The world gives us lots to be cynical about every day. But today’s Thanksgiving, so I want to take a brief pause from frustration, indifference and indignation to marvel at the treasures on our massive pop culture landscape. Here’s a look at some of the pop culture (and pop culture criticism) that I’m thankful for right now:
Last night, I watched all three hours of the 2014 American Music Awards. It wasn’t always a fun experience. Head over to The Eagle for my grades of each performance.
Missed an episode of my pop-culture podcast with Devin Mitchell? Catch up on every episode since July here.
Nov. 19 – “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” and “Serial”
Nov. 9 – Taylor Swift’s “1989” with special guests Kate Magill and Emma Williams
Nov. 4 – “Nightcrawler” with special guest Zach Ewell, “Kill the Messenger” and “Broad City”
Oct. 27 – “Saturday Night Live” with special guest Kate Magill and “How to Get Away with Murder” with special guest Tam Sackman
Oct. 13- Mulaney and The Affair
Oct. 7 – Gone Girl
Sept. 29 – Madam Secretary with guest Jonathan Connelly, Black-ish and The Skeleton Twins
Sept. 21 – The Mysteries of Laura and pop-culture confessions
Sept. 14 – Saturday Night Live,” Selfie and A to Z
Sept. 6 – Favorite summer movies, The Cosmpolitans, Red Oaks
Sept. 3 – Emmys, VMAs, Red Band Society
Aug. 25 – Breaking Bad
Aug. 3 – Boyhood and Orange is the New Black
July 16 – 2014 Emmy nominations
“Welcome to New York,” the first track on Taylor Swift’s new album 1989, is not about New York. If you’ve heard the song, you already know why. It’s about a magical place filled with wonder and delight. That place does not exist. But Taylor Swift does, and the song is about her.
“It’s been waiting for you,” she chants. She’s projecting, of course. We’ve been waiting for her.
You’re the Worst, an FX comedy series created by Stephen Falk, just concluded an impressive bait-and-switch act with its season finale on Wednesday night. What initially appeared to be a superficial and mean-spirited riff on played-out romantic comedy tropes turned out to be in search of answers to far deeper and more satisfying questions. Instead of settling in for a season of tired “Will they or won’t they?” posturing and bad behavior reveling, You’re the Worst put its two self-involved leads together almost immediately – and the sparks, proverbial and otherwise, flew.
Just as a pile of puzzle pieces doesn’t inherently add up to a masterpiece, Let’s Be Cops has precious few laughs for a movie starring people as historically funny as Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr. (both from New Girl), Rob Riggle and Keegan Michael Key. In fact, it has precious few laughs at all.
Robin Williams, who passed away on Monday, was agile, versatile, quick-witted and almost overwhelmingly boisterous. Energy seemed to flow from everywhere else into him and then back out again in a million tiny, disparate fragments. Even at his most serious, he seemed incapable of turning off the parts of himself that might come across as obnoxious or excessive in the wrong directorial hands. As a performer, he was like a rubber band perpetually on the brink of snapping. Last night, we learned what we already knew but couldn’t bring ourselves to talk about: that metaphor applied to his life as well as his art.