Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

April 1 2015 9:54 PM

If The Fast and the Furious Were an 8-Bit Video Game

The latest installment of Cinefix’s delightul 8-Bit Cinema series is a low-res treatment of The Fast and the Furious, the first film in the series of the same name. The movie came out 14 years ago, and given the impending release of Furious 7 the video also serves as a timely recap of the franchise’s high-throttle beginnings.

And yes, while there are several actual Fast and the Furious video games, none quite capture the amped-up Super Mario Kart feel on display here.

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April 1 2015 6:39 PM

Starbucks Is Rolling Out Kale Smoothies. Good Idea!

Have you ever tried one of Starbucks’ smoothies? Me neither. Somehow, concoctions like “a nourishing blend of mocha flavored sauce, a whole banana, milk, whey protein and fiber powder, and ice” never appealed to me.

Perhaps this is why Starbucks is taking its blended beverage menu in a different direction: smoothies spiked with syrups and nutritional powders are so 2008—the year Starbucks launched its Vivanno smoothies. The trendy smoothies of today are made from relatively unprocessed plant ingredients: fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh pressed juice, maybe with some coconut milk, raw agave nectar, or chia seeds thrown in.

This trend appears to be the inspiration for the smoothie menu that Starbucks is rolling out in 4,300 stores on the West Coast in conjunction with green juice company Evolution Fresh and yogurt company Dannon. These smoothies “are made to order in three flavors including Sweet Greens, Strawberry and Mango Carrot, with the option to add fresh kale upon request,” according to Starbucks’ press release.

April 1 2015 3:12 PM

The Honest Trailer for Interstellar Vindicates Everyone Who Thought It Didn’t Make Sense

Screen Junkies, the comedy group behind Honest Trailers, have finally made their assessment of Interstellar—and for everyone who scratched their heads at fans’ enthusiasm for Christopher Nolan’s 2014 blockbuster, this one is pure vindication.

The mock trailer calls out all the flaws detractors have noted and then some, from the questionable science to the ridiculous premise that love literally transcends time and space. There’s also a pretty great compilation of all the times Matthew McConaughey bellows, “MURRRRRRRRRPH!”


Read more of Slate’s coverage of Interstellar, including:

April 1 2015 2:11 PM

If You Thought Selfie Sticks Were Absurd, Wait Until You See the Selfie Shoe

Many see the rise of selfie sticks as a sign of the antisocial apocalypse, but they didn’t foresee the narcissistic abomination to come. (Probably because the growing forest of selfie sticks blocked their view.) Behold, the selfie shoe.

Yes, it’s an April Fools joke. But unlike the lame pranks brands pull every year (like Domino’s “driverless delivery videos”) this one from online shoe boutique Miz Mooz transcends simple tomfoolery. It combines an obvious joke about selfie sticks’ awkwardness with a more subtle stab at the buzz around wearable tech. “We’re all super pumped about the selfie shoes,” one man says with a valiantly straight face. “With wearable devices on the horizon, the possibilities are endless. We’re working on a charging functionality, as well as making the selfie shoes water resistant, so really we’re just getting started.” The joke is simple, but pretty much anyone who has been to Disney World or a museum lately can attest: If you’re using basically anything but yourself to take a selfie, you need to take a step back and take a good (figurative) look at yourself.

April 1 2015 12:53 PM

An Internet Comic About Post-Internet Life Imagines All Our Privacy Nightmares Come True

Imagine there’s no Internet. It’s easy if you read The Private Eye, as extraordinary sci-fi mystery series written by Brian K. Vaughan that just wrapped up at the innovative online comics site Panel Syndicate. In the post-Internet world of this colorful and relevant comic, every fear you’ve ever had about privacy, leaks, oversharing, and technology has come true.

April 1 2015 12:13 PM

Everything You Need to Remember Before Watching Furious 7, in Three Minutes

Since it’s Paul Walker’s last film—and since Vin Diesel has promised it will win Best Picture at next year’s Oscars ceremony—Furious 7 will be at the top of many moviegoers’ to-see list this weekend. But what if you’ve forgotten the crucial setup provided by the last installment of the car-chase-and-explosion franchise—or, worse, what if you never saw Fast & Furious 6 at all?

Slate has you covered. After watching the above video, you’ll perfectly understand everything you need to know ahead of watching Furious 7—after all, everything that happens in these movies makes total sense.

April 1 2015 11:38 AM

How It Follows Uses Detroit to Explore the Horror of Urban Decay

Right from the start of the horror movie It Follows, I recognized my hometown of Detroit—or, more precisely, a suburban residential architecture native to the place. As the camera tracked, eerily, across an unremarkable tree-lined street in the movie’s long opening shot, I spotted the squat red-brick ranch houses of my youth, where, like the soon-to-be-Followed teenagers, I had watched bad science-fiction movies in wood-paneled family rooms and floated in homely above-ground pools in neighbors’ backyards. (We were Italian and so had a rock garden.)

I also knew kids who, like one of the teens in the film, were forbidden by their parents from crossing 8 Mile Road and entering the city proper. This moment, which comes fairly late in the picture, is the only explicit regional reference in It Follows, but it’s a telling one, as the tension between Detroit and its suburbs is employed, and upended, by director David Robert Mitchell in the same way he tinkers with genre horror conventions.

April 1 2015 9:03 AM

The Technique That Will Make You Want to Batter and Fry Everything

Deep-frying is scary primarily because of the risk that you’ll suffer third-degree burns from spilled or splattered hot oil. You may also be deterred by the mess factor—so much oil, so many paper towels.

But my colleague Bryan Lowder has a recipe for deep-frying batter that will make you overcome your fears and hesitations, because it is easy, foolproof, and versatile. And you only need to go out of your way to buy one unconventional ingredient.


You can truly fry just about any ingredient in this batter­—as you can see in the video above, it even works with tofu without getting messy or falling off—and you can vary it by adding herbs and spices. Here is the Sam Sifton recipe that introduced Bryan to the technique, and here is an explanation of how to reuse fry oil, which will make your life easier once you start deep-frying everything.

April 1 2015 8:02 AM

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Netflix in April    

Every month, a number of movies and TV series leave Netflix streaming, sometimes only temporarily, usually because licensing deals have expired. Several new titles arrive in their place. So what’s coming this month, and which of these new arrivals should you watch? Below, we’ve chosen the best new movies and TV shows coming to Netflix Instant streaming in April 2015. Plan your weekend marathons accordingly.

March 31 2015 9:10 PM

Beastie Boy Ad-Rock on Teen Love, First Kisses, and Bad Boyfriends

Former Beastie Boy Adam Horowitz, better known as Ad-Rock, is no longer the brash, livewire punk he once was. The New York Times recently ran a short profile of the musician, and he seems to have segued into a nice middle-age groove that includes running a local softball league and acting in Noah Baumbach’s latest film, While We’re Young. He’s mellowed out, in other words, and in the latest installment of Rookie’s “Ask a Grown Man” series he applies his wisdom to topics like first kisses, awkward relationships, and inattentive boyfriends.

His thoughts on that last subject? “I don’t mean to generalize, but I’m going to—boys are, for the most part, not very observant. Or all that smart.” Sounds about right.