Everyone is up in arms over whether Porsha Stewart or Kenya Moore should leave Real Housewives of Atlanta after the fight last episode. However, maybe it’s NeNe Leakes who should leave. She has burned her final bridge by declaring war on her last remaining ally, Cynthia Bailey. She has had a sourpuss look on her face the entire reunion. Andy Cohen, please just make NeNe a producer. She tries to control the show most of the time anyway and knows good TV. Clearly, she’s tired of going through the motions, too. The toxicity of this reunion is starting to mirror the infamous Real Housewives of New York City reunion where Jill Zarin was fired. It’s also clear NeNe is trying to control the story because whenever Kenya speaks she, Kandi Burruss, and Phaedra Parks turn their heads away like a busted version of The Supremes.
Kenya vs. NeNe and The Supremes
Kenya seems to do the impossible. She breaks the fourth wall by acknowledging she is just “having a little fun.” It’s true it’s fun when the housewives are in on the drama. She also has dropped the drama-mongering pretense and provides thoughtful, cogent, comments during the rest of the show. Sure, she’s an instigator and she talks a lot of smack…but, no shade, so does Andy Cohen. NeNe and Phaedra accuse Kenya of instigating Porsha, which she did. However, this is a national television show and it should never escalate to actual physical blows...only verbal ones. Both Kenya and Cynthia agree and seem heartfelt and genuine.
Meanwhile, NeNe is throwing side-eyes and looks like someone just told her The New Normal was canceled. It’s sad because the reality of this show is starting to take a farcical turn. NeNe is beginning to join the ranks of Teresa Giudice and Jill Zarin by getting so full of herself she’s alienating viewers and giving the show too much negativity. NeNe also has the nerve to say she agrees there shouldn’t be violence but no one should put their finger in her face. Wasn’t she the one who attacked Kim Zolciak, one season, and Dwight Eubanks, another? Isn’t she the first one to get into people’s faces? She denies that she makes phone calls about the show but in her one-on-one with Andy references conversations she’s had with the ladies off-camera.
Winner: Kenya. She can be a pain and was annoying Porsha but nothing warrants violence. NeNe is very hypocritical and clearly trying to control the tone of the show.
Momma Joyce vs. The Bottle?
Kandi’s mother, known affectionately as Momma Joyce, spends most of her time making digs at Todd Tucker. She flaunts her weight loss but blames it on stress. She dodges a lot of Andy’s questions with nonsensical but humorous responses. She brags about all the diamonds she has but says she doesn’t have to work. She says she doesn’t rely financially on Kandi which brings Kandi to tears because clearly Joyce uses guilt to get her way with her daughter.
Loser: Kandi. There is no winner. Momma Joyce is a funny part of the show but at the expense of her daughter’s credibility, personal life, and good name.
NeNe vs. Cynthia
NeNe was downright indignant all season. She was as verbally abusive to Cynthia, as Cynthia’s husband, Peter Thomas. Cynthia bursts into tears over the fact that NeNe never seemed to respect her or their friendship. Sadly, given Cynthia’s financial troubles, she needs her role on the show. It seems like she plays nice because she doesn’t want to get fired. Meanwhile, NeNe seems to think she’s the Queen of the show but she is so disengaged in the reunion. She even goes so far as to mention Kenya is the lowest paid housewife but talks the most. Meanwhile, NeNe has now officially fought with everyone on the show. She also has had a falling out with everyone she’s claimed to be her friend. This seems to have become NeNe clocking random women…she should just get her own version of American Gladiators.
Winner: Cynthia. She may be boring and her husband may be verbally abusive. But, NeNe did disrespect her and has become a toxic element to the show. Cynthia seems very sympathetic and genuinely emotional. Kenya made a valid point that NeNe tosses her friends away when they misbehave.
The Real Houselines of the Reunion
"We fight with our words and I am the best at it." – Kenya
"Is this the color purple? All my life I had to fight." – Kandi throwing shade at Kenya
"We’re on television. We represent a certain culture, a certain race, and we’re women. We should all stick together about violence against women. Whether it’s women on women or men on women. That’s something that should never divide us." – Kenya being insightful
"I am not Porsha, I am not going back and forth with you. I am very smart and I am very sane." – NeNe’s veiled insult to Porsha
"I was one of the smartest girls in my class and I didn’t even really hang around people she would have really known." – Phaedra’s veiled insult to NeNe
"It’s been a long time but I can still wrap up a good wig." – Momma Joyce
"Would she really raise her daughter to be a millionaire, like I raised my daughter and then let her daughter find a hundredaire and he marry her? Then, give me a ring, okay." – Momma Joyce
"I’ve seen so many, you know, of her friends come and go. And I feel like at the end of the day there is a sisterhood there there’s a love there but I’ve never felt like the respect was there." – Cynthia winning the argument
"So why am I on this couch discussing my friendship with Cynthia with you guys like you give a s**t?" – NeNe forgetting she’s on reality TV
"I think when people stand up to you that are considered to be a friend that’s when you turn on them because you want to shut them down." – Kenya
What’s up with shows this week focusing on religion? First Glee and now Modern Family. I swear if Community has a “goes to church” episode, I’ll go back to church! I swear, Jesus! I’m all for television touching on the subject of religion, but seriously networks spread it out! There’s a reason people only go to church once a week, that’s how much we can handle at a time.
But luckily Modern Family wasn’t entirely about religion. Instead we find the Pritchett family recovering from an epic earthquake that shook the family to it’s core. It really rocked them and exposed their faults. But they all learned a lesson which I’m sure they are all Richter for. Ok, that last one was a stretch. Sue me. Please don’t.
Anyway, let’s check in with each family and see what happened after the quake. We start off with a typical miscommunication gag involving a threeway phone call when each family checks in with the other. Fairly funny with good reactions from Cam and Gloria. Glad they didn’t stretch it out, it wasn’t terribly funny in the first place. Except Mitchell’s reaction, more of that please.
Prior to the quake, Jay was setting up to go golfing while Gloria and Manny were getting ready to go to church. Gloria was worried about Jay’s soul or something silly like that but Jay just wanted to spend time out in nature praising the lord in his own way. Logic like that is new to Manny who decides to spend time with his step-dad. Jay is cool with it because “either way a latino kid is going to be holding my bag.”
Out on the links, Manny breaks the sacred rule of Golf Manly Time by asking the big questions about life, death, and heaven. Jay does what any good parent does when faced with life’s tough questions by saying the first thing that pops into his head. This doesn’t satisfy Manny (of course) which only leads to more and more questions which only frustrates Jay more and more. Eventually he tells Manny that he doesn’t know, all his guesses are only hunches. Manny freaks the hell out and ends with the brilliant (even here, slightly out of context) line “do you know about menstruation? Because I do.”
Mitchell and Cam were attempting to get out of a big gay brunch that their over zealous friend likes to host. “He did the impossible. He made two gay men hate brunch,” retorts Mitchell. The fabulously themed brunches (Oscar Wilde and Crazy Brunch, Studio Fifty Fourth of July, Seder-day Night Fever) are a little too much for them and they use the Earthquake as the excuse they needed to get out. But that doesn’t stop Pepper from showing up to help clean out their house. And then we get the amazing Nathan Lane.
I’m all for realistic portrayals of people and I think stereotypes are bad and we’re all just normal people (have I covered all my bases yet?) but I absolutely love it when Nathan Lane goes all out fabulous. It’s just one of life’s delights. Pepper is a former one-date boyfriend of Cam’s. Cam tries to give excuses for it but Mitchell won’t fall for it when he mouths along with Cam “we were at sea.” Anyway, Pepper flies in like a tornado and Mitchell won’t lie to Pepper any more about skipping brunch so he has Cam do the dirty work. But this falls through and Cam laterals it to Mitchell who confesses that Cam still has feelings for Pepper and that’s why they didn’t want to come. Pepper takes it in stride and understands why they won’t be at the next few brunches.
Then we get the amazing Dunphy story. Claire goes around Phil and orders a plumber to fix the tub. The earthquake happens and she and the plumber get stuck in the bathroom. The rest of the family uses this as an opportunity to get a few things done. Haley tries to sneak out but her mom grounds her for four weeks. She gets so fed up she screams at her mom to double it and make it ten weeks. Oh, Haley. Phil uses it as a time to bolt the bookcase down which he promised to do months ago. Alex notices the fib and when Claire finally gets stuck, Alex covers gracefully for Phil and they have an amazing moment. Alex can really be the coolest kid ever. And then there was luke. Poor Luke. I would feel sorry for him if seeing him run into a wall wasn’t the funniest thing ever.
All in all, a very good episode of Modern Family. The story lines were all solid and the jokes were plentiful and funny. Special award of the day goes to Manny after he runs away from the thought of butterflies in heaven. That kid would be annoying as hell to have, but man is he funny.
Look out! Here comes the Spider-Man!
The friendly neighborhood web-slinger may ignore wealth and fame, but that won't stop this $120 million adaptation of the vintage comic book from trying to shatter box office records.
The first of the summer's anticipated blockbusters, director Sam Raimi's spin on Spider-Man will attempt to do what X-Men and Men in Black fail to do before it: unseat Batman as the top-grossing film based on a comic book.
An early May release resulted in enduring runs for 1999's The Mummy ($155.3 million), 2000's Gladiator ($187 million) and The Mummy Returns ($202 million). Spider-Man faces no serious competition until the May 16 release of Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, which also is the only other potential blockbuster to hit theaters until mid-June.
Just like Superman, Spider-Man's enduring popularity extends beyond the pages of comic books. That should help Spider-Man debut somewhere between The Mummy Returns ($68.1 million) and The Lost World: Jurassic Park ($72.1 million) openings. Also, Spider-Man should trump the grosses of such fellow but lesser-known Marvel Comics superheroes X-Men ($54.4 million opening, $157.2 million total) and Blade 2 ($32.5 million opening, $79.4 million total through Sunday).
If Spider-Man indeed opens strong, it will attract significant Attack of the Clones spillover business, just as The Mummy did against Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace in 1999. This would help Spider-Man make a serious run at surpassing Batman's $251.1 million total.
Whereas Tim Burton's Batman was dark and brooding, Raimi's Spider-Man is bright but certainly not as garish or campy as the last two Batman sequels. It's also lovingly faithful to the comic book--even down to the way it sets up a sequel--but accessible enough to attract those who have no intention of ever reading a comic book or a graphic novel.
Tobey Maguire is perfectly nerdy as Peter Parker, the high school wallflower transformed into a man of action after being bitten by a radioactive spider. He faces an appropriately menacing Willem Dafoe, as Spidey's archenemy the Green Goblin, and pines for the spunky Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst).
The success--or even inconceivable failure--of Spider-Man could have tremendous ramifications on the various big-budget adaptations of other Marvel-related films in the works. Daredevil, with Ben Affleck as the man without fear, is scheduled for Jan. 17. X-Men 2 will occupy the early May 2003 slot. The Hulk, directed by Ang Lee, will begin his rampage in June 2003. Plans also are in the works for third Blade, a second attempt at The Punisher and The Sub-Mariner. Spider-Man could also be the impetus for such long-gestating projects as The Fantastic Four, The Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider and the next installments of such D.C. Comics staples as Superman and Batman.
With Spider-Man's arrival, The Rock might find himself subdued in much the same manner as the unfortunate wrestler whom Peter Parker throws around for a cash prize.
The WWF superstar's first vehicle, The Scorpion King, took a nasty 50 percent tumble in its second weekend, down from $36 million to $18 million. The Rock should serve as the No. 1 destination for those unable to pack into Spider-Man, but another 50 percent tumble this weekend looks likely.
Still, with a regal $64.3 million through Wednesday, The Scorpion King looks set to cross the $100 million barrier and cement The Rock's status as the next action hero.
Who dares take on the spectacular Spider-Man?
Another bespectacled drip, of course.
Woody Allen's annual ensemble offering, Hollywood Ending, stars the New York auteur as a director who must wrap his latest film after temporarily losing his sight. Tea Leoni, Debra Messing and Treat Williams co-star.
Hollywood Ending follows the same release pattern as Allen's previous DreamWorks releases Small Time Crooks and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion by debuting at between 700 and 900 theaters. Hollywood Ending should duplicate the same $3.8 million opening as Small Time Crooks and fare better than the poorly reviewed The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, which endured a puny $2.4 million opening and made only $7.4 million. If Hollywood Ending experiences a successful expansion on May 10, then it could equal Small Time Crooks' $17 million total.
Hollywood Ending should fare better than Deuces Wild, which was delayed last year by MGM subsidy United Artists following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It also was scheduled to open last week, when it would have stood some chance against Life or Something Like It and Jason X, but now it has been pushed back to challenge Spider-Man.
The 1950s gang warfare hits 1,300 theaters with no fanfare and little in the way of genuine star power. Stephen Dorff has never headlined a hit, and such recent efforts as Space Truckers and Entropy went straight to video.
Matt Dillon pops up, no doubt in a nod to his appearance in the similarly themed The Outsiders and Rumble Fish. The cast also includes such up-and-coming notables as Brad Renfro, Norman Reedus, Frankie Muniz and James Franco, who incidentally stars as Peter Parker's rich roommate in Spider-Man. With Deuces Wild likely to make about $3 million this weekend, care to wonder which films will get Franco more work?
Comedy sure isn't pretty for Angelina Jolie.
The platinum-coiffed Jolie didn't generate very many laughs as a TV news reporter who believes she has only one week to live. Life or Something Like It opened with a pathetic $6.2 million. This marks the second comedy headlined by Hollywood's new leading ladies that has bombed in less than one month, the other being Cameron Diaz's equally disastrous The Sweetest Thing ($9.4 million opening, $22 million total through Wednesday).
Life or Something Like It also represents Jolie's second consecutive flop after Lara Croft: Tomb Raider scored $131.1 million. Original Sin, the silly, steamy thriller co-starring Antonio Banderas, opened with $6.4 million but was giggled out of theaters with a pathetic $16.5 million. Life or Something Like It, which has $7.4 million through Wednesday, will barely do better. Seems Jolie should resume raiding tombs pronto.
Not even a technological upgrade could stir up much interest in that one-man killing machine Jason Voorhees.
Jason X, the 10th in the seemingly unstoppable Friday the 13th series, sliced up a meager $6.6 million in its debut. That's less than the $7.5 million that Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday opened with in 1993.
With $7.6 million through Wednesday, Jason X looks like it will do no better than Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday's $15.5 million total. Relocating Jason from present-day Camp Crystal Lake to a spaceship some 450 years in the future clearly did not tantalize those who grew bored with his killing spree during the late 1980s.
Jason X's failure not only heralds the possible demise of the series--at least theatrically--but could signal possible disinterest in another revived 1980s slasher saga, this summer's Halloween: Homecoming.
Changing Lanes proved its durability this weekend by dropping only 18.6 percent in its third weekend, from $11 million to $9 million. Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson could play their intense game of cat and mouse for a strong fourth week before facing competition in the upcoming Unfaithful.
Changing Lanes, which has $46.2 million through Wednesday, could find itself coming to a halt somewhere past Jackson's Rules of Engagement ($61.3 million).
After a lackluster $9.3 million debut, Sandra Bullock's Murder by Numbers eased by a respectable 31.6 percent in its second week to $6.3 million. Still, its weak $19.8 million total through Wednesday indicates that the chiller, with Bullock as a cop out to bust two murderous teens, isn't striking much of a chord among fans of her goofy romantic comedies.
Interest also is waning in two other women-in-distress thrillers.
Jodie Foster's Panic Room slid 29.8 percent in its fifth weekend, from $6 million to $4.2 million. With $88.6 million through Wednesday, Panic Room should still manage to cross $100 million to become Foster's biggest hit since 1991's The Silence of the Lambs ($130.7 million).
Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman might have looked harder at scripts before settling on the unintelligible High Crimes as their first film together since 1996's Kiss the Girls. The thriller dropped an OK 21 percent in its fourth weekend, from $3.9 million to $3.1 million, and has $35.7 million through Wednesday. Kiss the Girls ended its run with $60.5 million and paved the way for the successful Judd-less prequel Along Came a Spider ($74 million).
Aging standbys Ice Age and The Rookie continue to entertain families.
Ice Age, which has $166.4 million through Wednesday, will likely stick around in the Top 10 until fellow animated adventure Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron gallops into theaters on May 24.
The pitch count grows higher and higher for The Rookie, but there's no need to call up the bullpen. Dennis Quaid's biography of Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher Jim Morris has $61.5 million through Wednesday.
Bill Paxton's Frailty, bedeviled by an ill-conceived wide release, fell out of the Top 10 with just $10.1 million through Sunday. Going the art house route continues to benefit Monsoon Wedding ($8.1 million through Sunday), Y Tu Mama Tambien ($7.2 million through Sunday), Kissing Jessica Stein ($5.6 million through Sunday) and My Big Fat Greek Wedding ($1.6 million through Sunday).
The jury remains out on The Cat's Meow, a lively 1920s drama based on Hollywood folklore that marks a stunning return to form for director Peter Bogdanovich. The ensemble cast includes Kirsten Dunst, Eddie Izzard and Cary Elwes.
The Cat's Meow has a modest $786,921 through Sunday after expanding in its third weekend to 135 theaters.
Dunst's presence in Spider-Man could lure some of her fans to the murder mystery as enjoyable as Gosford Park.