We love horror; we love the edge-of-our-seats, don’t-watch-it-with-the-lights-off, scare-the-pants-off-us type of horror. So far, AMC’s The Walking Dead has been our go-to for scares on television, but Syfy’s Helix has tossed their show into the mix. Though showrunner for Helix, Steven Maeda, hates any comparison between the two series, they do fall into the same category. Helix is a dramatic sci-fi thriller series, similar to the zombie hit, but that’s where the comparisons end.
Helix revolves around a group of doctors from the Centers for Disease Control who travel to a research center in the arctic in order to stop an outbreak of an unknown virus. Helix combines the best aspects of a thriller — crazed infected people going on murderous rampages, crawling through the air ducts, and leaping out from the shadows — with all the great staples of drama — conspiracies, lies, and a love triangle (because why not?). Plus the unknown virus has a serious ick factor: in the first episode it turns two scientists into bags full of black goo (cue the dry heaving).
It’s hard not to see the similarities between The Walking Dead and Helix. They both deal with a virus that infects and changes people. However, while The Walking Dead deals with the aftermath of a virus and what it takes to survive that kind of destruction, Helix focuses on the outbreak as well as the struggle to contain and cure the virus. That being said, fans of The Walking Dead are sure to love Helix as well, and vice versa. These are the two best horror dramas TV has to offer at the moment.
143/ReprisePlaying yuletide songs outside of December always seems rather inappropriate. But there are several 'festive' standards that have as much right to be blared out in the blazing hot summer as in the run-up to the big day. Here are five Christmas favorites that have absolutely nothing to do with Christmas at all.East 17 – "Stay Another Day"The track which pipped Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" to the U.K. number one spot back in 1994, boyband East 17's signature hit has become a staple of the holiday season across Europe. But despite its use of sleigh bells and an accompanying snow-filled video, the ballad is in fact a heartfelt tribute to chief songwriter Tony Mortimer's brother, Ollie, who had committed suicide several years previously.Frankie Goes To Hollywood – "The Power Of Love"Taken to the U.K. number one spot by Frankie Goes To Hollywood in 1984 and then again by Gabrielle Aplin last year, the message of "The Power Of Love" may be in keeping with the season of goodwill ("make love your goal"). But there's not one mention of Christmas during its epic production and the track has only become synonymous with the festivities because of its nativity-themed promo.Aled Jones – "Walking In The Air"Another track which has become associated with Christmas due to its accompanying visuals, "Walking In The Air" was written by Howard Blake for the animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs' much-loved children's book The Snowman. Played during the boy and the snowman's journey to the North Pole, the soaring lullaby has perhaps inevitably since become a choirboy favorite but it still contains a distinct lack of anything Christmassy."Jingle Bells"Recorded by everyone from The Beatles to Buble, "Jingle Bells" has been a yuletide favorite for over 150 years, largely thanks to its copious amounts of snow. But snow isn’t confined to Christmas and the jaunty ditty was actually written by composer James Lord Pierpont to be sung at Thanksgiving rather than December 25th."Baby It's Cold Outside"Recently covered by the likes of She & Him and Kelly Clarkson & Ronnie Dunn, "Baby It's Cold Outside" has been a seasonal favorite ever since its writer, Frank Loesser, and his wife, Lynn Garland, premiered it at their housewarming party back in 1944. But again, the track has become so ingrained in the festive season because of its Arctic weather conditions rather than anything particularly Christmassy.
The Rolling Stones have agreed to allow BBC bosses to air an hour of their headlining set at Britain's legendary Glastonbury festival after previously objecting to the live TV broadcast. The BBC traditionally offers viewers the chance to enjoy the annual three-day spectacle from the comfort of their living rooms by broadcasting the top sets on the small screen, but the Brown Sugar hitmakers reportedly insisted only four songs from their eagerly-awaited Glastonbury debut could be shown live.
Frontman Sir Mick Jagger is alleged to have told organisers it would be unfair on ticket holders if the entire 90-minute set was shown for free on TV, but it appears the two parties have since reached a compromise.
Confirming that a deal had been reached, Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis says, "I think they're all friends now. It's taken a long time to get them to come and play. Everyone wants to see the Stones, basically. I think Mick Jagger wanted to play to the people here (in Glastonbury), rather than a TV show. They're going to be playing for about an hour for the TV."
The Stones will be joined on the Glastonbury bill by fellow headliners Mumford & Sons and Arctic Monkeys.
More on tonight's Doctor Who, after I finish downloading this Ultravox/Duran Duran playlist.
Now then. Hopefully, those who were disappointed by last week's outing, The Rings of Akhaten, were satiated by the Doctor and Clara's claustrophobic trip to the epicenter of the Cold War — that is, a heavily armed Russian submarine in the middle of the North Pole. This being 1983, a time when worldwide paranoia was at an all-time high and "mutually assured destruction" seemed almost inevitable, why not reintroduce one of Doctor Who's most trigger-happy villains?
Bless the heavens that the writing was so damn good this week, as Grand Marshall Skaldak of the ancient Ice Warrior race — who had previously not been seen on the TV iteration of Doctor Who since 1974 — deserves the grand, Hunt for the Red October-esque introduction we saw on Saturday. The last time we met the Ice Warriors they were silly, low-budget looking things (especially to our 2013 eyes), but Commander Skaldak was a complex, honorable, and ultimately worthy opponent with some badass body armor. And unlike last week's bland sun-star villain, Skaldak actually inspired a sense of fear or at least uneasiness in the watcher, which was only made more intense by the claustrophobic setting. (Aside: Claustrophobic settings can make anything scary. See The Descent, Buried, 127 Hours. Shudder.)
Also, in the end, Skaldak's show of mercy hopefully taught the equally hateful and distrusting (minus Professor David Warner, who has been in every classic blockbuster movie you've ever seen) Russians a thing or two about forgiveness, and when not to pull the trigger. So put together an engaging plot, a viscerally disturbing setting, and some powerful acting (especially from Jenna-Louise Coleman and David Warner), and you've got a hella fun episode of Doctor Who. I mean, the Ice Warriors aren't exactly the Weeping Angeles or the Silence, but not every opponent needs to be terrifying and evil to make a great episode.
We opened on an ICEBERG, RIGHT AHEAD (sorry, I had to say that since David Warner was in Titanic), and sank down to the inside of a submarine commanded by Ser Davos Seaworth the Onion Knight that was ready to attack! Just kidding, it was actually just a drill. Despite speaking English we knew right away that they were Russian, as they said "For the Motherland!" before they fake blew up Amurikah because I guess that's part of the procedure. Some handsome young fellow came in and told Ser Davos (I'm sorry but I'm also recapping Game of Thrones this weekend so he doesn't get two names, especially when one is Russian and hard to spell) that they must re-do the drill because Americans are the worst, so we knew that he was going to die. (And were okay with it.)
Now, while the Russians had been running drills and doing… other Russian-like things, the Professor had been drilling for… stuff. It's really not important. So he found this creature preserved in a giant block of ice (presumably a mammoth), and wisely decided to break it out once they got home, not in a claustrophobic little submarine at the bottom of the Arctic ocean. But the annoying youngbuck ain't one for waiting, so he thawed it out… and PUNCH! The Ice Warriors are back! Roll credits.
So this being an angry Ice Warrior in unfamiliar territory, he instantly started tearing s**t up, causing the sub to severely malfunction. In popped the TARDIS, and with it its Doctor and his Clara, who were just on their way to a Vegas vacation. (Which Vegas hotel do you think the Doctor would stay in? I bet the Bellagio, just for the fountains.) The Doctor was sporting some sunglasses, which were, actually, quite cool. Unfortunately, instead of 110 degree weather and girls in 5 inch lucite heels they got a crappy, now-sinking submarine and Ser Davos pointing a gun in their faces, so. Vacation over.
Sensing the urgency of the situation and knowing that lying about their identities when they just appeared out of thin air would be useless, the Doctor made things simple: "We're time travelers. We arrived out of thin air, you just saw it happen." But honesty doesn't get you far with Ser Davos, who was still waving his gun around like Shagga with an axe. (Game of Thrones joke, sorry sorry.)
The Doctor started trying to save everyone's hides, and was rambling on like his usual self when the menacing Ice Warrior appeared directly behind him. And when the Doctor puts on his "Oh F**k but I'm sort of excited at the prospect of this adventure" face, you know things are serious. "It's an Ice Warrior," he said, with a permeating sense of gravity. "A native of the Planet Mars. And we go way back." Understatement! They go like, third Doctor back. But despite seeing two people (err, one person one Time Lord) appear in a submarine out of thin air, then witnessing a giant creature in body armor that is clearly not of this Earth, the stubborn Ser Davos STILL cried fowl. Ugh. The worst people in like, horror movies and sci-fi stuff are the ones that NEVER ACCEPT WHAT IS CLEARLY HAPPENING RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM. I hate those people. I also hate Ser Davos Seaworth because he's boring, so I'm just in a hate-y mood right now. Sorry.
But Davos' distrust of the martian situation in front of him did lead to an amazing line from the Doctor: "I'm always serious. With days off." Ha! Things got even MORE serious when the Doctor realized that this wasn't just any old Ice Warrior, it was Grand Marshall F**king Skaldak of the West Virginia Skaldaks. Skaldak had been frozen in ice for 5,000 years, and you don't have to be a warrior from a militia species to be devastated at the news that everyone you have ever loved is now long dead. Just ask Captain America.
Skaldak, to his credit, did not attack first. That honor went to some idiot Russian, who hit him with a cattle prod. The Doctor was NOT happy that they tazed "the greatest hero the proud martian race has ever produced," as Skaldak would likely have let them go peacefully had he not been threatened. And in case you were wondering how badass Skaldak is: "The Ice Warriors have a different code. He's a hero. His enemies admired him so much they'd carve his name into their own flesh before they died." So basically he's like the Dolph Lundgren of the Ice Warriors.
So now they were in this terrible situation where yes, Skaldak was chained up, but surely it wouldn't last for long and they were sinking and running out of oxygen. All of that is terrifying. And the Ice Warriors have this Three Musketeers-like creed where if you attack one of them you attack ALL of them, and thus E.T. had totally phoned home for backup. The Doctor wanted to reason with him, but since Skaldak would sense that the Russians were warriors and be hostile, in went Clara to have the big bargaining talk because CLEARLY a woman could never be a threat. (Just kidding, Skaldak's daughter was a mighty warrior. Doctor Who is not a sexist show.)
Side-Note: Did anyone else think it strange that Clara — the Doctor's so-called most clever companion — took this long to question why she could understand what anyone and anything ever was saying? Like, say, on Akhaten or on whatever strange adventure they were dressed for when the TARDIS crash landed in this submarine s**thole? I enjoyed the comedy of the Russians looking ridiculously confused when she said "I don't speak Russian" while outwardly speaking Russian, but still.
Clara went in alone to speak with Skaldak, but with the Doctor telling her what to say through extremely large '80s headphones. She did the super-special Ice Warrior salute and expressed their sincerest apologies and reverence — because, as we know, the only way to satiate a macho man is to appeal to his ego. But Skaldak saw right through it, and when Clara approached him against the Doctor's wishes, she saw that the lizard-man had EXITED HIS ARMOR!
Now, you have to understand: an Ice Warrior never abandons his armor. That's like asking a Kardashian to go outside without 50 lbs of makeup, or my roommate without a fake tan. (She doesn't read these, so it's cool.) The Doctor realized that Skaldak's people had not responded to his call, so now they were dealing with an Ice Warrior on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Plus, he was PISSED. To hammer in this point, the Doctor slowly turned around, and Matt Smith brilliantly executed the line: "He's got nothing left to lose."
So the stupidest move of the week award goes to the first guy that Skaldak, in his natural form, managed to find. He wrapped his large, reptilian talons over the dude's head from the vents above, and the guy started nervously bumbling, saying that they were all warriors and could work together in the "mutually assured destruction" of the Cold War. You know what's like, the number one thing you don't tell an insane alien warrior who has been frozen for 5,000 years and thinks he's never going to see a member of his own race again? That you have missiles aboard capable of causing mutually assured destruction! "Cold War" and "Ice Warrior" go together like Jackie Tyler and velour tracksuits, so this was surely an exciting proposition.
At this point everyone split up — Clara, the Doctor, and the Professor went one way, Davos another, and two unknown guys yet another, so you knew they were toast. Skaldak got them pretty much right away. RIP, randos. Clara became frightened when the Doctor told her something from the Companion Handbook that she had clearly skimmed over, which is that time can be rewritten — this is the first adventure for Clara that could have severely altered her way of life (or, you know, ended it), and it hit her hard.
The Professor tried his best to comfort Clara, which was adorable and sweet and funny all at the same time. Jenna-Louise Coleman and David Warner were fantastic in their scenes together, and you had to laugh when he grilled her about Duran Duran and Ultravox, then inspired her to sing "Hungry Like the Wolf" when she was afraid. (PS, I'm going to try that next time I'm stuck in the subway. That s**t is terrifying.) Though Clara exited the episode strong and proud (saving the world is what we do!), I'm curious to see how "Cold War" might change her outlook going forward.
Side-Note 2: I loved it when the Doctor told Clara to stay put with the Professor and not to argue, to which she replied with a sense of bewilderment, "I'm not." That was a clear wink-wink on companions past — particularly Amy Pond — who never listened to the Doctor when he told them to stay put.
Annnywayyyyy, Skaldak found and loaded the missiles, obviously. Grieving, he decided that since his life was over, the planet that trapped him and ruined his should be, too. And since sending one missile to America would signal the end of the world, as things were during the Cold War and probably still are now (sad), all it would take was one push of a button to signal the beginning of the end. Basically, the gang was in dire straits.
Thankfully, in his own way, Skaldak is a "man" of honor. Though he could turn Earth into "a second red planet... red with the blood of humanity" is he wanted to, the Doctor pointed out that there was no honor in killing a young, primitive (thanks) race — but there washonor in teaching this new race the honor found in mercy. If Skaldak pressed the trigger he wouldn't be a solider, he'd just a murderer. A murderer of billions.
It's tough to say whether or not Skaldak would have gone through with it had his people not returned and beamed him up to the mothership. I'd like to think the best, and this option is reinforced by the fact that Skaldak still could have deployed the missiles from up above. Instead he let Earth go, and even gave the doomed kids in the submarine a ride to the top, effectively saving everybody's lives.
In the end, the world was saved (again), and both Clara and the Russians learned some valuable lessons. The former finally saw the severe danger she had put herself in when she chose to travel with the Doctor, the latter learned about mercy and the many ambiguities of war. Also, Clara/Doctor shippers were probably excited when Clara and the Doctor shared their first affectionate moment (a hug), but luckily the Doctor still gave his "humans are icky" face and looked severely uncomfortable during the whole exchange. Oh Doctor, never change (too much).
What did you think of Cold War, fellow Whovians? Were you pleased with the return of the Ice Warrior? Do you like the direction this series is taking? Let us know in the comments!
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
MORE:'Doctor Who' Recap: The Rings of Akhaten'Doctor Who' Recap: The Bells of Saint John'Doctor Who' Boss Steven Moffat on Clara's 'Unsolveable' Mystery
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It's that special part of the day again: time for television tidbits! Tonight's savory television bits come from all over the world: from Briarcliff Manor to a kitchen in the United Kingdom, our small screen news knows no bounds. So let's dig in before it gets cold!
From Walking Dead to L.A. Noir: Former Walking Dead showrunner Frank Darabont has gotten his period drama L.A. Noir picked up for a six episode run on TNT. It stars Walking Dead‘s Jon Bernthal as an ex-Marine working for the LAPD in an era run rampant with corruption of the police variety of the 1940s. The true story series will tell the tale of the conflict between the LAPD (under the helm of Police Chief William Parker, aka Justified‘s Neal McDonough), and the criminal ring run by Mickey Cohen, a former boxer-turned-top-banana-crime-boss. [TVLine]
Dylan McDermott Returns to the Horror Story: Current television king Ryan Murphy has taken to his favorite place of news-breaking (the almighty Twitter) to announce the guest star casting of Dylan McDermott on American Horror Story: Asylum. Though no one knows what his role will be (or how involved it will be in the story line this year), it seems certain that it will probably involve a lot of creepiness. Fingers crossed he takes his shirt off, too (naturally).
So thrilled to announce Dylan McDermott is returning to American Horror Story!— Ryan Murphy (@MrRPMurphy) October 17, 2012
Ahhhh! More Monsters: TNT has put Frankenstein into development—a drama series based on the novels of the same name by Dean Koontz, which have sold more than 20 million copies. It will be a modern-day retelling (of course! Aren't they all?) of the Frankenstein myth, set in New Orleans. Following Victor Helios (Frankenstein) and his creepy creation 200 years after they thought they killed each other (but had not!) in a battle in the Arctic, the two end up in the same city unbeknownst to them. Victor has created more monsters that heed his beck and call, and once the original creature learns Victor is alive, a big ol' battle ensues. [Deadline]
CBS Orders British Cooking Competition: CBS is getting into the cooking competition game, giving a series order to Bake Off, an adaption of BBC2's The Great British Bake Off. The series has been a breakout hit in the UK as well as Denmark and Sweden, and will feature amateur Americans taking part in several baking challenges, with one being crowned the winner. Tasty! [Hollywood Reporter]
Mad Men Gets Lei'd: Apparently the season 6 premiere of Mad Men will start up with a cool drink of the tropical sights of Hawaii! Apparently Jon Hamm and Jessica Pare are leaving on Sunday for a small trip to shoot on the multi-island state. A second honeymoon for the Drapers, perhaps? Looks like creator Matt Weiner is putting that substantially increased budget to use. [Dealine]
A Marriage on Modern Family?: Earlier today, Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson tweeted a picture of himself and Eric Stonestreet underneath what looked like a marital arch. Could wedded bliss be in the air for the pair? Ferguson's not fessing up, but the image did come with the caption: "It's not what it looks like. Or is it? Guess you'll have to wait to find out!"
[Photo Credit: FX]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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The 2012 MTV Europe Music Awards nominations are in, and two non-Europeans are taking this year's show by storm. Barbadian superstar Rihanna is up for wins in six categories while American country cutie Taylor Swift hot on her heels with five nods.
Rihanna and Swift are also set to face-off in three categories: Best Female, Best Pop, and Best Look. But besides the battle of these musical beauties, there are a few other stars that have earned their own nominations. Here is the full list of 2012's EMA nominees:
Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe"
Rihanna (featuring Calvin Harris), "We Found Love"
Gotye, "Somebody That I Used to Know"
Pitbull (featuring Chris Brown), "International Love"
Fun. "We Are Young"
Lana Del Rey
Carly Rae Jepsen
Jay Z and Kanye West
Best Hip Hop:
Jay Z and Kanye West
Swedish House Mafia
The Black Keys
Florence and the Machine
Lana Del Rey
M.I.A., "Bad Girls"
Lady Gaga, "Marry the Night"
Katy Perry, "Wide Awake"
Rihanna (featuring Calvin Harris), "We Found Love"
PSY, "Gangnam Style"
Best World Stage:
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Foster the People
Lana Del Rey
Of Monsters And Men
Carly Rae Jepsen
The 2012 MTV EMAs air in the U.S. on MTV2 at 11 PM ET on Nov. 11. Will you be tuning in to cheer on your favorite musical talents?
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
[Photo Credit: DailyCeleb.com]
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Soccer ace David Beckham had been given the task of helping to transport the torch on a speedboat through the River Thames, docking outside the Olympic Arena, where retired rower Redgrave was waiting to receive the baton.
He ran the last leg of the flame's 12,800 mile relay as he held the fire high up in the air and literally passed the torch to the next generation of Team Great Britain, a group of seven young Olympic competitors each nominated by Great British sporting heroes, including athlete Dame Kelly Holmes and Redgrave himself.
The seven youngsters each lit their torches from Redgrave's flame and walked to the centre of the stadium, where a specially-designed copper cauldron was set alight as fireworks exploded in the skies above London.
The ceremony was closed by Sir Paul McCartney, who took to the stage for a special rendition of Hey Jude. At the end of his set, he announced, "Welcome to London!"
The Beatles icon's performance came at the end of a near-four hour visual spectacular, curated by Oscar-winning filmmaker Danny Boyle, which celebrated all things British.
Actor Kenneth Branagh, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and comedian Rowan Atkinson, as his bumbling character Mr. Bean, all made guest appearances, while James Bond star Daniel Craig filmed a short 007-themed clip featuring Queen Elizabeth II as they appeared to parachute into the Olympic Stadium from a helicopter.
David Bowie's Heroes aired as Team Great Britain walked out into the arena, bringing up the rear of the nations' parade, which saw a total of 204 teams from around the world march in pride for over 90 minutes. The monarch later took to the podium to declare the Games officially open as her royal relatives Prince Phillip, Duke of York, Princes William and Harry, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge looked on from the audience. British Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama were in attendance for the Games' grand opening too.
Also among the night's performers were rockers Arctic Monkeys, singer Emeli Sande and rapper Dizzee Rascal.
Boxing great Muhammad Ali even made an appearance at the grand event, helping to carry the Olympic flag into the arena with the support of an aide.
The event proved to be a huge success for Boyle, who took to his Twitter.com account after the bash to write, "Thank you, everyone, for your kind words! Means the world to me. I just want to take a moment to thank everyone involved tonight, couldn't have worked without you. Thank you, thank you so much. London2012".
You’d be forgiven for assuming Big Miracle the new film from Ken Kwapis (He’s Just Not That Into You The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) to be a made-for-TV movie. Its feel-good fervor and human-interest subject matter – the true tale of three whales trapped beneath the ice off the coast of Alaska in 1988 and the rescue efforts mounted on their behalf – certainly merit the Hallmark seal of approval and its ensemble cast is littered with small-screen stars. But it opens this week not on the Discovery Channel or Lifetime but theaters – a few thousand of them in fact. Perhaps that’s the “miracle” of which the title speaks.
John Krasinski taking care not to stray too far from his Office persona stars as Adam Carlson a Barrow Alaska TV newsman dreaming of the big time when a local boy (Ahmaogak Sweeney) arrives with a story that just might get him there: On the eve of their annual migration a trio of grey whales have become marooned under the Arctic Circle’s fast-forming ice sheet. Incapable of making the four-mile trek to open seas without running out of air they cling to a shrinking hole in the ice their only source of oxygen as time slowly runs out.
No sooner has Adam filed his first report than Barrow is inundated with reporters turning the plight of the whales into a media cause célèbre. A broad-based coalition is formed to free Fred Wilma and Bamm-Bamm as they come to be nicknamed bringing together such strange bedfellows as a headstrong environmental activist (Drew Barrymore) a scheming oil magnate (Ted Danson) a White House political operative (Vinessa Shaw) a native Alaskan tribe and the Soviet navy.
Big Miracle is conceived as an inspirational family film and as such there is the usual array of heart-tugging scenes but there’s also an odd strain of cynicism that permeates it. Hardly a soul in the film save perhaps for Barrymore’s character embraces the whales’ cause with what might be deemed altruistic intentions. Krasinski’s anchor eyes the crisis as an opportunity to advance his career as does a rival reporter played by Kristen Bell who arrives on the scene shortly thereafter. Danson’s oilman is seeking a public-relations boost while Shaw’s politico hopes to burnish the eco-friendly credentials of George H.W. Bush in advance of his presidential run. Even Krasinski’s Eskimo sidekick makes a killing hawking souvenirs and accessories to visiting rubes. The whole thing ends up feeling like some kind of saccharine paean to the virtues of self-interest a Hallmark special scripted by Ayn Rand.
Big Miracle never quite rises to the level of tear-jerker despite the best efforts of Barrymore who all but channels the whales’ suffering with her histrionics. Part of the problem frankly is that grey whales aren’t the most photogenic of species. (There’s a reason why their oceanic rivals the dolphins get the bulk of the plum movie jobs.) At any rate their majesty is scarcely apparent when confined to a hole in the ice depriving Big Miracle of those endearing “Awwwww…” moments so crucial to the success of animals-in-peril films.
Still it’s hard not to feel bad for the poor creatures unsightly as they may be as their plight is gradually overshadowed in Big Miracle by the contrived human drama that ensues on their periphery. (They are in many ways surrogates for the audience.) In the end when the whales finally escape their icy prison and take leave of their human “helpers ” one longs to escape with them.
The Sting star is a vocal campaigner for green issues and was a prominent supporter of Obama during his 2008 election campaign.
But he's now written a stinging column for the Huffington Post in which he outlines his doubts over the U.S. leader's commitment to environmental protection.
He writes, "One reason I supported President Obama is because he said we must protect clean air, water and lands. But what good is it to say the right thing unless you act on it? Since early August, three administration decisions - on Arctic drilling, the Keystone XL pipeline and the ozone that causes smog - have all favored dirty industry over public health and a clean environment. Like so many others, I'm beginning to wonder just where the man stands."
After detailing his areas of concern, Redford adds, "What's going on here? In all three cases, the administration's decisions have come in the face of a withering industry lobbying campaign based on the usual mix of fear mongering and lies... I want our smog levels to come down so more of our children and seniors can breathe clean air. Putting corporate profits above public health is unconscionable. It's outrageous that it would be countenanced - by this president or any other.
"President Obama has done a lot to protect public health and our environment... But we have to keep moving forward. This is no time to turn back from the progress we need. I have to believe that President Obama still knows it's important to protect clean air, water and lands. Like so many, I'm waiting for him to stand up for all that. I'm waiting for him to stand up for our future. But we can't wait forever."
There's just something inherently great about old people with guns. Normally I try to stay away from our societal elders lest they suck me into a conversation attempting to regale me with their dreaded wisdom and accrued-over-a-lifetime experience. But if you give an old person a gun, something magical happens: I start to pay attention. Granted, anyone with a gun is going to be worth paying attention to, but an old person with a gun is just a treasure. It's almost priceless when they turn out to be badasses that kick the crap out of a bunch of young whippersnappers.
Such a simple fact is really the only reason RED exists as a movie: It was an excuse to combine a handful of older celebrities with a truckload of firepower. Brilliant. (It doesn't hurt that that movie actually turned out to be pretty rad, a sort of "Why weren't all of the summer action movies this fun?" kind of flick.)
So in honor of RED's Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich, here is a list of their peers -- and in several cases, elders -- who have proven that they know just about as much about the AARP as they do the NRA.
[Note: For the purposes of this list, only people who are still alive and could thus actually be members of the AARP have been included.]
Kris Kristofferson, born 1936
Kris Kristofferson has shown throughout his career that he can beat the hell out of a lot of people regardless of age (hell, sometimes he doesn't even limit is geriatric rage to humans, as evidenced by him leading the resistance in Planet of the Apes), but it's his role as Whistler in the Blade series that fits in nicely with the RED mantra. The man oozes badass in it by making his own custom guns and dealing out death to vampires left and right without a single shred of remorse. And this was back when vampires did way more than just sparkle and fight werewolves; I can't even imagine how glorious it would be to see Kristofferson's Whistler wander into the woods of Forks, Washington, or to stop off at a bar in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and wait for someone to order a Tru Blood.
Michael Gross, born 1947
As far as I'm concerned, Burt Gummer is a national hero who doesn't get the thanks he deserves. He was just some quiet, reserved, old right-winger who happened to be enjoying his retirement in the town of Perfection, Nevada, when a handful of Graboids decided to start coming up out of the ground and eating his friends. His exploits as a gunsmith, bomb maker and destroyer of all things Pre-Cambrian have been chronicled no less than three times in the documentary film series Tremors. (Yes, I realize that Tremors is not a documentary and that Burt Gummer is really actor Michael Gross; just please let me have this one.)
Clint Eastwood, born 1930 Here's another actor with a fistful of roles that could have landed him on this list, but for the sake of brevity we'll just focus on Clint Eastwood as Bill Munny in Unforgiven. In it he plays a retired gunslinger who is legendary not for his heroic acts but for being a cold-blooded mercenary. Like all old-timers, he just wants to live out his life on his small ranch, but he ends up getting dragged back in for one last assignment. And then what happens? A lot of people get shot in the heart. Judi Dench, born 1934 Okay, so Judi Dench's M in the James Bond series isn't exactly known for popping caps in a bunch of other spies, but don't let that lull you into thinking she's not dangerous. Hers is one of the few roles of its kind considering M actually gets meaner the older she gets. She may not always be on the frontlines, but she's still making decisions that result in the deaths of countless terrorists, which is alright in my book. Sam Elliott, born 1944 Sam Elliott, a man with one of the most distinctive voices in Hollywood, hasn't taken on a ton of action roles in his later years, but even when he is playing a Southern gentlemen, he does it with a kind of extreme confidence you only see from people who know how to throw down. There is one particular role, however, in which Elliott breaks from his softer side and shows why exactly he is such a badass: Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley in We Were Soldiers. In it he plays a Vietnam soldier whose idea of a pep talk is to say, "Col. Custer was a pussy." Old people don't get much more hardcore than that. Wilford Brimley, born 1934 Wilford Brimley is a killing machine. Yes, he's now the comforting old codger that sells your grandparents life insurance and fiber supplements on TV, but back in the day he was ruthless. You couldn't last a few days at a research station in the Arctic with a Thing running around without having Brimley lose his grip on reality, barricade himself in a science lab and start shooting at his friends. That's a special kind of crazy, and I love him for it. Mel Gibson, born 1956 Edge of Darkness is one of the most ass-kicking movies of the year, which is astounding considering this year also included a movie called Kick-Ass. It's all a testament to how intimidating Mel Gibson is when he's in full-on gruff mode. When most old people get like this, they're simply unpleasant to be around because of all the complaining. When Mel Gibson gets pissed off, though, he shoots people and then pours radiation down their throats. Liam Neeson, born 1952 I love Taken more than I love oxygen, and I need that stuff to live. That is predominantly due to how on-point Liam Neeson is when it comes to, well, dominating people. The man is built like an oak tree and looks perfectly at home whether he's traumatizing someone's trachea or shooting them in the back. He will do anything to get what he wants, including putting a round in the shoulder of an innocent wife just to make a point. Stephen Lang, born 1952 Say what you will about Avatar and how paper-thin the characters and story structure are, but there's no denying that Stephen Lang is great as Col. Quaritch. The man struts around an entire alien planet like he owns the place -- he doesn't even use a gas mask half the time because he can't be bothered by such trivial things as a poisonous atmosphere. He carries himself with a totally convincing ex-military air. And, best yet, he looks like he could break your spine just by shaking your hand. Estelle Getty, born 1923 Okay, I know I'm breaking my own rules by ending the list with a person who is sadly no longer with us, but I just have to give Estelle Getty a spot on here. She may not be as intimidating as some of her cohorts on this list. She may look tiny and frail. She may even be dead. None of that matters, though, because she starred in Stop or My Mom Will Shoot. That's the only title on this list that not only alludes to a character's edge but is an actual threat, to boot.