Hello. So, uh, welcome to Popculturology.
Usually there’s some kind of lead story or opinion at the top of this newsletter. This edition does not have one.
It was a busy and weird weekend for our family.
We finalized the heartbreaking but necessary process of re-homing our dog on Saturday. Then Caitlin became the first member of our household to get Covid on Sunday.
I’ll be back on Thursday with a legit version of Popculturology. Unless the God of Covid comes for me between now and then. Then I guess we’ll see.
For now, please enjoy the most recent edition of Corrections from Seth Meyers.
I’ve mentioned it in a previous edition of Popculturology, and I’m going to say it again: Corrections is quite possibly Meyers’ finest work and one of the best things on TV (or YouTube) right now.
Meyers’ comment about how he used to stand when his Late Night tenure began — “Everybody was a real dick about it” — reminded me just how far his version of Late Night has come. It was awkward in the beginning, but now he’s the best late-night host. Give him some Emmys, c’mon.
The “Animal Flubs” segment of Corrections is everything that’s good and pure about Meyers and his Late Night team. Who sings this song, though? Is it Meyers or Will Forte?
The Last of Us moves up next episode to avoid the Super Bowl
The wait for the next episode of The Last of Us just got shorter. HBO announced on Sunday night that Episode 5 of the hit series will now premiere this Friday via streaming. This gives us a chance to watch without having to decide between The Last of Us and the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Will HBO make this same decision for The Last of Us’ season finale? It’s currently on the same night as the Oscars. While the Oscars don’t represent the same ratings threat as the Super Bowl, why make people choose?
Star Wars: Visions Volume 2 reveals its studios, release date
Star Wars: Visions was a great addition to the Star Wars universe. While the canonicity of the stories is up in the air (droids becoming Jedi?) the limited series told some amazing stories that were welcome additions to lore. (They loved their kyber crystals, though, huh?)
Lucasfilm revealed the animation studios that have worked on Volume 2 of Star Wars: Visions. My knowledge of anime isn’t strong enough to recognize most of the studios, but Aardman immediately popped out for me.
Yes, the Wallace and Gromit people. They’re doing a Star Wars story.
“With Volume 1, the imaginative minds of Japan’s anime industry were on full display,” James Waugh, Star Wars: Visions executive producer and senior vice president, Franchise Content & Strategy, at LucasfilmWith said. “Volume 2, we expanded our canvas to take audiences on a global tour of some of the most talented creators from around the world. We’re so proud to be able to reveal the line-up of studios we’ve assembled. Every short is incredible, full of heart, scope, imagination, and the values that make stories distinctly Star Wars — all while opening up bold new ways of seeing what a Star Wars story can be.”
Star Wars: Visions Volume 2 premieres on May 4.
Gunn reveals — and sells out — inspirations for the DCU
This is the best kind of selling out. Just days after unveiling the first chapter of the new DCU, James Gunn offered some additional inspiration for the stories he and Peter Safran are planning as co-heads of DC Studios. In addition to the recent Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, Gunn highlighted All-Star Superman, the Authority omnibus, the omnibus of Grant Morrison’s Batman and Absolute Swamp Thing by Alan Moore.
You now can’t buy these books. Gunn’s spotlight caused them to almost instantly sell out. I know — I tried to buy the Authority omnibus.
There’s good news, though. Gunn jumped back on Twitter the following day to assure us that more copies of these books are on the way.
This is how a comic-book studio should be run. Hype around the movies should sell the books. The books need to be in print. (And the writers and artists behind the books should be PAID, but that’s another issue.)
Will J.J. Abrams direct a Stephen King project?
J.J. Abrams hasn’t directed a movie since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. That’s a rough film to have as the last entry on your résumé.
That might soon change, though. Abrams and Bad Robot have signed up with Warner Bros. to adapt Stephen King’s novel Billy Summers. (About time he makes good on the massive development deal he signed with the studio.)
According to The Hollywood Reporter, it’s unclear if Abrams will helm the Billy Summers adaption. King material is hot right now, and it would be a great way for Abrams to get back into the directing game. It’s also conveniently a story that’s already written and already has an ending, relieving Abrams of one of the elements he most struggles with.
Colin Trevorrow heads to Atlantis
Meanwhile, Colin Trevorrow, the man who was originally set to direct the ninth film in the Skywalker Saga before Abrams returned, has set up his next project at Skydance. Trevorrow will direct and produce Atlantis, a film he had previously been working on for Universal Pictures.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news on Friday that the Jurassic World: Dominion director was teaming up with House of the Dragon co-executive producer Charmaine DeGraté to deliver “a fantasy adventure based on the fabled advanced civilization that sank and then was lost due to either the elements, ancient gods, or man’s hubris.”
Huh, I never know what to expect from Trevorrow. I loved Safety Not Guaranteed, his directorial debut. I thought Jurassic World was a very good legacy sequel, albeit with one unnecessarily cruel moment. Dominion is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. But then his plan for Star Wars: Episode IX was willing to make some exciting choices that Abrams was afraid to even attempt.
Rob Huebel joins Disney+’s Goosebumps series
One of my biggest regrets is selling off a huge portion of my collection of Goosebumps books for like five dollars. I’m talking about the original series, like the first fifty books. Every one of them. I don’t know how the books would hold up in 2023 (the Jack Black Goosebumps movie knew that it had to knock out cell service for the plots to be believable), but they were fun books and I loved going to Waldenbooks in the mall or Media Play to buy the new one that came out each month.
Goosebumps is still popular enough to warrant an upcoming Disney+ show. Variety reported recently that the series has added Rob Huebel to its cast. Huebel will play “a well-intentioned high school guidance counselor who is about to discover the world is a lot bigger and scarier than he ever imagined.”
Uh oh, is there monster blood in his future? Or maybe a haunted mask?
Austin Butler drops the Elvis voice for the Dune sequel
Honestly, it would be kind of funny if Austin Butler not only never dropped his Elvis voice but insisted on using it for every future role.
That’s not what’s happening with Dune: Part Two, though. In a chat with USA Today, Dave Bautista revealed that not only did his Dune sequel co-star not sound like Elvis Presley, he doesn’t even sound like Austin Butler.
“I don't know who this guy was, but it's not Austin Butler,” Bautista said about Butler’s performance as Feyd-Rautha. “It's not Elvis. His voice is different, his look is different. Everything about his demeanor is terrifying.”
Butler is playing the character Sting once played in the Dune miniseries, so the bar is definitely set high for eccentricity.
If I’m making a list of hair I’m jealous of, Jake Gyllenhaal would repeatedly be toward the top of that list.
And who performed the cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” in this trailer? I surprisingly can’t seem to find the answer to this question on the Internet. (The “let’s slow down a song for a movie trailer” trend lives on!)
The Covenant opens on April 21.
Weekend of Feb. 3-5, 2023
Knock at the Cabin (N)
Weekend gross: $14.2M / Total domestic gross: $14.2M / Percent drop: NA
It took seven weekends, but we finally have a new film at the top of the weekend box office chart. M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin broke Disney’s stronghold on the No. 1 spot.
80 for Brady (N)
Weekend gross: $12.5M / Total domestic gross: $12.5M / Percent drop: NA
Whoa. And Avatar: The Way of Water isn’t even in the No. 2 spot! Congrats on your victory, 80 for Brady.
Avatar: The Way of Water (1)
Weekend gross: $10.8M / Total domestic gross: $636.4M / Percent drop: -32
The Way of Water was bound to fall from the top spot at some point. The sequel’s $636.4 million domestic haul is good enough for the No. 10 spot on the domestic chart, while its $2,174,420,442 worldwide haul has it within striking distance of Titanic for the No. 3 all-time spot.
- Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2)
Weekend gross: $8M / Total domestic gross: $151.3M / Percent drop: -24
- A Man Called Otto (4)
Weekend gross: $4.2M / Total domestic gross: $53M / Percent drop: -37
Box office numbers via The Numbers
“Time of the Monkey”
Poker Face is built on a very simple formula. We see a murder. It’s revealed that Natasha Lyonne’s Charlie was actually in the mix during a flashback. Then we see Charlie solve the murder.
“Time of the Monkey” shows that Poker Face can keep finding new ways to spin that formula. While we saw the who and how of a murder in this episode, we didn’t have the why. The motive of offing a brother who was going to walk away from a barbecue business or a band mate who wrote a potentially career-changing song wasn’t part of how this episode began.
“I don’t know what to tell you people. She has diarrhea.”
In “Time of the Monkey,” we were right along with Charlie as she discovered the why — and that, this time, she was on the wrong side.
Charlie’s is great at solving cases, but she really needs to start locking in her cases before putting herself in danger. Seriously, have the FBI already there when you reveal you’ve caught the people doing the murdering.
Did you guys know that Peacock has ads with interactive trivia? I thought it was bad enough that it shows an ad when you pause a show. Don’t make me interact with you, ads.
“Bryan Cranston Fully Commits While Eating Spicy Wings”
Yes, I’m going to start featuring YouTube programming in the Playlist section. Not everything, but the few things that I watch on a weekly basis seem appropriate for this section.
Anyways, Bryan Cranston was on Hot Ones for the second time, looking very Hal-ish from Malcolm in the Middle. (Or is this what Cranston always looks like? I’m so used to him being in Breaking Bad mode.) Are the wheels still turning on the revival of Malcolm in the Middle?
Cranston told a few interesting stories while on Hot Ones. While I’m not familiar with his time on Loving, I did appreciate his explanation for why soap opera dialogue contains repeated exposition. Maybe you missed an episode of Young and the Restless and need to know why Victor Newman is once again threatening to punch someone.
Cranston also told Sean Evans about how Aaron Paul pressured him into eating the blue meth during Breaking Bad. Well, the cotton candy rock candy that stood in for the blue meth, that is.
- ‘I’ve been in that room’: How HBO’s The Last of Us resonated for a survivor of the AIDS crisis (Orion Rummler, The 19th)
- 6 burning questions about DC Studios’ new slate (Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter)
- Dave Bautista has become the rare wrestler turned character actor (Miles Surrey, The Ringer)
- The Last of Us’ first big diversion proves change is good, actually (Jordan Maison, Gizmodo)
- Noma is closing. Welcome to the end of fine dining (Joe Ray, Wired)
- This is what it’s like being an official Lego photographer (Kenneth Bachor, BuzzFeed News)
Cut SNL sketch: Baptist Church
I love a cut-for-time SNL sketch. Fun to see rookie Devon Walker paired up with Michael B. Jordan. Honestly, pizza Tuesday sounds like a good time.