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Daily Reads: The Place Between Prestige and Trash TV, ‘American Sniper’ and the Fog of War and More

Daily Reads: The Place Between Prestige and Trash TV, 'American Sniper' and the Fog of War and More

Criticwire’s Daily Reads brings today’s essential
news stories and critical pieces to you.

1. Between Prestige and Trash. Shows like “Arrow,” “The Flash” and “Scandal” isn’t exactly prestige TV, but it’s not trash either. Noel Murray of The A.V. Club writes about finding a way to address “mid-reputable” television.

What those shows have in common is that they have fervent followings—including among prominent TV critics, who’ve put them on their annual “best of television” lists. But with the exception of “Scandal” (and only slightly), they’re not major players in the Emmy and Golden Globe races. And more importantly, no one expects them to be. Astute TV watchers may hope that Tatiana Maslany will get nominated for her work on “Orphan Black,” but they also know—or should, anyway—that it’s a longshot. Read more.

2. Hollywood Resolutions 2015. A new year brings New Year Resolutions, and Amy Nicholson of L.A. Weekly has a few that Hollywood should make for 2015.

Pay women equally. The silver lining in the Sony cyberattack was that it numerically proved that Hollywood underpays both actresses and female executives, with Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams earning several backend points less than their male co-stars in the ensemble film “American Hustle,” and co-president of production Hannah Minghella making $800,000 less than her male counterpart with the exact same job — a 37.5% salary cut. Do it because it’s right, or do it because, like Sony, your emails could be hacked, too. Read more.

3. The Rise of British Black Actors in Hollywood. Black British actors don’t always get great opportunities at home, but people like David Oyelowo and Chiwetel Ejiofor are getting a chance to tell iconic stories in America. Kelley L. Carter of BuzzFeed writes:

“I played a soldier confronting President Lincoln in the film “Lincoln,” and I say to him, in the winter of 1865, ‘When are we going to get the vote?’ and then there I am, 100 years later, depicting Dr. King, alongside the very same actor, Colman Domingo — we confronted President Lincoln together — we are now in a jail cell, asking for the vote again, in 1965,” Oyelowo said in an interview with BuzzFeed News. “I’ve played a preacher in “The Help,” I played a fighter pilot in “Red Tails,” I played someone who was in a sit in, was a Freedom Rider, was a Black Panther, then goes on to be a senator in “The Butler.” They’re all characters that took me on this journey through what it has been to be a black person for the last 150 years.” Read more.

4. Clint Eastwood, “American Sniper” and the Fog of War. “American Sniper” has some critics as a jingoistic right wing fantasy, but Scott Foundas argues that director Clint Eastwood sees the film, and Eastwood’s whole career, as having a more complicated relationship with violence.

Chris Kyle saw the world in clearly demarcated terms of good and evil, and “American Sniper” suggests that such dichromatism may have been key to both his success and survival; on the battlefield, doubt is akin to death. But Eastwood (and his screenwriter, Jason Hall) sees only shades of gray. Repeatedly, he shows us ordinary Iraqis caught in the crossfire of the war, while Moustafa himself, the movie’s nominal bogeyman, is shown to be Kyle’s doppelganger, with his own wife and infant child at home and a similarly resolute sense of purpose. Read more.

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Jason Bailey gets to the real story behind the “Selma” backlash for MSNBC:

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