The Mocky Horror Picture Show - featuring local comedians Liz Barksdale and Albie Robles of Irving and Danny Gallagher of Dallas - takes a classic, horrible movie and makes jokes at the screen in an actual movie theater. The audience also gets to yell jokes and throw things at the screen with special prompts that appear throughout the movie timed to just the right moment.

To celebrate the release of the new Super Mario Bros. movie, the production will do a live roast and riff-along of the first Super Mario Bros. movie starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as the infamous Brooklyn plumbers who travel to another dimension that looks nothing like the Nintendo game.

Photo by Tyler Adams/Netflix

Comedy heavyweights can't find the funny in racially-charged You People

Movie review

While the idea of systemic racism is a generally accepted fact in American society, a more indefinable concept is the cultural biases that people hold. It can be easy to spot someone who wears their racism on their sleeves, but sometimes a prejudice only reveals itself when someone is confronted with a world that is not their own.

This idea is attempted to be played for laughs in the new Netflix comedy You People. Ezra (Jonah Hill) is a 35-year-old stockbroker/aspiring podcaster who has yet to meet the right woman, much to the chagrin of his mother, Shelley (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). He has a meet-cute with Amira (Lauren London), a graphic designer, when he mistakes her car for an Uber.

While Ezra and Amira bond quickly over a number of shared likes, it’s the ingrained beliefs of their parents that threaten to stand in their way. Shelley and dad Arnold (David Duchovny) are a Jewish couple who either rely on Black stereotypes or go overboard in their attempts to relate to Amira. Meanwhile, Amira’s parents, Akbar (Eddie Murphy) and Fatima (Nia Long), want her to stay true to her Black Muslim roots, and do all they can to discourage the relationship.

Directed by Kenya Barris and written by Barris and Hill, the goal of the film – to shed a funny light on how awkward it can be when people of different races spend time in each other’s spaces – is clear, but the execution is sorely lacking.

The first mistake they make is that the film is almost exclusively focused on Ezra; while Amira gets a small introduction prior to meeting Ezra, there’s never a true exploration of who she is or what she wants outside of her relationship with him. Consequently, their bond is never believable; there appears to be little chemistry existing between the two, and any moments that might endear them to the audience are yada-yadaed for the sake of expediency.

The second is the strange way in which the film’s biggest star – Murphy – is withheld until 20-30 minutes into the movie, introduced in a lackadaisical way, and then given precious few opportunities to showcase his comic skills. Barris and Hill can never seem to find a great way to use the legendary comedian, giving him tepid scenarios that don’t come close to eliciting the big laughs for which he is known.

Ultimately, the film feels more like a series of barely-connected situations than a cohesive story. Any incisiveness that might come from putting the two racially- and religiously-disparate families together is lost because the filmmakers constantly jump from scene to scene in search of laughs. You’d think that Barris, who knows the value of establishing characters from sitcoms like Black-ish, would have figured out how to do that by now, but the film flails its way through its nearly two-hour running time.

Hill, as star, co-writer, and co-producer, is obviously the driving force behind the film, and he is given plenty of time to dole out his brand of comedy. London is likable enough, but we never get to know her character well enough to fully judge her performance. The wealth of talent on the supporting side – including Murphy, Louis-Dreyfus, Long, Duchovny, Sam Jay, Rhea Perlman, Molly Gordon, Deon Cole, Andrea Savage, Elliott Gould, and Mike Epps – is mostly wasted.

Finding comedy in race relations has been done many times in movies and on TV, and can be a winner if done properly. The story of You People can never find its footing, opting for a haphazard approach that doesn’t make good use of its greatest assets.


You People debuts on Netflix on January 27.

Photo by Tyler Adams/Netflix

Jonah Hill and Eddie Murphy in You People.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

These are the 10 best things to do in Dallas this weekend

Weekend Event Planner

This weekend around Dallas will be heavy on events from local groups, with one big notable exception. There will be a national tour of a Broadway musical, a film festival, cirque performers, two symphony concerts, a local theater production, a preview of the new Texas Rangers team, a new art exhibition, a Japanese drumming group, and an opera concert featuring all female conductors.

Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.

Thursday, January 26

Denton Black Film Festival
The Denton Black Film Festival allows guests to immerse themselves in some of the best artistic showcases of Black cinema, music, spoken word, art, and more. The festival, running through Sunday, will take place at multiple venues around Denton, including Campus Theater, Alamo Drafthouse, Denton Civic Center, and more. They will also offer a virtual option from January 29 - February 5.

Broadway Dallas presents Pretty Woman: The Musical
Based on one of Hollywood’s most beloved romantic stories of all time, Pretty Woman: The Musical springs to life with a powerhouse creative team led by two-time Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell. The production, featuring an original score by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance and a book by the movie’s director, Garry Marshall, and screenwriter, J. F. Lawton, the production runs through February 5 at the Music Hall at Fair Park.

Cirque Italia presents Water Circus
Cirque Italia presents Water Circus, featuring a stage that holds 35,000 gallons of water over which performers make dazzling moves, thrilling the audience with every feat. The event, taking place through Sunday, will be located in a tent in the parking lot of the Grand Prairie Premium Outlets.

Friday, January 27

Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents "Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto"
Conductor Karina Canellakis returns to the Meyerson Symphony Center stage to present Dvořák’s orchestral poem, The Wood Dove, a dark work focused on a woman who poisoned her husband to marry another man. Also on the program will be rising violin star Randall Goosby, joining the Dallas Symphony to perform Tchaikovsky’s Concerto in D Major; and Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra. There will be three performances through Sunday.

The Core Theatre presents Every Livin' Soul
In Every Livin' Soul, a widowed farm woman struggles to fund her gifted son’s college education while simultaneously keeping the family farm afloat, a daunting task in depression-era America. A mysterious stranger comes begging for a meal, bringing hope, encouragement, and more than his fair share of danger. The production runs through February 26 at The Core Theatre in Richardson.

Saturday, January 28

Texas Rangers Fan Fest
With the Cowboys - boo hoo - now out of the playoffs, the revamped Texas Rangers can take centerstage in Arlington again. The annual Fan Fest at Globe Life Field will feature autograph sessions with current Rangers players and alumni; interactive Q&A sessions with Rangers executives, players, and announcers; on-field activities like running the bases, wiffle ball home run derby, bullpen fast pitch, and inflatables; and more.

Nasher Sculpture Center presents Mark di Suvero: "Steel Like Paper" opening day
Nasher Sculpture Center will present Mark di Suvero’s “Steel Like Paper,” a milestone exhibition of the sculptor’s more than six-decade career. The exhibition will survey di Suvero’s work, showing rarely-seen drawings and paintings along with small and moderately scaled sculptures, as well as some of the artist’s first forays into working at a large scale. The exhibition will remain on display through August 27.

Coppell Arts Center presents San Jose Taiko
Inspired by traditional Japanese drumming, San Jose Taiko performers express the beauty and harmony of the human spirit though the voice of taiko. All compositions performed by SJT are written or arranged by members of the group. They will also put on an interactive educational program at 1 pm, presenting the company's basic philosophical principles and engaging the students to actively participate in its high-action demonstration. Both events will be at Coppell Arts Center.

The Dallas Opera presents Hart Institute for Women Conductors Showcase Concert
Four of opera’s most brilliant young conductors - Celia Llácer Carbonell, Yuwon Kim, Blair Salter, and Anna Sułkowska-Migoń - are front and center for an evening of opera selections, sung by some of the country’s top singers and featuring The Dallas Opera Orchestra. Selections for the concert, taking place at Winspear Opera House, will include Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Bizet’s Carmen, Puccini’s Tosca, and Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking.

Sunday, January 29

Lone Star Wind Orchestra presents Rhapsodies in Blue
Shades of blue representing Earth and one of Gershwin’s most iconic works are celebrated as the Lone Star Wind Orchestra presents "Rhapsodies in Blue." Under the direction of LSWO Music Director Eugene Migliaro Corporon, the three-part concert will feature a new multimedia experience of Julie Giroux’s Symphony No. 6 The Blue Marble, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue featuring pianist Aaron Kurz, and a performance of American composer Frank Ticheli’s work, Blue Shades. The concert will be at Eisemann Center for Performing Arts in Richardson.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Pretty Woman: The Musical runs at the Music Hall at Fair Park through February 5.

Photo courtesy of A24

CultureMap film critic’s guide to the 10 Best Picture Oscar nominees of 2023

Oscar analysis

The nominations for the 2023 Academy Awards have been announced, with 10 films vying for Best Picture. Everything Everywhere All at Once led the way with 11 total nominations, with The Banshees of Inisherin and All Quiet on the Western Front close behind with 9 nominations each.

Take a look back at what CultureMap’s film critic, Alex Bentley, had to say about each of the nominees (listed below in alphabetical order) when they were originally released. This year's Oscars ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 12.

All Quiet on the Western Front (not reviewed)
The epic anti-war German film, available to stream on Netflix, has been gaining steam on the awards circuit in recent weeks, also earning 14 nominations for the British Academy film awards, the most among films nominated there. With nine nominations at the Oscars, it's a serious contender to win not just International Feature Film, but Best Picture as well, a la Parasite.

Avatar: The Way of Water
There’s no denying that everything in the long-awaited Avatar looks spectacular, from the Na’vi to the different animals of the world to the abundant water. But writer/director James Cameron has also employed the high frame rate of 48 frames-per-second, giving everything a hyper-real look that, at least for this critic, does not make for a great viewing experience. Also, for a film that’s 3 hours and 12 minutes long, you’d think there would be plenty of time to devote to all aspects of the story, but somehow that isn’t the case. Though it's nominated for Best Picture, its best chances of winning lie in the three other technical nominations.

The Banshees of Inisherin
Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, this film reunited him with his In Bruges stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson for one of the funniest movies of the year, and also one of the saddest. The film is spectacular in its ordinary nature, with the story centering around Gleeson's character ending his longtime friendship with Farrell's character for seemingly no reason. All four main actors - Farrell (Best Actor), Gleeson (Best Supporting Actor), Barry Keoghan (Best Supporting Actor), and Kerry Condon (Best Supporting Actress) - earned nominations, and McDonagh was nominated for both directing and writing, making this film one of the favorites.

One of those love-it-or-hate-it type movies, the latest from writer/director Baz Luhrmann didn't hit the sweet spot for this critic, mostly because its focus was more on Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), and not Elvis (Austin Butler) himself. That meant much more time for Hanks to deliver one of the worst performances of the year. Butler earned his Best Actor nomination, as there are times when he is absolutely electric. But there's a reason that six of its eight nominations are in technical categories - the story doesn't live up to Butler's performance.

Everything Everywhere All at Once
On the other end of the spectrum from Elvis is Everything Everywhere All at Once, a film that knew how to use its flashiness in much better ways. Featuring a breathtaking lead performance by Michelle Yeoh (who earned her first-ever nomination), the return of '80s kid star Ke Huy Quan (favored to win for Best Supporting Actor), and polar opposite performances by Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu (both nominated for Best Supporting Actress), the film was as wild and weird as it was emotional. With a couple of surprise nominations, including Best Musical Score and Best Song, it seems destined for a lot of wins.

The Fabelmans
The most personal movie ever from writer/director Steven Spielberg (nominated in both categories), The Fabelmans is a lightly-fictionalized chronicle of Spielberg's childhood, where he caught the bug of filmmaking and endured his parents' disintegrating marriage. With seven overall nominations, including Best Actress for Michelle Williams, a surprise Best Supporting Actor nomination for Judd Hirsch (who's in the film for less than 10 minutes), and another nomination for Best Score for the iconic John Williams (who now has 52 - !! - lifetime nominations), it would be unwise to discount this film's chances at taking home the top prize.

If ever a film was defined by its lead actor, it's Tár, featuring a towering - and now, Oscar-nominated - performance by Cate Blanchett as world-renowned - but fictional - conductor Lydia Tár. The first film in 16 years from writer/director Todd Field (nominated in both categories), it is notable for how much time it devotes to setting up Tár as a character. Though the story is set in the rarefied world of classical music, it has a grounded nature that keeps it balanced. The film is nominated for seven total Oscars, but its best chance at a win lies with Blanchett, who's the heavy favorite.

Top Gun: Maverick
My personal No. 1 movie of the year, the long-gestating sequel to 1984's Top Gun delivered everything you could want out of a summer blockbuster and more. Even though it it essentially offers up the greatest hits from the original in a slightly repackaged manner, it does so in a spectacular manner. Even though you'd expect its five nominations aside from Best Picture (which gives star Tom Cruise, who also served as a producer, his first Oscar nomination in 24 years) to be technical ones, it was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, an indication that its story was equal to its visuals.

Triangle of Sadness (not reviewed)
A black comedy that takes aim at the obliviousness of wealthy people, Triangle of Sadness is only nominated in three categories, but they're three big ones - Best Picture, Best Director (Ruben Östlund), and Best Original Screenplay (Östlund). Unlike some of the other films in this category, it was not among the best-reviewed movies of the year, but it's clear that Östlund has his supporters in the writer and director wings of the Academy, so one or two wins are not out of the realm of possibility.

Women Talking
Although it was one of my top 10 movies of the year, Women Talking is perhaps the least likely film among the 10 nominated to be in this category, as it only has one other nomination, Best Adapted Screenplay for writer/director Sarah Polley. Set almost entirely in a barn loft on a Mennonite compound as a group of women decide how to fight back against abusive men, it is a true ensemble film, with no actor truly standing out among the others. Still, with award-winning actors like Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, and Claire Foy leading the way, it deserves to be recognized among the year's best.

Photo courtesy of Lionsgate

Anna Kendrick stretches her dramatic chops in Alice, Darling

Movie Review

From the outside, it can be hard to understand how someone would choose to stay in a toxic relationship. When dealt with in movies, the situation is typically highly dramatized, often with a man getting his comeuppance in a thriller-type story. The new film Alice, Darling takes a different approach while still keeping the drama high.

Right from the first frame, Alice (Anna Kendrick) has a nervous energy about her, wrapping her hair tightly around her finger and constantly checking her text messages while out for drinks with her friends Sophie (Wunmi Mosaku) and Tess (Kaniehtiio Horn). The source of her tension is soon revealed to be her boyfriend Simon (Charlie Carrick), a gallery artist who seems to have a hold on her that’s less like love and more like possession.

She agrees to go on a weeklong trip with her friends, but she’s so afraid of Charlie’s reaction that she lies to him, saying she’s going on a work trip instead. But getting away from him seems to cause even more stress than being with him, with the idea of possibly displeasing Simon on her mind almost every minute of the day.

Directed by Mary Nighy, making her feature film debut, and written by Alanna Francis and story editor Mark Van de Ven, the film does an excellent job of imparting the pressure that Alice feels she is under. Although the scenes featuring Alice and Charlie together are limited, they sprinkle dialogue of Charlie manipulating Alice in subtle and overt ways throughout the film, showing the power he has over her.

Alice’s frazzled state of mind also reveals itself in her treatment of her friends, who she’s known virtually her entire life. She’s standoffish in general with both, and especially testy with Tess, but she’s even afraid to tell them exactly what’s going on. Despite being on vacation at a lake, Alice never lets herself let loose, always worried about what Simon would think.

If there’s a qualm to be had with the film, it’s that it seems to be setting up a thriller-type story that never comes. Instead, the drama stays mostly interior as Alice struggles with her overbearing thoughts. Consequently, it’s tough to get a full read on how deep the troubles with Simon actually go as the film only hints at the details of their relationship.

Kendrick has not had many great showcases in recent years, so this film gives her the chance to stretch her dramatic chops a bit. She does well, even if the role is a bit hard to read. Mosaku and Horn are not as well-known, but both put in effective performances, especially Mosaku. Carrick feels generic in a role that’s only designed to show the character’s bad traits.

Alice, Darling takes a different route toward exploring the abuser/victim dynamic, with that relationship taking a backseat to the one Alice has with her friends. It still contains plenty of dramatic moments; they just aren’t the ones that might be expected from this type of film.


Alice, Darling opens in select AMC theaters on January 20.

Photo courtesy of Lionsgate

Anna Kendrick in Alice, Darling


Ronald McDonald House of Dallas presents Hi I’m Blake

Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, One Chameleon Entertainment, and Utopia will present the Dallas-Fort Worth premiere of Hi I’m Blake, a feature documentary from an Emmy-nominated filmmaking team that inspired the Hi I'm Documentary Anthology Series for Magnolia Network on Warner Brothers Discovery. The film follows Blake Hyland and his inspirational true story and will be followed by a Q&A with the Hyland Family, Director Jon Michael Simpson, and Jill Cumnock, CEO of Ronald McDonald House of Dallas.

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Nickelback's upcoming tour stop rocks this week's 5 hottest Dallas headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Juggernaut rock band Nickelback is touring summer 2023 with stop in Dallas. Nickelback is back: Canadian-born rock juggernaut Nickelback is going on tour in summer 2023 to support their new album, Get Rollin'. Called the "Get Rollin’ Tour," it'll hit 38 cities, including Dallas on July 22 at Dos Equis Pavilion.

2. Behind the wall of greenery and other Dallas restaurant must-haves. If you're a Dallas restaurant in 2023, you're nowhere without a wall of greenery. Walls covered with greenery are among the features restaurants are deploying these days to lure in diners. Food is still the official reason people go out to eat, but restaurants these days are more experience-oriented. Here are few features being rolled out at restaurants around town.

3. Affluent Dallas neighbor cashes in as the richest city in Texas for 2023. North Texans wanting a glimpse into the lives of the 1 percent won't have to travel far to get a peek. Southlake has been named the richest city in Texas for 2023 in a recent study.

4. South Polk Pizzeria in Dallas' Oak Cliff slings perfect pies in pizza desert. Dallas has plenty of pretty pizza these days — but nearly all of it is found north of I-30. So let's hear it for South Polk Pizzeria, a new shop that opened in late December in Oak Cliff, at 3939 S. Polk St #527, just off US-67 and north of Loop 12, slinging the same kind of artisanal pies that are being slung across Deep Ellum, Oak Lawn, and North Dallas.

5. 12 Dallas-Fort Worth restaurants score coveted James Beard Award nominations. The James Beard Foundation has revealed the semifinalists for its 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards. A dozen Dallas-Fort Worth restaurants have been included in both national and regional categories. Here are the nominees.

Event celebrating Dallas' Braniff Airways a must for fashion & flying buffs

Fashion News

Dallas' original hometown airline is having a moment: Braniff International will celebrate its 95th anniversary with an event that promises to be a must for fashion and airline buffs alike.

Called The Braniff Style Tour & Fashion Show, it'll take place on March 11 at the Alexander Mansion, with David Preziosi, Braniff Airways Foundation Board Member and Executive Director of Texas Historical Foundation, presenting a program on what a release calls one of the most revolutionary airlines in history.

The event will include lunch and a mini fashion show featuring Braniff’s epochal flight attendant uniforms created by haute couture fashion designers Emilio Pucci and Halston.

Braniff International began in June 1928 with a small Stinson Detroiter single-engine six-passenger airplane that flew its first flight from Oklahoma City to Tulsa. It operated as an airline until 1982.

braniff airlines stewardess Braniff Airlines flight attendants decked out in stylish uniforms.Courtesy photo

Braniff Airways is now a branding/marketing, online retail and historic airliner tour firm with a portfolio of licensing agreements worldwide. Its history has been preserved by Braniff Airways Foundation, an organization created by Richard Ben Cass, a former pilot and Braniff collector and expert whose book Braniff Airways: Flying Colors was published in 2015.

The Foundation curates the Braniff International Heritage Archives, formerly Braniff Flying Colors Collection, which contains Cass' lifetime collection, and includes original Braniff Airways Advertising Department records and archives.

The collection was founded in 1972, and has become the largest and most comprehensive collection of Braniff memorabilia that includes more than 1000 crew uniforms.

The Foundation also acts as an advocacy group for Braniff buildings in danger of demolition, including the mid-century themed Braniff Operations and Maintenance Base in conjunction with lead Flying Crown Land Group.

In 2014, they authored a nomination for the Braniff Hostess College to determine its eligibility for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The Hostess College is undergoing a complete restoration and will become a public use facility in the future.

The fashion show promises lots of stretchy fabrics and zowie colors, while the lunch menu is a fun throwback, inspired by vintage Braniff flight menu, with chicken Romanoff, a garden vegetable medley, and strawberry cheesecake.

The Braniff Style Tour & Fashion Show is March 11. Doors open at 10:30 am, with the style show beginning promptly at 11 am, and lunch at 12 pm. Tickets are $60 for "First Class" (includes lunch) and $20 for "Coach" (style show only). Tickets are available online. Proceeds benefit the restoration of the Alexander Mansion.

New play about Uvalde shooting takes the stage at DFW university


A TCU faculty member has written a new play called For the Love of Uvalde: A Play Inspired by the Robb Elementary School, and it's premiering January 28 both in-person on-campus and online via streaming.

Playwright Ayvaunn Penn, who is part of the Theatre TCU faculty, also wrote a play in 2020 inspired by the Botham Jean shooting by police officer Amber Guyger.

The premiere staged reading of For the Love of Uvalde promises a similar evening of art for social change, paired with a panel-led community discussion. This staged reading will feature select songs and monologues from the show.

The original play uses testimonies to explore the aftermath and varying viewpoints of the families, politicians, and medical professionals affected by the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde last May. Nineteen children and two adults were killed in the deadliest shooting ever at a Texas public school.

Panel members for the discussion include Dr. Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, TCU Chief Inclusion Officer; James McQuillen, director of Theatre for Youth at Casa Mañana; Professor Lisa Devine, UNT Theatre for Social Change professor; and Shania Tari, M.S, LMFT-A & EMDR trained.

A collaboration between Theatre TCU, TCU School of Music, and El Progreso Memorial Library in Uvalde, the event is free to attend, though tickets are required and may be reserved here. It begins at 6:30 pm at PepsiCo Recital Hall at the Mary D. and F. Howard Walsh Center for Performing Arts on the TCU campus.

El Progreso Memorial Library will also stream the event on YouTube so that community members may join and participate in the discussion and reflection.