Surely you've heard that Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion this week, but you might be wondering why anyone would pay so much for photos of your high school friend's dog or of what your cousin ate for breakfast. If so, you're probably using the app wrong. The key is to follow a large number of interesting people, i.e. celebrities. After all, who doesn't find photos of Kim Kardashian's lunch and Selena Gomez' dog fascinating?
To get you started, Hollywood.com compiled a list of some of the best celebrity accounts on Instagram. The next time Snoop Dogg paints himself blue and posts a photo online, you won't be the last to know.
Kim Kardashian (KimKardashian)
What you'll see: Lots of family photos, including Khloe's welcome home party, Mason's Easter outfit, and Bruce's Wheaties box from the '70s. And of course, sexy shots of herself in various states of undress.
Taylor Swift (TaylorSwift)
What you'll see: The note from Suzanne Collins in Taylor's copy of The Hunger Games, backstage photos, and shots of her adorable kitten.
What you'll see: Lots of close-ups of Rihanna making kissy faces for the camera, plus important updates on her ever-changing hair color.
Selena Gomez (SelenaGomez)
What you'll see: Photos of Selena hanging out with her friends and her puppies, and cameos by Justin Bieber.
Justin Bieber (JustinBieber)
What you'll see: Snaps of interesting things Bieber spots on the road and plenty of self-portraits, with occasional shirtless photos for the ladies.
What you'll see: Artsy photos of Pink's favorite accessories and shots of her baby Willow (seen here after getting into a box of tissues).
Kevin McHale (KevinMcHale)
What you'll see: Photos of his dog and cat's adorable staring contest and tons of Glee behind the scenes shots. What more could Gleeks ask for?
Snoop Dogg (SnoopDogg)
What you'll see: Snoop's family members, favorite cigar brand, and Avatar costume, as viewed through a smokey haze.
Serena Williams (SerenaWilliams)
What you'll see: A look at the life of one of tennis' biggest stars, including practices, jaunts to Paris, and treatments for tired limbs.
Zooey Deschanel (ZooeyDeschanel)
What you'll see: The most twee Instagram around. Check out Deschenel's adorable tuxedo manicure, vintage pics of her mom, and photos from the set of New Girl.
Ryan Seacrest (RyanSeacrest)
What you'll see: No man gets around Hollywood like Seacrest, and he has the photos to prove it.
President Barack Obama (BarackObama)
What you'll see: Fascinating photos from the campaign trail, including the President's chats with voters, and incredible fan creations such as this Obama pie. (Impressive, but we wish it was apple.)
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The Hunger Games saga has officially joined a long literary lineage shared by the likes of George Orwell's 1984, Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby: It has been challenged by parents and educators.
According to the Associated Press, for the second year in a row, Suzanne Collins' wildly popular dystopian series has found resistance regarding whether or not it should be on library shelves. The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom, which released its most recent report on Sunday, defines any challenged book as one that has received "a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness."
Last year, only the first book in the series, The Hunger Games, made the top 10 list for being regarded by some as "sexually explicit" and "unsuited to age group and violence." Now the entire series, including Catching Fire and Mockingjay, are being challenged. Aside from complaints about the series having "insensitivity," "offensive language," and "violence" (the latter of which Collins acknowledged last year as "not unreasonable. They are violent. It's a war trilogy"), some of the more outlandish accusations against the books include that it's "anti-ethnic," "anti-family," and entering Harry Potter controversy territory with complaints of it being "occult/satanic." (President Snow is certainly evil, but come on.)
While the reasoning for challenging books is still archaic in some cases (Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is still being disputed for its "offensive language" and "racism"), it's somewhat more understandable as to why parents and educators take issue with more risqué, arguably less necessary fare like Cecily von Ziegesar's Gossip Girl ("drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit") series. But where does The Hunger Games rank in this spectrum?
Collins' books, like William Golding's challenged classic The Lord of the Flies, unquestionably features graphic violence involving children, but the idea that it is anti-family (here, broken families are torn apart by war) or anti-ethnic (despite some horrendously racist complaints from moviegoers, The Hunger Games features ethnic characters) borders on outright outlandish.
Yes, Collins' series are peppered with some graphic violence and unfavorable language that could upset more conservative or sensitive parents or educators, but at its core, The Hunger Games saga is a glimpse into the horrors of war and a commentary on our "reality"-obsessed society. It also doesn't hurt that the well-written book features a strong-willed powerful female YA character whose biggest challenge isn't whether to pine over a vampire or a werewolf. Plus, like the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games has gotten younger people invested in reading again. Why challenge that?
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The Hunger Games is still winning at cinemas in the U.S., scoring a third week at number one and passing the $300 million (£187,500) mark at the North American box office. The movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins' hit young adult book grossed $33.5 (£21 million) over the Easter weekend to stay on top despite surges from newly-released movies American Reunion ($21.5 million/£13.4 million) and Titanic 3d ($17.4 million/£11 million).
The first Santa Clause had a somewhat clever premise on how an ordinary guy can become Santa Claus just by putting on the red suit while the second Clause was about finding a Mrs. Claus. What’s the third clause? The Escape Clause which allows anyone who is Santa the option to give it all up and become a mortal man again. Of course Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) aka the current Santa has no intentions of leaving the job. But his lovely wife Carol (Elizabeth Mitchell) is expecting their first child and missing home a great deal so Scott has to juggle having his in-laws (Alan Arkin and Ann-Margaret) come to the North Pole--which he has to disguise as Canada to keep the “Secret of Santa” alive--with getting ready for Christmas. It’s kind of hectic. And throwing a huge wrench in the whole deal is the envious Jack Frost (Martin Short). Relegated as the “opening act” to Christmas Frost wants his own gig and sabotages Scott at every turn in order to steal the job away from him. There’s no nipping at your nose with this guy; it’s all-out war. Allen makes no apologies for his career. Why should he? He’s been moderately successful playing everyday dads in Disney comedies displaying the right mix of milquetoast-iness and humor. Plus as Scott/Santa he also gets to be sentimental. I just wonder if he still wouldn’t like to do something more cutting edge? Short on the other hand never could find the right kind of starring vehicle for himself but instead has created some hilarious supporting characters (if you don’t believe me rent The Big Picture). Jack Frost is another one to add to the list. The comedian has way too much fun playing the nasty ice man with steely blue eyes a smart--if frosty--three-piece suit and who gets to say lines like “I invented ‘Chill!’” Mitchell (TV’s Lost) reprises her role as the sweet-as-pie Mrs. Claus and has some nice moments with Scott. And what a surprise to see Alan Arkin and Ann-Margaret in this! They are perfect as the meddling in-laws especially Arkin who finds everything wrong with Scott and his “toy factory.” Buena Vista didn’t feel it was necessary to pre-screen Santa Clause 3 for critics. They probably believe the audiences for this franchise is already built in and they don’t need jaded critics slamming the film for being silly and meaningless. Smart. But as much as it pains me to say it Santa Clause 3 directed by Michael Lembeck (who did Santa Clause 2) really isn’t that awful. Yes it’s all terribly predictable with the schmaltz so thick you could cut it with a knife. But there’s also something surprisingly endearing about these movies. They have always provided a sort of warm family-friendly feel without too much forced circumstances—and most importantly they are legitimate Christmas movies--even its being released just as we are putting away the Halloween decorations. Honestly I’d take a Santa Clause 3 over a Christmas with the Kranks (sorry Tim Allen) any day.