West Week Ever: Pop Culture In Review – 3/29/24

I guess I’m supposed to talk about Cowboy Carter, but I haven’t listened to the whole thing yet, and haven’t liked what I have heard. So, instead of pissing off the Beyhive, let’s just jump right into some trailers, shall we?

Trailer Park

Good Times (Netflix, April 12th)

I hate this so much, but it’s on Netflix, so it doesn’t have a prayer of surviving anyway. Like, it’s amazing we even got a trailer for it, the way they treat their new shows these days. There are reasons for my hatred, though. You see, this isn’t a reboot, but rather a continuation. This is Good Times: The Next Generation, and that’s where the problems lie. If you watched the original series to the end, as I did, then you know that the entire Evans family finally got out of the ghetto. Each and every one of them. If I’m not mistaken, they pretty much just left neighbor and family friend Willona behind, to fend for herself. Now, if you know the Black Experience, then you know that families do anything and everything to ensure they don’t end up BACK in the ghetto once they make it out. So, had this show focused on Willona’s grandson, I’d kinda buy it, and almost appreciate the nod to continuity. Instead, the patriarch of this show is Reggie Evans, who states that his grandfather was James Evans. This means Reggie is the son of either Thelma, Michael, or JJ Evans. So, the Evans family is BACK in the ghetto. And it’s not a recent return, which might have made for an interesting story: Middle class patriarch loses his job, and his privileged family finds themselves in the projects. But it’s not that. It’s crass and stereotypical. Doesn’t seem to have the satirical wit of, say, The Boondocks – a show I bring up to mention that its showrunner, Carl Jones, was originally the showrunner here until he was replaced. Wonder why? Nah, I can see why…

Marvel 1943: The Rise of Hydra (video game, 2025)

I’ll be the first to tell ya that I’m not a Video Game Guy. Still, when I see something like this, I kinda wish that I was. I’m never playing this game, and actual gamers have pointed out that no one should get excited until we see footage of actual gameplay. That said, I’m picking up what they’re putting down here. This feels like an ABC Studios era MCU show (Think Agent Carter), and I’m actually OK with that. Those show got away with more when it wasn’t clear if they actually fit into the MCU tapestry that was being woven by Marvel Studios in the films. Like, you could acknowledge them if you wanted to, but you didn’t have to. I’m not exactly sure what the MCU could do with a meeting between Captain America and an early Black Panther, but it’s an interesting enough story idea that I’d love to know how it plays out. I’ll definitely be reading the Wikipedia summary of this thing once it’s out.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die (Theaters, June 7th)

Ya know, it’s sort of weird that this is the first film in this franchise where, behind the scenes, Will Smith and not Martin Lawrence was the biggest liability to the film. This is one of the only pre-Slap Smith projects that wasn’t canceled after he gave Chris Rock five across the eyes. Anyway, would you believe I’ve never seen any of these movies? I dunno, just never got around to it? It’s just insane to me that the first one came out TWENTY-NINE YEARS AGO, yet we’re just picking it up, like nothing happened. Bad Boys and Mission: Impossible both seem to benefit from the loving, youth-injecting embrace of Lord Xenu (IYKYK!). Anyway, maybe the time off helped? Franchises tend to get stale around the fourth installment, but this looks good. I’d watch this. Gotta watch the other 3 first, in order to catch up, but I’m totally down for this.

Unfrosted (Netflix, May 3rd)

What a wasted, stacked cast! Did any of you watch Documentary Now!? It was a mockumentary series on IFC, created by Fred Armisen and Bill Hader. This just looks like a really long installment of that. At least they had the sense to put this on a streamer and not try to release it theatrically. Also, Seinfeld has the weirdest taste in film roles. I’d say he should fire his team, but we all know he’s one of those guys who doesn’t have a team. All of his bad decisions are his and his alone. I’d watch this purely for the cast, but I wouldn’t say this looks “good”.

Will Around The Web

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

  • It’s not looking good for the future of HBO series Euphoria, as the next season is delayed, and while not being officially released from their contracts, the cast is being allowed to pursue other opportunities.
  • In other network troubles, Paramount+ has removed the following Nickelodeon shows from their platform:  Are You Afraid of the Dark? (2019), Blue’s Clues & You!, It’s Pony, Middlemost Post, Ollie’s Pack, Ryan’s Mystery Playdate, Santiago of the Seas, That Girl Lay Lay, Big Nate, and Rugrats (2021).
  • Over on Peacock, Lisa Frankenstein begins streaming today, while Night Swim hits the streamer April 5th.
  • There’s a C-List Battle going on, as Rebel Wilson’s upcoming memoir-nobody-asked for, Rebel Rising, has a chapter devoted to how Sacha Baron Cohen was an “asshole” to her on the set of The Brothers Grimsby. Nothing about that entire sentence remotely interests me…
  • Speaking of things nobody asked for, there’s apparently a script floating around for a sequel to possibly the worst movie I’ve ever seen, John Tucker Must Die. I want Sophia Bush to have work, because I love her, but I don’t love her that much.
  • And speaking of sequels, A Simple Favor 2, featuring the return of Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, is reportedly in development for release on Prime Video.
  • It has taken about 20 years, but McDonald’s finally got the balls to say, “Fuck you, Morgan Spurlock!”, as they announced a deal to sell Krispy Kreme donuts at US locations. The return of the Super Size option can’t be far behind!
  • There’s a great Variety article about the future of the Star Trek franchise, which revealed that the upcoming Starfleet Academy series will be set in the current Star Trek: Discovery time period of the 32nd century. Not really a fan of that choice…
  • Not mentioned in that article was the fact that TV writer Steve Yockney has been hired to development what is being seen as the final film for the Kelvinverse iteration of the Star Trek films. The cast is all at different levels in their careers, though, to the point where Zoe Saldana is probably just gonna appear on a viewscreen, like Suzanne Somers did when she was about to leave Three’s Company.
  • Sean Puffred-Didaceus Combs’s LA home was raided, for reasons, and he may have fled the country. No, his middle name is not “Puffred-Didaceus”. Probably. Folks name their kids anything these days, really…

I love Miles Morales for a bunch of reasons. First off, he was created by Brian Michael Bendis during a period when I was pretty much a guaranteed fan of anything he did (This was before The Incident). I was also a huge fan of Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, and the introduction of Miles marked a major turning point for that imprint – so much so that he made the jump to the main “616” Marvel Universe when Ultimate Marvel was shuttered. I hate to be all “hipster” about it, but I was a Miles fan before everyone and their mom discovered him in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. In fact, I was such a Miles Superfan that I was interviewed for a New York Magazine profile on the character prior to the release of Spider-Verse – and then my whole segment was cut because it didn’t fit the narrative the piece was trying to sell to its audience. I should probably write about that one day, but I digress… So, I’ve been glad to see the character take off, and become THE Spider-Man to a new generation.

Another reason I love the character is because I honestly see him as the most relatable Spider-Man, and I don’t just say that for the racial similarities between us. Ya see, when I got into comics, I had heard about “The Parker Luck”, and how nothing ever worked out for Peter Parker. Then, when I’d open up a Spider-Man comic, sure he’d get his ass kicked, but then he’d come home to his smoking hot supermodel wife, who was waiting for him in lingerie. Didn’t seem so bad to 13 year old me! Yeah, sex isn’t everything, but again, to 13 year old me, well… Then, Miles came along, as a teenager, with teenage problems. Sure, I wasn’t a teenager by that point, but I still related to what he was going through. He was going through all of the changes of adolescence, experiencing life as an Afro-Latino in New York City, and he had to deal with learning to use his newfound powers. I liked his layers. So, that’s why I really enjoyed The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story, which was released this week on YouTube.

The Spider Within tackles all of those layers in a mere seven minutes, and it’s a good primer on what it’s like to be Miles. He’s trying to do what’s “right”, while still being seen as “irresponsible” and unserious by those around him, as they’re not in on his secret. While I didn’t feel the animation was up to the level of the Spider-Verse films, its still an effective entry in that world. What made it even better for me was that I watched it with my girls, as they asked questions about Miles, and immediately understood what the short was trying to convey, regarding mental health. If you’ve got seven minutes to spare, and you like Miles Morales, then definitely check it out. The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story had the West Week Ever.