'Instant Family' Will Pull Your Heartstrings in a Good Way

What started as an older man’s joke about wanting to adopt a five-year-old instead of starting from scratch, Instant Family was inspired by writer and director Sean Anders’ real-life family. Pete (Mark Wahlberg) “accidentally” makes the joke to his wife Ellie (Rose Byrne) not wanting to be become that “old dad” everyone knows and before you know it, the two are traveling down to road toward foster care adoptions. After numerous classes taught by two caseworkers (Octavia Spencer and Tig Notaro), the two meet three kids at a “foster fair” gathering. Lizzy (Isabela Moner) is the 15-year-old older sister who has protectively looked after her younger siblings Juan (Gustavo Quiroz) and Lita (Julianna Gamiz) while their mother has been incarcerated. She’s a tough cookie with trust issues. Juan is both accident prone and highly sensitive and Lita is super sweet as long as she gets to eat potato chips at every meal. Almost overnight they become an “instant family” and everything g…

This Day in Pop Culture for August 3

Evan Finch via Flickr
Santa Claus Land Opens
In 1941, retired Louis J. Koch visited the town of Santa Claus in Indiana. Being a father of nine children, he found it sad that some children would visit the town to find that Santa was not there and that fueled his desire to create a park where kids could see Santa any time of the year. Due to World War II, construction of Santa Claus Land didn’t begin until August 1945. The park opened on this day in 1946 with free admission, a toy shop, toy displays, a restaurant, a few rides and of course the jolly old elf himself. Later, a deer farm was added. In 1955, a new section, Pleasureland (now known as Rudolph’s Reindeer Ranch) was added. As the park grew, the focus of the park grew as well focusing on families rather than just children. By 1984, the park added a Halloween and a Fourth of July section to the park and changed its name to Holiday World. In 1993, the Koch family added the Splashin’ Safari Water Park. In 2006, during the park’s 60th anniversary, Holiday World added a Thanksgiving section.

Anne Grace Glenn via Flickr
The “Macarena” Song and Dance Craze was Born
The original Los Del Rio recording of "Macarena" was a hit in Latin America but would not have gained much attention in North America if it weren’t for John Caride, a DJ at a Miami radio station who asked the station manager if they could add the song to their play list. He was told no as the station did not play songs sung exclusively in Spanish. With the help of producers Carols De Yarza and Mike Triay, the song was recorded with English-language verses and remixed to make it more dance “club-friendly.” The new version, "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)" was soon played at wedding receptions everywhere. The song became a #1 hit on this day in 1996 and stayed in the Billboard Hot 100 for 60 weeks.

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