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'Throwback Thursday': 'An Affair to Remember' and the perfect New Year's kiss

When I was 15, my mother decided it was time to put a little epic romance in my life by showing me the 1957 classic An Affair to Remember. I had just seen Sleepless in Seattle at a friend’s sleepover and couldn’t stop talking about it, so my mother thought it would be good for me to know where that film had gotten its inspiration. So as a young teenager then in my first “real” relationship, I watched An Affair to Remember and imagined the day I would get a New Year’s kiss like the one shared between Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. I watched as this epic romance unfolded, and suddenly, I felt like one moment could change my entire life, like I could meet my true love on the next New Year’s Eve (or the one after that).

Quick refresher: In the film, Kerr and Grant kiss on New Year’s Eve. But after realizing they’re both engaged to other people, they make a deal to meet on top of the Empire State Building in six months if they’re both still interested. I won’t spoil the rest of the story for you, but the important thing is that it all started with a perfect New Year’s kiss.

Watch the “trailer” for An Affair to Remember below:
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Pop Culture Pet Peeve: The unnecessary ghost twist

The other week, in my holiday viewing, I re-watched an old Paul Walker film I own called Noel. It’s yet another cheesy Christmas movie about a number of strangers whose lives all intertwine on Christmas Eve, but for the time being, it was exactly what I wanted. However, I hadn’t seen it in a few years, and I had forgotten that it included a “twist.” Spoiler alert: Robin Williams plays a kind ex-priest who bonds with Susan Sarandon’s sad single older woman … or so it seems. At the end of the film, we find out Charlie (Williams) is actually about 30 years older than he seemed, and this entire time, he’s been unconscious in a bed at a geriatric home. Essentially, Sarandon bonded with a ghost.

I tend to let that sort of angel/ghost stuff slide with Christmas movies, but in Noel‘s case, it felt incredibly  unnecessary. The story would’ve had the same amount of impact if he had just been a nice guy who helped out a lonely woman. Where is the benefit in making him a ghost? READ FULL STORY

TBS' 24 hours of 'A Christmas Story': What other holiday movies should be mega-marathoned?

TBS’ 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story makes my sister want to shoot her eye out.

I learned this a few years ago when, as we started the present distribution process on Christmas morning, she begged the family for an alternative viewing option. “I can’t watch this movie anymore,” she declared. At the time, I was horrified, appalled, and wanted that ruiner of Christmas joy I once called a sister cast away from the home like the filthy turncoat she was. (Spoiler: We let her stay.)

Flash-forward to last year, when, I hate to admit, I started to understand where she was coming from. After multiple viewings and multiple years of 24-hour marathons, I’m kind of sick of A Christmas Story.

This won’t be the case forever, I hope. Maybe after a few years of avoiding it, I will be able to return and once again be charmed. But until that day comes, I need a break. In fact, I think we all deserve one — it’s time TBS changed up their movie marathon.

I know what you’re probably thinking, why would I be in favor of another movie-ruining marathon? Well, the answer is simple: For a very long time, the Christmas Story marathon wasn’t a bad thing. Actually, it was something of a treasured “Christmas is here” tradition. I just think it’s time for the tradition to evolve — like all of them do.

I asked my family for their thoughts on movies they’d like to see get the 24-hour marathon treatment (on TBS or another network) last night at the dinner table. (Dirty truth: we were all on the couch eating Whataburgers.) Here were some of the alternative options suggested — and some choice commentary:
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Harry Shum Jr. remembers trauma of watching 'Old Yeller' -- VIDEO

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Harry Shum Jr. was on a few quests when he visited the EW L.A. offices last month. The first was an important one: Spread the word about his collaboration with Coca-Cola and the (RED) campaign to end the spread of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

As part of the campaign, the public is urged to upload dance videos to Instagram using the hashtag #CokeREDMovies, and for every thousand videos uploaded, Coca-Cola will make a donation to the Global Fund. (Each donation will provide more than 60 days of life-saving medicine for someone living with HIV.)

“Right now what we want to do is raise awareness through dancing and we want to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015,” Shum said. “Every day, 700 babies are born with HIV, and we can be the generation that gets that number to zero.”

The other reason Shum came to the office was less important but just as fun as dancing: He took the EW Pop Culture Personality Test. The result is below!
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I'm Still Not Over... How good Colin Farrell was in 'In Bruges'

I always liked Colin Farrell, but for the first few years of his career, I appreciated him more for his looks than for his acting. It’s not that I ever thought he was a bad actor,  it was simply that I didn’t realize how good he was. But all of that changed when I watched In Bruges in 2008.

In Bruges is a dark comedy that follows two hit men — played by Farrell and Brendan Gleeson — who are sent away to Belgium to hide after Farrell’s character made a mistake. While on the job, Farrell shot and killed a young boy. As a result, his boss — Ralph Fiennes! — orders Gleeson to kill Farrell for his mistake. Watch the trailer below: READ FULL STORY

Ranking the 'Anchorman 2' cameos

Cameos have become one of the staples of modern ensemble movies. It’s not like they need them to succeed. They don’t even need them for plot. But, hey, if you can get Bill Murray to pop up as himself in the middle of Zombieland, why not? When done well, cameos can be as transcendent as David Bowie in Zoolander, John Hurt in Spaceballs, or Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder. When executed poorly, well, at its best, it gets quickly forgotten. At its worst, it’s Bruce Willis in Ocean’s Twelve.

The Will Ferrell and Adam McKay cabal was obviously going to have their fair share of cameos, and we decided to rank ‘em. Do us a favor and wait till you see the movie to read. Paparazzi photos from these very public sets and casting leaks have spoiled a lot of these, but still, part of the joy of the cameo is not knowing.
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'Silent Night, Deadly Night': 20 thoughts on the best-worst holiday movie of all time

A confession: I’m not wild about Christmas. As somebody who gets unnecessarily neurotic about whether or not everybody else is having a good time, the onset of shopping crowds, traveling woes, gift-buying difficulties, and food-related malaise often overwhelms my delicate constitution. (Also, the constant claptrap about the War on Christmas doesn’t make the season any more fun.)

But there are a handful of Christmas traditions I have adopted over the years that have made the last six weeks of the year something close to bearable. The cornerstone of those rituals is the annual viewing of Silent Night, Deadly Night, a nasty little bit of holiday-themed slasher nonsense that essentially casts Santa Claus as a serial killer. But like a lot of the also-ran cut-‘em-ups of the ’80s, there’s so much more going on in Silent Night, Deadly Night than meets the eye, and I have spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about it (and its sequels), more than perhaps any other film I have seen. (And thanks to the yearly screenings, it’s undoubtedly the movie I’ve seen the most, which is a troubling revelation to type out).

Of course, a movie about a murderous Father Christmas isn’t for everybody, but here are 20 thoughts about Silent Night, Deadly Night that will hopefully help you get a feel for why it’s the best-worst holiday film ever constructed.

1. Silent Night, Deadly Night came out in November 1984 but was quickly yanked from movie theaters thanks to protests from parents groups who were disturbed by the ad campaign. Since there’s no such thing as bad publicity, the controversy surrounding the film gave it something of a second life — it re-appeared in theaters in early 1985 with an ad campaign that was based around the negative press it got the first time around. (One of the posters during the film’s resurrection was centered around Gene Siskel calling it “sick, sleazy, and mean-spirited”). They essentially leaned into bad press years before that was a thing.  READ FULL STORY

Pop Culture Pet Peeve: Dental work, torture of any kind

I have an extreme fear/hatred/phobia of all things having to do with teeth. Growing up, the dentist’s office was my least favorite place in the world. To be honest, it’s still in my bottom five. And it’s not even necessarily about pain. It’s the chill that gets sent through my body when I think about the sound of dental tools or the smell of a dentist’s office. I feel like it’s a ridiculous fear, but I’m told it’s not all that uncommon. Therefore, I’m hoping that my teeth-related pop culture pet peeve is also not all that uncommon.

Basically, my least favorite thing in any movie or television (or book, for that matter) is anything having to do with dental work or torture. We will tackle torture first, because it’s the most relevant in my life right now. Why? I’m looking at you, Scandal.

In the last couple of episodes of Scandal, there has been way too much teeth action. First, Huck decided to torture Quinn to get information out of her by pulling her teeth. Keep in mind that Huck is a trained killer, which means he knows hundreds of way to torture/kill someone. In the seconds before pulling her first tooth, he literally lists all of the other ways he could make her talk. So why did he have to pull her teeth?!  Surely it can’t be fun to film, and I assure you, it is not fun to watch:
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Brad Pitt turns 50! Watch a supercut of Pitt's movie career on his birthday

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Today, Brad Pitt turns 50, which means the blond-haired, blue-eyed, two-time People Magazine Sexiest Man Alive has been shining on screen for most of his (and our) lives. To honor Pitt’s work, we’ve rounded up a quick trip down memory lane.

We’ve cut together Pitt’s on-screen roles, from Dallas to 12 Years a Slave. Watch the actor (and his hair) evolve in the video below:
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PopWatch Planner: 'Anchorman 2' in theaters, 'The X Factor' finale, and more

As we head into the holiday season, this week has a little bit of everything. From Beyoncé’s surprise album — which you should download now — to Ron Burgundy’s return in Anchorman 2 and every fall finale in between, here’s what we recommend you put on your schedule:

SUNDAY 12/15
Homeland season finale AND Beyoncé on iTunes

Homeland wraps up its third season this week — what’s in store for Brody and Carrie? Other than an hour of twists and turns, we can’t be sure!

Plus: Queen B’s newest album was secretly released on iTunes and is the perfect soundtrack for any weekend activity.


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