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.

George Clooney is nominated for two Oscars this year — for his lead role in The Descendants and for co-writing the adapted screenplay for The Ides Of March, which he also directed. He speaks to Robert Siegel on today's All Things Considered about film, but also about the life he lives as one of Hollywood's most famous men.

In the end, there were nine nominees for Best Picture announced on Tuesday morning, and eight of them were entirely predictable: The Artist, The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, Midnight In Paris, War Horse, The Tree Of Life, and Moneyball.

John Hawkes' conversation with Melissa Block on today's All Things Considered begins as many of his conversations might: with her noting that when she told people she was coming to talk to him and rattled off his credits, she got a response that he undoubtedly gets a lot: "Ohhh, he's that guy."

The Iranian drama A Separation has popped up on more than a few critics' lists of the best films of 2011, despite little exposure in the U.S. thus far. It will open in limited release December 30, and as Howie Movshovitz of Colorado Public Radio reports on Friday's Morning Edition, it serves as both a family drama and a piece of social observation about life in Iran.

It's almost here. And by "it," we mean the new season of Downton Abbey, the UK-produced drama about the Crawley family and their servants that PBS imported for Masterpiece Classic with great success. Series two has already run in the UK, but if you've been good and patient and resisted the urge to obtain it by illicit means, your wait is nearly over: the new season begins on PBS on January 8th.

Is it pure whimsy that makes something like "Callin' Oates" appealing?

If you pick up your phone and call 719-26-OATES — at least as of this writing — you'll get a computerized woman's voice telling you what numbers to press to hear one of four Hall & Oates songs.

The question, of course, is ... why?

Charlize Theron is ugly in Young Adult, the new film from the Juno team of director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody — both literally and personally. In parts of the film, she still looks like her knockout movie-star self, but in other parts, she looks like she's aged a year for every day since her character, Mavis Gary, left high school.

You might think Harry Potter fever would be petering out now that the books and the films have come and gone. You, of course, would be wrong, as Ben Bergman reports on today's Morning Edition.

From a pop culture perspective, Hugh Grant's testimony yesterday about ethics in journalism is a fascinating step for a guy who's already had a pretty interesting trajectory.

Following the exit of producer Brett Ratner from the upcoming Oscars telecast yesterday, Eddie Murphy — whose new film Tower Heist is also Ratner's latest directorial effort — has stepped aside as host of the 2012 show, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today.

In Clint Eastwood's new film J. Edgar, Leonardo DiCaprio plays J. Edgar Hoover, the controversial longtime FBI director, from youth through old age. And when you play a man for that long, you might expect to sympathize with him somewhat. But DiCaprio tells Guy Raz on today's All Things Considered that he doesn't have sympathy or empathy for Hoover.

On today's All Things Considered, Robert Siegel poses an important question to Bob Costas, one of the authors of a new book about the greatest moments in football: With football so popular and beloved and money-making, why is baseball still considered our national pastime? What does football have to do to get a little love?

"Hey, leave baseball something," Costas says of the special, nostalgic language with which we often speak of it. "In every other measurable way, football has surpassed it."

It was almost two years ago now that Justin Timberlake, while filming The Social Network, cemented his place in the NPR collective heart by being photographed wearing our logo across his chest like a tattoo, only fabric, and temporary, and less painful. (Back then, by the way, that shirt wasn't in our shop. Now, you can have one! It's with our "best-sellers," even now.)

Certain facts regarding movie ratings are not in dispute.

If you think your kids have the potential for major sibling rivalry, consider the Klitschko Brothers, Wladimir and Vitali. They're the first brothers to hold world boxing titles simultaneously.

Director Sebastian Dehnhardt tells their story in a new documentary simply called Klitschko, and they talk about their story with Scott Simon Saturday on Weekend Edition.

Amy Poehler joined Saturday Night Live in 2001 — a time, she says, when no one was really sure comedy was going to ever be okay again. She left in 2008 after playing Hillary Clinton during the show's coverage of an election cycle when, she tells Ari Shapiro on Thursday's Morning Edition, "the country was really paying attention to politics."

We have a bit of history with Herman Melville's Moby-Dick here at Monkey See. It was the second selection in our I Will If You Will Book Club after Twilight (true story!), and we read the entire thing together in the spring of 2010.

Today on All Things Considered, Alisha Niehaus of the Girl Scouts of America talks to host Guy Raz about a big update: for the first time in a quarter-century, they've updated the badges that Scouts can earn.

I'm going to make a confession. I have enjoyed many of the same Onion headlines as everyone else over the years, from the exploits of presidents and Congress to the activities of store clerks and sad dads. But their sports coverage, while it's passed around somewhat less often and is a bit less well-known, is generally my favorite stuff they do.

When the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was announced last night, if you were following Twitter, what you saw was a spasm of grief. Writers, actors, musicians, your friends, comedians ... the genuine sadness was palpable, not only because he was 56 years old, but because so many saw the news while holding one of his products in their hands. This is very much what popular culture is: this hive mind, this hum of collective response.

Today was widely expected to bring the announcement of the iPhone 5 — maybe with a bigger screen, a different home button, or a differently shaped case — at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

It didn't.

That's not to say Apple didn't say anything of note at its rather lengthy presentation. Not at all. But the big game-changing piece of new hardware didn't come to pass. Aficionados waited, wondering and chattering on liveblogs and on Twitter to see if it would come at the end in Apple's traditional "one more thing" fashion.

It didn't.

ABC News and Yahoo! announced today that they are teaming up in a "strategic online news alliance" they hope will reach 100 million U.S. users a month. And they're not starting small: George Stephanopoulos will interview President Obama at 2:35 this afternoon for a webcast on ABCNews.com and Yahoo.com. The partnership will make ABC News, according to the press release, "the premier news provider on Yahoo! News." The press release says that Yahoo!

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