3 Best Releases Starring Samantha Bee

The Spool Staff


Frank Marshall's documentary on the legendary newsman too often goes softer than the anchorman ever would. This review is part of our coverage of the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival. Since its inception, the Tribeca Film Festival has always served almost as much of a celebration of celebrity as it is a celebration of cinema. That is especially true in regards to the documentary programming, which has always favored films about the life and work of famous people. That’s especially the case when there’s a chance a high-profile red-carpet premiere might lure such names into showing up. For instance, among the titles in this year’s lineup is Rather, Frank Marshall’s look at the legendary and controversial newsman Dan Rather.  Continue Reading →

Judy Blume Forever

I think Blubber was my favorite Judy Blume book growing up, because it acknowledged the casual cruelty of adolescent girls. Or maybe it was Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, because it’s where I learned about slam books, and its titular character (like me) masked her insecurities with wisecracks. No, scratch that, it was Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, with a protagonist who (also like me) used her colorful imagination as an escape from a chaotic home life. Continue Reading →

Feels Good Man

In detailing Pepe the Frog's journey from meme to monster, Feels Good Man charts the corrosive nature of creative ownership. (This review is part of our coverage of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.) For San Francisco-based artist Matt Furie, it was always just a frog. But for legions of people on the Internet, Pepe the Frog means so much more: a source of joy, a catalyst for hate, and a million things in between. Pepe's been around almost as long as the modern Internet; he caught on in 2005 when Furie uploaded his first digital comic about Pepe (part of the gang in his irreverent slice-of-life comic Boys' Life) to MySpace. It wasn't long before he took off, the frog's carefree, half-lidded expression becoming an avatar for a generation of disaffected, directionless youth finding refuge on social media -- and later, finding himself on the Anti-Defamation League's list of hate symbols. Arthur Jones, an illustrator and animator in his own right, wanted to chart the meme's descent from innocent mascot to icon of the alt-right, and Furie's Sisyphean attempts to reclaim his creation. In Feels Good Man, he manages to accomplish quite a bit more than that: Furie and Pepe become the poster children for the consumptive, corrosive nature of the Internet, and the complications that come from the democratization of art. Continue Reading →