Culture Clips: The Play Nice Edition

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happy face culture clips

Pink’s tired of all the negativity on the internet.

Lashing back at online natterers who don’t like how she and husband Carey Hart are parenting their children, the pop star issued a “worldwide internet challenge” that implored people to be nicer in cyberspace.

“Go ONE day without criticizing someone online,” she wrote. She added, “And if it feels good, hey, why not go TWO DAYS. But let’s start with one for the overzealous out there.”

It’s a pretty great idea, really. We’re all about positivity here at Plugged In. And while it is the job of a Plugged In critic to be, at times, critical, we’ll give Pink’s challenge the old college try.

Naturally, this precludes us from taking former Disney starlet Bella Thorne to task for directing a movie for an online porn site. We’ll try not to blame social media for the fact that it seems to hurt girls more than boys, or that it has facilitated a staggering number of stranger-to-kid connections. (A new survey, in fact, found that four out of every 10 children met a stranger online.) And we’ll certainly steer clear of the issue of vaping, given the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that it’s now linked to lots of lung illnesses and that it seems to be connected to the mysterious hospitalization of 22 youth and that many experts are calling vaping a full-blown epidemic.

Instead, we’ll turn our attention to Spider-Man.

Spider-Man makes everyone happy, of course, and many superhero fans were really thrilled when the webslinger (whose rights are owned by Sony) showed up for several movies as part of Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. That relationship, apparently, has ended rather abruptly because of … well, reasons. Some say that Disney wanted more money out of the partnership, while Sony insists that MCU showrunner Kevin Feige was just too busy to oversee Spidey’s future endeavors, what with Disney’s recent acquisition of Fox’s X-Men and all. Why, rumor has it that the notoriously R-rated superhero Deadpool will be joining the MCU, too. And while none of that might sound, on first blush, particularly great, let’s look on the bright side: A MCU Deadpool might be a less-prone-to-cursing Deadpool, and that’s a good thing. And hey, with all these extra superheroes, would Spider-Man get any good screen time with the MCU anyway?

Plus, Sony seemed to leave the door open for possible Spidey-MCU get-togethers. “We hope this might change in the future,” a Sony spokesperson said in a statement. See? Great news!

If Disney’s sad about losing access to Spider-Man, it at least can assuage its pain with the knowledge that Toy Story 4 became the fifth movie from the Mouse House to clear $1 billion worldwide this year—joining (naturally) Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel, The Lion King and Aladdin. How many movies from other studios have crossed that fabled billion-dollar milestone? Nada.

Meanwhile, the 25th film in the ever-so-long-running James Bond franchise officially got a name recently—and given the problems that have plagued the production, that’s good news indeed. It’ll be titled No Time to Die, and will reportedly be Daniel Craig’s last as Britain’s most famous spy. But if Craig is turning in his license to kill, his most famous car (the iconic silver Aston Martin DB5) is getting a new owner—one with presumably $6.4 million to spend. No word if an ejection seat is included.

Speaking of nifty gadgets, did you know you could tweet from your refrigerator these days? One teen, simply known as Dorothy, discovered this out of desperation. When the 15-year-old’s mother took away her smartphone, she sent out a plaintive Twitter missive on her Nintendo 3DS, lamenting her phone-less plight. When her mom locked that avenue down, Dorothy switched to a Wii U. Once that was banished too, she resorted to the family’s LG chill chest. “I do not know if this is going to tweet I am talking to my fridge what the heck my Mom confiscated all of my electronics again,” Dorothy’s tweet read.

LG started a #FreeDorothy hashtag, naturally. And when the news media (somehow) contacted Dorothy to ask why she was grounded in the first place, she said that it was “so I’d pay more attention to my surroundings.” Sounds like the grounding worked!

To save desperate teens the trouble of seeking out unusual internet devices—and perhaps alerting parents to the selfsame devices as well—Slate rounded up a list of household gadgets one could potentially tweet from. Included: A Roomba, a toaster and a washing machine.

‘Course, technology is allowing us to do more than tweet from kitchen appliances these days. One company has crafted a robotic exosuit that will allow folks to walk and run more easily—potentially a boon for those who struggle to do both. Those who suffer from pain might get relief through a different avenue—a virtual swim with dolphins. And for any Buddhists visiting this Christian entertainment review site, a 400-year-old Japanese Buddhist temple recently added a robot priest to its staff.

Finally, for those who like to kick their technology old-school, we conclude this feel-good addition of Culture Clips with the story of a man, wearing an old TV on his head, who delivered other old TVs to around 50 homes in Henrico County, Virginia. Admittedly, some might find this story a little creepy. I mean, who wants a guy with a TV on his head lurking around your house? But we at Plugged In—at least for today—choose to see this story in a more positive light. About 50 people got to see what an old tube-style television actually looks like. Bonus: Recycling.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 7 months ago

I haven't seen any of the recent Star Wars movies so can't comment on those, but I have seen all of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Revenge of the Sith, not to mention most of Return of the Jedi and good chunks of The Phantom Menace, and truth be told the only one that really got to me was Revenge of the Sith. The others were just kind of blah to be honest with you, but I'm not really a space movie fan in general I guess. I love Wall-E and Planet of the Apes, but that's about it when it comes to space movies, lol.


The Disney remakes on the other hand have been mostly fantastic. Sure Cinderella and The Jungle Book weren't as good as they could have been, but the rest have been utterly brilliant. The Lion King and Aladdin are my two favorite movies of the year so far, with Descendants 3 coming not too far behind. Disney/Pixar on the other hand have done some missteps recently like the atrocious Cars 3 and the trainwreck that was Toy Story 4. But they've also done some quite brilliant work as well recently, take Finding Dory, Inside Out, or Incredibles 2 for instance. Basically Disney's still head and shoulders above the competition even with the occasional dreck they come up with from time to time.

Anonymous 7 months ago
For the most part, I agree with you. Disney has made some missteps, but the reason they're making so many remakes is because this is what's popular. If there was no audience for those remakes, they would stop making them. And I think they've done a wonderful job creating updated and fresh versions of old favorites. That doesn't mean they have to replace the classics; it means they are great introductions to them for the next generation of kids, and they are great reminders of old favorites. It also makes for a great conversation, to watch the originals, then the remakes, and discuss what they changed and why.

So I still think Disney is a great company, regardless of bad judgements in the past. There isn't a movie company out there that has only cranked out popular, great classic movies. Everyone messes up, but Disney has done more good than harm as far as good entertainment.
Matt McKneely 8 months ago
Guess what? The WORLD is not "G" rated, no matter how deeply y'all try to bury your heads in the sand.
Hannah Cole 7 months ago
Huh? Who's trying to bury their heads in the sand, and how did you come to that conclusion?
Anonymous 7 months ago
I don't understand, either. This is a media discernment site. PluggedIn does not make our decisions on media for us, they simply give us the information necessary to make a choice for ourselves based on personal convictions. Of course the world is not G-rated, and we can't pretend or deny that it is. If we were trying to, this site wouldn't exist, or it would include only unnecessary reviews of preschool-aged movies and such. This entire website is, by existence, an acknowledgement that the world is NOT G-rated, so your comment doesn't actually make a lot of sense. Sorry if you've gotten the wrong impression about PluggedIn, but no one here is stuck in the mindset of denying that R-rated entertainment options exist.
Anonymous 8 months ago
People should just do whatever Disney wants them to. They're not the biggest company in the world (besides Microsoft) for nothing after all.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Disney makes terrible Star Wars films, a fourth Toy Story that we didn’t need, makes poorly made remakes of their animated films, and continues to let EA ruin Star Wars video games, and they expect us to pay good money for all of these.

So we’re supposed to just give them what they want even though their products are terrible? I would disagree.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Actually, I thought the new Star Wars films were quite good. If a huge company like Disney decides to reboot a classic, they're going to do their best to at least make it likable. And they have all the necessary elements: good directors, an all-star cast, original music, good lines (unlike the horror of the prequels, which were NOT made by disney), the best available special effects, and a few good lightsaber battles. The disney sequels have learned from star war's past mistakes and are putting out a fresh version for a new generation, and I believe they are doing a fantastic job. The sequels are, of course, not the originals and they never will be, but they are decent movies that are fun to watch. I can't wait to see The Rise of Skywalker this December.
Big Mike 8 months ago
hey fcg did disney hurt you as a child
Anonymous 8 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Star Wars has been poorly handled under the leadership of Disney. The movies are terrible in that they are either direct plagiarism (Force Awakens), films that break the rules set up by the predecessors (Last Jedi), or are bland, boring, forgettable space adventures (Solo). Disney has done a horrible job with the sequel trilogy in particular. They've created a huge plot hole with the hyperspace scene in episode VIII (why didn't they destroy the death star back in A New Hope by just having an X-wing lightspeed into it?), and Luke's arc, while very good in solitary, doesn't make sense when looking back on the original trilogy. Also, you can say whatever you want about the prequels (I've got mixed feelings about them myself), but to say that the lightsaber battles in the sequel trilogy is better than those of the prequel trilogy is madness!

Going back to the prequels, sure the movies may have been bad, but at least they spawned other forms of media that were great (like the Clone Wars tv series and multiple great video games). Disney, on the other hand, shut down Lucasarts and gave the license to EA, and they've done a disastrous job with the license, to the point where they won't even make Star Wars games (Bioware has asked EA multiple times if they can make Knights of the Old Republic 3, and each time EA gave them no answer). Disney has also removed the expanded universe from canon. Great characters like Mara Jade, Jaina Solo, Ben Skywalker, Kyle Katarn, and others have been removed from the Star Wars universe, replaced by bland, boring characters like Rey, Young Han Solo and L3-37. Seriously, how do you make Han Solo uninteresting?

Everyone deserves better than what Disney's been doing with Star Wars. Audiences deserve better, of course, but the cast of the sequel trilogy also deserve better. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Issac all deserve to star in better movies, but they're stuck playing uninteresting characters with no arc. I'm not going to be watching The Rise of Skywalker because I just don't care what happens to these characters. And kids these days just don't love Star Wars like they used to (Crayton Harrison wrote about this a couple weeks ago).

While credit should be given where it's due (Rogue One and Rebels are the only good thing to come out of Star Wars under Disney), the same can also be said about criticism, and with the latter, Disney deserves a lot of it.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

And no Big Mike, Disney never hurt me as a child, though I guess you could say they're hurting my childhood.
Big Mike 8 months ago
yes i admit disney failed with star wars big time but everything with marvel have been great i think its mostly the fault of the people who they put in charge (*cough* kathleen kennedy *cough*)
Anonymous 8 months ago
I'm not trying to change your mind about the sequels. I have heard many opinions and good arguments from either side. For example, I  understand that the filmmakers of The Force Awakens had a tough job: make the sequels similar enough to the originals, to remind people why they love Star Wars. But also make them new and exciting. From there, it's opinion whether they handled that well or not.

So I respect your opinion that they weren't original enough. In general, the complaints for TFA are something like "TFA totally ripped off A New Hope!" and then the complaints for TLJ are something like "They totally threw everything we knew about Star Wars out the window!"

Me? I believe a little bit of both. I think the filmmakers did a good job on TFA, though they could have dialed it back on the fan service just a little bit. I love TLJ, but I agree that some of the dramatic plot twists were a bit extreme. I mean, it gave me what I loved from The Empire Strikes Back: drama and unexpectedness ("Luke, I am your father!"). But it also went a bit too far in some places. I didn't like their version of Luke Skywalker, until he showed up on Crait to be the hero ("Hey! Where's that guy been the whole movie?"). And I certainly think they messed up with making Rey's parents nobodies. People were excited about that because they wanted to be surprised, and instead they were disappointed. But aside from those, I loved TLJ.

And I'm not saying the prequel lightsaber battles are bad. On the contrary, they were really good, especially for the limited technology available when they were made. But I'm saying that the utilization of what's available now, the best of the best special effects, is what makes the sequel battles amazing. I refuse to compare the two: they are great.

All just opinion. To each his own.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Ok, so the Disney Star Wars films may have their fans (and I’ll admit I liked the sequel trilogy films in my first watch), but I still hope Disney will do something about EA’s handling of the Star Wars video game license. I want to be excited for Jedi: Fallen Order, but just can’t help but feel like EA will
monetize it like the last two games.

@Big Mike
I agree. Dave Filoni would be a much better choice.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Honestly, Disney doesn’t have anyone but themselves to blame for Sony’s removal of Spider-Man from the MCU. They wanted more money than what they were already making, and were leaving Sony in an unfair position. So I can’t blame Sony for taking Spider-Man away, and big props to them for being one of the few studios who said no to the mouse.

I think Sony doing this could be a big win for them to be honest. They have more to gain and Disney has more to loose. Anyone who saw Far From Home will know that Marvel was setting up Spider-Man to be the new main character of the MCU going forward. Now, Disney has to backtrack and find someone else to step into Iron Man’s place (I’d make an argument for Black Panther, but that’s a little off topic). 

Sony, in the other hand, can make Spider-Man the main character of their Marvel universe. By doing that, they could potentially finish off their plans for The Amazing Spider-Man 3. I’m not saying they should actually make that movie (because let’s be real, that just ain’t gonna happen); I’m saying that they could finally introduce the Sinister Six to the Spider-Man movies. Imagine a movie where Spider-Man teams up with a bunch of other Spider-Man characters (like Venom, Black Cat, Morbius, Silver Sable, etc.) to fight the Sinister Six. How awesome would that be? Very. And how much money could Sony make from this? A lot.

Sony, please make this happen. You have the greatest Marvel character ever, and with him you can go toe to toe with Disney and the MCU (but don’t mess it up like you’ve done twice in the past). This is opportunity knocking; answer the door!
Hannah Cole 8 months ago

I can't believe Disney was asking 50% up from 5%. What did they expect Sony to do? Accept the deal with open arms? Even if Disney had been planning to bargain down to 30%, as I heard they were from somewhere, I still think them asking for more money was completely unnecessary. I blamed Sony originally, before I knew what had really happened. Now I feel that both companies are at fault in some way.


Here's hoping that somehow a deal can be reached and Spider-Man will get back in the MCU where he belongs. I don't trust Sony with the character. But who knows, maybe they'll surprise us all.

Anonymous 8 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Although Sony has undeniably messed up Spider-Man in the past, people ought to realize that Sony has made more good Spidey films than bad ones. 

The first two Sam Raimi movies are beloved superhero films, with the second one considered one of the best superhero films ever made. The Amazing Spider-Man got some flack, but still received decent reviews. Homecoming and Far From Home both got great reviews. And last year’s Into the Spiderverse took home the Oscar for best animated film.

That’s 6 out of 8 Spider-Man films that have gotten good/great reviews. So while Sony has messed up Spider-Man a couple times in the past, they get Spider-Man right more often than when they don’t. And while one could argue that Homecoming and Far From Home had heavy involvement from Marvel and Disney, that’s still 4 good Spider-Man movies out of 6 made by Sony (also, keep in mind that it was Sony, not Disney, that casted Tom Holland).

Even looking beyond the movies Sony has done a great job with Spider-Man. The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series is widely considered as one of the best adaptations of the character. And Marvel’s Spider-Man, a video game released exclusively on a SONY console, was well received and has sold over 13 million copies, making it the second most purchased game on the PS4.

So Sony has overall done a great job with the character. Sure, they’ve had a few blotches here and there, but the same can also be said about the MCU. If Spider-Man left the MCU and went back to Sony, I’d be more than ok with it.
Hannah Cole 8 months ago
You make some good points. I admit I'm not that familiar with Spider-Man's film history prior to him being included in the MCU, but I have heard good things about the original movies. As far as Spider-Man as a character goes, I'd agree that Sony gets it right most of the time. I should have clarified that I'm more concerned about this current Spider-Man character and his heavy involvement in the MCU thus far, and how Sony will deal with that.
Big Mike 8 months ago
all this sounds well and good for sony to be taking over until you remember the film Venom which i think everyone regards as trash and that was supposed to start a cinematic universe
Anonymous 8 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

@Big Mike
While the Venom film was poorly received by critics, most audiences actually enjoyed the movie. The film stands at a healthy 80% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, and everyone I’ve talked to says they liked/didn’t mind the film. 

Venom also made over $800 million off of a budget of $100 million. Sony is also planning a sequel for Venom as well as film for Morbius, both of which are slated to come out next year. So Venom did successfully launch a cinematic universe for Sony. And while Sony’s Marvel universe may never be as well regarded as the MCU, they will at least be able to compete against them financially.
E Hayes 7 months ago
I don't blame Sony for not taking Disney's deal.  As much as I was looking forward to seeing how Peter Parker's life would change after the cliffhanger at the end of Far From Home and his collaborations with the other characters, I think we will have better Spider-man movies if Sony is in control.  Why?  Because Disney owns Marvel and owns so many superhero properties and Sony only has Spider-man and has to keep making movies in order to hold onto the rights.  Sony will put their best people on the Spider-man movies because they need the franchise and because of the competition between studios we will have better movies.
In the comics, the Avengers never quite accepted Spider-man anyway.
I just, I like almost anything in the Spider-man franchise.  I didn't watch the Venom movie, but I have all the other released movies on DVD.  I even like SM3, even though it has too many villains and it feels like a character gets killed off for no reason; because when I watch SM3 I feel like it encourages me to be a better person.
I think I would even watch an adaptation of Otto Octavius as Spider-Ock... and that's saying a lot.
Or maybe, Sony could team up with Warner Brothers' DC universe and we could have a Spider-man/DC crossover!  That would be fun.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

 @E Hayes 
I agree. Sony ought to have the character to themselves. They proven that they can do a great job with the character in the past, and they can still do it today. If Disney owns all of the Marvel characters, they will start to slack off on the quality of their films since they are the only ones making Marvel movies. If they were competing against another company, however (in this case Sony), the would have to keep up on the quality that they've put in their films.

In regards to the Spider-Man/DC crossover, I actually think that's a great idea! It has potential and could be a great way for two smaller studios to compete with a larger one! It did actually happen in the comics one time; Spider-Man tried to join the Justice League, but Batman rejected him!