West Week Ever: Pop Culture In Review – 5/24/24

First off, I’ve got to pat myself on the back a little. You see, I haven’t been this proud of a joke in long time. When I posted it, I could almost hear the sphincters tightening, but I just think it’s a masterpiece. Seriously, I had to check my spam folder just to be sure I didn’t miss a congratulatory message from Lorne Michaels. I mean, the SNL season ended last week, so I know he’s got time!

Anyway, I actually got around to watching something new this week! Lindsay had a half day, and we ended up watching the recent Netflix release Unfrosted. Horrible name aside (Seriously, The Untitled Seinfeld Pop-Tart Project would have had a better ring to it than this), I LOVED THIS MOVIE. It’s insane! I don’t think any trailer did it justice. While it initially comes off as an extra long episode of Comedy Central’s Drunk History, it actually has the absurdity of Austin Powers. A podcast I follow called it a “Kid’s Movie for Adults”, and I couldn’t agree more. The cast was STACKED, and everyone was hired for that thing they’re most known for doing: Need an Ambiguously Gay Guy? Here’s Thomas Lennon! Need a Quirky Hayseed? Here’s Jack McBrayer! Need Jerry Seinfeld? HERE’S JERRY SEINFELD! Everyone was perfect in their role, and they all understood the assignment.

Co-written and directed by Seinfeld, the film is a fictional account of the origin of Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts. After a years’ long rivalry between Battle Creek, Michigan cereal titans Post and Kellogg’s, the two companies engage in something of a “space race” to develop a new “shelf stable, fruit-filled breakfast dingus”. There’s sexual tension between Kellogg’s head Edsel Kellogg III (played by Jim Gaffigan) and Post head Marjorie Post (played by Amy Schumer), which escalates as Seinfeld’s Bob Cabana is tasked with developing something that will end the feud in Kellogg’s favor. In order to pull this off, however, Bob has to reenlist his former partner, Donna “Stan” Stankowski (Melissa McCarthy), a loose cannon who left Kellogg’s to work for NASA. There’s a deranged Hugh Grant as the classical actor inside the Tony The Tiger suit. There’s a mutant pasta baby that’s accidentally created in the Kellogg’s lab. There’s a mascot-initiated January 6th riot in the halls of Kellogg’s. Oh, and there’s a possibly-canon-for-another-property cameo that knocked my socks off!  Like I said, INSANE! And I loved every minute of it. I need to watch it again, however, as I got a bullshit work email near the end, and it took me right out of it. That’s not on the film, though, and I highly recommend it, as it’s not what you think it is, and it’s probably like nothing you’ve seen before!


On top of a new movie, I also read a new comic! Who is this guy?! If you followed me on TikTok (and I know that you don’t!), you’d know that I post my weekly comic hauls on New Comic Book Day. I sort of paint myself into a corner, however, because folks leave me comments, asking what I thought of particular books, and I ain’t reading these things like that! I enjoy the ritual of going to the shop, as well as the collectible nature of comics. But I’ve got 2 small kids, a wife, a job, and I’m the caregiver for 2 different elderly people. I just don’t have time for reading! So, when I do have the time, I gravitate towards indie books or one shots, as they don’t tend to require prior knowledge of continuity or lore. So, this book was the perfect read for me, in that it was a Marvel one shot by 2 well-known creators: Doom #1, by Jonathan Hickman and Sanford Greene.

Leading up to the release of this book, Marvel seemed to be hyping it as something special. Every now and then, they’ll publish one shot books, like Marvel Point One and Timeless, that are meant to set up events that are to take place in the main series over the course of the next year. This book seemed like it was in that vein, so I grabbed it. Well, I think I was wrong. This story doesn’t set up anything. Honestly, it’s just an elaborate ruse, as it’s nothing more than a $7 issue of What If? It’s the middle of a larger story, that ultimately yields no consequences. It almost feels like a waste of time for a Marvel “architect” like Hickman, who’s coming off of his X-Men shake-up, his miniseries G.O.D.S., and his reboot of the Ultimate Universe. Did he just need a quick buck for a new pool or something?

There’s gonna be spoilers here, but I’m saving you $7, so chill. When the comic starts, we find Valeria Richards (daughter of Reed and Sue Richards, of the Fantastic Four), searching for something in space. Well, she finds it, and it happens to be what’s left of Dr. Doom, who’s somehow in suspended animation. She brings him onto her ship and begins to revive him. Once awake, she tells him what has transpired in the 2 years since his disappearance: Doom had fallen in deep space, fighting a Galactus who had become consumed by his hunger. Once he tore through Doom, Galactus proceeded to our galaxy, where he destroyed every life and civilization. All the Marvel heroes and villains, gone. All the races, like the Shi’ar, Kree, etc, gone. The only ones left were Valeria and Doom, and they had to mount one final assault on Galactus once and for all. They discover that Galactus, doomed to watch the end of one universe and the birth of another, has tired of waiting, and has decided to speed up the process. He does this by killing the Celestials, and stealing their machine, which is basically a Super Ultimate Nullifier (Trust me – these words make sense to comic fans!). To aid Doom in the fight, Valeria has mapped Celestial blood onto human plasma, and has injected it – as well as some Super Soldier Serum – into Doom. To cap if off, his new armor is also powered by THREE (!) Cosmic Cubes. They HAVE to stop Galactus from ending their universe. Long story short, Valeria sacrifices herself to buy Doom some time, and the issue ends with Galactus and Doom, about to go toe to toe, yet it’s clear Doom won’t win. The End.

When I finished the book, my main question was WHY? Knowing Hickman, there’s probably some message about the futility of life, and Doom’s final monologue kind of suggests this. It’s about how you have to press on, even when you know you can’t win, because that’s human stubbornness, as well as human nature. If humanity is to end, he will DIE as a human. The whole “I’m gonna go down swinging” routine, I guess? I dunno.

My biggest issue is with the plan itself: If every life form is dead, then what the Hell are they trying to save?! Shit, LET Galactus restart everything! It’s really the best option on the table. What was the alternative? Valeria would live out her days with her “Uncle Doom”? It’s similar to The Walking Dead and other doomsday properties: I do not want to help you rebuild society! I don’t want any part of that. I hope I go out in the first wave. Good luck in your search for clean water! So, with that, maybe Hickman is making a statement about the hubris of Man? Hickman is the kind of guy who usually packs a book with graphs and charts, like you’re in a 200-level college writing course. I feel like he does this to make you think he knows what he’s talking about. Think about it: He and Grant Morrison can get away with this, and a lot of fans will just say “I’m not exactly picking up what he’s putting down, but my smart friends tell me he’s brilliant!” Any other writer? “Slott is a fucking hack!” Trick ’em with charts. They probably teach that at the Kubert School!

Also, Greene’s art wasn’t initially doing it for me. I’m familiar with his style, but it wasn’t until about 1/3 of the way into the book where I started to see why he was the man for the job. So, at the end of the day, it was a decent way to pass 10 minutes. I really like Doom, and there weren’t any real stakes, but it was “Doom being Doom”. Fine, I guess, but you should save your $7, and maybe pick it up in a dollar bin during one of the summer cons.

Trailer Park

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F (Netflix, July 3)

As I was saying on Twitter, this trailer makes me believe this movie will be exactly what I both NEED and WANT it to be. Only thing I hate is the name. I understand calling it Beverly Hills Cop 4 would alienate some moviegoers, since the last installment was 30 (!) years ago, but there were better options than naming it after its own theme song! I remember when streaming films were akin to direct-to-DVD movies: Not really good enough for theatrical release, but they still created jobs for folks. That has changed, as some streamers have leveled up, in regards to budgets and caliber of stars. There’s been a lot of talk that Hollywood doesn’t make mid-range films anymore. Everything is pretty much an attempt at a blockbuster, cheap Blumhouse horror, or A24. You don’t really see those $50 million vehicles anymore. Now, I know Eddie probably doesn’t come cheap, but I also know streamers are gonna have to become the new home for that film tier, and this looks like the right step in that direction. Oh, ya know another thing I loved about these films? They didn’t try to be all cute with “gotchas”. Like, I can tell you right here and now that I know Kevin Bacon is the villain, but I’m still gonna have a good time watching him play!

You’re Cordially Invited (Prime Video, January 30, 2025)

I’ll watch ANYTHING with Will Ferrell, but there’s no way they’re not together at the end of this film, right?

Tires (Netflix, May 24)

This show isn’t gonna be for everyone, but it was clearly cheap to make, and it looks like it’ll be my kind of humor. It’s already been picked up for a second season, so at least it has something of a future. I could probably breeze through it over a weekend, which is probably what I’ll end up doing.

Will Around The Web

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

  • I try to avoid political things around here, but this is just insane to me: The Texas city of Uvalde has reached a settlement with the 17 families whose children were killed in the 2022 shooting at Robb Elementary School: $2 million dollars and a permanent memorial to the victims. No, that’s not $2 million per family. It’s just $2 million. That’s basically like giving each family a Tesla Cybertruck, and just as much of a “Fuck you!”
  • The cancellation spree at The CW continues, as they canceled the Walker reboot, as well as the Canadian co-production, The Spencer Sisters, starring Leah Thompson.
  • Holly Hunter has been cast as the lead in the upcoming Star Trek: Starfleet Academy series on Paramount+. Set in the 32nd century (Ugh!) world of Star Trek: Discovery, Hunter’s character will serve as captain and chancellor of the Academy.
  • Speaking of Trek, I feel like I’ve written this 3 times already, but it appears Simon Kinberg is still in talks to produce a prequel Trek film, set in the main timeline. Meanwhile, JJ Abrams is still trying to crank out one final Kelvinverse film. Ya know, Star Trek is quickly approaching Star Wars in terms of “oversaturation”…
  • Marvel Studios has announced a rebrand when it comes to their streaming content. Instead of the Marvel Studios fanfare, animated series will kick off with the Marvel Animation banner. Meanwhile, realizing the 30+ titles in the MCU could now be considered “baggage” to new viewers, the Marvel Spotlight banner will be used for live action projects that don’t necessarily fit into the overarching continuity, such as the upcoming Wonder Man series.
  • Speaking of Marvel Studios, the X-Men movie – with no director or release date attached – now has a writer in Michael Lessie, who wrote the screenplay Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.
  • Closing out Marvel Studios news, Paul Bettany will return for a post-WandaVision Vision series on Disney+, planned for 2026. Star Trek: Picard Season 3 showrunner Terry Matalas will be the showrunner here, which is probably great news for him, but bad news for anyone waiting on word about the long-rumored Star Trek: Legacy series he’d wanted to make.
  • James Wan is reportedly developing yet another reboot of The Munsters, called 1313, this time set in the Universal Monsters universe. There’s not as much meat on that Munsters bone as Hollywood has been led to believe. I mean, Bryans Fuller & Singer, as well as Rob Zombie, can confirm that!
  • I’ve always said that the 1976 movie Car Wash felt like a TV pilot, and I guess someone else agreed with me, as NBC is reportedly developing a TV series based on the film. Their take on the story will center around a multigenerational clash between a family of immigrants, so it sounds like they’ve already misunderstood the assignment…

This is one of those weeks that I hate, because I know it sounds like a cop out, but nothing really stood out to me as having the best week. It sure as Hell wasn’t Red Lobster or Diddy! That said, I’m thinking, in terms of dominating headlines, it was between Marvel Studios and Star Trek. I’m gonna let you all weigh in with your thoughts!

Oh, and I’m on Discord now! I don’t know what it is or how to use it, but some cool kids on TikTok sent me an invite to their server, so I’m on there now. If you wanna be friends, it’s the same username I use everywhere else. Until we meet again!