It was the trickle of pee heard around the world. Cannes attendees were aghast and/or amused an infamous scene from The Paperboy that shows Nicole Kidman urinating on Zac Efron; this is apparently a great salve for jellyfish burns which were covering our Ken Doll-like protagonist. (In fact the term protagonist should be used very loosely for Efron's character Jack who is mostly acted upon than active throughout.)
Lurid! Sexy! Perverse! Trashy! Whether or not it's actually effective is overshadowed by all the hubbub that's attached itself to the movie for better or worse. In fact the movie is all of these things — but that's actually not a compliment. What could have become somethingmemorable is jaw-droppingly bad (when it's not hilarious). Director Lee Daniels uses a few different visual styles throughout from a stark black and white palette for a crime scene recreation at the beginning to a '70s porno aesthetic that oscillates between psychedelic and straight-up sweaty with an emphasis on Efron's tighty-whiteys. This only enhances the sloppiness of the script which uses lines like narrator/housekeeper/nanny Anita's (Macy Gray) "You ain't tired enough to be retired " to conjure up the down-home wisdom of the South. Despite Gray's musical talents she is not a good choice for a narrator or an actor for that matter. In a way — insofar as they're perhaps the only female characters given a chunk of screen time — her foil is Charlotte Bless Nicole Kidman's character. Anita is the mother figure who wears as we see in an early scene control-top pantyhose whereas Charlotte is all clam diggers and Barbie doll make-up. Or as Anita puts it "an oversexed Barbie doll."
The slapdash plot is that Jack's older brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) comes back to town with his colleague Yardley (David Oyelowo) to investigate the case of a death row criminal named Hillary Van Wetter. Yardley is black and British which seems to confuse many of the people he meets in this backwoods town. Hillary (John Cusack) hidden under a mop of greasy black hair) is a slack-jawed yokel who could care less if he's going to be killed for a crime he might or might not have committed. He is way more interested in his bride-to-be Charlotte who has fallen in love with him through letters — this is her thing apparently writing letters and falling in love with inmates — and has rushed to help Ward and Yardley free her man. In the meantime we're subjected to at least one simulated sex scene that will haunt your dreams forever. Besides Hillary's shortcomings as a character that could rustle up any sort of empathy the case itself is so boring it begs the question why a respected journalist would be interested enough to pursue it.
The rest of the movie is filled with longing an attempt to place any the story in some sort of social context via class and race even more Zac Efron's underwear sexual violence alligator innards swamp people in comically ramshackle homes and a glimpse of one glistening McConaughey 'tock. Harmony Korine called and he wants his Gummo back.
It's probably tantalizing for this cast to take on "serious" "edgy" work by an Oscar-nominated director. Cusack ditched his boombox blasting "In Your Eyes" long ago and Efron's been trying to shed his squeaky clean image for so long that he finally dropped a condom on the red carpet for The Lorax so we'd know he's not smooth like a Ken doll despite how he was filmed by Daniels. On the other hand Nicole Kidman has been making interesting and varied career choices for years so it's confounding why she'd be interested in a one-dimensional character like Charlotte. McConaughey's on a roll and like the rest of the cast he's got plenty of interesting projects worth watching so this probably won't slow him down. Even Daniels is already shooting a new film The Butler as we can see from Oprah's dazzling Instagram feed. It's as if they all want to put The Paperboy behind them as soon as possible. It's hard to blame them.
The glamorous Dynasty star believes the modern film industry would be much more exciting if studios cast more attractive stars in their movies - and she's convinced Angelina Jolie is the only actress who lives up to the legends of the silver screen.
Collins tells Britain's Hello! magazine, "I have to say, there aren't that many good-looking actresses around today. I mean, there's Angelina Jolie and there's... Angelina Jolie. But I can't think of any really beautiful actresses. Jennifer Aniston is cute, but I wouldn't call her beautiful. She's no Ava (Gardner) or Lana (Turner). I think that is why (British singer) Cheryl Cole is popular - because she is just so pretty and the public are starved of gorgeous people.
"When I was a kid watching movies, everybody on screen was gorgeous. I think showbusiness has lost a lot of its magic in that way."
E-mails call for Rather's resignation
Station managers at several CBS affiliates told The Associated Press Thursday there is a national e-mail campaign building to oust Dan Rather as anchor of the CBS Evening News over his nebulous report on President Bush's military record on 60 Minutes. Bob Lee, president and general manager of WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Va., and head of the CBS affiliate board, said many e-mailers offer the same message: I will not watch CBS News again until Rather is gone. "To be honest, I'm most concerned when the e-mail is coming from a local viewer," said Gary Gardner, vice president and general manager of WINK-TV in Fort Myers, Fla. Rather and CBS News have apologized for reporting on documents critical of Bush's service, now widely assumed as fakes, and appointed a panel to investigate what went wrong in the report.
O'Connor wants her privacy
Singer Sinead O'Connor took out a full-page ad in the Irish Examiner newspaper asking the media to leave her alone, Reuters reports. The singer, best known for her hit song "Nothing Compares to U," was responding to an article written earlier this week about her "latest wacky" campaign to rid the country of head lice. "I have been the whipping post of Ireland's media for 20 years," wrote O'Connor, who stirred controversy by ripping up a photo of the Pope on Saturday Night Live in 1990. "Please, I just want to be a little old lady now, and not be all controversial and not be bashed and called crazy and laughed at when I open my mouth to sing or speak."
Creditors after part of Brando's estate
Would-be creditors are lining up to make claims on the late Marlon Brando's estate, Reuters reports. Brando's estate attorney David Seeley said at least five or six potential creditors intend to file claims on the estate, equaling about $21.6 million worth of assets, including Tahitian-based Air Moorea, who flew guests to his private Tahitian island and Joan "Toni" Petrone, a longtime friend and personal assistant who lost a diamond ring down the actor's drain. Brando's will lists 10 surviving children, ages 46 to 10, and names all as beneficiaries except for his adopted daughter Petra Brando-Corval. It also provides monthly payments for two friends of Brando's, Reuters reports.
John stands by his comments to Taiwanese media
Elton John ended his whirlwind tour of Taiwan unapologetic about calling the local media "rude, vile pigs," Reuters reports. John targeted his ire at the reporters after they caught him unprepared at Taipei airport Thursday when he emerged from an elevator before passing immigration. Many countries do not allow media into restricted areas, but Taiwan reporters, notorious for aggressively chasing celebrities, can obtain special passes for the Taipei airport, Reuters reports. "The television and photographers at the airport were the rudest people that I've ever met and I've been to 60 countries," John, 57, told fans at a concert on Thursday. "They are a disgrace to your country. They shouldn't be allowed access to people just getting off planes like that."
The View's Hasselbeck pregnant
The View co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck is expecting her first child with her husband, Washington Redskins quarterback Tim Hasselbeck, AP reports. The former Survivor: The Australian Outback contestant revealed the news Thursday during the ABC daytime chat segment "Hot Topics." "I'm nauseous," Hasselbeck said, "but I'm fine with that because it's all for a good cause." Hasselbeck said she is due sometime in March.
NBC gears up for Seinfeld special
They're baaaaak! Jerry Seinfeld is returning to NBC, along with TV pals Elaine, George and Kramer, for a special Thanksgiving Day retrospective on the smash hit "show about nothing," the network told Reuters Thursday. The planned Nov. 25 broadcast, highlighting the origins of Seinfeld and the early years of the mega-hit comedy, is timed for two days after the DVD release of the series.
Gates named the richest man in America
Big surprise. For the 11th consecutive year, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates took first place on the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in the United States. Others on the list include Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder; Michael Dell, founder and chairman of Dell Inc and Larry Ellison, co-founder and chief executive of Oracle Corp. Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Michael Eisner dropped off the list this year. Forbes magazine will publish its annual list in its Oct. 11 issue.
Top Story: Stewart Indicted
It may be time to think about how to decorate that jail cell. Homemaking maven Martha Stewart was dealt a major blow Wednesday after she was charged with securities fraud and obstruction of justice stemming from the inside trading brouhaha over the sale of her shares of ImClone Systems, Inc. in 2001, Reuters reports. Charges were made after settlement talks between Stewart and federal prosecutors broke down. Stewart is also expected to step down as chairman and chief executive of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., Reuters reports.
Spike Suing Over Spike TV
Filmmaker Spike Lee is suing Viacom Inc. over its renaming the cable network TNN Spike TV, The Associated Press reports. The suit, which was filed Tuesday, claims it invokes the 25th Hour director's name, which he never gave consent to be used. "The media description of this change of name, as well as comments made to me and my wife, confirmed what was obvious--that Spike TV referred to Spike Lee," Lee said in court papers. Viacom bought TNN in 2000 and announced in April that it would change the channel's name to Spike TV on June 16, labeling it "the first network for men," in an attempt to further capture their already roughly two-thirds male audience. Viacom told AP on Tuesday that it was confident the court would reject Lee's claims to the popular name Spike.
Manilow Breaks Nose
Ouch! After waking disoriented in the middle of the night Tuesday, Barry Manilow accidentally ran into a wall, breaking his nose and knocking himself unconscious, Reuters reports. The 56-year-old entertainer had just returned home in Palm Springs, Calif. after spending two weeks in Malibu producing an album for Bette Midler. "I may have to have my nose fixed, and with this nose, it's going to require major surgery," Manilow quipped to Reuters, referring to his famously prominent proboscis.
Actor/Screenwriter Richard Cusack Dies
Richard Cusack--actor, screenwriter and patriarch of the famous acting family that includes stars John and Joan Cusack--died Monday of pancreatic cancer in Illinois, AP reports. He was 77. Cusack was best known for writing the 1999 HBO film The Jack Bull and appeared in films such as The Fugitive and Return to Me.
Clarkson Hits Gold--and Platinum
American Idol Kelly Clarkson is still feeling the love a year later. Her debut album Thankful has gone both gold and platinum after selling more than 1 million copies last month, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In figures released by the Recording Industry Association of America, the American Idol compilation album All-time Classic American Love Songs, which features the top 11 finalists from the second season of the Fox television hit, also soared high in sales with more than 500,000 copies sold.
Clay's Single Beating Ruben's in Sales
In more American Idol news, second season runner-up Clay Aiken's upcoming single "This is the Night"/ "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has steamed ahead of winner Ruben Studdard's single "Flying Without Wings"/ "Superstar" in advance sales on Amazon. com. Both singles are scheduled to be released June 10.
24 Producer Signs on for 24 Months More
Executive producer Howard Gordon, who heads up the hit Fox series 24, has inked a two-year deal with 20th Century Fox TV. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gordon will continue as a hands-on executive producer on 24, which has been picked up for a third season, as well as develop new projects for the studio.
Readers Eager for Harry
Amazon.com Inc. announced Wednesday their advance orders for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has reached 1 million. The highly anticipated fifth Potter book is to be released globally June 21.
Role Call: Jim Has Fun With Dick and Jane, More To Fly in Aviator
Hot off his new comedy Bruce Almighty, Jim Carrey has signed with director Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black) and producer Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind) to remake the 1977 comedy Fun With Dick and Jane, Variety reports. The original film starred George Segal and Jane Fonda as a middle-class married couple who have to pull off heists to pay the bills…Meanwhile, stars are lining up alongside Leonardo DiCaprio for Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, a biopic about reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes. Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, and John C. Reilly are close to signing on to play Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner and Hughes' right-hand man Noah Dietrich, respectively, and No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani will make her screen debut as siren Jean Harlow.