2014 was a great year for fans of pop culture and books. We learned the stories behind the making of a classic, had a young girl tell us what she's "learned," and even learned the secrets of modeling that Tyra could never have taught us. We've rounded up the best of these just in case you're looking for a last minute gift or the next pick for your book club.
1. "Yes Please" - Amy Poehler
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For: A fledgling feminist in her twenties who could use a good laugh and some sound advice from a Smart Girl, or anyone who needs to hear that it's okay to feel the way they're feeling.
Memorable Quote: "Because what else are we going to do? Say no? Say no to an opportunity that may be slightly out of our comfort zone? Quiet our voice because we are worried it's not perfect? I believe great people do things before they are ready."
(Bonus quote: "I have the Angelina Jolie of vaginas.")
2. "Not My Father's Son" - Alan Cumming
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For: Fans of Who Do You Think You Are? or anyone trying to overcome their childhood dramas and are seeking inspiration.
Memorable Quote: "For yes, being a woman, even one with a penis and for the purposes of drama really made me feel that women have been coerced into a way of presenting themselves that is basically a form of bondage. Their shoes, their skirts, even their nails seem designed to stop them from being able to escape whilst at the same time drawing attention to their sexual and secondary sexual characteristics. And I think that has happened so that men feel they can ogle them and protect them in equal measure."
3. "The Woman I Wanted To Be" - Diane von Furstenberg
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For: The fashionista who knows what she wants, or the woman in your life who wants to 'have it all.'
Memorable Quote: "In my older face, I see my life. Every wrinkle, every smile line, every age spot. There is a saying that with age, you look outside what you are inside. If you are someone who never smiles your face gets saggy. If you're a person who smiles a lot, you will have more smile lines. Your wrinkles reflect the roads you have taken; they form the map of your life. My face reflects the wind and sun and rain and dust from the trips I've taken. My face carries all my memories. Why should I erase them?"
4. "So, Anyway" - John Cleese
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For: The Monty Python fan seeking a crash course in what makes comedy funny and what makes a comedian successful.
Memorable Quote: "So, creatively, I was doubly blessed: constant relocation and parental disharmony. Add to these two gifts the well-established fact that many of the world's greatest geniuses, both artistic and scientific, have been the product of serious maternal deprivation, and I am forced to the conclusion that if only my mother had been just a little more emotionally inadequate, I could have been HUGE."
5. "Uganda Be Kidding Me" - Chelsea Handler
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For: Chelsea Handler fans suffering withdrawals during this period between her E! show and her upcoming Netflix gig.
Memorable Quote: "There's a difference between being a class act and being classy. Peeing off the side of a Jeep doesn't mean you're not classy, it just means you're a free spirit with a small bladder."
6. "The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year" - Andy Cohen
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For: Any pop culture junkie who wants all the dirt on their favorite celebrities; any Real Housewives fans itching to know which lady is causing the most trouble.
Memorable Quote: "I literally almost called this book Diary of a Name-Dropper. So if you want to play a drinking game while reading this book—and that's not a great idea and only gonna last for so long—take a swing every time you read a name you recognize."
7. "Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's 'Learned'" - Lena Dunham
For: Any guy or Girl who's almost getting it kind of together; anyone whose own thoughts have sometimes been too much for them.
Memorable Quote: "When someone shows you how little you mean to them and you keep coming back for more, before you know it you start to mean less to yourself. You are not made up of compartments! You are one whole person! What gets said to you gets said to all of you, ditto what gets done. Being treated like shit is not an amusing game or a transgressive intellectual experiment. It's something you accept, condone, and learn to believe you deserve. This is so simple. But I tried so hard to make it complicated."
8. "Dancing With Myself" - Billy Idol
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For: The wannabe groupie; anyone interested in the not-to-be-believed antics and lifestyles of glam rockers.
Memorable Quote: "After a while, my nose became so bloody that I reverted to smoking cocaine instead. From there, it was all downhill."
9. "Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty" - Diane Keaton
For: Anyone who has ever felt or been told they were ugly or imperfect; anyone who sees themselves aging before a mirror and sighs.
Memorable Quote: "After living with Mr. Lincoln's portrait for several years, I've come to this conclusion: his beauty, like the hidden cast of his right eye, became identifiable only after I included "unsightly" as a possible way of describing a beautiful face."
10. "Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America" - John Waters
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For: Your eccentric friend with incurable wanderlust; anyone who wants to see America from a very different pair of eyes.
Memorable Quote: "I'm alive, I think, and so many of my friends are not. I may be nuts to be doing this, but I'm kind of proud of myself. I am having an adventure. I like my life. Even if I have to stand here for the rest of it."
11. "Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography" - Neil Patrick Harris
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For: The person living a life that seems unworthy of a book and wants to live vicariously through Doogie Howser, M.D.; fans of choose-your-own-adventure books, biographies, and How I Met Your Mother.
Memorable Quote: "If you had known people would be calling you by your character name for the next twenty years, you might have asked for a different one. Thunderbolt Howser, say, or Dr. Feelgood, or Baron von Sexy Ass."
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Rapper Nicki Minaj has scored a big legal victory after a lawsuit filed against her by her former hairstylist was thrown out of court.
Earlier this year (14), Terrence Davidson accused the Starships hitmaker of stealing his multi-colored wig designs and then reneging on a deal to enter into a business partnership for her trademark hairpieces. He demanded $30 million (£18.75 million) in compensation, but Minaj fired back at Davidson, claiming he only filed suit out of anger "because he lost his most famous client".
She asked for the case to be dismissed and her request has since been granted after the U.S. judge overseeing the complaint declared there is nothing special about colored wigs, reports TMZ.com. The judge also ruled that any agreement made between Davidson and Minaj for the joint wig line had not been formally outlined and the claim was therefore too vague for him to grant damages.
Minaj parted ways with Davidson last year (13) due to "creative differences".
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Singer Ray J has pleaded no contest to a charge of misdemeanour trespassing in relation to his arrest at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles in May (14).
The star, who famously dated Kim Kardashian and appeared in her sex tape, was also charged with sexual battery, assault on a police officer and resisting arrest but those counts have been dismissed under the terms of a plea deal.
The R&B singer previously pleaded not guilty to the groping and resisting arrest charges. Reports suggest Ray J kicked out the window of a police car and spat on a police officer.
The singer told TMZ.com he smashed the window because he felt claustrophobic.
A Los Angeles District Attorney subsequently filed sexual battery, resisting arrest, assault and vandalism charges against the singer.
The 33 year old, real name Willie Ray Norwood Jr., has been sentenced to three years' probation and 50 hours of community service. He was also ordered to attend alcohol therapy and anger management classes.
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If you've seen a blockbuster action film in the last decade, chances are it was either produced or written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the pair behind franchises like Transformers, The Amazing Spider Man and the Star Trek reboot. The duo have been working side by side since the late nineties, but according to The Playlist, they're now looking to go solo and are pursuing independent film projects, although they will continue to run their television ventures together. Whenever a partnership comes to an end, people are inevitably forced to take sides, and that's exactly the task that the movie-going community is faced with right now. But how will the Internet possibly choose between two people they hold responsible for ruining franchises and inflicting mediocre action films on the world?
Allow us to settle that dispute for you by breaking down everything you need to know to pick a side in the great Orci Vs. Kurtzman conflict:
Roberto Orci Born in Mexico City Went to UT AustinMarried to Sleepy Hollow producer Melissa BlakeStepbrother-in-law is Superman Returns star Brandon RouthWriting a TV movie for Jon Favreau and a "Latino James Bond" series for Alfred Molina Looking to make his directorial debut with Star Trek 3, though Paramount seems hesitant to give him the jobScreenwriter for Star Trek 3 (Sorry, Trekkies)Attacked Star Trek fans who were upset with Star Trek: Into Darkness in a curse-filled rantHas yet to answer any of the questions that Cowboys & Aliens leaves hanging about its plot
Alex Kurtzman Born in Los AngelesWent to Wesleyan University Married to Samantha Counter, who, though probably very nice, hasn't produced anything as cool as Sleepy HollowHas a half-sister he didn't meet until age 30, which inspired him to write People Like UsMade his directorial debut with People Like Us Also directed an episode of Alias Has already been tapped to direct the Spider Man spin off Venom Will co-write Venom alongside Orci Still has not provided answers to the many questions Cowboys & Aliens raises about its plot
Now all you need to do is pick which one you feel is the lesser of two evils.
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Fashion icons aren’t born, folks. They are made, and the red carpet plays a key role in that process. Right now the high fashion faves are fairly easy to spot. Kerry Washington, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Anne Hathaway, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lawrence – these are the ladies from which we’ve come to expect big things. But there are a few up-and-coming actresses who are catching the eyes of fashionistas the world over. Start paying attention to these ladies because you may be bearing witness to the making of a fashion star.
Chloë Grace Moretz
Chloë’s not quite a household name, but she’s getting there. With starring roles in films like Carrie and Kick Ass 2, Moretz had a big year hitting up the red carpet. Fashion bloggers love her look because she always manages to rock age-appropriate styles, but stays in high fashion with designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino and Chanel. This is no small feat, but with bright colors and pastels, Ms. Chloë works the red carpet like a 16 year-old star should.
This year’s new Juliet also had plenty of reasons to attend red carpet events, with the premieres of her new movies, Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet and Ender’s Game. She’s one of the youngest actors to ever be nominated for an Academy Award (because she was amazing in 2011’s True Grit), and now she’s winning the hearts of the fashion critics. Steinfeld takes a lot of risks with her style, and it doesn't always pan out perfectly, but you get the sense that she plays an instrumental role in her look. Rocking the likes of J Brand, Thakoon, Alexander McQueen and Topshop, Steinfeld and Moretz both manage to look simultaneously youthful and elegant when they step on the scene.
During her world tour promoting The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Collins quickly became a red carpet favorite. Also unafraid of taking risks, Collins has rocked some majorly sexy looks throughout the year. She looks absolutely stunning in gowns that have sheer or mesh patterns, and we love what she did for the crop top as well.
Many of us first came to know Ashley as the sexy little English girl stirring up trouble in the Hamptons on Revenge. But fashion lovers know her for her bold red carpet looks and her amazing blog Ring My Bell. Getting lost in the gorgeous vortex that is her closet will soon become your new favorite pastime. Madekwe is always stunning, rocking a lot of red lip and some seriously plunging necklines. If you want to know how to do grown and sexy—with a little bit of punk—Smashley’s your girl.
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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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What's old is new on American Idol, it seems. Jennifer Lopez, who left the Fox singing competition after Season 11 will be back for Season 13, and this time she's being joined by new judge Harry Connick, Jr. Aussie country star Keith Urban will round out the judges table in the third spot, with Randy Jackson shifting over to his new role as a "mentor" to the contestants. Idol returns in January but begins auditions today, Sept. 3, in Boston, with subsequent stops scheduled in Atlanta, Austin, Detroit, Omaha, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco. Whether the new judges panel will stop Idol's ratings slide is another matter
“American Idol has always been about discovering the next singing superstar, and next season our judging panel will deliver a most impressive combination of talent, wisdom, and personality to do just that,” said Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly in a statement. “Jennifer Lopez, the triple-threat global superstar who loves Idol and whom Idol fans love; Harry Connick, Jr., a bonafide musical genius and fantastic Idol mentor whose honesty and expertise can help turn these hopefuls into stars; Keith Urban, a multi-Grammy-winning artist who was such a positive force on the show last season. We are also very excited to have our friend Randy Jackson now in a new role as mentor, and the captain of our team – the heart and soul of Idol – Ryan Seacrest returning as host.”
Connick released his own statement following up an Fox's announcement, saying, “I have always been a huge fan of American Idol and really enjoyed my time as a mentor on the show. And I am honored that they’ve asked me to be a judge this season. As an entertainer, I am truly excited to bring my perspective to American Idol, and to help emerging performers find their way.”
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Brendan Gleeson has made quite a name for himself with his dramatic performances in films like Braveheart, Gangs of New York, In Bruges, and the Harry Potter franchise. But for his next role, the Irish actor is going in a slightly different direction. Hollywood.com caught up with Gleeson on the set of his latest movie, Smurfs 2.
"Basically, I read the script, loved the character, loved the part, and I guess I thought, 'This will be fun, actually,'" Gleeson said when asked why he wanted to do a Smurfs film. In the movie, Gleeson plays Victor Doyle, the new stepfather to Neil Patrick Harris' character Patrick Winslow. Victor is a kind stepfather, eager to jump to Pat's aid when the Smurfs return to New York and seek his help to rescue Smurfette, who has been kidnapped by the evil Gargamel. In his quest to assist the Smurfs, however, Victor ends up transformed into a duck.
When asked if he has had the opportunity to work with his duck counterpart, Gleeson responded, "We're very well acquainted. He's my alter ego. Of course we're acquainted." The actor added, "We shared a set at one point. I think we were in tune with one another." But the extent of Gleeson's duck interactions is not limited to his time in the studio. "The day before I left to come over for the first rehearsal, three mallards landed in my front garden and flew away. Two males and a female, so I took that as a sign."
The Emmy winning actor relayed another recent duck-related incident in his life. "This morning I woke up, and I heard this noise outside. I thought there were crows. And then I realized they weren't crows at all. It was a duck. Then I forgot that I had actually set my alarm to a duck noise. Obviously something very weird is happening in the atmosphere with myself and ducks."
Smurfs 2 is a combination of animation and live action, so Brendan Gleeson had to act with imaginary Smurfs. But the Irishman is no stranger to working under strange circumstances. In his stage work for Beowulf, he had to use his imagination as well. But Gleeson was quick to point out the differences between the two projects: "Beowulf is a different kind of experience because the interaction was with the other actors and it was very clear. The only thing you had to get used to were the props and stuff like that, which were all sort of chicken wire, but you had objects. Obviously you weren't out on the sea, so the environment was virtual. But the people were real, so that you weren't really speaking to anybody who couldn't speak back."
Still, Gleeson didn't find it terribly difficult to run lines with nonexistent Smurfs. "It's always an imaginary experience. Trusting your eyes is what's most important, I think. That when you address something and the focus has to be on something that isn't there, that you don't get freaked out by virtue of the fact that it isn't there," he noted, adding, "It's all about suspension of disbelief I guess." Suspension of disbelief is certainly necessary for everyone when dealing with little blue creatures who are inexplicably cheerful all the time. We'll see if audiences can handle it as well as Gleeson.
Smurfs 2 hits theaters on July 31. We have high hopes for the sequel, sure that Gleeson's involvement will make ittotally Smurftastic.
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In the trailer for this new animated Disney film Planes, we watch as Dusty, a crop duster who wants to compete in a famous race, soar to new hights with the help of his other plane friends. Yes, it is Cars in the air. While this movie is bound to touch a lot of hearts when it is released in theaters Aug. 9, it has already shown its appeal to actor Anthony Edwards, who does the voiceover for the character Bravo in the film.
Edwards was excited to work on Planes because flying holds a special place in his heart. "I actually became a pilot two years ago, so I started flying on my own," he told Hollywood.com recently. And let's not forget Edwards other famous aeronautical role: as the ill-fated Goose (spoiler alert!) in Top Gun alongside Tom Cruise. "The truth is, Top Gun was such a big deal in a lot of people’s minds that, that character just keeps coming back," he said.
Over all, Edwards enjoys doing voiceover work. "They make it pretty easy," he said. "It’s just another fun way of telling a story, and you do it in a really controlled way. It's amazing to me the amount of work that goes on after you give the voice, what they have to do. So, you're a small part of a very big wheel." Sorry, Anthony, you're going to have to leave the talk of wheels to Cars.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
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Ray J, a.k.a. the dude in Kim Kardashian's sex tape, is hoping to ride his ex's fame to relevancy yet again with his brand new single, "I Hit it First." Yes, it's exactly what you think: a diss track about Kim K. directed toward Kim's baby daddy, Kanye West.
The singer released the artwork for his new single on Twitter, and it features a picture of Kim emerging from the ocean, pixelated a la one of the album covers for Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
RELATED: Kim Kardashian's Ex Ray J Slams Her For Sex Tape
According to GlobalGrind, the track also includes the lyrics, "Hit it from North, brought her head down South, now that I'm finished, she's on to Mr. West." Very subtle.
If you're interested in this cry for attention, you can find it on iTunes April 9.
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