Pop Culture Radar: What’s Trending This Week

By Samantha Reid

the giver
‘The Giver’
Chances are, most people probably already read “The Giver” way back in the fifth grade. But classics are always worth a second read, especially this one. Lowry’s famous novel has been turned into a movie, with the first trailer debuting last week. Before we had “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent,” and countless other dystopian worlds, there was this 1993 novel. It might be billed as a children’s novel, but it’s a must-read before the movie hits theaters this August.

‘Redeployment’ by Phil Klay
Fans of war novels like Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” should pick up Phil Klay’s new book “Redeployment,” which takes a look at what it’s like on the frontlines in Afghanistan and Iraq. The author is a veteran himself, so the story takes on an unparalleled sense of authenticity. The book weaves together the jarring stories of multiple characters in their lives overseas and through the shock of readjusting to home life. Klay manages to artfully express the ways in which war never really ends for those who experience it firsthand.

the mindy project 1
‘The Mindy Project’ returns
Fox has a line-up of stellar comedies this season, none more so than “The Mindy Project.” Mindy Kaling came to fame both acting and writing for “The Office,” and her new show proves she isn’t just a background character but is a scene-stealing star in her own right. Season two of the series has been on hiatus since late January, but fans can finally get answers to their burning questions when the ensemble comedy returns April 1.

‘Game of Thrones’ premieres
game of thrones
Over the years, HBO has had no shortage of talked-about television. “Game of Thrones,” however, may be one of its biggest series yet. Fans can catch up on the past three seasons in anticipation of the season four premiere on April 6. Reviewers are already touting this season as the show’s “most eventful yet,” and trailers for the highly anticipated episodes can be found on the HBO website. The producers of the hit show are hoping to run for eight seasons, so there’s still plenty of time for newcomers to catch up to the fandom.

captain america
‘Captain America’ sequel
Marvel fans will undoubtedly be out in droves on April 4 –– or more accurately, for late night showings on April 3 –– to see “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” The sequel to the 2011 film promises more action, more Chris Evans and more superheroes. This installment features not only Captain America, but the Black Widow, as well, played by Scarlett Johansson. While this chapter in the Steve Rogers story takes place in modern day, the Soviet villain calls back to an older time reminiscent of the first film.


‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ on DVD
Will Ferrell fans can now watch “the legend continue” from home. “Anchorman 2” is out on DVD and Blu-ray April 1. April Fool’s Day is fitting for the release of this film. Where it lacks in substantial plot it makes up for in rapid-fire jokes and one unexpected celebrity cameo after another. But let’s get real –– audiences don’t look to Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 News Team for a compelling plot. The movie delivers what it promises, which is laughs, even when the audience is laughing at how ridiculous it all is.

meal sharing
Share a meal with a stranger?
The website mealsharing.com operates on an unconventional premise. Meal Sharing hooks tourists up with locals, inviting users to “eat with people from around the world.” Anyone living in Chicago can offer to host a foreign group for a home-cooked meal in their home, or travelers can
search for hosts at almost any destination. Hosts post menus along with photos, and visitors can opt to join. Some hosts ask for a “chip in” charge, but the real benefit is interesting conversation with people of different perspectives.
vogue cover

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West grace the cover of “Vogue” this month, and it’s already caused quite the controversy. The world’s highest performing fashion magazine, “Vogue,” is usually known for its artful covers and has featured some of the most prominent faces in fashion and entertainment. Readers and celebrities alike began blasting the cover and its grandiose hashtag just hours after its release, and even the nicest of critics called it “tacky” to feature the reality star. Seth Rogen and James Franco, who parodied Kanye’s “Bound 2” video, already released their own spoof of the cover.

pharrell anna kendrick
Pharrell on SNL with Anna Kendrick
Pharrell’s “Happy” fever seems to have spread, gaining him the coveted spot as “Saturday Night Live” musical guest on April 5, following the release of his latest album in March. The episode will be hosted by funny girl and “Pitch Perfect” star Anna Kendrick. If Kendrick’s Twitter is any indication of her ability to deliver hilarious one-liners, viewers will definitely want to tune in. And one thing’s for sure: we can all resume “Pharrell Oversized Hat Watch 2014” in three, two, one…

summer concerts

Summer concert ticket sales
With only about a month left in the semester, students can start looking ahead to summer. And what’s a more quintessential part of summer than concerts? News of huge tours have already begun to trickle in, including everyone from The Goo Goo Dolls to One Direction to Panic at the Disco hitting up Chicago venues during the warmer months. Festival fans are already scrambling for tickets to Lollapalooza, which is taking over Grant Park from Aug. 1 to 3 with headliners Outkast, Skrillex, Kings of Leon and Eminem.

The best city to brunch
What’s the best way to spend a Sunday morning? With friends, shaking off a hangover and rehashing the previous night’s events. That’s where brunch comes in. Yelp declared Chicago the best city for brunches in 2013, and there’s no shortage of restaurants offering it these days. Whether brunch-goers are looking for a cute cafe or the best bottomless mimosas, the city’s got all its bases covered. Thrillist does all the work, breaking down the best Chicago brunches by neighborhood. One of the best deals? Angelina Ristorante in Lakeview, where $21 gets patrons an entree plus all the champagne and orange juice they can drink.

On the off chance anyone’s NCAA bracket isn’t completely shot, fans are probably too busy checking basketball scores to be reading this article. But for those whose brackets have already been busted, all college basketball fans can do is look to next year. Many argue that bracketology just comes down to luck. After all, the odds of picking perfectly are about one in nine quintillion –– and no, that’s not a made up number. But for those who believe it’s more of a science, a mere $99 can pay for an online course through St. Joseph’s University that will teach the ins and outs of the ideal bracket. March Madness 2015 had better watch out.

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