Culture Catch-up: A slump at the box office and on TV
TV. Wednesdays are looking mighty bleak right now that the two best summer reality showsBeauty and the Geek and Dancing With the Starshave come to their shocking conclusions. To recap, on the former, annoying med student Chuck and blah Caitilin triumphed over nebbishy Richard and secretly brainy Mindy in a showdown requiring them to know their partners' middle names and pant sizes. Over on the dance floor, Kelly Monaco (and Alec Mazo) sambaed to a win over John O'Hurley (and Charlotte Jorgensen). No need to go into withdrawal quite yet thoughthe WB is bringing back all of the beer spokesmodels and Mensa members for Beauty and the Geek: The Aftermath (Wednesday, July 13, 8 p.m. EDT). And if you can just hold out a wee bit longer, toe tapping will return to your TV in the form of Fox's new reality show, So You Think You Can Dance (premières July 20, 8 p.m. EDT), which is like American Idol for legs instead of vocal cords. If that's not enough boogieing for you, see if you can find the documentary Mad Hot Ballroom in a theater near you. It's kids dancing, and it's darn cute. And if you hate reality TV and dancing? Too bad. Read a book.
Books. In fact, try reading a really long book. Until I Find You ($28) by John Irving is the latest offering from the celebrated novelist. The hefty tome tells the tale of Jack Burns's endless search for his tattoo-obsessed organist father, all while having weird sexual experiences with older women. And in case you missed this fact, it's really long. Like, almost as long as the last Harry Potter book. More on that in a bit. Paul Feig deals with budding male sexuality in another way in Superstud: Or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin ($14). Feig, the creator of the cult sitcom Freaks and Geeks (no relation to Beauty and the Geek), humorously reveals that he was much more skilled in the roller rink than in the bedroom during his '70s upbringing.
DVDs. So, back to your kids who are desperately rereading that fifth Harry Potter book. Give their brains a break before the sixth comes out (July 16)treat them to some retro magic with Teen Witch ($15), a 1989 flick about a 16-year-old girl who learns she's got powers. Unlike Harry, however, she stays at her regular muggle school and uses her spells to get with the captain of the football team.
Movies. Um, haven't you heard? People don't do that anymore. The box office slump continues! And given the dismal reviews for the two big new releases this weekend, Dark Water and The Fantastic Four, things aren't looking up. We have high hopes for the upcoming The Wedding Crashers though, featuring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as divorce mediators who have a penchant for bridesmaids. We'll fill you in on that next week.