Happy Birthday (to Me)!

On the occasion of my upcoming birthday (and the fact that I haven’t posted anything in months), I would like to present to you, in no particular order some of the most famous (real and imaginary) birthday parties ever.

“Happy Birthday, Mr. President”

Fifty-five years ago on May 19, 1962, Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to then-U. S. President John F. Kennedy at a celebration for his 45th birthday (his actual birthday was on May 29). Monroe’s sultry performance helped fuel an even now persistent (but unverified) rumor that she and JFK were having an affair.

Marilyn1962

By Eureka Humboldt Standard – page 3 via Newspaperarchive.com, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57973181

The Birth of Hip Hop

August 11, 1973 is considered to be the “birthdate” of hip hop. On that date, Clive Campbell, better known now as DJ Kool Herc, was the DJ for his sister’s birthday party in the recreation room of a apartment building at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the west Bronx, NY. According to history.com, by that time, DJ Kool Herc had been working on refining his “break beat” style for a year. At that successful party, he used his most powerful sound system ever, before his largest crowd to that point. That party started a movement that resonates to this day.

Kool Herc

The original invitation to the legendary party. Source: the BBC. 

Paris Hilton’s 21st Birthday Party

Once upon a time (at the beginning of the 21st century), hotel heiress Paris Hilton was probably the world’s most famous young woman. In 2002, Hilton threw herself five birthday parties over three continents – in Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, London and Tokyo. It’s estimated that she spent $75,000 per guest. Although it would have been hard to believe back then, but now Paris Hilton spends her life out of the limelight. Hilton did speak up, approvingly, in a rare appearance regarding Kendall Jenner’s 21st birthday party — where Jenner (sister of Hilton’s still omnipresent BFF, Kim Kardashian) wore a dress that copied Hilton’s infamous chain mail dress that she wore during her birthday parties.

Paris Hilton 2nd bday

Photo by Richard Young/REX/Shutterstock. Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/~/article-3900102/index.html#i-99c41c3841942714

A Hobbit Birthday Party

Hobbit Day, as devotees of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books call (and celebrate) it, is the occasion of Bilbo Baggins’ 111th (or “eleventy first“) birthday, and Frodo’s 33rd birthday. The Fellowship of the Ring opens with the birthday celebrations. In the book, the celebration included much food (three meals worth), a whole lot of drink (folks being carted away in wheelbarrows), and fireworks honoring the events of The Hobbit, courtesy of Gandalf. Instead of the birthday honorees getting presents, per Hobbit custom, the guests got presents.

[Spoiler alert] 

There was also a family supper (consisting of 144 people) at the end of the celebration days. At the end of the supper, Bilbo gave a speech, slipped on the One Ring, and vanished…

bilbo

Shot from The Fellowship of the Ring (movie). Source: Wedding Inspiration: Bilbo Baggins’ Birthday. From apracticalwedding.com

 

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Favorite Dads in Pop Culture

Dumbledore is one of our favorite "dads"!

Dumbledore is one of our favorite “dads”!

Since Father’s Day is coming up, Blue Striker and I were discussing our favorite dads in pop culture. Now, mind you, these aren’t necessarily good dads, but here they are (in no particular order):

Marlin in Finding Nemo: As Blue Striker says, how can anyone who crosses the entire ocean to find his son not be a good dad? Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) is a great dad, Finding Nemo is a great film and one of Pixar’s best.

Sheriff Andy Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show: Purveyor of homespun homilies? Check. Good guy who isn’t uptight? Check. Able to successfully police the crazy inhabitants of his town, starting with his wacky deputy, Barney Fife? Check. Great sense of humor? Check. Opie Taylor’s dad manages to do all this while raising his son as a single dad (with the help of Aunt Bea, of course).

Mung Daal in Chowder: Mung (voiced by Dwight Schultz, better known as “Mad Dog Murdock” of The A-Team) is more of a father figure than a father (Chowder’s his apprentice). Although at times Mung is impatient with his much less than perfect apprentice, he possesses the daffiness of a Cartoon Network character (which he is) as well as the best cartoon mustache since Snidely Whiplash.

Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series (books and movies): Harry lucked out when he fell under the tutelage of the wise and powerful Headmaster of Hogwarts (played by Richard Harris and Michael Gambon in the movies), especially when you consider the alternative.

Fred G. Sanford in Sanford and Son: The “G” stands for “great googly moogly, how can you leave him out?” Redd Foxx (born John Elroy Sanford, whose brother was Fred Sanford) was hilarious as the cranky junkman with a heart of gold, particularly when it came to his son Lamont, who could be unappreciative and self-centered at times.

Jonathan “Pa” Kent in practically every iteration of Superman: The guiding force behind the Man of Steel. The fact that actors known for playing “good guys”, such as  Glenn Ford, John Schneider and Kevin Costner, have portrayed Pa Kent tells us much about his character.

Review: The Interview – Better Late Than Never, I Guess

Well, now that all of the hoopla over The Interview has died down, we here at Pop Rocking Culture recently watched the movie.  (An aside:  Yes, Blue Striker did watch the movie with Bill, Dad and me.  Blue will tell you, in his words, that this movie is “inappropriate for kids”. I had to cover Blue’s eyes about two times.  When asked for a reaction to the movie, Blue gave a mock vomiting sound — not exactly a thumbs up.)

The Interview is yet another in a string of “bromances” that get a lot of play at the movie theater.  It was obvious that one of the sources the film drew from was the old Bob Hope/Bing Crosby “Road” movies.  This movie could have been called The Road to Pyongyang.  In case you were wondering, James Franco is in the “goofball” Bob Hope role that spurs the plot of the film.  Seth Rogen has the “smart guy” Bing Crosby part, and even gets the girl (for a while).  Yes, I know that Rogen resembles the suave, witty crooner as much as he did Van Williams’ Britt Reid in The Green Hornet.  Read into that what you will.

I admit that I laughed a lot at James Franco’s Dave Skylark character.  His hair, wardrobe, political/social cluelessness and monumental ego were pretty funny.  Skylark’s relationship with Randall Park’s Kim Jong Un is the real romance, er, bromance here.  (I am sure that the gay subtext regarding Kim was one of the things that made the North Korean government unhappy.)  Park had the best role in the movie, as the unpredictable “Supreme Leader”.  Park, who currently plays the dad on Fresh Off the Boat, is definitely a Hollywood version of Kim Jong Un, right down to the perfect teeth.  At one point, I found myself wondering who Park’s orthodonist was. (Oh, come on, NO ONE has teeth that great naturally!)

Unfortunately, at the end, the movie stretches an already absurd story to the breaking point.  The movie becomes a rather bloody, bad (unintentional?) parody of an action movie.  I rolled my eyes at the shift in tone. I thought, all of sudden, these buffoons know how to fight/shoot guns/drive a tank successfully?

To wrap it up, The Interview, while it wasn’t as bad as I expected, wasn’t as good as it could have been.  It wasn’t worth risking the wrath of a country that is both unknown and unpredictable — whether or not North Korea was responsible for the Sony hack.*  I found myself wanting to watch Team America:  World Police again…later.  Because as “inappropriate” as The Interview is for kids, Team America is really inappropriate.  But it’s a much better movie!

*P.S.:  Suki Kim’s memoir about teaching the sons of the North Korean elite in North Korea, Without You, There Is No Us, is a great book.