Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Breaking Bad Edition

I normally have a lot of Breaking Bad info in these pop culture roundups, but with the show recently returning for its final eight episodes ever (SOB!), there was more awesome info than normal this week. I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so sprinkled throughout the roundup is an abundance of links related to the show. And for the love of all that is holy, if you aren’t watching this show get to steppin’. You are missing out! So kick back and bring yourself up to speed on all the pop culture that you may have missed over the last two weeks. Let me be your pop culture curator.

  • N’Sync is rumored to be reuniting at the MTV VMAs on Sunday, which now forces me to watch the VMAs. I’m skeptical as I’m not sure what Timberlake gets out of this. But I do hope it happens.

 

  • Jimmy Fallon is doing a Breaking Bad parody. This will be amazing.

 

  • It’s hard to get excited about football season when you root for the Bills, but I do love when the Manning brothers do commercials:

 

  • This is an interesting casting rumor (emphasis on rumor) – could Charlie Hunnam play Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey film adaption? By the time this movie comes out, will anyone still care?
  • Friday Night Lights, the movie? Make it happen!
  • HBO has released a trailer for the new season of Girls:

 

  • NBC is clearly in the Jonathan Banks (Mike, Breaking Bad) business. After a guest appearance on Parks and Recreation, the actor will be a regular on Community.

A quick break for the depressing stuff:

  • Lisa Robin Kelly, who played Topher Grace’s older sister Laurie on That 70s Show, died. She was 43.

OK – back to the more lighthearted links.

  • Blog fave Dean Winters (Dennis the beeper king on 30 Rock) is headed to the new Andy Samberg comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
  • Oprah gives away cars when she is just a guest on a show. Mental note – get in the audience when Oprah is on a talk show.
  • A trailer for the new season of Homeland:

 

  • Jay Leno’s last night on The Tonight Show will be February 6th. Believe it when you see it, Jimmy.
  • Mark your calendars: the third installment of Adam Scott’s The Greatest Event in Television History drops on November 7th. Nothing is confirmed, but speculation is that they are doing the opening credits from Too Close for Comfort.
  • Ha! Billy Ray Cyrus does look like fat Mac:

 

photo from Uproxx

photo from Uproxx

  • Whoa – it’s Walter, Jr. from Breaking Bad:

 

Photo from Uproxx

Photo from Uproxx

 

  • A tweet from Sons of Anarchy creator and showrunner Kurt Sutter makes me very nervous.
  • The chicken fight from Family Guy was never one of my favorites, but kudos to these two stunt women for the live action re-enactment:

 

  • This new trailer for season 3 of Revenge has piqued my interest:

 

  • The new channel FXX, which will show new episodes of The League and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, launches September. Use this handy website to find out if FXX is available on your cable system (Phew- it is for me!). The network is off to a promising start with a Parks and Recreation marathon.
  • This slowed down version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” is pretty cool:

 

  • The house from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is for sale.
  • This Avril Lavigne music video is a little nuts:

 

  • The White House Twitter account made a Mean Girls reference:

White House Twitter_Mean Girls

  • My birthday is a month from today and I would sure like it if someone bought me this Breaking Bad Lego set.
  • Another pop culture roundup, another American Horror Story: Coven teaser:

 

  • I’m surprised it took so long; watch a guy crowd surfs in order to “Come on Down” On The Price is Right:

 

  • Benedict Cumberbatch had a message for the papzrazzi trying to get spoilers on Sherlock:

 

Getty Image

Getty Image

  • In this trailer for Fading Gigolo, watch Woody Allen act as a pimp for John Turturro. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

 

  • I’ve always like Donal Logue, so I’m not surprised he helped a stranger propose. P.S. Terriers is now streaming on Netflix – do yourself a favor and watch this late great series.
  • J.J. Abrams released a mysterious trailer on Monday.

Turns out it was for a book.

  • Listen to the Breaking Bad theme played on meth lab equipment:

 

As always, we end with the mashups and supercuts

  • Mean Girls mashed up with Book of Mormon

 

  • Here are some super cuts of movie clichés. First up “You just don’t get it, do you?”

 

  • Phone numbers that start with 555:

 

  • Superheroes introducing themselves:

 

  • Vulture put together a supercut of all of John Oliver’s explanations for Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show absence.
  • Nerdist put together a Breaking Bad/Saved by the Bell mashup:

Dustin Diamond was available? I’m shocked.

  • Behind Elysium (A Behind the Candelabra/Elysium mashup)

 

  • The opening of Adventure Time done in Legos:

 

 

Another installment of a Seinfeld/Game of Thrones mashup:

 

  • Ha! Thor meets Arrested Development in Thorested Development:

 

  • Breaking Bad recut as a romantic comedy:

 

  • President Obama “sings” Demi Lavato:

 

  • Listen to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in the style of other divas:

 

  • We Are Never Ever Gonna Cook Together (Taylor Swift/Breaking Bad parody)

 

  • And finally – Walter White “sings” “My Way”

Pop Culture Odds and Ends

It is time once again for your bi-weekly round up of pop culture stories that you may have missed. I like to think of these roundups as pop culture cheat sheets for people. If you see a story that you think should be included, please feel free to pass it along to me on the blog’s Facebook page (like me!), Twitter (follow me!) or in the comments. I’m always interested in reader feedback. And a special welcome to all my new blog followers – thanks for reading!

Let’s get some of the sad stuff out of the way first:

Now on to the more sublime:

  • Vin Diesel announced that Fast and Furious 7 will be released on July 11, 2014. The sixth installment of the franchise will open nationwide on May 24th of this year.
  • A new red-band trailer has been released for Netflix’s new original series Hemlock Grove. As this comes from director Eli Roth, it is most decidedly NSFW:

 

  • Speaking of Adam Scott (the actor, not the golfer):

tumblr_mlddhdRmjE1qdqyxho1_500

 

  • Vulture also imagines Mad Men as a kid’s Saturday morning cartoon spinoff, Mad Men Kidz.

lil don

 

  • Apparently the Academy didn’t received the memo from the American people – the producers for this year’s abysmal Oscars ceremony will be back.
  • Tonight may be the last episode ever of Southland, which would be a real shame.
  • If you go to see Iron Man 3, stay through the credits (and if you want to know what happens now, click here *spoilers*)
  • The winner of random video of the week: Macaulay Culkin singing “Kokomo”:

 

  • A prequel to the film adaption of The Mortal Instruments is already being planned, despite the fact that The Mortal Instruments hasn’t even been released yet.
  • The fictional Veep and the real life VP met:

tumblr_ml5ua7RHE51qz8vumo1_500

 

  • The casting for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy continues to intrigue me. The newest member of the cast is The Walking Dead’s Michael Rooker.
  • Watch Community and Mad Men‘s Alison Brie recreate some popular memes (her grumpy cat is pretty spot on):

 

  • Grantland looks at the career arc of friend of the blog, The Rock (I’m assuming, if he knew this blog existed)
  • Ryan Murphy has a deal with HBO. I can only imagine what he’ll do when not restricted by basic cable.
  • The Awl debates which song is worse: the Brad Paisley/LL Cool J song “Accidental Racist” or Ray J’s song “I Hit It First” about Kim Kardashian. I vote for the latter – though misguided, Paisley was at least trying to do something good. Ray J is just a jerk.
  • Oy. Amanda Bynes continues her quest to be the craziest of them all with this new video that she posted on YouTube:

 

  • Patrick Duffy is game for a Step-by-Step reunion.
  • I am a grown-up, so I didn’t watch the MTV Movie Awards, but if you are curious who won or what people wore I have you covered.
  • Funny or Die has released their Steve Jobs movie, iSteve (starring Justin Long).
  • Jon Hamm was on Seseme Street, apparently in attempt to see if he could make me love him more:

 

  • See Jaime Foxx as Electro on the set of The Amazing Spiderman 2. Or is it The Amazing Spiderman: Ghost Protocol?
  • Snoop is a busy guy – he also collaborated with Miley Cyrus

 

  • Interesting – the same kid who played a young Don Draper on Mad Men also played a young Michael Bluth on Arrested Development and a young Ice Truck Killer on Dexter.
  • Steve Carrel made an appearance on last night’s Deadliest Catch’s new pre-game show, The Bait.
  • New trailer for Man of Steel:

 

  • This Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle/Entourage parody is better than either of these shows separately:

 

  • NBC’s never ending quest to beat every good idea they have into the ground continues – a kids version of The Voice is allegedly in the works.
  • Here’s a Conan double shot. First up, Conan hosts a roundtable discussion with some of his former colleagues from The Simpsons’ writers’ room.

And now the mashups and super-cuts:

  • A super-cut of fake websites featured on TV shows:

 

  • Love this – the synopsis of every romantic comedy ever made. It’s funny because it’s true:

 

  • A supercut of Tyrion Lannister’s best lines on Game of Thrones (NSFW )

 

  • A homemade version of the final race from The Fast and the Furious:

 

  • And finally – an Anchorman/”Thrift Shop” mashup:

 

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Sneak Peek – Pitch Perfect

The main thing you need to know about Pitch Perfect, opening nationwide tomorrow, is that it isn’t Glee. When I told people that I was going to a screening of Pitch Perfect, I’d get blank stares and then a flicker of recognition. “Oh,” they’d say “that’s the Glee movie.”

It’s an easy assumption to make; both projects prominently feature singing groups that are on the outside fringes of popularity. One takes place in the hall of McKinley High and chronicles the hijinx and melodrama of the glee club. The other follows an a cappella group at Barden College, trying to recover from an embarrassing incident during a performance the year before. The end game in both is to compete in Nationals. Both prominently feature mash-ups of current songs. Both groups help their members find a place to fit in and find a sense of belonging. And Lord knows that Hollywood likes to cash in on whatever is popular.

But then the similarities end. Because Pitch Perfect is actually good and very funny (sorry Gleeks, but Glee is not).

Pitch Perfect stars Anna Kendrick as Beca, a girl who dreams of becoming a DJ but who has been told by her estranged father that she needs to get a college education first. In Beca’s mind, all that means is that she needs to show up to fulfill this obligation; if she happens to flunk out along the way or never leave her bubble of her headphones and music, so be it. He frustrated father offers her a deal – give it one year and truly embrace the college experience. Become part of the community and get involved in extracurricular activities and go to class. If she still hates it, he’ll help her move and try her hand at being a professional DJ. Enter the Barden Bellas, the college’s all female a cappella group that is in desperate need of new membership and a new reputation after their disastrous showing at Nationals the previous year. They will take just about anyone that can sing, resulting in quite a ragtag assortment of women. Hilarity ensues.

Kendrick has built herself a pretty solid acting resume (Up in the Air, 50/50, the tremendously underrated Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), so it is not surprising that she is very good as the film’s protagonist. Beca’s on a bit of journey in the film and Kendrick plays all that early adulthood angst and uncertainty very well. Her relationship with her possible love interest (there is always a possible love interest in these types of movies) is very sweet and realistic. She is also a surprisingly good singer.

But though she is the star and is very good, this isn’t Kendrick’s movie. This movie is owned by one of the supporting players, Rebel Wilson, who is screamingly funny in the role of fellow Bella member Fat Amy.

Wilson isn’t a household name yet, but I think that is going to change sooner rather than later. I first took notice of her in her small role in Bridesmaids as one of Kristin Wiig’s roommates. She didn’t have many scenes in that film, but she made the most of them and made that minor character instantly memorable. She does the same thing in Pitch Perfect, but on a much larger scale. She reminds me a lot of Melissa McCarthy in her complete commitment to the wacky role and she seems like she would be game for just about anything if she thought it would get a laugh. She easily gets the biggest laughs of the film and any scene where she is featured is immediately more exciting just because of the potential of what she might do. She just has great timing and delivery. I think she is positioned to breakout soon and become a star.

The rest of the supporting cast is very good as well. Anna Camp and Brittany Snow play off each other well as the only returning members of the Bellas. As Lily (a “low talker” in the Seinfeld vernacular), Hana Mae Lee has some great non sequiturs. It’s not just the girls that are great; the few male characters that are developed are good as well. Skylar Astin was charming as Beca’s possible love interest Jesse and newcomer Ben Platt was wonderfully weird as Jesse’s roommate Benji. Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins are reliably humorous as the color commentators for the a cappella competitions (an idea that in and of itself is pretty funny).

Not only is the movie very amusing, but I also enjoyed the musical performances quite a bit as well. The one thing I generally did like on Glee was the singing and Pitch Perfect features lots of great songs. Who doesn’t love a good mash-up? I particularly enjoyed the riff-off that the various a cappella groups at Barden had. My favorite Kelly Clarkson song “Since You’ve Been Gone” is also featured prominently in the film, so that made me happy. In this day in age you can never tell if the actors are actually singing (though I think faking a cappella is a little harder), but this seems to be a fairly musically talented group.

All of these good points are not to say that the film is not fairly predictable. It definitely is in a lot of ways. Pitch Perfect is a straight up musical comedy, so if you are looking for some real deep soul searching or realistic solutions to problems, you are in the wrong place. The dialogue tries a little too hard in some places to be cute. But the cast handles the material so well that I didn’t even mind that they story was pretty much dictated by the first few scenes. I was laughing too hard to really care.

Some other thoughts:

  • I generally don’t like puns, but I make exceptions for restaurants (as a kid I wanted to open a Chinese Restaurant called “Wok this Way”), fantasy sports teams (“Wherever I May Romo”) and a cappella groups. So it made me smile that the other dominant signing group at the school is called the Treblemakers.
  • I thought I was the only one that noticed that Beca wore chipped off nail polish in the film, but it turns out that I wasn’t. I’d love if that became a trend again, since as I type this I am looking at some fingers in desperate need of new polish.
  • I’ll admit it – I like Miley Cyrus’ song “Party in the USA.”
  • I have a friend who looks amazingly like Anna Kendrick, so even though I enjoy the actress it messes with my head a bit (and yes, CP, if you are reading, I’m talking about you)
  • If you suffer from emetophobia, you may want to skip this film. Just saying.
  • I was surprisingly not annoyed with my fellow movie goers at this screening – no infants, no cell phones, no annoying chatter during the film. Well done, people!

Pitch Perfect is a fun little movie – it won’t change the world and it isn’t going to win any awards. But if you go into the theater and just want to have a good time, you shouldn’t be disappointed. Pitch Perfect may hit a false note every once in a while with its predictability and trying-too-hard dialogue, but the laughter in the theater will make it less noticeable. Pitch Perfect was a pleasant little surprise.