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Author: Hillary Busis (1-10 of 1281)

'Faking It': Are you on board with MTV's faux lesbians?

What does it take for a gimmick-based show to rise above its gimmick?

The same things it takes for any series to succeed, I suppose: writing that avoids cliche, strong plotting, assured performances from actors playing fully formed characters. Still, a show like Faking It — one that’s designed around a purposefully shocking premise (“pretend lesbians!!!”) — might necessarily find it more difficult to grow past its pilot than, say, a show that’s about six pals just hanging out, or one that focuses on the minutiae of office life.

That said: There’s definite potential in Faking It, which takes the basic DNA of Awkward. (girl’s social status changes after everyone starts believing a lie about her) and gives it an even edgier twist. READ FULL STORY

'Parks and Rec': Paul Schneider, a.k.a. Mark Brendanawicz, has no plans to return to Pawnee

Bad news, Mark Fan-danawiczes: Even though this Pawneean lives in Indiana’s greatest town, the chances of him paying another visit to the Parks department are slim to none.

Scratching your head right about now? Here’s a refresher: Way back when Parks and Recreation first premiered, Leslie Knope’s number one crush was hunky city planner Mark, played by indie film actor Paul Schneider. Mark was basically the Hoosier State’s answer to The Office‘s Jim Halpert — wry, boyish, bored to death by his job but forced by sitcom laws to spend all his free time with his co-workers. He never exactly jelled with the rest of the show’s cast, especially after Parks morphed from an Office clone into its own sweetly optimistic thing in season 2 — and, at the end of the series’ first full year, Mark and Schneider both left Parks for good. READ FULL STORY

Gillian Flynn's Reddit AMA: Author calls reports of 'Gone Girl' movie changes 'greatly exaggerated'

At ease, Gone Girl purists: According to author Gillian Flynn, there’s no need to fear David Fincher’s upcoming adaptation.

In EW’s Gone Girl cover story — published this past January — Fincher made waves by implying that Flynn’s bestselling story of a (very) twisted marriage had been dramatically altered during its journey from page to screen. What’s more, Flynn herself was the one doing the butchery. “Ben [Affleck] was so shocked by it,” Fincher said, describing how his star responded to Flynn’s Gone Girl screenplay. “He would say, ‘This is a whole new third act! She literally threw that third act out and started from scratch.’”

Perhaps, however, we shouldn’t have taken those words so literally. During a Reddit AMA posted Tuesday afternoon, a participant mentioned that his girlfriend was a big fan of Flynn’s novel — then added that she “was disappointed to hear that you were changing the movie up a little when compared to the book.” Here’s Flynn’s response in full:

READ FULL STORY

HBO's 'Silicon Valley': Fake company from the show has a great fake website

Silicon-Valley.jpg

Are you watching Silicon Valley, HBO’s pitch-perfect sendup of the tech world? (Well, pitch perfect besides its near total lack of female characters. Wait, what’s that you say? This is what Silicon Valley is actually like? Never mind!)

If you are, you’ll be pleased to note that Pied Piper — the fledgling startup at the center of the series — just got its own spiffy website. Hell, even if you don’t already watch the show, give this page a whirl; if incredible strings of technological gobbledygook (“Pied Piper is a multi-platform technology based on a proprietary universal compression algorithm that has consistently fielded high Weisman Scores™ that are not merely competitive, but approach the theoretical limit of lossless compression”) can’t convince you to check it out, nothing will.

Scroll around, and you’ll find awkward shots of the show’s cast, an “About Us” section that details fun facts about each of Pied Piper’s main players, and more than a few lines of text that prove just how much care was put into PiedPiper.com. (Wait, which real-life irrigation company did HBO have to pay off to get the rights to that domain name?) A brief sampling:

READ FULL STORY

Tony Hale stars in incredibly depressing 'Where's Waldo' update

Oh there’s Waldo! And, wouldn’t you know it, he looks a lot like a sad-sack Tony Hale character.

That’s because the Veep star is playing the stripe-clad sneak in a new photo essay published Monday in The Occasional, the Funny or Die offshoot that began as a humor magazine app and has morphed into a McSweeney’s-esque website. And needless to say, “Where’s Waldo Today?” with Tony Hale doesn’t exactly paint a rosy future for Martin Handford’s famous creation. READ FULL STORY

Chris Pratt is an ace French braider, does not know how to spell 'braid' -- PHOTO

Eh, you win some, you lose some.

The following photo pictures actress Anna Faris — or at least, the back of Anna Faris’ head — sporting a flawless, Elsa-esque French braid. And according to the caption — written by none other than Parks and Rec star Chris Pratt, also known as Faris’ husband — the complicated hairdo was his own handiwork. Which is maybe slightly less impressive than Pratt plaiting his own hair, but still plenty impressive all the same.

Not quite as impressive: The (clearly joking) hashtags that follow Pratt’s brag about his “glorious french braid.” A sampler: “#ManBraid #RealMenBraid #isItBrade? #SpellingQuestion.” Followed, naturally, by these: “#WhyIsItFrench??? #ICallItAFreedomBraid #GoUsa.”

And suddenly, we begin to understand why Andy Dwyer is the way he is. READ FULL STORY

Who's the biggest monster on 'Scandal': Rowan or Cyrus?

Talk about a clash of the chatty titans.

Scandal isn’t short on unsavory characters. In this universe, torture set against a bouncy Motown tune is de rigueur; each episode features at least two or three or nine betrayals. At this point in the show’s run, practically everyone but baby Teddy Grant has killed somebody, either directly or indirectly. Still, there’s no denying that the show’s two most ruthless, dastardly, outright evil characters are White House Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene and CIA bigwig Rowan Pope.

Thursday night’s season finale confirmed that neither of these men is to be trifled with, unless you want to be blown up and/or stuck with a rare strain of meningitis on live television. But which is actually the least redeemable presence on Scandal? For that, we’ll have to consider each villain’s history in a series of categories. READ FULL STORY

The 20 Best Summer Blockbusters of All Time: 'The Sixth Sense'

In the post-Lady in the Water era, it’s tough to remember how bonkers people once went for The Sixth Sense. But a mere millennium ago, M. Night Shyamalan’s atmospheric thriller was the toast of audiences and critics alike — a box office smash, a cultural touchstone, a freakin’ Best Picture nominee. Not only at the MTV Movie Awards, but also at the Oscars!

How did a simple, potentially gimmicky ghost story capture our hearts and minds so fully? Easy: because despite the shadow hindsight casts upon it, The Sixth Sense is a great movie. Its brief 107-minute run time means not a scene is wasted; its creepy visuals are arresting and inventive; its performances are perfectly calibrated, from Bruce Willis’s tortured psychologist to Mischa Barton’s unearthly shade. (Though really, Night — did you need to name Haley Joel Osment’s character Cole Sear? Even in his early days, the guy couldn’t help himself.)

And most importantly, The Sixth Sense‘s game-changing twist manages to be both surprising and inevitable — making a viewer who doesn’t see it coming feel in awe of the film’s craft, not like the victim of a cheap trick. Even if you do anticipate the whole ghost thing, you can still admire the subtlety of Shyamalan’s work. The movie has layers, people — and I mean that sincerely. Let’s peel them back for the latest installment of EW’s Best Summer Blockbusters countdown.

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'Game of Thrones': The 9 most satisfying deaths

The Red God of Death is no stranger to Westeros. Or Essos, for that matter.

When we talk about the Game of Thrones characters who have shuffled off (or, more accurately, been shoved off) this mortal coil, we tend to focus on the show’s most shocking demises – which often strike GoT‘s most noble, likable characters. (Think of the Red Wedding, or Ned’s brutal decapitation, or even the end of Qhorin Halfhand, which admittedly has more oomph in A Clash of Kings than it did on the show.) But those gut-punching sequences are only one piece of the puzzle. As anyone who’s watched “The Lion and the Rose” can attest, Thrones also excels in meting out justice to despicable folks in spectacular ways.

So on the occasion of The Big Thing That Happened Sunday, let’s take a look back at the Thrones deaths most likely to have viewers pumping their fists — instead of clutching their faces in sorrow. READ FULL STORY

Sunday TV showdown: What will you watch?

A Dramacalypse is upon us.

Mad Men. Game of Thrones. The Good WifeOnce Upon a TimeCalifornication, if you’re into that kind of thing. They’re all airing new episodes this Sunday — and so are comedies like Veep and Silicon Valley. And reality staples like The Amazing Race. And the MTV Movie Awards. All this, plus a new hour of NBC’s Believe — what’s a couch potato to do? READ FULL STORY

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