Music » Culture Jamming

The week's best releases from the pop-culture universe.


DVD -- The Simpsons: Season 7: The Springfield clan hit its stride during this period, settling into the groove that would make it one of TV's all-time-best shows. This four-disc, 25-episode set includes deleted scenes, commentary by cast and crew, and such fan faves as "Radioactive Man," "22 Short Films About Springfield," and "Homerpalooza," in which Homer upstages guest Cypress Hill by absorbing cannonballs with his stomach. Insane in the brain, indeed.

TV -- Austin City Limits: Coldplay: Chris Martin and his mopey crew of Brit-rockers take the venerable Texas stage for a performance heavy on songs from their latest album, X&Y. The hourlong program (airing at 9 p.m. Saturday on PBS) is the perfect setting for the band: intimate, but Gwyneth-free.

TV -- Celebrity Autobiography: In Their Own Words: Think stars' memoirs are self-indulgent, bloated, and funny as hell? Wait till you get a load of this special (airing at 10 p.m. Thursday on Bravo), in which books by famous celebs -- including Justin Timberlake, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Sylvester Stallone -- are read by less-famous celebs. Laraine Newman, Jay Mohr, and Kevin Nealon are among the Saturday Night Live vets who provide straight-faced (and gut-busting) narration. Best is Fred Willard's take on Mr. T's autobio. Pity the fool!

BOOK -- Hey! It's That Guy!: Familiar movie faces are paired with names in this engrossing look at character actors. Thankfully, the book wastes little time on pretense or cinephile stuffiness. Subjects are categorized by their best-known roles: It's That Starving Artist Who Is Still Somehow Kind of Chubby! (That would be Capote's Philip Seymour Hoffman.) It's That Touchingly Affable and/or Murderous Irishman! (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire's Brendan Gleeson.) It's That Book That Kept Us Absorbed for Hours! (This one.)

VIDEOGAMES -- Donkey Kong Country 3/ Sonic Rush: Nintendo (Donkey Kong) and Sega (Sonic) update characters from back in the day for thoroughly modern gameplay on the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. A return to classic territory filled with engaging minigames, multiple levels, and colorful environments, it takes us back to a time when we spent countless hours in front of the TV with a joystick in one hand and a bag of Cheetos in the other. Ah, things were so much simpler . . . last week.

CD -- Solid Gold Hits: The Beastie Boys' first proper best-of collection -- other sets were either overstuffed with instrumental crap or incomplete -- it gathers all the big songs. From "Fight for Your Right" to "Ch-Check It Out," this 15-song disc chronicles more than two decades' of white b-boy rhymes. Thankfully, it's more "Shake Your Rump" than "Shambala," their Dalai Lama mantra that fought for their right to pontificate.

COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- Godzilla: Final Wars: We like the King Kong remake, because we'll follow Peter Jackson anywhere after Lord of the Rings. Besides, Naomi Watts looks good in rags. But this travesty -- released in Japan last year to commemorate the giant lizard's 50th anniversary and just now making its U.S. debut on DVD -- should never have been resurrected. The plot has something to do with a placated Godzilla protecting earth against shape-shifting aliens. Come back, Mothra -- all is forgiven.

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