On this week's episode of How I Met Your Mother, the second-to-last episode in the entire series, Robin Scherbatsky — Canadian-born newsanchor and former teen pop sensation, advocate of firearms, hockey, and dogs, and lifelong sufferer of chronic daddy issues — and Barney Stinson — Staten Island-raised corporate stooge (and secret government mole), lover of Scotch, magic, and laser tag, plausible sex addict and compulsive liar... and lifelong sufferer of chronic daddy issues — got married.
Some of us thought it wouldn't happen (guilty). Some of us thought Robin might be better off on her own, pursuing a slew of career-oriented adventures like the lone wolf she is, perhaps finding love someplace else down the line... but with her parents (Ray Wise and Tracy Ullman) present, Patrice inscrutably by her side at the altar, and her sister presumably hidden among the crowd (I guess they couldn't get Lucy Hale away from the Pretty Little Liars set for two episodes this season), Robin tied the knot to the seedy, cartoonishly evil, secretly big hearted (at least that's what we're supposed to believe now) Barney.
To say that we have mixed feelings would be an understatement. It's tough to "accept" the flaws we see in Barney as his screwed up presentation of affection when some of his vile behaviors do in fact seem incredibly deep seated. It seems like HIMYM boasts the relationship as a more colorful alternative to the Marshall/Lily perfection, but only one of the budding marriage's parties is wholly on board with its prickly, occasionally criminal nature. As much earnestness as we might see in Barney's devotion to his friends, we do think there's something missing in his devotion to his marriage. And we do, honestly, think Robin deserves better.
But, hey, here's what we're getting. Robin and Barney got married, and likely will be forever. Ted said his final goodbye to his love for Robin this week, rejecting her revelation that maybe the two of them should be together, affirming (in a fashion apparently charged more by guilt and fraternal responsibility than candid belief) that she and Barney love each other and belong together.
But it wasn't Ted who set her on course, it was the still peskily unnamed Mother, who recommended that a panicked Robin take three deep breaths to calm herself and hear out Barney's refreshed set of vows — that he would always be honest with her. Not too shabby for a guy who just episodes ago proclaimed that he would never give up his passion for deceit.
So now that their love story is wrapped, Marshall and Lily are back on track, we only have one thing left to see... and one week left until we see it.
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Where would your life be without Kanye West's many varied lyrical homages to his fiancée Kim Kardashian? Trust us — your life would not be the same. Over the years, even before we knew that they were dating, Kanye has been putting his love for Kim on wax, which is a bold move in the rap game. We don't have a lot of rappers embracing the wonderful world of monogamy, and even if you're not into the couple (or the two individually) you have to admit that it's always sweet when a guy publicly declares his love for his significant other. Here are a few of Kanye's best lyrical references to Nori's momma Kim.
In which Kanye makes it clear that 1.) he's been in love with Kim since the Kris Humphries era, and 2.) he totally could have had his BFF Jay Z (and NBA team owner) drop Kris from the Nets team if he'd really wanted to be petty:
And I'll admit, I had fell in love with KimAround the same time she had fell in love with himWell that's cool, baby girl, do ya thangLucky I ain't had Jay drop him from the team
Things got adorably cheesy at the 2013 Met Gala when Kanye took the stage and sang this little diddy to a very pregnant Kim. For those people who think Kanye isn't the sweetest, most supportive boyfriend in the world, I give you this:
People trying to hate on you At least you know that's nothing new Stop everything you're doing now Cause baby, you're awesome So awesome
I don't care who you are, everyone wants someone to get on stage and recite these lyrics for and to them. Everyone.
Probably the most unforgettable music video ever (and not... in a good way), the lyrics and production on Bound 2 are so great that we're willing to forgive Yeezy for the momentary lapse in sanity that he surely suffered when creating this video. There was also that epic performance with The Roots, which included the Ray J diss heard 'round the world. It's hard to pick the best part of Bound 2, but here are some crowd favorites:
Close your eyes and let the word paint a thousand picturesOne good girl is worth a thousand bitches
Again, not a message we hear in the average rap song. And then there's this part:
Hey, you remember where we first met?Okay, I don't remember where we first metBut hey, admittin' is the first stepAnd hey, you know ain't nobody perfect
Guys and gals — we all need to be more honest about things. If Kanye can admit that he doesn't even remember where he met the woman he'll be spending the rest of his life with, you can admit that you drank 99 percent of the remaining orange juice and left that lost drop in there... like a total douche. Ain't nobody perfect, and true love conquers all.
"Knock You Down" (Keri Hilson)
Yeezy teamed up with Keri Hilson and Ne-Yo for this little jam, and took a moment lament the fact that someone like Kim would never date a silly little rapper like him. She'd been with NFL player Reggie Bush for a while, so Kanye made himself the "class clown" to "the head of the football team," with Kim as the "cheerleader" of his dreams. Adorable:
You was always the cheerleader of my dreamThat seem to only date the head of football teamsAnd I was the class clown that always kept you laughingWe were never meant to be baby we just happened
But not all of Kanye's lyrics are... sweet...
"Drunk In Love" Remix
Poor Bruce Jenner. He must have had a heart attack when he heard these lyrics:
Woo! You will never need another loverWoo! Cause you a MILF and I'm a motherf**kerTold you give the drummer some, now the drummer c**min'I'm pa rum pa pum pumin' all on your stomach
And then there was this:
After all the money you earned, still show daddy what you learnedThat cowgirl, you reverse that cowgirlYou reverse, you reverse, and I impregnated your mouth, girl, oooohThat's when I knew you could be my spouse, girl
Let's hope baby Nori never, ever, ever hears this song. Ever.
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Universal via Everett Collection
You wouldn't take Liam Neeson for a man of many fears — he's fought Batman, Darth Maul, half of Europe, and now a mysterious terrorist hidden aboard a civilian airplane in Non-Stop. But real life Neeson is a gentler sort. In fact, it took him quite a while to board his first flight. "I was a late developer in every department," Neeson told a crowd of reporters during a press conference for the action thriller, now in theaters everywhere. "My first flight [was] at the age of 21, I believe, to fly to Amsterdam from Belfast ... It was terrifying, quite. It was a hop and skip, that’s all it was, but that was my first time. I was very, very scared. Very nervous, I should say."
Neeson's Non-Stop co-star Julianne Moore is no stranger to fear herself. The esteemed performer felt that true fear is an important element to gripping movies like the pair's latest. "Whenever you’re constructing [a piece of] entertainment, all the kind of thrillers and horror movies, or anything ... with this kind of scare, they're all based on what our natural worries are," she said, delving into her personal perils. "You sort of take them and exaggerate them. Are you scared of ghosts, is it the devil? I'm very scared of the devil."
Moore continued, comparing Non-Stop to some of her favorite scary films: "In this case, you take something that's sort of routine. Obviously when you enter an airplane, you're giving up some control, all of us, and you play on that fear and you take it. And what I like so much about this particular script and [director Jaume Collet-Serra's] handling of it is that he takes a rather ordinary circumstance and turns it into a sort of Hitchcokian event. You know, it’s very reminiscent of those older movies and of the disaster movies that I loved as a kid, like Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno, so it becomes kind of a classic entertainment."
Alongside the universal notion of fear, Non-Stop delves into gigantic themes like prejudice and addiction. On the former theme, Neeson praised the movie's ability to turn the audience's preconceived notions on their heads. "I think on the first glance [the characters are all] kind of stereotypical. But I think Juame played with that in our own heads too. Of course there's the Muslim doctor. You go, 'Uh-huh, yeah, this is interesting...' But it's not gonna be him. [And] it's not going be the African-American kid that you think is 'definitely the guy.' He's got a real attitude."
Neeson also touched on the topic of his character's biggest struggle in the film: addiction. "He's an alcoholic. He's an addict. That's always in charge, so his big battle is just doing a seven, six-and-a-half hour flight without having a short one. That's his goal, to do that without having alcohol, and of course all s**t breaks loose. And I love the fact that — and it was in the script, but Juame covers it without the audience being banged of the head with it — in the height of the crisis, there’s a beautiful bottle of whiskey waiting to be drunk ... It's a little human gesture, I think that resonates with people. It is human and many of us are addicts. So, I like those little human touches."
Moore dived in to explain how this makes Nesson such a compelling hero, beyond the likes of your ordinary action schmoe. "I think that's why audiences respond to Liam this way. I think he does present a very humane, sensitive, complicated person — a real person — who then becomes the hero. It's not like a superhero coming in. You know that Superman's going to be able to do it, he's not even a real person. [But Liam] brings real sense of authenticity to all of these characters."
But even with so many grave themes present, Neeson takes issue when people attempt to draw too much of a sociopolitical statement from films like Non-Stop. "We all know the nightmares of airports. Obviously it's playing on those fears. But it's entertainment. A lot of the journalists in Europe — quite a few, actually — were asking about September 11th [in regards to the movie]. It’s like, 'Oh please!' That being said, I don't think the film could be made a few years ago, of course. It would have been totally insensitive. But it's a backdrop to a thriller, is what it is."
Getting more to the core of the story of Non-Stop, Moore and Neeson relished in the fact that the movie was far more a cerebral whodunnit than people might think. Moore was particularly intrigued by the naturalism achieved by the distribution of the characters. "I like the fact that there was a mystery about all of the characters, because I feel like in life, that's the way it is," Moore said. "In cinema, people are always walking into something and saying, 'This is who I am, this is what I want, and this is how I’m gonna get it.' And we don't [do that] in life. Particularly not in a public situation. People don’t know your name ... they don’t know what you do, and you're not going to offer it up. So, if you start there, you realize this is probably a much more normal presentation in film than what you would ordinarily have."
Neeson agreed that the roles in Non-Stop were all expertly constructed: "I relied on Juame a lot, because he's a very, very prepared director. Any queries we had about the script or what the characters should do or should not do, we always tried to judge it to the Nth degree. Because he was always thinking of the overall arc, the symphony of the whole film. Just the raise of an eyebrow sometimes might be just too much." Still, the actor really seemed to connect with the intensity of the movie's mystery. "There's a great [moment involving Julianne Moore]. When I walk away, she's lying asleep and she just opens her eyes. And it's amazing. Like, 'Oh my God!' Suspicious. And she's just opening her eyes! Every little nuance we were aware could take on some significance."
Finally, the stars were probed about their experiences off set with their many adoring fans. While Moore had nothing but kind words to say about the public — "People are really nice, honestly. Sometimes I really do talk to people and have a really nice conversation. I do talk to women with children a lot, because you feel for them, man. If somebody sits down next to you with a baby, I’m gonna talk to her. Because I've been there." — Neeson had a more... colorful way of dealing with "pesky fans."
"I just say f**k off," the actor claimed. "Especially if it’s kids ... Like a Star Wars autograph for some little seven-year-old. F**k off." Of course, he admitted immediately after that this was only a joke, but we enjoyed the story while it lasted.
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RKO Pictures via Everett Collection
2014 promises to be another good year for independent film, which means another year of budding actors and actresses to keep an eye on. And in case you're a bit unsure about who you should be checking for, we're here to help.Imogen Poots
The star of That Awkward Moment has one of those faces that Hollywood is about to go cray for. And although she looks like a classic American beauty, she was born in the UK. We'll be seeing more of her in upcoming movies like Terrence Malick's Knight of Cups and Beautiful Ruin.
Nyong'o blew up this year for her role in the Oscar-nominated film 12 Years A Slave, and she has been a crowd and critic favorite on the red carpet. A stunning woman and an Yale trained actress, we look forward to her taking on some leading roles in the future. Nyong'o has a small role in the upcoming Liam Neeson thriller Non-Stop, and she just became the new face of Miu Miu!
The Short Term 12 and The Spectacular Now star has a shy look about her, but critics are hailing her as a powerfully strong performer. We expect she'll have us all crushing on her after her next film, the comedy musical Basmati Blues.
Soon enough, we'll have plenty of chances to revel in her talents in Divergent and the indie romance Pretend We're Kissing. And lest we forget, she's been a big deal since Jay Z's I Know video.
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After a massively successful Super Bowl episode, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is ready to party. Unfortunately, that party is for Captain Holt's birthday, and none of these people know how to behave in a rational, appropriate manner in any situation. Therefore, it falls to Terry to keep the rest of the precinct from embarrassing Holt by showing up late, spending the whole evening on their phones, wearing shorts, or forgetting to bring a bottle of wine. But since this is Brooklyn Nine-Nine, they interpret those instructions as "embarrass yourself trying to impress Holt's husband, take photos of the inside of their cabinets, steal things, and massively violate their privacy."
But in an episode filled with great one-liners and weird, childish behavior, which one of the weirdos at the 99th precinct managed to be the life of "The Party?"
Terry Jeffords This week's episode belongs almost entirely to Terry, who has the thankless task of attempting to get the cops to behave like functional, respectable adults for one evening. With all of the focus that the show has placed on Terry's fears, it is a nice change of pace to see him be the mature, responsible one for a change (though still highly anxious).- After telling Boyle to only talk about food: "That's great stuff. So boring. Don't waste it."- Helping the group play to their strengths: "Amy, you studied art history. That's... interesting. Scully, opera. Hitchcock, nothing. Talk about nothing."- He leads the group in a hands-in cheer of "Be appropriate!" Quietly, of course. And then tells them, "Break it up, we look weird." - Key party advice from Terry Jeffords: "Don't move as a group! You're not gazelles!" "STOP EATING CRAB WRONG!" and, when in doubt, "Keep a low profile, chuckle at anecdotes, and try not to start any conversations."- Terry breaks his cell phone with his bare hands while threatening Peralta: "It's okay. I'm due for an upgrade, and my babies are on the cloud." - There was a great callback to Breathless being Terry's favorite cop film, and he argues with two of Kevin's colleagues about whether or not films are a "writer's medium." Terry is a big fan of the French New Wave. - To Santiago and Peralta: "I cannot believe you would both violate the 'Please stay downstairs' rule, which was prominently posted!" - Terry holding Cheddar in his arms was almost as wonderful as Holt carting around those two small dogs a few weeks ago.
Gina When it comes to being inappropriate, nobody is better than Gina, which means that she gets her own personal babysitter for the evening in the form of Diaz. Luckily, the writers come up with a great way to keep Gina incredibly weird without making everyone at the party uncomfortable: plop her down in the middle of a group of psychologists, and just let her talk. - After Terry instructs the group not to war shorts: "What about fancy shorts, like the kind Jen Aniston would wear?" - Terry: "Diaz, you stick with Gina and make sure she doesn't say anything insane or steal something." Gina: "Too late. What? It's mostly scarves and hats." - Diaz: "Gina, what are you thinking about right now?" Gina: "I was thinking about how I would make the perfect American president, due to my skill set, dance ability, and bloodlust." - She introduces herself to one of Kevin's colleagues with "Ashanti." - The montage where Gina dazzles a group of psychologists is the best visual gag of the night, with the crowd around her getting bigger and bigger every time she opens her mouth. Highlights include: "All men are at least 30 percent attracted to me," "My mother cried the day I was born, because she knew she would never be better than me," "At any given moment, I'm thinking about one thing: Richard Dreyfuss, hunkered over, eating dog food," and "I feel like I'm the Paris of people." - Gina's contribution to Holt's birthday dinner is bringing back all of the silverware she stole from their house. And a crystal clock that doesn't belong to them.
Boyle and Vivian Lutley Boyle meets someone who might be the woman of his dreams at Holt's party, food writer Vivian Lutley (Marilu Henner!). They bond over their love of fine dining and make out in the closet like teenagers. It's great to see Boyle put aside his crush on Diaz for a while, as it was starting to move from "awkward and funny" to "awkward and creepy." Hopefully, Henner stays around for a while longer, because we'd love to see what Boyle's like in a real relationship. - Terry: "What happened to your shirt?" Boyle: "I spilled a wonderful winter salsa." - After Boyle describes Vivian's book as having the best recipes for making moss salads, Vivian replies: "The trick is to lean into the dirt taste." - Boyle, winking: "There is nobody in my life. That's sort of a sad thing to wink about, I realize."- The "umami" make out scene in the closet is both wonderfully gross and hysterically funny. These two should stay together for a long time. - Boyle: "Frenching in a closet? I feel like a teenager again!" Vivian: "I feel like I'm 40 again!"
Kevin Cozner He might not be the star of Danzes with Wolvez, but having Holt's husband be even drier and more buttoned-up than the captain is a surprising choice, and one that works really well for the show. - To Peralta: "Ah, you've brought s some wine... drink. This is legally called Wine Drink." - "Could I get you some Wine Drink? Perhaps, all of it?"- Holt: "You've been needling poor Peralta so badly all night that you might as well have made him a new suit." Kevin: "Needling him a new suit? Even when we're fighting you're hilarious. Stop it. Stop it."- After Kevin asks Peralta to call him "Kev": "Well, you are always playing pranks on me, Raymond. Just once, let me be the funny one."
Warner Bros. Entertainment
There are plenty of cult television series with underdog stories. After Firefly was cancelled, Joss Whedon wrangled the capital to create Serenity, a movie that tied up all the loose ends left by the show. Seven years after Arrested Development was given the boot by Fox, Netflix picked it back up and gave the show new life.
But the biggest comeback in television history has to be awarded to Veronica Mars, the little TV show that could. Last spring, Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas blew up the Internet when he set up a Kickstarter to raise money for a movie that would wrap up the series. It seemed everyone in the TV and film industry had a fit about how crowd sourcing could change the way Hollywood operates. (As it turns out, aside from a few other successes, nothing much has changed so far.)
Now, with less than two months left until Veronica Mars premieres in movie theaters around the country, The CW announced a spinoff web series to air on its CW Seed website. Ryan Hansen will star in the web show as his character Dick Casablancas and Thomas will be involved in the production. Now that the fans have revived Veronica Mars, it seems she won’t die again — and we couldn’t be happier.
As Veronica Mars, Firefly/Serenity, and Arrested Development have proved, cancelling a TV show is not necessarily the true death of a series — especially when fans make their voices heard. Television series can be resurrected into movies, Netflix series, or web series. Of these, web series are the most important because they don’t require as much investment.
If the Veronica Mars web show is popular and successful, there’s a possibility other cancelled TV shows could go this route. (Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.) Whether or not Veronica Mars will live on past the web series, it goes to show how much influence the fans’ money — and voices — can have in Hollywood.
Wednesday night treated America to President Barack Obama's fifth State of the Union address, a speech lined with criticism of our country's immigration system, economic policies, and established plans about how to move forward regarding the Middle East crisis. But towards the tail end of the speech, the Commander-in-Chief spouted a moment of levity, proving himself to be (at the very least) this generation's president when he tossed in a television reference. And no, not a square one, like Bush Sr.'s castigation of The Simpsons — Obama made a Mad Men joke.
"Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it's an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work," the president said. "She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does, too. It's time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a Mad Men episode. This year, let’s all come together — Congress, the White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street — to give every woman the opportunity she deserves. Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds."
The proclamation invoked a sweeping applause in house and throughout the country — there's nothing like a good new media allusion to drive home a point. But less is more, in this case. We have it on good (fake) authority that Obama had to edit out a few other television references from the first draft of his latest SOTU...
- "Estiven Rodriguez couldn’t speak a word of English when he moved to New York City at age nine. But last month, thanks to the support of great teachers and an innovative tutoring program, he led a march of his classmates — through a crowd of cheering parents and neighbors — from their high school to the post office, where they mailed off their college applications. And this son of a factory worker just found out he’s going to college this fall. And if you think that's impressive, let me tell you about a simple chemistry teacher who turned himself into a billionaire by pioneering his own crystal meth empire..."
- "Today in America ... a farmer prepared for the spring after the strongest five-year stretch of farm exports in our history. A rural doctor gave a young child the first prescription to treat asthma that his mother could afford. A man took the bus home from the graveyard shift, bone-tired but dreaming big dreams for his son. And in tight-knit communities across America, fathers and mothers will tuck in their kids, put an arm around their spouse, remember fallen comrades, and give thanks for being home from a war that, after 12 long years, is finally coming to an end... just like How I Met Your Mother. Thank God, am I right? Seriously, that show feels like it's been on forever. Come on, Ted, finish the story already."
- "Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead. And too many still aren't working at all. I mean, look at Marnie. She can't even hold a job at Ray's coffee shop — and no, Boehner, it doesn't count as a spoiler if it's been 48 hours since the episode aired!"
- "Tonight, I ask every business leader in America to join us and to do the same — because we are stronger when America fields a full team. Even if you get a lousy draft, you can always propose an eight-way trade. That's what Ruxin has taught us."
- "These negotiations will be difficult. They may not succeed. We are clear-eyed about Iran’s support for terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, which threaten our allies; and the mistrust between our nations cannot be wished away. But these negotiations do not rely on trust; any long-term deal we agree to must be based on verifiable action that convinces us and the international community that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb. If John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union, then surely a strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today. And if Francis Underwood can convince all of those people to keep their mouths shut about that murder... dammit, Boehner, it's been like a year, catch up already!"
- "What Andra and her employees experienced is how it should be for every employer — and every job seeker. So tonight, I’ve asked Vice President Biden to lead an across-the-board reform of America’s training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now. Like spying, and killing, and planting bugs in Senators' offices in the name of Mother Russia ... you guys get it? That's a The Americans joke. Because I said "Americans." They're spies. You guys watch that show? No? It's pretty good."
- "My fellow Americans, no other country in the world does what we do. On every issue, the world turns to us, not simply because of the size of our economy or our military might — but because of the ideals we stand for, and the burdens we bear to advance them. And that's why we are the most a-mah-zing country in the world ... God, I miss Happy Endings."
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Summit via Everett Collection
You can imagine that Renny Harlin, director and one quadrant of the writing team for The Legend of Hercules, began his pitch as such: We'll start with a war, because lots of these things start with wars. It feels like this was the principal maxim behind a good deal of the creative choices in this latest update of the Ancient Greek myth. There are always horse riding scenes. There are generally arena battles. There are CGI lions, when you can afford 'em. Oh, and you've got to have a romantic couple canoodling at the base of a waterfall. Weaving them all together cohesively would be a waste of time — just let the common threads take form in a remarkably shouldered Kellan Lutz and action sequences that transubstantiate abjectly to and fro slow-motion.
But pervading through Lutz's shirtless smirks and accent continuity that calls envy from Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland performance is the obtrusive lack of thought that went into this picture. A proverbial grab bag of "the basics" of the classic epic genre, The Legend of Hercules boasts familiarity over originality. So much so that the filmmakers didn't stop at Hercules mythology... they barely started with it, in fact. There's more Jesus Christ in the character than there is the Ancient Greek demigod, with no lack of Gladiator to keep things moreover relevant. But even more outrageous than the void of imagination in the construct of Hercules' world is its script — a piece so comically dim, thin, and idiotic that you will laugh. So we can't exactly say this is a totally joyless time at the movies.
Summit via Everett Collection
Surrounding Hercules, a character whose arc takes him from being a nice enough strong dude to a nice enough strong dude who kills people and finally owns up to his fate — "Okay, fine, yes, I guess I'm a god" — are a legion of characters whose makeup and motivations are instituted in their opening scenes and never change thereafter. His de facto stepdad, the teeth-baring King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), despises the boy for being a living tribute to his supernatural cuckolding; his half-brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) is the archetypical scheming, neutered, jealous brother figure right down to the facial scar. The dialogue this family of mongoloids tosses around is stunningly brainless, ditto their character beats. Hercules can't understand how a mystical stranger knows his identity, even though he just moments ago exited a packed coliseum chanting his name. Iphicles defies villainy and menace when he threatens his betrothed Hebe (Gaia Weiss), long in love with Hercules, with the terrible fate of "accepting [him] and loving [their] children equally!" And the dad... jeez, that guy must really be proud of his teeth.
With no artistic feat successfully accomplished (or even braved, really) by this movie, we can at the very least call it inoffensive. There is nothing in The Legend of Hercules with which to take issue beyond its dismal intellect, and in a genre especially prone to regressive activity, this is a noteworthy triumph. But you might not have enough energy by the end to award The Legend of Hercules with this superlative. Either because you'll have laughed yourself into a coma at the film's idiocy, or because you'll have lost all strength trying to fend it off.
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Actress Sandra Bullock and pop superstar Justin Timberlake were the toast of the 2014 People Choice Awards after each taking home a handful of top honours. The Hollywood beauty claimed the first three prizes of Wednesday's (08Jan14) ceremony as she picked up the title for Favorite Movie Actress and was handed trophies for Favorite Comedic and Dramatic Movie Actress, too.
Her space disaster film, Gravity, was also named Favorite Dramatic Movie and her onscreen work with George Clooney landed her the Favorite Movie Duo award.
Timberlake was a triple threat at the Los Angeles ceremony, claiming Favorite Male Artist, R&B Artist and Favorite Album for The 20/20 Experience.
Robert Downey, Jr. was another big winner - he walked away as the Favorite Action Movie Star, while his superhero blockbuster Iron Man 3 was named Favorite Movie and Favorite Action Movie.
Newlywed Kaley Cuoco was given another couple of reasons to celebrate - she was handed the Favorite Comedic TV Actress honour for The Big Bang Theory, while the sitcom was also the winner of the Favorite Network TV Comedy category.
As she accepted her acting accolade, Cuoco, who wed tennis player Ryan Sweeting on New Year's Eve (31Dec13), gave a special shout out to her new husband, saying, "This is the second best thing that happened to me all year; the first was marrying you baby! I love you."
Meanwhile, Jennifer Hudson fought back tears as she was hailed the Favorite Humanitarian for her work with the Julian D. King Gift Foundation, the children's organisation she founded in 2008 to help underprivileged kids following the murder of her seven-year-old nephew.
She stepped onstage with her sister Julia to accept the award and paid tribute to her late mother and brother, who were also killed in the family tragedy, telling the crowd: "We wanna dedicate this to our mother, who taught us... that without family, you have nothing, and our brother, who was the most giving."
Awards co-hosts Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs kicked off the show with a skit straight from the diner of their hit sitcom 2 Broke Girls, featuring guest appearances by The Vampire Diaries' Ian Somerhalder, The Crazy Ones' Sarah Michelle Gellar, Christina Aguilera, Ian Ziering, The Big Bang Theory co-stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, and talk show host Arsenio Hall. Cuoco also made a cameo in the opening sketch, handing over the honour of presenting the prizegiving after joking that she was going to be busy on the night of the event.
Musical performances came from the likes of Brad Paisley and OneRepublic, and presenters included LL Cool J, Zac Efron, Heidi Klum, Jessica Alba and Malin Akerman.
The full list of winners is as follows:
Favorite Movie - Iron Man 3
Favorite Movie Actor - Johnny Depp
Favorite Movie Actress - Sandra Bullock
Favorite Movie Duo - Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (Gravity)
Favorite Action Movie - Iron Man 3
Favorite Action Movie Star - Robert Downey, Jr.
Favorite Comedic Movie - The Heat
Favorite Comedic Movie Actor - Adam Sandler
Favorite Comedic Movie Actress - Sandra Bullock
Favorite Dramatic Movie - Gravity
Favorite Dramatic Movie Actor - Leonardo DiCaprio
Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress - Sandra Bullock
Favorite Family Movie - Despicable Me 2
Favorite Horror Movie - Carrie
Favorite Thriller Movie - Now You See Me
Favorite Network TV Comedy - The Big Bang Theory
Favorite Comedic TV Actor - Chris Colfer (Glee)
Favorite Comedic TV Actress - Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory)
Favorite Network TV Drama - The Good Wife
Favorite Dramatic TV Actor - Josh Charles (The Good Wife)
Favorite Dramatic TV Actress - Stana Katic (Castle)
Favorite Actor in a New TV Series - Joseph Morgan (The Vampire Diaries)
Favorite Actress in a New TV Series - Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Crazy Ones)
Favorite TV Crime Drama - Castle
Favorite Competition TV Show - The Voice
Favorite Cable TV Comedy - Psych
Favorite Cable TV Drama - The Walking Dead
Favorite Premium Cable TV Show - Homeland
Favorite Cable TV Actress - Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars)
Favorite TV Anti-Hero - Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead)
Favorite TV Bromance - Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins (Supernatural)
Favorite TV Gal Pals - Lea Michele and Naya Rivera (Glee)
Favorite On-screen Chemistry - Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show - Beauty and the Beast
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor - Ian Somerhalder
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress - Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and the Beast)
Favorite TV Movie/Miniseries - American Horror Story
Favorite Daytime TV Host - Ellen DeGeneres (The Ellen DeGeneres Show)
Favorite New Talk Show Host - Queen Latifah (The Queen Latifah Show)
Favorite Late Night Talk Show Host - Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report)
Favorite Streaming Series - Orange Is the New Black
Favorite Series We Miss Most - Breaking Bad
Favorite New TV Comedy - Super Fun Night
Favorite New TV Drama - Reign
Favorite Male Artist - Justin Timberlake
Favorite Female Artist - Demi Lovato
Favorite Breakout Artist - Ariana Grande
Favorite Pop Artist - Britney Spears
Favorite Country Artist - Taylor Swift
Favorite Country Music Icon - Tim McGraw
Favorite Hip Hop Artist - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Favorite R&B Artist - Justin Timberlake
Favorite Band - One Direction
Favorite Alternative Band - Fall Out Boy
Favorite Song - Roar by Katy Perry
Favorite Album - Justin Timberlake (The 20/20 Experience)
Favorite Music Video - Roar by Katy Perry
Favorite Music Fan Following - Demi Lovato's Lovatics
Favourite Humanitarian - Jennifer Hudson.
It throws up a red flag when you endorse Jack & Jill as a tribute to the plight of the Jewish-American family. Still, there's not necessarily anything inherently problematic about Armond White's proclivity to veer from the crowd when it comes to film criticism. Devil's advocacy can be a valuable method of finding new merit in familiar material or ideas. But White's decision to heckle, insult, and curse at 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen on Monday night at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards — behavior he might deem befitting of his infamous persona as an industry "honest voice" — represents the ugliest shade of his ostensible mission statement, and generally reprehensible behavior from any vantage point.
White's illustrious track record for presenting reviews of stark contrast to those offered by the critical community has devolved into little more than a "shtick." We know so well what an Armond White review entails that we couldn't have expected him to express favor for 12 Years a Slave. Yet, eyes still rolled when White lambasted McQueen's historical picture in CityArts, finding less genuine criticism than audacious pot-stirring.
Still, a particularly diplomatic force could argue for the value in this kind of review. 12 Years a Slave isn't a perfect film, and its position atop 2013's pedestal as the "sure-fire" Best Picture winner and most powerful movie about American slavery are healthy, and necessary, to question and challenge. Once you consider these facts, you might well find yourself still sitting happily in the camp of McQueen's film, but you might be glad all the more for having braved the examination rather than accepting its aplomb blindly.
But heckling? Where, pray tell, is the value in that? How detrimental must White think that movies like 12 Years a Slave and How to Survive a Plague (last year's award-winning AIDS documentary, which White too heckled when it was introduced at the NYFCC by Michael Moore) are in order to justify this angry, ugly antagonism of earnest, well-meaning artists?
The language that White used on Monday night was particularly offensive. Katey Rich of Vanity Fair, seated in the NYFCC audience, notes that White employed exclamations like "White liberal bulls**t" when McQueen took the stage, following what she highlights as a beautiful introductory speech by musical icon Harry Belafonte. Following this inception of the derision, White or a member of his immediate company maligned McQueen or Belafonte by shouting, "You’re a garbageman and a doorman!" — a particularly despicable epithet due to its misplaced affront to the occupations in question, as well as a formless, meaningless insult to the parties onstage. In short: not criticism. Bullying.
In criticism, no matter how volatile or controversial, there is always a constructive end — that to explain why something falls short and how it might have better served its audience. In bullying, there is no constructive end. There is only the directive to hurt, shame, or dislodge from grace one's target. In other words, there is no value to it and no defense of it. And if this is the way White conducts himself, we have to imagine that his intentions fall squarely within the borders of the definition of bullying. That his reviews, no matter how eloquent they might be, are not intended as a tool in the construction of a better and more valid cinematic world, but a means to hurt and shame others, or to escalate his own grace.
We're not at all sure if it's playing out the way he wants it to — we're talking about him, aren't we? — but we do feel that in his actions, Armond White absolves himself of the title of critic altogether.
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