Hollywood is a magical place where you can go from the mail room to the board room. It takes time to build a career and a lot of small roles before the big break. But one major role can turn you into a household name. Some of Hollywood’s hottest actors have small roles in memorable movies that will leave you shocked you missed them.
Melissa McCarthy in Charlie’s Angels
McCarthy is a comedic powerhouse who became a household name after 2011's Bridesmaids. It may be hard to believe that she was once a near-extra who called Lucy Liu a b**ch in Charlie’s Angels. She also had a small role in Go and was featured in the trailer.
Jennifer Lawrence on My Super Sweet 16 promos
Lawrence is so successful at the young age of 23, it can be hard to believe she's been in the business for years already. Lawrence started off playing the title character's daughter on The Bill Engvall Show, and found a spot in these promos for a particularly regrettable reality series.
Paula Patton in Hitch
Patton's relationship with Robin Thicke post-Blurred Lines has put her name on everyone’s lips. She has found success in the Mission Impossible films and has some buzz around her film career. But back in 2005, her first role was in this questionably funny Will Smith comedy.
Christina Hendricks on Undressed
Hendricks found the role of a lifetime as Mad Men's waning queen bee Joan Holloway. Long before playing the strong but unfortunate advertising agency secretary, however, Hendricks appeared on MTV’s sex-fueled soap Undressed.
Rooney Mara in Youth in Revolt
Before her ascension to films like The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Side Effects, Mara starred in this forgettable Michael Cera offbeat comedy. With this movie, she kicked off her pattern of playing intense, intelligent, and sexual characters... a pratice that has served her well.
Rashida Jones & Steven Moyer in Ny-Lon
Granted, you wouldn't really call a starring role in a series a "small" one. However, this British TV show is widely unknown in the States, so we'll count it. Jones played a New Yorker in a long-distance relationship with a British businessman (Moyer).
Jane Krakowski in Vacation
People remember Krakowski for 30 Rock and her role on Ally McBeal, but she began the trade as a child actor. She delivers one of the most memorable lines in this popular 1980s comedy.
Steve Carell in Curly Sue
Now one of Hollywood’s biggest comedy actors, Carell started his film career with a non-speaking role. He might not be the first actor to play a background waiter, but very few of those were called "Tesio."
Veteran actress Jane Kean has died at the age of 90. The star passed away at the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California on Tuesday (26Nov13) after suffering a stroke following a fall at her home.
A diverse performer who started off her career on the stage, Kean will be best remembered for her role as Trixie Norton in Jackie Gleason's rebooted sitcom The Honeymooners from 1966 to 1978.
She also appeared on The Jackie Gleason Show, worked on the stage in Las Vegas and London, and did voice work, including on Disney's 1977 hit Pete's Dragon.
Oh how far Walt has come. Or rather, how much he has lost. Somehow the standard Breaking Bad description of him as a Mr. Chips who becomes Scarface seems woefully inadequate at this point. The devastation he has unleashed is unfathomable: Hank and Gomez are dead, Jesse’s being tortured and likely will be killed, Walt Jr.’s innocence has been shattered, and he’s lost his family…probably forever. There’s no going back now. And it all makes us wonder when he reached the point of no return, when he, like Macbeth, waded so far into a river of blood that he could only emerge by getting drenched in it. “Ozymandias” was one of the most harrowing, profoundly disturbing hours of television I’ve ever seen, in part because all of the decisions that led to its orgy of violence were made so very long ago.
“Ozymandias” began with a flashback to Walt’s first cook at To’hajilee, a little over a year earlier. With hair and a mustache, and no pants of course, he really had to rehearse his excuse to Skyler for why he’d be late — some cockamamie story about car wash owner Bogdan wanting him to go over receipts. Lying didn’t come as easy then. And it seemed as if at this point Walt really was focused on his family, agreeing to pick up a couple pizzas for dinner and thinking about Holly as a potential name for the baby. Jesse was still the bad one, the junkie burnout who might actually have lit up inside the meth lab if it weren’t for Walt’s warning. They’ve since traveled on completely opposite paths, which somehow still led both of them back to To’hajilee, where it all started.
Back in the present, the shootout came to a quick end. Walt’s Neo-Nazi allies had killed Gomez and cornered Hank, despite Walt’s frantic cries to call them off. He made a last-minute gamble at redemption: he’d give Jack his $80 million in exchange for Hank’s life. But Hank wouldn’t beg for his life, and he didn’t want Walt to either: “You’re the smartest man I’ve ever known, and yet you’re too stupid to know he made up his mind 10 minutes ago.”
Jack put a bullet in Hank’s brain.
Walt knew it was over. His family was broken. There was no going back. Everything he had ostensibly done all this for was lost. He lay on the New Mexico sand in agony as Jack and his gang took his money anyway. All except for one barrel that they left for him with about $10-15 million in it, because these Nazis have a code, I guess. But Walt wasn’t finished. “Pinkman,” he said to Jack. “Pinkman.” They still hadn’t killed Jesse, and Walt knew exactly where he was: hiding under a car. They grabbed him and promised to pop a cap in his ass after they tortured him to find out exactly what he’d told the Feds. Walt began the torture on his own, though. He finally told Jesse the truth: he let Jane die. He watched her choke on her own vomit, when he could have saved her. That was probably the moment of no return for Walt, really. Jesse was speechless. There was no time for a frantically shouted “bitch” or anything — he’s beyond words at this point.
Walt left, but his Chrysler ran out of gas, so he rolled his barrel of money to a Native American’s shed and offered him a wad of cash to buy his ancient pick-up truck. Marie went to the car wash to tell Skyler what had happened: Hank had arrested Walt. It was over. This Shakespearean scenario — characters acting on information that’s horribly out of date — led to the moment the whole series has been building toward: Walt Jr. finding out his father is a murderous drug lord. Marie demanded that Skyler tell her son the truth, rather than have him hear about it from men in uniform. So they sat him down and told him everything. He recognized right off the bat that his mother is a liar. Either she was lying to him before or she’s lying to him now. No matter what, she deceived him, covered for Walt’s crimes, and probably bears some responsibility for them too. Or as Walt Jr. put it, “If all this is true and you knew about it, then you’re as bad as him.”
Skyler and Walt Jr. went back to their house and saw the mysterious, dented pick-up truck in their driveway: never a good sign. Walt was there, packing super fast to get out of Dodge. But his son wanted answers. Walt wouldn’t give them to him, instead saying that they need to get out of there and go somewhere where they can start a new life together. Totally delusional. Skyler realized what all this must mean for Hank. He must be dead. Walt said he tried to save him, but that meant nothing. Skyler could either grab the phone or the knife, and she chose the knife. She cut his hand, but Walt couldn’t leave it there. He struggled with her for the knife, until Walt Jr. finally intervened and helped his mom. He picked up the phone, called the police, and said that his dad pulled a knife on his mom. Somehow, I think he’ll want to be called Flynn exclusively after this.
Walt took Baby Holly and left. Because apparently that’s what people do when they want to hurt Skyler: take the baby! Or maybe that Internet theory about Walt assuming the traits of his victims wasn’t fully accurate. Maybe he also absorbs the traits of his victims’ spouses as well.
The police arrived at Casa White, and while they were there, Walt called Skyler and gave an incredible rant. It was a confession, yes, but like his previous confession that implicated Hank it altered the truth. This time, though, it was to take the blame entirely on himself and leave no room for Skyler to be implicated — since he obviously knew the police would be listening in. His rage toward Skyler was the only thing really truthful in what he was saying. He was ranting stuff like “I did all of this for you, and you never listened to me, I had to do it all alone!” And he took Baby Holly for good measure to just to emphasize to the cops the complete and total rift between him and his wife that means she was never his partner in crime. Once his goal had been achieved, he deposited Holly at a fire station and took off. He would do what Jesse refused to do: get a new life courtesy of Jim Beaver and head to the “Granite State,” the title of next week’s episode — New Hampshire.
Was that a harrowing hour of television or what?
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Last Sunday's episode of Breaking Bad, "Confessions," was one of the tightest, tautest, tensest hours of television anybody's seen in awhile: That scene at the Mexican restaurant, Walt's videotape, Jesse going off the rails and pouring gasoline inside Walt's house. In anticipation of tonight's new episode, "Rabid Dog," we caught up with "Confessions" director Michael Slovis, who has also served as Director of Photography on most of the series since Season 2, to talk us through what it was like shooting the moment when Jesse officially "broke good." "It has garnered more chatter, and I've gotten more emails and tweets, than any other episode I've been involved with," Slovis says. "It has been an extraordinary torrent of accolades." And, yes, we asked about what we can expect from the much anticipated Sept. 29 series finale. Based on what he has to say, you need to raise your expectations even higher.
Hollywood.com: So everyone’s still reeling from "Confessions." Michael Slovis: It has garnered more chatter, and I’ve gotten more emails and tweets, than any other episode I’ve been involved with. It has been an extraordinary torrent of accolades.
Hollywood.com: Walt’s false confession felt like a new low, even for him. It was one of the most harrowing things I’ve seen on TV in quite awhile. How did you go about shooting not only his confession but Hank and Marie’s reaction to it? Michael Slovis: I didn’t make a big point of that DVD being slid across the table at the restaurant. I didn’t shoot a close-up of it or a low, wide shot of it. I wanted the impact of it to be in the material itself. Then for when Hank and Marie are watching it, we had already shot the Walt’s video and I played it for them when we were shooting.
That scene is the apex of Walt’s arrogance because it shows that he now believes he can control the truth itself. Bryan understood this, and he does so much homework, he’s so prepared and has very distinct ideas about where the show will go. So I went in very, very prepared knowing what this confession would be like. It only took two or three takes to shoot because it was so beautifully conceived, it just rolled out of Bryan’s mouth. We knew we had something golden for Dean and Betsy to react to. But I hadn’t even let them see it before we shot their reactions to it as we played it back on Hank and Marie’s TV. So when they shot that scene in which they were watching it, they really were watching it for the first time.
This episode was full of such powerful moments like that, or even the way Walt manipulates his son into not visiting Marie, because they all had to build up thematically to Jesse finally realizing the evil of this man and never turning back. We’ve been building the whole series to that moment.
HW: It seems to me that selective memory has become a defining theme on Breaking Bad — from Lydia closing her eyes and saying “I don’t want to see” after she’s ordered the hit on Declan’s men to Walt thinking that you can forget the past and start fresh. But Jesse refuses to forget. Do you think he’s asserting the idea of remembering as a moral act? MS: I view it very, very similarly, though a touch differently. To me, from the Pilot on Walt does something that you do, and I do, and every human being does: convince himself that what he’s doing is for the greater good. Walt still views all of this as an altruistic act to help his family. Remember, he initially just wanted to make $700,000 to set them up, give Walt. Jr. and his daughter an education and have Skyler live comfortably after he passes away from lung cancer. He convinces himself that whatever he’s done is okay because this is all a selfless act. Of course, he’s consumed by power instead and he’s transformed into somebody who has lost any kind of moral compass. All he’s trying to do now is explain it away. What I love about this show is that there’s never any getting away from your actions.
HW: Do you think that at the end of “Confessions” Jesse has broken good?
Ursula Coyote/Sony Pictures Television/AMC
MS: It’s been a long process, of course. It didn’t just happen then when he decided to pour gasoline in Walt’s house. But, yes, I do think Jesse’s broken good. I’ve never heard it put that way, but I think it’s a really appropriate way to call it. Jesse has learned later than most about love, about children, about friendship, and his eyes have been opened. He has taken the exact opposite journey of Walt. And he’s not going back.
HW: I thought that hug Walt gave Jesse was the most violent thing Walt could have done to end their conversation in the desert. MS: And it immediately follows up his idea that “You can set up a whole new life!” Yeah, what a great idea that is!
HW: Did you see that scene as Walt’s supreme manipulation of Jesse? MS: That whole scene was Walter White as master salesman. I think at that moment Jesse had been completely broken down. And that hug was the final act of control. That is the thing that a master manipulator would do. It’s that kind of honesty — like also when Marie asks Walt “Why don’t you kill yourself?” — that’s caused the show to resonate so well.
HW: How have you, as a director on the show and a DP, worked to achieve that honesty? MS: Don’t ever play anything big. Just count on the words and the characters to have their impact. If you think about it everybody was telling the truth in that scene in the restaurant: Walt’s right, he’s not cooking anymore; Hank is going to try to put him away. And we staged that in hushed tones. This was in a public place with people who would know how to act in that situation — they’re not going to be having a shouting match.
HW: I think everybody could relate to that scene, even if you’re not a meth lord confronting his pursuer. Just the idea of having a tense conversation and then immediately having to act all cheery with a waiter… MS: That’s what’s so clever about the writing. We’ve all been in situations like that scene in the restaurant, we’ve all had tense conversations over meals then have to act all friendly to the waiter. We can all relate to that. This is just ratcheted up to the next dramatic level.
HW: And that’s why people still identify with Walt, I think. This is a more extreme version of scenarios we’ve all been in. MS: As a fan of the show, I’m still rooting for Walt as well. Because all of us, at heart, want to get away with stuff.
HW: What was the moment for you when Walt broke bad?
MS: When he let Krysten Ritter’s Jane die in that bed. My favorite shot that I’ve ever shot on that show was of Bryan deciding to let Krysten die in that bed. Without exception. People ask, “Why? It’s just a medium close-up at a guy looking offscreen.” It was so honest, so raw, and so bad. That decision was the fulcrum point, the point of no return. Right after that shot Bryan fell into my arms. And I just hugged him. We chatted off to the side for a little bit, and we talked about what it was that he used from his memory to get him to that point — in which he could convey that decision to let her die. And it was very, very private. I was extremely honored that he could share that with me.
HW: Interesting. That was your favorite scene, but what was the hardest scene ever for you to shoot? MS: When writers write montages, which Breaking Bad became noted for, it’s a major challenge. Because you’ve got so many different setups to achieve. The legwork in advance is astounding. And also because many of the scenes are long, I always looked at a lot of ways to put them on their feet. In Season 4 when Walt gives his “I’m the one who knocks” speech, Bryan, Anna, and I showed up an hour and a half early just to rehearse it enough that we could show it to the crew. Normally you’d do that in just 15 minutes, but for that one we knew it would be so important.
HW: It seems like the Breaking Bad set is a uniquely supportive, collaborative environment… MS: You know, most film or TV sets are notoriously jaded environments. Crews don’t care one way or the other. The sandbags weigh the same whether you’re on a Hitchcock movie or a commercial. But on this set, every single time that a new script came out, everyone would stop and read it. Every single person would be sitting on top of apple boxes thumbing their way through the script. And then talk about it like fans! I’ve never seen that before.
It’s incredible to see how this show has grown. Nobody even knew where AMC was on the dial when we started. One of the producers used to joke that we’d get viewers by running a contest “Guess where AMC is on the dial!” But we all knew to a person how good this show was.
HW: So the biggest — and best kept — secret on TV right now is “How will Breaking Bad end?” What can you tease about the finale? MS: Let me tell you…you won’t be disappointed. Everything gets sewn up into a nice tight neat little bundle. I truly honestly believe that it is going to redefine what you think of as a series finale. It is going to be the bar that other series will try to attain in terms of full closure in the future. It is extraordinary.
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College Humor recently posted a list of eight fictional girls from movies and TV who we're really supposed to like but, at heart, actually suck. Girls like Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World or Andie MacDowell's Rita in Groundhog Day. Or Jennifer Love Hewitt in Can't Hardly Wait or Tiffani Thiessen in Saved by the Bell. And don't even get them started on the creepy awfulness of Robin Wright's sexually predatory Jenny in Forrest Gump.
We here at Hollywood.com have decided to respond in kind, but with a little gender equality. What about Movie & TV guys who really suck? They are a-plenty. Take note of the following eight guys who we're supposed to think are charming or likable but are really just schmucks. Starting with...
1. Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Okay, the only reason anyone likes this character is because his abs "look like they're photoshopped" and because we're all just encouraged to think that Ryan Gosling can do no wrong. As any character. But his Jacob Palmer in the 2011 rom-com is a sociopath. He's taken his broken heart over a bad relationship and has decided to star in his own revenge film in which he derives emotional satisfaction from breaking the hearts of all of womankind. He is to women what Dirty Harry is to punks, and we're not buying it. Of course, he's also a phony because he can't even commit to his sociopathy. All he needs is the love of Emma Stone to heal his psychic wounds. See also: a similar sociopathy on display as the nameless driver in Drive, with some additional paternalistic overtones.
2. Matthew Morrison's Mr. Schuester on Glee
Try hanging out with some people your own age for once, perv.
3. Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man
I know, I know, Sam Raimi really wanted to play up Spider-Man's essential "everyman appeal," but Tobey Maguire comes across more like a lovesick puppydog than a daring webslinger. However, all that aw-shucks pining for Mary Jane masks his true contempt for her when he punches her in the face after sporting Emo bangs.
4. Shia LaBeouf in Transformers 1, 2, & 3
I choose to believe that the whole cars-turning-into-robots thing is just an elaborate fantasy in his mind — which explains why he's always dating porn-chic women in cut-off jeans and bosom-flaunting tank tops — and that he's rocking himself back and forth in a straight-jacket somewhere.
5. Alex Pettyfer in Magic Mike
Sure, wannabe stripper Adam's shirtless presence may result in female strip club patrons having wallets as empty as his head. But isn't charisma more than skin deep? Even if so much of the movie is about Adam's rise and fall, there's a reason Channing Tatum's Magic Mike is the title character.
6. Ryan Reynolds in The Proposal
Really, dude? You not only leave behind a home of palatial splendor in Alaska — and a Granny in Betty White — to earn pennies as the assistant of an icy editrix who barely knows your name, you want to marry her to secure her U.S. residency? Out of some vague notion that it might lead to you getting a promotion? Right. And I bet you can see Russia from your house too, huh?
7. Michael Cera in Juno
Admittedly, this is a tricky one because the backlash against Cera post-Juno has been so extreme that we almost forget there actually was a time we did like him. But fans of the Diablo Cody flick still love Cera's Paulie Bleeker...even though he's a pathetic tool who insists upon wearing head- and wristbands like he's a refugee from a 1985 episode of Miami Vice. He should not be fathering anything. Ever.
8. Orlando Bloom in The Pirates of the Caribbean, Elizabethtown, s**t, Everything.
He is the male Andie MacDowell.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
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Brace yourself, because Breaking Bad is about to reach a whole new level of intensity when it returns for its final slate of eight episodes on AMC August 11. Three new ten-second character teasers show some serious unhappiness in Albuquerque. First, and most striking, we've got Dean Norris' DEA lawman Hank. When we last left off nearly a year ago, he had a bowel-movement epiphany that his brother-in-law, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is Heisenberg, the meth kingpin whose crystal blue persuasion has left a trail of bodies across the Southwest. And judging by his facial expression while driving in this clip, he is one angry Narc.
Next, Breaking Bad proves once again that some of the greatest terrors in life can come while wearing a bathrobe and/or standing at the end of your driveway. Seriously, how many times has something horrible happened as Walter has stood in his lawn? This time, though, he seems to be suffering from "Riding the Blue Dragon"-level paranoia.
It's hard to say exactly at what point Jesse hit rock bottom. Was it the all-night pizza-and-Battlefield orgies at his house? When he chose to shoot up rather than take off for New Zealand to paint that mystical land's "castles" with Jane? When he pulled the trigger on poor Dale? Well, he seems to be having another low point in this clip, communing with a roach...and not that kind of roach. If the fly in Gus' lab symbolized Walt's growing paranoia, what does this roach symbolize for Jesse? Maybe that he's a survivor?
Seriously, how excited are you for the final episodes?
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt | Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter @Hollywood_com
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Happy Endings has never really been about... well, anything. Although a riff on the likes of Friends and Cheers and Suddenly susan and all the will-they-won't-theys of the sitcom history books with its Dave and Alex throughline, the emotional investment in these two characters' union has been tepid at best. Although we might love spending time with the sextet week in and week out, we never really seemed to give much of a damn if the goateed V-neck addict and the flighty, rib-scarfing half pint would actually end up together in the end. There wasn't much meat to Penny's unrequited affections for Dave; never a good deal of intrigue in any turns taken by Jane and Brad's relationship. This show has forgone the manipulation of audiences' sap centers in favor of nonstop comedy. Happy Endings might tout itself, in title, a show working up to an ultimate romantic explosion, but it is really the joke-paved path that we sign on for.
Or so I thought. This week's episode of Happy Endings, tragically, might well be our final farewell to the Chicago clan. The double header introduced the ill-fated plan of Dave and Penny's still-dating parents (Michael McKean and Megan Mullally) to adopt a baby; it created a new character, Jane and Alex's controlling older sister (Stephanie March), fully acknowledging the peculiarity in her never having been mentioned before; it had Max wearing a headband; and, most importantly, it broke up Dave and Alex. This time, perhaps, for good.
Now, if this were a simple season finale, I'd have hope. We've seen this song and dance before. The pilot tore this lifelong couple apart. Subsequent twists and turns had them reconnect, decide against a union, and then wind up together again. Their relationship throughout Season 3 has exhibited some bumps and some sweet moments alike. And if a Season 4 does amount, there's a large possibility we'll see them back in each other's arms at one point or another. But if not, then this is what we're left with: Dave and Alex broken up forever.
And while I still do firmly believe that Happy Endings is pretty much all for the jokes, I'm not sure I want to live in a world where there's no shot of a Rose-Kerkovich future. While the couple doesn't exactly have a perfect track record, the reveal seemed to come out of nowhere — a cliffhanger for cliffhanger's sake. Season finale 101. As such, I'm not validated by their separation, and not too comforted by their decision to stay friends. I'm sad that it seems to have not worked out, and for no particular reason. Just because, hey, we've gotta do something to cap this year.
Season 2 ended with Dave and Alex back together, so I can only assume that the show's plan has been to wrap each season with a new update for the central couple. And that would be fine. A long, torturous, misguided love affair is all we need from Dave and Alex. Ross and Rachel hopped up on Zimas. And those two, no matter how wrong they might have been for each other, ended up together. Happily. That's what I, and so many of us, want for Dave and Alex.
It took this possibly eternal breakup for me to realize how much their staying together meant to me. And it took that realization to come to terms with how much, in fact, all of these characters mean to me.
Back when we first meet Brad and Jane, they were discussing the possibility of having a baby. No advancement yet there, as Happy Endings is perhaps pathologically phobic when it comes to shark jumping (no changes... ever). But I'd like to see them start a family — the pair is tailor made to raise a child.
And Penny. The poor, unfortunate Penny has been through so much heartbreak, this year especially what with her self-loathing despair following her breakup with Pete. If not through a relationship, I'd love to see Penny find happiness in some way. Through her job or another creative exploit, perhaps. She deserves it.
To cover the affection I have for Max would take three additional articles. But this harried, self-sabotaging goon, this conniving little brother to the world, what will it take to bring him to a place of self love? A doting boyfriend? A steady job? A shower? Who knows. But I want it.
Yes, I want Dave and Alex back together. I want Jane and Brad to start a family. I want Penny to find something to make her happy. And I want Max to pretty much just do anything — it's all gold. If this is truly the end for Happy Endings, I'm going to miss it. Not just the jokes, as I realize now. But the characters. Through their quips and references and pile-ons, I've really come to love them.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
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This weekend's season finale of 'Happy Endings' might have been the series finale. Were you happy with how ABC wrapped things up for Dave, Alex, Jane, Brad, Penny, and Max?
We all know the Motion Picture Association of America really doesn’t have an effective parental ratings system for the movies. The MPAA can allow all manner of violence, while usually demonizing sex. It has no transparency, and its members are shrouded in secrecy. Most significantly, it doesn’t have a functional rating for movies intended exclusively for adult audiences. What it does have is the NC-17.
Unlike the R rating, doesn’t allow children to accompany their parents into a theater. On the surface that seems like a great idea. Some movies Aren’t intended for kids, and as such, the young ones shouldn’t be allowed in the theater to see them. Unfortunately, though, movie theaters do some of their best business from films palatable to kids and teens and, better yet, films Geared toward kids and teens. Without those sweet juvenile dollars, the movie industry would be in a shambles. And that’s why most theaters refuse to even screen NC-17 films. It just doesn’t make sense from a business perspective.
It’s no surprise, then, that movies that do get shellacked with an NC-17 rating due to depictions of sex, violence, drug use, or language that no kids should see or hear, almost always go through some kind of reedit to secure a coveted R rating. The latest example? Evil Dead, Fede Alvarez’ reimagining of Sam Raimi’s mayhem-and-mutilation horror franchise. It got its NC-17 from the MPAA in January, far enough in advance to cut out the most brutal bits of gore that prevented them from getting the R. Bits of gore that will undoubtedly be restored for the inevitable unrated DVD/Blu-ray release. It’s far from the first movie to jump through hoops to get an R and, you know, actually be seen.
So here are 15 NC-17 moves that got around the MPAA’s censorship, one way or another.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
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In 1991, Anthony Hopkins won an Oscar for his brief, but memorable role as Hannibal Lecter. Hopkins' disappearance behind the shroud of the cannibalistic doctor's psychotic charm turned author Thomas Harris' character into a Hollywood brand. The previous iteration of the character — 1986's Manhunter — would be ignored. Hopkins owned the character now, and would reappear in Hannibal, the prequel Red Dragon, and pass the torch to Gaspard Ulliel for the prequel origin story Hannibal Rising.
In a surprise to no one, multiple attempts have been made to bring Dr. Lecter to the small screen, with one finally having slashed its way into existence. Tonight begins NBC's Hannibal, which recounts the action back before Lecter was locked up, muzzled with his iconic jaw guard. In this version, Special Agent Will Graham (previously played by William Petersen in Manhunter and Ed Norton in Red Dragon) is once again investigating grisly murders, pulled from his classroom safehaven to solve crimes that require his unhinged brain, capable of recreation and full immersion. His boss, Jack Crawford, is in desperate need of Graham's intellect, but he knows his frail recruit could snap at any minute. So he hires a psychiatrist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, to keep tabs on him.
Hannibal preys on our expectations of the franchise, finding new motivations and arcs for familiar characters that keep us looking for clues. Creator Bryan Fuller is as calculated as his diabolical character when setting up threads for the show: there are mysteries immediate and gestating, all presented with stylish, down-right-frightening imagery.
Is NBC's latest hour-long for you? Here's the real skinny on Hannibal:
Actors you'll know: Hugh Dancy (The Jane Austen Book Club, Martha Marcy May Marlene), stars as Will Graham, Laurence Fishburne jumps from CSI to costar as Crawford, and Casino Royale villain Mads Mikkelsen slips into the role of Lecter, bringing a new dimension to the character. His Hannibal the Cannibal (who we won't see doing much murdering in the early episodes of the series), is a bit of a playboy in Hannibal: cunning, suave, and handsome. The perfect cover-up.
5 Reasons You Might Want to Watch: If you're a fan of Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal modernizes the movie's sparse look and procedural structure — mostly because it's been overdone by other television shows. It feels right, more cinematic than any of NBC (or other networks) stabs at the same experiment. Plus: Mikkelsen is creepy as all hell, Dancy finds his own way to leave our heads spinning, and gasping every five seconds at what new murder has been committed is part of the fun. And a Shining reference in the first episode! Nice touch.
5 Reasons You Might NOT Want to Watch:Blood. Guts. Blood and Guts. A slightly annoying ensemble cast who offer quips in-between the slow burn drama. So much blood (then again, if that's your thing, this is a positive!).
Love it or Leave it? Hannibal is one of the boldest network shows I've ever seen. And not only in terms of gore (of which there is an amazing amount). TV is often cited as a writer's medium, but in a rare instance, Hannibal feels like a director's show. David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night) helmed the pilot and it's slick and unsettlingly composed. The style of putting us in Graham's mind never feels like a gimmick, slipping in and out without warning, leaving us on edge from beginning to end. It's a freaky show, and looking ahead, it gets freakier. Stick with this one.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: NBC]
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Next to the word “internationalist” should be a picture of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of A Room With a View and Howards End, who died Wednesday at her home in Manhattan of a pulmonary condition. She was 85.
In her last novel, 2004’s My Nine Lives, Jhabvala imagined the different courses her life might have taken in London, Delhi, Cologne, and New York if she had made different decisions along the way. But as it stood, her life was a tapestry of experience. Born Ruth Prawer in Cologne, Germany in 1927, she fled the Nazis when she was 12 to settle in London, then moved to India in 1951 after marrying Indian architect Cyrus Jhabvala. “Once a refugee, always a refugee,” she told The Guardian in 2005. “I can’t ever remember not being alright wherever I was, but you don’t give your whole allegiance to a place or want to be entirely identified with the society you’re living in.” The confluence of diverse cultural backgrounds that made up her worldview perhaps explains the exquisite detail regarding cultural practices and habits that mark her best work on page and screen.
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Jhabvala was a novelist, first and foremost. She published her first book, To Whom She Will in India and Britain in 1955. Retitled Amrita for release in the United States, it concerned the forbidden love of a young Indian woman for a guy who can only be called “Mr. Wrong.” It’s a theme she would gravitate toward in her E.M. Forster adaptations for producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory, like A Room With a View and Howards End, the films for which she won two Best Adapted Screenplay Oscars.
When A Room With a View, starring a young Daniel Day-Lewis playing an unforgettable fop and an even younger Helena Bonham Carter as his wife to be, hit theaters in 1985, she had already been working for Merchant/Ivory productions for 20 years. Their early efforts, like 1965’s Shakespeare Wallah, concerned people chafing at societal constraints, or left behind by changing social mores, in an India rapidly evolving. Transitions and transformations were central to their work, as hinted at by the titles of films like Bombie Talkie and Jane Austin in Manhattan. Most of Jhabvala’s screenplays share the literary ambition of her novels — the slight undercurrent of satire, the finely-tuned depictions of even more finely-tuned characters. She’d win the Man Booker Prize, the highest literary honor in Britain, for her novel Heat and Dust in 1975.
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So it must have come as a surprise to her that her later, most successful films with Merchant/Ivory often came under attack as being “a brand.” A Room With a View, Howards End, and The Remains of the Day all featured lush settings, frilly costumes, coteries of theater-bred thesps like Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Anthony Hopkins, and Emma Thompson, and a deep concern for the perils and privileges of the upper class. To many, they were like glorified Masterpiece Theater productions. But in reality, they dealt with issues of class, sexuality, and ethnicity in subtle, thought-provoking ways. It’s possible that many critics at the time took their tasteful, Quality-with-a-capital-Q approach for granted, and thumbed their noses at them for being so resolutely anti-hip, and dialogue-focused.
"It is a strange marriage we have at Merchant Ivory,” Ismail Merchant told The Times of London before his death in 2005. “I am an Indian Muslim, Ruth is a German Jew, and Jim is a Protestant American. Someone once described us as a three-headed god. Maybe they should have called us a three-headed monster!"
That three-headed monster would have been nothing without Jhabvala, its fiercely beating heart.
[Photo Credit: Bernard Gotfryd/Getty Images]
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