pop culture

The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Woody Harrelson

In a post-True Detective season one world, it’s great to see Woody Harrelson take the SNL stage tonight. His career path has taken some unexpected turns — from a role as a bartender on the beloved sitcom Cheers and a serial murderer in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, to mega franchise star in The Hunger Games and his sad-sack cop in Nic Pizzolatto’s HBO drama. Will a glassy-eyed Woody be rusty after 25 years since his last hosting stint? Find out how it all went down, below. … Read More

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Films You Didn’t Know Were Ripped from the Headlines

In the annals of actors wearing radical facial prosthetics is Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, starring Steve Carell as millionaire and wrestling enthusiast John Eleuthère du Pont, boasting a fake schnoz that requires its own zip code. The film, co-starring Channing Tatum, hit theaters this week. Our own Jason Bailey called Carell’s performance haunted and harrowing, and explored the tragic real-life story behind the movie. Foxcatcher is based on the 1996 murder of Olympic champion Dave Schultz in 1996 by his wrestling coach, John Eleuthère du Pont, who had displayed bizarre behavior leading up to the crime. This is the first time the story has appeared on the big screen. We gathered other movies based on true-crime cases that you might not realize had real-life roots. … Read More

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The Dark Side of LEGO: Creepy Scenes Built with Blocks

New York City-based designer Mike Doyle has a talent with building blocks. We’re talking about Legos, of course. The artist even created a massive piece titled Contact I, which was composed with more than 200,000 Lego blocks. It’s part of the inaugural collection at the Museum of Realist Art in Boston. Doyle is also an author — and his Beautiful Lego book, published last year, showcased some of the most intricate designs across the world by Lego artists. On November 20, Doyle is publishing a follow-up book, Beautiful Lego 2: Dark, which we learned about on Beautiful/Decay. Think of it as Beautiful Lego’s evil twin. From creepy things that crawl and spooky houses, to sci-fi monsters and horrific scenes, Dark delights in Legos gone bad. See a preview of the book in our gallery. … Read More

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Exciting Posters for Cult Movie Sequels That Never Happened

The powers that be in Hollywood have been working overtime and turning the crank on the sequel machine for decades. Sometimes it’s hard not to be cynical about a part two when many movie follow-ups are made simply for the money. But what about a sequel that fans actually want? Enter iam8bit’s latest exhibition, Sequel — part tribute to the cult movies we love, part commentary on Hollywood’s obsession with sequels. Our fellow pop culture-loving friends at the West Coast gallery invited more than 40 artists to imagine movie sequels that never were. If you’ve had your fingers crossed for another Goonies, Blade Runner, or Labyrinth, then this is your happy place. We have a preview of these fictional follow-ups, below (prints will be available for purchase at iam8bit). If you’re in the Los Angeles area, RSVP today for the opening of Sequel on Thursday, November 13 at 7PM. The show runs through November 23. … Read More

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Miniature Pop Culture Portraits on Coins

Brazilian designer Andre Levy’s Tales You Lose series transforms currency into miniature pop culture paintings. New York City playwright J. Julian Christopher brought the fun collection of colorful coins to our attention. “The paint brings to the faces of kings and presidents borrowed narratives from other famous characters and unleash individual alternative stories,” writes the artist on his Tumblr. The famous profiles of historical figures are given a makeover — and the results are surprisingly spot-on. The tiny artworks also make us ponder a future in which John Waters’ muse Divine is featured on our dollars and cents. That’s a world we’d like to live in. … Read More

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Cinema’s Talking Animal Ids, Ranked

“There are elements of Goodbye to Language you might find in any Hollywood movie — people arguing, a shootout — and even a dog, the director’s own. (Roxy wanders the countryside [“conversing”] with the lake and the river that want to tell him what humans never hear.)” writes NPR of Jean-Luc Godard’s new film. The director’s “meditation on love and history, nature and meaning” will be playing at New York’s IFC Center until November 4.

“One of the reasons the dog Roxy is very prominent in the film … is that he’s trying to get people to look at the world in a kind of an unspoiled way,” critic David Bordwell stated of Godard’s animal companion. ”There are hints throughout the film that animal consciousness is kind of closer to the world than we are, that language sets up a barrier or filter or screen between us and what’s really there. And although the film is full of language, talk, printed text and so on, nevertheless I think there’s a sense he wants the viewer to scrape away a lot of the ordinary conceptions we have about how we communicate and look at the world afresh.”

Animal-centric films tend to fall into the absurd or terrible categories, especially those where the beasts talk or act as a foil for a human character’s inner world. But Godard’s latest demonstrates one way directors can make the concept of the animal id work. Here are eight others, ranked for your convenience. … Read More

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The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Chris Rock

“The culture’s changing, and I’m not a part of it. This shit is getting hip. This shit is getting blacker. This shit is getting fucking rappier. SNL is still a pretty white show. When I got hired I was the first black guy in like eight years — and In Living Color was just hip. The shit was hot. I wanted to be in an environment where I didn’t have to translate the comedy I wanted to do,” this week’s SNL host Chris Rock told Marc Maron in 2011 about leaving Saturday Night Live to work on the Fox series created by the Wayans brothers.

“[Playing] a Ubangi tribesman or whatever… to where, not that I thought they were racist… [but I] was the only black face that was going to be seen for an hour and a half… It feels racist. It’s not racist. But it just feels like it when that’s all you see… If you’re on In Living Color and you’re a Ubangi tribesman there was a black thing before that and one right after it. There’s a context.”

SNL has faced a number of diversity issues, but the hiring of cast members Sasheer Zamata and Leslie Jones (who also has a seat in the writer’s room with newcomer LaKendra Tookes) took steps in the right direction, offering guests a more inclusive environment to thrive in. And seeing five African-American actors in a sketch last night, with no caricatures involved, demonstrated why this is essential.

Prince makes a nine-minute appearance in last night’s episode for three numbers (“Clouds,” “Marz,” “Another Love”), with the backing of his band 3rdeyegirl. He wears a pair of appropriate three-eyed sunglasses (and rocks a full-on cat eye when the shades come off) — something us peons couldn’t pull off if we tried. It’s an electrifying performance that doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but confirms Prince still has it. After a tepid showing from Iggy Azalea last week, this is the jolt we needed. … Read More

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50 Visually Stunning Horror Movies for Twisted Aesthetes

Lumbering weirdos in hockey masks and pizza-faced serial killers have their place in the world of horror, but body-count movies can quickly wear out their welcome if you aren’t a slasher-film lover. Sometimes the greatest menace is something we can really get lost in, visually — like the atmospheric halls of a haunted house and the unexplained dangers lurking in the dark. In celebration of those films that lure us closer with their breathtaking set designs, rich palettes, and captivating images, here is a visual chronicle of horror cinema’s most stunning… Read More

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8 Cinematic Caricatures About the Absurdity of Pop Culture

Federico Fellini introduced us to the “sweet life” in his 1960 comedy La dolce vita, which received the Criterion Blu-ray treatment this week. The distributor writes: … Read More

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The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Jim Carrey

Lucky for us, Jim Carrey’s publicity rounds for Dumb and Dumber To just happen to coincide with SNL’s 40th anniversary celebrations. The rubber-faced funnyman auditioned to be a cast member during the 1980-1981 season, but was turned down for the part. He has, however, hosted the show twice before, so he’s in familiar territory. And let’s not forget his stint on another sketch comedy series, the Wayans brothers-created In Living Color. Iggy Azalea joins Carrey on the SNL stage, performing “Fancy” sans Charli XCX (and true Clueless attire) and her recently debuted single “Beg for It” (which contains a little Notorious B.I.G. reference). This is also Leslie Jones’ first appearance as a featured player, and we expect greatness as usual. See how the evening played out, below. … Read More

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