We're onto you, Amanda Bynes. This whole crazy lady thing you have going on — with the cheek piercings and the Drake tweets and 25 wackadoo facts you told Us Weekly — we know it's fake. You're just Joaquin Phoenix-ing us. Like Joaquin, your overabundance of hair and your crazy diatribes are all part of a master plan. A year from now you will release a movie chronicling your hijinks and pronounce it a commentary on the state of popular culture and the media's portrayal of celebrity — and we'll be able to sit back, cross our arms, and smugly say, "We told you so."
Let's think about this for a minute. Bynes was a breakout comedy sensation when she was barely a decade old. Back when she was just 10, Bynes became a fan favorite on Nickelodeon's sketch comedy show All That. And after three seasons, Nickelodeon gave her a giant pat on the back in the form of her very own sketch comedy show, The Amanda Show. She had barely reached puberty, and she had a hit television comedy named after her.
Bynes worked steadily until 2010 — snagging her own sitcom with Jennie Garth (What I Like About You), an endlessly quotable teen comedy starring Channing Tatum as her love interest (She's the Man), and scene-stealing roles in hits Hairspray and Easy A — and has only really began unraveling in the past two years. How did she manage to survive her rebellious teen years only to go off the deep end in her early 20s? Something doesn't add up.
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Granted, Bynes did face some very real legal trouble in early 2012. I don't mean to imply that her DUI was a ruse (although, her father did tell People that his daughter "doesn't drink" and Bynes tweeted "I was not in any hit and runs. I don't drink so the DUI is false," MTV reports...). She did, after all, submit to booking and get a lovely mug shot taken. But the many license suspensions, fender benders, and sightings of marijuana behind the wheel did all become a bit comical. While everyone was quick to label Bynes as a Lindsay Lohan copycat, maybe in reality she was fooling the lot of us.
Bynes' most recent antics are the most laughable — and, oddly enough, lovable — yet. Let's go back to that Us Weekly "25 Things You Didn't Know About Me" article written by Bynes. The items on this list — from her grandparents' hometown to her hurricane survival skills and goal weight — are so irreverent, so bizarre, that they can only be calculated.
Then, the cheek piercing. How handy that Bynes chose a form of badass body decorating that is still entirely reversible. If Bynes were really, truly losing her mind, she would have gotten a face tat. The cheek studs are strange enough to raise eyebrows, but, much like that fried curly wig or Joaquin's scraggly beard, can be removed once she's had her fun.
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And that brings us to the tweeting. Oh Lordy, the tweeting. Bynes' request for rapper Drake to "murder her vagina" was only the most recent in a string of strange tweets. How about the photo she tweeted of her "SoCks," or the time she tweeted that Drake was "rocking that incest face"? Or, my personal favorites, her thoughts on love. "If it is meant to be, our hearts will find each other when we meet. And if our hearts melt together so will our bodies and souls," Bynes tweeted. And, "When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth." A Google search makes it unclear to me whether Bynes is quoting author Jess C. Scott here or Billy, age 4, but it's beautiful stuff either way.
The Amanda Bynes "meltdown" we are currently witnessing is strange and slightly upsetting, but with no more trouble with the law or obvious health problems, it is also wildly entertaining. Like the proverbial trainwreck, we don't want to see the grisly consequences... and yet we can't look away. We can't wait to see Bynes rise, like Phoenix, from the ashes of her own creation — it's going to be a flippin' great movie.
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[Photo Credit: Splash News]
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The Time 100 began in 1999, after a group of cultural elite (including CBS news anchor Dan Rather, former New York governor Mario Cuomo, and the politically infamous Condoleezza Rice) assembled to debate the most influential people on the planet. The famed magazine has been publishing their definitive list ever since, and this year's entry is just as accurate and unexpected as one would suspect.
Among the entertainment-inclined entries are Viola Davis, Louis CK, Adele, Kristen Wiig, Jessica Chastain, Harvey Weinstein, Rihanna, Stephen Colbert and Tilda Swinton — making the Time 100 the most ragtag list of performers and Hollywood types since Cannonball Run. To make the affair even classier, there are write-ups from equally-famous faces; some are painfully true (Johnny Depp on Harvey Weinstein: "He can be your most frightening nightmare and your closest friend."), some are unexpectedly elegant (Joan Rivers on Louis C.K. "He's Steven Spielberg without the beard and with humor."), and some are just straight from the gut (Pink on Adele: "I am so relieved that Adele possesses the kind of beauty that she does, that she's crass and funny and that she sings live — and incredibly."). All justified, all curious.
Influence is a hard thing to define, let alone judge, but 2012's Top 100 gets it mostly right. You may not like Rihanna's tunes, but you can't deny her reach — with every move and choice she makes under public scrutiny, her lifestyle is practically a metaphor for her generation. But with only a hundred slots, Time's scientific voting process is bound to miss a few biggies. No worries — Hollywood.com is here to help. Here are five that are hard to overlook:
Tilda Swinton deservedly receives Time's praise for being a versatile actor, but how about her Michael Clayton costar? While he's easily one of the biggest names in Hollywood (making him a bit of an obvious choice), Clooney's influence extends past his day job of writing, acting and directing. He's a political and human activist — and isn't afraid to take a stand, public image at stake. Need proof? Just last March, Clooney was arrested for joining a Washington D.C. protest. Any publicity is good publicity, and Clooney attracts a ton of publicity.
Degeneres is one of the few talk show hosts who uses her widely-viewed platform to simultaneously entertain and defend positive causes. One day, she'll encourage young girls to pursue their ambitious dreams (all while being nauseatingly cute). The next, she'll be defending a socially conscious documentary film, taking a direct stand between her and Hollywood's influential organizations. As a lesbian woman who's broken into the mainstream, Degeneres' humble, kind style of comedy keeps her low key, but she's packing a huge punch on a daily basis. If Harvey Weinstein gets a pat on the back for his muscle, Degeneres deserves the same for doing the same thing with a smile.
Apatow wrote kind words for his Bridesmaids collaborator Kristen Wiig, who he admired from her very first appearance on Saturday Night Live. But the mega producer shouldn't be forgotten — especially in the wake of his current project: HBO's Girls. In the early and mid-2000s, Apatow helped definite a new brand of emotion-driven comedy, his unique TV show Freaks and Geeks and movies like 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up. He continues to question Hollywood standards with Girls, cultivating a unique voice in writer/actress Lena Dunham. In an industry that's constantly pigeonholed woman as supporting players, here's a guy going out of his way to enable them and reverse standards. The fact that it's hilarious is the cherry on top.
What does Rihanna do that Lady Gaga doesn't do ten times better? They're both uber-successful pop icons, knee deep in the social universe while pushing the envelope of broad style and music. But in the last year, Gaga takes a step forward, with her self-penned hits and outright gay activism, while Rihanna continues to provoke backlash for her on-going Chris Brown saga. If the Time 100 was down to the brass tacks of Twitter followers, Gaga would still trump Rihanna — but in every aspect of her career, no matter how bizarre it may seem, Gaga is evolving the world around her.
One of the biggest hits of the last year is Game of Thrones (HBO — they're going to be a big deal some day!), and while George R.R. Martin's fantastical source material is the hook of the series, it's backbone is actor Dinklage. There's a reason GoT wasn't flying off the shelves and the talk of every water cooler before the TV adaptation. Fantasy is niche. Dinklage makes it digestible, bringing thespian gravitas in his smaller, but unexpectedly powerful package. Dinklage took home the Emmy in 2011 for his role as Tyrion Lannister — and for some reason, that was unexpected. Dwarfism is clearly underrepresented in Hollywood. Dinklage, with every role, continues to take a big step towards changing that.
Read the full TIME 100 on Time.com
Find Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches and remember to follow @Hollywood_com!
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When I first heard about This Means War, I was immediately intrigued. A film where Chris Pine AND Tom Hardy are competing against each other to win the love of Reese Witherspoon? What girl doesn't want a bunch of hot guys vying for her affection? And how do you pick between two of the hottest hunks in Hollywood (answer: you don't -- you take them both). That scenario got me thinking about all the other different pairings Reese has had throughout her extensive movie career, and I wondered what it would be like to pit some of her past leading men against each one another to see who might win her heart in the end, and why. It's not going to be an easy decision; the Oscar-winner has co-starred with some dreamy guys over the years, but as the great Pat Benatar once said: Love is a Battlefield -- and it's time to go to war.
Owen Wilson vs. Luke Wilson
Blood is supposed to be thicker than water, but when a girl is involved all bets are off. Owen and Reese worked together in the rom-com How Do You Know? and while the movie was mediocre at best, their chemistry was anything but. On the other hand, who could forget Luke Wilson playing the lovable lawyer (they do exist) Emmett in Legally Blonde. He was able to turn Elle Wood's attention away from the hunky Warner, so his brother would have some stiff competition on his hands. But after weighing the options, we think Owen would emerge victorious. Luke's definitely a decent guy, but his quieter demeanor would put him at a disadvantage. Girls like a guy with some initiative and Owen seems to be the more outgoing of the two.
Winner: Owen Wilson
Robert Pattinson vs. Ryan Phillippe
This is a tough one, as Rob and Ryan are probably two of the best-looking co-stars Reese has ever worked with. While her Cruel Intentions co-star could be seen as having a bit of an advantage given their off-screen history together, it's important to note that the relationship ended in divorce, so the odds aren't in his favor. And the last time I checked, RPatz has never had any trouble getting the girl he wants. However, I'm afraid the 10-year age difference between the Water For Elephants co-stars cannot be ignored (she's 35, he's 25). It's not the biggest age gap Hollywood has ever seen, but I don't think RPatz is mature enough to handle the type of relationship Reese would be looking for at this point in time. We're giving this round to the equally hunky father of her children, Mr. Ryan Phillppe.
Winner: Ryan Phillippe
Mark Ruffalo vs. Josh Lucas
The decisions just don't get any easier. We're now dealing with two completely sweet and adorable guys who starred opposite Reese in two sweet and adorable movies: Just Like Heaven and Sweet Home Alabama. Mark's got the whole boy-next-door thing going on, whereas Josh is a man's man -- lean and rugged. Plus, he's got the whole Southern charm thing working in his favor. When push came to shove, we sided with Mark. Why? Because Reese Ruffalo is just too cute a name to pass up. (Sorry, it was a really close call and didn't know how else to choose). If it came down to a duel I feel that Lucas would win, no contest. But it isn't just about a guy's physicality. It's about their dedication to and compatibility with Reese. And for that, Mark has the slight upper hand. His kiss in Just Like Heaven brought Reese's character back to life - that should definitely count for something!
Winner: Mark Ruffalo
Vince Vaughn vs. Joaquin Phoenix
This was also a difficult call to make, given that most girls love the funny guy AND the singer. So how do you choose? Ultimately, it came down to the chemistry. Though Vince and Reese shared some hilarious moments together in Four Christmases, I could never really buy them as a legitimate couple (still, it was absolutely adorable to see Reese's petite body next to Vince's towering figure). Joaquin, on the other hand, had a scorching connection with her in Walk the Line. These two managed to believably portray one of the most iconic couples of all time, June Carter and Johnny Cash. It's therefore safe to assume that they would also have fantastic chemistry off-screen as well. Now if only we could do something about that beard of his...
Winner: Joaquin Phoenix
You may remember when, in February of 2009, Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line, Two Lovers) stumbled awkwardly onto David Letterman's couch and proceeded to babble incoherently for an intensely awkward ten minute interview. (Video below) The respected actor, twice-nominated for an Academy Award, appeared disheveled, possibly on drugs, with a scraggly beard and dark sunglasses hiding his presumably glazed eyes. He mumbled uncomfortably, claimed he was leaving acting to pursue a hip-hop career, and grew antagonistic when Letterman suggested he might be kidding. The Late Show host tried to make the best of it, closing the cringe-worthy interview with "Joaquin, I'm sorry you couldn't be here tonight..." drawing forced, uncomfortable laughs from the audience.
But it's starting to look like the joke was on us. Magnolia Pictures has just acquired the rights to I'm Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix, a mockumentary documentary from Phoenix's brother-in-law, Casey Affleck, who is making his directorial debut. The movie is ostensibly a portrait of the actor at a crossroads in his career, as he leaves acting to reinvent himself as an absurdly bearded hip-hop artist.
Those who speculated after Phoenix's appearance on Letterman that the actor must have been "up to something" can now presumably give themselves a pat on the back: it's increasingly looking as though the actor's bizarre behavior was all part of a Borat-esque, performance-art type stunt. Still, it's not entirely clear to what extent Phoenix's 'transition' was real - perhaps the actor really did have some kind of meltdown - and Casey Affleck and Magnolia Pictures are trying to keep it a mystery.
However, a source who recently worked with Phoenix told Entertainment Weekly that the actor had privately admitted "It’s a put-on. I’m going to pretend to have a meltdown and change careers, and Casey is going to film it." Another source confirmed that "It’s an art project for him. He’s going full out. He probably has told his reps that he’s quit acting. Joaquin is very smart. This is very conscious. He has a huge degree of control."
But Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles is defending the film. "It is going to get a lot of attention, but it is not some cheap stunt where they said, ‘Let’s do some wild stuff and film it.’ It is extreme behavior but really good filmmaking as well. Frankly, some of the behavior is very extreme. But it is in the context of the insanity of being in Joaquin’s life for that period of time. It is a unique piece of work that is going to surprise people in different ways."
The studio's press release was equally enigmatic: "Magnolia Pictures announced today that it has acquired world rights to Oscar-nominee Casey Affleck’s directorial debut, I’M STILL HERE, a striking portrayal of a tumultuous year in the life of internationally acclaimed actor Joaquin Phoenix. With remarkable access, I’M STILL HERE follows the Oscar-nominee as he announces his retirement from a successful film career in the fall of 2008 and sets off to reinvent himself as a hip hop musician. Sometimes funny, sometimes shocking, and always riveting, the film is a portrait of an artist at a crossroads. Defying expectations, it deftly explores notions of courage and creative reinvention, as well as the ramifications of a life spent in the public eye."
But a number of other studios were far less receptive. Deadline reports that "Some [distributers] walked away turned off or confused. They weren't sure if this was an Andy Kaufman-like hoax, or a great actor's meltdown." However, Magnolia Pictures is giving the documentary a platform release on September 10th, with plans to go wide on the 17th, despite scenes involving Phoenix snorting coke off a prostitute's breast, full-frontal male nudity, and someone defecating on the actor while he sleeps.
This could potentially be the strangest career-reboot and/or performance-art stunt in cinema history. Until we see the film, there's no way to know whether Affleck's documentary (and Phoenix's 'performance') will amount to some kind of brilliant commentary on celebrity culture or a mind-bogglingly weird flop. Then again, some critics will likely call this 'art,' so it can always be claimed that the public just 'didn't get it.' Hoax or no, I, for one, am excited to find out what Affleck and Phoenix's have up their sleeves.
Sources: EW, Collider, Deadline