This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.
- The Justin Timberlake backlash intensifies.
- You need to watch Judas and the Black Messiah.
- The only Super Bowl thing to care about. (It’s cheese-related.)
- Still the best Britney Spears take, 14 years later.
- Serena Williams, always the GOAT.
Daniel Kaluuya gives that look, and it’s all over. If you’ve seen his performances in Get Out, Widows, Queen & Slim, and now, Judas and the Black Messiah, which is out this weekend, you know that look. His eyes widen just to the edge of what seems biologically possible, firing off laser darts of intensity that would otherwise require special effects.
It’s one look, but it’s also so many looks. It’s frightening. It’s menacing. It’s intimidating. Used to such great effect in Judas and the Black Messiah, it’s angry and impassioned, ingrained with purpose and powered by the generations of injustices he’s taking action against.
Kaluuya plays Fred Hampton in the film, a Black activist in Chicago and chairman of the local Black Panther Party who founded the multicultural Rainbow Coalition.
In 1967, he was targeted by the FBI as a radical threat. It’s a story that ends tragically, and Judas and the Black Messiah does the proper job of enraging audiences over what happened to him. So much of that power is owed to Kaluuya, who makes a towering, almost thundering figure out of Hampton, someone able to galvanize in the face of such danger but who was also quietly, achingly human.
We’re starting to see how the awards races are shaking out now that the final contenders are finally getting released. And if Kaluuya isn’t holding some golden trophies and giving acceptance speeches come spring, it will be a travesty.
I’m so old I remember that the Super Bowl was this week.
That’s about all I remember. I have vague memories of The Weeknd terrifying middle America during the halftime show and Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher singing the Shaggy song “It Wasn’t Me” about Cheetos, but there is no way to be sure either of those things actually happened or whether they were melatonin-induced fever dreams I had.
So should you need a recap of what went down on Game Day, might I suggest this genius Twitter thread that Velveeta—as in the cheese—posted live during the festivities Sunday night.
“We don't have a commercial for the big game but we wanted to be in the conversation,” the brand tweeted. “Our legal team says we're allowed to live-tweet the commercials but only if we're REALLY CAREFUL and don't mention any other brands/celebrities/anything specific. LETS DO THIS.”
It was exceptionally funnier than any commercial I saw that night. For a few minutes of laughs and confusion, check out the whole thing here.
In the wake of everything happening with Britney Spears in the news again, a clip of a 2007 Craig Ferguson monologue from when he was host of The Late Late Show has gone viral. He talks about a cruel trend in late-night humor (much of which was highlighted to audiences’ horror in the Framing Britney Spears documentary):
“I kind of had similar feelings when I used to watch America’s Funniest Home Videos. You’d be laughing at the kid falling over, and then you’d go, Wait a minute, put down the damn camera and help your kid! I think we’re kind of holding the camera, and people are falling apart. People are dying. That Anna Nicole Smith, she died.” When the audience laughs, he says, “No, it’s not a joke. It stops being funny.”
He then relates his point to Spears’s then-meltdown, pledging not to make fun of her. It’s a stunning clip, and a nice reminder of why Ferguson was a cut above the rest:
“I’m starting to feel uncomfortable about making fun of these people. For me, comedy should have a sentiment of joy in it. It should be about artists attacking the powerful people. Attacking the politicians, and the Trumps, and the blowhards. Go after them. We shouldn’t be attacking the vulnerable people. This is totally a mea culpa; this is just for me. I think my aim’s been off a bit, recently. I want to change it a bit. So tonight, no Britney Spears jokes.”
My favorite exercise in fantasy and/or sadism is to watch celebrities give tours of their homes on the Architectural Digest YouTube page. This week, Serena Williams showed off her Miami home, which included a trophy room.
Her legitimate bewilderment while attempting to recollect which of her trophies were from what championship and acting legitimately repulsed to discover that there were second-place trophies in the room (they should be in the trash, she says) is the only mood I aspire to from now on.
Judas and the Black Messiah: The kind of movie everyone should see! (Friday on HBO Max)
Minari: Another phenomenal movie. Everyone watch! (Friday on VOD)
Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar: Kristen Wiig back to being goofy, praise be! (Friday on VOD)
It’s a Sin: It’s kind of a masterpiece, but, oh boy, will you cryyyyyy. (Thursday on HBO Max)
American Idol: Yes, they’re really doing this again. (Sunday on ABC)