Goodbye, 2017

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I couldn’t let 2017 slip away without indulging one more look back at the year in pop culture. Here are a few things that brought me joy. (And here are a few more.)

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The M&M Report: “Ghostbusters”

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Ghostbusters is a movie directed by Paul Feig starring four of the funniest women alive. It’s a remake of a beloved 1984 comedy that’s attracted one of the most intensely sexist online controversies in recent memory. And…it’s pretty good! In this episode of The M&M Report, Devin and I talk about what worked and what didn’t.

Also: Devin is moving back to California. That means this podcast is the last one recorded in the same room with me for the foreseeable future. I’ll miss him, but I won’t miss the podcast, because it’s not going anywhere! We’ll still be recording regularly in the weeks and months to come. Stay tuned for more.

Don’t forget, you can now subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and download the feed directly into the podcast app of your choice. If you have the time, rate and review us on iTunes as well. We’d greatly appreciate your support.

SAG Awards 2016: My Predictions

SAG.jpgHere’s the latest installment of my new tradition: hastily assembled predictions for the winners of tonight’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, broadcast at 8pm on TNT and TBS, and streaming here. (These predictions don’t reflect my preferences, except when they do.)

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“The Martian”: Science, Fictionalized

The Martian is science-fiction in the most literal sense of the term. It’s essentially a big-budget ode to the scientific method, in which an enterprising astronaut marooned on Mars after a deadly sandstorm puts every ounce of his collegiate powers towards surviving and eventually returning home. Directed by Ridley Scott and written by Drew Goddard, the movie version of the popular Andy Weir novel meets the old-fashioned morality and classical simplicity of that story with awe-inspiring visualizations of a planet we may still one day get to know.

Rather than dwelling on the wonders of space, The Martian skips straight past the sense of discovery and plunges in as the characters treat the most foreign environments as a mundane workplace. In the opening scene, the five astronauts of the Hermes mission are deep into a harvesting session when they get word of an oncoming storm. They make their way towards shelter, but not soon enough. Four of them return to safety in time, but one, botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon), disappears, presumably asphyxiated to death.

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Who You Gonna Call? Thor Will Transfer You

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News broke (okay, a tweet was sent) last night about Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot: the receptionist role originated by Annie Potts will be played by Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth.

Given that Feig is clearly a big fan of SNL, I’d like to think that this sketch drove to him to give Hemsworth a call.

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“Saturday Night Live”: 40 Years of Nights

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A year ago at this time, I wrote a blog post addressing Saturday Night Live‘s frustrating lack of commitment to diversity, exemplified by a sketch in which Kerry Washington played several prominent black female celebrities capped off by a title card backhandedly apologizing for the show’s dearth of nonwhite performers.

During the season finale and throughout this anniversary season, the story was different. Perfect? Of course not. But diverse voices in front of and behind the camera were one of the factors that made this season of SNL a significant improvement on the last few.

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“SNL 40”: Fortieth Verse, Similar to the First

Last night’s Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special began with a musical tribute to the show’s iconic characters performed by two of its most currently camera-ready stars. Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake “History of Rap”-ified forty years of surreal catchphrases and gross-out gags before intoning the show’s now-infamous opening salvo.

“Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!”

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