What do Miley Cyrus and Pope Francis have in common? Unfortunately, it's not a love of twerking or a palace in Rome, but the fact that they have both been declared to be part of Barbara Walters' list of the Most Fascinating People in 2013. They're joined on the list - Walters' last before her retirement next year - by Prince George, Edward Snowden, ABC Anchor Robin Roberts, Diana Nyad, the cast of Duck Dynasty, Jennifer Lawrence, and of course, Kimye (a.k.a. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West). Sure, we could wonder how Walters plans to interview an infant, or whether West will let anyone get a word in edgewise during his segment, or if the Duck Dynasty men will reveal the secrets behind their signature beards, but the more important question is just who Walters thinks was more fascinating than any of the much-talked about people on this list.
We won't find out the answer to that question until Walters reveals her top choice during her television special on Dec. 18, but in the meantime, let's speculate about who could have beaten out a pope, a prince, and a pop star.
The Disgraced AthleteLance Armstrong has already appeared on the list twice before and was Walters' number one pick in 1999; however, while his previous appearances celebrated his Tour De France wins and his triumph over cancer, he made headlines in 2013 after he admitted to using steroids throughout his career, and therefore being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. Walters has included people who were currently in the midst of or recently endured major scandals, like with the inclusion of Tiger woods in 2010, after his multiple affairs became public, and last year's top pick, General David Petraeus, who stepped down as Director of the CIA after an affair was revealed as part of an FBI investigation. If Armstrong is looking to win back the affection of the general public, an interview with Walters could help him out, but since his admission to using steroids came out at the very beginning of the year, there's a chance that the nation has moved on and is uninterested in hearing more from him.
The PoliticianWalters' pick for the year's most fascinating person usually holds some sort of political influence, from 1994's top pick Nelson Mandela to two-time winner Hillary Rodham Clinton to the consecutive wins of Barack and Michelle Obama. This year, Walters would have a number of major political figures to choose from, making this the most difficult character to predict. She could go with Clinton again, who stepped down as Secretary of State and is surrounded by rumors of another presidential run, her daughter, Chelsea, who has done a great deal to boost the profile of the Clinton's family foundation, Wendy Davis, the Texas senator whose 11-hour filibuster in June got national attention, or Senator Ted Cruz, who many held responsible for bringing about the government shutdown in September.
The Scandal of the YearIf Walters hadn't already included Snowden on the list, therefore making him ineligible for the top spot, this is where we would say that he would be a shoo-in for the title. Therefore, it's possible that the Most Famous Person of 2013 could be Manti Te'o, the former Notre Dame football star who, in the weirdest scandal of the year, found out that he had been the victim of a hoax, and that the beloved girlfriend he believed died of cancer before the biggest game of the season had never existed in the first place. It's easy to see why Te'o dominated the news for a good part of the year, as this scandal had it all: deceit, intrigue, dead grandmothers, fake Twitter accounts, and college football. In fact, the more information that was revealed about the elaborate Catfishing scheme, the more questions were raised. With that in mind, we propose that if Walters didn't choose Te'o as the most fascinating, she choose instead the guy behind the hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, so that we can all find out how everything played out.
The Pop Culture PhenomenonOccasionally, Walters breaks away from the most scandalous or most prestigious person of the year, and focuses on someone who has dominated the conversation through pop culture. If Walters wants to go that route this year, there are only two real possibilities for who she would choose. The first is J.K. Rowling, who previously won the top spot in 2007 after publishing the final Harry Potter book. In 2013, she made headlines again when it was revealed that she was the author behind The Cuckoo's Calling, a critically-acclaimed but publicly unnoticed detective novel. After it was revealed that Rowling wrote the novel under the pen name Robert Galbriath, it went flying off the shelves. Shortly afterward, Rowling revealed that she would be returning to the world of Harry Potter by writing the screenplay for a spin off film starring the magizoologist Newt Scamander, to be titled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The second pop culture phenomenon that dominated 2013 was, of course, Breaking Bad, which came to a record-breaking conclusion at the end of September. There was no show on television this year that was bigger, better, or more talked-about than Breaking Bad was, and so if Walters decides to declare a pop culture giant as the Most Fascinating thing in 2013, then there is no better choice than Vince Gilligan, Brian Cranston, and Aaron Paul.
The CurveballIn 2013, there was one person who was talked about more than any other human being on the planet. An ideal combination of mysterious, beautiful and wealthy, she captured the world's attention and has dominated the headlines since she first appeared in June. We are, of course, talking about North West, daughter of Kim and Kanye, who at four months old is more famous and more talked about than both of her parents. For her last ever special, we'd like to see Walters make the unusual choice of awarding the title to baby North, who, in return, would help make the last Most Fascinating People special the biggest and highest rated one of all time. And if North doesn't want to be interviewed on her own - she is notoriously private, after all - we're sure everyone would love to watch a joint conversation between her and the other famous baby on the list, Prince George.
Ozzy Osbourne is urging fans to celebrate his 65th birthday on Tuesday (03Dec13) by donating money to Britain's Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. The rocker officially becomes a pensioner in his native England on Tuesday and he has taken to Twitter.com to urge fans to give generously.
He tweets, "I'm using my bday (tomorrow) to raise money for @royalmarsden! Give a gift and donate to help cancer patients."
Ozzy isn't the only star to use his birthday to raise donations for the charity this year - former Spice Girls star Mel C, The Wanted stars Nathan Sykes and Max George and Sir Paul McCartney have also urged fans to give cash to The Royal Marsden.
The Tomorrow People has some amazing action sequences and really great super-powers. It has more of an edge than supernatural shows like Charmed or The Vampire Diaries. And yet, it doesn’t have the same resonance as Vampire Diaries or even The Carrie Diaries. One problem is the main cast is a crew of sexy robots. The series is lucky because there is a lower ratings threshold to stay on the air, but, can the show make the important changes to actually build a following?
Here are some helpful changes the series can make to improve their following.
Veronica Mars star Jason Dohring and Carly Pope are some great guest stars. Shameless star Laura Wiggins would also be a great addition to the regular cast as nerdy Irene. The three leads are super hot but the show needs more compelling actors. Robbie Amell, Peyton List, and Luke Mitchell would be just as interesting standing around in their underwear saying nothing. Unlike Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, and Ian Somerhalder they are all sizzle and no steak. It’s sad that they recently killed off Ultra agent Darcy (Meta Golding) because she was proving to be an interesting character.
It’s great that The CW likes to cast new actors and make their own celebrities. However, science-fiction fans have tons of cult-favorite actors that aren’t working right now. Heroes capitalized on Star Trek fandom by casting actors like George Takei and Nichelle Nichols. Why not cast actors from cult faves like The 4400, Firefly, or even Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
Play Up The Double Agent Angle...Intelligently
Part of the appeal of the pilot was that it promised an Alias-style tension as high school student Stephen (Amell) does double duty as secret agent and second coming to the underground community of Tomorrow People. However, Stephen keeps getting caught and a blind person could see that he’s not to be trusted. It would be great if Stephen was actually at risk of getting caught.
Stephen and Cara (List) finally consummating their flirtation is nice because it added much needed tension to the show. It was clear to everyone that they were going to knock boots so why not just cut to the chase already.
Don’t Save Mysteries for Later
So far we don’t know much about The Tomorrow People or their history. Waiting too long to reveal secrets might be a little risky. Let’s face it there might not be more than one season so why not just put the pedal to the metal and actually have some super-powered fun.
Inject Some Humor, Stat
The series needs a little levity and humor. It’s enough to suspend belief that people can have super powers or that a teenager can be a secret agent. However, it’s impossible to believe that a bunch of people with no sense of humor could end up on television. The series could afford to be a little more tongue-in-cheek and stop taking itself so seriously.
Former The Housemartins rocker Paul Heaton has lashed out at British Prime Minister David Cameron after the politician name-checked his album London 0 Hull 4 during a House of Commons debate. Heaton was thrilled to discover his adopted hometown of Hull, England was named the U.K. City of Culture on Wednesday (20Nov13).
However, the musician was left aghast when Conservative leader Cameron revealed himself to be a fan of the singer's work after the announcement was made in the House of Commons this week (beg18Nov13).
Cameron told his fellow politicians, "Of course in terms of popular music Hull has a fantastic record, I remember, some years ago that great Housemartins' album which was London 0 Hull 4."
Heaton, who has been vehemently opposed to Conservative party policies for many years, then took to Twitter.com to blast Cameron, writing, "Well, apparently David Cameron likes London 0 Hull 4. Which part of the attack on his policies and rich friends did he like best?"
He then reminded followers on the social media site that he banned Cameron and Britain's Chancellor Of The Exchequer, George Osborne, from the pub he bought in Salford, England.
He adds, "When I took over my pub in Salford, the first people I barred was Cameron and Osborne. That ban still stands."
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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First-time director Paul Wright is celebrating after his gritty drama For Those In Peril scored a double win at the 2013 BAFTA Scotland awards on Sunday (17Nov13). The movie, about a loner blamed for a tragedy on a remote Scottish fishing island, picked up two of the four prizes it was nominated for - Best Film and Best Actor/Actress (Film) for its leading star, George MacKay.
Meanwhile, Peter Mullan claimed the Best Actor/Actress TV honour for his role in gangster drama The Fear, and funnyman Brian Limond emerged victorious in the Best Comedy/Entertainment Programme category for Limmy's Show.
Meanwhile, veteran One Foot in the Grave star Richard Wilson, who was born in Greenock, Scotland, was presented with an accolade for his outstanding contribution to TV and film by former Dr. Who star David Tennant.
The ceremony, which took place in Glasgow, celebrates the best of Scottish entertainment and talent.
Yoko Ono has expressed her gratitude to Sir Paul McCartney for publicly putting an end to his long-running grudge against her in a new Rolling Stone magazine article. The surviving Beatles star recently admitted his feelings towards Ono had mellowed over the years after falling out with John Lennon's widow in the late 1960s, when the Fab Four began to experience the problems that would lead to their split in 1970.
He told Rolling Stone, "I thought, 'If John loved her, there's got to be something. He's not stupid'" and added that bandmate George Harrison once advised him to let go of his negative feelings, telling McCartney, "You don't want stuff like that hanging around in your life".
Ono confesses she is grateful for McCartney's comments because she has long admired his work.
She tells the Associated Press, "I'm very thankful. I never felt too bad about Paul. He was my husband's partner and they did a great job and all that. They seemed to have a lot of fun, and I respected that."
Gritty drama For Those In Peril leads the nominations at this year's (13) BAFTA Scotland awards with four nods. Paul Wright's movie, about a loner blamed for a tragedy on a remote Scottish fishing island, is up for Best Film, Best Director, Best Writer and Best Actor/Actress (Film) for its lead George MacKay.
The young star will face competition from Martin Compston (The Wee Man) and Iain De Caestecker (Not Another Happy Ending), while the film will be up against The Wee Man and Fire In The Night.
Wright will fight for the Best Director prize against Kenny Glenaan (Case Histories) and Emma Davie and Morag McKinnon (I Am Breathing).
Ford Kiernan (The Field of Blood: The Dead Hour), Peter Mullan (The Fear), and Sharon Rooney (My Mad Fat Diary) are all nominated in the Best Actor/Actress (TV) section.
The ceremony, which celebrates the best of Scottish entertainment talent, will take place in Glasgow on 17 November (13).
"I thought, 'If John loved her, there's got to be something. He's not stupid'... What are you going to do? Are you going to hold a grudge you never really had? George (Harrison) would say to me, 'You don't want stuff like that hanging around in your life'." Sir Paul McCartney admits his feelings about Beatles bandmate John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono have mellowed over the years.
Time & Life Pictures
After taking on Nixon, JFK, George W. Bush, and September 11th, filmmaker Oliver Stone, along with potential star Jamie Foxx, might be DreamWorks' choice to bring Martin Luther King Jr.'s life to the screen, as reported by The Playlist. So far, it's not clear exactly how much or what part of King's life DreamWorks is looking to focus on, but Stone is well known for his long, ambling biopics, particularly of political figures.
Stone doesn't shy away from tough topics. If he's at the helm, he's going to want to tackle some of the more complex issues and potentially make large assumptions and leaps to serve his narrative. The man was able to make a film with some pathos for then-current president Bush, so this certainly won't be a slam piece on one of the great American icons and heroes. But the MLK estate has been very tough on films looking to portray the more sordid aspects of King's story, like his alleged infidelity. And with members of the King family working with DreamWorks and against rival projects (including ones from Paul Greengrass and Lee Daniels) it suggests that this may be a more sanitized vision then Stone is used to. Not only would Stone likely rankle at such demands, but erasing the complexity from MLK makes the whole film kind of pointless. Can we not handle a vision of King that paints him as something other than a martyr?
We remember Spike Lee's Malcolm X as a great film because Lee was able to work with Alex Healy/Malcom X's fantastic book, which was open about the various vices in the activist's past. It didn't hurt that the movie was blessed with Denzel Washington's amazing performance.
Now, Jamie Foxx doesn't really resemble King, but his quiet dignity mixed with deep, deep, anger and pain in last year's Django Unchained was a level of subtlety he hasn't shown since his Oscar-winning turn in Ray back in 2005. But after seeing Foxx's goofy side this summer in White House Down, his striking dissimilarities from King could really derail this film, and it doesn't really make sense why he's the top choice. But clearly DreamWorks is looking for a star, and most of the other bona fide black stars are either too old to play the 39-year-old King, have already played another distinct historical figure, or both.
What's frustrating is that there is so much room for more interpretations of King's life. Richard Nixon, for example, was not only the subject of one of Stone's lengthy films, but also has appeared in documentaries, other narratives, dramas, onstage (in the superb Frost/Nixon, which, by the way, was also turned into an Oscar nominated film), in comedies like Dick, graphic novels, and even an opera. He's been portrayed as a genius, an idiot, a crook, a coward, a fool, a hero, an opportunist, a good president, bad president, good person, and bad person. There's a wealth of creative material all based around or involving his life. Martin Luther King Jr. is a figure as large as Nixon, and like all people, was just as complex, but we rarely get to see a true representation of what that might have been like.
In short, while it's all well and good that filmmakers are interested in bringing MLK to the screen, it might not be possible for a divisive director like Stone and a potentially miscast star like Foxx to make this film a worthy one. And if it is regarded poorly, that might lead his family to become even more protective of his amazing story.
Not to mention, Drunk History did it first.