Dr. Seuss books pulled over racism
And Marvel gets a comedy star cameo
What to know
Publication will cease on Dr. Seuss titles And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer over their inclusion of racist and insensitive imagery against Black and Asian people. Conservatives are mad about Dr. Seuss being canceled, but has anyone even heard of these titles? They’re B sides at best. Anyway, it's a shame that SNL is on hiatus till Mar 27, the Pete Davidson racist Cat in the Hat sketch basically writes itself.
MINOR SPOILER TERRITORY: Melissa McCarthy has been spotted in costume on the set of Thor Love and Thunder! I’m not going to get into spoilers about who or what she’s doing there but just want to bring this up because she and her husband Ben Falcone recorded a hilarious ‘audition’ tape for Taiki Waititi last year. Looks like, she fished her wish, even though she and Falcone mixed up Marvel and Carvel.
Tom Cruise has not joined TikTok, but videos that look EXACTLY like him are going viral on the platform. They’re deepfakes, aka alarmingly real digital recreations of people, and you should probably be unnerved by how good they are. I personally think Cruise looks a little young in these particular recreations, but you’d be hard pressed to find any other inaccuracy.
Hasbro is pedal to the metal with its toy IP in Hollywood — and why not? Lego Masters on Fox certainly proved that there is fertile ground to turn beloved toys and games into TV series. Candy Land and Easy Bake will obviously spin off cooking shows, while Mouse Trap and Nerf are becoming obstacle course competitions a la Wipeout. I think this strategy makes a lot more sense than turning them into movies like Battleship.
Almost every week we get a new story about the movie studios shirking theatrical releases for streaming, whether by cutting the time between the two (Paramount+) or going with outright simultaneous releases (HBO Max). Now Disney CEO Bob Chapek is acknowledging that even though theaters will not be ignored, consumers have grown too impatient to go back to months-long home video delays. All the old structures are crumbling — and that’s good for fans.
You remember Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the disastrous U2 mega musical that injured various stunt performers but ended up running for several years? Well I happened to see the hot mess version in early previews 10 years ago today, BEFORE they overhauled the whole thing. It was a real spectacle with a lot of content problems, but I’m proud to say that in my review (linked above) I nailed the act 2 problems that they ended up fixing.
Sarah Cooper lands pilot order at CBS … from Trump lip syncs to sitcom stardom 👁
Constance Wu joins Chris Pratt in Amazon thriller series … it’s on Amazon, not in the Amazon, just wanted to make that clear 📺
New Harry Potter video game will allow for trans characters … and yet noted transphobe J.K. Rowling will still get paid 🧙♂️
Alison Brie reteams with GLOW creators for “darkly comic feminist” anthology series at Apple … oh yeah, Nicole Kidman, Cynthia Erivo, and Merritt Wever will be there too 💁🏻♀️
Bill Nye is going to host a science show on Peacock … the end is indeed Nye 🔬
Jodie Comer is likely joining Joaquin Phoenix in Ridley Scott’s Napoleon movie … meet your next movie star, Jodie Comer 🇫🇷
Another one of George R.R. Martin’s works is getting adapted … he’s the new Stephen King 🍿
What to watch
Sometimes when I recommend Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun, people think I’m making it up. There’s no way that’s the real name of a show, they say. But that reaction is entirely fitting with the absurdist lunacy of Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun, now available on Netflix. Simply put, it’s a sharply written sketch comedy show in the surrealist tone of I Think You Should Leave and Comedy Bang Bang, starring three affable bearded Australian men. It’s silly and loud, but always good natured. As the title suggests, Aunty Donna invites you into the fun even when it goes for cringe humor. I promise that after its 6 half-hour episodes, you’ll remember at least one little idiosyncrasy from the show. For me, it’s morning brown ☕️
New notables this week:
Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell (Mar 1) — Netflix documentary feature about the Notorious B.I.G. | 82% RT
Debris s1 premiere (Mar 1) — NBC sci-fi drama series, starring Thomas Cadrot, Jennifer Copping, Armin Karame | 50% RT
Moxie (Mar 3)— Netflix teen dramedy, directed by Amy Poehler, starring Poehler, Hadley Robinson, Lauren Tsai, Marcia Gay Harden, Ike Barinholtz | 61 % RT
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run (Mar 4) — Paramount+ animated feature, starring Tom Kenny, Awkwafina, Bill Fagerbakke, Clancy Brown | 72% RT
Coming 2 America (Mar 5) — Amazon comedy feature, starring Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones | No RT yet
Raya and the Last Dragon (Mar 5) — Disney+ animated feature (also in theaters), starring Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim | 96% RT
Before you go… maybe movie theaters don’t need to reopen
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About the author: Alex Rabinowitz has led the way on social media and story packaging at media outlets big and small. With his acclaimed Tumblr site PopCultureBrain.com, Alex became a leading figure in emerging social networks and entertainment news. Sourced by many top destinations, including New York Magazine, BuzzFeed, and Videogum, Pop Culture Brain was featured by BuzzFeed and TIME as the best pop culture blog on Tumblr. Alex's writing has appeared on The Huffington Post, GQ.com, Mic, and Time Warner Cable.