Return of the Sleeper Car; The Unlikely Face of 'The Amazing Spider-Man'

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We realize there's only so much time one can spend in a day watching new trailers, viral video clips, and shaky cell phone footage of people arguing on live television. This is why every day The Atlantic Wire highlights the videos that truly earn your five minutes (or less) of attention. Today: a brief reemergence for the sleeper car on the New York City subway, Charlize Theron test-drives her Michael Fassbender jokes, and we meet the unlikely actor at the center of the viral buzz-building effort for The Amazing Spider-Man.

Train travel has been on the decline for 60 years, a much-lamented turn of events that has also contributed to the sleeper car disappearing from American popular entertainment. This is a shame, because as The Palm Beach Story and Some Like It Hot showed, nothing was funnier than life in the sleeper car. The sleeping portion of the sleeper car -- if not the madcap hilarity --  made a recent comeback on the New York City subway, thanks to performance stunt by Charlie Todd of the comedy troupe Improv Everywhere and stillspotting nyc, a particularly in-your-face urban studies project supported by the Guggenheim. The result was cute, but could have benefitted from multiple dollops of zaniness. [Improv Everywhere via The New York Observer]

Recommended Reading

The season premiere of Mad Men airs Sunday. Sunday! AMC's marketing campaign has been aggressively non-informative, which could make user-generated mashups of all the show's characters, say, very nearly singing "Set Me Free," frustrating, but for some reason, they aren't, not in the least bit. [Popculturepirate via Vulture]

Mad Men: Set Me Free from popculturepirate on Vimeo.

We still can't believe the Spider-Man movie franchise was deemed old enough to require a reboot. It seems like yesterday James Cameron was kicking the tires on maybe directing a Spidey movie and Sony was threatening to bring in Jake Gyllenhaal to replace Tobey Maguire when the actor claimed his back might prevent him from appearing in the second installment. Time flies. To build interest for the Marc Webb-directed reboot, Sony has unveiled a new would-be viral video that doesn't feature young leads Andrew Garfield or Emma Stone, but does include ample amounts of Denis Leary acting blustery. [via The Hollywood Reporter]

Charlize Theron was not Michael Fassbender's co-star in Shame, the movie in which the German actor repeatedly appeared without pants, and didn't receive a Best Actor nomination for the effort. She did appear with Fassbender in Prometheus, the upcoming summer sci-fi extravaganza from director Ridley Scott, which apparently entitled her to make multiple off-color remarks about said nudity at the Human Rights Campaign's annual gala dinner on Saturday. Before you say, 'That's inappropriate,' consider that it was for a good cause: figuring out which anecdotes will work when Charlize Theron goes on the talk show circuit to promote Prometheus. [People]

Belatedly, the video of Forbes' Jeff Bercovici interviewing New Yorker cartoonist Matthew Diffee at South By Southwest is both an informative discussion about the building blocks of visual humor, and a gobsmackingly terrific live performance on Diffee's part, since he's drawing almost the entire time. Like most people who can't draw, we are envious of those who can draw, especially when they are also doing something else, and doing it equally well. Those drawing types have it all. [Forbes]


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.