One More Time

Hi everyone,

This is the last time I’ll jump on here to plug this one. The first episode is live now.

We’re talking Post Malone and the Death of Popular Culture. You can listen wherever you like your podcasts.

Thanks again for enjoying this blog while it lasted.

PCB_logo_23.02.20

I Don’t Know How I Feel? Someone Tell Me.

NOTE: Pop Culture Boner has a new home and a new podcast. You can listen here, if that’s your jam. 

James Franco is a weird guy. I’m totally cool with it because most of the time he uses those powers for good. He volunteers with the Art of Elysium charity, which gets actors, musicians and artists to donate their time and talent to providing workshops for seriously ill kids. He’s in a really varied bunch of films, from stoner flicks like Pineapple Express, to things that make me weep tears of blood like Milk, to really harrowing things that I want to never have to watch again, like 127 Hours. He was in Spiderman. He has a recurring role in General Hospital (seriously… look it up). He’s a PhD student at Yale. Sometimes he is in drag (I am well into it). But perhaps his most special ability is the fact that he can go from being pretty cool and kind of amazing to making you think “oh good Lord, why are you…? No… stop…” in about 30 seconds flat. And that’s what happened here. Check out this video of Franco and his Spring Breakers co-star Ashley Benson (who you may recognise from Pretty Little Liars) lip-syncing to Justin Bieber’s Boyfriend.

In theory, I love this. I like goofy celebrity parody videos. Most of the time I think I like James Franco. But there’s just something kind of weird about this video and now I’m not sure how I feel. For a start, there’s a lot of really bad wigs in this video. But I think what really throws me is that it starts out as  bit of harmless fun, with Franco busting out some serious dad moves.

Tell me you didn't laugh really hard at Franco doing Hokey Pokey thumbs to the tune of "swag, swag, swag".

Tell me you didn’t laugh really hard at Franco doing Hokey Pokey thumbs to the tune of “swag, swag, swag”.

But then Ashley Benson appears and everything gets a little… uncomfortable. It goes from goofy, to Benson pulling sexy faces at the camera. Which would be fine, but then this happens:

Ashley Benson

It’s hard to get a good screencap of, given the low quality of the video, but God save us all from awkward white girls humping the ground in an attempt to look sexy. Again, this would be forgiveable given that it then goes back to Franco doing some awkward dad dancing in the style of Bieber, but then it gets really weird again at around 2.20 when another female companion appears and it starts looking a little bit like an amateur porn video.

Insert your own terrible soundtrack of "Yeah baby, you like that?" here.

Insert your own terrible soundtrack of “Yeah baby, you like that?” here.

Then it all gets a bit stranger when you realise that the “female” companion was probably not female but actually just a guy in drag.

Oh...

Oh…

Anyway, by the time I got to the end of the video I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about the whole affair. I think I liked it. But did I? Who knows?  The video description reads: “He deleted it, but it was too late.” Which is probably an accurate state of affairs considering the video only reappeared on Franco’s channel after everyone had picked up on the ripped copy on another account. But I think the whole thing can be summed up by YouTube comments.

Franco

Bandwagon Ahoy!: Just a Bit o’ the Ol’ Ultraviolence

NOTE: Pop Culture Boner has a new home and a new podcast. You can listen here, if that’s your jam. 

So, after a weekend of loitering in the Australian bush, dancing like crazy for 12 hours a day and nursing hangovers on my friend’s couch I am back and ready to blog. Whilst nursing aforementioned hangover, I rewatched The Hunger Games, which in turn launched me down the path of re-reading/re-watching the Japanese cult hit that shares a suspiciously similar concept, Battle Royale. 

Hunger

I’m assuming most of you know the concept of The Hunger Games – kids are offered up as tribute to fight to the death in an arena controlled by the government as punishment for a rebellion that tore the country up for a while. Our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, uses her hunting skills, brought about by intense poverty, to survive and win the games. Revolution  ensues, etc. etc. Battle Royale runs along the same lines. A class of high school students is offered up for “research purposes” to fight to the death on an island controlled by the government. The winner gets to live on a government pension for the rest of their lives and the winner is shown (often sent raving mad and covered in blood) to the public to keep the fear and paranoia going. Shuya Nanahara and Noriko Nakagawa both manage to survive, but there’s no revolution or glorious ending. They just end up on the run, trying to escape to the US so that they can continue to live.

I’m not pointing out the similarities in plot to criticise. I think both books and their filmic adaptations are trying to achieve something different. They’re also directed at significantly different audiences, so where The Hunger Games has a lot of implied violence, Battle Royale is a mass of gun violence and psychosis.

So, if I’m not here to tear Suzanne Collins apart for ripping off Battle Royale what am I even doing? Excellent question. I was catching up on what I missed in my little week off I came across an article on EW talking about the two new reality shows that American network The CW has ordered for their lineup, one of which is called The Hunt and sounds suspiciously like they’ve turned The Hunger Games into a reality TV show. Wait…in the book it is already a TV show… Well, they’ve just taken the death out of The Hunger Games and put it on TV essentially.

In this show, 12 teams of two are dropped into the forest and have to capture other players in order to win a cash prize. They’ll spend a month running around in the wilderness, using their hunting skills and whatnot to survive. On top of that the network is also apparently developing a drama series based around Battle Royale. Like, not just a sneaky rip off in the way The Hunt sounds like it’s going to be. They’ve actually made calls to Japan to inquire about buying the rights to a TV show. Their reasoning? “Battle Royale comes with a nice cult following, as you all know.” That’s Mark Pedowitz, chief at CW, speaking about it. Heaven forbid they have to come up with an original idea to gain a cult following.

Anyway, having read through the concept for each of the programs I have to say, it sounds like the networks have found a new bandwagon to jump on. For ages there we had the recent resurgence vampire craze, which spawned about a million different things, the most successful of which were The Vampire Diaries and True Blood. We’ve also had a bit of zombie love filling up the airways with The Walking DeadGame of the Thrones has killed it every which way. So, where to? Well, apparently what we’re all lacking in our day to day is a bit of the ol’ ultraviolence, me lovelies. We want gutsy extreme survival with a bit of blood thrown in for good measure.

This is the kind of creepy-ass shit I wanna see on my TV... Or not.

This is the kind of creepy-ass shit I wanna see on my TV… Or not.

There’s something about the network commissioning these shows that, to me, smacks of irony.These books both show total government control. Battle Royale in particular can be read both as a rollicking piece of pulp fiction and a critique of governmental power taken to its absolute extreme. Both the book and the film were shrouded in controversy on their release, with various government bodies threatening censorship of the more extreme content. Similarly, both Battle Royale and The Hunger Games show the television as a way of controlling a population. Obviously, it’s a much more prominent trope in The Hunger Games where the games are broadcast as a television program, but it exists in the Japanese story as well, with the main character having flashbacks of seeing a female winner of the battle brought before the cameras, covered in blood and cackling.

So, to me (and feel free to stop me if you think differently), with these books and films presenting the kind of commentary that they do, the idea of adapting them for reality television especially seems to have totally missed the point. Kind of like the way Big Brother did when it was first released, having taken the entirety of its concept from something that was essentially a critique of its own existence. I think it’s all a bit ridiculous. What about you? Would you watch The Hunt? Or would you be part of Pedowitz’ ready-made cult audience for a Battle Royale adaptation?

I Refuse to Spell Kesha’s Name With a ‘$’

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Before I write this post about Kesha, I shall just preface the whole thing by saying that I point blank refuse to spell her name with a ‘$’. Because it is stupid and I hate it. There is no further reasoning, really. It just annoys the bejeesus out of me because a ‘$’ is not an ‘s’ nor does it make an ‘s’ sound, so rather than proudly declaring to the world “I make millions of dollars and sleep on a giant pile of money every night” (which is what I assume it’s supposed to imply) it says “I have made a typo”. I feel so strongly about this that I have made it the title of the blog. The rest of the blog will (probably) not be about spelling.

Everyone should own a pair of leopard print thigh-highs.

The rest of the blog will be about the fact that Kesha is releasing an autobiography. Which is about the stupidest thing I’ve heard since Justin Bieber released an autobiography called Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story (100% Official). (On a side note, that is legitimately the full title of Justin Bieber’s autobiography, and as such, is too ridiculous not to include.) Anyway, no word on the title of Kesha’s masterwork yet, but according to EW it’s going to feature her “thoughts and reflections” and it’ll have pictures, because she’s marketed herself to a demographic that don’t have the attention span to sit through an entire book of words. The lady herself has this to say:

“In less than three years I’ve gone from being the worst waitress in LA to living out my childhood dreams of singing my songs to people all over the world. Sometimes, it feels as if the last few years have encompassed a few decades. You might have heard my voice on the radio, seen me onstage and on the red carpet, or in a music video, but that’s only a part of the story. In these pages, I’m revealing a more complete picture of what my life is really like. It’s not all glamorous and it s not all pretty, but it’s all real.”

Oh this should be good. I really hope she includes the part where she had sex with a ghost, because really, of all the things she’s done in the last two and a half years, the ghost sex is the most interesting part as far as I’m concerned.

Kesha is 25 years old. Realistically, there’s only so far that you can go with an autobiography when you’re 25. I’m 22. At the moment my autobiography would probably run something to the effect of: “Was born. High school, during which time did some questionable things regarding boys and alcohol. Travelled a bit, during which time did some questionable things, mostly just with alcohol. University, during which time did more questionable things regarding alcohol and boys. Today – ate a sandwich. Was a pretty good sandwich.” I mean, if I illustrated it and made the font really big I could probably stretch it out to about 10 pages.

Now, Kesha has a good three years on me and is an international superstar… or something, so she probably has a little more to say. At least I hope she does. I have taken the liberty of speculating (in rough note form) about some of the content that may appear in Kesha’s autobiography:

  • Chapter 1 – Before I Was Famous: Was born. Kesha actual name. Poor decision making on my mother’s part. Spent a good portion of childhood trying to come up with ways to make name sound more glamorous. More on that stroke of genius later. Appeared on The Simple Life with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Further poor decision making on my mother’s part. Moved to Los Angeles. Provided backing vocals on Paris Hilton’s album. Only have self to blame for that one.
  • Chapter 2 – Getting Famous: Had stroke of genius. Changed ‘s’ in name to a ‘$’. Brilliant. Also, woke up having run out of toothpaste. Substituted it for Jack Daniels. Was suddenly struck by the notion that this was how P. Diddy must feel. Wrote debut album about the experience. Surprisingly successful. Now have money to do what I like. Added more glitter to life. Satisfying.
  • Chapter 3 – Got Famous: Didn’t say much for a bit. Gave people the chance to calm down then BAM! Released a new single and talked to the press about having sex with ghosts. Seriously, though. Sex with ghosts – so intense. Spiritual, even.

I’m guessing the rest of it will just be pictures, Lord knows there’s enough of them.

One Direction Fan Fiction: We’re Reaching Maximum Ridiculousity, Folks

NOTE: Pop Culture Boner has a new home and a new podcast. You can listen here, if that’s your jam. 

I’d just like to kick this blog off by saying a big thank you to everyone who visited my blog and liked or commented on my post after it was featured on Freshly Pressed. It was very nice to receive so much attention. I would also like to say a big hello to my sudden influx of followers. Nice to meet you. I should probably take a moment to point out that normally this blog is a bit silly, so I hope that my follow-up posts aren’t too much of a disappointment. Now, on with the show, yes? Yes.

Following on from the rampaging (horrific) success of E.L James’ highly evolved piece of Twilight fan fiction, 50 Shades of Grey, a 16 year old girl has recieved a book deal for her piece of One Direction fan fiction. I’ll repeat that, just so that we can all let that sink in. A 16 year old girl, named Emily Baker, has been signed by Penguin to produce a novel based on her piece of One Direction fan fiction that garnered 30,000 fans at movellas.com.

Yyyyyup.

The story is based around a love triangle featuring two members of One Direction and a normal, everyday teenage girl. I assume we’re supposed to give Ms. Baker the benefit of the doubt and pretend that the normal, everyday teenage girl is a totally imaginary character and not the author herself living out her horny teenage fantasies. Naturally, since signing the deal, all of the original story has been deleted from its online home at Movella. Thankfully, The Independenthas a little snippet of the reworked novel, titled Loving the Band, for those of us who can’t wait for the Nov 1 release date.

“Come for a walk with me,” I said impulsively. He looked at me with indecision clouding his eyes before sighing and seeming to give in to something inside.

“OK, but put this on,” he said, pulling his jumper over my head. “It’s getting chilly.”

The sweater came down to my knees and smelled like a mixture of the salty sea air and Shaq’s musky aftershave. I gently inhaled its scent and pulled it closer round me as the wind whipped up.

We spent the first few minutes walking side by side in silence, but it was a comfortable silence as the sound of water lapping up on the beach and the waves crashing together accompanied us. He kept himself between me and the sea, as if he was afraid the water could hurt me again.

I was the first one to break the silence. “Really, thank you.”

Shaq looked down at me, confused.

“I-I mean thank you for saving my life,” I stammered, wondering what he thought I might have been talking about. “You saved me when no one else could.”

He stopped in his tracks and looked at me seriously, before pulling me to him. “You never need to question whether I’ll be there for you, Jess. I’ll always look after you. You need to know that.”

My heart quickened at his words and his touch, but I ignored its insistent pace, confused by what he was saying.

“But you aren’t, though, are you, Shaq?” I pushed him away, hurt. “In fact, you always feel so far away.”

“You know why,” he growled, head in hands. “Just as long as you’re safe, though – that’s everything that matters.”

“Well, that’s not everything to me,” I said angrily.

Frustration and pain appeared in his eyes as he gently traced his finger down my jaw. “It’s all that can be. I’m watching Riley fall in love with you, Jess.”

This amuses me for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that, as someone who reads a lot of fan fiction (don’t judge me…stop it… I can feel you judging me from here), you begin to notice that several recurring features. For one thing, men do not simply speak. They growl. Which is, of course, totally impractical and probably bad for your vocal chords. For another, sexual frustration is always conveyed through the wanton fondling of jawlines, which, whilst sexy in theory, isn’t totally practical. Also, melodrama, melodrama, melodrama! Obviously, all of these are sprinkled liberally throughout the extract above.

The other thing that really makes me giggle is the fact that, due to copyright reasons, all of the names of the characters and some of the plot had to be change so that they didn’t actually reflect any of the members of One Direction. It is now, according to the press release, a story about “what happens when you meet the boy band of every girl’s dream – and not one but two of them fall for you!” As you can see from the above extract, they have changed one of the boy’s names to Shaq… Shaq… One more time: They called one of the lead characters “Shaq”. Sounds like quality.

So, since Penguin is scouring the internets for talented writers to sign book deals for, and I am a writer who would very much like to be published by Penguin, I have decided to take a moment to put forward my own piece of fan fiction for consideration. It centres around a blogger, who is in no way a reflection of me, and her steady relationship with her work/life committments. In this scenario, the work/ life committments will be played by Ashton Kutcher, because you don’t really like him that much, but he’s persistant. This relationship is struggling but functional, when suddenly it’s put under threat by a sexy newcomer – the internet. For the purposes of the fan fiction, the internet will be played by Ryan Gosling. Because the internet loves Ryan Gosling. To prevent copyright infringement, Kutcher will go by the name of Jaq Butcher (Shaq was already taken), and Ryan Gosling will go by the name of Brian Duckling. The whole thing will feature Ryan/Brian speaking only in a growl and constantly fondling the jaw of the blogger that bares no resemblence to me at all. There will also be high drama – some potential drownings, dramatic rescues, houses on fire. That kind of thing. I haven’t really decided yet. Will Kutcher/Butcher and the blogger’s relationship survive? (Spoiler alert: probably not.)

I was going to use my mad MS Paint skillz to create a movie poster based on the plot of aforementioned fan fiction. However, I got lazy so instead, I give you a picture of Brian Duckling. Essentially he’s Ryan Gosling, but with a twirly moustache. Just to prevent copyright infringement.

I think it has potential. Hey, Penguin. Call me, baby.

Hobbits! Hobbits Everywhere!

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Today’s blog is going to be really short for a couple of reasons. Mainly because I spent all day filming interviews in the Western suburbs and I am exhausted, but also because I don’t really trust myself to be super coherent about what I’m about to show you. So uuh…hey! Hey, you guys! Look what happened!

Ahem. Excuse me one moment, but: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Calm. I am very clam. AHHHH! No I’m not! I’m really excited! I know I spend a lot of time talking about The Hobbit (this will be blog post number 3) but I have feelings! So many feelings! And then they go and give me a new trailer and it happens when I’m tired and I just want to curl up into a ball and cry because December is so, so far away.

But, although this trailer made me bounce up and down on my bed with ridiculous joy to the point of breaking it (my room is falling apart… what is my life?) it did absolutely nothing to alleviate my fears about the fact that they’re making three films. Seriously, look at all the stuff in that trailer. There’s the unexpected adventure part, a trip to Rivendell, the first meeting with Gollum and trolls, amongst other things. Where to from there? Sure, there are epic battles to come. But you can’t make a whole film about one battle and the slaying of a dragon, let alone two more films. What else is there to put in? How? Why? Everything about this screams “terrible fucking idea, Peter Jackson.”

Off to bed to dream of hobbitsies.

Argh. I don’t know what my feelings are doing. I’m torn between levitating with glee and hiding under the bed riddled with anxiety. Curse you, Peter Jackson! The only solution is to nap until Decemeber. Or at least, just have a nap for now. I’m really tired. This blog post is ridiculous. I am sorry. If I promise to write a better one next week, do you promise to come back? (Please don’t go. I love you.)

Reading Porn on Buses

NOTE: Pop Culture Boner has a new home and a new podcast. You can listen here, if that’s your jam. 

So, the other day E.L James’ inexplicably popular erotic novel, 50 Shades of Grey, became Britain’s highest selling book ever, clocking 5.4 million copies. It reached that number in 4 months. To give a little perspective, the previous best-seller was Dan’s Brown’s similarly shite, but much less erotic, The Da Vinci Code. All told, it sold 5.2 million copies over 50 weeks. Essentially, 50 Shades of Grey has obliterated the competition.

50 Shades of Socially Acceptable Porn for 40yr Old Housewives – has a certain ring to it?

There’s a lot of things that are interesting about the 50 Shades phenomenon, not least of which is the fact that for some reason it’s now socially acceptable for people to read porn on buses. I kid you not, at least 3 people in the office are reading it at work. We all know what it’s about, so since when is it OK for you to publicly read something I know you’re going to go home and double-click your mouse to later? Stay in, buy some batteries and go for it… I just don’t want to know.

But weird as that is, it’s not why I wanted to write about it now. For some reason, Bret Easton Ellis (author of several very good books including American Psycho, Rules of Attraction and Less Than Zero) became obsessed with 50 Shades of Grey very early on and was incredibly vocal about wanting to adapt it into a screenplay. He’s been frantically tweeting since the book came out.

Way too excited about 50 Shades.

For ages he was in talks to write the screen play for the cinematic adaptation. How on earth they’re going to make a mainstream cinematic adaptation of a book that basically asks the question “How many different ways can we have sex?” I don’t know. Not the point. Moving on. Talks have since fallen through and Ellis is no longer attached to the project. However, he does still have a lot of opinions about the whole affair. Namely, on who should play the protagonist Christian Grey. He was a strong adovcate for the incomparably beautiful Ian Somerhalder, who has starred in the adaptation of one of Ellis’ own books (namely, Rules of Attraction).

“Oh nothing, babe. Just quietly brooding.”

Since Ellis has been dropped from the project, a number of other names that have popped up in the discussion of who should play Grey – a character who is supposed to be so hot that we all drop panties at the mere sight of him. The one that has Ellis in a bit of hot water right now is White Collar star, Matt Bomer. You may or may not know who Matt Bomer is, but what’s important here is the fact that he is a married homosexual man with three adopted children.

\ To quote Robbie Williams, “all the best women are married, all the handsome men are gay. Feel deprived. You are deprived.”

Apparently, Ellis doesn’t feel that Bomer is capable of playing it straight enough to be Grey. Which seems like a rough call really since the whole point of that acting gambit that these guys do in order to make their money is… the acting? Bomer plays heterosexual characters in pretty much everything else he does and on top of that, swans around looking hot. Do you really need many more qualifications? Here’s what Ellis had to say on the affair:

If you’re wondering where that sudden outburst came from, consider that the day before, Ellis was dropped from the list of potential screen writers and was very openly disappointed about it on Twitter. Then consider that his response to the internet exploding and calling him a homophobe was to tweet, “What’s worse? My ugly mug next to Matt Bomers in 300 articles or that the dude who wrote Cars 2 is on the Fifty Shades of Grey writing list?” Do I sense a little bitterness here, Mr Ellis? I think the answer to that question, is yes. Yes, I do.

Honestly, my opinion on the whole thing is that Bret Easton Ellis has successfully managed to make himself look like an asshole on Twitter. Which is a shame. Because I quite like his novels. I wouldn’t be surprised if whoever ends up making the 50 Shades of Grey cinematic adaptation/ trash doesn’t hire Bomer and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was because of his sexual orientation. I don’t think that’s right or a valid argument for anything involving ACTING (am I the only person who fully grasps the meaning of that word?) But unfortunately that’s how it works sometimes. Either way, I’m probably not going to go see the film. If I want to watch porn I damned well don’t want to go and see it in a cinema.

You can follow the trainwreck that is Bret Easton Ellis’ Twitter account here.

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