Friday, June 29, 2012

Pop Culture Roundup

Coffeewife gave me Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter for Father's Day, so I enjoyed it as vacation reading this past week. The author, Seth Grahame-Smith, presents the story as his being given privileged and unprecedented access to Lincoln's personal journals detailing his battles with vampires that he not only fought in his younger years, but that determined his actions as president, including reasoning behind needing to win the Civil War and giving the Emancipation Proclamation. I found it incredibly enjoyable and engrossing, and the author did a masterful and imaginative job of weaving his story with real historical events. I look forward to seeing the movie, although I'm anticipating complaining about what they'll have changed, left out, or added.

We watched The Muppets this past week, starring Jason Segel as Gary, a guy with a muppet for a brother named Walter who is the Muppets' biggest fan. Gary and his longtime girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) take Walter along on a trip to Los Angeles where they take a tour of the Muppet Theater, which they discover is long-neglected and rundown. Upon discovering that the theater is going to be demolished by an oil tycoon, the three of them try reuniting the whole Muppet crew to stage a telethon in order to save it. It's an incredibly cute film that mainly seeks to play homage to what the Muppets meant to so many for so long, including nods to earlier shows and films along the way and lots of celebrity cameos from the likes of Jack Black, Zach Galifinakis, Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Feist, and Mickey Rooney, among many others. I'm left wondering whether there will be further productions after this; whether this was a reboot or a swan song. I'd guess the former, but only time will tell.

We watched the series premiere of The Newsroom this week, starring Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, anchor of the show News Night, who strives to be inoffensive and down-the-middle onscreen but is surly and standoffish in real life. When he finally lets loose with his real views during a panel discussion at a university, big changes begin to happen in the workplace that includes his staff being gutted and his ex being hired as his new executive producer. Their first newscast together is breaking the news of the BP oil pipeline crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, during which Will asks probing and incisive questions of his guests, signaling a new approach for him and his staff. It was a pretty good first episode, which was pretty glaring in its insistence that this is The Way News Should Be. In fact, it got a little preachy at times about that point. But hopefully it pulls that preachiness back as the season goes on.

Dave Matthews Band has made their newest album, Away from the World, available for pre-order. It'll officially be released on September 11th of this year. Woo!

Hey, want to feel torn between wanting to laugh and being incredibly creeped out? Then watch this "commercial" for Cunningham Muffins: