Engagements. Divorces. Break-ups. Cheating scandals. Three-breasted women. Let's face it — we've seen a lot this year. So much, in fact, that it's hard to believe less than 12 months have passed between news that Taylor Swift would write songs about Jake Gyllenhaal and the news that Taylor Swift had written songs about Jake Gyllenhaal.
So what else has 2012 packed into its already jam-packed year? To take a trip down memory lane, we've handpicked some of our favorite Hollywood.com stories written about some of our favorite pop culture topics of the year. Read and enjoy below! Sniff. Pop culture grows up so fast.
Uggie, Hollywood's Most Famous Dog, Spills the Dirt on His Co-Stars — VIDEOThe Academy Awards' other break-out (it's not all about you, Angie's leg), Uggie, visited Lindsey DiMattina in Hollywood.com's offices to talk about his memoir, Uggie: My Story, and his ruff rough life alongside stars like Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon.
Brad and Angelina's Engagement Lets Gay Americans Down: Brian Moylan on why the biggest engagement of the year may also be the biggest disappointment.
Colton Dixon: 'I'm Honored' to Be the Tim Tebow of 'Idol': Lindsey DiMattina's interview with the seventh place Idol finisher proved Colton Dixon knows his power within the Christian community. Hopefully he does better than the Jets.
15 Villains We Like Better Than Heroes: As Loki entered our lexicon upping The Avengers' record-breaking arrival, Shaunna Murphy explored comics' nuanced and complex villains — translation: those who were much more interesting than their heroic counterparts.
The Hulk Problem: Lou Ferrigno on Marvel's Struggles to Bring the Hero to Screen: Prior to The Avengers, Hollywood couldn't quite hit the Hulk hard enough to turn him into a hit. That makes the original Hulk, Lou Ferrigno, angry. You'll like him when he's angry. Read his chat with Matt Patches.
10 'Community' Episodes That Couldn't Exist Without Dan Harmon: Following Community's Season 4 renewal, chatter began circulating that beloved creator Dan Harmon would not return to the series. Weeks before that proved to be true — the showrunner was replaced by David Guarascio and Moses Port — Michael Arbeiter mapped out 10 episodes of the NBC series that wouldn't exist without Harmon. Read it and weep. Really. 'Girls': A Show for Guys?: In the Spring, HBO's Girls premiered to less fanfare than chatter. Did Girls represent the new wave of comedy, or was it simply a narrow, whitewashed representation of youthful immaturity? Whatever it was, Michael Arbeiter explains why guys dig Girls. 'Brave' and the Princess Problem, Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Pixar's latest, Brave also proved to be its most divisive. Was the film a refreshing departure from Disney past — centering on a spunky heroine with no eyes on marriage — or another example of the studio's inability to break from princess culture? Kelly Schremph talks to Women in Film and others about Brave's princess problem. 'Brave's Girl Power Problem: Empowering Girls at the Expense of Boys?: And, unfortunately, as Michelle Lee points out, Bravehad a boy problem too. Notes on Nora Ephron: In 2012, we lost pop culture greats like Andy Griffith, Dick Clark, and Larry Hagman. And then there was Nora Ephron, a woman that meant as much to pop culture as pop culture meant to her. Alicia Lutes' tribute to the late screenwriter is as touching as a moment atop the Empire State Building. Joe Manganiello Hints at a 'Magic Mike' Prequel: No butts (heh) about it, as soon as Magic Mike hit theaters, we were as drawn to the Xquisite club as Mike was to tables. So imagine how pumped we were when Michael Rothman talks to Joe Manganielloand discovered a prequel could be in the works. Magical! 'Spider-Man' Fandom: Why a Reboot Was the Only Answer: Matt Patches explored why, just 10 years after the original Spider-Mantrilogy debuted, there was little fanfare surrounding the latest reboot and why, still, pop culture demanded the sequel. 'Spider-Man' Star Emma Stone Knows You Turn Her Into GIFs: Spider-Man star Emma Stoneis aware of her place in GIF culture, and tells Hollywood.com and the Internet, "Don't let me become a GIF." In response, of course, the Internet turns Stone's interview with Hollywood.com into a GIF. 'Amazing Spider-Man': How Scientific Was the Science?: Could someone replicate lizards' regenerative properties to regrow limbs? Would any company be interested in creating web technology? And could Peter Parker really order scientific liquid on Amazon? University of Minnesota and superhero science expert Dr. Jim Kakalios weighs in! Will People Head to the Theater for 'Dark Knight Rises'?: In the early morning hours of July 20, a shooter named James Holmes entered an Aurora, Colo. theater during a midnight screening of Dark Knight Risesand opened fire, killing 12 and injuring dozens more. Talking to theatergoers and theater workers, Matt Patches explores trepidation surrounding seeing the film following the tragedy. Midnight Movie Screening Culture: What Happens Now?: Following the Dark Knight Risestragedy, questions lingered regarding midnight movie culture: Would theatergoers still be allowed to wear costumes? Will theaters implement more security? Marc Snetiker talks to security experts and audience members about what might change about the cult event. Seeing 'The Dark Knight Rises' Before and After the Tragedy: Marc Snetiker, who attended a midnight screening prior to learning about the tragedy, admits his experience seeing the film was far more carefree than those who purchased tickets after. Aly Semigran and Michael Arbeiter, on the other hand, describe the tension and sadness surrounding each screening of the film following the tragedy. Why Are We So Skeptical of Celebrity Couples?: In late July, Kristen Stewart took a bite out of Twihards' hearts when she publicly admitted to cheating on boyfriend and co-star Robert Pattinson with married Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders. The dramatic apology ("I love him, I love him, I'm so sorry") launched talk over whether Stewart's relationship with Pattinson was ever real in the first place, piling on similar chatter that arose when Katie Holmes and Tom Cruisedivorced. Here, Kate Ward talks to experts about why our cynical society is unable to separate truth from fiction. Kristen Stewart and the New World of Internet Hatred: Brian Moylan sympathizes with Stewart, a young actress that entered a gray moral zone (like many her age) during the harsh age of the Internet. The Three-Breasted Alien in 'Total Recall' and Other Pop Culture Twos Gone Awry: We love Total Recall's three-breasted woman — both original and rebooted. What we don't love is these pop culture trios gone awry. Walk away, Game of Thrones' three-eyed Raven, the strawberry in Neapolitan ice cream, and the wise man who gave myrrh. Aly Semigran explains why you're all not wanted. 'Breaking Bad' Cast Connections: 'Total Recall' and Other Common Bonds — INFOGRAPHIC: Bryan Cranston starred in the Total Recall reboot, while Dean Norris starred in the original 1990 movie. But you'd be surprised to see how else the Breaking Badcast is connected. Michael Arbeiter shows us the six degrees here, bitch! The Many (Unchanging) Faces of Edward Norton: One of these things is just like the other. In fact, all of these things are just like the other. Bic's Slimmer, Sparklier Pens 'Just For Her' Hit the Market: Bic's sparkly, slim pens "Just For Her"?! Abbey Stone writes about how the sexist line is just not write. (Heh.)'Fifty Shades of Grey': What do Authors and BDSM Experts Think?Your aunt (disturbingly) loves E.L. James' break-out BDSM hit. But what do erotica novelists and BDSM experts think about the digestible — but poorly written — series? Read here to find out what Aly Semigran learned — or just go eat your breakfast. 'Breaking Bad': An Ode to Mike: Michael Arbeiter's salute to Breaking Bad's seemingly immortal Mike Ehrmentraut, a man who gave full measure. Dean Norris Teases 'Brutal' 'Breaking Bad' Finale: 'There's Going to Be an 'Oh, S**t' Moment': When Shaunna Murphy spoke to Dean Norris about Breaking Bad's "devastating" finale, the actor teased an "Oh s**t" moment. It turns out he would be right — literally and figuratively. Leanne's Spoiler List: Will Finchel Get Back Together? Lea Michele Answers!: In early September, Hollywood.com brought you the first edition of Leanne's Spoiler List, your home for obsessive TV scoop. In its debut edition, Leanne Aguilera's column teases a Finchel reunion, to the emoticon-fueled squeals of Gleefans. Ryan Seacrest Is All That's Left of the 'American Idol' Brand: Call it Reality Show Roulette — singing competition series' incessant revolving celebrity panels. In September, American Idol finally announced its judging panel, led by Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, and Randy Jackson. Kelsea Stahler talks to a brand marketing expert about how Idol's one remaining (non-Jackson) mainstay, Ryan Seacrest, is vital to the Idolbrand. Seacrest (can never go) out! Cable Dominates Emmy Nominations: This is the Year of the Small, But Mighty: Kelsea Stahler talks to Emmy voters about why small is so big at the 2012 Emmys. Turns out (small) size might matter after all. Are Some Shows Gaming the Emmys?: American Horror Story for Best Miniseries? Ashley Judd for Best Actress in a Miniseries for Missing? Brian Moylan consults the Academy of Television of Arts and Sciences, Connie Britton, and Missing's executive producer about how they're still playing by Emmys' rules. 'Modern Family' Spell Won't Be Broken Anytime Soon. And That's Okay.: "Who would have thought Modern Familywould win the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series?" said no one. The ABC comedy, which won the highest honor for the third year in a row, earned scorn from some hoping for a change. But Kelsea Stahler explains why the trend will only continue. 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' For a Second Season: Internet Implodes: This summer, a ball of sketti-smeared energy named Honey Boo Boo bursted into our lives and created one of the the more vicious debates in pop culture. Was the series exploiting poor Alana and her poor family? Or was the series a playful documentary of a loving and accepting family? Either way, the debate will continue into Season 2, as Alicia Lutes discovered upon the renewal's announcement. 8 Things More Offensive Than Victoria's Secret's Sexy Little Geisha: Michelle Lee wonders whether the lingerie company really did cross the line with their ridiculous Sexy Little Geisha garb. Instead, she offers up eight other racially insensitive characters and things in pop culture to direct your anger at. (Ahem, 2 Broke Girls' Han Lee.) Facebook and Chairs: What Other Objects Is It Like? — VIDEO: According to Facebook's first ad campaign, chairs are like Facebook. And so are doorbells, airplanes, basketball, bagged lunches, Ron Swanson's mustache, and participating Applebee's locations. (Okay, we made those last three up.) Why We Can't Peg President Obama's Pop Culture Persona: President Clinton was the womanizer, President Bush was the doltish goof, and even Gerald Ford had a distinct (if inaccurate) pop culture persona. President Obama, however, proved to be much harder to peg for comedians. Kelsea Stahler talks to Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele and other comedy insiders about why Obama will never be labeled by Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, and others. Shh! We Have Obama and Romney's Secret Notes from the Debate: Not really, but we wish these were real. Are These Quotes from a Presidential Debate or 'Real Housewives' Reunion?: You'll be surprised how often the line blurs. Take Brian Moylan's quiz! Smear Ads 2012: Stop Liking Ryan Gosling — VIDEO: Did you know Ryan Gosling is fueling one of the worst wars in the world? His words, not ours. See our smear ad (paid for by your boyfriend). Love By Numbers: The Big 'Bachelor' Breakup Barometer: In July, we were surprised when Bachelorette's Emily Maynard chose Jef Holm over Arie Luyendyk. And, in October, we weren't surprised when Maynard and Holm became the latest couple in the Bachelor franchise to part ways. Just what is the mean length of Bachelorrelationships? Alicia Lutes does the math! Boy Meets World Halloween Episode Oral History: Matt Patches assembles Boy Meets World's cast and crew to talk about the series' memorable and unsettling 1998 Halloween episode, "And Then There Was Shawn." As Rider Strongtold Patches about the episode, "I actually thought, 'Well, this will be fun for us, but our audience might hate it.'" But you didn't — so read about how the series and episode came to be and remembered. Why Isn't There a Female Equivalent of James Bond?: Why haven't female heroes grabbed national attention like Bond grabs his girls? Feminist experts tell Kelsea Stahler why sexism may be responsible for a lack of lady spy love. Adele, 'Skyfall,' and the State of the Movie Soundtrack: Aly Semigran talks to experts about the disappearing phenomenon of movie soundtracks in a digital age. Still, some soundtracks will never go out of style or age, quite like Bond himself. Does James Bond Have a Problem with Gays?: We salute Skyfallfor a surprising scene that implies Bond has flirted with homosexuality. Still, the scene hardly makes up for Bond's gay problem. Brian Moylan explains why.
'Twilight: Breaking Dawn — Part 2': Kristen Stewart on Bella as a Feminist Role Model: Is Bella a role model? Many feminists say no. But Kristen Stewart gives a Shaunna Murphy a different — and smart — answer. 10 Crimes Committed By the Characters of 'Twilight': Believe it or not, the beloved characters from the Twilightfranchise have committed fraud, theft, insider trading, and whatever the hell law that imprinting nonsense has to have broken. Matt Patches tells us why the Cullen clan should trade their Forks mansion for a prison cell. How Bad is Guy Fieri's Restaurant? The People Speak: Following Pete Wells' harsh New York Times review of the Food Network personality's Guy's American Kitchen, the intrepid Abbey Stone and Kelsea Stahler went express to Flavor Town and learned diner's reactions were surprisingly positive — even if Hollywood.com was saddened to learn the restaurant took their blue watermelon margarita off the menu following Wells' complaints.Taylor Swift Rumor Mill: Jake Gyllenhaal and Harry Styles Are Her Latest VictimsAbbey Stone on why Taylor Swift's game is getting old. Continue to be coy about your relationships, Taylor, and we'll never, ever, ever get back together. 'iCarly': The Best Sitcom Since 'Arrested Development': Michelle Lee has a point, even if that headline made you blue yourself. Pop Culture Dioramas: Art Inspired by 'Avengers,' 'Magic Mike,' and More: Pop culture art projects worthy of As, Fs, and WTFs!
Share your fondest memories of 2012's year in pop culture below! [Image Credit: Warner Bros.]
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Cooked up in the head of Oscar-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich) comes the movie in which he makes his directorial debut. Without Michel Gondry or Spike Jonze sifting through the maze this time Kaufman himself weaves this crazy quilt with consummate skill. In other words Synecdoche New York is just as successfully quirky humane and head scratching as all the others in the Kaufman ouerve. To sum up the plot succinctly is impossible but it centers on a stage director and hypochondriac Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who trades in his suburban life with wife Adele (Catherine Keener) daughter Olive (Sadie Goldstein) and regional theatrical work in Schenectady for a chance at Broadway. He puts together a cast (resembling those in his own dream world) and brings them to a Manhattan warehouse being designed as a replica of the city outside. As the world he is creating inside these walls expands so does the focus of his own life and relationships. As the years literally fly by he gets deeper into his theatrical self which soon starts to merge with his own increasingly pathetic reality. Whatever you make of the tale Kaufman is telling here the casting could not be better or more suited to the quirky material. Philip Seymour Hoffman offers up a tour-de-force and is simply superb playing all the tics and foibles of the deeply disturbed Caden. His early scenes in his “normal” home are wonderfully alive with all his phobias and hypochondria in view. Later we literally watch this man disintegrate as his master creation overwhelms him. Hoffman seems to fully understand the mental trauma of a man running as far from his own realities as he possibly can. Catherine Keener as always is right on target as his wife Adele. She has a knack for taking what seems like tiny moments and making them define exactly who this woman is. Jennifer Jason Leigh as a mentor to Caden’s daughter is always fascinating to watch and plays Maria with an ounce of irony. Tom Noonan playing the actor portraying Caden in the play is the perfect doppelganger and delightfully adds to Caden’s confused state. The all-pro trio of Michelle Williams as Caden’s new wife Claire; Samantha Morton as the irresistible assistant Hazel; and Hope Davis as Caden’s self-absorbed therapist add greatly to the merry mix. It’s nice to watch Charlie Kaufman seize control of his own work. In this instance he’s really the only one who can deliver us his Fellini-esque vision. Centering it all on the theatrical director’s weird universe Synecdoche does seem like it might be Kaufman’s own take on Fellini’s 8 ½ or even Woody Allen’s paean to that film Stardust Memories. Let’s just say we know most of it must exist somewhere inside Kaufman. Early domestic scenes could have been played flat but the novice director moves the camera around skillfully enough to make us immediately engaged in Caden’s world. Second half of the film set in the phantasmagoric warehouse is a stunning tapestry of scenes from Kaufman’s singularly fertile imagination. It’s nice to note he’s well equipped with the basic tools a director needs for this type of challenging material. Overall his film is a surprising confounding visual feast -- a dream/nightmare come to life and then spinning out of control.
Plenty of worries mate. A third helping of this croc-out-of-the-Outback series is one too many. The difference between the delightful original and this plodding trek through Los Angeles is almost negligible. Once again crocodile hunter Mick (Paul Hogan) puts his survival skills to the test while roaming the wilds of a major metropolis. The Big Apple jaunt resulted in Mick falling in love with journalist Sue (Linda Kozlowski). In Los Angeles Mick grapples with making Sue an honest woman thanks to the prodding of their young son Mikey (Serge Cockburn). La La Land provides enough distractions to prevent Mick from popping the question. Lavish parties. Acting gigs. Monkey wrangling. And the strange business practices of Silvergate Pictures. Sue returns to the United States to temporarily oversee her newspaper magnate father's Los Angeles bureau. Her first assignment: expose Silvergate and its likely criminal activities. But who needs a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist with N.Y.P.D Blue junkie Mick Dundee on the case.
Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles lacks bite but Mick remains the life and soul of the hunt. The leatheryHogan - now 61 but leaner and fitter than a certain real-life crocodile hunter half his age - is so affable fascinating and boyish that it's a pleasure to share his company. He's the same old Mick Dundee that audiences laughed at but mostly laughed with in the late 1980s. Hogan hints--though not very seriously--at the end of this adventure that it's time to call it quits. If so he would be wise to pass his croc-skinned vest and hunting knife on to Cockburn. He's a chip off the old block. Whether he's rescuing skunks or trapping rodents Cockburn manages to charm without being self-consciously cute or deliberately bratty. Too bad Kozlowski--Hogan's wife--has nothing better to do than lovingly raise her eyebrows at Mick's occasional blunders or pass herself off as a journalist.
Simon Wincer last worked with Hogan on 1994's Lightning Jack a not-so-wild Western that floundered in its bid to put any distance between Hogan and his Crocodile Dundee persona. In Wincer's hands Mick Dundee's latest urban jungle safari lacks any genuine surprises. Is Mick the only tourist to find himself confronted by a mugger each time he steps off the plane? In Australia Mick may call the Outback his workplace but he does seem to enjoy some modern amenities. So it's become something of a stretch to imagine that Mick doesn't watch TV and can't take a bath without fearing a crocodile attack. Much of the blame rests with the bland and trite cultural differences that writers Matthew Berry and Eric Abrams compel Mick to face continually. (Hogan contends that he deserves credit for writing the script but unless he needs the extra cash he should back down--it's nothing to be proud of.)