DOPE Digest is a weekly roundup of pop culture miscellany, with succinct analysis from our contributors.
Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday Teaser
syvo: This should be interesting, but I’m not totally sold on Apatow here. It’s easy to forget that Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985) was actually Tim Burton’s feature debut as a film director, and I’m puzzled to think of a creator further from Tim Burton than Judd Apatow. (Apatow is only producing here, but whatever, you know what I mean.)
While Burton’s Pee Wee was an comic oddity contemporaneous of the garish, frivolous 1980’s, Apatow’s involvement is just as likely to mean a potent dose of standard nostalgia, a self-aware de-interpretation sourced principally by overly-fond memories of Reagan-era childhood.
But, like I said. I’m quite interested in seeing how this turns out. The guy actually directing the thing, John Lee, appears to have a solid grounding in stoner-humor, co-creating Wonder Showzen and more recently directing episodes of Broad City.
Lastly, I just want to point out something I found while briefly researching this section. Paul Reubans’s wikipedia page contains perhaps the most chilling, inadvertently damning portion of any Wikipedia page ever. From the section on his 1991 arrest for public masturbation in an adult theater:
“Bill Cosby defended Reubens, saying, ‘Whatever [Reubens has] done, this is being blown all out of proportion.'”
BK: Pee Wee has always scared the shit out of me, from the time I watched a taped-from-TV copy of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure at a friend’s house as a kid to this very day. It certainly had something to do with Large Marge (good god that’s horrifying) but it wasn’t just that, it was also just the bizarre way he did… everything. Now that I’m a little older and a little wiser, I am curious to face my fears and sit in a big weird chair and watch the nightmare unfold. Thanks Netflix!
Julia: Well, I’ll probably check this out. I have been perfecting my Pee Wee impression for almost two decades now. Good morning, Mr. Breakfast!
Primal Scream – “Where the Light Gets In” feat. Sky Ferriera
syvo: I don’t really care about this too much, it’s okay, but mostly it just gets me more excited for Sky Ferriera’s forthcoming second album Masochism, out who knows when, and I think it’s cool that she did a song with Adam Driver.
BK: I’m not usually a fan of breathy psych-rock, but this track is poppy enough for me to forgive the whisper-y verses. Sky Ferriera’s first album was unexpectedly (for me) great and this is a good teaser for the new one. I am also a huge fan of star-shaped guitars and this video has more than most.
Julia: This song provides an excellent example of symbiosis: Sky gets “indie-cred” points for working with sub-mainstream 90’s Britpop Primal Scream, and obviously Primal Scream benefits though the collaboration with Sky that should boost their relevance in 2016. Next stop: nostalgic headliner status at 20+ music festivals! I like this song, Sky sounds really great – and I had just recently started to wonder when we would hear her follow-up to Night Time, My Time.
Animals Season 1 Trailer
BK: As a longtime Simpsons, South Park, and Archer fan, I am always down to investigate a new adult-themed cartoon. Even though it can be easy to disengage from the material (and for the absurdity to become grating rather than endearing), I think the pros of cartoons greatly outweigh the cons. Animals, a new HBO show from Mark and Jay Duplass, looks like the type of thing that I will definitely be into. As soon as those animated cats start acting like bitches (ehhh?!) I was sold. There seems to be a ton of potential here and I’ll be watching. And the cast looks great to boot.
Brooke Candy – “Happy Days”
syvo: As a big fan of hers, I’ve long lamented the fact that Brooke Candy’s music, alas, isn’t very good. Her 2014 single “Opulence” appeared to ber first major stab at semi-serious work. It was a totally decent track and had a really great video, but no one seemed to care; her EP of the same name ended up a disappointing bore. It bummed me out.
But here we are again, and Brooke Candy’s latest incarnation shows more promise! This song is catchy and well-produced, cutting back on the rapping but not on her confidence and attitude. Sia executive-produced her new album, which I am now totally excited about. This should be a huge step forward for her as an artist, maybe the one that we (I) have been waiting for all these years!
By the way, there’s no video for this track yet, but the instrumental version has an interesting video worth checking out called “A Study in Duality“.
BK: This ain’t half bad! It sounds to me like Brooke Candy has been studying The Fame Monster-era Lady Gaga and taking diligent notes. She’s not the singer Gaga is and she isn’t overreaching here – she’s better served staying in her vocal sweet-spot (slightly modulated talking). The beat is totally DOPE and drops/kicks up as needed. I plan on adding this to the weekend playlist, which is something I never expected to say about a Brooke Candy song. Hopefully the rest of her songs build on this sound.
Cabin Fever Trailer
syvo: I’m sure that any fan of the original film had the same exact reaction as I had: “Why the hell does this exist? The original film just came out!” In reality, I am apparently a lot older than I realize: Eli Roth’s cherished debut came out in 2002, nearly fifteen years ago!
So, fine, Cabin Fever isn’t brand new anymore, but still. C’mon. I see absolutely no added value here. I can’t imagine this being anything other than a meaningless, vulgar, recycled diminution of the original. The only reason it exists is because after two crappy sequels, the property failed to generage a successful long-term franchise, which seems so central to horror movie economics.
It’s just lame to see, because the original felt so incredibly singular. Its unique concept, dark humor, offensively greusome content, and most of all its sophisticated sense of irony are all characteristics that cannot be reproduced again. Any attempt at re-capturing what makes Cabin Fever such a special part of the horor canon would be a failed project even if Eli Roth was writing and directing it himself (he’s producing). Granted, this remake seems to understand that improving on the original is a lost cause: there’s no attempt at anything but low-end, conventional teen horror here, devoid of creativity, lacking courage…but let’s be honest, I’ll still totally see it.
BK: I’m no horror expert, but this looks pretty sweet! Any movie that features angry rednecks, gratuitous gore and good looking people screaming at each other is OK in my book. The original Cabin Fever is a classic movie that will be tough to top, and it doesn’t look like these guys are trying too hard. A lot of the trailer looks familiar, but in a way that works for me. I have a low bar when it comes to horror movies and this clears it.
Kristin Kontrol Teaser
BK: Well this looks artsy as hell. And look at that back-bend at the end! I swear, good photographs are all about angles. Neck twists, thigh gaps, shadowy stomach muscles, etc. Kristin knows the deal.
syvo: Julia, explain this please.
Julia: As a devout Dum Dum Girls fan, my running thoughts on this solo project/persona from frontwoman Kristin Welchez are as follows:
1) Totally forgot her name isn’t actually Dee Dee Penny, the persona she uses in DDG.
2) As far as aliases go, Dee Dee Penny sounds much cooler than Kristin Kontrol.
3) What the eff is “excommunicate our love” supposed to mean, and using the primary definition would one really have the ability to self-excommunicate? Going to need more context for this metaphor.
4) What does this project mean for the status of the next Dum Dum Girls album? Ultimately, her track record with side-projects is really strong, and I have no doubt that this one should be great as well.
Get A Job Trailer
BK: This is one of those trailers that basically shows the entire movie, but that Anna Kendrick is so darn cute I don’t even care! The cast of this coming-of-age Rom-Com is stellar, with Bryan Cranston getting back to his ‘Malcolm’s Dad’ roots and McLovin still playing McLovin. Miles Teller may be an asshole but he is a pretty solid actor, and he plays ‘frantic young person’ as well as anyone out there. This movie could be a good alternative to Batman vs. Superman on March 25th (or, maybe see it the weekend after).
syvo: I would totally see this. I’m all for this kinda stuff that involves young people today, bravely seeking to vanquish the dual societal leviathans of a shitty job market and bottomless college debt. I can’t figure out why, but this archetype really seems relevant to me! Kinda reminds me of Pip from Jonathan Franzen’s Purity.
DOPE Throwback: The Rocky Horror Picture Show – “Time Warp”
syvo: Little by little, we’ve been getting casting news for Fox’s upcoming television event remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This past week, they cast Christina Milian (turned up!) as Magenta, joining an already very interesting team that includes Laverne Cox stepping comfortably into the role of Dr. Frankenfurter, and Tim Curry (the Dr. Frankenfurter himself) as the criminologist.
Richard O’Brien’s 1975 cult film has always been a foundational touchtone for weirdo culture, representing a truly meaningful intersection of so many valuable subcultures, from theater-kid to cinephile to goth to queer. Any attempt a remaking or reenvisioning a piece of pop culture so cherished, so influential on so many different strata of human expression, is bound to touch on some touchy aesthetic sensitivities.
I saw The Rocky Horror Show back during its Broadway revial like 15 years ago, and that too was a mixed bag. They did stuff wrong, but they did stuff right too, like casting Joan Jett in the role of Columbia. So, if fans of the original project keep in mind that Fox’s new remake needn’t be thought of as anything but a semi-interesting take on the greatest rock-n-roll musical of all time, a version that will only ever lay in the shadow of the original, somewhere in between the 2000 revival and that episode of Glee, then it should be a perfectly enjoyable experience.
So, going into this weekend, please try to keep in mind: it’s the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane. Happy Friday.