News of the Week: Movie Theater Comebacks, Going Meatless, and Levar Burton Wins a Round of Jeopardy!

In the news for the week ending April 30, 2021, are movie shifts old and new, Epicurious taking the beef out, a look behind late-night, American cheese, and more.

Movie theatre interior

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The Future of Movies

The last movie I saw in a theater was Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. It was the day after Christmas, 2019, and we didn’t know what was about to happen just three months later.

Not that I go to the movies that often, though I did plan to see the James Bond film No Time to Die when it was originally scheduled to open last spring (it’s currently scheduled for October). But even though I’m not what you would call a regular movie-goer, I still feel a sadness that so many movie theater chains and small theaters have closed over the past 12 months, either temporarily or permanently, including the Cinerama in Hollywood. And since the pandemic started, people have been asking, will we actually want to go to a crowded movie theater again?

Sure, the Oscars bombed big-time in the ratings last weekend, but the success of Godzilla vs. Kong proves that people still want to see movies in theaters. A giant ape punching a fire-breathing reptile in the face just isn’t the same on a TV screen. CBS Sunday Morning has a report on what the future of movie-going will be like.

Uploaded to YouTube by CBS Sunday Morning.

Citizen Kane No Longer a Perfect Movie

I’m not talking about the quality of the classic Orson Welles film, released 80 years ago this year. I’m talking about its Rotten Tomatoes score. Until this week it had a 100% Fresh score on the film review site, but that was all ruined because a Chicago Tribune review from 1941 was recently unearthed on Newspapers.com.

So now the film only has a 99% thumbs-up rating, which puts it behind the 50+ movies with a 100% score, including The Maltese Falcon, Toy Story, 12 Angry Men, Rio Bravo, and Paddington 2.

Where’s the Beef?

Who would have guessed that the most controversial story of the week would involve steak and burgers?

Epicurious, the popular recipe and cooking tips site, announced that they’re no longer going to be putting up new recipes that include beef. This is a move to fight climate change (cows cause a big percentage of greenhouse emissions), the company says, and explains that they’re not anti-beef but rather “pro-planet.” Recipes in the archives that contain meat will stay up, they’re just not going to add new ones (in fact, they haven’t in months).

Like everything else in the world today, this has turned into a political debate, with the left and right getting in their jabs. And I’m not going to wade into that cesspool, but I do have some commonsense questions. Since milk also comes from cows, is dairy next? Are other diets really better? Will Post covers like this one be forbidden in the future? And if they’re truly trying to make a point and save the planet, shouldn’t they also get rid of the old recipes too? After all, when people make them they’re using new meat, even if the recipes are “old.”

Not that I want the old recipes deleted! Maybe I’ll be called “anti-planet,” but I like my steak (well-done), burgers (ditto), and chili (spicy, with beans). The North American Meat Institute has an opinion, as you might guess, and says “the real question should be how excluding America’s favorite food impacts Epicurious. Perhaps the reduced web traffic will save some electricity?”

Uploaded to YouTube by GarfieldFCo.

Yes, Levar Burton Will Guest Host Jeopardy!

Fans of the Reading Rainbow/Star Trek: The Next Generation star finally got their wish this week. Levar Burton will be one of the final Jeopardy! guest hosts of the season, along with George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, Joe Buck, and David Faber.

Can someone tell me how and why this campaign started in the first place? A Change.org petition has over a quarter million signatures! That’s all well and good, and Burton seems like a great guy, but what makes fans not only think he would be a great host — and he might be, I’m not saying he wouldn’t! — but also think the show wasn’t respecting Burton and that he “deserved” to host the show? The whole thing baffles me, but I guess it shows the power of social media and Change.org petitions.

Podcast You Should Listen To

CNN has a new series that starts this Sunday at 9 p.m. titled The Story of Late Night. It chronicles the shows and hosts of late night television over the past six decades, including Johnny Carson, Jack Paar, David Letterman, Joan Rivers, Arsenio Hall, and Jay Leno. And there’s a companion podcast too, Behind the Desk, and it’s hosted by longtime TV critic and author of the classic book The Late Show, Bill Carter. Give it a listen.

Headline of the Week

“Oklahoma Woman Charged with Felony for Not Returning VHS Tape 21 Years Ago”

RIP Michael Collins, Shock G, Les McKeown, Joe Long, Arlene Pieper Stine, Al Schmitt, John Richards, Johnny Crawford, and Bernie Kahn

Michael Collins was the astronaut who piloted the command module of Apollo 11 while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. He died this week at the age of 90.

Shock G was the singer for the group Digital Underground, known for their popular hip hop song “The Humpty Dance.” He died last week at the age of 57.

Les McKeown was the lead singer for the Bay City Rollers, who had such hits as “Saturday Night,” “I Only Wanna Be with You,” and “Bye Bye Baby.” He died last week at the age of 65.

Joe Long was the bass player for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the group that had such songs as “Sherry,” “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night),” “Walk Like a Man,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.” He died last week at the age of 79.

Arlene Pieper Stine was the first woman to officially finish a marathon. It was the Pikes Peak Marathon in 1959. She died in February at the age of 90.

Al Schmitt was a veteran recording engineer who worked on many classic albums by such artists as Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Jefferson Airplane, and Toto. He died Monday at the age of 91.

John Richards was a retired journalist and grammar expert who had a particular interest in the apostrophe. He died last month at the age of 97.

Johnny Crawford was best known for his role as Chuck Connors’s son Mark on the classic western The Rifleman. He appeared in many other TV shows and movies, had hit singles as a teen singer, and later headed The Johnny Crawford Orchestra. He was also an original Mouseketeer. He died this week at the age of 75.

Bernie Kahn started his career working in radio for Bob and Ray’s show, and then went on to write for such shows as Bewitched (including the episode filmed about a mile from where I’m typing these words), Get Smart, Super Friends, The Brady Bunch, My Favorite Martian, and The Love Boat. He died last week at the age of 90.

This Week in History

Library of Congress Established (April 24, 1800)

It’s the oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, with millions of books, newspapers, recordings, photos, maps, and other documents.

TV Land Debuts (April 29, 1996)

Twenty-five years ago, the classic TV network launched with a repackaged “best of” series featuring clips from The Ed Sullivan Show, the same show that can currently be seen every Sunday night on a rival network, MeTV.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Kraft Cheese (April 24, 1948)

Kraft cheese ad
April 24, 1948 (Click to Enlarge)

If you’re wondering what that dish is on the left, it’s mounds of rice covered in melted Velveeta, separated by asparagus for some reason.

May Is American Cheese Month

Kraft is my go-to for American cheese (and many other products), and I think it’s often overlooked. People talk about fancy cheeses like Brie and Swiss and Gouda, even if they deeply love the humble, iconic American-style slices even more, whether they’re individually wrapped or not (the cheese, not the people).

Taste of Home has this Night Before Casserole and Cheese-Topped Potatoes in Foil. The Spruce Eats has recipes for Easy Gnocchi Mac and Cheese and Bacon Cheese Soup. You can make your own American Cheese Sauce to put on broccoli or nachos (or the rice in the ad above), and of course you can’t forget the Classic American Grilled Cheese from Food Network.

American cheese also goes great on a burger, according to this recipe on … Epicurious.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

The Kentucky Derby (May 1)

The 147th annual race airs Saturday at 6:50 p.m. on NBC and streams on Peacock.

The Best of Bugs Bunny on MeTV (May 3-7)

One of these days I’m going to stop writing about MeTV’s daily Toon In with Me cartoon show. Today is not that day, because starting Monday they’ll have a whole week’s worth of the best Bugs Bunny cartoons, counting down to the number one choice by viewers, as well as Bugs trivia and interviews with animators, directors, and historians.

Featured image: (Mr.Music / Shutterstock)

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Comments

  1. Who would ever have guessed that The North American Meat Institute would have a p.r. agency cool enough to have come up with that line?!

  2. Bob Jr., I totally agree with your comments on both the entertainment industry and the D.C. politicians!! The whole red carpet thing is literally saying “We’re royalty and you’re not. ‘F’ all of you, you’re not one of us!” It really hit home being one week after Prince Philip’s funeral, where we saw REAL royalty and dignity! Nothing phony and ghetto whatsoever.

    I’ve been to England, and even though the royal family has wealth and prestige the average person doesn’t, they never have the mean, put down attitude towards their own people the entertainment industry and Washington D.C. have here. The irony of course is that royalty in any way is the LAST thing either of them are. Perhaps this past Inauguration Day might be the very rare exception for D.C. I actually felt proud to be an American that day, which was sadly strange. Your last sentence summarized the whole thing up.

  3. It’s a nice sentiment to wish the movie theaters well, but it’s clear they’re only going to be showing films like ‘Godzilla vs. King Kong’ and other newly made versions of the same standard crutch action/explosion schlock shtick they’ve been doing for decades.

    That industry doesn’t care about the small theaters that feature foreign or domestic films for intelligent people, but at least Netflix, Hulu and others are filling the gap there. That guy in the ‘Sunday Morning’ report may not be so sure of himself after last Sunday evening’s completely disastrous Oscars broadcast and ratings.

    Ratings so low, that a big network like ABC isn’t going to be able to justify broadcasting them much longer. It’s a sure bet the advertisers for ’22 are going to want dirt cheap rates and justifiably so. Why would/should the average American suffering PTSD from COVID, economic hell, shootings, riots and being stabbed in the back by the parasites running our country, want to see (or feel happy for) the left coast version of the same thing? People flaunting their wealth and riches that (with few exceptions) aren’t any better looking or talented than anyone at home still watching? Doesn’t work anymore. We’re now down to the nitty gritty of a forcibly removed facade.

    All the destruction of lives, businesses gone forever, constant money worries? Nothing is guaranteed to last forever. It’s very evident most of us not only don’t like this industry, don’t want them, and most biting of all, don’t need them. They need US, not the other way around. That ought to have our friend on Sunday Morning peein’ in his pants and needing a snort of ‘nose candy’.

    I saw the story about the Oklahoma woman woman the other night and the VHS tape not being returned at the turn of the century on ‘Inside Edition’. I totally believe this woman, and am glad the charges against her are being dropped. Here again we have a case of where if it was a rich celebrity or politician, it wouldn’t be a problem for even a second. The one thing you never want to be in this country is an everyday American or God help you!

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