Staff Picks: ‘Sidewalking,’ ‘They Live By Night,’ Alison Brie


Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Scroll through for our picks below.

They Live by Night on Blu-ray

Nicholas Ray’s 1948 thriller – newly restored and out on Blu-ray via the Criterion Collection – has the desperation, darkness, and doomed romanticism of true film noir, to say nothing of the striking, shadowy photography and colorful characters. But it’s also one of the most influential movies in all of crime cinema, telling as it does the story (from Edward Anderson’s novel Thieves Like Us, which Robert Altman adapted under its original title in 1974) of two doomed lovers on the run from the cops who want to haul them in, and the bad guys who want to bring them back. You can find its DNA in everything from True Romance to Badlands to (especially) Bonnie and Clyde, but it’s more than just a film-history curio; it vibrates with a potent mix of innocence and eroticism, and with the excitement of a first-time filmmaker (this was Rebel Without a Cause director Ray’s debut feature) finding his voice and style. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor


So my pick for this week is… Flavorwire. Y’see, this week is my last week here: I’m finishing up tomorrow, and going to sit on a beach somewhere for a bit to recuperate from five years’ worth of trying to keep an independent blog afloat. Because doing that is really fucking difficult, people. Flavorwire is, and has always been, better than it has any right to be — we’ve been chronically understaffed for years, we’ve never had the access to talent that our competitors have had, we’ve never had the resources and money to spend that bigger media companies have. We’ve always punched above our weight, or tried to. The fact that we’ve been able to do so is because we’ve been blessed with some of the best writers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with — many of whom have moved onto bigger and better things, and some — like Moze Halperin, Jason Bailey, and Alison Nastasi — who are still here. A few weeks ago I wrote about our tenth anniversary, and said that trying to survive by prioritizing quality writing over churning out #content was (and remains) a risky strategy. But honestly, it’s all we know how to do, and for as long as this site keeps doing it, I’ll keep reading it, and being proud to have been a part of it. — Tom Hawking, Editor-in-Chief

Sidewalking by David L. Ulin

I just started reading David L. Ulin’s Sidewalking, which was recommended to me by one of the folks at Lust Films. I moved to LA late last year and feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what this city has to offer. As a born-and-raised New Yorker and former Philly resident, I’ve spent most of my life walking, biking, or taking public transportation. I haven’t had the same interaction with Los Angeles, which is dominated by cars. Ulin’s book examines the crossroads of memory, history, pop culture, and sociology in a city that blurs the lines of the real and unreal. — Alison Nastasi, Weekend Editor

Alison Brie in GLOW and The Little Hours It’s a big couple of weeks for Alison Brie, between the releases of Netflix’s GLOW and The Little Hours, out in limited release tomorrow; and she’s hilarious in both. In The Little Hours, (the Decameron adaptation/parody surrounding a group of hypersexual, millennial-colloquialism spewing medieval nuns) she plays your typical, trust fund…nun. Because her privilege sets her apart from the other nuns, she takes her grievances with nunning — and her sexual frustration — to a man she’s been led to believe is a deaf mute, leaving her character with room to deliver some fabulously meandering, kvetchy monologues to him. Meanwhile, on GLOW, she totally nails the essentials of theater nerdom (the over-enunciation, the over-enthusiasm, the eagerness to display Personality as a substitute for self-reflexion…clearly there’s some personal recognition here for me) while also creating a singular, sympathetic character within the bizarre ’80s Hollywood underbelly in which the series is set. It turns out that actors whose names could go atop a crostini are just really awesome, I guess. — Moze Halperin, Senior Editor