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
11:29 am
Thu August 21, 2014

'Let's Be Cops,' But Then What?

Duuuuuuude! Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson explore the whimsical fun of petty tyranny in Let's Be Cops.
Frank Masi, SMPSP Twentieth Century Fox

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 2:52 pm

[This piece contains plot details from Let's Be Cops. It is not a movie about its plot details, but there you have it.]

The word is out on the buddy comedy Let's Be Cops, starring Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson — both enormously charming actors on Fox's New Girl. And what is the word? That the movie is not good, and the movie is rather atrociously timed, given that we are not in a place in the news cycle where people are enormously amused by stories about goofball police officers threatening people with nonfunctioning guns.

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Monkey See
8:48 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Rating The Ratings And Whither The Weather Movie

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When Stephen and I talked about Boyhood, one of our side conversations was about our bafflement that it was rated R, and this week, joined by Code Switch's Kat Chow, we dig a little deeper into that question. Are ratings really information for parents, or are they still judgments on the morality of your creation? Is there anywhere to go past what a past documentary already explored?

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Monkey See
10:45 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Lauren Bacall And The 'Sex? What Sex?' Kind Of Movie Sex

Lauren Bacall in a 1944 photo.
AP

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 11:16 am

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Monkey See
1:40 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Remembering The Big-Hearted Comedy Of Robin Williams

Robin Williams, seen here at the Emmy Awards in September 2013, died Monday at the age of 63.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 1:56 pm

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Stephen Thompson and I took a few minutes today to talk about the comedic work of Robin Williams, who passed away Monday (preliminary reports suggest suicide, though the investigation is ongoing) and whose TV comedies, standup specials and movie roles we have watched and loved for many years.

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Monkey See
9:06 am
Mon August 11, 2014

What Can You Say? Folks Love Turtles

He's wearing a mask, but this is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle under there.
Paramount Pictures

There's a run on turtle puns and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle references this morning as we settle into a reality where a new adaptation of the old franchise took in $65 million in domestic box office this weekend. Although it's nowhere near Guardians Of The Galaxy's opening a week ago (more like $94 million), it was good enough to kick Chris Pratt and friends out of first place by much more than a hare. (Don't get up, I'll fire myself.)

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Monkey See
8:24 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' And So Bad It's Good

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We're settling back into our regular schedule post-lots of travel and post-Comic-Con, and we find ourselves in the studio this week with Chris Klimek to talk about the runaway success of Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy. We talk about the movie's shaggy charms, its savvy development, and why it gives me joyful reason to gloat over past avowals of loyalty.

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Monkey See
11:17 am
Thu August 7, 2014

When All Your Steaks Have Hot Sauce: A Case Against 'Nebraska' In Color

David (Will Forte, left) and his father, Woody (Bruce Dern, center), take time out of their quixotic journey to stop in Woody's small Nebraska hometown — where Woody's old business partner, Ed (Stacy Keach), is still nursing a grudge.
Merie W. Wallace Paramount Pictures

The latest indignity seemingly imposed by commerce upon art is the news that the cable movie channel Epix would air, in addition to the original black-and-white version, a color version of Alexander Payne's Nebraska, which was nominated for Best Picture earlier this year and stars Bruce Dern and Will Forte as a father and son on a somewhat discursive road trip nominally aimed at retrieving a cash payout to whi

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Monkey See
10:27 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Brand Extension Theater Presents: 'Top Chef Duels'

Richard Blais gets it done — if by "it" you mean "the making of steam" — in Top Chef Duels.
Nicole Wilder Bravo

Have you ever heard a cheerleading squad do one of those call-and-response bits where they say, "Seniors yell it!", and then the seniors yell, "Fight! Fight", and then they say, "Juniors yell it!", and so forth? Top Chef brand extensions are kind of like that: All-Stars yell it! Dessert chefs yell it! Veterans yell it! Healthy chefs yell it! Former contestants yell it!

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Monkey See
10:44 am
Tue August 5, 2014

First Novels: For One Who's Been Through It, 'Books Are Social Media'

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 4:58 pm

Martha Woodroof, author of the upcoming Small Blessings, continues her series about the experience of publishing a first novel. Past posts can be found here.

Perhaps no part of the First Novel Experience is as confusing and overwhelming as figuring out how to balance the demands of social media with the demands of writing more fiction.

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Monkey See
8:50 am
Mon August 4, 2014

'Boyhood,' Time And Tree Rings

Mason (Ellar Coltrane) grows up over the running time of Richard Linklater's Boyhood.
IFC Films

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 1:23 pm

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I had an uncle who studied dendrochronology – tree rings, basically. It wasn't until years after he died that it occurred to me how much his perspective on living, and on dying, seemed to have been shaped by years of handling such palpable evidence of time passing. Not the spectacle of canyons carved by glaciers or the eye-popping surprise of fossilized bones, but the way each tree out of millions had been marked by each year out of millions. You could look at the rings and tell when the climate was good, when there was a drought, when there was a fire.

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Monkey See
11:05 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Live From San Diego Comic-Con

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This week's show is a very special event for us: it's our visit to Comic-Con.

Because Maggie Thompson (mother to PCHH regular Stephen Thompson) was a special guest at San Diego Comic-Con this year, she invited us to do a panel discussion with her. So Stephen, Glen Weldon and I — along with a crucial audio assist from our pal Petra Mayer — set up in one of the rooms upstairs in the convention center and taped a show. (We still don't know what caused the constant thumping. This is what happens when we travel without our producer, Jessica.)

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Monkey See
9:45 am
Thu July 31, 2014

'Guardians Of The Galaxy': Let's Hear It For F.U.N.

Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) have some adventures together in the terrific new Guardians Of The Galaxy.
Jay Maidment Marvel

Originally published on Sat August 2, 2014 12:15 pm

The worst thing about making a post-Avengers Marvel movie is how far ahead of the game you are when you start. Your film will be marketed with brute force, treated as arguably the biggest opening of the summer, reviewed everywhere, and very likely to land among the most commercially successful films of the year, whether or not you do anything interesting with it.

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Monkey See
2:40 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

'Sharknado 2': Winner And Still Chomp

Kari Wuhrer as Ellen Brody, Courtney Baxter as Mora Brody, and Sandra "Pepa" Denton as a character even the captioners don't know the name of. I'm not sure she had one.
Will Hart Syfy

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 8:11 pm

I personally was responsible for emotionally bullying at least two of my critic friends into attending the poolside screening of Sharknado 2 that took place at the hotel where press tour happened a couple of weeks ago. I make this confession because we must establish the basic understanding that I am merciless when it comes to attempting to con people into watching extraordinarily silly movies. In fact, I tried, when the first Sharknado was on, to goad the NPR morning news meeting into caring about it ("There's this movie tonight!

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Monkey See
10:36 am
Wed July 30, 2014

On Dipping An Introverted Toe In The Comic-Con Ocean

Christopher Petrone, of San Diego, CA, towering over attendees in his handmade, to-scale Chewbacca costume.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

The first time I took one of the online Myers-Briggs inventories and it spit out that I was an introvert, one of my friends questioned the results. Specifically, he said, "Are you sure you weren't holding the test upside-down?"

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Monkey See
2:05 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Sex And The Single Churl: Another 'Bachelorette' Finale Gets Weird

Andi gasps while accepting a proposal from Josh Murray (right, in the ill-fitting suit) on Monday night's finale of The Bachelorette.
Javier Pesquera ABC

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 12:03 am

After the fact that it's a blatant and ridiculous fraud (in that it almost never gets anybody married), the first thing you might notice about The Bachelor(ette) franchise is its prim, Victorian attitudes about sex. For a show that encourages 14-person dates and the temporary negotiation of a lifestyle that could be best described as G-rated swinging, the whole shebang is awfully precious when it comes to the fact that sometimes, some of these people have sex with each other.

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