From left to right: Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born; Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag; Brie Larson in Captain Marvel (Photos: Warner Bros, BBC, Marvel)

ARTS & CULTURE 

The pop culture you’ll actually care about in 2019

New film, new TV, old favourites and Mischa Barton in new The Hills. Settle in, says Rachael Sigee – it’s going to be a good’un

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By Rachael Sigee on

Despite the manipulative whinings of Kevin Spacey and Louis CK doing their best to dent our excitement, 2019’s offering of pop culture is looking mighty fine. There will of course be things to avoid – Maroon 5 performing at the Super Bowl and Casey Affleck returning to directing after his last attempt went so well – but there is plenty that deserves our attention. The year promises new opportunities to obsess over the important stuff, like whether Tessa Thompson got her Men In Black suits done by the same tailor as Cate Blanchett’s for Ocean’s 8.

A STAR IS BORN

Awards season will probably be as messy as usual, but there is little doubt that the juggernaut in the middle of it all will be A Star Is Born. Whatever you thought of it (and some members of The Pool team have made their thoughts very clear), it’s going to be a wild ride. Lady Gaga has already proved herself beyond adept at charmingly re-telling cute anecdotes, arriving to film festivals on boats and wearing consistently excellent looks, from that oversized Marc Jacobs suit to the frothy pink Venice meringue. Let’s just say she knows how to movie star. If only she can shake off Bradley Cooper brandishing a mangy face wipe at her, here’s to Gaga ruling the spring red carpets and stages alike. We want Shallow performed at every ceremony, a constant gif-ready reaction cam on her at all times and, ideally, some journalist to win an award for the best textual representation of her iconic “HAAAAAooooawwwaaaahhhhhooohha”.

MORE GREAT TV

Meanwhile, the small screen is welcoming back some of our least problematic faves and we will be waiting with open arms. Most people might be obsessing over how Game Of Thrones will end (more incest, probably!) but, before then, we have the fourth and final series of Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney’s masterful Catastrophe, which promises to be just as squirm-inducingly and heartbreakingly true to life as ever.

Although there’s no release date yet, Helen Mirren is looking unsurprisingly fabulous in the promo shots for Sky’s Catherine The Great. Presumably, she’s just warming up for when she takes over in two years’ time from Olivia Colman, who has just taken over from Claire Foy in The Crown. Keep up.

OUR FAVES RETURN

And it’s a big year for second series as we get ready for new helpings of Fleabag, Derry Girls, Big Little Lies (with added Meryl Streep) and Killing Eve. Pour us a large glass of savvy b and get us to the sofa now. Of course the bad-no-good-terrible side of this news is that, at least with Killing Eve, it will once again, INEXPLICABLY, come out in the US first and the rest of us will be left with spoiler-proof hands over our ears and eyes scrunched up in furious squints at those of our friends who have dared to illegally stream.

Almost as critically acclaimed, The Hills returns with a reunion and, for reasons absolutely nobody can explain, Mischa Barton in the cast, while Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club looks to have the exact sort of early-noughties aesthetic and concept that hangovers both need and deserve.

NEW FILMS

Movie-wise, while we all rock back and forth with nervous anxiety over whether Toy Story 4 will be a triumph or a tragedy, we have another gender-flipped remake, as Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson appear in a new version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, this time called The Hustle, Marvel’s first standalone female superhero film in the form of Captain Marvel played by Brie Larson, and the final footage of glorious Carrie Fisher in the unnamed Star Wars Episode XI.

However good the films turn out to be, press tours are the true nectar of pop-culture followers. Yes, they might be contrived, staged, relentless and repetitive, but it’s hard not to fall for it all when they give us moments like Alison Hammond from This Morning having a whisky with Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling.

Anyway, we’ll be eagerly anticipating the promotion schedule of The King, a version of Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Henry V, starring our boyfriend, Timothée Chalamet, as Henry and Robert Pattinson as the French Dauphin. The sheer potential (pun intended) for billowing blouse-wearing is eye-watering. Expect Chalamet sporting a v traditional 15th-century bowl cut that will be on the catwalks before he can even tell that adorable story about the one time when Pattinson played a trick on him in between takes. See also: Kristen Bell, who will be doing the rounds for Frozen 2 and presumably reassembling ice caps with her sheer charisma and sparkly eyes.

Greta Gerwig’s new adaptation of Little Women isn’t out until December, but consider it this way: that’s almost a whole year of delightful behind-the-scenes shots, hints dropped in interviews about what an inspiring director she is and snippets of adorable gossip about how thoughtful and respectful co-star Chalamet is playing second fiddle to the new set of March women. We look forward to many months of Gerwig holding hands with Saoirse Ronan.

But truly the cherry on top of all of these potential cultural thrills is the impending movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats. Yes, the show with no discernable plot but endless tongue-twisting character names is being brought to the big screen by The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper. Who cares if anyone asked for this?!

The cast list reads like a dinner party where the host invited all their mates without considering if they would have anything in common: Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Judi Dench, Ian McKellan, James Corden (because, of course), Rebel Wilson and Jason Derulo.

If the movie is even a tenth as good as every new baffling name added to the ensemble, we are in for a Christmas treat come December 2019.

@littlewondering 

From left to right: Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born; Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag; Brie Larson in Captain Marvel (Photos: Warner Bros, BBC, Marvel)
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