Steve Coogan in 'Happyish': Though stepping into a role intended for the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, this underappreciated (on these shores, anyway) British actor owns and upgrades what's otherwise a too-familiar story of a dissatisfied upper-middle-class white dude squaring off against a cruel modern world in a fabulous home. Still, Coogan's barbed comedy steals the show, which shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with "Alan Partridge" or "24 Hour Party People."

Torres' 'Sprinter': Singer-songwriter Mackenzie Scott's latest isn't immediately approachable — at times, it sounds too familiar, like a pastiche of PJ Harvey's thorny noise and the raw confessional narratives of Sharon Van Etten. Though those ingredients are unquestionably terrific jumping-off points, Torres reaches greater heights on the unsettlingly spare "Son, You Are No Island," which is built on Scott's haunted, quavering voice and a magnetic slow burn.


Bill Simmons: When news broke that this sportswriter had been let go by ESPN, you'd have thought a state leader had been deposed. As influential as Simmons was in bringing a funny, everyman's perspective to sportswriting, as well as the "30 for 30" documentary series and the pop culture-immersed Grantland site, ultimately, the dude-friendly one-liners and "Rounders" references of his columns were growing stale. May his next move be as surprising as his earliest ones.

Tyler, the Creator: If an Internet troll could be given a skateboard and an overhyped hip-hop crew, you would have this controversy-courting rapper. Once, Tyler was regarded as one of the top talents on the L.A. scene with his group Odd Future (ah, 2010), but his music has long since been eclipsed by that of bandmates Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt, and recent stunts, such as a rainbow-colored appropriation of a white power cross to prove he's not homophobic, feel like tired shtick.


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