If there’s any sort of running theme among the year’s biggest pop culture fails, it’s a mind-boggling lack of self-awareness. The biggest entertainment catastrophes were born out of a clusterfuck of delusion, hubris, apathy, and, in most cases, an nearly unforgivable deafness to the conversations defining this moment in our culture.
So while we’ve expended much of this last month cheering the outputthat challenged, invigorated, and, of course, entertained us this year, let us likewise grand marshal this parade of shame–in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, there will be lessons learned heading into next year. Here are 15 duds from the past year, be it commercial bombs or tone-deaf culture grenades, from “the worlds” of music, Tv, movies, and celebrity culture.
Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi commercial
The solution to institutionalized racism, millennial apathy, police brutality, and Trump-era anger? A nice cold Pepsi, and a tangential Kardashian to deliver it. The message of the resistance-themed Pepsi commercial was so laughably obtuse and reductive, and the reaction so viciously eviscerating, that the company immediately removed it from the internet and actually apologized to Jenner for its misguided creative direction. Seriously, though: Reckon of the sheer number of people who had to OK this ad before it was liberated. It’s mind-boggling.
Sean Spicer at the Emmys
Notoriously huddling former White House press secretary Sean Spicer finally embraced the spotlight at the 2017 Emmy Awards, making a cameo appearing during host Stephen Colbert’s monologue ruthlessly assaulting President Trump. Spicer giggled and soaked up “members attention” and clapping, an ovation for a public figure who lived out his short tenure in unrelenting humiliation and aversion, applauding him for “gamely” participating in the cook of his former boss. But for many spectators, the booking of Spicer was a shameless absolution of a boy who was toothlessly complicit in spreading lies by the Trump administration to the American people; the worst example of the entertainment industry’s instinct to bend any moral for a inexpensive laugh.
” As a father of daughters …” strong>
This entire recap of the year’s catastrophes could be inhabited with the horrifying misconduct of the litany of Bad Men exposed this year–from Harvey Weinstein to Kevin Spacey and beyond–and the ways in which various institutions mishandled the behaviour and fallout. No reactions to these revelations were more infuriating than the famous male figures, ranging from Matt Damon to Ben Affleck to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who clarified that they were horrified because they are father-gods who have daughters. It’s a sign of how clueless boys are and have been in processing these scandals and the nature of this predatory and misogynistic culture. As Hunter Harris perfectly wrote in Vulture,” Only a sociopath needs a daughter–or a sister, a girlfriend, a spouse, or even only a lady standing in front of him at Starbucks–to stimulate him queasy enough at the believed to be a sexual predator in his industry to do something about it .”
Mariah Carey at New Year’s Eve
Maybe it was a simple mistake stimulated in a very public meeting. Maybe it was an ominous warning of the year that was to come. Nonetheless, Mariah Carey’s interminable avalanche of live calamities during the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve telecast was excruciating to watch. One of the greatest singers of all-time standing on stage pissed off, first saying she couldn’t hear a backing way to sing along to, then not bothering to lip sync the next carol before storming off. It was an inauspicious route to begin the new time, especially when you consider the optics of it: a woman helpless as the world, albeit in this case merely the Times Square stage, burned around her, then vilified for refusing to smile through the carnage. The fallout was barely handled elegantly with Carey’s team and the production company engaging in a public she-said-they-said over who was to blame.
The launching of Megyn Kelly Today
At Fox News, Megyn Kelly was a marketable if polarizing superstar existence, known for her prosecutorial behaviour in lines of tough questioning–always admirable, even if you didn’t necessarily agree with the direction. NBC found it admirable enough to invest $15 million to wooed her away from the cable news network, rearranging its entire morning news lineup to launch a full hour of Kelly-led programming. Confusingly, however, it shunned the attributes that attained Kelly so popular at Fox. Instead, a manufactured, awkwardly fitting personality emerged that was crucified by critics at each tonal whiplash segment transition, especially during painful interviews with liberal celebrities who couldn’t bother to disguise their dislike for the host.
La La Land em> Oscars gaffe
The phrase” Oscars mistake” is typically employed to groan about a cinema voters crown Best Picture that critics or fans don’t necessarily think deserved it , not for a situation in which the literal incorrect winner is announced. That a gaffe both so monumental and so careless happened at the 2017 Academy Awards–Warren Beatty was handed the incorrect envelope and, confounded, announced La La Land em> as Best Picture instead of Moonlight — is already excruciating and embarrassing. But, again, the optics of everything there is induce everything worse. The La La Land team had to concede the stage after the gaffe was clarified, about as awkward a few moments as an award show can create. But the filmmakers behind Moonlight , a film about the marginalized black and lesbian experience, were denied the emotion that comes from a watershed culture moment like winning Best Picture, and the chaos overshadowed the power of the moment, let alone their speeches. While “its been” deserves to additional measures, the amount of attention given to the La La Land em> team’s graciousness after the mistake only further magnified how problematic the incident was.
It’s bad enough when the phrase” worst thing Marvel has done” is used to describe your new Tv reveal, as it was for ABC’s fall foray into the Marvelverse. But the launch of Inhumans became more dire in light of the investment stimulated in the series and its hubris in presume audiences would devour it anyway, despite its middling quality, just because it’s Marvel. The big-budget stake included a freeing in IMAX theaters of its first two episodes ahead of its ABC launch, a theatrical run that garnered a pitiful $2.9 million.
It’s been quite the year for Matt Damon, who needs to fire any publicist whose advice isn’t simply,” Stop talking .” His response to the Weinstein scandal has been disastrous bordering on offensive, with the actor running out of feet to put in his mouth as he attempted to add subtlety to the conversation but instead came off as defending bad men’s behaviour. But even if you reluctantly put all that aside, the movies he was promoting during those calamitous interviews , Suburbicon and Downsizing , have underperformed at the box office and subdivided critics. All that on top of the route he kicked the year off: in a riotously silly man-bun white savior-ing Chinese history in the epic box office bomb The Great Wall . em>
Louis C.K.’s I Love You, Daddy
In September, Louis C.K. premiered I Adoration You, Daddy at the Toronto Film Festival. It’s a cinema in which C.K.’s protagonist, Glen, in a very Woody Allen-ish plot, has a 17 -year-old daughter who enters a relationship with a 60 -something man who is a legendary filmmaker. In one scene, a character played by Charlie Day energetically mimes masturbation , not bothering to stop when a female producer, used to such things, enters the chamber. What was purposefully provoking in the film now borders on madnes after The New York Times showed an industry open secret: that Louis C.K. had masturbated in front of upcoming female comedians. Suffice it to say that I Love You, Daddy ‘ s theatrical freeing was canceled.
Kathy Griffin’s Trump mask fiasco
When Kathy Griffin was made aware of how ghastly and in poor taste the photo of her holding a bloodied, decapitated Trump psyche was–which happened instantly–she apologized for the offense. But few celebrity controversies have spiraled this out of control this quickly. Griffin was immediately let go from nearly every recreation chore she comprised, and, in response, she staged a misguided press conference in which she alleged that the Trump family was targeting her. It’s a classic example in disastrous injury control, but it shouldn’t have damned Griffin the way it has. It surely says a lot about the latent misogyny in the industry that, as recent months have brought to illumination, famous boys are guilty of genuinely horrific behavior that for so long was excused–yet an atoning Griffin still can’t get representation or a footing back into the industry she made her name in. The one good to come of this: Griffin’s fed up with all of it, too, and she’s naming names.
The best thing to happen to Coachella’s reputation is the worst thing to have happened to the hoodwinked revelers who shelled out upwards of $250,000 for a luxurious VIP concert experience on a private island in the Bahamas. Rich children arrived merely for it to instead resemble, as one clowned attendee shown, a refugee camp. The entire thing was organized by rapper Ja Rule and out-of-his-element entrepreneur bro Billy McFarland under false pretenses, with no infrastructure in place to assistance, house, or feed hundreds of thousands of concertgoers who paid premium costs only to be met with an unfinished tent village, packs of feral dogs, mountains of garbage , no-show artists, and not enough food to go around. A breaking point for the increased madnes surrounding the culture of music celebrations, or simply a cautionary narrative for how not to ruin the next one?
Maybe it’s schadenfreude that Harvey Weinstein’s swan song as a Hollywood mogul included this long-gestating , notorious catastrophe of a interval cinema, riddled with false starts and re-castings and shuffled liberate dates and, most notably, Harvey Weinstein’s constant tinkering. Perhaps the lowest instant in the botched freeing of the movie, which starred Dane DeHaan and Alicia Vikander and earned a Rotten Tomatoes score of only 9 percent, was when Weinstein himself penned an essay protecting it, quoting the fact that Vikander’s mother’s friend called her to say she enjoyed the movie as evidence.
Kid Rock’s” Senate operate”
The music industry’s resident American Jackass dialed up his reign of terror this year with the threat of a Senate operate, to be launched on his tried-and-true values of inexpensive brew and racism. In the end, it was nothing more than a barely veiled advertising stunt. Nonetheless, breathless headlines blared the ludicrous mind, and, considering the trajectory to public agency mapped out by Donald Trump, seriously considered it. Of course, we can hardly fault anyone for, against their better judgement, dedicating credence to the nonsense that Kid Rock says. We still can’t get over his bigoted utilize of “gay” as a pejorative–let alone his embrace of the Confederate flag.
Baywatch vs. Rotten Tomatoes
A bad movie is a bad movie. That’s fine and unavoidable, and Baywatch was a bad movie. But glistening a spotlight on this turd in particular came reports of industry insiders pissed that critical reviews decimated the movie’s box office haul, as well as that of the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie. It’s not the fact that these movies were shit you could smell from miles back that made audiences not want to buy tickets. It’s Rotten Tomatoes! If you ever want to know how little Hollywood studios think of you, the audience, just read this quote:” The critic aggregation site increasingly is slowing down the health risks business of popcorn movies. Pirates 5 and Baywatch aren’t built for critics but rather general audiences, and once upon a time these sorts of films–a family adventure and a raunchy R-rated comedy–were critic-proof .”
The Mummy and the Dark Universe
Tom Cruise’s The Mummy wasn’t just supposed to be a franchise reboot cash-grab employing a familiar property and a big Hollywood star. It was supposed to launch an entire shared cinematic world, dubbed the “Dark Universe,” for Universal, filled with ogres including Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll, Javier Bardem as Frankenstein, and Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man, as well as Sofia Boutella’s Ahmanet from The Mummy . It was a whole big scheme. They all posed for a photograph together and everything! But following disastrous box office returns for The Mummy , not to mention abysmal reviews, plans for the interconnected Dark Universe, at the least as far as they were in motion, were scrapped and its designers, producer-writers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, hopped ship for other projects.