John Wilmes

Writer and Professor

I write and teach in Chicago. E-mail me about writing opportunities at [email protected] or follow me on Twitter at @johnwilmeswords. My book JAD'S DAD MILO is now available from Mouse House Books.

'Euphoria' is 'Yellowstone' for Zoomers

Between the seams of Euphoria's ragged deconstruction of tragically misunderstood young people are Levinson's efforts to make his own adult showrunner self one of these touchstones of empathy. "Some people need to get their feelings hurt sometimes," soft-hearted drug dealer Fez tells good-girl Lexi, defending her savage dramatic representations of friends in the play.

Mouse House Books
Jad's Dad Milo - Mouse House Books

Narrator Bert Britwell, his boss Milo, and Milo's son Jad star in a dark and funny tale of corporate plotting and daddy issues that hinges on an office sub-kitchen scheme and the re-creation of a deceased father's magical, weightless tap dancing.

Escape from Mayor McCheese Prison - Mutable

SHORT FICTION // In my thirty-first year, what I looked forward to more than anything were my walks. My wife did not know about them. On these walks, I would get McDonald's-often a shameful amount, double-digit McNuggets and multiple sandwiches. I would take laps around the neighborhood and, while walki

The Ringer
Captain America's Strange, Time-Hopping Quest for Sexual Enlightenment

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier hardly know each other yet. They are acquaintances who will be suddenly made into partners. Fate, as it's surely done to all of us before, brings these two guys together because they were both best friends with a different, third guy, at very different times.

The Outline
How Hollywood stole 'The Grinch'

Right before 2018's The Grinch starts, its viewers must reckon with a Minion. Before you can get to Dr. Seuss's famous character, several byzantine degrees removed from his source material, the little pill-shaped yellow creature turns on the Illumination Studios lights as part of a studio intro, and laughs maniacally.

A Hunger Strike on Chicago's Southeast Side

In 2019, the City of Chicago gifted the real estate development firm Sterling Bay $1.3 billion to build infrastructure for future residents in a postindustrial region about two miles north of its business hub downtown. The giveaway was standard fare for the city, offering up huge amounts of money to an already wealthy and powerful developer.

Chicago Reader
Thrill of recognition or contempt for inaccuracy - Chicago Reader

In 2020, Netflix released a cinematic adaptation of J.D. Vance's histrionic and ragingly inaccurate hit memoir, Hillbilly Elegy. Unlike the book, the movie's hacky, reactionary provocations about the nature of Middle America failed to catch on-it was critically panned, and is now mostly remembered (if at all) for how it featured its star Glenn Close embarrassingly bending toward Oscar glory, in one of the most reliably clichéd ways there is.

The Outline
Charlie Sheen invented never logging off

"To this day I'm not sure how I created such chaos and wound up in that headspace," Charlie Sheen said in an interview this past April, reflecting on his infamous 2011 meltdown. "It's as though there were some alien or demonic possession going on," he continued, evoking a kind of eldritch, body-invading nemesis in remembrance of his old months-long televised bender.