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The Beatles
Credit: United Artists

Revisiting The Beatles'classic film, 'A Hard Day's Night,' at 50

Does the movie retain its freshness and vitality half a century later?

LOS ANGELES—I have a confession to make. Until Saturday night, I had never seen The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night.”  What? I know! I felt like this was a major black hole in my cultural education, especially as someone who makes her living writing about music.

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Chelsea Handler posts a photo of her reading papers from CBS

Chelsea Handler posts a photo of her reading papers with the CBS logo
What does it mean? "Business meeting," she wrote on the Instagram photo.

“Game of Thrones” sets a new piracy record with Episode 2
About 193,418 were sharing this week’s episode at the same time, with Australia responsible for the most illegal downloading.

Tracy Morgan is worried about Alec Baldwin
"He was concerned about the structure of my life, and now I’m concerned about the structure of his life,” he tells the NY Times. "He’s getting fired from TV shows. He had about six fights since we left “30 Rock,” you know. I’m worried about him. I mellowed out, my daughter mellowed me out, and I don’t get mad at anyone.”

Bill O’Reilly weighs in on Stephen Colbert’s promotion: Conservatives will be turned off
The Fox News host said last night he found it “hard to fathom that 40% of Americans who describe themselves as conservatives will watch Colbert.”

Ryan Murphy: “Glee’s” final season is "not New York-centric at all”
Murphy talked this morning about his plans for the final season. "The final season is its own story in its own location,” he says. "The final season is not New York-centric at all. It really is a lovely, fitting season that dwells on the original people on the show and what happens to them and how they give back.” PLUS: Next season will jump forward in time.

“2 Broke Girls” does well taking over “How I Met Your Mother’s” Monday timeslot
On the other hand, "Friends With Better Lives” fell on its 2nd airing.

The real Alex from “Orange is the New Black" speaks: "We did not have sex in prison"
Catherine Cleary Wolters, 51, who inspired the character Alex Vause says of “OITNB” author Piper Kerman: “We did not have sex in prison. Not even a little bit.” Kerman's response: "It should come as no surprise that we may have different points of view about the time we spent together."

Ice Cube walks back his Paul Walker’s MTV Movie Award complaint
He wrote on Twitter: "Re: The MTV Awards. I wasn't really mad we didn't win. So I would never diss the actors who won. Not even Paul Walker. Seriously people!"

Amy Schumer uses Josh Charles to spoof Aaron Sorkin and “The Newsroom"
Watch a sketch from tonight’s “Inside Amy Schumer” called “The Food Room,” mocking “The Newsroom,” starring the former Sorkin “Sports Night” star.

Lindsay Lohan proves she can still act on “2 Broke Girls”
Well, at least she proved to be serviceable as an actress on last night’s shoe.

“The Bachelorette” Andi's 1st promo crosses out Juan Pablo's name
“Juan” is replaced by “one.” — “She’s looking for the right one."

Titus Welliver weds
The “Lost” alum and “Bosch” star tied the knot over the weekend with Jose Stemkens, a fashion consultant.

“True Detective” meets “Family Circus”
A new Tumblr, "Time Is A Flat Circus,” takes quotes from the HBO series and puts them with panels from the famed comic strip.

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<p>Sometimes stinks on Monday&#39;s &quot;Friends with Better Lives&quot;</p>

Sometimes stinks on Monday's "Friends with Better Lives"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Dancing,' 'Voice' lead Monday, while viewers pass over CBS' 'Friends'

'Bones' dips a little on first Passover night

Fast National ratings for Monday, April 14, 2014.

Why was this Monday different from all other Mondays?

Actually, it wasn't. 

"Dancing with the Stars" kept ABC in its regular position as Monday's most watched network, while "The Voice" helped NBC maintain its supremacy among young viewers, as The Seder Effect [Not a real thing] had no particular impact on primetime ratings.

The first night of Passover saw "Dancing with the Stars" rise slightly and "The Voice" remain relatively flat, which was more a product of last week's NCAA Tournament Final competition than anything else. If you like, though, you can try to interpret the week-to-week drop for "Bones" as related to the Pesach observance. [Note: This probably is not the case.]

Monday's big notable was the premiere of CBS' slightly shuffled comedy lineup, which was predictably less impressive without "How I Met Your Mother," though "Friends With Better Lives" certainly wasn't an out-of-the-box failure, even though it was CBS' lowest-rated and least-watched comedy.

Meanwhile, over on The CW, "Star-Crossed" continued its recent erratic performance, falling behind "The Tomorrow People" for the night and, perhaps, in the race for a pity renewal.

On to the numbers...

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'GMA' officially welcomes Michael Strahan

“GMA” officially welcomes Michael Strahan
The “Live!” star got the red carpet treatment during this morning’s introduction as a contributor to “Good Morning America."

What if George R.R. Martin wrote “Mad Men”?
Check out a special comic starring “Lord Draper” and “The Impish Peggy."

Ice Cube: “Shame on you MTV” for picking Paul Walker
"We was robbed,” says the “Ride Along” star of the best onscreen duo category, claiming that Walker and Vin Diesel got the “sympathy” vote.

Attorney General Eric Holder sought advice from “The Daily Show’s” Lewis Black
Holder saw Black perform over the weekend, as he recalls: “He came backstage, which was nice, cause he said he enjoyed the show. And then he said that maybe when he was in front of Congress he could do his Lewis Black imitation and then did a good imitation of me.”

“Mad Men’s” season premiere had even more Manson murder connections
Megan dressing like Sharon Tate, the Folgers can, and Megan auditioning for a role on a TV show from the co-writer of “Valley of the Dolls,” which starred Sharon Tate. PLUS: See the actual L.A. sites used for filming Sunday’s premiere, how to get Don Draper’s side part, “Mad Men’s” music supervisor also works on “Scandal,” Jon Hamm gets emotional with Murray from “Sesame Street,” about the fashion of the season premiere, and “Mad Men” used a slowly draining large Scotch glass to promote the final season.

Rosie calls Lindsay Lohan’s OWN reality show a “tragedy”
A “tragedy,” she tweeted, “on every level — I hope one day she gets sober for real and watches these episodes - n sees what we all do.”

A “Game of Thrones” cruise is in the works
Crystal Cruises has put together a half-day tour that will visit key filming locations in Northern Ireland.

3 actors have been recast on “Game of Thrones” this season
There’s a new Daario, a new Mountain, but nobody’s talking about the new Prince Tommen. PLUS: King Joffrey was the Justin Bieber of his time, interactive Westeros map created using Google, movie and TV characters react to this week’s episode, and watch George R.R. Martin as a wedding planner.

Texas A&M houses much of George R.R. Martin’s writings
The author has sent just about everything he’s written to the university’s library archives.

“Jeopardy!” contestant was wearing the “Final Jeopardy!” answer — she got it wrong, anyway
Sandie Baker had peace symbol earrings, and that was the correct response.

MTV debuts “Faking It” on its app ahead of its TV debut
It’s the first time that a scripted MTV series has been released early.

Conan unveils his “American Hustle” hair
Watch Conan O’Brien’s comb-over.

“Dexter’s” Jennifer Carpenter developing “Death Class” TV drama
Based on the Erika Hayasaki book “The Death Class: A True Story About Life,” the proposed series revolves around a nurse/professor who teaches a class in preparing for death.

“Royal Pains”: Watch the 1st promo for Season 6
The USA series returns in June.

Watch the trailer for Tori Spelling’s “True Tori”
The Lifetime “docu-series” is the former “Beverly Hills 90210” star’s latest reality show.

“The Following” star saw her fate coming “a mile away”
Monday’s episode was reminiscent of the Season 1 finale.

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<p>Martin Freeman is the hapless salesman at the center of FX&#39;s &quot;Fargo&quot; limited series.</p>

Martin Freeman is the hapless salesman at the center of FX's "Fargo" limited series.

Credit: FX

Review: FX's 'Fargo' reinvents the Coen brothers movie

Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman and Allison Tolman star in a new story in the same universe

"I don't watch movies," declares Lorne Malvo, the slippery, malevolent figure at the center of FX's new "Fargo" series. (The first of 10 episodes debuts tonight at 10; I've seen the first four.) The line rings true to what we have learned about Malvo, a professional hitman and amateur troublemaker who takes pleasure in encouraging people's worst impulses to see what will happen. But it also functions as a sly acknowledgment of the large shadow "Fargo" the movie casts over "Fargo" the TV show.

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"The Real Housewives of Orange County"

"The Real Housewives of Orange County"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of Orange County': What do you think of Shannon?

The new addition to the cast is a complete bore thus far

Well, it wasn't much of a kick-off to season nine of "The Real Housewives of Orange County." Lydia, Gretchen and Alexis have all hit the bricks, leaving us with an uncomfortable trio of Tamra, Vicki and Heather. Usually we don't find the ladies jetting off for an adventure until much later in the season, but with only three returning Housewives in the mix, I'm sure some bonding seemed like a good thing. Unfortunately, what we learned is that Tamra and Vicki may be lunatics, but they're a similar brand of crazy. Heather is just too smart for the show and hasn't figured it out yet.

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<p>Ryan Gosling, Kristen Stewart and Channing Tatum all at one Cannes? Dare to dream.</p>

Ryan Gosling, Kristen Stewart and Channing Tatum all at one Cannes? Dare to dream.

13 films we most hope to see at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival

From 'Miss Julie' to 'Inherent Vice,' the films we want to see in Thursday's lineup

In the same way that the day of the Oscar nominations is a bit like Christmas morning for a certain sect of film lovers, so it is with the announcement of the Cannes Film Festival lineup -- which takes place on Thursday in Paris. Across the internet, you can find any number of comprehensive prediction pieces, as internationally inclined cinephiles attempt to guess (and second-guess) what Thierry Fremaux and his his team will select for this year's fest -- and, almost as crucially, in what section they'll elect to place it.

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<p>Billy Bob Thornton of &quot;Fargo&quot;</p>

Billy Bob Thornton of "Fargo"

Credit: FX

Interview: 'Fargo' star Billy Bob Thornton discusses going dark for FX

Has the 'Slingblade' Oscar winner considered writing and directing for TV?

On the Calgary set of FX's "Fargo" last month, most of the cast was there either shooting or dropping by on an off-day to chat with a group reporters. Billy Bob Thornton couldn't make it, but sent his regrets and expressed the desire to talk to all of the assembled scribes pre-premiere. That's the sort of thing you hear a lot in-the-moment, but doesn't normally come to pass. Things slip through the cracks and nobody's really to blame. People get busy.

Billy Bob Thornton followed through. 

After a series of crossed wires and adjusted schedules, the Oscar-winning "Slingblade" scribe checked in last Sunday morning, delayed only because he got caught-up watching early baseball, which immediately gives us something in common.

"You can imagine what I think about your team," Thornton drawls. He's famously a Cardinals fan. I'm not-especially-famously a Red Sox fan.

"You guys just creamed us twice," Thornton admits, referring to a pair of Boston World Series wins. "But I respect the Red Sox organization. Really good organization."

Thornton could talk baseball all day. The game he's been watching doesn't even feature the Cardinals. It's a low-scoring early-season game between the Tigers and Orioles and even though Thornton knows former Tigers skipper Jim Leyland, that's his only rooting interest. He just enjoys the game.

Thornton also just likes FX's "Fargo." His enthusiasm was evident at the Television Critics Association press tour in January and three months later his love affair with the small screen continues. Thornton has been very frank about the current state of the film industry, especially when it comes to the understated, personal projects he's attracted to as a writer and director. The "Fargo" experience, his first prolonged TV work since "Hearts Afire" back-in-the-day, has opened his eyes to the potential of both cable work and the currently trendy "limited series" model. 

He also has one of his juiciest parts in years playing Lorne Malvo, a mysterious and sadistic stranger whose arrival in Bemidji, Minnesota sets in motion a 10-episode whirlwind of murder and chaos that are thematically and tonally inspired by the Coen Brothers' "Fargo," if only sometimes linked to the movie. Malvo is equal parts terrifying and hilarious and Thornton is having a ball playing that balance.

Once we stopped talking baseball, Thornton told me about playing Malvo as a force-of-nature, the pleasures of working in TV and whether he's now inspired to target the medium for future projects.

Click through for the full Q&A in advance of Tuesday's (April 2) "Fargo" premiere...

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Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt
Credit: AP Photo

Brad Pitt and 'Animal Kingdom' director David Michod join forces on 'The Operators'

Pitt will produce and star in the military biopic

I'm still getting used to the fact that Brad Pitt is now an Oscar-winning producer -- one wonders whether, like Michael Douglas before him, the acting award will come later, Either way, the man's no slouch in the off-screen department: aside from "12 Years a Slave," the man's production credits range from "The Departed" to "Kick-Ass" to "The Tree of Life" to the (likely Cannes-bound) HBO feature "The Normal Heart." And now "The Operators," to which Pitt is also attached to star as US military general Stanley McChrystal.

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"Dancing with the Stars"

"Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

'Dancing with the Stars' recap: It's Disney night!

One couple gets cut, and you won't believe who it is

Did you know the Osmonds were discovered by Walt Disney? No? Well, that's part of the explanation for why Donny Osmond is guest judging tonight's episode of "Dancing with the Stars." Oh, and he was Captain Shang in "Mulan." And he was Gaston in "Beauty and the Beast." Look, I don't think we need to justify Donny showing up. He won "Dancing with the Stars," remember? He's going to be a better guest judge than a lot of these random stars who just like watching the show. So let's get to it!

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<p>Ben Affleck&#39;s starting to realize that he might, in fact, be completely screwed in David Fincher&#39;s adaptation of the best-selling novel &#39;Gone Girl&#39;</p>

Ben Affleck's starting to realize that he might, in fact, be completely screwed in David Fincher's adaptation of the best-selling novel 'Gone Girl'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Ben Affleck looks great in the first moody trailer for Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

Looks like Fincher's taking on the news media in this one

There's a cover version of "She" that Elvis Costello recorded for "Notting Hill" that positively floors me every time I hear it. I think Costello has one of the great male signing voices of the last 40 years, and that song is positively perfect for him, full of longing and regret and that particular blend of joy and pain that distinguishes the best love stories. It's not a song he wrote, though. It was first recorded by Charles Aznavour in the '70s, and he did versions in several different languages.

I've always wanted to use the Costello version in a particular film. I've had it in my head since I wrote a scene in a script at least a decade ago, and since then, I've hoped that no one would use it, that it would pretty much completely fade away. And now David Fincher's gone and ruined that for me, and even worse, I can't be mad about it because he did it so damn well.

Richard Butler, the lead singer of the Psychedelic Furs, is the performer of the version that's in the "Gone Girl" trailer, and while I don't think his version is remotely as effective, it's perfect for the trailer, and the rushed, almost off-key vocals capture some of the weird, off-center anxiety that is so obviously part of Fincher's adaptation of the massive best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn.

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<p>If they could make him look exactly like this, it might make a &#39;Blade Runner 2&#39; interesting, but short of it, aren&#39;t we asking the filmmakers to ruin the first film&#39;s ambiguity?</p>

If they could make him look exactly like this, it might make a 'Blade Runner 2' interesting, but short of it, aren't we asking the filmmakers to ruin the first film's ambiguity?

Credit: Warner Bros

Harrison Ford discusses 'Blade Runner 2' during rowdy Reddit AMA

Plus he shuts down some geeky questions in his own delightfully grumpy manner

Oh, Harrison.

While Harrison Ford is one of the few guys working right now who I could indisputably call "iconic," I find myself ambivalent about his persona when he's giving interviews. I've had some good chats with him, and some that were more difficult, and it completely seems to be up to his mood at the moment we sit down.

The same can be said about his appearances on talk shows. He's done it well at times, and there are other interviews where it looks like he wants to crawl out of his skin, and for an actor, he seems to have no interest in disguising his feelings at all. He seems perfectly happy to snarl at someone if he thinks they ask him something stupid or obvious, which makes it extra-surprising that he was willing to do a Reddit AMA to help promote the new documentary series "Years Of Living Dangerously."

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