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NEW PODCAST! We think #SKYSCRAPER is the worst movie of the year, but @Mikeonscreen enjoyed it! We passionately deb… https://t.co/wkrwSNC86j

My Personal 2017 Pop Culture Recommendations

I have consumed a freakish amount of information in 2017, perhaps more than I ever have in my life. Here then are what has stood out to me the most in the last 12 months. 👇🏽👇🏽

You Gotta Hear This…

The Bill Simmons Podcast
This year, Bill Simmons’ podcast has become my go-to podcast. I don’t just listen to it here and there like many people listen to their podcasts, it’s the podcast I currently listen to the most. There are a few reasons for that: One – he shares the same interests as I – media, sports, pop culture. That’s me in a nutshell (along with some jazz on the side), but that’s what podcasting is, right?… personal interests. You connect with someone with your same likes and dislikes and you’re  hooked. Two – I’m not a fan of his voice, but Simmons asks incisive esoteric questions. He thinks very granularly, and that is the composition of how a fan thinks like. And three – he has great guests. As of late, he has swayed a lot into pop culture – to the satisfaction of my ears and to the chagrin of other hardcore sports fans – but if you’re into media, and you have Graydon Carter on as your guest, that’s worth some giddiness. Up to that point, Carter had never done a podcast interview, which in and of itself is the reason to listen to it. He then got Janice Min, famous for turning the Hollywood Reporter into the most relevant magazine in Hollywood, who is rarely heard on podcasts. For me, the mix of my passion points and insider backroom talk gives my brain a rush. Of course, I primarily listen for the sports takes he has on Boston and the NBA. I also like the war-room-like atmosphere he assembles with his insightful cohorts on the big sports stories, like the Kyrie Irving and Giancarlo Stanton trades and what it means to his hometown. There’s this feeling of urgency and drama that reels me in.

I’m Still Thinking About The Opening Of This Movie…

The Villainess
My friend Bill McCuddy had told me about this movie that I would love. I thought it was a pretty bold statement so you know I had to go see it. The opening scene of this film rivals the best opening of any film you’ll ever see. I dare anyone reading this to recommend me an opening scene equal or better. Yes, The Raid and Dredd have similar scenes, but they don’t open like The Villainess. This almost 4-minute first-person video game POV is balls-out violent, intense and unwatchably bloody. In other words, right up my alley.

Why Can’t I Stop Listening To This Album? 

Mis Planes Son Amarte (Juanes)
Every weekend, I head up to the mountains and set aside some time to catch up on Spanish-language music on Spotify. I usually discover some gems I latch on to, but nothing had as many repeats as Juanes’ most recent album – “Mis Planes Son Amarte“. Songs such as “Es Tarde,” “Angel,” the title track, and his first English effort “Goodbye For Now” are the entry-points to obsession. Half of the album has this loungy, relaxed rock vibe that you can play in the background while swaying your head as you work. Oh, and if you can, check out the “Es Tarde” music video. It’s what “carpool karaoke” should really be like.

If I Had To See One Broadway Musical Not Named Hamilton…

SpongeBob SquarePants. Trust me, you have never seen a show quite like this. The enormous creative heft to bring this show to life must’ve cost some people their sanity. As soon as I walked into the theater, I was intrigued by the wildly phantasmagorical stage. It felt like I fell into an acid trip. The approach taken to start the show felt fresh and new and you are taken aback by how the actors so profoundly inhabit the cartoons themselves. The stage design, the neon rainbow of costume colors, the musical numbers and the optimism of the show are markers that you not only see, but actually feel. Since the beginning, cartoons have always been made by adults, mostly men with Peter Pan complexes, which is why, if you pay close attention, you always catch some mature wisdom hiding within the grooves of the dialogue and the stories that are very enjoyable.  The fucking catchy tunes are so fun and witty, and why not? They’re written by some of the best pop writers of the moment in John Legend and Sara Bareilles to name a few. After seeing almost every musical on Broadway this year, I’m confident in saying that SpongeBob SquarePants is the best musical on Broadway right now.

Give these a try, and hey, if you are listening to or watching something that gets your heart racing, by all means, please share with us. We’d love to drown our senses in it!

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