Author

Aly Semigran
Staff editor Aly Semigran is a New York City native who grew up in Philadelphia and spent the better part of her youth trying to figure out what the Philly Phanatic was (an anteater?), quoting 'The Simpsons,' and learning all about movies from her dad. After graduating from Temple University, where she studied journalism, she moved back to NYC and began her career as a freelance entertainment journalist. Her work has been published in Entertainment Weekly, Maxim, Philadelphia Weekly, Philadelphia City Paper, MTV.com, and iVillage.com. She is thrilled to be a part of the Hollywood.com team and she is still quoting 'The Simpsons.' ('I'm Idaho!')
  • 'Enlightened' Finale: Amy Jellicoe's Journey Is Far From Over (You Hear That, HBO?)
    By: Aly Semigran Mar 03, 2013
    When I had the great privilege to talk  to Enlightened star/writer/executive producer/co-creator Mike White about the Season 2 finale, he said he purposefully didn't end it on a cliffhanger. Because, as any Enlightened fan is painfully well aware, the fate of the HBO series is yet to determined. While White remains cautiously optimistic that the recent wave of support could bring the show back for a third season, he didn't want to have it end on an ambiguous note just in case. But as the fate of the show hangs in the balance, it ended on a note that only Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern, deserving of her Golden Globe win and oh so many more) would want: one of hope. Hope for its characters, hope for all its themes, and hope that its viewers walked away from it with an understanding greater than themselves.  The tearjerker of an episode, titled so perfectly "Agent of Change", opened with Krista (Sarah Burns), anxiously awaiting the arrival of her baby. (If the show doesn't get another season, I'll be so sad that Krista and Timm Sharp's Dougie never got their own POV episodes). In a devastating voice over, Amy — who is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her own baby, the Los Angeles Times article blowing the whistle on Abaddon — muses, "How strange is this life, to be born into a body, to certain uncertain parents. In this beautiful, upsetting world. It's so bizarre." RELATED: Mike White Talks About The Rally Cry of 'Enlightened' Fans and What Season 3 Would Hold When we see Amy, she's as contemplative as ever. Ready for what's next, but raddled with nerves and confusion for what lies ahead. "Am I an agent of change or a creator of chaos?" she asks herself as she watches the horrors of the news unfold on the television screen. She continues, "Am I the fool, the goat, the witch? Or am I enlightened?" Damn, this show destroys me in the best way possible.  She, of course, has no answers for those questions yet. None of us do. Instead, she calls Tyler to tell him that the story is going ahead as planned and that he should prepare himself for what's to come, whatever that may be. As soon as Eileen (the wonderful Molly Shannon) walks in the room to find a nervous, sad-eyed Tyler, we knew it was all over, he was going to tell her. (Leave it to White to effortlessly weave in a hilarious line like "Is this about your aunt's time share?" in such an intense, dramatic moment). Not because he is weak (though he certainly lacks Amy's backbone and bravery), but because the ghost was at long last seen, and he didn't want to be invisible again.  Eileen, panicked and upset, takes off running, presumably to warn her boss Charles Szidon (James Rebhorn) of what's to come to him and the company. Tyler sits on the edge of his bed, slumped over and defeated. I don't know about you, but I've never wanted to crawl through a television set and hug a character more than during that moment.  Back at Amy's, she finally tells her mother about blowing the whistle on Abaddon, and as to be expected, Helen (Diane Ladd) is less than understanding. She tells her it wasn't her place to blow the whistle on them, especially after all they've done for her. That she is foolish and that her actions may be "brave", but they don't pay the bills. When Amy argues that there are things bigger than her, her mother agrees, but for different reasons. When Amy suggests that she'll just move out, Helen tells her it's a good idea. Of all the heartbreaking relationships on this show (and, my god, are there a few) Amy and Helen's always strikes the rawest nerve. The strain of parent and child not seeing eye to eye, not seeing each other for who they are and the unconventional ways they show love for each other. Helen's POV episode in Season 1 helped us understand her in a spectacular way, but all I wanted in that moment was for Helen to really understand, or at the very least accept Amy.  When Amy arrives at the office, she gets a call from Jeff (Dermot Mulroney) telling her that word of the story has gotten back to Charles and the higher-ups at Abaddon and that her name is mentioned specifically. Not knowing that Tyler has spilled the secret to Eileen, Amy frantically assumes it was Krista. She takes off looking for her, only to wind up at the hospital where Krista has just had her baby. What followed was one of the most cringe-worthy Amy moments of the show, as she flipped out on the new mother ("You have f**ked me for the last time!") and hearkened backed to Season 1 levels of Amy craziness.  All but a few moments later (after a hilarious shot back to Cogentiva, where Dougie says farewell, in the only way he can, to his employees) Tyler calls and confesses it was him who blew their cover. An embarrassed and angry Amy, who mercifully didn't run back into the hospital to try and explain herself to Krista, instead heads back to work to get her hard drive and get out of there before it was too late.  After Tyler has been taken away by HR (he'll likely crack the second he gets up there) Amy gets her stuff as quickly as possible and leaves, but not before she and Dougie have their own fantastic goodbye.  Dougie: "You are the worst employee I've ever had."  Amy: "You're the worst boss I've ever had."  Dougie: "We should hang out sometime." Ah, Dougie. I might miss you most of all. But Amy's great escape is foiled when human resources and security is waiting in the lobby for her. Though she tried to thwart off the request to be seen by Charles ("Yeah, I'm not really in the mood"), she finds herself in an elevator which is taking her up to her certain doom. She looks to the top of the elevator, perhaps for a thought of an escape, or maybe just looking up to the heavens for any kind of answer. RELATED: '30 Rock' Series Finale: I Will Never Forget You, Rural Juror In Charles' lobby she sees a series of screens which, fittingly, showed drones of bees mindlessly doing their bidding, and, sadly, a teary Eileen. Amy assures Eileen that Tyler wasn't the one to blame here, that he would never do anything to hurt her. Amy is not perfect, but she knows when to do the right thing. Even if it means taking full responsibility.  What happened next was nothing short of a miracle, a breakthrough. Not just for Amy, but for anyone watching who ever wanted to stand up for themselves and what they believe in. When Charles, who looked more like a child having a temper tantrum than a CEO facing a crisis he created himself, demanded to know who Amy was and what she wanted, she told him "I did what I thought was right...nothing was going to change, even with that job, your M.O. is to rig the system so you get rich and everyone else gets screwed. How much money do you need?" Damn straight.  "I'm just a woman who's over it," she continued. "I'm tired of watching the world fall apart because of guys like you. I tried to take a little power back." When Charles tried to take Amy down, telling her she was nothing more than a "mental case" who "doesn't understand anything" and has "fuzzy-headed idealistic notions that don't f**king apply", she fired right back. "If caring about something other than money is dopey," Amy responded, "I'm a f**kin' moron and the only thing I feel right now is satisfaction. I think the meeting's over. Thanks for the 15 years."  I take it back, this when I wanted to jump through the television and hug someone. In a perfect twist of karmic retribution, Charles (Rebhorn should easily earn an Emmy nod for this guest role) has a meltdown chasing Amy out the door in a scene that looked awfully reminiscent of her meltdown in the series premiere. "I will f**king crush you, I'm not done with you" he screamed as the elevator doors closed with Amy in them. Not skipping a beat, Amy says to the unfazed security guard, "He seemed upset." So many shows on television fall in the dramedy grey area and there may be no better example of that than Enlightened. While I'd argue it's more of a drama, I don't know if there's a show that gives me bigger laughs than this one.  Amy walks through the lobby of Abaddon, for one final time, liberated. She calls Jeff to tell him the "good" news and when he asks her to come over, she wisely declines. She knows herself better than that, even if she feels as lost about herself and her place in the world as ever. Instead she winds up at Levi's (Luke Wilson) door. Not because she is desperate, but because there is no one that knows her better, no matter how f**ked up their relationship may be. Case in point: he assures her she's not crazy (hell, we're all a little crazy), but that she's "just full of hope, it's a beautiful thing to have a little hope for the world."  And that, right there, HBO, is exactly why you need to bring this show back. Dern's Amy Jellicoe is one of the most complex, important female characters out there, who in a vast landscape of cynicism is still filled with hope for herself and the human race. That's a story that can, and needs to, continue to be told. In fact, if this is the bittersweet series finale —  in which we see that Krista is happy with her newborn baby, Helen beams with joy reading the Los Angeles Times article about her daughter (yep, that one did me in), Dougie closes the door on Cogentiva, Eileen shows up at Tyler's door, and Amy proudly walks into the great unknown — she left us with what could be the greatest closing words of any show in history. (And White wasn't kidding, there were no big cliffhangers here, only doors left open for so many wonderful possibilities for all these wonderful characters).  RELATED: 'Girls' Renewed For Season 3 "There is only one life," Amy confides in us, "There is so much I don't understand, but this I know, you can wake up to your higher self, you can be patient, and you can be kind. You can be wise and almost whole. You can walk out of hell and into the light. You don't have to run away from life your whole life, you can really live. And you can change. And you can be an agent of change." Be the agent of change, HBO, bring back a show that is as daring and heartfelt and beautiful and frustrating as life itself. The cruel world tells us that ratings will kill a gem of a show like this, but your heart and your head tells you that something this special deserves so much more. But if Enlightened never, tragically, returns, I'll always carry Amy's words with me. Thank you for everything, Enlightened. You made a believer out of me.  [Photo credit: Lacy Terrell/HBO]
  • 'All-Star Celebrity Apprentice': Gary Busey Will Be Back In Your Living Room and Your Nightmares
    By: Aly Semigran Mar 03, 2013
    What do you get when you put a bunch of Z-list celebrities/certified lunatics together in a board room and have them compete for the charity of their choice/fight incessantly? The Celebrity Apprentice. What do you get when you bring some of those Z-list celebrities/certified lunatics back together for even more competing and fighting? Why, Donald Trump's televised sideshow All-Star Celebrity Apprentice, of course.  RELATED: Even Celebrities Are Fed Up With Donald Trump  Former winners Arsenio Hall, John Rich, Piers Morgan, Joan Rivers, and Bret Michaels are all back (Michaels will be competing, while the others will serve as advisors) and so are former competitors Trace Adkins, Stephen Baldwin, Penn Jillette, Lil' Jon, Bret Michaels, Dee Snider, Marilu Henner, La Toya Jackson, Claudia Jordan, Omarosa, Lisa Rinna, Brande Roderick, Kim Jong Un's new BFF Dennis Rodman, and the puppet master of your nightmares Gary Busey.  RELATED: 'Celebrity Apprentice': Are You Woot-ing For Arsenio Hall?  Before the season premiere of the reality hit airs on Sunday at 9 PM ET NBC, we'll help get you caught up to speed before all the madness begins.  Show: All-Star Celebrity Apprentice Where We Left Off: Arsenio Hall, who was playing for the Magic Johnson foundation, bested Clay Aiken for the title of Celebrity Apprentice.  Biggest Jaw-Dropper Last Season: Lisa Lampanelli inexplicably lasting as long as she did.  Biggest Letdown Last Season: Poor Aubrey O'Day, who never reached superstar status. Case in point: she's not in the All-Star cast.  Player Most Likely To Win: There are some serious competitors here, but our money is on Dennis Rodman, if only to avoid nuclear war.  Player Least Likely To Win: Gary Busey, but we'll be damned if he won't be entertaining/terrifying to watch. Don't worry man, the Entourage movie will be here soon enough! 5 Reasons You Should Keep Watching: Lil' Jon may get the answer to his lifelong question, "What?!"; Stephen Baldwin could turn out to be the most sane Baldwin in Hollywood; Lisa Rinna's lips could be one of the charities; Joan Rivers will offend someone; Gary Busey might actually eat someone one of these days, and you wouldn't want to miss that, would you?  What We Ultimately Want To See: The boardroom turns the tables and fires Donald Trump...from existence.  What Would Make Us Turn Our Backs: If this show or its "stars" became even somewhat self-aware of its inane place in the television landscape.  RELATED: TV's Best Bitch Faces [Photo credit: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC] From Our Partners:Justin Bieber Celebrates 19th Birthday, Loses His Pants (Vh1)60 Celebrity Bikini Bodies: Guess Who! (Celebuzz)
  • Mike White Talks About The Rally Cry of 'Enlightened' Fans and What Season 3 Would Hold
    By: Aly Semigran Mar 01, 2013
    The road to enlightenment is long and difficult. The road for  Enlightened, the HBO dramedy about a woman who turns her nervous breakdown into a corporate take down, has certainly been difficult, but it tragically and unjustly might not be very long. But, as Laura Dern's Amy Jellicoe might muse in a calm voiceover, "Something is shifting, a revolution is happening. Change is in the air, can you feel it?" Over the past few weeks a groundswell movement from devoted fans and critics of the beloved, albeit low-rated series, has begun on Twitter and it's only growing. Everyone from actor/comedian Patton Oswalt to New Yorker critic Emily Nussbaum have tried to get the word out about the Golden Globe-winning Enlightened before it's too late. The second season of the show (which was downgraded from ten episodes to eight) comes to a close on Sunday night, with no definite word on whether it will be back for a third season. But those who believe in the magnificent show aren't going to stop fighting the good fight. The pleas of those very fans aren't going unnoticed either, at least not by the show's co-creator and writer Mike White — who also plays Amy's heartbreakingly simple partner-in-crime at Cogentiva, Tyler (White more accurately described him as "a sweet simp…who has his own issues with revenge")— certainly has. RELATED: 'Duck Dynasty' Premiere Breaks Ratings Records  "It's awesome, regardless of whether we get a Season 3," White tells Hollywood.com. "As somebody who spends a lot of time on the show and wants people to like what we're doing, it's nice to be affirmed. Whether its meaning more people have found the show or just they're now voicing their like for the show. For me, it's just… nice to know that the audience that has found it, it's something that they feel strongly about." White acknowledges Enlightened's deficit in the already overcrowded Sunday night lineup: "We've kind of had a hard run. We started up against the Golden Globes, and then there was the Grammys, and the Super Bowl, and the Oscars. Every event that's being televised against us," and the creator has noticed the shift in attention towards the show. "At the beginning I was like, 'Is this even registering?' It was kind of a bummer because I was proud of the season, I'm proud of the show, and I was like, 'Is this just a tree falling in the forest?' I didn't really want to go through that with this. That's why, for me, it's like whether we get another season or not — obviously I would prefer a third season or multiple seasons — just hearing that people have found it is enough." While White doesn't know if the rally cry has been heard by HBO, he's hopeful that it will. "I know that this kind of thing is meaningful to them, I'm sure that they have a system in place to keep their ear to the ground about it. At the same time, it's hard. Girls is a huge show, as far as buzz, and magazine covers, and getting a ton of copy, and awards. And yet I don't think the viewership is huge. With us ... it's difficult, because how many shows can you keep alive based on an ardent, but small fan base?" "At the same time," White says, "there is a part of me, and maybe this is just wishful thinking, [that feels] something's happened the last couple of weeks and more people will find the show. And if we did come back, it would be a little less of a hard sell to reorient this in the landscape." RELATED: 'Girls' Renewed For Season 3  If the fan movement does work, White notes it would almost be, in a sense, life imitating art. "We did an episode about Twitter. [So] it's ironic that if we do get a third season it might be Twitter that actually saved the show. Seeing that firsthand is kind of trippy, in a way. You see these people that keep beating the drum on Twitter and then you see, 'All right, because you told me to, I'm gonna watch the show, and then they come back and they're like 'I love the show!' It's like seeing word of mouth, you're eavesdropping on the world, in a sense." If word of mouth pays off (fingers crossed) and HBO gives Enlightened another go, White said he already has ideas lined up for Season 3. "Obviously there's personal stuff with Amy left unexplored," White said, including her relationship with her on-the-mend ex-husband Levi (Luke Wilson). "Certainly at the end of the [second] season, it's not clear if they are going to rekindle their relationship. Or is it now a friendship? If we had another season, there's more shoes to drop with them and more interesting ways to explore their relationship." "But as far as the bigger canvas," White continues, "I feel like Abaddon sues [Amy] and she sues Abaddon and all these people have to be brought in. Now it's all about, who is Amy Jellicoe? Is she this righteous whistle blower or she a crazy vengeful slut who's bent on revenge of a company that's only done good things by her? And having all these people — from the Cogentiva people to Krista (Sarah Burns) — and having them be allies or adversaries in the world of depositions and that kind of thing." White said he's not opposed to bringing back Season 2 newcomers like Eileen and Jeff, played by Molly Shannon, and Dermot Mulroney, respectively: "With Molly and Dermot, absolutely, I feel like they're still part of the story, but it's all depending on if they want more and how much do they want." But there's also room for even more characters to be introduced for a third season. "We were intending to, this last season, introduce Amy's estranged sister into the show. She's been mentioned in certain episodes, but we've never seen her. I was actually halfway writing that episode when I heard from HBO that we were only going to do eight episodes instead of 10, and then it just felt like there was too much going on. So next year that would be something we would do." NEXT: What else White has in store, and why the finale won't end on a cliffhanger. White would also likely bring back some of his interesting narrative elements for a third season... Those heartbreaking voiceovers: "It started in the first season where Amy and Levi go on a river rafting thing and the voice over got really heavy and I felt very choked up by the whole thing… I like that it can do that. I like having an emotional catharsis. The hope is that the tone from week to week can be elastic." The POV episodes, which they did with Helen (played by Diane Ladd) in Season 1 and Levi in Season 2. White mused about Levi's rehab episode from this season: "I've been in those kind of places, not necessarily rehab, but group experiences where you're looking around and you're like, 'Ugh, these people are crazy and they're all ridiculous,' but at the same time, at the heart of it is very sincere and people trying to connect even in their painfully awkward way." "The show has a different structure than most shows in that it has only an A-story, when it's Amy's story, it's all her story and you only see the other characters through her eyes, through a very subjective point of view," White says. "When you have a good cast like Luke Wilson and Diane Ladd, you feel like, well you don't wanna just short-shift them and have them constantly be seen in the way Amy sees them or used in the way Amy uses them. In order to step out of that, it felt like we needed to preserve the structure of having an A-story, but just switch focus to somebody else. As a writer, it couldn't be more fun to step out. In a way, it makes you appreciate Amy even more. You see her differently because the way the other characters, not necessarily in a good way, like in Tyler's episode you see her as like a potential villain. By the time he finds his love with Eileen, now Amy is like a serious obstacle to that." Amy being seen as a potential villain is not unheard of when it comes to some viewers who see Dern's crusading antihero as a tough pill to swallow. "We never set out to make a portrait of a saint who is sticking it to the man," White said. "When I wrote the first episode [of the season] I was like, "Wow, she's like a suburban Notes from the Underground anarchist, taking on the man in this amusing way. I had this idea that she would see herself as part of this crew of Black Panthers, leading an army of an insurrection against power and than by the end of the episode all she really managed to accomplish was getting the one person of color [Jason Mantzoukas' Omar] fired from her office." RELATED: 'Arrested Development' Might Just Have One New Season on Netflix  "I think this is often true of life with whistle blowers, there often is a revenge element, there's often a selfish element, delusions of grandeur kind of thing, wanting to be the star of their own," he continued, regarding a character as complex as Amy. "At the same time, I wanted the company to have issues so its not some kind of female Taxi Driver. I get a lot of pleasure out of those kinds of characters, turns out not everybody does. "It's fun to have a character that you can have two readings of and they may be opposing readings, but they both are valid," White continued. "Even her relationship with Krista, I see some people online are like, 'Krista's such a bitch!' Or any time that Amy talks to Krista, they're like 'Leave her alone!' It gives you a sense of what the viewer's affinities are, as much as it is the character herself. Some people have no patience for this kind of person and other people identify with her. What I don't want is for people to dismiss her. I just don't want it to feel like what we're doing is satirizing that kind of person, that's certainly not the goal. But I also didn't want to create a character that people felt was just a saint or somebody who could exist on a CBS show or something." White said that when it comes to finding a balance of comedy and tragedy for not only Amy, but the show itself, has been an important one. "I find as a viewer when I go to see comedies the strain to be funny throughout the whole thing, I start to lose my sense of reality and it ends up feeling like an empty experience, there's funny stuff in it but I've lost the emotional connection to the characters because it's just so bananas. At the same time I see dramas and its like, this doesn't feel like my reality because there's no absurdity or sense of humor. I guess i'm trying to write stuff that I, as a viewer, would connect to." Describing Enlightened as "a morality farce, in a sense" ("In the Buddhist tradition, every action has a negative and positive reaction. Even if you have the best intentions, are you trying to be a catalyst for change? There's gonna be some people who are hurt by what you're doing"), White assured that no matter what happens to the show, fans won't be left wondering about the fate of the characters. "I kinda outlined the whole season before I start writing. You only have so many episodes, especially when you have as much plot as we have. We had a lot of balls in the air by the end and we kinda need to know how this is going to land, or I'm going to be in trouble as a writer. I wasn't going to go into it as a cockeyed optimist thinking we would get another season because our ratings were so low the first year. Just as a cultural artifact, sometimes these things live longer and people find it more if they feel like its a complete thing, so I really didn't want to leave it on like the biggest cliffhanger and have people think its like this abortion. So I wanted it to feel like it had a satisfying end, but at the same time I feel like all the characters are in a bubble that's so easily burst, that it's not over if they allow it." Leave it to White to make an analogy for the potential of saying goodbye to the show that would make Amy would so get: "I liken it to if you go to a shrink its like you don't wanna start with a new shrink and have to explain all this shallow stuff again. It's like now you're deep into it, you can get into the even deeper stuff, and that's what I hope a third season could be: even more psychologically deep." Fans would, no doubt, be ready to dive in. [Photo credits: Lacey Terrell/HBO] From Our Partners:Justin Bieber Celebrates 19th Birthday, Loses His Pants (Vh1)60 Celebrity Bikini Bodies: Guess Who! (Celebuzz)
  • Who Said It: The Pope... or 'Fifty Shades of Grey'?
    By: Aly Semigran Mar 01, 2013
    Pope Benedict XVI may have left the Vatican for good, but that doesn't mean he isn't leaving a legacy behind. And by legacy we mean this spectacular farewell digital scrapbook. (Who knew the Pope was so proficient with iPhoto on his 1999 Apple iBook?) From its use of the heavenly Papyrus font to those tasteful selfies, this Popebook is everything you'd want and hope for. The only thing missing is this jingle playing every time you turn the page.  RELATED: Pope Benedict XVI Quits  But something struck us as we flipped through all 62 (!!) pages of Benny's book. No, not that he forgot to wish us  an awesome summer. (C'mon man, haven't you signed a yearbook before?!) But that the language sounded, well, awfully similar to E.L. James' wildly popular BDSM-inspired series Fifty Shades of Grey. Don't believe? Take our sacrilegious "Who Said It: The Pope or Fifty Shades of Grey?" quiz to find out if you can tell the difference between waxing poetic about Christian Grey and Christianity.  Who Said It: The Pope Or 50 Shades of Grey? 1. "I seem to feel his strong hand clasping mine; I seem to see his smiling eyes and hear his words, at this moment addressed specifically to me, "Do not be afraid!" 2. "Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction." 3. "I find myself walking beside him, hand in hand." 4. "The heavenly choir all singing different parts, their voices blending blissfully and sweetly together in a melodic harmony that is beyond anything I’ve ever heard." 5. "To love is to give, to offer what is 'mine' to the other." 6. "God, I hope I don't let him down." 7. "She is called to be the sign and instrument ... in pure docility to his authority and in total service to his mandate." 8. "I'm Eve in the Garden of Eden, and he's the serpent, and I cannot resist.” 9. "Christian takes a whole different league of handling or understanding." 10. "The first missionary commitment." 11. "Man bears within him a thirst for the infinite, a longing for eternity, a quest for beauty, a desire for love." 12. "There is light everywhere. Bright, warm, piercing light, and I endeavor to keep it at bay for a few more precious minutes. I want to hide, just a few more minutes. But the glare is too strong, and I finally succumb to wakefulness." 13. "It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with [NAME], who suffered with infinite love." 14. "If you give yourself to me, it will be so much better ... I can take you to places you dont even know exist." 15. "We're talking about cheese... holy crap!" Check out the answers on the next page to see how you fared.  ANSWER KEY:  1. "I seem to feel his strong hand clasping mine; I seem to see his smiling eyes and hear his words, at this moment addressed specifically to me, "Do not be afraid!" THE POPE  2. "Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction." THE POPE  3. "I find myself walking beside him, hand in hand." FIFTY SHADES OF GREY  4. "The heavenly choir all singing different parts, their voices blending blissfully and sweetly together in a melodic harmony that is beyond anything I’ve ever heard." FIFTY SHADES OF GREY 5. "To love is to give, to offer what is 'mine' to the other." THE POPE  6. "God, I hope I don't let him down." FIFTY SHADES OF GREY  7. "She is called to be the sign and instrument...in pure docility to his authority and in total service to his mandate." THE POPE  8. "I'm Eve in the Garden of Eden, and he's the serpent, and I cannot resist.” FIFTY SHADES OF GREY  9. "Christian takes a whole different league of handling or understanding." FIFTY SHADES OF GREY  10. "The first missionary commitment." THE POPE 11. "Man bears within him a thirst for the infinite, a longing for eternity, a quest for beauty, a desire for love." THE POPE  12. "There is light everywhere. Bright, warm, piercing light, and I endeavor to keep it at bay for a few more precious minutes. I want to hide, just a few more minutes. But the glare is too strong, and I finally succumb to wakefulness." FIFTY SHADES OF GREY  13. "It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with [NAME], who suffered with infinite love." THE POPE  14. "If you give yourself to me, it will be so much better...I can take you to places you dont even know exist." FIFTY SHADES OF GREY  15. "We're talking about cheese...holy crap!" FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (But we wish the Pope).   [Photo credits: Vatican; Vintage Books] From Our Partners:Justin Bieber Celebrates 19th Birthday, Loses His Pants (Vh1)60 Celebrity Bikini Bodies: Guess Who! (Celebuzz)
  • Lawyers Weigh in on 'Zero Dark Thirty' 9/11 Voicemail Controversy
    By: Aly Semigran Feb 28, 2013
    Despite being released three months ago, another day, another Zero Dark Thirty uproar. Just as soon as the dust started to settle with Kathryn Bigelow's controversial depiction of the decade-long manhunt, and eventual killing, of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, it's been kicked up again.  Around the same time that the Senate Intelligence Committee dropped their investigation of the film's torture sequences and concern that the filmmakers had access to top secret information, familes of a 9/11 accused those behind the Oscar-winning movie which stars Jessica Chastain (pictured in a scene from the film) of using audio of the voices of their loved ones without their consent.  RELATED: 'Zero Dark Thirty': Senate Drops Their Investigation  Last week the New York Times reported that the family of Betty Ann Ong, a flight attendant who died aboard American Airlines Flight 11  on September 11, 2001 "was improperly used in an opening sequence of “Zero Dark Thirty." (The film opens to a pitch black blank screen as the harrowing sounds of 9/11 are heard, including frantic, final phone calls from those lost). Her brother Harry Ong stated about the use of the audio, "I thought it was just outrageous, and totally poor judgment, and an abuse of the voices." Mark Boal, the writer of Zero Dark Thirty (whom the Ong family sent a letter to) stated last week, "As the 9/11 commission justly proclaimed, Betty Ong is without a doubt one of our national heroes.” In a letter from the Ong family, they demanded an apology from the Academy for the film and that the filmmakers donate to a charity set up in her name. Sony — which produced Zero Dark Thirty  along with Annapunrna have since donated to the museum being built at Ground Zero, and put the names of victims and links to foundations on the film’s official web site — relayed to Hollywood.com in a statement: "Zero Dark Thirty was borne out of the tragedy of September 11, a day that left an indelible mark on all Americans, but none more so than those who lost so much on that tragic day.  While the film tells the ten year story of how America brought the terrorist behind 9/11 to justice, we recognize that this remains a delicate and painful subject for many. That’s why the filmmakers, beginning before the film’s release, initiated contact with a number of family members of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, including some whose voices can be heard on publicly released tapes. We hope that Zero Dark Thirty is, in some small way, a tribute to those forever affected by the events of 9/11 and to those who worked so hard and risked so much to see that justice was done." Since then, another family has come forward with a similar issue with the film. The family of Bradley Fetchet, a 24-year-old equities trader who worked on the 89th floor of the South Tower, say filmmakers used the audio of his last phone call without their consent. Mary Fetchet, Bradley's mother, told the New York Daily News in an interview, "I was shocked that I hadn’t been contacted to be asked for my permission to use Brad’s recording...to take his last words to me before he died, just, it’s counterproductive to one’s healing process. I don’t object to the film being made. But I do object to them taking the liberty of including my son’s last message to me.” The Fetchets had previously made the audio of Bradley's final phone call public, but, as attorney Brooke Oliver of Oliver & Sabec who has represented both families explained to Hollywood.com, "only to tell Brad’s story and that of the other 9/11 families, and never for commercial purposes. "  RELATED: Zero Dark Thirty' Takes Top Honors At 2013 Writers Guild Awards  Oliver added, "The Fetchet and Ong families also hold the publicity rights in their loved one’s voices. The filmmakers may claim the First Amendment and public interest offers them an exception for non-commercial use of the voices. It’s hard to consider a blockbuster feature film that’s making tens of millions 'non-commercial.' The voices and memory of those who died in 9/11 are not free for the taking; the recordings portray painful and frightening moments in real people’s lives... Zero Dark Thirty should have asked permission and given credit where credit is due." So do the families have legal grounds here since, as Oliver noted, "the tape recording itself is protected by federal copyright law." Tim Bukher, a parnter at Handal & Morofsky, LLC explained, "New York Civil Rights Law Section 51 provides a cause of action to '[a]ny person whose name, portrait, picture or voice is used within this state for advertising purposes or for the purposes of trade without the written consent first obtained.' In New York we call this our "Right to Privacy" (in California and some other states it is referred to as the "Right of Publicity"). Connecticut, which is relevant here because that is whether the deceased's family lives, also has a common law right of publicity." Bukher adds, "The Right of Privacy does not apply with respect to news reporting for the obvious reason that news reporting is not historically viewed as having a purely advertising or trade purpose (plus our constitutional freedom of speech, especially as it relates to the press, trumps any state laws). In this case, however, you have a commercial artistic film using a person's voice without his permission; this would typically be considered a non-permitted use of a person's voice for the purposes of trade. The fact that the family may have permitted other parties to use the recording in the past does not provide the film's producers with the same right." "New York does not extend a right of publicity to the deceased, Connecticut does. So whether or not the family has a valid claim depends on where the deceased was domiciled," Bukher explained, adding, "This area gets even more gray because certain jurisdictions have recognized that even artistic films that deal with matters of major public interest may, in certain instances, be viewed as news reporting — which would again bring back the free speech issues." RELATED: 'Zero Dark Thirty': Pentagon Moves Ahead With Investigation Oliver says what the families want as a result of this is simple: "The families want to set the record straight, and to be sure that their loved ones’ legacies are associated with the things they and their families believe in." As the New York Times points out,  Zero Dark Thirty concludes with a dedication to "the victims and the families of the 9/11 attacks." [Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures] From Our Partners: Kate Upton Bares All In Body Paint (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson Are, Uh, Enjoying Themselves On The 'Catching Fire' Set
    By: Aly Semigran Feb 28, 2013
    Won't somebody please think of the children?! Nah. And while you're at it, stop ruining everything cool, you precocious children and your frenzied parents. Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson just want to unwind and relax between shots on the Catching Fire set without the morality police (or actual police) coming after them.  RELATED: Jennifer Lawrence and the Best 2013 Oscar Speeches A buzzkill of a paparazzi snapped some shots of the back-to-brunette Oscar-winning actress partaking in a glass of wine (not an issue, she's of age) as well as her and her co-star smoking something that appears to be... well, the very same thing that got Justin Bieber in trouble.  RELATED: Jennifer Lawrence Was Hilarious at Oscar Press Conference While the incriminating photos will undoubtedly get some worked up, the nearly universal love for Lawrence should ensure this won't hit levels of Bieber or Miley Cyrus hysteria. Nor does Lawrence seem like the type to make a Bieber-esque apology for this. I mean, have you heard Lawrence lately? Girl does not play by the rules. (See: Universal love).  RELATED: New 'Catching Fire' Poster is Everything You'd Want And really, who wouldn't want to party (responsibly, of course) on a balcony with Katniss and Peeta in Hawaii? Don't forget to bring a towel! Check out more of the pics below of Lawrence and Hutcherson bringing a whole new meaning to The Hunger Games. (You see, because they would have the munchies.)  [Photo credits: Zeus/Apollo/Chaos/FameFlynet (3)] From Our Partners: Kate Upton Bares All In Body Paint (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • Chris Brown and Rihanna Get the 'Law & Order: SVU' Treatment. KA-CHUNG!
    By: Aly Semigran Feb 28, 2013
    Law & Order: SVU wanted you to know that their episode about a verbally, sexually, and physically abusive R&B star who beats his pop star girlfriend up was not based on Chris Brown and Rihanna. Because, at one point during Wednesday night's inexplicably star-studded episode (Jeffrey Tambor, what in the actual hell are you doing here playing not-Chris Brown's lawyer?!), someone jokes that not-Chris Brown Caleb Bryant (same initials!) and not-Rihanna Mischa Green "should go on a double date with Chris Brown and Rihanna." See, not the same people!  Nevermind the fact that the on-screen duo bears some obviously striking similarities to the real-life pair's drama: Caleb wears a s**t-eating grin the entire time, is racially insensitive (he refers to his lawyer as "his Jew", though if you were to summon a Jewish person at will and Jeffrey Tambor shows up, maybe you're doing something right), plays the victim card during his trial (where he gets a soft punishment of community service) while continuing to behave like a world class douche, gets a tattoo that resembles his abused girlfriend, and tweets out pictures from her bedroom. Meanwhile, the photos of a bruised and bloodied Mischa — who eventually winds up back in the arms of Caleb — go viral. How do we know they go viral? Because Perez Hilton, who takes time off from being a new dad to have one of the 73 truly bizarre cameos in this episode, tells us so.  RELATED: Rihanna Says Chris Brown Is Different Now No, the episode is clearly meant to be a cautionary tale for Rihanna (because by the end of the episode not-Rihanna freakin' dies at the hands of fake not-Chris Brown, who had already murdered not-Rihanna's manager at a club) and Team Breezy. "Women and girls look up to you!" Mariska Hargitay cries to not-Rihanna, later foreshadowing, "Stranglers are more likely to kill." She also warned Mischa regarding abuse, "Men do this once, they do it again."  The whole thing would have felt pretty bleak and even more depressing than the real-life saga of Chris Brown and Rihanna had it not been for these key moments:  - Dave Navarro plays a guy at a music studio who clearly has no scruples or moral compass. So, himself.  - BAMF Sue Simmons makes a cameo as a newscaster covering Caleb's trial! Sue Simmons, for all of those that live outside of the New York metropolitan region, is a beloved newscaster who once dropped the F-bomb on live television. She is awesome.  RELATED: Rihanna Launches Fashion Line - Wendy Williams plays a talk show host (so, herself) who asks not-Chris Brown about his relationship with not-Rihanna and also, "How you doin?" - Law & Order's New York Post knock-off newspaper New York Ledger with their dead-on headline: "Beauty and the Beating." I have no doubt someone from the New York Post got fired for not thinking of that first.  - Ice-T interrupting Caleb and Mischa's terrible duet "You Can Count On Me" to show these young punks how it's really done. Okay, that didn't happen, but it should have.  [Photo credit: Michael Parmelee/NBC] From Our Partners:25 Most Scandalous Celeb Twitpics (Vh1)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • 'SNL' Promo: Kevin Hart Acts Like a Comedian, Thinks Like a Host
    By: Aly Semigran Feb 27, 2013
    At this point, who wouldn't want to be mistaken for charming, beautiful Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence? Kevin Hart certainly didn't mind when Jason Sudeikis mistook him for the Silver Linings Playbook star (not, as one might expect, Chris Tucker) in the promo video for his gig as Saturday Night Live host this weekend. In fact, the actor/comedian seems to want to be as closely associated with Oscar royalty as possible. The Think Like A Man star, who is ready to follow in fellow recent SNL host footsteps like Lawrence, Anne Hathaway, and Christoph Waltz, even has a teary-eyed speech ready to go.  RELATED: Kevin Hart Hosts the VMAs While Hart may not be Oscar material just yet, he'll try out his brand of humor on SNL, which — if this clip is any indication — involves a lot of sight gags like the classic Totem Pole Trench Coat (complete with Bobby Moynihan), being scared of a basketball, and some silly dancing. (Hey, if this means Sudeikis will do his "What Up With That?" dance, we're all for it). Check out the entire clip here:  RELATED: Christoph Waltz on 'Saturday Night Live': Can Austrians Be Funny?  Hart will host SNL on Saturday March 2 with musical guests Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. (You know, those guys who interrupt your otherwise pleasant Spotify listening experience with a snippet of their actively terrible hit "Thrift Shop").  [Photo credit: NBC] From Our Partners:25 Most Scandalous Celeb Twitpics (Vh1)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • Charlize Theron Joins Lineage of Life-Saving Celebs
    By: Aly Semigran Feb 27, 2013
    Just in case Charlize Theron wasn't perfect enough at the Academy Awards on Sunday (between her swoon-worthy dance with Channing Tatum and her knockout outfit, she and Jennifer Lawrence pretty much stole the show) the stunning Oscar-winning actress also reportedly rushed to help a security guard who was suffering from a seizure before the ceremony began at the Dolby Theater. RELATED: Best and Worst Moments at the 2013 Oscars  According to E! Online, Theron "was one of the few people around the man when he went down, and attempted to help him up, before someone else phoned a doctor." Hollywood.com reached out to Theron's rep for a statement regarding the story, but they could not immediately be reached for a response.  RELATED: Charlize Theron To Star in 'Dark Places' Adaptation?  Of course, while flawless human Theron continues to be a flawless human by also doing good deeds and looking out for her fellow man, she's not the only Hollywood star to come to the rescue in real-life life-or-death situations. Here are 10 other examples of celebrity good Samaritans:   -Mila Kunis found herself in a similar situation to Theron's when a man working on her home suffered a seizure and she reportedly turned his head to the side so that he wouldn't choke from vomiting and biting through his tongue.  - Say what you will about Tom Cruise, but the guy is a veritable superhero in these kind of situations. The actor came to the aid of a hit-and-run victim (he even footed their hospital bill); helped passengers to safety when their boat caught on fire; lifted two young boys who were in danger of being crushed by a barricade at one of his premieres out of harm's way; and helped a woman who was being mugged thwart her attacker.  - Ryan Gosling famously stopped a girl from stepping out in traffic and another time, stopped a scuffle between two men in the middle of traffic. He's a real hero and a real human being.  - Kate Winslet couldn't find room for poor Leo on the piece of driftwood in Titanic, but she sure was heroic when she carried Richard Branson's mother to safety when their home, where she was staying as a guest with her family, was on fire.  - Country star Garth Brooks also saved folks from a fire when he helped save two children who were caught in the path of a grass fire.  - Patrick Dempsey used a crowbar and extinguisher to help get a trapped teen out of his car, which had flipped over near his home.  - Dustin Hoffman called for an ambulance on his phone when a fellow jogger collapsed to the ground.  - Arnold Schwarzenegger put his on-screen hero skills to the test when he helped pull a distressed swimmer to shore at a Hawaain beach.  - Harrison Ford also took the leap from silver screen hero to real-life rescuer when he aided a hiker to a helicopter after the hiker fell ill from heat, altitude, and dehydration.  - Rapper T.I. talked a suicidal man off a ledge in Atlanta after hearing that he had been threatening to jump.   [Photo credit: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images] From Our Partners:25 Most Scandalous Celeb Twitpics (Vh1)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • 'New Girl' Recap: A Bro-niversary and An Unexpected Engagement Party
    By: Aly Semigran Feb 27, 2013
    It takes a special kind of comic actor who can find the perfect balance of being out-of-this-world funny and down-to-Earth vulnerable and real. So it makes perfect sense that Jake Johnson and Emmy nominee Max Greenfield, two comic actors who fit that bill, have such incredible chemistry on New Girl. It makes perfect sense that their characters Nick and Schmidt have been the best of buds for a decade, because these stars have such a natural rapport with each other, you wouldn't be surprised if you found out they have been friends that long in real life.  While the continually building chemistry between Nick and Jess is still on the lips and minds of New Girl fans (fittingly enough, Nick and Jess' lips were on each other's minds last night) last night's episode, "TinFinity" was really about the true New Girl odd couple, Nick and Schmidt.  RELATED: 'New Girl' Recap: Parking Wars The two pals had reached a momentous milestone in their friendship: they were celebrating their ten year anniversary as roommates. While their wood and paper anniversaries were disasters, Schmidt was undeterred to let their tin anniversary go uncelebrated and were going ahead with their tin celebration. Well, at least Schmidt was going forward with planning an elaborate garden party and bequeathed the reasonably simple duties of balloons and porta potties onto Nick, full well knowing he would screw them up. (He was correct, he got a hot air balloon with no propane and bought a discarded piece porta potty). "I'm having an anxiety attack!" Nick cried, who has a history of upsetting Schmidt with his poor party planning skills, when given his simple assignment. Johnson has easily created one of the most charming slackers in television history and Greenfield the most lovable douchebag.  As Nick dealt with that terrifying reality, Jess had one of her own: that she couldn't get Nick's smoochin' lips off her brain. (I mean, can you blame her? That kiss was a knee-buckler). She decided it was time to meet a new guy to move on and — wouldn't you know it?! — Winston brought a new fella into the group as if on cue. Hey, Winston needed something to do this week!  That fella was a guy named Jax (played by Something Borrowed's Steve Howey), who just so happened to be a very handsome and very sensitive professional football player that Winston met at work and desperately wanted to befriend. I repeat, Jax was very sensitive. Poor Jess found that out the hard way at Nick and Schmidt's TinFinity extravaganza, when he not only cried after admitting that liked her, but making a declaration of love in front of all of her friends. Mind you, this was literally hours after they met. He's all yours, Winston! Love seemed to be thick in the air at Nick and Schmidt's TinFinity party, as Cece's boyfriend of literally three episodes, the nice-enough Shivrang (Satya Bhabha) asked her to do this thing. And by this thing, I mean get engaged. Now, I know what you're thinking, this isn't what Cece really wants, she still wants Schmidt, and come on, she barely knows this guy. You're right, and much like Nick and Jess, the New Girl writers will likely dangle the hope of Schmidt and Cece in front of us for a while as well.  RELATED: 'New Girl' Recap: Nick and Jess' Post-Kiss Awkwardness Speaking of...poor Schmidt! It's bad enough he had to watch the love of his life get engaged at his own party (where Cece's other ex Robby inexplicably popped up for a minute) but he'd had a pretty serious spat with Nick. After Nick got annoyed that Schmidt had no faith in him for the party (he wrote his own speech for him), he snapped at him for no longer treating him like an equal, despite the fact that he was a grown man throwing a party for still living with his college roommate. Nick and Schmidt are the two biggest kidders on the show (perhaps because they are just two big kids) but these two really put their hearts out there during this spat. It was honest and raw and both aired their long-gestating grievances with each other. And Jess thinks Nick has no feelings! Pshaw, I say! (Jess may have run away from him at the end of the ep to avoid his mouth, but that's no different than when Nick moonwalked away from her. These two just want to run towards each other).  Of course, when Nick saw how crestfallen Schmidt was at seeing Cece get engaged, he patched things up with him, had a heart-to-heart about life's disappointments, and got drunk in a grounded hot air balloon. After all, he is the Burt to his Ernie, the Iceman to his Iceman, and that's just the kind of thing that best friends do. Jake Johnson and Max Greenfield, you are equals: comedy equals.  RELATED: 'New Girl' Star Max Greenfield on the Future of Schmidt and Cece The best moments and lines from last night's episode of New Girl "TinFinity":  - The re-emergence of Fat Schmidt. Is it just me, or is Fat Schmidt essentially Fat Monica from Friends? A formerly heavy loser who turns into a svelte clean freak? These two would have made an amazing couple. Additionally, hippie Nick would have gotten along swimmingly with hippie Ted from How I Met Your Mother in college.  - "Does he think you're Omar Epps?" - Schmidt to Winston, after he brought Jax to the bar.  - "I wanna fall asleep in them like Thumbelina" - Nick, discussing Jax's big, strong hands.  - "If you dig a hole in a dirt field, I'm gonna kill you!" - Schmidt's threat to Nick. (In the end, that may have been a better alternative).  - "That's what the nursing home said about my mattress!" - Nick rationalizing buying actual garbage/becoming a "small business owner".  - "Ten Years. Two Hearts. One Home. Loyalty and great conversation." - The theme of Schmidt and Nick's Tin-niversary.  - The various collages, cut-outs and photos of Nick and Schmidt scattered throughout their party.  - Jess' rightfully freaked-out reaction to Jax's pre-proposal. ("I'm innocent, I was framed!") - Nick describing his lifelong friendship with Schmidt as "upsetting, but kinda great." Nope, just great. [Photo credit: Greg Gayne/FOX] From Our Partners:25 Most Scandalous Celeb Twitpics (Vh1)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)