Film Lists

9 Best Nostalgic Deep Cuts to Watch On Disney+

What to Watch When You're Not Waiting for the Next Episode of "Loki"

So you finally caved and got a Disney+ account. Or maybe you finally convinced your roommate/friend/parent to give you their password.

Whether you needed access to the exclusive content to watch Beyonce's Black Is King, Taylor Swift's Long Pond Sessions, Marvel's WandaVision (no, there will not be a Season Two unfortunately), or even High School Musical: The Musical: The Series because you're regrettably into that "drivers license" song (this is a safe space, you can admit it), you have it now, and it can be overwhelming to figure out what to watch when your series binge is over.

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Culture Feature

14 Celebrity Endorsements That No One Asked For

Not every endorsement is about a paycheck.

Jimmy Kimmel Live

The world of celebrity endorsement makes for some strange spectacles.

From Penelope Cruz dressed as Mario, to Snoop Dogg rapping about Hot Pockets, it sometimes seems like celebrity's will back any brand that offers them a paycheck. But that's not the case with the celebrities on this list.

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The Hollywood Bad Boy Is Dead: Long Live Keanu Reeves

How Keanu Reeves became the most desirable man of the #MeToo era

From Brad Pitt to Chris Brown, archetypal bad boys have dominated Hollywood's "Most Desirable Men" landscape since forever.

The bad boys of Hollywood exude raw sex appeal both onscreen and off, their personal lives as messy and dramatic as their biggest blockbusters. Their sweaty six-packs on glossy magazine covers erase any temporary fallout from scandals, affairs, or abuse. Sure, they may not be nice, but that doesn't mean they're not nice to look at.

Or at least, that's how things used to be. Nowadays, Hollywood seems more defined by rampant #MeToo scandals than anything else. For the first time, maybe ever, the bad deeds of the rich and famous actually seem to stick to their reputations––at least sometimes. Alongside the increased visibility of sexual assault and toxic masculinity, many formerly beloved stars now come with asterisks next to their names: *rapist, *pedophile, *woman beater, *accused. In the history of celebrity culture, never before has it been so clear that we don't actually know our idols––not Johnny Depp, not Morgan Freeman, not Aziz Ansari. Are all Hollywood heartthrobs potential scumbags?

Enter: Keanu Reeves. Recently, Keanu Reeves has been having a major cultural explosion. It's not that he wasn't big before––in his 30 year career, he's played iconic characters as varied as metalhead stoner Ted in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and office drone-turned-cyber warrior Neo in The Matrix. But only now, at 54 years old, is Keanu Reeves regarded as the ultimate heartthrob.

keanu reeves Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Unlike the many heartthrobs of Hollywood's past, and in spite of his badass action hero roles (like John Wick), Keanu Reeves isn't a bad boy. He doesn't party like a rock star. He doesn't move from girlfriend to girlfriend or marriage to marriage. He doesn't get into feuds. He's just a really, really, really nice guy. Unlike many other celebrities, whose media attention revolves around tabloid drama, Keanu Reeves' stories tend to revolve around being nice to strangers and actively not touching women in pictures. In many ways, Keanu Reeves is like the adult version of a teen heartthrob.

Since Disney's primary audience is young girls, their marketing of young teen idols can't rely on obvious sex appeal. A large chunk of their target demographic doesn't even actively understand what sex is. But that doesn't mean they're not interested in boys, so instead, Disney sells a boyfriend experience. Disney boys are kind, attainable, and most of all, safe. Boys like the Jonas Brothers circa the mid 2000s, purity rings and all, are the kind that young girls want to ask out to dances and share secrets with.

As girls get older, their love interests do too. Nice, wholesome boys give way to angsty, troubled teens who break all the rules and just want to get out of this suburban town, man. Those bad boys don't need to be nice; they need to be sexy. And unlike the fresh-faced young lads of Tiger Beat, the bad boys never go out of style. In fact, more often than not, the good boy teen idols transform their image into bad boys in order to stay relevant.

justin timberlake That guy from NSYNCRCA Records

But that's what makes the Keanu Reeves effect so special. After years and years in the spotlight, no matter what else is going on culturally, Keanu Reeves remains consistently nice. No matter what roles he takes, his public image seems authentically kind. And in the age of #MeToo, when celebrities are being outed left and right as creeps and predators, Keanu Reeves' sincere goodness is in short supply.

That's not to say every bad boy is necessarily a bad guy, but even at their best, the bad boy archetype comes dangerously close to toxic masculinity. Bad boys tend to be defined through their negative traits like anger and angst and their misdeeds like cheating and punching jukeboxes. Their appeal lies largely in the desire to change them or the knowledge that even though they shun the rest of society, they're loyal to the proverbial you and only you. Culturally, we're finally moving away from glorifying that breed of masculine rage. We've come to understand that a lot of the time, angry guys aren't just misunderstood, they're dangerous. Bad boys may be hot, but no level of hotness is worth mistreatment, predation, or abuse.

Now, wholesomeness is more in demand. Why would anyone want a guy who's only nice to them when they could have a guy who's nice to everyone? As society shifts and grows, and more young girls come into their own as powerful women, notions of masculinity change too. Men shouldn't strive to be complex puzzles of darkness and rage. Men don't need to define themselves through pent-up violence. Men don't need someone to "understand" them and "fix" them; they need to take responsibility for themselves. Men can be kind and decent and friendly and still be just as masculine and attractive as even the baddest bad boys. Just look at Keanu Reeves.

Film News

Don't Try the Apocalypse at Home: Netflix Discourages Viewers from the "Bird Box" Challenge

Why are viewers walking themselves (and, in some cases, their children) into walls?


It seems that Netflix is fearful that its latest survival thriller will kill their subscribers.

While Bird Box portrays a disturbing future where humanity's been pushed to self-destruction, many viewers are working to bring the nightmare to fruition by emulating the characters' struggles in the comforts of their own homes. The post-apocalyptic film stars Sandra Bullock as a mother with two young children struggling to survive after society has fallen to creatures whose appearance drives people to suicide. The movie thrives on the psychological horror the family faces as they must remain blindfolded while navigating a dangerous world.

Now the internet is infected by the Bird Box Challenge, which simply "challenges" people to conduct themselves while blindfolded. Of course, the innate dangers of doing so quickly became apparent on Youtube and Twitter. Some videos show people simply stumbling, while one popular clip on Twitter shows a blindfolded toddler being guided by an equally blindfolded parent–directly into a wall.

Netflix was so alarmed by the risk involved in these Bird Box homages that they took to their official Twitter account on January 2: "Can't believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE. We don't know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl," referring to the children in the movie, "have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes."

Judging by their message, that's not to say they want you to stop taking the challenge, and they definitely don't want you to stop posting about Bird Box. After the film's release in mid-December, Netflix boasted that 45 million subscribers had streamed the movie in the first week, a record-breaking amount of engagement for the streaming platform. Doubtlessly, the movie's popularity spurred the challenge to become viral just as much as the challenge helped the movie increase viewership. And that's not to mention that the Bird Box challenge gained momentum in large part due to the swift popularity of Bird Box memes, which swept the internet as soon as the movie became available.

Here are a few you might've seen:

So why are viewers walking themselves (and, in some cases, their children) into walls? Is it because consumers are ready for more interactive media that challenges all of their senses? Are viewers striving to understand disabilities like impaired vision? Nope, not likely. Bird Box seemed to sweep the internet during the last holiday break of 2018. Boredom drives people to new idiocy, which forced Netflix to begin 2019 with the message: "Don't try the apocalypse at home."

Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.

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How Celebrities Have Been Affected by the California Wildfires

As celebrities begin to return to the homes they evacuated, they're giving their fans a look at the damage.

Los Angeles Times

The wildfires currently blazing through California have become the deadliest in a century, claiming 59 lives, according to Time. Flames from the Camp Fire north of Sacramento and the Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles have destroyed over 200,000 acres, and continue to burn. Over 100 people are reportedly missing, and thousands have been displaced. Even as firefighters expand containment areas, residents now face respiratory-damaging air contamination, potentially disastrous mudslides, and even a norovirus outbreak. As celebrities begin to return to the homes they evacuated, they're giving their fans a look at the damage.

Here are some of their stories.

On November 9, Charlie Sheen tweeted that he was unable to reach his parents, Martin and Janet, during the chaos as he and other Malibu residents were ordered to evacuate their homes. Martin was later tracked down in Zuma Beach by a local Fox News affiliate. The elder Sheen used the opportunity to address his children during the station's broadcast and let them know that he and his wife were out of harm's way, though he could not say the same for their Malibu home.

Gerard Butler took fans on a tour of his incinerated neighborhood, which he referred to as "a war zone," via Instagram. The actor, visibly upset in the two videos he posted, urged his followers to donate to fundraisers that support those across the state who face a long rebuilding process.

Miley Cyrus posted before and after photos of the home she shares with actor Liam Hemsworth on Wednesday, highlighting the stark contrast between a happy dog on her porch and an incinerated pile of rubble. Cyrus also tweeted that her pets were unharmed, as well as a link to the organization she founded, the Malibu Foundation, which offers crisis support in the community.

Guy Fieri offered his expertise when he surprised Butte County first responders with dinner.

Comedian Whitney Cummings stepped in personally to check on Stanley the Giraffe, a beloved and internet-famous resident of Malibu Wines, a winery that also houses horses, cows, and other farm animals.

Other celebrities like Sandra Bullock, Ellen Degeneres, Rob Lowe, Lady Gaga, and more are helping by making substantial donations to recovery relief organizations, distributing food and water to firefighters, and even delivering pizza to evacuation centers.

Rebecca Linde is a writer and cultural critic in NYC. She tweets about pop culture and television @rklinde.

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Saturday Film School | 'Ocean's 8' Plays it Safe and Sticks to Source Material

Familiar and a Bit Derivative, Ocean's 8 Still has Enough Style to Stay Afloat.

Warner Bros. Pictures 'Ocean's 8'

The real fun is watching the style and craft of the heist, the chemistry between the ensemble and how their convenient ingenuity awards them the privilege of indulging elegant, albeit organized criminality.

When it comes to heist movies, the Ocean's franchise—elevated by the ever-watchable George Clooney—is the most entertaining of offerings in a genre that naturally follows a strict formula: beautiful people, beautiful locations, and tons of delicious, slow-building tension followed by exposition regarding the heist's logistics and plot twists. Clooney as the well-dressed, stoic Danny Ocean never failed to hit all the right cinematic sweet spots; he somehow made an inconceivable character believable and, better yet, enviable. His pack of equally handsome and charismatic tricksters—Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle—had the type of chemistry and swagger reminiscent of NYC's Rat Pack.

In 2018, it's the women's turn to do some money stealing, but you'll find that Ocean's 8, although pleasant and warm, is derivative and unchallenging. In fact, Ocean fans will recognize the score-settling pot twist toward the end as Ocean's Eleven's romantic plot twist between Danny and Beatrice (Julia Roberts); the similarity of the two films is so blatant it feels like deja vu: Are we just supposed to accept a completely stolen subplot? Yep. Because Ocean's 8 isn't concerned with creating something new, which is a shame because a woman-led heist film shouldn't have to follow the same beats as George Clooney's gang of pickpockets and genius hackers, but it does, playing things safe up until the predictable finale, when, surprise (!), eight women get away with the country's biggest jewelry heist since…Doris Payne?

Again, if you've stuck with the franchise for long enough, you know the formula: The real fun is watching the style and craft of the heist, the chemistry between the ensemble and how their convenient ingenuity awards them the privilege of indulging elegant, albeit organized criminality. Apparently, stealing is good fun when it's made to look easy and even better with women in 8-inch stilettos.

The leader this time is Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), Danny's sister—looks like their shared con artistry is genetic—who cons her way out of jail after serving five years in confinement for a heist-gone-wrong her then-boyfriend put her up to. Her excuse: She fell for the wrong guy. She's released, 45 dollars in her pocket, looking to even the score. She rallies up an old partner, Lou (Cate Blanchett), and the two assemble a team of women to help steal a 150 million dollar necklace from the Met Gala set to be worn on the neck of diva actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway). Their team of thieves is just as adept and clever as Ocean's men: Nine Ball (Rihanna), a stoner/hacker; Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), a desperate designer in massive debt; Tammy (Sarah Paulson), a bored mother who fences stolen goods; Constance (Awkwafina), a fast-talking pickpocket; Amita (Mindy Kaling), a diamond expert (who's hilariously berated by her traditional mother for being unwed). The women compliment one another and their onscreen presence seems organic, sexy, and fun in the same fashion Danny's crew captivated the screen.

In the third act, James Corden plays a jolly fraud inspector eager to recover the precious necklace. He's a weird fit for the role and his presence feels like the punchline of celebrity cameos—and there are plenty in this film (the Kardashians, Heidi Klum, and Vogue's very own Anna Wintour make an appearance). Ocean's 8 is familiar, yes, but it's well constructed, with every actress pulling her own weight and making her own share of the uber expensive necklace. The pleasure is in watching Bullock strut into Bloomingdale's and steal designer perfume and cosmetics with a straight face. It never fails to find delight in a franchise that makes something as bad as jewelry theft look so good you consider making your own team of criminal thieves. Ocean's 8, no matter its uninventive tone, excels in refurbishing what was once Hollywood's A-list male-dominated playground. If there are more to come, let's hope the women will get some more room to play.

POP⚡DUST Score: ⚡⚡⚡⚡

Shaun Harris is a poet, freelance writer, and editor published in avant-garde, feminist journals. Lover of warm-toned makeup palettes, psych-rock, and Hilton Als. Her work has allowed her to copyedit and curate content for various poetry organizations in the NYC area.

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