Paul Walker, best known for his role in the Fast and Furious franchise, tragically died Saturday afternoon in a car accident in California. At the age of 40, he was taken far too soon. But in those mere 40 years, he was able to leave behind a legacy of that of someone twice his age. From Pleasantville to Flags of Our Fathers to The Lazarus Project, Walker showed off his acting chops in a variety of genres. However, his most iconic role in the world of film came from the Fast and Furious films.
Starting in 2001, Walker began his journey in the world of street racing, and over a decade later, he is still one of the starring faces of the franchise. While Walker’s unexpected death came right before he was due back in Atlanta to resume shooting Fast & Furious 7, Universal has decided will resume production on a delayed schedule, according The Hollywood Reporter. But whether Walker will still appear in the next film or not, for us, he will always be fondly remembered as Brian O'Conner. Here our a few of our favorite of Walker's scenes from the Fast series:
The Fast and the FuriousThere's a scene in the first The Fast and the Furious film where Paul Walker's character, Brian O'Conner, reveals to Dom that he's an undercover cop — this has always been one of my favorite moments in the series for two reasons. The first is that it comes right after Brian rescues Vince from being tied to the side of a truck, and then narrowly escapes getting shot by jumping back into his convertible, all during a high speed chase. The second is because Walker's performance during that scene is incredible — far better than anything you'd expect from a Fast and Furious film, and so quiet and simple that even I often forget how good it is. Walker is having two conversations during this scene: one on the phone, where he's calling an ambulance to save Vince, and one, silently, with Dom, where he's apologizing for deceiving him, asking for forgiveness, and trying to get him to focus on keeping Vince alive, using only his face. Walker and Vin Diesel have an entire argument in that moment, expressing all of the anger, hurt, and fear the characters are feeling without actually articulating it. It's a tricky feat to convey all of that without words, but Walker nails it perfectly, and his performance deserves just as much recognition as the car chases and explosions that the franchise has become famous for. - Julia Emmanuele
2 Fast 2 Furious2 Fast 2 Furious, John Singleton's sole stab at the franchise, is widely considered the weakest of the Fast and Furious movies. But even with its mediocre script and less than stellar visuals, we see charm in Paul Walker. His back and forth with the walking machismo that is Tyrese Gibson showcased hints of the goofy, straight-laced charm we'd see come out with a vengeance in the later pictures… but the badass side of gawky Brian O'Conner was clear as day in the film’s climactic scene. Long before Taken opted for the very same ending, 2 Fast 2 Furious handed Walker the chance to fly — in a speedy vehicle — over the water and onto the boat of a fleeing criminal.
We have to give a few points to Walker for handling the adrenaline here with some dignity. He winces, bellows, and shrieks… but all with the kind of cool humanity that balances him as a relatable character and an action hero. No, 2 Fast is not at all a terrific showcase of Walker’s aptitude as an actor, but it is one of the chapters in the series he is best known and most celebrated for. And there are more than a few notes therein of his penchant for making the camera happy.- Michael Arbeiter
Fast & FuriousMany of Walker's most exciting scenes in the Fast and Furious series took place off the streets entirely; for instance, his ad hoc interruption of Vin Diesel’s torture of a small-time criminal, rescue of the man from his fall to certain death, and subsequent grappling with a rival officer over the mess at hand. In a movie series filled with men twice his size, Paul Walker was still able to emanate some of the highest levels of intensity and intimidation. There’s no amount of muscles that can beat the smolder out of that chiseled glare of his.- Michael Arbeiter
Fast FiveThe Fast and Furious series is essentially a superhero franchise where the heroes are criminals and they hop into armored cars instead of pulling on capes and tights. And to Vin Diesel's broody, Batman-like Dom, Walker was tasked with playing the far less edgy former fed O'Conner. And while the franchise worked best when largely a two-hander between those characters, the best character moment in Fast Five was actually the "Million Dollar Race" between the whole "crew," exemplifying how great direction and chemistry between actors managed to carry over even though each was locked alone in a car.
And that ended up being the key to Walker's character in this series. He's not cool. He's actually pretty goofy and more than a little corny. But therein lies his awkward charm. He looked like a leading man, and held up that mantle efficiently when he was asked to, but his best work was when his enthusiasm was palpable — when he was enjoying the chance to have superpowers and gleefully rib the actors you could believe were his friends.- Kayla Hawkins
Fast & Furious 6While Paul Walker's character displayed most of his talents behind the wheel, he still knew his way around a fight. In a move reminiscent of the show Prison Break, Brian O'Conner purposely threw himself in jail to pay a visit to Arturo Braga, the villain from the first Fast and Furious movie, to learn more about Letty Ortiz's (Michelle Rodriguez) mysterious reappearance. Backed in the corner, and at the mercy of three goons and their prison shivs, Brian dispatches his attackers in one of the film's most brutal and underappreciated fight scenes.- Jordan Smith
Promised Land, John Krasinski and Matt Damon's commentary on how the fracking industry can drastically change small town dynamics, is a movie that could only be made in 2012 — as an increasingly bright light has been shone on the dangers of fracking in the past few years, the movie gained a "now or never" immediacy. Which is why, even when Damon had to unexpectedly back down from his intended post as the film's director, the entire cast and crew was adamant about getting the film made as soon as possible. At a Q&A conducted for EPIX and LA Times' Envelope Screening Series, screenwriters/producers/actors John Krasinski and Matt Damon as well as director Gus Van Sant (Restless, Milk) spoke about how Promised Land is a product of the times.
Damon says of telling Krasinski he could no longer direct, "I had to bow out as director. Which was an awesome moment for me and Jon, because as producers it's always good to call your fellow producer and go, 'Yeah, we just lost our director and our funding. Thanks.'" Luckily, Van Sant was able to step in, keeping the movie's production on its tight schedule.
Van Sant says, "There was sort of almost a time limit, it seemed, because the issue was new. And yet, I think we assumed it would gain a lot of momentum and maybe be a lot further along a year later as it is now. And possibly one more year more stuff would come up and maybe our screenplay would be dated."
To hear the rest of Krasinski, Damon, and Van Sant's discussion on the Promised Land director shuffle as well as putting a movie together in record time, check out the video below.
Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone
[Photo Credit: Focus Features]
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As if knowing the world was in dire need of a hug this morning, Time Magazine looked down on all the people in the world and say "I can do one better." And so they did. Images of the Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan emerged from the heavens and shone us the light: the P90x-filled, bicep curl-lined light. And it was good.
But why are we only seeing these now? After all, TIME mentions in the captions that "Paul Ryan was photographed demonstrating his workout technique at a gym in Janesville, Wisconsin, for TIME in December 2011." But the photos are featured in the October 22, 2012 issue of the magazine. While the world may be left to ponder this grave misdeed, it should not question it for long. Because questioning leads to less time...admiring. Admiring the very, very serious manner in which Ryan takes his workouts. The way his goofy expression says "It's cool, guys! I'm just like Mr. Schue from Glee, only I hate singing!" Whether he's curling up with some sweet 40-pound weights or concentrating on feeling the burn in his biceps, these pictures are gold. It's Christmas in October, America! Breathe in that locker room-infested spirit!
Not to leave you hanging, bro, we've come up with a few captions to help you fully appreciate the glory that is Casual Paul Ryan: Gym Rat.
I'm putting a lot of weight...behind my budget!
No, I don't do any of that Zumba crap.
Backwards hats: Cool Since 198Never!
Stop right there: toss out those fiscal woes while we work on our glutes.
I want to be Vice President...of SWEET ABS!
The way I lift this weight ain't got nothin' on how much my budget will lift our economy!
Drill, baby, drill? 2012's the year of curl, baby, curl.
Hey America, I know I'm debating Joe Biden tonight, but check out THIS defined policy...of muscle!
And then everyone collapsed under the weight of 10,000 P90X DVDs. Oh, and don't forget to watch the VP debate tonight.
[Photo Credit: TIME Magazine]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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Most end-of-the-year "best of" lists from critics deplore the current state of movies before telling you about the few nuggets that came out that were actually (according to them) worth your time. The year 1999 was different. The critics didn't complain, and rightfully so.
The last of the 1900s marked a groundbreaking revolution in cinema. Films like "Three Kings," "American Beauty," "The Sixth Sense" and "The Blair Witch Project" expanded the boundaries of what traditional generic films could become. True oddballs like "Being John Malkovich" were made and even turned a profit. Sequels like "Toy Story 2" didn't suck.
Overall, going to the movies was about as dreadful as living through Y2K. Instead of suffering through a bunch of bummers, audiences were treated to a diverse, colorful celebration of life as we live it, and where it's headed.
Here is our list of the Top 10 films that quickened the pulses, stimulated our minds and sent us soaring. In an era of yuppie-fied java-pushing theater concessions, these babies required absolutely no additives to achieve maximum effect.
THE HOLLYWOOD.COM TOP 10
1. "The Insider": Who would have guessed that a story based on the cigarette industry could be so excellent, let alone interesting? Arguments could be made that director Michael Mann's absorbing and powerful tale about a "60 Minutes" producer and a tobacco-industry whistleblower is even more thrilling and consistently involving than his crime epic masterpiece, "Heat." No explosions or gun battles needed here. Believable human drama, real relationships and a time-tested theme about a thing called truth are all that's needed, plus some of the best performances of the year.
2. "Anna and the King": That's right. We'll chalk this one up as being the most unrecognized, unheralded classic in the making. Some would say the story's been done before -- but so what? This one, sans music, gets to the basics of the inherent poignancy of the relationship between the King of Siam and British schoolteacher Anna Leonowens. As portrayed by Chow Yun-Fat (our vote for best leading man of the '90s) and reliable Jodie Foster, the couple is a doozy. Add in some amazing cinematography, and this affecting period piece's built to last for future generations.
3. "Toy Story 2": As with its predecessor, "Toy Story 2" proves that the best cartoons are those made for kids and adults. Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang made it back for another amazing, hilarious adventure. The pop-culture in-jokes were a bonus. The most surprising thing here was how much the people at Pixar and the voice talent (led by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen) could make you care about a toy's feelings. With a thing this good, another manufactured product doesn't sound half-bad.
4. "American Beauty": Praised for its blunt appraisal of suburban dystopia, this feature debut from theater director Sam Mendes burned with creative fervor, not to mention a cast working at the top of its collective talent. Kevin Spacey continued to show why he's America's favorite satirical Everyman, and newcomer Wes Bentley shone as the odd, mysterious peeping Tom next door. Every shot was a marvel to behold, and the movie itself was unlike any middle-American drama ever released. It's the Cleavers gone to hell -- and then some.
5. "The Winslow Boy": David Mamet fans had a hard time believing he could be responsible for this G-rated period piece set in proper Britain circa World War I. But the street poet is one smart cookie who realizes great drama and tension when he sees it. This tale of a court case to redeem a boy and his family's honor made perfect sense as a Mamet tale. It was also highly entertaining and enthralling, using the powers of subtlety and things left unsaid to sell its boiling dynamics. Combined with a command performance from Jeremy Northam, the film and its accompanying love story made for powerful, memorable stuff.
6. "Liberty Heights": Barry Levinson complimented his Baltimore trilogy ("Diner," "Tin Men," "Avalon") with another personal bit of filmmaking set in his hometown. Dealing directly with issues of racial separation in the 1950s, the director and his cast of fresh-faced talents provided painful, funny truth-telling. The look and feel was right, and Joe Mantegna gave the production the right air of fallible humanity as the patriarch of a Jewish family dealing with issues in an imperfect America.
7. "Bowfinger": Overlooked by the Golden Globes nominating committee was Steve Martin's dead-on, affectionate lambasting of the Hollywood industry and all its assorted characters. Martin's smart screenplay and Frank Oz's good direction were simply the trimmings. Eddie Murphy provided the final coup, playing both a lovable, earnest dummy and an egotistical action movie star. The scenes between Martin and Murphy were worth the price of admission alone. Same goes for the scenes with just Murphy.
8. "Last Night": Never seen or heard of it? Stay tuned to your local independent movie house, which could be showing this amazing gem from Canada, the winner of the country's equivalent of the Oscar for best picture and several other awards. Forget "Armageddon," "Deep Impact" or any other Hollywood-derived disaster flick. This movie's the real deal about what people would say or do to each other if the world were really going to end in six hours. Expect the unexpected from this defiantly independent and haunting film.
9. "The Hurricane": Denzel Washington's performance as real-life boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, imprisoned for 19 years for murders he didn't commit, was a true phenomenon. Norman Jewison told the story in expert fashion, and the supporting cast was excellent, especially Vicellous Shannon as a boy who sets out to help free Carter. But Washington rose above his (lofty) surroundings with a charismatic portrayal that is the embodiment of dignity and integrity. It's a landmark performance that ranks on par with his work in "Malcolm X" and his Academy Award-winning part in "Glory."
10. "Go": Largely overlooked by youth audiences and twentysomethings, this second effort from "Swingers" director Doug Liman was the perfect follow-up to "Pulp Fiction," and blew away all the hack, "Pulp" wannabes. Instead of copping Tarantino entirely, Liman cast a talented group of young actors including Sarah Polley and Taye Diggs, and threw them into a believable world of wild all-night raves and quick trips to Vegas. The end result was colorful, decadent, energetic and wonderfully cinematic. "Go," more than any other film of '99, captured the millennial spirit of the party in all its gross, absurd and youthful glory.
On the 20th anniversary of his father’s murder, Julian Lennon looked back in anger at ex-Beatle and dad John Lennon, describing him as a man who was afraid of fatherhood and a “manipulated soul.”
``I only saw him a handful of times before he was killed. Sadly I never really knew the man,'' Julian Lennon said. He confessed that ``I had a great deal of anger toward Dad because of his negligence and his attitude to peace and love. That peace and love never came home to me.''
Bombarded with interview requests to reflect on his famous father on the 20th anniversary since Lennon was gunned down by a crazed fan, Julian Lennon, 37, decided instead to pour his heart out on his Web site, www.julianlennon.com, Reuters reports.
On the site, Lennon writes that he blames the breakdown of his relationship with his father on Yoko Ono and his fear of fatherhood. Lennon left Julian’s mother Cynthia when he was 4 years old and rarely saw the musician.
``I wonder what it would have been like if he were alive today. I guess it would have depended on whether he was John Lennon (Dad) or John Ono Lennon (manipulated soul).
“Although he was definitely afraid of fatherhood, the combination of that and his life with Yoko Ono led to the real breakdown of our relationship. Once I began to look at his life and really understand him, I began to feel so sorry for him because once he was a guiding light, a star that shone on all of us until he was sucked into a black hole and all of his strength consumed.”
In other John Lennon news, more than 50,000 people have visited the Tokyo museum dedicated to the late musician since it opened two months ago, Reuters reports. The museum is built in a corner of an arena 15 miles north of Tokyo and was approved my Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono.
As visitors view more than 130 items that once belonged to Lennon, Beatles music plays. Most of the items were donated by Ono herself, including family photographs, an old driver's license, a passport, handwritten lyrics and his trademark wire-rimmed glasses.
CLOTHES A NO-NO FOR FORMER GO-GO: She’s got the beat and an itch to take it all off for cameras. Former Go-Go's frontwoman Belinda Carlisle and her band have just completed recording their first album in 15 years, but while the other band members are busy mixing in the studio, Carlisle is bearing it all for Playboy photographers.
Carlisle, 42, reportedly posed for Playboy in late November for the men’s magazine, Reuters reports. The word is that the magazine’s editors have been trying to get the singer to pose for them for quite some time.
Carlisle’s publicist wouldn’t confirm the story.
PROUD TINA KEEPS ON ROLLIN': It was the end of an era and professional stage career Wednesday night as Tina Turner gave her final show during her farewell wold tour.
The 61-year-old singer performed to a packed house of 18,000 fans at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, Calif.
The legendary performer said she was leaving the road after 44 years because she didn’t want to get to the point where her stage antics were no longer dignified, Reuters reports. Still in a physical shape that, no doubt, was the envy of most senior citizens, Turner moved around the stage for two hours, belting out such hits as “River Deep, Mountain High” and “What’s Love Got To Do With It.”
Hers is one of the most remarkable stories in music. Turner came to fame in the late 1960s and early ‘70s performing in a soul revue with her abusive (and now ex) husband, Ike Turner. However, by 1976, her career seemed to be over.
In 1981, she made an incredible comeback to land some opening dates with the Rolling Stones. By 1984 she was at the top of her game once again with a new record (“Private Dancer”), five hit singles and three Grammys.
Her next albums sold well, but Turner was always more popular in Europe, which is where she plans on living with her German-born boyfriend, Erwin Bach.
Her parting words to her fans Wednesday were: “I thank you for all your support.”