Kate Ward
Kate Ward is the current Executive Editor for, a former editor and writer for Entertainment Weekly and, and a forever fan of pop culture. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Ward — whose work has also appeared in Glamour magazine — loves talking about nutgrafs and hates exclamation points, despite using them on a regular basis. Specializing in reality TV, ’90s nostalgia, and bad movies, Ward is likely the oldest person to attend "American Idols LIVE!" every year with her mom.
  • 'Big Brother' Recap: Fruit Loops
    By: Kate Ward Jul 19, 2012
    Cheerio, Kara! As much as it is true that you were a human being who existed on Earth, Hugh Hefner and well-read virgins ‘round the planet said Boo-Berry after being forced to say goodbye to your oversized Grape Nuts during Thursday night’s first official live eviction. You might have been the Total package looks-wise during your brief stay in the Big Brother house, but your Honey Bunches of Oats were simply not enough to allow you to maintain a Life with a California Raisin like Ashley and others. Because, unfortunately for the shy houseguest — shy, of course, unless you consult Google Images — week one’s Head of Household always gets his Fruit Loops. But, really, the folks who have truly come out on top following the first live eviction are Big Brother’s fans. Not only because the house evicted the human equivalent of a manila envelope with breasts, but because week one has proven that the house is full of Banana Nut Brans, despite the show’s questionable “coach” twist. Surely, I couldn’t be the only fan skeptical of this season’s theme following two lackluster episodes. After having seen Britney, Boogie, Dan, and Janelle play the game at least once each, their gameplay — and the newbies’ complete passivity — began to be as boring as a bowl of Granola. But Thursday night saw the first indication of newbie rebellion — and complete, utter, kick-yourself-in-the-head insanity. I speak, of course, of Mr. Fruit Loops himself, Willie Hantz, not only publicly feuding with the popular Frank, but also spewing homophobia and rebelling against the coaches. And while Willie’s imitating of Wig is indefensible (really, Willie? You have two eyes that see Wig’s hair and you choose to mock his voice?), his gut was in the right place when he chose to call the house meeting. Just not his brain. Despite the fact that Willie was as itching to get Kara out of the house as he was itching to itch his neck, the lesser Hantz decided to rally the newbies, warning them that the coaches could find their way into the game. “We can change this game,” he told them, while Joe dreamed of what he’d look like with Guy Fieri’s frosted tips, Wig wondered if he should break out his old golfer hat, and Kara amorphous blobbed the s**t out of the room. In other words, no one cared. That is, until Willie mocked Wig, leading to Season 14’s first big brawl. So how did it all go down? Frank, recognizing that perhaps the person who put him up for eviction after promising to keep him in the game is not the most trustworthy player (apparently, the dude can cross “quick learner” off his skill set on his already thin resume), shared Willie’s homophobic mockery with the house. NEXT: Willie doesn’t make a Smart Start.Joe admitted to Frank that Willie wanted to split the votes — rather than unanimously keep Frank in the game — and send him drivin’ and divin’ straight out of the house to Flavor Town. Before long, Wig got wind of Willie’s comment, Britney told Willie everyone hated him, and Willie was left with nothing to do on homecoming night than watch the popular girls teepee his house while reading New Moon with a box of Kleenex. Lest you believe the drama ended there, Willie then publicly derided Frank for talking smack after the Head of Household did “everything in his power” to keep Frank in the game as long as you forget about that whole nomination thing.. As Frank defended his gameplay, telling Willie he rightly had to play for himself, the rest of the house watched idly nearby: Britney looked in horror as she saw her star player implode, Joe marinated himself in the pool until he was TGI Friday’s ready, and Janelle used Jojo’s body to retouch the bronzer on her face. And then something beautiful happened: Willie, clearly exasperated and out of insults, proved his manliness to the rest of the house: “I’m a f**king grown-ass man. And when I come in and get something to eat, I’m gonna f**king sit down there and eat some f**king food, Fruit Loops or whatever, cuz that’s what I wanna do!” Please, someone put this on a bumper sticker. But talk about a not Smart Start. Yes, Willie, you had the right idea — rallying a newbie base that already outnumbered the coaches — but choosing to prove your prowess in week one by publicly denouncing a popular contestant and forming a rivalry with four coaches that are not even your rivals yet is Nuts (‘n Honey. Okay, I’ll stop now). Why not pull your fellow newbies aside one by one to share your suspicions about the season ahead? Instead, Willie is doing exactly what he had hoped to avoid: He’s proving to be just as much trouble as his brother, Russell, but with half the social skill set. And when you prove you’re a worse social player than a man who deliberately wastes water, steals socks, and willingly hangs out with a host who non-ironically wears conch shell necklaces (oh my god, is Shane really Jeff Prosbst?!), you know you are definitely Fruit Loops. Especially when your former target, Frank, becomes your future nemesis. Because, as so often happens on Big Brother, the tides have turned. After Frank became the most embarrassing face of anti-bullying efforts during his speech and was deemed safe in the game, he managed to snag the Head of Household title after acing a dull quiz about an anonymous cat burglar that only served to remind me of the time Mark Wahlberg still disrespected himself enough to visit the Big Brother house. So, yes, Willie does need to watch his back — especially since you can never trust an aggressive blinker like Frank. But because Big Brother can do more in an hour than JoJo, we have another twist on the horizon! As Chenbot told us at the end of the episode, the coach that wins the coach’s competition this week will have the opportunity to keep one of their players safe — or trade their player for a different houseguest. And, meanwhile, somewhere, Hugh Hefner is wondering why "G. Okara" isn't responding to his texts.  Surprised Frank lasted the week — and nabbed Head of Household? Is Willie poised for elimination this week? What kind of medical condition does Willie have if betrayal makes him vomit? If Britney is right that Dan is surrounded by an angel chorus whenever he speaks, does that mean angels also suffer from voice immodulation? Why isn’t anyone making fun of Wig’s hair? Do you think Shane knows Kara’s legs attach to a body? Do you agree that Kara is an entity that exists? And should Count Chocula feel left out right now? Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard More: Big Brother Recap: Ain't That a Kick In the Head? Big Brother Recap: A Night At the Races Big Brother Season Premiere Recap: 10 Lessons Learned
  • 'Big Brother' Season Premiere Recap: 10 Lessons Learned
    By: Kate Ward Jul 12, 2012
    School’s out for the summer! Instead, what’s in is a season full of ridiculous wardrobe, nonsensical lies, and bewilderment at the number of VIP waitresses that exist in this world. (Surely, Tiger Woods doesn’t have enough hours in the day, right? Hey, when did it become 2009?) That’s right: It’s Big Brother time — that time of year when we trade in social hours cocktailing on the beach for disarmingly sheltered existences in which we destroy our livers while bemoaning the burgeoning stupidity of our country… while fully acknowledging that we love watching the burgeoning stupidity of our country on our TV screens. If the country’s obsession with Big Brother doesn’t prove we’re slowly becoming the real-life version of Idiocracy, then I don’t know simple math. (Wait, where was I going with that?) But guess what, America? Season 14 of Big Brother is all about education! So pick up your spelling books by the Department of Technotronics, and get ready to learn. Because this season’s twist surrounds the return of four former houseguests who have come on to coach the 12 newbies. (Coaching isn’t coaching without any spinning chairs, though. Thanks for ruining everything — like an existence without “Moves Like Jagger” — The Voice.) So who are “four of the greatest Big Brother players” who have come on board to help one houseguest win, and score $100,000 in the process? We have: Season 10 winner Dan Gheesling, a personal favorite who has the distinction of beating a mixologist and the most unlikeable old man to grace TV since Charles Widmore; Season 2 player and All-Stars winner Mike “Boogie” Malin, one-half of “Chilltown” known for his social game and appearance in Enrique Iglesias’ “Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song” music video); Season 6 and All-Stars player Janelle Pierzina, whose drive to win is as big as her… hair; and Season 12 Britney Haynes, who… hmm… was on Big Brother, she sure was! Is it me, or is one of these things not like the other? During a time in which reality TV series have all been stuck in a rut — opting to boast high star-wattage without delivering quality programming that people want to, you know, actually watch (ahem, Idol and X Factor — it’s admittedly nice to see Big Brother continuing to put in effort. And the twist this season should prove to be an interesting one: With each of the returning houseguests mentoring three players, it’s only time before teacher and student don’t see eye to eye when it comes to gameplay. Wax on, vote off. But since this was an educational evening, full of twists and admirable pantsuits (Chenbot’s inner clock took her back to 1976), let’s run down some of the lessons we learned during the premiere, shall we? NEXT: Lesson #1: In case of looming apocalypse, go directly to Vinton, La.Lesson #1: In case of looming apocalypse, go directly to Vinton, La. Because the Hantz family will be the only surviving living organisms, left to feed off of Twinkies and hump refrigerators to further mankind. Surely, I couldn’t have been the only person who thought Willie Hantz was destined for an unremarkable Big Brother run the second I read he described himself as “serious, hostile, and docile,” right? Still, despite the fact that Ian, Janelle, and Boogie all had him pegged as Russell’s sibling (and the fact that Dan strongly suggested it in front of the rest of the houseguests), and despite his stupidly revealing a hometown suspiciously close to Russell, Willie not only cemented a spot in the game, but was awarded Head of Household by Britney after her team won the first competition. Could this Hantz be the cockroach that finally wins it all? For the sake of CBS, yes; for the sake of our emotional well-being, no. Lesson #2: Being surrounded by good-looking ladies might make you win in life, but not on Big Brother. They say that those who can’t do, teach. So I suppose those who can teach, don’t do? Or something like that? Either way, my favorite player, Coach Dan, sorely disappointed when choosing a team full of lovely ladies with little ability to actually execute a competition. It wasn’t even close — though the fight for third place between Boogie and Janelle’s team was nearly a photo finish, Dan’s women failed to come close to catching up, despite the fact that they looked pretty losing. Dan, in the future, don’t disappoint and take a page from Coach Taylor: It’s “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose,” not “sparkling eyes, full breasts, lose.” Lesson #3: Sometimes the loser is clearly the winner. Poor Jodi. Regardless of the fact that she pushed harder than any of her teammates — and regardless of the fact that her marathon history does make her a fierce competitor — she is not svelte 20-something bimbo with a ridiculous occupation. So, clearly, she is not meant for Big Brother. Consider Dan’s choice to evict you a compliment, Jodi. See you on the season finale stools, dignity and all. Congrats! Lesson #4: World War III sounds fun! That is, if we believe Wil’s (with one “L”! Where did the second one go?! Let’s guess!) proclamation that the Head of Household challenge — complete with spinning mattresses and teddy bears — was like “World War III” with “flapjacks” flying around. You guys, the future sounds amazing — I want to go to there. Lesson #5: Do study the game. All Big Brother players can learn from Ian, who, despite his standout appearance, has already managed to fall under the radar. Dude was the seventh pick of the HOH, despite his clear advantage in the intellect department. Plus, the Tulane student was the only houseguest to recognize Willie’s familial connection, and he appears to spend most of his college days watching television. This is my kind of contestant, people! NEXT: Don’t lie about trivial personal detailsLesson #6: Don’t lie about trivial personal details. I’ll be honest: I dig the dishonest on Big Brother. If you’re going to play nice, why play at all? If we wanted to watch an unbearable sleepover, we’d watch an episode of The Girls Next Door. But nothing grates on me more on Big Brother than when houseguests lie about trivial personal information for no discernable reason whatsoever. See: Season 11’s Natalie telling houseguests she was 18 when she was really 24. And, last night, Danielle telling her fellow houseguests that she’s not a nurse, but a kindergarten teacher. Okay, first: There’s nothing that bothers me more than people who have bloated senses of self-worth about their choice of employment. (Yes, a nurse is a respectable career path, but nothing about that job tells me you’re a strategy-driven mastermind… especially if you’re standing next to a chemical engineer and especially if you’re willing to spend your summer jumping off mattresses to collect bears.) And, secondly: Your occupation does not matter on Big Brother. Past the first day of gameplay, your fellow houseguests don’t care about how you get paid outside of the house. Instead, your fellow houseguests care about whether you’re sticking their toothbrush in the toilet or, more importantly, if you’re lying. Which Danielle is. And if you’re going to lie on Big Brother do it right and despicably. (See: Season 12’s Matt’s sick wife lie.) So, please, future contestants: Do not lie about trivial matters… Lesson #7: …Unless you should. After all, if your fellow houseguests think you’re lying about your unemployment, then it’s probably time to at least get a fake job, Frank. Lesson #8: Don’t be boring. I’m talking to you, Kara and Joe. Who? Exactly. At least the mostly silent Shane has the defining characteristic of warning people of his personality by wearing a tool belt. Lesson #9: Don’t judge a book by its cover. Especially in the Big Brother house, because what are books?!. I do, however, have to admit: Though I thought I would hate Ashley the second she mentioned she was a mobile spray tanner (as if she were an actual object!), but her affection for Ian and reference to Frogger has somehow made her endearing. Could I possibly back a contestant whose career is a spray tan technician?! I’m shuddering like the house shower after Wil’s declaration that Season 14 is “The Year of the Hair.” Lesson #10: People who watch Big Brother must have a lot of herpes. How else to explain the mouthwash commercial for “sore mouths”? What do you think of this year’s twist? Do the newbies have much to learn? Is there a point to watching Wipeout once Big Brother comes back on? Did the show choose the right returning contestants to serve as mentors? Do you hate yourself for liking Ashley? Does Ian have this in the bag? And did you, like me, miss Dan’s voice immodulation in the diary room after all this time? Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard [Image Credit: CBS] More:Who Will WinBig Brother? Big Brother Unveils New Cast, Big Twist Reality Show Loopholes: How to Win
  • 'Amazing Spider-Man': How Scientific Was the Science?
    By: Kate Ward Jul 07, 2012
    I hear about it every single time The Day After Tomorrow reruns on television: There's no way Dennis Quaid's surveying equipment would work in sub-zero temperatures. And that's just one of many scientific inaccuracies in the global warming disaster film that my father, a chemistry professor at New York University, points out during the course of the film. Not to mention other numerous Hollywood releases; there isn't a disaster movie (2012), geek-tastic flick (Total Recall), or Syfy film (Sharktopus vs. Gatoroid vs. Giant Gopher vs. Mega Gary Busey) that my father won't find violates some basic scientific rules. Not only does this knowledge enable me to take a breath of fresh air knowing my Hell's Kitchen apartment isn't likely to be overtaken by a rogue wave in the near future, but it's always fun to hear how Hollywood got it wrong (outside of Crash's Best Picture win). So following the release of Sony's genetics- and tech-obsessed Amazing Spider-Man, I couldn't help but ask him about the real-life possibilities of a high schooler building his own synthetic web shooters and a scientist's attempt to replicate the regeneration capabilities of lizards in humans, despite his insistence that he is not a biologist. The conversation went like this: Me: So what do you think about the possibility of a high schooler building his own synthetic web shooters and a scientist's attempt to replicate the regeneration capabilities of lizards in humans? Dad: First of all, it's a comic and not real.  Me: But let's pretend we want to adapt it to real life. Could someone like Curt Connors attempt to replicate lizards' regenerative properties in humans to regrow his arm? Has anyone ever tried it before? Dad: It occurs in certain animals, so, in principle, it's feasible. Reptiles can regrow limbs. Amphibians grow limbs. What you can say is there are efforts ongoing in genetic engineering to eradicate certain health conditions or diseases. But are you asking has anyone ever used science to, say, grow wings and fly? Mom: If you drink Red Bull, it gives you wings. And Scaramanga had three nipples. Me: Okay, but why does Oscorp want to genetically engineer spiders and their webs specifically? What's the ado? Would any company be interested in creating web technology to replace metal? Dad: Spider silks are amazingly diverse and have a range of properties from having extremely high tensile strength. So that's not beyond the pale at all. You just sequence their genome and identify the genome that's responsible for making silk fiber. It's lightweight. Metal weighs more. It's a cool material. Spiders are amazing. They generate all sorts of silk for multiple reasons. Some are strong and some are sticky to catch prey. Mom: Like Frodo.  Me: What about Oscorp's machine that turns any liquid serum into a gas? Could something like that be used like Connors weaponized it to attempt to turn all of NYC into lizards? Dad: You can make any liquid serum into a gas. Technically, that's feasible. There are biological agents that are dispersed as gasses. But I don't know of any biological agents that turn people into reptiles. Mom: What's the deal with James Carville then? This conversation went on for another 15 minutes, delving into fascinating topics like the Darwin's Bark Spider (whose silk is 10 times tougher than Kevlar), Ralph Steinman (who won the Nobel Prize posthumously after using his own pancreatic cancer experiments on himself), and whether a high school kid would be able to buy scientific liquid on Amazon ("If you were Prime," was the answer). But I also learned of Dr. Jim Kakalios, a University of Minnesota physics professor and authority on superhero science that my father said would be far greater the authority. And, as it turns out, Dr. Kakalios was a great authority — so great that Sony recruited the author of The Physics of Superheroes to be a consultant on the film.  Dr. Kakalios — who had also served as a consultant on the set of 2009's Watchmen — is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Science and Entertainment Exchange, which helps entertainment professionals connect with notable scientists to assist in accurate storytelling. And Sony, realizing they had lofty scientific ambitions with Amazing Spider-Man, recruited Dr. Kakalios early in the filmmaking process, even prior to green-lighting a finalized script. "[Sony was] interested in talking to me about the science of Spider-Man and the science of the lizard in a brainstorming way," he tells "Why would you use radioactivity in a genetic engineering lab? How would the wall crawling work? Are there any surfaces that it wouldn’t adhere to? How about the tensile strength of spider silk? How would you reproduce this artificially?" Long story short, Peter could make his own web shooters with advanced circuitry ("Real spider silk is very strong and can do something like that — you just have to fudge a little bit on the diameter of the silk"), scientists would indeed love to find out a way to produce spider silk ("You could basically make lightweight clothing that would be stronger than Kevlar, [but] we don't know how to do it"), and lizards are able to regrow their tails thanks to evolution. (If only hands could do the same, "woodshop wouldn't have quite the same terrors," says Dr. Kakalios.) Clearly, it's implausible to believe in our current scientific landscape that a scientist like Curt Connors could find a way to mimic lizard behavior in order to grow back an arm. But when it comes to filmmaking, it's all about helping audience members believe that the existence such research is possible and, more importantly, understandable. "[Stan Lee and Steve Ditko] struggled to try to come up with plausible motivations," Dr. Kakalios says. "That’s the thing that Hollywood wants to do — they want to just have enough plausibility, enough reality, so that you don’t question how totally wrong anything else is." After all, scientists and mathematicians have explored human mortality and life decay that Connors — and the head of Oscorp — hoped to reverse. An equation called the Gompertz Function actually explains that as one ages, the more he or she is likely to catch a lethal disease and die. As Dr. Kakalios says his colleague, University of Minnesota's Professor Boris Shklovskii, explains it using a metaphor involving cops and criminals, "When you’re young and healthy and in your prime, there are a lot of cops on the beat — a lot of immune cells that are searching out, always trying to nip a defective cell in the bud." But, as you age, "it's like a series of budget cuts that eventually winnow down the police force," and cells causing harm in the system can multiply into a tumor. It's proof that while it might seem ridiculous for a human to attempt to mimic reptile behavior, science is addressing the issue of life decay — and, more importantly, is eager to find interesting ways to do so. After all, as Dr. Kakalios notes, it was curiosity that led to the development of quantum mechanics (which, in turn, led to the existence of cell phones, iPads, and, as the professor notes, "pretty much anything my kids would say, without which, life is not worth living"). "You never know exactly what's going to pay off, and when and where," Dr. Kakalios says. "Quantum mechanics says that if you’re moving fast enough at a solid barrier like a wall, there’s a tiny but non-zero probability you’ll wind up on the other side of the wall. I tell my students, 'Run as fast as you can, and don’t be discouraged by the first 100 billion failures.'"   But Sony was also interested in getting the nitty-gritties correct, even if the storyline requires its audience to stretch their imaginations. Dr. Kakalios says he worked with the studio to create a production-friendly equation that was rooted in mathematical accuracy. "That would always be a pet peeve of mine, because you frequently see a random collection of complex equations that have no connection to each other [on movie blackboards]," he says. And Dr. Kakalios, noticing the theme of life decay throughout the film, opted to channel the Gompertz Function in the formula that audiences see in Peter Parker's notebook. "I took that equation, and I combined it with some other equations, because [the production designers] wanted it to look complicated," he says.  Of course, since, let's face it, the filmmaking business is all about appearances, Dr. Kakalios did have to adjust his equation in order to make it more movie-friendly. Says the professor, "The first thing they said [was], 'We love this, but could you make it more math-y?’ They wanted it to be more visually striking. Movies are obviously a visual medium, and I understand that, so I added some, what I might call, 'mathematical glitter' in order to bedazzle it, and that’s the equation. I thought, okay, but when the movie comes out, I know that there was actually some real science that was like the primer coat that went in there." Because, when you come down to it, even Dr. Kakalios — and my professor father — is an audience member that heads to the theater for popcorn and a great show, regardless of accuracy. "When I went to go see Amazing Spider-Man, I didn’t go with a pad of paper and a calculator, and say, “Ooooh, my physics sense is tingling,'" he says. "I go as a fan who wants to be entertained and understood." But just one more gripe: Is it actually humanly possible for any high school student to score a plum internship with a plum scientist? "Listen, if I need to do some modern programming, the younger the better. You wouldn't want these old professor farts," he says. "I’ve actually had a couple [high school interns] in my time, and if they’re as smart as Peter Parker or Gwen Stacey, then I’d be happy to have them." To see more about Dr. Kakalios' amazing collaboration with The Amazing Spider-Man, watch the video, titled "Spider-Man and the Decay Rate Algorithm," below! (Says the professor: "[It] sounds like the title of issue #241.") (Reporting by Matt Patches) Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard [Image Credit: Sony] More:Marc Webb on Setting Up Spider-Man For a Sequel Spider-Man Fandom: Why a Reboot Was the Only Answer Amazing Spider-Man: Bigger Than Transformers!'Amazing Spider-Man'
  • Frank Ocean Comes Out, Makes Waves With Tumblr Letter
    By: Kate Ward Jul 04, 2012
    The same week Anderson Cooper casually came out in a letter to The Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan ("The fact is, I'm gay," he wrote), musician Frank Ocean has made waves for revealing in a letter on his Tumblr that he had a relationship with a man. Wrote the Odd Future singer-songwriter, who has collaborated with Jay-Z and Kanye West on Watch the Throne and penned songs for the likes of Justin Bieber and Beyoncé: In the last year or 3 I've screamed at my creator, screamed at the clouds in the sky, for some explanation. Mercy maybe. For peace of mind to rain like manna somehow. 4 summer ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost… Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping. So why did Ocean choose to reveal his sexuality publicly? In recent days, rumors involving the musician and his sexual preference began spreading after a review of his upcoming Orange Channel claimed Ocean discussed relationships with men in songs like "Forrest Gump" and "Bad Religion." In response, the musician, like Cooper, eschewed any big PR push or Rolling Stone cover in favor of the very public letter sharing his very private sentiments. But Ocean's release of the letter marks a groundbreaking moment for not only the musician, but the R&B genre as a whole. After all, Ocean's own Odd Future bandmate is Tyler, the Creator, a musician who has been heavily criticized for homophobic lyrics on albums like Goblin, which reportedly made use of over 200 gay slurs. For his part, Tyler, the creator, has come out in support of Ocean in two separate tweets: "F**king Finally Sus Boy @frankocean Hahahaha, You Still Aint Got No Bitches Hahaha My N***a Dawg" and "The Big Brother Finally F**king Did That. Proud Of That N***a Cause I Know That Shit Is Difficult Or Whatever." But Tyler, the Creator, is hardly the only musician to have released hits with anti-gay lyrics. The genre has far too long been bogged down with music that celebrates heterosexuality and condemns homosexuality. Ocean's honesty — and his association with such heavy-hitting acts — could invite a sea change throughout the industry. Especially considering how non-chalantly Ocean describes his relationship with men on Orange Channel. As The Los Angeles Times wrote Wednesday, Ocean's letter "is undoubtedly the glass ceiling moment for music." It's easy to feel optimistic about the future of the industry looking at the outpouring of support from Ocean's contemporaries: I salute you, brave soul.Independence Day. @frank_ocean — solange knowles (@solangeknowles) July 4, 2012 frank ocean is very important for the growth of humanity. — Mac Miller (@MacMiller) July 4, 2012 Frank Ocean is more honest than the average industry person! — cormega (@realcormega) July 4, 2012 Profoundly moved by courage of@Frank_Ocean... ur love retweet this — Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) July 4, 2012 Simmons also went so far as to dedicate a post on his Global Grind website to Ocean: "Today is a big day for hip-hop. It is a day that will define who we really are. How compassionate will we be? How loving can we be? How inclusive are we?I am profoundly moved by the courage and honesty of Frank Ocean. Your decision to go public about your sexual orientation gives hope and light to so many young people still living in fear. These types of secrets should not matter anymore, but we know they do, and because of that I decided to write this short statement of support for one of the greatest new artists we have." Still, for every tweet of encouragement, there's a decidedly less encouraging lack of support from some of Ocean's more famous fellow musicians. But it's easy to take solace for now in knowing that Ocean, at least, finally feels "like a free man." Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard More: Anderson Cooper: 'The Fact Is, I'm Gay'
  • 'Amazing Spider-Man': Bigger Than 'Transformers'!
    By: Kate Ward Jul 04, 2012
    Spidey is spinning quite the golden web. After boasting a strong midnight box office showing Tuesday — Amazing Spider-Man grossed $7.5 million at the late-night screenings — the reboot collected a whopping $35 million during its first day in theaters, according to's own Paul Dergarabedian. Winning the distinction of being the biggest film ever released on a Tuesday, Amazing Spider-Man even beat 2007's Transformers, which grossed $27.8 million its first day.  Contributing to Amazing Spider-Man's success was its IMAX presence, which accounted for $4 million of the total $35 million gross. (IMAX was especially helpful at the midnight screenings, taking in $1.2 million on 300 screens.) So what does this one-day gross mean for Spider-Man? Well, according to Dergarabedian, the reboot's winnings could indeed be amazing. Though Amazing Spider-Man was expected to collect $110-$120 million during its first six days, Dergarabedian predicts the film could exceed that number, and even mimic 2011's Transformers: Dark of the Moon behavior: The Transformers threequel grossed $5.5 million its first day in theaters and enjoyed a six-day total of $180,651,397.  But how does Amazing Spider-Man compare with Sam Raimi's 2002 film, Spider-Man? So far, it's falling slightly behind the film that Dergarabedian notes was the first movie to open with a number exceeding $100 million ("virtually 10 years to the day before Marvel/Disney's The Avengers became the first film to open with over $200 million," Dergarabedian says.) Still, safe to say that Amazing Spider-Man could swing past Raimi's original. See below for more stats surrounding Raimi's Spider-Man franchise.  Spider-Man DAILIES Fri, 5/3/02 $39,406,872 Friday Single Day Gross Sat, 5/4/02 $43,622,264 Thursday Single Day Gross Sun, 5/5/02 $31,814,980 Friday Single Day Gross Mon, 5/6/02 $11,034,785 Saturday single day gross Tue, 5/7/02 $9,961,854 Sunday single day gross Wed, 5/8/02 $8,315,369 Monday single day gross 6-day TOTAL $144,156,124 In 2004 Spider-Man 2 shifted the franchise to a Fourth-of-July release pattern: Spider-Man 2 DAILIES Wed, 6/30/04 $40,442,604 Wednesday Single Day Gross Thu, 7/1/04 $23,812,920 Thursday Single Day Gross Fri, 7/2/04 $32,452,342 Friday Single Day Gross Sat, 7/3/04 $33,748,257 Saturday single day gross Sun, 7/4/04 $21,955,628 Sunday single day gross Mon, 7/5/04 $27,661,137 Monday single day gross 6-day TOTAL $180,072,888 In 2007, Spider-Man 3 went back to the first weekend in May release strategy and the results were impressive: Spider-Man 3 DAILIES Fri, 5/4/07 $59,841,919 Friday Single Day Gross (incl. Midnights of $7.5M) Sat, 5/5/07 $51,336,732 Thursday Single Day Gross Sun, 5/6/07 $39,937,865 Friday Single Day Gross Mon, 5/7/07 $10,285,268 Saturday single day gross Tue, 5/8/07 $8,042,682 Sunday single day gross Wed, 5/9/07 $6,717,488 Monday single day gross 6-day TOTAL $176,161,954 [Image Credit: Sony] More:Spider-Man Spins Strong Midnight Box Office Spider-Man: Making Sense of that Crazy Mid-Credits Scene 'Spider-Man' Fandom: Why a Reboot Was the Only Answer Amazing Spider-Man
  • Remembering Andy Griffith: TV Legend Dies at 86
    By: Kate Ward Jul 03, 2012
    The Andy Griffith Show's Andy Griffith passed away Tuesday morning at 86 years of age, reports. Former UNC President Bill Friday, a friend to the late actor/comedian, confirms that Griffith died in his home in Dare County, N.C. at around 7:00 AM EST. The actor had survived several ailments in the past: In 1983, he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which weakens the nervous system, and underwent quadruple heart-bypass surgery in 2000. Griffith will always be remembered as a man with many talents — and a banjo to boot. Raised in a poor, blue-collar family, the actor first explored a career in the clergy until music directed him towards show business. A trombone player since his youth, Griffith also took up singing while attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It wasn't long until he discovered he could use his voice to fuel a career in entertainment. Radio listeners first heard Griffith's patented Southern lilt in the early 1950s, when the actor took to the medium to release monologues like 1954's charting What It Was, Was Football. Griffith parlayed that notoriety into an acting career, appearing on Broadway in plays like Destry Rides Again and on television in series like The United States Steel Hour.   It wasn't long until he jumpstarted a career on the big screen, starring in 1957's A Face in the Crowd. Despite Crowd's success — and continuing popularity amongst film buffs — Griffith found he was more at home on the small screen. After appearing in a few bit roles, Griffith landed one that would later be his legacy. From 1960 to 1968, the actor starred in The Andy Griffith Show, a series whose down-home, Mayberry appeal hit home with audiences of all ages. It was on The Andy Griffith Show that the actor cemented his image as a wise Southern charmer — traits he would revisit in future characters.  Despite The Andy Griffith Show's popularity — and the fact that it allowed him to flex his musical muscles and release a gospel album connected with the series — the actor itched for his name to return to marquee lights and decided to leave the series in 1968. Not that he abandoned the show that shot him to superstardom completely — Griffith served as executive producer on the series, whose name was tweaked to Mayberry R.F.D. to reflect Griffith's absence.  Unfortunately, Griffith's big screen presence paled in comparison to his TV prowess, with roles in forgettable films like 1969's Angel in My Pocket and 1975's Hearts of the West. In fact, between The Andy Griffith Show and his next starring vehicle, Matlock, Griffith maintained a career starring in TV movies, a hybrid of the medium in which he was most successful, and the medium in which he hoped to find success. And that's where Griffith nabbed the most recognition — the actor's only Emmy nomination was rewarded for his work in 1981's Murder in Texas.   Griffith also picked up decidedly un-Andy Griffith Show-like roles in several TV movies, playing hard-edged characters (1985's Crime of Innocence) and even a murderer (1983's Murder in Coweta County). But it was in 1986 that Griffith surged back into primetime popularity with the legal drama Matlock, playing a Southern attorney whose accent and banjo-playing, grandpa charm appealed to his more nostalgic fans. His position back on television even jolted his movie career, nabbing him a comedic role in 1996's Spy Hard. Most recently, Griffith boasted roles in 2007's indie breakout Waitress and 2009's Play the Game, which also starred Andy Griffith alum Clint Howard. (Until his death, Griffith also maintained a close relationship with Griffith co-star Ron Howard.) And though Griffith failed to garner acclaim from the Academy of Arts & Sciences for his work in The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock — and despite his longtime status as a diehard Democrat — President George W. Bush awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Still, Griffith will be most remembered for that comfortable Andy Griffith Southern appeal that kept fans coming back week in and week out with a smile and a whistle.  [Photo Credit: AP Images] More: Andy Griffith: Remembering 'Matlock,' Andy Taylor, and More Roger Ebert, Ron Howard and More Remember Andy Griffith on Twitter A Spy Movie for Every Type of Person
  • 2012 Emmy Longshots: Kaitlin Olson, the (Aluminum) Monster We Root For
    By: Kate Ward Jul 02, 2012
    You love them, we love them, and it's high time Emmy recognized them. We're talking about the TV actors and actresses who have yet to be recognized by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, despite drawing us in week in and week out with their awe-inspiring ability to make us laugh, cry, or a weird combination of both. So every day here at, we're going to be saluting those on the small screen who deserve an Emmy nomination, longshot status be damned. Today, we cast our ballot for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Kaitlin Olson. It's no simple feat to name the funniest female on television. In fact, in the past 10 years, the TV landscape has been so friendly to men's other half — green-lighting sitcoms and series starring women as hilarious as they are unconventional — it's no wonder they call it the "boob tube." Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Sofia Vergara... how can one choose a favorite? But if I had to name the funniest lady on television, I would choose young Ursula Parker, who plays Louie's precocious daughter Jane, the only kid on TV who truly nails the adorable assholery parents experience on a daily basis with their children. But as much as I'd love for the young Parker to score a well-deserved Emmy nomination ("I... am... BORED!" has become as much of a catchphrase in my household as anything ever uttered by Jerry Seinfeld), she neglected to submit for one in 2012. So, instead, I have no choice but to root for the second funniest female on television: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Kaitlin Olson. And I'm glad I'm getting the opportunity to salute Sweet Dee, the series' vain, sadistic, and alluringly vulnerable female pro(or is it an?)tagonist. After all, Olson has been tragically under-appreciated during It's Always Sunny's seven-season run. Blame society's apprehension to truly admit a woman can be just as funny (or funnier) than her male co-stars. Or blame, far more simply, the scene-stealing prowess of Charlie Day. But just watch Season 7's "Sweet Dee Gets Audited" for proof of how much Olson deserves special recognition apart from the ridiculously talented cast. We're talking about an actress who can take any delicate, sensitive subject, and expertly pervert it into shocking storyline that makes you wonder whether 22 minutes of television could send you straight to hell. And, yet, after all that, you're still rooting for Sweet Dee. Credit Olson for being able to make you cheer for a woman you hope never to meet your entire life. She is one of the most unique actresses currently on television, playing a woman with little to no redeeming qualities outside of her ability to heavily binge drink. Still, Olson brings a certain depth to Sweet Dee that allows Sunny fans to justify the character's outlandishly terrible behavior. Perhaps that's because over the course of seven seasons, Olson has managed to morph Sweet Dee into our id, our inner (aluminum) monster who would follow through on the basest of revenge-seeking actions if given the opportunity. Sure, she lashes out against her own loved(?) ones after getting in with the cool kids in "The High School Reunion," but after enduring a decade of scoliosis-themed taunts, wouldn't anyone succumb to peer pressure weakness? Sure, she applies to become a surrogate (and eventually does become one) purely for the cash, but who hasn't had pondered just what it would take for us to act on an immoral get-rich-quick scheme? And, sure, she takes a dumpster baby to a tanning booth in order to make him more attractive to modeling agencies, but... okay, so there are some things we just wouldn't do. (Of course, we're not everyone.)  Not to mention the fact that Olson is one of the most gifted physical comediennes on television. In fact, I started rooting for her future Emmy chances the second I saw her roll down a hill (and channel Grape Stomp Lady) in "The D.E.N.N.I.S. System." The manic laughter, the clumsy feet, the way she can keep up with an Air Dancer... Olson comes from the same school of physical comedy as former Emmy winners Lucille Ball, Debra Messing, and Louis-Dreyfus. Add that to her spit-out-your-beer delivery of lines like "I will eat your babies, bitch!" and the actress' moxie (Olson once told me that she strongly lobbied for Dee to be just as terrible as the rest of her Paddy's cohorts, and not just act as "the girl" amongst horrible men), and it's hard not to hope that Olson will soon boast the award notoriety of comedy's most talented lady legends. So why hasn't Olson — or any of her Sunny co-stars for that matter — ever been nominated after seven seasons on the air? The Academy certainly hasn't held back on rewarding horrible characters in the past. (See: Louis-Dreyfus' Elaine on Seinfeld, Jane Lynch's Sue Sylvester in Glee.) Though there's no justification (I have many times thought of unleashing Night Man on the Academy after their snubs), I'm hoping the Academy's new outlook on cable will spell bright things for Sunny, especially after fellow FX dweller Louis C.K. found himself nabbing a deserved nomination in 2011. If the Emmys continues on this trend, perhaps Olson will not be such a longshot. And wouldn't that be Sweet (Dee)? Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard [Image Credit: FX] More:2012 Emmy Longshots: The VPOTUS Herself, Julia Louis-Dreyfus 2012 Daytime Emmy Award Winners: See the List Here! 2012 Emmy Longshots: Smash Singing Sensation Megan Hilty It's Always Sunny
  • Naomi Watts as Princess Diana: Royally Good Casting? — PICS
    By: Kate Ward Jul 02, 2012
    Naomi Watts has won accolades in recent years for channeling some of history's notable figures — J. Edgar's Helen Gandy, Fair Game's Valerie Plame — but she's agreed to take on the royally difficult task of playing Princess Diana in Caught In Flight, a film that centers around the late princess'  affair with Dr. Hasnat Kahn (Lost's Naveen Andrews). And — just like when Julianne Moore's Game Change photos as Sarah Palin were released — we can expect plenty of chatter to surround the first photos of Watts as England's beloved rose, which were released today. So how well does Watts pull off Princess Di's patented grace?    It's no simple task to embody a legend — and dated hairstyles always end up looking like wigs (see: Michelle Williams' Marilyn Monroe coif in My Week With Marilyn) — but if there's anyone who could take on a role of beastly proportions, it's King Kong's Watts. Even though she's more Tina Brown than Princess Diana in these first photos.   Let us catch some more photos of Watts as Princess Diana, Caught In Flight! Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard [Image Credit:] More: Naomi Watts Moving to London to Prepare for Princess Diana Role Naomi Watts 'Absolutely Terrified' of Princess Diana Role Naomi Watts to Embody Princess Diana in Caught In FlightNaomi Watts as Princess Diana
  • 'Brave's Bear Moment and 18 Other Ridiculous Plot Twists
    By: Kate Ward Jun 25, 2012
    Time for the requisite SPOILER ALERT: If you saw Brave this weekend, you'd know that among its great, empowering moments, there was one that made your eyes roll to the back of your heads. If you didn't see Brave this weekend, you wouldn't know that the moment I speak of involved Princess Merida's mother being turned into a bear. That's right, the film about a spunky young princess featured an awkward plot twist about Merida coping with a mother bear. (And a literal one at that!) Sorry, faux Dwight — I'd take beets and Battlestar Galactica over bears in my Brave. But Brave is hardly the first film to feature a ridiculous plot twist. So, to make the uneven film feel a bit better, we've decided to run down 18 movie plot twists even more ridiculous than Brave's. Below, see a list that would make M. Night Shyamalan proud (but the rest of us embarrassed).  Really?! 18 Ridiculous Plot Twists More: Seeing Red! Pop Culture's Best and Worst Gingers Brave Leads Box Office! Brave
  • Happy 40th Anniversary, Title IX! 7 Great Movie Moments for Female Athletes
    By: Kate Ward Jun 24, 2012
    Girl power! On Saturday, the U.S. celebrated the 40th anniversary of Title IX, an Education Amendment that barred sex discrimination in schools receiving federal funds. Since being implemented in 1972, Title IX has had most impact on women's sports, allowing and encouraging athletic programs for what used to be called the "fairer" sex. So let's celebrate Title IX the right way! No, not by bringing out your running shoes and going for a jog. (C'mon, it's Sunday!) Instead, let's take a look back at some of favorite women's sports moments on film. This is what we call strength, folks.  A League of Their Own (1992) Bend It Like Beckham (2002) Million Dollar Baby (2004) Bring It On (2000) Blue Crush (2002) Bad News Bears (1976) National Velvet (1944) More: