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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    You may think things are tumultuous among the teenage elite of a certain notorious California ZIP code, but the real drama is happening across town with the employees and patrons of Los Feliz theater Rockwell Table & Stage.

    Los Feliz, 90027 follows the exploits of the fictional waiters, performers, and guests of an actual Los Angeles establishment, blending the worlds of live performance and filmed storytelling in an innovative new format. Jake Wilson, the show's creator—who also helmed iconic webseries like The Battery's Down—came up with the idea after Rockwell offered him his own monthly live show about anything he wanted.

    "I came from a Broadway background, but these days I’m doing primarily TV and film, so I didn’t have an interest in a live show," Wilson told the Daily Dot. "I thought, 'What would be interesting to me? What would still work toward my goal of doing TV and film?' I figured if they gave me a free venue every month, I could premiere new filmed footage in front of a live audience and see how it lands. Jumping off that idea, I figured it can’t be all filmed footage. I decided to do half filmed and half live, which has never been done before, not truly like this. For example, in the pilot episode, it starts outside. In the [online] version, we reshot it without an audience, but at Rockwell you see it live. When that character enters, that happens in front of a full live audience, a seamless transition from the projector screen."

    With that, Los Feliz, 90027 was born. The show follows a variety of young L.A. hopefuls, from porn stars to singer-songwriters, scheming and loving as they each orbit the theater space. 

    Unlike many other webseries properties, Wilson opted for a longer format to match the live show atmosphere as well as the new demand for digital long-form content.

    "I don’t even have cable, and I watch so much TV," Wilson explained. "But I watch everything online, on demand. Long-form versus short-form isn’t a delineation that matters to me. You look at these Netflix series and these Amazon series, things you can only get online but they’re still long. People are more willing to binge-watch long stuff. Also because it’s a live show, we need it to be long enough for people to buy a ticket. It has to be at least an hour long, and it doesn’t make sense to split that up into 10 parts for online."

    However, to produce that kind of content takes funds. Wilson wrote the show in part to help his talented friends whom he felt were currently underutilized, but he soon learned that pulling free favors in L.A. was very different from his previous home base of New York, where he said he knew tons of friends who would help run sound out of the goodness of their hearts.

    "In LA, I don’t have friends who can do favors as crew," Wilson laughed. "Actors will do anything for free; it’s an opportunity. A cameraman doesn’t need that. Why would he do it for free? Maybe because there are porn stars in it?"

    That is another differentiating factor for 90027. One of his leads is actually a porn star, Bridgette B, and that means there are porn-based scenes in every episode. Wilson said that kind of content is part of the reason why he's gone the crowdfunding route instead of traditionally shopping the series to other partners.

    "I definitely considered the option of pitching this show out to Hulu or those types of production platforms, but I know that the nudity angle and the music angle would be pretty constricting," he said. "I know people would be polarized that we show pornography in every episode, but sex sells."

    Wilson also cited the porn content as why he's not putting the show on YouTube like he does with all his other videos.

    "When we were specifically talking about the nudity in this, it became a discussion about where we were going to host it," Wilson said. "Normally I put all the stuff I make I put on YouTube, because there’s the most discoverability there. For this, I didn’t want people to have to log in. We needed to find somewhere to host it without restrictions. I think of the show as an Orange Is the New Black. We’re not showing graphic sex, but a main character is a porn star; that’s her world."

    Taking matters into their own hands, the team behind Los Feliz, 90027 launched a Kickstarter with just two short weeks to hit an ambitious goal of $45,000. So far the tally is sitting well below that, but Wilson is optimistic.

    "The idea that we wouldn’t be able to do any more episodes is a sad thing," he said. "I think our cast is phenomenal, and there are so many things that are unique. We haven’t truly gotten it out there—even the first episode. I didn’t want to super publicize it knowing there wasn’t a second episode to follow it yet."

    They're poised and ready to move forward if they meet their goal. Wilson already set up a writer's room and finished the second and third episodes. 

    "I’m a pretty ambitious guy, and I didn’t realize how ambitious it was of an undertaking," he said. "We originally had shows planned for five months, but after those first shows we realized we couldn’t keep going at that rate. In order to do it right, we have to get the money."

    Screengrab via The Battery Co./Vimeo

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    Just weeks after Kanye West and Paul McCartney's "Only One" caused a teen-troll rift in the Internet, the duo has followed it up with another collaboration. 

    Rihanna gave Twitter a nice surprise Saturday night and debuted "Four Five Seconds" on her website. It's a pretty bare-bones track, with McCartney on guitar and Rihanna and Kanye trading vocals. 

    It's not clear if this is the song Ty Dolla $ign hinted at in his recent Billboard interview, or if there will be another collaboration coming out. A new Rihanna album is due this year. 

    Photo via 

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    That moment when you listen to the best hip hop album of the year and think to yourself, "this record would be better if it were made with nothing but cat sounds."

    It's a great moment, but this one is better: when you realize that ridiculous cat sounds thing is actually happening.

    Over the weekend, rapper/producer El-P, one half of the hip hop group Run The Jewels, posted a trio of short audio clips from the recording process of Meow The Jewels, a cat-themed, full-le remix of the band's acclaimed 2014 sophomore record, Run The Jewels 2.

    Unsurprisingly, Meow The Jewelsstarted as a joke. Last year, the merchandise section of the group's website included a number of gimmick packages that fans with too much money could purchase. The whole thing was clearly satirizing money-grubbing musicians sucking up to their rich fans by offering exclusive perks in exchange for giant piles of cash. One of options, which boasted a $40,000 price tag, was “re-record RTJ2 using nothing but cat sounds for music”

    The group clearly underestimated how much people on the Internet like cats. Fans quickly launched a Kickstarter campaign and raised $65,783 from over 2,800 people in a few short days.

    After El-P, along with collaborator Killer Mike, agreed to actually go through with the project, they quickly signed up an impressive list guest stars: Just Blaze, Dan The Automator, Prince Paul, Zola Jesus, The Alchemist. Geoff Barrow, Skywlkr, Nick Rook, Baauer, Boots, and Solidified Sun. 

    However, these human contributors aren't nearly as import to the success of Meow The Jewels as the feline ones, which is why El-P visited a Brooklyn animals shelter last October to audition talent:

    Luckily, El-P eventually got some help from the Internet's most famous cat, Lil' Bub:

    E-P has said that all profits from Meow The Jewels will go to the families of Eric Garner and Mike Brown.

    Photo by Tyler Garcia/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

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    It wasn’t long ago that computer animation and motion-capture technology required armies of animators and budgets roughly equivalent to the GDP of a small island country. But, like the rise of digital cameras, the technology has grown progressively more populist as it has grown cheaper and more accessible to any filmmaker willing to work the insane number of hours required to have their visions realized.

    Enter Isolated, a zombie-centric animated short that is (spoiler alert) 100 percent computer animated:

    The short has been catching a lot of buzz after becoming an official Vimeo Staff Pick when it was released last week, and with good reason: It might be the first time that the creator of an independent computer animated short has needed to reassure fans in the comment section that no live-action footage was mixed into the final product. On our first viewing, we thought David Fincher-esque techniques were being used to mix CGI with long live-action takes, but no: Everything in Isolated was mapped and rendered on a computer. And it’s absolutely stunning.

    This isn’t the first time that Chilean director Tomas Vergara has helmed an animated short that should have been, logistically, entirely outside of his wheelhouse: In 2012, he released The Chase, a 12-minute, dialogue-free animated film that was made, according to TwitchFilm, in an isolated cabin in the woods for a budget of $700. It’s not like we needed any more evidence that 2012’s animated feature Foodfight! was bad, but, when you compare it to what Vergara pulled off with three figures in a cabin that same year, it’s astonishing on a whole new level.

    The biggest question from fans of Isolated has been whether we can expect more of it. The Daily Dot spoke to Vergara via email to answer that question and to get some details on how he was able to pull off the technical achievements on display in Isolated:

    Going forward, do you have an ideal format for the story? Would you prefer it to be a feature film or an ongoing webseries?

    We're always thinking we should just make it awesome. We love films, games and every form of entertainment.  So, no, not yet. Now if you ask me personally, I'd tell everyone to go screw themselves and make it a blockbuster. But that's me.

    How many animators worked on it? It looks incredible, I'm kind of blown away that this short came from an independent studio. It puts some really expensive work by large studios to shame.

    A lot of the animation was actually performance capture, so staying a bit ahead of the technical, I think most of the compliments go to Tomas Verdejo and Luis Gnecco, the actors. If we went for fifteen shots, we picked the one that worked the best. And Tomas was a hardcore stunt man.

    Is the overall story already worked out?

    It is! More action, drama, scale, intensity and eye candy. If you liked this one, you're gonna die with the next. And we kind of leave aside the oversaturated zombie thing. What matters to us is that you root for this guy, so infected people were kind of a vehicle. Even if you like them a lot, in this story it goes secondary.

    Can you tell me anything about the background experience of the folks at Peak Pictures?

    Me and Ian Mery, we come from the advertising industry here in Chile. Making a lot of complex CGI, we figured why not use it in something more ambitious. So we decided to go our own way and invest on this piece to see what happens. And it's been going interestingly good so far.

    Are there any particular zombie stories that inspired you in the writing process?

    My brother pitched me the original idea, and I think the story that inspired him was the ending of The Sixth Sense. Then I kind of put it in a blender, and gave it some Memento and Gravity kind of thing. The Dark Knight inspired a lot of the scenarios. So, not much comes from the zombie world but more about just good intriguing films, which was our biggest concern… I guess we ended up with a very strange animal, but feels super good right?

    The setting looks like New York. Any particular reason you picked there as the location? Do you think the story will stay there for the future? 

    It made sense to use the code "city" without having anyone from anywhere thinking "Hey, what city is that?" but instead just "Wow, that dude's so fucked in that abandoned city," right? So you don't get confused with those little things and just follow the story. And plus we feel the scale, which we think always adds to the experience.

    I know you probably can't divulge too may details on the future story, but the Daily Dot staff is collectively extremely interested in the lottery ticket, so I just have to ask: Can you tell us anything about what's written on it?

    I could tell you that, but then your friends wouldn't find you by tomorrow. So I do it for you, man, because I care.

    Screengrab via Peak Pictures/Vimeo

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    Next time you forget to tip the bellhop for schlepping your luggage to your hotel room, be warned: You might wind up being a villain in Chris Russell’s hilarious webseries, Doorman.

    Doorman is an offshoot of Russell’s blog, which he launched in 2012 as a way to blow off steam about the shenanigans he has to face in his daily work as a doorman. Yes, Russell is a doorman at a Manhattan hotel, and his arguments with rude guests, obnoxious cabdrivers, and street buskers are the real thing. Well, maybe with a bit of poetic license tossed in for art’s sake.

    “There’s a goldmine of material,” Russell told the Daily Dot. “I thought it would be a good show before I wrote the blog. After a few months of starting my blog, I knew it was gold. Every day something happens, even if it’s a tiny, 10-second interaction.”

    Russell’s path to creating this funny, sometimes sad, sharply written five-episode series hits some familiar notes, but it separates itself from the pack with superb production qualities (“I have a great team; they work for hugs,” Russell joked) and a sustainable premise. Using his blog as a springboard, the Staten Island native and former special-ed teacher creates a tight narrative that yields a three-act dramedy in 10 minutes or less.

    In describing the leap from written chronicle to the multiscreen platform, Russell used an interesting metaphor: “I was like a witness giving a description to police sketch artists,” he said. “I had a general idea of what I wanted but really didn’t know what I was doing.”

    For the pilot, which has a great and satisfying  plot twist at the end, Russell went the crowdfunding route, but he came up short of his goal, kicking in the remaining money out of his own pocket. Those dollars represent a lot of tips for hailing cabs and carrying bags of often ungrateful hotel guests. In most cases, the plots of his webseries are based on incidents that actually took place, harvesting those that received the best reaction on his blog.

    Shown in the pilot is the skirmish between doorman and crazy cabbie, which Russell said is based on one of his most popular posts. “I called out a cabbie who didn't want to take a woman with a sick child to the hospital,” the doorman/actor/filmmaker recalled. “He was just sitting in loading zone. He told me ‘No, I want to eat my sandwich.’” Colorful words were exchanged and…Well, here’s the entry from Russell’s blog:

    He wanted me to hit him, so he could call the cops and claim that I assaulted him for no reason. A couple of years ago, the doorman from the hotel across the street was provoked by a driver, knocked him out, then went to jail and lost his job. As much as I want to get out of this job, I don't want to get locked up. I already had his medallion number, and was going to exploit it, so I opted to take the non-violent route - by waving like Forrest Gump when he see's Lieutenant Dan on the dock.

    Like most creators in the webseries genre, Russell hopes the path for Doorman takes him to a commercial route, one with sponsors or a green light from a traditional TV network or one of the streaming networks. The pilot was entered in the 2013 NYC Webfest and received strong feedback, which has added to his growing list of fans.

    A charming and verbose true New York character, Russell carries an undertone of determination in his conversation. He may be lighthearted about the strange things he sees in his day-to-day work at the fictional T-Bone Hotel (he won’t give up the real name of his employer), but his current job is akin to those actors who start their journey as waiters or limo drivers. Until the big break comes for the doorman and his show, Russell will continue to open doors and smile. Keeping a written and video diary of his current career is what keeps him sane.

    “It’s me venting,” Russell said with a laugh. “It keeps me from putting my hands around someone’s throat during the day.”

    Screengrab via Doorman Show/YouTube

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    The New England Patriots gave the Internet a perfect meme this week with #DeflateGate, and started a bigger conversation about the NFL's history with scandals and cheating. 

    So what really happened during last Sunday's game? Last night's Saturday Night Live cold open explained it all. 

    Coach Bill Belichick dispensed with formalities and threw the team's quarterback, Tom Brady, "under the bus." Brady stressed the importance of not really stressing out about balls and air and how much air is in footballs. 

    He then introduced the "real brains" behind the whole operation, Dougie Spoons. 

    Screengrab via Saturday Night Live/YouTube 

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    Lindsay Lohan is still recovering from mosquito-borne illness chikungunya, but that hasn't stopped her from chronicling the recovery on Instagram. On Saturday, she posted this photo of her Calvin Klein-assisted fight against the disease. 

    But, as it's been pointed out, something was amiss. If you look closely, you'll see the bottles on her sink are tilted. This skewed perspective is likely the result of some very bad Photoshopping on the part of Lohan's social media editor (I'm assuming she has one), and her followers quickly called her out on it. 

    Yes, this bad Photoshopping left her lower half looking like a crumpled map, but I've got to give LiLo props. In a time when celebs go to great pains to post immaculately lit and styled 'grams, she, perhaps inadvertently, produced one of the Internet's great modern works of surrealism. 

    H/T Uproxx | Photo via Avrilllllla/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    For the growing number of cord cutters who miss Sportscenter; Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives; or Anderson 360, a new era has begun.

    It’s called cloud TV, and the launch of Dish’s Sling TV in a few weeks marks the first widely available monthly un-cable subscription service offering programming traditionally only available through cable or satellite. For $20 a month, the service offers a dozen “cable” channels, plus content from Maker Studios (which is owned by Disney).

    Included in the basic service are ESPN, ESPN2, Disney Channel, ABC Family, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, TNT, CNN, TBS, and Cartoon Network. There are two additional add-on packs, each costing $5. The Kids Extra includes Disney Junior, Disney XD, Boomerang, Baby TV, and Duck TV, while the News & Info Extra channels include HLN, Cooking Channel, DIY, and Bloomberg. There is also premium video-on-demand programming focusing on recent releases that compares favorably in price and selection with the countless other services that offer similar content.

    Also, the service’s portability is a strength, as it is available through almost every connected device, including the Amazon family of Fire TV gizmos, all Roku players, Xbox One, LG and Samsungsmart TVs, iOS and Android devices, and Macs and PCs. Perhaps most appealing, Sling TV doesn’t require a long-term commitment and gives users the ability to cancel at any time.

    Putting the service through its paces pre-launch, Sling TV appears likely to have no opening-day jitters. On an iPad, two different Roku boxes, and a MacBook Air, the reception was uniformly near flawless. The Roku boxes provided the best experience, showing CNN and ESPN clearly on a 46-inch plasma TV. The on-screen guide is slightly challenging, not always appearing in the same place on different devices, but once you master its quirkiness, you can move from channel to channel and from search to pay-per-view rather easily. The search is decent, but once you get hooked on Amazon Fire TV’s voice-activated search, anything short of that is disappointing. There is no DVR function, but past programs are available through search. (It took me a while to figure that out, as it’s not apparent until you start searching for your favorite shows.)

    After spending two full days on a Sling TV and over-the-air diet, the story is less about what the service is now and more about what it can be as it evolves. Cloud TV is meant to be a complement to Netflix and Hulu Plus, but adding both of those premium services brings the monthly total to $35.98 or $36.98 depending on when you signed up for Netflix. Purchasing all three might provide a well-rounded cordless package, but it also yields a lot of duplication and no premium channels such as HBO or Showtime. At this point, consumers still need a cable or satellite subscription to stream those pay networks.

    Pairing Sling TV with a good HD antenna offers no duplication and also nets out network shows such as Gotham, Modern Family, Blue Bloods, etc., in addition to the new service’s dozen un-cable nets. Missing from that setup is catch-up viewing unless you still have a VCR, Tivo box, or something like a Tablo unit (an over-the-air DVR). If the goal is fewer set-top devices, this scenario isn’t ideal.

    Dish has put together an impressive list of content partners for its launch, showing its long-term commitment to program providers and consumers. Dish appears to have little concern that Sling TV will cannibalize its existing products, which serve more than 14 million customers. The notion that millennials are not interested in investing in costly cable or satellite services is difficult to argue with, but, by the same token, there is no clear evidence that the 25 and under set is interested in paying for any sort of subscription TV service.

    The best case scenario for Sling TV is that it receives enough consumer interest that additional cable networks as well as the premiums (HBO, Showtime) see a tipping point and join the service’s lineup … without leading to a large rate hike. (Keep in mind, Sling TV will be competing with Sony’s cloud TV service, which announced a limited launch in November for PlayStation users.)

    As is, Sling TV has a variety of networks that should appeal to a large cross-section of tastes and is worth $20 a month on its no-contract model. The sum of portability, picture quality, and content variety places it somewhere between “really nice to have” and “must-have.”

    While it sounds like a cliché, the words “TV will never be the same” are completely apropos.

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

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    Even John Oliver can go too far.

    Oliver, whose influence is felt even when he’s on hiatus, delivered a hilariously half-hearted apology in a web-exclusive video released on Sunday. The host of Last Week Tonight is still pissed off about the casting of Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Greynot because Jamie Dornan was cast, but because Oliver (or someone like him) was never considered.

    Despite the fact that the movie is already finished and about to be released, Oliver audaciously submitted his audition tape to the producers anyway. He might be basing it off of a Wikipedia entry in assuming that everything will “end in butt stuff,” but let’s face it: From what we’ve been hearingabout this movie, Oliver would probably be a better Christian Grey anyway.

    Screengrab via Last Week Tonight with John Oliver/YouTube

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    The Full House cast keeps coming together everywhere you look.

     It’s been a few months since their last reunion, at Dave Coulier’s wedding in July, but they recently reunited yet again to celebrate the birthday of creator Jeff Franklin, the man who brought them all together in the first place. Fortunately for us, they took the time to snap photos.

    It’s probably only for Franklin that they would all get on-stage to sing the Full House theme song, the very tune that probably haunts most of them to this day.

    It plays like bad karaoke, and the cast members can only really sing the chorus, but that’s the only part most of us know anyway. Nostalgia wins over all.

    Andrea Barber, who played Kimmy Gibbler for eight years, called for the full version and some fellow attendees delivered.

    Photo via Full House

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    Mike Epps may not seem like the first choice to help us negotiate the tricky world of political correctness. And in That's Racist (the final five episodes of which will be released on March 2nd) his AOL Originals webseries dealing with racist jokes and stereotypes, he lays his cards on the table early—"are we going to offend some people? Hell yeah!"—before launching, with glee, into the aforementioned gags:

    "How do you blindfold an Asian woman? With a steering wheel." "Why did the chicken cross the road? Because two black guys were chasing him with biscuits." Why did the Jews wander the desert for 40 years? Someone lost a quarter." 

    For what is supposed to be a semi-serious investigation into the origins of these sort of racist slights, Epps just seems to have too much fun with the source material. And that's what these jokes seem to be to him: material. Sure he occasionally checks himself with a post-emptive "oh, that's f**ked up," but this is accompanied by the beaming smile of a man clearly enjoying himself.

    And it's not only Epps who gets in on the fun. Randy and Jason Sklar, Helen Hong, Rick Overton, John Viener, and Sharon Houston form a sort of roundtable of jesters, who, vaguely picking up on the theme of the series, seize the opportunity to air all those race cracks that kids used to pass around the playground in fourth grade.

    What it causes is a strange dynamic where the comedians jostle for their airtime in competition with actual academics and religious leaders who legitimately have something to contribute to the topic. So you have passages in the series such as where Prof. Marcia Dawkins of USC's summation of fried chicken's correlation with slavery and Prof. Pete McGraw of UC-Boulder's demonstration of how fried food and poultry is a lower status food bookend Epps expressing his "amazement" at a group of white people who are eating chicken "with only one black guy."

    This is not a question of whether these jokes are funny. Nor does this issue have to be approached with the utmost gravity. But if the host of the program clearly finds no problem with the jokes themselves, then why is he bothering to interrogate them? It makes the purported motivation behind this series appear false, and when a group of people laugh at how "racist" something is, it seriously undermines the inherent power of the term. There is something to be said about demystifying racial boundaries through humor, but most of the laughs here just feel like opportunistic troublemaking under the guise of "discussion."

    Screengrab via AOL Originals/YouTube

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  • 01/26/15--10:14: The NFL is now on YouTube
  • In advance of football's biggest night, the NFL has taken to the Internet's biggest video platform to spread its sports content far and wide, starting an official YouTube channel.

    The channel is not a grassroots effort but rather part of a multimillion dollar deal, according to the Wall Street Journal, between Google and the NFL. Google is paying the league an annual fee for the rights to host the channel, splitting the revenue with the NFL upon breaking even. The NFL videos will also get special placement when users search on Google for related content. 

    So far the channel is flush with Super Bowl XLIX content, like a Patriots vs. Seahawks movie trailer, as well as best-of highlight of many key players.

    Like the MLB, NBA, NHL, and other American pro sports leagues before it, the NFL has no shortage of content to share on YouTube, evidenced by the fact that the channel easily has videos into the double digits by launch. According to the league, the content on YouTube will not be archival (no vintage Super Bowl footage); those sorts of clips are reserved for the league's other sites like NFL Now. The channel will serve as a direct link to current NFL activity, with clips being uploaded as games are played and urging fans to tune into the NFL on TV.

    Previously the league preferred to keep as much of its content as possible on, but has recently signed deals with Facebook, partnerships with Twitter, and a mobile deal with Verizon. However, the NFL will continue to keep a tight hold on its content even after opening it up to the YouTube platform. For example, unlike other YouTube videos, sites won't be able to embed NFL YouTube videos elsewhere. 

    “We like to control where our content goes,” Hans Schroeder, the NFL’s Senior Vice President, Media Strategy, Business Development & Sales, told the Wall Street Journal.

    H/T Tubefilter | Illustration by Fernando Alfonso III

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    The first movie in Adam Sandler's Netflix contract is called Ridiculous 6, which sounds like a pretty accurate title already. For one thing, he's cast Vanilla Ice as iconic American author Mark Twain. Vanilla Ice. Just let that percolate for a minute.

    Ridiculous 6 is not a sequel to a series of earlier Ridiculous movies, but is a parody of Westerns like The Magnificent Seven. (Incidentally, Quentin Tarantino has a Western called The Hateful Eight coming out later this year. Don't get these two movies confused.)

    Sandler recently signed a four-picture deal with Netflix, which is branching out into in-house movie production. In the original announcement, Sandler said, "I immediately said yes for one reason and one reason only... Netflix rhymes with Wet Chicks."

    Aside from Vanilla Ice's more minor role as Mark Twain, Ridiculous 6 stars Adam Sandler as a man who grew up in a Native American tribe, with Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider, and Luke Wilson playing his half-brothers. The cast also includes a whole host of other well-known actors including Nick Nolte, Danny Trejo, Steve Buscemi, and Dan Aykroyd. TV personality and country singer Blake Shelton will play Wyatt Earp, just in case the Vanilla Ice stunt casting wasn't enough.

    Your Netflix subscription is paying for this.

    Photo via oneras/Wikimedia (CC BY SA 2.0)

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    There have been some excellentmashups in the Sesame Street/Muppet Show universe, but this one might be the most on-point. 

    Yes, someone synched up Biz Markie's rap classic "Just a Friend" with a Muppet Show segment featuring Rowlf and Miss Piggy. All it's missing is the wig. 

    It's also much better than the Channing Tatum version, but it's hard to top Cookie Monster's Tom Waits track in our hearts. 

    Photo via Cliff/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    Dropkick Murphys? More like Dropkick Walker.

    Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) had no idea that he was courting musical disaster when he walked onstage at the Iowa Freedom Summit on Saturday.

    After Walker approached the podium to the tune of "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" by Dropkick Murphys, Iowans cheered as he laced into President Obama and the Democrats during a speech primed for the state's Republican primary voters. The Washington Times said he "impressed" at the gathering of the conservative base.

    Not everyone was so impressed.

    Dropkick Murphys got wind of Walker's choice of introductory music, then they band let him know how they felt about the governor associating himself with them.

    This isn't the first time that Dropkick Murphys has lashed out at Walker and his agenda. Here's what they wrote on Facebook when the speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, a Republican legislator named Jeff Fitzgerald, used the same song, "I'm Shipping Up To Boston," as entrance music at a state GOP convention.

    Memo to Republican politicians: If you're going to beat public employee unions into submission in your state and cripple their ability to bargain collectively, forget about using "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" in your triumphant strutting.

    On the flip side, if Gov. Walker does what many expect him to do and run for president in 2016, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would be well-advised to pick up a certain Dropkick Murphys song for her entrance music.

    H/T Talking Points Memo | Photo via (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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    With the increasing jump of Internet stars to the big screen, multichannel network Fullscreen is putting focus on a new film division that aims to elevate digital celebs to the movie mainstream.

    “Fullscreen has always been deeply committed to empowering online creators. It’s in our DNA,” said George Strompolos, Founder and CEO of Fullscreen, in a press release. “Fullscreen Films takes our mission to the next level as we look to create several ambitious feature films with many of today’s brightest creative voices. This is what audiences have told us they want and Fullscreen is prepared to deliver.”

    With a network that is home to 60,000 YouTubers who generate over 5 billion views per month, Fullscreen is well-positioned to help stars make the leap. For now, there are three upcoming films on the Fullscreen slate. In November the company acquired digital production company Rooster Teeth for an undisclosed amount, assuming along with it the company's upcoming film, Lazer Team, which raked in over $2.4 million in a record-breaking Indiegogo campaign. Additionally, the company will move forward with #O2LForever, a documentary about Our2ndLife, a recently disbanded, collaborative YouTube channel. No word on if the film's title will change in response to recent events.

    Finally, the division will produce The Outfield, which stars VinersCameron Dallas and Nash Grier. The film follows a group of varsity baseball players, and is notable because its two stars are not part of the Fullscreen network (they are signed to AwesomenessTV).

    “Fullscreen is committed to giving creators the opportunity to express themselves and tell stories that matter to them and their audiences,” added Fullscreen Chief Content Officer, Michael Goldfine. “Often, those stories are most authentically told as full-length movies, whether they capture a significant moment in pop culture, like O2L, or reach the hearts of passionate fandoms like Lazer Team and The Outfield. I couldn’t be more excited to kick off our original content pursuits with movies, though there’s much more exciting stuff to come.”

    There's no indication yet on how the video projects will be released.

    H/T Tubefilter | Screengrab via O2L / YouTube

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    Dear Drake,

    Just last week, I wrote a letter to you expressing my interest in courtship. Well, it’s come to my attention that you’ve reportedly been sending some pretty thirsty direct Instagram messages to porn star Mia Khalifa. I’d like to officially rescind my offer.

    It’s not that I have a problem with you reaching out to Ms. Khalifa: She’s a beautiful and successful woman who is the number one ranked porn star on Pornhub. It’s the manner in which you did it.

    In a recent radio interview, Ms. Khalifa said a rapper whose name "rhymes with…'rake'" sent her photos that were “so cringeworthy.” The show’s host joked that you probably sent her a photo of yourself "lying on the bed, shirtless, kinda sad looking" and she responded "halfway there."

    Wow, Drake. Or should I say “Rake?” I expected better of you. Your mother expected better of you. Your FANS expected better of you. You are a STAR, Drake. Why you gotta slide into her DMs like that? And, more importantly, why not just DM me?

    I have so many questions, and far fewer answers.

    I was starting to picture our wedding. Us standing under the chuppah, while John Legend sang “All of Me” and Chrissy Teigen softly wept in the crowd. I pictured us standing together proudly on the bimah as Drake Jr. became a bar mitzvah. But I just don’t think this is going to work out between us, and I hope you can understand why.

    I just want to leave you with a word of advice: You shouldn’t have to make women like you based on the way you look. That’s what your talent, fame, and money are for.

    Never yours,


    H/T Defamer | Photo via JadeDempsey/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    Despite a prepared statement to the contrary from two-thirds of Blink-182, it appears that singer and guitarist Tom DeLonge has not quit the iconic pop-punk band as has been widely reported.

    "I never quit the band," DeLonge told Entertainment Weekly. "Actually, I was on the phone discussing a possible Blink 182 event in New York City when I heard the ‘news.'"

    Blink bassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker on Monday announced three bits of information: The band had upcoming tour dates, DeLonge had left the band, and DeLonge would be replaced by Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba during the performances. "We were all set to play this festival and record a new album and Tom kept putting it off without reason. A week before we were scheduled to go in to the studio we got an email from his manager explaining that he didn’t want to participate in any Blink-182 projects indefinitely, but would rather work on his other non-musical endeavors," the band said in a press release. 

    Yet hours later, DeLonge clarified his position via Instagram and Twitter.

    Hoppus somewhat ominously alluded to the situation as well. Barker has not, although the drummer does not maintain a particularly active Twitter presence.

    It remains unclear whether DeLonge will be performing alongside his bandmates in the near future, or what Blink-182 will look like the next time it performs. For now, at least, it appears the band has stayed together for the kids.

    Update 3:57pm CT, Jan. 27: Hoppus and Barker, in an interview with Rolling Stone, clarified that while DeLonge did not quit the band, he has given the band the cold shoulder and shown no interest in recording or performing live. As such, Skiba will play with Blink-182 in the short term.

    "I think he's just bummed because Mark and I were finally honest," Barker said. "We always covered up for him before. It was always, 'We're going to record an album,' then 'Tom refuses to get into the studio without a record deal.' So everyone does hella amounts of work to get a record deal and now Tom isn't part of Blink-182. It's hard to cover for someone who's disrespectful and ungrateful. You don't even have the balls to call your bandmates and tell them you're not going to record or do anything Blink-related. You have your manager do it. Everyone should know what the story is with him and it's been years with it. When we did get back together after my plane crash, we only got back together, I don't know, maybe because I almost died. But he didn't even listen to mixes or masterings from that record. He didn't even care about it. Why Blink even got back together in the first place is questionable."

    Hoppus added: "His actions speak louder than whatever he feels compelled to write on an Instagram post. We've been trying to record an album for the better part of two years and we had agreed to go in to record and my guess is that Tom was embarrassed because he doesn't want to do Blink."

    Photo via David Price/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    Kim Kardashian West is about to get her biggest audience ever.

    While most of her exploits and escapades are usually reserved to her reality show or social media, the pop-culture phenom has now appeared in a Super Bowl commercial.

    Instead of waiting until the big game to show the ad in front of people, she took it straight to Conan O’Brien, who probably would’ve missed it otherwise, due to what sounds like a serious bladder condition.

    It’s not Kim's first Super Bowl ad, but she managed to have plenty of input when it came to the creation of T-Mobile’s ad this year. If nothing else, the high-profile spot is proof that she’s totally self-aware when it comes to how people perceive her and her butt-selfies.

    "The ad really incorporated a lot of my personality," she told People. "We really went over scene by scene and what selfies I thought would really showcase me and what I would do. ... I ski, I went to tennis camp growing up. So there are some things in the commercial that I don't think people know about me.”

    Screengrab via TMobile/YouTube

    0 0

    What is a Riff Raff?

    Riff Raff, real name Horst Christian Simco, is an “Internet rap sensation” from Houston, Texas. You may remember him either as a contestant on the MTV show From G’s to Gents, or for being, looking, and sounding an awful lot like James Franco’s character in Spring Breakers. Franco has said Riff Raff was “one of a number of people we looked at” for inspiration. However, the rapper has become infamous for his strange vines and YouTube videos, and sometimes his actual rapping. He released his debut studio album, Neon Icon, last summer, on Diplo’s Mad Decent label.

    Is he any good?

    At this point it’s difficult to isolate his talent from the joke surrounding him, but he’s certainly entertaining. His song “Dolce & Gabbana” is a natural extension of LMFAO, and “TiP TOE WiNG iN MY JAWWDiNZ” has that kind of lazy, heavy beat that makes everyone sing along, convinced they too can rap. If you like the kind of rap you’d find at Coachella, you’d like him.

    Wait, look at his teeth.


    He has a grill. He did not file his teeth into points. You should be familiar with a grill by now. If you’re not, ugh, OK, it’s like Invisalign but decorative, usually made of metal and and often embellished with jewels. Grills have been a common look for hip-hop artists since the 1990s, though became a bit more mainstream in the early 2000s. There are grills candies, so really, this is not new.

    You’ll have to factor in a trip to the dentist, where you need to get a mold of your teeth made and shipped to Paul Wall.

    Oh yeah, I remember those.

    Good job. Yeah, they’ve been making a bit of a “comeback” recently, though mainly that means they’ve been worn by the likes of Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and Madonna, in the way where white people tend to take the fashions that come from black culture to look edgy or creative.

    But Riff Raff’s grill is magnificent.

    Yes, it is. It was designed by Paul Wall, a jeweler, fellow Houston rapper, and big name in grill design (often working with Johnny Dang). He’s made grills for everyone from Lil Jon to Ryan Lochte. Fittingly, he was featured on Nelly’s 2006 hit “Grillz.” 

    Riff Raff’s grill appears to be a full set, top and bottom, of filed-down teeth that make him look like a billionaire conehead. “Nobody got this,” he told Complex. When asked why he wanted them, he said he needed “the best grill that anybody ever had.”

    How much would something like that cost?

    It certainly depends. Riff Raff’s grill appears to be made of yellow gold, each tooth filled with diamonds. A similar style on Paul Wall’s website goes for $7,350 for just the bottom set, and that’s if it’s 14-karat gold instead of 18k, features no diamond-quality upgrades, and none are filed down to look like fangs. However, if you’re worried about blood diamonds, Paul Wall says that he “visited Sierra Leone this past summer with a contingency from the United Nations and VH1 in an effort to learn more about the situation there” and refuses to use illegally traded diamonds. He is also “donating 100 percent of the profits from sales of all the grills that contain red stones to humanitarian efforts in Sierra Leone and other war-impoverished countries affected by the diamond trade.”

    The grill is the logical conclusion of humanity’s pastime of self-adornment.

    You’d also have to factor in a trip to the dentist, where you need to get a mold of your teeth made and shipped to Paul Wall, so your grills fit perfectly. You can check your insurance plan about that one.

    So do you just... wear them all the time?

    Certainly not. They’re not recommended for use by anyone under the age of 12, and you’re not supposed to eat, drink, or sleep in them.

    But what if you did eat with them?

    Please don’t.

    C’mon, just for funsies.

    OK, eating would be very difficult. According to shark scientist David Shiffman, sharks “don’t chew, they take big chunks and swallow whole.” Presumably these grills would leave you with functional molars, but it still sounds all too likely to end in choking.

    I still don’t get why you’d do this.

    BECAUSE IT LOOKS FANTASTIC. It’s the logical conclusion of humanity’s pastime of self-adornment. Perhaps you don’t understand why someone would get tattoos or piercings or even wear jewelry, either, and I can’t help you with that, but surely if you understand why someone may want to wear a necklace, you can understand why they may want to wear a tooth necklace.

    I get why you’d do this, and I want one, but I’m broke.

    Well, you probably can’t get one as magnificent as Riff Raff’s for under five figures, but Johnny Dang is selling a 20-tooth Jaws grill in 10-karat gold for the low, low price of $1,500. Or you can order individual fangs for $325 each, and build up your mouth from there.

    Photo via Best Vines/YouTube 

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