In case you hadn't heard, Hollywood would like everyone to forget the summer of 2014 ever happened. Sure, there were some notable exceptions such as "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Lucy," "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and "22 Jump Street," but for the most part it was a summer of disappointment.
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VENICE — The title treatment for Ramin Bahrani's Venice Competition entry consists of blood red letters on black. Filling the entire screen with blocky all-caps letters and numbers dozens of feet high, we read: 99 HOMES. It looks more like the title treatment for a horror than a drama digging into a moral morass of foreclosure, subsistence level employment, and better paid but more spiritually costly work. As it turns out, it is also a horror movie of sorts. The first shot of the film itself is even a post-mortem scene, as Michael Shannon's predatory realtor Rick Carver -- and how's that for a horror movie name? -- gazes almost impassively at blood dribbling down tacky pink bathroom tiles.
[As you probably already know, starting on Thursday, August 21, FXX is running the Every Simpsons Ever Marathon, running through all 552 episodes of "The Simpsons," plus "The Simpsons Movie." To aid in your viewing process, Team HitFix is selecting our favorite episodes from each day, plus an episode or two that you can skip and use as a bathroom or nap break.]
Day 9 of FXX's Every Simpsons Ever Marathon takes us from "Simpson Christmas Stories" (mid-Season 17) through "Funeral for a Fiend" (mid-Season 19). It's a bit truncated in terms of half-hour episodes, because from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. FXX is airing "The Simpsons Movie."
Fortunately, we've got some episodes to recommend and Sepinwall wanted to salute the movie, so you can still dedicate quality time to the Marathon.
And there are some good ones we didn't get to. I love the poetry humor and author cameos in the poorly titled "Moe'N'A Lisa." And I know lots of fans love "24 Minutes," but nobody in our dwindling group of fans wanted to salute it. Feel free to watch, though!
Check out our recommendations for Day 9 and chime in with your own favorites...
It's another "Big Brother" Thursday. Follow along for the normal live-blogging fun leading up to eviction.
9:01 p.m. "Tonight, your alliance is in jeopardy," Julie Chen tells us as the episode begins. That seems unfair. The hamsters in the House aren't required to still be in an alliance in the first week. Why do I have to stick with Team America?
9:03 p.m. When we left off, Cody was talking about making a big move, but then not making one, Victoria's head was swelling to the size of a watermelon and causing her to pass out and Donny was better than Team America didn't make "Saving Donny" into their mission for the week. Good times. Donny and Nicole are sitting on the Block.
Jimmy Kimmel proved that a real “Friends” reunion would look stupid
Kimmel's viral sketch reuniting the female cast "established once and for all how stupid this reunion would be by demonstrating how stupid this reunion would be,” says Verne Gay. "The characters are older (much older), and those who played them are stars in their own right, with their own bodies of shows and movies -- most of all, the lead female characters. They've moved on, and so should fans.”
Joan Rivers was reportedly put in a medically induced coma
The NY Daily News reports doctors plan to take Rivers out of the coma this weekend to determine how much damage was caused when she went into cardiac and respiratory arrest during a routine doctor’s visit. UPDATE: Melissa Rivers says her mom is “resting comfortably."
Explaining David Chase’s “Sopranos” revelation that wasn’t a revelation
“The Sopranos” creator appeared to confirm the ending to Vox, but that isn’t the same as actually confirming the ending. PLUS: Chase wanted to leave fans in limbo.
Ed Helms to visit “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
He’ll play a USPS inspector.
"The Leftovers" should learn a lesson in subtlety from “Rectify”
One show was subtle in the way it built up to a transfixing two hours, the other was unsure of what it wants to do or who its characters are.
When The New York Times writes about Brooklyn, it often mentions “Girls”
The HBO series has become a defining cultural benchmark of modern Brooklyn, name-dropped in articles about landlords, bar reviews and political intrigue.
“Dating Naked” couple weds
The VH1 reality show has produced its first married couple.
Examining the state of black cast members on “SNL”
Sure, “Saturday Night Live” has three black cast members. But, says Wesley Morris, Maya Rudolph’s "dynamism and sense of showbiz hasn’t been replaced, either. And it’s left a bitterness in the culture that you felt in last year’s complaints about there being no black women on the show. You felt it in the writer Leslie Jones’s shocking 'Weekend Update' editorial in which she speculatively raged about her sexual undesirability as a big, black woman. It was both a moment of comedy and cultural expurgation. Her rant was as much about her as it was about the working conditions of her employer." PLUS: Graphing “SNL” ratings, “SNL’s” most essential/inessential musical guests, how Nasim Pedrad auditioned and left “SNL,” Sasheer Zamata gives advice from a grown woman, and examining “SNL” movies.
Remembering Phil Hartman, “The Glue” on “SNL”
With a biography on Hartman due out next month, it’s hard to explain why he was one of “SNL’s” most important cast members. Part of it, says Bryan Curtis, was "the unusual nature of Hartman’s talent. Hartman was so good at playing smarmy, air-quoting, golden-voiced sharpies — '20 percent droid,' said the writer Robert Smigel — that it’s difficult to catalogue all the comic notes he left behind in the universe.” PLUS: Remembering Hartman’s “Simpsons” characters, including Troy McClure.
“Ground Floor” returns Dec. 9 in a new timeslot
The Bill Lawrence-produced TBS comedy will air Tuesdays at 10.
ABC’s updates its mysterious “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” billboard
The billboard in L.A. now features Agent Coulson and the show’s new timeslot.
CBS reveals details of its season premieres
Read descriptions of the new fall episodes.
Oprah Winfrey Network launching a YouTube series
Celebrity guests will be interviewed on “Who Am I."
Emmys snubbed “Sharknado”!
Here’s a belated “For Your Consideration” video.
Amy Sedaris on future “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert: “He has this whole bag of tricks people haven’t even seen yet”
"This guy can do anything,” she says of her “Strangers with Candy” pal, "and his reference level is so high. It’s going to be from talking to politicians to talking to reality TV stars, but he’ll be able to do it. It’s gonna be a good show.”
With retirement looming, Letterman is great again
Dave seems refreshed since announcing his retirement in April, says Mike Ryan. "Here’s a guy just enjoying his last few months on the job – with a renewed sense of purpose after vanquishing his rival, Leno.” PLUS: Paul Shaffer: “I’m not retiring, as many people have assumed."
“Southern Charm” star’s U.S. Senate bid is accompanied by reality TV cameras
Thomas Ravenel, who’s attempting to unseat longtime U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, has a sign outside his campaign events warning: "You are being photographed . . . Please do not enter this area if you do not wish to appear.”
Watch “Grey’s Anatomy” star attempt and fail to explain medical terms
It’s a bonus feature of the 10th season DVD box set.
Whit Stillman’s Amazon pilot “The Cosmopolitan” is as good as his movies
The Paris-based pilot is retro-Stillman that is the spiritual heir to “Barcelona.” PLUS: Stillman explains how his pilot was cut in half.
New Dan Harmon “Harmontown” trailer revisits the Chevy Chase voicemail
It also features Harmon's “Community” stars.
“Bachelor in Paradise” star: We did not have a threesome
Says Jesse Kovacs: "The whole threesome thing, that didn’t happen.”
Kevin Spacey to take a “House of Cards” break for a 1-night-only concert performance
He’ll sing Billy Joel and Simon & Garfunkel songs at a Washington benefit to raise money for his foundation.
Allison Janney says of her 2 Emmy wins this year: “Television is a woman’s medium”
“I am proud to work in TV,” she says.
Naked extras on “Looking" get paid much more
While clothed non-union extras can earn $85.92 for eight hours, nude extras can earn $250 over the same period.
Will Forte’s beard has become bushier
The “SNL” alum has been growing his beard for Fox’s “Last Man on Earth."
“Glee” vet Nolan Funk joins “Arrow”
He’ll play Felicity hacker ex-boyfriend from when she was at MIT.
NBC buys naked amnesiac drama “Blindspot” from Greg Berlanti
The FBI thriller focuses on a naked amnesiac discovered in Times Square with his name tattooed on his back.
Ranking Kevin Arnold’s “Wonder Years” romantic flings
Winnie Cooper is No. 5!
Corbin Bernsen is headed to “Scorpion”
The “Psych” star will play a Vegas casino owner.
Even though ratings were only tepid after its first resurrection by CBS, "Jericho" has won HitFix's first Uncanceled Showdown as the series fans would most like to see get a second (or, in this case, third) chance on air.
After three weeks of voting, which saw over 900,000 votes cast, "Jericho" had no trouble conquering "Almost Human" in the final round and claiming our crown.
James Mercer and Danger Mouse (a.k.a. Brian Burton), collectively known at Broken Bells, definitely believe that we are not alone.
In the video for “Control,” the two perform before footage of space travel, crop circles, images of the earth from space, UFOs, and other signs that there is life out there far beyond our own life on Earth.
The combination of real news footage and the footage of the same pink orb that has appeared in every video for tunes from “After The Disco” creates the a cool, interplanetary vibe that fits the spacey “Control” perfectly as Mercer sings about not being in control.
The duo resumes its current tour Sept. 26. The video is below the tour dates.
09/26/14 - New York, NY - Rumsey Playfield
09/27/14 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory
09/28/14 - Richmond, VA - The National
09/29/14 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
10/01/14 - Athens, GA - Georgia Theatre
10/02/14 - Birmingham, AL - Iron City
10/04/14 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Music Festival
10/05/14 - San Antonio, TX - The Aztec Theater
10/07/14 - Dallas, TX - South Side Ballroom
10/08/14 - Tulsa, OK - Brady Theater
10/11/14 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Music Festival
10/24-25/14 – Los Angeles, CA - Orpheum Theatre
10/24-26/14 – Las Vegas, NV - Life Is Beautiful Festival
10/28/14 - San Francisco, CA - The Masonic Auditorium
Allison Tolman goes from "Fargo" to "The Mindy Project"
Fresh off an Emmy nomination, Tolman will guest on two episodes as a romance novelist who dates Adam Pally.
FXX will fill its post-“Simpsons” marathon schedule with even more “Simpsons"
On Mondays and Fridays, “The Simpsons” will be shown from 6 pm to midnight. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8 pm to midnight. And on Sundays, from 4 to 8 pm.
HBO to air a Banksy documentary
The crowd-sourced documentary "Banksy Does New York” debuts Nov. 17.
In a summer that brought “Weird Al” Yankovic, Tom Petty and Wiz Khalifa all their first No. 1 records, the rest of the news has been all bad for album sales.
For the weekend ending Aug. 24, album sales totaled 3.97 million, marking the first time the weekly tally has dropped below 4 million in the 23-year Nielsen SoundScan era, according to Billboard. The same week a year ago, album sales were 4.88 million. There have only been five weeks this year where total album sales surpassed 5 million copies (and I imagine we’ll see it happen again when Taylor Swift’s album comes out in October and possibly when Garth Brooks releases his album around Black Friday).
The culprit is streaming, which many fans do for free on ad-supported outlets, or they pay a low monthly fee, such as $10 to services like Beats Music and Spotify. Digital sales, once considered the savior of the industry, have not proved to be the lifeline many thought they would be.
For the year, album sales in the U.S. are down across the board: physical sales are down 14.6 percent, digital album sales down 11.8 percent, and track-album-equivalent sales are down 12.8 percent.
Billboard analysts reveal that the bottom for the preceding year is usually the next year’s top, so it’s likely that next year, weekly album sales will surpass 4 million a handful of times, but for the majority of the time, they will come in at under 3.9 million and continue to drop.
“The Good Wife” recruits “Frasier’s" David Hyde Pierce for his TV role in more than a decade
Pierce will recur this season as a cable news legal commentator.
“Ray Donovan’s” creator is out
Ann Biderman is stepping down from her duties as showrunner for Season 3.
Tracy Morgan’s lawyer: "He's really having a tough time”
Morgan has been having trouble walking, forcing him to rely on a wheelchair, says his attorney, Benedict P. Morelli, who adds that it may be months before he can fully walk again.
GSN is casting for an “App Wars” reality show
The proposed show would have a team of programmers bring your app idea to life.
Patton Oswalt will play the mayor of Vince Gilligan’s “Battle Creek”
Oswalt will guest on the CBS series as Mayor Scooter Hardy.
Bill Maher pours gasoline over his head
Take the “Douse Yourself in Gasoline Challenge.”
It’s official: Bill Geddie is out at “The View," replaced by Rachel Maddow’s producer
Bill Wolff, whom Maddow bid farewell to recently will take over as “The View’s” new boss.
President Obama will attend an MSNBC host’s wedding
MSNBC’s Alex Wagner is marrying Obama’s personal chef, Sam Kass.
Here are your Labor Day TV marathons
From "Animal Fight Night “ to "Top Gear."
Jon Stewart talks about his “Daily Show” future and Stephen Colbert’s move to CBS
"I think there's been a beautiful arc to (‘The Colbert Report,’” he says. "But it was time” for Colbert to move on, he says. As for his own future, Stewart tells The Hollywood Reporter: "Uh, yeah. I mean, like anything else, you do it long enough, you will take it for granted, or there will be aspects of it that are grinding. I can't say that following the news cycle as closely as we do and trying to convert that into something either joyful or important to us doesn't have its fraught moments. But there will come a point where I'm sure …” He then trailed off. PLUS: Watch Stewart's “Rosewater" movie trailer.
Introducing the new “Amazing Race” stars
Here are pics of the Season 25 cast.
Britt Robertson is coming back to “Under the Dome”
She’ll reprise her role after dying in the season premiere.