Everyone knows that you can't judge a cartoon or comic book adaptation by its trailer; you can, however, feel free to judge it by its theme song. Every great cartoon of the '80s and '90s lived and died by its theme song, and no show embodied that idea better than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The heroes on a half shell loved theme songs so much that every few seasons they re-inevented them, replacing synths with hip hop beats and adjusting the shrieking vocals to a different decibel each time. Even the films got in on the action, churning out memorable, if not impeccably crafted, earworms that would resonate throughout your skull for hours afterward. With the latest incarnation of the turtles set to hit theaters on August 15 (with a brand new theme song of its own, natch), we decided to take a look back at some of the sonic works of genius that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise has gifted us with over the years. And yes, you are about to be shell-shocked.
8. TMNT (2007 Movie) The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are no ordinary heroes. They’re goofy, ridiculous, and over-the-top... they’re literally mutated turtle warriors who live in the sewers and eat pizza. They deserve better than wordless, generic drama that would work just as well on any random action movie out there. Where’s the personality? Where’s the fun?
7. Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation The theme song itself is disappointingly unremarkable for all of the insanity that these opening credits suggest. There’s live-action turtles on motorcycles, some kind of witch who seems to have had the same hair and makeup designer as David Bowie in Labyrinth, plenty of weird CGI orbs, some of it is animated but most of it isn’t, there’s a brand new turtle… and the best you can come up with is “Na-Na-Na-Na-Ninja?” What a letdown. How did we tolerate that as children? Surely we knew we deserved more. (Start at 2:25 to judge for yourself.)
6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) The theme song for the 2003 animated series starts out strong, with the dramatic introduction, the wailing guitars and vocals that sound like a failed audition for a hair band. But the attempt to be exciting and retro starts to grate very quickly, and it feels like the composers were trying too hard to re-capture the '80s TV show, instead of embracing the essence of their turtles. Also, the phrase “heroes on a half shell” isn’t mentioned once, and that’s just unacceptable.
5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secrets of the Ooze There is perhaps no phrase in the world that better encapsulates the ‘90s than “Vanilla Ice’s song for the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, ‘Go Ninja, Go.’” But the real beauty of this song isn’t in watching Ice and some turtles break it down in some baggy, high-waisted pants while his hair flops about with a mind of its own. No, it’s in Ice’s poetic lyrics where the song really shines, thanks to lines like “Lyrics. Fill in the gap,” and “Ninja, ninja rap.” And just in case you need time to recover from those pearls of song-writing, it ends on an extended dance break. That’s the voice of a generation right there.
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014 Movie) When you think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, surely the first names that pop into your head are (Oscar winner) Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa, and Ty Dolla $ign, right? If you’ve never heard some of the most popular rappers of our day rapping about pizza, turtle power, and about wanting a cut of the cheddar like Shredder, you haven’t truly lived. Presumably, it was an attempt to bridge the gap between a child-friendly property and a more grown-up movie, but it really just succeeds in being a glorious cacophony of ridiculousness. If you’ve ever wondered what the sonic equivalent of a Michael Bay movie would be, well, this is it.
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990 Movie) The theme song for the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film caters to a very niche demographic: fans of old school hip hop and live-action interpretations of beloved cartoons, who has difficulty remembering key plot details. “Turtle Power” is basically a scene by scene summary of the film’s events set to a slick beat – and by slick, we mean “has a lot of DJ scratch effects in it” – but it’s just so ridiculous that it’s hard to be upset at the unimaginative lyrics. There are three dance breaks! We can’t get mad at that.
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) From a songwriting stand point, this theme song barely scrapes past “Turtle Power,” in terms of creativity and complexity. But as far as an introductory song for a children’s show, it’s pretty well done. It introduces all of the characters, the premise, throws in a few clever puns about being “shell-shocked” by a “lean, mean, green ninja team,” and the beat is surprisingly catchy. Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes you just need something that will make kids sit still for thirty minutes at a time, and a slightly shouty chorus that will no doubt echo through the house for hours afterwards.
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) It’s the classic theme song formula: throw together a repetitive chorus, some clever rhymes that establishes the show’s premise and set it all to some sweet, sweet '80s synths. Add the right amount of sugar and you can practically picture children jumping around their houses, screaming “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” over and over again. It’s simple, it’s memorable and it will be stuck in your head for the next nine hours, and recur every time someone brings up the heroes on a half shell. You’re welcome.
Sure, Guardians of the Galaxy gave us an exciting, fun space adventure and a surprisingly moving relationship between a raccoon and a tree. But according to the Internet, the real gift is that of Chris Pratt: Movie Star.
He's everywhere right now — interviews, talk shows, movie theaters, television screens, .gif sets on Tumblr — all punctuated by the giddy exclamations of a nation head over heels in love. And why shouldn't America revel in the glory that is Pratt? He's goofy, charming, lovable, and humble, the funny guy next door wrapped up in an action-star package. But though this is the biggest wave of Chris Pratt adoration that we've experienced, it's hardly the first time that people have fallen in love with him. You might not realize it, but he's been breaking hearts for years now, thanks to his transition from teen crush to goofy best friend to supporting character to leading man. But is Chris Pratt as Star-Lord really better than all of these Chris Pratts, or did we miss the best Chris Pratt when we weren't paying attention? Let's take a look:
Doe-Eyed High School Boyfriend Chris Pratt (a la Everwood)The WB
This is the original iteration of Chris Pratt, and everyone knows the sequels are never as good as the original. That’s the face of a guy who is bound to grow into a movie star, but right now is going to make your teenage heart melt as the jerk-turned-dream-boyfriend. Have you seen his scenes with Hannah? When you were in high school, all you wanted was for someone to love you like that. All you still want is someone to love you like that. And look at that floppy hair – do any other Chris Pratt’s have that ridiculous hair? No they don’t. That’s why this is the best.
Everyone's Chubby Best Friend Chris Pratt (a la Parks and Recreation)NBC
We’re glad that people are finally waking up to Chris Pratt, but frankly, we feel a bit bad for them. See, they missed the best Chris Pratt of all: chubby, accident-prone, lovable doofus Chris Pratt. You want charm? He’s got it. A brilliant sense of humor? Check. Dashing good looks? Always there. A relationship with both his on and off-screen wives that will make you swoon? Still here. On top of all that, chubby Chris Pratt is the kind of guy who will happily sit on the couch with you to binge-watch Netflix, buy you Chipotle whenever you’re craving it and he won’t care at all about what you look like, because he loves you no matter what.
So Badass It's Scary Chris Pratt (a la Zero Dark Thirty)Columbia Pictures
Sure, Chris Pratt elitists can complain that earlier versions are superior, but the truth remains that ripped Chris Pratt is the best one of all. All of those amazing traits that the other Chris Pratt’s have – the humor, the humble perspective, the charm – are still here, but now they’re covered in the most incredible abs you’ve ever seen. Now he’s a serious actor. No more running into ambulances, he’s got serious business to take care of, and when he’s done, he’ll swoop you up into his toned, dramatic actor arms and carry you off into a terrorist-free sunset.
Space Cowboy Chris Pratt (a la Guardians of the Galaxy)Walt Disney Pictures/Marvel
There’s a reason everyone hopped on the Chris Pratt bandwagon after seeing him as Star-Lord: this is the best version of Chris Pratt. He’s cocky, he’s tough, he’s suave, he’s clever and he’s got a heart of gold and the coolest friends in the galaxy. He’s the best kind of action hero, the kind that has a wisecrack for every occasion and the sweet, sweet dance moves that are required in tense situations. Star-Lord is Han Solo for a new generation, the kind of character everyone wants to be and everyone wants to be with. It’s everything you love about the other Chris Pratts, plus a super cool fighter plane.
Moustachioed Chris Pratt in High-Waisted Pants (a la Her)Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
Sure, he only has a few minutes of screen-time, but those few minutes show off the best Chris Pratt we’ve seen yet. He’s sensitive enough to enjoy a well-written love letter, kind-hearted enough to accept his friend’s non-traditional relationship, funny enough to break the tension, attractive enough to pull off that mustache-and-pants combination and – best of all – emotionally stable enough to be in a relationship with an actual human being. Imagine the weekends in Catalina with him. Would any of those other Chris Pratts take you on a romantic trip to Catalina?
Chris Pratt: French Braider, Heart Breaker YouTube/Entertainment Tonight
Just when you thought Chris Pratt couldn’t get any better he goes and braids an intern’s hair. Not just any braid – a French braid. Most women we know can’t manage a decent French braid... and there Chris Pratt is, effortlessly plaiting her hair into an artfully-messy style that people would pay good money for in a salon. He does it all without breaking his concentration, answering questions just as easily as he would if he weren’t breaking the hearts of everyone watching. And then, just when it seems like you’ll finally be okay, he chastises the interviewer for attempting to tie it off with a rubber band, because this Chris Pratt is the best Chris Pratt.
Chris Pratt, Family Man WENN/Brian To
Chris Pratt is at his best when he’s with or talking about his family, by far. All of his insanity and goofiness fades away to showcase all of the affection he has for them, and there is nothing in this world better than a hot man who loves his family. Have you seen the way he looks at Anna Faris? That’s the dream right there. How about the way he talks about his son, Jack? It’s heartwarming and charming and adorable, while still allowing him the opportunity to make poop jokes. It’s the perfect combination of everything that makes Chris Pratt wonderful, with an extra helping of smiley, adorable baby and beautiful, talented wife. This, right here, is the dream.
Cast your vote for the best Chris Pratt of all below!
NBC via Getty Images
True pop culture connoisseurs are willing to give just about every genre, series, miniseries, director or film a try. But even though they're just as excited for the new Marvel movie as they are the latest indie from Richard Linklater, or watch both Breaking Bad and The Bachelorette, there's still one genre that most TV buffs are reluctant to sample. We are, of course, referring to the cooking show, likely the preferred Sunday afternoon programming of your parents. But cooking shows are more than just drawn out recipes from stiff, snobby chefs; they're exciting and interesting and sometimes, even dangerous. In an effort to encourage television fiends to expand their horizons even further, we've pulled together some of our favorites and matched them to their pop culture equivalent, so you can find the show or competition that's right for your appetite. Even if you don't find a new addition to your DVR, at least you've got something new to eat during your next Netflix binge.
If You Like Nancy Meyers’ Movies, Try Barefoot Contessa If you’re watching a Nancy Meyers film, you’re probably someone who appreciates a middle-aged romance, a linen pant and an expensive kitchen. Ina Garten’s show is ostensibly about teaching people how to cook delicious, rustic dishes, but it’s really about her beautiful home in the Hamptons, where’s she always throwing together something in her impeccably designed kitchen for an impromptu – but perfectly designed – get together. And since her husband Jeffrey often wanders in to fawn over her, all it’s really missing is Diane Keaton.
If You Like Scandal, Try Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee On Scandal, Olivia Pope can solve even the most intimidating, impossible-looking presidential problems with efficiency, and spends a significant amount of time contemplating her life while drinking wine in an expensive cardigan. Sandra Lee does the exact same thing on Semi-Homemade, only the problem is how to turn a bunch of processed, canned foods into something that’s even remotely edible. Unlike Olivia, unfortunately, she doesn't always succeed.
If You Like Channing Tatum, Try Anything with Bobby Flay Channing Tatum has carved out a niche in Hollywood by being good-looking and likable, no matter what kind of film he’s in. Comedy, romance, action, it doesn’t matter – you’re not really there for the plot, you just want to watch a Channing Tatum movie. When you want that kind of comfortable entertainment from your cooking shows, turn to Bobby Flay. It doesn’t matter which show you choose. He has a million of them, and they’re all just as likable and inoffensive as the others.
If You Like True Blood, Try Nigella Feasts Chances are you lost track of the plot of True Blood about three seasons ago and are now just tuning in for the sheer amount of skin on display. What’s Joe Manganiello saying? Who cares, just look at him. If you’re looking for a cooking show that will be equally uncomfortable to watch with your parents, you’re looking for Nigella Lawson, who treats food the way the rest of us treat Alexander Skarsgaard and Ryan Kwanten. What’s she making? It doesn’t matter. Just look at it.
If You Like Glee, Try 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray Only a few people have stuck with Glee this long into its run. They’re the kind of people who are willing to ignore just about anything in favor of upbeat dance numbers, familiar characters, and bright colors. They’re also the kind of people who would love 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray, another acquired taste. You want questionable dialogue? People talking enthusiastically in the loudest, most theatrical voice possible? Comfortable guilty pleasures? A set designed in shades of tangerine? This is the show for you.
If You Like Everything Michael Bay's Created, Try Guy’s Big Bite You’re a person with simple tastes: you want loud, explosive action scenes, very little plot, lots of incoherent shouting and as many punching robots as humanly possible. Sure, you might get teased by friends who think they have better sensibilities, but you know you’re not alone in your preferences. Luckily, there’s a cooking show just for you, hosted by the culinary equivalent of Michael Bay – Guy Fieri – in which he makes loud, obnoxious, potentially explosive food that forgoes any kind of subtlety for punching you in the face with flavors.
If You Like True Detective, Try Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown This isn’t a straightforward cooking show, but then True Detective isn’t a straightforward murder mystery show. Both feature a complicated, charming anti-hero with a penchant for foul language, who sets out in search of meaning and mystery. it just so happens that instead of solving a crime, Anthony Bourdian is hunting down obscure delicacies. All of the action, adventure, beautiful cinematography, and potential for weird crushes are still in tact, though. Don’t you worry.
If You Like The Hunger Games, Try Top Chef Do you like televised competitions in which one person must outsmart, outwit, and out-maneuver everyone else, please judges who have the ability to bestow gifts and advantages on them, utilize their individual skills in creative ways, form alliances and teams in order to support one another, all in hte interest of coming out on top? The only difference between The Hunger Games and Top Chef is that nobody dies on the latter. Although, someone did cut off a finger once…
If You Like Harry Potter, Try Jamie Oliver For many people, the Harry Potter series was an introduction to a lifelong love of reading, British culture, fantasy worlds and fandom, among other things. Likewise, Jamie Oliver is often an entryway into the world of cooking shows. He’s handsome and charming, easy to follow, and cooks simple, classic meals with all of the manic enthusiasm of Daniel Radcliffe. The first time you ever saw someone make traditional British food? It was probably Jamie Oliver. Plus, like Harry, he’s the star of an epic series of his own, with somewhere between two and 12 shows airing on some channel at any given time.
If You Like Friday Night Lights, Try Chuck’s Day Off As many Friday Night Lights fans know, sometimes the best programs are the ones very few people are watching, and that’s true of the Cooking Channel show Chuck’s Day Off. In this series, our culinary Tim Riggins, Chuck Hughes, takes us through the process of cooking classic, simple food with his laid-back, good ol' boy charm. At some point, before you’re entirely ready, you’ll be done with all the episodes, feeling empty, hungry, and a little bit in love. And like with Friday Night Lights, you’ll spend a significant amount of time trying to convince your friends to give it a shot, promising it’s “not just about cooking, I promise!”
Bravo via Getty Images
Because time is a flat circle, it’s time to once again sort through all of the casting rumors for the new season of True Detective. Though no actors have officially been confirmed, several names have been thrown around as contenders for the second season of Nic Pizzolato’s hit TV show. According to The Wrap, the current front runners are Vince Vaughn as a corrupt businessman, Colin Farrell and Taylor Kitsch as detectives with a host of personal issues (among them drug problems and abuses of power), and Elisabeth Moss as the female lead, a sheriff with a troubled past and problems with alcohol and gambling. So, just your usual upbeat crime fare.
True Detective would be Moss’ first major role after wrapping up seven seasons of Mad Men. But True Detective is only a one-season commitment, so Moss would still be free to pursue other opportunities, instead of being tied down to one show for several more years. Plus, it’s the buzziest show currently on the air, which is bound to open the amount of projects and opportunities headed her way even further.
Mad Men has allowed Moss to showcase the range of her talent, but Ani Bezzerides seems so different from Peggy Olson that it would allow her the opportunity to stretch even further. Moss’ character on Top of the Lake , Det. Robin Griffin, was also a drastic change of pace to Peggy, but it remained very much under the radar during its run, despite the critical and awards acclaim it earned. Thanks to its surprising first season and the clout that HBO’s programming enjoys, True Detective is a much more recognizable property. More people would be aware of Moss’ work on the show, which means she’s much more likely to finally take home that Emmy. Look at what True Detective did for Matthew McConaughey, and just imagine what it could do for someone like Moss, who is already a critical darling.
But a role on True Detective might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Though Moss would be the show’s female lead, she still seems to be setting up as a second fiddle to Farrell, the show’s alleged primary protagonist. That’s not to say that her character would be any less complex and interesting, but it’s hard to imagine that most of the attention – both on the show and in the press – wouldn’t focus on the movie star instead of the TV vet. After playing second fiddle to Jon Hamm for the last seven years, it would be better to see Moss find a project where she can finally get the chance to shine.
A lateral move might not be what Moss needs right now. She’s spent several years proving that she’s an incredibly talented actress on television, but her films roles, even at the height of Mad Men’s fame, have been few, and have tended towards the supportive girlfriend type instead of anything that made use of her talent. Perhaps it’s time for her to find the right film role in order to really make an impact on Hollywood and audiences outside of Peggy Olson.
Of course, it’s also entirely possible that Moss isn’t looking for another gritty detective series this soon after Top of the Lake. That role offered her many of the same things that True Detective does (a change of pace, a challenging character, a talented cast, awards attention), albeit on a slightly smaller scale. Moss might be satisfied with her foray into the detective genre, and might want to avoid True Detective so that she doesn’t get typecast. Considering the fact that she’s largely avoided period pieces outside of Mad Men, it wouldn’t be too surprising.
Whatever she decides, the truth remains: Elisabeth Moss will probably be fine, because she doesn’t actually need True Detective. She has already built a respected career thanks to projects like Mad Men and Top of the Lake, and now that the former is wrapping up, she likely has her pick of projects. Sure, True Detective would be a great move, but it’s not the only one she has right now, and no matter what she chooses, something tells us that we’ll still see a lot more of Moss. Even if it isn’t on a weekly basis anymore.
50th Street Films vis Everett Collection
The first time I watched My Neighbor Totoro, it was for a class assignment. I had seen several other Studio Ghibli films over the years, and yet for some reason, I had never gotten around to this one, and had been enduring the incredulous reaction of friends for years. When I put it on, I wasn’t expecting anything remarkable – enough material to write a paper, if I was lucky, and the chance to finally get them to shut up – and then I suddenly got it. I wasn’t even all the way through the film when I understood why everyone was so adamant about me watching this movie, because My Neighbor Totoro is, quite possibly, a masterpiece.
It’s not a sweeping epic; there are no grand chases or dramatic cliff-hanger or life and death stakes. It’s a small movie about the relationship between two sisters, Satsuki and Mei, trying to get through a difficult time, and the idea that there are forces in the world that will care for you, and protect you. In most fairy tales, the mythical creatures are often the threats, forcing kids to grow up and take care of themselves. In My Neighbor Totoro, Satsuki and Mei aren’t the ones being threatened (their mother is) and the “villain” (her disease) is beyond their control. The conflict and the characters are undeniably real, not just to adults, but to the childhood experience of feeling helpless but wanting to do something"?
In the case of My Neighbor Totoro, it’s the spirits that help look after Satsuki and Mei, that keep them feeling safe and loved, that keep them together and allow them to keep their child-like sense of wonder in the face of something so grown-up and scary. Even though life can be difficult and sad, there are still things to wonder at; there are still people who care about each other. The message of My Neighbor Totoro is about finding the magic in everyday life, respecting the world around you and relying on love and friendship to make it through tough situations. And even though all of these messages are directed at kids, they’re just as comforting to adults. I remember sitting in my dorm room, feeling happy and comforted and a little in awe of the potential magic all around me. Every time I re-watch My Neighbor Totoro, I get that exact same feeling. It was clearly a labor of love for Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki and that love is evident in every frame. That love seeps off the screen.
When I heard that Studio Ghibli might be shutting down, I immediately thought of My Neighbor Totoro, and all of the other wonderful, perfectly-crafted films that they have produced over the years, and the idea of never getting to experience another film like that for the first time is heartbreaking. They’re a studio full of original ideas, painstaking-detail and warm, comforting and exciting stories. But most of all, they’re a studio that produces each film as a labor of love, and nowhere is that love more evident than in the brilliant, heartwarming comfort of My Neighbor Totoro.
Getty Images/Jason LaVeris
If there’s something strange with your comedy sequel, and things don’t look good, who you gonna call? Well, if the movie in question is Ghostbusters 3, you’re gonna call Paul Feig and hope that he can bring his golden touch to the troubled threequel. According to THR, the The Heat director is in talks to helm the film, which has been looking for someone to fill the opening left by Ivan Reitman, who left the project following Harold Ramis’ death in March. In addition to the new direction, Ghostbuster 3 will also be getting a makeover, and will reportedly center on an all-female team of parapsychologists.
Though the news has unsurprisingly been met with resistance from some fans who are reluctant to let go of the male characters they’re comfortable with, the general response from fans and critics has been positive with many looking forward to seeing the franchise get a breath of fresh air. And while it will likely be difficult seeing new faces in the ghostbusters’ jumpsuits – after all, who could possibly replace Bill Murray? – it shouldn’t be hard to find plenty of talented funny ladies who would be up for the challenge, and perfect for the roles. In case Feig is looking for a few casting suggestions, we’ve matched some of the best comedic actresses currently working with the original character archetypes to give him a sense of who would be perfect for Ghostbusters 3. You know, after Melissa McCarthy has been cast.
For the Peter Venkman Character: As the perpetually bored, slightly mischevious Gina Linetti on Brooklyn Nine Nine, Chelsea Peretti has proved that she has the right wit and attitude to take on Murray’s most famous role, along with just enough sweetness to match his heart of gold. Likewise, Jessica Williams has had the perfect showcase for her cynical, sarcastic side on The Daily Show, which would give the character the right amount of edge. And while Kaitlin Olson’s most famous character is better known for her jaded, sarcastic attitude and biting insults, the actress herself is equally capable of handling light-hearted moments, and she could use a breakout film role; as could Aisha Tyler, whose intelligent, dry wit and warm personality would make her an ideal team leader. Vote below, and read on to see who should play the Ray, the Egon, the Leon, and the Winston.
For the Ray Spatz Character: Though Kristen Schaal might be best-known for raunchy, shocking stand up persona, one only needs to watch a few episodes of Gravity Falls or Bob’s Burgers to know that she’s just as hilarious when playing wide-eyed, uninhibited enthusiasm... with an edge. Though they're often obnoxious and in-your-face, Jenny Slate's characters often still have some growing up to do, and her run as Marcel the Shell with Shoes On proves that she's equally adept at being innocent and adorable. Mindy Kaling’s over-the-top, goofy personality would also make her a solid fit for the childlike, excitable character, and if there’s anyone whose carved a niche in Hollywood with naïve, warm-hearted characters, it’s Kaling’s good friend Ellie Kemper, who had turned child-like innocence into an comedy gold. Vote below, and read on to see who should play the Egon, the Leon, and the Winston.
For the Egon Spengler Character: Playing a rigid, focused Egon Spengler-type requires someone who excels at playing the straight-man, and there’s nobody on television who currently does that better than Brooklyn Nine Nine’s Melissa Fumero, whose Amy Santiago is the perfect mix of goofy and Type-A. Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson is also at her most hilarious when she’s attempting to impose some kind of order on things that are beyond her control, and her talent at handling awkward situations is unparalleled. Many of Vanessa Bayer’s best SNL character exhibit a similar tightly-wound, nerdy awkwardness and she’s proven that she can earn laughs with just a few words. Meanwhile, Ana Gasteyer has brought dorky rigidity to new heights on Suburgatory, where she played the competitive perfectionist Shiela Shay. Vote below, and read on to see who should play the Leon and the Winston.
For the Leon Tully Character: Perhaps no actress has turned awkwardness into an art form quite like Miranda Hart, whose nerdy, well-meaning Chummy on Call the Midwife has nothing on the endearingly embarrassing title character in her sitcom Miranda. Likewise, Rachel Dratch has made a career playing a variety of hilarious, uncomfortable weirdoes from the fast-talking, PDA-friendly Denise to the socially-unaware Debbie Downer. But if there’s any actress who could be considered the female counterpart to Rick Moranis, it’s probably Amy Sedaris, whose iconic Jerri Blank is basically a warped version of the awkward, socially-inept but well-meaning nerds that Moranis has specialized in. Vote below, and read on to see who should play the Winston.
For the Winston Zeddemore Character: Though Rosa Diaz is a bit more violent and monotone than the straight-talking voice of reason that is Winston Zeddemore, Stephanie Beatriz has nonetheless proved herself talented at dishing out tough love to the idiots she surrounds herself with, as well as willing to go along with just about anything if there’s something in it for her. Shirley Bennet’s advice-giving, mothering would make Yvette Nicole Brown an excellent choice for the role as well, along with her talent for cutting through nonsense and ability to turn a sermon into a comedic showcase. Gina Torres has similarly specialized in tough, skeptical characters, and she’s especially good at imbuing them all with a slightly goofy sense of humor and warm heart, and though Nasim Pedrad has played plenty of weirdoes, she’s adept finding the funniest way to shake some sense into people – who’s a better voice of reason on SNL than her Arianna Huffington?
Whether or not you agree with the idea that we, as a society, have reached superhero saturation, there's no denying that 2014 has been one of the busiest years for caped crusaders in history, between Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the steady stream of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice set rumors. And if you were to take a casual glance at the films lined up for release over the next few months, it might seem as if there's no relief in sight. Do we really need two more intergalactic, justice-seeking adventures a month until New Year? Well, we have some good news for you: those probably aren't superhero movies. In fact, most of them probably aren't - they just have titles that would make just as much sense with a mask and a pair of tights. Don't believe us? Take a look at the rest of 2014 in movies:
Into the Storm This Is Not: An X-Men: Origins movie starring Lupita Nyong'o, nor a spinoff movie about the Fantastic Four’s twins Johnny and Sue.This Is: A found-footage disaster movie about a series of intense, deadly tornadoes that are tearing the country apart. It Opens: August 8
November Man This is Not: A film about a superhero with the ability to control weather conditions. Well, he can control the autumn. He’s the Thanksgiving superhero, is what we’re saying. This Is: A thriller about an ex-CIA operative who is hunting down a woman who holds the keys to an international conspiracy, while trying to escape the people who want to kill him, starring Pierce Brosnan and Olga Kurylenko. It Opens: August 27
The Green Inferno This is Not: The story of a hero who has the ability to burst into flames and control fire (green fire, obviously) after a freak accident involving industrial waste. This Is: A horror film that centers on a group of student activists who are fighting to save a tribe in the Amazon… only to discover that they’re a tribe of cannibals, written and directed by Eli Roth. It Opens: September 5
20th Century Fox
Gone Girl This Is Not: An action-comedy about a shy scientist who, after a failed experiment, develops the ability to turn herself invisible, and uses her powers to fight crime in a way that is not at all similar to the Invisible Woman. This Is: A psychological thriller about a woman who disappears on her anniversary, and the husband who becomes the media’s prime suspect after the journals she was writing are discovered, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. It Opens: October 3
The Judge This is Not: The long-awaited follow up to 2012’s Dredd about British sci-fi hero Judge Dredd. This Is: A drama about a hot-shot lawyer who returns to his hometown after his mother’s death to discover that his estranged judge father is being investigated for manslaughter. It does, however, star a superhero: Robert Downey Jr. It Opens: October 10
Nightcrawler This Is Not: An X-Men: Origins movie starring Alan Cumming. This Is: A thriller about an ambitious reporter who gets in over his head in the world of late-night ambulance chasing and freelance crime journalism, starring Jake Gyllenhaal. It Opens: October 17
Birdman This Is Not: The Falcon solo movie we didn’t know we always wanted, nor is it a movie about any other superheroes who happen to have avian-related superpowers, potentially starring Anthony Mackie. This Is: A drama about a washed-up actor who is desperate to escape the shadow of his most famous character – Birdman – by mounting a Broadway show. However, between the fictional superhero of the title and the fact that it stars Batman (Michael Keaton), the Hulk (Edward Norton) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), it might count as half a superhero movie. It Opens: October 17
Fury This Is Not: The highly anticipated, highly R-rated Nick Fury solo film. This Is: A World War II drama about a group of tank drivers who must go behind enemy lines to hold back German forces during the last days of the war, starring Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf and Logan Lerman. It Opens: November 14
Walt Disney Pictures/Marvel
On the off chance that you’ve managed to avoid the Internet, television, newspapers or other people for the last few months – in which case, welcome back! That one Iggy Azalea song is still a thing and Legolas and the Biebs are feuding now – allow us to remind you that Guardians of the Galaxy opens today. Although, chances are even the most remote parts of the world are still abuzz at the chance to see Andy Dwyer, Neytiri, and the Vin Diesel-tree save the universe. As with every major and minor cultural event, Twitter is full of people sharing their excitement, opinions, criticisms and photos of the snacks they got at the concession stand. And even though celebrities might have cooler jobs and better hair than the rest of us, they too are unable to resist the allure of the latest Marvel movie, or the joy of tweeting about it.
Some of them couldn't contain their excitement (or their cosplay costumes):
So excited for Guardians of The Galaxy! Gonna see it dressed as my favorite character! #GOTG pic.twitter.com/MTWNCBTVRv
— Paul F. Tompkins (@PFTompkins) August 1, 2014
A few couldn't resist bragging about being into Guardians of the Galaxy before it was cool:
I have been excited for #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy since @prattprattpratt had a gut and @KarenGillan2 had long hair! CAN'T WAIT @JamesGunn!!!
— Ben Schwartz (@rejectedjokes) July 30, 2014
There were a handful of concise reviews:
Guardians of the Galaxy is the best one.
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) August 1, 2014
And discussions about who really stole the show:
I loved GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. It's funny and has heart but the big revelation was how great @DaveBautista is as Drax.
— Gerry Duggan (@GerryDuggan) August 1, 2014
But mostly, people just wanted to share a few general observations about the film:
Of all the “blockbuster summer movies” so far this summer the only one people seem to be talking about is Guardians of the Galaxy
— Colin Hanks (@ColinHanks) August 1, 2014
Just becuase you're in show business, that doesn't mean you won't fall in love with Chris Pratt:
The Year of Chris Pratt begins...now. #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy
— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) July 31, 2014
Although he might have some competition in the celebrity friend/nerd cred department:
Let’s talk for a second about @leepace in #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy. Flawless. That is all. Go follow him. Before everyone else does.
— Nathan Fillion (@NathanFillion) July 29, 2014
And there was absolutely nothing that could potentially cause people to overreact and start reports of a feud. Nothing at all.
Good luck to Mr @JamesGunn this weekend. Truly one of the good guys x
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) August 1, 2014
You can catch Guardians of the Galaxy in theaters everywhere to judge it for yourself. And then tweet about it, of course.
If you’ve even given the Internet a cursory glance over the last few weeks, you’re probably aware that Chris Pratt is having a moment right now. Thanks to a starring role in Guardians of the Galaxy, one of the biggest movies of the year, even people who’ve never seen an episode of Parks and Recreation or Everwood are being clued into his goofy, lovable charms. But playing Peter Quill is bound to have more long-term effects on Pratt’s career than simply giving him a venue to showcase his French-braiding skills – the question that remains is whether these will be positive effects.
Obviously, getting to play a superhero in a Marvel film is going to be amazing for any actor. They’re easily the biggest, most-exciting films of the year; they guarantee you plenty of press attention and new fans, and open you up to countless new opportunities and projects. But what about the times Pratt won’t be protecting the galaxy? Actors who star in superhero and sci-fi franchises often struggle to break out of the shadow of their famous characters. Leonard Nimoy and George Takei will always be Spock and Sulu, no matter what other projects they pursue; despite the beard, Mark Hamill is still known as Luke Skywalker; even Michael Keaton has yet to surpass his Batman fame. Once you become recognized for a single, beloved character, it’s hard for fans to see you any other way, which could result in Pratt being stuck as Star-Lord for the rest of his career.
Despite being part of one of the most iconic franchises of all time, only Harrison Ford was really able to break away from his Star Wars character, which he did by jumping straight into the Indiana Jones series. Pratt is taking a somewhat similar path, following up Guardians of the Galaxy with Jurassic World, which should help keep him in people’s minds as something other than Star-Lord. Still, from what we’ve heard, Pratt’s character Owen seems to be similarly confident and wise-cracking, which could result in him being typecast as the good-looking jokester. Considering the fact that Pratt only just stopped being typecast as the “chubby, dumb best friend,” that’s not necessarily a step forward, even if it does guarantee him more leading roles. And since there are so many more actors in Hollywood who specialize in those kinds of roles, it means that Pratt will face a lot more competition for parts.
Becoming known solely as Star-Lord could also make it harder for Pratt to play the kind of supporting character roles that he’s done well with lately, like the underdog baseball player in Moneyball and the good-hearted but doofy colleague in Her. Now that he’s considered a leading man, he might not be considered for those roles anymore. Even if he is, it could be hard for audiences to see him as anything else, which could pull them out of the film. Sure, Star-Lord’s a nice guy and all, but who would actually believe that he’s working at a company that writes love letters?
Look at some of Pratt’s superhero contemporaries: it doesn’t matter what film Robert Downey Jr.’s in, he’s most likely playing the handsome jerk. Scarlett Johansson is almost always the tough girl. And Jeremy Renner is... constantly overlooked. It would be very easy for Pratt to get typecast as the rule-breaking wisecracker. That’s not to say he wouldn’t be great at those parts – he obviously plays them well – but it does put him in a box.
However, Pratt does have an extensive background in television, which gives him an advantage over some of his fellow Marvel heroes. Andy Dwyer and Peter Quill have a fair amount of similarities, but where one is a schlubby slacker, the other is an adventurous go-getter. And both are different still from Bright Abbott, the obnoxious football player Pratt played on Everwood. He’s already proved that he has the range to handle a variety of characters, and now that people are finally paying attention to him, that should help open him up to a different slate of roles and opportunities. Pratt’s got the talent and the charm to play almost anything, as his extensive sitcom past proves, so to keep him locked into one type of character for the rest of his career would be disappointing.
The wishes of theater nerds everywhere were granted Thursday when they were finally able to get their first look at the long-awaited, highly-anticipated film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Well, at least a few of their wishes were granted. While the clip introduces all of the major characters, gives us a glimpse at the spooky, magical atmosphere and shows off what Meryl Streep would look like as a fairy tale witch, there was one key element missing from the teaser: there was absolutely no singing. Considering that this is an adaptation of one of the most iconic musicals of all time, that’s a bit of a problem.
There was no doubt that Into the Woods would turn out to be a grand, visually stunning affair. After all, this is a Disney production, and fairy tales are their specialty. Even those who were worried that the studio wouldn’t be able to handle the darker elements of the play were comforted by the dragons, thorns and cursed castles that made up the Maleficent set. But the one thing that fans were concerned about is whether the cast would be able to handle the demands of Sondheim’s difficult score.
Sure, we know that Daniel Huttlestone knows his way around a classical theater score, and that Anna Kendrick and James Corden have an impressive set of pipes on them, but there are still plenty of cast members whose lack of musical theater pedigree makes us a bit nervous. Streep might be the greatest actor of her generation, but even she had difficulty with the songs in Mamma Mia, and those are pop songs. Johnny Depp might be creepy enough to play the big bad wolf, but his last stab at a Sondheim musical didn’t fare so well. Giving fans a look at some of the musical performances in the film would be the best way to assure fans of the musical that Into the Woods is in good hands, but avoiding the score completely has just done the opposite.
Walt Disney Studios
We know it’s only a teaser, but not featuring any singing whatsoever doesn’t seem like a good omen. It feels almost as if the producers are deliberately trying to hide something from moviegoers, whether it’s that the soundtrack isn’t done being mastered, or that some of the performances aren’t up to snuff, or even the fact that Into the Woods is a musical in the first place. If theater nerds really don’t have anything to worry about, why not pop a line or two into the trailer? We know what creepy fairy tale forests look like; that’s not why we’re interested in seeing Into the Woods.
Of course, we might just be getting all worked up over nothing. Perhaps the producers felt it was better not to try and cram songs into a two-minute space, or they want to get people curious about the film before they can properly showcase all of the talent they’ve got. Or maybe they’re just trying to grab the attention of the people who loved Maleficent but might not be interested in a musical otherwise. But it’s hard not to be a little nervous about the way such a difficult production will turn out if so much is still being kept under wraps.
However, we are willing to be a little less critical if the next trailer actually features Stephen Sondheim’s name in it somewhere. Into the Woods opens – hopefully with a bit more singing – on Christmas Day.