In recent days the internet has seemed unduly obsessed with money: there have been countless reports about how much the reunited Gilmore Girls cast could be earning and how much Daniel Radcliffe (may have) made from Harry Potter. Let’s just accept they’re all more than rich enough to do their weekly grocery shop at Whole Foods, and move on to 10 more interesting things happening this week in pop culture.
1. WHAT TO WATCH FOR AN INTIMATE GLIMPSE OF A SUPERSTAR IN ACTION
Premiering on Netflix on October 12, this superior concert film captures the final night of Timberlake’s 134-date 20/20 Experience World Tour, which took place at Las Vegas’s MGM Grand Garden Arena in January 2015. Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme provides a few peeks into the backstage bustle that surrounds any huge arena tour, but the focus, rightly, is on Timberlake’s world-class stage skills and his dazzling 25-piece band.
2. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU’RE ALWAYS GRIPPED BY A COURTROOM DRAMA
Having created Boston Legal, The Practice and Ally McBeal, it’s no exaggeration to call David E. Kelley the doyen of TV legal drama. His new 10-part series for Amazon, which launches in full on October 14, stars Billy Bob Thornton as a disgraced lawyer who happens upon a case that could restore his reputation and help him exact revenge on his former firm. With a classy supporting cast that includes William Hurt and Maria Bello, Goliath could be Kelley’s best new show in years.
3. WHAT TO WATCH FOR CLEVER HEARTFELT HUMOR
Loosely based on the memoir of celebrity chef Eddie Huang, this ABC sitcom centers on a second-generation immigrant family running a steak restaurant in Orlando, Florida. It’s always deserved credit for giving Asian Americans a primetime face, but last year’s second season actually improved on the first: the family-based humor was funnier, the cast really gelled, and the writers slipped in some sharp points about race, culture clashes and generational differences. Let’s hope season three, which debuts on October 11, maintains this forward momentum. (One of Fresh Off the Boat‘s sharp writers, comedian Ali Wong, has been extensively profiled in the October 3 issue of the New Yorker.)
4. WHAT TO WATCH FOR OFFBEAT OBSERVATIONAL HUMOR
As co-writer of This Is Spinal Tap and director of films including Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman, Christopher Guest helped to popularize the mockumentary format that’s since been embraced by TV sitcoms like Modern Family. In yet another coup for the streaming revolution, his first film in a decade, Mascots, premieres on Netflix on October 13. Guest’s distinctive comedy relies heavily on improvisation, so it’s no surprise to see he’s brought back many of his regular actors (Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge and Parker Posey among them) for a quirky-sounding story about sport mascots competing for something called the Gold Fluffy Award. If this is vintage Guest, expect poignant moments as well as strange and funny ones.
5. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU’VE BEEN MISSING BEN AFFLECK’S SERIOUS SIDE
Ben Affleck packs away his batsuit to play Christian Wolff, a morally dubious maths genius who earns his crust cooking the books for ruthless criminal organizations. With the Treasury on his trail, Wolff takes on a seemingly legitimate client to cover his tracks, but winds up in even more danger than before. With Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons and Transparent‘s Jeffrey Tambor to bounce off, this dark crime drama should push Affleck somewhere close to top form again.
6. WHAT TO LISTEN TO NEXT TIME YOU NEED A DISCO-FLAVORED PICK-ME-UP
Given the enormous success of “Uptown Funk,” his chart-topping 2014 collaboration with Mark Ronson, it’s no surprise that Bruno Mars has returned with another slab of feel-good disco-funk. “Don’t fight the feeling, invite the feeling,” he sings towards the end, as if we have any choice in the matter when the song is this irresistibly catchy. Expect to hear “24K Magic” (which is pronounced “24 karat magic,” FYI) at a lot of parties this holiday season.
7. WHAT TO LISTEN TO IF YOU’RE A SUCKER FOR A COMEBACK
Back in 2004, Joanna “JoJo” Levesque released debut single “Leave (Get Out)” and became, at 13, the youngest solo artist ever to have a number one. JoJo scored a couple more big hits (“Baby It’s You” and “Too Little, Too Late”) before getting trapped in a disastrous record deal with a company that refused to release her new material. Finally free and now signed to a new, more receptive label, JoJo s back with her first album in a decade. “Mad Love” is a big, bold, brilliantly-sung pop record with lyrics that celebrate self-empowerment and her ability to triumph over adversity. In short, it’s stirring stuff.
8. WHAT TO CHECK OUT ON INSTAGRAM IF YOU LIKE A VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF POP GROUP
Virtual band Gorillaz, whose fictional cartoon members include singer 2D and guitarist Noodle, have recently launched their first ever Instagram. This presumably means a new album is on its way, but even if you’ve never heard their biggest hits “Feel Good Inc.” and “Clint Eastwood,” their ‘gram is worth a visit for its handy recap of the band’s innovative visual history. Gorillaz may not be “real,” but they’ve still graced magazine covers, gone on tour, and collaborated with everyone from Madonna to Snoop Dogg.
9. WHICH NEW STAGE MUSICAL TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Written by Tina Fey and starring Lindsay Lohan at her teen-queen peak, 2004’s Mean Girls is one of the funniest—and most quotable—high school movies ever. Fans have been clamoring for a stage adaptation ever since Fey first spoke about one in 2013, so it’s a relief to report we finally have some concrete information: the Mean Girls musical will premiere in Washington D.C. next fall, hopefully on a Wednesday, when audience members will have to wear pink as Rachel McAdams’ character in the film prescribes. Follow @MeanGirlsDC for updates as and when they happen.
10. AND, FINALLY, WHO TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER BECAUSE HE’S THIS YEAR’S HOTTEST ROCK STAR BY FAR
In March, British band the 1975 topped the Billboard albums chart with their second album… wait for it… I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It. Their super-catchy songs influenced by U.S. R&B, British indie and classic David Bowie hits are pretty irresistible, but charismatic frontman Matt Healy is the band’s USP. On his Twitter account named in honor of Truman Capote, he’s witty, self-deprecating and admirably opinionated: last month he called out a tabloid newspaper for running a sexist article about Harry Potter actress Emma Watson.Read More