A Marriage Story

Did the Pixar film Up make you cry? At The Ringer, director Pete Docter and codirector Bob Peterson talk about the nuances of craft that created a deeply emotional response to the characters in the film.

But these early scenes reveal that Up isn’t only about Carl—it’s also about his relationship with his wife, Ellie. They’re kids when she bursts into his life with a shock of red hair and a passion for exploration, and the interaction leads to a deeply felt, lifelong connection. In a flash, Up snaps into a montage of their life together: the two pals fall in love, get married, buy what was once Ellie’s hideaway and turn it into a home of their own.

Source: The Ringer
Published: Jun 14, 2022
Length: 9 minutes (2,330 words)

Kate Bush, “Running Up That Hill,” and the End of Music Charts As We Knew Them

Thanks to season four of Stranger Things, Kate Bush’s song, “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God),” has topped the charts, 37 years after its release. Nate Rogers takes a look at how this happened, and what it means for the music industry, and especially older, legacy acts.

Drenched in gated reverb and woozy synths, the song is also an ideal track to sonically fit into the retro sound that the show has so carefully curated. “It’s working on all of these levels of reference, both internally to the episode, to the larger series, to our sort of collective nostalgia of what the 1980s feel like,” says Harding.

Source: The Ringer
Published: Jun 7, 2022
Length: 14 minutes (3,571 words)

The Hidden and Eternal Spirit of the Great Dismal Swamp

A haunting journey into one of the most forgotten places in America:

Listen to locals long enough and you’ll come to find that the Dismal shifts in the eye of the beholder. The land’s kaleidoscopic history is much the same. For one of Eric’s distant relatives, a lumberman named Moses Grandy, the swamp was at once the site of his bondage and the nexus of his freedom. Grandy toiled in the cavernous morass for decades as an enslaved laborer before stashing away enough coin to purchase himself outright. He was one in a colony of workers who lived in camps in the bog. Out of porous peat soil they cut and glued canals, lugged cypress and white cedar trunks, and crafted millions of shingles. Most inhabitants were enslaved, but some harnessed the swamp to other ends. Some sought refuge in it.

From the late 17th century to the end of the Civil War, thousands of maroons — runaways who obtained their freedom by occupying remote and uninhabited regions — lived in relative secrecy throughout the 750-square-mile wilderness. No one is sure exactly how many people escaped enslavement within its confines, but this much is clear: The Great Dismal Swamp, an area regarded by colonial settlers as so utterly inhospitable that its very air was once said to be toxic, was over multiple centuries home to the largest maroon community in the United States.

Author: Lex Pryor
Source: The Ringer
Published: Mar 30, 2022
Length: 34 minutes (8,700 words)

Does My Son Know You?

Ringer writer Jonathan Tjarks veers from his usual NBA beat to unpack his cancer diagnosis and the shadow it casts over his experience as a son and a father. Unblinking and plainspoken, he somehow manages to strip the emotion out of his writing — but not the emotional impact.

I was 12. That’s the age when your parents go from authority figures to actual people. That never happened for me and my dad. We never got to know each other. What did he like doing? What were his experiences growing up? What were his goals in life?

And there’s the simpler stuff too. How do you tie a tie? Or grill a burger? Or fix a car?

I had to figure it all out on my own. Now it looks like my son might have to do the same. It was the one thing that I never wanted for him.

Source: The Ringer
Published: Mar 3, 2022
Length: 10 minutes (2,738 words)

The Art of Passing

“When their heads are right, the best passers are the good-vibes guys of the league. Joy curators. Misters Congeniality. They make you happy. They let you touch the ball. They trust you. They think you’re good enough. They think you can help. Some combination of stunt-person, illusionist, actor, detective, and circus performer. They raise the energy on the bench and in the stands, give the air that crackle. You want to be in their orbit. Things are brighter there.”

Source: The Ringer
Published: Feb 23, 2022
Length: 19 minutes (4,829 words)

The Twisted, Stolen Legacy of the ‘Matrix’ Red Pill

“Unlike the sobering effect it has on Neo as he discovers the sockets in his flesh, this pill tends to have the same effect as going too deep into any research hole on the internet without proper barriers. It is much more likely to create further distress, alienation, or just outright absurdity than it does clarity.”

Source: The Ringer
Published: Dec 21, 2021
Length: 18 minutes (4,625 words)

Your Favorite Scary Movie: The Oral History of ‘Scream’

“It’s hard to imagine now that the franchise has been spilling gallons of fake blood for a quarter-century—Paramount Home Entertainment recently released a remastered anniversary edition on 4K Ultra HD, and the fifth installment of the franchise will hit theaters in January—but there was a time when no one wanted to direct Scream. At first, even Wes Craven passed. Several times. The man behind horror classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Last House on the Left was tired of being confined to the genre that he’d mastered. Yet the pull of Williamson’s script eventually turned out to be too much to resist, and with its elements at his fingertips, Craven reinvented big-screen horror.”

Source: The Ringer
Published: Dec 20, 2021
Length: 28 minutes (7,096 words)

The Day the Good Internet Died

“Did a Good Internet ever even exist, or am I just nostalgic for my youth?”

Source: The Ringer
Published: Jul 21, 2021
Length: 12 minutes (3,211 words)

Only Shooting Stars Break the Mold: The Massive Musical Footprint of ‘Shrek’

““Shrek was the first animated picture to have, in its dialogue and in its music, pop references,” says Marylata Elton, Shrek’s music supervisor. “What ended up [happening] is that Shrek became pop culture itself.””

Source: The Ringer
Published: May 18, 2021
Length: 20 minutes (5,005 words)

Two Assholes Lost in the Woods: An Oral History of ‘Pine Barrens’

“Twenty years after it aired, David Chase and Co. look back on the one of the wildest, boldest, funniest episodes of ‘The Sopranos’ ever made.”

Source: The Ringer
Published: May 5, 2021
Length: 22 minutes (5,600 words)