Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Telling your story in 1 sentence

The Atlantic Wire took a look today at a recent attempt by biblical scholars and pastors to summarize the Bible in one sentence. It's interesting because most popular films and books have a one sentence description that most are likely to agree on, but with a book that is both interpreted in vastly different ways by different groups as well as provoking strong reactions, that summary is less cut and dry.

The results ranged from a four-word Latin response to 132 words from Greg Beale, professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Westminister Theological Summary. The responses included attempts to summarize the narrative arc to theological statements to moral lessons and quotes from Einstein.

What stories do you think are the easiest to sum up? Hollywood films and TV shows tend to have a "log line," which serves as a quick summary of the plot and what the story's hook is for an audience. One thing that can get in the way of complex stories making it to the big screen is a story that's difficult to distill down and sell to the public.


Farewell Christmas music, hello 'Auld Lang Syne' and 2011

The saddest part of New Year's? It's the end of the holiday music season.

I know there are those of you who hate Christmas music, but I love it immensely. I occasionally will even play it out of season (hello, Christmas in July!), but I generally save it at least until after Thanksgiving so that it feels special.

I started pulling the Christmas music off my iPhone the day after Christmas, but I could take solace in the fact that there are still a few holiday songs for the new year that I could enjoy.

The most famous is, of course, "Auld Lang Syne."

However, I'm particularly partial to "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" A couple interpretations, by Diana Krall and Harry Connick Jr.:

Or, if you prefer something a little fresher, there's always Death Cab For Cutie's "The New Year":


New documentary tells story of WikiLeaks

The Swedish broadcast network Sveriges Television has posted a rough cut of their new, in-depth documentary on WikiLeaks, titled WikiRebelsThe Documentary. The filmmakers followed WikiLeaks from this past summer up until recently. The film tells the story of WikiLeaks from the beginning until recent events, stopping just short of Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange’s arrest.

Assange is interviewed, along with top WikiLeaks officals and their associates. I haven’t had the chance to watch the full documentary yet, but the first 15 minutes offer an interesting look into WikiLeaks' origins.

You can see the full film here:

On a related note, check out this ridiculous WikiLeaks game. Once you stop laughing, it's actually not that difficult.

Via Jeux


Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots: The Movie

Not really. But watch the trailer and tell me director Shawn Levy's upcoming "Real Steel" looks like it wasn't Mattel's attempt to cash in on an inchoate toy-to-movie trend ushered in with last year's "GI Joe." The late "Battlebots" would probably be a purer spiritual predecessor had the trailer not shown Hugh Jackman standing outside a ring controlling his robot to beat up the other robot. In a boxing ring.

Real Steel = Transformers - Shia LaBoef + Hugh Jackman - Michael Bay slo-mo/canted camera panning/self-importance - shame

Money line: "The human body can only handle so much, but the steel *dramatic pause* NEVER STOPS."


Make your fancy coffee with your fancy iPhone

For quality coffee, Starbucks is never enough. Silver Lake’s Intelligentsia undoubtedly trains the more skilled disciples of the holy brew, but whose clientele is typically slapped with the dirty label, ‘hipster.’ Rejoice, xeno/stylephobes! Intelligentsia has released an application for iOS operating systems (read: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Apple TV) to teach you the exotic methods (you probably haven’t heard of them) for nu coffee preparation far away from people you openly despise but secretly fear you belong with.

For the affordable price of free, you get brewing timers, diagrams and descriptions to gingerly walk you through the esoteric rituals you’ll use to impress your date/friends/cat.  Compare this to Starbucks’ app, which lets you know which location will cure your caffeine withdrawal is closer by minutes. It also lets you buy drinks faster. Consider your clientele served, coffee heavyweights.