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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    As we bring 2014 to a close, the world is without a few of its brightest stars. From entertainment and fashion to sports and politics, these 30 celebrities took their last spin around the Earth, leaving countless family members, friends, and fans to mourn their loss. Perhaps the most shocking 2014 death was that of actor and comedian Robin Williams, who committed suicide in his California home at the age of 63.

    As Zaron Burnett III wrote for the Daily Dot afterward, "We used the Internet to democratize the meaning of his death." And so, in turn, and in order to commemorate their many contributions to society at large, here is a GIF tribute to some of those shining stars whom we lost over the past 12 months.

    Ariel Sharon

    Feb. 26, 1928—Jan. 11, 2014

    Ariel Sharon was a decorated member of the Israeli army before ascending through the political ranks to become the country's 11th Prime Minister. He held the title from 2001 until 2006, when a stroke incapacitated him.

    Pete Seeger

    May 3, 1919—Jan. 27, 2014

    Pete Seeger was a folk musician and activist whose career spanned decades. His musical legacy includes tunes like "If I Had a Hammer" and "Goodnight, Irene," while his activism led him everywhere from the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s to Occupy Wall Street.

    Philip Seymour Hoffman

    July 23, 1967—Feb. 2, 2014

    The sudden death of acclaimed actor Philip Seymour Hoffman rattled Hollywood and raised awareness of the dangers of drug overdosing. Hoffman won audience and critical acclaim for roles in fare such as Capote (in which he played the title character), Boogie Nights, Almost Famous, and cult favorite The Big Lebowski.

    Shirley Temple

    April 23, 1928—Feb. 10, 2014

    Shirley Temple was a renowned child star in the 1930s and 1940s, best known for roles in Heidi and Curly Top. Later on in life, she found success in politics and became the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana in the 1970s and Czechoslovakia in the late 1980s and early ’90s.

    Sid Caesar

    Sept. 8, 1922—Feb. 12, 2014

    Comedic genius Sid Caesar began his lengthy showbiz career during the Golden Age of Television as a member of Your Show of Shows. He worked with Mel Brooks on several films, including History of the World Part I and Silent Movie, and also appeared in Grease, Cannonball Run, and Vegas Vacation.

    Harold Ramis

    Nov. 21, 1944—Feb. 24, 2014

    After a successful writing career with National Lampoon, Ramis became responsible for a number of iconic films of the 1980s and 1990s, including Caddyshack, National Lampoon's Vacation, and theGhostbusters franchise. Onscreen, he would team up with frequent collaborator Bill Murray, as seen in the Ghostbusters films, Groundhog Day, and Stripes.

    Fred Phelps

    Nov. 13, 1929—March 19, 2014

    Pastor Fred Phelps made an ugly name for himself as the founder and head of the extremist Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas. The church, which is infamous for spewing vigorous bigotry and protesting the funerals of soldiers killed in action, excommunicated Phelps roughly a year before his death.

    James Rebhorn

    Sept. 1, 1948—March 21, 2014

    James Rebhorn was a character actor who appeared in numerous movies and television programs. He had supporting roles in films like Meet the Parents and Independence Day and regular roles on series like White Collar and Homeland.

    Mickey Rooney

    Sept. 23, 1920—April 6, 2014

    Mickey Rooney was one of the most successful actors in Hollywood, bursting onto the scene as a child star in the 1920s and never stopping. Later on in life, he would again find success on Broadway and in films like the Night at the Museum franchise.

    The Ultimate Warrior

    June 16, 1959—April 8, 2014

    Professional wrestler The Ultimate Warrior was one of the most successful personalities during the sports heyday in the 1980s and 1990s. He won the WWF Championship title in 1990 by pinning Hulk Hogan eight years before his retirement.

    Bob Hoskins

    Oct. 26, 1942—April 29, 2014

    Bob Hoskins was one of Hollywood's most well-respected actors, appearing in classic dramas like The Long Good Friday and Mona Lisa. He was also celebrated for his roles in more lighthearted pictures, such as Mermaids, Hook, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and, of course, the universally panned Super Mario Bros. movie.

    Maya Angelou

    April 4, 1928—May 28, 2014

    Maya Angelou was a poet and author whose work reflected her experiences and struggles as a woman of color. She is perhaps best known for her autobiographical work I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

    Rik Mayall

    March 7, 1958—June 9, 2014

    Rik Mayall was one of the U.K.'s most beloved comedians and comic actors. Appearing in British comedy programs like The Young Ones and Blackadder, he also made a name for himself in the United States starring alongside Phoebe Cates in Drop Dead Fred.

    Casey Kasem

    April 27, 1932—June 15, 2014

    Casey Kasem was a radio DJ who hosted the countdown program American Top 40 for almost four decades. Additionally, he was an accomplished voice actor, with his most famous role being that of Shaggy in the cartoon series Scooby-Doo.

    Eli Wallach

    Dec. 7, 1915—June 24, 2014

    Eli Wallach was a staple of Hollywood cinema, hitting his stride in the 1960s with roles in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and The Magnificent Seven. He also played Mr. Freeze in the original live-action Batman TV series with Adam West. He kept active well into his 80s and 90s, appearing in the third Godfather installment and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

    Tommy Ramone

    Jan. 29, 1952—July 11, 2014

    Drummer Tommy Ramone was one of the founding members of The Ramones, which helped define the punk scene in the U.S. and U.K. throughout the 1970s. He was preceded in death by his fellow original Ramones Dee Dee, Johnny, and Joey.

    Johnny Winter

    Feb. 23, 1944—July 16, 2014

    Blues musician Johnny Winter rose to prominence throughout the 1960s and 1970s, winning fans with his signature brand of high-energy blues. The long-haired guitarist performed with the likes of Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton, and Muddy Waters during his lengthy career.

    Elaine Stritch

    Feb. 2, 1925—July 17, 2014

    Elaine Stritch was a staple of Broadway, appearing not only in her Tony Award-winning one-woman show Elaine Stritch at Liberty, but also Company and Sail Away. She also appeared in movies and TV series, notably as Jack Donaghy's (Alec Baldwin) controlling mother in 30 Rock.

    James Garner

    April 7, 1928—July 19, 2014

    Deep-voiced and handsome, James Garner made his name on TV with starring roles in The Rockford Files and Maverick, having also appeared in the 1993 Mel Gibson movie adaptation of the latter series. In film, he achieved roles in The Great Escape, Victor Victoria, and The Notebook.

    Robin Williams

    July 21, 1951—Aug. 11, 2014

    The death of Robin Williams was easily the most shocking and sad celebrity death of 2014. Williams' August passing ended a decades-long career in timeless comedy and drama films, ranging from Mrs. Doubtfire to Aladdin to Good Will Hunting. His death, which was ruled a suicide, raised awareness of depression in general and particularly how it affects comedians. Online, he was immortalized with a character in World of Warcraft, one of his favorite games to play.

    Lauren Bacall

    Sept. 16, 1924—Aug. 12, 2014

    Classic film star Lauren Bacall enjoyed a lengthy showbiz career, with signature roles in several Humphrey Bogart films in the 1940s. She continued to win acclaim as time went on, receiving award nominations for her role in The Mirror Has Two Faces in 1996.

    Richard Attenborough

    Aug. 29, 1923—Aug. 24, 2014

    Sir Richard Attenborough was a fully accomplished actor on the London stage and in films. He is perhaps best known by younger readers for his roles as Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street and John Hammond in the first two Jurassic Park movies in the 1990s.

    Joan Rivers

    June 8, 1933—Sept. 4, 2014

    One of the first and still best-known female comedians, Joan Rivers trained alongside the likes of Don Rickles, Rodney Dangerfield, and Richard Pryor during the medium's golden age in the 1970s. Later on in life, she would appear in films, including Spaceballs, and hosted Fashion Police alongside her daughter Melissa at various red carpet events in Hollywood. Just months before her death, she caused a stir when she walked off the set during a CNN interview.

    Richard Kiel

    Sept. 13, 1939—Sept. 10, 2014

    Richard Kiel was a character actor who played Jaws in several James Bond films in the 1960s and 1970s. He was introduced to a new generation of fans as the larger-than-life Mr. Larson in Adam Sandler's Happy Gilmore.

    Polly Bergen

    July 14, 1930—Sept. 20, 2014

    Polly Bergen began her showbiz career in the 1960s with roles in films such as The Caretakers and the first film adaptation of Cape Fear. Later on in life, she would author several books, appear in commercials, and enjoy roles in series like Desperate Housewives and The Sopranos as well as the John Waters film Cry-Baby.

    Jan Hooks

    April 23, 1957—Oct. 9, 2014

    Jan Hooks got her start in the 1980s as a cast member of Saturday Night Live; on the program, she impersonated figures such as Kathie Lee Gifford and Hillary Clinton and, alongside Nora Dunn, portrayed one half of the obnoxious singing duo the Sweeney Sisters. She also appeared in a number of films, most notably as an overly perky Alamo tour guide in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.

    Elizabeth Peña

    Sept. 23, 1959—Oct. 14, 2014

    Elizabeth Peña first won acclaim for her acting work in the 1980s alongside Lou Diamond Phillips in La Bamba. Later on in life, she had a recurring role as Pilar in the comedy series Modern Family.

    Oscar de la Renta

    July 22, 1932—Oct. 20, 2014

    Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta was responsible for a long, successful line of high-end apparel, housewares, and fragrances. He made his name in the 1960s as the dresser of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

    Ken Weatherwax

    Sept. 29, 1955—Dec. 7, 2014

    Ken Weatherwax enjoyed a brief but timeless career as Pugsley in the 1960s live-action adaptation of The Addams Family. He and the other two surviving cast members, John Astin (Gomez) and Lisa Loring (Wednesday), spent their later lives making appearances at events and in documentaries detailing the program.

    Joe Cocker

    May 20, 1944—Dec. 22, 2014

    Grammy-winning Joe Cocker enjoyed a 50-year career in the music business. Best known for the hit singles "You Are So Beautiful," "With a Little Help From My Friends" (which was adapted as the theme song to the 1980s TV series The Wonder Years), and "Up Where We Belong," he was also renowned for his spastic on-stage performances.

    Photo via tedeytan/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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    Game of Thrones fans don’t have to wait until next spring for more intel on the fifth season.

    Instead of scouring and analyzingeven more flashy10-second trailers sent by Raven (for now, anyway), HBO has added a Game of Thrones special to its schedule. Titled Game of Thrones: A Day in the Life, it’s set to air on HBO Feb. 8, 2015 at 7:30pm ET.

    HBO has yet to make an official announcement on the special, and it’s possible that it would’ve gone unnoticed a little longer if it hadn’t been for some astute Game of Thrones fans, who then tipped off Winteriscoming.net.

    Little else is known about the special so far other than what’s shown on the HBO schedule. It’s a “behind-the-scenes featurette” and will be around 28 minutes, so you can fit that in before your 8 o’clock show comes on.

    It sounds similar to the featurette HBO aired last year, Ice and Fire: A Foreshadowing, which gave fans a detailed look at the season ahead. We’re going to see the cast—in costume, most likely—give us the tiniest teases, and we’re going to eat it up before overanalyzing all the background shots and B-roll.

    That one, like A Day in the Life, blocked off 28 minutes. However, Ice and Fire: A Foreshadowing ended up clocking out at 15 minutes, and it’s entirely possible that A Day in the Life could do the same. The timing of the special may say even more about when the new season will come.

    We first got a trailer for season 4 on Jan. 12, 2014, and the first special went online on Feb. 9. The show premiered on April 6. With A Day in the Life coming out Feb. 8, 2015, is is possible that we might get a trailer in January and another early April premiere? We’ll definitely be keeping a watchful eye on the schedule—and our YouTube feeds—from now on.

    H/T Comic Book | Screengrab via HBO Go


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    By now we’ve heard many of the more than two dozen accusations from women who claimed that Bill Cosby drugged, manipulated, assaulted, and raped them, but now they’ve been gathered together in one sobering video.

    In recent days, a New York Post report alleged that Cosby hired private investigators to look into and “dig up dirt” on the accusers’ private lives in order to discredit them. Another report by the New York Times published Sunday detailed Cosby’s legal team strategy, which included his lawyer Martin D. Singer, who charges $850 an hour and has been described as a “bulldog.”

    As a response to the stories, a YouTube channel called NewsMediaTV edited every interview featuring a woman describing her encounter (or multiple encounters) with Cosby over the course of multiple decades while highlighting Cosby’s tactics of silencing victims and critics.

    It was revealed on Sunday that Cosby has hired a team of private investigators to dig up dirt to discredit his more than two dozen accusers
    Cosby Team’s Strategy: Hush Accusers, Insult Them, Blame the Media

    The stories, by now, are strikingly similar—regardless of whether it’s a celebrity or someone out of the spotlight. They each describe being handed a drink by Cosby, and if they didn’t drink it willingly, they were allegedly coerced into drinking it. Their memory of what happened next is spotty, and they eventually blacked out. They woke up in disarray and found that something had happened to them.

    Nobody thought that anyone would believe them.

    H/T Jezebel | Photo via Stab At Sleep/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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    The New Year's offerings are a real mixed bag on Netflix Instant this year. Every major genre is represented here—comedy, horror, science fiction, and indie-drama-anthology-thing. And every one of them is either great or interestingly bad; there is no mediocre film on this list. 

    Though all quite different from another, the one thing these films do have in common is minor nudity. Maybe that’s just part of the essence of a New Year’s film; after all, the start of each new year is all about shedding the old and then putting it back on again. Or maybe it’s just sheer coincidence that—this year, anyway—we’re dealing with a Tarantino production, a Landis film, Juliette Dreyfus in the ’90s, and a horror movie. At any rate, that's as far as the similarities stretch, which means that, if you like movies and nudity isn't a deal-breaker, there is something on this list for you. 

    Trading Places  (1983)

    This is the story of two very old and rich white brothers who make a bet. One brother is a liberal, the other is a conservative, and they’re both very racist. They own an investment firm, so they have mansions, personal drivers, butlers—they’re basically the same as rich people are now, just not with quite as much money—and they want to settle the hazy dynamic of nature vs. nurture once and for all. To do so, they need to ruin one man’s life and make another’s much better to see if the former turns to a life of crime and the latter walks away from it.

    Subject A—Dan Aykroyd—is a white man who manages the brothers' firm and is engaged to their great niece. The brothers plant stolen money and PCP on him. When he’s released from jail, they pay a prostitute (being released from jail, as well, naturally) to kiss him in front of his fiancée. Then they freeze his bank accounts and instruct his butler to stop letting him in his home. They’re pretty mean to him, but, on the bright side, the prostitute from jail ends up being Jamie Lee Curtis. She claims to be a high-class prostitute who's only three years away from retiring, but this is probably a lie because truly high-class prostitutes don't go to jail. 

    At any rate, he ends up dressing up like Santa and sneaking into the firm’s Christmas party to steal salmon, which proves that, yes, the rich would turn to crime if they had no money or a home.

    Subject B—Eddie Murphy—is a black man who is homeless and crazy. The movie was originally titled Black and White, and it was a good idea to change the title; it seems troubling to have an allegory of the racial experience and make the avatar of all black people a homeless swindler. Anyway, the brothers give him everything they took from Subject A. They find that, once he’s rich, he no longer has a desire to beg for money. He even loses his ability to enjoy the things he used to. He throws a party in his new mansion, but when people smoke cigarettes and girls get topless, he becomes furious and throws them all out. He’s also no longer crazy, because, thankfully, having money instantly cures all mental illnesses.

    Like Crash, Trading Places sends a very strong equality message while simultaneously being racist. It’s also probably offensive to homeless people. And probably prostitutes, too. But, unlike Crash, it’s still a good movie, mostly because it's hilarious. And it doesn't hurt that the film's bothersome racial dynamic is largely abandoned in the third act, when it becomes a heist story on board a train during New Year’s Eve, and the film’s true message emerges: Rich people are always awful unless they’re you. This is also the part of the movie that goes to painstaking measures to fit a gorilla into the plot, which is always immensely appreciated. A little Screenwriting 101: Always ask yourself – can there be a gorilla in this?

    Strange Days  (1995)

    Strange Days takes place amid the New Year’s Eve celebrations of a dystopian Los Angeles at the turn of the millennium. The city is on the verge of a race riot, the middle class appears to have almost entirely disappeared, and people are using black market technology to experience others’ lives through a virtual reality experience called “wire tripping” or “jacking in.” This technology involves wearing a metal yarmulke and playing/recording life experiences on MiniDiscs (which is completely believable because MiniDiscs were incredible). Some people jack in way too much and become paranoid recluses. Occasionally, somebody will jack in too hard and go blind. Mostly, people jack in with moderation.

    But one jacker has been murdering girls and integrating the technology in disturbing ways, and the viewing of his exploits left behind on the MiniDiscs unwinds a very serious case of the whodunits. It's brilliant commentary on the importance of trust between a government and its citizens. It's also very interesting to see that the ’90s dystopic vision is the same as 2014's. 

    The movie stars Tom Sizemore with long hesher hair, which is absolutely terrifying; one Tom Sizemore with hesher hair could easily guard two high-security prisons. Juliette Lewis plays a grunge/punk/metal singer who’s naked for most of the movie, and she’s the femme fatale of Ralph Fiennes, who’s playing Bradley Cooper. Angela Bassett plays the only character who halfway has her shit together, and she can also beat up several people at once, which makes her the deux ex machina of the bunch. There’s even a young William Fichtner, in his very first appearance as the Sleazebag Guy that he’d come to perfect over the following decade. Indeed, the movie has a truly amazing cast—and you know that’s true when Vincent D’Onofrio is playing a part with two lines.

    This is the only movie on the list that’s 100 percent about New Year’s Eve that's also good. And it’s not just good; it’s a masterpiece. For the sequences in which people are “jacked in,” a year was spent during preproduction to develop what were essentially GoPros that shot on 35mm film. The movie opens during one such sequence—a robbery gone awry—and somebody makes a 16-foot jump from seven stories up wearing one of these contraptions and nowires. But the beauty isn’t limited to those sequences; the whole movie is a cinematographic marvel, filled with massive sets with thousands of extras that were mostly photographed via Steadicam, which required brilliantly hiding an arsenal of custom-made lighting rigs.

    The movie was written and produced by James Cameron, and directed by his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow. Yes, describing Bigelow as Cameron’s ex-wife seems bizarre today, but it’s unfortunately how she was viewed in 1995, and when Strange Days bombed at the box office, Cameron was praised for its triumphs while Bigelow was blamed for its failures. The film served as her Pinkerton: Its remarkable commercial failure and mixed reviews forever impacted her approach as an artist, and yet it later came to be viewed as a seminal masterwork of the ’90s. That’s not to say that she puts out terrible work now—the Weezer analogy ends at Pinkerton—but when somebody asks, “How did the person who directed Point Break also direct The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty?” the answer is most certainly that Strange Days lost a great deal of money.

    Four Rooms  (1995)

    Four Rooms was Quentin Tarantino’s first reemergence as a director since Pulp Fiction had defined what an indie film should be for an entire generation in 1994. It also came only four months after Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado had made him one of the world's hottest upcoming directors. Based on short stories from Roald Dahl’s more adult-oriented writing, it was a hugely anticipated anthology film: It would all take place in four separate hotel rooms, with four separate segments, each written and directed by different people. Tim Roth as a bellboy working his first night on the job would actias the connective tissue. It was going to be such sweet, sweet art.

    But instead it ended up being a massive disappointment for critics—largely because it wasn't very good. 

    There are indeed four stories, all of which happen on New Year's Eve. The first one is about witches and features Madonna in a role that won her a Razzie. There are several other witches, and some of them are topless, and one of them is Ione Skye, who’s the only witch who's come to the hotel-room gathering without her unique ingredient for their cauldron. The missing ingredient turns out to be semen. The other witches go away while she has sex with the bellboy off-screen to collect some semen. Then the witches gather around the cauldron again and perform a spell that turns another witch back from stone. And that’s it for that story.

    The second story has the bellboy go to the wrong room and encounter a woman bound to a chair while her pill-fucked husband waves a gun around. At this point, it becomes clear that Tim Roth is, for reasons unknown, going to act like he’s suffocating throughout his entire performance. Anyway, the gun guy makes the bellboy participate in a fantasy of his that involves his wife cheating on him and maybe having sex with another guy in front of her. Honestly, it’s hard to tell exactly what his fantasy is, but it's definitely not very interesting. After a while, the gun guy gets distracted, and Tim Roth leaves the room. And that does it for that story.

    Story number three—Rodriguez’s entry—doesn’t really switch things up by not sucking. Antonio Banderas is in it, which is promising, but he quickly leaves, and the story becomes about Tim Roth babysitting his rascally kids. There is nothing more annoying than rascally kids, and I wonder if anybody who was thinking that while watching Four Rooms in 1995 could ever fathom that Rodriguez would go on to make 85 Spy Kids films.

    Anyway, the kids are bad, and Tim Roth hyperventilates more than ever, trying his best to be more annoying than the kids, but ultimately falling just short of that mark. Antonio Banderas comes back, holding his wife who has passed out from drinking, and the hotel room is on fire, and everything's just a big ol' mess. There’s a big whooomp-whoooomp sound, and that does it for that story.

    The fourth story is Tarantino’s entry. You can tell this right off the bat, because it stars a decent-acting Tarantino, and the only person that can get a good performance out of Tarantino is Tarantino. It’s a testament to this segment’s mastery that many people say that Four Rooms is “pretty good.” After an hour and 10 minutes of pain, the fourth story is a masterfully unraveled segment about a Hollywood director betting his car against his friend’s pinky finger that his friend can’t spark his Zippo 10 times in a row. There aren’t any high-concept witches here, no complex fantasies being analyzed, and no Looney Tunes set pieces; it’s simple, just some drunk rich guys making a stupid bet, and it blows the other stories out of the water. It’s also the only segment that Tim Roth’s character isn't annoying in. Although in all honesty, the segment might be cheating a bit with its uncredited Bruce Willis hanging around the scene with a goatee. It's hard to be objective when something like that's in the mix.

    New Year's Evil (1980)

    New Year's Evil earns good will right away by having one of greatest names in the history of cinema. However, when you realize that it was distributed by Cannon, the odds become high that it won’t live up to it. Cannon films aren’t likely to be good; they’re generally either mediocre or just plain silly enough to be awesome. Luckily, New Year’s Evil falls under the latter category.

    First off, this movie features the best New Year’s Eve song ever made. Like the opening to Friday the 13th Part III, it’s just one of those rare original recordings for low-budget horror film that’s a complete gem, and it should be an American staple of New Year’s Eve celebrations.

    This is one of those movies where everybody young looks like they’re an extra from The Warriors—with little chains connecting facial piercings, rockabilly shoes, zombie face-paint, the occasional Canadian tuxedo—and the music they listen to is from a strange genre that exists solely in the soundtracks of ’80s movies. In New Year’s Evil, the big place for these folk to be on New Year's Eve is a live television recording of a rock show's midnight countdown special. For the host of the show, it’s a major gig: Her career could explode with a successful countdown… or implode if things go poorly. Unfortunately for her, some guy calls up on the show and tells the host that he’s going to kill somebody at midnight (in each time zone!) who is close and meaningful to her.

    The guy holds true to half of his promise: He kills people at midnight, but they’re completely random. Each time, he records audio of the murder, and then calls into the countdown show to replay it for the host. Overall, she's pretty laid back about it. And for a supposedly popular show, the killer luckily has no issue with connecting live every time he calls in.

    A lot of the running time is filled with bands playing on the countdown show, which is good news, because they get to play the awesome theme song about six times. At one point—to fill more time—the killer accidentally bumps into a biker gang on the road, which launches a very lengthy chase sequence through a drive-in theater. This doesn’t have any effect on the rest of the movie; it's just there to answer an age-old question: Why the fuck shouldn’t there be a biker gang chase here?

    This movie stars people with names like Roz Kelly and Kip Niven. It includes a scene in which the killer puts on a fake Burt Reynolds mustache and picks up a woman at a bar by saying “There’s a big party at Erik Estrada’s place.” Then he asks her to smell his Colombian pot, and suffocates her with the bag while really bad prop weed bounces around her face. This movie may not be good, but that doesn’t stop it from achieving greatness. 

    Bonus for parents!

    If you are a parent, and you'd like to trick your child(ren) into going to bed earlier so you can ring in the New Year a little extra drunk, Netflix has your back with a fake New Year's Eve countdown. The three-minute segment features King Julien—a dancing lemur from Netflix's own series All Hail King Julien. Warning: This might not work with older children. 

    Photo via Nana B Agyei/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed


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    It’s finally everyone’s favorite holiday: New Year’s Eve! Visions of alcohol, quests for someone to kiss at midnight, alcohol, people who are obnoxiously, aimlessly hyped about midnight, and more alcohol should be dancing through your head right about now. Are you psyched yet? Or are you just plain nauseated?

    Let’s face it, New Year’s can be more anxiety producing than a public speaking event. If the approach of New Year’s doesn’t quite fill you with gleeful anticipation of donning something glittery and dancing the night away, comedy duo Jessie Jolles and Tracy Soren have created the perfect video for you.

    The video takes us on a tour of a familiar New Year's house party scene and shows us what New Year’s would honestly look like—if you could read everyone’s thoughts.

    Some would be trivial (“Is every girl here wearing something from Express?”), others soberingly ethical (“Cheap New Year’s Eve necklaces are made by teenage children that were taken from their families and forced into terrible working conditions.”), and many would be hilariously self-deprecating (“Did I make the year count? Watching 263 episodes [of Frasier] is not a waste of a year.”).

    Soren and Jolles are also the team behind the funny and heartfelt webseries DIBS. You can watch more of their quirky and insightful videos on their Youtube channel.

    Screenshot via Soren and Jolles/YouTube


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    At this point, it is perpetually adorable that Rolling Stone tops its annual bloated, wedding cake albums list with releases from worn veterans—in 2014's case, U2 and Bruce Springsteen. It's honest. Who doubts that those workmanlike, comfortable records were voraciously consumed by the staff? No one was pretending to enjoy Run the Jewels over there. There's a crotchety frankness that I appreciate when reading that masterpiece of grossly stubborn criticism.

    While we love lists, streaming culture continues to eat away at the idea of spending isolated hours with specific albums. And so, this makes the thirdconsecutive year of the Long Player playlist—a mean-spirited megamix that this time spans 450 songs and 27 hours of the year's most interesting and important Western music. That its contributors listened to and can stump for, of course. Let's be honest, we all miss certain things.

    But the emphasis here is on the playlist angle in that it spins A-Z in coherent fashion. We do it for the true pimps and players out there clocking long shifts in places that beget white noise and background filler. Let's get to work.

    Thanks to mix contributors Joshua Bradshaw, Patrick Caldwell, Doug Freeman, Jim Hill, Chase Hoffberger, Jeremy Hurd, Blake Hurtik, Miles Klee, Andy O'Connor, Austin Powell, Randy Reynolds, Robert Rich, Tara Seetharam, Audra Schroeder, and Harrison Yeager.

    Photo via Dig Boston/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting is facing backlash from some of her fans after expressing her views on feminism in a new interview.

    She appears on the cover of Redbook magazine’s February issue, and while it won’t be available on newsstands until Jan. 6, Redbook has released some key quotes from its interview with her. In it, she discusses the breast augmentation surgery she received as a teenager and touches upon Celebgate, where she was among the celebrities whose nude photos were stolen and posted online. At one point, she—like many celebrities—were asked about her thoughts on feminism and whether she considered herself a feminist.

    She seemed to hesitate before answering, perhaps aware of the impending backlash she would get from fans for expressing her opinion.

    Is it bad if I say no? It’s not really something I think about. Things are different now, and I know a lot of the work that paved the way for women happened before I was around... I was never that feminist girl demanding inequality, but maybe that’s because I’ve never really faced inequality. I cook for Ryan [Sweeting, her husband] five nights a week: It makes me feel like a housewife; I love that. I know it sounds old-fashioned, but I like the idea of women taking care of their men. I’m so in control of my work that I like coming home and serving him. My mom was like that, so I think it kind of rubbed off.

    Cuoco-Sweeting joins celebrities like Shailene Woodley and British Prime Minister David Cameron who believe in equality between the sexes but don’t consider themselves to be feminists. As many feminists will tell you, that’s the very embodiment of feminism.

    People online were quick to tell her that you can be a feminist and still want to cook for your husband everyday. It’s a choice.

    Just because Cuoco-Sweeting has “never experienced inequality,” people argued, doesn’t mean that others haven’t.

    But others were quick to stand up for Cuoco-Sweeting’s right to not declare herself a feminist.

    Cuoco-Sweeting currently stars on The Big Bang Theory, one of the most popular shows on television and often a polarizing one. It’s been criticized for years for its portrayal of women and nerd culture, usually at the expense of Cuoco-Sweeting’s character Penny.

    H/T People | Photo via Kari Haley/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    On Tuesday, The Intercept released part 2 in a three-part interview series with Jay Wilds, known to many Serial listeners as the most elusive figure in the 1999 murder of high school honor student Hae Min Lee.

    Wilds, who testified to the guilt of Adnan Syed in the murder of Lee, Syed’s former girlfriend, gave his account of his involvement in the burial of the victim in part 1. The interview circulated quickly across the Internet thanks to Reddit, Twitter, and fans who were hankering for more following the series’ inconclusive finale.

    In part 2, Wilds shares his thoughts on the actions he took following the murder, as well as his choice to remain uninvolved as This American Life producers Julie Snyder and Sarah Koenig pieced together the podcast that would go on to become one of the most successful podcasts ever.

    Now eager to share his story, Wilds gives a remarkably negative account of his face-to-face interaction with Koenig, who showed up at his door sometime in earlier this year to ask for his participation in the story. “I just felt like she was lying," Wilds says. He argues that the only people with a right to demand he come forward and tell his story would be Lee’s family.

    Wilds also shares a follow-up email from Koenig that politely and carefully outlines a very compelling argument for his participation:

    Hello Jay,

    I promise I won’t use this email address to badger you. But I did want to thank you so much for talking to us yesterday and for letting us into your house. I know it wasn’t an easy visit for you or your family. Both Julie and I felt pretty terrible that we caused such upheaval. We didn’t want or mean for that to happen, but I completely understand why it did. I thought it would be important for you to meet me in person, so you could get a sense of who I am and what my intentions are. But I also recognize what a jarring intrusion it was, and I’m sorry about that.

    I also wanted to thank you for taking the time to think it over. I get that it’s a big decision. Of course we’d be more than happy to have coffee or a drink with you and [Jay's wife] today (Saturday) or tomorrow, to answer your questions and to try our best to ease any fears you might have. Again, I’m not out to vilify anyone – no one’s talking about revenge or retribution here. That’s not what this is about. I’m not on anyone’s side. I’m a reporter, and I’m trying to figure this case out. I know you and your wife were concerned that we found you. Alas, it wasn’t difficult at all. So I can’t protect you from that, obviously. But I can do my best to make you hard to identify in the story, so that if someone googled your name, for instance, my story wouldn’t come up. I’m not using your last name, and I won’t say where you live – or anything about your family.

    When you ask what’s the benefit to you, it’s a little hard for me to answer, because it’s kind of a personal question specific to you, and I don’t know you enough to know the answer. But what I can tell you with confidence is that I think in the end, you’ll feel better with the end result if you’re an active voice in the story — rather than someone who’s being talked about, you get to do the talking.

    I think the simplest pitch I can make to you is: You have a story about what happened to you, and you should be the one to tell it.   That’s why I came to [location redacted], to ask you to tell your story. You’re in the documentary either way, so it just seems more respectful and fair to you to let you tell what happened, rather then having me piece it together from whatever I can glean from the record. On paper, in the trial transcript, you’re two-dimensional. But in real life, of course you’re more than just a state’s witness. You’re a person who went through a traumatic thing. To hear you call yourself a “scoundrel with scruples” – that made me want to understand who you were then, and who you are now. And also, even just meeting you yesterday for that short time, hearing you talk so forcefully about what you saw, and about Adnan’s guilt – for both Julie and me, that was powerful and clarifying. No one else knows what you know about this whole case, and so even just the few things you said – it’s exactly what I’ve been waiting to hear. . . .

    Wilds indicates that Koenig’s insistence that he could stand to gain power and control over the story if he spoke with her sounded “like a threat,” but the evidence of Koenig’s own words point to journalistic courtesy and persistence.

    Aside from his concerns about Koenig’s motives, Wilds speculates about who might have made the anonymous call tipping police to Syed, who is serving life in prison for Lee's murder, as a suspect, and devotes much of his interview to asserting that nothing can change what he knows or what he saw. Specifically, he states that he saw Lee’s body in the trunk of a car outside of his grandmother’s home late at night, but he has no idea what happened before Syed allegedly arrived with Lee's body.

    “I don’t know how she was murdered, I don’t know exactly how she got put in that trunk, and I told the cops that," Wilds says. "If Koenig wants to get into how that all happened she can go there. But that doesn’t change what I saw.”

    Meanwhile, over at “Split the Moon,” Syed advocate Rabia Chaudry’s blog, Chaudry is over the moon at the release of Wilds’ story. According to Chaudry, Wilds’ inconsistencies point to perjury under oath and could support Syed in his quest for a successful appeal.

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


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    The presence of white privilege is a topic that seems to be on everyone’s minds lately—and Macklemore is no exception. 

    The events surrounding the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury rulings have focused the national discussion squarely on the role white privilege played in the decisions to not indict the white officers who killed those unarmed African-American men. But this isn't just a police issue—it's also a growing concern in the world of hip-hop.

    For years, the idea of white privilege in hip-hop and rap music was almost unheard of. On the contrary, a rapper being white was seen as a disadvantage. Artists like the Beastie Boys and Eminem had to earn the acceptance of hip-hop fans and even then, the narrative was often, “Yeah, he’s pretty good—for a white guy.” Until recently, no matter how “down” they were, white rappers seemed to represent the opposite of what fans wanted from their listening experience. But following Macklemore’s sweep of rap-category wins at the 2014 Grammy’s and Iggy Azalea’s subsequent rise to rap mega-stardom, people are beginning to question how much whiteness contributes to their success.

    On Monday, Macklemore stopped by Hot 97’s morning show, where hosts Ebro and Rosenberg asked him about just that.

    The hosts asked him, “Do you believe that your music got embraced by— let’s call it, for lack of a better term—white radio because you’re white and you rap?” 

    "Yes," Macklemore replied.

    He went on to explain, “I’ve thought about it and these are some things that have come up. Why am I safe? Why can I cuss on a record, have a parental advisory sticker on the cover of my album, and yet parents are like ‘you’re the only rapper I let my kids listen to.’ Why can I wear a hoodie and not be labeled a thug? Why can I sag my pants and not be a gang banger? Why am I on Ellen’s couch? Why am I on Good Morning America? If I was black, what would my drug addiction look like?”

    The questions Macklemore raises are similar to those many have been asking in the wake of the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, John Crawford, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice. Why, when the dead person is black, is the conversation about what he or she wore, who they knew, or whether or not they were good students? Why isn’t the only question that matters, “were his or her rights violated?” 

    Many believe the reason for this, quite simply, is white privilege—a term for societal benefits granted to whites that are not afforded to non-whites living in similar social and economic situations. White privilege can simply be the presumption of innocence and a more-reliable guarantee of certain unalienable rights. Or, as some rappers are starting to learn, the presumption that your art isn’t the product of illicit activity.

    Many minorities feel they live in a system that constantly reminds them that they can’t exist the same as their white counterparts. At some point, black parents must have conversations with their children that the privileged majority don’t have to. It goes something like this: “Even though they sell them there, don’t hold a BB-gun you picked off a shelf in Walmart, or you could be mistaken for a criminal and shot. If your car breaks down, don’t knock on a neighbor’s door for help, or you could be mistaken for a criminal and shot. Even if it’s cold outside, don’t wear a hooded sweatshirt, because… well you get the idea.” Minorities must constantly make a cost-benefit analysis of everyday activities, like driving through certain neighborhoods or deciding whether to apply for a loan, always factoring in—consciously, or subconsciously—“well, I’m not white.”

    A benefit of white privilege is the freedom to not have to think about that. White privilege gives its bearer the luxury of assuming that he or she, like everyone else, is judged as an individual and solely on his or her own merits. It also lets you deny that white privilege even exists, and if someone insists to you that it does, you never really have to talk about it. Compare this to the debate over affirmative action, or to the way the topics of white privilege and appropriation are handled in rap music.

    Earlier this month, in an interview with Ebro and Rosenberg, female rapper Azealia Banksspoke on the origins of her beef with Iggy Azalea.


    Azealia explained passionately, “I feel just like in this country whenever it comes to our things—like black issues or black politics or black music or whatever—there’s always this undercurrent of kinda like a ‘fuck you.’ There’s always like a ‘Fuck y’all n****s, y’all don’t really own shit, y’all don’t have shit.’ And, that Macklemore album wasn’t better than the Drake record. That Iggy Azalea shit is not better than any fucking black girl that’s rapping today. And, when they give those awards out—because the Grammy’s are supposed to be, like, accolades for artistic excellence—Iggy Azalea is not excellent.” She goes on to point out the similarities between Iggy naming the reissue of her album Reclassified after Nicki Minaj named the reissue of her’s Reloaded. Azealia calls this “cultural smudging” or, in other words, appropriation.

    “When they give these Grammy’s out,” Banks continues, “all it says to white kids is ‘Oh, yeah, you’re great. You’re amazing. You can do whatever you put your mind to.’ And it says to black kids, ‘You don’t have shit. You don’t own shit, not even the shit you created for yourself.’ And it makes me upset.”

    Azealia doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence that Iggy’s rap name is also a very close approximation of her own. Later in the interview, after touching on the history of America’s exploitation of blacks through slave labor, Azealia tearfully exclaims, “at the very least y’all owe me the right to my fucking identity and to not exploit that shit. That’s all we’re holding on to, like, hip-hop and rap.” Iggy’s response on Twitter to the interview was dismissive of the issues of white privilege and cultural appropriation that Banks raised.


    Macklemore, for his part, agrees with Banks.

    “There’s a lot of truth in that [Azealia Banks] interview," Macklemore said. "With white appropriation, absolutely.” 

    In one of her tweets, Iggy suggests that her success, and conversely Azealia Banks's relative lack of success to this point, is solely the results of each person's decisions and not related to race or politics. Macklemore disagrees and believes that appropriation has played a large role in his career. “Just because there’s been more successful white rappers, you cannot disregard where this culture came from and our place in it as white people,” the rapper said. “This is not a culture that white people started. I do believe that as much as I have honed my craft and put in years of dedication into the music that I love, I need to know my place.”

    Macklemore has been accused of racial insensitivity in the past, but at the very least, this interview shows he has grown more thoughtful and reflective on issues of race and culture. Whereas Iggy Azalea doesn't want to hear the suggestion that race plays a major role in her award nominations and doesn't want to be part of a discussion on white privilege, Macklemore embraced the conversation, insisting on its importance.

    “White people can turn off the TV when we’re sick of talking about race. White, liberal people want to be nice. We don’t want to be racist. We want to be, ‘Oh we’re post-racial. We don’t want to talk about white privilege and it’s all good, right?’ It’s not the case,” he said. “We have to get past that awkward stage of the race conversation. As a white person, we have to listen.”

    White privilege doesn't suggest that Macklemore skipped hard work. Any one who knows his story knows that Macklemore works as hard as any rapper you'll meet. There is no doubt that Macklemore, like Iggy Azalea, has benefited from the same white privilege that permeates all parts of American society, but it isn't his fault. He had no control over what skin tone he was born with, and it's unfair to suggest that he shouldn't have the right to capitalize on the advantages given to him. Macklemore owes no one guilt or shame for being who he is. What he's learned, however— and what seems to have evaded Iggy Azalea—is that even though white privilege isn't his fault, it is his duty to be aware of it and to understand how it affects the people and the world around him.

    Screenshot via Hot 97/YouTube


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    Disney fans celebrating New Year's tonight have something new to be excited about. 

    The Mouse teased fans today with a surprise announcement via YouTube that it would reveal an all-new preview of its upcoming Cinderella at—when else?—midnight.

    "See a brand new sneak peek at Cinderella just before the clock strikes 12 tonight," Disney promised on its movie trailers channel.

    The teaser is only 15 seconds long, but presumably it's just a taste of a longer and more detailed look at the highlyanticipatedlive-action adaptation of the classic fairy tale.

    In the highly unlikely event that you're totally unfamiliar with the plot of one of the most common and popular stories in human history, Disney helpfully included a detailed synopsis. At least it's longer than the trailer.

    The story of "Cinderella" follows the fortunes of young Ella (Lily James) whose merchant father remarries following the death of her mother. Eager to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her new stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and her daughters Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drisella (Sophie McShera) into the family home. But, when Ella's father unexpectedly passes away, she finds herself at the mercy of a jealous and cruel new family. Finally relegated to nothing more than a servant girl covered in ashes, and spitefully renamed Cinderella, Ella could easily begin to lose hope. Yet, despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella is determined to honor her mother's dying words and to "have courage and be kind." She will not give in to despair nor despise those who mistreat her. And then there is the dashing stranger she meets in the woods. Unaware that he is really a prince, not merely an apprentice at the Palace, Ella finally feels she has met a kindred soul. It appears her fortunes may be about to change when the Palace sends out an open invitation for all maidens to attend a ball, raising Ella's hopes of once again encountering the charming Kit (Richard Madden). Alas, her stepmother forbids her to attend and callously rips apart her dress. But, as in all good fairy tales, help is at hand, and a kindly beggar woman (Helena Bonham-Carter) steps forward and -- armed with a pumpkin and a few mice -- changes Cinderella's life forever.

    Look for the teaser tonight around 11:59pm on Disney's YouTube channel, website, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

    Or just listen for the screams of ecstatic fans around the world.

    Screengrab via Disney Movie Trailers/YouTube


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    BY SAHIL PATEL

    Tastemade is expanding to the biggest screen in the house. The digital food network, which so far has been available on YouTube and on iOS and Android devices, recently launched an app on the Roku connected-TV platform.

    Available on all Roku devices, the app offers access to original food and travel series from Tastemade, including “Thirsty For,” “Local Flight,” “Raw.Vegan.Not Gross,” “Day Tripper,” “City Guides,” and “Featured Tastemakers.” The programming is organized into multiple playlists with each focusing on individual shows and genres. For instance, there’s a playlist for all “Thirsty For” videos, as well as a playlist for all cooking shows from Tastemade.

    The app also features “In the Kitchen,” a series of video tutorials that offer step-by-step instructions to make your favorite dishes.

    And with the expansion to the TV screen, Tastemade’s Roku app includes Tastemade TV, which streams all of the network’s programming on a continuous loop for a more lean-back viewing experience.

    The launch on Roku is just the latest step in Tastemade’s ongoing plans to expand its reach among its core audience — millennials — wherever they might be watching video content, says Oren Katzeff, head of programming at the network.

    This can be evidenced by where Tastemade has expanded to in the past few months alone. The network is a launch partner for both Vessel, the upcoming short-form video service from former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, and Milk Video, the recently launched mobile video service from Samsung.

    Read the full article on the Video Ink.


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    You knew Kanye wouldn’t let 2014 come and go without giving you something big. Just in time for the new year, Yeezus has blessed us with the release of a new track, titled “Only One.”

    The song is a collaboration with Sir Paul McCartney, and it's reminiscent of Kanye's Late Registration era sound; the track features simple and melodic piano chords that come together with the lyrics to sound like a soothing lullaby. “Only One” is a proclamation of love for his wife Kim and his daughter North.

    Toast to the new year with Kanye and “Only One.” The track's been pulled from SoundCloud, but you can buy it on iTunes or stream it on Kanye's website.

    Photo via Jason Persse/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    This article contains spoilers for Friends.

    Friends is arguably one of the best shows to ever hit our TV screens, and every single episode from its 10-year run is now available on Netflix, making it a truly happy New Year.

    Now, any longtime fan of the show wouldn’t hesitate to launch a massive marathon watching of the series, but binge-watching 236 episodes is a hefty commitment, especially for someone who has not yet experienced the joy of following this beloved sitcom.

    It's hard to narrow down a best-of list, and there are certainly a lot of favorites to be had—too many for a first-time Friends watcher. If you’re about to undertake the incredibly difficult feat of convincing someone that Friends is a show worth watching, we went ahead with the painful task of choosing which episodes to show the newbies.

    Option 1) Watch one episode per season that sort of explains everything

    Consider picking one episode that best encapsulates a certain season’s central theme.

    Season 1: "The One With the Blackout" (Episode 7)

    Yes, we get to meet everyone in the pilot episode and get a better sense of what they are like in the succeeding episodes, but the whole season is pretty much centered on Ross (David Schwimmer) rediscovering his longtime crush Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and trying to let her know he’s into her. The blackout episode adequately shows not only this theme but also a peek into what each of the Friends gang is like: Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) singing kooky lyrics, Joey (Matt LeBlanc) giving girl advice, Chandler (Matthew Perry) being awkward with the ladies, Monica (Courtney Cox) playing hostess to everyone, and Rachel bringing home a hot guy. There’s also a bonus scene of Chandler and Joey talking on the phone in gibberish.

    Season 2: "The One With Phoebe's Husband" (Episode 4)

    This is the season where Rachel finds out about Ross’s feelings and they eventually get together, but it takes a while for them to make it happen; Ross even dates someone else in the process. This episode is a fun one to watch though because it reveals a bit more about everyone and it fits this season’s “revealed secrets” theme.

    Season 3: "The One at the Beach" (Episode 25)

    This season is pretty tricky because it takes on a more serialized format and various story arcs are developed simultaneously, so a central theme isn't as clear. It also has the episode that every Rachel-Ross worshipper loves to skip (the one where they take a break) so there may be fewer favorites, but the last episode of the season is pretty hilarious. Everyone joins Phoebe on a trip to the beach to find out more about her parents from their friend (who’s also named Phoebe). The girl Ross dates (Christine Taylor) post-Rachel follows them. There’s a bunch of hilarious scenes, but this one is the highlight:

    Season 4: "The One With the Embryos" (Episode 12)

    At this point, Ross and Rachel have tried and failed to work things out, and everyone in the gang is just trying to move on. It’s a pretty sad outcome for the show’s star couple, but this wonderful episode totally makes up for it; most best-of lists name this as one of the greatest episodes of the show, so you can’t go wrong with it. Monica and Rachel make a bet with Joey and Chandler that they knew the guys better than the guys knew the girls, and to settle it Ross creates a quiz competition. 

    Season 5: "The One With All the Resolutions" (Episode 11)

    This is probably one of the best seasons of the show, partly because it’s where Chandler and Monica begin a secret romantic relationship. While it’s easy for hardcore Friends fans to pick numerous favorites from this set, this single episode has a bunch of hilarious moments that’ll crack up even the newbies, and most of them have to do with Ross and Chandler’s New Year resolutions: Ross does one new thing a day (he wears leather pants at one point) and Chandler attempts to stop making fun of his friends. Both of them are having a hard time.

    Season 6: "The One Where Ross Got High" (Episode 9)

    In this season, almost everybody goes through the process of moving in together, especially Monica and Chandler. This particular episode takes place on Thanksgiving, after the couple shacks up. Chandler tries to impress Monica’s parents but finds out they hate him because they think he does drugs (Ross once got caught smoking pot in his bedroom and told them it was Chandler). Monica tells them the truth, and more secrets are revealed.   

    Season 7: "The One With Monica and Chandler's Wedding, Parts 1 and 2" (Episodes 23 and 24)

    This season is all about Monica and Chandler preparing to get married, so of course the best episodes to watch would be the ones featuring the big event. There are many great scenes that make this two-episode arc a must-see (Chandler gets the “big brother talk” from Ross, Joey gets spit on by a famous actor, Chandler’s parents meet again, a positive pregnancy test is found in the trash, Chandler freaks out about marriage), but this is of course the big pay-out:

    Season 8: "The One With the Video Tape" (Episode 4)

    This season is focused on Rachel being pregnant (and the fact that Joey develops feelings for her, but we’ll skip that because it’s icky). The build-up to the reveal of who the father was is pretty great (it’s Ross, which is why the Joey thing is icky), but this episode is fun because it reveals the answer to who-came-on-to-whom and features what is called “The Europe Story.”


    Season 9: "The One With Ross's Inappropriate Song" (Episode 7)

    What makes this a great season is Phoebe’s relationship with Mike (Paul Rudd) and Rachel’s first go at motherhood. This episode hits two birds with one stone because it showcases Phoebe’s first time meeting Mike’s parents and this parenting gem:

    Season 10: "The One With Ross's Tan" (Episode 3)

    We all know this is the season where it all ends, so let's not bum the newbies out by showing them the final two episodes that will obviously make you cry buckets. Instead, show them this one because it puts the whole Rachel-Joey thing to rest and showcases yet another winning moment from Ross, who decides to get a sprayed-on tan.


    Option 2) Skim through scenes that showcase your favorite Friend

    If picking one single episode from every season is too hard for a Friends fanatic like you—the previous list definitely took a lot of effort!—you can entice someone through specific clips that feature a certain character from the show. Again, there are many to choose from, but here are a few suggestions:

    Ross

    He’s at his best when he’s expressing his geeky self, like in season 4, episode 7: "The One Where Chandler Crosses the Line."

    Also, don’t eat Ross’s sandwich, ever (season 5, episode 9: "The One With Ross's Sandwich").

    Chandler

    Chandler cannot resist a sarcastic joke (season 5, episode 11: "The One With All the Resolutions").

    His wit and delivery are what make him funny, and his friends agree (season 1, episode 22: "The One With the Ick Factor").

    Joey

    When he’s not busy eating or getting it on with the ladies, he likes making a fool of Chandler (season 3, episode 2: "The One Where No One’s Ready").

    He also has a knack in making a fool of himself (season 10, episode 11: "The One Where the Stripper Cries").

    Phoebe

    Phoebe loves singing, and her songs are amazing, especially those she sings to the kids (season 2, episode 12: "The One After the Superbowl, Part 1").

    She also has the best ideas in the entire world (season 10, episode 14: "The One With Princess Consuela").

    Monica

    Monica is a busy go-getter, so when she gets sick, she absolutely hates it (season 6, episode 13: "The One With Rachel’s Sister").

    Also, she used to be fat. Any episode that features Fat Monica as a flashback or alternate reality is a win (e.g., season 6, episode 15: "The One That Could Have Been, Part 1").

    Rachel

    Rachel can’t bake (season 6, episode 9: "The One Where Ross Got High").

    But she sure can make the best of any situation (season 5, episode 24: "The One in Vegas, Part 2").

    Special Guests

    Another way you can convince someone to watch Friends? All the awesome cameos and guest appearances. Here are some of the best ones:

    • Paul Rudd as Mike Hannigan, Phoebe’s date (season 9, episode 3: "The One With the Pediatrician").

    • Bruce Willis as Paul Stevens, Ross’s girlfriend’s dad who dates Rachel (season 6, episode 22: "The One Where Paul's the Man").

    • Brad Pitt as Will Colbert, Ross’s friend who hated Rachel in high school (season 8, episode 9: "The One With the Rumor").

    • Hugh Laurie as Rachel’s seatmate on the plane (season 4, episode 24: "The One With Ross's Wedding, Part 2).

    • Christina Applegate as Rachel's sister Amy (season 10, episode 5: "The One Where Rachel's Sister Baby-sits").


    Option 3: Give ’em extras

    In lieu of overwhelming a first-time Friends watcher with a binge-watch session on New Year’s Day, show them these clips (or combine this list with the one from Option 2).

    "The One With the Prom Video" (season 2, episode 14)

    "The One With the Dirty Girl" (season 4, episode 6)   

    "The One With Rachel's Assistant" (season 7, episode 4)

    "The One With the Routine" (season 6, episode 10)

    Photo via William Warby/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) 


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    Just when you thought Taylor Swift couldn't get any more perfect in 2014, she reveals a video showcasing just how dedicated the singer is to her legion of fans by sending them personal gifts over the holidays. 

    In 2014 Swift proved she's pretty amazing at social media, leaving personal messages to fans on Instagram and perfecting the art of Tumblr lurking, She put her skills to good use, too, covertly learning about her biggest fans and surprising them with giant boxes of hand-selected gifts and personal notes. To end the year, Swift shared a video of her wrapping and packing the gifts, with the "help" of her two cats, and her emotional fans receiving the gifts and losing their minds as they read the notes and unveil their treats.

    The most adorable (in a tear-jerkingly adorable way) is Taylor showing up herself in lieu of UPS just to meet a fan's son she hasn't met before and personally delivering him some toys. She even takes a spin in his new toy car and gets a kiss from the toddler.

    There's really only one conclusion you can draw from all this: Taylor Swift is, in fact, Santa Claus, disguised in the body of a 25-year-old pop singer. 

    Screengrab via Taylor Swift/YouTube


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    It's no secret that the The Price Is Right skews to an older, more out-of-touch crowd. Two of its contestants on a recent episode proved just how true this can be.

    The item to get out of Contestants' Row was a shiny new 16GB iPhone 6. The first contestant, Yorkquincia, studied the phone for a bit before offering her guess. Not to be outdone, the next contestant, Mark, pulled that jerk move that folks in Contestants' Row are wont to do and offered his bid at $1 higher than Yorkquincia's.

    Needless to say, neither contestant's guess was anywhere near a ballpark figure.

    To put it in comparison, an iMac computer (not the phone, but an actual desktop computer) with Retina 5K display retails for $2,499.

    The iPhone's actual retail price (bundled with a year of unlimited talk, text, and data) was just north of $1,000, over $6,000 less than what Yorkquincia and Mark believed it to be.

    Next time, let's hope that Yorkquincia bids $1, no matter what the prize is.

    Mark will, of course, bid $2.

    H/T Digg | Photo via omarjordanf/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    Tom Hanks' Kennedy Center Honors event included a taste of YouTube stardom.

    During the event, which honors lifetime achievement in the arts, a cappella superstars Pentatonix paid tribute to the film star with a special performance of "That Thing You Do" from Hanks' iconic boyband film of the same name. Hanks definitely seemed to appreciate the gesture, smiling all the way through and waving and pointing at the gang when they finished. 

    We know at least one member of the family was a Pentatonix fan before the performance, though. When they start singing, Hanks' wife Rita mouths, "look, it's that a cappella group." Someone's been watching The Sing-Off.

    H/T popappella | Screengrab via ptxnewsandstuff/YouTube


    0 0

    In terms of American cinematic values, there’s only one thing lacking in the amazing “Cups” scene in the 2013 flick Pitch Perfect, where Anna Kendrick’s server leads a restaurant in an impromptu percussive cutlery routine.

    Guns. Nobody shoots anything!

    Thankfully, that’s finally been rectified by a man named Jim Huish, who has recreated the scene using considerable knowledge of his handgun’s anatomy and an utter disregard for the sanctity of plastic cups and snowy hillsides.

    Don’t worry: Huish’s pipes aren’t going to waste. He heads the Nashville-based band Amber’s Drive, which according to the band’s Facebook page, sounds like “The Backstreet Boys meets Mumford and Sons."

    I’m no gun nut, but when they put it like that, I’d rather just listen to them shoot things.

    Screengrab via jim huish/YouTube


    0 0

    It's now 2015, and if you are a regular Facebook user, then your News Feed has no doubt been inundated with references to Back to the Future Part II. The second part of the 1980s comedy-sci-fi trilogy saw our hero, Marty McFly, transported to the year 2015, where he noticed that Hill Valley had been upgraded to an ’80s version of the future.

    Now that it actually is 2015, let's take a look at some of the technological and social advances that Back to the Future Part II didn't exactly get right.

    1) Flying cars

    Flying cars have been a futuristic dream ever since 1960s sci-fi. The Back to the Future universe was no exception to this; we were first introduced to the airborne DeLorean in the closing scene of the first movie. 

    While automotive technology like Google's self-driving car is certainly impressive, all of our personal vehicles still unfortunately need roads.

    2) Hoverboard

    "It's 2015, so where's my hoverboard?" Every Facebook friend of yours who thinks they are a hilarious pop culture reference-maker has no doubt made this a status update by now.

    While a company has indeed designed a prototype of a hoverboard, they still have yet to be licensed by the Mattel corporation and sold as playthings. We daredevils must stick to gravity-dependent skateboards and scooters for now.

    3) Trash-powered cars

    In the closing scenes of the original Back to the Future, Doc Brown appears to use actual garbage as fuel for the flying DeLorean. 

    While some of today's cars may come equipped with phone control and be 3D-printed, none are being manufactured with the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor yet. So finish that can of beer; your car still needs to run on overpriced gasoline.

    4) Clothing

    The clothing styles in Back to the Future Part II suggest that we are all going to be walking around with silver spaghetti strainers on our heads, colorful face tattoos, and some sort of CPU chest protector.

    While they may appear ridiculous, take a moment to look around at what passes for fashion these days. Head-mounted spaghetti strainers are no more WTF than Ugg boots and grungy flannel shirts.

    5) Pizza

    The future McFly family enjoys a "hydrated" pizza courtesy of Pizza Hut. Donut-sized when it comes out of the package, the pizza turns into a delicious helping of product placement after only a few seconds in the Black and Decker Hydrator.

    Unfortunately, we still must prepare all of our own meals using old-fashioned methods, like microwaves.

    6) Self-lacing sneakers

    Marty's "Nike Air 2015 Kicks" are notable in that they lace themselves up and lock onto his feet. They actually existed back in 2011, but the high price tag kept them out of reach for most consumers.

    Sure, some of today's footwear has GPS capabilities, but most of us still must lace up and adjust our shoes manually.

    7) Air-drying clothes

    Shoes aren't the only articles of clothing that saw advancements in the Back to the Future universe. After jumping fully dressed into a lake, Marty's drenched wardrobe activates a built-in air dryer that has him dry in seconds.

    Not only is such a technology nowhere near completion for us yet, but a true 2015 resident would not be so hasty to jump into water fully clothed without making sure his phone isn't in his pocket.

    8) Brain-powered video games

    Marty's skills at the now-retro video game Wild Gunman only seem to impress him. A few kids dismiss his performance, as they control video games with their minds, not their hands. How ancient.

    Devices like the Wii, Xbox Kinect, and even the Oculus Rift may allow us to interact with our favorite video game titles without handheld controllers, but brain-operated video games are still a long ways off. In fact, after three decades of constant video gaming, will we even have sufficient brainpower to make a brain-operated title worth the production?

    That said, the young kids' disgusted reaction to video games that we older folks once held dear is spot-on.

    9) Hologram advertisements

    Signs and video images appear in midair throughout Back to the FuturePart II. One wonderful example of this is a hologram ad for Jaws 19, which makes a too-realistic dive for passing pedestrians.

    First of all, the Jaws film series thankfully stopped after the putrid Jaws: The Revenge. Additionally, while movie theater companies may be resorting to desperate measures to draw people into theaters and away from Netflix, interactive holograms have yet to be introduced into that plan.

    One thing this scene did accurately predict about future movies? CGI creatures look absolutely nothing like their real-life counterparts.

    Screengrab via MOVIECLIPS/YouTube


    0 0

    It's now 2015, and if you are a regular Facebook user, then your News Feed has no doubt been inundated with references to Back to the Future Part II. The second part of the 1980s comedy-sci-fi trilogy saw our hero, Marty McFly, transported to the year 2015, where he noticed that Hill Valley had been upgraded to an ’80s version of the future.

    Now that it actually is 2015, let's take a look at some of the technological and social advances that Back to the Future Part II didn't exactly get right.

    1) Flying cars

    Flying cars have been a futuristic dream ever since 1960s sci-fi. The Back to the Future universe was no exception to this; we were first introduced to the airborne DeLorean in the closing scene of the first movie. 

    While automotive technology like Google's self-driving car is certainly impressive, all of our personal vehicles still unfortunately need roads.

    2) Hoverboard

    "It's 2015, so where's my hoverboard?" Every Facebook friend of yours who thinks they are a hilarious pop culture reference-maker has no doubt made this a status update by now.

    While a company has indeed designed a prototype of a hoverboard, they still have yet to be licensed by the Mattel corporation and sold as playthings. We daredevils must stick to gravity-dependent skateboards and scooters for now.

    3) Trash-powered cars

    In the closing scenes of the original Back to the Future, Doc Brown appears to use actual garbage as fuel for the flying DeLorean. 

    While some of today's cars may come equipped with phone control and be 3D-printed, none are being manufactured with the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor yet. So finish that can of beer; your car still needs to run on overpriced gasoline.

    4) Clothing

    The clothing styles in Back to the Future Part II suggest that we are all going to be walking around with silver spaghetti strainers on our heads, colorful face tattoos, and some sort of CPU chest protector.

    While they may appear ridiculous, take a moment to look around at what passes for fashion these days. Head-mounted spaghetti strainers are no more WTF than Ugg boots and grungy flannel shirts.

    5) Pizza

    The future McFly family enjoys a "hydrated" pizza courtesy of Pizza Hut. Donut-sized when it comes out of the package, the pizza turns into a delicious helping of product placement after only a few seconds in the Black and Decker Hydrator.

    Unfortunately, we still must prepare all of our own meals using old-fashioned methods, like microwaves.

    6) Self-lacing sneakers

    Marty's "Nike Air 2015 Kicks" are notable in that they lace themselves up and lock onto his feet. They actually existed back in 2011, but the high price tag kept them out of reach for most consumers.

    Sure, some of today's footwear has GPS capabilities, but most of us still must lace up and adjust our shoes manually.

    7) Air-drying clothes

    Shoes aren't the only articles of clothing that saw advancements in the Back to the Future universe. After jumping fully dressed into a lake, Marty's drenched wardrobe activates a built-in air dryer that has him dry in seconds.

    Not only is such a technology nowhere near completion for us yet, but a true 2015 resident would not be so hasty to jump into water fully clothed without making sure his phone isn't in his pocket.

    8) Brain-powered video games

    Marty's skills at the now-retro video game Wild Gunman only seem to impress him. A few kids dismiss his performance, as they control video games with their minds, not their hands. How ancient.

    Devices like the Wii, Xbox Kinect, and even the Oculus Rift may allow us to interact with our favorite video game titles without handheld controllers, but brain-operated video games are still a long ways off. In fact, after three decades of constant video gaming, will we even have sufficient brainpower to make a brain-operated title worth the production?

    That said, the young kids' disgusted reaction to video games that we older folks once held dear is spot-on.

    9) Hologram advertisements

    Signs and video images appear in midair throughout Back to the FuturePart II. One wonderful example of this is a hologram ad for Jaws 19, which makes a too-realistic dive for passing pedestrians.

    First of all, the Jaws film series thankfully stopped after the putrid Jaws: The Revenge. Additionally, while movie theater companies may be resorting to desperate measures to draw people into theaters and away from Netflix, interactive holograms have yet to be introduced into that plan.

    One thing this scene did accurately predict about future movies? CGI creatures look absolutely nothing like their real-life counterparts.

    Screengrab via MOVIECLIPS/YouTube


    0 0

    A video that has been viewed over 29 million times and helped raise $130,000 in the name of a homeless man may be a hoax, according to a man claiming to be the subject's brother. 

    In the Dec. 29 video, YouTuber Josh Paler Lin gives $100 to a person he claimed was homeless to see what he'd do with the money by secretly filming him. In the video the man buys food for other homeless people instead of alcohol for himself. However, the video's authenticity has been called in to question on several fronts.

    An alleged eyewitness to the filming of the video told Vocativ that the entire thing was staged, saying she saw Lin and the homeless man "Thomas" arrive at the liquor store together and that "Thomas" knew he was being filmed. Now, a man who claims that "Thomas" is actually his brother Kenny has come forward to further expose the video.

    Kevin Nickel told KCBS-TV fears his brother Kenny is being manipulated by Lin and claims that he's actually set to inherit thousands. He showed KCBS-TV family pictures of Kenny to back up his claim. Lin is currently running an Indiegogo campaign that has raised more then $130,000 for "Thomas." Lin, who normally trades in "prank" videos, has followed up his viral hit with another video featuring "Thomas" getting a holiday makeover

    The Daily Dot reached out to Lin for comment, and we'll update this story if he responds.

    H/T Gawker | Screengrab via JoshPalerLin/YouTube.


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