So exhaustingly all-encompassing is social media that certain folks are actually beginning to explore new platforms tailored more specifically to their needs. Beamly, for instance, is a social media platform built with a pop culture (TV, in particular) brain as its model. The new app, which launches today, is designed to help users hone in on the stars and television shows they love, offering the opportunity to follow, learn about, talk about, and interact with them. Beamly has over 100 TV and pop culture icons on board with the big launch, including Kandi Burruss of Real Housewives of Atlanta (she says all of us Gladiators can meet her in the Scandal TV Room), and YouTube sensations like Tyler Oakley, Sawyer Hartman and Kalel Cullen. Tyler Oakley first started rocking the viral world when his tongue-in-cheek video about the problematics of gay marriage opposition became a huge hit. Three hundred videos and over four million YouTube subscribers later, Oakley is working with Beamly to bring us this exciting new app, and even made some time to share details about the project with Hollywood.com in an exclusive interview.
First off, I was watching your “100 Things That Happened in 2013” video and that was such an amazing recap! How's your 2014 looking, in comparison to last year?
Thanks! 2013 was an amazing year for me, but so far 2014 hasn’t been too shabby either. I raised half a million dollars for a charity for my birthday, advised President Barack Obama on social media strategy, and got to attend the MTV Movie Awards. Not too bad so far.
Before we get into Beamly, I'd love to hear your take on your own position right now, for people who may not quite get it. What does it take to become a YouTube sensation? How would you explain your job to others?
Basically, I just try to live my most adventurous life, and then come back to my computer and share it with my audience. I never thought of YouTube as a career, but after college I decided to leave my job and try it full time. At the end of the day I am just a guy, living his dream.
What can you tell us about the Beamly app? I'm especially curious to know how it's different from Twitter in terms of fan interaction.
What I like about Beamly is it allows me to connect with my viewers around TV shows that we’re passionate about. With Twitter, everything is happening at once. Beamly helps you filter out the noise so you can really dig in with the particular show you are interested in.
Now, I'm a total Scandal freak... like to a creepy degree. How will Beamly help me get closer to my favorite Gladiators? And by "closer" I mean, like, "in the CIA office with Jake, making out with him."
Beamly allows you to give your point of view on something happening in a show, or weigh in and discuss a particular character. I don’t know if it will help you make out with Jake, but it certainly allows you to talk at length with other super fans about his every detail.
Do you have a favorite feature on Beamly?
Just being able to actually have conversations with my people all about our favorite TV shows. Sometimes it’s a bit one-sided, but on Beamly, I can actually discuss.
What's next for you in the coming months? Any big events that we should know about?
I like to have realistic dreams, so obviously next is world domination.
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Captain America: The Winter Soldier is filled — and I mean jam-packed — with genre-bending, action-heavy, sportily tense and relentlessly sinuous, sky-high-concept and maniacally bonkers stuff. Polygonal mayhem that aims, and impressively so, to top the Marvel lot in ideas, deconstructing every thriller staple from government corruption to talking computers to odd couple agents gone rogue. But oddly enough, the moment in the Cap sequel that I find most arresting several weeks after seeing the film is our peaceful reunion with Steve Rogers, trotting merrily around the Washington Monument as the sun rises on our nation's capital.
The scene is shot from far overhead, a low pulse/high spirits Chris Evans reduced to a shapeless blur as he repeatedly (but politely!) laps fellow jogger and veteran Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie)... and yet it might be the closest we feel to Cap throughout the movie.
The Winter Soldier has a lot to worry about in the delivery of its content. Managing a plot as ambitious and multifaceted as its own, with themes as grand as the scope of the American mentality — as represented by Steve Rogers, raised in the good old days of gee-golly-jingoism — it doesn't always have the faculties to devote to humanizing its central troupe. Cap isn't left hollow, but his battles with the dark cloud of contemporary skepticism play more like an intriguing Socratic discussion than an emotional arc. Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, a character who ran circles around her Avengers co-players in flavor, feels a bit shortchanged in that department here (in her closest thing to a starring role yet, no less).
Mackie's Falcon, a regular joe who is roped into the calamity thanks largely to his willingness to chat with a fellow runner — a rare skill, honestly — is less of a problem. He doesn't have much to do, but he does it all well enough. Dynamic though he may be, Mackie keeps things bridled as Cap's ad-hoc sidekick, playing up the along-for-the-ride shtick rather than going full (or even half) superhero. We might want more from him, knowing just how fun he can be, but it's a sating dose. The real hunger is for more in the way of Black Widow, Cap, and — perhaps most of all — the titular villain.
Still, these palpable holes pierce through a film that gets plenty right. As elegantly as Joe Johnston did the Spielberg thing back in 2011, Joe and Anthony Russo take on the ballots of post-innocence. They aren't afraid to get wild and weird, taking The Winter Soldier through valleys that feel unprecedented in superhero cinema. We're grateful for the invention here — for Robert Redford's buttoned-up Tom Clancy villain, for the directors' aggressive tunneling through a wide underworld of subterranean corruption, and especially for one scene in an army bunker that amounts to the most charmingly bats**t crazy reveal in any Marvel movie yet. We might be most grateful, though, for a new take on Nick Fury; here, the franchise gives Samuel L. Jackson his best material by a mile.
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But in the absence of definitive work done in our heroing couple, a pair rich in fibers but relegated to broad strokes and easy quips in this turn, most of it amounts to a fairly good spy thriller, not an ace-in-the-whole neo-superhero masterpiece... which, justly or otherwise, is what we've come to expect and demand from these things.
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Yes, we all know that Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson know how to kick some serious ass in the Panem arena, but that's just child's play. The toughest arena out there is the infamous Saturday Night Live stage in Studio 8H. Many go in, but only few come out with their heads held high.
Competitors come from far and wide to wield their comedy swords against the fierce beast that is Lorne Michaels, eager to prove that they have what it takes to be both an esteemed performer and a relatable human being. Hunger Games stars such as Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, and Lenny Kravitz have taken to the stage before, and soon their fellow dystopia resident Hutcherson is set to master comedy on a chilly Saturday night. While all of our Hunger Games actors might claim to have a funny bone or two, only one can come out victorious. So who will it be?
Jennifer LawrenceSome might jump the gun and announce J-Law the victor without a second thought, but unfortunately, her natural good humor might just be tricking us into believing that she is the funniest of them all. Lawrence has what it takes to tackle the media and film, but her performance on SNL in January 2013 proved that nerves can get the best of all of us. After handling her monologue with questionable capability, Lawrence exhibited a handful of sketches that were surprisingly awkward. However, she delivered her sketch dressed up as dog quite well. Lawrence is one of those actors who doesn't care if she looks silly (or so we're lead to believe), so her confidence adds 10 points to whatever she's doing.
Woody HarrelsonDon't let the resident Hunger Games sourpuss fool you — Harrelson knows how to make a crowd laugh. Not only did he host in 1989 before either Lawrence or Hutcherson were born, but he took the stage by storm once again in 1992. During his first stint, his monologue consisted of a song mostly inspired from reading a thesaurus, and in 1992 he showed that he wasn't afraid to show some skin when he whipped off his shirt in a sketch aptly titled, "Take off Your Shirt." Not to mention that he was aided by the comedy gold that is Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Kevin Nealon, and Nora Dunn.
Lenny KravitzKravitz is definitely the wildcard in the pack. The singer and actor has never hosted the late-night variety show, but he has been the musical guest twice and has cameoed in sketches. Additionally, he showed his comedy skills when he played a considerable part in Jimmy Kimmel's "Handsome Men's Club" sketch on his talk show. However, until we're able to see Kravitz take on the role of host, we're not sure that he would be able to beat out the other tributes.
Julianne MooreMoore entered the battlefield in 1998 and proved that she can hold her own up against the likes of Tim Meadows, Ana Gasteyer, Molly Shannon, Cheri Oteri, and Darrell Hammond. Moore made her mark in "The Ladies' Man" sketch where she appeared in a sultry red dress in a bed alongside Meadows, and in the famous Gasteyer and Shannon sketch "The Delicious Dish" where she skillfully bantered on the radio as a brainwashed cult member. (Not to mention that she was paired up with musical guest Backstreet Boys, who were at their prime in the late '90s. Anyone that's deemed good enough for Backstreet Boys in 1998 must be doing something right.)
Josh HutchersonThis tribute is certainly the newest to the battle (and the youngest), but we have high hopes in his comedy skills. In his promos for SNL, he seemed like a complete natural next seasoned Bobby Moynihan. Moynihan puts him through the "SNL Initiation" to see if he's up for the challenge, and the good news is that he passes all of the tests with flying colors, which makes us think that he'll be quite the competitor.
Winner: Julianne Moore (mostly because we think she has the experience to handle anything), although we can't count out Hutcherson until this weekend when he hosts SNL alongside musical guest HAIM on Nov. 23 on NBC.
If Saturday Night Live MVPs Bill Hader and/or Kristen Wiig — pictured here being taaaaahhhhtally hilarious, and, like, awesome in The Californians sketch — were to emerge victorious at the 64th Primetime Emmys this Sunday night, not only would they be well-deserved wins, but historic ones at that.
In the span of its unparalleled 38 seasons on the air, only two full-time SNL cast members have won Emmys for their work on the show. Chevy Chase and Gilda Radner both won the award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program in 1976 and 1978, respectively. That's right, it's been nearly 35 years since a thinking man's class clown and a groundbreaking funny lady have walked away with Emmys for their work on Lorne Michaels' late night comedy institution.
In other words, if Hader and/or Wiig were to win for Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, respectively, not only would they be the first SNL players to win in those categories (Wiig has been nominated in her category before, as was fellow SNL retiree Amy Poehler, while Hader is the first male cast member since Eddie Murphy in 1983 to be up for the accolade), but they'd break a far too-long drought of SNL cast members being inexcusably snubbed. These cast members not only did their jobs on live television, but brought multiple characters (some of which became all-time favorites among fans) to life every week. No small feat for the small screen.
That's not to say that SNL or its talented cast members have been completely shut-out during the series' time on the air. The show, which has generated countless comedy superstars (many of whom have later gone on to capture Emmy glory on other shows), has earned 21 Primetime Emmys. In addition to Chase and Radner's wins, SNL greats like Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Andy Samberg, Seth Meyers, Phil Hartman, Mike Myers, and Al Franken all have golden Emmy statuettes on their mantles, just not for their performances as full-time cast members. For instance, Fey won as a head writer in 2002 and Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2009 for her iconic, star-making turn as former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin during the 2008 Presidential race.
While the Emmys had nominated legendary full-time cast members such as Will Ferrell, Molly Shannon, Dan Aykroyd, and Jane Curtin in the past in the Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program category, the lack of recognition for the talent's efforts on air is an overwhelming oversight. With this having been Wiig's final season on SNL, Emmy may finally give the actress her due for her eight dominating years as the show's oft saving grace. Though, in years past, Emmy may wait to reward her for her inevitable return as host someday. (Much like they did with Fallon, who won this year for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his spectacular turn as the host for an episode in 2011).
But why wait? Sharp, hard-working, gut-busting SNL powerhouses like Hader (who has emerged as one of the show's driving forces, not to mention one of the funniest guys on television today) and Wiig may be part of the rich Not Ready For Primetime Players heritage, but they are more than ready — and deserving — for a Primetime Emmy.
[Photo credit: NBC]
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