What’s happening this week in popular culture! Read last week’s here.
Titus Andronicus “The Most Lamentable Tragedy”
The punk group comes out with their fourth album this week, again taking a genre known for its simplistic chord progressions and rapid paced songs and evolving it to its most literary and sprawling. For those who thought their third record “Local Business” was too short at 49 minutes, “Tragedy” comes in at over 90 across its 29 tracks–a full blown rock opera. Sure to be filled with hooks, liturgical-like rhythms, and plenty of musical interludes, it’s worth checking out for those who enjoy punk rockers inspired by Shakespeare.
Migos “Yung Rich Nation”
The rap group’s first official album (though at this point can we just accept mixtapes as albums? I mean c’mon) promises to feature more of their weird brand of auto-tune heavy hip-hop.
Lianne La Havas “Blood”
The sophomore album from the British singer-songwriter–this one looks to be a departure from the confines of the acoustic guitar–with her experimenting in other genres. The couple songs I have heard are pretty chill, with funky jazz musical influences ripe for any coffee shop, without ever devolving into cliche.
Others: CFCF “Radiance and Submissions”
The End of the Tour
Based on a true story, Jesse Eisenberg plays a reporter sent to interview and spend time with author David Foster Wallace. Early reviews are good, but there has been a little bit of backlash as to how this movie and the wider culture views Wallace’s legacy (he committed suicide at the age of 46). Jason Segel stars as Wallace and hopefully the movie will have interesting things to say and isn’t a sappy tribute, either way Wallace is a GOAT writer so at the very least it should get people checking out his great work. (GQ–lovely cultural curator that they are–has some pretty accessible suggestions of what to read before you see the film here)
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
I’m beginning to develop a theory about these action movie sequels that have been appearing to great reviews lately. As a culture we have become more accepting of the fun parts of action films; when movies meet these tropes–adding great action set pieces along the way–we now see them as great pieces of filmmaking even if they aren’t necessarily breaking ground artistically. The latter Fast & Furious movies are prime examples with almost every film climbing up in Rotten Tomatoes percentage. Similarly, almost every Mission: Impossible film has grown in this percentage (in chronological order: 61 to 57 to 70 to 93 to Rogue Nation at 96% during this writing) and though it could be that both of these franchises have gotten better over time, it could also be that the originals were underrated because they were seen as low-brow entertainment. Die Hard is now a straight-up classic and it’s no longer critical career suicide to declare action films as some of the best of the year. It’s clear now that the combination of charismatic leads with wild set pieces is a formula that not only works well to get people to see your film, but that it actually makes good movies.
Best of Enemies
A documentary showcasing debates that took place in the late 60s on ABC between representatives of the political right and left. It’s the first time this sort of debate took place on a national level and the movie will no doubt present this as the foreground of the way we currently squabble over politics today in our very partisan and segregated camps.
Your favorite traveling family is rebooted and they are headed back to Wally World! There’s very little chance a Vacation reboot will work, but I suppose there is a chance…
That Sugar Film
Super Size Me but with sugar because our dietary fears change every ten years or so apparently.
Listen to Me Marlon; A Lego Brickumentary; I Am Chris Farley
A trio of documentaries about very specific subjects (Marlon Brando, Legos, and Chris Farley) that will likely please fans of each.
Others: Five Star; The Kindergarten Teacher
Review (Comedy Central)
One of last year’s funniest (and craziest) shows returns to Comedy Central, starring Andy Daly as Forrest MacNeil. It’s a show that is willing to take its characters as far as it needs to in order to get you to laugh. Forrest stars as a TV host for a program where viewers give him suggestions of things to review. The things that Forrest ends up reviewing aren’t run-of-the-mill, leading him to doing things like heroine, be a racist, and try to seduce Ashley Tisdale. The show refuses to separate Forrest’s home life from the his actions on the show and subsequently each of his reviews have in-life consequences, taking the show to very dark and unexpected places. If this sounds like your brand of comedy, check it out.
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (Netflix)
I previously wrote about this show two weeks ago, mistakenly. If you didn’t see that or need a reminder, here it is again: For the uninformed, back in 2001 Michael Showalter, David Wain and a bunch of their friends released a parody of a summer camp movie that was a complete flop. However, over the last decade, as its stars have gone on to be in just about every comedic thing out there, the film has taken off and has been recognized as a really great comedy. I just watched it a couple weeks ago for the second time and it is really funny. If that doesn’t convince you to see it and then watch this, then perhaps its original cast will: Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Janeane Garofolo, Molly Shannon, David Hyde Pierce, Ken Marino, Joe lo Truglio, Judah Friedlander, etc… On top of this, the eight episode prequel will feature guest spots from: Jon Hamm, Jason Schwartzman, Kristen Wiig, Chris Pine, Randall Park, Paul Scheer, Lake Bell, Josh Charles, Rob Huebel, Weird Al, Michael Cera, etc… Don’t miss out.
This may be a strange pick, but it’s one that peaks my interest. It’s a Disney Channel original movie sparked by our obsession of seeing all our favorite characters collaborate together (really though, look at this list at how often this is happening now: Avengers–and the whole Marvel universe–, Suicide Squad, Batman vs. Superman, The Lego Movie, Wreck-it Ralph, Pixels and the two properties that likely very specifically inspired this: Once Upon a Time and children’s book series The Kingdom Keepers). This musical follows the son of Beast and Belle as he allows the children of Disney villains (such as Maleficent, Cruella de Vil, Jafar, and the Evil Queen) to come off the island they are imprisoned on and attend school with the rest of the heroes. The movie seems to follow the villains as the protagonists and will likely feature a lot of tension between their new freedom and the parental expectation of being villainous. The tone feels like teen Disney kitsch, but Kenny Ortega of High School Musical fame directs and apparently he was the one who made the decision to turn it into a musical, and hey why not?
OOPS I MISSED THIS LAST WEEK:
Well I didn’t really miss it, but Wilco surprised us all with an album, it’s called Star Wars
Future “Dirty Sprite 2”
It was a little confusing as to when this actually was coming out, but Future released an “official” album this week (as compared to the two other mixtapes he’s already released this year). I haven’t listened to it yet, but the mixtapes are really good and this record has gotten great reviews.
Kurt Vile “Pretty Pimpin'”
This new track from his upcoming album is soooooo chill man.