The Rock

The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson aces everything he does. From college football and professional wrestling, to music videos and blockbuster movies, Johnson’s charismatic personality and competitive drive quickly established him as a cut above the muscled lunkheads in Hollywood. G.I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu once described Johnson as “franchise Viagra” — a nickname that SNL riffed on during the actor’s opening monologue last night. If anyone could use a pick-me-up, it’s Saturday Night Live. See how Johnson’s appearance helped smooth over SNL’s uneven slate, below. … Read More

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America’s Sweetheart, The Rock, Makes TNT’s ‘Wake Up Call’ the Rare Motivational Reality Show Worth Watching

Motivational reality programs are hard to do correctly, and can be excruciating to watch. Producers must walk a thin line in order to make their series inspiring instead of exploitative. They must show that they are honestly invested in their subject and the changes the subject want to make, but they have to do so in a caring, touching way, or else the program runs the risk of falling into the category of a “scared straight” episode of a trashy talk show, one that puts terrified teenagers into a jail cell and films them crying for hours. When done well, each installment ends with a sense of accomplishment for everyone involved — the host, the subject, the viewers — but when done poorly, it’s an embarrassing watch that leaves you feeling dirty. TNT’s Wake Up Call, hosted by wrestler-turned-actor (and hopefully soon turned-politician) Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson goes back and forth between these two extremes from episode to episode but always lands on the good side, and ends with an emotional bang. … Read More

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The ‘Forbes’ Highest-Paid Actresses List and the End of the Movie Star

Every year, Forbes releases its lists of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors and actresses, presumably to give schoolteachers and cops and social workers an opportunity to think a little harder about their choices. This week saw the release of the ten highest-paid actresses list, topped by Angelina Jolie at $33 million a year. Putting aside the rather glaring issues of gender pay — that top $33 million paycheck would barely land Jolie in the top ten of male actors — here’s a question: Angelina Jolie? Seriously? Angelina Jolie hasn’t appeared in a movie since 2010. (The year, not the forgotten 2001 sequel.) That film, The Tourist, is mostly remembered these days as the punchline for Golden Globes stories. It made a little bit of money, but certainly not enough that its leading lady should still be coasting on it. Yet this year’s Forbes lists are mostly interesting as confirmation of what we’ve been suspecting for a while: that movie stars don’t matter anymore. … Read More

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Despite the Hype, the ‘Fast/Furious’ Franchise Is Still Terrible

The original The Fast and the Furious, back in 2001, was a monumentally stupid summer throwaway in which handsome young Paul Walker and tough guy Vin Diesel did a lot of glaring and a lot of driving and a lot of growling. The plot was a warmed over Point Break retreat that existed solely as a clothesline upon which to hang the film’s many street racing scenes, where any displays of skill or suspense were undercut entirely by the laughable computer-assisted effects. The first sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, found Walker going solo (Diesel and director Rob Cohen had gone off to make the equally dense xXx) under the direction of once-promising hack John Singleton, and the film supplemented the dopiness of the original by amping up the misogyny. After that film, this viewer checked out; these movies were clearly not for me, and they could continue making them for the vroom-obsessed demo without my participation. … Read More

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A Bodybuilder Reviews Michael Bay’s ‘Pain & Gain’

For a Michael Bay movie, Pain & Gain is getting remarkably good reviews and positive buzz — even its negative notices are full of phrases like “the most charming Michael Bay movie in a long while.” The primary question that the film’s pro and con critics seem to be arguing over is whether Bay is satirizing the flashy excesses and over-the-top elements of the narrative or reveling in them; it’s a story about the quest for conspicuous consumption, from a filmmaker as obsessed with the idea as his characters. Complicating that question is Pain & Gain’s roots as a true story; it happened in Miami in 1994 and 1995, in the world of bodybuilding and fitness clubs. And how accurate is it to that world? I decided to find out by seeing the movie with a bodybuilder and personal trainer. … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Apparently Michael Bay feels like Transformers already needs a reboot; the fourth film in the $2.6 billion franchise, which is set to be released on June 29, 2014, will provide “a new take” on the story. Before that, he’s working on Pain And Gain, a small budget action movie about “a group of bodybuilders… Read More

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The Weekend Box Office: Explain Yourself, America

The pre-Valentine’s Day weekend was an unexpectedly big one at the box office, with four new movies bringing in over $20 million in receipts — only the second time in history that such an event has occurred, and the first time, as some outlets are reporting, that it’s happened on a non-holiday weekend. (We’ll let you decide whether a few days before Valentine’s Day counts as a “holiday weekend” or not. I’ll refrain from comment, in the interest of not upsetting anyone on the eve of said maybe-holiday.) What’s even more remarkable about this considerable fiscal accomplishment is that it was achieved with four movies that no one here at Flavorpill can actually imagine going to see. Neat trick, Hollywood! … Read More

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Trailer Park: Cops, Corman, and Our Old Friend Eddie

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, including new vehicles for The Rock, Kristen Stewart, and Jonah Hill (and an old one for Eddie Murphy); check ‘em out after the jump. … Read More

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What’s on at Flavorpill: Links that Made the Rounds in Our Office

Today at Flavorpill we chortled over this brief history of cougars (the woman sort, not the feline sort). Did you realize that the trend goes back to the book of Genesis? We were confused, distressed, and amused by Siblings or Dating? We discovered Zanger Bob, the Dutch Mini Daddy, who was on a… Read More

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