Linda Holmes

Linda Holmes writes and edits NPR's entertainment and pop-culture blog, Monkey See. She has several elaborate theories involving pop culture and monkeys, all of which are available on request.

Holmes began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living-room space to DVD sets of The Wire and never looked back.

Holmes was a writer and editor at Television Without Pity, where she recapped several hundred hours of programming — including both High School Musical movies, for which she did not receive hazard pay. Since 2003, she has been a contributor to MSNBC.com, where she has written about books, movies, television and pop-culture miscellany.

Holmes' work has also appeared on Vulture (New York magazine's entertainment blog), in TV Guide and in many, many legal documents.

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Monkey See
2:36 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

God, Man And Lots Of Corridors In 'Transcendence'

Rebecca Hall plays Evelyn Caster, who makes a tough choice about her husband in Transcendence.
Peter Mountain Warner Brothers Pictures

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 12:04 pm

Transcendence is a science fiction story, but it's very much about faith. Early on, a member of a "neo-Luddite" group confronts Will Caster (Johnny Depp) about his work. Caster is promising a future in which a massive artificial intelligence will contain more knowledge than the world has ever collectively possessed, and the man – played by Lukas Haas, whom many of us first saw as a tiny Amish child in Witness, where he was also counseled about the dangers of modernity and technology – accuses him of trying to create a god.

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Monkey See
4:04 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Ken Burns Tackles Lincoln, Education And Money In 'The Address'

Cooper and Ned are two of the boys working on learning the Gettysburg Address in Ken Burns' latest documentary.
Lindsay Taylor Jackson/Florentine Films PBS

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 6:07 pm

The Ken Burns documentary The Address, premiering on most PBS stations Tuesday night, opens at the Greenwood School in Vermont, where students are being introduced to a longstanding tradition: studying the Gettysburg Address until they can recite it from memory in front of a large audience of students, staff and parents. If they succeed, they receive a special commemorative coin that is only given for this achievement. A first, second and third prize will be awarded — one for middle school, one for high school — for these performances.

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Monkey See
8:34 am
Sun April 13, 2014

'Mad Men' Returns, Full Of Footnotes

As Mad Men returns for its seventh season, its entire sprawling cast has plenty to do.
Frank Ockenfels AMC

Imagine a scene in which a man is sitting on a park bench reading a book. A woman comes up and sits beside him. He looks up at her. She hands him a letter. "It's over," she says.

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Monkey See
12:25 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Captain America On The Potomac

Chris Evans as Captain America.
Zade Rosenthal Marvel

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:33 am

A genre film – one about superheroes, for instance – holds certain variables constant and allows others to change. The visual style can move, the dialogue style can move, and the force to be battled can move: what fans of Buffy The Vampire Slayer call the "Big Bad."

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Monkey See
12:36 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Oscars 2014: Low On Laughs, But A Great Speech Or Two

At Sunday's Oscar ceremony, the feel-good win of the night came when 12 Years a Slave star Lupita Nyong'o took home the supporting-actress trophy.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 7:26 am

The big winner was 12 Years a Slave, but there was quite a bit of love to go around at Sunday night's Oscars. What there wasn't, as usual, was a lot of riveting television.

Sure, there was John Travolta squinting at the teleprompter and introducing Idina Menzel (to sing the Oscar-winning Best Original Song "Let It Go," from Frozen) as — no kidding — "Adele Dazeem." And there was a fun dance number featuring Pharrell Williams and his own Oscar-nominated "Happy," which he wore a formal black version of his Grammys hat to perform.

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Monkey See
8:00 am
Sat March 1, 2014

What The Oscars Mean, And What They Don't

In Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, one of nine best picture nominees in the running on Sunday night, Sandra Bullock plays an astronaut careening through space after an accident.
Warner Bros.

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 9:35 pm

On Friday's All Things Considered, Bob Mondello and I — fresh off our run of video salutes to Internet comments — chat with Melissa Block about what, if anything, is satisfying about the Oscars.

Bob points out the difficulty in bringing yourself to care about a contest that so often leaves out the worthiest contenders; I make the best case I can for Oscar season as a potential time of discovery; and we consider a couple of canards about best picture that might help you pick a winner.

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Monkey See
9:01 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Hurts So Good: Getting A Kick Out Of A Movie Punch

Don't mess with Liam Neeson! He will get you with his phone! Or whatever else is handy! He will beat you up, is what we're saying.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 8:34 am

My favorite parts of Non-Stop, in which Liam Neeson adds airplane bathrooms to the list of things out of which he has beaten the snot, are the silliest parts. The slow-motion parts. The gravity-defying parts. The parts where everybody in the audience cracks up, but not unkindly.

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Monkey See
10:52 am
Sun February 9, 2014

The Beatles, As America First Loved Them

It's been 50 years since The Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan, to an audience of screaming, hair-pulling, ecstatic (in the classic sense) teenage girls. Cutes in suits, you might call them, like (and, of course, nothing like) countless other bands of the time that wore skinny ties and shared microphones and said "oh" and "yeah" and "baby."

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Monkey See
12:20 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman And The Blessings Of Friction

Philip Seymour Hoffman, seen here in November, died Sunday.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 2:42 pm

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The Oscars
10:45 am
Thu January 30, 2014

A Story About A Little-Known Song In A Little-Known Movie That Got A Big Oscar Nod

The Oscar statue is seen at the entrance of the Hollywood & Highland Center before the 2012 Academy Awards.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:44 pm

Well, it's safe to say we're shocked — shocked — to find that Oscar campaigning was going on in here.

Tuesday night, the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences — the Oscars people — rescinded the Best Original Song nomination for "Alone Yet Not Alone," from the movie Alone Yet Not Alone.

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