Walt Disney Pictures via Everett Collection
A complete ranking of every single Walt Disney Animation Studios movie, from worst to best.
53) Meet the RobinsonsA charmless stab at post-ironic humor, and particularly misguided story about adoption.
52) Dinosaur Do you remember anything about Dinosaur other than how unexpectedly terrifying Aladar looked? We didn't think so.
51) Home on the Range Between its lackluster plot, forgettable characters and complete lack of humor, Home on the Range is the definition of "bland children's movie."
Buena Vista Pictures via Everett Collection
50) Lilo and StitchDisjointed in its plot, characters, and sense of humor, Lilo & Stitch has visual charm but little else going for it.
49) Treasure Planet Treasure Planet is a lot better than people give it credit for, but it's a little too complicated and charmless to be a success.
48) The Fox and the HoundMaybe I'm being a little harsh with this one, but The Fox and the Hound depressed the hell out of me when we were children and I can't help but hold a grudge.
47) Wreck-It RalphWith so much potential in its concept, Wreck-It Ralph is more of a colossal disappointment than it is a "bad movie." Dull, colorless, and stagnant when it should have been a funny, energetic adventure. Not without its moments, admittedly.
46) Oliver & Company The film is entertaining enough, and the animated animals are fun to watch, but the only thing Oliver & Company really has going for it is the score. And by score, we really mean "Why Should I Worry?"
45) The Hunchback of Notre DameIt gains a few points if only for the charms (both personally and thematically) of the gargoyle trio, but Hunchback is a nasty, nihilistic story that undercuts its own point (why the hell does Esmeralda end up with Kevin Kline?) and has some godawful songs to boot.
44) Winnie the Pooh (2011) It skews a little younger than most Disney movies, but it's narrated by John Cleese, so that counts for something. Mostly just forgettable.
43) Saludos Amigos It's got laughs, sure, but your mind will stray as soon as the credits roll... if not sooner.
42) Fun and Fancy Free Remember "Mickey and the Beanstalk?" This is the movie it comes from. That's all that's worth knowing about it.
41) Chicken LittleTremendously fragile, but funny throughout (not so much in terms of the forced pop culture gags, but there's other good material).
Buena Vista Pictures via Everett Collection
40) TarzanThis movie is boring.
39) Brother BearDid you like Brave? No? Not a big fan of Brave? Yeah, this is kind of like Brave. The second half of Brave, anyway.
38) BoltJohn Travolta. John Trabolta.
37) The Rescuers Down Under It gets bonus points for being the only film ever made that features a scene in which an albratross named Wilbur fixes his broken back by flying out the window of a mouse hospital. That kind of insanity should be rewarded.
36) Make Mine Music Our biggest problem with this movie is the grammatically atrocious title. Otherwise it's a good bit of fun.
35) HerculesDecent music, lame characters, and a story that balances out to abject neutrality.
34) The Three Caballeros Watching Donald Duck learn to samba is more entertaining that you'd expect.
33) Melody Time At a certain point, all of the early Disney anthology movies blend together; this is just the one we remember the best.
32) Atlantis: The Lost Empire An underrated adventure that takes itself a little too seriously. The best part of Atlantis is Kida, who has been overlooked for years, and deserves a place in Disney's princess lineup.
31) Bambi It might leave us wanting in all the functional elements of story and character, but with soft simplicity that translates to poetry, Bambi rings powerful right at the visceral level.
Buena Vista Pictures via Everett Collection
30) The Great Mouse Detective Why would you ordain the rhyme scheme of a song about a guy who hates being called a rat to conclude on the -at sound? You all knew the risks, you drunken rodents! But yeah, this movie is okay.
29) The Black Cauldron Not dark or weird enough for people who read the books, but a little too dark and weird for those who didn't; it's a solidly enjoyable film, but ultimately not all that special.
28) The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Do The Wind in the Willows and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow have anything in common? Not really. Are they still entertaining anyway? Sure. Is Mr. Toad still a little disconcerting all these years later? Definitely.
27) The Rescuers Remember the albatross from The Rescuers Down Under? He has a brother named Orville, who is the best part of this first one.
26) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs The principle draw to Snow White is its historical significance, but it's a pretty neat cartoon when you cut to it.
25) Pocahontas Once, in a bar, I watched a half dozen 'roided up Long Island boys sing "Colors of the Wind," complete with wolf howls. That's all I have to say about Pocahontas.
24) Lady and the Tramp Depending on your perspective, this movie ruined/improved spaghetti forever.
23) TangledCharming, but surprisingly neutered for a post-aughts hit. "I've Got a Dream" could well be Disney's best song in 15 years.
22) The Sword in the Stone A magical spin on the classic Arthurian legends with plenty of wit and charm (courtesy of Merlin and Arthur), as well as some dry sarcasm courtesy of Archimedes, the greatest wisecracking avian sidekick this side of the Nile.
21) Sleeping Beauty Sure, it's got a lovely heroine, a charming prince, and three comedically bumbling fairies, but the real appeal of Sleeping Beauty is how visually stunning it is. Well, that and Maleficent, of course.
Walt Disney Pictures via Everett Collection
20) Pinocchio If you look at the plot on paper, this movie is really goddamn weird. Power to you, Disney, for making a classic out of a story about a puppet-turned-boy-turned-donkey who gets swallowed by a whale after a fox and a cat (not his cat — he has a cat too, but that's just a regular cat) trick him into playing pool at some weird Italian fellow's ad hoc summer camp, but is led to righteousness thanks to a North Atlantic cricket.
19) The Emperor's New GrooveThe fact that Eartha Kitt plays the villain is reason enough for The Emperor's New Groove to be this high on the list, but it also happens to be one of the funniest films Disney has ever made. But it's got plenty of heart as well, and John Goodman plays the down-on-his-luck good guy so well that it's hard not to be moved by Pancha and Kuzco's eventual friendship.
18) DumboIf nothing else, Dumbo is owed the superlative of Saddest Scene in a Disney Movie. Maybe any movie.
17) The AristocatsDisney's celebration of hipster culture: a tribute to the joys, plights, lingo, and, most of all, music of a certain class of people who know that they're better precisely because they're worse.
16) MulanIn contrast to the footloose and fun The Aritocats, Mulan is actually hyper-serious, shouldering the weight of Disney's first real stab at a progressive heroine and the backdrop of a real world war. But its appeal is not expensed, with Mulan playing as a compelling enough character to cart us through a journey of rigid self-discovery.
15/14) Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 Fantasia is the Disney movie that teachers would put on during indoor recess because it was sophisticated enough to almost count as something educational. It's as visually enchanting as it is inspiring and dense, inviting any and all viewers to appreciate the powers of the big screen on a pure, base level.
13) The Little Mermaid If you're a kid, it's a story about finding your place in the world. If you're a parent, it's about learning to let go and letting kids take risks. If you're anywhere in between, it's about watching an exasperated lobster learning to unwind through catchy musical numbers.
12) FrozenCase in point: someone within earshot of you is singing "Let It Go" right now. Structurally, the film has its flaws. But in spirit, and in its unprecedented underlying messages about feminism and homosexuality, it's remarkably important.
11) The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)If you're reading this list, you're probably as in love with the very phenomenon of storytelling as we are. And few pieces of cinema exhibit that love to the degree of the first Winnie the Pooh feature, channeling literary passions through the most affable band of heroes in Disney history.
Buena Vista Pictures via Everett Collection
10) Beauty and the BeastPure spectacle, starting with Belle's wide-eyed ode to the French suburbs and lasting straight through gallant numbers about masculinity, dinner parties, and love. Beauty and the Beast might not have the best story or characters on the list, but it masters theatrics better than just about any other picture.
9) Cinderella Snow White might have come first, but Cinderella is really the inceptive example of "Disney magic." From the fairy godmother and fancy balls to the talking mice and terrifying stepmother, it's the kind of pure, sparkling fun that has come to define all of the studio's best films. "A Dream IAs a Wish Your Heart Makes" is practically Disney's thesis statement.
8) Alice in WonderlandIt was no mean feat to adapt one of the most imaginative novels Western fiction; Disney enveloped not only the visual ambition of Lewis Carroll's book, but also the palpable love for ideas, no matter how absurd. Alice in Wonderland knows when to stay grounded (rare, but it happens) and knows when and how high to soar. It's goofy, haunting, affectionate, and cruel. More than anything else, it's always interesting.
7) The Princess and the Frog An underappreciated triumph of the post-2000 era, Princess and the Frog combines the traditional tropes of classic Disney with the post-modernity of its latter day wonders. The songs and characters won't win individual recognition, but the story on the whole is a meticulously manufactured treat.
6) Robin HoodAnother overlooked gem, the zoological cornucopia that is Robin Hood gets by on a soft, slow, Mark Twainian flavor that is as inviting as it is relaxing. We're never coursing through the corridors of this pseudo-adventure as much as sprawling out on the fresh-cut grass of its sweet, aromatic, immersive world. It's a joy to live in from beginning to end.
Buena Vista Pictures via Everett Collection
5) AladdinProbably the most successfully cool of the Disney animated movies, Aladdin captures the essence of teen independence in a way no other film had before: hating your parents, your society, your lot in life... just wanting to be yourself (Jasmine) or be someone else entirely (Aladdin). And as far as voice acting goes, Aladdin's cast is unparalleled.
Walt Disney Pictures via Everett Collection
4) The Jungle Book Disney disguises a collection of philosophers as woodland critters bouncing about in this wondrous, if not wholly reverent, adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's novel. Some of the merriest tunes any picture on the list has to offer.
Walt Disney Pictures via Everett Collection
3) Peter PanPure adventure. Gumption, spirit, and the unfettered belief in the possible. That's what Peter Pan achieves with its delightful imagery and unbelievably fun and funny characters.
Buena Vista Pictures via Everett Collection
2) The Lion King The vastness of the '94 classic is something to behold; there's no wonder it made such a successful Broadway production. Disney's original masterpiece hits the mark in every department. Its animation is gorgeous, and its music is high art, and its characters make up perhaps the best ensemble on the list (great hero, fantastic villain, and riotous sidekicks on both sides of the fence). The Lion King is just about flawless and could easily take No. 1, if it weren't for that all imporant factor in the judgment of animated movies: sentiment. Lo and behold, our favorite Walt Disney Animated movie...
Walt Disney Pictures via Everett Collection
1) One Hundred and One DalmatiansThe inimitable beauty of One Hundred One Dalmatians, especially when considering it in the company of some of the other great pieces of animation set forth by Walt Disney Studios, is the miracle of its scale. In a tiny, almost microscopic setting (as compared to films about mystical worlds, jungle kingdoms, and such forth), we find such a tremendous story. Funny, exciting, and filled to the brim with the purest case of Disney magic.
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Vikings began its raid on the small screen last season, coming away with a bounty of ratings riches. Surprising everyone, the show became the number one new cable series of the year with an average of over 4 million viewers. Now Vikings is sailing back to the small screen with an ambitious, dark, and dangerous new season.
When we last left off our favorite raider Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) was battling with brother Rollo (Clive Standen) while complicating his love life. On a raid he spent time with the beautiful Princess Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) while at home his wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) was dealt the crushing blow of seeing daughter Gita die. And former monk Athelstan (George Blagden) was finally starting to take to the Viking way of life.
Hollywood.com was lucky enough to chat with Vikings stars Travis Fimmel, George Blagden, and Alyssa Sutherland to get the scope on Season 2. Here’s what they let slip:
Athelstan has embraced the Viking way of life... or has he?As the season begins, Athelstan has seemingly thrown his lot in with the Vikings entirely. But has he really given up on his Christian faith?
“We leave Athelstan in Season 1 in a very conflicted place. The most interesting characters to play as an actor and watch as an audience are the ones that have deep conflicts running throughout. It would have been far too easy to make Athelstan a completely converted pagan and gung-ho into Viking life,” actor George Blagden said about his character.
“What you see throughout the first few episodes of Season 2 is an attempt and potentially a bit of a bluff on his part. Hopefully what we’ve been able to capture this season is the ongoing conflict that Athelstan has.”
Ragnar’s love life gets complicatedWith his relationship with the tough-as-nails Lagertha on the rocks, Ragnar spends some quality time with the beautiful Princess Aslaug. The repercussions of their momentary fling are far-reaching in Season 2, especially when Aslaug shows up in town pregnant.
“He wants it to be like the Brady Bunch, Ragnar does,” star Travis Fimmel said about Ragnar’s hope of combining both families. “People are putting 21st century values on it, but that stuff happened back then. He had to give it a shot anyway, you know?”
Bjorn grows upSometime in the first four episodes, we jump forward in time four years. This allows little Bjorn to grow up into The Hunger Games actor Alexander Ludgwig.
“We loved Nathan O’Toole, he’s such a great little actor and we were really sad to see him leave. But Alexander’s fantastic too, so he was very well replaced,” Fimmel said. “And he’s a big, big boy. He grows quick in four years.”
Lagertha changes in Season 2Her husband’s betrayal and her daughter's death lead to a much different Lagertha in Season 2.
“Lagertha seems to be chasing a bit more power now,” Fimmel said. “She wants to be Earl. She’s had a taste of power and she’s more about that now.”
Aslaug isn’t a homewreckerAslaug’s appearance on the scene broke up power couple Ragnar and Lagertha, a relationship fans were already deeply invested in after only nine episodes.
“I think it’s really cool that we get to bring this idea to modern audiences,” actress Alyssa Sutherland said. “It’s interesting to me how they struggle with the idea and dilute it down into Aslaug being a “homewrecker” or the other woman, and I question whether that concept would have even existed back then. I like the complication of that storyline.”
Sutherland points out that Aslaug’s goal wasn’t to break up Ragnar and Lagertha when she shows up in town pregnant.
“It seems like a bold move, but what other pregnant chick wouldn’t chase down the baby daddy?”
But Aslaug might have special powersThe world of Vikings has always been filled with mysticism and Princess Aslaug is no different. In Season 2, we find out she might have the power of second sight.
“What I love about the way [writer and creator] Michael Hirst does it is you’re not totally sure if these magical elements that he weaves in every now and then are really happening or if it’s just what they believed at the time,” Sutherland said. “I like that it’s left up to the viewer to decide. I certainly think that Aslaug, whether she was a seeress or not, she certainly believed it and the people around her believed it.”
The season starts with a dramatic battle sceneSeason 2 gets off to a action-packed start with a full-tilt battle between brothers Ragnar and Rollo. But they’re not the only ones doing battle.
“The director shouted ‘cut’ and there was silence and you could just hear this giddy laughter soaring over the forest. And it was me, standing amongst the shield wall, just off my face on some adrenaline high,” said Blagden of his first Viking battle. “Because there’s no pretending; when they smash into the shield wall they really smash into the shield wall.”
Series star Fimmel remembers the dramatic season-opening battle a little differently though.
“Those two days we shot it were some of the hottest days on record in Ireland. A lot of people passed out that day and there were a few injuries,” Fimmel said. “That’s what I remember most about that day.”
Things remain complicated between Ragnar and Rollo How do you fix a relationship like Ragnar and Rollo’s? The two brothers have found themselves almost consistently at odds since the series began, since Rollo’s jealousy often transforms into betrayal.
“It’s going to be pretty hard to ever trust Rollo again,” Fimmel says. “But he’s blood and that’s an important thing to Ragnar. There are certainly big obstacles to overcome with Rollo. The two brothers have a good arc this season, and it’s a lot different from last season.”
Vikings returns for Season 2 on February 27 at 10 PM on the History channel. Will you be watching?
Bo and Dyson are celebrating her return…by fighting. It looks like Dyson has new digs: a boxing gym. Strange choice. Even stranger, despite their sordid history, they’ve resumed their f-buddy-ship. Afterwards, Kenzi takes Bo to the Dal to celebrate her return. But, the Dementors Una Mens have made everyone miserable. Bo uses her sexy touch to start a dance party…to the Spice Girls. Is this opposite world?
Teenage Tamsin is adjusting to her new life. She’d practicing twerking and bonding with Kenzi. It looks like when she grows up she will be a lot more fun. She stays home alone because despite being ancient she’s too young to drink. Bizarrely, some ninjas storm the clubhouse. It causes a scared Tamsin to grow into her adult self. She still wasn’t able to stop the masked men from robbing the house. Adult Tamsin still has the mind of a teenager, but ends up rejoining Dyson as his partner. Their latest case is the hunt for Lauren.
In an undisclosed bunker (possibly an unused set from Homeland), Lauren and Crystal are imprisoned. Crystal confesses she “spy-banged” Lauren because she was believed nothing bad would happen. But she fell in love. Now paging, Mademoiselle Cliché. Lauren reveals she has a brother, her real name is Karen, and she built bombs for a terrorist cell. This is a huge departure from the meek doctor we used to know. Cue the Gotye song. A mysterious voice threatens Lauren into helping a sick Fae Elder. Lauren, finally fed up with all the Fae drama, negotiates Crystal’s release and challenges who she thinks is Hale and the Light Fae. Big reveal…she’s talking to someone else. Who is she talking to? Is it The Morrigan? Vex? Or could it be, Aife?
Kenzi’s pixie-dust addiction comes to a head. Massimo the Druid is behind the robbery at the Clubhouse and kidnaps Kenzi. Bo saves the day, per usual, and finds out they can erase Kenzi’s debt if they get some herbs from Lauren’s apartment. It ends up being a trap. They get stuck in the apartment by a Fae blocking spell. But why is Massimo trying to keep them hostage? As a Druid, he wants Valkyrie hair because it’s powerful and valuable. He wants a crack at Tamsin. Meanwhile, Kenzi reveals her Jubilee power abuse and that she kissed Dyson. Dyson later pops by to console Kenzi about the mess and offers to teach her how to be "more than human."
At Massimo’s lair, Bo arrives in time to save Tamsin. But while she’s battling Massimo, Tamsin reveals an epic set of wings. That means this is her last life on Earth. Looks like there is a limit to the circle of life. Bo steals a little of his chi and finds out he’s human. She takes back the hair he tried to steal and throws it in a pit of fire. He starts to cry and says it’s for him “mommy.” Then he jumps into the fire to get it. Bo and Kenzi have a heart to heart about her addiction and she’s been scared this whole time because the Una Mens are after claimed humans. Bo forgives Kenzi and decides to take care of it once and for all.
All episode, Bo has been stalked by a gargoyle. She finds out gargoyles only serve Elder Fae. So the inevitable Bo/Una Mens confrontation happens. They reveal they only wanted her because she was unallied. But now she is. It turns out Bo has chosen a side…the Dark side. Insert Darth Vader theme here. It looks like her memory isn’t all she lost on the terror train.
Bo is Dark now. This means there’s bound to be a big shift in the show. Lauren's mysterious kidnapper is probably Dark. Bo will probably get closer to Tamsin, Vex, and The Morrigan who are all dark. Bo will have friction with the members of the Light including her grandfather, Trick, who did something sketchy to Aife.
Kenzi and Hale are bound to get together soon. They’ve been almost there forever. But there relationship will get into trouble when he finds out that she sold Massimo the twig of Zamora. It's a family heirloom that makes you immortal... you don't just give that away.
This isn’t the last we’ve seen of Massimo. He jumped into the fire voluntarily so he knows something we don’t know. Is his mommy Aife?
Dyson plans to teach Kenzi about being more than human. This sounds like the perfect occasion for a montage.
Everly Brothers star Phil Everly has died, aged 74. The younger of the two Rock and Roll Hall of Fame siblings, Phil passed away in Burbank, California on Friday (03Jan14) of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
His wife Patti tells the Los Angeles Times, "We are absolutely heartbroken."
He and his brother Don had a string of hits in the 1950s and 1960s and influenced the likes of the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Simon & Garfunkel. Their songs included Wake Up Little Susie, Bye Bye Love and All I Have to Do Is Dream.
Everly was born to country stars Ike and Margaret Everly in Chicago, Illinois in January, 1939. He joined the family act as a boy.
He and Don enjoyed their first hit, Bye Bye Love, in 1957, and followed that with another classic, Wake Up Little Susie.
His brother Don will turn 77 in February (14). The stars' mother is still alive.
The news of Everly's death comes just weeks after the release of Green Day star Billie Joe Armstrong and singer Norah Jones' new tribute album, Foreverly - their take on the brothers' controversial second album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.
In a recent USA Today interview, Armstrong revealed he was a huge fan, stating, "They are so immaculate."
He added, "That record was pretty daring at the time. A lot of other rock guys were trying to go pop. Chuck Berry had a string of big hits, and the same with Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis. And here the Everlys were playing these torch songs and murder ballads. For them to do something so dark and angelic was appealing to me."
The Everly Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
The 2014 Sundance Film Festival lineup for the U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary competition and the out-of-competition NEXT section is officially here, and damn are we excited.
As the festival has evolved and grown, so has the long list of actors and directors who have eagerly jumped on board to be a part of the indie film scene, which means that the lineup of actors for the upcoming event is looking pretty solid. In 2014 we can look forward to seeing the works of those like Glenn Close, Susan Sarandon, John Slattery, Aaron Paul, Kristen Stewart, and Mark Ruffalo, and comedians such as Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Lena Dunham, Jenny Slate, Aubrey Plaza, Amy Sedaris, and more.
The festival will run from Jan. 16 to 26 in Park City, Utah and will include 118 features. Still to come are the lineups for Slates for Spotlight, Park City at Midnight, New Frontier, Premieres and Documentary Premieres, and the new Sundance Kids category.
Check out the lineup so far (via Vulture):
Camp X-Ray / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Peter Sattler) — A young woman is stationed as a guard in Guantanamo Bay, where she forms an unlikely friendship with one of the detainees. Cast: Kristen Stewart, Payman Maadi, Lane Garrison, J.J. Soria, John Carroll Lynch.Cold in July / U.S.A. (Director: Jim Mickle, Screenwriters: Jim Mickle, Nick Damici) — After killing a home intruder, a small town Texas man's life unravels into a dark underworld of corruption and violence. Cast: Michael C. Hall, Don Johnson, Sam Shepard, Vinessa Shaw, Nick Damici, Wyatt Russell.Dear White People / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Justin Simien) — Four black students attend an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over an “African American” themed party thrown by white students. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film explores racial identity in postracial America while weaving a story about forging one's unique path in the world. Cast: Tyler Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Brandon Bell.Fishing Without Nets / U.S.A., Somalia, Kenya (Director: Cutter Hodierne, Screenwriters: Cutter Hodierne, John Hibey, David Burkman) — A story of pirates in Somalia told from the perspective of a struggling, young Somali fisherman. Cast: Abdikani Muktar, Abdi Siad, Abduwhali Faarah, Abdikhadir Hassan, Reda Kateb, Idil Ibrahim.God's Pocket / U.S.A. (Director: John Slattery, Screenwriters: John Slattery, Alex Metcalf) — When Mickey's stepson Leon is killed in a construction "accident," Mickey tries to bury the bad news with the body. But when the boy's mother demands the truth, Mickey finds himself stuck between a body he can’t bury, a wife he can’t please, and a debt he can’t pay. Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks, John Turturro.Happy Christmas / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Joe Swanberg) — After a breakup with her boyfriend, a young woman moves in with her older brother, his wife, and their 2-year-old son. Cast: Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham, Joe Swanberg.Hellion / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kat Candler) — When motocross and heavy metal obsessed, 13-year-old Jacob's delinquent behavior forces CPS to place his little brother Wes with his aunt, Jacob and his emotionally absent father must finally take responsibility for their actions and each other in order to bring Wes home. Cast: Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, Josh Wiggins, Deke Garner, Jonny Mars, Walt Roberts.Infinitely Polar Bear / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Maya Forbes) — A manic-depressive mess of a father tries to win back his wife by attempting to take full responsibility of their two young, spirited daughters, who don't make the overwhelming task any easier. Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky, Ashley Aufderheide.Jamie Marks is Dead / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Carter Smith) — No one seemed to care about Jamie Marks until after his death. Hoping to find the love and friendship he never had in life, Jamie’s ghost visits former classmate Adam McCormick, drawing him into the bleak world between the living and the dead. Cast: Cameron Monaghan, Noah Silver, Morgan Saylor, Judy Greer, Madisen Beaty, Liv Tyler.Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter / U.S.A. (Director: David Zellner, Screenwriters: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner) — A lonely Japanese woman becomes convinced that a satchel of money buried in a fictional film is, in fact, real. Abandoning her structured life in Tokyo for the frozen Minnesota wilderness, she embarks on an impulsive quest to search for her lost mythical fortune. Cast: Rinko Kikuchi.Life After Beth / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jeff Baena) — Zach is devastated by the unexpected death of his girlfriend, Beth. When she mysteriously returns, he gets a second chance at love. Soon his whole world turns upside down... Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser.Low Down / U.S.A. (Director: Jeff Preiss, Screenwriters: Amy Albany, Topper Lilien) — Based on Amy Jo Albany's memoir, Low Down explores her heart-wrenching journey to adulthood while being raised by her father, bebop pianist Joe Albany, as he teeters between incarceration and addiction in the urban decay and waning bohemia of Hollywood in the 1970s. Cast: John Hawkes, Elle Fanning, Glenn Close, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Flea.The Skeleton Twins / U.S.A. (Director: Craig Johnson, Screenwriters: Craig Johnson, Mark Heyman) — Estranged twins Maggie and Milo coincidentally cheat death on the same day, prompting them to reunite and confront the reasons their lives went so wrong. As the twins' reunion reinvigorates them, they realize the key to fixing their lives may just lie in repairing their relationship. Cast: Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell, Boyd Holbrook, Joanna Gleason.The Sleepwalker / U.S.A., Norway (Director: Mona Fastvold, Screenwriters: Mona Fastvold, Brady Corbet) — A young couple, Kaia and Andrew, are renovating Kaia´s secluded family estate. Their lives are violently interrupted when unexpected guests arrive. The Sleepwalker chronicles the unraveling of the lives of four disparate characters as it transcends genre conventions and narrative contrivance to reveal something much more disturbing. Cast: Gitte Witt, Christopher Abbott, Brady Corbet, Stephanie Ellis.Song One / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kate Barker-Froyland) — Estranged from her family, Franny returns home when an accident leaves her brother comatose. Retracing his life as an aspiring musician, she tracks down his favorite musician, James Forester. Against the backdrop of Brooklyn’s music scene, Franny and James develop an unexpected relationship and face the realities of their lives. Cast: Anne Hathaway, Johnny Flynn, Mary Steenburgen, Ben Rosenfield.Whiplash / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Damien Chazelle) — Under the direction of a ruthless instructor, a talented young drummer begins to pursue perfection at any cost, even his humanity. Cast: Miles Teller, JK Simmons.
Appropriate Behavior / U.S.A., United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Desiree Akhavan) — Shirin is struggling to become an ideal Persian daughter, a politically correct bisexual, and a hip, young Brooklynite, but fails miserably in her attempt at all identities. Being without a cliché to hold on to can be a lonely experience. Cast: Desiree Akhavan, Rebecca Henderson, Halley Feiffer, Scott Adsit, Anh Duong, Arian Moayed. World Premiere.Drunktown's Finest / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Sydney Freeland) — Three young Native Americans—a rebellious father-to-be, a devout Christian woman, and a promiscuous transsexual—come of age on an Indian reservation. Cast: Jeremiah Bitsui, Carmen Moore, Morningstar Angeline, Kiowa Gordon, Shauna Baker, Elizabeth Francis. World Premiere.The Foxy Merkins / U.S.A. (Director: Madeleine Olnek, Screenwriters: Lisa Haas, Jackie Monahan, Madeleine Olnek) — Two lesbian hookers work the streets of New York. One is a down-on-her-luck newbie; the other is a beautiful—and straight—grifter who's an expert on picking up women. Together they face bargain-hunting housewives, double-dealing conservative women, and each other in this prostitute buddy comedy. Cast: Lisa Haas, Jackie Monahan, Alex Karpovsky, Susan Ziegler, Sally Sockwell, Deb Margolin.A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ana Lily Amirpour) — In the Iranian ghost town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, depraved denizens are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire. Cast: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Dominic Rains, Marshall Manesh, Mozhan Marnó, Milad Eghbali. World Premiere.Imperial Dreams / U.S.A. (Director: Malik Vitthal, Screenwriters: Malik Vitthal, Ismet Prcic) — A 21-year-old, reformed gangster's devotion to his family and his future are put to the test when he is released from prison and returns to his old stomping grounds in Watts, Los Angeles. Cast: John Boyega, Rotimi Akinosho, Glenn Plummer, Keke Palmer, De'aundre Bonds. World Premiere.Land Ho! / U.S.A., Iceland (Directors and screenwriters: Martha Stephens, Aaron Katz) — A pair of ex-brothers-in-law set off to Iceland in an attempt to reclaim their youth through Reykjavik nightclubs, trendy spas, and rugged campsites. This bawdy adventure is a throwback to 1980s road comedies, as well as a candid exploration of aging, loneliness, and friendship. Cast: Paul Eenhoorn, Earl Nelson, Alice Olivia Clarke, Karrie Krouse, Elizabeth McKee, Emmsjé Gauti. World Premiere.Listen Up Philip / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Alex Ross Perry) — A story about changing seasons and changing attitudes, a newly accomplished writer faces mistakes and miseries affecting those around him, including his girlfriend, her sister, his idol, his idol's daughter, and all the ex-girlfriends and enemies that lie in wait on the open streets of New York. Cast: Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce, Krysten Ritter, Josephine de La Baume. World Premiere.Memphis / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Tim Sutton) — A strange singer drifts through the mythic city of Memphis, surrounded by beautiful women, legendary musicians, a stone-cold hustler, a righteous preacher, and a wolf pack of kids. Under a canopy of ancient oak trees and burning spirituality, his doomed journey breaks from conformity and reaches out for glory. Cast: Willis Earl Beal, Lopaka Thomas, Constance Brantley, Devonte Hull, John Gary Williams, Larry Dodson. World Premiere.Obvious Child / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Gillian Robespierre) — An honest comedy about what happens when Brooklyn comedian Donna Stern gets dumped, fired, and pregnant, just in time for the worst/best Valentine's Day of her life. Cast: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann, David Cross, Gabe Liedman, Richard Kind. World Premiere.Ping Pong Summer / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Tully) — 1985. Ocean City, Maryland. Summer vacation. Rap music. Parachute pants. Ping pong. First crushes. Best friends. Mean bullies. Weird mentors. That awkward, momentous time in your life when you're treated like an alien by everyone around you, even though you know deep down you're as funky fresh as it gets. Cast: Susan Sarandon, John Hannah, Lea Thompson, Amy Sedaris, Robert Longstreet, Marcello Conte. World Premiere.War Story / U.S.A. (Director: Mark Jackson, Screenwriters: Kristin Gore, Mark Jackson) — A war photographer retreats to a small town in Sicily after being held captive during the conflict in Libya. Cast: Catherine Keener, Hafsia Herzi, Vincenzo Amato, Donatella Finocchiaro, Ben Kingsley. World Premiere.
U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITIONAlive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory / U.S.A. (Director: Michael Rossato-Bennett) — Five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease and dementia—many of them alone in nursing homes. A man with a simple idea discovers that songs embedded deep in memory can ease pain and awaken these fading minds. Joy and life are resuscitated, and our cultural fears over aging are confronted. All the Beautiful Things / U.S.A. (Director: John Harkrider) — John and Barron are lifelong friends whose friendship is tested when Barron's girlfriend says Barron put a knife to her throat and raped her. Not knowing she has lied, John tells her to go to the police. Years later, John and Barron meet in a bar to resolve the betrayal.CAPTIVATED The Trials of Pamela Smart / U.S.A., United Kingdom (Director: Jeremiah Zagar) — In an extraordinary and tragic American story, a small town murder becomes one of the highest profile cases of all time. From its historic role as the first televised trial to the many books and movies made about it, the film looks at the media’s enduring impact on the case. The Case Against 8 / U.S.A. (Directors: Ben Cotner, Ryan White) — A behind-the-scenes look inside the case to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriage. Shot over five years, the film follows the unlikely team that took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court.Cesar's Last Fast / U.S.A. (Directors: Richard Ray Perez, Lorena Parlee) — Inspired by Catholic social teaching, Cesar Chavez risked his life fighting for America’s poorest workers. The film illuminates the intensity of one man’s devotion and personal sacrifice, the birth of an economic justice movement, and tells an untold chapter in the story of civil rights in America. Dinosaur 13 / U.S.A. (Director: Todd Miller) — The true tale behind one of the greatest discoveries in history. Day One film.E-TEAM / U.S.A. (Directors: Katy Chevigny, Ross Kauffman) — E-TEAM is driven by the high-stakes investigative work of four intrepid human rights workers, offering a rare look at their lives at home and their dramatic work in the field. Fed Up / U.S.A. (Director: Stephanie Soechtig) — Fed Up blows the lid off everything we thought we knew about food and weight loss, revealing a 30-year campaign by the food industry, aided by the U.S. government, to mislead and confuse the American public, resulting in one of the largest health epidemics in history. The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz / U.S.A. (Director: Brian Knappenberger) — Programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz achieved groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing. His passion for open access ensnared him in a legal nightmare that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Ivory Tower / U.S.A. (Director: Andrew Rossi) — As tuition spirals upward and student debt passes a trillion dollars, students and parents ask, "Is college worth it?" From the halls of Harvard to public and private colleges in financial crisis to education startups in Silicon Valley, an urgent portrait emerges of a great American institution at the breaking point. Marmato / U.S.A. (Director: Mark Grieco) — Colombia is the center of a new global gold rush, and Marmato, a historic mining town, is the new frontier. Filmed over the course of nearly six years, Marmato chronicles how townspeople confront a Canadian mining company that wants the $20 billion in gold beneath their homes. No No: A Dockumentary / U.S.A. (Director: Jeffrey Radice) — Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter on LSD, then worked for decades counseling drug abusers. Dock's soulful style defined 1970s baseball as he kept hitters honest and embarrassed the establishment. An ensemble cast of teammates, friends, and family investigate his life on the field, in the media, and out of the spotlight. The Overnighters / U.S.A. (Director: Jesse Moss) — Desperate, broken men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local Pastor's decision to help them has extraordinary and unexpected consequences.Private Violence / U.S.A. (Director: Cynthia Hill) — One in four women experience violence in their homes. Have you ever asked, “Why doesn't she just leave?” Private Violence shatters the brutality of our logic and intimately reveals the stories of two women: Deanna Walters, who transforms from victim to survivor, and Kit Gruelle, who advocates for justice. Rich Hill / U.S.A. (Directors: Andrew Droz Palermo, Tracy Droz Tragos) — In a rural, American town, kids face heartbreaking choices, find comfort in the most fragile of family bonds, and dream of a future of possibility. Watchers of the Sky / U.S.A. (Director: Edet Belzberg) — Five interwoven stories of remarkable courage from Nuremberg to Rwanda, from Darfur to Syria, and from apathy to action. WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION
52 Tuesdays / Australia (Director: Sophie Hyde, Screenplay and story by: Matthew Cormack, Story by: Sophie Hyde) — Sixteen-year-old Billie’s reluctant path to independence is accelerated when her mother reveals plans for gender transition, and their time together becomes limited to Tuesdays. This emotionally charged story of desire, responsibility, and transformation was filmed over the course of a year—once a week, every week, only on Tuesdays. Cast: Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Del Herbert-Jane, Imogen Archer, Mario Späte, Beau Williams, Sam Althuizen. International Premiere.Blind / Norway, Netherlands (Director and screenwriter: Eskil Vogt) — Having recently lost her sight, Ingrid retreats to the safety of her home—a place she can feel in control, alone with her husband and her thoughts. But Ingrid's real problems lie within, not beyond the walls of her apartment, and her deepest fears and repressed fantasies soon take over. Cast: Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Henrik Rafaelsen, Vera Vitali, Marius Kolbenstvedt. World Premiere.Difret / Ethiopia (Director and screenwriter: Zeresenay Berhane Mehari) — Meaza Ashenafi is a young lawyer who operates under the government's radar helping women and children until one young girl's legal case exposes everything, threatening not only her career but her survival. Cast: Meron Getnet, Tizita Hagere. World Premiere.The Disobedient / Serbia (Director and screenwriter: Mina Djukic) — Leni anxiously waits for her childhood friend Lazar, who is coming back to their hometown after years of studying abroad. After they reunite, they embark on a random bicycle trip around their childhood haunts, which will either exhaust or reinvent their relationship. Cast: Hana Selimovic, Mladen Sovilj, Minja Subota, Danijel Sike, Ivan Djordjevic. World Premiere.God Help the Girl / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Stuart Murdoch) — This musical from Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian is about some messed up boys and girls and the music they made. Cast: Emily Browning, Olly Alexander, Hannah Murray, Cora Bissett, Pierre Boulanger. World Premiere.Liar's Dice / India (Director and screenwriter: Geetu Mohandas) — Kamala, a young woman from the village of Chitkul, leaves her native land with her daughter to search for her missing husband. Along the journey, they encounter Nawazudin, a free-spirited army deserter with his own selfish motives who helps them reach their destination. Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Geetanjali Thapa, Manya Gupta. International Premiere.Lilting / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Hong Khaou) — The world of a Chinese mother mourning the untimely death of her son is suddenly disrupted by the presence of a stranger who doesn't speak her language. Lilting is a touching and intimate film about finding the things that bring us together. Cast: Ben Whishaw, Pei-Pei Cheng, Andrew Leung, Peter Bowles, Naomi Christie, Morven Christie. World Premiere.
Lock Charmer (El cerrajero) / Argentina (Director and screenwriter: Natalia Smirnoff) — Upon learning that his girlfriend is pregnant, 33-year-old locksmith Sebastian begins to have strange visions about his clients. With the help of an unlikely assistant, he sets out to use his newfound talent for his own good. Cast: Esteban Lamothe, Erica Rivas, Yosiria Huaripata. World Premiere.To Kill a Man / Chile, France (Director and screenwriter: Alejandro Fernandez Almendras) — When Jorge, a hardworking family man who's barely making ends meet, gets mugged by Kalule, a neighborhood delinquent, Jorge's son decides to confront the attacker, only to get himself shot. Even though Jorge's son nearly dies, Kalule's sentence is minimal, heightening the friction. Cast: Daniel Candia, Daniel Antivilo, Alejandra Yañez, Ariel Mateluna. World Premiere.Viktoria / Bulgaria, Romania (Director and screenwriter: Maya Vitkova) — Although determined not to have a child in Communist Bulgaria, Boryana gives birth to Viktoria, who despite being born with no umbilical cord, is proclaimed to be the baby of the decade. But political collapse and the hardships of the new time bind mother and daughter together. Cast: Irmena Chichikova, Daria Vitkova, Kalina Vitkova, Mariana Krumova, Dimo Dimov, Georgi Spassov. World Premiere.Wetlands / Germany (Director: David Wnendt, Screenwriters: Claus Falkenberg, David Wnendt, based on the novel by Charlotte Roche) — Meet Helen Memel. She likes to experiment with vegetables while masturbating and thinks that bodily hygiene is greatly overrated. She shocks those around her by speaking her mind in a most unladylike manner on topics that many people would not even dare consider. Cast: Carla Juri, Christoph Letkowski, Meret Becker, Axel Milberg, Marlen Kruse, Edgar Selge. North American Premiere.White Shadow / Italy, Germany, Tanzania (Director: Noaz Deshe, Screenwriters: Noaz Deshe, James Masson) — Alias is a young albino boy on the run. His mother has sent him away to find refuge in the city after witnessing his father's murder. Over time, the city becomes no different than the bush: wherever Alias travels, the same rules of survival apply. Cast: Hamisi Bazili, James Gayo, Glory Mbayuwayu, Salum Abdallah. International Premiere.
WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
20,000 Days On Earth / United Kingdom (Directors: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard) — Drama and reality combine in a fictitious 24 hours in the life of musician and international culture icon Nick Cave. With startlingly frank insights and an intimate portrayal of the artistic process, this film examines what makes us who we are and celebrates the transformative power of the creative spirit. World Premiere.Concerning Violence / Sweden, U.S.A., Denmark, Finland (Director: Göran Hugo Olsson) — Concerning Violence is based on newly discovered, powerful archival material documenting the most daring moments in the struggle for liberation in the Third World, accompanied by classic text from The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon. World Premiere.The Green Prince / Germany, Israel, United Kingdom (Director: Nadav Schirman ) — This real-life thriller tells the story of one of Israel’s prized intelligence sources, recruited to spy on his own people for more than a decade. Focusing on the complex relationship with his handler, The Green Prince is a gripping account of terror, betrayal, and unthinkable choices, along with a friendship that defies all boundaries. World Premiere.
Happiness / France, Finland (Director: Thomas Balmès) — Peyangki is a dreamy and solitary eight-year-old monk living in Laya, a Bhutanese village perched high in the Himalayas. Soon the world will come to him: the village is about to be connected to electricity, and the first television will flicker on before Peyangki's eyes. North American Premiere.Love Child / South Korea, U.S.A. (Director: Valerie Veatch) — In Seoul in the Republic of Korea, a young couple stands accused of neglect when "Internet addiction" in an online fantasy game costs the life of their infant daughter. Love Child documents the 2010 trial and subsequent ruling that set a global precedent in a world where virtual is the new reality. World Premiere.Mr leos caraX / France (Director: Tessa Louise-Salomé) — Mr leos caraX plunges us into the poetic and visionary world of a mysterious, solitary filmmaker who was already a cult figure from his very first film. Punctuated by interviews and previously unseen footage, this documentary is most of all a fine-tuned exploration of the poetic and visionary world of Leos Carax, alias Mr. X. World Premiere.My Prairie Home / Canada (Director: Chelsea McMullan) — A poetic journey through landscapes both real and emotional, Chelsea McMullan’s documentary/musical offers an intimate portrait of transgender singer Rae Spoon, framed by stunning images of the Canadian prairies. McMullan’s imaginative visual interpretations of Spoon’s songs make this an unforgettable look at a unique Canadian artist. International Premiere.The Notorious Mr. Bout / U.S.A., Russia (Directors: Tony Gerber, Maxim Pozdorovkin) — Viktor Bout was a war profiteer, an entrepreneur, an aviation tycoon, an arms dealer, and—strangest of all—a documentary filmmaker. The Notorious Mr. Bout is the ultimate rags-to-riches-to-prison memoir, documented by the last man you'd expect to be holding the camera. World Premiere.Return to Homs / Syria, Germany (Director: Talal Derki) — Basset Sarout, the 19-year-old national football team goalkeeper, becomes a demonstration leader and singer, and then a fighter. Ossama, a 24-year-old renowned citizen cameraman, is critical, a pacifist, and ironic until he is detained by the regime's security forces. North American Premiere.SEPIDEH – Reaching for the Stars / Denmark (Director: Berit Madsen) — Sepideh wants to become an astronaut. As a young Iranian woman, she knows it’s dangerous to challenge traditions and expectations. Still, Sepideh holds on to her dream. She knows a tough battle is ahead, a battle that only seems possible to win once she seeks help from an unexpected someone. North American Premiere.We Come as Friends / France, Austria (Director: Hubert Sauper) — We Come as Friends views colonization as a human phenomenon through both explicit and metaphoric lenses without oversimplified accusations or political theorizing. Alarmingly, It is not a historical film since colonization and the slave trade still exist. World Premiere.Web Junkie / Israel (Directors: Shosh Shlam, Hilla Medalia) — China is the first country to label “Internet addiction” a clinical disorder. Web Junkie investigates a Beijing rehab center where Chinese teenagers are deprogrammed. World Premiere.
First and foremost, some very important business: Matt is back! Sure, many of you won't think that Matt returning to the show is a big deal, but trust me, it is. That boy has been away for the past three episodes, then TVD just now casually brings him back... but, hey, it's fine, all is now forgiven – he's back, so we all (I) can finally stop complaining about his absence. Other than Matt's comeback, a bunch of other (more) important stuff happened on TVD last night. While most of it was supposed to shock us, the whole episode felt a little redundant and forced. But, since much of it will (hopefully) be expanded on in future episodes, let's jump in and breakdown some of the most significant things we learned in last night's episode, "Dead Man on Campus."
Jesse is an Augustine vampire: Ok, to be fair, I'm still not sure what exactly an Augustine vampire is, and by the end of the episode, it's still not completely explained. However, Dr. Maxfield apparently made Jesse into one because, at the onslaught of the episode, the Doc feeds Jesse his first bag of "undiluted Augustine blood," which gives Jesse enough power to break out of his chains and attack Maxfield. Of course, Jesse doesn't kill him (Maxfield is too hot for that — translation, he won't be dying anytime soon) and Jesse instead makes his way back to his dorm where he calls Caroline. Understandably freaked out, Jesse begs her to come over before his roommate shows up. Lo and behold, Aaron is Jesse's roommate, and before Jesse can contain himself, he attacks him. Luckily, Caroline shows up and stops Jesse from killing Aaron, and that's when the fun begins. Caroline calms Jesse down and her and Elena (with blood bags in tow) start to show Jesse how to be a vampire. They feed him blood, help him heal Aaron, and teach him about compulsion (Aw, vamp bonding).
Bonnie gets a haircut: Not sure why this is important, but for some reason it feels very necessary to mention. When Bonnie comes back to the land of the living, she does so with a great fashion sense. Chopping off her long locks, Bonnie gets a cute bob that pairs perfectly with the flirty dresses and short shorts that she wears throughout the episode. However, looking fun and happy is a stark contrast to the weird and awful things she is going through. Now that Bonnie is the anchor, she begins to see (and feel) the dead supernaturals that must pass through her to get to the other side. While it's kind of bleak, not the mention painful, Bonnie rationalizes that it's all worth it so that she can be with Jeremy. And sure, that sounds great, but, in actuality, the Bonnie/Jeremy relationship is a bit cringe-worthy. Sure, we're all supposed to believe that these two are madly in love, (we even get a sex scene at one point) but the relationship just doesn't really feel as epic as it should be considering all the crap they had to go through to be together. What is basically comes down to is that these two don't have any chemistry to speak of. And now that they can finally touch and truly be together, we should all excited, as well as invested in the future of this union, however, it all feels a meh (shoulder shrug included).
Matt is back: Eek! (All right, it's out of my system). Matt is back in Mystic Falls and working at the grill. While bartending, he is casually watching the video of Gregor taking over his body when Katherine asks for another drink. Matt cuts her off since she is clearly wasted, but Katherine just replies, "You realize every time you say no, it just makes you hotter" (agreed). However, they make a deal that, in exchange for liquor, Katherine will interpret what the Gregor says in the video when he speaks Czech. Katherine translates that Gregor "activated" Matt, which basically means that Gregor is a Traveler, a.k.a. a powerful witch, who is hanging out in Matt's brain like a parasite. Matt also details his union with a beautiful dark haired girl who he thinks is involved. Katherine correctly identifies her as Nadia.
House party: Caroline and Elena throw a party in honor of Bonnie's return. (And they have it in their dorm's wide-open common room... where the hell are the RAs in this show?) While setting up, Elena calls Damon and asks him to go check on Dr. Maxfield (whom Jesse locked in his lab) and see if he can get some answers out of him about Augustine vampires. Caroline yells at Elena, saying that sending Damon will end up with Maxfield dead (probably correct). Unfazed, Elena then tries to entice Stefan to come to the party (she bought the good bourbon) but he is too busy having drowning flashbacks to go. Instead, he goes to the grill to drink where he has a pity cocktail with Katherine after she explains how he's going to end up with someone who looks like her anyway (doppelganger prophesy). Back at the party, Bonnie talks with Jesse about how in love she is with her friend's younger brother (eww). Unfortunately, she sees a supernatural, which kind of kills the buzz (incase the gross description of Jeremy didn't already). During her little 'I see dead people' moment, Jesse and Caroline dance, which Jesse finds exciting because every touch is heightened now that he's a vampire. In the lab, Damon is torturing Maxfield by injecting him with diseases he finds around the lab (flesh eating disease, rabies) and heals him with vampire blood if he gives him answers. Maxfield eventually explains that Jesse is an Augustine vampire, meaning his true hunger can only be sated by vampire blood. Maxfield created him so that vampires would eventually only kill/feed on other vampires and the killing of humans would not be necessary. Unfortunately, back at the party, Jesse and Caroline kiss, and apparently, Jesse can smell Caroline's blood because he bites her, and get his first insatiable taste of vamp blood.
Daughters and Travelers: Back at the bar, Katherine starts complaining about her crappy human life that includes receding gums, joint pains, and a weak bladder. While still sitting with Stefan, Katherine asks him for a favor just as Nadia shows up, asking Katherine what she wants. Katherine leads Stefan and Nadia to the back room where Matt holds that knife that Gregor told him to keep safe. Katherine then tells Nadia to bring Gregor forth and Katherine speaks with him, asking why he was really in Mystic Falls, claiming that she wanted to know because she was wary of anyone who wants to be around her daughter (such an adorable and human moment from Katherine). Eventually Gregor explains that after Silas died the Travelers were supposed to kill Katherine. Annoyed, Katherine holds up the knife and taunts Gregor, eventually stabbing him (Matt) in the stomach, effectively killing the Traveler, but not Matt (thank god!). Katherine explains the the knife is the only thing that can truly kill a Traveler, she knows because he father was one. Nadia seems pissed that her mom killed her boyfriend (or whatever he was).
The dead man on campus: At the party, Elena swaps sob stories with Aaron and realizes that Maxfield is his guardian. She immediately calls Damon and tells him not to kill Maxfield because Aaron would be left with no one. However, right then, Jesse shows up at the lab to ask Maxfield why he feels compelled to feed on Caroline. Unfortunately, Jesse smells Damon and begins feeding on him. Another fun fact? Augustine vampires are apparently much stronger than normal vampires because Damon can't fight back or get away. Elena shows up and, seeing Jesse feeding on Damon, she quickly grabs a wooden stake (how to these just randomly appear?) and stabs Jesse. Caroline shows up just in time to see her crush die. Damon tries to explain to Caroline that Elena had no choice but to kill Jesse. However, Caroline says that the old Elena would have been more compassionate, and given Jesse the chance to beat him vampire hunger, which, to be fair, is harsh but true.
Suicidal thoughts: Stefan has another freak out where he feels like he's drowning in the bar. When he makes his way outside, Katherine comes out the back door and sees him struggling. Annoyed, Stefan squeezes her neck, but through her attempts at breathing, Katherine calms him down and he eventually lets go. Nadia finds them outside and Katherine tries to explain her motherly instincts, telling Nadia she deserved better than Gregor. Nadia, not so happy with her mom, tells her to rot in hell and storms off. Back inside, Stefan makes his way over to close out his tab when he finds a note addressed to Nadia. Within the letter, Katherine explains that she can't outrun time and so she was going to take control of her life. Cut to Katherine standing on the clock tower, then falling backwards off the building. And, even though you hesitated for a second, we all knew Stefan would be there to catch her, and he was. Katherine quickly explains that she is dying of old age and doesn't know how to fight it. Stefan touches her face and sweetly says, "Hey. You're Katherine Pierce. Suck it up," and walks away. Katherine smiles. And it was the one scene in this episode that was absolutely perfect.
Cliffhanger: Back in the dorm bedrooms Bonnie and Jeremy are getting hot and heavy when Bonnie suddenly looks up and, startled, sees Jesse, who she correctly assumes is dead. Holding hands, Jesse tearfully tells Bonnie that he is not ready to go. But Bonnie, being Bonnie, comforts him until he passes through her and then she immediately falls over, screaming in pain. Back at the lab, Damon is cleaning up the mess he made with the disease viles when he notices a blood sample labeled 12144. Quickly, Damon looks at Maxfield and explains that at one point, he was 21051. Suddenly, Damon realizes he was an Augustine vampire and just when he goes to kill Maxfield, (Elena and Aaron be damned) Maxfield hits the emergency button which releases vervain into the air, effectively crippling Damon. The doc then creepily says, "Augustine will be thrilled to have you back." Cut to Damon trapped in a cell, having vivid memories of himself bleeding and being tortured decades beforehand.
Wait, what the hell? Damon was an Augustine vampire? And he just forgot!? Then, that easily, he remembered? And, as he remembered, he explain it to Maxfield? That just seems stupid. Also, is there going to be a Katherine/Stefan relationship now? Will Bonnie get crazier as the season goes on? This whole supernatural/anchor thing seems painful, and like it's going to get annoying very quick. Is Matt going to be gone for another three episodes now that the only cool storyline he had is gone? And finally, is there any hope for humorous innuendos now that Damon has some seriously scary PTSD visions going on? What do you guys think? Did this episode live up to expectations, or are the over-the-top story lines ruining it for you?
Check out the promo for the Dec. 5 episode, "The Cell."
The Vampire Diaries airs on Thursdays at 8 PM ET on the CW.
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Allow me to open this article with a candid admission: I want to believe that Andy Kaufman is still alive. I've wanted to believe that Andy Kaufman was still alive since I was first introduced to the comedic genius' story at age 11, sparked by my fandom of Taxi (thank you, Nick at Nite) to watch Man on the Moon (thank you, HBO). I had loved his work as Latka Gravas and knew his famous Mighty Mouse gag, but wasn't familiar with the man or his legacy — nor his dedication to very fabric of comedy — until Milos Forman and Jim Carrey painted such a colorful picture. Ever since then, I've read everything I could about Kaufman. I've watched all his old routines, reveling in his variety of hoaxes and schemes. I hung a decidedly creepy poster of the man in my college dorm room, alienating visitors with my 48 square inch print of the swarthy weirdo with the menacing stare. In short (although I guess it's too late for that), I love Andy Kaufman. Many do. And among those is, quite likely, a large population who were really hoping that this new revelation was not a hoax.
On Monday, New York City's Gotham Comedy Club hosted the 9th Annual Andy Kaufman Award finals — a nation-wide talent competition constructed to showcase the varied creative exploits of budding performers. The most notable performance of the night came not from a contestant, though, but from a 24-year-old young woman who took the stage beside Michael Kaufman (Andy's brother and the founder of the award show), announcing herself to be the daughter of Andy Kaufman, and pronouncing her alleged father to be still alive. Watch the video for yourself, courtesy of Cinema Blend:
A bit of background info. In 1984, Kaufman was believed (by some) to be killed by a longstanding struggle with lung cancer... a curiosity to those who knew Kaufman as a very healthy individual who never smoked a day in his life. Due to the number of times he pulled the wool over America's eyes — he staged so many elaborate cons, short and long, that to take anything Kaufman did at face value would be foolish — a number of people have assumed that the death was a ruse. Kaufman could have faked it for a number of reasons: Maybe to sink into a life of privacy that he might enjoy amongst his loved ones, maybe to emancipate himself from the cannibalistic vanity of the Hollywood business, or maybe, simply, because he thought it would be funny. We'd believe any and all.
Kaufman hasn't been seen publicly since '84, and doesn't appear to have had any encounter with his brother Michael, with whom he shared an ostensibly good relationship. The one exception to the actor/comedian's 30-year absentia came in 1999, at a restaurant where he planned to meet his brother had he ever decided to fake his own death. Andy didn't show, but Michael is said to have come into the possession of a message from his brother, stating that Andy was alive, happy, living with a wife and children, and uncomfortable discarding his privacy just yet. With the passing of the Kaufman brothers' father this past summer, Andy is said — by his alleged daughter — to be reconsidering his privacy, opening up to the idea of reconnecting with his brother, and possibly extending his publicity beyond that. The young woman revealed that Andy is a big fan and follower of the awards circuit that Michael Kaufman has set up in his name, taking special interest in Michael's forwarding of their appreciation of comedy and performance.
And so, here we are. Wondering if this new twist of fate carries with it any veritability at all.
On the side of "Come on, this is ridiculous!" Cinema Blend acknowledges the uncanny resemblance that exists between the Kaufman daughter and theater actress Alexandra Tatarsky, who is reported to have met Michael Kaufman at a Manhattan art gallery and, quite possibly, planned the whole ordeal with Andy's brother from there. Incidentally, Tatarsky's father is a 58-year-old New York-based psychologist.
On the side of "Well, maybe... just maybe..." we really only have faith. Faith and the proclamations of present parties who insist that the whole scene was a genuine display of shock and emotion on the parts of both Michael and the niece he would have first met on this night.
And somewhere in the middle, airing cautiously on the side of the former mentality but with a smidgen of hope that maybe... just maybe... it's possible that the Elvis-impersonating Foreign Man pulled off one of the greatest gags in showbiz history, do I lie. Contemplating skeptically the rare reversal of the Internet death hoax.
I'm wont to believe that the whole thing is an act. In truth, it would be amazing if Kaufman were to resurface, and not only for the reason of having my hero back among us once more, but in the showcase of a performance artist's true devotion to the art that he pioneered in his heyday. But as much as I'd bask in the glory of Kaufman's triumphant resurgence, there would be cons to this turn of events as well.
With the rebirth of a legend comes the rebirth of his humanity. Just like with Elvis, Tupac, Houdini, James Dean, Jim Morrison, John Belushi, and a number of other legends, a portion of the majesty of these figures' work is owed to their untimely passing. Immortalized by the short section of time that they got the opportunity to showcase their brilliance, we remember these greats as flawless. Their images are limited to their triumphs. They are dehumanized and transformed into ideas of perfection (in their respective fields). Andy Kaufman was 35 at the time of his supposed death, having only treated us to a few years of his maniacal brain before leaving this Earth (or just leaving its eye). Back with us, Kaufman would be a man. A man, granted, who managed a 30-year prank, but a man (and a 64-year-old one, to boot) who'd have to carry forth nonstop with his genius in order to maintain "the legend." For a while, doable. For a lifetime, impossible.
That's why we speak with a hymnal whisper of John Lennon, but a merry appreciation of Paul McCartney. Paul is a man. An unbelievably talented force of musical creativity and chutzpah. But John, now, is just shy of a god. Granted, John was also a dark, brooding loon and Paul is a pretty even-keeled and chipper fellow. But it's also the immortalization thing.
We'd lose the Kaufman we knew if we were to unite with one that lived today. He'd arise as a man, one living in a different kind of world that might not play conduit to the tricks at which he was such a master. And we'd eventually have to ask the inevitable question: What kind of person willingly lets their brother, parents, and friends believe he is dead for 30 years, all in the service of a joke or his own desires for privacy?
I say this not motived to castigate Kaufman, if he indeed is still out there, or to call attention to humanity's odd glorification of the dead. I say this as an appeasement for those, like me, who really want to believe that he did it. That he faked it all, hid away, and decided, "What the hell? Let's get the band back together!" Anything is possible. But this is probably not the case. Sadly, Andy Kaufman may very well have died back in 1984. But on that very same day, something was born: his legacy. The legendary, inimitable character that has coursed through the veins of comedians ever since, hoping to achieve this wonderful spirit's passion for laughter, performance, and emotion. In a way, no matter what, he's still at large. Because nobody, 30 years after disappearing, could inspire this much conversation about the veracity of his death. Andy might not be on this Earth any longer, but he continues to fool us all. And we're all terribly grateful for it.
Thank you very much.
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Looking at Glee's latest episode, its tribute to recently deceased star Cory Monteith, with any large sum of objectivity would be an act of futility. It is almost impossible to separate yourself, your own feelings about the character, the actor, his cause of death, about your loved ones, about death, when watching an episode as powerful (albeit not flawless) as "The Quarterback." It's hard to have a reaction to this particular episode that is anything short of wholly personal. So here that is.
I returned to Glee this season after a two-year absence, having fallen out of love with the program early on in Season 3. Appreciating musical theater, reveling in the dark wit, and relating (as most Internet writers probably do) to the feeling of high school ostracism, I took a lot of delight in the early, pithy days of the series. Returning for Season 5 out of professional obligation, a love for The Beatles, and a hope for a cathartic influx of tears regarding Monteith's passing (one that I got, in spades), I found myself unfamiliar with some of the new characters and plot points. But the themes carried out in this episode in particular were recognizable ones.
Surprised to see that Kurt would have no solo song of his own, I was relieved when the narrative opened through his internal voiceover, lamenting the death of his step-brother and returning to Ohio for the funeral. Two years after I had severed ties with Glee, Kurt was still in awe of the superman (I believe he uses that very terminology) that his crush-turned-friend-turned-brother always seemed to be. Unconditionally strong in character.
Remembering fondly the difficult, dense relationship shared by Finn and Puck, I was pleased to see how Glee handled this corner of the story: with troublemaker Noah feeling as though he had lost his beacon of integrity, his Jiminy Cricket, and fearing his own descent into any number of unimaginable horror stories as a result. Puck's turn in the episode is perhaps the most interesting. As we all tend to be in regards to the passing of a loved one, he is worried about himself. It is not aa maliciously selfish quality to uphold, but a natural one. The people we care about aren't always independent entities — because of their importance to, and effect on, us, they become functions of us. Part of us. Without this part of him, perhaps the best part, Puck worries that he's only left with the bad.
Similarly, Santana cannot bring herself to be the kind of person she would have liked to for Finn, and for all those others who loved him. Having maintained a vicious air as a defense mechanism for so long, she finds it most difficult at this point to drop this guard, despite wanting to, so very badly. And no, despite efforts, she doesn't exactly bring her wishes to fruition. That is what seems most effective about Glee's tribute. Yes, people come together — Coach Beiste takes care of Puck, Kurt looks out for Santana, Emma tries to provide comfort for Mr. Schu — but people also lash out. Everyone, out of grief and prejudice, is diabolically unkind to Puck. Mr. Schu is dishonest and disloyal to his students in his theft of Finn's Letterman jacket. Sue keeps her revolving door of venom spinning toward everyone, eventually relieving herself of the weight of the same defense mechanism that plagues Santana when she is brought to admit that she thought so highly of Finn. There is a lot of imperfection in the way these people behave. And that's the best way to go about something like this, because it rings the most true.
Of course, we're waiting the whole episode through for Rachel to make an appearance, which she does towards the end. She sings. She offers smiles and tears to Mr. Schu. Then she retreats to not knowing what she'll do next and not being certain that things can ever be okay again. It doesn't end on the same uplifting or hopeful note for her that characters like Puck and Santana are treated to. That, again, is honest. We don't know if she'll be okay. Just like we don't know, when someone close to us dies, if we will. And in this authetnticity, we find a really grounded tribute to Finn, and to Cory.
For all its flaws — the two big ones being no appearance of Diana Agron, whose character was so important to Monteith's, and the bare minimum of focus on Finn's mother — we can call "The Quarterback" really touching: wholly sad, wholly real, wholly honest. There is no appropriate way to organize comfort in the wake of a loved one's death, but the most essential, most healthy, most powerful was to approach the tragedy is with honesty. And for this, those returning fans and those who've been loyal through the seasons can pay thanks to Glee for this tribute.
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Congratulations, Halle Berry! The Oscar winner and her husband, Olivier Martinez, welcomed a baby boy on Saturday, Oct. 5. Their son, whose name has not been revealed, joins big sister Nahla, Berry's 5 year-old daughter from a previous relationship. Berry and Martinez met in 2010 while working on the film Dark Tide, and were married in France this summer. Berry has said that her daughter has wanted a younger sibling for a long time now, and according to People, Nahla was very happy to visit her mother and new baby brother over the weekend.
Although the actress hasn't said very much about her pregnancy, she did describe the arrival of her second child as "the biggest" and "the most wonderful" surprise. Berry will next appear in the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, where she will reprise the role of Storm. The film is scheduled for a 2014 release. Martinez, meanwhile, can next be seen in the film The Physician, which is projected to hit theaters sometime this year.
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A little bit of the curtain has been peeled back on those mysterious 19 years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope in John Jackson Miller's new novel Star Wars: Kenobi. It's a story that Miller has been working on for seven years, and it concerns what happened after Obi-Wan lost everything: the Jedi Order, the Republic, his old love Satine, and his former Padawan turned Sith, Anakin Skywalker. Kenobi sees the exiled Jedi arrive on Tatooine where he'll begin the long project of looking out for young Luke Skywalker from afar...until someday the time is right for him to reemerge. Of course, trouble always seems to follow Obi-Wan, and he gets into quite an adventure as he's getting used to life on the desert planet. We talked to Miller and also voice actor James Arnold Taylor, who's spent eight years voicing Obi-Wan for The Clone Wars TV series and various videogames, about the project.
Hollywood.com: John, for some years you’ve talked about doing a Star Wars Western. How did that become Kenobi? John Jackson Miller: Well, I’d been writing Knights of the Old Republic for Dark Horse a couple of years and I was discussing with my editor the possibility of doing an original graphic novel starring Obi-Wan Kenobi. We were both big fans of Westerns, especially Shane, the Alan Ladd film from the ‘50s, and it struck me that the early days of Obi-Wan’s stay on Tatooine had to have been a lot like that. He was like the retired gunfighter wandering into town, trying to start over, begin a new life, keep his head down, and not get into trouble…and of course everything is pulling him into action. It’s a small town, so everybody is wondering who he is, why he’s come all this way — nobody moves to Tatooine unless they have to. It’s not a great tourist destination.
So we have that going on and the fact that at the same time, we know all these things that Obi-Wan is dealing with from the events of the Clone Wars series and Revenge of the Sith: Anakin’s fall, the death of the Duchess, all of these various things that have piled up on him. Instead of being at the center of galactic events where he could impact things he’s going to have to spend the next how many years — and he doesn’t know how long, it could be six months or the rest of his life — staying out of sight on Tatooine, and basically protecting the next generation.
That’s a really rough prospect for somebody who was used to action. The story we’ve told here is purposefully told from the point of view of other characters, the natives of Tatooine, a couple human settlers, and a few Tusken raiders. We can see Obi-Wan through their eyes, as he tries to react to situations as an ordinary man would, not a Jedi. The reader is in this unique situation, because we know that Clark Kent is really Superman here, we know what Obi-Wan is capable of, and so we’re able to travel with him through the storyline as he tries to make his way through the situation and find some peace.
HW: James, at the start of the novel what would you say is Obi-Wan’s mindset? James Arnold Taylor: One of the things that’s been so great for me in playing this mythical character for so many years is that throughout the series of The Clone Wars I had to put myself in the mindset of “He does not know what’s going to happen.” He does not know that Anakin’s going to fall, and in Kenobi he actually thinks that Anakin is dead. His belief is that Anakin’s gone, and he did what he had to do. Even though I haven’t voiced him much after the events of Revenge of the Sith, it goes so much deeper than I think most people think.
Kenobi speaks as Obi-Wan speaks. That was always the biggest challenge of our show: getting the way Obi-Wan speaks right. And that comes across so well here in his meditations when he’s desperately trying to reach his mentor and his father figure Qui-Gon. There’s so much turmoil in his life and he has to hold it in, but those turmoils manifest in so many ways, including just his struggle to set up shop, get his home in place.
HW: John, some have suggested that Star Wars in general, at least A New Hope, is a kind of Western. You’ve mentioned Shane. Were there any other Westerns in particular you drew upon for inspiration? JJM: I was inspired quite a bit by Larry McMurtry who wrote Lonesome Dove. I think what’s special about that is that it gives us the Texas Rangers, yes, but we also get the point of view of the villagers surrounding them. We get to see what their ordinary lives are like and how their lives change when these almost mythical heroes pass through. Kenobi is also a stranger in a small town story. He’s having to learn the ropes of this place and integrate, when he’d much rather get out there and start freeing the Republic or crawl into a rock and never think of anything again. Instead he chooses to use this time to learn how he got there. He sees his exile as penance. Even at the end of the novel his prison term is still just beginning so to speak.
I love The Shawshank Redemption and when I realized that Obi-Wan ended up staying on Tatooine for exactly the same amount of time that Andy Dufresne was in prison — 19 years — I thought, okay, this is how much learning you can do in that time. This is a very different kind of Star Wars book: there are no lightsaber duels, because there are only two lightsabers on the planet, and Obi-Wan keeps one of them in his trunk. There are no space battles. It’s an internal story. Think about how Casablanca is a war movie that involves no war. It’s about the problems of three little people, but it’s about something much bigger at the same time. And I think Obi-Wan’s internal struggle mirrors the external struggle in the galaxy at this time.
HW: Did you guys collaborate at all on the making of this book? JAT: Oh no, I would never dare do that. I’m just a fan like anybody else. I knew John was working on this because people were talking about it within my circle. I do see Obi-Wan as a hero, but he is paying a penance. He feels responsible for what happened and to a degree he is. Dave Filoni used to always joke to me and say, “It’s all Obi-Wan’s fault.” But Obi-Wan is a true believer, he’s trying to find the greater good in himself and in other people. And I think that’s what makes a great hero.
HW: How did you go about incorporating elements of the Clone Wars show into the novel? JJM: When we get to him thinking about Satine, it’s when he’s pondering the various brushes with romance he’s had in his life. And when I started this project I went and just read everything that had been written about the character’s life at that point between Episodes III and IV. But I didn’t just want to do name drops, nor did I ever want to stop the story just to supply backstory, so the meditations with Qui-Gon helped with that. We have him thinking about his old love interest Siri Tachi from the Scholastic kids novels back in the day. Everything in the Expanded Universe counts, so I wanted to make sure some of those key characters received acknowledgement.
HW: You threw in a lot of new elements to expand Tatooine, a planet we all thought we knew pretty well. How did you go about introducing us to Tatooine all over again? JJM: I actually took a lot of stuff that was old. A lot of what we drew upon actually came from a series of roleplaying games released in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s by a company called West End. Before the Expanded Universe cranked into gear West End was the only game in town, so they had leeway to establish a lot of things, and I drew a number of characters, settings, and concepts from them.
However, there had never been a storyline where there was a Tusken point-of-view, and I wanted to create a mythology for them that explained why they were so attached to living in such miserable conditions and justify some of the horrible things they do. I hope I didn’t make them a fully sympathetic group here, because that wasn’t my intent. I didn’t want this to be Dances With Tuskens. I didn’t want them to appear justified in their actions, and in fact Obi-Wan has a line to this regard, “We can appreciate the differences between cultures without having to become lunch for the Sarlacc just because the Sarlacc needs to eat people.” The fact that the Tuskens do have this different worldview doesn’t necessarily make it right. This is where we could bring in the movies again, because the events of Star Wars Episode II, where Anakin wiped out an entire band of Tuskens overnight, are weighing very heavy on the group of Tuskens we meet in the story. They have lost their spirit, their confidence, and them getting that back is part of their storyline in the book.
HW: James, now that you’ve played Obi-Wan for so many years, what have you learned about him? JAT: More than anything, that Obi-Wan has a deeper emotional life than you ever really see on the surface. Seeing how he goes from being a surrogate father to a brother for Anakin meant a lot to me in the prequels, especially since we know next to nothing about Obi-Wan’s own backstory, his family or where he came from himself. And that was always good for me. On a personal note, I don’t know my father, I never knew my father so I’m always fascinated how throughout the years the characters I’ve portrayed have very conveniently had the same issue. What backstory there was in the Expanded Universe I tried to avoid because Dave Filoni and George Lucas had such a clear vision of how they wanted Obi-Wan to be on the show that I just wanted to keep that pure. Now that the show’s over, Kenobi was a fantastic first Expanded Universe novel to read. It conveyed so much of what I’ve felt about the character, that he’s just a character who wants to do right, he wants to do good. He’s a striver, and that’s something many of us can relate to. What’s also wonderful is how much more depth now, because of the prequels, The Clone Wars, and Kenobi, there now is to that moment in A New Hope when Luke tells him that R2 says he’s “the property of Obi-Wan Kenobi,” and Obi-Wan gets that look in his eyes like, “This is it. My moment has come. I might actually get off this planet!”
HW: John, would you consider a follow-up to Kenobi showing Obi-Wan's further adventures on Tatooine? JJM: I would. Initially, I intended for this entirely to be a standalone story, because seven years ago when I started this we didn’t even know if we’d be allowed to explore the period after Revenge of the Sith. But I’d like to check in on some of the characters featured in Kenobi later on, not to mention that there are some big moments in Obi-Wan’s life forthcoming. At the point of this novel he doesn’t know that Anakin has survived and become Darth Vader yet. He finds that out in the epilogue to James Luceno’s Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, but there has to be more to that story. Also, things having to do with the discovery of what Anakin did to the Sand People. What I don’t want to see is a lot of people coming to visit Obi-Wan, or various threats coming to the planet. Tatooine becomes Gilligan’s Island at that point. And I can’t imagine he would leave the planet for anything but the most dire emergency. I think that protecting Luke Skywalker is his ultimate mission. To realize that he’s done all that he can do and only the next generation might have a shot at defeating the Emperor and correcting his mistakes for him is not an easy thing to deal with, especially if, like Obi-Wan, you’ve been at the center of events your whole life.
HW: When you think about it, Obi-Wan makes an astonishing number of mistakes throughout his life. Ultimately, do you see his life as a success story? JAT: I think it’s a very human life in a world in a time when the expectation is to not be. What we’re drawn to in stories is the humanity of them, about people who are fallible, who are capable of making mistakes and then learning from those mistakes. And that’s why I’ve always liked Obi-Wan. That’s what makes him a hero to me. He’s a hero who in the end does the right thing and is troubled by what he’s done before that wasn’t the right thing.
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