Your Weekly Pop Culture Mandate: Oct 18

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Five things you must not miss this week, including books from an A.V. Club staff writer and Bob Dylan’s most famous biographer.

BOOKS My Year of Flops: The A.V. Club Presents One Man's Journey Deep into the Heart of Cinematic Failure, Nathan Rabin

My Year of Flops: The A.V. Club Presents One Man's Journey Deep into the Heart of Cinematic Failure, Nathan Rabin

In 2007, Nathan Rabin took on a dangerous mission — to watch and review some of the most notoriously bad films in recent memory. This compendium of his articles for The A.V. Club includes his greatest columns, along with fifteen new reviews and interviews. Snark, insight, and reverence of Rabin's caliber have rarely been applied to films like The Cable Guy. October 19

MUSIC Autumn, Again, A Sunny Day in Glasgow

Autumn, Again, A Sunny Day in Glascow

The sibling trio's fourth album Autumn, Again is as sweet and, well, sunny as anything they've ever released. And best of all, starting October 19, it'll be available for free download on their website. It's a great blast of synth-pop that'll help you relive summer and drive your autumn blahs away. October 19

BOOKS Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Writings 1968-2010, Greil Marcus

A lot has been written about Bob Dylan – and a lot of that has been written by Greil Marcus. He's been covering the iconic songwriter for over forty years, as a fan and a critic. A memorable Rolling Stone review of Self Portrait included in the book opens with the famous line, "What is this shit?" Ultimately, this collection tells the story of two provocateurs: Dylan and his biographer. October 19

MUSIC Undercard , The Extra Lens

Undercard, The Extra Lens

The Extra Lens (previously The Extra Glenns  — don't ask us why they dropped the "g" and "n") is the indie-rock super duo of John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats) and Franklin Bruno (Nothing Painted Blue). They return with their second album, Undercard. Lucky for us, they sound just as vibrant as ever. Darnielle's gleeful yelping vocals compliment Bruno's gentle arrangements resulting in some of the finest folk-rock we've heard all year. October 19

MOVIES The Company Men, John Wells

The Company Men, John Wells

In The Company Men, Ben Affleck stars as a hot-shot executive who loses his job in the current economic recession. The bad economy is fast becoming the “serious movie” theme of the season, and especially after the recent Inside Job and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, we’re getting a little sick of it. But with Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, and Kevin Costner rounding out the cast, The Company Men is likely worth checking out. October 22

BOOKS Honorable Mention: Palo Alto, James Franco 

With his multiple masters degrees and on-screen ubiquity, James Franco has a work ethic that makes the Amish look indolent. Now with Palo Alto, he’s adding literary writing to his resume. Most of these eleven short stories revolve around adolescents growing up in the California suburbs — a subject Franco knows well. While we admittedly meet his foray into the world of literature with a bit of trepidation, if these stories are half as good as he was in Freaks and Geeks, we'll be satisfied. October 19