"If I had to say who I thought the best singers were, I'd say first that I don't know there's a definitive answer, as, in my opinion it's subjective, and second that my focus is primarily rock singers. That said, I enjoy Freddie Mercury, Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Dan McCafferty, Janis Joplin, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Roger Daltrey, Don Henley, Jeff Lynne, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Scott, Etta James, Fiona Apple, Chrissie Hynde, Stevie Wonder, James Brown and a ton of others... and would rather hear any of them anytime rather than me!" Axl Rose responds to a new online poll which placed his at the top of the world's greatest singers list.
The trailers for Hope Springs might lead you to believe it's a romantic comedy about a couple trying to jumpstart their sexless marriage but it causes more empathetic cringing than chuckles. Audiences will be drawn to Hope Springs by its stars Meryl Streep Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell and Streep's track record of pleasing summer movies like Julie & Julia and Mamma Mia! that offer a respite from the blockbusters flooding theaters. Despite what its marketing might have you believe Hope Springs isn't a rom-com. The film is a disarming mixture of deeply intimate confessions by a married couple in the sanctuary of a therapist's office awkwardly honest attempts by that couple to physically reconnect and incredibly sappy scenes underscored by intrusive music. Boldly addressing female desire especially in older women it's hard not to give the movie extra credit for what writer Vanessa Taylor's script is trying to convey and its rarity in mainstream film. The ebb and flow of intimacy and desire in a long-term relationship is what drives Hope Springs and while there are plenty contrived moments and unresolved issues it is frankly surprising and surprisingly frank. It's a summer release from a major studio with high caliber stars aimed squarely at the generally underserved 50+ audience addressing the even more taboo topic of that audience's sex life.
Streep plays Kay a suburban wife who's deeply unsatisfied emotionally and sexually by her marriage to Arnold. Arnold who is played by Tommy Lee Jones as his craggiest sleeps in a separate bedroom now that their kids have left the nest; he's like a stone cold robot emotionally and physically and Kay tiptoes around trying to make him happy even as he ignores her every gesture. One of the most striking scenes in the movie is at the very beginning when Kay primps and fusses over her modest sleepwear in the hopes of seducing her husband. Streep makes it obvious that this isn't an easy thing for Kay; it takes all her guts to try and wordlessly suggest sex to her husband and when she's shot down it hurts to watch. This isn't a one time disconnect between their libidos; this is an ongoing problem that leaves Kay feeling insecure and undesirable.
After a foray into the self-help section of her bookstore Kay finds a therapist who holds week-long intensive couples' therapy sessions in Good Hope Springs ME and in a seemingly unprecedented moment of decisiveness she books a trip for the couple. Arnold of course is having none of it but he eventually comes along for the ride. That doesn't mean he's up for answering any of Dr. Feld's questions though. To be fair Dr. Feld (Carell) is asking the couple deeply intimate questions so if Arnold is comfortable foisting his amorous wife off with the excuse he had pork for lunch it's not so far-fetched to believe he'd be angry when Feld asks him about his fantasy life or masturbation habits.
Although Arnold gets a pass on some of his issues Kay is forthright about why and how she's dissatisfied. When Dr. Feld asks her if she masturbates she says she doesn't because it makes her too sad. Kay offers similar revelations; she's willing to bare it all to revive her marriage while Arnold thinks the fact that they're married at all means they must be happy. Carell's Dr. Feld is soothing and kind (even a bit bland) but it's always a pleasure to see him play it straight.
It's subversive for a mega-watt star to play a character that talks about how sexually unsatisfied she is and how unsexy she feels with the man she loves most in the world. The added taboo of Kay and Arnold's age adds that much more to the conversation. Kay and Arnold's attempts at intimacy are emotionally raw and hard to watch. Even when things get funny they're mostly awkward funny not ha-ha funny.
The rest of the movie is a little uneven wrapped up tightly and happily by the end. Their time spent soul-searching alone is a little cheesy especially when Kay ends up in a local bar where she gets a little dizzy on white wine while dishing about her problems to the bartender (Elisabeth Shue). Somewhere along the line what probably started out as a character study ended up as a wobbly drama that pushes some boundaries but eventually lets everyone off the emotional hook in favor of a smoothed-over happy ending. Still its disarming moments and performances almost balance it out. Although its target audience might be dismayed to find it's not as light-hearted as it would seem Hope Springs offers up the opportunity for discussion about sexuality and aging at a time when books and films like 50 Shades of Grey and Magic Mike are perking up similar conversations. In the end that's a good thing.
Top Story: Johnny Depp To Manage Crew of Oompa Loompas
Johnny Depp has been offered the role of Willy Wonka in director Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a Warner Bros. remake of Mel Stuart's 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. This will be the third reteaming for Depp and Burton, who previously collaborated on Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood. According to Variety, talks could potentially break down between the studio and Depp's UTA reps, since the commercial success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl gives the actor an upper hand in the negotiations. The adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic is being produced by Michael Siegel, who manages the interests of the author's estate, and Plan B partners Brad Grey, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. A script for the pic is in the works, but Warner Bros. has moved carefully over the years to prep the remake; Dahl adapted his novel for the original Willy Wonka movie but wasn't content with the result.
Production Resumes on Raymond Set
Production resumed Tuesday on CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond following the return of co-stars Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle, who had called in sick the day before. Co-star Patricia Heaton also was out sick several days last week, but the actress did report to work Tuesday, Reuters reports. The show's set has been rocked by the deadlock between producers and Emmy-winning co-star Brad Garrett, who has demanded a raise before he returns. Garrett was subsequently written out of next month's premiere episode.
Plastic Surgeons Snippy About Nip/Tuck
The FX network's hit drama Nip/Tuck, which follows two plastic surgeons who run a successful practice in Miami, is apparently getting under the skin of real life plastic surgeons. Dr. Leo McCafferty, chair of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery's public education committee, claims the show perpetuates the belief that all plastic surgeons do is stretch skin and stuff breasts rather than work with burn or accident victims. "The specialty is a medical specialty that deals with real medical issues," McCafferty told the AP. Maybe so, but according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, some 6.6 million people had cosmetic plastic surgery last year, with most popular procedures being nose reshaping, liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery and facelifts. Last week, Nip/Tuck was the 11th-ranked cable show.
The Fab Five Head to Miami
The Fab Five from Bravo's hit reality series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy will guest star as themselves on an episode of the NBC comedy Good Morning, Miami in the show's upcoming second season, Reuters reports. In the scene, Carson Kressley, Thom Filicia, Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas and Jai Rodriguez will meet Dylan and Jake in New York, where the couple moves, and will transform their little studio apartment into a nice living space. The episode is set to air Oct. 7 and will also feature guest appearances from Good Day Live's Jillian Barberie and Beverly Hills, 90210 alum Tiffani Thiessen.
Harrison Ford Guests at Deauville Film Fest
Harrison Ford will be the star guest at next month's Deauville Film Festival in France, The Associated Press reports. The 61-year-old actor will promote his latest action comedy Hollywood Homicide. Other stars expected at the festival, which honors American cinema, include John Cusack, Ed Burns, Charlize Theron, Ridley Scott and Jessica Lange. Ten films will compete for the Jury Prize, while another 15 will be shown out of competition, including Hollywood Homicide, American Wedding and Woody Allen's Anything Else. The 29th annual Deauville fest runs from Sept. 5-14.
Erik Estrada Sues Production Company
Former ChiPs star Erik Estrada filed a lawsuit Monday against White Tiger Films for $75,000, claiming the studio reneged on paying him when it decided against making a proposed movie, the AP reports. According to the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, the 54-year-old actor was set to appear in Four Corners of the Mafia and was to receive $25,000 a day for three days' work, regardless of whether the movie was made. The provision is standard in many actors' contracts to prevent them from losing income after committing to a failed film project.
Magician David Blaine Reveals Next Stunt
For his next stunt, magician David Blaine will suspend himself from a crane in a small Perspex box for more than six weeks. According to the BBC, Blaine will have no communication for the duration of the stunt and his only source of nourishment will be a tube supplying him with water. The event will start September 5 on the banks of the River Thames in London and end October 19. This will be Blaine's first UK stunt. Britain's Sky One TV will air a live telecast of Blaine gong into the box and then again exiting. His past stunts have included standing on a 100-foot-high pole in New York City for 35 hours and encasing himself in a six-ton block of ice for three days.
Role Call: Hip-Hop Director Eats Up Jelly Beans
Grammy-nominated hip-hop video director Chris Robinson, whose recently helmed the video for Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams' "Beautiful," will direct Jelly Beans for Warner Bros. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the project is described as a music-oriented feature set in an Atlanta roller-skating rink in the vein of