Oscar can be a softie. The Academy Awards has a long track record of rewarding deserving actors and directors after years of neglect. (See: Scorsese, Martin; Newman, Paul.) As it normally goes, a storyline often emerges during Oscar season that a nominee is due, that it’s his or her time, that the Academy can redeem itself with a single stroke. Normally, I hate this. (Giving Al Pacino a trophy for Scent of a Woman doesn’t make up for not giving him one for The Godfather or Serpico.) But this year, I believe that sentimental favorite should be Meryl Streep. And I’m totally okay with it. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Contrarian Corner (11-20 of 22)
The opening credits sequence of Dec. 9’s Young Adult is suffused with ’90s nostalgia. Charlize Theron plays a writer of a young-adult literary franchise that sounds quite a bit like Sweet Valley High. She finds a mix tape created for her by her high school boyfriend — and is there anything that more precisely defines everything we are supposed to love about the pre-digital era than The Mix Tape? Because she apparently lives in a bizarro universe, Theron’s car still has a tape deck. So she puts in the mix tape and starts singing along to Teenage Fanclub’s “The Concept,” which I’m sure is a song beloved by anyone who was precisely 17 in October 1991. While the credits roll, the camera fetishistically zooms into the cassette, the tape going round and round and round. It feels a little bit like we’re being set up for an extended trip down memory lane to Nostalgia Town, with a brief stopover in Twee Village and a hearty lunch at the Gosh-Wasn’t-Generation-X-Secretly-AWESOME Café. But as the credits continue, Theron continues rewinding the tape to the beginning, and listening to “The Concept,” and rewinding and listening, rewinding and listening. It’s no longer a nostalgic vision; it’s a vision of nostalgia steadily approaching madness.
Now, nostalgia isn’t a bad thing. Oh wait, actually, strike that: Nostalgia is a horrible thing. READ FULL STORY
Should I duck now? I should probably duck (tie) now. I’m sure you’re all preparing to hurl plenty of slaps my way. But still, PopWatchers, I can’t deny these horrible feelings I’m feeling. After seven seasons of wishing, hoping, and praying that Barney and Robin would get together once and for all on How I Met Your Mother, I’ve had to admit to myself: Robin just simply does not belong with Barney.
I feel this not only as someone who has handed out (and received) plenty of romantic advice in my life, but also as a TV watcher. Admit it: Part of you cheered when the couple broke up after they experimented as a couple in season 5. As boyfriend and girlfriend, Barney and Robin simply didn’t spark on screen. READ FULL STORY
Last week, your college roommate called you out of the blue. You hadn’t spoken to him in, let’s say, 12 years. It was great to hear from him; you ended up chatting about old times for a good two hours before you finally hung up the phone. It was a delight. The next day, he called back. It was still nice to talk again about that time you did that thing in the quad, etc, etc. You thanked him for calling and promised to catch up next time he was in town. The next day, your college roommate was in town. He called you at the office and insisted you meet for drinks. Turns out he looks the same — though his voice has changed a little bit. At the end of the night, he said you’ll have to get together again soon — next time with the wives. Sure, you said, sounds like fun. The next day, your college roommate and his wife knocked at your front door just before dinner: “Surprise!”
This is how I kind of feel about The Muppets. READ FULL STORY
Despite the snarky blogosphere’s best efforts, I just can’t be convinced to dislike Adam Sandler, and I’m not sorry about it. Sure, his last few movies — including Jack and Jill, which debuted last weekend — have been almost unspeakably terrible, but I just simply can’t help but respect the man.
Maybe this is because, as a box office junkie, I tend to judge actors based on their drawing power, rather than their craft. Looking at the numbers, it’s impossible not to think Sandler is brilliant.
The man has headlined twelve $100+ million comedies in the last 13 years, and he’s produced a number of other successful comedies like Zookeeper and Paul Blart: Mall Cop through his own Happy Madison production company. Basically, he makes whatever movie he wants — and rakes in heaps of cash doing just that, regardless of quality. READ FULL STORY
There’s a general feeling among cable TV fans that television needs to be dark in order to be taken seriously. And I get that. Most of my all-time favorite shows are about meth dealers and undertakers and stylishly dressed alcoholics. So there’s something pretty brave about a show that’s not cynical or sarcastic or defeatist, one that’s not set on a street corner in Baltimore or inside Al Qaeda’s torture barracks, and still manages to be absolutely heartbreaking. HBO’s Enlightened is the most genuinely moving TV show that’s debuted this fall. And none of the characters get cancer.
How I Met Your Mother has always been a little bit like the Lost of sitcoms: It’s a great show with a rabid fan base that picks up on every little clue along the way, hoping everything will piece together when we finally see the big picture at the end. But perhaps, in this seventh season, the show is a becoming a little too much like the dearly departed ABC series. Because I’m finding myself echoing a frustration many felt during Lost‘s run: It seems HIMYM isn’t sure which direction to head in. This season, the series seems, for the lack of a better word, a bit lost. (And Ted’s kids are really just in heaven and the yellow umbrella will matter about as much as the goat, in that it won’t matter at all.)
That being said, let’s be clear: I am still hopelessly devoted to HIMYM and will continue to love it until the very end. I just wanted to sit it down in Contrarian Corner, have a chat, and let them think about what they’ve done for a while. This is purely out of love! It’s for your own good, HIMYM.
First things first, the season got off to a great start with the Victoria curve ball… until fans quickly realized that while she may be part of the big picture, she’s definitely not the mother. READ FULL STORY
Last week, I wrote a review of Terrence Malick’s latest star-studded art film, The Tree of Life. I didn’t like it. Actually, I kind of hated it. And for my sins, some ew.com commenters tarred me “a philistine”, “a dips—,” and “dense”. Which I’m totally fine with, by the way (he said, reaching for the Kleenex). Seriously, I knew when I wrote my review that I was in the minority on the film — its 84 percent Rotten Tomatoes positive rating proved that much. Still, watching Malick’s admitedly easy-on-the-eyes epic felt like the Emperor’s New Clothes to me. In the end, for me at least, its ravishing, museum-quality images added up to a big fat goose egg. Maybe you agree with me. Maybe you think I’m a dips—, too. Either way, let’s air this sucker out in the judgement-free confines of this week’s installment of the Contrarian Corner.
Let me start off by saying that I have nothing personally against Terrence Malick. READ FULL STORY
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