Jennifer Aniston has turned to her close-knit group of girl friends after allegedly calling off her marriage to boyfriend Vince Vaughn.
The actress is reportedly single again and is calling on best pals Courteney Cox Arquette, Sheryl Crow and volleyball star Gabrielle Reece to help her cope with another broken romance.
According to Life & Style magazine, Aniston staged a girls-only get together at Cox Arquette's Malibu, California, home on July 24 and has been referring to herself as "the new Jen" ever since.
Aniston and Vaughn never officially announced their engagement, but tabloids were rife with wedding plans.
The all-girl power meeting was a chance for Crow to officially thank her pals for helping her through her breast cancer battle.
In a recent interview, the rocker revealed that Cox Arquette and Aniston were among a small army of pals who stood by her as she faced her health crisis.
Crow revealed, "I had this incredible tribe of women just descend upon me and carry me through the whole experience on their backs."
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Let's just get through Gigli's plot so we can move on to the fun stuff. A lowly hit man Larry Gigli (Ben Affleck) is hired to kidnap the mentally handicapped little brother (Justin Bartha) of a federal prosecutor for Mob purposes. A second hitperson the comely independent-minded Ricki (Jennifer Lopez) is also put on the case because Gigli can't be trusted to do the job correctly. Holed up in Gigli's apartment the duo clashes at first but gradually form a bond even though Gigli is a chauvinistic jughead and Ricki a tough-nut lesbian. Of course they also form an attachment to their quarry Brian who in his untainted innocence manages to change these two hardened individuals. Now that's over with here's just a sampling of some of the deep and meaningful dialogue that passes between these two lovebirds: Says Gigli: "I am the bull and you are the cow…f**k with the bull you get the horn." Gigli to Ricki: "I'm the Sultan of Slick…the original gangster's gangster." Ricki to Gigli: "You know this might be a good time to suggest you not allow the seeds of cruel hope to sprout in your soul." Then later more from Ricki: "The penis is a sea slug or more like a really long toe. But kissing the mouth…The mouth--the lips the warm moist hole--is a twin sister to the…" Well you get the picture. Even Brian gets in a good one when he chirps spastically "It's not my fault I'm brain damaged!" Can it get any better than this?
Ben Jen what were you thinking? On second thought don't answer that--we'd probably rather not know. This is one time when watching two huge celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck fall in love is more cringe-worthy than romantic in any way. Imagine if you will Lopez as Ricki who having succumbed to Gigli's er charm sprawls herself seductively on the bed in a little kimono robe and tells him "It's turkey time. Gobble gobble"--with a straight face. Or how about this one: "You know I'm not into the whole man thing…but somehow you got through." (Insert audible collective audience groan here). Affleck who stands around looking like he's been hit in the face with a frying pan most of the time--of course without ever mussing his hair--comes off looking even worse if that's possible. His accent fluctuates between that of a Brooklyn thug and Southern California surfer dude. As far as how some of the high-profile cameos in the film got there--including Christopher Walken as a quirky cop and Al Pacino as a mobster who gets to vent in his usual boisterous way--obviously some favors must have been called in. Pacino did win his only Oscar for his performance in Scent of a Woman helmed by Gigli's director Martin Brest. Maybe they all deserve more credit for enduring such utterly banal garbage.
Writer/director Brest has had a spotty career at best. Of a handful of movies he's had a hit here and there (Beverly Hills Cop) and a few failures (Meet Joe Black). But with Gigli the filmmaker reaches the bottom rung. He took big names thrown them in a big-budget crime drama that really wants to be a small talky indie and the end result is more like a really bad play in which all the characters give their own over-the-top soliloquies waxing prophetic about every subject under the sun--differences between males and females being gay vs. straight anger management retardation slopping pie on one's head (believe it). Granted on some level Brest is trying to think out of the box within a formulaic setting and in all honesty Gigli's premise isn't all that dreadful--just hacky. There may have been a somewhat decent movie hidden somewhere in Gigli--enough of movie at least to attract Lopez and Affleck (whose romance began on the shoot). Instead it's a discombobulated jumbled mess of incoherent musings and horrible dialogue that moviegoers just shouldn't be subjected to. We wonder if at this very moment J. Lo isn't saying to her future hubby "Let's not do this again"--but wait they are in Kevin Smith's Jersey Girls. We don't want to know what he's saying.
It's that time again. Time for [insert sounds of trumpets blaring] Noah Davis' Oscar Picks!
Every great columnist has his Signature Column, a repeating event for which he is known, for which the column readers clamor. Dave Barry has exploding cows and toilets. Tony Kornheiser has his Redskins bandwagon. Army Archard has his Thanksgiving Day in Paris column.
Yeah, columns where he's in Paris on Thanksgiving.
That's Art Buchwald, you imbecile.
Anyway, I am known for my Oscar Picks column--or I will be, after this year--that yearly romp in which I charmingly wax poetic and pontificate about the best movies of the year even though I have seen few, if any of them. (Who has time to go to the movies any more?) A column famous for its clever wit and slick urbane verbiage, whose only small flaw is that, year after year, it's dreadfully unfunny.
I hate it. I never have anything to say. Yet I am tethered to it. Even though this is my first one.
In February, as soon as the Oscar nominations are announced, the mail starts pouring in.
"Dear Noah, who are you picking for Best Supporting Actress this year? I was amazed at the strength of Jennifer Connelly's performance in A Beautiful Mind. But knowing you, Noah, I'd bet you're probably partial to Marisa Tomei. Can't wait to see the column."
(Actually, I'm partial to pina coladas. Right now.)
Jennifer Connelly's strength? The poor girl doesn't even look strong enough to shoplift a large Prada handbag. (Well, if Winona can, I guess anyone can....) And Marisa Tomei? Sounds like an Italian white semi-sweet wine that no self-respecting Italian would ever drink. Undaunted, I will still compare her work to that of her predecessors in the oeuvre of slow-moving American art house films that are supposed to display the unspoken grief of middle-class angst.
Boy, would I love to "Soprano" this column.
My friend Kit says that the way to send this to Davy Jones' locker is to write a column so bad, so choked with mistakes, misinformation and lousy jokes, so bloated with inane, redundant rhetoric, that no one will ever ask for my column again.
It looks as though you're on your way.
My first reaction was outrage. I'm a (somewhat) responsible journalist. I am devoted to the truth (or whatever sounds like the truth). How would I be any different from Jim Carrey in Big Fat Liar?
Jim Carrey was in Liar Liar.
My second reaction was uncertainty: Who'd notice the difference between that and my ordinary column?
"Fine," Kit replied. "Stick to your principles, and you'll have to do this pathetic column every year until you die. And on your gravestone, it will say, 'Here lies Noah Davis, a (somewhat) responsible journalist who kept writing silly, inane foolishness about the Oscars, year after year, so we're really glad he's dead.'"
Pondering this sticky situation, movies come to mind. I could take Kit's advice and do a Producers-type piece, but what happens if it's a success? Could I be bombastic enough each week to fill this space with specious trivialities?
I wouldn't go there if I were you.
You are me, and thanks for the input.
I think, rather, that I should press on gallantly, in the face of overwhelming odds, much like the outmatched slaves in Spartacus.
This year, my pick for Best Picture is In the Bedroom, mainly because that's where I'd like to be right now, whether it's sleeping or doing the other thing I do in the bedroom, clipping my toenails.
Best Actress goes to Halle Berry for the obvious reason. Actually, the two obvious reasons she bared in Swordfish. Don't talk to me about Monster's Ball. Only two people in the United States have seen it, and it's just an excuse for the normally stodgy Academy voters to nominate some of the most perfect mammary glands ever seen on screen.
Best Actor is Denzel. (Like Madonna, he has reverted to just one name.) He's well overdue, and I really loved him in Training Wheels, the story of a bicycle cop who finally learns to ride a two-wheeler.
Best Supporting Actress is clearly the strong Jennifer Connelly. (Jen, honey, can I get a date?)
Best Supporting Actor goes to Ben Kingsley, as voters were wowed how a guy like Gandhi could go from the most peace-loving person in the British Empire to such a foul-mouthed bad-ass gangster boss.
I'll skip right over the other big prizes on the theory that the reader is more interested in lesser-known categories such as Documentary Short Subject (my favorite is Poor Alan, not a movie, but an ex-boyfriend of my sister's--talk about a "short subject....") and Best Music (Score), which will go to Sting by a final margin of six to four.
I'll move directly to the prize for Best Short Film--Animated, a category I find compelling because it encompasses the full breadth of the human experience, filmed as art but rooted in the intense drama of human striving, and featuring the irreproducible intimacy of realism, yet as animation. The nominees are...
You can stop now, Noah. No one is reading anymore.
Sigh...What can I say? I am addicted to Dawson's Creek.
But I am not alone when I confess that I have never missed an episode of the show during its five seasons.
In the fall of 1997, Warner Brother network reps began targeting teens to watch the show. They passed out flyers and posters displaying the faces of actors who would soon become Hollywood's next group of bright, young things. Curious, I took a couple of posters and put them in my dorm room in college.
No one could predict that Dawson's Creek would become a smash hit months later.
My addiction started while I was in college. Maybe it was worse back then. Every Wednesday night, I would gather with my sorority sisters to watch Dawson's Creek. With each girl having crazy school schedules, assembling for the show was almost a way to guarantee we could be together at one time.
The magic behind Dawson's Creek is that it traces the life of five high school friends from Capeside, a beautiful small town just outside Massachusetts. Its young, attractive characters experiment with their sexuality and deal with the challenges and adventures of coming of age.
Dawson (James Van Der Beek) is an over-dramatic aspiring filmmaker who idolizes Steven Spielberg. He has a platonic relationship with the girl next door, Joey (Katie Holmes), and becoming more than best friends would only ruin their relationship. Pacey (Joshua Jackson) spends most of the time feeling like the ugly duckling of his family. Jack (Kerr Smith) is the jock who had a hard time coming out of the closet. Jen (Michelle Williams) is a promiscuous girl from New York who had to move away to live with her difficult past.
The popularity of the show comes from dealing with sensitive and relevant issues that teens face every day growing up. The show teaches teens how to cope with love, sex, divorce and education.
What is it about the show that has made me a loyal viewer and fan for all these years?
Well, maybe the plots are corny at times. The actors are not as young as the characters they portray--most are in their mid-20s.
But the show gets the job done, and it does it well.
The younger viewers have grown with them, but older folks such as myself, who grew up on Beverly Hills 90210, saw them like our younger siblings. We have seen Dawson and his friends grow over the years, and their vulnerability and sincerity has touched us deeply.
With the success of Dawson's Creek, some of its cast members went on to host Saturday Night Live, appear in several magazine covers, including a spread for TV Guide, and grace retail catalogs.
They also have starred in movies.
Van Der Beek's first starring role was in the hit Varsity Blues, which earned him a 1999 MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Performance. He also made a cameo appearance playing "Dawson" in the Kevin Smith film Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. He will next be seen in the oft-delayed western Texas Rangers.
Holmes starred in the horror yarn Disturbing Behavior, for which she won a 1999 MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Performance. She also acted in the dark comedy Go and the Oscar-nominated Wonder Boys.
Jackson made his film debut as "Charlie" in the Mighty Ducks trilogy, and has appeared in Cruel Intentions, Urban Legend and The Skulls since joining Dawson's Creek.
Williams co-starred with Jamie Lee Curtis in the thriller Halloween: H2O, HBO's lesbian-themed If These Walls Could Talk II, and will next be seen in Prozac Nation, based on Elizabeth Wurtzel's best-selling novel.
Smith starred in Final Destination and the independent romantic comedy Hit and Runway, which received the Screenwriters Award at the 1999 Los Angeles International Film Festival.
Five seasons later, the guys from the creek are all grown up. In its new season, Dawson is pursuing his film degree in Hollywood. Jack, Jen and Joey discover the hardships of being a freshman in college. Pacey is living on a sailboat.
Dawson's Creek often gives the answers to the great mysteries that teens often face. Of course, one would only find the answer if it's embedded in a Spielberg film. Isn't that right, Dawson?
Will Will Truman get lucky? Will Chandler and Monica tie the knot? Will Dawson and Pacey make up? And what's up with "Popular"?!
Those are some of the questions that have been posed and that will be answered during the fall season of television.
Herein is a critique of the fall seasons of 10 TV series that Hollywood.com staffers watch on a weekly basis:
"Will & Grace," NBC, Thursdays, 9 p.m. ET
Is "Will & Grace," the as-of-late-sometimes-hilarious sitcom about a gay man named Will Truman (Eric McCormack, who looks tan and really sexy this season), his best gay friend Jack McFarland (the always funny, over the top Emmy winner Sean Hayes), his best female friend Grace Adler (Debra Messing), and her lush of a socialite "employee" Karen Walker (Emmy winner Megan Mullally), falling from, er, grace this season? "Will & Grace" sadly has been spotty since its Emmy win for Best Comedy. McCormack has said that Will will date this season and have a number of boyfriends. The guest spot a few weeks back by Patrick Dempsey as one of those alleged future boyfriends was funny, and the exchange among Dempsey, McCormack and Hayes in Banana Republic (dancer-actor-singer-choreographer Jack is now a Banana Republic sales associate, headphones and all) was witty and pretty and ... well, you know. But last week's much-hyped guest spot by Cher was totally disappointing. The writing was weak for most of the episode, guest star Camryn Manheim was wasted and Cher appeared in only the last few minutes. What we needed was a half hour of "Jack & Cher." Here's hoping that Will hooks up with Mr. Banana Republic. Life is about the Banana, after all. Go, girlfriend. Grade: B-
"Friends," NBC, Thursdays, 8 p.m. ET
Some shows grind to a halt after two characters get together, but the pairing of Monica (Courteney Cox Arquette) and Chandler (Matthew Perry), who are set to wed this season, has created more hijinks than ever. They have created the funniest storylines of the season: Monica consults an elaborate wedding binder she's been keeping since 4th grade, only to find out that her parents spent her wedding fund on a beach house. Chandler keeps having embarrassing moments with his future father-in-law (Elliott Gould) and finds that he can't smile in photographs. Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) compete for maid of honor (Phoebe wins, but lets Rachel do it because it means more to her). Meanwhile, the non-wedding-related storylines have fallen to the wayside: Rachel has hired a cute younger assistant she can't date; Joey's pilot gets canceled, and Phoebe just found out that her grandmother's secret cookie recipe is from Nestle Tollhouse. Ross (David Schwimmer), other than a memory-lane kiss with Rachel, is so far unlucky in love. But, in the funniest episode of the season, he finds an unlikely snuggling partner in Joey when the two accidentally nap together -- and like it. Grade: B+
"The West Wing," NBC, Wednesdays, 9 p.m. ET
This Emmy winner started its second season with a bang -- quite literally. After the cliffhanger from the end of the first season, wherein President Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) were shot, the two-hour opener took viewers from the present to the past. The episode cleverly gave the audience the background of why Bartlet first got on the campaign trail and showed how his extraordinary staff was assembled, all while juxtaposed with the assassination crisis. And the show doesn't seem to be stopping, creating scenarios that mirror the current social and political climate -- including some controversial racial conflict. The cast is still outstanding -- including Emmy winners Allison Janney as Press Secretary C.J. Cregg and Richard Schiff as Communications Director Toby Ziegler. Guest spots by the likes of Timothy Busfield and John Laroquette added heart and intensity to the behind-the-scenes storylines. But the heart of the show remains Sheen as the wise and truthful President Bartlet, and given the current real-life situation in the political world, Bartlet would be considered a godsend. Grade: A
"Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS, Mondays, 9 p.m. ET
Though "Everybody Loves Raymond" does not tend to build upon storylines episode to episode, it has shown some resourcefulness this season. Bringing in guest stars such as Robert Culp as Debra Barone's (Emmy winner Patricia Heaton) dad was a nice touch, especially when it led to a hilarious dispute between in-laws. But the show has been quite hit-or-miss lately. Ray (Ray Romano) developing a fear of germs, for example -- interesting but not funny, especially for a character who already has three young children. Just a breakdown of logic there. Ray's brother Robert, the divorced cop (played with deadpan precision by Brad Garrett), has also been curiously underused thus far. Grade: B-
"ER," NBC, Thursdays, 10 p.m. ET
The best thing America's top drama -- for the past six seasons -- has done so far is not add any new characters. Drs. Greene and Corday (Anthony Edwards and Alex Kingston) have gotten engaged; Dr. Kovac (the very hunky Goran Visjnic) is feeling guilt over a guy he accidentally killed during a mugging; and Dr. Carter (Noah Wyle) is back from rehab and peeing in a cup whenever he's asked. Dr. Chen (Ming-Na) is pregnant by a doctor at another hospital; Dr. Benton (Eriq LaSalle) lost his surgical attending position and is now "demoted" to an ER post; and there are hints that Dr. Weaver (Laura Innes) is mulling a lesbian relationship. Oh yes, and they treat people, too. The strongest episodes are still the medical-oriented cases, especially the 22-week-old "miracle baby" who survived nearly an entire day. Medical student/nurse Abby Lockhart (Maura Tierney) is emerging as the emotional core, letting us miss Sherry Stringfield and Julianna Margulies a little less. What's left to do is to use more of Michael Michele, who plays pediatric resident Dr. Cleo Finch. "ER" is not consistently great, but it still keeps our pulses pounding. Grade: B
"Dawson's Creek," WB, Wednesdays, 8 p.m. ET
Last year ended with Joey (Katie Holmes) sailing into the sunset with Pacey (Joshua Jackson), leaving her best friend/soul mate Dawson (James Van Der Beek) weeping and alone. It's a good choice because Holmes and Jackson have decidedly better chemistry, and although they dispense the same amount of SAT-filled sentences (meanwhile Pacey is flunking school) as Joey and Dawson, this new couple have snappier arguments/flirtations. This season: Joey's repairing her friendship with Dawson, who's trying to move on by taking pictures and finding a new confidante in Pacey's older sister (Sasha Alexander), particularly after his parents discover that they're having another baby. Pacey and Dawson take (very small) steps toward reconciliation after the former's boat is swept into a storm and the latter risks his neck to save him. Jen (Michelle Williams) is temporarily ostracized from the group -- and from best friend Jack (Kerr Smith) -- when she lets the already medicated Andie (Meredith Monroe) try Ecstasy at a rave, causing her to collapse and nearly die. But it's Andie who gives the fractured group a chance to heal again when she announces that she's leaving Capeside to spend the rest of the year in Italy (she already got into Harvard early, dontcha know). In her tearjerking farewell, she implores her friends to make up, and it looks as if they will. Grade: B+
"Frasier," NBC, Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET
In the early '90s -- in its third season -- "Seinfeld" began to structure its episodes around the supporting characters, not the title character. Suddenly, the same seems true about "Frasier." While the love affair between Niles (David Hyde Pierce) and Daphne (Jane Leeves) seemed to be the hook to get viewers back into the show early this fall, it remained the hook throughout most of the season. And it worked. Their relationship has spawned a number of morose storylines thus far, with ex-wives and ex-fiancees plotting against the likable couple, but Frasier himself seems to have been pushed aside, stuck with adequate conflicts such as his displeasure with his wealthy new boss. But it still works. And Niles pretending to still be married in social circles is surprisingly hilarious each time. Grade: B+
"Spin City," ABC, Wednesdays, 9 p.m. ET
No, you can't blame Charlie Sheen alone for "Spin City's" decline in popularity. It really comes down to the writing. Only one episode of "Spin City" this fall has been impressive -- the one where Sheen and Heather Locklear lock horns on the set of "Live With Regis" -- but little else has proven to be much of a surprise. Sure, Sheen's character, the deputy mayor of New York, is narcissistic, and yes, he has a tainted history with drugs, but didn't we already expect that? It's not Sheen's fault that this sort of cliched writing took place. It's not Locklear's fault that she has little chemistry with him. And it's not the viewers' fault for wanting to change the channel - even though it means the certain demise of one of their previously most beloved shows. We miss ya, Mike. Grade: C-
"Popular," WB, Fridays, 9 p.m. ET
The WB's "Popular" is one of the most underrated and funniest shows on television. It's sad that it's been relegated to a Friday night spot. The show boasts a fabulous ensemble cast of pretty people vs. Everyday people, although the two sides have been mingling more and more. School stud turned social pariah Josh Ford (Bryce Johnson) has hooked up with tree-hugger Lily Esposito (Tamara Mello) after the pair rescued a gay chimpanzee from the L.A. Zoo. It's a lame pairing, but player-player Josh has already hooked up with the rest of the ladies on the show, so I guess Lil' Lily was next. Alarming this season: Instead of funny gags such as kidnapping Gwyneth Paltrow's personal shopper and competing ruthlessly for Homecoming Queen, "Popular" has turned to Very Special Episodes. Harrison John (Christopher Gorham) is battling leukemia, Nicole Julian (Tammy Lynn Michaels) has cried ... twice(!) ... over her fall from popularity, Carmen Ferrera's (Sara Rue) mother is an alcoholic, and both reigning Homecoming Queen Brooke McQueen (Leslie Bibb) and Mike "Sugar Daddy" Bernadino are battling eating disorders. Not very funny stuff. This season has been more about tears over sadness and struggles rather than laughter. As Mary Cherry (the always hilarious Leslie Grossman) would say, let's get some laughs back, hon. And pronto! Grade: B-
"Ally McBeal," Fox, Mondays, 9 p.m. ET
After a disappointing third season, David E. Kelley's series was in need of some serious spice. Kelley tried everything to raise ratings, from a lesbian lip-lock to some full-blown musical mishmash, but nothing could save the sinking show. In a final act of desperation, Kelley brought in a fresh-from-the-cell Robert Downey Jr. Little did Kelley know that the criminal element would bring such critical success this fall. As a cute, clever attorney named Larry, Downey's straight but sarcastic delivery is the perfect foil for Ally's (Calista Flockhart) high-strung hysteria. He steals every scene with his flawless timing, then punctuates even the simplest sentence with that trademark sexy smirk. Downey may have been sent in to rekindle the spark, but his presence has set the show on fire and made "Ally McBeal" a must-see on Monday nights again. Grade: B+
Reviews by Jason Alcorn, Kit Bowen, Tracey Pollack, Ellen A. Kim and Don Chareunsy.