Jim Harbaugh's kids love McPhee's hit TV series Smash and when she went to watch his team play the New York Jets last autumn (12), the actress met them and they exchanged numbers.
The California native flew to New Orleans, Louisiana for the championship game against the Baltimore Ravens over the weekend (01-03Feb13), and received an invite from Harbaugh's brother-in-law to come hang out with the family.
And the actress admits it was one of the best nights of her life.
She tells U.S. TV host Jimmy Fallon, "We (my husband, Nick Cokas, and I) managed to get tickets for the Super Bowl... (and) I got an email from Jim Harbaugh's brother-in-law, saying, 'The kids would like to see Katharine, can you come to the 49ers hotel?'
"So we ran over there, we were just thinking, like, 'Oh, we'll be able to be in the lobby, see some of the players, maybe we'll see some of the kids,' and we ended up in Jim Harbaugh's family hotel room the night before the Super Bowl.
"He walked in, ordered room service, (and was) standing up eating a hamburger with french fries. He sang for me, he sang this little, like, something you'd hear in a high school cheering game. He's like, 'I wanna test this song out for you, I wanna see if I should sing this for my players tonight.'"
Unfortunately, Harbaugh's pump-up song didn't bring the team too much luck - the Ravens beat the 49ers 34-31.
Well, now we know what the Super Bowl was like for our ancestors.
A little more than halfway through Super Bowl XLVII, things took a turn for the Amish, and a blackout overtook the New Orleans-based stadium. As the Superdome was enveloped in a plague of darkness, the players became confused. The fans became restless. Rave aficionados lamented what could have been the opportunity of a lifetime.
But instead of mulling over the effects of the blackout, we're more interested in the causes. After all, Super Bowls don't just lose power all willy nilly. There must have been... foul play. But what, or who, might have been behind such a dastardly ordeal?
We've got some ideas...
Beyonce Needed to Put Blue Ivy to Bed
Remember when the new parents Carter earned the public's scorn for secluding an entire hospital wing for the birth of their child? Well, now that young Blue Ivy is a full year old, she warrants even more special treatment than that. When the superhuman infant grows tired, she will not be forced to endure a car (or private jet) ride home before heading to bed. Instead, mother Beyonce is wont to take over entire football stadiums just to give her baby a good night's sleep.
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The Harbaugh Parents Give Their Sons a Time Out
Taking note that their children John and Jim just can't seem to get along (this rivalry has gone too far), the parents Harbaugh decided that they had enough: to your rooms, sons! Lights out and no TV! All your little friends (like Ray Lewis) will have to wait outside until you've had time to think about what you've done.
It Was the Witch! Or the Mandarin! Or... Khan?!
We've seen a lot of evil come and go through commercial breaks during this game. OZ the Great and Powerful, Iron Man 3, and Star Trek Into Darkness all showcased some bad guys viable of a diabolical ploy like this. But which of them is behind it? And why?
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The Wrath of the Puppy Bowl!
Yes, the Super Bowl always beats the Puppy Bowl in ratings. But not this time... cute as they are, those puppies are vicious. Capable of dire lengths like cutting the power of the game. Hell hath no fury like a Yorkie scorned.
It Was YOU
Yes, you. Your favored team was losing. Your box picks were coming up short. You were gearing up to owe your pals a lot of money. There's only one way to get out of this one...
[Photo Credit: Matt Slocum/AP Photo]
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Already a month into 2013, some of us might be taking issue with the year’s deficit of opportunity for pop culture showdowns. Following a particularly fruitful autumn — one drenched in battles of political (Elephants Vs. Donkeys and Pizza Vs. Burritos), athletic (Tigers Vs. Giants), and fantastical (Edwards Vs. Jacobs and Trolls Vs. Dwarves) natures — the New Year has propagated quite a civil attitude on the pop culture front… save for an inceptive Babies Vs. Old Men mêlée. And while we saw a good deal of historic events hit the headlines in January — like presidential inaugurations and 30 Rock finales — we’ve yet to stumble upon a marvel worthy of showdown status. But fear not, you desensitized combat junkies, for the biggest face-off of the year is on the horizon: the Super Bowl.
Yes, the Super Bowl. A ratings giant so stimulating in its fury, it is reported to be the leading cause of larynx irritation (next to supermarket parking lots). Responsible for undoing the work of marriage counselors nationwide, the Super Bowl is the perfect new subject for our Pop Culture Battles series. Unfortunately, the teams playing this year are the Ravens and the 49ers. And what the hell are we supposed to do with “49ers”?
But there is another route. For, the true rivalry this year will transpire on the sidelines, as Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh are, indeed, brothers. And what is the only category of human bearing more animosity than opposing team coaches? Siblings.
As such, thanks to the wonder of Super Bowl XLVII, we dive with vigor into what might be our most heated battle yet — Johns Vs. Jims. Place your bets, order your hot wings, crack open your beers. It’s going to be a long, commercial-filled skirmish.
And yes, we know. This is ridiculous.
The Superman Play: Jonathan Kent Vs. Jimmy Olsen
Coaching for the Johns: Jonathan Kent, Clark’s Kansas-native adoptive father
His Playbook: Filled with old school sensibilities, life lessons, and several diatribes devoted to the importance of maintaining a strong jaw
Coaching for the Jims: Jimmy Olsen, nubile photographer for The Daily Planet
His Playbook: Filled with an overeager attitude and a perpetual smile, but an almost nonsexistent focus on actual skills of any kind
The Winner: Jonathan Kent. Dude's got class. (1/0)
The Ordinary Hero Play: John Ferguson Vs. Jimmy Stewart
Coaching for the Johns: John “Scottie” Ferguson, Jimmy Stewart’s fear-stricken hero in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo
His Playbook: Filled with one rule, over and over — avoid high places.
Coaching for the Jims: Actual Jimmy Stewart.
His Playbook: Filled with admittedly far-fetched ambitions to bestow unto his loved ones natural lunar satellites.
(Warning: the below clip WILL make you cry.)
The Winner: Real Jimmy Stewart. Tell me that clip didn't make you burst out in tears. (1/1)
The Belushi Play: John Belushi Vs. Jim Belushi
Coaching for the Johns: John Belushi, film and sketch comedy icon
His Playbook: Filled with memorable SNL skits, John Landis movies, and some sordid personal affairs
Coaching for the Jims: Jim Belushi, television presence
His Playbook: Filled with canned laughter and some wacky neighbors
The Winner: John Belushi... naturally. (2/1)
The Room Play: The John Vs. The Gym
Coaching for the Johns: The john. The lavatory, the restroom, the W.C. — you get the picture.
Its Playbook: Let’s just gloss over this one.
Coaching for the Jims: The gym — the sole source of self-worth for a large percentage of the United States' North Atlantic region.
Its Playbook: Filled with repeated mandates to wipe down equipment after using it.
The Winner: The gym, if only for its prevalence in reality television culture. (2/2)
(The second half of our Pop Culture Super Bowl consists of a series of plays that, through the grace of Beyoncé, can be perfectly executed via single videos illustrating the rival coaches’ showdowns.)
The Poli-Economic Play: Jon Stewart Vs. Jim Cramer
Coaching for the Johns: The Daily Show host Jon Stewart
His Playbook: Filled to the brim with dry wit, a sharp understanding of the political machine and its enslaved media, and that New Jersey wrath
Coaching for the Jims: Mad Money host Jim Cramer
His Playbook: Filled with incriminating sound bites, and a bunch of rubber hammers…
The Winner: Jon Stewart... and Mr. Stewart, we thank you for that. (3/2)
The Big Bang Theory Play: Johnny Galecki Vs. Jim Parsons
Coaching for the Johns: Johnny Galecki, portrayer of Leonard Hofstadt on The Big Bang Theory
His Playbook: Filled with anxious grimaces and pleas for romantic attention from the neighbor girl
Coaching for the Jims: Jim Parsons, portrayer of Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory
His Playbook: Filled with deadpan delivery and, somehow, a whole bunch of Emmys
The Winner: Jim Parsons. You can't argue with Emmys (well, you can, but it's futile). (3/3)
The Greendale Community College Play: Jim Rash Vs. John Goodman
Coaching for the Johns: John Goodman’s Community character, Vice Dean Robert Laybourne
His Playbook: Filled with a thespian articulation, a hyper-menacing presence, and a passion for air conditioner repair
Coaching for the Jims: Jim Rash’s Community character, Dean Craig Pelton
His Playbook: Filled with costumes. Lots and lots of costumes.
The Winner: Jim Rash. Goodman may have won the battle, but Rash came out on top in the end. (3/4)
The Lost Play: John Locke Vs. Jim LaFleur
Coaching for the Johns: John Locke, recovering paraplegic and spiritual know-it-all
His Playbook: Filled with requests for his players to “believe in the island”
Coaching for the Jims: Jim LaFleur, a.k.a. James Ford, a.k.a. Sawyer
His Playbook: Filled with pejorative nicknames and romance novels
The Winner: Good ol' Saywer. Because that's a chin you can get behind. (3/5)
And so, the victory goes to the Jims. Does this mean that the 49ers will take the Super Bowl this year? Almost definitely — these battles are cold, hard science. Sorry, Baltimore. At least you have The Wire.
Note: We would like to extend an apology to all the Johns and Jims we wanted to include in this Pop Culture Super Bowl, but couldn't due to time constraints: Jim Davis, John Williams, John Lennon, Jim Carrey, Jon Hamm, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Buffett, Jimmy Kimmel, Johnny Cash, John McCain, Jimmy Carter, John Carter (of Mars), Jim O'Heir, Jim Halpert, John Hodgman, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Depp, Johnny 5, John F. Kennedy, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, John the Baptist, Jimmy the Greek, Jon Voigt, Jon Bon Jovi, Jim Gaffigan, Jim Caviezel, and John Laroquette. We love must of you.
[Photo Credit: Getty]
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127 Hours the new film from Slumdog Millionaire’s Academy Award-winning writer-director duo Simon Beaufoy and Danny Boyle feels like it was made in the titular time frame. The movie is choppy and fast-paced like the adventures of its daredevil protagonist Aron Ralston who amputated his own arm after an accident in the cavernous regions of Moab Utah in 2003. This kinetic style of filmmaking (similar to how Slumdog was produced) succeeds in artistically recreating the horrific events of those five painful days but prevents the audience from developing an essential emotional connection with the character and renders the movie limp with more style than substance.
The story begins with Mr. Ralston’s (played adequately by James Franco) ritualistic preparation for intense outdoors activities. He ignores his mother’s phone call (and it’s clearly not the first time he’s done this) so he can begin his extreme expedition that much faster. This selfish attribute is true to the character and foreshadows his eventual arc but Boyle stumbles around with irrelevant narrative detours involving a pair of female thrill-seekers and a barely-seen sister and ex-girlfriend. These subplots are ultimately counter-productive and feel out-of-place.
Instead of providing the character’s backstory through a traditional prologue we learn about Ralston’s past through his own sleep/food/water-deprived hallucinations while he’s stuck beneath a boulder at the bottom of a canyon. In this grim ill-fated state the audience is supposed to feel remorseful and on a basic level of human compassion we do. However it’s difficult to sympathize with a character as arrogant and narcissistic as Ralston who admits that he’s brought this situation on himself.
In terms of craft Boyle is at the top of his game. Aron’s spiritual breakthrough is dramatized by surreal visual sequences that deliver the most moving imagery in the entire film. His use of sound effects particularly enhanced the harrowing experience as do the realistic prosthetics used to depict his bloody sacrifice.
Though the film has the tension and suspense that made similarly-themed survival tales like Castaway and Rescue Dawn moving it lacks an introduction that builds a bond between audience and character debilitating the effect of Aron’s eventual triumph. Many will rejoice when they see Ralston emerge from his mountainous prison a wiser and more appreciative man but there’s never much reason to root for him throughout the picture unless you’re simply hoping for a happy ending.
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all...hell is about to break loose! It starts when a snowstorm grounds all planes at Chicago’s fictional Hoover International Airport. Nobody’s happy to be potentially spending Xmas at an airport but least of all are the Davenport siblings Spencer (Dyllan Christopher) and his little sis Katherine (Dominique Saldana) as well as airport security boss Oliver (Lewis Black). The two kids are escorted to the airport’s “Unaccompanied Minors Lounge ” where kids run wild and terrorize pushover Zach Van Bourke (Wilmer Valderrama) who acts as chief airport babysitter. One look at the madness is all it takes for Spencer and Katherine to bust out along with fellow kiddie anarchists Charlie (Tyler James Williams) Timothy (Brett Kelly) Donna (Quinn Shephard) and Grace (Gina Mantegna). They embark on a pratfall-heavy game of cat and mouse with Oliver who is the Grinch to their collective Santa Clause as they try and salvage Christmas--and their families. Unaccompanied Minors makes some odd but admirable choices when it comes to the cast with virtually every single actor attempting a “Frat Pack” mutiny--Daily Show mainstay Black is joined by “correspondent” Rob Corddry as the Davenports’ Hummer-hating dad not to mention parts from The Office’s B.J. Novak and Mindy Kaling Arrested Development’s Tony Hale and Jessica Walter SNL’s Rob Riggle and Kristen Wiig Paget Brewster David Koechner and a rare Kids in the friggin’ Hall (Kevin McDonald Bruce McCulloch and Mark McKinney) sighting. But the “Who’s that?” cameos aside the screen time is hogged by Black Valderrama and the children. Black the notoriously vulgar curmudgeon of a comedian shows great range and skill by dulling his shtick down but not so much that the kids watching won’t crack up while Valderrama’s performance is the same as his role--that of a bumbling easily overmatched lackey. With all the proverbial child actors in the mix it can seem a little Star Search-y but Williams (Everybody Hates Chris) steals most scenes with his amazing overall talent while Mantegna (Joe’s daughter) fares well too. Kelly (the bullied kid in Bad Santa) is exploited for his physicality and Christopher will likely go on to be a great actor even if he seems too seasoned at such a young age. The reason for the off-the-beaten-path cast is simple: director Paul Feig. The occasional actor has in the past directed episodes of The Office and the late Arrested Development Undeclared and Freaks and Geeks. It also might explain why he fell for a script--by Jacob Meszaros and Mya Stark--that takes a few stabs at grown-up comedy (i.e. Corddry’s character has a car that runs on vegetable oil). Such jokes will be lost on the exclusively preadolescent audience but almost all else will reel them in. Feig also seems adept at making the oft-unfunny (physical pratfalls) somewhat funny and he does so with little mention of bodily functions. Of course he stays true to the formula but all kid flicks are the ultimate exercises in contrivance--Feig just chooses to treat the viewers like kids instead of idiots.