Dave Hogan/Getty Images
Some things should just be left as they are, and that definitely goes for certain bands getting back together. Whether it’s pop, rock, R&B, or metal acts, reuniting with your long-lost band has become something of a trend as of late. Many bands claim to get back together to revive their creative talent, but it’s really not too hard to see that bands get together when bank accounts start to empty out.
Recently, Joan Jett wisely refused to do a Runaways reunion, and it got us thinking about what other bands should’ve done the same to keep their legacy intact.
Spice Girls Though the tour may have been a success, the Spice Girls reunion tour in 2008 was more than awkward. The girls were all grown up, and all that was left from the platform-shoed, UK-flag-clothing empire that the Spice Girls created in the mid-'90s was a bunch of washed up pop stars trying to relive their glory. Posh Spice couldn’t even be bothered to show up to certain promotional events, and spent most of the concerts posing and lip synching for her life.
The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground was always known to be a talented band full of quick-tempered divas, so when they announced a VU reunion in 1992, fans everywhere were pretty shocked. The group got together for a European tour in 1993, with John Cale filling in vocal parts for Nico, who had passed away in 1988. The European tour went well, and the band decided to move forward with an American tour, as well as an MTV Unplugged set and maybe even a new record. Not surprisingly, though, the legendary beef between Cale and Lou Reed reared its arty head, and Cale stormed out of the group before any of their future plans could move any further.
The Jacksons What are the Jacksons without Michael? Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon got together in 2012 for the Unity tour, supposedly dedicated to their late brother, Michael (Randy sensibly declined to join the tour). The tour seemed doomed from the get-go, having being met by the public with more eye-rolls than excitement, especially with rumors going around that the group might use a MJ hologram on the tour. Not surprisingly, the ill-fated vibes surrounding the tour at its inception ended up being legit – out of the thirty-eight tour dates that the Jacksons announced, eleven U.S. shows were canceled, and although the tour was supposed to last from June to December, wound up ending in late July. Should've listened to LaToya, boys!
The Police The Police was legendary for the tension between lead singer/bassist Sting and drummer Stewart Copeland, which culminated in many dramatic moments, like the time Copeland “accidentally” broke one of Sting’s ribs in the studio. The band broke up in 1984, so it was surprising to hear that they were getting back together in 2007. However, it didn’t take long for the claws to come out –after their first performance, Copeland published a statement on his website, giving his own band a phenomenally crappy review. Copeland compared the beginning of the show to premature ejaculation, called the show "lame," said that Sting looked like a “petulant pansy” (points for awesome alliteration), and declared that the band was merely playing “avant-garde twelve-tone hodgepodges.” Now that’s pure poetry.
New Order This reunion was awkward for a lot of reasons. For starters, if New Order is Joy Division without Ian Curtis, shouldn’t New Order only be New Order when bassist Peter Hook is around? Clearly, the band didn’t think so, going forward with a 2011 reunion with a different line-up. Hook had refused to join the band for a series of tour dates, but the band went forward with their reunion, anyway. Hook released a series of zings in response, including “The truth is, [singer] Bernard’s a twat and he always has been” and “I don’t think they’re New Order, because I was in that band.” Ruined in a day, indeed.
More:Tina Fey and Miley Cyrus to Host 'Saturday Night Live'Fall's 15 Most Anticipated Albums2013's Best Music Videos (So Far)
From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
The Doors drummer John Densmore felt like "a terrorist" as he attempted to stop his former bandmates from cashing in on the name of the band and signing a lucrative ad deal with Cadillac - because their lawyers attempted to paint him as un-American in court. The rocker teamed up with late frontman Jim Morrison's family to launch a legal war against Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek as they hit the road with Stewart Copeland and The Cult's Ian Astbury as The Doors of the 21st Century a decade ago.
Densmore also wanted to prevent the duo from signing a deal with Cadillac, which would allow bosses at the car firm to use the group's music in commercials, after recalling Morrison's opposition to a similar deal with Buick in the late 1960s.
Krieger and Manzarek countersued, claiming their old bandmate and Morrison's estate were preventing them from making a living as musicians.
Densmore has just released a book, titled Unhinged, about the ugly trial, and he admits he's still sore about the way he was portrayed in court.
He tells RollingStone.com, "They tried to convince the jury I was an eco-terrorist because I am involved with a handful of peaceful, credible environmental organisations.
"I couldn't believe some of things I heard them say. I felt betrayed, hurt and very alone... Now, you can probably Google my name and al Qaeda will come up... It was really disturbing."
But Densmore had his celebrity supporters throughout the ordeal - Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Tom Waits and Randy Newman all defended the drummer's actions, and Eddie Vedder has offered a few choice words about The Doors star's new book, writing, "Though it's something I don't like to think about, there will come a time when I will be a Dead Rock Star. I can only hope that in my inevitable absence there will be someone with the integrity and principled behavior of Mr. Densmore looking after whatever legacy our group may leave behind."
There's probably still someone somewhere that would fall for one of Sacha Baron Cohen's weird and wooly scenarios but let's face the facts: the days when Ali G. could snag an interview with Pat Buchanan or Gore Vidal are long gone. 2009's Bruno definitely let some steam out of Borat's tires not to mention the ensuing lawsuits. But it's refreshing to see Cohen and his Borat/Bruno cohort director Larry Charles flex their muscles in the fictional universe of The Dictator a vehicle that doesn't skimp on their signature cringe-worthy humor.
The world of The Dictator gives them the leeway to create crazy spectacles — at one point Cohen's General Aladeen rides down Fifth Avenue on a camel surrounded by a giant motorcade. Having a plot helps too; although part of the genius of Sacha Baron Cohen's schtick is how the viewer is made culpable by proxy by our amusement and horror at how he tricks and torments people who aren't in on the joke The Dictator continues the self-reflexive satirical bite. We're certainly not off the hook. Aladeen says and does truly outrageous things but they're also exaggerations of the world we live in. It might be a stretch to call Sacha Baron Cohen the British Lenny Bruce or George Carlin in a face merkin but rest assured that no topic is off limits. If you are offended by jokes about abortion rape feminists body hair race religion politics STDs war crimes ethnic cleansing necrophilia and/or bestiality don't even bother. However if you like the kind of comedy that makes you hide your face in your hands feeling like each laugh is being pried from you against your will you're in business.
Cohen eats up the screen as both General Aladeen and his incredibly dumb body double; the latter prefers the intimate company of one of his goats to a human while the former is a fairly stupid ruthless dictator whose own people are so disloyal to him that they actually ignore his commands to execute people. (He really likes to execute people.) When he arrives in New York City to attend a summit at the UN his uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley) has the two switched so he can easily manipulate the "General" into signing a treaty to make Wadiya a democracy and reap the financial benefits. Aladeen finds refuge with Zoe a hairy-pitted activist who thinks he's a political dissident and is excited to be able to give him a safe haven in her touchy-feely Brooklyn grocery co-op. Instead of being typecast as another blonde dummy Anna Faris is finally given room to play as the wide-eyed naïf who takes Aladeen's very serious statements as jokes or simple miscommunications. She's a great foil to Baron Cohen who is easily half a foot taller than she is and has a wolfish grin. Their banter is often the most politically incorrect of the bunch but also the funniest.
Alas the plot. It's a bare bones situation to get a very broad character from A to B. Aladeen is obviously an outlandish mishmash of modern dictators; he spouts racist misogynist rhetoric endlessly and after a while...yeah we get it. However like all of Sacha Baron Cohen's humor The Dictator also takes a direct shot at Western countries (specifically the United States) which would be all fine and dandy if he didn't wedge an expository speech in about it as well. The problem with making a traditional narrative movie is that with some exceptions you've got to play within the guidelines. The Dictator isn't trying to do anything fancy; all it needs a few big beats and a neat ending to wrap it all up. It doesn't quite manage to tie it all together in a way that makes The Dictator more than an hour and a half or so of laughing and cringing.
Besides Faris and Kingsley there are a number of cameos by a very wide variety of comics and actors. Megan Fox plays herself Kevin Corrigan appears as a creepy dude who works at the co-op John C. Reilly is a racist security guard and Fred Armisen runs an anti-Aladeen café in New York's Little Wadiya district. The very funny Jason Mantzoukas has a large role as Nadal the former head of rocket science who was supposedly executed for not making Aladeen's nuclear warhead pointy. It's a good ensemble and hopefully Sacha Baron Cohen's next feature-length film will build on The Dictator's weaknesses.
Hip-hop guru Russell Simmons said Tuesday he will announce plans this weekend for a boycott against Pepsi, accusing the soft drink giant of applying a double standard, Reuters reports. A few months ago, Pepsi yanked a commercial featuring rapper Ludacris after conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly urged a boycott and accused Pepsi of being "immoral" for using the foul-mouthed rapper to promote their product. Pepsi caved in to the pressure and pulled the 30-second television spot, but recruited potty mouth Ozzy Osbourne for a Super Bowl commercial only months later. A spokeswoman for Simmons said in a statement, "The boycott is being called in response to Pepsi dropping Ludacris as spokesman and subsequently picking up the Osbournes, who are no less vulgar." Meanwhile, a PepsiCo Inc. spokesman told Reuters the Ludacris controversy was an unfortunate experience. "It was our mistake, we learned a lot from it and we've moved on," the spokesman said. "We respect Russell's interest in bringing hip-hop talent to a larger audience and we have worked together to do just that," he added.
Madonna said she has not dyed her hair or started sporting baggy clothes because she is pregnant--and she is striking back at British gossip magazine Heat for saying so. Spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg said Madonna would file a complaint with Britain's Press Complaints Commission, a self-regulatory body set up and run by newspaper and magazines, over inaccurate reports that she is pregnant with her third child. "It's not true ... it's not accurate. She dyed her hair brown instead of blond, that does not confirm somebody's pregnant. And she's been wearing baggy clothes for 20 years, so what else is new?" Rosenberg told Reuters.
Brit mag Hello!, meanwhile, told London's High Court Tuesday that Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones couldn't complain over the use of unauthorized photos of their lavish New York wedding because they actively sought publicity for the event. The stars are suing the mag for an estimated $800,000 in damages for loss of income, stress and damage to their careers because of the poor quality of the shots, taken by gate-crashing photographer Rupert Thorpe. Hello! published the pics three days before rival magazine OK! hit the stands with official shots secured in a $1.65 million deal with the stars, Reuters reports.
A man who helped steal Nicolas Cage's 1989 Porsche 911 was sentenced to five years in prison Monday in Jefferson County Circuit Court, The Associated Press reports. Michael Gramling, 20, of Arnold, Mo., pleaded guilty last year after Missouri Water Patrol divers found the $100,000 car submerged in 12 feet of water at Lake of the Ozarks. It had been stolen a month earlier from a parking lot in Arnold while in a transport trailer on its way from California to Pennsylvania. Another defendant, Scott Air Force Base airman Robert Clerkin, 21, was previously tried on stealing charges in a military court and sentenced to six months in prison. His sentence includes a rank reduction, forfeiture in pay and a letter of reprimand.
Tickets are on sale now for the Santa Monica Film Festival, which runs Feb. 13-16 at the Laemmle Theater in Santa Monica, Calif., and features more than 40 independent and short films including Briar Patch (a dark love story starring Dominique Swain and Henry Thomas), Stevie (a documentary by Hoop Dreams director Steve James) and Lost Junction starring Neve Campbell. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are slated to receive the festival's Maverick Filmmakers award at the Feb. 13 opening night ceremony. Tickets and more information are available at www.smff.com.
Miramax offshoot Dimension Films is on board to co-finance the Warner Bros. action comedy Starsky and Hutch, which is based on the classic 1970s cop series. Originally the film was going to be an updated pic set in modern-day Los Angeles but has since been turned into a period piece. Co-financing was needed to cover the rising cost of costuming and set design expenses. Insiders tell Variety the budget for the pic is already north of $60 million. Directed by Todd Phillips, the film stars Ben Stiller as Det. David Starsky, Owen Wilson as Det. Kenneth Hutchinson and Snoop Dogg as their streetwise informant, Huggy Bear.
Director Mathieu Kassovitz, best known for his 1996 drama Hate, will helm the supernatural thriller Gothika starring Halle Berry and Penelope Cruz, Variety reports. The film revolves around a criminal psychologist (Berry) who awakens to find herself a patient in her own mental institution, unable to remember a murder she supposedly committed, and victimized by a vengeful spirit in the asylum. Cruz plays a fellow inmate. The film begins production in April and is scheduled for release at Halloween.
AP reports the first new Doors concert will take place on Friday in Los Angeles with a tour planned for later this year, despite a looming lawsuit. Original Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger re-formed the group and renamed it The Doors 21st Century, with Ian Astbury of The Cult on vocals and former Police drummer Stewart Copeland. But former Doors drummer John Densmore has now filed a suit seeking a court order prohibiting the band from calling themselves The Doors when they perform without him, and requests that Densmore be paid a share of profits from any shows that have already taken place without him.
The Sundance Film Festival, which makes or breaks independent films, announced 2003's lineup Monday, Reuters reports. Actors such as Salma Hayek and Matt Dillon will be making their directorial debuts, with other high-caliber actors such as Kevin Spacey and Holly Hunter appearing in some of the films in competition. Hayek's film, The Maldonado Miracle, focuses on a small town whose religious faith is tested when a statue of Jesus seems to bleed. Dillon's entry, City of Ghosts, is about a con man who goes to Cambodia to collect on an insurance scam and gets more than he bargains for. The now-prestigious film festival will run from Jan. 16 through Jan. 26 in Park City, Utah.
Pop star Michael Jackson will appear once again in a California court to continue his testimony in the $21 million lawsuit pending against him for backing out of concert dates. Although the singer lives less than 30 miles from the Santa Maria courthouse, Jackson is rarely seen in town and his appearance has caused a furor--hundreds of fans compete in a lottery for courtroom seats, stand outside screaming and begging for autographs, and chase his van down the street.
Actress Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle) and her husband, actor Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), welcomed their third child, Mary Louisa Whitford, Monday in Los Angeles. The baby weighed 10 pounds, 3 ounces (big baby!). Kaczmarek, 46, and Whitford, 43, also have a 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son.
Morgan Freeman and Jet Li are in discussions to star in Danny the Dog, an action thriller to be produced by Luc Besson's company Europa Corp. It will be directed by Louis Leterrier, who made his directorial debut with The Transporter starring Jason Statham.
Now this one sounds too good to be true. The New Line comedy Elf stars Will Ferrell as a man named Buddy who was raised from infancy by elves at the North Pole. After inadvertently creating havoc among the poor elves, Buddy is shipped off to his biological father (James Caan) in New York, whose life Buddy also turns upside down. The film is being directed by Jon Favreau (Made) and actors Zooey Deschanel, Bob Newhart and Edward Asner are in negotiations to co-star.
Sony Pictures has broken the all-time international box office record this year by raking in a cool $2.75 billion so far. Fueled by the tremendous success of Spider-Man, which has earned $815 million in worldwide box office sales, Sony tops 20th Century Fox's 1998 record of $2.68 billion, which was achieved in large part to 1997's megahit Titanic.
Several members of the British rock band Oasis, including lead singer Liam Gallagher, were detained Saturday for questioning by German police on suspicion of assault, resisting arrest and damage to property. The Associated Press reports Gallagher sustained minor injuries, including several broken teeth, after he and members of the band allegedly got drunk at a hotel bar in Munich and ended up in an altercation with a group of Italians. They were released on bail Sunday but no charges have been filed as yet.
The all-new Doors lineup, renamed the 21st Century Doors, will have to reschedule their debut performance thanks to their new drummer's broken arm. Two of the surviving Doors--keyboardist Ray Manzarek and lead guitarist Robby Krieger--recently resurrected the band with The Cult singer Ian Astbury and drummer Stewart Copeland (formerly of The Police). Copeland broke his arm over Thanksgiving, forcing the postponement of their Dec. 8 kickoff performance at the Palms in Las Vegas. A new date has not been announced. The group has planned a tour next spring and a new album next fall.