Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pop Culture Round-up - June/July 2012

It's been awhile since I've done a pop culture round-up, which is too bad because summer is peak time for amazing pop cultural goodies. Most of them are cotton candy - light, fluffy, and unmemorable. This summer has given us a few treats, however, that are worth holding onto.

That's Mark, along with Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt in
Your Sister's Sister.
Mark Duplass in the Pacific Northwest
Two of my favorite movies of the summer have featured "mumblecore" mainstay Mark Duplass finding himself against the verdant backdrop of the Pacific Northwest. Both movies are indies about people who wear sweaters. Even so, the movies are very different experiences. In Safety Not Guaranteed, Duplass plays a wannabe time traveler who advertises for a partner in decade-tripping, and attracts the notice of some journalists who want to do a story on him. It's a sweet, sunny gem of a movie - and it's frickin' hilarious. I haven't laughed so hard at the movies in quite awhile. In Your Sister's Sister, Duplass is once-again a fashion-challenged Northwesterner, but here he's a young man grieving over the loss of his brother. When he goes to his best (female) friend's family cabin to get himself back on track, he encounters her sister. Of course, complications ensue. Although some of the twists might sound like romantic comedy fodder on paper, the movie feels incredibly real - especially for anyone with a sister, a best friend, or a human heart.

Ho. Hey. Forget the Bing Commercial.
My friend Emma introduced me to this little ditty, and because Emma is cooler than an advertising agency music supervisor, I've been jamming to this for awhile now. It's gotten popular since it was featured in the "Discover Hawaii" Bing ad, which I'm OK with, because this song is so summery and clappy and shouty that I want it to be the song of the summer 2012.

Sunday Night TV
A smart person would go to bed early on Sunday night in order to wake up early, refreshed and ready to work on Monday. I'm not that person. I mean, how can I be, when True Blood, The Newsroom, and Falling Skies are all on Sunday nights? Even though I have a DVR, I find that I often watch all three before going to bed, to dream of skitters and vampires and Emily Mortimer's silly blouses.


Wool, by Hugh Howey
Wool is a series of novellas self-published by Hugh Howey and sold in the Kindle store. It's about a future world where Earth is so toxic that humans have been forced to live underground in silos. For 5.99, you can't get a better summer read - fast-paced enough that you keep the e-pages turning, but thought-provoking enough that you're not embarrassed to admit you're reading it. And can anyone say that about Fifty Shades of Gray?

You know how sometimes, you know that there's a TV show that you're going to like, but you just don't get around to it? Louie was like that for me. When my friend offered to pay me to watch one of Louis C.K.'s comedy specials, I knew it was time to give in. I watched the first two seasons of C.K.'s FX show, Louie, within a matter of days. C.K. writes, directs, and stars in Louie, and I haven't been as obsessed with anything in a long time. As far as I'm concerned, the man's a genius. A freckly, foul-mouthed genius. The show is a series of vignettes and comedy bits, and it can veer from being scatological to deeply profound in 2 seconds flat. On one episode, Louie's youngest daughter told a joke about being a mermaid who realizes she's swimming in "pee-pee." Patton Oswalt declared that this is the explanation for all of C.K.'s comedy. But I think he got it backward. C.K. is all about swimming in pee-pee and then realizing that you're a mermaid. It's probably the most humane show on television. Republicans hate it.

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