Houston Matters

The Bigger Picture: ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ and the allure of celebrity culture

Houston Matters considers how the public engages with celebrities and the draw of a superstar like Harry Styles.


Florence Pugh and Olivia Wilde in the film Don’t Worry Darling.


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The sunny aesthetics of 1950s America come alive in Don’t Worry Darling, Olivia Wilde’s latest film as a director.

Alice (Florence Pugh) is seemingly living the good life with her husband Jack (Harry Styles) as she tends to the domestic responsibilities while he spends the day working. But some unusual occurrences hint that something’s not quite right with this world.

Of course, the mysteries of the film’s plot seem to pale in comparison to the speculation about what happened off-screen during production and even amid its press tour, including Styles allegedly spitting on co-star Chris Pine.

Why do so many people seem to care about what goes on in celebrities’ personal lives? And how much of this speculation fueled the film’s successful opening weekend despite poor reviews?

In this month’s edition of The Bigger Picture, where Houston Matters examines cultural or social topics in film, we explore the draw of celebrity culture and whether films can be overshadowed by off-screen drama.

In the audio above, producer Joshua Zinn talks with Cary Darling, arts editor and film critic at the Houston Chronicle, and Louie Dean Valencia, an associate professor of digital history at Texas State University, who includes Styles specifically in one of his courses.

Joshua Zinn

Joshua Zinn

Producer, Houston Matters

Joshua is a producer for Houston Matters on News 88.7 as well as the host of Encore Houston on Houston Public Media Classical. He joined Houston Public Media as a radio intern in 2014 and became a full-time announcer the following year. Now he prepares segments and occasionally records interviews...

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