CANNES — Sometimes, the pre-festival buzz has it right. Nuri Bilge Ceylan's 196-minute conversational epic "Winter Sleep" entered the 2014 Cannes Film Festival as the sight-unseen frontrunner for the Palme d'Or, thanks to its heftiness of form and the Turkish auteur's perceived overdue status — any director with two Grand Prix wins and a Best Director prize behind him is bound to win the Palme at some point.
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Fast National ratings for Friday, May 23, 2014.
The first Friday of the summer featured a tie among young viewers and nearly a three-way tie overall. The few notables included a tiny overall bump for the "Hannibal" finale, an OK premiere for ABC's "What Would You Do?" and "Blue Bloods" attracting the night's biggest audience
On the negative side, whatever small audience The CW miniseries "Labyrinth" had in its first part dwindled in its second and FOX's encores continued to barely even get a sampling on Fridays.
NOTE: It was a slow Friday and all Fridays will likely to continue to be slow until September. As a result, I won't be doing Friday Fast Nationals through the summer, which has been by general policy over the years. If anything notable airs on a Friday, I can always check in. Normally I would have stopped after last Friday, but I wanted to make sure I finished out the "Hannibal" season.
On to the numbers...
If you think that Christopher seems awfully grown up in the "Petals on the Wind," the sequel to the recent adaptation of V.C. Andrews' "Flowers in the Attic," you're not wrong. To cut the unwieldy book down to size, "Petals" (which premieres Mon. May 26 at 9:00 p.m. ET) tosses out the highly creepy storyline in which Cathy has an affair with the much older Dr. Paul and leaps forward ten years. The role of Christopher, which was played by Mason Dye in "Flowers," now features relative newcomer Wyatt Nash. I spoke to Nash briefly this week and found that he not only has those Dollanganger looks everyone gushes about in the books and movies, but he's taking this acting thing seriously -- not every thespian would have the commitment to find a meaningful and sympathetic take on a storyline that makes most people go ew.
CANNES - The sun is out, the films have screened, the rosé has almost run dry, and every conversation on the Croisette seems to begin with, "So, what's winning the Palme d'Or?" And the answer that almost inevitably follows is, "Oh, I don't know." Opinion varies this year as to whether it's been a very high-level Competition or a respectably disappointing one -- but either way, the upshot is that it's the most seemingly competitive one in several years, with a handful of well-received films on the awards shuffle-board.
[Prelude: This was a nutty, chaotic week and I really wasn't able to get on top of my seven "Amazing Race: All-Stars" and "Survivor: Cagayan" exit interviews. Apologies for the slowness, but it means a little extra content over the holiday weekend and whatnot. Starting tonight, I'll post my four "Survivor: Cagayan" exit interviews, one per day (give or take) starting with the season's fourth place finisher. Then I'll get to the three "Amazing Race: All-Stars" exit interviews, by which time you'll hopefully have forgotten how awful the finale was. Again, though, sorry for the delay.]
My first two "Survivor: Cagayan" finale exit interviews could hardly be more different.
Up first is Spencer Bledsoe, who made a disadvantageous alliance at the beginning with Garrett, an alliance that nearly led to his snuffing from the notoriously weak Brains tribe. Spencer came close to being in a power position after the Merge, but Kass' abrupt flip-flop had him scurrying for several weeks. Only a string of Immunity wins, aggressive scrambling and Tony's paranoia kept him from going home, but a tight Immunity loss to Kass at Final 4 ended his run.
In some cases finishing fourth is a disappointment, but given Spencer's early position, such a long run was so impressive that he earned a vocal apology and a sealed letter of apology from "Survivor" host Jeff Probst, who underestimated him initially.
Reflecting on his experience, super-fan Spencer is humble, introspective and self-deprecating, which runs counter to the Spencer we met at the start of the season. He's quick to point out his strategic flaws and fast to credit the season's winner, Tony, who he says he would have voted for over himself, had he somehow been both on the Jury and in the Final 2.
The next exit interview, posting tomorrow, is with Kass. Her hindsight perspective is a bit different.
Click through for my Q&A with Spencer, who candidly handicaps his Jury prospects had he made the Final 2 and explains the speech he made in Tony's favor at Final Tribal...
A review of the "Hannibal" season 2 finale coming up just as soon as I move your punctuation mark...
Meet the new “Game of Thrones” characters for Season 5
A casting list for next season has been revealed. PLUS: The costume designers reveal their secrets, here are “Tyrion’s Angels,” and George R.R. Martin has remained loyal to LiveJournal.
Fox finally releases its “Red Band Society” trailer
The children’s hospital drama starring Octavia Spencer is from Steven Spielberg.
Ellen now backing “Britain’s Got Talent” stars
Can Ellen DeGeneres make American TV stars out of two British boys, ages 13 and 15, who impressed as a rap duo on UK TV?
ABC’s “The Whispers” cast is being uprooted from L.A. to Vancouver
The alien drama shot its pilot in Los Angeles, and its cast expected to film there. Now cast members will have to move to Canada to take advantage of tax breaks.
Michael C. Hall on the “Dexter” finale: "I don’t think I even watched it”
“I thought it was narratively satisfying—but it was not so savory,” he says of the final episode, adding: “I think the show had lost a certain amount of torque.”
“Mad Men” has been excellent heading into its Season 7A finale
The 7th season, so far, "has done some of its best work so far by leaning on its own weighty past,” says Genevieve Valentine. PLUS: John Slattery says "Nudity alone is easy,” the 15 best recurring characters, what inspired “Amy from Delaware"? watch before they were on “Mad Men,” and why “Mad Men” fans want Megan Draper dead.
Maksim: I definitely want to be a “Dancing with the Stars” judge
Maksim Chmerkovskiy says he’s willing to return in a judging capacity. PLUS: "My goal was always to win and walk away, but I never won, so I could never walk away,” says Maksim.
Michael Jace’s in-laws start a campaign to help his kids
“The Shield” alum’s in-laws are also trying to raise $20,000 to help pay for Jace’s wife’s funeral.
Pete Holmes thanks "Consies O’Breezies,” says this is not the end
Holmes addressed his TBS show cancelation in a Facebook post, writing: "I feel like we've been given a calling card, a body of work that survives past this show being on the air. I feel a little silly, like Braveheart or something, screaming, 'THIS IS NOT THE END!' But it's not. We are going out to see where our style fits and makes the most sense and in what way. I feel like we lost our bowl, but we're still some pretty f*cking delicious soup.” PLUS: Why Holmes was refreshing for late-night.
What does “WWE Smackdown” sound like with unedited crowd noise
A pre-production broadcast of tonight’s episode has leaked online, complete with announcer flubs and the unsweetened crowd noise.
On Hulu, low-rated network shows are considered hits
“Parks and Recreation,” for instance, was the No. 1 show on Hulu in April.
“Boy Meets World” fans may be devastated by “Girl Meets World”
The spinoff is exactly like every other current Disney Channel sitcom.
“Star-Crossed” creator reveals what would’ve happened if the show wasn’t canceled
Season 2 would’ve opened three months later.
HGTV has canceled “Design Star”
Vern Yip says he’s “disappointed" the design competition won’t be back after seven seasons.
Woman ordered to spend 1 year in prison for going on “Dr. Phil”
Mandi Jackson was on probation for check forgery and was forbidden from leaving Rapid City, Iowa.
VH1’s “Hit the Floor” is spinning off a web series
“Inside the Arena” will feature the stars of “Hit the Floor” in character as they discuss the storylines that are unfolding on the TV series.
In defense of the ladies of “The Big Bang Theory”
So what if they aren’t representative of real women?
Sarah Silverman finally comments on “Masters of Sex” boyfriend Michael Sheen
Silverman addressed her relationship on “The View”: "Look, this is so awkward. Listen, I love his body, but I also love what's on the inside."
Tina Fey’s college photo is not far off from “30 Rock's" young Liz Lemon
Check out Fey with short poofy hair.
“World Wars” uses 2 actors, young and old, for Hitler, FDR, Churchill
The six-hour History channel event, premiering Memorial Day, tracks the world leaders, also including Mussolini, Patton and FDR, from WWI to WWII.
“The Simpsons” inspires an economics book
"Homer Economicus: The Simpsons and Economics” is the successor to “The Simpsons and Philosophy,” "The Psychology of the Simpsons” and "The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets.”
Why have viewers been averse to NBC’s “Hannibal”?
Is it because the show goes all-in in portraying Hannibal as a villain?
Why “Silicon Valley’s” T.J. Miller was at a D.C. murder scene this week
Turns out he was doing a police ride-along as research for a role.
Check out Lena Dunham’s “Girls” stunt double
"Any time I need to crash a car of fly off a bike, this bad bitch appears,” Dunham wrote on her Instagram.
Disney Channel casts “Descendants”
Here’s who’s playing the Evil Queen, the Fairy Godmother, Jafar and Cruella.
Why “Idol” runner-up Jenna Asciutto was known as “Jena Irene”
Producers kept getting her name wrong, and the new one stuck.
See a preview of “Ray Donovan” Season 2
The Showtime series returns July 13.
What it’s like to compete on “American Ninja Warrior”
The NBC series returns on Monday.
Amazon unveils its 1st kid's show, a stop-motion animated series called “Tumble Life”
The show follows a blue fox named Fig and his animal friends.
Animal Planet drenches Shannen Doherty in blood this weekend
"Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys” premieres Sunday, co-starring Doherty and Christopher Lloyd.
All-star cast helps “The Normal Heart” rise above Ryan Murphy’s many directorial flaws
If you do watch the film,” says Maureen Ryan, "just be aware that every few minutes you may wish that someone -- anyone -- other than Murphy had directed it. Murphy is a self-indulgent director and not particularly rigorous or disciplined. He serves his own muse, not necessarily the needs of the material, and though it's a classic, Kramer's play is also unwieldy and outright clumsy at time. To say that the collision between the material and the director is often awkward and ungainly is putting it mildly.” PLUS: Murphy gets in the way of his powerful story, a heavy sense of obligation runs through Murphy’s direction, the film will rock you to your emotional roots, it will drive any viewer with a heart to tears, Julia Roberts is miscast but essential for the film’s making, the film retains Larry Kramer’s furious soul, and Matt Bomer talks about dropping 30 pounds and being considered too beautiful for the role.
CANNES - Tomorrow evening -- a day earlier than usual -- Jane Campion's jury will present their awards for the best of this year's Competition, culminating in this year's Palme d'Or winner. We'll be handicapping those awards later, but first, the festival is already fully in the prizegiving mood, as the Un Certain Regard, Critics' Week, Directors' Fortnight, FIPRESCI and Ecumenical juries have all presented their own awards.
Sick kids in a pediatric ward are almost guaranteed to be charming, heartwarming and occasionally break your heart with very little effort, and that seems to be the goal of the Steven Spielberg-produced "Red Band Society," which will debut on FOX this fall. Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer stars as a cranky nurse who probably has a marshmallow center we haven't seen yet, or at least haven't seen in this trailer for the show.
Austin Mahone is one of those acts that if you’re over 21 and/or male, it’s easy to completely have him off your radar, but as his video for “All I Ever Need” shows, there are thousands upon thousands of fans who love having the 18-year old in their lives.
That is one short and succinct announcement.
"Marvel and Edgar Wright jointly announced today that the studio and director have parted ways on ANT-MAN due to differences in their vision of the film."
Marvel, might I suggest that this was not your best move ever?
Honestly, if Edgar Wright and his co-writer Joe Cornish had not stayed dedicated to the idea of making an "Ant-Man" movie in the first place, I doubt this would be a film that would have been tapped as a major cornerstone in Phase Three, which kicks in after Marvel's release of next year's "Avengers: Age of Ultron." As far back as I can remember Edgar talking about the movie, it's always been something that he and Joe kicked around as a crazy sort of left-field idea. Marvel took some serious convincing, and they've been more than happy to leave the development on a time-table that had nothing to do with marketing. They even put it off so Edgar could finish the Cornetto trilogy with "The World's End" first because there were personal reasons for wanting to finish that film in a timely manner.
As we unofficially kick off summer with Memorial Day Weekend, it’s time to think about what the unofficial song of the summer will be.