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- 07/13/15--12:00: _EDM DJs take Rickro...
- 07/13/15--13:20: _Runaways bassist Ja...
- 07/13/15--20:01: _5 urgent new mixtap...
- 07/14/15--04:53: _Jimmy Fallon and Pa...
- 07/14/15--07:00: _Dive into these 4 s...
- 07/14/15--07:16: _Finally, Boy George...
- 07/14/15--07:56: _Exclusive: 'That's ...
- 07/14/15--12:28: _'Lip Sync Battle' j...
- 07/14/15--13:42: _Before 'American Id...
- 07/14/15--14:17: _Yo La Tengo ushers ...
- 07/14/15--14:46: _'Songify the News' ...
- 07/14/15--16:40: _The only thing Euge...
- 07/14/15--19:44: _Dwayne 'The Rock' J...
- 07/15/15--05:09: _Jimmy Fallon, Tina ...
- 07/15/15--07:29: _Here are Jeff Goldb...
- 07/15/15--07:57: _This WCW, feel the ...
- 07/15/15--10:02: _The 100 best Netfli...
- 07/15/15--10:10: _Stephen Curry's fir...
- 07/15/15--11:40: _Jennifer Lawrence r...
- 07/15/15--14:30: _How ebook 'A Confed...
- 07/13/15--12:00: EDM DJs take Rickrolling to a new level
- 07/13/15--20:01: 5 urgent new mixtapes you need to download and crank
- 07/14/15--04:53: Jimmy Fallon and Paul Rudd get boozy with adult-themed Plinko game
- 07/14/15--07:00: Dive into these 4 spectacular time-travel films starting yesterday
- 07/14/15--07:16: Finally, Boy George and Jack Black perform a Doors song together
- 07/14/15--19:44: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson pranks the world with a broken finger
- 07/15/15--07:29: Here are Jeff Goldblum and Sarah Silverman singing a beautiful duet
- 07/15/15--07:57: This WCW, feel the love between YouTube’s Jelly and Day
- 07/15/15--10:02: The 100 best Netflix releases of 2015
- 07/15/15--11:40: Jennifer Lawrence reunites with Bradley Cooper in trailer for 'Joy'
At a certain point, a meme is supposed to flare out or fade away, right? Not Rickrolling, apparently. Thanks to DJs and electronic dance music, it’s merely changed its clothes.
The build up to the drop in a lot of EDM has become a structure just begging for a prank, and DJs around the world are happy to oblige. We noticed this phenomenon earlier this month. But it was just getting going. Recently, DJs have taken to ramming the ’80s new romantic band Spandau Ballet’s song “True” into the gap.
Here’s an example by an unidentified DJ in Uniun Nightclub in Toronto.And another from the Adventure Club (a duo not averse to a prank). Such a thing would not be funny if there weren’t something of a strain between the musically sacred and the musically profane.
You might assign New Orleans DJ and musician Quickie Mart to the latter group. He and fellow NOLA DJ Tony Skratchere co-created a prank genre called “yacht bounce,” which pissed off some fans of the Crescent City’s native hip-hop style.
“As a DJ of 17 years, I have been over-exhausted of ‘the drop,’” Quickie Mart told the Daily Dot. “Electronic music is so much more than that. Like any music that becomes grossly overpopularized, the monetary system sucks out the cultural end and attempts to define a whole genre with limited characteristics, song structure, and sound design. However, this kind of thing seems to build a stronger underground, the starting basis for any new or cutting-edge music.”
“I build and create atmospheres for people to connect, party with and yes, use as an escape,” he told the Daily Dot. “I don’t play jokes on my crowds. I don't approach what I do cynically. At the same time, I also know I’m not curing cancer, but I am providing something that I hope nourishes people minds, bodies and souls.”
Music is always going to be a bit Kirk vs. Spock. Or in the (now immortal) words of Rick Astley: “You know the rules and so do I” vs. “We know the game and we’re gonna play it.”
Photo via Cannabis Culture/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Last week, the Huffington Post published “The Lost Girls,” which detailed the 1975 rape of Runaways bassist Jackie Fox (real name Jackie Fuchs) by the band’s manager, Kim Fowley. Writer Jason Cherkis revisits a hotel room on New Year’s Eve 1975, where band members and crew were partying after a show. We’re told Fuchs was given several Quaaludes by an alleged roadie, and that she wasn’t someone who drank or did drugs.
We’re told that Fowley raped the unconscious Fuchs, then 16, in front of a room of people.
In the days since the story was published, it's circulated widely on social media, with commenters coming out to discredit Fuchs, lend support, and share their own stories. Former members of the Runaways—guitarist Joan Jett and singer Cherie Currie, who were said to have been in the room that night—have published statements addressing the claims and their role in the night's events.
Sunday night Fuchs posted her first response since the story came out. She said, in part:
I know some people watching the online drama unfold have been discouraged by the lack of support I’ve received from my former bandmates. To which I can only say that I hope you never have to walk in their shoes. My rape was traumatic for everyone, not just me, and everyone deals with trauma in their own way and time. It took exceptional courage for many of the witnesses to talk frankly about how they felt. Most have apologized to me for their inaction that night—apologies that have been unnecessary, though welcome.
The Runaways, which formed in 1975, were Fowley’s Sunset Strip creation, an all-girl teen band that landed in the mid-’70s glam rock scene. Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning played Jett and Curie, respectively, in the 2010 Floria Sigismondi biopic. In the film, Fowley (played by Michael Shannon) is portrayed as a power-hungry, emotionally and physically abusive Svengali figure, but his more predatory behavior was conveniently out of sight.
Fowley’s abuse of power was an open secret, and when he died in January, the accolades came pouring in, but so did reminders that he was a sexual predator. In the HuffPo piece, songwriter Kari Krome, who was also in the hotel room that night, recounts how Fowley sexually assaulted her when she was just 14.
Anyone who truly knows me understands that if I was aware of a friend or bandmate being violated, I would not stand by while it happened. For a group of young teenagers thrust into 70s rock stardom there were relationships that were bizarre, but I was not aware of this incident. Obviously Jackie’s story is extremely upsetting and although we haven’t spoken in decades, I wish her peace and healing.
The response was disappointing to many fans who thought Jett, a supporter of young women's music and education, would support Fuchs. On Friday, Currie responded with her own short post, followed up on Saturday by a longer response:
I have been accused of a crime. Of looking into the dead yet pleading eyes of a girl, unable to move while she was brutally raped and doing nothing. I have never been one to deny my mistakes in life and I wouldn't start now. If I were guilty, I would admit it. There are so many excuses I could make being only one month into my sixteenth year at the time that people would understand but I am innocent.
In a 2000 blog post from the now-defunct JackieFox.com, Fuchs wrote about a chapter in Currie’s then-unpublished autobiography in which “Cherie claims that when we played the Golden West Ballroom in Norwalk, California, Kim Fowley drugged a teenaged girl and our other manager forced us to watch Kim rape her. Cherie claims that the rest of the band sat around and watched this, and that I, after seeing it, asked the rest of the band if they had any more hamburgers because I was still hungry.”
In Currie’s fictionalized account, Fuchs was now the bystander. The HuffPo article states that Fuchs threatened legal action and the publisher eventually dropped the book. At that time, though, Cherkis relates that she “continued to stay silent about what had happened to her. She wasn’t ready to come out as the true victim.”
In an interview with Pitchfork’s Jessica Hopper, Cherkis explained that Fuchs wanted to explore the science of the “bystander effect.” Cherkis interviewed nearly all living witnesses in the room that night, and their accounts are gut-wrenching, their remorse palpable. Those seeking to discount her story have asked why Fuchs is just now speaking out. He told Hopper:
Jackie told me she didn't say anything for three reasons: one, that if she did, no one would back her up, and she was full of shame about what happened. And really confused, because in a way she worried about her own, like, "why aren’t people comforting me? I must have done something wrong." And so she was full of shame and anguish over it.
On Friday, Go-Go's bassist Kathy Valentine also addressed the story in a Facebook post:
A lot of people are commenting on how awful it was that Joan and Cherie did nothing while Jackie was raped by Kim Fowley, and there's been a lot of talk about the bystander effect. I understand why it's possible someone did nothing at the time—it's not hard to see why young fucked up partying people would not act. Maybe they were glad it wasn't them. He was their ticket to being rock stars, touring, recording—living their dream. Maybe they thought this was part of rock and roll, that she got this messed up, too bad for her. She was an outsider in the band, and I've seen from personal experience how a faction will grab their unity by looking down on someone else. But people grow up, and they learn, and they have the chance to acknowledge, atone for, make amends for their past. The fact is that decades have gone by, books have been written, movies made. There were so many opportunities to let Jackie know that they regretted that night. The only shame left in this story is theirs to bear.
Fuchs closed last night's post with this:
I only wish that if my bandmates can’t remember what happened that night—or if they just remember it differently—they would stick simply to saying that. By asserting that if they’d witnessed my rape, they’d have done something about it, they perpetuate the very myth I was trying to dispel when I decided to tell my story. Being a passive bystander is not a "crime.” All of us have been passive bystanders at some point in our lives.Screengrab via soufian zhar/YouTube
If we have any hope at all of putting an end to incidents like these, we need to stop doubting the accusers and start holding rapists, abusers and bullies accountable. What we don’t need to do is point fingers at those who weren’t to blame for their actions.
Every day, dozens of free rap releases hit the Web. These are the moment's most interesting and resonant. This week, giants dispense leftovers, while new voices carve out lanes.
1) Freeway - FreemixTwo famous rappers have used the name of the drug trafficker “Freeway” Rick Ross as their rap moniker, but Philadelphia spitter Freeway was the first. Freeway was signed, with the help of fellow Illadelphian Beanie Sigel, to Jay Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records when it was basically the hottest rap label on the planet. Free and Beans also made up the rap group State Property along with a handful of other dope Philly rappers. But while everything around him started spinning out of control, Free has been steady as a brick. Jay Z left the label to run the Illuminati and Sigel went to jail, got shot, and went to jail again, and Freeway just kept his beard to his chest and continued to make music.
In the past few years, Freeway has been putting out music totally independently, collaborating with everyone from his old State Prop bretheren, the recently departed legendary Bay Area MC The Jacka, to the sample-based Pittsburgh DJ Girl Talk. This new project Freemix with virtually unknown Philly rapper Scholito is a completely straightforward jacking-for-beats mixtape, but with some of the songs’ original verses left on for good measure. Instead of putting out remix loosies to popular songs as they come out, Freeway waited until he had 18 and compiled a mixtape. A "Freemix" is his version of the “G-Mix” or “P-Mix” and the other dumb things rappers call their remixes these days.
Freeway has one of the great voices in rap, but it’s almost impossible not to be disappointed by this project. Even the pointless length misses the mark: What’s already an 18-song tape gets drawn out further by entire studio-version intros and outros of J. Cole songs, which is equivalent to being at the DMV. Free doesn’t even rap on some of these songs so it’s more of a showcase for Scholito, who has trouble separating himself from any other generic East Coast rapper. Freeway sounds pretty good over the couple of Meek Mill tracks, but what’s most unforgivable is that he rapped over so many Drake records on Freemix but none of them were “Lord Knows,” produced by Just Blaze, who made Free’s biggest singles.
Remarkable reference:“These n***s clocks ticking like Audemar/We the shit, every song addictive like marijuan”
2) Gucci Mane - Trapology
As I mentioned a month and a half ago in this column, when Gucci Mane put out his last mixtape, Big Guwop has been incredibly prolific musically during his time locked up. Unfortunately, unlike King Gucci, Trapology is not a highlight of his 20-plus releases in the last year or so. King Gucci had only three tracks without features, but that might as well be a one-man show compared to his newest mixtape. Trapology is filled to the brink with featured verses—every song has at least one guest and most of the time, there are three artists that bring tonally clashing lyrics on one track. Needless to say, results are mixed.
Gucci somersaults into some of his best raps on “East Atlanta” and “Break Down,” and is joined by complementary features, but everything else looks like a bungled meat-and-wine pairing. Notoriously guest verse-averse Bay Area Basedgod Lil B shows up for his second Gucci Mane feature of the year, parody of a parody Riff Raff gets tacked on to the final track, and the young Chicago ear infection Lil Flash has two billings. There’s even a Snoop Dogg feature that sounds like it’s from three Snoop iterations ago (pre-Snoopzilla, pre-Snoop Lion). Mike Will Made It, whose collaborations with Gucci primarily led to his rise as one of the biggest producers in music, has two production credits but both seem to fall apart before they’re supposed to.
Gucci Mane–or whoever runs his Twitter account–announced word of an upcoming tour, which might mean that Radric Davis will be out of prison soon.
Remarkable reference:“Bitch I dance around these diamonds dancing with the stars/Codeine, molly, and three xan bars I can’t even parallel park”
3) Snow tha Product - The Rest Comes Later
The legacy of fast rap is an odd one. In the mid-’80s, double-time rap more or less did not exist, and by the mid-’90s, rappers were rapping faster and faster in cities like Memphis, Cleveland, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, all with their own styles. It kind of culminated with Twista having both a platinum album and the world record for the fastest rapper in the world (Twista’s world record was later overtaken by this guy). All that seems to be left in 2015 is Eminem and those inspired by him. The fast rapping featured in Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now” almost immediately became a gimmick. There is still a sizable niche market for fast rapping though, and California native Snow tha Product is still finding hers.
In 2011, Snow released her debut album which caught the eye of Atlantic Records, meaning of course that they haven’t put out a follow-up. Besides Eminem, she’s listed Kansas City rapid-fire legend Tech N9ne as an influence and both of their speedy flows rattle around Snow’s new tape The Rest Comes Later. It’s when Snow raps in Spanish, like on “Suavamente” and “AyAyAy,” that she sounds much more distinct. The content (at least in English–it’s been a while since high school Spanish) doesn’t stray far from inspirational overtures and shit-talking haters, but hints at more between the lines.
Remarkable reference: “While you bedazzle and fight in embezzlements I’ll be in court and I’m not one to settle it”
4) Rocko - Real Spill
Atlanta rapper Rocko is best known for the song “U.O.E.N.O.” The absolutely bananas beat was by young Atlanta producer Childish Major, the unforgettable hook was from the galaxy-hopping crooner Future, and the controversial verse with the reference to rape was courtesy of Rick Ross. With all that on the track, it’s easy to forget that the first verse–the one with “always on like the refrigerator”–was by Rocko. Not only that, but it was actually Rocko who put Future on when he started his own record label and got a deal with Atlantic. I didn’t realize Googling that Rocko had something of a hit in 2008 with “Umma Do Me,” which spawned afewremixes, and was back when he was signed to Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def Recordings.
These days Rocko mostly lives off Future’s success. Besides “U.O.E.N.O.,” his biggest hit “Squares Out Your Circle” had a dominant chorus by–bitch you guessed it–Future. Rocko seems content to be a label executive even if he only has one artist, but as the mixtape Real Spill shows, he’s also intent on releasing his own music. Rocko gets by as a rapper conveying broad and direct feelings delivered with an unflinching realness, like on “Shirt on My Back”: “I ain’t seen my pops in years I don’t know where the fuck he be at/All I know is I love him I’d give him the shirt off my back.” He makes a lot of love songs that are incredibly romantic to people with certain proclivities. Additionally, there is a song that heavily samples a Monty Python routine.
Remarkable reference:“I’m pretty boy Floyd who you think you, Willie Lloyd/Free King Larry RIP to King David/Got two guns up now you think you Pistol Pete”
5) RetcH - Finesse the World
I didn’t even know RetcH was a rapper at first. I only knew him from Instagram as the dude always covered in Polo who would post hellaignorantshit and hung out with almost every other rapper who posted their drug use on IG. But he does rap and raps pretty well at that–something like a Jersey kid who grew up listening to grimy post-golden era New York hip-hop like Mobb Deep and The Lox. Finesse the World is RetcH’s fifth mixtape and he tries for darker moods than in the past, but everything ends up blending together with the lights off. He raps with the same ruthlessness when he’s plotting a heist as when he’s highlighting his wardrobe, and he strains his voice for effect but just ends up sounding like the rappers who he imitates. RetcH had hinted at songs and collabs that didn’t appear on this tape, so hopefully he’s saving up for the next project.
Remarkable reference: “I’m ‘bout mine/Sell lines and duck swine/Nike boots and 4-5s/Whole click be low-lives”
Screengrab via gunique2/YouTube
Our favorite game from The Price is Right got an adult upgrade that we just need to have at our next party.
Although the talking Drinko machine might have been overkill, Jimmy Fallon’s return to The Tonight Show came in a spectacularly boozy affair as he and Paul Rudd dropped their chips into cups full of tequila, peppermint schnapps, gravy, and an assortment of other beverages and liquids.
There’s no cash prize on the line, but there is the prospect of getting drunk. It's all topped off with an Ant-Man pun that might be funnier than some parts of Ant-Man.Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube
Terminator Genisys was the third attempt since 2003 to try and reinvigorate a once-beloved franchise that peaked over two decades ago with T2: Judgment Day. The Genisys team probably wishes they had their own time machine to go back and create a more favorable timeline, because the latest Terminator outing opened in third place, behind mega-hit Jurassic World and Pixar’s Inside Out. Then again, given that it currently sports a painful 27 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, maybe it’d be better to send a Terminator back to snuff out the idea for Genisys before it even happened.
Thankfully, those craving a more satisfactory time-travel flick need look no further than Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu to find several candidates that are way more entertaining than a geriatric Schwarzenegger. We’ve compiled four excellent time-travel tales you probably haven’t seen, all available streaming, and none of which requires a $155 million budget to tell a solid tale of divergent timelines. Just be forewarned: You might have to watch them twice.
Several engineer friends spend their off hours tinkering in a garage together, hoping their next invention will be the one that changes their lives. Aaron (writer/director Shane Carruth) and Abe (David Sullivan) are working on the far-fetched concept of finding a way to reduce the weight of an object, but in the process, they create something even more fantastic: an accidental time machine. Part of what’s so satisfying about Carruth’s script for Primer is that these characters are very smart in how they approach the situation. They’re scientists. They’ve seen all the time-travel movies we have. Even though they decide to use the technology for their own benefit, they agree to strict rules about how to go about it, and they put into place safeguards to limit their impact on their reshaping timestream. And even with all that planning and caution, it all still goes wrong, because human nature is still part of the equation.Part of the fun with time-travel movies is figuring out how all the pieces fit together, and Primer is like trying to assemble a particularly complicated jigsaw puzzle without the benefit of the box art. This isn’t a flick you can watch while cooking dinner or browsing Instagram. It demands—and rewards—the viewer’s full attention. But that makes the satisfaction when you finally grok it all the more satisfying. Both the script and performances are understated and convincing, and the entire movie has a pervasive verisimilitude that suggests, if somebody really were to invent time travel, it would probably play out a lot like this. For a movie that’s about reliving time, it’s entirely appropriate that most viewers will need multiple viewings to fully grasp Primer... but don’t worry, there’s also a chart if you need it.
Primer took home the Grand Jury Prize from the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, and has spent a decade cementing its place as a cult classic. It’s available streaming on both Netflix Instant and Hulu. And if your brain isn’t sufficiently melted after watching it, you can also check out Carruth’s even trippier follow-up, Upstream Color, on Netflix Instant.
2) Mr. Nobody
In the year 2092, Nemo Nobody (Jared Leto) is the last mortal human, 117 years old in a world where science has rendered death by natural causes a curiosity. He is dying. Nemo is all the more fascinating because his past is an enigma, and the attempts to unlock the mysteries of the old man’s long life form the spine of Mr. Nobody’s multilayered narrative. Nemo is eager to tell his tale, but he recounts multiple, contradictory versions of his past. In one, he was raised by his father; in another, by his mother. In one, he is forever finding and losing the love of his life; in others, he is trapped in relationships out of convenience or guilt. All of these visions of Nemo Nobody’s life may have happened, or maybe none of them did. It doesn’t really matter, because this is a story more about impossible choices than easy explanations.It’s a testament to both Leto’s lead performance and the script by writer/director Jaco Van Dormael that all of Nemo’s possible lives are compelling, each touched by tragedy and joy in different measure. Any one “reality” could have made for a worthwhile narrative experience, and that’s crucially important to the film’s thesis that “everything could have been anything else, and it would have just as much meaning.” Mr. Nobody is also a visually stunning movie, coding each of Nemo’s possible realities in clever ways and occasionally getting really bonkers as Nemo slips through the cracks between them. Mr. Nobody will leave you thinking about life and death, free will and destiny, and all the ways your path has twisted through the years. It would make a perfect complement to similarly underrated cult hits such as The Fountain or Cloud Atlas.
Mr. Nobody reportedly received a 10-minute standing ovation after its premiere at the 66th Venice International Film Festival. That might seem a bit much, but there’s no question that Mr. Nobody is ambitious, complex, and more interesting than 98 percent of the things cluttering up the streaming landscape. You can watch Mr. Nobody on Netflix Instant.
A man called Hector is enjoying a lazy day at home, lounging on his back lawn and watching the nearby woods through binoculars. Presumably he’s looking for birds, but his lens captures something more “letters to Penthouse” than “Audubon magazine.” A beautiful woman strips naked in the treeline, and Hector’s curiosity soon initiates a chain of events that is alternately tragic, befuddling, and bleakly hilarious. Soon he’s fleeing a violent figure whose face is wrapped in pink bandages, seeking shelter in a nearby laboratory, and guided only by an unfamiliar voice on the other end of a walkie talkie. By the time Hector seeks shelter inside a mysterious contraption filled with white liquid, things have only begun to get weird.There are two competing breeds of time-travel story: those where past events can be changed, and those where time defeats any attempts to alter its flow. Much of the fun of Timecrimes is in trying to determine which type of time-travel story this is and in seeing poor Hector do his level best—even if that best is frequently ill-advised and incompetent—just to try and keep up and make things right. By the time the credits roll, many will be shocked by just how dark a path Hector has wandered down. If nothing else, Timecrimes may be the single most effective treatise against peeping Tom-ism you’re likely to encounter.
Timecrimes took home the Best Picture award from the Austin-based Fantastic Fest in 2007. At one point David Cronenberg was going to helm an American remake, but in 2011 it was reported that director Steve Zaillian had taken the wheel of the project. Timecrimes is now available on Amazon Prime. The only downside is that it’s the dubbed version, and sadly, my attempts to travel back in time and rectify that have failed.
A group of friends—four couples—convenes for a dinner party on an evening when a comet shines in the sky overhead. It’s the sort of thing that would make for an ideal conversation starter, but spotty cell reception and a power outage soon has the friends wondering whether the celestial phenomenon above might be causing more than a lightshow. After breaking out candles and glowsticks, the friends spot a house in the distance that seems to still have power, so Hugh (Hugo Armstrong) and Amir (Alex Manugian) decide to hike over to see if they can borrow a phone. The pair soon returns, carrying a mysterious box and a peculiar story. Hugh’s revelation about what he saw in the other house is troubling, but even stranger are the contents of the box: photos of all the friends, marked with numbers that Emily (Emily Baldoni) soon realizes are written in her own handwriting.It would ruin the fun to reveal where Coherence goes from there, but suffice it to say things get complicated fast, and paranoia propels what would have likely been a forgettable gathering deep into Twilight Zone territory. What’s particularly impressive, given just how many twists Coherence packs in, is that writer/director James Ward Byrkit didn’t actually have a script for this thing: he specifically cast actors with background in improv so they could riff a storyline based on a 12-page treatment that laid out the twists, character motivations, and general guidelines of what needed to happen in each scene. Settle in and see if you predict where Coherence will take you… Just don’t misplace your glow stick.
Coherence boasts an impressive 88 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s available for streaming from Amazon Prime.
Screengrab via hollywoodstreams/YouTube
It all started out with Conan O’Brien making Boy George prove that he was a fan of the Doors by singing one of the band’s songs. Black, a musician himself with Tenacious D, joined him. But it wasn’t enough for them to just perform one of their songs.
As to be expected, Doors guitarist Robby Krieger can rock out better than anyone—which is how it should be.Screengrab via Team Coco/YouTube
In the age of Whatsapp, Snapchat, texting, and beyond, figuring out what's acceptable behavior in a budding relationship is increasingly tricky territory for teens. To try to help them draw digital lines about appropriate behavior, the Ad Council and Futures Without Violence have just launched That’s Not Cool, a new public service campaign to help teens identify problematic behavior in relationships.
“With this issue in particular, dating violence, it’s sort of created a whole new set of tools where things can get out of hand,” said Ad Council Digital SVP Anastasia Goodstein of our plugged-in nature. “You can text someone 100 times in a day and suddenly that relationship that seemed like it was perfectly fine becomes one that is no longer perfectly fine. The whole campaign is about empowering youth to identity those behaviors and draw their digital line.”
YouTube, which has seen its own scandals around sexual misconduct and appropriate dating behavior within the community, is one of the three main components of the campaign. YouTuber Meghan Rienks, part of the Ad Council’s “Creators for Good” program, is launching a video to her 1.7 million subscribers that breaks down what’s “Cool” and “Not Cool” in a relationship.
“For me the actual concept came from inspirations of a lot of my other videos,” explained 21-year-old Rienks. “I pride my videos on being funny and lighthearted, but still being able to be able to talk about concepts that are serious. I wanted something that could make a difference and help [my viewers] understand [teen dating violence] in a way that might not come across in something so serious.”The campaign also includes the Tinder-like CoolNotCool quiz and lives on Kik, the mobile messaging app dominated by young users. The campaign targets teens 13-18 who are entering romantic or intimate relationships for the first time.
“We know the best way to reach them is through these unconventional mediums like YouTube or Kik,” explained Yesenia Gorbea, a program specialist at Futures Without Violence, a partner in the campaign. “We’ve learned through our experience with more conventional advertising campaigns that when you want to reach teenagers, you need to reach them where they are at.”
Kik users will see the option to add the promoted chat on the app, on the same page where they go to add new friends. For fans looking to chat with the campaign, simply add “thatsnotcool” on Kik. Users who choose to engage with the account can start messaging to receive content that walks them through different scenarios to determine what is “cool” or “not cool” in a relationship.
“We have a philosophy not to be interruptive, invasive or annoying,” said Anthony Green, emerging partners lead at Kik. “We’re of the attitude that the user should control the experience. Social media has turned into a broadcast mechanism, for the most part. The difference with messaging like Kik is that it is private and one-to-one."
The scenarios deal with issues of teen dating and the digital world—texting a significant other constantly, for example, or asking for a Facebook password to make sure other people aren’t flirting with that significant other. The couples in the scenarios are diverse, with LGBTQ+ and straight couples both represented, as well as a wide range of racial and ethnic representations in the art that accompanies them. The scenarios were developed by Futures Without Violence through its work with actual teens and questions and concerns brought up on other chat platforms throughout the “That’s Not Cool” campaign.
“We’ve actually gotten a lot of questions from young people, [and] we came up with a list of potential keywords and questions that young people might be asking,” explained Gorbea. In addition to answering those questions, the team “also created responses for more serious questions. We’re then going to be directing them to the Love Is Respect crisis line if they really need help.”
For Ad Council, the decision to focus on YouTube and Kik for this campaign was an easy one.
“YouTube is becoming the new TV for this audience,” said Goodstein, noting that teens’ experience is increasingly mobile as well, which led to the Kik tie-in. “It made sense for it to be something they can do completely on their phones, and to partner with a messaging platform.”
Screengrab via Meghan Rienks/YouTube
A mouth-synchronizing battle of epic proportions was set to rain down on Central Park Monday night, and everyone was practicing their vocals.
Normally that would seem like par for the course at Central Park’s SummerStage. Music spouted from the speakers, and singing along (before a full night of singing along) was great practice amid all the pre-sunset selfie-snapping. But this was unlike pretty much anything the stage has ever hosted before.
Last night, approximately 5,000 people came out to watch celebrities merely pretend to sing—and if the buzz of the crowd was any indication, they had a blast.
Lip Sync Battle, which started off as a recurring Jimmy Fallon segment that resulted some of its most successful clips on YouTube, is quickly turning into a juggernaut both on TV and online. With LL Cool J and Chrissy Teigen front and center and pride and a championship belt on the line, the show spotlights the sillier side of actors, singers, and athletes as they completely lose themselves in lip-synced performances.
It only makes sense that the show would leave the studio and stretch its legs onto a bigger stage: a live one. (And as a treat to the fans, a free one at that.)Of course, lip syncing has a complicated history. In less positive connotations, it has ruined musical careers, but when people aren’t doing it to their own songs, it’s a rousing success. From performances at drag shows to the ’80s show Puttin’ on the Hits to college homecomings, from Fallon’s early battles to Spike’s full-fledged Lip Sync Battle, people can’t get enough of us moving our mouths. I even randomly encountered it at a packed local bar last month.
Even people who had never seen an episode of Lip Sync Battle before found their way over to SummerStage to watch Dancing With the Stars’s Derek and Julianne Hough throw down in a rematch of their May battle with Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer providing the halftime entertainment.
“I’m just here because the girls from Broad City were here,” Wes Van Heest, a television camera operator who wasn’t working the event, told me. (He wanted Glazer to win that battle.)
But there were also plenty of people who watched the show and the clips online to see what this showcase was all about.
“I’m a fan of the show, and I’m a fan of Broad City,” Stephanie Himes said. “Ilana from Broad City tweeted about it, so I thought it was pretty cool.”
The event wasn’t televised, but the fans made sure that friends and family and the rest of the Internet saw it anyway.Once the show itself began, it was a mix of the same Lip Sync Battle you see on TV with a traditional concert. Doug E. Fresh warmed up the crowd with some pep talk and performances, and while Derek Hough went offstage to change, LL Cool J performed while holding a child from the crowd. He also provided some trivia for fans—and a sneak peek of what’s to come. But the real draw, aside from Teigen’s always-excellent commentary, were the acts themselves. With seasoned veterans facing off in both battles, they knew exactly what to do to rile everyone up. But on this stage, they could go even bigger than before. The Houghs reprised their hits, Jacobson belted out Jennifer Hudson, Glazer tackled “It’s Raining Men,” there was a surprise appearance from Today’s Hoda Kotb, and it all ended with Derek dressed as the lead singer of the Darkness. With that unstoppable combination of wins, they just might have achieved peak lip-sync. Derek Hough won this time around, but with Julianne’s call of “two out of three,” chances are we’ll see these two duke it out again sometime soon.
“I feel like every show needs to be live,” Teigen said at one point to the approval of the audience.
Although Spike has yet to say anything to suggest it, this is something I could easily see being converted into a tour with different celebrities… with, of course, everyone lip-syncing along.Photo by Michelle Jaworski
The scene opens on a close-up of sequins, dozens of tiny blue and silver eyes beckoning you inside. A young girl raises her arms, silver waterfalls streaming underneath. The music starts, but it's the wrong track.
There's silence. Time freezes. The track starts, and Melissa Ann Ledwon finally leads us on a white-knuckle ride through a two-minute tap-dance routine, which ends in an uncomfortable split.
Welcome to Stairway to Stardom.
Performers on the NYC-based public access talent show, which ran from 1979-1992, showcased their talent on a low-budget set, accompanied by drab houseplants or family-portrait backdrops. The show's disco theme song promised you’d see “tomorrow’s stars today.” Stairway to Stardom was talent show, but it was also a spectacular exercise in courage and abandon.
In the last five years or so, clips from Stairway to Stardom started showing up on YouTube, and have been showcased by entities like the Found Footage Festival. At the end of May, 15 full episodes appeared on the show’s YouTube channel, so fans can now see the show in context. One of the show’s biggest supporters, Mitch Friedman, maintains the channel.
Friedman told NPR back in 2006 that he tracked down host Frank Masi in the early ‘90s and asked if they could have access to episodes of the show. Masi passed away in 2013, but when Friedman interviewed him in 1993, a year after the show went off the air, he recounted his own attempt to find stardom as a singer in the late '60s; the calls he got from people upset that he'd featured black people on the show; and Songs to Remember, the precursor to Stairway to Stardom, which featured Evie Day as co-host.
Masi was a lounge-singer throwback, and opened every episode of Stairway to Stardom with a serenade. Astoundingly, he explained he made everyone audition, so the performances you see all “passed his litmus test,” Friedman told NPR.
Competition shows like American Idol and The Voice have turned talent searches into a democratic process, but Stairway to Stardom existed as a secret of sorts, a show you accidentally stumbled upon. You'll feel guilt for laughing at some of these performances, but there's also an elation that comes with stumbling upon them.
The show’s performers didn't go on to mainstream fame, but the talent was vast: There were a lot of singers, including Masi, as well as comedians, tap dancers, rappers, puppeteers, and magicians. Some clips have become Internet favorites because of their amazing terribleness. Case in point: young Joe Refano's daunting version of “Lady in Red” in 1988, and Michelle Sutlovich’s incredibly interpretive 1982 dance routine.One performer who remembers Stairway to Stardom is Bobbie Horowitz, one half of the singing duo Horowitz & Spector. Their 1988 performance of body-positive anthem “Boiled Chicken” is required viewing, as is “Something’s Rotten in Transylvania,” their Halloween hit. She says she’d seen the clips on YouTube before, but that she’d forgotten they came from Stairway to Stardom.
"How could I forget!" she said by phone.
“It was great for us,” she said. “Anything you could do to get attention was great, and we won the MAC [Manhattan Association of Cabarets] award that year.”
Horowitz, who still performs monthly cabaret shows in NYC, recalls a Stairway to Stardom studio in a house on Staten Island. “And I remember driving out there, and it didn’t look at all like you were going into a studio,” she said. “...I do remember there was no audience, so you stand there and you do it with the microphones—he had microphones—and there’s a guy in the corner recording.”
Horowitz said "Boiled Chicken" came to her and Spector in a moment of reflection.
“We were talking about our high school days and how we always felt fat,” she said. “We always felt like the fat girls and when I look back now at my pictures, I wasn’t as fat as a I thought I was! It was also getting to be anorexia time at that point in America, when it was really crazy, the getting thin.”
Horowitz says she suspects the clips have gotten some people who weren’t familiar with her cabaret show out to see it. Other former performers have grabbed hold of this new wave of interest. However, Stairway to Stardom remains a message in a bottle, a rarefied look at pop culture's regional footnotes.You can essentially play roulette with the full episodes, but here are four good ones to start with: Screengrab via stairwaytostardom/YouTube | Remix by Jason Reed
Thanks to Kathryn Schulz’s piece about the Cascadia subduction zone in the New Yorker, everyone’s freaking out about the impending apocalypse, as the ground shakes and tsunamis swallow considerable portions of the West Coast.
But New Jersey alt-rockers Yo La Tengo see the end of days a little differently.As devastation descends upon Hoboken, New Jersey, drummer and vocalist Georgia Hubley strolls through town singing the Cure’s 1990s love anthem, “Friday I’m In Love.” Seemingly unaware of the exploding bodies and extraterrestrial hearts, it becomes clear that Hubley is the cause of it all.
Never has the end of the world been so pleasant.
The video, directed by Jason Woliner (Human Giant, Eagleheart, Nathan For You), is the first from Yo La Tengo’s upcoming album, Stuff Like That There—an apparent sequel to their 1990 record, Fakebook. The band mixes covers, reworkings of original classics, and a few brand new tracks.
Stuff Like That There comes out Aug. 28. A bit of a long wait, so make sure you stock up on delicious batteries.
With Donald Trump’s announcement of a presidential run, it was only a matter of time before the Gregory Brothers turned it into a song.
Later the video features John Green and Nat Wolf, who are busy promoting the forthcoming film Paper Towns. They duet on “Sleep Over Tonight,” the titular ode to an hypothetical slumber party with Chris Christie, Mitt Romney, and Marco Rubio. The clip also features surprise Auto-Tune star Bill O’Reilly crooning about Ted Cruz’s BuzzFeed visit.
With the political season just getting into full swing, there’s going to be a ton more opportunities for songification through 2016. Buckle up.
Screengrab via schmoyoho/YouTube
Companies Bob's Burgers star Eugene Mirman has given the gas face to: Delta and Time Warner Cable. His latest target: the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Over the weekend, a full-page ad Mirman took out started circulating, addressed to the city of Portsmouth and the Parking Clerk's office. Mirman was allegedly issued a $15 ticket for parking the wrong way when he visited the town in June, and after hearing God's voice, decided to write a strongly worded letter. It was published in the Portsmouth's supplemental 2015 Summer Guide. The paper's publisher, Dave Karlotski, told Boston.com they were "delighted" to run it, but didn't disclose how much it cost.Yes, this seems a bit extreme over a $15 ticket, but a few commenters addressed that this is a known issue in Portsmouth. Others said he deserved the ticket, after he posted a photo of his car on Facebook. C'mon, he made a joke about Revolutionary War general John Stark! People are also using his ad as jumping-off point for their own ticket woes on Reddit, including this gem:
Dude! I just got fined $179 for falling out of my canoe in a state park into a lake that bans swimming. Freaking officer just appeared from behind a tree! I had all the right permits and life preservers and what not. I will join your angry mob.
If you're a Bob's Burgers fan, you've probably already had the same thought as this person. There is hope:
This story's easy to laugh at, but it's also a reminder that calling out a parking injustice doesn't always go so well.H/T AV Club | Photo via PetroleumJelliffe/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0)
Nobody is tougher than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Nobody. So it doesn’t seem so out of the ordinary when you see him smiling through an injury as dopey as a dislocated finger. “Oh, hey, I’m The Rock, and here is my mutilated finger. No big.” Sure, I’d buy it.
Well, that’s precisely what the gigantic wrestler-turned-actor revealed on Instagram today on the set of his new film Central Intelligence, confirming through graphic imagery what his 20 million followers already knew: The Rock is a total badass.
Although we’re in the age of high-profile finger injuries, this still looks pretty disgusting. But if you can take a second to stop dry-heaving and look a little closer, you’ll notice that Johnson’s twisted finger is an obvious fake.
In true tattle-tale form, a rep from New Line confirmed to Variety that the hand is, in fact, a prosthetic.
If you’re feeling like a jabroni for falling for such a silly gag, don’t sweat. Johnson and his co-star, Kevin Hart, have been having a blast filming Central Intelligence and yucking it up all over the Internet.They’re the Laurel and Hardy of the 21st century.
Central Intelligence, directed by Rawson Thurber (We’re the Millers, Dodgeball), will hit theaters May 2016.
Can three friends who have known each other for decades fool one another?
We're impressed at how much detail each of them included, regardless of whether or not the story was real. The key is in the details—especially for the tales that are true.
Fey and Poehler may play sisters in the upcoming movie Sisters, but somebody also needs to give them a cop show ASAP.Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube
Far from the lights, cameras, and auto-tune machines of Hollywood, Sarah Silverman and Jeff Goldblum proved that they simply love hanging out and engaging in some goofy singing.
In YouTube video uploaded by Silverman, Goldblum takes some time off from fatherhood to join his Run Ronnie Run co-star at her piano. There, they launch into a rendition of the 1927 tune "Me and My Shadow," which has historically been performed by such musical greats as Judy Garland, Perry Como, and even James Caan in the movie Funny Lady.
So how well do they match up to a performance by Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.?
In addition to Run Ronnie Run and an episode of The League, Goldblum and Silverman were also going to appear together as ex-lovers on the series Susan 313, but the idea was scrapped by executives after the pilot.
Screengrab via Sarah Silverman/YouTube | Remix by Max Fleishman
Angelica Perez and DayLynn Acacia—lovingly known as Jelly and Day—are by far one of the sweetest couples YouTube has ever known.Jelly and Day originally started making YouTube videos in 2010 with the purpose of simultaneously documenting their relationship and finding an outlet to combat their stressful full-time jobs. But what has kept viewers coming back to the channel over the years is the genuine fun and contagious laughter the two cause in every video from “The Girlfriend Tag” to their Question and Answers and challenges.
The girls first met in 2010 through a mutual friend at a hookah bar and have been inseparable ever since. While currently engaged, the pair have yet to set a date for their upcoming nuptials (which I do not doubt will be full of their signature kiss attacks). It’s their over-the-top, can’t-get-enough-of-each-other, never-spent-a-night-apart-in-four-years kind of love that really sets the channel apart and makes their adventures stand out from other vlogs.
Along with their main channel videos—including challenges, stories, and collaborations with others YouTubers—the pair produces five vlogs a week on their second channel documenting their daily lives and favorite people. While it might not have been their mission setting out, through their growth and dedication to YouTube, the pair’s channel has given audiences a personal connection to the LGBT community and normalized LGBT relationships. They have helped pave the path for the ever-growing community of LGBT vloggers who’re changing perceptions of same-sex relationships, including Shep689, Still Soundly Awake, Kaelynn and Lucy, and Ashley Mardell and Grace Hiltner.But what sets Jelly and Day apart is the incredible connection they strive to maintain with their fans. Through Twitter and Instagram, the pair are constantly chatting with their 134,000 subscribers in ways that are personal, hilarious, and caring. Last month, after the pair’s laptop and iPad were stolen from the trunk of their car, fans raised over $2,500 for replacements so that their favorite creators could get back to making great content.
With the growth of their channel, both Jelly and Day have been able to quit their jobs to pursue YouTube full-time and continue spreading joy and happiness in every way they can. As a YouTube user, what excites me most about Jelly and Day is the great example of a healthy, loving relationship they’re presenting for their countless fans. By watching them over the years, fans have learned that respect, unconditional support, fun, and strong communication not only set the foundation for a relationship, but are things every person deserves.
Plus they’ve taught the world how to love a good wine slushie, so in total, these two have left the YouTube ecosystem a little better than when they found it.
Screengrab via Jelly and Day/YouTube
We try to keepup with what’scomingandgoing from Netflix each month, but between the constant jockeying and surprise expirations, we know it’s hard. Here, we’ve collected the 100 best Netflix releases of 2015 (plus a few still on their way that we can’t contain our excitement about) in one easy-to-navigate list.
Fair warning: The rankings are arbitrary at best, and we fully expect things to shift and morph as the streaming giant continues its flurry of reboots, releases, acquisitions, and renewals. Keep checking back to see if your favorites made the cut, and we apologize if Netflix pulls one of these titles without our noticing. If you find that’s the case, do as Texans do when they don’t like the weather and just wait five minutes for things to change.
1) Hot Fuzz
Forget its place in Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy; Hot Fuzz is one of the greatest movies ever made. What most people fail to realize about this oddball film is that it’s not just a brilliant, hilariously funny parody of action movies. It’s a parody of multiple kinds of films for stuffy British people. It skewers the standard Miss Marple-esque garden mystery, running ramshod over the eternally picture-perfect small English village which always yields sinister secrets. It simultaneously homages and eviscerates the Wicker Man, that glorious genre-bender that sees a dogged big-city detective Edward Woodward shriek “Jesus Christ!” as he’s ultimately done in by a cult of horrific villagers.
Woodward plays the town priest in Hot Fuzz, one of dozens of cast members whose casting was itself an inside joke (like Cate Blanchett as a bit part whose face you never see). In another of its hundreds of layered jokes, which emerge on repeat viewings like sparks flying up from a blazing hearth of comedy, Woodward’s character shrieks “Jesus Christ!” while getting shot in the leg by a wayward rifle—a member of a cult of horrific villagers done in by a dogged big-city detective. If that kind of meta-commentary fills you with glee, then you should already be watching Hot Fuzz. Preferably every day for the rest of your life. —Aja Romano2) The French Connection
You haven’t seen acting until you’ve seen Gene Hackman in The French Connection, and there’s a good chance that, if you haven’t seen this film, you’ve never seen a proper car chase before, either. This is dirty, ’70s, diving-into-the-morally-void stuff, and by that I mean: It’s the good stuff. The cops, bad guys, and generally everybody onscreen is an asshole (with the possible exception of the always amazing and always deadpanned Roy Scheider). I’d call it a masterpiece, if only it were possible to single out one William Friedkin film as his masterpiece. —Joey Keeton3) Upstream Color
While drugged with a mind-altering parasite, Kris (Amy Seimetz) is robbed of all her belongings and livelihood. She struggles to put her life back together and finds herself drawn to Jeff (Shane Carruth), who underwent the same experience. Upstream Color tells their story through nonlinear editing, minimal dialogue, and ambient sound. —Feliks Garcia4) To Be Takei
With the Supreme Court’s recent historic ruling on marriage equality, there’s never been a more perfect time to watch To Be Takei. Already an icon for playing Sulu on Star Trek, actor George Takei staged a late-career transformation into a social media maestro on Facebook, as well as one of the better-known faces of the gay rights movement. To Be Takei explores the actor’s life and career across the stages of both pop culture and social change, all wrapped up in Takei’s larger-than-life personality and campy sense of humor. —David Wharton5) Spartacus (complete series)
The show that put Starz on the map, Spartacus is a brutal, epic exploration of legendary Thracian gladiator who led a slave uprising that shook the pillars of Rome. Borrowing 300’s stylized graphic-novel visuals, Spartacus is packed with sex and violence, blood and betrayal, and a powerhouse lead performance by the late Andy Whitfield, who was tragically felled by cancer after the first season. If you can’t bear the long wait between seasons of Game of Thrones, Spartacus’s rise from gladiator to legend is just the thing to tide you over—and one hell of a satisfying ride in its own right. —David Wharton6) The Boxtrolls
This Academy Award–nominated stop-motion animation is a touching story of the true meaning of family, an overwhelming love of cheese, and just enough action and adventure to keep kids of all ages engaged through the very end. And with vocal talent from the likes of Tracy Morgan, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, and Elle Fanning, you know it’s going to be good. —Monica Riese7) Bill Nye the Science Guy
One of the Internet’s favorite scientists is a champion for the truth, but before he debated climate change on cable news, Bill Nye hosted his own educational science show we watched at home as often as we watched it in the classroom (if not more). He not only broke down scientific subjects such as planets, evolution, chemical reactions, and motion in such a way that even those of us who weren’t naturals at learning it could understand. He made it cool to like science again. —Michelle Jaworski8) Chef’s Table (season 1)
Dinner at a Michelin star restaurant isn’t on the menu for most of us, but five-star food porn can be with this Netflix documentary series. Each episode focuses on a different chef from every corner of the globe, including Attica Restaurant’s Ben Shewry (Melbourne, Australia) and El Restaurante Patagonia Sur’s Francis Mallmann (Buenos Aires, Argentina). We’re drooling already. —Monica Riese9) Fruitvale Station
A dramatic retelling of the final day in the life of Oscar Grant III (Michael B. Jordan), the 22-year-old Oakland man who was shot in the back and killed by a BART police officer while handcuffed on New Year’s Eve 2008. —Feliks Garcia10) Bloodline (season 1)
From the creators of Damages, Bloodline is a drama/thriller series focused on the myriad secrets and closet-skeletons of the wealthy Rayburn family, who run a resort hotel in the Florida Keys. When the eldest son—the black sheep of the family—returns home, old wounds are reopened among the four adult Rayburn siblings. Many critics have singled Bloodline out as one of Netflix’s best original shows, and the truly stellar cast includes Sam Shepard, Sissy Spacek, Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, Linda Cardellini, and Chloe Sevigny. Bloodline has flown somewhat under the radar compared with other Netflix Originals, but it’s must-see TV. —David Wharton11) Orange Is the New Black (season 3)
If you’re looking for a new series to binge-watch, look no further. This Netflix Original (based on a true story) is a tried-and-true hit that offers a peek into the lives—both past and current—of Litchfield Penitentiary’s eclectic mix of female inmates. In the middle of it all is Piper Chapman, a newly incarcerated 30-something convicted of drug trafficking charges, and Alex Vause, Chapman’s former associate—and former lover. The newest season shows an evolved Chapman, now accustomed to her situation; after enjoying freedom at the expense of betraying Chapman, Vause is back at Litchfield, fearing for her safety against the drug associates she ratted on. New inmates are introduced, and we dive even deeper into the pasts of old favorites. —Jam Kotenko12) Paris Is Burning
With its unforgettable look at Harlem’s drag ball community, this famous documentary doesn’t just give us a glimpse of a hugely underrepresented aspect of queer, black, and Latino cultures. It also introduces us to notable trans icons like Octavia St. Laurent and prominent drag queens like the legendary Paris DuPree and Pepper LaBeija. And it gave us the story of other trans women like Venus Xtravaganza, who ultimately became victims of a transphobic society that three decades has done little to erase. Released just as the AIDS epidemic was peaking in the gay community, Paris Is Burning examines issues of race, class, homophobia, transphobia, and the devastating effects of AIDS on the community. A seven-year labor of love, the documentary still causes heated controversy today because of white filmmaker Jennie Livingston’s approach to telling the stories of a community not her own. But it remains an important and multifaceted early look at queer culture, at a historical moment when far more than Paris was on fire. —Aja Romano13) The Overnighters
This acclaimed 2014 documentary focuses on a North Dakota pastor named Jay Reinke. The North Dakota oil boom attracted countless souls dreaming of an easy payday, only to have them discover a far less rosy reality and a housing shortage that left many on the streets. Pastor Reinke’s ministry turned toward helping these beleaguered workers and their families as the huge population boom strained local resources and drove some to desperation. The Overnighters premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Award. —David Wharton14) A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Much has been made of the recent “renaissance” in horror, but what this stunning “Iranian vampire Western” from Ana Lily Amirpour proves is that tried and true terrifying tropes—like vampires and the terror of a woman walking alone in a city at night—are as fresh as ever. In addition to showcasing some of the most mesmerizing scenes in recent horror memory, this gorgeous film joins other recent women-driven films like Babadook and American Mary (both also on Netflix) to show us that horror never needed a renaissance at all; it just needed a different perspective. —Aja Romano15) High Fidelity
It initially suffers from the needless let’s-set-a-Nick-Hornby-novel-in-the-USA disease that ails the Farrelly Brothers’ adaptation of Fever Pitch and the TV series of About a Boy, but this tale of a record store owner’s relationship musings and tribulations has two things that they don’t. Firstly, John Cusack’s Rob Gordon isn’t played in the shadow of previous, great British performances of the same role (by Colin Firth and Hugh Grant, respectively) and secondly Jack Black. Remember when Jack Black’s pogoing schtick didn’t grate and anger? No? Well, it was 15 years ago, in High Fidelity. —Tom Harrington16) Primer
Shane Carruth’s visually stunning 2013 film Upstream Color astounded audiences, but to truly understand the complex inner workings of his mind, you have to go back to his 2004 debut feature. At its core, Primer is a film about two engineers (played by Carruth and David Sullivan) who inadvertently invent a method for time travel, but as the film progresses, things get certifiably weird. The Internet has spent years trying to reconstruct the film, so yes, you will probably have to watch it more than once to truly get the stories straight. —Audra Schroeder17) Sense8
Sense8, which follows eight characters living in all corners the globe who are linked telepathically, is the television debut of the Wachowskis (The Matrix trilogy). The Daily Dot’s Gavia Baker-Whitelaw described the resulting show as “something surprisingly sincere, although not as weird and grandiose as I’d hope”; we confess it’s not for everyone. But if you can overlook the pacing, early cliches, and peculiarities like psychic orgies, you’ll be rewarded with a thrilling show that’ll have you itching for season 2. —Monica Riese18) BoJack Horseman (season 2, July 17)
Netflix has proven, with its original programming, that it can pull off just about whatever it wants. It brought both Trailer Park Boys and Arrested Development back from the dead, after both had been off the air for nearly a decade. It made House of Cards and won awards out the ass for it. Then it did the same thing with Orange Is the New Black. But BoJack… BoJack is a cartoon about a has-been talking horse. And it’s hilarious. BoJack is solid proof that Netflix can do whatever the hell it wants, and it’ll be fantastic. —Joey Keeton19) Chinatown
It’s easy to get so caught up in this film’s sumptuous take on Los Angeles in the sweltering vintage summer that its sleazy underbelly sneaks up on you, but there’s nothing subtle about the grit that leaves its mark on Polanski’s masterpiece about a wry detective trying to solve a complicated case of double identity. Chinatown is about a city, but it’s also about a city that isn’t—one where the only people we actually see in Chinatown are from a white upper class whose privilege and corruption have come to war it out. The film’s veneer of respectability chips away like the veneer on Bogart’s maltese falcon. By the unforgettable final moments, we’ve moved past noir and entered a kind of cinematic LaBrea Tar Pit, miring you in grime but ultimately transcending time and place. Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown. —Aja Romano20) Young Ones
In a not-too-distant future where Earth is crippled by drought, a former farmer named Ernest (Michael Shannon) scrapes out a living by delivering supplies to water drillers while dreaming of a time when the land might become fertile again. But when Ernest meets with tragedy, his son Jerome (Kodi Smit-McPhee) must step up to provide for his young sister and ill mother, a path that puts him on a collision course with the man who betrayed his father. Written and directed by Jake Paltrow, Young Ones combines trappings of science fiction with a classic Western revenge tale amidst a harsh, unforgiving landscape. —David Wharton21) 101 Dalmatians
One of the most classic Disney movies of all time, 101 Dalmatians follows the harrowing adventures of dalmatians Perdi and Pongo, along with their humans Roger and Anita, as they track down the villainous Cruella de Vil who has stolen over 99 puppies with the intention of making them into fur coats. The movie originally premiered as a beloved cartoon in 1961, and in 1996, the world of taxidermy came even more to life in a live-action adaptation starring Jeff Daniels and Glenn Close, whose interpretation of Cruella de Vil is still the nightmare of every child who grew up in the ’90s.
The talking dogs, iconic love story, and irresistible theme song—“Cruella de Vil, if she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will”— have all contributed to this story and its infamous villain living on long after the film’s release, with references popping up in shows such as Once Upon a Time, and The Simpsons. —Carly Lanning22) Open Windows
There are only three things you need to know about Open Windows: 1) It stars Elijah Wood and Sasha Grey (yes, that Sasha Grey). 2) Director Nacho Vigalondo deserves credit for making an entire movie take place on a computer screen before that was trendy. 3) You’ll never look at that little webcam at the top of your monitor the same way again. —Monica Riese23) Death Note
Say what you will about its anime selection, but Netflix knows what side its bread is buttered on, and that is the zillions of people who lost their minds over this bestselling horror/action manga. You’ll come for the concept: a bored overachiever who may or may not be a sociopath runs into a blank notebook dropped by a pesky death god that allows him to determine the fate of anyone whose name he writes in it. But you’ll stay for the epic cat-and-mouse that develops between our favorite charming serial killer, Light, and his erratic candy-eating detective turned best frenemy, L. At turns quirky, ridiculously melodramatic, horrifying, and endearing, Death Note is the quintessential anime of the 2000s, packed with equal parts social commentary and fanservice. (That’s also why we have to link the fanvid below, made by Tumblr user albasti—the only interpretation of “Blank Space” you’ll ever need.) —Aja Romano24) Friends (complete series)
What better way to relish in the gloriousness of ’90s television than to marathon-watch this beloved sitcom following the lives of six 20-something friends trying to make sense of life in Manhattan? You’ve got 10 seasons’ worth of episodes to get to know Rachel, a spoiled rich girl who is forced to start from scratch after running away from a passionless marriage-to-be; Monica, Rachel’s formerly obese bestie from high school who is now trying to juggle a job as a chef and a rather disappointing dating life; Ross, Monica’s older brother, recently divorced from his ex-wife, the brand-new lesbian; Chandler, Ross’s college roommate and friend who’s some sort of business professional; Joey, a struggling actor and Chandler’s new roommate, and Phoebe, a musician and masseuse whose connection to the group isn’t clearly explained (but we love her, anyway). You definitely will not regret watching all 236 episodes of the show, but here’s a handy-dandy guide to the best episodes in case you wanted to take it slow. —Jam Kotenko25) Between
Things take a tragic turn in the picturesque Canadian town of Pretty Lake when everyone over the age of 21 begins to drop dead. Soon Pretty Lake is surrounded by a military quarantine blockade, leaving the young people to deal with internal power struggles, the basics of survival, and the mystery of why it’s all happening in the first place. Think Under the Dome plus the early retirement plan of Logan’s Run. —David Wharton26) The ABCs of Death 2
This anthology of short-short horror films—none over a few minutes long—is the follow-up to the popular ABCs of Death, in which horror creators around the world were tapped to pull a letter at random and work with the results. In many ways, ABCs 2 is more successful than its predecessor: Not only are the 25 auteur entries into the competition a more thoughtful reflection on the exercise as a whole, as evidenced by Soichi Umezawa’s brilliant “Y is for Youth,” but a crowdsourced hunt to find the 26th unknown director produced Robert Boocheck’s “M is for Masticate,” which can stand with any of the best of them. You’ll find yourself thinking about these ABCs long after you’ve hit “Z is for Zygote." —Aja Romano27) Marvel’s Daredevil
With season 2 already in the works for 2016, Daredevil has risen to become one of Netflix’s most popular original series, alongside Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards. The series follows attorney and blind superhero Matthew Murdock, a man driven by the desire to eliminate the violence and corruption on the streets of New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen by crime boss Wilson Fisk. (Fair warning: It may take an episode or two for you to fully suspend disbelief that, despite being left blind by a childhood accident, Daredevil is able to run full speed around New York City.)
The show grips you and leaves you wanting more. Luckily, Netflix has decided to continue the show, announcing this past April that season 2 will include The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal as the Punisher, Daredevil’s next nemesis. —Carly Lanning28) Magic City (seasons 1 and 2)
Set in Miami, Florida, in the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution, Magic City is dripping with 1950s style that hides a heart of darkness underneath. The charismatic Jeffrey Dean Morgan stars as Ike Evans, the owner of the glamorous Miramar Playa hotel. It’s one of the hottest joints in Miami, but Ike is forced to make a bad deal with a very bad man to keep it afloat, leaving him under the thumb of mob boss Ben Diamond (Danny Huston). Caught between the feds, the crooks, and his own family, it’s all Ike can do to keep his head above water and his feet out of cement shoes. —David Wharton29) Jen Kirkman: I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine)
In her 2015 Netflix comedy special, comedian/author/podcaster Jen Kirkman deconstructs its very title, taking on childlessness at 40 (and the comments it brings out of friends with kids), life after divorce, and her grandma passing away wearing nothing but a black bra. You won’t feel sad or morose after watching; you’ll feel lifted. —Audra Schroeder30) Joe
Director David Gordon Green returned to the singed forests of Central Texas for this, his ninth feature film. It stars Nicolas Cage as the titular Joe, a grizzled soul battling alcoholism and a criminal past, and breakout youngster Tye Sheridan as Gary, an adrift 15-year-old eager to please. The performances are stellar, but the “Southern gothic coming-of-age” is at its best in the small moments scored by David Wingo and Jeff McIlwain. —Monica Riese31) The Big Lebowski
Jeff Bridges plays Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, a bowler/bum who is mistaken for Jeffrey Lebowski, a millionaire whose wife owes a loan shark a ton of money. After being accosted by a couple of hired goons, the Dude searches for the real Lebowski, in the hopes of acquiring compensation for his troubles. Instead, he gets entangled in a kidnapping situation that goes south. Also starring comedic heavyweights John Goodman and Steve Buscemi, this cult classic was directed by the Coen brothers, the duo responsible for other must-watch films like Fargo and No Country for Old Men. —Jam Kotenko32) Election (1999)
Well before people didn’t know who she was, Reese Witherspoon had a face to be hated; it was always one of the shames of Cruel Intentions that it had to be Sebastian flying over the hood of that car. So it’s no surprise that as Tracy Flick, the perky, overachieving, student-body president wannabe, she grinds the audience into a blind rage. So assured, so smug: It’s a performance that leaves you hoping that co-star Matthew Broderick would just revert to form. —Tom Harrington33) Mad Men (season 7)
Whether you’re a devout fanatic or one of those liberal people who feels the need to write off a show about a sexist era on principle without watching one of the most secretly feminist series ever, Mad Men’s final season is standalone entertainment. It’s 1970, and the industry is crumbling; what comes next are gorgeous sets, big bads, terminal heartache, and an epic that sticks the landing. —Ramon Ramirez
Ever wonder what it would be like to live underground or be a member of a cult? This Netflix Original attempts to answer both questions through the 13-episode story of Kimmy Schmidt, a woman who spent the last 15 years holed up in an underground shelter with her doomsday cult leader and other women. After being rescued and realizing that the world did not end after all, she decides to start fresh in—where else?—New York City, where she gains a vivacious roommate, a millionaire employer, and a brand-new outlook on life. —Jam Kotenko35) Inglourious Basterds
People often talk about how Quentin Tarantino’s mass appropriation affects their opinion of his work. But not enough is said about his rank acting—he knows how good his coffee is, OK—and how it derails every scene he puts himself in. He has no speaking role in this, his World War II, kill-Hitler reimagining and its thrilling flow is all the better for it. Professional actor Christoph Waltz announces himself as the “Jew Hunter” Hans Landa, but Tarantino’s fellow filmmaker Eli Roth somehow finds a gap in enemy lines. —Tom Harrington36) The Babadook
While the titular monster in this 2014 horror film from Australian director Jennifer Kent mostly lives in the pages of a mysterious book, the real horror slowly manifests in the relationship between a mother, Amelia (Essie Davis), and her troubled young son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman). The mother trying to save her child from evil forces is a narrative embedded into the genre, but The Babadook inverts that idea and pulls something truly chilling out of it. —Audra Schroeder37) Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (July 31)
At the time of writing, this 10-episode prequel to 2001’s Wet Hot American Summer hasn’t even been released yet—it hits Netflix on July 17—but it just has to be good, doesn’t it? Unsuccessful as the original summer camp spoof was, its humor was surely ahead of its time. Its clips would have killed on YouTube, and the fact that so many of the cast have gone onto higher-profile work seems to invalidate some of its detractors’ cringey, self-defeating reviews. And they’re all back: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Bradley Cooper… even Christopher Meloni, who must be thrilled to get a break from all those sex crimes. —Tom Harrington38) White Collar (season 6)
In USA Network’s best blue-sky buddy-cop duo since Psych, FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) tries to solve some of New York’s biggest white-collar crimes with the help of former convict Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer), out on work release. The series’ final (truncated) season sees them trying to infiltrate and bring down the Pink Panther criminal ring in a whirlwind of action, betrayal, and—ultimately—sleight of hand that will keep you smiling long after the credits roll. —Monica Riese39) The Farm: Life Inside Angola Prison
After three seasons of Orange Is the New Black, you might think you have an idea of what life is like behind bars, but let this documentary about the inmates of the Louisiana State Penitentiary prove you wrong. —Monica Riese40) The Exorcist
One of the things that strikes you upon rewatching William Friedkin’s horror masterpiece is how fully it takes its time building its cocoon of horror, and how carefully it sinks you into the lives of these characters. By the time Linda Blair is head-spinning her way into our nightmares, we’ve seen the adults around her go from being icons in their respective communities to frayed, desperate people clinging to whatever scraps of faith they can. The real suspense of this masterpiece isn’t about whether they can exorcise Regan’s demons; it’s whether they can exorcise it before it destroys their carefully cultivated illusions about themselves. Still as terrifying today as it was 42 years ago, The Exorcist never leaves you with the same answers twice. —Aja Romano41) Grace and Frankie
Nobody who can walk unaided has heard of—let alone pines for—1980’s Nine to Five, so you can probably guess who this reunion of that film’s stars is aimed at. But even so, this gentle comedy series following Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda after their husbands leave them to shack up together flashes enough charm to garner a broad appeal. Tomlin, of course, knows her way around a joke, but it’s double-Oscar-winning Fonda who shines, proving that she can be quite terrific when she isn’t shouting from the rooftops about her septuagenarian sex life. —Tom Harrington42) Some Assembly Required
This television series is about a kid who blows his house up with a defective chemistry set, sues a company, and then becomes boss of said company. Seeing as it’s created by Disney Channel alum Dan Singer, you can safely assume that many, many hijinks ensue. It’s safe to say: This is probably a show for your kids. Luckily for them, all 26 episodes of season 1 have come to the U.S., from its native airing country of Canada, via Netflix streaming. —Joey Keeton43) No No: A Dockumentary
This 2014 documentary focuses on the life and death of baseball player Dock Ellis, who most notably pitched a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in the summer of 1970 while playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. But his entire life’s story is a compelling and emotional tale of drug abuse, recovery, and redemption, and it’s not to be missed. —Monica Riese44) Rosewater
Jon Stewart’s directorial debut is based on broadcast journo Maziar Bahari’s memoir, Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival. Mexican journeyman Gael Garcia Bernal is your spirit guide here, and he plays the Iranian-born Canadian Bahari. After he gets jailed for being a journalist in Iran, it’s a tense struggle to get him out. It was a pet project Stewart took on (part of why Bahari was jailed for more than 100 days has a tangential relationship to Stewart’s Daily Show), but it’s far from a self-interested, activist film. There’s sympathy for the devils, and it’s a deeply embedded, lived-in final cut. —Ramon Ramirez
Many people only learned about Pussy Riot after the 2012 arrest and imprisonment of several members of the Russian feminist punk collective. But this 2013 film—which takes its title from the song Pussy Riot played in a Russian cathedral in February 2012—explores the lives of the three imprisoned members (Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich) before Pussy Riot, the ideologies that led them there, and the measures Vladimir Putin took to attempt to silence them. —Audra Schroeder46) Nightcrawler
“If it bleeds it leads” is the defining motto of this thriller, starring Jake Gyllenhaal in full creep mode. Gyllenhaal plays Louis, an opportunistic thief just trying to make a dime in Los Angeles. With a camera and mild bloodlust, he aggressively makes his way into TV crime journalism, but when he starts composing the crime scenes in his shots, things begin to get hairy. —Feliks Garcia47) House of Cards (season 3)
If you’ve seen the two previous seasons and spent your time rooting for Frank Underwood, you may now celebrate with a heaping plate of ribs because he’s officially the President of the United States. With your favorite TV couple now in power, you can bet that things are about to get pretty interesting. —Jam Kotenko48) Aziz Ansari Live at Madison Square Garden
Sometimes you love a television show, and there’s a character in that show that’s your favorite out of them all. Then, you discover that that character is portrayed by an actor that also happens to be a comedian. You think “Oh, awesome! I gotta check out their stuff!” And then you do, and it’s terrible, and you can never look at that character or the show the same way again. This Aziz Ansari special is the exact opposite of that: After watching it, you’ll love Tom Haverford, and Parks and Recreation, even more. He’s a certifiably incredible standup. —Joey Keeton49) Legally Blonde
Reese Witherspoon perfectly captures the essence of Elle Woods, a rich sorority girl who follows her ex to law school, where she hopes to win him back—but finds herself instead. Definitely a chick flick worth including in any best-of list, Legally Blonde ought to be required viewing for any gal with a dream, preferably in the company of her closest besties. —Jam Kotenko50) Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s efforts to take over a wolf-plagued suburban mall to recoup the billion dollars lost on a film featuring a Johnny Depp impersonator is exactly as it sounds—a kitchen sink extension of their already ineffable television series. You probably wouldn’t recommend it to your parents, coworkers, or friends you’ve known for less than a decade, but the inability of this song to be recognized by the Academy should have seen an overhaul of the Oscars’ nomination process à la Hoop Dreams. —Tom Harrington51) The Trailer Park Boys (season 9)
Rule of thumb: If it’s TPB, it’s awesome. With these characters, a whole season could take place in an underground bunker—with a camera that never even moved and zero plot whatsoever—and it would still be fucking amazing. Season 9 doesn’t take place in a bunker, but it might have been less strange if it did; it’s easily the weirdest this show’s ever gotten. The Boys seem very averse to letting the show get stale, and I hope it ultimately gets 20 seasons, just to see how damn crazy it’s gotten by then. —Joey Keeton52) Patch Adams
Robin Williams plays a doctor who saves lives through the use of humor and laughter. Based on a true story, this film is a heartwarming and poignant reminder of both Williams’ comical genius and knack for dramatic acting. If you’re still not over his death, you might want to ensure a box of Kleenex is on hand. (Because tears are inevitable.) —Jam Kotenko53) How to Train Your Dragon 2
Given that Netflix just released a new series following the adventures of Hiccup and Toothless, it only makes sense that it’d release the sequel to DreamWorks’ popular film as well. But this is good news for everyone, since HTTYD2 isn’t just a well-done children’s film: It’s a feminist triumph that explores what it’s like for a community to evolve together toward a new understanding of how to be at peace with the world. Some corners of Reddit should probably schedule a group watch. —Aja Romano54) What Happened, Miss Simone?
Exploring the complex life of singer, pianist, and activist Nina Simone is no easy task, but director Liz Garbus does an admirable job in this Netflix-produced documentary. Journal entries and interviews with Simone’s daughter, ex-husband, and friends give some context, but the live performances connect the dots. —Audra Schroeder55) Chef
Jon Favreau wrote, directed, and starred in this movie about a chef finding himself in his food after a sour exchange with a reviewer. It’s also a perfect portrait of the food-truck scene, alive and well in small pockets across the U.S., and a travel diary of the foodie heavens in Austin, Texas, and New Orelans, Louisiana. —Monica Riese56) Archer (season 5)
If Archer were a band—rather than an animated espionage comedy—series 5, Archer: Vice would be its mid-career concept album; a sudden, stylistic shift not requested by anyone in particular, but for fans, it just has to do. So with their spy agency abruptly disbanded, we find Archer and the other ex-employees of ISIS having to make ends meet by selling the mound of coke left over from a past mission. This series may not be Sgt. Pepper’s, but Archer is still the sharpest cartoon since a fawning generation of writers turned The Simpsons into unwatchable, eye-stabbing fanfiction. —Tom Harrington57) Earth to Echo
This found-footage-style film follows the adventures of a trio of young boys about to be displaced from their neighborhood. In their last week together, one child’s phone starts “barfing,” or displaying a random series of electronic signals. The boys realize it’s a map that leads them to Echo, an alien robot stranded on Earth—and the reason for all the development that’s displacing their families. They end up on an adventure to reunite Echo with his ship and hopefully save their homes. Earth to Echo was originally developed for Disney, but it was sold to Relativity and released in 2014.—Rae Votta58) M*A*S*H
Based on the movie M*A*S*H (which was in turn adapted from a novel), the ’70s dark war sitcom followed the day-to-day lives of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital stationed in South Korea during the Korean War; it was as much about that as it was the Vietnam War, which happened during part of the show’s run. The characters performed surgeries, made friends with locals, and often pranked and drove each other mad from boredom and amusement. While the Korean War only lasted three years, M*A*S*H lasted 11 seasons, and its popularity has continued long after the show ended. Its finale, “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen,” was the most-watched single TV episode with 125 million viewers.—Michelle Jaworski
59) Get Low
Felix Bush (Robert Duvall) is the sort of person people talk about. He’s a crazy old hermit who lives in the woods. They say he once killed a man. They say he might be in league with the devil. Then one day Felix marches into town with plans to throw a “funeral party” for himself. He wants to hear all those crazy yarns the townsfolk spin about him, and he’s raffling off his property to ensure a full house for his farewell tour. Local funeral director Frank Quinn (Bill Murray) is only too happy to help… so long as Felix is paying. —David Wharton60) The Fall (season 2)
A murder mystery plagues the city of Belfast, and Metropolitan Police Superintendent Stella Gibson (played by Gillian Anderson) is brought in to crack the case. After following a few leads, Gibson discovers that the case she was brought in to analyze is actually a part of a series of killings. The second series zeroes in on the double life led by Paul Spector, the serial killer who shares an odd and reciprocal fascination with Gibson, the very person tasked with tracking and capturing him once and for all.—Jam Kotenko61) Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Tomas Alfredson’s Cold War spy film feels like a true reading of John le Carré’s famous original novel: The atmosphere is taut but still full of the tension between changing generations and changing cultures. Every member of the star-studded cast delivers a microcosm of that conflict within themselves, from Benedict Cumberbatch’s tightly closeted identity, to Tom Hardy’s inability to be the grounded man on the street once his emotions have gotten in the way, to Mark Strong’s eternal battle with his allegiance to a company that’s left him out to pasture. Above all, Gary Oldman owns this tour de force about a complicated effort to discover a high-level mole in Her Majesty’s intelligence service. —Aja Romano62) Girlhood
The film follows Marieme (Karidja Touré), a black 16-year-old French girl from a low-income Paris suburb. Her family life is difficult and abusive, and she is unhappy with the direction her education’s taken, as she is assigned a vocational track rather than academic. She drops out of school, bands with three older girls, and looks for excitement. Soon enough, the thrill dies down and Marieme is forced to confront her declining quality of life. —Feliks Garcia63) Antarctica: A Year on Ice
I’m not saying you should pair this with a rolled-and-stuffed Zig Zag, but the breathtaking 2013 documentary is the best weed picture since the Planet Earth miniseries. New Zealand filmmaker Anthony B. Powell moves his film beyond penguin close-ups into the stunning proposition of living in frigid climates during the 24-hour sunshine in the summer and perpetual darkness of winter. He talks not just to research scientists, but to the poor bastards (cooks, pilots) stuck powering their distant labs and enduring the same climate to explore the human consciousness at the fringe. —Ramon Ramirez
In its last season, Psych hit the perfect balance of mystery, obscure ’80s references, and happily-ever-afters for the characters Psych fans spent the past eight years crime fighting alongside. The show followed childhood best friends Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill) as they run their psychic detective agency and work cases for the Santa Barbara Police Department, who they trick into believing Shawn’s incredible observational talents are really the abilities of a psychic—an immature, hilarious, and pineapple-obsessed psychic, to be exact.
This season begins shortly after Chief Vic is fired, leaving the motley crew of the SBPD to band together through the last 10 episodes, answering questions such as: What is Lassiter like as a father? Will Shawn finally propose to Juliet? And if so, will he be forced to leave Gus for San Francisco? What would happen if the worlds of Psych and Monk finally collided? In total, it’s a wonderful send-off to a long and beloved show. —Carly Lanning65) 3rd Rock From the Sun (complete series)
A group of aliens are sent to the titular third rock from the sun, Earth, disguised as humans and tasked with reporting their findings to their home planet. Throughout the episodes, the non-humanoid aliens must get used to their new bodies, participate in exotic yet seemingly mundane rituals (dancing, eating, sex), and one learns a thing or two about puberty. Hilarity ensues. —Feliks Garcia66) Garfunkel and Oates
Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci are Garfunkel & Oates, a comedic musical duo. After building a solid base on YouTube, the pair developed a TV series centered on their climb to Hollywood fame, all facilitated by satirical musical numbers, which Lindhome described as “Glee with dick jokes.” The show only lasted one season on IFC, but it now lives on forever on Netflix. —Rae Votta67) Chris D’Elia: Incorrigible
Comedian and actor Chris D’Elia (Undateable, Whitney) attempts to unravel the “women be like…” mystery in this 2015 Netflix standup special. He also tackles the NFL, Russians, and babies, but sadly, not literally. You’ll know when to laugh because he laughs at most of his jokes. —Audra Schroeder68) Turn (season 1)
A cabbage farmer from New York becomes a spy in this period drama from AMC set in the Revolutionary War. It’s AMC doing period work, so expect gloss. —Monica Riese69) Starry Eyes
If you’re looking for a horror film that mixes an ’80s aesthetic—complete with a completely badass Carpenter-esque soundtrack and Cronenbergian body-horror—with modern-day indie filmmaking (you know, with a clever allegory to propel the narrative engine), look no further than Starry Eyes. Well, until you’ve already watched Starry Eyes, anyway. After that… I suppose you’ll probably have to look further. —Joey Keeton70) Longmire (season 3)
Based on the mystery novels by Craig Johnson, Longmire centers on a laconic Wyoming county sheriff (Robert Taylor) who upholds the law while navigating petty local politics and murky jurisdictional issues courtesy of a local Indian reservation. Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff co-stars as Longmire’s deputy Vic Moretti, a former Philadelphia homicide detective. Season 3 found Walt finally on the trail of his wife’s murderer, but then A&E dropped the axe on the show. Thankfully, Netflix rode to the rescue and greenlit a 10-episode fourth season, due to premiere later this year. —David Wharton71) On the Road
In this adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s novel of the same name, Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Viggo Mortensen, and Kirsten Dunst join Sam Riley and others in an all-star rendition of the ultimate Beat-era road trip. Not to be confused with The Road, Cormac McCarthy’s postapocalyptic drama, not currently streaming. —Monica Riese72) The Aviator
The Spruce Goose may now live mostly unloved in the middle of Oregon, but Martin Scorsese’s grand ode to its creator Howard Hughes is anything but—slavish in period detail down even to its Hughesian budget overrun. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the germaphobic millionaire-turned-billionaire while a procession of Hollywood celebs are granted their wish of providing impressions of the forebears they clearly consider themselves akin to: Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn, Gwen Stefani as Jean Harlow, and Jude Law is a natural as that sloshing, Tasmanian jug o’ STIs, Errol Flynn. —Tom Harrington73) Scandal (season 4)
This exciting television drama is centered on Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), a former White House communications director who decides to start her own crisis management company geared toward helping powerful political clientele clean up after their messes. This year, the fourth season is ready for nonstop watching and follows Pope’s return to Washington, D.C., after two months in seclusion. A grey cloud continues to hang over the White House after a death in the First Family, and an intricate web of lies is spun around what really happened by the very man who arranged the assassination. Meanwhile, the “gladiators” from Olivia Pope & Associates are forced to move onto other endeavors after their fearless leader’s disappearance; her return certainly shakes things up. —Jam Kotenko74) The Last Waltz
I know, baby boomers can be suffocating in their adoration for this work: Martin Scorsese’s 35mm cameras, the Band’s final concert (San Francisco, 1976), guests galore (Muddy Waters, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, and Neil Young among them) all make The Last Waltz insufferably praised by the Rolling Stone crowd. But if you tether this stream to some decent speakers, you have an instant concert film obsession. Consider it a starting line. —Ramon Ramirez
By most critical accounts, season 1 of AMC’s ’80s-in-Texas computer business drama Halt and Catch Fire was a dramatic miss. The two male leads fizzled, as their schemes failed to capture the IRL thrills of… reverse-engineering an IBM computer in order to rip it off. By season 2, the show retooled to focus on a collective of hackers led by two endlessly interesting female leads and grew into one of TV’s best hours. The origin story burns slowly, but it pays big. —Ramon Ramirez
Remember when it was announced that a remake of the ’80s hit show Dallas would be airing on TNT? And then you went “well, that’s interesting,” and never thought about it again? Well, it turns out the show made it all the way to season 3 before being cancelled, which I think can only be considered a resounding success. According to Deadline, however, the show thought it’d go further; its last episode ends with cliffhangers and the introductions of new characters. Much like living in the city of Dallas: Don’t expect closure here. —Joey Keeton77) The Adventures of Puss in Boots (season 1)
Puss in Boots, the cat lothario who is granted the gift of gab while wearing magic boots, stole the show when he first appeared in Shrek2, so it’s no surprise he got his own series. In the series, Puss in Boots will defend his formerly hidden village, San Lorenzo, from roving bands of outsiders determined to take the town’s magical treasure. —Feliks Garcia78) Gimme Shelter
A runaway teen decides to flee after enduring long-time abuse from her drug-addicted mother. She finds her estranged father and requests refuge with him and his new family, but when they discover she’s pregnant, she is cast out and forced to live on the streets. Gimme Shelter, based on a true story, may be a bit heavy-handed on the drama, but the appearances by Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson, Brendan Fraser, and James Earl Jones in this movie make it worth a watch. —Jam Kotenko79) RoboCop
The infamous remake of RoboCop, whose director described his experience making it as “hell,” had a rough road to theaters. The script leaked, and everybody hated it. Then it was given a PG-13 rating. Then the “why does he have one naked hand?!” debate came along. It was just one pile of shit after another for the film, until it was released, and then everybody forgot it existed. Maybe it’ll be reexamined in the future and find redemption. However, it isperfect as a goofy, mish-mashed example of how studio meddling sometimes results in very bizarre things. —Joey Keeton80) Finding Neverland
Once upon a time, Johnny Depp made good films—it’s actually gotten to the point that I feel old for remembering when they came out—and Finding Neverland was one of them (perhaps even the last). It’s the tale of the writer of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie, and him finding the inspiration to pen the story from his relationship with a family. It gets a bit maudlin at times, but, like Forrest Gump, it’s good enough to overcome that fact. It was directed by Marc Forster, who also made good movies a long time ago. —Joey Keeton81) Glee (season 5)
The penultimate season of Glee is a highly emotional one. The show was dealt a major blow when star Cory Monteith died the summer before filming, realigning the entire future of the series. Early episodes deal with that loss, and then the show transitions to part-time Ohio, part-time New York, before closing with some of the series’ best episodes focused solely on the New York storyline. Relationship statuses are in flux for Kurt and Blaine, Rachel has to decide if Funny Girl or NYADA are the right choice for her future, and New Directions might be no more, thanks to budget cuts and problems with the new cast of students. —Rae Votta82) Wilfred (season 4)
If you have friends, at least one of them has bugged you like mad to watch Wilfred. It’s the sort of bugging that’s so annoying that it backfires: Not only do you not watch the show, but you find yourself avoiding it. Wilfred fans are diehard as fuck, and they won’t stop going on about that fact that “it looks really weird, but it’s SO FUNNY!” Well, now the fourth season has hit Netflix, and maybe you should let up on your friend and just watch the thing. Because, you know what? It’s SO FUNNY. —Joey Keeton83) Video Game High School (season 3)
Video Game High School is the action-adventure video game series from RocketJump that imagines a world where esports are so elite that people go to schools centered around them. The show plays on typical high school drama, with fictionalized video games supported by live-action gameplay as the backdrop. The third season picks up with the election for student council heating up and the impending demolition of VGHS itself. The series has numerous cameos, including Conan O’Brien and Tony Hawn. —Rae Votta84) Backstreet Boys: Show ’Em What You’re Made Of
This nostalgic, moving deep dive into what it’s like to be a grown man from the Backstreet plays out like a Bachelor-esque hometown date. You follow Kevin, Howie, AJ, Brian, and Nick through their origins, and back into a shared London house while they cut an album. It’s an A to Z history that touches on the dark shades and a film worthy of the best pop ensemble of the ’90s. —Ramon Ramirez
The History Channel might not be what it used to, but one part of its new lineup I won’t complain about is Modern Marvels. The show gives viewers a behind-the-scenes, up-close-and-personal look at
how stuff works (Editor’s note: Sorry, different show) how things work, from the realms of architecture and technology and manufacturing and beyond. —Monica Riese
The daughter of the late Steve Irwin follows in her father’s footsteps in this wildlife-centric game show that’ll have you at the edge of your seat (albeit a cushioned seat in an air-conditioned room, so…) —Monica Riese87) Hector and the Search for Happiness
Based on the novel by François Lelord, Simon Pegg stars as Hector, a psychiatrist with an overwhelming sense of ennui. As the title suggests, Hector travels the world on a quest to find the true meaning of happiness. Does he find what he’s looking for? —Feliks Garcia88) A Very Murray Christmas (December)
Sofia Coppola directed this Bill Murray holiday special, and if that’s not enough to hook you, Chris Rock, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Miley Cyrus all stop by. If there’s one person who can revive the Christmas variety show special, it’s Bill Murray in reindeer ears. —Audra Schroeder89) Inspector Gadget
Fans of the original Inspector Gadget series starring the bumbling detective and his far more resourceful niece and dog will be sure to enjoy this Netflix sequel with their kids. With Dr. Claw unthawed and back on the loose, Inspector Gadget is called back once again to come and save the day—and Penny and Brain are officially helping him this time around. As always, Penny saves the day while Inspector Gadget gets all the credit despite his incompetence. As an added twist, Penny not only has to fight Claw, but also his nephew, whom she has a crush on. —Michelle Jaworski90) Transformers: Age of Extinction
A lot of you people out there saw this film in theaters: Shame on you. All of you. I don’t care if you only went because your kids wanted to see it; if that’s your excuse, then you’re a bad parent. There are good films in theaters—you know that, right?—and it’s your fault that another one of these fucking films will be made. For those you who didn’t pay for it: Now you can watch it, without supporting the box office numbers, and see Kelsey Grammer and big junkyard robots flash about the screen, free of guilt. —Joey Keeton91) The Sisterhood of Night
A trivial act of high school retaliation escalates to form “the Sisterhood,” a collective of teen girls bound by a vow of silence that meet in the woods for mysterious rituals. Jealousy, misunderstanding, and unfortunate social media posts combine to destroy lives in this modern spin on the Salem Witch Trials. —Monica Riese92) Free the Nipple
The #FreeTheNipple social media movement has become a powerful hydra featuring Miley Cyrus, Scout Willis, Chrissy Teigen, and many others, but what is it really fighting for? This film by Lina Esco attempts to explain the hashtagged movement’s transition into real-time acceptance, not as a documentary but as a “spirited satire” starring Lola Kirke. Perhaps soon a doc exploring the deeper roots of the movement will appear, and we’ll get a bigger picture of where we actually are on nipple equality. —Audra Schroeder93) Bad Boys II
Michael Bay may go down as one of the most selfishly masculine and mean-spirited directors in blockbuster history—just look at the 20-year run he’s been on since 1995’s original Bad Boys. But like too many hetero-normative boys of the ’90s, his absurdist action films—mostly the Boys franchise and The Rock--continually bulge my discs with their stupid gun play. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence play themselves as motor-mouthed cops who fight the KKK and also Haitian gangsters over narcotics deals. Are you not entertained? —Ramon Ramirez94) The Interview
In the movie that may or may not have caused the Sony email hacks by alleged North Korean hackers, Dave Skylark (James Franco) is a sensational TV personality who hosts a tabloid interview show. When Skylark Tonight books North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, the CIA puts its faith in Skylark and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) to carry out an assassination mission. Will they succeed? —Feliks Garcia
We already had to say goodbye to some of our favorites this year. Each of these movies was added in 2015 and gone by the time this list originally published in July.
95) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Almost unfilmable, Terry Gilliam’s take on Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo classic—a travelogue that melts into hallucinogenic mess—could have had all the attraction of dragging your tongue across a dry towel. But a pre-buccaneering Johnny Depp does the impossible: making someone else’s trip interesting. And with an aesthetic that mirrors Ralph Steadman’s seminal artwork and an oleaginous, corpulent Benicio del Toro, you have a trinity of madness through which to explore Thompson’s savage vision. —Tom Harrington96) The War of the Worlds
A lot of people were disappointed by Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of War of the Worlds, feeling that the entire third act was just, well… stupid. They were wrong (although maybe that’s subjective), but if you’re one of those people, fear not: This is the 1953 adaptation directed by George Pal, and an entirely different film altogether. It has the honor of being the very first film version of Orson Welles’s novel, and it won an Academy Award for its special effects. If you want to see what Oscar-winning effects looked like in the early ’50s, here’s your chance. —Joey Keeton97) The Brothers Bloom
In which two sibling con men, Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and Bloom (Adrian Brody), make their way through Europe pulling off elaborate, dramatic long cons. They get together to pull off one last con, taking a New Jersey heiress (Rachel Weisz) for all she’s worth—only, they have the time of their lives. —Feliks Garcia98) Batman & Robin
While Batman and Robin certainly intended to become known for its overpacked celebrity roster, in the eight years since its release, the film is instead referred to as “the one with the nipple suit.”
Yes, poor George Clooney is forced to take on the role of arguably DC Comics’ greatest hero while wearing a suit with molded, useless nipples. In the film, Batman (Clooney) and Robin (Chris O’Donnell) fight the violent forces of Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), who are determined to take over Gotham City. While the movie is a bit different from Tim Burton’s Batman Returns starring Danny DeVito as the Penguin, Batman and Robin is an undeniable classic that led to the success of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy years laters. —Carly Lanning99) Cast Away
FedEx exec Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), is stranded on a deserted island after a delivery plane crashes in the South Pacific. With only his strength of will and other Christmas-time goodies in the FedEx plane (including his friend Wilson, a volleyball), Chuck must adapt to the island to survive. —Feliks Garcia100) Bruce Almighty
Could you do a better job at being God than God himself? While Jim Carrey’s character fails spectacularly at this in Bruce Almighty, it’s rather amusing to see him try as he struggles with his life, his girlfriend’s, the people around him, and everyone else praying to him. This film also solidified the idea that if God existed he would speak with Morgan Freeman’s voice, and Steve Carell managed to steal the show with just one scene. —Michelle JaworskiIllustration by Max Fleishman
Fresh off his Golden State Warriors' NBA championship win last month, Curry is thrilled that everything worked out like it was supposed to, thanking the medical staff who made it happen in an Instagram photo featuring Ayesha, their 2-year-old daughter Riley, and baby Ryan. They’re all at ease with Riley upping the cute factor by helping her mom hold her little sister.Ayesha Curry took to her blog after her daughter’s birth to give her readers an update and called the whole thing “a miracle.”
Stephen, Riley and I are enjoying this gorgeous gift from God and basking in the present! We are now officially a family of 4! Riley is completely enamored with her little sister and has taken on her role as big sister beautifully. I am already so proud of her!
Riley, always one to brighten up an otherwise dull NBA press room, finally has a partner-in-crime. Give it a couple years and these two could possibly give the NBA a run for its money whenever Curry talks to the press—or rather, lets him stand by while they’re having their own show.
Screengrab via ESPN/YouTube
Jennifer Lawrence is back in the upcoming David O. Russell film, Joy.
The biographical film tells the story of a rising business mogul, played by Lawrence, based on the real-life Joy Mangano—inventor of the Miracle Mop and Huggable Hangers. Full of unpredictable sweeping camera work, fantastical montages, and over-the-top performances, Joy looks very much like an O. Russell movie, but much more epic.This is Lawrence’s third film with the director, following American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook. The latter earned the actress an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Joy, also starring Bradley Cooper, Robert de Niro, Isabella Rossellini, and Edgar Ramirez, hits theaters Dec. 25.
Screengrab via 20th Century Fox/YouTube
Before the days of swatting, Gamergate, rape threats, and general cyber bullying, there was a certain kind of trolling on the Internet that was good, harmless fun. It was a punk rock kind of trolling, where if you were offended, you probably deserved to be—sometimes, if something makes you uncomfortable, it's because you're a dick.
I didn't expect to find that sort of old-school trolling in A Confederate Flag Turned Me Gay—I thought this review would be something quite different, to be honest—but I ended up feeling downright nostalgic as I read this bundle of troll fiction.
It should be noted that this is not a book—at just more than 3,000 words, it's more of an essay, that just happens to be told via a fictional first-person narrative—and some people might feel ripped off when they open their $0.99 purchase from the Kindle store and see that it's only 20 pages long, but let me assure that it's very certainly worth the price of a small fountain drink.
A Confederate Flag Turned Me Gay feels like something new; it's A Modest Proposal meets 4Chan, and it's brilliant. You know that LeRoy Ned Malone—a pen name—is onto a new form of satirical writing by the end of the opening paragraph:
I first fell in love with the Confederate Flag when I encountered a small one in the stall of the locker room at the local gym. The flag was taped to the sidewall right above the toilet paper dispenser with a big hole cut right in the center of that beautiful starry blue X. The hole continued through the wall, and as I sat there taking a shit, I heard the sexiest, sultriest voice ever say, "Stick that gorgeous dick in here big boy.”
Let's look at the issues of the day in America: LBGT equality, racism, the Confederate flag being dropped from major retailers... they're all addressed here beautifully. South Park itself couldn't tackle the current cognitive dissonance and general confusion in our nation better than words like these:
Prior to that fateful moment in the locker room, the Confederate flag held little meaning to me. It’s not that I was one of those pussies who thought it was some outdated symbol of racism or hatred. I knew good and well that it was much more than that. The problem was that I just didn’t feel connected to it like most of my friends did. I blame my parents. They never even flew the flag over our trailer, which embarrassed me every time I brought a friend home. And I’m pretty sure it’s why I never got laid. Maybe I wouldn’t have spent so much time jerking it to Daisy Duke still-shots if my parents had been a little more open-minded.
Malone even stops for a breather to take a swat at ridiculous Kickstarter campaigns, as our unnamed protagonist describes the creation of the website that turned him into a millionaire, some time after he put his penis through a hole in a Confederate flag to get a suck job from an unseen person:
The site’s tagline is “Babes So Hot They’ll Make the South Rise Again.” It was an instant smash, backed by a successful Kickstarter campaign that was funded in less than a day. I think it was so successful because it’s all solo or girl-on-girl. Real men don’t get their rocks off watching other dudes fuck women.
It’s pretty sweet being able to launch a multi-million dollar corporation without even putting up any of your own money. We live in such wonderful times.
The site's a big hit, but Malone points out that it's not the pornography that brings in the bulk of his money, but rather the ad revenue:
But it’s really the ads that bring in the profits, mostly ads for Confederate flag merchandise that everyone else is too afraid to sell.
Ouch. In one sentence, Malone points out why the progressive pulling of these flags from mainstream outlets is stupid better than any 2,000 word op-ed could. In all the liberal celebration of Walmart and Amazon pulling the Bars and Stars, it hits like a ton of bricks when you suddenly realize who's really going to benefit from all the banning: Scumbags like our protagonist. It's like selling Rebel merchandise is now a black market activity, with the benefit of being completely legal.
The entire angle of said protagonist turning gay from a Confederate glory hole might fool you into thinking Malone's essay is a big goof, but it's really just a frame to hang a myriad of other criticisms from. You come for the silly title—or maybe even an erotic tale (which, I mean... you do technically get)—but you end up getting a fairly scathing critique of what sexuality, moralism, and success mean in America right now.
Yes, A Confederate Flag Turned Me Gay, an ebook with its title written in Comic Sans, is truly one of the best op-eds I've read in years.
Illustration by Max Fleishman