Welcome to the Jungle

A tree-swingin' monkey lover tops this week's pop-culture picks.

Marah roots rock Bruce Springsteen
George and pals show off the latest in jungle wear.
George and pals show off the latest in jungle wear.
TOP PICK — George of the Jungle (Cartoon Network)

Back in the '60s, Rocky & Bullwinkle mastermind Jay Ward introduced audiences to George, a counterculture take on Tarzan. This new-millennium update (which premieres at 7:30 p.m. on Friday) retains some of that subversive appeal. It also adds a ton of gross-out jokes. Still, it's zesty fun, complete with a lumbering pet elephant and a wisecracking ape named Ape.

MOVIE — Cloverfield (Paramount)
Lost creator J.J. Abrams has a hand in this spooky flick (which opens on Friday) about a giant monster terrorizing New York City. It's all told from the perspective of a small group of friends who scurry across their increasingly flattened city with video cameras in tow, documenting every terrifying moment. It's like Godzilla on roids.

VIDEO GAME — College Hoops 2K8 (2K Sports)
This college-basketball sim plays a lot like 2K's NBA game, which consistently ranks at the very top of the heap. Lots of different modes (including one of the best Legacy seasons we've ever seen) oughta keep both stat-crunching and casual fans busy all winter long. And take note, control freaks: PlayVision — the best of this year's new features — lets players map out almost every single court move, from passes to sprints.

CD — The Goo Goo Dolls: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 — The Singles (Warner Bros.)
If Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg had written songs as pop-minded as the ones penned by sound-alike fan Johnny Rzeznik, the post-punk drunks might have been radio stars like Rzeznik's Goos. This 14-track compilation gathers all of the Dolls' hits from the past dozen years (including chart-toppers "Slide," "Name," and "Iris"), boosting a set that stands among the decade's most tuneful.

BOOK — Punk 365 (Abrams)
Holly George-Warren's hefty, photo-stuffed read chronicles the evolution of punk — from mid-'60s Velvet Underground to early-'90s Fugazi. Scores of photographers capture artists onstage, backstage, and occasionally hanging out with old ladies. All your favorite spit-gobbers are here: the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, etc. George-Warren's concise bios serve as a crash course in the genre; the pics drive home the chaotic force.

COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE — The Naked Brothers Band (Nickelodeon)
These tween twerps make the High School Musical cast sound like the MC5. Starring a pair of shaggy-haired sibs who front their own band, this TV series (which returns for a second season at 8 p.m. on Monday) aims for Spinal Tap, but can't even manage The Partridge Family. The jokes are blah, the kids are annoying, and the songs rarely hook onto a groove. Not even guests like Tony Hawk and Good Charlotte's Joel Madden can make it cool.

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