At The Daily Beast, we’re obsessed with pop culture, and we think our readers are, too. And we’re talking all of it: Movies, TV shows, talk shows, music videos, crazy things celebrities say, bad tweets, viral clips, juicy scandals, great hairdos...truly everything. The thing is, there’s just so much of it—and we have thoughts on it all. So we wanted to create an outlet where we can point you toward the items from the week in pop culture that we’re obsessed with: what’s worth checking out because they’re fantastic, as well as what’s worth getting angry about because they’re that loathsome. We have big feelings about these things, and we invite you to have them along with us.
- Has the Oscars lost its damn mind?
- Catherine O’Hara is a treasure and it’s about time we knew it.
- The grifts of the dueling Fyre Festival documentaries.
- Regina Hall’s knockout performance in Black Monday deserves notice.
- The best new TV show of the year...so far.
Has the Oscars Lost Its Damn Mind?
Movie fans and critics were more girded than usual for their annual collective rage strokes—that would be Oscar nomination’s morning—considering that these award-voting lunatics have been on a real tear this last year! We went through the motions of our usual snubs and surprises piece with a shrug, as the nominations unfolded pretty much exactly on script. It’s only now with some time removed we remember that script has been absolutely insane!
Yes, we were happy that Oscar voters finally learned how to use their Netflix subscriptions and the beautiful Roma overcame streaming bias to co-lead the pack with 10 nominations, including the delights of the morning: historic, surprise nominations for stars Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira. If you had told me that my favorite movie of the year would be a 135-minute black-and-white drama that’s subtitled and streams on Netflix, I’d have thought the apocalypse had arrived. (Looking around, maybe it has!) That the deliciously naughty The Favourite is the other nomination leader is exactly right.
But, friends, Romans, countrymen: Who among us has actually seen Green Book? More, who did and actually liked it? I saw it. It’s my job. And my reaction is to lobotomize all who have turned this into a Best Picture frontrunner. This is the year that BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, and If Beale Street Could Talk are in the conversation but the race-centered film that will likely win Best Picture is a historical dramedy written by an anti-Muslim racist and directed by a flasher in which a chauffeur folds a pizza in half and eats it like a sandwich.
(And while we’re on Beale Street, a world has been created in which Vice is a Best Picture nominee and Beale Street isn’t and we’re just expected to live in it?)
Of course, Green Book ain’t our only gripe. Bohemian Rhapsody and Vice, taken together, are the two worst-reviewed Best Picture nominees in modern history. (That the former has weathered its insults to Freddie Mercury’s legacy and the Bryan Singer-ness of it all to score that top nod is a whole other thing.)
And while we all have our beloved films and performances that we’re upset got snubbed, there’s one I can’t stop thinking about. Back in June on the occasion of the release of Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, I wrote a piece titled “We Need Mr. Rogers Now More Than Ever. But Do We Deserve Him?” Well, the answer is apparently not! The Academy somehow failed to nominate the documentary, despite every assumption that it was going to and deserved to win. We’re tired.
Everything Catherine O’Hara Is Doing on ‘Schitt’s Creek’
In the season five premiere of Schitt’s Creek, Catherine O’Hara is dressed as a half-human, half-crow figurehead to the mutant-crow community and caws her way through a rousing monologue to her fellow crows, mobilizing an uprising. In the second episode, she takes two Bosnian uppers and performs the entire episode on an illicit high. In episode three, she repeatedly pronounces the word “baby” in a way that I want to make my ringtone. On the subject of awards, give them all to her!
The Dueling Fyre Festival Docs, the Grift That Keeps on Grifting
Should it tickle me this much that two competing documentaries about the most outrageous millennial grift there’s ever been, pettily released within days of each other by Hulu and Netflix, are very much grifts themselves? Maybe not. But it is the Age of the Grift! The Era of the Scam! The Days of Bamboozlement! That both of these buzzy documentaries about the Fyre Festival are defrauding their audiences is just too much.
There’s Hulu’s Fyre Fraud, which surprise-launched first, days before Netflix’s Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened and on the day that the embargo for reviews of Netflix’s effort broke (so as to cannibalize its web traffic!!!). Fyre Fraud set out to do a sort of Schoolhouse Rock explainer of what millennials, Instagram, and influencer culture all are, so as to explain how the Fyre Festival debacle could have happened, and boasts an exclusive interview with its disgraced criminal organizer, Billy McFarland. But folks, the filmmakers paid him an alleged hundreds of thousands of dollars to participate. That’s...not a great thing to do! Sure, they’re tough on him. But, again, they paid him! (And just because we can’t let this go: One of the main narrators in Fyre Fraud is Mic.com co-founder Jake Horowitz. To repeat: A documentary about millennial grifting was narrated by the co-founder of Mic. I can’t!)
And then there’s Fyre, which nobly took the stance that it would not pay for McFarland’s participation—a high principle coming from the producers, who also happened to be the team that marketed the Fyre Festival in the first place. You’d never believe that, while Fyre Fraud comes down hard on that marketing team, called Jerry Media, the team all-but exonerates itself in Fyre. Still, there are merits to this one, just as there are merits to Fyre Fraud. They are great complements, as all grifts are.
I would also just like to ask everyone to continue offering their thoughts and prayers to this guy.
Living For the Regina Hall Moment
Regina Hall’s dynamo performance in Support the Girls was rudely overlooked by the Academy. May her dynamo performance in Black Monday, now airing Sundays on Showtime, not suffer the same fate from TV award groups.
‘The Other Two’ Is the Best New Series of the Year (So Far)
I love The Other Two! It might be my favorite new comedy series since The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s a gimmicky, though very funny, premise: A brother and sister on the older side of the millennial spectrum— “We looked it up. It’s 1982 and after.”—are both struggling for career success in New York when their much younger brother, Chase, becomes a YouTube celebrity with his song, “I Want to Marry U at Recess.” Suddenly, Cary (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Heléne Yorke) must grapple with being overshadowed by their 13-year-old brother.
The Comedy Central series, which launched this week, comes from former Saturday Night Live head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, and is, in can’t-make-this-up fashion, inspired by the time a young Justin Bieber hosted the show. (Literally: A scene in which Chase misses dinner because his manager put him on a raw egg diet to beef up and he got sick is directly based on Bieber missing SNL rehearsals for that very yolk-induced reason.)
It’s a showbiz satire in construct, but it’s a heartfelt series about two bumbling not-so-young-anymore adults grappling with the existential crisis of aging out of the figuring-it-out stage and into the should-have-figured-it-out-by-now phase, something brought into harsh relief by Chase’s sudden stardom. In that regard, the series is a spiritual cousin to Broad City, and if it seems to boast a surprising undercurrent of emotion given that comparison, credit that to Kelly, who wrote and directed the spectacular indie Other People in 2016. That reminds me: Other People star Molly Shannon also co-stars in The Other Two. Have I mentioned that I love this show?
What to see this week:
Grace and Frankie (Netflix) - Nothing on TV makes me more emotional than Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin tenderly holding hands.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix) - It’s the last season! Grab some Peeno Noir and bask in loony.
Serenity (In Theaters) - In this house we stan Anne Hathaway and her batty career choices.
Sex Education (Netflix) - I would love to live in this fictional British hamlet where culture seems trapped in the 1980s, with the exception of the iPhones and the sex positivity.
What to skip this week:
I Am the Night (TNT) - Very sad shakeup in the Hollywood Chris rankings after Chris Pine’s ho-hum new series.
The Kid Who Would Be King (In Theaters) - It’s cold out! Just watch one of those incessant Harry Potter marathons on cable instead.