Notes from Lviv

In a series of diary-like dispatches, Matt Gallagher shares a riveting on-the-ground account of training civilians for combat in the Ukrainian city of Lviv.

All-day lane rotations between trainers on urban movement, dismounted recon ops, and advanced room defense. They’re getting better. Petro’s a leader. So is Symon, the law student. So is Ivan, a regional manager of a clothing company. Adrian, Ben, and I chat. It’s time to start becoming more hands-off, we agree. Train the trainers.

Some of the trainees show us text messages they’ve received and been forwarded. People claiming to be American special-operations veterans offering security and exfiltration services for the low, low price of two grand a day. We’re the only suckers here losing money, Ben says, but he says it with pride, with honor.

Source: Esquire
Published: Mar 31, 2022
Length: 29 minutes (7,323 words)

Ben Stiller Sees the World Differently Now

“It was a pretty amazing run. And there was a clarity to it all. He worked hard, pursued satisfying projects, and repeated the things that worked. He made Ben Stiller movies. He was always ascending. Then, starting with the cancer, he got the crap pounded out of him for a few years. His career, his marriage, his parents, his own mortality—the underpinnings of his whole life cracked, and nothing seemed clear at all anymore. And what does a person do then?”

Source: Esquire
Published: Feb 22, 2022
Length: 18 minutes (4,573 words)

Who Writes the Rules for Cops?

“After years of high-profile shootings, policing in America is under more scrutiny than at any time in our history. Meanwhile, one company — which sells policy handbooks to police departments across the country — seems determined to give officers cover.”

Source: Esquire
Published: Feb 2, 2022
Length: 22 minutes (5,500 words)

Justin Olsen Will Get Lost

“These men could blend in on an NFL sideline, but they’re actually burly ballerinas, exploding off the starting block tiptoed in steel-plated shoes that flex like a leather slipper, and mirroring each other with near-perfect synchronicity.”

Source: Esquire
Published: Feb 18, 2021
Length: 13 minutes (3,296 words)

Cillian Murphy Is in a Field of His Own

“At home in Dublin, on the eve of the ‘dark as fuck’ final series of Peaky Blinders, Murphy reflects on his years as one of TV’s greatest-ever gangsters and the tragic loss of his co-star, the ‘magnificent’ Helen McCrory.”

Source: Esquire
Published: Feb 2, 2022
Length: 18 minutes (4,700 words)

Keanu Reeves Knows the Secrets of the Universe

“Guy’s always working—sixty-eight movies in thirty-five years. Playing killing machines, doofuses, romantics, messiahs, and devils. But always Keanu. Which always means something more.”

Source: Esquire
Published: Nov 22, 2021
Length: 20 minutes (5,248 words)

Zoolander at 20: How a Post-9/11 Flop Became the Comedy Everyone’s Still Quoting

“Twenty years on, it’s possible that the world has just finally caught up to Derek Zoolander. With its daft humor, on-point criticism of the fashion industry, and exhaustive list of celebrity cameos, Zoolander has a legacy that has not just lived on with audiences, but grown in accuracy.”

Source: Esquire
Published: Sep 28, 2021
Length: 8 minutes (2,127 words)

All That We’ve Lost

“One year on from the start of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s still too early to explain all the whys of that which has been taken from us. We still need to name the what—loved ones, but also jobs, relationships, big breaks, last chances—and the what is vast.”

Source: Esquire
Published: Mar 10, 2021
Length: 29 minutes (7,281 words)

The Oral History of CNN’s Election Week

“It took office naps, rousing renditions of Motownphilly, and a whole lot of coffee.”

Source: Esquire
Published: Nov 16, 2020
Length: 19 minutes (4,801 words)

‘Something Extremely Bad Is Happening Here’

“Teens are dying by suicide at an alarming rate. Public health officials call it a crisis. Researchers have identified several clusters nationwide. The survivors in this Arizona community are fighting back.”

Source: Esquire
Published: Oct 20, 2020
Length: 25 minutes (6,480 words)