BIG RELEASE: 42 (April 12)
THE BIG PICTURE: No, it's not the new Scary Movie - also premiering this week. (Though it certainly feels like that franchise has hit 42). 42 tells the tale of baseball legend Jackie Robinson and his historic racial breakthrough into America's favourite pastime. Harrison Ford plays Brooklyn Dodgers team executive Branch Rickey, who made history -- and a lot of enemies -- with the signing. Chadwick Boseman steps up to the plate to inhabit Jackie's larger than life persona.
FORECAST: This is a baseball story that screams for big screen treatment. What took Hollywood so long? (Safe to say, this film would have been made a lot sooner if Jackie Robinson's biography included a friendship with an Autobot, a G.I. Joe or a member of The Avengers). I have a suggestion for the next Hollywood baseball film: 61 (alternate title: Field of Testosterone Dreams). It will tell the infamous story of Sammy Sosa (played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) and Mark McGwire (played by Channing Tatum). Jackie broke the race barrier. They broke the morality barrier in their 1998 steroid fuelled race to top Roger Maris's long-standing home-run record of 61.
HONOURABLE MENTION: Scary Movie 5. On the negative side, there's another scary movie. On the positive side, it's nice to know the troubled trio of Lindsay Lohan, Ashley Tisdale, Heather Locklear and Charlie Sheen can still find big-screen work. No, I'm not kidding. They're all in the cast. This Scary Movie gets its laughs at the expense of the Paranormal Activity franchise and, unintentionally, the state of a few movie careers.
BIG EVENT: MTV Movie Awards (MTV, April 14, 9 p.m.
BIG PICTURE: The MTV Movie Awards deserve a lot of credit for not taking themselves too seriously -- unlike their dull, pretentious older brother Oscar. This year's nominations include one career plateau: Taylor Lautner for Best Shirtless Performance in the The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2. With the end of the series, this will likely be Lautner's last award nomination for... ANYTHING. EVER. The night also features one comical mismatch: The Hulk and Bilbo Baggins are among the contenders for Best Hero. "Hulk smash puny, puny, puny, puny human!"
FORECAST: Relax. Enjoy. Take a load off. Unlike the Academy Awards, you don't need to watch "because you feel like you have to" and then fall asleep on the couch somewhere around the award for Best Sound Editing (i.e. 9 p.m.). To give credit where it's due, it's a rare year when two of the MTV Movie of the Year nominees (Django Unchained and Silver Linings Playbook) were also on the Oscar shortlist. Don't expect Oscar 2014 to return the favour by giving G.I. Joe: Retaliation a Best Picture nod.
HONOURABLE MENTION: The Borgias (April 14, Bravo, 9 p.m. Sure, the Vatican is beset by sex scandals, in-fighting and fear of joining the 21st (or even the 20th) Century, but at least they didn't elect THIS GUY to be the new Pope. The masterful Jeremy Irons returns as Pope Alexander -- the Tony Soprano of Popes -- as he clings on to power after a failed assassination attempt. His scheming, dangerous family is -- as always -- at his side. The new season features incest, violence and a church on the cusp of war. My prediction? Montreal's Francois Arnaud and Holliday Grainger will steal this season as troubled, ill-fated siblings Cesare and Lucrezia Borgias.
BIG RELEASE ON APRIL 9: British Sea Power (Machineries of Joy)
BIG PICTURE: These English indie rockers have always reveled in being eccentric, outlandish and over the top. Machineries of Joy doesn't live up to their self-titled breakthrough, but it should offer a touch of joy to those music fans interested in more than Billboard rock. The album borrows its title from a Ray Bradbury story collection -- not the first time these Brighton lads have been influenced by the works of the sci-fi and horror guru. (And there are far worse influences. I'm pretty sure Ke$ha's songwriting is inspired by the litter she finds in the alleyways where she wakes up each morning.)
FORECAST: All aboard. A musical ship worth setting sail on -- at least for a trip or two.
HONOURABLE MENTION: Molly Ringwald (Except... Sometimes). No, you're not reading this wrong. John Hughes 1980s movie muse is releasing her debut album of jazz standards. Judd Nelson's long-anticipated (at least by me) hip hop debut can't be far off. I'm also hoping Emilio Estevez forms a middle-aged boy band (brother Charlie is the obvious candidate for the standard "bad boy" of the bunch).
'You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,' but these days, a guide through the seemingly endless flurry of pop culture offerings is just what we need. With that in mind, here is what's on the radar screen in TV, music and film for the coming week.