Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
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The movie to watch


“Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman is a riotous mess of contradictions: a true story that seems too outrageous to actually be true, a period piece that’s also a red-alert bulletin on current affairs, a very funny comedy about the very unfunny business of white supremacy. Dramatizing the exploits of a black cop who managed to bullshit his way into the Klu Klux Klan, Lee has, for the first time in forever, tapped right into the turbulent spirit of the cultural moment, making a rat-a-tat zeitgeist entertainment that feels as timely as breaking news. Yet he’s also made his most accessible and narratively satisfying movie in more than a decade, folding his righteous fury into a crowd-pleasing package.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The album to listen to

Foxing, Nearer My God

“While Foxing was once pegged as an emo band, it always wanted to achieve more, and Nearer My God is proof of it. Opener ‘Grand Paradise’ is more Prince than The Promise Ring, with thunderous electronic claps serving as the backbeat to Murphy’s effects-drenched voice. Even when Foxing plays the part of a rock band, the songs buck easy definition. ‘Slapstick,’ ‘Nearer My God,’ and ‘Crown Candy’ are all expansive works that pull from post-rock, indie, soul, and electronic without feeling like some ham-fisted combination. It’s as impressive as it is expansive, a perfect showcase for modern emo’s elasticity.”
Read our reviews of the week’s other notable releases here.

The podcast to listen to

Household Name, “TGI Fridays: The Tinder Of The 1960s


“Once, when the baby boomers were young, they flocked to TGI Friday’s to hook up. This was by design. Founder Alan Stillman even cops to launching the business as a way to meet women. The former flavor additive salesman was upset most taverns in the early ’60s were dive bars and sausage fests, so he opened a singles-focused bar and grill next to apartments for flight attendants on New York’s East Side, where the sexual revolution was in full swing… The same thirsty atmosphere followed chain launches throughout the country for much of the ’70s, but eventually people learned to find sexual partners elsewhere, and the erotic allure of TGI Fridays began its long slide into Applebee’s and Red Robin territory.”
Read about the rest of the week’s best podcasts here.

The show to watch

Ordeal By Innocence

“Agatha Christie’s discomfort with the insides of the human mind isn’t a problem for Amazon’s limited-series take on the author’s Ordeal By Innocence. If anything, it’s a tad too willing to crawl inside its characters’ fractious, fucked-up heads. Adapted with bracing, occasionally disorienting looseness by director Sandra Goldbacher and writer Sarah Phelps (originally for the BBC, which aired it back in April), Ordeal By Innocence is Christie as something very much like black comedy, inviting us to peek in on a family of rich British miserables as their collective dark secrets rise up to slowly tear them all apart.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The book to read

Thomas Page McBee, Amateur: A True Story About What Makes A Man


“Normally an office-dwelling journalist and author, [Thomas Page] McBee has decided to box with Haymakers For Hope, a cancer nonprofit that invites amateur boxers to gather pledges and fight in professional boxing venues. His fellow boxers—many of them white finance bros—are sirened by this blend of charity and the opportunity to punch another man in the face. But McBee has other designs: He wants to better understand masculine aggression and conditioning, and thinks this might be the way to do it.”
Read the rest of our review here.

The video game to play


“Where Unavowed gets its real kicks in—besides the writing, which is uniformly witty and warm—is in the way it pulls design notes from genre classics like Maniac Mansion or Quest For Glory. Your hero spends the first half of the game assembling a crew of mystically empowered badasses to help unravel the demon’s plots, and the game forces you to bring only a pair of them along on every ‘case.’ Want to talk to ghosts? Bring along your spirit medium. Prefer a more forceful approach? Call in an immortal half-genie, or a tough-as-nails New York cop. None of these branching puzzle paths ever get radically different, but the sense of control they offer, and the subtle variances in characterization they enforce, allow the game to feel huge and responsive in a way that its old-school predecessors rarely could.”
Read more of our thoughts on Unavowed here.


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