‘Exosquad’ Is the Best War Animation You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
This story originally appeared on June 21, 2016. A product of Universal Cartoon Studios, Exosquad stood apart from Western cartoons because its plot was a sophisticated combination of interplanetary space battles with conventional and guerrilla warfare on the ground. Not to mention an encounter with alien technology, and most importantly,... Read more
‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ and the Burdens of Modern Policing
If the Avengers are a super-powered Special Operations group then Spider-Man is a beat cop. While the Avengers stop Ultron from wiping out all human life on the planet and prepare for the world-shattering invasion of Thanos, Spider-Man helps old ladies with directions and stops bike thieves. That is as... Read more
Play the Pentagon-Funded Video Game That Predates Pong
This story originally appeared on July 24, 2014. Before Call of Duty, before Mario and even before Pong there was Spacewar! The brainchild of six graduate students at MIT in the early ‘60s, Spacewar! was the first true video game. A few guys had done cool tricks with oscilloscopes in... Read more
‘Rising Storm 2: Vietnam’ Balances U.S. Firepower With Militant Tricks
Tripwire Interactive’s Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, a computer game released on Steam in May 2017, fits somewhere in the middle of the realism scale for a first-person war shooter. On one end are the “arcade” shooters such as Call of Duty and Battlefield. On the other end are the open-world... Read more
Why ‘Fallout’ Is the Best Nuclear War Story Ever Told
This article was originally published on June 26, 2015. I wandered the wastelands, desperately searching for a water chip to fix a broken machine and save my people. I spent countless hours searching the California wastes for a Garden of Eden Creation Kit so I could feed a starving... Read more
Domestic Terrorists Target Journalism in ‘The Nightly News’
It’s a clear, sunny day in New York City when the protesters gather on Wall Street. The World Bank and IMF are there “for their semi-annual Third World Gangbang,” and the protesters arrive to shout into the darkness. In a skyscraper looming over the city, a sniper looks out the... Read more
‘Combat Shock’ Is a Vetsploitation Nightmare
The American soldiers who returned from the jungles of Vietnam faced discrimination and unprecedented rates of drug addiction and despair. It didn’t help that the economy of the late 1970s and early ’80s was garbage and the country was moving through what Pres. Jimmy Carter called “the great malaise.”... Read more
The Surprising Importance of ‘Wolfenstein: The New Order’
This article contains spoilers for Wolfenstein: The New Order. In certain corners of the Western world, Nazi ideology is making a comeback. For years, we’ve taken it as a given that ideas such as racism and ultra-nationalism were poisonous roads to pain, suffering and war. Pop culture, and especially... Read more
Oliver Stone Defines Useful Idiot in ‘The Putin Interviews’
Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin is a charmer, and after four hours of Oliver Stone’s softball questions he drew me in. Here was a world leader with the calm, intelligence and presence of mind lacking in so many other leaders these days. To here Putin tell it, he cares about... Read more
‘Megan Leavey’ Is a Movie About Combat and Depression You Can Watch With Your Family
This article contains light spoilers for Megan Leavey I decided Megan Leavy was good when Leavey’s mom confronts her after boot camp and asks an indelicate question about death benefits. Edie Falco plays the supremely scummy and negligent Jackie Leavey with the kind of detached parenting you only ever... Read more
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