Grapevine might be best known these days as the hometown of the pop-rap phenomenon Post Malone, but relatively few know that it’s given us another rising star—one equally beloved by energy drink–fueled Reddit dwellers and regarded with a similar befuddlement by older, establishment squares. GameStop is headquartered there, not far from where the erstwhile gaming giant began as the Dallas chain Babbage’s. And, as with the subject of Post Malone circa 2018, you probably haven’t been able to go more than five minutes without hearing about it. Last week, a group of online investors rallied behind the flailing retailer, buying up shares and inflating its value as a way of sticking it to all the hedge fund vultures. Since then, GameStop has become a potent twenty-first-century symbol, a virtual Alamo where a growing online insurrection against Wall Street’s rapacious greed and worsening wealth inequality is making its inevitably doomed stand. So it was only a matter of time—about five days—before Hollywood would rush to tell its story.
Deadline reports that Netflix is already in motion on a movie that will tell the still-unfurling story of the GameStop rebellion, with Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal in negotiations to turn all its various twists and turns into a semi-coherent script. That’s just one of several potential GameStop movies in the works; there’s also an MGM project based on a book proposal from Ben Mezrich, whose Facebook tell-all The Accidental Billionaires was adapted into 2010’s The Social Network. But while that one has an obvious pedigree, Netflix seems poised to get there first, given Boal’s proven ability to churn out ripped-from-the-headlines tales seemingly in real time. The streaming giant also has the advantage of already having a star attached, with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’s Noah Centineo on board in an as-yet-unspecified “major role.” Given that this whole story has approximately two main characters—i.e., extremely online guy ironically buying up stonks and huffy stockbroker guy screaming at them—it’s not much of a toss-up as to which one Centineo will take.
What is less certain is what role GameStop itself would play in this movie, which would mostly seem to involve a lot of people looking intensely at screens. Netflix is said to be interested in using those shenanigans as an entry point for a broader look at how social media has “allowed the masses to challenge status quo gatekeepers, for good and bad,” on everything from upending the stock market to the spread of election disinformation. Still, one assumes that GameStop would have to make an appearance somewhere, if only in a quick establishing shot of its Grapevine building before the company’s board of directors gets down to figuring out what the hell is going on.
Texas Makes Its Mark at the Golden Globes
While we’re waiting for GameStop to get the prestige drama it deserves, several of its fellow Texans are being recognized for their contributions to the genre—all of them arguably just as compelling as a faltering video game store. This year’s Golden Globe nominations, announced this week, included a supporting actor nod for Spring native Jim Parsons and his work on Netflix’s alternative-history series Hollywood, while HBO’s Lovecraft Country, starring the Metroplex-bred Jonathan Majors, is up for best TV drama. Meanwhile, Austin’s sometimes-son Ethan Hawke continued his recent winning streak with both Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild nominations for his turn as abolitionist John Brown in Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird, marking the first time he’s been recognized by either body since 2014’s Boyhood. Hawke is always kind of a bridesmaid at these things—he’s never won at the Globes, while also going zero for four at the Oscars—but the momentum behind this performance, in particular, suggests he might just pull it out this time. It also suggests he’s a lock to score his first-ever Emmy nod later this year, just as the Hawkeceleration reaches a fever pitch.
Ethan Hawke Heads Back to Horror
Although his Rehawkebilitation marked a pivot away from a 2000s lull that was spent largely on solid, if unremarkable thrillers and horror flicks, there’s clearly something about that kind of work that Ethan Hawke simply enjoys. To wit, just this week he signed on to reteam with his Sinister director Scott Derrickson on yet another film for Blumhouse, Hawke’s ninth under that production banner, this one adapting Joe Hill’s 2004 short story The Black Phone to the screen. The tale’s basic premise involves a young boy who’s abducted and locked in a basement, where he discovers an antique telephone that’s become a party line teeming with the voices of the dead. At age 51, Hawke is probably a touch too old to play the boy—and with Jeremy Davies already on board and likely playing the kidnapper, the story’s sole adult character, it’s unclear what role is even left for Hawke. Still, Ethan Hawke is clearly at a point in his career where he can pretty much do as he pleases. If he wants to call that terrified boy as the ghost of Reality Bites’ Troy Dyer, delivering spooky monologues about seashells and Quarter Pounders from beyond the grave, they’re probably gonna let him.
Walker Is Officially a Hit
San Antonio native Jared Padalecki is also likely feeling his oats right now, then gently suggesting that producers find a good role for his oats on Walker. Despite its tenuous connection to the Chuck Norris show that inspired it, the CW’s new reboot is a bona fide hit, drawing in the network’s biggest viewership for a new series in five years, with audiences who were apparently eager to see a version of Walker, Texas Ranger that has fewer fistfights and more family arguments. The CW has already acted quickly to lock down the series, ordering additional episodes for its first season, then giving it a second-season renewal before the third episode had even aired. This is good news not only for Padalecki but for any Austinite with acting aspirations, since it looks like the locally shot production will continue to need nearby talent for many more months to come. Start readying your head shots, seedy-looking white men!
Texas DPS Warns Drivers to Look Out for Chucky
In a case we’d love to see Walker investigate, were he not too busy trying to reconnect with his daughter, last Friday morning the Texas Department of Public Safety sent out an Amber Alert about a potential kidnapper—a knife-wielding maniac with red hair, blue eyes, and a stout three-foot-one build, last seen wearing blue overalls and spouting some kind of nonsensical voodoo chant. Horror fans immediately recognized this suspect as Chucky from the Child’s Play movies, and (after consulting Wikipedia) his five-year-old victim as his son, Glen, from 2004’s Seed of Chucky. These vigilant citizens then watched helplessly as this Amber Alert, much like Chucky himself, kept returning for sequel after sequel, appearing in two subsequent, increasingly derivative alerts. A DPS spokesperson issued an apology for sending the bulletin to subscribers of the Texas Alert System, calling the mistake a “test malfunction” and swearing that it was “diligently working to ensure this does not happen again”—a promise that, in Child’s Play terms, means Chucky will be popping up on your phone any minute now.
Houston Hip-hop Greats Join Trailer for New DJ Screw Documentary
We’re still waiting for a premiere date on All Screwed Up, the TV miniseries that aims to give Houston’s late hip-hop legend DJ Screw the dramatized biopic treatment. But it seems this year will also see the debut of the documentary Chopped & Screwed: The Final Mixtape, which may take a more straightforward look at the off-kilter producer. The just-released trailer is heavy on testimony from admirers like Lizzo, Bun B, Megan Thee Stallion, Travis Scott, Solange Knowles, and Slim Thug, intercut with archival interviews with DJ Screw himself—all of it touching not only on Screw’s still-rippling impact on our culture, but on the crucible of crime, racism, and police brutality in which his work was created. With his connection to contemporary hip-hop and also the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement (the film draws a line to last year’s protests over the killing of George Floyd, a former member of the Screwed Up Click), it’s clear that Screw’s life is not just an important Houston story, it’s a distinctly American one. And, as with his music, there’s no limit to the different ways it can be remixed and retold.
This Week in Matthew McConaughey
Over the past year, Matthew McConaughey has transformed himself into a stoner sage for our decidedly uncool times, preaching calm and a philosophy that’s steeped in our learning to cultivate gratitude, diplomacy, and humor, even as we’re beset by percolating plague and civil war. But this week, he offers a far simpler suggestion for combating ennui and enervation: eating chili-cheese Doritos. This simpler, far more attainable path comes via McConaughey’s new Super Bowl ad, which will be one of the few splashy, celebrity-filled commercials to make its debut during this year’s big game after several other perennial sponsors balked. In the spot, you’ll see McConaughey take on his greatest transformation since Dallas Buyers Club to become “Flat Matthew,” a two-dimensional sliver of his former self who’s sucked up by Roombas and mocked by Jimmy Kimmel, before he finally regains his full-bodied zest with the help of Doritos’ similarly revitalized 3D Crunch chips.
As his commercial costar Kimmel pointed out in another of their late-night Zoom chats this week, things have also come full circle for McConaughey’s career, which got its start in a series of tuxedo ads for Al’s Formal Wear. McConaughey also recounted (again) how those led, somewhat circuitously, to his brief life as a hand model, a lucrative $300 gig that, eventually, all paid off in his becoming a world-famous actor, best-selling author, and philanthropic entrepreneur—someone who, according to a recent Men’s Journal profile, is entertaining ideas of running not just for governor of Texas, but maybe even “president of the whole world.” In the meantime, at least, he offers his leadership when it comes to choosing snacks.