Articles on this Page
- 05/07/15--12:34: _Big Bird broke our ...
- 05/07/15--12:40: _Stan Lee partners w...
- 05/07/15--16:17: _Chris Hemsworth has...
- 05/07/15--17:57: _This simple Netflix...
- 05/08/15--05:46: _Jimmy Kimmel asks k...
- 05/08/15--06:00: _Where to see the st...
- 05/08/15--06:08: _Netflix's 'Grace an...
- 05/08/15--07:08: _Chris Hardwick fina...
- 05/08/15--07:25: _Tina Fey's farewell...
- 05/08/15--07:35: _Jimmy Kimmel got mo...
- 05/08/15--09:09: _You can't unsee Ste...
- 05/08/15--09:27: _Everything we know ...
- 05/08/15--12:47: _ABC greenlights a s...
- 05/08/15--13:14: _YouTube king Tyler ...
- 05/08/15--15:29: _Ellen's supernatura...
- 05/09/15--05:30: _Kim Kardashian's 'S...
- 05/09/15--06:00: _5 emerging educatio...
- 05/09/15--07:00: _Cartoon Network deb...
- 05/10/15--06:00: _'Trailing' brings o...
- 05/10/15--07:51: _The 5 worst mothers...
- 05/07/15--12:34: Big Bird broke our hearts today
- 05/07/15--12:40: Stan Lee partners with YouTube for superhero program
- 05/07/15--16:17: Chris Hemsworth has his 'Boogie Nights' moment
- 05/07/15--17:57: This simple Netflix hack will change your viewing experience forever
- 05/08/15--05:46: Jimmy Kimmel asks kids: 'Who do you love more, mom or dad?'
- 05/08/15--06:00: Where to see the stars of the Marvel movies on Netflix: Part 2
- 05/08/15--07:25: Tina Fey's farewell to David Letterman involved taking off her dress
- 05/08/15--07:35: Jimmy Kimmel got moms to reveal their deepest Mother's Day wishes
- 05/08/15--09:27: Everything we know about Endemol’s new slate
- 05/08/15--12:47: ABC greenlights a strange new show about the Muppets
- 05/08/15--13:14: YouTube king Tyler Oakley announces long-awaited book deal
- 05/08/15--15:29: Ellen's supernatural prank terrifies new 'Ghostbuster' Kristin Wiig
- 05/09/15--05:30: Kim Kardashian's 'Selfish' is a work of art
- 05/09/15--06:00: 5 emerging education channels on YouTube
- SlateScore: 528
- Total Subs: 80,607
- Monthly Views: 416,760
- SlateScore: 538
- Total Subs: 84,860
- Monthly Views: 377,970
- 05/09/15--07:00: Cartoon Network debuts first original webseries 'Mighty Magiswords'
- 05/10/15--06:00: 'Trailing' brings out the humor of working in politics
- 05/10/15--07:51: The 5 worst mothers streaming on Netflix
Reddit Ask Me Anything sessions (AMAs) can be somewhat of a mixed bag. Sometimes the celebrities invited to do a session spend the entire time focused on their latest project while crudely sidestepping the questions that matter most to the audience; other times they decide to give in to their fandoms and subsequently break the Internet.
Which is why when a personality gets on Reddit and talks about a beloved character from your childhood—a role they’ve played for 46 years—you need to tune in, if only for an awesome trip down memory lane.
Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who brought to life Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on television, did an AMA session on Thursday to talk about a documentary about his life, titled I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story.
Naturally, the actor—whose voice can easily trigger fond memories of eating cereal for breakfast in front of the TV, happily learning the alphabet in singsong—spent most of the hour answering expected questions like, “How do you feel, knowing that you have touched so many lives through your work?” (Short answer: “It feels incredible.”) He also lent insight to Sesame Street-related queries that have been bugging fans for years.
But the winning inquiry of the day was courtesy of Reddit user man_mayo, who asked Spinney about his most meaningful interaction with a child during filming or off the air.
Here’s what Spinney had to say, which you should try reading with Big Bird’s voice in mind for full effect:
Okay, here's one.
This is a very sad story, but it's real.
I got a letter from a fan who said his little boy, who was 5 years old, his name was Joey, he was dying of cancer.
And he was so ill, the little boy knew he was dying.
So the man, in his letter, asked if I would call the little boy. He said the only thing that cheered him at all in his fading state was to see Big Bird on television.
So once in a while, he wouldn't see Big Bird on some days, because he wasn't necessarily in every show. So he asked could I telephone him, and talk to the boy, tell him what a good boy he's been.
So I took a while to look up a phone, because this was before cell phones. And they got a long cord to bring a phone to the boy.
And I had Big Bird say "Hello! Hello Joey! It's me, Big Bird!"
So he said "Is it really you, Big Bird?"
"Yes, it is."
I chatted a while with him, about ten minutes, and he said "I'm glad you're my friend Big Bird."
And I said "I'd better let you go now."
He said "Thank you for calling me Big Bird. You're my friend. You make me happy."
And it turns out that his father and mother were sitting with him when the phone call came. And he was very, very ill that day. And they called the parents in, because they weren't sure how long he'd last.
And so his father wrote to me right away, and said "Thank you, thank you" - he hadn't seen him smile since October, and this was in March - and when the phone was hung up, he said "Big Bird called me! He's my friend."
And he closed his eyes. And he passed away.
And I could see that what I say to children can be very important.
And he said "We haven't seen our little boy smile in MONTHS. He smiled, as he passed away. It was a gift to us. Thank you."
The heart-wrenching response quickly became the thread’s most popular comment, with Redditors expressing gratitude to Spinney for sharing such a cherished memory. That, plus all the feels in the world.
Now if you’ll excuse us, an ugly cry session is definitely in order.
Photo via Pin/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
For YouTube creators who've fantasized about smashing things like Hulk, or becoming an international playboy and inventor like Ironman, their chance to create a superhero is coming to YouTube Spaces around the world this spring.
Starting this month, YouTubers like Adi Shankar, Lana KcKissack, and Machinima will be able to develop original superhero concepts and produce their dreams on cinematic sets at YouTube spaces from Los Angeles to São Paulo. They'll also be able to incorporate green screen states to go above and beyond the limitations of physical sets.
YouTube, which is celebrating its 10th birthday this year, partnered with Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment to bring about the opportunity. POW! will also offer special courses and workshops to creators during the program, with 12 lucky content creators selected for a script consultation with Lee himself.
“We're celebrating the superhero genre and I'm excited to partner with YouTube Spaces to help develop ideas and create new superheroes along with some of the most brilliant and creative minds in the entertainment industry,” said Lee, via press release.
Videos created as part of the program will begin launching on YouTube in June.
Photo via HJ Media Studios/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III
The question on everyone's mind after watching the new red band trailer for Vacation: Is Thor's hammer really that impressive?
Chris Hemsworth appears in a bit part in Vacation, a new film that continues the story of the National Lampoon's Vacation series of films for a new generation. Hemsworth is with a very impressive package, leaving viewers wondering if it's having a Boogie Nights prosthetic moment, or if that's all natural.The film stars Ed Helms as the son of Chevy Chase, who embarks on a road trip to recapture the best vacation of his childhood with his own disconnected family. Of course, hilarity and mishap ensues.
That's all well and good, but it's hard to pay attention to the rest of the trailer when you're wondering about Hemsworth's junk, as the Internet shows.Fans will have to wait until July 29 to get a closer look.
Screengrab via Comedy Central/YouTube
If you have a Pandora account, odds are that you have more than one station on it—you're not always in the mood for the same recommendations over and over again, are you? Maybe you have an Abba station for when you just feel like dancing, and a Mumford and Sons station for when you're working on perfecting that milk-steaming thing on the espresso machine that you bought solely for making burnt espresso and milk. Why should your Netflix account be any different?
Here's a simple way to make sure you have multiple Netflix profiles on your account that can perfectly suit whatever mood you may find yourself in. For starters, let's add a new profile, which you'll do by hovering over your profile avatar, and then clicking on "Manage Profiles" in the ensuing drop-down menu, as so:Once clicked, you'll be brought to this screen: Now, you'll want to click on "Add Profile," and you'll be on your way to creating a personalized profile for a niche part of yourself that you may or may not be embarrassed of. For this tutorial, we've gone with this niche: See that box that says "Kid?" You can select that if you're creating a profile for your children, but obviously we're leaving it unchecked because, well, just look at what we're calling this one. Obviously, this is not for children. Once you've given your new profile a name and click continue, you'll be congratulated on how awesome you are, and your new profile will appear next to your old one on the previous screen: You can now click the "Edit" button, and a clicking on your new avatar will bring up a slew of photos to choose from. For this one, we went went with this obvious: Mustache and aviators (it weren't cropped, this guy would certainly have some killer mutton chops): With creating the new profile out of the way, hover over your previous avatar and select your new profile from the drop down menu: Clicking on the new profile will bring up this screen, asking you to pick three films that this particular corner of your psyche would enjoy: We went with Homefront, the Robocop remake, and Jack Reacher, as no actual Nicolas Cage options were available, so we had to improvise his general career with films not involving him. After you've selected the films and click "Continue," you'll be brought back to your regular home screen, but now as your new personality: Now, let's get this new personality into shape—you'll want to venture over to the left of the top of the screen, and click on "Personalize." This will bring up this screen: Clicking on "Let's Go" will prompt you to select which genres you (or this version of you) are the most into. As this profile is for the Nicolas Cage fan that lives in all our hearts, we picked the ones he most appears in: Now, you'll be prompted to rate a bunch of films in various genres. We gave every film in the thriller genre three stars, because while Cage does tend to appear in a lot of thrillers, he's not in any of these. While Cage does appear in some great comedies, this profile's more interested in the B-movies where he screams and fires pistols a lot, so the comedy section was rated with this in mind: The action and adventure section was treated more kindly (especially the film that actually has Cage in it): You'll continue to rate movies in various genres, before you'll be returned to the home screen. You're almost done—but not quite. You need to fine-tune this profile a little more, by searching for specific films and rating them. A good search in this case is: That will bring you to this screen... ...where you'll need to give every film five stars (except for The Croods—this profile is not interested in kids' films): Now, when you go back to your home screen, your "Top Picks for Nicolas Cage Fan" should be more fitting for when you're wanting to sit back and get your Cage on: The other sections should be looking pretty good, too: And so on. Now that we've got a profile to fit our Nicolas Cage needs, let's just do a quick overview of something completely different. Repeat the steps from before to create a new profile, but this profile's going to be for when you're feeling romantic: The genre ratings will look a bit different for this profile: As before, you'll go through the process of rating films, but you'll be rating things much differently this time: Once you're done with all the ratings, you'll have a Netflix profile that's perfect for when you're wanting to be hit right in the feels: Pretty simple, right? Just for fun, let's add one more account. After all, we all have more than two personalities to contend with: Sometimes, the "Top Picks" for your profile aren't exactly dead on... ...but if you scroll down, the recommendations by genre will have the exact stuff you're looking for: And that's it. With about an hour of tweaking your Netflix accounts and creating new profiles, you'll be saving a lot of time when you come home from work, in whatever mood you're in, and want to stream a movie without wading through too much nonsense.
Photo via Joey Keeton/Netflix
You’re not supposed to have favorites, but you somehow end up doing so anyway.
In order to prove or disprove the statistic that three out of four children would rather spend more time with their moms over their dads, Jimmy Kimmel sent out his crew to ask children the loaded question of which parent they love more.
You have to admire the honesty of it all. Some of them have the better sense to be diplomatic about it, but then they’re essentially asked which parent they’d let die if forced, which probably makes them wish they just answered the first question in the first place. Either way, everyone will be having awkward dinners after this.Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube
We’ve already explored where to watch the stars of Marvel movies on Netflix from 2008’s Iron Man to 2012’s The Avengers. Now we’re picking up where we left off, starting with Iron Man 3 on up through the latest release, Age of Ultron.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s recent slate looks a lot like its earlier material in terms of heroes, but it got a big shakeup with its directors, and that’s our main focus this time around (with a couple exceptions). If the directing choices sometimes seemed odd in the first phase, Kevin Feige got downright cocky with the next round, actively seeking out the least-expected names and getting massive box-office numbers from their films. In the last two years, Marvel basically confirmed that it was to blockbusters what Moneyball was to baseball.
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Shane Black, Last Action Hero (1993)
Shane Black didn’t direct Last Action Hero—that credit goes to John McTiernan—but he did write it, and he’s always been known more for his writing than his directing, anyway, with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (not streaming) being his only directorial work before Iron Man 3 (which co-starred Downey Jr., who insisted Black directed IM3 and got what he wanted, because he’s friggin’ Iron Man).
But, as Edgar Wright could probably tell you, “director” on a Marvel film isn’t quite the same as it is elsewhere, and if you’ve only got one directing credit under your belt (albeit for a fantastic film), but you have Black’s intelligence, you don't need five blockbusters on your résumé to helm a Marvel flick—you'll have plenty of people around to help keep things on the rails while you concentrate on keeping the tone straight.Enough about directing, though—Black wrote both IM3 and Last Action Hero, and he wrote the shit out of them. After basically forming the mold for the modern buddy cop genre with Lethal Weapon, he deconstructed and beat that genre over the head with a baseball bat with Last Action Hero.
With the exception of Monster Squad, buddy cop films that starred a white/black cop duo were all he’d penned when he wrote Hero, and while they were awesome, Hero was him diving straight into his own influences and talents to look at what made him tick—and to poke some fun at that stuff before he got stuck doing the same schtick for his entire career.
Sometimes, when an artist is bored, setting out to make a farce is a freeing exercise that can morph into being some of their best and most memorable work. (Many believe that Beethoven composed his Fifth Symphony as a lark, to prove how stupid and easy music composition had become, and look at how we view that one today.)
This movie needs more attention in general, as it’s quintessential as both a McTiernan and a Black film. It has all of Black’s signature wit and all of McTiernan’s take-no-prisoners action, and it doesn’t hurt that most of that action takes place in a satirical film-within-a-film, which lets the Die Hard director go completely apeshit and over-the-top (read: fun) with it.
By the last 20 minutes, it may feel as if it’s running a little long—but then those 20 minutes get so satirical and meta, and the final climax so beautifully bookends the film’s opening, that running a tad long can be forgiven. For both writer and director, Last Action Hero is a masterpiece.
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Alan Taylor, Mad Men (2007–2008)
It was certainly his work on Game of Thrones that landed Alan Taylor the Dark World gig, but that’s HBO, and we all know that an HBO series streaming on Netflix is about as likely as Spider-Man ending up in the MCU. (Cue wailing, gnashing of teeth from Six Feet Under fans.)So while Mad Men isn’t the perfect example of Taylor’s pre-Dark World work that landed him the gig, it is currently streaming, and his work on the show was nonetheless significant: He directed the pilot, after all, which was the episode that secured us all as lifelongMad Men viewers. He also directed the second episode, as well as the 12th episodes of both seasons 1 and 2, which were pretty damn important episodes.
Aside from Mad Men and Game of Thrones, Taylor only had three features under his belt, the last of which was a decade before Dark World, but take a look at some of the man’s other television directing credits: Oz, The West Wing, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City, Deadwood, Lost, Rome, The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie, Bored to Death, and Boardwalk Empire… That’s an impressive list of shows, and it’s not even all-inclusive. As you could theoretically view the MCU as existing in a cinema-quality episodic format, it’s no wonder that Feige took such a liking to Taylor’s résumé.
He likely won’t be back, though: Like many directors who have worked with Marvel, he clashed with the studio and was eventually locked out of the editing room, with some reshoots on the film done without his approval.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Anthony and Joe Russo, Arrested Development (2003–it’ll never die)
Like Taylor, the Russo Brothers had the bulk of their pre-Marvel directorial work done on television, with the exceptions being Welcome to Collinwood and You, Me and Dupree—so we can probably assume that it wasn’t their feature work that landed them on the massively budgeted, action-packed Winter Soldier.As far as television goes, Joe’s Community episode “A Fistful of Paintballs” would alone justify giving the duo an action film (collectively, they directed 30-odd other episodes of the show, including the pilot). They both directed the pilot for Arrested Development, and collectively directed a total of 14 episodes of the show (which fans know all included some sort of wacky action in them, as is tradition for most of Development’s insane climaxes).
The Russos and their lack of big-budget action experience were considered to be one of Feige’s biggest risks in MCU history, but it paid off. Many people rate Winter Soldier as their favorite Marvel film (with the best action), and their work was such a huge hit, with both fans and the studio, that they’ll now be taking over as the MCU’s Godfathers, now that Age of Ultron has been released and Whedon has stepped down.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Chris Pratt, Parks and Recreation (2009–2015)
At the start of Parks and Recreation, Pratt’s Andy was planned to be a short-lived character. (To be even more accurate, the whole show was planned to be short-lived; the entire conceit of “the pit” that Andy eventually fell into was a metaphor for the show solely existing to fill a “pit” in NBC’s lineup.) But by the end of the season, everybody loved Pratt and Andy a lot, so the writers worked out a way to keep him around for the unexpected renewal for the show’s second season.
It says a lot about your charisma when your character is written to be a one-season, asshole boyfriend, and you end up being liked so much that you're shoehorned into the rest of the series' run.Maybe Pratt’s casting as a superhero was a little more predictable after his role in Zero Dark Thirty proved that he could slim down and put on some muscle, but that role didn’t prove that he was leading man material, and Feige was casting him as the leading man in a film that was all-but-sure to be Marvel’s very first under-performer. People thought the Guardians property was simply too weird, and that both the property and Pratt were too unknown, for the film to be a massive success at the box office.
They were wrong, though. It was one of the biggest hits of the summer, and now the naysayers are having to get behind Ant-Manas the next target of their cynicism.
James Gunn, Super (2011)
Guardians was already a huge risk, being a property that many were shocked was making it to the big screen before, say, a Hulk solo film, and casting Pratt as the lead added even more to the risk. So why not go all-out and pick James Gunn to write and direct the thing?I’ve loved James Gunn since he wrote Tromeo and Juliet, wrote/directed Slither, and penned the Dawn of the Dead remake (his name was the only thing that got me into theaters, and it remains the only great script that director Zack Syder has, unfortunately, ever gotten to work from).
Super is amazing, but it was overlooked when it was released because a) it had a budget of around $2.5 million, and b) it was overshadowed by the far-bigger Kick-Ass being released at the same time, which dealt with the similar idea of a normal person becoming a superhero.Kick-Ass is great, and I love director Matthew Vaughn, but I’d rather watch Super any day of the week. It’s far,far darker than Kick-Ass, with Rainn Wilson playing a character that is a legitimately unstable and frightening person (although Ellen Page’s character is right up there with him). But as dark as it goes, when the story wraps up (with Wilson’s narration), you’re hit hard in your feels. Gunn can balance darkness and empathy extremely well, and he was a great fit for bringing the four anti-heroes of Guardians onto the big screen—and also into moviegoers’ hearts. (Cliche? Maybe, but you know damn well that Groot lives in your heart now.)
The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
See The Avengers in the first half of this series (the same principal heroes + the same director = it’s being skipped here). To make up for the lack of an entry here, you can read about all the backlash over the film, and the speculation that it made Whedon quit Twitter.
Backlash or not, this was always going to be Whedon’s swan song as the MCU’s Godfather, and I’d like to say “thanks for looking after the films, Whedon.” I’m sad to see him go, but I’m just as excited to see the Russo Brothers take up the position; they’ve had a hand in approximately 20 percent of my favorite things to ever be onscreen, so I can’t wait to see how they handle the future of the MCU.
Screengrab via Parks and Recreation/YouTube
Chances are that Grace and Frankie isn’t made for you. It’s made for those pining for a 9 to 5 cast reunion, those with memories of a Jane Fonda who did things other than shout about her sex life and those to whom homosexuality is still a titillating taboo. Basically, those who have long left the 18-to-34 demographic behind and would now look at a poster like this and rather than retch, nod approvingly: “You tell her, Diane, those kids don’t even know that they’re born!"
You are probably not one of these people, but if you are, there is no need to be ashamed. It will happen to all of us, and after all, it's a great time to be alive. Why? Because companies really want you! Netflix is prepared to create shows just for you! When even babies are streaming Doc McStuffins on their iPads, you guys are the last untapped market.
And it’s this obvious neediness that makes Grace and Frankie confusing. It’s an odd opening salvo for what is essentially Netflix staking its claim on older viewers. So, sure, the stockpiling of decomposing star power makes sense. But did they have to make it so depressing?
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the first episode—in which both Grace (Fonda) and Frankie’s (Lily Tomlin) husbands (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) announce they have been in a relationship for 20 years, and are now leaving their wives to get married—is one of the least amusing episodes of a sitcom ever. It features the breakup of two long-term, seemingly stable relationships and the realization by the wives that they have been lied to for decades and now face a life apart from people that they considered their best friends.
None of this is played for laughs. When Tomlin haltingly tells Waterston’s Sol as she guides him to the sofa to sleep that “I can't remember the last time I slept without you. I know I've done it … but I can’t remember,” it is heartbreaking. And as Fonda confides in Tomlin how she should have known as it was “right there, in front of my face” (Dick Francis and photos of cousins George V and Tsar Nicholas II are gay giveaways, apparently), you get an inkling of the true pains of aging: the contemplation of wasted time and the realization of diminishing possibilities.
It does get funnier. Later episodes see the show grow sharper and snappier, but throughout there remains this overhanging fug of depression. Jokes that ordinarily would be flippant are now “brave.” It’s a tone not helped by the retention of Sheen and Waterston—constant reminders of that first, painful episode—as central characters and the inevitable central plotlines involving divorce, division of assets, and “getting on with life” as a necessity. Nor is it helped by the quality of Tomlin and Fonda, creating characters capable of possessing histories, as opposed to the normal lightweight sitcom stock who reset at the beginning of every 22-minute block.
You’d think that they’d know that you catch flies with honey, not with depressing studies on loneliness and aging.
That the opener is allowed to cast such a shadow is a dramatic misstep by the show’s creators. One of them, Marta Kauffman, has mentioned that the Netflix deal allowed them to conceive Grace and Frankie as a series rather than as just a pilot, self-contained and bullet-proofed for development hell. Security is a fertilizer for misplaced grandiosity. It’s an observation which sort of explains how the first episode came to take the shape of the third act of a film, all resolution and acceptance, but not why Netflix would allow it to remain as such. You’d think that they’d know that you catch flies with honey, not with depressing studies on loneliness and aging.
But who knows? Perhaps the targeted demographic are masochistic, wallowing in their own fears as they drift through the second half of their lives. They do love poring over the obituaries, after all. But you’re probably not one of them, and fatally for a comedy, Grace and Frankie made me feel glum. I can’t imagine how I’ll feel in 25 years when this is the sort of thing I’m expected to watch.
Screengrab via Netflix
Chris Hardwick gets to hang out with our people on a regular basis, but he’s really been living our childhood fantasy once filming stops.
He told Conan O’Brien that, when celebrities come on The Talking Dead, he’ll usually take them to the set of The Price is Right once they’ve gotten all of their zombie feels out on his set one floor below.
During the latest season, he went down with The Walking Dead’s Josh McDermitt, Tyler James Williams, and Steven Yeun, where McDermitt managed to hit something contestants rarely get. And they made the awesome but rookie mistake of putting it on Instagram.Of course, the studio didn’t like it very much and kindly asked him to stop sneaking onto the Price is Right set. But considering how often Hardwick has taken his celebrity friends down to the studio on social media, we can only wonder how it took this long to tell him to stop.
First, he took down Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. Considering he helped bring back the whole zombie phenomenon, it’s only fitting he be rewarded.And then it was True Blood and Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello. How do you say no to that face? Yeun is no stranger to visiting the Price is Right set, having gone six months ago before his castmates tagged along. Yvette Nicole Brown and CM Punk make a worthy Talking Dead duo, so maybe the powers that be allowed that one—with Hardwick even admitting that he sneaks down to the Price is Right studio downstairs all the time. But bringing Yeun, McDermitt, and Williams together? That might’ve been too much star power. Fortunately for us, there was video that time. Screengrab via Team Coco
Last night, as part of her final appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman, Tina Fey revealed what's really under most women's dresses: Spanx.
As a tribute to the departing host, Fey offered Letterman her dress after stripping down to a very special edition of the body-shaping undergarment. Fey employed the two-layer Spanx approach, a smart move on her part. She also knows how to start a hashtag.Screengrab via Late Show With David Letterman/YouTube
Let's get real: Moms don't like their kids' crappy homemade gifts. What are they going to do with a warped clay ashtray or a terrible painting?
As it turns out, moms' needs are simple: lots and lots of alcohol.
If you really want to be a good son or daughter, give mom two aspirin Monday morning.Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube
Thursday night's Lip Sync Battle featured a frenetic faceoff between Malin Akerman and show producer Stephen Merchant. After Akerman told a story about Merchant smack-talking her on a plane, she tried to show him up, diving into a very energetic version of Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me."
But Merchant's was in his element, and his take on Enrique Iglesias's "Hero" definitely upped the ante.Then, the battle for dirtiest got even more intense, as Akerman took on Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty" and Merchant did Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty."
A man that tall should never wear leather chaps, which is probably why he won. Also, Chrissy Teigen should win something for sniffing Merchant's trouser sock.Screengrab via Lip Sync Battle on Spike/YouTube
After partnering with beauty guru Michelle Phan to launch her lifestyle network ICON, YouTube production house Endemol Beyond announced yesterday it will be launching two new digital networks—Looksy and Smasher—starring such talent as Jesse Wellens (PrankvsPrank), Toby Turner, Andy Milonakis, comedian Brittany Furlan, and American Idol alum Jessica Sanchez.
“The value [Endemol] brings to the table is the global production,” Phan said during the network’s press event in New York. “We are the Internet generation; we know how to create content for this generation. Endemol can give creators a new place to call home.”
Looksy—which will focus on everything pop culture, including music, sketch comedy, fashion, and trends—announced original shows such as True Internet Stories, set to investigate the origins of the Internet’s biggest moments; Andy Milonakis 2.0; and Bad Girl with Furlan. When asked about the difference between working with MTV and Endemol, Milonakis shared: “TV comes and goes, and it’s great to be a part of, but I love the instant gratification of YouTube. At the end of a show, that audience base is wiped clean, but you can grow a big online audience and they never go away.”
Adapted from successful U.K. shows, the Smasher network will focus on everything sports and video games. Toby Turner will star in the series Legends of Gaming, where he’ll use his overpowering voice to challenge YouTubers to a game-off (fingers crossed Andy Milonakis makes an appearance). Costarring with Turner as the face of this new network, Jesse Wellens will challenge pro athletes to ridiculous sports challenges in his own series, Rule’M Sports.
Among other projects on the network’s plate is a continued partnership with Mr. Worldwide himself, Pitbull, who will unveil two new series later this year: Master Class and Pitbull Presents later this year. Both shows will follow Pitbull’s adventures around the world and give an unprecedented look into the lives of the people who make Pitbull’s jetsetting lifestyle possible.
Relatively unknown until this year, Endemol has become one of the fastest-growing networks chiefly because of its strategic partnership with Michelle Phan, a creator previously hesitant to sign with a multichannel network, or MCN. “For the longest time, I kind of avoided the MCN markets because, coming from the creator’s point of view, I heard they weren’t really happy joining the MCNs,” says Phan. “When I met with Endemol Beyond, they had a freshness, a clean slate, and they said they’d build whatever [I] want to build. It showed me that they valued me because the fact that they trusted in me, someone who does come from the Internet generation and create content for them, trusting me to help build out this business made me realize they were the right fit and the right partner.”
It’s a tough moment to be the new MCN on the block, especially when networks such as Maker Studios and the Collective Digital Studio have had years to scope the scene for the best and brightest YouTube talent. But what Keenan argues will set Endemol apart from others is its mission to be a “PCN”—premium channel network—offering the best experiences not only to creators but also to brands looking to create content across all platforms.
Screengrab via PitbullVEVO/YouTube
Whether your Muppet fandom derives from Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, or the movies, you’ll be delighted to know that America's most beloved puppets are coming back to television.
Whereas the original TV show was about garbage monsters and spelling, and the second one was about the sad siren song of the stage, the new documentary-style show on ABC will focus on "the Muppets' personal lives and relationships, both at home and at work, as well as romances, break-ups, achievements, disappointments, wants and desires."
We're still not sure what this means. Angrily horny Miss Piggy weeping into her frilly pillow as Kermit bangs Scooter? Fozie’s prescription pill addiction? Dr. Teeth buried up to his neck in the desert by a psychotic gangster?
According to Entertainment Weekly, the pilot, written by The Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady and Anger Management executive producer Bob Kushel, received a standing ovation when it was screened for ABC executives a few weeks ago.
The news confirms a rumor about a Muppets revival that circulated in early April.
Photo via H. Michael Miley/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
Now fans of Tyler Oakley can hold at least a piece of him in their hands—in book form.
Oakley announced to this 6.8 million YouTube fans that his next adventure will be the printed word, releasing a book in October called Binge.He describes the book as featuring “everything I’ve wanted to share with you but didn’t feel quite ready to.” Oakley said he’s been working on the project since he turned down another book offer in 2012. At the time he says he wasn’t ready, but after writing for two years, he signed a deal with Simon and Schuster in December 2014.
Oakley isn’t the only YouTuber to ink a deal with a publishing house; it’s become something of a trend for digital stars to turn back to pen and paper in the past year, with big names like Hannah Hart and Zoe Sugg putting out tomes. Oakley referenced his hesitation in the past over a book deal in an interview with the Daily Dot earlier this year.
“I have had so much feedback that [a book] is something people want,” Oakley said. “Writing is something I want to explore. If I were to do it, I would want it to be not a book made by a YouTuber; I would really want to respect that craft of literature and just be an author. Detach myself as a YouTuber, because I don’t want to ever look at an opportunity, whether it’s book or TV or movie or whatever, as—not to say that anybody has or is doing it—as a moneymaking opportunity. If I were to want to do a book, it would be because I have a passion for it, and I respect the literary world. I don’t want to look at it as an extension of me as a YouTuber; it would be a whole different facet of me as a human.”
Binge is already available for pre-order, and one lucky fan who tweets him about their purchase will win a signed page of the notebook Oakley used to draft the book. Oakley is continuing to include Web sensibilities to the book, launching his Snapchat account in conjunction with the book announcement and encouraging fans to join him there to help create “tiny bits of the book” that are still in progress.
Screengrab via Tyler Oakley/YouTube
Kristen Wiig may be set to star in the all-female Ghostbusters remake, but she's still a little edgy around ghosts. Ellen DeGeneres proved it with a recent prank.
DeGeneres scared Wiig with a ghost popping out of an otherwise innocuous-looking coffee table mid-interview. Wiig's response was priceless.After screaming and wondering if DeGeneres had rigged the table just for that gag (she had), Wiig ran across the set and claimed two set pieces as her own as payback.
Screengrab via EllenTube/YouTube
Kim Kardashian’s new book, published by Rizzoli, a purveyor of fine-art coffee table texts, is called Selfish. It’s called Selfish because it’s a book of selfies—selfies with friends, selfies in Thailand, nude selfies. Some selfies have no captions, while others feature short notes in her own handwriting, usually marking the occasion upon which the selfie was taken, or Kardashian’s feeling on that particular day, on set at that particular photo shoot. Many of the selfies in the book are new (new to the public, that is); others have appeared on her Instagram account, which currently has 31.9 million followers (I am one of its devotees).
Since Kardashian first appeared as the closet-organizer of her friend Paris Hilton, people have had Things to Say about her and her family, now worth untold billions of dollars via their E! show, their makeup lines, Kim’s video game, Rob’s sock line. People also have Things to Say about Selfish, most of which can be summed up in a tweet from the writer Rachel Syme, whose recent Matter piece elucidates perfectly Kim’s importance to culture and to us.Is Kim’s butt art? Paper Magazine thinks so. Fashion photographer Steven Klein, too (also, Kanye). I happen to think her deployment of it is demonstrative of an understanding of objectification, desire, and surveillance not yet surpassed by anyone showing at this week’s Venice Biennale, but I also think it’s something more than art. Kim’s butt, and her face, and her clothes, and her selfies? They’re historic. They are, quite literally, history being made.
And there’s precedent for that.
Kim Kardashian has close historical analogs in women diarists who knew, both objectively and in their bones, that they’d soon be famous, that momentous occasions were momentous occasions worthy of being documented. Take, for example, the selfies of Kim with Paris Hilton, taken mostly in 2006, the year the latter’s fame seemed to be at its dizzying peak, the former working as her assistant. The pictures themselves remind us of the rise of Hilton, of course, the rise of this idea that one could construct one’s own fame narrative using a cameraphone, but also that by proximity Kardashian herself was also being coronated—inducted into a kingdom over which she would one day rule.Queen Victoria was a prolific diarist, and she, too, wrote about her own 1837 coronation breathless terms:
I went first to the robing room in the House of Lords, but as there were so many people there, I went to a dressing room where I put on the robe, which is enormously heavy. After this I entered the House of Lords preceded by all the officers of state, and Lord Melbourne bearing the sword of state walking just before me. He stood quite close to me on the left hand of the throne, and I feel always a satisfaction to have him near me on such occasions, as he is such an honest, good, kind-hearted man and is my friend, I know it.
Victoria knew this day was worth putting to paper, but she also knew (or suspected) that no one would see this diary during her lifetime. Only after her death, after many years on the throne, would anyone know how she felt during this historic occasion. Kim, in Selfish, cuts out the decades of waiting and says, “Here. Here is how I felt three years ago and how I feel now. Three years ago was history, and so next week shall be, too.”
Maria Bashkirtseva was a Ukrainian-born, French-raised teenager who, in 1876, wanted to be famous. She had the soul of an artist, she believed, and she loved to paint, and to draw, and to sing and to travel. She knew, writing in her diary, that fame would come to her one way or another, and it did—in death. Maria died of tuberculosis in 1884; shortly after, her diary was published and became a symbol of teenage girlhood in all its triumphs and disasters:
Poor diary, it contains all my strivings toward the light, all those aspirations that would be considered those of an imprisoned genius if they were crowned in the end with success. If, on the other hand, I never come to anything, they will be looked upon as the conceited ravings of a commonplace person.
Strivings toward the light! Couldn’t we put that very same phrase underneath every one of Kim Kardashian’s selfies and have it be entirely accurate? Perhaps altering the tense to make it clear that she isn’t actually striving but actually reaching the light every time she snaps a photo?
Kardashian is both historian and historical subject, and that’s something people have been trying to accomplish since the idea of the past, present, and future as separate entities was birthed. She’s chronicling her own peaks and valleys while living them and also, somehow, identifying moments from the recent past that will become history 20 years from now and using digital media as her archiving system. Perhaps the best example of this is her addressing of the recent nude photo hack that saw women in Hollywood terrorized by men on the Internet who’d hacked into iClouds and released intimate images of Oscar winners and Disney stars alike.
Kardashian has always maintained tight control over how we see her body, though we’ve seen lots of it. She’s in Playboy looking sexy and having labor pains on TV looking maternal and both images are of her own, if not devising, then presentation. A fully nude Kim appears in Selfish in a shot obtained by hackers last year. Her caption for the picture?
“I wasn’t intending to put these in the book but saw them online during the iCloud hack. I’m not mad at them. lol They are taken with a Blackberry and I don’t have iCloud…it’s all a mystery!”
That “lol”! When hackers tried to take control over her image away from Kim, she said “lol”! How many words have been written about the hack? Have any of them come closer to understanding the shrugging, banal horror of the digital age more than Kim’s “lol”?
It’s the third season premiere of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, in the spring of 2009. En route to sister Khloé’s court appearance, Kim can be seen in the corner of the frame holding up a very 2009-looking phone as Kris, her mother, exasperatedly shouts: “Kim! Stop taking pictures of yourself, your sister’s going to jail.” And so one Kardashian’s brush with the law is viewed through the lens of E!’s cameras but also through Kim’s face. If this isn’t why the Internet exists, and if this isn’t worthy of memorializing in book form, what is?
BY JESSICA KLEIN
We all know by now that YouTube is for a lot more than just your average cat video, but perhaps only those of us who have needed to get in some fast cramming for a history test know about the video platform’s educational value. Yes, YouTube is full of channels and videos dedicated to expanding your mind, covering high school test topics, higher-level learning, and those things we’re just curious about at all ages.
In the following growing YouTube channels, found via Openslate‘s Emerging Talent Tracker tool, are aimed at university students (one’s actually a virtual university’s channel), high school students (explaining, for instance, the plots of typical, school reads like “To Kill a Mockingbird”), and everyone else (uncovering the secrets of the brain and detailing conspiracy theories). See what you can learn by checking out these five channels:
This historical YouTube channel covers exactly what the title suggests: The Great War, or World War I. The coolest section includes the “This Week 100 Years Ago” videos, which, again, capture exactly what their titles suggest:
Exploring the brain, BrainCraft (yup, we’ve got another self-explanatory YouTube channel title) seeks to explain the neuron firings and gray matter happenings behind various physical phenomena, from recognizing Jennifer Aniston (their example, not mine) to finding certain things repulsive. Unsurprisingly, this is a PBS Digital channel.
Read the full story on the VideoInk’s website.
Screengrab via Wisecrack/YouTube
BY BREE BROUWER
Cartoon Network has entered the world of webseries with a new digital title. The animation-based TV network, which is home to the linear version of the popular webseries Annoying Orange, has released its first original digital series Mighty Magiswords on its Cartoon Network Anything app.
Created by Kyle Carrozza (character artist for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water), Mighty Magiswords introduces viewers to brother and sister Prohyas and Vambre, two warriors for hire ready to go on epic adventures with their trusty, magical swords at their sides. The digital series is currently available on the Cartoon Network Anything app, which delivers short-form content to users via a random stream.
Mighty Magiswords is just the first of more upcoming digital content from Cartoon Network based on the series. To supplement Mighty Magiswords, the animation network will add to the Anything app mini video games, activities, and interactive shorts, which allow Mighty Magiswords viewers to choose the endings of stories related to the series. All Mighty Magiswords content will be released across other Cartoon Network platforms in the future, including the network’s official site and its Watch Cartoon Network video app.
“As our first original digital series, Mighty Magiswords embodies everything kids love about a Cartoon Network series—but it has also been custom-developed to tell its story via interactive features where audiences can collect, contribute, share, and engage on digital platforms,” said Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network, in a release.
Screengrab via Cartoon Network/YouTube
In the new webseries Trailing, creator Steven Phillips-Horst plays Steven, a man working an election campaign for the “Queens Commissions Commissioner,” among others. His boss (played by Joanna Bradley) doesn’t understand social media. She asks Steven to “crowdstorm” ideas.
Five episodes in, Trailing certainly has shades of Veep, but its comedy doesn’t skewer Washington politics. Its comedy is in Steven’s befuddled expressions as he attempts to navigate his boss’s crosshairs and the Post-It note-cluttered office life. Bradley is fantastic as his wound-up boss, and it’s a refreshing switch-up of gender roles, especially when she fawns over fellow staffer Agnes (who “took a journalism class once”) while dismissing Steven’s ideas.
Phillips-Horst, who also stars in the Monica webseries, told the Daily Dot he would describe his character as “a younger, hotter Liz Lemon.”Trailing pulls from Phillips-Horst’s real experience working for New York City politicians like Cy Vance and Bill de Blasio circa 2012, before he was mayor. He relates that he taught de Blasio’s wife how to tweet, drafted fundraising emails, and was part of a team that was “notoriously disorganized.”
In the press materials for the series, he writes that “Politics can be a hollow business, more reflective of the hacks who toss around boiler-plate copy like it means something than the dreams of earnest activists or the promise of enfranchising the voiceless. However, I still love the horse race—and I cherish the breathless reporting of Politico. But in the foyers next to the elevators that lead to the hallways just adjacent to the corridors of power, there is a certain remove from reality. I found it to be endearing, funny, sad, and real.”
In episode 3, Steven has a dream about Bill Clinton (played by Phillips-Horst) showing up at his door and asking him for a blowjob. Later, he goes into work and finds the boss is out of town, so he watches porn and gets caught with a banana in his mouth by another office drone. Steven is a man with a possibly racist roommate and uncertainties about his job who gets caught masturbating in the office when the boss is out of town, just like everyone else. His sexuality is not the focus in Trailing; life is.
“I have not had a nighttime dream about a Bill Clinton beej,” he explained, “but I have had many, many fantasies about the following politicians: Marco Rubio, Scott Brown, Francois Hollande, Boris Johnson, Elizabeth Warren, Genghis Kahn.”
Episodes 6 and 7 of Trailing come out tomorrow, May 11.
Photo via Trailing
There are plenty of movies about good mothers. Take The Blindside, for instance: It’s a subversively racist film, but I’ll be damned if that isn’t a good mom right there. But we decided we wanted to have a little fun this Mother’s Day with “The Best Mother’s Day Horror Movies.”
But then we had some trouble reconciling Mommie Dearest as a horror movie, and even more trouble with giving Only God Forgives that label, and we weren’t about to write about some dreck like Hush or Mother’s Boys instead of those masterpieces. And so here we are.
We ended up going with “Worst Mothers,” which is an angle that I think is even more fun and tasteless, for this particular holiday, than the horror thing. Unfortunately, the change in our approach resulted in the cutting of Rosemary’s Baby, which makes this the second time that I’ve tried and failed to get the film into a roundup (but Father’s Day is coming up, and damn it, it will be going on that one). We were forced to replace that classic film with one of the aforementioned dreck ones, Mother’s Boys, but I promise you that while that film isn’t good, it is hilarious.
1) Only God Forgives (2013)
When director Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling—who, when my girlfriend says is hot, I find myself completely unable to argue otherwise—unleashed the massively cool Drive upon the world, most people forgot that, before Drive, Refn had been making aggressively strange films for well over a decade. Most fans of the film viewed Gosling’s Driver as a classic lone cowboy-type hero, completely missing the fact that Refn was deconstructing that archetype and presenting that sort of hero as a dangerously obsessive psychopath. These people didn’t realize that, had the Driver not beaten a man to death in an elevator immediately after kissing Carey Mulligan, and she’d had some time to react, she probably would have said something like “Whoa! We’re, umm… I actually just think of you as a friend.”
These people had not seen the madness that was Refn’s Bronson or Valhalla Rising, and so these people were completely unprepared when they sat down at Cannes to catch Refn and Gosling’s follow-up to Drive, Only God Forgives. Any pretension of badassery on Gosling’s end was gone, as was any sense of irony that would allow an audience to pretend they were watching a straight-faced heroic tale. Forgives was a stripped-down, hard-to-watch, inaccessible film about impotence in the face of one’s own destiny, and half the audience at its Cannes premiere openly booed at the screen while it played.At the heart of Gosling’s character’s impotence is his mother, Crystal, played with a chilling callousness by the usually sweet-on-screen Kristin Scott Thomas. She openly tells a date (who she knows right away is an escort) at a dinner with Gosling’s character, Julian, that his brother had a much larger penis and was the far better man between the two.
The plot is kickstarted by Julian’s brother being murdered for raping and murdering a 16-year-old prostitute. Julian knows his brother deserved to be murdered, and that he was a monster—but his mother wants revenge, and he’s unable to bring himself to go against her wishes. And so he goes about half-heartedly getting revenge, putting himself in grave danger, while making no real attempts to actually succeed at it. It’s a lose-lose situation for him—but he nonetheless goes along with it.
Crystal’s an awful mother, a kingpin of a small-time drug ring in Bangkok who pressures her son into killing men knowing full well that it will undoubtedly result in him getting killed right back. Her relationship with her son borders on incestuous, and she’s shaped Julian into somebody whose only sexual relationship is one with a prostitute who pleases herself while he sits tied to a chair.
Crystal is certainly a perfect fit for this list, as far as “worst mothers” go, but the film she’s in is as beautiful as it is difficult to digest. Just try to clear your mind of Drive before you watch it, and you’ll find something that, had Kubrick directed it 30 years ago, would be currently viewed as a psychologically complex masterwork of cinema. Also: Cliff Martinez’s score is amazing.
2) Carrie (2013)
I haven’t seen Brian De Palma’s Carrie in 15 years, so I went into the remake without too much prejudice. Once upon a time, a sequel to the originally Carrie, called The Rage: Carrie 2, was defecated into theaters… That film is fresher in my mind than the original, and all I know is the remake looks like The Shining next to it.Quality-wise, the 2013 Carrie feels more like an extremely good made-for-TV Stephen King adaptation than a film that was widely released theatrically, but the effects are top-notch, and the performances are fantastic. Chloë Grace Moretz is great as Carrie, despite the fact that her radiant beauty is at odds with the character, but Julianne Moore is the star performer of the film, and also the reason that it’s in this roundup.
The film opens with Moore’s Margaret (which, with apologies to all the Margarets out there, is such a great name for a crazy fundamentalist) giving birth to Carrie in her bedroom, alone, and then trying to stab her newborn in the face with a large pair of metal scissors. Unconsciously, this is the first time Carrie’s powers are used—the scissors stop an inch from her face, and Margaret takes this as a sign from God that she’s supposed to keep this child born out of wedlock and drenched in sin.
As it often goes with fundamentalism, the general reaction to sinning yourself is to double-down on your beliefs, with Margaret eventually quadrupling-down as Carrie gets older, doing stuff like locking her in a closet after she has her period in her high school’s locker room after gym class and is ridiculed by her classmates (and as this remake takes place in modern times, you better believe those kids are filming the whole thing on cell phones)—and calling her period a “blood curse.”
Moore’s performance is incredible, and—I don’t care how attached you are to the original—it alone makes this remake well worth watching. She’s sickly, frail, and just generally shuffles around in a manner that sends shivers down your spine. Her deliveries of simple throwaway lines are creepier than any jump scare could ever hope to be.
I’ve never read King’s book, but I’m willing to bet that this version is closer to it than De Palma’s—the new opening scene feels like something King would write, anyway. Thankfully, it maintains that classic King Ending that was used in De Palma’s version, the sort of ending where “the previous supernatural stuff ramps up exponentially and then boom, boom, boom—the end.” It actually works really well for this particular story, too, so hold on tight.
3) The Babadook (2014)
It might not be fair to call Essie Davis’s Amelia a “worst mother,” because her spiral into madness is, in all honesty, completely understandable. Her child is the worst child to ever exist. I’ve seen children at the mall that were only half as annoying as newcomer Noah Wiseman’s Samuel and had [very brief] thoughts of them being sucked into the escalator. Am I proud of that? No! I’m just saying: I can sympathize with Amelia when she snaps and screams at her son, and still even a bit when she eventually chases him around the house with a butcher knife.Still, she does do some awful things after being taken hold of by Mr. Babadook, and certainly enough to place her safely in this roundup. Plus, if we’re looking at Mr. Babadook as an allegory for depression, then we can place a bit of blame on Amelia for not coping with her depression sooner and allowing it to get so out of hand that she eventually tries very hard (if only briefly) to kill her kid. Yes, that’s the sort of blame that must always be accompanied by a huge heaping of sympathy, but nonetheless: She should have gotten her shit together sooner than she did.
I previously mentioned that Samuel was the worst child to ever exist, and holy fuck is he ever annoying, but this isn’t like Jake Lloyd’s annoyance as Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace; this character is supposed to be annoying, as it’s absolutely vital to the story that he’s as grating as possible. In other words—don’t be hard on actor Noah Wiseman for making you grit your teeth while watching the film, because while he will make you do that, it’s because he’s nailing his performance.
If you haven’t seen this yet, do it while it’s still streaming on Netflix. It’s kind of a must-see for film lovers of all stripes.
4) Mommie Dearest (1981)
This one’s also a bit unfair, but not because we can sympathize with Joan Crawford being an utter monster of a mother in the film—it’s probably safe to say that she’s even worse than a monster—but rather because the film itself embellished things a bit, and so we need to get something straight: The character Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest, played by Faye Dunaway, is just as bad (if not worse) than Only God Forgives’ Crystal, but we shouldn’t confuse the character with the real-life Crawford.
Things get trickier there: While her daughter’s memoir (the film’s source material) does include some bits where Crawford is batshit insane, her daughter—Christina Crawford—was appalled by the film’s treatment of her mother, and felt that the film amplified everything ugly and excised everything sweet from her relationship with her. In fact, Anne Bancroft was originally set to play Crawford, but she exited the project after concluding that it was a “hatchet job” on the late Hollywood star. Franco Zeffirelli was originally set to direct, but Christina didn’t like his vision of Crawford as a Hollywood martyr. (In hindsight, she probably would have preferred that film over the one delivered by director Frank Perry.)As it turned out, Faye Dunaway portrayed Joan Crawford in the film (as legend has it, she landed the role by showing up to Perry’s doorstep in character), and she acts her ass off in it. In fact, Dunaway was so sure that the role would land her an Oscar that, after it didn’t, she refused to ever speak about the film with an interviewer ever again and claimed that her loss was due to Joan Crawford’s ghost haunting her. I’m not sure if that claim was made in jest or not, but if ghosts by any chance do exist, there’s no way that Crawford’s isn’t haunting Dunaway for her portrayal of her in this flick.
She’s absolutely terrifying, to the point that I’d recommend staying away from this film if you endured any childhood trauma yourself that was related to your own mother. Upon its release, the film quickly became a cult classic—with audiences showing up with wire hangers and Ajax to participate in the film, à la The Rocky Horror Picture Show—and Paramount quickly changed gears to promote it as such (much to the dismay of Dunaway). But be warned: This does not mean that her performance isn’t still scary as hell, or that it’s not powerful enough to trigger a panic attack if you happened to have a crazy mother. (Note to my mother: Thank you for not being crazy.)
Fun fact: This is the highest rated film on IMDb to have swept the Razzies (including taking home the Worst Picture award), and “No wire hangers, ever!” is No. 72 on the American Film Institute’s top 100 movie quotes.
5) Mother’s Boys (1994)
Here’s the deal: When I said this was “hilarious” in the introduction to this article, I’d only watched the trailer, which is hilarious—after watching the movie, however, I’m afraid that it’s only kind of funny, but that it’s mostly just boring.This is one of those situations where a woman has gone completely evil and insane, and we’re not really sure why. Movies in general are still a sexist mess in our modern times, but they do deserve credit for getting a bit further away from the “Wild Woman” archetype played by Jamie Lee Curtis in this weird thriller. (The film’s sole moment of nudity occurs when Curtis’s boob briefly falls out while she’s screaming; that’s classic Wild Woman archetype right there.)
The gist is that she leaves her husband and kids for three years, returning only after he proposes to his new girlfriend. When she returns, she repeatedly attempts to seduce her still-husband, spraypaints WHORE on the side of his new fiancée’s Volvo, and eventually psychologically manipulates her oldest child into unwittingly aiding in the new woman’s attempted murder.
When a movie opens with John C. McGinley (Dr. Cox from Scrubs), you know that you’re either getting Point Break or this film. You better pray it’s Point Break, but I do think that—with a few drinks and the right romantic partner laughing at your side—Mother’s Boys can break just north of boring and veer into funny territory (especially if you make it to the end).
Screengrab via Netflix