Summer has officially started, and the temperatures pushing 100 degrees bring with them more things to debate in the cultural landscape. Movies are breaking records, TV shows are premiering, and musicians are bossing Apple around. Wipe off that sweat and take a dive into your best bets with The Odds.
1. Pixar Will Continue Its Second Golden Age
Where has old Pixar been lately? Critics who once proclaimed that Finding Nemo, Toy Story, WALL-E, and Up were heralding a second Golden Age of animation at Disney. Then kiddie cash grab sequels like Cars 2, and to a lesser extent Monsters University, dinged the brand in the minds of cinephiles. Either way, the animation studio seems to have scored a hit across the board with Inside Out, a movie that satiated all the desperate parents, kids, and twenty-something movie critic bloggers who fancy themselves as toddler-movie tastemakers. Its $91 million take made Inside Out the biggest opening in box office history for an original property, which is a boon considering Pixar’s former ethos of stressing intelligent, original ideas that appeals to actual kids and the kid in all us heartless adults. With two more sequels — Finding Dory and Toy Story 4 — on the horizon, how long will that last? Over/Under on how long it will take Pixar to once again slip from its across-the-board success: 3 movies
2. ‘True Detective’ Season Two Will Reach the Cultural Influence of the First Season
Most of the Twitter rumblings after Sunday’s premiere of the second season of HBO’s contemporary noir anthology, True Detective, were not so nice. Maybe people were still reeling from the relatively straightforward climax of the first season that strayed from the supernatural mysteries that hooked people on the show in the first place, or maybe it was because the second season stumbled out of the gate with its already bloated plot and exceedingly bleak premise. Follow up on the cultural clout of the original will be no small feat, especially if that follow-up departs so thoroughly from the first. You’ve got to hand it to series creator and writer Nic Pizzolatto for trying something different and rolling ahead against the backlash; after only one episode, True Detective still has everyone talking. But will it be about the good or the bad? Odds that True Detective will live up to the hype of the first season: 9 to 1
3. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers Will Win the NBA Championship Next Year
This NBA Finals were the gift that kept on giving, with so many narratives, twists, and predictions that even minor fans like me could get swept up in Steph Curry and the Warriors’ ascension into best-of-all-time conversations. And somehow America managed to shed nearly an entire tear for poor LeBron James and the Cavs. This was supposed to be the season that James would be redeemed for abandoning the city that reared him, the moment when Clevelanders could stand and admit they’re proud to come from the third-best city in the Rust Belt. LeBron’s Finals record now stands at 2-4, with some calling him the greatest loser ever, but will this year’s loss only get him more hungry for that Cleveland win next season like some angry basketball Hulk? Odds that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win the NBA Finals next season: 5 to 2
4. The Human Race Will Go Extinct Sometime Soon
Inverse’s own Peter Rugg wrote a post last week briefly highlighting the cheery premise that we’re in the middle of a sixth mass extinction event, meaning we’ll all probably be dead soon. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em: research says the window of opportunity to save the planet is slamming, with countless species becoming extinct at about 100 times faster than the normal rate from previous extinction events. Paul Ehrlich, the biology professor who published the study, says he hopes the dreary hypothesis will nudge people to change, rather than freaking people out at the impending beginning of the end. Last person to die, please don’t forget to tip your bartender, who will probably be a horseshoe crab. Over/under on how many years it will take for humans to become extinct: 800 years
5. South Carolina Will Ban the Confederate Flag From Government Buildings
Last week an unspeakable hate crime rocked the country, as a madman gunned down nine innocent worshippers at the Emanuel EMA church in Charleston, South Carolina. Details eventually emerged about the gunman, Dylann Roof, after he was apprehended of him embracing hateful symbols like the flags of pro-apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia. Those racist symbols, retrograde as they are, pale beside the Confederate flag waving above the state’s Capitol complex. Strom Thurmond’s son says it has to go, and 2016 presidential candidates have entered the debate, while public opinion has turned to “yeah, it’s time.” Republican state Rep. Doug Brannon plans on introducing a bill to remove the flag when the state legislature convenes in January. We’ll see whether politicians can put their vote where their tragedy is. Over/under on how many months it will take South Carolina to ban the Confederate flag: 6 months.