We got 86 hours of genre-defining television to digest, examine, ruminate on, live in, and yet we’ve still barely managed to pull our minds away from the last three seconds. The Sopranos may be regarded as the greatest dramatic TV series of all time, but four out of five conversations about the show these days surround its divisive ambiguous ending: “So what do you think,” we inevitably say to whomever we’ve found ourselves trading Sal impressions and praise of the “Pine Barrens” episode, “is Tony dead?” On Wednesday, the world found Sopranos creator David Chase’s — so fed up with the resilience of the question that he finally caved in a conversation with Vox writer Martha P. Nochimson — perspective on the matter: (and here’s his answer, for those wishing to stay in the dark
Of course, Chase maintains that his is not the definitive ruling, that each and every viewer has equal authority on the case of Tony’s survival. Personally, I’ve always held to the belief that the family man/family man never made it out of that Italian restaurant, though I’ve had friends plead the alternative with terrific cases. More important to you than what anyone else thinks (be he a fellow viewer or even the creator of the series in question) is what you think, as your experience and relationship and with the show is yours to understand as you see fit. So what do you think about The Sopranos, and other shows and movies bearing likewise ambiguous conclusions? Let us know!
THE SOPRANOS: Did Tony die?
Yes: As Bobby Bacala said about death, “You probably don’t even hear it when it happens, right?”
No: That would be a thematic copout! Tony lives on with the demons he’s collected.
INCEPTION: Does the movie end in a dream?
Yes: Leo finds himself stuck in the prison (or paradise) of his own subconscious, destined to live forever with the mental projections of his children.
No: Cobb puts the incepting game behind him and returns home to the loving embrace of his children.
BLADE RUNNER: Is Deckard a replicant?
Yes: Just follow the unicorn.
No: But the jury’s out on Harrison Ford himself.
AMERICAN PSYCHO: Was it all in his head?
Yes: The Bret Easton Ellis adaptation is just a metaphorical glimpse into the menace and greed that lines our materialistic society.
No: That much Huey Lewis could turn anyone into a murdering lunatic.
SHUTTER ISLAND: Was it all in his head?
Yes: Man, Leo really needs to start playing folks with a better grip on reality than these dudes seem to have.
No: Trust us, Ashcliffe ain’t no Maui.
TOTAL RECALL: Okay, but was it all in HIS head?!
Yes: The whole thing was a falsified memory… just like we choose to believe about the remake.
No: We don’t want to live in a reality where “Consider this a divorce!” never happened.
BARTON FINK: Speaking of heads, was there a head in Barton's box?
Yes: What else could it be? John Goodman practically told us that outright!
No: The whole episode was a conconction of the writer's own imagination anyhow.
DAWN OF THE DEAD: Do Peter and Francince make it to safety?
Yes: There's gotta be somewhere out there that they can lay low to wait out this nightmare.
No: Humanity is doomed. They're no exception.
LOST: Were they dead the whole time?
Yes: Plane crashed. Passengers died. Island gave them the sort of afterlife they don’t tell you about in Hebrew school.
No: What, you can’t believe in a few smoke monsters, teleporting polar bears, mystical numeric patterns, omnipotent lighthouses, and a pair of immortal twins?
THE SHINING: Do you have any idea what happened at the end of that one?
Yes: Sure, it’s clear as day! He — whoops, gotta go!
No: For that matter, what the hell is going on in this scene?
I might be bias because he’s my absolute favorite musician to ever exist, but Ed Sheeran got his first, and very well deserved, moonman from the MTV Video Music Awards on August 24. Winning the award for Best Male Video for his hit single "Sing", this was also his first American award. Ever. Well it’s about time!
This is going to be a huge PSA from me to you about how it’s practically necessary to be a big fan of this guy. This is no joke. If I had to pick only one musician to listen to for the rest of my life, with no hesitation, it would be Ed.
1. His lyrics are super cleaver.
2. It’s only him and a loop pedal on stage. Pure talent.
3. He was featured in People Magazines “Sexiest Man Alive” issue this year (It doesn't have to do with his music, but we all just have to acknowledge that high honor).
What’s wrong with him you may wonder? Nothing. Ed Sheeran is a perfect human.
4. Every song he sings is flawless.
5. Every song he sings live is even more flawless (my personal favorite is "Give Me Love" from his first album "+". Not only does it show off his insane vocals, but four minutes into the song, he builds a beat with just his guitar and voice. As mentioned before, he uses a loop pedal in order to do so).
Prepare to have your mind blown right now:
Impressed? I'm not done. The video doesn't even do it justice. See it sung live. Goosebumps everywhere...
6. He writes all his own music.
7. He writes other peoples music (only for some semi-famous musicians though like One Direction and Taylor Swift.. Maybe you've heard of them?).
8. Basically he's a music writing machine (all this and he's only 23...HOW!?).
Unlike other huge artists nowadays, Ed doesn't need anything extra to sound good or put on an entertaining show.
9. He doesn't need to sing along to a track.
10. He doesn't need backup dancers.
11. He doesn't need sparkly costumes.
12. He doesn't need to make it a huge production.
He literally stands in the same spot for his whole set, yet is able to make his shows the most amazing ones I've ever been to.
After being nominated frequently, and now finally winning, this offically makes Ed a part of the American music scene. I wouldn't be surprised if he takes home all future nominations from here on out (and if "X" doesn't win Album Of The Year, I will protest). Let's work for that Grammy next!
Luckily, Ed Sheeran continues his North American Multiply Tour on August 26 in San Jose, California. But he's here until mid-September, then he travels around the world through to February 2015.
There are no excuses not to see this tour. If you miss the closest show to you, just fly to another country to see him instead (that's what I'm doing!). This is Ed Sheeran we're talking about people! If you're not willing to make that sacrifice, you need to reconsider everything you just read. Hurry up and get your tickets now!
Have you seen Ed Sheeran live? What did you think of his show? Tweet us your thoughts!
Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Aniston and ex-boyfriend 50 Cent helped comedienne Chelsea Handler wrap up her late-night E! TV show, Chelsea Lately, after seven years on Tuesday (26Aug14). Bullock and Aniston joined another of Handler's best pals, actress Mary McCormack, to stage a mock intervention and hold the host exactly what they thought of her.
McCormack blamed the funny lady for wrecking her acting career and landing her with a bad reputation, while Aniston criticised Handler for stealing "everything I do", adding, "I introduced you to my yoga teacher (and) you stole my yoga teacher," and, "You're not fooling anyone with those blue eyes... I mean seriously, who dyes their eyes? That's just weird."
The former Friends star then took aim at her pal's hygiene issues, explaining, "My security guard caught you douching with Listerine!"
Bullock, who told Handler "You still scare me a little", scolded her pal for teasing lesbians, adding, "You're either into girls or you're not".
The Gravity star then brought Handler's "ex-lover" 50 Cent onto the studio stage, insisting he was the last thing that was cool about the host.
The comedienne appeared thrilled to see her ex, who she admitted she hadn't seen since they split.
She told the rapper, "I wanted to apologise because I did end our relationship abruptly and I know you didn't come on the show for many years... but I want you to know that I have not dated a black man since.
"They say, 'Once you go black, you never go back...' You come running back!"
She then joked, "But seriously, are you over me?"
The rapper then performed new single Watch Me with his rap collective G-Unit before walking off stage hugging his ex, who could be heard saying, "Thanks, babe."
Handler wrapped up the hour-long special with a performance from Miley Cyrus, who sang Roy Orbison's It's Over, dressed in a western style shirt and red pants, before Gwen Stefani led an all-star choir with a send-off spoof of USA For Africa's We Are The World.
The celebrities who joined her, Handler, 50 Cent, Bullock, Aniston and McCormack onstage included Vanessa Hudgens, Fergie, Trace Adkins, Avril Lavigne, Gerard Butler, Alanis Morissette, Kate Beckinsale, Justin Theroux, Selena Gomez, Melissa McCarthy, Dave Grohl, Leann Rimes, Sammy Hagar, Chloe Grace Moretz, Johnny Knoxville, astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Anna Faris.
Shutting off news reports of the Iran-Contra affair, turning down the abrasive rock stylings of the Beastie Boys, and peering through the perpetual mist of airborne cocaine particles that was inherent to 1987 California, film and television director Jeff Franklin dreamed of a simpler time. A time riddled with milkmen and paperboys, a time wherein three grown imbeciles could band together to raise a triad of blonde, plucky sisters together without incurring questioning unto their judgmental capabilities. Even in a time as cynical as the late '80s and early '90s, Franklin's creation Full House managed to thrive on the simple, wholesome, drama-free bounties of pleasant West Coast tomfoolery. Back then, the Tanners and co. didn't need postmodern satire, sociopolitical undertones, sudden character deaths, love triangles, or overarching themes of any kind — they relied (and thrived) simply on being pleasant. But today would be a different story.
With John Stamos pushing to revive the highly successful ABC sitcom (via TV Guide) — in the wake of the Disney Channel's creation of Girl Meets World, no less — we are looking at the considerable, albeit presently quite tentative, possibility that such an entity might in time come to be. But we can't help but wonder how a show about three ceaselessly well-meaning kooks and their frighteningly saccharine communal daughters would fare amid today's TV slate: a community of shows where crooked and criminal, if not entirely amoral, heroes and heroine are the norm rather than the exception.
Cynicism is the life blood of today's TV. Even in our comedic fare — think of Community, Arrested Development, How I Met Your Mother, and even The Big Bang Theory — do we see the proclivity to mock and deconstruct, to tear apart the very fabric of shows like Full House (happy family bouncing from one typical sitcom plotline to the next week after week). Our characters aren't looking to reclaim the era of milkmen and paperboys the way Danny Tanner was, they're looking to shoot down the blind-eyed peurility upheld by this allegedly superior past. So far gone into the muck of irony is today's television viewer that Full House couldn't seem earnest no matter how hard it tried... or, better yet, how naturally earnestness came to it.
But even if we can accept the Tanner/Katsopolis/Gladstone/Gibbler tribe as impeccably genuine, what would be our motivation to watch week after week? Full House, so appropriately named after an immobile edifice, was a show that celebrated its static nature. Every time you set foot into that San Francisco dwelling, you were treated to the same consequence-free merriment that you caught episodes and seasons prior. Yes, this was a treat, not a relegation. But today, we yearn for that through-line momentum. We watch, if for no other reason, to find out what happens next in the chaotic and kinetic, oftentimes toxic, forward narratives of Walter White, Carrie Mathison, and Tyrion Lannister. Hell, one of the most popular shows on today is called Scandal. If that's not telling, then I don't know what is.
Without even a central romance into which to sink our teeth — could we really see Danny, Joey, or any of the girls upholding one half of a riveting will-they-won't-they? — we're hardly draw to "find out what happens on the next exciting episode of Full House," at least not with the same verve to which modern TV has fueled our communal addiction.
Lacking that intertwining drama, today's Full House could seem devoid of life force. Without the scathing bite of sarcasm, it could come off lazy and unclever. And with such an adherence to the traditional format — that which today's comedy routinely turns inside out for sport — it could render not nostalgic but wholly outdated. When Full House came to be in 1987, it was then a throwback, a revival of a simpler time. So what would it be now? A throwback to a throwback? A revival of a revival? A tribute to a time simpler than a time that was simpler? See, just trying to identify it feels like a lost cause.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
WENN/Adriana M. Barraza
Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul's heartfelt tribute to his wife during his Primetime Emmy Awards acceptance speech on Monday (25Aug14) prompted fans to flood her charity website - and crash it.
The actor nabbed his third trophy for playing Jesse Pinkman on the critically acclaimed series which ended last year (13), and while accepting his Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, Paul made sure to not only mention the cast and crew of the show, but also his wife, Lauren Parsekian Paul.
During his touching speech, he said, "To my wife, my God, thank you for marrying me. Thank you for dedicating your life to spreading kindness across the world. We all appreciate it. If you guys don’t know what she does, look up Kind Campaign. Do yourself a favour, look up Kind Campaign." Within minutes of mentioning his wife's charity, which aims to end girl-on-girl bullying, the website went down due to a traffic overload, and stayed down through Tuesday (26Aug14).
Paul previously supported his wife's organisation by holding a special screening of the final episode of Breaking Bad last September (13).
Paul, co-star Bryan Cranston and series creator Vince Gilligan attended the event at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, and raised $1.8 million ( million) for the Kind Campaign from ticket sales.
Josiah True/ WENN
It’s more than likely that your first interactions with George Takei took place aboard the Starship Enterprise. The then little-known actor boarded Gene Roddenberry’s groundbreaking Star Trek series at age 29, working to redefine both his own career and the way that Asians and Asian Americans would be depicted on television forever. It’s also a rather fair bet that your most recent taste of Takei came in the form of social media: Now 74, the film and television veteran has gained a refreshed notability for his amicable presence on Twitter and Facebook, where he is known to share a wide variety of visual and verbal gags as well as his inspiring messages of tolerance and progressive thought. But there is a whole lot of Takei in between the early days of Sulu and the current era of hashtagged witticisms, and that is vast middle section is chronicled in the new documentary To Be Takei.
The third feature-length project from filmmaker Jennifer M. Kroot, whose previous endeavors include the 2003 sci-fi/fantasy Sirens of the 23rd Century and the 2009 biographical doc It Came from Kuchar, details the professional achievements, political activism, and personal life of Takei, who proves to be as accomplished as he is downright likable. The weight with which Kroot approaches the three principal aspects of Kroot’s life tends to vary, leaning in favor of his work for gay rights, but we find ourselves duly engrossed in his personal and professional stories just the same.
The ProfessionalWe learn quite a bit about Takei’s own perspective on his early works (the pre-Sulu days), particularly those that he finds retroactively repugnant due to their embrace of racial stereotyping. Takei recounts the days when the only roles an Asian-American actor might procure were demeaning or even vilifying — clips from Green Berets, Which Way to the Front, and familiar small screen titles like Mission: Impossible and Perry Mason showcase some of Takei’s earlier, more regrettable turns… ones that he was forced to endure in order to make a name for himself in the far more regressive ‘60s and ‘70s.
The PersonalConsidering his family’s personal history, it’s no surprise that Takei has taken particular efforts to quell the negative depiction of Asians and Asian Americans in the United States. In Takei’s childhood, he and his family were imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp, as was not unusual for immigrants and American citizens of Asian descent during World War II. To Be Takei offers a great deal of heartrending footage devoted to Takei describing his family’s hardships during this period — the Hollywood legend illustrates his indomitable admiration for his parents, who exhibited charity and strength of will throughout the nightmare.
But the documentary also pays due attention to the lighter side of Takei’s personal journey, showcasing his relationship with husband Brad Altman: the love of his life… and occasional victim of his ceaseless brutal honesty (at one point, Altman laments Takei’s proclivity for telling people when they have gained a bit of weight, a habit that George himself doesn’t seem to find problematic). Perhaps the most enjoyable bits in the film are those that allow the audience to watch Takei and Altman spend lazy days together, joking and bickering, showing off their complementary incurable merriment (George) and high-strung neuroses (Brad). It’s charming, it’s funny, and it’s indicative of real, healthy love.
The PoliticalFinally, there wouldn’t be much of a story if Takei had not become such a prominent figure in the fight for a more progressive attitude toward ethnic minorities and gay men and women. We see Takei’s spotlighted wedding to Brad (conducted by friend and former colleague Nichelle Nichols), his acceptance of a variety of awards recognizing his work in the area of LGBT rights, and — perhaps his greatest sociopolitical contribution to date — his public lambasting of William Shatner.
No matter when and where you met Takei, be it back during his journeys across the galaxies or amid one of his recent highly celebrated punny tweets, your interests in the man as an actor, a public figure, and a man will be sated by the cheerful, informative doc To Be Takei. Check out the film in select theaters or on VOD now.
Following the Emmys' traditional In Memorium segment, honoring a collection of television greats who sadly passed away over the course of this past year, the ceremony paid individual tribute to a particularly beloved figure: Robin Williams. Billy Crystal, a friend and colleague of Williams', took the stage to speak personally about the comedic genius. Crystal spoke wistfully of Williams' great line of works, of his many successful endeavors to make the world a funnier place. But the highlight of his well-crafted speech came from his own life experience, spending time with his pal Robin at Comic Relief events and family functions.
Crystal remembered attending a charity baseball game with fish-out-of-water Williams, who made up for his own lack of familiarity with the sport by inventing a Russian character and tossing jokes about professional ballplaying in his home country. Furthermore, Crystal recounted with adoration Williams' penchant for joking around with Billy's older relatives, describing our cherished star as always ready with a gag, no matter the situation. Crystal illustrated just how much fun Williams had with bits like these, citing such an example as the sort of shtick that would fill his eyes with light.
Following Crystal's speech, the ceremony offered clips of Williams' work on the late night circuit, on sitcom TV, and on the live stage. Despite the odd choice that was one clip of Williams performing a comedy routine about racial stereotypes (why opt for such material when he's got legions of more admirable gold to choose from?), we can't help but remember the great contribution Williams made to comedy the world over.
via Everett Collection
Robert Downey Jr. has paid tribute to his Chaplin director Richard Attenborough, insisting he wouldn't be who he is today without the British movie icon's belief in his talent.
The beloved actor/director/producer died, aged 90, on Sunday (24Aug14) and tributes have already poured in from the likes of Mia Farrow, Samuel L. Jackson, Ricky Gervais and Dylan McDermott. Downey Jr., who played the titular role of Charlie Chaplin in Lord Attenborough's 1992 film, has now honoured the memory of his late friend too, crediting him with helping the actor break into Hollywood.
A statement issued via E! News reads: "I'm so grateful I was able to visit Lord Attenborough recently, to deeply thank him for his contributions to cinema, his lasting impact on all who knew him, and his legacy of philanthropy, wit and kindness. "I wouldn't be who I am personally or professionally if not for Dickie, and I am equally indebted to (Attenborough's wife) Lady Sheila (Sim), who was and remains every bit his equal..." Downey Jr.'s role as the silent movie star in the biopic earned him his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor in 1993, as well as a BAFTA Award win for Best Actor in the same year.
Actress Jane Seymour has also paid tribute to her former father-in-law Attenborough, who she also worked with on two movies. Seymour, who was briefly married to his son Michael Attenborough in the 1970s, says: "The world has lost one of its greatest men. Dickie was not only a great actor, director and philanthropist but a man I had the opportunity to know as my mentor and father-in-law. "I worked as a chorus girl on the first few days of his directorial career in Oh What a Lovely War. His enthusiasm for life and creativity was contagious and his ability to make everyone feel important and valued was unique to him. When he called you darling you felt his love and I will forever miss him and the wisdom and love he shared with me and his friends and family. "His movies and the way he was able to communicate will forever show that he was always ready to help fight for human dignity. Personally I shall miss the man that inspired me the most. His love, advice, and wisdom. Above all, he was a wonderful father, brilliant and endlessly enthusiastic."
Last night while watching the VMAs, did you feel like it looked kind of empty? Us too. Not only did the arena seem a lot emptier than usual, it seemed like some of the music industry’s biggest stars decided to skip the event altogether. Where in the world did they go instead of the VMAs?
Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber
Didn't need to see them there together, obviously. But we sure missed you Sel.
Rihanna and One Direction
^Rihanna's face was all of ours when we realized they all were not showing up.
Bruno, where are you?
He wasn't there. So Miley didn't twerk.
No one else could rock this sea shell bra, so no one dared try.
I guess after having 'NSYNC show up last year, JT would have felt lonely going without them.
Kim was there. Kanye, where were you?
Pink can out-perform 90% of the people who were there last night.
Started from the bottom, and apparently still there, since he wasn't here.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Maybe they were thrift store shopping?
And most importantly, where was the The Smith Family?!
They cut to the audience for reactions, and I was devastated to find that without the Smiths, I could not fully comprehend what I was seeing or how I felt about it.
Where do you think these major celebs were hiding? Tweet us your ideas!
BBC via Getty Images
When you’ve led a life that had earned you admittance into the Order of the British Empire, presidency over the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and a handful of awards recognizing your work both in front of and behind the camera, it is safe to say that you have done pretty well for yourself. The world must bid a sad goodbye to Richard Attenborough, who has passed away Sunday, but should recall the multihyphenate’s unbounded degree of accomplishment in the world of, and beyond, cinema. Attenborough was 90 years old.
Born in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, to scholarly parents, Attenborough grew up in an environment that seems to have celebrated academia, creativity, and kindness. During the Holocast, Attenborough’s family welcomed into their home a pair of young Jewish refugees from Germany, eventually adopting the girls into the family. Attenborough himself joined the plight against the Third Reich by serving in the Royal Air Force during World War II.
While his similarly renowned brother David went on to pursue work in the fields of nature and broadcast, Attenborough took an early shine to acting, performing at the beginning of his career in films like In Which We Serve, Brighton Rock, and Morning Departure. He also experienced some work on the stage, joining up with the production of The Mousetrap by author Agatha Christie.
The late 1950s and early to mid 1960s saw Attenborough take some big name projects, notably The Great Escape and The Flight of the Phoenix, and comedic projects like I’m All Right Jack and Dr. Dolittle. Attenborough began to appear in fewer films as time went on, however — for fourteen years following 1979’s The Human Factor, he did not appear in a single film.
During this time, Attenborough honed his behind-the-camera skills. The director’s most cherished accomplishment is doubtlessly his 1982 biopic Gandhi, for which he won Best Picture and Best Director Academy Awards. The film featured Ben Kingsley in a memorable, career-expanding performance as the historical activist. Attenborough created another memorable biopic ten years later: Chaplin, starring Robert Downey, Jr. as the silent film icon.
But Attenborough did return to the screen, and in fantastic form: as the big-dreaming John Hammond in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park movies. Some of his most recent contributions to cinema include his directorial projects Shadowlands, Grey Owl, and Closing the Ring. As an actor, Attenborough has appeared in 1998’s Elizabeth and 2002’s Puckoon.
Attenborough is survived by his wife Sheila Sim, whom he married in 1945, and two children: Michael and Charlotte. Attenborough’s daughter Jane passed away in 2004.
Series looks at how humans take their natural inclinations to extremes by profiling the unique and sometimes bizarre ways that humans eat, work, play and love. Comedian Richard Jeni provides commentary and interviews anthropologists who discuss human behavior.