It’s a Minion world, and we’re all just living in it. The little pill-shaped yellow critters have left an indelible imprint on the cultural mainstream, for better (footage not found) or for worse (try googling “minions memes,” I dare you). Kids and adults alike have latched onto the phenomenon with an uncommon enthusiasm, and now the numbers reflect the totality with which the Despicable Me universe has permeated modern life. In the seven brief years since Illumination Entertainment loosed the original Despicable Me on an innocent populace, the franchise has grown into the largest of its kind — the highest-grossing animated franchise of all time.
Friends and readers, it is with a heavy heart that I must report that our boy Jared Leto is at it again. Though, in another sense, a man who is never not at it cannot truly be at it again, and Leto never seems to let up from being at it. At what, you may ask? Take your pick: he’s gonna play Andy Warhol, he wants to return to the DC cinematic universe as the Joker, he’s allegedly prepping a new 30 Seconds to Mars album, he runs Fandor now for some reason, and he’ll soon make his debut as a feature director with a thriller about Patty Hearst. Indeed, Jared Leto is in a state of perpetual at-it-ness, the only changing factor being the nature of what it means to be “at it,” again or otherwise.
When a big studio tentpole comes out, it’s common practice for the personnel involved to take their next jobs around the same time, riding the crest of publicity generated by the release. Usually, the offers start coming in shortly after the film in question hits theaters and proves successful or less-so, and the news will follow that. But when, say, the director of the upcoming Dark Tower adaptation signs a deal for his next project weeks in advance of his big premiere, it’s a sign foretelling one of two things. It’s either so good that a studio made him an offer too appealing to pass up, or so bad that he just wants to sign a contract before word gets out.
Sandra Bullock has been relatively quiet as of late. She starred in Our Brand Is Crisis and lent her vocals to Minions in 2013, which means the last time anybody actually saw her face (sorry, Our Brand Is Crisis) was in 2013’s Gravity. Presumably, she’s been getting some quality time with the family while waiting for the right script, which has hopefully come in the form of the all-ladies Ocean’s 8 due next year. But today brings the news that the former Miss Congeniality has now laid plans for another future project, and this one’s going online.
While you and I may know July 3rd as “Fasting in Anticipation of Tomorrow’s Onslaught of Grilled Meats Day,” a certain subset of conspiracy-monger recognizes it as World UFO Day. Apparently, one such believer resides at Sony, as the studio released a mysterious new video on the 3rd and included the hashtag #WorldUFODay in the caption on YouTube. In it, a glowing green air traffic controller’s matrix appears on screen with some slightly-garbled dialogue in the background about an enigmatic foreign craft entering their airspace. While some may find its significance confounding, Spielberg fans recognized the clip straightaway.
In 2012, a videotape of professional wrestler and handlebar mustache advocate Terry ‘Hulk Hogan’ Bollea engaged in sexual congress with one Heather Clem (estranged wife of radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge, in one of this story’s more surreal details) surfaced online. Looking to hold someone responsible for what he felt was a violation of privacy, Hogan moved to take legal action against both Clem and Gawker, the media aggregation web site that originally posted the tape in question. Florida’s state court turned into a battleground, not just between the Hulkster and one of the Internet’s trashier publications, but between the moneyed elite and the free press.
Here’s how thoroughly Batman’s influence has permeated the mainstream: he’s claimed tacit ownership of the very notion of shining a light into the sky. The Bat-Signal, introduced in the comics as Gotham City’s method of summoning the Dark Knight, has been endlessly parodied in the annals of pop-culture — just earlier this month, the poster for Captain Underpants paid homage to the iconic (a word I mean here literally, and not in the ‘a photo of the Kardashians’ sense) design of the skyward spotlight. And all too appropriately, the Bat-Signal will now be used to give one former Batman, the dearly departed Adam West, a proper send-off.
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