Heather Havrilesky, The Cut
Winona Ryder. She's been Lydia Deetz, Veronica Sawyer, Lelaina Pierce, and even Jo March, legendary heroines that celebrated weirdness and autonomy. Now, Ryder stars brilliantly in the Netflix original series Stranger Things as the frazzled mother of a missing son. Havrilesky insightfully captures Ryder's off-kilter spirit and iconicity in this piece, and Ryder talks wisely about her youth, the societal stigma of sensitivity, and anxiety. After years of she's "grown into a comfortably complicated adult, not in search of a comeback so much as another great book to read." Oh, and she's glowing in these beautiful portraits.
Patrick D. McDermott, The FADER
Joanne The Scammer lives for drama. Branden Miller is just trying to live. This is the expertly told story of a Daytona Beach man who opened a new side of himself through a scamming, messy bitch named Joanne — and went viral. Truly iconic!
N. R. Kleinfeld, Richard A. Oppel Jr., and Melissa Eddy, New York Times
Khizr and Ghazala Khan, parents who lost their son Humayun in Iraq, stood on stage during the Democratic National Convention this July. Khizr denounced Donald Trump, saying he had never once sacrificed anything — for this country, or otherwise — and held up a pocket-sized copy of the Constitution. He got razzed by Trump, and heroized by liberal media, and it changed the Khans' life. The Times tells the Khans' story, from Humayun's bravery to Khizr and Ghazala's quiet patriotism, with grace.
Tim Struby, Victory Journal
Just like all other performers, Olympic athletes have understudies. Or, alternates, as they're called. What does it feel like to be accomplished enough to make it to Rio, practice everyday with your team, but not take part in any glory or spotlight?
Sam Biddle, The Intercept
We all know about the Pokémon Go privacy debacle, but what we didn't know, until The Intercept reported it, is that the extremely popular game app's CEO has already been embroiled in a scandal over sensitive personal data. Before he was Niantic Labs CEO, John Hanke ran Google's Geo division, the one that took all the photos for Google Maps street view feature, and secretly copied digital traffic from home networks.
Liz Raiss, The FADER
On the silver screen, sci-fi style is evolving for the better, and a new batch of filmmakers are upending the genre "in more nuanced, clever, inventive ways." As Liz Raiss writes of the 2013 film Her: "morality is gray-scale: here, humanity is as much its own enemy as the technology it has created. And clothing is not assigned a designation of 'good' or 'bad'; symbolism is stripped away. That leaves us to recognize the clothing options in the world of Her as part of a tapestry of tiny choices that is by turns nostalgic, anxiety-provoking, self-destructive, and hopeful. Just like real life."