Analysis: A new Netflix show keeps Blockbuster alive

A version of this story appeared in Pop Life Chronicles, CNN’s weekly entertainment newsletter. To receive it in your inbox, register for free here.


Change is good, right?

I’ve been thinking about mixing it up when it comes to this newsletter, but I’d love to hear from you. What would you like to read? Are there some sections you like better than others? Think I’m missing something that will liven up your brunch conversations?

Drop me a line and let me know.

In the meantime, let’s get to this week’s recap.


(From left) Olga Merediz and Melissa Fumero in a Netflix scene

True confession: I have my old Blockbuster membership card somewhere around here.

I was a regular at my neighborhood store in Baltimore, so I was excited when I heard about this new comedy series based on the #throwback movie rental chain.

In the show of the same name, Randall Park plays Timmy Yoon, “an analog dreamer living in a 5G world” who manages the latest Blockbuster location. He’s out to prove that his store offers “something big corporations can’t: human connection.”

What a great message. The series is streaming on Netflix now. Yes, you read that right; you can now play a program about renting movies.

‘Hip Hop Murders’

Pop Smoke performs at a listening party on February 6, 2020 in New York City.

Sadly, with the recent death of rapper Takeoff, this new WEtv show feels more timely than ever.

Produced by 50 Cent and Mona Scott-Young, and hosted by Van Lathan, the series will “take an overview of the epidemic of violence in hip hop.” Given that at least one rapper has lost his life to gun violence every year since 2018, the topic is ripe for examination.

The first episode, which deals with the 2020 murder of rapper Pop Smoke, is available on WEtv.

‘Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me’

Selena Gomez attends the 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on February 27 in Santa Monica, California.

Celebrity confessionals are popular for good reason.

They serve as a reminder that no matter how young, rich, famous or handsome you are, life can still be challenging.

That seems to be the message of Selena Gomez’s new documentary “My Mind & Me,” in which she gets vulnerable about her world and her mental health. In my opinion, this kind of first-person advocacy is one of the best uses of a celebrity’s platform, because it can help others realize they’re not alone.

“Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me” airs on Apple TV+.

‘Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me’

James Brown performs during the Super Bowl XXXI halftime show on January 26, 1997 at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

A strange phone call reveals a question from beyond the grave: Was the Godfather of Soul murdered?

Almost 40 years ago, a songwriter found herself in the inner circle of musician James Brown, although the relationship would almost destroy her career. Decades later, he finds himself trying to solve the mystery of Brown’s death. When he makes a call to CNN reporter Thomas Lake, the two stumble into a world of secrets, intimidation and suspected foul play.

“The James Brown Mystery” podcast is currently streaming on CNN Audio.

(From left) Melanie Chisholm, Emma Bunton, Melanie Brown, Geri Halliwell and Victoria Beckham of the Spice Girls perform during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 12, 2012.

Spice up your life!

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of their second album, the iconic British girl group have curated a new version of the record, ‘Spiceworld25’. bringing together the hits, their favorite B-sides, some live concert recordings and a “Spice Girls Party Mix” mash-up.

It’s kind of wild that Melanie Chisholm, Emma Bunton, Melanie Brown, Geri Halliwell and Victoria Beckham have been around for so long, but it’s also a chance to remember how caught up in their girl power so many of us were, and still are. looks like.

The album is out now.

Julia Roberts attends a screening of

My favorite story this week was the story of how Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King paid the hospital bill for the birth of Julia Roberts. It was the perfect combination of “Wait, what?” and “How good is this?”

The story itself has been here and there on social media since Roberts shared it with reporter Gayle King in September as part of the History Channel’s “HISTORYTalks” series, but it gained traction especially during fans’ celebration of the Roberts’ 55th birthday on October 28.

No matter how the story turned out, I’m glad it did.

Jennifer Coolidge delivers an acceptance speech during the 74th Primetime Emmys at the Microsoft Theater on September 12 in Los Angeles, California.

“Welcome to the Jenaissance” read the headline of a recent Vogue story about Jennifer Coolidge, and I think it sums it up perfectly.

“The White Lotus” star is having a moment, and we love to see it.

Not only did Coolidge win an Emmy in September for her work on the hit HBO show, she also has a role in the buzzy Netflix series “The Watcher.”

Coolidge is kicking himself, too. He told CNN’s Don Lemon this week that “It’s a lot nicer if you never expect the moment to happen.”

“It’s the surprise of it all that makes it so fun,” he added during an interview that aired Wednesday on “CNN This Morning.” “I truly believe that if I had expected all of this to happen it would never have happened.”

In Hollywood, being 61 and still killing it on screen is still, unfortunately, one rare triumph But Coolidge is an institution, appearing in so many movies that have helped define pop culture, from “American Pie” to “Legally Blonde” to “Best in Show” to name just a few.

Live her reign as the actress most likely to steal every scene.

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