Relativity Media via Everett Collection
At only 14 years old, Hailee Steinfeld was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in her big screen debut True Grit. Since then, she's proven it wasn't a fluke by showcasing her talents in a wide variety of films — most recently, she saw both the period romance Romeo and Juliet and the sci-fi thriller Ender's Game open within weeks of each other, earning her plenty of new accolades. Her latest film is 3 Days to Kill, in which she plays Zoey, the teenage daughter of retired Secret Service agent Ethan (Kevin Costner), who is forced back into his former profession after he is diagnosed with cancer in order to try and steal some more time with his daughter.
We spoke with Steinfeld about 3 Days to Kill to talk about filming on location in France, what she learned about playing an assassin, and why the costumes were one of the most exciting aspects of the job for her.
The film is a lot of fun, and very exciting, but there’s also this strong emotional thread running through it with Ethan and Zoey. Was the combination of those things what drew you to the film, or was it working with Kevin Costner, or even just the chance to shoot in France?Everything you just said. When I read the script, first of all, I couldn’t believe that I had my hands on something that Luc Besson had written. That was a really exciting thing for me. I really love him and his work, and reading it and getting that heart pounding, action-thriller vibe was a really exciting thing. And then on top of that, you have this incredible father-daughter relationship that you see evolve throughout the film, and I loved everything about that. It was so much fun diving into it, and since playing a teenage girl was something I was able to identify with fairly easily, I had a really great time with it.
What was your relationship on-set with Kevin Costner like? Did you keep your distance so your characters would feel more estranged, or was it a lot more relaxed and casual?When we started the first few weeks of filming, we filmed the first few scenes of the movie that you see Ethan and Zoey in, where they’re sort of estranged and don’t necessarily know each other. And then by the end of the film, Kevin and I were really able to bond and get to know each other, and we had a really great relationship that I think really came through onscreen. So it happened very organically and in sync with the film in a way.
You’re actually playing an assassin yourself in your upcoming film Barely Lethal. Did you pick up any tips from Kevin when you were filming, or did he give you any advice for when it was your turn?He didn’t! I didn’t know that I was doing Barely Lethal when I was shooting 3 Days to Kill, but it was so interesting because I was watching a couple of movies and I was thinking – it’s so funny you said that because I definitely thought about it – and I was like, “I have had a dad that was one!” I was able to sort of think of that. He’s really good at playing the secret agent thing. It’s really, really good.
You’ve done films of many genres – romance, indie, westerns – but so many of your films are very action-oriented. Is there something about this genre in particular that keeps drawing you back? I think all of the films that I’ve done that have an action element comes after what I see as very character-driven and very heartwarming. The action or thrilling part is a bonus, in other words. With 3 Days to Kill, it’s extremely thrilling and very action-oriented, but you have that father-daughter relationship that I was really drawn to. I remember [the director] McG was showing me some of the film when I saw him a couple months ago. He was showing me the first few minutes, and he was like, “I bet you didn’t have any idea you were a part of this movie, did you?” And I didn’t because, you know, it’s so big and on such a large scale, the action, and then you have these incredible moments between Zoey and her father. So, there’s a lot going on and I think there are so many different things along with the action that sort of draw me to these movies.
So, when you watched the movie back, were there any scenes that you wished you could have been involved in or a part of? Because your character, Zoey, is pretty removed from all of the big fight scenes. Yeah. I think, me personally, I always wish I was involved in the craziness. But it's really amazing how it's all balanced out and how it makes perfect sense in the film, and how Kevin's character, Ethan, how his world, how his job completely works its way out and around her life. I think it was really interesting the way that was done.
You filmed on location in France. Was there any location or experience in particular that stands out to you when you think back on it? What kind of effect do you think working on location has on the film?We shot a scene under an arch that leads to an entrance of the Louvre. And it was so surreal, because here you are in Paris, and it’s playing such a big character in your film, and you’re using it to every degree. I always find it interesting when you work on a stage, and they build something up and it’s as close as you can get it, it feels amazing. But there’s nothing like being in the actual place where your script takes place. It’s the most amazing thing, I think for me as an actor — and for anybody, really — to just spend time there, it was a really, really beautiful experience.
As we’ve sort of talked about, your character is sort of the emotional heart of the film, but you also have a lot of comedic moments as well. Is comedy something you’re interested in doing more of in the future?Yeah, it’s fun. This film I did, Barely Lethal, I’d say it falls more into the category of comedy than anything else that I’ve done, and it was a lot of fun being able to to explore different scenarios and kind of improvise a little bit and say what you wanna say without even knowing you’re saying it. Just having that freedom is something that was really, really fun and turned into something really great, and I really enjoyed that. But I think doing a full comedy could be really fun one day.
Which would you say that you find more challenging: drama or comedy?I’d say it’s all challenging. I think comedy, though, don’t they say, “You can’t try and make something funny funny”? I don’t know, something like that, but it’s so true. You read it and it makes you laugh, but then you have to say it to make other people laugh, and it’s not as easy as it seems, so it’s definitely a challenge for me.
On a slightly shallower note, your costumes in this film are fantastic, and I wanted to wear every single one of them. Coming off of filming Romeo and Juliet, which is a period piece, and Ender’s Game, which is set on a spaceship, was it a nice change of pace to wear more casual clothing onscreen for a change or did you miss those more structured costumes?It was so amazing. I’m not even kidding. I remember having my first fitting [and] everyone around me was like, “Why is she freaking out?” I was so excited because I was like “Oh my god, I saw this the other day when I was shopping and I’m so excited I get to wear it,” whereas I was not saying that about the Romeo and Juliet costumes, you know what I mean? As beautiful as those were – and my god, they were so amazing – it’s very nice to bring your own style to a character and wear the clothes as you would wear them every day, as opposed to having to get used to your body language when you’re wearing a corset. It’s a completely different thing. It was very nice, and it made things a bit easier, I’d say.
Did you have any influence on Zoey’s costumes, or were you able to inject any of your own personal style into her wardrobe?A little bit. I mean, the idea of this teenage girl living in Paris, taking the metro with her friends, going to school, going out to parties, she’s going to be dressed. She’s going to dress to look great. For me? I just kind of throw on whatever and it is what it is, but with the character, she definitely thinks it all through, from the hair to the makeup to the clothes to the shoes and puts it all together, so it was a fun thing to explore and have a say in and be a part of.
I know that often, actors who are in period pieces say that the costumes help them get into character, did you have a similar experience with Zoey’s costumes in this film, or was it already relatively easy, since you’re both modern teenage girls?Yeah, absolutely. The fact that there are details that you might not pick up on from the layering of the scarf and the jackets and all of that, and it’s a lot [of help]. It’s a wardrobe and you put that on, you’re definitely able to feel like someone else.
Was there anything you wore in the film that you fell in love with and were tempted to take home with you?Oh yeah. For sure. There was a jacket that she wears, it’s a Maje, that one. I loved it, it was so great. There were a lot of great sweaters and a lot of great things – there’s always something I feel like, after you spend a certain amount of time in, it becomes you and you want to wear it and you want to keep it. I feel that way with a lot of things I do - which might not necessarily be a good thing.
As long as you don’t actually steal them, you’ll probably be okay.Right, right. Of course.
3 Days to Kill is in theaters now.
David Beckham is launching a global appeal to help children caught up in disaster zones following his visit to the Philippines earlier this month (Feb14). The retired soccer ace headed to the Southeast Asian country last week (ends16Feb14) in his role as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to chat to kids made homeless by Typhoon Haiyan in November (13).
Beckham was so moved during the visit that he took time out to film a personal message urging his supporters to do all they can to help children caught up in life-threatening disasters.
In the clip, he says, "Emergencies like war, a food crisis or a natural disaster like the typhoon here in the Philippines destroy children's lives. It's easy to be overwhelmed by the scale of an emergency.
"Seeing how UNICEF and its partners are helping to put lives back together makes me hugely proud. But to continue to save children's lives, keep them safe from harm and help them rebuild their futures, we need you."
UNICEF bosses are using the short film to launch the organisation's Humanitarian Appeal for Children for 2014, which aims to raise around £1.3 billion to help 59 million kids living in danger around the world.
Television could use some more Stephen King. The best-selling author's work is already the basis for Under the Dome, which is back in production on its second season. Presently, Universal is shopping a pilot from his short-story Ayana, about a blind girl that can seemingly perform miracles. While King's material has been used as film fodder for nearly 40 years (starting with the original Carrie all the way back in 1976), his work has largely been underutilized on TV, mostly popping up now and then in miniseries form. Given the output from the prolific writer over the years, however, there's plenty more of King's stories that would work as an actual series. Here are five that are just screaming for a spot on someone's schedule.
The Dark Tower
For years, people have been trying to develop movies based on King's bleak Dark Tower series, which follows a mysterious gunslinger named Roland on a quest through an odd world that's part Old West and part sci-fi. Instead of trying to give the story the same treatment as J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of The Rings books, the guide should be George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones, which has thrived on cable. At one point, Warner Bros. considered doing both a movie and TV show (for sister company HBO) from the books, but ultimately passed. With a complex story that has its own mythology and language spread over eight books and multiple side stories, The Dark Tower could run on HBO or Showtime for a long time.
The novel, about an Ohio town terrorized by gun-toting thugs that are taking direction from a possessed autistic boy, built an impressive group of subsidiary characters not unlike Under the Dome. The Regulators was a companion piece to King's Desperation, which was already made into a TV movie. Following the strange happenings in a Midwestern town, which already has a built-in parallel universe thanks to the books, the story could provide plenty of material for a number of seasons.
The Running Man
Yes, it already got the big screen treatment starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, but there's a whole lot about the novel's set-up that could be mined for a series. The story, set in a not-too-distant dystopian America, is about a gameshow where contestants are given a head start to go anywhere in the world before they are hunted down and killed on television. Run for 30 days without being killed and you win. Taking elements from reality shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race that audiences have become accustomed to, and elevating them to a strange extreme, would make for some exciting (and darkly funny) serialized viewing.
The Ten O'Clock People
In King's short story, a smoker trying to quit can suddenly see through the disguises of any number of people, including the Vice President, and discovers that they're really monsters. The smoking angle wouldn't work any more, but it's an easy fix to come up with another explanation of why certain people can see through the disguises. Having a resistance group trying to convince people that there are monsters among us would make for a nice mythology story in the same vein of Lost or Fringe.
The story of a teenager manipulated into killing by his neighbor, who turns out to be a Nazi war criminal, was already the basis of a movie with Ian McKellen and Brad Renfro. Change the older character from a Nazi to a terrorist living a hidden life in a California suburb, however, and you could have a show that is a combination of Breaking Bad and The Americans. Who wouldn't want to see Walter White as a terrorist?
Filmmaker David Trueba's Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed was the big winner at Spain's Goya Awards on Sunday (09Feb14) after taking home six honours including Best Picture and Best Director. The comedy drama, about a real-life English teacher who used the music of the Beatles to motivate his students, also triumphed in the categories for Original Screenplay, Original Score, Lead Actor (Javier Camara) and Breakthrough Actress (Natalia de Molina).
Ironically, the Goya wins for Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed, which takes its title from the Fab Four's hit song Strawberry Fields Forever, occurred on the 50th anniversary of the Let It Be hitmakers' first ever U.S. TV gig on The Ed Sullivan Show.
The night wasn't all about Trueba - Alex de la Iglesia's Witching & B**ching garnered the most wins from the Spanish Film Academy bosses with eight accolades, mostly for technical achievements. Screen veteran Terele Pavez did, however, score the prize for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film.
Meanwhile, the top actress honour was awarded to Marian Alvarez for her role in Wounded, while the drama's director, Fernando Franco, earned the title for First-Time Filmmaker.
Daniel Sanchez Arevalo's comedy Family United, which headed into the ceremony with 11 nominations, only won two awards - Best Supporting Actor for Roberto Alamo and Best Original Song.
Russell Brand has urged critics to ease up on troubled young star Justin Bieber following the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. The British funnyman, who is a former drug addict, has written a candid piece on addiction in the aftermath of Hoffman's passing over the weekend (01-02Feb14) following a suspected heroin overdose.
Brand cites Bieber as an example of a young star who could easily fall into the trap of drug troubles, and insists addicts need help not criticism in order to survive.
In an article for Britain's The Guardian, he writes, "Philip Seymour Hoffman's death was not on the bill. If it'd been the sacrifice of Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber, that we are invited to anticipate daily, we could delight in the Faustian justice of the righteous dispatch of a fast-living, sequin-spattered denizen of eMpTyV (bad music TV)... We are tacitly instructed to await their demise with necrophilic sanctimony. When the end comes... it will be deserved... When we reflect on Bieber's Louis Vuitton embossed, Lamborghini cortege it is easy to equate addiction with indulgence and immorality. The great actor (Hoffman) dying alone denies us this required narrative prang."
Brand goes on to add, "The reason I am so non-judgmental of Hoffman or Bieber and so condemnatory of the pop cultural tinsel... is that I am a drug addict in recovery, so like any drug addict I know exactly how Hoffman felt when he 'went back out'... What it also clearly demonstrates is that we are a culture that does not know how to treat its addicts. Would Hoffman have died if this disease were not so enmeshed in stigma?...
"The troubling message behind Philip Seymour Hoffman's death, which we all feel without articulating, is that it was unnecessary and we know that something could be done."
Bieber recently found himself in the headlines when he was arrested for driving under the influence in Florida. Officials reportedly found marijuana and prescription drug Xanax in his system.
U.S. Dramatic/U.S. Dramatic/Premieres
Every year, film enthusiast from across the land journey to the hinterlands of Utah to partake in the Sundance Film Festival. A yearly event which can only be described as the holy pilgrimage og independent film. This year's festival is full of great films, but these ten works are the standout favorites that have garnered the most critical attention.
BoyhoodEveryone was sitting on the edge of their theater chairs to see the results of Richard Linklater’s wildly ambitious project Boyhood, which shot over 12 years and charts the life of a child from ages 6 to 18. It seems like the dozen years it took to make Boyhood were well worth it with with words like "masterpiece" popping up every so often in the rabble of critical praise. The film finds transcendance in the small and ordinairy moments that make up childhood, and the film's relatability is one of it's strongest merits Frequent Linklater collaborator Ethan Hawke and actress Patricia Arquette play the boy's parents. Though some critics are saying that the film is a tad too long, most agree that it is a one of a kind experience not to be missed.Best Review Quote: "Boyhood shines in its engrossing, experiential understanding and it’s a special achievement that should be cherished and acknowledged." - Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
Kumiko the Treasure Hunter A strange, whimsical story about a young woman who becomes obsessed with a movie and is unable to separate it from reality, Kumiko the Treasure Hunter stars Rinko Kikuchi as Kumiko, a shy office worker who sets out to recover the suitcase that Steve Buscemi’s character buries in North Dakota at the end of Fargo. Based on an urban legend, the film has been described as a “spirited and sad adult fairytale [that] will surely baffle as many viewers as it enchants.” Directed by David Zellner and co-written with his brother Nathan, Kumiko the Treasure Hunter is an artsy indie film that balances the absurdity of its premise with a grounded, human performance from Kikuchi that has been greatly praised by critics. It might be one of the odder films featured at this year’s festival, and it’s unlikely to win over a mainstream audience, but with Kikuchi at the center, it’s definitely a film worth looking up. Best Review Quote: “It’s a marvelous role for Kikuchi, who has the intensity of the great silent film stars, and who’s fascinating to watch even when Kumiko is doing nothing more than sitting solemnly by the window of her apartment eating ramen noodles as a rain begins to fall.” - Scott Foundas, Variety
Life Itself This full-figured portrait of the late Roger Ebert delves into the well-lived life of the most famous and celebrated film critics of all time, and critics, some of which are his former peers, are praising its depiction of the late and great critic. The film is by turns, an unflinching and joyful appreciation of the man’s life, from it’s successful highs to its cancer-stricken lows. The film is being praised for it's sensitivity and brevity, but also for not shying away from Ebert's flaws, namely his alcholism and lust for women.Best Review Quote: "There was a thunder in Ebert's heart, and that was his love for movies, and he wanted to tell the world about films, both big ones and small. James should be high-fived every day of his life for telling the real story of Roger Ebert." - Chase Whale, The Playlist
Listen Up Philip The titular Philip is an insufferable jerk, a narcissistic author who spends much of the film insulting and berating the people around him and spending most of his time obsessed with himself and his novels. With Jason Schwartzman in the lead role, the film has been a critical favorite at the festival, with Schwartzman imbuing the right amount of charm to keep the hero from being completely unwatchable, and a sharp story that provides insight into the overbearing protagonist and the people in his life. The film has also been praised for its creative use of literary conventions, such as a voice-over narration that outlines what’s going on in Philip’s head, and chapters that shift the focus to the other characters, so that the audience can experience the story in the same novelistic way that Philip does. It’s not a film that will easily appeal to everyone, but the incredibly positive reviews should help earn the film plenty of attention and recognition.Best Review Quote: “Importantly, the protagonist disappears for a sizeable chunk of the film’s mid section (a device Perry borrowed from William Gaddis’ novel, Recognitions) and we learn as much about him in absentia as we do from being in his overwhelming presence.” - Emma Myers, IndieWire
Love Is Strange Bursting with truths that are both painful and fun yet all too real, Love Is Strange offers a portrait of love and separation. John Lithgow and Alfred Molina portray an older gay couple that gets married after 39 years of living together due to New York's changing same sex marriage laws, but vows are tested in earnest when financial hardships suddenly divide the couple. Critics are enamored with the loving authenticity that’s layered at the film’s heart, and were impressed with the heartfelt performances from the two leads.Best Review Quote: "Throughout the picture ... you understand the miracle and good fortune of finding love, and recognize the great changes in tolerance American society is currently (albeit slowly) undergoing." - Jordan Hoffman, Film.com
Obvious Child This year’s festival featured a number of films centered around a woman in her mid-to-late 20’s whose life is falling apart, but none of them stood out more than Obvious Child, the feature-length debut of writer-director Gillian Robespierre. An abortion rom-com, the film stars Jenny Slate as Donna Stern, an aspiring stand-up comic who becomes pregnant after a one-night stand, and is faced with the reality of being vastly unprepared for the sudden turn her life has taken. Critics have praised Obvious Child not only for doing away with the standard romantic comedy clichés and dealing with taboos head on, but also for handling the subject matter with realism and heart. Slate has also gotten praise for her performance, and should be able to break away from her short run on Saturday night Live in favor of being recognized as a solid actress in her own right. Best Review Quote: “There’s none of the expected movie-of-the-week scenes here—Slate never has an actorly monologue about her predicament, just a series of laugh-so-you-don’t-cry wisecracks […] And yet when Donna is laying sedated on an operating table and gravity sends her tears down her cheeks towards the clinical cold tile floor, you can recognize that her decision may be decisive, but it isn’t unfelt.” - James Rocci, The Playlist
The Raid 2: BerandalThe sequel to the Indonesian smash-hit actioner is getting acclaim from every inch of the festival for it’s wonderfully orchestrated yet absurdly violent fight scenes. Critics say that the film is a delight for genre fans who have a hunger for bloodletting, though the more squeamish members of the public should probably pack a sick bag if they want to make it to the end credits. The film is being called more ambitious than its predecessor, and some critics are divided if the larger emphasis on story and drama does the film and favors, but most agree that the sequel is a visceral and pulse-quickening follow up that certainly lives up to the first outing.Best Review Quote: "This orgy of broken bones and vicious badassery makes its cult predecessor look like a peevish bitch-slap." - David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
The Skeleton TwinsIf Will Forte's turn in Nebraska wasn’t proof enough; Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are also striving to prove the dramatic acting chops of SNL vets with their well-received performances in the comedy-drama The Skeleton Twins. The pair play twins that are both suffering through bouts of depression, and the two characters struggle to regrow the sibling relationship that distance and shared pain had witherd away. Both Hader and Wiig are being praised for their nuanced performances as the duo confidently master the film's nicely balanced tone, which flutters between comedy and drama, but doesn't feel forced or jarring.Best Review Quote: "Hader and Wiig can play serious, can weave humor into their realistic performances, but what separates them from other actors and directors who attempt dangerously tired material is a foundation of collaboration. It’s easy to buy that they’re brother and sister because the rapport is established." - Matt Patches, Vanity Fair
The Voices Perhaps the most eccentric film premiering at Sundance this year, The Voices star Ryan Reynolds as a factory worker who is encouraged by his pets, a well-meaning dog named Bosco and a manipulative and evil cat named Mr. Whiskers, to commit murder. Described as a horror-thriller-comedy, the film does its best to do away with both genre conventions and horror film tropes in favor of a weirdly entertaining psychological drama that puts the audience on the same side as its mentally ill, serial killer hero. Critics have given Reynolds, who provided voices for Bosco and Mr. Whiskers in addition to playing the lead, rave reviews, praising his ability to commit to the character’s wilder moments while still keeping the film grounded and restrained. With such an insane premise, a compelling, committed performance and excellent direction from Marjane Satrapi – artist and director behind both the graphic novel and film Pesepolis – The Voices has all of the key ingredients to become a cult favorite, and quite possibly, even a mainstream success. Best Review Quote: “The film’s combination of psychological drama -- cue the childhood trauma -- with blood-splattered limb-cutting, talking heads in the fridge and talking pets on the couch is a risky one that finally works because [screenwriter Michael R.] Perry and Satrapi find the right tonal mixture for the material, with Jerry’s reality recognizable yet strangely heightened from the start (all the overly joyous pinks in the factory should have been a give-away).” - Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter
Whiplash Starring Miles Teller as an aspiring jazz drummer who is willing to give up everything in order to become one of the greats, and J.K. Simmons has his tyrant of a music teacher, who motivates his students through fear and torrents of insults, Whiplash is a film about the question of whether or not it’s worth it to dedicate everything you have in the name of art. The film earned rave reviews when it premiered on opening night, and critics have said that it boasts career making and defining performances from Teller and Simmons, respectively. It’s not the kind of music film that will leave audiences with a warm fuzzy feeling, but with two explosive leading men and a director who lived through it himself, Whiplash became the most attention-grabbing film to premiere at Sundance. Sony snapped up distribution rights on opening night, which means it’s definitely a film to look forward to in the coming year. Best Review Quote: “For those seeking perfection, one tiny slip threatens to jeopardize the ensemble as a whole. As a result, Fletcher’s strategy is to humiliate the stragglers in front of the entire group — the sort of abuse more commonly associated with locker rooms and war movies, whose high stakes [director David] Chazelle brings to bear on this more civilized arena.” - Peter Debruge, Variety
Last week, Community fans were forced to confront the loss of one of their own, when it was revealed at the last minute that Pierce Hawthorne had died. This week, we were dealt another blow, as "Cooperative Polygraphy" laid the groundwork for the departure of another beloved character, Troy Barnes. After forcing all of the group's secrets and lies out into the open during his bequeathing ceremony, Pierce left Troy the biggest gift: all of his shares in the Hawthorne Wipes empire, worth over $14 million dollars. Of course, because he's Pierce and can't make anything easy, in order to gain access to the money, Troy has to first sail around the world on Pierce's boat, the Childish Tycoon — which is both a reference to Donald Glover's music career and the perfect way to describe Pierce — and learn to be his own man.
It is, admittedly, a rather obvious way to deal with the absence of Glover, who will make his fifth and final appearance of this season in next week's episode, "Geothermal Escapism." But despite the flimsiness of the set up, having Troy leave to discover who he is on his own is a surprisingly fitting way to write off his character. Most of his storylines over the course of the show's run have dealt with the issue of his identity, from his attempts to continue being the "golden boy" after arriving in Greendale, reveling in his weirder tendencies as a result of his friendship with Abed, and his natural gift for air conditioning repair, despite it being the last path he wanted his life to take. Once he became friends with Abed, he lost a piece of himself, and has dealt with the fact that his identity has become completely dependent on that friendship.
Yet, Troy and Abed have always had some fundamental differences, which the writers brought to the forefront in season three and parts of season four. Abed knows who he is, has accepted that, and is up-front about the crutches he relies on in order to deal with the world, whereas Troy feels that eventually, he will have to grow up and leave behind all of his childish tendencies and behaviors. Take for example, his conflict with Abed over the dreamatorium; for Abed, it was a vital part of who he is as a person, and something that he relied on to keep himself sane. For Troy, though, it was a fun way to goof off with his best friend, and something that he would eventually need to move on from when it was time to be an adult. The conflict, then, comes not only from the rift in their friendship, but also from Troy not knowing who he is outside of "Troy and Abed."
Although his relationship with Jeff got the most attention during his time on Community, Pierce was extremely close to Troy, especially after they spent a year living together. Therefore, it makes sense that it would be Pierce who sets Troy up for the next chapter in his life, because he knows Troy well enough to understand that eventually, he will need to figure out who he is, away from Greendale and away from Abed. He also knows that it's not something he will do without being pushed, as even after they left Greendale, Troy still relied entirely on his best friend. While everyone else in the study group had hobbies and jobs they had moved on to, Troy was simply waiting for Abed to invent something, so that he could benefit through proximity. He needs the incentive of millions of dollars in order to finally step out of his comfort zone and be the person he wants to be, rather than the person everyone else expects him to be, or the character he and Abed have decided to play this week.
Pierce's bequeathal makes for a more fitting catalyst for Troy's departure than, say, reviving the air conditioning repair school plot, which could have easily been the direction the writers chose to go down. After all, Troy is their Messiah, the most gifted air conditioner repair man they had ever seen, and he alone was able to bring them back down to reality and integrate them back into Greendale. However, after that plot was resolved in season three, it was never mentioned again, and the issue of Troy being able to choose what he wants to do with his life rather than just following his "destiny" was never referenced. Yet, watching him deal with that struggle for years gives Pierce's insane request some context and helps ground it in reality.
We can only hope that Glover will make a return to the show eventually, so that the audience and the study group can find out what kind of person Troy is on his own. It's only fair, since we'll be able to watch Abed deal with being without his other half over the course of the rest of the season, but his journey of self-discovery carries less weight than Troy's. We know, whatever happens, that Abed will be okay without Troy, and he will continue to be a whole person in his own right. No matter how many breakdowns he has, how many people he offends, or how many of his schemes veer wildly out of control, Abed will still be Abed, no matter who is by his side. With Troy, we're not so sure. And that adds another layer of sadness to his imminent departure, as we will never get to see if he can be his own person when he's alone.
It's always hard for a show to deal with the loss of a main character, especially one who is as well-loved as Troy. Community is faced with losing two in rapid succession, and after next week, the dynamic of the show is going to change dramatically. But the writers have certainly risen to the challenge, and after seeing the way they've decided to set up his departure, we're sure that Troy, like Pierce, will get the send-off that he deserves. Until then, we, like Troy and Abed, are in mourning.
The holidays. It's a time of joy, giving, kindness, and time off of work. But all of that free time on your hands can sometimes seem intimidating, and going to see all of the big Oscar contenders in theaters can get pretty expensive, so we've decided to help you out by coming up with a better, less costly use of your time. We're sure there are plenty of television shows that you've been wanting to watch all year, but haven't had the time to check out. So, we've rounded up the best of them to give you a foolproof guide to catching up on television over the holidays. Consider it our gift to you.
The Ones You've "Been Meaning to Get To"With all of the shows currently airing on television, it's understandable that you wouldn't have had time to get to them all. But since you're likely to have some free time over the holidays, why not take the opportunity to catch up on those shows that you've had saved on your DVR for months, the ones you keep hearing your friends talk about, and the ones you want to start watching before they start winning all kinds of awards next month.
Rectify. When it comes to shows that you should be watching but just haven't gotten around to, Rectify is probably at the top of the list. Set in a small town in Georgia, the show picks up after Daniel Holden has been released from prison after spending 19 years on death row, and follows Daniel, his family, and the people who live Paulie as they try and deal with the aftermath of Daniel's release. The show has topped almost every television critic's end-of-the-year list, and has been declared to be a must-see. With only six episodes in the first season, it should be easy to catch up over the holidays - all of the episodes are available on DVD - so that you can finally check it off your list, and start feeling superior to your friends how haven't discovered it yet.
Broadchurch. You may have missed this British drama when it first aired at the end of the summer, but there's no excuse for not catching up on the mystery now. The show aims to portray how the death of a child in a small town affects all of the people living in Broadchurch, and shows both the human aspect of the murder as well as the investigation being performed by the two leading detectives, Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Olivia Coleman). If you're looking for a twist on the standard crme procedural, are interested in seeing Tennant take on a completely different role, or were one of the few people truly upset by AMC's decision to cancel The Killing (again), then Broadchurch is the show for you.
House of Cards. Sure, Orange Is the New Black was the runaway hit of the summer, but if there's any show currently streaming online that you haven't gotten around to yet, it's probably House of Cards. Kevin Spacey stars as Francis Underwood, the House Minority Whip, as he schemes, plots, and deals his way through Washington DC. Even if you don't get sucked into the fascinating and addicting world of underhanded politics, it's worth watching House of Cards to see Spacey chew the scenery and mastermind every move the Senate makes. Plus, there's an incredible supporting cast, including Robin Wright as Francis' equally devious wife Claire, Corey Stoll as Peter Russo, the representative who is juggling his position in the House with his numerous addictions, and Kate Mara as the ambitious journalist Zoe Barnes. Trust us, when the second season is released on Netflix on Valentine's Day, you don't want to be the only one out of the loop.
The Ones You Forgot AboutSometimes the best shows on television don't earn dedicated fanbases or win a clean sweep of awards. Sometimes, you pass them by when flipping the channels on the way to something else. Well, allow us to point out a few of those smaller shows that are a much better use of your time than yet another Law and Order marathon.
Shameless. Most of the time, when US networks remake British shows, the result is a disaster that alienates fans on both continents. But occasionally, the result is a show that is somehow better and more compelling than the original. This is the case with Shameless, the Showtime series that showcases the up and downs of the Gallagher family, warts and all. Led by the alcoholic, thieving Frank (William H. Macy), the Gallaghers do whatever they need to to survive life on the Southside of Chicago. High school dropout Fiona (Emmy Rossum) works odd jobs to care for her siblings, Lip (Jeremy Allen White) uses his intellect to scheme his way out f responsibility and into some money, Ian (Cameron Monaghan) is closeted and carrying on an affair with his married boss, Debbie (Emma Kenney) is trying to navigate middle school and reconcile her father and her sister, and Carl (Ethan Kutkosky) keeps setting fire to everything. It won't take much for you to be drawn into the Gallaghers' struggles, and after the first season, you too will begin bemoaning the injustice of Rossum's lack of Emmy nominations. And if you catch up now, you'll be ready to watch the fourth season when it premieres in January.
Trophy Wife. With a title that terrible, it's no wonder you put this ABC sitcom out of your head, but it has turned out to be one of the best new shows on television. Malin Ackerman stars as Kate, a former party girl who fell in love with and married and older man (Bradley Whitford), and now must balance her new role as a stepmother, his two ex-wives and her old, still-partying friends. The show is surprisingly accepting, and is more about a blended family learning to love all of its members than drawing humor from its fish-out-of-water premise. But let's be real, here: the real reason to keep watching is Bert, who, played by Albert Tsai, is arguably one of the mot consistently funny characters on television right now. The show's still in its first season, so there's not too much for you to catch on before it returns from hiatus in January; what better way to bond with your own family than by watching this hilariously dysfunctional one try and balance it all?
The Hour. Part espionage thriller, part behind-the-scenes look at the makings of television and entirely brilliant, The Hour is probably the best show you've never seen. The British drama focuses on Bel Rowley (Romola Garai), the producer tasked with getting The Hour, the BBC's first nightly news program off the ground in the 1950s. She's joined by her good friend, Freddie Lyon (Ben Whishaw), who s more interested in integrity and chasing the story than he is with catering to the network bosses, Lix Storm (Anna Chancellor), the worldly foreign correspondent who acts as Bel's mentor, and Hector Madden (Dominic West), the program's cocky new anchor. The acting is incredible, the writing is exquisite, and the stories are exciting and compelling, and once you've started The Hour, you'll understand just why it's "the hour you can't miss". Although it's no longer airing, having been cancelled after its second season ended on a cliff-hanger, but it's easy enough to find online,a nd is sure to be the perfect way to spend a few hours of your time.
The Ones With The Hardcore FanbasesSometimes, a television show connects so strongly with a particular audience that its fans become more than just causal viewers; instead, they feel the need to talk about their favorite show whenever they get the chance, constantly recommending that you watch it, and refusing to take no for answer. Well, sometimes, those intense fans are right, and the shows they love are actually really good, even if their fanaticism may put you off. Here are the recommendations you should be taking seriously.
Orphan Black. This is probably the millionth time someone has recommended that you give Orphan Black a shot, but that's because it really is worth a watch. Starring Tatiana Maslany as seven different and distinct characters, the show is probably best described as a sci-fi mystery as well as being one of the most addicting shows currently on television. The plot follows Sarah Manning, an English grifter who watches a woman - who looks just like her - commit suicide by jumping in front of a train. After Sarah decides to adopt the dead woman's identity, she is thrown into a major conspiracy that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about herself. his show definitely lives up to all of its hype, and once you watch it, you too will find yourself with a brand new favorite actress.
Sleepy Hollow. When Sleepy Hollow was first announced this fall, nobody thought it would turn out to be a decent show. And sure, it might be a lot more ridiculous and campy than many of the shows on this list, but if you're looking for a fun, entertaining way to spend some time this holiday, then this is the show for you. The off-the-wall plot, which centers around Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison), who has been sent forward in time 200 years to modern-day Sleepy Hollow, New York, where he must team up with Detective Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) to stop the impending apocalypse, is balanced by compelling, engaging performances. It's got the perfect combination of self-awareness, goofy adventures, supernatural spookiness and well-rounded characters to make it perfect holiday comfort viewing.
Bob's Burgers. You may have noticed us recommend this show before, but we strongly believe this little show about the weirdest, funniest, most accepting family on television is one everyone should watch. Every episode is hilarious, well-acted and original, and it's rare to see a family on television who are so loving and accepting of one another, from Linda's inventive songs to Louise's appetite for chaos and destruction to Tina's hormonal awkwardness to Gene... well, being Gene. Just trust us on this one, and give it a try. You won't regret it.
The One You Gave Up On That Got Better
The Mindy Project. There's no denying that the first season of The Mindy Project was fraught with issues. However, when it returned for a second season this fall, it brought with it sharper jokes, better paced episodes, more character development, and a cast overhaul, all of which resulted in it being a much stronger show than it was before. Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) is just as much of a mess as she was before, but she has wittier one-liners, and she has settled in to a much more comfortable rapport with her co-workers, who include a newly-added Adam Pally as the frat bro doctor Peter Prentiss. If you liked or were indifferent to the show before, the holidays are a perfect time to give the new episodes a chance, because you just might find that the show you gave up on has gotten better when you weren't watching.
The holidays are upon us and, chances are -- unless you've been living in a vaccuum -- somebody in your life is obsessed with ABC's hit show Scandal. Whether they liken themselves to Olivia Pope, or can't stop talking about what Huck did in the last episode, there's a special gift just for them. And, hey, they deserve it. If they are indeed Scandal fans, they're being forced to suffer through a horribly long winter break from the show due to Washington's maternity break. Suffice it to say, they need all the love and Scandal-related gifts they can get. Here are a few ideas.
An Unbelievably Chic Olivia Pope-Esque Coat
Half of us are tuning in just to see what Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope is wearing. You can't go wrong with one of these Olivia Pope-esque coats from this Buzzfeed list. Throw in a white hat and you're good to go.
Olivia Pope Wine Glasses
The holidays can be a stressful time, especially if you're sitting around waiting for new episodes of your favorite show. Help your friend unwind with a glass of wine (two glasses, at most) in a fancy, schmancy Olivia Pope wine glass. Crate&Barrel has them HERE. You're welcome.
The Scandal Pillow
Find or make a pillow with the following quote on it: "if you want someone killed right, you've got to kill them yourself." Don't worry, it's a reference to a great episode from Season 2 and your Scandal fan will totally get it.
Obviously, The DVDs
Seasons one and two are out on DVD, so there's an easy fix to the gift issue. But if you really, really love this person, you should go ahead and pre-order Season three for them as well. Unlimited access to their favorite show will make them more happy than you can know.
A Twitter Follow From His/Her Favorite Gladiator
Nobody loves Twitter like a Gladiator. If your Scandal fan is obsessed with live-tweeting the show, you might wanna see if you can get them some Holiday love from one of the cast members, or even the show's creator Shonda Rhimes. They've all been known to tweet replies to their biggest fans/Twitter stalkers so if you tweet at enough of them to follow your loved one over the next few days, chances are you'll get some kind of positive response.
Absolutely Anything From This Website
Seriously. Scandal-themed shirts, coffee mugs, and iPhone cases? It's every Gladiator's dream.
Give Martin Freeman an empty room and he'll give you comedy. The best parts of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey — an admittedly mishandled movie in large — involved his subdued grimaces, his Chaplinian waddling, and the way he carried himself with equal parts neurosis and snark in every scene. If there is one primary misstep of An Unexpected Journey's terrifically improved sequel, The Desolation of Smaug, it is the spiritual absence of Bilbo Baggins.
Freeman's good-natured but disgruntled Hobbit takes a backseat to the Dwarf team in this chapter of Peter Jackon's three-part saga, distributing the heavy lifting among the front lines of the bearded mooks. Thankfully, we're not shafted with too much "Thorin's destiny" backstory, instead focusing on the trek forward, through far more interesting terrain than we got last time around. The Dwarves voyage through a trippy woodland that'll conjur fond memories of The Legend of Zelda's unnavigable forest levels and inside the borders of Lake-town, a man-occupied working class monarchy that is more vivid and living than any place we have seen yet in the series. And while Unexpected Journey's goblin caverns might have been cool to look at, none of the quests in Desolation feel nearly as close to a tangential detour. Every step the Dwarves take is one that beckons us closer to the central, increasingly engaging story.
Desolation is not entirely without its curiosities. While Gandalf's mission to meet the Necromancer serves to connect the Hobbit trilogy to the Lord of the Rings movies, the occasional cuts over to the wizard's pursuits are primarily distracting and just a bit dull. Although we're happy to welcome the Elf race back into our Middle-earth adventures, it's easy to imagine a version of this story that didn't involve side characters like Legolas and Kate... I mean, Tauriel... and still felt whole (perhaps even more cohesive). The latter's love affair with hot Dwarf Kili seems like a last minute addition to the canon, and one not built on anything beyond the cinematic rule that two sexually compatible attractive people should probably have something brewing alongside all the action.
But the most egregious of crimes committed by Desolation is, unquestionably, the shafting of Bilbo Baggins to secondary status. Yes, he proves himself a savior to his fellow travelers four times in the film, but long stretches of action go by without so much as a word from the wide-eyed burglar. When he finally takes center stage in his theatrical face-off with Smaug — an exercise in double-talk reminiscent of Oedipus outsmarting the Sphinx — the film picks up with a new, cool energy, with a chilling fun laced around the impending doom of their back-and-forth. We've been waiting since the first frames of Unexpected to see how the dragon material will pay off, and it does in spades... albeit in the final third of Desolation, but with equal parts gravitas and fun, to reunite us with our Tolkien passions once more.
Benedict Cumberbatch's dragon doesn't do much to subvert expectation — he's slithering, sadistic, vain, manipulative, and vaguely Londonian. But tradition feels good here. Smaug's half hour spent toying with the mousey Bilbo (who does get a chance to showcase his aptitude at small-scale physical comedy here) is terrific in every way.
Its Hobbit problem aside, Desolation proves itself worthy of Bilbo's past proclamation. "I'm going on an adventure!" more than pays off here, in the form of mystifying boat rides, edge-of-your-seat efforts in dragon slaying, and the most joyful action set piece we've seen in years. Twelve Dwarves, twelve barrels, and one roaring river amounts for enough fun to warrant your trip to the theater for this latest outing into Middle-earth.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com