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Articles on this Page
- 09/03/15--12:02: _Streamy Awards nomi...
- 09/03/15--15:07: _Kids have very mixe...
- 09/04/15--05:14: _'Sesame Street' mad...
- 09/04/15--07:00: _Keegan-Michael Key ...
- 09/04/15--08:19: _Trick shot stars Du...
- 09/04/15--10:12: _Assessing the curre...
- 09/04/15--10:54: _YouTuber announces ...
- 09/04/15--11:56: _Pentatonix release ...
- 09/04/15--14:25: _Happy #BeyDay! Mich...
- 09/04/15--15:34: _The full trailer fo...
- 09/05/15--05:00: _Tidal offers access...
- 09/05/15--06:00: _Ice-T is hip to all...
- 09/05/15--07:00: _Why the bad first s...
- 09/05/15--11:34: _Billy Corgan praise...
- 09/06/15--06:00: _The anime economy: ...
- 09/06/15--09:45: _Netflix exec says A...
- 09/06/15--11:13: _John Jay High Schoo...
- 09/06/15--13:18: _Aerosmith's Steven ...
- 09/07/15--03:39: _John Oliver gives k...
- 09/07/15--21:01: _Google searches and...
- 09/04/15--05:14: 'Sesame Street' made fun of Donald Trump before it was cool
- 09/04/15--08:19: Trick shot stars Dude Perfect head to TV
- 09/04/15--10:12: Assessing the currency of Rick Ross's 'Black Dollar'
- 09/04/15--10:54: YouTuber announces pregnancy news in the geekiest way possible
- 09/04/15--11:56: Pentatonix release video for new original song 'Can't Sleep Love'
- 09/05/15--05:00: Tidal offers access to paywall-free livestreaming series
- 09/05/15--06:00: Ice-T is hip to all the kids' slang in this 'Law & Order' meme
- 09/05/15--07:00: Why the bad first season of 'Narcos' is worth watching
- 09/05/15--11:34: Billy Corgan praises Donald Trump's presidential campaign
- 09/06/15--06:00: The anime economy: How much does it cost to be a fan?
- 09/06/15--11:13: John Jay High School football players suspended for tackling referee
- 09/06/15--13:18: Aerosmith's Steven Tyler rocks out a duet with a street performer
- 09/07/15--21:01: Google searches and YouTube streams reveal the songs of the summer
- Fetty Wap - Trap Queen
- Taylor Swift - Bad Blood
- OMI - Cheerleader
- The Weeknd - The Hills
- Rachel Platten - Fight Song
- Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk
- David Guetta - Hey Mama
- T-Wayne - Nasty Freestyle
- Ed Sheeran - Photograph
- Jessie J - Flashlight
- Wiz Khalifa - See You Again (feat. Charlie Puth)
- Fetty Wap - Trap Queen
- The Weeknd - Earned It (Fifty Shades Of Grey) (From The "Fifty Shades Of Grey" Soundtrack)
- WALK THE MOON - Shut Up and Dance
- Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud
- Flo Rida - GDFR (feat. Sage The Gemini & Lookas)
- OMI - Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix Radio Edit)
- Skrillex & Diplo - Where Are Ü Now (with Justin Bieber)
- The Weeknd - Can't Feel My Face
- The Weeknd - The Hills
- Silento - Watch Me (Whip / Nae Nae)
- Fetty Wap - Trap Queen
- Wiz Khalifa - See You Again (feat. Charlie Puth) - Universal Pictures Film Music
- Taylor Swift - Bad Blood
- OMI - Cheerleader - Felix Jaehn Remix Radio Edit
- The Weeknd - The Hills
- Mark Ronson - Uptown Funk ft. Bruno Mars
- T-Wayne - Nasty Freestyle
- Omarion - Post To Be (feat. Chris Brown & Jhene Aiko)
- Fetty Wap - My Way (feat. Monty)
While other categories are not open to voting by the general public, the marquee awards for Entertainer and Show of the year rely on the power of fandoms to determine the winners.The Streamys, which honor the best of digital video each year, include 10 nominees in each category, providing plenty of diversity in styles and approaches. Two nominees, Grace Helbig and Tyler Oakley, are also serving as hosts for the night's festivities.
Fans can vote on dedicated Streamys and VH1 sites, or via Twitter by using the hashtag for each entertainer or show and the word "vote" and hashtag #Streamys in their tweets. The full list of nominees is below.
Entertainer of the YearCameron Dallas / #CameronDallas
Connor Franta / #ConnorFranta
Grace Helbig / #GraceHelbig
Jack & Jack / #JackAndJack
Jenna Marbles / #JennaMarbles
Kandee Johnson / #KandeeJohnson
King Bach / #KingBach
Miranda Sings / #MirandaSings
IISuperwomanII / #Superwoman
Tyler Oakley / #TylerOakley
Show of the YearEnchufeTV / #EnchufeTV
fouseyTUBE / #fouseyTUBE
Good Mythical Morning / #GoodMythicalMorning
The Philip DeFranco Show / #ThePhilipDeFrancoShow
PrankvsPrank / #PrankvsPrank
Rooster Teeth / #RoosterTeeth
Smosh / #Smosh
SourceFed / #SourceFed
Teens React / #TeensReact
Video Game High School / #VideoGameHighSchool
The Streamy Awards air live on VH1 Sept. 17 at 10pm.
Screengrab via IISuperwomanII/YouTube
Often, the Fine Brothers make the youngsters on their Kids React series address "ancient" technology or pop culture, but this time around they're reacting to something a little more up their alley: One Direction.
The reactions fall along pretty stereotypical gender lines, with the majority of girls freaking out that they get to watch One Direction's NASA-themed video, and the boys shrugging or being outwardly upset they have to watch. One boy astutely remarks that of course nobody can drag 1D down, since they're in space.
"There's no gravity in space," said 11-year-old Cayden.
One boy, when he found out that he'd been watching and enjoying One Direction, exclaimed, "That band's for girls! I liked that song!?"
"Drag Me Down" is the first One Direction video post-Zayn, which several viewers point out. One disheartened girl explained why she's an ex-1D fan.
"They're really talented, they just made the wrong decisions in life," said 7-year-old Sydney.
When asked if any of the kids knew about boy bands like *NSYNC, most of the kids said they'd never heard of them, but one makes all adults feel super old, immediately.
"My mom loves them," sighed 12-year-old Jayka. "She's so annoying with them."
Screengrab via Fine Brothers Entertainment/YouTube
There seems to be a new sketch or video mocking Donald Trump and his presidential run every day, but late-night comedy shows and YouTube webseries are far from the first to mercilessly mock the business mogul.
Long before he was painted as the villain of the 2016 election by other politicians, Sesame Street was among those taking shots at the Donald. With his inconspicuous and iconic look, it’s incredibly easy to spot the many versions of Trump over the years.
On 1994’s All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever!, Joe Pesci appeared as evil real-estate tycoon Ronald Grump, a real grouch of a man who tried to buy and demolish Sesame Street in order to build high-rise buildings. He’s got the tan, he’s got the hair, and he’s got the evil sneer down right. A behind-the-scenes look shows how ruthless he could be.At the height of Trump’s Apprentice days, Trump appeared as the Grouch Donald Grump—no word on whether the two Grumps are related—who was looking for a new apprentice through a contest. He’s a bit trigger-happy on the whole firing thing, but it ends in a way the real Trump would not be happy about: Elmo getting Grump’s obnoxious-looking toupee. With new seasons on the way, this probably isn't the last time we’ll see Sesame Street take on Trump.
It’s not every day a Facebook rant leads to a podcast, but that’s exactly how the hosts of Black Men Can’t Jump (In Hollywood)—a new podcast that reviews Hollywood films with black male leads—got started.
In April, James III, a New York City-based comedian, posted the following status:
“Watching Blue Streak and I really think this is Martin Lawrence in his most watchable starring role. His character is three-dimensional, smart and virile. [He] is so grounded and dynamic. And for me when it came out, it felt like, can Martin be in every movie? But then he had a public incident during the filming and everybody turned on him. All of his roles after that had less gusto. But it is really Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop quality performing. Hollywood, man, it will chew you up and spit you out.”
Jonathan Braylock, a fellow performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York, responded with playful disbelief: “Did you really just compare Blue Streak to Beverly Hills Cop? Please leave. Also Bad Boys is Martin Lawrence’s best role.”
But James III stuck to his guns. Yes, he declared, this was a serious post, and the comment thread soon evolved into a deeper discussion of the question at the heart of his initial statement: Why is it that there are still so few leading roles for black actors in Hollywood?
Braylock messaged James III and Jerah Milligan, another friend and performer, and the three birthed their podcast soon after. The premise was simple: The three would gather, discuss and review films with leading men of color, and share the podcast online. What they didn’t anticipate was the attention and success that their project would quickly garner.
“In our first week, we got up to number 6 in iTunes in TV and Film [podcasts],” Braylock told the Daily Dot.
Since then the trio has been exploring the issues surrounding the roles black men can and can’t play on screen.
As performers, Braylock, James III, and Milligan share a vested interest in Hollywood changing its rules, but they don’t always see eye-to-eye on how that change can or will come about.
When James III spoke optimistically about recent TV successes like Blackish and Fresh Off the Boat, Milligan groaned in disapproval. “Progress is slow,” Braylock diplomatically interjected. “It’s not realistic to think it’s just going to happen overnight.”
“It shouldn’t have to take that long though!” Milligan interrupted.
What’s refreshing about the podcast is evident when speaking to the three in person. There’s an authenticity to their good-natured banter, their playful ribbing of one another, and their ability to, at times, passionately disagree. In this way, they demonstrate the very thing that they’re arguing for: There’s no shortage of actors who can portray a variety of black male leads with diverse personalities and attitudes. If only Hollywood would make room for them.
While the Internet has in many ways democratized content, and we can look at webseries hits like Awkward Black Girl as examples of progress, it’s still extremely challenging to create diversity at the top. Explained James III, “In order to get those leading roles, I need someone like a Spielberg or Martin Scorsese to say, ‘I want to bring in a James III.’ I need someone in power to see me as an equal.”
“Chatting with Key was amazing,” said Braylock. “He was very engaged. He had so much insight and clearly was excited to talk about the topic of race in Hollywood, especially as it pertains to black actors.”
The hosts seem more gracious than star-struck. They spoke with equal enthusiasm about welcoming comedian Phoebe Robinson as a guest. For all their Hollywood aspirations, they remain incredibly down to earth.
This could be due to the fact that their truest aims are quite reasonable: to finally have access to ordinary roles, to not be type-cast as rappers or drug dealers, as athletes or a kid from the mean streets who overcame the odds. To simply play the part of an ordinary person.
“The end of [the pilot of Blackish] is the best line,” Milligan said. “‘I realized that day I’m not a black dad, I’m just a dad.’ I just want people to be people. There aren’t enough roles in Hollywood where black men can just be people.”
Photo via Adam Wissing
BY BREE BROUWER
Dude Perfect will join the ever-growing list of YouTube stars making the jump to television. The sports and comedy supergroup, consisting of five best friends based out of Dallas, has landed a series order for The Dude Perfect Show (working title) at TV network CMT.
Produced by Rob Dyrdek’s Superjacket Productions, The Dude Perfect Show will follow the YouTube supergroup as the members go about their daily video-making lives of coming up with concepts and figuring out their next viral video. The series will also show how all five members of the group work with athletes and celebrities, meet fans at events, organize performances and stunts, and more. Dyrdek will executive produce The Dude Perfect Show alongside Superjacket’s Shane Nickerson and CMT’s Jayson Dinsmore and Matthew Trierweiler. The comedy and live-action stunts TV series is set for release sometime in 2016.
“We are super excited to be working with Superjacket and CMT on the series,” Dude Perfect said in a joint statement, as reported by Variety. “We have fans from all over the world constantly asking us for more visibility into the daily lives of Dude Perfect and how we get to work with these amazing athletes, entertainers and iconic sports venues. This show will regularly take fun to the next level and allow the viewers to virtually join us and be part of our incredible journeys.”
“Way beyond the insane trick shots, these guys are truly an All-American brotherhood that turned a passion into an amazing business,” added Dyrdek. “This show will give their fans and the world an inside look at their camaraderie and the fun they have behind the viral hits they produce.”
The Dude Perfect guys made the announcement about The Dude Perfect Show in a video on CMT’s website, which you can see below. The YouTube supergroup currently boasts over 6.6 million subscribers and more than 905 million total video views on its channel.Screengrab via Dude Perfect/YouTube
Ross released two albums last calendar year and both were the least successful of his career. Neither were radically different from his previous work and to be fair, Mastermind was the No. 1 album in the country at one time, but there was some point when rap fans seemed to stop checking for Ross like that.
The same gangster rapper who survived being doxxed as a correctional officer, making most of his on-record boasts unbelievably ridiculous, has had trouble staying relevant when he’s getting shot at by moving cars or allegedly kidnapping and pistol-whipping someone. Maybe Ross flooded the market with too much music—Mastermind and Hood Billionaire combined for nearly 40 songs and three hours–or maybe he’d just worn out his welcome.Black Dollar was originally supposed to be a proper album, but ended up on the popular mixtape site Datpiff yesterday. It may follow the lead of fellow Southern rapper Future, who rose back to prominence after a disappointing sophomore album with an exciting run of mixtapes, or maybe Ross is just throwing spaghetti at the wall. Either way, there is some sticky-ass marinara here.
Rozay has never been a great rapper, despite often impersonating the Notorious B.I.G. and/or Jay Z, but he excels at what he does do well. Ross still raps like he’s lavishly describing his TV while channel surfing, jumping from tableau to tableau of diamonds, women, and colorful food. A lot of the lyrics are vague concepts tossed together, like “Whitey Bulger or a soldier leaving Vietnam” on “Money Dance.” He’s all over the place, dissing the drug trafficker he borrowed his name from or throwing shade at fans who objected to his “molly all in her champagne” bar.
The one exception is “We Gon Make It,” with its constant repetition of the title phrase and samples from the protests in Baltimore earlier this year following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. It’s complex with actual double entendres (“Throwing bricks at the man/We gon make it/Hope my son understands/We gon make it”) and deals with surrounding issues of poverty with nuance and optimism. It’s the closest Ross will ever get to making Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright.” Those topics aren’t confined to that one track, but nothing else is as focused and authentic.
Like any other Ross project, the beats are probably worth whatever rubies and doubloons he paid for them, drowning in piano trills and drums echoed through a canyon. There are a bunch of guests as per usual, but not many of them stick out past Ross’s belly. A number of them are R&B singers going up on the hook, but “Take Advantage” sounds more like a Future song with a Ross verse than the other way around. The-Dream and Anthony Hamilton bring some crucial soul to the record.The recently embattled Philly rapper Meek Mill is on two songs with solid, disquieting verses. On “2 Shots," in between Ross narrating a stripper’s life and calling himself the “black Bob Dylan,” there is an uncredited feature that sounds like a fake Drake and may or may not be Quentin Miller. “Beautiful Lie” with Wale seems to be about a woman either faking an orgasm or lying about her age, and “Bel Air” is an especially bald-faced attempt to recapture the opulence from Teflon Don. Black Dollar is not quite a return to form, whether that form be “Stay Schemin,” “B.M.F.,” or “Hustlin’.”
Lowering the bar he has to jump over with a mixtape rather than an album–especially with the relative flops of his last two–might help Ross regain some credibility. His record label Maybach Music Group has one of the most lopsided rosters in rap. There’s Wale and Meek Mill, who have sold hundreds of thousands of units for MMG, and then there’s Stalley and Gunplay, who can barely manage to go double driftwood.
If Ross is no longer a superstar rapper, the whole facade that no one cared about when it was identified as such may finally come crashing down. Even with a decent effort, lowered expectations, and a seeming willingness by fans to prop him back up, Rozay might still be falling off.
Screengrab via WORLDSTARHIPHOP/YouTube
YouTube's got another potential gamer in the making, according to a pregnancy announcement from McFly guitarist Tom Fletcher.
Fletcher, who's a vlogger in addition to a music star, shared the news of his wife's pregnancy in a perfectly nerdy way this week. The family gathered around the gaming console for a little competition, but his son's partner, as the video joked, is still loading.
There's no street date noted on the upcoming Fletcher release, but we're sure his son will be playing with the new edition nonstop as soon as he or she is out of the package.
Screengrab via Tom Fletcher/YouTube
Pentatonix's latest video is a work of art.
In the clip for "Can't Sleep Love," the YouTube a cappella superstars sing their newest track in front of brightly colored backdrops while dancers, painted to blend right in, contort beside them. While they've made a name for themselves with cover tunes, "Can't Sleep Love" is an original track.Pentatonix are still on the road in a successful opening slot for Kelly Clarkson, and hot off their first Grammy win in 2015 for their arrangement of a Daft Punk mashup. They also released a documentary about their life on the road through Vimeo earlier this year.
Pentatonix's upcoming self-titled album is available for pre-order now and hits stores Oct. 16.
Screengrab via Pentatonix /YouTube
Even the First Lady is a fan of the Queen—Queen Bey that is.#BeyDay but America’s most powerful women have been friends for years (much to the dismay of some Christian moms and conservative pundits). And Michelle has stated time and again, as she did in her tweet, that she’s glad her daughters Sasha and Malia have a role model like Beyoncé.
At the first inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009, Beyoncé serenaded the First couple with the Etta James classic “At Last.” In 2011, Bey provided the official soundtrack of Michelle’s “Let’s Move” campaign, to fight childhood obesity through fitness.
Michelle and Sasha were caught in a fan’s selfie at a 2014 concert, not the first one they’d attended. And back in August, Michelle even announced that, if she’d had to take another career path, she’d definitely be Beyoncé. (Wouldn't we all, Michelle?) The media likes to document their mutual admiration and they provide plenty of opportunity.
While some expect the First Lady to be more concerned with her image given Beyoncé’s flashy style and provocative lyrics and dance moves, it’s easy enough to understand what they see in each other. In 2012, Beyoncé penned a hand-written note to Michelle, praising her for being “the ULTIMATE example of a truly strong African American woman.” The singer went on to express how proud she was to have her daughter, Blue, grow up in a world where there are women like Michelle to look up to. Aww.
Both women are accomplished, successful, community-focused, and working hard to make a difference in a world that hits black women with both sexism and racism.
As Mark Anthony Neal, a Duke University professor of black popular culture, stated in this Washington Post article:
“From the standpoint of black America, we would be hard-pressed to think of another time when we’ve had two such examples of what it means to be a successful black woman on their own terms.”
One of those terms seems to be friendship, in public and unapologetic. That’s something we should all look up to, especially since women trend toward being harder on each other than men do.
Happy birthday, Queen Bey. We all hope it’s a good one.
Photo via Asterio Tecson/Flickr
Cary Fukunaga recently said that filming Beasts of No Nation nearly killed him. From this new trailer, it's easy to see how that could have happened.
Shot in Ghana, the film, which debuts Oct. 16 as part of Netflix's original film slate, stars Idris Elba as a warlord who has collected an army of young boys in West Africa and turned them into soldiers. That stark foundation is contrast with the film's stunning scenery; from Sin Nombre to True Detective, Fukunaga has always been good at pairing beauty with dread. Fukunaga's Apocalypse Now-ish behind-the-scenes stories only add to the mix. Via Variety:
But getting malaria was only the first in a series of disasters for “Beasts.” The camera operator pulled his hamstring on the first day, which meant Fukunaga had to fill in on that job, in addition to his roles as director and cinematographer, using a Steadicam strapped to his back. Some of the extras playing the tribal guards were jailed in the Ivory Coast on suspicion of being mercenaries, and had to be sent money for food and clothes. Actors wouldn’t show up for work because they lost interest, forcing Fukunaga to crank out morning rewrites. The cast was terrified of poisonous snakes, and the director—who travelled through the jungle with a machete and a stick—nearly stepped on a black mamba that could have killed him.Netflix/YouTube
BY EVAN DESIMONE
Tidal, the subscription-based music streaming service fronted by rapper Jay Z and a coterie of music industry celebrities, has announced a rare pre-paywall livestream of select live performances from the Budweiser Made In America Festival, presented as part of the company’s Tidal X series.
Originally launched in 2014 as a high-fidelity alternative to streaming music platforms like Spotify, Tidal was re-launched with less emphasis on sound quality after being acquired by Jay Z’s Project Panther Ltd. in early 2015. The new “artist-owned” Tidal has caused controversy by emphasizing artist compensation for tracks, with Tidal-affiliated artists offering exclusive content behind a paywall.This weekend, Tidal will briefly bring down its walls by opening up Tidal X, its exclusive series of livestreamed performances and experiences, to the public with a series of performances from the Tidal Live stage at the Budweiser-sponsored music festival. The selection includes buzzy bands including Tanlines, the Struts, and Twin Peaks, along with mainstream headliners like Nick Jonas, the Weeknd, and birthday girl Beyoncé (born Sept. 4, 1981). A full list of performances is available below.
Tidal is part of a wave of services that are turning to exclusivity to earn subscriptions and recapture value from content. Vessel, which entered the online video market earlier this year with a similar business model, also relied on big-name digital stars signed to exclusive or content windowing deals to attract subscribers. Both services also leaned heavily on lengthy free trial subscriptions, most of which have yet to expire.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 5
The Struts, Vic Mensa, De La Soul, Meek Mill, Modest Mouse, Beyoncé
Young Rising Sons, Earl Sweatshirt, G-Eazy, Nick Jonas, Death Cab For Cutie, Bassnectar
Bass Drum of Death, Mike Floss, Sarah Jaffe, Tanlines
SUNDAY, SEPT. 6ROCKY STAGE
Halsey, Action Bronson, Metric, Big Sean, J. Cole, the Weeknd
Saint Motel, Fabolous, Santigold, Future, Banks, Axwell & Ingrosso
Bizzy Crook , Jidenna, Bully, Twin Peaks, Hippo Campus, Lili K
Photo via Ch Villa/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
There’s a hot new meme on the Internet, but if you want to understand it you’ll have to speak with Ice-T’s Law & Order detective Fin Tutuola — because as everybody knows, he’s always hip to whatever trouble the kids are getting into these days.
As popular as SVU and other Dick Wolf-related spinoffs have been over the years, there’s a certain predictability—some might generously call it “notes” to hit while others would go with “cliches”—Wolf’s shows adhere to. One such moment is the inevitable instance when law enforcement stumbles upon some sort of strange, underground danger that the kids are all getting into… and Ice-T needs to explain it to them and the viewers.
“Turns out that joint was laced with cat litter and soy sauce,” says T’s NYPD detective in one popular screengrab. “Kids are callin’ it Brown Christmas.”
Of course, that line of dialogue never actually appeared on Law & Order, and in the picture we see of Ice-T his character is saying something completely different. But does that make the hilarious “revealing moment” any less plausible?
In another popular take on the theme, Tutuola explains a different drug to Richard Belzer’s Detective Munch. “It’s called Brenda,” he explains. “Kids try it at parties, next thing they know they’re online, gettin’ paid to yell at their own genitals.”
The screengrabs seem to be attributed to Sean Tejaratchi, an Internet personality who posted them on his blog.“Toxicology says she OD’d on some new narcotic called ‘Peanut Brittle,'” the rapper-actor explains in one to some assembled co-workers who need enlightenment. “It’s made from trail mix and hand lotion.”
As the meme takes off, it will likely yield the good, the bad, and the ugly of imitators. But other popular screengrabs currently have Tutuola explaining cruel business practices (“Six-year-old-girl. Promoted to manager, then forced to fire herself right before Christmas.”), senseless violence (“They made him fight a newborn baby. Told him it was his own younger self, time-travelin’ from the past, tryin’ to take away his birthday.”), and returned toxicology results (“Lab found traces of cocaine and sourdough. They call it Sweet Chowder. It’s a drug soup from Baltimore.”).
Whether you’re a fan of Law & Order or not, it’s an easy meme to laugh at. But as Ice T’s Tutuola would be quick to point out, there’s a far more troubling matter we should all be concerning ourselves with. “These dudes kidnap kids and teach ’em to play piano,” he explains in another screengrab. “The night before their recital, they break their fingers.”
Screengrab via Law & Order: Special Victims Unit/YouTube
In one of Entourage’s later (that is, bad) seasons, Vincent Chase stars as Pablo Escobar in a movie-within-the-show called Medellin. The production was a wreck, and Chase’s venture into the world of arthouse films ends up going straight to DVD.
While watching the latest big-budget Netflix Original, Narcos, I couldn’t shake the idea that I was watching Medellin. It’s gorgeous, expertly acted filmmaking, but it’s clear—by around the third episode—that the season will never gel into a cohesive narrative, and it won’t really have anything poignant to say by the time the final episode’s credits roll. It’s eight and a half hours of the most expensive, and utterly aimless, dicking around that any large production has ever accomplished.
But here’s why you need to watch it anyway.The show is based around the partnership of two DEA officers, Steve Murphy and Javier Peña, and their hunt for the Colombian drug lord/Fortune 500 member/philanthropist/most dangerous criminal in the world/brief congressman Pablo Escobar.
It’s eight and a half hours of the most expensive, and utterly aimless, dicking around that any large production has ever accomplished.
Pablo is pretty wealthy at the start of episode 1, but the accumulation of his ridiculous levels of wealth is covered in one of those montages where stacks of money are shown in rooms, and a voiceover says stuff like “A week later, Pablo would be importing 600 million tons of cocaine an hour into Miami,” while Pablo stands next to a Cessna airplane and negotiates with a goofy-looking pilot. It’s an oddly paced show: A great deal of time is given to man who originally brought Pablo the cocaine refinement method, which would later make him rich, but then it hardly shows him actually getting rich at all. Most of the time we see Pablo, he’s casually sauntering around by himself, looking into the sun with puppy-dog eyes that are simultaneously ablaze with ambition and hazed over by a fog of inevitable self-loathing and doom.
Wagner Moura takes a script that gives Pablo very little to do and adds at least six emotional layers to it, solely by the way he moves his eyes. He adds about three more layers by the way he carries his beer-keg belly, and, when all’s said and done, he’s responsible for a several-dozen-layered character that was written with maybe two in mind.
Each episode feels like it was written in total isolation from the others, like the cool parts of Pablo’s rise to infamy were scripted out, laid next to each other, and tied together with only the thinnest strings of plot to connect the pieces. Consequences rarely carry over from one episode to the next, each one dutifully following the formula of “Pablo does something bombastic, and the cops go “damnit, we got nothin to nail this guy with!”—until the very last episode, which would have made a fucking fantastic first episode.
Boyd Holbrook and Pedro Pascal have great chemistry as DEA agents Murphy and Peña; they’re just not given anything to do. Murphy’s main role in the season is to provide the voiceover, which, with a few possible exceptions, could have been lost with no consequence whatsoever.
It’s such a frustrating season: The performances are great, the action (and everything else) is directed extremely well, the presumably expensive Colombian film shoot makes every single frame shot outdoors look stupidly amazing… but there’s just something missing. When I read an interview with the real-life Murphy and Peña, the missing thing was suddenly very clear: It’s a story based on two DEA agents who didn’t actually know each other in real life for 80 percent of this season.
“I was only in Colombia about three days when Escobar surrendered to his custom built prison,” Murphy told the Observer. In the show, that happens in episode 9 (out of 10), with Murphy coming to Colombia in the first episode. This explains a great deal of the dicking-around done by the agents in this season; they really didn’t have anything to do.
But having spent nearly this entire piece badmouthing this season, here’s why it’s worth watching: The second season, which will pick up where the show should have started, is probably going to be fantastic.
This season ends with (spoiler alert) Pablo escaping his personal prison, which the government allowed him to build for himself. Here’s what Murphy told the interviewer from the Observer about what came after his escape, which this season closes with:
“During that 18 month period, there were 143 Colombian National Police Officers killed as a direct result of the manhunt for Escobar…. For those 18 months, Medellin became the murder capital of the world.”
In the same interview, Peña confirms: “In Meddelin, you would have 30-50 people murders every weekend that were all Escobar related.”
In other words, who knows why this season even exists. Maybe, due to there being nothing but extreme violence after Pablo’s escape, Netflix wanted to take a cheaper approach to the first season: Film the more boring, political parts of Pablo’s life to see if this crew could competently produce a show, and then give them the big bucks (and a million squibs) for the next and, logistically, final season.
For all its flaws, Narcos’ first season could just be one hell of a prequel to a mindblowingly good second season. Let’s just hope they have the episodes written in the same ZIP codes this time around.
Screengrab via Netflix
Despite all his rage, he is still just a... Donald Trump supporter?
“I think what’s cool is Trump’s running chaos theory,” Corgan told fans at a Q&A in the notorious swing state of Ohio. He likened politics to the music business, noting that artists often forfeit control to the executives until someone—perhaps a musical trailblazer like Corgan himself—“comes along and fucks it all up.”
Corgan continued his alt-rock-inspired dropping of f-bombs, noting that he doesn’t align with Trump politically. “I think it’s good that he’s fucking it up, because whether or not he’s the guy, obviously the political class doesn’t want him there. It’ll open up a political dialogue.”
The “1979” singer didn’t comment on Trump’s recent dismissal of Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from an Iowa press conference for questioning the candidate’s plan to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants. The Tibetan Freedom Concert performer also didn’t mention what he thinks about Trump’s overtly racial, hate-crime-inspiring rhetoric, which has arguably propelled him to the front of the GOP race.
Corgan is currently touring with the newest lineup of Smashing Pumpkins in support of their recent album, Elegy.H/T The Hill | Image via Jordan Cameron/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Anime fans have long known that while being a fan is free, participating in some parts of fandom carries a huge price tag.
From merchandise to DVDs to con attendance, the dollars ad up for devotees looking to get an experience with their chosen passion beyond the computer screen or local scene. We set out to quantify just how much it could cost a dedicated anime fan to participate in his or her community over the course of a year.
Previously we’ve looked at the cost of YouTube fandom and what it would take financially to attend all the marquee events in the space for one year. With anime having a wider berth of events and a longer history, there’s a lot of ways to slice your fiscal fandom, but we decided to grab the biggest names in the community for our imaginary fan, to see how they stack up against the YouTubers.
We kept with the same guidelines and assumptions we applied for the hypothetical YouTube fan, just substitute “anime” for “YouTube.”
Our hypothetical superfan lives in Chicago, giving her a midpoint in the country to travel to places, but also the opportunity to attend local meetups, keeping her costs down. We also gave her a friend with whom she could split hotel costs and encourage the community aspect of YouTube fandom. We didn’t calculate every single meetup any YouTuber had the entire year (that would take forever) but looked at the biggest tours, events, and some of the top names in YouTube entertainment in which our fictional attendee might take an interest.
We also kept the event limit the same, but even with just seven events over the course of the year, an anime fan can rack up quite a bill.
Hotel: Three nights at a hotel split with a friend, $348
Local transport: $128
Hotel: Three nights at a hotel split with a friend, $362
Local transport: $44
Hotel: Three nights at a hotel split with a friend, $360
Local transport: $71
Local transport: $5.50
Hotel: Three nights at a hotel split with a friend, $160
Local transport: $131
Hotel: Three nights at a hotel split with a friend, $363
Local transport: $64
Hotel: Three nights at a hotel split with a friend, $300
Local transport: $64
In total, with an estimated $50 per day budget for food and merchandise purchases, our hypothetical fan would spend $5,447.50 in a year. How does that compare to our YouTube fan? An anime fan would spend approximately $1,011.50 more than a YouTube fan, if that fan stays in the United States for events. If the YouTuber adds London’s Summer in the City to her itinerary, she’ll beat out the anime fan by $637.50.
Either way, anime fans can spend the equivalent of a 2003 Nissan Sentra on their passion in a single year (and still have cash to spare for gas). But can a Nissan Sentra give you the latest info on your favorite show? We didn’t think so.
Screengrab via beatdownboogie/YouTube
Top Gear's three best-known presenters just weren't worth a bidding war with Amazon Prime, at least according to Netflix's chief product officer.
The British car show has a cult following, prompting a huge public outcry when presenter Jeremy Clarkson was dropped by the BBC earlier this year. Along with his former co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May, Clarkson has now been hired to make a new show for Amazon, but Netflix's Neil Hunt told Digital Spy, "Clearly it wasn't worth the money to make the deal. ... I think they sold themselves for way more money [than they're worth]."
"Clearly it wasn't worth the money to make the deal."
Amazon is believed to be giving the three former Top Gear presenters a £160 million ($242.7 million) budget for 36 episodes, beginning next year. Meanwhile, Top Gear itself will continue on the BBC with a new presenter, radio DJ Chris Evans.
Hunt said that for a deal like this one, Netflix's decisions tended to be "somewhat data-driven," implying that he just didn't see evidence of an audience to justify such a big payout. Since Netflix already controls the streaming rights for several of Top Gear's existing seasons, his comments suggest that the show may not be as popular as people believe. Then again, he could just be expressing some lingering bitterness over Netflix being outbid by Amazon.
The question now is whether Hammond, Clarkson, and May have the star power to launch an entirely new show on their own—presumably in direct competition with the BBC's revamped Top Gear.
Screengrab via Top Gun/YouTube
Two Texas high school football players appear to have intentionally tackled a referee at a game on Friday night, prompting the school district to investigate the incident.
John Jay High School in San Antonio was playing an away game in Marble Falls High School in Marble Falls, Texas. With one minute left in the game, the John Jay High School safeties targeted the referee.
The players’ overly aggressive and potentially harmful actions were uploaded to YouTube. The video shows one player knocking the ref so hard in the back his hat goes flying off, while the second player dives headfirst into him after he's laid out. It’s unclear whether or not the referee was seriously injured—he appears to move to get up off the ground after the second hit.
Northside Independent School District's athletic director Stan Laing told the San Antonio Express-Newsthat the video was “very disturbing” and said investigations are underway as to what happened leading up to the play. Two other John Jay High School players were previously ejected from the game on different plays.
The two players who tackled the ref have since been suspended from the team, according to local news reports.John Jay High School lost the game 15-9.
Steven Tyler can rock any stage, including one on the side of the street.
The Aerosmith frontman landed in Moscow for the Russian city’s 868th birthday on Sept. 2. And a couple of days later, he came across a street performer on Moscow’s popular Arbat promenade when he decided to make his night, RT reports.
Tyler stood up to the mic with the guitar-playing performer and sang along to “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.” The surprise performance was captured by a number of cheering bystanders.He seems to be enjoying the city—Aerosmith also posted a playful photo of Tyler in Moscow to the band's Facebook page. One thing’s for sure: The bedazzled and blue jean-clad 67-year-old rockstar has still got it, even when he’s not filling up stadiums.
In this web exclusive, Oliver gives us the lowdown on the most important high-school classes. For example, the main thing you need to know about American history is that President Warren G. Harding named his penis Jerry.
Is this factoid ever likely to be mentioned on a test? No. But it's infinitely more interesting than a lot of the things you will learn in history class.
Oliver's literary advice is especially useful. Spoiler alert: Most novels were about the American Dream all along.
Screengrab via Last Week Tonight/YouTube
The idea of a "song of the summer" is hotly debated, relatively subjective, and completely unofficial, but Google has released data from three of its major services to help identify the statistical ruler of the summer music season.
Google Trends, Google Play and YouTube have all released lists of the most searched-for or streamed songs between Memorial Day and Labor Day in the U.S. Across the board, the clearly dominant track is Fetty Wap's "Trap Queen," which ranked second on YouTube and Google Play and first in Google Trends.
Other tracks that made appearances across all three lists include OMI's "Cheerleader" and The Weeknd's "The Hills."Dance hit "Watch Me" by Silento dominated the YouTube chart because of its viral status, made possible by YouTube network Dance On earlier this year. Across the board, hip hop dominated the three charts, grabbing more than half of the top 20 spots of the genre, according to Google.
Here are the full track lists from all three services.
Top 10 artists in top searches on Google in the U.S. between Memorial Day and Labor Day
Top 10 streamed songs on Google Play Music in the U.S. between Memorial Day and Labor Day
Top 10 streamed songs, including official videos and claimed versions, in the U.S. between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Combined U.S. views from both official music videos and fan uploads.
Screengreen via Harlem Fetty/YouTube