28 June 2011

Dueling Banjos: GaGa's "The Edge of Glory" vs. Katy's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)"

During my very heavy daily pop culture intake, I noticed some similarities between two major videos circling around from both of our Greatest Pop Queens, Katy Perry and Lady GaGa (go cry your glitter away, Ke$ha). Lady GaGa's "The Edge of Glory" is a departure from her usual insanity, it's stripped down, elegant and boosts the merit of a good song. Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) is an 8-minute long bad 80s flashback with all the requisite bad acting and awkward moments that should put no dent in an insane career this year. Let's start the duel!

Dee do dee do dee dum do dee dum

dum dee dum dum do do dum dee do

dum dum...whatever

There is this 80s obsession with both of these songs, though unique in distinction. GaGa has presented an transposition of the decade by making something that looks like it could have sprung from it. The neon lights, the leather, the solitary street dancing evokes "Billie Jean" mixed with "Express Yourself." If we look at two other videos released this week, you can notice a handful of contemporary trends that "The Edge of Glory" lacks: 1) Aggression, 2) CGI and 3) a plot. GaGa has thrown away all the innovations that she had started with epics like "Telephone," "Alejandro" and "Judas" - the return to the longform video, the complex plotting and themes and an escalating sense of purpose and self-congratulation. "The Edge of Glory" thus slides perfectly in sequence to what GaGa seeks to attain: unpredictability along with refusal to be pinned down into a stereotype or genre.

The only thing shining through "The Edge of Glory" is GaGa's obsession with the 80s. Her whole Born this Way (2011) album is musically obsessed with the 80s and this video is no different. Smoke fills the streets in monochromatic blues and pinks and GaGa prances around a limited set, only interrupted by Clarence Clemons (who passed away just ten days ago) blasting some Sax on a stoop. The problem with GaGa imitating Madonna is that it ruins both of their originality. Madonna used to change her look and style all the time, it's part of what made her interesting and an attention-grabbing icon. Of course nowadays the only way to grab attention is to wear Meat Dresses and Giant Egg Shells (doesn't Weird Al in drag look creepily like Jenna Krakowski [or at least Will Forte impersonating her character on 30 Rock]?). Copying Madonna tends to wreck them both. Then again, it's really only as bad as Madonna began to rip off Marilyn Monroe.

Anyway, while GaGa completely steeps herself in 80s nostalgia through basic themes and emulation, Katy doesn't really get farther than simple homage. The video of "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" contains tons of really obvious 80s tropes, from the clothing style to the house party...actually that's about it. It does revolve around this Suburban World that was more prevalent in the 1980s via flicks like Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) and...well, just about any John Hughes movie. It's 80s but only really on the surface. "Last Friday Night" seems like it's jumping on the bandwagon zeitgeist in almost every possible way, which is a likely reason that "The Edge of Glory" has only had around 11,000,000 views to "Last Friday Night's" 35,000,000 in roughly the same timespan. GaGa videos typically average over 100,000,000 lifetime and should do better than this in their first two weeks. It's a tough vid to get into though, it doesn't require many repeat viewings to process the entire message.

"Last Friday Night" is positioned beautifully in the zeitgeist. It's basically a good song for Fridays to answer against Rebecca Black the way "California Gurls" answered "Empire State of Mind" on behalf of the West Coast. Naturally Rebecca appears herself in the "Last Friday Night" video as the official Queen of Friday who must teach the horrible looking Kathy Beth Terry (who looks and acts retarded by the way, another departure from Katy's boobs on constant display. Oh there they go. Aw c'mon, they kept the braces on her?!). Anyone notice Rebecca actually looks pretty good and cute in this vid? Like, she looks better than Katy for most of it? Wait, why the fuck are they playing a Kinect featuring 70s style avatars? This vid really makes Katy into an absolute attention whore even if that isn't her stated intention. Bullshit, by the way. And Clarence Clemons really does play mean 80s Sax on that GaGa vid. The real Sax for "Last Friday Night" is Lenny Pickett. And Katy is 26, GaGa is 25, how come the latter is the one that seems years ahead of her time already?

This is a strange analogy, but I think of these two videos like two of my favourite movies that came out last year, MacGruber (2010) and Hot Tub Time Machine (2010). MacGruber sought to emulate 80s action movies, for viewers to place it among the best there is - satirically of course. It's 80s nature springs from its own internal world. Hot Tub Time Machine's 80s Nostalgia is externally generated - it's about clashing cultures across time periods with successful homage and commentary. "The Edge of Glory" is MacGruber and "Last Friday Night" is Hot Tub Time Machine, but in this case the commentary fails beyond surface level annoyance rather than generational insight (and hilarity! Ugh! Did you have pineapple today?!).

Oh and I still have no idea why everyone loves the 80s so much. I hate the fucking 80s. Let's bring back some 90s! Z-Bots and Legends of the Hidden Temple! Ugh that decade also sucks.

27 June 2011

War of the Months: June

Well folks it's the last Monday in June so that means that it's time for another installment of the War of the Months, our year-long look at the films and box office stats of every single month of the year. Hoorah! This Month we're looking at June, this weird Summer Middle Month that is still filled with some pretty huge flicks.

June: The Middle Month

There is so much crap happening in June that movies tend to take a backseat more than they do in the bigger Summer Months of May or July. There's graduations, reunions, weddings, picnics and all kinds of crap. It gets a little hairy to get out to the movies. Through it all there is a good amount of big movies though, it IS Summer, after all. June tends to be underrated as a month in general, it's secretly this really warm, really nice month that most kids ignore because they still have to go to fucking school all day. By this time though, June can really wind up and in between finals and Aunt Judy's third wedding there are some big flicks out there.

June Bank: Plenty to Go Around

The biggest June ever was 2009 which brought in a nice $1,086,729,130. This is actually a bit higher than May's grand total and its average does tend a little better. There is generally less huge event movies or epic cultural tentpoles. That 2009 was filled mostly with movies that people didn't expect to do as insanely well as they did, including The Hangover, The Proposal and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

More than meets the eye
The Top Ten June Weekends ever include only one of these, but as you can see, it tends to be the month that Pixar dumps its biggest cash prizes, including both installments of the Cars franchise, Toy Story 3 (2010), Wall-E (2008) and Ratatouille (2007). In addition, the best June releases tend to be movies that studios may have hoped to do well but weren't sure things like the May filled with Star Wars, X-Men and Indiana Jones. There's Kung Fu Panda (2008), Hulk (2003), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) and The Karate Kid (2010). Rounding out the Top Ten is the only Harry Potter movie ever to debut in June (as well as the one that's made the least money...actually my favourite one), Prisoner of Asskaban (2004).

The thing about June is that it's always been like this. It's a month of originals. May has all these classic tentpole franchises like Back to the Future and Spider-Man but June used to be the Summer Kick-Off with titles like Batman Returns (1992), Jurassic Park (1993) and The Lion King (1994). It used to be that Summer started in June. Then studios decided that it could start in May. Why not? It's warm enough.

June Bugs:

There are a whole lot of good June flicks, by this point any indie Oscar film is certainly out of the running, it's all blockbusters here, baby. After all, this is Jaws Month. Here following now are the best ever June Releases:

#10: Minority Report - 06/21/2002
#9: The Truman Show - 06/05/1998
#8: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - 06/04/1982
#7: The Bourne Identity - 06/14/2002
#6: The Lion King - 06/15/1994
#5: Wall-E - 06/27/2008
#4: The Hangover - 06/05/2009
#3: Ghostbusters - 06/08/1984
#2: Jurassic Park - 06/11/1993
#1: JAWS - 06/20/1975

Stick an Oxygen Tank in there!
Naturally I give honourable mentions to Total Recall (1990), Knocked Up (2007), Predator (1987), Nacho Libre (2006) and Speed (1994). Nice mix in there. Needless to say, June is also the Month of JAWS, the foundation for all blockbusters and probably the most significant industry-changing film of the past forty years. JAWS provided the paradigm for Summer Releases, marketing, box office expectations and the cultural impact of an event film. It's stunning to this day and no movie since has paired dinero with quality quite like it.

So that's it for June. July is up next which is of course the biggest movie month EVER so stay tuned, folks, it gets much crazier from here on out.

Summer Jam 2011: June 27 Winners

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the last June edition of the Road to Summer Jam 2011. This week was really crazy. With school ending for the wee tots all over the country and weddings and graduations exploding all over the place it's time to find that distinctive song that we'll always remember. Like for my High School Graduation all we listened to was Usher's "Yeah" and Petey Pablo's "Freek-A-Leek" on repeat all night while playing Spider-Man 2 (2004). Crap, that sucks! Anyway, what will be the anthem for today's crack and sex addled generation? Take a listen:

#8: "The Show Goes On" by Lupe Fiasco

Lupe's back this week! Despite some questionable comments regarding Obama his track is still pretty hot. The cat has got some politically charged lyrics and speech that goes beyond the typical relegation of pop stars. Naturally it's scary when someone like Lupe speaks up when he's supposed to just put out dance singles and trut around for his audience. That is to say, what's most terrifying is still a nigga with a brain.

#7: "Just Can't Get Enough" by the Black Eyed Peas

This track is clearly sliding a bit although in cities like mine it's still everywhere. It takes a bit longer for tracks to debut and then meltdown out here and so our trends don't always follow the pulse of New York or LA. That said, we can assume that this is the scenario in comparable cities, which form the majority of the country, so for many of you out there a song like "Just Can't Get Enough" is still a viable Summer Jam. That being said, I don't think we'll see it up here much longer. I have far superior articulation when composing this without a hangover.

#6: "Lazy Song" by Bruno Mars

Any surprise? "Lazy Song" has soaked up the #6 spot for four out of the seven weeks of the Jam so far. It has this very stable niche of being pretty popular but not popular enough to be overplayed and burn out. It's just enough effort to be successful. Again, the meta of "Lazy Song" is awesome, even its fame is lazy.

#5: "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj

This track is starting to explode. Every week this song has been on the countdown it has been listed higher than the week before. It's such a playful song and the first since her smash "Your Love" last year in which she displays both her singing and rapping talent flawlessly in one track but this time at a higher summer tempo and with less Auto-Tune. It's actually not even on the regular release of Pink Friday (2010), instead it's a deluxe edition bonus track. Actually she's got some of her best tracks as bonus releases, including "Girls Fall Like Dominoes." Anyway, "Super Bass" is set to keep rising.

#4: "The Edge of Glory" by Lady GaGa

This song is doing what it needs to. I was sick of "Bad Romance" after my 194th listen and got sick of "Judas" after my...1st. "The Edge of Glory" is growing on me like "Just Dance" and "Poker Face" which I think remain her best tracks. I like GaGa's pop edge over that experimental screeching bullshit. GaGa needs to be a Pop Icon and this is her means to it rather than something as controversial as "Judas," which by the way, the thing about "Judas" is that no one cared about its controversy because it really isn't that good of a song. So in that case instead of something brilliant we just got this kind of flustered call for attention. It's like how no one complains about crazy people on street corners because they scream out for attention but by the next block you've forgotten. It's not "Like a Prayer," which was controversial because people cared about it. Who cares about "Judas?" Now, "The Edge of Glory" is the kind of song that can get some positive attention and steer GaGa in the direction she needs to be in.

#3: "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele

She is still #1 on the Billboard Charts but Adele just isn't as hot as she was a couple weeks ago. She's not the greatest, hippest thing on the radio anymore and when we're figuring out a Summer Jam it's ALWAYS HOT BABY!! I dip her down here because there are just too many good bouncing dance jams for Graduations and Weddings this weekend. We gotta get down and dirty, kid and Adele's moaning whiny siren ain't cuttin' it. That said, she isn't going anywhere.

#2: "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO ft.Lauren Bennett & GoonRock

This song has had a huge ascension close to the top of the Winners List in the past four weeks. THIS is the kind of song that makes you want to grab some dick or titties and take it on a fucking wet adventure. Alright, it's really not that sexy (might I suggest some "Motivation" by Kelly Rowland to fill that hole. Ahem). But Party Rock Anthem is the anthem for both Partying and Rocking. That's good for something as it the perfect no-name one-hit wonder for whoever the hell any of these people are, who by the way, are having a fabulous time in their music video. Summer Fun baby, Happy Graduation, feel somebody.

#1: "Give Me Everything" by Pitbull ft. Ne-Yo, AfroJack & Nayer

I have to cut and paste the artist list for the Top Two songs this week because they're so filled with no-name, no-talent musical hacks. Pitbull is everywhere though and the rapid stock of this track shows that. This is a very stupid song and I hate Pitbull. He tends to put out tons of crap all the time and has so many songs that are just the same thing over and over again. He just raps about wooing chicks in order to fill girls with some fantasy of banging this bald ugly Cuban and inspire guys to wear club polos and get chicks pregnant. That's probably a stretch but whenever I hear his voice I just think of that.This is only the third song to hit #1 this year (there were only seven for all of last year) so we'll see where he lands in the next few weeks.

So you may obviously notice a big omission, no "E.T." this week. "E.T" is fading fast, I haven't heard it on the radio much at all and her spot at #5 on the Hot 100 seems like a formality more than anything. Besides, "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)" shot up to #4, meaning that Katy Perry will go much longer than a year with some track in the Billboard Top Five. I haven't heard that enough to call it a Jam, but I do really want to talk about Rebecca Black in this video, don't worry it'll be soon.

In other news, anyone notice a new Britney video that came out on Wednesday? The song is whatever and although she turns 30 this year it seems that she still can't get out of that baby voice, what the hell. There is a Half Baked (1998) reference within the first 30 seconds and she flashes a ginger tho. Just watch. I also wanted to mention that Jack Johnson's "From the Clouds" could be a good alternative Summer Jam, kind of like "Lay me Down" from the Dirty Heads last year. Very peaceful, man. He's the mellow guy!

20 June 2011

Summer Jam 2011: June 20 Winners

Holy crap, it's June 20 already. We're the middle of long days, summer concerts, fountains of margaritas and skirts so high we should call this site Norwegian Day Wood. There are some shake-ups this week and it looks like we're starting to get a clear picture on who will be running towards that Summer Jam Crown. Let's get started:

#8: "Just Can't Get Enough" by the Black Eyed Peas

This track tumbled a bit but is still hanging around. It's possible that it remains somewhere near this position for a few weeks but it's about to crumble. I think. I was thinking about beats this week and how many contemporary pop tracks really have terrible, unmemorable rhythms. B.E.P. has turned into a largely electronic group (one of the reasons why they now suck live) and while they are more developed than some of their pop rivals, it's really not good for such a deeply produced song or even a B.E.P. song.

#7: "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj

We need to talk about how hot Nicki is in this video. She has lost a tremendous amount of ass weight, she's actually sexy not only because of huge boobs and goofy playful faces. There is an intensity to this track along with a fairly fluffy beat and tone. It works because there's an edge to its whimsical nature. It fell a bit this week but I don't think it's going anywhere.

#6: "Lazy Song" by Bruno Mars

Now this is the laziest beat on the countdown. There is nothing special besides the occasional monkey whistle. Bruno has stuck right around here for just about all of Summer so far and there's no reason not to believe that he can't continue. There were so many negatives in that last sentence.  I do like how everything about this song, from the title to the video to the actual song really is incredibly lazy. Bruno really nailed Summer Sloth here, bro.

#5: "The Edge of Glory" by Lady GaGa

GaGa keeps going on and off the Winners List but I think she can stabilize from here on out. "The Edge of Glory" had a big week with a video that was a bit of a departure from typical Crazy GaGa Bullshit. I actually like this kind of GaGa, she's capturing attention with just herself and hardly any back-up dancers, tho still in love with the 80s for some inexplicable reason. While talking about beats, the energized rhythms here make it one of the better Summer Beats tho it tends to get complacent during the verses. The synthenised sax solo is so 80s though and gives the song a fresh yet nostalgic feel. It's a pretty good Summer Jam.

#4: "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO ft. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock

This song really shot up the charts this week and its airplay has exploded as well. I don't think we'll ever hear from LMFAO again after this Summer but that's okay, they're serving their purpose dishing out a very pop and dance-friendly hit. From a beat standpoint it's all very epic, charged and variable while maintaining a relative simplicity. While not innovative it's certainly enjoyable which is all perfect for a Summer Jam. LMFAO is turning 2011 into the Summer of Shuffling, which is fine.

#3: "E.T." by Katy Perry ft. Kanye West

Don't worry Katy fans, as soon as "E.T." fades from the countdown, which may be relatively soon now, she'll come back with "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" which seems both a shot in the war for Ownership of Friday as well as an Ode to The Hangover Films. That track just slides in the zeitgeist far too well. "E.T." is still pretty ubiquitous and Katy will definitely be a Crown Contender again for one of these.

#2: "Give Me Everything" by Pitbull ft. Ne-Yo, AfroJack & Nayer

I finally gave into Pitbull this week. This track was everywhere tho it's certainly not an especially good one. This is prepped to do pretty well for the Summer although it has more random names spitting lines than "Party Rock Anthem" somehow. It's an auspicious debut at #2 but I actually think this track could flare out sooner than something a little more iconic. It's a very forgettable pop song that may yet do well.

#1: "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele

What more can I say about this song? It's going no where even as "E.T." seems to be finally losing some steam.Adele is charging ahead. This is her sixth week at #6 and she's been buzzing enough to become a bit more mainstream. I think there can be a nice gap when she finally does implode, Pitbull, tho with the fresh Miami Summer Connection isn't really Jam Worthy. Adele should stay here for the moment however, despite the fact that the song is already deep in overplayed territory and not really suited for Summer Jamming.

So what's next? Lupe's stock is rising even if "The Show Goes On" slipped from its peak. I also heard Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now" and Wiz Khalifa's "Roll Up" a ton this week tho they also peaked a few weeks ago. I'm looking forward to some more Katy, Nicki and GaGa to sit up some good roosts for the Summer.

17 June 2011

Two Year Anniversary Post!

Holy crap it's been two whole years already. A blog that started a long time ago on a prayer and multiple posts about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) is now running on weekly goat sacrifices and multiple posts about THOR (2011). Oh how far we've come. Last year we went through the best posts of Year One, let's now talk about the Cream of the Crop from Year Two:

#5: Profiles: Admiral Ackbar - Funny Squidface or Tragic Icon? 22 Oct 2010

This is the kind of post that surmises a lot of what I try to do here: make ridiculous possible inferences from terribly stupid sources. I really believe everything I wrote about Ackbar here and there is some depth to this dude that no one cares about, but that's part of the post modern joke as well. It's the clash of nostalgia, reason, fandom and intelligent analysis. Is worthwhile examination of the worthless worthwhile? Who knows but it passes a few minutes online.

#4: Because it's....FRIDAY! A Much Deeper than Necessary Analysis of Rebecca Black - 22 Apr 2011

This is the same kind of thing that Ackbar was. The fact that Rebecca Black exists is insane, we needed a post like this to justify what the hell she is doing in our lives, invading our Fridays. This post alone probably has more information that you ever wanted or needed about Rebecca Black. Chances are by the time you're reading this you've forgotten who Rebecca Black was or the fact that she dominated our zeitgeist for two weeks in the April of 2011. I wanted to rationalise how she could exist and read the deepest possible insight into one of the worst songs of all time.

#3: First Impressions: THOR, the Cultural Context of an Event Film - 10 May 2011

I had a really good string of late April / May posts and I think I really nailed what I wanted to with this one. I care about pop culture influence more than any movie or music's critical or commercial worth and that's the niche that THOR squirmed into. Or at least attempted to. It's an underevaluated part of our culture that seems to creep everywhere without anyone really paying attention. We've become so inundated with marketing and advertising that we basically accept it as part of our lives now. That's also why this post is so integral towards promoting whatever integrity of story remains.

#2: Because I watched it on DVD: The Competing Realities of Anchorman - 09 Jul 2010

This is another post that put into words why I want to love this movie so much for reasons beyond the simplistic "It's funny and quotable!" While Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) has its fervent supporters and fair share of detractors, there is something incredible within this movie that regardless of Will Ferrell's subsequent criticism remains intact. I had some big words and intelligent layouts in this post so it's worth checking out, dudes.

#1: The History and Symbolism of Fight for Your Right Revisited, Part I & II - 03 May 2011 and 06 May 2011

This was probably my biggest post ever and actually took me hours of research and analysis to compose. I watched Fight for Your Right Revisited a dozen times over and spent many long hours into the night crosschecking Beastie Boys Lore and still missed a few easter eggs (thanks loyal readers for providing additional insight). It is an exhaustive post to read as well, without leaving any stone unturned, which is the only way to treat something as fantastic as Revisited. It's rewarding for any Beastie fan and I think rewarding for any fan of cinema as well but it's got to be tough if you came here looking for pics of Snooki's Boobs or The Juggernaut Bitch. This is probably NMW's lifetime best post however and if you're a fan of our style at all, worth checking out.

It was tough only picking the Top Five (I did Top Six last year for some reason), but I also enjoy debunking myths that Award Shows are important with On Ricky Gervais and Awards Show Hosting (19 Jan 2011), defending both Kanye West (13 Nov 2010) and the Miami Heat (07 Mar 2011) and finally, our extensive looks at the State of SNL (04 Apr 2011)and of course, How to Write Your Own Hangover.

Well that's it for Year Two. What's in store for Year Three you ask? I can about guarantee more of the same crap. Fare thee well dear readers!

16 June 2011

First Impressions: Super 8

I gave Soup Or Ate (2011) a very minimalist treatment going in. The marketing campaign was mysterious enough it wasn't that difficult but I really attempted to avoid news, trailers and commercials. It was the kind of alluring mystery movie that shouldn't have had any spoilerage. What I got when I saw it was a very original, very good Summer Movie that invokes the Spirit of Amblin Spielberg more than anything Spielberg has done in decades.

The best part of this film is what it's not. It's not a flashy, star-studded, spellbound fast-paced mindless action flick that has plagued so many summers lately. It's the opposite of Butt Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Hides (the hides are strange because they're male hides and the pirates are used to female hides. Thus they're Butt Pirates now. I need to stop making overly long gay joke explanations). There's a whole lot less bullshit and the film calls back to an age of simpler blockbusters along with its actual setting during a time when simpler blockbusters existed.

I actually like that 1979-1981 timespan for a lot of settings. It seems just enough after Disco and before glam rock, out of the ridiculousness of the 70s enough but not fully into the worse ridiculousness of the 80s. It's a genuine time, man. It's that Wet Hot American Summer (2001) time. It's perfectly Spielbergian - most of us were little tots or at least little spermies at the time, just squirming around sandboxes/testicles waiting for the world to give us a chance. It's before the greed and insanity of the 80s started (highlighted here and here) but after the coke fueled nonsense of the 70s (here and here). Every time in history at some point in history is referred to as the time of innocence (except the 1340s and the 1710s) but this one really nails it.

So there are tons of obvious homages to Spielberg here, from the tonal viewpoint of a kid (by the way, all of the kids are pretty good actors, they sell their friendship spectacularly), parental issues (One my favourite readings of Jaws [1975] is that of a story of male impotence, citing Brody's struggle for the approval from Quint and Hooper as substitute parents) amidst a fantastical backdrop (A monster). J.J. Abrams himself has less of a distinctive style. Super 8 is only his third directorial effort after Mission: Impossible III (2006) and Star Trek (2009) and the only major element connecting all three is the prevalence of lens flares. I don't think I can think of a better description of Super 8 than "Spielberg with Lens Flares." That's how you get Abrams. I think people tend to think Cloverfield (2008) when they think J.J., which was his production but not entirely his effort (tho all his non-franchise efforts like Super 8, Cloverfield and LOST seem to have easter eggs among them, like Slusho machines everywhere). There is certainly a bit of Cloverfield here in some similar mysterious dangerous monster running amok through town but Super 8 tends to be far less gimmicky.

There is this very unique mystery throughout Super 8, something vacant in other contemporary blockbusters. I think the E.T. (1982) vibe wears off however when the Alien starts killing and eating people. He's really not all that sympathetic as the ending makes him out to be. That's all I want to say about the ending actually, there is a genuine mystique to this movie that I think is preserved only by viewing it in a 2-D theater. 2-D is the only way to experience this movie! Wha-hey!

The government conspiracy stuff is played pretty heavily and they're the major baddies here. The military actually hasn't been this unilateral evil in a movie recently, we've almost gotten used to the Michael Bay Hero Treatment. The anti-government paranoia and mistrust is obvious in a post-Nixon / post-Vietnam setting when the American populace was really on edge for what the Feds might be up to next (And who can blame them for their weapons going off and killing everything in sight, even if it's the Alien's fault why didn't they unload their guns or stop driving or anything?). This plays well here. Super 8 is actually notable in that it is really a "Slice of Americana" small town story that has some universal truths, so universal that a plucky small child can connect with a violent murderous alien. 'Nuff said.

And I feel like I'm the only one who noticed this - what's up with Mr. Woodward the Mystic Negro? It's not really the worst possible use of the trope but you get the feeling that this scary black guy was the only one who really understood the Creature and no one else would listen to his Magical Wisdom. He's also the only black guy in the damn film and ostensibly the most intelligent.

The last thing I'll mention is The Case (1979), the kids' completed film we get to see during the end credits. It may be the best part of the film (only if because it's the driving force for most of the kids' early motivation. And late motivation in some cases). Spielberg Abrams really nails the kids' viewpoint here and the payoff is hilarious as well as very honest and genuine. The thing about Super 8 is that it sells itself on nostalgia and reminiscence (not unlike Toy Story 3 [2010] actually) but it really delivers on this promise (again, not unlike Toy Story 3). It's a very good film int he sense that it delivers a lot of genuine emotion, adept storytelling (if not an adept story) and relief from the typical Summer Bullshit.

Praise to people wanting to be Spielberg.

14 June 2011

The Long Halloween Vol. II: Flag Day

Well folks, it's Flag Day. Oh Flag Day. This is really a pretty cool holiday, we honour the flag and our national colours with the respect it deserves for some reason and in return we...get to not look unpatriotic. Hooray! It's tough to find a good series of Flag Day movies or traditions but there is this significant mention:

See? Flag Day is a great day to give jets to your son. Reno 911!: Miami (2007) is clearly making fun of Flag Day as it's a pretty weird holiday to give anyone a gift this big on. Or give any gift on. So you can watch Reno 911!: Miami today, that should get you into a lovely Flag Day gift-giving mood.

Really any patriotic flick will do, especially ones involving the Flag. I can think of Flags of Our Fathers (2006) or The Patriot (2000), which features no American Actors in leading roles. There's also a lot of American Flag Iconography in Patton (1970), with George C. Scott's famous speech. Just about any of the Rocky movies will do but Rocky IV (1985) might be your best bet here.

Just look at this to the right here. Stallone just bathes himself in Old Glory. There aren't really a lot of movies that showcase the flag itself as a center of attention or distinct personality but these are all films that stand for the same kinds of things the Flag stands for. And that's the only thing that makes the Flag special at all. It's just some cloth, really. It's what the Flag stands for that makes it special. That's why there's a lot of flag burners who have got too much freedom and it should be legal for policemen to beat 'em. That bill is ruthless, man.

So how can you celebrate Flag Day? You should eat Hot Dogs and Beer and watch Patton. That should just about do it. Any good American holiday is fit for Hot Dogs and Beer. It's the same for Independence Day, same for Labour Day, same for...Christmas. Salute the Flag, maybe say a pledge or two and relax within this great nation of ours.

Why is Flag Day June's only fucking holiday? I'm going to have to pull Flag Day posts out of my ass for years to come. You could celebrate Father's Day I guess. Go watch World's Greatest Dad (2009) and eat some Hot Dogs and Beer. That really works for any of these Summer Bonding Moments.

Land of the Free!

13 June 2011

Summer Jam 2011: June 13 Winners

Welcome friends again to your mid-June installment of our chronicle of the most Jam-worthy songs of the 2011 Summer. There are some shake-ups this week and plenty of new Jams abound. Let's get started:

#8: "Don't Wanna Go Home" by Jason Derulo

Get on the banana boat! Is there any song that pop can't cover? Jason Derulo specialises in Summer Jams but isn't ever popular enough to actually be a significant Summer Force. He's really one of the most typical Pop/R&B singers out there and this really is more of the same crap. It also makes me think of this parody track from like ten years ago, which I guess is fitting now.

#7: "Lazy Song" by Bruno Mars

Dipping a bit this week I didn't hear "Lazy Song" nearly as much this week but it's still hanging around. This is better for hungover Summer Sundays than energized Summer Nights, which is an undervalued part of Summer anyway. Especially in this heat who wants to do anything? Not Bruno Mars.

#6: "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO ft. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock

This track's stock is rising. The video's Zombies of Dance feel is spot-on and it has a magnificent feel. It's actually the opposite end of the spectrum from "Lazy Song," all about dancing and feeling good instead of laying around. Summer is the time for both baby. I think the dude in the white glasses looks like Sinbad for some reason. Is it just me? What happened to Sinbad? Hatin' is bad.

#5: "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj

Finally we get some Nicki on the Winners List. This track shouldn't go anywhere for a while, it's got only good times ahead of it. The video is mad hot too, full of both hot chicks and hot dudes. Everybody wins baby. This also seems like Nicki's foray into a more pop-oriented tone rather than strictly rapping tho she maintains her distinctive Nicki style. There also isn't really a ton of bass in this song.

#4: "The Show Goes On" by Lupe Fiasco

As soon as I'm counting this one out it performs spectacularly this week. Along with being one of the best parts of the 2011 MTV Movie Awards, Lupe continues to rank pretty well on the charts. This song is great, as for its Summeryness, it may be lacking which could hold it back from Jam-Worthy status.

#3: "Just Can't Get Enough" by the Black Eyed Peas

They don't really have black eyes. This song though, has reached the very irritating point that all B.E.P. songs eventually achieve and I now wish it would just go away. Fergie can't baby-voice as well as Britney Spears and none of the rappers in the group have any talent. I hope its overexposure will lead it to crumble a bit but for now it's #3.

#2: "E.T." by Katy Perry ft. Kanye West

Every week this Summer has featured either this track or Adele at 1 or 2 and this week is no different. Katy actually has another song out there that may challenge Rebecca Black's domination of Days of the Week. Is there even a question of whether or not it'll be a hit as well? It's a good thing Katy has boobies.

#1: "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele

This track is unstoppable. I'll finally admit it. I kind of blank out when it comes on at this point which is unfortunate because it really is a great song. Her success over comparable acts like Katy and GaGa are pretty interesting, as they're really manufactured pop megastars while Adele is much more natural and homely. There's this battle between genuinity and fabrication of pop stars, but is Adele actually the fake pop star because she dodges typical the typical pop facets? Or does it even matter? This is very mildly interesting.

So GaGa and Britney fell off this week, I expect Britney to stay down but we should see "The Edge of Glory" again soon. I'm still not buying Pitbull at all but I do find some rising stock in "Where Them Girls At" by David Guetta, Flo Rida and Nicki. It's a definite Summer Party song, check it out.

07 June 2011

Dueling Banjos: The Hangover vs. The Hangover: Part II

Needless to say, by this point in time everyone has seen both The Hangover (2009) and its epic companion, The Hangover: Part II (2011). I noticed something funny between these two pictures though. Something very curious - they almost appeared as though they were the same movie. No one else ever seems to have noticed this, but I think there may have been a few similarities. So naturally, it's up to Norwegian Morning Wood to see which Banjo strums the sweeter.

dum da dum dum do

do dee do dee do

There are a lot of obvious similarities to get out of the way. Both feature the same core cast (Zach Galifanakis, Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, their assorted wives) and the same core production team (Director Todd Phillips, Composer Christophe Beck, Editor Debra Neil-Fisher, make-up, sets and costume teams. And George Drakoulias. Which I only bring up to hammer home the Galifanakis connection). Part II did have a whole new writing staff, which makes their plagiarism seem that much insane, actually.

Now throughout this whole thing I want to add that both films are funny as shit, some of the best comedies to come out of the past five years, hell, the past decade. I don't think the copycat issue is a big deal. There could be twenty Hangovers some day, it's like the next Bond franchise. Every Bond is basically the same, we just shuffle the parts and locations. That's all that Part II does. It's just a huge high-profile A-List release (tho its predecessor was a throwaway Summer Comedian starring Andy Bernard, the handsome guy from Wedding Crashers and Fat Jesus). So while the jokes are all new (Something the Austin Powers franchise cannot boast), let's talk plot structure. Naturally again, the idea of a bunch of men getting rowdy before a wedding then spending the next two days figuring out what they did is a bit too simple for NMW. No, we can go deeper. Scene by scene now, here's our roadmap:

Opening Credits: Simple white font over innocuous landscape shots. Hangover: Vegas / Part II: Thailand.

The First Scene is a domestic conversation about the upcoming wedding with the groom and one of the Four Core Alcoholics: Doug and Alan at Alan's Parents' House / Stu and Phil in the Dentist's Office

Dad loves this, so don't fuck it up: Mercedes / Teddy, Ang Lee's Son.

Alan Interrupts a toast with prepared remarks: Phil on the Roof / Teddy at Dinner

Time-Lapse City From Night to Morning: Vegas / Bangkok.

Alan is the second to wake up after Stu / Phil.

There's a critter in the bathroom: Tiger / Monkey.

Stu has damaged his face by Pulling Out his Own Tooth / Getting a Tattoo.

We awake to find someone who we did not start the night with in their hotel room: Jade's Baby (Jade may count herself but she leaves before they wake up) / Leslie Chow.

However the most important person from the night before is missing! Doug the Groom / Teddy the Son.

Check your pockets! Actually they get no clues in Part II. Part II actually tends to obfuscate their scenario far more than The Hangover does. For one, they wake up in a city they didn't even start out in while they're at least on familiar territory in their hotel room in the first installment.

Things actually get kind of out of order here, and things correspond a bit differently, not exactly lining up structure-wise. The Monk lines up a lot of these:

We partied all night with a feeble human who can't talk, so of course Alan makes inappropriate penis jokes: Jade's Baby / The Monk.

We pick up the person we're looking for but find instead Black Doug / The Monk.

With difficulty we return what we stole but are injured for it: Cop Car, we get tasered / The Monk, we get whacked with sticks.

Valuable information from a cameo: Matt Walsh playing Dr. Valsh / Nick Cassavetes playing Tattoo Joe.

Which leads us to Bryan Callen as Nice Guy Eddie, who runs a Chapel / Samir, who runs a Tranny Strip Club

Stu's Weakness for Prostitutes: Marrying Jade / Banging Ladyboy Kimmy

Leaving this place we're attacked by gangsters avenging our theft of Leslie Chow / Monkey

And someone is shot! Nice Guy Eddie / Phil.

Chow Attacks! Out of a Trunk after they locked him up the night before / Out of an Ice Cooler after they locked him up thinking he was dead in the morning.

Alan admits it was his fault we blacked out after Chow Attack! / Phil is shot.

But he didn't mean to! He thought Ruffies were Ecstasy / meant for only Teddy to eat the marshmallows

The Owner of the Animal we stole inflicts some damage: Tyson knocks out Alan / The Russian Gangsters shoot Phil.

Stu Sings! Stu's Song / Allentown.

We meet some gangsters and get an ultimatum for the release of our missing friend: Chow wants his Money / Kingsley wants Chow.

Tho improbable, we succeed during the second night but the next morning instead of Doug / Teddy the gangster has Black Doug / No one. And not a gangster.

This is too much, we need to call our wives. How about Phil? But wait! Stu figures it out! These parts are identical actually.

Our missing friend was at the hotel the whole time! He was up on the roof / in a broken elevator.

Race to the wedding in a Pretty Busted Mercedes / Gangster Speedboat. C'mon, that's an upgrade.

Stu! Time to tell off somebody - Girlfriend Melissa / Fiance Lauren's Father.

So the wedding goes pretty smoothly despite the groom having a rough face full of Suburn / Tattoo.

We've got a special guest singer, it's The Dan Band / Tyson.

And someone found a camera, let's look at the ridiculousness we actually had over the credits!

Here are some more General Similarities and Running Jokes:
The group grows from Four to Six Partiers: Stu, Phil, Alan, Doug, Black Doug and Chow / Stu, Phil, Alan, Teddy, The Monk and Chow.

The worst injury anyone suffers is done to themselves: Stu pulls his own tooth / Teddy chops off his own finger.

Tyson Sings: "In the Air Tonight" / "One Night in Bangkok" ... terribly.

Alan knows the touring schedule of the Jonas Brothers. And has a creepy obsession with Phil. And doesn't swear.

Phil hates his kids and once again inexplicably comes out of the night relatively unscathed but works as the leader of the gang to piece together the night before.

Stu goes through a lot. Really this is just for the narrative - the most uptight character needs to freak out the most at the demon that's unleashed. Phil or Alan would be way too cool with doing what Stu does.

Kanye West music is featured: "Can't Tell Me Nothing" / "Dark Fantasy"

Mr. Creepy.

I'm actually sure that there's a ton more. Any suggestions I will definitely accept. At any rate, feel free to write your very own Hangover Movie using this outline. It's guaranteed to gross $200+ million domestically.

06 June 2011

First Impressions: V-Men: First Ass

See, they're V-Men because they're Virgin Men. It's their first ass. Meaning homosexual sex.

So this was X-Weekend, in addition to the okay premiere of X-Men: First Class (2011) F/X played the entire trilogy all weekend. The only thing missing was X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), which I think everyone was perfectly fine with. First Class was an excellent film though, very well balanced between intelligent character drama and dumb blockbuster.

First Class is pretty interesting right from the start because it's really the first major Superhero Franchise flick set in a different time period. It seems like we're almost more obsessed with the style of the 1960s more than the 1980s lately from the crossover fashion of Mad Men to um...that movie, X-Men: First Class that just came out. The result is some sleek looks and actually a couple blue and yellow tights that don't look as ridiculous as they would have in X-Men (2000).

This is one of the better-cast Superhero Films in recent memory. Everyone gels, from character actors like Michael Ironsides and Boris the Blade in bit parts to the obviously inspired casting of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr respectively. Jennifer Lawrence adds some dignity (and speaking) to Mystique and Kevin Bacon owns Sebastian Shaw.

Shaw is an underrated X-Men villain. For the fifth movie in the franchise, X-Men tends to suffer from Superman Villain syndrome - with a few wrinkles here and there the antagonist has primarily been Magneto with the occasional evil human like Senator Kelly or William Stryker thrown in. The X-Men comics however, have such a huge library to choose from, with options like Apocalypse, Juggernaut, the Shadow King, Mr. Sinister and Sauron there's no shortage at all. Shaw fits the 60s motif, he's a classier kind of sophisticated villain that Bacon really slimes over. He's also practically the same as Magneto, albeit a crazier version, but their ideology is very similar. First Class is all about competing ideologies, mostly centered on Magneto's eventual path to claim the anti-Human throne from Shaw.

The Magneto/Charles dilemma is really the core of this film and it's interesting that this film really develops their friendship. It actually has some callbacks to the main X-Trilogy - the chess games, the cordiality, the mutant/human debate. It's important that by the end of First Class (SPOILER?!) and Magneto is accidentally responsible for Xavier's paralysis, he has some true deep regret, not at what he's become but at the fact that Charles just can't view humanity in the same negative light as Erik. Magneto has never been an insane villain, he's not like Norman Osborn or Red Skull who have aspirations of world domination through crazy selfish reasons. He always sees himself as justified, fighting for Mutant Rights the same as Charles, merely willing to take a few more lives along the way. By the films' end the sides that all mutants present choose is very interesting, most notably Mystique.

Mystique throughout the rest of the X-Films is really this Magneto Lackey. She barely speaks in her natural form and exists as eye candy more than anything else. It's nice that the movies have kept her slutty comic book nature intact, and she really tries to put the moves on Xavier at first and Beast later in First Class. Her character is much more developed here than anything Rebecca Romijn has ever done with her. It's cool to see her as Charles' buddy for most of the flick while eventually siding with Erik. In some part this shows out fine the line between their ideologies really is.

Young Charles is also awesome. Patrick Stewart's Xavier is so dignified and eloquent, it's fun to see McAvoy's Xavier drunk in the bars, using his powers to hit on chicks. Because that's what a young Xavier would do! Erik's upbringing is so drastically different, there is so much more pain and poverty, it's not a struggle to see why their close friendship eventually falls apart.

I'll also praise First Class for finding ways to actually use Xavier's powers in battle. It's a tough call because he is really only advantageous on the mental realm, which seems anathema to cool fight scenes. On the other hand, his powers may also seem too great to find a worthy opponent - this is a little Superman Syndrome. The X-Trilogy deals with this in a few ways. In X-Men Mystique sabotages Cerebro, which puts him in coma; he's drugged, kidnapped and trapped in an illusion in X2: X-Men United (2003) and finally they just kill him off in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). First Class doesn't balk at this at all and actually shows how important Xavier is as a coordinator of battle and a truly empathetic teacher to his students. It's one of the only treatments of Xavier in recent memory that renders Professor X as pretty cool instead of boringly reading minds in the background.

Needless to say I really liked this movie, but it has its fair share of problems. For one, the CGI was terrible and much more outrageous than it needed to be. The stakes are actually pretty huge here, the X-Men are literally saving the world, which is a bit more drastic than some other Superhero films. Wait, this is fun, let's go over some stakes of other Superhero Movies:

Spider-Man (2002): Peter Parker must save his busty classmate from the Green Goblin
Hulk (2003): Bruce Banner must save San Francisco from himself and his father
Batman Begins (2005): Bruce Wayne must save Gotham from going nuts on Scarecrow Fear Poison (Batman actually half-fails at this)
Fantastic Four (2005): The Fantastic Four must save themselves from Dr. Doom attacking them
Superman Returns (2006): Clark Kent must save North America from flooding after Luthor steals his own technology. Actually Superman never knows this is Luthor's plan
Iron Man (2008): Tony Stark must save innocent brown people from his own weapons
THOR (2009): Thor must save his Realm from the Bifrost Gun Thing. Right?

I think I've mentioned this before, but you ever notice that every single Spider-Man movie ends the same way? Mary Jane is kidnapped by whatever crazy costumed idiot is ticked at Spidey that week and Pete's gotta go save her. In Spider-Man 2 (2004) he's saving the city from Ock's Fusion Experiment (tho it's not Ock's intention to destroy the city), by Spider-Man 3 (2007) he's basically just fending off people he's pissed off and are coming after him with no other evil plan.

Actually you know what, in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) they actually do save the world from Galactus so the stakes are pretty high but that movie is so unspeakably bad it really doesn't warrant mentioning here. Anyone notice that sandwiched between airings of Doubt (2008) and The Wrestler (2008) on F/X? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

So First Class has some important stakes but the CGI is still terrible. There is also some weird flirtation with 60s issues like Racism and Sexism but it barely takes notice. The shot of African-American Darwin when Sebastian Shaw mentions slavery is just over the top. He's also the firs to die. How is the black guy STILL the first to die?! Didn't we learn anything from Deep Blue Sea (1999)?! There's totally a moment in that Shaw temptation scene (which by the way, it is nice to see these Young Mutants actually acting like rowdy young mutants, Bobby Drake and Rogue were so maudlin during the whole X-Trilogy, c'mon, Iceman is hilarious) when it appears as though all the Brown People are turning to the evil side, leaving the X-Men nice and white. What the hell?

January Jones' boobs deserve their own article but Emma Frost was not as developed as she could have been. It's nice to see that January really can't move on between these identical 60s roles. It seems like there were points when the men around her suddenly remember they're supposed to be in the 60s and treating the women like shit so Shaw starts ordering her around. Later, Moira MacTaggert (who I don't really care about not being a Scottish Scientist, her role fit the story, tho what the fuck was she doing training with the mutants at the Mansion for that week?) get some anti-feminist mouth from her superiors that's the same kind of "Oh yeah, I'm supposed to hate women in this time period" tone. Can someone else remind Fassbender he should have a consistent German Accent? I mean, German or American whatever, but why the hell is it bouncing around to Irish, English, what is going on, dude. C'mon.

I will add that this movie does have some fantastic cameos that should never be spoiled, just watch and see. If you're a big continuity fan and get mad that Cyclops' brother Havok is here in the 60s, as is a Young Mystique somehow (explained with a throwaway line that her cells age differently. She's also real old in the comics, actually, which is how she is able to be the mother of half the X-Men). The ages of Patrick Stewart-Xavier and Ian McKellan-Magneto actually correspond pretty well to First Class (The credits list a 24-yr old Charles, placing his birth in 1938, Stewart was born in 1940, McKellan in 1939).

The film had one of the worst openings for an X-Men film since the first installment, ten years ago. Do people like Wolverine that much? Wolverine had been done to death by X2, every fucking film was about him. Why can't anyone like something else in this universe? Why is getting a movie about Apocalypse as tough as a Superman movie with Doomsday? I mean, when this is the staple of 20-somethings everywhere it shouldn't be tough to come up with doable stories, especially with characters this well-established now.

Maybe not.


Summer Jam 2011: June 6 Winners

Well my friends we're into June now, the month of Grammar School Ending, Golf and Cottonwood Fuzzies everywhere. As the Summer Waltz continues we had a very tight week on the Race to Summer Jam 2011 with a ton of close calls and some new faces. Let's dig it:

#8: "The Show Goes On" by Lupe Fiasco

Lupe tumbled a bit on the charts this week and it seems like that little surge he was riding may be over. I'm hoping the popularity of this track launches Lupe's career a bit, he's pretty talented and deserving of some glory over some carbon copy rappers out there on the Hot 100 these days (Wiz Khalifa, Tinie Tempah, Jeremih, what the hell). There's a lot of positivity with Lupe's track here which is great to relax with in Summer tho by a large margin it's not irreverent either. That said, we may not see much more of it.

#7: "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO ft. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock

Here's that Summer Irreverence. I've never seen a song put out collectively by so many artists I haven't heard of but this track is actually a lot of fun. It's perfect Summer Dane Tune and should continue doing well as we go through the Season. The video is pretty entertaining as well, though I can't really tell who the hell is GoonRock and who is Laugh My Fucking Ass Off. It's got an energizing beat and a pretty fun nature, again I'm a fan of positive music, that's what Summer's all about. Also this is the most blatantly descriptive title since The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).

#6: "Lazy Song" by Bruno Mars

This song really is far too tempting to enact in daily life. It remains at #6 this week with some pretty consistent airplay Those apes are really freaky. Possibly less so than Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), which we do need to talk about more, including possibly having the most awkward movie title ever as well as a plot identical to Deep Blue Sea (1999) for some reason. Anyway, Bruno does alright here and should stick around a bit.

#5: "The Edge of Glory" by Lady GaGa

GaGa finally finds some traction as "The Edge of Glory" exploded this week. This is a superior song in every way to "Judas" but I'm still not convinced it can rule Summer. Possibly when "E.T." and "Rolling in the Deep" stop battling GaGa can edge up into the vacuum but for now this is where she lands. I actually like the structure of this track, it's got a very epic feel to it, even if it's 80s epic.

#4: "Just Can't Get Enough" by The Black Eyed Peas

Somehow this song is still hanging around and increasing stock on its way to being a significant Jam. I heard this track constantly this week but it's not charting in proportion so it'll settle here.I do hate The Black Eyed Peas with a burning furious passion now but a lot of tracks off The Beginning are actually tolerable though the electronica is unforgiving.

#3: "Till the World Ends" by Britney Spears

This was Britney week, man. With Britney you gotta compare her to her earlier work, this girl really peaked at 17, which is unfortunate. Her singing here is actually quite a bit more advanced that "...Baby One More Time" and I think the song is doing well because she's not singing about fucking or how shitty her public image is. Did you know a judge ruled that Kevin Federline was the better parent? C'mon, Brit. You can't lose to K-Fed. Anyway, this is a good Summer Song, very energetic, exciting and hot.

#2: "E.T." by Katy Perry ft. Kanye West

It's a tough switch-up this week but Adele is just dominating every chart imaginable. Katy's really freaking me out in this video though. I feel like these pop starlets need to be a bit less obtuse in their videos, between this and GaGa tripping out I am very scared of turning on vH1 in the morning. I'd have to watch Sportscenter or something ridiculous. Katy's videos are actually typically much more grounded in reality ("California Gurls" aside), this shit is just nuts.

#1: "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele

Like I mentioned Adele is everywhere, #1 on every important chart and even #100 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs somehow. I really didn't hear it all that much but it's clear that this girl isn't going anywhere soon. The battle for #1 couldn't feature more disparate tracks. "Rolling in the Deep" is very organic song with a fat pop artist and a very grounded video. "E.T." features a techno-beat, one of the hottest pop stars out there and a video literally floating out in space. It's an interesting commentary on Pop Culture that we in fact know nothing about what makes the best of Pop Culture popular.

So J. Lo fell off this week, she just didn't seem as relevant, her wishy-washyness this summer has been ridiculous. Also has anyone ever seen Pitbull's eyes? I'm not feeling either of his tracks but whatever. I was also hoping that Martin Solveig & Dragonette's "Hello" would catch on over here as much as it has in the UK but that seems unlikely now. Tune in next week for more dancing!
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