Volume 5, Issue 47!
“Pop Culture Pick Me Ups”
It’s been a tough week, to say the least. Without going into things, we’re all in a weird spot as a country, and a lot of us are genuinely confused as to what to do next. In times like these, a lot of us turn to different things that remind us of good in the world, or that we remember from our childhood. Comics, movies, toys, even video games can all help to take the sting off of reality for a little while, and it doesn’t hurt to remind people of this every once and a while. So here’s a few of my “Pop Culture Pick Me Ups” if you need some inspiration on where to look.
For me, one of the biggest pick me ups is (surprise surprise) Spider-Man. Actually it’s a pretty specific run of Amazing Spider-Man; the late 80’s to early 90’s David Micheline, Todd McFarlane, and Erik Larsen era of the character. Surprising no one, these were the comics that first introduced me to Spider-Man. They grabbed onto my little brain and never let go. Around the same time I got the Spider-Man “Look and Find” book, which also showed me an entire new set of heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe. This is a pretty specific time for the character, and there are other runs that can scratch this itch too (Mark Millar’s Marvel Knights Spider-Man being one of them), but nothing can quite touch the feeling I get when I read these older Spidey tales.
But it’s not just comic books that serve as my pick me ups. Oh no, there are also movies! And if you guessed that one of those movies would be involved with Star Wars, you get a new no prize!
Honestly any of the original trilogy will serve the bill for comfort, but if I had to pick just one, it’s Empire Strikes Back. Yes, it’s arguably the darkest moment in the Star Wars saga, but it was also the first time outside of comics where my mind was blown by a cliffhanger. The one two punch of Han Solo being captured by Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker discovering his family history shocked me as a seven year old, and the 2 week wait for the movie rental store to get a replacement copy of Return of the Jedi certainly didn’t help things much. Empire was one of the first movies that really explored and enriched the world of a movie franchise for me. It took everything I loved about the original Star Wars and made it even better with new characters, locations, and additions to the story.
But it’s not just Empire. There’s a ton of movies that help serve as a warm bowl of nostalgia for me. Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film is one of them, and yes, like the other two things I mentioned, this was another movie that I saw very young and had a huge impact on me as a child. And it would be a major mistake if I neglected The Princess Bride, a movie that has arguably had a more profound impact on my life than any other movie.
TV is a little bit harder to recommend for a pop culture pick-me-up, as I’d be very worried about someone’s mental health if they needed to spend more than two hours to try and cheer themselves up. But Friday Night Lights is easily one of the most life-affirming shows of all time. I never watched the series when it was on TV, but I binged the whole thing last year and fell head over heals in love with it. Few shows can handle the topics Friday Night Lights does without coming off as too preachy, but amazingly this show does it. Parks and Recreation and Batman The Animated Series will also do you right when you’re feeling down too.
So there you have it, a handful of stuff I turn to when I’m feeling down. I also recommend grabbing Hans Zimmer’s theme to Man of Steel and blasting it at full volume whenever you need it (sure, the movie may have its problems, but holy crap that theme is phenomenal). Just remember, when you eventually come back to reality, we’re all in this together.