21Aug
ferg

On Ferguson, Musician / Actor Couples and the Ice Bucket Challenge

+ In this week’s episode, I talk with Jamie about the situation in Ferguson and our role within the controversy. Specifically, what is our obligation? What is pop culture’s obligation?

{Conversation #1: Ferguson}

+ We also talk about musician / actor couples. The ones that most often come to mind, the cliches about it and the weirdest ones that you probably never knew about.

{Conversation #2: Actor / Musician Couples}

+ Lastly, we hit our lights and recommendations for the week…

{Conversation #3: Our Lights and Recommendations}

– Buzzfeed’s $850 million valuation…

+ This post by Ann Voskamp about Christians and Suicide…

– Being ok with Ice Bucket Challenge fatigue…

– But then conversely, why you shouldn’t hate on the Ice Bucket Challenge

 {+ Bonus Conversation: Are Josh Duhamel and Fergie Equally Matched?}

– The incomparable Scarlett Johanssen’s angelic voice…

– This failed pilot that almost starred Alison Brie and Jennifer Lawrence…

+ This web series, High Maintenance…

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20Aug
Chris-Pratt2

Is Chris Pratt the Movie Star We Deserve?

So Guardians of the Galaxy came out recently. Evidently, it’s great. Like so great. Which is weird because having no context on this particular slice of the Marvel universe, the entire concept seemed like an overextension. You’ve got Vin Diesel and Chris Pratt running around along with an anthropomorphic raccoon. At a certain point, I’m hoping Marvel understands that there will be a disbelief we are unwilling to suspend.

It’s like, you got away with Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. Let’s not tempt fate, you know?

But, again, the numbers and the responses indicate the movie is great and it’s full speed ahead for the Marvel movie-making machine.

The biggest narrative to come out of this movie though is the rise of Chris Pratt. Everything the light touches in the pop cultural landscape is his for the taking right now. But why?

The Appeal of Normal

In the lead-up to Guardians, stuff like this….

and this…

and this…

…all trickled out into the pop culture ether and it made us like him because, let me tell you, nothing gets normal people like you and I all hot and bothered like a celebrity acting non-celebish. We eat that up so hard and then lick the plate.

Jennifer Lawrence belly flopping on her way to accept an Oscar? EAT.

jennifer-lawrence-fall

Kristen Bell sobbing about a sloth? EAT.

kristen bell

We love feeling like the line between them and us isn’t quite so blurred, when deep down, we all super know that it is.

theyre-just-like-us

The Appeal of Familiar

In addition to his normalish appeal, part of his rise is also because he’s been a peripheral existence to most of us for a while now. Thus, this gives him some credibility but this credibility is nuanced, guys. That’s right. I’m about to explain the finer points on an intangible thing like it’s an art exhibit or something. My college tuition at work, Mom and Dad!

The following is self-evident: we like things we know, right? The barrier for entry on anything is easier if its familiar than if we’re flying blind. It’s why studios want known quantities in their shows / movies. It’s why brand names matter.

I know. I just realized it too. I’m explaining to you that brand names matter. Look at me here dispatching wisdom like the Dalai Lama of obviousness.

ANYWAYS, the point here is that we know Chris Pratt. We’ve seen him in movies and we’ve seen him on TV.

The corollary to this though is that it’s problematic if we know someone TOO well. Because then, that super-familiarity  colors the audience’s sense of the character and their response to the movie.

It’s why Lindsay Lohan can never be Cady Heron again. She’ll always bring the baggage of being insane, drug-addled and authorship of an actual bang list to every single role.

banglist

Understanding all this, Guardians clearly was the perfect storm for Chris Pratt. So the question  thenbecomes, what led to Chris Pratt being in this position?

If we consider the idea of market correction, then we can extend this notion to the movie industry in the sense that certain cultural climates demand certain types of content. And within this content, certain types of movie stars are sought after.

Let’s look at this in a more specific way and consider 1996 – 2006. For the most part, this period looked primed to be a Dark Ages as it relates to male superstardom. Tom Cruise had hit an artistic lull, Tom Hanks was trending down after an insane run and for all intents and purposes the throne had been abdicated in terms of dude superstars.

But the market can’t tolerate a world where no dude superstars exist. So, in the void left by Cruise and Hanks, someone filled it.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 2.28.24 PM

Will Smith’s 96 – 06 run, featured a vast array of genre and type: franchise, Sci-Fi, Action, Drama, Animated, Biopic, Comedy and even TV.

In terms of the market, was Will Smith SUCH a movie star talent that he would have emerged regardless of what the leading man situation was? OR was Will Smith’s 10 year run a function of the leading man vacuum needing to be filled?

As interesting as that conversation may be, we’re here for Chris Pratt, you guys. Stay focused.

Contingency Plan for Who?

So understanding that the market demands certain types of characters, we can apply this idea to Chris Pratt and assume that he’s the contingency plan for a few other people. But who are these people? Who are these mystery actors that were going to be mostly supporting, mostly comedic, mostly white and charming but not TOO charming so as to step on the leading man’s charm dealings? I have some thoughts…

+ Guys Who Popped

Steve Carell and Bradley Cooper

Both unexpectedly became marketable as leading guys with charisma and charm in spades so they leveled up.

+ Guys Who Flopped

Jason Sudeikis, Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman

For me, the Jasons are better on TV. What they have hasn’t translated to movies…yet. This partly explains why I really didn’t like Horrible Bosses because to me, the entire cast aside from Colin Farrell all belong on TV.

Reynolds is different though. He’s the one that I think has most clearly Butterfly Effected Hollywood and has most clearly underachieved to the point that someone like Chris Pratt could get this movie. It’s almost like Reynolds is too handsome to be funny, but yet his humor doesn’t allow him to have enough presence to be “The Guy”. Further, he’s naturally funny to be serious, but yet there’s a part of him that stays serious enough to where he can’t entirely give himself over to comedy.

Regardless, Chris Pratt appears to be here to stay for a while and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or bad thing.

 

14Aug
popcast square

The Popcast Anniversary Episode

On this day a year ago, Jamie Golden and I started The Popcast. 51 episodes, 87 ratings, and 64 reviews later, we’re still at it.

Our most recent episode recaps our journey as well as gets into some superlatives to cover what’s been going on in pop culture since we’ve been popcasting.

Things like….

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The rise and celebration of finger nail art…

+Celebrity most likely to end up in jail

robkardashian

+ How Adam Driver might be the next big thing…

+ How enough is enough with the Duck Dynasty beard thing

duck dynasty beards

+Celebrity couple most likely to get divorced

Beyonce-Jay-Z_900-600-06-25-13

+ And a brief word about Robin Williams and our favorite clip of his…

7Aug
Hello-my-name-is

What’s In A Pop Culture Name?

In this episode, Jamie and I talk all about names. Our names, celebrity names, celebrity stage names and what they mean.

But guys. Guys. GUYS. We talk so much more than that.

LISTEN

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+ We tease next week’s one year anniversary episode and THIS giveaway we’re doing in conjunction with it.

+ The best new website by a large margin that is making confectionary waves…

+ This article from The Atlantic was our jumping off point.

+ We talked about this Taco Bell commercial and how Taco Bell needs to not through shade at anyone, ever.

+ This article that details celebrity stage names with their real names.

+ Briefly, we discuss which of us has the worse name meaning.

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 3.01.06 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 3.00.54 PM

+ How to properly pronounce “Laura”

+ This excellent Lena Dunham essay

+ This new website that allows you to find your favorite movie quotes…

+ How Olivia Wilde is trying to make nipple a thing…

olivia

 

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