Carrie Brownstein Is Writing and Directing a Heart Biopic


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Tags: She divulges one name: “Anne Hathaway came forward but I don’t think she’s exactly right for it.”

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Lyndsey Parker (@lyndseyparker)

Bownstein is an excellent fit to helm a Heart movie, considering she herself has experience being part of her own groundbreaking, female-fronted, Pacific Northwest rock band. This would be Brownstein’s feature film directorial debut; she has directed episodes of TV comedies including AP Bio, Search Party, and of course, Portlandia. According to an interview with Heart front-woman Ann Wilson on SiriusXM, Brownstein has already written a draft of the script and is currently working on rewrites. In a clip of the interview posted to radio host Lyndsey Parker’s Instagram page, Wilson says Brownstein is “working with the movie company Amazon and the producer Lynda Obst who did Sleepless in Seattle.” Wilson also said that some actors have come forward to play her, but they haven’t been right for the role. Photo: Redferns

Carrie Brownstein, of Sleater-Kinney rock fame and “Feminist Bookstore” comedy legend, will be writing and directing a music biopic based on the Seattle band Heart. We’re so happy! Happy makes us a modern girl! While pre-production has been put on pause due to COVID-19, we can already predict this will be the best use of “Barracuda” in a movie since Fergie covered it for Shrek the Third.

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Marvel Honors Chadwick Boseman With New Black Panther Opening on Disney+

Over fanfare, these images pull out to reveal the Marvel Studios logo on a new purple backdrop (Black Panther had a very regal purple-carpet world premiere in lieu of a red one). Tags: Chadwick forever. Disney CEO Bob Iger teased the tribute on Twitter, writing, “To all fans of #BlackPanther: Watch the film on #DisneyPlus late tonight, for a special tribute to someone that was and will always be near and dear to our hearts.”

To all fans of #BlackPanther: watch the film on #DisneyPlus late tonight, for a special tribute to someone that was and will always be near and dear to our hearts.— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) November 28, 2020

If you want to get choked up today, watch the sequence. Photo: WireImage

On November 29, which would have been the late actor Chadwick Boseman’s 44th birthday, Marvel Studios unveiled a new “Marvel Studios” intro graphic on the Disney+ streaming version of Black Panther. In place of the usual opening logo sequence showing characters from across the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this new intro displays photos of Boseman with screenplay snippets of T’Challa’s dialogue overlaid, including the famous “Wakanda forever.” These images lead to clips of Boseman in Black Panther, as well as behind-the-scenes video footage of him smiling and laughing. It’s a moving tribute to Boseman, who died from colon cancer in August of this year.

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Dave Prowse, Actor Who Played Darth Vader, Dead at 85— BBC Archive (@BBCArchive) November 29, 2020

On November 29, Prowse’s Star Wars co-star Mark Hamill tweeted his remembrance, calling him “a kind man & much more than Darth Vader.”

So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. Dave Prowse has died aged 85. Actor-Husband-Father-Member of the Order of the British Empire-3 time British Weightlifting Champion & Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man. In 1977, he delighted school kids in Belfast, as the Green Cross Code Man. Prowse, a former bodybuilder, was beloved in the United Kingdom for playing the “Green Cross Code Man,” teaching children road-crossing safety. He loved his fans as much as they loved him. Related

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Star Wars actor Dave Prowse, who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars films, died on November 28 after a short illness,” BBC reports. The British actor gave Vader’s physical performance, wearing the suit and lending his imposing six-foot-five stature to the iconic film villain, while James Earl Jones provided the character’s voice. #RIP— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) November 29, 2020

Prowse is remembered by legions of Star Wars fans, and survived by his wife and children. He was a kind man & much more than Darth Vader. That public-service role earned him the Order of the British Empire. The man behind the mask.

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Saved by the Bell Apologizes for Selena Gomez Kidney-Transplant Jokes

In a scene from the sixth episode of the new series, two students argue over the identity of Gomez’s kidney donor, with one character claiming it was “Justin Bieber’s mom” and the other claiming it was Demi Lovato.— ًemery (@btchlena) November 28, 2020

.@peacockTV we demand an apology to @selenagomez for making fun of Selena’s health issues. respect selena gomez. Peacock responded to the controversy, saying in a statement, “We apologize. Stop using Selena’s struggles for profit for your flop show. A petition calling for the reboot to be canceled has also garnered over 4,000 signatures. 5M – 10M people die from kidney diseases every year. (In reality, the donor was Gomez’s friend Francia Raisa.) In a later scene, graffiti in the school hallway seems to read, “Does Selena Gomez Even Have A Kidney.” Fans of Gomez took to Twitter to express their anger at the jokes, with the hashtag “RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ” trending on the site on Saturday. i wonder what was going through they minds when they wrote this, did they actually think this was funny?? We have been in touch with her team and will be making a donation to her charity, the Selena Gomez Fund for Lupus Research at USC.” Gomez herself has not yet responded to the situation.— Selena Gomez News (@musicfacts_sel) November 28, 2020


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Tags: It was never our intention to make light of Selena’s health. Photo: Getty Images

NBC’s Peacock has apologized for scenes in the new reboot of Saved by the Bell that reference Selena Gomez’s 2017 kidney transplant following outrage from Gomez’s fans on social media. Serious health issues should never be a joke.

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Cher Rescuing the World’s Loneliest Elephant Was Totally on Our 2020 Bingo Cards

It takes tiiiiiiime to believe it. Kaavan “languished” in chains in Islamabad’s Maragzar Zoo for 35 years, and became even lonelier after his partner-elephant died of an infection in 2012. According to the AP, “Activists dubbed Kaavan the ‘world’s loneliest elephant’ after his plight gained international attention and the unhappy elephant was diagnosed as emotionally as well as physically damaged,” getting the attention of Cher and her charity, Free the Wild. A spokesperson for global animal-welfare group Four Paws International confirmed to the AP that Kaavan will be transported to a sanctuary in Cambodia on Sunday, November 29, where the very lonely and malnourished elephant will recuperate and live out his days in safety. But after all is said and done, he will no longer be the lonely one. After her meeting with the prime minister, Cher tweeted, “Just Came From Meeting To Thank Prime Minister Imran Kahn For Making It Possible For Me To Take Kaavan To Cambodia. Kaavan Will Be Able To Leave For Cambodia On The 29. Kaavan Will Be Able To Leave For Cambodia On The 29. Think Documentary Will Be Heartwarming.”

Just Came From Meeting To Thank Prime Minister Imran Kahn For Making It Possible For Me To Take Kaavan To Cambodia. On Friday, November 27, eternal pop icon, activist, and now-diplomat Cher met with Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan at his residence to negotiate the re-homing of Kaavan, known as the “world’s loneliest elephant,” according to the Associated Press. Photo: Getty Images

Cher can now add “live-action Captain Planet character” to her ever-growing list of talents and abilities. Related

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Tags: Cher. Think Documentary Will Be Heartwarming🙏🏻.— Cher (@cher) November 27, 2020

As for Kaavan, we’re so glaaaaad that he’s leaving.

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Floribama Shore Season Four Pauses Production After Positive Coronavirus Test

A fourth season of Floribama Shore had not yet been officially announced, but at least now we know it will take place in neither Florida nor ‘Bama. After the positive test result on Wednesday, November 25, the cast and crew have been quarantining in Season Four filming location Lake Havasu, Arizona. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Filming of the fourth season of MTV reality series Floribama Shore has halted production for two weeks after a member of the production team tested positive for the coronavirus, Deadline reports. What a twist. The cast in pre-COVID times. Sources



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Tags: The production company is “said to be adhering to local, state and federal COVID-19 health and safety protocols” as they film in Arizona, which currently reports a statewide positivity rate of 10%.

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Every The Office Christmas Episode, Ranked

Not a perfect episode, but definitely a high note. But as the title of the episode suggests, the true star is Dwight. Things end on an even more awkward note when Phyllis announces that Angela, who is engaged to Andy, is having an affair with Dwight. But considering it’s the show’s seventh Christmas episode in nine seasons, it holds its own better than expected. It also has one of the funniest Christmas B-plots: Dwight buying and reselling the season’s hottest toys, Princess Unicorn dolls, to desperate parents at an exorbitant markup. But Andy being Andy, he’d rather give in to questionable taste than give someone a reason not to like him. But while we get to enjoy Dwight at his peak, we also have to suffer through Jim and Pam at their lowest. Incensed that she didn’t go to the same financial trouble as he did, he throws a wrench in the plan and turns Secret Santa into a White Elephant gift exchange. When they return to the office a few drinks later, both Michael and Andy bring their “new girlfriends” — neither of which was their actual waitress in the previous scenes — to join the Christmas party. It’s almost humorous, but a little too real to be funny. 7. Meredith winds up getting so drunk that she accidentally sets her hair on fire while dancing. Michael’s love for Holly makes him do crazy things. “Dwight Christmas” (Season 9, 2012)

You might expect the final Office Christmas episode to be the least-loved; in addition to no Michael, there’s also no Ryan or Kelly. To have nothing to do with Andy’s new girlfriend, Jessica. 6. “Classy Christmas” (Season 7, 2010)

This two-parter is more than just a Christmas episode because it also marks Holly’s (temporary) return to Dunder Mifflin. When he’s with her, he’s his best self; when he’s not with her, he’s lonely, defeated, and jealous — and all three are dialed up to an 11 in this episode. He soon gets it in spades: Toby announces he’ll be taking a leave of absence to serve as a juror on a high-profile case and that corporate will be sending Holly as his temporary replacement. He goes all-out with a classy Christmas party to impress her, replacing colorful decorations with elegant ones, skipping CDs in favor of a live bassist, and swapping his Santa suit for a velvet smoking jacket. In preparation for her arrival, he completely scraps the Christmas party Pam had planned and asks her to re-throw it so it coincides with Holly’s arrival. Even though the bulk of the episode centers around Michael and Meredith, the true heroes are the ensemble. Instead, he attempts to check her into rehab, literally dragging her into the building kicking and screaming. From prank wars to “that’s what she said” to Fire Guy, it boasted countless running jokes, many of which are still great. They couldn’t have asked for a better first go. It’s the most negative Christmas episode of the entire series, which is not the feel-good emotion we expect from holiday TV. Even Stanley is in a good mood. But after nine seasons, it’s a genuinely sweet scene. As such, Dwight decides to serve everyone ample amounts of glühwein (a German mulled wine), hasenpfeffer (traditional German stew made from rabbit), and hog maw (stuffed pig stomach). Photo: NBC

This article was originally published in 2018 and is being republished in the spirit of the season. The news immediately sends Michael spiraling. 4. But if you love it, chances are you really love it. She encourages him once again to be patient. He tricks her into getting in his car, saying they’re going to a bar. Michael realizes he can’t tell them apart and doesn’t actually want to rebound with either of them, but not before singing “Your Body is a Wonderland” by John Mayer to both of them. “Secret Santa” (Season 6, 2009)

Michael is a baby; this we know. The success of this episode lies in the little moments, most of which come from Steve Carell: Michael donating his used bicycle to the toy drive; Michael wearing his Dunder Mifflin robe, a Christmas gift from corporate, around the office; Michael Photoshopping his head onto Carol’s ex-husband’s body in a family ski trip picture AND SENDING IT AS HIS CHRISTMAS CARD; Michael listening to the 30-second iTunes preview of “Goodbye My Lover” by James Blunt over and over, but not buying it; Michael calling Benihana “Asian Hooters”; Michael drawing a mark on his date’s arm so he can distinguish her from Andy’s date. Especially when Andy actually calls it out: “Mistletoe is not an excuse for sexual assault,” he warns. Pam, who has always shipped Michael and Holly, comforts Michael at his lowest and tells him about the ultimatum. Someone always gets a little too drunk at the Christmas party, but it’s hard to laugh when it treads into #MeToo territory. Dwight, unable to hide his happiness, embraces his former foe. The Office gave us so much in its nine-season run. 5. 3. 1. When the office is left partyless, he springs into action to plan an authentic Pennsylvania Dutch–themed Christmas and dresses up like Belsnickel, who is actually a real Saint Nicholas–type figure in Germany and not a character the writers just made up. He finally drops it when a cop escorts him out. Michael’s pride in his gift-giving and rule-breaking abilities is sky-high, but he’s immediately deflated when he opens his gift from Phyllis: a homemade oven mitt. Nobody has a single complaint. Also, fun fact: This episode was directed by the late Harold Ramis. We learn that she’s itching to move their relationship forward, but AJ can’t commit. Elsewhere, Darryl gets so drunk he collapses into the food table and Nellie kisses Toby to get him to stop talking about the Scranton Strangler. Believe it or not, there are only seven glorious Office Christmas episodes. Kelly, ever the busybody, urges Holly to give him an ultimatum: If he doesn’t propose by the end of the year (keep in mind that it’s already December), it’s over. “Christmas Party” set the bar high for all future holiday episodes. (Though he does utter one of the most criminally underrated lines in all nine seasons: “When you need my help because I’m ruining everything, don’t look at me.”) Instead, it’s filled with fat jokes, sexist comments, and uncomfortable moments that might not make it to air today, including Michael calling Phyllis “Tranny Claus.” By the time David Wallace delivers the good news that their jobs are safe despite the forthcoming sale of the company, I’m already uninvested. By the time the Christmas episode rolled around, the show had really hit its stride. Dwight is so upset when Jim leaves the party early that he cancels it altogether. Speaking of firsts, the bits and beats in this episode lay the groundwork for tons of recurring Christmas-episode jokes: a bizarre gift exchange; somebody getting a little too drunk (first up are Kelly, who kisses Dwight, and Meredith, who flashes Michael); Angela taking her duties as head of the Party Planning Committee too seriously; and Michael throwing a tantrum when things don’t go his way. Andy, Dunder Mifflin’s fearful new leader, desperately wants to make his employees happy. Jealous, he suits up as Santa anyway, trying to get people to sit on his lap and eventually drowning his Santa hat in the punch bowl in protest. When Holly finally arrives, it’s just as Michael imagined, except for one detail: She’s still dating AJ. He doesn’t try anything with her, but his intentions don’t seem entirely pure and live in some uncomfortable #MeToo gray areas. At this point, they’ve proved that they’re better when they’re working together, not against each other. This sends Michael into a tailspin. A portion of this episode takes place outside of the office, following Michael, Dwight, Jim, and Andy to Benihana for lunch. In the episode, everyone is buzzing about Secret Santa. Meanwhile, Jim and Dwight are chastised for their constant pranks on one another, which is a perfect metaphor for how lackluster they’ve become. Jokes aside, this is also probably the most divisive Office Christmas episode, as it focuses heavily on Meredith’s alcoholism. So, when Jim comes back, both Pam and Dwight are thrilled. Their desk-mate, Cathy, wants the pranks to stop. If the moment had come in an earlier season, it would be cheesy and out of character. But it’s also proof that when he messes up, he owns it and fixes things as only he can. It’s her way of further blackmailing Angela, whom she knows is cheating on her husband with Dwight. Here are the Christmas episodes of The Office, ranked in order of greatness. Jim is about to start his new job in Philadelphia and Pam is less than thrilled about the prospect of moving. And even if you did get party invites, skip ‘em and stay in to stream these instead. If you didn’t get invited to any Christmas parties this year, you’re always welcome to celebrate with your friends at Scranton’s best(ish) paper company, which is always waiting for you on Netflix. The Moroccan-themed Christmas party abruptly shifts gears to an intervention, though Meredith insists she’s not an alcoholic. And Erin’s Christmas wish? It couldn’t be more perfect. And she’s not the only one: Their high jinks were once a highlight of the show, but by season eight, they’ve run out of clever ideas. All in all, the episode is more dismal than cheerful. “Christmas Party” (Season 2, 2005)

When you think of Office Christmas episodes, this is probably the one that comes to mind first. She starts drinking when Michael makes her a “One of Everything,” which is equal parts Scotch, absinthe, rum, gin, vermouth, and triple sec, plus two packs of Splenda. Jim can’t wait to give Pam a teapot filled with thoughtful mementos and inside jokes; Kevin drew his own name and treated himself to a foot bath; Michael is bursting to give Ryan a brand-new video iPod, which at $400, goes significantly over the $20 limit. The boss dressed up like Santa, employees exchanged gifts, and someone inevitably got a little too drunk — and no, it wasn’t always Meredith. It’s one of the first examples that if Michael doesn’t get what he wants, he throws a fit. I dare you to watch it and not root for them to get together. Everything is almost too perfect, and Michael is craving drama. Michael disagrees and refuses to drop it. Related

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Tags: And considering this was the show’s first foray into what would become a nearly annual tradition, there’s something charming about its simplicity. He dresses like Santa and attempts to fulfill everybody’s holiday wishes, even though most of them are pretty suspicious. “A Benihana Christmas” (Season 3, 2006)

Everything just worked in season three. Even though Michael is the clear star here, Jim deserves an honorable mention for the squirmy faces he makes as he watches Pam and Karen form a friendship. Andy gets Michael’s mind off of his breakup with Carol by getting him drunk on Nog-a-sakes (one part eggnog, three parts sake) and encouraging flirtation with their waitress. “Moroccan Christmas” (Season 5, 2008)

This episode wins the award for best Christmas cold open and best Christmas prank, featuring Dwight falling into his gift-wrapped (by Jim) “desk” (which isn’t actually there). The Party Planning Committee could always be counted on to go all-out with highly specific themes, decorations, and treats to ensure it would be a night to remember. He buys Dwight an acre of property on the moon; he preemptively offers his designated driver services to Meredith, giving her permission to drink too much. In this case, that means buying 15 bottles of vodka to throw a Christmas rager, despite the fact that corporate has banned branches from serving alcohol at their parties. These holiday shenanigans resulted in some of the show’s funniest and most-loved episodes, and they’re all exceptional in their own right. But if there’s anything that can bring them back together, oddly, it’s Dwight. “Christmas Wishes” (Season 8, 2011)

This is the first Christmas episode without Michael Scott, and his absence is felt deeply. It starts the morning of the Christmas party with shockingly low stakes: The office is decorated, Gabe is handing out the corporate Christmas gift from Sabre, and Michael is wearing a Santa suit. In their final celebration, Phyllis cheekily “forgets” to plan a Christmas party. If Michael is going to be Mean Michael, he’d better at least deliver hilarious one-liners, but the writing mostly falls short. And one of the best recurring bits is the Dunder Mifflin annual Christmas party. Missing are season one, which began in March and only had six episodes total, and season four, which was interrupted by the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. Erin gets too drunk and accepts a ride home from the recently single and ready to mingle James Spader’s Robert California. 2. And every once in a while, his childishness takes a turn for the mean, and it isn’t fun to watch. The B-plot of Andy giving Erin the 12 Days of Christmas for Secret Santa is funny, sure, but not enough to bump the episode higher on the list. “Moroccan Christmas” might not be for you. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but somehow, it works. Here, he spends the majority of the episode in that too childlike state when Jim and Dwight, ill-suited heads of the Party Planning Committee, grant Phyllis the chance to dress up as Santa for the Christmas party. Michael Scott and the dreaded oven mitt.

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Nathan Fielder Runs a Hype House in This How to With John Wilson Making-of Clip

In a nine-minute short that Fielder posted to his YouTube channel on November 27, he talks about why he helped Wilson bring his style to television: “John’s really good at discovering things that you would probably normally ignore or just walk by. Watching How to With John Wilson, it makes sense that Fielder is one of the executive producers that brought it to HBO. But because he loves fostering new talent, he starts a hype house for photogenic teens. Both use the familiar draw of surface-level “awkward” comedic personas to get at some real weird observations about human behavior. Watch this clip if you wish The Vow was only nine minutes. But when you’re really forced to look at it, it really makes you think about how confusing modern life is.”

However, when Wilson explains his methodical, elaborate thinking behind a shot of bread dangling on a subway, Fielder starts to have second thoughts about the mass appeal of this whole How to With John Wilson thing. Nathan for You genius Nathan Fielder and indie filmmaker John Wilson are a perfect marriage of compatible sensibilities. As Fielder says, “TikTok is a children’s dancing app where children will upload videos of themselves dancing that children and adults can enjoy,” which, when he puts it that way, sounds kind of weird. He also restricts their caloric intake, wakes them up at odd hours to talk about their problems, isolates them from their parents, and has a gun. Related

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How John Wilson Made the Perfect COVID-Era TV Finale

I have to write, edit, and shoot all simultaneously. It feels good to have it out there; it seems like a lot of people can relate to it. It’s hard to say, because every single episode is different. The farther away from the concept the material is, sometimes the funnier it gets. I watched a lot of footage of 9/11, and the most interesting stuff is the stuff that’s not pointed at the towers. I haven’t been greenlit or anything yet, but just in case. It still feels like a prank. I would just self-release a movie and there’d be some chatter about it for a day or two, but nothing ever like this. We had a shot of the Two Guys Liquor Store awning. Do you have anything specifically in mind? It adds an exciting texture to the work, because you’re never really sure when you’re going to jump to a shared historical moment. And you need to move on. I checked his Instagram the week after I filmed that, and he was in the hospital with the coronavirus. Like the Hard Rock Hotel collapsing — that’s a point in time when you can look at a date and know when that happened. Sometimes the pieces of footage will be a punchline, so I’ll need to go back and write a joke leading up to that moment. Then we inventory all this material and shuffle stuff around to see where each moment would be most impactful in each episode. I just went in there and started filming and I started talking to the guys in there, and then I left. But she’s easy to please. I guess he only got up to Five Guys, but you get the idea. Related

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Tags: Maybe that was irresponsible, but we didn’t know how irresponsible it was. I hate to throw shade, but the way that COVID has been acknowledged in pop culture, I think a lot of people are doing it the wrong way. Who knows what the ending of the episode would’ve been if that didn’t happen. It’s moving to see the pandemic through the very small, personal scenes Wilson captures. What’s the writing process like? I’ll just drum up a conversation with someone and get this really great moment, and then my producers have to track them down and visit them in person and get them to sign a release. It’s all street level, and you’re seeing how people are behaving in delis and looking at TVs. I was staring straight at it in really claustrophobic spaces. Sure.It was a casual two years, but a hard 12 months, I’d say. I felt this incredible weight and pressure and responsibility to capture this extremely brief moment when everyone was really confused and the city was dark. But it doesn’t feel totally real, at the same time. Totally, yeah. I can’t tell if I got good at making risotto, because no one ever ended up eating it besides me and her. I don’t know if I can tell you exactly what she’s doing because it might be a spoiler for season two. The other stuff, you feel like you’re in this nebulous pre-COVID universe. The way the episode is structured, it feels like you have this idea about making risotto for your landlord, and then as COVID lockdowns happen, the story has to change to reflect the new reality. That’s what I like to do with my stuff — I like to vacillate between feeling timeless and also aggressively dated, in a minute-by-minute way sometimes. How do you feel about the show now that it’s out in the world? This COVID thing happens, which is such an insane natural story beat with all these built-in emotions, and it ended up making everything before it make sense in this weird way. Like the movie Medium Cool, the way it fits a fictional story into this real historical moment of the DNC in ‘68. But then this very naturally conclusive thing happened that we all shared. What’s the timeline of building an episode of this show? This moment where he’s debating with himself about whether pollution is an individual or a collective responsibility — we all as a society are starting to deal with our individual and collective responsibility to suppress this pandemic. Some of the conversations you have with people seem incredibly awkward. John Wilson in How to With John Wilson. Some were compact, while others were much more sprawling. I had emotionally prepared myself for that moment when he finally demonstrates the restoration device. That was just so cool — it’s not that my story is fictional, but to have a really interesting thing happening in the middle of this global moment. That was the strength of the episode — that maybe for the first time [the show] is on a historical track. So it worked in that way. He’s fine, yeah. Of course. Can you talk about writing the finale? I want everybody to have the same distance from me. I put myself in a lot of danger, at the same time. I never know what the ending of any episode is going to be. Yeah, the risotto episode had probably the most rigid timeline, because it was day by day at that point. I was treating that episode just like any other episode, just seeing where this banal subject took me. How long does it take to gather all the footage so you can build into an idea? Even the guy that I buy the pan from, at the yard sale. Going through the supermarket in that one really long shot, I realized in retrospect that the biggest superspreader event of all was probably the first grocery store rush. The timeline of the clips span about two years, and … I don’t know, it’s just so hard to calculate, because I jump so frequently between different parts of the timeline without even realizing it sometimes. That’s all the best stuff, you know? Oh wow, is he okay? The show is a comedic documentary, and like the rest of the series, the finale episode is full of strange, funny, small moments Wilson uses to illustrate his larger themes. It looked like a ceremony. I hope it makes people kinder to one another. In this weird way, he foreshadowed the struggle that was incoming, and our responsibility to each other to wear masks. I’ll shoot and I’ll have these tentpole ideas, whether it’s small talk or scaffolding. [In the finale, Wilson has a conversation with a man who drives a giant diesel truck about why he enjoys driving a vehicle that pollutes so much.] Then COVID happened and the editor and I, Adam [Locke-Norton], are looking at this material and thinking Oh my gosh. I’ll let you know whether I’ve perfected the recipe. That was a really frightening moment. Watching the episode for the first time, I was struck by how powerful it is to see COVID as Wilson depicts it — not as a breaking-news headline, but as something that changes an entire city’s behavior. We were not wearing masks; some people were wearing gloves. It doesn’t feel different to me — talking to the foreskin guy was like talking to the travel agent. That’s what I do, every day. I really wanted the COVID stuff to feel like a departure from anything else people are working on right now. I hope it changes the way people see the world around them. Talking to the foreskin guy was actually way easier than talking to someone randomly on the street. I cannot explain why it worked, or how these things found me, or how I found these people. He’s alive. Uh … it could take a lifetime. What I was not prepared for was the dick pulley on the bed. Magoo style, on non-official shoot days. What makes the episode particularly remarkable is that as Wilson struggles with cooking the dish and tries to distract himself from the difficulty of quitting, New York City goes into lockdown as the coronavirus crisis hits. I think the last thing people want is more Zoom interface in their life. We were basically done with every episode except for the finale, and it wasn’t necessarily designed to be the finale. He gets a stranger to teach him how to make risotto. I was panicking when I was quitting smoking because I was already feeling crazy because of the withdrawal. I like centering the work around moments that we all have a relationship with. We were in all these crowded spaces, so I was able to expand a much more compact timeline. I would have very small premieres on Vimeo. You could not fake the different ways that people were behaving. Sure, maybe one person not wearing a mask may not do much on the grand scale, but we have to zoom out. Did you ever get good at making risotto? That’s the only real-world evidence that the show is out there for me. I’m glad she’s doing well, though. Sometimes they don’t care about scaffolding, or sometimes they’ll start talking to me about their divorce. When I spoke with Wilson before the finale aired, I did ask him how his landlord is doing now. I didn’t necessarily know what I was going to do with the exhaust pipe guy. Creating a story while the world is changing around you seems like a challenge. Nothing like this has ever happened to me. That’s also the beauty of the format — that it can be reduced to a single person, and it doesn’t look any different, because it always looks like shit. When you film strangers, do you have to get permission to use footage of them in the show? A lot of my favorite documentaries and movies do this really well, and I’ve always admired their ability to do that. Is that how it actually went, or was that an arc you were able to build in after the fact? He talks with a guy who drives a diesel truck about his truck’s pollution-belching exhaust pipe. I’ll always have these ideas front of my mind, all the time. I was just thinking about how you were able to look him up on Instagram after shooting, and how the series really forces this perspective where you present your acquaintances and friends and loved ones in exactly the same way you do strangers. She’s good! Do you start with an idea and shoot material for it, or is it more that the idea develops out of looking at material you already have? But sometimes I’ll have to go shoot a bunch of stuff to ramp up to that moment. Everybody was indoors. I like to give everybody the same treatment, whether it’s my friend who I’m going to dinner with or Kyle MacLachlan fumbling to get into a subway station. It’s an extremely complex, exhausting process that nearly drove me to the point of insanity a couple of times. But I also asked him about the experience of making this episode, and more broadly, how he tackles the process of creating a series like this, a show that’s painstakingly constructed but also relies almost entirely on coincidence. When I was envisioning this series, I didn’t have a neat, tidy wrap-up in mind. Is that a difficult barrier to push through, making yourself talk to people in such a direct way? He accidentally sets his risotto pan on fire. People get too caught up in trying to establish characters, and it makes it more kaleidoscopic to just be drifting in and out all the time. It turns out that it did end up saying something profound about everything I thought I had learned about the course of the whole season. It just so happened with how it fell in the production schedule that I was trying to quit smoking in this risotto episode, and then the virus happened. Yeah, that seems to be a common question about the show. Like yesterday, I was just walking by the barbershop and there was this huge parakeet in the middle of the room, with a bunch of people getting their hair cut around it. I look at my phone and I see people talking about it, but it still doesn’t feel real to me. That was not advertised. It feels like one of the much more compact episodes, both thematically and in terms of the timing. Keeping it mysterious, making it a little opaque, makes it more interesting. Yeah, I have no real problem with it. I feel like with COVID, everyone’s pointed in the same direction, and I realized when it started happening that I had this opportunity to document it in this way that no one else maybe had the foresight to document it. How is your landlord doing? What was the timeline of making the finale like? The idea of spending all day on Zoom for work, and then watching a show that is also in Zoom, it feels like such a miserable cycle to be in. When I start talking to someone, sometimes I’ll cycle through a few different ideas. I almost resisted it for most of the production. But somehow it worked, over and over and over again. I mean, the foreskin guy feels notable. Is it it difficult to negotiate presenting that onscreen? I was recognized in the supermarket once, but that was pretty much it. I was joking around with one of the second unit people, Nate Truesdell, and I was like “It’d be so funny if there was a guy restaurant for every number of guys.” He spent a couple days going out and shooting every guy restaurant there is. That guy — there were twins there, and that second guy that I pan to, I think he just had COVID. COVID made writing that episode a lot easier. One thing that felt so effective about it was that so much of the COVID TV I’ve seen in the last few months has been looking straight at the thing — Zoom episodes, social-distance plotting … Yeah. That’s the only way you can do it, which is scary for a producer, because on paper, it seems impossible to replicate something that relies on so much coincidence. But also after shooting all day, I’ll just go and watch all the B-roll that I shot, that the second unit shot, and make selects. Who knows if I’ll use it, but I don’t like to stick with anything too long. A lot of us weren’t really taking the virus that seriously before the shutdown began. The selects are usually just the inherently funniest, or most beautiful images for me. I was worried that I wouldn’t have a satisfying arc here, and I felt lost. I try to write jokes to those pieces of footage. “How to Cook the Perfect Risotto” becomes even more poignant as Wilson’s landlord is hospitalized, and he worries that he waited too long to take on this project, to make this meaningful gesture of how much he cares about her. I like just dropping into a conversation, and you’re not really sure how we got there but something interesting happens, and then we’re out of it just as quickly. I was going to make risotto this Friday for the finale, but that might be the first time I ever serve it to anybody. What’s it like to watch people watching it?It’s really surreal seeing people watch this and respond to it. Photo: Courtesy of HBO

The finale of John Wilson’s HBO series How to With John Wilson is called “How to Cook the Perfect Risotto,” and over the course of the episode, Wilson embarks on a mission to cook risotto for his aging landlord while also quitting smoking. Sometimes I make that really annoying for my production team, because I’ll be bumbling around, Mr. But I couldn’t jump around as much in there, because you would notice. Basically every single person with a speaking role has a release. Footage of a corpse being pulled out of a house could’ve been shot in any year!

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Categories: Entertainment News

Eric Clapton Joins Van Morrison for New ‘Anti-Lockdown’ Song ‘Stand and Deliver’

Half of my friends were Black, I dated a Black woman, and I championed Black music.” The singer blamed his past comments on addiction and a deep self-loathing. The alternative is not worth thinking about. “We must stand up and be counted because we need to find a way out of this mess. The track, titled “Stand and Deliver,” was written by the “Brown-Eyed Girl” singer and will be performed by Clapton. Get the foreigners out. Morrison also previously released three “anti-lockdown” songs earlier this fall, including “Born to Be Free,” “As I Walked Out,” and (in case you weren’t clear on the message of the musician’s most recent work) “No More Lockdown.” Proceeds from the new single, set to drop on December 4, will go to Morrison’s Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund to benefit musicians. Get the coons out,” Clapton told the crowd, according to the Daily Beast. I used to be into dope. Get the wogs out. “Stop Britain from becoming a Black colony. Now I’m into racism.”

In 2018, the musician expressed regret for his “chauvinistic” comments at a Q&A following a London screening of Lili Zanuck’s bio-doc Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars. Live music might never recover.”

For some, the announcement called to mind (or, sadly, introduced fans to) the extremely racist comments Clapton made during a 1976 Birmingham concert, comments that helped inspire Britain’s Rock Against Racism movement that same year. Said Clapton, “I sabotaged everything I got involved with.”



Tags: Photo: Listen To The Lion/Lobeline Communcations via Getty Images

According to Variety, Van Morrison and Eric Clapton will be releasing a new “anti-lockdown” song next month, at precisely the moment many cities are shutting down once again to stave off a climb in COVID-19 cases, to support Morrison’s “Save Live Music” campaign. “Keep Britain white. Said a “disgusted” Clapton, “I was so ashamed of who I was, a kind of semi-racist, which didn’t make sense. “There are many of us who support Van and his endeavors to save live music; he is an inspiration,” Clapton said in a statement Friday.

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It’s No Cats, But Idris Elba’s Paul McCartney Holiday Special Sounds Purrrfect

Looking forward to sitting with you, Paul.”

The hour-long special does not have a release date as of yet. Cats Is Bad. The pair will reportedly film their interview in London over the next couple weeks, COVID restrictions permitting, and depending on how long it takes them to CGI everyone’s buttholes into the final version. “I am a massive fan of Paul’s! According to Variety, the Cats star will be interviewing Paul McCartney for an upcoming BBC One and BBC Music holiday special, ahead of the former Beatle’s upcoming album, McCartney III. Sources



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Cats Is Good. The special will reportedly focus on McCartney’s “career as one of the most successful musicians and composers in pop-music history.”

“When I was asked if I wanted to speak to Paul McCartney, after I realized it wasn’t a joke, I immediately said yes — who wouldn’t?!,” Elba said in a statement. What an honour! Cats Is Cats. His work has inspired and driven me as a musician, and once I get through the shock of sharing the stage with him, I’m excited to talk about his music and craft. Tags: Photo: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

It’s no visit to the uncanny valley by way of Skimbleshanks’s railway train, but Idris Elba is still delivering a holiday present for you and yours this December.

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Amazon’s Utopia Comes to an End After One Season

The show, starring John Cusack, Rainn Wilson, and Jessica Rothe, among others, followed the plot of Dennis Kelly’s 2013 series, in which a group of comic-book fans discover that a graphic novel, and its unpublished sequel, have correctly predicted real-life catastrophes and epidemics, including a viral pandemic currently threatening the planet. In her Vulture review, Kathryn VanArendonk calls Utopia “weirdly, upsettingly topical.” Maybe the show will find a new home in the future, when that isn’t quite so true. Either way, according to Deadline, the streaming platform has canceled the series, adapted by Gone Girl author and screenwriter Gillian Flynn from the 2013 British series of the same name, after one season. Sources


Tags: Photo: Amazon Prime Video

Between the dark conspiracy theories, violence, global pandemic, and impending apocalypse, it would seem Amazon Prime Video’s Utopia was the wrong show at the exact wrong moment. As if that wasn’t scary enough, their realization makes them the target of the shadowy organization the Network and Mr. That, or everyone just had a lot going on this fall. Rabbit. The show premiered on the service on September 25.

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Wake Up From Your Thanksgiving Food Coma to J.Lo’s New Single ‘In the Morning’


If You’re Feeling ‘Lonely,’ J.Lo and Maluma’s AMAs Set Is Not Going to Help

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JLo and Maluma Duet on ‘Pa Ti’ and ‘Lonely,’ Drop Two-Part Music Video

Tags: The singer announced the impending arrival of “In the Morning” earlier this week, following her American Music Awards performance of “Pa’ Ti” and “Lonely” with Maluma, where the pair spent almost as much time on that table as your cranberry sauce did Thursday. Last week, Billboard announced that Lopez will receive an Icon Award during their annual Women in Music event on December 10, right around the same time you’ll be finishing off that 12-pound turkey you inexplicably made for yourself and the one other person you live with. What better captive audience could there be than a nation, glued to the sofa for 24 hours, as we slowly digest yesterday’s meal, anaconda style? Photo: Kevin Mazur/AMA2020/Getty Images for dcp

The category is always Body when Jennifer Lopez is involved, as the singer proved on Wednesday with the single cover art for her new song “In the Morning,” but J.Lo clearly had your body in mind when she scheduled the single to drop today, the Friday after Thanksgiving.

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What’s Leaving Netflix: December 2020

The time has finally come: The Office is leaving Netflix. (Oh, and then there’s John Mulaney as Spider-Ham, and Johnson’s very relatable Peter B. Cloud (2010)ConeheadsDefinitely, MaybeDennis the MenaceDrugs, Inc.: Season 6The Dukes of HazzardEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindFargoFor Love or MoneyFridaGossip Girl: Seasons 1-6Grand Hotel: Seasons 1-3HerHow the Grinch Stole ChristmasThe Inbetweeners: Seasons 1-3Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullIndiana Jones and the Last CrusadeIndiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost ArkIndiana Jones and the Temple of DoomThe InterviewLemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate EventsNacho LibreNot Another Teen MovieThe NotebookOctonauts: Seasons 1-3The Office : Seasons 1-9PoltergeistPride & PrejudiceSession 9SpliceStarsky & HutchSuperman ReturnsThe TownTroyWarGamesThe Witches

For more coverage of the best movies and TV shows available on Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Max, Peacock, Disney+, and Showtime check out Vulture’s What to Stream Now hub, which is updated throughout the month. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Produced by comedic duo Chris Miller and Phil Lord and directed by Peter Ramsey, Bob Persichetti, and Rodney Rothman, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse literally drips with style. Full List of What’s Leaving Netflix — December 2020

Noteworthy selections in bold. Photo: Walt Disney

This Month’s Highlights

The Office

The time has finally come: Everyone’s favorite “I may as well put on an episode while I eat this takeout pad thai” sitcom is leaving Netflix once and for all. Parker.) But, at the heart of this film is Mile Morales, an Afro-Latino high schooler in Brooklyn who gets bitten by a radioactive spider while exploring the abandoned subway tunnels with his Uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali). At the turn of the year, the show will hop over to Peacock, but until then, you can try to binge as much of the show as possible — including all the superb Christmas episodes! Its eye-popping visuals and bold, vibrant colors sucked audiences in the second it slinged its way into theaters and rode that wave to its Oscar win and beyond. It’s incredibly endearing and flat out fun, and after the year we’ve had, it’s a much needed cap off for 2020. For all our streaming guides and Netflix picks, head to Vulture’s What to Stream hub. The animated film even introduced the complex idea of multiverses and a whole slew of oddball characters like Gwen Stacey as Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld), the black-and-white Spider-Noir (Nicolas Cage), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), and her robot spider pal SP//dr. Leaving December 1

HeartbreakersThe Lobster

Leaving December 4

Cabin FeverDr. — through the rest of December. Each month, several films and TV shows leave Netflix’s library; we recommend titles to watch before they’re gone. Related

The 100 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now

The 100 Best TV Shows on Netflix Right Now

Tags: Seuss’ The Grinch

Leaving December 5

The Rum Diary

Leaving December 6

The Secret

Leaving December 7

Berlin, I Love YouThe Art of the Steal

Leaving December 8

Sin senos sí hay paraíso: Seasons 1-3

Leaving December 10

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2

Leaving December 14

Hart of Dixie: Seasons 1-4

Leaving December 17

Ip Man 3

Leaving December 22

The Little Hours

Leaving December 24

The West Wing: Seasons 1-7

Leaving December 25

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Leaving December 27


Leaving December 28


Leaving December 29

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Leaving December 30

Dexter: Seasons 1-8Hell on Wheels: Seasons 1-5Ip Man Ip Man 2 Nurse Jackie: Seasons 1-7

Leaving December 31

Airplane!An EducationAnna KareninaBaby Mama Back to the Future Back to the Future Part II Back to the Future Part III Bad Teacher Barbershop Being John Malkovich Cape Fear Casper Charlie St.

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Allow Drew Barrymore to Introduce You to Her Chickens

This was the perfect opportunity for Drew to share photos of her chickens, Sparkles, Ferdinand, Percy, and Blanche. On the November 24 episode of The Drew Barrymore Show, Paul Scheer made an appearance to talk turkey on America’s Most Trusted News Source, Drew’s News. Daenerys was the Mother of Dragons. Drew said, “I love these chickens so much, like I’m way, way, way too attached to them.” Drew also shared a fun fact about how to pet a chicken against her will: “When chickens are laying their eggs, fun fact, they don’t move and you can totally pet them.” Drew fantasizes about putting Christmas sweaters on her chickens because “you can almost do anything to them when they’re laying eggs,” but Scheer brings up a good point: “How do we know these chickens aren’t Jewish? Scheer acted as an unofficial New York Magazine correspondent, sharing an article about online photography classes he saw on The Strategist. They also spoke about holiday sweaters for chickens, because we as a society are running out of new trends. Drew Barrymore is the Mother of Chickens. We don’t know.” So if Drew shows up on TV next week and announces she’s celebrating Hanukkah with her chickens, don’t be surprised. Pepper was the Mother of the House of LaBeija. Related

Drew Barrymore Does Not Understand How Birdhouses Work


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The Mandalorian Recap: The Secret Origin of Baby Grogu

This week, however, we get a flood of new information, all of it wrapped inside a compact, visually striking, samurai movie-inspired story that makes the strongest connections yet between this series and the animated Star Wars series for which The Mandalorian executive producer Dave Filoni served as a major creative force. But where did the name come from? • So… Grogu. Bounty Pucks

• The name Grand Admiral Thrawn has a long history in the Star Wars universe. Tano may be a ruthless fighter, but she’s still a Jedi and can’t bring herself to see innocent blood shed. Her name, we’ll learn later, is Morgan Elsbeth, and she and Ahsoka Tano seem to have a history. There’s probably no compelling story reason for Mando to return to Calodan, but it would be nice to see it again. • So what, if any, Jedi will show up on Tython? Does Elsbeth tell her? Prior to “Chapter 13: The Jedi,” viewers knew The Child’s age, the planet on which Mando found him, the fact that the Imperial remnants led by Moff Gideon wanted his blood for some dark purpose, and that he had some powers. Tano battles her way into the fortress and uses a piece of Mando’s armor to suggest he’s dead. Created by novelist Timothy Zahn in the 1991 novel Heir to the Empire, he’s one of the few major extended universe elements to be brought back into the canon after the Disney purchase. VULTURE NEWSLETTER
Keep up with all the drama of your favorite shows! He would, too, if he truly wanted to take out Tano. Beyond that, Morgan Elsbeth makes for a pretty compelling villain. It seems we’re now to call The Child Grogu. “Then Grogu may choose his path,” Tano says. “They’ll never see it coming.”

And they don’t. That exchange quietly ups the stakes for the whole series: What if Grogu breaks bad? That’s a problem for the future, however. And why not? For now, it’s time to take out Elsbeth. And, given that there are so few, will they have any connection to what Luke and Leia have been up to since the fall of the Empire? Its two syllables resemble Yoda’s name. She’s outnumbered and outgunned. Could that provide a tighter connection to Mando’s adventures in the Outer Rim and the rise (and fairly rapid fall) of the New Republic? After losing her people in the Clone Wars, Elsbeth threw in with the Empire and helped build the Imperial Starfleet. Inside the fortress Mando finds Elsbeth living in luxury just a few feet (and a heavy wall) away from those she oppresses. Did he name Grogu? Looks like they’re at a stalemate. Is she still alive? Leading Elsbeth to believe he’s taken the job without explicitly committing to killing Tano, Mando heads into the woods after a terse exchange with Lang. • Maybe that’s because Rosario Dawson is so good as Tano. This is not a nice place to visit and you definitely wouldn’t want to live there. Tano won’t say that master’s name, however, until later in that episode, after the ensuing skirmish prompts Mando to make his entrance and leads to Tano and Elsbeth squaring off inside the fortress while Mando and Lang do the same outside the wall. And though Mando has been on Tano’s side from the start, she explains why Elsbeth is even worse than the small-town warlord she appears to be. It’s not quite that simple, however. The two of them obviously need to take her out. Her father, Dan Inosanto, trained with Bruce Lee.) It’s great to see Michael Biehn as Lang, too, but his character seems to have met his end. Filoni serves as writer and director of “The Jedi,” which opens with a rare extended sequence in which Mando and the Child play no role. And Tano has no idea what race he belongs to, having previously only met one other being who resembles him, a Jedi Master named Yoda. At least her enemies on the ground don’t stand a chance. And, lest they forget it, Elsbeth has posted three prisoners in electric constraints just outside her citadel. And though Tano can’t speak to him directly, they can feel each other’s thoughts. She has a lot of blood on her hands and, Tano suspects, has maintained her connection to some shady Imperial characters. Neither of the bad guys prevails, and while there’s no ambiguity around Lang’s fate — he ends up dead on the street after trying to double-cross Mando — it’s not clear what happens to Elsbeth after Tano asks her the location of the enemy she’s hunting, Grand Admiral Thrawn. But at least Calodan looks likely to have a brighter future under the command of a new governor (a man who’s helped Mando and Tano out throughout the episode). They live in poverty and under the threat of violence thanks to Elsbeth’s iron hand. Oh, and that he tried to eat everything. And there’s at least some hope that Grogu will get the training he needs. When Mando replies he keeps “it” around for luck Lang tells him he’ll need it where he’s heading. The Mandalorian
The Jedi

Season 2

Episode 35

Editor’s Rating

4 stars



Photo: Disney+

Given how little we’ve learned about The Child up until now, it seemed possible — likely, even — that The Mandalorian would keep withholding his backstory indefinitely, dropping nuggets of information now and again but withholding most of the key details (like The Child’s proper name). That’s a lot of backstory to reveal all at once for a character previously shrouded in darkness, but The Mandalorian stops well short of filling in all the Grogu blanks. They have good reason to be scared. The memory of Yoda makes her smile, but she follows it up with some bad news the next day. Whether he makes an appearance on The Mandalorian remains to be seen. Calodan’s a memorable location, too. The barren forest and ever present mist create a mysterious atmosphere only enriched by details like the large, cattle-like creatures we only see from a distance and in shadows. Then she reminds Elsbeth she can make all this go away if Elsbeth reveals the location of her master. (In many ways she’s carrying on the family business. After engaging in an obligatory (but extremely well-staged) tussle, the Jedi and the bounty hunter realize they’re both on the same side of this struggle. Last episode, Mando was told to go to a planet called Calodan to look for Ahsoka Tano, but our heroes are nowhere to be seen in the opening scenes. Then the Mandalorian learns a lot about his charge all at once. And given the way the Child is now using his Force powers to steal the Razor Crest control knob with which he’s been obsessed for so long, maybe he won’t even miss the little guy. They’ve got a fully repaired Razor Crest and a new sense of purpose now that Mando has a name and location he believes will bring him closer to completing his mission of placing the Child in a loving Jedi home where he can be raised right. If Mando takes him to a ruined temple on Tython it might prompt one of the few remaining Jedi to show up and offer assistance. Enter: The Mandalorian and the Child, both looking better rested and readier for adventure than they have for a few episodes. She has a deal for him: take out Tano and in return she’ll give him a spear made of pure beskar. She’s well played by Diana Lee Inosanto, who has had a long, interesting history alternating acting roles with stunt work and serving as a martial arts trainer. Not only can she not train him in the ways of the Force, his fear and anger makes him vulnerable to the sort of emotions that can corrupt a Jedi, and Tano’s seen what can happen when a Jedi surrenders to such feelings. If he’s hungry, he steals food or, worse yet, eats the nice eggs treasured by the Frog Lady. • Other nice bits of staging: the way Mando and Lang listen to the battle between Elsbeth and Tano and figure out the victor by sound alone, and the shots of Tano fighting in a haze with only her lightsabers visible. • The Mandalorian always looks good, but Filoni really outdoes himself with this episode with its memorable action sequences and striking compositions, like Tano and Grogu framed against the moon. Tags: The intimidating magistrate (Diana Lee Inosanto) commanding those scouts from high atop a wall surrounding a nearby town, however, remains another story. What path he’ll choose, however, remains one mystery The Mandalorian likely won’t answer for a while. The Child even pricks up his ears and coos when Mando calls him by that name. “What is that thing?,” his new acquaintance asks. Her enemies don’t stand a chance. Sure, he’s adorable but he’s also willful and possesses a moral compass that whirls all over the place. And though Tano displays incredible skills fighting with two lightsabers and gets the better of Elsbeth’s foot soldiers, Elsbeth has other advantages, like a fortress, a couple of droid assassins, a deep reserve of troops, and a right-hand man named Lang (Michael Biehn) with a seriously scary grimace. Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. Further complicating matters, it’s Grogu’s attachment to Mando that’s stoking those dark feelings. A creature that powerful could do some real harm if he set his mind to it. She wants information. But doesn’t it almost seem like this episode could be setting up a Ahsoka Tano spin-off? So why is Tano messing around with her in the first place? Email

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Terms of Service apply. Instead, “The Jedi” introduces the Jedi that gives the episode its title, Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), who’s in the process of fighting a bunch of heavily armed scouts in a misty forest. As powerful as Grogu is, he remains undisciplined and unfocused, having hidden his abilities to survive. His memory “becomes… dark” after he was taken from the Jedi temple. We can’t actually see Mando’s eyes light up from behind his mask, but it’s safe to assume they do. On Calodan they find a town living in fear and citizens afraid even to talk to outsiders. That remains unclear at the episode’s end. (The episode’s subtitles even switch to that name after it’s been revealed.) That’s less awkward than The Child and more accurate than Baby Yoda. (She doesn’t say the name “Anakin,” but his memory clearly haunts her.) It’s better just to let his abilities fade. The Child, er, Grogu grew up on Coruscant in the Jedi temple where “many Masters trained him over the years.” When Coruscant went sideways at the end of the Clone Wars, Grogu was spirited away to safety. But Elsbeth has leverage in the form of prisoners and a demonstrated willingness to execute them to keep Tano at bay. “A Mandalorian and a Jedi?,” Mando says. The Child’s real name is Grogu. He’d never work for Elsbeth, but he’s not above pretending to get what he wants.

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Categories: Entertainment News

Oscar Futures: An Elegy for Amy Adams’s Chances

In our “Oscar Futures” column, we’ll let you in on insider gossip, parse brand-new developments, and track industry buzz to figure out who’s up, who’s down, and who’s currently leading the race for a coveted Oscar nomination. And in two weeks of limited release, it hasn’t made much of a splash at the box office. Plus, if the Academy streaming hub lists films alphabetically, the film may find its audience by default. “The late actor pours every ounce of himself, emotionally and physically, into his final performance,” says THR’s David Rooney, while EW’s Leah Greenblatt calls him “a pointed arrow of hurt, hope, and untapped fury, heartbreakingly alive in every scene.” It still feels too early to anoint a front-runner, but if you were going to …


Colin Firth, Supernova
Harry Maqueen’s “tasteful tearjerker” about a middle-aged gay couple dealing with one partner’s early-onset dementia has been garnering praise for both its leading men, and this week Bleecker Street revealed the all-important matter of which of them will run in which category. He sidesteps much of the political baggage that surrounds J.D. Current Predix

Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman; Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy; Olivia Colman, The Father; Amanda Seyfried, Mank; Yuh-jung Youn, Minari

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Sophia Loren, The Life Ahead
Her performance as an elderly Holocaust survivor in this Italian drama had pundits pegging Loren as a possible threat in the grande-dame lane of the Best Actress race. Good as Boseman is in Spike Lee’s Vietnam epic, nominating him for his second-to-last performance just has a little less juice. Even

Saoirse Ronan, Ammonite
I confess I’m not sure what to make of Ammonite. are tourists here,” writes Matt Zoller Seitz, “so it’s understandable that the movie wouldn’t have the nerve to put its foot down on the tonal accelerator … even though the movie occasionally cries out for that approach.” A past Best Director winner, Howard seems unlikely to crack the category this year. Current Predix

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman; Frances McDormand, Nomadland; Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman; Kate Winslet, Ammonite

Best Supporting Actor


Stanley Tucci, Supernova
While Firth runs in lead, Tucci will compete in Supporting as his afflicted lover. “Howard & Co. Best Picture


Hillbilly Elegy
In keeping with the spirit of Thanksgiving, Netflix kindly served critics a freshly roasted Hillbilly Elegy and let them carve it up themselves. It says something that even Amy Adams’s own fans don’t want the actress to win her long-awaited trophy for Hillbilly Elegy. Current Predix

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7; Charles Dance, Mank; Bill Murray, On the Rocks; Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami; David Strathairn, Nomadland

Best Supporting Actress


Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
I’m old enough to remember the time Kathy Bates got nominated for Richard Jewell, so I’m by no means writing off Close in this category. Per THR’s Stephen Dalton, the American actor is “in particularly nimble form, eloquently invoking a deep emotional hinterland with a single glance or subtle shift in body language.” A nom this year would undo one of the weirdest pieces of modern Oscar trivia: that Tucci’s sole nomination came for The Lovely Bones. Critics have singled out the film’s tour de force performances for special praise, and if Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman have as much heat in their respective categories as currently appears, it will be hard to deny Ma Rainey a spot at the big table as well. (As Robert Hamer writes, one unfortunate by-product of awards-season gamesmanship is that while straight love stories get to campaign both their stars in the big categories, same-sex romances usually have to bump one of their co-leads down to Supporting.) As the healthy half, Firth will run in Best Actor for a performance that Guy Lodge says demonstrates “new cracks and quivers in his stiff-upper-lip persona.”

Current Predix

Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami; Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Anthony Hopkins, The Father; Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods; Gary Oldman, Mank

Best Actress


Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy
It says something that even Amy Adams’s own fans don’t want the actress to win her long-awaited trophy for his one. But Neon appears to have high hopes for the film, and both actress races are open enough, especially for stars as Oscar-pedigreed as Ronan and Kate Winslet. But this week, Italy announced it would submit the documentary Notturno in Best International Film instead. Up

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Speaking of, the embargo on the streamer’s August Wilson adaptation lifted last weekend, and it currently sits at an impressive 98 percent fresh on RottenTomatoes. A win here on her seventh nomination would go down in Oscars infamy, but the Adams Hive can probably relax: She currently sits in eighth place in GoldDerby’s expert odds and is dropping fast. Even

George C. Down

Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods
An actor with two award-worthy performances in a single year can sometimes be nominated twice. Owen Gleiberman calls her “actually quite meticulous,” and I suspect that “actually” will be the operative word in Close’s campaign this year. As we saw with Portrait of a Lady on Fire, that’s the kind of snag that can derail an Oscar campaign before it even gets going. “There’s no subtlety behind her mania; you see her suffering writ large in big, snotty tears, but you don’t feel it,” writes Stephanie Zacharek. (See Scarlett Johansson.) But it’s more likely that one will get subsumed by the other, and I predict that’s what will happen here. “The film is like a package of assorted chicken parts that can’t be assembled back into something approximating the shape of an actual animal,” says Vulture’s Alison Wilmore, while A.O. Photo-Illustration: Vulture and Netflix

Every week between now and March 15, when the Academy Award nominations are announced, Vulture will consult its crystal ball to determine the changing fortunes of this year’s Oscars race. But those films also inspired plenty of passion in their defenders, and I’m unconvinced Ron Howard’s muddled bildungsroman will be able to spur viewers’ emotions the same way. Wolfe, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Among the Ma Rainey reviews, critics like Slate’s Karen Han do note that the film “can’t quite escape feeling stagey at times.” Which makes sense: Wolfe is best known for his theater work. Vance’s memoir, but his polite distance lends a certain hollowness to the film’s depiction of working-class Ohio. The Victorian fossil romance premiered at the virtual festivals, where it was damned with muted praise. As Vance’s volatile mother, Adams turns in a performance where the Oscar ambitions are as obvious as her wig. Scott reaches for a different culinary metaphor, calling it a “strange stew of melodrama, didacticism and inadvertent camp.” Becoming a critical punching bag need not be the end of a movie’s Oscar hopes; remember that the backlashes that hit Joker and Green Book ultimately didn’t hurt them much come nomination morning. Current Predix

Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, Minari, Nomadland, One Night in Miami, Soul, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Director


Ron Howard, Hillbilly Elegy
Much of the blame for the Elegy misfire seems to lay at the feet of Howard, a respected studio filmmaker who was nevertheless probably the wrong choice for the material. See All

Tags: Current Predix

David Fincher, Mank; Regina King, One Night in Miami; Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods; Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7; Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Best Actor


Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
The raves keep coming for Boseman in Ma Rainey. With Netflix enjoying a wealth of Best Picture contenders this year, it would be all too easy for it to cut its losses on this one. (Though he did direct Nights in Rodanthe.) With Regina King’s One Night in Miami also making the jump from stage to screen, expect the “Is it cinematic enough?” debate to factor heavily in this race. As Vance’s heroic Mawmaw, the seven-time nominee doesn’t have much to do but grit her teeth and dispense folksy aphorisms about Terminators, but she does it all with a professional aplomb.

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Santa Calls in Backup in the Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special Trailer

A snowman in a protective face mask. This trailer has it all: Tiffany Haddish holding a very large book. Apple TV+ describes it thusly: “the Special finds the world faced with a holiday cheer crisis, which the North Pole knows only one person can solve: Santa’s great friend, Mariah Carey. A socially-distanced gospel choir, each member standing on a platform six feet apart from the next. Combining musical performances, dynamic dancing and groundbreaking animation, the undisputed Queen of Christmas jumps into action to create a holiday spectacular to make the whole world merry.” The special streams on December 4. Mariah Carey did not even wait for us to digest our turkey before hitting us with the official trailer for Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special, but we’re not mad about it. And apparently… the light veneer of a plot? Billy Eichner as an elf. Related

Mariah Carey Adds Two Little Helpers to ‘Oh Santa!’ Remix

Tags: Santa Snoop. Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson performing as Carey’s back-up singers (how very dare she!) on what appears to be a recycled CGI set from The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

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The Great British Baking Show Season Finale Recap: Bubble Over

Though all the individual pieces of Laura’s rainbow tower are triumphant — the carrot-walnut cake is “heavenly,” the key lime “zingy,” the macarons “delicate,” the Chelsea buns “squashy” — it does not come together as a coherent dessert, and she does not win. The one thing you have to know about Laura is that her custard did not set. It will feature a cone-shaped Rice Krispies Christmas tree decorated with tiny Christmas puddings and orange-and-chocolate checkered biscuit “presents,” atop a festive sea of blackberry and lemon choux buns, which in turn is balanced on a Victoria sponge. This, he explains, will represent uncertainty but also joy. It is 34 degrees in the tent, which is European for “93.2 degrees.”

Everybody’s walnut whirls are too soft, and two of three are melted, but Laura’s is the worst. “We’ve seen stranger things in the tent before,” offers Paul, half-heartedly. Instead of friends and family and eliminated bakers, the finale picnic is attended this year by an army of production staff, who have spent these weeks together in the bubble, making Bake Off happen. “We Are Young” swells, and we catch up with our old friends. In the end, it comes down to the showdown we all knew it would: Peter’s random bonkers bubble Christmas extravaganza versus Dave’s monument to past disappointment. In the morning, it is raining — but don’t worry, it’s still hot. And they have done it. Peter’s blackberry choux buns are exquisite, but his Victoria sponge is drier than Prue would prefer. For their finale Showstoppers, the bakers will each construct a “Tower of Treats,” with a giant cake on bottom and layers of other desserts on top, showcasing at least three different baking disciplines to pay homage to their time on this show. The challenges were too desperate. Sura and Mark and Laura and Dave hung out around the fire pit at Lottie’s house, and Hermine went to visit Marc, and Peter returned to university, and Dave had his baby, and then, like Laura in the freezer, I wept real tears for the first time all season. Raspberry profiteroles, to make up for his lackluster eclairs. “All I want,” he offers humbly, “is the perfect of whatever they choose to do.”

Laura gets to work on a “Rainbow Dessert Tower,” which she explains is inspired by her favorite G.K. She represents the reality of home baking, which is messy; Dave and Peter, with their expertly feathered Florentines and their perfect Battenbergs, are like Instagram — too manicured to be interesting. Crows circle. Careful observers will note that, at this point in the show, “Oh, Laura” was trending on British Twitter. It is brilliant. After receiving a heartwarming video message from his girlfriend, unborn child, and stoic Shiba Inu, Dave unveils a caramel-latte custard slice that Prue says is delicious and Paul says is slightly stodgy. It is anyone’s game at this point — except Laura’s. The bakers were too bland. Hermine was eliminated. “I just can’t afford to have it not set today,” whispers an anxious Laura. Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. It would have been nice if Sandi Toksvig had not left to host a Channel 4 special about Great British literacy, if Sura had stayed longer, if Dave had at any point developed distinguishing characteristics, if Paul had not insisted on the rainbow bagels. Dave takes a different approach and builds a “Tower to Redemption,” made up of all the baked goods he failed at this season. “I wanted this a lot,” Peter says, shell-shocked and earnest, a tender hatchling who is unsettlingly good at baking. Unless …? The one thing you have to know about a custard slice is that the custard must be set. It is perhaps profoundly ill-advised. I love everything about it. What this means is that she’s doing a carrot-walnut cake base with orange-chocolate chelsea buns, lemon macarons, and mini versions of the key-lime tarts that won her Star Baker that one time. Eat like the experts. Laura, who is very good at flavor but less talented at details; Laura, who sculpted an endearingly disastrous cake bust of her hero Freddie Mercury; Laura, who is sometimes capable of brilliance, like that one time she made an exquisite pastry cage, and other times sticks her head in the freezer and weeps. Still, how can you not root for her, after all this time? No, of course this wasn’t the Bake Off that we wanted. It is so hot. Rowan has assumed his rightful hobby, which is making his own waistcoats! A layer of new and improved chocolate babkas. Dave’s fraisier cake is as luxuriously light as any fraisier cake has ever been, but his babka dough is tough. The signature challenge is to make custard slices, which are slices of custard. Oh, Laura, I think. It is exactly the kind of project that is going to go poorly on a hot day, which it is. Also, her puff pastry is bad. It is an emotional roller coaster, the Bake Off; you may have to rethink your favorites at any time. “It’s still pretty delicious,” asserts Prue, again. “The definition of insanity,” he says with eyes of steel, “is expecting different results from trying the same thing.” It is obsessive. The finale is a celebration of perseverance. Mostly the struggle part, though, as evidenced by this week’s Technical: eight tiny “walnuts whirls,” a complicated little bonbon with a nutty biscuit base, a coffee ganache filling, a swaddling of marshmallow, and a tempered chocolate shell. Is there any chance, at this point, that Laura, populist hero, could still win? Mak’s son got married! Paul Hollywood was not the ideal emissary of the culinary traditions of Japan. The Great British Baking Show
The Final

Season 11

Episode 10

Editor’s Rating

4 stars



The final bakers! It can be choux pastry or pudding or overflødighedshorn, for all Paul cares! Peter’s is the second-worst, or the second-best, if you prefer your glass half-full, and Dave’s “decent lump of biscuit” puts him first. In theory, there are three finalists, but really there are only two: Laura is not going to win Great British Bake Off. A fraisier cake base. Dave’s brownies are elegantly gooey, but his profiteroles are flat. Laura, she embodies the struggle and the joy of real life. The president did not concede his election, and the days got very short. The global pandemic continued, and nobody knew how to make brownies. “You’ve had a bad morning,” soothes Prue, “but you could still have a great afternoon!”

But Laura does not have a great afternoon. But no. Sign up for the Grub Street newsletter. Peter, buoyed by his family’s Scottish accents, offers up a whisky-raspberry cranachan custard slice, which Paul declares is “very professional actually” and Prue agrees is “a really lovely custard slice.” Laura presents a yuzu-custard puddle. In the background, thunder claps. Tags: Every week was Hot Week. Peter’s Battenberg-inspired biscuits are adorable, but his friands are stodgy. Photo: Netflix

All season, we have complained about the many shortcomings of the latest offering of The Great British Bake Off. “When we cut into the custard slices, you want a crispy, flaky pastry, followed by a silky smooth set custard,” warns Paul Hollywood. Revamped brownies, to compensate for his other brownies. But there are powers greater than despair; one of them is Prue Leith. But there can be no ties in the tent, and so there aren’t, and in the end the title and the cake plate go to Peter, who is the youngest winner in Bake Off history, and also the most Scottish, and everyone is happy for everybody else. And yet if this last episode taught us anything, it is that Bake Off is, at its core, still Bake Off: a show about aspiring accountants whisking creme pat in a tent. “You are such a good baker” Prue tells her, as two nations, an ocean apart, sigh together: Oh, Laura. Chesterton quote, about how without rain there would be no rainbows. The problem, I think, has to do with how she is less good at baking than Dave and Peter. It is exactly at this moment that I realize I will cry. She is an underdog, up against two glossy-coated Afghan hounds. Peter, meanwhile, is constructing a “Bonkers Bake Off Bubble Cake” that will reflect his experience by being “a little bit random,” and also be Christmas-themed. Email

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Baby Yoda Has a Real Name and You’re Not Gonna Like It

Grogu. Tags: Related

The Mandalorian Recap: The Secret Origin of Baby Grogu

The Continuing Adventures of Baby Yoda

Baby Yoda Wasn’t Always So Cute, Huh? On the latest episode of The Mandalorian, the character Ahsoka Tano, played by Rosario Dawson, reveals that the little green creature we’ve come to know and love as “Baby Yoda” has a name, and that name is Grogu. Baby Yoda is Grogu now, because Rosario Dawson said so. Obviously, spoilers ahead. Photo: The Mandalorian/Disney+

The powers that be at Disney+/LucasFilm/the Galactic Empire heard how nobody liked that Baby Yoda’s “official name” is “The Child,” and decided to… absolutely double-down with a way more ridiculous official name. Do with this knowledge what you will. When Din Djarin addresses him as such, he makes a little chirping noise of recognition, as if to say, “yep, that’s me, Grogu, a good name that I like a lot!” It’s pronounced “grow-goo,” as in, “Robin Williams in Flubber likes to grow goo.” Here are some things Baby Yoda’s name, Grogu, reminds us of:

-Goku-Gogurt-Gru-Goop-Walter Goggins-Googie (the midcentury futurist architectural style)-Grody (Valley Girl-speak)-Goomby (purposefully dumb-sounding alien name from Rick and Morty)-Miss Grotke (the hippie teacher from Disney’s Recess)-Nazi-aligned Trumpist Sebastian Gorka-Grogans (a pub in Dublin); and, of course,-Goo goo (thing babies say)

So that’s that. Meet Grogu.

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Small Axe Is a Revelation

One of the best sequences is when the dance floor erupts in an a cappella rendition of “Silly Games,” by Janet Kay. Mangrove is strongest before it gives way to its courtroom drama, when it is just excavating the way a community binds together. The eventual demonstration, which is walked to the steps of the local precinct, devolves into violence at the hands of the police, leading to nine people — including Frank, Altheia, and married activists Barbara Beese (Rochenda Sandall) and Darcus Howe (Malachi Kirby) — being tried for rioting and affray and facing a heavy sentence. Once it releases, the color and vibrancy is leached from the film for a blunt spectacle full of achingly sincere, sometimes on-the-nose dialogue and a bevy of uneven performances. For the past eight months, I have been fervently, frequently, fantastically daydreaming. There are moments when the party sours at the edges, like when Martha comes across a man raping Cynthia, which Martha doesn’t hesitate to stop, going so far as to threaten the throat of the perpetrator. This is something greater. It would be easy to judge Mangrove, and even Lovers Rock, along the axes of authenticity and representation. But his restaurant becomes a point of refuge and celebration for the West Indians of Notting Hill. I’ve been daydreaming about trapezing into a crisp, velvet night full of the ecstasy of possibility. But we don’t see the bicycle. More Movie Reviews

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Tags: Within the walls of Mangrove, food is a link, to culture and to community. McQueen’s camera is loose and reverent, swooning between the bright faces and bodies of the cast. But a winding of the hips on the dance floor can disclose pleasure. The prosaic grace of women cooking goat curry and ackee and saltfish. He leaves the parlor and enters into the stark daylight of London’s streets. Just watch any modern musical, framed and cut so as to hide the fact that the chosen actors lack the physical bravura to pull off their roles. And Lovers Rock is undoubtedly one of the most transfixing films of the year. It is a testament to McQueen, Kirchner, and the actors that this turn in the film fits in rather than sets the story off its track. Perhaps this is why Lovers Rock thrilled me so. Aubyn), a young Jamaican-British woman who meets up with her friend Patty (Shaniqua Okwok) to attend a Saturday house party, as it uses her as a thread around which McQueen can wind his story. Mangrove is a historical exploration set in 1968 that reveals itself partway through to be a courtroom drama. But before that, there is something magical. Namely, Sandall as Barbara Reese, who seems incapable of articulating the breadth of her character’s anger; instead of a rich display of the emotion, she comes across as a caricature. Lilting conversations and song fill the restaurant’s space; there is a beauty in just watching Black people being. But this assured handling inevitably falls by the wayside. In an early aerial shot, we take in not only the ebb and flow of Frank’s movements but the landscape of the changing city. The story doesn’t so much follow Martha (Amarah-Jae St. Instead of Mangrove’s interest in the racism Black folks face, Lovers Rock is blissfully intrigued with the beauty and communion Black folks experience among one another. Who cares simply for the paltry gains of representation when you can get lost in a piece of art for how it moves aesthetically and moves you emotionally? Consider the gripping scene — the camera looking out through the police-car windows — in which the cops chase down a Black man who was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. An outstretched hand can speak to the yearning for connection. It is, in a word, electric. Sincerity, of course, can only go so far. Small Axe — especially the triumphant Lovers Rock — represents the kind of movies that slip underneath your skin and take hold of your heart. I’ve been daydreaming about the eternity held in a first kiss. Mangrove and Lovers Rock are available to stream on Prime Video. Wright has the right energy for her role but not the precision necessary to fully inhabit it. We only hear its familiar jangle of metal. Photo: Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

The human body in motion is one of the purest of cinematic pleasures. But they are minor reminders of the concessions these characters must make. The lighting is like liquid amber. The color palette is full of jewel tones that glint with gorgeous reverence against the mostly dark-skinned cast. The camera follows his relaxed but determined gait through the city. As the camera tracks the lovers, they look how like fresh love feels: they’re flying. I caught on one wall the spray-painted words “eat the rich,” a refrain I hear with more and more regularity today. Who cares simply for realism when you can capture the soul of a people and an experience? It is one of the most stunning evocations of the pleasure of a party I’ve witnessed in film. In Lovers Rock, there are two pivotal moments when whiteness interrupts the pleasures of the film. The film’s soundtrack is full of bangers. But Spruell’s performance also reveals the trickiness of portraying racism on film. The white cops — including Spruell’s turn as PC Pulley — adequately let loose the lascivious qualities of racists, who find pleasure in enacting their prejudices. The costume design by Lisa Duncan and Jacqueline Durran is packed with eye-catching wide lapels, jauntily positioned hats, wildly bright patterns. A supine repose can shine a light on untold confidence. It isn’t so much what happens but how it happens. Yet they are united not just by their interest in uncovering the dynamics of London’s West Indian population throughout various decades but a curiosity about the bounds of community and how we speak through our bodies — whether it be a fist boldly jutting through the air or a hand caressing the arm of a potential lover. Languid in rhythm and charged in style, it shirks heavy plot for mood. Too many modern directors forget the story a body can tell. Altheia understands that it’s not just the group that’s on trial. The first two films in writer-producer-director Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series — Mangrove and Lovers Rock — are wildly different in terms of their style, their energy, their intent. This tip of McQueen’s hand exposes one of the great concerns of the film: class and racial solidarity. A friendly hand working a hot comb. But those are limiting yardsticks for cinema and our understanding of Black identity. A walk isn’t just a mode of transportation but a revelatory communiqué — divulging the secrets we wish to keep, the emotions we try to bury. She sparks with Franklyn (Micheal Ward), forgetting her friend as their romance blooms on the dance floor, as they wind their waists to the same beat and share a heated make-out session within the auto shop where he works, before returning home — her room touched with emblems of her Christian faith — just before her mother bangs on the door, reminding her to get ready for church. Some of the performances don’t work as well. Thanks to McQueen and his collaborators, including cinematographer Shabier Kirchner, Lovers Rock unfurls and envelopes. Frank Crichlow (a finely attuned Shaun Parkes), the owner of the Mangrove, doesn’t see himself as a community leader. The three remaining Small Axe films will be released in December. The tender treatment of vinyl records interrupted only by the patois of the DJ’s voice. The predictability in both form and function of the courtroom version of Mangrove is buttressed by the urgency of its message about police brutality and the way Blackness is hemmed in by a white patriarchal society and by the sincerity with which the actors play it. The case would have ripple effects long after for those seeking to demonstrate against systemic forces. There’s an impressive shot near the very end, with the newly minted couple on Franklyn’s bicycle. What this all comes down to — every wish, every gesture — is a desire for the kind of connection a FaceTime call or Zoom session can’t bridge. I’m especially fond of the blood-red dress on birthday dame, Cynthia (Ellis George). McQueen has an eye and ear for the intimate details of Black life. It’s ludicrous and horrifying, but set to film, it can often feel arch, too. I’ve been daydreaming about dancing to Japanese disco on a hothouse dance floor surrounded by friends, our hands stretched toward the ceiling. “It’s a restaurant, not a battleground,” he says to Black Panther Party member and spokesperson Altheia Jones (Letitia Wright), who is eager to organize a protest against police violence given the frequent harassment the restaurant endures at the behest of PC Frank Pulley (Sam Spruell). Lovers Rock, undoubtedly one of the best movies of the year, is a transfixing romance not just between the two characters at its center but one about the beauty of the human body, the succor of an energetic party, and the possibility in the hush of a night. The film opens on Frank playing a game around a table with friends, cigarette smoke billowing and chips clanking together under dim, green-hued lighting. They represent the beauty of cinema as a form, not just in what it can reflect about the Black experience but the rapture that comes when we bare our souls enough to connect to the world around us. In Mangrove, McQueen casts his eye on a slice of Black London history by charting the police harassment and ultimate trial that centers on the restaurant that gives the film its title.

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Billy Corgan on the Best, Worst, and Pumpkin Chord-iest of Smashing Pumpkins

But we live in a world now where, depending on the way people Google, you can erase things — you can just pretend that things didn’t exist. Because it always seems to come with an asterisk or something in my mind. Obviously, that band is still very much alive, the “mean guitar” band. I think it framed something about the song that made it sort of more universal or sweeter than I might have done. You do the same thing with chords. If you create an album that was that big — I think we had six hit singles off the record; it’s one of the biggest-selling record records of all time — how do you erase that from history? It was an artistic breakthrough. Wrestling tends to like jarhead-metal riffs for themes. You’re going to hate everything. (The “reunion” was of original drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and guitarist James Iha, both of whom joined the same Pumpkins album for the first time since 2000. It would be Adore. A piece of praise of your music that you don’t agree with

The real trick is to also disregard praise. Your go-to trick for songwriting

If you start a song in a minor key, you go to a major chorus. Modulation is the ultimate trick in songwriting. “Wrath” sort of falls into that. It’s crazy. Somehow that album becomes the thing that they use it to do. We live in a time of invented reality. I don’t really hear praise. It’s just the idea of using octaves, but with an open string. And Bob Lefsetz writes: “I normally hate Billy Corgan, but here I have to admit, he was good.” Stuff like that. Most surprising legacy of Mellon Collie

For me, it’s kind of a negative. He had to qualify [it] by saying he normally hates me. There’s kind of a nascent irony in the whole thing, which has always been our sort of approach with heavy guitar rock. The guitar is tuned a half-step down. I think “Wrath” falls in that category. Mellon Collie is how many fans wish to remember the Smashing Pumpkins. Best use of the “Pumpkin Chord” (playing the 11th fret on the A-string while playing the open top E-string)

We basically stole that from Jimi Hendrix. Like, “Jellybelly” is in major, believe it or not. I was going through a lot of grief. That’s what I remember, just reading a lot of things that you would just sort of say, “Well, then why?” Why would this person even review the record? It was really beautiful. I think we fail in the wrestling-theme department. I don’t think our music works out very well for wrestling. The human response to unresolved music is tension, which creates attention, human brain attention, and so you just work with that, then you try to avoid resolving at all costs. I mean, it’s a clear win. Going back to what I was saying about Mellon Collie, you have a clear win. Here’s an overlooked gem. But they did. I think letting people acclimate to the new music over time has been a good strategy.”

Besides giving an update on upcoming sequels to both Mellon Collie and 2000’s Machina/The Machines of God — he promised that both projects will sound like a “kitchen sink” of what fans love about the Pumpkins — Corgan was gracious enough to walk us through the highs and lows of his beloved band as well as how the new album stacks up. 1/LP: No Past. My dad pointed out to me when I was young the idea that resolving in music will feel flat, meaning emotionally flat. And by the way, hipsters hated Siamese Dream when it came out. It sorts of sentimentalized something that I maybe wouldn’t have gone out of my way to do. The band was very successful. It’s actually tuned to an open C-sharp chord. Over video chat, he spoke confidently and with a strong sense of narrative, as if every dud and 23-minute B-side were not only intentional but necessary. The lake is the symbolic thing for me of the city. When people were hearing the early songs off the record and hearing a lot of synthesizer, they were thinking that there was gonna be no guitar. They used to watch that a lot. Pepper’s at the Hollywood Bowl. And now we have people basically disregarding this achievement. And I think 21-year-old me would have been proud that I didn’t sort of sell myself out completely to the forces around me. Best Smashing Pumpkins song for wrestling

That’s a terrible question. No Sun. Somehow Mellon Collie has become the front line in that argument. People are so used to clicking off things that they’re not interested in. Hipster writers really like Siamese Dream, right? That’s a different trick, in that if you start in a particular key, you modulate for the bridge or whatever, then when you modulate back to the chorus, you modulate back to the original key. All the ascending riffing and stuff is all major. No Future. It’s kind of weird. Here’s our music.” I think that’s a dead path for us. We talk a lot in the studio when we’re writing about trying to “lift.” “Cherub Rock,” for example, is an example of where you’re working in two keys, E-major and D-major, but through the cycling of the keys, it keeps feeling like it goes up. Who can be the first to claim it? They kind of like “scary dad in the video” stuff. The first was the 25th anniversary of the band’s album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, a ridiculous 33-track monument to Gen-X sadness that debuted atop “The Billboard 200,” won a Grammy, and spawned a handful of era-defining singles: “Bullet With Butterfly Wings,” “1979,” and “Tonight, Tonight.” The second was the release of CYR, the band’s second double LP that pretends to be a pivot to synth that follows 2018’s Rick Rubin–produced reunion album, Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. I just didn’t want to fall back into the trope of “We’re the Smashing Pumpkins, and this is what we do. By landing on other notes, you create tension, right? If you think of the lyrical connotation of the song, the person is asking someone else to believe in them. If you wanted to change a song, you had to get up off the couch, flip the needle, and go to another song. Easiest way to do it is to have a guitar tuned to E and you play that, like you said, the 11th fret with the octave. So, unfortunately, if there is praise, I don’t know what it is. But I live on the lake. I made the choice to put those feelings into words or music, but I also made the choice to make an album that was sort of more honest to where I was in my musical life, instead of doing what was expected of me. They want the band to end after Siamese Dream. Why didn’t they give it to somebody who at least had an open mind or had never even heard the band or something? Photo: Gie Knaeps/Getty Images

There were two special occasions for the Smashing Pumpkins this year. I appreciate that in hindsight, but at the time, I didn’t totally understand it. But Mellon Collie was by far a bigger record and a far more influential record. If a reviewer says in the first sentence, “I hate this guy’s voice,” where do you go from there? But Jimi Hendrix probably stole it from Wes Montgomery. You want it to feel like it lifts. He also remains alternative’s grumpy populist, a self-proclaimed free-market libertarian capitalist who taught a generation how to feel sad at Disneyland — figuratively and literally. The hospital’s long gone. CYR is Corgan’s reminder of who the Pumpkins actually are. It just doesn’t penetrate, because I had to shut all that out. My only admonition was that we needed to make a contemporary record. “Cherub Rock” off Siamese Dream is a good example of how to use that chord. If you start in a major key like G-major, then you would want to try to modulate up, so if the verse is in G-major, then you would modulate up to, say, B-flat major for the chorus. That’s what we jokingly call the Pumpkin chord, because I wrote a lot of songs off of that. I think [the directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris] did a good job. The next album that’ll be embraced by the hipsters

It would probably be my first solo record, TheFutureEmbrace. It’s not a record review — you know Bob Lefsetz? There’s a line in the song about “city by the lake.” It’s like when I’m writing the scene, it’s the place in the movie where you’re standing next to the lake. CYR’s trademark Smashing Pumpkins moment

Probably a song called “Wyttch.” It’s the interesting combination of guitar and irony. It opens basically on the tonic — so basically E against E. They also appear on CYR.)

Both projects were crafted by the band’s primary songwriter and mastermind, Billy Corgan, who, at 53, remains the sole consistent member of the band — as well its most indulgent — for better or, to many critics and some fans, for worse. If it had been all acoustic, I would have been fine with that, too, as long as it felt contemporary. You have to assume that time is at a premium in a contemporary song. The reaction has been really positive. You hand mute the third string, the D. He can’t just write, you know, “Billy Corgan, appearing here in not his normal vampire guise, did a nice rendition of ‘Julia’ with Robin Zander.” It was like: “Normally I hate this guy. You have to put yourself in a position where you know who you are and you know what you’re doing, and other people’s reactions — they certainly can be respected, but they shouldn’t have anything to do with the way you operate. Onstage, I got to sing the John Lennon song “Julia,” about his mother, with Robin Zander, the lead singer of Cheap Trick. You know what, here’s a good review. I think it’s one of those songs where I think I pretty much knew what it was gonna be like when I started. I didn’t care how we did it. My mother had died. I see where people have tried to kind of minimalize [its] accomplishment. I was invited to be one of the guests. We really don’t have much of that, unfortunately. Your kids’ favorite Smashing Pumpkins song

When they were younger, they liked the “Bullet” video a lot. Here’s a good bad review. When that song came out, all that talk stopped. The music video that changed the meaning of a song the most for you

Probably the “Tonight Tonight” video. That’s the simplest trick in the world. It doesn’t land. You know, we live in a post-truth era. You don’t have 45 seconds for an intro, you know? Now the hipsters love the record. Some of my friends call it the post-truth era. Smashing Pumpkins album that 21-year-old Billy Corgan would be the proudest of hearing? It’s very strange to me. It ascends up through the scale, and then the riff is [sings the “Cherub Rock” riff]; it’s the third — but it’s basically how they do Indian music to create tension using the other notes. If you start in E-minor, you go to G-major for the chorus. I grew up that you put on a record and you put the needle down. It was literally the image in my mind when I wrote the song. Tags: You know, in essence, trying to cement a narrative about the band, which isn’t true. Some would argue the band was never bigger than it was at that particular point. Because we live in this world now where people want to create whatever reality they have in their mind, they will basically create data that doesn’t exist to shore up their arguments. For example, people may not think of it when I say contemporary music, but one of the features of contemporary music is that time is compressed. I’m not saying, “Thank you for believing me.” I’m saying, “Could you believe in me?” or “Would you believe in me?” There’s still the tension of “Is this going to happen?”

Favorite bad review

What I read a lot back in the day was criticism of our postmodernism, criticism of our restlessness, criticism of my voice, criticism of our desire to play rock, heavy rock — it’s just a lot of things that were attacking the immutable characteristics of the band. Now we just reach over to our phone and we click something. Even if it’s a well-executed song or it’s the best use of that voice in a particular way. I sort of don’t know how to categorize that. When you play a solo — duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh — and you land on the root note, it feels a bit flat. I think the band’s story is so wrapped up in critical confusion that it’s almost impossible to untangle those things. It’s major with a flat A7. It’s the perfect setup. I write a lot of music that’s situational, and occasionally I write a song that’s more personal. It’s a really good record that was completely disregarded at the time. You got to get into it. It was a huge album. Smashing Pumpkins song that sounds the most like Chicago

It’s probably “Tonight Tonight.” I wrote the song for Chicago. I certainly hear when people compliment me. Now that it exists, I sort of see it that way. Look no further than that. Favorite song on CYR

If I had to pick one, I’d probably pick “Wrath.” The hardest thing in the world is write a simple song that’s effective. I was born on the lake, like I was literally born on the lake. But he did good here.”

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. I did a thing a few years ago where Cheap Trick was playing Sgt. It’s kind of like my love-letter postcard to my hometown. But Corgan is at peace with the band’s “contemporary” sound: “Usually, I feel a lot more anxious,” he says about the new album, “but I think because so much music has come out already, ten songs, I feel pretty relaxed about it. You don’t necessarily resolve things.

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Courteney Cox Gives Gift Of Recreating Her Iconic Friends Turkey Head Dance

Hope it makes you happy,” Cox says, before recreating the iconic footage in her kitchen, with what appears to be an honest to god turkey. “And also – if I get one more goddamn GIF of that turkey on my head dancing like a fucking fool – I’m just gonna snap.” she says, leaning into the camera with a menacing aura before cutting to the infamous GIF from Friends where Monica dances with a full turkey on her head. We can’t wait to see what Cox says about this at the Friends HBO Max reunion that’s definitely going to happen in March. You gotta love that 20 some odd years later, Cox is still willing to put a whole turkey on her head (an incredible achievement to be sure) and shimmy with the best of them, just to put a smile on our faces. I’m feeling so thankful,” Cox says in a tight closeup Instagram video, before switching gears. I hope you’re having a great day. “So anyway, since I’m the symbol of Thanksgiving, here you go. Luckily for us our forever friend Monica Geller aka Courteney Cox took to Instagram on Thanksgiving and sent a message to all her followers that ended with a bit of a throwback to what Vulture recently dubbed as the best Friends Thanksgiving episode of all time. Photo: Getty Images

For many Americans, this Thanksgiving was lacking in the friend department due to the virus (you know the one). View this post on Instagram A post shared by Courteney Cox (@courteneycoxofficial)

Tags: “Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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In the Spirit of Giving, Bad Bunny Releases New Album El Último Tour del Mundo

The 16-track album features the recent AMA for Best Latin Artist winner’s chart-topping single ‘Dakiti’ featuring Jhay Cortez, as well as collaborations with Rosalía, ABRA, and Trio Vegabajeño. Check out Bad Bunny’s third album of 2020, El Último Tour del Mundo, below. Related

Bad Bunny to Drop New Album, El Último Tour del Mundo, on Thanksgiving

Tags: Not only did Bad Bunny, who was recently diagnosed with COVID-19, take time out of his turkey day to drop a new album, he also released a music video for his single “Yo Visto Así.” In the video Bad Bunny hangs out at a skate park before participating in a photo shoot with pals like Sofia Vergara and Ricky Martin. It’s time to wake up from your Thanksgiving food coma because Bad Bunny has released his latest album, El Último Tour del Mundo. The album whose title reads “The Last World Tour” in English, is the Latin superstar’s third studio album of 2020, following February’s YHLQMDLG and May’s compilation album Las que no iban a salir.

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Alex Trebek Recorded a Thanksgiving Address for Tonight’s Jeopardy!

It’s deeply bittersweet to watch these posthumous recordings, knowing that Trebek was struggling with pancreatic cancer as he worked the show’s typically rigorous schedule, all with coronavirus restrictions in place. In it, he wishes the audience a Happy Thanksgiving and urges viewers to “keep the faith” because there are still reasons to be thankful, and we will come out of 2020 all the better if we continue to help our neighbors. In advance of tonight’s Thanksgiving episode, the show’s official YouTube page shared a moving speech that Trebek will give at the start of the episode. Before Alex Trebek died on November 8, he was still devotedly pre-taping episodes of Jeopardy! There are more and more people extending helpful hands to do a kindness to their neighbors, and that’s a good thing. We’re going to get through all of this, and we will be a better society because of it.”

Trebek had all the answers, so we should probably take his word on this one. You know, in spite of what America and the rest of the world is experiencing right now, there are many reasons to be thankful. We’ll take “sobbing into our turkey” for a thousand, Alex. to get us all through the final stretch of 2020. Related

We Could Always Look to Alex Trebek for the Right Answers

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Tags: “Happy Thanksgiving, ladies and gentlemen. Keep the faith.

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Neal Brennan Gave Chris Rock an Original Artwork by Rachel Dolezal

Celebrities, like many other very rich people, enjoy art. I have an original Rachel Dolezal in my hallway.” So if you’ve been wondering where Dolezal has been since the Netflix documentary about her, she’s been selling art online to Neal Brennan. It’s hard to make out exactly what the subjects are, or what the medium is, through Rock’s Zoom camera; we’ll go with ‘acrylic photograph of villagers in green fields, facing a wall, with either a stick or an iguana in the bottom right.’ Rock continued, “Beautiful, right? “I hang it up, and the artist’s name is Rachel Dolezal. Some, like Jim Carrey and EmRata, create it. On the Thursday, November 26 episode of The Late Late Show with James Corden, Chris Rock showed off a very large artwork given to him by comedian Neal Brennan. Somehow, nothing about that is surprising? Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.” Rock then turned the canvas around. Brennan “sent me a piece of art last week by this new great artist. And then there are those who prank their friends with it. Many collect it. And I want to show you this piece of art.” Rock held the print up to the camera, showing off its vivid colors. Related

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Happy Thanksgiving, Now Here’s Another Trailer for The Prom

As a metaphor for just how much weirder everything is in 2020, Netflix debuted a brand new trailer for Ryan Murphy’s film adaptation of The Prom during this year’s broadcast. As the trailer reminds us, The Prom will become to an empty, abandoned auditorium near you December 11. While it doesn’t feature Meryl Streep rapping, there are still definitely plenty of things to baffle, shock, amaze, and make you go “what’s all this then.” Why does Broadway look like that? Related

The Prom Trailer: Meryl Brings Tolerance and Tonys to a Small Town by Force

Well, Here’s Meryl Streep Rapping on a New Song From The Prom

Tags: What accent is Nicole Kidman supposed to be saying “it’s all over Twitter” in when they’re drinking in CGI-rendered Sardi’s? It is the two-year anniversary of the 2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, known not just for record-low temperatures but also for the original Broadway cast of The Prom performing the finale song “It’s Time to Dance,” triumphant lesbian kiss and all. Why is Beth Leavel not in this? Why is Bustopher Jones in this?

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Dolly Parton’s Parade Performance Was Socially Distant but Emotionally Necessary

Hope you go buy my new Holly Dolly record ‘cause I’ve always wanted to do a little song called ‘Holly Dolly.’ So I did! She did perform, however, from a magical, socially distanced nether-space and beamed it in to this year’s broadcast. Related

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Is Television’s Most Glorious Live Event

Bebe Rexha Was Sabotaged by Confetti During Her Thanksgiving Performance

Tags: And I hope you’re going to enjoy it for the holidays.” The woman gave us a coronavirus vaccine; buying her album is the least we can do. The best part of the Macy’s #ThanksgivingDayParade wasn’t even from NYC and I appreciate she wouldn’t risk it! It is somewhat awkward to see a Cracker Barrel outside of its natural habitat (off an interstate highway in a parking lot full of F150s) but the point of the segment is Dolly’s beautiful trill and the lovely Christmas ponchos and vests — presumably from the Cracker Barrel gift shop, sold next to a garden gnome holding a sign that says “Jesus Loves Florida State Football” — worn by her backup singers. The mastermind behind Christmas on the Square sang “Holly Jolly Christmas” in a Christmas tree-filled studio, in front of a Thomas Kinkade-ish backdrop of a Cracker Barrel restaurant in the middle of a snowy forest. You got your shoppin’ done? Thank you @DollyParton for brightening this Thanksgiving day morning!🦃🎄🎶— Ana Sofía (@anasof) November 26, 2020

For the sake of the nation’s health, literal angel Dolly Parton did not fly to New York and board a float in the cold and the rain for this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. In the middle of Parton’s rendition, she gives us some banter, plugging her Christmas album: “You know, Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season. Christmas is just around the corner.

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Bebe Rexha Was Sabotaged by Confetti During Her Thanksgiving Performance

🤩 #MacysParade— Macy's (@Macys) November 26, 2020

The real holiday miracle happened at the end of the number, though, when the camera pulled out for applause. New float, new song — @jennieo & @beberexha just gave a WOW performance. Related

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Is Television’s Most Glorious Live Event

Tags: Thanksgiving is not about consumerism, or trying to make the most impressive dinner. Bebe Rexha
Photo: Macy’s/Twitter

Do not let the commercials for Black Friday deals, Christmas shopping, and Matthew Morrison as the Grinch distract you from the true meaning of the holidays. Let's talk turkey. What Thanksgiving is truly about is New York City-native pop star Bebe Rexha, dressed like some sort of reject villain from the live action Kim Possible DCOM, standing on a massive glittering Jennie-O turkey, singing a song about waist trainers. Rexha performed her single, “Baby, I’m Jealous,” for this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Rexha sang about how she’s “a woman in dichotomy” as glittery turkey dancers in gold PPE masks strutted next to her. Confetti went off, and piece flitted onto the camera lens, blocking Rexha from the shot like Mike Wazowski on TV.— Rebecca Alter (@ralter) November 26, 2020

It was a live TV moment to be thankful for. The track normally features Doja Cat but Doja was probably banned from the premises because she’s feuding with the Boss Baby balloon or something.

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Star Trek: Discovery Recap: Endearing Messianic Complex

But the trial ends up being more savage than Michael or even T’Rina described, probably because it’s not every day that a challenger’s mom is also her shalankhkai. A manipulative tactic that borders on insulting, to be sure, but frankly, it’s all they’ve got going for them right now. If I wasn’t an atheist, this sequence would have put the fear of god in me. The numbers are spread across thousands of lightyears and such a slight difference could be the result of any number of factors. “I don’t know. Of course, being Tilly, she has to have a crisis about it, not least of all because she’s worried her best friend, who was just demoted from the job after also betraying her personally, seems like she might now be abandoning them. Awkward! Everything is different. As I mentioned just last week, Sylvia Tilly is far more experienced and capable than anything a command training program could teach her. Abrams Star Trek reboot and then by Star Trek: Picard, in which we learn that Picard resigned from Starfleet after it actively prevented him from organizing a rescue effort.) Both sides have a profound respect for Spock for having led the reunification process. I think the franchise owes us that much. She demands that her mother confirm all the good the Federation has done for her, and all the good she and her crew have achieved for the Federation, not to mention all sentient life in the universe. Which is why, when Michael asks Vance for information on SB-19, a classified project that could help solve the Burn mystery but whose failure turns out to have been the “final blow” that caused Ni’Var to leave the Federation, Vance realizes he has gold on his hands. We know the Spock-and-Pike thing was a lazy shortcut that drove CBS All Access subscriptions and viewership. By its conclusion, I was so worn out from various types of crying, I had come back around and started to resent the show again for how ruthlessly and ceaselessly its creators seem to be working to redeem every annoying choice they made in previous seasons. Thirdly, making it a part of this arc hammers home the point that while Michael might be a rogue who hurts her friends’ feelings all the time, it kind of runs in the family. And being human, she is governed by emotion and a desire to insinuate herself into certain matters of import to fill that emotional void. Gabrielle advocates for her child in the most ruthless, mortifyingly unsentimental way possible: by adding her daughter’s every dark secret and shame to the slate of evidence being considered. No knowledge is worth shattering centuries’ worth of peace on Ni’Var, not even about the Burn. The possibilities feel endless. But the way Saru makes T’Rina feel heard, combined with how he offered the Number One gig to Tilly? But these three have got nothing on mom. (As though that kind of decision has never resulted in famously horrible consequences.) Wouldn’t you know it, the portal then triggered some sort of event that, the Vulcans believe, caused the Burn. I mean, some of us read Imzadi as tweens. Systematically, she brings up Michael’s first mutiny, her recent insubordination and demotion, and her confession earlier that she was struggling to fit in. Turns out Gabrielle returned to the future right back on Essof IV, the planet where Discovery finally trapped her last season by suffocating Michael in its toxic atmosphere. Before they jump to Ni’Var, she and Book watch some clips of Nimoy-Spock from “Picard’s personal files” (the TNG episodes) to get the full scope of who her brother ultimately became. Will we one day learn the backstory of a Cool Bridge Crew Girl without her having to die or quit? • I missed this the first time, which made my second watch almost as tearful as the first, but one of black boxes they found belonged to the U.S.S. A shalankhkai is a Qowat Milat who has bound herself to a “lost cause.” (More on this whole mythology in the footnotes.) And surprise, Michael’s turns out to be none other than the human called Gabrielle Burnham — her mommy. Apart from being spectacular in its own right, this episode also makes me wonder what other past madness the show might eventually be planning to redeem. Her reticence implies that the Federation was doling out some serious, American-grade fuckery that will eventually come to light. Sure, Shira suggests that her motives are suspect and brings up the very good point that Ni’Var left the Federation at great cost to themselves because they were that concerned about what the Federation would do with the data. Because that’s the new name of The Planet Formerly Known as Vulcan, now that the Romulans also live there. The Federation, up against a wall and trying to preserve a 350-world alliance, insisted that they move forward anyway. We can either choose to live with that enmity, or seek a way to change it.”

So they jump to Ni’Var, Stamets using Adira’s Flubber nanogel interface for the first time, where they are greeted by a holo-call from T’Rina, the planet’s president. VULTURE NEWSLETTER
Keep up with all the drama of your favorite shows! I maintain that that void has made her vulnerable to manipulation at the hands of the Federation.” Can you imagine? Or should I say Ni’Var? Michael wants them to take her at her word, so why won’t she take them at theirs? There are always implications.”

But Michael Burnham does exactly what she always does: force everyone’s hand to get what she wants. Confirming that the Vulcans still honor the old ways, particularly with regards to scientific inquiry, she invokes T’Kal-in-ket, an old Vulcan philosophical trial “designed to unearth deep truths” — kind of like a brutal Socratic method — that cannot be denied a citizen of Ni’Var once invoked. No holds barred, no caveats. Was this episode intended to trigger Kolinahr?? I immediately want this Vulcan woman’s approval, even more so when she denies Michael’s request for access for being too dangerous to reopen those wounds given the delicate peace Vulcans and Romulans have achieved: “Even science cannot be separated from cultural and political context. The monologue is pure Michael (vice versa, technically, but you know): “Closed minds have kept these two worlds apart for centuries. This order of Romulan warrior-nuns, the Qowat Milat, is the coolest thing in the Star Trek universe this side of the crystalline entity, in part because they “live and die” by a form of read-you-for-filth honesty they call absolute candor. “But I am giving you my trust. • T’Rina and Saru’s unexpected (but, like, totally expected) friendship! That is the perfect way to describe what Michael does on a regular basis. Is this what it’s like to have a therapist for a mother? You know this guy is gonna run the whole joint someday. Now we learn that their strict zero-secrets precept made them essential in the reunification process, and that in the 32nd century, they now act as mediators between the two cultures. She does the right thing every time, and most importantly, when everyone else has been breaking down amid chaos, she’s been blooming. Despite practically vibrating with rage and shame, ultimately Michael does see where her mother is going with this and responds with her own monologues. As the valedictorians of the Federation, Ni’Var came up with the most promising idea, a sort of portal (like a manufactured version of the wormhole in DS9, I guess?) that could transport ships very far, very quickly. • LOL @ Michael deciding her best bet would be to appeal to V’Kir, the Vulcan purist. Because the Vulcans have every right to be pissed with the Federation. In other words, Spock pulled a Michael Burnham, and now she and Discovery get to see the fruits of that choice, even if it’s from a Federation that currently does not include Vulcan. Tags: If she fails, T’Rina explains, “Spock’s sister [will have] returned to us a dissembler. Later, when Gabrielle visits Michael in her quarters, she comes bearing the secret backup plan (would you call that sort of duplicity “absolutely candid,” Gabs?): President T’Rina also wanted to know who Michael really was, and when she saw it, she decided she could trust her with the data after all, and passed it along via Gabrielle, adding that “she wondered how much of the man Spock became was a result of who his sister was.” Mother and daughter have a heart-to-heart about the coexistence of duty and joy, and by the time Gabrielle says, “You always know where to find me,” I’ve become but a melted blob of flesh and tears. That will have real and grave consequences.”

That’s right, folks, it’s one of those Star Trek episodes: an impromptu, high-stakes trial that ultimately puts our protagonist’s character on trial instead! I’m a recapper, not a doctor, but any self-respecting Trekkie who isn’t completely leveled by this episode should probably get that checked out, like, medically. Maybe because the stakes are so much higher now. And one last bit of redemptive joy: SARU ASKED TILLY TO SERVE AS INTERIM NUMBER ONE!!! Back in February, I mentioned wanting to read the IP novel about them, but let me formalize my request: Please. Finally, the kill shot: “She may have grown up here, but she was never Vulcan. Star Trek: Discovery
Unification III

Season 3

Episode 7

Editor’s Rating

5 stars



Photo: Michael Gibson/CBS

This is the best episode of Star Trek: Discovery to date. Girl, did you forget you were almost hate-crimed by Vulcan purists?? Will Saru finally confront Georgiou about the fact that she enslaved and ate people like him? Personal Log, Supplemental

• First of all, I hope someone will note this on the Memory Alpha page: at the moment “Unification III” was going live on CBS All Access, a cyclone called Nivar was making landfall in India. Secondly, these episodes were already doubly meaningful, because the first “Unification” aired just 11 days after Gene Roddenberry’s death in 1991; both parts are dedicated to the Trek creator. How can she say she speaks for the Federation when her actions repeatedly suggest otherwise? She withdraws her request and simply resolves to find more data herself, offering to send it to the Science Institute to use as they see fit. (Except, and this is crazy, the Romulans actually advocated to stay.)

The black-box recordings Tilly and Michael have analyzed vary by one one-millionth of a microsecond, but in order to properly triangulate an origin in 3D space, they need more data. (Probably because it happens so quickly and incidentally that it’s over before it began.) When Michael tells Book she’s staying with Discovery, he says, “You feel like home,” which sounds a lot like he’s not about to peace out any time soon. What if I lose everything and everyone, after all we’ve sacrificed?”

Alas, this emotional prostration changes exactly nothing for the quorum — N’Raj goes as far as to threaten to give her the data himself if the council declines — but now it’s Michael who has had a breakthrough. • Because the Qowat Milat are a retcon introduced for Picard, we haven’t learned much about them yet. The addition works because the Romulans have been incredibly secretive about cultural stuff in the past, and also because holy shit, oversharing samurai nuns. As a member of Starfleet.”

She’s a cowboy, but when it works, it works. Luckily, Michael will have an unexpected Qowat Milat shalankhkai, or advocate, at her side. Email

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Kirsten Beyer, who penned this episode, and the writers room were out for blood from the start: “Unification III” is, in name and spirit both, the third installment of a two-part fifth-season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. T’Rina is not happy about it, but she convenes a quorum from the Ni’Var Science Institute anyway: N’Raj, a Romulan elder; V’Kir, a young Vulcan purist leader; and Shira, a biracial Romulo-Vulcan. So despite her reluctance to once again be representing the Federation, just as she’s feeling more ambivalent than ever about whether she fits in with her Discovery family anymore, she’s now the headline performer in a show called Spock’s Sister is Coming with Some Questions About SB-19. • I actually opened a Vulcan dictionary for this: In Picard, which somehow happened this year, the term is pronounced and spelled as qalankhkai, but President T’Rina pronounces the term with a “sha” instead of a “qa.” I assume this is some sort of reunification portmanteau, thanks to several centuries’ worth of linguistic drift, since it shares that first syllable with the Vulcan translation, sha-set. She is human, through and through. And SB-19 just so happens to have been collecting data from a zillion sensors stationed across dozens of lightyears. But apparently there are colonists there now, and they brought her to the Qowat Milat, who healed her: “The sisters helped me learn how to just be where I am, however unsettling it may be.” (And, you know, how to be a deadly assassin.) But enough about her — she’s here to urge Michael to understand that she is thinking about Vulcans and logic like someone in 2015 might, whereas the T’Kal-in-ket quorum members are all living here in 2020, where it’s cute to believe that facts and science will win on their own merits: “They all have their own truths, facts, and logic that are vying for air.”

She tried to warn her! Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. Why, then, does she still have doubts? Yelchin. They blamed the Federation for forcing them into it, kept their data, and that was that: friendship ended with Federation, now Romulans are my best friend. “I ask you for nothing,” she says. Recall that dilithium supplies were already drying up before the Burn; to combat this, the Federation mandated that every member planet needed to put their best scientists to work on finding a sustainable alternative to dilithium-fueled warp travel. Sure, V’Kir tries to dismiss the case from the start, calling her findings “puerile” and suggests she’s wasting their time. If Spock’s sister can approach Ni’Var to request the SB-19 data, maybe they’ll be willing to work together again. Firstly, “Unification” and “Unification Part II” were already crossover episodes, featuring returns for Leonard Nimoy and Mark Lenard as Spock and Sarek, respectively, as well as for Denise Crosby, who plays the villainous half-Romulan daughter of mirror-universe Tasha Yar. She asks for advice from Stamets, whose first instinct is still to be a nasty, reactive asshole, but luckily, he’s worked really hard on his second instinct: to assemble the bridge crew in engineering to surprise her as they all tell her to “say yes.” (At this point in my notes, I have mashed out, with several typos: “LEAVE ME ALONE, STUPID SHOW.”) At last, Michael shows up with the SB-19 data and the cherry on top: she’s staying, and expects Tilly to lead her. Ha ha, this episode is going to destroy us all. • How could I have forgotten to mention that Michael and Book do it this week? But now, Spock’s presence in absentia and Michael’s relationship with him has created a future with undeniably richer dynamics. She is so patient with him as he suggests their visit will be enough to win Ni’Var back! After a brief mid-trial adjournment to confirm that Michael has no intention of opening up about all her doubts, Gabrielle goes to town. (Romulus, the planet they settled on after breaking with the Vulcans several thousand years prior, was destroyed in 2387 when its sun went supernova, a topic covered first by the J.J. (The Romulan, N’raj, is down to clown pretty much immediately.) V’Kir makes some good points, too: her sample size is miniscule. And they say their data definitively proves that SB-19 was the source of the Burn. Trouble is, the SB-19 gate was extremely unstable, and the Vulcans decided it wasn’t safe to continue and asked to shutter the project. In front of a mixed audience, these three will “ruthlessly assail the credibility of the challenger” Michael, forcing her to defend not only her hypothesis, but also herself. And every day there’s this fear that I’m doing it wrong, like I’ll destroy the people I love. That “cowboy diplomacy” Jean-Luc Picard accuses Spock of when he finally tracks him down on Romulus, after the guy appears to have defected from the Federation in order to finally bring Romulans and Vulcans back together again?

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