I'll be the judge of that.

DOPE Digest Vol. 7 – TMNT, Gaga, Drake & More!

DOPE Digest is a weekly roundup of pop culture miscellany, with succinct analysis from our contributors.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Trailer


syvo: YES! Everything about this movie looks incredible, seriously, but what I need to do is rant about how excellent the cast is. I’ve been excited for the movie ever since hearing Megan Fox was game-changingly cast as April O’Neil, and the film pairs her with Will Arnett as a sidekick. The cold, creepy William Fichtner is a beyond despicable Shredder.

Genius. Pure. Genius.

Edit: No Danny Woodburn. That’s OK. Tony Shalhoub suits me just fine. Loved him in Bay’s Pain and Gain (2013).

BK: I loved the Ninja Turtles as a kid.  I watched the cartoons; I had the action figures; I spend some halloweens as Raphael (in between being the Hulk and Zorro). I definitely still consider myself a fan.

I also tend to get overly excited about trailers, even for movies that look terrible. I still maintain that Spiderman 3 wasn’t completely wretched, based almost solely on the strength of the trailer.

This combination had me convinced that I would be freaking out about the first trailer for this flick, but for some reason I just feel comfortably lukewarm about it. The trailer is good, not great. I actually think Megan Fox will make a fine April (though I would’ve loved to see Jessica Chastain in the role. Can’t we bring her back already?!) And I am convinced I will see this movie opening weekend. I am a little nervous they are going for something too gritty in a movie about teenagers, who are also mutant turtles, who also know karate. But I’m on board.


Lady Gaga – “G.U.Y.” (etc.) Short Film

syvo: I didn’t dislike this video, but it did depress me.  In the wake of the frustrating R. Kelly fiasco and considering ARTPOP‘s rapidly waning relevance, squishing  all  of the album’s most single-worthy material into a “short film” strikes me as desperate. The video lays its cathartic message on a bit thick, depicting an angelic Gaga shot from the sky by money-hungry suits only to be reborn a garish personification of meta-pop. 

On the plus side, this is the sexiest Gaga has looked in years, probably since “Bad Romance,” and ultimately the video is a lot of fun. These are some of the best songs that ARTPOP has to offer, and it makes me wonder if this kind of project wouldn’t have played better as part of the record’s initial promotion. Instead, consider it ARTPOP‘s a death knell.

BK: As we talked about on the podcast, G.U.Y was one of my favorite songs on the album and I am glad to see it getting top billing in a video. However, there is something totally out-of-touch about this ‘film’ – from the length to huge set-pieces to the multiple tracks – it all feels off. You’re right about Gaga looking great.

I think we both had higher hopes for this album, but I am sure she’ll make up for it on the ARTPOP tour coming up in May.

Hercules Trailer

syvo: I gotta say, this trailer does very little for me. I enjoy The People’s Champion  as much as the next guy, but I’m not seeing anything other than his presence the least bit interesting in this production. The CGI looks poorly animated and take appears mediocre to uninspired. With so many movies out this summer, it’s hard to imagine me going out of my way for this one.

BK: I think The Rock will make a better Hercules than Kellan Lutz, but that’s not saying a whole lot. This trailer reminded me of The Rock’s first starring role in The Scorpion King, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing either.

Dwayne Johnson has been making major action films for years but still doesn’t quite draw me to a movie the way Channing Tatum or Liam Neeson does. Maybe he’ll surprise us and this movie will outdo the teaser, but I’m not holding out too much hope.

Mad Men Season 7 Teaser


Sorry Breaking Bad and The Wire and Sopranos and Game of Thrones fans, all these shows are great, but this is the best show ever. I could not be more excited for the final season.

The trailer is typically vague, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. They just released season 6 on Netflix so if you haven’t watched it, get caught up.

syvo: The above teaser gives us practically nothing -it’s almost exclusively composed of clips from season 6 -but it serves as a great reminder how incredibly pumped I’m getting for the show’s return. With the end in sight, it’s slowly dawning on me how much I’m going to miss this show. I’m often quick to criticize, but there’s really nothing else like it on TV, or anywhere else for that matter.

Drake – Days In The East and Draft Day

BK: Special shout out to Mr. Benjamin Marlowe for pointing out “Draft Day” to me last week. It’s not secret that syvo and I are huge Drake fans, and I am always glad to see him putting out new tracks. Lately his pre-album releases (“5am in Toronto” and “The Motion” last round) have been on par with the best tracks on the albums themselves. Of these two new ones, “Days Back East” is the better song. It has a Marvin’s Room quality that recalls quintessential ‘Drake’. Draft Day is good but not particularly noticeable in sound or wordplay. It’s a relevant mix tape track and the beat is DOPE. You can do a lot worse than that.

Both songs are free to download, so pick them up whether you love Drake or just like him as a friend.

syvo: It pains me to say it, and indeed I never thought I would, but I’m rapidly losing touch with Drake. He lost me somewhere between “Crew Love” and “Worst Behavior,” and I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that my feelings about Drake are going to be very ambivalent for a very long time. That said, I like “Draft Day” a lot. He’s rapping. Over a real beat. I wish he’d just do that more. I sometimes wonder if he’ll ever make a rap album again.


DOPE Digest Throwback: Craig David – 7 Days

BK: I was convinced in 1999-2000 when Craig David came on the scene that he would be the next HUGE thing in pop music. Time has proved me completely and utterly correct. It’s impossible to go anywhere without hearing, seeing or thinking about the ‘Fill Me In‘ singer. I am just happy that I got on the bandwagon early. It is exactly like when I said Tom Brady would be a flash-in-the-pan QB. Sometimes these things are just crystal clear.

syvo: I’m not going to discuss what I was listening to in 1999, but suffice it to say it wasn’t this. I don’t have any personal reference with respect to this song, but I gotta say: it’s great. I’m 100% all for it.


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