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June 2017

Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers and I All Have Thoughts on Daniel Day-Lewis’s Reported Retirement From Acting

Everyone’s favorite actor who only shows up in a movie every once in a while but always straight-up kills it (and has three Oscars to prove it), Daniel Day-Lewis, announced last week that he is officially retiring from acting. His final movie, a Paul Thomas Anderson film reportedly called “Phantom Thread,” is set to come out sometime within the next year.

 

It’s a somewhat disheartening thing to hear in a time when all we can hope for is that our greatest performers will take to the screens and stages to give us a brief respite from the horrors of reality. But, it could also be a Cher (or JAY-Z, depending on your musical inclinations) move, where he’s “retiring,” only to come back in several years with another great movie (or album or tour, in the case of Cher or JAY-Z).

 

It isn’t the first time he’s stepped away from the screen for an extended period of time. After “The Boxer,” Day-Lewis disappeared for about five years before resurfacing in “Gangs of New York.” He reportedly spent at least a portion of that time learning to make shoes, y’know like any average person trying to take a break would do. Perhaps he’s taking another break, this time to learn the art of making those really detailed sand sculptures at the beach. It’s summer, so now would be the perfect time to learn!

 

He’s also known for going super deep and method with his roles, not breaking character for even a text message. Perhaps he’s beginning preparations for a new role, in what I’m imagining as a “Somewhere“-esque Sofia Coppola movie about an actor stepping away from Hollywood to take stock of his life. It doesn’t seem too far-fetched, at least not for someone who would decide he wanted to learn how to make shoes as a fun casual activity or would choose to text Sally Field in character as Abraham Lincoln.

 

Or, as Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers have proposed in the above video, the whole big announcement was done in error by a publicist who misinterpreted something Day-Lewis said while finishing up a bag of chips. That certainly seems the most plausible. I mean, who doesn’t love eating chips and making grand announcements when they have finished a bag of them? I know I do, much to the chagrin of just about everyone in my life.

 

Man, now I really want to eat a bag of chips and watch “There Will Be Blood.” That’s a normal thing people do, right?

 

Why do you think Daniel Day-Lewis decided to retire from acting? Do you think he really means it? Are you also suddenly craving a bag of chips? Tell me your thoughts, theories and favorite chip flavors in the comments. And, as always…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

4 TV Shows I’m Watching This Summer to Fill The Void

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Screenshot by Jenn Murphy

Summertime is essentially here, and that means that most, if not all, big TV shows have finished their seasons and are taking a break. A lot of networks use this time to air game shows and reality competition shows that don’t necessarily need to be followed on a week-to-week basis, or they burn off scripted shows that just didn’t turn out that well, hoping they’ll go gently into that good night.

 

Why would they ever decide to be this stark in terms of their offerings? Because they think everyone is out in the evening, enjoying the “summer nights” that those horny kids in “Grease” wouldn’t stop singing about. But not me! I have a decades-long hatred of hot weather and have been known to be violently attacked by mosquitos the instant I put one foot outdoors, so inside I shall stay.

 

While it might seem like there’s nothing to watch, with a little know-how (and a little research) you can find some actually good programming to fill your summer nights. (Although, to be fair, I actually find it kind of relaxing to not have something on every night that I just have to watch. I can read a book! I can talk to loved ones! I can watch baseball! I like baseball! It’s great. And yes, I know that I don’t actually ever have to watch anything. That’s not the point.) Here’s four shows that have already begun or will begin soon-ish that’ll likely keep us indoor kids entertained all summer long.

 

1) “People of Earth – TBS Mondays at 10:30/9:30c (July 24)

Part of TBS’s surprising comedy renaissance, “People of Earth” debuted last year and follows a support group of people who believe they have been visited by aliens. It stars my favorite former “Daily Show” correspondent, Wyatt Cenac, and has a very thoughtful, interesting and yes, very funny, take on the alien-abduction genre. I feel like it didn’t get its due when the first season aired last year, so be sure to check that out before the second season premieres at the end of July. And then tell your friends about it so it’ll become super popular and beloved, as it should be.

 

2) “Playing House” – USA Fridays at 11/10c (June 23)

I feel like I’ve written a bunch on this blog about how much I love “Playing House,” and after what feels like forever, it’s finally coming back! Created by and starring the incredibly funny and awesome Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair, the show follows their two characters as they work together to make it through life and raise Parham’s character’s child. The new season will reportedly delve into St. Clair’s real life battle with Breast Cancer (which she beat, yay!), so it’ll be interesting to see how the more serious elements of that play into a super funny show like this. Plus, if you’ve been missing “Key and Peele” (and really, who hasn’t), Keegan-Michael Key is on the show in the romantic lead he was born to play. I mean, seriously, what more do I have to say? Binge watch the first two seasons this week before the new season premieres on Friday. It’ll be a great way to spend your time, I promise.

 

3) “Orphan Black” – BBC America Saturdays at 10/9c

To be honest, it would be pretty difficult to catch up with this show now, given that it just started its fifth and final season and jumping in without any prior knowledge would be like jumping into surgery without any medical training, but if you’re looking for something to watch in its entirely over the course of the summer, this would be a great pick. An endlessly fascinating series about the ethical and moral implications of cloning and what it all means for the clones themselves, the show’s big claim to fame is that it’s star, the incredible and Emmy-winning Tatiana Maslany, plays all of the clones. And there are a lot of them. If you’ve been with it since the beginning, settle in for the final ride. If you’re new to the clone club, then get ready for something wild.

 

4) “Claws” – TNT Sundays at 9/8c

The only show on the list that’s entirely new, “Claws” stars always-great Niecy Nash as the owner of a Florida nail salon who also does some super chill money laundering on the side. I’ve only seen the first episode of this new series, but going off of that it seems pretty crazy and could be a fun show to escape into this summer. I could, of course, end up being totally wrong but sometimes you have to take a little risk, you know? Anything is possible if you just believe.

 

What do you think? Have any other shows you’re diving into this summer instead of diving into a pool? Do you wish you could dive into a pool and watch a great TV show at the same time? Me too. Maybe someday. Until then, always remember…

 

Keep it classy.

Jenn

 

P.S. If you get a chance to see John Mulaney on his Kid Gorgeous stand up tour this summer, DO IT. I saw him recently and my jaw still hurts from laughing so much. He is truly my favorite comedian and he should be yours too. I think the tour is essentially sold out until the fall, so jump on them fall tickets guys!

There’s So Much to Talk About This Week!

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Newly crowned Tony winner Ben Platt at last night’s ceremony. Screenshot by Jenn Murphy

Some weeks I have a really hard time figuring out what to write about for this blog. There sometimes just isn’t anything that happened that really captured my attention or made me think. Lucky for me (and you), that was not the case this week. In fact, there were three things that happened in the pop culture world that got me going and instead of choosing just one to cover this week, I’m going to cover all three. So strap in, because it’s time to get into it.

 

Thing #1: Freeform is making an American version of “Misfits”

 

NO. American remakes of hit British series very rarely work. Why oh why must we keep learning this lesson the hard way? The U.S. adaptation of “Skins” was trash, the U.S. adaptation of “The In-Betweeners” was very weak, and I didn’t love either of those shows as much as I loved “Misfits!” Its clever take on the “young people encounter some mysterious thing and it gives them superpowers” trope worked so well in the original series because its young people were allowed to be just as raunchy and awful as actual young people are! You know they’re not going to be able to go that far on Freeform, home of “Pretty Little Liars,” a ruined adaptation of what was originally a pretty interesting book series. I have so many concerns about this. So many. You’re truly better off trying to find and watch the original run instead of waiting for what will likely be yet another dismal American remake.

 

Thing #2: I don’t need to tell you this, but “Wonder Woman” is great!!!

 

I was a little leery to check it out because I’m not the biggest superhero movie fan (although that Ryan Coogler-directed “Black Panther” movie looks pretty awesome) but the never-ending stream of positive reviews and comments about the movie convinced me to see it and guess what? I loved it. Sure it wasn’t perfect; some of the dialogue was a little overly-cheesy and the romantic plot line felt more than a little forced, but it was still far more interesting and compelling that any other DC or Marvel superhero movie I’ve seen. I almost don’t want there to be a sequel, even if Patty Jenkins were to return and direct, because this one was just so good. Maybe just a spinoff about Robin Wright‘s character, Antiope? I could definitely get into that.

 

Thing #3: The Tony Awards happened.

 

Last night was the Tony Awards a.k.a the night where everyone who doesn’t live in New York gets to see what’s been happening on Broadway this season. And it was…fine? I didn’t really get to see any shows this season (The only thing I saw was “Oh Hello on Broadway” and while John Mulaney and Nick Kroll did get to hilariously introduce a performance by the Rockettes, they and their show were cruelly not nominated for anything.) so I didn’t hold any allegiances towards anything in particular. Kevin Spacey as host was okay, although the whole night felt pretty low energy. A lot of the shows nominated this year dealt with more serious themes, so there weren’t a lot of big exciting musical numbers. The biggest, most exciting one was for “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” and now I want to see it because it looks like a straight-up party. “Dear Evan Hansen” won for Best Musical (good thing I got my tickets for it the day before) and “Hello, Dolly!” won for Best Musical Revival, two moves that surprised absolutely no one. You can look at the rest of the winners here.

 

Well, there you have it. Everything that excited or concerned me this week in one nice little post. Hopefully I’ll be as lucky to have so much to talk about next week. I’m doubtful though.

 

What do you think? Have any big pop culture events from this week that caught your attention? Did you too get weirdly invested in Katy Perry’s weekend-long live stream of her life? Tell all in the comments. And, before I go back to wishing I was still at the Chance the Rapper concert I attended last week (like I said, a lot happened) I’ll leave you like I always do, with this…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

 

A Song, A TV Show (Or Movie) and A Memory

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Screenshot by Jenn Murphy

Recently I walked into a restaurant with some friends and the song “You Might Think” by The Cars was playing. Like any average person, I was immediately reminded of the woefully under-appreciated one season CBS wonder known as “BrainDead“, or more specifically, the fact that (and this next part is going to sound super strange if you didn’t watch “BrainDead” which if true is LAME because I told you to watch it on this blog months ago!!!) when people’s brains were taken over by the alien bug things in the show they became obsessed with that song.

 

It got me thinking about other songs that weren’t necessarily made for a specific movie or TV show but are associated with that movie or TV show because of the memorable moment they were a part of. Take, for example, the song “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey. Many associate it with the series finale of “The Sopranos” and its final moments that still leave people both mystified and irritated. Other, more musical theatre-inclined people associate it with its use in the series premiere of “Glee.” (Oh god, remember “Glee?”) It wasn’t written specifically for either of those things, and yet that’s what we often associate it with. So much so, that I once saw a piece of sheet music titled “Don’t Stop Believin’ (From the Television Series “Glee”).”

 

Another great example is the iconic Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Not that it needs to be associated with anything to be great, but often when I think of it I think of Wayne and Garth of “Wayne’s World” jamming out in their car. It’s a classic scene, made even more classic by the song playing in it. Ferris Bueller crashing a parade in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is memorable to begin with, but add The Beatles’ cover of “Twist and Shout” to the mix and it’s forever a part of cinematic history.

 

Putting a certain song in a certain scene can do so much. It can elevate a scene to new heights. It can take a moment from memorable to iconic. It can even give an older song a second (or third, in the case of “Don’t Stop Believin'” and “Glee”) life with a new generation. Or, it can just make someone standing in a restaurant say, “hey, remember that weird show that only I watched in the summer of 2016?” Either way, it’s fascinating and worth thinking about next time a song you heard on a TV show or in a movie gets stuck in your head.

 

What do you think? Have any songs not made for but featured in a particular movie or TV show that have stuck with you? Are you regretting not watching “BrainDead”? Because you should be. It was great! Let me know on all of the above in the comments. And, before I go back to mourning the end of “Gilmore Guys” (check out my interview with them from back in the day!), I’ll say what I always do…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

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