There's a time and place where people from every corner of the Earth can come together to speak a universal language of unity. And sure, Twitter is great and all, but it's time for the Olympics! Both of these worlds will inevitably collide as not only everyone watching the 2012 Summer Olympics will have something to say about it on the social networking hub, but those actually competing in the games will, too.
Many of the U.S. athletes competing in this year's games have already been tweeting about their journey to London and keeping their followers and fans up to speed on their quest to the podium. Take, for instance, rising tennis star Lisa Raymond, who recently took to her Twitter to share, "On the plane to #london2012 , Carl Lewis sitting in front of me- gotta be a good sign right?!?!!! #Olympics."
From the prank-happy U.S. basketball team to Twitter/Olympic all-stars like Michael Phelps, there's plenty to keep you entertained during those commercial breaks while watching hour upon hour of Olympic greatness. Here now are Hollywood.com's staff's picks for the essential American athletes to follow during the 2012 Summer Olympics. #USA! #USA! #USA!:
Michael Phelps: Who has a better perspective on the thrill of the Olympics than a 14-time gold medalist? The Subway sandwich enthusiast always makes sure to keep his fans up to speed on his whereabouts, from the exciting ("Last workout in France today!! Then finally get to head to #LONDON2012 !!") to the mundane ("I hate hiccups," "Sitting at lunch now…"). Just like in 2008, all eyes will be on Phelps, and this time around, likely all of the tweets, too.
Ryan Lochte: You know that old saying: why follow one incredibly hot U.S. swimmer when you can follow two? Well, Ryan Lochte is now the answer to that question! Sure, not every tweet is as enthralling as watching him race ("Really enjoying this weather in London!") but he's just as loyal to his fan base as they are to him ("I love LOCHTE NATION!!! I'm looking at all the replies...WOW you guys are amazing support!!") Jeah, buddy!
Missy Franklin: Sorry fellas, you can't get all the swimmer glory on Twitter. Especially not when there's awesome female swimmers like Missy Franklin, who send out great, RT-friendly tweets like this: "I saw the Tower of London today! Wish I could spend more time there, but I guess I have to swim soon or something."
Venus Williams: Never mind the fact that you should already be following both Venus and her sister Serena Williams on Twitter (consider it your civic duty) but the tennis superstar shares everything from visiting a Jamba Juice (awesome) to getting passed the Olympic torch (super awesome) to representing our great nation in the games (super, incredibly awesome: see above.) There's a reason why she's 841,989 followers and counting.
Kevin Durant: While the entire U.S. Men's Basketball team is worth following on Twitter (if only for their hilarious ongoing sleeping picture pranks), the Oklahoma City Thunder forward, who will be making his Olympic debut this year, is already a champ at keeping us entertained at 140 characters or less. Durant's excitement about his experiences so far ("Headed to Manchester with my USA bball teammates!! So blessed I get this opportunity!! #PGCountyRepresenter!!") not to mention sharing some great photo ops (including this amazing one with his teammates below) has all the makings of a dream Twitter team.
Jordan Burroughs: With a Twitter handle like @alliseeisgold, how could you not follow wrestler Jordan Burroughs during the Olympics? Plus, the guy seems as tech savvy as they get: Burroughs bought a flip cam to document his time in London and got his dad an iPad. And you just can't argue with the fortune cookie of destiny!
Alex Morgan: Gooooooooaaaaaaal! Who says Americans don't care about soccer? With a fierce player like Alex Morgan representing the U.S. it's impossible not to get wrapped up in the other football. Giving insight from both on and off the soccer field (hey, she needs coffee just as much as we do!) she's one to watch during the Olympics and on Twitter.
Misty May-Treanor: A verified volleyball superstar and a verified tweeter, Misty May is a friend of both instagram and promotion (plenty of Nike and Visa shout-outs!) A serial tweeter, you can be sure she'll give us plenty of reading material during the games.
Alexandra Raisman: Every four years, we as a nation become engrossed with the women's gymnastics team and it looks like 2012 will be no different. We're already keeping up with the likes of Kyla Ross (whose Twitter background will make you dizzier than a series of backflips), McKayla Maroney, Jordyn Wieber, and Gabrielle Douglas, but our favorite so far has been Alexandra (Aly) Raisman. The 18-year-old not only gives insider perspective ("PODIUM TRAINING TODAY. Aaaaaah too excited. Can't believe it's already here, everything's going by so fast!") but she can rock a mean British accent, too. Or so say says. "My British accent is spot on. Well at least I think it is... ;)"
Tyson Gay: Tyson, as his Twitter profile explains, is "the American record holder at 100m, at 9.69 seconds. Trying to be the fastest man in history. Also is a world champion sprinter and Olympian." But even world class athletes like Gay fall victim to the dreaded pocket tweet, like he did on July 24. Still, his intentional tweets are even better. Case in point: "Happy to win today in London. Things are coming together for the big race here next month #London 2012. Thank to all for your support."
Allyson Felix: A breakout star at the 2008 Olympics, the gold and silver medalist seems poised to be a winner on the track again. And, yep, on Twitter. She's bringing some much-needed California girl flare flare to London, care of Twitter.
Steven Lopez: Like so many other U.S. athletes on this list, Lopez, a Tae Kwon Do gold medal champ, is returning to the games for (hopefully) more glory. A fan-friendly tweet, Lopez might give you a RT if you send him some Olympic-sized loved. Then again, why would you even attempt to say something mean about a guy who tweets about "Working on face kicks"?
Lolo Jones: The athlete with perhaps the single cutest Twitter profile pic (she's hurdling over her pup!) Lolo Jones is the one you'll want to follow if you're big on religion/inspirational-based tweets during the games.
Phil Dalhausser: The charming volleyball champ (he won gold at the 2008 games) is just as much fun to watch on Twitter as he is during a match. Sure, there would be nothing quite like actually being at the games, but Dalhausser certainly makes us feel like we're there, from stunning scenes from his hotel balcony to exciting insight about London's Olympic facilities
John Orozco: Speaking of great Twitter profile pics, male gymnast John Orozco gets a gold medal for his. The Bronx native, who gets Twitter love from the likes of Gym Class Hereos and Ricky Martin, is posing with First Lady Michelle Obama in his profile shot. Talk about a team USA good luck charm.
Who will you be following on Twitter during the 2012 Summer Olympics? Share with us on Twitter @Hollywood_com!
Everything We Want To Know About the Olympics Opening Ceremony
Double-Amputee Oscar Pistorious To Compete in London's Summer Olympics
Rafael Nadal Drops Out of the Olympics
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 9, 2000 -- The infectious bug that has been plaguing TV series of late -- you know, the "I feel that my time with the show is up and I've decided to move on" epidemic -- has claimed another victim.
The latest casualty is none other than "Veronica's Closet's" Kathy Najimy. Trade papers report today that the actress, who plays Olive, Veronica's (Kirstie Alley) trusted sidekick and confidant, will bid farewell to the NBC comedy at the end of this season.
Najimy tells Variety that her decision to leave the show is based purely on personal reasons. With "Veronica's Closet" behind, Najimy reportedly plans to spend more time with her 3-year-old daughter, not to mention more of the same said time on a would-be "feature career."
Of course, the concept of "leaving" "Veronica's Closet" might become a moot point. The unbeloved comedy series, now in its third season, was already benched once this season by NBC for low ratings. It is currently mired in 85th place among all shows and is considered a long shot for fall renewal.
SUPERHERO SAVES FOX: Patrick Warburton, the guy who played Elaine's mechanic beau Dave Puddy on "Seinfeld," will return to the tube in the form of a blue superhero in the Fox comedy pilot "The Tick."
Once a Saturday morning toon on Fox, "The Tick" follows the adventures of a dim-witted crime fighter and his ex-accountant sidekick as they battle bad guys with names such as Chairface Chippendale, El Seed and Breadmaster.
The new live-action half-hour pilot will be directed by the enthusiastic Barry Sonnenfeld ("Wild Wild West").
"I've been a huge fan of 'The Tick' for years," Sonnenfeld told the Hollywood trade papers. "I like it even more than my 6-year-old daughter. It's really up my alley. It doesn't feel like anything on television today."
(Let us guess -- Mr. Sonnenfeld doesn't have cable.)
Warburton, meanwhile, has handled superhero duties prior to "The Tick." Dig this, "Seinfeld" fiends, the actor was the voice of Superman in those American Express commercials starring Jerry Seinfeld.
'LEEZA' IS DEAD: No, not Leeza Gibbons, but her fast-sinking eponymous talk show. Cause of its likely death? Ultra-bad ratings.
Word on the street is that "Leeza" will not live to see a second season in syndication.
The daytime talk show went through various transformation and network shuffles in its (technically) 7-year history. It was first conceived by NBC in 1993 as "John & Leeza," the John, of course, being Gibbons' "Entertainment Tonight" co-hort John Tesh. The show downsized to simply "Leeza" in 1994 when the above-mentioned Tesh bailed. In September, NBC decided to sell the show to non-NBC outlets, thereby banishing the show to syndication.
"LIP" SERVICE: Oscar- and Emmy-winning director-producer James L. Brooks ("Terms of Endearment," "As Good As It Gets," "Jerry Maguire") is set to endow the tube with a live-action romantic comedy series for ABC.
The comedy, still untitled, will be based on a character from the 1988 radio series "Lip Schtick." Joan Cusack, whom Brooks collaborated with on the 1987 flick "Broadcast News," will stake the title role.
Slated for a slot in ABC's 2000-2001 lineup, the show will mark Cusack's prime-time debut and Brook's first TV gig since his stint as the executive producer of the animated series "The Critic" in 1994.
RANDOM BITS: NBC has picked up a half-hour comedy pilot starring David Alan Grier ("In Living Color"). Grier is slated to play a Secret Service man in charge of protecting the first lady. ...
... CBS has greenlit a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced ("Armageddon," "Pearl Harbor") drama pilot for the new fall season. The project is said to be an hour-long drama called "CSI." Starring William Petersen, the series revolves around forensic crime-scene investigators working in Vegas. ...
THE COURT OF POPULAR OPINION: Democracy sometimes flourishes in the most unlikely places, just ask Judge Judy -- one of the many, many finalists chosen by TV viewers of America for the 2nd Annual TV Guide Awards.
More than 1.5 million viewers cast ballots to determine nominees in 22 categories. NBC led all networks in mentions with 20 finalists. Winners will be announced March 5 in a Fox broadcast.
Here's the complete list of the TV Guide Award nominees, as announced today:
Favorite Actor in a New Series David Boreanaz, "Angel" (WB) Billy Campbell, "Once and Again" (ABC) Dan Futterman, "Judging Amy" (CBS) Martin Sheen, "The West Wing" (NBC)
Favorite Actress in a New Series Amy Brenneman, "Judging Amy" (CBS) Tyne Daly, "Judging Amy" (CBS) Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC) Sela Ward, "Once and Again" (ABC)
Favorite Actor in a Comedy Bill Cosby, "Cosby" (CBS) Michael J. Fox, "Spin City" (ABC) David Hyde Pierce, "Frasier" (NBC) Ray Romano, "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS)
Favorite Actress in a Comedy Jenna Elfman, "Dharma & Greg" (ABC) Calista Flockhart, "Ally McBeal" (FOX) Lisa Kudrow, "Friends" (NBC) Phylicia Rashad, "Cosby" (CBS)
Favorite Actor in a Drama David Duchovny, "The X-Files" (FOX) David James Elliott, "JAG" (CBS) Dennis Franz, "NYPD Blue" (ABC) Sam Waterston, "Law & Order" (NBC)
Favorite Actress in a Drama Gillian Anderson, "The X-Files" (FOX) Roma Downey, "Touched by an Angel" (CBS) Melina Kanakaredes, "Providence" (NBC) Julianna Margulies, "ER" (NBC)
Favorite New Series "Judging Amy" (CBS) "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC) "Once and Again" (ABC) "The West Wing" (NBC)
Favorite Comedy Series "Ally McBeal" (FOX) "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS) "Frasier" (NBC) "Friends" (NBC)
Favorite Drama Series "ER" (NBC) "Providence" (NBC) "The Practice" (ABC) "Touched by an Angel" (CBS)
Favorite Soap Opera "All My Children" (ABC) "Days of Our Lives" (NBC) "General Hospital" (ABC) "The Young and the Restless" (CBS)
Favorite Sportscaster Terry Bradshaw (FOX) Bob Costas (NBC) Howie Long (FOX) John Madden (FOX)
Favorite Daytime Talk Show "Judge Judy" (Syndicated) "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee" (Syndicated) "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (Syndicated) "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" (Syndicated)
Favorite Game Show "Hollywood Squares" (Syndicated) "Jeopardy!" (Syndicated) "Wheel of Fortune" (Syndicated) "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (ABC)
Favorite News Personality Tom Brokaw (NBC) Katie Couric (NBC) Peter Jennings (ABC) Matt Lauer (NBC)
Favorite Late Night Show "Late Show With David Letterman" (CBS) "Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher" (ABC) "Saturday Night Live" (NBC) "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" (NBC)
ONLINE NOMINEES Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (WB) "Charmed" (WB) "The X-Files" (FOX)
Favorite Reality TV "Biography" (A&E) "Behind the Music" (VH1) "The Real World" (MTV)
Favorite TV Pet Eddie, "Frasier" (NBC) Happy, "7th Heaven" (WB) Salem, "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" (ABC)
Favorite TV Movie or Miniseries "Annie" (ABC) "Joan of Arc" (NBC) "Tuesdays with Morrie" (ABC)
Favorite News Program "Dateline NBC" (NBC) "Entertainment Tonight" (Syndicated) "20/20" (ABC)
Favorite Music Show "Behind the Music" (VH1) "Total Request Live" (MTV) "Pop-Up Video" (VH1)
Favorite Children's Show "Blue's Clues" (Nickelodeon) "Rugrats" (Nickelodeon) "Sesame Street" (PBS)
AOL KEYWORD: TV GUIDE EXCLUSIVE CATEGORY
Favorite Teen Show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (WB) "Dawson's Creek" (WB) "Popular" (WB)