Fans of The Bachelorette can’t help but obsess over the exotic and romantic dates on the show. And while Emily Maynard’s season has been a bit calmer (so far) than the ones before it, there are still typical date formats that the show continues to utilize this season. Whether Emily is getting on a private jet with frontrunner Arie to spend a private day at Dollywood or dancing in the arms of handsome Chris as Luke Bryan serenades them with a special concert, The Bachelorette/Bachelor franchise has carried on the tradition of it’s over-the-top, dream-like dates — and we can’t but help buy every little piece of it. But there is one question we all seem to wonder: do the stars of this show actually have anything to do with planning these dates?
Well former Bachelorette star Trista Sutter reveals the truth to Hollywood.com exclusively about how the date planning gets done. “Things have changed so much that I'm not sure if it's handled the same, but during my season, the producers did all the planning," she explains. "I did have an initial meeting with the producers, and we talked about all the kinds of things that I would love to do, and what I would like to see planned, but then they took over."
“I don’t know for certain that Emily, or any of the other Bachelors or Bachelorettes, haven’t had a hand in planning,” she continues. “But I have to say that I kind of chuckle every time I hear a contestant say, ‘This is a great date that you planned,’ — because it really is the brainchild of the producers, usually. It’s their show, so they need to get all the permits and do the scheduling, etc, etc, etc. It really has to be producer-driven in that way.”
But whether the producers plan the dates or not, like us, Sutter can’t get enough of certain common aspects of the dates that we see each season. Sutter reveals her three favorite date moments.
1. Trista loves to see dates where people seem most at ease, for example, Emily’s home cooking date with Ryan. “I love the kind of dates where they just hang out at home, go to the grocery store, or do something that they would normally do in their everyday life,” Sutter notes. "It helps to bring reality to reality TV."
2. Sutter also gets swept away by the “fantasy” of some dates. “The private plane rides and the flashy cars — the fantasy that most people normally don’t get to experience,” Trista remarks, “In my season, they got an Aston Martin for me, which is my ultimate dream car. [For Emily] even though Dollywood wasn’t head-to-toe fantasy, they took a the private plane, had Dolly Parton show up, write a song just for them, and even shower Emily with advice on love. It's a fun fantasy, but a fantasy nonetheless because it's not something just anyone can say they've experienced.
3. Sutter also loves the exotic aspects of dates. “I know it’s cliché, but helicopters and far away places get me excited," she admits. "That, or having dinner in an unusual spot, like the top of a building. Once in a lifetime opportunities that everyone else can only dream of are what it's all about."
But, while Sutter enjoys the consistencies in the dates each season, she does wish that the show would leave the villains out if it. “I wish they would let it go, and let it be a love story,” she says. “I know that they pretty much have to, as a television show, include some sort of drama. When you write a story, you have to include the villain and the hero. So, naturally, I think it’s their job to include a villain. I just wish that they didn’t have to. I wish they could just focus on the love story that is happening, period, end of story.”
Unfortunately ABC has already teased the two villains of this season: Ryan and Kalon. Ryan appears to be the one that will be involved in the drama of the house. “The comments that he made on Monday night about if she got fat after they were married were completely unnecessary, I thought,” Sutter says. “Even if you think it, there are much more considerate ways of conveying your opinions on the type of person you would like to marry.”
And Kalon seems like he’s going to be just as bad. “When you’re trying to impress a girl, you don’t continuously cut her off and then try to communicate that you would like to finish your story but do it in an incredibly condescending and rude way,” says Sutter. “I just thought he was incredibly inconsiderate.”
Still there is one guy who continually proves to be a winner and that is Arie. “Arie has definitely jumped up to the top,” says Sutter. “I think that Monday night they really touched on if she would be able to fit into his race car lifestyle and that they’re being realistic about it. She has known that life before. She knows what comes with it. I don’t think that she would honestly give him the time of day if she didn’t feel that she could once again fit into that lifestyle. I don’t have any concerns. I absolutely think they are adorable.”
You can reach Sutter on Twitter @tristasutter — and her website, TristaSutter.com, will be live soon. Plus, check back here every week for more of Trista's Bachelorette blog. Besides working hard as a mommy, Sutter is also a designer for Vintage Couture. Click on this link to check out her collections at Vintagecoutureinc.com/trista_collection.html. [Photo Credit: CaraLeonardPhotography.com] More: Trista Sutter's Bachelorette Blog: Classy Is As Classy Does Trista Sutter's Bachelorette Blog: My Three Favorite Guys and More Bachelorette Emily Maynard Kisses Frogs: 15 Cliché Quotes from the Franchise
If Pixar could ever be said to have a red-headed stepchild it would be 2006’s Cars. Other studios would be doing backflips and buying self-congratulatory Variety ads if their tentpoles earned Cars’ 74% Rotten Tomatoes rating but for Pixar it represents an all-time low. Scan the positive reviews and you’ll notice they’re mostly filled with praise of the qualified kind as in “It’s no Toy Story or Incredibles but…”
So why bother with a sequel? Because even a studio of such vaunted artistic integrity as Pixar must occasionally bow to the dictates of the market: Cars may be among Pixar’s lesser-regarded and lesser-performing films (though a $461 million worldwide gross hardly constitutes failure) but it is astonishingly successful as a brand second only to the Toy Story franchise in its worldwide merchandising haul. The prospective numbers alone – Cars 2 is expected to outstrip Toy Story 3’s multi-billion-dollar retail sales tally – made another Cars installment all but inevitable.
That’s not to say Cars 2 is just some naked cash-grab. As the Toy Story follow-ups demonstrated Pixar and producer-director John Lasseter take their sequels seriously and never embark upon them without a plan that allows a reasonable chance at surpassing the original. And their plan in the case of Cars 2 calls for a wholesale overhaul.
The story begins with racecar Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) now a four-time Piston Cup champion accepting a challenge by arrogant Italian Formula One racer Francesco Bernoulli (John Turturro) to compete against him in the World Grand Prix a series of races in Japan Italy France and England. But once Cars 2 arrives in Tokyo the setting of its first race the plot pulls an audacious switcheroo morphing into a rollicking spy thriller. (This is presaged by its opening sequence an elaborate take-off of classic Bond-movie prologues.) Lightning the hero of the first film retreats to the sidelines as the story shifts its focus to his dim-witted tow-truck sidekick Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) who through a case of mistaken identity is thrust into the center of a conspiracy involving efforts to thwart a revolutionary alternative fuel called Allinol.
On the trail of the mysterious green-energy haters are British secret agents Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) the spitting image of 007’s iconic silver Aston Martin DB5 (actual brand names are for the most part avoided) and Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) a plucky purple roadster who believe Mater to be an American agent under deep cover. Fumbling toward gallantry his ignorance and clumsiness attributed to his elaborate disguise Mater’s arc echoes those of the protagonists in Being There and other works in which simpletons inadvertently elevated to positions of significance. Heroism it seems knows no IQ.
All told Cars 2 represents a solid upgrade – lighter quicker sleeker and brighter than the original model. Leaving the provincial confines of Radiator Springs the setting of the first film is a boon to the animators allowing them to showcase breathtaking 3D renderings of exotic skylines and cityscapes. The film boasts an earnest if artlessly conveyed pro-environmentalist message but I would hesitate to call it a message film. In fact it may be Pixar’s least-serious film to date: silly whimsical and crammed with one-liners and throwaway sight gags. It lacks the immense depth of feeling that characterizes more esteemed Pixar releases like Toy Story 3 or Up! but it's by no means hollow either. Those wishing for that old familiar Pixar profundity may simply have to accept that a world made up exclusively of anthropomorphized cars just isn’t conducive to it.
All of which suggests that Cars 2 is principally geared toward the audience’s younger and more distractible members who may lose track of the conspiracy plotline or fail to grasp its energy politics but will devour the rest of the film like a supercharged pixie stick. A handful of vehicles actually die in the film though never on-screen. The implied vehicular carnage probably won’t traumatize the little ones but it could prompt a few uncomfortable “Do cars go to heaven?” conversations.
Adults’ appreciation for Cars 2 may ultimately hinge on their respective tolerance for Mater’s bumbling redneck shtick and the film’s reliance (some might say overreliance) on fish-out-of-water/culture-clash humor. The comic tone of Cars 2 is about what you’d expect from a film in which Larry the Cable guy gets the lion’s share of the dialogue which is to say: exceedingly lowbrow. I tired of it shortly after the first act; your mileage may vary.
Perhaps Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows should have been a trilogy. Splitting the sprawling finale to author J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard saga into three parts — as opposed to its chosen two-part incarnation — might have come across as shameless profiteering (admittedly a not-uncommon practice in this town) but it wouldn’t have been without merit. At 759 pages Rowling’s source novel is said to be a rather dense work plot-wise; surely it could have easily warranted another installment?
I only say this because Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 though certainly a decent film clearly strains from the effort required to fit the book’s proceedings into a two-act structure. While Part 2 slated to open approximately six months from now is alotted the story's meaty parts — namely the spectacular Battle of Hogwarts and its emotional denouement — Part 1 must bear the burden of setting the stage for the grand confrontation between the forces of Light and Dark magic and framing the predicament of its three protagonists teen wizards Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) in suitably dire terms. And it's quite a heavy burden indeed.
As the film opens the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) having assumed control over Hogwarts since the events of the preceding film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has wasted no time in initiating his reign of terror. As far as historical evil-dictator analogues are concerned Voldemort appears partial to the blueprint laid by Stalin as opposed to that of his genocidal pact-pal Hitler. Enemies of the Dark Lord's regime are prosecuted in dramatic show trials presided over by the Grand Inquisitor Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) while muggles (non-magic folk) and half-bloods are denounced as "undesirables" and “mudbloods” in Soviet-style propaganda posters and forced to register with the authorities.
As the only viable threat to Voldemort’s dominion Harry and his allies are hunted vigorously by Bellatrix LeStrange (Helena Bonham Carter) and her goon squad of Death Eaters. The Boy Who Lived now fully grown and in more or less complete command of his powers is still no match England's nasally scourge. Labeled "Undesirable No. 1" by the Gestapo-like Ministry of Magic he's is forced to go on the lam where he labors along with Ron and Hermione to solve the riddle of Voldemort’s immortality.
For those not well-versed in Rowling’s source material the film’s opening act is a frustrating blur: After an all-too-brisk update on the bleak state of affairs in Hogwarts we are hastily introduced (or re-introduced) to a dozen or so characters the majority of whom are never seen again. A few even perish off-screen. Had we gotten a chance to get to know them we might be able to mourn them as our heroes do; instead we’re left racking our brains trying to recall who they were and how they figured in the plot.
Rowling's flaws as a storyteller — the over-reliance on deus ex machina devices (in this case we get both a doe ex machina and a Dobby ex machina) the ponderous downloads of information (not unlike those of that other uber-anticipated and somewhat overrated 2010 tentpole Inception) the annoying ability of characters to simply teleport (or "disapparate") away from danger etc. — are more evident in this film than in previous chapters. And rather than obscure these flaws director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves both franchise veterans arguably amplify them.
What saves the film are Rowling's three greatest achievements: Harry Ron and Hermione who along with the actors who play them have evolved beyond the material. The film's narrative gains its emotional footing during the heroic threesome's exile ostensibly a series of camping trips — with tents and everything — during which they reflect on their journey together the challenge that awaits them and the sacrifices it will require. Though they occasionally verge on tedious these excursions into Gethsemane allow us precious quality time with these characters that we've grown to adore over the course of seven films even if the plaintive air is spoiled a bit by some rather puzzling attempts at product placement. In their rush to flee the Dementors and Death Eaters it seems that they at least took care to pack the latest in fall fashion:
As devout readers of Rowling's novels know all too well the only foolproof shield against Voldemort's minions is the Bananicus Republicum charm.