Culture Catch-up: Flying under the radar
DVDs. Before she was president, Geena Davis dated an extremely large insect. The Fly Collector's Edition ($20) comes packed with everything you could ever possibly want to know about the 1986 flick about a science experiment gone awry, from a commentary by director David Cronenberg (who was also in charge of A History of Violence, in theaters now) to a never-before-seen alternative ending. Be afraid. Be very afraid. But be only slightly afraid of the wicked stepmother in Cinderella, which is coming to DVD for the first time this week. The marketing marvels at Disney offer up two options, the special platinum collector's edition gift set ($50) or the plain old special platinum edition ($30). Both feature an insane array of features, including nine unused songs (two are beautifully illustrated, the others are audio only), a kid-friendly how-to on becoming a princess, andstretching the whole fairy tale theme to the limitsESPN's Classic Cinderella Stories about athletes overcoming adversity. See, Dad, there's something for you to watch too!
Movies. Sci-fi fans are all in a tizzy about Serenity, the movie continuation of the cult TV show Firefly. Created by Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, the program about a ragtag gang aboard a spaceship 500 years in the future flopped on Fox in 2002. But most of the crew is back for the big-screen version about what happens when the ship rescues a teen telepath from the evil Alliance. Early word is, you don't need to know the show to follow the plot, and what it lacks in high-tech special effects it makes up for in plot and witty writing. It doesn't take any mastery of the English language to make Jessica Alba and Paul Walker look good in bathing suits, as they are attired in Into the Blue. That seems to be the point of this buried treasure thriller.
Books. Through her writing, Joan Didion has displayed her life through various stages, and all of them now seem to have led up to The Year of Magical Thinking ($24). It begins when her husband of 40 years, John Gregory Dunne, dies suddenly during dinner after visiting the couple's only child in the hospital. Didion chronicles her struggles by performing an autopsy of every moment of this grief-filled period and digs out details that evoke emotion just from knowing how much they mean to her. On a very different note, look out for a really big book hitting shelves this week. We mean that literally and figuratively in the case of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes ($150). The beloved comic strip by Bill Watterson fills 1,440 pages and weighs more than many children.
TV. If any episode of Saturday Night Live has the chance of topping the Ashlee Simpson lip-synching scandal, it's this weekend's season premiere with musical guest Kanye West, who is so notoriously awesome at live TV. George W. Bush, our famously early-to-bed president, don't forget to set your TiVo! Or maybe Bush just doesn't care about Kanye? Oh, and the show's guest host is 40-Year-Old Virgin superstar Steve Carell.
Online. The real-breasted Tyra Banks (she had doctors prove the natural nature of her mammaries recently) isn't the only one parlaying her success on America's Next Top Model to a talk show. UPN, now the hot network thanks to Everybody Hates Chris, has started Covergirl's Talk Model (Thursdays, 2 p.m. EDT, ), an online program devoted to the fierce ladies of the reality hit, cohosted by April from season 2. Remember her? Me neither. Anyway, each week they chat with the contestant kicked off the night before and they take callers, so you can rant about how it's sooooo annoying that Cassandra won't wear her hair Rosemary's Baby-style like Tyra wants. Don't these women realize that Tyra only wants good things for them? Jeez.