With New York and New Jersey still dealing with the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, the superstorm that pummeled the Northeast region earlier this week, some of the biggest names in music, movies, and television banded together to do their part to help and raise awareness and much-needed funds.
On Friday night, NBC and its NBC Universal stations (including Bravo, CNBC, SyFy, and USA), as well as a live stream on NBC.com, broadcast Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together on the East Coast at 8 PM ET, a telethon to help raise money for the American Red Cross during the ongoing relief efforts. Hosted by Matt Lauer, the hour-long broadcast was a decidedly somber event, marked by appearances by celebrities who hail from the very regions hit hardest by the storm. According to Lauer, Sandy has taken the lives of 94 people in the United States and damages and losses could cost the economy upwards of $50 billion. Case in point: Christina Aguilera has probably sung her anthem "Beautiful" an incalculable amount of times, but it took on a whole new meaning for the star, a native of the ravaged Staten Island. She dedicated the song to all those suffering. The personal ties to New York and New Jersey had a visible impact on fellow performers like New Jersey hometown hero Jon Bon Jovi (who visited a shaken Sayreville and performed a touching mash-up of Bon Jovi hits "Who Says You Can't Go Home" and "Livin' On a Prayer") and Mary J. Blige, who originally hails from The Bronx was a last-minute addition to the line-up and gave an emotional performance of her song "The Living Proof." ("Things are gonna get better," she assured those struggling in Sandy's aftermath.) Fellow Bronx native Billy Joel played the hauntingly fitting "Miami 2017" ("I've seen the lights go out on Broadway/I saw the Empire State laid low") and changed a few of the lyrics to fit the tragedies faced by Staten Island and Rockaway Beach. Both of those regions were highlighted in previously taped segments from Lauer, Ann Curry, and Brian Williams. While heartfelt appearances by the likes of Tina Fey (who wore a Fire Island tee shirt as a sign of support for another hit area), Danny DeVito, Al Roker, Kevin Bacon, Whoopi Goldberg, and Sting, who impressed with a soaring acoustic version of "Message in a Bottle," it was these images that likely had viewers texting (REDCROSS to 90999), calling (1-800-RED-CROSS), and signing up to donate and volunteer to the Red Cross. The tragic stories and images of people who lost everything was what truly resonated during the hour. That's not to say there wasn't some much-needed moments of levity or performances that inspired. Late night funny men Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon did their part to lighten the mood during the telethon. Stewart (who made a dig at NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's previous plans to have the city still host the marathon on Sunday) engaged in a comedy bit with Williams in which the news anchor "accidentally" read The Daily Show host's cue card ("Growing up on the Jersey Shore as a short, Jewish kid..." he deadpanned) that was both genuinely funny and didn't by any means cheapen the overall tone or mood of the show. Fallon, on the other hand, may have seemed a little too overeager, but the Late Night host did have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform lead vocals on the nostalgic-heavy classic "Under the Boardwalk" with music legends that included Joel, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler (who performed "Dream On" with some members of his band later on), and The Boss himself, New Jersey royalty Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen, who is as synonymous with Jersey as the shore itself, put on a rousing performance of "Land of Hope and Dreams" with his E-Street Band. The spirit-rousing number was only topped by Springsteen's rally cry of "God bless the Jersey Shore." Indeed. What did you think of the telethon? You can still (Celebuzz)
Invincible is Rudy and The Rookie all rolled into one. Set in the mid-‘70s Mark Wahlberg stars as the real-life Vince Papale a blue-collar Philadelphian down on his luck after his wife leaves him. His only solace is playing football with his cronies and rooting for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles who are in a real rut. Newly hired head coach the legendary Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear) decides to infuse some new blood into the team by holding open tryouts. All of Vince’s friends think he’d be perfect and urge him to go for it. He does makes it and is soon playing with some of his idols much to their chagrin. I mean who is this punk anyway? Sure he’s got some excellent instincts but can he really be a NFL player with no experience? Yes in fact he can proving to all those regular Joes out there you can live the dream. Yeah yeah. Unfortunately none of the actors really add anything either. Wahlberg is definitely a natural to play this kind of role having already done so in Rock Star. At least in Invincible he gets to show off some of his athletic abilities rather than just his bare chest in black leather pants. But the performance is run of the mill. As is Kinnear who as Vermeil takes on the headaches of turning a losing team into winners all while his supportive wife sweetly reassures him he’s doing the very best he can. Seen it. To their credit some of the supporting actors—including Kirk Acevedo (The New World) Michael Kelly (Dawn of the Dead) and Michael Rispoli (Mr. 3000)—paint a convincing picture of genuine camaraderie between local Philadelphians. And Elizabeth Banks (The 40 Year-Old Virgin) rounds things out as Vince’s cute love interest (and eventual real-life wife) who knows a few things about football by golly. You’d think Invincible would be a no-brainer feel-good kind of sports flick. It’s based on a real-life person has that whole underdog thing going for it and it’s football. What could go wrong with that? Nothing really besides the fact it’s been done about a hundred times over—and has now been left in the hands of newbies. First-time director Ericson Core a former cinematographer and writer Brad Gann are clearly green doing things by the play book line for line. It’s scary helming a feature film for a big studio like Disney who had such sport hits like The Rookie and Remember the Titans. Perhaps Core wanted to go more out on a limb but was reigned in. Who knows? The football scenes are definitely the highlight and Core handles the action well. I mean you do want Papale to prove himself the natural athlete he truly is and make all his homies proud. But the rest of it is just blah.