Color' Is Better As a Comic

Julie Mahor's hand is deft in so many ways, producing a visually and emotionally complex tale of coming-of-age love uniquely grounded in the comics form.

Film

Authors of Our Identity: Filmmaker Eliza Hittman on 'Beach Rats'

Beach Rats captures the tumultuous divide between one's mind and feelings, as well as the duality of one's nature.

Reviews

'Closet Monster' Is an at Times Brilliant Cinematic Mashup

Closet Monster is a promising yet unevenly told film which fluctuates between stock coming of age fare and emotionally rich, inventive direction.

Games

'Danganronpa' Considers the Consequences of Paternalism and the Horrors of Boredom

Danganronpa is a sometimes brutal, sometimes bizarre coming of age story, but sometimes the most graphic forms of representation are the most useful in exposing truths about growing up.

Music

What's So Smooth About the New Smooth Jazz?

Recent work from a group of young musicians, beautifully represented by the new Supreme Sonacy from Revive Music, makes it cool again to put out jazz that wants to be popular.

Reviews

'Diary of a Teenage Girl' Is Really About Adults in Need of Parenting

We follow the exploits of Minnie (Bel Powley), a 15-year-old aspiring cartoonist in 1976 San Francisco. The first thing she tells us -- “I just had sex. Holy shit!” -- sets the film's tone.

Film

The Political Allegory in 'White God' Has Quite the Bite

White God ferociously tells a universal story about the ties that bind us, and the forces that try to tear them apart.

Reviews

In Search of Lost Time: André Aciman's 'Harvard Square'

André Aciman's enjoyable, beautifully written novel tells about the highs and lows of academic life and adjusting to the rhythms of America as a foreigner.

Reviews

Shadows of Kurt Cobain and Other Rockers Play Across the Kid in 'Fat Kid Rules the World'

Quirky, witty and emotionally dynamic, Fat Kid Rules the World is an honest look at living on cultural margins. Exceptional performances from Matt O'Leary and Billy Campbell make this coming of age tale stand out.

Film

A View Out: The Search for Identity in 'Cléo from 5 to 7'

In the works of many New Wave auteurs, a sense of alienation often leads to disillusionment. Unlike the pessimism of many of her contemporaries, Agnes Varda views alienation as a quest for identity, one that offers hope and freedom, no matter the uncertainties.

Reviews

'Good Will Hunting: 15th Anniversary Edition' Proves that the Film Never Loses Its Charm

A friendship that’s tested the boundaries of Hollywood flops and Sexiest Man Alive beauty contests, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck sat down to revisit Good Will Hunting on the 15th anniversary Bluray edition.

Film

'Lord of the Flies' Still Reigns

Fear and brutality inherent in the human condition and the drive to survive are themes that have never gone out of fashion. The stakes get even higher when those involved are children, and that's obviously a big seller.

Reviews

Cory's Lack of Impulse Control In 'Boy Meets World: The Complete Sixth Season'

Cory struggles with doing everything in his power to overcome his own inadequacies, and often acts on impulse in an effort to launch himself into adulthood.

Film

'Norwegian Wood' Is Pretty Onscreen, But Puzzling

Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood has been referred to as the "Japanese Catcher in the Rye", but J. D. Salinger said that his book was not actable and he would never sell the rights to Hollywood. Maybe Murakami should have listened to Salinger.

Reviews

Adventureland

A hugely enjoyable blend of humor and agony that captures the confused, painful, but open-ended state of late adolescence.

Books

All the Sad Young Literary Men by Keith Gessen

Gessen's writing most resembles F. Scott Fitzgerald’s in the struggle to represent youth and beauty without succumbing fully and uncritically to their seduction.

Benjamin Pollak
Books

Hick by Andrea Portes

Hers is the journey of a lost teenager, but it's far from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Christina Clarkson
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