March 27, 2013 2:52pm EST
It seems that Transcendence will stop at nothing to have a Mara. Just because things didn't work out with Social Network breakout and Dragon Tattoo star Rooney, who was up for a major role in Wally Pfister's developing sci-fi, that doesn't mean it can't get its Mara fix elsewhere: how about her sister Kate? Yes, yes, that'll do just fine, the Johnny Depp picture murmurs while stroking a Persian longhair. And the villainous film has gotten its wish: Deadline reports Kate Mara, who fans will recognize from the Netflix original series House of Cards, is taking a role in Transcendence.
As it stands, we know very little about the Christopher Nolan-produced film, including the sort of character Mara will be embodying. In fact, all we really know is that Depp will be playing an ingenious scientist whose mind is transported into a computer (a plot like that and Uprising recurrer Mara on board? Maybe they should call this thing TRON-Scendence!).
RELATED: Christopher Nolan Developing Trippy Space Movie 'Interstellar'
While the 30-year-old actress has not achieved the stardom of her franchise-leading younger sister, Mara has a few impressive credits to her name. From her teen years on, she amounted the likes of independent winners Joe the King, Tadpole, and Happythankyoumoreplease (maybe they should call this thing Tran-Sundance!).
In addition to Depp, the cast is also made up of strong performers like Paul Bettany and Rebecca Hall... wait a sec. Mara, Bettany and Hall in this movie? They should just call this thing Iron-MANscendence!
So it's decided. That's what they'll call it.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
[Photo Credit: Matt Carr/Getty Images]
You Might Also Like:15 Oscar-Winning Nude Scenes10 Insane 'Star Wars' Moments You Didn't Notice
March 19, 2013 1:52pm EST
The great thing about the Real Jell-O Shots of Dixie Cup Trailer Park is that there has always been some dramatic irony in the series – you always know how it's going to end before it even starts. During Season 1, we knew that the evil Camille Grammer (before her canonization as St. Camille) would get her comeuppance and that Kelsey Grammer would divorce her. In Season 2, which took a turn for the dark and tragic, we knew that Taylor Armstrong's (before she put on a black Victorian dress and became the Widow Armstrong) husband Russell would kill himself shortly after filming wrapped. This year we all thought it was going to be the year that Adrienne, the Queen of the Maloofs (a race of mole people that live under the mountain) would be getting a divorce. But now it's here, and we have been cheated.
We do know that Adrienne was attacked by the mole men she once controlled, and they ripped her limb from limb, sullying their hands not only with her gore, but with dark fake tanning solution that they will never rinse off. She is dead and she will never be heard from again. Not at the reunion, not on the next season, not even in the sale materials for her shoe, The Maloof Hoof, which is currently on sale for 75% off on lesser shoe deal websites across the Internet.
Yes, we thought we were going to see her and Paullo the Ape's relationship break down and shatter into a million bickering feuds, but we did not. We just heard about secondhand reports from Radar Online and TMZ saying that she confirmed that they split. (In fact, most of Lisa's housewarming party was spent standing around discussing stories that the women had read about each other on various websites and how true they are. Kyle thinks it is sad, but this is the life they lead. This is the life they chose, and now they're all stuck with it, a million glaring pixels pointing out their every flaw, surgery, or bathroom boink at Kyle's White Party.)
Anyway, we did not get to see the carnage of the divorce and for that, well, I am a little sad. I have a feeling it's coming in next week's finale, but they can't pack all that goodness into one episode. No, they can never.
But before we can talk about Adrienne's marriage falling apart, first we have to talk about her vodka party. We must never forget that Adrienne, when she was a Queen, was crowned in Las Vegas. Everything about her is Vegas. She is basically an over-stuffed faked Louis Cat-orze love seat sitting in the lobby of the Paris hotel. She is basically a fake canal filled with faux-gondoliers and Ty-D-Bol blue water at the Venetian. She is the roller coaster on top of New York New York. She is the sparkler that accompanies a $800 bottle of Grey Goose at Ghost Bar. She is the clown car parked out in front of Circus Circus. She is a nipple tassel at the Spearmint Rhino. She is the snap of the hooker flier a small Latino man makes before he pushes it into your palm. That is Adrienne, former queen of the Maloofs. May she rest in peace.
So, it should come as no surprise that she is launching a vodka called ZING!. No, wait. She is launching a red velvet cupcake flavored vodka called ZING! that comes in a bottle with a pink strobe light at the bottom. This party was a fantastic mess. First of all there was a wall of roses spelling out ZING! that was essentially a vodka glory hole, where liquor just appeared out of nowhere. I'm sure that Adrienne's gay party planner got this idea at a rest stop. Then there were all these models spray painted red velvet maroon with the word ZING! written all over them. Oh, and let's not forget the gorgeous people painted white who fooled only Fetch into thinking they were real statues. And the bartenders, mostly naked with topiary around their manscaped bits. Then there was the giant moving bush that looked like a Transformers robot made out of shrubbery and crawled in the same manner. There was also some girl jittering and glittering in the entry way, right after guests walked through a giant strobe-light vodka bottle. Oh, this thing was tackier than wallpaper covering wood paneling.
RELATED: 'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Recap: The Inauspicious Returns of Kevin Lee and Drunk Dana Wilkie
All of this and they were serving all sorts of red velvet cupcakes that blinked with light. Everything blinked. Everything was illuminated (isn't that a book or something?), but no one at this party has seen the business end of a red velvet cupcake since the publication of The South Beach Diet in 2003. Seriously. And does Adrienne think this was going to do better than, for instance, her awful shoe line or, the other cupcake vodka that is already on the market or Skinny Girl Margaritas? Oh, Bethenny Frankel. She has ruined Housewives forever thinking they can replicate her success. She is the exception that proves the rule, not the rule itself.
At the party, we started to see the rift in the Paullo and Adrienne marriage, especially when she was ordering him around and telling him to do things, and he got all mad. Then he got himself spray painted like the rest of the help. ("This makes my fat disappear," he says. No, Paullo, it does not. You are still fat.) Then he climbed up in a tree and pretended to be, well, an ape. Adrienne smiled her Chesire Cat smile and tried to make a face of disapproval, but her plastic mug wouldn't move. She had to tell us that she is sick of Paullo being the center of attention, always being the dancing monkey trying to be on TV. Oh, it's so hard to be these two.
The only other thing that happened at Adrienne's party is that Fetch gathered all the girls around for a meeting of the We Hate Brandi Club and read them all a text message that Brandi sent her. "Do you know how you can fix your marriage? You and Dean should give each other a hall pass!" They all stood shocked and amazed. Fetch said her marriage didn't need any saving and she never talked to Brandi or anyone about her marriage. Wait, what? The only thing we know about Fetch is that she thinks her husband loves her more than she loves him and that she wants to sleep with other guys all the time. That is why Brandi sent that text, as a joke!
I've said it before and I'll say it again: no one on this show has a sense of humor, and they fundamentally don't understand Brandi. That is why Kyle, Fetch, TMC Faye Resnick, St. Camille, and Adrienne all sit around and talk about how awful Brandi is and how she will sleep with everyone's husband and she is an awful tramp. Brandi was joking! It was a joke. It might not have been a good joke or a funny joke, but just like when she said that she slept with everyone in Beverly Hills, it was not the truth. Lighten up, and for a change, I don't mean your skin tone.
Thankfully, Yolanda "Bananas" Foster was there to defend her. She did not back down, and told Fetch that she does talk about her marriage all the time and that if she has a problem with Brandi and what she said, she should bring it up to Brandi, not at this party behind her back where all the women can snake and sting about her while sipping some sickeningly sweet flavored vodka and wishing in their heart of hearts that there was just a nice glass of red around somewhere. Yolanda shut it all down, and for that I am grateful. I hate myself for liking her.
The other party we have to talk about, of course, is Lisa Vanderpump's housewarming/vow renewal/Dancing with the Stars cast announcement party. She was so stressed out about it that she had Brandi over so they could get massages. Lisa, if you need to relax, just spin around and look at that freaking view in your back yard that looks like it's the set of Heidi (the movie about the little girl in the Alps, not the madam from L.A.) or the opening of The Hills or something.
So, Lisa had her party planner Kevin Lee over, and we all laughed at him stripping down to his boxer briefs and wading in the pool so he could float out some flower arrangements. "Oh, what you scaring about, Lisa?" he asks in his exuberant broken English. And we all laugh, laugh, liggety laughed like he is not dressed as "Black and White" era Michael Jackson and visiting his gravestone.
The party started and everyone arrived. Lisa was wearing a long, black satin dress, as was Kim Richards, Fetch, and her mom (a satchel full of question marks for why she was even there). Does no one in Beverly Hills know how to dress for a day event? Sit right the hell back down, Kyle Richards, in your grey sequins (the dress that wasn't good enough for your store opening last week). You don't either. The Morally Corrupt Faye Resnick was there, wearing a green lace dress that looked like she found it in the window of the Exotic Video 2000 store on 8th Avenue somewhere in the 30s. The Widow Armstrong showed up with a gay on each arm in a gold dress that is somehow the exact same color as her face. She went into the bathroom and changed into her mourning garb and was never heard from again.
RELATED: 'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Recap: Kim Richards Will Always Be a Drunk
Yolanda "Bananas" Foster was there, looking statuesque in white. God, I really do like her. Well, at least until she opened up her mouth and referred to her husband David Foster Wallace, who has been on more reality shows than Janice Dickinson and Simon Cowell combined, as her "king." After that, I just want to punch the smug right off her mouth. Seriously, YBF? Do you really believe that this man, who is trashier than a 46-year-old drinking a goldfish bowl cocktail at the wet T-shirt contest at the Booze 'N' Cruise in St. Pete on Spring Break Weekend, is "your king"? God, I hate that.
The party was filled with all sorts of odd characters like Linda Thompson, who brought apricot jam for Lisa because she is "so middle class." Yes, just like her ex-husband Bruce Jenner Kardashian and her son Brody Jenner. They are all middle class. They are all middle class and sold their souls to Ryan Seacrest for a production deal. And then there was Jennifer, Brandi's friend, who looks like a drag queen in the best possible way. She's not even a human, she is just a pile of fake lashes, flashy jewelry, lucite heels, and self tanner that was someone animated with gay sparkle magic. Oh, and let us not forget about DeeDee, who finally sees the light of day. Yes, St. Camille's greatest acolyte is there to protect her mistress and show her ever evolving love and devotion.
But the main event, of course, was in the final moments of the show. Yolanda and Brandi pulled Fetch over to talk to her about why she is upset with the text that Brandi sent. Fetch, like an amateur (which is why she will never happen) tried to play it off like it was no big deal, that she knew it was a joke and that she didn't think there was anything wrong with it. Then Yolanda piped up: "That's not what you were saying the other night." I love Bananas because she doesn't let anyone get away with their s***. She's calm, cold, and sober, so she has a much better memories than the rest of these tequila worms.
Across the party St. Camille, Kyle, and the Morally Corrupt Faye Resnick saw the two women talking to Fetch. The exchange got a little heated, however not heated enough to result in a fight. Yolanda was keeping Fetch honest and Brandi wanted to know what her problem was and was saying that she hoped they could be friends. However, Faye said, "They're attacking [Fetch]." Kyle, who is wise to this world, said, "No, don't go over. Don't get involved. Let this happen." But Faye barged ahead, the mint green lace jaunting across the lawn and sidling up to the conversation.
Brandi, ever the diplomat, said, "You're not involved. You can go." As with so many of Brandi's pronouncements, it was the right sentiment but the wrong wording. Faye was not there to help. Faye was not there to offer a resolution, she was there to pour nitro on the glycerine and watch it explode. Brandi knew this, but could have been a bit more subtle. Faye, like a petulant child refused to leave. Things, of course, just escalated from there.
RELATED: 'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Recap: There Are Real Fireworks in Paris
God, I have said lots of things are the worst in my day – hang nails, Cheeto dust, Rachael Bilson, people who take too many pictures with the iPhones at concerts, when your DVR cuts off the last joke of a sitcom because it ran a moment over, cheese – but of all those things, of everything in the universe that is bad, the worst is really Faye Resnick. She is just an awful horrible human being and I would like to banish her to a black hole so that the chill of space will suffocate her for eternity and no sound will ever escape it. On that day, you won't hear screams in space, but you will hear cheers.
I think my biggest problem with Faye is that she is just leveling insults at Brandi for no reason. Brandi has never done anything to her. Brandi hardly even knows her (at least from what we can tell on the show). But Faye is just nasty to her becaues of things Brandi may or may not have done to her friends. Faye tells Brandi that, "No matter how many Chanels you borrow, you will never be a lady." Oh yeah, Faye. Since when do you know what a lady is? Since you posed for Playboy months after your best friend was murdered by her husband and then wrote a book about the whole thing to cash in on your pain? Who is the lady now? Faye makes all these judgments about Brandi, but doesn't even hold up to the smell test herself. (I bet she smells like wet dog and magazine pages.) She is cruel and condescending and absolutely horrible.
The worst part, of course, is that Faye accused Brandi to her face of something everyone has been muttering about her behind her back: that she is guilty of breaking up Adrienne and Paullo. Even Fetch, who was in the midst of an argument with Brandi and Yolanda, thought this was too much and told Faye to shut up. Of course this is not true. Sure, she might have added a bit of strain to a bad situation. But as Kim Richards said, if they were a real team, if they were a couple on healthy ground, they would have found a way to work through it. (And when Kim Richards is being the voice of reason, you know that everyone else is on magic mushrooms or something.) Paul and Adrienne did not work it out, and they had problems well before Brandi arrived on the scene. As soon as Brandi and Yolanda heard this, they turned around and walk away from Faye, who stood there looking superior.
It was at that moment, if you squinted your eyes and walked around past the giant urn pouring its water into Lisa's pool, if you looked through that water and into the sun, that you could see it: all the spirits haunting that hilltop, fluttering around like tissues caught on the limb. There was one behind Faye, buffeted about by the elements, her hair and garments flapping about her as if they were all about to take flight. It was a blond woman, someone close to Faye, who was always standing there watching over her, pushing her forward and steering her course. You could see that spirit there at the party if you looked the right way. But then you saw it get farther and farther away, floating up into the air blown by an invisible gale and then it turned it's back on Faye and disappeared into the sky, leaving behind it a little glint of light. Faye lost something by being there that day. In fact, we all did.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Bravo]
You Might Also Like:Topanga's Revealing Lingerie Shoot: Hello '90s! 25 Stars Before They Were Famous
March 14, 2013 9:12am EST
Admission is an altogether pleasing entry in the romantic comedy genre, with genial, three-dimensional performances from stars Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Lily Tomlin, and Nat Wolff. It's a no-brainer to finally have two of the most likable comic talents in Hollywood appear opposite each other in a smallish and smart comedy, and although it would be easy for Fey and Rudd to skate by on their respective charms, Admission isn't quite as fluffy as the trailers would have you believe.
The film is bit like director Paul Weitz's 2002 film About A Boy, in that a grown-up is forced by a precocious child to reassess his/her life. In the film, Fey's character Portia Nathan has already been facing some major life changes when she meets an incredibly smart young Princeton hopeful named Jeremiah Balakian (Wolff) whose life she has the power to change. Portia is an admissions officer for Princeton who's spent her whole life trying to be the opposite of her mom Susannah (Tomlin), a first-wave feminist who is as quick to chop her own wood as to wield a shotgun at an unwelcome houseguest. Portia has a passionless relationship with a Princeton professional (Michael Sheen) who awkwardly pats her on the head when she's feeling amorous, but she sucks it up and is happy, more or less. Their Ivory Tower lifestyle of cocktail parties and conferences isn't conducive to having children, something she thought they agreed on until Mark leaves her for his pregnant mistress. Portia is left to find out what she wants for herself, and begins to realize what her dreams don't look anything like she thought.
RELATED: 'Admission' Star Tina Fey on Paul Rudd and What She and Amy Poehler Will Host Next
Like its title, Admission works on several levels. There is plenty here about motherhood and the many forms it takes, from the interest the admissions officers take in their own applicants to Portia's relationship with Jeremiah. Portia and Susannah's relationship could have been explored more, especially in light of the generation gap between first wave feminists and the women who enjoy the fruits of their labor; it's loaded and bristling with resentment and pain that speaks to the greater political dynamic as much as it does the mother/daughter relationship. There's a slightly mean subplot about workplace politics among women with Portia, her competitive coworker Corinne (Gloria Reuben), and their boss Clarence (Wallace Shawn), and it would have been interesting to explore that dynamic as well, especially since Corinne goes out of her way to point out she's a working mom, which means Portia is saddled with extra work because she has all that extra time what with not being a mother.
Paul Rudd is one of the most charming actors in Hollywood. Pairing him with Fey is a genius move, but a dangerous one. They could have easily fallen into a broad slapstick, but they're actually complimentary, bringing out a warmth and depth that could have easily been overlooked or underplayed. There's even a little touch of About a Boy in Rudd's John Pressman, a former classmate of Portia's who spends his time running around the world to fix other people's problems instead of facing his own. John adopted a kid on his travels, the adorable and, yes, precocious Nelson (Travaris Spears), a relationship that's funny but also quite tender. It's no secret that the yin and yang of John and Portia are meant to balance each other out over the course of the movie, and although things get a bit rushed near the end, it's still sweet to watch it unfurl. Wolff, who used to appear on the kids' show The Naked Brothers Band, is invigorating to watch as an autodidact whom John has taken under wing.
Admission is intricately constructed from the inside out, by which I mean if it had a weaker script or flatter direction or a less talented cast, it would be filed away and forgotten like so many other dusty rom-coms. Luckily, the end product is richer and more nuanced. It's not fair to compare Tina Fey's character Liz Lemon on 30 Rock to Portia, especially since Fey didn't write the script for Admission. The parallels are hard to miss, though, especially given each character's marital status and decidedly ambivalent attitude towards children. (Coincidentally, Sheen also played a Liz Lemon love interest on 30 Rock.) At some point, Liz Lemon became less of an ally to brainy single women and more of a caricature; it didn't feel like she was laughing with the Liz Lemons of the world but more at them. It's hard not to feel a little bitter about it.
RELATED: Tina Fey Is 'Struggling' Now That '30 Rock' Is Done
Although Portia is more sympathetic, Fey brings the baggage of Lemon with her to future endeavors, or at least to those roles where she plays brainy single women questioning their childless lives. (Let's not forget that Lemon was married and mommy'd up by the end of the show, either.) At the same time, these questions are relevant to many women's lives. We're damned if we do and damned if we don't; similarly, filmmakers are damned if they do and damned if they don't. At the very least, it's refreshing to see a romantic lead in her thirties treated like an attractive, sexual being instead of a punch line. Susannah is also portrayed as a sexy, beautiful woman that men still flock to, too.
Despite these misgivings, I was won over by Admission, which, frankly, left me a little verklempt by the end.
You Might Also Like:Topanga's Revealing Lingerie Shoot: Hello '90s! Stars Who Have Lost Roles For Being Too Hot (Celebuzz)
February 06, 2013 9:47pm EST
It's Hollywood week, and we're supposed to be floating on little clouds of Nicki Minaj's cotton candy hair and Mariah Carey's never-ending collection of butterfly accessories.We're supposed to be in heaven. But no. It's not that simple. American Idol has to be fresh and new, so they have to change all the rules of Hollywood week. What they don't seem to understand is they they just drew a mustache on the Mona Lisa of reality singing competition challenges.
Nigel Lythgoe waltzes out to tell a surprisingly husky group of competitors that the rules have changed this year. Rule 1: See how there are only men in this room? That's the first change. Just think of it as a middle school dance. Hollywood Week 1 is the wall where all the boys are standing, the one with the basketball scoreboard hovering above their heads. Hollywood Week 2 is the opposite wall, with all the girls twirling their hair while lingering close to the emergency exit. It's unnecessary, and it severely disrupts the usual ebb and flow of the dance of Hollywood week drama.
Rule 2: Producers choose the groups, no ifs, ands, or buts. Sure, in theory this means we'll get multitudes of groups butting heads rather than just the few that are comprised of shy guys, stragglers, and raging ego-maniacs, but in practice, it means continuous crimes against music, endless mild disagreement, and so much distraction that even some of the best singers in the competition are thrown off their game. It's a mess, and not the great kind. The worst result may be that terrible performances are rewarded with a second chance time and again this episode, perhaps as an acknowledgement that this new process was bad for everyone, but first, the judges did their best to thin out the herd in the initial sudden death speed round.
RELATED: 'American Idol' Recap: Yeah, Dude Looks Like a Lady
Most important to note at this point in the competition are those folks who lost it all in a matter of seconds. First up was Karl Skinner, who we fell in love with in Oklahoma City only to let go too soon in a fit of Coca-Cola-driven fervor. Unfortunately, Karl shows himself to be all growl and no true vocals, and he's sent home along with the group of strange rapscallions (including a man who drops a paper heart with all the ceremony of Criss Angel releasing a dove while he delivers his emo audition). He's followed by the singing doctor a.k.a. Dr. Calvin Peters, who I chastised for leaving behind his job helping to heal burn victims to pursue fame when we met him back in Charlotte. Next comes cutie-patootie firefighter Dustin Watts who was always lovable, but rather generic in this mixed bag of contestants.
Next comes the challenge. Cortez Shaw shows up with too much confidence for his own good, attempting to belt out the Whitney Houston classic "I Will Always Love You." And it's not good. His off-key, cocky performance starts a debate among the judges when Mariah inexplicably likes him (girl, is your falsetto range affecting your brain?). Nicki actually says she is "disgusted" and Randy says the only thing the kid needed to hear: "You ain't Whitney." Yet somehow, this cocky little smart-ass gets another shot at the big time. Sure, he sang a much tougher song than anyone else, but he clearly knows nothing about his vocal ability and that spells elimination.
The fake-outs continue as Nicki carries out a few jokes of her own. Her first victim is Bryant Tadeo, who she gets to admit he's tired so she can tell him "It's good that your tired because you're going to have a lot of time to sleep now that we're sending you home." But it's all a cruel ruse, Bryant's just dealing with a little emotional trauma now. No big deal. At least Bryant got a lesson in being grateful and excited about Idol. Oh and also, there's the part where he gets to stay. That's not bad either.
Lastly, we watch Brian Rittenberry, whose adorable wife survived cancer and then spent the second half of his audition sweetly fawning over Keith Urban. He attempts to country-fy Brian McKnight's "Back at One," and while he's still got strength and sweetness, it's clear the rough quality of his voice is serving to camouflage the lack of vocal ability. The lovable lug is sent home, and it's not pleasant to watch his dreams crash, the show is about singing and it was the right thing to do to let him go. It's a skill our judges only seem to have half of the time as auditions continue.
Almost as suddenly as it rehearsals began (because there was no time devoted to the cruel, yet fascinating process of self-selecting groups), the performances were underway, undercutting the vicious footage we've come to expect. It's probably better for our souls this way, but we were okay with the consequences of verbal sparring and bullys bested by their more talented teammates. Luckily, not everything has changed. We still get the requisite bathroom rehearsal. Unnecessary beat-boxing (unless you're Justin Timberlake or Blake Lewis, beat-boxers need not apply, but oh boy do they ever). We're also treated to an ego-crushing wake-up reel of the contestants before they've prettied themselves. Well, everyone except for Johnny Keyser, who apparently rolls out of bed with perfectly feathered hair and a cavalier attitude. And while even I'm jealous of his charmed life, full of eyes so sparkly they blind the sun and hair so naturally perfect it should be in a museum, his wake-up routine isn't exactly the highlight of Hollywood week. Then again, I'm not really sure what was.
RELATED: 'American Idol' Recap: The Panel is Haunted ... By Complete and Utter Civility
First group of the night is Mathheads, comprised of Matenee Treco, Matheus Fernandes, Gabe Brown, and Nick Bodington. After milking Matheus's tale of shortness for all it's worth (even having the kid lay on his bed so he could put his hopes out into the ether, "God, please help me. I've been waiting so long for this," even though he just had a fairly sizable shot on Ryan Murphy's The Glee Project. Matenee's got a case of the crazy eyes, Gabe has an issue or two with really singing out when he's not using his gutteral growl, Matheus rocks out like it's still 1984 and Van Halen is the pinnacle of musical fame, and Nick is simply so overshadowed by his cohorts that I couldn't remember a distinguishing factor about him if I tried. "Somebody to Love" by Queen earns them all another shot at the top 24, but I'm still wary of Matheus and his seemingly out of control ego.
Johnny Keyser, his pretty face, and his group take on a song that he didn't actually know, because he doesn't listen to human music, just the sounds of a million angels singing directly into his ear. "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" may be a classic Four Tops song that most fans of aural joy have heard at least once in their lives, provides a problem for Johnny in that it is a total blind spot. It means a complete jumble of misguided voices for Johnny's group.Johnny forgets his lyrics, but manages to keep on humming. Kareen Clark has the words down, but he's flatter than a piece of plywood. The harmonies are awful. Despite the fact that Aussie Keith can't believe that he knows a song that all-American kid Johnny doesn't, Johnny is sent on through while the other move on. Of course they keep the hot guy. This is Hollywood after all. What's Tinseltown without a few attractive people to keep us interested? (A town full of talented people who were judged fairly? Who wants that.)
And the disappoint keeps on keeping on. Curtis Finch and his unbelievable gospel/R&B voice have made him one of the voices to beat in the competition, but as it turns out, he's kind of a jerk. When his assigned teammate, scrawny little pop-punk-loving Charlie, gets sick, Curtis sees it as an opportunity to do better for himself, with the kid out of the way. Their third teammate does everything he can to help Charlie, even admitting it to the camera while Curtis stood aside expressionless, totally aware that taking credit for helping Charlie would be unwise after the truth had been caught on camera. When the trio performs, however, you'd never know there was an issue among them, but Curtis's capable runs are tinged with the knowledge that he would have let that poor kid hang out to dry if he needed to. Apparently, he didn't get the memo about everything he says being taped and presented to America so that they might one day choose to vote (or more likely not vote) for the guy who was too ambitious to help a guy in need. Naturally, the judges don't know about his backstage antics and they're wowed, sending all three through while Mariah inflated Curtis' ego by telling him she's been waiting all day to hear him sing. With a victory on his hands, Curtis is all team spirit suddenly, but I can't imagine that would be the case if the song had put him in danger. If only she wasn't right about his talent. Selfish or not, the guy can destroy any song he touches.
RELATED: 'American Idol' Recap: There Ain't No Crying (or Fighting) in Baton Rouge
Two more relatively boring groups squeak on by, giving speech-impediment sufferer Micah Johnson and his teammates Vincent Powell, Marvin Calderon, and David Willis a ticket to the next round. Also raking in the luck was sign language teacher Nate Tao's group of leather-jacket-lovers, who all went easily to the next round, even Cortez, despite his tendency to hop into off-key territory during "Some Kind of Wonderful." If Cortez keeps getting through, we're going to have the male equivalent of Karen Rodriguez on our hands again.
While we wade through two groups who can't even muster up a fraction of the lyrics to either "What Makes You Beautiful" (only the most infection pop song courtesy of the biggest boy band on the planet, One Direction) or any number of other well-known songs during this, a singing competition presumably filled with folks so set on singing they might want to listen to artists other than themselves. Two groups of lyric-losers come through and only Paul Jolley and Will White survive.
B-Side or the group formerly known as Three Men and a Baby (get it, because that one kid is 15 and the rest of the dudes are strapping men!), try a little Maroon 5 and Keith comes to his fellow reality judge Adam Levine's defense: "Adam Levin isn't dead yet, but he's alredy rolling over in his grave." Morbid, Urban. Gupreet Singh Sarin, Nicki's favorite "Turbanator" from New York, leads the group, many of whom forget the lyrics completely while Sarin at least fills his empty lyrical space with some scatting. The sounds are simply cacophonic and even though Gupreet does his best to salvage his flub, he's not much stronger than he was during auditions when Nicki had to beg her fellow judges to give him a shot. Yet somehow, the judges deliberate and come out with the idea that these guys, who blew their group audition, deserve another chance. Even Gupreet looks confused as Nicki exclaims her joy over her "baby group" living to see another day of competition. She says she pushes them through because "we are humans and we forget the lyrics, but it's about what you do in those moments that makes you a star," and we hear you, Nicki, but these guys don't seem to be the ones to use that card up on. Hopefully, I'm wrong and they heed Randy's command to simply "be better next time." Some act of God spared this undeserving group, but hopefully it will lead to somewhat of a small miracle when it comes time for solo Hollywood auditions tomorrow.
Suddenly, some glaring choice (that occurred in the last paragraph and surprised all of us) makes the judges realize they have to get tough and soon. Luckily, they are served up a nice hot plate of terrible singing to get them in the cutting mood. Last Minute, a group that included Jason Jones, Dan Wood, Jessie Lawrence, and some guy the producers didn't see a need to call by name forget their words and quite possibly how to sing, forcing Randy to burst, "How do I even judge this?" He doesn't really have to, and send the whole lot home.
Carrying on with the snooze train is a group organized by Ryan Conner Smith, who gets the singers to perform a cappella. The judges hate the lack of musical accompaniment, and Ryan's innovation (and lack of vocal prowess) is what sends him home while the rest of his group stays. Perhaps he should have heeded his vocal coach (and Katharine McPhee's mom) when she cast a disapproving look at the mention of an a cappella audition.
Burnell Taylor from Baton Rouge is known as the guy who made Mariah cry during auditions, but during Hollywood week, his group's "Some Kind of Wonderful" almost made her cry for another reason. Burnell doesn't know the words, and his vocals are suffering. Yet memories of his past performances apparently keep him alive, during the round that is supposed to be judged at face value and he and his teammate Tony Foster Jr. are safe while their cohorts pack up.
Finally, as the end of the episode approaches, the drama begins to emerge. Super 55, socially-challenged stutterer Lazaro Arbos' group is having issues. And if you ask Josh Stevens, it's because they're all spending too much time trying to fix Lazaro because he's "not from around here" and his stutter makes it hard to communicate. While Lazaro is concerned that his teammates take his speech issue as a symptom of deficient mental ability, Josh is the one showing off just how stupid he can be. Who's the one Nicki loves so much, she made a heart with her hands in his general direction during the sudden death round? Oh, Lazaro. That's right. Pipe down, Joshie. While Josh worries some more, Ryan Seacrest's voice-over hopes the group doesn't become a statistic (which is impossible because they're by default already a statistic. This isn't an STD prevention PSA. "Becoming a statistic" doesn't mean bad things happen to you.) And the only people in danger of statistichood turned out to be Josh and his buddy in bullying, Scott Fleenor, who plays the flat singer to Josh's boring 1950s sock-hop attendee. Lazaro and his teammate Christian Lopez (With the dreamy blue eyes and sultry, seductive singing voice) are the only ones worth watching, and when the voting is done, the judges only leave the talented ones standing. Scott simply sulks, but Josh takes this golden opportunity to right the wrongs he's committed since group rehearsals started to be a total ass. "If anything, you should be going on. We spent so much time perfecting what you needed to be doing," was all he could say through his tears to Lazaro before he parted ways with the talented young lad.
But Idol had more than one group tailor-made for total implosion. Country Queen pitted two eccentric young men against two strapping young country singers, one of whom has a serious issue with men who don't chop down trees or stomp around in muddy boots. JDA and Joel Wayman drive Army man Trevor Blakney nutty with their focus on showmanship, but his real problem seems to be the various ways in which both men are less attached to traditional expressions of gender. While they're completely willing to listen to his needs as a member of the group, Trevor is convinced his teammates are ignoring him and he flatout refuses to participate in the lyrical workshop that he whined so desperately for, complaining that he didn't want to "put on dresses and put glitter on." And his intolerance of people unlike himself (something producers were counting on) costs him his pride and his spot in the competition. He forgets his lyrics, while his glitter-wearing teammate JDA focuses on vocals and wins the judges approval. Everyone in the group, including so-so country singer Lee Pritchard make it through while Trevor heads home to pout about never having lost anything before. Well, my dear boy, the thing about winning is that it doesn't happen when you sit on your rear end complaining for an entire round of a cutthroat competition.
And just when it seems the judges' vow to be tougher isn't quite as strong as they made it sound, Cystic Fibrosis afflicted 15-year-old Kayden Stephenson comes to the stage with his group, which includes a mature and much more polished David Leathers Jr. (he was eliminated at the top 24 cut off last season), is up with "For the Longest Time." Idol placed all four members of DSDK together because, oh aren't they cute, they're all the youngest in the competition. Each of the youngsters delivers at the very least descent solos until it comes time for Kayden's turn. A quick shot of Mariah while Kayden flounders with his sweet, child's voice on stage makes the diva look like she's just seen something horrific. This sweet little survivor is crashing and burning before her eyes and she can't handle the thought of what the judges are going to have to tell him. Luckily, he's not sent home alone, alone Sanni M'Mairura and David make it through, but it's still heartbreaking to watch little Kayden trudge on home. While his story was awe-inspiring, it was clear during his first audition that his voice wasn't strong enough for the competition, yet the show couldn't resist sending him through and pumping him for failure. He should never have made it to the televised round of auditions; it was clear he wasn't strong enough. Yet in the end, Nicki has to convince Mariah (and any backstory-clinging viewers) that sending him home was the right thing to do. Yes, it was hard watching the panel send home a cancer survivor with an amputated leg after he wasn't good enough for the competition, but it's less difficult than watching him step even closer to his dream before it's taken away. Rip the bandaid off early, or we're left feeling horrible for a young kid who was advanced unfairly because his story looked great as an episode endcap.
Finally, the night ends in tears when Frankie Ford, who won us over with his story about singing for change on the subway in New York, lets the pressures of a contentious group mar his ability to use his God-given voice. Placed in a group with powerhouse Charles Allen, unstoppable personality Papa Peachez, and constant surprise Adam Sanders, Frankie is faced with a smorgasbord of musical variety. He could, as the least experienced member of the group, use it to learn. But instead, he spends the whole rehearsal period complaining that they don't listen to him, driving him to tears just minutes before it's time to perform. Oz, as they decide to call themselves, serves up a performance that's the vocal equivalent of the junk drawer. Nothing fits together, however great the value in each individual piece. Peachez is weak, clearly shaken up by the group dynamic. Adam does okay, but ultimately rescues his performance with a suggestive joke. And Charles is the only solid performer, pulling out a few high notes and impressive runs. Frankie, however, cries on stage, forgets his lyrics, and eventually gives up mid-phrase. Even if his story is admirable and moves us and his voice is a good one, this is not the behavior or attitude of someone who can win Idol. He's cut loose while Peachez earns another chance thanks to Nicki's incessant begging, but that's not the last we hear of the supposedly sweet singer from New York. He bursts out of auditions, barreling away from his friends and yelling about how he'll come back and win, but it's his line "They will not deny me" that is of concern. Frankie, you're a good singer, but no one, not even American Idol owes you a win or an instant ticket to fame. He can come back again, but unless he fixes that attitude, it's going to be the same story all over again.
With all that surprisingly lackluster nonsense out of the way, Thursday will deliver the solo Hollywood round, also known as the place contestants start to have their big moments (you know, those performances that seem to make the sky open up just so angels can come down and flutter around the singer on the stage?). There will be a bit of drama here and there, but what we're looking for isn't a fight or a hissy fit. We're looking for some kind of wonderful.
Of course, it will be strange to go through this process once more with the ladies next week. Hopefully, they don't leave us with such ardent fits of boredom as the menfolk.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: Fox]
You Might Also Like:
Hot Young Politicians
Who Wore This Crazy Hat?
Stars Who Changed Their Look
January 09, 2013 9:56am EST
Hollywood D-listers: is there anything they can't do? They dance, they skate — sometimes they even cook. But now they are taking the next step, literally, onto a diving board. Tonight is the two-hour premiere of the special Stars in Danger: The High Dive on Fox (of course), in which celebrities learn complicated, Olympic-style dives with the help of Olympic medalist Troy Dumais — and then must perform them in a competition, in which the best divers move on to the next round. (You pretty much know how this reality thing works by now.)
Of course, Stars in Danger: The High Dive, which is ushering in a new wave (get it?!) of reality TV, is not to be mistaken with ABC's upcoming series Celebrity Divers in which celebrities learn complicated, Olympic-style dives and then must perform them in a competition, in which the best divers move on. Okay, so they are the same thing. But, hey, this one got here first and has a far more hilarious name.
Before these celebrities walk the plank — er, get up on the high dive to belly flop their way into our homes, hearts, and ultimately oblivion, we wanted to give you the full rundown before you tune in tonight.
"Stars" You'll Recognize: Jenni 'J-WOWW' Farley of Jersey Shore is arguably the most currently famous one of the bunch, if that doesn't tell you everything right there. There's also Antonio Sabato Jr., Terrell Owens, Bethany Hamilton, Alexandra Paul, "Twitch" from So You Think You Can Dance, and Real Housewives stars Kim Richards and Kyle Richards.
You'll Like It If: Skating with the Stars was a little too highbrow for your taste.
Top 5 Reasons You Might Want to Watch: The very good possibility that one of the competing stars will endure a painful cannonball or belly flop; Antonio Sabato Jr. in a Speedo; you get a kick out of schadenfreude (after all, this special is borrowed from a German reality TV format); you think the People's Choice Awards airing over on CBS are rigged anyway; you're actually a diver/fan of diving and are legitimately intrigued to see how these celebs fair in the sport.
5 Reasons You Might NOT Want to Watch: Prosperity, love, your children, your children's children, hope for any remaining shred of dignity for yourself and the rest of the country.
Love it, or Leave it? Love it if you will take any sort of reality television fix you can get or need something to tide you over until Celebrity Diving, leave it if you find reality television competitions more grating than swimmer's ear.
[Photo credit: Jordin Althaus/FOX]
'Jersey Shore' Finale Recap: The End Is Nigh
'Jersey Shore' Star J-WOWW Engaged
The First-Ever (Fake) Annual Reality TV Emmy Awards
From Our Partners:
Guess the Celebrity Bikini Body! (Celebuzz)
30 Hottest Lingerie Scenes from the Past 30 Years (Celebuzz)
January 03, 2013 1:04pm EST
Every movie critic in the known world sees hundreds of movies every year, mostly for free, and then they sit down and distill everything they see into a Top 10 list. But what about all the other movies they've seen? How can we even know what their taste is like if we don't know how they felt about the other 98.7 movies they saw that year (that .7 is for the one movie they walked out of at Cannes because they just couldn't possibly get through it all). And they get to see all the movies before the rest of us, so everyone put Zero Dark 30 on their Top 10 lists and it's not even out in most of the country right now. This whole gambit of list making is a scam!
Well, to combat all that critical scammery and art house movie snobbery, here is a list of every single movie that I saw in a movie theater during the calendar year 2012. There are 65 of them. I paid to see 54 of them, so unlike the professional cinema elite, I saw a majority of these with you, the fans, on rainy Saturday afternoons and boring Tuesday evenings. I also spent about $17 trillion for the honor. And here is my opinion on every single movie I saw in a theater. Are you ready?
1. Silver Linings Playbook: If I was giving out the Oscars today, I would hand it over to this David O. Russell movie, even though I'm still a little bit mad about how he treated Lily Tomlin. This is the type of movie I like best, one that hews closely to a set format but does it so well that it busts out of the genre entirely. This should be your basic rom-com, but made in the hands of someone with care and insight, it is also a look at mental illness, loss, redemption, family, dance competitions, and just how difficult it is to stand out in suburban America. Bolstered by great performances including by the usually milquetoast Bradley Cooper and the always astounding Jennifer Lawrence. There's even a good turn by Robert De Niro, whose modern work is about as uniformly bland as a can full of Slim Jims at a gas station mini-mart. Smart, different, and extremely winning, this is a movie that is like a million you've seen before, but somehow manages to break the mold.
2. Argo: This deserves to be at the top of the list for Ben Affleck's hair alone, but this affecting thriller about American hostages in Iran fuses drama, comedy, and some (yes, made-up) tension to make real events spectacular.
3. The Sessions: What seems like a sweet movie about a mostly paralyzed man learning how to have sex turns out to be a very sweet movie about a mostly paralyzed man learning to have sex: an engaging story that goes for the heart without getting sentimental. John Hawkes better start winning some damn awards.
4. Headhunters: Not many people went to see this Norwegian film about a headhunter who uses people's job interviews to break into their houses and steal all their art, but you're really missing out. As the movie progresses, our anti-hero gets more and more desperate and things get grosser and grosser as he tries to find a way to get his life back to normal. Normal never comes, but the twists don't stop until the very end.
5. Queen of Versailles: If you love the Real Housewives of Every American Town, then you need to see this documentary about a family trying to build the largest house in America and losing everything in the process.
6. Cabin in the Woods: I do not enjoy horror movies, but this movie, contrary to its marketing, is not really a horror movie. It's a comedy, a comment on genre, and a meta look at how we consume and enjoy movies. Its cleverness never becomes twee and the ending is so good that if anyone spoils it for you, you should sic Freddy Krueger on their ass.
7. How to Survive a Plague: This documentary about the early days of AIDS activism is just as fascinating when examining lives of the heroes who risked everything to get patients experimental medication as when their organization ACT-UP falls apart because of its own success. There's also a 10-hankie twist three-quarters of the way through which shows the path toward hope.
8. ParaNorman: The best kids movies are the ones that take adult themes (like bullying, not fitting in, and troubled family dynamics) and make them suitable for children. If you can do that in a great story about witches and zombies that is full of first-rate gags, then, well, you deserve to be in the Top 10.
9. Skyfall: Daniel Craig is great. James Bond is great. When you get them both doing the best work the franchise has done in decades, well, that's just greatness squared.
10. Farewell My Queen: Oh great, another movie about Marie Antoinette. But if you see any movies about the privileged aristocrat, it should be this one. The film is told through the eyes of a servant girl trying to survive the final days of the French aristocracy while staying true to herself and her queen.
11. The Avengers: Sure, the story for this culmination of the last five years of Marvel superhero movies was a bit complicated and contrived, but Joss Whedon knows how to keep us laughing and engaged for two-plus hours of super powers, alien invasions, and Hulk transformations. This is what you want every blockbuster to be like.
12. Your Sister's Sister: This "mumblecore" movie about a lesbian who sleeps with her sister's best friend seems like it should be a cut-and-paste character study about Pacific Northwest hipster types, but the emotional turns keep coming and the complications seems revelatory rather than contrived. Bonus points to Emily Blunt for finally making a really stellar movie.
13. Cloud Atlas: Everyone hated this ambitious project that tried to roll six movies into one. I did not. It had its problems, but from what I saw, it was the most successful of this year's overly ambitious movies. Sure, some of it was totally nuts, but it was always entertaining.
14. Chronicle: Finally, a way to do the "found footage" movie that doesn't seem like a total scam. This story about three teenagers who get telekinetic powers was the first truly experimental entry into the superhero genre we've seen in a long time. Let's hope the sequel doesn't screw it up.
15. Miss Bala: If you want to see the destruction drug cartels have created in Mexico, then try this saga about a beauty queen whose life gets increasingly desperate as she tries to find a way out of an impossible situation.
16. 21 Jump Street: Channing Tatum is funny. Go figure!
17. The Dark Knight Rises: Too long, too complicated, and too politcally murky, this finale to a great triology still managed to be pretty awesome. Most of that is due to Miss Anne Hathaway (Selina Kyle).
18. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: A spy thriller so unemotional, it should have been called All These Men Came in from the Cold. Still a great mind-bender.
19. Magic Mike: Considering how much naked male flesh per capita this movie promised, I wanted to like it more. I think I would have if it hadn't been marketed as a good time feast of flesh and then delivered a dour rumination on sex and longing. That rumination was worth having, but we were sold strippers and glitter and given heartbreak and desperation.
20. Looper: I hate time travel and even I loved this truly inventive dystopian action movie. It gets credit for having the most original vision of the future that we've seen in a long time.
21. Moonrise Kingdom: It's too twee for its own good, but Wes Anderson's story about young love is winning and memorable. And you can't hate anything with Tilda Swinton.
22. The Master: Oh, man. This one. Paul Thomas Anderson knows how to make a beautiful film and knows how to get a stellar performance, but this tale about a guru and the animalistic man who becomes his right-hand never really adds up to much. But what good are great characters if you don't give them anything exciting to do?
23. Life of Pi: For a movie that creates such amazing visuals using boats sinking into the ocean and whales jumping out of it, it's ironic that the story is as shallow as a half-evaporated puddle.
24. Pitch Perfect: Good songs, great jokes, Rebel Wilson, and a puke scene that will make you bust a gut – this Glee-on-film flick has everything you need.
25. Max et les Ferrailleurs: Someone dragged me to the delayed American release of this 1971 French movie about a cop who goes too far undercover investigating petty criminals. I'm glad he did, not only for the great retro outfits, but for the emotionally complicated look at a familiar story.
26. The Dictator: As long as you don't have a problem with rape jokes, this is a silly good time.
27. The Amazing Spider-Man: Not every superhero needs to be remade as dark and brooding and not every superhero franchise needs to be remade.
28. The Hunger Games: I loved the book, but the movie just didn't have the weight and dread that the books conjured. However, I'll see Jennifer Lawrence in anything.
29. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Never read the book, but I liked the movie well enough. I mostly liked Daniel Craig's winter wardrobe, which is funny because I usually like him wearing next to nothing.
30. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Old people in India are cute, aren't they?
31. Lawless: Tom Hardy gives one of those great silent performances where you just read everything about his defiant bootlegger character on his face. Shia LaBeouf is...well, he's in this movie.
32. Wanderlust: My New Year's resolution for 2012 was to hate Jennifer Aniston less. This modern day hippie movie sure helped. But I think I liked it mostly for Paul Rudd.
33. Beauty and the Beast 3D: Tale as old as time. True as it can be. I saw it again. With a group of friends. We saw it in 3D.
34. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: This Tolkien prequel was more bloated the your fat grandmother after Thanksgiving dinner.
35. Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel: This is a lackluster documentary with a magnificent subject. If you don't know everything about this former Vogue editor, then get the movie right away.
36. Wreck-It Ralph: I wanted this video game nostalgia trip to be like The Incredibles for a Nintendo generation. Instead, the only cute thing about it was the Q-Bert gags.
37. This is 40: Judd Apatow takes an interesting and unvarnished look at middle age but a good portion of the movie is as unnecessary as a third cupcake.
38. A Cat in Paris: Stellar animation and a rather grown-up story still couldn't save this mediocre kid's flick.
39. Snow White and the Huntsman: Even the absolute fierceness of Charlize Theron's evil queen couldn't fix this eye-rolling wretch of a fairy tale.
40. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol: I remember enjoying this action movie, but don't remember one single thing about it. Guess it couldn't be that good.
41. Albert Nobbs: 2012 was a year of great performances in dull movies. There were two women playing men in this one, both worth checking out, but maybe in a better script.
42. John Carter: Oh, come on. It wasn't that bad. It was pretty and moved along and Taylor Kitsch had his shirt off the entire time!
43. Seven Psychopaths: Too clever for its own good, this making-a-movie-about-making-a-movie had some keen insights that got lost in a lot of mush.
44. Premium Rush: This year, Joseph Gordon-Levitt could do no wrong. Well, maybe except for this slightly absurd but still good fun biking movie.
45. The Secret World of Arriety: This is animation master Hayao Miyazaki at his worst, trying to turn the children's fare The Borrowers into something of his own. The animation was stellar as always, but the narrative could have used some of his signature mythological flourishes.
46. Les Miserables: I always hated the show and the movie suffers from the same problems: too long, too boring, and doesn't make any sense. Added to that the direction swoops in on the actors as they sing and over emote during their solos. This goes a little higher up on the list thanks to Anne Hathaway (enjoy that Oscar, sister) and because "Castle on a Cloud" got stuck in my head for a week.
47. Django Unchained: Quentin Tarantino thinks that he is so funny, and his smugness in his own hilarity is all over this movie, where each scene goes on too long and half of the story is unnecessary. What Tarantino needs more than anything is a good editor.
48. Prometheus: I really wanted this to be better and I thought I liked this Alien prequel until, well, I thought about it some more and it really didn't make any sense. But I will never forget her nasty alien abortion. Gross.
49. Friends With Kids: This Jennifer Westfelt rom-com was an interesting experiment in trying to make a rom-com that wasn't a rom-com at all, but, in the end, it became just like every other sappy Hollywood movie it pretended to hate in the first place.
50. Bachelorette: This Bridesmaids rip off wasted Rebel Wilson, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson, and the rest of the talented cast. Even worse, writer director Leslye Headland wasted her brilliantly caustic play by turning it into a toothless, conventional movie.
51. Hitchcock: Great makeup does not a great movie make. Like My Week with Marilyn before it, this thing was like an overly long Vanity Fair article come to life.
52. The Iron Lady: Meryl deserved that Oscar. The rest of us deserve to forget this sloppy movie forever.
53. Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston: A great subject wasted on a filmmaker who has no idea what he is doing and thinks we care as much about him as the fashion icon. The best scene in the movie is when Vogue legend Andre Leon Talley yells at director Whitney Smith for not having done his research.
54. Five-Year Engagement: This felt like it went on for not five years but 20. Oh, Emily Blunt, please stop making bad movies.
55. Savages: The best I can say for this overly-violent, utterly rote Oliver Stone drug drama is that everyone looks really good with their clothes off.
56. Hysteria: I went to see this on a Friday afternoon in the summer in an empty theater in Manhattan. It was literally empty except for me and a friend and two people sat in the seats directly behind us and then talked through the movie! I had to yell at them and tell them to shut up and move because there are hundreds of seats, you don't pick the ones that are directly behind the only two other people in the theater. Then I felt bad because this dildo drama was so boring I wanted to make fun of it with my friend, but since I made a stance about being quiet in the movies I had to keep it all in. Well, until now.
57. Pina: This documentary about choreographer Pina Bausch had some of the best 3D I'd ever seen. Too bad there was too much repetitive dancing and not enough about her life.
58. Flight: This is not a movie, it's an illustrated story from an AA meeting. The plane crash at the beginning is pretty amazing though.
59. Wrath of the Titans: This Greek Mythology something-or-other makes about as much sense as a unicorn having a baby with a Sphinx.
60. The Ocean Waves: OK, I was wrong, this is Miyazaki at his worst. I saw this at a retrospective of his work at IFC Center and it had never been shown in the U.S. before. Let's hope this overblown teen melodrama is never shown here again either.
61. Dark Shadows: Why did we have to waste Michelle Pfieffer's comeback on this?
62. W.E.: As an American Homosexual, I can not say anything mean about Madonna. I will say that Madonna's nonsensical movie about Wallis Simpson looked like the most gorgeous magazine pictorial I ever saw. Oh, and I saw this at the premiere and Madonna was there. She wore a nice dress.
63. Damsels in Distress: I don't know what Whit Stillman was trying to say in this outdated take on girls in college, and I don't think I want to know either.
64. Chasing Mavericks: How did someone convince me to pay money to see a movie with Gerard Butler? The only reason this wasn't in last place is because the surfing footage was absolutely stunning.
65. Killing Them Softly: What makes this movie the worst is that it (and plenty of other people) think it is one of the best. It is not. It is about Brad Pitt going to clean up some mob mess and there are a bunch of characters all of whose arcs are going nowhere. There is no character exploration, there is no thematic development, there is nothing. That includes women (there is literally one woman in this movie and she is a whore) or sense behind the glorified violence. Yeah, it looks pretty cool, but most of it doesn't leave any commentary on violence it all. It's just gore for the sake of it. Oh, and in case you missed it, the point is that the mob is just like America or politics or something, which is why we keep hearing Barack Obama give speeches about our economic future during the action of the movie. Yes, we get it. We get it. How about some subtlety next time?
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company (2); Warner Bros (2); Lionsgate; Fox Searchlight; Focus Features; Columba Pictures (2); Walt Disney; Universal Pictures]
The Ultimate Top 10 Movies of 2012 List
The 20 Best Movies of 2012 (and the 5 Worst)
10 Best Box Office Bombs of 2012
You Might Also Like:
20 Hottest Bikini Bodies of 2012: Katy Perry, Miley and More!
10 Pop Culture Moments That Would’ve Been Better Naked
October 31, 2012 10:34am EST
Halloween simply wouldn't be Halloween without these traditions: riding hayrides, carving pumpkins, going to parties, trick-or-treating, eating all the candy your kids got and stupidly forgot to hide and, of course, watching all 23 of The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror specials.
While the 2012 installment Treehouse of Horror already aired back on Oct. 7 (the silly, spooky episode riffed on things like the Mayan-predicted apocalypse and the wildly successful Paranormal Activity franchise, which pretty much go hand-in-hand), The Simpsons' contributions to Halloween keep up screaming with laughter right up until Oct. 31.
With nearly 70 memorable Treehouse of Horror segments, having to narrow down the 10 best made us go a little something something. (Crazy? Don't mind if we do!) From their inspired retelling of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven to Homer's excellent adventure to the third dimension, we pick the best of the best. In no particular order, here they are:
"The Shinning": From 1994's Treehouse of Horror V (which has two other entries on this list, perhaps making it the single greatest episode out of all of them), The Shining parody perfectly named "The Shinning" puts Homer in Jack Nicholson's iconic shoes and makes him go crazy on his family after being holed up in Mr. Burns' mansion with no TV and no beer. (See photo.) Not only does this one have one of the very best ToH deaths (Groundskeeper Willie's recurring gag of an axe to the back is pretty gruesome, even for a mainstream cartoon), but one of the best endings when a freezing Simpson clan has to endure an even scarier fate in the snow: watching the Tony Awards.
"Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores": Yes, it's a brilliant analogy for the horrors of advertising and what it does to the American male psyche, but this segment from 1995's ToH VI features the one key ingredient for a great Simpsons episode: mmmmmm, donut. Moreover, mmmmm colossal donut that Homer steals from the Lard Lad statue, who comes to life and leads a reign of terror over Springfield with all the other gigantic mascots... and Kent Brockman. Plus, a Paul Anka cameo! (And come to think of it, ToH VI also has a perfect three segments, as the remaining two are also on this list. Simpsons debate: Is ToH V or VI better? Go!)
"Clown Without Pity": The Simpsons spoofed both The Twilight Zone (as they've done a few times with these specials) and the ridiculous Child's Play franchise during ToH III when Bart gets an evil Krusty the Klown doll as a gift, which comes to life as a knife-wielding, blood-hungry menace that terrorizes Homer. As it turned out, all they had to do was flip off the doll's "evil" switch to "good" and — voila! — Homer is alive and well and Krusty lives happily ever after with Malibu Stacy. The segment also has one of the all-time best Homer cries on The Simpsons: "Marge, the doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me!"
"Nightmare Cafeteria": One of the few legitimately terrifying and unsettling ToH bits, this segment from ToH V turned Springfield Elementary's staff into kid-eating cannibals after the cafeteria staff comes up with a final solution to classroom overcrowding. Mmmm Sloppy Jimbos. (Turns out, there's very little meat in gym mats. Or Malk.) Of course, it was all just a terrible dream, but not before a mysterious gas seeped in to turn everyone's guts inside out in a truly disgusting closing musical number. Equal parts gross and hilarious. (Poor Willie gets another axe to the back!) "Time and Punishment": "Oh, I wish I wish I hadn't killed that fish." Homer didn't exactly have the best of luck as a time-traveler in one of the three great segments in ToH V, but lucky for us, it's probably the most hilarious of the whole bunch. When Homer tries to fix a toaster, he inadvertently travels through time and space only to find various terrible fates in which Flanders is an evil overlord and donuts don't exist. Homer finally settles on a world where everyone eats like lizards. Eh, close enough. "Citizen Kang": Space aliens Kang and Kodos are ToH staples, but their appearance in 1996's ToH VII is simply the best. After they take on the human form of then-Presidential candidates Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, Homer accidentally ejects the real politicians into space and the aliens are elected into office. A sharply funny political episode, with one of the best Simpsons lines ever: "I say, we must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." I'd have voted for him, too. "Lisa's Nightmare": When the Simpsons visited Morocco (Simpsons did it!) in 1991's ToH II, the segment became a lesson in teaching people to be careful what you wish for. Especially if you're like Homer and you make a series of wishes on a cursed monkey paw. You could wind up with evil alien overlords, or even worse, a dry turkey sandwich. Lisa's nightmare then gives way to "Bart's Nightmare" (he's a jack-in-the-box) and then "Homer's Nightmare" (the unnerving Robo-Homer). "Homer³": One of the most inventive and groundbreaking things to be done on The Simpsons (remember what a big deal this was when it aired back in 1995?), Homer finds himself in another place when he discovers a third dimension. Even more amazing than the sight of Homer in 3D was the sight of Homer in our world. Well, a Los Angeles street in front of an erotic cakes store. Animation and effects have changed a lot since this ToH VI moment aired, but it can still give you goosebumps when you watch it today. "Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace": Also from ToH VI, this spoof on Nightmare on Elm Street gave the relentlessly murdered Willie (this time thanks to a furnace fire because of lousy Smarch weather) power to haunt the nightmares of Springfield's kids, including Bart, Lisa, and even Maggie. They try to fight their sleep, but when they fail, they must fight Willie from killing them when he appears in the form of a lawn mower, a snake, and a giant bagpipe spider. The segment finds just the right balance of genuinely scary and funny. "The Raven": In the early '90s, concerned parents/killjoys worried kids would be running around emulating Bart Simpson with a slingshot in their pocket saying things like "Cowabunga" and "Don't have a cow, man." But little did they realize The Simpsons had an entire generation quoting Edgar Allan Poe, too. In the first-ever ToH, which aired back in 1990, Lisa reads (with some narration help from James Earl Jones) Poe's classic tale The Raven, in which Bart is re-imagined as the menacing creature. Quote The Simpsons, ever more. Honorable mentions: "Dial 'Z' For Zombies," "Terror at Five-and-a-Half Feet," and "Bad Dream House." What's your favorite Treehouse of Horror segment from The Simpsons? Do you agree with our top 10? Share in the comments section! [Photo Credit: THE SIMPSONS ™ and © 2012 TCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (10)]
Watch the 50-Year Evolution of Crazy Halloween Specials
13 Of The Best Halloween Costumes of Television Past
Which Fox Animated Series Has the Most Steam Left?
October 30, 2012 12:57pm EST
BBC host Jimmy Savile (left) and pop star Gary Glitter
UPDATE: The BBC's top executive, George Entwistle, resigned late Saturday in the wake of the company's alleged mishandling of two sex-abuse scandals that have rocked the country.
As infamous Penn State predator Jerry Sandusky begins his 30- to 60-year sentence in a Camp Hill, Penn. prison, a similar scandal is making entertainment headlines across the pond.
It's a terrifying story, decades in the making, involving a popular TV host, a 1970s pop star and the world's largest broadcaster — the BBC.
On Sunday, former glam rock star Gary Glitter was arrested by London police investigating a wide-scale child sex abuse scandal.
Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, hit it big with his 1972 stadium anthem "Rock & Roll (Part 2)," which you can still hear today at most sporting events thanks to its catchy "Hey!" chorus. But in 2006, the musician spent several years in a Vietnamese prison after he was convicted of sexually abusing two preteen girls there.
British detectives now suspect his involvement in another sex abuse scandal surrounding his friend, once-beloved BBC TV host Jimmy Savile, who's been described as one of the worst sex offenders in recent history. (Although Glitter denies the allegations.)
For two decades, Savile hosted the popular show Top of the Pops and also — frighteningly — had his own kids' show called Jim'll Fix It.
Later in his life, the star, who died last year at 84, was accused of so many counts of child sex abuse that investigators now believe he victimized about 300 children and adolescents, often allegedly using his fame and the TV set premises to lure them.
WHAT DID HIS BBC BOSSES KNOW?
Now, in a year that's already swirled with one massive British media scandal (Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. hacking debacle), international media is shifting a critical eye to the BBC, one of the world's most respected news organizations, and what key executives really knew.
One reason people are starting to care this side of the Atlantic? In August, the New York Times named former BBC director general Mark Thompson its new Chief Executive with his first day slated as Nov. 12. And journalists are starting to seriously question his involvement in the Savile scandal.
So much so that even the NYT itself published an Op-Ed piece questioning his appointment. "Given the seriousness of sexual abuse allegations — look at what it did to Penn State — you would think that Thompson and his underlings would immediately want to get to the bottom of it," the writer charged.
For now, as police wrap up their investigation, the worlds of media and entertainment are left to wonder if the scandal could take down the news giant.
"The BBC's reputation is on the line," Chris Patten, the chairman of the BBC Trust, wrote in The Mail on Sunday newspaper. "[It] risks squandering public trust because one of its stars over three decades was apparently a sexual criminal ... and because others — BBC employees and hangers-on — may also have been involved."
[Photo credit: Wenn]
Follow Michelle on Twitter @HWMichelleLee
Jerry Sandusky Found Guilty: A Look Back at His Pop Culture Skewering
Kutcher learned 'great lesson' from Paterno tweet uproar
Perry salutes Penn State child sex abuse victim
From Our Partners:
Exclusive New ‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn’ Trailer!
Oops! Biggest Comedy Movie Mistakes
October 26, 2012 5:00am EST
The sports icon was recovering after undergoing recent surgery to fix a stomach condition when he passed away on Thursday (25Oct12).
Reports suggest he was also battling colon cancer.
The revered trainer and commentator helped Thomas Hearns and Jimmy Paul land world championships in the 1980s, and in recent years he had worked with world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and middleweight sensation Andy Lee.
He was also a beloved fight commentator and a former bantamweight champion in the early 1960s. Steward was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997.
Paying tribute to his late trainer, Klitschko says, "Boxing has suffered a tremendous loss... (Brother) Vitali and I, along with the entire Team Klitschko, send our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to Emanuel's family and friends. It is not often that a person in any line of work gets a chance to work with a legend. Well I was privileged enough to work with one for almost a decade. I will miss our time together."
October 11, 2012 7:38am EST
Over the past four years, the comedy world has tried to figure out what to do with President Barack Obama. The poised Commander-in-Chief doesn't quite mine the same comedy gold as the endlessly gaffe-producing President George W. Bush.
Saturday Night Live had the gifted talents of Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, and Will Ferrell to portray President Bill Clinton and the respective Bushes, while Fred Armisen failed to connect as Obama — something Jay Pharoah is hoping to remedy this season.
Most great Obama humor isn't pointed towards the president; rather, those who point their finger at the president for anything and everything. (Louie's brilliant recurring "What about Obama?" bit hit the nail right on the head every time, and got more absurd as it went).
Then, just as it looked like we were going to have a downright comedy-free election (Paul Ryan is funny, but not Sarah Palin ha-ha funny) President Obama did something many thought he would not accomplish during his first term: he become the butt of the joke. Following the infamous first Presidential debate, in which GOP candidate Mitt Romney not only took down Obama but Big Bird and Sesame Street, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, understandably, went to town on the headline-grabbing story.
But it wasn't the absurdity of Romney's intention to cut PBS programming in order to fix the deficit that Stewart made fun of, but President Obama's way-late-to-the-party rebuttal. "Well done, Costanza," Stewart zinged the President, who brought up the Big Bird budget balance madness at a post-debate rally. From an embarrassing attack ad to an appearance by a non-hologram will.i.am remixing the Sesame Street theme, the president may have finally found his "funny." But Stewart, like most of us nervously chuckling along at the campaign misstep, delivered the ultimate gut punchline: "Make it stop".
Watch The Daily Show's take on Obama's Sesame Street crusade from Wednesday night's episode here:
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook [Photo credit: Comedy Central] More:
5 Reasons Mitt Romney Hates Big Bird
Mitt Romney Declines Invitation to Appear on Nick's Kids Pick the President Special
Debate Advice for Obama from Hollywood's 7 Most Inspirational Coaches