With experience on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update and NBC's Late Night, Seth Meyers wasn't going into the 2014 Emmy Awards' opening monologue as a greenhorn. Unsurprisingly, the perpetually chipper Meyers delivered a traditional, relatively tame, but consistently funny opener, cracking wise for the most part at networks... primarily his own (and the host of the Emmys ceremony) NBC.
Some of Meyers' strongest jabs targeted the organization's mislabeling of certain programs ("You had comedies that made you laugh and comedies that made you cry... because they were dramas submitted as comedies."), the ending to How I Met Your Mother ("Sorry kids. Jesse Pinkman lived. Dexter lived. But your mother didn't make it."), and the notoriety afforded to the conservative-leaning Duck Dynasty ("This season, Game of Thrones was the most pirated TV show, and Duck Dynasty was the most VCR taped.").
Although Meyers may never be as inflammatory as the likes of the divisive Ricky Gervais, as invigorating as his old partners in crime Amy Poehler and Tina Fey (the unofficial kingpins of today's awards show game), or as dazzling a showman as trade legend Neil Patrick Harris, he is a reliabley enjoyable performer who knows his way around a joke. An all around delightful monologue from Seth, as per expectation.
YouTube/The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Just three weeks in production, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raked in more than $15 million — this puts it ahead of the latest YA release The Giver as the eighth highest grossing property this month. But trouncing that Jeff Bridges/Brenton Thwaites travesty by nearly $3 million is only the second most noble of the Ice Bucket Challenge’s efforts. The movement is allotting nigh unparalleled funds toward the study of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an illness known best as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
The condition observes the weakening of the muscles in accordance with a degeneration of a specific portion of the spinal cord. As a result of ALS, those afflicted find difficulty speaking, swallowing, breathing, and moving altogether.
Though discovered in the 19th century and brought to infamy in the late 1930s in accordance with the suffering of beloved New York Yankee Lou Gehrig, ALS remains the most common motor neuron disease actively plaguing men and women today. While perhaps only a small measure in the fight against the illness, the Ice Bucket Challenge is allowing for tremendous progress in the collection of funds devoted to the defeat of such a longstanding travesty.
As is inevitable with any cause célèbre or public movement, we have witnesses no small share of backlash against the Challenge; critics decry the endeavor as a bandwagon trend and a waste of time that offers no real benefit to the cause in question. As far as the latter goes, the $15 million and counting — a sum made possible thanks in large part to the spirited, sportsmanly brand with which the Ice Bucket Challenge was designed — would beg to differ. Nevertheless, we find those with a sour taste for the charitable phenomenon. Not to mention those who simply don’t want to pour a bunch of cold water over their heads. But if you find yourself a culprit of this mindset, maybe take a look at the pedigree of the company you’d be joining were you to hop aboard for this particularly frigid mitzvah.
So what pop culture accomplishments can be attributed to the community of water-logged philanthropists?
5 ACADEMY AWARDS Between Steven Spielberg (3), Russell Crowe (1), and Oprah (a Humanitarian Oscar).
60 EMMYSBetween Oprah (13 Daytime Emmys and 2 Primetime Emmys), Steven Spielberg (11), Meredith Vieira (4 News/Documentary Emmys and 3 Daytime Emmys), Jimmy Fallon (4), Justin Timberlake (4), J.J. Abrams (3), Conan O'Brien (3), Jim Parsons (3), Ricky Gervais (2), William Shatner (2), Harry Connick Jr. (2), Rachel Maddow (1), Ryan Seacrest (1), Nathan Fillion (1 Daytime Emmy), and Topher Grace (1 Daytime Emmy).
62 GRAMMYSJustin Timberlake (9), Taylor Swift (7), Carrie Underwood (6), Lady Gaga (5), Mackelmore (4), Lil Wayne (4), Keith Urban (4), Weird Al Yankovic (3), Gwen Stefani (3), Ludacris (3), Brad Paisley (3), Adam Levine (3), Harry Connick Jr (3), Jason Mraz (2), Drake (1), Jimmy Fallon (1), and Calvin Harris (1).
10 GOLDEN GLOBESSteven Spielberg (7), Russell Crowe (1), William Shatner (1), and Don Johnson (1).
Actor Ed Harris is reuniting with his The Human Stain co-star Sir Anthony Hopkins to play the villain in upcoming TV series Westworld. The A Beautiful Mind star has been cast as The Man in Black, a character described by producers as "the distillation of pure villainy into one man", reports TheWrap.com.
X-Men actor James Marsden has also joined the line-up for the highly-anticipated show, which is inspired by director Michael Crichton's cult 1973 sci-fi thriller of the same name.
Harris, Hopkins and Marsden will co-star alongside Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright and Rodrigo Santoro, while J.J. Abrams and Jerry Weintraub will serve as executive producers.
The original film starred Richard Benjamin, James Brolin and Yul Bryner, who portrayed creepy robot cowboy Gunslinger.
Actress Jessica Lange is to be honoured with the 2015 Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The two-time Academy Award winner will be feted for her achievements at a black-tie gala at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, California on 16 November (14).
Announcing the news, Douglas says, "Jessica Lange possess the three key elements in making it in this crazy business: talent, beauty, and intelligence... all of which have served her well and continue to do so. It is my honour to give her my award."
Previous recipients of the acting legend's prize include Forrest Whittaker, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris, John Travolta and Kirk Douglas himself.
Producers of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark are developing two animated films, Rio and Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, for the stage. The beleaguered superhero musical's lead producers, Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris, are setting their sights on two new projects which will transform the hit films into musicals.
Cohl and Harris tell the New York Times they are hoping to open Rio, based on the 2011 film about two blue macaws falling in love, in the titular city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in time to coincide with the 2016 Summer Olympics.
If the run proves successful, they are hoping to bring the production to Broadway.
As for Chipwrecked, the producing duo is developing a live stage show about the trio of musical chipmunks, and a tour of theatres across the U.S. is expected next spring (15).
Cohl and Harris also revealed they have nixed plans to bring Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark to Las Vegas, and instead are focusing on an arena tour, which is expected to open late 2015 or early 2016.
Cohl says in a statement, "Las Vegas was never a done deal; it's simply a market that we were exploring - among other possibilities - and still are. Our favorite possibility for the future life of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark always has been the arena tour, and we are thrilled that it has materialized."
The musical, which features a score by U2 stars Bono and The Edge, ended its three-year run in January (14). The show was troubled with months of delays and setbacks, including the exit of director/writer Julie Taymor, a number of injuries sustained by castmembers, and a ballooning budget which made it the most expensive Broadway production of all time at $75 million (£44 million).
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
Sir Michael Gambon is reuniting with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling to bring her first adult fiction book, The Casual Vacancy, to life on the small screen.
The British acting icon, who replaced the late Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore in the boy wizard film franchise, will lead the cast in a BBC TV adaptation of the bestselling novel, about an unexpected death in a quaint English village. He will portray deli owner Howard Mollison, opposite Notes on a Scandal actress Julia McKenzie.
The miniseries will also feature Keeley Hawes, Rufus Jones, Rory Kinnear, Monica Dolan and newcomer Abigail Lawrie. Production on the three-hour series is due to begin on 7 July (14) in south west England. Rowling released The Casual Vacancy in 2012. It has sold more than six million copies worldwide.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
If you have any pre-existing familiarity with Seth MacFarlane, you'll find yourself utterly baffled after spending no more than 10 minutes withA Million Ways to Die in the West. Half that time will be spent on the opening titles, a shockingly earnest homage to Western classics (oh, that's nice! ... but where are the jokes?), a piece on sheep farmer MacFarlane's stammering break-up with his turned-off ladyfriend Amanda Seyfried (relatable! ... but where are the jokes?), and one scene on Liam Neeson's snarling bandit shooting an old prospector dead over a chunk of gold (menacing! ... but where are the jokes?). When the allotted time is up, you'll be angling to challenge the marketing behind MacFarlane's film, as well as the reputation of the man on which A Million Ways to Die was sold. It's hardly a comedy at all, and he, at least in this case, not a comedian.
MacFarlane's movie toggles between scenes devoid of humorous intent altogether and those that simply miss the mark (and hard) in the joke department. Independently, these elements are painful; together, they're fatal. The material paving the agonizingly naturalistic romantic incline involving MacFarlane and Charlize Theron would feel more at home on the cutting room floor of a mumblecore reject than in the sort of comedy that banks on the gastrointestinal system for its principal supply of laughter.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
The common factor here is a lack of effort. Instead of opting for creativity, writer/director MacFarlane plays cheap, opening the film with a fellatio gag, topping it with human flatulence (and its ugly cousin) and livestock urination, and peppering in the occasional pop culture reference. "Ah, so that's where MacFarlane has been hiding!" you might say. After all, Family Guy is full of pop culture gags, spoofs, and send-ups. But A Million Ways holds true to its maxim of expending absolutely no energy or imagination, vying for unabashed theft of catchphrases (Neil Patrick Harris is the purveyor of the most heinous example) without so much as a wink at, comment about, or spin on the source material in question.
Perhaps the biggest shame is seeing deft comic actors like Harris, Neeson, and Sarah Silverman squandered in scenes that give them no opportunity to be funny. Neeson doesn't get a single joke to play with, Harris (a master of facial contortion) manages a few chuckles despite C- material. One-note jokes like Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi — a lovestruck prostitute and her virgin boyfriend — or Christopher Hagen as MacFarlane's cranky dad are the most active sources of comedy that Ways has to offer. But bald-faced jokes about sex and s**t can only occupy so much of this thing's diabolical 116-minute runtime.
Occasionally, MacFarlane's comic tenacity — the type you might never have cared for but at least knew to be an existent force — does rear its reluctant head. Townspeople clamoring over a dollar, MacFarlane and Ribisi exhibiting their own take on the saloon brawl, and an admittedly fun song about the glories of having a mustache. If this kind of imagination — or, hell, even attitude — could have been exercised over the other 85 percent of AMW, we might have had something recognizable as comedy. But instead, we have mostly dead air and sheep dicks.
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When NBC released the gag reel from Hannibal's first breathtaking season, we were relieved to see the ensemble — especially Hugh Dancy, turning in a deeply unsettling performance as a profiler losing his grip on reality — laughing and goofing around. So, let's just say we're eager to get our hands on some behind-the-scenes footage of Michael Pitt putting in the hours as Mason Verger, a sadistic creep the likes of which Hannibal and Hannibal have never seen before.
It's almost impossible to picture Pitt, an actor with zero self-consciousness and 100 percent commitment, chuckling with his castmates or dropping four-letter-words after a failed take. He's a former teen idol, having romanced Michelle Williams back in the day on Dawson's Creek. He's a muscian with his own band. He's even been the face of Prada. But something about Pitt wholly defies the Hollywood scene as we know it. He disappears completely into roles — from ill-fated Jimmy on Boardwalk to Hedwig's lover in Hedwig and the Angry Inch to a preppy psychopath in Funny Games — and from the public eye in between them.
And all these qualities made him the perfect choice to embody Mason, a character adapted for the series from the Thomas Harris source material. Hannibal has gotten away with some of the most terrifyingly beautiful fever dreams ever shown on network TV, and Pitt melded flawlessly into that world. Verger is just as twisted as the show's namesake, but in a way that Hannibal finds "rude." And we know what he does to those he finds... uncouth. From his first appearance — wild-haired and clutched a piglet in a blanket — to his last — high on psychotics, feeding pieces of his own face to Will's beloved rescue dogs, Pitt was captivating and unnerving. Just what the doctor ordered.
Michael Jackson has been crowned the king of the U.K. albums chart on the fifth anniversary of his death. The King of Pop's new posthumous release, Xscape, narrowly beat The Black Keys to debut at number one, with the rockers' Turn Blue entering at two.
News of Jackson's chart victory emerged hours before the superstar is due to be resurrected onstage at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. The late icon will appear in hologram form at Sunday's (18May14) prizegiving as part of a tribute performance celebrating the success of Xscape.
Meanwhile, singer Rita Ora has claimed the top spot in the U.K. singles chart with I Will Never Let You Down, a track written by her boyfriend, DJ Calvin Harris.
She says of the achievement, "I'm honoured. As you can see, I have no words! I can't believe it... I'm just so happy that my fans are so supportive because this is a special, personal song for me..."
And she adds of Harris, "He's had such an incredible career in his own right. It was such a clear, easy song to do. There was nobody else involved other than me and Calvin. It all happened really naturally."
Mad Men's final season is officially underway, and since we've looked back at the best of Peggy Olson and Joan Harris' incomparable fashion sensibilities, it's time to celebrate another young woman on the show: Sally Draper. Sally is a strange little girl, to say the least, and it's been truly fascinating watching actress Kiernan Shipka grow up as the daughter of Don and Betty. She's given us plenty of laughs over the years, but she's also brought on some of the most shocking moments on the show. Here are just three of many, many times when Sally Draper was incredibly rad.
When She Embraced Her Own Budding Sexuality, Albeit at the Wrong Time
Now this was awkward. Watching Sally's self-pleasuring scene in "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" was both uncomfortable and fascinating. Some even dubbed the episode "Sally Draper's Sexual Revolution." After her parents' divorce, her mother's re-marriage, and her dad's various ladyfriends-turned babysitters, Sally had had enough. She chopped off her hair, declared that she knows what sex is (she doesn't), and then proceeded to masturbate at a friend's house. On the one hand, you related to Betty's mortification. But you're also impressed with young Sally, boldly going where many people didn't even know to go before Cosmopolitan and The Vagina Monolgues. We appreciate your quest for liberation, Sally.
She Knows NYC All Too Well
One incredible fashion moment from Sally occured the night Don was receiving his award from the American Cancer Society. She got all dolled up in a gorgeous metallic-colored dress, and some bad-ass white boots (which she immediately had to take off, along with her make-up). But, after walking in on Megan's mother and Roger Sterling in a horribly compromising situation, she gets on the phone with Glen and describes the city with one word, the only word that fits sometimes: "Dirty."
Draper's Funny Little Valentine
It's difficult to say exactly where Season 7 is going, but in "A Day's Work" we watched Sally finally make amends with her father. After literally catching him with his pants down last season, she finally addressed her father and says some things that Don really needs to hear. Let's face it, Don can be pretty terrible, and sometimes we just want someone to put him in his place. Sally laid it on heavy: “Do you know how hard it was for me to go to your apartment? I could have run into that woman. I could be in the elevator, she could get in, and I’d have to stand there, smiling, wanting to vomit while I smell her hairspray.” But by the end of the episode, she was Don's anchor of sorts, wishing him a Happy Valentine's Day and saying "I love you" to his surprise.
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