Pop Culture Odds and Ends – I’m An Auntie Edition

He made us wait for it, but my nephew finally made his glorious debut on this planet last week. Kudos to my sister-in-law ushering this perfect little creature into our lives. It’s amazing how much he has changed all of us already and he isn’t even a week old. So far being an auntie is pretty easy – I show up, hold the baby for a while, and then get to bail if he gets fussy. Honestly, this is kind of a perfect arrangement. And it’s amazing how biology works – obviously this isn’t my kid, but when I look down at him in my arms, I’m pretty sure that I would take a bullet for him. Hopefully that theory is never tested, but who knows – it’s too early to determine how good he’s going to be at life choices.

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Meanwhile, the pop culture world keeps spinning, so while I ooh and ahh over this baby get yourself caught up on everything that you might have missed in the last week with this installment of the roundup.

Television

Movies

Trailers

  • The Keepers:

 

  • Cloak and Dagger:

 

  • Kingsman: The Golden Circle:

 

 

  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, season 3:

 

  • Hidden America, season 2:

 

  • The Beguiled:

 

  • Once Upon A Time:

 

  • The Exception:

 

  • Churchill:

 

  • Pirates of the Caribbean 5:

 

  • Wrestling with Chyna:

 

  • Blood Drive:

 

  • Batman and Bill:

 

Music

Stand-up

Theater

Books

Odds and Ends

Mashups and Supercuts

  • A mashup of Star Wars and The Room:

 

  • James Corden and Kevin James do some karaoke:

 

  • Ludacris rapped Llama Llama Red Pajama:

 

  • The Real Grouches of Sesame Street:

 

  • Silence of the Lambs as a rom-com:

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Out of the Sick Bay Edition

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It was finally my turn to catch whatever bug has been floating around this winter. Mercifully my time being down for the count was minimal, but man did it come out of nowhere like a freight train to completely level me. I had a mild cold for a few days and was feeling particularly tired on Saturday, but I had things to do and seemed to rally just fine. Most of Sunday I was OK to, until suddenly I wasn’t. And I do mean suddenly – one minute I was enjoying dinner with my family and the next it felt like someone had jammed an ice pick into my forehead and I felt nauseous. It was awful. I even took a sick day on Monday, which is very unlike me. And then, almost as suddenly as it appeared, it was gone. I’m not yet 100%, but I feel a whole lot better than I did for that 24 hour period. Perhaps this was the universe’s way of telling me that I needed to stay home and clear out my DVR, which was filled with some truly questionable movies that I DVRed.

But even my brief stint in the sick bay wasn’t enough to keep me from this week’s roundup. As usual, I’ve found the best that the world of pop culture had to offer in the last week. So while I start to feel like a human again, catch yourself on what you might have missed.

Television

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Movies

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Trailers

  • Baywatch:

 

  • Spider-Man: Homecoming:

 

  • The Founder:

 

  • Sherlock, season 4:

 

  • War for the Planet of the Apes:

 

  • The Fate of the Furious:

 

  • The OA:

 

  • Fifty Shades Darker:

 

  • Underground, season two:

 

  • A United Kingdom:

 

  • The Last Word:

 

  • Netflix’s One Day at a Time remake:

 

  • The Wall:

 

  • Z: The Beginning of Everything:

 

  • Lady MacBeth:

 

Music

 

200

Stand-Up

Theater

Books

Best of 2016

Odds and Ends

 

Mashups and Supercuts

  • Zack Snyder mashed up Justice League and The Force Awakens:

 

  • The viral trends of 2016 in one video:

 

  • 10 best opening title sequences of all time:

 

  • Lorde and Jack Antonoff cover Robyn’s “Hang With Me”:

 

  • Christmas lights synchronized to AC/DC:

 

  • “The Imperial March” played on a coffee stirrer:

 

  • Finding Dory recut as a thriller:

 

Some thoughts on Horace and Pete

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In late January, Louis C.K. “pulled a Beyoncé” and dropped the first episode of his web series Horace and Pete. He had done zero promotion for this project; the first that fans heard of it was when members of his mailing list (like me) received an email saying that the first episode was available. No one had any idea that Louis C.K. was even working on a web series; it just magically appeared out of nowhere. The web series was being created as they went along – every Saturday I’d receive an often hilarious email from Louis C.K. letting me know that a new episode had been posted. I looked forward to getting these emails every week, as there was no clear indication of how long this web series was going to run. As quickly as it magically appeared, it could just as quickly disappear. I had fallen behind on actually watching the episodes, but when it was announced that the series was done after its 10th episode (which dropped this weekend) I found some time this weekend to power through the 6 remaining episodes that I had.

Horace and Pete is focused on the bar of the same name and the family that owns said bar. Horace and Pete has been operating in Brooklyn for over 100 years and is always run by a Horace and a Pete (the name is handed down in the family). The bar is currently run by brothers Horace VIII (Louis C.K.) and Pete (Steve Buscemi) who took over the bar after the death of their father; the bartender is their Uncle Pete (Alan Alda), who is a foul-mouthed straight shooter that has no worries about being political correct. Their sister Sylvia (Edie Falco) wants to shut the bar down and sell the property, though as a woman she has been given no part of the family business. The bar survives thanks to its regulars (played by Jessica Lange, Kurt Metger, Steven Wright, Nick DiPaolo, and Tom Noonan), who often get in spirited discussions about issues of politics, philosophy and religion. Horace and Pete is directed and written by Louis C.K. and has the feel of a stage play.

Overall, I really enjoyed Horace and Pete. I always appreciate when an artist is willing to take chances and has their own unique artistic vision and there is no doubt that Horace and Pete is a singular labor of love from Louis C.K. Some episodes work a lot better than others – the deliberate pacing of the show can occasionally make it feel very slow – but even when Horace and Pete isn’t at its peak, I was still invested in seeing where the story was going. And it was worth the moments that dragged for the moments of sheer genius; there is no doubt that Horace and Pete is a master class in acting. Tremendous performances are everywhere, from the regular cast to people like Laurie Metcalf who just drops by for one episode to give a mesmerizing performance that you can’t look away from. Louis C.K. has submitted Horace and Pete for Emmy consideration and it would truly be a shame if some of these amazing performances were not recognized. Alan Alda play completely against type here and Steve Buscemi handles all the difficult beats that he’s asked to play with nuance.

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If you haven’t watched Louis C.K.’s FX show Louie, it’s important to warn you that Horace and Pete is not your run of the mill comedy. There are very few moments that will make you actually laugh out loud. A lot of the comedy in Horace and Pete comes from the absurd and finding humor in tragedy. The people of Horace and Pete have not lived very happy lives and some are struggling with illness. They also aren’t very nice people – they have their moments, but they can be casually cruel to one another. The finale, in particular, was beautifully brutal; the fact that you are so invested in these characters despite their many flaws is a testament to what Louis C.K. and company have created. It’s not always an easy watch, but Horace and Pete is worth going on the emotional roller-coaster with these characters.

The entire series is available for purchase on Louis C.K.’s website. Because Louis C.K. was using the purchase of the previous week’s episode to help finance the production of the next episode, the entire series will cost about $30. By distributing the web series himself, he had complete artistic control over the endeavor, but Louis C.K. also went into a lot of debt to see the project through. I respect his commitment to his artistic vision and while I normally wouldn’t pay to watch something like this I have so much respect and trust for Louis C.K. that I was willing to pony up the cast to go along with him in this journey.

Horace and Pete is probably not for everyone (the language is definitely NSFW or for children), but overall it really worked for me. A lot of thought went into crafting these characters and the familial relationships are fascinating (if not painful) to watch unfold. Louis C.K. is always doing something a little different and Horace and Pete is no exception. If you are primarily familiar with him from his stand-up, it might take you a little while to adjust to the tone of Horace and Pete; those who are fans of Louis will adapt to the style much more quickly. Horace and Pete mines some difficult territory and some of it is just uncomfortable to watch, but ultimately it is worth going along for the ride.

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