Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Worldwide radio, a behind-the-scenes doc, and a comic that’s more than meets the eye

The cast of Wet Hot American Summer at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival (Photo: Doug Piburn/WireImage via Getty)

Hurricane Of Fun: The Making Of Wet Hot

I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to this behind-the-scenes documentary that accompanied the release of Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp in 2015; years of lackluster DVD extras (and learning what a tedious bore it is to watch a movie being made) have made me wary of any video product with “making of” in its title. But the Wet Hot American Summer shoot has become so legendary and is so well-documented at this point (in articles like this one!) that I should’ve been more eager to watch the process that went into making one of my favorite movies. For those outside the cult of Camp Firewood, Hurricane Of Fun’s main draw is the chance to watch pre-fame comedy babies goofing around totally unaware that they’re making the best film comedy of the 21st century. But for the faithful, it’s an invaluable document, a video yearbook showing off the genuine bond/trench mentality that formed between cast and crew as they fought through 20-some days of rain and inhospitable temperatures to make a beautifully bonkers movie set on the last day of summer. You’ll feel closer than ever to Amy Poehler while you watch her hop around to Le Tigre’s “Deceptacon” (while A.D. Miles stands in the foreground, wearing three wigs); you’ll “aww” at the title card that describes Bradley Cooper skipping his Actor’s Studio graduation ceremony to film his sex scene with Michael Ian Black. And even a jaded soul like I will feel the magic of moviemaking all over again, during the legitimately suspenseful sequence that depicts the film’s big van-crash gag. In the final cut, it’s a few seconds of vehicular slapstick, but in Hurricane Of Fun, it demonstrates why everyone involved is still talking about making Wet Hot (and going back to Camp Firewood, and then going back again) 16 years later. [Erik Adams]


Worldwide radio

When I was young, I was a ham- and shortwave-radio nerd. There was something thrilling about hiding under my blanket at night and listening in on conversations half a world away. These days, we take for granted just how astounding it is to listen to live radio from anywhere in the world. It wasn’t until I encountered Radio.garden that my sense of amazement was restored. Essentially it’s TuneIn Radio meets Google Earth, and what makes the interface especially neat is how you can switch from a Brazil samba channel to Korean talk radio with a swipe of the onscreen globe. The interstitial static makes it all the more realistic and intimate. I can’t stop playing around on this site. [Kevin Pang]

Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye

Image: IDW Publishing, Alex Milne

As much as I love all things Transformers (even the Michael Bay movies), Transformers comics never appealed to me. I recently read through the entirety of James Roberts and Alex Milne’s Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye run, though, and it just might be the best story ever told with any incarnation of these characters. Set in the aftermath of the Autobot/Decepticon war, the book sees a ragtag group of robots leaving their home planet on a quest to find some mythological figures. However, the mission itself often takes a backseat to the characters’ many psychological issues and their propensity for weird pop culture riffs (they watch Community off-panel in one issue). Also, there are a number of unexpectedly touching stories about romantic relationships, which are surprisingly and effortlessly progressive due to the fact that the vast majority of Transformers characters identify as male—a level of inclusivity that you wouldn’t expect in most comics, let alone a comic about toys. At its core, More Than Meets The Eye is about accepting people for who they are, which is a lot more interesting than robots who are simply at war with other robots. [Sam Barsanti]

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