Paramount via Everett Collection
It's hard to believe that it's been 25 years since Charlie Sheen's Ricky Vaughn emerged from the bullpen to the strains of "Wild Thing" to help the Cleveland Indians win a division title. Coming out during an era of more high minded baseball movies like Bull Durham and Field of Dreams, Major League was pure goofy fun… more interested in laughs than in the game's potential life lessons.
For many baseball fans, an annual viewing of Major League is as much a part of spring as Opening Day. As with Caddyshack, there are fans that can quote the movie's best lines from memory. Even if you have your own home shrine to voodoo god Jobu, here are some fun facts about the movie that you might not know:
1. Although the movie is set in Cleveland, the scenes inside the ballpark were shot at Milwaukee's old County Stadium. Bob Uecker, who played announcer Harry Doyle, has really worked in Milwaukee since 1971 as the play-by-play man for the hometown Brewers... a fact that writer-director David S. Ward didn't know when he cast him. He had based the casting strictly on Uecker's work on the sitcom Mr. Belvedere and in a series of Miller Lite commercials (if you look closely, that's the beer that Doyle is drinking in the movie).
2. Sheen really was a pitcher in high school for Santa Monica High. He now claims that he took steroids prior to doing the movie so that his fastball would be more realistic. Dennis Haysbert, who later became famous as President David Palmer on 24 and played Cuban slugger Pedro Cerrano, was a football and basketball player in high school before switching to fencing at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
3. Haysbert's hitting as Cerrano looked real because it was. Even though he didn't play baseball past Little League, Haysbert actually cleared the fences multiple times during filming.
4. Despite playing a speedy outfielder in the movie, Wesley Snipes was so slow that they ended up showing him running in slow motion in the film to provide the illusion of speed.
5. The original ending featured the scheming owner played by Margaret Whitton — the widow of the beloved former owner — as secretly being behind the team's winning, with her devious threats meant to bring the boys together. When test audiences hated it, they reshot it to keep her as the bad guy.
6. Entourage's Jeremy Piven shot multiple scenes for the movie, playing a bench player who likes to heckle the opposing team. When they started editing, they realized that the scenes didn't work, so they completely cut his character from the film.
7. Prior to making her film debut as Lynn Wells, the ex-girlfriend of Tom Berenger's character, Rene Russo was known primarily as one of the top models of the '70s. A Los Angeles native, one of Russo's classmates growing up was sitcom-star-turned-director Ron Howard.
6. Pete Vuckovich, who plays evil Yankees first baseman Clu Haywood, was actually a star Major League pitcher who won the American League Cy Young Award in 1982. Playing largely in games with a designated hitter, Vuckovich only rarely batted during his career.
7. According to Ward, during the celebration scene at the end where Corbin Bernsen's third baseman Roger Dorn punches Sheen for sleeping with his wife, Bernsen actually connected with the shot, leaving a welt on Sheen's face.
8. Neil Flynn, who went on to bigger roles on television as the Janitor in Scrubs and a suburban father in The Middle, plays one of the long-suffering Cleveland fans complaining about the state of the team.
9. Flynn and Stacy Carroll, who plays Dorn's wife who has revenge sex with Ricky, both also appeared in a short-lived TV show called Sable, which starred Russo as the girlfriend of a children's book writer who transforms into a superhero at night.
10. The song that plays at the beginning of the movie is "Burn On" by Randy Newman. Written in 1972, it is an ode to an incident in 1969 when the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught on fire due to an oil slick and other debris floating in the polluted water.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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There is something particularly unnerving about demon possession. It's the idea of something you can't see or control creeping into your body and taking up residence eventually obliterating all you once were and turning you into nothing more than a sack of meat to be manipulated. Then there's also the shrouded ritual around exorcisms: the Latin chants the flesh-sizzling crucifixes and the burning Holy Water. As it turns out exorcism isn't just the domain of Catholics.
The myths and legends of the Jews aren't nearly as well known but their creepy dybbuk goes toe-to-toe with anything other world religions come up with. There are various interpretations of what a dybbuk is or where it comes from — is it a ghost a demon a soul of a sinner? — but in any case it's looking for a body to hang out in for a while. Especially according to the solemn Hasidic Jews in The Possession an innocent young person and even better a young girl.
The central idea in The Possession is that a fancy-looking wooden box bought at a garage sale was specifically created to house a dybbuk that was tormenting its previous owner. Unfortunately it caught the eye of young Emily (Natasha Calis) a sensitive artistic girl who persuades her freshly divorced dad Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan of Watchmen and Grey's Anatomy) to buy it for her. Never mind the odd carvings on it — that would be Hebrew — or how it's created without seams so it would be difficult to open or why it's an object of fascination for a young girl; Clyde is trying really hard to please his disaffected daughters and do the typical freshly divorced parent dance of trying to please them no matter the cost.
Soon enough the creepy voices calling to Emily from the box convince her to open it up; inside are even creepier personal objects that are just harbingers of what's to come for her her older sister Hannah (Madison Davenport) her mom Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) and even Stephanie's annoying new boyfriend Brett (Grant Show). Clyde and Stephanie squabble over things like pizza for dinner and try to convince each other and themselves that Emily's increasingly odd behavior is that of a troubled adolescent. It's not of course and eventually Clyde enlists the help of the son of a Hasidic rabbi a young man named Tzadok played by the former Hasidic reggae musician Matisyahu to help them perform an exorcism on Emily.
The Possession is not going to join the ranks of The Exorcist in the horror pantheon but it does do a remarkable job of making its characters intelligent and even occasionally droll and it offers up plenty of chills despite a PG-13 rating. Perhaps it's because of that rating that The Possession is so effective; the filmmakers are forced to make the benign scary. Giant moths and flying Torahs take the place of little Reagan violently masturbating with a crucifix in The Exorcist. Gagging and binging on food is also an indicator of Emily's possession — an interesting twist given the anxieties of becoming a woman a girl Emily's age would face. There is something inside her controlling her and she knows it and she is fighting it. The most impressive part of Calis's performance is how she communicates Emily's torment with a few simple tears rolling down her face as the dybbuk's control grows. The camerawork adds to the anxiety; one particularly scary scene uses ordinary glass kitchenware to great effect.
The Possession is a short 92 minutes and it does dawdle in places. It seems as though some of the scenes were juggled around to make the PG-13 cut; the moth infestation scene would have made more sense later in the movie. Some of the problems are solved too quickly or simply and yet it also takes a while for Clyde's character to get with it. Stephanie is a fairly bland character; she makes jewelry and yells at Clyde for not being present in their marriage a lot and then there's a thing with a restraining order that's pretty silly. Emily is occasionally dressed up like your typical horror movie spooky girl with shadowed eyes an over-powdered face and dark clothes; it's much more disturbing when she just looks like an ordinary though ill young girl. The scenes in the heavily Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn look oddly fake and while it's hard to think of who else could have played Tzadok an observant Hasidic Jew who is also an outsider willing to take risks the others will not Matisyahu is not a very good actor. Still the filmmakers should be commended for authenticity insofar as Matisyahu has studied and lived as a Hasidic Jew.
It would be cool if Lionsgate and Ghost House Pictures were to release the R-rated version of the movie on DVD. What the filmmakers have done within the confines of a PG-13 rating is creepy enough to make me curious to see the more adult version. The Possession is no horror superstar and its name is all too forgettable in a summer full of long-gestating horror movies quickly pushed out the door. It's entertaining enough and could even find a broader audience on DVD. Jeffrey Dean Morgan can read the Old Testament to me any time.
Love was in the air in July as a host of celebrities walked down the aisle - Spanish stars Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem tied the knot in the Bahamas, while Emily Blunt became Mrs. John Krasinski after marrying The Office star in romantic Como, Italy.
A pregnant Alicia Keys said 'I do' to Swizz Beatz, while Orlando Bloom and Australian model Miranda Kerr became husband and wife in a secret ceremony. Wedding bells also rang in Georgia as country sweetheart Carrie Underwood married her hockey hunk, Mike Fisher.
But there was also plenty of heartache in Hollywood - Kelly Osbourne called off her engagement to model Luke Worrall over allegations he had cheated on her, and Frasier star Kelsey Grammer's wife filed for divorce after almost 13 years of marriage. R&B singer Christina Milian picked July to announce she was splitting from her producer husband The-Dream - less than a year after the couple wed in Las Vegas.
Celebrations were in order for Christina Applegate after she revealed she was pregnant with her first child, while Vince Vaughn, Zac Hanson, Ugly Betty star Becki Newton and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor also announced they were expecting babies with their respective partners.
Director Sam Taylor-Wood and Aaron Johnson became the proud parents of a baby girl - their first child together - while Australian pop star Dannii Minogue welcomed baby boy Ethan with her partner Kris Smith.
But July was not without scandal - Paris Hilton was questioned by authorities at the World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa over allegations she was smoking pot. Just two weeks later, she was held by police in France after she was allegedly caught carrying cannabis in her handbag.
The heiress' former pal Lindsay Lohan also hit headlines for all the wrong reasons - just days after turning 24, she was ordered to spend 90 days in jail for violating the terms of her probation stemming from a 2007 DUI arrest.
Former Wham! star George Michael also had a run-in with the law - he was arrested after driving his car into a shop in London, and Foxy Brown was also taken into custody after allegedly violating a protective order.
Meanwhile, Rosemary's Baby director Roman Polanski was freed from house arrest after officials in Switzerland threw out a request to extradite him to the U.S. for sentencing on a child-sex charge.
Mel Gibson's marital woes continued into July - Los Angeles police launched an official investigation amid claims the Braveheart star punched his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva during a heated altercation. It came after the leaking of a series of audio recordings in which a man said to be Gibson unleashes a series of foul-mouthed rants at his ex.
There was a health scare for British singer Cheryl Cole as she was diagnosed with malaria after collapsing at a photoshoot, while movie legends Tony Curtis and Zsa Zsa Gabor were also hospitalised. Pink was rushed to the emergency room after a stage stunt went wrong, sending the pop punk flying into a metal barrier during a concert in Germany.
Courtroom battles loomed for bad boy actor David Boreanaz, who was slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit from a former extra on his hit TV show Bones, and Casey Affleck, who was sued by a producer of his movie I'm Still Here over sexual harassment allegations.
There were festival dramas aplenty in August, with The Libertines and Guns N' Roses dominating headlines at Britain's Reading and Leeds weekenders. Pete Doherty's group reunited earlier this year (10) and played sets at the festivals - but their performances were blighted when overeager fans got crushed and trampled during the frenetic gigs, forcing the rockers off the stage to allow the revellers chance to recover. Axl Rose sparked an ongoing war-of-words with event boss Melvin Benn after he decided to shut the sound off when the band overran its curfew.
Further drama occurred in August when Naomi Campbell took to the stand in The Hague, Netherlands to testify at the war crimes trial of ex-Liberian President Charles Taylor, socialite Paris Hilton was arrested for cocaine possession in Las Vegas, and Charlie Sheen pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanour assault relating to a Christmas Day (25Dec09) fight with now-estranged wife Brooke Mueller. The Two And A Half Men actor was sentenced to 30 days in jail, but served time in rehab instead.
Another star seeking help for her personal issues was Lindsay Lohan. The Mean Girls actress walked free from prison before the end of her sentence for violating her probation relating to a 2007 DUI arrest, and immediately entered rehab - only to leave the health centre early as well.
Lohan's woes weren't the only ones in Hollywood - Zsa Zsa Gabor was in and out of hospital due to complications stemming from her summer accident which resulted in several bone fractures, while Aretha Franklin broke her ribs in a freak fall, prompting her to cancel a string of shows.
However, the biggest health shock of the month was the revelation that Michael Douglas had been diagnosed with a throat tumour. The Wall Street legend began radiation and chemotherapy shortly before going public with his battle and helped raise awareness of the disease by appearing on America's Stand Up 2 Cancer TV special to urge fans to raise cash for research.
There was happier health news for many in the public eye in August - Miranda Kerr, Penny Lancaster and Alanis Morissette all announced their pregnancies, while British Prime Minister David Cameron became a father again when his wife Samantha gave birth to their fourth child, Florence, while they were holidaying in Cornwall, south-west England.
Wedding bells were also chiming, with Hilary Duff walking down the aisle to marry ice hockey star Mike Comrie, veteran singer Julio Iglesias exchanging vows with his longtime girlfriend, and James Van Der Beek cementing his union with his then-pregnant girlfriend Kimberly Brook - they've since welcomed baby Olivia.
Lady Gaga was the big winner and talking point at the MTV Video Music Awards this month - she picked up eight accolades and stunned everyone by taking to the stage in a meat dress. Meanwhile, Penelope Cruz confirmed the news she was pregnant with Javier Bardem's baby, and Angelina Jolie - who visited flood-ravaged Pakistan - was named Best Celebrity Role Model in an online poll.
George Michael began his eight-week prison sentence in London after being found guilty of cannabis possession and driving under the influence of drugs, and Guns N' Roses were booed and bottled offstage in Ireland after making fans wait for their performance.
Smashing Pumpkins star Billy Corgan confirmed reports he was dating Aussie pop star Jessica Origliasso, and the Charlatans axed U.S. shows after Jon Brookes collapsed onstage during a concert in Pennsylvania. He was later diagnosed with a brain tumour..
Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen welcomed their second child, John Lennon's killer Mark Chapman was denied parole for a sixth time, and Sofia Coppola picked up the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival amid a storm of controversy - her ex-boyfriend, Quentin Tarantino, led the jury!
Meanwhile, Take That bandmates Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow performed together for the first time in 15 years at a benefit for injured British soldiers, but Duff McKagan quit Jane's Addiction after five months and just three gigs.
The Troggs star Reg Presley suffered a stroke while holidaying in Spain and country music duo Brooks & Dunn split after an emotional night at a Nashville charity gig.
Elsewhere, T.I. and his wife were arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of drug possession, UB40 star Ali Campbell was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr Syndrome, and Leonardo DiCaprio won a three-year restraining order against a woman claiming to be his wife.
Johnny Depp was named the highest paid actor by Forbes magazine, Britney Spears' one-time minder, Fernando Flores, filed suit against the pop star, claiming she had sexually harassed him and exposed herself in front of him, and The xx picked up Britain's prestigious Mercury Music Prize.
Eddie Vedder, Johnny Knoxville and David Essex wed - not to each other - and R&B star Lyfe Jennings was jailed for three and a half years over a violent altercation with his former girlfriend.
Meanwhile, James Gandolfini was caught driving on a suspended licence, Paris Hilton was refused entry to Japan; Kings of Leon star Caleb Followill and hot model Lily Aldridge announced their engagement, and actor Randy Quaid and his wife were arrested and charged with burglary amid allegations they had been illegally squatting in the house they once called home.
Actor Shelley Malil was convicted of attempted murder, Wyclef Jean announced he'd be running for presidential office in Haiti again in 2015 after his 2010 bid was dismissed, and comedian Greg Giraldo died in hospital after suffering an accidental drug overdose. Lindsay Lohan returned to rehab, David Beckham's lawyers served a writ to a hooker who claimed she'd slept with the soccer stud, and Heart rocker Nancy Wilson filed for divorce from moviemaker Cameron Crowe.
There was baby news for Mario Lopez, actresses Jodie Sweetin and Danica McKellar, actor James Van Der Beek, Rascal Flatts star Joe Don Rooney and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
ELO star Mike Edwards was killed in a freak accident, while veteran actors Harold Gould, Gloria Stuart and Kevin McCarthy also passed away along with legendary French director Claude Chabrol and filmmakers Arthur Penn and Clive Donner.
Other deaths included that of former boy band star Rich Cronin, who passed away after a stroke, aged 35, and Hollywood lost true legends in Eddie Fisher and Tony Curtis.
Celebrity break-ups were big news in October with a number of high-profile couples calling time on their relationship. Courteney Cox and David Arquette stunned the world by announcing they were taking a break from their 11-year marriage, and just days later singer Christina Aguilera confirmed her split from husband Jordan Bratman. Ben Harper and Laura Dern also filed for divorce after 10 years together.
But October also saw an influx of celebrity weddings - Katy Perry and Russell Brand sealed their love in a lavish Indian ceremony, and both Paul Weller and David Schwimmer hit the news when it emerged they had married their girlfriends in secret earlier in the year.
There was also plenty of baby news - Mariah Carey confirmed she is expecting her first child with husband Nick Cannon after months of speculation, while Celine Dion put the heartache of fertility treatment behind her to become a mum to twin boys. Hip-hop supercouple Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz welcomed a baby boy named Egypt and Neil Patrick Harris became father to twins born via a surrogate.
Britain was in mourning following the loss of comedy legend Norman Wisdom, who passed away at the age of 95, while the world of music was rocked by the death of legendary soul singer Solomon Burke after he collapsed at an airport in Amsterdam, Holland. The death of soprano Joan Sutherland in Switzerland at the age of 83 prompted an outpouring of grief in her native Australia, and The Slits star Ari Up lost her battle with cancer at the age of 48.
The scandal of the month came courtesy of Charlie Sheen, who hit headlines when cops were called to his trashed suite at a New York City hotel during a night with a young model/actress. The star's reps blamed his meltdown on "an adverse reaction to medication". It was also a bad month for Mel Gibson - his personal problems with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva cost him a role in The Hangover sequel, while Taylor Swift was hit with a multi-million dollar lawsuit from a former manager. But the country star made up for it by embarking on a new romance with Hollywood hunk Jake Gyllenhaal.
There were also plenty of stars keeping the prison service busy - rapper T.I. was sent back to jail for breaching his probation while Lindsay Lohan escaped her second potential prison sentence of 2010 when a judge ordered her to spend three months in rehab instead. Careless driver George Michael regained his freedom after completing 27 days of his eight-week jail sentence.
The royal news of the year was the talk of the month as Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement and plans to wed in 2011
Teen star Demi Lovato stunned young Hollywood when she quite the Jonas Brothers tour and checked into rehab to address personal and "emotional" issues, and Charlie Sheen and Lil Wayne officially became free men again - the actor's divorce from Brooke Mueller became official, while rapper Wayne was released from prison.
MGM, the studio behind the James Bond film franchise, filed for bankruptcy, actor Justin Long was injured in a car crash, and soul queen Aretha Franklin pulled out of a series of shows to undergo surgery.
Spice Girls star Emma Bunton and Pink announced they were pregnant, Lady Gaga was the big winner at the European Music Awards, and Rachel Weisz and moviemaker Darren Aronofsky split.
The Munsters child star Butch Patrick entered rehab to tackle substance abuse and alcohol issues, Wesley Snipes was ordered to jail after losing his bid for a retrial in his tax case, Audrina Patridge's stalker was jailed for two years when he failed to stay away from the star, and country singer Eddie Montgomery was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Meanwhile, Ryan Reynolds was named Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine, Eva Longoria split from her husband Tony Parker amid reports he had been cheating on her, Kate Winslet split from boyfriend Louis Dowler, and Hollywood was stunned when top publicist Ronni Chasen was shot dead while driving through Beverly Hills .
In music news, Take That's Progress became Britain's fastest selling album of the century so far, Radiohead's Thom Yorke helped mastermind a piece of human art that could be seen from space, Miley Cyrus celebrated her 18th birthday party with pals Demi Moore and Rumer Willis, and Justin Bieber stole the show at the American Music Awards, taking home four prizes.
Malin Akerman replaced Lindsay Lohan as Linda Lovelace in the much-hyped Inferno, Leonardo DiCaprio was caught up in a mid-air drama when a plane he was flying to Russia in was forced to make an emergency landing after an engine stalled, and there was drama backstage at hit U.S. TV show Dancing With The Stars as studio staff came across an envelope containing a mysterious white powder intended for contestant Bristol Palin - it turned out to be talc!
Emmy Rossum and Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz split, Jennifer Jason Leigh filed for divorce from filmmaker husband Noah Baumbach, and Ugly Betty actor Michael L. Brea was charged with murder after stabbing his mother with a Samurai sword. Willie Nelson was arrested and charged with drug possession, indie movie Winter's Bone became a big Oscars contender after claiming top prizes at the Stockholm and Gotham Film Festivals, and the Spider-Man musical opened on Broadway after a series of delays - the critics largely hated it.
Meanwhile, David Cassidy pleaded not guilty to DUI charges following his arrest in Florida, Uma Thurman's stalker was arrested after violating a restraining order, and AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd was convicted of cannabis possession in New Zealand.
The baby news of the month came from the Travoltas as movie star John and his wife Kelly Preston welcomed Benjamin into the world and the proud new parents list for November also featured Stella McCartney, Ne-Yo, Vera Farmiga, Green Day star Mike Dirnt and actress Emilia Fox, while rocker Chris Daughtry became a dad to twins.
The music world mourned the loss of Australian rocker James Freud who died just days after his band Models were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.
And it was a sad month for Hollywood as movie mogul Dino De Laurentiis passed away alongside actresses Ingrid Pitt and Jill Clayburgh and Naked Gun star Leslie Nielsen.
The film world also bid farewell to The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner and revered Italian filmmaker Mario Monicelli.
December saw a series of scandals as the stars brought a touch of sex and drugs to the festive season - and wildchild Miley Cyrus led the way. The former Disney star ended 2010 by reminding us all she's a grown up now after she was caught on camera smoking legal hallucinogenic Salvia from a bong, and hit headlines again days later when she was pictured in a girl-on-girl clinch and exposing her bra while surrounded by hunky men.
Her pal Demi Lovato joined the Hannah Montana star in scandal when provocative photos which appeared to show her partly-exposing her breasts leaked on the internet, and Christina Aguilera's reps vowed to hunt down computer hackers who leaked nearly-nude photos of the Beautiful hitmaker.
Pink Floyd rocker David Gilmour told of his shame after his son was arrested for clambering over a war memorial during student riots in London, and Hulk Hogan's wedding to Jennifer McDaniel descended into chaos when cops were called to break up a clash between a bodyguard and a photographer.
Love was in the air for Reese Witherspoon, who got engaged to Hollywood agent Jim Toth, and also making wedding plans this month were Ginnifer Goodwin, Shania Twain, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany, Poison rocker Bret Michaels, and Hugh Hefner. And it was double delight for Natalie Portman – the actress got engaged and announced she's pregnant by choreographer Benjamin Millepied. Meanwhile, Michael Sheen and Rachel McAdams became Hollywood's hottest new couple.
Actor Vince Vaughn became a father for the first time, and there were also new arrivals for Alanis Morissette, Ali Larter, and Elton John, who became a father at 63 after he and boyfriend David Furnish welcomed a son via a surrogate mother.
Nicole Richie had her father Lionel dancing on the ceiling when she wed Joel Madden, but other stars weren't so lucky in love - Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens ended their romance, Elizabeth Hurley confirmed her marriage split from Arun Nayar after she was linked to cricketer Shane Warne, rocker John Mellencamp split from his wife of 18 years, and Ryan Reynolds filed for divorce from Scarlett Johansson.
In the courts, KC and The Sunshine Band co-founder Richard R. Finch was jailed for seven years for sexually abusing young boys, Rip Torn was given a suspended jail term for his drunken bank break-in, and rapper DMX was sent to prison for a year for violating his probation by using drugs. In Florida, officials posthumously pardoned Jim Morrison over his infamous arrest for indecent exposure at a 1969 The Doors concert.
Meanwhile, Heather Locklear was hospitalised for a bacterial infection, Eminem was celebrating after landing 10 Grammy nominations, rap mogul Suge Knight was arrested after missing a court hearing, and exiled moviemaker Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer was the big winner at the European Film Awards.
Lady Gaga was named Artist of the Year by Billboard magazine editors, veteran entertainers Dame Julie Andrews and Dolly Parton were announced as recipients of lifetime achievement Grammy awards at a special upcoming ceremony in 2011, and Natalie Portman's hopes of Oscar glory for her movie Black Swan received a major boost by landing a record 12 nominations for the 2011 Critics' Choice Movie Awards.
The showbiz world mourned the loss of jazz musicians Billy Taylor and James Moody, Pink Panther creator Blake Edwards, rocker Captain Beefheart, singer/songwriter Teena Marie, and Boney M star Bobby Farrell.
And it was a miserable end to 2010 for Taylor Momsen - the Gossip Girl star spent Christmas in Amsterdam, Holland - away from her family and friends in the U.S. - after she became stranded in Europe due to flights chaos following snowstorms across the continent.
Jeremy: "Someday you'll look back on all this and laugh and say we were young and stupid." John: "We're not THAT young." And with these prophetic words divorce mediators John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn)--lifelong friends whose hobby it is to crash weddings get laid and never look back--embark on a journey of self-discovery. Well maybe not a journey exactly more like a weekend of debauchery. And maybe not self-discovery per se more a realization falling in love isn't such a bad thing. It all starts when the charismatic and charming duo crash the social event of the year the wedding of Treasury Secretary William Cleary's (Christopher Walken) daughter. They stick to the Crashers Code at first setting their sights on two bridesmaids Claire (Rachel McAdams) and Gloria (Isla Fisher) Cleary creating clever back stories and becoming the hit of the lavish party. But while Jeremy is going about business as usual with the curiously randy Gloria John is uncharacteristically falling hard and fast for the whip-smart and beautiful Claire. John eventually persuades a resistant Jeremy to bend the crashing rules and accept an invitation to an extended weekend party at the Cleary family compound. Uh oh. Once at the palatial waterfront estate the dysfunctional members of the Cleary family put the guys through the wringer. It would be enough to send any confirmed bachelor running--except John really likes Claire and wants to make it work. And Jeremy as he tells John just wants to "ice my balls and spit up blood."
There must be some kind of osmosis thing that happens when the Frat Packers mix it up. Of course I'm talking about the comedic talents of Vaughn Wilson his brother Luke Wilson Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell who just keep churning out one hilarious film--Old School Dodgeball Starsky & Hutch--after another in various tag-team combinations. The Wedding Crashers is no exception. Although it's actually Vaughn and Wilson's first real screen time together (if you don't count Starsky & Hutch) you'd swear they've been working together for years making them the best Frat Pack combo yet. Their diverse comedy styles--Vaughn's rapid-fire delivery Wilson's slow burn--complement each other perfectly. Like Vaughn's character explains in Swingers these guys are "in the rated-R movie…the guy[s] you're not sure whether or not you like yet. You're not sure where [they] are coming from." Vaughn and Wilson also share the wealth with their supporting cast. The lovely McAdams (Mean Girls The Notebook) continues to show her range as Claire and she very sweetly holds her own amidst the calamity. Walken is also particularly entertaining as the elder Cleary who's funny without ever trying to be. But the true scene stealer is Aussie actress Fisher (Scooby-Doo) as the youngest Cleary daughter an obsessive "Stage 5" clinger and nymphomaniac. "Don't ever leave me 'cause I'd find you!" she giggles to Jeremy with a wild look in her eyes. Yikes. Fisher goes full tilt playing the one woman who can truly give Jeremy a taste of his own medicine. Wild and wacky stuff.
Director David Dobkin likes to try his hand at different genres. He first worked with Vince Vaughn in the serious-minded serial killer flick Clay Pigeons and then worked with Owen Wilson in the action-packed but lighthearted sequel Shanghai Knights. Now Dobkin has got the both of them in a balls-out comedy--and handles the chores with aplomb even if all the director has to do is turn on the camera and point it at his stars. From the moment we see Jeremy and John crashing a variety of ethnic weddings (Jewish Hindu Chinese) to their escapades at the Cleary home Wedding Crashers will simply split your sides and make you spit out your Coke. You're probably going to see it a few more times just so you can pick up stuff you might have missed while laughing so hard. The only problem is how to end it. Granted we are dealing with in essence a romantic comedy so you know there's got to be some sort of happy resolution. We'll accept that. But the film seems to lose some steam and turns predictable once the guys leave the Clearys. The last 10 minutes--save for a memorable cameo from a fellow Frat Packer (and I won't tell you who)--drag on a bit. Still it doesn't completely take away from the good time you've been having.