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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 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…


Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine) in Netflix’s Atypical S4.
Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine) in Netflix’s Atypical S4.
Photo: Netflix

Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine) chews her cuticles compulsively throughout the fourth season of Atypical. It’s a disgusting habit — I know because I suffer from it since I was a kid. At most times, she’s not even aware of doing it. It’s a subconscious response to ease anxiety. But it’s actually more than a bad habit, a disorder called Dermatophagia — a body-focused repetitive behavior, an unintentional form of stress relief.

Casey does this because she’s unable to cope with the pressures of her sports career. She runs track. She’s been training hard for months, so when the time comes, a…


MENTAL HEALTH

A man lying in the water.
A man lying in the water.
Photo by Vladimir Fedotov on Unsplash

I’m an introvert — an overthinker. Someone who cares about other people’s opinions way too much. But I’m also a realist and a no-bullshit person. I don’t lie to make others like me more.

That said, I used to be extremely anxious about how my worldview and values came across in social interactions. How others perceived me — whether they could see me for who I really was or being too self-conscious prevented people from getting to know me. This has been especially true for giving first impressions when talking to strangers. …


Kevin Costner wins and smiles in ‘Tin Cup.’ 1996.
Kevin Costner wins and smiles in ‘Tin Cup.’ 1996.
Photo: Warner Bros.

In the past ten years, Kevin Costner became one of the last ambassadors for American Western. The masculine characters he portrays in movies like Let Him Go, The Highwaymen, or the television show, Yellowstone, are tough guys with old-fashioned values. They never go down without a fight — but they’re also smart enough to know when words are more powerful than punches. In my mind, Costner’s persona always will be a mixture of those firm-handed and resilient figures.

For that reason, though, it’s easy to forget when he took on much lighter roles — which showcased his goofy comedic touch.

Akos Peterbencze

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