"I guess you wouldn't want to get into a fight with Phil Spector, he'd have a gun in every pocket and he'd be itching to use them." Pixies rocker Black Francis would be wary of tussling with the notorious music producer, who is serving 19 years-to-life in prison for shooting actress Lana Clarkson in 2003.
As the summer reaches its peak and the Fourth of July swiftly approaches, it's time to look back on the six months of 2014 that have passed in order to evaluate where we stand in terms of pop culture. But while most lists and articles choose to only focus on the best, most exciting, and most memorable moments that have occured in television and movies so far this year, we feel this retrospective wouldn't be complete without a look back on all of the worst that Hollywood has offered us in 2014. From unfunny, offensive premieres to movies that are held together by crude jokes and slow-motion sword fights to the once great shows that have seen a dramatic decline in quality, there's plenty to repress about the year in entertainment. Allow us to refresh your memory...
Dads Nobody had high expectations for Dads. It was a live-action Seth MacFarlane comedy about two immature best friends whose fathers move back in with them. It was probably never going to be a great sitcom. And yet, nobody expected just how terrible Dads actually turned out to be, an unfunny combinations of racism, misogyny and the way it turned two great character actors (Martin Mull and Peter Reigert) into walking fart jokes. Thankfully, Fox decided to put everyone out of their misery by cancelling the show in May, even though everyone blocked it from their minds well before that.
The Other Woman The Other Woman had everything it needed to be a success: two talented, likeable comedias in Leslie Mann and Cameron Diaz, a well-worn dramatic trope at the center of its plot, an attractive leading men, Nicki Minaj, and an early summer release date that ensured it wasn’t competing with any major blockbusters. Unfortunately, it also had a terrible, unfunny, insultingly stupid script that managed to somehow tell a story about women who bond over their cheating significant other in the most misogynistic fashion imaginable. Truly, The Other Woman did the impossible.
Sherlock, Season 3 For a while, it seemed as if the BBC’s modern adaptation of the classic Sherlock Holmes stories could do no wrong. They were smart, well-written, well-acted, and well-directed; more like mini-movies than a television series. But then the third season premiered, and instead of the sharply crafted mystery we had come to expect, we got a pandering, oddly-paced, awkwardly-written show that shunted the cases to the side in favor of plotholes and fangirl fodder. The fact that we had to wait three years for Sherlock to make such a disappointing return only compounded all of our issues into a giant letdown of a season.
Super Fun Night After her breakout roles in Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids, America wanted nothing more than to spend more time with Rebel Wilson. Unfortunately, they changed their minds once her TV show, Super Fun Night, premiered. Everything that they loved about Wilson – the accent, the confidence, the charm, the wit, the jokes, the sweetness – was gone, and in its place was an painfully awkward, unfunny show with a painfully awkward, unlikable protagonist with an American accent. Luckily, Pitch Perfect 2 is set to hit theaters soon, at which point everyone will forget that Super Fun Night ever happened, and our perfect image of Wilson as the ideal best friend will be restored.
That Awkward Moment Like The Other Woman, That Awkward Moment is a marvel. It’s a film that takes another familiar premise (in this case, friends making a pact to stay out of relationships, only to fall in love) and three of the most charming, talented and good looking young actors in Hollywood (Zac Efron, Miles Teller, and Michael B. Jordan) and squanders its potential on bad voice overs and boner jokes. Also, Efron’s character might have been a sociopath. Regardless, That Awkward Moment felt like less of a disappointment than an insult to intelligent audiences everywhere.
House of Cards, Season 2 If we were to ask you what the worst thing about the first season of House of Cards was, chances are you’d say the convoluted policy talk, Francis petty feuds, or or the unrealistic way he managed to get away with everything. Unfortunately, showrunner Beau Willimon disagreed with the rest of us, and made those three elements the focus of the entire second season. He must have assumed that we’d be too distracted by Kevin Spacey chewing the scenery to mind the boring, long-winded and convoluted discussions of foreign policy, the comic idiocy of President Walker, the far-fetched plots designed to conveniently dispose of characters who asked questions, and the fact that Francis had turned from a manipulative power player into a full-blown cartoon villain. We wouldn’t be surprised if next season, he wore a top hat and a monocle and twirled his mustache during his asides to the camera.
The Legend of Hercules If you were in the Twilight films and your name isn’t Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, or Anna Kendrick, your biggest career challenge is overcoming the stigma of being a supporting player in the most devisive movie series of all time. So we don’t blame Kellan Lutz for branching out into leading man territory with The Legend of Hercules. How was he to know that the film would be stupid, nonsensical and only tangentially related to its source material? Or that it would be a cheap-looking, boring, plodding mess that lacked any sense of fun? Really, he was just trying to be something other than Emmett Cullen for a change.
A Million Ways to Die in the West Seth MacFarlane has not had a great year so far. First, critics reacted to Dads as if someone had dumped a pile of hot garbage on their freshly mowed lawn, and then he made A Million Ways to Die in the West, a comedy that basically shot Blazing Saddles in the face. Terribly unfunny, over-reliant on references and repeated jokes and a waste of a stellar cast, the worst thing about the film was the fact that it completely lacked MacFarlane’s voice, which, while not for everyone, at least has a distinctive comedic perspective. At least there’s always Ted 2, right?
I Wanna Marry Harry Sometimes, a network isn’t just content to put crap on television to fill airtime during the summer. Sometimes, they want to provoke a reaction – any reaction – and so they come up with a show that crushes your soul, and destroys any lingering hope you might have had in not only the future of television, but also society as a whole. In 2014, that show was I Wanna Marry Harry, a festering sore disguised as a reality TV competition in which girls are tricked into competing for the affections of a potato with legs. And that’s the nicest way I could possibly describe that show.
The Cancelation of Enlisted What hurts the most about losing Enlisted, Fox’s funny, original and criminally underrated show isn’t the fact that the network made it impossible for the show to gain a following and then used its lack of ratings as an excuse for cancelation. It’s not that we lost a wonderful, well-written show that could be both hysterically funny and incredibly moving. It wasn’t even that the world never got a chance to appreciate the talents of the wonderful ensemble, all of whom created hilarious, realistic, delightful characters. No, what hurts the most about the decision to cancel Enlisted is that it was announced in the same week that I Wanna Marry Harry premiered. Never has a metaphorical slap in the face felt so painful.
Getty Images/Jason Merritt
Sir Elton John has urged religious leaders around the world to throw their support behind gay marriage because "times have changed".
The music superstar entered into a civil partnership with film producer David Furnish in his native Britain in 2005, and the couple is planning to marry next year (15) after gay marriage was officially legalised in the U.K. in March (14). Elton John has now declared religious institutions need to accept same-sex unions in order to cement equal rights for gay couples.
He tells Sky News, "The church hierarchy, the traditionalists, might be up in arms about it but times have changed. If Jesus Christ was alive today, I cannot see him, as the Christian person that he was and the great person that he was, saying this could not happen. He was all about love and compassion and forgiveness and trying to bring people together and that is what the church should be about."
The Rocket Man star also lavished praise on Catholic leader Pope Francis, calling him "wonderful" and hailing him as a forward-thinking Pontiff, adding, "He's excited me so much by his humanity... He's taken everything down to the humility of faith. He's stripped it down to the bare bones and said it's all basically about love and inclusiveness. That has to be encouraged by the Church of England as well."
Frank Sinatra's first driver's licence has sold at auction for $15,757 (£9,848). The legendary singer's New Jersey permit, which was issued in 1934 - when the crooner was just 19 years old, features the misspelled name of "Francis Sintra" and lists his address as 841 Garden Street, Hoboken.
The yellowed piece of paper went up for sale on the website of Massachusetts-based RR Auction and the winning bid when the sale closed on Thursday night (26Jun14) was placed by a mystery buyer.
The new owner of the text-only licence, which Sinatra obtained just one year before he landed his big break in the music industry, also claims a letter to the state Commissioner of Motor Vehicles from the lawyer of a man who had been involved in a car crash with the star.
The missive, written in 1940, suggested Sinatra's "driving privileges be revoked until he pays up" for damages.
Alexis Dziena's ex-boyfriend has been granted a restraining order against the actress. Jeffrey Francis Ausley applied for a protection order amid claims the 29-year-old Entourage star turned up at his home and tried to move in. Court documents also contain allegations she threatened him after their relationship ended.
A judge has now approved the order, which means Dziena cannot go within 100 yards (300 feet) of Ausley, according to TMZ.com.
Dziena is no stranger to drama - she requested a restraining order against her own parents in 2011, but the motion was dismissed by a judge due to lack of evidence.
Frank Sinatra's first driver's licence from the state of New Jersey is going under the hammer. The artefact was issued in 1934, when the crooner was just 19 years old.
According to The Star-Ledger newspaper, the yellowed, text-only licence bares the misspelled name of "Francis Sintra", and lists his address as 841 Garden Street, Hoboken.
The licence, which is signed by Sinatra, was issued just one year before his big break in the music industry.
The top bidder will also receive a letter to the state Commissioner of Motor Vehicles from the lawyer of a man who had been involved in a car crash with the legendary singer.
The missive, written in 1940, suggested Sinatra's "driving privileges be revoked until he pays up".
Fans have until Thursday (26Jun14) night to bid on the collector's items via Boston, Massachusetts-based RR Auction's website and bids had reached $2,500 (£1,472) as of Tuesday (24Jun14).
Lionsgate via Everett Collection
The Hunger Games stars including Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson and Sam Claflin bid an emotional farewell to the franchise as filming on the final installment came to an end on Friday (20Jun14).
The cast of the blockbuster movie series shot their final scene for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 in Europe and producer Nina Jacobson photographed a group hug between castmembers Lawrence, Harrelson, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth as the foursome said their goodbyes.
Jacobson published the snap on Twitter.com and added, "That's a wrap. Thank you Suzanne Collins (author of the original book series) Thank you (director) Francis Lawrence. Thank you HG Fans. Other than that, I'm speechless."
Claflin, who joined the cast for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire last year (13), also took to the microblogging website to express his thanks to his co-stars and fans of the book-to-big screen franchise.
He wrote, "I just want/need to express my many thanks to everyone (cast, crew & fans) who have worked so hard for so long to make The Hunger Games experience what it is. "But for also trusting me enough to let me be part of it. I feel privileged, honoured and so very lucky to have shared this opportunity with so many passionate & talented people. #dreamjob"
The final book of Suzanne Collins' dystopian series, Mockingjay, has been split into two films, with the first premiering this November (14), and the fourth and final movie debuting in November, 2015.
Two high-profile British journalists have resigned from a freedom of speech campaign group after actor/comedian Steve Coogan was appointed as a patron. Last week (ends15Jun14), the Philomena star became a member of the Index on Censorship, an international organisation which promotes and defends the right to freedom of expression.
The move has sparked criticism because Coogan is a prominent supporter of Hacked Off, a group which campaigns for tougher press regulation, and other patrons fear the actor's appointment represents a conflict of interest.
Famed writer/broadcaster Ian Hislop and Francis Wheen, the editor and deputy editor of satirical U.K. current affairs magazine Private Eye, have resigned from the board of the Index on Censorship in protest at Coogan's appointment.
Wheen admits he was "baffled" by Coogan's inclusion, adding, "There are plenty of celebrities to choose from, it seems odd to choose someone who is so heavily associated with Hacked Off."
Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive of Index defends Coogan, saying, "Our patrons are a diverse group of people, whose opinions sometimes diverge with our own. Free speech depends on open debate with people who may have points of view you disagree with..."
Monty Python actor Michael Palin and playwright Sir Tom Stoppard are also patrons of the group.
British character actor Francis Matthews has died, aged 86. The TV regular provided the voice of Captain Scarlet in puppet-maker Gerry Anderson's 1960s TV show, and portrayed private detective Paul Temple in the BBC series of the same name from 1969.
Matthews also appeared in Hammer horror films including The Revenge of Frankenstein and Dracula: Prince of Darkness and the Morecambe and Wise movies The Intelligence Men and That Riviera Touch.
He was cast as puppet hero Captain Scarlet because he sounded like movie star Cary Grant, and ironically voiced Grant in the 2004 TV movie Cary Comes Home.
Matthews' final credit came in 2012's Run For Your Wife.
Actress Michelle Monaghan almost changed her home birth plans after she was hospitalised days before going into labour last year (13). The Eagle Eye star came down with a bout of food poisoning three days before welcoming son Tommy Francis White in October (13) - and she was having contractions while she was being treated.
She tells U.S. late night host Craig Ferguson, "Our midwife, after 12 hours of throwing up, said, 'You know you're going to have this baby and it's not ideal to have it at home, you're going to be dehydrated and you're going to need all the energy it takes...'
"So we ran to urgent care... and of course I didn't tell anyone I was having contractions, but I was having contractions at this point. The doctor was coming in and I was looking at my husband... and finally at, like, five in the afternoon I was like, 'We got to go, we got to get out of here, we got to get home and have this baby'."