For a while there, we could set our watches to Christopher Guest's directorial schedule. Every three-and-a-half years, the mockumentarian would release another gem: Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration. All dry and satirical, all celebratory of their shared performers' mile-deep pools of talent, all unique. But the pattern halted after the latter, Oscar-mocking picture, leaving us without a cinematic Guest gem since 2006. But if he's just been spending all that time developing his new HBO comedy Family Tree, then we can probably forgive him. Especially since he's roping in the comedy world's new prince, Chris O'Dowd.
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The below trailer for the film lands Irish O'Dowd among Guest's usual clan of American, British, and American-feigning-British heroes, including Michael McKean, Jim Piddock, Ed Begley, Jr., Don Lake, Bob Balaban, and (the powerhouse) Fred Willard. Will the rest of the troupe show up for the program? Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey? We can hope... but for now, we're just pleased with what we're already seeing:
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeter
[Photo Credit: Ray Burmiston/HBO]
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Today was a big day for many Americans because the Supreme Court announced that it has decided to uphold President Obama's health care overhaul, requiring most Americans to obtain health insurance starting in 2014.
This is a huge change in policy that Americans will be forced to deal with and, as you can imagine, some are more happy about it than others. While some tend to use humor as a defense mechanism, others cope in more...flavorful way....especially on Twitter.
Check out the array of tweets from several celebs and political figures to see where they stand on the matter.
Leading Up To the Decision (because these were just too great not to include):
Bill Maher: "#Obamacare?: If u have an STD or a sick kid I'd got to doctor now, cuz after Supremes rule this week its nothin' but freedom." @billmaher
Andy Borowitz: "Tomorrow, nine people who get free government healthcare will let us know what the rest of us get." @BorowitzReport
After the Decision:
Michael Moore: "The right wing has just had their worst smackdown since the day O was elected. The path of history continues to head toward univ health care." @MMFlint
Raising Hope star Martha Plimpton: "YES. Rationality wins the day, finally! ?#HealthJustice? ?#SCOTUS? ?#ACAStays" @MarthaPlimpton
Sarah Palin: "Obama lied to the American people. Again. He said it wasn't a tax. Obama lies; freedom dies." @SarahPalinUSA
Dave Rubin: "Only in America would so many overweight, diabetic people with heart disease be upset that they're gonna have healthcare." @RubinReport
Philip DeFranco: "To all of you saying you're going to move to Canada bc ?#Obamacare? was upheld….um..they have..universal health..um…actually nvm." @PhillyD
Rick Reilly: "This is weird: CNN got its Obamacare Supreme Court story from Rob Lowe." @ReillyRick
Michele Bachmann: "I'm disappointed ?#SCOTUS? thinks gov't knows better than people. I won't stop fighting ?#Obamacare? until is full repeal. RT if you're with me." @TeamBachmann
Wanda Sykes: "Drama at CNN. I would love to be a fly on Wolf Blizter's beard. ?#SCOTUS." @iamwandasykes
Andy Borowitz: "BREAKING ?#SCOTUS? NEWS: Scalia says the government should cover only two ?#healthcare? procedures, transvaginal ultrasounds & exorcisms." @BorowitzReport
Rickey Smiley: "Healthcare bill has been upheld by the supreme court WOW." @RickeySmiley
Willard Mitt Romney: "I am outraged that the Supreme Court agrees with my past statements that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. ?#Obamacare" @MITTROMNEY
And a great response to that would have to be this tweet....
Andy Borowitz: "Romney: 'Obamacare was a bad thing even back when it was Romneycare.'" @BorowitzReport
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More than The Cotton Club, more than The Godfather Part III, and more even than One from the Heart, the Francis Ford Coppola movie that I was most afraid of seeing for the first time was Jack. I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d be able to find something of value in the movie, a late 90s message-movie about Jack, a boy with Werner syndrome, which means Jack ages at four times the normal rate. Robin Williams plays Jack. And, well, guess what the message is.
I’ve spent a lot of this retrospective on Coppola’s career both defending his lesser known work and trying to wrap my mind around his sometime megalomania. The thing that I love the most about Coppola is that no matter what is at stake, he will eventually attempt to turn anything he’s working on into art. By art I mean he works on his films by developing a singular, original vision, bringing to bear all the techniques and tools of filmmaking to achieve that vision. Even when he claims he’s making something “just for money” like the aforementioned One from the Heart, The Cotton Club or The Godfather Part III, he can’t help but at least try to make something that has some level of originality and vision.
That isn’t quite true with Jack. Jack is a hack job. It’s awful. It’s so singularly awful that it’s making me wonder just what it is I consider good to be. I mean, what sin does Jack commit that makes it almost nearly unwatchable? Sure, Robin Williams gives a performance that in its own way goes “full 'tard.” The screen character he creates in Jack is so thoughtfully done, so layered and well-wrought that he does indeed feel like what he is: an emotionally stunted ten year old in a 40 year old’s body. Like Sean Penn in I Am Sam, William’s performance is perfect, and therefore unwatchable.
But that’s not it.
There’s also the other elementary school kids, who are all written so badly they make Saved by the Bell look like Lil’ Chekhov. Their expository introduction in the first few minutes offers us not a single believable character. Goonies this is not.
But that’s not it.
One might also point to the beginning of the film, where Coppola gives us a “birth canal-cam,” or to Bill Cosby’s “wise black man,” or to Fran Drescher making out with a ten year old, or any number of other things about the movie that fall flat, feel creepy, or bring the cliché when they could have offered the shock of the new.
But those features of the film only make it bad, and bad is not god-awful boring.
Harold Bloom is fond of the famous Oscar Wilde quote “All bad poetry is sincere,” except Oscar Wilde didn’t say that. What Oscar Wilde said was this: “All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling. To be natural is to be obvious, and to be obvious is to be inartistic.” That’s from The Critic as Artist, which I haven’t read since I was an undergrad and probably didn’t understand it even then. But I’m pretty sure it has something to do with why Jack is such a boring a film that it put me into a metabolic coma.
Here’s the thing. Within the first fifteen minutes of the film, you know everything Jack has to say about everything it’s going to talk about. You know the version of America Coppola’s chosen for the story. You know what kids are like, what adults are like, what childhood is like, what school is like, what women and men and life and death and aging and education and love and fear and hope are like. And if I know what a movie thinks of all of those things in the first fifteen minutes, it’s an abject failure, because it completely lacks vision and is, by definition, inartistic.
Which isn’t to say that a movie must have artistic merit in order to be worthwhile, but if it’s not going to have artistic merit it better be entertaining, and as you must know, Jack isn’t even a little entertaining. Of course, what we all want is a little art in our entertainment, or a little entertainment in our art. Jack provides neither.
Let’s contrast Jack with Apocalypse Now. It may be an unfair comparison, but let’s get specific about why it’s an unfair comparison. The entire meaning of Apocalypse Now cannot be understood until we find out what Martin Sheen’s Willard is going to do when he catches up with Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz. At first we think he might kill Kurtz outright, but immediately when Willard sets out on his epic trip into the heart of Vietnam, what Vietnam means and what Kurtz means begins to shift. Thirty minutes in the nature of Willard’s journey is so wrapped up with the nature of the Vietnam War that we feel as if the final fate of Kurtz will somehow shed light on the war, the United States, the Cold War, the sixties, and the spirit of humanity itself. We’re put into this sense of tension until the last moment of the movie, and it’s a tension based on meaning.
Everything Jack has to say can be gleaned from the first fifteen minutes of the film. Or the trailer. Or the poster. Honestly, the poster pretty much does it. The poster, in fact, is the most fun part of the whole movie. Who’s to blame? Who cares. It’s not a movie you want to watch, even if you’re the biggest Coppola fan on the planet. Believe me.
Next week: Coppola proves he can do mercenary filmmaking well.
The comedy, about a group of high school students in a choir club, will fight for the Outstanding TV Comedy prize against Curb Your Enthusiasm, Modern Family, Nurse Jackie, The Office and 30 Rock, which has taken home the title for the last three years.
Glee's leading stars Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele have been nominated in the male and female categories for the outstanding comedy actor awards, while their co-star Chris Colfer has received a best supporting actor nomination.
Morrison faces competition from Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Jim Parson (The Big Bang Theory), Tony Shalhoub (Monk), Steve Carell (The Office) and last year's winner Alec Baldwin (30 Rock).
Meanwhile Michele will face off with Julia Louis-Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Christine), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Tina Fey (30 Rock) and Toni Collette (The United States of Tara), who took home the statue last year (09).
Producers of cable network HBO's gritty World War II drama The Pacific will also hope for a triumphant night after receiving 24 nominations, including Outstanding Miniseries.
The 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be handed out on 29 August (10) at a ceremony in Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre and will be presented by comedian Jimmy Fallon.
The main list of nominees is as follows:
Outstanding Drama Series: Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Good Wife, Lost, Mad Men, True Blood.
Outstanding Comedy Series: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Glee, Modern Family, Nurse Jackie, The Office, 30 Rock.
Outstanding Lead Actor, Drama: Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), Hugh Laurie (House), Matthew Fox (Lost), Jon Hamm (Mad Men).
Outstanding Lead Actress, Drama: Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer), Glenn Close (Damages), Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), January Jones (Mad Men).
Outstanding Lead Actor, Comedy: Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Matthew Morrison (Glee), Tony Shalhoub (Monk), Steve Carell (The Office), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock).
Outstanding Lead Actress, Comedy: Lea Michele (Glee), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Christine), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Tina Fey (30 Rock), Toni Collette (The United States of Tara).
Supporting Actor In A Drama Series: John Slattery (Mad Men), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Martin Short (Damages), Terry O'Quinn (Lost), Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age), Michael Emerson (Lost).
Supporting Actress In A Drama Series: Rose Byrne (Damages), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife), Sharon Gless (Burn Notice), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Christine Baranski (The Good Wife).
Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series: Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), Chris Colfer (Glee), Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men), Ty Burrell (Modern Family), Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother).
Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series: Jane Lynch (Glee), Jane Krakowski (30 Rock), Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live), Sofia Vergara (Modern Family), Julie Bowen (Modern Family), Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men).
Guest Actor In A Drama Series: Robert Morse (Mad Men), Alan Cumming (The Good Wife), John Lithgow (Dexter), Ted Danson (Damages), Gregory Itzin (24), Dylan Baker (The Good Wife), Beau Bridges (The Closer)
Guest Actress In A Drama Series: Mary Kay Place (Big Love), Lily Tomlin (Damages), Sissy Spacek (Big Love), Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost), Ann-Margret (Law & Order: SVU), Shirley Jones (The Cleaner).
Guest Actor In A Comedy Series: Mike O'Malley (Glee), Fred Willard (Modern Family), Eli Wallach (Nurse Jackie), Jon Hamm (30 Rock), Neil Patrick Harris (Glee), Will Arnett (30 Rock).
Guest Actress In A Comedy Series: Kristin Chenoweth (Glee), Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live), Jane Lynch (Two And A Half Men), Kathryn Joosten (Desperate Housewives), Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory), Betty White (Saturday Night Live), Elaine Stritch (30 Rock).
Reality Series: Antiques Roadshow, MythBusters, Undercover Boss, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, Dirty Jobs, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.
In an almost completely wordless first 40 minutes we meet the workaholic robot Wall E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) as he goes about the daily tasks--organizing an abandoned junk yard with remnants of what life was like before mankind was forced to leave earth (or die) in the 22nd century. Apparently no one remembered to turn his switch off so he continues to do his thing in the shadow of an eerily empty city. One day a spaceship lands and drops off a spiffy search robot named EVE (Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator). EVE strikes up a touching even romantic relationship with little Wall E his first contact with anything or anyone (other than a pet cockroach) in about 700 years. When EVE discovers that Wall E may have come upon the living proof that Earth is once again inhabitable she blasts off to tell the humans aboard the Axiom--a massive shopping mall-like space station--that it may finally be safe to return home. Not wanting to let her go Wall E hops on during takeoff and blasts into the outer reaches of the universe where he experiences the surreal future and brings hope from the past. Be prepared to fall in love with the most engaging and original new movie star in ages. The extraordinary performance here is a robot who utters sounds not words and comes brilliantly alive through state-of-the-art CGI animation and expert vocal design by legendary sound wizard Ben Burtt (R2D2 of Star Wars). He makes this non-human love-struck piece of tin the most human element in the film. Wall E does not need words to express his understanding of affairs of the heart. In fact the early sequences in which he repeatedly watches an old video tape of the 1969 musical Hello Dolly (the only one is his obviously limited collection) we totally understand where his notions of romance come from--and from an 800 year-old semi-flop Hollywood movie no less. The trip into space brings encounters with some misfit robots as well as the rotund immobile humans competently performed by vets like Jeff Garlin as the ship’s captain Fred Willard John Ratzenberger Kathy Najimy and Sigourney Weaver as the ship’s computer. But the real acting voice-over prizes belong to Burtt and his sound design colleagues this time. Oscar take notice: Pixar has done it again. Co-writer/director Andrew Stanton won an Oscar for Finding Nemo and has worked in some capacity on just about every Pixar triumph from Toy Story; through last year’s Oscar winning Ratatouille. His creative need to stretch and explore uncharted ‘toon territory results in the offbeat Wall-E which abandons the talking creature formats for a surreal touching and environmentally-conscious love story. The film sets off alarms for the future of our planet but also offers hope that it’s not too late. Stanton’s most daring notion is to create almost a silent film for the first half and in so doing gives us an animated cinematic experience the likes of Chaplin Keaton and Jacques Tati would have loved. The achievement of keeping an audience glued to the screen watching incommunicative non-humans who learn to communicate and care for each other is no easy thing. Stanton creates beautiful visuals and a well-crafted story to go with them. This is one from the heart.
Will Smith is keeping up his part of the "populate the earth" mandate. The 31-year-old rapper turned TV star turned movie star is expecting his third career child -- and his second by wife Jada Pinkett Smith, the actor's publicist confirmed today. The baby's due in November.
Smith and Pinkett Smith, 28, already have a son, Jaden, born in July 1998. He also has a son, Willard Smith III (or Trey), born in 1992 to his first wife.
Will and Jada wed on New Year's Eve 1997. He'll next be seen in the Robert Redford-directed "The Legend of Bagger Vance."
MIAMI SOUND MACHINE: Popster Gloria Estefan lent her voice to the Elian Gonzalez controversy today, joining those who say the 6-year-old Cuban boy should remain in Florida and not be returned to his native country. Estefan herself was born in Havana.
HOPE THEY'RE NOT RUSHING INTO THIS: Ex-"NYPD Blue" cop Jimmy Smits, 44, and longtime live-in love Wanda De Jesus ("The Insider") are planning (finally) to tie the knot, he tells USA Today. "It just seems like the natural thing to do," Smits says. No word on the date.
NEW BABE IN TOWN: Hollywood hyphenate Albert Brooks (writer-director-actor) and wife Kimberly welcomed the birth of their second child, daughter Claire Elizabeth, Monday at a Los Angeles hospital.
WE HAVE NO IDEA HOW THEY KNOW THIS: According to the British tab the Express, supermodel Naomi Campbell, 29, has been told by doctors that she should retire from the catwalk for one year if she wants to conceive a child with billionaire boyfriend Flavio Briatore.
TOGETHER AGAIN: Jane Fonda, 62, will receive an honorary degree and estranged husband Ted Turner, 61, will deliver the commencement address at May 15 graduation ceremonies for Boston's Emerson College, the school said today. The couple was invited -- individually -- before word of their separation leaked in January. And the couple -- individually -- is keeping their date.
FROM CANCELLATION TO SOCIAL SECURITY: Ian Ziering, who has played "teen-ager" turned "twentysomething" Steve Sanders on "Beverly Hills, 90210" for the Fox series' entire 10-season run, turns 36 today. Really.