Pop Culture Odds and Ends – May Day Edition

Happy first day of May! While this date used to be commemorated with festivals and May baskets, now it just means that I need to pay my rent, which is decidedly less glamorous. I think we should bring all those celebrations back, if for no other reason I could use a day off from work and it is a gorgeous day outside. I’d even be willing to dance around a Maypole if need be.

While I try to convince my boss that we should be observing this ancient spring festival, kick back and enjoy your bi-weekly roundup of pop culture stories that you might have missed. If you see a story that you think should be included in this feature, please feel free to hit me up on the blog’s Facebook page or tweet me (@AsHeathersWorld). And don’t forget to vote to decide what my summer viewing project will be; the polling sample is small at the moment, but The Good Wife is off to a narrow lead. Finally, a very special welcome to all the new people following the blog – your readership is much appreciated!

Now let’s get our pop culture on!

  • Seth Rogen and FX are teaming up for an animated program about Bigfoot.
  • Check out this jazzy cover version of Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” that will be in The Great Gatsby:


  • However, the soundtrack also features this horrific cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.” Beyoncé is fine, but Andre 3000 ruins it:


  • Johnny Depp is in talks to star in the big screen adaption of the Broadway musical Into the Woods.
  • The Madonna/Elton John feud has been squashed. This has really been going on a decade?
  • A woman recreated the opening of a bunch of TV shows for her hubby’s birthday:


  • More pop culture birthday: a How I Met Your Mother themed party.
  • Mad Men has gone to the dogs:


  • After the success of Veronica Mars, Zach Braff has also turned to Kickstarter to fund his new movie. For some reason, this has people all worked up into a tizzy. I know it’s not cool to say, but I actually really liked Garden State, so I’m eager to see this new film.
  • All My Children and One Life to Live have been revived; the soaps started an on-line only run o Monday.

Renewal news:

  • The CW has renewed The Vampire Diaries, Heart of Dixie and Beauty and the Beast. They also picked up The Vampire Diaries spinoff, The Originals.
  • NBC has renewed Parenthood (yay!), Chicago Fire, Revolution, Grimm and Law & Order: SVU.
  • Two and a Half Men will be back, short a half man; Angus T. Jones will not be a regular.
  • Comedy Central has renewed The Jeselnik Offensive and Nathan for You.
  • MTV has renewed Snooki and JWoww and is reviving Nick Cannon Presents Wild n Out.


  • Paul Scheer and Will Arnett decided, for unknown reasons, to recreate the Bill Clinton/Arsenio Hall interview (with some creative license):


  • Armie Hammer and Tom Cruise are slated to co-star in Guy Richie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E film remake.
  • Neil Diamond is donating the profits from “Sweet Caroline” the week of the Boston bombings to a charity for the victims.
  • Quentin Tarantino’s car – driven by John Travolta in Pulp Fictionhas been recovered 17 years after it was stolen.
  • This guy nails his Louis CK impression (NSFW):


  • This is kind of spectacular: Norman Reedus (Daryl from The Walking Dead) photobombed a Game of Thrones fan picture:



  • The Tony nominations were announced. Tom Hanks is closer to getting an EGOT.
  • In honor of the Red Headed Stranger’s 80th birthday, watch Willie Nelson’s “audition tape” for The Hobbit:


  • I haven’t played in years, but I was interested to hear a new Grand Theft Auto game is coming out in September. I always enjoyed that game, though I mostly just drove around and wrecked stuff.
  • Watch SNL’s Kate McKinnon do her Ellen DeGeneres impression for Ellen on Ellen:


  • Fans of The Simpsons may want to check out this website that encourages artists to reinterpret Homer Simpson.
  • Supervillian speed dating:


  • This is hilarious – E.L. James, author of the Fifty Shades of Grey series – is releasing a writing advice journal. Those books were a lot of things, but well written wasn’t one of them.
  • NBC will allegedly be burning off the remaining episodes of the dreadful Do No Harm over the summer.
  • Watch a short film directed by Michael Cera:


  • I didn’t make it again this year, but the winners of the Tribeca Film Festival have been announced.
  • Michael Bublé put on an impromptu show in the NYC subway:


  • House of Card’s Corey Stoll is attached to a vampire pilot for FX from Carlton Cuse and Guillermo del Toro, based on the del Toro’s book The Strain.
  • A musical Dowton Abbey spoof? Why thank you! (contains spoilers)


  • Uproxx created a power ranking of Ted’s girlfriends on How I Met Your Mother. Zoey should have been much lower – she was the worst.

As always, we end with the mashups and supercuts:

  • It’s a quip off between Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess and Game of Throne’s Lady Olenna
  • Here’s a mashup of trailers for summer 2013 movies:


  • The Game of Thrones/Friends mashup (contains GoT spoilers):


  • MineKart 64 – Minecraft and Mario Kart 64:


  • Statler, Waldorf, & Inglourious Basterds


  • This Taylor Swift/Demi Lovto mashup (“I Knew You Had a Heartattack”) is pretty catchy:


  • Mad Men and The Simpsons both have done episodes involving Planet of the Apes, so it was only a matter of time before someone put them together:


  • An Arnold Schwarzenegger supercut:


  • And finally, here is Cookie Monster singing Tom Waits (NSFW). I am embarrassed to say how many times I have watched this:

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Community is BACK edition

Today is finally the day! After several missed starts and anxiety, Community will finally return to the NBC schedule. Winter storm Nemo had derailed my weekend plans, but knowing I’ll be soon reunited with the folks at Greendale Community College is helping to cheer me up. This is probably the beginning of the end, as I have no illusions that the show will get a fifth season, but even if these are the last episodes of Community that are ever produced I plan to watch the hell out of them. I just hope the new showrunners don’t screw the series up. Fingers crossed.

While I count down the hours until 8 pm tonight (assuming NBC doesn’t change their minds again – there’s still time), here are is a roundup of pop culture stories that you may have missed:

  • To help get you pumped, here’s a trailer for season 4 of Community:


  • Watch Tiffani Amber Thiessen look extremely uncomfortable when she was surprised by a mini Saved by the Bell reunion on the Today show:


  • This made me happy for some unknown reason: Adam Brody (Seth Cohen from The O.C.) is rumored to be dating Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf).
  • Justin Timberlake debuted two new songs at a Super Bowl Party:


He has released the track list and album art for The 20/20 Experience, which will be released on March 19th.

  • A new Bridget Jones book will be released in November. Can’t say I’m excited for this; I liked the first book just fine, but the later installment was not great.
  • George R.R. Martin has signed a deal with HBO to remain co-executive producer on Game of Thrones while also developing other projects. Good for him, but shouldn’t he be working on finishing the books?
  • It was announced yesterday that the USPS will stop Saturday delivery in August. My first reaction to this was outrage that it will slow down my Netflix delivery.
  • Robin Roberts will return to Good Morning America on February 20th. Don’t watch the show, but that is great news.
  • Downton Sixbey made its return to Late Night Jimmy Fallon this week:

Episode 3


Episode 4


  • Not to be left out, Sesame Street also did a Downton parody:
  • Tim Hortons made “The Priestley,” inspired by a joke on this week’s episode of How I Met Your Mother.
  • Speaking of HIMYM, the people behind the show are teasing a “new storytelling approach” for the final season. Not enough to lure me back in, but mixing things up wouldn’t be the worst idea.
  • The actor who played Ethan Rayne on Buffy the Vampire Slayer has passed away.
  • Chris Pratt (Andy on Parks and Recreation) has landed the lead in Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Amazon Instant is now available to stream on your Wii. Register by February 28th and you’ll receive a $5 video credit.
  • I’m a sucker for bluegrass, so this remix of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre’s “Last Episode” made me smile:


  • McSweeney’s has a new feature of rejected joke lists from the Bob’s Burgers writing room.
  • Who knew so many people were hit by buses? Check out this supercut:


  • Johnny Deep will play crime boss Whitey Bulger.
  • Wait, there is not one, but TWO “celebrity” diving shows? Is the market really demanding this?
  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers have released a new song:


  • Judd Apatow is considering a spin-off of This is 40 that focuses on the kids in the film, who also happen to be his kids in real life. I was not a fan of This is 40, but I thought his kids were actually the best part.
  • Tumblr of the week: Les Mean Girls (a Les Miserables/Mean Girls mashup)
  • See Al Pacino as Phil Spector in this trailer for the upcoming HBO film, airing March 24:


  • Guillermo Del Toro and the author of Beasts of the Southern Wild are teaming up for a film of one of my other favorite children’s books, The Secret Garden.
  • Jeopardy! made a “Call Me, Maybe Joke.”
from the NPR Music Tumblr

from the NPR Music Tumblr

  • Fall Out Boy have reunited. To be honest, I didn’t even know that they had broken up.
  • It’s only the beginning of February, but I’m already calling Pacific Rim as being the Battleship of 2013.

I will absolutely see this, however, because it stars Idris Elba and Charlie Hunnam, two gentleman I am particularly fond of.

  • And finally, in honor of The Walking Dead returning on Sunday, the opening credits redone as a 80s sitcom:

Magic Mike – Review

The sacrifices that I make for this blog. It was such a chore dragging myself to see Magic Mike. 🙂


The film doesn’t waste much time cutting to the chase; viewers will have to wait less than 60 seconds to get their first eyeful of a (mostly) naked Channing Tatum. These people aren’t fools. They know why people are in the theater.

There are two important things to know going in to Magic Mike: 1) this is a movie about male strippers and 2) this is a movie about male strippers directed by Steven Soderbergh. I think most people who plan on seeing the film are focusing on the first point, when they really should be focusing on the second. Because while this is a movie that features very attractive men taking their clothes off, this is also a movie from the guy who made Traffic and Sex, Lies and Videotape. This isn’t going to be a campy and cheesy movie; there is going to be some substance behind the sculpted abs. I think people may be very surprised at the stripping to story ratio of the film; there is way more of the latter than the former.

Magic Mike is loosely based on Channing Tatum’s own past as a stripper. Mike (Tatum) is a construction worker by day and male stripper by night, with dreams of someday owning his own custom made furniture business. While on the construction site he meets 19 year old Adam (Alex Pettyfer), who has dropped out of college, is sleeping on his sister’s couch and is lacking any sort of direction. Mike takes a shine to Adam and introduces him to the world of stripping, serving as both his mentor and best friend. Mike also takes a shine to Adam’s sister (Cody Horn) and a flirtation develops. The guys spend their nights dancing and partying, but Mike begins to wonder if this is really what he wants to be doing with his life. Adam begins to make some questionable choices which could lead to his downfall.

I have to admit that I wasn’t a very big Channing Tatum fan going into this movie. I really hadn’t seen much of his body of work (pun intended) beyond 21 Jump Street and Haywire. His choice of roles and my taste in movies don’t really intersect. And while I think he is an attractive man and get why people go ga-ga over him, he’s never really appealed to me all that much. He’s just not my particular type of poison. But I did walk away from Magic Mike with new found respect for him. He carries most of the movie and does a fine job with the more emotional and fully clothed scenes. While Magic Mike chronicles Adam’s introduction to the business, this is really Mike’s emotional journey as he has to decide what will fulfill him and truly make him happy. There is a smidge of sadness to Mike and Tatum is able to play that very subtly. Tatum is also very good in the stripping scenes and is clearly the actor that is most comfortable up on the stage. Having not seen Step-Up, I wasn’t really aware that Tatum could dance, but he was pretty impressive. There is definitely a reason that he is the focus of most of the scenes in the club.

Pettyfer does a nice job of conveying Adam’s assimilation into this world; at first he is a bit hesitant and a little uncomfortable, but he quickly begins to embrace this new group of friends and the money and women that come with the territory. I do wish, however, that there was a little more time devoted to what makes Adam tick. The viewer gets some insight early in the film, but there are some points when I would have liked to know Adam’s motivation or thought process, especially toward the end of the story when he starts taking unnecessary chances. It’s more Mike’s story, but I would have appreciated Adam’s character sketch to be a little more complete. Pettyfer is also featured pretty prominently in the stripping scenes and while he doesn’t seem quite as natural as Tatum, he definitely gets the job done.

If there is any real cheese in the film it comes, I assume by design, from Matthew McConaughey’s Dallas. As a former stripper and owner of the club, McConaughey seems to be having a lot of fun. He gets to poke some fun at his image and reputation – his character just so happens to say “alright, alright, alright” a lot – and even gets into the act by getting some stage time as well. He’s the least grounded of the characters, but infuses some fun into the proceedings. He’s in fantastic shape, but this is the first time I’ve noticed some signs of age on McConaughey. That may have been intentional for the role, as his character probably would have some miles on him.

I was disappointed that some of the other guys in the cast don’t get a whole lot of screen time. I would have liked to see more from Adam Rodriguez, Matt Bomer and especially Joe Manganiello (who is my particular type of poison). They are mostly in the background for most of the scenes, though the all are given brief moments to shine in the snippets of their individual dance numbers. And I do mean snippets – their solo performances all last less than a minute and are usually part of a montage. They do a fine job in the group scenes, though the focus is clearly on Tatum and, to a lesser degree, Pettyfer.

I can’t really say much in favor of the women in the film. I did not like the casting or performance of Cody Horn, which is unfortunate. I thought her acting was too stilted and I did not buy the chemistry between her and Tatum. I thought she was definitely the weakest part of the movie. She’s not terrible, but she just didn’t work for me. Olivia Munn also has a bit role in the film, but I didn’t think that she was very good either, which is not all that surprising as I don’t think I’ve ever really liked her in anything that she’s done. She doesn’t get much screen time, but I continue to be unimpressed with her.

The film spends less time in the strip club that I’m guessing most people will expect; the film is mostly focused on Mike and Adam and the two different courses that their lives are on. While that journey was interesting, there were also moments when the movie drags a little bit. The movie dwells much more on the quiet moments than on the flashy dance numbers and sometimes you wish that there was just a little more going on. I would have liked some more dance numbers because, beyond the obvious reasons, they brought a little bit of life and fun into the film. For a movie hyped to be about men taking their clothes off, there is a lot of melancholy.

I’m stressing what to expect with the film because the audience that I saw the film with decidedly was expecting a different kind of movie and left audibly unhappy. The crowd was definitely on the young side – I was at least 10 years older than the next oldest person – and may have thought that they were getting something closer to Step Up. I don’t think they film did itself any favors in its marketing for two reasons: the advertisement is definitely playing up the importance of the stripping disproportionately to the amount of actual stripping in the movie and they already showed a lot of what was in the movie. The first performance to “It’s Raining Men” would have been a lot more enjoyable if I hadn’t already seen it posted on half of my Facebook feed. I would have preferred more of an element of surprise.

Some other quick thoughts:

  • The audience at the midnight screening was surprising, both in its sheer number and the gender breakdown. One of the reason I like going to midnight showings (other than I go for free) is that it isn’t very crowded and I can roll into the theater 10 minutes before show time and have my pick of seats. At most, there are usually 20-30 people in the theater, but last night I walked in and the place was packed. By the time the movie started, there were very few empty seats. Also surprising was the number of men in the audience with their girlfriends. I was impressed – it showed a level of comfort that I don’t think most men would have had 10 years ago and it showed a level of compromise that I am unfamiliar with. I don’t even remember the last time a guy did something with me that he had absolutely no interest in. So kudos to those young men for taking one for the team. I thought they may sneak out to go see Ted across the hall, but they made it through the whole film.
  • There is more female nudity than I expected, so if you do go with your husband/boyfriend, there’s at least something for him too.
  • As a kid that grew up watching wrestling (shh – don’t tell anyone), it kind of freaked me out that one of the male strippers was none other than Kevin Nash (aka “Diesel”). I’m not really sure why he was cast, other than the fact that he is really tall and in good shape – he isn’t particularly handsome by most standards and he looked really uncomfortable up on the stage. In fact, if you can tear your gaze away from Tatum, watch “Tarzan” in the background. He is by far the worst dancer and just looks really lost up there.
  • Soderbergh always makes some interesting choices in his direction and I have to say that they pay off. Magic Mike has his very distinct look and there are some cool shots that he employs that contribute a lot to the story line.
  • I had to laugh at all the elaborate gimmicks and costume changes that were used during the “male revue.” It kind of seemed like a waste given the fact that all of it was going to be ripped off anyway. But I appreciated the creativity that went into it.

I’ll be very interested to see what the reaction to this film is. I think that a lot of women are using the film’s opening as an opportunity for a night to get together with their girlfriends, have a few cocktails and then hoot and holler and ogle some men. That’s great, but I think that they are going to be surprised to find that there aren’t quite as many opportunities to cat call as they thought there were going to be. Stripping makes up a fairly small amount of the film. I generally liked it, but thought that the pacing was off in some places. If you see it, let me know what you think.

Magic Mike opens nationwide today.