One of recently retired anime director Hayao Miyazaki's great gifts was adaptation. He transformed Diana Wynne Jones' spectacular novel Howl's Moving Castle into a world of bright colors and melancholy, and he recently spun a tale of genius and wonder out of the story of Japanese airplane designer Jiro Horikoshi. His company, Studio Ghibli, will hopefully continue to create beautiful worlds, but Miyazaki will be missed. Here are a few books that would have benefited from Miyazaki's magical touch.
1. The Phantom TollboothThis classic children's story hasn't been brought to the screen since 1970, and the book's letter trees and number mines would have looked beautiful in Miyazaki's world.
2. The Little PrinceMiyazaki didn't shy away from the philosophical or the surreal, and this classic French tale would have been perfect for him.
3. "The Boy Who Drew Cats"This Japanese fairy tale centers around a boy whose drawings could come to life, and we'd love to see how that would look in Miyazaki's animation.
4. The Secret GardenThis novel exists at the intersection between fairy tales and adult themes in which Miyazaki thrived, and the hidden garden would look specatacular under his direction.
5. The Graveyard BookThis Neil Gaiman book is already in talks at Disney, but Studio Ghibli could have turned the creepy-cute graveyard adventure story into a haunting masterpiece.
6. Alice in WonderlandTim Burton used to be the king of whimsy, but his Alice adaptation fell flat. Miyazaki could have created a far more beautiful world with a lot more surprises.
7. AbaratThis beautifully illustrated fantasy novel creates an amazing world where each island is a different hour of the day, and we'd love to see Miyazaki's take on Clive Barker's illustrations.
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Tonight, Justin Timberlake will dive head-first into the Saturday Night Live five-timers club — joining Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, Christopher Walken, Chevy Chase, John Goodman, Tom Hanks, Drew Barrymore, Bill Murray, and Danny DeVito as the most random member of the bunch, since he's, you know, a musician. But to anyone who has seen his prior hosting stints, his non-comedian status has never stood in his way — Timberlake has arguably been the best host of this last decade. He's up for anything and everything, including dressing up like an omelette and putting his you-know-what in a box.
So to celebrate what's sure to be a memorable night, let's take a trip down memory lane with the 5 best skits from one of SNL's most surprisingly badass hosts.
1. "D**k in a Box" (2006): Timberlake and Andy Samberg made history with this one, winning a Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. It currently holds more than 38 million YouTube hits, and my Aunt Lee once made the entire family watch it on Christmas. Thanks for the awkward, Aunt Lee!
2. OmletteVille (2003): This is arguably the first JT skit that got everyone talking. "This boy is really talented!" exclaimed my mother, clearly ignoring the six NSYNC concerts I made her take me to. The skit has since been repeated multiple times (Homelessville, Plasticville, Liquorville...) but it's his original egg-inspired get-up that still warms the heart and soothes the soul.
3. The Barry Gibb Talk Show (Recurring): Timberlake was hosting for the first time when this now-classic sketch debuted. He played the quiet Robin Gibb to Jimmy Fallon's Barry MotherF**king Gibb, and somehow hilarious history was made. He's returned to play Robin four times since — three times as host, once when former girlfriend Cameron Diaz took the stage. If it doesn't show up tonight, we will miss those crazy-cool medallions.
4. Motherlover (2009): After the success of "D**k in a Box", Timberlake and Samberg re-united to love each others' moms (played by Susan Sarandon and Patricia Clarkson) for a musical sketch that is now the plot of the upcoming Naomi Watts/Robin Wright film Two Mothers.
5. What's That Name (2011): This random 2011 sketch pit Timberlake against musical guest Lady Gaga in a name-remembering game show, with disastrous results. Gaga, who is known for being extremely responsive to her fans, knew everyone — while Timberlake could not properly identify former NYSNC-mate Chris Kirkpatrick. Ouch!
BONUS Single Ladies Video (2008): He may not have been hosting (that honor went to Paul Rudd), but the best skit of the night came when Timberlake joined Samberg and Bobby Moynihan as Beyonce Knowles' "back-up" dancers from the then brand-new "Single Ladies" dance. Hilarity ensued.
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A lot of bodies dropped tonight on Justified — well, not just a lot of bodies, a lot of bodies for freaking Justified. But despite the horrific violence we saw enacted by Theo Tonin's man on the poor not-so-innocent residents of Harlan County, Kentucky, nothing hurt as bad as the sudden death of a much beloved central character. [SPOILERS AHEAD]
Well, Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) is now officially an orphan, after a prison fight proved to be the end of Arlo (Raymond J. Barry). Unfortunately, according to Barry, his death may have been for naught. "I found out [about Arlo's death] two months ago, at the beginning of this season," Barry says. "At first [the producers] were ambivalent about it. Then it became consolidated that they were going to kill me off, because Arlo killed somebody in prison. There's only so much of that you can do without repercussions."
Of course, Arlo killed someone who wanted to get in on the secret of Drew Thompson — the mysterious federal witness who disappeared decades ago, after somehow becoming involved with Arlo. Our gut (and Raylan's gut) tells us that Arlo knew a lot more about Thompson than he was saying, but Barry says that some of it may have been solely for the sake of Raylan-torture. "They never spelled out to me, personally, what Drew Thompson was all about," he says. "We never got to the point where I knew what kind of information we were hiding from him. I knew it was important, and I knew [Raylan] was not going to get the information from me. I would say that [withholding the information] was a 'screw you' [to Raylan]."
Poor Raylan — his last words from his father were literally "kiss my ass" — something that Barry wasn't necessarily a huge fan of. "I was hoping there'd be kind of breakthrough where Arlo would say, 'Listen, boy — I love you. You know that, don't you?'" he says. "It would completely blow everybody's mind!"
Undoubtedly, the biggest mind blown there would have been Raylan's. Still, despite the terrible nature of their ultimate goodbye, Barry knows that there will be some emotional residue left over. "I can't imagine that a son would not have some residue of emotion having to do with the death of a father," he says. "Fathers and sons, and fathers and daughters, are connected in a primal way that you can't argue with."
Barry will carry some emotional residue from the show as well — many of them having to do with his relationship with onscreen son Olyphant, and the show's crew. "The ambiance [on my last day] was sentimental, and a little bit heart-rending," he says. "I loved that job. I really did... they were just good people. [Olyphant and I] had conversations about our kids. He was an athlete, he swam at USC and was a good tennis player. I played football and track for Brown University. There was a bond there, there's no question about it. We got used to it."
Still, he's not necessarily saying that he sees great things for his TV progeny. In fact, a lot of his predictions for Raylan sound pretty status quo. "I see Raylan going from one love affair to another," he says. "Having kids... when they need a conflict to go on, they'll invent some kind of difficulty in the relationship and find another woman."
Sounds about accurate. But the conflict between Raylan and Arlo was all too true to life. "We set up a beautiful conflict between Tim Olyphant and myself," Barry says. "Arlo represents the antithesis of what Raylan supposedly is fighting for."
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Photo Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX
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That was an… interesting turn of events, now wasn't it? Not only did Billy St. Cyr totally die (I was wrong… dead wrong), but Rachel aligned with Raylan, getting down with her bad self in an atypically lady-centric episode for this series. Boyd and Raylan may be the stars of the show, but the women in their lives are greatly contributing to the Season 4 script — so much so that Billy has already been eliminated, leaving Boyd with both Ellen May and Cassie on his case (possibly together?), and Raylan has (temporarily) brushed aside the Drew Thompson mystery in favor of chasing Lindsey. (And, well, his $20,000.)
Let's start with Raylan and Rachel: boy, was it nice to see these two partnered up. For one, she was finally allowed to do something besides stand there. For two, her personal issues have her going slightly off the rails, which has allowed her to see and do things on Raylan's level, for once. She's still much more put together than he is — which is not hard, as so is Lindsey Lohan — but she makes a good foil for the typically solitary old grump, who could use a trusted companion. (Like Doctor Who!)
Their partnership began during that coworker happy hour they indulged in at the end of last week, which ended in the realization that Lindsey (and the cash) had split. As it turns out, Randall didn't take her, she left on her own accord. ("I'm thinkin' you should have seen this coming," says Rachel. She's right. Get a bank account, Raylan.) Also, the $20,000 was meant for fighters — not people fighters, fighters of the chicken variety. (It was only a matter of time before Justified featured cockfighting, right?) But, alas, Randall's lifelong dream of fighting cocks was never meant to be, as Lindsey became frustrated by his jealous Hulk-like proclivities. As she explained to Raylan earlier, Randall was imprisoned for beating up a guy who was a mark in their tried and true scheme — she flirts, he steals. Their target this week was an unexpecting elderly-ish camera-enthusiast at a convenience store, and the Lindz was not happy when Randall's jealous streak returned. You know who doesn't get jealous? Raylan. So, who did she call when Randall was beating the guy to smithereens? Raylan, who (with Rachel) was able to track down the call (and the couple).
At this point, Rachel had to say goodbye: she offered to call out sick but Raylan, of course, needed to do this part on his own. Interestingly, it was largely because the matter had become largely personal. When Rachel and Raylan surveyed the damage in the bar bedroom, he seemed really, genuinely sad that he was betrayed by someone who he thought had actually liked him. (Oh, Raylan. How can anyone truly love you, until you learn to love yourself?) And when Lindsey finally betrayed Randall by using the beanbag-round rifle Rachel gifted Raylan (say that ten times fast) to shoot R1 instead of R2, he was very happy to be able to say "I knew you liked me."
Well, maybe she did, but not enough to stick around: Raylan ended up shackled to Randall, who he brought in to go back to the slammer. "At the end of the day when it's all done, she's still kinda worth it though, isn't she?" Randall said, very sadly. Raylan seemed to agree — whatever magic tricks this woman knows, they're very effective.
Now, some family purists might bemoan the fact that Raylan has fallen for this bad girl instead of chasing after the pregnant Winona, but someone as put together (and, let's face it, judgmental) as Winona would never completely work with Raylan. As much as he tries to distance himself from his roots, he's a Harlan boy and always will be, one on side or the other. Lindsey understands that. Also, Winona left to hang out with a serial killer and Kevin Bacon, so there's that.
But Raylan's adventure pales in comparison to Boyd, Ava, Colt, and Ellen May's — we all knew that Ellen May was about to meet her maker when Colt got that call, but I sure wouldn't have thought that someone would have swiped her before Colt got the chance to turn out the lights. Who was it? Well, let's start at the beginning:
Ellen May wanted to come home and "work" after Billy's death (PS — anyone else wondering what the bottom-dwelling Johns at a whorehouse are like?), but Ava was afraid that she may have confessed her sins regarding Delroy's death before Billy's untimely passing. Boyd was actually willing to forgive and forget after he did some sleuthing, by having Cassie brought in to Shelby's office for an interrogation. Before she came in we saw a note that Drew Thompson was alive on the screen, but that's being saved for another day. Anyway, he got nothing out of Cassie. He set it up as a meeting to obtain incriminating info on Boyd, but all she claimed to know was what everyone else knew: that Boyd was a bad, bad man who dealt women and drugs. Boyd and Ava were on speaker phone, and Cassie's words seemed to quell Boyd's fears — but not Ava's. She wanted to send Ellen May, the wild card, out of town to work for Boyd's born-again cousin in a motel. "The next time you give a blow job, it's because you want to," Ava said. Wonderful. This would have all worked out perfectly, had Ellen May not brought up the fact that she wouldn't snitch about Delroy IN THE MIDDLE OF A CROWDED BAR. Which leads us back to the aforementioned doomed death march with Colt, who was tasked with dropping her off at the crowded bus stop in the sky.
So, who snatched her up while Colt was taking a leak? I'm torn between two parties: on the one hand we have Wynn Duffy and Johnny, the latter knowing full well what happened to Delroy, and what Ellen May could possibly do for them with her insider information. However, there is also Cassie, who I'm convinced is about 1,000 times smarter than she looks. Cassie could have been faking it for Shelby, knowing full well not to trust anyone in this town. Either way, once again, Boyd is royally f***ed.
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: FX]
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Verdict after two episodes of Season 4 of Justified: I am officially enjoying this season more than the last. Why? We have two separate but equally engaging plot lines involving both of our leads, a very intriguing mystery, and one little thread — mainly, Arlo Givens — potentially tying the two together. Tonight's episode found both Raylan and Boyd chasing their clues from last week (a driver's license and fake currency, respectively), and Boyd trying desperately, as usual, to maintain hold of Harlan county's slippery drug business.
If you recall, last week opened with a flashback to a man falling from the sky — or, to be more specific, falling from the sky with enough cocaine to satiate the Lohan family for about a week. According to Art, this was the legendary day that cocaine came to Harlan county. The interesting part is that, for three-ish decades, everyone has known the dead body CARRYING the cocaine to be the body of one Drew Thompson. But oh, so much an ass-cheek injury can change!
But let's back up: Arlo killing the man who overheard his prison conversation about Waldo Truth alerted Raylan to the fact that this case was probably much more important than he initially thought. "On a scale of one to a shitload, how much do you have to tell me right now?" Art wondered. Well, a lot. The goon squad (Raylan, Art, and Tim) dug up the files on Truth's family, and went on a fun group adventure to find the (GET IT?) truth.
Now, time out — I'm really happy that they're sending these three out together, because there was some great comedy in the pairing. (Tim suggesting that Raylan was working as an exotic dancer — when he was really just tired because he's been fooling around with a barkeep — stands out, as does his quip about the Truth kid stealing Raylan's overused countdown bit.) We're used to seeing Raylan alone, or Raylan with Boyd, and I'm fine with that — but having Tim and Rachel as full-time characters has always seemed silly to me, given how underused they are. Of course, Rachel wasn't invited on this particular adventure, but I really hope to see more of Raylan with his quasi-buddies, as it's hilarious when they make fun of him, and it lightens the often heavy load of the show. Plus, Tim Olyphant is funny! Okay, time in.
Naturally, this being Justified, the Truth family were a bunch of rednecks with guns and rap sheets longer than Infinite Jest. But the meeting with them brought forth two essential truths: One, that it wasn't Drew Thompson's body that fell way back when — it was Waldo Truth's. Drew Thompson was the man that hired him, and Truth's wife had found a replacement husband to pose as Waldo for the last couple of decades — one that she likes enough to not stab in the ass. Two, that they're most likely being paid by someone to hide the (this is getting annoying) truth. First, because the youngest Truth kid pulled a mysterious envelope from their mailbox, second, because clearly someone must be bankrolling this fake marriage to keep the wifey from speaking. (Even though she hated him, wouldn't his death bring about some insurance money, or something?)
So, the squad has a lot of mystery solvin' to do. But one piece of the puzzle may have landed right on Raylan's doorstep: Earlier in the episode, we saw a bunch of rich dudes hosting a fight club in their backyard (the house looked a lot like the one in the flashback, but we'll see). One of the fighters — a Hulk-like beasty figure, not to be reckoned with — was not happy with his share of the winnings. Could this rich people fight club be somehow related to Drew Thompson, you ask? Well, I have truthfully no idea, but the Hulk-like beasty man is definitely going to fit in somewhere. At the end of the episode, he showed up at the bar and revealed himself to be the husband of the woman Raylan has been — how do I say this like a lady? — banging.
Speaking of being a lady: Ava didn't want Ellen May going to that Snake Church no mo. It was bad for business. And even though Johnny insisted that the Church was their main problem, Boyd didn't agree until a choir full of creepy singing children showed up to their bar, singing about salvation. Subtle, Timmy from Jurassic Park! So Boyd headed over to Sheriff Shelby, who — EXPOSITION — let us know that Timmy (whose name on this show is Billy) and his sister Cassie have been to five cities in three years, saving the slutty, the sick and the stoned from eternal damnation. According to Shelby, they have no arrest record and were probably just there to help. But like, come on.
So to Church Boyd went, and I'm thrilled as an alliteration enthusiast to say that he and Billy traded Bible barbs. Boyd used various lines of scripture to accuse Billy of being a false prophet exploiting the meek for their money, thus preventing them from inheriting the earth. So Billy, quite awesomely and convincingly, told the tent congregation that he would no longer accept payment of any kind. Boyd, you may have met your match.
Boyd, realizing that he had a real problem on his hands, sought out Wynn Duffy — he had leverage against the known weasel, as a heroin dealer that Boyd had earlier encountered "in his backyard" was from Frankfort, Dixie Mafia territory. Wynn was all "WTF do I care" and shot the dealer, dramatically refusing Boyd's offer at a heroin/oxy partnership. Aw, shucks. But then Wynn asked the golden question: Why did your boy Arlo murder a Dixie Mafia member in prison? Now, this was the first that Boyd had heard of any such murder. And do you reckon he'll do some pokin' around, thus getting somehow involved in Raylan's half of the season? I do!
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: Prashant Gupta/FX]
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Has it been a year already? Yes, yes it has. Because as I sit here tonight, my eardrums are ringing, my nostrils are filled with staged gun smoke, and my soul is covered in glitter. And that, young homies, can only mean one thing: The X Factor live shows have returned! Though host Steve Jones was nowhere to be found (I searched for hours), some old familiar X-Tropes had the crowd feeling right at home: L.A. Reid's chair-dancing, Pepsi cups, talented contestants returning from the dead. It was, as Britney Spears would say, amazing. (Drinking game alert: Every time Brit calls something amazing... well, you know what to do. Do it because I can't.)
After the show, Hollywood.com sat down with the contestants to chat about the show, and to say that some of them surprised us (well, me) would be an understatement. Jason Brock had plenty to say about gay rights and homophobia, while CeCe Frey and Jennel Garcia did NOT seem happy about the direction mentor Demi Lovato was taking them in. Also, this Jersey girl was pleased to find out that the lads of Emblem3 don't ONLY dig California girls. In fact, they said chicks from Jersey are "hot." (Someone Google if they're legal. I don't want to know.) Read what they had to say below:
Emblem3, on One Direction comparisons:
Keaton Stromberg: I can't wait to meet them [on Thursday's show]! I think they seem freakin' awesome.
Drew Chadwick: They seem like they know how to have a good time.
Wesley Stromberg: Yeah, they seem pretty cool, and I will ask them how this whole process worked for them. I'd love to.
Drew: I heard they know how to party! We've been cooped up in that mansion for weeks so we need to let loose!
On staying humble, despite being favorites:
Wesley: Constantly, everyone is reminding us to not let this get to our heads. We remind each other.
Drew: We're always keeping each other in check. It's really important. It's like the most important thing.
On their relationship status:
All: Single, we're single. Very single!
On only liking California girls, and their celeb crushes: Drew: We like all sorts of girls! Keaton: [My celeb crush] is Zooey Deschanel! I love her. Drew: Mine is Gandhi or Jack Johnson, either one. Wesley: I honestly don't have a celebrity crush, is that okay? Or actually I should say Demi? I might as well stir the pot! Diamond White, on her chances coming back: Diamond: It feels awesome being back, and just knowing that I got this second chance — I'm pretty much the Melanie Amaro of this season, so hopefully I end up the same place she did — winning.
On whether or not she saw her return coming: Diamond: I read on the Internet that Simon [Cowell] said there wasn’t going to be a wild card. And when I was in the competition, I thought the wild card — if there was one — was going to be Jillian [Jensen], because Jillian is amazing. So just knowing that I am the wild card this season kind of shocks me, because people believe in me. Jason Brock, on why Simon doesn't enjoy his act: Jason: First of all, I thought my performance was fabulous. A really good, heartfelt, solid performance that I actually thought would move the audience and the judges. But then, to my surprise, when was I finished singing and I stood there for the judges' feedback, I got a mixed reaction from Britney, I got a negative reaction from Demi, and I got a very negative reaction, mostly, from Simon... He said that I was dressed like a waiter at an Italian restaurant. He did say that he liked me, he just thought that I was being taken in the wrong direction, like Demi also had said. I've heard that two times now. But I'd really like to see what America thinks, because if America doesn't vote me in the bottom, than I think that Simon's opinion is wrong. If I see that America feels the same way, then I think that Simon might be on to something. But then again, maybe not. Something that I think about is gay performers, sometimes the way that we dress may not be as mainstream. It's a little too fabulous, or whatever.
On being pigeonholed as the gay performer: Jason: I don't mind being the gay performer. I'm totally comfortable with that. In fact, I love it. But, I just wonder if that's what it is that [Simon] doesn't like... I'm proud to be a representative of the gay community, and I do like taking that role. I have things I want to fight for, too, like marriage equality. That's so important to me. Obama was just elected, that is also so important to me, mainly because of that issue. Because I have a boyfriend who lives in Japan, and if we don't have marriage equality, we can never get married and be together, on a federal level. It has to be federal in order for that to happen. People don't realize that, so that's something I'd like to talk about, too. CeCe Frey, on her song choice: CeCe: I thought it really was fitting. Was it the original arrangement I wanted to do? No. I came up with a different arrangement at first, and it was vetoed. In this competition, there is a team around me that knows a lot more about this stuff than I do, so I'm doing my best to take direction. Maybe I'm trying too hard to please the people around me, and not myself. InTENsity survivor Arin Ray, on his relationship status: Arin: No girlfriend right now, but that could be in the works… you never know. There's a lot of beautiful women on this show. On keeping up with Season 1 contestants:
Arin: I talk to pretty much everybody. I hung out with Melanie [Amaro] the other day. I talk to Marcus [Canty] and Astro. [Marcus is] doing really good. His EP is actually coming out Jan. 22, so I can't wait to hear that. My boy Astro, he's doing really good, he's like a brother to me. And Rachel Crow, that girl is doing big things. I still talk to the members of InTENsity, every day. They're 100 percent behind me in everything that I'm doing, and it's cool to see that support. Jennel Garcia, on negative feedback: Jennel: No one has really said anything bad about my voice, just my appearance. Some people love my hair, and some people hate it. I hated it at first... I'll admit it, I hated it a lot. I wanted to hide in a corner! People are [also] saying, "You look fat in that!" ... But I am not going to have people bring me down! I am not here to be the skinny kid. I am Puerto Rican. I will never be tiny. On her new "Demi" hair: Jennel: Before the show I wanted to cut my hair, and I have had bangs before. I wanted to bring them back, but then I noticed that Demi brought hers back. People tell me I look like Demi — I don't think I do. So I don't need to look like her more. But then she cut my hair in bangs! I knew people were going to say I looked like her. But she is beautiful, so I don't care. Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna [PHOTO CREDIT: FOX] MORE: 'The X Factor' Recap: Who Lived? Who Died? 'X Factor': Khloe Kardashian Odom, Mario Lopez Announced as Hosts ‘X Factor’ Scoop: Simon Cowell Compares Eliminated Diamond White to Jennifer Hudson From Our Partners: Kim Kardashian: ‘I’ve Lost 10 lbs’ (Celebuzz) ’Twilight’ Stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson Hop on Private Jet in Matching Outfits (PHOTOS) (Celebuzz)
You know those nights where you just fall into a YouTube hole watching video after video in the "related" sidebar until you look up and it's 2 AM and you have nothing but a sore mouse finger and tired eyes? Well, when that happens to me, I'm more often then not watching clips of performances from musicals at the Tony Awards. Since stage shows are so rarely recorded, the Tonys offer us a rare occasion to get some of the greatest production numbers on tape. Since we're talking Broadway, the production is absolutely insane. Flying witches, men riding camels, dancing grannies, and tap dancing sailors. It's enough to make your mind absolutely dizzy (and giddy) with craziness.
Before we see Neil Patrick Harris' sure to be amazing opening number at Sunday's Tony Awards show, here are 10 of my all-time favorite, ridiculously amazing Tony Award performance numbers ranked in order of absolutely insanity. (And, no, I did not include Bret Michaels busting his head open on a set.)
Dreamgirls, "And I'm Telling You": Before Jennifer Hudson made it famous in the movie, this power ballad was belted out by Jennifer Holliday on the Great White Way. The only thing crazy here is how good her voice is.
Ridiculousness Rating: 1
Anything Goes, "Anything Goes": Who doesn't love sailors? Who doesn't love a huge tap number? Who doesn't love sailors in a huge tap number? There's a reason this Cole Porter musical picked up the trophy for Best Revival at least year's ceremony (and the tune is still stuck in my head). Oh, and don't be tempted to click on the Patti LuPone version that will pop up after you watch it. She can't hold a candle to Sutton Foster. (Blasphemy!)
Ridiculousness Rating: 2
Evita, "A New Argentina": Speaking of Ms. LuPone, check out her completely insane hairdo when she played the original Eva Peron back in the '80s. My favorite moment (thanks to Broadway legend Seth Rudetsky who pointed it out) is at the end when Patti goes to link arms with her husband but he's a step too far away and she totally whiffs. It's just a millisecond — but now that you know about it, you will always see it.
Ridiculousness Rating: 3
Sunset Boulevard, "As If We Never Said Goodbye": Now we're getting into serious camp territory with Glenn Close performing the big number from Andrew Lloyd Webber's doomed '90s musical. What I love is that there is this huge set filled with extras and props, but the only person moving or singing is Close. She is ready for her Close up, and no one better interfere.
Ridiculousness Rating: 4
Wicked, "Defying Gravity": Wow, this is our second Joel Grey introduction on the list, but by far the crazier production. I mean, one of the women is painted green and she's riding on a broomstick. This video was definitely an influence on Glee's Kurt Hummel in his formative years which explains a lot of his wardrobe choices. As insane as this is, try not to melt like a witch in water when Idina Menzel sours up in the air for her big finale.
Ridiculousness Rating: 5
The Producers, "Little Old Lady Land": Every wonder what The Rockettes will look like when they have walkers? No, I'm sure you haven't — but this musical does. We get Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, and a kick line full of knickers. There's nothing else like it.
Ridiculousness Rating: 6
Hairspray, "You Can't Stop the Beat": Who ever thought a movie by "Pope of sleaze" John Waters would be a crowd-pleasing, family friendly musical? Thankfully, they kept the crazy wigs, wacky costumes, and a drag queen hiding in a huge can of hairspray. There's nothing better than a song with a good tune and a better message... except maybe a drag queen.
Ridiculousness Rating: 7
Grey Gardens, "Revolutionary Costume for Today": This musical — based on a documentary about an eccentric (and possibly mentally ill) mother and daughter related to the Kennedy clan and living in squalor — wasn't a box office hit, but it did win Christine Ebersole a well-deserved trophy for her staunch performance bonkers recluse "Little Edie" Bouvier Beale. (Oh, and if you haven't seen Grey Gardens the documentary or the movie with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore, get yourself to Netflix, stat).
Ridiculousness Rating: 8
Into the Woods, "Children Will Listen": Into the Woods is probably Stephen Sondheim's strangest musical, and considering he wrote a show about a cannibalistic barber, that is some feat. This medley starts with the show's opening where a bunch of fairy tale characters (including a plastic cow) head into the woods and ends with Claire Huxtable, turning from a witch into a princess who sings the ballad "Children Will Listen." It's a tonal shift that you can't find anywhere else. And Jessica Fletcher introduces the song. I'm surprised someone in the audience didn't turn up murdered.
Ridiculousness Rating: 9
The Boy From Oz, "Not the Boy Next Door": OK, first we have Hugh Jackman in a leopard print shirt and bulgetastic tight gold lamé pants, riding a camel. To repeat: Hugh Jackman, leopard, bulge, gold pants, camel. Then he makes a penis joke. Then he gyrates all over the stage. Then he ambushes Sarah Jessica Parker (seated next to a pre-gray hair Andy Cohen) and drags her up on stage to do some gyrating of her own. I mean, this is Tony zaniness legend, right here.
Ridiculousness Rating: 10
Oh, because I couldn't leave this one out:
Cats, "Memory": It is a woman dressed up as a singing cat!
Ridiculousness Rating: 11
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With all of the hacking, raping, rioting and stealing that dominated last week's episode, it was nice to take a breather and further the plot with fantastic dialogue instead of violence. Much of the action this week was in direct reaction to the multiple traumatic events we saw last week: Inspector Dany had to figure out which of the Qartheen overlords stole her dragons, Theon was reeling over over Bran and Rickon's escape, and Sansa and Cersei were still processing the bloody riots that had confirmed their loss of the people. Still, a second betrayal in Qarth and the reappearance of the Kingslayer allowed Game of Thrones to reach its weekly bloody benchmark, and powerful moments with Ygritte and Jon, Tywin and Arya, and Jaime and Cat made up for any lack in ice and fire.
Theon woke alone in bed, which is something he should probably get used to, because he's terrible. But losing Bran and Rickon was far more embarrassing than losing his wildling lover, so Theon took to beating his subordinates to somehow make things better. (Aside: I added a point to the "Theon" column on my "Theon vs. Joffrey Stupid/Evil Comparison Chart" when he bitched that when he was the Stark's captive, he never ran away. Because the situations are totally the same.) Still, Theon was in relatively high spirits -- once he found the boys and Yara's never-promised men arrived, he would hold Winterfell better than the Starkiest of the Starks.
Later, Theon and his men were able to track Bran and Rickon to a friendly farm in the countryside, but there his hounds lost their scent. His spirits were considerably lowered again, so he took out his rage on old Maester Luwin, who made the mistake of suggesting a night's rest. Theon didn't want to be the guy who couldn't catch a cripple, a child, and a half-wit, he explained. "It is better to be cruel than weak," he said in a panic. "I'm looking at spending the rest of my life being treated like a fool and a eunuch by my own people." Fortunately for Theon, his man found the walnut shells Bran and co. were munching on during their voyage. You'd think Osha would know better.
Beyond The Wall:
Kit Harrington's numerous fans probably loved every second of his screentime this episode, because seeing the typically dour bastard both embarrassed and sexually frustrated was a much-needed treat that amped up a previously stalling plotline. Anyway -- caught! Jon and Ygritte woke to find his hand groping her very-well covered breast, but multiple layers of fabric would not quell Ygritte's taunting. "Did you pull a knife on me in the night?" she asked. "Can't be the first time you pressed your bulge against a woman's ass." Jon, as usual, was not amused. (Aside: Ladies who are interested -- do NOT refer to male genitalia as "bones and stones" in front of Jon Snow. Won't go over well. Promise.)
But it actually was the first time Jon had laid with a woman, and Ygritte's shocked and borderline repulsed reaction to his virginity was enough to finally draw some anger from the poor guy. She half-jokingly listed Snow's potential sexual partners back on The Wall -- Girl crows? Other men? Sheep? These suggestions had Jon fuming, and probably very horny. "No homo!" he cried.* (*Actual quote: "It was my choice to say the words. Of course I like girls.")
Jon and Ygritte's little scuffle also provided some exposition about the Wildlings. Basically, they're Westeros' version of our Native Americans -- In 1492, some Targaryen or other landed on Westeros, called its people "Indians", and confined them to the world's worst reservation on a giant ice cube. Jon said that as a Stark, he shared the blood of the First Men, so he and Ygritte were one and the same. "Then why are you fighting us?" she asked. Good question, given the frozen zombies that are wandering around.
The pair continued down their walk of frozen shame, and Ygritte spoke of the wonders of Wildling life. If Jon joined her, she said, he could have plenty of sex, and she could "teach him how to do it." Like a high school senior being taunted by the popular kids, Jon replied that he already knew how to do it. I don't think internet porn exists in Westeros, so I highly doubt that this is accurate. Ygritte is right there with me: "You know nothing, Jon Snow," she said. (Aside: In the books, this is Ygritte's well-known catchphrase. She didn't first use it as a sexual come-on, but still -- I think Rose Leslie delivered the line very well.)
As they went on, Jon's chances of finding his friends became bleaker, and Ygritte's sexual advances became even more overt. At one point she flat-out said she was warm and wet, then offered to take him right there on the ground. He looked tempted but refused, which was probably a good thing: Ygritte attacked and ran, leading Jon straight to her Wildling friends.
Unfortunately for the peasants of the Harrenhal House of Horrors, Lord Tywin thought that Jaqen's poisoned dart was meant for him. Twenty innocents had already been killed in the search for the assassin, but Twyin didn't care if they hanged 100 -- Wolfsbane was a rare, serious poison, and he couldn't have that s**t circulating on campus.
A Song of Ice and Fire loyalists *might* be a little miffed that the show is devoting so much airtime to Tywin/Arya scenes that never took place in George R. R. Martin's books, but this pairing is so compelling that if so, they should probably just shut up already. Arya was becoming a bit too brave with Tywin: First she almost took the sure-to-be-fatal risk of snatching his knife, then she came about yay close to giving away her noble birth. In all of their scenes it feels like Arya is testing Tywin's waters to see just how much she can get away with, but this time her Stark-brand pride (and pre-feminist beliefs) nearly got in the way. She feigned stupidity when Tywin asked her if she knew what "legacy" meant, but when he told the story of the Targaryen conquest of Harrenhal, Arya couldn't help but add that it wasn't just Aegon, but Aegon and his sisters, who had flown in on their mighty dragons.
This, of course, was curious to Tywin: How could a peasant have any, let alone detailed, knowledge of history? Most girls, regardless of birth, dreamed of knights and maidens and Justin Bieber and things, he said. "Most girls are idiots," Arya replied. Tywin enjoyed this one, and complimented her by comparing her to Cersei. If Arya was affected by these repulsive words, she certainly didn't show it, but there is some truth to his statement: If Cersei didn't have to endure the pomp and circumstance that came with being Queen, she would most likely wear a knight's armor and behead her damn handmaidens herself.
Anyway, Tywin -- who is just as crafty as Arya, but with many added years of experience -- reminded her to say "M'Lord" instead of "My Lord" from here on out. "If you're going to pose as a commoner, do it properly." Again -- caught! Arya didn't give in, and tried to back it up with a lie about her mother teaching her how to speak "proper" -- but her upbringing had her quickly correcting herself with "properly," so her trick didn't really work. Tywin seemed to be amused by this game: He's not 100 percent sure that Arya is of noble birth just yet, but testing her to find out has been quite a trip. I'm super excited to see where this goes, because their scenes thus far have been brilliant.
Sansa tried to thank The Hound for saving her last week, but all she got was a lecture on the joy of cold-blooded murder. When she asked him why he was always so hateful, he responded: "You'll be glad of the hateful things I do someday, when you're queen and I'm all that stands between you and your beloved king." Hmm. Does this mean he'd be willing to do hateful things to Joffrey to protect Sansa? Somehow, I find this doubtful.
The next morning, Sansa woke from one bloody nightmare only to find herself right in the midst of an actual bloody nightmare: Her first period. She instantly knew what this meant -- she was now required to have sex (and children) with Joffrey. Join with me here: Ewwwwwwwwwwww. Shae helped her flip the mattress and nearly attacked a passing handmaid, so maybe I was wrong in doubting her motivations last week. Either way, The Hound found the evidence, leading to the most awkward "first period" sequence since Larry David tried to help a girl scout with tampon instructions on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Cersei's advice to Sansa was as follows: Joffrey would always be a little s**t, just like his fake-father Robert. Jaime was valiantly by her side for every delivery, but Sansa wouldn't be so lucky -- and she would just have to deal with it. "The more people you love, the weaker you are," she said. "You'll do things for them you shouldn't do. You'll act a fool to keep them happy and safe. Love no one but your children. On that front, a mother has no choice." Happy Mother's Day from Cersei Lannister!
At the very tail end of the episode, Tyrion made his one and only appearance: He and Cersei discussed Stannis' impending attack, which Cersei continued to take way too lightly. "We'll rain fire on them from above," she said, referring to the wildfire she thought she had been gathering. Interestingly, Cersei confessed to Tyrion her disappointment in Joffrey. "He doesn't listen to me," she said. "I always hoped he'd be like Jaime." Instead, she had birthed a little monster -- and she was beginning to think that Joffrey was the price she had to pay for her sins with her brother. Yes, the Targaryens had wed sister to brother for years, but half of them were mad: "Everytime a Tarygaryen is born, the gods flip a coin," the saying goes. Tyrion pointed out that Tommen and Myrcella were good people, so Cersei had beaten the Targaryen odds. This was a very rare tender-ish moment between these two, and I highly doubt we'll see more like it in the future.
Over in Qarth, Daenerys was still fightin' mad about her dragons. In another scene where Dany sounded far too weak and bratty for my liking, she refused Xaro's offer to aid her in her search. According to Xaro, a man was only what others said he was. If the citizens of Qarth knew that Xaro didn't help Dany after he took her under his roof, his reputation would suffer. This is terrible advice, particularly for high school girls. Teens: Don't listen to Xaro. Also -- why are you watching this show?
Later, Ser Jorah Mormont returned, ship-less, to help his beloved. She was not particularly grateful, as she was still in the midst of an "I can't trust anyone" tantrum. So, how could Jorah re-earn her trust? Oh, that's right -- by finding her f***ing dragons. His quest began with the mysterious masked woman, who somehow knew that Jorah had betrayed Dany to Varys months before. She made him swear to never betray Dany again before offering up her answer, which I guess makes her some sort of spooky guardian angel to Dany. "The thief you seek is with her now," she said.
This didn't exactly narrow things down, as Dany was currently in a room with her blood-riders, and every single member of the Thirteen. The nasty-as-ever Spice King was particularly happy to see her dragons gone, as they would "bring the world nothing but death and misery." True, but still -- we want her to win. Suddenly, the warlock with the tiny head who pulled that double-trouble trick back at the party -- Pyat Pree -- confessed to taking the dragons to the House of the Undying. He had made an arrangement with the "King of Qarth", and this King had then procured them for him. This was a confusing tidbit for Dany and the rest of the Thirteen, because there was no king in Qarth.
…Until now. Xaro had indeed betrayed Dany -- by making some sort of deal with Pyat that would make him the king. Somehow, stealing Dany's dragons and luring her back to them so she could "mother" them was part of their plan for Qartheen liberation. Suddenly, eleven identical versions of Pyat surrounded the remaining councilmen and slit their throats. "A mother should be with her children," Pyat said, very creepily. Dany, Jorah, and her blood-rider ran away in completely understandable horror, but they are still royally screwed here. A warlock and the richest man in Qarth are hiding their dragons in a magical place called The House of the Undying, so my guess is that things are going to get really freaky in Qarth next week.
In not-so-important news, Robb asked Talisa to accompany him on his upcoming journey to a castle known as The Crag, to raid for medical supplies and make out. All you really need to know from this scene is that Robb's advances will probably not sit will with Catelyn and the Freys, and also that Robb has much better game than his half-brother Jon. Eye contact, Jon. Eye contact.
Anyway, remember weeks ago, when Cersei tore Robb's letter of demands in half? Well, the deliverer of said letter -- Ser Alton Lannister -- finally returned with that news. Robb thanked him for his honor, and when he learned that Alton's former cage was occupied, he let him bunk with his distant cousin Jaime for the night.
Now, when I was a teen like Alton, I loved cousin sleepovers. I always got to sleep in Erin's room, where we would stay up all night and listen to '90s boy bands. I worshipped her because she was older and more stylish than me, so these nights were always very special. I know that Alton and Jaime's sleepover party took place in a cage, but I can fully imagine how exciting this must have been for him. Alton was a little-known Lannister from a distant cousin's cousin, destined for a whole lot of nothing. And here he was, imprisoned with the Jaime Lannister. The Kingslayer. The smooth-talker. The -- regular man with doubts and insecurities just like the rest of us? It can't be!
And alas, it wasn't. Alton kept inching closer and closer to Jaime, as the craftier Lannister manipulated him into some sort of bonding session. When Alton finally got close enough for comfort, Jaime killed him, and the Karstark guard on duty. He didn't get very far, and when Robb's men dragged him back to camp, Lord Karstark asked for his head to pay for the murder of his son. Cat, who knew that Jaime was still their only ticket to Sansa and (so she thought) Arya, begged for Jaime's safety until her girls were returned.
Jaime, for his part, just found the whole thing very amusing. Sick of being imprisoned, he all but asked Catelyn to kill him -- by hitting way below the belt, at Cat's Achilles' Heel. "I've never been with any woman but Cersei," he taunted. "So in my own way I have more honor than poor old dead Ned. What's the name of that bastard he fathered?" Just hearing the name "Jon Snow" always puts Cat in a murderous rage, so she drew her sword and … To Be Continued.
Theon had returned, giddy, to Winterfell -- where a crowd of peasants was gathered. "I told you what would happen if you served me loyally," he proclaimed. "And what would happen if you did not." Maester Luwin was then dragged to the scene, so that he could witness two small, burned bodies hoisted up on display. Gasp! Horror! The bodies were unrecognizable so it's unclear whether they were Bran and Rickon's, but either way we have confirmed that Theon is capable of child-murder. Those bodies belonged to someone.
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