Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

What to play, listen to, watch, and read this weekend

Image: Christine Le (Insomniac Games/Marvel)

The video game to play


“What this new Spider-Man game gets is the spirit of Spidey, his world of friends and foes, and the impossible gymnastics—in all senses of the word—involved with maintaining an alter ego… To paraphrase the game’s version of famous Spidey skeptic J. Jonah Jameson, the city is your playground. To play in it is to feel, if only for a blissful moment, like maybe you are Spider-Man.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The album to listen to

Spiritualized, And Nothing Hurt

“Painstakingly constructed alone in his home, And Nothing Hurt is arguably the purest and most sentimental music J. Spaceman, a.k.a. Jason Pierce, has crafted as Spiritualized since the swooning zeniths of Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space—still fused to a razor-sharp edge of romantic apocalypticism, of course. 2008’s Songs In A&E and 2012’s Sweet Heart Sweet Light found Spiritualized utilizing every style and tool formed in its decades-long arsenal, but Nothing Hurt is the band distilled into its most affecting essence.”
Read the rest of this week’s music reviews here.


The show to watch

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

“‘The Gang Makes Paddy’s Great Again’ finds It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia attempting to fill the hole Dennis Reynolds’ (and Glenn Howerton’s) shocking escape has ripped in the show’s world. Naturally, the Dennis-less Gang’s efforts involve a signature mix of abject stupidity, desperately self-delusional denial, and inventively outrageous grossness. The episode also tackles the meta-textual issues caused by Howerton’s departure with a nimbleness that calls back to season nine’s ‘The Gang Tries Desperately To Win An Award,’ where the show’s creators vented about the industry’s perpetual snubbing come awards time in the guise of a cathartically musical ‘go fuck yourselves.’”
Follow along with season 13 of It’s Always Sunny with our weekly recaps.


The podcast to listen to

Mothers Of Invention, “Taking Over


“In the face of a global climate crisis it’s easy to feel pessimistic, frustrated, and utterly powerless. That’s why it’s so refreshing to hear a podcast like Mothers Of Invention that’s all about people finding practical, tangible solutions to combat climate change. Add to that the fact that each episode specifically highlights women in a field inundated with male perspectives and you’ve got a podcast that’s a damn delight to listen to. For their third official episode, comedian Maeve Higgins and former Irish president Mary Robinson tackle an issue currently on the forefront of all environmental discussions: single-use plastic.”
Read about the rest of the week’s best podcasts here.

The book to read

John Woman, Walter Mosley


“[Walter] Mosley has been at this for a long time—John Woman is his 15th novel released in this decade alone—and he seamlessly combines elements of dystopian thrillers, psychological crime, philosophical fiction, and straightforward melodrama. His rich, earthy prose burrows through complex abstract ideas and suspenseful plot twists with equal utility. And the cascade of syncopated revelations during the final sprint feel fully earned.”
Read the rest of our review here.

The movie to watch


“[Director Ethan] Hawke’s fascination is understandable, based solely on ‘Clay Pigeons’—[Blaze] Foley’s wistful signature song, and the one that inspired Hawke to learn more about his life. As performed by Ben Dickey, a talented singer-songwriter making his acting debut, the tune carries with it every bit of the regret and restlessness Foley intended. Blaze couldn’t have possibly worked if not for Dickey, whose musicianship, physicality, and pedigree make him so well-suited to the title role, it’s hard to imagine another actor playing Blaze—even a more seasoned one. But beyond his natural advantages, Dickey delivers a mighty roar of a debut performance, one he could easily parlay into a full-time gig.”
Read the rest of our review here.


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