Overrated/Underrated: ‘Keanu’ and ‘Ghostbusters’ are here to save the summer

There’s a lot of pop culture to sort through week after week. Times staff writer Chris Barton offers his take on what’s up and what’s down in music, movies, television and just about anything else out there that is worth considering.



Key & Peele’s “Keanu”: The most dynamic on-screen duo this year doesn’t involve the costumed blockbuster mills at Marvel or D.C., it’s the return of two forces for good in comedy who left the TV schedule feeling a bit more empty with the end of their show last year. Couched in the K&P comic wheelhouse with a story steeped with cultural code-switching, skewered action movie cliches and an adorable kitten, “Keanu” has to hit a pretty high bar, but if it falls short we’ll need a sequel each year or so until they get it right. (Hey, it works for “Spider-Man.”)


Todd Solondz: In the Underrated/Overrated column in the April 24 Calendar section, the last name of movie director Todd Solondz was misspelled as Solandz. —

From left: Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones in "Ghostbusters."

From left: Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones in “Ghostbusters.”

(Hopper Stone / AP)

“Ghostbusters”: Reboots are like cover songs — they’re an undeniable part of life, so if you must take one on at least do something inventive. While the Hall of Fame-level cast of the 1984 original remains untouchable, Paul Fieg flipped the script for this reboot (due July 15) with an all-female lead cast that’s a comic murderers’ row in its own right. Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kristen Wiig are reason enough to buy a ticket, but knowing this film’s very existence infuriates sexist Internet trolls makes this movie essential.

Overrated/Underrated: Pop culture’s best and worst >>


Lonely Island's Jorma Taccone, from left, Akiva Schaffer and Andy Samberg.

Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone, from left, Akiva Schaffer and Andy Samberg.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The Lonely Island: Best known as the most streamlined vehicle for Andy Samberg’s particular brand of tireless mugging and musical mimicry, this comedy trio familiar from “SNL Digital Shorts” excels at viral song spoofs such as “Like a Boss” and “Lazy Sunday,” but is that enough to fill a movie? Girded by a boatload of celebrity cameos, “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” (June 3) has plenty of music industry absurdity to draw from, but can we just skip ahead to the three genuinely funny YouTube clips this generates instead?

Todd Solondz

Todd Solondz

(Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Todd Solondz: A sort of auteur of unpleasantness, Solondz boasts a haunting filmography that includes “Happiness,” “Welcome to the Dollhouse” and “Life During Wartime.” While undeniably a master craftsman of stories filled with pitch-black humor and circumstances, his reflexive hopelessness and occasional shock tactics can leave you feeling manipulated, if not consumed by existential dread. His latest film, “Weiner-Dog” (June 24), takes a new tack by following a little dachshund through a series of owners — but don’t worry, everything turns out awful in the end.


Our complete summer movie guide >

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