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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    BY CHRIS E. HAYNER

    Not every sketch the cast and guests of  Saturday Night Live rehearse makes it onto TV. There's just not enough time in the show to air them all. Luckily, the Internet is there to pick up the slack.

    The last—from the episode hosted by Amy Adams—takes on the classic Christmas movie Love Actually, taking it to a much creepier place. In the clip, which spoofs the cue card scene featuring Andrew Lincoln and Keira Knightley, cast member Pete Davidson explains the many disturbing things he loves about Adams.

    His attempt to woo her doesn't go as well as planned, but at least he was able to make Adams break character. Keep an eye out around the 3:50 mark as one of his "compliments" is just a bit too much for her.

    Screengrab via NBC/Hulu


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    Defying threats from hackers linked to North Korea, Sony Pictures Entertainment on Wednesday released its action-comedy film The Interview for digital purchase and rental through YouTube, Google Play, Xbox Videos, and its own platform.

    Sony has set up a website, SeeTheInterview.com, where, beginning at 1pm EST, the movie can be rented for $6 and purchased for $15, both in HD. At press time, the website was down amid sustained traffic.

    "Sony and Google agreed that we could not sit on the sidelines and allow a handful of people to determine the limits of free speech in another country," Google's chief legal officer David Drummond wrote in a blog post, adding parenthetically, "however silly the content might be."

    "It has always been Sony's intention to have a national platform on which to release this film," Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said in a statement. "We chose the path of digital distribution first so as to reach as many people as possible on opening day, and we continue to seek other partners and platforms to further expand the release."

    Apple's iTunes is one of the major platforms left out of the arrangement. It reportedly passed on the opportunity to participate. Meanwhile, Netflix may join in the freedom party soon.

    Given that the North Korean-set satire is the apparent MacGuffin in the United States’ first real cyberwar, it seems only fitting that it would find a home online after the five biggest cinema chains canceled their screenings. News broke on Tuesday that some 200 indie theaters will still show the movie on December 25, the film's original premiere date, despite threats of 9/11-like violence from hackers who the FBI has said leaked troves of Sony’s data on orders from Pyongyang.

    Observers have linked Sony's ad hoc release strategy to President Obama’s assertion last Friday that Sony had made a “mistake” by appeasing those who wanted the film buried. In a different light, however, it looks as if Sony doesn't want all of this free publicity to go to waste.

    Screengrab via MOVIECLIPS Trailers/YouTube    


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    BY SAM GUTELLE

    The man behind one of YouTube’s biggest webseries believes his partner network is about to go belly up, and before that happens, he wants to get paid. A lawyer representing Dane Boedigheimer, the creator of The Annoying Orange, has filed a petition in Los Angeles Superior Court ordering The Collective Digital Studio to arbitration.

    The news of Boedigheimer’s lawsuit comes from The Hollywood Reporter, which shared some choice excerpts from the relevant court papers. In them, Boedigheimer, who is one of the most successful creators within the Collective Digital Studio multichannel network, claims the MCN is not holding up its end of the deal. “For months, The Collective has refused to pay Boedigheimer and his production company, Annoying Orange, Inc., any revenue generated from the exploitation of The Annoying Orange and other content and has kept all of the revenues for itself,” reads the suit.

    As the man known online as Daneboe told THR, The Collective is stalling on a previous demand for arbitration. Why would The Collective decline to pay up? According to the suit, The Collective “may be going out of business and does not have the financial ability to pay Boedigheimer the money he is owed.” Evidence of those financial struggles can be found in The Collective’s recent decision to shutter the music side of its business and focus on digital projects.

    Boedigheimer offered a summary of the suit in a vlog on his personal channel. He also explained that the results of these legal proceedings could affect his schedule. “There may come a time when I’m not going to be able to do as many videos as I used to be able to do, because of the circumstances,” he admits.

    Since its launch in 2009, The Annoying Orange, which follows the adventures of an anthropomorphic citrus and his fruity pals, has found a huge audience. Its main YouTube channel has more than four million subscribers and almost 2.4 billion views, and a two-season TV show based on the web series aired between 2012 and 2014 on the Cartoon Network.

    Other creators partnered with the Collective Digital Studio include Freddie WongHannah Hart, and Epic Meal Time. The company has not yet responded to Tubefilter’s request for a comment.

    Screengrab via Dane Boe/YouTube


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    By now you're surely aware that The Interview, a cyberwar-inciting farce about a harebrained plot to assassinate sitting head of state Kim Jong-un, is available all over the Internet. After chanting "USA! USA!" for a solid hour, we're finally ready to watch the damn thing.

    Security is thin here at the Daily Dot offices, where your humble correspondent currently sits alone, near a window. If I stop tweeting, you'll know that it's because I was killed by a black-ops North Korean sniper—in which, case I'd just like to say: totally worth it.  

    Join me, please, for the movie event of the season.

    Sorry Amber, here we go!


    Photo via MOVIECLIPS Trailers/YouTube


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    The first thing I do when I see a casting rumor is check in with Rush Limbaugh. The conservative radio icon has his finger on the pulse of modern American cinema; as far as I'm concerned, it's him and Ebert, and unfortunately, Ebert has left us. That's why I was so excited to discover that my buddy Rush had a #hottake on the news that Sony is considering Idris Elba to be the next James Bond.

    Speaking on the Dec. 23 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, the king of conservative commentary addressed the revelation from the leaked Sony emails that the studio wanted to make history with the first black Bond.

    As you might expect, Limbaugh was less than pleased.

    "James Bond is a total concept put together by Ian Fleming," Limbaugh said. "He was white and Scottish. Period. That is who James Bond is, was."

    To his credit, Limbaugh recognized that he was a racist asshole.

    Referring to Elba, a black non-Scot, Limbaugh grumbled, "That’s not who James Bond is, and I know it’s racist to probably point this out."

    No matter how much backlash his vile remarks receive, Premiere Radio Networks loves the attention and ratings that Limbaugh brings in. He'll keep fighting his fight. In the meantime, let's hope Idris Elba can fight a few of Bond's fights. It would really mean a lot to dear old Rush.

    H/T The Guardian | Photo via dfid/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    With a startling view of all of Los Angeles, Maiah Ocando and Daniel Fernandez, two of the most popular and influential Latino digital stars, are getting a crafting lesson at a private house in Bel Air, surrounded by cameras.

    Liz Rangel is the 20-something mastermind behind the Craftingeek channel with 1.5 million subscribers, but this is her first trip to L.A. And if you don't speak Spanish, it might be difficult to follow along with her tutorials unless you turn on captions. 

    Rangel, Fernandez, and Ocando are all part of the growing Latino millennial demographic. On the set, they banter back and forth in a mixture of Spanish and English, setting up for a quick segment on gift wrapping, highlighting the status quo of the Latino demographic. They're both a part of broader culture, but they also have their own defined cultural norms and points of view. According to a report by marketing firm 360i, Hispanic influencers are 37 percent more likely than the general population to publish content to the Web, and they are highly motivated by cultural ties to share content online, especially in Spanish. Additionally, according to a Univision Consumer Insights Research report, Hispanic millennials feel a strong desire to remain connected to their cultural heritage, through language and other means. However, at the top-tier mutlichannel networks like Maker Studios or Fullscreen, Spanish-speaking or Latino creators aren't taking center stage. 

    Luckily, digital network MiTú is filling in the gaps.


    Husband and wife team Doug Greiff and Beatriz Acevedo founded MiTú in 2012 when they realized there was no version of a multichannel network for the Latino audience.

    "Before MiTú we’d get this question all the time: 'Oh, we’re Levis, we’re a youth-oriented brand, and we’re happy to be at this network, but let’s be honest, kids aren’t watching TV. Where would you go digitally that’s the hub for Latinos?'" Acevedo explained. "Or the question, 'What’s the Machinima for Latinos? What’s the Maker for Latinos?' and we kept thinking, 'This must exist!' But we researched, and there was nothing. The creators had huge, loyal audiences, but they weren’t making a living off just AdSense. Connecting them with brands has made a huge difference."

    MiTú is more than just for the brands, though. According to Acevedo, traditional Hispanic media content skews older, with the focus on traditional news, soap operas, and sports. For audiences craving counterprogramming—and digital content—there was a gaping hole. With MiTú, putting that sort of content under one roof makes it easy for audiences, and it makes it easier for creators to start cross-promoting, which is what led to their newest idea: the Bel Air holiday house.

    They had tried out a more limited version of a collaborative house in the summer with a beach house concept just for YouTubers. But when November rolled around, Greiff and Acevedo decided to tackle the holidays and quickly snapped up a an Airbnb property in Bel Air that they could transform into a variety of sets over a long weekend, enough to fuel content for their channel and their creators for the entire month of December.

    "We felt like this could be a meeting place for Latino creators from all different platforms to come, hang out, cross-promote and make content for themselves and for MiTú," explained Greiff on the final day of filming. "It’s exciting to see it actually happened!"

    "This is like our mini YouTube Space," continued Acevedo. "We were excited to see the diversity of the collaborations. I think there’s a lot of misconception; people think, 'Oh, this is a place where people only speak Spanish.' But you see DeStorm next to SupereeeeGo. They’re so different; they’re so diverse. A girl from Venezuela can be as excited about see DeStorm as a girl from L.A. Already our audience are fans of these creators, who some are Latino and some are not, and it’s really nice to see them come together. And that’s the reality of our country. Latinos play a major role, but Latinos don’t only hang out with Latinos."

    "All the non-Latino influencers wanted to collaborate with the Latino ones," adds Grieff. "They realize there’s a chance to appeal to a different audience. We’re really pleasantly surprised how many people wanted to stop by."

    More than just the audience has come running to MiTú. The company has worked with many brands as well.

    "We have done a tremendous amount of work in the last year with blue chip brands that come to us and want to appeal to Latino millennials, from Pepsi to Nestlé," said Greiff, who also mentioned a partnership MiTú has with Maker Studios to help satisfy client requests for the Hispanic market. "We have the top Latino creators and influencers, and MiTú is slowly starting to own Latino social influence across the board. It’s a valuable thing; it transcends YouTube to politics or box-office sales."

    For brands, it's not simply about making Spanish-language content, but about understanding the culture of Latinos. That has served MiTú well, as it has found some Hispanic content creators aren't feeling well-served in deals with more general-focused MCNs. Acevedo even laughingly explained that some creators come to them asking for help to get out of their existing contracts, just so they can join MiTú and see more focus and more results when brands come knocking.

    "Culture being the key is really important," Greiff said. "That’s what people respond to. There’s been a large group of influencers over the last year and a half [who] come to us and say, 'They don’t get me; they don’t speak my language, my cultural language.' Unless Hispanic is your focus, it’s hard to do a good job at it. Every media company and entertainment company out there is trying to appeal to Latinos. They have the -mundo or the -familia or -Latino. They’ll assign a junior Hispanic ambassador to the community. People see through that; they know they’re not really focused on it. That’s our sole focus, and I think that’s really helped us."


    At the end of the day, MiTú isn't just the go-to home for Latino influencers and fans; it's also a reflection of the diversity and eclectic tastes of a new generation. In the crafting segment, there's a quick appearance from Santa, and the stars do exactly what you'd expect—demand a selfie. There's no great digital divide between Latino youth and the rest of the millennial generation. They're all looking for content that speaks to them in their language, be that Spanish, English, or emoji.

    "We are interested in building a brand," explained Greiff. "There’s hasn’t been a lot of reinvention in Hispanic media in the last I don’t know how many years. Who’s going to be a partner with these new entrepreneurial creators who are looking for opportunities and for someone to guide them?"

    Screengrab via MiTú Life/YouTube


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    Few rappers are as influential as Cam'ron. The rap superstar's impact on music and the hip-hop lexicon is only outdone by his influence on the style and fashion. In the early 2000's, Cam'ron popularized wearing laffy-taffy colored faux furs and had an entire generation of rap fans looking like ghetto Elizabeth Taylors. Now he serves as a muse for artists pursuing other creative forms of expression. 

    Eight-year-old hip-hop head Yung Lenox is such a big fan of Mr. Cam'ron that he felt moved to make a 4.5-foot mosaic of his favorite rapper, all out of Lego. 


    Yung Lenox is a super-talented hip-hop portraitist and Lego enthusiast. Since the age of five, encouraged by his father, Skip, a graffiti artist, Lenox has been garnering attention online for his marker drawings of classic hip-hop album covers, like Ol' Dirty Bastard's Return to the 36 Chambers and others. He's drawn so much attention, in fact, that he is the subject of a recently launched Kickstarter for a documentary titled "Live Fast, Draw Yung."


    Lenox sells prints of some of his artworks on his Instagram, where you can find drawings, and Lego and Minecraft creations of everything from Dr. Doom to The Simpsons. But it's in his drawings of classic hip-hop moments that he really shines. If there was ever any doubt that hip-hop touches fans of all ages and walks of life, Yung Lenox is proof of that fact. 




    Photo via Instagram


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    You probably didn’t see it coming.

    Maybe you weren’t into podcasts before, or you’d just dabbled in This American Life and Radiolab episodes. But all of a sudden, after just a few weeks, you found yourself completely hooked on Serial, the new longform project from TAL’s Sarah Koenig.

    In just 12 episodes, Koenig and crew completely captivated their audience as they explored the facts and potential fictions of a 15-year-old murder trial that may (or may not) have put the wrong man behind bars. Adnan Syed became a household name, Thursdays became the most exciting day of the week, and dozens of parodies, remixes, and conspiracy theories were born. In short, it’s an experiment that may very well have changed the face of podcasting forever.

    But then, just as quickly as it began, the first series ended, leaving fans with big questions and an even bigger gap in their Thursday routines.

    Twitter user Thomas Haydon posted this hand-illustrated flowchart for getting from point A to point B in the path to filling the “Serial-sized hole in your heart,” and we’re totally on board with his recommendations.

    But if you’re looking for a more thorough explainer of what else is out there in the wide world of podcasts, look no further. Here’s what to watch and listen to next, as curated by four of our in-house Serial obsessives.    —Monica Riese

    The Staircase

    So maybe it’s not a podcast, but we’re big fans of genre-bending here at the Daily Dot, so give this one a whirl. Our own Aja Romano wholeheartedly recommends The Staircase, “a jawdropping eight-episode (six-hour) documentary series that will completely change the way you think about criminal defense.” Select chapters are available on YouTube, but some of the later are a bit harder to find. We’ll start you off here:

    As for recommended dosage, Romano says, “The first ep starts out slow; the second ep blows you away, and then it just keeps going. After you're done, read up on the case developments since the documentary, especially for the [spoiler] Theory.” —Monica Riese

    This American Life

    Before there was Serial, there was This American Life. The long-running radio program has been available in podcast form for some time and even has a nifty app that will give you access to the full This American Life catalog. If you spring for the iPad app, it includes extras like “how to make radio comic” and a dashboard where you can track your personal favorites. If you’re just getting started, here are some of our favorite episodes.

    Switched at Birth

    This entire episode is devoted to the story of two daughters who were switched at birth. The catch? One mom knew; the other didn’t. The hour is an engrossing investigation of how learning the truth at age 50 changed the lives and relationships of the women and their families.

    The Psychopath Test

    The entire staff, including Serial’s Sarah Koenig, takes the itemized test that psychologists use to determine whether an individual is truly a psychopath. Alix Spiegel interviews Bob Hare, the man who created the test about his concerns on how the test is used today; writer Jon Ronson visits a CEO who he believes is a psychopath but, as it turns out, may just be a very confident man; and for the final act, we find out exactly which members of the staff are psychopaths.

    It’s Not the Product, It’s the Person

    A terrific episode about what makes things (including podcasts) sell. We meet cute-as-punch Super Business Girl Asia Newsom, who at age 11 is already an entrepreneurial business expert. We also get to hear This American Life’s own Alex Blumberg flub his way through a pitch meeting. The pitch? More podcasts! And we take a dizzying ride through the strange world of people who are so desperate to live an interesting life that they’re willing to leave it all behind—for Mars.    —Nayomi Reghay

    StartUp

    I don’t think there’s a podcast out there that can match the narrative tension Serial so masterfully created. That said, if you like the idea of longform podcasting—following one story from episode to episode—you should listen to StartUp. It’s another series in which the listener is meant to start at the beginning as you follow Alex Blumberg (formerly of This American Life and Planet Money) as he launches his own business in what he knows best: podcasting. (See above paragraph for the roots of this idea.)

    The premise might sound as if it were made for a small, insular community, but it covers much larger territory. At its core, it’s a podcast about what it’s truly like to start a business from scratch: how much risk is involved, how much has to be sacrificed, and how heavily it weighs on family life. Blumberg is completely honest about his lack of business experience—to the point where it almost hurts his fundraising pitches. His new company, Gimlet Media, made a major mistake just a few weeks ago and then released an entire podcast about what happened and how the company dealt with it. That earnestness and self-deprecation, like Koenig’s, is endearing to listeners and creates a trust that would otherwise be difficult in a story that could easily seem like one long ad for his business.

    Start from the beginning of the series and you won’t be able to stop. You’ll root for Blumberg when he tries to sell his idea. You’ll squirm when he fails. You’ll feel awkward when he meets a potential business partner. And you’ll love every minute of it.    —E.A. Weiss

    Serial (again)

    Of course, you can always just listen to Serial a second time—and you might just enjoy it more than the first go-around. Like Gone Girl, Game of Thrones, or The Princess Bride, Serial is chock-full of tiny nuggets of nuance that you likely missed on first listen. Because your brain is freed from the burdens of hearing all the information anew, relistening to Serial lets you examine the facts with a confident calmness that lends itself to critical thinking. Besides, it’s not like you already know who did it.    —Andrew Couts

    Photo via ladislav/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)


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    Any day is a good day for a Postmodern Jukebox music video, but Scott Bradlee and co. have a special Christmas gift in store this year: "Joy to the World," featuring the most rousing tambourine performance you'll likely ever see.

    The entire sextet performs an energetic version of the old holiday tune, but no one's having as good a time as Tambourine Guy, a.k.a. Sprout host Tim Kubart. Watch carefully starting at the 2:30 mark to see how he intends to spread some Christmas cheer.

    (Full disclosure: Tim is a friend of a friend, but with enthusiasm and charisma like that, isn't he really just a friend to all?)

    Screengrab via ScottBradleeLovesYa/YouTube


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    Sony may have granted a “Christmas miracle” by making The Interview available to Americans who would pay to stream it, but that hasn’t stopped pirates from sharing it for free at a jaw-dropping rate.

    It’s been a tumultuous ride for the poorly reviewed comedy about killing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It may or may have not been the impetus for hackers, who may or may not have been North Korean, to attack Sony Entertainment. Either way, that hack prompted major movie theater chains to cancel their screenings of the film’s planned Christmas Day release.

    But almost immediately after the movie was released as a legal pay-per-view on sites like Google Play and YouTube—though only to Americans and Canadians, which likely spurred a good chunk of the piracyThe Interview showed up on practically every possible online piracy destination.

    Links to download the film as an mp4 file were (and still are) on Mega. The Pirate Bay, the world’s largest torrent search engine, is still mysteriously down, but The Interview is widely available on a commonly cited clone site, as well as other major torrent sites. As of this writing, more than 50,000 people are sharing a single torrent for the movie on Kickass Torrents; and another big engine, isoHunt, proudly proclaimed its availability with a blog post that declared “Merry Christmas Kim Jong-un!”

    TorrentFreak estimates that at least 200,000 people pirated the movie on BitTorrent within the first ten hours of its release alone.

    And who first leaked the movie to the public, something many tech writers speculated would have happened already? It could have been almost anyone. As noticed by Twitter user @expensivelooks, and later confirmed by the Verge, people who pirated the film through Sony’s streaming site, Kernel, were for some reason offered the chance to download The Interview, no strings attached, after they paid for a rental.

    So pretty much anyone with an Internet connection—not just users in the U.S. and Canada—can now watch The Interview. This just probably isn’t what either Sony Entertainment, or Kim Jong-un—both of whom have pretty bad records when it comes to respecting free speech—would have wanted.

    Photo via Pavel Ševela/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)


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    Christmas is a stressful time, between fighting long lines at the mall and navigating the seasonal madness of the airport, and the dark days of winter often make us desperate for a little holiday cheer. This is why, over the past 10 years, society has increasingly harbored the delusion that Love Actually is a movie that should be enjoyed by people, instead of burned in the fireplace along with the Yuletide logs. It’s become a yearly tradition as time-honored as ignoring your family members’ casual racism, and it will be inescapable this year, just as it was the last.

    If you must take the plunge, here’s your spoiler-laden hate-watching guide to Love Actually’s web of subplots, starting from the best (hey, Davy Jones!) and descending to beneath the bottom of the barrel. Were I a barrel, I wouldn’t even want to be associated with this piece of Christmas coal.

    9) Washed-up British pop star enjoys non-romantic storyline that has almost nothing to do with the rest of the movie (but is marginally better than anything else in it)

    Love Actually is at its best only when it’s allowed to forget that it’s Love Actually and has to be about whether a group of reasonably attractive white people will fornicate. In the movie’s only watchable plot line, everyone’s favorite British Bad Grandpa, Bill Nighy (pronounced like the Science Guy) shares an unconvincing holiday bromance with his “fat manager.” We know that his manager is fat because Nighy’s character keeps reminding us at every given opportunity, as if the man has no other character traits, and Nighy constantly complains that he has to spend time with such a sad old fatty.

    Fat-shaming is a common theme in Love Actually, as if the movie’s actual title is No One Will Love You Actually If You’re Over a Size 6. At least two other characters are repeatedly called out for their size, including a dowdy Portuguese girl known only as “Miss Dunkin Donuts 2003.” (One hopes this was not her name in the script.) However, at least these two men will agree to look past the manager’s morbid obesity in the spirit of Christmas and be friends (#nohomo, though), because almost anything is better than spending the holiday with your family.

    8) Average-joe porn star stand-ins have a meet cute while awkwardly boning each other on what appears to be a discarded set from Spartacus

    I don’t have much of an issue with this plotline (as I love seeing seeing Proto Jim from U.K’s The Office in basically everything these days), except that a) it’s rather stupid and b) why does it exist in the first place? On top of being a really awkward excuse for an R-rating, the porn-actors-fall-in-love-while-simulating-nookie scenario doesn’t fit with the rest of the film; it has a habit of humping the plot dead in its tracks. But considering that the rest of Love Actually is utterly fucking terrible, this should be considered a public service.

    7) Boy falls in love with girl at school because he shares a name with his dead mother, father finds nothing wrong with this, encourages Freudian courtship, sets movie up for V.C. Andrews-style sequel

    Seeing Qui-Gon Jinn and Jojen Reed bum out together on the couch and talk about the ones that got away would have a certain fanboy appeal if it weren’t so goddamn creepy. In Disney fashion, young Jojen’s mother dies, and in his attempt to find solace at this crucial time, he forms an unhealthy fixation on a girl at school who just happens to share his Dead Mom’s name. (We know this is the case because they, like nearly every couple in this movie, have never spoken.) His father, also mourning the loss of his dearly beloved, decides the best route would be to help his son pork the girl of his future therapy sessions.

    But you know how it goes in these movies: Boy meets girl, girl doesn’t know boy exists, boy stalks girl, girl sings Mariah Carey song, boy violates Homeland Security laws at airport (it’s cool ’cause he’s white) to further stalk girl, girl gets on plane anyway, boy’s mom is still dead. If this kid turns into Norman Bates 30 years from now, don’t say you weren’t warned.

    6) British Prime Minister falls for ‘fat’ subordinate with an adorable case of rom-com Tourette’s, fights with Movie George Bush over who gets to play rumpy pumpy with her, sacks her when it doesn’t work out, ends up with her anyway

    Did you like Bridget Jones’ Diary? Good, go watch that movie instead. It is literally the same concept (fat-only-by-Hollywood-standards woman competes for the love of two men), except that no one has to worry about picturing a Tony Blair-Dubya Eiffel Tower.

    5) Guy who won an Oscar for stuttering falls in love with his immigrant subordinate who speaks no English, decides that physical attraction is more important than sharing a language (or finding out her middle name), proposes

    When you devise the top five qualities you’re looking for in a romantic partner, you might list things like “six-pack abs,” “encyclopedic knowledge of Simpsons episodes,” or “two penises.” No less important on that list is speaking the same language as your partner, so that you can do crucial things like find out their middle name or trick them into upping their life insurance policy if you want to pull a Gone Girl.

    But not sharing a common tongue never stopped anyone in Love Actually: Sad writer person Colin Firth falls in love with his Portuguese housekeeper without exchanging a word, because in Richard Curtis’ world, power imbalances and workplace sexual harassment make the heart grow fonder. Not seeing this as any way inappropriate, Firth’s Jamie continues to use his position to lust after his paid employee, leading to a wacky scenario where she has to jump in a lake in her bra and panties to save his manuscript. If it was anything like the film’s screenplay, she shouldn’t have bothered.

    4) Woman gets repeatedly cockblocked by her mentally unstable brother, decides the answer is to retreat into a codependent relationship

    No matter how ludicrous the plot line is, I usually understand what I’m supposed to take from a scene in Love Actually: Love conquers all, love is all you need, love means never having to say anything in the same language, loving you is easy because you’re beautifully mute, Tippecanoe and Shakespeare, too. But having seen this movie half a dozen times, I still have no bloody clue what to do with the Laura Linney plotline, in which a three-time Oscar nominee is forced to make sense out of whatever’s even going on here.

    Because no one at their office has an actual job to do, Laura Linney’s boss, Severus Snape, comes up to her, apropos of I don’t even know what, to confront her about her nether-region feelings for her racially ambiguous coworker, Karl, played Xerxes from 300. (This is totally Severus Snape’s business.) She magically arranges a nookie session with Xerxes—despite displaying zero chemistry, having barely spoken, and him being an eight-foot-tall gay Persian god and all—but is cut short. Her brother with an Unspecified Movie Illness needs her to come to the mental institution right now so he can quote lines from Gothika at her. Her lady parts dry up instantly, and she accepts her fate as a sad, unfuckable spinster, just in time for Christmas. End scene.

    Maybe we’re supposed to realize that family comes first. Maybe it’s actually an after-school special lesson about the burden of caring for a loved one with U.M.I. (a horrible condition that afflicts between 5 and 10 percent of all plot devices). Or maybe this is actually a spin-off of Teeth, and her brother saved Xerxes from a life of singing soprano. No matter the answer, we’ve all now officially put more thought into this storyline than anyone involved did making it.

    3) Sentient vagina sexually harasses her boss, Severus Snape, briefly disrupts his loveless marriage to Screen Goddess who is clearly too good for him before he and S.G. go back to being vaguely depressed ever after

    Presumably because she’s never seen Die Hard, Alan Rickman’s secretary, who is basically a sentient vagina, very aggressively endeavors to make like Ty Pennington and wreck his crumbling home, a subplot that would be a lot creepier if the genders were switched (or the secretary weren’t, of course, smoking hot).

    In Love Actually, there’s nothing worse than being hitched to an age-appropriate female who speaks your same language, has said more than two words to you, and doesn’t curse every other sentence, so Rickman and his on-screen wife, Nanny McPhee, are unhappy. However they violate Tolstoy’s Law of Unhappy Families by being unhappy in a perfectly boring way, mostly because the writers didn’t bother to think up why. (But in a post-apocalyptic world where vaginas have taken human form, who has the time to think about making a marriage work?)

    While his wife mopes around and waits for her husband not to be an emotionally philandering asshole, Rickman buys the S.V. a necklace for Christmas (because they were all out of diamond merkins, I guess). His wife accidentally discovers the gift in his coat, but she ends up with a Joni Mitchell CD instead. She’s not stupid and puts two and two together. She calls him on his bullshit, and they go back to being unhappily married, except that their unhappiness is slightly more interesting this time. In my opinion, the wife and the would-be mistress should have gone Full Tolstoy and thrown Rickman under a train.

    2) Emotionally manipulative best man who hardly knows the bride-to-be (a.k.a. his best friend’s wife) takes a bunch of creepshots of her at her wedding before confessing his stalker love for her

    According to Emily Post, it’s customary to get the bride and groom a present for their wedding. Quiz question: You’re Rick from The Walking Dead and your best friend, Solomon Northup, is getting married to Elizabeth Bennett. What do you give them? a) A magic remote that fast forwards in space-time through The Talking Dead, b) Solomon’s freedom, c) Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar, or d) A unsolicited video montage consisting of close-ups of his fiancée’s nostrils taken at different angles. (Elizabeth Bennett does have lovely nostrils.) Answer: D, of course.

    Despite the fact that he has, until this moment, gone out of his way to show his dislike for her, Elizabeth discovers the video and learns His True Feelings. Like all people in this movie, they are near strangers, but a lack of knowledge about the basic facts of her life (as well as common decency) don’t stop him from filming a PG-13 snuff video about his best friend’s girl or using cue cards to declare his love for her in the snow. You can’t let propriety spoil a cheesy gesture after all.

    Having nearly sabotaged his BFF’s relationship, Rick walks away in the snow, seemingly satisfied at having displayed nearly every characteristic of a sociopath. Like a crap Jesus, he mutters to himself, “Enough, enough now,” except that Christ at least died for our sins. What’s Rick’s excuse?

    1) Horrible British pervert obsesses over American girls, goes to America, procures American girls like cattle

    All of the plot lines in Love Actually exist at the base line of being pretty horrible, taking place in an alternate universe where a woman is never as beautiful as when she silently serves you and former supermodel Claudia Schiffer is magically on hand to fuck your dad, but the movie’s worst subplot is on another level of bad. 30 Rock posited “Reaganing” as a term for doing everything right in the course of a single day, and this is the opposite of that—which, I think, makes it Marcus Bachmanning.

    Future public park flasher Colin obsesses about American girls constantly, so he gets a bright idea: Why doesn’t he just go to Milwaukee, bag one like a poacher, and drag her back to the U.K. just in time for the holidays? It would be a Christmas miracle! This being Love Actually, the world’s most beloved supercut of sexism, Colin does not bag one American babe: He gets four. Because Hollywood is terrible and they all have nothing else to do, Elisha Cuthbert, January Jones, Ivana Milicevic, and Shannon Elizabeth drop their entire lives and purchase expensive plane tickets to follow a man they just met, simply because he has a cute accent. I’ve seen this movie: It’s called Hostel.

    If you’re a woman, this movie clearly thinks you’re an idiot. But don’t worry, it’s this movie that’s got too much holiday stuffing in its brain.

    Screengrab via Pinoy Movie/YouTube


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    There are moments in Amazon’s new original webseries, Mozart in the Jungle, when you think you are witnessing yet another great HBO comedy/drama.

    Attempting to shake things up and create a more powerful harmony among its players, maverick conductor Rodrigo takes the New York Symphony on a field trip. Nestled between two pre-war buildings in lower Manhattan, the musicians make their way through a hole in a chain-link fence and take their places. As the scene evolves, these talented players come to realize they are part of something extraordinary. A neighborhood crowd begins to form, and a classical performance turns into something magical—a celebration of life and community. Food, dance, and impromptu jam sessions break out, all captured with a visual elegance and pacing rarely found in TV delivered in any medium.

    And then New York’s finest come to bring the joy to a halt. Glee turns to despair when a defiant Rodrigo stumbles into a faceplant resulting in a broken nose.

    Mozart in the Jungle is Amazon’s breakthrough webseries. While Transparentis a brilliant show, given its controversial plot line, its appeal and commercial  acceptance will never be a wide as this video verison of Blair Tindall’s novel Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs and Classical Music. In her book, Tindall, an oboe virtuoso, chronicled her years performing with the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony. Her own stormy career—which included a brief and troubled marriage to Bill Nye the Science Guy—provides a superb foundation for the 10 episodes released in time for holiday binge viewing.

    There are many plot threads carefully woven together, and while each storyline doesn't soar, enough of them work to yield a pleasing—albeit somewhat predictable—conclusion. It also leaves enough room for further installments, should Amazon wisely decide to ride this winner into future seasons.

    At the center of the show is Hailey (Lola Kirke), an oboist from North Carolina who comes to New York to seek a payoff for her years of tortuous performance and personal sacrifice. Early in the pilot, she encounters Cynthia (Saffron Burrows), a world-wise cellist who mentors her into a tumultuous path of unexpected success and predictable failure. As we zoom into Emily’s world, we are taken into the inner sanctum of this dusty New York musical institution. The powers that be (including a radiant Bernadette Peters) replace aging conductor Malcolm McDowell with bad boy Gael García Bernal. (There is a bit of a continuity issue related to Bernal’s heritage: At different times he is from Spain, Mexico, and Argentina. Truthfully, such a trivial error is irrelevant and will soar past most viewers.)

    As with many ambitious attempts of bringing new content to the smaller screens, Mozart in the Jungle has its weaker moments. Episode 8, featuring Wallace Shawn as a troubled pianist who insists on helping Rodrigo explore his inner self, just does not work. The same goes for the forced interaction between Rodrigo and his estranged wife Anna Maria (Nora Arnezeder) which can border on cringeworthy from time to time. Some of the acting in the supporting roles—such as Hannah Dunne as Emily’s friend/roommate Lizzie—is not up to the standard set by the show’s leads.

    On the other hand, realistic and smooth dialogue and a powerful group of veteran character actors, including Mark Blum as Union Bob and Debra Monk as the fragile, headstrong first oboist—provide strong support. For a seriocomedy flourish, John Miller turns in a strong performance as Dee Dee, percussionist and resident Dr. Feelgood. Remembered by most as PC in the Mac-PC TV commercials, actor/comedian John Hodgman is excellent as a blue blood who tries to score oboe lessons from Emily when he is really after her heart.

    Mozart in the Jungle is a family affair with cousins Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman as co-creators. Schwartzman, a well-respected actor who leans toward less-conventional projects, has a small role as a self-impressing podcaster specializing in dishing the dirt surrounding the classical music scene. Paul Weitz, best known for directing the film About a Boy, is listed as executive producer but takes a turn as director and writer for a number of the episodes. The number of executive producers, producers, co-producers, and such resembles a Kickstarter project where titles are handed out in exchange for four-figure contributions.

    With a commercial success on its hands, the ball is in Amazon's court. Can Bezos and company replicate Mozart in the Jungle and give Netflix a run for its money, or is this webseries a one-hit wonder?

    Screengrab via Amazon Studios


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    Say what you will about "Gangnam Style," but at least when you see its title, you know exactly what it is.

    Instrumental, lyric-free music has been played and adapted ad nauseam through the years, to the point where most of us will certainly recognize a piece of music but probably have no idea what the name of it is or even who its original composer was. This is particularly true of classical pieces of music, all of which have names like "Harmonic Symphony Number 6 in F Major." The youngest listeners might identify a track as "that song from Looney Toons" instead of realizing it's been around for over a century.

    Fortunately, there is a YouTube video out there that will answer all of your instrumental-song-related questions. User Carl Mahnke is responsible for the 11-minute video, which collects 79 different snippets of popular music and slaps their original titles onto the selections. It kicks off with Quincy Jones' "Soul Bossa Nova," which no one at all could identify by name; they like to refer to it by its informal title: the music from the Austin Powers movies.

    In fact, there are even more song snippets now available.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to listen to some "Yakety Sax."

    (Sigh. The Benny Hill theme.)

    Photo via EaglebrookSchool/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    The annual Christmas address of Queen Elizabeth II is a staid occasion, so many a head turned when the monarch mentioned Game of Thrones in this year's broadcast.

    The topic of her address was "reconciliation," a fitting theme given that the biggest U.K. news in 2014 surrounded the failed Scottish independence referendum. In exchange for defeating the referendum, the British government promised Scots greater say in the kingdom's affairs. While the world waits to see if and how London will keep its promise, Queen Elizabeth II did her part to heal the rift: She mentioned her visit to Belfast, Northern Ireland, a trip that was meant to emphasize U.K. unity.

    "The benefits of reconciliation were clear to see when I visited Belfast in June," the Queen said. "While my tour of the set of Game of Thrones may have gained most attention, my visit to the Crumlin Road Gaol will remain vividly in my mind."

    For the Internet, of course, the Queen's reference to her heavily publicized set visit was the biggest takeaway from the speech.

    If you want to watch the Queen approach the Iron Throne during her set visit, you're in luck.

    Photo via Kathleen Conklin/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    Combine copious amounts of alcohol, band dudes bored on tour, one of pop-punks biggest bands, and a camera—you've got a great tribute to Drunk History just in time for the holidays.

    Brendon Urie, frontman for the band Panic! At The Disco, sat down on tour with friends Fall Out Boy to give a rambling and drunken account of the band, from origin to present day. It's stuff fans know by heart, but with the Drunk History treatment it becomes the stuff of legend.  

    Drunk History usually trades in big historical moments and quirky unknown stories, although it has focused on pop culture in some episodes. But turning the lens to band histories is a nice twist, especially when the narrator is Urie, who sloshes beer over himself, can't stop laughing, and had the benefit of being around for most of the story he's telling while touring with his own band. Fall Out Boy, for their part, paint on their old hairstyles and mock up their abridged history in a great homage to the Comedy Central show.

    Aside from fronting a rock band, Urie also has a decent Vine following, something he achieved separate of the band while on hiatus between albums, prompting a lot of Vine fans to not even realize he was a musician. Since he's no stranger to viral success, we think Urie's drunken musical pop-punk histories should be a new trend for 2015.

    Screengrab via Fall Out Boy/YouTube


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    Back in August, writer Mireille Silcoff took a look at the YouTube-centric phenomenon known as unboxing for the New York Times, through the lens of the parent attempting to understand why her 2-year-old daughter is so entranced by people unwrapping and unpacking everyday things. And she ending up falling down a rabbit hole of her own.

    Unboxing videos aren’t new: They’ve been happening on YouTube since the platform started, but in the last few years, the trend has seen a steady climb upward. Popular unboxing videos focus on things like Disney toys, PlayStations, and iPhones. There are many feeder roads to unboxing, such as style hauls, in which popular fashion and beauty vloggers unload scores from a day of shopping. In style haul videos, the unloader is often someone well-known, a face and name with a brand built around it.

    But other unboxing channels thrive on the disembodied angle, relying on hands and a voice to guide us through the plastic and cardboard guts of consumer culture. On YouTube you can view the unboxing of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lego Advent calendar, Doritos, or a Daft Punk record. Unboxing is even used as an ASMR trigger. These videos are not so much a consumer statement as a way to address our primal need to see what’s in the box.

    Still, what is it about these videos that stimulate kids’ brains, and what part of adults’ brains are they tapping into? Silcoff tried to unravel the “snake-brained” place where these impulses come from, and pinpointed YouTube’s role in unboxing’s popularity and accessibility:

    “YouTube in particular seems to have the ability to turn formerly unnamed, truly private little pleasures—the most insignificant of dopamine triggers—into rich, multichanneled cultures.”

    Silcoff’s daughter is more straightforward: She likes “the hands on the toy.”

    The unboxing video search is indeed a rabbit hole, but we unearthed nine of the best ones  currently on YouTube.

    1) DisneyCollectorBR

    DisneyCollectorBR is one of the most popular unboxing channels, and this Angry Birds clip from 2013 has been viewed more than 97 million times. It consists of a woman unwrapping several toy “surprise” eggs to reveal what’s inside, her voice a soothing and hypnotic accompaniment to this odd striptease. There are channels upon channels devoted specifically to surprise eggs and their unwrapping, and yet there’s a human element, the hands helping along the birth of cheap plastic junk for the world to see.

    2) The MacBook Air sucks

    YouTuber 1hate1the1Air had some biting commentary about the MacBook Air back in 2008. He’s especially upset about all the packaging. Apple designer Jonathan Ive has been quoted as saying, “Steve [Jobs] and I spend a lot of time on the packaging […] I love the process of unpacking something. You design a ritual of unpacking to make the product feel special. Packaging can be theater, it can create a story.”

    1hate1the1Air did not care for the theater or story, and yet, his own performance was much like theater. His final line, disguised as video description: “Turns out it sucks.”

    3) The OG unboxer

    A man unboxes an Explainette record player from the ’40s, marking this as one of the older unboxing subjects. This is basically a Ken Burns doc waiting to happen.

    4) Mairou the Unboxing Master

    This YouTuber has elevated unboxing to a performance art. His take on egg unwrapping is very progressive, his approach to opening a pizza very practical. But this Doritos clip might be Mairou’s most transcendent.

    5) That four-colored pen you had in the ’80s

    The four-colored Bic pen you had in the ’80s? This guy unwrapped it. Yes, the unboxer is heavy-breathing through this minute-long clip. Wouldn’t you be?

    6) Snake cave unboxing

    No, that’s not a euphemism. This guy is unboxing a new snake cave for his snake, Athena. You will learn more than you ever wanted about snake caves. In fact, there are a startling number of reptile unboxing videos. This 13-minute clip of a guy unboxing centipedes he bought at an auction is especially unsettling.  

    7) Domino’s boneless wings unboxing

    This isn’t so much an unboxing as a call-out. YouTuber Moonpies called shenanigans on the size of Domino’s “wings” back in 2011, because he is an American hero.

    8) Morgan Freeman’s unboxing

    Was Se7en the original unboxing video?

    9) iPhone 6 unboxing fail

    Never forget.

    Happy Boxing Day to all, and to all a good unboxing.

    Photo via inUse Consulting/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed


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    Dustin Diamond, the actor best known for his role as goofball and class geek Screech in the 1990s sitcom Saved by the Bell, was arrested in Wisconsin on Friday, TMZ reports.

    The actor and comedian was apprehended for possession of a switchblade, carrying a concealed weapon, and reckless endangerment.

    Police haven’t provided any additional information, but one source told TMZ a bar fight may have sparked an altercation that led to the arrest. Diamond is expected to appear in court this afternoon.

    It’s the latest controversy for the 37-year-old actor, who directed and released his own sex tape in 2006. His tell-all book Behind the Bell, published in 2009, made some unsavory claims about the show’s behind-the-scenes activities that other actors later refuted. He later produced the Lifetime film The Unauthorized ‘Saved by the Bell’ Story.

    H/T TMZ | Photo by GoodRob13/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    Between the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), the Ebola outbreak, and racial unrest over police brutality, the United States faced a turbulent end to 2014. But if there’s one thing that can unite Americans in fellowship and brotherhood at a time when it matters most, it’s cinema.

    No, we don't mean a screening of Team America, but rather a showing of The Interview. Yes, after much debate, Sony finally released its satirical comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as journalists recruited by the CIA to kill North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

    After the company reversed its decision to cancel the film due to terror threats, the studio released the movie online on Wednesday and in some 300 independent theaters across the country on Thursday. Several theaters took the release a step further by playing patriotic music before the film began.

    The Plaza Theater in Atlanta played a four-minute long version of “God Bless America,” and because patriotism is irresistible, moviegoers rose from their seats to join in.

    The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin celebrated with a level of patriotism on par with Toby Keith holding bald eagle crying a single tear of freedom: It staged a singalong of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”  

    Not since Independence Day have Americans felt this much pride about going to the movies. Now if only we could do something meaningful about North Korea's brutally repressive regime.

    Photo via Pete/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed


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    BY SAHIL PATEL

    Music is huge on YouTube — it’s something we’ve covered before.

    For brands, that suggests both an opportunity and a challenge. On one hand, with so much music content being consumed on the video site, brands have a great shot at getting their name and messaging in front of tuned-in viewers.

    “YouTube levels the playing field for incredible talent to be discovered. And when marketers find content creators that share their brand’s beliefs and purpose, that partnership can be extremely powerful because of the relationship and influence that these creators have with their audiences,” says Jonathan Dupuis, SVP of account management at DigitasLBi.

    On the other hand, with so much music content, it can be incredibly difficult to find the right creators and/or channels to partner with.

    But fret not, that’s what we’re here for. With the help of data from YouTube analytics firm Outrigger Media’s OpenSlate platform and Emerging Talent Tracker tool, here are five emerging music channels on YouTube that you should probably be watching (and listening) to.

    5) AmedeoMinghiOfficial

    • SlateScore: 368
    • Total Subs: 2,384
    • Monthly Views: 179,880

    The official channel for Italian crooner Amedeo Minghi.

    Read the full article on the Video Ink.

    Photo by choubistar/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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    2014 was quite the year for the music industry: Artists like Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and Maroon 5 proved they still had what it takes to remain on the charts. Joining them in the spotlight were inescapable hits from Pharrell Williams and Iggy Azalea.

    And, of course, you couldn't turn on any radio or playlist without hearing something from Frozen, whose dedicated fanbase still hasn't let it go since the movie's theatrical release last December.

    Granted, taking a musical tour of the hits of 2014 would be rather time-consuming, not to mention a little irritating (*cough* "Royals" *cough*). Fortunately, YouTube musicians James Curran, Ashley Hess, Eric Thayne, and David Osmond took the time to condense the hits of 2014 down to a far more manageable three minutes. They even included references to a few noteworthy non-musical moments, like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and the Ebola scare. The result is something that is actually somewhat beautiful.

    Sadly, the group omitted selections from "Weird Al" Yankovic's album Mandatory Fun, which snagged the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts and marked a surprise resurgence for the parody artist.

    H/T Oliver Darcy | Screengrab via EricThayneMusic/YouTube


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