Actress Patricia Arquette finds it impossible to watch new film Boyhood without reminiscing about the ups and downs of her own personal life after shooting the movie over the course of 12 years. Director Richard Linklater's ambitious project involved filming scenes on an annual basis for more than a decade to achieve a realistic ageing effect on its stars.
Arquette reveals she and her co-star Ethan Hawke were only given brief directions for the shoots and often drew inspiration from their own lives to act without a proper script.
The trio became close friends working on the project in secret for years and now Arquette struggles to watch the finished product without remembering which moments in their lives shaped the movie, from the birth of her daughter Harlow in 2003 to her divorce from actor Thomas Jane in 2011.
She tells Britain's Stella magazine, "All of that, I see it happening: 'That's right before my daughter was born, that's when I got married (to Jane), that's when I got divorced, that's when Ethan got divorced (from Uma Thurman)...'"
Popular children's character Thomas The Tank Engine is set to pull in to his own theme park. The venue, called Thomas Land, will be located at Edaville USA Railroad in Carver, Massachusetts and feature 14 rides inspired by the hit British TV show Thomas & Friends. The park is expected to open next summer (15).
HBO's Silicon Valley just finished its first season. The show features a great cast of comedians, and it's managed to satirize the nerdy masculinity of the real Silicon Valley while retaining the feeling of innovation and coolness. Here are some facts you might not have known about the show.
1. On the show, Peter Gregory hates college and promises in a TED talk to pay students to drop out. In real life, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel started a foundation to pay students to leave school and work on their startups.
2. There's a real Pied Piper website (created by HBO).
3. There's also a fan-made website for calculating a Weissman Score, and one for Aviato (Erlich's company).
4. You might remember Martin Starr (Gilfoyle) as Bill on Freaks and Geeks.
5. Dan Lyons, creator of the hilarious Fake Steve Jobs blog, has been hired as a writer for the second season.
6. There are real places like Erlich's incubator, where people hoping to make it big in Silicon Valley can stay.
7. Residents of the real Silicon Valley tech community are enjoying the show.
8. The car Peter Gregory gets into in the pilot is a Tango T600 Luxury Electric Car.
9. The show's stars Thomas Middleditch (Richard), T.J. Miller (Erlich), and Kumail Nanjiani (Dinesh) have been friends for a decade.
10. Nanjiani has revealed that the next season will reveal Dinesh's backstory.
11. The TechCrunch Disrupt event in the finale used many elements of the real event, including the real Disrupt Cup.
12. When making the important decision of PC or Mac in outfitting the show's many office sets, designer Richard Toyon visited real companies like Facebook and Techcrunch. The result? Mostly Apple products with a smattering of Android and PC.
13. The elaborate, pivotal, and hilarious hand job joke in the finale took 14 hours to shoot.
14. The event in which Jared is kidnapped by a driverless car is hilarious, but implausible.
15. Compression experts Vinith Misra and Tsachy Weissman coded Pied Piper for the show.
16. On seeing the premier, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said "Most startups are a soap opera, but not that kind of soap opera."
17. T.J. Miller, who plays Erlich, developed an app in real life. It's called Slang With Homies, and it's sort of like Words With Friends.
18. The company Hooli is clearly based on Google. Silicon Valley borrowed a few elements from Google to furnish the Hooli offices.
19. Christopher Evan Welch, who plays Peter Gregory on the show, passed away before the show aired. Here's his amazing final scene:
20. Real Silicon Valley parties can be as awkward as the Kid Rock appearance in the pilot.
21. The show's creator, Mike Judge, has a physics degree and worked at a Silicon Valley startup.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
One of the most iconic movie monsters of all time, Godzilla is storming his way back onto the big screen, and it takes a surprising amount of work to craft a creature that can level a city in minutes. Luckily, the latest take on Godzilla has a secret weapon: director Gareth Edwards, who has spent much of his career working in the visual effects world. His experience was not only vital to creating a monster for the ages, but also to helping the film's stars act opposite it when they have no idea what they're looking at. Edwards, producer Thomas Tull and stars Ken Watanabe and Elisabeth Olsen sat down to talk about the "obvious" inspiration for Godzilla, the challenges of acting with only your imagination, and Olsen's unexpected reaction to seeing the finished film.
Director Gareth Edwards and producer revealed the initial inspiration behind the monster himself, and talked a little bit about the process of creating Godzilla:
Edwards: "In terms of his movement, we initially had got hold of – we had a researcher get hundreds of different clips of animals fighting and animal behavior because I felt that the obvious thing to do is like, “Okay we’re just gonna use nature as a reference, we’re gonna do this realistically, let’s look at animals, let’s just copy that, that’s all we have to do.” So we got bears fighting and wolves hunting and animated him based on that and then sort of sat and watched it and were like 'Oh, there’s a problem here,' which is if you watch nature, a natural history documentary or a wildlife documentary and you don’t have any narration, you don’t know what the hell is going on...And so we ended up dialing in a lot more human performance to him and he slightly went incrementally from being purely animalistic to a lot more like a guy in a suit doing a performance because you needed to understand, in his body language, whether he was tired or angry."
The actors themselves never got to see Godzilla until the film was completed, so they had to base their performance based on the mockup animations that Edwards showed them before filming began. Ken Watanabe and Elisabeth Olsen discussed what they had to work with:
Watanabe: “[It's] just imagination and a point. Gareth had an iPad with the animation, something like that, a point.”
Olsen: “Gareth, before we shot anything that had special effects, he showed me previs, which I learned about, and it’s just these basic funny cartoons making terrible reactions to things. But you understand what they’re looking at and what the angles are, and that what was so exciting to me about doing a project like this is that imagination aspect.”
However, having to rely solely on your imagination can be difficult for an actor, especially one who has never worked with CGI before, like Olsen. She went into what she found challenging about the process, and what she hopes to take with her to The Avengers:
Olsen: “It’s difficult, because you think it’s just going to be full make-believe, and then it’s pouring rain and you have to walk seven steps that way and three steps that way and you have to get a verbal cue when you know that the camera guy has panned down from whatever is going to be there back to you, so you can turn. It’s very technical and so it’s was definitely something I’ve never really done before, but you still have to hit your marks and all that stuff. It surprisingly looks easy to me. I think that’s what I was surprised by when I saw it. I think now that I’ve done it once I have confidence knowing that I understand how it’s gonna be edited, because it’s a little scary when you’re a fish in new waters.”
In order to create an environment that Godzilla could interact with, Edwards and his team used CGI for various elements on the film, which were added to the physical set in order to create the final product. According to producer Thomas Tull, Edwards did such a good job with both aspects that the audience shouldn’t be able to tell what was built by hand and what was added in post-production:
Tull: “Gareth is, in a way, an old fashioned filmmaker. We share the passion for Amblin’s movies back in the ‘80s, things like that. So there were some things that he wanted to do practical, that I think were great. Hopefully you couldn’t tell the difference, and tell me which — other than Godzilla, probably — we didn’t do practical. It’s really looking at each set piece or each item and deciding what you can get away with and not have people bump on.”
Finally, Olsen spoke about her experience seeing everything come together in the finished film for the first time. Since Godzilla is her first effect-heavy film, she wasn’t sure what to expect from the film, and her reaction took her by surprise:
Olsen: “I was actually shocked that I wanted to cry like twice in the film, and usually I’m quite removed from the films I watch and really get critical if I’m in them, and I was amazed at how moved I was so quickly, especially with Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche. I think that shocked me. It’s just always fun, because I never really worked with anyone but Carson [Bolde], who played my son, and Aaron [Taylor-Johnson] very briefly and this other actress Jill [Teed], who played one of the nurses, so it’s just nice to see what everyone else is doing. There was part of me that was like “Maybe I should have gone to see what everyone else was doing,” because part of me was like “Oh, it’s so crazy. They’re getting such crazy stuff!” but it’s good I didn’t because I’m also not seeing everything they’re seeing. I’m seeing it from a different perspective so it was just eye-opening to see what everyone else did, and I just really liked it. I saw it with one of my best friends, and we were so excited afterwards. We were like, “Good one!”
Godzilla is now playing in theaters.
When Fox announced that they were dropping the standard pilot-season model of developing new TV shows; it earned them a great deal of attention from fans and critics. So when they unveiled their Fall 2014-2015 schedule, everyone's focus went straight to the slate of new shows premiering in the next few months — after all, they have to be good if Fox is willing to gamble on a brand new way of doing things. In certain cases, it seems like the gamble might just have paid off — you can't go wrong with Batman or British remakes, right? - but others seem like they'll only rub salt in the wound of recent cancellations.
We've run down all of Fox's upcoming series in order to predict which ones will live up to the hype and be worth your time come fall. Although sadly, none of them seem likely to fill the Enlisted-shaped hole in our hearts.
Gotham What It Is: DramaWhat It's About: Following Det. Jim Gordon and the Gotham City Police Department as they deal with the crime and corruption that plagues the city, and Gordon attempts to find Who's In It: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Sean Pertwee and Jada Pinkett-SmithWhat It Sounds Like: It's basically Batman, minus Batman himself. How Good Will It Be: Based on the first trailer for the show, it looks like it could be exciting and gritty, although tiny Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle do make us a bit wary. Still, it's got a talented cast on board, so if the show can keep the visuals and story interesting, it could be surprisingly good. How Long It Will Last: At least two seasons. Fox has thrown a lot of support behind Gotham, so they won't let it go easily.
UtopiaWhat It Is: Reality showWhat It's About: 15 people move to an isolated, undeveloped location for a year and attempt to build their own society from scratch. Who's In It: No word yet, but they have to be crazy if they're willing to sign up for this. What It Sounds Like: Big Brother meets Survivor, with a dash of Kid Nation. How Good Will It Be: It depends entirely on the cast, but our best bet is that it will either be outright terrible, or horrifically entertaining. How Long It Will Last: Unfortunately, it will probably run for ten years.
Red Band SocietyWhat It Is: Drama What It's About: A coming-of-age story set in the pediatric ward of a hospital that follows a group of patients as they grow, bond, and battle illnesses. Who's In It: Octavia Spencer, Griffin Gluck, Charlie Rowe, Dave Annable, Brian Bradley aka Astro, Ciara Bravo and Zoe LevinWhat It Sounds Like: One Tree Hill meets Grey's Anatomy, except only one person is in a coma. How Good Will It Be: Spencer is generally the best part of everything she does, but even she might not be enough to make the many elements of this show — comedy, drama, tear-jerking moments of triumph, general teenage drama, hospital administration — blend well together. How Long It Will Last: About a season. Even if it is good, it will probably struggle to find an audience.
GracepointWhat It Is: Drama What It's About: Based on the British series Broadchurch, it centers on a small town and the murder that upends the lives of all of its residents. Who's In It: David Tennant, Anna Gunn, Michael Peña, Jacki Weaver, Kevin Zegers and Jessica LucasWhat It Sounds Like: It's literally just Broadchurch with Tennant doing an American accent. How Good Will It Be: A lot depends on how much they take from the original, but since that was such a good series and they've got a fantastic cast on board, things look good for Gracepoint. How Long It Will Last: At least three seasons, regardless of how closely it hews to the original.
Backstrom What It Is: Drama What It's About: A crime procedural about an obnoxious and offensive, but brilliant detective who is brought back from exile to run the special crimes unit. Who's In It: Rainn Wilson, Dennis Haysbert, Thomas Dekker, Beatrice Rosen and Kristoffer PolahaWhat It Sounds Like: Every other "rogue cop" procedural that's hit the air in the last few year, but with Dwight from The OfficeHow Good Will It Be: It has a pretty decent cast, but the premise is something we've seen before many times, with varying levels of success, so there's a lot against it. A lot is riding on Wilson, although it's his first real foray into drama, which also doesn't bode well. How Long It Will Last: Like almost every other crime procedural premiering this fall, it will probably be canceled within the year.
Mulaney What It Is: SitcomWhat It's About: An aspiring stand-up comic gets a job writing jokes for a narcissistic comedian and game show host, which causes conflict between him and his two best friends and roommates. Who's In It: John Mulaney, Martin Short, Nasim Pedrad, Seaton Smith and Elliott GouldWhat It Sounds Like: Seinfeld meets New Girl, with a touch of 30 Rock How Good Will It Be: The cast is fantastic, but multi-cam sitcoms can be pretty hit or miss, and this one was dropped by NBC and then reworked before FOX picks it up. However, the combination of SNL alums and comic legends means this one will probably be one of your new favorite shows. How Long It Will Last: Sunday night at 9:30 is a tough slot, but we think this one will scrape its way to a second season.
EmpireWhat It Is: Drama What It's About: It follows Lucious Lyon, the head of a major hip hop record label and the ex-wife and family who are competing to take over the family business. Who's In It: Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Gabourey Sidibe, Bryshere Gray, Jussie Smollett, Trai Byers and Kaitlin DoubledayWhat It Sounds Like: Hustle and Flow meets Nashville How Good Will It Be: Empire has a lot of big-name talent behind it - in addition to the Oscar-nominated cast, it was created by Lee Daniels and written by Danny Strong — but it seems like the kind of show that would fare better on cable, so it might end up being a little lackluster. How Long It Will Last: Well, Nashville got three seasons, so we're predicting Empire will get the same.
Hieroglyph What It Is: Drama What It's About: After he gets caught stealing a magic scroll, a thief is brought to work for the Pharaoh, only to discover that court might be more dangerous than prison. Who's In It: Max Brown, Reece Ritchie, Condola Rashad, Caroline Ford and John Rhys-DaviesWhat It Sounds Like: Game of Thrones meets Sleepy Hollow, set in Ancient Egypt. How Good Will It Be: It's written by Travis Beacham, who wrote Pacific Rim, so it could turn out to be entertaining and campy. However, it's completely ridiculous-sounding, so the odds are against it. How Long It Will Last: Unless it manages to pull in a devoted audience like Sleepy Hollow, probably only one season.
Wayward Pines What It Is: Drama What It's About: An idyllic American town... that you can never leave. Who's In It: Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Melissa Leo, Tobey Jones, Juliette Lewis and Terrence HowardWhat It Sounds Like: The Stepford Wives meets The Twilight Zone How Good Will It Be: On the one hand, it's got an impressive A-List cast. On the other, it's executive-produced by M. Night Shamylan, so we're hoping it will be good, but expecting it to be terrible. How Long It Will Last: The Shamylan outrage will bring attention to it, resulting in it just barely earning a second season.
Bordertown What It Is: Animated sitcomWhat It's About: Set on a town that borders the US and Mexico, it follows two families as they navigate life, relationships and politics. Who's In It: Alex Borstein, Nicholas Gonzalez, Judah Friedlander, Missi Pyle and Efren RamirezWhat It Sounds Like: American Dad meets The Cleveland ShowHow Good Will It Be: The last time Seth MacFarlane made a show about racial and family dynamics, we got Dads, so we're not optimistic. How Long It Will Last: 5 years at a minimum
Last Man on Earth What It Is: SitcomWhat It's About: After an apocalypse wipes out all of humanity except one man, he wanders the earth looking for other survivors. Who's In It: Will ForteWhat It Sounds Like: Zombieland, minus the other peopleHow Good Will It Be: Forte is hilarious, and his recent dramatic turn in Nebraska will probably serve him well, but it's hard to see how this concept will last longer than one episode. How Long It Will Last: It's a quirky comedy from an SNL alum that isn't Amy Poehler, Tina Fey or Jimmy Fallon. It'll get a year if we're lucky.
Weird LonersWhat It Is: SitcomWhat It's About: Four relationship-phobic weirdoes find each other living next door to one another in a New York apartment. Who's In It: Becky Newton, Zachary Knighton, Nate Torrence and Meera KhumbhaniWhat It Sounds Like: New Girl meets Happy Endings, minus Damon Wayans Jr. How Good Will It Be: The cast is made up of actors who have primarily played the "best friend" role in comedies, so it could be the showcase they need to establish themselves as leading actors. However, the premise seems like a re-tread of most post-Friends comedies, with some forced "quirk," so we don't see things going well. How Long It Will Last: Three out of four actors were on shows that were cancelled relatively soon, so we'd be surprised if this one made it to a second season.
It’s official: Andy Cohen found the exact amount of time we can stand to spend with the Atlanta housewives... and exceeded it by an hour. That’s if you count the Porsha Stewart’s one-on-one interview. Something feels broken in the franchise. NeNe Leakes has a stank look on her face for over three hours. Phaedra Parks and Kandi Burruss keep looking out into the distance as if there’s something amazing off camera. Was Porsha riding a unicycle and juggling fire? Did Andy have Jeff Lewis fighting all the Real Housewives of New York City in a kiddie pool filled with butter? This seems like behind-the-scenes machinations by Mrs. Leakes to control the show. Cynthia Bailey had a stone cold expression on her face probably because she wasn’t asked to look in the corner. The only one who seems like a normal person is Kenya Moore and she keeps breaking the fourth wall and talking about filming.
Kenya vs. NeNe
They fight the entire episode, but it does seem like a valid debate. Kenya is the upstart on the show and she’s savvy enough to get the audience’s attention and crazy enough to take on NeNe. Meanwhile, everyone is right. NeNe does try and control the show. She sets different rules for herself than she does for others, and she even bullies Andy. Speaking of hypocrisy, she told Kenya in the first episode of the season, “No b***h will ever tell me who I can or cannot talk to.” And yet, she told Marlo Hampton that because she filmed with Kenya they are no longer friends. They exchanged a few barbs. They also brought up the pajama party and it was clear that NeNe targeted Kenya with blame for all the drama. But, paging Captain Obvious, she put everyone, half-naked, in a room with pre-existing beef. It’s no wonder a fight broke out.
Winner: Kenya. She is very polarizing and you either love her or hate her. But she’s consistent. She may not be 100 percent real but at this point neither is NeNe. Meanwhile, NeNe seems to constantly try and control the show with behind-the-scenes drama and should just focus on being a real person.
NeNe vs. Herself
To quote Ghost, “NeNe, you in danger, girl!” It’s unclear if she wants to stay on the show. She’s checked out for the whole reunion. She looks half asleep. Can someone get her an Ensure? If her dinner meeting with her manager is to be believed, she’s turning down legitimate acting work like she has three Oscars. Is she taking classes at Omarosa Manigault’s learning annex class for being hateful on reality TV? Andy confronts her about homophobic remarks and she gets more petty than apologetic. She doesn’t seem to care about the people watching the show and really only seems concerned with getting a pound of flesh if someone gets her angry. She keeps arguing but there seems to be no point.
Winner: The Repo Men. If NeNe doesn’t respect the franchise and her following she may not have a career much longer.
Kandi vs. NeNe
NeNe made a comment on her blog about how she would never act like Momma Joyce did this season but threw in the phrase “to the gutter.” Kandi was offended, obviously, because it’s a rude thing to say. Sure Joyce is a character on the show and fair game. But, you should respect people’s children and their parents. After all, no one brought up NeNe’s son, who’s been to prison.
Winner: Kandi... and Cynthia. Kandi pointed out correctly that NeNe doesn’t play by the rules she expects others to. She hardly ever apologizes and if she does it rarely seems genuine.
Kenya vs. Phaedra and Apollo
Apollo Nida stopped by to discuss his sordid relationship with Kenya... and to dodge questions about the charges against him in court. He told Kenya that she needed him for a storyline, which is a little true. Andy pointed out that Phaedra and Apollo’s relationship seems so pristine and then rolled footage of them fighting. It seems their personal life may be much different behind closed doors.
Winner: No one. It seems clear that Apollo and Kenya have undeniable chemistry and may have a past. If not, why would they keep engage in this back and forth. They fight and flirt. It also seems like he and Phaedra are presenting a united front.
Peter vs. Being Called B**ch
Peter Thomas gets a great soundbite disputing all the women who called him names. He’s justified as a star on the show to engage in the storyline. Gregg Leakes is barely lucid and yet he engages in conversation.
Porsha vs. Obscurity
Porsha stops by Andy’s clubhouse to talk about all the drama. What she does end up doing is throwing veiled abuse accusations at Kordell Stewart, plugging her new single, and forgetting she spent the entire season crying.
Real Houselines of Atlanta
"At least my gums are original and not from Petco." – Kenya about NeNe’s teeth
"I’m done with rolling around in the mud with pigs." – Kenya
"Don’t expect no respect." – Kandi on her new relationship with NeNe
"Here’s my peach." – Peter
"Miss Ratchet USA." – NeNe to Kenya
"Certified funds, please." – Phaedra on Kenya providing money for charity
"Your life should end." – Did NeNe actually say this on TV?
"I have never worn my scars on my face. I’ve never worn what I’ve been through on my outward appearance." – Porsha on her mugshot forgetting she cried all season
20th Century Fox via Everett Collection
Throughout his career, James Cameron has explored the verdant valleys of Pandora and the post-apocalyptic streets of Los Angeles, but his next adventure might take place somewhere that's a little more familiar. Cameron has commissioned scribe David S. Goyer to write a treatment for a remake of the 1966 classic, Fantastic Voyage. In the original film, a group of scientists miniaturize themselves and enter the body of a fellow scientist to remove a blood clot from his brain, but they only have an hour to do so before the process reverses itself and un-shrinnks them. If you've spent a single Saturday morning watching cartoons over the past 30 years, that plot should sound terribly familiar. Every cartoon worth its salt had done at least one Fantastic Voyage parody episode (some have done several, in fact). It's almost a rite of passage. Flinging through the leaky canals of the body and dodging over-eager immune systems is material that's just begging to be animated. We've decided to collect some of our favorite Fantastic Voyage cartoon parodies from over the years.
The Magic School BusEpisode: "For Lunch," "Inside Ralphie," "Goes Cellular," "Works Out," and "Makes a Stink."Ms. Frizzle has taken her class on many field trips spelunking through the human body. Arnold, Ralphie, Janet, and even Ms. Frizzle herself have turned into the subject of a field trip in various episodes.
Captain Planet and the PlaneteersEpisode: "An Inside Job"The planeteers shrink themselves in order to battle microbes inside Kwame.
The SimpsonsEpisode: "Treehouse of Horror XV"The Simpsons clan go after Maggie after she is accidentally ingested by Mr. Burns.
FuturamaEpisode: "Parasites Lost"After Fry eats a disgustingly old egg salad sandwich, Professor Farnsworth make miniature robotic version of themselves to ward off an infestation of super smart parasites.
Family GuyEpisode: "Emission Impossible"Stewie infiltrates Peter's body in order to stop his parents from having another child.
Dexter’s LaboratoryEpisode:"Fantastic Boyage"Dexter tries to enter Dee Dee's body to find the cure of the common cold, but he ends up inside the dog by mistake.
Phineas and FerbEpisode: "Journey to the Center of Candace"In a reverse of the Dexter's Laboratory plot, Phineas and Ferb try to enter the body of a dog, but accidentally end up in the body of their sister.
Pinky and the BrainEpisode: "Brainwashed Part 1: Brain, Brain Go Away"Pinky and the Brain shrink themselves in order to foil an evil plot, but get eaten by the wrong guy.
Batman: The Brave and the BoldEpisode: "Journey to the Center of the Bat"After Batman is struck down with a mysterious disease, the Atom and Aquaman shrink themselves to combat the illness.
Rick and MortyEpisode: "Anatomy Park"Morty creates a Jurassic Park-style amusement park inside the body of the homeless man. He shrinks Morty and himself to save his creation once the homeless man starts to die.
The Fairly Odd ParentsEpisode: "Tiny Timmy"Wanda and Cosmo shrink Timmy so they can explore the body of his evil babysitter, Vicky. Vicky's body soon starts attacking the foreign invaders.
Spongebob SquarepantsEpisode: "Squidtastic Voyage"With the help of Sandy, Patrick and Spongebob use a shrinking submarine to enter Squidward's body and retrieve a clarinet reed.
Regular ShowEpisode: "Cool Cubed"Mordecai and Rigby travel inside Thomas to thaw his brain out after a slushie gives him a vicious brain-freeze.
ArthurEpisode: "Buster's Breathless"Buster gives his friends a tour of his body so they can learn about asthma.
RugratsEpisode: "The Inside Story"The babies travel inside Chucky after he swallows a watermelon seed, thinking a watermelon will grow inside the toddlers stomach.
Osmosis JonesThis film is basically one long Fantastic Voyage parody. White blood cell/detective Osmosis Jones and his cold pill partner Drix battle a malicious virus inside the moist caverns of Bill Murray. The film also spawned a spin-off television series.
For many college students, graduation is a terrifying time. It means leaving behind your friends and the isolated playground in which you lived for the past four years and moving to the so-called "real world." Nobody wants to do this, so universities typically invite successful individuals to deliver a commencement speech in an attempt to offer wisdom and guidance to the nervous graduates. Below are ten of the most inspiring speeches by some of our favorite celebrities. Whether you are graduating from college or not, these speeches will give you the courage and strength to persevere in life.
1. Ellen DeGeneres, Tulane University, 2009
Ellen’s hilarious speech for Tulane graduates is rather short, but it’s full of classic one-liners and important life-lessons. In particular, Ellen talks about her decision to come out and be true to herself.
Key quote: “Follow your passion and stay true to yourself. Never follow anyone else's path, unless you're in the woods and you're lost and you see a path, and by all means you should follow that.”
2. Meryl Streep, Barnard College, 2010
The Academy Award winning actress reveals a side of herself in this speech that she rarely shows. Streep tells a few stories from her life to stress the importance of being authentic, and admits that being famous and winning awards does not make her fulfilled.
Key quote: “I can assure you that awards have very little bearing on my own personal happiness, my own sense of well-being and purpose in the world. That comes from studying the world feelingly, with empathy in my work. It comes from staying alert and alive and involved in the lives of the people that I love and the people in the wider world who need my help. No matter what you see me or hear me saying when I'm on your TV holding a statuette spewing, that's acting.”
3. Aaron Sorkin, Syracuse University, 2012
In his powerful speech, acclaimed writer Sorkin talks about his experience with drug addiction and his early struggles as a playwright. What remains is a passionate plea to take risks, dare to fail, and follow your dreams.
Key quote: “You're going to fall down, but the world doesn't care how many times you fall down, as long as it's one fewer than the number of times you get back up.”
4. Arianna Huffington, Smith College, 2013
Huffington’s famous remarks to Smith College find her redefining success for a new generation. She tells students that money and power alone aren’t sustainable, and that it’s more important to focus on the third metric: personal well-being, wisdom to make the correct decisions, wonder for the world, and a willingness to give back. Ultimately, she encourages graduates to sleep more, work less, and find happiness within.
Key quote: “So as you leave this beautiful campus today to follow your dreams and scale great heights in whatever profession you choose, I beg you: don’t buy society’s definition of success. Because it’s not working for anyone. It’s not working for women, it's not working for men, it's not working for polar bears, it's not working for the cicadas that are apparently about to emerge and swarm us. It's only truly working for those who make pharmaceuticals for stress, diabetes, heart disease, sleeplessness and high blood pressure.”
5. J.K. Rowling, Harvard University, 2008
The beloved author of Harry Potter talks to Harvard graduates about the benefits of failure and the power of imagination. She uses her own rags to riches story to demonstrate that failure is a great motivator, and her experience with Amnesty International to express the importance of empathy.
Key quote: “If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
6. Denzel Washington, University of Pennsylvania, 2011
One of the most successful movie stars shares his wisdom with UPenn graduates in a moving speech. Washington urges the graduates to follow their passion at all costs and to not “fall back” on anything.
Key quote: “Fall forward. Here’s what I mean: Reggie Jackson struck out 2600 times in his career — the most in the history of baseball. But you don’t hear about the strikeouts. People remember the home runs. Fall forward. Thomas Edison conducted 1000 failed experiments. Did you know that? I didn’t either — because number 1001 was the light bulb. Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success.”
7. Joss Whedon, Wesleyan University, 2013
Whedon’s clever commencement address ruminates on the significance of human contradiction. It’s not a typical speech and in many ways it defies conventions, but it’s inspiring and important in its own way.
Key quote: “If you think that achieving something, if you think that solving something, if you think a career or a relationship will quiet that voice, it will not. If you think that happiness means total peace, you will never be happy. Peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace. It will always be in conflict. If you accept that, everything gets a lot better.”
8. Lewis Black, Marshall College, 2013
In his first commencement speech, comedian Black brings his brand of humor to Marshall College. His speech is hilarious, but it’s also earnest and touching as he encourages the graduates to stay young and idealistic despite whatever challenges they face.
Key quote: “Just because you get old, you don’t have to let go of the beliefs you have now. You have them for a reason. It’s called, generally, idealism. There’s nothing wrong with being idealistic. But you’re gonna run into a bunch of idiots ready to tell you that there is… What’s insulting isn’t your idealism. It’s their lack of it. Their belief that nothing can be changed.”
9. Barbara Walters, Yale University, 2012
Technically, Walters is speaking at Yale’s traditional class day, but the premise is the same: to offer graduates wisdom that may prepare them for life. Her speech is funny and charming, and full of wonderful insights from herself and the many world leaders she has interviewed.
Key quote: “Don’t worry about finding your bliss right now. Not even our President knew what his bliss was, nor did I. One of these days to your own surprise, your bliss will find you. But no matter what you do, participate, be there, full force, full heart, full steam ahead.”
10. Oprah Winfrey, Stanford University, 2008
Of course Oprah has to be on this list. Her speech to Stanford University is typically insightful, as she preaches the power of service for others.
Key quote: “This is what I know for sure: in order to be truly happy, you must live along with and you have to stand for something larger than yourself. Because life is a reciprocal exchange. To move forward you have to give back. And to me, that is the greatest lesson of life. To be happy, you have to give something back.”
Everyone is up in arms over whether Porsha Stewart or Kenya Moore should leave Real Housewives of Atlanta after the fight last episode. However, maybe it’s NeNe Leakes who should leave. She has burned her final bridge by declaring war on her last remaining ally, Cynthia Bailey. She has had a sourpuss look on her face the entire reunion. Andy Cohen, please just make NeNe a producer. She tries to control the show most of the time anyway and knows good TV. Clearly, she’s tired of going through the motions, too. The toxicity of this reunion is starting to mirror the infamous Real Housewives of New York City reunion where Jill Zarin was fired. It’s also clear NeNe is trying to control the story because whenever Kenya speaks she, Kandi Burruss, and Phaedra Parks turn their heads away like a busted version of The Supremes.
Kenya vs. NeNe and The Supremes
Kenya seems to do the impossible. She breaks the fourth wall by acknowledging she is just “having a little fun.” It’s true it’s fun when the housewives are in on the drama. She also has dropped the drama-mongering pretense and provides thoughtful, cogent, comments during the rest of the show. Sure, she’s an instigator and she talks a lot of smack…but, no shade, so does Andy Cohen. NeNe and Phaedra accuse Kenya of instigating Porsha, which she did. However, this is a national television show and it should never escalate to actual physical blows...only verbal ones. Both Kenya and Cynthia agree and seem heartfelt and genuine.
Meanwhile, NeNe is throwing side-eyes and looks like someone just told her The New Normal was canceled. It’s sad because the reality of this show is starting to take a farcical turn. NeNe is beginning to join the ranks of Teresa Giudice and Jill Zarin by getting so full of herself she’s alienating viewers and giving the show too much negativity. NeNe also has the nerve to say she agrees there shouldn’t be violence but no one should put their finger in her face. Wasn’t she the one who attacked Kim Zolciak, one season, and Dwight Eubanks, another? Isn’t she the first one to get into people’s faces? She denies that she makes phone calls about the show but in her one-on-one with Andy references conversations she’s had with the ladies off-camera.
Winner: Kenya. She can be a pain and was annoying Porsha but nothing warrants violence. NeNe is very hypocritical and clearly trying to control the tone of the show.
Momma Joyce vs. The Bottle?
Kandi’s mother, known affectionately as Momma Joyce, spends most of her time making digs at Todd Tucker. She flaunts her weight loss but blames it on stress. She dodges a lot of Andy’s questions with nonsensical but humorous responses. She brags about all the diamonds she has but says she doesn’t have to work. She says she doesn’t rely financially on Kandi which brings Kandi to tears because clearly Joyce uses guilt to get her way with her daughter.
Loser: Kandi. There is no winner. Momma Joyce is a funny part of the show but at the expense of her daughter’s credibility, personal life, and good name.
NeNe vs. Cynthia
NeNe was downright indignant all season. She was as verbally abusive to Cynthia, as Cynthia’s husband, Peter Thomas. Cynthia bursts into tears over the fact that NeNe never seemed to respect her or their friendship. Sadly, given Cynthia’s financial troubles, she needs her role on the show. It seems like she plays nice because she doesn’t want to get fired. Meanwhile, NeNe seems to think she’s the Queen of the show but she is so disengaged in the reunion. She even goes so far as to mention Kenya is the lowest paid housewife but talks the most. Meanwhile, NeNe has now officially fought with everyone on the show. She also has had a falling out with everyone she’s claimed to be her friend. This seems to have become NeNe clocking random women…she should just get her own version of American Gladiators.
Winner: Cynthia. She may be boring and her husband may be verbally abusive. But, NeNe did disrespect her and has become a toxic element to the show. Cynthia seems very sympathetic and genuinely emotional. Kenya made a valid point that NeNe tosses her friends away when they misbehave.
The Real Houselines of the Reunion
"We fight with our words and I am the best at it." – Kenya
"Is this the color purple? All my life I had to fight." – Kandi throwing shade at Kenya
"We’re on television. We represent a certain culture, a certain race, and we’re women. We should all stick together about violence against women. Whether it’s women on women or men on women. That’s something that should never divide us." – Kenya being insightful
"I am not Porsha, I am not going back and forth with you. I am very smart and I am very sane." – NeNe’s veiled insult to Porsha
"I was one of the smartest girls in my class and I didn’t even really hang around people she would have really known." – Phaedra’s veiled insult to NeNe
"It’s been a long time but I can still wrap up a good wig." – Momma Joyce
"Would she really raise her daughter to be a millionaire, like I raised my daughter and then let her daughter find a hundredaire and he marry her? Then, give me a ring, okay." – Momma Joyce
"I’ve seen so many, you know, of her friends come and go. And I feel like at the end of the day there is a sisterhood there there’s a love there but I’ve never felt like the respect was there." – Cynthia winning the argument
"So why am I on this couch discussing my friendship with Cynthia with you guys like you give a s**t?" – NeNe forgetting she’s on reality TV
"I think when people stand up to you that are considered to be a friend that’s when you turn on them because you want to shut them down." – Kenya
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
On May 19 at 10 PM, The Maya Rudolph Show will premiere on NBC. After some time out in Hollywood making films like Grown-Ups and Friends with Kids, and a short stint with Up All Night, the Saturday Night Live veteran is returning to the variety show format to bring us a little song, dance, and live sketches. Right now it sounds like The Maya Rudolph Show is a one-time special that could become a series. And if NBC does pick it up for more, there are a few things we hope to see.
As Many Beyoncé Impersonations as Possible
The "Drunk in Love" video has been patiently awaiting a Maya Rudolph/Jay Pharoah remake since their unforgettable SNL skit. And the thought of Rudolph in any of those NSFW Mrs. Carter World Tour costumes is enough reason to tune in.
More Kristen Wiig, Please
Wiig and Rudolph have done so many memorable things together (their skits on SNL, Friends with Kids, and Bridesmaids), so we have every reason to demand a little Wiig cameo or two (even though we also look forward to confirmed guest appearances from Kristen Bell, Andy Samberg, Fred Armisen, Craig Robinson, Sean Hayes, and Chris Parnell). Come to think of it, a Bridesmaids cast reunion moment is long overdue and probably needs to happen as well.
The Maya Rudolph Family Hour
Maya Rudolph has four children with acclaimed director Paul Thomas Anderson, and just once it would be nice to see the whole family together... maybe doing a Sound of Music "Edelweiss" thing? Something tells us that people would definitely tune in to watch a room full of little Rudolph Andersons being extremely adorable and wonderful on stage. If Rudolph thinks this is too much, a nice big family photo shown before the first commercial would also be acceptable. Don't make this weird, Rudolph... we just want to bask in your family's talent!
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Children's series featuring "Thomas the Tank Engine," whose live-action shorts appeared on the PBS series "Shining Time Station," from 1989 to 1997. Set on the imaginary and idyllic island of Sodor, Thomas' adventures always teach him and his friends lessons about the meaning of friendship, the importance of honesty and the lasting value of hard work. Joining Thomas are a cast of steam engines, a tractor, a bus and a helicopter, each with its own distinct personality.