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Fake Thanksgiving songs, a fake TV show, and a fake Scorsese masterpiece
Welcome to the Follow Friday newsletter, happy belated Thanksgiving, and happy first-day-you-are-allowed-to-listen-to-Christmas-music-or-put-up-the-tree-I-mean-come-on-do-we-have-a-civilization day! May this festive season bring comfort and joy to everyone living on Mariah Carey’s dime. And speaking of holiday music …
The single best thing I saw online this week: This article by Washington Post humorist and former Follow Friday podcast guest Alexandra Petri: The 9 best Thanksgiving songs I definitely didn’t just make up. Alexandra and composer Jack Mitchell made up for the lack of decent Thanksgiving music with nine original compositions in a variety of genres. My favorite is number 6, for likely obvious reasons.
The best podcasts I’ve heard this week
Ian Chillag created and hosts one of my favorite podcasts, Everything Is Alive, so when I heard that he had a new show I downloaded it without a second thought. My instincts were rewarded: In the Scenes Behind Plain Sight is a weekly recap podcast for a TV show that never existed, hosted by two of the actors who starred in it. They’re played to perfection by Chillag himself and Mike Danforth (a comedian whose name you might recognize from the credits of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!), and you can tell that Ian and Mike had a lot of gripes with the glut of lazy, poorly-planned, unedited celebrity cash-in podcasts. “I think that’s a good message, to get out of your comfort zone,” Ian says in episode 1. “If you’re out there listening and you used to be on a TV show, try making a podcast about it!”
Mostly, I listen to new episodes of podcasts and wash my hands of the millions of hours that I will never have time for — but I’m grateful for the deep archives of Nate DiMeo’s The Memory Palace, and for the random Instagram comment my partner saw this week recommending episode 90, “A White Horse.” Originally released in 2016 after the Pulse nightclub shooting, it’s a beautiful tribute to a gay bar in Oakland, The White Horse Inn. It’s only 10 minutes long, but it’ll stick with you for much longer than that.
When I see a bad movie, it usually doesn’t bother me much — oh well, better luck next time. But I was fascinated to hear Into It’s Sam Sanders wrestle with his reaction to Wakanda Forever, the lackluster sequel to 2018’s Black Panther, and why he was reluctant to call out its failings. Sam invited two film critics onto the latest episode to hash it out: Vulture’s, who didn’t care for the movie, and the New York Times’ Wesley Morris, who argues that, actually, it’s better than the first one. (I usually love Wesley’s work, but no.)
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help i’m addicted to this stupid meme
“It’s a mafia movie set in Naples, Italy, after the fall of the Soviet Union. There is some dispute over who directed it. Some people believe it was Scorsese, while others claim the director is the pseudonymous Matteo JWHJ 0715.” That’swriting in about Goncharov, a classic 1973 Martin Scorsese film that would be added to the Criterion Collection any day now — if it existed. Goncharov is not a movie but rather a Tumblr meme that has escaped its cage into the wider internet and reached normies like me, thanks to some incredibly talented and silly people with too much time on their hands. It blows my mind that there is a musical score for this fake film, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Pivoting back to real media: YEP, Glass Onion is very good. Still seriously considering that I might see it in theaters again while I can because (like the first Knives Out) it’s best enjoyed with a crowd. So, if you can’t see it in a theater, I suggest a viewing party when it hits Netflix. I have a lot of spoiler-y throughts about the plot that I won’t get into here, but without giving anything away — I cannot BELIEVE the incredible timing of writing this movie however many months ago and releasing it now. I hope Rian Johnson makes like 10 of these.
What if wedding entrance music, but better?
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Nalu Polancic is a pianist who has cracked the code of how to make everyone on Instagram and TikTok love him: Play familiar music very, very well. After kicking ourselves for not having found his IG account until after our wedding, my partner and I played “name that tune” with a bunch of his videos. If you want to play along, you can click these links and then not look at the text on screen: This is the one I got the fastest; this is the one she was surprised I got very quickly; and the second half of this one, I couldn’t get but definitely should have.
The best thing I’ve read this week
Like all emojis, the saluting face looks different on different platforms. The Apple version has half of the face missing, to fit the raised hand into the frame. This gives it an unsettling quality, as if it’s in danger. The Twitter version has two intense eyebrows and a straight mouth, implying a grim acceptance of fate.
Layoffs at big tech companies have triggered an explosion in the popularity of the salute emoji, and the Times is on it!
Palate cleanser: Hat.
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