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Tag: Trend Watch (41-50 of 92)

'I'm Broke and Proud': The time is right for recession rap

I was flipping through the basic cable channels late one recent night when I stumbled across a song called "I’m Broke and Proud" on a public-access station. Check it out below; it’s a real gem (with some NSFW language). I’d honestly never heard of these rappers before in my life — the song is by an NYC dude named Rugged N Raw, featuring New Jersey’s Hasan Salaam — but their hilariously honest lyrics about the not-so-good life caught me instantly. "There’s not a lot I can make possible," spits Rugged N Raw, "only cheap ideas in the arsenal/I’ll take a chick to the museum/Looks nice, and the admission fee’s optional!" Now that’s some real talk. And the video might be even better, with RNR throwing coupons at the camera instead of cash, while hisfriends struggle to push their car up a hill. If nothing else, this definitively proves that it’s still funny to see rap’s conspicuous-consumption conventions upended, à la the Roots’ classic "What They Do."

Pretty great stuff, no? With skills like this, here’s hoping Rugged N Raw doesn’t have to stay too broke too much longer. After all, it’s been three months since Young Jeezy served fair warning that "It’s the recession/Everybody broke." Isn’t it high time the rest of the music world took notice of what’s happening to the economy?

More on pop culture and the economy:
EW suggested recession-oriented plotlines for Gossip Girl, Entourage, and more
PopWatch asked how the economy had affected your entertainment spending
EW gave Young Jeezy’s The Recession a B+ review
Smallville and other shows are already hurting because of the recession
"How will the recession affect Hollywood?" EW wondered…in 1991

'The Daily Show' exposes CNN's terrifying magic maps

I’m feeling a little scared right now. See, I just watched the special investigation that The Daily Show‘s always-superb John Oliver presented on Tuesday night, wherein he revealed the hidden purpose of those "magic wall" maps that CNN’s John King kept using on election night. Because that’s the kind of fearless truth-seeker John Oliver is: He’ll do an in-depth report on something two full weeks after it ceases to be relevant, all for the greater good. I’m really too shook up even to summarize the sordid conspiracy Oliver uncovered, so why don’t you just watch the clip below. Be warned, though — you might end up like me, unable to so much as turn on CNN without looking anxiously over your shoulder for a marauding anchor. (Here is where I note that CNN is, like EW’s parent company, owned by Time Warner. Not that that makes me feel any safer!)

I think I can confidently say that this is the best electoral-map-related humor performance I’ve seen in some time, beating out such worthy contenders as Stephen Colbert’s recent adventure with The Early Show‘s lower-tech floor situation on CBS (click here to watch) and Fred Armisen’s own magic-wall skit on SNL a few weeks ago (voila). Disagree if you dare — John King is probably monitoring this post as we speak.

More on The Daily Show and election humor:
The Daily Show writers’ eerily accurate Election ’08 predictions
John Oliver deserves his own series!
TDS made it onto EW’s Top 25 New TV Classics
John Oliver semi-endorsed Snoopy for President

How has the economy affected your entertainment spending?

Popcorn_lEntertainment is supposed to be one of those recession-proof businesses; even in tough economic times, people still go to the movies. This summer’s blockbuster box office seems to bear that out. On the other hand, an informal poll last week at Movietickets.com suggested that as many as two thirds of moviegoers have changed their ticketbuying habits as a result of the economy. (The poll is gone from the site now, but the site’s publicist provided me with the poll results. Asked how the current economy had changed their moviegoing habits, 31 percent said it had done so "noticeably," 33 percent said, "drastically," and 36 percent said, "No change." There were 2,168 respondents.)

Anecdotally, I imagine this is true. Tell us, PopWatchers: Has the economy affected your spending on entertainment? If so, how has it altered your moviegoing, or music-buying, or video rentals, or book purchases? Or has your pop culture consumption remained the same?

addCredit(“Retna”)

Battle of the Bollywood Routines, Vol. 1 (of 1): Natalie Portman vs. 'SYTYCD' kids

Just because we can, let’s pit two Bollywood-inspired nuggets of American pop culture against each other and watch what happens, like on Bravo. First up, Natalie Portman hams her way through her shaggy boyfriend Devendra Banhart’s Bollywood-inspired music video, "Carmensita."

Check Plus Natalie Portman!
Check Vague attempt at mudras (hand gestures)
Check Minus You can see his "hair down there"

Now, "Heeeeeeeeeeere’s…Katee and Joshua!" (Hey, thanks, Cat!)

Check Plus Muchos mudras
Check Joshua’s khaki-colored open vest is not too flashy
Check Minus This contest is so unfair. Obviously, Katee and Joshua win. It’s not even an appropriate matchup. What, PopWatch, do all the Bollywood sendups, parody or not, look the same to you? IS THAT HOW IT IS HERE?! Real mature.

Right. So…vote!

Eddie Cibrian and other men aging really, REALLY well

Eddiecibrian_lA post on Eddie Cibrian today seems random, I know. (Hello, I filed it under "Apropos of Nothing.") But I’ve found myself contemplating his career recently, so I thought I’d go ahead and ask: What do you think of him?

A) I don’t.
B) He’s ready to headline his own show. (Probably on ABC, which appears to have a bit of a woody for him.)
C) While I’ve definitely enjoyed his recent guest spots on Samantha Who? and Ugly Betty (pictured), I’m not ready to watch a show just for him.

I’m gonna go with C. Partly because I’d miss seeing him pop up unexpectedly, like a cherry on top of a TV sundae. And partly because last weekend, when I Hulu’d Vanished, I watched all of Gale Harold’s episodes, but didn’t feel the need to soldier on when Cibrian replaced him as leading man. (Though perhaps that speaks more to that show than to Eddie.)

Regardless, I think we all have to admit that Cibrian is one of those fortunate actors who will only be getting better roles (and better looking) with age. Who else is on that list?

addCredit(“Eddie Cibrian: Karen Neal”)

The war on TV critics

Fnl_lIt’s not just a war on movie critics. It’s a war on TV critics, too, as outlined in this Broadcasting & Cable cover story about how newspapers are laying off their TV reviewers as quickly as they are their film critics. Both trends are strikingly similar. In both cases, newspapers, feeling the pinch of ad revenue lost to the Web, are cutting critic jobs to save money, figuring that syndicated and wire service reviews will suffice. Again, producers of specialty material (this time, instead of indie studios, it’s niche and cable outlets like HBO) worry that the absence of critics will hurt their shows, while the mainstream distributors (here, instead of the big studios, it’s the broadcast networks) are less worried about the disappearance of critics as a help or hindrance to their well-funded publicity campaigns. And again, the critics themselves complain that, with the loss of unique local voices accountable to the communities they serve, newspapers are tossing out what makes them distinctive — and what would keep people from turning elsewhere for their TV info.

Naturally, I agree with the critics on this one. A couple of points that make their case even more compelling than that of the vanishing movie critics: There’s an ever-expanding universe of TV programming choices, and more than ever, viewers need someone to help them sift through it all. Also, a lot of TV (unlike film) is local, particularly newscasts, and nationally syndicated critics won’t cover that. Finally, there’s a lot of programming even on the broadcast networks that’s dependent on public advocacy from established print critics (think of a show like Friday Night Lights, pictured).

One voice that’s missing from the B&C article is that of the reader, so I’ll ask you, PopWatchers: how much do you rely on your hometown paper’s TV critics for advice on what to watch? Would you miss them if they were gone? And which online sources do you trust for information about TV and reviews of shows?

addCredit(“Friday Night Lights cast: Michael Muller”)

Where we're going, we don't need roads

Squba_lCan your car swim? This amphibious vehicle, the Rinspeed sQuba (dubbed "Scubacar" over on Defamer), was unveiled at the 2008 Geneva Auto Show, and while the thought of riding in it makes me queasy — on the water, I have no seasickness problems, but underwater seatbelted into a submerged convertible? No thanks! — I like to look at it, and would love to see it action. Taking inspiration from the sportscar-turned-submarine in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me (the infamous Lotus Esprit), I think we PopWatchers should craft a film or TV plot worthy of "Scubacar." Should she join the newest gadgets in the Daniel Craig-era 007 arsenal? Save lives on a revamped Baywatch? Become a love interest for Knight Rider‘s KITT? Dive in and tell us what kind of adventure you envision for the car that swims.

Do you care who the celebs endorse?

Given that today could be the last primary day before the Democratic presidential nomination is decided, we thought we’d ask. There’s a tiresomely lengthy list of popular figures who’ve recently endorsed their preferred candidate — but perhaps the strangest is Jack Nicholson’s viral campaign video for Hillary Clinton, in which some of the actor’s most delinquent characters are made to seem pro-Clinton by uttering classic, politically relevant lines like "Hubba hubba hubba, money money money":

Yeah. It’s weird. Jack explains his sudden willingness to come out of media hiding in an MTV.com interview posted this morning, and here’s a Q&A with the two guys behind the video, screenwriter/director John Krokidas and producer Bruce Cohen.

At this point, if you’re a person who uses technology, you really can’t escape the steady stream of celebrity punditry. All of it is arguably unnecessary, but do you find it useless? Compelling? Mildly fun? Or TOTALLY AGGRO?

(Oh, and to make this item fair and balanced, behold a Hillary video set to one of my fave songs, ELO’s "Evil Woman." Probably could’ve thrown in something pro-Obama instead, huh? Okay, here you go: Obama For America Runs on Dunkin’.)

Breakout Alert: 'The Office"s Craig Robinson

Craigrobinson_lAfter turning in one of summer’s best cameos as the bouncer in Knocked Up ("You old, she pregnant. Can’t have a bunch of old pregnant bitches running around"), Craig Robinson, aka Darryl from the warehouse on The Office, is branching out of the paper business. His 2008 slate includes no fewer than four movies, including July’s Step Brothers (from Will Ferrell and Adam McKay), August’s Pineapple Express (written by and starring Seth Rogen), and the now-filming Zach and Miri Make a Porno (starring Rogen, written and directed by Kevin Smith).

I think two things about this: 1. It’s always nice to see a little ethnic diversity in the white-dude comedy zeitgeist, and 2. This particular comedy zeitgeist is really starting to remind me of a very high-budget community theater project, where bit players resurface time and time again and are rewarded with ever-larger roles. I couldn’t be happier that Robinson’s taciturn stylings are going to be playing at my local cineplex with regularity. What about you? And what other supporting characters from the Apatow/Rogen/Office/FunnyorDie universes would you like to see break out?

addCredit(“The Office: Byron Cohen”)

Is there a drug epidemic sweeping primetime?

Addiction_l

Justin on Brothers and Sisters. Nate’s dad on Gossip Girl. Mike Delfino on Desperate Housewives. Seems like a drug addiction is the go-to plot device of the current TV season. Yet I am decidedly not addicted to these story arcs: Not the war vet on vicodin, the NYC hot shot snorting coke, or the plumber poppin’ painkillers. Maybe it’s because of the endless risk of relapse, causing symptoms of plot-digression and déjà vu.

I mean, exactly how many times did we have to watch Charlie stare longingly at yet another bag of heroin on Lost? Will that figure be surpassed by the number of times Nora holds and rocks Justin on Brothers & Sisters, or Susan stares suspiciously/brokenheartedly at Mike between now and the end of the Housewives season?

What do you think? Are you hooked on the current trend of drug-addicted characters on TV dramas? Or do you want your favorite shows to go cold turkey by the holidays?

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