Winners and Losers From This Past Week in Popular Media

Winner: Shaquille O’Neal, DJ and Ultimate Troll

After starring in Uncle Drew, it turns out that acting wasn’t the only thing Shaq has been working on in the NBA (broadcasting) offseason:

Yup, you really just watched that. Not only was Shaq going hard at the turntables — his new nickname is reportedly “DJ Diesel”— he also got the crowd to start chanting, “Barkley sucks! Barkley sucks!” And it actually looked kinda, well…hype.

The Big Aristotle took it a step further, however, by flashing a graphic on the screen several times that read, “Barkley Has NO Rings.” Shaq and Barkley have had a friendly back-and-forth rivalry dating back to their playing days, so we’ll have to see what form of retaliation the latter has in store when the Inside the NBA colleagues get back to working together.

This whole thing begs the question, though — if Shaq had tried half as hard at basketball during his career as he does at entertaining, would he have won more than four championships?

Loser: M. Night Shyamalan

Sorry, Mr. Shyamalan, but the Shyamalan-naissance hype is overblown.

Okay, maybe I’m a little out of my league here in declaring the Master of Twists a loser, particularly when his upcoming film boasts a trailer that topped YouTube’s trending list for a whole day. But for someone who’s not a superfan, nothing about Glass made me decide Okay, I gotta catch up to this Unbreakable universe before the concluding installment.

The three main characters are played by some of the best actors in the business, yet this movie just looks off-kilter and downright strange. I get the whole realistic approach to superhero movies. Nevertheless, it’s proven to be a tough balancing act in the past, with all sorts of precedent both supporting and undermining the act (see: Chronicle, Hancock).

I see the Unbreakable trilogy not as the cinematic universe we need, but as the one we deserve. Come change my mind, Internet.

Winner: Warner Bros. and DC

W.B. and DC, winning something? But I thought the blog was paid off by Disney to never say anything good about…

*slowly sees bank account cash flow plummet*

Wait, no! I didn’t mean it!

Anyway, with Marvel Studios opting to skip San Diego Comic Con this year, their main adversary had to step up to the plate with something worth talking about. And they did: while the studio still has a long way to go until the Jason Momoa-led Aquaman becomes a must-see, the unexpectedly fantastic trailer for Shazam (starring Zachary Levi from Chuck, of all people) looked like something worthy of the Marvel branding. Also, Wonder Woman 1984 footage popped up to the surprise of many at the convention, proving that however little it may be, there’s still a slight sense of intrigue surrounding the DCEU.

Trailers for Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Fantastic Beasts 2 debuted to raucous applause, too, wrapping up a solid showing for Warner Bros. That was all without mentioning arguably their most exciting sequel, which happened to be hijacked by…

Winner: Marvel Studios

Yeah, they didn’t show up at the biggest convention of the year. Yet their obvious dominance in Tinsel Town and the otherworldly hype for Avengers 4, Marvel can’t stay irrelevant for very long. According to Deadline, here’s how the Lego Movie 2 footage went down:

There was an element of Marvel in the air, even though it’s WB’s rival: Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy, and acknowledged that the movie takes elements of his life and that there could be some kind of shout-out.

“I was given the role while on Parks and Recreation,” he said. “By the time I finished the recording sessions, I was Star Lord. My life is computer simulation — a lot of my life captured in spirit of the character.”

The other Marvel shout-out came when Miller set up the trailer, and acknowledged the big green cast he was wearing that seemed like it was encrusted with infinity stones from Avengers: Infinity War. He said that he is mending a broken wrist and that “my kids glued an Infinity gauntlet onto it.”

Warner Bros. and DC may have won the battle, but Marvel Studios stays winning the war.

*cash starts flowing back into bank account*

Loser: Kawhi Leonard (and Woj’s Doctor)

Here’s the one and only Woj breaking the Kawhi trade on Twitter:

That’s what most of us woke up to Wednesday morning, only for the official package to be confirmed by multiple accounts later in the day. My question in all of this, though: does Woj sleep? Or is he just a robot that goes into sleep mode while plugged into all 6 of his cellular devices?

Also, what’s it like when he goes to his annual checkup with his doctor? Hey, Woj, I’m really gonna need you to get some sleep there, bud. Your battery is starting to fry. Oh, whaddaya know, you didn’t listen to my advice last year, either. That’s nice.

In any event, the real loser here is Kawhi. I mean, he now joins a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference (barfs in mouth a little) and has a whole country behind him. But when you ask for The City of Angels and instead ship off to the Lands of Always Winter, the pure saltiness concentration couldn’t be higher.

Winner: Jimmy Tatro and ‘American Vandal’

Jake is a huge fan of Jimmy Tatro, the star of the popular YouTube channel dubbed ‘Life According to Jimmy.’ So when American Vandal first dropped on Netflix, a new 10-episode show Tatro was set to star in, it was only a matter of time before the elder G-L bought a subscription to the streaming service.

Did you watch American Vandal? If you didn’t, you’re missing out. Sure, on the surface, it’s exactly what it appears to be, which is one giant thriller/crime mystery about a crude joke: #WhoDrewTheDicks.

But delve a little deeper, and you’ll discover a satirical take on the genre — include Netflix’s own Making a Murderer series — that succeeds in telling an invigorating story in and of itself. The show twists and turns through arguably the most accurate depiction of high school life we’ve ever seen on screen, and that’s why it would ultimately receive an Emmy nomination: Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special.

Go watch the first season if you haven’t, ’cause the second is dropping later this year and yes, you’re missing out.

Winner: ‘Fortnite’ (duh)

‘Fortnite’, a free-to-play video game that debuted 10 months ago, has now crossed the billion-dollar mark.

For a reference point, that’s more than double Solo: A Star Wars Story and its worldwide box office of $385 million. Solo isn’t the only film whose box office pales in comparison. And the crazy part is, you have to pay to go see movies.

Apparently, my ten-year-old cousin is obsessed with ‘Fortnite.’ That’s all he does, all he talks about, and all he spends his money on. Because yes, the property topped a billion with in-game purchases on things like different weapons and character skins. And CNBC projects that by the end of the year, ‘Fortnite’ will gross $3.5 billion.

Man, did I love me some GameCube growing up, but in all honesty, this is one culture that eludes me.

Loser: Donald Glover

In the Summer of Rap, it seems like the ultimate battle is on to produce the best summer tune. Kanye and Kid Cudi released their collaborative project Kids See Ghosts to general applause. Brockhampton pulled out all the stops in creating a spiritual successor to Outkast. And this week, Chance dropped four tracks ahead of the follow-up Coloring Book, a project with hype out the roof.

With the success of Donald Glover’s competition of late, his Summer Pack duo of songs received little-to-no attention — mainly because they weren’t very good. For the guy who just released one of the most talked-about music videos ever, this move seems like a real head-scratcher ahead of his last album under the ‘Childish Gambino’ moniker.

It also got me wondering — should we be excited for his next project? Glover has moved further and further away from his musical origins as the years go on, which is completely understandable. All great artists evolve over time.

But Awaken, My Love! was carried by two pretty good songs in “Redbone” and “Me and Your Mama,” with not much else to show for it. And if this version of Childish Gambino is the last time we ever see him, well, it was a good run.

Nevertheless, at this point in time, it’s pretty clear who’s winning and who’s losing the Summer Tune Nuclear Arms Race.

Winner: The Cleveland Browns

The Browns…won…something? Yes, in fact, they did. In the dog days of summer, worthwhile NFL news slows down to a standstill, so credit to Cleveland in providing the footballing world with this gem on Thursday:

There’s so many good moments in this. Tyrod Taylor as Michael Scott, pushing that infamous Dundie forward. Christian Kirksey finding a cleat stuck in Jell-O. Britton Colquitt punting a paper football, only for David Njoku to pick it up and perform his trademark spike.

The best moment of all, though, has to be Myles Garrett as Dwight, sporting the trademark glasses and shredding a picture of Ben Roethlisberger. If that doesn’t strike fear into the division rival next time he’s dropping back in the pocket, well, I don’t know what will. That stare is everything.

What this proves is that all those young sabermetrics guys in the Browns front office sure know how to win the Internet. Now, if only they knew how to win football games…

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