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A review of tonight's "Cougar Town" coming up just as soon as I have both formal and informal overalls...
I don't do a REMAKE THIS! column every week, although with the rate at which Hollywood churns through old material right now, I'm sure I could.
Instead, I try to reserve them for moments where they either stumble across the exact right piece of material or those moments where they make a decision that is so baffling it's worth closer examination.
For example, the other night, I was working in my office and I decided to put on the Burt Reynolds movie "Heat." I did this for a few reasons. First, it's been in my Netflix Instant queue for about three months, one of many movies I added in one of those late-night moments of "Hey, I recognize that and remember absolutely nothing about it even though I'm sure I've seen it." That probably accounts for about 1/3 of what's in that queue at the moment. But "Heat" in particular was on my mind because of the recent news that Brian DePalma is planning to remake it with Jason Statham playing the lead and William Goldman once again adapting his own novel.
Remember that sweet, blue-eyed girl in "Mama Mia" and "Dear John"? Amanda Seyfried shows a very different side of her character in "Gone" (opening Fri. Feb. 24). As Jill, a young woman who may or may not have made up a tale of her own abduction by a serial killer, Seyfried plays a tough cookie who knows how to use a gun and isn't afraid to pull the trigger. When her sister Molly is apparently abducted, and possibly by the same bad guy whom the cops have already dismissed as fictional, it's up to Jill to save the day -- if, in fact, Molly has really been abducted. Twisty, huh?
Are Taylor Swift and Zac Efron the new She & Him? Check out this adorable clip of the two on “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” as they play their own version of Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks.”
Efron and Swift both voiced characters in the animated feature, “The Lorax," so they’re out and about making the promotional rounds. They have a comfortable ease around each other and their voices sound really good together. The guitar lesson part is adorable.
[More after the jump...]
At the end of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All's music video for brand new "Rella," Tyler, the Creator mouths the phrase "What the f*ck?" That is a proper response to the whole rest of the music video.
Jizz jokes, humans turning into cats, a hot Asian girl, porn, furries, male-on-female violence, drug-taking voyeurism and a centaur are among the amenities of this clip, seemingly made for and by the Internet. (Perhaps its no coincidence that a OFWGKTA side project is named The Internet.)
The lyrics are about as juvenile -- Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis and Tyler, the Creator all have their boasts of b*tches and "dicks," carving girls up, rhyming "MC Lyte" with "dykes," all the stuff that purposefully agitates the LGBT and feminist groups already miffed at these guys. It's like Nicki Minaj pissing off the Catholic church by performing a piece with the specific aim of pissing off the Catholic church.
I got a truly lovely e-mail from a reader recently, in response to the "To Kill A Mockingbird" piece I posted last week, and one thing it did was remind me that one of the best columns I ever started only to tank later was "One Thing I Love Today," a minimalist's version of The Morning Read. And, yes, as someone pointed out on my James Bond article this morning, I have a terrific track record of starting things I never finish. My problem isn't that I'm lazy… it's the opposite. I try to do too many things, and that ends up biting me in the ass more often than not. So I've been thinking about how to handle The Morning Read, which many of you have requested, and which won't be coming back.
I've got to confess that as much as I liked The Morning Read, it wasn't a traffic generator, and to do it well, it takes more time than the readership ever justified. It sent a lot of traffic out, but it didn't always result in a lot of traffic for us. And while it may sound craven to talk about traffic and page views and the like, I work in a digital media where readership is quantified, absolutely.
Can't wait for the inevitable "Austin Powers 4"? Oscar's latest attempt at humor -- starring Mike Myers and Kevin Kline -- may be enough to tide you over. Fair warning: Only die hard Myers fans need apply.
In a move that appears to be intended to make the Oscars look a bit more "fun," the Academy has enlisted the help of Myers and Funny or Die to create this "Oscar Etiquette" video, as seen on the Oscar site. It's an amusing premise that, for some reason, runs for nearly five insufferable minutes.
Oscar winner Kline is accused of mishandling his "A Fish Called Wanda" trophy (richly deserved, by the way), and only the stuffy British aristocrat Sir Cecil Worthington (guess who) can help re-educate the actor in the art of holding and storing the prized award. Sporting a bad comb over, fake teeth, and dressed like a refugee from "Masterpiece Theater," Myers resurrects his shop-worn schtick, seen in everything from "Saturday Night Live" to "Inglourious Basterds," as he schools a bewildered Kline in Oscar etiquette using convoluted mnemonic devices, Snickers bars and flat jokes. It may be the closest Myers ever gets to an Oscar.
What do you think of the video? The Oscars air this Sunday, February 26 on ABC at 7 ET/4 PT.
What do you give a man who’s celebrating his 50th anniversary of making music this year? How about an Oscar?
That would suit Sergio Mendes just fine. The legendary Brazilian composer/performer is nominated for his first Oscar with “Real in Rio,” from the animated feature “Rio.” Mendes co-wrote the music with Carlinhos Brown and Siedah Garrett (best known for co-writing Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”) wrote the lyrics.
“Real in Rio” is up against “Man Or Muppet” from “The Muppets” for original song. The two were the only tunes that passed the rigorous scrutiny of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’s music branch.
Read Kris Tapley's prediction on who will take home the Oscar here.
Mendes was “immediately fascinated” by the story of the two macaws (voiced by Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg) who go through quite the adventure after being captured by bird smugglers. Mendes wanted the song, which appears in the beginning and the end of the movie, to make people think about “Rio waking up in the morning. It’s a melody that starts very simply. You think about Rio, the greenery, the oceans, the mountains,” he says. “I wanted it to go through the movie and in the end of the movie, that music should really explode.”
The lilting rhythms and beats are a bright as the dancing birds themselves. Recorded in Los Angeles, the song features 20 drummers, who were recorded live in a drum circle.
Unbelievably, “Real in Rio” is the first tune Mendes has ever written for a film and he loved the collaborative effort. “Writing for a movie is such team work,” the 71-year old says. He credits John Powell, who scored the movie, as the “glue that held everything together.”
Mendes, who lives in Los Angeles, found out about his nomination from the movie’s director, Carlos Saldanha, who also directed the three “Ice Age” films). Saldanha called him at 6 a.m. “He said to me, ‘Get your tux ready because you’re nominated’,” Mendes recalls. “This is the biggest honor one can have.”
While there are plenty of people excised about only two songs receiving nominations for original song, Mendes says he wasn’t aware of the stringent new criteria put in place a few years ago until after he got nominated.
And even though his temperament seems as easy going as his music, he will allow that “it would have been nice” to play the song on the Feb. 26 telecast. Neither of the two nominated tunes will be performed. “Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen,” he says. “It would have been a great opportunity. It’s a song we’ve been performing in our shows. We get a tremendous reaction.”
But even the exclusion can’t get him flustered. “Who am I to judge? Everyone has their own priority. I’m sure the people on the television part have their own concerns. Why make a big thing out of it? Let’s enjoy our lives.”
It’s a big month for Mendes: on Feb. 10, he performed “The Fool On The Hill” in front of the song’s co-author, Paul McCartney, at The Recording Academy’s annual MusiCares dinner. Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 took the song to No. 6 on the Billboard pop charts in 1968.
“I’d never played in front of him before,” Mendes says. “It was wonderful, a magical evening...I recorded that song in 1968 and we’re in 2012 and I’ve played that song everywhere in the world. It’s one song that I never took out of the repertoire.” That and, of course, Mendes’ signature song “Mas Que Nada” (written by Jorge Ben), which also appears in “Rio” in a new version.
For Mendes, introducing the music of his native Brazil to people around the world, whether it’s in film or in concert, never gets old...even after 50 years. This year, he’ll play in Asia and Europe, as well as in Brazil. “That’s where I was born, those are my roots. It’s something that I love,” he says. “It’s wonderful to hear people in different countries singing your songs.
Follow Melinda Newman on Twitter @HitFixMelinda
In the final heated build-up to Oscar night, the tendency is to look at all of the ways the Academy has failed us or is bound to fail us. We do last-minute championing of underdog films and performances or perform a final public, or private, snub lament (not to worry, some of that is forthcoming).
I thought it might be nice, however, to take a look back at some of the moments where the fates have aligned to provide a win we can really appreciate. I spent some time yesterday afternoon looking over the Academy Award winners of the past 20-odd years, and there were some notable pleasures in the mix. Whether they were upsets or favored, whether I recall watching the moment live or have since come to appreciate the significance, they inspire that rare sense of visceral gratification.
(The Oscar Guide will be your chaperone through the Academy's 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 26, with the Best Picture finale on Saturday, February 25.)
So, 39 songs were qualified for eligibility in this year's Best Original Song race. 39. That's one short of 40. But apparently 37 of them just weren't good enough for the music branch, as the category turned up two -- yes, two -- nominees. One of them, at least to my mind, is dubious at best, while the other would at least appear to be in a cakewalk for the win (judging by consensus).
Is it not just patently obvious that the music branch can't be bothered with this category anymore? Just get rid of it if that's the case. I happen to like the category (many would like to see it die a quick death), but seeing something like this go down, after countless screw-ups in better fields over the last few years, it's just painful to watch.
The nominees are…
"Community" finally has a new home on NBC's schedule... and it's the old home. NBC just announced that the comedy will be returning on Thursday, March 15, at 8 p.m. — the exact timeslot it was exiled from earlier this season as part of NBC's mid-season shuffle.
That's the good news. The slightly bad news — but only very slightly — is that something's gotta give on NBC's Thursday schedule to make room for this, and for the moment, that something is "Parks and Recreation," which will take a 5-week break after its 18th episode of the season airs, returning on April 19 so that its final four episodes of the season can air after "The Office." ("Up All Night" will have finished its season by then.)