MST3K, Turkey Day, and 30 years of taking over the world before pie is served

“Thanksgiving’s always been a little bit bewildering to me because it’s not a religious holiday,” Mystery Science Theater 3000 creator Joel Hodgson recently told me. “When your family gets together, there are a few things that you do, but most of the time it’s about food preparation.”

Fembots, dancing queens, and love fools: 60 minutes of Swedish pop

A 2013 article in The Atlantic asked a very good, non-rhetorical question: “Why is Sweden so good at pop music?” The fascinating article outlined some potential answers—prioritization of melodies, government support of artistic endeavors, a supportive community, embrace of cutting-edge technology and sounds—but missed…

Weird Al emerged, post-punk exploded, and DJing matured in 1981

1. Kim Carnes, “Bette Davis Eyes”
2. Diana Ross & Lionel Richie, “Endless Love”
3. Kenny Roger, “Lady”
4. John Lennon, “(Just Like) Starting Over”
5. Rick Springfield, “Jessie’s Girl”
6. Kool & The Gang, “Celebration”
7. Hall & Oates, “Kiss On My List”
8. Eddie Rabbitt, “I Love A Rainy Night”
9. Dolly Parton, “9 To 5”
10. REO
…

30 years ago, Bionic Commando proved video game grappling hooks are awesome

Bionic Commando was a game that flew in the face of its own era. When it reached Nintendo’s Famicom on this day in 1988—first released in Japan as Hitler’s Resurrection: Top Secret, the heavily altered home version of a 1987 arcade oddity—jumping had already become the definitive verb of the time, the thing most…

Red Faction: Guerrilla embraced players for what we are: total assholes

Playing the recently released remastered—excuse me—“re-mars-tered” edition of Red Faction: Guerrilla hammers home just how radical that 2009 cult classic was all those years ago. At that point, big-budget games had barely explored their ongoing obsession with open worlds, a design style so uniquely predispositioned to…

Ask an indie rock veteran: What’s the best bad Bob Dylan album?

I asked some friends to help me piece this together—or at least, make a reasonable guess for a song like this. Get ready: I’m using a small amount of actual data, and I am a little psyched about it. “Sweet Emotion” did 9,695 units in “consumption” last week, according to Nielsen, a figure based on track sales, audio…

The Modern Lovers, Pere Ubu, and Blondie were ready to rip up 1976

1. Wings, “Silly Love Songs”
2. Elton John & Kiki Dee, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”
3. Johnnie Taylor, “Disco Lady”
4. The Four Seasons, “December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)”
5. Wild Cherry, “Play That Funky Music”
6. The Manhattans, “Kiss And Say Goodbye”
7. The Miracles, “Love Machine”
8. Paul Simon, “50 Ways To Leave Your
…

Before palling around with Ant-Man and the Wasp, Peyton Reed was Down With Love

When 2015’s Ant-Man arrived in theaters after a notoriously tumultuous production process, there was a lot of speculation about which elements of the superhero heist film came from original helmer Edgar Wright and which came from his replacement, Peyton Reed. Although many automatically credited Wright with the film’s…

Our scary-good favorites from this year’s Cinepocalypse genre film festival

The Cinepocalypse film festival descended once more upon Chicago’s Music Box Theatre this past week, providing seven straight days of movie madness, ranging from grisly horror to gonzo action to outrageous camp. While we weren’t able to see every film that screened during the festival—even die-hard genre fans…

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