It was the trickle of pee heard around the world. Cannes attendees were aghast and/or amused an infamous scene from The Paperboy that shows Nicole Kidman urinating on Zac Efron; this is apparently a great salve for jellyfish burns which were covering our Ken Doll-like protagonist. (In fact the term protagonist should be used very loosely for Efron's character Jack who is mostly acted upon than active throughout.)
Lurid! Sexy! Perverse! Trashy! Whether or not it's actually effective is overshadowed by all the hubbub that's attached itself to the movie for better or worse. In fact the movie is all of these things — but that's actually not a compliment. What could have become somethingmemorable is jaw-droppingly bad (when it's not hilarious). Director Lee Daniels uses a few different visual styles throughout from a stark black and white palette for a crime scene recreation at the beginning to a '70s porno aesthetic that oscillates between psychedelic and straight-up sweaty with an emphasis on Efron's tighty-whiteys. This only enhances the sloppiness of the script which uses lines like narrator/housekeeper/nanny Anita's (Macy Gray) "You ain't tired enough to be retired " to conjure up the down-home wisdom of the South. Despite Gray's musical talents she is not a good choice for a narrator or an actor for that matter. In a way — insofar as they're perhaps the only female characters given a chunk of screen time — her foil is Charlotte Bless Nicole Kidman's character. Anita is the mother figure who wears as we see in an early scene control-top pantyhose whereas Charlotte is all clam diggers and Barbie doll make-up. Or as Anita puts it "an oversexed Barbie doll."
The slapdash plot is that Jack's older brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) comes back to town with his colleague Yardley (David Oyelowo) to investigate the case of a death row criminal named Hillary Van Wetter. Yardley is black and British which seems to confuse many of the people he meets in this backwoods town. Hillary (John Cusack) hidden under a mop of greasy black hair) is a slack-jawed yokel who could care less if he's going to be killed for a crime he might or might not have committed. He is way more interested in his bride-to-be Charlotte who has fallen in love with him through letters — this is her thing apparently writing letters and falling in love with inmates — and has rushed to help Ward and Yardley free her man. In the meantime we're subjected to at least one simulated sex scene that will haunt your dreams forever. Besides Hillary's shortcomings as a character that could rustle up any sort of empathy the case itself is so boring it begs the question why a respected journalist would be interested enough to pursue it.
The rest of the movie is filled with longing an attempt to place any the story in some sort of social context via class and race even more Zac Efron's underwear sexual violence alligator innards swamp people in comically ramshackle homes and a glimpse of one glistening McConaughey 'tock. Harmony Korine called and he wants his Gummo back.
It's probably tantalizing for this cast to take on "serious" "edgy" work by an Oscar-nominated director. Cusack ditched his boombox blasting "In Your Eyes" long ago and Efron's been trying to shed his squeaky clean image for so long that he finally dropped a condom on the red carpet for The Lorax so we'd know he's not smooth like a Ken doll despite how he was filmed by Daniels. On the other hand Nicole Kidman has been making interesting and varied career choices for years so it's confounding why she'd be interested in a one-dimensional character like Charlotte. McConaughey's on a roll and like the rest of the cast he's got plenty of interesting projects worth watching so this probably won't slow him down. Even Daniels is already shooting a new film The Butler as we can see from Oprah's dazzling Instagram feed. It's as if they all want to put The Paperboy behind them as soon as possible. It's hard to blame them.
One of the greatest TV Tropes to behold is tortuous and often unrequited love. Just like in life, one character pines for another, or sometimes both characters unknowingly pine for each other. Since they’re easily some of the most relatable aspects of any TV series, this Valentine’s Day we celebrate the greatest unrequited love stories in TV history. Even if the couple finally gets together, it’s the journey through unrequited territory before they get together that makes the eventual romance so rewarding.
Desmond David Hume & Penny Widmore of Lost
For regular readers of this column, it’s no secret that I was a huge Lostie right up until the head-scratching finale. One of the biggest reasons I watched Lost was the ballad of Desmond and Penny. When we first meet Desmond, he’s pushing a button in the Hatch to save the world. As flashbacks eventually reveal, Desmond was preparing for a race around the world to prove to Penny’s father, Charles Widmore that he was worthy of his daughter’s affections. What seemed to be nothing more than a backstory about unrequited love turned into a game-changer for the entire series, as the “Not Penny’s Boat” scene is one of Lost’s most heartbreaking moments. The heartache would continue in and episode called “The Constant” in which Desmond’s “flashes” between 1996 and Christmas 2004 begin and he realizes Penny is his constant. The episode is widely regarded as Lost’s finest hour of television and it aired - not coincidentally - two weeks after Valentine’s Day.
Luke Spencer & Laura Webber of General Hospital
Talk about unrequited love stories. Luke and Laura are daytime TV’s most recognizable couple and certainly the breakout stars of General Hospital. But before their wedding attracted nearly 30 million viewers and (reportedly) gifts from Princess Diana, their story would begin far too violently for my tastes, as theirs is essentially the story of a woman falling for her drunken rapist. For you younger readers out there, ask your mother or aunt and they’ll likely tell you that they forgave Luke Spencer’s actions just as Laura did. I know it’s a bitter pill to take, but in the zany world of Soap Operas, this somehow works. The encounter has since been rewritten to be more of a seduction than an attack, but for GH fans, it didn’t seem to matter and no matter how many times their love falters and they are broken up, Luke and Laura always seem to find a way back into each other’s arms.
Jim Halpert & Pam Beasley of The Office
Sure, they’ve been happily married for several years now, but admit it: The Office was at its best when these two were pining for one another. The first few years of the series saw Jim pining for Pam and vice versa in many ways, but first Pam had to rid herself of her Jerk Store boyfriend, Roy. Jim has it so bad for Pam that he moved to the Stamford branch to alleviate the pain of seeing her every day. Jim even tried to date Scranton co-worker, Karen. But as we all know, Roy and Karen were sent packing and the big moment finally occured in the Season 3, in an episode called “The Job” and the sweetest couple on TV was finally joined, with Jim admitting he bought an engagement ring a week into their dating. A collective “aww” was heard round the world. To keep the romantic tension going (at least a little bit), it would take Big Tuna another year to muster up the stones to pop the question.
Milhouse Van Houten & Lisa Simpson of The Simpsons
Matt Groening’s answer to Charlie Brown has always been Milhouse. And always pulling that proverbial football of a heart out from under him has been his best friend’s little sister, Lisa. You would think that after harboring a hopelessly devoted crush for almost 25 years,the poor guy would take a hint, but Milhouse Mussolini Van Houten just keeps soldiering on. When Lisa gave up her first crush, Nelson, Milhouse rejoiced with newfound faith when Lisa told him her next crush could be anyone. Considering in most of the Simpsons’ flash-forward episodes, Milhouse is finally with Lisa, it’s no wonder the kid won’t give up.
Jimmy Chance & Sabrina Collins of Raising Hope
The newest show on our list allows for Jimmy and Sabrina’s unrequited affections to remain unknown. If you haven’t seen Raising Hope yet, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Jimmy pining for Sabrina is played up for some good jokes, as his folks, Virginia and Burt, often make fun of the poor guy’s inability to open up to Sabrina and tell her the truth. Of course, it was revealed in a flashback episode that when Jimmy used to dress up as an emo-Goth kid, she had the hots for him. But alas, it was not to be and Jimmy grew out of his dark overlord phase and Sabrina never knew it was him and still doesn’t. Despite the wrinkle of Sabrina’s boyfriend, the two still spend a lot of time together, with Sabrina teaching Jimmy about the world and being a surrogate mom to Hope. It’s only a matter of time before these two consummate.
Spike & Buffy Summers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Before True Blood’s Sookie, every vampire on TV had it bad for Buffy. Punk vamp Spike was supposed to be different. The guy had come to Sunnyvale with his vampire girlfriend, Drusilla, and was genuinely sickened by the fact that his former friend, Angel, had feelings for a slayer. After losing Dru and having “nightmares” about her, Spike is forced to admit that he’s in love with Buffy, who despite initiating violent and seductive meetings will have no part of a real relationship with Spike. Despite being turned down, Spike remained a loyal right hand to Buffy in the final seasons of the show, even sacrificing himself to close the Hellmouth in the series finale. When Buffy finally declares her love, Spike glibly replies, “No, you don’t, but thanks for saying it.”
Samuel “Screech” Powers & Lisa Turtle of Good Morning Miss Bliss and Saved by the Bell
Yes, I refuse to not acknowledge that Saved by the Bell was once a series called Good Morning Miss Bliss and was supposed to be vehicle for star Haley Mills. (Iif anyone remembers Zack introducing stories from when he, Lisa, and Screech were in Middle School, they are from that show.)Anyway, for any awkward teen who ever pined for the one of the nicest, sweetest, cutest girls in school, it’s easy to understand the pains of unrequited love. If you’re Screech, puberty hits, hormones are racing, and there’s Lisa Turtle looking cute beyond belief. Like many teenage boys falling for their first crush, you’d be powerless to her charms as well.
Every supernatural creature in the world & Sookie Stackhouse of True Blood
Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, goblins, shape-shifters, lions, tigers, bears – if you’re a supernatural male and you live in Bon Temps, odds are you have got it bad for one Sookie Stackhouse, and usually that ain’t good. Heck, most times, it usually leads to the end of the world until Sookie and her pals stop it. Sweet fairy blood notwithstanding, Anna Paquin does play Sookie with a certain bit of adorable bravado; she’s sexy and she knows it. And at its heart, True Blood is the ultimate female wish fulfillment fantasy –and correct me if I’m wrong, ladies. It’s a show about a girl who literally entices every eligible good looking male around her to protect her and gladly die for her. Oh, and they all have six- to eight-pack abs.
Carmela Soprano & Furio Giunta of The Sopranos=”3”>
These poor mob wives, they just have nothing to do but sit around all day while their husbands are out with all kinds of mistresses. Carmela Soprano had to put up with Tony’s philandering ways for years and barely said a peep about any of them. But when Carmela laid eyes on the tall, dark Italian man, Furio, she developed feelings for the dashing, sensitive mobster. The sentiments between the two were mutual, however they never consummated their love – after all, they’d both be dead if anything ever happened. When Furio caught Tony in the act, he belived Carmela deserved better he almost shoved Tony into helicopter blades. Not being able to contain his feelings, Furio packed up and left New Jersey for his native Naples. Carmela on the other hand, revealed her feelings for Furio to Tony in Season 4’s explosive finale, “Whitecaps.” =”3”>
What couples are your favorite tumultuous love stories? Do you think the chase is better than the catch, or can you not wait for your favorite lovebirds to get together and be happy? Leave your opinions in the comments and follow me on Twitter @CouchForceOne. Happy Hallmar – err, I mean Valentine’s Day!
Director Alexander Payne's (Election Sideways) new film opens over sprawling landscape shots of Hawaii's scenic suburbia accompanied by George Clooney's character Matt King summing up his current predicament: "Paradise can go fuck itself." The reaction unfortunately is reasonable.
We pick up with King an ancestor of Hawaiian royalty in the middle of deliberations over a plot of land handed down through his family over generations. With every uncle aunt and cosign whispering opinions into his ear King is suddenly presented with an even greater problem: taking care of his two daughters. A boating accident leaves his wife in a coma forcing Matt to take a true parenting role with his young socially-troubled daughter Scottie (Amara Miller) and his rebellious teen Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) who was previously shipped off to boarding school. Matt awkwardly hunts for the emotional glue necessary for the mismatched bunch to become "a family " but matters are made even more complicated when Alex reveals that her mother was cheating on him before the accident. Murphy's Law is in full effect.
With The Descendants Payne continues to explore and discover the inherent humor in life's melancholic situations unfolding Matt's quest for understanding like a road movie across Hawaii's many islands. Simultaneously preparing for the end of his wife's death and searching for the identity of her lover Matt crosses paths with a number of perfectly cast side characters who act as mirrors to his best and worst qualities: his father-in-law Scott (Robert Foster) who belittles Matt for never taking care of his daughter; Hugh (Beau Bridges) an opportunistic cousin who pressures Matt to sell the land; Alexandra's dunce of a boyfriend Sid (Nick Krause) who always has the wrong thing to say; and Julie (Judy Greer) the wife of the adulterer in question. Colorful yet real Matt experiences a definitive moment with each of them yet the picture never feels sporadic or episodic.
Clooney and Woodley help gel these sequences together as they observe experience and butt heads as equals. Clooney's own magnetism stands in the way of making Matt a fully dimensional character but he shines when playing off his quick-witted daughter. His reactions are heartbreaking—but it's the moments when he has to put himself out there that never quite ring true. But the script by Nat Faxon Jim Rash and Payne gives Clooney plenty of opportunities to work his magic visualizing his struggle as opposed to vomiting it out like so many of today's talky dramas.
The Descendants is a tender cinematic experience an introspective and heartwarming film unafraid to convey its story with pleasing simplicity. Clooney stands out with a solid performance but like many of Payne's films it's the eclectic ensemble and muted backdrop that give the movie its real texture. The paradise of Descendants isn't all its cracked up to be but for movie-goers it's bliss.
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.