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Mega Millions' $640 million jackpot: What would be your entertainment splurge?

As I’m typing this, the estimated jackpot for tonight’s Mega Millions drawing stands at a record $640 million. In addition to conversations about how much notice colleagues would give if they were to win (I’d still freelance), I’m overhearing discussions about what people would purchase. Cars, homes, college educations for children — those are givens. Let’s get to the fun stuff! What would be your entertainment splurge(s)? Some EW picks to inspire you:

Annie Barrett: I’d convert my living room wall into a flatscreen TV (after moving into the American Idol mansion in June) and commission the Dancing With the Stars wardrobe department to design my daily costumes through 2015. The rest I’d spend on takeout.

Adam B. Vary: I would build my own private screening room in the style of the Star Trek: The Next Generation bridge, and I would be so stinking rich, NO ONE COULD JUDGE ME.

Sandra Gonzalez: I’d fund a remake of Troop Beverly Hills. But I’m not talking about an awful made-for-TV remake. This would be written by Tina Fey, feature a cameo from Shelley Long, and somehow involve Amanda Bynes, who I’d buy out of retirement. Everyone has a price.  READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: Are the days of convincing friends to go see a movie that they don't actually want to see over?

When was the last time you went to see a movie you weren’t actually interested in seeing just to spend time with someone? When was the last time someone did that for you? Here’s why I’m asking: None of my regular movie friends who were free over the weekend wanted to see John Carter, and I was too impatient to wait for the one who said she could go this week. On Sunday, I met a friend for brunch and to see Friends With Kids. Afterward, I planned to catch the next showing of John Carter. A few years ago, maybe I would’ve tried to convince her to join me. But this was an IMAX 3D showing in NYC that cost $19 — I couldn’t even ask her. Even in 2D, it would’ve cost her $13. And even then, that’s something I could only suggest it if was my birthday — the one time of year when everyone in my movie circle will cave to you and see whatever you want.  READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: The ballad you're 99.9 percent sure you're the last person to listen to

In honor of Valentine’s Day, let’s each confess a ballad we’re 99.9 percent sure we are the last person to have listened to — and see if we’re right. I’ll start, with a quick scroll through my Recently Played list:

Air Supply’s “Chances”: Because I was supposed to see them — for a third time —  on Saturday night but missed the show. I used to have to listen to their entire Greatest Hits 8-track before I would get dressed for elementary school (minus “Sweet Dreams,” because the intro scared me). Everyone knows “Making Love Out of Nothing At All.” But what about this song?
Kenny Rogers’ “I Don’t Need You”: Because it’s a song my late father and I both liked, and it’s my first Valentine’s Day without him.
Conway Twitty’s “(Lost Her Love) On Our Last Date”: Because I’m a sucker for a steel guitar.
O-Town’s “All or Nothing”: I’m choosing this one because I imagine someone else has listened to Backstreet Boys’ “Incomplete” and Hanson’s “I Will Come to You” recently since they’re still together.
Lionel Richie’s “Stuck On You”: Because I’ve been wishing I was in a cabin in Kentucky, and this song came on the radio during my last road trip there, so it makes me feel like I’m on my way.
• Laura Branigan’s “Over You”: I think of it as precursor to Adele’s “Someone Like You.”  READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: The last movie you saw alone in the theater?

I don’t have a problem seeing movies alone. Half the time, it’s for work, like if I’m running out on opening day to see Paul Blart: Mall Cop or Beverly Hills Chihuahua for one of our “I Saw It, So You Don’t Have To” posts. A quarter of the time, it’s a Kevin Costner movie. And the rest, it’s a romantic comedy or sappy drama that my regular movie buddies wouldn’t pay money to see because it’s not my birthday. Since I don’t celebrate that again until July, I am obviously going to see The Vow alone this weekend. READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: When have you been (too) frustrated by someone's lack of pop-culture knowledge?

Watching the preview clip below of tonight’s Billy on the Street episode, in which the FUSE trivia game show’s host, comedian Billy Eichner, loses it on a Drew Peterson lookalike who doesn’t know who Tilda Swinton is, made me sort of envious. He gets paid to be freakishly frustrated by people’s lack of pop-culture knowledge. (It’s the highlight of the show.) I, on the other hand, just get to feel guilty about the time I was playing the game Celebrity with three friends years ago, and my partner was unable to name J.K. Rowling and Mel Gibson. It was infuriating on multiple levels. For starters, she had the Harry Potter books on her shelf. Also, she worked at another entertainment magazine. I became so unglued, I announced to the group that I refused to be paired with her for another round, that night or ever again. I am a nice person. Fifteen years in New York, and I still go out of my way to walk around tourists standing in the middle of the sidewalk taking a picture in Times Square so I don’t ruin their shots. But this enraged me.

Your turn. When were you freakishly frustrated by someone’s lack of pop-culture knowledge? READ FULL STORY

Etta James' 'At Last': Share your memories of the Greatest Wedding Song Ever

It’s impossible to remember the late Etta James and not think about her song “At Last.” When EW named the 50 best love songs in 2005, it came in at No. 14. I remember writing the entry: “It’s not the first rendition of this 1942 tune, but Etta’s is the finest, thanks to a strong, sensual delivery that says (or is it shouts?) I deserve this! No wonder every bride on earth thinks it was written just for her.” The lyrics are so simple, her voice and string section so triumphant — no song captures the jubilation of knowing you’ve found love better.

Share your memories of the song below. READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: Where can I purchase that 'Survivor' bathing suit?

Survivor: One World unveiled the 18 fresh contestants who will compete for this season’s $1 million prize, and, as always, I’m eager to meet the new faces and get to know the quirky, abrasive, and filter-free personalities. But to be honest, I’m mostly interested in what they’re wearing — in particular, their swimsuits. Mind you, not in a leering, mouth-breathing way, but in a total practical sense. In a few weeks, Sports Illustrated will present its annual swimsuit issue, and every skimpy “swimsuit” will be tagged and priced in the fine print, so, you know, you can order and surprise your honey with the same suit that looked so good on Irina Shayk. That always works out for the best.

Survivor, on the other hand, offers more practical options. READ FULL STORY

Seasonal depression: What entertainment helps you cope?

As the days become colder and more gray in New York City, I’m making a concentrated effort to self-medicate against seasonal depression. My first line of defense was my “Summer” playlist, but I found that listening to Keith Urban’s “Somebody Like You” just reminded me that I’m not feeling the “sunshine shinin’ down on me and you.” So last night, I decided to make a new playlist: “Fun country breakup songs.” It acknowledges my mood without letting me wallow in it. These are mid or fast tempo tunes you can sing along/drink to. That’s therapeutic, right? My playlist is below, in case you want to copy it.

How are you using entertainment to cope with seasonal depression? (If I’m at home, near my laptop, and in need of a quick fix, I’ve got multiple Urban guitar solos bookmarked like this one and this one that heat me right up. I’ll also visit Swoonworthy.net — tagline “It’s raining men… hallelujah!” — to check on the Magic Mike countdown clock or revisit this photo from the 30 shots for Taylor Kitsch’s 30th birthday post. Hey, whatever it takes, people. Royal Pains doesn’t return until Jan. 18.)  READ FULL STORY

What is your New Year's pop-culture resolution?

Some New Year’s resolutions are easier to keep than others. That’s why we here at EW like to make pop-culture resolutions. Check out some of our vows for 2012 here, and please, offer your own below. We’ll pick our favorites and turn them into a gallery for all to see and hold you to. You only need one goal, but I’ll offer a few to get us started. In 2012:

• I will not allow a smartass stranger to spook me when I leave the movie theater after seeing The Woman in Black as I did in when I left a London theater after seeing the play in 1996.

• I will have at least one conversation about John Carter and Battleship star Taylor Kitsch in which the word “hair” is not used. He deserves that.

• I will lower the number of Bon Jovi songs in my Top 25 Most Played list from three to one (“This Ain’t a Love Song”). Sorry, “It’s My Life” and “Runaway.” I just can’t.

• I will not let anything get in the way of my seeing George Jones live for the first time.

• I will not get so vicariously embarrassed for women on The Bachelor that I hide my head in a pillow, beat the couch with a pillow, or toss a pillow across the room.

Your turn!

Read more:
13 Pop Culture Resolutions for ’12 At the EW Office

What was your best pop cultured-filled New Year's Eve?

I’ve never been the kind of person to go out on New Year’s Eve. I prefer to invite friends over or stay in at their place. I think my favorite New Year’s Eve was 2002, when two friends and I agreed to each bring one movie we loved but the other two hadn’t seen and force them to watch it. My friend Eva brought Robert Altman’s Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, my friend Judy, if I’m remembering correctly brought Barry Levinson’s Diner, and I had Trey Parker’s Orgazmo. (Being the host, I took the liberty of also making them watch the bloopers from BASEketball.) I wish that was a tradition we continued. We also broke out the karaoke machine my parents had gotten me for Christmas.

What’s been your favorite pop culture-filled New Year’s Eve? Do you have a tradition worth stealing? Go!

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