When I think of the 2010’s I think of MTR The Network and many of the stories we’ve covered. Since MTR Podcasts reviews, laments and dissects the latest in weird news, pop culture, and entertainment, I think I’ll write this blog to revisit some of my favorite pop culture moments from the decade.
As a bit of a prologue:
this list is purely my opinion and not at all a definitive list and if there’s a pop culture moment that didn’t make my list that you believe is important, trust me I don’t care. I loathe fans. Also, sure these aren’t pop culture moments in the literal sense but more of a period.
5 Important Pop Culture Moments from the 2010s. We lived through these moments so let’s revisit them.
In 2012, Disney agreed to purchase Lucasfilm and announced a new trilogy starting with Episode VII – The Force Awakens. In many circles, this news was met emotions ranging from cautious optimism to downright apathy. The prequels damaged this property. The term ‘property’ is important here as Disney became the owner so questions arose of “Would Mickey Mouse become a Skywalker?”
In addition to the new trilogy, there would be other stories. The other stories namely Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – unnecessary cash grab but enjoyable and Solo: A Star Wars Story – which bombed and I’ve yet to see. For the sake of brevity, I will provide my favorite scenes from Episode VII and Episode VIII.
Back to the trilogy:
Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)
Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
There was a notion of Star Wars fatigue. Considering that there’s 6, including The Mandalorian, Star Wars related properties out in 5 years. The previous trilogies excluding specials and TV Shows like Clone Wars did 3 films in 6 years. Give us a chance to miss you. OK.
Disney is cranking them out and milking this cash cow. But It loses its specialness to the fan whether diehard or casual. Yes, I’ll see the movie but I don’t want to feel like a chore but more like an event. James Bond, an older franchise and not the same genre but has a healthy fan-base gets this and doesn’t want to wear out it’s welcome.
There have been consistent James Bond movies out – 25 to be exact over nearly 60 years – almost not stop. While Star Wars, has had a nearly twenty-year break between Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace – so excluding those gaps of over 5 years ( the aforementioned gap between Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace and the gap between Revenge of the Sith in 2005 and The Force Awakens in 2015 – that takes out over 20 years for dormancy of a 42-year-old franchise – so there’s been eleven Star Wars Films during 22 or so active years) Stars Wars film properties are coming out faster and faster.
Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker – marks the end of the Skywalker Saga so Disney will try and elicit those feelings of nostalgia all while going to the well. The film looks good and will likely get a similar response as The Last Jedi with the added critique of it being the end of the chapter.
Award shows have had a rich history of acknowledging the contributions of some but not all. The Academy Awards was at the forefront of #cancelculture in 2015.
There was a trending topic of #oscarssowhite which at the root of it, showed that the filmmakers, actors, etc of color didn’t get the same acclaim as their white counterparts. Viewers even threatened to boycott the Oscars over the lack of diversity. Boycotts are thrown around often as a way to combat injustice and marginalization – there was a fair amount of steam around this movement. In essence, the movement caused white folks to attempt to show how they don’t have the privilege.
That said, moves were made but my belief is white people – their systems – let’s use the Academy Awards as a system will always find a way to sneak diss.
As seen here in 2017 LA LA took the steam from Moonlight winning Best Picture.
So the biggest moment of this Academy Awards was botched. This is a pop culture moment that didn’t get the Kanye West X Taylor Swift treatment that it was similar too. It was orchestrated in away.
I watched it live and noticed that confusion take place. This is the first time I’ve seen a botch like this. And, instead of Moonlight getting it’s due – after all of the awareness around the lack of diversity, this still happens.
In watching this video once would see, white folks – who didn’t win or even accurately do their jobs – were in the spotlight of Moonlight – the actual winner. Moonlight has to be gracious in winning despite not getting it’s due. Also, mistakes can happen and Warren Beatty is in his 80’s but it’s weird – it’s cringy and more than half of this clip is white people celebrating or making excuses for the botch instead of the winner getting the acclaim.
La La Land was a meme to me – like white folks discovered Jazz or something. Granted I never saw La La Land and maybe it’s a good movie. But Moonlight had a story that just worked and was personal. It was the Best Film I saw that year.
Cartoon Network has been the place for me. I always wanted a network that would grow with me. That said the network has proven to be weird and mature at times – like the show Clarence. Some of my favorite Cartoon Network originals that debuted this decade are:
- Regular Show – This is one of my favorite shows and one of the stand-out episodes is”Mordecai & The Rigbys“
- Adventure Time
- Rick & Morty
- Steven Universe
- Mike Tyson Mysteries
- The Amazing World of Gumball
- Black Dynamite
I recommend that you check them all out. Except for Rick & Morty, none of these properties are currently in development so there’s a great opportunity to binge them. Cartoon Network during this decade attempted to give animators and storytellers a platform to produce content whether on straight-up Cartoon Network or Adult Swim. Granted, it wasn’t always successful but they always had something original to catch one’s interest.
The sensibilities of the cartoonist and writers on these properties matched mine. For instance, the dynamic between Mordecai and Rigby matched my friendship with Dann D at the time. Sure I’m not a blue jay but you get the picture. This decade was a triumph for cartoon network.
When thinking of pop culture during this decade it would be hard to omit Cartoon Network.
I love the X-Men. The first trilogy was very enjoyable – I even like X-Men: The Last Stand despite its glut of issues. Generally, I’m pleased that something I enjoy gets made and I acknowledge unlike many ‘fanboys’ what an adaptation is.
I did not like X-Men Origins: Wolverine though. It was wack and the leak of the unfinished product didn’t help the movie. That film had major problems and a dearth of critical acclaim. The franchise seemed to be in trouble.
Enter a new Magneto and X-Men: First Class in 2011. This was the beginning of something for me to mark out on. First Class was fresh and had familiar faces – including Kevin Bacon and future stars like James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as well as future mehs like Jennifer Lawrence. This series brought X-Men back in a major way and the sequel – Days of Futures Past – blew my mind and attempted to correct all of the sins of The Last Stand.
The next two X-Men movies – Apocalypse and Deadpool – we mixed too me.
I liked the idea of X-Men Apocalypse – a new villain and one that I liked. Also, it was set in the 80s but the execution was off and the Apocalypse design resembles Ivan Ooze from a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie fame. When I saw the stills of Apocalypse, I thought “Uh oh we’re in trouble“.
Deadpool, on the other hand, was great and proved the notion of a rated-R comic book movie was not only valid but could be successful. It spawned a great sequel in 2018. The sequel featured the humor and fan-favorite – Cable – despite early on production issue rumors.
Deadpool (also worth noting Kick-Ass and Blade albeit not as commercially successful) and laid a foundation for other success, hell, a hyper-successful Joker movie at the end of this decade.
Next, we got Logan. Hugh Jackman’s last ride as the Wolverine. This was also a rated-R movie with the tone of a western than of the typical X-Men movies. This showed a maturity that critics thought comic book movies lacked especially these types of superhero, comic-book movies. The movie hits all of the emotional spectra that one wants – laughter when Laura speaks for the first time, rage when a beloved, mentor/hero dies and solace when our hero’s mission is over. There were rumors that Logan would get a nomination for Best Picture.
Then, X-Men Dark Phoenix happened. For completion, I’ll watch this movie and update as needed but Sophie Turner doesn’t work as Jean Grey for me and The Dark Phoenix Saga doesn’t appear to be successfully adaptable at this stage. Further, the franchise seemed to dip back into the well that drowned in during 2006’s The Last Stand. Stop it. It doesn’t work and you’re ruining the goodwill you’ve created with Deadpool and Logan.
The future looks a bit mixed as well. New Mutants, a horror movie with X-Men universe characters, which had me excited when announced and more curious when the trailer dropped appears to be shelved and may never come out because execs aren’t impressed.
Initially, this seemed like a good idea. A Ghostbusters movie – “maybe we’ll get the gang back together” I thought. Once details came out I realized this was not a good idea. The cast was great – the director had an OK track record. Something seemed fishy.
Paul Feig was the trout. The trailer was reviled. Granted and, full disclosure, I hate fanboys but the trailer didn’t grab me. Then the Leslie Jones problem. Feig touted this notion of “move over boys, let the girls play.” Unlike many Ghostbusters fans, I wanted to give it a chance – but Leslie Jones’ positioning in the trailer – she was a subway attendant in contemporary New York while the other ‘Busters were scientists. That’s weird to me. White women are in positions of prestige while the Black girl is in an anachronistic job that doesn’t exist. Screw that. Don’t tout equality while still pushing a weird power dynamic – it makes the message hollow to me. I wanted to like the movie but nope.
Ghostbusters has a new movie in development and it has the gang back together and it’s got some Stranger Things vibes. This is closer to what the Feig film could have been – there’s not much outside of the Wikipedia page and the trailer but the cast doesn’t appear to be all women or a boys club. It also won’t have the negative response the trailer of his film got either.
When thinking back on Ghostbusters: Answer The Call – I posit that “it’s both” – I content that fanboys are sexist, racist and all of the “cists” but also the movie isn’t good – it has technical issues and odd choices. For a film based in nostalgia – brush back to vitriol is to be expected. Think of some of the nonsense George Lucas has contended with for his franchises – Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Creators can do what they want with their properties and if you don’t like it make your own. Maybe your property will have a pop culture moment worthy of my attention.
I hope you enjoyed this trip back down memory lane via the Pop Culture Moments highway. These are some of my favorite and important in pop culture moments during the 2010s.
Did I miss any? Tell me what you think. What are some of your important in Pop Culture moments?
— Rob Lee