Green Entertainment

Toxic Tropes

About a year ago I started writing about how environmentalists were portrayed in scripted entertainment . In their new fall issue, Sierra Magazine allowed me to write 1,400 words on the subject for their Critic’s Notebook section. To that end, I put together some clips to visually demonstrate my point. Enjoy.

Can Hollywood get beyond its stereotypical portrayals of environmentalists?

Previously published in Sierra Magazine Looking back, it seems the problem started with Ghostbusters. In the 1984 blockbuster comedy, William Atherton plays Environmental Protection Agency investigator Walter Peck. Alarmed by media reports about the Ghostbusters’ shenanigans, Peck stops by their headquarters, looking for “the presence of noxious, possibly hazardous-waste chemicals.” Ghostbuster Peter Venkman, played by Bill …

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Future Imperfect

Apple TV’s new cli-fi series, Extrapolations, envisions a future that feels all too close to the present First published in Sierra Magazine. The year is 2037. Fires rage across the globe. Activists are protesting government gridlock on climate change as corporate CEOs defend their greed with arguments that a strong economy is worth a couple …

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You Can’t Say Hollywood Doesn’t Recycle

Despite a Twister Remake, the Climate Crisis is Still Woefully Underrepresented Onscreen. A recent report created in partnership by the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center and Good Energy Stories contains sobering news. Only 2.8% of the 37,453 scripted TV shows and movies released between 2016 and 2020 mentioned climate change. Contrast that with a Pew poll showing two thirds of Americans …

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Was Yellowstone's John Dutton an Eco-Terrorist?

The fifth season of Paramount’s hit drama Yellowstone, started on Sunday. More popular than ever, it was the most watched scripted premier of 2022. The first two episode’s tension hinges on the historic Dutton Montana cattle ranch and the forces jockeying to take away patriarch John Dutton’s way of life. Coastal developers, Native American tribes …

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Live Green or Die Hard

Experts weigh in on environmentalists’ negative portrayals in scripted entertainment. In early October I took a light-hearted look at the recent spate of green-minded comic book villains adapted for the big screen. The more I dug around, I found overwhelming evidence that environmentalist are often portrayed in scripted entertainment as the bad guy, a punchline, …

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Finding Bigfoot's Ranae Holland

Finding Greenfoot

On the 55th anniversary of the infamous Patterson-Gimlin Sasquatch film, I talk with Finding Bigfoot’s Ranae Holland. For ten years Ranae Holland co-hosted the hit show Finding Bigfoot on Discovery’s Animal Planet. Cast as The Skeptical Scientist opposite a trio of Squatch-believers, Holland used her scientific training to debunk evidence of the perennially elusive cryptid.  Less well-known is Holland’s …

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Walter Peck Ghostbusters

We Don’t Need Another Green Anti-Hero

When was the last time a movie portrayed a fictional environmentalist as anything other than a villain, a punchline, a scold, or all three? Environmentalists can’t catch a break. Not in the literal sense. Not like how the ghoulish politicians responsible for the Flint water crisis escaped accountability for poisoning children with toxic lead. Or how a …

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vinyl record

Vinyl Records’ Revival Threatens Environment and Health

Demand for vinyl records is soaring, but there’s something funky about this musical comeback – the energy and chemicals involved with producing the iconic circular discs creates pollution, adds to the climate crisis and may harm our health. But it’s not all sour notes, because some vinyl producers are experimenting with ways to make records …

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The best green films at Sundance

Previously at Grist. The Sundance Film Festival has long been a celebrated venue for environmental documentaries, due in part to Sundance founder Robert Redford‘s green sensibilities. An Inconvenient Truth, The Cove, and Who Killed the Electric Car? all attracted critical buzz at Sundance before they made their way into theaters around the country. The festival’s 2010 lineup continues this trend with a …

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