Author

Jon Lisi
  • Why Megan Draper Isn't a Progressive Woman
    By: Jon Lisi May 25, 2014
    AMC There's a scene in a recent episode of Mad Men in which Megan Draper (Jessica Paré) has a threesome with her husband Don and her new friend Amy. It would be easy to claim that this scene represents Megan's free spirit, and that she embodies the progressive movement of the 1960s. It would also be false. In fact, this scene and Megan's detachment in the morning after imply that Megan isn't as progressive as she thinks she is. Born into privilege and dependent on Don's finances, Megan hates the fact that she's old-fashioned, so she dabbles into what she believes will make her appear bohemian. She calls herself an actress, dresses in the latest trendy fashion, and throws hip parties for her guitar playing friends. When no one's watching, however, she asks Don for money and puts up with his philandering.   So much of Mad Men is about the construction of identity, and about trying to be someone you're not--someone you think you ought to be. The female characters, especially, grapple with this, especially as conceptions of womanhood became complicated in the 1960s. Megan is perhaps the most interesting precisely because she can't accept who she truly is. Whereas Betty has at least come to terms with the fact that she's a terrible mother who never wanted children, and Peggy recently acknowledged her loneliness and isolation as a career driven woman with no family, Megan hasn't realized the extent to which her entire public appearance is a facade. There are some viewers, however, who believe that Megan is a "new woman." They suggest that while she indeed loves and depends on Don, she gives equal attention to her career aspirations, and uproots traditional order with her bohemian lifestyle. These viewers, I think, are missing the point. Unlike Stephanie, Anna Draper's niece who genuinely embodies the counter-culture, Megan is a spoiled rich kid who wants a taste of that life without any of the consequences Joan Didion famously wrote about in  Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Megan presents herself as a radical while she lives comfortably out of Don's pocket, which means that she's not radical at all.  What do you think? Am I being too harsh on Megan, or is she as fake as I make her out to be. Cast your vote in the poll below. Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Which Coppola Makes the Best Movies?
    By: Jon Lisi May 15, 2014
    Focus Films via Everett Collection The Coppolas are like the Kennedys of filmmaking. Francis, Sofia, Roman, and now Gia have all put their craftsmanship on display, and each has his or her own distinct appeal. They aren't in competition with each other, but we thought it would be fun to compare their contributions to cinema and conclude, at this point in time, which Coppola makes the better movies.  Francis: The Don  Francis is the safe choice if you don't want to flunk film school. Since I've already passed, however, I'm comfortable with knocking him down a few pegs. There's no denying that The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now are all masterpieces; these four movies are why most people would choose him as the best. Unfortunately, his films since then have been lackluster and pretentious, and despite a few minor successes scattered throughout (Peggy Sue Got Married and Bram Stoker's Dracula are quite good), he really only has four great films to his name. Sofia: The Daughter Let's put Sofia's atrocious performance in The Godfather Part III aside and focus solely on her filmmaking. Her debut film The Virgin Suicides is a beautiful, mysterious work of art, and her second feature, Lost in Translation, is one of the best films of the 2000s. Marie Antoinette demonstrates that she is a confident storyteller with a distinct style, and Somewhere pushes this style to glorious, never-before-seen heights. Her latest film The Bling Ring is the least interesting of the bunch, but it isn't a complete train wreck either. Overall, Sofia has made four great films and one passable misfire.  Roman: The Brother  As a director, Roman's two feature films CQ and A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III contain interesting elements but are ultimately disappointing efforts. As a screenwriter, however, Roman's contribution to Wes Anderson's excellent movie Moonrise Kingdom is worth considering, as is his work on The Darjeeling Limited. For the most part, however, Roman's cinematic accomplishments pale in comparison to Francis and Sofia, perhaps because he is more interested in other things.  Gia: The Granddaughter It's fair to say that Gia wouldn't have been able to make her first film, Palo Alto, without her family connections, but the work stands alone as one of the most beautiful portraits of high school life in America. It certainly trumps any of Roman's directorial efforts, but Sofia's The Virgin Suicides remains a more poignant coming-of-age story. Moreover, with only one film in her oeuvre, it's difficult to determine what the future will be like for Gia. Nevertheless, she is one to watch.  The Verdict Gia and Roman obviously can't quite compete with Sofia and Francis, but I don't think Francis automatically gets the vote because of The Godfather and Apocalypse Now. In fact, I prefer Sofia's moody, evocative dreamscapes, and I believe that Lost in Translation and Somewhere stand up to even the most powerful moments in The Godfather and Apocalypse Now. Taking this into account, as well as the number of disappointing films Francis has made over the past 30 years, and my vote unequivocally goes to Sofia.  Do you agree? Let us know in the poll below.    Follow @Hollywood_com
  • Why We Need the Superhero 'Pootie Tang' Now More Than Ever
    By: Jon Lisi May 15, 2014
    Paramount Pictures As most moviegoers head to the theaters to get their latest Spiderman or Captain America fix, I'm still impatiently waiting for the Pootie Tang sequel.  For those who don't know, Pootie Tang is a comedy from 2001 that stars Lance Crouther as the titular superhero of the ghetto who takes on corporate America. Louis C.K. adapted the film from a comedy sketch that first appeared on The Chris Rock Show, and Jennifer Coolidge, Chris Rock, and Wanda Sykes co-star. Upon release, the film was trashed by critics and bombed at the box office, prompting critic Roger Ebert to ask: "How did this train wreck happen?" Let's just say that critics and audiences were wrong about this one. Enough boring superhero movies have been released since 2001 to remind us that the genre as it currently stands is in dire need of revision and rejuvenation, and that Mr. Tang is the superhero to do the job. Unlike other superhero wimps Batman and Iron Man, Pootie Tang can take on any criminal with the power of his belt, and he can make any lady swoon with just the slightest look. If that weren't enough, check out the clip below in which he makes a hit record without ever uttering a sound.  In 2005, Chris Rock said that he would love to make a sequel. However, nearly 10 years have passed and nothing has happened. This is truly devastating, because we need the character in our lives now more than ever. While Hollywood continues to churn out redundant remakes of the same old superheroes, it's about time that a major studio puts some money aside for another Pootie Tang.  Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Which Don Draper Do You Prefer?
    By: Jon Lisi May 08, 2014
    AMC Those who watch Mad Men know that there are essentially two Don Drapers.  The first Don is a boozing, scheming, cheating drunk who cares only about himself. This is the Don that manipulates his fellow man in the pursuit of profit and lies to his wife and children about his affairs. Based on the interactions on numerous message boards, some viewers love this Don and think he's a hoot, and the rest find his selfishness loathsome. Below is a scene in which Don, a married man, seduces a married woman.  The second Don strives to be more honest and sincere. This is the Don that resists having affairs and screwing people over, and instead aims to change his bad behavior. Some fans of the series understandably prefer this Don and hope that he remains a good person, while others prefer the first Don's morally corrupt ways. Here is a scene in which Don explains why he can't advertise for tobacco companies for moral reasons.  Although Jon Hamm's iconic character is more complex than I make it, this moral identity crisis more or less grounds the series in a sophistication other television serials aren't able to match. Don is genuinely interested in doing the right thing, but he inevitably must contend with the fact that part of him enjoys being a bastard. As we prepare for the final episodes of this AMC masterpiece, it's difficult to determine which Don will prevail in the end. Which Don do you want to see more of in this final season? Cast your vote below. Follow @Hollywood_com
  • 21 Funniest Movie Quotes of the 21st Century
    By: Jon Lisi May 07, 2014
    Paramount via Everett Collection There's nothing better than an instantly quotable movie line. Some of the funniest movies in cinema history have been released since 2000, and they have given us iconic phrases that we continue to quote with our friends and family. To pay tribute to the ones that make us laugh the loudest, below are 21 of the funniest movie quotes of the 21st century.  Zoolander Derek Zoolander: “If there is anything that this horrible tragedy can teach us, it's that a male model's life is a precious, precious commodity. Just because we have chiseled abs and stunning features, it doesn't mean that we too can't not die in a freak gasoline fight accident.” Mean Girls  Damian: “Glenn Coco? FOUR for you, Glenn Coco! You go, Glenn Coco.” Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy  Ron Burgundy: “This is your doctor. I have your pregnancy report here, and guess what? You got knocked up.” Superbad Seth: “I'm over here in my unit, isolated and alone, eating my terrible tasting food, and I have to look over at that. That looks like the most fun I've ever seen in my entire life, and it's B.S. — excuse my language. I'm just saying that I wash and dry; I'm like a single mother. Look, we all know home-ec is a joke — no offense — it's just that everyone takes this class to get an A, and it's bulls**t — and I'm sorry. I'm not putting down your profession, but it's just the way I feel. I don't want to sit here, all by myself, cooking this s**tty food — no offense — and I just think that I don't need to cook tiramisu. Am I going to be a chef? No. There's three weeks left of school, give me a f**king break! I'm sorry for cursing.” Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story  Edith: “What about my dreams?”Dewey Cox: “Edith I told you I can't build your candy house! It will fall apart, the sun will melt the candy, it won't work!” Shallow Hall Hal: "Does she take the cake, or what?"Mauricio: "She takes the whole bakery, Hal." To Rome with Love Jerry: “Don't analyze me, Phyllis, okay? You know, many have tried and all have failed. My brain doesn't fit the usual id-ego-superego model!”Phyllis: “No, you have the only brain with three ids.” Finding Nemo Dory: “I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my Squishy. Come on, Squishy Come on, little Squishy.” Lost in Translation  Bob: “Is that everything? It seemed like he said quite a bit more than that.” Knocked Up Doorman: “You old, she pregnant. Can't have a bunch of old pregnant b**ches running around. That's crazy, I'm only allowed to let in five percent black people. He said that, that means if there's 25 people here I get to let in one and a quarter black people. So I gotta hope there's a black midget in the crowd.” The Hangover  Alan: “You guys might not know this, but I consider myself a bit of a loner. I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolf pack. But when my sister brought Doug home, I knew he was one of my own. And my wolf pack... it grew by one. So there... there were two of us in the wolf pack... I was alone first in the pack, and then Doug joined in later. And six months ago, when Doug introduced me to you guys, I thought, 'Wait a second, could it be?' And now I know for sure, I just added two more guys to my wolf pack. Four of us wolves, running around the desert together, in Las Vegas, looking for strippers and cocaine. So tonight, I make a toast!” Wedding Crashers Mrs. Kroeger: “You shut your mouth when you’re talking to me!” Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story White Goodman: “There's no reason we need to be shackled by the strictures of the employee-employer relationship. Unless you're into that sort of thing. In which case, I got some shackles in the back. I'm just kidding. But seriously, I've got 'em.” Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan  Borat: “Very nice, very nice! How much?” Bridesmaids Megan: “I'm glad he's single because I'm going to climb that like a tree." Young Adult  Matt: “Mavis, I would keep all of this to yourself. I would find a therapist.” Juno Vanessa: “Your parents are probably wondering where you are.”Juno: “Nah... I mean, I'm already pregnant, so what other kind of shenanigans could I get into?” Easy A Olive: "I want a one hundred dollar gift card deposited into my locker by noon tomorrow. Preferably to The Gap, but I'd also take Amazon.com, or Office Max. Actually make it Office Max — I have my eye on a label maker. We did not have sex. I let you fondle my chest, and it was a glorious moment for you. Unmatched by anything you have heretofore experienced... including cake." 21 Jump Street Jenko: “Look, it obviously starts with... you have the right to remain silent...”Schmidt: [Whispering] “You have the right to an attorney."Jenko: “You have the right to remain... an attorney."Deputy Chief Hardy: “Did you just say you have the right to be an attorney?”Schmidt: “You do have the right to be an attorney if you want to.” Best in Show  Harlan Pepper: “I used to be able to name every nut that there was. And it used to drive my mother crazy, because she used to say, ‘Harlan Pepper, if you don't stop naming nuts...’ And the joke was that we lived in Pine Nut, and I think that's what put it in my mind at that point. So she would hear me in the other room, and she'd just start yelling. I'd say, ‘Peanut. Hazelnut. Cashew nut. Macadamia nut.’ That was the one that would send her into going crazy. She'd say, ‘Would you stop naming nuts!’ And Hubert used to be able to make the sound, he couldn't talk, but he'd go ‘rrrawr rrawr’ and that sounded like 'macadamia nut.' Pine nut, which is a nut, but it's also the name of a town. Pistachio nut. Red pistachio nut. Natural, all natural white pistachio nut.” The Devil Wears Prada Miranda Priestly: "Is it impossible to find a lovely, slender, female paratrooper? Am I reaching for the stars here? Not really." Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • 10 Short Films to Watch Online This May
    By: Jon Lisi May 06, 2014
    Vimeo/Conor Byrne On the web, filmmakers from around the world are releasing short films to express themselves and to garner a wide audience. Each month, we present 10 of the best short films that you can watch online immediately. Below are our picks for May 2014 (click the title of a film to watch on YouTube or Vimeo). 1. Foureyes Who made it? Conor Byrne  What is it? A visually striking coming of age film How long is it? 12 minutes and 54 seconds 2. White Who made it? Sam Alex Kay What is it? An experimental cautionary tale about climate change How long is it? 13 minutes and 28 seconds 3. Decision  Who made it? Sebastian Klinger What is it? A film about love How long is it? 8 minutes and 8 seconds 4. My Man - Pittsburg, PA  Who made it? Matt Landry What is it? Possibly the best music video ever made  How long is it? 2 minutes and 31 seconds 5. Memories of the Mothman Who made it? Austin Birtch What is it? An intriguing mystery about the mothman myth How long is it? 7 minutes and 22 seconds 6. Mayaat Who made it? Noémie David What is it? A wonderful animation about insects How long is it? 1 minute 7. The Girl and the Wolf  Who made it? Eva Q Månsson What is it? A reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood How long is it? 13 minutes and 39 seconds 8. Spaces  Who made it? Guilherme Petry What is it? A musical glimpse into NYC subways How long is it? 2 minutes and 24 seconds 9. Through the Looking Glass: One Second a Day  Who made it? Alex Penate  What is it? A year in the life of Penate, one second of video recorded each day on his iPhone  How long is it? 6 minutes and 47 seconds  10. Sunday Playtime  Who made it? Chantel Beam  What is it? An ode to freedom  How long is it? 2 minutes and 39 seconds  Follow @Hollywood_com
  • 10 Inspiring Celebrity Commencement Speeches to Watch Before Graduation
    By: Jon Lisi May 01, 2014
    YouTube/Tulane University For many college students, graduation is a terrifying time. It means leaving behind your friends and the isolated playground in which you lived for the past four years and moving to the so-called "real world." Nobody wants to do this, so universities typically invite successful individuals to deliver a commencement speech in an attempt to offer wisdom and guidance to the nervous graduates. Below are ten of the most inspiring speeches by some of our favorite celebrities. Whether you are graduating from college or not, these speeches will give you the courage and strength to persevere in life.  1. Ellen DeGeneres, Tulane University, 2009 Ellen’s hilarious speech for Tulane graduates is rather short, but it’s full of classic one-liners and important life-lessons. In particular, Ellen talks about her decision to come out and be true to herself. Key quote: “Follow your passion and stay true to yourself. Never follow anyone else's path, unless you're in the woods and you're lost and you see a path, and by all means you should follow that.” 2. Meryl Streep, Barnard College, 2010 The Academy Award winning actress reveals a side of herself in this speech that she rarely shows. Streep tells a few stories from her life to stress the importance of being authentic, and admits that being famous and winning awards does not make her fulfilled. Key quote: “I can assure you that awards have very little bearing on my own personal happiness, my own sense of well-being and purpose in the world. That comes from studying the world feelingly, with empathy in my work. It comes from staying alert and alive and involved in the lives of the people that I love and the people in the wider world who need my help. No matter what you see me or hear me saying when I'm on your TV holding a statuette spewing, that's acting.” 3. Aaron Sorkin, Syracuse University, 2012 In his powerful speech, acclaimed writer Sorkin talks about his experience with drug addiction and his early struggles as a playwright. What remains is a passionate plea to take risks, dare to fail, and follow your dreams. Key quote: “You're going to fall down, but the world doesn't care how many times you fall down, as long as it's one fewer than the number of times you get back up.” 4. Arianna Huffington, Smith College, 2013 Huffington’s famous remarks to Smith College find her redefining success for a new generation. She tells students that money and power alone aren’t sustainable, and that it’s more important to focus on the third metric: personal well-being, wisdom to make the correct decisions, wonder for the world, and a willingness to give back. Ultimately, she encourages graduates to sleep more, work less, and find happiness within.  Key quote: “So as you leave this beautiful campus today to follow your dreams and scale great heights in whatever profession you choose, I beg you: don’t buy society’s definition of success. Because it’s not working for anyone. It’s not working for women, it's not working for men, it's not working for polar bears, it's not working for the cicadas that are apparently about to emerge and swarm us. It's only truly working for those who make pharmaceuticals for stress, diabetes, heart disease, sleeplessness and high blood pressure.” 5. J.K. Rowling, Harvard University, 2008 The beloved author of Harry Potter talks to Harvard graduates about the benefits of failure and the power of imagination. She uses her own rags to riches story to demonstrate that failure is a great motivator, and her experience with Amnesty International to express the importance of empathy. Key quote: “If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” 6. Denzel Washington, University of Pennsylvania, 2011 One of the most successful movie stars shares his wisdom with UPenn graduates in a moving speech. Washington urges the graduates to follow their passion at all costs and to not “fall back” on anything. Key quote: “Fall forward. Here’s what I mean: Reggie Jackson struck out 2600 times in his career — the most in the history of baseball. But you don’t hear about the strikeouts. People remember the home runs. Fall forward. Thomas Edison conducted 1000 failed experiments. Did you know that?  I didn’t either — because number 1001 was the light bulb. Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success.” 7. Joss Whedon, Wesleyan University, 2013 Whedon’s clever commencement address ruminates on the significance of human contradiction. It’s not a typical speech and in many ways it defies conventions, but it’s inspiring and important in its own way. Key quote: “If you think that achieving something, if you think that solving something, if you think a career or a relationship will quiet that voice, it will not. If you think that happiness means total peace, you will never be happy. Peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace. It will always be in conflict. If you accept that, everything gets a lot better.” 8. Lewis Black, Marshall College, 2013 In his first commencement speech, comedian Black brings his brand of humor to Marshall College. His speech is hilarious, but it’s also earnest and touching as he encourages the graduates to stay young and idealistic despite whatever challenges they face. Key quote: “Just because you get old, you don’t have to let go of the beliefs you have now. You have them for a reason. It’s called, generally, idealism. There’s nothing wrong with being idealistic. But you’re gonna run into a bunch of idiots ready to tell you that there is… What’s insulting isn’t your idealism. It’s their lack of it. Their belief that nothing can be changed.” 9. Barbara Walters, Yale University, 2012 Technically, Walters is speaking at Yale’s traditional class day, but the premise is the same: to offer graduates wisdom that may prepare them for life. Her speech is funny and charming, and full of wonderful insights from herself and the many world leaders she has interviewed. Key quote: “Don’t worry about finding your bliss right now. Not even our President knew what his bliss was, nor did I. One of these days to your own surprise, your bliss will find you. But no matter what you do, participate, be there, full force, full heart, full steam ahead.” 10. Oprah Winfrey, Stanford University, 2008 Of course Oprah has to be on this list. Her speech to Stanford University is typically insightful, as she preaches the power of service for others.   Key quote: “This is what I know for sure: in order to be truly happy, you must live along with and you have to stand for something larger than yourself. Because life is a reciprocal exchange. To move forward you have to give back. And to me, that is the greatest lesson of life. To be happy, you have to give something back.” Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Why Is 'Jackie Brown' Overlooked When It's Better Than 'Pulp Fiction'?
    By: Jon Lisi Apr 22, 2014
    Miramax Films via Everett Collection When most people claim that Pulp Fiction is Quentin Tarantino’s best movie, I often wonder if they’ve seen Jackie Brown. I assume they haven’t. Jackie Brown is Tarantino’s third film, releasing after he became a household name with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, and most casual moviegoers and die-hard Tarantino fans consider it to be his worst feature. It’s the lowest rated Tarantino film on IMDB and Metacritic (not counting his Grindhouse contribution from 2007), which is saying a lot considering how divisive the Kill Bill films are. But this is a shame, because Jackie Brown is Tarantino’s masterpiece. Unlike other Tarantino films that rely heavily on cinematic style, this one cares more about the characters and their interactions than about being “cool.” Consider, for example, the relationship between Jackie (Pam Grier) and Max Cherry (Robert Forster). Tarantino takes his time to develop both of these wounded characters, and as a result, we are invested in their lives. Contrast this to Pulp Fiction, a highly entertaining film that makes no effort to develop its characters. We observe them, to be sure, but what more can we say about Vincent Vega (John Travolta) than that he’s a nonchalant, laid-back hit man who traveled to Europe? Both films find Tarantino paying homage to movie stars who were once famous. In Pulp Fiction, Tarantino resurrects Travolta’s career, but the fun part about watching that movie is simply observing Travolta in a great film — something audiences at that time hadn’t witnessed since Blow Out. Jackie Brown does something similar with Grier and Forster, but instead of merely marveling at their star power, viewers are presented with two interesting and unique characters. Jackie, for example, is a black woman who has survived a harsh justice system, and Max is a burnt-out bail bondsman who questions the relevance of his work. Most of the film consists of quiet scenes in which the two share life experiences with one another. The reason why Jackie Brown isn’t celebrated today, I think, stems from the fact that most of Tarantino’s films are kinetic and ultra-violent. Jackie Brown is the opposite. Instead, Tarantino often pauses throughout the film to let the audience simply hang out with his characters, and the first hour of the movie is virtually plotless. Even the death scenes are less sensational than what Tarantino usually offers. All of this is not to say that Tarantino’s other films are trash, because I think we can all agree that he’s one of the best working filmmakers in cinema today. Rather, I want to remind viewers of Jackie Brown and stress that it’s not a minor achievement in the auteur’s oeuvre. Maybe there is no “best” Tarantino film, but Jackie Brown certainly isn’t the worst. Instead of deeming Jackie Brown “boring” because it isn’t full of action or “pointless” because it focuses more on character than story, let’s appreciate the film for what it is than criticize it for what it was never trying to be — another Pulp Fiction. After all, Jackie Brown represents an artful mastery of the cinema that Tarantino hasn’t matched since. What do you think? Cast your vote below. Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • How Madonna is Changing the World with Art For Freedom
    By: Jon Lisi Apr 21, 2014
    madonna/instagram After decades of pushing the creative envelope in the United States, pop superstar Madonna is using her power and prestige to fight for freedom of artistic expression around the world. Her latest project, Art For Freedom, is an online venue for artists to upload works that bring awareness to human rights violations. It began in September 2013, after the release of Madonna’s short film #Secretprojectrevolution (below), and since then, Madonna and VICE have partnered to manage the website. How it works In order to participate, artists must post their work on social media and tag their posts with #artforfreedom, or they can upload projects directly through artforfreedom.com. Each day, Madonna, VICE, and a guest curator look through the art works that are uploaded and feature one on the website that is deemed socially, culturally, and politically relevant. Moreover, Madonna donates $10,000 each month to a nonprofit organization of a featured artist’s choice. While the art works are chosen by Madonna, VICE, or a celebrity guest curator (this month’s guest is Miley Cyrus, and past curators have been Katy Perry and Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), the works themselves are created by lesser-known artists from around the world who want to make a difference. On April 17, 2014, for example, Californian Richard J. Oliver’s The Ice Lake Swan was selected. Inspired by his son’s battle with William Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, Oliver’s piece hopes to “capture and express the fragile balance of life and the wonder and love that we can experience when we open ourselves with compassion towards each other.” Nona’s One is radically different but similarly relevant. Chosen on March 1, 2014, the YouTube upload is a music video that promotes peace and unity in Tokyo. Nona claims that the earthquake in 2011 brought the nation together, but recently they’ve been “quarrelling and arguing again over past mistakes.” Why it matters Despite Madonna’s popularity and her celebrity curators, Art For Freedom isn’t well-known to the general public. #Secretprojectrevolution has only garnered 1.1 million views on YouTube since September 2013, and #artforfreedom is rarely a trending topic on social media. This, I think, says more about our culture’s desire for escapist entertainment than the significance of Madonna’s project. In fact, Art For Freedom is incredibly important and it highlights social media’s potential as a political platform. The technology brings unknown artists together on a global scale while simultaneously calling attention to human rights violations in countries Americans don’t often hear about on the news. After the unjust imprisonment of artists like Pussy Riot and Jafar Panahi, I can’t help but think that if enough people spread the word about Art For Freedom, positive changes could be made in the world. Unlike politicians, business leaders, and even journalists, artists have captured the human experience in its purest, primal form. Spread the word about Art For Freedom if you believe that artists all over the world deserve the freedom to express these truths freely and without the threat of persecution.  Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • 10 Must-See Movies for Animal Lovers
    By: Jon Lisi Apr 14, 2014
    Touchstone Pictures via Everett Collection Some movies make us laugh. Others make us cry. Then there are those that make us want to run home to our pets and give them the biggest hug imaginable.  Cinema has the ability to highlight the unique power of animals. The techniques of editing and framing allow filmmakers to structure stories from an animal's point of view, and the audience magically learns what life is like from the perspective of a horse, a dog, and even a rat. They're not quite human, yet the best movies give animals human-like qualities to earn the audience's sympathy and compassion. To me, successful films about animals demonstrate cinema's potential to tap into our imaginations. They force us to dream of a world in which animals comprehend the human voice. Those of us who have pets know that we're never quite sure if our beloved animals actually reciprocate our feelings of love, but we give them the benefit of the doubt and treat them better than we treat ourselves.   Do you play with your dog more than your friends? Are you fascinated with nature and wildlife? If so, these movies about animals are for you.  GALLERY: 10 Must-See Movies for Animal Lovers Follow @Hollywood_com //