Pop Culture Week In Review 5/23 – 5/30
Oh, what a week. Things happened, man. Believe me. Things.
Not good enough for you? Fine. Then taste this cornucopia of pop culture…things, and be satiated, glutton.
Amusing, Impactful, Inspiring
Need I say more?
The comedy God decided to crash a bachelor party this week with some words of wisdom to a group of drunken bros. The cherry on top was that he actually had some awesome advice for the rapscallions, and I suggest every bachelor to watch and learn a little something from the legend himself. Then slowly realize that your own bachelor party will never, ever be as good. Life, bub.
On his new HBO show, Last Week Tonight, John Oliver found his footing with his first Stewart-worthy viral moment. Much like The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight takes on real issues with a studied bit of wit and comedy. This week, Oliver hit gold with his take on global warming. Take a gander and see how Professor Duncan brings home the bacon.
Impactful, but hardly inspiring. Leave that bit to Jim Carrey. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the spark of greatness Carrey used to enflame on screen, but when he stepped onto the Maharishi University stage, he lit it up again. No, it’s not on a Steve Jobs level of graduation inspiration, but whether you’ve graduated recently or years ago, it still hits home.
“I learned many, many lessons from my father, but not least of which is that you can fail at something you don’t want to do, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love.”
Sad, Angry, Disappointing
Maya Angelou’s life was far more impactful and significant than yours or mine will ever be. I initially resisted including her death, this past Wednesday, in my article. It felt like trying to honor her in a Pop Culture WIR would cheapen her legacy. But in all aspects, whether it be pop culture or social justice, Maya Angelou deserves recognition and respect. If you’re not very familiar with her, take a moment to scroll through this timeline and acquaint yourself with one of humanity’s best.
To turn that sadness into contempt and rage, look no further than the most recent attempts by Amazon and Facebook to own everything. This week, Amazon successfully patented photographs with white background. Yes, that is exactly what it sounds like. Yes, it is completely ridiculous. How can a company own the rights to a style of photography used by 99% of American photographers? Good question. But they can, and they do.
Facebook joined the anger-inducing bandwagon in equal measure, announcing an update to their mobile app that allows Facebook to tap into your phone’s microphone and identify what’s going on around you, whether it be songs, television, or, you know, literally any information they can sell to advertisers. Because “privacy” is for everyone but you.
In disappointing news to Marvel fans, Edgar Wright, famed director behind Scott Pilgrim vs The World and the Cornetto Trilogy, parted ways with Marvel over their upcoming Ant Man movie, starring Paul Rudd. Wright is an auteur, and after his script was adjusted, turned down and discolored by Marvel time and time again, he finally threw up his hands and left the project altogether. He later posted a photo of Buster Keaton holding a Cornetto, titled “Selfie.” For those who don’t know, Keaton was a famous writer/director who gave up his independent films for a signed a contract with MGM, which he later called, “the worst mistake of my career.” While Ant Man will undoubtedly suffer from not having the Wright director (boom!), thankfully Edgar Wright has the foresight to stick to his convictions.
Joss Whedon even paid tribute to Wright’s departure. Hopefully he isn’t having his own regrets about signing with Marvel/Disney…
Silly, H8full, and Resurrecting
To cleanse your palate from all that depressing news, how’s about a Game of Thrones recap by Seth Rogan and Snoop Dogg? PS – they’re high. Also, spoiler alert if you aren’t caught up in the show.
Whew. Now that’s out of the way, Quentin Tarantino is reportedly back in the saddle for his next movie, The Hateful Eight. Earlier this year, Gawker leaked the Western script and Tarantino went haywire, suing the publication and swearing that he’d shelve the movie indefinitely. Luckily, his hatred ran its course, and the cast/shooting dates are set for his foray back west. While Christoph Waltz is left off the cast this time (much to the pleasure of Best Supporting Actor nominees everywhere), Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Madsen, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins and more will more than pick up the slack.
And finally, the resurrections.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, and no, I don’t mean “reboots.” I mean back from the dead, guns blazing and ready to rumble resurrections.
First up was the announcement of a new Queen album featuring all unheard tracks from Freddie Mercury. Next was a Kickstarter campaign by LeVar (not a typo) Burton to return Reading Rainbow to air, this time as a free program for schools. His goal was to reach $1 million in 35 days. He reached $1 million in 24 hours. Because he’s LeVar F’ing Burton, and he made it so.
Finally…Community. Yes, it was only reported that Sony and Hulu were “interested” an in talks about saving the recently cancelled series. Yes, it’s still a long shot and negotiations are always risky. But the interest is there, and if Community really can be saved…and with all this LeVar Burton news…could it really be?
Never before has there been a more perfect video for this news and these feelings. And this is me running away from my laptop, weeping. Please make it so, Kunta…