The Underground — Issue #99
Everything you need to know about in this weekly series: A tragic story of a mathematics genius, a return of Luc Besson to science fiction, Planet Earth II delivers one of the greatest animal chase scenes ever, and Irish people try American hot dogs.
At Social Underground we go beyond the mainstream stuff and see what’s underneath the surface. What should we get into, listen to, read, eat or watch? If there is something in our culture that needs attention that’s our job: Show you the underground things that you need to know about: Books, music, television, movies, comedians, art, and whatever else we can find to get you into something you never knew about. That’s The Underground.
Before we start… the election in America has divided everyone. I will not really go into my beliefs after such major a event has happened, and that’s why I feel this weekly column is important. It’s mostly here for escapism. Sometimes it may be influenced with a little bit of this and that, but it’s mostly for entertainment purposes. For the past 2 years, we’ve had to turn on every channel and have to deal with people yelling at each other over so many things we agree with or disagree with. All forms of media has been influenced by this whole thing, and we here at SU have tried to stick to things people are interested in: movies, tech, recipes, books, viral videos, TV, games, and more. We hope to keep doing this in the future because sometimes people just want to disconnect from politics. Some people would like to sit down, read some stuff, and think about how cool the content was without walking away thinking about that crap on the news. That’s our goal. Now, let’s jump into some cool stuff!
1. The Man Who Knew Infinity tells the tale of one of the greatest math geniuses you’ve never heard of. I remember reays ago hearing about an Indian math genius who died at a young age. His death was talked about as a major setback in terms of scientific progress. We’re talking Einstein if he died before he discovered the Theory of Relativity. Srinivasa Ramanujan was an impovershed genius in India. He had no formal education in mathematics, yet he came up with solutions to huge mathematical problems in his head. Since he had no education, he couldn’t prove his work. Do you remember in Math class when you could solve problems in your head and could just write down the answer? It’s like that, but like Math class, you have to show your work. So he had to learn how to do that. Talk about frustrating. Oh, and he tried to do all this as an Indian man among racists.
Premise: In the 1910s, Srinivasa Ramanujan is a man of boundless intelligence that even the abject poverty of his home in Madras, India cannot crush. Eventually, his stellar intelligence in mathematics and his boundless confidence in both attract the attention of the noted British mathematics professor, G.H. Hardy, who invites him to further develop his computations at Trinity College at Cambridge. Forced to leave his young wife, Janaki, behind, Ramanujan finds himself in a land where both his largely intuitive mathematical theories and his cultural values run headlong into both the stringent academic requirements of his school and mentor and the prejudiced realities of a Britain heading into World War One. Facing this with a family back home determined to keep him from his wife and his own declining health, Ramanujan joins with Hardy in a mutual struggle that would define Ramanujan as one of India’s greatest modern scholars who broke more than one barrier in his worlds.
This is one of the movies where you will leave thinking “This should be nominated for everything,” but you’ve never even heard of it. I left the movie completely devastated. The more you read about the man, the more you realize how humanity lost a great mind too soon. His conclusions are still giving us information on black holes and more.
Check out the trailer below.
2. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is the movie we’ve all been waiting for. In the 70s, before Star Wars, a French graphic novel series debuted to critical acclaim. Valerian and Laureline is one of the greatest graphic novel series of all time. If it never came out, Star Wars would have never been created. I’m serious, it’s that incredible. Check out the influences:
- The design of Valérian and Laureline’s XB982 astroship and the Millennium Falcon spaceship that appears in Episodes III–VII of Star Wars.
- A scene in There’s No Time Like the Present where Valerian escapes by falling into a laundry washing vat, exits through a portal at the bottom of the vat, and falls out of a hole at the bottom of the space station hanging from a sheet with The Empire Strikes Back where the character Luke Skywalker escapes Darth Vader by falling down a chasm, goes through a vent, and falls out of Cloud City hanging from an antenna.
- A scene in Empire of a Thousand Planets (L’Empire des Mille Planètes) where Valérian is encased in a liquid plastic and a scene in The Empire Strikes Back where the character Han Solo is encased in a substance called carbonite.
- The slave-girl costume worn by Laureline in World Without Stars and the costume worn by the character Leia Organa in the scenes where she is enslaved by Jabba the Huttin Return of the Jedi
- A scene in Empire of a Thousand Planets where one of the Authorities removes his helmet to reveal his burned and scarred face underneath and a scene in Return of the Jedi where the character Darth Vader removes his helmet to reveal the burned face of Anakin Skywalker.
- The alien Shingouz and the Toydarian character Watto seen in The Phantom Menace.
- The concept of the Clone wars, where a whole army has the face of a cloned single man (Valerian himself) is featured in the final scene of On the False Earths.
Its influence is teetering on the point of George Lucas blatantly ripping it of entirely. Now, The genius behind The Fifth Element, Luc Besson, is adapting the famous series into a film. How does it look? It looks like it costs a billion dollars to produce.
Premise: Special operatives Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) maintain order throughout the universe for the government of the human territories. Under orders from their commander (Clive Owen), the duo embark on a mission to Alpha, an intergalactic city where diverse species share their technology and resources for the betterment of all. The ever-expanding metropolis is also home to sinister forces that jeopardize the future of mankind.
I have nothing else to say about this other than I will be first in line to see it. Check out the awe-inspiring trailer below.
3. Planet Earth II has given us an amazing and terrifying chase scene. The sequel series to the original Planet Earth is already delivering some wonderful visual, but this one is something you couldn’t predict. A gang of snakes is chasing an Iquana to kill and eat him. It’s like nature saw Mad Max and tried to recreate it with amazing results. It’s so crazy to watch that you might momentarily think it was CGI. How the hell do the people who document this stuff actually pull off getting this footage? That’s what makes this series so great! You constantly marvel in the footage that is taken by the filmmakers.
Check out the chase of the century below! DO IT!
4. Irish people try the deliciousness that are American Hot Dogs. Hot dogs are amazing as long as you don’t go online and see how they make them. We Americans in every state of the union have prided ourselves in having our own version of the hot dog. I’m from Detroit, so we have the coney dog. Hell, we have an entire chain restaurant based on the hot dog called National Coney Island. It’s the place everyone goes to after they leave the bar. Any movie you see where people go out to eat after going to a bar in Michigan is inaccurate if the scene isn’t staged there. If you’re in one and hear someone say “Oh…my God…” it means they just bit into one.
Watching people from another country try our hot dogs is something fun to watch. Sometimes these videos can be a bit off. One video had them try an American Thanksgiving dinner, and it was full of food I’ve never seen anyone eat on the holiday. This video, however, nails the reactions of foreigners trying our food for the first time. Eat up, Ireland!
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post, UPROXX, BGR and by just looking up his name.