‘Brand New Cherry Flavor’ is revenge horror gone ’90s LA noir


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(CNN)Looking at the current television landscape, you might think it was 1997.

With the “Friends” reunion kicking things off in May and the upcoming wider release of “Rugrats,” you may feel inspired to turn on some TLC, throw on a crop top and some Dr. Martens, and hop aboard the nostalgia train.

    Netflix and other streaming services can definitely take you there.

      Three things to watch

        ‘Brand New Cherry Flavor’

        Set in the early 1990s, “Brand New Cherry Flavor” will make you think of horror on acid.

          The limited series feels like one long fever dream — and I mean that in the best possible way. Granted, I’m into a good old-fashioned Hollywood revenge plot, but star Rosa Salazar brings a little something extra.

          As aspiring filmmaker Lisa Nova, who seeks the dark side to get back at producer Lou Burke (played by Eric Lange), Salazar is mesmerizing.

          “Brand New Cherry Flavor” starts streaming on Netflix on Friday the 13th, because of course it does.


          Jennifer Hudson was born to play Aretha Franklin.

          The Queen of Soul knew that as well, which is why before her death in 2018 Franklin selected the Oscar winner to portray her as Hudson does in the new film “Respect.”

          Hudson told me it wasn’t easy, though on-screen her portrayal looks effortless.

          “I don’t think there can ever be enough preparation, especially when you are portraying someone you have always looked up to and admired,” Hudson told me.

          The film is in theaters Friday.

          ‘FBoy Island’ Season 1

          I must write this one very carefully.

          If you know what the title refers to, you may have already figured out that this is yet another dating show trying to find an angle that hasn’t been done before. If you don’t know what the title stands for, Google it when there are no kids around, please.

          Comedian and actress Nikki Glaser serves as host as three women try and figure out which men on the island are “nice guys” and which are those who are just there for cash and, uh, pleasure.

          The series wraps up the first season this week on HBO Max, which is owned by CNN’s parent company.

          Two things to listen to

          Oh, Bachelor Nation, I just can’t seem to quit you.

          “The Ben and Ashley I. Almost Famous Podcast” helps deliver my fix as former Bachelor Ben Higgins and former “Bachelor” contestant Ashley Iaconetti offer up both insight and tea.

          Where else could I get the full back story on why former “Bachelorette” Tayshia Adams decided to remain a virgin until she got married — straight from her?

          It’s pure candy for Bachelor Nation fans.

          The podcast is a part of iHeartMedia.

          Get familiar with the town of Nephi, Utah.

          That’s where The Killers’ new album, “Pressure Machine,” is set.

          It’s “a concept record about life in Nephi told from the perspective of various townspeople that touches on everything from prescription drug abuse and poverty to crime, homophobia, and depression,” according to Rolling Stone.

          But don’t let that bum you out. The band’s lead singer, Brandon Flowers, wants you to think about it in a literary sense.

          “When I was writing these songs, I was thinking of things like Sherwood Anderson’s book ‘Winesburg, Ohio’ or that book ‘Pastures of Heaven’ (by John Steinbeck),” he told Rolling Stone, “where’s it’s all these short stories that take place in this one setting. For some reason, I had the audacity to try it myself. Once I realized they were going to take place here and they were going to be true stories, everything just really fell in our laps.”

          “Pressure Machine” is out Friday.

          One thing to talk about

          Who the hell needs to hop a plane for a vacation when you can check into “The White Lotus”?

          This HBO Max series is the latest must-see TV and is grabbing hold of folks the way “Mare of Easttown” did a few moths ago (also an HBO Max series so bravo to our business siblings, since they, like CNN folks, are part of parent company WarnerMedia).

          Billed as “a sharp social satire following the exploits of various employees and guests at an exclusive Hawaiian resort over the span of one highly transformative week,” it’s pretty addictive and the best kind of people-watching.

          Because isn’t it so much better to indulge in other people’s dysfunction rather than your own?

          That’s true paradise.

          Something to sip on

          Not that you care, but I have tickets to go see The Rolling Stones when they play Atlanta in November.

          That is, IF they play then.

          The concert was already rescheduled from the original September 2020 date because of the pandemic. And now with the Delta variant, there is no telling if the show will actually go on.

          Already events like New Orleans Jazz Fest (which the Stones were also scheduled to play) have canceled this year’s festivities in light of rising Covid-19 cases.

            I know that wasn’t an easy decision, given how dependent New Orleans is on tourism, but I applaud any venue that is putting the priority on people over profit.

            Besides, Mick Jagger and the fellas probably will tour for the next century so there is time.