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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    When Netflixannounced it was moving forward on a new Pee-wee Herman movie last month, millions of people whose childhoods were informed/warped by Pee-wee's Playhouse collectively squealed. As another round of movies leaves Netflix in April, you'll have one more chance to take in Pee-wee's Big Adventure. Warm up the breakfast machine. 

    Other exiting titles of note: There's never a bad time to watch Clue, and the Willem Dafoe/John Malkovich film Shadow of the Vampire is a modern classic. It's also your last chance to catch a good chunk of the films in the Friday the 13th and Karate Kid franchises. If you've never had the emotional fortitude to watch Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, now's the time.  

    Here are all the titles leaving in April. 

    April 1

    1) 28 Hotel Rooms

    2) Annie

    3) Astonishing X­Men: Dangerous

    4) Astonishing X­Men: Torn

    5) Astonishing X­Men: Unstoppable

    6) Baby Genius: A Trip to the San Diego Zoo

    7) Baby Genius: Animal Adventures

    8) Chalet Girl

    9) Clue

    10) Color Splash Collection: Collection 1

    11) Coneheads

    12) Friday the 13​th​

    13) Friday the 13th: Part 2

    14) Friday the 13th: Part 3

    15) Friday the 13th: Part 4: The Final Chapter

    16) Friday the 13th: Part 6: Jason Lives

    17) Friday the 13th: Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan

    18) Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

    19) Get Shorty

    20) Good Morning, Vietnam

    21) Guess Who

    22) Income Property Collection: Collection 1

    23) Inventing the Abbotts

    24) Jane Eyre

    25) Jeepers Creepers

    26) Jeepers Creepers 2

    27) Les Miserables

    28) Madeline

    29) Miral

    30) Murder by Numbers

    31) Mystic Pizza

    32) Mystic River

    33) Pee­-wee's Big Adventure

    34) Philadelphia

    35) Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day Collection: Collection 1

    36) Reindeer Games

    37) Selling New York Collection: Collection 1

    38) Sense and Sensibility

    39) Shadow of the Vampire

    40) Taking Lives

    41) The Amityville Horror

    42) The Cable Guy

    43) The Karate Kid

    44) The Karate Kid Part II

    45) The Karate Kid Part III

    46) The Quick and the Dead

    47) The Whole Nine Yards

    April 10

    48) Sleeping Beauty

    April 12

    49) Paranormal Activity 4: Unrated Edition

    April 16

    50) The Woman Who Wasn’t There

    Illustration by Max Fleishman 


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    Walking on a treadmill is difficult enough, but some YouTubers take their workouts to the next level and add sick dance moves to the mix. From bands whose music video creativity earned them a spot in YouTube history to dancers working out to buzzing radio singles, the world of treadmill dancing is vast and entertaining. We compiled the five best treadmill dance examples from YouTube.

    5) Nordic Track's 'World’s Largest Treadmill Dance' 

    Sure, it's an advertisement for Nordic Track, but the sheer volume of treadmills makes this a must-watch. With professional dancers doing a choreographed routine that spans 40 treadmills, it may not have the homespun style of most of the rest of our list, but it's an impressive video nonetheless. Besides, you can't have treadmill dancers without a company making a treadmill for them to dance on.

    4) Marcus Dorsey, the dancing treadmill guy

    Some treadmill dancers don't need music; their art is all in the moves. Marcus Dorsey is one such man, and he captured millions of hearts last year when a clip of him dancing across treadmills at a fitness center went viral. He even landed a guest appearance on The Doctors to show off his fitness achievements. He's reportedly dropped two sizes treadmill dancing.

    3) David Greider, 'Moves Like Jagger'

    This man not only shows off his moves to the Maroon 5 track "Moves Like Jagger," he also lip syncs along with some interpretive dance moves to boot.

    2) Carson Dean, 'Uptown Funk'

    The newest treadmill dance to hit the market, acrobatic dancer Carson Dean does a solo routine to Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' latest hit, "Uptown Funk." It's a song that makes you want to strut, so endless strutting on a treadmill makes perfect sense. The public agrees, to the tune of 1.4 million views in only a few days.

    1) OK Go, 'Here It Goes Again'

    You can't really consider treadmill dance videos without respecting the grandfather of them all. OK Go made massive digital waves when their video for "Here It Goes Again" hit YouTube in 2006, featuring an elaborate treadmill dance. It had 50 million views, was taken down and reposted, and now has 25 million views and counting. It spring-boarded OK Go to mainstream recognition and set off a series of other elaborate videos from the group. They've even performed the iconic treadmill dance at live events, so there's no mistaking their treadmill prowess. 

    Screengrab via emimusic/YouTube


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    We’re springing forward with a brand new set of movies and shows to binge-watch.

    As we say goodbye to the titles we probably weren’t ever really gonna get to but were clogging up our Netflix queues anyway, there’s even more shows and films we can pledge to watch. It’s a wide variety of selections, so chances are there will probably be at least one thing new to get hooked on.

    The weather might be nice again by the time we get these titles, but let’s be honest: You’re still going to be glued to your TVs and computer screens anyway, so just bring it outside. That’s what Wi-Fi is for.

    April 1

    1) The Beautician and the Beast

    April 2

    2) Life Partners

    April 3

    3) All Hail King Julien (Season 1)

    4) Derek: Special

    5) Starry Eyes

    6) The Quiet Ones

    April 4

    7) Delta Farce

    April 7

    8) Wilfred (Season 4)

    April 8

    9) Halt and Catch Fire (Season 1)

    April 9

    10) Crank

    11) Pioneer

    April 10

    12) Confusion Na Wa

    13) Finding Mercy

    14) Marvel's Daredevil (Season 1)

    15) October 1

    16) Onye Ozi

    April 13

    17) Video Game High School (Season 3)

    April 14

    18) Goodbye to Language

    19) The Babadook

    April 16

    20) Hot Fuzz

    April 17

    21) Baby Daddy (Season 4)

    22) Chris D’Elia: Incorrigible

    23) They Came Together

    April 18

    24) Noah

    April 21

    25) A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

    April 25

    26) Sons of Anarchy (Season 7)

    April 26

    27) The Nutty Professor 2: Facing the Fear

    April 27

    28) National Treasure

    Illustration by Jason Reed


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    From John Krasinski in silver lamé to Anna Kendrick calling on Jennifer Lopez for some booty assistance, Spike's Lip Sync Battle promises to wow with amazing celebrity talent and larger-than-life moments.

    The show was optioned off a segment of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in which he pits major celebs against each other in a lip sync showdown. While they're bringing back some former favorites like Krasinski and Stephen Merchant, the featured stars are all upping the ante from late night with elaborate costumes, dancers, and special guests. They've also brought in LL Cool J as host and Twitter darling Chrissy Tiegen as "color commentator."

    Will it measure up like classics from Emma Stone or Paul Rudd, whose clips have racked up tens of millions of views on YouTube? All signs point to yes, but we'll know for sure when Lip Sync Battle premieres on April 2. 

    H/T BuzzFeed | Screengrab via Meg Falpal/YouTube


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    All of you startup bros can go shave your backs now. Wednesday kicks off the traditional and continually rowdy music portion of the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. 

    More than 2,000 bands are headed into town to verify buzz and play six shows in two days. It's basically candyland for music nerds, but you need a road map.

    To help, here's who the Daily Dot staff is circling in red ink. By proxy it's a strong rundown of must-blog bands. Forget about the orgy of barbecue and chorizo, egg, and cheese tacos—serenade your ears at the ol' work Dell and feel better.

    1) Courtney Barnett

    From: Melbourne, Australia
    Where: Wednesday, Stubb's
    Who: This singer-songwriter’s debut album doesn’t drop until after SXSW, but the charming odds and ends she’s recorded so far—collected on the marvelous double EP A Sea of Split Peas—bespeak a natural talent and singular style. Crossing surf guitar with folksy slackerhood, Barnett pulls sunny hooks out of a clear blue sky and wraps your brain in baroque wordplay, all filtered through an A+ sense of sarcasm. (The 1990s are forever, you guys). What’s more rock and roll than nailing every move while sounding like you don’t give a fuck either way? —Miles Klee 

    2) Alex Wiley

    From: Chicago
    Where: Saturday, 405 Club
    Who: Hip-hop’s SXSW delegates are doomed to be overshadowed by genre one-off parties from the likes of Kanye, Chance the Rapper, J. Cole, and other mainstays here to play. But it’s a starting line anchored with big voices: the violent, this-can’t-be-life urgency of Chicago’s Lil Herb; Fetty Wap’s dominant single-of-the-moment “Trap Queen”; the second-act, post-hype cloud rap of Main Attrakionz; the Bay Area crank of Kool John; the added seasoning of international cliques like Montreal’s The Posterz. Chicago’s Alex Wiley is my favorite newbie, because his mush-mouthed motor is the most fearlessly creative. He’s always been an outsider (“I’m the kid in school n****s ain’t wanna sit by”) disinterested with the usual creative channels (“I value my lungs, fuck swishers”). He just kind of flings it all at the wall without a filter but has a smooth ear for songwriting. Last summer’s “Own Man” was a nuanced, sticky anthem about the perpetual, proverbial struggle. But this month’s *one singular flame emoji ep* is overstuffed with manic patterns that run up on you with a ski mask. —Ramon Ramirez

    3) Total Unicorn

    From: Austin
    Where: Thursday, Red Eyed Fly
    Who: Austin's own Total Unicorn does exactly what it says on the box—this is a band that is 100 percent unicorn. The duo makes brilliantly blissed-out, hyper-kinetic electronica that exists right on the bleeding edge of danceable. The sound is fantastical fun, just like a unicorn, but also with an edge of menace—like a unicorn that could run you through with its horn if you look at it sideways. Live, the band dons matching unicorn masks and drowns the stage in mind-bending visuals and dancers who are, of course, also unicorns. It's a bizarrely enthralling spectacle that is, unquestionably, all unicorn. —Aaron Sankin 

    4) Viet Cong

    From: Calgary, Canada
    Where: Thursday, Cedar Street Courtyard
    Who: If you liked (and miss) the crooked strains of fellow Jagjaguwar band Women, you’ll find comfort in Viet Cong, which includes two former members. The quartet’s self-titled album certainly echoes Women’s penchant for chiming guitars and interlocking melodies, but builds upon it rather than just treating this as take two. The video for “Silhouettes” is the perfect visual companion to the textured harmonies and sharp corners of the debut.—Audra Schroeder

    5) Jacco Gardner

    From: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Where: Friday, Hotel Vegas Patio
    Who: This 24-year-old flying Dutchman is one of South by’s most compelling pastiche singer-songwriters. Jacco Gardner is at heart a studio addict who likes the closely guarded baroque pop of ‘60s super auteurs like Brian Wilson and Curt Boettcher. The new record, Hypnophobia, is out in May and leadoff single “Find Yourself” borrows from all the right corners of psychedelia. —Ramon Ramirez

    6) Boyfriend

    From: New Orleans
    Where: Wednesday, Monster Energy Outbreak House
    Who: New Orleans rapper Boyfriend has penned songs about periods and grannies, but 2014’s “Swanky” is the song you can’t get out of your head. When we spoke to her last year, she previewed her EP, Love Your Boyfriend, saying, “I’ve never rapped about love before, and I was listening to a lot of ’60s soul records, and there’s this theme of codependency and need. And then I watched more recent videos, and the story hasn’t changed that much. We just sort of passively digest these songs about love, and I don’t really define love that way. So this is Boyfriend turning that on its ear.” Latest single “Jealousy” gets in bed with that idea. —Audra Schroeder

    7) Torres

    From: Nashville, Tenn.
    Where: Saturday, Central Presbyterian Church
    Who: Georgia-born Mackenzie Scott is a 24-year-old alt rock monster blessed with panoramic vision. Her writing is sweeping, total, and bitterly human. “Strange Hellos” is the hardest rock anthem of the year, building a sneering sandcastle then kicking it down before the tide can step in. She’s tired, made some mistakes in Kansas City, Mo., unsure how to feel about God, thinks you’d drown to save yourself. She’s down here elbowing with Courtney Barnett for PJ Harvey comparisons, but that’s just an elevator pitch—the upcoming Sprinter (out May 5 on Partisan Records) is so good I might upload my press copy and spam you with a link. —Ramon Ramirez

    8) Dej Loaf

    From: Detroit
    Where: TBD, though she performed Tuesday night at Blackheart
    Who: East Detroit’s Dej Loaf  is a surging, car door-slamming voice that’s built a nascent empire of cosigns from the strength of one spellbinding single, “Try Me.” Young Jeezy and T.I. liked it enough to snake onto a remix, Eminem swooped in for a feature, and Nicki Minaj has already tapped Loaf as an upcoming tour opener. But she’s worth an official seal of approval here. “Hardcore” channels the warm soul of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. New single “We Be On It” is probably better, and a zoned out pub crawl. She has a petite and soft voice, but it’s harrowing and specific with respect to firearms. —Ramon Ramirez

    9) The Stone Foxes

    From: San Francisco
    Where: Thursday, Maggie Mae's
    Who: There are a lot of things about the Stone Foxes that allow the band to turn its classic rock into something fresh. They're a San Francisco rock band that relishes a blues-y stomp rather than hazy psychedelia or garage trash. They make sweat-soaked, sing-along party rock, but do it about social justice and collect canned goods for the homeless at most of their shows. When they sing about the murder of legendary bluesman Robert Johnson, they do it from the perspective of his killer. Lest all of this sound too serious, the band basically acts like unrepentant goofballs on stage. Making classic rock in 2015 is a dangerous proposition, the odds of simply retracing well-trod ground are high. Yet, the Stone Foxes make genre vitality seem easy. —Aaron Sankin

    10) Girlpool

    From: Philadelphia
    Where: Wednesday, The Mohawk
    Who: The song “Love Spell,” from bass-and-guitar duo Girlpool’s 2014 self-titled EP sounds like something that could have floated off Beat Happening’s Black Candy. That ‘90s Olympia, Wash., vibe might not be a coincidence. Guitarist Cleo Tucker and bassist Harmony Tividad’s vocal mesh is its own instrument, and “Slutmouth” might be their pop masterpiece: an ode to being yourself, not brushing your hair, and getting slut-shamed at work. Their debut LP, Before the World Was Big, comes out in June via Wichita Recordings, and it’s the perfect summer album. —Audra Schroeder

    11) Pale Seas

    From: Southampton, U.K.
    Where: The band is reportedly in town, but does not have an official or even unofficial scheduled performance listed online.
    Who: That they have “Pale” in their name and sing about ghosts tells you a lot about these Brits—and syrupy, shoegaze-tinged, sad-sack jangle tracks like “Bodies” bear those first assumptions out. But this isn’t just another band for bros who’ve overdosed on Frightened Rabbit; on their latest EP, Places to Haunt, they prove capable of twee-leaning pop that stays nimble even as it soars to grandiose heights (“Wicked Dreams”) and scorched post-rock balladry straight out of a blasted American desert (“Evil Is Always One Step Behind”). Whatever the mood of their set, this quartet is sure to send a shiver up your spine. —Miles Klee   

    12) Lace Curtains

    From: Los Angeles
    Where: Thursday, The Parish Underground
    Who:“I wonder what my exes are up to,” Michael Coomer mumbles on the opening notes of “The Fly.” You can’t help but to think of his old band, Harlem, a cashed outfit that lit Austin’s Red River clubs on fire way back in 2009 and released precisely one fantastic record for Matador with all the promise of a first-round draft pick. These days Coomer’s songwriting ditches the navel-gazing punk sneer of old Harlem gems like “Gay Human Bones” for concealed melody. November’s A Signed Piece of Paper is a gruff wander through his fascination with Los Angeles. He hates Whole Foods, thinks about Hologram Tupac, and homages the intersection where Biggie was gunned down on “Wilshire and Fairfax.” Definitely ponder his philosophy next time you’re under the influence: “I’m not trying to give advice to anyone that’s already died, I just wanna know what heaven’s like.”

    Photo via Total Unicorn


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    Music is everywhere, even on a boring airline flight, as proven by one YouTuber.

    Faced with an otherwise dull day of travel, user YouBee turned the everyday sounds of flight into a hip beat, sampling the click of a seatbelt, the ding of the PA system, and everything in between.

    Make sure your seatbacks are fully reclined, your tray tables are securely fastened, and you're ready to get your groove on.

    H/T Reddit | Photo via Catrin Austin/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed


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    The relationship between filmmaker and audience has grown ever more intimate, thanks to crowdfunding. Fandor, a streaming subscription site for indie films, is the latest entity to attempt to strengthen that connection: The company recently announced a Kickstarter-backed crowdfunding program to assist five filmmakers with their short films.

    Fandor, which launched in 2010 at South by Southwest, is essentially Netflix for independent and experimental film; it’s highly curated, with a focus on films you can’t stream elsewhere and a monthly fee of $10. On Fandor, you can find Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam alongside Derek Jarman's Jubilee and Oscar-winning Polish drama Ida. Last July, the company debuted its FIX program, which spotlights featured filmmakers and encourages dialogue between creator and audience.

    Fandor excels at the spotlight, as seen in its initiative Women of FIX, which includes Marie Losier’s devastating The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye and Ani Simon-Kennedy’s modern silent film Days of Gray. Last fall, Fandor collaborated with Hulu to license its extensive selection of Criterion Collection titles. Jonathan Marlow, Fandor’s cofounder and chief content officer, helmed this acquisition, which filled out its growing library of more than 5,000 titles.

    Last week, Fandor introduced FIXShorts and the five films featured within the new initiative: David Schendel’s Dead Ink Archive, Ben Russell’s He Who Eats Children, Maximón Monihan’s Sea to Shining Sea, Maya Erdelyi’s Anyuka, and Lori Felker’s Discontinuity. Fandor is offering a platform for promotion and to contribute 50 percent to each film’s budget, beyond the initial $5,000 fundraising goal. Vimeo also did something similar last year with its Vimeo On Demand platform, offering $10 million to filmmakers producing original content for the site. In the last year, Vimeo picked up docs like The Internet’s Own Boy and found acclaim with original series High Maintenance. In January, it partnered with Indiegogo.

    Amanda Salazar, Fandor’s partner relations manager, says the move toward original content was one of the components of the FIX initiative.

    “We really kind of came around this idea of, if we were to move into original content, what would be the best way to do that?” she told the Daily Dot. “In a way where the filmmaker has creative control and we’re not looking to have them make a certain kind of film. … The crowdfunding piece was so important to it because we’re not a leader in the original content space, so that’s not really what Fandor’s trying to be. We just really want to work with the filmmakers we have relationships with and allow them to make original work that they want to make.”

    While Fandor isn’t diving into original series just yet, all the filmmakers in the Kickstarter initiative have other content on the site. Monihan is responsible for The Rise and Fall of the Dix, one of the best music docs you’ve never heard of. Erdelyi’s animated Pareidolia is an evocative animated short that explores her “great-grandmother’s miraculous survival of a mass killing by Hungarian Nazis along the banks of the Danube in 1944.” Felker’s other Fandor shorts include Broken News, a sleep-deprived dream sequence disguised as a breaking news report.

    The films, when completed, with live exclusively on Fandor for three months, then the filmmakers have the option to promote however they choose.

    “As we continue to build out the library, it really is trying to create a sense of community within the cinephile community,” Salazar explained. “Which is where FIX came about. It’s not just a filmmaker submitting a film or licensing a film to us and then, ‘OK, great, here’s your contract. We’re done.’ It’s, ‘Let’s work together on your next project.’

    “It’s really about creating context, whether it’s Keyframe, our online magazine, or just providing all the different layers to each film. … It’s going a little bit deeper and maybe getting to know the filmmaker a little bit better or getting their recommendations for films, then connecting with a community of users as well. It’s an ecosystem, really, completing the circle within the digital world.”

    Salazar suggests that Fandor’s “filling a void” with its curated content, and brings up connection and community frequently during our conversation. Chris Kelly, Fandor’s current interim CEO, was Facebook’s first attorney and also served as its chief privacy officer. Fandor’s used Facebook to engage and start discussion around its films.

    “As a marketing platform, Facebook has proven to be an effective way for us to connect to film enthusiasts generally as well as to affinity groups such as Charlie Chaplin fans,” said Fandor’s Chief Marketing Officer Robin Harper. “We also allow people to create Fandor accounts with their Facebook login for convenience and to share movie recommendations through their Facebook feeds.”

    Facebook’s just one component in, as Salazar says, “building out” the community of Fandor. The site’s Keyframe blog provides excellent film industry insight and criticism, and in terms of user interface, Fandor lets you invite a friend to watch and shows you which movies other users just started watching.

    The feel is a little more personal than Netflix, and this plays into Fandor’s business model to connect and build. Salazar relates that 50 percent of subscriber revenue goes back to Fandor’s filmmaking and distribution partners. The Kickstarter project is just one more way to let users donate to and support art that speaks to them, and Fandor plans to do another Kickstarter round in September.

    “This is not about Fandor owning this original content,” Salazar said. “This is about the filmmakers being able to have creative freedom to do what they want.”

    Screengrab via Pareidolia/Fandor 


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    Jimmy Kimmel is trolling potheads again, this time at South by Southwest.

    Kimmel took his Pot Quiz on the road, getting one of his correspondents to ask local Austin stoners a series of not-so-difficult questions. Can they identify the mayor of Austin, describe the three branches of government, or name even one senator? No, but they sure can recommend a good local donut place to eat at when you're high.

    To be honest, we think this one may be a little unfair to the stoners. It's easy to imagine totally sober people answering these questions in the same way. High or not, a lot of people are way more familiar with Keeping Up with the Kardashians than they are with the Supreme Court.

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube


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    Will Ferrell is bringing out the laughs for his Get Hard press tour, and he's donning some silly costumes to do it.

    Ferrell dressed up as a leprechaun on The Late Show Tuesday night, but one could easily chalk that up to it being St. Patrick’s Day. The very next day, onstage at The Tonight Show, he donned his best wig and dress to come out as Little Debbie. He even had Devil Dogs and Zebra Cakes on hand.

    We’re not really sure why he went dressed up like the snack mascot, and neither is Jimmy Fallon. The whole thing is bizarre and feels a bit like a 7-minute advertisement. But Ferrell does manage to work in the second most important lesson about the human body: What goes in must eventually come out. 

    Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube


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    The roadtrip to the first Paper Towns trailer is finally complete.

    In trying to glimpse a first look at the next John Green book to be adapted to screen, we went on a whirlwind journey through social media, from USA Today to star Nat Wolff’s Twitter and Cara Delevingne’s Instagram to Snapchat, before ending up with Green debuting the trailer on Today.

    We already knew from the past reveals that we would be seeing a lot of Q and Margo’s night of seeking revenge, and true to the previews, we see even more of that here. But for the first time, we’re getting a look at the rest of the supporting cast and even the movie’s plot and major mystery (but none of the black Santas). It’s as much about friendships as it is romance—maybe even more so.

    Margo may be Q’s “miracle,” but he, just like the rest of us, will have to learn to look at them more complexly.

    Screengrab via 20th Century Fox/YouTube


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    Vine celebrity Cameron Dallas was arrested Wednesday night for felony vandalism charges while filming an upcoming YouTube video.

    Dallas was filming with YouTubers Jc Caylen and Kian Lawley, splattering themselves and the apartment with paint for an upcoming video. TMZ first reported the incident, explaining that cops made two trips to Dallas' Hollywood apartment during the day, first due to complaints of loud partying, and later because someone reportedly threw a can of paint out of Dallas' window. Dallas was arrested on felony vandalism charges and held on $20,000 bail.  

    He was released at 1:30 in the morning, and in true digital celebrity fashion, Dallas and his cohorts already tweeted about the incident.

    Dallas is no stranger to controversy. In 2013, along with Caylen and fellow Viner Nash Grier, he caused an uproar in the community with a YouTube video suggesting how girls need to look and act to get male attention. Since then Dallas has pulled back from such topics, and he starred in a film for AwesomenessTV, Expelled.

    Several other Viners have had run-ins with the authorities while filming videos. Jerome Jarre was detained by the FBI after he tried to film a stunt on an airplane that involved him in a Speedo, while a South Carolina teen who kicked a kitten on camera pled guilty to animal abuse charges after police took action following an Internet campaign to hold him accountable. 

    H/T TMZ | Screengrab via CameronDallas/YouTube


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    As distractions go, you could do worse than Help Yourself—a webseries starring Mike Ryan; a disconcertingly Scott Disick-looking character powdered with a touch of Luke Perry. Set mainly within a prison work release program, the five available episodes of this comedy trade in the tired, expected tropes of the jail yard but also fling out enough skewed humor to make it well worth a watch. 

    But series aside, the best fun you'll actually have concerning Help Yourself is figuring out just who made it. Its YouTube channel, nine7three Productions, doesn't have any other videos, its website hasn't even been updated to include the show's episodes, and there are no end credits to indicate a writer, creator, or director. 

    Even the series' star, the eminently ungoogleable Ryan, in a decidedly non-Disick move, has a private Instagram account.  

    It's a mystery that is eventually unravelled via email, where it is revealed that the series is a creation of Mike and Justin Ryan, as well as John Launchi, who also directs. 

    I'm not sure just why those behind this series are so reticent to promote and take credit for Help Yourself—there are some solid gags here, and it is certainly easy to look at—but whatever the reason, it's refreshing. For once here's something that you can stumble upon that hasn't already been puffed up by endless spammy tweets and self-congratulatory press releases. Others could take note. But not you, Scott—keep those pics of your adorable leopard print bengal kitten coming.

    Screengrab via nine7three Productions/YouTube


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    Jon Cozart has been making YouTube videos since seventh grade, but the college senior is a total newbie to South by Southwest, despite living in Austin, Texas.

    "I couldn't bring myself to go before, just because I didn't know what it was, and nobody had ever sold it to me," Cozart told the Daily Dot during his first visit, where he was checking out panels and events before leaving town on vacation.

    Cozart rose to Web fame with his Disney parody videos that combine funny speculations of the future lives of favorite characters with masterful a cappella layering of his own voice to supply all the music. While other YouTubers schedule content weekly, Cozart, who posts on the channel Paint, manages to publish only a few times a year.

    His video career started as a way to avoid writing papers in middle school. He'd offer to make videos instead, and he kept that up through high school.

    "It doesn't work in college, unfortunately," Cozart laughed.

    While he's still got more to explore in the digital world, Cozart is working on a major offline project for the summer. He'll travel to Scotland and take part in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a one-man show that he's still putting together.

    "I'm going to do a live show there for a full month," he explained. "I've never done any live show; I've done a five- or 10-minute show during a YouTube convention. But I'm trying to write original content for it, and hopefully it's a new career path. I don't know what I want to do exactly, is the honest truth."

    Luckily Cozart has plenty on his plate until he figures it out.

    Screengrab via Daily Dot/YouTube


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    Kat Von D is receiving some backlash for one specific lipstick shade in her Sephora makeup line. The bold stain is called "Underage Red," and many people were turned off by the connotations that came with the name.

    In light of the backlash, Von D took to her Facebook page to write a lengthy essay explaining why she chose the color's name.

    "I clearly remember wearing a variation of this shade when I was 16 years old. I also remember the feeling of wanting so badly to go see a specific concert at this age, and not being able to get in to the venue because I was underage," she writes. "'Underage Red' is not a girly, pink shade. It is not a sophisticated, deep red either. It is an unapologetic, bold red. To me, 'Underage Red' is feminine rebellion."  

    The "LA Ink" star also makes it clear that the lip color isn't going anywhere—in fact, it's sold out, but will be restocked soon. She is sticking by her makeup line and writes that "I refuse to sacrifice my integrity and creative freedom. NO. I will not be pulling 'Underage Red' from my collection. And NO. This is not an apology." 

    "I am fully aware of my overly expressive, poetic, and sentimental tendencies at times - especially when it comes to naming shades and collections in my makeup line. But for that, I will never apologize," Von D says. "Most names, whether inspired by my favourite bands, lyrics, personal muses and memories, are very close and dear to my heart."

    For all the people who are criticizing Von D for—as she summarizes—promoting "the degradation of women, statutory rape, sexual behavior, human trafficking, underage drinking, or even idealization of fleeting youth," the makeup artist has a number of supporters as well. 

    Photo via Getty


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    The PlayStation TV is the odd stepchild that never gets enough attention from Sony. The set-top box has potential, but it needs to be nurtured, not just thrown out into the world to be mocked.

    The latest example of PlayStation TV neglect surfaced after Sony launched a new cord-cutting TV service for the PlayStation 3 and PS4 called PlayStation Vue. Sony is currently testing the new service in New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

    For $50 a month, Vue offers about 50 different channels, including networks like CBS, NBC, and Fox. Sadly ABC isn't part of the deal, so ESPN and Disney channels are nowhere to be found.

    But the strangest part of the Vue launch is that the PlayStation TV, which is mainly used to stream PS4 content and play PS Vita games, does not support the new streaming service. This is only the latest blunder from Sony in its handling of the PS Vita and PlayStation TV line.

    Both devices have received little marketing or fanfare, and as a result they've been relegated to a novelty product, something for only the most hardcore of Sony gamers. Sony has struggled to position the Vita as a superior alternative to the Nintendo 3DS, partly because of the bad press it received for using proprietary memory instead of the more common SD card. At launch, a 32GB PS Vita memory card set gamers back $120. An equivalent MicroSD card cost between $30 and $50 at the time.

    Perhaps enough negative press attention would convince Sony to add PlayStation Vue to its lineup of PS hardware.

    H/T The Verge | Screengrab via GamesHQMedia/YouTube


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    There's a popular saying that goes something like this: "There are two kinds of people in this world—those who perform heists and those who write about movies that are streaming on Netflix." I may fall into the latter category, but I can still have a glimpse at how the other half lives, thanks to these great heist films on Netflix. 

    And who knows? Maybe this'll be my last contribution to the Daily Dot. Perhaps I'll be inspired by this roundup to assemble an array of expensive gear (and a small crew of amiable misfits) and plan a few heists of my own. If I had to pick a place, I'd probably go with the corner store down the street—I've already been casing the joint for about six months, and they only have one employee present past midnight, which would make it a piece of cake to walk out of there with at least one free Snickers.

    I'm joking, of course—I'd never find a fence for something like a Snickers—but maybe you'll be inspired to pull some jobs after watching these movies. Learning to crack a safe is no simple feat, but it's surely less of a hassle than obtaining a college degree.

    So, onto the films:

    1) The Italian Job (2003)

    When director Justin Lin left the Fast and the Furious franchise and sent Universal into a scramble for a new director for the seventh film, F. Gary Grey may have not been a bad choice to replace him—because The Italian Job is basically Fast Five with Mini Coopers (and some boats, big trucks, and a helicopter).

    The movie opens in Venice, and the first 10 minutes consist of slowly introducing us to The Crew, which goes like this: Hey, it's Mos Def! Look, it's Seth Green! OMFG IT'S JASON STATHAM. (There's nothing better than Statham in a movie that's not awful.)

    After that, a heist is pulled that involves boats, scuba gear, explosions, and a mustachioed Edward Norton. It's led by Mark Wahlberg and Donald Sutherland, and everything's aces until they're double-crossed by Norton's character. That's not a spoiler, because his pencil-stache spoils that long before it happens. Plus—it's in the trailer. 

    And that's it for Italy in the The Italian Job—the rest of the movie takes place in L.A., with the crew plotting revenge against Norton for trying to murder all of them (and also trying to get their gold bars back). Charlize Theron is a master safe-cracker for the LAPD, but she joins in on the shenanigans because Norton killed her father when he took the crew's gold bars. That's in the trailer, too. 

    The Big Finale Heist is the main argument for Grey taking on a Fast film: Much like in Fast Five, they basically destroy a city to steal something in a safe. And it's glorious. 

    A sequel titled The Brazilian Job has been in development hell for the past 11 years, mostly because studios aren't sure how to turn Mark Wahlberg getting a Brazilian into a full-length film, but I'm sure we'll be able to see it as a direct-to-video release someday (maybe as a Netflix Original?).

    Total heists: 2.5

    2) Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

    Guy Ritchie rocked the cinematic landscape when his debut feature film took the Tarantino vibe created in the mid-'90s, sent it on a meth binge, and then ran over it with an 18-wheeler. I can only understand 60 percent of the characters' cockney accents, but I have no doubts that everything they're saying is 100 percent badass.

    Lock, Stock is a superficial film. The characters are completely one-dimensional, and that leaves the matter of depth entirely to the plot. But the plot is convoluted in the cheekiest, wackiest manner—which is good, because cheeky and wacky are the only ways that convolution usually works.

    Because there's a great deal of overlap in heist movie casts, this is the second movie on the list that isn't terrible and has Jason Statham in it. This probably isn't the most popular opinion, but if you only have time for one heist flick with a Statham involved, I'd say it's a coin toss. Lock, Stock is an undeniable classic—with all the dirty celluloid, whimsical plotting, and consistent humor that Ritchie's films would eventually (and unfortunately) grow out of—but Italian Job beats it hands down on a popcorn movie level. 

    If your pause button isn't working on your remote, you'll need to keep a bucket near for any potential restroom uses. You will not know what's happening at all if you miss a minute of this movie.

    Total heists: 4

    3) The Score (2001)

    Speaking of the all overlapping in heist films, here's Edward Norton again—but in a much more central role and with a much better performance. This is prime Edward Norton, but the rest of the cast is nothing to dismiss either: Robert DeNiro, Marlon Brando, and Angela Bassett.

    Well, OK—besides Norton, I wouldn't say that anybody's putting forth all that much effort. DeNiro and Brando are two actors that always either a) great or b) fucking fantastic, and here they're just great. And Bassett is in it for maybe six minutes.

    But let's not dismiss the fact that this film lets us see two versions of Don Corleone sharing the screen in several scenes. Much like Niagara Falls, it's not really a life-changing thing to lay your eyes upon, but it nonetheless needs to be seen—especially if it's not costing you anything. Plus, the fact that Marlon Brando appears almost exclusively in bathrobes is very true to form, and it's fun to imagine the hell he raised on the few shooting days on which he was forced to put on a suit.

    If I were a graffiti artist, images of Brando from this film would be stenciled all over Fort Worth. And this image of Robert DeNiro is a real winner, too. 

    Director Frank Oz is an extremely competent director who's brought us some great films, but his movies live or die on their scripts, and this one's as by-the-numbers as possible. Much of the big heist planning plays out like watching a foreman and an architect discuss the construction of a parking garage, and the ending is fairly obvious. In a heist film, you always think you know what's happening, but you expect to be thrown for a loop in the final minutes. There's no such misdirect here; it lazily goes the route you figured it would. But at least you can feel free to go off to the bathroom without missing anything. 

    Total heists: 2

    4) Flawless (2007)

    Michael Caine doesn't usually appear in movies that aren't shot in exotic locales—he once said he largely joins films for the traveling—so it's surprising to see him appear in a film shot in one of the cities that he lives in.  

    In Flawless, Caine co-stars as the friend/foe of Laura (Demi Moore)—the only female staffer of London Diamond, the world's largest diamond company, in the 1960s—and as a janitor in the building who's been eavesdropping for 16 years, he hatches an idea for a heist and ends up dragging her into a plot to steal a few diamonds from her employer's vault. 

    As the hardest worker in the company, she wouldn't normally be interested in such a plan, but after finding out that she's being canned for knowing too much information about a geopolitical strategy devised to save the company, her feelings are quite hurt (after all, she devised that strategy in the first place).

    There's a great feminist undercurrent driving the film, with Laura's ultimate ambition to work as hard as possible to find the same success as a man could in her position, but it's undercut severely by the fact that—even as her unfortunate circumstances are caused by misogyny—all of her breaks in fortune come from men too.

    Any movie shot in 2007 with Michael Caine involved is expected to have excellent production value, and Flawless certain does—but the movie is hurt by the Big Explanation in the end. As Caine relays the full extent of the motivation behind his heist, it's very heartwarming, but equally implausible and dumb. 

    Total heists: 1

    5) Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000)

    Here's another one with an ending that feels cheap and unsatisfying. As a matter of fact, most of this movie is unsatisfying: It has heist segments that seem to think they're a lot more clever than they are, and it plays things gritty while ultimately being a giant male fantasy. It's all guns and machismo, much like Lock, Stock, but without the exhilarating narrative engine that makes us overlook that movie's shallowness.

    BUT it stars Kevin Spacey, and he's doing a Dublin accent that sometimes disappears. It's also one of Colin Farrell's first film roles, so there's a character in Spacey's crew that's always around (albeit with only a few lines) who forces you to keep thinking Hey, that's Colin Ferrell! It also has a flashback scene that gives Spacey a flowing Fabio mane to depict his character in the '60s or '70s. 

    So that's worth 90 minutes of your time, right?

    Total heists: 5

    6) The Art of the Steal (2013)

    This is the true hidden gem of this roundup. It won't leave you lying awake at night while contemplating its imagery and symbolism, but it's a blast to watch.

    That has a lot to do with the cast: Kurt Russell and Matt Dillon play half-brothers, Jay Baruchel plays Russell's new-to-heists apprentice, Kenneth Welsh is a character named "Uncle" Paddy MacCarthy, and Chris Diamantopoulos is an eccentric French forger. Together, their crew dynamic is top notch. For enemies, they have Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones as an Interpol agent that's working with thief-turned-informant Terence Stamp, who despises him.

    The cast is helped along by a witty script with humor that never acts like it's smarter than you and a plot that probably is. The ending feels earned—the big reveal segment, where you learn what's really been going on, has so many deceptions to unearth that its length rivals the ending of Return of the King. But the reveals are great, and they don't feel like they're cheating. Instead, you feel like you really should have seen them coming, and that's how a great heist film ends. 

    The direction is a bit like Soderbergh's approach to the Oceans films: It's slick but not forced; it camouflages itself to fit each moment perfectly. I wouldn't be surprised to see writer/director Jonathan Sobol make a huge sleeper hit in the near future. He can seamlessly fuse comedy with an engaging plot, and he obviously works well with his actors, whose performances reflect that they're all having a blast. 

    Total heists: Can't list—too spoilery.

    7) The Thieves (2012)

    This is the fourth-highest-grossing film in South Korean film history, and it's a bit reminiscent of massive Bollywood blockbusters: expensive locations, insane stunt work, extraordinary photography, and a cast with a light, chummy dynamic at the beginning that goes full Shakespearean Tragedy on each other by the end.

    Some things probably get lost in translation here: A Chinese gang joins forces with a South Korean gang to pull off a casino heist, and a total of four languages are spoken. Even if it's my fault for not being able to keep up because I'm a dumb American, an English audio option would have been nice.  

    Anyway, this is a really fun movie that's plotted in a strange way that makes its 140 minutes feel like three hours, but the heists are impeccably staged, and the last big action beat is one of the most insane and lengthy shootout/chase sequences I've ever seen.

    Total heists: 3 (plus an uncountable number of double-crosses)

    Illustration by Max Fleishman


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    A pair of pint-sized cookie-peddlers have discovered the secret to sales success: combine delicious wares with the equally delicious pop tunes of Taylor Swift.

    Girl Scouts Kaylee and Lexi posted this sickeningly sweet commercial to help sell their cookies to friends and family. To seal the deal, they transformed the lyrics of Swift's chart-topping tune "Blank Space" to fit their organization's irresistible sales tactics. Here's a sample of the lyrics: 

    Samoas, Do-si-dos. I can read you like a magazine. Toffee-tastic, Rah-rah raisins.
    I’m dying to sell to you again. Grab your wallet and my hand, I’ll be selling cookies on your block this weekend. 
    And I know you’ve heard about me, So hey, let’s be friends.

    You have to watch this for yourself.

    Naturally, the blank space is where they'll write your name on the order form.

    Last year, the duo made an equally infectious parody of Frozen's "Do You Want to Build a Snowman." Is there a merit badge for Perfect Swift Tribute, or perhaps Most Creative Marketing Scheme? 

    Screengrab via Earth2Kaylee/YouTube


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    The very mention of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark might send shivers down your spine.

    The book's drawings are seared into my brain, and I remember tormenting my younger sister with one particularly disturbing illustration, perhaps as a way to channel my own fear. Anyone who read those books in the '80s or '90s likely has a story about their experience—and their nightmares.

    Cody Meirick posits that those books, while unsettling, are part of our modern collective folklore. Meirick is so convinced of their important that he has set out to make a documentary about it.

    CBS Films is reportedly making a movie based on the Scary Stories franchise—three books were released between 1981 and 1991—but Meirick's documentary, which he's crowdfunding on Indiegogo, will be different. He plans to explore the book's censoring, its connection to folk history, the moral panic it incited over the decades, and how author Alvin Schwartz and illustrator Stephen Gammell collaborated to produce the classic tales.

    Meirick launched his Indiegogo campaign on March 18 with a fundraising goal of $28,000. If you donate $2,100, you can actually star in the documentary and work out your childhood issues on camera.

    H/T AV Club | Screengrab via Cody Meirick/Vimeo 


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    Most webseries producers would be offended if viewers thought their videos stunk. Deuce Police, a three-part comedy series, is different.

    Deuce Police reeks of humor aimed at 10-year-old boys. The premise is that two cops are tasked with investigating offending fecal matters, figuratively and literally. The cops, BO Reeks and Major Deegan, search for criminals who employ Number Two as their weapon.

    It's exactly as mature as it sounds.

    Deuce Police isn't actually as disgusting as your worst fears might suggest, but that's due in part to YouTube's lack of Smell-O-Vision. By and large, the laughs are good-natured, save for episode three, “Son of Toucan Sam,” which rambles on for more than 10 minutes. After the first few comments about random steaming heaps, the plot goes downhill with a bunch of fake news cutaways from BM-TV.

    If you need more euphemisms than "number two" for that smellier bodily function, Deuce Police has you covered. Three episodes of this webseries are enough to turn you into a Jeopardy-level champion of poop terminology.

    Thanks to Deuce Police, I added "prarie dog" to my schoolyard humor repertoire. And I'm the better man for it.

    Screengrab via Deuce Police/YouTube


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    It’s official. Tyler Oakley will hit the road again to see his legion of fans, and this time he’s taking his pajama party international.

    “Last year I did the first leg of the Slumber Party tour, which was just in the northeast of the U.S.,” Oakley told the Daily Dot while at South by Southwest. “Now we are going to Australia, the U.K., Canada, the U.S., Ireland, everywhere.”

    Oakley made the announcement of his tour on YouTube. It kicks off May 13 in Dublin, Ireland.

    “There’s certain weekends of tour or timeframes of tour, some a little bit longer," he explained. "I want to be able to give my most and my all each time. They asked me at the end [of the last tour] about how many stops I wanted to do at once. I want to be able to actually enjoy the cities. Last time it was go, go, go. This time I hope I’ll be able to experience each city.”

    Oakley said his major concern was to bring intimate experiences to locations that don’t often get conventions or tour visits.

    “Every time I’m at a place, or when I tweet “‘City,’ I am in you,” everyone is like ‘when’s the meet up?’” he said. “So this time I get to dedicate a trip to these places that don’t normally have conventions or tour stops.”

    He was able to live up to that aspiration while in Austin, Texas, during SXSW this week, hosting a meetup for non-badge holders in the area. He also spoke on three panels during the conference.

    “There were a lot of questions about traditional versus digital, the monetization, the integrity of it all. Internet 3.0, etc,” he explained. “A lot of good discussions where I learned a lot from people on the panels. This is probably my most professional SXSW yet. This is my third year, but the one where I feel like I worked the most.”

    For those not in Austin, Oakley made a TV appearance this week as well, co-hosting MTV’s Catfish with Nev Schulman.

    “It’s one of those shows you watch at home and you’re fascinated, but to be in the middle of it all, it’s like drama unfolding before your eyes,” he said. “It was like a mystery you were solving. There’s certain points where I was positive this was going to be the outcome, and it was a completely different situation in reality.”

    With that hosting gig completed, Oakley moves on to another one on March 23, when he plays host to the YouTube Music Awards, a digital event where winners will be awarded across several categories and new music videos will be released from both up-and-coming and mega-popular acts.

    “It’s a cool thing, especially because two years ago was the last time they did the YouTube Music Awards. I was seeing the reaction as it was happening online. A lot of people from the YouTube community were saying they wished there was more YouTuber involvement. I even tweeted at them saying, ‘Hey if you need a host, hit me up.’ And they did!”

    Hosting is an aspiration of Oakley’s, and he calls the opportunity to do it on his “home turf” an honor. While he could be compared to a “young Ryan Seacrest,” Oakley he laughs and says he thinks of himself as “a young Oakley,” but has reverence for the host and producer who has broken a lot of Hollywood ground.

    “I’d love to have coffee with him and pick his brain,” Oakley said of Seacrest. “Maybe I could do something with him, and he could do something with me. I love collaboration between traditional with digital. Maybe we could jump in each other’s worlds a little bit.”

    For those looking for a taste of Oakley’s hosting skills in person, tickets for the domestic leg of his tour go on sale March 21.

    Screengrab via TylerOakley/YouTube


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