Obviously we have to start with this line, spoken by Randall to Monroe before the title crawl: "I could have gone to Governor Affleck in California." This is the future, people — after being snubbed for Best Director at the 2013 Academy Awards, Hollywood icon Ben Affleck hunkered down, preparing for the inevitable blackout. And when it came? He was READY. Harnessing his network of powerful friends, like Matt Damon and Alan Arkin, and putting his creative goodwill to work, Affleck quickly gained in strength. And even the people who would oppose him — I mean they were just rooting for the guy, you know? Good for him finding another career that really suited him.
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But enough about Affleck, who won't be a featured character until at least the halfway point of Season 2. Last night's installment, "Ghosts," sent our ragtag group of rebels in multiple directions as they realized the need to TAKE THE FIGHT TO MONROE, or whatever tag next year's promos decide to run with. Lovers/fighters Miles and Nora hit Virginia to try and recruit one of Miles' old militia colleagues. On the home front, Rachel finally divulged a bit about the origins of the Blackout as their base* was infiltrated by her old boss, Randall.
*Echo Base. The Empire Strikes Back. Come on!
The part of Virginia we visited last night seemed like it had its s**t together! Very Woodbury on The Walking Dead vibe, minus the not-so-secretly psychopathic town leader. Hell, there were hand-painted signs everywhere and nerds to yell "hey, Shakespeare!" at while you're strolling the street. Even a library, which is where Miles found his buddy, Jim Hudson. Now, you don't expect to see Malik Yoba ("Yul Brenner" in the classic Cool Runnings) just hanging around stupid books, but this was his cover — "Henry Beamus." And Henry Beamus was married. Why any woman would believe that "Henry Beamus" could be a real name/person I have no idea, but "Henry" had nevertheless found happiness — something he'd prefer for Miles to not blow up (figuratively or literally, as is often the case on Revolution.
Within moments, Miles learned that he'd accidentally led a group of militia to the town and well shoot, man we're probably gonna have to sword fight our way out of this! Hats off to the choreography team who puts these together. Where the gun battles on this show often devolve into confusing sprays of bullets, each sword fight has felt fast, vicious, and logical. The only time I truly believe Miles as the "ultimate badass" we're constantly told he is? When they guy's got a sword in his hand, taking on a squad of militia.
Miles, Nora and Jim of course emerged victorious…but not without Jim's wife discovering his true identify (when he stabbed some guy to death in front of her, oops), and leaving him. "You ruined my life, Miles. Again." But by some combination of Miles' endless rogue charm and the realization that there was nothing else left for him in town, Jim decided to saddle up. Good choice, pal! Loads of sword fighting adventures ahead with quips aplenty from your old buddy, Miles.
Because the worst thing in the world would be to slow down for ten minutes and give us a walk-and-talk of the rebel camp or learn anything about our characters, Charlie's group came under almost immediate attack. How? THOSE DAMN PENDANTS. Turns out they can be accessed remotely, specifically accessed by Randall — who used the two in Rachel's possession to track her whereabouts. Why? Because Rachel was not merely a scientist, like she was on LOST, but a high-ranking developer of whatever "weapon" it was that may have (definitely) triggered the Blackout in the first place. She was working with her husband at the Department of Defense. Randall was her boss. Most of which spilled out of Rachel and into the ears of Charlie and Aaron while they evaded (and of course eventually escaped) the attacking militia. Once upon a time Randall was probably a decent guy. But the death of his soldier son, stationed in Kabul, reinforced his desire to "get the weapon built" and finally, in a still mysterious scene, order the it be executed. What is the weapon, exactly? What was its aim? 42 being a limited number of minutes in which to tell all this story, we got only hints. "There's this place," Rachel finally relented to Aaron. "It's called The Tower." And roll your eyes, snark it up (I sure do) but hey — there are worse shows to emulate than LOST. There are certainly storytelling lessons Revolution could still take to heart.
Let's backtrack a minute to look at one of the more interesting snippets of the episode, and maybe the series thus far. Randall had found his target, Rachel, and as he lead her to their fleet of trucks he told her with as many specifics as can be given at this moment what he wanted to do with a renewed power source. "Let's make this a better world, by putting power in the hands of the few." He summarizes what human beings had done with power up until the Blackout. "We just used it to wage war and kill each other." And now, starting over…maybe we can make a better world? I don't agree with him — and we're not meant to — but there's a thoughtfulness here, a sense of what this Blackout has actually meant to people and structures, that until this point I don't think had been raised. I like helicopter explosions. I like bras (and this "family" show seems weirdly willing to help me out!). I like mythology, even when it's LOST-lite. But any show dealing with BIG QUESTIONS has to be prepared to explore what they actually mean. "Ghosts" felt like a good start in that direction.
What did you think? Excited to finally hear the origins of the Blackout next week? Or bracing yourself for the inevitable disappointment of finding out two God figures tripped over an earth-shaped light switch as they were playing chess, and are still stumbling around trying to flip it back? Man, that would be a wacky season finale.
Follow Henning on Twitter @HenningFog
[PHOTO CREDIT: Brownie Harris/NBC]
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Children of the 1990s prayed to one dynamic, insuperable god: Jim Carrey... and this before he even played a dynamic, insuperable god in 2003's Bruce Almighty. Carrey has long reigned as hero to the countless youths insatiable for his brand of outlandish slapstick. Past the turn of the millennium, he earned new worshippers with the likes of emotionally riveting films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and later I Love You, Phillip Morris. And now, he is bound to gather a fleet of compatriots for his recent tirade against Fox News.
The beloved Carrey teamed with Funny or Die to release a gun-bashing, hillbilly-mocking, Charlton Heston-defying video last week, earning the scorn of the right-leaning Fox News' Greg Gutfield, who called Carrey "the most pathetic tool on the face of the earth" (among other niceties). In response, Carrey unleashed his Hank Evans side — Me, Myself & Irene jokes are always a winner — with the following statement against the network, via The Huffington Post:
Since I released my "Cold Dead Hand" video on Funny or Die this week, I have watched Fux News rant, rave, bare its fangs and viciously slander me because of my stand against large magazines and assault rifles. I would take them to task legally if I felt they were worth my time or that anyone with a brain in their head could actually fall for such irresponsible buffoonery. That would gain them far too much attention which is all they really care about.
I'll just say this: in my opinion Fux News is a last resort for kinda-sorta-almost-journalists whose options have been severely limited by their extreme and intolerant views; a media colostomy bag that has begun to burst at the seams and should be emptied before it becomes a public health issue.
I sincerely believe that in time, good people will lose patience with the petty and poisonous behavior of these bullies and Fux News will be remembered as nothing more than a giant culture fart that no amount of Garlique could cure.
I wish them all the luck that accompanies such malevolence.
Kind of makes you forgive him for that Burt Wonderstone debacle, doesn't it?
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
[Photo Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images]
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We've suffered through the star-studded indignity of Valentine's Day and the multi-storyline ignominy of New Year's Eve and the alien attack of Independence Day (but that's a whole different ball of gooey alien gut wax.) Now we have the latest scourge in this Hollywood holiday spree: Memorial Day: The Movie. Like all wonderful movies (that I am making up for fun on a Friday afternoon) it stars Katherine Heigl and a slew of other well wishing celebrities who are looking to cash a big fat paycheck.
Heigl stars as Chelsea, a New York City magazine journalist who is only concerned about her career. At the last minute, before getting on the Jitney to head out to the Hamptons, her editor (Christine Baranski) tells her that she needs a story about a Fleet Week romance and that she is going to have to bring it home or else she is fired. Katherine cancels her plans and her four friends roll their eyes and head off without her. She heads down to Midtown where absolutely every sailor totally ignores her. Finally she runs into a dashing sergeant (Patrick Dempsey) who steals the last seat at a crowded bar, making a flustered Chelsea absolutely furious. She cusses him out and he says that he's going to help her find a romance to pay her back. She thanks him and they head out into the town. After going to several bars they can only find guys hooking up. They go to a Broadway show and approach a sailor (Jack Black) and his woman (Jennifer Coolidge) and find out she's sick of him being trapped on a submarine all the time and is going to ask for a divorce. Finally they get a tip from a loud cabbie (Gilbert Godfried) who tells them to go to Chez Josefine to look for a romance. The restaurant is empty, but the owner (Gerard Depardieu) has a table just for them. They clink champagne glasses and stare deeply into each other's eyes. Finally they head off to the USS Intrepid and scale the boat just as the fire works (that don't really happen in New York on Memorial Day, but whatever) are going off and they kiss. It turns out, the story of Fleet Week romance Katherine Heigl was looking for was hers!
Let's not forget about her four friends (Amy Adams, Keira Knightley, Isla Fisher, and Lea Michelle)! They're all excited about their first weekend in the Hamptons and the rich men they're going to meet at a fancy barbecue the next day. However on the Long Island Expressway, their bus breaks down and sets on fire, destroying all their luggage. But, good fortune! A minivan full of attractive men (Neil Patrick Harris, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, and Anderson Cooper) has four extra seats for four pretty ladies. They get their flirt on something hard before realizing that all the men in the car are gay. There is some making out between the men and the girls get to their house. They realize that it is locked and head out back to try to break into the house they're renting. They make a mess in the mud trying to get in, and then are caught by the cops (Joe Mangianello and Nicolas Coster-Waldau). They drag them into jail where they share a cell with four guys (Chase Crawford, Ed Westwick, Penn Badgley, and some other guy from Gossip Girl.) They share a chuckle and when they're all bailed out in the morning the boys drag them to their BBQ. Turns out they were the rich guys throwing the party in the first place, and they are all now hedge fund wives (still covered in mud).
Jerry (Zac Efron) is having a BBQ in Central Park and it is so hot he is forced to take off his shirt multiple times. There's something about a girl (Taylor Swift) who lost her dog and he leaves his friends at the party to go help her. The whole time he keeps ignoring phone calls from his sister. They fall in love. They find the dog. Zac puts his shirt on and finally answers his sister's call and it's Katherine Heigl! She's in love too!
In the park near Jerry's BBQ, a hot dog vendor (Ben Stiller) is going to be evicted from his house unless he raises $10,000 by Monday. How is he going to sell that many hot dogs? His son (the funny kid from Modern Family... no, the skinny one) gets his friends (Jaden Smith and the other funny kid from Modern Family) and tells them they have to raise all this money. They decide to hold a hot dog eating contest and charge people $5 to watch. They are so adorable that the local news covers it (Chelsea, you are totally missing this story) and they raise all the money and everyone is happy.
Julia Roberts is spending another weekend at her shore house. She Julia Roberts with Julia Roberts and calls her friends Julia and Roberts. They smile. They laugh. They love life. It's Julia Roberts. Who cares what she does. Tom Hanks shows up at the end and they kiss. The end.
Jessica Biel is a world champion croquet player who broke her arm the day before the huge croquet world series in Queens. Instead she's bumming around a hotel in Midtown and feeling sorry for herself. Ashton Kutcher plays the bellhop who is just about to get off duty who says he'll show her the best day of her life. He takes her to the Central Park Zoo, he takes her to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he takes her to Shake Shack (mmmm, Shake Shack) and then he tries to kiss her and she's like, "Sorry, I have a boyfriend." He is all bummed. Then, the next day her boyfriend (Casey Affleck, who could use some work) is all like, "I only liked you because you were as good at croquet as I was. Now I'm dumping you, you sticky wicket." She's sad, but Ashton cheers her up again. This time, with tongue.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
Valentine's Day Sequel Planned
Second Star-Studded 'New Year's Eve' Trailer Debuts
Back-to-Back Independence Day Sequels to Invade Earth
S4E21: Here's something that may surprise you: last night's The Big Bang Theory was not only pretty good, but for one of the first times there was some actual character development. Amy showed a different side (that I actually really, really enjoyed). Priya added another layer of wit and at the same time, actually justified some of the other characters' dislike of her with the way she treated Leonard. And hey, Leonard actually started to stand up for himself. So, yeah, good stuff all around! It was nice to see one of the shows I enjoy find its groove again, especially since the rest of the season had been so below average.
"Could I see the roommate agreement?" - Priya
"Um. It's fairly technical." - Sheldon
We open with Sheldon in a panic. He needs to use the restroom but Leonard is showering, unknowingly, with Priya. Sheldon busts into the bathroom and once he finds out she's in there with him, Sheldon kind of loses it. This breaks the infamous roommate agreement that Leonard signed once upon a time, and, well, Sheldon does his whole Sheldon thing and tries to punish Leonard. However, there's a new factor in the equation this time around: Priya. Being a graduate of Cambridge Law, she knows what she's talking about when it comes to contracts. She finds a few loopholes and realizes that the boys don't have to abide by all of Sheldon's dumb little rules. Sheldon doesn't like this and seeks comfort in Penny, who brings Sheldon out for a girls night as an attempt to make him feel better.
"You're like a sexy toddler." - Amy
"I don't know how to process that." - Sheldon
Once Sheldon is out with the girls, he seems to approach the situation like a scientist. He watches the girls, amazed at how they interact with each other. But he's, surprisingly, not a jerk about things. He watches, yes, but he doesn't seem to be judging (well, not any more than you would expect). But he genuinely seems to be having a good time. They talk about Priya and how horrible she is, then they head over to do some dancing (the waltz, specifically). Sheldon and Amy close out the night with Amy giving Sheldon some pointers on how to deal with the Priya situation and that's basically just to fight fire with fire. Then, she kisses him. And surprisingly, Sheldon didn't seem to resist and, dare I say it, enjoyed it.
It was fun to see the girls interact with Sheldon because it was a grouping that doesn't seem to happen very often in the show. And because of that, the grouping was able to offer some new depth to each character. Amy, for the first time all season, was actually funny. Her line calling Sheldon a "sexy toddler" made me laugh harder at this show than I have in quite some time. But beyond that, I think another reason this grouping felt so great was because the girls have developed some terrific chemistry with one another. And Sheldon seemed to fit right into their dynamic. Honestly, what's felt missing most of this season (and parts of season three) was how well the group hung out together in the earlier episodes. They did funny things to one another, yeah, but they all carried such energy and when they were able to feed that to one another -- whether it was through physical humor or quick, snappy responses -- it made the show so much more enjoyable. Most of this season, though, has been focused on making Sheldon the funny guy with the rest of the cast just kind of doing stuff to try and make him the funny guy, nothing more than that. In short: it lost the ensemble. But with the girls, Big Bang has seemed to regain some of that charm.
"You may have gone to Cambridge, but I am an honorary graduate of Star Fleet Academy." - Sheldon
So how does Sheldon fight fire with fire? Well, he drafts up a new and improved roommate agreement that will "benefit him greatly" and threatens that if Leonard doesn't sign it, he'll send an email to Priya's parents that they're dating. And, well, after they realize he's serious, Leonard caves and decides to sign.
Although simple and short, this was a nice closing moment because it seemed very telling of how exactly Priya felt about Leonard. There are numerous factors that play into why she didn't want to tell her parents, but none of those really matter because, nonetheless, Leonard was hurt. She doesn't seem to like Leonard as much as he likes her. I enjoyed this moment, as well as the tag, because although we all probably assumed Leonard and Priya wouldn't end up together, the way that they seem to be foreshadowing their break-up is realistic and at the same time allows room for Leonard to grow as a character. When he dated Penny, he was such a pushover but hearing him fight Priya on how "she was embarrassed" showed us that Leonard is, maybe, not the insecure little nerd that he's been.
Bosses at film studio Warner Bros. threw the lavish afternoon bash in a field near the studios in Hertfordshire, England where the popular movies are shot.
Radcliffe and Grint partied alongside other Potter actors including Tom Felton, Jim Broadbent, and David Thewlis - accompanied by his partner, Pushing Daisies star Anna Friel - to celebrate the end of filming on the popular series.
They enjoyed traditional funfair rides including dodgems and a ghost train, and a fleet of ice cream vans was on hand to keep the revellers cool.
But one star was notable by her absence - leading lady Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the wizard movies, did not attend the bash.
Shooting on the final film in the series - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II - finished in June (10). It is due to hit the big screen next year (11).
Top Story: Dixie Chicks Give Two Cents on Schwarzenegger
Must be something about being on tour in Europe that inspires the Dixie Chicks to spout off on politics. Rolling Stone reports the country trio had plenty to say about another high-profile Republican besides President Bush. "[Arnold Schwarzenegger] is a great film star," banjo player Emily Robison told a German newspaper, "but I find his run for governor absolutely insane." She added, "America should be governed by people who have a clue. I hope he doesn't win." Maybe bodybuilders will ban the country singers this time.
Schwarzenegger's Ex-Girlfriend Writes Memoirs
On the heels of controversy surrounding reports of Schwarzenegger's naughty behavior decades ago, now it seems his first girlfriend, Barbara Outland Baker, is writing a memoir of her relationship with the Austrian actor called Surviving Arnold, Reuters reports. Baker, now an English professor at a California community college, dated the then Mr. Universe from 1969 until 1974. "I'm trying to sell it as an insider's account of Mr. Schwarzenegger's early years…with over 100 never-before-published photographs of Arnold," her book agent told Reuters. "She's been writing it for years, but obviously now is an opportune time to try to sell it."
Farrell Wields a Mighty Pen, Diaz Does Not
Irish hunk Colin Farrell has been named "best signer" by Autograph Collector magazine in its 12th annual poll of celebrity autograph givers, The Associated Press reports. "Colin is extremely generous with fans and collectors, and goes out of his way to sign for everyone he can at his movie premieres. ... He just flat-out loves to sign autographs," contributing editor Jeffrey Woolf, who helped compile the annual Best and Worst Signers list, told AP. The worst celebrity to be approached for autographs, he says, is Cameron Diaz. "She might be an Angel for Charlie, but Cameron is nothing short of a witch when it comes to signing autographs," Woolf said. Some of the best included Kate Bosworth, Jennifer Love Hewitt, The Osbournes and Jennifer Garner, while some of the worst included Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Orlando Bloom, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Christina Aguilera.
FCC Rules Stern Is Legit Newsman
The Federal Communications Commission ruled shock jock Howard Stern's daily radio show is a legitimate news program, exempting it from federal equal time rules on political coverage, Reuters reports. The FCC decision opens the way for the show to book two of the sexier candidates for California governor: Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had been slated to appear on Stern in August, and porn star Mary Carey. The Communications Act requires broadcasters to treat political candidates equally when selling or giving away air time, although exceptions are made for news programs. Media Access Project, a media watchdog group, plans to appeal the ruling, claiming it is a reversal of decades of U.S. media regulation designed to promote fairness in election coverage.
Simon and Garfunkel Return
The singing-songwriting duo Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel announced Tuesday their plans to put aside their longstanding differences and launch a U.S. tour together for the first time in 20 years, Reuters reports. The Old Friends tour will hit 32 cities, starting at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan Oct. 18.
ABC Scores Ratings Touchdown
The opener of the NFL football season between the New York Jets and Washington Redskins last Thursday gave ABC its first nightly win in many months in the Neilsen ratings for the week of Sept. 1-7, the AP reports. NBC won the week, averaging 8.3 million viewers followed by a tie between CBS (7.8 million) and ABC (also 7.8 million); Fox (6.3 million); UPN (3 million) and the WB (2.9 million). The top 10 shows were: NFL Monday Night Football: N.Y. Jets vs. Washington, ABC; 2003 NFL Showcase, ABC; CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS; Law & Order, NBC; NFL Post-Game Show, Fox; Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS; The King of Queens, CBS; Law & Order: Criminal Intent, NBC; and CSI: Miami, CBS.
Sales Galore at Toronto Film Fest
Films were snapped up left and right at the Toronto Int'l Film Festival Tuesday, Variety reports. Jim Jarmusch's Coffee & Cigarettes was bought by United Artists for domestic distribution. Sony Pictures Classics picked up the Korean film Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring, while Newmarket Films acquired the Danish flick The Green Butchers.
Role Call: Phantom To Appear On-Screen; J.Lo Produces Documentary
With an all-star cast including Miranda Richardson, Minnie Driver, Ciaran Hinds, Simon Callow, James Fleet, Victor McGuire and Jennifer Ellison, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical extravaganza The Phantom of the Opera is coming to the big screen via Warner Bros. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it will be directed by Joel Schumacher and starts production Sept. 15 in the U.K…Jennifer Lopez will make her first foray into producing by making the documentary Los Quinces through her banner Nuyorican Prods., in association with HBO. Variety reports the film revolves around the coming-of-age ball that marks a Cuban girl's 15th birthday.