What ‘Baby Driver’ Can Teach Us About Being Cool Under Pressure

Over a month after its release, Baby Driver continues to achieve accolades and box office success. An exciting heist film, Baby Driver is well cast and well-acted, but the main reason for its popularity is the appeal of Baby, the movie’s protagonist, played by Ansel Elgort. After surviving a car crash as a child, Baby suffers from tinnitus and … Continued


Quiet Courage, Not Machismo, is What Makes ‘Dunkirk’ So Compelling

The story of Dunkirk is remarkable. Civilians sailed their fishing boats, pleasure yachts, and trawlers across the English Channel to France to attempt a rescue mission for 400,000 British and French soldiers encircled by Hitler’s Wehrmacht—the German army—in 1940.  If those men were captured, England would have effectively been knocked out of the war. In … Continued


‘Deepwater Horizon’ and Everyday Heroes

The climactic images of an American flag rippling against darkness and fire in the brilliant new film Deepwater Horizon recall many a war film, or indeed the writing of The Star Spangled Banner itself, near Fort McHenry as the War of 1812 raged. But this is not a war film. Or is it? The civilians … Continued

Entertainment, Movies

Clint Eastwood, ‘Sully’, and the Virtue of Standing Still

The great journalist Irving Kristol once remarked that he went from being liberal to neoconservative simply by standing still. As the Western world went further and further to the left in the 1960s, the values that Kristol once embraced as a liberal—anti-communism, pro-family, pro-free speech and economic growth—suddenly were rejected by the left. Kristol didn’t … Continued

Culture, Movies

Why Does Daredevil Have So Many Personal Problems?

It’s a busy time for the Man Without Fear. Netflix is gearing up to release another season of Daredevil, this time focusing on a conflict between the titular hero and darker, more lethal vigilante The Punisher (Daredevil’s sometimes-enemy-sometimes-love-interest Elektra is also joining the fray). The show’s first season, while often brutal, cared about the moral … Continued

Entertainment, Television

Holding Out for a Hero

Every culture ends up with a hero that defines it. From the trickster Odysseus of Homeric Greece to the chivalrous Lancelot of Arthurian romance to the lone lawmen of Hollywood westerns, heroes reflect the values and ideals of their time and place. But who is the heroic icon of 21st century America? Who defines us? … Continued

Celebrities, Culture

ESPN Steamrolls a Real Profile in Courage

Bob Costas is getting heat for daring to suggest that giving Caitlyn Jenner the ESPN Arthur Ashe award is preposterous. He’s right, of course. And not just because giving the award to Jenner is a publicity stunt, but because there was an obvious choice for 2015: Leah and Devon Still, whose story goes like this: … Continued

Entertainment, Sports

Hollywood Gets Bravery Wrong

For more than five hundred years, the virtues conveyed by the term “bravery” meant something like fighting the barbarian hordes on your kingdom’s doorstep, settling wild frontiers, or being willing to go to prison for the things you believe. Even in Hollywood, the term “valor” was typically reserved for those who went to serve in … Continued


The Daily Pop Culture Scene

by Emily Esfahani Smith Where pop culture meets the virtues . . . One ‘Magic Room’ That Links Generations of Brides—WSJ How I Learned About Courage From an Arab Marxist—Barry Rubin at PJ Media (via Power Line) Even the Eastwood Family Can’t Escape Reality TV—FilmDrunk Film Review: A Separation and the Iranian Devolution—NY Mag Are … Continued