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Tag: Lists-o-rama! (51-60 of 72)

Fuse's 'Top 20 Divas': Where's Cher, Whitney, and everyone else?

I love a diva. So when I saw that Fuse was doing a special titled Top 20 Divas earlier this evening at 6 p.m., I immediately set my DVR to record. Truly, I had no idea what I was getting into: Would this be a video countdown with commentary? A VH1-style special that features talking heads—and sometimes the divas themselves—discussing what makes these Top 20 divas so damned special? A mix of the two?

Well, come to find out, it was just literally 20 videos from divas. But, honestly, it was one of the weirdest countdowns I’ve ever seen. To start with, let’s take a look at the show’s Top 20:

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It's time to start thinking about the movie of the decade: Your fave films of the 'aughts'?

Dark-knight_l You have five more months to think about it, but ESPN's Bill Simmons has already crowned the Movie of the Decade. In a recent podcast with the sports network's Chris Connelly (scroll to 43:42 of the 7/15 episode), the two pop-culture vultures debated the "defining Great movie of the decade," based on Simmons' criteria: (1) Excellence when it came out; (2) Rewatchability; (3) Originality. Connelly proposed the corollary that the "defining" film must be loved, not simply admired. (Goodfellas and The Shawshank Redemption were deemed two exemplary examples from the 1990s).

Connelly chose the Coen's O Brother, Where Art Thou, and Simmons nominated Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous before settling on The Dark Knight. All solid choices. In fact, I have to agree with Simmons about Christopher Nolan's Gotham masterpiece. But I can't stop at just one. Here are my fab-five from the "aughts" that entranced me in the theater, with the classic scene that continues to thrill, tickle or tear me up every time it appears on television.

5. The 40 Year-Old Virgin  – Steve Carell's field-trip to Planned Parenthood.
4. Almost Famous – Any scene with Philip Seymour Hoffman's so-not-cool-he's-cool Lester Bangs
3. Cast Away – Tom Hanks' painful reunion with Helen Hunt.
2. Michael Clayton – The moment you learn why the GPS in George Clooney's car isn't working.
1. The Dark Knight – Heath Ledger's police station interrogation with Gary Oldman and Christian Bale.

Your turn, PopWatchers: What's your film of the decade and what favorite scene will interrupt whatever you're doing and suck you in for the rest of the movie?

Rotten Tomatoes' Best Reviewed Movies of All Time: You won't believe what's No. 1

15829__hard_lRanked lists of pop cultural phenomena are an exercise fraught with peril — nobody knows that better than we here at EW do, as it is half of our job. But Rotten Tomatoes boldly, bravely compiled the "50 Best Reviewed Movies of All Time" anyway. And, well, come to think of it, it’s not all that brave, since they can’t really take the blame for the way things turned out — it’s simply a mathematical averaging of the critical responses to the ranked films. Maybe that’s exactly why it’s so oddly fascinating — you can’t really argue with it as much as you can conscientiously object.

For starters: No Casablanca? (That might fall under the caveat that also prevented Jaws from making the cut — no film with fewer than 20 reviews qualified.)  Risky Business better than All the Presidents’ Men? (Maybe an apples and oranges situation, but still.) A Hard Day’s Night (pictured) better than The Wizard of Oz? Better, in fact, than any other movie ever? (Spoiler Alert!: Yes, the Beatles’ rock-and-roll romp is No. 1.)

The latter two bring up the inherent problem in such a ranking: Critics usually grade on a curve. And they should — you simply can’t judge, say, Hannah Montana The Movie the same way you’d judge The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Thus, reviews might be kinda positive for Hannah – as in: hey, this wasn’t nearly as painful as we’d expected! — while critics could spend time picking apart the nuances of pacing, writing, and acting in Button if it didn’t live up to inflated expectations. And voila! Suddenly A Hard Day’s Night far outranks the beloved Citizen Kane. Though that last one gave me a little jolt of pleasure — I’ve never totally gotten what all the fuss is about over Kane, though maybe that’s because I knew the whole sled thing before I saw it. Maybe critics did, too?

What do you think, PopWatchers? Which rankings surprise you? What movies have critics wildly misjudged — or overpraised — over the years? Is A Hard Day’s Night really the greatest movie ever?

addCredit(“The Everett Collection”)

Adam Sandler is Hollywood's most valuable comedian? That's funny

Adam Sandler is Hollywood’s "most valuable comedian," according to a new list by Forbes. The list is derived from the results of a fall 2008 survey in which Forbes asked hundreds of entertainment professionals to rate the "financial metrics" of major actors and actresses. And it contains mostly every funny guy you’d expect:

1. Adam Sandler
2. Will Ferrell
3. Ben Stiller
4. Jim Carrey
5. Vince Vaughn
6. Steve Carell
7. Eddie Murphy
8. Sacha Baron Cohen
9. Jack Black
10. Robin Williams

But the list does offer a few oddities, too. First, where are all the women comedians? It’s not that they don’t exist — just last week, EW shined a spotlight on the 25 funniest actresses. I’m especially partial to Jane Lynch, whose supporting roles — in, for example, The 40-Year-Old Virgin or Best in Show — manage to stay in your memory long after you’ve forgotten about her bigger costars.

Second, what in the world are Eddie Murphy and Robin Williams doing here? True, they”ll probably always be liked by the general public — at least in a nostalgic manner — no matter how many debacles they appear in. But Murphy’s last movie, Meet Dave, earned a mere $12 million, while Williams’ last two flicks (August Rush and License to Wed) halted at $32 million and $44 million, respectively. I mean, Seth Rogen, who turned 27 on Wednesday, is much more deserving of a spot on Forbes‘ list: During the past four years, he has starred in seven movies that have cracked $100 million. And his Hollywood future looks just as bright: He’s costarring with No. 1 comedy dude Sandler in Judd Apatow’s Funny People (the trailer’s embedded below), and Rogen will be donning a mask for Michel Gondry’s The Green Hornet.

PopWatchers, what do you think? Why are female comedians always overlooked? Any other omissions surprise you? And does Ben Stiller deserve that No. 3 slot behind Sandler and Will Ferrell? My editor argues that he should be higher, but I’m still suffering from nightmares induced by The Heartbreak Kid.

TCM's 15 Most Influential Films: Did they get it right?

Snowwhite_lWe at EW are a particularly list-happy group. So it was with great interest that we checked out Turner Classic Movies’ just-published list of the 15 Most Influential Films of All Time (part of the network’s 15-anniversary celebration). Here they are, in chronological order:

The Birth of a Nation (1915)
Battleship Potemkin (1925)
Metropolis (1927)
42nd Street (1933)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Gone with the Wind (1939)
Stagecoach (1939)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Bicycle Thieves (1947)
Rashomon (1950)
The Searchers (1956)
Breathless (1959)
Psycho (1960)
Star Wars (1977)

It’s certainly an impressive group (not to mention a terrific Netflix queue waiting to be created). And they did a nice job of covering their bases by including a musical, a cartoon, a Western, etc. But only one movie from the past 49 years? Really? Wouldn’t you say The Godfather influenced an entire generation of filmmakers? Or Pulp Fiction, for that matter? Which films would you add to TCM’s list? And which would you remove?

addCredit(” ©Walt Disney Co.”)

The year's oddest book title

20092014worldoutlookThe trade magazine The Bookseller just named the year’s oddest book titles. The winner? The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais. (Available now on amazon for $795!) Other contenders include Baboon Metaphysics, Curbside Consultation of the Colon (really? You want to do that curbside?), and Strip and Knit with Style. My absolute favorite title though, was a previous year’s winner: People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It. Seriously, these are awesome! How about you? What’s the best-worst (or worst-best) title you’ve ever seen?

Pazz & Jop '08: TV on the Radio, M.I.A. take top honors

Tvradiomia_l2008 may already seem like forever ago. Twenty-one days? That’s, like, a decade in Twitter time! But the year in music isn’t truly over ’til the results of the Village Voice‘s Pazz & Jop critics’ poll are out. In developments that should shock absolutely no one, the Voice announced today that TV on the Radio’s Dear Science won the albums race, while critics voted M.I.A.’s "Paper Planes" the top single — both excellent choices. (Yes, technically "Paper Planes" came out in 2007, but the Pineapple Express trailer made it a major ’08 jam, and that’s good enough for P&J rules.)

In terms of sales, 2008 was either Lil Wayne’s or Taylor Swift’s year, depending how you count. But of course sales don’t mean much to many of the music writers who vote in P&J. Weezy, who managed a respectable No. 6 on the albums poll and No. 5 on the singles poll ("A Milli"), might have been undermined by the sheer volume of music heput out last year — he’s listed on no less than 21 ranking singles, all the way down to No. 1645 (Keri Hilson’s "Turnin’ Me On"). No such luck for Taylor Swift, who was relegated to the No. 58 album and No. 49 single.

My own Pazz & Jop ’08 ballot is here; EW’s Rob Brunner, Jason Adams, and Whitney Pastorek all submitted ballots, too. I know I’d probably tweak the order of mine in a few places if I were assembling it again today, but hey, a deadline’s a deadline, and these ballots were due on Christmas Eve. And while the final P&J results may be closed, the endless debate and dissection is only beginning. So what do you think of our individual picks and the overall Pazz & Jop winners? Have at it!

More on the music of 2008:
The Best and Worst Albums of 2008: Leah Greenblatt’s picks
The Best and Worst Albums of 2008: Chris Willman’s picks
The Best Albums of 2008: Stephen King’s picks
2008’s best music quotes

addCredit(“Radio: Roman Barrett; MIA: Liz Johnson”)

The Worst Movies of 2008, for real this time

Sevenpounds_lJust when you think we’re done with the cumulative joys of year-end lists, another one pops up to remind us that hindsight, along with being 20/20 (yeah, that’s what I meant), is also never-ending. The fine folks at New York magazine have recently posted their poll of the "nation’s top critics," a combination of solicited responses and close-readings of archived reviews that calls out many of the expected offenders — Speed Racer, The Love Guru, The Women – and provides the complete "ballots" of each writer. (This is especially useful so I know who hated the X-Files sequel and can avoid them at parties.)

We’ve all got our own opinions on this sort of thing. (If I were to name my worst, it would be one of those tiny piece of crap indies I was forced had the pleasure of seeing at Sundance that never made it to the multiplex, since I tend to not bother with stuff like 88 Minutes once I’ve been warned.) But to me, the real fun of this list is two-fold. First, I love reading a brilliantly-crafted evisceration, like Roger Ebert on The Spirit: "To call the characters cardboard is to insult a useful packing material." Hee-hee. (Are you reading Ebert, people? Please be reading Ebert.)

Secondly, and perhaps in some way reassuringly to the filmmakers in question, I suddenly find myself wanting to see the badness for myself. And thus do I guarantee you that, before the week is out, I will have purchased a ticket to this list’s No. 1 Worst Movie of 2008, Will Smith’s Seven Pounds (pictured), provided it is still playing somewhere around here. Because anything EW critic Lisa Schwarzbaum deems an "unintentionally ludicrous drama of repentance as an extreme sport" and the New York Times’ A.O. Scott calls "One of the most transcendently, eye-poppingly, call-your-friend-ranting-in-the-middle-of-the-night-just-to-go-over-it-one-more-time crazily awful motion pictures ever made," I simply must see for myself.

What about you, PopWatchers? Care to weigh in with your worst pictures from 2008? I also invite you to put on your writing caps and explain your reasoning in the most enticing way possible. I don’t just want to know what’s bad, I want to know why it sucks and if that suckage is in any way magical. Sell those train wrecks!

More on the year’s worst:
Moviefone’s 50 best (and 10 worst) films of the year
I saw it so you don’t have to! archive

addCredit(“Merrick Morton”)

Site of the Day: The Hype Machine's Music Blog Zeitgeist of 2008

Hype_machineIf you’re still catching up on some of the music that came out last year — I know I am, and I listen to new records for a living! — you’ll appreciate the public service that blog aggregator The Hype Machine is doing with its new "Music Blog Zeitgeist 2008" feature. They’ve tabulated the artists, albums, and individual songs that were written about most often this year by the MP3 bloggers in their database, and they’re streaming the top 50 entries in each category. That’s 50 albums, 50 artists, and 50 songs being rolled out over the course of this week, all available for you to hear for free in a nicely-designed package. Pretty cool, right?

Antony and the Johnsons' 'The Crying Light': Download it now!

Every 12 months or so, I get a kind of list-making hangover. After frantically tweaking my year-end top 10 albums throughout December, I find myself unable to stop filing everything I hear in the first weeks of January into an ever-shifting rank and order for the new year. So while Antony and the Johnsons’ The Crying Light doesn’t officially come out for another two weeks, it’s already my presumptive top album of 2009 so far. And starting today, if you pre-order a CD copy from the band’s website you’ll be able to instantly download The Crying Light in MP3 form as a little courtesy. They’ll even give you a bonus track titled "My Lord, My Love." I can’t recommend highly enough that you take them up on that offer. 

The Crying Light expands on the band’s Mercury Prize-winning 2005 breakout, I Am a Bird Now, with stronger songwriting all around and lovely swirling string arrangements created in collaboration with classical wunderkind Nico Muhly. Check out A and the Js’ recent single "Another World" below for an idea of what you’re getting into — and once you’ve done that, go buy this album A.S.A.P. and report back here if you’re feeling it as much as I am. Favorite tracks, anyone? Mine’s changing by the day, but at the moment it’s the righteously rocking "Aeon."

More on Antony and the Johnsons:
Antony Hegarty sang on Hercules and Love Affair’s "Blind," one of EW’s 10 Best Singles of 2008
The band’s Another World EP made it onto our Must List
EW liked I Am a Bird Now in 2005
Antony did not make it onto Rolling Stone‘s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, but he totally should have

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