Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Star Wars Day Edition

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If you are anything like me, you woke up this morning to find your Facebook feed dominated by people wishing you a “Happy Star Wars Day.” As loyal readers know, I do not give a hoot about Star Wars (still haven’t seen The Force Awakens) but I do appreciate the celebration of pop culture in any form. So though I can barely tell a C-3PO from and R2-D2 , May the fourth be with you. Go blow up a Death Star to commemorate.

It’s also Wednesday, which means that in addition to getting your Wookiee on today, it’s also pop culture roundup day. What a glorious time to be alive! As always, I’ve searched the Internet to gather for you the best that world of pop culture has had to offer in the last seven days. There’s a little bit of something for everyone here, so kick back, relax and get yourself caught up on all the happenings in pop culture.

 

 

 

Time for some trailers….

  • The Ring vs. The Grudge (a real movie!):

 

  • Captain America: Civil War (now with more Spider-Man):

 

  • The Nice Guys gets a retro trailer:

 

  • Snowden:

 

  • Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie:

 

  • Tulip Fever:

 

  • The Duel:

 

  • Southside with You:

 

  • Florence Foster Jenkins:

 

  • Bad Moms:

 

  • Here Alone:

 

  • Captain Fantastic:

 

  • The Disney Channel’s Adventures in Babysitting:

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, we end with the mashups and supercuts….

  • Toy Story reimagined as a thriller:

 

  • The Dixie Chicks covered Beyonce’s “Daddy Lessons”:

 

  • Here’s the Suicide Squad trailer recreated in Fallout 4:

 

  • Disney animators drew some Game of Thrones fan art with cats as the characters:

 

 

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  • Eddie Vedder and his daughter covered the Batman theme song:

 

  • Here’s Dave Chappelle singing Radiohead:

 

  • Disney characters sing Smashmouth:

 

  • This supercuts shows the many times that The Simpsons has paid tribute to Citizen Kane:

 

  • A vintage cover of “Are Your Gonna Be My Girl”:

 

  • WWE 2K16 predicts the winner of Captain America: Civil War:

 

  • Bernie Sanders as George Costanza:

 

  • Jimmy Fallon and Paul Rudd recreated a Styx music video (that’s Rudd on lead vocals!):

 

  • The Daily Show turned Donald Trump’s words into a rap:

 

  • Seinfeld meets Rihanna:

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  • And finally, The Muppets do some Outkast:

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Haphazard Edition

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It’s been a crazy week with a lot of traveling and unfortunately that means that the pop culture roundup suffered a little bit as I’ve been playing catch up. If I didn’t get the roundup posted today I probably never would have, though I wish that I had been able to do a more complete survey of all that the world of pop culture had to offer. But something is better than nothing and even in its incomplete state I think I still managed to capture a lot of what has happened in the last week or so. Two trips to NYC in five days was probably excessive, but I’ll be able to share some of my adventures next week once I’ve had a chance to catch my breath over the weekend. In the meantime, check out what I was able to accomplish in this week’s slapdash pop culture roundup.

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Time for some trailers…

  • X-Men: Apocalypse:

 

  • The Girl on the Train:

 

  • The Founder:

 

  • Café Society:

 

  • Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates:

 

  • Independence Day: Resurgence:

 

  • Weiner:

 

  • The Infiltrator:

 

  • The Do-Over:

 

  • De Palma:

 

  • Danger Mouse:

 

There’s been an overwhelming reaction to the passing of Prince last week….

 

 

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  • And the cast of Hamilton:

 

 

 

As always, we end with the mashup and supercuts….

  • Stephen Colbert and Sturgill Simpson write a song about Waffle House:

 

  • Sesame Street pays tribute to A Tribe Called Quest:

My name is Prince (1958-2016)

prince2016 really kind of blows.

Yesterday we suffered another great musical loss with the sudden death of Prince. Like David Bowie, Prince always seemed immortal to me, like he wasn’t quite mortal and had just come down to Earth to give us a little more funk. To discover that he was not immune to the circle of life was as shocking as the unexpectedness of his death. In an instant, the musical landscape has been unequivocally and irreparably altered. When I was a kid, the pop stars that dominated the charts were Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince and Madonna. Now three of them are gone, all before the age of 60. It just doesn’t seem right.

I was never as big a fan of Prince as I was of the other three, but that didn’t do much to soften the news of his death yesterday. Prince was a through-line of so much of my childhood; he was so omnipresent that I probably took his genius a little bit for granted and stylistically he wasn’t quite as accessible as artists of the day. Jackson, Houston, and Madonna all had wonderful songs, but they didn’t have the complexity of a Prince tune. The poppy Prince songs that played on the radio were not representative of Prince and what he could do; to fully appreciate him and his ability to constantly evolve and change, you need to listen to his albums. As a huge fan of Tim Burton’s Batman, I remember begging my parents to get me Prince’s soundtrack for the film; when I finally listened to it in its entirety, I was not prepared for it. For someone who mainly knew Prince from his singles, it was all too much for me to handle. The integration of snippets of dialogue from the film, the various musical influences and the fact that most of the songs were simple inspired by the movie rather actually from the film was way over the head of the 12 year old version of me. Prince’s music always had struck me as a little dangerous, with its oozing sexuality often barely contained under the surface, and I simply wasn’t sophisticated enough to process it yet.

It wasn’t until I got older that I could really appreciate what a multi-faceted performer Prince was; not only was he a great singer who had hypnotic stage presence, but he was also a stellar guitar player, all-around musician, and lyricist. Not only did Price write his songs, but he wrote songs for many other artists as well. I knew that he had penned the Sinead O’Connor hit “Nothing Compares 2 U” (Prince was using “text speak” before it was even a thing), but I had no idea that he has also written “Manic Monday” for The Bangles, “Stand Back” for Stevie Nicks, or “I Feel for You” for Chaka Khan (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg). He seemingly could do everything; he was effortlessly cool and was seemingly an artist’s artist. He also wasn’t afraid to stand up for what he believed in; he was a fierce defender of a musician’s rights to his/her music, which is why it’s extremely hard to find any Prince music streaming or on YouTube. When he had a dispute with his record label, he changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol in protest (and sparked the phrase “The artist formerly known as….” in the process). That would seem like career suicide, but we all just adapted. On paper, Prince really shouldn’t have worked – a skinny little man in a purple suit and a puffy shirt shouldn’t have been one of the sex symbols of the 80s, let alone one of the biggest pop stars on the planet. But he was and managed to do it all and still a relatively private life. I mean, the man made Minneapolis seem like the place to be. There was no limit to his power and influence.

When the news of Prince’s death was announced yesterday, what struck me was the universal outpouring of grief. Everyone loved Prince. Doesn’t matter how old you are or what kind of music you like, Prince meant something to you. Whenever Prince showed up at an award show or when celebrities talked about seeing him perform or meeting him, people universally lost their shit. These people, who are surrounded by famous people all the time (and are famous themselves), would act no different than you or I. It was like they had just witnessed a magical unicorn in its natural habitat. Prince was a man, but he was also a myth and a legend. The words “…and then Prince showed up.” were whispered with reverence and awe. He walked to the beat of his own drum, and we all anxiously chased behind him, trying to keep up. Just when we thought we had, he’d completely change the beat on us, taking us in a wonderfully unexpected direction. We would have followed him anywhere.

Rest in peace, sweet Prince.