Michael Buckner/Getty ImagesWhile most people scoffed when The Canyons director Paul Schrader compared its troubled star Lindsay Lohan to silver screen goddess Marilyn Monroe, they do have at least one thing in common – they've both been immortalised in song by Sir Elton John. Indeed, exactly 30 years after he penned "Candle In The Wind" as a tribute to the original Blonde Bombshell, the Rocket Man revealed this week that the closing title track from his new 31st studio album, The Diving Board, was based on watching the Mean Girls star's descent from talented actress to car-crash TMZ regular. Here's a look at five other songs that have been inspired by celebrities.
Alanis Morissette – "You Oughta Know"A tour-de-force of angst-ridden alt-rock, "You Oughta Know" transformed the Canadian from a Tiffany-esque teen pop mall queen to the world's biggest banshee. But few would have expected the subject of her fury to have been such an unassuming figure as Uncle Joey from Full House. Despite his initial denials, Dave Coulier finally admitted in 2008 that he was in fact the man who stamped on Morissette's heart after they dated in the early '90s.
Madonna – "Miles Away"Best-known for possibly the most tacky album cover of all time and a bandwagon jumping collaboration with Timbaland & Timberlake, Madonna's much-maligned 2008 release, Hard Candy, wasn’t always so contrived. Indeed, this gorgeously melancholic electro-ballad was possibly one of the most honest and autobiographical songs of the Material Girl's career as she poured her heart out over the hardships of maintaining a long-distance relationship with now ex-husband Guy Ritchie.
Carly Simon – "You’re So Vain"Long before Taylor Swift turned the concept of 'blind gossip' into an art form, singer-songwriter Carly Simon got all the tabloids talking when she assassinated a former boyfriend's character on "You’re So Vain." Mick Jagger, Warren Beatty and James Taylor's names have all been thrown into the ring as possible suspects. But only Simon and the man who paid $50,000 to discover the answer back in 2003 appears to really know who the guilty party is.
R.E.M. - "Man On The Moon"Seven years before they wrote "The Great Beyond" for the Jim Carrey-starring biopic of the same name, R.E.M. paid tribute to the late cult comedian Andy Kaufmann with this enduring hit from Automatic For The People. Referencing everything from the Taxi star's flawless Elvis impersonation to his work with wrestlers Fred Blassie and Jerry Lawler, the track was named so due to the moon-landing style conspiracy theories surrounding his 1984 death.
Annie – "Me Plus One"Taken from her 2004 debut, Anniemal, "Me Plus One" saw Norwegian starlet Annie narrate the real-life moment when Geri Halliwell locked herself in a car with producer Richard X after discovering that he'd given the song she desperately wanted to record to former S Club 7 member Rachel Stevens instead. Also sampling the barks of the former Spice Girl's dog Harry, this insanely catchy slice of electropop undoubtedly ranks as one of the more bizarre celebrity odes.
MoreKanye West - Financial AdvisorKeep The Day Job: Dylan Pastels At The National Portrait GalleryUnexpected Music Star Reinventions
From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer is based on a bestselling series of children’s books by librarian-turned-author Megan McDonald. I've read none of the books but over 14 million copies of them have been sold to date which leads me to believe there must be some fundamental appeal to them. Whatever it is none of it is to be found in this grating adaptation. For kids Judy Moody is at best a harmless diversion; for adults it’s 90 minutes of cinematic purgatory.
The film stars Jordana Beatty as the title character a precocious nine-year-old whose wildly unkempt hair hobo-rainbow wardrobe and zany portmanteaus like “supercalifragilisticexpithrilladelic” are meant to convey creativity and independence but more persuasively hint at a future of padded cells and four-point restraints. When the school term ends Judy prepares for three months of unbridled fun but her plans are derailed when two of her best friends Rocky (Garrett Ryan) and Amy (Taylar Hender) announce that they are leaving for the summer. Judy’s summer prospects further diminish when her parents decamp to California to tend to an ailing grandfather leaving behind her eccentric Aunt Opal (Heather Graham convincingly crazy) a vagabond free spirit with an interest in “guerrilla art ” to supervise in their stead.
If there’s a point to any of this director John Schultz (Aliens in the Attic) doesn’t articulate it. The film’s oblique narrative revolves around an arbitrary contest of Judy’s design in which she and her three friends compete for “thrill points” by completing various activities like riding a roller coaster or walking a tightrope. The exact stakes of the contest if there are any are never made clear giving us little incentive to care about how any of it turns out. Little matter – each activity is really just a catalyst for some lame gag the culmination of which usually involves unwanted contact with a) feces b) vomit or c) an artificial substance of equivalent unpleasantness. Vaudevillian sound design punctuates each tedious punchline heightening our collective discomfort.
Schultz’s directorial style is one of aggressive whimsy making abundant use of canted angles extreme close-ups acid-trip set design CG pop-ups animated interludes an omnipresent score that all but shouts “mischief afoot ” and Urkel. Judy Moody was clearly made with minimal funding with the bulk of said funds devoted to achieving its aesthetic of benign creepiness. One can only imagine how much the film might have been improved if a portion of its budget had been allocated to say a second draft of the script or more than one take for each scene. Bummer.
The 69 year old admits she showed her bare bottom to Warren Beatty while they were working together on 1981 movie Reds in a bid to make him crack a smile.
She tells U.K. talk show host Graham Norton, "He is grumpy. He really is. So I mooned at him."
Margolyes also reveals she stripped off in front of director Martin Scorsese on the set of The Age of Innocence, adding, "I didn't moon him, I did these instead (my breasts).
"It was a long day and we'd done the costume parade at the beginning (of the film). (Everyone was) feeling tired and a bit listless, so I just flung off my brassiere."
But the actress was banned from bringing her naughty antics to the set of the Harry Potter movies, and instead her colleagues set up a 'swear box' which she had to contribute to every time she cursed in front of her young co-stars.
She adds, "You have to be very careful with children and they made a rule that I had to give a penny or maybe a pound to the World Wildlife Fund if I swore and, really, they did very well."
Rango may be the latest entry in an exceedingly long line of animated flicks featuring anthropomorphized animals but it’s anything but ordinary. The long-gestating brainchild of Gore Verbinski director of the Pirates of the Caribbean films and the first animated feature from Industrial Light & Magic George Lucas’ visual effects firm Rango staunchly defies many of the conventions of current mass-marketed cartoon fare. It's not in 3D; it's a family film that borrows heavily from such adult works as Chinatown and the post-modern westerns of Peckinpah and Leone; its oddball comic sensibility includes references to prostate exams and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as well as the more tried-and-true potty humor; and its cast of unsightly critters isn’t likely to inspire any bestselling children’s costumes come Halloween. It's an unusual strategy but it works: Rango makes for a delightfully strange if somewhat inconsistent experience.
Much of the inspiration for Rango’s skewed spirit comes from its famously skewed star Johnny Depp who voices the title character a domesticated chameleon cast by fate into the desert to find his true identity. He eventually lands in Dirt a decrepit frontier town that’s literally dying of thirst. The townsfolk of Dirt desperately need a hero and Rango a wannabe stage actor ingratiates himself with them by bluffing his way into a job as town sheriff. But Rango is something of a coward at heart and when a real threat emerges in the form of a terrifying outlaw named Rattlesnake Jake (Bill Nighy) his lifelong habit of hiding behind false identities and just "blending in" is suddenly and devastatingly exposed.
The film's narrative is a bit jagged structured loosely around a mystery involving the sudden disappearance of Dirt's water supply and the shady machinations of the town's corrupt mayor voiced by Ned Beatty. An overabundance of characters makes matters confusing at times and some of the action set pieces including a sprawling chase scene set to Wagner's "Flight of the Valkyries" (a la Apocalypse Now) are breathtaking to watch but do little to advance the storyline. The jaw-droppingly vivid animation is magnificently evocative of the frontier towns of the classic westerns: its dusty distressed aesthetic dominated by brown and beige hues will make you feel grimy -- and not a little bit parched. Verbinski does tremendous work with atmospherics in Rango manipulating space and light and shadow to create an experience more immersive than even some of the better 3D-animated films.
Based on Chris Van Allsburg's enchanting award winning children's book the story begins on a snowy Christmas Eve where a doubting young boy lies in his bed waiting to hear the sound he doesn't know if he believes in anymore: the tinkle of Santa's sleigh bells. What he hears instead however is the thunderous roar of an approaching train where no train should be: it's the Polar Express. Rushing outside in only a robe and slippers the incredulous boy meets the train's conductor who urges him to come onboard. Suddenly the boy finds himself embarking on an extraordinary journey to the North Pole with a number of other children--including a girl who has the tools to be a good leader but lacks confidence; a know-it-all boy who lacks humility; and a lonely boy who just needs to have a little faith in other people to make his dreams come true. Together the children discover that the wonder of Christmas never fades for those who believe. As the conductor wisely advises "It doesn't matter where the train is going. What matters is deciding to get on." Gives ya goose bumps doesn't it?
Talk about a vanity project for Tom Hanks. He portrays several of the characters in the film--the conductor the hobo who mysteriously appears and disappears on the Polar Express the boy's father. Wait isn't that Hanks playing Santa Claus as well? But if anyone can pull off some cheesy dialogue about the spirit of Christmas this Oscar-winning actor can. Interestingly the film also incorporates adults to play the children (none of the characters have names actually) with Hanks as the Hero Boy; Hanks' Bosom Buddies pal Peter Scolari as the Lonely Boy; The Matrix Revolutions Nona Gaye as the Hero Girl; and veteran voice actor Eddie Deezen as the Know-It-All Boy. Everyone does a good job but trying to make CGI-created people seem real is a difficult undertaking. With
The Polar Express director Robert Zemeckis has created an entirely new way to do computer animation called "performance capture." "[It's a process that] offers a vivid rendering of the Van Allsburg world while infusing a sense of heightened realism into the performances. It's like putting the soul of a live person into a virtual character " visual effects wizard and longtime Zemeckis collaborator Ken Ralston explains. Oh is that all? Problem is no matter how hard they try it doesn't work--not completely. Similar to flaws in the 2001 Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within virtual characters just can't convey human emotion as well as real-life actors plain and simple. And with a touching story like Polar Express that real-life connection is missed at times.
Of course like the images in the book it's still an exceptionally beautiful film to watch. Zemeckis enjoys being a filmmaking innovator. He charmed audiences with a lively blend of live action and manic animation in the 1988 classic action comedy Who Framed
Roger Rabbit? and then wowed them with the 1994 Oscar-winning Forrest Gump blending authentic archival footage of historic figures with the actors. Now with The Polar Express it's this performance capture which gives Zemeckis unlimited freedom in creating the world he wants. And boy does he make use of it. True the story is a classic but the director knows he has to make The Polar Express exciting for the tykes-- simply riding around in a train to North Pole without any thrills certainly wouldn't be enough for the ADD world we live in. To accomplish this the film is padded with exhilarating scenes such as the train going on a giant roller coaster ride through the mountains and across frozen lakes (too bad Warner Bros. doesn't have a theme park) and the boy's race across the top of the snowy Polar Express. Even the North Pole is a booming magical Mecca filled with some pretty boisterous (and weird looking) elves who like to send Santa off in style Christmas Eve--watch out for Aerosmith's Steven Tyler making a cameo as a jammin' elf. Ho-ho-ho!
The Whole Ten Yards picks up about two years after the events that changed the lives of Oz (Matthew Perry) Jimmy "The Tulip" (Bruce Willis) Jill (Amanda Peet) and Cynthia (Natasha Henstridge)--and made them a whole lot richer. Nice-guy dentist Oz is now married to Jimmy's ex-wife Cynthia and living in Brentwood Calif. where he still practices dentistry. They seem happy but Oz is so paranoid someone will come after him that he keeps an arsenal of weapons in his home which is teeming with high-tech surveillance equipment. His suspicions however are not so farfetched: Turns out Cynthia is in cahoots with Jimmy who is now married to Jill and living in Mexico and they're planning to rob Hungarian mobster Lazlo Gogolak (Kevin Pollak) who's just been released from prison. But Lazlo has an agenda of his own. He wants to kill Jimmy for the murder of his son rival hitman Yanni Gogolak a couple of years ago. When Lazlo kidnaps Cynthia to get to Jimmy (he figures Oz will spill the beans on his whereabouts) poor Oz runs off to Mexico and pleads for Jimmy's help. What Oz and Jill don't realize however is that they are part of a much bigger revenge plot against Lazlo perpetrated by their own spouses Jimmy and Cynthia.
The only thing that makes The Whole Ten Yards engaging is the returning cast who have a playful and endearing on-screen chemistry. Willis and Perry are at the forefront reprising their roles as Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudesky and Nicholas "Oz" Oseransky respectively. The actors craft their characters well and uniquely and the conflicting personalities they create--Willis' cool and collected Jimmy and Perry's nervous and scatterbrained Oz--make watching their interactions entertaining. When the two discover that the hostage in the trunk of their car has died for example Willis stands there unflinchingly while Perry yelps "It looks like he got shot in the foot! Who dies from being shot in the foot?" Peet blends in with her own brand of humor; her klutzy character Jill is hilarious without trying to be which is the key to her performance. Jill's hung up on the fact that although she's a professional marksman she's never had a real kill--she's so accident-prone that her targets always die by default. Also returning for the sequel is Pollak who played Yanni in the first film. Here he returns as Yanni's father Lazlo aged with the help of prosthetics and makeup. It's a great idea and the result is pretty funny although the character is cartoonish.
Director Howard Deutch makes a valiant effort with this sequel to the 2000 hit; there's continuity in the characters although their lives have progressed since the events of the last film. The problem with The Whole Ten Yards is its story penned by Mitchell Kapner and George Gallo. While The Whole Nine Yards had an elaborate storyline it was easy enough to follow--everyone was basically trying to kill one another. Here the plot's equally convoluted but rather than interesting twists and turns we get inconsistencies and dead ends. Take Jimmy's new Suzy Homemaker role for instance. As the film opens Willis is traipsing around his Mexican villa in bunny slippers wearing a 'do-rag on his head fussing over dinner and the fact that the potatoes are supposed to be "floating around the lobster not just stuck there." We find out it's all an act but the reasons are never disclosed. By the time the film ends audiences will be asking themselves what it was all for. Perhaps the filmmakers thought the sight of Willis as a dowdy housewife would make moviegoers laugh so hard they'd forget to ask why.