This is Where I Leave You…the Sequel?


This is Where I Leave You

This is Where I Leave You

I recently watched the ‘dramady’ This is Where I Leave You, the adaptation of Jonathan Troppers New York Times best-selling novel. The premise (in a nut-shell) is about the Altman family—a dysfunctional, disjointed brood (whose isn’t?!) who all regroup for a week to sit Shiva for their father/husband who has just passed away. 

In theory, the Altmans are like a mango-salsa chutney. All have their own complex flavors—yet taste amazing together on a nice piece of fish. *I don’t know what that means either.

First off, it must be noted how much I enjoyed this film! Director Shawn Levy, who is known for money-making box-office wins yet critical acclaim disappointments, really surprised me–specifically the fact that he didn’t insert himself in a cameo, which is somewhat of his calling card. Yes, there were some predictable cliché’s abound, but I thought the cast was exceptional, the story compelling and well-paced. The characters were richly portrayed, all having their own wonderfully supported story arcs. Through multiple episodes where I found myself laughing and bawling (Tina Fey does an excellent fake-cry)—it struck me that this film would make for a great sequel!

Here are some of my ideas in no particular order.

I must admit, I regularly fall into marathon rabbit holes watching Jason Bateman interviews and MovieFone appearances on YouTube, so knowing that Bateman was in this film was an easy sell for me. I thought Jason Bateman’s character as Judd Altman was really interesting despite his penchant for look-alike-brunette Chiksas with barely-there noses.

I think he should return as a single dad—wading through the dating scene and all of the sensitivities that present itself while trying to raise a young daughter. I didn’t think he and Rose Byrnes character had any tangible chemistry, she was really the only character that I didn’t connect with. She does not qualify for a second act. SAWRY.

True Love

True Love

Tina Fey’s character needs to leave her douche-rocket of a husband and return home to be with her one-true-love. Yes, Timothy Olyphant’s character has some minor brain damage and an odd-greyish facial scar—but if he’s good enough to shag, I say he deserves a second chance (whose kidding who, the man is gorgeous!) Both of their parents (who are lesbian lovahs) live in million dollar *spacious* homes, and Olyphants character has a Jay OH Be at the family store, so what’s the problem? They belong together.

Memaw Lovers…

Speaking of the best-girlfriends-turned-lesbian-couple played by the incomparable Jane Fonda and Debra Monk; can we take forever and infinity to discuss how incredible Jane Fonda looks in her mid-70’s? Those Jane Fonda work-out classes (which must be noted she only started in her 40’s) did her body GOOOD! I think the world is ready to see some Grandma on Grandma scissoring (I know I’m not). Show the class what that might look like Mr. Levy!

Baby Lust Problems...

Baby Lust Problems…

And lastly, when it comes to the woman-trying-last-ditch-effort-to-get-pregnant story arc my hope would be to show what that brine of salty disappointment really looks like—long term. Played by Kathryn Hahn with a severe case of baby lust, she and her hubby are trying last-ditch effort pregnancy with the help of some sort of baby-aid injectable, seemingly to no avail.

In the sequel that’s not happening, I hope you will eschew the international adoption play, or the ‘miracle’ baby pregnancy that happens when they stop trying. Instead show the class what it looks like when there is no chance of baby and how that affects a woman’s mental health and the state of her marriage.

Show her at her 53rd baby shower bragging about “how Tony Robbins and Grumpy Cat follow her on Twitter” before she has a full-on melt-down during the opening of “baby prezzies.” She apologetically excuses herself to leave, but not before shoving 20 pink macaroons in her purse, a baby bottle cupcake in her mouth, knocks her head on the chandelier—before making a swift exit.

Chew on that kind of gristle. The world needs to see it.  

Mr. Levy + Mr. Tropper have your people contact my cat sitter? There’s more where this came from, plus I have no ‘people‘.


The Pop Culture Rainman

P.S. If you say Chutney 10x fast, it doesn’t sound like a word (or a delicious easy-to-make garnish) any more.

When a Celebrity Retweets You; The Lena Dunham Effect

I rarely follow ‘celebrities‘ on Twitter.

I recently stopped following Oprah—and not because I don’t love + adore the ground she walks on, but because there’s something about following someone THAT famous via social media that feels like fawning adulation bordering on idolatry. I’m also not about hinging on the bon mots of those who may or may not even write their own tweets.

In fact, it could be said that I mainly follow writers + comedians. The few musicians I follow return the favor—barring Prince, and that’s perfectly acceptable…because, uhm…Hullllooooo it’s P-R-I-N-C-E?!

Others are a confetti of humans that I actually know, humans I’d like to know, or brands I admire—and ‘yes’ Grumpy Cat is a BRAND thankewww!

I also follow a host of illuminated thinkers, teachers and healers on Twitter of whom, it could be argued, are ‘celebrities‘—but in my minds eye are simply people who possess the kind of brain space that I’d simply like to bathe in.

One of them is Lena Dunham. Actress, Writer, Filmmaker, Creator and Producer of the HBO series GIRLS.

What truly draws me to her is her pursuit of authenticity—warts and all. Anyone who risks exposing their vulnerabilities for the sake of their art automatically wins a parking spot in my heart.

She’s brilliantly funny, possesses a wicked vocabulary from which I steal word-play from on the regular, and she shines an exceptionally accurate light on the inner crazies of females.


So last week Dave Letterman announced his forthcoming retirement from CBS in 2015.  After a healthy marathon cry and some Toll House cookies, I saw that Lena Dunham had made mention about it—specifically something about how she would miss his “gorgeous tooth scenario/general brilliance.”

I was so happy to hear her say this (and not at all surprised!) as just a month prior, a very popular 20-something Toronto blogger made a comment questioning the relevancy of Letterman.

How is David Letterman still even a thing?“—20-something blogger

I almost *fainted* at the mere sight of such a clearly ageist remark?It made me sad to think that said bloggers harem of 30k followers might think the same. Heaven forbid someone is not on a 30 under 30 list and it’s as if they cease to exist in this culture?!

Letterman is an intellectual and comedy LINEBACKER,” I lambasted her. “He’s an icon who paved the way for the Conan’s…your Kimmel’s and Fallon’s!!!”

Big Deep Breath.

So back to Lena. I had written her back expressing my appreciation for someone of her stature giving a kind nod to someone as timeless as Letterman and gave her some back story on my horror re: the influential blogger scenario.

Not that I should make Dunham feel responsible for the misgivings of her 20-something half-baked peers. She’s far from your typical young woman in every sense of the word.

Dunham was going to Lilith Fair as pre-tween with her mom, writing scripts and making films before she could vote. She has admitted that she had never actually been clubbing before she shot that infamous cocaine/switcheroo top scene in season two of GIRLS, and her idea of vacationing is reading the translated versions of Madame Bovary in a well shaded area. She’s kind of like in her early 60’s when you think about it?

And then I sent her this…

… and to my absolute pleasure she retweeted it. Even though it was a part deux to what I had previously sent her—my disjointed comment got a retweet!

The Lena Dunham Effect 

My Comment Retweeted by Lena Dunham

My Comment Retweeted by Lena Dunham

I don’t write to Lena often—but when I have, she has often been kind enough to either respond or favorite a comment. For the record, Lena does not follow me and we have never met.

So she retweeted me and almost immediately I started getting new followers. It was fantastic! This was a bona fide Twitter windfall as a retweet from Lena Dunham is the ultimate cool factor endorsement! I was already up to 10 new followers! I think maybe her 1.51 million followers think the she and I are friends! AWESOME! 10 more followers, and I’m being retweeted and favorited all up this mutha!

I began to wonder if celebrities are even aware of how their retweeting influence impacts their retweetee’s or if they simply do it by rote, like everyone else? It dawned on me that the entire phenomenon would make an incredibly fascinating if not short-lived reality series.

After receiving 30 shiny brand new followers I began to feel guilty like I should write a thank you note, or send one of those edible fruit baskets?

Thanks Lena!

Thanks Lena!

I was purposely riding this wave by not tweeting anything new, waiting to see how long I could squeeze this fortunate series of events for all it was worth while trying to play it cool. Like, ‘yea…people like Lena Dunham retweet’s me all the time…so what?’ I didn’t want to write a public thanks because I didn’t want to be seen as a slushy fan to her followers and I didn’t want her to think I’m a starstruck nerd whose using her for follows? In fact I noticed how other plebes were almost using my retweet and or my statement as a piggy back of sorts to get themselves noticed.

It felt ugly.

I caved about an hour later and inked a tweet saying thanks to Lena and attached the actual photo of the retweet as seen above. Eventually she removed my comment from her page, as it was possibly annoying the fuck out of her how many people were commenting on it, or she got turned off by my inability to not draw attention to it. Perhaps there was no thought placed into the removal at all and I have suckled on the teats of Lena Dunham and milked this incident for all it is worth and should really just move on.

No, I’m not yet the Twitelebrity that I’m destined to become, but this was a lovely lil’ feather in my cap! Final tally was around 40 of which half have deserted my ass after realising that I am not in fact part of Lena’s inner circle.

XOXO                                                                                                                                                                                                             The Pop Culture Rainman

The Pop Culture Rainman™ Best of 2013 Part 1!

Tah Dahhhhhhhhhh!

My totally un-scientific and disjointed list of the year’s biggest Pop Culture noise makers, trend forecasts and infotainment, mixed in with a big chewy nougat of celebrity *cringe*! So in no particular order (what is this order you speak of?) Here it is Friendsicles!

*No interns were hurt in the making of this list

Best in Music

As a former full-time music journalist, I still try to fuse some of my musicology prowess into this newly minted blog. In 2013 I reviewed an exceptional body of work, one of which landed at #1 on virtually everyone’s end-of-year lists. Read my review of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories here.

Runner up is Beyoncé’s self-title end of season surprise album which sold a whopping 828,773 copies worldwide in its first three days on iTunes. A.K.A. The Visual Album, the 14 songs which feature everyone from Drake, Frank Ocean and even her daughter Blue Ivy, comes with the ‘visual’ accompaniment of 17 slick music videos.

On a side note: It’s good to see newcomer like her finally get their comeuppance 😉 Don’t let your aversion to commercialism over-ride this funktastic album and just wish Beyoncé and her buckets of money a Congratuloncé. (Yes, I just did *that*)

Best in Television

Netflix took over 2013 in a big way and with that came more eye balls on Breaking Bad and the season end finale with a colossal 10.4 million views on AMC. The number has grown exponentially larger from all the cross-pollination views on Netflix, but I’m allergic to math so your on your own to figure out the number crunching. Mea Culpa. What became of Walter White and his five-year Cancer Battle/Meth Cook-off?

Spoiler is here. You’re welcome.

Breaking Bad Season Finale

Breaking Bad Season Finale

Best in Television Spin-off

Better Call Saul...

Better Call Saul…

“Better Call Saul,” Walter White’s sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman get’s his own gig in an exclusive Netflix arrangement. I know. So many *feels* on this. It’s gonna be uh-mazing!

Best in Books

2013 saw two of my favorite bloglebrities put out exclusive hilarious tomes. Kelly Oxford’s Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar and Fashion Assassin Leandra Miller’s Man Repeller


These foxy bitches parlayed their Twitter/Blog Fame into 360 degrees of Real Life Fame!  I’ll be damned if I’m not next!!

Best Magazine Cover

It’s a Three Way Tie! Rolling Stone’s cover of Lena Dunham and juicy interview were the stuff of Girly dreams and Oprah’s hair-raising cover was simply too much fun!

New York magazine featured one of my favorite actresses Lake Bell in her birthday suit. I know what your thinking. Yes, her *hair* is TOTALLY fake.

Best in Former Child-Stars A.K.A. ♪ “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be 

Disney Constructs…”♪

The maniacal barely-dressed selfies. The haterade towards ‘ugly people.’ The suggestively ‘rapey’ come-on’s to Drake? 2013 was the year Amanda Bynes officially went crazy-cakes via her Twitter account. Oh and the ratchet wigs! Absotootly fetching!

 *Do* try and work with your medication(s) in 2014 will you Ms Bynes? (Be Well!)


Miley Cyrus made headlines in 2013 proving to everyone in try-hard doses how much she didn’t want to be viewed a Hannah Montana any longer. She’s Not a Girl….Not Yet a Hoookerrrrr.”♪ 

Yes, I’m slut-shaming. Deal with it.

Take one part pasty tongue-wagging gymnastics, two parts ass gyrating twerking, mix it in a cusinart with some oooooh-you-naughty-pot-smoking-rebel-on-live-tee-vee, some interrogation-lit Terry Richardson porn, and…we got it Miley.

We. Really. Got. It. You all GROWNS UP.  

Best in Guy Trend

My local coffee shop is THE place where hipsters converge in their natural habitat on the daily. When not sipping their fair-trade lattes and eating vegan muesli bars, I have a game I like to play called “count the hipster beards.”Hey brothers; it was fun while it lasted. Here’s to 2014 and some clippers, mmmkay?

Best Photo Bomb

There have been some epic photo bombs in the past year, but none as bomb diggity as this one taken last February at the Grammy’s. Here’s the adorbs Kelly Clarkson bombing Portia and Ellen’s photo opp with absolute aplomb. *see what I did there?

…Stay tuned for Part Deux of 2013 Pop Culture Rainman’s Year in Review.

In the Mean Nice Time…Merry Christmas Lover Heads!

The Pop Culture Rainman

‘JLaw the Construct’ Meme

It recently occurred to me, in the way that an arbitrary thought bubble will just *plant* itself in my brain seemingly out of nowhere; what if Jennifer Lawrence’s whole persona is…an ‘act’?

Bear with me for a second…imagine if in some sort of Wag The Dog meets The Truman Show sexperiment; execs found the most beautiful, cherub faced actress they could find–and turned her into this goofy, silly, HILARIOUS, down-to-earth, loveable construct?

Something weve rarely seen from a Bombshell young ingénue in Hollyweird.

Imagine for a second, that of all of it, the I Love Lucy buffoonery…

the clumsy pratfalls…

and mishaps…

…were just a well-oiled ruse? A total fabrication?

Imagine if you will (work with me people!) that Jennifer Lawrence the adorable Southern sweetheart, was really an actress from Berlin?

And so without further ado, allow me to introduce my first ever meme, JLaw the Construct—also known as #42.

In creating this new meme, I had to build the character of this so-called construct. A back story if you will.

#42 was plucked by a team of studio execs and primed from the age of three from a Berlin orphanage to play the world’s next superstar. Everything about her has been technically calibrated and calculated.

It could happen.

She has savant-like human characteristics having been raised by a slew of acting coaches, linguistic trainers and gymnastics instructors. She has never been shown real love and her heart is blackened with maniacal hatred and bouts of rage.

This was 'not acting'

This was ‘not acting’

When not working, #42 lives in an incubator in Berlin where she has daily training sessions and exists on a raw foods diet. Certain hand signals from inconspicuous handlers will result in some of Jennifer Lawrence’s most celebrated quirks and guffaws.

Alright that’s all I’ve got. My first ever meme—that may very well be my last. I enjoyed this moment in play land and hope you did too!

Hope JLaw would Approve!


Here’s to imagination!

The Pop Culture Rainman

Breakfast of Crapions…a cautionary tale

I was raised by the Fruit Loop. A latch key Lucky Charmer

If it came in a colorful box with a (I must have it!!) toy inside–it was ON my breakfast table.

Perhaps it was the divorce guilt that made my mother so accommodating, or conceivably maybe she just didn’t know any better.

Also, it was the 80’s. I wasn’t the only kid on the type2 diabetes-inferno-sugar-diet

While I do have gauzy early memories of Shreddies & Rice Krispies, I recall a swift move on to the ‘harder stuff’ as soon as I could articulate the ad bombs that were targeting my innocent brain in between my Saturday morning cartoons. Sure ‘Snap, Crackle, Pop’ was catchy, but those 3 elves couldn’t compete with the bad-ass wrecking ball crew from Transylvania. Pffffffffffffft…slow cooking rice imps! This be some monster crack yo’! Recognize.

My darling (read: exhausted) mother allowed me carte-blanche while riding shot gun in the shopping cart.

I never had to resort to vocal hysterics or crying fits in ‘aisle seven’ as some of my contemporaries had to do with their moms. I knew all of these drug deallers cartoon characters on a first name basis and would point and ‘squeeeee‘ with delight as she plopped each box in the cart without reservation.

Candy For Breakfast

I can recall with such clarity the ((((ANXIETY)))) that would fester when my marshmallow to cereal ratio was out of flux, my sister often bogarting the marshmallows, leaving me with (feh!) lonely mouthfuls of frosted corn. “Give me my MALLOWS ‘bitch!”

Yes, I spoke in confectionary gangster Ebonics as a child.  Why, didn’t every one?

The Fragile Eco System of Marshmallow to 'Corn' Ratio.

The Fragile Eco System of Marshmallow to ‘Corn’ Ratio.

Contraband Cereal

It’s unclear as to why, but besides already having deep seated insecurities for being Canadian (American everything was wayyyyy cooler in the 80’s) there were certain cereals we could never get our hands on due to geography. This of course made these cereals that much more alluring and desirable.

Cases in Point:

Boo Berry never came to town. Like, ever.

I frothed at the bit for this blueberry vomit by virtue of the fact that I couldn’t. have. it.


Another General Mills elusive was Trix.

I remember loving the commercials as a child and the mind control catchphrase “Silly Rabbit, Trix are for Kids” all the while dreaming that ‘somewhere over the Rainbow’ (Milwaukee?) there are KIDS eating these mysterious fruity corn balls (that taste just like Fruit Loops).

The reality was, Trix wasn’t REALLY for all kids… just the ‘chosen’ ones.


Fruity Pebbles wasn’t available in Canada either, which seemed like THE biggest rip off ever?

You Broke My Heart Fred....

You Broke My Heart Fred….

The Flintstones were part of every child’s daily viewing diet (usually at noon) and the disenfranchisement was too much for my little heart to take. Fred Flintstone was the biggest star I knew, and I couldn’t taste his prehistoric wares?! Oh Hellllllllllllllllz no.

It was then that I started freebasing Dimetapp. But that’s another story for another day.


Cookie Crisp was probably the most coveted cereal of all. Cookie soup that turns into chocolate milk? Um…yes Please!

I finally started a small importing racket (thanks mom!) via the rough streets of Lake George and Plattsburgh and let me tell you, this cereal lived up to all its hype. That is, until I discovered the mother load….

 My saccharine rock bottom… [cue record scratch here]…


Pac-Man Cereal with Ms Pa-cMan *SHOCKING* color combo.

Pac-Man Cereal with Ms Pac-Man *SHOCKING* color combo.

The *Psychedelic* colors. Those crunch-tastic pellets! Must. Get. Those. Little. Ghosts!

…And then I’d black out.

The Pop Culture Rainman