We all think of Sesame Street as a show for kids. It primarily is... but the writers love to add a good amount of humor to keep the adults sane while watching 45,000 hours' worth of the same episodes. They love to make any celebrities appearing on the show a foil - and the celebs don't mind!
1. Anderson Cooper
First it's Cooper's earnestly propping himself up in Oscar the Grouch's trashcan, then his interviewing the two Grouches, that makes this hilarious. I'm sure that kids don't even know who Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather really were. Just great.
2. Ricky Gervais
The interaction between Elmo and Gervais is what makes it, especially the beginning when Elmo mentions Brad Pitt. Then, Kevin Clash is able to give Elmo so much expression for a puppet with ping pong balls for eyes.
3. Jimmy Fallon
It's not just Fallon's goofy send-up of Bear Grylls, but also Sesame Street regular Alan Murakaoka who sells this. Murakaoka's eye-rolling comments in the background are just as funny as Fallon's earnestness.
4. Brian Williams
This is available for download on YouTube for $3.99 on Sesame Street's official channel, on Amazon Streaming and it's often on On Demand on Sprout. Watching the normally buttoned down Williams jump up and down and also chase a chicken who keeps taking his microphone are only a couple of the highlights.
5. Will Arnett
Arnett is great as this pompous magician who thinks he can fool children by doing simple addition and subtraction tricks without even attempting any real sleight of hand. Watching Sesame Street regular Chris pop his bubble is great.
6. Andy Samberg
PBS is constantly running this episode, called "Shape-O-Bots." Samberg dons a few very poor disguises to enlist the help of the Shape-O-Bots, and the results are hilarious.
7. Bo Jackson
The message behind this is great, but it's just so funny seeing Jackson in both football and baseball uniforms stopping and solemnly doing these kids things. Bo Diddley in the background is just the cherry on top of this sundae.
8. Patrick Stewart
Stewart lends a gravitas towards explaining the letter B...but the whole Shakespearean setting just makes it funny. Imagine if Ian McKellan had joined in?
9. Marisa Tomei
Tomei channels her My Cousin Vinny voice here for this act, and nails it. Of course, my son has never seen the movie - he's only three. I can't wait for him to see it someday.
10. The New York Jets
The funny thing about this clip is that two years later, none of them were with the team. Coach Eric Mangini was let go and Chad Pennington and the others were also gone. Ah football. Here today, on another team tomorrow.
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There is something particularly unnerving about demon possession. It's the idea of something you can't see or control creeping into your body and taking up residence eventually obliterating all you once were and turning you into nothing more than a sack of meat to be manipulated. Then there's also the shrouded ritual around exorcisms: the Latin chants the flesh-sizzling crucifixes and the burning Holy Water. As it turns out exorcism isn't just the domain of Catholics.
The myths and legends of the Jews aren't nearly as well known but their creepy dybbuk goes toe-to-toe with anything other world religions come up with. There are various interpretations of what a dybbuk is or where it comes from — is it a ghost a demon a soul of a sinner? — but in any case it's looking for a body to hang out in for a while. Especially according to the solemn Hasidic Jews in The Possession an innocent young person and even better a young girl.
The central idea in The Possession is that a fancy-looking wooden box bought at a garage sale was specifically created to house a dybbuk that was tormenting its previous owner. Unfortunately it caught the eye of young Emily (Natasha Calis) a sensitive artistic girl who persuades her freshly divorced dad Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan of Watchmen and Grey's Anatomy) to buy it for her. Never mind the odd carvings on it — that would be Hebrew — or how it's created without seams so it would be difficult to open or why it's an object of fascination for a young girl; Clyde is trying really hard to please his disaffected daughters and do the typical freshly divorced parent dance of trying to please them no matter the cost.
Soon enough the creepy voices calling to Emily from the box convince her to open it up; inside are even creepier personal objects that are just harbingers of what's to come for her her older sister Hannah (Madison Davenport) her mom Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) and even Stephanie's annoying new boyfriend Brett (Grant Show). Clyde and Stephanie squabble over things like pizza for dinner and try to convince each other and themselves that Emily's increasingly odd behavior is that of a troubled adolescent. It's not of course and eventually Clyde enlists the help of the son of a Hasidic rabbi a young man named Tzadok played by the former Hasidic reggae musician Matisyahu to help them perform an exorcism on Emily.
The Possession is not going to join the ranks of The Exorcist in the horror pantheon but it does do a remarkable job of making its characters intelligent and even occasionally droll and it offers up plenty of chills despite a PG-13 rating. Perhaps it's because of that rating that The Possession is so effective; the filmmakers are forced to make the benign scary. Giant moths and flying Torahs take the place of little Reagan violently masturbating with a crucifix in The Exorcist. Gagging and binging on food is also an indicator of Emily's possession — an interesting twist given the anxieties of becoming a woman a girl Emily's age would face. There is something inside her controlling her and she knows it and she is fighting it. The most impressive part of Calis's performance is how she communicates Emily's torment with a few simple tears rolling down her face as the dybbuk's control grows. The camerawork adds to the anxiety; one particularly scary scene uses ordinary glass kitchenware to great effect.
The Possession is a short 92 minutes and it does dawdle in places. It seems as though some of the scenes were juggled around to make the PG-13 cut; the moth infestation scene would have made more sense later in the movie. Some of the problems are solved too quickly or simply and yet it also takes a while for Clyde's character to get with it. Stephanie is a fairly bland character; she makes jewelry and yells at Clyde for not being present in their marriage a lot and then there's a thing with a restraining order that's pretty silly. Emily is occasionally dressed up like your typical horror movie spooky girl with shadowed eyes an over-powdered face and dark clothes; it's much more disturbing when she just looks like an ordinary though ill young girl. The scenes in the heavily Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn look oddly fake and while it's hard to think of who else could have played Tzadok an observant Hasidic Jew who is also an outsider willing to take risks the others will not Matisyahu is not a very good actor. Still the filmmakers should be commended for authenticity insofar as Matisyahu has studied and lived as a Hasidic Jew.
It would be cool if Lionsgate and Ghost House Pictures were to release the R-rated version of the movie on DVD. What the filmmakers have done within the confines of a PG-13 rating is creepy enough to make me curious to see the more adult version. The Possession is no horror superstar and its name is all too forgettable in a summer full of long-gestating horror movies quickly pushed out the door. It's entertaining enough and could even find a broader audience on DVD. Jeffrey Dean Morgan can read the Old Testament to me any time.
Neil Patrick Harris hosts everything.
Last night, the venerable NPH proved—as he does every Monday night on CBS—that he is the best part of everything that he's involved in. On the inaugural sailing of the Disney Fantasy New York City cruise last night, Harris made a surprise appearance, playing host of the show for pleasantly surprised passengers (including Mayor Bloomberg, Tim Gunn, Alan Cumming and Ty Pennington).
The omni-skilled Harris opened the show with a hilarious musical number, parodying several classic Disney songs, delivering zings at the corporation, his cruise ship costars Jerry Seinfeld and Mariah Carey (who delivered performances after Harris'), and himself. Fans of Harris and Disney alike would be wise to check out the below video: it is an example of the man's endless talent, and the unavoidable cheeriness of Disney's musical résumé.
Click the above photo to see more pics of Neil Patrick Harris. Source: The Daily Traveler
The TV critics have spoken, and they've decided to break off from the Broadcast Film Critics Association's and their Critic's Choice Film Awards to make their own telecast on June 20th. They've just selected, for the first time, their very own nominees for the brand new Critics' Choice TV Awards and they are:
Best Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire - HBO
Dexter - Showtime
Friday Night Lights - DirecTV
Fringe - FOX
Game of Thrones - HBO
The Good Wife - CBS
Justified - FX
The Killing - AMC
Mad Men - AMC
The Walking Dead - AMC
Best Actor in a Drama Series
Steve Buscemi - Boardwalk Empire - HBO
Kyle Chandler - Friday Night Lights - DirecTV
Michael C. Hall - Dexter - Showtime
Jon Hamm - Mad Men - AMC
William H. Macy - Shameless - Showtime
Timothy Olyphant - Justified - FX
Best Actress in a Drama Series
Connie Britton - Friday Night Lights - DirecTV
Mireille Enos - The Killing - AMC
Julianna Margulies - The Good Wife - CBS
Elisabeth Moss - Mad Men - AMC
Katey Sagal - Sons of Anarchy - FX
Anna Torv - Fringe - FOX
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Alan Cumming - The Good Wife - CBS
Walton Goggins - Justified - FX
Shawn Hatosy - Southland - TNT
John Noble - Fringe - FOX
Michael Pitt - Boardwalk Empire - HBO
John Slattery - Mad Men - AMC
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Michelle Forbes - The Killing - AMC
Christina Hendricks - Mad Men - AMC
Margo Martindale - Justified - FX
Kelly Macdonald - Boardwalk Empire - HBO
Archie Panjabi - The Good Wife - CBS
Chloë Sevigny - Big Love - HBO
Best Reality Series
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - ABC
Hoarders - A&E
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills - Bravo
Sister Wives - TLC
Undercover Boss - CBS
Best Reality Series - Competition
The Amazing Race - CBS
American Idol - FOX
Dancing with the Stars - ABC
Project Runway - Lifetime
RuPaul’s Drag Race - Logo
Top Chef - Bravo
Best Reality Show Host
Tom Bergeron - Dancing with the Stars - ABC
Cat Deeley - So You Think You Can Dance - FOX
Ty Pennington - Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - ABC
Mike Rowe - Dirty Jobs - Discovery
Ryan Seacrest - American Idol - FOX
Best Talk Show
Chelsea Lately - E!
The Daily Show - Comedy Central
The Ellen DeGeneres Show - Warner Bros.
Jimmy Kimmel Live! - ABC
The Oprah Winfrey Show - Harpo
Best Comedy Series
Archer - FX
The Big Bang Theory - CBS
Community - NBC
Glee - FOX
Louie - FX
The Middle - ABC
Modern Family - ABC
The Office - NBC
Parks and Recreation - NBC
30 Rock - NBC
Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin - 30 Rock - NBC
Steve Carell - The Office - NBC
Louis C.K. - Louie - FX
Charlie Day - It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia - FX
Joel McHale - Community - NBC
Jim Parsons - The Big Bang Theory - CBS
Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Courteney Cox - Cougar Town - ABC
Edie Falco - Nurse Jackie - Showtime
Tina Fey - 30 Rock - NBC
Patricia Heaton - The Middle - ABC
Martha Plimpton - Raising Hope - FOX
Amy Poehler - Parks and Recreation - NBC
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell - Modern Family - ABC
Neil Patrick Harris - How I Met Your Mother - CBS
Nick Offerman - Parks and Recreation - NBC
Ed O’Neill - Modern Family - ABC
Danny Pudi - Community - NBC
Eric Stonestreet - Modern Family - ABC
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Julie Bowen - Modern Family - ABC
Jane Krakowski - 30 Rock - NBC
Jane Lynch - Glee - FOX
Busy Philipps - Cougar Town - ABC
Eden Sher - The Middle - ABC
Sofía Vergara - Modern Family - ABC
The Coen brothers could be adding a third Writers Guild of America Award to their impressive trophy case next month if they can nab best original screenplay for their quirky comedy Burn After Reading. The WGA, who announced their nominees today, presented Joel and Ethan Coen with best adapted screenplay last year for No Country for Old Men and best original screenplay in 1997 for Fargo.
Rounding out the contenders this year are Dustin Lance Black for Milk, Woody Allen for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Tom McCarthy for The Visitor and Robert Siegel for The Wrestler.
The WGA’s best adapted screenplay noms include Eric Roth for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with story by Roth and Robin Swicord; Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan for The Dark Knight with story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer; John Patrick Shanley for Doubt, based on the stage play; Peter Morgan for Frost/Nixon, based on his stage play; and Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire.
WGA members will meet simultaneously in New York and Los Angeles for the award ceremony on Feb. 7.
Burn After Reading, Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, Focus Features
Milk, Written by Dustin Lance Black, Focus Features
Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Written by Woody Allen, The Weinstein Company
The Visitor, Written by Tom McCarthy, Overture Films
The Wrestler, Written by Robert Siegel, Fox Searchlight Pictures
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Screenplay by Eric Roth; Screen Story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord; Based on the Short Story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures
The Dark Knight, Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan; Story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer; Based on Characters Appearing in Comic Books Published by DC Comics; Batman Created by Bob Kane, Warner Bros. Pictures
Doubt, Screenplay by John Patrick Shanley, Based on his Stage Play, Miramax Films
Frost/Nixon, Screenplay by Peter Morgan, Based on his Stage Play, Universal Pictures
Slumdog Millionaire, Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy, Based on the Novel Q and A by Vikas Swarup, Fox Searchlight Pictures
Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, Written by Stefan Forbes and Noland Walker, InterPositive Media
Chicago 10, Written by Brett Morgen, Roadside Attractions
Fuel, Written by Johnny O'Hara, Greenlight Theatrical / Intention Media
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, Screenplay by Alex Gibney, From the Words of Hunter S. Thompson, Magnolia Pictures
Waltz with Bashir, Written by Ari Folman, Sony Pictures Classics
Dramatic Series Dexter, Written by Scott Buck, Daniel Cerone, Charles H. Eglee, Adam E. Fierro, Lauren Gussis, Clyde Phillips, Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, Tim Schlattmann; Showtime
Friday Night Lights, Written by Bridget Carpenter, Kerry Ehrin, Brent Fletcher, Jason Gavin, Carter Harris, Elizabeth Heldens, David Hudgins, Jason Katims, Patrick Massett, Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, John Zinman; NBC
Lost, Written by Carlton Cuse, Drew Goddard, Adam Horowitz, Christina M. Kim, Edward Kitsis, Damon L. Lindelof, Greggory Nations, Kyle Pennington, Elizabeth Sarnoff, Brian K. Vaughan; ABC
Mad Men, Written by Lisa Albert, Jane Anderson, Rick Cleveland, Kater Gordon, David Isaacs, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Marti Noxon, Robin Veith, Matthew Weiner; AMC
The Wire, Written by Ed Burns, Chris Collins, David Mills, David Simon, William F. Zorzi, Richard Price, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos; HBO
30 Rock, Written by Jack Burditt, Kay Cannon, Robert Carlock, Tina Fey, Donald Glover, Andrew Guest, Matt Hubbard, Jon Pollack, John Riggi, Tami Sagher, Ron Weiner; NBC
Entourage, Written by Doug Ellin, Jeremy Miller, Ally Musika, Steve Pink, Rob Weiss; HBO
The Office, Written by Steve Carell, Jennifer Celotta, Greg Daniels, Lee Eisenberg, Anthony Farrell, Brent Forrester, Dan Goor, Charlie Grandy, Mindy Kaling, Ryan Koh, Lester Lewis, Paul Lieberstein, Warren Lieberstein, B.J. Novak, Michael Schur, Aaron Shure, Justin Spitzer, Gene Stupnitsky, Halsted Sullivan; NBC
The Simpsons, Written by J. Stewart Burns, Daniel Chun, Joel H. Cohen, Kevin Curran, John Frink, Tom Gammill, Valentina Garza, Stephanie Gillis, Dan Greaney, Reid Harrison, Ron Hauge, Al Jean, Brian Kelly, Billy Kimball, Rob LaZebnik, Tim Long, Ian Maxtone-Graham, David Mirkin, Bill Odenkirk, Carolyn Omine, Don Payne, Michael Price, Max Pross, Mike Reiss, Mike Scully, Matt Selman, Matt Warburton, Jeff Westbrook, Marc Wilmore, William Wright; Fox
Weeds, Written by Roberto Benabib, Mark A. Burley, Ron Fitzgerald, David Holstein, Rolin Jones, Brendan Kelly, Jenji Kohan, Victoria Morrow, Matthew Salsberg; Showtime
Breaking Bad, Written by Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Patty Lin, George Mastras, J Roberts; AMC
Fringe, Written by JJ Abrams, Jason Cahill, Julia Cho, David H. Goodman, Felicia Henderson, Brad Caleb Kane, Alex Kurtzman, Darin Morgan, J.R. Orci, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, Zack Whedon; Fox
In Treatment, Written by Rodrigo Garcia, Bryan Goluboff, Davey Holmes, William Meritt Johnson, Amy Lippman, Sarah Treem; HBO
Life on Mars, Written by Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Scott Rosenberg, Becky Hartman Edwards, David Wilcox, Adele Lim, Bryan Oh, Tracy McMillan, Sonny Postiglione, Phil M. Rosenberg, Meredith Averill; ABC
True Blood, Written by Alan Ball, Brian Buckner, Raelle Tucker, Alexander Woo, Nancy Oliver, Chris Offutt; HBO
Episodic Drama - any length - one airing time
“Don’t Ever Change” (House), Written by Doris Egan & Leonard Dick; Fox
“Double Booked” (Burn Notice), Written by Craig O’Neill & Jason Tracey; USA
“Gray Matter” (Breaking Bad), Written by Patty Lin; AMC
“Pilot” (Breaking Bad), Written by Vince Gilligan; AMC
“Pilot” (Eli Stone), Written by Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim; ABC
“There’s Something About Harry” (Dexter), Written by Scott Reynolds; Showtime
Episodic Comedy - any length - one airing time
“Believe in the Stars” (30 Rock), Written by Robert Carlock; NBC
“Cooter” (30 Rock), Written by Tina Fey; NBC
“Crime Aid” (The Office), Written by Charlie Grandy; NBC
“Crush’d” (Ugly Betty), Written by Tracy Poust & Jon Kinnally; ABC
“Succession” (30 Rock), Written by Andrew Guest & John Riggi; NBC
“Vote for This and I Promise to Do Something Crazy at the Emmys” (My Name is Earl), Written by Greg Garcia; NBC
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