Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

Oct. 26 2016 10:17 AM

Lady Gaga Helped James Corden With the “Bad Romance” Lyrics and Almost Caused an Accident on Carpool Karaoke

Lady Gaga teaching James Corden exactly how to sing and dance to “Bad Romance” was just one highlight during The Late Late Show’s latest installment of Carpool Karaoke. Indeed, the two covered a lot of ground on Tuesday night, beginning with the perfect song for a traffic jam—Ludacris’ “Move Bitch”—before intermixing classic Gaga with some country-girl Joanne Gaga (both songs and outfits). She also got behind the wheel for a bit, which, well, didn’t go so well.

Oct. 26 2016 9:17 AM

Westworld’s Man in Black Is a Classic Bad Gamer

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

The video-game elements of Westworld are pervasive. They’re embedded in the character-creation stage as guests enter the new world, the repeating cut-scene–like set pieces, the hosts’ death and resurrection, and the larger narrative form. That last feature impacts some of the most interesting and innovative pieces of Westworld more generally: In a role-playing game–style video game, the illusion of player autonomy creates a sense of realism. Your ability to make whatever choice you want, follow whatever story line looks most fun, be as good or as bad as you choose, or to set aside the game missions entirely and run around the world collecting random items instead, is central to some games’ sandbox-y, full-immersion identity.

The same is true of Westworld, to an extent. The guests—especially the black hats—thrill to the possibility of true in-game freedom. They are released from the bonds of real-world morality, which perversely allows the game to feel “real.” In the most recent episode, William asks Logan why he becomes a horrible person as soon as he leaves the real world. We know the answer, of course—this is Logan’s real self.

Oct. 26 2016 8:32 AM

There’s Another German Grocery Store Coming to the U.S., and It May Just Produce the Greatest Rivalry in Supermarket History

Apparently, Americans can’t get enough of the discount German grocery store experience. The popularity of Aldi, the German monolith whose no-frills displays and rock-bottom pricing have had Americans begeistert since 1976, has not gone unnoticed by the head office at Lidl, otherwise known as Aldi’s chief Fatherland competitor, its arch-nemesis, the perpetual Dorn in its side. And now the younger, feistier fighter in Germany’s biggest little war (Kleinkrieg, or “feud”) is yearning to breathe free on our shores. By 2018, Lidl plans to attack the Eastern Seaboard with 150 new harshly lit emporia of off-brand Tostitos.

Who will win? Impossible to know. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the two stores apart. Aldi’s got a weird four-letter name? Lidl’s got a weird four-letter name. Aldi’s got 10,000 stores in Europe? Lidl’s got 10,000 stores in Europe. Aldi’s got cardboard pallets full of deeply discounted private label goods? Lidl’s got—you get the drift.

Oct. 26 2016 5:40 AM

Tom Hanks’ Latest Press Tour Shows Why America Needs Him to Make Comedies Again

The promotional cycle for a new Tom Hanks movie is a kind of low-key national holiday. No matter how serious—or, in the case of Inferno, absurd and unnecessary—the film he’s promoting, Hanks fires up his megawatt charm and works the hustings like an old pro. It may not always get audiences into theaters; the Hanks-starring A Hologram for the King was released in April to the worst grosses of Hanks’ entire career. But he’s still a welcome, endlessly ingratiating presence on our screens.

Oct. 25 2016 5:38 PM

The Sellout Author Paul Beatty Is the First American Ever to Win the Man Booker Prize

Paul Beatty has won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for his acclaimed novel The Sellout, becoming the first American writer to do so. The award is determined by a five-person jury, and in this case, the decision was unanimous.

Beatty’s sharp social satire tackles racial stereotypes with equal parts outrageousness and profundity, exploring the legacy of slavery and racial equality in the U.S. “The truth is rarely pretty, and this is a book that nails the reader to the cross with cheerful abandon,” Amanda Foreman, the head of the Booker judging panel, said of The Sellout. “It plunges into the heart of contemporary American society.” The novel previously won the National Book Award for fiction in 2015.

Beatty recently participated in Slate’s survey of the funniest books by living writers, recommending three titles including Tibor Fischer’s Under the Frog, while Beatty's books were recommended by Sam Lipsyte and Junot Díaz. Beatty also discussed The Sellout at length as part of Panoply’s podcast Live at Politics and Prose.

Oct. 25 2016 4:09 PM

Donald Trump Once Did a Surprisingly Introspective Interview With Errol Morris About Citizen Kane

Over a decade ago, documentarian Errol Morris interviewed Donald Trump for an aborted project called The Movie Movie. The conceit was to get various high-profile figures to put themselves in the context of their favorite films—and for Trump, it was Citizen Kane. It’s not hard to understand why: As the copy on Morris’ website currently reads, “Isn't it possible that in an alternative universe Donald Trump actually starred in Citizen Kane?”

Oct. 25 2016 3:07 PM

Tom Hanks Reunites With Zoltar From Big, Asks to Be 30 Again

Tom Hanks may be having yet another banner year, between his acclaimed performance as Sully and as new Halloween icon David S. Pumpkins, but the fact remains that he’s getting older. And on Monday night, he stopped by The Late Show to try and do something about that: reunite with Zoltar, the fortune-teller machine from the movie Big, and get aged back down to 30.

Since Hanks went from 13 to 30 in Big, he’s now asking Zoltar—now played by a finely-bearded Stephen Colbert—to age him backward in time.* Zoltar, unfortunately, isn’t buying it. He can barely remember Hanks, finding him indistinguishable from Tim Allen—“We worked on that movie together—The Santa Clause?”—and seems skeptical of his motivations. But after asking Hanks what lesson he took away from Big, trying to trap him into changing his mind, the Oscar-winning actor makes a pretty convincing case for himself: “I learned that being older isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.” Need he say more?

*Correction, Oct. 25, 2016: This post originally misstated the age of Tom Hanks’ character in the film Big.

Oct. 25 2016 12:49 PM

The Gilmore Girls Revival Trailer Is Here, and So Is All of Stars Hollow

The first full-length trailer for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, is here, after what feels like an eternity of teasing. But while our last sneak peek at the revival was light on plot, offering just a little bit of mother-daughter banter, this time everyone, and we mean everyone, is back. Melissa McCarthy’s klutzy Sookie has command of the kitchen, Milo Ventimiglia’s Jess is offering his former flame a pep talk, and Kirk (Sean Gunn) is attending Friday-night dinners, for some reason.

But what of our titular Gilmore girls? Well, it seems all three of the Gilmore women have come to a crossroads: Lorelai (Lauren Graham) seems restless in her relationship with Luke, Rory (Alexis Bledel) is “rootless” as she’s off traveling the world, and Emily (Kelly Bishop), the matriarch of the Gilmore family, is coping with the loss of her husband.

One of the major questions that A Year in the Life raised was always how the revival would deal with the death of actor Edward Herrmann, who played Richard Gilmore in all seven seasons of the original.* Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has promised that his absence would “loom large over everything,” and from the looks of the trailer—and that giant portrait—that’s exactly the case. Fittingly, it seems that Bishop, who played Herrmann’s wife, will be doing a lot of the emotional heavy-lifting, and no one would blame you for tearing up at hearing, “I’ve been married for 50 years. Half of me is gone.” Even if it is more than a little jarring to see Emily Gilmore in a T-shirt and jeans.

All four 90-minute episodes of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life launch on Netflix on Nov. 25.

Correction, Oct. 25, 2016: This post originally misspelled Edward Herrmann’s last name.

Oct. 25 2016 11:38 AM

Obama Reads Mean Tweets About Himself, Is Exactly As Unflappable As You’d Think

President Obama only has a few months left in office, but he still gets his fair share of criticism, a lot of it flung from dark corners of social media. On Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the president gamely sat down for the last time as president for the show’s recurring segment, “Mean Tweets.” As is to be expected, there was plenty of mockery from the good people of Twitter, with even a “thanks, Obama,” thrown in for good measure.

Obama has proven before that he has a thick skin when it comes to mean tweets. But that doesn’t mean he won’t clap back when one of those insults comes from the king of the Twitter bullies himself.

Oct. 25 2016 11:31 AM

Samantha Bee Chatted With a Bunch of Current Female Heads of State About How They Deal With Sexism

With the big day two weeks away and Hillary Clinton the odds-on favorite, Americans are on the verge of electing their first female president. But after a dark campaign that’s brought out ugly, widespread sexism across the country—predictably, some might say—what could the backlash against a President Clinton look like? On Monday night’s Full Frontal, after an illuminating chat about the election with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Samantha Bee went straight to the source to find out: current female heads of state from around the world.

“I have seen misogyny come down,” Chilean president Michelle Bachelet said. “But it did not disappear.” Indeed, others saw the sexist attacks only mount—Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s unique phone-storage method inspired such headlines as “The problem with keeping your phone in your bra,” while Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović was wrongly accused of starring in a porn. To that last point, at least, Bee wasn’t too worried. “Obviously it wasn’t real: You can’t become president if you were in porn.” Hopefully, that turns out to be true.