It’s all part of the ritual. First we spend months predicting the nominations, then we complain about the nominations, then we predict the winners to the point where there are no surprises during the ceremony itself, so we then complain about the show. Yes, folks, Oscar season came to a close last night, with trophies going to The Artist, Hugo, Meryl, Octavia, and Plummer over the course of the 193-minute ceremony hosted by Alan Shemper Billy Crystal.
Were there great moments? Sure: the legitimately emotional acceptance speeches by Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer, the candid charm of Meryl Streep, the terrific byplay of Emma Stone and Ben Stiller, some good old-fashioned slapstick from Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, and a Chris Rock monologue that made us wonder why the hell he wasn’t hosting again. But overall, the night was indisputably awkward — possibly even more awkward than last year’s James Franco art-installation fiasco. After the jump, we’ll run down a few of the evening’s more uncomfortable moments.
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Folded in among today’s DVD releases, presumably overlooked amid your Twilight sequels and Harold and Kumar 3D yuletides and “Shakespeare didn’t write his plays!” screeds, is one of 2011’s best films: The Sunset Limited, written by Cormac McCarthy, directed by Tommy Lee Jones, starring Jones and Samuel L. Jackson. Wait, you might be thinking. (You might be!) What a fine pedigree! What an excellent cast! I would have gone to see that! Did it not play at my local art house or multiplex? No, hypothetical reader, it did not. It was made for HBO, and since Sunset Limited, based on McCarthy’s play, is primarily a two-handed conversation piece about race, class, mortality, and despair, it’s probably not surprising that it found a home on a pay cable network rather than at a Hollywood studio. But this is nothing new; dialogue and intellect-driven efforts like this migrated to television long ago, as studios lost interest in telling small stories.
Since they started airing in the mid-1960s, TV movies have taken risks — either on subject matter or on rising young talent. The results weren’t always commendable; there’s a reason that the phrase “made-for-TV movie” calls up images of Tori Spelling cowering on Lifetime, or broadcast networks airing simultaneous dramatizations of the lurid Amy Fisher story. But between the networks and cable, we’ve seen an assortment of genuinely beguiling television movies; we’ve gathered ten of our favorites after the jump, with plenty of room for yours in the comments. (And, just to keep it simple, we’ve steered clear of miniseries, documentaries, and films like The Believer that were intended for theatrical release but premiered on television instead).
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Editor’s note: Welcome to The Fug Report! Each week our fashion blogger friends Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, the sartorial geniuses behind Go Fug Yourself, will feature some of the most memorable looks of the week in this space. We hope you enjoy it!
This week on Go Fug Yourself, we ramped up for awards… Read More
Brad Pitt is the latest Hollywood star to threaten to leave the spotlight and has given a three-year timetable to make his exit. The actor — fresh off some stellar reviews for his role in Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life — wants to adopt more of a producer’s role. “I am really enjoying the producing side and development of stories and putting those pieces together. Getting stories to the plate that might have had a tougher times otherwise,” he recently told Australia’s 60 Minutes. Pitt’s already found his place in the producer’s chair, working behind-the-scenes on Malick’s movie and past efforts like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, as well as the upcoming World War Z and Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave. It’s hard to imagine a Hollywood without the likable actor. If he does follow through on his word, we hope he’ll still make an appearance every so often. History proves, however, that the acting bug is a pesky one and most screen stars renege on their promises to quit for good. Click past the break for a history of other actors that wanted to say goodbye.
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Welcome to “Trailer Park,” our regular Friday feature where we collect the week’s new trailers all in one place and do a little “judging a book by its cover,” ranking them from worst to best and taking our best guess at what they may be hiding. We’ve got six new trailers this week, with an emphasis on family-friendly fare. Check ‘em out after the jump.
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Today at Flavorpill, we celebrated yesterday’s historic weddings by collectively swooning over 60 awesome portraits of newly-married gay couples in New York. We got our first glimpse at the plans for the Apple Store in Grand Central. We appreciated Laura Goode’s thoughtful piece of writing on Amy Winehouse’s life… Read More
On this day in 1986, James Cameron’s sci-fi/action epic Aliens was released in American theaters. A sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 scare-fest Alien, Cameron’s picture was a smash with both audiences and critics, raking in $85 million at the box office and racking up seven Oscar nominations, including a Best Actress nod for star Sigourney Weaver. More importantly, it reinvented Weaver’s Ellen Ripley as the kind of strong, muscular, tough action hero role played almost exclusively by male stars like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The trouble is, Aliens came out 25 years ago, and a female action hero like Ripley is still the exception to the rule.
Sure, there are occasional heirs — Milla Jovovich has fronted four Resident Evil movies (with a fifth on the way), Uma Thurman did the Kill Bills, and Linda Hamilton kicked major ass in Cameron’s Aliensfollow-up, Terminator 2. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis co-starred in Thelma and Louise. And there’s Angelina Jolie, who raised heart rates in the Tomb Raider movies, Wanted, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, as well as last year’s Salt — an action lead, incidentally, originally intended for Tom Cruise. But that’s a pretty lean mixture of ladies for 25 years of moviemaking. Why is the female action hero still such a rarity?
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This week’s most shared, absolute must-see video? A good old-fashioned fail. Shooting up to over five million cumulative views on YouTube was “Girl falls into mall fountain while texting.” CNN caught up with the woman, Cathy Cruz Marrero, who was understandably embarrassed. (It could be worse. She could be the girl… Read More
Somewhere out there, in the cosmos, there’s a universe far better than ours. It’s a place where Russ Meyer directs Marilyn Monroe and John Wayne in Kill Bill and Ronald Reagan stars as Big Brother in 1984, where Angelina Jolie takes the role of Little Alex in A Clockwork Orange and the cast of John Frankenheimer’s Watchmen includes Lenny Bruce, Peter Fonda, and Brigitte Bardot. In this faraway Valhalla, Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall helm a film adaptation of Futurama, directed by Tim Burton.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the technology to travel there. But a brave soul named Sean Hartter has somehow gotten his hands on some its dispatches — and he’s selling them for pretty reasonable prices! Check out a gallery of Hartter’s alternate-universe movie posters after the jump.
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On a recent episode of his Savage Love podcast, Dan Savage indulged in what has become a Yuletide tradition: railing against Christmas-themed erotica. His implicit objection to Santa-hatted self-pics and the like is simple enough to understand; he thinks Christmas just isn’t sexy. He’s not alone, and most of these Sex Scrooges are right — there’s nothing inherently libidinous about a holiday centered on tree ornamentation, elf labor, and Jesus. But a handful of films have dared to forge an alliance between Christmastime and Sexytime.
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