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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    If you go to the movies enough, you may recognize a sound effect over and over again in action movies and think you're losing my mind.

    "I hear that sound everywhere," you might say to yourself, before looking around to make sure that the people sitting next to you aren't figments of your imagination. You might even pinch one—but don't do that. It'll annoy them, because they and that stupid sound are both very much real, and YouTuber Toxyoi has compiled some scenes to prove it:

    YouTuber Alfee94 probably has the best response to the video: "It's film's version of the bass dropping."

    So there you have it: The sounds you keep hearing in your favorite action movies really are all the same—and the voices in your heard are real, too, but you shouldn't listen to them.

    Screengrab via Toxyoi/YouTube

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    It’s a good time to be a Serial fan. Last month, the acclaimed series became the first podcast in history to win a Peabody. Last week, Adnan Syed, the convicted subject at the heart of the viral first season, got a huge break in his last appeal that could allow him to present new evidence in his case.

    And now, Serial producer Sarah Koenig has announced that the show is already gearing up for seasons 2 and 3. How’s that for an unexpected plot twist?

    In a newsletter emailed to Serial fans Wednesday, Koenig filled us all in on this happy development:

    [W]e are hard at work reporting not one, but two distinct new stories. This means we’re planning on a third season of Serial. And we hope it means we can reduce the amount of time between the end of Season Two and the beginning of Season Three. As it stands, we intend to launch Season Two this fall and Season Three next spring. Sorry - we can’t tell you details about the new stories yet. What we can say is that they’re very different from Season One, but no less interesting to us.

    This is great news for fans who need their Serial fix and can’t get it from the myriad podcasts analyzing the podcast that have sprung up in its wake—part of the so-called “Serial effect.”

    But the blatant teasing about the new storylines is frustrating for the many desperate fans who are dying to know what the next seasons will actually be about. Since the first season of Serial focused on a single story about a murder, it’s unlikely that the second season will involve criminal justice. It could involve anything

    That’s why Google’s autofill results for “What will season 2...” currently look like this:

    Until yesterday’s announcement, fans had no ETA about when the show’s second season, which was partially crowdfunded, would be arriving. They didn’t even know if Koenig and crew had a story. 

    Given the already intense speculation over the subject matter, the bombshell that the producers are currently working on stories for two seasons will undoubtedly ratchet up the theories, rumors, and general excitement until season 2 airs in the fall. 

    The possible split in themes also poses an interesting question for fans. Undoubtedly some fans who followed the storyline of Adnan Syed’s murder trial probably aren’t sure whether they will be interested in whatever might be coming down the road. On Reddit, concern over the split between fans who are only interested in Syed’s case and fans who are mainly interested in the podcast itself has contributed to increased tension, with the current mod of r/SerialPodcast recently proposing to put the entire forum on a brief hiatus in order to encourage posts about the show itself.

    “At this point, I feel like it will be impossible to use this sub for Season 2, whatever it might be,” one fan wrote in response to the proposal.

    But whatever seasons 2 and 3 might actually be about, as long as they continue to bring us plenty of mystery, controversy, and “Mail Kimp” jokes, we’ll be more than satisfied.

    Photo via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY SA 4.0)

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    If the Jurassic World press tour was enough to make the Chris Pratt fatigue sneak up on us—he’s been everywhere lately—his video of some downtime with his and Anna Faris’s son might be enough to reel us back in.

    Jack is only 2, but he’s already reciting the Pledge of Allegiance with a little assistance from Pratt himself in honor of Memorial Day. He’s got the stance and the words, but with a little bit of practice he’ll be saying it on his own in no time.

    And if you’ve been paying attention to Pratt lately, when he hasn’t been teaching us how to act while “drunk” or getting trumped in dinosaur trivia, he’s been gushing about Jack during his interviews. According to Pratt, Jack thinks that his dad is a firefighter and is able to politely manipulate him.

    Now that one we can see.

    Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube

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    Now that the final king of late night, David Letterman, has signed off, there exists an empty void that can’t be filled by the safe, vanilla comedy of Jimmys Fallon and Kimmel, Seth Meyers, or James Corden. Maybe Stephen Colbert will be good, but maybe we’re just afraid to admit that he’s going to be a diluted version of himself, nowhere near as groundbreaking as his overbearing conservative alter-ego on Comedy Central. It’s desolate terrain out there on late-night TV, but there is a glimmer of hope, an oasis if you will, in the form of the no-holds-barred weirdness of The Chris Gethard Show, premiering tonight on Fusion.

    OK, maybe it’s not exactly late-night TV since it airs at 10pm ET, but Gethard does promise to bring back some grit and wackiness to the variety talk show format.

    TCGS began on New York City public access and ran for four years. Very much a passion project of Gethard’s, Fusion picked up the show in January and it’s retained much of its original format—including improvisational weirdness, celebrity (comedian) guests, topic-based phone calls from fans (during the livestream, which airs on Fusion’s website Tuesdays at 8pm ET), a DIY-stage full of homemade memorabilia, and Gethard’s onstage audience. In fact, when Fusion picked up the show in January, they insisted that they get the public access show.

    “[Fusion] pulled us aside,” Gethard told Splitsider, “and said ‘We wanna be really clear: We know what we’re getting into, we want public access. Bring the public access to our network.”

    Here's a taste of TCGS during the public access years:

    The Chris Gethard Show promises to bring an endless surge of mutants, weirdos, and laughs into your home. You’re definitely not going to get that from any of the Jimmys.

    H/T AV Club | Screengrab via The Chris Gethard Show/YouTube

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    With the NFL offseason ramping up and teams participating in workouts and mini-camps in preparation for the 2015 regular season, here's a reminder of where the league stands on the newest forms of social media.

    Alas, the idea of using Periscope to broadcast a practice or, at the very least, specific drills featuring different position groups might be fascinating for a fan to experience. 

    But, with the exception of some preseason practices in August, NFL practices are closed to the public (even the media covering the practices are usually prohibited from livetweeting the proceedings), and they're closed off to the public for a reason. It's because football coaches are some of the most paranoid people you'd ever meet, and the idea of allowing anybody they don't know to watch a team prepare would be mind-boggling.

    For now, anyway. Perhaps in the future, the NFL could be convinced that Periscope could enhance a fan's experience without compromising a team's ability to get ready for a game.

    Either way the question of Periscope for sporting events isn't going away. While HBO and Showtime and anybody associated with the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao boxing match earlier this month did all they could to shut down anybody with a Periscope account from broadcasting the fight—it didn't exactly work—it seems likely that these kind of livestreaming apps will continue to make life difficult for professional sports leagues.

    “We’ll spend some time this offseason evaluating the technology and how it applies to us and continue to closely monitor how the industry and how other sports leagues are handling them,” an NFL spokesperson told the New York Daily Newsearlier this month.

    While the NFL has a few months to determine its next step forward, the hockey playoffs and baseball's regular season are ongoing, and though it seems that anything broadcast on free TV or basic cable, where most NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL games reside, wouldn't be threatened too badly by Periscope—why would somebody want to watch on the Periscope app when it's relatively inexpensive to watch it on TV?—that might not actually be the case.

    “This is a concern for our business overall,” a network industry source told the Daily News. “It’s a concern for every grip, every lighting director, all the way up to the CEO of the company. This could be a Napster-type of thing. It’s going to evolve. It’s troubling, because you don’t know where it’s going to go.”

    Photo via Thomson20192/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    The Fine Bros. are at it again. When we last saw them, they were quizzing teens about your favorite tunes from the ‘90s in the first episode of their hit webseries, "Do They Know It?" This time, instead of making you feel like your parents felt when you laughed at them for listening to Chicago, they’re making you feel like your parents felt when you made fun of them for watching Welcome Back Kotter.

    In episode two, they find out whether or not the same panel of teens can guess the ‘90s sitcom by simply hearing the theme song.

    The first theme in the lineup is “As Days Go By,” from Family Matters. Many of the teens are certain it’s Full House. Little did they know Jesse Frederick was the theme song baron of the ‘90s, as he performed both theme songs, in addition to “Step by Step” from Step by Step (also included in the quiz as a Full House decoy). Only one teen could identify Family Matters correctly based on the song. When shown a picture of Steve Urkel, they all guessed the series correctly. Perhaps “Do the Urkel” should have been the theme.

    The teens are less familiar with some of the more adult-oriented sitcom themes, unable to pick out Home Improvement, Roseanne, and even Martin. A photo of Jonathan Taylor Thomas wasn’t enough to steer the teens to identify Home Improvement correctly. “Is it Corey something?” one of the teens guessed.

    In an unsurprising turn of events, every teen guessed The Fresh Prince of Bel-Airbefore Will Smith’s life got flip turned upside down. Of course, whether he’s in the movies, TV, or in music, Will Smith knows how to churn out the timeless hits.

    If these teens are the future, I have a feeling everything is going to be OK. 

    Screengrab via REACT/YouTube

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    One of the great things about the Internet is the way crowdfunding has brought back once-obscure pieces of history. Kung Fury is one such project—a tribute to the cheesy B-movies of the 1980s that is practically dripping with nostalgia.

    You can watch the half-hour movie below, but you probably don't have time for that, so scroll past the video to read our thoughts. 

    First, a quick history of Kung Fury. According to the movie's official website, Kung Fury is "a love letter to the 80's," the result of a crowdfunding campaign that began in late 2013. Two days later, director David Sandberg reached his $200,000 goal, a feat that seemed to shock him.

    "To be honest I doubted we would reach our goal at all," Sandberg wrote on Dec. 28, 2013. "Well... we reached it and exceeded it in 2 days!!!! This is INSANE!"

    Though he made a new goal of $1 million to turn his original 30-minute film idea into a feature, he decided about a month into crowdfunding that his goal wasn't feasible (even though he had raised about $630,000 by late January 2014). So he left it at a half-hour.

    Still, he made this vow: "My number one priority is to deliver the most kick-ass internet-funded movie this world has ever seen." 

    Watching Kung Fury, it's clear what his influences are. Sandberg, born in Sweden, weaned himself on kick-ass 1980s American action movies in which Sly Stallone, Chuck Norris, and the future governor of California ruled all.

    As Variety noted, Kung Fury is "also a loving homage to the era when the B movie became America’s greatest export: When English-as-second-language stars — like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sylvester Stallone (granted, Rocky wasn’t born abroad, but he sure sounds like it) — dropped catchphrases instead of dialogue, making it easy for foreigners to follow movies where exploding cars and martial-arts action served as the main attraction."

    The influence on Sandberg's movie is immediately apparent.

    By the time the movie is 3.8 percent finished—in other words, 70 seconds into the film—there have been four people shooting other people with guns, three major explosions, one kick-ass looking arcade with a game that shoots multiple people, one meathead wearing a Gold's Gym tank top and carrying a boombox on his shoulder, a gold chain that would make any member of Run DMC jealous, and a baby carriage on fire. And this is before we even meet the protagonist, Kung Fury himself.

    So yeah, that's pretty much what this movie is all about: Guns, heads exploding, cars exploding, and excellent 1980s-style one-liners. It is (slightly) over-the-top and a (little bit) ridiculous. Obviously, I'm kidding. It's ridiculously over the top all the way around.

    But here's my question: Do you have to have lived in the '80s and early '90s in order to fully appreciate what Sandberg is trying to accomplish? There are a few excellent VCR gags, as seen below, but will Millennials understand the struggle that we Gen Xers went through while trying to watch a movie on a VHS tape?

    Will Millennials relate to the awesome power of the Nintendo Power Glove? Why does Triceratops have a British accent? How does Hitler know how to use a cellphone? And just how do Viking women communicate so well in modern-day English?

    These are questions without answers, but I suppose it doesn't really matter. Nor should it matter what I think of the movie. (For the record, I thought it was enjoyable, probably for the same reasons Chuck Klosterman laid out in this piece for Esquire about why Snakes on a Plane was made.) Kung Fury exists because a bunch of fans with money to spend on an Internet project wanted it to be so.

    Whether the movie is good or whether it sucks is hardly the point. The movie exists, so everybody who cared about getting it made is a winner.

    Screengrab via LaserUnicorns/YouTube

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    Every day, dozens of free rap releases hit the Web. These are the moment's most interesting and resonant—and this week one jailed rap superstar is all over the best stuff.

    1) DJ Clue - Banned from CD 2015

    Prior to being a collection of 20-plus MP3s in a download folder, a mixtape was an actual physical object that people could hold in their hands. Mixtapes have always been so inextricably linked to rap music that no one bothered to change the name as they evolved from Maxell cassette tapes with Sharpie written on them to CDs with cheap cover art, but maybe the most well-known version of mixtapes were the bootlegs, compilations, and demos that circulated from New York City around the world in the late ‘90s. And if anyone has a case as the most important person in that scene it's Queens’ finest, DJ Clue.

    Clue has continued to release mixtapes as they migrated to the Internet, even as the power of DJs who exclusively make rap songs has diminished along with his own relevance. So while this new Internet tape Banned from CD 2015 shouldn’t be compared to classics like Desert Storm 98, it is a pretty good compilation in the current year. It features some New York mixtape veterans rapping as well as expected, some remixes to radio hits, and French Montana rapping over La Bouche's everlong “Be My Lover.” It’s neither a throwback nor does it try anything new. The few standouts are the tape-era beat for “Basic Bitch” by longtime Philly collaborators Meek Mill and producer Jahlil Beats, and recently murdered Queens rapper Chinx hitting wavy triplets on “Two on Me.” There’s at least five songs that are really good and a lot of filler, which shows how well DJ Clue has adapted to the state of rap mixtapes in 2015.

    Remarkable reference: “I’m harder than Charles Dutton/That’s Roc, my n***a”

    2) Gucci Mane - King Gucci

    Gucci Mane is in jail. Since going to jail roughly a year ago, he’s released seven mixtapes and 11 albums on iTunes (15 if counting each of the two triple albums) of the varying quality I’d expect from all the unreleased Gucci verses archived by the one intern who currently runs his record company. That said, that same intern seems to have done a pretty good job compiling and A&R-ing King Gucci, all things considered. There are features recruited from poppington trap rappers Fetty Wap and the Migos, as well as Gucci’s longtime associates PeeWee Longway and Young Scooter, who always complement each other. The tape is also shorter than most of Gucci’s other incarcerated releases, and thus feels more essential.

    Halfway through the tape, nothing stood out to me. The song with Fetty Wap is the most realized, but that’s not saying much. It’s the second half of the tape, however, that makes this tape the best I’ve heard since he got locked up. “Put Some Wood in Her” starts off with some bouncy synths and contains some of Gucci’s best rapping in recent memory. Lines like “Took her to the closet fucked her right where the broom be/Here’s a room key baby girl you can meet me/We ain’t gotta talk you can freak me discretely” remind me of the wordplay from Gucci’s ridiculous mixtape run in 2008. The song after that features the rowdy Chicago teenager Chief Keef—who’s matched Gucci well stylistically in their songs in the—over a crazy piano-driven beat by Keef himself. The final track drops an old-school hydraulic beat for Gucci to go off on. The way he splits up the bar “Bitches say/I’m stuck up” is vintage Guwop. If Gucci’s camp held back on releasing everything he’s recorded and used a little quality control, I think more people would be eagerly awaiting his release date in late 2016.

    Remarkable reference:“I ball but I ain’t hooping you can call me Mark Cuban”

    3) Migos & Rich the Kid - Still on Lock

    Despite no longer keeping an official count, this is the fourth mixtape between Atlanta rappers Rich the Kid and the trio Migos. Their first came out just as the Migos found national fame, and it quickly becomes evident why they continue to collab and why Rich is signed to the Migos’s label. They work well together and share an affinity for similar bass-heavy beats with big pockets of empty space, but they rarely actually rap together on the same song on this release. On all four of their mixtapes, the tracklist will go back and forth between a Rich the Kid and a Migos song. As with their other joint albums (split EPs?), the point is not to experiment or find their next hit, but have fun in the studio and get out some half-baked ideas that can’t stand alone fully worked out.

    On the Migos-helmed “People’s Elbow,” the song comes to life like a cartoon drawing itself from scratch. It almost sounds like the whole thing was made up in a single listen when Quavo utters the line, “My wrist like the Rock People’s Elbow” and slowly builds something resembling a song. Meanwhile, Rich the Kid sounds excited to rap like the Migos with the Migos, gaining confidence with the cosign. The most memorable moments on the tape are when guests show up, like when Gucci Mane goes the entire verse rhyming every bar with each other on “Lowest” or when Rich Homie Quan goes full-R&B over a Lord of the Rings flute on “She Ain’t Goin.” I do hope I’m not just being optimistic when I say this tape is mostly throwaway ideas and Migos are still capable of thinking up better ones.

    Remarkable reference: “Prescription for lean came from Dr. Phil/Hit a n***a in the crotch/Jermaine O’Neal”

    4) Fredo Santana - Ain’t No Money Like Trap Money

    I listened to this mixtape three times all the way through and it’s hard to remember specific moments. Sure, I don’t get enough sleep and listen to too much generic street rap music, but there’s a lullabye quality to this tape. The woozy production and repetitive, crawling autotune flows create a hypnotic effect, putting me to sleepbut in a good way like ambient music and not like J. Cole. There are a lot of notable featured guests but not a lot of notable features–just Gucci Mane and Kevin Gates, really. As a Chicago rapper who came up behind Chief Keef, making some type of drone rap must be a success.

    Fredo dives a little too deep into R&B on a couple songs and the results are genuinely enjoyable. The song “I’m Going” is a delicate boat sailing on prescription cough syrup, one that sounds like when the Bay Area rapper Lil B had hundreds of his fans making freeform “Based freestyles.” The song with Chief Keef is pretty good as far as Keef songs go, but the best distillation of the sound this seems to be going for is when the song plays with the pitch and tempo at the end of “Pass Me My Double Cup.” Maybe I’m the only one who can fall asleep with Fredo in the cut, but even still some of this stuff that resembles avant garde rap deserves recognition.

    Remarkable reference:“When I hopped onto my plane I feel like Lynyrd Skynyrd”

    5) Snootie Wild - Ain’t No Stoppin Me

    Snootie Wild is the North Memphis rapper responsible for the hits “Yayo” and “Made Me.” He has a great talent for making catchy, bouncy southern rap, which shows up right away with the presence of “Rich or Not.” It has Snootie’s best features: finding unique melodies within a flexible rap scheme, a chorus that’s impossible to evict from your head, and really great ad-libs. Luckily, he also steps out of that formula on the rest of Ain’t No Stoppin Me.

    This tape goes all over the place, from the sort of arena trap that’s more parking lot turn-up than anything on the dance floor, to baby-bottom smooth Isley Brothers rhythms. There’s even a West Coast ratchet party track, and that’s not even including the features. Those include fellow Memphian Yo Gotti, late New York rapper Chinx, the recently released from prison Baton Rouge legend Lil Boosie, and the greater Miami area madman Gunplay. In most cases, it sounds more like Snootie is featured rather than the other way around, but it’s good that he’s stepping out of his comfort zone. Snootie Wild’s next big hit may not be on this mixtape, but it’s coming.

    Remarkable reference:“Make your bitch cha-cha pussy do the hopscotch”

    Screengrab via drteaisback/YouTube

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    No need to drill it down to the Sweet 16 and pick colors, rapper Lil Mama has released the definitive, essential anthem that will come to define the summer. Her song "Sausage" debuted early Friday and it's an adventurous, armpit-sweat block banger that incorporates the organic, empowering work of classroom teenagers. 

    Eggs! Bacon! Grits!

    Playing on the #sausagemovement Vine meme that badass kids are perfecting, the song draws direct inspiration from this viral, 30-second hook.

    It's a perfectly timed swipe and swoop from Lil Mama, who brings a bevy of manic personas to this hip-hop love letter. I was jotting down the references but she just calmly thanks them all in the liner notes: Slick Rick, Big Sean, Atown, Teena Marie, Method Man, Fetty Wapp, Dougie Fresh, Lil Vicious, Mary J. Blige, and Big Mac for "starting the sausage movement."

    More viscerally, "Sausage" is a foaming, infected track that will soon be inescapable. 

    H/T WorldStarHipHop | Screengrab via WorldStarHipHop/YouTube

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    Last night’s Lip Sync Battle pitted two earworm hits of today against two staples of the ’80s and ’90s. 

    In the first round, Marlon Wayans took a spirited run around Pharrell’s “Happy,” complete with his trademark hat, but Queen Latifah dropped the mic with her take on En Vogue’s hit “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It).”

    For round 2, Wayans did an emotional reading of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” but Latifah explained she was going to “smash him,” then literally dropped the mic on LL Cool J’s “Rock the Bells.”

    Obviously Latifah swept the battle, but that song might have had something to do with it. 

    Screengrab via Lip Sync Battle on Spike/YouTube 

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    The hashtag #BeyonceAlwaysOnBeat has been dominating social media this week, as fans and collagists race to create the perfect Beyoncé mashup. But one in particular is here to rip apart the fabric of your ’90s childhood. 

    Turns out the video for “Single Ladies” is the perfect mirror for the DuckTales theme song, which has gotten its share of mashups. Only ’90s kids will remember! 

    Oh, and here’s a rap mix of Scrooge McDuck’s money swim for good measure. 

    H/T Uproxx | Photo via hotgossipitalia/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III

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    Everywhere you turn, there he is. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shows up in your Internet feed. One minute he’s officiating some comedian’s wedding; the next, he’s setting a Guinness World Record for most selfies taken in three minutes (105). He’s the Bill Murray of the Internet generation, appearing almost as if from nowhere, doing things no one would believe if you told them. 

    Most of his antics can, of course, be attributed to the big year he’s having. Coming off the relentless promotion of Furious 7, Johnson hopped back on his jet to promote his mega-earthquake disaster flick, San Andreas, which opens today. In June, Johnson will premiere his new HBO series, Ballers, that looks like a cross between Arli$$ and Entourage.

    He’s the Bill Murray of the Internet generation, appearing almost as if from nowhere, doing things no one would believe if you told them. 

    Sure, Johnson could be passively snoozing through his press junkets, but following his own mantra to “be the hardest working person in the room,” he takes that extra step to make his promotions unique, memorable, and fun. It’s that accessibility that makes Johnson the “People’s Champion.” And in 2015, he’s securing his spot as one of the world’s biggest movie stars by doing what he does best: being Dwayne Johnson.

    However, one thing about Johnson’s explosive film career stands out to me. Although he is a household name with a devoted social media following and dialed-in presence, San Andreas will be a first for the actor: Instead of a spinoff or a sequel, the blockbuster is his first time toplining a big-budget original property. As he told the New York Times, “the stakes are higher.” 

    If San Andreas falters in the box office, Johnson’s status as an A-lister could stand on shaky ground.

    At a time when audiences are asking for more diversity in Hollywood, Dwayne Johnson stands out as one of a small handful of actors of color in a sea of whiteness. Johnson’s cinematic successes have generally been with the help of an ensemble cast or in roles in previously established franchises. 

    It’s easy to forget that his scene-stealing stint as the cartoonishly chiseled Hobbs started five movies into the Fast & Furious franchise. Injected into the sequel to Rise of Cobra, Johnson had the help of Adrienne Palicki and Bruce Willis in carrying G.I. Joe: Retaliation; it also served as a passing of the torch from Channing Tatum, who starred in 2009’s horrendous first installment. 

    Naturally, Johnson’s aware of this trend. In the opening monologue of his fourth time hosting Saturday Night Live, Johnson crooned a sensual tune about his position as “franchise Viagra,” referring to the ways in which he’s been cast in sequels to boost box office earnings.

    However, box offices aren’t “thumpin’” when Dwayne Johnson is the only leading man.

    Last year’s Hercules performed poorly at the domestic box office, earning just $72 million in the U.S.; however, the film made its money back in the international market (to the tune of $170 million), speaking to Johnson’s global draw. 

    Not only was Hercules not a domestic moneymaker, it just wasn't any good; however, that wasn’t Johnson’s fault. Odie Henderson of noted, “Watching Hercules you can feel your intelligence being insulted in almost every frame.” The New York Timesreview jeered that Hercules is “tongue-in-cheek revisionist mythology, pitched at classics students who prefer to attend their lectures stoned.” 

    Hercules was so poorly received domestically, that only a star as resilient as Dwayne Johnson could survive such a lashing.

    The year before Hercules bombed domestically, Dwayne Johnson starred in Snitch. The movie barely broke even and was met with fair to positive reviews, but Johnson's performance received notice. While the New York Times' Stephen Holden couldn’t see past Johnson’s imposing stature, Richard Roeper declared that Johnson “[delivered] the best work of his career playing a guy who squares off against a pack of small-time street thugs.”  

    The problem with these movies, as well as some of Johnson’s previous work as the leading man, amounts to growing pains as he worked to find his niche in Hollywood. With a few exceptions (Gridiron Gang is still one of my favorite movies starring Johnson), it was hard to figure out what to do with the former wrestling champ. Is he an everyday blue-collar Joe? Is he an intimidating super soldier? Is he or is he not The Rock?

    It was tough to separate that initial identity—the man in the ring who always wanted to know if you could smell what he was cooking—from the actor who could step into a role with charisma, nuance, and a smirk if the situation called for it. 

    Is he an everyday blue-collar Joe? Is he an intimidating super soldier? Is he or is he not The Rock?

    As Melena Ryzik notes in her New York Times profile of Johnson, he didn’t begin to garner such wide appeal until his first time hosting SNL in 2000. The appearance not only introduced him to a whole new audience, he demonstrated much more versatility and personality as Dwayne Johnson in those 90 minutes than he could as The Rock in the WWE. 

    “He has a wonderful sense of timing, he has an innate theatricality and because he projects strength, the audience kind of relaxes with him,” SNL producer Lorne Michaels told the Times. “He could do nuance, he could do subtle, he could do big and broad.” It still took roughly a decade for him to dial into the Dwayne Johnson brand—a process which, Johnson insists, he could only undertake by being 100 percent “me.”

    His online persona certainly feels like he’s being himself. He broadcasts daily inspiration, movie hype, and straight-up charm to nearly 24 million followers on Twitter and Instagram, creating a sense for fans that they are part of his daily life, or at least catching an honest glimpse of it. 

    What's refreshing about Johnson is that conveys a genuine sense of appreciation for his success, often sharing personal stories of times he was down and out—most notably when he was cut from his football team in 1995 with only $7 in his pocket—or his heartbreaking story of his mom’s eviction when he was 14. Using social media in such a way connects him with audiences, too, so that when he steps into the role of everyman, it’s not such a stretch.

    What's refreshing about Johnson is that conveys a genuine sense of appreciation for his success.

    In San Andreas, Johnson’s character flies a rescue helicopter for the L.A. Fire Department, combining elements of the action hero (helicopter + giant muscles) with the other aspects of his character, a vulnerable blue-collar dad and soon-to-be ex-husband. But this time, maybe it won’t be so unbelievable to critics. Johnson’s fans know there’s an honesty to the vulnerability he performs on screen, and that he can inhabit both spaces.

    Absolutely, we want to see The Rock kick ass onscreen while wielding a giant machine gun seconds after he just broke off his cast simply by flexing (arguably the best part of Furious 7). However, if he can do that and shed a tear in the same take, then he’s got the “it factor” that makes Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Will Smith such bankable stars. 

    Johnson’s in a position to assume his rightful place on the A-list. And even if San Andreas flops—but, really, why would it?—Dwayne Johnson’s going to keep pushing upward, because he’s nothing if not the hardest worker in the room.

    Feliks Garcia is a writer, powerlifter, and foster of homeless cats. He holds an MA in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, is Offsite Editor for the Offing, and previously editedCAP Magazine.

    Screengrab via Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube

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    The 1999 thriller Cruel Intentions is one of those movies that transcends its '90s tag. It's gone on to influence a whole new generation with its camp, and now there's even a musical version of it. 

    Last night, stars Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Selma Blair reunited at the musical in L.A.—minus co-star Ryan Phillippe—and apparently, none of them have aged. 

    They also offered social media some meltdown material when Gellar and Blair reenacted the movie's famous kiss, which definitely made me feel things when I was 19. 

    Gellar also posted photos of herself and Buffy co-star Alyson Hannigan last week. Is she poised for a comeback? Please just say there will be no more Cruel Intentions sequels

    H/T Vulture | Photo via Reese Witherspoon/Instagram 

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    Be very careful what options you click on your Uber app, especially if you're a celebrity, or you could end up in an unexpected carpool situation like Kristen Bell did this week.

    The Frozen actress mistakenly thought the “pool” option on Uber was a fun summer reference, until her driver pulled over to pick up other passengers during a trip home. Luckily for the Internet, she tweeted the entire unexpected carpool experience.

    Once Bell’s driver picked up her new companions, things got a little awkward.

    In the end, Bell made it home safe and sound. And UberPool couldn’t have asked for better promotion. Perhaps it should just start sending unsuspecting celebrities on surprise carpools all over L.A. and see what happens.

    H/T US Magazine | Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III

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    We’re so hyped for the Wachowskis’ upcoming Netflix series Sense8 that we didn’t think anything could make us more excited, but the latest promo release of trailers for all of the titular eight characters have proven us wrong.

    Just check out this opening trailer in which we see a Korean office drone named Sun unloading some of her new superstrength on her coworkers:


    As we learned from the first trailer, the notably multicultural show, which features Lost’s Naveen Andrews, focuses on a group of eight people across the world who discover they've become psychically linked. Think Orphan Black meets Heroes, but with more diversity.

    If that sounds enticing, the rest is even better. The ensemble cast includes, per TV Line, “a closeted Mexican telenovela hunk, an Icelandic party girl, a German safe-cracker… an African bus driver and a transgender American blogger.” There's also “Jonas, an apparently magic African-American who appears to all of the ‘visionaries,’ and his evil counterpart, Mr. Whispers.”

    If all of that doesn’t sway you, these trailers will.








    Sense8 lands on Netflix on June 5, which is a week longer than we are prepared to wait for this awesomeness. Bring on the Bollywood psychic genderqueer pansexual soulbonding, guys; we can't wait.

    H/T GeekTyrant; Screengrab via Netflix/YouTube

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    When Taylor Swift added synchronized, light-up bracelets to her 1989 tour, giving them out to all concertgoers, she probably had no idea how important they would turn out to be for a few of her fans. 

    In a post on the pop star's website, Avery Talbot writes about her friends, Elizabeth and Caroline Dazzio, and a third, unnamed girl, driving home following Swift's Baton Rouge, La., concert on May 22. They were involved in an accident after Elizabeth became tired and fell asleep at the wheel. 

    Elizabeth was knocked unconscious and the other two girls were trapped in the car, unable to call for help because their cell phones were dead. "You could smell the gas and smoke," Caroline tells WBRZ. "I was just thinking we need to get out of this car." 

    That was when they realized their bracelets from Swift's concert could still light up when touched, so the girls began tapping the bracelets on the windows and eventually got the attention of a passing car, whose occupants helped pull the girls free and called 911.

    Caroline and the third friend doing are fine, and Elizabeth is expected to be released from the hospital soon, all of which T-Swift was very glad to hear.

    Swift has more than 50 shows left on her tour—hopefully this is the first and only one where the bracelets are needed to save her fans from a dangerous situation.  

    Photo via Eva Rinaldi/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

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    HBO could soon be home to an odd extraterrestrial character and talk show host. The television network has ordered a pilot from Funny or Die based on its YouTube webseries The Gorburger Show.

    Created by directors and writers Josh Martin and Ryan McNeely, The Gorburger Show will be based on the same premise as the Funny or Die series. In Gorburger, the titular character (voiced by T.J. Miller) is a giant blue alien who has taken over a Japanese talk show, holding the staff and crew hostage while attempting to learn about humanity by way of celebrity, artist, and cultural icon interviews. The HBO pilot of Gorburger will feature guest stars MobyEd Helms, and Johnny Knoxville, as well as a performance from the band Eagles of Death Metal.

    Martin and McNeely will executive produce The Gorburger Show pilot alongside Dave Becky of 3 Arts, Sean Boyle and Mike Farah of Funny or Die, and Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone (two of the Lonely Island guys who have a development deal with FOX) under their Party Over Here production banner. Miller also executive produced and wrote the pilot for HBO, which is currently in production in Los Angeles.

    The Gorburger Show is certainly not the first webseries to be picked up by networks for traditional television broadcast. HBO is also working on a six-episode order of Vimeo’s High Maintenance for release later in 2015. And the TruTV network recently picked up two series from CollegeHumorAdam Ruins Everything and Jake and Amir.

    HBO has not revealed a premiere date for The Gorburger Show as of yet.

    Screengrab via the Live Room powered by Warner Music/YouTube 

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    Apple may have had a period of exclusivity, but HBO is not content with gating HBO Now to any individual platform—soon, it will be available via another major digital distribution partner: Google Play.

    This summer, HBO Now will be available for download on Android devices. It will also feature Chromecast support for iOS, Android, and Web browsers on desktop and laptop computers, and soon after, Google will make HBO Now, as well as its TV Everywhere counterpart HBO Go, available on Android TV.

    The announcement was made by Sundar Pichai, SVP of products at Google, during his keynote presentation on the first day of the search giant’s annual I/O developer conference.

    “We’re looking forward to expanding our relationship with Google through HBO Now. We have seen through social media that there is great demand for the service among Android and Chromecast users and we’re excited to deliver HBO NOW to them,” said Bernadette Aulestia, EVP of domestic network distribution at HBO, in a statement released to the press.

     Photo via Harrison Weber/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    Hannibal ended its second season with an utter bloodbath that didn't bode well for, well, basically anyone on the show except the titular character. 

    But from the looks of season 3, which lands on NBC next week, things have been going just fine for Hannibal himself. Mads Mikkelsen's mild-mannered, utterly diabolical character has been living in the lap of luxury while we were gnawing our fingernails with worry (no other body parts, promise). 

    In this exclusive preview for the season opener, "Antipasto," we get a gorgeously filmed glimpse of what seems to be his sabbatical in Florence. Hannibal appears to be deep in his study of human hearts, casually surrounded by macabre instruments of human torture in the world's creepiest research lab. It's gorgeous but cold, much like Hannibal himself.

    And Hannibal looks a bit bored. This can't be good.

    Like everything else about Bryan Fuller's intricate show, the aesthetic is deceptively beautiful—the seductive lure Fuller has used to attract some of the hottest names in horror to helm episodes of this show. 

    Refined, classical, and quiet, this preview practically drips with mayhem and carnage in absentia—and the less we know about what those terrifying iron jaws are for, or what's stored in those rows of display cases, the better.

    Hannibal season 3 premieres June 4 at 10pm ET. 

    Screengrab courtesy NBC

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    The Internet is completely obsessed with Mad Max: Fury Road, so this Imgur photoset showing the film's post-production process probably would have gone viral no matter what, even if the changes it showed were only minor.

    But according to these before/after images, which come from Fx magazine's new detailed rundown of the film's visual effects, nearly every shot of the film was enhanced using painstaking CGI.

    The photoset, which has racked up over a million views in half a day, shows the seamless integration between the film's jawdropping practical effects, achieved with a huge stunt crew, and the equally huge visual effects production behind the scenes:

    The photoset also clearly illustrates a key part of filming that the movie's cinematographers John Seale and David Burr discuss at the one-hour mark of this presentation to an Australian cinematography group. Director George Miller rigorously had the camera crew place all of their subjects at the center of the frame in every sequence. This is a strange and bizarre technique, and the crew didn't understand the request at the time. But as Seale notes, "It came out later, that it was in the editing—he knew he was going to cut as fast as he could but not lose information on every shot."

    Essentially what Miller did was place his subjects squarely in the middle of the frame so that he could CGI the hell out of everything around them:

    It's a simple, radical, and powerful technique.

    You can see the full gallery of before/after shots, and read and view much more information about the film on the original Fx article, complete with video footage showing the enhancements.

    Photo via Imgur

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