Picture this: A high school TV world where all the “populars” rocked blonde locks and the “wannabes” were brunettes, where everyone prepped for The Millennium while dancing to songs by Puff Daddy and sporting sky-high platform shoes. Sound familiar? You’re remembering the cult-classic gem of a series Popular.
Popular premiered on The WB in September 1999 (Math-check: 13 years ago!) starring two high school nemeses Brooke and Sam — Leslie Bibb and Carly Pope — forced to interact upon learning that their parents were getting married. Created by Ryan Murphy and filled with snarky humor and pop-culture infused cutaways, Popular wasn’t just another teen drama — it mocked the genre and itself. Although the show is now considered a groundbreaking hit, Popular only ran for two seasons and left fans with an abrupt cliffhanger that many are still talking about.
Take a look at the show’s iconic opening credits to refresh your memory of the cast, the clothes, and the frosted beauty products.
Sara Rue, who starred on the dramedy as Carmen, the overweight and desperately seeking acceptance best friend, tells Hollywood.com that there are a number of reasons that Popular’s popularity has held up over the years. “Popular came at time when people were dying for a show like that, and the fact that people are still talking about it ten years later is such a huge deal when you think about it.”
Even though the show continues to stay relevant thanks in huge part to Tumblr and Netflix, Rue admits that no one on set would have predicted the show’s long-term success. “We knew that it was cool and we liked what we were doing and we thought what we had to do every day was fun, but I don’t think any of us realized, like, what a weird cult hit it was going to be and that the following would stay so dedicated years and years and years later. That’s really a testament to Ryan and to his talent.”
Before American Horror Story, Glee, or even Nip/Tuck, Ryan Murphy created, wrote and executive produced Popular. “Ryan was great to work with and even at the time when this was kind of like his first thing, you could tell that he had such a vision,” Rue says. From musicals to dramas, horrors to comedies, it now seems that anything Murphy puts his name on turns to ratings gold. “No one else has their hand more on the pulse of the zeitgeist than Ryan Murphy at all times. ... He is amazing in terms of knowing what people are interested in and when, and in that moment there is just something about him where he is able to tune into pop culture in a way that nobody else can. I think that is really a gift. It’s amazing, actually.”
Interestingly enough, when compared side by side, Popular and Glee have extremely similar opening episodes. They both feature a popular blonde challenging an offbeat brunette, the star jock who secretly wants to join the school’s music program, as well as quirky, fast-paced and vicious dialogue. Popular, like Glee, was also known for throwing in a chart-topping musical number and intriguing guest star whenever the plotline needed a dose of wacky fun.
In this classically Popular-esque scene, behold the combination of Jay-Z, Broadway’s Annie, and RuPaul.
In addition to the over-the-top drama, teen angst, and purposeful over-acting, Popular also had the larger-than-life personality of Mary Cherry (Leslie Grossman). Marry Cherry — always referred to by her first and last name — was a Southern belle with a lot of money and even more sass. She could stab you in the back, smile, say something outrageous, and all would be forgiven. Mary Cherry was definitely the comic relief of the show and epitomized the essence of Popular with her pop culture-packed side stories.
Check out Mary Cherry’s giggle-worthy run-in with the “I Know What You Did Last Spring Break” killer in the video below.
However, Popular was more than just silly songs and pop culture parodies — this was a heartfelt show that frequently tackled serious subjects such as domestic abuse, bulimia, alcoholism, and sexual identity. But the most heart-wrenching storyline in the show's two-season life was without a doubt Harrison's (Christopher Gorham) battle with leukemia. Fans were presented with a raw and surprisingly realistic look into the life of a teen cancer patient. The show also took a dark turn in the series finale when Brooke's life was left hanging in the balance after she was purposefully run down with a car by her drunk best friend.
Although it’s been 10 years since our TV screens were graced with the 43 iconic episodes of Popular, the cast members still keep in touch. In fact, the glamazons and the wannabes reunited in October 2012 at the AIDS Walk in Los Angeles.
“Some of the cast members organized it and we all got together,” Rue says. “I’m pregnant so I showed up and walked for a little bit and then I went home because it was really hot that day. But it was really fun to see everybody and almost everybody was able to make it!”
It’s refreshing to see a cast that still tries to reconnect even though they’ve all separated into such far corners of the entertainment spectrum. To paraphrase a classic Mary Cherry quote, the ladies of Popular are smart, they’re witty, and they’ve (still) got asses that rock!
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[Photo Credit: The WB]
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In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
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The rubber-faced actor catapulted to fame in the mid-1990s, starring in hits Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask and Dumb & Dumber.
Growing up in Ontario, Canada Carrey started off as a struggling actor and comedian, appearing on stage performing sketches and enjoying small movie roles.
He became known worldwide for his impersonations and cemented his place in Hollywood by starring in hit films including The Truman Show, Cable Guy, Me, Myself & Irene, and Bruce Almighty, and also famously played the Riddler in Batman Forever.
Overcoming a battle with depression, the funnyman has lightened up movie screens with his wit and improvisational skills - and to celebrate his big milestone, WENN has compiled 10 fascinating facts about the star. Happy birthday, Jim!
- Carrey's character in 1998's The Truman Show has spawned the name of a psychological disorder - patients diagnosed with the condition 'Truman Syndrome' believe their lives are being broadcast on worldwide TV.
- The funnyman has been a vegetarian for most of his life.
- He tried to make his castmates on 2007 film The Number 23 laugh by urinating on the movie set - but his co-stars weren't amused.
- In France he is referred to as the son of legendary comic actor Jerry Lewis.
- When he was a struggling actor Carrey wrote himself a motivational cheque for $10 million (£6.3 million) and post-dated it for Thanksgiving Day, 1995. And his superstitious move worked - he was offered $10 million (£6.3 million) to play the lead in The Mask three days before his dad's death in 1994. He put the original cheque in his father's pocked before he was buried.
- Carrey has endured a turbulent love life - he has been married twice, with his second union to his Dumb and Dumber co-star Lauren Holly lasting less than a year. He has also dated Renee Zellweger and Jenny McCarthy, who he split from in 2010 after five years together.
- Carrey failed an audition to star on U.S. comedy show Saturday Night Live after he was left shaken when he saw an NBC employee trying to jump off the roof of a building shortly before the casting.
- To calm him down at school, teachers would allow the hyperactive youngster a 10-minute session at the end of each day to perform in front of his classmates.
- On top of acting he has other talents - he's also a sculptor, painter, amateur singer and songwriter - and he once penned a track for acoustic duo Tuck & Patti.
- Carrey has dual citizenship - in 2004 he was granted an American passport, while he remains a citizen of his native Canada.
The Tribeca Film Festival starts in a couple of days -- and to say the least, we're pretty excited. The festival features premieres of numerous films, including Troll Hunter, Newlyweds, a Kings of Leon documentary, and quite a few others. Now, the festival has announced the 38 lucky folks -- including David O. Russell, Whoopi Goldberg, Rainn Wilson, and numerous others -- who will judge these fine films. For more details, see the official release below:
New York, NY – April 18, 2010 – The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), presented by American Express, the Founding Sponsor of the Festival, today announced its jurors – a diverse and talented group of 38 individuals, including award-winning filmmakers and screenwriters, celebrated actors, respected journalists and media pioneers. They will be divided among the six competitive Festival categories and will announce the winning films, filmmakers and actors in those categories at the TFF Awards Night ceremony on April 28 hosted by Gideon Yago, which will be streamed live on TribecaFilm.com. The 2011 Festival runs from April 20 – May 1.
“This year’s jury is made up of a range of accomplished individuals in their respective fields, bringing a fresh and well-rounded perspective,” said Jane Rosenthal, Co-Founder of the Tribeca Film Festival. “It’s an honor to have a jury of such caliber watching and discussing the films in competition this year.”
Following is a list of all 2011 Festival jurors and their respective categories.
World Competition Categories:
The jurors for the 2011 World Narrative Competition are:
Souleymane Cissé: Noted Malian director; films include the 1995 Cannes Palme d’Or nominee Waati, 1987 Cannes Jury Prize Winner Brightness and Tell Me Who You Are.
Scott Glenn: Actor; films include The Right Stuff, The Silence of the Lambs, The Virgin Suicides, Freedom Writers, The Bourne Ultimatum, W., Secretariat, Sucker Punch and TFF 2011 selection Magic Valley.
David Gordon Green: Independent Spirit Award nominated director/producer; films include George Washington, All the Real Girls, Great World of Sound, Pineapple Express, the recently released Your Highness and the upcoming film The Sitter.
Rula Jebreal: Journalist, author, screenwriter and actress: books include The Bride From Assuan, Rejected and Miral, which was adapted into a film of the same name.
Art Linson: Gotham award winning producer; films include Singles, Fight Club, Lords of Dogtown, Into the Wild, What Just Happened and The Runaways.
Jason Sudeikis: Actor. Best known for roles in Going the Distance, Hall Pass and 2011 TFF selection A Good Old Fashioned Orgy. Also a cast member on television’s Saturday Night Live.
Dianne Wiest: Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG award winning actress; films include Hannah and Her Sisters, Edward Scissorhands, Bullets Over Broadway, Synecdoche, New York and the upcoming The Odd Life of Timothy Green.
The jurors for the 2011 World Documentary Competition are:
Amir Bar-Lev: Documentary filmmaker and producer; films include Fighter, My Kid Could Paint That, The Tillman Story and the upcoming Garcia.
Michael Cera: BAFTA and SAG Award nominated actor; films include Superbad, Juno, Youth In Revolt, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Currently filming The Untitled Mark Webber Project.
RJ Cutler: Oscar nominee and Emmy Award winning director/producer; films include The War Room, Thin, and The September Issue.
Abigail Disney: Film producer and philanthropist; films include 2008 TFF Best Documentary Winner, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, Children of Invention, Sons of Perdition and the upcoming narrative feature Return.
Whoopi Goldberg: Moderator on television’s The View, and actress, comedian, humanitarian with Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy, Tony and Grammy wins. Recent films include Toy Story 3, For Colored Girls and the upcoming A Little Bit of Heaven.
Louie Psihoyos: Oscar and DGA winning director; films include The Cove and the upcoming The Singing Planet.
Peter Scarlet: Executive Director of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, former Artistic Director of TFF and former Director of the Cinematheque Francaise.
Emerging Competition Categories:
The jurors for the 2011 Emerging Narrative Competition are:
Paul Dano: Independent Spirit and SAG award nominated actor; films include L.I.E., Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood, the recently released Meek’s Cutoff and the upcoming Another Bulls--t Night in Suck City.
Atom Egoyan: Oscar, Golden Palm and Independent Spirit Award nominated director/producer; films include Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter, Felicia’s Journey, Where the Truth Lies, Adoration, and Chloe.
Zoe Kazan: TFF 2009 Best Actress winner for The Exploding Girl; other films include Me and Orson Welles, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, It’s Complicated and the recently released films Happythankyoumoreplease, and Meek’s Cutoff.
Anna Kendrick: Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe , SAG, Independent Spirit and Tony award nominated actress; films include Rocket Science, the Twilight series, Up in the Air, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and the upcoming Live With It.
Rainn Wilson: Emmy and SAG Award nominee for television’s The Office; films include Juno, The Rocker, Hesher and the just completed Few Options.
The jurors for the 2011 Emerging Documentary Competition are:
Margaret Bodde: Documentary producer and film preservationist; films include No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, Time Piece, Public Speaking and the upcoming Living in the Material World: George Harrison.
Jared Cohen: Director of Google Ideas, Adjunct Fellow at the Council for Foreign Relations and Author of One Hundred Days of Silence: America and the Rwanda Genocide, and Children of Jihad: A Young American's Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East
J.D. Heyman: Executive Editor of People and former editor at Us Weekly. Held editorial positions at Cosmopolitan and the New York Daily News. Author of books include Get a Life: A Guide to Jobs, Money and the Real World, and The Singled Out Guide to Dating.
Lauren Hutton: Fashion icon, actress, television host and beauty industry pioneer. Film roles include American Gigolo and, more recently, The Joneses. Guest star on television’s Nip/Tuck and host of several shows, including a late-night talk show.
Annie Sundberg: IFC and Sundance award nominated director; films include The Trials of Darryl Hunt, The Devil Came on Horseback and Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.
Short Film Competition Categories:
The jurors for the 2011 Narrative Short Film Competition are:
David O. Russell: Oscar, Golden Globe nominee and Independent Spirit Award Winner: films include Spanking the Monkey, Flirting with Disaster, Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees, The Fighter and the upcoming Nailed.
Nora Ephron: Multiple Oscar, Golden Globe nominated and BAFTA winning writer-director; films include Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally …, Sleepless in Seattle and Julie and Julia.
Ceci Kurzman: Founder of Nexus Management Group, whose clients include Shakira, and consultant for the Global Philanthropy Group.
Denis Leary: Golden Globe and Emmy nominate actor/writer/producer; work includes Rescue Me, In Search of Ted Demme and the Ice Age films.
Fran Lebowitz: Author noted for her social commentary, recently the subject of the HBO documentary Public Speaking, directed by Martin Scorsese.
Paul Schneider: Actor and screenwriter; films include All the Real Girls, The Family Stone, Lars & the Real Girl, Bright Star, Away We Go & the upcoming Water for Elephants.
Jimmy Wales: Internet entrepreneur and Co-founder of Wkipedia.
The jurors for the 2011 Documentary and Student Short Film Competitions are:
Ahmed Ahmed: Comedian and director; noted for his directorial debut Just Like Us, an official selection of the 2010 Tribeca and Doha Tribeca film festivals. Other films include the UAE film City of Life and Iron Man.
Agnes Gund: President Emerita of MoMA, noted philanthropist, and collector of modern and contemporary art.
Zoe Kravitz: Actress; film roles include The Brave One, Birds of America, The Greatest and the upcoming Beware the Gonzo (a 2010 TFF selection and upcoming release by Tribeca Film), Yelling to the Sky and X:Men: First Class.
Nicole Lapin: Anchor of CNBC’s Worldwide Exchange, contributor to Today, Morning Joe, Daily Rundown, and Jansing & Co, as well as the Huffington Post. Former anchor at CNN.
Lisa Shields: VP of Communications and Marketing, Council on Foreign Relations.
Christine Vachon: Independent Spirit Award winning producer. Films and television projects include Mildred Pierce, Safe, I Shot Andy Warhol, Boys Don’t Cry, Far From Heaven, I’m Not There, and Cairo Time.
Patrick Wilson: Golden Globe nominated actor; best known for Little Children, Watchmen, Hard Candy and Angels in America; upcoming films include The Ledge, and Young Adult.
Together, the six TFF juries will award $175,000 in cash and prizes. Festival winners will also receive a piece of original art by an acclaimed artist as part of the Tribeca Film Festival Artists Awards program.