THIS WEEK: Feb 20 – 26, 2011
CHICKEN CHANNEL: Don’t get me wrong—I do love chicken. If I can have any meat between two slices of rye, it will always be chicken. Best way to improve a salad? Add chicken. And I could go on. Still, the idea of a twenty-four hour chicken rotisserie channel (sponsored, of course, by Swiss Chalet) is a strange one. I sort of understand the fireplace channel, and don’t mind the fish aquarium channel. But watching an endless loop of an open flame roasting two rows of chickens is a peculiar way to spend an evening. Then again, maybe I’m just not as big a chicken lover as I’ve so long believed. For those interested, “The Rotisserie Channel,” as it’s been dubbed, is set to debut on February 28. Click here for more.
BOLD CHOICES: Last week it was zombies; this week it’s Willem Dafoe. For some, both are equally terrifying. For me, however, Dafoe’s acting is top notch. Though he often seems a mere tail wag away from barking mad, he always delivers a strong and compelling performance. Now, you can catch Defoe in “Bold Choices,” a remarkably affecting (and, dare I say it, moving) commercial for Jim Beam Whiskey. This is the best piece of advertising I’ve seen in a long time. Don’t miss it.
ARCADE FIRE: Apparently, not everyone was happy when Montreal band Arcade Fire took home the album of the year award at this year’s Grammy Awards. Indeed, music executive Steven Stoute took out a full-page ad in The New York Times, wherein he criticised the Grammies for being out of touch with contemporary culture, pointing specifically to Arcade Fire’s big win. Now, the band’s manager, Scott Rodger, has fired back in the form of a letter to industry analyst Bob Lefsetz. Rodger writes, “Arcade Fire deserved the win this year. They made the best album. If the award was named ‘Album Sales Of The Year’ award, there would be no discussion. Stoute’s letter was nice piece of self publicity.” I enjoy the back-and-forth of this thing, but it’s a shallow debate—Stoute is clearly a jackass. For more info, click here.
IT’S OSCAR TIME: Say what you want about the Academy Awards. Sure, the year’s smaller films rarely get the attention they deserve. It’s a shame. Really. But I can’t help it—I get excited for the Oscars, and generally make a night of the whole thing. Who’s going to win Best Picture? What about Best Director? Everyone is placing their bets, and there is still time to place yours. I know, the award ceremony has become a bit superficial. In the end, though, the Oscars shine a light on some really great films. Have you seen Black Swan yet? How about The Social Network, or The King’s Speech, or even True Grit? These are all solid films, and more than worth the price of admission (or rental). See the movies, watch the ceremony (this Sunday; check local listings), and discuss the results. For a full list of nominations, click here.
WIN OF THE WEEK: Flight Of The Bumblebee Win
What a lot of free time and endless empty beer bottles can do. I admit, I’m impressed.
FAIL OF THE WEEK: Gun Safety Fail
There’s luck, and then there’s this guy’s luck. Enough said.
The 168 Turnaround is a week-in-review column, a place for me to reflect on the week’s most interesting pop culture news items. If it mattered to me or I think it might matter to you, then it will be here. If I’ve overlooked an important news item, or if you have a comment or question, please leave a response below. Thank you for reading.