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Jennifer Aniston’s Cake is Too Rich to be Relevant

The film features a wealthy Angeleno when the majority of chronic pain sufferers are low-income

Describing Mary Tyler Moore's Oscar-nominated performance as a grief-stricken mother in Ordinary People, film critic Pauline Kael wrote “Moore … seems to be doing penance for having given audiences a good time” as a beloved television comedienne by choosing film roles that require “performances locked in dreariness.” It'd be easy, but not very fair, to level a similar criticism at Jennifer Aniston, another actress who came to fame playing a beautiful young woman better known for her hairstyle than her ability to confront adversity.

Claire, Aniston's character in Cake, copes with her chronic pain with pills and wine and little else, openly, hostilely refusing all efforts to help her achieve real recovery from her largely unspecified injuries—apparently because, for reasons also largely unspecified, she doesn't think she deserves it. Instead, Claire’s dangerously enamored with suicide and possibly in the middle of a psychotic break. It's the kind of role that seems ripe for onscreen masochistic martyrdom, but had Aniston, who also acted as executive producer for the film, truly wanted to make us watch her suffer she might've insisted that her character be poor, as well.

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Watch Out for the Witch Flick

A guide to the positive, negative, and complicated depictions of women as witches in movies, warts and all

Perhaps the most popular kind of Halloween movie is the classic witch flick. From the green-skinned warty ladies on broomsticks to earth-loving goddesses to housewives to students, the witch has cast her spell on popular culture. But while everyone enjoys a solid peanut butter cup-fueled Hocus Pocus viewing from time to time, witchy characters can get a little scary in terms of what they say about how we view women in general, without the bubbling cauldrons and pointy hats. Here is a handy guide to the positive, negative, and complicated depictions of women in some of the most popular witch films and TV shows of the past two decades.

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Cruising the Hudson on a Boat Made of Trash

Two filmmakers want to row the entire length of the Hudson to highlight the beauty of New York's water supply and the importance of keeping it clean.

Today, New York’s Hudson River is the 33rd most-polluted river in the U.S., but once upon a time, it was as pristine as the Adirondack Mountains, where the river begins.

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People Are Awesome: ‘The Wire’ Actress Helps Fix the Real Baltimore

When Sonja Sohn’s castmates returned to Los Angeles at the show’s conclusion, she stayed behind to help.


When most movie and television celebrities finish filming a project on location, they immediately up and leave, forever abandoning the neighborhood or city that lent verisimilitude to their work. Setting a movie in a gritty apartment in Harlem might win awards, but it’s a far cry from the luxurious Los Angeles manses in which Hollywood types reside. The critically acclaimed HBO crime drama The Wire, for instance, famously used the streets of Baltimore as its backdrop. And when the show was over and the cameras had been packed up, most of the cast left, too. But not Sonja Sohn.

Best known as Detective Shakima "Kima" Greggs on The Wire, Sohn has dedicated her time since the show ended to supporting the city that supported her breakout HBO role. A victim of a traumatic childhood that included abuse, drugs, altercations with police, and poverty, Sohn decided that when The Wire ended she wanted to stay in Baltimore and help citizens avoid the problems she once faced.

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Intermission: A Baby Sloth in a Starry Blue Onesie

Brace yourself for a high dosage of cute overload.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRJlj8bkx4c

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