The Olympics! You guys! The entire world has Olympic fever and we're not about to stop it until the fat lady (or Paul McCartney) sings this weekend. But seriously, what a crazy event when you think about it, right? Once every four years we have the birth of a new strain of celebrity: the superathlete. These men and women are different from our actor celebrities, because these folks never asked to be famous. They simply asked to run, swim, jump, or shoot things. And so, of course, because of this, we love them even more so! And when the Olympics end, it almost feels like a graduation of sorts. Here was this 2 week training course on consta-attention: now it's time to enter the full-fledged celebrity dome of existence. So as our young athletes go into the great big unknown, they need to be armed with knowledge of their strengths OFF the court/pool/track/field/whatever. So we've decided to give them a little help. And what's more helpful than superlatives, right?! So take note, Olympians--this is your most (or least) future-y thing!
Sport Most Likely To Be Made Into A Raucus Comedy Starring Will Ferrell
Rhythmic gymnastics. I mean we all saw the beauty and grace of Mr. Ferrell in Old School, so why not give his rhythm gymnastic skills their own vehicle? Maybe we can get Vince Vaughn on board.
Sport Most Likely to Influence NYFW
Those synchronized swimming ladies were OUT OF CONTROL, eh? It's, as they say (in the BIZ!), a revelation. You'll surely be seeing Russians Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina sitting next to Anna Wintour and inspiring Lady Gaga.
Athlete Most Likely To BEG To Be Let Into NYFW
Most Likely to be A Mime
Xu Lijia of China
Most Confusing Sport, Ever
Laser radial sailing. I have no idea what is happening or how it is a race.
Most Likely To Bare All For Maxim or FHM or Whatever
Sport Most Likely To Signal The Dawn Of Our Very Weird Future
Indoor Track Cycling. Seriously, that s**t is like TRON.
Athlete Most Likely To Cameo In The New Avengers film
Robert "Incredible Hulk" Harting of Germany.
Worst Named Olympian
Vania Stambolova (Sorry about your stumble, p.s.).
Best Named Olympian
Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya
Athlete Most Likely To Shill. Just Shill.
Athlete Most Likely To Let Everything Go To His Head
Ryan Lochte. JEAH JEAH!
Most Likely to Dance on DWTS
Aly Raisman's parents
Most Likely to Have Their Just-Announced Reality Show Do Mediocrely
Most Likely to Be an Awesomely Mean Judge on the Inevitable Gymnastics Reality Competition Show Coming Soon
Duo Most Likely To Be "Having A Volley-Ball" on a Campy Bravo Reality Special
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings
Most It's Just Not Even Fair To Anyone Else
Men's US Basketball
Best Use of Boners
The Men's American Rowing Team (Sorry, the picture was too NSFW for us to post, but look it up)
Athlete for Which Olympics Is Just a Novelty Talent Show
Most "If I Don't Win, The Queen Will Just Buy Me A Pony"-iest
Zara Phillips, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II
Most Likely to Host SNL
Thanks to a little birdie named US Magazine, we know that Ms. Douglas wants to be an actress (we can just imagine all of the awkward interviews with Jay Leno now), so it makes the most sense that the littlest flying squirrel we know would gun for the chance to host the show. And! Well, it doesn't seem all that far off--especially since Gabby is arguably the breakout Olympic star from this year. So why not get her a bit ahead of the game and come up with a nice monologue scene for her, eh?
We imagine it to start off with assertions of her non-squirrel status ("many people call me by my nickname, the flying squirrel. I'm hear to tell you I'm not a squirrel, nor can I fly"). However, we all know that a goofball (yes, you, Bobby Moynihan) would egg her on, and they would have a high-flying battle where Gabby's high-flying kicks and flips will eventually launch her into the air where a slow-motion battle royale set to the music of West Side Story would take place. Gabby's teammates would also be rigged up and battle the SNL boys to an epic defeat. That's one way to get them back for the terrible hair-related sketch that will undoubtedly happen later on in the evening.
[Photo Credit: NBCOlympics.com; Tomás González via @tomasgonzalez1]
[GIF Credits: Youshang (Robert Harting); BadBoiBilli (Ezekiel Kemboi); Grazia (All Others)]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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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.