by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
American Idol’s 14th season
premiered last week and if you think you shouldn’t care because Ryan Seacrest
makes you uncomfortable, you are wrong. Well, not about the Ryan Seacrest part — he is
very distracting. Like, why is he still around? How much does he get paid to be
a weirdo to young singers? Is he actually a robot? What really happened to Brian Dunkleman? But you should be excited because Cincinnati’s own Jess Lamb is on it, and
there’s a very good chance she’ll go far in the competition.
I typically don’t watch the
music competition shows like Idol and
The Voice, because witnessing genuine
humans be embarrassed on television really upsets me. But when I heard Jess
Lamb had auditioned and got the golden Hollywood ticket, I had to give the show a
shot. Jess is a great local artist and I camped next to her at Bonnaroo one year, so I'm pretty much famous by proxy.Anyway, at 28 years old, Jess is painted as the mature one of the auditioning bunch, which is
probably going to make you feel like a shriveled French fry at the bottom of a
car. But with her age (seriously, I can’t) comes a breadth of talent and
experience. She writes and performs her own songs but — judging by her
audition — has no trouble with the traditional covers Idol necessitates.
Jess auditioned in Kansas
City, Mo., and got a great reaction from the judges, particularly crooner Harry
Connick, Jr. Check it out:
Auditions will continue
every Wednesday and Thursday for the next couple weeks, so we won’t be seeing
much of Jess again until the final 48 contestants are narrowed down to 24 after
a performance in front of a live audience (this has already been filmed). So, will
Jess make the cut? Idol teased us
with a “look” — or rather, listen — at the top 24. You can hear them sing but
can’t really make out anyone’s face. Judge for yourself.
All I can make out is a Captain Hook-looking dude with dreads. GO JESS.
Remember the uber-sleazy
Gaston from Beauty and the Beast? You
know the song, “No one's slick as Gaston/No one's quick as Gaston/No one does push-ups in the middle of an
amusement park like Gaston…” What? Yes.
Sia’s “Chandelier” girl
is back, and she’s dance-battling in a dirty cage with Shia LaBeouf, which some
people are NOT OK with.
Also, why did I just learn
that the little girl, Maddie Ziegler, is from Lifetime gem Dance Moms?!
Speaking of times when we
all get sucked into Wikipedia holes… Rapper T.I. is basically a suicide prevention
specialist. This isn’t news, but it’s new to me (please don’t ask why I’m Internet-searching
random rappers at night). Seriously, “Rescue of suicidal men” is a sub-section
on his Wikipedia page. In 2010, he stopped a young man from taking his life by
convincing him to not jump off a 22-foot Atlanta building. T.I. heard about the
situation on the radio, drove to the scene and asked police if there was
anything he could do to help. Pretty incredible. But before that, in 2006, T.I. discovered a struggling Scott Stapp
after the Creed frontman had jumped over his hotel balcony (whether this was a suicide
attempt or the result of insomniac hallucinations varies in reports). Can
we have T.I. intervene on Scott Stapp again please? Side note: Awesome reality
show idea. For real, though, dude seems like he needs it.
On a lighter note, here’s a
Larry David Lynch blog!
Parks and Recreation’s final season premiered last night. Jurassic World will be unleashed into theaters this summer. Chris
Pratt stars in both. Relevant:
American Crime Story casting news! If you recall, Ryan Murphy is spinning off on his American Horror Story miniseries
franchise with a true crime series. The idea is to explore a different criminal
case in American history each season, like how each AHS season explores fear and freaky folklore in a different arena.
The series’ debut will focus on the O.J. Simpson trial. Cuba Gooding, Jr.will play O.J., David "Forever Ross" Schwimmer will play Robert Kardashian and John Travolta will play Robert Shapiro. So much wut.This dog takes a bus to the
dog park and knows to get off at the appropriate stop — alone — which is more than I can
say about myself.
The Golden Globes, a.k.a Amy
‘n’ Tina’s Sleepover Party, were Sunday. The duo kicked ass in their final
hosting gig, don’t get me wrong, but overall the show left me wanting something
more exciting. Maybe it was the fact that the awards were so spread out. There
were big winners, for sure (Transparent,
Boyhood), but there were a lot of new
winners (which yields heartfelt but otherwise boring speeches) and no one show
or film truly swept.
If anything, it gave me a
bunch of new movies and shows to add to my watch-list. Peep the nominees and
winners here, if
you care, but the best part of the production was the monologue.
TinAmy were perfection. They
even killed it with a Cosby rape joke that certainly shook up the audience. Nothing
like seeing rich, famous celebrities panic over whether it’s OK to laugh.Other notes:
Leelah Alcorn — the local
transgender teen who took her own life earlier this month — got a shout out
from Transparent creator Jill Soloway.
The stars of Fifty Shades of Grey couldn’t muster enough chemistry to present an award, so that’s probably not a good sign…
George Clooney got a
lifetime achievement award and said nice things about his new wife.
Chrissy Teigen ugly-cried
when husband John Legend accepted an award with Common.
And that’s about it! Of
course, the Oscars are the pinnacle of awards season, and those nominees will
be announced Thursday.
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
The Internet is a scary place, and anyone who’s browsed 4chan can attest
to that. But this creepy technological web can connect strangers and answer
questions, often with unexpected results. The latest example: Jenna Jameson
exchanged an unverified story and super sad, semi-nude pics for information
about her former agent who Jameson said turned out to be a con man and is sabotaging her
online presence. She was given the man’s phone number, address, social security
number, credit score an more private information within the hour. Cool?
David Lynch fans will likely recall the last episode of Twin Peaks, where Laura Palmer tells Agent
Cooper she’ll see him in 25 years. Peaks
took place in 1989, which means she was referring to this year — 2014. Hence,
Lynch is filming new episodes of the cult series, as evidenced by a Twin Peaks casting call.
It’s always exciting to see Cincinnati on the big screen — not just a
mention, but actual shots of the city. It’s certainly not the most exotic
locale, and many scenes of a Cincinnati-based movie could probably be
replicated in a Hollywood studio. So movies that do make the trip Midwest tend
to be very special to locals. Rain Man, Traffic and The Ides of March all brought a spotlight and stars to the Queen
City. Next up: Cate Blanchett and
Rooney Mara make their way to Cincinnati this spring to film Carol. Based on the Patricia Highsmith
book also known as The Price of
Salt, the movie will be set in 1950s New York City, but shot exclusively in
Cincinnati. Blanchett and Mara in vintage garb, traipsing around town?
Celeb-stalking will be in full force, #ClooneyWatch style. Read more here.
In case you missed it, Shia LaBoeuf has lost his damn mind. Exhibit A.
But, due to my undying love of Louis Stevens, I still anticipate seeing his
wiener (again) in Nymphomaniac.
We’re a week into 2014 but, judging by the proliferation of “best of”
articles and continued obligatory year-end reflection posts on Facebook, it
appears most people are still in #RIP2013 mode — so we’re going to follow suit.
Now that our marathon New Year’s hangover has passed (and since awards season
doesn’t kick off until this week's People’s Choice Awards and Golden Globes), let’s look back at some of the highlights — and low points — of 2013.
The most photographed location on Instagram was a Bangkok mall; the most “popular” is this shot of Will Smith and the Biebs, with more
than 1.5 million likes.
A sacrifice to the Xenu gods? No such luck.
Moving on to Twitter, the most re-tweeted post was a somber one — Lea
Michele of Glee’s photo of herself with boyfriend Cory Monteith, who died of
a drug and alcohol overdose in July.
A close second was the announcement of actor Paul Walker’s death in
OK, enough with the sads! The most illegally downloaded artist of the
year was Bruno Mars. Not sure whether that means he’s even more popular than his record sales show,
or if people are just really ashamed to buy a Burno Mars album. Either way, the
guy who penned, the exquisite phrase, “You
and me baby making love like gorillas,” will be performing at
halftime during next month’s Super Bowl. Good luck topping last year’s!
During awards shows and in end-of-the-year roundups, we often take a
moment to remember people that have passed away. Since just looking at that
Cory Monteith photo makes me want to sob and hide in a room full of Pug puppies and
body pillows, actual real humans are out of the question. So, as a variation of
this trend, let’s look back on some of the important TV characters we lost this
Game of Thrones
After the main protagonist of Game
of Thrones, Ned Stark, was shockingly beheaded in the first season, audiences
quickly learned any character on the series could find themself chopping block
at any time. But who (besides, of course, those who’ve read A Storm of Swords) would expect Ned’s
widow and oldest son to join him so quickly — and in such a terrifying fashion? The episode “The Rains of Castamere” brought the
merciless death of Catelyn and Robb Stark plus Robb’s wife, Talisa, their
unborn baby and direwolf Grey Wind, in addition to at least a dozen others at the "Red
Wedding" alone. Earlier in the season, Ros — one of my favorite “working ladies”
on television — fell victim to the insufferable Joffrey. While she played a much
smaller role than the Starks, her death was heartbreaking and shocking. You’ll
all be missed!Boardwalk Empire
A Prohibition gangster drama is bound to rack up a serious body count. For
some of the historically-based characters, like Al Capone, viewers have a
pretty good idea about how long they will last. The fictional characters, however,
can meet their maker at any point. While I’m still not over Jimmy and Angela’s
demise, Boardwalk fully crushed my
heart by having Richard Harrow go out in a completely un-badass style. Harrow
was more than just a talented sniper with half a prosthetic face. He was a hero
in the show. He killed — a lot — but usually only the true bad guys, and often
to protect others. He was sensitive and strong, but slipped in his final
scenes, accidentally killing Chalky’s daughter instead of his target, Narcisse.
As soon as he missed the shot, I knew he was done for — Harrow, by definition,
always hits his mark! Sure enough, after a dream sequence in which Harrow
reunited with his family, we were jolted back to reality to find the wounded
war vet dying peacefully under the boardwalk. The show will go on, but won’t
have the same heart without him.Dexter
Oh, Debra. I never much cared for Dexter’s little sis — the phony fowl
mouth act just rubbed me the wrong way. But she definitely played an important
role in the series, especially once she found out about her brother’s “dark
passenger.” Dexter seriously declined
after its fourth season, and this final one was a doozy. But it still didn’t
prepare us for Deb’s death. After surviving a shot to the stomach, Deb appears
to be recovering at a hospital. While Dexter was busy chasing down his sister’s
shooter, Deb’s health turned for the worse, leaving her brain-dead. As a
hurricane hits Miami, sending the hospital staff into a frenzy, Dex is able to
pull the plug on his sister — sure she would not want to continue on in a
vegetative state at a hospital for the rest of her days — and takes her body on
his boat, to be whipped into the stormy sea. It seems like Deb and Dex died
together in the water, until we meet up with a bearded, lumberjack Dexter in
some mysterious woodsy locale, living in solitude. The fuh?
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead killed off a number of significant characters between the end of Season
Three and first half of Season Four this year. Andrea, who once shared a bed
with the Governor, ended up dead because of him. The Gov. hunted and captured
Andrea after she attempted to run away to her group at the prison. Trapped in a
torture chamber with the ticking time-zomb™ that was Milton, Andrea was unable
to protect herself from a deadly bite. Michonne made it to her BFF Andrea’s
side, only in time to put her down before she turned. And, after making an anticipated
return to the show, Merle also fell victim to the Governor. His brother, Daryl,
was tasked with killing zombie-Merle in a super-sad scene.
The Governor’s path of terror finally came to an end at the prison, but
not before he was able to take out Hershel (the closest thing the group had to
a doctor, not to mention Maggie and Beth’s father and the sweetest one-legged
man to make it in the apocalypse). The villain was finally taken down in a big
shoot-out between his group and Rick’s, which left all the survivors in
disarray. Also, baby Judith is MIA, probably in a zombie’s belly. :(Breaking Bad
I made up my mind early on that Walter White needed to die at the end of
Breaking Bad in order for the story to retain its authenticity. Walt got into
the meth business in order to pay for his medical costs and provide ample
support for his family if and when he succumbed to cancer. We all know he stuck
with the game for so long because, as he finally admitted in the finale, he
liked it. He was good at it. “I did it for me,” he tells Skyler in their final
scene. Most fans probably expected Walt to die, and he did so in a truly epic
fashion, while protecting Jesse. His brother-in-law Hank also went out like a
champ, after a brutal desert showdown. The saddest death of all was the end of
the show itself, but Breaking Bad will
surely stand the test of time as one of the greatest American dramas.
Talk about a surprise ending! After breaking free from countless
near-death experiences, Nicholas Brody was captured and killed. Viewers got a taste of a Brody-less Homeland this season, as the character
was on the lam and not present in much of this season. But the show was so much
better with Brody in it — somehow, he balanced Carrie’s cray, despite the fact
that he was a damaged man who flipped every chance he got. This death gives the
show an opportunity to take a completely new route. Hopefully we’ll still check
in on his family (am I the only one who still cares about them?) but
we’re definitely going to have a little bit of Brody in the form of his child
with Carrie. How a fetus could survive the stress, cigs and booze she put it
through proves that this is definitely a Marine baby.
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
The 2014 Golden Globes, hosted by the dream team of Amy Poehler and Tina
Fey, take place Jan. 12 and nominations have been announced. Here we go!
In the motion picture sector, 12
Years a Slave and American Hustle
lead the pack with seven nominations each. The America’s Sweethearts Showdown
will finally play out as Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) is pitted against Julie Roberts (August: Osage
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (along with Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine, Lupita Nyong'o – 12 Years a Slave and June Squibb – Nebraska). Yes, I'm really trying to make the J. Law/JuRo(?) rivalry happen.
Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey were rewarded for the physical
they underwent to star in Dallas Buyers
Club — they’re up for Best Supporting Actor in a
Motion Picture and Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama, respectively.
On to television selections, Netflix series House of Cards raked in four nominations, the most of any series.
The HBO film Behind the Candelabra
also garnered four nods, but in three categories — stars Matt Damon and Michael
Douglas are up against one another for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie.
Rob Lowe’s amazing work as Liberace’s plastic surgeon/pill pusher in Candelabra gets lauded with a nomination
for the broad Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie
category, but that statue will likely go to Aaron Paul for his performance in
the final season of Breaking Bad.
New-to-2013 shows Masters of Sex,
Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Ray Donovan each received two
nominations. I was totally in love with the inaugural season of Masters this year, so I’m happy to see
it up against some solid series for Best TV Series, Drama, even if it probably
won’t win. I can’t bring myself to watch Brooklyn
(despite my love for Andy Samberg!) because it looks decidedly unfunny, but I
keep hearing I need to check it out, so judgment reserved. Ray was a decent new drama. Jon Voight killed it as the
fresh-out-of-prison father to the titular character, a Hollywood “fixer” played
Schreiber (also nominated). Voight’s Mickey brought the
laughs in an otherwise dark story, from his penchant for big-booty video girls
to the advice he gives to his nauseated grandson: “Maybe you need to faht!”
Noticeably absent are Homeland,
Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men, and I am OUTRAGED! OK, I’m
starting to sound like everyone who’s ever listened to a local band after the
CEA nominations are announced.
But seriously, Damien Lewis’ performance as Homeland’s Brody, while limited on screen this season, was
incredible. He truly has played so many sides and shades of the character. That
detox scene? Haunting. He nailed the deterioration of Brody completely.
I also thought this was one of the best seasons of Boardwalk. Completely biased opinion: John Huston’s Richard Harrow
has been my favorite
character of the series (besides Lucy, played by the incomparable queen of mot messes Paz de
la Huerta, OBVS).
With so many other amazing characters, it’s totally understandable that he
wouldn’t leave with an award, but…Richard! "Hold me."
As for Mad Men, neither the
show nor its actors have won a Globe since 2009, when it was awarded for Best
TV Series, Drama. The show is not suffering — in fact, watching Don (Jon Hamm)
finally crack and start to act like a real human was incredible this season.
Oh, well. There’s always next year’s Emmys, I guess?
Read all the nominations here.It’s almost Christmas, so what better time for another Apple ad to make
you unexpectedly shrivel up and bawl?
Beyoncé blew the top off the Internet late last week, surprise-releasing
14 new songs plus 17 music videos in
a full, mega, meta “visual experience” of an album, leaving most of us with
nothing left on our holiday wish lists. Titled simply Beyoncé, the package features collaborations with Jay Z, Frank
Ocean, Drake and Blue MFing Ivy, sexy-ass songs with some straight up raunch, audio/video
from Star Search and home movies and several shots of Bey’s thonged butt. It’s
perfection. And because no one can ever get enough Yoncé (That’s right, it’s Yoncé,
Mrs. Carter if you’re nasty), she’s also releasing a mini-documentary about the
album in various parts, day by day. Buy the package, watch the videos and get
swept up in the Carter life here.
John Mayer and Katy Perry are totes an item and, in case you needed any
reminders of what a supreme douche J. May is, well, here’s their first couples
interview (gag) — skip to 2:50 for John’s really touching words about Katy’s
craft/to hear him drop an F bomb (edited out, thanks ABC!) while doing so.
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R. Kelly(’s PR)
thought it would be a good idea to get #askrkelly trending, to spark a sort of
AMA with Twitter fans, and it was a total marketing fail. In fact, the timing of the backfired publicity stunt led perfectly to
this Village Voice interview
with the Chicago Sun-Times music critic that broke the story detailing R. Kelly’s involvement with
underage girls almost 15 years ago. This journalist, Jim DeRogatis, reminds us just how disgusting of a rap sheet R. has. I guess somewhere
between Trapped in the Closet parts V
and XXVI, we forgot the dude was a legit pedo.
Buzzfeed dubbed Newport Aquarium’s Scuba Santa one of eight “Most Badass
Santas in the World,” not to be confused with “One of Most Extreme Santas in
World,” as reported by basically every other local media outlet (buncha babies).
If there’s just one viral family Christmas video-card (ugh) making its rounds
that particularly makes me want to gouge my eyes out, it’s the Holderness
family’s. Set to the tune of the very current
“Welcome to Miami,” this family of four teaches us what the holidays are truly
about: bragging about the year’s accomplishments. Namely, running triathlons,
appearing in blockbuster films and learning Chinese — in their "Christmas jammies." Fucking white people.
Shia LaBeouf was a child actor, so I guess he never went to school to learn that copying off your neighbor's work is pretty much universally looked down upon. That's the only explanation I can come up with to justify his plagiarizing of Daniel Clowes' comic Justin M. Damiano for his new short film, HowardCantour.com. Read all about the fiasco here, and see the similarities for yourself. LaBeouf said sorry via Twitter, which should be enough, but he apparently lifted his apology off Yahoo Answers. So help us all.
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 13, 2013
What are we supposed to expect from a
character named Charlie Countryman played by Shia LaBeouf? Sure, LaBeouf
sports a ratty hipster beard and stringy, unwashed dark locks and
displays the unfortunate penchant of baring his body at the drop of a
hat, which means he’s wandering down a decidedly different and more
unsavory path than when we last saw him leading the charge alongside the
Autobots in the first Transformers trilogy from Michael Bay.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Depression-era bootlegging draws the attention of
director John Hillcoat and musician/screenwriter Nick Cave, who last
worked together of The Proposition.
Since the dawn of Electronic music in the ’60s, one of the consistent difficulties with the genre has been that the idea of a composition or an entire record is often more interesting than the execution of the idea. It would seem that Sigur Ros is at least tangentially aware of that circumstance because the Icelandic quartet seems to have found the proper balance of conceptual cool, ephemeral frippery and solid musicianship over the past decade and a half. This is the band, after all, that invented its own language on its debut album, 1997’s Von, and initially left all of the songs on 2002’s ( ) untitled. That is conceptualism on a grand scale, but Sigur Ros has typically been more than equal to the task of making a soundtrack every bit as fascinating as the airy framework that underpins it.After a brief flirtation with a slightly more tangible Pop song structure on 2008’s Meo suo i erum vio spilum endalaust, Sigur Ros returns with Valtari, which sees the band bringing strings and electronics back to their rightful place in its sonic forefront. While Valtari revisits the chilly ambient atmospherics of Sigur Ros’ early work, the band folds in dashes of Meo suo’s Pop ethic and ethereal operatics courtesy of a beautifully utilized girl’s choir. The album’s first single, “Ekki Mukk,” takes Brian Eno’s aggressively Ambient stance while “Rembihnutur” soars with an expansive crystalline magnificence that could pass for Radiohead or U2 in an experimental moment while “Dauoalogn” swells like a contemporary hymn rising to the arched ceiling of a grand Electronic church. If Meo suo i erum vio spilum endalaust was Sigur Ros’ Saturday night dance party, Valtari is their Sunday morning confessional.(The following Sigur Ros video is NSFW due to nudity, including shots of Shia's LaBeouf.)
Oliver Stone and Michael Douglas make a successful return to Wall Street
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Oliver Stone makes a winning attempt at staying true to his original 'Wall Street' storytelling about the warped mentality of the center of the economic universe. In keeping with the energized rhythms of his 1987 film, when greed was "good" (now it's "legal"), Stone masterfully applies stylistic, narrative and character details. Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Frank Langella and Susan Sarandon impeccably fulfill their dream-team roles. Grade: B.