Rapid fire is the publishing world’s new normal, but inspiring long-form content is not a thing of the past. Enter #LongReads: a weekly post containing what we believe to be five of the most compelling pieces of long-form, entertainment-related content circulating around the web.
Cannes is just as riveting as it is exhausting – for those attending and those trying to stay up-to-date on the coverage. Our cure for you? Longreads! These five spell-binding pieces should have you reinvigorated in no time:
Nellie Bly’s Lessons in Writing What You Want to by Alice Gregory
Alice Gregory’s piece on Nelly Bly for “The New Yorker” is written on the heels of two landmark events in the history of female journalists; the first being last month’s publication of a collection of Bly’s writings, which marks the first time her writings have been published as a collection; the second being the firing of The New York Times’ Executive Editor Jill Abramson. In her piece on Bly, Gregory argues that Bly’s success as a journalist was mostly due to her tenacity, as opposed to her personal convictions about what is right and wrong. Gregory contrasts Bly’s fearless approach to journalism with the current professional landscape for female journalists, which, she says, “reliably rewards trading on one’s gender identity.” Bly, Gregory asserts, is proof that female journalists should not feel obliged to “approach the world with a narrow set of politicized questions” focused on gender — a notion that effectively tosses us into the debate surrounding the “feminism” label.
In this retrospective on Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” David Denby of “The New Yorker” describes the development and production of the film in great detail — focusing on Kubrick’s extensive research process, as well as how he went from making a serious drama to a black comedy. Denby concludes his tribute with a defense of Kubrick’s comedic approach, providing a statement that speaks not only to “Dr. Strangelove,” but to the condemnation many filmmakers receive for “not taking a subject seriously enough.” A recent example that comes to mind is Martin Scorsese’s “Wolf of Wall Street,” which had people divided into two camps: those who appreciate the farcical commentary provided by the images of excess, and those who viewed the depiction of excess as Scorsese’s indulgence. In the final paragraph of his essay, Denby asks, “Why should a popular artist have any obligation to propose ‘sane’ solutions to an intolerable situation?”
William Dozier, the producer behind the original live-action Batman series, wrote a treatment for the sequel to “Batman: The Movie.” The sequel conceived by Dozier matches up Batman (and Robin) against Godzilla. In his article for “Grantland,” Matt Patches provides a colorful historical set-up before launching into a description — you might even call it a pitch — of Dozier’s 22-page treatment for the film, which is currently housed at the University of Wyoming, along with the rest of Dozier’s papers.
Happy in a World of Quirk by Dave Itzkoff
Mike Myers is surprisingly candid and thoughtful — a quote goldmine actually — in this profile piece Dave Itzkoff wrote for “The New York Times.” Aside from a supporting role in Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 film “Inglourious Basterds,” Mike Myers has not had a leading role in a studio film since the failure of his 2008 film, “The Love Guru.” On June 6th, however, he returns to the big screen — albeit on the opposite side of the camera in the director’s chair — with a documentary titled “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon.” Itzkoff dips in and out of two separate, yet intertwined narratives during the course of the profile — specifically, Myers’ family life and how he got “Supermensch” made. Although Itzkoff does not explicitly draw the conclusion, given the fact that Myers started a family during his hiatus from acting and also made the decision to step behind the camera for “Supermensch,” the article seems to suggest that Myers deliberately created space between himself and Hollywood so that he could make these personal and professional transitions privately, rather than publicly.
Turk Pipkin composes an elegant profile of his close friend Kris Kristofferson — who, at the ripe age of 77, still gives regular performances, despite suffering from mild memory loss. Pipkin’s piece is not unlike Tom Junod’s feature about Mr. Rogers, which Indiewire included in its first edition of #LongReads. Pipkin and Junod’s friendships with their respective subjects reinforces the cogent analysis embedded in their writing. In contrast to a writer who is granted a single interview with a subject, Pipkin possesses an abundance of experiences with Kristofferson, as both a fan and a close friend, from which to compose a narrative. Rather than approaching time as an inflexible linear force, Pipkin manipulates time in service of character — resulting in a poetic piece that uses Kristofferson’s intelligence and relentless spirit, rather than causality, as its narrative framework.