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'Saturday Night Live' best host poll: Blake Shelton brings 'Hee-Haw' to New York

Blake Shelton brought his guitar and country twang to Saturday Night Live, and from the moment he sat down on a hay-bale during the opening monlogue, he instilled the show with an easygoing sensibility. In contrast to most music or TV stars, Shelton played himself with an ease and comfort that’s impossible to fake—almost like some of the athletes that host. That might have put a ceiling on what he could do, but he seemed right at home with the cast in his SNL debut.

His Hee-Haw parody was a clever self-deprecating tone-setter, and his hate-filled ballad on Topeka Today was full of chuckles—especially when paired with Kate McKinnon’s old-timey photos. He may have mishandled a few punchlines on Celebrity Family Feud, but overall, he profited from the gift of modest expectations. READ FULL STORY

'Grim Fandango' creator Tim Schafer talks his magnum opus -- a classic game lost for 16 years


Grim Fandango is the stuff of video game legend. One of the last great titles from the golden age of adventure games—a genre that emphasized storytelling and puzzle solving over action—Grim was hailed as one of the category’s very best upon its 1998 release.

Unfortunately, a series of unfortunate events soon coincided to force the game out of print. Adventure games became a niche genre, so Grim was never reprinted in the US, and all sequel plans were nixed. Two years later, Grim‘s director, Tim Schafer, would leave LucasArts, the studio where he made Grim Fandango and other classic adventure games like Day of the Tentacle and Full Throttle, to form his own shop, Double Fine Productions. The rights to Grim, of course, stayed with LucasArts—and then seemed lost forever when Disney bought all things Lucas and shuttered the storied developer for good.

Then, a surprise announcement was made during Sony’s E3 press conference last summer: Tim Schafer and Double Fine were bringing back Grim Fandango. READ FULL STORY

'Full House' cast members reunite, serenade creator with theme song

Whatever happened to predictability? Well, seems to have been replaced with spontaneity—thankfully.

The Full House cast recently reunited to celebrate the birthday of the show’s creator, Jeff Franklin. There were reunion photos, a missing pair of twins, and a serenade—to make it a birthday Franklin would never forget, Bob Saget, John Stamos, Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin, Lori Loughlin, and Andrea Barber took the stage to sing Franklin the Full House theme song.


Official 'Madden' Super Bowl simulation predicts narrow 4th-quarter victory for Patriots

Every year, the folks at EA Sports take the latest version of Madden NFL and play through a simulated version of the Super Bowl to predict a winner. No one knows who actually plays these games, but they usually turn out to be pretty accurate—as The Huffington Post pointed out in 2014, Madden has gotten it right eight out of 10 times. (It would prove to be very wrong when it came to that year’s Seahawks-Broncos game, but so were most people—who could’ve predicted that game’s 43-8 blowout by the Seattle Seahawks?)


Nominated For Nothing: 'Obvious Child'


Just about every year, brilliant movies are utterly ignored by the Oscars. The Searchers, Groundhog Day, Breathless, King Kong, Casino Royale, Touch of Evil, Caddyshack, Mean Streets, The Big Lebowski, Blackfish — the Academy has a long history of overlooking comedies, action movies, horror flicks, hard-boiled genre pics, artsy foreign films, and documentaries that aren’t about World War II. Before the ceremony, we’ll be taking a closer look at films that were too small, too weird, or perhaps simply too awesome for the Academy Awards. These are the Non-Nominees.

The film: The feature-length debut for director Gillian Robespierre, based on her 2009 short film of the same name, Obvious Child follows struggling twentysomething comedian Donna (Jenny Slate) living in the flannel-and-irony-drenched Williamsburg. After getting “dumped up with” and having a bona fide breakdown, Donna drunkenly hooks up with the clean-shaven, so-not-her-type Max (Jake Lacy). Fast forward a few weeks, and she finds out—whoops—she’s pregnant. She decides to have an abortion—and follows through with her decision. And (spoiler!), instead of it ruining her life, everything turns out kind of all right. READ FULL STORY

The 63rd Miss Universe: 10 out of this world moments

The universe has declared its new queen: On Sunday night, hosts Thomas Roberts and Natalie Morales crowned Paulina Vega of Colombia as the newest Miss Universe winner. Her powers include smiling for over three hours, not glaring at Rob Dyrdek when he asks her a terrible question, and turning dresses completely sheer when they’re hit with spotlight (but that translucent silver gown was a beauty!).

Miss Colombia beat out 87 other professional dancers, students, and fourth-degree Tae Kwan Do black-belts to rightfully claim her crown and keys to a Trump Tower apartment in the 63rd Annual Miss Universe Pageant. And after a year of philanthropic work and glamorous trips, she’ll come right back here to casually promote Sherri Hill dresses and Chi hair care products before commercial breaks.

The Miss Universe Pageant makes no qualms about it: This is a chance to watch 88 of the most beautiful women in the world strut their stuff, and strut beautifully they did in what was a pretty seamless show, give or take an awkward transition. Choosing 10 Top Moments from the night’s broadcast on NBC was tough, but I tried to evaluate each moment on its smile, personality, and matching fuchsia sateen bikini, and these came out on top:


SAG Awards 2015: We live-blogged it

The SAG Awards annually serve as a predictor of Oscar success: Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Lupita Nyong’o, and Jared Leto all won SAG Awards last year and went on to win Oscars just weeks later. This year’s ceremony aired Sunday evening, giving movie fans plenty of excitement—plus a good idea of who might win big at the upcoming Academy Awards.

But the winners list isn’t the only memorable part of the SAG Awards: This year’s show was full of noteworthy—sometimes funny, sometimes sentimental—moments, including Reese Witherspoon’s graceful reaction to a technical glitch and Viola Davis’ emotional, empowering acceptance speech. Check out the live-blog below for more on the night’s best parts, and see here for the complete list of winners.

Inside EW's Screen Actors Guild Awards party

This weekend’s awards season festivities got a jump start Saturday night at Entertainment Weekly’s Screen Actors Guild Awards Party. Film and television stars gathered at the Chateau Marmont, just off bustling Sunset Boulevard, to celebrate this year’s nominees.


'The Lego Movie,' 'Birdman' nab Producers Guild of America Awards

The Lego Movie might have been overlooked by the Academy Awards, but it didn’t get the same treatment from the Producers Guild of America: The film won the award for best animated feature at Saturday’s Producers Guild of America Awards.

The PGA Awards annually honor achievements in film, television, and digital production. Other winners include the Oscar-nominated Birdman and Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. See the full list below:

Five directors who can help Johnny Depp recover from 'Mortdecai'

The saddest part of Mortdecai‘s abysmal debut this weekend was how expected it seemed to be. Johnny Depp’s latest starring vehicle, in which he plays a daffy British bon-vivant jetting around the world to find a stolen masterpiece, aimed to be a kind of Pink Panther-esque caper—but American audiences stayed away in droves, and the critics unloaded. “In the end, we must lay the badness of Mortdecai at the feet of its star,” wrote New York‘s David Edelstein. “I envy Depp’s capacity for self-amusement, but it’s a pity he’s so rich and enbubbled that no one dares say to say to him, ‘Er, Johnny… this is, er, really very bad.'”

Mortdecai is expected to barely crack $4 million this weekend, making it Depp’s worst wide debut since 1999’s The Astronaut’s Wife. But most everyone saw this debacle coming: the comedy opened in less than 2,700 theaters—indicating a startling amount of indifference from the exhibitors towards a major Hollywood superstar—and many of the nation’s leading film critics couldn’t be bothered to review it. (Those who did chime in pilloried the film with a 12 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.) Though Depp currently has a hit in theaters, with a supporting role as the Wolf in Into the Woods, Mortdecai is his fifth consecutive stinker as the film’s star, following in the wake of Transcendence, The Lone Ranger, Dark Shadows, and The Rum Diary.

His last real blockbuster was the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film, On Stranger Tides, cashing in again as Capt. Jack Sparrow. Recall that Depp spent the bulk of his 30s thrashing against Hollywood’s square-peg efforts to make him the billon-dollar star he looked like on the poster, and that it eventually happened only after his cockeyed portrayal of Sparrow.

Capt. Jack is a delightfully ironic gag that pleased him to no end. But Depp used the success of the Pirates franchise as an endorsement of a tic—the “aria of weirdness” that requires him to hide behind characters rather than disappear into them. Since Capt. Jack gave him carte blanche, there’s been Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, Dark Shadows, The Lone Ranger, Transcendence, Into the Woods, and now, Mortdecai. Some of these characters were pretty fabulous concoctions, but together, they mask something else: For an actor who can literally make any movie he chooses, Depp has fallen into the type of creative rut that would’ve made 1995 Johnny Depp roll his eyes. READ FULL STORY

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