Culture Feature

Because Dean Cain Sucks: MAGA Superman Is Dead

Dean Cain is no longer allowed to have anything to do with Superman. We're retconning him out.

Update: This week Dean Cain was on Fox News, complaining about "wokeness and anti-Americanism" in the recent Ta-Nehisi Coates-led Captain America comics, which featured Captain America decrying the way marginalized Americans are often sold a dream before they're "handed a raw deal."

Never mind the fact that Captain America has a long history of this kind of criticism, or the fact that Dean Cain praises America for "constantly striving for a more perfect union" — an effort that is literally impossible without vocal criticism of the nation's flaws. The more important point is that Cain has no authority to speak on superheroes, because we already erased him from Superman history.

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TV News

Are You Dreaming This?: Donald Glover's Amazon Deal Proves That 2021 Is Just a Weird Dream

Why would a remake of Mr. and Mrs. Smith star Donald Glover and Phoebe Waller-Bridge?

Things just seem a bit off lately, don't they? Not quite real?

If you're not feeling it yet, that might be because you haven't yet looked into the insane eight-figure deal that Donald Glover just signed with Amazon.

Previously we talked about how Armie Hammer's disturbing DMs and Elizabeth Smart on "Masked Dancer" were signs that this whole year might be a fever dream. But with the new details of writer-producer-actor-rapper-comedian Donald Glover's massive deal with Amazon, we can now confirm that the events of 2021 are all in your head.

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Music Features

27 Things That Have Happened Since Rihanna's Last Album, 'ANTI'

It's been four grueling years of no new music from Rihanna.

The world's wealthiest female musician hasn't been making a lot of music lately.

It's officially been four years since our majesty Robyn Rihanna Fenty released her eighth and most recent album, ANTI. That's not to say she hasn't been busy—she is running her own lines of makeup and lingerie, after all.

But no matter how successful, Rihanna's recent business and acting endeavors could never satisfy our need for her music. A lot has happened since January 2016, and we're long overdue for another record to soundtrack all our bad b*tch and sad b*tch moments.

To evidence just how much time has passed, here are 27 things that have happened since Rihanna released ANTI.

  1. Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar.

  2. Prince and David Bowie died just months apart from each other.
  3. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt divorced.
  4. One Direction broke up, and each member released a solo album.
  5. Kim Kardashian was robbed in Paris.
  6. Beyoncé debuted her visual album Lemonade on HBO.
  7. Ryan Lochte lied about being robbed in Rio.
  8. GTY 588698950 S SPO OLY BRA Getty Images


  9. Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.
  10. Ariana Grande organized her One Love Manchester benefit concert in less than two weeks.

  11. The #MeToo hashtag took flight.
  12. Beyoncé pulled out of her Coachella headline slot because she was pregnant with twins. She made up for it the next year with arguably the best, most detailed festival performance of all time.
  13. Beyonce and JAY-Z made an album together and rented out the f--king Louvre.

  14. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged, married, had a baby, and essentially resigned from the Royal Family.
  15. The Snapchat hotdog took over the world.

  16. Peppa Pig also took over the world.
  17. Kendall Jenner starred in both a really tone-deaf Pepsi commercial and a really weird Lil Dicky music video.


  18. Kris Jenner welcomed five new grandchildren who will never have to work a day in their lives. One of whom is Rob Kardashian's daughter with Blac Chyna, who also has a child with Tyga, the ex of Rob's half-sister Kylie Jenner.
  19. Taylor Swift was reportedly transported in a massive suitcase.
  20. The first Women's March took place.
  21. Bobby Berk did the absolute most for the least amount of recognition when the Queer Eye reboot hit Netflix.
  22. Pete Davidson started dating Ariana Grande, got engaged to Ariana Grande, broke up with Ariana Grande, dated Kate Beckinsdale, dated Kaia Gerber...am I missing anyone?

  23. Ariana Grande released the two best albums of her career just months apart.
  24. Cardi B threw a shoe at Nicki Minaj.
  25. The Jonas Brothers reunited and two of them got married.
  26. In just 10 days, a stock photo of an egg dethroned Kylie Jenner for the most-liked photo on Instagram.

  27. The U.S. Women's Soccer team won the World Cup.
  28. In an absolutely iconic power move, Rihanna mentioned in a cover story for Vogue that she and Drake are no longer friends.



CULTURE

Who Is this Strange Man Lurking Behind Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston?

His face speaks to the pain and fear of renewed hope.

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

America cannot help itself when it comes to Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.

Brad Jen Sag 2 Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Anytime they're in the same room together, a series of sirens immediately goes off in the offices of various tabloids and celebrity magazines. A familiar race kicks off to publish an updated carbon copy of a thousand previous articles with a handful of new pictures and some wild speculation about the two of them getting back together.

It's been happening since they divorced, 15 years ago, but has obviously accelerated since they both became single—Aniston having divorced Justin Theroux in 2017, while Pitt and Angelina Jolie finalized their prolonged divorce process last summer. We seem to have collectively decided that we all know these celebrities' lives better than they know themselves.

The story goes like this: Brad and Jen should never have broken up. The early 2000s were clearly the happiest time in both their lives, and the whole mess in 2005 was just one big misunderstanding orchestrated by Jolie's evil seduction on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. We want them to need each other, and we need them to want to get back together. How we pieced together the entirety of their private lives through telephoto lenses and third-hand rumors remains a mystery, but we've done it, and we know what's best for them. We just know.

Brad and Jen Sag Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

That's what makes the strange man lurking in the background of their latest interaction so upsetting. It's unclear what his role at the SAG Awards was—a member of security? Event staff? Brad and Jen were nominated for their performances in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and The Morning Showthey both won—but what is this tall, broad shouldered stranger doing there? He seems designed to project strength, but he just can't. Not with the scene that's unfolding before him—with Jen's hand pressing against Brad's chest, Brad holding her wrist as if to make that touch linger a little longer. The strange man lurking in the background is allowing his pain to show through his façade of strength. He is wounded. Wringing his hands. He's been burned by this hope before—allowed himself to feel a glimmer of love again through the imagined restoration of this lost, perfect couple.

And now Brad has quit drinking and settled the custody dispute with Jolie. We can't help but wonder if he is finally mature enough to be stable and strong for Jen—who is two years out from her second marriage and looked as amazing as ever in a sheer, silvery-white dress. And there in the background, those pleading eyes are staring at Brad Pitt, begging him not to hurt us again. Don't hold onto her hand like that if you don't mean it. Don't look into her shining eyes with that charming smile if you aren't ready to commit to an entire country full of desperate shippers.

I don't know who the large, sad man in these pictures is, but I don't need to, because we are all him, and he is us—wanting to believe in love again, but so frightened of being hurt.

sag lurker 2 Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

FILM

Marvel To Feature Its First Transgender Superhero

Fans think the character will be an angel.

Here's some good news to start your new year off right: A trans superhero is coming to Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Kevin Feige confirmed the news in a Q&A at New York Film Academy. When asked if the studio would ever have a transgender character, the Marvel Studios president said, "Yes, absolutely. Yes," adding that a trans character is appearing "very soon, in a movie that we're shooting right now" and clarifying that more trans and LGBTQ+ characters would be making an appearance.

It seems that Feige and Marvel are finally understanding that representation matters—and pays. "You look at the success of 'Captain Marvel' and 'Black Panther.' We want the movies to reflect the audience and we want every member of our global audience to see themselves reflected on the screen," he said.

While it's unfortunate (although expected) that Marvel's decision to increase diversity in its casting is connected to whether or not these choices will make a profit, the decision to create a trans superhero is an important step in normalizing the trans identity.

Most likely, Marvel's trans character will appear in Thor: Love and Thunder, as last summer the film's cast list included a trans woman. Fans believe that the character will be the angel Sera, who "descends from a group of all-male angels but who has transitioned to a female identity," according to MSN.

Marvel's History of Transgender Representation

Regardless, Marvel's new trans characters won't technically be the franchise's first trans superhero. That honor belongs to Rebekah, a child transgender activist who was the subject of a recent Marvel documentary, which aired on Disney Plus as part of their Hero Project series. They turned Rebekah, a Christian and a transgender girl, into a hero named "Mightly Rebekah."

Marvel's Hero Project Clip: Mighty Rebekah www.youtube.com

Whoever plays Marvel's first big-screen trans character also won't be their first trans actor. In 2019's Spider-Man: Far From Home, trans actor Zach Barack played one of Peter Parker's friends, though his gender identity didn't feature into the plot.

In an interview, Barack emphasized the importance of trans representation onscreen. He explained that superhero movies, in particular, always "felt like [trans stories] because [they're] talking about identity." Superhero films, he explained, are "about separating what people know about you and what they don't. And I think that's something I kind of live with every day. And on top of that, I don't see a lot of trans-masculine people on television or trans men specifically, and getting to be part of that is beyond unreal."

What Is Your Origin Story? | Zach Barack | TEDxBoulder www.youtube.com


Ramping Up Representation: The Eternals and Representation Firsts

The MCU's first trans character is just the latest in a series of firsts for the company in terms of LGBTQ+ representation. The franchise will also feature its first gay character in the film The Eternals, which will star Richard Madden as Ikaris, "a levitating immortal with teleporting and vaporising powers and abundance of cosmic energy," who also happens to be in a committed and loving gay marriage.

Marvel's Eternals (2020) Teaser www.youtube.com

Among other upcoming firsts: The Eternals will also feature the MCU's first deaf character, and Marvel's first Asian-American star will feature in the film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, set to debut in 2021.

The MCU character Valkyrie is apparently bisexual, according to actress Tessa Thompson, who stated, "In the canon, [Valkyrie] is bisexual. You see her with women and men, so that was my intention in playing her," she told Variety. "Obviously, at the forefront of most of these stories is not typically their romantic life. They have big stakes, like saving the world, so that tends to sort of trump." Even so, the film Thor: Ragnarok received some criticism for erasing Valkyrie's bisexuality.

In most superhero movies, in order to save the world, heroes have to learn to embrace their inner strength and the powers that make them special and exceptional. Maybe the parallels between trans narratives and superhero stories aren't exact—but they're certainly not mutually exclusive, and combining the two will likely only strengthen them both.

Let's hope that they continue this tradition and hire more diverse representation across all their teams, including their writing staff and managerial board. Marvel is incredibly influential in shaping ideas about masculinity, heroism, and cultural norms at large, and therefore their decision to question and challenge archetypal gender roles will likely ripple across culture in the way that no number of tweets or academic papers about transgender identities could.

CULTURE

7 People Who Escaped Their Famous Parents' Shadows

Sometimes, the apple does fall far from the tree.

Diario Uno

Nepotism has been making a lot of headlines recently, with Hunter Biden catching a lot of heat for riding his father's coattails into a $600,000/year gig in Ukraine.

And while some of that heat has come from sources that are laughably ill-positioned to criticize, it's depressingly true that the children of famous and powerful people have an easy time finding their ways into boardrooms, record deals, universities, and runways. But what about the world leader's son who performs in drag? Or the actor's daughter who took up painting? If we're really going to criticize nepotism, then we should take some time to celebrate the children who step out of their parents' shadows to do something truly original.

Eddie Murphy's Daughter Is an Incredible Painter

Chase Contemporary

Bria Murphy is obviously a beautiful woman, and she had the opportunity to leverage her looks and her father's connections into a lucrative modeling career, but she chose to follow her passion instead. She says that her paintings are inspired by her belief in the Ancient Astronaut theory and the slightly more grounded desire to empower African American women. Whatever her motivations, there's no denying that she's incredibly talented.