POP CULTURE CHEAT SHEET: 5 THINGS TO WATCH, READ, & DO IN DECEMBER

9:00 am
12/07/17

Photo Via Lady Bird

Mother’s got you covered each month with five nuggets from the world of pop culture that are worth your precious time, money, and headspace. This month, we get out the hankies for Wonder, the Last Jedi storms the box office, Netflix delights with The Crown: Season 2 and a Spike Lee reboot, and Barbie gets a hijab.

1. If you haven’t read the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio with your kid yet, stop reading this right now, go do that, then resume with this sage advice: See the movie, too. Director Stephen Chbosky (author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower) has done a pretty great job of bringing the story of Auggie Pullman, a 10-year-old boy with an extremely rare medical facial difference, to the screen in a way that does the book justice and manages to avoid over-sentimentality. Bring your hankies—for the kids, too—and be prepared to “Choose Kind” in a big way.

2. We can’t talk about December pop culture without touching on Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Dec. 15). Set before George Lucas’ 1977 Star Wars, the movie centers on Rey developing her powers under the tutelage of Luke Skywalker, while the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order. The Last Jedi will feature a “new” Chewie, introduces (controversial) little furry alien birds called porgs, and is Carrie Fisher’s final film (RIP!)… If Star Wars isn’t your jam, friends have been raving about Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird (100% on Rotten Tomatoes!), and Margot Robbie looks like she’s going to file an epic performance in I, Tonya (Dec. 8).

3. Harry’s engagement to Meghan got you up in a royal fever? Well, you can channel that energy toward The Crown: Season 2, on Netflix (Dec. 8). This time around, it’s the 1960s, and Queen Elizabeth is struggling to keep the monarchy together. (Vulture has a great historical explainer if you want to get technical about the time period.) According to the L.A. Times, the season was shot on 398 sets with approximately 6,500 actors and extras, for a reported budget of $100 million. Rich, indeed!

4. Another Netflix show on the watch list is the reboot of Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It. In 1986, Lee’s directorial feature debut was a revelation. “Its star, Nola Darling—a young, gifted and, most of all, free black woman—was a…blueprint for what life could look like as a grown-up unburdened and unbothered by convention,” writes Helena Andrews-Dyer in The Washington Post. “For three decades, Darling remained the gold standard of a new type of representation for women of color on screen.” Not all the critics love the “update”—some say it struggles to stay current—but most give it an enthusiastic endorsement. “It’s bold, colorful, and different than any other show out there,” says Refinery 29’s Sesali Bowen.

5. The Mattel team continues to make up for lost time when it comes to representing women of different body-types and backgrounds as part of the Barbie franchise. (If the traditional Barbie’s proportions were mapped to a real woman’s, she would be 5’9” with a 16-inch waist, “leaving room for only half a liver and a few inches of intestine,” writes The New Yorker.) Now there’s Barbie with a hijab, part of the Shero line based on inspiring women—in this case, American fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who insisted that she have big, strong legs, dark eyeliner and the headpiece.

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