Hairspray stars Ricki Lake, Marissa Jaret Winokur and Nikki Blonsky came together for a rare appearance in New York on Monday (28Apr14) to pay tribute to the hit musical's composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman. The three actresses, who have all played the leading lady Tracy Turnblad on stage and screen, were guests of the New York Pops orchestra as part of of an event celebrating the work of Shaiman and Whitman.
Lake, who starred in John Waters' 1988 film, Winokur, who originated the role on Broadway in 2002, and Blonsky, who took on the part in the 2007 film adaptation of the musical, belted out a version of the musical's opening song, Good Morning, Baltimore.
Winokur also joined the other members of the original Broadway cast, including Glee's Matthew Morrison and Laura Bell Bundy, as they performed the hit song, You Can't Stop the Beat.
Also taking the stage to sing Shaiman/Whitman tracks from film and stage were Patti LuPone, Les Miserables' Aaron Tveit, Katharine McPhee, Broadway veterans Will Chase and Jane Krakowski, and comedian Martin Short.
This post contains major spoilers for the most recent episode of The Good Wife.
If you've checked Twitter in the last 24 hours, you're probably aware of the fact that last night's episode of The Good Wife featured a twist so shocking that it caused friends and family you never knew were fans to come out of the woodwork and take to social media to discuss it. We are, of course, referring to the fact that Will Gardner (Josh Charles), died last night after being shot in the courtroom by his client. His unexpected death was not just shocking becuse neither fans nor his fellow characters could have seen it coming, but also becuase The Good Wife is not a particularly shocking television show.
Unlike Game of Thrones or House of Cards, which seem to find a way to make each episode more insane than the last, the drama on The Good Wife comes from either inter-personal conflict or the cases that Alicia Florrick and her colleagues at Lockhart Gardner take on. There are no battles or massacres, and rather than ending with a major character in mortal peril, the season-finale cliff-hangers usually center around Alicia starting her own law firm. Killing off a character with a stray gunshot is simply unheard of on this show.
Of course, The Good Wife isn't the first non-shocking show to feature a huge, plot-altering twist, and it certainly won't be the last. In honor of Will and his untimely demise, we've rounded up 10 of the most shocking television moments to be featured on realistic, straightforward television shows. Our condolences, Good Wife fans; you're not alone.
Brian Dies on Family GuyJust a few short months after the world managed to recover from the Red Wedding, Seth MacFarlane managed to bring the Internet to its knees when Brian Griffin, the sarcastic, alcoholic dog on Family Guy was killed after being hit by a car. Twitter was filled with threats about quitting the show if he wasn't brought back, websites scrambled over each other to interview MacFarlane and TV fans everywhere wondered how they missed the fact that people were not only still watching Family Guy, but could be emotionally invested in such a show. Of course, two weeks later, Brian was brought back to life, and everything settled back down to normal, but we shall always remember the time that a cartoon dog ruled the Internet.
Landry Murders Someone on Friday Night LightsThere are three things in this world that Friday Night Lights fans can unanimously agree on: Tim Riggins is insanely hot, the Taylors would be the best parents in the world, and the second season never, ever happened. That overwhelming denial is the result of everyone's favorite sidekick Landry Clarke killing a man who attacked Tyra, and then attempting to cover up the murder, a plot which even the writers agree was too insane for a show that specialized in quiet, realistic character development. Thankfully, the writer's strike resulted in the second season being cut short, and when the third season premiered, the plot had been all but retconned, and everyone continued on with their lives as if nothing strange had ever happened.
Sam Malone Reveals His Baldness on CheersOne of the things that made Cheers such a beloved television staple is the fact that watching it was like hanging out with a group of friends: everyone was relaxed, having fun, and attempting to guess when the perpetually will-they-or-won't-they couple would finally get together. Which is why the show's most shocking moment came when Sam revealed to Carla that his famously lush head of hair wasn't all his, and that, like Ted Danson, he was covering up his baldness with a toupee. Luckily, Danson and Sam are so charming that the world instantly forgave them of the deception, and instead went back to debating whether he should end up with Diane or Rebecca.
Taraji P. Henson Is Killed Off of Person of InterestDespite doing well in the ratings, Person of Interest has stayed under the radar since premiering in 2011. In fact, we're willing to bet most people didn't even know it's been on TV for that long. However, it properly entered the mainstream's consciousness when Detective Joss Carter, played by Taraji P. Henson, a fan favorite, was shot and killed in the line of duty. Suddenly, it seemed as if everyone was talking about Person of Interest, and you finally gave in and watched it with your parents the next time you had Sunday night dinner at their house.
Mr. Pamuk Dies in Lady Mary's Bed on Downton AbbeyLong before Downton Abbey turned into a full-blown soap opera and dispensed with most of the cast at regular intervals, the most shocking moment of the first season occurred when Lady Mary gave into her desires and spent the night with Mr. Pamuk, a handsome visiting diplomat, only for him to promptly roll over and die. Pamuk's death and the resulting cover-up was both surprising and hilarious, and is now likely looked back upon by disillusioned Downton Abbey fans with much fondness. Ah, the good old days.
Starburns Dies on CommunityFor all of the pillow-fort building, alternate timeline-jumping, and pop culture homages that make up Community, it has always managed to keep at least one foot in reality, even when the campus of Greendale is falling apart. Therefore, when Alex "Starburns" Osbourne died after the meth lab in his truck exploded, it was a genuinely shocking moment. It managed to cut through the insanity of Chang's military coup and the study group's latest bit in order to bring to light the genuine surprise and sadness that occurs whenever a friend or classmate suddenly dies. Don't worry, though; the gang incited a riot immediately afterwards, so everything went back to normal pretty quickly.
The Sound Guy Comforts Pam on The OfficeAlthough there are plenty of sitcoms on television that use a documentary-style of shooting, the production crews presumably filming everything are never acknowledged in any way. That is, until the episode of The Office where Pam revealed that not only were there real people behind those cameras and microphones, but she had become close with them over the years that they had been filming the staff at Dunder-Mifflin. The reveal of Brian, the boom-mic operator and his affection for Pam was enough to shock the show out of the rut it was in and allowed The Office to wrap up the show in an unexpected, emotional way. Plus, it kept fans engaged until the last episode, because they wanted to be sure that nothing would ever come between Jim and Pam.
Rayanne Sleeps with Jordan Catalano on My So-Called LifeMy So-Called Life has entered the Hall of Fame of teen dramas for being a smart, realistic show that dealt with the kind of issues that teenagers were actually going though. Issues like your best friend sleeping with the boy of your dreams, which Rayanne did towards the end of the show's run. Fans who had spent weeks watching Angela pine for Jordan were just as shocked and hurt as she was, and were torn between fury at Rayanne's betrayal, and understanding that nothing is more enticing that Jared Leto at his prime. Those cheekbones are definitely worth ruining a friendship over.
Marissa Shoots Trey on The O.C.Another classic of the teen drama genre, The O.C. was surprisingly down-to-earth considering it was a show about the obnoxious rich kids who lived in the most expensive part of California. That all changed, though, when Marissa Cooper (always the most dramatic person in Orange County) shot Ryan's brother, Trey, in order to protect Ryan. That shocking moment kicked off a full season of insanity, chronicling Marissa's downward spiral, which resulted in her own shocking exit a year later, and made it impossible to ever take an Imogen Heap song seriously ever again.
Zack Is the Serial Killer's Apprentice on BonesLike all crime procedurals, Bones has had its fair share of crazy, intense or scary episodes, but nothing came close to the reveal that Zack Addy, was working for the Gormogon, the cannibalistic serial killer the team had been hunting for months. Neither the fans nor the characters could have thought that shy, awkward, well-meaning Zack was capable of assisting a murder and blowing up a lab, but suddenly a beloved character was revealed to be the enemy. None of the twists that the writers have managed to come up with have ever topped this shock, though, and Bones has since gone back to being the show that everyone watched reruns of when they're sick.
All of Miss Connecticut's (née Erin Brady) dreams came true when she was named 2013's Miss USA during Sunday night's pageant. Unfortunately for the 25-year-old, however, another contestant stole the spotlight — and the headlines.
While Brady donned her crown and thanked God for the invention of waterproof mascara, Miss Utah (Marissa Powell) was well on her way to becoming a viral Internet sensation. In a fail the likes of which we haven't seen since Miss Teen South Carolina's bumbling disaster of an answer in 2007 ("Like... such as... the Iraq..." — facepalm), Powell went down in flames while attempting to answer judge NeNe Leakes' question about unequal pay in the workforce.
The question, as posed by Leakes, was as follows: "A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?"
To which Powell responded (thanks to Deadspin for transcribing this mess): "I think we can relate this back to education, and how we are … continuing to try to strive to [epic pause] figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem. And I think, especially the men are … um … seen as the leaders of this, and so we need to try to figure out how to create educate better so we can solve this problem. Thank you."
Watch it here:
Ironically, following her win, Brady told the Associated Press of the pageant, "I think that now more than ever, they're accepting that we're all intelligent individuals and that it's really not a stereotype."
Better luck next time, Powell.
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A decade-long gap between sequels could leave a franchise stale but in the case of Men in Black 3 it's the launch pad for an unexpectedly great blockbuster. The kooky antics of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) don't stray far from their 1997 and 2002 adventures but without a bombardment of follow-ups to keep the series in mind the wonderfully weird sensibilities of Men in Black feel fresh Smith's natural charisma once again on full display. Barry Sonnenfeld returns for the threequel another space alien romp with a time travel twist — which turns out to be Pandora's Box for the director's deranged imagination.
As time passed in the real world so did it for the timeline in the world of Men in Black. Picking up ten years after MIB 2 J and K are continuing to protect the Earth from alien threats and enforce the law on those who live incognito. While dealing with their own personal issues — K is at his all-time crabbiest for seemingly no reason — the suited duo encounter an old enemy Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) a prickly assassin seeking revenge on K who blew his arm off back in the '60s. Their street fight is more of a warning; Boris' real plan is to head back in time to save his arm and kill off K. He's successful prompting J to take his own leap through the time-space continuum — and team up with a younger K (Josh Brolin) to put an end to Boris plans for world domination.
Men in Black 3 is the Will Smith show. Splitting his time between the brick personalities of Jones and Brolin's K Smith struts his stuff with all the fast-talking comedic style that made him a star in yesteryears. In present day he's still the laid back normal guy in a world of oddities — J raises an eyebrow as new head honcho O (Emma Thompson) delivers a eulogy in a screeching alien tongue but coming up with real world explanations for flying saucer crashes comes a little easier. But back in 1969 he's an even bigger fish out water. Surprisingly director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer Etan Cohen dabble in the inherent issues that would spring up if a black gentlemen decked out in a slick suit paraded around New York in the late '60s. A star of Smith's caliber may stray away from that type of racy humor but the hook of Men in Black 3 is the actor's readiness for anything. He turns J's jokey anachronisms into genuine laughs and doesn't mind letting the special effect artists stretch him into an unrecognizable Twizzler for the movie's epic time jump sequence.
Unlike other summer blockbusters Men in Black 3 is light on the action Sonnenfeld utilizing his effects budget and dazzling creature work (by the legendary Rick Baker) to push the comedy forward. J's fight with an oversized extraterrestrial fish won't keep you on the edge of your seat but his slapstick escape and the marine animal's eventual demise are genuinely amusing. Sonnenfeld carries over the twisted sensibilities he displayed in small screen work like Pushing Daisies favoring bizarre banter and elaborating on the kookiness of the alien underworld than battle scenes. MIB3's chase scene is passable but the movie in its prime when Smith is sparring with Brolin and newcomer Michael Stuhlbarg who steals the show as a being capable of seeing the future. His twitchy character keeps Smith and the audience on their toes.
Men in Black 3 digs up nostalgia I wasn't aware I had. Smith's the golden boy of summer and even with modern ingenuity keeping it fresh — Sonnenfeld uses the mandatory 3D to full and fun effect — there's an element to the film that feels plucked from another era. The movie is economical and slight with plenty of lapses in logic that will provoke head scratching on the walk out of the theater but it's also perfectly executed. After ten years of cinematic neutralizing the folks behind Men in Black haven't forgotten what made the first movie work so well. After al these years Smith continues to make the goofy plot wild spectacle and crazed alien antics look good.
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.