Ryan Gosling is about to play himself. (In the DJ Khaled sense, not the Being John Malkovich sense.) The actor’s been on something of a roll recently, scoring critical plaudits for The Nice Guys and La La Land last year — the latter of which ended up a surprise blockbuster and less-surprise Oscar hoarder — and continuing on into 2017 with this past spring’s Song to Song. He’s got Blade Runner 2049 on the docket for this fall, a likely smash that may earn him admiration among nerd circles, the last niche demographic he has not yet charmed. But with the world at his feet, Gosling’s now making moves to dash all the goodwill he’s recently built up.
At last, a news item that combines the two most universally beloved genres of showbiz reporting: “Celebrities extending kindness to un-famous teens by acknowledging them through the internet” stories and “Ryan Reynolds getting into mischief again!” stories. We live in wondrous times, friends, where a skillful Photoshop job and a moment’s tweetings can get a bona fide movie star into your orbit — and change the trajectory of your life forever.
Here’s how thoroughly Batman’s influence has permeated the mainstream: he’s claimed tacit ownership of the very notion of shining a light into the sky. The Bat-Signal, introduced in the comics as Gotham City’s method of summoning the Dark Knight, has been endlessly parodied in the annals of pop-culture — just earlier this month, the poster for Captain Underpants paid homage to the iconic (a word I mean here literally, and not in the ‘a photo of the Kardashians’ sense) design of the skyward spotlight. And all too appropriately, the Bat-Signal will now be used to give one former Batman, the dearly departed Adam West, a proper send-off.
Serious question: does any single entertainer have such complete dominion over their chosen field as Weird Al Yankovic wields over the song parody? Skeptics may scoff that musical spoofery is a stupid thing to become really, really, virtuosically good at, but the point stands that Yankovic has completely and totally mastered his preferred art form. So when the producers behind the upcoming film adaptation of the Captain Underpants chapter book series needed to find a talent for their theme music, of course their choice was obvious. In no insignificant way, Weird Al Yankovic was born to write a peppy pop tune about tightened-whiteys.
We owe a lot to scientists — they cured polio, got us on the moon, and they‘re doing their darnedest to stop us from methodically killing the planet. But man, what a bunch of nerds. It seems like every time biologists discover a new species of animal and need to give it a name, they take the opportunity to bust out a reference to their favorite bit of geek-approved pop culture. Lest we forget the velvet worm named after My Neighbor Totoro, and we’d be remiss to overlook the euglossa bazinga, a rare bee with a Big Bang Theory catchphrase as its namesake. And it appears that now the nerds are at it again.
Now that Austin Powers has safely moved past its “overexposure through incessant quoting” phase, there’s a lot to love about the movie. The peppy flute theme from Quincy Jones, Myers’ screwloose double-turn as the International Man of Mystery and his pinky-brandishing nemesis, the kitschy ’60s-by-way-of-’90s design, it‘s all a pretty good time. (Not to mention that the tactfully obscured nude scene is a marvel of blocking and composition.) A recent oral history has gotten Myers’ most beloved comic creation back in the public eye, and amidst rumors that a sequel may be in the cards at some indeterminate point in the future, another surprising discovery has been made.
What exactly does the term “break the internet” mean? Web-surfers understand the definition as “causing a commotion of such great size and scale that the World Wide Web could shut down as a result of its enormity,” and yet the phrase only conjures one image to mind — that of Kim Kardashian on her notorious Paper Magazine cover, popping champagne directly onto a glass balanced atop her buttocks. So when Disney announced yesterday that their sequel to video game hodgepodge Wreck-It Ralph would bear the subtitle Ralph Breaks the Internet, we may interpret it one of two ways. Either Ralph’s going to go on an epic quest through the online wilds, or the 8-bit hero is about to blow our minds with the roundest ’donk in the history of animated cinema.
As an avowed walker and train-taker, I’m not much of a car guy, personally. But I know a thing or two — I can change a flat tire, correctly identify where jumper cables should be clamped, and I know enough that anyone who offers to sell you a ‘flux capacitor’ is having a laugh at your expense. The auto part was imagineered (a make-believe word for ‘invented’ that the folks at Disney originally imagineered) for Back to the Future, the all-important component that gives Marty McFly‘s Delorean the power to traverse time. And now, you too can attempt to flaunt the laws of metaphysics by souping out your ride of choice (imagine how a silent, time-traveling Prius would freak out people in the ’50s) with your very own flux capacitor.
Disney’s concept for Christopher Robin — a live-action reimagining of the happy tales of Winnie the Pooh and the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood gang — was kind of weird from the start. The idea was that the film would rejoin Pooh’s young pal Christopher Robin as a family man swept up in his professional life, with Pooh returning to remind the jaded grown-up of the wonderment of childhood. Perhaps Disney recognized what a tricky sell that might be, and accordingly decided to throw all the talented people they could at this. They brought in acerbic indie-circuit favorite Alex Ross Perry to draw up a script, and then hired eclectic director Marc Forster (responsible for everything from World War Z to Stranger Than Fiction to Finding Neverland to Quantum of Solace) to head up the operation.
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