The little golden men have been carried away by the lucky winners. The rented jewelry is being returned. Quentin Tarantino is high-fiving himself in a mirror somewhere. Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic are weeping because E! has to put aside its 360 Glam Cam until Emmy time. And Captain Kirk is now safely back in the 23rd century. But, like the bad taste that lingers from host Seth MacFarlane’s “We Saw Your Boobs” song, many questions about the 2013 Academy Awards remain. We consider it a public service to answer 10 of the biggest for you.
1. Who Was Snubbed During the In Memoriam Segment? While more than ever the Academy discouraged applause during the depressing annual segment honoring the film industry notables who’ve died in the past year—hence the lack of a true Applause-o-Meter this time around—we were crying foul about a few notable omissions from the weepy montage. Gee, pa, where was Andy Griffith? Before he played Sheriff Andy Taylor on his long-running sitcom, the Georgia native burned bright in Elia Kazan’s A Face on the Crowd (1957), as a rube turned demagogue, and showed the comic timing he’d later display on the tube in the charming military laugher No Time for Sergeants (1958). Not to mention his latter-day turn as a lovable diner patron in 2007’s Waitress. Not cool, Academy.
Less surprising omissions included Larry Hagman and Phyllis Diller, who, despite making movies, are most strongly associated with TV. The same goes for Richard Dawson, the Family Feud host who played the villain in 1987’s The Running Man. More egregious were the absences of Ann Rutherford, who played one of Scarlett O’Hara’s sisters in Gone With the Wind, Our Gang star Jack Hanlon, and Snakes on a Plane director David R. Ellis.
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The Academy should consider itself lucky that they included Sans Soleil director Chris Marker, or we would have lost it.
2. Did Samuel L. Jackson skip over part of the teleprompter’s banter when presenting Best Visual Effects? It’s hard to tell if it was teleprompter problems or the awkwardness of having five Avengers stars presenting two awards—for Cinematography and Visual Effects—but Marvel’s Nick Fury got especially tripped up. After awkwardly getting through the cinematography award, Jackson jumped over most of the banter for Visual Effects just to announce the winner, while Robert Downey Jr. tried to stick to the script. Maybe Jackson was worried about getting played off with the Jaws theme—understandable considering his battle with sharks in Deep Blue Sea. Since no other presenters deviated from their sometimes lengthy scripts, despite the bloated runtime of the telecast, it seems Jackson made this decision without prompting from the producers.
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3. The sound editors for Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall both won in their category. How many previous ties have there been in Oscars history? There have been five previous tie winners, but none since the 1995 ceremony. In 1932, The Champ’s Wallace Beery and Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde’s Frederic March tied for Best Actor, because of a rule that allowed two people to share a prize if only one vote separated them. Beery received just one extra vote than March, so both took home statuettes. Under today’s rules, Beery would have been the sole winner.
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At the 1950 ceremony there was a tie in the Best Documentary Short Subject category, and in 1987 there was a tie for Documentary Feature with Artie Shaw: Time is All You’ve Got and Down and Out in America scoring the same number of votes. In 1995, Best Live Action Short film was split between Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life and Trevor.
But the most famous Oscar tie of all occurred in 1969 when both Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand walked away with Best Actress for their roles in The Lion in Winter and Funny Girl, respectively.
4. Where did the 2013 ceremony rank among the all-time longest? Actually, not that high. At three hours and 35 minutes it was the longest telecast since…2010, when The Hurt Locker won best picture at the end of a three hour and 37 minute broadcast. That’s still well short of the longest Oscars ever, the four-hour 23-minute sprawl that was the 2002 Awards hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. The fastest ceremony ever? The 1956 fete that lasted only a brisk 90 minutes.
NEXT: What’s up with Seth MacFarlane’s dig at Entertainment Weekly? And just who is Steve Battaglio?
5. What is Seth MacFarlane’s beef with Entertainment Weekly magazine? At the end of his opening monologue, in which Captain Kirk’s intervention had repaired the timeline and prevented MacFarlane from being declared the “worst Oscar host of all time,” a new headline appeared onscreen that said “Best Oscars ever, says everyone except Entertainment Weekly.”
Why such a pointed dig? Well, it all goes back to April 9, 1999 when EW’s TV critic Ken Tucker published a review of Family Guy. He gave the new show a "D" and never warmed to it thereafter. In the 2005 direct-to-DVD movie Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, the baby breaks the neck of a reporter the moment he learns he’s from Entertainment Weekly. Perhaps I should consider myself lucky then that I emerged with my hide after interviewing MacFarlane in 2011 for EW, after he hosted The Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump. His first words to me: “You’re from EW, huh? Have you fired Ken Tucker yet? Have you guys gotten rid of him yet?” Then on Jan. 13, 2013, he launched a Twitter war with Tucker, in which he said “Dear Ken Tucker and Entertainment Weekly: Please tell me how I may earn a review as glowing as the one you gave Urkel,” and linked to Tucker’s "A" review of Family Matters from 1990. Tucker tweeted back, “Easy: Just be as funny as Urkel once was.” Though the glossy magazine gave MacFarlane a major cover story just two weeks before the Oscars—not to mention that Tucker has left the publication—that faux headline during the ceremony shows he’s still holding a grudge.
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6. Who is Steve Battaglio? All of the fake headlines during that Captain Kirk segment were attributed to a writer named Steve Battaglio. No invention of MacFarlane’s feverish brain, Battaglio is actually the business editor at TV Guide Magazine, a publication for which MacFarlane seems to have greater affection than EW. TV Guide’s LA bureau chief Michael Schneider tweeted, “Seth MacFarlane picked @SteveBattaglio as the author of that nasty review as thanks - Steve was an early supporter of #FamilyGuy.”
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7. How Does Captain Kirk’s Appearance at the Oscars Fit Into or Disrupt J.J. Abrams’ Rebooted Star Trek Continuity? Along with the realization that this is the first time we’ve seen William Shatner in the captain’s chair since 1994’s Star Trek: Generations comes the sorry recognition that we have to refer to his version of the character as "Kirk Prime," since he fits into the old Trek continuity that was almost entirely erased by J.J. Abrams’ 2009 film. Unlike Chris Pine’s Kirk, Shatner’s didn’t lose his father at the moment of his birth but was raised in a loving two-parent family, meaning that he has so few psychological issues to unpack that he can risk time-traveling to 2013 just to prevent Seth MacFarlane from being deemed the all-time worst Oscar host. Wait…or maybe this means this version of the character has even more issues than Pine’s. Then again maybe by traveling back through time, Kirk Prime erased the alternate history of Abrams’ franchise, throwing the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness into a third timeline—like Fringe! None of this addresses, though, why MacFarlane didn’t warn Kirk that he will be crushed by a bridge. That’s one do-over we really want to see.
NEXT: Are the Malfoys now Oscar winners? Take our quiz!
8. Which barber-free Oscar winner/Malfoy relative is which? These three guys are Claudio Miranda (Best Cinematography, Life of Pi), Paul N.J. Ottosson (Best Sound Editing, Zero Dark Thirty), and Per Hallberg (Best Sound Editing, Skyfall), but not in that order in the photo above. Try to match them up, then find out which one is which in the answers at the bottom of this post.
9. Were the technical nominees playing musical chairs during the broadcast? It sure seemed that way, huh? Seats were designated along the sides of the Dolby Theatre in which to place the technical nominees (for Cinematography, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Makeup, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Costume Design, Film Editing) a couple minutes before the presentation of each category. That way, there wouldn’t be such a long delay as the winners march up to the stage. A good idea as a time-saving measure. Too bad this show was still 20 minutes longer than those in 2011 and 2012.
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10. Is there precedent for someone from the White House crashing Hollywood’s biggest night? GOPers were crying foul on Twitter after Michelle Obama read the winner of Best Picture via satellite from the White House. They should note, though, that this is not the first time someone from Washington has been involved. Ronald Reagan recorded an address for the 1981 Oscar ceremony, shortly after taking office. And in 2002 Laura Bush also taped a segment for the first Academy Awards after 9/11.
What else about the Oscar ceremony left you scratching your head?
Answers to the Long-Haired Winners Quiz:
Oscar Victor on Left: Paul N. J. Ottosson, Sound Editor, Zero Dark Thirty
Oscar Victor in Center: Per Hallberg, Co-Sound Editor, Skyfall
Oscar Victor on Right: Claudio Miranda, Cinematographer, Life of Pi
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credits: Kevin Winter/Getty Images (3); Robyn Beck/Getty Images; Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]
Oscars 2013 Special Coverage
Oscars 2013 Best Dressed: PICS!
• Anne Hathaway: Oscar’s Worst Dressed?• Seth MacFarlane’s Opening: How’d He Do?• Adele’s Performance Gets Mixed Reviews• 15 Oscar-Winning Nude Scenes• What Happened to Renee Zellweger's Face?• Oscars 2013: The Full Winners List• Why Kristen Stewart Was on Crutches
With the marketplace in a bit of a box office lull for the last couple of weeks, with neither Brad Pit's Killing Them Softly able to upend the Twilight gang, nor Gerard Butler's Playing For Keeps able to knock Bond out of his Aston-Martin, the holdovers have had a virtual strangle hold on the nation’s theaters since Thanksgiving. Even Rise of The Guardians, which opened rather soft over the aforementioned T-day weekend, has had a come from behind run and has rallied to become the number one choice for families and their kids at the multiplex.
Of course all of that is about to change when the much-anticipated and long-awaited prequel to the decade old and massively successful Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens this Friday in over 4,000 theaters in various formats including 3D, IMAX, the highly divisive, technologically-innovative HFR (High Frame Rate) version and, of course, traditional 2D presentations. The is no controversy over the fact that director Peter Jackson has secured his place in the pantheon of legendary film directors by virtue of his singular vision in meeting the incredible challenge of bringing the Tolkien masterworks to the big screen.
This brings us to the lofty box office expectations that are generally applied to great filmmakers, specifically ones with the unenviable task of trying to top their previous efforts, and the pressures, both real and imagined, that are exerted by pundits, analysts, critics and audiences alike. If this is the case then all eyes will be on the opening weekend performance of The Hobbit and whether or not the film can live up to the legacy firmly established by the original three Lord of the Rings films released in mid-December 2001, 2002 and 2003. With nearly $3 billion in worldwide box office, numerous awards and nominations including winning 17 out of 30 Academy Awards nominated in total, this will be no easy task.
What are we to expect from this weekend’s dollar figure total from The Hobbit? $100 million plus, right? This is after all one of the most anticipated movies of the year and should easily post one of the biggest opening weekends of the year. But the answer is yes and no. Let’s look at a box office fun fact to put this in perspective: not a single $100 million plus opener has ever sprung forth from the month of December. In fact, not a single film has ever opened to over $80 million in its opening weekend in December. The highest December debut is Will Smith in I Am Legend which opened December 14, 2007 with $77.2 million and in second place is of course Avatar which started its marathon run on December 18, 2009 with just $77.025 million. Even the Lord of the Rings Trilogy had modest debuts by summer blockbuster standards with $47.2 million (the 9th best Dec. debut) for The Fellowship of the Ring, $62.0 million (the 6th best Dec. debut) for The Two Towers and $72.6 million (the 3rd best Dec. debut) for Return of the King.
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December is the month of modest weekend debut followed by long and successful theatrical runs that are encouraged by the less competitive box office environment of the early January playing time that most mid-December releases encounter. The text book case of this is 1997’s Titanic which opened with a mere $28.6 million on December 19 and held the number one spot for an unimaginable 15 weeks up to and through the last weekend in March of 1998! Cameron’s follow-up, Avatar, held the number one spot for its first seven weekends and became the highest grossing film of all-time supplanting (after more than decade long reign as the champion) the director’s own Titanic (with $600.8 million in its first run) and a total North American gross of $760.5 million. Last year’s savior of the slow late-2011 box office, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol opened wide after an IMAX preview week with only $29.556 million, but played strongly into the first part of 2012 and wound up with nearly $210 million in total North American box office.
We think The Hobbit has a real shot at posting the biggest December opening weekend of all-time and could perhaps for the first time break the $80 million mark with the combination of higher ticket prices and fan fervor paving the way. What do you think? Are we over or under? It looks like we will find out when Warner Bros. The Hobbit unleashes Bilbo Baggins and his compatriots into cinemas this Friday.
Follow Paul Dergarabedian on Twitter @PDergarabedian
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
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Since it first popped up on airwaves on August 1, 1981, MTV has evolved from music video mainstay into a network with its fingers on the pulse of today's young people. While that change hasn't jived with everyone (many of those who first tuned into the network wonder what happened to the good ol' days when it was simply music television), it's impossible to brush off the channel's influence over its thirty year span.
They don't just cover pop culture, they make it.
To celebrate MTV's 30th birthday, we've taken a look back and some of the greatest shows, performances and milestones in the network's history. The good, the bad, the ugly—and most importantly—the memorable:
The First Music Video: "Video Killed the Radio Star"
One minute past midnight.
The world is born anew when MTV’s first music video blast-o-thorps into the public conscious, altering the way we would forever perceive reality, love, politics, fringe politics, and humanity. You can’t imagine the genuine impact this had on TV and music alike—the divergence between the mindsets pre- and post-Radio Staricide was astronomical. The Buggles didn’t just change their own lives, that day. In fact…it doesn’t seem like their lives changed much at all. Has anyone heard of them doing anything since? But the point is: they changed our lives. So good for them.
La la LA La la.
So, you know how somewhere in the 1990s, being uncool became way cooler than being cool? BAM. DARIA.
We’re not saying that Daria is entirely responsible for the post Gen-X counterculture rebellion, but Daria exemplified that nerds, artists, losers, lovers, loathers…they were better than everyone else.
This is the true story, of a TV show, that has been running for 25 seasons, but nobody watches anymore. The Real World started as a revolutionary innovation- there had been reality TV before, but never with the scale or focus of the micro-sized show. The early seasons of the show made it clear that TV could have a conscience, raising awareness of political issues, race relations, and AIDS activism. Unfortunately, the show’s legacy has little to do with its beginnings- thousands upon thousands of copycat reality shows that highlight sex and fistfights over social experimentation. If you listen really closely to the audio in the first episode, you can hear the sobs of television writers who know that they’re watching their careers end.
MTV Movie Award Parodies
With categories like "Biggest Badass Star" and "Best Scared-as-Sh*t Performance," the MTV Movie Awards won't be rivaling the Oscars anytime soon—but there's one aspect to the night of famous faces, big blockbusters and corporate worshiping that even the Academy Awards had to adopt.
The movie spoofs are a staple of MTV, with every host (and a bevy of celebrities) weaseling their way into clips from that's year's biggest flicks and taking any jab they can. Along with being uproarious and technically impressive, they also straight up deliver on fantasies—wasn't the world waiting for Justin Timberlake and Sean William Scott to co-star in The Matrix?
Wasn’t high school hard? Wouldn’t it be harder if you were Abe Lincoln?
Yes. But it’d also be way funnier.
Clone High remains one of the five funniest shows that has ever existed in the history of television (the other four are all Chico and the Man). But Clone High managed to tackle every trope of afterschool specials, teen dramas, soap operas AND still teach us a little something about world history.
One of the first indications that MTV was evolving into a full-on celebrity-worshiping destination was the introduction of Cribs. MTV remained classy by always giving a wink wink to the ridiculousness of the big stars they were profiling, editing together shots of a basketball player's 18 cars with a funny bonk sound or a pan across fading rock legend so-and-so's epic swimming pool accompanied by a choice, befuddling quote from said rocker.
Cribs was the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous for the young crowd, but MTV relied on the famous faces to be their own Robin Leach, much to the enjoyment of anyone who caught the endless 20-episode marathons.
Yo! MTV Raps
There was perhaps no better time to be a hip-hop fan than between 1988-1995, when Yo! MTV Raps cornered the market on the distribution of urban culture and sound. The show is credited with spreading hip-hop around the world and breaking many emerging artists, though declining ratings (as well as the channel’s changing demographics) led to its untimely demise.
The Naked Cowboy
He’s not specifically an MTV staple, but it’s because of his daily appearances on TRL that the rest of the country apart from the select set of folks milling around Times Square could point him out in a lineup. He’s pretty pointless – naked for the sake of being naked, singing forgettable tunes, kind of like half of people on MTV – but we remember him and MTV is the reason for that. (You can send them your hatemail now.)
During its relevance, there was quite a following of overwhelmingly passionate fans of this group. THEY HAD EVERYTHING A BAND NEEDED: The Heartthrob, the Bad Boy, the Cute One, The Shy One, and the Older Brother—with an age range between members spanning twenty years,
This show effectively blurred the lines between reality and fiction. The public was provoked to ask the questions: “Are they a real band? Are these real people? Is anything real?! Am… Am I real?”
And who’s to say, really? 2Ge+Her made us laugh, cry, yearn, strive, hope, compel, persist and vindicate. And in that, they were realer than anything mankind has ever known.
Singled Out may not be the most memorable of MTV’s coral reef of broadcast majesties. However, the show did allot us two of the most unforgettable women America would come to know. Jenny McCarthy hosted from the get-go, spawning a career of acting, modeling, comedy, and supporting wildly unfounded claims about vaccinations.
After the McCarthy Era, we were graced with another household name: Tara Leigh Patrick. Sometimes performing under the stage name Carmen Electra, this equally multifaceted starlet would also bring to MTV her relationship with Dave Navarro, which translated to relative entertainment in the forms of “Carmen and Dave: An MTV Love Story” and “‘Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen and Dave.”
When we weren’t busy watching Britney Spears writhe around in the sand with some half-naked hunk, wishing we could be that skinny and tan and famous (and date Justin Timberlake), we were watching the show that let some folks live those superficial dreams: Made. This show gave the band geek a chance to be the prom queen or the cheerleader. It gave the AV nerd the chance to make the football team. It gave us hope, but it also entertained us with lots and lots of teenage whining and hissy fits along the way – which let’s face it, is really why we watched.
As the channel became less about music and more about reality programming like The Real World and Road Rules, MTV had great success with LoveLine, a live show that followed the same format as its KROQ radio predecessor with a few minor alterations. Two hosts would field questions about relationships, sex and all related topics and provide reasonable, if somewhat comedic, answers. Though the radio program continues to thrive, the now-defunct televised version will always hold its own special place in pop-culture history.
Last year, the boys of Jackass premiered the third film in their stunt comedy trilogy at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. That should tell you something—what started a on-a-budget comedy show for MTV spawned a phenomenon. Sure, it's buffoonery, but after many years of ridiculous concepts of personal injuries, the show managed to be about something. Friendship.
Laugh, but Jackass is the closest thing to "art" MTV may ever produce.
Just in case the title didn’t give enough of the plot away, this show was mostly about high school and college students having sex. The series was considered controversial for its sexual promiscuity and same-sex relationships. Could this give teens the wrong idea about having sex before you’re ready? Sure. Could it lead to STD’s, pregnancy, not to mention emotional trauma? Maybe. But Undressed was brought both laughs and insight into the kind of issues teens would encounter in their futures—and there wasn't any other place on TV even remotely as daring. That’s the naked truth.
Kurt Loder and John Norris
Sure, the whole mantra of MTV was anti-establishmentarian. Sure, it was all about being a wild child and doing whatever you wanted. But out of that, we found two older, wiser men to follow through our angsty teen and college years: Kurt Loder and John Norris. Every hour on the hour, we’d get those MTV news breaks with Norris or Loder reminding us that there were things happening outside of the barrage of ‘NSync and TLC videos. Sure Loder had an entire journalistic career before MTV, but those of us who were watching were too young to know that. He and Norris will forever be cemented as symbols of the little-seen grounded side of MTV.
Pimp My Ride
Yo dawg, I heard you like commemorative lists, so I put a list in your list so you can be nostalgic while you’re being nostalgic. Pimp My Ride was one of MTV’s more entertaining reality outings, simply because it was so useless. Sure, having a crappy car is a drag, but the flame-covered, flashy-rimmed monstrosities that Xzibit assembled were hardly a better alternative. Still, more reality shows could use this type of self-aware mockery. There’s no reason to treat anything on reality TV as deathly serious.
The Tom Green Show
Handing over a television show to Tom Green was like opening the airwaves to an warmongering extraterrestrial. You weren't sure what exactly the alien wanted or how he would accomplish his goals, but in the end, you fully expected the assault to devastate the world population.
Green's non-comedy comedy was the opposite of everything late night was about. Forget monologues—it's much funnier for Tom to rampage through a grocery store and hijack the PA system for his own psychotic wrong-doings. Unlike the Carson/McMahon relationship, Green spent most of his shows sadistically torturing his sidekick Glenn. Nothing was off limits with Green and his legacy of bewildering acts continue to ripple through today's comedy scene.
Super Sweet Sixteen
There’s a great drinking game that goes along with Super Sweet Sixteen—take a drink any time someone does something that could be a justifiable reason for homicide. You’ll either get liver disease or pass out. My Super Sweet Sixteen if one of the funniest—and most rage-inducing—shows on MTV’s lineup, and a textbook example of everything that’s wrong with the world. Where else can you see a 15-year-old throwing a temper-tantrum after receiving a brand-new Lexus? Unless you live in California, I suppose.
Even a rambunctious group like metalheads had a show of its own on MTV at one point in the channel’s 30-year history. Headbanger’s Ball was once one of the channel’s flagship programs: airing three hours of the hardest and heaviest tunes along with interviews with the bands that rocked the planet in the late 80s and early 90s. Abruptly cancelled in 1995 due to the decreasing popularity of the genre in favor of punk, grunge and alternative rock, the Ball is fondly remembered for its passionate pursuit of ass-kicking, bone-crunching, bowel loosening songs.
There’s nothing better than a good spin-off show. It worked great with Frasier after Cheers, so why shouldn’t it work for reality shows as well? MTV spun its convtroversial Teen Mom off from their equally as controversial 16 and Pregnant, and continued to balance the "wow" factor with biting docu-drama. The show's been chastised for promoting pregnancy and teen sex, but a few minutes into Teen Mom and one quickly realizes it might be the best birth control on television.
Carmen the Hip-Hopera
Carmen: A Hip Hopera. Beyonce Knowles’ gallop to the apex of spectaculation began in the valley with MTV’s Carmen: A Hip Hopera, which, as even those only slightly familiar with the English language could surmise, is a hip hop songsation based on the Bizet opera Carmen.
You might ask yourself, “Has this expedition of the contemporary sounds of urbanity amalgamated with lavish storytelling of Italy’s yore truly substantiated any gravity?” You’d better believe it. A retelling so authentic in style and vivacity, you’d think someone saw the movie, invented a time machine, and then went back to 1875 to write the opera. Trust this, if nothing else: MTV planted a standard to this day insuperable with Carmen: A Hip Hopera. Instilled in each of us on the film’s inception was the sort of whimsy you’d read about in Miguel de Cervantes. So cherish every moment of this post-Carmen generation, for we can all ruminate our good fortune in not having had to culminate our lives in the unspeakable hell that was a Hip Hopera-less world.
Making the Video
You ever watch a music video and think, “I’d like to know more about the lighting decisions?” No, you didn’t. But you did want to see the band members palling around and exemplifying the very idea of glamour so that you could feel like you had the inside look at what it’s like to be a real star. And maybe, someday, someone would be watching you up there…
Before there was Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, the place to find bizarre animation late at night was MTV. Japanese import Aeon Flux, the hodgepodge of underground cartoons stringed together to make Liquid Television, The MAXX, an adaptation of a independent comic...all blowing our Saturday Morning Cartoon-trained minds. And reigning above them all? Possibly the oddest of the batch, The Head.
The Head concerned a college student who wakes up one day to find a purple alien living in his head. Simple premise, insane execution and one of the shows we keep dreaming MTV will one day resurrect. For now, we'll keep watching clips of this long lost animation great.
Now here is reality TV at its finest. All reality shows have been working their way up to this holy grail. Think Big Brother meets Bigger Attitude. Eight housemates all living together under one roof….big mouths, big opinions, big boobs, big bumps—what could be better? The show provided you with offensive stereotypes, but also the impression that if you can get famous by doing absolutely nothing. Talk about appealing to the underdog. This show gives hope that even the most drama-filled, binge-drinking, sex crazed losers can make a name for themselves and become headline worthy. Some people might call that inspiring.
MTV's youth-centric thinking was never more apparent then their choice of hiring a bunch of college seniors to write and produce their own sketch comedy show. The result was The State, a show which bred some of the biggest names in comedy, even to this day. The crew from Kerri Kenney, Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant of Reno 911, Ken Marino of Party Down, David Wain, the director of Role Models, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, Joe Lo Truglio and more, all spawned from the show.
The comedy itself…isn't for everyone, but that doesn't make it any less smart, perverse or inspiring.
Shocking VMA Moments
The MTV Video Music Awards are as famous for the drama that surrounds them as they are for their actual performances. There are boxing rings that have been home to fewer fistfights than the VMAs, with musicians from Bret Michaels to Kid Rock throwing the punches. And even when celebrities aren’t fighting, there are other ways to start a feud, like Kanye West’s infamous Taylor Swift interruption. Of course, the VMAs are technically about the music, including legendary acts from Nirvana (and their infamous ‘Rape Me’ fakeout), Madonna, and Britney Spears.
Where would we be in society today without our critical, judgmental ways? Next is a prime example as to how first impressions can make or break a relationship. "I don’t like the color of your hair: Next!" "You say Pop instead of Soda: Next!" "I don’t agree with your views on who should win American Idol: Next!" The show made a simple dream come true: the idea of a "next button". If you didn't like what you saw in a man or woman, you could tell his ass to leave that instant. No need for pleasantries or general common courtesy. The American Dream.
Total Request Live
TRL was MTV’s flagship show for the early 2000’s, and many young people’s first exposure to pop musicians. The show notably put choice in the hands of the audience, which largely proved to be screaming teenagers with enough time on their hands to flood voting polls. That explains the rampant popularity of boy bands like *NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys on the show, as well as teen stars Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Jessica Simpson. While oddly iconic host Carson Daly left the show in 2002, and the show itself closed down in 2008, it remained one of the last holdovers of MTV’s initial emphasis on music.
Pulling musicians out of their normal settings and challenging them acoustic sets was already a powerful premise for MTV Unplugged, but Nirvana's 1993 episode is one for the history books. Aired only four months before the suicide of Kurt Cobain, Nirvana Unplugged delivers one of the most emotional live sessions every captured on tape—a startling mix of cover songs and little known Nirvana hits. MTV may not exist in a world where the experience could ever be replicated, but they'll forever have this concert as representation of what they're capable of achieving.
Beavis and Butthead
Fred Flintstone & Barney Rubble. Ralph Kramden & Ed Norton. Luke & Bo Duke. These are just a handful of TV’s most memorable duos, but none are quite as sensational as Mike Judge’s crowning achievement – Beavis and Butthead. The pair of pubescent punks polluted MTV’s airwaves with suggestive language and behavior between 1993-1997, and became movie stars and cultural icons along the way. In my book they’ll always be best remembered for their music video commentary, which was a makeshift Mystery Science Theater 3000 for metalheads.
Bacall says Kidman is no screen 'legend'
Lauren Bacall, who was in Venice, Italy with Nicole Kidman to promote their new film Birth, said in an interview she considers her 37-year-old co-star a friend, but not a screen legend. Bacall, who was once married to Humphrey Bogart and has starred in films such as The Big Sleep and Key Largo, became irritated Wednesday when an interviewer for Britain's GMTV referred to Kidman as "a legend," The Associated Press reports. "She's not a legend," Bacall said, cutting off reporter Jenni Falconer in mid-sentence. "She's a beginner. What is this 'legend'? She can't be a legend at whatever age she is. She can't be a legend, you have to be older." The 79-year-old Bacall insisted she and Kidman get along famously. "I love working with a young actress," she said. "Nicole and I worked together on Dogville and we were friends when we started this. That laid the groundwork for our fabulous relationship on screen and off." In Birth, Kidman plays a woman who believes her dead husband has been reincarnated in the body of a 10-year-old boy. Bacall also griped when the interviewer asked the film's cast and crew who they would like to come back as if they could be reincarnated. "It's not a fascinating question," she said. "No offense."
Spike Lee doesn't hold grudge against Wim Wenders
Filmmaker Spike Lee rebuffed speculations he could use his position on the jury of the Venice Film Festival to take revenge on director Wim Wenders for denying Do the Right Thing the Palme d'Or at Cannes 15 years ago. "That was 1989, it's history," Lee told Reuters in an interview. At the time, the Cannes jury--headed by Wenders--awarded Sex, Lies, and Videotape the top prize. Lee accused the judges of bigotry and reportedly joked: "Somewhere in my closet I have a Louisville Slugger with (Wenders) name on it." At Venice, Wenders is competing with Land of Plenty, which takes a critical look at post-Sept. 11 America.
Jackson acknowledges settling past claims
Michael Jackson, who is facing child-molestation allegations, launched a preemptive strike last Friday by releasing six-paragraph statement acknowledging he had reached financial settlements in the past--just hours before Dateline NBC broadcast a extensive report alleging the singer paid the son of a Neverland Ranch employee $2 million in 1990 to avoid a child-molestation accusation. Although he made no direct reference to the broadcast, Jackson said he felt the need to "respond to untruths and sensationalism" and questioned the timing and motive of this report. "Years ago, I settled with certain individuals because I was concerned about my family and the media scrutiny that would have ensued if I fought the matter in court," the 45-year-old entertainer said. "These people wanted to exploit my concern for children by threatening to destroy what I believe in and what I do. I have been a vulnerable target for those who want money."
Dirty Shame gets NC-17 rating
The producer of the upcoming Fine Line comedy A Dirty Shame has accused the Motion Picture Assn. of America (MPAA) of bowing to political pressure by giving the film an NC-17 rating, Reuters reports. "I think that even just two years ago, the MPAA would have given (Dirty Shame) an R," Christine Vachon said. "I think the pressure has to do with the current administration, and (there is) this encroaching feeling constantly of the notion of family values." The film, in which a horde of sex addicts invades a blue-collar neighborhood in Baltimore, was handed the NC-17 tag because of "pervasive sexual content." Vachon added that the NC-17 rating practically wipes out a film's commercial potential because some theaters will not screen it, some papers will not carry ads for it, and Blockbuster does not stock NC-17 films. A Dirty Shame premieres Sept. 24.
Sony still in the running to buy MGM
Sony Corp. announced Wednesday it was still in negotiations to buy the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. film studio, Reuters reports. Sony is in talks to buy MGM for around $5 billion with partners Texas Pacific Group and Providence Equity Partners, but the two sides have been unable to hammer out an agreement. MGM has been in protracted merger talks with the group led by Sony as well as, more recently, with Time Warner. Sources close to the talks have told Reuters Time Warner is now seen as the more likely candidate to buy MGM.
Time delay scheduled for NFL kickoff
Stemming from the "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl in February, ABC and the NFL announced there will be a 10-second delay in the telecast of the hour-long NFL Opening Kickoff, the live musical event airing Thursday, to rule out any misbehavior. Performers include Mary J. Blige, Elton John, Lenny Kravitz and Toby Keith, along with a newly reunited Destiny's Child. The season's first game has last year's champions, the New England Patriots, playing host to the Indianapolis Colts.
Barr, Carey headline New York Comedy Festival
Roseanne Barr, Drew Carey, Denis Leary, Paul Mooney, Mo'Nique and New York's shock-jock team Opie and Anthony will light up the inaugural New York Comedy Festival (Nov. 9-13), organizers told the Hollywood Reporter. Opie and Anthony, who recently unveiled plans for a new show on XM Satellite Radio, will host The Passion of Opie & Anthony live from the festival. Starring in the show will be such comedians as Jim Norton, Rich Vos and Jim Breuer. According to the Reporter, the radio DJs were fired by Infinity Broadcasting in August 2002 after they broadcast a couple purportedly having sex in New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Kit Bowen contributed to this report.
Melissa Rivers, daughter of comedian and author Joan Rivers, reveals in the April 6 issue of TV Guide that she and husband John Endicott have separated. Rivers and Endicott tied the knot on Dec. 12, 1998 at New York's Plaza Hotel in a winter wonderland ceremony that included 100 white-painted trees and more than 20,000 flowers. Rivers told the magazine: "I had a pretty wedding. I made the pretty house. I had the pretty baby, I had the handsome husband. I had the career, he had the career, with me at the gate, waving.
"And the reality is: I'm flawed. He's flawed. I'm still in the honeymoon stages of trying to stay above the fray, and I'm going to be civil, but there have been days when I've just wanted to freak."
Black, Hispanic and Asian performers including Salma Hayek, Rosie Perez and rapper Eve took part in V-Day Harlem at the Apollo Theatre in New York City's Harlem neighborhood, the Associated Press reports. The event, a staged version of The Vagina Monologues, was a benefit to raise awareness about violence against women. Proceeds from the performance will go to several black, Hispanic and Asian women's anti-violence organizations.
The Tea Council is launching a new ad campaign aimed at revamping its image and has signed model Kate Moss to become Britain's new spokeswoman for tea, PageSix.com reports. The Tea Council is hoping Moss, who once admitted to drinking between 10-15 cups a day, will convince its target audience of women ages 25 to 34 that tea isn't just for grandma anymore.
Tara Reid, who plays a college newspaper journalist in National Lampoon's Van Wilder, told Newsday that she was attracted to the role to see "what it was like on the other side." In the film, Reid's character, Gwen, has to rewrite a piece that she feels is not very fair--which she thinks journalists don't do enough. "Some of the things people write about me are so not right, or so off, and I think, 'God, wouldn't it be nice if someone, one day, went back and opened their eyes?'"
Susan Sarandon, Leelee Sobieski and Robin Tunney will star in director George Hickenlooper's indie film A Whale in Montana. According toThe Hollywood Reporter, the film--a cross between Ghost and In the Bedroom--follows a widowed doctor (played by Sarandon) working in a small town and raising her 7-year-old daughter. The film also stars Donald Sutherland, David Strathairn and Rory Cochrane and is budgeted at less than $10 million.
Christina Ricci is in talks to star in Borgia, a historical drama set in the 15th century. She will join Ewan McGregor, who signed on last week. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ricci will segue into the project after she completes shooting Woody Allen's untitled project.
Jimmy Fallon of Saturday Night Live is the latest star to join the untitled Allen project, which begins shooting this spring. Like most Allen films, the plot is being kept under wraps. Fallon will join Ricci, Jason Biggs, Glenn Close and Danny DeVito.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus told the Sunday edition of The Washington Post that unlike her two former Seinfeld co-stars, the show has been a blessing for her. NBC is hoping her new comedy, Watching Ellie, will not go the way of Jason Alexander and Michael Richards.
In an effort to distinguish its flagship series Raw on TNN and Smackdown on UPN, the World Wrestling Federation has designated specific wrestlers exclusively to each show, Variety reports. Raw, which airs Monday nights, will feature the Undertaker, Kane, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Lita and the Hardy Boyz, while Thursday night's Smackdown will include the Rock, Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Edge and Stacy Kiebler. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H and Jazz will float between the two shows for the time being.
Musicians Charlie Daniels and Aaron Neville spent Easter Sunday counseling inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, where almost 90 percent of the prison's inmates are serving life sentences. The effort was part of Operation Starting Line, a coalition of more than 20 faith-based organizations that, through religion, try to help inmates turn their lives around , the AP reports.
Jazz history is getting some long-overdue recognition in New Orleans, La. The Preservation Resource Center and the New Orleans Jazz Commission launched an ambitious project to designate long-ignored landmarks in the city's music history by placing their first of 100 "jazz house" historic plaques on a home in New Orleans, La. The plaque was placed on the home where Armand J. Piron--the leader of a popular society band, teacher and music publisher--once lived, the AP reports.
Bono, Irish rock band U2's outspoken lead singer, was one of the key--and, of course, more exciting--participants at the World Economic Forum in New York this past week. He was there as a voice for the world's poorer nations, for which Bono has been tirelessly campaigning for many years. He was trying to seek common ground among the conservative U.S. politicians and some of the world's richest men. Of course, the rock star recognized the irony of his own presence.
"The great thing about hanging out with Republicans is that it's very unhip for both of us. There's a parity of pain here," Bono said at a news conference Saturday, referring to his newfound conservative party friends, including Microsoft's Bill Gates and U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.
Asia launched its first MTV Asia Awards Saturday, honoring their own homegrown talent. Some artists who picked up awards included Hong Kong singer Sammi Cheng, Philippines favorite Regine Velasquez and martial arts superstar Jackie Chan. Pop singer Mandy Moore and ex-Boyzone front man Ronan Keating hosted the event.
The English mystery The Others took top honors at Spain's Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences awards, the country's equivalent to the Oscars. It took eight awards, including best film and best director. Even though directed by Spanish Alejandro Amenabar, many Spanish filmmakers were upset by the film's recognition.
Richard Gere is doing his part for the people of Tibet. He will speak at Germany's parliament in April to discuss Himalayan human rights and further his fight against Chinese rule there. A devoted Buddhist and friend of the Dalai Lama, Gere has been actively protesting against China for their religious and cultural repression in the Himalayan region.
Musical theater composer Stephen Sondheim and his partner John Weidman settled a lawsuit against producer Scott Rudin and regained the sole rights to the musical Gold!. The Broadway show is about the 19th-century adventures and scams of brothers Wilson and Addison Minzer and will now move forward as planned.
Just when you thought it was safe…Canadian pop diva Celine Dion told Barbara Walters on ABC's 20/20 that she is ready to make a comeback. The singer has taken the last two years off to live a normal life and have a child. Starting next year, Dion will appear five nights a week for three years at Caesar's Palace hotel in Las Vegas for a reported $100 million.
The 16-year-old Robert Iler, who plays sulky teen A.J. Soprano on the hit HBO series The Sopranos, refused a no-jail misdemeanor deal from prosecutors. He is being charged with felony robbery for mugging two teens for $40 last July. Apparently, to cinch the deal, Iler would have to admit in court that he is indeed guilty, something he is not willing to do at this time.
Since the horrors of Sept. 11, contemporary Christian music sales are on the rise. Inspirational bands such as Plus One, Third Day, Jars of Clay and Christian pop singer Jaci Velasquez are topping the charts. "We all grew up in the church and we knew that God had given us a gift, whether it's to sing or whether to play instruments musically," said Plus One band member Jason Perry. "We wanted to be a part of something that we love, but also to bring glory to Jesus Christ."
A Ft.Lauderdale, Fla. judge sent actor Brad Renfro (Ghost World) to jail Tuesday after he turned himself in for a probation violation. Renfro was serving probation for trying to steal a yacht in August 2000 and violated that probation when he got arrested Jan. 14 in Knoxville, Tenn. for driving without a license and public intoxication.
International German star Hildegard Knef, best known for starring as a concentration camp survivor in the 1946 Murderers Are Among Us, the first post-WWII German movie, died of a lung infection Friday in Berlin. She was 76.