The Pop Culture Wish List

When my wife and I moved into our house a few years ago, we started a wish list, one that was divided into two parts. One part was things we wanted to buy, the other was things we wanted to do. We posted the list on the fridge. It’s now been over six years and while the fridge has changed (crossed that off the list!,) the list is still there.

But this isn’t about home improvements. This is about the idea of a wish list. The truth of the matter is that yes, wish lists are great. Whether it’s a wish list of home improvements, a wish list of potential Christmas presents or a wish list of possible vacation destinations, there has never been a bad wish list in the history of the world. Why? Well that would be a shit list and there are plenty of those. Wish lists are fantastic! They are literally the stuff that dreams are made of.

Recently I was sitting around, thinking about how I’m not into The Deuce anymore, despite being a unabashed fan of the show’s co-creator David Simon, and I started to dream up projects I wish Simon was doing instead of The Deuce, a show I tried to support but ultimately just couldn’t get behind. Because of how these things usually go, I went from these ideas to the idea of something larger. And this is where the idea of a wish list comes into play; specifically, a pop culture wish list.

Basically, and see if you can follow me here, it’s a list of wishes that pertain to pop culture. Crazy, I know. An example would be wishing that Simon was doing something more akin to The Wire, than Treme. If that doesn’t make sense to you, I basically wish he’d do something that is a documentary-style look at a major American city, but has something like cops vs. drug dealers propelling it. I feel like you need some balance when tackling the heavy issues Simon is prone to tackle and that balance was there in The Wire thanks to the various investigations McNulty and crew were running. The Deuce doesn’t have that component to it and is suffering as a result. Also the whole James Franco thing just doesn’t feel right. I kind of wish he’d disappear.

Here is the rest of my Pop Culture Wish List, listed in no particular order.

I wish they’d stop doing Star Wars stuff for a while after this next movie.

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There’s over-saturating the market and then there’s what Disney is doing with that hot Star Wars IP they bought a few years ago. I still haven’t even seen Solo, but I wasn’t itching to do so when it came out and I’m still not. Of course that’s also because I’m kind of over the whole prequel thing. But with Star Wars, when they came back with The Force Awakens, it was so exciting because it had been so long since we got a new Star Wars story. Then a year later they dropped Rogue One and as previously stated, I’m luke warm on prequels, but that one was pretty cool. I even had a few seconds to think about it before they dropped another movie, this one the sequel to The Force Awakens.

Any feelings about The Last Jedi aside, what really stood out to me was that part of the appeal was gone. It didn’t feel as exciting as it did when The Force Awakens started. Probably because by the time The Last Jedi came out, the two years that proceeded included Star Wars’ movies and I do believe that is what the kids call over-saturation. You have to let that stuff simmer Disney. Give it some room to breath. Thankfully they’ve shelved the Boba Fett movie, but Jon Favreau is working on a Star Wars TV show so the threat remains.

I wish Them Crooked Vultures would release a second album

The mega rock super group consisting of Josh Homme, John Paul Jones and Dave Grohl formed in the late stages of the last decade and only released one album before vanishing into thin air, or more specifically, their respected day jobs. Now while the band members allegedly talk occasionally about re-grouping, nothing has progressed beyond the whimsical longings of late night drinking. And this is a damn shame, especially in our current era of neutered, or all together absent rock ‘n roll. We need rock stars! Grohl, Homme and Jones are bonafied rock studs and together, their band was an effin’ monster truck of rock stomping goodness. Super groups are always fun and the album they put out is great. But if they were to stick it out for a second album; that’s where you see what they’re really capable of as they’ve had time to harness their collective talents and do some serious damage. A second album from Them Crooked Vultures would be the kind of vintage, but also futuristic rock ‘n roll we are all talking ourselves into when we attempt to sing the praises of Greta Van Fleet.

I wish they would make Devil in the White City into a limited series

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Erik Larson’s epic book about the 1893 World Fair in Chicago and serial killer H.H. Holmes is one of my favorites; I’ve read it twice. The book alternates between the story behind the Fair and the rise and killing spree of Holmes, both of which happened at the same time. The book is fascinating for true crime heads, as well as for event life nerds.

In 2010, up and coming film actor Leonardo DiCaprio purchased the rights to the book, and since then, rumors of a movie being made with DiCaprio starring as Holmes have circulated, then disappeared, then circulated, then vanished again. In June 2017 it was reported that Martin Scorcese had signed on to direct and that a script was being worked on, which is ultimately fantastic news. However, I would argue that the book would be better served being adapted into a limited TV series as opposed to a movie. If you’ve ever read the book then you know that it covers a lot. I don’t know how you could do it all justice in a movie. My fear is that most of the World Fair story would get shelved in favor of Holmes’ stuff. I understand that. But the full story involves both the World Fair and Holmes and if you were to do a four or six episode series, you could effectively incorporate both. Also, limited series are usually pretty good. This is a win/win for everyone involved.

I wish Adele would record an album with The Roots

In the past, I have argued that I’d like to see Adele try something new on her next record. For her to get away from the piano-heavy ballads and get a little gritty, bring a little less polish with her. I think it’d be a cool left turn for her and because her voice is so good, it’s not like anything she’d ultimately do would be so crazy as to make her a commercial albatross. Adele is going to sell albums regardless, so why not a take a little bit of a chance? And why not take that chance recording an album with The Legendary Roots Crew, dudes who have already worked with Elvis Costello, John Legend, Betty Wright, Booker T., among others?

Working with The Roots would give Adele the chance to mix things up a bit, work with different sounds and different artists and take her skyscraper of a voice in different directions. I firmly believe that Questlove can do wrong and dude, this would be good for The Roots too, a band I love, but am maybe a little bit concerned about. It could re-energize them, give them some new life as well. Let’s do this everyone.

I wish someone would create a TV show set in Key West

Have you ever been to Key West? That is an interesting place and since I went there this past summer, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. You feel completely removed from the world down there, as it’s so small you feel completely immersed in the town and the local culture. It’s also super hot, could be wiped out by a hurricane at any moment, and as far as I can tell, has no law enforcement of any kind. No joke. I was there for a weekend; didn’t see a cop once. I did see a guy walking down to Duval Street wearing only a wig though. You create a show centered around a Key West bar and you have yourself a winner. The show would write itself. It could be like Bloodline, but way more interesting. Probably better too.

I wish Jennifer Lawrence would make better decisions

I am very much TeamJLaw, but even I’m having a hard time standing by her over the past year or so. The last movie she did that I liked was The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, but it’s not like I loved that movie. The last movie of hers that I truly loved was Silver Linings Playbook and that came out in 2012. I really liked American Hustle, but that was after seeing it a second time and better understanding it. That movie came out in 2013. I refuse to see X Men movies because there’s too many of them and I didn’t see Passengers, which came out in 2016, because the reviews were terrible and only got worse. I’ll get around to seeing Mother! eventually, but I did see Red Sparrow, or more specifically, part of it because we bailed on halfway through because truth be told, it was not very good. They were trying to do too much and hey, just like Devil in the White City, it’s a story that would have been better served as a limited series.

Someone needs to give my girl JLaw so help when it comes to picking movies because she’s just not doing a good job and it’s becoming concerning. Hey, Jen, let’s do a cool spy movie (a good one, Red Sparrow doesn’t count) or a legal thriller or something involving con artists and/or bank robbers. Or how about this, you want in on my Key West TV show? You could be the bartender. Call me.

I wish One Day as a Lion would release more songs

One Day as a Lion was Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine and drummer Jon Theodore of The Mars Volta and Queens of the Stone Age and in 2008 they released a killer five song EP. It was beat heavy, accompanied by de le Rocha’s signature style and the humming and buzzing of fuzzed out keyboards. It’s an intense, albeit all too brief, collection of tunes. In the absence of new Rage Against the Machine, it was a welcome sight. It was also a fascinating what if. What if it was Rage Against the Machine, but with better drumming?

I’m not saying that Rage’s drummer Brad Wilk isn’t good, because he is. He most definitely is. But Theodore’s a different kind of player and it was interesting to hear Rage-like music with different sounding drums. I mean, obviously I’d like de la Rocha to team back up with the Rage dudes, but if that’s not going to happen, then I’d like him to do more of this, especially now, when the need for rock solid protest music is paramount.

I wish they’d make a TV show based on The Sandlot

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Normally I’d say this is a terrible idea. Normally I’d say you should leave something like The Sandlot alone. Normally I’d say again, this is a terrible idea. But, and hear me out here, I think a story like The Sandlot is so beautifully universal and timeless and relatable that it could be the exception. We could be talking about a new Friday Night Lights here! It doesn’t even have to be set in the same time period. That’s the beauty of it. Kids have been playing baseball in neighborhoods for years. Or at they used to. I’m not sure they do anymore. Okay, so maybe it’s not something that takes place now. Maybe it takes place in the 1990’s. That’s kind of cool. Or you keep it in the 1950’s or 1960’s, whenever the movie took place. Or, hold on, OR…maybe it’s an anthology series and each season takes place during a different decade, highlighting the timelessness of neighborhood baseball games. Man, let’s just end there.

To be continued…






Categories: Pop Culture

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