Pop Culture

[Cultural Attachment]

Summer’s here, and the time is right for staying indoors and bingeing on pop culture

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Smith Galtney

FILMS: If you’re like me, you’ll be bypassing Wonder Woman and Spider-Man for something less loud. Rough Night, starring Scarlett Johansson and Kate McKinnon, involves a bridal party and a dead stripper. (A female Very Bad Things? I’m listening …)

Baby Driver, from Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), is an ode to good music and car chases. The only thing I need to say about Okja is that A) it’s from Snowpiercer director Bong Joon Ho, and B) it’s got Tilda Swinton in it. Then there’s this year’s Sundance fodder (A Ghost Story, Ingrid Goes West), plus new movies from Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Steven Soderbergh (Logan Lucky), Kathryn Bigelow (Detroit) and Luc Besson (Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets).

The one that most excites me, though, is Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, a Civil War drama set in a female boarding school and starring Nicole Kidman. Coppola can misfire (The Bling Ring, Marie Antoinette), but when she’s on (Lost in Translation), she’s utterly golden.

BOOKS: In the page-turning tradition of Please Kill Me and I Want My MTV, Lizzy Goodman’s new oral history, Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011, is a post-mortem of rock’s last gasp, about how bands like The Strokes, Interpol and Vampire Weekend built (and botched) their success in an ever-morphing technological landscape. You don’t read a book like this. You demolish it whole, like a bag of Funyuns.

On a heavier note, there’s also The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II, by Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, and Hué 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam, by Black Hawk Down author Mark Bowden (already optioned for a miniseries by Michael Mann). On the fiction front, Leftovers author Tom Perrotta offers Mrs. Fletcher, about a divorced mother and her frat-boy son.

TV: Television’s where everything happens now. Showtime debuts I’m Dying Up Here, based partly on Jim Carrey’s early stand-up years. Spike’s got The Mist, a new adaptation of the bleak Stephen King story. FX drops Snowfall, John Singleton’s take on the ’80s crack epidemic. ABC is even rebooting ’70s curios The Gong Show and Battle of the Network Stars!

If the heat impairs your motor functions, keep your streaming device locked on Netflix: a new season of Orange Is the New Black; Glow, starring Alison Brie and Marc Maron, about the female-wrestling circuit in the ‘80s; Gypsy, which features Naomi Watts as a meddling, highly unethical therapist; Friends From College, with Fred Savage and Keegan-Michael Key as Harvard grads pushing 40. All that, and the new season of House of Cards premiered this week. Here’s hoping that compared to life in 2017, it won’t feel like some cute, quirky sitcom.

MUSIC: Radiohead, Lorde, Fleet Foxes, Broken Social Scene, The National, Haim, and maybe LCD Soundsystem and The War on Drugs all have music on the way, but I’m most excited to test drive a new Lana Del Rey album this summer. She’s the sound of too much tequila and barbecue, too many gorgeous mistakes, not enough sleep and sunscreen. If you want something perkier, play The Beach Boys’ “Fun Fun Fun” three times in a row, or watch the original Karate Kid for a stiff shot of vitamin D.

Tags: Music, Film, Books
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