Celebrity

The Johnny Depp Backlash Is Justified: He’s Lost His ’90s Cool

In a recent article for The A.V. Club, writer Jesse Hassenger argues that the Johnny Depp backlash is “nonsense,” because for the past decade, since he’s been a big movie star with a brand like Pirates of the Caribbean as his focal point, he’s had the same ratio of hits to duds. … Read More

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Stephen Colbert’s Super-Charming ‘Late Show’ Appearance Bodes Well for His New Gig

The funny thing about David Letterman announcing his retirement and CBS responding a week later by revealing that Stephen Colbert would take over The Late Show is this: it was sort of like they’d hired an unknown, considering America doesn’t have much of an idea who Stephen Colbert the guy is, since he’s always been performing through several layers of comedy. (The confusion wasn’t unlike what happened when the world first heard about a tall, geeky redheaded comedy writer by the name of Conan O’Brien.) Even when Colbert was starting out, he was performing in shows like Strangers With Candy with Amy Sedaris, another comedian who loves to put a good costume and several meta-layers of comedy between the audience and “herself.” … Read More

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Get Off Instagram, James Franco: The Photo Sharing App Is No Place To Diss Your Critics

James Franco can do anything. He can act well enough to get an Academy Award nomination or to be in the summer’s biggest movie, write books, novels, short stories, and poetry, enroll in 17 masters and doctorate programs, make three not-that-watchable movies about poets you should read while you’re sleeping like a real human, and then he’s making four more meta pieces of film and art by the time you go to bed the next night. He can make spoofs of Kanye West and spoofs of Cindy Sherman. (Sherman on the latter: “I don’t know if I can say that it’s art… “ ) He can be plastered all over the New York subway system since he’s starring on Broadway in Of Mice and Men. But maybe, just maybe — he shouldn’t be on Instagram. … Read More

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Huh? Aretha Franklin Issues Statement After Satirical Site Says She’s Beefing With Patti Labelle

A satirical news site, The News Nerd, published a “report” that Aretha Franklin and Patti Labelle are… Read More

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Why Tilda Swinton Will Always Be a Glorious, Meme-Friendly Mystery

Can you ever really figure out what makes somebody cool? New York magazine plumbs the depths of our favorite space-alien actress in “Tilda Swinton Is Not Quite of This World,” and Swinton, mostly, remains pretty cool. Swinton is an actor’s actor, the type of artist who’s not on the cover of magazines and not selling products, but rather picking and choosing interesting projects to give her time and her spirit. Perhaps the mystery is why her resemblance to the world’s best space alien, David Bowie, has been the subject of tribute blogs, Bowie videos, and leggings. … Read More

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What Scarlett Johansson’s New Movie ‘Under the Skin’ Tells Us About Her Gross ‘New Yorker’ Profile

Late last month, The New Yorker’s Anthony Lane wrote a profile of Scarlett Johansson. Maybe you heard about it; if you did, it was probably not in terribly complimentary terms. Slate’s Katy Waldman called out its “inappropriate-uncle creepiness”; Talking Points Memo’s Kay Steiger deemed it “gross”; over at The New Republic, Esther Berger crowned it “the worst profile I can remember reading in The New Yorker.” The problem with Lane’s fawning, empty piece, in a nutshell, is that it’s basically a highbrow version of a Maxim or Esquire cover story: Lane’s thesis is that Scarlett Johansson is super-duper hot, though couched in dressed-up verbiage like “Johansson looks tellingly radiant in the flesh” and “using nothing but the honey of her voice” and “she seemed to be made from champagne.” What makes the whole piece particularly irritating is that there are interesting things to be said about Johansson right now; she has two movies coming out today which couldn’t be further apart on the modern movie-making spectrum. And, compellingly, one of them can be read as a kind of tacit commentary on precisely the kind of empty objectification that the Lane profile traffics in so freely. … Read More

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James Franco’s Attempted Teen-Girl Hookup Shows He’s (Finally) Losing Control of His Narrative

The Renaissance Man this era deserves, noted New York Times and Vice columnist, author, poet, director, academic, visual artist, and actor James Franco, is currently in Internet trouble after an Instagram conversation between Franco and a 17-year-old Scottish girl (who won’t turn 18 until May) was leaked online. Lucy Clode, the girl in question, met Franco at the stage door after Of Mice and Men emptied out on Tuesday. After she got a video, Franco told her, “You gotta tag me,” and an alleged Instagram flirtation took place, with Franco asking questions like, “When is your birthday? You’re single? What’s the hotel? Should I rent a room?” … Read More

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Why Kurt Cobain Was the Last Rock Star: An Interview With Charles R. Cross

When Kurt Cobain killed himself on April 8, 1994, music journalist Charles R. Cross was in his office at the Seattle magazine The Rocket, “trying to figure out why Courtney Love kept putting off the interview she had promised us that week.” Later, he found out that Courtney was searching for Kurt, who had disappeared from rehab. … Read More

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Don’t Stop ‘Til You Earn Enough: The Bullshit of the Posthumous Michael Jackson Album

A few days after Michael Jackson died in June 2009, I found myself up in Harlem at the Apollo Theater covering a wake of sorts, led by Reverend Al Sharpton and Spike Lee. I had never seen an entire neighborhood out in the streets, mourning their icon no less. By the time the memorial let out, it was raining. The crowd’s homemade posters were slowly deteriorating, sort of like Jackson himself as time ticked away, but there is one I will never forget: “MJ, you will live on forever” in red glitter paint. At the time I didn’t anticipate the lengths to which the music industry would go to make these words true. … Read More

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Spike Lee’s Posturing About Gentrification Helps No One

It’s been a whole month since Spike Lee spoke out about gentrification in Brooklyn, but never fear, he’s back on his soapbox about his favorite topic — specifically, he’s taken issue with A.O. Scott’s recent piece in the New York Times, which addressed the matter of gentrification in Brooklyn. Lee has of course been vocal about this subject in the past, and he posted a lengthy response to Scott’s article on his Facebook. … Read More

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