Lately it feels like we live in an age of unprecedented stupidity, one marked by selfishness, wanton destruction, and a general careless disregard for personal safety. Things kind of suck, in other words—which means it’s the perfect time for Mike Judge to revive his crude crown jewel, Beavis and Butt-Head. Comedy Central announced this week that it’s picked up two brand-new seasons of Judge’s animated series about two couch-bound teen miscreants, who spent much of the nineties causing mayhem and chortling at their TV in their loosely defined Texas town. Judge, who created Beavis and Butt-Head while living in Richardson, will return to produce and voice the new series of misadventures, which the network says will take place in “a whole new Gen Z world” full of “meta-themes” that it promises will prove relatable to fans new and old. Considering that Beavis and Butt-Head was considered the quintessential Gen X show for its snarky, slacker attitude, it’s unclear exactly how it will play with a younger crowd—although Gen Z does seem to share its giddy sense of nihilism.
Robert Rodriguez Moves His Film with Ben Affleck Back Home to Austin
Speaking of those who stare heedlessly into the abyss, Ben Affleck could soon be spotted smoking morosely around Austin. Director Robert Rodriguez has moved his upcoming Affleck-centric thriller Hypnotic out of California and into his Austin-based Troublemaker Studios in the wake of Hollywood’s COVID-19 shutdown. Rodriguez plans to commence shooting July 27 on what he’s described as a “very modern Hitchcock-type movie,” where Affleck stars as a detective who’s investigating an impossibly twisty missing-person case. The Austin Chronicle reports that the production is expected to bring an estimated $24 million to the state, in addition to hundreds of jobs—including for some 96 Texan cast members. Hypnotic will also be one of the first film productions to pilot the new safety guidelines recently outlined for film shoots during the pandemic—and yes, that includes wearing masks whenever possible. But don’t worry: Affleck can work around that.
Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion, and Simone Biles Win Big at the BET Awards
Just by playing the numbers, it seemed inevitable that Texas—and Houston specifically—would absolutely dominate last weekend’s BET Awards. So it’s no surprise to report that Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion, Beyoncé, and even Spring’s own gymnastics champ, Simone Biles, all walked away winners on Sunday. Lizzo was named 2020’s Best Female Pop Artist, beating out Beyoncé herself, while Megan Thee Stallion took home Best Female Hip-Hop Artist. Elsewhere, Biles was named Sportswoman of the Year. Megan also won the Viewer’s Choice Award for last year’s “Hot Girl Summer,” a season of carefree swagger that—in our quarantined grind—now feels decades removed. Fortunately, Megan debuted a new anthem for our Mask-Acne Summer, premiering a Mad Max–themed video for single “Girls in the Hood” that found her rolling through a dusty, apocalyptic desert in an ATV before being joined by a group of masked dancers, all of them twerking from an appropriate social distance.
Beyoncé to Debut New Visual Album on Disney Plus
Despite being nominated in multiple categories and receiving a special humanitarian award, Beyoncé actually won only a single BET trophy for her collaborative single “Brown Skin Girl”—and she has to split it with her eight-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy Carter. Still, there’s no question whose night it was. From former first lady Michelle Obama introducing her as “the queen” and “my girl” to Beyoncé’s moving acceptance speech calling on voters to “change and dismantle the racist and unequal system,” the Houston singer symbolically presided over a ceremony that has rarely felt more politically electric. And her night quickly snowballed into Beyoncé’s week as Disney announced that her surprise “visual album,” Black Is King, will premiere on July 31. Inspired by her recent CGI turn in The Lion King, the visual album draws on that film’s themes to tell the story of a young king’s “transcendent journey through betrayal, love and self-identity,” in a way that will also “celebrate Black resilience and culture.” Disney has already dropped a trailer filled with typically arresting visuals of the African savanna and Beyoncé slow-motion-strolling away from crashing meteors. The internet will no doubt spend the next several months breaking it all down in granular detail.
Austin City Limits Festival and RTX Festival Are Canceled
While we adjust to a world that threatens to turn each of us into sundry Beavises and Butt-Heads, watching our “visual albums” from overstrained couches, the old-fashioned musical experience that once took place out there continues to retreat farther from view. This week, the Austin City Limits Festival joined the growing list of events that have been canceled over COVID-19 concerns, citing “the uncertainty surrounding the current situation in Texas”—and implicitly, the impossibility of ever enforcing safety measures among hundreds of thousands of easily excited, often inebriated attendees.
The statement from organizers optimistically pledges that the festival will return to celebrate its twentieth anniversary in 2021, when this year’s tickets will be honored—although refunds are still available for anyone who thinks they (or the world) can’t make it. While ACL’s cancellation is an obvious blow to anyone who enjoys live music—or at least, the distant idea of it—it’s an even greater loss for Austin and its local businesses, which have already seen the loss of millions in annual revenue from now-shuttered festivals like South by Southwest, the ATX Television Festival, and now the Rooster Teeth RTX Festival, which brought in disposable income–dropping fans of all things sci-fi, animation, and gaming. As of now, other big events like the Austin Film Festival and Fantastic Fest remain on the schedule—but of course, we’ve learned not to count on anything.
Cinemark Still Plans to Reopen on July 24
Even as coronavirus cases continue to spike across Texas, for now, at least, you can still plan on escaping to the movie theater. The Plano-based Cinemark chain says it’s determined to welcome back guests—now wearing mandatory masks—to its reimagined moviegoing experience, claiming that it’s already seen promising results from a recent dry run around Dallas. With new safety measures in place, Cinemark expects to begin showing summer movie classics like Ghostbusters, The Goonies, and Back to the Future at a discount price on July 24. It then plans on rolling out new releases on July 31, beginning with the Russell Crowe road rage thriller Unhinged, and followed the next week by the Selena Gomez–produced romantic-comedy The Broken Hearts Gallery. Of course, while the major studios continue to push their bigger releases, like Disney’s Mulan and Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, to August and later, there remains some doubt that anyone would be so desperate to watch big-screen versions of Hollywood reruns and B-movies they’d likely scroll right past on Netflix, especially under these circumstances. But then, we’ve all been cooped up for so long, staring at screens that are, woefully, so much smaller. We’ve also learned to never underestimate what people are willing to risk just for their own entertainment.
THIS WEEK IN MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY
After a week in which Matthew McConaughey was seemingly everywhere—even the cosmic realm—it was an uncharacteristically silent one for Texas’s most loquacious actor. Not one social media post. Nary a Zoom talk show sighting or stray appearance in a gossip article. Not even a single reminder to keep living. According to Cleveland’s WKYC, we can expect McConaughey to pop up again on July 14 as part of a “virtual town hall” organized by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, where he’ll appear alongside fellow celebs including Alanis Morissette, Kid Cudi, Drew Carey, and Bill Pullman to talk about the importance of mental health awareness. But until then, we can only assume McConaughey is using this time out of the spotlight to quietly ruminate on the many adversities we’re currently facing, and how he can best continue to serve as our ambling ambassador for spreading hope and unity in tumultuous times. Though actually, we kind of hope he’s just sitting there, laughing like an idiot on his couch. He’s earned it.