Emmy Award-Winning Comedian Sara Schaefer, Host Of MTV's Late Show Nikki & Sara Live, Will Be Blogging The Bachelorette For Hollywood.Com All Season Long.
Last night's episode of The Bachelorette was an emotional roller coaster (half-submerged in the Atlantic Ocean). Desiree took her gaggle of men to one of the world's most exotic locations: Atlantic City. Here are the highs, the lows, and all points in between:
The High: The Mr. America Pageant
I have to say, this was one of the most delightful group dates I’ve ever seen. Because it was the most honest group date I’ve ever seen: a bunch of guys peacockin’ trying to impress a lady on national television. No pretending to be deep with emotions trying to “connect.” Or, as Drew so eloquently put it, “It’s a hodge podge of tom foolery; a devil’s brigade.” A devil’s brigade indeed. During the pageant, we saw Chris’ hula hoop routine in high heels, Kasey’s fake tap dance, Ben’s beautifully executed ribbon dance, Alex’s pelvic thrusts (I think my eyes got pregnant from watching that), and Zak W. actually singing a not-terrible love song! Unfortunately, nobody pulled a Miss Utah during the interview round. Kasey won the pageant, but Zak W. ultimately won the rose: because he defied the hallowed rules of this game and sang during one-on-one time with Desiree! I have to say, I was shocked that he pulled it off. As Chris wisely wrote in his poetry book, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” Just kidding, T.S. Eliot said that.
The Low: Getting Dumped at the Top of a Lighthouse
Before the pageant, Desiree went on one of this season’s obligatory “weed out the weak” one-on-one dates. You know what I’m talking about - every season, the Bachelor or Bachelorette picks someone they’re “not sure about,” so they can dump them mid-date? For Brad, this would be just such a swan song. Though the two had fun acting like kids on the Boardwalk, the date turned into a disaster when an actual conversation had to take place. I’m not sure if Brad is crippled by shyness or a mild brain injury, but he just does not have much to say. The result: cringe-worthy long pauses. I felt like I was watching one of those old SNL sketches when Chris Farley would interview a celebrity. “Remember that time we went on the sling shot...?” A few hours ago? Oh dear. Desiree knew she couldn’t give him a rose at this point, so she knew she had to let him down easy. So she made him walk up a thousand steps to the top of the lighthouse. Because there’s no better way to tell someone you’re not into them: out of breath, in a location where the only two exits are a tiny spiral staircase or suicidal leap.
The Middle: Manny & Jan’s Private Dance with Hootie
While the men were off competing in the Mr. America pageant, James was eating strawberries in a bubble bath, exploring his body and preparing for his one-on-one date with Desiree. Their date was a helicopter over Hurricane Sandy wreckage. In other words, their date was sexy as hell. After the aerial view, they surveyed the damage on the ground by visiting a home owned by an old couple named Manny and Jan. During the heart-wrenching visit, a show producer Desiree got this really amazing idea: why don’t we gift our romantic date to Manny and Jan, and instead, we can eat garbage in a dumpy local restaurant? Wow. Is there a Nobel Peace Prize for Dates? James and Desiree, so moved by their act of charity, made out in front of the demolished house. See? I told you this date was sexy as hell.
Of course, they didn’t actually gift the entire date to Manny and Jan, because that would be silly. They weren’t going to just give up the best part of a Bachelorette date: the private concert. Desiree and James showed up just in time. The scene was beautiful: a homeless couple, married for nearly 40 years, dancing to their favorite musician, Hootie. (Yes, I know his name is Darius Rucker, but Manny and Jan don’t know that. Shhhhh. Don’t ruin this beautiful moment.) The date ended with a heartfelt speech in which James once again emphasized how he abandoned his sickly father for this journey. Desiree, you better be grateful!
According to previews for next week’s episode: it will be armageddon. (Literally, there was a clip of someone saying “This is armageddon.”) What! Wow! Isn’t this show pre-taped? How did we miss the apocalypse? Am I in heaven? Wait, what? Oh, you mean it’s Bachelorette armageddon? Oooooh, ok. So we’re just gonna see some guys get called out for being there for the wrong reasons? Got it. I can’t wait!
Tune into The Bachelorette every Monday night at 8/7c on ABC and check Hollywood.com on Tuesdays for Sara Schaefer's reactions to the madness.
Sara Schaefer is a critically acclaimed stand up comedian, writer, and producer based in New York City. She is the co-host of MTV’s late night show Nikki & Sara Live. She won two Emmy awards for her work as the Head Blogger for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and has written for BestWeekEver.tv and Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. Sara has appeared on Comedy Central, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Best Week Ever, FX, E!, Fuse, and AOL. She also has a popular podcast You Had To Be There with her MTV co-host Nikki Glaser.
Follow Sara on Twitter @saraschaefer1 Follow Hollywood.com @Hollywood_com
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Remaking any beloved horror property presents a sizeable challenge for the filmmaker. However, the challenges faced by Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead remake — which premiered last night at SXSW — were absolutely Herculean. We’re not just talking about remaking a classic here: we’re talking about redefining a standard. Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead was a watershed feat of low-budget magic and ghastly effects wizardry. It represents a turning point for the entire genre, and its name is hallowed as much as, if not more than, the likes of Halloween and Friday the 13th. On top of that, Evil Dead has already ostensibly received the remake treatment in its own 1987 sequel.
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The timing of its release also places the remake at tremendous disadvantage. We now exist in a post-modern, post-cabin-in-the-woods age of horror wherein the significance of Evil Dead has provided the centerpiece of the most self-aware horror film of all time. The titular cabin from Drew Goddard’s loving genre send-up The Cabin in the Woods (which also played to anxious audiences at SXSW last year) is in fact a near exact replica of the central setting of Raimi’s masterpiece. How then does Alvarez find fertile new ground to till, while still genuflecting to source enough to please fans?
Alvarez, who incidentally is a rookie feature film director, and the marketing behind the new Evil Dead, didn’t shy away from this seemingly insurmountable challenge; point of fact, they faced it head-on. The tagline on the poster reads, with considerable swagger: "The most terrifying film you will ever experience". Was their boast justified?
Yes and no.
Alvarez’s Evil Dead absolutely excels both as a remake and as a standalone horror thrill ride. It tips its hat in all the right places — the shell of a yellow Oldsmobile and a prominent Michigan State sweatshirt — and even utilizes, reservedly, a few of Raimi’s patented camera tricks. Surprisingly, it even includes references to Evil Dead II, but only where those references function in service of establishing the remake’s own identity.
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However, the diversions from its predecessor are where the remake is strongest. Part of the problem with a great many contemporary horror films is that believable character motivation often takes a back seat to contrived convenience. Evil Dead casts aside the now standard setup of young people escaping to a secluded location for unsupervised debauchery and gives the group a more substantial reason not only for venturing to the cabin, but for choosing to remain there as long as they do. This outwardly simple change keeps our characters grounded and amiable…where appropriate. There is also an interesting gender reversal at play in the remake, though to say more would court spoilers.
But is it the most terrifying film ever you'll ever experience? Probably not. However, were adjectives altered, it may well be in the running for the most intense and/or most gruesome. The tendency with remakes is to make everything sexier: younger casts, slighter apparel, etc. This is one area in which Evil Dead cannot be called a conventional remake. If Alvarez’s film is anything, it is not sexy. It is a dirty, savage gauntlet of pain and suffering. This thing is so grisly as to hearken in equal measure to the genre greats of the 80s and The Grand Guignol. These gory displays, constructed in overwhelming majority by practical effects, are as wickedly entertaining as they are disturbing; lending the film the levity of dark comedy and steering tone away from the less attractive “torture porn” distinction.
Evil Dead jumps and bumps, but rarely do the scares feel cheap. Eerie static images share screen time with pop-up frights, and even the grossest of gross-outs have a certain charm, which is again testament to the practical effects. Where we should be writing off these moments as exploitation, the magnitude of the violence becomes positively absurd and keeps the atmosphere light enough for the audience to enjoy the ride. The opening moments, just prior to the appearance of the title card, wonderfully encapsulate the crowd-pleasing spectacle that is Evil Dead.
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The young cast assembled is solid, but leading lady Jane Levy (Suburgatory) is the clear standout of the bunch, and carries even the ghastliest, gut-twisting moments with poise. The cinematography is rather impressive; often succeeding in making the cabin feel like a lived-in setting as opposed to a mere callback prop. Providing an undercurrent for the scares, Roque Banos’ score is outstanding and artfully incorporates sound design elements from the original film. By the film's end, with all elements impeccably combined, it is clear that there is still plenty of room for fresh ink in the Necronomicon.
[Photo credit: Tristar]
Movie Musings - Adam Sandler, 'Transformers 3' and Moving the Oscars
1. Grown Ups Will Break a Streak.
Last week I took a shot at the Grown Ups trailer. You and I both know it deserved it. But this week it's decision time for audiences, and how Grown Ups performs will go against one of two historical trends. Either people will decide to support yet another idiotic Sandler film or they'll punish yet another in a string of hapless summer releases. Consider the following list, whipped up by the crack Hollywood.com staff:
Now ponder this alternative list:
Prince of Persia $83 million domestic gross, $200m budget
The A-Team $55m, $110m
Marmaduke $29m, $50m
Jonah Hex $7m, $50m
Killers $41m, $75m
The studios have been getting drilled for their inferior product this summer. So, if the reviews are to be believed, something has to give. Either Sandler will remain the king of mediocrity ... or Grown Ups will join the ranks of big money losers this weekend.
2. Moving The Academy Awards Makes Sense.
When the news broke early this week that The Academy Awards might move to January the two reasons listed for it not happening were:
1. It would be hard for Academy members to see all the movies.
2. Piracy would be easier because more screeners would need to be shipped.
Luckily, I have some good news for The Academy, news that will allow them to push for a January awards ceremony come 2012. You ready for it? First off, my impression is that Academy members, by and large, don't see all the movies. Why? Because they all have jobs. Writing, acting, directing, being a key grip -- whatever the case, The Academy has always relied on that elusive "buzz" factor combined with "what would make the biggest headline" to determine who gets the little golden man. So we needn't worry about rushing their vote, because it will be as uninformed as always. Secondly, on the piracy note, the films that are winning over the last decade aren't really pirate fodder. Crash and The Hurt Locker parlayed a Best Picture win into heavy DVD sales, using the stamp of approval to cash in. The Academy now awards predominantly non-commercial work, the exact sort of work that's not as beloved by the "free movie" crowd.
Now that we've gotten the potential negatives out of the way, I've got a solid list of wins The Academy would reap from moving forward. First off, the show would become unpredictable again. Picking last year's winners was as easy as reading a newspaper two weeks prior, because it was all based on momentum. Avatar might have won in January, but by March it felt a little overhyped, allowing Hurt Locker's counterargument to rule the day. Secondly, it would kill all the other award shows, relegating them back to the minor leagues ... instead of the hallowed "road to Oscar" ground they are leeching off of now. An unpredictable Academy Awards that starts the year off right? Let's do this thing.
3. What We've Learned about Transformers 3.
We've learned that Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (pictured right, click for the big size) will have no problem replacing Megan Fox. Plus there will definitely be massive weaponry and Shia looking confused. It will likely be plot free, Michael Bay's specialty. And some point a robot will probably emit some sort of fluid that's meant to make us chuckle. Other than that, stay tuned, I'm sure the marketing push will kick in soon.
4. Seeing Red in October!
There's been a slew of films lately attempting to pull off the elusive funny and lethal former C.I.A. agent vibe. Losers, A-Team, Knight and Day, and The Killers all come to mind. But this new Red (Rretired Extremely Dangerous) film might just be the winner. We've been waiting for a worthy successor to True Lies and Grosse Pointe Blank. Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, and Hellen Mirren are an awful nice start.
On that note, I hope you all have a great weekend, full of World Cup wins!
Check out last week's Movie Musings here
Laremy is the lead critic and senior producer for a website named Film.com. He's also available on Twitter.