Jenelle Eason and sister-in-law Jessica Eason reignite feud with aliases, pants poopin’ and more FULL RECAP
In the One Strange Rock finale, Peggy Whitson's story takes center stage. We spoke with her about pursuing her dream.
Astronaut Peggy Whitson says after she finished college, famous space scientist Dr. James Van Allen discouraged her from seeking a career as an astronaut. She says he told her, “I'd probably ought to find a different career.” Fortunately, she did not take his advice. Her advice to those pursuing their passions is never to let anyone else change your direction.
Whitson has a bachelor of science in biology and chemistry and a Ph.D. in biochemistry, and she currently holds the record for being the American astronaut with the most logged days in space. Spanning three missions she has spent over 665 days in space. Each of her missions was over 150 days, the last being nearly 300. She has also spent many hours on spacewalks, referred to as extravehicular activity (EVAs) by NASA. She has been on a total of 10 EVAs, amounting to over 60 hours.
Whitson serves as an inspiration for many. Her experiences as an astronaut are the stuff of dreams and National Geographic Channel’s One Strange Rock season finale will feature her accomplishments on May 28th. The episode will include her return to Earth after her last trip to space which lasted 289 days.
During her time in space, Whitson helped with the construction, maintenance, and repair of the International Space Station (ISS), and has conducted numerous scientific experiments. Her career as an astronaut has been undoubtedly fruitful, making it extraordinarily fortunate she remained focused on pursuing her dream. Although, holding the record for the most days in space by an American astronaut is something she says she could never have dreamed of.
“For me, I think the record represents just the continued progression of where our space program's going,” Whitson explained in an exclusive interview with Den of Geek. “This record was broken three times in the last three years. And I anticipate it'll be broken again. Just like the record for the EVA time, [Sunita Williams] and I traded the female record several times now, when she gets another opportunity to fly, she'll probably break it again. It's a progression, and the records represent, I think, NASA's progression and I'm pleased to be a part of that.”
Whiston says role models and mentors played a significant role in helping her achieve her goals.
“I was lucky enough in college and graduate school to have very strong female role models and advisors that mentored me when I got to Johnson Space Center,” says Whitson. “I had a lot of women around that demonstrated to me that it was possible to do, and I was maybe too naïve to think otherwise, that I could just maybe do it as well.”
But when it comes to input from others, she also warns it is important not to be dissuaded by other people. In her case, that includes a famous space scientist.
“Dr. James Van Allen, of the Van Allen radiation belt, he told me when I went to meet with him when I was finishing college that, that whole astronaut gig was probably just a flash in the pan,” Whitson says.
Van Allen was famous for establishing magnetospheric research and discovering belts of dangerous radiation in the Earth’s magnetosphere. These belts hold charged particles that can be a danger to satellites and humans traveling to space.
One can only imagine how shocking it would be to hear a famous space scientist discourage a young student from fulfilling their dream to become an astronaut.
“But you can't let someone else change your direction,” says Whitson. “You have to know what it is that you want. Follow that passion, that dream, and if you know it's right for you, work at it, pursue it.”
The U.S. space program has undoubtedly benefited from Whitson’s decision to do just that.
“I think, probably the most important aspect of my life has been to push myself, challenge myself, to live a little bit outside of what's comfortable,” Whitson continues. “Don't just take the easy way, challenge yourself to do things that you're not really sure you can do. Push yourself to do them. And you know, you might not always be successful, but you can learn from it no matter what it is. And I think those challenges can make you so much more than what you might even dream of.”
Simon Quarterman's Lee Sizemore went from being a weaker aspect of the first season of Westworld to one of Season 2's greatest strengths.
This article contains some Westworld Season 2 spoilers.
There has been a fair bit of debate over the direction of Westworld Season 2. Some argue that the show has completely lost the thread of its former glory in season 1, while there is at least a minority that thinks it’s as good as ever. We’re in the third camp: one that thinks it is missing a step (at least in the first three episodes), but that’s a byproduct by the clever design of season 2. The first year welcomed us to the park, and the second is seeing the tourism fantasy end. Instead of a slow boil to a robot revolution, every week has been about bloody chaos.
Season 1 seemed as elegantly designed as a human system; season 2 is about a world without systems (or at least ones that can be easily marketed as a fun getaway to low-attention investment bankers). And yet still, there have been improvements. The last two weeks of Westworld have been especially strong with the introduction of Shogun World and the nefarious Hell James Delos lived and died in. Again and again. Westworld Season 2 is carving its own bloody path and is defiantly different from what came before. And while finding its own way, it’s finding some new virtues as well, such as the role of Lee Sizemore
Indeed, Sizemore was once an awkward fit in Westworld. While it’s unclear if it was more of a scripting misstep in an otherwise nigh perfect freshman effort or simply an issue with actor Simon Quarterman’s approach, Lee Sizemore could best be described in season 1 as broadly obnoxious. Obviously meant to partially be the comic relief, and the lone extrovert in a sea of miserable introverted Delos employees, Sizemore was foul-mouthed, crude, and altogether grating as he sniveled before Anthony Hopkins’ sedate Robert Ford or lusted after Tessa Thompson’s Charlotte Hale.
But in season 2, that has changed in large part because Lee is no longer a member of political machinations and shadowy corporate power moves between Ford, Hale, and the rest of the Delos empire. Nay, whereas in the season 1 finale he was set-up to try and help Charlotte bring order to the park, he finds a far better rhythm in season 2 as Maeve’s plucky comic relief.
In season 1, Lee was a noisy and unpleasant contrast to Robert Ford’s aged auteur, but his hacky quality has been used to amusingly clever effect next to Maeve. As it’s been revealed throughout season 2, much of Maeve’s “narrative” and loop after she was turned into a courtesan was courtesy of Lee Sizemore. As such, Lee is technically responsible for much of the personality that is entirely dominating him throughout season 2 and keeping him as a hostage and semi-confidante. Yet the creation has also outgrown him. This is brought up time and again throughout season 2, beginning with Maeve threatening to cut off his manhood and feed it to him if he betrays her.
“I wrote you that line,” Lee all but weeps, and Maeve begins her season long critique of his talents, by noting it always sounded a little arch to her. In a nutshell, Lee Sizemore is forced to live what so many authors muse exists in their heads: a conversation with their characters. I’ve talked to a number of writers who say they’ve argued about plot details with their protagonists, but that becomes an actual fact of life for Lee Sizemore when he sees Maeve and Hector—the lonely gunslinger cliché that Lee wrote as an avatar for his desires—holding hands.
While “there is supposed to be some attraction,” Lee is horrified, because Hector is meant to be haunted by the death of a lost love. Mind you, that lost love is a stand-in for a woman who dumped Lee, but he cannot fathom these characters finding a depth or growth that exceeds his own limited understanding of relationships. He is seeing his characters literally become bigger than he is.
That is a clever conceit that they have gotten mileage out of all season, perhaps no more so than “Akane No Mai,” the most recent episode of Westworld Season 2. In that latest hour, Maeve and the other hosts come to realize on top of being a mawkish traveling companion, Lee is also a lazy self- plagiarist. Aye, much of “Shogun World” is a direct lift, beat by beat, of the narratives and characterizations he gave each of them in Westworld. In essence, they are realizing with greater clarity how much their lives have been lies, and how complacent their existence has been for their creators.
Yet this gives avenues for Maeve to show a greater sophistication and self-awareness as she sees Akane as a doppelganger of herself, but also a fellow woman and maternal figure in pain. She bonds with Akane and reaches a higher level of understanding herself—while Lee is faced with the fact that he is a pretty fraudulent writer.
All of this though is just to say, it gives Simon Quarterman a lot more fun to play as the comic relief. Whether it is his deadpanned “Um, no,” when Ghost Nation warriors want to take him prisoner or just looking like he is about to have a panic attack when ninjas attack, a character who was an albatross around the neck of Westworld Season 1 has become a virtue in Westworld Season 2. At least until he does something dumb with that radio he snatched off a corpse. At which point, he might be eating his manhood.
As such, it offers an alternative question to those who think Westworld Season 2 is missing a step: What if it is also finding a new pace altogether worth exploring?
Ewan McGregor stars in Disney's Christopher Robin, playing an adult version of Winnie the Pooh's pal.
Christopher Robin, Disney’s live-action film continuation of the Winnie the Pooh story, helmed by World War Z and Finding Neverland director Marc Forster, will have to make its case as the Christopher Robin-branded movie that you’ll want to see, since the existence of the 2017 biopic, Goodbye Christopher Robin, may have prospective moviegoers confused.
However, this particular Christopher Robin movie distinguishes itself as a continuity sequel to the classic children’s mythology.
Christopher Robin Trailer
A new Christopher Robin trailer has arrived!
Disney used the occasion of said new trailer to release a new poster (included below), which shows Ewan McGregor's title character looking a bit impatient as he’s joined by Pooh, along with his childhood stuffed animal friends. That image matches the theme of the accompanying trailer, which provides the first look at the entire Pooh gang. Together, they'll help the now-adult Christopher Robin in his worklife crisis and pass on the imagination-fueled friendship to the next generation through his young daughter, Madeline (Bronte Carmichael).
You can also check out the first trailer below...
There’s no denying it, the Christopher Robin trailer goes right for the feels. The live-action film directly draws from author A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories. However, this particular Pooh project will see Ewan McGregor play an adult version of Christopher Robin, who’s stuck in an especially humdrum period in his life, focused on his career as a businessman and far-removed from his halcyon childhood days of imagination-fueled pastoral hijinks with anthropomorphic stuffed animals such as Pooh Bear, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet and Rabbit. Consequently, the trailer’s build to Christopher Robin’s reunion with Pooh – presumably for the first time since childhood – is an emotionally powerful moment, even as the incredulous adult thinks it’s because he’s “cracked.”
Christopher Robin Release Date
Christopher Robin is currently scheduled to arrive at theaters on August 3.
Curiously enough, the trailer simply states that it’s “coming soon,” which could hint that a release date shift is in the works.
Christopher Robin Poster
Christopher Robin Details
Christopher Robin is directed by Marc Forster, a German helmer behind a diverse array of films. His resume includes high-profile action pictures such as 2013’s World War Z and 2008 James Bond sequel Quantum of Solace, along with 2011 crime drama Machine Gun Preacher and 2006 surreal comedy Stranger than Fiction and the 2001 drama Monster’s Ball, which famously yielded star Halle Berry a Best Actress Oscar win. However, Forster’s work on the 2004 biographically-based film Finding Neverland in which Johnny Depp played Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie seems to be the genre offering that brought him to the table for Christopher Robin.
Forster works off a script by Allison Schroeder (Hidden Figure, Mean Girls 2), who was brought onboard to give the screenplay another rewrite after it was originally written by Alex Ross Perry (Golden Exits) and later revised by Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), who moved on to co-write/direct another Disney film project called Timmy Failure. With the film, clearly an adult drama, bordering on the fantastical with its earnest inclusion of a reemerged Pooh Bear, it could be the case that deciding the proper tone was a tougher task than anticipated.
Christopher Robin should be an interesting project for the former Star Wars Prequel Trilogy Obi-Wan Kenobi actor Ewan McGregor, who recently appeared in nearly unrecognizable form on Season 3 of FX’s Fargo, also coming off 2017’s release of the two-decades-awaited sequel, T2 Trainspotting, and provided the voice of candle Lumière in 2017’s box-office-dominating live-action adaptation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
Robert H. Bird, the beloved star of the documentary and MTV show How’s Your News, has passed away at the age of 64.
Bird died at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on May 14, and he was laid to rest seven days later at Mount Hope Cemetery Swansea in Massachusetts.
An online obituary did not list the official cause of death .
“He came in contact with countless celebrities, bands, and politicians over the years,” read Bird’s obituary, which also noted his appearances in the films Bulletproof Jackson and Perfect Buddy, his gigs on The Sarah Silverman Show and his attendance at the 2008 Grammy Awards.
“He traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe. His true passions were bowling with the Swansea Stallions and participating in Equestrian and Bowling at the Special Olympics,” continued the tribute.
“He was respected and loved by all who knew him.”
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Redmond, 33, has been housed at the Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles since his arrest on May 8 and was being held without bail.
“Redmond has been transferred to Department 95 for mental evaluation,” the court confirmed.
The celebrity spawn is facing several felony charges after allegedly holding up a 7-Eleven in Santa Monica. According to prosecutors, the drifter approached a clerk at about 3 a.m. with a knife and demanded money. The clerk, who was in fear for his life, gave O’Neal cash, a LAPD spokesperson told Radar exclusively.
O’Neal has been charged with second-degree robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a smoking device, possession of an injection/ingestion device and two counts of possessing a controlled substance, which were meth and heroin.
Redmond could face a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted of all charges.
He has denied all of the charges.
As Radar reported exclusively, Redmond was a no show for a scheduled preliminary hearing in a Los Angeles court on Friday because he simply refused to get on the bus from jail. Redmond is now rescheduled for arraignment on June 8 at LAX Airport court.
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YouTube Red’s surprise smash, Cobra Kai, will get to continue the Karate Kid continuity with a Season 2 renewal.
Cobra Kai Season 2 is officially happening!
Upon Cobra Kai‘s May 2 premiere on YouTube Red, the show appropriately struck first and struck hard, delivering no mercy to low expectations. Indeed, the TV sequel to the classic 1980s The Karate Kid films – after initially coming across as farcical – managed to take fans and critics alike by surprise (notably in our own review,) with its entertaining earnestness; a deadly move that would make the proverbial dojo of any other karate series look like a knitting class (yeah, that's another movie reference).
Cobra Kai Season 2 Cast
Martin Kove will return for Cobra Kai Season 2 to reprise his role as John Kreese from The Karate Kid films, this time as a regular, according to a report by Deadline, which the actor has officially confirmed.
Kove, a veteran actor who's banked myriad television guest roles, was best known as series regular Victor Isbecki on Cagney & Lacey, before setting his handprint in cinematic history as the sadistic Svengali sensei, Kreese, in 1984’s The Karate Kid (subsequently appearing in the two sequels). He was also prominently seen as Ericson in 1985's Rambo: First Blood Part II, along with a sizable CV of made-for-video/DVD features that spans to the present.
Of course, those who saw the entirety of Cobra Kai Season 1 know that Kove has already showed up on the series. He was seen in the finale’s closing moments, confronting his long-estranged student, Johnny, in a moment that resembles the tone of a Marvel movie post-credits scene, teasing a turn for Season 2.
Interestingly, Kove might not be the only movie series alumnus to show up for Cobra Kai Season 2, since Sean Kanan is teasing a return as his The Karate Kid Part III villain, Cobra Kai tournament ringer Mike Barnes. Plus, in an interview with JoBlo, the showrunners even tease the possibility that Hilary Swank could show up (at some unspecified point,) as her Miyagi-trained protagonist, Julie Pierce, from 1994’s The Next Karate Kid.
Cobra Kai Season 2 Renewal
No one will be putting Cobra Kai in a body bag, since Season 2 is a done deal, with another 10-episode run (half-hour each), now set to arrive on YouTube Red at some point in 2019. You can count on this band getting back together here, with the confirmed return of the main duo of Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), who are set to continue their storied rivalry, which stems back to 1984’s original The Karate Kid, which was directed by the late John G. Avildsen. Additionally, Cobra Kai newcomers Miguel Diaz (Xolo Mariduena) Robby Keane (Tanner Buchanan), Samantha LaRusso (Mary Mouser) and Amanda LaRusso (Courtney Henggeler) will all be back for Season 2.
The same goes for the show’s creative side, with the showrunner/writer/director/executive-producer trio of Josh Heald (Hot Tub Time Machine), Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Blockers) all set to return for Cobra Kai Season 2. They will, again, be joined by executive producers Lassiter and Caleeb Pinkett, who are onboard on behalf of Overbrook Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television Studios. As the Heald/Hurwitz/Schlossberg trio express in a statement:
“Continuing the Karate Kid saga with YouTube Red has been a dream come true. We are grateful to all our creative partners for giving us the freedom to revisit and expand the LaRusso/Lawrence rivalry. And we are truly exhilarated by the tidal wave of support from fans of this story, both old and new.”
As Susanne Daniels, Global Head of Original Content, YouTube lauds in a statement of the Cobra Kai Season 2 renewal:
“This series had all of the right elements from the very beginning -- compelling characters, a storied rivalry, and the talented original stars.” Adding, “The way viewers have embraced the new twist on this beloved franchise has been nothing short of amazing, and we’re thrilled to partner with Sony TV, Overbrook and the extraordinary creative team led by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg to create a second season.”
Sony Pictures Television president Jeff Frost also chimes in, stating:
“We are so elated with the performance of Cobra Kai and our incredible partnerships with Josh, Jon, Hayden and Overbrook and of course, You Tube Red. This has been a remarkable experience and the audience reaction only further validates what we already knew – that this team and series is exceptional and incredibly special.”
Cobra Kai Season 2 Release Date
Cobra Kai Season 2 has not set a specific release date other than the declaration of it being in 2019. However, the show is confirmed to go into production this fall, which makes a return around the same time next year – May 2019 – a realistic prospect.
Back in November of 2017, Derick Dillard was fired from his in-laws' reality show, Counting On.
His wife, Jill Duggar, quit the show shortly thereafter as a gesture of solidarity.
For a time, the Dillards were without a source of income, which would be a problem for anyone, but was especially daunting in this case, as the couple is raising two young sons.
Recently, Jill launched a midwife service, but business has reportedly been slow, both due to concerns about her licensure and ongoing issues with her family's reputation.
Meanwhile, Derick seems to be devoting most of his ample free time to spewing his political opinions on Twitter.
Naturally, fans and critics alike have been quick to encourage him to get a job, but it seems that's the one issue that Derick has no interest in arguing about with strangers.
In fact, it seems he'll do whatever it takes to avoid the subject of his lack of employment, so you can imagine our surprise when Jill addressed the issue for him:
This week, Jill posted the above photo, taken at her local polling place -- and she raised quite a few eyebrows with the caption.
"We just voted! Teaching ‘em young the privilege of letting your voice be heard...and took both boys with me since Derick was at work. lol," she captioned the pic.
On top of the usual comments about the Josh Duggar sex scandals and concerns over whether little Samuel is the right size for his car seat, lots of fans wanted to know exactly what sort of "work" Derick was engaged in.
Last we checked, the 29-year-old was unemployed and seemed to have no interest in changing that condition.
And as Jill's followers were quick to point out, it's not like D-Dill is the type to keep his accomplishments to himself.
"Does he work at Twitter?" joked one fan.
"'Work' and an actual job may be different things at the Dillard house," quipped another.
"Haha. 'Derick is at work.' That cracks me up," remarked a third.
Another dispensed with the humor and simply stated exactly what we're all thinking:
"He doesn't really work or hold a job," the follower wrote.
"If he did, he would proudly be announcing his job all over the internet."
That's both tough but fair -- in other words, the exact opposite of a bigoted coward like Derick.
Zing! We'll be here all week, folks!
Watch Counting On online for more from reality TV's most controversial family.
Before the bombshell allegation, Batali, 57, stepped away from his empire on December 2017, after at least nine women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct, harassment and assault.
The brave woman, who wished to remain anonymous claimed he raped her in his NYC restaurant The Spotted Pig’s third floor — in a chamber that staffers used to refer to as the “rape room.”
Now, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports his three high-profile restaurants are located on the Las Vegas Strip including Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante, and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria will permanently shut down on July 27.
All three high-profile restaurants are located on the Las Vegas Strip, in the Venetian and Palazzo resorts, and had been open for more than a decade: Carnevino celebrated its 10-year anniversary last year with a splashy dinner series.
“These restaurants have continued to succeed, and they are a tribute to every one of you who works in them and brings great dining experiences to our guests,” Batali’s partner, Joe Bastianich, said in a letter to employees. “Unfortunately, our partner in these restaurants, Las Vegas Sands Corp., has decided to end our relationship.”
The unnamed victim revealed graphic details about the alleged rape in her interview.
“It gets completely foggy for me. And this is — part of the messy, scary part for me, there is a part where it — it all disappears,” said the woman, recalling the horrific details. “I remember a moment where I was on his lap, kissing him. Like, he was kissing me. And then I remember throwing up — in a toilet. And that is all.”
She claimed she was drinking white wine at Batali’s VIP table, when out of nowhere, she blacked out.
“I woke up by myself on the floor, I don’t know where I am, of an empty room, wooden floor. I see broken bottles. The first thing I think is, ‘I’ve been drugged.’ That was the first thing I thought is, ‘I’ve been– I’ve been assaulted.’”
She claimed her leg was wounded with “deep scratches” when she woke up, and as soon as she lifted her skirt, she found Batali’s “semen.”
Former The Spotted Pig waitress Natalie Saibel and ex-manager Jamie Seet confirmed the woman’s account, claiming they saw footage (captured by the restaurant’s security cameras) of Batali raping her while she was unconscious.
They told Anderson Cooper, 50, that they still regret not having alerted the police.
Mario Batali has vehemently denied the allegations.
As Radar readers know, Batali — who was an investor at Ken Friedman’s restaurant The Spotted Pig — owns 26 restaurants and appeared on the beloved Chef show, The Chew, for years. He was fired this past December after his sexual assault accusations.
The NYPD confirmed to 60 Minutes that they are conducting a criminal investigation into Mario Batali.
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Ford Mustang GT500 rendering hits the web
We hear this thing will likely pack over 700 horsepower. Yowza. Ford. While Ford's future vehicle lineup will largely focus on crossovers and electrified vehicles, don't forget: the iconic Mustang isn't going anywhere. And in case you need a reminder ...
2018 Ford Mustang GT test drive: Survival of the fittest
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We learn what Iron Man has been doing in his self-imposed exile and the great risks he has been taking. Elsewhere, Tony’s mother copes with the discovery that Tony’s biological father is still alive. Riri Williams and Toni Ho discover the extent of Da Vinci’s new organization and why he has built it. The Hood threatens a Stark executive to get back at both Tony Stark and Victor von Doom, both of whom have gone by the name Iron Man. All of this is told to us by the Tony Stark AI.
So, this is it. Brian Michael Bendis’s final Marvel comic (at least for the foreseeable future). It’s a bombastic farewell too, pulling together many, many plot threads together for a finale to his Invincible Iron Man saga.
This comic provides a lot to digest, but most of it is lighthearted and easy to come to grasp. The Leonardo da Vinci plot line is ridiculous but does a little housekeeping for Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D-related future. The return of Tony’s biological father from the dead is shrugged off for the most part, but its ending is handled well.
Tony’s “project” that is revealed in this issue — well, it raises more questions than answers and pulls a resurrection on you. That said, I’m happy with it. A character I’ve been missing comes back, and he will hopefully be a regular in Dan Slott’s upcoming Iron Man series. Not everyone will be satisfied with it, but death is mostly a stopgap in Marvel and DC. I’ve come to terms with that.
Doom and Riri’s endings are both solid. Doom brings an implied return to form which is to be expected. Riri’s is optimistic and will hopefully be represented in further issues of Champions and maybe even Slott’s Iron Man.
The assortment of artists in this comic is a bit jarring, especially considering the frequency with which they change. I get why it’s happening, but it’s still a stylistic explosion. Each artist does solid work though, and I can’t complain about any single page.
Also, I think there is a mixed reference to Identity Crisis paired with an anime.
Invincible Iron Man #600 isn’t mind-blowing, but it’s heart-warming. It ties most of its plot lines together well in the end. It leaves everything open-ended enough so that Slott has wiggle room on his book to come. The art is all over the place, which is to be expected considering the brigade of pencillers brought on. However, the final product was fun enough so that I can easily recommend it. Pick it up.
School Shooting Game Angers Steam Users, Developer 'Likely' Changing It
Earlier this week, a game called Active Shooter appeared on Steam. It'd be nothing more than another heap of hacked-together pre-purchased assets—or an “asset flip,” as they're known on Steam—if not for its subject matter. It's about mass shootings.
Steam's Confusing Policies Are Bad for the Game Development Community
Steam store school-shooting game 'appalling'
Active Shooter :: Clarification - Please read - Steam Community
It seems like no one can ever leave Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith alone. When it isn't those pesky swinging rumors, it's divorce rumors.
Will has had it up to here with people speculating that his healthy marriage is on its last leg.
So he's slamming haters and speculators in a new rap. Take a look!
You may not be aware, but Will Smith appears to be some sort of social media savant. He's a natural.
This is, suffice it to say, unusual in his age demographic. Will is 49.
But as much of a delight as he is on Instagram, it's a new YouTube video that he shared this week that has our attention.
It has been 13 years since his last album, Lost and Found.
But now he's giving fans a preview of his new song, "To the Clique."
In the video, Will raps:
"20 years of swag y'all just witnessed, let me remind everybody who Will Smith is."
Sometimes, people need a reminder of who you are and why you are so famous.
Fans on Twitter were especially amused by one line in particular.
"Rappers make it rain; if I throw my money up, s--t, I'd probably kill a stripper."
What has people's attention isn't an apparent joke about killing a sex worker.
Rather, people love the reference to Will's hard-earned wealth.
But it is one line in particular that has the attention of those who have heard rumors about his marriage.
"20 years of swag y'all just witnessed, stop the divorce rumors and mind your damn business,"
You know what? That is a very, very fair line.
Will and Jada have been married since December 31, 1997.
People born on that day are almost old enough to drink (legally).
In regular marriage years, that is a very long time to be married. In Hollywood years, they may as well have been married for centuries.
20 years of swag is right. Dang.
It's been a little more than a year since the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast reunion.
But that series was very early in Will's career.
Since then, how many blockbusters has he had? How many other films -- like the gripping biopic, Concussion -- has he poured his considerable talents into for the right reasons?
He has a lot of reason to brag.
His marriage to the gorgeous and talented Jada Pinkett Smith is just one of those.
Their entire family is a national treasure.
There are a lot of bad parents in the world, and that includes celebrities.
But Will and Jada just seem to get things right. It's no wonder that their children are so amazing and creative and such beautiful souls.
Recently, Willow Smith admitted to her mother that she had struggled with self-harm in the past.
Jada responded with calm and compassion. She's a role model for other parents out there who might overreact in a way that discourages their children from coming to them with other problems.
The freedom that Will and Jada have given their childen to be themselves has halped them to be extraordinary human beings.
It's no wonder that Will name-drops his wonderful family in "To the Clique."
First off, I would just like to take a moment to let Bella know how much I appreciate her dedication to color matching. She has the red hair, the red lipstick, the red shirt, and the red pants. If I didn’t know any better I might have mistaken her for the Queen, and I am not talking about the drag queen were works at The Queen Mary.
I am referring to the one and only Queen Elizabeth II. There might have been Elizabeths before her, there might be Elizabeths after her, but she is the only one Queen Elizabeth in my heart. That is mainly because I simply do not have the energy to fill my head with anymore names of royalty. I am pretty sure my forefathers fought a war specifically so that I would not have to. I don’t know, I didn’t really pay attention in school.
Most people either pay no attention to those details of wardrobe colors or they purposefully avoid wearing too much of any one color at a time. I have never understood why it seems so taboo to be monochromatic. I love wearing only one color. It makes getting dressed in the morning so much easier.
Photo Credit: Instagram / Backgrid USA
Mary Shelley's Haifaa Al-Mansour and Douglas Booth talk the new Elle Fanning film, and finding the youth and pain that birthed Frankenstein.
Despite being the mother of modern science fiction, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley has rarely gotten her due in the mainstream. Of course most know she’s the author of the legendary Frankenstein novel, one of the most adapted works in movie history. Yet her most well-known cinematic representation remains a wicked cameo in Bride of Frankenstein; and on the academic side too, Mary Shelley is often reduced or downright dismissed by many a (male) professor as English poet Percy Shelley’s wife—a conduit for his Early Romantic brilliance.
This is a narrative that writer-director Haifaa Al-Mansour and the cast of Elle Fanning’s new Mary Shelley biopic hope to finally correct in the wider imagination. Indeed, right down to the casting of Fanning, who had turned only 18 during the last day of production, Al-Mansour sought to revitalize in the popular image of a young woman who was also just 18 when she began to write Frankenstein during a particularly rainy and gloomy summer on Lake Geneva.
“We wanted people to realize how young was Mary Shelley when she wrote the book,” Al-Mansour says during a joint interview with actor Douglas Booth, who plays Percy Shelley in the film. “Imagine if it were a young man who wrote that book; he would have been on the cover of every Time Magazine today.”
Indeed, but one of the best aspects about the new Mary Shelley film is how clear it makes it that only a woman could write that novel. While Frankenstein is rightly credited as the birth of turning to a fictional approximation of science for literary inspiration, this new biopic rightly focuses on the often overlooked humanist aspects of the book. Mary, the daughter of philosophers and early feminists from the Enlightenment era, read poetry on her mother’s grave every day… and dreamt of a more sweeping life. When she runs away though, at 16 years of age, with Percy Shelley—who was already married and had a child at the time—she gets more than she bargained for… including the tragedy of seeing her first child born and then buried within that first whirlwind year.
It is that life experience, Al-Mansour and Mary Shelley posits, that informed the creation of her loquacious and sympathetic fallen angel. Frankenstein’s Monster is neither the monster that Hollywood turned him into, nor is he “the Byronic hero” centuries of literature academics have imagined. He is the personification of loss and childhood abandonment as understood by a young woman who’d be considered a child today, even though she had by that point been abandoned by her father and lost her own newborn babe.
“It is not easy to come up with a great work of art,” Al-Mansour considers. “You have to suffer in life and you have to make choices that are difficult for you as a person. Because that’s what makes it more mature and more everlasting. It is not simple. Life is not simple, doing the right and wrong things.”
That includes the representation of Percy and, perhaps especially, Lord Byron. Considered the first rock stars of the modern era, these poets were the pinnacle of the Early Romantics era, galavanting around Switzerland and Italy together. And always treated as almost an appendix was the accompaniment of Mary and Mary’s step-sister Claire Clairmont. The quartet’s most famous holiday is present in Mary Shelley too, with Bel Powley playing Claire and Tom Sturridge embodying an appropriately strutting Lord Byron. Yet as told from Mary and Claire’s perspectives, the men are not so much “Byronic heroes” as they are zealous young men who in spite their sense of enlightenment still put women into boxes.
Says Al-Mansour, “We wanted them not to be black and white and we wanted to see them doing mistakes.” It is something Booth was happy to lean into, as well as extrapolating why these very young people were still so good for each other in spite of the flaws history might be papering over.
“I think they loved each other deeply and they were flawed as a couple, massively flawed,” Booth says. The actor even likes that some audiences might wish for the courtship, which helped spawn Frankenstein, to end. But he adds, “There was a great love and respect between the two of them. Whatever his flaws were, Percy, he believed in her; he always believed in her when others didn’t and he pushed her.”
It’s one of literature’s most intriguing love stories that, from all its suffering, offered us a novel that still lives on a clean 200 years later since the Shelleys’ summer at Byron’s lakeside house. Below is our full interview with Al-Mansour and Booth, as we consider why Mary still captivates to this day—and why her story should be remembered as more than just the Monster’s.
So when did you first come into really knowing about Mary Shelley, either Frankenstein or the early Romantics?
Haifaa Al-Mansour: I was a literature reader, so I had a class on woman writers and Mary Shelley was one of them. And of course we read Frankenstein, I read it in Arabic as a kid also. I never studied her since I finished the paper. I never got back into her life until they sent me this script, and it was amazing to get closer to her and see how much she suffered as a woman. And how much of the book is very much a result of her life and all that she went through.
Douglas Booth: For me, it was Frankenstein. And really until I started looking at this project, I knew I was very ignorant about, definitely, her age, how young she was when she wrote that. Completely surprised me. And about what she went through in her life that resulted in her writing Frankenstein. You know, the things that happened to her. It wasn't just a story she just sat down and said, “I’m going to make up a story.” No, it was a bunch of things that happened to her at such a young age. You know, the pressure created this diamond of a book.
Whenever I mention Elle Fanning was playing Mary Shelley, people are like "Isn't she young?" Well, she was 18 when she wrote it. So...
DB: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
HAM: And that is one of things why we wanted to cast Elle.
DB: And she was. She was 17 turning 18 while we were filming.
HAM: Yeah, and we wanted people to realize how young was Mary Shelley when she wrote the book.
DB: She turned 18 like the day after we finished shooting.
That’s interesting, because n college I had a literature professor who claimed most people only know Mary as the wife of Percy. Which was not my experience, some scholars, I think, try to undermine her image in history.
HAM: Oh yeah, I definitely think she was under-recognized. Like, she wasn't appreciated as a writer. And yeah, Percy wrote amazing philosophy.
DB: She created science fiction.
HAM: She created science fiction, she's way bigger! ... And it is really appalling. Like, why? Because it's a younger woman that created that amazing book. Imagine if it were a young man who wrote that book; he would have been on the cover of every Time Magazine today.
There would have been more biographies and biopics about him.
While related to that, how do you tackle such a larger-than-life life into a narrative feature?
It was tough, because so much was being done by those young kids. At the time, they'd done so much. They traveled across Europe, they had so many affairs, and so many things that were happening. They were meeting also larger than life characters. Like Byron, and all that. So we had to be very selective in choosing the events. And our guidance was we wanted to show the correlation between her life and the book. And how everything that happened in the book is a result of everything that happened in her life.
And Douglas, how much research did you do into Percy once you got the role?
DB: I did quite a lot. If I'm playing a real person—which, I've played quite a lot of real people actually—there's often a wealth of knowledge, a wealth of material out of there. There's a great biography, like six or seven hundred-page biography, and I was in India before we shot. And I remember sitting there, and I just sat there and got through the whole thing; figured out who this person was, what made this character the person he was when I started playing him; learned a lot about his childhood, tried to get my head around his ideals, what he was striving for. So, when I got to set, I had created a set of memories in my head, a set of ideals, a set of stuff that I live by.
And when I got to set, I could just turn up and have the pleasure of just being present and playing his character, opposite of such talented actors like Elle and Bel. So I just did a lot of research and reading.
Obviously I also had to do a bit of spoken word. So I worked with this young, really talented young Egyptian poet. She helped me. I remember looking, I was like, "I wonder what it sounds like spoken.". Because when I first read it, I didn't know how to speak this. I didn't have a clue, and I remember putting on YouTube, and all the stuff on there was [disaffected and dry]. Like I was falling asleep.
The BBC approach.
DB: Yeah! And he was a rebel and he was a revolutionary, and he was modern and exciting at the time. So, when he walked at that party I didn’t want—obviously it had to be true to the period, which I think it is. But I wanted when Mary looked at him across the room, she thought “Who’s this guy just standing there?” He’s just saying it. He just gets up there and says it, from the heart.
It’s an old comparison to make that Byron and Percy were the rock stars of their day. How much did you want to lean into that or maybe try and steer away from it?
DB: One hundred percent lean into that, one hundred percent lean into it. I think we created an energy where we felt with me, Bel, Elle, and Tom, that we all really got on and we had a great chemistry. You know, we were stuck in Luxembourg bored. [Laughs] There was nothing to do apart from hang out, go for dinner and have drinks, and Elle, she was 17. We just had a great time. I felt that; we were this kind of merry band.
We had some freedom with the costume design. I've done other period pieces, everything's so strict. “No, no, no, it's three buttons here. This is the period. It's 180-something.” Well, we kind of tore that book up a bit because of what he had to play with. I don’t think Percy really cared. He just always pursued these thoughts. I had a little bit of freedom with the costume and how I wanted to wear things, and how I wanted to wear my hair. Yeah, we lent into that a bit.
How did you want to both approach his relationship with Mary?
HAM: We wanted them not to be black and white and we wanted to see them doing mistakes, but we still would be with them, and that was very important. With his ex-wife and his daughter, and the relationship and all that, it is very problematic. But it is what they’re doing; it’s not the right choices, not the morally correct choices. They chose sometimes to break away and that comes with a burden on anybody. The existence of that child and the other wife carried it on them, doing that, it was difficult on them, and we wanted to show that, because it is not easy to come up with a great work of art. You have to suffer in life and you have to make choices that are difficult for you as a person. Because that’s what makes it more mature and more everlasting. It is not simple. Life is not simple, doing the right and wrong things. And that is for us, was very important to bring.
On paper, Percy can be a bit of a cad or very callous in how he treats Mary but I feel like you are certainly trying to add layers to that.
DB: I think they loved each other deeply and they were flawed as a couple, massively flawed. For the audience to stay, I really cared that the audience cared for our relationship. Whatever happened, like sure people come to the screening like, “Fucking leave him, what are you doing? Just get out of there,” but there was a great love and respect between the two of them. Whatever his flaws were, Percy, he believed in her; he always believed in her when others didn’t and he pushed her. He didn’t always get it right.
There's that scene where she comes back from trying to get the book published and she goes, “They said, look, they’ll publish it but with a foreword by you.” And, I’m, “Babe, that’s great, it's good.” She's like, “Do you still not get it? Do you still not understand?” But he was a great champion of her, and the audience needed to really believe that they’re desperately in love to stay with us on the journey.
I am not aware of what the actual gravestone looks like, but I know Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin's grave is kind of legendary in this whole story and I wanted to ask is that where you shot that whole sequence?
HAM: No, we didn’t shoot, it is in England and we couldn’t afford to shoot in England. [Laughs] But I knew we wanted a cemetery that has life. And we looked around a lot with Paki [Smith], the production designer, and we looked at places, and cemeteries are not romantic. Sometimes they’re really plain. But we went to this place and it was amazing, it was almost like ruins, and there are flowers from coming between, and light. It’s very gothic and very beautiful, and we fell in love with it once we’d seen it. We recreated the grave, it was like one that we built, it's not one of the existing ones, but everything else was real, and it was wonderful to see it. It was really magical to be in that space.
DB: My only regret is that we didn't make love on the gravestone.
HAM: We should have done that. [Laughs]
That's the legend.
DB: Yeah, a two-minute steamy sex scene right on top of that grave. [Laughs]
You said you cast Elle for her youth, but could you talk about working with Elle and what you saw in her to bring this—this is woman who led a very harrowing life by the time she was 18, 19.
Yeah, it’s not only because of her youth, but also because of her acting… We wanted someone who can bring an effortless and subtle performance into the character. And Elle is amazing at doing that. Otherwise, it would be very melodramatic, it's going to be very sad, and I don't want to portray a victim. We want to have someone who goes through a very difficult, harsh life and comes out of it with something amazing.
And to create that you needed someone who can bring in elegance and carry it through. You don't feel like she is weak or she's a victim as much as you understand where she comes from and you relate to that and relate the book and her life at the end. And that is why I felt Elle is amazing. I was following through Super 8 where she did a great job. And we cast her right after Maleficent, and she wanted to do more adult roles, and it was a perfect timing for us, age-wise. But also the quality of the performer and the performance she gives.
How much did you want to subvert or play against expectation, because you did the famous “Ghost Story” sequence in Geneva, but it doesn’t necessarily play the way mythmaking suggests.
It’s not about the monster. That is one thing we really decided from early on, that it is about her, and once we knew the monster’s there, people of course want to see a horror film, and it is not that. We wanted, we made a deliberate decision to, just bringing him in her mind.
And when most people think of Frankenstein, they think of the science parable. The monster is even called a Byronic hero. So how important was it for you to make it about her own sense of loss superseding our understanding the mythology around the book?
It's about a young person finding her voice and that is what we wanted. We thought she’s under-recognized, like nobody knew, that is what we wanted. We sought it out. That is our aim. But also we wanted, we didn’t want the monster not to be present at all, because it is her creation, so we wanted to show a little bit of it, but not in a way that it has a life of its own that hijacks her life again, because it did. It did take all the recognition, it took all the fame, and why she went into the shadows and we wanted to leave those shadows behind.
Mary Shelley is now playing select cities and on VOD today.
Can you meme a meme? According to 'What Scares You The Most,' the answer is a resounding yes. Comedy site/meme hub Obvious Plant posted an image parody based on school interviews back in October. The image, which asks students what they fear most, quickly went viral on Reddit. It wasn't until this Month that people started making parodies of the parody, using it to mock everything from UK politics to Star Wars.
As a longtime Marvel Comics reader, this week was one of mixed emotions. On the one hand, it's great seeing one of my favorite characters, Black Panther, getting such a bold overhaul in his new series. On the other, the release of Invincible Iron Man #600 (check out my review here) officially brought an end to writer Brian Michael Bendis' Marvel career. Bendis has been a hugely influential force at Marvel for most of the past two decades, and it's still strange to think of the company moving forward without him. The silver lining, though, is that he left Marvel with one final parting gift before making the jump to DC. Even as Bendis closes the door on Tony Stark's current journey, he's leaving Marvel with the opportunity to revitalize the SHIELD franchise.
Producer Jennifer Fox has acquired the film rights to Earthsea, the epic fantasy novel series of Ursula K. Le Guin.
Earthsea appears to be on the verge of finally getting a film adaptation. The sprawling fantasy novel series, arguably the magnum opus of author Ursula K. Le Guin, is right up there with (for example,) J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth works, in terms of volume and supplementary material, but its representation in the live-action adaptation realm is nowhere near as prominent. However, that could soon change, thanks to a producer’s recent acquisition of the film rights.
Jennifer Fox, a producer from films such as Nightcrawler, The Bourne Legacy, Michael Clayton and Syriana, has optioned the film rights to the Earthsea franchise, reports Deadline. Apparently, the move completes a transaction that was started by author Ursula K. Le Guin, who passed away this past January. With the deal sealed, we can expect Earthsea to, at long last, reach a new level of mainstream awareness with a big screen treatment with franchise designs. The project will be executive-produced by Theo Downes-Le Guin, son of the author.
Earthsea stems back to Le Guin’s 1964 short story, The Word of Unbinding. The mythology is set on the eponymous world of Earthsea, a fantastical Earth-like planet that lacks major continents, instead composed of a series of archipelagos on which human society lives an Iron Age-like existence, rife with things like magic and dragons. The stories frequently focus on magical themes and the Taoist concept of existential balance.
The mythos came into prominence with Le Guin’s 1968 novel, A Wizard of Earthsea, a bellwether piece of fantasy literature by which many prominent authors claim influence. That book follows the story of a young mage, named Ged, an attendee of a school of wizardry (think that concept influenced anyone?) who accidentally unleashes an evil force into the Earthsea world and embarks on an odyssey to undo his mistake. – Le Guin would release five Earthsea novels overall from 1968-2001, having also supplemented the mythos in those later years with more short stories.
There have been adaptations of Earthsea over the years, notably the 2004 Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy,) TV miniseries, in which X-Men's Shawn Ashmore played book protagonist Ged, with a cast consisting of Kristin Kreuk, Isabella Rossellini and Danny Glover. However, the miniseries was critically lambasted as unoriginal and (as the author herself publicly noted,) guilty of the casting infraction of whitewashing, since its mostly-white cast stand in stark contrast to Le Guin’s literature, which describes the inhabitants of Earthsea as having red-brown skin.
Additionally, an anime adaptation, called Tales from Earthsea, was released in 2006 from director Goro Miyazaki (son anime legend Hayao Miyazaki). Yet, that version also failed to impress Le Guin, who wasn't a fan of the liberties taken with its aesthetics. While there's been talk of other Le Guin movie adaptation projects in recent years, such as Planet Exile and, more recently with The Telling, the late author has seemingly given a stamp of approval to Jennifer Fox's pitch, which raises the prospects for this film project.
We will keep you updated on this exciting Earthsea movie project as the news arrives!
Aaron Hernandez‘s fiancee is expecting a child with a new love interest one year following his death, and RadarOnline.com can exclusively reveal he identity of her baby daddy as boxer and bar owner, Dino Guilmette.
Guimette, 39, hails from Long Island, New York — where he grew up. He told Radar exclusively that he met Jenkins a year ago through mutual friends.
“We just hit it off from the beginning,” Guilmette revealed.
The two are expecting a baby girl come June.
“I’m going to have my hands full but I’m happy about it,” Guilmette joked. “I’m excited. It’s my daughter. She will have two sisters. I have another daughter from a previous relationship and then there’s Shayanna‘s daughter with Aaron. It’s very exciting.”
While Guilmette admits he doesn’t appreciate the negative attention surrounding her pregnancy, he told Radar that her connection to Hernandez wasn’t a factor at all when they first began dating.
“I didn’t care one bit,” he said. “There are a lot of ugly comments out there. I don’t listen to them. I tune them out any way.”
Guillmette’s father, Bill, also spoke to Radar and revealed “he couldn’t wait for the baby to come.”
Bill called Jenkins a “bright spot” for the family following all that she endured.
“Shayanna is a lovely young lady. She really is a special person. I adore her,” Bill expressed. “I’ve watched all of my kids get married. I’ve married all of them off so far, except Dino. So hopefully that’s next.”
While the family says they are trying to put the tragedy of Hernandez’s suicide behind them, they admit they still feel sympathy for the late murderer.
“That’s another era in our life that’s completely done and over with,” Bill said. ” But I feel bad for Aaron too. I did some research. His father was a fantastic person. When he died, I think thats when everything went downhill for Aaron. Beside all the injuries to his brain. I mean he had the worst case of degenerative brain disorder when they autopsied his brain.”
On April 19, 2017, Hernandez hung himself in his prison cell.
We have to give cool points where cool points are due. This week, those points go to Alec Baldwin, who hilariously described some of the big differences between his children and likened his youngest daughter, 4-year-old Carmen, to one of the greatest ladies of the century: Oprah Winfrey.
All of this goodness went down on Live with Kelly and Ryan Friday morning, when Baldwin opened up to cohosts Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest about the hilarious differences between his children. Trust us when we say this conversation only gets better with every passing moment.
The topic came up when Baldwin remarked, "In my house, we have our daughter, Carmen, and we have our two boys. We just had our third boy in a row [Romeo Alejandro, born May 2018] and the difference is just amazing."
This seemed to inspire Ripa to pluck up the courage to comment, "Well, Carmen, she must seem like a grown-up compared to the boys," before going on to remark that even though she doesn't like to stereotype different genders, she's noticed in her own life as a mother to one daughter and two boys, that girls tend to develop quicker than boys.
Baldwin seemed to be in agreement with Ripa's assessment: "Carmen, she's like Oprah Winfrey. She's very conversant and very smart and very chatty and very sophisticated," he told Ripa and Seacrest, snapping his fingers to illustrate how quick she really is.
To wit Baldwin also commented just how easily two of his sons, Rafael, 2, and Leonardo, 1, manage to whip each other up into a frenzy with their antics. Meanwhile, Carmen is "chatting and hosting a talk show," the proud dad quips.
Of course, Baldwin loves all his kids equally, we're sure. And we're also sure that as the boys get older, they, too, will get the gift of being likened to a badass celebrity. But for now, we're just going to enjoy the utter charm and cuteness that is Baldwin admiring and appreciating just how whip-smart Carmen is at just 4 years old.
Can Conor Davis show his skills once more?
Here we go again. After a stumble to aTm our Tigers yet again square off against Ole Miss. But we have rain and, as such, a delay in the start of this game against the Rebels.
We will provide updates as we have them. The SEC has stated that the plan is to get the games in today but Mother Nature reigns supreme so we shall see.
The radar, however, does not look promising. At least for a while.
We do know that Head Coach Butch Thompson does have plans on starting Andrew Mitchell at pitcher. Cody Greenhill will be top of the list in the bullpen if or when needed.
The Hoover Met will be rocking provided weather allows the game.
Stay tuned and, as always, War Eagle!!
The post Auburn Baseball – Ole Miss, again. appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.
We learn of an off-shoot of the Wakandan nation that left split off and left for space millennia ago. They have spread across the stars and become one of the most powerful forces in the universe.
T’Challa awakens on an alien spaceship with the voice of Ororo Munroe in his ears. The Black Panther finds himself a slave of the Shi’ar Empire, but he doesn’t intend to be so for long. He makes an escape attempt which becomes quickly botched, but another party soon attacks the Shi’ar outpost. Their garb and names are familiar to T’Challa.
Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuña lead Black Panther in a surprising new direction with this new #1. Space hasn’t been a well-explored place by the Black Panther outside of the Avengers.
There is the potential for difficulty in suspending disbelief with the sudden existence of a wide-spread Wakandan Empire deep in outer space. I’m not going to call anyone wrong for being bothered by that, but these books do get more enjoyable if you separate the continuity that truly matters in storytelling and the continuity that doesn’t. An intergalactic Wakandan Empire? Sure, why not? It could make for an interesting story.
This issue of Panther is refreshingly light on text, as T’Challa himself speaks very little. This allows for the art to tell the story, and that’s always a good thing. This allows the pacing to quicken too.
Admittedly, the Wakandan Empire is the only new idea the book has. Press-gang slavers and space-faring freedom fighters aren’t new to Marvel, but there is something to say about the skill with which the tale is told — namely the aforementioned economical use of text and swift pacing.
Daniel Acuña’s artwork impresses, as his already-gorgeous style only seems to improve as time moves forward. His oil painting-esque work perfectly captures the Panther and the literal otherworldly environment. Expressions are subtly captured well. The color art is a shaded and smart balance of darker purples and black.
Black Panther #1 is a tight and fast-moving introductory issue for this new era of T’Challa. The story is fresh to the character and series, the narrative is interesting, and the art is great. This one earns a recommendation. Give it a read.
The post Black Panther #1 Review: Panthers in Space Makes for Good Reading appeared first on Bleeding Cool News And Rumors.
As we reported earlier, last night's episode of Jersey Shore Family Vacation would've been a total snoozefest were it not for the surprise return of the Rob Kardashian of Staten Island herself, Angelina Pivarnick.
"Jolie" isn't exactly a fan favorite, but she certainly livened up last night's proceedings, which otherwise would've been highlighted by Snooki helping her kids with a school project.
At first, the kinder, gentler, slightly soberer Jersey Shore was a nice change of pace, but if we're being honest, the last couple episodes have dragged a bit.
The show could use a bit of the petty conflict that helped to make its first iteration so memorable, and fans are hoping that's where Angelina comes in.
Based on Pivarnick's recent Instagram activity, we're guessing viewers won't have to wait long for her to deliver the goods.
On Thursday, Pivarnick touted her return with a photo of a rather combative coffee mug.
"TOMORROW IS MY RETURN ON @jerseyshore!!!!! Can’t wait for you all to see. I will be sipping my TEA out of my amazing cup I dedicate to @jwoww," she captioned the pic below.
Amidst a jumble of hashtags and emojis, Pivarnick added, "Keep hating."
Needless to say, Jenni "JWoww" Farley was less than thrilled when she laid eyes on the post.
"Who’s following who?! Jealous of what? Your third engagement or third chance in the house?” Farley commented.
“You want me to show u the door … again #statenislanddump.”
“Lmfaooooooo yeah ok. ARE YOU EVEN ON THE SHOW THIS YEAR YOURSELF I HAVENT NOTICED. ALL YOU DO IS SLEEPING,” Angelina replied.
"Rather be sleeping than regret looking like you on national TV.” Jenni shot back.
It wasn't long before Deena Nicole-Cortese jumped into the fray, writing:
"Omg you left the house wanting to make amends with everyone."
“I’m confused with this post.. why start silly drama over insta?”
What we have here is Mayweather-McGregor caliber trash talk, but will it translate to the sort of on-air drama fans are hoping for?
Yes, says Pivarnick:
“I didn’t really wanna have that altercation with her,” says Angelina, adding that she and Jenni very nearly came to blows," she recently told Us Weekly.
“If it comes down to it, I’m gonna have to do it, but I literally wanted to be classy. I wanted to just make my amends without having to throw fists this season.”
Watch Jersey Shore online to get caught up in time for what will hopefully be a drama-packed remainder of the season.
I guess all of those Taylor Swift lyrics about love were true. Just when you were becoming cynical, lovestruck starlet Paris Hilton is here to show you that true romance and passion exist, and that this world, it’s not such a bad place after all. Hilton was randomly hounded by the photographers that she arranged to meet her while out and about, but a fascinating rapid-fire interview on-the-go about details surrounding her upcoming nuptials was interrupted when none other than her fiancé – Chris Zylka in the flesh – surprised her with roses. You can hear the shock in Paris’ voice as she greets her star-crossed lover in the candid and surprising exchange.
Honestly, odds are that Zylka was contractually obligated to drag his butt out of the house, pick up flowers, and hit a specific mark at a specific time so as to get Hilton’s best side as she kisses him in front of the paps. But if Zylka’s unwavering dedication to Paris
‘ money isn’t love, I don’t know what is.
Photo Credit: Instagram
We're giving away THREE 4K copies of Annihilation so you can re-experience the kaleidoscopic visual treat at home!
If you didn't notice, we're big fans of Annihilation. The visually stunning movie by Alex Garland showcased a psychedelic distortion of nature, life, and the mind. Plus, it inspired so many to dig deep and discover tons of hidden meanings sprinkled throughout the film! To celebrate the movie's excellence, and its arrival to 4K at Best Buy on May 29th, we're giving away three 4K copies of the film!
Final entries will be accepted Tuesday, May 29th! Three (3) winners will be drawn at random and contacted by email. Good luck!
Recently, speculation has been swirling that RHOA star Kenya Moore is faking her pregnancy and her marriage.
When Kenya posted and then deleted words that made fans wonder if she regretting her wedding, the rumors only magnified.
Kenya has seen the speculation -- and she's not mincing words with her clapback.
RadarOnline reports that Kenya Moore posted this ominous message to Instagram:
"Don’t love too soon. Don’t trust too fast."
Coming only about a year after her secret wedding to Marc Daly, some wondered if she had regrets.
"Don’t judge too soon. Don’t quit too early."
Others wondered if this was simply good advice.
"Don’t expect too high. Don’t talk too much."
(I've never been good at following that last piece of advice)
The odd thing is that there is no sign of that post on Kenya's Instagram right now.
She reportedly deleted it, replacing it with a photo in which her wedding band is clearly visible.
Some wondered if she and Marc had been fighting.
There have been absurd rumors that she is faking her pregnancy in order to stay relevant -- rumors that we have already ridiculed for their absurdity.
(Can a pregnancy be faked? Sure! But it defies reason to believe that Kenya is doing that simply because she isn't pushing her baby bump in everyone's faces)
Did Kenya post that after an argument with Marc and then switch it out after they made nice?
Or is it more likely that she posted some sage advice and then deleted it when people started reading way, way too much into it?
Either way, Kenya is clearly pissed about the speculation and rumors about her marriage and pregnancy, because she posted this:
Oh boy, remember when this term was only used to apply to deliberately manufactured "news" stories in the political arena? Genuine hoaxes like Pizzagate?
"@bet @celebrity_insider_org @theinquisitr shame on you for constantly regurgitating the slanderous fake news from #radaronline."
Well, discussing an existing story isn't shameful. You can't debunk something without addressing it.
"Fake Husband, Fake Pregnancy, Fake Boyfriends, Fake Storyline, FIred, Fake Divorce."
To be fair, there were genuinely plenty of people -- us included -- who were truly worried that Kenya would be fired from RHOA over her marriage.
Kenya apparently wishes that sites would totally fabricate things about her.
"At least be effing original with your hateful lies."
This just in: Kenya Moore has to be careful to avoid mishaps, as the Illuminati cloning facility that she uses to stay young-looking has been destroyed in the Kilauea eruption.
Would that be a satisfactory fake story? (We kid, of course -- everyone knows that the Illuminati Deep State Lizard people keeping their cloning facilities on the moon)
"I'm used to you all making up stories to get clicks off my name but LEAVE MY FAMILY ALONE."
Some celebrities have topics that really get under their skin. This is clearly Kenya's.
Obviously, fans want to know about Kenya's love life. It's only natural -- you see her on television and social media.
But there are lines that we should probably avoid crossing.
We would never want to hurt anyone's feelings, of course.
And ugly rumors can be extremely hurtful. Kenya must be feeling sensitive about this issue, and that is absolutely her right.
If you were to tell me that Nicki Minaj and Eminem were reportedly dating, I’d ask you what random rap name relationship generator you used to come up with that combination. But according to Nicki Minaj, who is probably trolling, she’s dating Eminem.
Nicki has an upcoming album to promote (an album that’s been pushed from June to August), so she’s spending a lot of time on Instagram giving everyone a little taste of what’s to come. Earlier today, she dropped a clip of her rapping along to a track titled “Big Bank.” She captioned the Instagram post with the song’s title, the featured artists, and the lyrics: “Told’em I met Slim Shady. Bagged a EM!” which was followed by several emojis, including the sassy tongue-out face and the one with its little emoji finger to its mouth like, “Shhh.”
That Shhh emoji is the definition of redundant, because people on the internet couldn’t keep quiet about what appeared to be 35-year-old Nicki announcing that she was dating 45-year-old Eminem. Of course, “bagged a Em” isn’t the same as rapping: “I’m currently in a romantic relationship with the rapper known as Eminem.” So a fan went ahead and asked Nicki point-blank if the implication was that she was dating Eminem. Nicki’s answer: that would be a yes.
Eminem hasn’t commented on whether he and Nicki are a thing, so for now this is all just Nicki’s word against the truth. Personally, I don’t see it. As if Nicki would announce she was taken by just casually dropping her new boyfriend’s name in a verse. I refuse to believe it until I see a picture of Nicki on Instagram showing off a relationship-confirming gift of a giant carpal tunnel-causing diamond.
Arguably the best director of female-driven character-based comedy, Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy) now turns his attention to adapting a rather salacious novel titled A Simple Favor. We covered the premise already when we saw the first teaser earlier this month, but think of it as Gone Girl from the point of view of the next door neighbor that Amy befriended—played in the film adaptation by Casey Wilson.
Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively are only two years apart in age, but they look closer to ten years because Anna’s got a very naive look and Blake almost always plays high class women. They’re both interesting actresses and based on the source material, it’ll be fun to see them get a little sleazy.
Honestly the draw for me is Feig. I know he rubbed a lot of people wrong with his general attitude and demeanor while making and promoting Ghostbusters, but he’s proven time and again to be a very canny director who excels with intimate, character driven stories.
While I don’t know for sure, because audiences tend to be fickle, I would put money on this being a big hit this fall. A Simple Favor opens in theaters on September 14.
Serena Williams' return to tennis is getting off to an unfair and rocky start. After going on maternity leave so that she could bask in the joy of life as a first-time mother to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., we learned that Williams would actually be penalized for doing so during the French Open. This seemingly unfair penalty earned at least one critic — someone you might not immediately expect to jump to Williams' defense — and they didn't stay quiet about it on social media.
Turns out, if you come for Serena Williams, Ivanka Trump will be right there to defend her. That's exactly what happened when it was reported by ESPN that the French Tennis Federation would not give Williams a seeding prior to the 2018 French Open. This means that Williams might have to play highly-ranked players in the first rounds of the Open and it puts her at a disadvantage in terms of standing within the tennis community. Generally speaking, it looks really bad — and that's only made worse by the fact that Williams' is currently ranked No. 453 after standing to No. 1 before having her daughter.
This penalty may have a solid foundation within the various rules for the French Open, but from the outside, it feels like Williams' is being unfairly punished for having a child and then taking the time away from her profession to actually be with her. Upon seeing this news, Trump was quick to hop on to Twitter to sound off, voicing her support for the renowned athlete.
This is ridiculous. @SerenaWilliams is a formidable athlete (best ever!) and loving new mother. No person should ever be penalized professionally for having a child! The #WTA should change this rule immediately. #FrenchOpen.https://t.co/W5jQ5aEUXm— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) May 24, 2018
"This is ridiculous. @SerenaWilliams is a formidable athlete (best ever!) and loving new mother. No person should ever be penalized professionally for having a child! The #WTA [Women's Tennis Association] should change this rule immediately," Trump wrote on Thursday.
It's certainly nice to see that Trump, a mother of three, is coming to Williams' defense regardless of how unexpected it may seem. Williams has been working so hard to make her big tennis comeback, a comeback that is well-deserved after going through hell just to give birth to her beautiful baby girl. Again, we're sure there's a logic to the ruling here, but at what cost? Is it truly accurate to penalize Williams like this?
Williams hasn't released an official statement on the ruling. Hopefully, if she sees Trump's tweet, she gets a little bit of comfort from it.
Nate Craig-Myers should star over the middle in Auburn football's offense
... third receiver in Auburn's standard formations. Auburn football-Auburn Tigers-Auburn Tigers football-SEC Championship game-SEC Championship Auburn wide receiver Nate Craig-Myers enjoyed a late-season surge in 2017. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images).
It's official! Rick and Morty Season 4 has been confirmed. Here's everything you need to know.
Rick and Morty has taken notoriously long breaks in between seasons. It’s not as much of a rarity for hotly popular television shows as it once was, but fans certainly get antsy in anticipation for their favorite show to return. While we had very little information on the prospects of Rick and Morty Season 4 since the end of the last season because of some contract difficulties, it looks like those have all been straightened out.
Series co-creator Justin Roiland finally broke the silence on the negotiations with an Instagram post. The illustration states that 70 more episodes of Rick and Morty are on the way. Going by last season's 10 episodes, that's potentially seven more seasons of Rick and Morty.
The official word from the network states that "Adult Swim has made a long-term overall deal with the creators that will include 70 new episodes of the critically acclaimed series that follows a sociopathic genius scientist who drags his inherently timid grandson on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe."
It's about time.
Rick and Morty Season 4 Release Date
Hahaha! You must be joking! Mr. Poopybutthole has promised that it will be "a really long time." Maybe his "Santa Claus beard" crack was a clue and it will come in time for the holiday season in 2018! Don't hold your breath. But we'll see. Anyway, nothing official has been announced yet regarding when we'll get Rick and Morty Season 4.
Writer Ryan Ridley, in an interview with The Detroit Cast, said it could be a longer hiatus than usual, since the writers haven’t even started on the fourth season yet. And why should they when there's nothing going on with the network just yet?
"I know how long this show takes to write, let alone animate," he said. "I'd be surprised if there was a fourth season on the air anytime sooner than 2019... late 2019.”
Rick and Morty Season 4 Episodes
Shortly after season three concluded, Dan Harmon talked to Entertainment Weekly about a wide-range of topics, including the prospect of filling out a larger episode order for Rick and Morty Season 4 and beyond. While season three was originally set to be 14 episodes, production delays because of their own self-described “perfectionist” tendencies inevitably led to a 10-episode third season.
Could Rick and Morty season 4 fulfil a larger episode order? Harmon seems optimistic, but wants fans to weather their expectations of the quality of an additional four episodes.
“I mostly blame myself for doing 10 instead of 14,” Harmon told EW. “I’m still learning how to do the show efficiently while catering to the perfectionist in all of us. I would like to think I’ve learned enough from my mistakes in season 3 that we could definitely do 14 now, but then I have to say, ‘Yeah but you’re the guy who says we can do 14 who turned out to be wrong so we’re not listening to you now.’"
He goes on to say they need to prove they can make the jump.
“The nice healthy way to approach this is I want to prove it with the first 10 of season 4 — prove it to ourselves, to production, to the network — that it’s so easy that we’ll earn additional episodes.”
Rick and Morty is one of the most popular shows on TV right now, so Harmon knows what fans would say on the matter.
“I think the audience would vote unanimously for the idea of 14 episodes instead of 10 on the condition that 4 of them would be [Purge Planet level] episodes.”
We’ll keep you posted on more Rick and Morty season 4 news as we get it.
The Queen Mother of the Beyhive (and Costco’s biggest fan), Tina Knowles, is frolicking through Paris, and she decided to take granddaughter Blue Ivy Carter along for the ride. While most people would take their grandkids to kid-friendly places in Europe like Euro Disney or a brie factory, Memaw Tina decided to introduce Blue Ivy to the finer things in life, like House of Dereon couture and the French theater. Only, Tina wanted to share their adventure with the whole world, and Blue Ivy was there to remind her memaw ass the French have a word for Instagramming in the theater and it’s “déclassé!”
Billboard notes how in the video Ms. Tina says with awe, “I’m in Paris, France and I’m at the most beautiful theater I’ve ever seen in my life. The Walking Ballet is so cool.” Tina goes on about how it’s the most gorgeous architecture she’s ever seen, but someone who wasn’t there for her social media edition of Architectural Digest was baby Blue. You suddenly hear a voice go, “You’re not supposed to take videos grandma. You’re not supposed to!” Blue’s probably just unimpressed because that theater is boring and looks just like the bathroom in her pool house at the Bey estate, but Miss Tina doesn’t care: she keeps up with her commentary because snitches get stitches!
R.E.M. once sang that it was the end of the world as they knew it, and the band felt fine.
But if this is really the end of Little People, Big World as we know it... well... that would suck so very much!
Why are fans wondering whether the TLC series will return next season?
What rumor is floating around about a lead cast member that has fans speculating and wondering?
Scroll down to find out!
1. Why Might This Be the Final Season of the Show?
2. But Here's the Main Source of the Rumor:
3. Wait, Why Arizona?
4. What Would That Purpose Be?
5. Then There Was This Photo:
6. New Neighbors, Huh?
Harvey Weinstein perp walk, heading to court pic.twitter.com/luluWrvdMk
— Otillia (@o_tilli_a) May 25, 2018
Hollywood’s most coveted internship program might now be officially coming to a close, because counselor Harvey Weinstein has officially been arrested by the NYPD – the first arrest made since the details of Weinstein’s curriculum came to light last year. Weinstein was filmed being cuffed by the police this morning and escorted into a station in lower Manhattan. The NYPD released the statement:
The NYPD thanks these brave survivors for their courage to come forward and seek justice. The arrest and ensuing charges are the result of a joint investigation between the NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
While the specific accuser leading to this arrest remains unknown, it’s speculated that of the dozens of women to turn their backs on Weinstein, Lucia Evans is the one to put the nail in the coffin. She was made to suck him off in New York in 2004, and unlike in California, forced BJs are not constricted to a statute of limitations in NYC. According to Evans’ October story in the New Yorker, Weinstein criticized her weight before sticking his cock in her face. Knowing women, we know which of the two things really lit a fire under Evans.
Weinstein made countless careers for women who at the time saw taking producer loads as the quickest way to success. The liberal media has it wrong. Weinstein was a champion of women. And now he’s paying for it. If Justice is blind, then she doesn’t see the truth.
Photo Credit: Twitter
Reality stars are often derided for their laziness and encouraged to "get a real job", but it's hard to imagine anyone having more irons in the fire than Kailyn Lowry.
Kail is a mother of three (obvi), a reality star (also obvi), a bestselling author, a podcast host, and a social media trendsetter.
And now it looks like she'll be killing two birds with one stone as she cashes in on yet another lucrative gig while simultaneously looking for love.
“I’m going on a dating show next week,” Kail revealed on a recent episode of her Coffee Convos podcast.
She didn't go into specifics, but on Thursday, she tweeted that she'd touched down in Los Angeles.
Naturally, fans are dying of curiosity:
Is this some sort of one-off thing, where Kail will appear in a single episode of celebrity dating series?
Is this one of those VH1 deals where a bunch of stars live in a house and have casual sex for three weeks?
(Unlikely, as that's not really Kail's style, and she probably wouldn't relish being away from her kids for so long.)
Or is this an entirely new project that will focus completely on Kail's love life?
(Also unlikely, as such a show would probably film closer to Kail's home, and as we said, the girl's already got quite a lot on her plate.)
Whatever the case, Kail fans are understandably psyched.
Not only will they get more of their favorite Teen Mom mom, but they've been rooting for Kail to find the right man for at least the past two years, and they might finally get to see her find love.
Interestingly, news of the dating show comes on the heels of Kail saying that she's done with dating.
"More kids, yes. But more dads, no," Lowry told Radar Online in a recent interview.
She elaborated that she'd like to have at least one more child, but imagines she'll do so via artificial insemination.
It's not hard to see why Kail might not be so big on the idea of romance.
Her relationship with Chris Lopez ended badly while she was still pregnant with her third son, Lux.
And we don't need to tell you that it hasn't always been smooth sailing with Kail and her ex-husband, Javi Marroquin.
Earlier this year, Kail and Javi reconciled briefly, but he abruptly called it quits to get back together with Lauren Comeau.
But fortunately it looks like Kail's not giving up on love - and even better, she's taking fans along on her search for Mr. Right.
Watch Teen Mom 2 online for more on the hectic life of Ms. Lowry.
Claws Season 2 now has a release date and a nifty new trailer! Here is everything we know about the show's second season.
Claws Season 2 is a-go and it's coming sooner than you think.
Here's a fun fact. The first season of TNT's manicurist drama (words it seemed unlikely we would ever write) Claws averaged around 6 million viewers per episode across all of TNT's platforms in 2017. That was good for the fourth most watched new drama of the year among viewers 18-49.
Excellent work, Claws. And an added kudos to its superb cast of "hey, I recognize her" actresses. That includes Niecy Nash (Reno 911), Judy Reyes (Scrubs), Jenn Lyon (Justified), Carrie Preston (True Blood), and newcomer Karrueche Tran.
Season one followed five manicurists at Nail Artisan salon in Manatee County and all the drama that ensues, with some organized crime mixed in of course.
The results were strong enough that TNT opted to renew the show for a second season well before the first season ended.
"These strong-willed, hilarious women represent the diverse voices this network is all about," TNT Vice President of Original Programming Sarah Aubrey said of the renewal. "Claws has certainly struck a chord with audiences and continues to attract new viewers each week."
Here is all we know about the upcoming Claws Season 2.
Claws Season 2 Release Date
TNT announced the release date for Claws Season 2 in an action-packed new trailer. Normally we'd save this kind of thing for the "Claws Season 2 Trailers" section but what the hey, it's a special day.
Claws Season 2 returns Sunday, June 10. We now know it will feature more guns, more nails, more Dean Norris and wonderful phrases like "You've been wanting to take the Russians out? That's exactly what we're gonna do. But we're gonna do it my way."
Claws Season 2 Cast
Jimmy Jean-Lous (who you may remember as "The Haitian" on Heroes) has been upped to a series regular for Claws Season 2. In season one he guest starred as Dr. Gregory Ruval, a love interest for Niecy Nash's Desna Simms. That would appear to be good news for Desna's love life.
Franka Potente (the titular Lola of Run Lola Run) also joins the cast for season two. She will appear as Zlata Ostrovsky, the black sheep daughter of a Russian mob family.
Sherry Cola (I Love Dick) will recur as Special Agent Lucy Chun. Deadline describes her as "one tough cookie, intimidating and threatening, this FBI special agent has her eye on the pain clinic."
Claws Season 2 Trailer
Claws Season 2 Episodes
Claws Season 2 Episode 1: Shook
air date: 6/10/18
Claws Season 2 Episode 2: Cracker Casserole
air date: 6/17/18
Behind the story of the first Star Wars film is a group of talented artists and filmmakers that helped make the franchise what it's become.
This article first appeared on Den of Geek UK.
In theatres all over the world in 1977, audiences thrilled at the sights and sounds of Star Wars. Harking back to a bygone age of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, it also pointed forward to the coming age of ubiquitous computers and special effects-led blockbusters.
But while the triumphant fanfare of John Williams' score gave Star Wars a confident swagger, its success was far from preordained. George Lucas reworked his script time and again studios turned his concept down, and even the production was rushed and torturous.
By now, the contribution George Lucas, John Williams and Star Wars' cast made to cinema is well documented. But what about some of the other artists, technicians, and fellow filmmakers who helped to make the movie such a success? Here's a look at 10 unsung heroes behind Star Wars...
Francis Ford Coppola
George Lucas was still a film student when he befriended the up-and-coming director Francis Ford Coppola, who was then on the cusp of his 70s success with movies like Patton, The Godfather, and The Conversation. In many ways, Lucas and Coppola were total opposites - the book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls paints a portrait of an overbearing, brash Coppola with a talent for self-promotion, while Lucas is described as quiet and unassuming.
Nevertheless, the two became partners for many years. The pair even formed the independent film studio American Zoetrope in 1979. Lucas's debut feature, THX 1138, was produced through the company. It wasn't a huge hit, but Coppola continued to encourage Lucas to write and direct. "[Coppola] came to me and said, 'no more of these experimental science-fiction robot movies,'" Lucas later recalled in an interview with Stephen Colbert. "'I dare you to do a comedy.'"
That comedy was American Graffiti, a coming-of-age drama that, despite the misgivings of its distributor, Universal, became a colossal hit. Coppola was keen for Lucas to make Apocalypse Now after American Graffiti, and was slightly mystified that Lucas was so intent on making a film for 10-year-olds, as it was widely perceived, rather than a more respectable war film. But Lucas pressed on with his Star Wars script, somehow ignoring his own dissatisfaction and the bemused comments of his peers.
Despite Coppola's misgivings over Star Wars, the pair remained friends. Lucas even took inspiration from Coppola when creating the character Han Solo. Imagine the Empire as Hollywood movie studios, and Han Solo becomes the loveable rogue filmmaker, "skating along the edge of the precipice," as Easy Riders, Raging Bulls author Peter Biskind puts it.
While Lucas spent many hours arranging his nascent ideas for Star Wars into a workable draft, he turned to illustrator and designer Ralph McQuarrie to come up with some early concept art. Even though he didn't necessarily think that Star Wars would ever get made ("too expensive," he said), McQuarrie liked Lucas' sci-fi concept, and with his imagination fired up, he created a range of location and character designs which greatly influenced how the finished film would look. McQuarrie's visuals for characters like R2-D2 and C3P0 are very similar to those that appeared in 1977, while the artist's suggestion of giving Darth Vader his wheezing face mask would have a huge bearing on the villain's screen presence.
When Lucas submitted his script to 20th Century Fox for approval, he provided copies of McQuarrie's artwork. Without McQuarrie's concepts, it's possible that Star Wars would never have been given the greenlight. After Star Wars, his first film as a concept artist, McQuarrie worked on the two sequels and a string of other classic films, including Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Alan Ladd Jr.
When it came to trying to find backers for Star Wars, Lucas was famously met with blank faces all over Hollywood. Studio after studio, including Universal, United Artists, and Disney, were singularly unmoved by Lucas' wide-eyed space fantasy. Finally, Lucas found a receptive mind in Alan Ladd Jr., a producer and head of 20th Century Fox.
Then still in his late 30s, Ladd (or "Laddie" as he was commonly referred to) was a little more open-minded than most of the older Hollywood moguls in power at the time, and impressed by Lucas and Ralph McQuarrie's artwork, agreed to fund the project for a relatively small $8.25m.
Brian De Palma
There's a legendary story that Lucas screened an early cut of Star Wars for a few of his Hollywood friends - among them John Milius, Steven Spielberg, and Brian De Palma. It did not go well. De Palma, in particular, was vocal about the rough cut's failings, mocking its repeated references to the Force and its lengthy opening title crawl.
Nevertheless, De Palma proved something of a help to Lucas, that dismal screening aside. According to Dale Pollock's book, Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas, De Palma helped rewrite the opening text crawl, making it less verbose than Lucas' earlier version.
"I showed the very first crawl to a bunch of friends of mine in the 1970s," Lucas told the Chicago Sun-Times. "It went on for six paragraphs with four sentences each. Brian De Palma was there, and he threw his hands up in the air and said, 'George, you're out of your mind! Let me sit down and write this for you.' He helped me chop it down into the form that exists today."
Several months earlier, De Palma had also helped Lucas through Star Wars' casting process. De Palma was making Carrie at the time, and needed actors of a similar age to the ones Lucas was looking for. De Palma's presence in the casting room allowed the more retiring Lucas to sit quietly rather than interview every candidate himself, and ultimately, several actors considered for Star Wars ended up in Carrie instead - such as William Katt, who was initially considered for the role of Han Solo but ended up playing Tommy Ross in De Palma's movie.
John Barry and Roger Christian
Given just how tight money and time were during the production of Star Wars, what set designer John Barry and set decorator Roger Christian managed to achieve is remarkable. Barry came up with the unique look of Tatooine and the interior of the Death Star, while Christian came up with an ingenious means of building the interior of the Millennium Falcon - he used bits of scrapped aeroplane. As Christian told Esquire:
"I told George gingerly one day, 'I cannot afford to dress these sets, I can't get anything made in the studio,' but my idea was to make it like a submarine interior. And if I bought airplane scrap and broke it down, I could stick it in the sets in specific ways — because there's an order to doing it, it's not just random. And that's the art of it. I understood how to do that — engineering and all that stuff. So George said, 'Yes, go do it.' And airplane scrap at that time, nobody wanted it. There were junkyards full of it, because they sold it by weight. I could buy almost an entire plane for 50 pounds."
As for John Barry, the author of Star Wars: The Blueprints, JW Rinzler, made the set designer's contribution clear in an interview with FX Guide:
"Set designer John Barry and his crew really don't get a lot of credit - they really did a lot of the sets from scratch. There was no concept art for any of Luke's homestead stuff. That was all John Barry. The Rebel Blockade runner, as well. Ralph McQuarrie had done a painting but really these guys took it to a whole new level. The Death Star was actually John Barry's design, even though McQuarrie did paintings, Barry talked to him about how to do it."
The "used future" aesthetic may have been of Lucas's devising, but Barry and Christian were responsible in no small part for the execution we saw on the big screen.
Were it not for producer Fred Roos, Harrison Ford could have been remembered by history as Hollywood's most accomplished carpenter. By 1976, Ford had largely given up on acting. Small parts in American Graffiti and Apocalypse Now (the latter not finished until 1979) failed to lead to more work. Meanwhile, Lucas was casting for Star Wars, and bringing in groups of actors to perform together in order to demonstrate their potential chemistry.
It was Fred Roos, a friend of Ford's, who mentioned to Lucas that Ford was available, but Lucas was reluctant to have an actor who'd appeared in American Graffiti feature in Star Wars. Instead, Lucas had Ford simply perform line readings for the other actors brought in to audition. Gradually, it dawned on Lucas that Ford, the actor feeding lines to other, less interesting actors, might be the right guy to play Han Solo after all...
Make-up artist Stuart Freeborn's greatest contribution to the Star Wars franchise wouldn't come until The Empire Strikes Back, where he famously created Yoda by sculpting a mischievous, wise face which shared some of his own features and those of Albert Einstein. Before that, Freeborn played a pivotal role in bringing some of Star Wars' pivotal characters to life. He made Chewbacca. He created the freakish aliens crowded into the Mos Eisley Cantina - a job so intensive that he had to bring in his wife and son (who were also make-up artists) to help him out. For Return of the Jedi, Freeborn created the gigantic, loathsome Jabba the Hutt - arguably one of the most memorable characters in that film.
Costume designer John Mollo was previously a specialist in military uniforms, having previously worked on the outfits for such films as Zulu Dawn and Stanley Kubrick's glacial period piece, Barry Lyndon. Star Wars was therefore Mollo's first film as a costume designer, and the ingenuity of his work led to a long and successful career in a range of high-profile films, including Alien, Gandhi, and Chaplin.
Working closely with Lucas several months before production began, Mollo helped devise an ingenious color scheme for Star Wars, which saw the villains decked out in greys and blacks, while the rebels wore earthy, natural colours like browns and oranges. You can see his interest in military uniforms coming through everywhere , from the tunics worn by Grand Moff Tarkin and the other starched-collar baddies aboard the Death Star, to the armour and helmets of the Empire's assorted Stormtroopers, TIE pilots, gunners, and fleet troopers.
So much of Star Wars' brilliance lies in its sound. We only have to hear the hum of a lightsaber, the roar of a TIE Fighter, or a plaintive groan from Chewbacca, and we're transported back to its exotic sci-fi universe. Those sounds are all thanks in large part to Ben Burtt, who had a penchant for mixing unlikely noises to create something entirely new.
That lightsaber sound? A combination of a whirring film projector and dying television set. Those roaring TIE Fighter engines? A mix of slowed-down elephant and car tires rushing along a wet road. Chewbacca's vocalizations? A blend of bear, walrus, lion, and dog. Those sounds and more helped drive Star Wars to its global success, and marked the start of Burtt's continued presence in the franchise - he's made cameo appearances in subsequent films and returned as sound designer on The Force Awakens.
George's wife from 1969 to 1983, Marcia Lucas' influence on American Graffiti and the Star Wars trilogy was profound. Although Marcia Lucas was nominated (along with Verna Fields) for an Oscar for her editing work on American Graffiti, Marcia wasn't originally working on Star Wars in the late 70s. While George labored on his space opera, Marcia worked with Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver. But as production on Star Wars wound on, Lucas realised that the editor he'd originally hired (John Jympson) wasn't cutting the film together with enough creative verve.
Jympson was duly replaced by three new editors, Paul Hirsch, Richard Chew, and Marcia Lucas. Together, they took Star Wars to pieces and put it back together in a way that conveyed the pace the story clearly required. One of the key sequences Marcia worked on was the final assault on the Death Star. Knowing that it was one of the pivotal moments in the movie, she took it apart and re-ordered the scenes to give it a greater flow and build-up.
Marcia and George's subsequent break-up has often left her overlooked, but her contribution to the Star Wars franchise shouldn't be underestimated. While she shared an Oscar with Hirsch and Chew for her editing work, Marcia's efforts went beyond the technical. For years, she was George's closest and most honest critic, telling him frankly which parts of his story worked and which ones didn't. When George struggled with what to do with Obi Wan Kenobi's character towards the end of Star Wars, it was Marcia who came up with the idea of killing him off. Conversely, Marcia encouraged George to keep some of Star Wars' more humane moments, too. Leia's "Kiss me for good luck" line to Luke was nearly edited out, until Marcia convinced him to leave it in.
Michael Kaminski wrote an exhaustive, brilliant essay about Marcia Lucas' contribution to Star Wars (you can find an archive of it here). It's essential reading, and an important reminder that movie history could have been very different without Marcia's input.
Gary Kurtz, the producer who helped convince FOX to loosen their purse strings just enough to get Star Wars made (including an additional $50,000 for a last-minute set-build).
John Dykstra, the special effects supervisor at the newly-minted ILM. Lucas and Dykstra later fell out, but Dykstra and his team won an Oscar for their ground-breaking achievements.
Gilbert Taylor, the cinematographer who gave us some of the most distinctive and memorable shots in American movie history.
This article first ran on April 23rd, 2015.
No need to go to a galaxy far, far away for your Star Wars fix. Just check our complete guide to Star Wars streaming movies
There's no end in sight to Star Wars. Disney controls both Lucasfilm and the world, itself, so thankfully it's going to be a long time before we don't have a new Star Wars movie to look forward to.
Not only that but the series also already has an impressive amount of content already in the books. The "watch every Star Wars movie" marathons are bound to get longer and you'll need an easy compendium of sources to find each and every flick.
With that in mind, we've compiled the complete list of Star Wars streaming movies. This covers the original trilogy, the new trilogy, the prequels, and any other Star Wars-related movie that will come out now and forever. Follow our guide so you don't miss a single lightsaber battle, Force-choke, or questionable hairstyle.
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
The Phantom Menace is rightfully considered the bottom of the barrel of Star Wars movies. Sure, it's nice to begin the story of Anakin Skywlaker but did we have to start when he was an actual child? Still, give Phantom Menace a rewatch (or first time watch) anyway but a pretty great third act and a John Williams score befitting a much better movie.
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
Do you hate sand? Then boy do we have a protagonist for you. Attack of the Clones is a marked improvement over The Phantom Menace and introduces one of the more fascinating galactic conflicts in Stars Wars history with the Clone Wars. Attack of the Clones doesn't exploit that Clone War concept nearly enough to save a pretty lackluster film but at least there's less Jar Jar.
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
Now this is more like it. Revenge of the Sith features many of the same drawbacks that its prequel cousins have. Its dialogue is rough and there's an overreliance on greenscreen. It does, however, have something that no other prequel does: a fitting climax.
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
The original Star Wars. The only movie that was once officially called Star Wars with no subtitle or episode title after. Even after all these years it remains a stunning storytelling and technical achievement. This is the space opera you're looking for.
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
The Empire Strikes Back is many fans and critics' choice for best Star Wars film ever. It's not hard to see why. The Empire Strikes Back is a remarkable middle chapter for the franchise and makes the absolute most of its extended cast of characters and nails the concept of a mid-series climax.
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
We know some of you hate the Ewoks. Some of you are fools. Ewoks rule! Return of the Jedi faces a huge burden as the film to wrap up a story that was already beautifully told throughout two films. It's not a perfect movie but it is a near perfect conclusion.
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
J.J. Abrams next chapter in the Star Wars story came out more than 30 years after the conclusion of Return to the Jedi and in many ways feels like it could have been released 20 minutes after. It's remarkable how well The Force Awakens fits into the original trilogy and the Star Wars mythos. The movie may feel a bit too close to the original Star Wars for some but it's hard to argue that it doesn't absolutely nail the spirit of the original trilogy.
Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi
Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi is a classic middle chapter of the series. It changes the tone and perspective of everything that came before it. "Let the past die, kill it if you have to," Kylo Ren says. And Rian Johnson happily obliges.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Star Wars: The Clone Wars refers to two possible entities: a TV show and a movie. Both are excellent pieces of the Star Wars universe and build upon the storyline of The Clone Wars better than any mainstream trilogy movie in the franchise. Star with the movie but then be sure to give the series a shot as it contains some of the most awe-inspiring and emotional moments in the series' canon.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Star Wars standalone films seemed like a dicey proposition. Would audiences still care about one-off movies set outside the structure of a trilogy? Well if they're all going to be as good as Rogue One then yes, absolutely. Rogue One gets the standalone films off to a great start with the story of Jyn Erso and her merry band of rebels trying to steal the plans for the Death Star. Rogue One reveals the endless possibilities to non-trilogy films set in a galaxy far, far away.
Star Wars Rebels
Disney XD's Star Wars Rebels takes place after and before A New Hope so it fills in an important timeline in the Star Wars canon. Beyond just that it's also a fun, involving series in its own right. Between Rebels and The Clone Wars it's clear that animation is a good fit for the Star Wars universe.
The sky this week for May 25 to June 3
Friday, May 25. Look high in the northwest after darkness falls this week and you'll be greeted by the familiar sight of the Big Dipper. The Dipper is the sky's most conspicuous asterism — a recognizable pattern of stars that doesn't form a complete ...
This Week's Sky at a Glance, May 25 – June 2
Starwatch: Super bright Venus shines on
Skywatcher's Guide: All the planets set summer's stage
As a contestant on The Bachelor, Becca Kufrin faced a horrible, brutal breakup -- after getting engaged. Because Arie changed his mind.
But, as she confirms in this video, apparently Becca fell in love with two different suitors.
Those who follow The Bachelorette Spoilers know that Becca is engaged ... but is she doomed to repeat Arie's mistakes?
Arie and Becca's brutal breakup was agonizing to watch, and it must have been so much worse for her to experience.
But ... it did make her into the next Bachelorette. That, at least, is something.
But now that Becca has confirmed her engagement, she is dropping another bombshell.
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Becca reveals that she didn't immediately latch onto a clear winner.
And when she did fall in love, it was with more than one man.
Becca admits that her heart was torn:
"I did develop really strong feelings for a couple of them."
Strong feelings for a few of them, sure.
But she says that she fell in love with two.
"And I did fall for two guys at the end, yes"
Interesting that she says at the end. We always know that the final breakups are the hardest, but we don't know what it all came down to with Becca.
If she loved two men equally but could only pick one ... did she just flip a coin? Choose the one with the best last name?
Becca does admit that this experience has opened her eyes to the difficulty that Arie must have endured.
"Until you're in this position, you don't realize how much pressure there really is."
Dating is complicated. Dating two dozen men on reality television is ... well, dozens of times more so.
"And how difficult it is to navigate certain relationships."
She says that no one who is the lead on a show like hers should only catch feelings for a single contestant.
"Because if you're doing it right, you should be developing feelings for multiple people."
Yeah, that's like deciding the winner in round one. It's not honest.
She says that it's important:
"To really sift through every personality, every relationship, to exhaust the ones that aren't right for you."
Some in the Bachelor Nation fear that Arie's callous, on-air breakup will be repeated.
But it is difficult to imagine Becca, who has lived through that heartbreak herself, as the culprit.
it's entirely possible that someone, somewhere down the line, will do their own version of what Arie did to Becca.
What we have to wonder -- and this seems more realistic to us -- is if Becca will pull, not an Arie, but a Ben Higgins.
Remember back in 2016 when Ben told both Lauren Bushnell and JoJo Fletcher that he loved them? Right there on camera?
Will Becca come right out and say the L-word to both of the men for whom she falls head over heels?
The subject of Bachelors and Bachelorettes falling in love with multiple people isn't surprising.
As a growing number of people have come to realize, some people work better in relationships of more than two. Polyamory is on the rise and acceptance is growing.
Some fans wonder when the time will finally come when a leading man or leading woman will get to pick their top two.
But, realistically, it's a contest, and fans would revolt if an entire season of competition ends in what works out to be a tie.
Polyamory may be great for plenty of people in real life, and could even play well on television, but not on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette.
Although fans have tweeted before that Bachelor in Paradise could be an ideal place for polyamorous relationships to blossom.
For now, though, we can all look forward to Becca's season beginning -- on Monday.
Let's hope that she makes the right decisions and gets the man that she deserves.
Should We Colonize Space? Some People Argue We Need to Decolonize It Instead
“Rich guys, they love rocket ships,” President Donald Trump said during a recent Cabinet meeting, according to the Washington Post. “That's good. That's better than us paying for them.” On Thursday, he signed a set of directives meant to shift the ...
How NASA is using personality research to pick astronauts for a Mars journey
Remember how wild it was last fall when everybody found out that Kylie Jenner was pregnant?
Her baby is almost four months now, and it's still kind of hard to believe.
After all, Kylie is just 20 years old, and she was 19 when she got pregnant.
Not only that, but she got pregnant with a guy she'd only been dating for a month or two at most -- remember, she dated Tyga for years, but they broke up for good sometime around last March.
We first heard rumors about Kylie and Travis Scott last April, and since she gave birth to their daughter in February, she would have conceived sometime in May.
So, you know, she obviously moved pretty fast.
To get pregnant at 19 with a guy you've only been dating for a month is usually the plot of a Lifetime movie or a (trashier) reality show, so for it to happen to a rich and famous girl is just sort of wild.
But still, it happened.
Kylie got pregnant with Travis Scott's baby (even though the internet would like to think that it's Tyga's baby, or even her hot bodyguard's).
She gave birth to an adorable little girl back in February, she named her Stormi, and ever since then, she's been living her life, pretty much as usual.
She's been working hard on her cosmetics company, and having a kid hasn't slowed down her traveling too much.
She even managed to make a Coachella appearance, with a fun wig and everything.
What does all this mean?
Is she employing so many nannies that things really aren't that different for her? Is Kris Jenner helping out a lot, or a bunch of her sisters?
We don't know all the details, but it seems pretty clear that Kylie's got something going on that's keeping her less stressed than your average 20-year-old mother.
Heck, she's so chill these days that apparently she's not taking proper precautions to make sure she doesn't get pregnant again.
Yep, while the thought of being pregnant while caring for a three-month-old baby is a thought terrifying enough to make most parents extra, super careful, Kylie's allegedly already had another pregnancy scare!
A source close to Kylie tells Hollywood Life that the scare "really freaked her out," but that "Travis was super excited to have another kid right away."
Which is sweet or whatever, but since Kylie would be the one actually carrying the kid, she was "totally upset over the idea of being pregnant again so quickly."
"She has been so relieved to get her body back after the last year, so she is not ready to go through it all again so soon after giving birth to Stormi," the source explains.
To be clear, it's not that she doesn't want to have more babies.
On the contrary, the source claims that "Kylie wants a lot of kids, but was far from prepared for it to happen again right away."
"Kylie thought that it must be some miracle for her to get pregnant again so soon after giving birth, but quickly realized it was only a false alarm."
It's a pretty common belief that you can't get pregnant immediately after having a baby, but it's not correct -- if you're having unprotected sex and you're not pregnant, well, things can happen.
You'd think she'd have learned that lesson last year, but it doesn't seem like she did.
This Kylie insider says that she "was relieved not to be having a baby again so soon," which is more than fair, but that Travis didn't feel the same way.
The guy was actually "totally disappointed and heartbroken" that Stormi wouldn't be getting a little brother or sister so soon.
It's sad that Travis is disappointed, but it's probably for the best that Kylie not be a mother of two at 21, you know?
At the very least, it's the best thing for her poor uterus.
Pete Davidson Responds To Those Suggesting Mental Illness Will Make Him A Bad Boyfriend To Ariana Grande
Move over, Jay and Beyonce!
There's a new hip-hop power couple in town and what they lack in friendships with the Obamas, they make up for with verses about anilingus and Vicodin.
Yes, after a week of rumors, Nicki Minaj confirmed this morning that she's dating Eminem ... or did she?
Em and Nicki have been friends since collaborating on her 2010 single "Roman's Revenge."
But the speculation that there's a romantic element to their relationship began when Minaj name-dropped Mr. Mathers on a more recent song:
"Uh oh / Back again / Back to back Maybach, stack the M's," Minaj raps on the newly-released "Big Bank."
"Told 'em I met Slim Shady, bag the M / Once he go black, he'll be back again."
But hey, it's just a song, and rappers make empty boasts all the time, right?
Well, we'd probably be quick to dismiss the line for exactly those reasons, were it not for the exchange that took place between Nicki and a curious fan on Instagram this morning.
When the fan asked point-blank, "You dating Eminem???" Nicki replied simply, "Yes."
"I'm just chillin' right now. I'm celibate," Nicki told Ellen DeGeneres.
"I wanted to go a year without dating any man. I hate men."
Maybe she just meant she hates men who have never recorded songs n that elaborately fantasize about murdering their ex-wives.
We kid Em and Nicki because we love them!
And we would love very much if they turned out to be a legit couple.
Meek is legit, but before him, Nicki dated Safaree Samuels for over a decade, and that dude is basically what would happen if George Costanza were a wannabe rapper.
Em, of course, was married to Kim Mathers, who's also the worst (though she certainly didn't deserve to be repeatedly murdered in song form.
The point is, these two titans of rap deserve both deserve to date bonafide bosses, and the music to spring from this relationship would be [700 fire emojs].
Now we just need to set Pusha T up with Azealia Banks and future generations of hip-hop heads will be good to go.
A cluster of U.S. news websites has gone dark for readers in Europe as the EU’s new privacy laws went into effect on Friday. The ruleset, known as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), outlines a robust set of requirements that internet companies collecting any personal data on consumers must follow. The consequences are considerable enough that the American media company Tronc decided to block all European readers from its sites rather than risk the ramifications of its apparent noncompliance.
Tronc -owned sites affected by the EU blackout include the Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Daily News, The Orlando Sentinel and The Baltimore Sun. Some newspapers owned by Lee Enterprises also blocked European readers, including The St. Louis Post Dispatch and The Arizona Daily Star.
It looks like all Tronc newspapers like the LA Times and Chicago Tribune are GDPR non-compliant, so all traffic from Europe is hitting this wall pic.twitter.com/vTuy902DZv
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) May 25, 2018
While Tronc deemed its European readership disposable, at least in the short-term, most major national U.S. outlets took a different approach, serving a cleaned-up version of their website or asking users for opt-in consent to use their data. NPR even pointed delighted users toward a plaintext version of their site.
The GDPR-compliant version of the USA Today website is so much better than the normal version it's unreal. Ad free, no autoplaying video, crisp clean design. pic.twitter.com/Cs4vRjgfJC
— alex hern (@alexhern) May 25, 2018
While many of the regional papers that blinked offline for EU users predominantly serve U.S. markets, some are prominent enough to attract an international readership, prompting European users left out in the cold to openly criticize the approach.
Those criticisms are well-deserved. The privacy regulations that GDPR sets in place were first adopted in April 2016, meaning that companies had two years to form a compliance plan before the regulations actually went live today.
The second biggest comic book movie in theaters right now, Deadpool 2, is entering its second weekend and Fox wants to thank the film for being a friend with this hilarious new Golden Girls inspired TV spot. I suppose you could call it a bit spoilery, but not overtly so, just some combinations of characters you may not want to know about, I guess.
Once again, the marketing team behind this film has demonstrated their willingness to bend the rules of movie advertising. Even once they started putting out trailers comprised of footage from the film, they somehow managed to keep most of the film’s big reveals under cover, no small feat in this day and age.
I don’t know, what else can we talk about here? Golden Girls was one of the greatest shows ever, don’t you agree? It still holds up, too. There was a marathon on one of the cable channels recently and I was floored by how funny and fresh it still is over thirty years later. Classic.
Well, I guess that about wraps it up for Deadpool 2 news until it’s announced for Blu-ray. It’s a real shame to say goodbye to this marketing campaign, but it’s been fantastic. Deadpool 2 is currently playing in theaters everywhere.
The Supposedly Physics-Defying NASA Thruster Doesn't Work, New Research Confirms
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Solo: A Star Wars Story has a shocking cameo. How is THAT character's return to the big screen possible? We explain...
This Star Wars article contains major spoilers. Seriously, don't read on if you don't want to know the film's big twist before you see it...
Solo: A Star Wars Story is finally in theaters and with it we get the origin story of the greatest smuggler in the galaxy as well as how he met his friends Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian. Well, friends might be too strong a word for this specific movie, but they will be best buds eventually! We also meet two important characters from Han's past: his sketchy, gunslinging mentor, Tobias Beckett, and Qi'ra, dangerous Crimson Dawn lieutenant and the scoundrel's first love and childhood friend.
Qi'ra, after being separated from Han for three years, spends most of the movie working for the bad guys. She's helping Han, Lando, Chewie, and Beckett pull off a big heist on Kessel, the location of a big stash of coaxium -- the valuabe fuel used to power hyperdrives -- but in the name of Crimson Dawn, a criminal organization led by the ruthless Dryden Vos. Her orders are too eliminate Han and the rest of the crew if they fail to deliver the goods.
However, in a third act twist, Han and Qi'ra ally themselves to Enfys Nest and the Cloud-Riders, a group of mauraders who actually turn out to be a rebel group who need the coaxium to make bombs to fight the Empire. So Han and Qi'ra hatch a plan to distract Vos and Crimson Dawn long enough for Enfys Nest to escape with the coaxium. But Beckett betrays Han and Qi'ra and reveals their plan to Vos -- and then all hell breaks loose.
Han and Qi'ra fight Vos while Beckett makes his escape with Chewie as a hostage. After a few minutes of Teras Kasi martial arts and some clumsy blaster fire courtesy of Han, Qi'ra is finally able to eliminate Vos, freeing herself from his sinister clutches. Now, Qi'ra has the chance to ascend to true power alongside the real leader of Crimson Dawn, the shadowy figure who has been pulling the strings all long: Maul.
If you're wondering how this is possible, remember that Maul survived his defeat at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi through sheer force of will. He made his return in The Clone Wars animated series after being dumped on a junkyard planet and fashioning himself spider legs out of trash. He slowly rose to power once again, fueled by his thirst for revenge against Darth Sidious, the master who abandoned him, and the Jedi who almost killed him.
At the height of his power during the Clone Wars, Maul was the leader of the Shadow Collective, an alliance of criminal organizations, which he used to wage war against both the Republic and the Separatists. He also became ruler of Mandalore at one point.
Not much is known about what Maul got up to after the end of the Clone Wars and before his return on Rebels, but Solo confirms that the former Sith apprentice was still leading at least one criminal organization in those years. Maul is only on screen for about a minute or two in Solo, played once again by The Phantom Menace actor Ray Park and voiced by Sam Witwer, who also voiced the villain in The Clone Wars and Rebels. He gives Qi'ra a mysterious new assignment and she accepts, flying off on the Crimson Dawn ship to parts unknown.
Lucasfilm has signed Han Solo actor Alden Ehrenreich for three movies, with plans to make a trilogy of films around the character. Qi'ra's connection with Maul is clearly meant to carry over to another movie. The big question is whether Qi'ra, now closer than ever to true power, will turn to evil? Or, has she been playing both sides in order to serve Maul all along? And what exactly is Maul's plan for the coaxium he's been seeking the entire movie?Hopefully, we'll get to see how this plays out in a future installment.
As you know there is only one reason to watch Shameless and that is to get a chance to see Emmy Rossum naked. I feel the last season sucked so bad that it is time for them to hang up the boots, but they should make a spin-off show called Emmy and it would be her dancing naked for an hour. Talk about ratings!
Here's What NASA's 'Toasty' Camera Saw as It Melted After a SpaceX Launch
Watch as a camera set up by NASA photographer Bill Ingalls melts in a grass fire after a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on May 22, 2018. Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA. When a SpaceX rocket launches, it's awesome.
Nope, NASA photog's melted camera wasn't fried by a SpaceX rocket
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Solo: A Star Wars Story tells the tale of the early days of the galaxy’s most famous smuggler. In the most generic sense.
Considering all the drama surrounding its production -- directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired four months into principal photography by Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy, who hired veteran filmmaker Ron Howard to reshoot reportedly 70 percent of the movie -- it’s a wonder that Solo: A Star Wars Story is as entertaining and tonally cohesive as it is. The film, a look at the early life of Han Solo and the events that turned him into the cocksure smuggler who gives Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi a lift in the original Star Wars (A New Hope), is less concerned with the overriding mythology of the Rebellion and more interested in being a straight adventure…a bit like A New Hope, in fact.
To some degree, it succeeds. There are no mentions of Jedi Knights or the Force or Death Stars in Solo, which is refreshing in and of itself. The movie takes us to the fringes of the Empire where smugglers, spacefaring gangsters, and other shadowy operators ply their wares and run their schemes without attracting too much Imperial attention. It’s also a corner of the Star Wars galaxy where slave labor, both human and cybernetic, is very much in effect. Hence how we first meet young Han (Alden Ehrenreich) and his childhood friend Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), both toiling on Corellia and dreaming of escaping to the stars in their own ship.
From that premise, one could build a Star Wars film that is perhaps new and different but remember, this is the story of Han Solo, so the movie has to get around to ticking off a series of boxes. It is no spoiler at all to inform you that the film chronicles how Han and his loyal Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) first met, how they crossed paths with smuggler Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), and how they came into possession of the Millennium Falcon. Each of those events is trotted dutifully out with a flourish, like the opening of a new wing in a museum, while the rather thin plot trods along with virtually no suspense or stakes since you know where all three of those characters end up.
The rest of the story involves Han and Chewie teaming up with a professional criminal named Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and his crew, with Beckett becoming something of a mentor to Han and teaching him a few hard lessons along the way. Qi’ra also reappears in the story after she and Han are initially separated, and all of them eventually come together around a master crime boss named Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) and a plan involving a dangerous heist.
I mentioned the dreaded “spoiler” word earlier, but the truth is that there are hardly any of them in Solo. Sure, the plot has a few twists and reveals, as all plots do, but there’s nothing about this movie that ever comes across as genuinely surprising, which is not exactly a shock itself since Howard is the ultimate journeyman director, and writers Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan play it mostly safe the whole way.
The characters themselves are archetypal and the cast is fine. Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) comes across at first as somewhat bland, but as the story progresses he subtly brings out suggestions and fleeting mannerisms of the older, snarkier Han. He won’t make you forget Harrison Ford but he’s not supposed to: he’s playing Han Solo at a younger age, not the actor. Ehrenreich is not incredibly dynamic, and his chemistry with Clarke is nearly nil, but he does develop an easy rapport with Chewie (Suotamo now effectively owns the part) that is one of the movie’s most endearing aspects.
As for the venerated Glover, I realized watching Solo that I had not really seen him in much before (having not watched Atlanta or Community) and was wondering why I was underwhelmed by his Lando. He does do a nice riff on Billy Dee Williams, but the script doesn’t give Lando a whole lot to do except play cards and bicker. Perhaps he might do better if Lando was the focus of the story, but let’s not give Lucasfilm any more prequel ideas right now.
Harrelson and Bettany have a good old time with their roles -- the latter enjoys playing a combination of malevolence and foppishness -- while Clarke is serviceable. The most bracing character and performance is L-3, Lando’s droid companion voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She's a bot who finds her voice and purpose as a champion of droid (and human) rights, as well as gender equality when she inadvertently becomes the leader of an uprising late in the film. Her righteous fury is a jolt to the system when Solo begins to lull the viewer into a kind of dull, nodding complacency.
And that’s really the problem here. Whether or not they’ve done it intentionally, Kennedy, Howard, and Kasdan, along with their cast and crew, have gone in the completely opposite direction from the last Lucasfilm release, The Last Jedi. Whether you liked that film or not, you have to agree that it refused to play by the rules. Solo, on the other hand, does everything by the rules. It’s two-plus hours of fan service and Easter eggs masquerading as a movie, and while it may give you little fizzy bubbles of nostalgia along the way, it leaves absolutely nothing behind in terms of a lasting impression.
Howard does direct it well (as he does with most of his movies), and both the action sequences and visual effects are marvelously staged and executed. On the other hand, he’s fighting against Bradford Young’s murky cinematography, which casts everything in muted blues and grays. That worked for the somber, apocalyptic Arrival, which Young also shot, but a space opera deserve a wider color palette. John Powell’s score mostly fades into the background, except for those occasions when he brings in the John Williams classics to provide another little goosebump here and there.
Solo is not a bad film, just a relentlessly average one that has no reason to exist except as a money machine. It gets its protagonist from point A to point B efficiently enough, but it doesn’t tell us anything we need to know that we didn’t already glean from our first meeting with Han in a cantina 40 years ago. It doesn’t shake up the mythology or offer any real emotional investment, yet at the same time, it’s funny, fairly fast-moving, and at times enjoyable. But if this is the template for Star Wars movies going forward (and who knows what the nostalgia-bewitched J.J. Abrams has in store for Episode IX), we might be in for a mundane couple of decades of storytelling.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is out in theaters on May 25.
Can you believe it has been 30 years since the original Spaceballs?
Readers of this site may have read recent news that there is to be a new Star Wars spoof. This film comes from the team who brought us Date Movie, Epic Movie, and apparently something called The Starving Games which blissfully passed me by. Jason Friedberg and Aaron Selzer make relatively cheap movies that, despite critical maulings, tend to make money at the box office. When I worked at a cinema, an eleven year old boy went to see Meet The Spartans three times, proclaiming it the best film he had ever seen.
In the words of financier Covert Media’s Paul Hanson: “Jason and Aaron are a powerhouse duo who have proven time and time again that they are fully tapped into the what audiences love. Their fearless take on pop culture has us beyond thrilled to tackle the world’s most popular franchise with the two of them leading us into a galaxy far, far away.”
While it is important to keep an open mind, I personally do not want to be lead anywhere by the powerhouse duo, and now that it's clear 2017 and beyond will continue the trend for unremitting bleakness, we thought it best to bring you some coping mechanisms.
The good news is that there's a long list of Star Wars related comedy out there. Nothing becomes that huge and that beloved without some good natured mickey-taking happening to it. This means that, should this new film turn out to rubbish, there are plenty of alternatives. In fact, you might not have to even watch this new movie or embark on any sort of protracted and aggressive hate campaign against it. Truly we are living in a golden age of progress.
Star Wars gets referenced constantly, most famously by Danny Dyer in the film Human Traffic, and also in lesser known works such as The LEGO Movie, Sesame Street, and Toy Story 2. Crucially, it usually gets referenced and parodied in ways more imaginative than just saying "Hey, this is a thing from Star Wars" which I imagine would be a tedious way to spend 90 minutes.
Indeed, as early as 1978 Ernie Fosselius made a fan film called Hardware Wars, which made over a million dollars on a budget of eight thousand. Observational comedy about Star Wars can be found in Kevin Smith's Clerks and Eddie Izzard's Circle. These are probably the most famous riffs bringing banality to the space opera, once you've discounted the opening crawl from The Phantom Menace. In response to that film Simon Pegg, Jessica Stevenson, and Edgar Wright's Spaced contained much venting of spleen, and with officially sanctioned music cues after LucasArts saw the first series and thought "Aw, these guys like us."
Family Guy released three spoofs based on the original trilogy, Robot Chicken and The Adam and Joe Show used action figures to send it – and, in Adam and Joe's case, The Royal Family – up, and everyone did the gag where the light sabers were like dongs. On the music side of things, Weird Al Yankovic's The Saga Begins is probably the best way to experience The Phantom Menace, and The Simpsons managed to mash up Star Wars, Guys and Dolls, and The Bodyguard.
The above paragraph barely scratches the surface of Star Wars comedy, but in all cases none of them is a feature length, Lucas-endorsed spoof.
Enter Spaceballs, a Freudian bounty of gleaming orbs and incredibly extended shafts.
While Friedberg and Selzer's work has been criticized for a lack of jokes, this is not an accusation you could level at Mel Brooks. While Friedberg and Selzer's work has been criticized for being immature and crass, this is an accusation you could level at Mel Brooks (indeed, Daphne Zuniga thought this until she worked with him). However, I laughed at every single Cuddly Dick joke in Yonderland, so it's the first one of these that's the real issue. You can see craft in Brooks and his writers' gags, literally in the case of the seemingly never-ending Spaceball 1 ship. Even when the joke looks to be about a man's ass being on the wrong way round, it's actually a setup for a clever/stupid transporter gag. It's lowbrow, sure, but it also goes through all the other brows, and throws in a pun about Kafka on the way. If you don't like puns, you're probably watching the wrong film. If you like your fourth wall to go unmentioned and structurally sound, you're also probably watching the wrong film.
As you might expect from seeing Blazing Saddles, the fourth wall is continually broken in Spaceballs, including one deliriously silly moment where the characters start watching the VHS of the film while also being in it. It's one of many gags made at the expense of Star Wars merchandise, although there were no action figures from Spaceballs as Brooks got permission to do the film on the condition there was no tie-in merchandise. Although there was a novelization of the film written by a young R.L. Stine, there were no figurines of Pizza the Hutt. This is probably for the best as Pizza the Hutt is legit disgusting. The actor in the suit refused to climb back in for reshoots.
Spaceballs was Brooks' first film as a writer/director in six years, and arrived in 1987. As a result, it did okay financially considering Return of the Jedi came out four years before it, with Spaceballs earning $38 million on a $23 million budget. Star Wars maintained its place in pop culture, and is not the only franchise it sends up; Star Trek and Planet of the Apes are in the mix too. Spaceballs is still something that audiences can get without being a fan of the obscure. Plus it's on Netflix. Plus it has Rick Moranis in it.
Possibly it's because all the Bill Murray lines get quoted when people bring up Ghostbusters, possibly it's because I'm a comedy hipster and I want to show how much cooler I am than you, but Louis Tully was the funniest character the last time I watched it. In Spaceballs, Rick Moranis improvised the scene where Darth Helmet plays with his dolls. In Spaceballs, Rick Moranis came up with the idea that Darth Helmet's voice changes when his helmet is down. Rick Moranis has taken very few acting jobs since 1996, in order to focus on his family, but occasionally releases comedy music albums. I miss Rick Moranis.
Now, with a new trilogy underway, this new spoof has been announced. While it isn't going to be widely watched here, it clearly isn't for us. There may be another that is. In the meantime, though, we're sticking with Mel Brooks, Emo Kylo Ren, and that episode of My Dad Wrote a Porno that has Daisy Ridley in it.
How the insane Beneath the Planet of the Apes almost buried the series after two movies.
"In one of the countless billions of galaxies in the universe, lies a medium-sized star, and one of its satellites, a green and insignificant planet, is now dead."
With the original 1968 Planet of the Apes a huge smash at the box office -- it arguably saved 20th Century Fox from going bankrupt -- a meeting took place that included studio head Richard D. Zanuck, producer Arthur P. Jacobs, associate producer Mort Abrahams and Fox production exec Stan Hough. At some point the idea came up: why not make a sequel? As we’ve stated elsewhere, sequels at the time were not the big business they are today. But Planet of the Apes had clearly struck a nerve with audiences, and the open-ended nature of the movie’s ending offered the possibility of more material to explore. So the decision was made to produce a second movie. Then came the hard part: where would chapter two take the story?
Planet of the Apes ended with Charlton Heston’s George Taylor on his knees at the water’s edge in front of a half-buried Statue of Liberty, having realized that he had been back on Earth all along. The obvious question was: what lay along the coastline beyond that Statue? The first writer tasked with answering that riddle was Rod Serling, who had co-written the original movie’s script and come up with its classic twist ending. But most of his ideas -- which primarily involved Taylor finding old technology that he uses to wage war on the ape society, or having Taylor and Nova board a spaceship and travel even further into the future -- were rejected.
Next up was Pierre Boulle, the French author of the novel on which the first film had been based, but who had never written a screenplay before. His idea, titled Planet of the Men, had Taylor and his son, Sirius, re-educate the primitive humans of Earth and lead them in a victorious uprising against the apes, which would for some reason cause the simians to regress back to savagery. A third script, strangely titled The Dark Side of the Earth, seemed to combine elements of both Boulle and Serling’s ideas but went nowhere.
It was at that point that Abrahams met screenwriter Paul Dehn, best known at the time for writing the definitive James Bond picture, Goldfinger (1964). Dehn suggested having Taylor and Nova explore the ruins of New York, which were presumably buried near the Statue of Liberty, while Abrahams came up with the idea of telepathic, mutated human beings living in those ruins and protecting themselves with their mental abilities. Dehn’s first draft, Planet of the Apes Revisited, featured many ideas that made their way into the final film, such as the mutant society worshipping an atomic bomb and a fascist gorilla leader pushing to expand the ape civilization into the Forbidden Zone.
With the first film’s director, Franklin J. Schaffner, committed to making Patton, Don Medford was hired to take on what was eventually retitled Beneath the Planet of the Apes. But the picture was nearly dealt a death blow when Charlton Heston refused to reprise the role of Taylor. A desperate Zanuck struck a deal with the actor in which it was agreed he would only appear in the movie’s opening scenes before being killed off, with the rest of the action centering on a second astronaut who had followed the trajectory of Taylor’s ship in an effort to find him. The role of that second spaceman, Brent, was originally offered to Burt Reynolds. When he passed, it went to TV actor James Franciscus, who eventually did his own rewrite of the script to beef up Brent’s rather thin character.
At some point Medford exited as well -- possibly because Zanuck slashed the budget of the movie from $5.5 million (a little less than the original) to just under $3 million, making it even more difficult to create the visuals that Dehn and Abrahams had envisioned in their script. Enter Ted Post, who had directed more than 700 television shows along with the 1968 Clint Eastwood Western Hang ‘Em High. With Post, Franciscus and Heston on board, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans and Linda Harrison returned respectively as Zira, Zaius and Nova, although Roddy McDowall was directing a film elsewhere and was replaced by David Watson as Cornelius. Orson Welles was offered and passed on the role of the gorilla general, Ursus, so it went to James Gregory. Then Zanuck and Heston threw one more bomb into the works -- literally.
Zanuck wanted to end the franchise with Beneath, so Heston came up with an idea: Taylor would not die at the beginning of the movie but disappear, only to resurface at the end as a prisoner of the mutants. As war between the apes and mutants reaches its peak, a disgusted, mortally wounded Taylor would hit the button on the mutants’ bomb -- rechristened the Alpha-Omega bomb and capable of destroying the entire planet -- and blow everyone and everything, including the series, to hell. That was quite different from Dehn’s original, more optimistic ending, in which Taylor, Nova, Brent and the chimpanzees survive the war and we flash forward 50 years later, when both species are living together in peace (a test makeup for a half-human/half-ape child was even developed, but dropped due to the bestiality aspect).
Production began in February 1969, and the continually revised script opened with Taylor and Nova in the Forbidden Zone as they approach the ruins of New York and fall prey to hallucinations caused by the yet unseen mutants, with Taylor eventually vanishing. Nova, wandering by herself, comes across the wreckage of the spacecraft containing Brent, who sees she is wearing Taylor’s dog tags and hopes she can lead Brent to him. Instead they run afoul of the apes, although Cornelius and Zira help them escape capture once Brent convinces them he is a friend of Taylor’s.
As Zaius and Ursus prepare to lead a gorilla army into the Forbidden Zone, Brent and Nova get there first and encounter the mutants, whose underground society is governed by Mendez (Paul Richards). After being interrogated, Brent is invited to attend a mutant church service, where they reveal the true, skinless features that they hide behind normal-looking masks, the product of centuries of nuclear radiation. Brent is then imprisoned alongside a defeated Taylor, but the two break out just as the ape army invades the ruins and begins slaughtering the mutants. The film’s final moments see Brent, Nova, Ursus, Mendez and Taylor all shot and killed, with a dying Taylor falling on the button that blows up the world.
There’s no question that with its mishmash of half-baked ideas, lack of strong characterization and clear budgetary issues (lame-looking pullover ape masks were used in some crowd scenes and are glaringly obvious), Beneath represents a steep drop in overall quality from the magnificent Planet of the Apes. But considering that the picture switched leading men and directors, not to mention lost half its budget and its studio champion (Zanuck), during pre-production, it’s almost a wonder that the movie got made at all.
And what is even more extraordinary is that Beneath, as a result of its shortcomings, is one of the weirdest and most insane sci-fi films of its era. It’s strongly anti-war, even including a scene referencing the Vietnam protests of the time in which young pacifist chimps holding signs are physically moved aside by soldiers. Its surreal imagery -- an illusion of a giant statue of the apes’ Lawgiver raining blood on a forest of crucified apes, the incredible church service in which dozens of deformed mutants sing a hymn to an atomic bomb -- matches the first in terms of sheer originality, and that ending is among the bleakest the genre has ever offered.
For these reasons, the fans I know tend to love Beneath while acknowledging its many, many flaws. On a personal note, it was the first movie I ever saw on the big screen (in a drive-in at a very young age), and those images I mentioned above burned themselves into my little brain as I watched from between my fingers from the back seat. Two things the Apes movies rarely ran short of were strange concepts and bizarre imagery, and Beneath -- while far from the best film in the series -- may top them all in both departments.
And yes, while sequels were always expected in those days to make far less money, Beneath was still a sizable hit, earning $19 million in 1970 dollars (the first film reached $33 million). The result of this, of course, was that Fox, despite the best efforts of Dick Zanuck and Charlton Heston to kill off the series, wanted another sequel. As Beneath the Planet of the Apes proved, even the end of the world couldn’t bury this franchise.
Xbox 360 lives on with a surprising system update — the first in more than two years
Xbox 360 owners, Microsoft hasn't totally forgotten about you even as it has moved on to bigger and better consoles. Microsoft shipped the first Xbox 360 update in more than two years this week. It's nothing major — described on the Xbox support ...
French startup Snips has been working on voice assistant technology that respects your privacy. And the company is going to use its own voice assistant for a set of consumer devices. As part of this consumer push, the company is also announcing an initial coin offering.
Yes, it sounds a bit like Snips is playing a game of buzzword bingo. Anyone can currently download the open source Snips SDK and play with it with a Raspberry Pi, a microphone and a speaker. It’s private by design, you can even make it work without any internet connection. Companies can partner with Snips to embed a voice assistant in their own devices too.
But Snips is adding a B2C element to its business. This time, the company is going to compete directly with Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers. You’ll be able to buy the Snips AIR Base and Snips AIR Satellites.
The base will be a good old smart speaker, while satellites will be tiny portable speakers that you can put in all your rooms. The company plans to launch those devices in 18 months.[gallery ids="1646039,1646040,1646041,1646042,1646043,1646044"]
By default, Snips devices will come with basic skills to control your smart home devices, get the weather, control music, timers, alarms, calendars and reminders. Unlike the Amazon Echo or Google Home, voice commands won’t be sent to Google’s or Amazon’s servers.
Developers will be able to create skills and publish them on a marketplace. That marketplace will run on a new blockchain — the AIR blockchain.
And that’s where the ICO comes along. The marketplace will accept AIR tokens to buy more skills. You’ll also be able to generate training data for voice commands using AIR tokens. To be honest, I’m not sure why good old credit card transactions weren’t enough. But I guess that’s a good way to raise money.
Telescope Aimed at Black Hole Gives Taste of Incredible Results to Come
You might remember that about a year ago, astrophysicists turned the whole Earth into a telescope to try and get a picture of a black hole. That image isn't available yet, but the folks behind this “Event Horizon Telescope” just released data from ...
Event Horizon: Scientists Edge Closer to Imaging Black Hole at Center of Milky Way
Awww: Legally Blind Woman Uses Special Glasses To See Her Guide Dog For First Time In Eight Years Together
The creator’s of Cartoon Network’s newest series discuss the conception, writing, diversity, and fun of the Creek.
Craig of the Creek is perhaps Cartoon Network’s most down to earth series. Sure, one of the early episodes features main characters Craig, Kelsey, and J.P. treating a game of tag like life or death, but it only feels like a slight exaggeration on reality.
Craig of the Creek follows Craig and his friends on their many adventures through the titular creek. Created by Matt Burnett and Ben Levin, former writers for Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe, the series was heavily based on the two’s experiences growing up on the east coast. They remembered playing in areas like the ones Craig and his friends now inhabit.
“We thought about what would be a cool kid world," remembers Levin, “that kids could get into and feel like a place that you could explore forever. We’ve got the trading tree where we get snacks; we’ve got the sewers where we can go visit underground places. The kids have a functioning society.”
The two infused their main character of Craig with the need to explore that world. Levin explains Craig is a kid who “wants to see more of this world, which I think is perfect for guiding our viewers through the show. We (also) wanted a kid who could idealize what kids can do.”
Infusing more of themselves into the character, Levin and Burnett’s artistic sides manifested as Craig’s love of building things. Throughout the early episodes Craig builds a number of wild contraptions that “exercise that imagination we all had as kids. Craig is making cool forts and building fun traps to ward off enemies. He’s this uniting force of his friend group.”
The first of Craig’s best friends is J.P., is a much simpler character than Craig who’s on the total opposite end of spectrum. J.P. doesn’t always think everything through and marches to the beat of his own drum. He’s a little weird but “his friends have accepted this” jokes Burnett.
“We tried to base everyone on a kid you felt like you knew,” explains Levin. “J.P. feels like one of those kids who always wore a sports thing, even though they didn’t play sports, and had a runny nose all the time.”
Craig’s other best friend, Kelsey, is the wild opposite of J.P. A lover of all things fantasy, Levin describes her as the most imaginative of the group. Often narrating her life as if it were an epic novel, Kelsey represents “the deepest lore you can go into as a kid.”
If Craig is in the middle, J.P. is at the one end of an extreme where Kelsey is on the other. The creek is also populated with a whole host of memorable characters, all of which were drawn from things the crew were interested in as kids. “Every little they became obsessed with,” Burnett adds, “we tried to blow out into different characters.”
Even though the series has only been on for a handful of episodes it’s already drawing acclaim for its diversity. Craig alone is a rare lead character of color in an animated series and his family if often at the center of plots. For Burnett it was their work on Steven Universe, another series lauded for its diversity and inclusion, that drove home how important it is for different kinds of kids to see themselves in cartoons.
“Getting to see yourself go on an adventure has a lot of power.”
Levin says they try to highlight characters with diversity but “also let those characters play roles that are typically played by white males."
While the two’s biggest success before Craig of the Creek was on the heavily serialized Steven Universe, Levin tells fans Craig of the Creek will be more standalone. That doesn’t mean there won’t be different kinds of development. They plan on expanding the world of the creek, using it to highlight “all types of kids in all types of play.”
He also teases that “there will be mysteries that Craig will uncover as the show goes forward."
Burnett slyly adds, “There’s parts of the creek that are unknown to Craig and his friends and that’s all I can say for now.”
With exploring the world such a big part of the series Levin hopes that kids see their characters and be inspired to look at their own world in a different way.
“Kids can see these creek kids making their own spaces and playing their own ways and be inspired to play the way they want to be or be the way they want to,” Levin says.
Burnett has been delighted that the fan response that’s already come in has proved that kids can make their own version of “the creek” anywhere, even without trees or water.
“Kids growing up in the city, they’ll find their own space to exists away from adults," Burnett says. "Even if it’s just a playground, lot, or public park, this kind of space exists for kids everywhere.”
Levin even hints that that the team behind the series is trying to figure out ways to bring Craig and his friends into those other areas of play, “either by taking Craig to other places or bringing characters to his place and comment on how they’re different.”
Some series might use this “go outside and imagine” platform as a way to shame kids who are more and more connected to technology these days, Burnett instead wanted to incorporate everything kids do into Craig of the Creek.
“There’s a perception that kids today, oh they won’t go outside and play, but we wanted want to show how kids today go outside and play," Burnett says. "They’re still so creative and smart and brave. We wanted to show that to kids and parents alike."
He hopes that the series will inspire adults to go play in wild ways just like kids are today.
"The kind of fun you remember from when you were a kid? It still exists and the kids are doing it on their own.”
Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. He's about to go on some adventures of his own. Follow him on Twitter!
Professional troll Kanye West has found an even more effective way to enrage black people (nay, all sane people) than saying slavery was a choice. According to Entertainment Weekly, Kanye’s disrespecting Whitney Houston by using an old tabloid picture of her drug-strewn mess of a bathroom taken without her knowledge as album cover art for Pusha T. If ghosts are real, Nippy’s coming for you and she’s bringing Nat Turner and Harriet Tubman with her to Fuck. Your. Shit. Up!
Kanye produced Pusha T’s album Daytona. It’s the first album produced at Kanye’s studio Wyoming.
West is producing Daytona, Pusha T’s upcoming album, and on Thursday he tweeted the cover art, revealing that it is a bleak photograph of the late singer Whitney Houston’s bathroom covered in drug paraphernalia. The photo was taken secretly by one of Houston’s family members in 2006 and ran in the National Enquirer the same year, as Houston struggled with drug addiction.
album 1 PUSHA T DAYTONA dropping 2mrw pic.twitter.com/M1UPvax5fa
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 24, 2018
Apparently, this “art” was a last minute decision. There was originally a different cover, but Kanye’s tin-foil hat got to itching and so he made a call.
“He changed my artwork last night at 1 a.m. He wasn’t feeling it,” Pusha T told radio host Angie Martinez. “[Originally], the artwork — it was pictures that we all agreed on.” He also said West told him the photo had cost him $85,000. I love it, I actually do love it,” Pusha T said. “[But] I absolutely did not want to pay for it.”
No money, no problem! Kanye’s loaded so he bought the rights himself.
Though West purportedly paid $85,000 to license the photo, it’s unclear whether he paid the National Enquirer or Houston’s sister-in-law Tina Brown, sister to Houston’s ex-husband, Bobby Brown.
Nobody tells Kanye “no, that’s a terrible idea”. Pusha T signed off on it saying that the picture “definitely does match the energy of my album” but under his breath he probably added a defeated “shit”. But I’m not in Kanye’s pockets so Kanye, if you reading this: FUCK NO, THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA. May the wrath of your ancestors come down on you so hard that 20 years from now, some upstart rapper uses a tabloid picture of your busted ass R.V. filled with jars of your own urine and MAGA scrawled backwards in KKW lipstick all over the walls, for their shitty album cover.
You can tell that celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt are great at relationships, because they’ve been in so, so, so, so many of them. Hell, name one actor who hasn’t scratched his dick against her loofah vag. It’s organic. Anyway, you may not remember, but between the years of 1994 and 1997 Paltrow and Pitt cross-contaminated each other as a couple, and during that time the always-chivalrous Pitt stood up to Harvey Weinstein to defend Paltrow. If only Pitt had been there to do the same thing a few years earlier… she wouldn’t have a career.
Paltrow recently opened up to Howard Stern about her #MeThree! time with Weinstein:
We had one incident in a hotel room where [Harvey] tried to make a pass at me. I was blindsided.
Right. She confided in Pitt about the incident, and at the Broadway premiere of Hamlet, he approached Weinstein because he’s a manly man man. Paltrow continued:
It was the equivalent of throwing him against the wall, energetically. It was so fantastic because what he did was, he leveraged his fame and power to protect me at a time when I didn’t have fame or power yet… he’s the best.
[Pitt] told me exactly what he said. He said, ‘If you ever make her feel uncomfortable again, I’ll kill you.’ It was great.
“The equivalent of throwing him against the wall, energetically.” Sounds like a really intense fight. This is the same woman who stores about a dozen thousand-dollar rocks up her twat 24/7 and who called her divorce a “conscious uncoupling” so I’m going to say that all of this translates into non-delusional rich bitch lingo as “I slept with Weinstein for a career in Hollywood.” And then “And even if I didn’t, I knew Weinstein was raping actresses as I posed for this picture with him in 1999 to accept my Academy Award for a movie he produced. I said nothing because I have no soul.” Still brushing up on my Paltro-isms, but I think that’s about right.
Photo Credit: Splash News / Getty Images / Backgrid USA
The post Brad Pitt Threatened To Kill Weinstein To Defend Gwyneth Paltrow’s Honor appeared first on WWTDD - What Would Tyler Durden Do?.
Many years later, Alien remains a masterpiece of tension thanks to the power of its physical performances.
This article contains spoilers for Alien.
When a film works - really, really works - its combination of acting, cinematography, music, sound design, lighting, and editing come together so seamlessly that it can become difficult to pin down exactly why it’s so effective. Take Alien for example: beautifully shot by Ridley Scott and cinematographer Derek Vanlint, cut with razor-sharp perfection to Jerry Goldsmith’s piping eerie score, it’s a masterpiece of genre filmmaking.
In the years since Alien’s release in 1979, various aspects of it have been singled out for praise: H.R. Giger was rightly handed an Oscar for his part in the seductively hideous xenomorph in its various stages. The film’s story and nightmare imagery is still picked over for its Freudian and feminist subtexts. Yet there’s one part of Alien that your humble writer had failed to fully appreciate until a few days ago: the extraordinary physical intensity of its performances.
I must have seen Alien at least a dozen times, but this is the first time I’ve been convinced that the film would have failed without the great acting. The alien’s barely glimpsed, but we feel its presence because the crew seem so believably scared.
This minor epiphany occurred while watching television in a rather cramped French hotel room. Flicking through the channels, I stumbled on a late-night showing of Alien, understandably dubbed into French. My comprehension of the language being entry-level at best, I simply turned the sound right down and concentrated on admiring the visuals. It was then that I began to notice the way the actors carry themselves and behave in each scene, and how seldom the dialogue is even required to keep track of the story.
That story is the definition of streamlined: the crew of the commercial vessel Nostromo are flying back to Earth when they're awoken by a mysterious signal. Following the signal to a tiny, windswept planet, the crew discover a crashed, otherworldly spacecraft. While investigating, crewmember Kane (John Hurt) is attacked by a spiderlike creature emerging from a leathery egg. Incapacitated by the monster attached to his face, Kane is carried back to the Nostromo - where something hideous and even more deadly eventually hatches from Kane's stomach...
Now, it goes without saying that Alien has a superb cast. A group of character actors and theatre performers rather than A-list movie stars, the seven players at the heart of Alien seem as natural and weathered as the ship itself. Part of the genius of Alien’s script, first written by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett and later rewritten by David Giler and Walter Hill, is that it creates such a sober view of what working in space might look like circa the 22nd century. These aren’t all-American astronauts, but rather a motley collection of navigators, engineers, and scientists. They bicker and squabble over bonuses and pay. Some of them resent each other. Others appear to have been in a relationship in the recent past.
All of this is there in the screenplay, but it would have been for naught had the casting not been so perfectly judged. Yaphet Kotto and Harry Dean Stanton are perfect as the surly engineers who patch up the Nostromo and mutter discontentedly among themselves. Ian Holm is faultless as the duplicitous science officer Ash. And of course Sigourney Weaver is brilliant as warrant officer Ripley.
With the dialogue stripped out of the film, it becomes easier to appreciate how each actor communicates their character’s fears and desires through their body language rather as well as line delivery. Let’s take Ian Holm’s Ash first of all. Holm brings a keen intelligence to the part, but also a fidgety, passive-aggressive edge. He bears an obvious resentment towards Ripley almost from the beginning. Note how he avoids her gaze, how he almost seems intimidated by her confrontational way of talking to him. Note too how calculating he is. As John Hurt’s luckless Kane sits down to eat what we know will be his final meal, Ash is watching him with detached fascination. Before the infant alien even stirs in Kane’s stomach, Ash knows exactly what’s going to happen. He just doesn’t know when or how. When the birthing sequence begins, Kane pinned to the table and thrashing in agony, Ash moves quickly to assist - the rest of the crew seem to think Kane’s having some kind of seizure - but Ash hardly seems surprised at the unfolding horror.
The rest of the cast, on the other hand, have an extraordinary ability to convey expressions of outright fear. Part of this is thanks to good, old-fashioned trickery on the part of the filmmakers. The legend goes that the cast didn't know just how spectacularly bloody the alien's birth would be - Veronica Cartrwright's disgusted reaction to being hit full in the face by a jet of gore is genuine.
As she proved in the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake, Cartwright was capable of expressing horror and panic as well as any actor in the business. Leaving aside whether her flighty, birdlike character is particularly sympathetic or not, Cartwright makes us feel the character's dread in the pits of our stomachs. Again, she’s sublime casting. Had Alien been populated with picturesque teens or 20-somethings, like your typical slasher of the '70s and '80s, there’s no way the film would have been so intense. Cartwright understands that, when people are genuinely scared for their lives, they don’t look pretty. There’s more than one scene in Alien where the camera frames Cartwright’s face, and we see her bulging eyes bloodshot and tear-streaked with fear.
By contrast, Tom Skerrit’s Captain Dallas is the crew’s sturdy, dependable center. If he’s disturbed by the presence of the alien on his ship, he makes a good job of hiding it from everybody else. In an earlier period - the '50s or '60s, say - Dallas probably would have been the film’s star. But Alien does something audiences weren't used to seeing in the late '70s. While gamely hunting the alien through the ship’s ventilation shafts, Dallas winds up as its third victim.
The film’s most reassuring presence is abruptly snatched away, and you can feel the center of gravity shift among the remaining survivors. Lambert teeters on what appears to be the edge of nervous collapse. The imposing Parker (Kotto) reacts to the situation with a kind of impotent rage. (Kotto would often say to Scott, “I’m not gonna die today!” - to the point where Scott would actively avoid the actor on set. I think this attitude feeds into his character. He’s the only one who goes down fighting, or at least tries to.)
While Ash remains aloof, Ripley’s the only member of the crew who sits, collects herself, and begins to work out a new strategy - lure the alien to an airlock and blow it out into space.
It’s fascinating to see how much commitment the actors put into these scenes. Some actors might have looked at the script, saw an It! The Terror From Beyond Space-type B-movie, and simply coasted through the shoot. Instead, they attack their roles with obvious intensity. Their every stolen glance and gesture suggests a person gripped by fear and desperation. Alien’s sets were designed in such a way that you couldn’t just wander on and off the set. You had to walk the whole way round its network of corridors and atriums to escape. Maybe it was this sense of claustrophobia that helped the actors absorb themselves so completely.
"They built these elaborate sets for us so the actors could be in the world," Weaver recalls in Ian Nathan's book, Alien Vault. "I just used to wander around. It helped me find the character."
Sigourney Weaver’s brilliance really comes to the fore in the final act. And again, it’s an almost pure physical performance.
With the crew whittled down to just her and the ship’s cat, Mr. Jones, Ripley sets off the Nostromo’s self-destruct sequence, heads to the escape vessel - and almost runs headlong into the alien. It’s worth remembering that, up to this point, Ripley’s never seen the full-grown alien with her own eyes. Indeed, nobody’s seen the alien and lived. Her primal, terrorized response is perfect: she recoils, stifles a scream, and sort of slides quietly from the creature’s view.
It’s Ripley’s control over her emotions which is the primary means for her survival. She doesn’t beat the alien because she’s stronger, but because her instincts lead her down the right path at each junction. A stereotypical "scream queen" character from a slasher movie wouldn’t have survived in Alien. A shriek or a whimper would have meant a swift and horrible death - or worse, if you’ve seen the extended cut, encasement in a gooey cocoon.
With a less able cast, Alien could have wound up as just another monster movie, like the legion of imitators that followed Scott's 1979 film. Although not without charm, movies like Titan Find and Galaxy of Terror failed to capture Alien's grimy sense of realism. Indeed, Scott himself couldn't quite recapture Alien's magic in his own prequel, 2012's Prometheus. The set designs and lighting are all there, but the eclectic, international cast simply doesn't gel as it did in Alien.
As Ridley Scott has admitted himself in the past, Alien is still a pure B-movie at its heart. But the sheer quality of its design and production are what set it apart from the sci-fi horror offerings that came before and after it. And then there are those extraordinary performances, which make us truly believe that the crew of the Nostromo are trapped with the most terrifying predator in the galaxy in their midst. Alien isn't just a great sci-fi horror movie; it's great cinema.
We take a closer look at everything you might have missed in the Back To The Future trilogy!
Aside from being just generally one of the greatest movie trilogies ever made, the Back To The Future films are especially notable for just how densely packed they are, both at script level and then again in production. Barely a scene goes by, in any of the three films, that doesn’t contain something worth keeping an eye out for, or that rewards repeated viewings – whether it’s a nod to something recognizable from popular culture, a clever easter egg relating to the ongoing story and characters, or even just a little piece of in-joke trivia.
If you’ve watched the films more than once, chances are you’ll have noticed plenty of them – but we’re not sure anybody’s gone through and put together quite so comprehensive a list of them in one go as we’ve done here. We hope not, anyway. So if you immediately recognize the reference we’ve made in the number we’ve chosen, you might want to join us as we go chronologically through all three films and pick out as many easter eggs and other nerdy things worth spotting as we can find.
(It’s up to you if you want to stick the films on while you read through, although you’ll get extra kudos if you know them well enough to recognize exactly which scenes we’re talking about as we go along...)
1. The Doc's clocks (I)
As the first film opens and we pan across Doc Brown's incredible assortment of clocks – all perfectly synchronized to be exactly 25 minutes slow – the eagle-eyed may notice that one of the clocks features a man hanging from its hands. It's actually silent comedy star Harold Lloyd, dangling from a clock in perhaps his most famous turn in 1923's Safety Last. Aside from being a cool little nod to a past movie, it also prefigures the later scene in which the Doc hangs from the Hill Valley clock in near-identical fashion.
The flat nature of the clock makes it look like a still photograph, but it's actually a genuine model clock that was commercially available.
2. The Doc's clocks (II)
3. Statler Toyota
As the radio clicks on, we get our first reference to 'Statler Toyota', a car dealership that will later be seen in in Hill Valley's main square (it's the source of the truck that Marty cherishes so much). There's a Statler dealership in every iteration of Hill Valley - they're 'Honest Joe Statler's Fine Horses' in 1885, 'Statler Studebaker' in 1955 and "Statler Pontiac" in 2015 – and so this is basically our first example of the trilogy starting a running gag.
4. CRM 114
A fairly blatant nod here, although easy to miss if you don’t know what it means. The sticker on the amp Marty plugs into reads 'CRM 114'. This is the name of a device from Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove (and in the novel, Red Alert, that loosely inspired that film), and was also re-used by Kubrick in A Clockwork Orange (as 'Serum 114') and Eyes Wide Shut. It’s one of those codes that has cropped up in various places as a geeky nod ever since, from Star Trek: Deep Space 9 to Men In Black III.
5. Art in Revolution
The badge that Marty wears on his denim jacket reads 'Art in Revolution', and the black and red design suggests that it’s somehow connected to an exhibition of Soviet art and design that took place at London’s Hayward Gallery in 1971. We don’t think there’s any deliberate reference on the part of the filmmakers (they probably just had it lying around somewhere), it’s just pretty neat.
6. The Doc’s House
It’s not immediately apparent at this point in the film, but check out the number on the front of the Doc’s shack: 1646. Later in the film, we’ll discover that this building is actually the garage of the Doc’s original mansion (located at 1640), which a newspaper article in the opening scene told us had been burned down and the land sold off – to be replaced with the Burger King that we see as Marty skates off.
7. Used Cars
This may not be a deliberate reference – but hey, we’ve got nearly a hundred of these things to get through, so we’re bound to reach a bit for some of them – but we pass by a reasonably prominent sign that reads 'USED CARS' as Marty hitches a ride to school on his skateboard. That happens to be the name of a 1980 film by the Back To The Future team of Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. Given that it’s part of the specially-constructed Hill Valley Square set, it’s not unreasonable to suggest it was put there on purpose.
8. Huey Lewis
Yep, that’s Huey "Power Of Love" Lewis with the megaphone, judging Marty’s band The Pinheads as being “too darn loud” to perform at the school dance (a line that Lewis himself purportedly suggested). A bit harsh, given that it’s his song they’re covering, but there you go.
9. Crew Shoutout (I)
10. Save the Clock Tower
When the fundraising woman hands Marty the leaflet about the clock tower, she says that the preservation society “think it should be preserved exactly the way it is”. Unfortunately, by the act of handing Marty the leaflet, she inadvertently causes it to change: it gives Marty his method of getting back to 1985, but in the process, Doc Brown’s foot breaks off a chunk of masonry. This can be seen as still missing in the newly-altered 1985 when Marty returns at the end of the film.
11. Orgy American Style
This delightfully-titled film can be seen as currently showing at the cinema in 1985 Hill Valley. It’s a 1973 production that features among its cast one George 'Buck' Flower – who also happens to be in Back To The Future (and Part II) as 'Red', the town bum (of whom more later).
12. The Honeymooners
As the McFlys sit down to dinner, the TV is showing a 1955 episode of The Honeymooners, starring Jackie Gleason. The episode is called T”, and its plot prefigures the moment later in the film where Marty dresses up as a spaceman in order to scare George into action – so it’s quite notable that George is the one laughing so heartily at it in 1985. It’s also, of course, the exact same episode the Baines family watch "brand new” along with Marty in 1955 (even though, if you want to be massively pedantic, it didn’t actually air until 31st December that year – over a month after the date Marty arrives on).
12. The Honeymooners
If you're wondering, incidentally, why George is pouring himself a bowl of Peanut Brittle and eating it like cereal: it's a remnant of a deleted scene from just after Marty arrives home, in which George is coerced into buying a huge amount of the stuff from his neighbour's daughter. Presumably intended to show how spineless he is, it's also kind of redundant when you have the Biff scene immediately following, so while it's amusing it's not hard to see why it was cut.
14. Red, Yellow & Green
The date readouts on the DeLorean – instantly familiar to anyone who's had to look at any number of "TODAY IS THE DAY FROM BACK TO THE FUTURE!" hoaxes over the years – are a deliberate visual reference in and of themselves. Their colour scheme of red, yellow, and green LEDs is a nod to the same coloured lightbulbs on the machine built and operated by Rod Taylor's George in the 1960 Time Machine.
15. The Shaggy Dog
Having a scene in which a dog sits behind the wheel of a car – as Einstein becomes the world’s first time traveller in the remote-controlled DeLorean – was, according to Bob Gale, a nod to the 1959 Disney film The Shaggy Dog, which sees a sheepdog not entirely dissimilar to the Doc’s pet doing just that.
16. The Scarecrow
Another one, perhaps, to file under the 'Is it deliberate or not?' file (Zemeckis/Gale haven't said either way, to the best of our knowledge), but there has to be something in the fact that in possibly the most famous movie about someone suddenly finding themselves transported to an unfamiliar surrounding – The Wizard of Oz – the first major character Dorothy meets is the scarecrow. So it is, too – in a manner of speaking – for Marty, who immediately crashes into one upon the DeLorean's arrival in 1955.
17. Peabody and Sherman
Now this one is deliberate. Although it’s not said onscreen, the son of Old Man Peabody the farmer is named in the credits as Sherman – making their monikers a direct reference to the time-travelling cartoon duo who originally first appeared on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and graduated to their own movie earlier this year.
18. Tales from Space
The 1950s comic that features an image similar to that of Marty and the DeLorean isn’t a real comic – but a mockup by the production team designed to look as close as possible to contemporary horror and sci-fi comics. It even uses the logo of legendary publisher EC, and the title font and layout is very similar to the likes of Vault of Horror and Tales From The Crypt.
19. Back to the Fifties
As Marty walks into the 1950s Hill Valley town square for the first time, he’s unsurprisingly hit by an array of period-specific pop culture references. Cattle Queen of Montana is a genuine 1954 film starring Barbara Stanwyck and Ronald Reagan – neatly prefiguring the reference to the future President a few scenes later – and 'The Ballad of Davy Crockett' and '16 Tons' (the former of which can also be heard when Marty goes into Lou’s Diner) were both hits in 1955. 'Mister Sandman', meanwhile, had first charted in 1954. There are, however, a few anachronisms in the window of Roy’s Records, with three records being shown that weren’t actually released until 1956 and, in two cases, 1959.
20. 1640 Riverside Drive
The Doc’s original house – which Marty doesn’t know the location of, presumably due to Riverside Drive being renamed John F Kennedy Drive by his time – is recognisable (to fans of a certain kind of architecture) as a historic landmark in Pasadena, called the Gamble House. It was designed by the architects Greene and Greene, and is a prime example of the Arts and Crafts movement.
Hey, we didn’t say all the 'nerdy spots' were going to be about movie references, you know.
21. “I don’t know if I could take that kind of a rejection...”
These words, spoken by George to Marty, are of course a reflection of Marty saying much the same thing to Jennifer earlier in the film (along with “What if they said I was no good?”) It’s the first, but not the last, example of a phrase passing from one McFly generation to another. It’s also, of course, a line that shows up in Toy Story – but we can’t really call it a nod on the part of Back To The Future given that it was nine years later. Although we are talking about a time travel movie, so...
22. Crew Shoutout (II)
Another reference to one of the crew, as a poster on the wall of the high school reads 'Ron Woodward for Senior Class President.' Ronald T. Woodward was the film’s key grip, and had also worked with Zemeckis on Romancing The Stone.
23. Science Fiction Theatre
George McFly’s favourite TV programme was indeed a real show – and did actually broadcast an episode on November 12, 1955. It was an anthology sci-fi series, and the episode George missed by going to the dance and kissing Lorraine Baines will have been The Hastings Secret, in which – according to Wikipedia – 'a scientist discovers a species of termites that consume minerals instead of wood.' He probably made the right choice.
The issue of Fantastic Story Magazine that we see next to a sleeping George in the following scene, meanwhile, is also genuine: it’s the Fall 1954 issue.
24. Darth Vader, from the planet Vulcan
And yes, of course, we’d better cover off this part of the same scene, although we’d be amazed if anyone reading this site doesn’t get the Star Wars and Star Trek references. In the longer, deleted version of the scene, Marty also makes reference to George having “caused a rift in the space-time continuum,” and to “the Supreme Klingon.” And in an earlier script draft he goes ever further, saying “This is no dream! You are having a Close Encounter Of The Third Kind! You have reached the Outer Limits of the Twilight Zone!”
25. (Edward) Van Halen
It’s also worth noting the cassette tape Marty uses to disorientate George: it’s clear to see that the name 'Edward' has been hastily added to “Van Halen.” This is because the band Van Halen wouldn’t allow their name or music to be used in the film – but Eddie himself agreed, and created the guitar noise; although he would go uncredited until admitting years later that it was him.
26. The Doc's bribe
It’s a subtle reference – a longer version of the scene, ultimately cut down, would have made it more explicit – but when the street cop asks the Doc if he has “a permit” for the “weather equipment” under the tarpaulin, he starts rummaging in his wallet. Surely the Doc isn’t the kind of guy who’d bribe an upstanding member of the thin blue line? That’d be as crazy as him being the kind of guy who’d get a bunch of terrorists to steal plutonium for him. Or Marty’s dad being a creepy pervert. Funny the things you overlook in characters.
27. Guitar Heroes
Again, obviously we all know that Marvin’s on the phone to his cousin Chuck Berry, who wrote and recorded 'Johnny B. Goode' three years after “hearing” it played by Marty (that’s not Michael J. Fox singing, by the way, but a vocalist called Mark Campbell). But in case you missed any of them, Marty also pays tribute to Pete Townshend (kicking the amp), Angus Young of AC/DC (lying on his back), Jimi Hendrix (guitar behind the head) and the aforementioned Eddie Van Halen (the 'tapping' guitar technique).
28. The Atomic Kid
Just as Marty makes his journey back to 1985, Hill Valley’s other cinema (yes, it has two – the Essex still exists in 1985, but the Town Theatre has become a church by then) is showing a 1954 Mickey Rooney film called The Atomic Kid. The title, of course, feels nicely appropriate to the story – and it’s no accident. In earlier drafts of the script, which saw Marty and the Doc finding a nuclear test site in order to get the time machine working, it was going to see this movie that gives Marty the idea in the first place.
29. Red Thomas?
When Marty sees the “crazy drunk drivers” tramp back in 1985, he gleefully shouts out the name “Red!” This was an adlib by Michael J. Fox – the bum was unnamed in the script – but it’s led many fans to speculate as to whether he’s meant to be Red Thomas, who’s earlier referred to as being mayor of Hill Valley in 1955. There’s no official word either way – except for Bob Gale confirming that Fox made the name up – so make your own minds up...
30. Twin Pines
Possibly the most famous easter egg in movie history, there are still people noticing this for the first time on a rewatch: but yes, what was once the Twin Pines Mall has now, as Marty returns to 1985, become the Lone Pine Mall – a consequence of Marty destroying one of Old Man Peabody’s two pine trees on the farmland that the mall replaced. It’s our first subtle hint (if you don’t count the broken masonry on the clock tower) that Marty’s trip to the 1950s has had a lasting effect on his own present.
31. “If you put your mind to it...”
And here’s another example of one McFly picking up a phrase from the other – only this time, it’s something that Marty said to George in 1955, which the elder McFly then takes as a mantra in the 1980s.
More than that, though, this line could be seen as something that answers what people often bring up as one of the niggling questions of Back To The Future: which is, why don’t Lorraine and George, in the 'New' 1985, remember Marty? A simple answer would be: who says they don’t? Maybe they do. Maybe they’ve had a conversation about it, either between themselves or with Marty (who doesn’t remember it himself because, having travelled in time, he doesn’t seem to have the memories of the 'new' Marty’s life), and this line is a little nod to that?
Let's continue with Back To The Future Part II on the next page...
She's only been an official member of the royal family for one week, and already, Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex, has a royal coat of arms. The coat of arms was announced and debuted on the Instagram account for Kensington Palace, and we're not gonna lie: It's so, so gorgeous.
Not only did Kensington Palace show off the beautiful coat of arms in a dedicated Instagram post, but they also went through the imagery in the coat of arms in their Instagram Story, breaking it down for viewers.
With a lion and dove flanking Meghan's royal crest, the Instagram story began by noting that Meghan worked with the College of Arms to create a design that was "personal and representative."
The story continues, noting that the "blue background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coast."
Keeping in the California groove (the state that Meghan once called home), there's a comment about how the two golden rays seen on the blue side of the shield represent the sunshine that is plentiful in California. Meanwhile, the three quills that you see in between the rays of sunshine represent communication and the power of words — things that Meghan, as a former actor and now philanthropist and humanitarian, knows all about.
Finally, the shield sits atop of lush field of greenery, with poppies dotting the landscape. This is no mere accident, either. As the Instagram story notes, "Beneath the shield sits a collection of golden poppies, California's state flower."
Now that she's a member of the royal family, Meghan is not going to be issuing a personal statement about her coat of arms (that's all handled through palace reps if and whenever necessary). That said, seeing all of the thought and detail that was put into this coat of arms makes it clear that even though she is so far from home, Meghan will always carry a piece of her life as a California native with her wherever she goes.
The Droids animated series is a forgotten yet essential chapter in Star Wars history.
Droids is a tragically forgotten piece of Star Wars culture. Taking into account that the show has basically been disowned, in part because it’s incredibly dated, this cartoon about two droids wandering around desert planets getting into trouble isn’t likely to get the acclaim it deserves anytime soon. Which is funny. Droids happens to be an influential relic from the younger days of a rapidly growing multimedia franchise that didn’t know what to do with itself.
The fingerprints of this obscure Saturday morning cartoon can be seen in just about everything that followed it, from the novels to the Dark Horse comics, to the prequels and The Force Awakens. Droids isn’t just an animated series that caters to a younger crowd, it’s actually a gateway drug that intiated its audience into the upper echelons of the Star Wars expanded universe. It’s about time humanoids and automatons alike started treating it that way.
A long time ago (1985) in a galaxy that…kind of looked like this one, actually, the Star Wars universe was not yet the enormous place overpopulated with oddly named yet marketable creatures that it is today. Back in those days, the SW experience consisted of the original trilogy films, the toyline, the Marvel comics, a few forgettable tie-in books with awesome looking covers, and that one nutty Christmas special. If you wanted to fully immerse yourself in the Star Wars experience, all you needed were a few tiny action figures, your memories of what happened on the big screen, and those gratuitous clips of TIE fighter battles spliced into the occasional episode of Muppet Babies. Remember those?
Return of the Jedi had already come and gone, and Kenner needed a way to continue making money off of the Star Wars brand. The Power of the Force toyline was a quick cash grab that consisted of already released action figures repackaged with gold coins, and that just wasn't fun. Since there wouldn’t be another feature film to fuel merchandise for another fifteen years, something had to be done to make sure the most profitable media franchise ever stayed profitable for everyone involved. Lucasfilm also needed to keep that easy cash flow going, so what was the win-win here?
A Saturday morning cartoon about Star Wars, of course. And it was about damn time. Enter Droids, the animated series chronicling the galactic misadventures of everyone’s favorite artificially intelligent comic relief characters: C-3PO and R2-D2. George Lucas had been developing this show with animation studio Nelvana for a couple years now - along with a sister show, Ewoks - to air on the ABC network. After working on the cartoon short from the notorious holiday special (which introduced us to Boba Fett), Lucas knew he wanted to work with the company again to keep feeding his multi-million dollar baby that was once just a kooky avant garde film. And so, with ideas of how to construct a universe zooming around in his head like so many X-Wings rushing to poorly guarded exhaust ports, he did.
But after spending less than a decade caught up in the whirlwind of creating a pop culture revolution, Lucas wasn’t keen on his involvement with the series being too “hands on.” Ready to work on other projects like Willow and Labyrinth, he was willing to let others tell new stories about our beloved talking tin cans. Thus, Lucas recruited the likes of Paul Dini, Ken Stephenson, Raymond Jafelice, and Peter Sauder to find creative direction for the first two animated Star Wars series ever.
Although nowhere near as grandiose as today’s animated Star Wars epics like Clone Wars or Rebels, Droids is fairly high concept for an ‘80s cartoon. Perhaps not as much as its syndicated contemporaries of the time, like Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors or even Thundercats, but when compared to the rest of the shows from its sleepy programming block (like reruns of Looney Tunes, Superfriends and The Littles), Droids was ambitious.
The fundamental concept of the series affected its formula, themes, stories, tone, everything. Because Artoo and Threepio would spend their time wandering around the galaxy in search of new “masters” who have their own quests to undertake, there’s no consistent status quo. This is nothing to bat an eye at these days, but in the simpler time that was the 1980s cartoon golden age, it was jarring. Most of the cartoons from that era had cute good guys arguing with grumpy bad guys against a neon-colored backdrop. (Sorry, Ewoks…) Droids, however, was the antidote to this.
What about Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie? Sorry, clone cadets. Those crazy kids weren’t invited to this party. Droids takes place in the years between Episode III and IV, the “Rise of the Empire” era - or it’s supposed to anyway. As it’s not canon anymore (thanks to Darth Mouse), I don’t know what to make of it. Fortunately enough, Anthony Daniels agreed to return and lend his vocal chords to the soundscape of the cartoon, alongside a theme song by The Police’s Stewart Copeland that was set the tone of the series quite well, despite its contemporary sound.
So what if the show had to fill a Skywalker shaped void every so often? It was still fascinating to see what crazy stuff RD-D2 and C-3PO got into next. Droids was designed to be an adventure serial in the purest sense of the term, and the show finally gave fans the freedom to explore the Star Wars universe after spending years imagining what the rest of it looked like.
And yet, despite having a lot of very exciting concepts going for it, the actual experience of watching Droids was frequently more monotonous and oddly sad than I expected. I mean, watching C-3PO be whored out during a slave auction and later forced to clean up bantha sh*t while everyone else is asleep isn’t the most uplifting material to eat your Corn Pops to.
It could have been a lot worse, though. Artoo and Threepio actually did manage to find employment by quite a few generous masters over the show’s run, even if they weren’t what we would call “memorable” or “of importance” - or hell, even “three dimensional.” Each one of them gives us good vibes, but that doesn’t stop them from being knock-off versions of better characters from the Original Trilogy. Sure, they look different in visual design, but they share the same gallantly rebellious streak that it’s hard not to draw comparisons. There was at least one moment in each of the thirteen episodes in which I stopped and thought,”Uh huh, great, but how friggin’ awesome would it be if Luke and Leia were here instead of Bekky Tooshbottom and Wenis Lampo?”
Okay, so those aren't actual character names from Droids. No, the real ones were much more forgettable than that. Trust me. But they were nice people who always treated their slaves...uh , I mean, robots...er, I mean, droids well.
Also, each “master” had their quests, too, which motivated them enough to have character arcs of their very own. Gasp! That’s nothing short of a miracle for the very sugary, very un-serialized climate of mid-’80s Saturday morning TV.
Droids covered a ton of ground for a TV show that ran for only one brief season of just thirteen episodes. By the time I finished watching all of it, I felt as if I had watched the equivalent of maybe double that - in a good way. Its singular season is broken up into three major story arcs or “cycles” that center on three separate groups of masters. Each cycle is made up of three to four different standalone episodes that are chapters in their respective storylines. Whew. Need a minute?
Let's talk about each of these story cycles one by one.
THE FIRST STORY ARC (Episodes 1-4)
The initial story cycle of Droids kicks off at a strong pace, burning through the first four episodes in no time. Our little orphan droids get adopted by a couple of speeder bike racers named Jord Dusat and Thall Joben on a desert planet. The gang later joins forces with a Rebel Spy named Kea Moll (aka diet Princess Leia) to stop the evil Fromm gang from using a weapons satellite called the Trigon One. After they prevent the evildoers from...whatever they were going to do with that, our temporary team of heroes wind up being targeted by Boba Fett in a high stakes speeder race, thanks to the relentlessness of those pesky Fromms. (Damn you, Tiggy Fromm!)
First of all, speeder bikes? How RotJ is that? Second of all, desert planet? This is basically remaking A New Hope before The Force Awakens did. Well, not exactly. The conflict that plays out between the, um, speed biker gang and the Fromms may have dire consequences for the galaxy, but it’s nothing as impactful as blowing up five planets. Since this story arc introduced smaller scale storytelling in the Star Wars universe, it was now okay for all characters to act more like humans and less like archetypal embodiments of cosmic forces. Or something.
Let’s talk about those Fromms. As Star Wars bad guys go, the Fromm gang is more on the Jabba the Hutt end of the spectrum than the imposing Empire side. In other words, they're not that threatening. The leader Tiggy (or Tig, as he prefers to be called) is on the whiny side. And he has daddy issues. But these traits are what made him so unique when compared with the rest of the Droids rogue gallery, and might be why he still has weird fan art made about him to this day.
As heroes go, Thall Joban and Jord Dusat are nice dudes. They’re the kind of peripheral characters who seem intriguing when you catch a glance of them walking around in the background of a scene on Tatooine or something. But when you actually spend time with them? Not as interesting as you’d hoped they’d be. Indeed, they take both the droids and us on an decent adventure that feels Star Wars-y enough, but there's an aggravating vacuum where their personalities should be. Yes, they’ve got character traits and edgy hair styles and a landspeeder mysteriously named The White Witch. But what do they have inside? What defines Thall Joban? How is he different from everyone else in Star Wars? Why is he someone we can trust? We don’t really know, as he and his colleagues suffer from classic Saturday morning superficiality syndrome. But that comes with the territory here.
THE SECOND STORY ARC (Episodes 5-9)
In the second story cycle, C-3PO and R2-D2 are rescued along with a mysterious android from a slave auction on Tyne’s Horky (yes, another desert planet with another f**ked up name) by a young miner named Jann Tosh. After taking them back home and introducing them to his Yosemite Sam-in-space uncle Putch Gundarian, Tosh and the boys are shocked to discover that the nameless android is in fact Mon Jalupa, the missing prince of Tammuz-an in disguise. This revelation sets off a chain of events that take up the next five consecutive episodes, each one expanding the Star Wars universe significantly more than the last. Talk about world building. I can’t imagine how kids felt back when this was airing.
This follow-up arc improved greatly on the last. The first cycle is a classic in its own right, but the second is more engaging to watch as its plot kept evolving, and the stakes kept getting higher. Plus, it involved the Rebellion, and we're all familiar with that crowd. It conjured up the same New Hope iconography, again much like The Force Awakens, to good effect.
Speaking of which, this cycle also has something else in common with Episode VII: its main villain basically has the same name as Kylo Ren except for one tiny letter.
Look, Kybo Ren and Kylo Ren are nothing alike whatsoever. I’m not suggesting that they share any characteristics - at all. They’re like granny smith apples and blood oranges: you can’t compare them, they taste so different, and one is more plump and juicy than the other. I'm just asking, why are their names so similar?
Was J.J. Abrams sitting around in the writer’s retreat at Skywalker Ranch, being all, “Nah, forget about calling him Jedi Killer. Let's name him after that one fat guy from Droids. You know who I'm talking about. The Genghis Kahn looking one. Remember him? I loved that show, man. Can you make him look like Darth Revan, though? Knights of the Old Republic was so dope. Thanks.”
Either way, Kybo Ren (or Gir Kybo Ren-Cha) was a space pirate that, like the Fromm gang before him, was made from the same villainous yet slimey cloth as Jabba the Hutt. He’s another one of those dastardly underworld criminals with no redeeming value whatsoever, yet plenty of resources at his disposal. On paper he sounds bad to the bone, but in action? He’s basically the type of silly bad guy you’d see on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As such, I had a hard time taking the overweight stereotypical Asian man with the ridiculous Fu Manchu moustache seriously. His pirate crew? Sad to say, I don’t remember them much, despite having just marathoned this show recently. Hmm. That says a lot.
As “masters” go, Jann Tosh was pretty decent, as was Jessica Meade, the adventurous freighter pilot who has my vote for weirdest Star Wars name ever. She was basically a cross between Han Solo and Princess Leia. Meanwhile, Jann was somewhere in the middle of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. That's the only way to accurately describe these characters, since 1.) we couldn’t focus on them for long and 2.) they’re ‘80s cartoons, so they’re not that captivating. One defining characteristic of Jann that I can be certain of, is that he didn’t like wearing any undershirts.
THE THIRD STORY ARC (Episodes 10-13)
The third and final story cycle just might be Droids’ best. It introduced us to the droids’ favorite master of all time: Mungo Baobab. I think it’s because he has the most fun name to say out of anyone on the show. I mean, it’s fun to say even in your own head. Repeat it to yourself for 30 seconds. I dare you not to smile.
Mungo is a galaxy class merchant whose family runs the infamous Baobab Merchant Fleet. Throughout the final four episodes of the series, Mungo drags Artoo and Threepio along with him on his quest to find a trade route to the Roon System in order to acquire more Roonstones, which apparently were hot sh*t. Also, doesn't he kind of look like Jesus to you?
After successfully traversing the Cloak of the Sith and outsmarting the Empire’s troops, Mungo was able to find passage to the Roon System with R2-D2 and C-3PO’s help. But once there, his search for the source of the Roonstones was constantly interrupted by General Koong and his Storm Troopers. As he continued his borderline obsessive search for the Roonstones, Mungo questions whether or not his treasure hunt is really even worth it, making important realizations about what truly matters in life in the process. (Or something.)
The final chapter of the show was the most ambitious of all, outdoing even the ambitious scope of Jann’s arc managed to accomplish. This is the point where the show came to life and started hitting its stride. If Droids had continued on for a second season, surely it wouldn’t have been a bad idea if Mr. Baobab stuck around for at least another arc or two. As a protagonist, Mungo’s character served as the nice grounding presence the show needed, a real swashbuckler. He was a high ranking businessman whose code of honor and civic responsibility didn’t clash with his adventurous spirit, and felt more like leader you could look up to than the younger misfits from before. Bottom line here is, Mungo Baobab had his sh*t together.
Another reason why this last story cycle was so great? It had a villain with a familiar face: the Empire itself. General Koong is the best bad guy out of the whole series, period. If Ranier Wolfcastle and Dolph Lundgren had a lovechild that suffered third degree burns and was given cyborg reconstitution to survive, I figure he’d look a lot like Koong. How can you go wrong with a villain like him? I know his Storm Troopers used laser rods instead of guns to blast our heroes, but that’s nothing big. Blame ABC’s Standards & Practices for that, not Lucasfilm.
THE TV SPECIAL
After the thirteenth and final episode aired in November of 1985, the Droids saga was suddenly over. There was an hour-long animated special called “The Great Heep” which was supposed to air for the holidays a month later in December, but for some curious reason, it was pushed back until June of the following year. When it did finally air in the summer of ‘86, it got the lowest ratings of that week, not to mention the lowest ratings out of any TV special that aired that season. Ouch.
This decision fries my circuitboards. “The Great Heep” is probably the best segment that came out of the Droids television series for a couple reasons. One, its extended running time gives it the luxury of moving along at a much less stilted pace. You don’t get bored and nothing feels rushed like it did week-to-week. The second is that "Heep" focuses directly on droid culture. In every single episode of the show, Artoo and Threepio are doing what they do best - tagging along with humans and doing cute stuff to provide comic relief amongst all the hard sci-fi action that’s going on around them. In “Heep”, they get to interact with other droids more than they usually do, which is something I wish we got to see in the episodes proper. (It was called Droids, was it not?)
In the special, R2-D2 and C-3PO travel to a planet called Biitu to rendezvous with Mungo, but they don’t know that he’s been imprisoned by a gigantic droid who goes by the name of The Great Heep. Heep also captures the two droids and forces C-3PO to be part of his, um, lube crew while pampering Artoo by putting the little cutie in his droid harem. There, Artoo meets KT-10, his first and only love interest (okay, so that may be debatable.) But that’s what Heep does to all of the R2 units before he eats them to survive…
This special hits emotional beats that any self-respecting animated feature film would, including splitting up our heroes and giving us a fake-out death moment. Why was this special never given a wide home video release in the U.S., Lucasfilm?! Seriously, it’s like they think it’s as bad as the Holiday Special or something. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. I mean, yeah, it is kind of weird in that it introduces us to the concept of Droid harems, and that Fidge kid and his pet Chubb were kind of annoying. But come on! There are way worse things that have been released under the Star Wars brand since then and you know it.
While Droids was trying to force kids to appreciate its lofty quirks on the airwaves with perpetual reruns, the series branched out into other forms of media. From ‘86-87, Star Comics (the shortlived Marvel imprint that published mostly cartoon tie-ins for a younger audience) ran a monthly series based on Droids. Because it was built on the same premise as the TV show, there were no set “masters” featured throughout its entire run. Each issue revolved around Artoo and Threepio being tossed around between little cartoony brats and aliens that were very un-Star Wars like in appearance. Marvel pulled some crazy sh*t during their original Star Wars run, but at least they ran wild with creative freedom. Droids was based on an animated TV series with a very distinct visual style that wasn’t seen in the panels of the comics whatsoever. It was like the droids were stuck in some demented cartoon candy land and could never escape their cutesy tormentors, which winds up being more unintentionally disturbing than the show ever was.
At one point, there was an Ewoks crossover published, and no, it’s definitely not canon. I haven’t seen any of the Ewoks series at this point, so I can’t confirm that it’s in line with the tone or spirit of that series at all. What I can tell you, however, is that its plot is pretty friggin’ bizarre.
Artoo and Threepio find themselves on a diplomatic mission to the planet Sooma, which appears to be populated by bad guys ripped straight out of an old Hanna-Barbera cartoon. There they get tricked into delivering an incredibly irritating amphibious child named Prince Plooz back to his home planet when they get attacked by his father’s space fleet. As they try to escape using the hyperdrive, they inadvertently blast themselves into a hole in space and somehow end up 100 years into the future (?) on Endor, searching for the little brat who jumped out in an escape pod. Of course they run into those fuzzy wuzzy little indigenous teddy bears, who think Plooz is something called a Star Child. Nothing really exciting happens save for a ginormous boulder that almost fall on our heroes, which R2-D2 stopped somehow. It's not important.
For the final three issues, Star Comics got all greedy and released an adaptation of A New Hope from the point of view of the titular droids. (Yes, you know I had to sneak that phrase in again.) There’s not much to report from this retelling except that there are completely dumb cutesy moments that were shoehorned into the story for no reason at all except because it would be “cute.” Case in point: did you know that after they landed on Tatooine, the droids immediately ran into an underground kingdom of mole creatures? Well, according to issue six, they did. Outside of that...uh...they didn’t do much else except get into trouble with Stormtroopers. By the time the final issue rolls around, you’re pretty much just reading yet another comic adaptation of Episode IV, with hardly any extra details added. Gotta admit, those covers looked sweet anyway.
The Droids toyline was a godsend for Kenner...or so it seemed. When most of the new merchandise didn't sell as well as they'd hoped, a few of the action figures you see above were held back for a second wave that never actually got released. Mungo Baobab is on that list, as is General Koong. Sadly, '80s kids everywhere were deprived of having an action figure of Space Jesus or Cyber Dolph Lundgren to call their own. This was an injustice to nobody at the time, but it makes the most obsessive collectors of today shed a tear.
And who the Force is this "Pilot" dude? Unless I'm missing something, he was not in the show. According to this video, he may have been lifted from their other toyline, just like the A-Wing itself. Speaking of the A-Wing: that's most certainly the centerpiece here, as it made electronic noises, and kids love those. It was met the general expectation of a Star Wars toy, unlike the cartoony action figures that didn't match the Star Wars brand (at the time.)
The C-3PO and R2-D2 figures were repaints from previous Star Wars toy collections, so they weren't anything people wanted at the time. Nowadays, you'll find Droids R2-D2s figurines going for $500 and up on eBay. Even the Boba Fetts - that are also still in their packaging and much cooler - go for way less. What gives?
Now that I’ve blasted through the entirety of the Droids animated series as an adult, I think what I can say I appreciate the most about the show is its visual style. Droids was the kid-friendly answer to Heavy Metal magazine. Even if it settled for being cutesy at times, it still maintained a strong cyberpunk aesthetic, which elevated the program from being “just another Saturday morning cartoon” to being a fantasy sci-fi trip that anyone who liked Star Wars could enjoy. This is something else that made Droids feel so ahead of its time. It wasn’t just there to be cute and fuzzy like its sister show. It was an ambitious creative laboratory in which Lucas and his team practiced world building.
But let’s be honest: back in 1985, cute and fuzzy is what sold toys to kids and got them to tune in. That could be why Droids didn’t last as long as Ewoks did. Ewoks was emotional and cuddly, and spoke directly to that Smurf-y demographic, which was huge at the time. Droids was complex and clinical, much like the Prequel Trilogy would be years later. But at least it had a beating heart.
We revisit the classic '80s X-Men animated special to find out why it didn't get a full-series order. And then we pretend that it did!
I remember the first time I saw Pryde of the X-Men. My parents bought me a copy of it from the local K-Mart and because they knew I liked the Fox Kids cartoon, even if it was too loud and aggressive at times.
I could tell they weren’t the same thing just by looking at the cover, but that just made me even more curious about the whole thing. When I popped it in the VCR, I was treated to a highly charged 20-something minutes that I wish could have stretched on indefinitely. Everything about the special is exciting, right down to the theme song, which got stuck in my head more often than its iconic cousin (the fact that it had lyrics probably helped).
If there’s any such thing as a “kitchen sink pilot”, this would be it. There are so many characters, concepts, themes, settings and dynamics introduced in such a compressed amount of time that it’s pretty damn impressive how its writer Larry Parr was able to pull it off.
So let's take a look at this one to see what made it so special!
Who made Pryde of the X-Men?
As with other classic ‘80s cartoons featuring Marvel superheroes, Pryde of the X-Men was brought to you by Marvel Productions. Instead of making a 13th episode of the Robocop animated series, a show that nobody needs to remember, they made the very first cartoon featuring the world’s favorite genetic outcasts. It was animated overseas by Toei, the geniuses behind almost every noteworthy anime this side of Miyazaki.
So why was there only one episode made?
Because the Muppet Babies demanded it.
What happened was, Marvel ran into some financial difficulties around 1989 after Pryde was produced. New World Pictures sold the Marvel Entertainment Group to the Andrews Group, halting production on all animated series except that trippy one about Jim Henson’s furry daycare. It was so popular it needed to sacrifice a decade of television based on Marvel’s superheroes at its altar...because the X-Men aren't cute enough.
Were there any more episodes planned or written?
Since Pryde was intended to be a one-shot pilot to create interest from markets and networks, there wasn’t much of a master plan as far as a potential series would go. And although we can dream about how spectacular and gorgeously animated Phoenix Saga adaptation would have been, we’ll just have to get by with the other gorgeously animated one we got a few years later.
Speaking of which…
Did this influence the ‘90s cartoon at all?
Yes and no. Yes, in that as a pilot, “Night of the Sentinels" did noticeably evoke the general structure and premise of Pryde, swapping Kitty for Jubilee. No, in that the entire affair was tonally different in every way. The similarities between the two are incredible only because they differ so vastly from each other.
Is this why Dazzler was in that one video game?
Konami’s classic X-Men beat ‘em up coin game? Yep.
In fact, as you’ve probably read elsewhere, that game was all inspired by the character designs from Pryde. Not only that, these were also used as the basis for the 1989 PC game Madness on Murderworld, which was exponentially more dull than it sounded. But for some reason, Paragon Software decided to go with a different look for Dazzler, making her look like Madonna if she starred in The Running Man.
Hold on, there’s one more video game that Pryde’s distinctive artstyle influenced: the semi-classic 8-bit Uncanny X-Men for NES. But, again, Dazzler gets the short end of the disco stick - LJN’s creative team replaces her with Iceman. That’s okay, because she will forever be immortalized in the coin-up game and made to seem more important than she actually was to the show. Thanks, Konami!
Were there toys planned or released? Action figures? Bedsheets? Matching pillow cases? Any other merchandise?
Outside of those video games we just talked about and a random “graphic novel” adaptation in 1990 called The X-Men Animation Special, not really. I think the sheets would have been really neat, though. I like that idea. Can somebody mock that up please?
Why was Wolverine Australian?
Apparently voice director Rick Holberg was forced into giving Logan an accent from down under because of that trendy “shrimp-on-the-barbie” zeitgeist of the late ‘80s when Crocodile Dundee was all the rage. Ironically enough, Wolverine was planned to be an Aussie expatriate in the comics at some point, but let’s thank the sweet X-gods that didn’t happen.
Hey, wait a second! Did Professor X just…
Move his leg? Yep, that happened. Either Charlie boy isn’t fully paralyzed on Earth 8919 (which is the Marvel Multiverse designation for this cartoon), or this was just an animator’s slip-up. You decide!
Is this continuity with the other Marvel Productions universe alongside Hulk or Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, etc.?
I’m not quite sure about that. Officially there is not confirmation either way. Unofficially, I’d be inclined to say that yes, Pryde of the X-Men is part of the continuity that those classics shared.
Why’s that? Because of, the season three episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (okay, there was that season two episode as well. But I like this one better).
If you don’t remember it that clearly and can’t guess from its undescriptive title, Spider-Man and his roommates go on a field trip to the mansion where we meet our favorite mutants - and Wolverine is Australian in that, too. That’s because both iterations voiced by the same actor, Neil Ross. My view is that Pryde is a future iteration of that same team (it also features an invasion by Juggernaut). Do with that what you will.
What else is notable about this cartoon?
It started the rather dark trend of every animated series having the mansion destroyed by opposing forces. It’s also the only time that Emma Frost has been a member of Magneto’s brotherhood – ever – in print or any other type of media.
Wait, one last thing: who belted out that epic theme song?
That’s legendary film and TV composer Robert J. Walsh, who was responsible for the music behind Jem, Transformers, Defenders of the Earth, Inhumanoids, and most of your other ‘80s childhood favorites. Oh yeah, and Leprechaun too.
If you haven’t heard it in a while, let me do the honors.
Ah, that's better.
Well, since we're all here, we might as well share with you one last thing before we let you go. We present to you our very own hypothetical episode guide to this proposed X-Men animated series that should have happened! It will be the standard one season thirteen episode order, with Pryde counting as the first. Get ready for your imaginations to be tickled, as well as your mutant abilities.
(But not in a creepy way. Promise.)
1x02: Escape the Savage Land!
Professor X and his X-Men are baffled to discover a tropical jungle in the middle of Antarctica. There they meet Ka-Zar, a brave warrior who helps them fight off a group of monsters that stalk our heroes. Things get even stranger when Magneto suddenly appears…
1x03: One Nation, Under Nefaria
Count Nefaria traps the entire city of Washington, D.C. beneath a giant dome that not even the military's forces can penetrate. Then he makes his team of X-Men imposters look responsible for the deed. Can the real X-Men clear their names and free the US capital before it’s too late?
1x04: Not by a Longshot
Cerebro detects a new mutant in the city. When the X-Men meet up with him, they find out he’s an amnesiac and doesn’t remember anything about his past, or his abilities. The team is in awe of his apparent streak of good luck, but so is Magneto…
1x05: And Your Enemies Closer
When a mad scientist named Dr. William Stryker kidnaps Professor X and wires him up to a machine that will use his psychic energy to destroy all mutants across the world, the team turns to the only person that’s powerful enough to stop it from happening: Magneto.
1x06: Island of Fear
After the X-Men answer a distress call from their friend Banshee in Scotland, they travel across the globe to his island laboratory and find it in shambles. A monstrous experiment of his is on the loose, and it lurks in the dark, watching the team…
1x07: Flight of the Dark Phoenix, Pt. 1
Jean Grey, a former member of the X-Men who disappeared after a fateful mission in outer space, finally returns to the mansion. Cyclops is beside himself. Is she what she seems? But while the rest of the team explain her history to Kitty, the White Queen plots to harness Jean's psychic powers for her own use. Meanwhile, a group of aliens appear on earth, searching for something called the Phoenix.
1x08: Flight of the Dark Phoenix, Pt 2
Despite the White Queen’s attempts to control Jean Grey’s mind, the powerful Phoenix entity won’t allow it. But everyone is shocked when the mysterious extraterrestrials put Jean Grey on cosmic trial for destroying their entire home planet! Can the X-Men stop this madness, or will the Phoenix powers be the end of Jean Grey?
1x09: The Weapon X-periment
When the Danger Room malfunctions during training, Kitty Pryde and Wolverine are stuck inside one of its simulations. While the rest of the team try to fix the problem in the control room, Wolverine tells the new recruit about how he joined the X-Men and the mysterious “Weapon X” project.
1x10: Meet The New Mutants
When the X-Men are captured and taken off into space by strange aliens known as the Brood, it’s up to Kitty Pryde and a group of misfit teenage students from Xavier’s School for the Gifted to save them. But the real question is: can they get along first?
1x11: The Spider-Man Adventure
Chaos ensues when Mysterio joins forces with Magneto to take over the Daily Bugle headquarters. The X-Men team up with Spider-Man and his amazing friends Firestar and Iceman once again to derail their plans, making Kitty feel like the odd one out.
1x12: The Uncanny Space Knight
When a race of alien witches known as Wraiths come to take over our planet, the team calls upon the help of their number one enemy - ROM the space knight. But Magneto seeks to reprogram him to serve his own agenda...
1x13: Back to the Present
Kitty keeps phasing in and out of the future, one that’s ruled by the Brotherhood of Mutants and their army of robot sentinels - a dark future where the X-Men have lost the war and are hunted like fugitives. Can she stop this timeline from coming to pass with the help of Wolverine and Professor X?
Wasn't that fun? Now, who wants to take a shot at Season 2?
Stephen is currently producing a comic called Occult Generation he kickstarted with his friends last year that's a lot like the X-Men, but with more magic and set in 1920s New York. You shold check it out. Also, follow him on Twitter at @onlywriterever while you're at it. Kapeesh?
The Americans' Elizabeth Jennings may be hard to like as a person, but as a TV character, she's very easy to admire...
This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
Warning: contains plot details for The Americans 1-6
Tony Soprano. Don Draper. Walter White. Omar Little. Nucky Thompson. Jamie Lannister. That guy from that thing you watch. Stop me when I've made my point. That being, TV loves an anti-hero.
And why wouldn't it? There's very little similar to that relationship we have with a character we know will one day face a reckoning. One that we may or may not welcome, depending on when it happens.
Which means writers can do a lot with an anti-hero. They can start off with a dying guy who just wants to help his family out and make him cross a series of lines until all sympathy is a distant memory. Or, they can start off with some bloke banging his sister and throwing a kid out of a window, and a few seasons down the line make him the heart of soul of it. Or, if they do everything right, they can create an outlaw operating in a city of outlaws, who continues to hold the audience in the palm of his hand long after he lies dead on a convenience store floor, his body looted for souvenirs.
They're a varied bunch, is what I'm saying. Except, wait a minute, they're not. Aside from the fact that they are predominately white – a representation question for another article, obviously – they do all have one similarity. They're predominately men.
Write a list of female anti-heroes and you'll find the task a lot harder. Or, your know, easier, if you're one of those people whose hand now cramps up after writing more than eight words. Yep, there's Edie Falco's painkiller addicted Nurse Jackie, Veep's self-obsessed wonder Selina Meyer, and Nancy Botwin, pot-dealing mom from Weeds, but they are as much about the comedy as the drama. And there's Glenn Close's ruthless lawyer Patty in Damages. Yeah, she's complicated, but did she beat her boss to a pulp and shout “Tell whoever approved this that your face is a present from me to them!” I don't think so. (Although, you know, she might've, I didn't watch it all.)
But you know who did? Elizabeth Jennings, possibly the finest female anti-hero to grace our TV screens yet. And I say yet with hope, obviously. Because, of course, it's terrific that The Americans has delivered a three-dimensional, glossy haired and velvety voiced female anti-hero who can fold a corpse into a suitcase. But we want more. (Of the women, naturally. Those splintering bones I could well live without).
While the show's creators are always keen to point out that, outside of all the spying and the sexy times, The Americans is actually a series about marriage, as we find ourselves at the tail end of the final season, it's increasingly clear that Keri Russell's Elizabeth is at the centre of it all. And in a series about a dedication to Mother Russia, how couldn't she be?
Now, this should go without saying, but just in case it doesn't: this is no slight on Philip Jennings or the man who embodies him, Matthew Rhys. From his opening gambit of stabbing a statutory rapist in the balls with a massive fork to his season six high point of putting his daughter in a choke hold (for her own good), Philip has been one of the easier TV anti-heroes to get behind. Largely because, due to a nifty subversion of gender roles, Elizabeth is way, way worse than him. And standing right next to him.
“This stuff just comes easier to you,” Philip tells her back in that brutal third season. And while it hurts her to hear, and is possibly untrue, it's not hard to understand how he's reached that conclusion. She's the driver, in more ways than one, the gung-ho one, the true disciple, even now, still slashing her way through the USSR's final hours. Philip is the voice of reason, the one who's open to new ideas, the nurturer.
Elizabeth tests our loyalty. Liking her is a far tougher proposition.
And talking of tough, Mrs. Jennings clearly had it bad – far worse than, say, Nucky Thompson – and his dismal childhood is actively touted as an excuse for his appalling behavior. She also is tough, surviving a bullet to the side, a run in with Glanders (precisely as disgusting as it sounds), and some frankly nauseating DIY dental survey by Philip.
She's also received the kind of indoctrination that Tony Soprano can but dream of using to justify his actions. And unlike him, she doesn't indulge in the spoils of her victory. She's not forgotten where she came from. She doesn't indulge in the food, the drink or the drugs, like the mob boss, or a certain Madison Avenue advertising exec. In fact, her disdain for excess, for consumerism, for mawkish sentimentality are some of the most relatable things about her. (You tell them, Elizabeth, kids are spoiled shits nowadays.)
In a lot of ways, she's a Russian Omar, in that she both does and doesn't have power. And squares it with herself by making it all about the code.
None of which makes her exactly likeable, but it's quite easy to pity her still, even after all the murder and mayhem. Particularly since it comes at a pretty high cost to her: she's lost her mentor, her mentee, her first love, her closest friend.
And it's difficult, now we're at the sharp end, to remember that as recently as season four, Elizabeth still had it in her to be something other than a killing machine. Now she's a strung-out, chain-smoking whirlwind, it's hard to remember a time that she asked not to ruin Young Hee's family. Or the time she was so freaked out that Philip showed Martha the real Philip, that she – Elizabeth Jennings - went to an EST seminar.
I'd been thinking before this season aired, that I might be all out of sympathy for Elizabeth. That the clever but tragic subversion of a man deliberately being made to dig his own grave, the death of Hans, might be the last time I felt anything approaching warmth towards Elizabeth. Who'd been given so many chances to leave, to change, and turned them all down. But yet here we are in season six, watching her being slowly re-bonded to the motherland by the exact propaganda expected to win over her daughter. And suddenly she's human again. And vulnerable. And worth caring about. And that's quite some achievement.
So long, Elizabeth Jennings. You may go down in a blaze of bullets. You may well deserve it. But it wasn't for nothing. You've changed a TV trope for the better. Спасибо
US space startup Rocket Lab sets new date for first commercial launch
US spaceflight startup Rocket Lab has scheduled new dates for its first commercial rocket launch — a mission dubbed “It's Business Time.” The company plans to launch its small rocket, the Electron, sometime between June 23rd and July 6th. The rocket ...
Rocket Lab reschedules next Electron launch
Rocket Lab to launch satellite-destruct system
It's 2018 and thanks to technology, it feels like almost everything is within our internet-aided reach. Except for love. Apps like Tinder and Bumble, which are supposed to make dating easier, seem to have widened the dating pool and actually made connections few and far between. Love-seekers recently took to anonymous confession site Whisper to voice their frustrations with dating in the modern world. Do you agree with their sentiments? Are we looking for analog love in a digital world?
Was The Happening the disaster everyone remembers? Or was it just fatally misunderstood?
This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
Spoilers for The Happening lie ahead
For a while there, M. Night Shyamalan was Hollywood's golden child. A modern-day auteur who blurred the lines between populist and arty, cult and mainstream, genre and straight drama to great acclaim. Yet now, almost everything published about him talks of his critical fall from grace. It's like parts of the industry see him as an embarrassing uncle at a wedding who's still invited out of courtesy but is inevitably going to make a fool out of himself if you let him near the camera...
Sure, there's an argument to be made that Shyamalan has had a couple of misfires but when people start referring to "embarrassing flops like The Happening" I have to draw a line. I personally consider The Happening as one of the best Hollywood movies of the last decade and, by some distance, the most misunderstood. It is, without question, Shyamalan's masterpiece. So I'm setting the record straight, with the film about to hit its tenth birthday.
If you've not seen it, Mark Wahlberg stars as Elliott Moore, a science teacher who must make his way safely across Pennsylvania when a suspected terrorist attack causes people to commit suicide en masse. The radio suggests it's an airbourne toxin. Shelter from it appears nigh on impossible. Suspense abounds, right? Wellllll....
Perhaps much of the problem with how this film was received lies with the audience's expectations. The Happening was pitched as a return to form for Shyamalan. It was Action Mark Wahlberg in an apocalypse survival movie that the poster claimed was a "nailbitingly ferocious thriller." This was going to be something we could all get our heads around and enjoy. The trailer was fast-cut, all images of hysterical people fleeing in confusion from an unknown terrorist threat. Marky Mark was gonna save America! Yeah! You wouldn't be an idiot if you went in expecting a Roland Emmerich style disaster thriller.
What you get, however, is the exact opposite.
Within the first few minutes, Elliott talks to his students about the "interpretation of experimental data." Shyamalan is giving his audience a clue right here about what they need to do and The Happening is indeed one of the most daringly experimental mainstream films of all time. In some senses, it's almost an anti-film (and, as a fan of transgressive cinema, I don't mean this as a snide put-down either).
Just about every aspect of The Happening is a defiance of expectation. It uses the tropes of classic disaster/survival B-Movies (Shyamalan clearly knows his classics) but inverts them. The pacing of the film, for example, moves in reverse. It starts off quite fraught and slows down further and further as it goes on. By the time it reaches its (anti)climax, it's become almost motionless with fewer words, longer takes, extended periods of stillness and silence; a vastness you can almost feel.
The characters are irregular too. Our hero - traditionally a chiselled macho type, exactly what Wahlberg would normally play - is a science teacher. He speaks in an awkward, squeaky, almost camp voice and makes few actual decisions to drive the action. His character arc pretty much follows the opposite of the classic orphan-wanderer-warrior-martyr structure. He martyrs himself early on by trying to save his wife and his best friend's daughter, fights a little to get them out of Philadelphia but becomes gradually more lost and orphaned from those around him as the story progresses. Likewise, when they meet the military, they're (incredibly!) even less assertive; a total opposite of the usual bull-headed hard-asses one finds in disaster films. Private Auster doesn't even swear, instead exclaiming "Cheese and crackers!" in a ridiculous high-pitched voice when he's scared.
The dialogue in general becomes weirder when situations show signs of tension. The big showdown scene that's been building between Elliott and his wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel) is a surreal discussion over an "illicit tiramisu" and a "completely superfluous bottle of cough syrup" that gets deflated before it even has chance to blow up. Whenever Alma references films, she gets them colossally wrong, confusing Fatal Attraction with Psycho and The Exorcist with God-only-knows-what. With this, Shyamalan further distances himself from genre as we know it.
The plotting, likewise, inverts genre convention. Instead of having to reach the city to find denser populations, the survivors must split into smaller and smaller groups, as the toxin affects people when they're gathered in number. Instead of there being any mystery (or the obligatory "Shyamalan twist!") we learn within the first act that the toxin making people kill themselves is being generated by the trees; again an interesting take on expectation. There's one shot near the start in which we see looming nuclear power plants behind a row of green trees. The instinctive reaction is to look at the black smoke and think "well, that's your evil right there" but instead, it's the bright and seemingly benign plants in the foreground. The killer is right under your nose from the very start. It's a non-mystery. A theydunnit.
The title itself is perhaps the most explicit gag of all in relation to these contradictions. It's called The Happening and yet (as many critics pointed out) almost nothing actually happens throughout the whole film.
But what's the point? Is it just - as the text suggests - "an act of nature and we'll never understand it"? Do we simply enjoy the irony and the bizarre humour of wacky dialogue like "Why are you eyeing my lemon drink?" and appreciate it as an almost Zucker Brothers-like spoof of the B-movie? Of course not. Anything that is so lucid and careful in its rejection of the rules must have a reason and The Happening is no exception.
You see, whatever else it may be, the film is undeniably creepy. Even many of its detractors admit that the suicide scenes unnerve them. In my opinion, it's not so much the visceral elements of these scenes (men running themselves over with lawnmowers, feeding themselves to tigers in the zoo or hanging themselves from trees in groups) that are upsetting. It's the randomness - the unfathomable juxtaposition of this self-inflicted horror onto normal, everyday life - that's shocking and therein lies the crux of The Happening.
It taps right into mankind's fear of chaos. The existential dread that events cannot possibly be connected and that life is both unpredictable meaningless. Before committing suicide, characters become disorientated and repeat things. One of the spookiest scenes in the movie has a young girl telling her mother in monotone, "Calculus, I see in calculus. Calculus. Calculus..." before throwing herself out of the window. This is no throwaway line. The film is rooted in the mathematics of change, humanity's inability to control it and the emotional agony this causes.
This is why The Happening has to play as an anti-film. To reinforce this abstraction, this inability to connect with the conventions of societal (or in this case cinematic) expectation. It's a sister piece to Shyamalan's own Signs, in which everything happened for a reason. Even the most trivial event tied together at the end of Signs to demonstrate the workings of an omnipotent greater force. If Signs was an overtly religious film stating without doubt that there is indeed a God, The Happening is the opposite; a spiritual plea for help - a desperate crisis of faith.
At its heart though, this is a film about suicide. It's Shyamalan trying to process his horror at the enormity of someone taking their own life. A tortured longing to understand and to soothe the pain of simply living. The text, when you boil it down, is about a man (quite literally) running away from the seemingly inescapable impulse to kill himself. Throughout the film, almost every other character tries to force Elliot to make decisions and take control. They want his help and he can't even help himself. They scream out for him to bring order into the chaos. The scene in which he yells "Give me a Goddamn second!" and tries to apply science to the situation as half of the party he's with start to kill themselves is fraught with the pain of a man who can't cope, who can't rationally apply order to anything, yet is terrified by the threat of chaos taking control.
In one scene, Elliot seeks shelter in a "model home" where everything (even the wine) is made of plastic. A sign outside states "YOU DESERVE THIS." The whole world is trying to force order upon Elliot, to make him accept even his own contentment as something he should take charge of, and he can't face it. In another scene, he sings a jaunty tune in a weird falsetto to prove that he's "normal" (coming across as anything but). He becomes increasingly abstracted from the world as the film goes on and the pressure increases to take charge of his life. It's a clear metaphor for the ever-creeping shadow of depression; the frustration of knowing what to do in theory but being unable to bring order to the chaos of the mind. As the film progresses, slowing the pace, paring down the characters, stripping Elliot of almost everyone around him, leaving him no one and nothing to turn to, his surrender to the void seems almost inevitable. Each shot gets wider and lasts longer, expanding to the point where the emptiness is tangible. Tak Fujimoto (of Badlands fame)'s cinematography here is a breathtakingly poignant translation of a director's very difficult vision.
The final scenes are heartbreaking. Even when I watched them again recently to write this piece, I'm sure I almost forgot to breathe. Elliot and Alma sit in separate houses, communicating through an old talking tube that goes under the ground. It's symbolic of the separation that the suicidally depressed feel from those who love them; Elliot wants to relate but can't. The doors aren't locked, there's nothing standing between them except the air - the air that, if they go out into it, may cause him to kill himself. The abstract mental chaos that could tip him over the edge. When they take the plunge and walk towards one another to embrace in slow motion, it's a revelatory, deeply moving moment, as positive a message as one could take from a film so achingly melancholy.
Things work out for them and the "happening" stops as quickly as it started. There is no reason for anything. Sometimes things happen. Sometimes people die. Sometimes they don't. The world is cruel, unfair, without rules or structure. We can only try our best to survive (which brings us full circle - The Happening is in fact the survival movie we were promised, just deconstructed and reassembled into something entirely new). Yet the very last scene in the film - everything beginning again in Paris - leaves the viewer caught in an existential loop. A disconnection from reality can strike anywhere, to anyone, at any time. Life is precious and all too fragile. A thought as comforting as it is terrifying.
The script here is so carefully constructed, so multi-layered and so rhythmic it's almost poetry. The fact that much of the dialogue was deemed simply ridiculous by audiences saddens me because every word feels so perfectly in place. The opening line of the film is "I forgot where I am". Anyone who's experienced depression need look no further than this beautifully crafted sentence to understand the nature of Shyamalan's vision here. To create a big budget Hollywood genre film from such a sad place is not commonplace behavior and for that alone, The Happening should be re-evaluated and appreciated.
It is beautiful, bold, quietly devastating and nothing like any other film ever made. If only every "embarrassing flop" could be so flawless.
You would think being married to one of the founders and most vocal proponents of the Time’s Up movement might have some added benefits such as, helping you develop a more nuanced understanding of sexual politics in the workplace, or, how to craft a winning apology. But apparently that’s not how it works in the Tamblyn-Cross household. David Cross is taking heat for his participation in that New York Times interview with the cast of Arrested Development that should have been called “How To Sink A Show Before It Even Airs”.
In what I guess was an attempt at damage control, David kept a scheduled interview about AD season 5 with Gothamist but used it as a platform to discuss Jeffrey Tambor’s on-set behavior and the subsequent post NYT interview fall-out. Did David give a nuanced understanding of sexual politics in the workplace or offer a winning apology? He did not. Did he mumble and stumble his way through it, insinuating that Jessica Walter was sometimes a pill too? Yes he did! It seems the only thing he’s learned from Amber Tamblyn, is to be a good boy and put down the Twitter when he’s told. Here’s what David had to say when asked if yesterday (the day the interview was published) was “a shit show”.
It was. My wife is very good about getting me off of Twitter when I need to be. So I saw all the stuff happening last night, and literally deleted the app from my home screen. So I don’t know exactly what’s going on. I do know the crux is that a lot of people are upset. And you know, I was in the room and I know that there’s an audiotape, and I’m assuming that it would make me cringe if I heard it.
I have been off Twitter at the behest of my wife. I have apologized to Jessica in private (the way I prefer to conduct apologies to people). I do not have a PR firm repping me. I hope this interview I did earlier is edifying on at least a tiny level. https://t.co/gXVgmJkdfj
— )))David Cross((( (@davidcrosss) May 24, 2018
David went on to say that he knows that anything he says will only make things worse. And he’s right, but it didn’t stop him from doing it anyway.
And I don’t think anybody’s really interested in hearing anything from me unless it’s an absolute unqualified apology. It’s an extremely complicated situation with layers and layers and layers of…and now I’m doing exactly what I said that I shouldn’t do. I’m trying to be careful and diplomatic and not hurt anyone’s feelings.
David said that Amber and Alia Shawkat both talked to him at length about why the interview came off as badly as it did, and while David was receptive to their criticism, it doesn’t seem like he really gets why everybody’s so mad at the fellas (cast mates Jason Bateman and Tony Hale who participated in taking Jeffrey’s side). David also apologized, bless his heart.
So I will unequivocally apologize to Jessica. I’m sorry that we behaved the way we behaved. Whatever the criticisms are, I will own up. I don’t even know what they are, as I said, I saw the initial thing but I jumped off at the behest of various people. And also I had to put my daughter to bed, so it was time to, you know, focus on what’s really important in the moment.
But then he kept talking.
There’s never an excuse ever for yelling at somebody and humiliating them in front of other people. And there was no excuse when Jessica did it. To Jessica’s credit, she eventually apologized to the actress, and felt bad about it. Jeffrey did as well, but it was a bigger deal, there were more people in the room and it was an extremely uncomfortable moment.
This accusation against Jessica really came out of left field but if you read the entire interview, you might be convinced that David’s brain is made up of solely of left fields. He did later emphasize that Jeffrey’s outburst was much worse than anything anybody else had done on set to his knowledge. So, bravo?
As you might expect, Amber’s been fielding Twitter volley’s on David’s behalf since this went down, and she’s over it.
I spoke to Alia at length. I corresponded with Jessica. Just because I’m publicly silent on shit doesn’t mean I’m not privately handling shit. Now that you’re updated on what I do behind the scenes, Twitter, keep my fucking name out of your @. Feel me? Have a great Memorial Day.
— Amber Tamblyn (@ambertamblyn) May 24, 2018
And not for nothing, here’s what Alia’s been up to on twitter.
#repealthe8th I support everyone going home to vote. Vote yes! mad love Dublin xo
— Alia Shawkat (@ShawkatAlia) May 24, 2018
Handling her business offline like a boss.
The summer of 1997 saw a Batman film, a new Jurassic Park film and a Speed sequel lead the charge. What could go wrong?
This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
In its June 1997 issue, Empire magazine declared on its front cover that we were heading into “the hottest blockbuster season for years." Hindsight is great, of course, and it turns out the looming figure of George Clooney in a Batsuit would be an ironic choice to go with that headline. But I remember the build-up to the summer of 1997 movies well. And Empire was right. The line up looked great, with new Batman, Jurassic Park, and Speed movies leading the charge.
Immediately in the aftermath of that summer, many were quick to write off the blockbuster season as a disaster. But, 21 years on, turns out there were some films that endured better than others. That said, there were still some high profile casualties...
The bigger they are…
Even heading into the summer, one or two films had already skipped to an end of year release. Starship Troopers, for instance, escaped the summer glut, although it would still struggle a little at the box office when it did land. Great movie, though.
However, the two movies other studios were steering well clear of were Batman & Robin and The Lost World: Jurassic Park. With good reason.
Joel Schumacher’s reboot of the Batman saga, 1995’s Batman Forever, was the biggest summer blockbuster of that particular year, hence Warner Bros swiftly signing the director up for another movie. Unusually for the time, although commonplace now, the idea was to try and turn the film around in two years, rather than the three year gap that was considered bare minimum in the 1990s (outside of Police Academy films, natch).
What’s interesting about Batman & Robin was how calm and seamlessly it all seemed to come together. Schumacher seemed relaxed in interviews, the film ran pretty much on schedule (with the main bulk of filming completed two weeks early), and even replacing the actor in the leading role – Clooney taking over the Batsuit from Val Kilmer – caused little fuss. Warner Bros was, unsurprisingly, convinced it had a hit on its hands, and the merchandising and tie-in deals were firmly struck.
It’s worth remembering that 1997 saw the rise (before his recent fall) of Harry Knowles, and his website of rumors. Whilst the hype around his site always seemed a little disproportionate to its actual impact, it’s clear that Hollywood was rattled by the early reports he was posting that Batman & Robin was a poor movie. That didn’t stop the film, though, finding a big audience on its opening weekend, and that’s often forgotten. While down from the numbers of Batman Forever, Batman & Robin still grossed nearly $43 million in its first weekend. The problem was the film was, and still is, a stinker. Word of mouth and tough competition hammered its second weekend numbers, and the film slinked out of US cinemas in the end with a surprisingly low $107 million in the bank. Plans for a fifth film, Batman Triumphant, were soon put on hold. A further knock was that Joel Schumacher – who had been alternating Batman films with John Grisham adaptations for Warner Bros – didn’t go on to make The Runaway Jury.
Even before Batman & Robin had hit US cinemas, though, Steven Spielberg had brought his dinosaurs back. Spielberg has subsequently suggested that he didn’t enjoy making The Lost World: Jurassic Park quite as much, with his focus more on the two films he made immediately afterwards (Amistad and Saving Private Ryan). And the film certainly feels a little diluted compared to the first movie.
This time, it skewed further away from the Michael Crichton source novel, but effectively became – as every Jurassic movie until this year’s, Fallen Kingdom, has been – a retread of the first film. Albeit a retread with an epilogue that felt odd watching it, and still feels odd today. I still quite like The Lost World, though, and it’s got a couple of excellent sequences in it. I wrote about the movie in more detail here.
Reviews, though, reflected the fact that the film was a more watered down take on the original movie, and the box office tallied with that as well. “It’s tough to justify why these characters would decide to go back to that nightmare alley,” Spielberg mused in promotional interviews for the film. Still, the film garnered the-then biggest opening weekend of all time at the American box office, with $72.1 million smashing the record previously held by Batman Forever. Spielberg would opt not to return to direct 2001’s Jurassic World III, though, which would continue the series’ [then] box office decline.
Then there was Speed 2. The original Speed was the kind of sleeper hit that summer blockbuster seasons had a habit of occasionally throwing up. Headlined by Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, making a star out of the latter, it launched the directorial career of then-cinematographer Jan De Bont. It also proved to a huge, profitable hit, and Fox wanted a sequel.
It managed to get De Bont back (having made Twister in between), and Sandra Bullock signed up too. Keanu Reeves, though, wisely declined, and Jason Patric instead took the male lead role. Willem Dafoe agreed to be the villain, and someone came up with the idea of setting the whole thing on a fairly slow moving boat.
This was the other film of 97 that was hammered online before the film had made its way into cinemas. Eviscerated in reviews, the film was a hugely expensive misfire. Some reports put the cost as high as $150 million, at a point where that kind of budget had only been seen on Waterworld (although Titanic was around the corner). The film sank to less than $50 million in the US. Plans for Speed 3, which occasionally resurface, were duly shelved.
The predicted hits that stumbled
Outside of the headline grabbers, there was a bunch of other films that pretty much any studio in Hollywood would have greenlit in a flash. In fact, some of them did.
Warner Bros, for instance, was presented with a package of Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, director Ivan Reitman and an $85 million price tag to make Father’s Day. This was the era when a powerful agency, such as CAA, could put such a package together, and the studio – rather than actively developing the project itself – could as close as it get come to buying a blockbuster off the shelf. The problem was that Father’s Day really didn’t gel, and the exhaustively expensive comedy would limp off the screen, to less than half of its cost in the US. It remains a pretty forgotten film.
More too was expected of Conspiracy Theory, that also brought together two big movie stars. Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts were recruited to headline this one, with Patrick Stewart in one of his earliest major movie roles as the villain (he was, of course, a global star by this stage off the back of Star Trek: The Next Generation though). Lethal Weapon’s Richard Donner directed, and the premise seemed to mix a bit of Lethal Weapon with a bit of Taxi Driver. I’ve got a fair amount of time for the ambition and edge of Conspiracy Theory personally, although it doesn’t feel a rounded film at all to me. A tough sell too, as Warner Bros discovered. It was no flop, but the $75 million US gross was below expectations. Still, it’s a testament to the power of movie star power in '90s Hollywood.
Volcano, meanwhile, remains a fair amount of fun, but was hit by arriving months after that year’s other volcanic picture, Dante’s Peak. ‘The Coast Is Toast’ remains a masterclass in movie taglines, but it turned out that not as many moviegoers as Fox has hoped wanted to see a volcano erupt from underneath Los Angeles.
The Fifth Element was the other slight underperformer, but Luc Besson’s sci-fi extravaganza has very much lived on. Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich and Gary Oldman headlined the ultra-stylised production, that was divisive then and remains pretty divisive now. Box office was middling in the US, but tellingly – and presciently – the film became a sizeable hit courtesy of its non-US tally. A hint at how future blockbusters would be measured right there.
A few movie star and high profile pictures struggled too. John Grisham adaptation The Chamber, starring Gene Hackman, quickly sank. Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt’s coming together in the troubled The Devil’s Own landed a summer debut in the UK, but left cinemas quickly. And surprisingly, Disney’s hugely underappreciated Hercules only just broke through the $100 million barrier at the US box office. This was at the point where questions were being asked as to how could Disney compete with the output of Pixar. That, though, is a whole different article…
The films that broke through
It would, though, be remiss to say that 1997 was a disaster of a summer for big movies. It just proved to be a different one, where things that had worked in the past weren’t working as well as they had done before.
There were big breakout hits. Con Air, starring Nicolas Cage and the finest accent he ever committed to film, was an old-style action blockbuster, and a hugely successful one. Likewise, pairing Harrison Ford with Air Force One generated a very successful late summer hit, one that erased the box office doubts aimed at Ford after the aforementioned The Devil’s Own.
Then there was Contact. Whilst hardly a massively profitable film – it cost $90 million simply to make – Robert Zemeckis’ hugely ambitious screen adaptation of Carl Sagan’s novel was a nine figure success, and demonstrated that the cinemagoing public would buy into intelligent sci-fi if done well. It’s hard not to draw a parallel with Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar there.
Men In Black, meanwhile, caught Will Smith very much on the way up. He’d already topped the box office the previous year in Independence Day, but Men In Black was a full-on, name above the title blockbuster. It was also smart planning by Columbia, to position a high profile comedy in the midst of a fairly serious collection of summer movies. Men In Black remains light, but it cleaned up, and the franchise continues to this day, with film four set to start filming this summer.
A quick word too for My Best Friend’s Wedding, a very funny romcom starring Julia Roberts, that outgrossed by distance its competition in the genre, One Fine Day (Clooney again with Michelle Pfeiffer), Picture Perfect (Jennifer Aniston in one of her earliest movie headline roles), and Addicted To Love (Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick, although that’s a much darker film really).
The utter breakout that nobody saw coming, though, was a little film called The Full Monty. Already in the summer of 1997, we’d seen a big British success, as Rowan Atkinson took the title role in the film take on Bean. Much money was made. But The Full Monty, slipped into an early September release slot, would go on to become the biggest film of all time in the UK for a good week or two, before Titanic promptly took its record. It’s hard to overstate just what a phenomenon it became (the stage musical is still on tour too). Not bad for a low budget film with no major movie star attached.
What happened next
It’d be later in the year when what constituted a hit movie got turned upside down. James Cameron’s late, expensive and clearly doomed to failure (if you believed the notices leading up to its release) Titanic became the first film to gross $1 billion worldwide on its first run. It broke box office record after box office record, won 11 Oscars, made stars of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, and made Celine Dion a bit of change as well.
Also, though, it changed what Hollywood saw as an ‘event’ picture, noting the lesser reliance on star power on the poster. Look, for instance, at how Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor would go on to try and emulate – unsuccessfully – the Titanic formula. And look at how, in subsequent years, the effects would take over the trailers, rather than the big stars.
1997 was an odd year, then, for big blockbusters. One that to a degree affirmed star power, but also pointed – as Independence Day had done the year before – to a future without it.
And you know what? Starship Troopers is still great. Even if not enough people went to see it…
This week’s Mr. Skin Minute shows us its C3POh Face!
Sadly there are no space boobs in Solo, so instead check out co-star Emilia Clarke as the oft-nude Danaerys Targaeryan in Game of Thrones, where she bares boobs, butt, and her furry little Yoda. Nude on Blu-ray, Jennifer Lawrence does her best nude scenes to date in Red Sparrow, and nude on the Starz network, the new series Vida is a scorcher!
As always, this is but a taste of the great things that await you on MrSkin.com, so be sure to head over there today and start fast forwarding to the good parts!
The post Mr. Skin Minute: Emilia Clarke Will Make You Go Hand Solo (VIDEO) appeared first on WWTDD - What Would Tyler Durden Do?.
Gotham Season 5 will allow the show to wrap up its early Batman story.
Gotham Season 5 is happening!
TV Line broke the news that Gotham Season 5 was renewed as an "11th hour decision" for the network. Gotham Season 5 will mark the final batch of episodes for Fox's Batman prequel, and the idea is that this will be the year that will "wrap up" Bruce's early journey to becoming Batman.
The renewal is a little bit of a surprise considering that Gotham hasn't been at its most fabulous - in terms of ratings, at least - this season. The show has continued to see a steep decline in viewership this season, after a relatively strong season premiere. But its fans are loyal, and its streaming and international numbers might be strong. And there is something to be said for allowing the show to finish its run, too.
One thing is for sure, Jim will have his moustache this time. In an interview with comicbook, executive producer John Stephens noted that dedicated viewers “can expect full satisfaction on those counts,” adding that “Ben [McKenzie] is growing his facial hair as we speak.”
Gotham Season 5 Release Date
The show has always premiered in Fox's traditional late September release window, usually right around the autumnul equinox, but this year, because Fox has the NFL's Thursday Night Football taking up space, the show won't be around until midseason. Most likely, we won't see the Gotham Season 5 premiere until January 2019. We'll update this when we have official confirmation of a date, but it's officially a midseason show now.
Gotham Season 5 Villains
A Batman show is only as good as its villains, and Gotham Season 5 will bring plenty of new ones to the party.
“There are a whole bunch of characters I want to see that I feel the viewers at large aren’t fully aware of, like Scarface or Ventriloquist,” Gotham Executive Producer John Stephens told CBR. “There’s a great dark version of that character somewhere out there who I would like to see come out. Some characters we know we want to see are Mother and Orphan. We want to see Lady Shiva. We are going to see all those characters in Season 5.”
Gotham Season 5 Story
Obviously, there will be significant elements of No Man's Land involved in Gotham Season 5. But apparently there will also be elements of Zero Year in there, as well. We have more details on that right here.
We'll update this with more info on Gotham Season 5 as it becomes available!