Soul vs Wonder Woman: We have a winner
And the Netflix hit Heath Ledger wanted to make in '08
What to know
Disney+ beat HBO Max in Christmas-day showdown | ScreenRant
Did you watch Soul or Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas day? Disney+ was the big holiday winner if we measure new app downloads. According to Bloomberg, HBO Max saw 554,000 new app downloads over the weekend while Disney+ saw 2.3 million. Speaking of WW 1984, it’s now the lowest rated DC movie on IMDB.
LA Health Department urges film/TV production pause | Deadline
Film and TV productions are considered essential in California, but now the Los Angeles County Department of Health department is asking for a pause. “We ask you to strongly consider pausing work for a few weeks during this catastrophic surge in Covid cases,” the health department said. “Identify and delay higher risk activities, and focus on lower-risk work for now, if at all possible.” LA county reported 13,661 new COVID-19 cases Monday.
Marty McFly keeps popping up in Pierre Cardin tributes | The Wrap
98-year-old French fashion designer Pierre Cardin died this week, so why are people on social media sharing Michael J. Fox’s picture along side Cardin’s name? Remember the scene in Back to the Future where Marty’s mom thinks his name is Calvin Klein after reading it on his underwear? In France, the movie used Pierre Cardin’s name instead. You really do learn something new every day.
Heath Ledger was once attached to direct a Queen’s Gambit movie | Uproxx
The Queen’s Gambit is a big hit for Netflix, but what if it was a movie directed by Heath Ledger starring Elliot Page? That almost happened in 2008. Series creator Scott Frank revealed to Fresh Air that Ledger hoped to make his directorial debut with The Queen’s Gambit and that he wanted to cast Elliot Page (Umbrella Academy, Juno) in the lead role of Beth Harmon. He had even sent Page a script. After Ledger’s death in January ‘08, writer Allan Shiach revealed to The Independent that Ledger planned to make the movie later that year.
Steven Soderbergh is working on a ‘philosophical sequel’ to Contagion
Sandra Bullock teaming with Channing Tatum for romantic actioner
What to watch
I think we can all agree that middle school was a painful time, so why Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle would want to relive it is beyond me — but I’m glad they did. The two-season Hulu comedy series Pen15 dramatizes junior high in the year 2000 as “it really happened,” but the catch is that thirtysomethings Erskine and Konkle are playing 13-year-olds alongside actual 13-year-olds.
It sounds gimmicky, but what I assumed would be a broad, silly comedy is in reality an emotional, at-times experimental journey down a deep well of human experience. Pen15’s attention to detail—in both setting and situation—is astounding. Erskine and Konkle present preteens exactly as they are — or at least as they were in 2000. Millennials will appreciate the specific references to AIM and milky pens, while anyone who went through puberty will find the show immensely relatable. Fair warning though, the comedy is not without cringe.
New notables on streaming this week:
Death to 2020 (Dec 27) - Netflix comedy special
Yearly Departed (Dec 30) - Amazon comedy special
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina final season (Dec 31) - Netflix
Cobra Kai season 3 (Jan 1) - Netflix series | 96% RT
Thanks for reading! As always, Tuesday and Wednesday editions are free, while the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday editions are accessible via monthly or the more-affordable yearly subscription.
If you like this and aren’t already subscribed, please consider signing up or forwarding this email!
Thoughts? Reply to this email or hit me up @alexrab on Twitter.
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, Mic, and Time Warner Cable.