Florence Foster Jenkins was the original Rebecca Black, achieving notoriety as the world’s worst opera singer in the 1940s, way before YouTube existed. The heiress, arts patron, and destroyer of arias is played by Meryl Streep in a new movie—Dana Stevens thought it made a lovely addition to Streep’s collection of late-summer romps—which provided an occasion for music critic Carl Wilson to examine America’s long love affair with bad singing, though of course, “[y]our favorite voice always will be someone else’s most despised,” he writes. Also new this weekend: Pete’s Dragon, which impressed Dan Kois with magic-seeming computer-generated imagery, and The Little Prince, which Katy Waldman hopes will get audiences to revisit the classic novella.
On TV, Willa Paskin urges you not to watch The Wine Show if you have any interest in preserving your love for the Matthews Goode and Rhys: What sounded like a dream is actually a stultifying, clueless nightmare. So sad. Paskin has higher hopes for The Get Down, Baz Luhrmann’s Netflix period drama-musical-fantasia set in the South Bronx in the ’70s, which starts off a chaotic mess but has flashes of fantastic. Incidentally, it also features a character named Fantastic.
Two great things that started last week and are still going this week: the Olympics and Nightlight, Slate’s pop-up blog about children’s literature. Some Olympics highlights include Parts 1, 2, and 3 of our gymnastics leotard watch, a guide to how gymnastics is scored, deep dives on gymnastics floor routine music, gymnast hair, and gymnast heights (they’re getting shorter!), our patented Olympics Sap-o-Meter, a few humble pitches for improving the games, and much more. And at Nightlight, don’t miss a tribute to American Girl’s growing-up guides, a celebration of Watership Down, and an interview with a Nancy Drew ghostwriter.
A few more links for your weekend:
- Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad is Stephen King meets Ralph Ellison
- Finally, a good way to play Dungeons & Dragons online
- Why you shouldn’t be surprised that the days of free Hulu are numbered
- An all-female Ocean’s 11 spinoff wishlist
- Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah are leaving SNL—revisit their best sketches
- Farewell, terrifying Lucille Ball sculpture
- “Sideburns and pompadours were swarming the streets”: Photos of Elvis impersonators
- How Hollywood can take on climate change
- Why are the Girl Scouts coming out with not one but two new s’mores-flavored cookies?
- Leslie Jones, master of Olympic tweeting