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PopWatch Confessional: How many times have you seen the same movie in the theater?

My record is 7. The movie was Titanic. I was 13 going on 14. And although I’ve yet to see Titanic 3D (I promise I will, I’ve been sick, started a new job, and it was Easter), when I do, I won’t add it to my count. Why? Because that dilutes the purity of the number.

There are plenty of movies that, by nature of them always being in theaters, are almost ineligible for this list. As my colleague Laura Hertzfeld points out, Rocky Horror likely can’t cut it and neither would Star Wars for most. (With the caveat being if you were not alive when George Lucas first released his famous trilogy, then you can include any one theatrical run.)

With Hunger Games now in its third weekend, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who’ve seen Katniss defy the Capitol more than once. After all, it is the type of movie that lends itself to repeat viewings — with the obsessive teenage fanbase leading the way. (I myself plan to see it again soon.)

READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: What obscure movie errors have driven you to distraction?

titanic

It’s happened to all of us: You’re happily coasting along watching a movie you’re thoroughly enjoying, when up pops a glaring error that zaps you out of the movie and has you fuming to your friends as you exit the theater. At which point, you realize you were the only person to notice this so-called “error,” and all your friends think you’re a crank who totally missed the point of the movie and wish you would just shut up about it already.

The difference between you and Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is that the famed astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York was actually able to do something about it. Upon seeing Titanic in the theater, Dr. Tyson became incensed after Kate Winslet, delirious and nearly frozen in the black Atlantic Ocean, looked up at the night sky and saw the wrong set of stars for that specific time and place. Apparently, astrophysicists can tell you exactly what the night sky looked like in the North Atlantic in the wee hours of April 15, 1912, and that’s exactly what Dr. Tyson did. He sent a letter to James Cameron. Five years later, he cornered Cameron at an event and lodged his complaint once more. A few years after that, he brought it up again at an intimate dinner party with Cameron. And now, this Wednesday, Titanic will be hitting theaters in 3-D, with no other alterations to the film except that now, Rose Dawson will be looking up at the same stars those doomed Titanic passengers saw that fateful night. (You can watch Tyson recount his entire story here.)

This is such a specific complaint, it got me thinking: What nagging movie goofs only seem to bother me? READ FULL STORY

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

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