January 29, 2013

13 Pop Culture Moments I’m Looking Forward To In 2013

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Music comebacks.

This year promises the long-awaited returns of Blur, The Stone Roses, Justin Timberlake, Destiny’s Child, Phoenix, My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, Queens of the Stone Age and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, as well as new material from Local Natives, British Sea Power, The Flaming Lips, Low, The Strokes, Lady Gaga, Vampire Weekend, Madvillain and M.I.A. And did I mention that Kanye West, Missy Elliott and The Avalanches all may or may not have new albums coming out — although that Avalanches record was supposed to happen ages ago. With all the new albums promised this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Beatles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Janis Joplin and Buddy Holly all promise to start touring again.

Beyonce + the Super Bowl.

When Beyonce’s halftime performance was announced, a friend of mine quipped that it was nice of Beyonce to let them create the Super Bowl around her show. Indeed, sir. Indeed.

The Great Gatsby movie is finally a thing.

After getting bumped off Oscar season, I’m terrified that Gatsby will be absolutely horrible, and as much as I love Jay-Z, the idea of him scoring the film makes me even more nervous. (You just don’t do these things to Gatsby, especially after what happened the last time.) With Baz Luhrmann, you never know if you’re going to get Strictly Ballroom or Australia, and I’m hoping his revisioning of the classic novel is audacious rather than tacky. But like this year’s long-delayed Gravity, directed by Children of Men-helmer Alfonso Cuaron, I almost don’t care if it’s good anymore. I just need to see the damn thing.

Tina Fey gets to move onto being a full-time movie star. (Or: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host everything.)

If there’s one silver lining to the impending demise of 30 Rock, which raised the bar for TV comedy, it’s that Tina Fey is now free to do whatever she pleases — which I hope includes becoming a huge movie star. As much as I love 30 Rock, its low ratings bother me. Why doesn’t all of America get to love Tina Fey like I do? Why aren’t they paying attention? Fey is blasting the third heat of her career this year with Admission, an indie comedy co-starring Paul Rudd, but with her proven success in popular literature and screenwriting, the world is her oyster. Let 2013 be the year of Tina Fey, finally.

Lars von Trier is back to being crazy again.

I liked Melancholia a lot, which offered fleeting glimpses of von Trier’s prerequisite nuttiness, but in making his tamest film in many years, it took a bit of his bite out. (Note that a movie about the possible destruction of Earth is tame by his standards.) Even when the Danish provocateur’s avant-garde tomfoolery gets the better of him (like in Dogville), von Trier’s films are still more interesting than anything else out there. Nymphomaniac, his new two-part film co-starring Shia LeBeouf that features non-simulated sex, promises to be no different.

Even if the movie is terrible, the behind the scenes stories from his films are usually reason enough for them to exist. During the filming of Dancer in the Dark, Bjork hated von Trier so much that she would repeatedly spit on him and curse, “I hate you, Mr. von Trier! I hate you!” Legend goes that things got so stressful for her that she ate her sweater one day on set. I don’t know how that was supposed to help her stress, but with Bjork, it’s better not to ask questions.

Scandal finally becomes a monster hit

Scandal has been slowly creeping up in the ratings for some time, and as Shonda Rhimes slowly relinquishes her death grip on Grey’s Anatomy, I expect the quality and the viewership for Scandal to only improve. Kerry Washington and her show’s soapy ways are recently becoming a go-to pop culture nod, and a fine replacement for Revenge during its sophomore slump. I’m just waiting for the inevitable mashup, where Kerry Washington and Madeleine Stowe get to go toe-to-spiked heel. But really I just want Victoria Grayson to be in everything.

Meryl Streep will be on her way to winning that fourth Oscar.

With Streep playing one of the greatest characters of the last 20 years in the star-studded film adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, that Oscar has practically engraved itself already. She could star in Norbit 2: Rasputia’s Revenge and still win the Oscar next year. Meaning that she will have four Oscars, Hilary Swank will have two and Annette Bening will still have none. Poor Annette Bening.

Kristen Bell spawns new generations of adorable.

Sure, that baby is with Dax Shepard -— who I’ll never understand the sexual appeal of — but seeing that Bell is the internet’s sweetheart, there’s no reason to believe that her genes won’t win out. Also, Dax Shepard is really good in Parenthood, so that has to mean something.

Arrested Development, Mad Men and House of Cards return, and About a Boy gets a TV spin-off

I have nothing to add to the first two that the internet hasn’t already jizzed all over, but the latter pair are especially interesting to me. As a fan of the original House of Cards series, Kevin Spacey and executive producer David Fincher are the absolute perfect pair to bring it to America, as Fincher hopes to rekindle some of that Social Network magic. I don’t know if it helps your anticipation, but early screenings from the Scandinavian press were highly positive, with one critic citing that it “did everything right.”

About a Boy makes the third straight film-to-television adaptation for Jason Katims, and with both the novel and movie versions of About a Boy, Katims has a great deal of material to pull from. His Friday Night Lights is one of the best dramas in television history, and even Parenthood, after a shaky start, turned into one of television’s most underrated shows. (You will be missed, Braverman clan.) About a Boy still ranks as Grant’s finest work, so let’s hope this British tale of arrested development has the same effect on Katims.

The Asian invasion of American cinema.

Most fans of the original Oldboy look at the upcoming Spike Lee remake with a mixture of skepticism and outright disdain, and they have every reason to be nervous. Lee’s recent track record (which includes Red Hook Summer and Miracle of St. Anna) has been spotty at best, and he’s known more for making statements that piss people off than making great movies. He’s the Bret Easton Ellis of directing. But the casting for Oldboy has been on point, especially Sharlto Copley and Josh Brolin, and Inside Man proved that Lee is best these days when he’s not being all Spike Lee. Who knew the studio system could be just what he needed?

Also, if you haven’t seen the trailer for Stoker yet, the first English-language film from Oldboy director Chan-wook Park, you need to go do that right now. The Sundance reviews weren’t the raves I was hoping for, but Nicole Kidman’s back to her To Die For phase, and that’s cause enough for celebration.

Louie C.K. + Woody Allen = ?

The internet’s favorite comedian and heir to the Allen Throne and Europe’s favorite nebbish auteur finally team up in our yearly offering from the Woody Factory.  After last year’s scattershot To Rome with Love, Woody Allen is due for a good one. With a cast that includes Sally Hawkins, Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Michael Emerson (aka Ben from Lost) and Peter Saarsgard, Blue Jasmine looks promising — even though Andrew Dice Clay is also in it for some reason. Who even remembered he exists?

Harry Potter and the Green Goblin are going to do it in a movie.

Dane DeHaan and Daniel Radcliffe are starring in the upcoming and improbable Beat Generation murder mystery, Kill Your Darlings, which won raves and a swift acquisition by Sony Pictures Classics out of Sundance. DeHaan and Radcliffe play Lucien Carr and Allen Ginsberg, respectively, and if that isn’t odd enough for you already, they have a very explicit sex scene in the movie. Equus proved that Radcliffe isn’t shy about that sort of thing.

As the makers of the new Spider-Man have already teased that DeHaan’s Harry Osborn will be the Green Goblin in the next film, you can go ahead and start writing that slash fiction now.

No more Mayans and no more Twilight.

Our pop-culture apocalypse is over, finally. And we’re all moving on now. Let no one ever speak of these things ever again. TC mark

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