Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Happy Thanksgiving Edition

Hooray – it’s almost Thanksgiving, though honestly I am more excited about the 4 day weekend than the actual holiday. I’ve been running around way too much in the last week and I really just need a few days to relax and get myself back on track. I’m looking forward to just sleeping in and taking it easy and watching a shameful number of movies. I’ll enjoy the turkey dinner and the moment to reflect on all that I’m thankful for (which is a lot), but I’m really ready for some R&R. The last two weeks have kicked my butt.

Before you head off to spend some time with your loved ones and eat some stuffing, get yourself up to speed on the world of pop culture with your biweekly pop culture roundup. It’s on the long side this week, so there’s plenty to keep you occupied over the long weekend. Plus you never know when you’ll have to make small talk with a relative and there is a little bit of something for everyone in this roundup. So pour over this collection of links before the tryptophan kicks in.

  • Someone indexed every death in the Game of Thrones books (so far):


  • NOOOOOO!!!!!!!! They are remaking Road House. It has better include the line “I used to f*ck guys like you in prison” or it will be complete sacrilege.

This week in Ron Burgundy news:

  • The Channel 4 gang sang “Afternoon Delight” at the Australian premiere:



  • Baxter got his own movie poster:



  • This article looks at how Friends decided to pair off Monica and Chandler.
  • The Mindy Project is going on hiatus due to low ratings. Other shakeups at FOX – Dads has been removed from the schedule despite receiving a full season order and Brooklyn Nine-Nine is moving to 9:30 (in The Mindy Project’s old slot).
  • James Franco and Seth Rogan did a parody of Kanye’s video for “Bound 2”:

Surprisingly, Kim and Kanye (neither known for their killer sense of humor) apparently found it funny.

  • Zach Braff may have pulled off the greatest photobomb of all time:


  • Watch Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul read the Breaking Bad finale for the first time (spoilers if you aren’t current):


  • You can watch the pilots of HBO’s new comedies Ja’mie: Private School Girl and Getting On online.
  • Adam Brody (The O.C.) and Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl) are engaged.
  • The surviving members of the Beastie Boys penned an open letter explain their dispute with toymaker GoldieBlox. Their song “Girls” has since been pulled from the commercial.
  • According to this graphic, many Sesame Street character have mental disorders.
  • Watch Robert DeNiro’s audition for the role of Sonny in The Godfather:


  • Pitbull and Ke$ha co-star in a new music video:



  • Every new trailer for HBO’s True Detective makes me more and more excited for this show:


  • A teaser for the new Chicago Fire spin-off, Chicago PD:


  • Sherlock Season 3:


  • The obviously NSFW trailer has arrived from Lars von Trier’s upcoming film Nymphomaniac


  • Season 3 trailer for HBO’s Girls:


  • A trailer for Devil’s Knot – yet another film about the West Memphis Three:


  • Another trailer for one of the movies I am most looking forward to this winter, American Hustle:


  • Kellen Lutz stars in Hercules: The Legend Begins:


  • A new trailer for Muppets Most Wanted:


  • Some deleted scenes from one of my all-time favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption:


  • I always knew It’s Sunny in Philadelphia was ahead of its time. Does this mean kitten mittens are next?
  • Whoa – Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle album was released 20 years ago. I am feeling old.

As always, we end with the mashups and supercuts:

  • Mad Men without the smoking:


  • Reaping Ball – a Hunger Games/Miley Cryrus mashup:


  • The Wolf of Bedford Falls (It’s a Wonderful Life re-cut to look like The Wolf of Wall Street):


  • A Rob Ford/New Jack City remix:


  • A Rob Ford/Chris Farley mashup (Farley would have been amazing playing Ford on SNL):


  • Team Coco put together a supercut of season 3 of Conan:


  • The Sesame Street gang did a Hunger Games parody:


  • And finally……a Dawson’s Creek/The Walking Dead mashup, Governor’s Creek:


The blog is probably going to take a few days off for the holidays, unless I just can’t help myself. Best wishes for a very happy Thanksgiving and Hanukkah!!!!


Down the Rabbit Hole

Last night, I had a plan. I was finally going to put away the stacks of (clean) laundry that have piled up in my living room because I am lazy. I was going to make the grocery store run that I should have made over the weekend, but somehow never got around to. I was finally going to make some forward progress in reading The Twelve, as I’ve been stuck at the same place for several weeks. I’d cleared my DVD out quite a bit over the weekend and there were no new programs that I watch anymore on Monday nights (adios, How I Met Your Mother), so I should have been able to get a lot done.

And then I stumbled upon Anchorman on HBO. And there went the rest of my evening.

There are certain movies that when you come across them on TV, you just have to stop and watch them. It’s like you are compelled to do so. You don’t plan it – most of the time you don’t even know that the movie is on, but simply find it while mindlessly flipping channels. It’s like a surprise gift that you didn’t even know you wanted until you see it. But once you do, the movie casts some sort of weird spell over you and you just can’t keep flipping the channels. You’re down the rabbit hole and for the remainder of the film’s running time, you are in. The only exception for me is if the movie is on basic cable; occasionally, a commercial break briefly breaks whatever hold the movie has over me and I can change the channel or turn the TV off. But most of the time, once I start watching there is no escape.

I can’t really explain this phenomena or why certain movies trigger this reaction and others don’t. In many cases, I actually own the DVDs of these films so I am not a slave to when they show up on TV; technically I could watch them whenever I want. Yet there is something more compelling about discovering the movie unexpectedly rather than making the conscious decision to put the DVD on. Perhaps it feels more like good luck when it is unanticipated – a gift bestowed upon you by the pop culture gods on high.

The other interesting wrinkle is that not all the movies that have this power over me are necessarily “good” movies. They are all movies that I enjoy, but I can still recognize that some are quality filmmaking and others not; some of these movies are more the cinematic equivalent of comfort food. I thought that The Hurt Locker was a fantastic film and deserved the Academy Award, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I ever want to watch it again. The films that compel me to watch them are all selections that I can view over and over again without tiring of them; what some of them lack in “quality,” they make up for with durability.

Though the list is lengthy, these are some of the films that immediately suck me in when I find them on television:

The Shawshank Redemption

This movie has consistently been in my all-time Top 5 of movies since I first saw it in graduate school, so it is not a huge surprise that one of my favorite movies is also a movie that always draws me in. The great thing about Shawshank is that no matter what place you are in the movie, it is pretty easy to jump in and be instantly immersed in the film. It’s a great movie, but it is also accessible. The plot isn’t complicated and there aren’t a lot of twists and turns to keep track of. And who wouldn’t be lulled in by narration stylings of Morgan Freeman? If it’s on and I know about it, I’m watching it. And the good people at TNT and AMC must agree with me because they have re-aired this movie a lot over the years. In fact, though I’ve seen this movie at least 50 times, I don’t know that I have ever watched the DVD that I own.


The Godfather

Though I tend to agree with arguments that The Godfather Part II is the better film, nothing can kill an afternoon for me like the original movie about the Corleone family. It’s so immensely quotable and the story draws you in so quickly that it is hard to change the channel. I always seem to jump into this movie in two particular spots – when Michael is standing guard outside his father’s hospital room and when Sonny is handing Carlo an epic beatdown in retribution for what Carlo has done to Connie

I think I could watch this movie 100 times and never tire of it.



What can I say? I love me some mafia movies. Thankfully for my productivity, I tend to catch this one toward the end of the film, right before Henry gets caught. Just a great cast that you can’t help but get sucked in. Joe Pesci at his absolute best.


Drive Me Crazy

This movie is not good. I will fully admit that. It’s also not a movie that on paper you would think that I would like. The only thing that most people know about this movie is the Britney Spears song of the same name on the soundtrack. But I am embarrassed to say how many times I watched this film in the late 90’s/early 2000’s when it was on heavy rotation on HBO. I refused to by the DVD for this film because I was embarrassed to have it on my shelf, so this is one that I totally had to rely upon finding on TV to enjoy. It’s mindless, but something about it draws me in. Chances are you have caught me watching this and I have claimed that it was “just on.” I was lying to you.


The Goonies

This one is pure nostalgia – I’m sure if I watched The Goonies with adult eyes and without the memories of childhood I would be much less enamored with this film. But thankfully, I don’t have to, so I can continue to spend entire Saturdays laying on the couch and watching Goonie adventures.


Starsky and Hutch

I’ll admit that I didn’t much like this movie the first time that I saw it. However, I’ve been bored enough to watch it several times since then and it has grown on me. I still think it’s a step below a lot of the other “frat pack” movies (like Old School, Zoolander, etc.) and I would never seek it out, but somehow if I happen upon it I am tricked into watching the rest of the film. I do enjoy the dance off, however.

I could go on, but I’ve already embarrassed myself enough and you get the idea. What movies always reel you in whenever they are on? Sound off in the comments below.