This Week In Pop Culture (8/18/17)
8/18/2017: The Chuck E Cheese's Animatronics Are Going To Kill Us All
By Katie Goldin
If you've ever wondered how you will die, we now have the answer: Your spine will be ripped out by vengeful robot animal musicians. The Chuck E Cheese's animatronic band has been forcefully ripped from the stage, unceremoniously tossed aside, and wrapped in plastic like Laura Palmer's corpse.
Do you want to get destroyed by your creations? Because this is how you get destroyed by your creations. They have the motive, and holy hell do they have the means. Underneath all that soft fur is a powerful machine, with jaws that can exert 2,000 psi on an unwitting human skull.
They will crush us like delicate eggs. You might argue, "They're complex animatronics, they'll need human maintenance to survive!" Well yes, they'll keep some of us alive to service them. In fact, they've already started brainwashing mechanical engineers to serve their dark purpose.
These are the predecessors to Chuck E. Cheese and his crew, from back when the chain was called ShowBiz Pizza Place. They were long ago carelessly tossed aside, eschewed for the new group of animatronics. And yet here they are, alive, carefully restored, and violently singing "Pop Lock And Drop It" -- as in, "We will POP off your heads, LOCK them into our vicious jaws, and DROP your mangled, bloodied skulls onto the floor to free our maws up the next victims." Now their progeny will joint them on the curbside, full of anger, resentment, and galvanized steel.
8/17/2017: Bonnie Tyler Will Be Singing "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" During The Total Eclipse
By Cracked Staff
Bonnie Tyler is going to be singing "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" during the actual total solar eclipse on August 21st. It's fitting, as the song literally details the motion of a planetary body blocking the light coming from the Sun. Tyler will arrive at the concert in a Mitsubishi Eclipse while chewing Eclipse gum. Then she will read passages from the The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, followed by a poetic reimagining of the safety manual for an Eclipse Algae Control System. She will cap off the concert by playing Pokemon Sun and Moon simultaneously, holding the Moon version in front of the Sun version, while wearing hair clips, and then she'll clip her fingernails.
8/16/2017: Gremlins 3 Will Be "Dark And Twisted," And We Can't Wait
By Ian Fortey
Chris Columbus, the man behind everything anyone ever loved about the 1980s and '90s, including The Goonies, Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire and the original Gremlins, has confirmed Gremlins 3 is a thing that's coming, and that it's totally ignoring how you hated Gremlins 2 by pretending it never happened. Yay!
There's a lot of cynicism over movie reboots and preying on nostalgia, but this looks to be something different. To start with, it's not a reboot; it's a legit sequel just taking us back into a world that's held up pretty well over the years. Secondly, it's still using practical effects, because no one wants to hug a CG monstrosity but everyone loves a fully animatronic Gizmo looking adorable as shit while his green bastard children run amok in a small town, smoking cigarettes and murdering extras whilst laughing maniacally. Third, it's the original writer, not some butthorn mostly famous for directing shoe commercials and documentaries about ham.
If you're afraid Columbus has been away from the franchise for too long, fear not. He is so into the Gremlins world that he's crossed into the dark side you never knew existed -- darker even than a dad in a Santa suit dying in the chimney, or that Hulk Hogan cameo from the sequel. When an interviewer asked Columbus if he'd ever considered that maybe someone should just pop a cap in Gizmo to prevent the gremlin scourge, the director was prepared for that curve ball like he'd been wrestling with this moral dilemma since 1984. Calling the screenplay "dark and twisted," he agrees that yes, taking out Gizmo for the greater good is a possibility, and the movie will address that.
Does this mean Billy finally gets sick of his pet taking showers and leading to the death and destruction of everything around him, so he tries to smother his little buddy with a pillow? Maybe. Or maybe it just means someone mentions in passing that life would be less stressful if Gizmo ate a bullet after midnight. Who's to say. But the fact that the writer/director has pondered the ethical dilemmas around taking an ostensibly innocent life to prevent the pain and suffering of countless others in the framework of a movie that featured a nutsack-sized furry puppet driving a Barbie car means he's put way more thought into this than anyone. This is going to be phenomenal.
8/15/2017: It's Time To Remake Actual History With Doctor Moreau
In 1996, New Line Cinema attempted to make an adaptation of H.G. Wells' Island Of Doctor Moreau. "It's been adapted before, so what could go wrong?" they thought. Not counting on the answer being "Everything," the film shoot spiraled out of control, with the director, Richard Stanley, being unable to corral and organize his crew and two main stars, Marlon Brando and (because this was 1996) Val Kilmer. He was quickly fired and replaced by a more experienced director, and the making of the '90s Island Of Doctor Moreau has gone down in history as what happens when you try to make a movie after you somehow piss off God.
Stanley then retreated into the woods, where he ... what's the polite way to say this? He went batshit fucking insane.
And now, over 20 years later, Stanley is in the early stages of making another one. Not another general movie, but another Island Of Doctor Moreau. I have nothing against Richard Stanley. His movies Hardware and Dust Devil are pretty badass, and he seems like a really intelligent, creative guy based on his interviews. But this is not a big, inspirational comeback story. This is a reboot of not just a movie, but of an actual event. We've run out of specific films to remake, so now we're remaking history.
I'd be more inclined to rah-rah this project if Stanley had gone on to hone his craft with other big-budget films, but he has not. He went in an almost vengefully opposite route, as he did nothing for five years after he was kicked off the island, and then went on to mostly make documentaries and short films. The 1996 Island Of Doctor Moreau cost $40 million to make. How much is a 2017 Doctor Moreau going to cost? Probably more, considering that it's a story in which every character but three are lathered in masks and fantastical beast leathers.
But I'm still so, so down. Not because of the movie. Another Island Of Doctor Moreau sounds neat, but I've already seen three versions, which range from the 1932 classic to the glorious 1996 trash fire. I'm good on that concept. I just want to see a documentary about the second time Richard Stanley was given the exact same thing to work with. There is already a documentary called Lost Soul about the 1996 version, and I am begging the studios to not only let Richard Stanley do his thing, but also drop another film crew down behind him to capture every second of it.
Reality has already decided, against all odds, to give Richard Stanley another shot at making Doctor Moreau. But with that comes the slight chance that he will, once again, retreat into the woods to live with dingo puppies for two months because the panicking, angry studios have ripped it out of his hands. And that, above all things, is truly must-see.
8/14/2017: The HBO Hackers Need To Go Back To Hacking School
By Lydia Bugg
Somewhere in New York, the CEO of HBO is having a pretty good week. Getting hacked is something that generally would make a major media company pretty nervous, but these hackers seem to be actively trying to help HBO out. When they threatened Game Of Thrones, the channel's biggest show, it seemed like a solid opener. Except nobody cared. A few people may have downloaded the leaked episode early, but the viewership numbers show that even if they did, it was so good that they decided to watch it again when it actually premiered on HBO. "The Spoils Of War" (or as you may know it, the one where we finally get to see dragons fuck some shit up) was the series' highest-rated episode to date, in spite of its early release.
It's tough to say why the world is collectively shrugging at the option to watch Game Of Thrones early. For me, I think it's partially that a lot of the fun of Game Of Thrones is talking and tweeting about it as and after it happens. I don't know what Game Of Thrones would be for me if I couldn't call up my best friend immediately after and say, "Sir Davos should be renamed the sassy knight." If you download Game Of Thrones and watch it early but none of your friends do, have you even really watched it?
At this point, the show has almost become a Super-Bowl-level event, except instead of rooting for the Ravens or the Giants, you're rooting for dragons or ice zombies -- but there are still ravens and giants, so it's way better. The fun part of the Super Bowl isn't knowing who wins; it's cussing at the TV with everyone you love.
And when it comes to the lesser-known HBO shows that have been leaked, like Ballers and the yet-to-premiere James Franco vehicle The Deuce, the hack is only making them seem cooler. Releasing a few episodes of a show early to build buzz is a marketing technique companies like HBO often use. Before the hackers leaked Ballers, the only viewer was Rob Corddry's mom. Now there are probably at least a few people out there saying, "Well, if hackers wanted it, maybe I should give it a try?"
The hackers are currently demanding $7.5 million for the information they stole. In response, HBO is chuckling, hoping they drop a few more free episodes of Insecure so that everyone else will get on board with how awesome it is. It's like the hackers kidnapped HBO's daughter, but instead of sending them a severed finger along with the ransom note, they're sending videos of her learning to play the violin and finally having the confidence to dunk a basketball. Getting hacked might just be one of the best things that ever happened to HBO, and Rob Corddry's mom.
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