Culture Catch-up: Pitching for relief
The loop is here, and we're bringing you in.
TV. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, celebrities are pitching in. They're taking over NBC (and sister networks MSNBC and CNBC) first with A Concert for Hurricane Relief, airing at 8 p.m. EDT tonight and featuring Harry Connick Jr., Tim McGraw, and Wynton Marsalis. BET is partnering with Russell Simmons and Jay-Z for a show scheduled for September 9. And MTV, VH1, and CMT are gonna host a nationwide blowout on September 10, with concerts in New York, L.A., Atlanta, and Nashville, starring Ludacris, Green Day, Alicia Keyes, Usher, the Dave Matthews Band, and others. The annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethon for Muscular Dystrophy will also be pleading for funds for Katrina aid. That kicks off Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT.
For a complete escape, turn to the epic adventures of the wealthy and beautiful residents of Newport Beach. All summer, fans of The O.C. have been wondering if Marissa really killed Trey. Well, they're going to find out when the show returns September 8 (Fox, 8 p.m. EDT). The episode's got a ton of twists, but eventful doesn't equal enjoyable when the writing loses its edge. Here's to hoping Seth (Adam Brody) will find his wit again and that the gang never spends another extended sequence frolicking on a beach. But if you're a bit bummed after the first hour, keep tuned to Fox for the premiere of Reunion (9 p.m. EST). The concept is gimmicky: Each episode takes the viewers through a year in the life of six high school friends. And we know one of them is brutally murdered 20 years later. Part soap, part John Hughes movie (at least the first episode set in 1986), it's easy to see it turning addictive. Why does 1987 start with a bang? We want answers.
Movies: A Sound of Thunder is truly remarkablemainly because it's so hard to believe that something with such unconvincing acting, lazy writing, and unfathomably terrible special effects could be made into a movie. Based on a Ray Bradbury short story, it stars Ed Burns as a scientist working for a time travel company (owned by an oddly coiffed Ben Kingsley) that takes spoiled business people back 65 million years to hunt dinosaurs. They're not supposed to mess up the past, but whoopsies, one of their clients does, and when the team returns the world is crawling with carnivorous monsters of every variety and they must save humanity. Honestly, if only Mystery Science Theater 3000 were still around. . .
Books: Somehow, former Sex in the City writer Greg Behrendt penned a bestseller by telling women something they probably should have been able to figure out on their own: He's Just Not That Into You. The reality-averse females who required that book no doubt need the sequel, which Behrendt has written with his wife: It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken ($20). The idea is that after you realize he's just not that into you, you have trouble realizing that a breakup means you're not dating anymore. Behrendt's there to help you through the urges to rebound, binge, and drunk dial. Another follow-up hitting shelves is Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream ($24), Barbara Ehrenreich's take on middle-class money struggles. Critics note it's not as powerful as Ehrenreich's working-class tales in the wildly popular Nickel and Dimed, mainly because she, um, never gets a job.