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15 Pieces Of Pop Culture We Actually Liked This Summer

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    Look, there are plenty of things that happened this summer that we'd rather forget about. But that doesn't mean that the season was a complete wasteland.

    In fact, there were plenty of pop cultural treasures to savor during this year's warmer months. Some were not exactly cozy, however. Mr. Robot took us into a disturbing hacker universe. As the Bachelorette frustratingly slut-shamed Kaitlyn Bristowe, UnREAL looked (fictionally) behind the scenes to reveal the messed up psyches of the types of people who do that shaming.

    Those shows were total downers — chilly anedotes to the heat — but there was also plenty that warmed our hearts (Inside Out! Bing Bong!) and made us cackle with glee (Trainwreck! Wet Hot American Summer!) We relished Taylor Swift's special guests and still laughed with the people who made fun of the randomness of said guests. We cheered for Serena Williams.

    Now that we're all set to head into fall and are excited for the movies and TV to come, we're a little wistful. Before pulling out our sweaters, let's remember some of the good of what summer had to offer.

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    TV’s New Anti-Heroes: Elliot on Mr. Robot, Rachel on UnREAL

    While summer is typically thought of as a time for frothier fare — explosions in movie theaters, silliness on TV — the season's best shows were centered on two deliciously complicated figures. Meet Elliot Alderson of USA’s Mr. Robot and Rachel Goldberg of Lifetime’s UnREAL. Elliot and Rachel are not your best friends. They are damaged souls with fucked up senses of morality. Elliot is a morphine-addicted hacker. Rachel is a reality show producer still reeling from a breakdown. Both make for incredibly compelling, pretty disturbing viewing. We’re going to miss them.

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    The Ass-Kickers On Screen: Imperator Furiosa/Ilsa Faust

    You know there’s something going right when the women upstage the men in two of the summer’s blockbusters. First came Mad Max: Fury Road, which should have been called Imperator Furiosa: Fury Road, because it was really about Charlize Theron's bald, one-armed heroine. Then came Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, in which we found ourselves forgetting all about Tom Cruise to fawn over Rebecca Ferguson’s impeccably deadly Ilsa Faust. Now the goal is just to make it clear that these women are the focus of the movies not their male counterparts.

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    Taylor Swift’s “Please Welcome To The Stage” Moments

    In many ways it really was the summer of Taylor Swift. She made herself a point of constant conversation — no matter whether that conversation was good or bad. However, her crowning achievement was her 1989 tour and the litany of celebrity guests that she trotted out. These guests began predictably enough, with a familiar parade of the Victoria’s Secret models who she counts among her pals. Then they got stranger, and by the time she was pairing Joan Baez with Julia Roberts it started to seem like Swift’s concerts were turning into a Twilight Zone episode where all celebrities are at the behest of an ultra-powerful, long-limbed entity.

    Swift’s penchant for welcoming people to her stage, also provoked parodies — good ones. The best was the video from Lara Marie Schoenhals who imagined what it would be like if Swift welcomed her “two best friends, Gigi Hadid and the Blair Witch.”

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    The Diary of a Teenage Girl And Its Cast

    There were a lot of great movies this summer that weren’t reboots or action films. These included Me and Earl and The Dying Girl and Grandma. Our favorite, however, was The Diary of a Teenage Girl, a blunt, but not callous examination of a young heroine learning about her sexuality. That heroine is played by the incredible Bel Powley, whose name you should seriously remember. After speaking with Powley and director Marielle Heller, it was clear that a powerful bond was in place amongst the cast and crew. More evidence of that, was when the cast showed up to a San Francisco premiere of the film costumed. Alexander Skarsgård wore full drag.

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    Feeling the Feels at Inside Out

    Last year was devoid of any new Pixar movie, but this year gave us a doozy: the marvelous Inside Out. This film about the emotions inside the brain of an 11-year-old girl was remarkable in that it was able to trigger a personal reaction from nearly every viewer. If someone just mentions the name “Bing Bong,” we’re likely to break out into messy tears.