Pop Culture

The Pacific Northwest Inlander, May the forte be with you:

Star Wars is so absolute, the films have a “Wookipedia.” Microsoft Word’s spell checker recognizes “Darth Vader.” And as of last year, the franchise has yielded what is quite possibly the best spin-off product, ever (next to the Yoda Halloween costume for dogs). Star Wars — in concert! Just by listening to the score, one can mentally pinpoint the sagacious gaze emulating from Yoda’s glassy, half-mast eyes, the ominous appearance of Darth Vader and his red-cloaked cronies, the seedy Mos Eisley Cantina, where fleshy-colored aliens play wacky-looking instruments, or the fussy C-3PO laconically shuffling over desert sand dunes, waving his shiny golden arms and worriedly scolding R2-D2 for being such a rogue droid. Read more.

art17420wideaThe Pacific Northwest Inlander, Napoleon Dynamite:

Everyone knows there’s only two important factors in compatibility,” says Napoleon Dynamite to his friends, Deb and Pedro: “What’s your favorite kind of hawk, and how many do you own?”

Napoleon (John Heder) and his non-existent upper lip are back from the indie phenomenon that created a lexicon with words like “liger,” “LaFawnduh, “gosh,” “luckyyyy” and “idiot!” Heck yes, and within the first five minutes of his new animated series, the moonboot-wearing teenage pariah is already spawning new buzz words (“you do, you die!”). Read more.

art16523wideaThe Pacific Northwest Inlander, James May’s Road Trip

“It´s a slightly extreme way of saying, ‘Feel the texture.’ That lovely sort of gelatinous flesh being rubbed all over your face.

Feel it. Enjoy it,” pipes renown wine connoisseur Oz Clarke as a masseuse rubs two grape halves on his face.

“I’m just slightly flabbergasted at the extremes to which you will go to immerse me in the culture of the grape without letting me have a bloody drink,” replies James May, co-host of the BBC’s Top Gear.

People who despise wine snobbery will relish this spin-off featuring May, the anti-establishment, shaggy-haired “petrol-head’ who’s “quite keen to learn about wine — not wine bullshit.”

Paired with Oz, it’s Sideways with British accents. Read more.

art17117wideaThe Pacific Northwest Inlander, New Girl

When a movie star goes on hiatus to star in a sitcom, it makes me squeamish. Sure, watching Kat Dennings lampoon a pair of hipsters in Episode 1 of Two Broke Girls was delightful. But after her breakout role in Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist, Dennings’ raw prowess seems downgraded alongside a forgettable cast and cheesy laugh tracks in Broke Girls.

Not so with Zooey Deschanel in New Girl, which premiered as FOX’s highest-rated fall sitcom debut in 10 years. The “Naked” episode airing Nov. 1 doesn’t disappoint.

I figured that as an “adorkable” elementary teacher who moves in with three dudes after her boyfriend cheats on her, Jess Day (Deschanel) would be an exhausted reprisal of Deschanel’s recurring typecast (the off-beat, beautiful quirky girl who listens to obscure indie music and shops at second-hand/vintage stores), like in Yes Man and 500 Days of Summer.

But like a ducky Barbara Streisand in What’s Up, Doc? Deschanel is effortlessly likeable with her sparkly, Lucille Ball eyes and a self-awareness that feels organic. Read more.

The Pacific Northwest Inlander, Top Gear:

Top Gear is like the UK version of Myth Busters. It’s got curious males, their tricked-out rides and that familiar “What if?” premise of reckless hypothetical query. Except the guys on Top Gear aren’t out to bust old wives’ tales. Read more.

The Pacific Northwest Inlander, Whisker Wars:

Blame executive producer Thom Beers — mastermind of testosterone-drenched shows like Deadliest Catch, Ax Men and Ice Road Truckers — for exposing your boyfriend to a dangerous, legitimate excuse to stop shaving. Read more. 

art15262wideaThe Pacific Northwest Inlander, Sassy Soiree

“Symphony on the Edge” sounds like a euphemism for a group of musicians threatening to jump off a cliff. Not quite. “Edge” was actually a program created by the Spokane Symphony to inject a vogue boldness into the classical symphonic experience: serving up provocative, stimulating, contemporary music in a nightclub setting.

But that was several budget cuts ago, before “Symphony on the Edge” found itself teetering on the edge of a funding precipice.

So the Symphony got creative.

Enter “Soiree on the Edge”: A squeeze of musical juices from both “Symphony on the Edge” and the Chamber Soirees — the Symphony’s highly popular and intimate group performances, held three times a year in the Davenport Hotel’s Marie Antoinette Ballroom.

The result? A glass of aural refreshment: a little sweet, with some bite.

Think of it as taking a calculated English butler, giving him a bottle of liquor, leading him out of his Victorian home and into an open field, then telling him to kick off his shoes and dance. Read more.

Inlander movie preview, Robin Hood:

Director Ridley Scott hit the nail on the head 10 years ago when he dressed Russell Crowe in a short leather skirt and handed him a sword. Read more.

Inlander movie preview, Toy Story 3:

The third installment of this trend-setting classic about toys, their shenanigans, and unfailing loyalty picks up when owner Andy is 18. Andy is legal now. He’s grown into that massive head the graphics artists gave him. And he’s going to college. College?!? Read more.

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