So, it's Thursday, and on the new “nose to the grindstone” schedule Jordan has the various Burnside staffers working on, it's time for a new Dan Gibson Pop Culture Minute, so I'll pull myself away from my novel via Twitter to update you my beloved reader on the pop culture happenings of the moment.
Last installment, I teased a preview of the slate of movies coming out over the next few months. Normally, that sort of thing would be Pop Culture Minute gold glowing over snobby, somewhat indecipherable films made by foreigners while scoffing at the sort of mainstream comedies that studios roll out to actually make money. Unfortunately, looking the schedule this year, there are a few of the big commercial flicks (Owen Wilson in a touching story about a dog!) and a few artsy films (a four hour Che Guevara biopic and seemingly six films with Kate Winslet as the star), but otherwise, few things for your cultural correspondent to get too excited about. While the comeback of Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler certainly intriguing, nothing hitting theaters in the next two months matches up with last year's list of heavyhitters including There Will Be Blood, No Country For Old Men, American Gangster, Gone Baby Gone, Sweeney Todd and of course, the new classic Water Horse: Treasure of the Deep.
Still, that doesn't mean there aren't movies creating excitement for both theater owners and the popcorn industry. Besides the new James Bond movie, the media has latched on the film adaptation of Twilight, a teen/vampire romance best seller by Phoenix author Stephenie Meyer. The four books in the Twilight series have sold approximately one billion copies despite somewhat dismal reviews, but it's not entirely difficult to see why the story would appeal to the teenage girls of North America (and teenage girls at heart) with the story of a awkward high school girl who moves to a new town and falls in love with a classmate who is secretly 107 years old and a vampire (albeit the sort that drinks animal blood, rather than human). Entertainment Weekly in particular has contracted a nasty case of Twilight fever, with pages of coverage in the magazine itself and a special section on their website. While this is only my particular theory, I tend to believe the story is an allegory for the loss of control associated with a woman's entrance into womanhood and the accompanying sexual frustration, with the scary vampires representing sexuality in general (the good vampire chastely holds back on his lust for human blood, while the more carnal vampire will stop at nothing to take the girl's innocence and life through more traditional vampire activities). Of course, this is just my guess. I might be reading too much into it all encouraged by a bit of sleep deprivation. Whether a single straight man will willingly go to see Twilight remains unseen, but a legion of Hot Topic shopping, Paramore listening teenage girls is likely enough to send the movie to number one, at least for a week.
Speaking of Paramore, here is their contribution to the film's soundtrack, which went to number one on the album charts this week:
To close things out this week, a few Dan Gibson Pop Culture Seconds:
MTV's Total Request Live (better known as TRL) ends its ten year run this Sunday with an all-star spectacular. My money's on a surprise reunion of 'N Sync, but most likely, it'll just be way more Carson Daly than any human being should be exposed to (there's a reason they put his talk show so late on at night, you know?). In celebration of the show's contribution to youth culture, here's a poorly focused clip of the show's finest moment, Mariah Carey handing out ice cream and making a case for her forced institutionalization at a mental health clinic:
The ridiculous lists that critics put together at the end of the year are starting to roll in, including the Amazon.com editorial staff's mystifying choice of the Kings of Leon disc. I mentioned the Fleet Foxes disc would be a big hit among record snob types in the first DGPCM, and British magazine Uncut comes through for me, naming their self titled debut the “most rewarding or inspiring album” of the last twelve months. I think that level of acclaim is a bit excessive, but then again, I'll likely give serious thought to including the 2008 release by emopop act The Academy Is... on my list, so that might discount my opinion entirely. Still one disc that will definitely make my list will be the collaboration between Welsh singer Gruff Rhys from Super Furry Animals and Los Angeles producer Boom Bip. One of my favorite tracks from the disc is “I Told Her On Alderaan”, here remixed by Richard X:
I leave you, in honor of Twilight, a clip of pre-teen girls reacting to this year's American Idol finale. Enjoy.