Upon entering Largo, I was met with a surly hostess who could not find my name on the list. Instead of inquiring as to the misunderstanding, she insisted I did not in fact purchase a ticket, turned her back to me, and clearly desired to carry on with her other customers. “No,” she said, “You don’t have a ticket.” As I stepped to the side to find the receipt on my phone, she again seemed irritated, only to meet my digital evidence with an insistence that the entire debacle was my own fault, as I spelled my name wrong. “You didn’t spell your name with an H,” she said, “You said ‘A.'” Floored and flustered, I said, “I spelled my name correctly. It’s loud. Perhaps you didn’t hear it.” She once again repeated herself with no subsequent apology. When I also realized my friend had purchased an extra ticket by mistake and asked if I could give my own ticket to another customer, she turned her back to me again. Ticket wasted, I gave up, and entered the theater moderately enraged. Expecting an usher upon my arrival to help me to my seat, I was surprised to discover a cardboard map on an easel in place of an usher. I’d once again like to reiterate my original point. If you’re going to charge me $40 for my ticket, give a job to someone in need to direct people to their seats. Anything less is unacceptable. Additionally, if you’re going to use a cardboard poster, learn a thing or two about branding and hire a graphic designer to make it pretty-damn-appealing for the eye. It’s as if Largo has taken it’s underground popularity for granted. Just because people are buying your tickets, doesn’t mean you can treat them poorly. It’s easy to be kind. And I 100% promise that my personal attitude was undeserving of such unjustified disdain.
Now for the actual show. I paid to see The Writers Panel’s 300th Episode celebration featuring a large group of writers discussing their experience on top television shows. It is based on a popular podcast hosted by Ben Blacker, who is himself a writer. The panel featured many talents from various genres, but it would be hard to say who did what, considering Ben Blacker failed to introduce each guest’s accomplishments before asking them questions. He therefore worked under a very hefty assumption that we all had their IMDB profiles at-the-ready, and I must say I seriously considered googling from my seat to compensate for his failings. I did; however, remember Michael Schur (creator of ‘The Good Place’), Damon Lindelof (co-creator of ‘Lost’), and Jeff Greenstein (writer and supervising producer of ‘Friends’), as they were the only panelists to offer actual anecdotes about their writing process. The rest was a masturbatory ego-stroke between Blacker and his guests, rather than actual, substantive questions about their experience. To be fair, it’s difficult to offer true candor, given that this business is like the mafia where one must work with their enemies for eternity, but there are ways to get around that (without biting the hand . . . ), and Michael Schur might have been the only person to have accomplished it. Furthermore, there were far too many panelists and the format was flawed. What’s the point of bringing out three writers at a time, and leaving the rest of your guests to wait an hour and a half backstage? Surely they know how to let others have their moment. If you can’t adequately moderate your panel all at once, then get another moderator or alter the format. Moreover, Blacker seems like a perfectly nice man, but he needs to get out of the way of his interview. It’s not about him. He’s there to host. He’s not there to offer personal stories that bog down the process, and he’s also not there to wax on about how great everyone is. He’s there to get information that is helpful to the audience. That is it. It is also worth noting that he began the evening with an offensive aside about how the entire panel was mostly white men because that’s the reality of Hollywood today. Though I initially thought he was making a point about that sad fact, he followed it up with a note to the women and “people of color” in the audience to get an agent, because now’s the time. Need I explain that Hollywood’s white-boys-only club is about opportunity, NOT talent, and that women have been making failed attempts to break down that door for many years? If you’re going to hire your friends, and you’re a white man, you will likely hire other white men. Sure times are changing, but Blacker could have diversified that panel with a little more effort, and he chose not to. In fact, there were only two women up there, offering a huge opportunity to ask them about today’s changing times and their own experience as women in the writers room, and he did not take it. The entire show just felt like one huge missed opportunity.
I realize this critique might sound overly harsh, but it’s important to speak up for others to improve, and hopefully this is more constructive than critical. That being said, I likely won’t be returning to Largo anytime soon.
TROLLS stars Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Russell Brand, Zooey Deschanel, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, James Corden, Kunal Nayyar, Ron Funches, Icona Pop, Quvenzhané Wallis, with John Cleese and Gwen Stefani. Each Troll has its own, rich identity, with my personal favorite covered in glitter. Director Mike Mitchell and co-director Walt Dohrn deeply researched Troll lore for the film and adapted it to fit a modern day story. “We were fascinated by how these creatures were originally scary-ugly and evolved over time into being cute-ugly,” says Mitchell. “In the 1970s they became a symbol for happiness.”
The film almost immediately presents its conflict when the Trolls’ unhappy neighbors, known as the “Bergens,” attempt to capture and eat the Trolls as a mode of achieving their own happiness. Though they initially escape from the Bergens, their new location is found after they throw a loud, celebratory party. When Poppy’s (Anna Kendrick) friends are caught and whisked away to Bergen Town, she becomes immediately determined to bring them back to safety, and she enlists the help of her neurotic Troll friend, Branch (Justin Timberlake) who seemed to have missed out on the Troll happiness gene. As Poppy and Branch journey into the Bergens’ dangerous world, they help one another keep their resolve in trying moments.
The film is good, but it brought a few existential questions to the surface, which proves that I probably need a vacation. First, the idea that happiness comes from within rather than anything external (such as eating a Troll) made me ask whether it’s a poo-poo on taking medication for depression. Maybe we need to eat a Troll or two after exploring other failed options (that’s a joke . . . kinda). Second, I understand Branch’s character is a foil for Poppy, but his hue looks too close to the Bergens and it doesn’t make sense that he’d be unhappy. After all, he’s still a Troll. Perhaps one can be happy AND neurotic, but Branch just looked depressed, which goes against Troll lore. Lastly, the film made me think of an Eeyore meme, which said:
“One awesome thing about Eeyore is that even though he is basically clinically depressed, he still gets invited to participate in adventures and shenanigans with all of his friends And they never expect him to pretend to feel happy, they just love him anyway, and they never leave him behind or ask him to change.”
I understand that if the Bergens are trying to eat the Trolls, then it makes sense to help them change, but its just a thought.
It should be noted that I saw this movie with children, who were engrossed from start to finish and endlessly praised the music while exiting the film. It’s family-friendly, it’s entertaining, and the colors could make anyone happy.
If you missed the CMAs, there’s one performance worth watching, and it’s Beyonce and the Dixie Chicks’ rendition of “Daddy Lessons,” off Beyonce’s album ‘Lemonade.’ The crossover cut off Queen Bey’s record has been covered by the Dixie Chicks in concert, so it’s a fitting on-stage collaboration. They also threw in a piece of the Chicks’ “Long Time Gone,” which gives a subtle nod to the trio’s tumultuous history with the country music establishment, who rejected them after their much-maligned critique of President George W. Bush.
The killer pop-culture moment was; however, met with alarming criticism, as “fans” of the 50th annual Country Music Awards pointed out that Beyonce’s support of Black Lives Matter, along with her “cop-hatred” and “dislike for white people” should disqualify her from the stage. If that’s not enough, there is of course the residual animosity for the Dixie Chicks, and their “anti-America” stance. According to TMZ, instead of standing firm against these racist, twitter trolls, the CMA’s began to systematically delete pictures of the performance. They have since changed their stance once again, presumably in reaction to TMZ’s post.
It goes without saying that we need to live in a country that tolerates multiple points of view without spitting vile hatred at one another and resorting to violence. Need I also point out that one can be anti-unnecessary killings AND support cops at the same time. It’s also worth noting that if Twitter wants to grow, they need a policy against hate-speech. And before I get comments about the First Amendment, I’d like to preemptively say that I’m a lawyer, and trust me when I tell you that deleting racist comments DOES.NOT.VIOLATE. the First Amendment. I’d explain it, but it will waste your time and mine. And nobody wants that.
— bonafiedhoe (@pettyyonceh) November 3, 2016
His new film, Hacksaw Ridge, opens November 4, 2016.
The film is the true story of Pfc. Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield), who won the Congressional Medal of Honor despite refusing to bear arms during WWII on religious grounds. Though ostracized by fellow soldiers for his stance, he was later acknowledged for his bravery after he risked his life — without firing a shot — to save 75 men in the Battle of Okinawa. See pictures from the event below.
Howard Stern’s star has never shined brighter. The man’s “shock jock” status has slowly morphed into a one-stop-shop for career cleanup interviews whose long-form format is unprecedented in the business. Gone are the days of the small club of cool kids or loyalists who understand his appeal. In fact, those who poo-poo the radio titan are now considered old school, up tight outsiders.
In the last few years, Stern has dialed down his on-air time to just about twelve hours per week, which means that he must be extremely judicious about his interviews. And though he’s still loyal to the comedians whose careers he helped launch, there’s a large space for something more, and it lies in music. Though Stern often interviews the musicians who perform live on his show, that space only leaves room for huge acts, and there’s an opportunity to feature up-and-coming talent at the end of each show. He should follow in David Letterman’s footsteps and hire a talent scout to find rising stars. It’s simply ten minutes at the end of each show and it would keep in current.
Get on it, Stern. We’re all waiting.
Kevin Jonas and his wife welcomed their second child. RTW
Mariah Carey is devastated by her breakup with James Packer. E! Online
Johnny Depp left his talent agency. CAA
Amber Tamblyn and David Cross welcomed their first child. Yahoo!
A Grey’s Anatomy is pregnant. Wet Paint
Kristen Stewart went public with her new girlfriend. Stuff
Kate Beckinsale’s husband filed for divorce. TMZ
Brangelina is selling off their property. People
Michael Phelps is married. CNN
Nick Young welcomed a baby months after cheating on Iggy Azalea. Rolling Out
Is Khloe Kardashian getting married? Uproxx
Amber Rose used to date a transgender man. Shade Room
‘Birth of a Nation’ director Nate Parker was hit with another sexual assault allegation. The Wrap
“It’s pretty old stuff. It’s ten years old. It’s an unfortunate incident, I was loaded and angry, and arrested, so, you know, these things happen. I was recorded – illegally – by an unscrupulous police officer who was never prosecuted for that crime, and then it was made public by him for profit. So – not fair.
Ten years have gone by. I’m feeling good. I’m sober, all of that kind of stuff, and for me it’s a dim thing in the past. But others bring it up, which kind of I find annoying, because I don’t understand why after 10 years it’s any kind of issue. Surely if I was really what they say I was, some kind of hater, there’d be evidence of actions somewhere. There never has been. I’ve never discriminated against anyone or done anything that sort of supports that reputation. And for one episode in the back of a police car on eight double tequilas to sort of dictate all the work, life’s work and beliefs and everything else that I have and maintain for my life is really unfair.”
You’d think a legal show created by David E. Kelley would actually involve the law, and you’d think a mysterious adversary would actually involve a little mystery. Unfortunately, Goliath is not the anecdote to my aching desire for another addictive legal drama.
I had high hopes for Goliath. It stars Billy Bob Thornton, whose mere presence alone exponentially raises a show’s stock value. In fact, it’s safe to say if a Thornton vehicle fails, everyone but Billy Bob Thornton could be to blame.
The show surrounds a once powerful lawyer, Billy McBride (Billy Bob Thornton), who is now a washed up alcoholic that hasn’t seen a courtroom in years. When he reluctantly agrees to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the client of the massive law firm he helped create, Billy and his resource-limited team uncover a deadly conspiracy. The life-threatening conspiracy actually gets Billy’s original client killed, only to be replaced by the young son of the deceased who also has a claim for wrongful death. That decision has holes, especially since if the defendant is a murderer, one might think twice about putting a child’s life in jeopardy. Plus, wouldn’t it make more sense to kill opposing counsel instead? It’s certainly more efficient. The story also unfolds far too quickly, and the defendant’s true crime and subsequent cover up becomes clear by episode three, thereby eliminating my interest.
David E. Kelley once reigned supreme in this arena, having created some of the best law shows of all time, including LA Law, Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, and The Practice. His sweet spot has always lied in his quirky characters coupled with a thorough understanding of the law and all its intricacies. As a lawyer, I feel confident in saying that he’s nearly always accurate, unlike many other law shows that cause me physical pain. The problem with Goliath, is that it’s as if Kelley forgot that sweet spot and nearly made it an afterthought. Most of the happenings take place outside the courtroom, and very little of the show is dedicated to the actual law. For example, it’s hard to believe in Billy’s talked-about talent when we never get to fully explore his skill set. He’s seems more like a crazed cowboy than a gifted lawyer, and that’s unfortunate. At least Kelley got his quirky characters right.
Having said all of the above, I’d give the show a solid C+, meaning it’s armchair enjoyable while watching my dishes, It is not; however, popcorn television.