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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Doctor of masturbatory science Miley Cyrus followed up her nude Instagram Polaroids and posted some helpful advice on Instagram

    While her scientific research apparently goes hands-on, there's still no conclusive evidence that polishing your apple repels haters. In fact, is seems to do the opposite. Well, it does if you're a celebrity on Instagram. 

    Cyrus has been on a crusade to #FreetheNipple, a controversial campaign to destigmatize women's breasts on social media. This seems to be another extension, an attempt at normalizing female masturbation, which is still seen as an offensive act rather than a healthy, pleasurable, normal pursuit that, sure, should be indulged every day, if the mood strikes. Sometimes more, if you happen to have time on your hands.   

    For a pro-masturbation campaign, I suppose, we could do worse than this clickbait (click-bate?). But Miley, we've got to work on that slogan. 

    If masturbation really did repel haters, women could take over the world. (BRB, going to pen the script for my new superhero movie.) 

    H/T The Frisky | Photo via Hot Gossip Italia/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    On Thursday, Kim Fowley, legendary musician, producer, and manager of ’70s rock band the Runaways passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 75.

    Fowley is perhaps best known as the man who put together the Runaways— which included a 15-year-old Joan Jett—in the ’70s. Their biggest hit, 1976's "Cherry Bomb," has been covered countless times since its release. A movie about the band, featuring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, came out in 2010, and Michael Shannon's over-the-top portrayal doesn't shy away from Fowley's creepier behavior. The group split with Fowley in 1977. A few months ago, band member Cherie Currie posted to Facebook

    Life is ironic. Kim Fowley was moved into my home a week ago Friday. I have been a 24/7 caregiver for him. Funny, I have not been a fan of this man for decades but time is the great equalizer. It has been an honor to be there for him. He is ill so please send prayers to him. He is as brilliant now as he has ever been. Caring for him keeps me from FB. Know I love you all and please send positive thoughts his way.

    Fowley was more than just a Sunset Strip hustler. He also produced songs for Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Gene Vincent, and released his own music. 1968's "Animal Man" is an excellent intro to his, uh, aesthetic. 

    His 1977 appearance on Tom Snyder's Tomorrow Show is essential viewing. 

    He also briefly appeared in Beyoncé's "Haunted" video last year. 

    In this clip from 2013, he addressed his battle with cancer in the most Fowley-esque way possible. 

    Photo via Lee Joseph/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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    Flula Borg is not satisfied with videos about English slang and in-car jams. The YouTuber, DJ, and actor has launched an Indiegogo campaign for Flundance, a documentary/feature film set to debut at Sundance Film Festival.

    Here’s the basic idea: Flula is working on a movie called Johnny Fist, which he hopes to debut at Sundance. There’s only one problem: Johnny Fist hasn’t been made yet, and Sundance, which begins January 22nd in Park City, Utah, is only a week away. “Have I started writing, or shooting, or editing, or directing this Film yet at the all?” asks Flula in his Indiegogo campaign. “YES! I started this Morning!”

    Flula will shoot Johnny Fist as he drives from Los Angeles to Park City. Along the way, he will chronicle his journey with Flundance, a behind-the-scenes documentary directed by Alex SimmonsFlundance will ultimately screen at Sundance, and Johnny Fist will be present as “a movie within a movie.”

    As he embarks on his journey, Flula will enlist help from among his many collaborators. 80Fitz, a Vine star and a Pitch Perfect 2 cast member alongside Flula, will assist with the soundtrack, and Rhett and Link, who appear in the Flundance pitch video, will have roles in the film.

    “As a baby child it was always my large dream to make a movie,” said Flula in a release. “I cannot be more excited that my dope fans and friends, with the helping of Indiegogo, shall make this dream now a real thing!  So prepare your brains and faces, because together with my übertalented friends and yes, some nice strangers I meet on the road, I shall film for you the Greatest Story Ever Maded. We will find a way to screen my film in Park City no matters what, Come The Hells or the Height Waters.”

    In order to shoot his film, Flula is asking for $37,333. He will also let his fans decide which roads he takes to Park City. Anyone who contributes at least $10 will earn access to the @Flundance Instagram account, where his cast, settings, and route will be decided. This is a similar conceit to the one Grace Helbig and Mamrie Hart (two regular Flula collaborators) used for their #HeyUSA tour web series.

    The Flundance campaign is still young,and while it will run past the Sundance start date, it should have no trouble reaching its goal by the time Flula reaches his destination. If you’re a fan of the energetic German, you know what to do.

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    Security experts like to say that there's no such thing as true privacy.

    From your bank account to your naked photos to your most embarrassing emails, a savvy hacker needs only a few keystrokes, and suddenly all your private information is online for the world to see. Sadly for Sony and the women targeted as part of Celebgate, that’s something they had to learn the hard way. For the rest of us, Jimmy Kimmel is here to help.

    The intrepid late-night host sent a crew out on the streets of Los Angeles to ask strangers about cybersecurity and the strength of their passwords. Amazingly, all it took was a few simple questions for these unsuspecting victims to divulge their passwords without a second thought.  

    If this video teaches us one thing, it's that we should try to do better than that old mainstay "password123."

    H/T Business Insider | Photo via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube

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    In the new documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, HBO is confident that it has the next Blackfish on deck. But officials in the Church of Scientology say it's the next Rolling Stone/UVA rape story.

    On Friday, the church began a major media blitz—including full-page ad buys in the New York Times and other major publications—denouncing the film's director and producers for alleged lapses in journalism ethics. The ads from the notoriously defensive and litigious church come just nine days before the documentary is set to debut at the Sundance Film Festival.

    Going Clear is based on a 2013 book of the same name. Written by Lawrence Wright, who serves as producer on the documentary, the book is a thorough and scathing takedown of the church and it's founder, science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Based heavily on interviews from former church members, the New York Review of Books called the book "a true horror story" upon its release.

    The contents of the film itself have been closely guarded during two years of production and the church has not even seen it yet. Still, that didn't keep Scientology spokespeople from going on the defensive Friday. In the full page ad, the church directly compared director Alex Gibney's film to a now infamous Rolling Stone article from last year detailing an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia that was found to be rife with inaccuracies.

    Among their complaints, church leaders say that they were never given an opportunity to respond to allegations made in the film. The ad claims that Gibney and HBO, which produced the documentary, refused 12 times the church's request for information about what assertions or claims will be made in the film. It also says that Gibney and HBO "rejected multiple requests to meet with executives of the church."

    However, Gibney tells the New York Times that he "requested interviews with various people – including current church members and officials – who could shed light on specific incidents discussed in the film." However, Gibney said those asked either would not comment or "set unreasonable conditions" for the interviews. HBO said those who were approached to be in the film but declined will be noted in the film.

    With no specific knowledge of the film's claims, much of the church's ad focuses on discrediting the book upon which it's based. In the book, Wright interviewed dozens of former Scientologists who say the church is a financial scam that regularly subjects its members to physical and psychological abuses while catering to its leadership and elite members. However, the church attacks the credibility of these sources, saying many of them left the church decades ago and have no first-hand knowledge of the the church's actions in recent years. In its ad, the church also levels unspecified claims of perjury and obstruction of justice against many of the sources.

    Church officials say it's unfair they haven't been given a chance to respond to the film prior to its release. But that's reportedly to keep the church from legally blocking the release of the film. The film is currently under legal review ahead of the Sundance premiere.

    Though church leaders tell reporters they have no intention of preventing the film's release, Scientology does have a long history of taking legal action against those who attempt to damage the church's reputation. The church famously sued Time in 1991 over a cover story that called the religion a "Thriving Cult of Greed and Power." The church claimed defamation and sued the magazine and its parent company for more than $400 million. A five-year legal battle ultimately ended with the case being dismissed.

    But legal action is not the only recourse the church takes when it feels under attack. In 2011, former Scientology executive-turned-critic, Marty Rathbun, told the Village Voice that the church spent years trying to dig up dirt on South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone in retaliation for the infamous 2005 episode "Trapped in the Closet" which ruthlessly mocked the religion.

    "Phone records. Bank records. Personal letters that expose some kind of vulnerability. They'll read stuff into the kind of alcohol you're drinking and how much. Prescriptions. They'll figure out your diet. They can find out a lot about you through your trash," Rathbun said, detailing the church's response. Rathbun himself is set to appear in the HBO documentary.

    But if the ads printed on Friday are meant as a warning shot, Gibney does not appear to be heeding them. Instead, he sent out a rather defiant tweet.

    Going Clear is scheduled to appear in several movie theaters across the country before premiering on HBO on March 16.

    Photo via Scientology Media/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) 

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    Will Amazon's Golden Globe victories for Transparent end up helping or hurting its latest round of original content?  

    Its two wins (comedy, best actor) set the bar for future programming, and certainly raised expectations for viewers hoping Amazon Studios is not a one-trick pony. Whether the bookseller-turned-TV factory can replicate HBO’s ability to churn out a series of winners—or whether Transparent was a single shot of lightning in a bottle—can be determined by examining Amazon’s new pilots. A few will likely be popular, although not necessarily groundbreaking like Transparent or Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black

    There isn’t a Golden Globe, Oscar, or People’s Choice winner among the seven programs Amazon released on Jan. 15. That said, each is worthy of an award. 

    The envelope, please...

    The show most likely to give you nightmares

    The Man in the High Castle

    Based on Philip K. Dick’s alternate history novel, The Man in the High Castle takes us back the early ‘60s, when the German army's victory over the Allies has resulted in a total takeover of the United States. The country is split in two, with the Germans having direct control over the Eastern states and the Japanese granted territorial governance of the West.

    In the world of TV and film, this is called “high concept,” and is a risk-reward venture. The producers, writers, director, and cast nail this with stark visual imagery; acting that is totally on point (and chilling); and a fear factor that will send you back to your history books to be sure those who chronicled the results of World War II got it right.

    Alexa Davalos, star of the Starz original Mob City, plays Juliana Crain, an Aikido-practicing rebel, and Luke Kleintank of Pretty Little Liars fame portrays Joe Blake, who may or may not be a freedom fighter, as we learn in the cliffhanger ending. The calm reality and acceptance of this horrific vision is what puts The Man in the High Castle among Amazon's elite offerings. A scene in which a highway patrolman is asked about the origins of the clusters of large, grey ashes floating in the air will stop any viewer in his or her tracks. His response that those were the cremated remains of elderly and crippled people is a show-stopper.

    The Man in the High Castle will most likely get the green light. Is it award-worthy? Check back after episode 2 and beyond.

    The “I’ve seen this character before” award 


    One of those love-it-or-hate-it shows, Cocked is the saga of a family in the gun business facing hard times and a whole lot of feuding. While much of the plot is foreshadowed in the first few minutes—the son who left the family business returns to save the day—the execution and acting is quite good. Led by Jason Lee as the blue-collar hellraiser whose new product release cost the family millions, what we have here is a slimy reboot of Lee’s Earl Hickey character from My Name Is Earl, with a fair amount of nudity and foul language tossed in to prove this is not regular network fare.

    What makes Cocked work is the strong love-hate relationship between Lee and his younger brother, played by True Blood’s Sam Trammell. Add in veteran character actor Brian Dennehy as the piss-and-vinegar patriarch, and you have an excellent ensemble that carries the often-predictable plot and dialogue. 

    Cocked is a sexed-up, foul-mouthed version of an above-average network dramedy. On NBC, for example, this would last a few seasons. Again, if the after-pilot episodes stay true, Amazon will do well with this one.

    The “There’s New York, and then there’s the rest of the country” award

    The New Yorker Presents

    There is a lot to like about The New Yorker Presents. The brave attempt to bring the pages of this iconic magazine to life works more often than not. The 30-minute show authentically replicates the pages aimed at New Yorkers and those who wish they were, but the size and sustainability of such a target is questionable.

    The pilot is a mosaic of quick video hits, interviews, and short documentaries (with interstitial New Yorker cartoons) that will please those looking for an ultra-civilized version of 60 Minutes. The real pilot standout is a short from Oscar-winning filmmaker Jonathan Demme, which tells the story of biologist Tyrone Hayes, who fought the EPA and big chemical companies over the issue of toxicity in the water supply.

    The big question is whether it will appeal beyond a niche audience. For someone living in Brooklyn, this is cool; for citizens of Omaha, not so much.

    Best reason to skip reading your history book

    Point of Honor

    This Civil War drama is one rich on visual appeal, but it might have limited audience appeal, save for the crowd that enjoys weekend reenactments of the battle between the North and South.

    It’s brother versus brother (actually, brother-in-law versus brother-in-law) at the beginning of the war with themes of slavery, love, honor, and blind allegiance tossed in to expand a 30-minute premise into an hour pilot.

    None of the leads are particularly noteworthy, but as an ensemble they capture the mood and essence of the era with enough believability to be authentic. There’s nothing especially wrong with Point of Honor, but also nothing memorable.

    That said, the early voting of Amazon viewers seems to be enthusiastically behind Point of Honor, with 56 percent of those offering opinions giving the pilot five stars. Seems what the world needs is a gory Civil War drama loaded with of battlefield blood and guts.

    The “Jeff Spicoli as an adult” award

    Down Dog

    Take the handsome son of a ‘60s stoner (Kris Kristofferson) and put him in a job that appeals to a lot of women. In short, you have Down Dog, starring Josh Casaubon (I Just Want My Pants Back) as a laid-back, empty-headed yoga instructor who has gotten by on his good looks and irresistible charm. 

    The pilot's rather constricted story arc finds our hero breaking up with his live-in girlfriend, who also owns the yoga studio where he works. The dilemma of how such a goofball plans on running a business provides the dramatic tension here, and it just falls flat.

    As Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, if you are pop-culturally deprived) would say: ”Wipe out.”

    Award for biggest waste of prime acting talent

    Mad Dogs

    Any self-respecting movie and TV fan would be excited for a series that includes Romany Malco (Weeds, Think Like a Man), Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club), Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Ben Chaplin (World Without End), and Billy Zane (Twin Peaks). In this case, however, the whole is about 10 percent of the sum of the parts. An overwrought drama based on a similar U.K. show, Mad Dogs finds a group of friends coming together to meet at Zane's luxurious Belize home only to be forced to avenge his murder.

    There's just too much going on with plot threads that either don't make sense or don’t connect. Also, despite the pedigree of talent, the acting is forced and often stereotyped: the sad divorced dad, the intellectual pining away for his friend’s wife, the drunk, and the one who fell short of his lofty goals. Yawn.

    Given the money that had to be put into this pilot—the breathtaking locations are sparkling travel brochures—the smart thing is to cut the losses and move along.

    The “What were they thinking?” award

    Salem Rogers: Model of the Year 1998

    Confession time: Salem Rogers is so bad, I could only make it halfway through the pilot.

    Let me break it down for you: Leslie Bibb as the titular former supermodel kicked out of rehab is nearly unwatchable. And it’s not just the role she plays. As the foil, Rachel Dratch is the Debbie Downer character she plays on SNL, but far sadder and more unsympathetic. And I’d like to know who convinced Harry Hamlin, former iconic star of L.A. Law, more recently in Mad Men, to take on the role of a coked-up agent who refuses to take Salem Rogers back into his fold. If he’s that desperate for a paycheck, I suggest he toy with the idea of becoming the center square on a game show.

    Unless the final 10 minutes of this trainwreck are significantly better than the first 20, Amazon needs to take this behind the barn, hose it down, and put it out to pasture.

    Screengrab via Amazon Studios/YouTube

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    During this year’s Super Bowl, YouTube is looking to be more than just the place people go to watch the commercials. The top video sharing site will have its own halftime show, during which creators like Harley Morenstein and Freddie Wong will act as counter-programming to Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz.

    Morenstein, the ringleader of the Epic Meal Time channel, will host the program, which YouTube is producing alongside Collective Digital Studio. Other creators slated to appear include Wong, Toby Turner, and Rhett and Link. According to Bloomberg, the program includes performances, stunts, and a few fake Super Bowl ads, including one from Wong that combines sugary juice drinks with his signature effects-laden production.

    The show will go live on the AdBlitz channel, which, as in previous years, will house all the Super Bowl ads when they are uploaded to YouTube. Viewers are invited to rate each spot, and after the game, the most popular one will be revealed.

    Right now, the AdBlitz channel features a few “teasers” for this year’s ads, as well as a section called “Harley’s Playbook” that combines the Epic Meal Time frontman with common Super Bowl advertising strategies. Here, for example, is a video from Mars Rising that introduces “HARLEY Cologne”:

    YouTube hopes these offerings will allow it to battle Perry and Kravitz, who will be the halftime performers during NBC’s coverage of the NFL championship. Suzie Reider, managing director of brand solutions at Google, told Bloomberg the YouTube halftime show is aimed at viewers who are more interested in advertisements than football. “It’s a really good place to showcase our celebrities, our talent and our creators,” she said. “It will be fun afterwards to see what was Freddie Wong’s draw compared to Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz.”

    Halftime is certainly a good slot for YouTube, since many viewers will likely trek over to AdBlitz to re-watch their favorite ads from the first half. The site’s show, therefore, should be able to assemble an audience. It will be up to Collective DS and the participating creators to put on a worthy spectacle.

    Screengrab via Epic Meal Time/YouTube

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    The X-Filescould be coming back to Fox, network execs confirmed.

    Series creator Chris Carter is currently in talks with Fox chairman Dana Walden and CEO Gary Newman about reviving the legendary '90s series. 

    Ever since the show went off the air 12 years ago, stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have repeatedly said they would love to come back—and now Fox is aiming to bring them into the fold, according to Entertainment Weekly

    “It’s true that we’ve had some conversations on X-Files,” Newman said. “We’re hopeful of being able to bring that back at some point.”

    “Gary and I both worked [at 20th Century Fox Television] through the entire run of The X Files,” Walden added. “It was a great experience. We’ve maintained good relationships with Chris, David and Gillian. We’re very hopeful, but it’s hard. The actors are very busy. They have a lot going on. Chris has a lot on his plate, so it’s just trying to carve out the time.”

    H/T Entertainment Weekly | Image via Fox

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    In the latest battle between Hollywood and pirates, the pirates are winning. 

    As a result, torrents of Oscar-nominated DVD movie screeners are hitting the Web in waves.

    Major movie studios have been forensically marking their content with watermarks for years so they can “identify sources that make it available or download it.” Penalties have hit as high as a year in prison for leakers in cases where they’re caught due to watermarks.

    Now, movie pirates have figured out how to erase the watermarks, TorrentFreak reported. The latest Peter Jackson film, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, has shown up from the CM8 release group with a note about the defeated watermarks: 

    First real Screener of this Year!!!
    got you First and Second Part, now its time for Part Three! Have FUN!
    A bit later than last years, but better late and safe than sorry.
    Last 2 weeks have been hell, searched all over for Hobbit day and night.
    Movie had Watermarks visible and invisible ones, had to remove frames to get rid of them.
    Nothing i havent done before, It was hours of work, but its finally done and here for you to get!

    The newest Hobbit film was downloaded more than 500,000 times in the first day, while almost all the other Oscar nominees—including The Gambler, Inherent Vice, A Most Violent Year, and Kill the Messenger—have hit the torrents and been shared rapidly in the last week or two.

    H/T Ars Technica | Photo via Warner Bros.

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    A few months ago, I was deep in a YouTube music-video rabbit hole, absentmindedly wading into a ’60s soul tide after initially trying to find a Lauryn Hill song. Among the comments on the Flamingos’ “I Only Have Eyes for You” claiming a certain movie brought them there was one that made me stop scrolling.

    There were other personal remembrances of relationships and friendships past, but that particular comment got me in the gills, perhaps because comments that outwardly human are hard to come by these days. 

    “Don’t read the comments” has become one of the Internet’s favorite refrains, a shorthand for holding on to your sanity. This advice is especially helpful on YouTube, where comment sections are co-opted and devolve into self-serving performances. Scrolling down into this hellscape often requires that you have a life preserver. 

    But sometimes, the comment section does exhibit a humanity worth exploring, a thread that connects personal histories, memories, and heartbreaks. That’s where Sad YouTube comes in.

    Created in 2012 by Montreal filmmaker Mark Slutsky, Sad YouTube is a collection of comments cherrypicked from videos that recount either a time and place buried in the past or some emotional reaction. Slutsky says that’s important.

    “Like most people, I always kind of accepted the conventional wisdom that the comments on YouTube are basically the worst form of communication on the Internet,” he said. “Stupid, racist, full of tail-chasing arguments. And though most of them are like that, I started to notice another breed of comment that would pop up, usually on YouTube videos of old songs, or bootleg uploads of old songs. People would start sharing memories.

    “I thought it would be a shame if they disappeared and got pushed down to page 75 of the comments.”

    Slutsky viewed these honest, detailed, often misspelled comments as a new kind of oral history, and he started compiling them. You’ll quickly notice the videos featured on Sad YouTube are all music videos, spanning half a century's worth of songs. 

    “I really think music evokes memory in a really interesting way,” Slutsky said. “Maybe older people are surfing on YouTube and following the suggested links and they’ll come across a song they haven’t heard in 10, 20, 30, 40 years. That moment of hearing that song again evokes a memory they might not have known they had, a story they might not have thought about for decades." 

    Often, the comments relate to family or lost loves. From Blur’s “Sing”:

    Other times, a comment or unravels like accidental poetry. From Soul Generation, “Body and Soul”:

    Some are obscure markers that mean something to one or two people. From Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin'”: 

    “Debbie. 1982 San Jose"

    Then there are the detailed remembrances of where people were when we heard the song. From Electric Light Orchestra’s “Livin’ Thing”:

    Common themes include death, murder, or military service, and many of the songs featured are from the ’50s or ’60s. Slutsky has also started mapping Sad YouTube, based on locations mentioned by commenters. He says about half the comments on the site mention a specific place, city, or country.

    Slutsky actually did reach out to a few commenters, partially as a way to assure himself these detailed accounts of humanity and nostalgia were real and not some troll constructs. He tracked down one man who witnessed a car accident in 1962 as a song by the Tornados was playing. He was 13 when it happened:

    I’ve never really forgotten it. I could even tell you things about how the doors were after the accident, everything. It’s frozen in my mind. I’m an artist, I could actually draw the scene if I wanted to. That night was the first time I’d heard the song, and ever since, when I do, that thing comes back.

    That clip he commented on, like many others on Sad YouTube, has since been removed. Even sadder, all the comments went with it, but that just makes Sad YouTube's role as record-keeper even more important. 

    In his bio, Slutsky maintains that the YouTube comment section is “unfairly maligned.” The influx of trolls, hate speech, and Reddit comments from entities like Le Reddit Armie are an eyesore, but Slutsky says that’s just a “blip” in the bigger picture. 

    “When videos don’t get deleted, they become a very deep archive," he said. "So Le Reddit Armie is just one or two lines on the tree trunk."

    He also pointed out Google's role in shaping the comment section. 

    “Google got way more hardline and annoying about enforcing a real names policy,” he explained. “And trick[ing] people into creating Google+ accounts to comment on YouTube. And when that happened I sort of predicted that the tone of the comment section would change. 

    "I think the anonymity of YouTube comments—while, on the one hand, leads to the worst of YouTube comments—makes it sort of a weirdly safe space for people to tell stories about their life that they might not tell their Google+ friends or might not share on Facebook. You wouldn’t want your wife to know you’re still in love with your girlfriend from high school." 

    And yet, that's the draw of Sad YouTube comments. We get a glimpse of a strangers' life, a detailed memory we can draw ourselves into. "Don't read the comments" is fine advice, but sometimes we miss out on a crack where the light gets in, some glimmer of humanity. Something that makes us stop scrolling. 

    Photo via Harrison Cohen Photography/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed 

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    Justin Bieber tried to bring the sex appeal in his potentially Photoshopped ads for Calvin Klein, but there’s plenty we missed behind the scenes.

    Instead of the confident-looking Bieber we saw in photos, we now see a Bieber trying to be taken seriously, courtesy of Saturday Night Live (and Kate McKinnon in particular). Paired off with a bored and increasingly annoyed model, he does all he can to prove himself to her and the camera by scaring her, grossing her out, and telling her where his “pee-pee” is.

    And you can’t forget that smoulder into the camera. That’s the most important part of everything; otherwise it just all falls apart. But he eventually gets something right.

    Screengrab via Saturday Night Live/YouTube

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    There are countries that haven't been around as long as The Joe Franklin Show. Over the show's 43 years—and on radio since it wrapped—Franklin interviewed an estimated 100,000 guests in a manner lovingly lampooned by Billy Crystal on SNL  and referenced on The Simpsons.

    So you might imagine that after mingling with all those stars, he'd have some stories to tell. And he does in Joe Franklin Remembersa series of videos shot vertically on a phone in an office that looks like one of those hoarder houses on TLC that you have to enter via the chimney.

    It looks like a 1990s school project, but as you would expect for a consummate showbiz survivor, it's nevertheless entertaining. In a peppy opening, it becomes clear that even at 88, Franklin is eager to show he still has his finger on the pulse. 

    His phones—the shtick is that he usually picks up the wrong one—constantly ring, breaking the momentum of his reminiscences about Jack Benny, Sammy Davis Jr., Mickey Rooney, Gene Wilder, and others. But they also provide an easy laugh as he barks at whoever calls. (I like to imagine faded Norma Desmond types.) 

    The inaccuracies in some of his confident claims—Young Frankenstein was never one of the top 10 grossing films of all time; Bob Hope hosted the Oscars 19 times, not 25; and his unlikely explanation of Jimmy Durante's famous "Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are" sign-off was contradicted by the man himself—cast doubt on a few of his anecdotes. But who really cares, right? We have other sources for the truth but none of them can spin a yarn like Joe.

    That the series looks and plays out in such a bizarre, amateurish fashion is not surprising if you peruse the other work of its creator, Janet Arneau. Her YouTube channel is a peculiar, eclectic feast: If you aren't interested in Franklin's anecdotes about Bing Crosby being a bit of a jerk and a "man's man," or how Lucille Ball was never afraid to be "sloppy," then you could do worse than investigating her videos on how to "skin and mount an otter." Then there's her series What's Your Problem? where Arneau fails to cure the ills of random French people as they struggle to understand the titular question.

    As for Franklin, it's unclear how many episodes of Remembers there will be, but surely with the magnitude of his memories it's potentially endless. If they suddenly stop, make sure to send a rescue party into that office to ensure he isn't trapped under a pile of Judy Garland headshots.

    Photo via Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III





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    Martin Luther King Jr. might’ve had a dream, but it probably wasn’t like this.

    In Saturday Night Live’s cold open, he comes back as a ghost to help a student who has to write a paper on him and everything he’s done. And while King might have his own holiday when three white presidents have to share one, he starkly discovers just how far away that mountain he talked about really is.

    Despite the #progress that’s been made, it’s turned into a day people can take off, his name is on streets (in not-so-nice neighborhoods), and protests have evolved into nothing more than hashtag activism. And King reminds us with a single facial gesture how absurd Selma’s Oscar snubs really are.

    It sounds a whole lot better on paper—or the Wikipedia page.

    Screengrab via Saturday Night Live/YouTube

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    If this turns into the Foo Fighters’ next song, Dave Grohl's got his Chilean fans to thank.

    During a recent stop in Santiago, Chile, the frontman noted to the crowd that they managed to sing all of his songs before he even had a chance to do it himself. They loved that, and started chanting even more, prompting Grohl to play a brand new song that even he'd never played before—it was created right there by the Santiago crowd.

    And it’s got everything a song needs. It’s catchy, it’s only got a few words for people to memorize, and it’s an instant hit with the audience. Chances are, it’s already stuck in your head.

    Photo via Elisa Moro/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    This story contains sexually explicit material and may be considered NSFW.

    It took Kim Kardashian all the way until December to attempt breaking the Internet with her Paper magazine photos, but model and actress Amber Rose might have gotten close just three weeks into 2015.

    She posted a series of photos to Instagram, each featuring her wearing a tiny string bikini. It covers up enough to float past Instagram’s rules and guidelines about nudity, but many of us are wondering where it ends and begins (If it’s all connected, is it still a bikini or technically a one-piece? Discuss.), and how she can move without the entire thing falling off. 

    Seeing how she’s lounging around and posing from what looks like a private residence, it’s probably not a major concern for her. 

    Amber Rose looks good—and she knows it. Just take a look at those captions.

    Turns out, the Internet thinks she’s slaying it too.

    The debate over whether the bathing suit is a string bikini is still out. Instead of searching high and low for one to copy her look, people made jokes about how to make their own.

    As with Kardashian last month and everyone from Beyoncé to Dita Von Teese, Rose is being criticized and slut-shamed for posting the photos because she is owning her sexuality in a public setting while being a mother, something Beejoli Shah called “a bunch of anti-feminist bullshit” last month.

    “And the fact that it’s being thrown at [Kardashian] primarily from other women?” Shah wrote. “Well, that’s just worse.”

    Rose’s fans are standing up for her right to post photos of herself in various states of undress online while using the platform to call out others who praised Rose but shamed Kardashian last month.

    I don’t know about you, but I inexplicably have a sudden desire to go to the gym now.

    H/T MTV | Photo via RedCarpetReport/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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    Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele love to riff on big-name sports. The comedy duo behind sketch show Key & Peele has a Super Bowl-themed special in the works and if it's anything like these two short, golden clips surrounding Sunday's NFL action, it'll be hilarious.

    The target this time: post-concussion, former NFL stars who morph into talking heads on pregame network television. They portray the fictional Dante Pibb and Bertram Skilling, and every note is in tune: the Dick Tracy villain suits; the bad short-term memory; the talking-point-driven analysis; the way guys like Shannon Sharpe and Rodney Harrison laugh way too hard at medium zingers.

    For archival purposes, they like Green Bay over Seattle, New England over Indianapolis. Everything's better with Mayo!

    Screengrab via Comedy Central/YouTube 

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    Betty White’s employers sure know how to throw her a party.

    She was on the CBS Radford Lot where Hot in Cleveland shoots the day before her 93rd birthday when she was greeted by her assistant dressed as a hula dancer. The impending Hawaiian flash mob followed with the entire cast and crew joining in for one big hula party just to wish her a happy birthday.

    Although the Internet may be over flash mobs, allow this one for Betty White. She loved it, and so should you.

    Afterwards the Hot in Cleveland cast celebrated her birthday in a more traditional fashion with cake, leis, and, of course, puppies.

    Stay golden, Betty.

    H/T Uproxx | Screengrab via TV Land/YouTube

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    Isiah Whitlock Jr. has appeared in a large body of work over the past few decades, ranging from classic films like Goodfellas to TV shows like  Blacklist and Veep. But, on the street, he’s probably most recognized for sheeeeeeeeeit. It’s that word—sheeeeeeeeeit—that become a cultural phenomenon when Whitlock’s character Clay Davis said it a lot on HBO’s classic series The Wire:

    With The Wire now re-airing on HBO with an HD overhaul, a whole new generation of Internet-goers are being introduced to Clay Davis and his sheeeeeeeeeit for the first time, and Whitlock has teamed up with The Levity Department to launch The Whitlock Academy, a webseries in which he teaches budding actors how to properly say their very own sheeeeeeeeeits:

    “The catchphrase has dominated his life, and we wanted to have a little bit of fun with that in producing The Whitlock Academy,” Richard Hine, head of The Levity Department and the series' producer/cowriter, told the Daily Dot. Before collaborating on The Whitlock Academy (Hine and Whitlock split writing duties on the episodes, although there’s always room for improvisation, too), Hine initially met Whitlock while helping him get acquainted with Twitter. “He has a lot of fun with Twitter and enjoys interacting with fans,” said Hine, “and obviously most of the interaction revolves around his character of Clay Davis and The Wire.” After getting Whitlock settled into Twitter, Hine introduced him to Vine; fittingly, here’s the first vine that Whitlock shared:

    Although most people know Whitlock’s sheeeeeeeeeit from The Wire, that wasn’t actually his first time to say it: That distinction goes all the way back to 2002, in Spike Lee’s 25th Hour. And that’s why, if you try to say sheeeeeeeeeit without proper training, it’s just not going to work; it took Whitlock himself 12 years just to go from being awesome at it to being ever so slightly more awesome at it, so starting from scratch isn't going to produce pretty results.  
     “There are certain rules,” said Hine, “like ‘sheeeeeeeeeit’ always has to have nine E’s and one I...”

    “There are certain rules,” said Hine, “like ‘sheeeeeeeeeit’ always has to have nine E’s and one I, and the actor has to be able to feel all those E’s if they deliver it—otherwise they’re not really doing it justice.” More rules are likely to be rolled out in the series’ initial run of three to four episodes—the first one introduces the Academy well enough, but Hine says the rest will follow different formats and elaborate more on how to properly hone your sheeeeeeeeeits. After the currently shot material all makes its way online—editing of episode 2 is currently wrapping up—Whitlock and Hine will see how many people have enrolled in The Whitlock Academy and decide whether more lessons are warranted. “We recorded a few episodes, and we’re going to put them out there and see what happens,” said Hine. “If people like it, we’ll try and do more and continue to have fun with it.”

    If anything can be learned from viewing the first episode, it’s that the conceit of Whitlock mixing sheeeeeeeeeit with Shakespeare could easily sustain 100-plus episodes all by itself, and we know there’s no shortage of technique to be shared on the matter. At the close of the first episode, Whitlock compares perfecting your sheeeeeeeeeits to the titular character of Jiro Dreams of Sushi—the acclaimed documentary about a man who spends his entire life honing the art of making perfect sushi. After viewing the The Whitlock Academy's debut, Jiro director David Gelb offered Hine a line for a future episode: “Proof that it takes a lifetime to master your sheeeeeeeeeit.”

     “Proof that it takes a lifetime to master your sheeeeeeeeeit.” 

    While the first block of episodes roll out—all directed by New York filmmaker Assal Ghawami—Hine encourages fans to tweet their own sheeeeeeeeeit vines to @WhitlockAcademy, where they’ll retweet them and share them with Whitlock himself. “We’ll have Isiah judge the ones we select,” said Hine. You can get more info on the webseries at, and also at (yes, it really works).


    Correction 4pm CT: An earlier version of this article misstated details of two of Whitlock's previous acting credits.

    Screengrab via The Whitlock Academy/YouTube

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    This video contains mentions of suicide and may be disturbing to some readers.

    When you're trying to get your rap career off the ground, you have to do anything necessary to get your name and your music out there. That includes rehearsing at an Apple store. 

    The guy in this clip admits he doesn't have a laptop anymore, so his local Apple store is his new creative outlet. His performance is shut down early by a well-meaning Apple employee, who acts like he's familiar with the musician. But the tone quickly changes when the rapper realizes Apple is out to "ruin" his burgeoning career.

    Yes, you're right to feel bad for laughing at this guy. But at least he's got some material for a new song. 

    And this definitely isn't the worst tantrum someone's thrown at an Apple store. 

    Photo via Christopher Aloi/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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    In May 2014, LeVar Burton raised over $5 million to bring the beloved Reading Rainbow TV show to the Internet. Recently, the series’ host used some of those funds to share the story of one of the United States’ greatest leaders. Burton released a video on January 14, 2015, where he reads a book about the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Burton starts his video tribute to the famed civil rights advocate in a children’s playground, explaining how only a few decades ago kids of different color and race weren’t allowed to play together. The ex-Star Trek actor notes how that mindset was slowly changed in America much in thanks to King’s efforts. Burton then takes viewers to Friendship Baptist Church in Pasadena, California, (where King used to speak) and reads A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr., written by David A. Adler and illustrated by Robert Casilla.

    At the end of the story, Burton requests his viewers don’t think of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as “more than just a day off from school.” Instead, he wants the online video masses to mimic the peaceful actions of King which brought about revolutionary change in America.

    “On King Day, remind yourself that you can make a difference in this world by treating others the way you yourself would want to be treated,” he says. “Make that dream your reality today.”

    Screengrab via Reading Rainbow/YouTube

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