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Pop Culture Happy Hour: Revenge, Redemption, And 'Three Billboards'

Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand star in the film <em>Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.</em>
Merrick Morton
Fox Searchlight
Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand star in the film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

One of the awards contenders that's emerging toward the end of this year is Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. It stars Frances McDormand as a woman named Mildred who sets up the billboards in question to demand action from local police to solve the murder of her daughter. But it slowly shifts focus until it's only partially about Mildred; it's also about the dryly funny family man (Woody Harrelson) who's the police chief and about a viciously racist officer (Sam Rockwell) who's been terrorizing the black population of the town.

The film has very strong reviews, but has also started to see at least some pushback, in part for its handling of race, policing, and domestic violence. We get into those things, plus other fundamentals of filmmaking, in this episode.

We also tell you what's making us happy this week. Stephen is happy about a stand-up comedy special that touches on darkness; Glen is happy about a Christmas album (yes, really); Gene is happy about an episode of television addressing the libidos of girls; and I am happy about a documentary that explores an iconic character in popular culture.

Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: me, the show, Stephen, Glen, Gene, producer Jessica, and producer emeritus Mike.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She 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.

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