Pop star Demi Lovato stunned the audience at a prizegiving in New York City on Monday (23Jun13) by revealing her late grandfather was gay.
The Skyscraper hitmaker was among the celebrity presenters at Logo TV's Trailblazers ceremony, which honours those who have championed lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, and took to the stand to announce hit show Orange Is the New Black as the winner of one of the night's awards. Lovato then shared her own experiences with the LGBT community, explaining how her own grandfather had 'come out' in the 1960s.
She told the crowd, "I've never spoken about this before, but my grandfather was a trailblazer himself. He was brave enough to come out in the 1960s, and I feel that a lot of my spirit has come from him. He passed away a few years later and I only wish he could have been able to see all the progress that has been made. "It's such an honour to be welcomed and embraced by the LGBT community, so thank you very much."
Others honoured at the event included U.S. basketball's first openly gay player Jason Collins, who was presented an award from pop star Lance Bass, and Ugandan gay rights activist John Abdallah Wambere, who received his prize from rocker Michael Stipe.
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
Newlywed Meredith Baxter first met her wife over the phone after she sought out a companion to talk about her struggle with sobriety. The former Family Ties actress tied the knot with contractor Nancy Locke earlier this month (08Dec13), eight years since they first spoke.
Locke tells the New York Times that a pal gave her Baxter's number as she tried to overcome her addiction issues.
While Locke only knew her sober phone friend as 'Meredith', the pair spent the next five months talking on the telephone - before the relationship turned into a romance.
Baxter adds, "I knew she was a contractor and she was gay. She knew nothing about me. My role was that of a listener."
The two finally decided to meet in person for the first time at a Santa Monica, California coffee shop, and Locke was beyond surprised upon learning the woman she had been sharing her deepest feelings with for the past few months was a well-known actress.
Locke explains, "I remember thinking, 'There’s that actress. What’s her name? Meredith Baxter.' As she came towards me I said, 'Wait. You're Meredith?'"
The following year, they began dating, and Baxter publicly came out as a lesbian last year (12).
Fine Line Features
It’s hard to believe, but this Halloween marked the 20th anniversary of River Phoenix’s death. The actor had yet to reach his peak when he died of a drug overdose outside The Viper Room in Hollywood at only twenty-three years old. Phoenix was often referred to as the new James Dean, and as hyperbolic as that may sound, it was actually very true – Phoenix displayed a truthful and raw intensity in all his roles that projected a maturity beyond his years, which is impressive considering that he had grown up having never seeing a film in his life. His short career inspired a legion of actors and his death allowed actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp to have the careers they had. The troubled actor was also heavily involved with environmental organizations: he had famously bought a section of the Amazon rainforest after receiving his first big check, just so that portion of the forest couldn’t be cut down. Sensitive and intelligent, Phoenix was more than just a pretty face – he was a one-of-a-kind performer that brought authenticity to every role he played. (But damn, that face sure was pretty.)
Explorers Ok, so Explorers isn’t exactly award-winning material, but it's Phoenix’s first feature film and is adorably weird. The film is a dorky sci-fi fantasy that has a chubby-faced Phoenix (who looks like the stereotypical image you get when you hear the words “President of the AV Club”) starring alongside a young Ethan Hawke (bonus point of greatness: Phoenix’s character is named Wolfgang). The boys somehow come up with a magic machine out of a Tilt-A-Whirl cart and cruise around different galaxies, so the film is obviously awesome. Though it didn’t fare well in box office sales, the film went on to acquire a cult following.
Stand By Me Truly one of the best coming-of-age films, Stand By Me was only Phoenix’s second feature film. The movie was well-acted by all the leads, but Phoenix showed a maturity beyond his fourteen years. Stand By Me was also when he began his trademark trend of being able to steal the entire movie he was in with just one scene. For the famous scene by the fire in which Phoenix’s character breaks down after sharing his disappointment of a teacher betraying him, director Rob Reiner reportedly told the actor to think of the saddest moment in his life – once the scene was over, Phoenix was still crying uncontrollably. The depth that Phoenix brought to the role was effortlessly translated on the screen and immediately turned him into a star, full on with both critical acclaim and Tiger Beat covers.
Running On Empty A storyline that had similarities with the actor’s own life, Running On Empty had Phoenix starring alongside Judd Hirsch, Christine Lahti, and Phoenix’s then-girlfriend, Martha Plimpton. The film finds Phoenix living as the son of two fugitives on the run from the FBI for an anti-war protest bombing of a napalm lab. The family had to constantly move around and change their identities, harking back to Phoenix’s own nomadic childhood during his family's days in the controversial Children of God cult. The scene of Phoenix’s confession about his identity to Plimpton’s character in the garden was hands-down the best scene in the film, and his performance ended up getting him an Oscar nomination at the ripe young age of seventeen.
Dogfight Dogfight is such an overlooked and underrated film, not only in Phoenix’s filmography, but just in general. The Nancy Savoka–directed flick is set in Vietnam War-era San Francisco and has a deceptively simple storyline: Phoenix plays an eighteen year-old Marine who takes Lili Taylor out on a date the night before he’s shipped off to Vietnam – what Taylor’s character doesn’t know is that Phoenix is taking her to a “dogfight,” a pretty evil game the other Marines play in which the soldiers compete for cash for who can bring the ugliest date. Taylor finds out and leaves, Phoenix follows, and voila – sappy rom-com, right? Except Dogfight somehow manages to be a wonderfully profound movie that avoids stereotypes and predictability, instead illuminating the nature of human relationships. Both Taylor and Phoenix’s performances are brilliant, and their adorably awkward bedroom scenes are so realistic, you’ll be cringing in your seat along with them. Plus, the film gives Musical Bingo some cred by making it spark some serious foreplay, so that’s totally awesome, too.
The Thing Called Love Though it’s definitely not the best film in his catalogue, The Thing Called Love is a great movie just for Phoenix’s crazy chemistry with Samantha Mathis, who he was wooing during filming (spoiler: he succeeded). It also has a charming Dylan McDermott and a young Sandra Bullock, just before she broke through with Speed. The film revolves around country music, but even if country isn’t your thing, the songs are still enjoyable and, making it even better, the actors actually sing their own songs. Phoenix initially wanted to be a musician and had a band called Aleka’s Attic alongside his sister Rain, so getting to see/hear Phoenix’s musical chops is a treat. The film is also Phoenix’s last completed film, and despite the fact that Phoenix was obviously strung out during filming, the charm and complexity he brought out in his character makes the film worth it.
My Own Private Idaho Considered to be Phoenix’s magnum opus, My Own Private Idaho has Gus Van Sant directing in all his weird, ethereal glory. The film is essentially an entanglement of two stories, one of Phoenix on a mission to find his long-lost mother, and the other revolving around Keanu Reeves in a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Henry V. Phoenix plays a narcoleptic street hustler who’s in love with Reeves, his wealthy best friend who is really just playing gay-for-pay to rebel against his father. The film is notable for its Shakespearian dialogues and dreamy sequences symbolizing Phoenix’s character’s narcolepsy, but it’s Phoenix who makes the film the treasure that it is, serving as the heart and soul of the entire movie. The famous campfire scene where Phoenix professes his love to an uncomfortable Reeves was mostly rewritten by Phoenix himself, and the result is one of the most heartbreaking and well-acted scenes in film. My Own Private Idaho is when Phoenix allegedly began using drugs, and the character he played is eerily similar to perceptions of Phoenix – sadly conflicted, passionate and generous, jaded and tired, yet idealistic and innocent.
NBC may still be in fourth place, but that doesn't mean they were hurting for news at today's Television Critics Panel, in which the network's entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt and other Peacock execs unveiled a slate of exciting upcoming programming...and less than satisfactorily addressed NBC's shortcomings. Here's what we learned.
1. A Hillary Clinton Miniseries Is in the Works
Diane Lane has been cast to play the former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State in a four-hour miniseries event that will likely air in late 2014 or early 2015. Greenblatt was quick to note that it most likely will broadcast before Clinton announces whether or not she will seek the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nomination, a decision expected in spring or summer of 2015. No word yet on who will play Bill.
2. Rosemary's Baby to be Rebooted
Roman Polanski's 1968 horror-pregnancy classic will become a series, following the network's success with turning another classic horror movie franchise into a TV series in Hannibal.
3. Stephen King's The Tommyknockers To Get the Series Treatment
Considering the blockbuster numbers for CBS' summer adaptation of Stephen King's Under the Dome, NBC wants a piece of the action. So they're planning a series treatment for King's 1987 novel about the residents of a Maine town who slowly fall under the influence of a mysterious object in the woods, The Tommyknockers.
4. NBC's Ratings Are Fine!
Greenblatt defended NBC's ever-sagging ratings and suggested that there would be nothing the network could do to replicate the success of say, The Walking Dead, a hit so big he called it "an anomaly." Way to set the bar low!
5. Sunday Night Football Will Feature Matrix-style Replays
360-degree "bullet time" replays are in the works to give viewers an all-angle overview of key plays during Sunday Night Football next season. Sounds expensive, but considering that it's the only NBC franchise with blockbuster numbers it's probably a sound investment.
6. Sean Hayes Has a Bold Proclamation for His New Show
The former Will & Grace star, who despite playing a gay character for years on the hit series only recently came out of the closet himself, says sexuality isn't at the forefront of his new series Sean Saves the World. Rather, he calls it a "post-gay" series.
7. Sorry, Jessica Simpson
NBC has canceled the reality-competition show Fashion Star.
8. Praise for The New Normal, Just Not Renewal
Greenblatt called the Ryan Murphy-cocreated sitcom "ahead of its time" in its depiction of a gay couple...so ahead of its time that it had to be canceled.
9. They Want Jay Leno to Stick Around
But not on The Tonight Show, nor on a 10:00 variety show. Greenblatt says he's hoping Leno will become an NBC alumnus like Bob Hope, who in his later years didn't have a regular show on the network but remained loyal to it nonetheless, popping up for specials every now and then.
10. Why? Whyyyyyyyy?
In time for their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia next February, NBC Sports will produce an original documentary on the 20th anniversary of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan's infamous clubbing attack at the hands of the ex-husband of her skating rival, Tonya Harding.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt | Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter @Hollywood_com
More: ‘American Idol’ Racist: 10 Former Contestants Filing a Lawsuit Think So ‘The Bible’ Is Getting a Sequel and Moving to NBC ‘Under the Dome’ Premiere Recap
From Our PartnersBattle of the Bikini Bodies (Celebuzz)Fangbanging: Complete Guide to All of 'True Blood's Sex Scenes (Vh1)
The California church where Ronald Reagan exchanged vows with his wife Nancy in 1952 and Britney Spears found solace from the paparazzi in 2008 is opening its doors to same-sex weddings. The Little Brown Church in Studio City has hosted almost 23,000 ceremonies since it opened in 1939, and now Pastor Russell Willoughby and Associate Minister Reverend Michael Kosik are planning to help gays and lesbians celebrate new California marriage laws by giving them a spiritual home where they can say their 'I dos'.
And they're keen to encourage conservative Christians, who still refuse to accept that gay people should be allowed to marry, to change their views.
Pastor Russell says, "At the Little Brown Church, we believe that loving relationships are gifts from God, regardless of the sexual orientation of those involved.
"I have a hard time understanding why the thought of two people loving each other and devoting their lives to one another is so upsetting to many Christians. So what if the people in love are not heterosexual? I can't believe that God would limit something so wonderful as romantic love to only one group - those who are straight. Do you really think God would discriminate like this?
"Back when same-sex marriage was legal for a few months before (the legislation) Prop 8 was passed, many gay and lesbian couples were married at The Little Brown Church. The vast majority of these couples had been together for many years, loving and caring for one another in committed relationships. It was an honour for me to officiate at their weddings."
The Little Brown Church is part of the Church of the Valley in Van Nuys, California - a participating congregation in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Pastor Russell adds, "Our denomination is very ecumenical. This inherent openness is one of our greatest strengths. Church of the Valley is an official open and affirming congregation, which means that we have voted, as a congregation, to be radically inclusive of all regardless of sexual orientation, gender identification, social status, racial identity, ethnic background or nation of origin."
Officials at gay rights group GLAAD are thrilled to hear the church is welcoming to same-sex couples looking to wed.
Ross Murray, the head of the organisation's Religion, Faith & Values Program, tells WENN, "The Little Brown Church joins the ever-growing majority of Christian congregations that welcome and accept gay and lesbian couples, just as they are, and support their relationships and their families.
"Providing weddings for same-sex couples is a significant step to welcoming the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community into the larger Christian church."
The tiny little church, which never closes its doors, last hit the headlines in January, 2008, when Britney Spears and her then-boyfriend, photographer Adnan Ghalib, stopped by the place of worship and lit a candle after abruptly leaving a scheduled custody hearing at the Los Angeles Superior Court. Spears also left a message in the church prayer box.
ABC's newest family comedy is a bit of a fixer-upper. Actually — I take it back. There's no way Family Tools could ever be fixed in a jiffy. This show might just be beyond repair.
Take one part bumbling-ne'er-do-well son, one part dysfunctional family, two parts workplace drama, and mix it in a blender with your diversity-mandated stock characters and volia! You have the bare bones of Family Tools. Garnish with daddy issues, religion, or health problems of your choice. The show starts out simply enough: son Jack (Kyle Bornheimer) comes home from seminary school (just one of his many attempts at finding a career, apparently) following one of his father's numerous heart attacks to take over the family business, Mr. Jiffy Fix. For a show that's all about fixing stuff, it's a bit of a head-scratcher as to how and why they forget to fix the actual show before putting it on air. But as the saying goes: you can't put a square peg into a round hole.
Real talk: Family Tools just isn't very good. Sorry! Not to be a negative Nancy about stuff, but it truly is warranted. Family Tools is missing one too many parts and has way too many screws loose. I mean, it's so not good, it has me talking in clichés! A word of advice: when attempting to create a family comedy (just like oh, every other show on ABC), it helps to have at least something that makes you interesting and engaging.
That's not to say the people on the show are bad actors: far from it. Bornheimer is a delight, but seems to only ever be cast in middling drivel such as this. J.K. Simmons, who plays family patriarch Tony, is also a regularly reliable comedic talent. The problem lies at the heart: a sloppily-written show with a milquetoast premise that somebody, somewhere thought was zany.
But zany it is not, as the show's believability factor is surprisingly low for such a simple premise. I mean, to ask the audience to accept that actress Leah Remini could possibly pass as Bornheimer's aunt — the two actually have an age difference of only five years in real life — is straight-up odd, and feels far from organic. Was this right-place, right-time casting? Sure, OK, it's certainly feasible for there to be a 15 year age difference between siblings. It's been known to happen! But without a little context or explanation, the casting choice is a real head-scratcher.
There are jokes about stripper moms, sexually aggressive coworkers (yes, always hilaaaarious when someone calls their sister a slut just for showing interest in a guy. Man! The a-hyucks just keep comin'), more than one reference to the cereal Fruit Loops as a euphemism for gay people, go-karts, yoga jokes, dudes in skirts, a FLUTE JAM SESSION, and even an appearance by Jo Koy, just to round out this mangled mess of a pilot.
So, do you think I enjoyed Family Tools? No, shock of all shocks, I most definitely did not. My advice to ABC? Just let it die: it's probably what they're is hoping for, anyway. But in the end, it's up to you, viewers, to make or break this junked up van of a show. If you're into lowest-common-demoniator humor that appeals to the lamest of Middle America and will in turn be the downfall of society, be my guest.
What did you think of Family Tools? Let us know in the comments.
Follow @AliciaLutes on Twitter
From Our Partners:Nina Dobrev, Julianne Hough Bikini in Miami (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
The media focused so much on Michelle Obama’s looks for yesterday’s inauguration that The Daily Show correspondents spent an entire segment wearing bobs-with-bangs wigs. Yes, we all got a little too excited this week about Michelle Obama’s spectacular new bangs. Even I, a longtime bang advocate, found myself particularly surprised by how flattering they looked on the First Lady.
And yes, I’m totally fine with having that thought.
One could make the argument that we are being superficial and ignoring the real issues by spending time on Michelle Obama’s shocking aesthetic decisions — not just bangs, but a Jason Wu gown for the second inauguration in a row! But one can also be pretty sure that the same air time and publication space used to discuss such matters would not automatically be turned over to incisive analyses of geopolitics. If anything, they’d be in danger of occupation by a Kardashian or Real Housewifian sartorial choice. Wouldn’t you rather see Michelle Obama there?
RELATED: Michelle Obama Style Guide: Did the First Lady Top Her 2009 Inaugural Looks?
That’s why we can all feel good about our obsession with Michelle’s bangs and gowns and sweaters and eyelashes, especially on Inauguration Day, which is basically like prom for presidents.
This obsession may carry a whiff of sexism, in the most basic sense: No, we’re not quite as interested in men’s fashion choices, though Jay-Z also looked spectacular. Oh, and you, too, Mr. President. But the president is the one who is president. The fact that we haven’t had a female president is sexism. The fact that we pay more attention to the president’s words — you know, the historic invocation of Stonewall and call for gay rights, the plea for better gun control — than to his outfit is common sense.
RELATED: Michelle Obama Rocks New Bangs: The Best and Worst in Celebrity Fringe
It’s deeply sexist when we degrade and dismiss a woman in politics based on her looks, as so many have done to Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and probably every other female politician ever. It’s sexist when we focus on Sarah Palin’s sex appeal while ignoring her politics, for better or worse.
But on a day when pageantry is paramount, and the First Lady looks stunning, there’s nothing wrong with stopping to admire her. She’s a particularly important public figure for women, based, to some extent, on the way she looks — she is a woman of color who wears both designer and off-the-rack mall staples like J. Crew. She also has the kind of figure we don’t necessarily have to starve ourselves to aspire to (though we will need our hand weights). That’s no small thing.
Now, how many of you are getting bangs this week?
RELATED: Beyonce and Jay-Z: The Other First Couple?
Hollywood.com correspondent Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is the author of two forthcoming books, Sexy Feminism (due out in March) and Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted, a history of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (due out in May). For more information visit JenniferKArmstrong.com.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter @jmkarmstrong
When you're in high school it feels like the whole world is against you. In writer/director Stephen Chbosky's high school-set The Perks of Being a Wallflower the whole world may actually be against Charlie (Logan Lerman) whose freshman year of high school should be listed in the dictionary under "Murphy's Law." Plagued by memories of two significant deaths as well as general social anxiety Charlie takes a passive approach to ninth grade. A few days of general bullying later he falls into a friendship with two misfit seniors Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson) who teach him how to live life without fear. Perks starts off with a disadvantage: introverts aren't terribly engaging but Chbosky surrounds Charlie with a vivid cast of characters who help him blossom and inject the coming-of-age tale with a necessary energy.
Set in a timeless version of the '90s Charlie's world is full of handwritten journals mixtapes and a just-tolerable amount of tweed. He writes letters to a nameless recipient as a way of venting a preventative measure to keep the teen from repeating a vague incident that previously left him hospitalized. The drab background of Pittsburgh fits perfectly with Charlie's blank existence. And when he finally comes to life as part of Patrick and Sam's off-beat clique so does the city. Like the archaic vinyl records Sam lusters over (The Smiths of course!) Chbosky visualizes Charlie's journey through the underbelly of suburban Pennsylvania with a raw emotion blooming lights and film grit at every turn. Michael Brook's score and an adeptly curated soundtrack accompanies the episodic affair which centers on Charlie's search for a song he hears during the most important moment of his life.
The charm that keeps The Perks of Being a Wallflower from collapsing under its own super seriousness come from Chbosky's perfectly cast ensemble. Lerman has a thankless job playing Charlie; often constrained to a half-smile and shy shrug Lerman is never allowed to grapple with Charlie's greatest fears and problems until (too) late in the film. Watson nails the spunky object-of-everyone's-affection but she's outshined by Mae Whitman as Mary Elizabeth another rebellious friend in the pack who takes a liking to Charlie. The real star turn is Miller riding high from We Need to Talk About Kevin and taking a complete 180 with Patrick a rambunctious wiseass who struggles to have an openly gay relationship with the football captain but covers his pain with humor. A scene of confrontation — at where else the cafeteria — is one of the best scenes of the year.
Chbosky adapted Perks of Being a Wallflower from his own book and the movie feels stifled by a looming structure. But it nails the emotional beats — there is no obvious path to surviving high school. It's messy shocking and occasionally beautiful. That about sums up Perks.
On Saturday, U.S. Representative Barney Frank, 72, became the first sitting member of congress to enter a same sex marriage. Frank and now husband Jim Ready, 42, enjoyed a Massachusetts wedding on Saturday evening, with guests including Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, and Dennis Kucinich. And now, GLAAD has recognized the incredible significance of Frank's marriage in the continuing journey for civil equality in America.
"For decades, Representative Frank has blazed trails in tireless pursuit of equality for every American," the organization's president, Herndon Graddick, tells Hollywood.com exclusively. "It's only fitting that he's now become the first sitting Congressman to wed his same-sex partner, once again reshaping the texts of history and personifying the opinion shared by a majority of Americans who believe everyone should be able to marry the person they love. We extend our warmest congratulations to Rep. Frank, his husband and their families."
Frank was also the first sitting congressman to come out as openly gay, back in 1987.
You can read more about Rep. Frank's wedding and relationship with Ready here.
Barney Frank[Photo Credit: HBO]
Brad Pitt's Mom Writes Anti-Gay, Anti-Obama Plea
Bristol Palin Slams Obama for Supporting Gay Marriage & Takes a Shot at ‘Glee’
'Hunger Games' Star Josh Hutcherson Honored for Gay Rights Activism