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Hello! Welcome to your daily roundup of what’s going on in pop culture.
Are you a Big Bird or an Oscar the Grouch? Since news of Caroll Spinney’s retirement broke yesterday, I have been pondering the two characters he played as a new formula for understanding the world. Oscars are the underdogs, Big Birds the extroverts. Everyone loves Big Bird, and yes, he would help you move apartments, but he might also invite you to his improv show. Oscar would never. Please email your defenses of either iconic puppet to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stream these great horror movies directed by women
The public apology of the day comes from the horror producer Jason Blum (“Get Out,” “The Purge), who pledged to do better after his comments in a Polygon interview drew criticism: “There are not a lot of female directors period, and even less who are inclined to do horror.” To help him out, here are some excellent horror movies directed by women that you can stream at home:
• “American Psycho,” directed by Mary Harron, is a gory satire of capitalist masculinity, and is on Hulu.
• “The Babadook,” directed by Jennifer Kent, accidentally became a gay-pride meme, but it boasts monstrous visuals and can be rented on Amazon or iTunes.
• “Raw,” directed by Julia Ducournau, explores the nightmarish consequences of eating raw meat and is on Netflix.
• “The Love Witch,” directed by Anna Biller, is a seductive, stylish story of revenge, and you can rent it on Amazon or iTunes.
• “Jennifer’s Body,” directed by Karyn Kusama, has a demonic high schooler eating her classmates and you can stream it on HBO.
What’s been happening?
• The next season of “Orange Is the New Black” will be its last, which is probably a good call. It remains to be seen whether Season 7, which comes to Netflix next year, will address how long Piper has spent in prison (seven years?) for her 15-month sentence. [Deadline]
• Mariah Carey has released a single with Ty Dolla $ign and Skrillex, and while this might sound like 2018 pop mad libs, “The Distance” is pretty good! [Pitchfork]
• Attention, ’80s girls: Judy Blume has finally sold the film rights for “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” Kelly Fremon Craig, who directed “The Edge of Seventeen,” will adapt the novel, and James L. Brooks will produce. [Deadline]
From our writers
• This profile of Melissa McCarthy from Taffy Brodesser-Akner gets truly great when Akner digs into the politics of comedy in 2018. “Why look for meaning in everything when the entire point of the comedy exercise is to transcend meaning and responsibility and poignancy?” she writes.
• Back in October 1978, when the original “Halloween” was released, The Times’ printing press workers were on strike. No papers were published, and this seminal horror movie didn’t get a write-up (even a new pope wasn’t covered.) Now, 40 years later, we give “Halloween” the review it deserves.