Culture Crash 19-01: Minding the Gap

The year 2018 gave us a lot to love at the movies. Some of the absolute highlights for me were Eighth Grade, Roma, A Quiet Place, and Blindspotting. Each of those thrilled me, entertained me, and moved me. But for me, the best film of the year was Bing Liu’s incredibly personal documentary, Minding the Gap. It’s a film I saw back in August but has stuck with me more than anything I’ve seen in a long time.

Minding the Gap tells the story of Liu himself, and of his closest friends from his childhood in Rockford, Illinois. Each came from something of a broken home, and turned to each other, and to skateboarding for an escape from their personal demons. What begins as a movie about kids skateboarding and hanging out becomes a searing look at childhood trauma, the bonds of friendship, and what effects our families can have on us as we age into adulthood.

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Culture Crash 18-50: A look ahead at the movies set to dominate awards season

Awards season is officially upon us. The Golden Globes have already announced their nominees, which are as questionable as always. Year-end lists are being finalized, and Oscar buzz is reaching a roar for some contenders. But now is also the time when many of these movies are being released in the first place. So, here’s a guide of what to keep an eye out for to get ahead of the nominee pool.

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Culture Crash 18-49: The disappointing Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Last month, JK Rowling’s Wizarding World saw its latest installment, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes on Grindelwald be met with a low score on Rotten Tomatoes and countless disappointed Harry Potter fans across the globe.

Count me among them. Not since 2009’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince film totally bungled its source material has a Wizarding World installment felt so misguided. Crimes of Grindelwald isn’t quite as bad as Half-Blood Prince, but it is poorly paced and difficult to follow, even for those who have spent their entire childhoods learning the universe forward and backward.

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Culture Crash 18-46: Filling the Thanksgiving movie void with Stuck in Love

In the build-up to Halloween, many of us get in the spooky mood by watching horror movies like Nightmare on Elm Street or, naturally, Halloween. Before Christmas, seasonal cheer leads people to dig out their old copies of It’s a Wonderful Life or Elf. But there aren’t many Thanksgiving movies.

Of course, you can watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, but that’s only 30 minutes long. So what can be done to fill the void? Let me propose that you give the movie Stuck in Love a try.

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Culture Crash 18-43: Netflix’s Binge-worthy Horror Drama, The Haunting of Hill House

Earlier this month, Netflix released The Haunting of Hill House, a 10-episode horror series loosely based on the novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson. The series follows the Crain family; two parents and five children, over the course of multiple timelines. We watch their time spent decades earlier in the Hill House, a creepy old mansion they moved into in an effort to flip the house, and we watch them in the present day. We know from the onset that whatever happened back in that mansion, it wasn’t good, and it still haunts them even now. 

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