Author

Morgan Glennon
  • The 5 Weirdest TV Holiday Traditions: From Festivus to Chrismukkah
    By: Morgan Glennon Dec 18, 2013
    NBC On television, sometimes the holidays can get a little wacky. You might not be looking forward to sitting down with your extended family for the holidays, but at least you won’t have to deal with an alien invasion or the annual airing of grievances. In fact, these wacky TV traditions make us appreciate our own crazy clans. Here are five weird holiday traditions to make your own family seem downright normal this winter season. Festivus Perhaps one of the best and weirdest alternative holiday traditions comes to us courtesy of the sitcom Seinfeld. Created as secular backlash to the commercialization of Christmas by George Costanza's father, Festivus has everything you could ever want in a holiday. That is, if what you want in a holiday is an unadorned aluminum pole, a wrestling match, and your whole family to point out how you failed them in the previous year. ChrismukkahIn an early episode of the Southern California soap The O.C. Seth Cohen explains to his newly adopted brother how he celebrates the holidays. Since his mother is a gentile and his father is Jewish, Seth merged both Christmas and Hanukkah into one super-holiday. After the episode aired, Chrismukkah soon took on a life of it’s own. Now kids from multi-religious families don’t have to pick one religious holiday, they can just combine them! Wookie Life DayThe Star Wars Christmas special has become infamous; it’s so bad George Lucas wants to personally destroy every available copy. The special revolves around Chewbacca and his family trying to return to their home planet to celebrate “Life Day.” See below for some examples of how truly strange the special was.  Alien Invasion There’s nothing like a little alien invasion to get the new year started out right. At least that’s the way it seems on Doctor Who, which airs a special episode on Christmas every year. The Christmas special is usually a big event in the Doctor Who universe, and this year’s special will see current Doctor Matt Smith regenerate into new Doctor Peter Capldi. But in the Who universe, Christmas is usually the exact moment Britain is attacked by aliens. That might take a bit of cheer out of the holiday season. LudachristmasWhile Kenneth the Page might have tried to teach the writers on 30 Rock an important message about the true meaning of Christmas, they seemed much more interested in celebrating their annual “Ludachristmas” holiday bash. Unfortunately Kenneth’s message falls on deaf ears, and the writers decide to cut down the Rockefeller tree instead of throwing a riotous party. Not sure that’s the upgrade Kenneth was hoping for. What’s your favorite weird TV holiday tradition? Do you celebrate Festivus or Chrismukkah? Share in the comments! Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • 5 Reasons We Could Watch 'A Christmas Story' All Day
    By: Morgan Glennon Dec 18, 2013
    Everett Collection No one would have suspected when A Christmas Story hit theaters 30 years ago that it would become a holiday staple today. The movie, about an imaginative boy who just wanted a BB gun and his crazy family, opened to tepid box office returns and harsh reviews. Yet today it’s a holiday classic, with TBS playing the film on a 24-hour continuous loop Christmas Day for the last 10 years. Why is A Christmas Story so infinitely watchable? Why is it impossible to turn away from the movie’s charms, even though you’ve seen it a million times before? Below is a list of the top five reasons we can (and probably will) watch A Christmas Story all day again this year: 5. The Leg LampThanks to A Christmas Story, the household lamp has gotten a sexy upgrade. The sexy leg lamp, complete with stockings, becomes a bone of contention in Ralphie's house. Dad finds it a fine work of art to display, while mom just wants to pack it back in it’s “fra-gi-le” box. Now this sexy leg lamp is an accessory you can buy for your own home to start arguments with your own family. 4. The Triple Dog DareThe most deadly of all dares, the triple dog dare can get even the most reasonable kid to take on crazy challenges. Thanks to A Christmas Story we all know it’s a bad idea to lick a frozen pole. Life lessons! 3. “Oh Fudge!”Except he didn’t say fudge. When Ralphie tries to help his father change a flat tire, he says the mother of all curse words. A Christmas Story takes us back to a simpler time, when dropping the F-bomb seemed like the end of the world. 2. The Bunny SuitAnyone who has ever gotten an embarrassing Christmas present and had to pretend to like it can relate to Ralphie’s dilemma. Given the most hideous pink bunny suit known to man, Ralphie is forced to don the pajamas, complete with a floppy-eared hood. 1. “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid”The ultimate lesson we learned from A Christmas Story was that, no matter how much you might want a BB gun, the odds are pretty high you’ll eventually shoot your eye out. The movie is worth watching on a 24 hour loop just for the scene where Ralphie goes to a mall Santa to request his ideal Christmas gift. Instead of holiday cheer, he has his dreams squashed and gets a foot in his face. Ho-ho-ho! What are some reasons you could watch A Christmas Story all day? What are your favorite moments from the movie? Share in the comments! Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • ‘Bonnie & Clyde' Paints Pair As Depression-Era Kimye
    By: Morgan Glennon Dec 18, 2013
    Lifetime Bonnie & Clyde, the special two part miniseries which aired on three networks (Lifetime, A&E and History), stole 9.8 million viewers for its first installment. If you subscribe to the theory that every generation gets the version of Bonnie and Clyde they deserve, then the 2013 edition looked frighteningly familiar. Our version of the famous criminal pair looked less like old time gangsters and more like a reality TV couple. Think of them as a Depression-era Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. The driving force behind the newest adaptation of Bonnie & Clyde isn’t really the money, or the thieving, or even the occasional murder. It’s not about breaking free from the bonds of society, the way the version starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway reflected the turbulence and anti-authority mindset of the late 1960s. Like Kimye, this version of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are all about fame. Bonnie dreams about being famous, and she’s willing to get there at any cost. In the 1930s Bonnie got there with tommy guns and cigars, while in 2013 Kim Kardashian gets there with sex tapes and reality shows. Clyde Barrow, portrayed in this version more like Bonnie’s hapless errand boy, has a talent for crime, but perhaps not Bonnie’s hunger for the notoriety it entailed. The message of the miniseries is about the quest for fame at any cost, a theme more prevalent in today’s society than ever. Kim Kardashian is usually the first example when we talk about people who are famous for being famous, not for having any actual skill. Bonnie Parker coveted the limelight, and she was willing to kill to put herself on center stage. Just look at the way Bonnie and Clyde posed for photographs they sent to newspapers and compare it to the absolutely ridiculous professional photoshoot the Kardashians call their family Christmas card. The more things change, the more they stay exactly the same. Back in the '30s Bonnie Parker wrote poetry and sent it in to newspapers, including a verse foretelling the pair’s own death: “Some day they'll go down together;And they'll bury them side by side; To few it'll be grief To the law a reliefBut it's death for Bonnie and Clyde.” It might sound a little grandiose, but at least it was in verse. Today celebrities don’t have to compose a whole poem, they only need 140 characters to reach millions of people from around the world. The Bonnie & Clyde miniseries might have focused on Bonnie’s quest for fame and stardom because it’s something modern audiences readily understand. When Holiday Grainger’s Bonnie mouths along to her own heartless words said moments after shooting a man in the head, she’s not filled with remorse, but with the elation that she’s made the pre-movie newsreel. The idea that there’s no such thing as bad publicity is a concept modern audiences understand well. Celebrities can act in hideous ways and still avoid jail time and retain fans. The famous occupy their own special stratosphere, one Bonnie Parker dreamed of entering. Celebrity couples like Kimye are as obsessed with fame as Bonnie and Clyde ever were. If the recent miniseries had one lesson, it’s that some people are willing to pay any price for a piece of the limelight. What do you think? Did you think the recent miniseries portrayed Bonnie and Clyde as fame whores? Share in the comments! Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Better Know A ‘Hunger Games’ District: Get Luxurious In District 1
    By: Morgan Glennon Dec 09, 2013
    Lions Gate via Everett Collection What’s a dystopian novel without a post-apocalyptic world? When America turns into Panem, you might want to pack your bags. In case you needed a refresher, Panem is split up into 12 districts (we don’t talk about district 13) and a glittering and wealthy capital city. Taking a page from The Colbert Report, this ongoing “Better Know a District” series will take a look at the districts that make up the brutal world of The Hunger Games. Welcome To District 1: Opulence, They Has It Industry: The main industry in District 1 is luxury items, because how else would the Capitol keep itself clothed in the latest fashions? Obviously the fashion sense of the Capitol is way left of sanity, but they'd be nothing without District 1. This is the District which supplies perfume, jewels, and lots of colorfully weird wigs. They have a very positive relationship with the Captiol because of their position in proximity and because of the love Capitol citizens have for the luxury items they provide. After all, how would Effie Trinket pull together her glorious fashion-forward ensembles without District 1? Notable Residents: The tributes from District 1 are also career tribute who tend to stick together to pick off the weaker contestants before turning on each other. In The Hunger Games, Katniss kills the female tribute named Glimmer from District 1 with tracker jacker venom. In fact, Katniss has a bit of a history of killing tributes from District 1, taking out a few District 1 contestants in Catching Fire as well.  Aspirational Names: The residents in District 1 don’t just supply the luxury lifestyle, they try to emulate it as well. Most parents in the district will give their children aspirational names or name their offspring after luxury goods. Just look at the names of the four tributes we know: Glimmer, Gloss, Marvel, and Cashmere. In the books, Katniss thinks this naming tradition is idiotic. Hunger Games Prospects: Tributes from District 1 tend to do very well in the Hunger Games. This is probably because, like District 2, the children from this area are career tributes. This means they’ve had special training and preparation, and go into the Games already knowledgeable in how to survive in the wilderness and how to use weapons. They’re completely deadly and like tributes from District 2, many of them actually volunteer to bring their district honor in the Games. Which District is your favorite? Sound off in the comments! Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Better Know A ‘Hunger Games’ District: The Brutal Strength of District 2
    By: Morgan Glennon Dec 09, 2013
    Lionsgate What’s a dystopian novel without a post-apocalyptic world? Panem might be all that remains of American, but it’s not a place you’d want to live. In case you needed a refresher, Panem is split up into 12 districts (we don’t talk about district 13) and a glittering and wealthy capital city. Taking a page from The Colbert Report, this ongoing “Better Know a District” series will take a look at the districts that make up the brutal world of The Hunger Games. Welcome To District 2: Home of the Peacekeepers Industry: Officially the main industry in the wealthy District 2 is masonry. These strong citizens are known for mining and stone cutting. But most citizens of Panem also know District 2 is where the nation’s Peacekeepers originate. After the rebellion of District 13, District 2 was rewarded with wealth and prosperity for its loyalty to the Capitol. Still, workers in the quarry live under terrible conditions, even though the district is favored by those in power. The Nut: After the rebellion, the Capitol moved all military operations into District 2. This includes training the Peacekeeper military force, housing hovercraft, and weapons manufacture. All of these military functions are carried out in a hollowed-out mountain previously used for mining. It becomes known to the rebellion forces as “The Nut,” because it’s a hard nut to crack. Notable Residents: Since District 2 is a career district, most of the tributes make it very late into the Games. For instance, in Katniss’ first time in the Games both Cato and Clove survive late into the competition. Cato is in fact the last survivor before Katniss and Peeta win the Games and is only defeated by the mutts. In the Quarter Quell, both Brutus and Enobaria are fierce competitors. Brutus' strength makes him one of the most dangerous competitors, while Enobaria is so obsessed with being lethal that she has had all her teeth filed into fangs. Hunger Games Prospects: If you were a Capitol citizen betting on the Games, you’d probably bet on a tribute from District 2. Not only are the residents of this district strong because of their Peacekeeper training and stone masonry, it’s also one of the best career tribute districts. Children in these districts are trained to compete in the Games because it is considered a great honor to be chosen as tribute. For this reason, many of the District 2 tributes have actually volunteered to go into the Games. So it’s not surprising District 2 has one of the largest pools of winners in all of Panem. Which District is your favorite? Sound off in the comments! Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Exclusive: ‘Revenge’ Composer Fil Eisler
    By: Morgan Glennon Dec 03, 2013
    JennKL Photography Revenge is back in fine form this season, and composer Fil Eisler is having fun playing musician to the dark antics of the Hamptons elite. Hollywood.com was lucky enough to speak to Eisler by phone during a break in scoring the show about how the sound of Revenge has changed and the fun yet to come: How did you go about creating the sound for Revenge? And what inspired it? What inspired it was equal parts film noir movies from the '40s and '50s and more modern influences in terms of manipulating sounds on the computer. So I did things like going to a junkyard, buying a truckload of junk and turning that into the percussion palette of the show. I wanted there to be a real mix of old and new. But the real Revenge sensibility is that it’s an orchestral show, so it’s a live orchestra every week and that really sets the tone of it. And it’s also all in the melodic themes. A lot of those stem from a fairly old-school scoring sensibility. Most shows on the air don’t have a full orchestra. What’s it like working with that for Revenge?It’s fantastic! I cannot even begin to quantify the value of that. It elevates the score to such a high extent. It’s hard to explain because people are like, “Aren’t samples really good now? Can’t you do all this stuff on the computer? Isn’t it prohibitively expensive?” All those questions have very simple answers. The answer to the first two is no. You can do lots of cool things with samples and you can do lots of cool things with computers, but nothing is ever going to replicate a human performance with feeling. Nevermind multiplying it by 30 or 50, with that amount of players. For the price, a good way to put it into perspective is that most shows will happily blow $40,000 on a song if it’s a hit song. For maybe half of that you could put an orchestra together for an hour-long show. Circumstances vary, but mostly people assume it’s too difficult and it can’t be done, and they don’t realize how much it elevates the quality of the show. It seems like you do a lot of interesting things with the score for Revenge. I read somewhere that you scored one episode using the Morse code for SOS. What was that like?Back in season two, Jack and Amanda are being stalked by a killer on the boat and they’re being held hostage. The entire thing plays on the boat, so why not set the whole thing to SOS? It’s such an off-kilter rhythm.. So you can mold it in all sorts of ways. It really leant itself to the idea of a very disturbing situation. So you hear it all the way through that score. The entire episode score is based around the SOS, so even the bits when they’re not on the boat you hear it in the rhythm. Then the big climax in the episode, the big action scene, was all based on that. It was really fun to do, and I love it when you can have a theme like that to hang the whole thing on. How has the sound of the show changed over the seasons? It’s funny, you can only ever go where the story takes you. In season two it got much bigger because there were all these grand storylines, there were all these big themes at play. So we were using a bigger orchestra much of the time. There was a lot of action stuff, so you just needed more bodies in the orchestra to pull it off. I would say this season Revenge has gone back to the idiom of season one. It’s much more of a delicious soap opera, but at the same time it still has sort of a noir thriller feel. So there are a lot of dark plots going on, and I think the music reflects that. It’s much more twisty plotting music instead of balls-out action. Although I do think there are going to be a few instances where we get to bang the drum a little bit. So far it’s just been really fun scoring all this dark plotting. They’re not nice people, you know. What’s been your favorite moment in season three to score?I can’t tell you about it! There’s a scene I’m scoring right now that’s really exciting. Emotional scenes in Revenge are really fun to do because, now that we’ve established this orchestra world the show lives in, when we’re doing an emotional scene we can afford to really go there. Obviously you don’t want to overdo it, but you don’t want to be so careful about holding back. People can be over-careful about things like that. It doesn’t have to be schmaltzy, the orchestra can be incredibly understated but have an incredibly powerful effect. Do you have a favorite character on Revenge or someone whose scenes are particularly fun to score?I can’t say that, I’d get killed! It’s interesting, because in the first season the super dark characters used to be really fun, like Tyler and the white haired man. Then in season two pretty much everyone was dark, everyone was going to kill someone. This year I think the emotions are much more complex because of the residual effects of everything that happened in season two. People died, people lost family and friends. So scoring the repercussions of that is heavy stuff. It still always stays dark, because Revenge is a dark show in that way. There’s way more complexity in the emotions, and it’s like scoring a more complicated drama than a straight-up thriller. What can audiences expect as the third season continues? What I can tell you is that the writing is really excellent this year, it’s really top-notch. They have gone to that season one place. I loved season two, I know it had its critics, but for me it was an incredibly fun thrill ride. But this season’s just different. It’s fun, it’s really catty, really bitchy. You get to enjoy characters like Victoria, who gets to be a really classic TV character now. There are plenty of what we on the crew like to call “Oh sh*t!” moments coming up. But obviously I can’t tell you any of those without getting killed. But I can definitely stake my name on it being very good. Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Better Know A ‘Hunger Games’ District: Get “Nuts” and “Volts” in District 3
    By: Morgan Glennon Dec 03, 2013
    Lionsgate What’s a dystopian novel without a post-apocalyptic world? Panem is all that remains of American and it’s certainly not a place you’d want to live. In case you needed a refresher, Panem is split up into 12 districts (we don’t talk about district 13) and a glittering and wealthy capital city. Taking a page from The Colbert Report, this ongoing “Better Know a District” series will take a look at the districts that make up the brutal world of The Hunger Games. Welcome To District 3: The Tech-Savvy District Industry: How could a rapt (and forced) citizenry watch The Hunger Games if they didn’t have televisions? That’s where District 3 comes into the picture. This is the district that provides all the technology and electronics for Panem. Jobs in District 3 tend to be powered by more brain than brawn, since it’s the District that allows the Captiol to stage the tech-savvy Games each year. Rebellious Geeks: It would be a mistake to count District 3 out just because they spend most of their time with wiring and electronics. In Catching Fire, Katniss notes that the residents in District 3 are among the most happy to see her come through on her victory tour. This is probably because most of District 3 residents live in poverty, despite their access to cutting-edge tech. Notable Residents: The most well-known tributes from District 3 are Wiress and Beetee, both former victors who become part of an alliance with Katniss in Catching Fire. Both are extremely intelligent, despite seeming a little zany. Johanna Mason refers to them as “Nuts” and “Volts” respectively, especially since Wiress is just a little to the left of sanity. While they might at first seem unlikely allies, they turn out to be invaluable help figuring out the configuration of the Games arena. Hunger Games Prospects: Despite the district's poverty and lack of weapons training, District 3 tributes have a distinct advantage in the Games. That advantage is their intelligence and familiarity with electronics, wiring, and engineering. As noted, both Wiress and Beetee are highly intelligent, but the tribute from District 3 during Katniss’ first Games was smart too. He proved his mettle to the Careers by setting up the land mine trap around the Cornucopia. They might not seem intimidating, but it would be a mistake to underestimate a tribute from this district. Which District is your favorite? Sound off in the comments! Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Better Know A ‘Hunger Games’ District: Finnick Odair’s Aquatic Home, District 4
    By: Morgan Glennon Dec 02, 2013
    Lions Gate via Everett Collection What’s a dystopian novel without a post-apocalyptic world? Panem, the remains of the former North American continent, is certainly not a place you’d want to live. In case you needed a refresher, Panem is split up into 12 districts (we don’t talk about district 13) and a glittering and wealthy capital city. Taking a page from The Colbert Report, this ongoing “Better Know a District” series will take a look at the districts that make up the brutal world of The Hunger Games. Welcome To District 4: Swim With The Fishes! Industry: Fishing is the main industry in District 4, with all of Panem’s seafood originating from this district. This makes it one of the wealthiest districts in Panem, and wealth means that the district turns out career tributes. Although the district is wealthy, they still have a contentious relationship with the Capitol and are primed and ready for rebellion. Hello Sailor! The most famous resident of District 4 is the dreamy and snarky Finnick Odair. As a tribute in the 75th Annual Hunger Games, Katniss immediately sees Finnick as a major threat. Not only is Finnick a career tribute good with a trident and nets, he’s also easy on the eyes. Being attractive and charming is a major advantage in the Hunger Games, since it always nets Finnick plenty of sponsors. Finnick is also flirtatious and funny, and soon even Katniss begins to warm up to this charmer. Notable Residents: District 4 has put out its fair share of notable residents. Also from the fishing district is Annie Cresta, Finnick’s lady love. Annie was coached by Finnick and managed to survive her stint in the Hunger Games, although not without extensive mental scarring. Annie suffers from extreme PTSD and mental problems after her time in the Games, and especially after seeing her fellow tribute beheaded. When Annie is reaped in the Quarter Quell, Mags volunteers to take her place. Mags is a quiet older woman who only volunteers in order to save Annie. But she turns out to be surprisingly hardy once the Games begin. Hunger Games Prospects: Tributes from District 4 have a distinct advantage once they get into the Games. First of all, District 4 is a career district. This means children in this district are raised to compete in the Games and often volunteer at the reaping. Children in District 4 are good with tridents, excellent swimmers, and proficient at tying knots and setting nets. Annie won her Hunger Games because of her excellent swimming abilities, while Finnick won his because he used nets and his trident to take out the competition. Which District is your favorite? Sound off in the comments! Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Better Know A ‘Hunger Games’ District: Foxface’s Home, District 5
    By: Morgan Glennon Nov 27, 2013
    Lions Gate What’s a dystopian novel without a post-apocalyptic world? Panem, the remains of the former North American continent, is a pretty scary place. In case you needed a refresher, Panem is split up into 12 districts (we don’t talk about district 13) and a glittering and wealthy capital city. Taking a page from The Colbert Report, this ongoing “Better Know a District” series will take a look at the districts that make up the brutal world of The Hunger Games. Welcome To District 5: They’ve Got The Power! Industry: The main industry in District 5 is energy and power. This district is responsible to harnessing the energy for the entire nation. District 5 quite literally keeps the lights on in the rest of Panem. Notable Residents: The most important resident of District 5 is “Foxface,” a tribute with Katniss in the 74th Annual Hunger Games. Although Katniss never learned her name, she referred to the female tribute from District 5 as Foxface during their training. Foxface was incredibly intelligent, even though she wasn’t as strong or tough as the other tributes. She managed to keep herself alive far into the games thanks entirely to her wit. She would scavenge supplies from other tributes and even managed to learn the configuration of mines the career tributes used to boobytrap the Cornicopia. Unfortunately for Foxface, this same wit ended up backfiring on her in the end. She died after stealing some Nightlock berries from a pile Peeta accidentally picked. Got Tesserae? The population in District 5 is the lowest in all of the districts, probably because residents don’t take advantage of the “tesserae” system. For children between the ages of 12 and 18, tesserae is available in order to help starving families gain needed supplies. Unfortunately, getting tesserae also means an additional entry of the child’s name in the reaping for the Hunger Games. Hunger Games Prospects: Since the residents of District 5 are mostly working with power and electricity, their weapons training is fairly poor. The District 5 tributes don’t generally do well in the games, with everyone other than Foxface dying pretty rapidly after the games begin. Which District is your favorite? Sound off in the comments! Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Better Know A ‘Hunger Games’ District: Panem’s Transportation Hub, District 6
    By: Morgan Glennon Nov 26, 2013
    Lions Gate What’s a dystopian novel without a post-apocalyptic world? When North America turned into Panem, it became a dog-eat-dog world. In case you needed a refresher, Panem is split up into 12 districts (we don’t talk about district 13) and a glittering and wealthy capital city. Taking a page from The Colbert Report, this ongoing “Better Know a District” series will take a look at the districts that make up the brutal world of The Hunger Games. Welcome To District 6: Going Places! Industry: The main industry in District 6 revolves around transportation. This is the district responsible for all the trains, hovercraft, and cargo craft for the whole of Panem. Ironically enough, that same hovercraft is used to heavily bomb the district during the second rebellion. Despite the fact District 6 is responsible for making the trains run on time, the citizens of this district aren’t actually all that fond of travel. Notable Residents: Perhaps one of the most infamous residents of District 6 was a Hunger Games tribute named Titus. While in the games, Titus went mad and began eating his victims. This cannibalism wasn’t looked upon kindly by the Capitol audience, and eventually the Gamemakers killed crazy Titus in an avalanche to avoid crowning an insane victor. Take a Hit: District 6 may be no picnic, which is probably why some residents feel the need to take the edge off. Throughout the books, Katniss hints several times that there seems to be widespread usage of a drug called “Morphling” in District 6. Katniss even refers to the two previous victors from District 6 as “Morphlings” in Catching Fire because of their fondness for the drug. Hunger Games Prospects: Considering all the cannibalism and drug addiction in District 6, it’s not surprising that tributes from this district generally do poorly in the games. Since the district is focused on the manufacture and care of transportation, they don’t have as much familiarity with weapons. As a more urban district, they’re also at a distinct disadvantage in the more natural games environments. Which District is your favorite? Sound off in the comments! Follow @Hollywood_com //