Arts

Arts and culture

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

If you were alive in 1994, you probably remember hearing a lot about Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding. A media frenzy erupted when Harding's ex-husband was implicated in an attack on her chief competitor, Nancy Kerrigan. The movie I, Tonya explores Harding's story, with special emphasis on her ferocious mom, LaVona Golden, played by Allison Janney. It's a role that screenwriter Steven Rogers wrote specifically for her.

Authenticity is a trait we all prize. We all want the real thing - whether that thing is a designer purse, or a loving relationship.

But the two stories you'll hear today raise profound questions about authenticity and nature of human belief: If you believe something is real, if you can fall in love with someone or stand in awe of a painting, is it possible that it doesn't actually matter whether the object of your affection is fake?

I never really understood why so many people saw The Crown as a superior TV show last season.

Yes, the Netflix drama has the production values and ambition of an epic motion picture, tracing the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II. And for those who miss the aristocratic soap opera of Downton Abbey, a big-budget recounting of the royal family's turmoil over marriages and abdications is quite a replacement. Who can argue with 13 Emmy nominations?

The mystery over who paid a record-breaking $450 million for Leonardo da Vinci's painting Salvator Mundi at an auction last month appears to have been solved. It turns out it's Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

That's according to U.S. intelligence officials who keep a close eye on the kingdom's young and powerful crown prince, says the Wall Street Journal.

The color of the year for 2018 is a vivid purple, according to Pantone, which gives the title to a new hue every December.

Specifically, "PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet" is the chosen hue. ("Ultra violet" with a space, we'll note: actual "ultraviolet" light is, by definition, invisible.)

The year before he won an Academy Award for designing and building the puppet star of E.T., Italian special effects artist Carlo Rimbaldi created a much more frightening creature — minus the light-up heart, plus tentacles — to have simulated sex with Isabelle Adjani in the psychological horror film Possession, a movie that probably sold fewer lunchboxes and plush toys.

'I, Tonya,' You, Implicated

Dec 7, 2017

Tonya Harding was never supposed to be a pro figure skater. Like so many young American dreamers before her, she had it all wrong for success: born into the wrong class, raised by the wrong role model, drawn to the wrong men. And she had the wrong kind of femininity for the sport she loved, too, because those judges didn't want to see a ZZ Top routine from someone who sewed her own costume, even if it did include a flawlessly executed triple axel.

About 20 minutes into the beautiful documentary Quest, a stray bullet strikes a 13-year-old African-American girl in a neighborhood in North Philadelphia, robbing her of sight in her left eye. What's remarkable about the incident is that the documentary would have existed without it: Director Jonathan Olshefski had already committed to making a film about the girl's family, the Raineys, and the errant gunfire just happened to occur within the flow of the day.

A murder mystery narrated by a toxically self-aware teenager, Sam Munson's 2010 novel The November Criminals is the kind of book that attracts smart filmmakers and serious actors — that then, all too often, gets diluted into a bland disappointment like November Criminals.

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