Summit Entertainment via Everett Collection
When a movie opts to play inside baseball with a particular industry, it runs two risks: alienating the people outside looking in ("What the hell is all this mumbo jumbo?"), or alienating the people tightly connected to the underworld on display ("They got it all wrong!"). On special occasions, you have a film like Draft Day, which strikes out in both areas, somehow feigning expertise with such vigor as to befuddle strangers to behind-the-scenes football and frustrate those with an inborn knowledge of the underworld. As a member of the former community, I was bored stiff by the nonstop industry jabber. I was surprised to find, after our viewing of the movie, that a sports-savvy friend was even more aggravated with the film for everything they got so very, very wrong.
But really, neither of these is the true crime of Draft Day. Even on the promise of delivering a bona fide curtain pull on the NFL, all the film really owes us is a good story. Instead, Draft Day banks on the appeal of its would-be authenticity — this is how football people talk, act, eat, do business, grimace, throw laptops on draft day! — as a stand-in for any material we might otherwise be able to care about. The film slaps Kevin Costner's Sonny Weaver Jr., beleaguered general manager of the Cleveland Browns, with just about every go-to leading man conflict in the book (problems at work, problems with his girlfriend, problems with his family) in hopes that something will land in the neighborhood of emotional legitimacy... or, more plausibly, in hopes that it'll play enough like an attempt at a screenplay to warrant all the stats talk he's really there to spout.
His supporting cast has even less to do — Jennifer Garner is his all smiles romantic partner whose vehement love for football is supposed to make her interesting to us (What?! But she's a girl!). Ellen Burstyn is Sonny's disapproving mother, who has a penchant for wistful staring. Denis Leary is a coach who yells a lot.
Summit Entertainment via Everett Collection
The one vein of character work that stands out as a near success comes attached to the line of potential drafts. Josh Pence plays draft frontrunner Bo Callahan who Sonny has a bad feeling about. Chadwick Boseman is the underdog linebacker who we know we're supposed to like because he takes his nephews to gymnastics. In a post-Moneyball world, Sonny is accessing the humanity in the boys he's considering for a career on his field. Hell, he's even willing to overlook the troubled past of Arian Foster because he trusts the boy's dad (I think Terry Crews is contractually obligated to appear in any movie about football). It's thin material that amounts to a disjointed explosion, but it rings as the movie's most interesting stuff. Unfortunately, it's couriered through Sonny, a character who we're barely allowed to meet.
The tragedy of this conclusion is that most of the cast members, Costner included, are giving moreover enjoyable performances — accolades in particular to 25-year-old Griffin Newman as fish-out-of-water intern Rick, suffering through the worst first day of work imaginable. The small comedy offered by Newman and a few others (bullpen fixtures like Wade Williams and Veep's Timothy Simons) is treated like an occasional garnish, but amounts to much-craved sustenance when it pervades the tasteless and stale football blather.
Blather that will detract anybody just hoping to catch a fun sports movie, and blather that will turn off the most high-minded of football fans craving some degree of industrial accuracy. In either case, the blather exists in absence of much otherwise. Without any real characters operating in this dense, hectic, ostensibly colorful world of the NFL, it feels as vacant as Sun Life Stadium on opening weekend. (Right?)
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The scene opens on a backyard in the hills of Orange County. It is a gorgeous mansion entirely made of stone which looks out on the ocean, rolling its waves in little whispers of white far below, deep down a cliff. The sun is setting at that exact angle when it is in everyone's eyes, and they all hold their hands over their faces to create a little patch of shade right where the eyes should be. Focus on Jim Edwards, who is walking across the lawn holding flowers in one hand and wine in the other. He walks up and greets his friend Heather Dubrow. "I brought wine for you, and flowers for Terry," he says. They both laugh, and he hands Terry the flowers. They get another round of laughs.
"Thanks so much for coming," Heather says. "I'm going to go put these in something. Terry, will you go check on the food? Sorry, I'm dealing with my 'friends' and it's making me a little hectic. Sarah and Paul are over there though, if you want to talk to them."
Jim walks across the lawn and joins Paul and Sarah. "Hey guys. What's going on?"
"Hey!" they both shout, and there are hugs all around. "Can you believe this party?" Sarah asks.
"I know," Jim says. "I'm going to need more drinks."
"Paul?" Sarah says making a gesture with her empty glass toward the bar. He walks off.
"What are we even doing here anyway? What is this party for?" Jim asks.
"I don't know. She said it was an "end of summer party" or a clam bake or something. I think it's because she just started filming. All of the Housewives are here."
"Oh, I noticed. I think it was something to do with the number of limos parked in front of the house and, you know, the camera crews. God, I don't want to be at a Housewives party. Why did she invite us, her real friends, to a Housewives party? Isn't that like me asking you to come sit in my office and watch me work?"
"Yeah, I guess. But she needs us here. How lame would her party look if it was just these women sitting around screaming about who said what about someone else's boyfriend and then one of them storms off and another one follows? This little dinner party could go on for episodes. Actually, this is going to be fun to watch. I mean, look at that one over there."
"Is that Vicki?"
"I guess. It looks like someone put a bloated potato on a woman's body."
"And what is wrong with her hair? It look like she combed it with a broken twig. Is she trying to cover up surgery scars or something?"
"Probably, but that doesn't explain why it looks so awful."
"What are you two talking about?" Paul asks as he walks back up to them and hands off the flutes of champagne. He turns to face the woman that they're all staring at. "You're making fun of Frankenface over there, aren't you? Guys, come on. Let's not be like this. I don't want to be those people, the people that come to this Housewives party and join in on the dog pile."
"Oh, look at Tamra and Gretchen," Jim says.
"They're talking shit about Vicki right after they walked away from her. Don't they realize she's right there?!" Sarah says, pointing frantically.
"Don't you two realize they're all right there? You're just as bad as them. Stop. Seriously," Paul says.
They all stand there silently for a second, looking at the grass which somehow is still a bit dewey, even at dusk.
"Everyone, let's move to the table!" Heather shouts, and the two dozen people crowd around the table and Heather tells everyone where to sit. All of the Housewives are clustered around her, and Jim and Sarah are positioned right next to them. Paul is at the far end of the table.
"Sarah, you know I love your husband, but thank God he's down there with the other no-name guests, because that was getting really hard."
"What? Pretending we don't care about these bitches? I know. What are they talking about?"
"I'm not sure, Heather is crunching on lobster legs and talking about the meat coming in her mouth. Did she really just say that? Does she know that she's on TV?"
"I'm always amazed at how Heather is when we hang out and go to Pilates and who she is on this damn show. It's like she's an actress. Well, I know she was an actress, but it's like she's playing some role. Like have you seen her canned exasperation with Terry? That can't be real, can it?"
"I hope not. They're always so happy. I mean look at this house, look at the kids, look at everything. What else do they need?"
"To get off of this damn show."
"Shhh. Gretchen just told Vicki that the two of them just changed roles, because everyone is talking about Vicki and Brooks like they used to talk about Gretchen and Slade."
"She is so right. Gretchen can't be happy about this talk. Are they still in a fight?"
"Yes. Oh, wait, now they're talking. Why are they speaking so quietly?"
"It must be serious. Oh shit, where is Tamra going? Oh, and now Heather is following her. Should I love this? I thought I would love this, but I kind of hate it."
"I sort of just want to eat some clams and talk about Mad Men."
"Did you like the premiere?"
"Eh, I thought it was a little bit heavy handed and none of the characters really made any forward.....OH! They're back."
"Is there going to be drama? I hope there's a table flip or a wine throw or something really Housewives-y."
"That would really ruin my dinner, but it would also be awesome. I don't think there will be. Heather is really good at diffusing these situations. She told me, 'No one has to be empirically right or wrong in these fights.' And that's so true. If these women could just forget about right and wrong and just find the goodness in each other, their lives would be so much better."
"Oh, where is that Alexis woman? She is the worst."
"The worst. You know she and Heather hate each other, so I'm not surprised that she's not here, but I'm also a little surprised since, clearly, the production is paying for this whole damn Song and Pony Dance."
"Do you mean Song and Dance or Dog and Pony Show?"
"I mean Song and Pony Dance. It's something I heard Gretchen say a minute ago."
"That's amazing. We're using that. But, seriously, where is Alexis?"
"I don't think she's coming, but I saw her on Fox 5 the other day."
"Is still doing those awful segments?"
"No, she says she quit that."
"Yes, apparently her once a week five-minute segment on Fox 5 and her dress line that isn't even in stores is keeping her from her family or something, so she 'quit' so she could focus more on them."
"So, what was she doing on Fox 5?
"They were doing a story about her and her husband's new trampoline park in Anaheim. She was completely idiotic. She was trying to show exercise routines on the trampoline and kept deferring to her husband. I just wanted to reach through the screen and punch her in her weave."
"Her new short haircut is kinda cute. And can I tell you something?"
"I want to go to that trampoline park."
"Me too! Don't tell Paul. Maybe I can convince one of the kids to ask to have their birthday party there so it won't look like my idea. Maybe I'll run into her there. "
"Oh, but she's the worst."
Heather got up from the table, the over-sized Mad Hatter chair dwarfing her slight frame. "Everyone, let's go to the rec room for drinks and dessert."
They all shuffle into the granite palace, and Paul catches up to Sarah and Jim. "I saw you two. The whole time during dinner. All you did was talk about the stupid Housewives."
"What are we supposed to do?" Sarah asks. "Ignore them? They were making such a racket."
"You two are horrible," Paul says as they descended the stairs into the rec room. "Wait, what did they do to the rec room? Where did they get all of those gold records and that guitar? Is that a beige pool table? Oh my god a popcorn machine? I remember when this was just a granite slab with a junky ping pong table and we made Heather and Terry play beer pong on it using wine in solo cups. Remember that, honey? Man, look at it now, this is...this is...awesome. Oh god, honey, we need to get you on this show. Can I get a room like this? Why don't you go over there and punch one of them in the FUPA? That will get you cast."
"Oh, look at who wants to be a Housewife all of the sudden," Sarah says.
"Guys, Tamra just dragged Vicki into the wine cellar and closed the door right in Heather's face!" Jim nearly shouts.
"Which one is Vicki? Is she the one that looks like a freeze-dried elephant?"
"Yes, shhh," Sarah says, swatting at her husband as she leans closer to the wine closet, so she can hear.
"Come on, let's get close," Jim says, and they scurry over there, next to the door, trying not to look through the window and hunching down like that would make them invisible.
"Oh, look at this wine!" Vicky says inside. "Remember when we went to that winery? Me and you and Donn and Simon? Back when we were still married? God, we were so happy then, and we were all friends. You could have come seen my grandson and not had to worry about upsetting me. We could talk on the phone for hours without it being weird. We didn't have to run off to the wine cellar to make up. Tamra! What happened to us!"
"Are you crying?" Tamra asks.
"I would be if my tear ducts still worked, but I had Botox shot into them when I had my face installed," Vicki says, poking at her under eyes with the ring finger on each hand.
Suddenly Jim stands upright. "Quick," he says in a stage whisper. "They're coming."
They mosey back to the rest of the civilians and Jim reaches for a brownie as he overhears Terry ask if they're from Costco, and Heather swats him in the arm and tells him to shut up through gritted teeth. Then, as if someone screamed, "Cut!" the Housewives are gone, and there are just these normals standing around in an elaborate rec room while the desserts melt under the lights. Jim and Paul and Sarah stand in a little clump, wondering what just happened and trying to find the words, trying to find something to reconnect to. "So," Paul eventually says to Jim. "How's work?"
"Boring," Jim says. "Same old, same old."
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
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Guys, we need to have a talk about Teen Mom.
As a feminist and proponent of sex education, I applauded this documentary reality series about the long-term consequences of teen pregnancy when it premiered. Now that word has leaked about a sex tape/porn video featuring one of those original cast members, Farrah Abraham (and costarring The Canyons' James Deen)— just one of many signs that stardom has not been kind to these girls — I am questioning more than ever whether the good this show has done could ever outweigh the bad that piles up on its "stars."
I loved 16 and Pregnant when it first debuted on MTV. I thought it was everything television should be: moving, thought-provoking, educational, authentic. It showed young audiences the lives of real girls from many different backgrounds, all struggling with unintended pregnancies. We learned over and over the massive sacrifices — of schoolwork, fun, and future success — that pregnancy and childbirth demanded of teen girls. We saw that the fairytale endings they often envision with their baby daddies do not come to pass since the boys, who are not physically connected to the fetus, often run when things get tough.
When MTV decided to follow a handful of these featured girls through a series, Teen Mom, I thought that was even better. We could see how these girls’ lives continued to evolve, for good and bad. We could see that the consequences unraveled over many years. We could have one more compelling, memorable reminder, week after week on a popular national television network, that birth control is essential and awesome. All the public service announcements in the world, I thought, could not do what 90 seconds of this television show could do.
I commended the girls who agreed to be featured, who allowed this continued invasion of their privacy to share with others what they’d learned. As a reporter, I even visited one, Maci Bookout, who struck me as articulate and responsible, and wrote about all of the four original Teen Moms for Entertainment Weekly.
I have since changed my mind about the show, or at least wished that MTV had ended the series after a season or two, tops — maybe if we’d gotten them off the air a little quicker, the gossip-mag attention would’ve been lessened. Perhaps because these girls opened up their dramatic personal lives so completely, they have grown into tabloid monsters. And probably because they weren’t terribly well-off in life to begin with, they’re particularly vulnerable to the worst of the fame machine. I’ve long disputed the idea that this show is detrimental for "glamorizing" teen pregnancy. If you watch at least five minutes of it, you’ll see no hint of glamour.
Quite frankly, the "glamorous" aspects their lives have since taken on, due to their status as "stars," look harrowing as well: Their role in the show has wrought not movie deals nor fashion-magazine covers. It has wrought, apparently, porn shoots, endless tabloid shots, and highly publicized arrests.
There’s a lesson here. Even the best-intentioned producers must be careful with where they point their cameras and spotlights. The most interesting "reality" subjects are also often the most vulnerable, and you can’t control what happens to them outside the shooting schedule and editing room.
Hollywood.com correspondent Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is the author of Sexy Feminism and Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted, a history of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, due out in May. Visit her online at JenniferKArmstrong.com.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter @jmkarmstrong
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If the thought of Charlie Sheen in bed with Lindsay Lohan doesn’t make you gag – or worse, laugh – then congratulations, you are the only one! That also means you’re the only person excited for Scary Movie 5, which finds Sheen and Lohan in the aforementioned bed together before a ghost/demon wreaks more havoc than Sheen on a Tiger Blood-fueled bender.
The newest trailer for the fifth installment of the Scary Movie spoofing franchise just hit the web, and along with some Sheen/Lohan loving, we also get a glimpse of a contortionist Honey Boo Boo, a Snoop Dogg (sorry, Snoop Lion) crotch kick, and a con man posing as a demon psychic.
Spoofing Paranormal Activity and Mama, a happily-married couple begins to experience some unusual activity after bringing their newborn son home from the hospital. With the help of home-surveillance cameras and a team of experts, they learn they're being stalked by a nefarious demon and must learn how to get rid of it before it’s too late.
Watch the new trailer below:
Ashley Tisdale, Terry Crews, Kate Walsh, Jerry O’Connell, Heather Locklear, Molly Shannon, Chris Elliot, Ben Cornish, Mike Tyson, Simon Rex, Jasmine Guy, Kendra Wilkinson, and Audrina Patridge round out the cast. It’s interesting to note that Scary Movie 5 is the only film in the entire franchise that does not feature any main characters from the previous films (maybe because they knew it was time to bail…).
Scary Movie 5 hits theaters April 12.
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company]
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Alright, America: listen up! We have a photo below, and it may just rip your mind in two if you don't go into this post carefully--and in the right frame of mind. To prepare you, it must be said that the image involves Big Ang (of VH1's Mob Wives) and She By Sherée Whitfield (of Bravo's Real Housewives of Atlanta). And, according to the Weinstein Company, the image is a predecessor to moment where the ladies "go to blows in an unforgettable fight scene" in the upcoming Scary Movie 5. Yep, that's right, Big Ang's big boobs are gonna try and check Sherée, boo in a campy parody of a horror film. Battles between reality celebrities such as these are the world's bread and butter, I say. Don't you agree? Behold the truth!
We imagine the scene will go something like this:
And then everybody chokes on their own class and civility and dies!
The film features a bevy of familiar faces, including Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Ashley Tisdale, Terry Crews, Heather Locklear, Molly Shannon and Kate Walsh.
Scary Movie 5 opens nationwide April 19, 2013. Will you be checking it out? Sound off in the comments below!
[Photo Credit: Dimension Films; GIF Credit: realitytvgifs]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
What Are Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan Saying in This 'Scary Movie 5' Pic?
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