Meryl Streep and James Corden in "The Prom"

Netflix's star-studded The Prom should have had everything it needs to be a delightful 90 minutes.

You throw together Meryl Streep, Keegan Michael Key, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells, and likable newcomer Jo Ellen Pellman, and you should have at least an entertaining experience, if not a certifiable hit. Unfortunately, there's something about The Prom that makes you want to like it so much more than you actually do.

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TV Reviews

"The Undoing" Overestimated Hugh Grant's Charm And Nicole Kidman's Green Coat

Not even Nicole Kidman's green jacket could save the new HBO series.

An emerald green coat rarely carries a show as heavy as an HBO drama, but Nicole Kidman's did so admirably in The Undoing.

Besides Kidman's definitively stunning costumes (that green coat deserves an Emmy), there were very few concrete takeaways from The Undoing, the new HBO limited series based on the book You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz. Still, it's worth noting that the show, which premiered October 25th to favorable reception, had a very promising start.

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TV Reviews

Hulu's "High Fidelity" Finds Its Groove with Zoë Kravitz

The new series about a lovelorn Brooklyn record store owner nods at the Nick Hornby novel and John Cusack film but successfully goes its own way.

Zoe Kravitz plays Rob Brooks in the Hulu reboot of "High Fidelity."

Phillip Caruso/Hulu

Zoë Kravitz's well-produced, gender-flipped reboot of High Fidelity plays out far better than the usual remake.

The 10-episode Hulu series, which began streaming today, takes its framework and other elements from the 1995 Nick Hornby novel and the 2000 movie starring John Cusack and builds something surprisingly relevant and new.

In the new take on High Fidelity, Rob is still an intelligent but rudderless music-loving thirty-something record store owner navigating a string of bad relationships with the help of amazing soundtracks. Only now, she's a bisexual black woman in Brooklyn, rather than a straight white male in Chicago.

However, that doesn't entirely explain why the Hulu version of High Fidelity feels so different from its other iterations.

Maybe it's Kravitz. She plays Rob with warmth and brains, tempered with awkwardness in emotional situations. It makes for a far more likable lead character than Cusack's "sad bastard," whose rage occasionally boiled over.

And because she's more likable, the people around her are also more likable. Her record store employees, Simon (David H. Holmes) and Cherise (Da'Vine Joy Randolph), are far more nurturing than the ones in the film, which included a scenery-chewing Jack Black in his breakout movie role. Unlike previous versions, Rob now also has a seemingly normal, supportive family and her ex-boyfriends don't generally seem that horrible – though her ex-girlfriend, Kat (perhaps a nod to Catherine Zeta-Jones, who played the analogous role in the film) does seem pretty awful as an Instagram influencer.

Maybe the improvement is in the writing. In the new version, the clever banter from the movie and the book have deeper ramifications. For example, to start the second episode, Rob and her employees debate whether or not to sell Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall" album to a customer.

"How does it benefit society to hold Quincy's genius hostage because the dude who sang over his sh*t ended up being a full-blown child molester?" Rob says, swayed by her love of producer Quincy Jones' horn charts on the album.

"Where'd you get that from, Rob?" Cherise asks. "'Convenient Opinions R Us'?"

"You still listen to a dude who raps in a MAGA hat, so..." replies Rob.

"Having sh*tty politics and a second-grade understanding of American history is a tiny bit different than being a goddamn child molester," replies Cherise.

They keep going, touching on Charles Manson, mental health issues, and the idea that few artists are unquestionably good people, then quickly changing the subject.

Thanks to the luxury of being a series rather than a film, High Fidelity can spend some time on these interesting characters and their interesting lives and ideas. In fact, though Rob counts down his "All-Time Top Five Most Memorable Heartbreaks" in this version like all the others, the series improves the further it deviates from that original framework.

Kravitz has clearly lived with this material for a long time. (Her mom, Lisa Bonet, played the small, but memorable role of musician Marie DeSalle in the movie, and Kravitz names the club the characters hang out in DeSalle's as a homage.) She also knows its shortcomings. Though Hornby's novel was influential in popularizing the idea of boiling pop culture down into lists, 25 years later the Internet is overflowing with Top 5 lists, and every listicle imaginable has already been written. Luckily, though that construct seems a bit dated, Rob's issues with her love life—and her worries about not having one—feel timeless. And once again, the crisp writing serves her well.

"Next week, on 'The Sad Lady Show,' we're going to team up," Rob says one bummed-out night, watching her neighbor across the street also smoke a cigarette alone. "Fight the loneliness together with cats and cigarettes and reruns of 'Murder She Wrote.'"

But in this "High Fidelity," those moods never last long. Rob believes in the transformative power of playlists, and her life is always one great song away from turning around for good.

"Joker" (2019)

Earlier this year, in an interview with Anderson Cooper, Joaquin Phoenix and his family opened up about the death of River Phoenix, in the early morning of Halloween, 1993.

Seven years after his iconic role as Chris Chambers in Stand By Me, River was making a name for himself as more than just a talented child actor—starring in a slate of movies in the early '90s, including My Own Private Idaho alongside Keanu Reaves. But as America was getting to know him, he was apparently getting to know the dark depths of Hollywood in his private life.

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Warner Bros.

I have to get something off my chest, and no, it's not my luscious, curly chest hair.

As The Mary Sue point out in this enlightening article, Marvel apparently decides to shave almost all of their male superheroes' chests. As a dude sporting a pretty shaggy torso mat myself, I can't mince words here: Marvel's behavior is abhorrent, and I won't stand for it.

Everyone who's not a chud understands that body positivity––or at the very least, body acceptance––is, well, positive. In general, our media landscape has followed suit, if perhaps a little slowly. The cinematic landscape is far more diverse today than ever before, and a lot of that diversity centers around rejecting a uniform aesthetic of what is or is not attractive. And yet, as The Mary Sue illustrated, Marvel seems hellbent on telling hairy men that their chest hair is unwanted.

But here's where things get even worse for us forest-breasted lads: It's not just Marvel sending this message of hate.

Take Jason Momoa, for instance. Here's a man with some nice chest hair. Just look at his chest hair as Khal Drogo. That's the kind of chest hair one would expect from a barbarian warlord.

Khal Drogo HBO

Now look at him in DC's Aquaman.

Aquaman Shirtless Warner Bros.

Undoubtedly, DC made a conscious decision to shave Jason Momoa's chest hair. But why? Is it because swimmers often shave their body hair in order to glide more easily through the water?

Okay, fine. Well, then explain this. Here's Joaquin Phoenix, a handsome man with some nice chest pubix, in You Were Never Really Here.

Joaquin Phoenix Shirtless Amazon Studios

Now, here's Joaquin Phoenix shirtless in Joker. Can you tell what's missing?

Joker Shirtless Warner Bros.

Yeah, that's right, no chest hair. Don't even try to tell me that Arthur Fleck just randomly decided to shave his chest during a mental episode, because I don't buy that for a second. The chest shaving of The Joker is an intentional effort by DC to show us that the ideal male body does not have an ounce of pec hair.

But I don't think Marvel, DC, and whatever other hairless superpowered smut purveyors are in it alone. No, I think the rabbit hole goes deeper.

Considering the fact that we live in a capitalist hellscape, what if (and this is just a theory) superhero movies were marketing all their male heroes as bare-chested in an attempt to sell razors? What if the true mastermind behind all these no-chest hair superheroes was Gillette?

Okay, I know that's crazy. It's not like there's…

Marvel Gillette Gillette

Oh.

DC Comics Gillette Gillette

Oh boy. This is it. Not only has Gillette collaborated with both Marvel and DC on superhero-themed razors, but they also started #TheBestASuperHeroCanGet campaign in what can only be summed up as a hate crime against voluminously stranded men.

If we men take any pride in the strands around our nips, we cannot let this stand. No longer will we let Gillette and their cabal of superhero capitalists tell us that the only male beauty is the hairless kind. We must rise up and throw our razors in the trash. We must pinch our bountiful locks in our fingers and shout, "I'm a hairy man, and that makes me beautiful." Then, at last, we must throw our superhero Blu-rays in the trash. #HairyANDSuper

The Weinstein Company

September 6th is "National Read a Book Day," which is great news for nerds who celebrate every meaningless holiday, but bad news for all the rest of us who hate big, lame books.

So what do you do when some weirdo in your life who actually knows it's National Read a Book Day asks, "Hey, what did you read for National Read a Book Day?" Easy. You make like the president, and you lie.

Luckily, a lot of those books you never actually wanted to read have been adapted into movies that you can watch and maybe, kind of, get the gist of. To help you out, we've composed a list of some of the most accurate movie adaptations of stupid books nobody cares about, so you can trick your friends and family into thinking you know how to read.

The Golden Compass

the golden compass New Line Cinema

YA fantasy nerds love Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy for some reason, but watching The Golden Compass movie makes it pretty obvious that the books are no good! It's no wonder they didn't make a sequel. In fact, the only cool thing in the whole movie is the armored polar bear, and you can see that on the DVD cover. Honestly, you don't even need to watch it: Just tell people you're reading The Golden Compass and that your favorite character is the polar bear. They'll probably believe you.

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

alice in wonderland mad hatter Disney

People who read books consider Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to be an integral part of Western literary canon. According to Tim Burton's 2010 adaptation, the book seems to be about The Mad Hatter, a wacky man with a big hat and wild red hair and a gap in his teeth. He enjoys drinking tea and saying cryptic things that don't actually mean anything. The Mad Hatter also seems to have romantic feelings for Alice, who I think is supposed to be a child, so that's creepy. No idea why people like this book.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

the hobbit thorin Warner Bros. Pictures

The real The Hobbit is just a single volume, but there are three movies, so I picked the first one. The Hobbit follows a pretty rude, standoffish little dude named Bilbo (lol), who goes on an adventure with a bunch of big-nosed dwarves (except one of them who doesn't have a big nose and is very handsome). Their goal seems to be waging battle against a very fat goblin. The plot is pretty hard to track, but basically they all meet the fat goblin, and then the handsome dwarf knocks him off a cliff. The hobbit never really does anything, so if you want to seem really smart, try saying, "I'm reading The Hobbit, but I really think Tolkien should have made the handsome dwarf who doesn't have a big nose the protagonist."

The Giver

the giver movie The Weinstein Company

Now this is a great book. The Giver has everything: a hunky male lead, steamy romance, and adrenaline-rushing chase scenes. It's one of those non-stop action sort of books that you just can't put down, or at least that's what I gathered from watching the movie. Boiled down, The Giver is about a 16-year-old guy living in a repressed society who tries to escape with the girl he loves. Standing in his way are a council of old people, his former best friend (who he punches in the face), and military-grade UFO drones. The drone capture scene is definitely one of the standout moments in The Giver and certainly one that any book reader will regard as a favorite.

The Dark Tower

the dark tower Sony Pictures

UGH. The Dark Tower might be the most boring, simplistic book series ever created. It's so boring, in fact, that they fit eight entire books into a 95-minute movie. I'd tell you what it's about if it was actually about anything, but it's not. Matthew McConaughey plays some as*h*le named Walter who's trying to destroy a tower for no reason. To do this, he kidnaps psychic kids, because apparently he hasn't heard of explosives. But one of those kids meets Idris Elba first, and Idris Elba is a cowboy, so they go find Walter and shoot him. I thought Stephen King was supposed to be a great author, but honestly, this movie does not reflect well on his writing.

The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat movie Universal Pictures

Truly one of the scariest books of all time, The Cat in the Hat is about two poor children who are home alone, minding their own business, when a horrendous cat-man wearing a torn off human face breaks in. He destroys their home and ruins the lives of the children and everyone around them. This is the stuff of nightmares, and if Stephen King had any actual talent, this is the horror novel he'd have written.