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Freelance Writer. The Weakest Superhero. Saving the world through pop culture, mental health, and true crime. Be my ally: rb.gy/3shdg5

FILM I MASCULINITY

Mickey Rourke in Tiger (2018). Photo: R3M Productions

Nowadays, Mickey Rourke resembles an old, beaten-up pit bull. He’s ragged, physically deformed, but still standing. Come boxing, alcohol and drug abuse, mental demons, and more than a decade of loneliness, nothing could knock out the once sexiest actor on the planet.

But, to get to the level of self-knowledge Rourke has at 68 years old, you have to be willing to change. You have to forget all about the tough-guy crap, toxic masculinity, and macho swagger that rule your mind. You need to open yourself up and be vulnerable — ultimately, that’s what saved Mickey.


FILM I CRIME

Artwork by the author. Original Photo: Falcon Films

Jean-Claude Van Damme might have been a bit of an egomaniac throughout his career — just ask the legendary John Woo, who worked with him in his prime. But he was never a talentless hack. Van Damme sold muscles and karate kicks rather than acting performances but wasn’t a bad actor. He had charisma and wit with a wry sense of humor, yet he preferred to get paid for stunts and extravaganza.

The Bouncer (aka Lukas) is an attempt to prove that besides being “the muscles from Brussels,” he can pull off a dramatic role if he wants to. …


MUSIC I TV

Artwork by the author. Original Photo: Netflix

Up until five years ago, the only song I knew by Bruce Springsteen was the one he wrote for the 1993 movie Philadelphia.

See, I grew up in a small — culturally ignorant — European country, so I had no idea what he meant for American rock’n’roll. Or how he became the voice of the American working-class, defining an entire generation of blue-collar folks. Sure, I heard his hits on the radio before — Born to Run, Dancing in the Dark, Born in the USA, etc. — but I didn’t know who sang them.

So five years ago, I started…


TRUE CRIME I HISTORY

Albert DeSalvo aka The Boston Strangler in the 1960s.
Albert DeSalvo aka The Boston Strangler in the 1960s.
Photo Source.

If there’s a pattern in criminal profiling that can identify potential serial killers based on their childhood and upbringing, I’d say Albert DeSalvo is a textbook case. After what he went through as a kid, I’d think it can’t be a coincidence he became one of the most infamous murderers known as the Boston Strangler. Although his confession of killing thirteen women in the 1960s wasn’t necessarily true.

Let me explain.

Daddy Issues

DeSalvo’s father, Frank, was a raging, deadbeat alcoholic. He often brought prostitutes home and screwed them in front of his wife and children. He once made his kids watch…


FILM I DRAMA

Bryce Dallas Howard in Shyamalan’s The Village in 2004.
Bryce Dallas Howard in Shyamalan’s The Village in 2004.
Artwork by the author. Original Photo: Touchstone Pictures

People are judgmental. They cheer for a talented 29-year-old, a rapidly emerging storyteller, but hate him for not delivering near-perfect movies all the time. They love an eerie drama filled with ghosts but hate a love story about trauma and loss for not being the same. Besides being judgmental, these people are often dead wrong, too.

Here’s an opinion: I like M. Night Shyamalan far more now than I did back when he broke into the industry in 1999. I appreciate his struggle and endurance for going through almost two decades of filmmaking while being called a hack, a one-trick…


TV I COMEDY

Artwork by the author. Original Photo: Apple TV+

It took less than five minutes for the new season of Ted Lasso to make me emotional, and I’m not even on my period.

If you watched the quirky and annoyingly charming American’s adventure as the new football coach of an England team begin last year, that shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. And I know you did because that’s what the whole world was doing during lockdown in 2020. We couldn’t help but love this awkward goofball, who made our hearts soft and teary-eyed in unexpected and inspirational ways.

Ted Lasso was a pandemic hit — and Apple…


MENTAL HEALTH I SELF

Artwork by the author. Original Photo: Pxfuel

When I was a child, they used to describe me as excitable — not the adjective I’d strive for today. In the late 90s and early 00s, that was the “diagnosis” you could get when you behaved nervously as a shy kid. Parents didn’t think much of it. “So what? He’ll grow out of it” most of them said at the time.

I don’t think I ever grew out of it.

When I got older, things got worse — but not worse enough to take them seriously until I started showing signs of depression. But let’s not get ahead of…


FILM I JOURNALISM

Photo: Universal Pictures

I wouldn’t call it an agenda — or a consciously made decision — but a few months ago, I began working my way through Michael Keaton’s early filmography. I wanted to see Clean and Sober ever since I heard a reference to it in a movie I can’t remember now. So, after I finally did, I was hunting down old Keaton flicks for better or worse.

That’s when I found The Paper. Then I read Roger Ebert’s review he wrote nearly three decades ago, and I knew it had to be on my watchlist. …


FILM I DRAMA

Artwork by the author. Original photo: Neon

In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Cage said that “revenge” never came into the equation while considering the lead role for Michael Sarnoski’s feature debut, Pig. In fact, after he read the script, he thought of this movie “as cinematic haiku, a poem, a meditation on loss and great love.” Therefore, any comparison from critics to Keanu Reeves’ loud teen boy-pleaser action flick, John Wick, just rings false. In fact, I’d say it’s an insult.

If anything, Pig goes on a mission to redefine traditional masculine roles. There’s an unspoken vulnerability in it that employs unexpected methods and unmanly emotions…


TV I SATIRE

Jake Lacy in The White Lotus pilot.
Jake Lacy in The White Lotus pilot.
Photo: HBO Max

I don’t know why HBO execs are keep thinking we want to watch stories about horrible rich people — but to their credit, they’re not wrong.

The channel’s most bizarre show about a filthy-rich family, the Roys, will begin its third season this fall. The series taught me that even the most unlikable and rotten affluent people can be written in a highly entertaining way. I loathe every character on that show, and yet I couldn’t resist watching two seasons of it. So, well done, HBO.

Their latest attempt to create something similarly successful isn’t far off from Succession. However…

Akos Peterbencze

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