Everything we canât stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture.
[View in Browser]( [Subscribe]( [Image] with Kevin Fallon Everything we canât stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture.
This Week: - Watch these good movies! - Lololol another streaming service. - The TV montage video of the week. - Martha Stewart, icon. - Maya Rudolph, ICON! The Good Movies Have Finally Arrived If there is one thing thatâs become certain about âThese Uncertain Times,â as theyâve been so dramatically dubbed, itâs that time has become both meaningless and the most meaningful thing we have. It has now been over a year since I last went to work at my office. For many of us, this is the anniversary of the last thing we did in âBefore Times,â the elder, envy-inducing cousin of âThese Uncertain Times.â Days, weeks, and months have crawled by at the pace of a slug in ankle weights trudging through molasses, but in some respects have also speeded byâit canât possibly have been a year. A YEAR!? If you told me it was May 2020 or it was December 2024 right now, I would believe you. But on the other hand, all weâve had is time. Itâs how weâve stayed safeâthis many days of quarantine, this many days since the last COVID test, this many days between vaccinationsâand itâs how weâve mourned: This many days since Iâve seen my loved ones, since I felt sane or safe, since things were normal. [Alternate text] That is a very heady preamble to my current pop-culture preoccupation, which is the lunacy of time this year when it comes to movies. The [Golden Globes are on Sunday](, the splashy ([and corrupt!]() bellwether of an [Oscar season that will wrap up]( at the end of April, finally bestowing trophies to the best films and performances from 2020, a year that ended more than four months prior. As a critic who votes in several awards organizations, I received emails towards the end of 2020 saying things like âthis film will be released in March 2021, but is in consideration for all Best of 2020 year-end lists and awards,â as if simply pronouncing such a thing made it any less nonsensical. I bring any of this up because a) time and the ridiculousness of this year is all I think about and b) itâs finally here! This weekend, when itâs almost three months into 2021, you can finally watch all of the best movies of 2020. The actual best movies. My three favorites of 2020 (???) are finally available now in 2021 (!!!). Again, it makes no sense. But it is exciting. Before you do something ill-advised like log onto HBO Max and accidentally watch that horriific sleeping pill thatâs been gaslighting us into thinking Jared Leto is a good actor ([The Little Things](), let me steer you in the right direction. The headline is that [Minari is out]( on VOD this weekend, which means all sane people who are rightfully avoiding movie theaters can rent it from their homes. This is the movie that when anybody has asked me âwhatâs been good this year?â I would immediately reply âMINARI!!!!!!!!â (doing some wild gesticulation to warrant so many exclamation points), only to sheepishly realize that this film that won the top prizes of [Sundance in January 2020]( hadnât been available to watch yet. It is now! Directed by Lee Isaac Chung, itâs about a Korean immigrant family struggling to realize the American dream in Reagan-era Arkansas. Starring Steven Yeun as a father who moves his family to the South so that he can start a farm and quit the taxing, low-paying work at a chicken hatchery, Minari is largely told through the eyes of 7-year-old David (an all-time great child performance from Alan Kim), as he watches his family navigate the tension between their American and Korean identities as he forms one himself. Itâs a delicate story about determination and the precariousness of love and duty, told with humor and a heartfelt dignity. Itâs also a story about America; one of the most American stories Iâve seen on film, to be honest, but one that it is rarely told. Thatâs a throughline of the other great movie about America from 2020/the first three months of 2021 that weâre still counting as 2020. [Nomadland is just spectacular](. It was made available on Hulu last week. All you should really need to be sold on it is that icon Frances McDormand is absolutely transformative in the lead role, but just singling out that does a disservice to how stunning the cinematography is, how tender and industry-shifting ChloÃ© Zhaoâs direction is, and how the film makes you rethink what this country is, what it can give us, and, more, what we want from it. Oh, the acting you could treat yourself to this weekend! Beyond the award-worthy performances from the casts of Minari and Nomadland, there is the jaw-dropping work that Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman do in The Father. [Alternate text] The film is released this weekend in theaters, really testing the limits of praise like âa performance worth dying for.â But it is occasion for me to bring attention to the fact that these two Oscar winners perform a Herculean feat of acting that just about destroyed me when I saw it last year at Sundance. It is even more shattering now, after a year shadowed by the dread and paranoia of impending, inevitable loss, death, and grief. Hopkins plays Anthony, a man whose mind and memory is slipping as he struggles with dementia. As his daughter (Colman) grapples with the reality that she may no longer be able to care for him on her own, the film becomes an aching portrait of loss of all kinds: memory, relationships, time. Hopkinsâ performance, both towering and brittle, grounds a narrative in which being unmoored is entirely the point. You never quite know whatâs real, whatâs misremembered, and whatâs an amalgamation of both. It creates a state of disorientation for the viewer but panic and horror for Anthony, who is flailing for a grip on the truth and, with it, his life. If youâre ambitious, this weekend you can also check out [Andra Dayâs astonishing transformation into Billie Holiday]( in The United States vs. Billie Holiday, which is out on Hulu. (And get her song âRise Upâ stuck in your head for the rest of the month while youâre at it, which honestly is not a bad thing.) And also catch up on Promising Young Woman, Judas and the Black Messiah, Let Them All Talk, Sound of Metal, and Never Rarely Sometimes Always while youâre at itâmy other favorites. And chase it all down, as every night should end, with Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. If I find out that with all these options, you watched some bad movie on Netflix, Iâll be pissed. I wonât be surprised. Just disappointed. Another Freaking Streaming Service? Itâs at the point that I honestly canât bring myself to do another one of those âshould you subscribe to this new streaming service?â pieces. It would be like [the 15th in this last year](. Do you have unlimited funds and a remarkable ability to remember countless log-in passwords? Then sign up for them all! Or sign up for none! Thereâs so many now itâs the equivalent of that joke from 20 years ago around the cable/satellite boom. âThree hundred channels, but nothingâs on.â Now literally everything, of all time, is on...and yet also nothing at all. The impetus for this existential spiral is the flurry of announcements made by Paramount+ this week, the new version of CBS All Access that will avalanche in content from channels like MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon; scores of past Paramount movies; sports stuff; and, based on the number of press releases in my inbox, about six billion new TV series. It launches March 4, and has tiered pricing with $9.99 being the monthly rate for the premium subscription. [Alternate text] Is it worth it? Is anything? The short answer is that CBS All Access was already worth it [for airing The Good Fight alone](, and thus Paramount Plus is, too. But I still have to laugh at this rollout strategy of âweâre going to be everything for everybody, and thus for nobody at all!â Among the TV shows and movies that Paramount+ is rebooting, reimagining, or producing sequels of: Flashdance, The Italian Job, Fatal Attraction, Love Story, Inside Amy Schumer, Beavis and Butthead, Rugrats, RuPaulâs Drag Race, The Challenge, Workaholics, Spongebob Squarepants, Star Trek, The Daily Show, Yellowstone, and Reno: 911! There will be a prequel to Grease titled Rise of the Pink Ladies, and [that is not a joke](. Kelsey Grammer will star in Frasier reboot. Who, in 2021 and after all these failed revivals, is demanding a Frasier reboot? Doesnât matterâyouâre getting one! Paramount+, truly the tossed salad and scrambled eggs of streaming services. (Obviously I will be subscribing.) Drew Barrymore Is Too Pure For This Earth This is [a Kelly Clarkson Show household](, a deeply religious choice that is held sacred and thus we donât dabble often in other daytime TV options. However, we are occasionally tempted by the unhinged lunacy of whatever in the world is going on at the set of The Drew Barrymore Show, and weâve got to say, it can be quite titillating. Barrymore [celebrated her birthday]( this week with an episode filled with surprise guests who played significant roles in her life, including David Letterman, Cameron Diaz, and Steven Spielberg. It was an hour-long escalating emotional meltdown, as if someone found out they were in the audience of Oprahâs Favorite Things episode, won the lottery, and secured a vaccine appointment all in the same 60 minutes. ([Watch it here](.) [Alternate text] The truth is that Iâve only ever seen montage clips of The Drew Barrymore Show that have gone viral on Twitter, like this one did. And yet I am still certain that, outside of Queen Kellyâs daytime hour, no better TV show has ever existed. Let Martha Stewart Host SNL! In [an excellent profile of O.G. Influencer Martha Stewart]( that broke huge newsâMartha only gets contact high with Snoop, and does not partake in the weed herselfâit was revealed that one of her only regrets in her life is that she had to turn down an offer to host Saturday Night Live because her parole officer at the time wouldnât let her do it. [Alternate text] In [the name of Ana Gasteyer]( and all that is holy, why has SNL not asked her again? Itâs not too late, Lorne. Give the people what they deserve. (Weâre a pretty shitty people. A mediocre episode of SNL with Martha Stewart hosting really is all we deserve.) This Maya Rudolph Photo Will Add Years to Your Life [Alternate text] If we all looked at this photo of Maya Rudolph in [Vanity Fairâs Hollywood issue]( just once a day, I canât stress enough how much better a place this world would be. [Alternate text] - The Father: Gotta get your weekly cry in somewhere. (Friday in theaters)
- Minari: Watch! This! Movie! (Friday on VOD)
- Below Deck Sailing Yacht: There is no better mindless pandemic programming than the Below Deck franchise. (Monday on Bravo) [Alternate text] - Ginny and Georgia: âIt isnât the new Gilmore Girls. Itâs a mess.â â [The Daily Beast]( (Now on Netflix) - Tom & Jerry: These characters/my childhood donât deserve this. (Friday on HBO Max) Advertisement
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