Overrated/Underrated: The World Cup shines without us, and please stop helping others sell pancakes
The World Cup: Fox Sports may be experiencing a bit of buyer’s remorse after winning the rights to this monthlong event but lost some luster after the U.S. team failed to qualify for the first time since the Reagan administration. But on the other hand, consider this addition by subtraction: We’re now free to cast our temporary allegiance elsewhere with our plucky but overmatched squad (the phenomenal Christian Pulisic aside) given four years to improve. Whether opting for the fearsome attack of France or the rapidly improving El Tri of Mexico, there’s a lot to like in 38 live broadcasts that run through mid-July.
Two more from Henry Threadgill: In 2016, this 74-year-old saxophonist and composer became the third jazz artist to win the Pulitzer Prize. Thankfully, with two new albums released last month, he sounds as far from finished as recent winner for hip-hop Kendrick Lamar. One, featuring his “14 or 15 Kestra: Agg” (for aggregate), finds Threadgill’s large ensemble moving along shifting grooves that swirl as if pulled by a busy breeze, and on the other, “Double Up, Plays Double Up Plus,” he begins with a 22-minute piano-heavy statement that sets the tone for the twists ahead. Both records are strikingly different, yet in their amount of restless invention, also the same.
“Succession” on HBO: Granted, it’s the early going for this series, which centers on the greed and mistrust within a colossally wealthy family along the lines of the Murdoch clan. But despite boasting a solid pedigree with roots in barbed British series “The Thick of It” and the still under-appreciated 2015 film “The Big Short,” the fictional Roy family isn’t likable enough to make a satisfying drama and not funny enough for its flashes of dark satire to be sustainable. Besides, is another story of a wealthy family of terrible people behaving badly really something we lack for in 2018?
Pancakes or burgers?: In one of those internet moments that rival the upheaval of “Laurel or Yanni” or “What color is this dress?,” a restaurant known for selling breakfast flipped its logo to announce a branding shift toward a lunchtime sandwich — and no, we’re not mentioning it by name because it’s enjoyed enough free marketing. But what’s troubling is how quickly the Internet ate up the stunt, mocking and publicizing the move to such an extent that news outlets obliged with their own coverage. Remember when this sort of thing required companies to buy ads?
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