Toni Morrison, John Irving, 'New Girl': The Week Ahead in Pop Culture

A look at the things we're most excited about watching, reading, browsing, and listening to:

A look at the things we're most excited about watching, reading, browsing, and listening to:

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MOVIES

In theaters Friday:

Anyone occasionally sickened by the state of pop culture, politics, and manners may find some delirious comfort in God Bless America, a dark satire in which a terminally ill man goes on a killing spree—against reality-TV stars, people who take up two parking spaces, and other nuisance causers. Bobcat Goldthwait, the stand-up comedian who's carved out a fruitful indie filmmaking career, directs, and the reviews are good.

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp team up once again for a film whose description reads like a parody of their shared sensibility: Dark Shadows, a comedic adaptation of a 1960s sitcom about a vampire.


off-self-titled 330.jpgMUSIC

On sale Tuesday:

Sixteen snotty songs and a little more than 16 snotty minutes comprise the self-titled debut of Off!, which Wikipedia correctly describes as a rare "American hardcore punk supergroup." Members of Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Burning Brides, Rocket From the Crypt, Hot Snakes, and Redd Kross have teamed up to deliver an entertaining, inventive set of songs following a few well-liked EPs.

Kindness's World, You Need a Change of Mind is a catchy, lush, and emotionally varied collection of disco-revival tunes. Listen to "That's Alright" for proof.


radar_morrisonhome_thumb.jpgBOOKS

For sale Tuesday:

Two great American novelists have new books out this week. There's Nobel laureate Toni Morrision has Home, about a black Korean War veteran who returns to his Georgia hometown, where he must deal with the racism and poverty he had hoped to leave behind.

John Irving's place in the canon is far less assured than Morrison's, but his latest book is nonetheless noteworthy. In One Person continues in Irving's tradition of making politically charged novels (think Cider House Rules): It focuses on the life of Billy, a bisexual man, as he navigates the turmoil of the second half of the 20th century.


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TV

Season finale season continues! This week brings finales from Two Broke Girls (Monday), The Voice and New Girl (Tuesday), and The Office and Parks and Recreation (Thursday).

The finales have the potential to offer some mild cliffhangers—Will Nick actually move out of the house on New Girl?—and hopefully resolve some season-long questions—Will Leslie win the election on Parks and Rec?—but mostly it's worth watching these shows to see how they've grown and improved over the last few months.

Presented by

Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

Spencer Kornhaber is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers pop culture and music. He was previously an editor at Patch.com and a staff writer at OC Weekly. He has written for Spin, The AV Club, and RollingStone.com.

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