Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Game 7 Edition

Pop-Culture-608x500I’ll admit that this year I kind of checked out on baseball. My Yankees just weren’t very good and I was a little emotionally exhausted from going to so many retirement ceremonies and final games for the players that I had been watching since I got into baseball. I needed a break; I didn’t go to a single Yankee game this year and the two games I did go to (Atlanta and Washington DC) I wasn’t all that engaged in. But I have to say that the playoffs have really drawn me back in, especially the Cubs historic run into the World Series. I love an underdog – I am a Buffalo Bills fan after all – so I’m always rooting for the Cubs to break their curse and finally win the Wold Series again. I don’t know that they’ll actually pull that off tonight as Cleveland has been more than a worthy opponent, but it’s been kind of thrilling to watch. My only complaint is that I am old and these games last too long. I’ve been exhausted for weeks. Whoever walks away the champion tonight, it’s been a fun ride and it has reinvigorated my love of baseball. Now the Yankees just have to be good next year. Hope spring eternal.

But even if you aren’t into baseball, you can still be excited since it’s also pop culture roundup day. And who doesn’t love that? As usual, I’ve scoured high and low to bring you the best that the world of pop culture had to offer in the last week. So get yourself caught up….and Go Cubs go!

Television

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Movies

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Trailers

  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk:

 

  • 24: Legacy:

 

  • Life:

 

  • Rules Don’t Apply:

 

  • The Crown:

 

  • Dreamland:

 

  • Split:

 

  • Frank & Lola:

 

  • The Eyes of My Mother:

 

  • xXx: The Return of Xander Cage:

 

  • Gifted:

 

  • David Blaine: Beyond Magic:

 

  • Fuller House, season 2:

 

  • 20th Century Woman:

 

Music

Books

Theater

Halloween Leftovers

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Odds and Ends

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Mashups and Supercuts

  • In honor of the World Series, a fictional Cubs/Indians mashup:

 

  • Tina Turner meets Queen:

 

  • Bryan Cranston does a dramatic reading of Little Mix’s song, “Shout Out To My Ex”:

 

  • Quantico’s Jay Armstrong Johnson paid tribute to Hocus Pocus:

 

  • The Ghostbusters theme played on pumpkins:

 

  • David S. Pumpkins makes every movie scarier:

 

  • SPOILERS A LEGO recreation of the deaths in The Walking Dead season premiere:

 

  • The Goonies recut as a thriller:

 

  • A Stranger Things Christmas:

Back to School

This week, I have something in common with Rodney Dangerfield. It’s not that we both lament that we don’t get any respect, though that is probably true as well. I’m heading back to school! Work has decided to send me to a training program for some of my new job responsibilities, so instead of sitting in an office all day I’ll be sitting inside a (hopefully air-conditioned) classroom.

You’d think someone who spent as much time as I did in school – both as a student and an instructor – would be an old hand at this education stuff, but I have to admit that I’m a little anxious about it. I’m not so concerned about making friends or small talk – it’s amazing how interested people are when you say “I have a blog” – but I worry that the learning part of my brain is a little rusty. After going to school for 25+ straight years, I kind of turned that part of my brain off for a while after I left graduate school. It honestly needed a break, but I am concerned that part of my brain may not turn on again so easily. I’ve sat through training seminars before that were only a day and I was getting antsy being stuck in a room all day; I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like for most of a week. It’s really weird to go back to being a student after you’ve been the teacher. We’ll see how this goes – hopefully I come back to work with some cool ideas and methods for handling all the new work I’ve volunteered for.

As I was getting ready for this seminar, my mind ultimately wondered to pop culture – as it is wont to do. I started thinking about the various schools that have been featured in various television shows and movies. Some seem like very cool places to go, while others look to be less desirable. So while I try to adjust to listening to lectures all day, peruse my list of pop culture institutions of learning.

Enroll Me!

Greendale Community College – Community

Here’s all you really need to know about Greendale Community College – it offers a course on the history of ice cream and they have paintball wars most years. If that isn’t enough to convince you, I don’t know what is. Greendale appears to focus on all the good parts of college (campus activities and events, blowoff classes) and none of the more tedious parts (you know, actual learning). Greendale is so incredibly mismanaged that I don’t think I’d have any problems gaming the system. Plus they have some really fun teachers like John Oliver, Betty White, Malcolm McDowell and Michael K. Williams (OMAR!). The opportunity to watch Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) play pool in his underwear is a selling point as well.

 

The question isn’t really why you would want to go to Greendale; the question is why you wouldn’t (academic standards being a valid reason).

Chilton Preparatory School – Gilmore Girls

When I was a teenager, I had a brief flirtation with the idea of going to a prep school. I liked my current school and all my friends, but I got it in my head that the path to an Ivy League school would be easier if I had a diploma from a prep school rather than a private school (I was still dreaming of going to Harvard at that point). Prep school in my mind was equivalent with “serious academic;” I had not yet realized that prep school  also meant under achieving trust fund babies and rich kids kicked out of public school. I also kind of liked the idea of uniforms; having to wear the same thing as everyone else meant that was one less thing I had to worry about in the morning. So it’s no surprise that I hold some residual nostalgia for prep schools and wanted to enroll in Chilton, even though I was well beyond college when Gilmore Girls was on. Everyone at Chilton seemed fairly smart and it appeared to be a challenging and nurturing academic environment. They got to work on interesting projects and it all seemed so sophisticated. Sure you had to deal with classmates like Paris Gellar, but there are people like that at every school. I actually feel smarter just writing about Chilton. I can’t imagine what it must have cost to go there, but it got Rory into Yale so it was probably worth it.

Rydell High School – Grease

I loved Grease from the first time I saw it as a tween, but my desire to go to Rydell stems from one scene alone – the end of the year carnival. I was so impressed that they had a full carnival, including all the rides and games (not to mention the flying car – seriously, can someone explain that to me? That ending made no sense).

 

Imagine my disappointment when I finally made it to high school and not only did we not have an end of the year carnival, we didn’t have an end of the year anything. We didn’t even get a senior trip. The best we ever got was a trip to an amusement park in 8th grade, but all I remember about that was that there was a lot of drama associated with that trip (not surprising when you take a group of 13 year olds anywhere). It also came as a surprise that high schoolers don’t all look like they are thirty (Stockard Channing, I’m looking at you).I was totally disillusioned – I’m still waiting for my Grease-like carnival. BSHS – you let me down.

Eastland School for Girls – The Facts of Life

This choice could be a continuation of my prep school fascination, but this selection is more about Mrs. Garrett than anything else. If you are going to spend time away from your family, you want someone like Edna Garrett keeping an eye on you. She was so warm and loving that the girls she was in charge of became like her daughters. It was a nurturing environment that anyone would want to be a part of. Of course, going to a fancy schmancy school like Eastland should have resulted in a career beyond running a novelty store, but at least they got to hang out with George Clooney in the process (who I recognized, even at the tender age of 9, was a stone cold fox)

 

Request a Transfer

Shermer High School – The Breakfast Club

While they ultimately wound up being friendly after a day in detention together, Shermer High School didn’t seem like a very friendly environment. The cliques seemed too prevalent and well-defined. That is a realistic depiction of high school, but with the added bonus of a principal that was a real jerk and who could make life miserable for everyone. I’m guessing there were definitely not any carnivals at Shermer – that seemed like a place where there wasn’t a lot of school sanctioned fun period. The upside – they did have a very nice library.

 

Westerberg High School – Heathers

If the cliques seemed inhospitable in The Breakfast Club, they were even worse in Heathers. The cruelty factor was at an all-time high thanks to queen bee Heather Chandler, who ruled the school with an iron red scruchnie and generally made life miserable for everyone else. Even her so-called friends were not immune to her reign of terror. Add in a homicidal maniac who is randomly killing popular kids and trying to blow up the school and this is not a place I’d want to spend my formative years (even if I had the right name). Clip NSFW

 

McKinley High – Glee

The show has done nothing to make living in Lima, Ohio look all that glamorous; the fact that everyone wants to get the hell out of dodge is way too close to my own high school experience. I had a great time in high school, but I also counted down the days until I could expand my horizons a bit and move on. I’m not built to live in a small town. But the real issue with McKinley is having to deal with people randomly breaking into song all the time. I imagine that is not only distracting but also highly annoying. We get it – you love to sing. Now shut your yap and move through the halls quietly. I was kicked out of our library for talking; these kids do a complete musical number in the stacks.Add in the fact that a lot of slushies are thrown around and that Mr. Schuester is kind of a creeper and I’d rather matriculate elsewhere.

What pop culture schools and universites would you want to attend? What pop culture institutions of learning would make you want to skip school? Sound off in the comments below.

What’s Your Damage?

Yesterday I was able to catch up a little on the pop culture that I have been neglecting – watched the season premiere of Sons of Anarchy (still love Jax), checked in on the new episode of Go On (still enjoy it, but slightly less than the pilot) and even made some forward progress in the book I am reading (The Passage; the downside of ebooks is you don’t realize just how long they are). I even left work on time, which for this week makes it something of a red letter day. But the big news of the day was a post that I saw on The A.V. Club website.

They are turning the movie Heathers into a TV show.

This is possibly the worst idea ever. If you thought I was upset about the prospect of A Christmas Story 2, multiply that by 100. That gives you a ballpark idea of how much I hate this idea.

Reading into the proposed plot did nothing to assuage my fears: An adult Veronica (Winona Ryder’s character in the film) returns to Sherwood, Ohio with her own teenage daughter, who wrangles with “the next generation of mean girls: the Ashleys, the daughters of the surviving Heathers.”

I think I just threw up in my mouth. This is sacrilege. Even Bravo can’t make me believe this is a good idea.

Heathers is one of my favorite movies. Most people assume it is because of the name – in theory it makes sense for a girl named Heather to like a movie named Heathers. But the girls named Heather in the film are not someone that you necessarily want to be associated with; they were bitchy, cruel and selfish people who cared nothing for others. They were not exactly banner representatives of the name, which already has some negative connotations associated with it. Heather used to be considered a stripper name back in the day and was associated with bimbos and white trash girls (thanks, mom). So the portrayal in the film of girls name Heather wasn’t exactly helping matters.

So my affinity for the film isn’t based on vanity. It’s just a really great dark comedy about high school that probably could never get made today.

In the film, Westburg High is ruled by a popular group of girls called “The Heathers” (Kim Walker, Shannen Doherty and Lisanne Falk). They rule with an iron fist and amuse themselves by humiliating their classmates. Everyone hates them, but also wants to be them. The newest member of the group, Veronica, hasn’t totally bought into the Heathers way of doing things. When she teams up with the new boy in school JD (Christian Slater), to get revenge on ringleader Heather Chandler, they wind up killing her and faking her suicide. The bodies continue to pile up as JD and Veronica try to eradicate the heartless popular people and “make their high school a nice place.” Think Natural Born Killers meets Mean Girls.

The film was made in 1988, well before school shooting became a nationwide fear and bullying was the cause de jour. It was a time when killing off your tormenters was a fantasy, not a reality. I’m guessing most major studios would balk at making this movie today and I guarantee that the television program will have less of a body count and more of high school girls being bitchy to each other. It’s OK for kids to kill each other today (see The Hunger Games) but they just can’t be doing it for sport. Heathers isn’t even particularly violent by today’s standards, but I think the subject matter and some of the jokes (“I love my dead gay son”) would be difficult to sell to a studio in the current marketplace.

I was so outraged by the news of the impending television reboot that I sat down to watch Heathers last night. It had been a while since I had seen the movie and I was curious if I would still enjoy it as much as I used to. While some things seemed a little dated – especially the clothing – the rest of the movie stood up incredibly well. I really enjoyed my high school experience, but Heathers captures the cruelty and misery that high school is for a lot of people. It can be a blood sport. Every school has a group like the Heathers – their names may be different and their methods vary, but they exist.

One of my favorite things about Heathers is just how quotable it is; I was surprised when re-watching it to hear how many of phrases from the movie that I still use in casual conversation to this day, 20+ years after the film was released. Some of my favorite lines from the film include:

  • “Color me impressed” (I’ve even used this one on the blog)
  • “Are we going to prom or to hell?”
  • “If you were happy every day of your life you wouldn’t be a person. You’d be a game show host.”
  • “Such a pillowcase.”
  • “Great pate, mom, but I have to motor if I wanna be ready for that funeral.”
  • “It’ll be very.”
  • “Bulimia is so ’87.”
  • “Greetings and Salutations” (I use this one a lot. I’d forgotten where I stole it from)
  • “No one at Westerburg is going to let you play their reindeer games”
  • “What’s your damage?”

and my all-time favorite…

  • “F@#k me gently with a chainsaw”

I also realized on my recent viewing that I used to be obsessed with the nightstand that Veronica had in her bedroom. I loved the punctuation drawer handles.

 

Actually, I’d still put that in my house. I wonder if they still make them?

Christian Slater’s portrayal of  JD also made me laugh. It is Slater at his most Jack Nicholson-esque. This is pretty much the only role of his that I have liked.

My only hope is that the project somehow falls apart. The idea of a Heathers TV show isn’t new; it’s been kicking around for a while in various forms. So it is possible that this will never get out of development. But no good can come of this. Never mind that that the entire premise makes no sense (there are just way too many coincidences); don’t we have enough programs that feature high school girls being mean to each other? Leave well enough alone.

A Heathers reboot? “Did you eat a brain tumor for breakfast?” Just don’t do it.