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Public perception of Tom Cruise is usually negative, at least in the United States. As a performer, Cruise still gets it done on the big screen, but American audiences haven't been as forgiving for his couch jumping and religious beliefs. But the truth is that his movies are at the very least good. The rest of the world eats up his movies, inflating his box office numbers and his ego. And Cruise still runs very fast.
Last year's Oblivion looked like a failure if you examine the U.S. numbers. It had a budget of $120 million (very modest by blockbuster standards), yet raked in a little more than $89 million on American soil. A failure, right? In the USA, yes. Worldwide, a big hell no. The rest of the world loves Cruise. Oblivion cashed in 68.9 percent of its total in foreign markets to the tune of more than $197 million.
So how much longer can Cruise sustain his movie star career? Obviously, he's not completely fading away. With so much foreign success, studios would be foolish to completely dismiss him. The Mission Impossible and Jack Reacher franchises have sequels planned. And what about Top Gun 2? Audiences should flock to that based on principle alone. As long as Cruise maintains his physique, loves acting and continues to cash paychecks, quality movies will continue. Who didn't like Collateral? The Last Samurai? Even Knight and Day wasn't bad. Really, it wasn't. Cruise's star power has plenty of life, although as he ages, he probably won't want to do as much running.
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Two Hercules movies in the same year. Why? Stop it. Hollywood has done this before. It’s unnecessary. The Legend of Hercules has a January release date, yet later this year, Hercules, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will debut.
Guess which one of these films will do better?
The Legend of Hercules stars Kellan Lutz, the beefy hunk from the Twilight movies. Lutz’s fame is definitely on the rise, but on the rise simply won’t match up to the star power of The Rock. The former WWE superstar will put butts in theater seats. Who the hell thought this was a good idea? Two Hercules movies in the same year — come on, man. Although the Lutz production will power into theaters well before Johnson’s summer debut, it’s safe to predict which one will be more successful.
Even if The Legend of Hercules performs well, it will be deemed a failure compared to the July release of Hercules. A similar mess happened last year with two White House movies. Olympus Has Fallen soured audiences into watching another film about the White House under attack. White House Down did poorly at the box office despite coming out in the summer. It made only $250 million worldwide, a low figure for a popcorn flick starring money actors Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx.
Remember when two volcano movies erupted into the theaters in 1997? Dante’s Peak and Volcano didn’t have to happen at the same time, did it?
This tired practice needs to end. For the sake of movies, audiences and tubs of buttery popcorn, would movie studios start using common sense?
When you see Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) on Justified, you have to admire him. He's a cool customer who's always in control, even when bad guys are firing bullets at him. But any lawman can keep his cool under pressure. Raylan has that and a lot more going for him. Guys, there's no reason not to have a mancrush on Raylan. A look at his best qualities:
Raylan looks like he should be on the cover of GQ. The dude is handsome, but being good looking will only get you so far. He always wears his trademark hat – stylish without being over the top. And he's always rocking a sport coat, something that will spruce up even a simple T-shirt.
Well, that first point helps explain point two. The ladies love Raylan. His style attracts women like felons to blood money. How many times have hot girls thrown themselves or checked out Raylan? Quite often. Mr. Givens has had his fill of the opposite sex on Justified. But deep down, his true love is his estranged wife.
It must be great knowing you can kick another man's rear end. Raylan does it all the time. He doesn't go looking for trouble (usually); trouble always follows him so when it's time to squabble, Raylan always comes out on top. He's deadly accurate with a gun and smart enough to make the right move in difficult situations.
Yeah, remember when we said Raylan doesn't go looking for trouble? He does that sometimes. It's as if he’s a magnet for shootouts, car chases, abductions, fist fights and anything else that gets you all riled up. Admit it, what Raylan does on Justified is a hell of a lot more interesting than your 9-to-5 job. Unless you do what Raylan does. In that case, be safe.
In an unusual move, Peter actually spends time with Stewie. Yes, the entire episode features Peter trying to get his son to go to sleep.
The fat man starts off by reading Stewie Jack and the Beanstalk. Naturally, Family Guy puts its own spin and casts its characters in all of the fairy tale roles. In the first tale, Peter is Jack and his wife is played by Lois. She warms Peter not to take magic beans as payment for selling the family cow. Real money. What do you think Peter does?
Peter happily accepts magic beans. After being scolded by Lois, Peter throws the beans in the yard. Overnight, the beanstalk grows all the way to the sky. Perpetual pervert Quagmire plays Rumpleforeskin; he complains that the beanstalk blocks the view of Little Miss Muffet's tuffet. Peter climbs the beanstalk only to find the goose (Stewie) laying a golden egg. There's also a giant who lives in the castle (Chris), who won't let his goose get taken. A chase ensues — Peter climbs down swiftly while Chris, hugely gigantic, plops his way down. Meanwhile, at the bottom, Quagmire saws the beanstalk down. He really needs to see Miss Muffet! Chris falls after the beanstalk tramples. He lands with a thud and worse, the beanstalk crushes him. A lot of blood splatter here.
Fairy tale two is Little Red Riding Hood. Not much happens here other than Red (Stewie) traveling down the path to Grandma's (Grandma Pewterschmidt) with the Wolf (Brian). They get along just fine. Brian gets to Grandma’s house early, you know, since he has to "surprise" Red. When Stewie walks into the house, he realizes right away that Brian is wearing Grandma's clothes. Randomly, the Woodsman (Peter) shows up with a chainsaw. He makes a bloody mess of the place, the result of cutting Brian in half. "I'm not sure if that’s our hero or just a lunatic going house to house murdering people," Stewie says. Peter really does seem crazed with his wild laugh as he chainsaws the life out of people.
Cinderella (Lois) is the final fairy tale. Lois' awful family (Grandma, Stewie and Meg) rips her dress apart so she can't go to the ball. Luckily, the Fairy Godmother (Adam West) saves the day. It would have been funny if Adam West donned his 1960s Batman costume instead of a pink dress and magic wand. Brian and Joe provide transportation as horse and carriage (Joe screams that it hurts being transformed into a vehicle). Come to think about it, that probably would hurt like hell. The Prince (Peter) falls in love with Lois at the ball after dancing. She leaves at midnight since, you know the spell wears off.
Seriously, why would you make a spell wear off at midnight? Most parties don't get good till after 10 p.m. How could Cinderella party for less than two hours? Anyway, Peter matches the glass slipper to Lois. The two don't live happily ever after: the marriage lasts just seven months and in the end, the two of them don't even follow each other on Twitter. Not a happy ending, you have to at least follow on Twitter.
Among the miscreants, losers, outcasts and troubled youths on Shameless, one person stands out. Lip Gallagher (Jeremy Allen White) isn't just a lowlife skipping school.
He ditches because he's bored. Lip is smarter and better at anything academic so smoking and hooking up with girls makes more sense than wasting time in school.
The Gallagher family invites trouble with their unruly behavior and then it's up to Lip to make some money, fix something or figure out a plan to get them out of out hot water. Without the family (or the entire troubled neighborhood), Lip could excel at anything. Heck, he could take over the world with the right motivation.
Lip's brother, Ian, wouldn't like this. Ian desperately wants to go to West Point and has been in the Army ROTC at school for years. With his intellect, any military unit could groom Lip into a brilliant leader. No country could counter Lip's military intelligence. He could make his way to four-star general, and maybe later on in life, a spot as President of the United States.
Figuring out coding and hacking wouldn't be a problem for someone as smart as Lip. Slowing the Internet or holding it hostage would definitely be a possibility. For what purpose? Whatever purpose Lip deems necessary.
Lip isn't an evil person. But he has loose morals. He's a Gallagher. Running drugs for big profit (we're talking multi-millionaire or billionaire) isn't out of the question. After all, nobody figured Walter White on Breaking Bad for a boss.
Put Lip in an unorganized country or communist territory and he might very well lead them. If anybody could figure it out, Lip would.
Dear Frank Gallagher,
You are a horrible father, disgusting drunk and an even worse human being.
But you knew that already.
Frank (William H. Macy), give up the charade that you care about your children. You are a burden on everything they do and always hold them back. Fiona (Emmy Rossum) and Lip (Jeremy Allen White) are the kids who could have the most success, yet they hate you the most.
Actually, Ian hates you pretty good too.
What scheme will you devise to rob your kids of the little money that they make? Even worse, you get them involved so deep that when you mess up — and you will mess up — they have to bail you out, sometimes literally.
And for what? Your real love, booze.
You aren't picky about what you drink as long as there are numerous rounds to consume. How many nights have you spent somewhere strange? How the hell have you not gone blind? Your body is starting to shut down, so that's justice. Still, you have plenty of drunken days and nights, was it worth it? Your smell must resemble an animal that hasn't cleaned itself in weeks.
Yet somehow, you've fathered kids and continue to get sex.
Speaking of hygiene, your look can best be described as a hoboish. Shave. Wash up. Stop drinking! Don't you get throbbing headaches from being so damn dirty all the time? Bums won't even give you money.
Frank, you give the Gallagher family a bad reputation. Their name is already tarnished, thanks to you (the rest of the family has earned their hate, though), they don't need you making things worse.
Go to work or go to hell.
Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
Nepotism is never embraced in any work environment. It's nice for the family member receiving favoritism, but for everybody else, it stinks.
Will Smith keeps souring his own reputation by giving his son, Jaden, roles. These choice roles were nice when he was a little boy.
Who didn't enjoy The Pursuit of Happyness when Will and young Jaden overcame difficult circumstances?
Now, that act has become very stale. After Earth was a mess all over. Jaden was the star, yet it was marketed as if Will led the charge. Shady. It still managed to make more than $243 million worldwide. In the U.S., it was a colossal flop (more than $60 million on a $130 million budget).
Audiences won't accept this for very long.
Will could have got in his fans' good graces had he took the lead in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained. He was offered the role of Django, but turned it down.
"Django wasn't the lead, so it was like, 'I need to be the lead.'" Will said. "The other character (Christoph Waltz) was the lead!"
Tarantino made an incredible movie while Smith teamed up with his son to make a lame film.
Last year, Will could have helped reignite the sequel to Independence Day. How exciting would it be to have him on board with a new alien blockbuster? He said no. Probably not a big enough role for Jaden.
Get with it, Fresh Prince. There's nothing wrong with playing a supplementary role. Would Will turn down a part in Ocean’s Eleven?
If this big-headed behavior keeps up, Will and Jaden's careers will crash harder than the alien ships in Independence Day.
Doug Guggenheim (Josh Lawson), quit being a weenie.
Played by Josh Lawson, Doug is the running joke on Showtime's House of Lies and it needs to stop. Well, for comedic purposes it doesn't, but for the character's self respect it should.
Look, Doug will never ever ever ever be the alpha male that Marty Kaan (Don Cheadle) is. Marty's suits are sleek as hell by the way. But there are ways for Doug to fit in better.
The first way is to just shut the hell up. We get it, you're an Ivy League graduate. Harvard, rah-rah. That is certainly something to be proud of, however, just list it on your resume. And keep your opinions to a minimum because most of the time, they are idiotic.
Second way to fit in is to stop competing with Clyde (Ben Schwartz). Clyde talks a better game than you. Although he also seems socially awkward at times, it is nothing compared to your frantic actions. Be glad he hasn't stolen your girlfriend — yet.
Finally, keep your expectations low for future success. The consulting job that you do is a scam to begin with. You are an awesome analytics guy, but in a leadership or management role, you will get laughed out of any meeting.
Sorry, Doug. We feel sorry for you. Your hijinks make for great comedy. Use your handsome salary to buy outstanding clothes like Marty. Cherish your girlfriend who is way out of your league. And most importantly, keep your damn mouth shut.
Peter gets a promotion at work (this is already a bad idea), one that requires him to use a forklift. Yes, accidents will happen.
Once he realizes he is proficient at using the forklift, Peter uses it all the time. Peter lifts Joe, who uses a wheelchair, to walking height. Strolling through the streets, his dead legs dangling, Joe enjoys his moment so much, he doesn't even notice his pants fall. Peter also tries to dump a beached whale back into the water; he botches the job and chops the whale to pieces.
But this final accident results in Peter's termination: he attempts to chug 600 gallons of beer using the forklift. He nearly kills himself and causes a gigantic accident.
With their savings dwindling, Lois suggests that she should get a job. Brian, in his second episode since coming back from the dead, continues to claim his job is a writer. Yeah, right.
Lois gets a job at a supermarket. Her interview isn't nearly as comical as Seth MacFarlane’s lovable teddy bear in Ted. Lois' answer to every question is groceries. Now that Lois is working, Peter becomes a househusband. He doesn't like his new role, and as a result, his libido suffers.
After work, Lois wants sex, but Peter can't perform. Quagmire and Joe try to help with the problem. In fact, Quagmire rigs a bunch of wires to control Peter's genitals. Surprisingly, it works. He's a hell of a pilot.
Quagmire figures that Peter needs to get his job back to get the plumbing working right again. Peter and Quagmire convince Angela, Peter's boss, to give him his job back.
The newfound pride revs Peter's engine. The corpulent dad marches to the supermarket to surprise Lois with the news — and prove that his mojo is back.
Money, fame, power, happiness — stars give up on all of this way too easily.
Look at Justin Bieber. A confused boy in a grown-up celebrity world proclaims he plans on retiring.
Why? Not enough backward hats, questionable women and spotlights for him? Maybe he perceived his status would eventually nosedive into oblivion. Beating that nosedive to the punch could save him the embarrassment of fading away into celebrity hell, one in which "starring" on Dancing with the Stars is a career revival.
Bieber isn't the only celebrity who has said he's stepping down. Remember when Joaquin Phoenix said he was hanging it up? How long did that last?
What about Tim Robbins? Obviously he's still around.
Jay-Z called it quits. That retirement ended quickly.
Celebrities, musicians and athletes throw that word around way too often. And carelessly. We don't want to see these stars throw their talent away. If you’re burnt out then just say it.
Don’t play the public and say it's all done. Michael Jordan retired from the NBA. Twice.
There is something amusing about watching a star's comeback. But at the same time, their previous retirements are definitely disingenuous.
The Bieb needs to make up his damn mind. He still has fans even though he has grown up to be a punk. Bieber is no longer the cute, high school aged youngster. Bask in the spotlight while you still can. When the fan love is gone, then toss it away.
Besides, there's no rush to pump out an album. Honestly, how many people do you know clamoring for a new Bieber album? Very few.