Saturday, November 13, 2021

Around the Tubes: November 13, 2021


I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting.  This post includes blurbs on Solar Opposites, U2, John Legend, Christina Aguilera, Glass Animals, Don McLean, and Licorice Pizza.  

It’s official earthlings…You’re invited to join us this holiday season, as “Solar Opposites” returns with an all-new episode “A Very Solar Holiday Opposites Special,” premiering Monday, November 22nd on Hulu!  And in the meantime, ask yourself “WTF is Christmas?”

In advance of Sing 2IlluminationUniversal Pictures and Republic Records have joined forces with U2 to support nonprofit organization Education Through Music (ETM)—which provides music as a core subject for all children in under-resourced schools across North America. As part of this partnership, ETM figures prominently in the music video for the first release from the Sing 2 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, U2’s “Your Song Saved My Life”—out today. Watch it HERE.

Incomparable EGOT (EMMY®, GRAMMY®, Oscar®, Tony®)-winning singer, songwriter, producer, actor, and social activist John Legend has signed with Republic Records the label announced today. The move kicks off another creative renaissance for the 12-time Grammy Award winning superstar.  “I am excited to partner with Republic Records in this next chapter of my career,” says Legend. “Everyone at the label has been so wonderful to work with. I am thrilled to take this new artistic and creative journey with them and look forward to sharing new music with people soon.”  Listen to “You Deserve It All”HERE.  Watch the “You Deserve It All” Lyric Video—HERE

- GRAMMY® award-winning global superstar, singer, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur, Christina Aguilera, has announced that her LadyLand 2021 headlining performance will stream for one night only via the premium social live media platform Moment House on Tuesday, November 30th. Filmed at the iconic Brooklyn Mirage at the annual LadyLand music festival celebrating some of the very best of queer talent & gay icons, Aguilera will bring the complete live experience to fans around the world who weren’t able to see this performance in person. Watch a trailer for the Moment now HERE.

Critically acclaimed global sensations Glass Animals have broken the record of the longest climb to the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart with their Double Platinum smash hit “Heat Waves.” This week, the single entered the Top 10, a first for the band in their career, after an impressive and record-breaking 42-week streak on the Hot 100 Chart.  This news arrives following recent excitement surrounding Glass Animals’ nominations for two 2021 American Music Awards—“Favorite Pop Duo or Group” and “Favorite Rock Artist.” 2021 has been the band’s biggest year of their career thus far, with “Heat Waves” becoming the UK’s biggest export from a British contemporary band and making Glass Animals the biggest band in the world right now.

Don McLean’s 1971 masterpiece American Pie was released 50 years ago on October 24, 1971. Both the song “American Pie” went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent 4 weeks at #1 in the first two months of 1972. The album also went to #1 for 3 consecutive weeks in January 1972. His many accolades include induction into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, his song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and artists of all genres and generations have covered his songs including Madonna, Fred Astaire, Chet Atkins, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Elvis Presley, Josh Groban, and Perry Como. He recently received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, CA, and "American Pie" was featured in 2021's Black Widow and FINCH.

Republic Records announces the release of the Licorice Pizza Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on November 26th. The album accompanies this year’s highly anticipated new film from eight-time Academy® Award-nominated writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson. United Artists Releasing is opening the film in select New York and Los Angeles Theaters Friday November 26, 2021 and across the country on Christmas Day December 25, 2021.  The soundtrack will also be available on vinyl via a limited edition first pressing on December 10th with a special red vinyl available only at indie record stores.  Pre-order the Licorice Pizza Original Motion Picture SoundtrackHERE and limited edition first pressing vinyl HERE.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Previewing Yellowjackets


American Rust recently had its season finale and when that show started I remarked how it unfortunately premiered after shows with a similar premise like Your Honor and Mare of Easttown.  The show that replaces it on the Showtime schedule is Yellowjackets which also has the unfortunate timing of premiering close to similarly sounding shows.  About a year ago, Amazon premiered its own Lord of the Flies but teenage girls survive a plane crash in a remote area show The Wilds (to be fair, Showtime actually announced their version on May 9, 2018, while Amazon was announced June 28 of that year).


Given the mid-nineties setting, it is also hard not to think of Cruel Summer which aired earlier this year on Freeform (who did not greenlight the series until September 2019).  While Yellowjackets takes place the year (1996) the trio of years Cruel Summer takes place they do share a similar soundtrack.  But where Cruel Summer had one of their actresses sing Smashing Pumpkins for the show along with other various cover songs, the budget for a Showtime show is much higher and can afford getting the actual Smashing Pumpkins song as well as a copious amount of nineties jams.  Though I do not remember anyone still listening to Marky Mark or Snow in 1996 and the ending of the premiere does feature a cover of an eighties power ballad.  Okay, one of the characters on Yellowjackets does a kind of disturbing rendition of Breakfast at Tiffany’s to another character.  Then each of the episode (at least of the ones I watched) are named after a nineties pop culture references including a certain Red Hot Chili Peppers album which episode features a lot of two of the words in the title, none of the third, while the fourth… well, the fourth is still up to some debate.


Thankfully I did not watch The Wilds so I did not spend much time comparing the song, and aside from the music and the time jumping (Yellowjackets does not stay entirely in the nineties, it does flash forward to present day), there is not much comparison to the Freeform show.  The show follows an undefeated soccer team from New Jersey area that is heading to Washington State to compete in nationals when their plane, a charter flight by one of the player’s rich father (do not ask me why that father, or any other of the parents did not bother going with them; just two coaches and two sons of one of the coaches are along for the trip), crashes in the Canadian wilderness after bad weather causes the plane to go off course.  Then they have to defend for themselves for nineteen months before being found.  Do not ask me why none of them over that year and a half just says,” Hey, why don’t some of us just walk south until we hit civilization and then send help?”


I have one more comparison to a recent show (and not even because it has a mostly female cast).  The Yellowjackets premiere suffers from the same issue as the Y: The Last Man premiere had. Y: The Last Man was marketed as a show with one dude left in civilization, but they wasted an entire episode until finally killing off all the guys in the final moments.  Similarly, we were told Yellowjackets was a survival show, but the plane does not even start going down until the last scene.  Granted, while that Y: The Last Man first episode was mostly boring, I would totally watch a Friday Night Lights type show about girls’ soccer set in the nineties.  But while I have compared Yellowjackets to many different shows and movies, and couple I could have also brought other like Lost (plane crash, weird stuff going on, flashback./forwards), Alive (plane crash in a remote place, possible cannibalisms), I Know What You Did Last Summer (someone seems to know what they did twenty-five years ago) Yellowjackets takes all those tropes and mixes them up into something that still manages to feel unique.


The show stars Sophie Nélisse (The Book Thief) as the straight laced member of the team (okay she has one very dark secret) who grows up to be Melanie Lynskey (The Informant!), a bored housewife who now has a daughter about the same age as her when she boarded the plane.  Jasmin Savoy Brown (the upcoming Scream reboot) is the ruthless senior who has no problem being hard on the underclassmen and grows up to be Tawny Cypress (The Blacklist: Redemption) a ruthless politician who is described as a “Queer Kamala.”  Sophie Thacher (who also has the same, what I can best described as a mullet with bang hairstyle, in another nineties set show When the Streetlights Come On even though I never met someone in the nineties with such a hairstyle) is the team rebel who grows up to be Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers) who pays for that teenage rebellion by going in and out of rehab.  Sammi Hanratty (Pushing Daisies) is the over-excitable team equipment manager who grows into Christina Ricci (Casper), a nurse with plenty of extracurricular activities.  Ella Purcell (Army of the Dead) is the team’s captain, not because she is the best player, but is a born leader.  In the future, she is played by… um, nobody.   So… I guess she does not make it out of Canada alive.  Spoiler alert?  Though I do have a theory about her character Jackie that I will share on the upcoming 57 Channels post.


The slow start in the nineties timeline which takes a whole episode until the plane crashed is matched by a slow start to the present day timeline.  Lynskey and Cypress seemingly are on different shows for the first couple episodes, not really tied to the plane crash like the other modern characters are.  Sure the both receive a mysterious postcard which all the girls got (though it is very vague who made it to present day other than those four main characters, two of which talk about there have been no sign of the other survivors in months, though by my count about twenty survived the crash), but after discussing with each other once, and a reporter snoops around offering a seven figure book deal (no one has yet to give the full story of what went on in those nineteen months) it seems completely forgotten by those two for a while.  That Ricci does not even show up until late into the first episode also hurts that first episode.


Christina Ricci is the best thing about Yellowjackets and does a perfect grown up Tracy Flick impression (unfortunately the younger version does not; but for the younger cast, the goalkeeper is the most entertaining which tracks because you gotta be a little weird to be a goalkeeper).  She is so good in this, it makes me wonder why she really has not gotten more high profile roes since her nineties child star days (well, I do know, good roles for women over twenty-five are not easy to find and Reece Witherspoon got most of them).  But it is inspired casting along with another huge in the nineties actress Juliette Lewis.  It is a shame they could not get Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst, Keri Russell, Rachel Leigh Cook, Alicia Silverstone, Tatiana Ali and / or Gabrielle Union to fill out the other adult survivors.


From the soundtrack to the return of Christina Ricci in my life, Yellowjackets hits that nostalgia from the era much like Cruel Summer did earlier this year.  The Lord of the Flies but Ladies in the woods instead of a desert island keeps the show entertaining past the nostalgia.  Then the mystery of who sent the postcard in the present days adds an added layer to the show.  Yellowjackets is aiming to be the next great mystery box show and almost gets there.


Yellowjackets airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime.  But why wait until Sunday for the first episode to hit linear television; you can watch it on via Showtime website or app or on YouTube below:

Sunday, November 07, 2021

57 Channels and Only This Is On: November 6, 2021



Fear the Walking Dead: I completely forgot Dakota chose to stay out during the blast.  What a way to go… and them come back as a nuked zombie.  But after months of trying to contact people on the radio, so evil group, Stand’s people, and Morgan all found the duo’s bomb shelter in short succession.  How convenient.


American Rust:  So what does Del know what he has to do?  My first thought is kill the dude.  But I am not sure that will help Billy much if he already is jail.  Del already mentioned if he brings him in, the higher up will just rehabilitate him to get a conviction on Billy. If there a third option?  Though there may not be need for a third option if Isaac comes home to admit what he did.


Then you have Grace who burned down her house, which now makes me wonder if she also firebombed her car.  If you are willing to burn down your house, you are clearly willing to do that to your car.  Though why?  Well, one episode to answer all these questions.


The Walking Dead: World Beyond:  Well, that plan failed miserably.  Does somebody know something and was prepared to ambush the truck?


Y: The Last Man:  Maybe you should not wait until after you are canceled to make an entertaining episode.  The amazons hunting Yorick is actually kind of interesting.  So is the fall of the government.  But the show had to waste the first episode on the world before the fall and waited too long for Yorick and Hero to reunited. if just briefly.

Stargirl:  I came to the realization what was off about this season: it was way too dark.  That and Shiv’s new JSA and The Shade were much more interesting antagonists than Eclipso.  The best episode of the season was when Sportsmaster and Tigress broke out of prison so hopefully with them moving next door, next season is much better, though the Frienamies theme is very stupid.  And just how can the convicts buy the house next door?  Did they get a pardon for helping to bring down Eclipso even though they have very little to do with it?  Comic book logic I guess.


La Brea:  Why did everyone think they were saved because they got the plane working again?  Every ship that went through the portal wrecked, why would you think that plane was going to now all the sudden take multiple trips with no problems?  But there goes my prediction that the father and daughter were going to join everyone in the past.  So now what?  Just wait until the next sink hole?  But there seems to be plenty of them throughout history if there is Civil War era gold there.  And I thought that group inside the fortress was the last pilots that went down, but it turned out only two survived and those two are both dead now.  Could those people from the fortress be from the Civil War, or descendants of the people who brought the gold?


Supergirl:  Oh no, William died.  Oh well.   But why not contact anyone when the alarms went off?  Why waste all your energy on sending Andrea the video?


Dopesick:  Here is why these multiple timelines are annoying.  We see Rosaria Dawson shout she got them in the bathroom.  But we see a later version of her dejected in a bar sounding like she never actual got them.


Survivor:  Not surprisingly Erika smashed the hourglass and Danny was righty upset of how dumb that twist was.  I wonder is Probst will get the message.  Unfortunately season 42 has already been filmed.  But poor Sydney got extra screwed.  The one person who she really needed to not get Immunity did so seconds before her.  Then Xander played Liana perfectly and somehow guess right not to play the Idol.  Though I am not sure why they put more votes on Sydney than Evie.


The Challenge: Spies, Lies, and Allies: So the team with the most members wins again.  It is almost like every single one of these team challenges gives an unfair advantage to the team with the most members.  And even though the team with the most member dominates once again, yet again the winner of the Lair chose not to join them for no apparent reason.


Doom Patrol:  They realy just yadda yadda’ed Madame Rouge getting her memories back.  It was silly enough that Elasta-Girl got hers back the same way she lost them.  And what exactly was Madam Rouge’s plan?  Seems like a very bad plan to impersonate a baby that was already in the manor.  But at least that scene was extremely hilarious.


Love Life:  My boy Chidi, getting it on with two chicks at the same time.  Except he could not pace himself and knocked one of them up.  But I guess it could be worse, he could have knocked them both up.


The Blacklist:  What is Red talking about want his own secret cult.  Did he not become the head of one last episode?  And had the description not said the villain of the week was a previous Blacklister, I may have never known until very late in the episode..