John Powers

Pop Culture Critic, Fresh Air

John Powers is the pop culture and critic-at-large on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. He previously served for six years as the film critic.

Powers covers film and politics for Vogue and Vogue.com. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Harper's BAZAAR, The Nation, Gourmet, The Washington Post, The New York Times and L.A. Weekly, where he spent twelve years as a critic and columnist.

A former professor at Georgetown University, Powers is the author of Sore Winners, a study of American culture during President George W. Bush's administration. His latest book, WKW: The Cinema of Wong Kar Wai (co-written with Wong Kar Wai), is an April 2016 release by Rizzoli.

He lives in Pasadena, California, with his wife, Sandi Tan.

[+] read more[-] less

Purchase Featured Book

Buy Featured Book

Title
Sore Winners
Author
John Powers

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Gianfranco Rosi's documentary, Fire at Sea, is set on the tiny Sicilian island of Lampedusa, where tens of thousands of migrants come ashore each year. 01 Distribution hide caption

toggle caption
01 Distribution

2 New Works Confront The Refugee Crisis With Empathy And Humanity

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/503858023/503894840" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Feminist Western 'Certain Women' Takes On Friendship And Stoicism

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/501155322/501209136" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'13th' Maps The Road From Slavery To Mass Incarceration

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/498811546/498860177" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

James Marsden plays a tourist and Evan Rachel Wood is a rancher's daughter in the HBO series Westworld, which premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. John P. Johnson/HBO hide caption

toggle caption
John P. Johnson/HBO

Old West Gunslinging Meets Futuristic Androids In HBO's 'Westworld'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/495913292/495957481" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Kiefer Sutherland stars as Tom Kirkman, a lower-level Cabinet member who suddenly becomes president of the United States, in the ABC series Designated Survivor, which premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET. Ian Watson/ABC hide caption

toggle caption
Ian Watson/ABC

Kiefer Sutherland Takes Over The Oval Office As The 'Designated Survivor'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/494730463/494963736" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'War Dogs' Puts A Satirical Spin On The Business Of War

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/490626053/490647207" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Europa Editions

Dystopian Novel Challenges Misogyny As 'The Natural Way Of Things'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/487485581/487504719" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Alex Gibney's new documentary Zero Days focuses on the large-scale implications of computer malware. Magnolia Pictures hide caption

toggle caption
Magnolia Pictures

'Zero Days' Documentary Exposes A Looming Threat Of The Digital Age

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/486464177/486489244" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Cover detail of The Transmigration of Bodies, by Yuri Herrera & Other Stories hide caption

toggle caption
& Other Stories

2 Brilliantly Written Novels From Mexico Head Up A Wave Of Literary Talent

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484105642/485573862" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'The Witness' Exposes The Myths, Misconceptions Of Kitty Genovese's Murder

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/482313144/482341895" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A Bigger Splash features Ralph Fiennes as an old lover whose expected visit interrupts the life of rock star Marianne (played by Tilda Swinton). Jack English/Fox Searchlight Pictures hide caption

toggle caption
Jack English/Fox Searchlight Pictures

An Emotional Storm Breaks In Paradise In 'A Bigger Splash'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/478199508/478248669" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A Thrilling TV Adaptation Of John Le Carré's 'Night Manager'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/474828047/474842988" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Cacá (played by Alyne Santana) is one of several characters who dreams of a life beyond the vaquejada in Neon Bull. Kino Lorber hide caption

toggle caption
Kino Lorber

In 'Neon Bull,' A Strange, Dreamy Road Movie Reveals A Vanishing Way Of Life

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/473231659/473264077" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'My Golden Days,' An Heir To French New Wave

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/471708357/472179407" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'Charlie Chan Hock Chye' Offers A Heartfelt Take On Aging, Art And History

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/469512468/469522392" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript