Pop Culture Mondays/5.23.22

The “TOP GUN” Edition

Welcome to my brain…

HAPPY Monday my darling pop culture junkies. I say this in a slightly disingenuous way — not the happy part but the Monday part as it is actually currently Sunday and I am sitting in an airport lounge in Munich. I always write PCM Monday mornings like it’s now a full routine that I do not deviate from HOWEVER, sometimes things are out of your control. Today is one of those days. I was meant to be on my way home from an incredible whirlwind trip to Germany and London but alas, the plane gods thought I needed to stay in Germany a LITTLE bit longer and eat a few more sausages and drink a few more beers and LONG story long…here we are. The reason I am telling you this is so you understand that if some major pop-cultural moment happens Sunday night I will likely NOT include it here. BUT, you will absolutely hear it on my podcast. I did the last podcast from Germany and its a funny one so in case you missed it:

If you follow me on Twitter (HERE) or Instagram (HERE) you would have been inundated with my travel content this past week…and I apologize! It was a lot you guys, I admit this. But seeing Hamburg and Munich which are just such beautiful and vibrant cities and being at real live conferences like DLD and OMR — OMR incidentally had 80,000 attendees which was NUTS. And then seeing the Top Gun premiere in London was a DREAM…so let’s kick things off with that…

And welcome to my new subscribers. Grab some headphones and enjoy.


Funny thing about the word blockbuster. It will mean something different to different people. For example, a 20-something-year-old waitress heard me talking about “Top Gun 2” and asked me about it. I told her that I think it’s the return of the blockbuster…she was confused and thought I meant Blockbuster Video and she said, “How cool would that be? Like so retro!” When I tried to explain I was referring to the genre and not the brand, she was confused.

For others, when they think of blockbuster as an actual genre, they think of “Jaws” which has long been associated with the first time the term blockbuster was used for a film. But in my research, I found it actually was used in reference to a movie in 1950, the Cecil B Demille film “Samson and Delilah,” which I find fascinating. You can read more HERE but JAWS was definitely where the SUMMER blockbuster came into existence and then a couple of years later, “Star Wars” made it a real thing. And ever since, we have come to expect BIG SUMMER MOVIES. Whether it was “Jurassic Park” or “The Lion King” (the OG guys not that mess that came out a few years ago) or “Independence Day”, we have had this to look forward to every summer.

Things then began to change. Blockbusters seemed to all be superhero movies whether Marvel or DC Comics…you had Avengers and you had Batmans and Spidermans and Wonder Womans. But the summer action film pretty much was something related to those and those alone. And I love a Marvel movie I do… But then you had COVID and poof…movie theatres were not what they used to be. The only thing to save this would be an action hero of all action heroes to be honest. AND who would that be?

I love him

Look, never in a BILLION years did I see myself as becoming a Tom Cruise stan but I apparently am and I am fully admitting this. Is the personal stuff weird? Sure. But the guy has this magical star power which I think has been hibernating or something because I don’t remember this fever pitch at least with me…and yes he has always been a superstar but THIS…? This is another level. First, let’s roll the trailer:

The movie was MEANT to come out I believe back in 2019…2019!!! But they had to delay due to some re-shoots. So then finally we were to get it in June of 2020. But….well we know how THAT story ended. So here we are May 2022 and we finally have it. I was SO lucky to have been able to go to the premiere in London and I have people to thank for that — they know who they are — but it was a spectacle spectacular. All of Leicester Square was turned into a red carpet and it was black-tie as Prince William and Kate were both in attendance. And all the people really went all out…tuxedos and ball gowns as far as the eye could see. I was only there because I was Kara Swisher’s plus one but you know what? I WILL TAKE IT. While Kara actually LOOKS like a little miniature female Tom Cruise with her thick brown perfect hair and aviators…we were able to spot Tom Cruise and all the stars as we made our way around the immense red carpet. And the movie was being premiered in THREE different theatres which I have never seen but I was SO happy that Kara and I were seated in the IMAX theatre.


It. Was. Amazing.

I am not just saying this…like I actually cried from the MOMENT the music started playing which is SO familiar, to the moment the credits started rolling at the end. Yes, of course, it’s a fun action movie but it goes beyond that. This was a really emotional experience and the only way I can describe it — is for anyone who saw the original when it came out — then this is a movie about time. It’s about the passage of time. About all those we lose along the way. About choices we made that we may regret. About how so much changes and so much can stay the same. About HOW completely bonkers time is.

When the OG came out, I was 12. I saw it in the movie theatre with my mom and my dad. My mom thought it was silly. My dad loved it so much he ended up buying me a brown leather bomber jacket with patches that made it look like an old school worn in flight jacket and the lining of the jacket was a map of the world. Basically THIS:

I wore that jacket til it fell apart a few years later.

It was really powerful to sit there in this moment in time in that theatre and hear THIS music which brings you right back to that moment in the ’80s like it was yesterday:

And while this sequel picks up all these years later with familiar faces (UM ICEMAN YOU GUYS…ICE MAN…) and some brand new ones…it is really nostalgic. I mean I am a nostalgic person and cry at the drop of a hat BUT I promise you if you are of this era you will feel it too. But it is also a movie that will bring in a new audience — at least I think so. It’s just THAT good.

And let’s be clear…whatever science Tom Cruise is using is incredible and I am totally in support of it. Sure sure he has probably had a bunch of work done but it IS GOOD WORK and that man’s body for 59 years old (let’s be clear, for 39 years old) is insane and I seriously am in awe of the whole situation. And Jennifer Connelly…she’s gorgeous but also not 25 and is only 8 years or so younger than Tom so this is PROGRESS you guys. But go see for yourself…GO SEE IT IN THE THEATRE and then your assignment is to report back to me and tell me what you think.

BUT…this is a section on the blockbuster and there is a bit more. This weekend, the trailer for “Mission Impossible 7” yet ANOTHER Tom Cruise/Paramount/Skydance extravaganza leaked. It has been pulled and while I COULD show it here I will not because I don’t play like that. But I did see it and it was also AMAZING and we have to wait another year for THAT and then “Mission Imposisble EIGHT” after that. EIGHT!!!! I am ready.

AND…while it is another superhero (err…Super HUMAN) movie…this is a female one that has gotten apparently a record 78 million streams for the TRAILER. What is it? “SHE-HULK” and that's not a joke. I am eagerly awaiting the TikTok filters for this one…

So this one is coming in August. So is the pandemic over? NOPE. Do we have monkeypox to now be worried about? Sure do. Is democracy falling? Sure is. Are we all holding on for dear life? YOU BETCHA.

But…..We have the movies.



FFS make it stop. (FFS for those new here means “FOR FUCKS SAKE” and I use it a lot.) But like really, FFS. I am only writing about this because I have had so many questions basically along the lines of, “Wait what is happening with Elon’s penis??” And here we are.

I will say the TikTok kids DO NOT care but this is still a zeitgeist weird thing so let me just try to quickly break it down for you. Last week, it was reported by Insider that a former flight attendant for Space X was ALLEGEDLY paid $250K to settle a sexual misconduct claim back in 2018. Now I had questions…obviously.

FIRAT of all, a flight attendant on Space X? Like how did that work? “Hi guys, we are about to go into orbit please buckle up because you know…no gravity..” Was that the idea? OK, so I am not going to lie…when I first heard about this story I immediately envisioned the flight attendants and flight scenes from “The Fifth Element”:

BUT alas, it turns out the was a flight attendant for the Space X corporate jet fleet. According to the article:

The flight attendant told her friend that the billionaire SpaceX and Tesla founder asked her to come to his room during a flight in late 2016 “for a full body massage,” the declaration says. When she arrived, the attendant found that Musk “was completely naked except for a sheet covering the lower half of his body.” During the massage, the declaration says, Musk “exposed his genitals” and then “touched her and offered to buy her a horse if she would ‘do more,’ referring to the performance of sex acts.”

Look…the weird thing to me about this is I am not sure how many massages you have had but IF in fact, she was a licensed masseuse giving him a massage on a plane then the NORMAL thing is to be naked under the sheet and the sheet is from the waist down. That’s like actually how massages work. BUT I digress…though weirdly I have actually had a massage on a private place. I know right? Weird. But it was really lovely and did the massage therapist see my chest? She sure did. As I was flipping over but it was a second and not intentional or remotely sexual and I offered no one a horse.

But also…a HORSE? I have been offered everything from money to a car to a handbag (a really nice handbag) in my past by men to have sex. It’s true. Were they men I knew in a business setting? Sure. Were they more powerful than me? Sure. Did I feel pressured into it? Nope. Were they my BOSS? NOPE. So I can both relate and I cannot - if that makes any sense? But the timing IS odd and as Elon has pointed out, he feels it is politically motivated. So let’s go to Twitter, natch:

Ahh yes…the fight for free speech. That’s what this is right?? a CONSPIRACY by people who want to kill free speech! GOT it. OK. 🙄

But it gave Elon, who is a month-ish shy of turning 51, another opportunity to bring his juvenile bro-ness back in perfect form.

And tbh, the scandal name which he ASKED for a year ago…is a perfect one for this. And he knew this scandal was coming and he started tweeting preemptively about it:

But this was a PARTICULARLY fun one…this is real life guys…the richest man ON this planet (as I have recently seen him described. lending us to be thoughtful to the other possible rich beings on OTHER planets…😂) is asking for the accuser to share deets on his um…penis. Or the area at least. Could Elon have a rocketship emoji tattoo THERE? I hope so….

Meanwhile, this meme has been going around and it maybe sort of got under Elon’s skin:

ANYWAY….the fact remains we are still in limbo with Elon and Twitter. Does he buy it? Does he walk away? What does it all mean for the future? I thought this was a good take:


Wow guys…we went two whole stories with NO TikToks. Can you believe it? Well, let’s mix it up a little…

  • Cara Delavigne made quite an impression last week at the BIllbOard MusicAwards. I talk about it on my pod but here’s a few visuals. She got called out by MANY people for how she was behaving with Megan The Stallion at the event:
  • If you have a teen or 20-something kid, then you know Jack Harlow. Jack is a 24-year-old superstar rapper from Louisville and in case you don't know, here’s one of his hits:

Now, I remember like it was yesterday probably the same year Jack was born…at my first job after college and I was in PR. I called a prominent reporter to pitch him a story. He was really nice…this is back when we called people at their desks on their work phones. THE 1900s you guys. ANYWAY, I was so nervous the whole call and finally, we were wrapping up. The reporter thanked me for the information and said goodbye and I said, “Thanks so much. Love you, bye.” And I hung up and just froze. I just stared at the phone and lost all the blood in my head and just lost it. I told a top reporter who I had never met, that I loved him. I was dead. So this viral video from the Met Gala a few weeks ago amuses me:

  • Everyone thinks Johnny Depp and his badass lawyer, Camille Vasquez, are smashing.
  • Speaking of Johnny Depp, this Amber Heard Opinion piece is something else:
  • And have you started watching Season 2 of Hacks yet? IT IS SO GOOD:
  • And you guys remember KOMBUCHA girl? You will have absolutely seen this meme even if you don't know who I am talking about:

ANYWAY, she’s a real person named Brittany with a great social media presence and like MANY of us, she loves her some HARRY STYLES. So all of TikTok is so happy for her (I am hoping that's the case) because Harry Styles made this happen the other day:

  • SNL. The season finale aired this Saturday, hosted by first-time host, Natasha Leone who is really everything. But before the show, it was revealed that 4 cast members were leaving: Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney AND Pete Davidson. But if you were on socials you would think it was JUST Pete Davidson as the press went nuts. I mean Kate is the headline here you guys but Pete dates famous women SO…..And here are some of their exits:
  • And….KRAVIS. If you are unfamiliar with this term, I want to be your best friend. For real. It is the combined name of Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, her now-husband and drummer for Blink 182. Travis was in that horrible plane crash that DJ AM was also in and while they survived they were both so emotionally damaged this is what is one of the factors people point to in DJ Am’s ultimate drug overdose death. So so sad. And Travis didn't set foot on a plane again…until he started seeing Kourtney who reportedly helped him overcome his fear. AND NOW…now they have gone everywhere and had 3 weddings culminating in this past weekend in Portofino, legit one of my fave places and a place I ALMOST married a couple of people tbh. Including a guy I knew for a weekend, but that’s another story. The point is it's romantic. And true to Kravis form they made it their own gothic punk edgy whatever you want to call it style:

OK THAT’S enough of that. I hate even including this because I DO NOT CARE but the kids care and it dominates the socials. I will not end here though.

  • Let’s end here…there is a social media app that all the press LOVE talking about that no one is actually really using but it shows how powerful the media sometimes can be. LET’s SEE if all the headlines make something that's not actually a THING…a THING! Read about BeReal here:

THAT IS IT my darlings…

I am wrapping this up on a flight to LA after 36 hours of travel so forgive my meandering! Also, NO PCM next Monday as it’s Memorial Day but we will be back TUESDAY. ❤️

AND…please do check out the POP CULTURE MONDAYS ON THURSDAY podcast here or wherever you listen to podcasts.

If you aren’t already a subscriber (PLEASE PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!!!) and please do SHARE this with all your friends…and IF want this in your inbox please send an email to:






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Brooke Hammerling

Brooke Hammerling

Talk to me about tech, pop culture, cheese or dogs.

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