May 08, 2013 4:53pm EST
Gatsby may have believed in the green light, but in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, every color in the spectrum is strewn across the screen to an orgastic degree. Like Project X for the gimlet-sipping crowd, Luhrmann takes F. Scott Fitzgerald's source material, douses it in modern music courtesy of soundtrack mastermind Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, and shoots the melodrama with sweeping movements normally reserved for Lord of the Rings. Weary narrator Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) describes Gatsby's weekly festivities as a "kaleidoscopic carnival." Quite apt: Luhrmann's 3D spectacle goes from mesmerizing to dizzying in under 30 minutes.
Like Carraway, The Great Gatsby is eventually awoken to the "real" man behind the lavish production numbers. The movie changes course for the better when the brilliant Leonardo DiCaprio enters the picture. Like the plebs he greets, DiCaprio's Jay Gatsby takes the movie's breath away, forcing Luhrmann to put aside his song and dance infatuation for dazzling performances in the heightened world he's created. Luhrmann's script sticks closely to the required high school reading we all know and love: After settling into a modest West Egg, Long Island cottage for the summer, Carraway is courted by Gatsby for friendship. With the help of the reclusive gazillionaire, Carrway experiences life in the fast line. But Gatsby has ulterior motives. Five years prior, he fell desperately in love with Carraway's cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan). Now he needs Carraway to pull her out of East Egg long enough for Gatsby to convince her to leave her cheating, polo-playing husband Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). Mesmerized by charm, Carraway reluctantly abides.
Maguire does a stand up job playing witness to Gatsby's upper crust destruction, but it's DiCaprio's show to steal. The actor finds new sides to his on-screen persona that outshine the glitz and glamour; in his first encounter with Daisy, Gatsby bumbles around Carraway's living room, hyperventilating and trembling in fear like a teenager on his first date. It's DiCaprio embracing physical comedy and low status — in complete contrast to what he does as the "Great Gatsby" who commands over parties and works shady business deals in the backrooms of New York City. Like the sporadic beauty of jazz, DiCaprio mixes Gatsby's moods into one enchanting character.
The supporting cast feels more like they're role playing in the Roaring '20s then digging into their literary counterparts — impaired partially by Luhrmann's insistence on voiceover and flashy execution — but there are standouts. Without material doing her an favors, Mulligan turns Daisy into a vicious romantic, her fragility exposed when Edgerton's Tom reacts violently to Gatsby intrusion. The Aussie actor finds plenty of moments to chew up with his boisterous, period-appropriate delivery. The mustache doesn't hurt the smarminess. In a small role, heralded Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan appears to push Gatsby's buttons and turn the film on its head. He makes more of an impression than two normally strong performers, Isla Fisher and Jason Clarke, who have little to do as Tom's mistress and her gas station-owning husband.
Luhrmann doesn't put style over substance, though Great Gatsby is off-balance. The first half nearly collapses under the weight of production value and DiCaprio's bravado isn't quite enough to carry the film to greatness. The stylized backdrop, New York by way of Life of Pi, fit the larger than life story. If it were precisely used rather than slathered over the screenplay, Luhrmann would have a year's best on his hands. Instead, The Great Gatsby straddles the line of disaster, manic in the vein of its protagonist's delusional escapades.
What do you think? Tell Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches and read more of his reviews on Rotten Tomatoes!
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March 25, 2013 5:08pm EST
Jim Carrey hasn't been shy about sharing his thoughts on guns in America lately and his new Funny or Die clip "Cold Dead Hand" is the eyebrow-raising culmination of all those very strong feelings.
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The actor/comedian — who has been teasing the video on Twitter over the past few days along with his own commentary on gun control ("The important question is 'Do we possess guns in America or do guns possess us?'" was among one of his tweets) — said in a press release, "I find the gun problem frustrating and ‘Cold Dead Hand’ is my fun little way of expressing that frustration.” On Twitter, however, he put it a little more bluntly: "Cold Dead Hand' is abt u heartless motherf%ckers unwilling 2 bend 4 the safety of our kids.Sorry if you're offended…" [sic.]
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If Carrey wasn't clear enough on Twitter about his gun control message, the scathing and oft very funny social commentary in "Cold Dead Hand" makes it crystal. The 51-year-old star does what he does best here with some spot-on impressions — including (clearly) Sam Elliott and the late actor/outspoken gun advocate Charlton Heston, who infamously made that "Cold dead hands" NRA speech in 2000, of which this song parodies — on a send-up of the '70s variety show Hee-Haw. (Among one of the lyrics is one line about Heston himself that goes, "The angels wouldn’t take him up to heaven like he planned, cause they couldn’t pry that gun from his cold dead hand.”)
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Carrey also plays the front man for a fictitious band called Lonesome Earl and the Clutterbusters, which is backed by beacons of anti-violence and peace Gandhi, Lincoln, and Lennon (played by 90s band The Eels). Now, whether or not "Cold Dead Hand" makes you tap your toes, laugh along with the biting social satire, raise your fist in solidarity, or if it just pushes your buttons that someone starring in the upcoming Kick-Ass 2 is taking aim at others on the topic of violence... well, that's your right to express that feeling.
Watch Carrey's video below and sing along to the scathing song ("On the ones, who sell the guns ... Only the devil’s true devotees could profiteer from pain and fear") on iTunes:
Cold Dead Hand with Jim Carrey from Jim Carrey
[Photo credit: Funny or Die]
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September 20, 2012 1:36pm EST
[Pictured Above: Brad Goreski] It's no surprise that it takes plenty of time and effort for stars to ready for A-list events. (Those hairdos — and boobs — don't stay up by themselves!) But, while watching celebrities strut down the red carpet at awards show, we can't help but wonder not only who they're wearing, but what goes into what they're wearing. Luckily, stars don't dress themselves, and Hollywood.com tracked down two celebrity stylists — Robert Verdi and Brad Goreski — and one celebrity hair stylist, Ted Gibson, willing to share the secrets behind red carpet glamour. Below, read 27 crazy style facts you didn't know about the celebrity awards show style. They're both awe-inspiring... and awful.
Body makeup, an undeniable fad, wreaks havoc on dresses. "There is a lot of body bronzing happening," Verdi, who is styling Kathy Griffin for the Emmys, says. "It does get all over the clothes which makes me absolutely crazy of course. [But] it's not the type of problem that prohibits you from doing it. In a photograph with a lot of flash, the flash can make you look like a vampire. You want your skin to look it’s a natural glow."Getting the best dress for the carpet is a popularity contest. "Getting one of the most desirable dresses is the product of the celebrity’s power that season," Verdi says. "Are they on a good show? Are they a global celebrity or are they just a national celebrity? Are they already thought of as a fashion person? Are they getting covers? Are people talking about them? Is there buzz around them? AND are you nominated? If you check all the boxes… the designers want [their clothes] to be on a high profile person. Your currency is your popularity that season."Don't be too jealous: Celebrities don't get to keep the dresses. "The celebrities don’t want it because they’ll never wear it again," says Verdi. "If they are going to wear clothes out of these [new designer lines], they want what just came down the runway. Those are the original samples and go out on loan to the celebrity as if they were a magazine editor shooting it, [so the dress] comes back."Sometimes, there are accidents. "The only thing that can sometimes happen to the dress is a permanent alteration," Verdi says. "Most of these famous girls in Hollywood are tiny, so they all have to be altered, especially [in] length. They are not as tall as the models. So if you were to cut the length for the dress and the dress went back to the designer, and because the dress was seen on a popular celebrity, it's going to go out to a magazine for a cover shoot. If that were to happen and that dress had been shortened, then that would be a problem because the models would be too tall."And sometimes, the celebrities actually need to be sewn into their dresses. "I have sewn people into dresses," Goreski says. "Sometimes, you have to sew the top of the zipper. Sometimes they break last minute, buttons fall off, and you have to spring into action. I’m not the best at sewing, but I'm good enough to make sure my clients are fastened into their gowns."There are ways to keep the dress from exposing, ahem, sensitive body areas. "Double-sided tape — that always remedies that problem," Goreski says. "You strategically place it and always make sure that it's definitely secure and pray for no wardrobe malfunctions." The best dresses don't come out for awards shows. "Actually, the most expensive dresses come out for Cannes [Film Festival], more so than the Oscars, more so the Emmys," Verdi says. "When you look at Cannes, you see a lot more couture fabulous $30,000-$40,000 gowns than you do on the Emmys red carpet."Sometimes bras are built into dresses. "Sometimes you’ll take a bra and sew it to the inside of the dress," Verdi says. "Many [stars] have corsets built in … so that she has the support necessary.”
Purses are makeshift makeup kits for red carpets. "[Celebrities] always have to have their makeup touch-up stuff," Verdi says. "They usually have a blotter, and powder, and lips always with them. Credit cards and cash are debatable, they probably don’t need it, maybe to tip somebody. They also always have their cell phones because they will be texting, tweeting, and instagraming."Next Page: Purse Problems and The Prep Process.
[Pictured Above: Robert Verdi]
Celebs sometimes refuse to carry their own purses. "They do carry them — [but] sometimes they hand them off to a publicist who is with them or walking them down the red carpet," Verdi says.
Not every Cinderella can fit into her slippers. “There's a little trick of putting a little bit of baby oil on your feet to make your shoes slip on much easier," Verdi says. "It’s something all women can do."Celebs practice their picture poses. They're just like us! “No woman wants any part of her body to look misshapen or fat," Verdi says. "So you have to practice the pose in the dress. Do you look best with your hands on your hips or your hands down your side? How does the dress and your body look best together? The best thing to do is look in the mirror and pose so that they know what pose works best for the dress on the carpet."Stars require dress fittings before they walk down the red carpet. "Part of the wedding dress process is to make the girl feel comfortable," Verdi says. For red carpets, "it’s usually one fitting and you’ll do a second fitting the day before and make sure everything is seamed and done."Not everyone gets along during the preparation stages. "There’s always a little tension between hair and makeup people [about] positioning a girls' hair and face," Verdi says. "Like, 'Stop turning her head this way,' or, 'I need her in this direction.'"Stylists have emergency kits. "The purse breaks," Goreski says. "Body makeup gets onto [dresses]. They get stained. That last one minute as you’re dressing them, you’re always nervous as the stylist that something can happen to the dress. That’s why we come prepared with a kit filled with sewing kits and stain removers, everything that you can ensure that the dress will be perfect and red carpet ready."Celebs whiten their teeth for the red carpet. "Whitening is part of the routine for most people," Goreski says. "A teeth whitening is so accessible. I use Colgate Optic Toothpaste. The whitening process is very quick. You will see a change in five days. Having a beautiful white smile, is probably the best accessory nowadays."Stylists need inspiration too. "We pull together inspiration photos and sit down," Goreski says. "I usually show the gowns to hair and makeup people in a photo before, and in person the day of. We sit down with the client and discuss all our inspirations and show hair and makeup inspirations and decide what direction we want to go. Fashion magazines are a fantastic resource. Pulling inspiration from the Internet as well, whether [styles are] from the '60s or an important fashion icon or just a hair style briefly shown on the runways — it comes from all over the place. I usually pull them and present them to [stars] and edit which ones will work and which won't work."
Celebrities do get their hair washed the day of events. In fact, Ted Gibson, who is styling Girls' star Allison Williams for the Emmys, says it's actually a good idea to do a cold water rinse during the shampoo session. "When you go in for shampoo, make sure to put conditioner in and do a cool water rinse," he says. "What it does, it helps to seal the cuticle down after you shampoo. It also gives a lot of shine to the hair. For red carpet, I always feel like the girl's hair should be freshly shampooed."Next Page: More Hair Issues.
[Pictured Above: Ted Gibson]
Hair doesn't have to be dirty to create a proper updo. Gibson says the products do the trick: "I like to use my products to give it a little bit of volume. One product I use is called Build It Blow Drying Agent. It helps build upon each hair strand to give a lot of volume, so it's easy to put it up into a french twist or whatever I feel like."Like dresses, hair sometimes requires a test run. Stylists will try out a hairdo a few days before the actual event. "Just to get an idea how the hair should look for that day depending on what kind of dress it is," says Gibson.Hair always gets done before the makeup. "I do the hair first," Gibson says. "I set it and get it to where [the part is going to be]. I let it cool. Makeup gets done. And then after the makeup, I finish the hair."The hairdos sometime take as long as the ceremonies to execute. "It can take four hours," Gibson says.
Baby powder isn't just for baby butts. "Baby powder is one of my go-to products that I use to help to soak up oil or add a little bit more pull to the hair if I'm looking to add some volume at the scalp," Gibson notes. "If I put too much product in the hair, baby powder helps to soak it up."Sometimes, it's necessary to use both a curling iron and a straightening iron. When going for a wavy look, Gibson uses a curling iron and then follows it up with the straightening iron. "It can make it a little bit sexier so it's not as curly," he says.Updos are the hot trend for this year's Emmys. "You will [also] probably see a lot of hair that has texture to it, not so smooth, especially because everyone will be wearing designs from the fall," Gibson says.Hair accessories like clips and barrettes are good ideas. "I love hair accessories," Gibson says. "It's nice to have a little bling in hair and in your dress."And last but not least, one special kitchen ingredient can be used to help out in the hair department: vinegar! "You can actually put in a quarter size of vinegar into your favorite shampoo that helps to remove buildup on the hair and on the scalp," Gibson says.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
[Photo Credit: Wenn (2), Getty Images]
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September 14, 2012 2:10pm EST
With the cool autumnal breezes rolling in, so too are Hollywood's biggest, award-hopeful films. Regardless of whether or not it is actually fall quite yet, the little kiddies are back at school, pumpkin spice is being added to everything, and there are only a few days left until staring wistfully at your sweater and scarf collection becomes a summer memory, and wearing becomes the reality. So to prepare us all for the glorious days of movie-watching ahead of us, we've broken it all down for you. So start saving your pennies, coordinate schedules with your film buff buddies and take a bite out of the tasty cinematic offerings that are ripe for the picking. It's like an apple orchard, but glitzier!
Check out the line-up below and get more picks tailored to your tastes in our Fall Movie Guide!
Finding Nemo 3D: A re-release of the popular Pixar film, this time in 3D!
Resident Evil: Retribution: The fighting against the Umbrella Corporation and all those pesky undead continues!
10 Years: A high school reunion with Channing Tatum and Friends.
Arbitrage: Hedge-funder in trouble: a ponzi scheme gone awry. Bernie Madoff-y, huh? The horror, the horror!
Bangkok Revenge: An emotionless war machine returns to the place where his parents were killed to exact ... (you guessed it!) revenge.
Brawler: Brothers! Betrayal! Fight clubs! New Orleans! A battle to the death!
Step Up to the Plate: A cooking documentary about father/son culinary duo the Bras.
Liberal Arts: Lost 30something, a girl named Zibby, and love. But in college.
The Master: The hotly-anticipated Scientology-but-not film from P.T. Anderson.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Stephen Chbosky's classic young adult novel comes to life.
Stolen: A Nicholas Cage film about a daughter locked in a taxi's trunk.
The Trouble with the Truth: A failed marriage reconsidered, now with Lea Thompson!
Radio Unnameable: Documentary about legendary New York City disc jockey Bob Fass who pioneered free expression on the airwaves with his long running program of the same name.
Tears of Gaza: A war documentary that follows three children through war and the period after ceasefire.
Dredd: An action/sci-fi/thriller about fighting a drug war in a big futuristic city. In 3D!
End of Watch: A routine traffic stop gone really, really bad.
House at the End of the Street: Katniss Jennifer Lawrence becomes a scream queen.
17 Girls: A Belgian teen pregnancy pact film!
About Cherry: James Franco is the boyfriend of a porn star, and Dev Patel probably loves her?
Backwards: Life for an Olympic hasbeen-turned-coach is tough.
The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best: Brooklyn boys form a band.
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel: A documentary about the life and work of the influential fashion editor of Harpers Bazaar, Diana Vreeland.
The Other Son: A French film about two young men--an Israeli and Palestinian--who discover they were accidentally switched at birth.
Head Games: A sports documentary to uncover the truth about the consequences of head injuries.
How to Survive a Plague: AIDS documentary about the activism that stopped the disease from being a death sentence.
My Uncle Rafael: A comedy about a reality show!
The War of the Buttons: A French film about kid gangs and a Jewish girl in danger of being discovered by the Nazis in occupied France, comes to the states.
Trouble with the Curve: Clint Eastwood and Justin Timberlake make a baseball movie! Now get off my damn lawn.
Unconditional: Two childhood friends reconnect after many years and sad stories to exact revenge on the woman's husband's murderer.
You May Not Kiss the Bride: A pet photographer (seriously) has to marry Katharine McPhee's Croatian bride character. Warning: zany!
Hotel Transylvania: Adam Sandler is Dracula in an animated kids' film.
Looper: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis play one guy who has to kill himself, from the future. Mob stuff! Time travel!
The Barrens: The Jersey Devil of the state's Pine Barrens is hunting Stephen Moyer, you guys!
Bringing Up Bobby: Bill Pullman is in a family comedy written by Famke Janssen.
Won't Back Down: A serious drama about poor moms trying to do right by their kid's education.
The Other Dream Team: A documentary about the 1992 Lithuanian basketball team who got help from the Grateful Dead (seriously) to win at the Barcelona Olympics.
Starbuck: A sperm donor gets sued by the 142 kids he helped conceive. Yikes!
Butter: A comedy about a butter-carving prodigy. Do you need to know anything else?
Frankenweenie: A kid who just wants his dead dog to be...ALIIIIIIVE!
Sinister: Creepy horror flick with Ethan Hawke about a true-crime novelist who discovers footage revealing why a family was murdered in his new home. Sleep tight!
Taken 2: Liam Neeson will find you, and he will hunt you down, and he will kill you. Again!
Wuthering Heights: Another film version of the Emily Bronte novel.
Decoding Deepak: A documentary about Deepak Chopra by his son.
The Oranges: Hugh Laurie has an affair with his best friend's daughter in New Jersey. Woopsies!
The Paperboy: Yes, this is the movie where Zac Efron gets peed on by Nicole Kidman. It's also about a reporter and a death row inmate.
Pitch Perfect: A capella girls get funky thanks to singing 90s R&B tunes. But funny!
V/H/S: All they wanted to do was steal a video tape, and now they're living a horror film! Everyone's worst nightmare, right?
Wake in Fright: An Australian drama thriller about a man named John Grant and a rough outback town called Bundanyabba, and what happens when the two meet.
Argo: Ben Affleck knows that the real way to free six Americans in Iran is by pretending to film a movie! Chris Messina's also in it, with Bryan Cranston, so it seems like a no-brainer here.
Here Comes the Boom: Kevin James is a high school biology teacher who wants to become mixed-martial arts fighter. You know, to save his school! Natch.
3, 2, 1... Frankie Go Boom: A comedy about drugs and humilation.
Atlas Shrugged: Part II: Atlas Shrugged...again!
Least Among Saints: A roughed-up soldier and a boy from a broken home strike up an unlikely friendship.
Middle of Nowhere: A movie about finding yourself while your husband's in jail.
Nobody Walks: Quick! Lena Dunham made something! It's about a young artist! Everybody dissect it!
Seven Psychopaths: Pretty much everybody good is in this movie about a struggling screenwriter whose friends kidnap a gangster's Shih Tzu.
Simon & The Oaks: A Swedish WWII coming-of-age film.
Smashed: A marriage built on booze struggles when the wife gets sober.
Stories We Tell: A Sarah Polley documentary about looking back at familial events.
Paranormal Activity 4: Some mean ghosts do some f**ked up scary s**t to a new family. This time it involves the neighbors!
Alex Cross: A detective vows to track down the killer of his family.
The First Time: A romcom about high school kids. And probably doing it.
Killing Them Softly: Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini and Ray Liotta in a mob film. Is there anything else you need to know?
That's What She Said: New York City lady misadventures that are NOT about Michael Scott, apparently.
Yogawoman: A documentary about...yoga! The title's so misleading, isn't it?
The Big Wedding: Oh look! Katherine Heigl's in another movie about a wedding. This time with Diane Keaton and Robert DeNiro.
Fun Size: A big Halloween party! A baby who must be watched! Johnny Knoxville. Somebody call the shenanigans police!
Chasing Mavericks: A surfer movie with Gerard Butler. Hang ten, etc.
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D: Gory alternate reality. In 3D!
Citadel: An agoraphobic dad and renegade priest team up to save his daughter from a gang of feral kids. So...not about a military school in South Carolina then.
Cloud Atlas: The three hour epic with every actor ever in the world telling intertwined stories across millennia.
The Loneliest Planet: A backpacking film with Gael Garcia Bernal in the wilds of Georgia (not the state).
Sleep Tight: A Spanish horror film about how safe you really are at home. Yep, sleep tight indeed.
The Sessions: The heartwarming story of a man on an iron lung who just wants to get laid ... with the help of his priest and a sex therapist.
On The Road: That Jack Kerouac novel-turned-movie with Kristen Stewart
Flight: Robert Zemeckis directs Denzel Washington, John Goodman and Don Cheadle in a film about a plane crash.
The Man with the Iron Firsts: Eli Roth and RZA make a really bloody movie about a blacksmith in China.
Wreck-It Ralph: A video arcade game baddie just wants to be good, you guys!
This Must Be the Place: Sean Penn does his best Robert Smith impression while trying to hunt down a Nazi.
High Ground: A documentary about the emotional journey of a team of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans as they climb a mountain in the Himalayas.
Jack and Diane: A girl's awakened sexual desire for another girl makes her maybe become a werewolf. Seriously.
A Late Quartet: A famous string quartet gets too big for their britches to the point of potential self-destruction. Oh, and Christopher Walken's in it.
Lincoln: One of the many Abraham Lincoln movies being made, this time with Daniel Day-Lewis and no slaying of vampires.
Skyfall: The next installment of Daniel Craig's James Bond empire.
Nature Calls: A hijacked boy scout trip to remember? Sounds super-wacky!
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2: This needs no description. C'mon.
Anna Karenina: Because Keira Knightley cannot go three months without making an epic period piece. This time based on the Tolstoy novel.
Rust and Bone: A Belgian film with Marion Cotillard that involves a killer whale accident and a love story.
Rise of the Guardians: A children's animated film about Jack Frost and saving the kids of the world from an evil spirit named Pitch.
Red Dawn: A remake of the 1984 film about a group of teenagers saving their town from an invasion of North Korean soldiers.
Life of Pi: Based on the best-selling novel is the story of a boy named Pi and his shipwrecked companions. Mainly a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and a Bengal tiger.
Silver Linings Playbook: A feel-good holiday drama about two messed up people teaming up to make good.
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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September 13, 2012 1:03pm EST
Over the next few months, we’ll see new series soar, old series sour, and so much Jersey Shore madness, we’ll want to shower. Let’s face it: The Fall TV season is intimidating. With dozens of new and returning shows hitting our small screens, we know we have some big choices to make. So, to help you determine what to watch, we’re digging deep into the most notable series premiering this season. Where did each show leave off? Where is it headed? And who should you watch it with? Today, we're checking out the return of Glee, which has all the mystery of a giant sparkling question mark. Where will Ryan Murphy’s darling go now that its beloved singers are scattered all over the country?
Series Name: Glee
Premiere Date: Thursday, Sept. 13 at 9:00 PM ET
Number of Seasons: Three down, heading into the fourth.
You’ll Like It If: You’ve never seen Glee before and love show choirs (hello, one person in the entire United States) or you’ve continued to watch Glee despite being disappointed are you still hold out hope that the series will redeem itself. (Hi, my name is Kelsea and I have a hard time accepting that Glee is not going to return to its glory days. Hi, Kelsea.)
You won’t like it if: You get uncomfortable when characters break out into song and even more uncomfortable when they tell you why they’re about to break out into song.
Best Piece of Merchandise: In case the pillows, iPhone covers, clothing lines, buttons, nail polish, etc. aren’t enough, there’s an Archie Comic/Glee crossover coming. No word on whether Rachel is the Betty or the Veronica.
Best government-funded school common area: That quad. I mean. There are no words. What high school has a full set of steps to nowhere opening up to the general lunching area for the entire student body, practically begging for 12-14 talented teenagers to dance and sing all over them? Seriously. I need to know. That high school sounds awesome.
Cast: Everyone who isn’t tied up over at The New Normal and American Horror Story. Ryan Murphy attracts big names like bowties attract Blaine Anderson. And if you’ve been living under a rock, here’s an exhaustive (and I mean, man am I tired from memorizing all these names) list of the friendly faces of McKinley High and beyond: Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Naya Rivera, Jane Lynch, Jenna Ushkowitz, Darren Criss, Kevin McHale, Chris Colfer, Heather Morris, Chord Overstreet, Amber Riley, Harry Shum Jr., Mark Salling, and (just accept it) Matthew Morrison. And those are only the returning cast members. The five newbies include romantic comedy heroine extraordinaire Kate Hudson and youngsters Dean Geyer, Melissa Benoist, and Jacob Artist and Becca Tobin as mini-Puck and mini-Quinn. See, don’t you need a little cat nap now?
Synopsis: Set partially in Lima, Ohio and partially in New York City (and probably partially in a few other places), Glee is about a growing roster of characters trying desperately to take part in relevant storylines without being overshadowed by Sue Sylvester and Blaine. This is nearly impossible. Also, everyone can sing. Even Jayma Mays.
Where we left off last season: Rachel and Finn graduated, and he joined the army, White Fanged her (as in “go on, git,” not whatever you perverts were thinking), and sent her off to New York, where she promptly behaved like Barbra Streisand in the fictional ‘60s movie Rachel created in a dream. Kurt is also preparing to go to New York. This makes his papa cry and Kurt and Blaine decide they will end up like the couple from The Notebook, minus the dementia. Mike is headed to a Chicago Dance school, Santana is also (probably) headed to New York, Brittany flunked and is going to be a Super Senior, Quinn is off to Yale, and Mercedes is hoofing it to Los Angeles to be a star. Schue is no longer trying to move his wedding so the glee club will be there. Sue is still pregnant with a real baby and NeNe Leakes is trying to take over the school (but she’s on The New Normal now so that’ll probably work itself out). There’s probably more, but my brain is sparking and sputtering, so I’m going to give it a rest.
Character to avoid modeling your own wardrobe off of: Will Schuester (sweater vests affect 3 out of four History teachers every year*), Kurt Hummel (sorry, my friend, you are fabulous, but you don’t look it), and (duh) Rachel Berry’s school girl chic.
*Statistics are not based on any real calculation, but rather a fuzzy memory of all my past History teachers.
Required reading: Stephen Sondheim’s Wikipedia page. The references are rampant and now that they’re in New York… oh boy.
Relevant YouTube clip: Lord Tubbington’s Household Chores How-To (because any excuse for a cat video is welcome).
Don’t do this while watching: Hold anything sharp. As much as we keep coming back to this show, hoping it will wash away its past sins, there have been at least a handful of actual facepalm moments in each episode, so that would be bad. Think about it.
Who to watch it with: Someone who isn’t going to insist that you sing along with every musical number. There are way too many per episode for that nonsense. Also, someone who isn’t easily shocked by dramatic and comedic ploys (think, “Oh my GOSH. Did Sue really say that really mean thing?! No. Way.”) There are also far too many of these per episode.
Suggested viewing party refreshments: Carrot sticks (there are some seriously skinny ladies prancing around on screen and you totally skipped the gym to watch this show, so you’d better make up for it somehow. Plus, it will really help offset the calories in all that red wine).
Emmy Wins: Best Comedy Series (2010), Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (Neil Patrick Harris, 2010), Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (Gwyneth Paltrow, 2010), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Jane Lynch, 2010)
Ratings last season: Season low was 6.01 million, Season high was 9.21 million
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: Fox]
September 12, 2012 5:22am EST
This is it. Way back in May, the day after American Idol ended, when we first met all of these hopefuls, we knew it would come down to this night: The Season 9 performance finale.
And here we are, with four left standing – Cyrus, Chehon, Eliana and Tiffany – and for once, they’re dancing for your votes. Live. This week’s performance correlates directly to next week’s results, for the first time all season.
No pressure or anything. But something told me these four were up for it, especially after the way they all gave it everything last week. They all danced like they really, really wanted it, and at this point, it’s anyone’s game.
Next week’s finale-finale will reveal two winners – a girl and a guy – who will hold the title of America’s Favorite Dancer(s) for the next nine or so months until the cycle begins again.
Joining Nigel and Mary on the judging panel for the performance finale was Rob Marshall (I was hoping for a Ben Millepied repeat, but alas, no dice). First up was an interesting spectacle: Cyrus doing the paso doble. With Eliana. Oh, boy. I was actually thinking earlier this week about the fact that Cyrus hasn’t really been given any challenging styles this season, so the producers really pulled out all the stops for Tuesday’s show.
Both Cyrus and Eliana were clad in red and black, and Cyrus was supposed to be dressed like a matador, but he really just looked like he was wearing a tube dress that he couldn’t pull up all the way. As usual, Eliana was excellent and she carried her partner by attracting all of the attention to herself, thereby masking the fact that Cyrus didn’t really have to do anything except lift her, spin her and wave his arms every once in a while.
At one point mid-routine, he actually attempted some kind of weird cartwheel that truly looked like that scene in Dumb and Dumber when Jim Carrey is getting ready to fight the cook at the restaurant.
Nigel told Eliana she has a magical combination of performance and technique. Instead of critiquing Cyrus, Nigel chose to remind all of us that Cyrus didn’t ever believe he could become a part of this show, that he could make it into the finale, that he could ever escape his apartment with 400 roommates, etc. Blah, blah, blah. Mary actually one-upped Nigel by using the word “conquered” to describe what Cyrus did to the paso doble.
Tiffany has been making huge strides over the last few weeks, but could she continue it in the finale? Hopefully. Her first performance of the night, with all-star Will’s help, once again showed off all of her strengths, of which she has many: Her lines are so clean, her extension is always so perfect (pay attention, Cyrus), and she has the ideal combination of technical skill and character. Plus, she’s so, so versatile—not that Eliana isn’t, but I’m always so impressed with how perfect Tiffany is, no matter what style they saddle her with.
Mary told Tiffany that she is the epitome of a fabulous dancer and a great partner. Rob complimented Sonya for her choreography. Nigel said Tiffany’s lines and stage presence were so strong that they hid the fact that she’s so tiny.
After a quick break, Eliana got right back onstage—this time, with Chehon, for a ballet number. Could there be anything more perfect for these two? What a great partnership. They’re both such excellent classical dancers that even before this started, you knew it was going to be one of the best performances of the season.
It really was magical: There was Nutcracker choreography, and there was a pink tutu for Eliana and a white baptism costume for Chehon, and there was one spectacular lift in the middle of the routine that was so perfectly timed to the track that the entire audience burst out into cheers. It was like the ending of Black Swan times a million. If the producers let Chehon dance like this all season (kind of how they let Cyrus do hip-hop all season), he’d be a shoo-in for the victory. Maybe this will get him there.
Obviously, this got a standing ovation from the panel. Rob couldn’t believe Chehon’s versatility, and he said Eliana’s extension was breathtaking. Nigel also raved about the difficulty level of this routine and said that Chehon made the lifts look easy. Mary said that Chehon and Eliana are a triumph for the show.
Next, it was time for Tiffany and Cyrus to pair up. Would Tiffany be able to mask Cyrus’ shortcomings as expertly as Eliana? Would he bring her down? No, they’d be just fine because they got a lyrical hip-hop routine. Of course they did. There could be nothing better suited to Cyrus, but I guess I can’t complain because Chehon got a wheelhouse routine, too.
The story was about a young couple that breaks up and makes up once a week (how creative!). Cyrus was okay, but once again, what really amazed me about this number was how seamlessly Tiffany shifted from the paso doble to hip-hop—and how perfect she was in both routines. She really outshined Cyrus, which is difficult to do in a hip-hop routine; she really is so natural and has so much rhythm, whereas Cyrus seemed a bit behind the beat, and his “acting” was a little garish.
Nigel began by congratulating both Tiffany and Cyrus for avoiding the bottom three for the entirety of the competition. Yay. Then, he gave Cyrus credit for being able to memorize the choreography. That’s kind of like giving an Idol contestant props for remembering the words, no? Mary said they both killed it, and that Cyrus continues to get stronger and stronger every week (‘kay). Rob said both Cyrus and Tiffany had abandon, which he loved, and their routine was his favorite of the night.
Eliana’s final solo of the competition was up next, and of course, it was classical because that is where she excels. But it didn’t disappoint. Like Tiffany, Eliana has the ability to be so delicate in a routine like this, and yet she becomes a completely different person in a hip-hop routine, or in a jazz routine, or in a Broadway routine. And plus, she has to be one of the most likeable contestants in the history of this show.
For his all-star routine, Chehon paired up with Allison for a contemporary number about a guy who lets go of his girl because he wants her to pursue her dreams. These concepts are just so groundbreaking. But all corniness aside, this was once again an excellent routine for Chehon (and one that required him to have a completely unbuttoned shirt, naturally).
These choreographers are so, so good at creating these classical routines that really allow Chehon to show off. He’s such a strong partner, but he’s also so technically impressive on his own. He did a one-handed lift in this routine. Hello. He can do so much that Cyrus cannot that it would be such a robbery if he lost.
Also, just for the record, the acting in this routine was excellent. That’s not always Chehon’s strong suit, but on Tuesday, he brought it. Like Tiffany, it’s so easy to see how much he’s grown throughout his competition, and he deserves mad props for that.
Mary said Chehon was loose and free throughout the number, maybe for the first time all season. Rob was impressed with the height Chehon managed to get, and he told Allison she was “fierce.” Nigel spent a little too much time lauding the praise on Allison’s acting skills, but he did add that Chehon came alive in this partnership. He said that in the past, Chehon has had a hard time showing emotion; I choose to blame that on his robot of a partner who got sent home last week.
Next up, it was time for Tiff and Eliana to do a Broadway burlesque number. I love it when the ladies dance together! I miss this. One of my favorite performances from this whole season was from the first top 20 show, when Tiffany and Audrey did a contemporary number together.
These two ladies are so great. They have so much personality, and when they dance together, they really just set the place on fire. The routine and the track were so perfect for them, too – “When You’re Good to Mama” from Chicago – and it really made me wish they didn’t save stuff like this for the finale.
It also made very eager to see what was in store for us when Chehon and Cyrus paired up.
Before that, though, it was time for Cyrus’ solo. I love watching him dance, but each week, it doesn’t seem like we see anything new from him. I feel like I’ve seen him do the same exact solo for four or five straight weeks—and it’s a great solo, because I love animation and I love hip-hop, but reality shows like this favor contestants who truly grow throughout the competition. At least, they’re supposed to.
But in the alternate universe of So You Think You Can Dance, this solo got a standing ovation. Naturally.
Tiffany’s solo was just as good as Eliana’s (and the track was “I Believe” by Fantasia! Holler). It really is going to be such a tough call between these two ladies. Once again, it was fascinating to see Tiffany go from the paso doble to grungy hip hop to classical, and she was so fluid and so natural in each. This one even had just enough of a Disney princess vibe to give me chills.
Next, Chehon and Cyrus performed a warrior routine about the challenges they’ve conquered in their SYTYCD journey. Sonya was the perfect choreographer for this. She forced Cyrus to step his game up so that he didn’t look like a fool dancing next to Chehon.
And somehow, against all odds, he didn’t look like a fool. Sonya had them doing lifts with each other, and karate-kicking each other, and throwing each other across the floor … It was intense. I’m not going to lie and say it wasn’t totally obvious that Chehon is much more capable and versatile than Cyrus – there were several little solo moments for Chehon, during which Cyrus pretty much just stood there and, like, crouched – but the fact that this wasn’t a train wreck kind of amazed me. So, props to Sonya for that.
Nigel, too, credited Sonya with helping the guys up the ante. He then rambled on for about 90 seconds about how much of an inspiration Cyrus is and called him his favorite person on this show and somehow avoided talking about his dancing at all. Nigel then told Chehon that he was his favorite dancer of the night. Not that it matters.
Mary commended the guys for fighting as hard as they could along this journey, and Rob complimented their camaraderie and selflessness with each other.
Chehon wore a shirt for his final solo, which began with him reading a letter, throwing it to the ground and then pacing backwards in slow motion. He’s so good. He’s not quite as versatile as either of the ladies – he still struggles with Latin styles and, naturally, with hip hop – but I find his technical skills so impressive that it doesn’t necessarily bother me that he can be a bit limited.
Eliana’s fifth and final routine with all-star Alex Wong was choreographed by Travis, and as expected, it was one of the toughest of the night. There was a lot of movement, a lot of lifts, a lot of choreography that required absolutely perfect lines and perfect extension. And to nobody’s surprise, Eliana saved her best for last. She was so assertive when she needed to be, and yet when the choreography called for Alex to literally drag her around the stage, she immediately switched modes. She makes something so difficult look so, so easy.
Rob told Eliana there’s nothing she can’t do and that the routine was poetry. Nigel said it was unquestionably his favorite routine of the night, and then he dropped a huge bomb by telling Eliana she is his favorite dancer ever, in the history of this show. I think he may have just solidified the win for her. Mary said Eliana’s feet and ankles were extraordinary and that she oozes passion.
For her personal finale, Tiffany teamed up with Chehon for a rumba. “It has to be so hot, the audience has to be uncomfortable,” the choreographer told us. This would be interesting for Chehon, who has been notoriously incapable of connecting with his partners in the past.
I just adore Tiffany. She’s so graceful and she, like Eliana, really does make everything look so easy. Chehon was good, too, but he was more of Tiffany’s partner in this routine than a competitor. He did prove his worth, though, with one spectacular lift mid-routine –he really is such a good partner – and while I wouldn’t say that the chemistry between these two was off the charts, I thought they were very sweet.
Mary said that Chehon has struggled with the Latin styles, but not with the rumba—this allowed him to be masculine and controlling. She did, however, say that the chemistry wasn’t really all there. Rob actually did feel that there was a connection between these two, which he found “sexy.” Nigel said that he was glad the accounting department finally found room in the budget to buy a shirt for Chehon, but unfortunately, they still didn’t have sufficient funds for buttons.
So. Just in case the producers weren’t being clear enough with their favoritism. Guess which all-star Cyrus got to perform with for his final number? Twitch. Guess which style they performed? Animation.
(Oh, and by the way, he always, always, always gets to perform near or at the end of the show.)
Of course, this routine was going to be spectacular. How could it not be? People have been saying Cyrus is this show’s next Twitch since Week 1, and watching them perform together was special. Christopher Scott choreographed the show’s FIRST EVER ANIMATION ROUTINE (as Cat reminded us no fewer than 400 times), about two guys who have been genetically altered and are experiencing their new bodies for the first time. I have to give him snaps for creativity; this was a new one.
This really was one of the best routines of the entire season. Cyrus excels at this (if only at this), and it was so cool to watch he and Twitch perform together, so perfectly in sync with each other. They were like robots. If you haven’t YouTubed it yet, do yourself a favor. This routine probably won Cyrus the competition. And if the routine didn’t, he and Twitch concluded the number with an adorably ecstatic man hug.
Once the applause died down – which honestly took about two minutes – Rob told Twitch and Cyrus they are two superstars. Mary could barely speak but managed to say that they stole the show. Nigel told them they are both “world class.”
And then things got weird.
Nigel said he loves Cyrus and has supported him all season, but that he wouldn’t be voting for him on Tuesday. The entire audience definitely thought it was a joke. Everyone thought Nigel was going to follow that up that statement with something Cowell-esque along the lines of, “… I’m going to vote for you a MILLION times tonight!” But instead, he embarked on a rambling explanation for why he would choose to support Chehon instead. He was serious.
To be totally honest, I wondered if this was a ploy to get sympathy votes for Cyrus. It was that bizarre.
I cannot even describe to you the death glare Cyrus gave him during this diatribe. Suffice to say, it was amazing.
And on that very odd note, whom are you voting for? Is Nigel right—does Chehon deserve it more because he’s allegedly worked longer and harder for it (or something)? Which lady will take the crown?
Hope you voted!
[Image Credit: FOX]
More: So You Think You Can Dance Recap: Finally, the Contestants Dance to Win! So You Think You Can Dance Recap: Judges’ Pet Lives to See Another Day So You Think You Can Dance Recap: Mia Michaels Redux
June 29, 2012 9:21am EST
You approach one of Tyler Perry's Aunt Madea movies with certain expectations. Lively banter, wacky anecdotes, and maybe a few references to classic television. When it comes to Perry's newest venture, Madea's Witness Protection, these things aren't limited to the film alone. They were front and center on the Red Carpet.
On Monday, Hollywood.com got a chance to catch up with two of Witness Protection's most versatile stars: John Amos and Marla Gibbs. Between the two actors' résumés, just about every single television show in American history is covered. Amos might be best known as Good Times star James Evans, Sr., but he has so many programs and films to his name that it's really difficult to pinpoint him to a single role. One of Amos' more recent ventures was The West Wing, created by Aaron Sorkin, who Amos calls "That writer that is a cut above most writers working in television today. I had the pleasure of doing some of the best words I’ve ever had as an actor when I was doing Admiral Percy Fitzwallace on The West Wing," adding that he was "looking forward to" Sorkin's new series The Newsroom.
Amos then delved into a tale about how his West Wing character got him in good with Secretary of State Colin Powell: "That was an unforgettable hour in my life. I’m sitting outside his office. I’m waiting for him to be free to see me. I thought it was going to be a very cursory meeting — ‘Hi, here’s a picture for you, I’ve got to get back to state business.’ He came out, he looked at me, and he said, ‘Percy Fitzwallace! What kind of name is that for a brother?’"
Amos laughed, continuing the story: "Totally disarmed me! I fell on the floor! He said, ‘Get up, you’re embarrassing me!’ We went into his office, and he called his wife Alma. He said, ‘Alma, you’ll never guess who I’m sitting in my office talking to.’ I thought to myself, ‘She’ll never guess who he’s talking to?! If my mom and my dad could see me sitting, talking to the secretary of state, my dad’s chest would pop buttons through a brick wall!’"
Going back a little further into the realm of classic television, the Witness Protection Red Carpet also granted an opportunity to chat about The Jeffersons with Marla Gibbs, who was unforgettable as Florence Johnston, the titular family's wisecracking maid. In this age of TV-to-film adaptations, Gibbs was enthusiastic about the idea of a movie version of The Jeffersons.
Gibbs joked, "I'd consider going back to anything!" before contemplating the casting on a Jeffersons picture: "Mr. Jefferson’s still with us, so he can play Mr. Jefferson. There’s not that many of us around. But Ralph the doorman is still here. Jenny is still with us." As for the rest of the roles, Gibbs optimistically remarked, "I’m sure there are talented young actors out there who can pick up the parts."
The prospect of a Madea's Witness Protection Red Carpet is uplifting enough, but getting a chance to dish about great TV shows with the actors who starred on them? That's just gold. Catch Madea's Witness Protection in theaters now.
Tyler Perry Tackles Social Satire with 'Madea's Witness Protection' — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
'Alex Cross': Matthew Fox Is Jack...ed — PICS
Bobbi Kristina: Tyler Perry's Next TV Star?
Madea's Witness Protection
January 27, 2012 5:21am EST
S5E14: Last week on The Big Bang Theory, we got to see a glimpse of Leonard’s thought processes in reference to asking Penny out. This week, we get to see a part of his thoughts turn into actions, as Leonard and Penny Version 2.0 heads into beta testing. Will the second go around be ready for a release version? Or will Leonard’s negative predictions from last week’s episode come true?
“The flags of Lichtenstein and Haiti were identical by coincidence; a fact that wasn’t discovered until they competed in the 1936 Olympics. Thankfully their embarrassment was overshadowed by the rise of Fascism.” – Sheldon
Our story begins with Sheldon and Amy starting their own video blog, “Fun with Flags,” because everyone wants to “explore the dynamic world of vexillology.” Well, it is more of Sheldon’s show, since Amy is acting like she is being held against her will. But she makes the most of it by creating a mascot for the show: Ferdinand T. Flag. There’s no way in all of science that The Big Bang’s writers have already run out of geeky, interesting, and funny antics for Sheldon to get into. While the opening and closing buttons were humorous, these guys have done way better with their lunacy. Anyone remember Spy-Chess? Turning “Shamy” into a couple has not yielded the kind of classic comedic moments that this show is known for and is not the fault of either Jim Parsons or Mayim Bialik. They poured their hearts into this nonsense. At the very least, we have a few Jeopardy answers out this B story.
“Seriously, do I not get credit for knowing Beta Test?” – Penny
“…That a boy Hofstadter, nothing gets the ladies hotter than software development anologies.” – Leonard
Leonard and Penny return jubilant from their dinner. Just like the first time around, they decide to take it slow, and Leonard offers up the same solution that his thought processes conjured up last week: test out the relationship before getting serious. He suggests that the two compare notes – or bug reports as Leonard calls them – and see where things go. The couple also agrees to not get mad when discussing these bugs, so it’s only a matter of time before this relationship goes belly up.
While spending time at the apartment watching Doctor Who with Sheldon and Amy, Penny offers up a bug report: when asking a girl to spend time with him, the guy should have something better planned than watching Doctor Who. After agreeing that this was a bad move, Leonard gives Penny a whole sheet of bugs for her to work on. And they’re color-coded. Red means fix immediately; yellow means fix when Penny feels like getting to it; and green is for flaws that Leonard can learn to live with. When will sitcom guys learn that instead of trying to improve them, they need to hold on to their hotties like grim death?
“I’ve played a lot of Grand Theft Auto; I think I know how to handle a gat.” – LeonardThe bug reports weren’t all for nought though. As a surprise Leonard found out from Penny’s father that she used to like going to the shooting range as a kid. It was only a matter of time before Leonard shot himself in the foot – literally this time. Don’t worry; it grazed his pinky toe so his Reeboks were the true casualty. As for the continuation of L & P 2.0? Penny is still a happy gal and gives her honey a kiss goodnight before heading back to her apartment. Leonard heads to his own house, which has been turned into Sheldon’s Fun with Flags show.
“Look at that, there’s finally a woman in your life that you can talk to” – Howard to Raj
”…is that cute or creepy>” – Bernadette
“Uh huh.” – Howard
Meanwhile with nothing really story-driven to do, Raj tests out the iPhone 4S and becomes obsessed with its voice recognition program, Siri. On a show about four super nerds, this storyline was bound to happen. Unfortunately, it’s several months too late as just about everyone who has an iPhone 4S has already played out the Siri memes to their annoying end. I myself have tried to get Siri to admit that it’s a Terminator, Astromech Droid, or at least a Protocol Droid. But alas, the friggin’ phone won’t cop to being any kind of robot. Anyway, Raj begins to fall for the sexy droid voice; who he gets to call him “sexy.”
Of course Sheldon admires Raj for “taking an evolutionary leap by abandoning human interaction and allowing yourself to romantically bond with a soulless machine.” On The Big Bang Theory, anything involving speech involves Porky Pi-er – I mean the boys’ coworker, Barry Kripe. Kripe chimes in about Siri by trying to have it “wecomend a westawaunt.”
Luckily, the already worn out joke ended on a good note. Raj has a nightmare where he walks into the office of Siri, and just as he had hoped; she’s leggy redhead and of course, even a dream, Raj cannot speak to women.
Obviously this episode was more about putting Leonard and Penny back in play than exploring the B stories, which makes “The Beta Test Initiation” a good episode. The minutiae of Flag Facts and Siri jokes, while garnered a snicker or two, didn’t do much to help or hurt. Although the vision of Sheldon in Lederhosen and Amy dressed as a pretzel (“Ich bien ein Bavarian.” “And Ich bien eine Pretzel”) was pretty hysterical and, as I said before, Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik sold it like they were getting Emmys for the performance.
So what do all of my fellow Big Bang Theorists think of Leonard and Penny Beta Version (or is it the Alpha version)? Is the testing looking as good as Penny thinks it is? Will we get to see more absurd costume choices on Fun with Flags (which is the only way that runner wouldn’t get old so quickly)? What part of geek-pop will be explored next week? Leave your comments below and remember to follow me on twitter @CouchForceOne.
February 22, 2011 6:09am EST
S15:E8 Last night on The Bachelor, Brad visited the remaining four girls’ hometowns and tried to see if there were any skeletons in any of their closets (whether or not we’re to assume these were their childhood homes was unclear). This, of course, varied in degree of difficulty, as Chantal O’s parents house was gigantic and Brad was too intimidated to do any real snooping because they were the type of people who spent most of their money on making their closets and refrigerators look hidden and just like parts of the wall that can only be opened when pushed on. Ashley’s house was normal so it was easy for Brad to see where the closets were, but he was too taken aback by her sister, who had tattoos (literally) on her chest that peeked up over the neckline of her shirt. (Maybe that was enough of a skeleton for him to make him stop looking.) Shawntel’s skeletons were also pretty apparent, as Brad saw when she took him to the crematorium where she worked. And as for Emily’s skeletons, Brad already knew she had a daughter…but he didn’t know how much she wasn’t going to look like Emily.
If they don’t like you, you’re out. – Chantal
The first place Brad went was Seattle, where Chantal’s family lived. She chose to meet him in a very scenic place (right by the water), which was perfect because then she told him how much her parents’ opinions meant to her and that if they didn’t like Brad, he was not an option for her anymore. Then they sat down and talked about all the shit they’ve always talked about, which was how much they miss each other and how beautiful the water looks when it’s lined up with the sky. Then Chantal revealed her living situation, which is in a house that’s four streets away from her parents’ house, and that she has two cats and one dog in her own little place. After Brad met all of Chantal’s pets and realized that he would need to buy a bigger place (apparently because the Pomeranian requires closet space), they headed over to her parents’ house WHICH IS GIGAAAAAAAAANTIC, with pillars, parallel staircases, and adjacent rugs big enough to wrap Tony Soprano himself in. After dinner, Brad met up with Chantal’s father, who escorted Brad outside and pointed to a STAAAAATUE outside in the driveway that was of a man who was cutting himself out of a block of rock, which OBVIOUSLY was to alert all the other rich people who were up there in the sky taking their helicopter flying lessons that Chantal’s dad made his own money and didn’t inherit anything. When the contest of who could look like a bigger asshole without putting on one of Brad’s Newsies hats ended, the two of them bonded over their careers of working with bricks (I think), and were good to go when Chantal’s dad told Brad that he had their blessing if he proposed to his daughter.
You pay in the box. Isn’t that great? – Ashley
Brad’s next stop was to the most northern point in Maine, where Ashley was from. After greeting each other, Ashley took Brad into the restaurant where she worked behind the bar in high school because she thought it would be sooooooooo cute to show him where her obsession of making sure her bra straps were thicker than the spaghetti straps of her tank tops came from. No, just kidding. She wanted to show him where her bulimia started! She did this by ordering putsin, which consisted of French fries, gravy, and cheese. After they finished talking about how much time they’ve wasted reassuring each other, they went to pick up some ingredients for dinner. They went to what I believe was a roadside market, which wasn’t manned by anyone so after they collected all the things they wanted (like lettuce, carrots, and blah blah), they had to calculate how much money they owed and drop it in a box that said “pay here. this isn’t free.” Then they went over to Ashley’s house, and she greeted her family members with such enthusiasm that you could tell she almost never, ever, ever goes back there and doesn’t give two shits as to whether or not the bow she put on the porch when she was 5 has made it through another winter. The usual chatting ensued over lobster, and after Brad told Ashley’s family of how he picked her up when he first met her, Brad and Ashley’s dad went into the garage to talk about how roomy a pair of Wrangler jeans can be. HA! No, but something interesting did happen – Brad asked if Ashley was ready to settle down and if the prospect of having kids intimidated her, and Ashley’s father said he didn’t know, and that Brad should be aware that Ashley is on her own path and even if she’s with Brad, she’s going to do what she wants to do and not what some guy who assumes the dresscode in Maine is plaid so he puts on a plaid shirt wants her to do. At the end of the visit, Ashley said she was beginning to think Brad was the one and Brad was worried that a relationship was going to hold Ashley back.
When you die, like, do you want to be cremated? – Shawntel
Brad’s next visit was to Chico, California, to see Shawntel’s way of life. This was the visit that Brad found to be the most unnerving, as Shawntel is a funeral director, which means that she can probably put some Splenda into a cup of coffee while she embalms someone or closes your grandmother into the crematory. Brad already knew of Shawntel’s profession, and up until this point he had tried to put it out of his head. But he couldn’t quite hide from it anymore once his driver pulled up to Shawntel’s crematorium, where inside, she was telling the cameras how well she treats “her families” and trying to figure out why “people are so scared of death” and how “this will be the ultimate test” for their relationship. When Brad walked inside, Shawntel explained to him that a crypt consists of two caskets, and that if he wanted to be buried with her, here was the cubby where people could come by and place flowers in his memory. Then, Shawntel showed him the green and red buttons that she pushes to cremate someone, and then she had him lie down on the table where she did all her embalming and introduced him to all the instruments she uses to do so. When they left the facility they went to Shawntel’s house, where things went south even further. Shawntel told her father of the possibility that she would move to Austin with Brad, which meant that her father would have to find someone else to replace him in the crematorium when he retired. This was Shawntel’s father’s worst nightmare, as he was probably planning on retiring tomorrow and was really looking forward to having the hairs in his nose finally growing back. So instead of talking to Brad, Shawntel’s father sat down with his daughter and talked to her about how much their community would miss her if she were to leave. Shawntel sat there calmly instead of freaking out like “OMG YOU WANT ME TO BE A FUNERAL DIRECTOR FOREVER, DON’T YOU STALIN!” but instead, was all like, “I love him and I want to be with him.” Somewhat way too easily, Shawntel’s father was convinced into giving his daughter and her boyfriend his blessing for marriage, which Brad probably thought he had earned a long time ago when he lay down on the embalming table and listened to a lecture on the different types of incisions.
She’s a tough crowd. – Emily
The last visit Brad made was to Emily’s house in North Carolina. But first, we saw Emily be reunited with her daughter, Ricky, which was very sweet. Emily explained that the same way Ricky goes to school and makes new friends is the same way that her mommy went away to California on a reality show and met new friends too! Then, over walked Brad with a present that was the size of a javelin, which Ricky was not very interested in and instead of receiving it, she hid behind her mother. But once Brad sat down on the ground, Ricky took the present, opened what was a butterfly kite, and held it in her hands even less willingly than if it was a crowbar. After lunch, Brad helped Ricky fly the kite and she laughed a few times, which proved that she was, in fact, human. When the three went back to Emily’s house, they played board games in Ricky’s gigantic room that had a pink and a large ass house in it, which must be Ricky’s energy sources because all of a sudden, she pulled out a drawing of the kite that Brad gave her and presented it to him as a gift. Once Ricky was in bed, Brad and Emily went downstairs and Brad got awkward because he didn’t feel like he was capable of showing Emily how he cared for her with Ricky sleeping upstairs. Emily said Ricky would always be upstairs (which, to her credit, is an excellent point), but Brad just couldn’t wrap his head around it and eventually said he just wanted to leave. Emily showed him the door, but insisted he kiss her before he departed, which he did, because there’s no better way to practice for marriage than making your partner kiss you before they can do what they want to do.
The elimination ceremony took place in NYC, but instead of a cocktail party, Brad sat down with Chris Harrison and relived all the moments of the past week. Then came the tough part of Brad choosing the final three women. Personally, I thought Brad was going to eliminate Ashley, as her father hinted that his daughter was going to be much more devoted to her own career than to starting a family. But Brad kept her. He also kept Emily, which was obvious. So between Chantal O and Shawntel, the decision of who to keep was a rather easy one to make, as it basically boiled down to “whose casual dinner conversation would revolve around who died today?” So Brad kept Chantal O and sent Shawntel back to her hometown, where she could continue to search for the perfect someone to occupy the other spot in the crypt she had already picked out for herself.
March 13, 2010 4:38am EST
Parodies are a dying art. I hate to say it — because I love them so much — but over the last few years the unrelenting hacks known as Friedberg and Seltzer have systematically killed the art form with their brainless pop culture-stroking disguised as commentary. I remember the good ole’ days of Abrams and Zucker (prior to their Scary Movie entanglements) when parodies where funny precisely because they established their own voice and didn’t use the material they were lampooning as a crutch. Airplane! mercilessly mocked the bizarre run of airport disaster movies in the '70s but it also transcended easy jokes and script aping. Today thanks to inexplicable box office validation an entire generation now thinks that the “Random celebrity what are you doing here?” gag is the appropriate formula for parody.
Kick-Ass is going to put a giant boot in the face of that mentality. It is a pitch-perfect send-up of everything that is characteristic of superhero films. It is versed enough to cite convention but clever enough to find the humor in the genre’s absurdity. And the biggest advantage Kick-Ass has in the parody department is that it is unrelentingly entertaining. It seems that in the last few years terrible parodies have made undeserved fortunes at the box office while better-crafted entries have gone largely unseen. Kick-Ass on the other hand has all the necessary components to clean up at the box office and be well deserving of its success.
The performances in the film are all top notch. Nicolas Cage showcases yet again how he can make his personal lunacy work very effectively under the right conditions. The overly Leave It To Beaver dialogue he and his daughter exchange prior to assuming their crime-fighting alter egos is charmingly silly and if you don’t get a kick out of his channeling of Adam West from the 60’s Batman series when he is in the suit I highly suggest a humor implant immediately. Aaron Johnson in the title role plays the lovable loser to perfection. He brings a lot of heart to the character that drives the emotional crux of the film. And as much as Christopher Mintz-Plasse is the most recognizable young actor in the film it’s Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl who totally McLovins the film; stealing every scene she’s in. The personality comedic timing and ruthlessness that she brings to this character demonstrate a talent level well in advance of her age.
In terms of the treatment of the teenaged characters in the film this script is tantamount to something written by the late great John Hughes in so much as the teens are allowed to speak honestly and in their own limited vocabulary without the pretense of wit. I think teen comedies are improving dramatically of late but the obsession with making teens pithy wordsmiths baffles me to no end and I’m glad they were allowed to just be vulgar. And my God this thing is vulgar…and violent to boot. We get to watch an 11 year-old drop f-bombs and stab thugs in the forebrain. I mean come on the movie is called Kick-Ass for a reason and while it is a comedy the action sequences are unstoppably exhilarating.
A smart somewhat genre subversive parody Kick-Ass is also action-packed and entertaining enough to stand on its own two legs as a film and not just a lampoon. The costumes the music the fight choreography all work in harmony to bring us a blockbuster superhero film that is legitimately humorous in both its homages and honest characterizations. Do not miss this film.