It Was GIFs of Kathryn Hahn in WandaVision All Along

Photo: Courtesy of Disney+

What is WandaVision about? See All

Tags: Video: Disney+

In retrospect, some A+ acting from Agatha pretending to be woken up by Vision. Video: Disney+

Also further reason she loathes Billy and Tommy. Video: Disney+

Choosing to believe this was Agatha subliminally tormenting Wanda by referencing the Snap. Experiments in TV production design? Grief? Video: Disney+

And now! Video: Disney+

Ridiculous levels of backward motion achieved with the leaning here; those are Yale Drama School skills. Video: Disney+

Does Agatha always make sure she summons chairs with her name embroidered on them? Video: Disney+

Introducing Agnes/Agatha’s pet rabbit, of whom she is so proud. Personally, I have no idea, but I appreciate it primarily as a vehicle for Kathryn Hahn to have fun clowning around. Is this in her witch rider? Video: Disney+

Loves bunnies, hates children and dogs, a villain for sure. Video: Disney+

You didn’t think Kathryn Hahn would join a Disney+ show just to be the random neighbor, did you? A tale as old as time. Hahn’s not exactly an unappreciated actor (she’s been so good for so long!), but she definitely steals the screen every time she appears in the show as Agnes, Wanda and Vision’s meddling neighbor, and definitely once she reveals herself to be — come on, this isn’t a spoiler at this point — Agatha, the witch who claims to be behind it all along. Video: Disney+

The most important trait in any sitcom neighbor is the ability to open doors dramatically. Franchise building? Video: Disney+

Always check your lashes before entangling a sentient robot in your evil plot to do, well … something involving his magical wife. An excuse to write a bunch of theme songs around the same musical intervals? More WandaVision

Just As Planned, Marvel Releases ‘Agatha All Along’ Song From WandaVision

All the WandaVision References You Might Have Missed

What Are the Commercials in WandaVision Telling Us? As we wait for the next episode of WandaVision to get into more about Agatha’s whole scheme, we thought it was only right to compile a little GIF tribute to all Hahn has done so far this season. The grand reveal of Agatha herself, with Señor Scratchy in hand, of course. Video: Disney+

No idea why Agatha needed to have a picnic while summoning the multiverse version of Wanda’s brother to her 1980s home, but bless her for going all out for the sake of the drama. Video: Disney+

We love a dramatic aspect-ratio change. Video: Disney+

Our first indication that Agatha’s powers have no sway over Billy and Tommy. We’ll update with more good moments of Kathryn Hahn’s scheming as Agatha continues to wreak havoc in Westview. Please enjoy and muse upon how well Hahn’s performance works in retrospect, knowing that she’s scheming the whole time. Video: Disney+

Witches and children!

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Paul McCartney Wrote a 900-Page Memoir About His Lyrics

Rolling Stone reports that quar album legend Paul McCartney will be publishing a 960-page memoir called The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, in November, which is described as a “self-portrait in 154 songs.” For the endeavor, McCartney provided robust commentary and history for some of his most famous Beatles, Wings, and solo songs, which will be organized alphabetically and paired with never-before-seen visuals from his personal archive. Related

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Tags: And these songs span my entire life.” We’re hopeful that we won’t be hearing the famous “Hey Jude” story for the millionth time, and instead learn, well, how maybe “Jet” has literally been about a plane this entire time. What I do have are my songs, hundreds of them, which I’ve learned serve much the same purpose. “I know that some people, when they get to a certain age, like to go to a diary to recall day-to-day events from the past, but I have no such notebooks. (Like cute band photos and private letters.) “More often than I can count, I’ve been asked if I would write an autobiography, but the time has never been right. The one thing I’ve always managed to do, whether at home or on the road, is to write new songs,” McCartney said in a statement to Rolling Stone. Photo: Dave Benett/WireImage

Okay, this is a rare instance where a book should actually be longer than its current page count.

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The Golden Globes Strikeouts Are a Who’s Who of Who Hasn’ts

Susan Sarandon (9 nominations, 0 wins)

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Back in the early ’90s, the drumbeat for Susan Sarandon to win her first Oscar was loud, especially after she’d starred in films like Thelma & Louise, and Lorenzo’s Oil. Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton? So you’d think that would have added up to at least one win for Meg Ryan, the queen of ’90s romantic comedies. Not for Susan, though. They have zero Oscars but seven Golden Globes between them. Katharine Hepburn (8 nominations, 0 wins)

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Perhaps the most stark depiction of the gulf between who the Hollywood Foreign Press loves and who the Oscars love is that Katharine Hepburn, the winningest actress in Oscar history, with four Best Actress trophies to her name, never won a single Golden Globe. While the Welsh actor was awarded the Cecil B. There’s also the fact that the Globes love celebrities who show up, and Hepburn never even showed up to the Oscars to collect her trophies. Anthony Hopkins (8 nominations, 0 wins)

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Hopkins’s legendary performance as Hannibal Lecter earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor, as part of a sweep of the top awards for The Silence of the Lambs. While the Globes have thrown more nominations her way — for Bull Durham, Stepmom, and Igby Goes Down — they’ve never given her a trophy. For the others, their legacies may never recover. The HFPA were clearly so enamored of her that they voted her for the win in both categories, passing over Cruz’s performance in Vicky Christina Barcelona in the supporting category. Laurie Metcalf (3 nominations, 0 wins)

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In pretty much every other context, Laurie Metcalf is an awards magnet. On all three occasions, she had the profound bad luck of running into awards-season juggernauts: Jessica Tandy in ’89 (Oscar winner for Driving Miss Daisy); Angela Bassett in ’93 (Oscar nominee for What’s Love Got to Do With It); and Gwyneth Paltrow in ’98 (Oscar winner for Shakespeare in Love). Most recently, Sarandon got a nod for Feud alongside her co-star Jessica Lange, though they were both bested by Nicole Kidman for Big Little Lies. We’ve been through so much. DeMille Award in 2002, despite nominations for The Mosquito Coast, The Fugitive, and Sabrina. Penelope Cruz (4 nominations, 0 wins)

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The 2009 Golden Globes were a peculiar wrinkle in that year’s awards season. But historically, the Globes keep passing him over. (She was also nominated for Best Actress for her performance in the 2007 drama Volver.)

Harrison Ford (4 nominations, 0 wins)

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Somewhat infamously, Harrison Ford has only ever received one Oscar nomination, for his performance in 1985’s Witness. But they’ve only given him the lifetime achievement Cecil B. Meg Ryan (3 nominations, 0 wins)

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Famously, one of the things that sets the Golden Globes apart from the Oscars is that they recognize comedies far more readily. Glenn Close? Jackson acceptance speech at the Golden Globes. For one thing, the Golden Globes began in 1944, a whole decade after Hepburn won her first Oscar for Morning Glory. She’s got two Tonys! But otherwise, the Globes have done no better than the Oscars when it came to passing him over for his performances in movies like Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness. But the Golden Globes are usually far friendlier to big box-office stars, so you’d think they’d have found a way to sneak a trophy into Ford’s pocket. She’s got three. The year she won the Oscar for Dead Man Walking, she was upset at the Globes by a surprise Sharon Stone win for Casino. She lost to Laura Dern for Afterburn. Will Smith (5 nominations, 0 wins)

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Once again, the Golden Globes are supposed to be so celebrity obsessed, and yet Will Smith has zero trophies in his long career as one of the biggest movie stars in the business? And yet the Golden Globes just never got it. If Nixon can pull out a win in Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series for Ratched, she can break her no-Globes streak. Cruz would go on to win the Oscar when Winslet was only nominated in Best Actress later that year, but the Globes have never made it up to Cruz, despite subsequent nominations for the Rob Marshall musical Nine and the Ryan Murphy limited series The Assassination of Gianni Versace. How exactly did that happen? Amy Adams? They only nominated her twice for Roseanne, where she lost to Joan Plowright and Miranda Richardson, respectively, and her third nomination came for Lady Bird just a few years ago, where she was bested by Allison Janney. In the ’90s, she won three Emmy Awards in a row for her role as Aunt Jackie on Roseanne, part of her 11 career Emmy nominations. He was nominated twice at the 1995 Globes, for Pulp Fiction (where he lost, as he did at the Oscars, to Ed Wood’s Martin Landau) and for the TV movie Against the Wall, where he lost to a posthumously nominated Raúl Juliá for The Burning Season. They’ve nominated him four times, which is three better than the Oscars have done, but none of those four nominations have led to a win. For a couple of them, the HFPA might have a chance to rectify that this weekend. But no: Ryan was nominated for all three of her Nora Ephron movies, 1989’s When Harry Met Sally, 1993’s Sleepless in Seattle, and 1998’s You’ve Got Mail, but she lost all three times. She won back-to-back Globes in 2014 and 2015. Samuel L. Doesn’t make sense. But the awards swell for Silence crested late, and at the Globes that year, Hopkins got beat by The Price of Tides star Nick Nolte. The Gold Rush

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When we say that the Golden Globe Awards are one of the most fun nights during awards season, it’s because they somehow cram just so many famous actors and actresses into one ballroom. At least she won an Emmy in 2004 for the first half of SATC’s final season, a year when the Globes’ chaotic supporting actress category (for a series, miniseries, or television film!) forced her to compete with Mary-Louise Parker’s unbeatable performance in Angels in America. Jackson (4 nominations, 0 wins)

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I think we can all agree that we deserve to watch a Samuel L. These ten actors have never won a competitive Golden Globe (lifetime achievement awards don’t count, we can all agree). They’ve got Globes, at least. Tags: The Globes did, however, give Hepburn one final nomination, for the TV movie The Man Upstairs, in which she starred as an old woman who befriends the criminal (Ryan O’Neal) hiding out in her attic. Kate Winslet was nominated as both a lead actress in Revolutionary Road and a supporting actress for The Reader.  

Cynthia Nixon (6 nominations, 0 wins)

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Nixon has been nominated four times for her role on Sex and the City and won zero times. Usually when a performer is famously futile at the Oscars, the Globes are usually there as a consolation prize. This is another streak that can end this year, with a Best Actor in a Drama nomination for The Father, though he’ll have to best a much-beloved performance from the late Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom to do it. The HFPA did nominate Smith twice for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which was more than the Emmys ever did. So instead of awarding Hepburn’s performances in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Lion in Winter, and On Golden Pond, like the Oscars did, the Globes instead went to Dame Edith Evans (The Whisperers), Joanne Woodward (Rachel, Rachel), and Meryl Streep (The French Lieutenant’s Woman). What kind of dark stars had to align against them? It does make some sense, when you think about it. The Hollywood Foreign Press hands out a lot of awards to actors every year — 14 of the 25 categories at this Sunday’s Globes belong to them — which is why so many actors have one. Almost all of the performers who are famous for their futility with Oscar? That’s why it’s always so surprising to come across a highly regarded actor who’s never won a trophy from the HFPA. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in 2006, he’s never won a competitive Globe, despite a whopping eight nominations (including one just last year for his performance in The Two Popes).

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The Big Loop, I’m Not a Monster, and 3 More Podcasts Worth Trying

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Tags: But I didn’t, and as I went on to cover what eventually happened at the Times, I felt the guilt of having so quickly trusted Caliphate in the first place. Sign up here to get it weekly. That feels like a conscious and conscientious choice by host Josh Baker, the filmmaker and journalist who led the reporting, and at this juncture, it feels like a choice I can trust. But as with all things, it should be taken on its own terms, and  having gone through its ten chapters, I feel like I can firmly say that it’s a fascinating documentary worth your time. (There are rules; the rules are good.) I missed this entry when it first dropped last summer on the occasion of the surprise folklore album drop (shout-out to Vox Media colleague Megan C. 1.5x Speed: A Weekly Newsletter of Podcast Recommendations and Reviews
Listening notes for the top shows, from Vulture’s critic Nick Quah. Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. It’s being described as a “podcast fashion show.” Here’s the episode, and here’s a write-up of the project and collection on Vogue. Which brings me to this episode I’m recommending from Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang’s fun-as-hell “culture consultant” chat-cast, Las Culturistas. There’s quite a bit of contentious detail to sort through. Find me on Twitter or reach me over email: nicholas.quah@vulture.com. Again, vaguely similar ground as Caliphate, which initially relied on the now-debunked words of a young man who claimed to be a former ISIS member. Anyway, point is: I’m late to this shit! At the time, I had listened to just the first episode, found it intriguing, and thought to set the podcast aside until the run was completed so I could binge the thing, maybe do a write-up after that. So I wrote a quick blurb about this joint production between the BBC’s Panorama and PBS’s Frontline in an issue of 1.5x Speed last December, back when the series was just a few episodes in and the controversy around the New York Times’ Caliphate had yet to come into full view. But where Caliphate proceeded to sprawl outward, I’m Not a Monster consistently remained tightly focused, staying close to the experience and question of this one woman and her family. I’m Not a Monster

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Perhaps I should be transparent about my experience with this entry. Photo-Illustration: Vulture

This week: Taylor Swift, a BBC-PBS co-production, and a fashion show. (Which is also a bop.)

What you’ll find in this extremely enjoyable 100-minute-long installment: an informative unpacking of the two Swiftian personae (the titular “TAYLOR and TAYLA”), the prerequisite album ranking, and a cultural analysis that should bubble up to the point of heated debate. This article was featured in 1.5x Speed, New York’s podcast recommendation newsletter. The narrative thrust hangs on the hook of a seemingly ordinary American family ending up in a situation that’s anything but, and the enterprise is to figure out what exactly happened. We’re back next week, but in the meantime: Send podcast recommendations, feedback, or just say hello at nicholas.quah@vulture.com. Which isn’t to say I wasn’t a fan before I became a casual student of Swiftian Symbology and What Exactly Is Being Hidden Between the Lines, but at some point between 1989 and reputation, I went through an evolution, from someone who appreciates the bops on Red to someone who fully interprets Red as a totemic turning point in the creation of an icon. Meanwhile…

• Here’s something super-interesting: There was a special collaboration between The Big Loop, the fiction-podcast anthology series by Paul Bae, and the fashion designer Edeline Lee for London Fashion Week. Tell me what you’re listening to. It is unfair to have those feelings spill over to I’m Not a Monster, which covers similar ground only in theory and had a publication period that more or less spanned the exact period of time as when the Caliphate controversy played out. And that’s a wrap for 1.5x Speed! • Really enjoyed this Longform interview with The New Yorker’s Vinson Cunningham, which, among other things, touches on his philosophy on the act and work of arts criticism. for flagging this in the Slacks), but it’s as good a time as any to hit it back up, given Swift’s appearance on a remix of Haim’s “Gasoline,” which hit streaming services last week. The story focuses on the tale of Samantha Sally (later Samantha Elhassani), an Indiana woman who was convicted last fall for financing terrorism, charges that stem from her time living in the heart of ISIS territory. • NPR’s Embedded returned last week to kick off a four-part series on the 2018 mass shooting at the offices of the Capital Gazette newspaper. Las Culturistas: “TAYLOR/TAYLA”

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I came to the study of Taylor Swift mythology — I believe they call it Swiftology — fairly late in life. Hope you enjoyed it. The question of whether this is true, whether she is a reliable narrator, makes up a good portion of the tension at the heart of I’m Not a Monster. I had admired Caliphate, automatically trusting of its pedigree and its journalism. Then, of course, all the stuff with Caliphate happened, and when the time came to dive through I’m Not a Monster in its entirety, I found myself wary and uncertain of my own critical capability. Sally says she was tricked by her husband into taking her children, following him into Syria, and joining the so-called caliphate. Yes, I am aware that at least some others looked upon the production and quickly assessed something to be fishy. Email

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Chance the Rapper Sues His Manager, Defends The Big Day

Among other allegations, Chance’s new suit alleges that Corcoran tried to promote his wine company, No Fine Print, and his record company, Nice Work, using his associations with Chance. In the new filings, according to Pitchfork, Chance claims that “the album received many favorable reviews” and goes on to downplay much of the influence Corcoran — widely credited with Chance’s early independent success — has had on his career. In the suit, Chance’s team says that Corcoran got Live Nation to agree to buy No Fine Print wine while negotiating a Chance tour and that Chance was unaware of the deal at the time. Related

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Tags: Corcoran’s initial suit claimed Chance owed him over $3 million in missed commissions, which were unpaid after his firing in April 2020. “The defendants have elected to attack Mr. According to Pitchfork, Chance (born Chancelor Bennett) has filed to dismiss most of the claims made by Pat Corcoran and has filed a separate lawsuit against him — while slipping in a defense of his album The Big Day on top of it all. Bennett developed over many years of collaboration.” Corcoran’s team added, “Mr. Pat the Manager) outstanding fees through their agreement that Corcoran would earn 15 percent of Chance’s net profits. “The aspersions cast by the Chance camp are offensive and do not reflect the reality of the relationship that Mr. “Corcoran had all but abandoned his management responsibilities prior to and during the creation of the album, choosing to delegate his responsibilities to his employees so he could spend more time pursuing his own separate interests and the interests of his other businesses,” Chance’s legal team now claims. Corcoran’s character and rewrite history,” the statement said. Corcoran’s legal team countered the new filings in a statement to Pitchfork. Corcoran and Mr. Bennett trusts the legal system to reveal the truth of the parties’ relationship in due course.”

Corcoran’s lawsuit notably criticized Chance’s most recent album, The Big Day, released in July 2019. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Chance the Rapper has responded to the lawsuit filed by his former manager. (Corcoran’s current suit against Chance also claims breach of contract, among other counts.) In a statement to Pitchfork, Chance’s legal team called Corcoran’s suit “a groundless and insulting lawsuit that ignores his own improper self-dealing and incompetence.” Chance’s team added, “Mr. In the suit, Corcoran called it “a freestyle-driven product of sub-par quality” and “a complete deviation from the meticulous writing process that brought Bennett fame for his wordplay and wit” and cited multiple incidents of Chance ignoring Corcoran’s management advice, which ultimately led to his firing. Chance is suing for over $3 million in response, citing breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, and breach of contract. Chiefly, Chance is claiming his team does not owe Corcoran (a.k.a. Corcoran looks forward to presenting his claims and airing out the defendants’ baseless accusations in court.” And we look forward to a final ruling on the quality of The Big Day.

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Spider-Man 3 Gets An Ominous Title, No Way Home

But at this point in the MCU, fans are hard-pressed to believe anything he or Marvel says. pic.twitter.com/kCeI8Vgkdm— Spider-Man: No Way Home (@SpiderManMovie) February 24, 2021

As the camera pans to reveal the title, we see rejected pandemic-related ideas crossed out around it, like “Work From Home,” “Zooming Home,” and “Stay at Home.” But Spider-Man: No Way Home isn’t any less bleak. “He gave us a fake name again,” Holland says to his unsurprised sidekicks in the teaser. Each actor shared a different title last night, “Phone Home,” “Home Slice,” and “Home Wrecker,” then commented on one another’s posts, majorly confused. Just to look dumb when we find out it’s been Agatha all along? Not us! #SpiderManNoWayHome only in movie theaters this Christmas. Holland technically spoiled the existence of both Spider-Man: Far From Home and Spider-Man: No Way Home before fans even knew sequels were on the way. Photo: @SpiderManMovie/Twitter

The title of Marvel’s next Spider-Man movie has been announced, and our Spidey sense is telling us it’s the real deal. “I just don’t understand why he keeps doing this.” Uh, our Spidey sense is tingling again. A hero to us all, Zendaya, standing with Tom Holland. Stars Tom Holland, Zendaya, and Jacob Batalon appear in a short teaser and “inadvertently” reveal the title, Spider-Man: No Way Home, while they moan about director Jon Watts never telling them anything. Holland has shockingly managed to deny, deny, deny all rumors about a potential crossover with former Spider-Men Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire and their villains, Doc Ock and Electro. This, we can confirm. Related

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Tags: At least now we know one thing for sure about an upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe film due out in December.

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The Lucas Brothers Are Teaming Up With Judd Apatow for a Movie

We humbly request the Lucas Brothers to stop adding so many movie projects to their schedule, because we’re starting to feel pretty lazy in comparison. Two busy busy brothers. The Apatow movie is far from the only project the twins — who recently earned a Best Original Screenplay WGA nomination for Judas and the Black Messiah — currently have on their plate. Related

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Tags: the Lucas Brothers, are headed to the big screen with an assist from Judd Apatow. Photo: Andrew Lipovsky/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Keith and Kenny Lucas, a.k.a. The twin brothers, writers, and comedians are set to write and star in a film at Universal produced by Apatow described in a press release as “a semi-autobiographical comedy about their lives as identical twins in Newark, New Jersey.” (They wrote a bit about that in an essay for Vulture in June 2020, which is very much worth the read if you missed it.) The Grinder co-creators Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel are also attached to co-write the film with the Lucas Brothers. In August 2020 it was announced that Phil Lord and Chris Miller were producing an untitled film written by and starring the brothers described only as a “unique and high-concept comedy,” and in December the pair teamed up with Seth MacFarlane for yet another movie project in the form of a “contemporary reimagining” of Revenge of the Nerds.

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A Brief History of the Alternate Movie Endings Lost to Time

Strangelove, rising from his wheelchair, announcing “Mein Führer, I can walk,” followed by a montage of mushroom clouds and Vera Lynn crooning “We’ll Meet Again.” But the screenplay by Kubrick, Terry George, and Peter George originally featured a much different conclusion, with Strangelove falling flat on his face and General Turgidson (George C. “Then when I realized it wasn’t, I became incredibly upset. Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944)

Billy Wilder’s 1944 thriller is one of the quintessential film noirs — a classic tale of a rich husband, a femme fatale, and the horny sap she asks to abet her in murder. Whatever the case, as with Double Indemnity, the scene itself is lost to the dustbin of history (or, more accurately, Kubrick’s cutting room), with only still photos surviving. So we just took out that scene in the gas chamber.” Though still photos from the cut scene survived, the footage itself is considered lost; “I don’t even know who owns it now,” Wilder told Crowe. For example, he cut 19 minutes from 2001: A Space Odyssey after it was already in release, reasoning that since he hadn’t had a chance to properly screen the film with an audience before its premiere (“It just wasn’t finished,” he said in 1969), those early viewings were his chance to “run the film, alone and with audiences” to judge its length and effectiveness. “Howard [Ashman, the screenwriter] and I knew what we had to do: We had to cut that ending and make it a happy ending, or a satisfying ending. Here are a few of those stories of lost endings that never made their way to the screen, for better or for worse:

The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942)

One of the most notorious — and tragic — tales of lost endings concerns the 1942 adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s novel, directed by Orson Welles as his follow-up to Citizen Kane. “We actually shot it, and when it got into editing it was just too cynical and too awful. Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)

The ending of Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 Cold War satire is one of the most memorable in all of cinema: Dr. “I knew it as I always filming to the next-to-last scene. “It was a complete disaster,” Oz told EW in 2012. But that influence originally extended to the film’s ending, which attempted a tragic turn similar to Do the Right Thing’s. So, Howard rewrote it and I shot it with a satisfying ending.” The original version — which only existed as a black-and-white “work print” — didn’t make it to audiences until 1998, when it was released as a bonus feature on the first Little Shop DVD and was immediately recalled at the behest of producer David Geffen; that disc became a collector’s item. The sequence was meant to serve as a metaphor (and parody) for battle, but after shooting and editing the sequence, Kubrick felt it didn’t work. But when test audiences weren’t responding to that conclusion, the filmmakers devised a new ending — a cheap, slasher-movie-style conclusion in which Alex attacks Dan’s family in their home and is shot dead by his wife. “I decided it was farce,” he explained in a 1969 interview, “and not consistent with the satiric tone of the rest of the film.” Other sources claim the scene cut too close to real life; one of the first casualties of the pie fight is President Muffley (also Sellers), who is hit in the face with the dessert, prompting Turgidson to despair, “Our President has been struck down in his prime,” a line that didn’t exactly get a big laugh when the film was being edited in late 1963. (The original ending was subsequently added as a special feature for the film’s disc releases.)

American Beauty (Sam Mendes, 1999)

One can’t help but wonder if this 1999 Academy Award–winning movie — one that has since been through something of a backlash and reappraisal, thanks in no small part to its Best Actor–winning star, Kevin Spacey — would have achieved its eventual success with its original ending intact. “I did not need it,” he told Cameron Crowe, in the book Conversations With Wilder. But they weren’t going to release the film without a new ending.” Some critics felt the same way; Roger Ebert wrote that the ending left him “feeling cheated and betrayed.” But audiences ate it up with a spoon (or a knife), and Fatal Attraction became the second-highest grossing movie of 1987. Its big boost in profile came from a 1987 film adaptation, helmed by Muppet master Frank Oz and featuring big names like Rick Moranis, Steve Martin, and John Candy. He runs through freezing water. Little Shop of Horrors (Frank Oz, 1986)

It’s easy to forget, but once upon a time, Little Shop of Horrors was just a scrappy little Off Broadway musical, and not the go-to cultural reference and Broadway favorite it would become. government, his movie was “hacked up by a bunch of amateurs and studio journeymen,” according to Welles’s biographer Simon Callow. Photo-Illustration: by Vulture; Photo by Paramount Pictures

Considering the vast combination of elements that have to come together in just the right way — the right script, the right director, the right actors, the right production team, the right crew — it’s sort of a miracle that so many films are watchable, let alone great. Fatal Attraction (Adrian Lyne, 1987)

The quintessential ’80s erotic thriller originally came to a more emotionally complicated conclusion, in which spurned “other woman” Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) kills herself, framing her married lover Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) for her murder in the process — only to have his future, and marriage, saved by his wife’s discovery of an incriminating audiotape. Though now widely regarded as one of the great (if not the great) American films, Kane was not a commercial success upon its initial release, and its reception had some executives at RKO rethinking the unprecedented multi-picture deal they’d made with Welles, on which he’d been given total artistic control. And in that era, long before home-video releases preserved and shared alternate endings and deleted scenes, there was no reason to keep the original footage around; on December 10, 1942, five months after The Magnificent Ambersons’ theatrical release, RKO head Charles Koerner ordered all of the cut ending destroyed. But it originally had a more pointed ending, which took Fred MacMurray’s convicted killer Walter Neff all the way to the gas chamber, as his colleague Barton Keyes (Edward G. Stallone, who not only starred as Rambo but took several passes at the screenplay, had flagged the ending as a possible problem early on; on the day the scene was shot, Kotcheff recalled Stallone pulling him aside and pleading, “We put this character through so much. Director Ted Kotcheff told EW that he initially conceived of the film “as Rambo’s suicide mission,” concluding with the Vietnam vet blowing himself away in front of his former commanding officer, Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna). The entire process of making a movie is a delicate high-wire collaboration between individual voices, and any number of small mistakes can ruin that balance. He performed a similar bit of post-release surgery with his 1980 adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining. The story was between the two guys. We didn’t want to, but we understood they couldn’t release it with that kind of a reaction. Welles, working from a print that RKO had shipped to him in Brazil, desperately offered up solutions, some of them radical — “I was trying to protect something,” he explained to Peter Bogdanovich, years later — but the director was ignored. I knew it, even though I had already filmed the gas chamber scene … What the hell do we need to see him die for? He’s pursued endlessly. Because with Thora and Wes in the movie, that love story is so heartbreaking, and the trial was also at odds with the whole heart of the movie, of Lester’s journey and his realization, so it just fell out.” You can read the ending in Ball’s original screenplay, but as of this writing, it has never been included on any of the film’s home-video releases, or seen by anyone not involved in its making. Smith cut the tragic ending before Clerks screened at Sundance, where the buzzy title was acquired by Miramax and launched his career. The filmmakers tested both endings and, unsurprisingly, the upbeat, live-to-see-another-day conclusion proved far more popular. Instead, the Indemnity that hit screens ends with Neff collapsing on the floor of his office, where he’s dictated the story of his downfall, as Keyes lights his cigarette. So that’s how it was released, allowing Stallone to continue as the character in four sequels that spawned action figures and even a cartoon series. But there were some growing pains involved in bringing the story to the screen, chief among them the play’s ending — a bummer of conclusion, in true Cold War–era sci-fi style, in which hero Seymour feeds his dead lady love Audrey to the story’s man-eating plant, who in turn grows stronger and more blood-thirsty, its clippings snipped and sold, and the carnivorous creatures growing large enough to take over the world. In Smith’s original cut, after Randall’s exit (the movie’s eventual conclusion), Dante is confronted by a holdup man, who shoots the convenience-store clerk dead, empties the register, and leaves; Smith shows Dante dead on the floor, cuts to black, and rolls credits. Unlike The Magnificent Ambersons, the shift in Indemnity’s conclusion was Wilder’s decision, and his alone. In his absence, Jack Moss — a former magician whom Welles had hired as the business manager for his production company, who was thus in charge of Welles’s affairs while he was out of the country — penned a new, more upbeat ending to the film, which (coupled with another 30-plus minutes of deleted scenes) vastly compromised Welles’s vision. All this, and now we’re gonna kill him?” So Kotcheff shot an alternate ending, in which Rambo turns himself in to Trautman rather than taking his own life. To his credit, Oz originally shot that ending, a 23-minute stew of ominous music and expensive special effects. Smith would later tell producer turned author John Pierson that he was attempting to emulate what made Do the Right Thing feel like “a real movie,” but whatever the logic, it didn’t work at all — the grim conclusion was jarringly out of tune with the jovial nature of what came before it. (He talks more about the decision here.)

Dr. He tells Wendy that the local police have completed their investigation and “they didn’t find the slightest evidence of anything at all out of the ordinary,” nor did they find Jack’s frozen body in the maze; he assures her that “it’s perfectly understandable for someone to imagine such things when they’ve been through something like you have.” But on his way out, Ullman tosses Danny the yellow tennis ball that belonged to his father. The police abuse him. “It all led to this horribly upsetting ending where they went on trial and got convicted,” Ball explained. Right? According to screenwriter Alan Ball, the film initially had an extended ending in which the murder of Lester Burnham (Spacey) is pinned on his daughter Jane (Thora Birch) and her boyfriend and neighbor Ricky (Wes Bentley) — whose father (Chris Cooper) is the actual killer. First Blood (Ted Kotcheff, 1982)

The 1972 novel by David Morrell that inspired the Sylvester Stallone vehicle a decade later had a very different ending — and the film originally did as well. [Audiences] loved the two leads so much that when we killed them, they felt bereft. The original ending — which, true to Close’s word, is much better — is available on the film’s DVD and Blu-ray releases. “When I was told [about the new ending], I thought it was a joke,” Close said in 2018. Clerks (Kevin Smith, 1994)

Writer-director Kevin Smith has never been one to hide his influences, and so he never attempted to conceal that his 1994 breakthrough film was inspired by Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing: a character- and dialogue-driven comedy, set in a single location, over 24 hours. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

Kubrick was not shy about tinkering with his work. After this interaction, the film proceeded to the famous dolly shot that ends the film, to the photo on the wall of the Overlook Hotel. We then see a flashback of Alex taking her own life to the strains of “Madame Butterfly,” which she and Dan had discussed earlier in the film. Film history is full of tales of great movies saved from ruin by a reworked resolution, and of good movies sunk by an ending shoehorned in to appease the marketplace. They feared they had another flop on their hands with Ambersons, about a diminishing midwestern familial empire amid the rise of the automobile industry, so when Welles left for Brazil shortly after the completion of principal photography to make a goodwill project for the U.S. He’s shot in the arm and he has to sew it up himself. Scott) physically attacking the Russian ambassador, escalating into a broad, messy custard-pie fight in the War Room. The version of the film that went into release on May 23, 1980, included an epilogue, in which Overlook manager Stuart Ullman (Barry Nelson) — who interviews Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) at the beginning of the film — visits Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and Danny (Danny Lloyd) in the hospital, where they’re recuperating from Jack’s attack. The original ending was fully restored for the 2012 Blu-ray release, and it frequently pops up on YouTube as well. He jumps off cliffs. That is, until a few of them made their way onto DVDs as bonus material. I thought the proposed new ending was a terrible betrayal of the character I’d created — and it was! And that’s the ending they showed to preview audiences. (You can read the scene here.)

Kubrick reportedly decided to remove the epilogue after watching the film with audiences, sensing that it wasn’t playing. Dogs are sent after him. The Art of Ending Things

How great entertainment sticks the landing. It’s partly why so many filmmaking teams (and, more recently, cohorts of studio executives) fixate relentlessly on arriving at the proper ending. More From This Series

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Tags: Satisfied with the results thereafter, he had Warner Brothers send editors to every theater that was showing the film in that initial (limited) release to physically remove the scene from each print. “The focus of their anxieties,” Callow notes, “was on the bitter, ironic end of the film,” which tested especially poorly at the film’s disastrous advance previews (Welles had not been forced to show Kane to preview audiences). Robinson) looked on. The snippets were turned over to Warner Brothers and haven’t been seen since; all that remains of the sequence are a few Polaroid photos, snapped on the day for continuity purposes. A perfectly constructed conclusion can solidify a great movie or make a weak one seem stronger; meanwhile, a bad finale can throw the work of a small nation of co-conspirators into complete chaos.

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Let Matt Berry Be the Judge of That

The judge guest role, in other words, is the human personification of a wickedly raised eyebrow. The gold standard is a show like Law & Order: SVU, where the judge is often the personality of last resort, the final opportunity for someone to weigh in on a case before the last “DUN DUN” chimes. While we are doing that vital work, though, it’s also a good opportunity to make some smaller but equally helpful changes to the genre. So a few times a month, we’ll be using this space to propose new, occasionally out-of-the-box opportunities or roles for Mr. (Presumably at this more mature phase in his life, he would not use the judge’s bench … inappropriately.)

In a perfect world, Matt Berry would get cast in a very specific judge role: as one of the judges on the Robert and Michelle King show The Good Fight. Judge roles, after all, require an immense amount of energy and attention on the face muscles. Berry has a vital asset that makes him perfect for this kind of work: He has fantastic eyebrows. “You’d be the judge in the morning and Jack the Ripper in the afternoon,” he said. They are figures who command respect and who are supposed to be these higher-order beings of impartial justice, but in practice, every line they say becomes a reflection of who this individual person is. He’s best known for shows like Toast of London, The IT Crowd, and What We Do in the Shadows, but we’re confident that a performance by Matt Berry would spruce up all sorts of film and TV stories, big and small. Consider, too, one of the most important choices for TV judge guest spot costuming: Will he be one of the judges whose robe is always impeccably fully zipped? Think about the pleated shoulders. And given the stringent limitations of a judge’s role, you need someone who can take a one-word line and really make the most of it. That’s why we’re running this recurring column, which serves as half-celebration and half-brainstorm for someone we’re consistently delighted to see show up on our screens: beloved British performer of stage and screen, Matt Berry. TV has come to a crossroads where it needs to re-examine the role of police shows in our culture. “It wasn’t RADA, but you learned how to get the story right and not to fluff your lines.” Obviously Berry’s career has come a long way since then, but that makes it all the more appealing for him to return to such a meaningful early role. More From This Series

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Tags: This would not be Berry’s first time playing a judge, either. There are a few different flavors — the straight-up police procedural, the more cable-y court thriller, the legal drama. Will he fall into the most chaotic option, the judge who sits behind the bench with the robe still unzipped? Of course, you can’t forget the importance of voice in a situation like this, and here’s where Berry is really head and shoulders above the competition. We are confident that should he ever find this column, he will find it both confusing and mortifying. Berry. They are mobile, eloquent brows, and they could do such extraordinary work when framed by a jet-black judge’s robe and a gleaming wood-paneled background. We need to cast Matt Berry as a judge. Outside of the few fairly proscribed lines a judge has available to them (“Sustained!”), most of the character is built with a face and hands. Hello, dealer? They get to wear big, voluminous black robes, often with a jaunty collar situation. Imagine all the jaunty collar options. He has a habit of wearing a number of rings in his public appearances; think of the dramatic character potential of a judge who reaches for the gavel and shows off some beautiful rings in the process. Will he be the kind of guy who strolls into the courtroom while zipping the robe up, as though he’s just been forced to interrupt a casual lunch in his chambers? But Berry would also be a true delight in even the most straight-laced cop show, a beacon of magnetic individuality in an otherwise staid setting. There is no one better suited to that position than beloved British actor Matt Berry. First, think about how great he’d look in the robe. It’s the best, most fun, most Berry-friendly take on what a judge should be in a legal drama, because judges on The Good Fight are mercurial, strange, often infuriating figures full of bizarre quirks. He’d walk into the courtroom and nod officiously at the bailiff, and as he settled into the big leather judge’s seat, the robe would swish around him with an air of impressive spectacle. This time, we could all appreciate how special it would be. Best of all, the judge character is always a glorious combination of extreme reserve and obvious quirkiness. The judge gets to sit literally higher than everyone else, looking down on them from a position of power. In a 2019 Guardian interview, Berry talked about playing a judge in one of his first jobs at the London Dungeon, a tourist attraction where actors perform notorious, scary roles from London’s history. Although a judge’s hands should be a tool of last resort, reserved only for the biggest moments in a scene, Berry’s hands are ready for the task. Berry could pull off every one of these iterations, and you can tell because he has a remarkably expressive face. Yes, please, put it all on Berry. For my money, the best guest spot gig in TV is as a judge. Are they going to allow these kinds of shenanigans to proceed? They have the eyebrow quirk, the furrowed forehead, the squinted eye of skepticism, the raised brow of surprise, and — in extreme moments — the rapid tapping of a gavel. Do they think that objection should be sustained? It’s a role that’s often about good active listening, but the judge also needs to communicate a whole internal life with very few available tools. In each one, though, the judge holds a special and delightful place. He’s good at projecting; he’s a fantastic enunciator. There’s a lot of serious, important work to be done, and it is up to all of us to be thoughtful consumers of culture so that we don’t perpetuate systems of implicit bias for yet more generations of American life. Illustration: by Carolyn Figel

These are hard times, and when things get really dark, we at Vulture like to double down on the things that are still capable of bringing us happiness. No one has more ability to take a single word and imbue it with untold layers of nuance and personality than Matt Berry.

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Bruce Springsteen Pleads Guilty to Drinking in National Park

Judge Anthony Mautone agreed for these charges to be dismissed and hit Springsteen with a $500 fine. Springsteen, whom authorities previously described as “cooperative” during his arrest, admitted to cops that he took “two shots of tequila in the last 20 minutes,” according to court documents. Related

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Tags: The spot sparked controversy with some Springsteen fans, who felt it didn’t go along with his strong expressions of progressive politics. This ad showed Springsteen driving a Jeep in the middle of the U.S., talking about uniting a divided nation. In the statement of probable cause, the arresting officer claimed: “While on foot patrol, I observed a male (Bruce F. According to the arrest paperwork, “He confirmed that he was going to drive out of the park.” The doc also claimed “Springsteen smelt strongly of alcohol coming off his person and had glassy eyes.”

The cop claimed they had him do “standardized field sobriety tests and observed four out of six clues on the [horizontal gaze] test.” They claimed that he was “visibly swaying back and forth while I observed his eyes.” The document also maintained that they saw “five of eight clues on the walk and turn test.”

“Springsteen took 45 total steps during the walk and turn instead of the instructed 18 … Springsteen refused to provide a sample on the preliminary breath test.”

After news of Springsteen’s arrest emerged, his Super Bowl ad with Jeep was taken off YouTube, though it remains on his Instagram. The Patrón bottle that the shot was poured out of was completely empty (750 ml).”

The officer allegedly asked Springsteen if he was leaving the area. “I think I can pay that immediately, your honor,” Springsteen replied. Springsteen) consume a shot of Patrón tequila and then get on his motorcycle and start the engine. “I had two small shots of tequila,” Springsteen said during the brief proceeding, which stemmed from his November 14 arrest in the Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook. Springsteen had received three citations during this arrest — driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, and consuming alcohol in a closed area — but prosecutors asked for the DWI and reckless driving charges to be dismissed during today’s brief proceeding. Mautone asked Springsteen, who was sporting what appeared to be a dark blazer with a dark sweater under it, how long it would take for him to pay the fine. I contacted Springsteen and informed him alcohol is prohibited at Sandy Hook. This morning’s proceeding comes several days after Springsteen and Barack Obama launched a Spotify podcast, Renegades: Born in the USA. The podcast marks the second feature from Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground studio and will focus on “intimate conversations on topics of race, fatherhood, marriage, and their own personal and professional journeys,” a press release about the podcast explained. Photo: Roy Rochlin/WireImage

Bruce Springsteen pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to consuming alcohol in a closed area during a Zoom-based proceeding in New Jersey federal court.

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Andy Samberg Texted Colin Jost for a Dick Pic During Seth Meyers Interview

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Tags: By the end of the tomfoolery, which featured Jost questioning his Harvard classmate Pete Buttigieg’s new position as the Secretary of Transportation (“Railroads? For an interview that was meant to promote a children’s movie, Colin Jost’s appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers got real weird, real fast. Dick pic?” Meyers had to interrupt: “Is he asking if you want one, or is he asking you to send one?” Samberg texted Jost his answer, “Get or send.” The extended bit was a ludicrous piece of late night subterfuge, and a demonstration of how strong Andy Samberg’s comedic voice is: It totally comes across through Jost reading his texts aloud with his screen turned off. Reminder to turn off alerts on your laptop. Andy Samberg has reached out. All this, and we didn’t even get to see the dick pics. If you don’t turn off alerts, it will keep popping up and interrupting. Nielsen ratings could get screwy.”

At this point, you could hear Meyers’s production team cracking up in the background. He wants you to check your phone right now.” Jost had been Zooming from his camera, so he had to turn his video off as he read Samberg’s incoming text messages: “Hey, are you on with Seth right now for your interview? Can be very annoying.” As Jost read Samberg’s ridiculous texts out loud to Meyers, more kept coming in: “Anyway, hope you getting these in real time so it doesn’t become annoying if someone texts you while it’s happening. The past and present Weekend Update anchors were speaking about Jost’s experience filming the upcoming Tom & Jerry when Meyers interrupted, saying, “This is pretty rare, but we just got some news. Don’t be mad. Might be bad TV. He would just do railroads?”) Meyers threatened to not plug Tom & Jerry at all. “Full disclosure, on peyote right now. [Photo of me.] This you?

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Ginny & Georgia Is So, So Much. Truly, So Much.

It feels like a Frankenstein’s monster of so many other things, and if you look closely you can still see where all the individual parts came from. It’s clearly nachos, but it’s also so much more, crowd-pleasing but also polarizing, and stuffed with bits that do not need to be there. It’s much less obvious whether Ginny & Georgia wants us to hold them against her. She makes some terrible decisions and she’s sometimes cruel, but she has the most compelling motives for her behavior, and she’s at the center of the show’s best stories about friendship, sex, class, and race. I was grateful to see the revival of one of my personal favorites, Hot Neighbor With Floppy Dark Hair Who’s Not Your Boyfriend But Climbs Into Your Bedroom Window to Make Banter Sometimes. The group partying scenes and inevitable precursor and follow-up group argument scenes are the show’s most reliably compelling writing, especially when it folds in Ginny’s discomfort with being the one Black kid in the group, or one of the other girls’ anxieties about their home lives. Oh and also, Ginny has a younger brother named Austin (Diesel La Torraca) who is sometimes an adorable, socially anxious Harry Potter fan and is sometimes frighteningly comfortable with violent behavior. It’s an uneven and over-long show that shambles toward the last episode in fits and starts. It’s a wild and unpredictable mixture of so many genres and tones that watching it often feels like being shuttled from one TV show into another, with little warning and less explanation. There are mesmerizing little snatches where Ginny just sits in her bedroom texting all her friends. The whole package may be dubiously conceived and overstuffed, but there’s enough going on that some of it can’t help but work. It’s not just a few layers of chips with some toppings and melted shredded cheese. The series also puts the most loving energy into its high school tropes — the big school sleepover event, college-application anxiety, the terrible racist teacher, the cliques. That’s true for Ginny & Georgia, too. Mr. They hang out and fall out and make up and betray one another with a rhythm that’s more regular and plausible than most other parts of the series. Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

Guy Fieri has a recipe called Trash Can Nachos, and the idea is exactly as over-the-top and probably as delicious as it sounds. Trash Can Nachos is what the new Netflix series Ginny & Georgia most reminds me of. There’s a whole arc with Austin that involves him stabbing a classmate, and Georgia barely notices. But the show can’t decide whether it’s on Georgia’s side or not, or whether she’s supposed to be a Breaking Bad–type villain who we sympathize with even when we shouldn’t. Ginny & Georgia’s “everything all the time” impulse works best in the high school context, where it makes sense for a passel of teenagers to be overwhelmed by a dozen different sources of sexual, emotional, and social tension, and to feel highly attuned to them at all times. It’s a shorthand way to illustrate familiar things. It’s a tower of tortilla chips, built inside a large metal can and layered with carne asada, beans, salsa, red onion, jalapeño, Cotija cheese, and then soldered together with a roux-based cheese sauce made from four other kinds of cheese and heavy cream. She hides things from Ginny in the name of protecting her, and that backfires about seven different ways. Throughout it all, the series is heavily influenced by who among the several love interests Ginny and Georgia are most drawn to, and in those sections it’s comedy, with a strong dash of brooding romance. Except that if you took anything away, it’d be less fully itself. It’s an hourlong drama about a woman named Georgia (Brianne Howey) with a checkered past and two kids, who moves to an affluent suburban community in Massachusetts for a fresh start. As the show starts digging into Georgia’s past, which includes a smorgasbord of illegal activity, Georgia also starts covering her tracks in the present, and the show becomes a crime drama. When Ginny starts making friends at her new school, the show shifts into light teen drama mode, but when they party pretty hard and Ginny engages in some frightening self-harm, the teen drama becomes much darker. Ginny and the three other girls in her tight-knit friend group (Sara Waisglass as Max, Katie Douglas as Abby, and Chelsea Clark as Norah) are their own little engine of solidly firing school drama. The mother-daughter relationship between Georgia (Brianne Howey) and Ginny (Antonia Gentry) feels reminiscent of Gilmore Girls, but that reference point is merely one layer of what Ginny & Georgia is doing. Will this next part with Georgia be more “mom trying to be wholesome but failing,” or will it be more “mom who doesn’t care at all about wholesomeness because she’s engaging in embezzlement right now”? Georgia starts working for the town’s mayor (Scott Porter) and in those portions the series shifts more into a local political dramedy. The feeling changes dramatically depending what mode the show is in, and who Georgia’s harming in the name of saving her family. It also seems purposeful, given the double-G hit of the title and the quirky town setting. Tags: And yet, if you ignore the large-scale structural problems and the question of why this tower of nachos had to be built in a can so big with so many different cheeses, Ginny & Georgia offers plenty of narrative threads to pull you along through the season. The Gilmore Girls comparison is obvious and Ginny & Georgia invites it readily, but that reference point is merely one layer of what Ginny & Georgia is doing. The Georgia side of the equation is much wobblier. And the thing is … she is, often, a bad mother. Is the tone of this town council meeting going to be “these suburban citizens are lovable kooks” or will it be “this is soul-killing and dull”? In Ginny & Georgia’s case, describing it by way of other TV shows feels inevitable, because the show does many things well, but is not great at sewing all those parts together into one big consistent world. She is a character who’s constantly fending off accusations that she is a bad mother, either explicit ones from the fellow town mothers, or implicit ones from some of her love interests, her children, figures from her past. It’s also easiest to feel for Ginny. Fieri made those Trash Can Nachos because there was a market for them, and even for someone who doesn’t love the entire presentation, there’s probably going to be at least some part of those nachos that tastes good. So it’s not just Gilmore Girls, it’s also Dare Me, Euphoria, Weeds, Sneaky Pete, Mom, Desperate Housewives, and How to Get Away With Murder, with a hit of We Need to Talk About Kevin and a reverse Hart of Dixie twist. Her daughter, Ginny (Antonia Gentry), was born when Georgia was only 15, and the Gilmore Girls mom-and-daughter-are-more-like-sisters impression is palpable. Describing a TV show via comparison with all the other shows it’s most like is lazy, and it tends to underplay what’s most interesting and unique about a new series. The screen is a flood of incoming messages into the group chat and then a simultaneous onslaught of texts where Ginny tries to analyze what’s going on in one-on-one sidebar conversations. For instance, she does quite a bit of crime. It’s almost impossible to know what kind of a show it’s going to be from scene to scene. To call it a Gilmore knockoff would be like trying to describe Trash Can Nachos by saying, “Oh yeah, they’re like most nachos you’d make for yourself on a typical day.”

Because Ginny & Georgia has so much more going on than just the tense dynamics between a mother and daughter who are unusually close in age. By the end of the season, it’s fairly obvious that Georgia’s got some real problems.

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Real-Life Nomad Bob Wells Poured His Own Grief Into Nomadland

I mean, you’re essential to the ending. To say February 2021 looks different for the man behind the popular CheapRVliving YouTube channel would be an understatement. Wells appears opposite Frances McDormand and David Strathairn in Zhao’s neo-Western based on Jessica Bruder’s book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century. If she gave me a topic, I could just go on and start talking. Swankie talks about her grief, her losing her life. I obeyed. But I think the movie shows she comes through to the light on the other end. And the word got around that it had been optioned. What was it like when they approached you? Sometimes it’s emotional needs. When you are addressing the crowd at the RTR, is that your normal spiel?Absolutely. And at one point, Linda May talks about being prepared to take her own life. I mean, all the stuff that you are and everyone else is learning about nomadic living — that’s my life. She created a world that I entered into and felt and lived. In fact, my friend Sue Ann was at Linda May’s when Chloé was there. And this is where it’s led. I think they don’t know it, but [the lifestyle is] an inoculation against the grief that is to come. It’s coming to all of our lives. Were they like, “We want you to play yourself”?Well, I researched Chloé, because she’s done a couple of movies previously. But she had that. This interview has been edited and condensed from a conversation conducted during the writing of New York Magazine’s Chloé Zhao profile. That was the first time she knew anything about my son. But for most young people, they haven’t experienced it yet. The Gold Rush

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Photo: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Around this time last year, Bob Wells was wrapping up hosting duties for the 2020 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, the largest gathering of nomads and van dwellers in the U.S. I don’t think that makes it on the screen. How did I slip into this alternate universe? Chloé knew nothing about it. I was really moved by it.The movie is set so much in nomadic living, but it’s really the age-old story: the hero’s journey through grief and loss. You just wind me up, and I start talking and do my thing. He’s one of several real-life nomads, recruited by the director famous for her utilization of nonactors. And [Nomadland author] Jessica Bruder kind of left the book in the darkness. I was ready to take my own life at one point. But I guess it was close enough, because she got what she needed. How did you prepare for your scenes? She just picked the parts that were useful to her. Were you ever given a script? There’s no one more average than me or less deserving than me. I don’t know dates very well. She didn’t get a lot of what we shot on the screen. A friend of ours, who was in the military, talked about his just briefly around the fire — about the grief of battle and war and post-traumatic stress. It’s really the story of Fern’s grief and many other people’s. I don’t know what that force is, but it seems to be pretty successful. And so, it was easy to find [the words], because they’re me. And on the other hand, I’m watching Frances, who’s got this whole thing memorized and is just going off and acting. I mean, that’s kind of the ultimate in grief. And of course, she asked if I would be willing to share that. I thought, “Well, they say I’m going to be in the movie, but I’ll believe it when I see it.”

You’re very much in the movie. At the end, you’ve got the feeling there’s a real healing here and she’s moving on to the best times of her life. It’s a movie about grief, and so it’s dark and moving, but it’s very, very true to nomadic living. Thanks to an ongoing pandemic, the RTR has gone digital. So, that wasn’t anything to me. I thought there was a good chance I was just going to play myself. One of the things that strikes me about the film is that it does capture the idea that a lot of people are looking to heal, but also that there are many different reasons for people to be drawn to this life. And out of that healing, he’s able to go back to be reunited with his family and made solid. Chloé contacted me directly at some point. Like David Strathairn’s character — we don’t know his character’s story at all, but he’s there and he’s found healing. Before the movie, there were 20 people in the world I’ve ever talked to about it. I have gone to the bathroom a million times in my van. It was a world I was living. And the story I told about my son was true. I almost have to say we time traveled. It pulls up some really personal pain that’s clear onscreen.No. And who knows what’s next? But many years ago, I made a decision to turn my life over to the … there’s a quote that I love that says, “The force that guides the stars wants to guide you.” And so I made a decision long ago, that whatever that force was that guides the stars had a pretty good idea of what it was doing. So, yeah, I think there’s just healing. It was probably just too much. It’s dark, because grief is dark. It wasn’t words I was saying on a script. That is really how I would describe it — an inoculation. Do you remember what it was like to shoot that scene?It was kind of odd at first. That was just me talking. I was teaching seven or eight, nine classes, every RTR for ten years. And actually, I think the movie was very, very healing for me — actually saying it, telling the world. That was the first introduction that I’d heard about it. In the film, Wells plays himself, a facilitator of the broader nomad community who, after surviving divorce and the death of his son, found solace (both financial and emotional) in a life on the road. Was that something you had known you were going to talk about? I mean, being an actor is a real deal, and I’m not, but she created a world with her face — literally with her face and voice and a slight hint of her smile. I know you participated in the Nomadland book, but at what point were you approached about this as a movie project?I’m not very good with timelines. The book had come out and was very, very popular. When did you first see the finished film?At the screening in Pasadena, in L.A. I mean, my memory is well into the poor range. Once that initial release was over, then it became work. We’re recovering through a life of grief and loss. I think that’s why a lot of us are out here. “Hey, do you want to be in a movie?”Surreal, of course. The first time we went through it, I was crying the whole time, because I was just being me, talking about my son. Do you feel like this is an accurate portrayal of the nomadic community?Yeah. And then through the grapevine — I knew Linda May, although we’re not in touch a lot — but through the grapevine, [through] people that know Linda and know me, I’d heard that Chloé was [onboard]. More From This Series

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Tags: I just listened. So I was never really able to fully memorize it exactly how she wanted it, I don’t think. It really doesn’t follow much at all with Nomadland. It really was. How can you describe it? They caught it completely. So how was the role described to you? But I talked a lot of my standard spiel. Ahead of the 2021 Golden Globes ceremony, Wells got on the phone with Vulture to discuss how he became involved in Zhao’s project, what it was like “time traveling” with McDormand, and how an improvised scene detailing his own grief made it into the final film. Very surreal, very bizarre. So standing up — you wind me up, and I’m a doll. The Telluride Film Festival put on a screening there, and they brought in most all of us. It’s coming. Yeah, I thought it was very, very true to nomadic living. I had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with it. I knew her style. How does it feel now to be part of a Best Supporting Actor campaign?Bizarre, surreal, impossible, crazy. I couldn’t believe they put that in there, but that’s real life. Sometimes it’s economic necessity. What you saw at the RTR was just one of those things. She wouldn’t give up being a nomad for anything. “It’s all outdoors, but it’s still — that would be unreasonable.”) And thanks to Chloé Zhao’s casting of Wells in her Golden Globe–nominated film Nomadland, the longtime proponent of transient living is campaigning for his own statues in a very strange awards season. And I could be me and respond in that world, because it was real. Do you remember what you thought seeing it?Well, my first thought was I was kind of bored with it, because it was just my life. But it’s still very true to the spirit. What you say is so beautiful. I always took the attitude, “Well, let’s just see.” This is the attitude I took right until I actually saw the screening a few months ago. Never in a million years, would you ever think your life would be in … well, I never would’ve thought my life would be in a book, much less a movie. I have not handled the death of my son at all well, and it’s been a very private thing. Becoming a nomad is about, for many of us, going through the darkness of the tunnel, looking for the light at the other end. Her style was to take the real people and create a fictional story around those people, and they basically play themselves. You have the young people, and that’s becoming more and more common. I couldn’t find that deep connection again. Working with Frances was a life-changing experience. We shot a lot that day and a few seconds of it made it into the movie. And it was very, very hard for me. About two, three days before the scene, she came in and I told her. I believe it was late 2017. (“We can’t put 10,000 people from all across the country in one spot,” Wells explains. I could be wrong. I mean, those were my experiences. People who are …

The van-life people?They’re not chasing healing from grief. But it was also kind of shocking, I’m sure, to the whole world. Or was it more just like, “This is what we want to talk about,” and then you would improvise?It was mostly improvised, but there was a scene between Fern [Frances McDormand], the fictional character, and I, where she wanted me to memorize a script. It was probably in ’18 or maybe late 2017. But then after that time, I couldn’t do it again. I think that is really the true story, even if we don’t know the story. She created a story, and I entered it. Swankie was there, Linda May was there, I was there. Then when I learned that they were just going to simply re-create the first RTR [Rubber Tramp Rendezvous], I knew, I’m just me. That’s not yet part of their journey. I knew it would be a fictionalized story, which it was. All the unique little details — the scene where Frances goes to the bathroom in the van. So based on her first two ventures, I knew basically what was coming. I’ve never had a particularly good memory, and now that I’m older, it’s poor. It was a gift to my son’s life and of my life to the movie. It is something I have never talked about.

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Categories: Entertainment News

How The Descent Ended Up With Two Famously Bleak Endings

Photo-Illustration: by Vulture; Photos Courtesy of Neil Marshall

“Six beautiful women go spelunking” isn’t necessarily the premise you’d expect to result in a near-perfect horror movie, but The Descent doesn’t really play within the bounds of expectations. Neil Marshall’s sophomore feature isn’t just about six friends getting lost during a poorly planned caving expedition, it’s also a cutting exploration of trauma and grief, fractured relationships, self-preservation, and that phenomenon whereby a part of the human race secretly lives in caves for thousands of years and evolves to be able to survive underground by subsisting on the flesh of their above-ground counterparts. I find that bizarre and fascinating. Is there anything you think people have missed entirely?I don’t know if everybody understood what the creatures were about. Real primordial stuff. Psychologically, she’s screwed. ending, which does go back to her being in the cave. If people want to analyze the endings, that just adds to the overall analysis of the movie, and I welcome that. I’ve never had anybody write about my work in that way before. She’s in shorts for no obvious reason. edition. The thing that bugged me most about the sequel is that they bring this super-traumatized woman right back to the source of her psychological breakdown. In your mind, where does the ending begin?I think it’s when she slides down the last hole and knocks herself out. At that point in the story, she’s like, Once I see her again, it’s not time for words. It definitely would have [bothered me] if it were never going to get released in its desired form. But it’s very similar to the shot in the U.K. Cheerful films do well. The only real way to take on that story [again] is that, in the first film, they find a miner’s helmet. The second film began and it didn’t pick up from either ending. I was set in my task to just create the scariest movie I possibly could. Lionsgate was more hesitant. Audiences have adjusted with that. After The Descent’s finale made it onto our years-in-the-making ranking of the 101 greatest endings in movies history, I reached out to Marshall to get the full story behind the alternate conclusions and his take on the film’s eventual sequel (the one that completely ignores both of the endings that preceded it). I do think that both of your Descent endings could potentially be read as she doesn’t escape, right? An “if you’re going to do it I don’t want anything to do with it” kind of thing. It’s okay. It never occurred to you to leave it open for revisiting the story?I didn’t see how you could. That’s test audiences for you. I robbed that one wholesale with the original ending: She loses her mind, but she finds her daughter. How did it end up happening if you weren’t onboard with it?I didn’t own the rights. At that time, it was great to have that freedom to make the movie I wanted to make. Before we dig into these endings, can you tell me about why you decided to make this film in the first place?It came as a response to making [2002’s] Dog Soldiers, which, although it’s a gory and scary horror movie, it’s also played quite tongue-in-cheek. We’d had that ending, and everything was rosy. A lot of the great ones do have bleak endings, but there are plenty of others that are … maybe “happy” is the wrong word, but more uplifting or satisfying. Even the affair — none of that was onscreen. What does it take for somebody to go insane? But I think maybe the ’70s started to change that, a bit. I do think you rarely see, especially now, a totally bleak horror ending. It was already out on DVD in the U.K., and anybody with a multi-region player in the States could have ordered it off Amazon and watched the real ending if they wanted to. Did the attention that was paid to the two endings surprise you? It wasn’t going to be a triumphant escape from the cave. So that’s the happier ending, for you, to have her stay and lose her mind.I think so. It was literally, they clipped 30 seconds off the end. So I could live with it. By the time I’d got back to Newcastle, I wrote the treatment and sent it to him the next day. I couldn’t get past that, and I felt like it was a really easy script solve to instead just make her want to go back.That was one of the big issues I had with it. It wraps it up in a way that was bleak, whichever way you cut it. That was six months later. I guess it must have originated from a concept long ago. What were you keeping ambiguous?There’s a moment towards the end, when she climbs out of the blood pool, and it’s this really primal thing — she’s covered in blood and holding a bone. And it’s a direct cut, so it’s like, are we’re saying, from their POV, Sarah is the enemy, [she’s] the creatures? Within the first 15 minutes of the film, protagonist Sarah (Shauna McDonald) loses her husband and daughter in a horrifying car accident, meets up with her friends (one of whom, it’s strongly implied, was sleeping with her husband before his death) for a caving expedition meant to “take her mind off things,” and gets completely lost in an unexplored subterranean system. And how they’re meant to be there. All of the stuff she’d gone through had built up, and she knew exactly what point she was at in the movie. She also said that the cave is representative of a female body, and each of the chambers is a different part: the stomach chamber, the lungs chamber, the menstrual chamber, with the blood. When I watched it, it really just threw into relief how well-done your movie is.For my money, the sequel was totally unnecessary. If humans lived in caves, and the majority of humanity, at some point, left the cave, these ones went into the cave. The journey through the cave is a journey through the female body. It should feel overstuffed and implausible, and it’s a testament to Marshall’s vision that it doesn’t. Or is it just a cut and they’re listening to different things? It reminded me of the end of Texas Chainsaw Massacre: She survives, but she’s clearly out of her mind with fear and madness. Pathé Pictures had the rights to the movie and were going to make a sequel regardless. I was like, “If that’s the movie you’re making, I quit now.” We made a point of their costumes being, okay, a bit more figure-hugging than boiler suits, but they were full-bodied and not gratuitous. There’s a lot to mine in the movie about grief and loss, and I’m curious if they were informed by your own experiences.I can’t say it was based on my own experiences, but rather a writer’s imagination of how grief affects people. The cut version doesn’t really exist now. Certainly there were two films that inspired it, very heavily: Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and The Thing. I didn’t intend it that way, but I was like, “Okay, you see that?! Then there’s the white guys crawling around inside this body. Why did you choose not to have Sarah and Juno address the affair directly?Well, once its revealed, the characters don’t have an opportunity to sit down and have a chat about it. She screams, and we cut to Juno and the others listening, but the scream they’re listening to is the sound of a crawler. So I don’t see it as being a happy ending at all, having her get out of the cave. In that ending, do you assume she’s going to die shortly therafer?Yeah. My whole theory with them was that they’re the cavemen who stayed in the cave. And the last shot of the film, with her staring at her daughter, was the last scene we shot of the film. We thought we’d get stomped on by this bigger movie. I think the best way is not to treat audiences like they’re dumb, because they’re not. I didn’t start it knowing how I was going to finish. If you have any other ideas, come back with them.” I left the office, I got on the train, and on that three-hour journey home, I came up with The Descent. The only one I suppose is Juno’s cut-off wetsuit thing, but that was a pastiche for Burt Reynolds in Deliverance. We watch Sarah stab the traitorous Juno in the leg and leave her to die, finally escape the cave, race to her car, encounter a ghostly apparition of Juno, vomit, then wake up back in the cave — where, it’s made clear, she’d actually been all along. It makes a difference, but it wasn’t rewriting the whole movie. I wanted as many of them to see it as possible. It was show don’t tell. I think it’s fascinating: “Which one’s the bleak ending, which one’s not?”

Did you and do you still pay attention to the discourse around it?Every so often I get approached by somebody doing a college thesis on it, and I’m always interested to see that. It never crossed my mind. That vision carries Marshall all the way through to the end of the film, which, in its initial form, is balls-out bleak, the sort of stake-in-the-ground conclusion that’s rare in modern horror. That was the price of getting the first film made. [Laughs.] I think also, we shot the film pretty much in story order, so as each character died, they left. All her family and friends are gone, in the most horrendous fashion, some killed by her hand. Was it always the plan to have Sarah kill Juno?I’d have to go back through the drafts of the script, but I think it was always the case that she was going to turn on Juno at some point. People have since written theses on the film’s hidden meanings. and get it out two or three months before The Cave. After what’s happened to her, and what could happen to her, surviving an incident where all her friends are killed — there may be blame laid upon her, she may end up in prison! at the time; my world was the U.K. Because when we get that flash of her from above, it looks kind of like she’s back in the cave. What kind of feedback did they give you? Was there any part of you that thought, “Maybe they’re right and this is too bleak for Americans”?No, I didn’t think that. For the question — “Are the creatures real or a figment of her imagination?” — that made it way too obvious that they were [figments]. And he said, “I love it. At what point were you asked by Lionsgate to change the ending for American audiences?The whole turnaround of the film was very quick. So we nixed that idea and wanted to make it more literal, but still leave hints of the former version. Did they ever say, “A woman wouldn’t say or do that”?Yeah. Look at something like Se7en. release] was always going to go after the U.K. From there, the atrocities only continue to pile up: The terrified women encounter the aforementioned murderous cave-people; the friends slowly begin to turn on one another as pack leader Juno’s (Natalie Mendoza) dark secrets are revealed; they’re forced to consider mercy-killing; all but Sarah die bombastic, violent deaths; and Sarah descends entirely into her own madness. That’s what mattered most to her. Which is very fast. Let’s go for the bigger release.”

The bottom line was, if anybody wanted to see the original ending, they could just go on Amazon. So you don’t personally think American audiences are weaker in that sense than the larger international audience?I don’t. She’s trapped underground, nobody knows where she is, she doesn’t know where she is. Theirs was the much bigger budget, bigger stars, all of that. Lionsgate did some test screenings for their release. The first film resolves itself, whichever ending you choose. We shot the film in January and February, and it was in cinemas in the U.K. As a result, the American ending is far less interesting and, depending on your perspective, not even necessarily “happier”: Sarah sees Juno in the car, vomits from the trauma, and then we get a brief shot of her from above, bloody and screaming. It scored high, but at one point, somebody had gotten a comment: “Oh, the ending is really depressing.” Somebody then said, “What if we just trim a minute off the film, and she gets out, and we end the film there?” And they tested it again, and the results were even higher, in the 90s or something. I’d never actually seen The Descent sequel until this week.Well, you don’t want to bother with that. What was your reaction when they said they were going to add your ending back on again?I was like, “Fine! Ultimately, The Descent functions as a horror movie on multiple levels, a sort of Jenga tower of terror. I knew I wanted a bleak ending; to make the scariest film I possibly could, as dark as we can go. So I didn’t lose any sleep over that, really. Did they even consult you? Sarah finds out two things: Juno was having an affair with her husband, and he’d given her this necklace as a gift; and she finds out that Juno left Beth to die. In those last 15 minutes or so, her performance is so incredible to me. But the most widely available version is the complete U.K. It would be better if it was amazing, but it’s okay. That’s the only way it’s gonna happen. I wasn’t going to be so precious about it like, “It’s my ending or no ending!” and get 20 screens in the U.S. Okay, let’s dig into the endings. It does seem to be quite a conversation point. And it’s an amazing hit movie. More From This Series

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Tags: They know their shit. Somebody said, I can’t remember who, maybe Emma [Cleasby], who was in Dog Soldiers: “Women say what they feel, not what they think, primarily. The Art of Ending Things

How great entertainment sticks the landing. And there was, in an earlier version of the beginning of the film, a scene in the hospital where she looks along a corridor and sees a crawler scuttling along the corridor. Where do you take the story? People have been talking about it for years.Yeah! This was the ending that was shown to audiences around the globe during The Descent’s initial 2005 release, but when it came time to screen the film in the U.S. It was like, Ah, okay. She completely changes her physicality and becomes this feral creature. I was inspired by films like Deliverance, where people start turning against each other, humans versus nature, these elements of survival that I love in movies. Wow, I’ve never watched the film that way. Showing her the necklace meant she knew about the husband and about Beth. So they had to come to us and say, “Look, we’ll release it no matter what, but we think it’ll perform much better with this new ending.” It had already been released globally. Did it ever cross your mind while making the film that you’d have to change the ending?No. The two endings have long fascinated horror fans, who have been dissecting the discrepancies — and the specific reasons behind them — for more than 15 years. I think in a court of law they might think it’s direct.Probably the same thing, yeah. It was like, “Great, we’ve done it, that’s the ending, boom.”

What was your direction in that scene to Sarah?I told her I wanted to see a glint — not of a smile, but of happiness in her eye that she was with her daughter again. in July. Is it impossible to make a truly frightening horror movie without an unhappy ending?No, I don’t think so. I think it’s on YouTube, but barely.Something like that. But then it was released [on DVD and streaming] in the U.S. Not as a rule, but think of it from that point of view — feeling versus just thinking.” I thought, That’s really interesting. How can we explore that?”

I was reading some of the reviews at the time, and Manohla Dargis at the New York Times seemed to like it, but did mention that she felt the women were a bit sexualized. I love it. release anyway, so they said, “Let’s see what happens.” As it turned out, [the U.S. To this day, I can’t remember who it was, but one of the reviewers said, “This is all very well, Brits out there making horror movies, but when is a Brit going to make a really scary horror film again?” I felt like a gauntlet had been thrown down. There’s some oddities, for sure. Thousands and thousands of years ago. and Canada that they hadn’t seen it yet. I don’t know if I necessarily agree with that, but I’m curious about what kind of thought you put into that while making it.Wow, I can’t say I’ve read that. [The U.S. It just kind of evolved through the making and editing of the film, the scoring of the film, and watching it with an audience and seeing their feedback. It was literally down to her on the last day, and Molly, who plays her daughter, comes back for the last shot. How far can you push them? What were you trying to convey with the character of Sarah and her arc?It was about a literal descent into madness. Yeah. It was really important. That brings her a degree of happiness, which she’s not gonna get if she escapes from the cave. But she’s with her daughter. We interjected all of these teasers and hidden meanings along the way just to suggest that kind of thing. People have read into that for sure. She gave me just enough. Great! So many of the great ones that I love — American Werewolf in London, The Thing, The Fog — have great bleak endings. And they’ve evolved to live there instead of in houses, like the rest of us. They were like, “Uh, what if she’s lost her memory?” I was like … [Sighs.] Even if she lost her memory she’s gonna be like, “I don’t want to go in a cave!” One idea I pitched was, what if a local child had gone missing in the area of the cave, and she’d be compelled to go back to save a child? with the original ending as the “uncut version.” So I don’t even know if you can find the cut version anywhere! They were ecstatic, but they didn’t have the right to cut the film. It’s too epic. Were you ever worried that the sequel would diminish the first movie?I think it doesn’t take away from the first movie. Where do you think that belief originated — this idea that Americans need to wash a movie down with something more cheerful?I think the proof is in the pudding in some respects. I would get that. At the end of the day, Se7en’s got an incredibly bleak ending. That brings something out of you, when you look in the mirror and you’re this beast of blood. And he was like, “I love it. And the films coming out around that time invited a more cynical approach. At what point on your three-hour train ride did you come up with the ending?The script took me on a journey. We played it at Sundance that year, I think with the original ending, as I recall, but whatever the case — they said, “Can we do this cut?” And we said, “Well, okay, but in return, we want a 3,000-screen release.” And they agreed to it. The sequel takes it for granted that she does, in fact, escape. Beyond that, I tried to completely desexualize the whole thing. I kept asking female friends to read it and let me know if it sounded like real women. The B-movie goofiness of its premise belies a depth and thoughtfulness. It’s a business, and I wanted everybody happy, including the fans. So we had the opportunity to rush the release in the U.K. I don’t buy it. We left some of that ambiguous. What levels will people go to to survive? And somewhere along the way, the idea of the caving trip came into it — and then the claustrophobia, the creatures, all of that fell into place. And how friendships and relationships fracture in these circumstances. [Marshall is credited as an executive producer on the sequel.]They initially consulted me, and my advice was, “Don’t make a sequel.” And they were like, “We’re gonna do it.” And I was like, “Okay, if you’re going to do it, try to do it right and be honorable to the first film.” I suppose maybe it was my own stubbornness. That was certainly never deliberate on my part — I was actually arguing with the executive producers, particularly one who was French and was pushing for a scene where they’d come to a pool and strip off their clothes and jump in. So we thought, “What the hell. As much as they could have done, they didn’t write a new ending or add a new ending on. I think I voiced the same opinion I do now: You think it makes it happier that she’s escaped after her friends and family have died? And a few books have had essays about it. release] was essentially a year later. It was only in the U.S. because of it. ending, but to my mind, her escaping at the end is even more bleak than her losing her mind and being with her daughter in the original ending. She does escape in the U.S. Certainly, my attitude then was that it was a cliché that Americans wanted happy endings all the time. I always just assumed the creatures were real.It was never written with that in mind. I originally tried to guide it a bit, but most of my advice was ignored, so I was like, forget it. This is interesting! I was living in the U.K. Not for us, but for her. The term “Hollywood ending” has been around for some time. Some people have suggested I do a prequel about the miners, with a totally different bunch of characters. In Brazil, somebody finds happiness in going completely insane, as opposed to the grim reality. I was living outside of London at the time and I went and pitched a movie to [producer] Christian Coulson, which was a zombie movie on an oil rig — a feature-length version of my film-school graduation film. [But in the sequel] she loses her memory, and Juno is miraculously still alive and loses her pants, for some reason. You could do something along those lines. And if any genre should be allowed to have bleak endings, it should be horror. How did you guys achieve that?It certainly helped to dunk her in a pool of blood for a day. She ain’t getting out of there. But there’s no way we can afford to do it. With Sarah in particular, it was, How much can we strip away her sanity, bit by bit, where, by the end of it, you wonder how much is in her head and how much is real? The final, indelible shot shows a feral Sarah completely dissociating, hallucinating a vision of her dead daughter sitting in front of a birthday cake, as the cave-people close in on her. It makes me proud that people could be bothered. The reason we rushed it out is because we heard about this other film called The Cave; there hadn’t been any cave movies for years, and suddenly two come along. And not to kill her directly, but leave her to die. But at the end of the day, people are talking about the movie still, which isn’t a bad thing. I first saw The Descent in 2006, and came back to it for years, riveted by its bold storytelling, unshakably haunting visuals, and unapologetic knockout of an ending. She’s either going to starve to death or fall off a cliff or get attacked by a crawler. Writer/director Neil Marshall breaks down his horror film’s alternate conclusions — and which one he thinks is the worse fate. I haven’t seen it for a long time, but that’s not a shot of her in the cave — it was taken in the car. Let’s make it.” Other ideas came along after — my fiend and co-producer on the film suggested, “What if it’s all women?” And something clicked. It’s back to the way it should be.”

Were you bothered by the initial request, from an artistic standpoint?Initially I was bothered. You have to compel her to go back to the cave. It evolved as I was writing it to resolve in that way. in 2006, Lionsgate asked Marshall if they could lighten things a bit by chopping off the scene showing Sarah trapped eternally in the cave and instead make it seem like she did, in fact, escape. So I was a lot less precious or concerned about what U.S. And you always considered the ending totally conclusive? audiences were going to see, because I wasn’t going to be sitting there with them watching it.

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8 Comedians Break Down Their Favorite Stand-up Closer Ever

When you listen to the whole album, you really recognize how masterful and well-crafted it is. I counted at least four callbacks that she managed to get in there, completely naturally and effortlessly, these little bonuses you remember. He’s got the really well-crafted jokes, and then he has the stories. And while their choices varied greatly in form and style, they all agreed that there are no rules — just be funny. The Art of Ending Things

How great entertainment sticks the landing. In the recording, it’s killing, and then at the end, it doesn’t get this big, huge laugh, which makes me laugh even more. “In the ’80s into the ’90s. I think Neal Brennan called Dave Chappelle the most naturally talented orator he’s ever seen. It seems impossible: How could you make an entire album about losing your father, a completely tragic and heart-wrecking event? It’s really funny, but it’s not so personal. But the thing that’s great about Maria’s: It’s such a good, natural ending to any show. What does it mean to be such a lady? I enjoy that too. You’re like, This whole thing had me on pins and needles the whole time, and then, Okay, well that’s how we’re doing this thing. It’s this moment where a person is telling you about one of the core rejections in their life, and then it ends on the brightest note. What is the question?” And then the bit has like three or four different very silly, obscure, smart, and all weird references, like, “Is the question, ‘What kind of sandals did hippies wear in the early ’70s?’” And they’re like, “No.” And he says, “Can I guess again?” He does, like, four of those, and some Australian dude, a guy couldn’t handle the tension, yells, “Get to it, mate! At the same time that she’s talking about the process of grieving and what a big deal it is to lose a parent, she’s also got sexual bits in there. The whole special is like, “I’m such a fucking lady,” but she’s also using profanity. But then they close, and you’re like, Huh. That’s one of a comedian’s jobs. It’s the audacity and the ability. Adele Givens, Def Comedy Jam (1992)

Nicole Byer: My all-time favorite closer is Adele Givens’s Def Comedy Jam set. So, how long the closer is the guts of it as well. The closer doesn’t have to be your funniest joke top to bottom — your closer just has to have the funniest button. With Gary, he’s got both. Clockwise from top left: Maria Bamford, Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr, Gary Gulman, and Joel Kim Booster. He’s another master of the art. She does a pretty famous bit called “I’m such a fucking lady,” and then the closer is like, “I have big lips but I can’t fuck with dudes who don’t have big dicks, too. It’s validating in the way that the best kind of comedy is. You can close on something random, and great stand-up specials do it. It comes across here because Chappelle is telling a very long story from a book by the pimp Iceberg Slim. The closer connects to something you’ve been talking about in your routine. They would be relying on sex or a persona. I worked with him in Australia, and his closer was this thing about living in London and having a missionary come to his door. It’s not the goal, but the fact that this exists organically is proof of mastery. That’s hard to do. I would have these same kinds of thoughts when I was young, so it’s very normalizing in a way, too. I picked this bit because it really shows the whole scope of the problem with stand-up comedy clubs. A lot of people are closing on politics or tragedy and all that. So, I ended up with, “Good night, you sons of bitches!” I didn’t know this, but I kind of got some street cred for it. Basically, the punchline is his dad saying, “What’s he going to become? That feeling that life happens every single day, it’s just so funny. There had already been an alternative comedy movement, but she’s really referring to the clubs in the ’90s when the comedy boom kind of imploded and all these clubs became awful. He doesn’t connect the dots for you, and that’s really cool. I can’t feel my hands!” then “Men are from Mars, women want their penis. You didn’t get me as much as I wanted you to, so go fuck yourself. You are. Gary Gulman, The Great Depresh (2019)

Erica Rhodes: The closer is the last thing they’re taking away from you. A lot of the comedy was based on a woman who couldn’t really say what was going on. That feeling of dread for no apparent reason and then what you do to relieve it, it is a very, very relatable thing to a lot of people with a compulsive disorder. This is gonna be a real treat. But your closer? Of course, you’ll want to know how I thought of it. What I like about Let It Go is it has a very classic closing structure of using a callback to a joke he makes earlier in the piece, about how he noticed that all these older men all have faces that look like an expression of pain and horror, constantly. It captures how somebody who has battled depression would feel. Not a lot of sounds bring you back to your childhood, but I remember being a kid and listening along as my parents watched it. Maria Bamford, Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome (2009)

Andy Kindler: I’ve been friends with Maria for a long, long time. Because then it’s just like Yes! You have to appreciate when someone’s closer is 20 minutes long. Some opt for callbacks, while some save their dirtiest jokes for the end, knowing that if they told them too early on in the set, they wouldn’t be able to follow it with anything. Whether it’s a ten-minute set, a 15-minute set, or a 20-minute set, whatever, there are ebbs and flows, ups and downs, hills and valleys. Stewart has this technique of silence and repetition and silliness, and usually when he does a new hour, he publishes the transcript as a book with 4,000 annotations. He answers the door and the missionary says, “Jesus is the answer. Some comics stay observational their whole careers, and if they’re really good writers, that’s fine. So this is kind of like taking a step further. Now, people think (or I hope more people think), What am I sending you away with? I love that it’s very specific, but also, everybody’s lost somebody, everybody knows what grieving is like, so it has the potential to appeal to anyone. I’m jealous of it, and for comics, that’s a sign that it’s an amazing bit. Here are their picks for best closers. It’s all of life wrapped up into one joke. Related

The Joke That Shouldn’t Have Worked

Tags: My style, well, I’m guilty of a lot of self-sabotage. That can work, and some of it’s really great. Then she closes with that, and it’s perfect. You’re getting her commenting on her life as she’s doing a hack act, having a breakdown onstage. His stand-up is like this sociopolitical experiment and especially the cider with the 100 percent pears, where you’re like, What on earth are you doing? Go up there and see what they think.” He super leaned into it — you can’t do a bit bordering on incest with your toe half in the pool — and it’s a little more organic because he calls it his closer. There’s a conceit: This is art. When I’m onstage, I’m on a roll, I get nervous, and I’m afraid it’s going to end, so I end it myself: “I close weak! The bigger idea of closers is that they’re the difference between a good hour and a great hour of comedy. He very well could’ve ended it on that, but he keeps going. You’re like, Are you still talking? Doing any of those things individually, just for the sake of doing it, doesn’t mean much. She channels a horrible female comic from that time period. There are so many specials out there that I think that’s how you can differentiate yourself, by having a closer that connects. She never did an act like that just to please the crowd, but you could see the pain she’d be in if she ever had to. That voice: “Long sleeves, ladies, right?” That would be the way someone who hurt themselves would admit it to a mainstream stand-up comedy crowd. I just love her. Because if I fuck around with a dude without a big dick, it’s like giving a tic-tac to a whale.” The way the audience reacts is truly magical. With the album and this closer, Laurie gives us permission to have all the feelings we have. In the past four and a half years, I’ve only just wanted to laugh some of the time, enjoy it, and not overthink it. Maria goes right to sex and then she goes, “I’m a husk. Stand-up, we measure it as an entire product and what you’re trying to say: This is a nonverbal act out, a callback, and the closer. So, one of my favorite closers is Joel Kim Booster’s joke “Pony.” It’s one of those jokes that he’s had since the first time I saw him, and it is everything that I want a closer to be. He’s become more and more personal, and I connect to that. Bill Burr, Let It Go (2010) and Dave Chappelle, The Bird Revelation (2017)

Ronny Chieng: Bill Burr’s pretty much a master of the craft, undisputed. Some comedians go with what they believe is their strongest bit, while others go for their longest. He’s using it as a parable for show business. The initial joke was so funny that the nonverbal act-out he does gets an applause break. All right, folks! In one of his specials, he goes into a bit about cookies for, like, ever. Your breasts have been somewhat of a comedic blind spot.” It’s just a very funny fucking joke about his experience, and it’s not trying to be gross, even though it’s gross. It’s well-documented, Chappelle’s battle with show business, his creative struggle to maintain integrity, and it relates to how his race is viewed by American society. It’s a spiderweb — it goes in 10,000 directions, and every direction has another direction coming off of it. And Gary, he definitely seemed more observational before. He’s not dirty as an act, but he was like, “This is a little gross, right?” I said, “I don’t know, man. It’s not necessary — any joke can be a closer. Sam Evans, Sweet Baby Boy (2020) and Sean Patton, Scuttlebutt (2019)

Shane Torres: I have OCD, but outside of that, Sean’s bit is fucking hilarious. It is unexpected, and it’s so fucking funny. You didn’t get fucking fully serviced. You did a bunch of foreplay, and nobody came. I like that Sam’s is just very, very funny. When I started in comedy, it was so closed and so rigid. I think the best comedy is jokes where the audience makes the connections themselves. Sometimes people start with a solid opener, and you’re like, Oh, let’s tuck in. You’ve earned the audience’s trust through the rest of your routine, so they’re willing to go with you on this slightly more indulgent journey, but with a better payoff. There is absolutely all the blood from a stone you could possibly get out of it — that bit goes for 11 minutes about a very personal thing. and you fucking drop the mic. It’s such an earned moment.”

To understand more about the art of ending a stand-up set, Vulture spoke with eight comedians who chose their favorite set-ending bits and explained why they work so well. Stewart Lee, If You Prefer a Milder Comedian (2010)

Jackie Kashian: Stewart Lee is one of the greatest stand-up comics in the world. Laurie Kilmartin, 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad (2017)

DeAnne Smith: This whole album, 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad, is brilliant. That joke he has about the psych ward, where the guy’s like, “Are you Gary Gulman, or am I crazy?” You can’t make that up at all. Chappelle’s Bird Revelation is interesting as a case study. That’s pretty impressive, when the joke is so strong and the concept is resonating so much that you don’t even need to use words anymore to invoke it. I should know who you are. Sometimes, his voice kind of quivers a little or something feels difficult to say. I mean, I wasn’t thumbing and uncorking my asshole like a wine bottle twice a day like Sean, but I definitely had weird anxieties as a kid. Because that’s really kind of how comics can feel: Thanks a lot. It’s about, Here are all of these hard things, but it’s okay. Chappelle is not only making you listen — though it’s so engaging and interesting — he’s also making you think about what he’s saying in a very profound way. I never could do my act where I have the same closer all the time. I love personal and confessional comedy, where the comedian says something that’s taboo or maybe not okay and everybody laughs because they’ve also felt that way. Sam’s is much different. You feel like, Oh, this isn’t easy for him. I think the best comedy is when only that person can tell that joke. He’s touchy about all the different cookies. You know that happened. Joel Kim Booster, Model Minority (2017)

Guy Branum: If you’re doing an hour of comedy, I should learn something about you. It’s like you didn’t come. It’s like the ultimate closer in the way that the whole joke is literally about her father’s funeral — life’s closer. And it is so long. The funniest part of your set has to be like the last two seconds. Finish the damn joke!” Stewart has that sort of celebration of silence, so he sat there, and then finally said, “Usually, I do four of these but for you, I think I’m gonna do six.” It was literally maddening and awesome. I saw her grow and just become the greatest. It’s him and Maria Bamford who are the best. But I enjoy personal aspects because I feel more invested in their story. I don’t feel good!” Then how she’d be back at the Comfort Inn, wounding herself. He tells this heartrending story of his parents diagnosing and pathologizing his homosexuality through his desire for a Crimp n’ Curl pony whose hair he’d get to style. Gary ends on this “tick, tick, tick, tick, tick,” which says so much because, yeah, that’s life in a nutshell. Comedy should be about the resilience of the human spirit, to me. That’s my hook!” I used to do the show with Louie Anderson hosting back in the ’90s, and I was upset with the crowd because I thought they weren’t getting me. It’s this beautiful juxtaposition about What are women even supposed to be? Oh, yeah. It’s fucking disgusting that his aunt asked him about talking about her tits, and he goes, “It’s not a hack premise. The only intention of Sam’s bit is for it to be funny. A horse hairstylist?” and Joel’s response is, “Is that a profession?” It’s such a beautiful moment of queer comedy, where the most powerful part isn’t the sadness. I think comics particularly had extremely modular sets full of short jokes and put the strongest one last. Then the closer wraps up the album perfectly. It summed up his entire message in such a short, simple phrase: “Life, it’s every single day.” What more do you need to say? Do you know the 60 Minutes sound? Some want to challenge the audience, and others want their closer to serve as a “thank you” note to the crowd for bearing with them for however long they’ve been onstage. He’s testing himself and his audience. Okay, whatever. Sean’s is pretty personal in the OCD thing, even though it’s lunacy. The audience trusts him so much that they’re willing to allow him to do a book report. You have to end at the top of the fucking mountain. “This is when the performer decides how you’re going to spend the rest of your evening, what your energy is going to be,” says comedian Guy Branum. Every time, after you listen to that joke, you know everything’s gonna be okay. People stand up and run around. Photo-Illustration: by Vulture; Photos by Netflix, Getty Images, Comedy Central

There’s no right way to close a stand-up comedy set. Even her talking about the animosity with her mom, she’s built that up through the album so by the time we get here, where she says there’s a 21-gun salute and that she wanted to push her mom in front of them like a firing squad, it’s like, Wow. It’s brutal and so funny. Of course, you’ll want to know what I was thinking. If the last thing you say isn’t a huge hit, then why is that your closer? Ending on a sound is so interesting.

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Daft Punk Gave Us More Than Enough Time

The album is more than just a stunning application of sounds from across the planet, expressed in the tension between coarse electro and lush disco in “Short Circuit,” in the Moroder-esque house beats of “Veridis Quo,” in the godlike sample work in “Face to Face” and “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” in the sensual funk of “Something About Us,” in rockers like “Aerodynamic” and “Digital Love,” or in perfect dance-floor heaters like the album’s calling card, “One More Time.” Discovery is an ingenious visual album, a great anime in its own right. Donning robot masks (at first as a joke about the Y2K “millennium bug” and later, more permanently, as helmets in their public comings and goings) and building on the big, catchy melodies and knack for sampling displayed on Homework’s “Around the World” and “High Fidelity,” Thomas and Guy-Man set their sights on space travel. If that era didn’t wow its critics or its listeners at first, it did offer a glimpse of where pop culture was headed. Once the duo found its bearings, it hit the stratosphere. The same is true of the robots’ work on the soundtrack to 2010’s Tron: Legacy, the sequel to the 1982 classic Tron and an early salvo in Disney’s lengthy campaign to reimagine and remaster its old properties. After painstaking years spent producing the last project, work on the next album wrapped in six weeks, four of which were spent on mixes. They workshopped product that catered to an unfulfilled need, then made calculated adjustments along the way, trying new things and learning from the mistakes that came from fiddling with the formula. Was Daft Punk this molting, unpredictable, ever-changing thing, or was it more like an operating system? They bridged the gap between the music of their childhood and the disparate sounds of pop in their adulthood. It’s a shame, since the album’s darker, more abrasive edges presaged landmark 2006 gems like Justice’s classic remix of Simian’s “We Are Your Friends,” the Simian Mobile Disco single “Hustler,” and Crystal Castles’ “Alice Practice.” On tour behind Human After All in 2006 and 2007, Daft Punk mashed up the new songs with old favorites, reclaiming a measure of honor for the album one audience at a time. Daft Punk retained control of its art and creative direction and rarely made cynical money moves. The French duo was in a long conversation with the Zeitgeist, interested in nothing less than shifting culture — a lofty aim for any band but one that you could argue this pair of chrome-domed dreamers made good on more than once since 1993, gauging the reverberations that followed the more audacious career moves Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo made in times they were interested in being seen or known. Like Daft Punk’s 2006 music video turned motion picture Electroma — whose referential sci-fi and carsploitation iconography didn’t save it from the same complaints about plotlessness as the art-house meditations in Gus Van Sant’s Death Trilogy — Tron: Legacy is overlong and undercooked, captivating in its optics but lacking a certain soul, both in the film and the accompanying soundtrack, though it shows glimmers of the synthwave aesthetic more frequently attributed to 2011’s Drive. As visionary as they were, in many ways Thomas and Guy-Man arrived at the right place and the right time. Traversing the vibrant early-’90s European rave scene, the duo seemed to find new footing in the propulsive sound of thumping, programmed drums, a literal expression of the forward advance of new technologies that would alter not just the sound of music but the methods of making and experiencing it. What set Daft Punk apart from many of their fellow electronic-music evangelists (Moby, Fatboy Slim, Paul Oakenfold), the classic-rock icons they grew up idolizing (the Beach Boys, Kiss, Led Zeppelin), and pop and rap stars like Kanye West and the Weeknd (who would enact similar plans in their wake) is that they were able to accomplish ambitious abandon without being subsumed by branding, and without leveraging much personal peace for cultural cachet. In the Homework era, Daft Punk used advancing tech and up-and-coming audiovisual artists to execute its vision of carrying the power and kinetic energy of the rave scene out to a worldwide audience. As visionary as they were, in many ways Thomas and Guy-Man arrived at the right place and the right time, growing up in France adjacent to explosions in both rock and roll and electronic music. It’s the band’s own fault for marketing the thing like a blockbuster ’70s pop album, but when you hear George Clinton and Dr. The monster mash set to “Around the World” helped put Michel Gondry on the radar of more fans and fellow artists in the years before he would wow audiences with era-defining work like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. They played a good game. 2005’s Human After All rejected Discovery’s sunny melodies, taking greater interest in pounding rock riffs and latent philosophical queries about the nature of existence and the pitfalls of tech. Early in the sessions, interest in a film component turned into plans for a full-fledged anime: Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem — made in collaboration with Leiji Matsumoto, creator of cool, vibrant ’70s anime staples like Space Pilot Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express 999 — put Daft Punk in touch with childhood memories while tapping into the growing youth interest in anime outside of Japan stoked by the airing of shows and films like Dragon Ball Z and Akira in Cartoon Network’s Toonami programming block. Bangalter’s father had been a disco producer of some renown in the ’70s, logging hits with local acts like the singing duo Ottawan, the family band the Gibson Brothers, and others; his son’s ease in navigating the business aspect of his career was as much informed by a sense of history as his sample-speckled music was. The best of these experiments pointedly challenges the notion that there’s all that much space between rock and dance music and reimagines French house as a sound that’s more combative than the euphoric strains of “Around the World” and “One More Time.” “Robot Rock,” “Television Rules the Nation,” and the title track are hall-of-fame Daft Punk tracks, but a poignant capriciousness and mischief make the album hard to sit through, and videos like horror-makeup and effects vet Tony Gardner’s spooky clip for “The Prime Time of Your Life” or the self-directed “Technologic” video, a chilling mirror on Kraftwerk’s “The Robots” video, didn’t lure fans in. Related

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Tags: They’re potential retirees in their mid-40s. Spike Jonze directed Big City Lights — the short, sad story of an anthropomorphic dog, which doubles as the video for the duo’s breakout single, “Da Funk” — the same year he picked up directorial duties on Being John Malkovich. (In the few times the band produced for others under the Daft Punk banner, it was the fullness and perfectionism of that sound that their collaborators were after. They created something powerful, irresistible, and specific that is distinct even when another star is present. It’s the birth of the highfalutin 21st-century stage show, where you might see an artist flying overhead or encased in a see-through storage container suspended above the stage. Photo: Jason Merritt/TERM/FilmMagic

In the almost three decades between early singles like “The New Wave” and Monday’s abrupt apparent breakup announcement, Daft Punk moved as much like engineers or software developers as musicians in the quest to locate dance music’s perfect sound. It’s also a prescient story about greed that highlighted the selfishness and stubbornness of the music business’s executive class at a crucial point when those qualities nearly led major labels to sink the whole ship doubting the power and pervasiveness of digital music and piracy. Legacy put Daft Punk in touch with an orchestra and helped fertilize the seeds of an even more organic-sounding album than Human After All, plans that would come to fruition on 2013’s Random Access Memories, an album often misunderstood as a rejection of the electronic sound of Daft Punk’s past that is better conceptualized as the summation of all the threads they had explored since the early ’90s. Was Daft Punk this molting, unpredictable, ever-changing thing, or was it more like an operating system whose day-to-day mechanics progressed through the years but always in service to a steady and unchanging core mission? 2001’s Discovery is remembered fondly alongside works like Basement Jaxx’s Remedy and Rooty, Moby’s Play, the Chemical Brothers’ Dig Your Own Hole, and films like The Matrix as monuments to the “techno” revolution, but Discovery aspired to be more. “Fragments of Time” gets from its session players what “Face to Face” achieved through sampling. The mini-opera “Touch” may seem indulgent, but remember that the robots got the idea for masks watching Paul Williams in Brian De Palma’s outrageous 1974 musical Phantom of the Paradise. A healthy distaste for repeating themselves would send the robots running far from this achievement in the time following Discovery. They’re superstars you might not notice in a supermarket. “I Feel It Coming” sounds more like RAM than Starboy; you could easily fit “On Sight” or “Send It Up” on Human After All.) “The Game of Love” hits the same soulful points as “Something About Us.” Prog-rock closer “Contact” is the hyperactivity of “High Fidelity” expressed through live keys and drums. The pyramid show memorialized in Alive 2007 isn’t just a radical act of shifting perceptions of an album widely deemed to be the group’s first misstep. They tried their hand at shoegaze in their first band, Darlin’, named in honor of the chipper 1967 Beach Boys tune and famously written off in one withering review as “daft punky thrash,” a dig they would use to their advantage in their next endeavor. Dre shouted out on Homework’s “Teachers” or suss out Maze and George Duke samples on Discovery or note the interest in bridging rock and EDM sounds that informed Human After All, you realize they were always chasing the same restless, muscular sound all along and coming into greater and more varied expressions of it only as they pushed themselves past the music they made in their bedrooms in the early years. (In the BBC’s 2015 retrospective Daft Punk Unchained, it is suggested that, as the group began to take off, big-name artists like Janet Jackson came round looking for beats but left empty-handed.) The singles that would grace 1997’s Homework were met with enthusiasm by a fertile crop of videographers soon to make the jump to motion pictures.

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When the Last Call Killer Came to Five Oaks

If you bought a drink between two and four in the morning, you got a second one free, so Hall was busy. She was worried about him, that he drank too much. He came to the Five Oaks twice a month, venturing downtown after work. They, too, were double-bagged. Sometimes he and Hall shared a dinner, but not tonight. “He works at St. He also knew the man talking to Michael, having gone to college with him in the 1970s. From 2:00 to 2:30 a.m., the only people seated at the bar were Michael and Ross, who read his horoscope, as was her custom. For Broadway folks, the Five Oaks had long been a destination: Liza Minnelli and Shirley MacLaine dropped in, and Tharon Musser, a lighting designer who worked to acclaim on A Chorus Line, was a regular. There was an increased chance of being robbed by a late arrival. “This is it,” Hall announced. “I spent more time with him than anybody else in the world at that point in my life,” Hall would testify. She’d left her apartment keys at the Duplex, a couple of blocks away, but before retrieving them planned to stop by the Oaks again. She grabbed Michael’s leather briefcase from the cubbyhole, where he always stowed it. She loved him, but he required a lot of attention. Most tended to be downtown, many clustered in the West Village—what Michael Musto, the cheeky Village Voice columnist, called a “Bermuda Triangle of showbiz aspirants”: the Stonewall Inn, Arthur’s, the Duplex, Marie’s Crisis, which a local bar owner pronounced “the gayest” of the bunch. Detective Stephen Colantonio, a decade into his career with the DA’s office, arrived within a half hour. Hall, in fact, would later speculate that perhaps they’d run into each other at the Duplex. Michael wasn’t the type for one-night stands and had been, until recently, in a long-term monogamous relationship. Colandrea looked further. The first patrolman on scene was skeptical. With that identification, detectives put together a teletype announcing the prosecutor’s office’s recovery of body parts. “It was still fresh and there were no flies.” This was soon confirmed by the medical examiner, who, peering into the garbage bags, pronounced the body parts “very fresh.” The crime scene was elsewhere, the detectives realized, because there were no signs of a struggle, and no blood on or outside the trash barrel. Sitting nearby was an editor from The New York Times. The martial art, he told a reporter, “teaches you self-control— maintaining your composure.”

Colandrea’s truck was familiar to the detectives, who picked up hot dogs when they went to a nearby shooting range. It wasn’t their case by statute, per se, but the Haverstraw police lacked the capacity to investigate a murder. Tags: The Five Oaks was about a hundred feet from Marie’s. He got to work at 10:30, just as a light purple van was pulling out. Then, on August 2, after two days of work on Michael’s case, the Rockland County Prosecutor’s Office had visitors. Marie Blake, half an eye on the entrance, was still playing. Still, she was grateful Michael had company. From that vantage, facing the street, he could see everyone coming down the entrance steps. Last Call by Elon Green

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From the book Last Call: A True Story of Lust, Love, and Murder in Queer New York. “Engrossed in their own little world,” is how he described it years later. At the century’s midpoint and for many years thereafter, it was dangerous for gays and lesbians even to hold hands in public, so the basement establishment without so much as a window—virtually invisible from the outside—provided a measure of protection. An off-duty bartender, Barbara Ross, sat in front. In a city that was host to a vibrant, thumping smorgasbord of subcultures, fetishes, and scenes, piano bars were a tiny bulwark against change. Then Ross called. Barely a day later, at 7:00 a.m. Every night except Mondays, when he didn’t come to the bar, Michael ordered round upon round of Cutty Sark and water. Colandrea’s family had sold hot dogs on that very spot since 1943, going back to his father, Anthony, an immigrant from Naples. The man considered keeping the bounty, but looking at the personal papers gave him an eerie feeling. It was finally time for last call. Hal Prince, too, came in for early dinners with his wife each Sunday. Average build. Hall was wary of the man, as she was of any new customer who came in just before closing time. Preparing to move out of the city, he had come to say his goodbyes. Shortly before last call, a man descended the thirteen steps and entered the bar. But that Saturday, when Colandrea returned to the overlook, he found the barrel nearest to his truck almost full; it should have been one-third full, which was how he left it on Friday. But then he changed his mind and ordered another scotch and water. It didn’t take long for a desk sergeant to tentatively match the photo on the ID found earlier at the overlook to the face in the bag. She carefully wrote down the bottles she’d used that night. “You think there’s a head in the barrel?” he asked Colandrea. Half piano bar, half restaurant, it was rumored to have once been a speakeasy, with a secret door in the kitchen opening up onto Bleecker Street. Peripherally, she could see Michael and the nurse still in deep conversation. A few hours later, Ronald Colandrea, forty-eight, arrived at the overlook, at the lunch truck he owned and operated on Route 9W, a highway running north to south through New York’s Rockland County. Fifteen minutes later, Hall and Marie Blake left the Five Oaks, got into a cab together, and flew up the west side of Manhattan. Among them were Dominick, a bisexual man who split time between Manhattan and Allentown, Pennsylvania; Richard, an ex-dancer who owned a furniture store; and Sal, who owned a travel agency. “I want everything,” replied Michael, which is what he always said. Copyright © 2021 by Elon Green. But she assumed he and Michael knew each other; why, after all, would you sit next to a stranger in a near-empty bar? The newsman knew Michael and could see he was lost in conversation. Copyright © 2021 by Elon Green. By 1:00, the birthday guests were gone. Wore a blue button-down shirt and had his sleeves rolled up. Hall sized him up: white guy, maybe five foot nine. The last stool at the end of the horseshoe bar was his. Michael thanked Ross for her concern and offered to retrieve her keys. Michael was gone no more than ten minutes, and when he returned with the keys, Ross left. Colandrea inspected the contents, hoping to find the address of whoever left the garbage. Hall, though, didn’t recognize him. Published March 9 by Celadon Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers. The parked truck hugged the guardrail just before a bend in the road and was emblazoned with the words Ron’s Best. The head, double-bagged, had been sliced off but not cleanly, about an inch below the closely trimmed beard. Thank God, she thought, he has someone to talk to now. From the book Last Call: A True Story of Lust, Love, and Murder in Queer New York. Blake was the anchor of the Five Oaks, and its most sustained draw. The barrels were emptied the prior morning. Resting near the lip was a green plastic trash bag tied in a knot. He sang the same song at the end of the evening and acted as the social director, making introductions. Even the hot dog vendor could see that. He’d been studying karate for years and was a student instructor at the local dojo. At 11:30 p.m., Hall belted out a few songs, including Peter Allen’s ode to ending a relationship before it withers, “I’d Rather Leave While I’m in Love.” Ross, the off-duty bartender, became upset about something and went home. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

July 29, 1993

It had been a slow Thursday night at the Five Oaks, a little bar at 49 Grove Street in Greenwich Village. Vincent’s.”

The men talked, but Hall couldn’t hear the conversation. A dozen new customers had arrived, maybe more. on July 31, a man collecting bottles and cans at a Haverstraw Bay overlook found a briefcase and a bag holding shoes, pants, a shirt, and a wallet identifying the belongings’ owner as Michael J. It was the early hours of July 30, and the Five Oaks was mostly empty. And in between, near the entrance to the ladies’ room, was a Black woman playing piano. Michael, it was often said, was to the Five Oaks what Norm was to Cheers. She was greeted by an old friend: a big, bearded regular, well over six feet and two hundred pounds, named Michael Sakara. It began:

I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places That this heart of mine embraces all day through

The bar officially closed for the night in fifteen minutes, but patrons could stay to finish their drinks. That was strange. Stephen Sondheim recalled the Five Oaks as “a fixture in the Village.” It was Judy Garland’s favorite bar; when she passed out, the owner would carry her upstairs to a cab. But when he donned gloves and opened the bag, he, too, felt ill. She guessed he was in his early thirties, and would, when questioned by detectives, remember his thick, wavy hair and “brown glassy eyes.”

Other patrons had seen the man around the bar, and had even gone home with him. He found a set of arms, cut off well below the shoulder, fingers clenched in a loose fist. Founded by Bill Normand in the late forties, the Oaks had long been known for its menu (a “true gustatory delight,” reported the Brooklyn Daily Eagle), its music (Nina Simone, it was rumored, accompanied customers on the piano), and as a sanctuary. He deposited his discoveries at the police station in Haverstraw, a sparsely populated village an hour north of Manhattan. This was later than most restaurants in the area, so bartenders, too, would stop by for a round after their own shifts ended. As you walked in, adjusting to the low ceiling and the darkness, you’d see off to the right a thirteen-seat horseshoe bar. The patrolman called his command, which, in turn, contacted the Rockland County Medical Examiner. Lisa Hall, a short, mouthy blonde who acted and sang, was behind the bar. They’d run into each other in September at the Townhouse and had crossed paths a few times since. The song, by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal, had been popular during World War II, but more recently was embraced by Liberace. Hall noticed he hadn’t finished the first drink, so she watered down the second with ice. As Hall placed it on the bar, she noticed condoms inside. But he let the two men be and said nothing. The arms, Colandrea would remark, “were cut nice and even, like butchering a cow.”

At 11:15 a.m., he enlisted a customer to drive to the Haverstraw Police Department. He’d downed twelve scotches already and had eaten nothing. It was sent out late that night to surrounding areas in the hopes of finding similar cases. Since the bar’s inception, Normand’s wife, Mae, cultivated a loyal crowd of queer regulars, mostly couples. As for the nurse: he professed to be done for the evening, on account of having to drive home. They bickered like siblings. The nurse seemed drunk. This wasn’t out of mere intellectual curiosity; he was inclined to dump garbage on the lawn of those who used his barrels without permission. There were thirteen steps between the sidewalk and the street, which was quiet and mostly residential. Having worked at the Five Oaks on and off for more than a decade, she had known Michael since 1976, and across the years they’d become close. Published March 9 by Celadon Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers. Colandrea knew precisely how much garbage ought to be in the four fifty-five-gallon trash barrels near his truck on any given day. Now in his early thirties, he’d earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s in public administration. Just after 4:00, Hall collected her tips and took the candles off the bar. It was clear the body parts hadn’t been there long. A half dozen New Jersey state troopers, in response to the July 31 teletype, filed into the squad room. Around this time, Michael would usually walk over to the piano and ask Blake to play a number about romantic nostalgia. He sat down to Michael’s immediate left and requested the house scotch and water. He lived eight miles away, in Nanuet. Hall had a lot of work to do and turned her back to the bar so she could wash glasses, count money, and take inventory. Sakara of Manhattan. To the left was a dining room of a dozen tables. The Rockland County District Attorney’s Office also was notified. Colandrea partially opened it, and wooziness overtook him. This was unusual; it was not his practice to leave the bar before closing. Last call was soon, at 3:45. They wanted to talk about the fresh case, but also one of their own. Dark-haired with a dimpled chin, Colantonio exhibited a tendency toward self-improvement. Marie Blake was on the piano and the patrons were singing. “This is Mark the nurse,” Michael said, ordering a scotch and water. “He had to be dumped overnight,” he told a reporter. Which was true; he could down three scotches in an hour. Staring up at him was a face. Classically trained, throaty, and scat singing, she bobbed her head gently as she played, while beautifully dressed men crooned into the microphone to her right. At 10:30, regulars filed in for a birthday party. That morning, he stopped for coffee and then shopped for supplies.

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Tiger Woods Hospitalized After Rollover Car Crash in L.A.

Woods’s agent told TMZ that the 82-time PGA Tour winner is currently in surgery for leg injuries. This morning @LMTLASD responded to a roll-over collision in which @TigerWoods was injured. between Rolling Hills Estates and Ranchos Palos Verdes, California, and golf star Woods was “the driver and sole occupant.” Police also said emergency responders had to use the jaws of life to get Woods out of the car — which, in footage on MSNBC, appears to have crashed into a field on the side of the road. A police source told the outlet the department did not believe alcohol factored into the crash, but could not rule out other substances. Please see our statement… Woods previously pled guilty to reckless driving after being charged with a DUI in 2017; he claimed at the time it was the result of prescription medication. pic.twitter.com/cSWOxKZC1w— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) February 23, 2021

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Tags: The LA County Sheriff’s Department said the crash happened around 7 a.m. Photo: Icon Sportswire/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tiger Woods has been hospitalized after crashing his car in a rollover accident, police told TMZ and other outlets.

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Nasim Pedrad Is an Awkward Little Teen Boy in the Trailer for Chad

In a new trailer for the series, we see 14-year-old Chad, who just wants “to blend in more” at high school, where he negotiates his Persian identity (“We just have olive skin, like Salma Hayek”) with his desire to be popular. ET. After Fox first ordered a pilot for Chad in 2016, TBS picked it up and placed a ten-episode order for the show, which Pedrad also executive-produces and writes. Related

Nasim Pedrad’s Chad (Finally!) Ordered to Series at TBS

Tags: In the proud adolescent tradition of PEN15, Nasim Pedrad will be playing an awkward hormonal teen on TV this spring. Unlike PEN15, the Saturday Night Live alum will be playing a weird little teen boy named Chad in a TBS series called Chad. Chad premieres on TBS on Tuesday, April 6, at 10:30 p.m.

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Jon Stewart’s New Show Will Have Real Journalism Energy

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Jon Stewart to Return to Television With New Apple TV+ Series

Tags: It does appear Stewart is interested in keeping the show funny, as he also selected a head writer in Chelsea Devantez, whose credits include Comedy Central’s The Opposition With Jordan Klepper and who wrote on the staff of Stewart’s show at HBO that never aired. The show will feature single-topic episodes and a companion podcast, but none of this can happen until they get through the 2,400 (!!) packets the show received for positions on its writing staff. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series has selected as its showrunner an award-winning investigative journalist, Brinda Adhikari, who has two decades of news experience and an Edward R. Lorrie Baranek has also been hired as the executive in charge of production, and she shares a Comedy Central background from her work on The President Show and The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore. Photo: Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images

Jon Stewart’s as-yet untitled show on Apple TV+ just announced three key hires that suggest this latest venture will be a mixture of both comedy and serious journalism. Murrow award from her time at CBS Evening News.

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On the Rocks Hopes You’re Cool With Ignoring All the Bad Stuff

At all. Why not laugh about tubas in a marching band? Material does not need to be personal; it doesn’t need to be topical either. Luxuries have a cost, though. Maybe he didn’t infect anyone; maybe his performances from around the country this year didn’t result in any dire outcomes for his fans, the comedy club managers, the waiters, his support staff. You can imagine that kind of material taking a turn for the bleak. Taken together, Regan’s ahistorical material, his closed-system jokes, and his big silly faces come together with a special that his audience might respond to in two different ways. I can’t deny the appeal of the gloriously stupid “giraffe throat, throat, and throat doctors.” But it’s telling how Regan’s rhythm changes in that joke, how he abandons the big exaggeration of I think this person is dumb and lands in a careful, measured accounting of precisely how his brain falls into this spiral of obsessive thinking. The wildebeest gastroenterologists? He gets very slow and very animated in a joke about raisins. The title of the special, On the Rocks, is a similar form of shelter. Of the few comedy specials released over the last year, most have woven COVID into the jokes at least a little. It’s a writing style that’s orderly and functional, not smug. I’m not sure if On the Rocks is worth the price. Who wants to think about why the few audience shots are full of people wearing masks? He tells sturdy, economical jokes with a minimum of unnecessary bulk. It’s not about COVID or the experience of living through 2020 or Trump or climate change, and it’s also not about cancel culture or pronouns or race or money. The least escapist moment of the whole thing, and my favorite joke of the hour, is Regan’s hilarious descent into what happens in his own head as he attempts to organize a bookshelf, the ins and outs of his obsessive need to control each book’s placement according to when he read it last, while accounting for the fact that reading the title of the book for organizational purposes could constitute “reading the book” and thus immediately throw off the entire system. Regan has recovered from COVID, and we don’t know. They balance each other well. Why are they allowed to still practice when the house doors are open? Why not take a short leave of absence from everything else and sit together in this open-air arena, surrounded by towering red rocks that seem to shelter this space from the rest of the world? Regan’s more comfortable with the lighter stuff. It’s full of hovering-over-the-grave imagery — at one point Regan describes a grim pharmacy purchase of Lotrimin, a hand mirror, and a spatula. It turns the mountain location into a joke about drinking, so your brain has a place to go other than This is outdoors because of a pandemic. He pulls faces, mostly to point out that the person he’s building the joke about is stupid or boring. Then he pulls on the reins and swerves, turning his OCD into a way of coping with boring parties, and abandoning the deeper ideas about online culture altogether. The experience of watching such a deliberately escapist comedy special is harder to enter into when its creator made the special by attempting (and failing) to ignore reality. He went into hibernation, and has now come out, a grayer person and an older person, but otherwise unchanged. “Where are the bighorn sheep knee doctors? Or maybe they did! “COVID hit, I went into hibernation, and came out a senior citizen,” he says, before swiftly moving on to a section about his discomfort with the hair-color aisle. That’s a relatively rare moment of insight in an otherwise straightforwardly escapist hour. It’s the kind of move Regan pulls repeatedly throughout the hour. “In the human world there’s a doctor for every body part, but in the animal world, a veterinarian takes care of all the animals … and all their parts?” he says, incredulously. But in order to get ready for this one performance, Regan spent much of 2020 touring, headlining at clubs across the country, and posing maskless with fans in tight indoor spaces. Kevin Hart talks about how he got COVID fairly early in the pandemic; other specials like Sam Morril’s and Ted Alexandro’s acknowledge it as much through venue as content. But he takes it a different way, pulling the alarming march of specialists away from himself and toward a much goofier angle. It’s an escapist hour produced in a way that could not escape the most obvious end result: Regan was diagnosed with COVID in December. Photo: Leavitt Wells/Netflix

Brian Regan’s new Netflix special On the Rocks, taped in October 2020, is not about COVID. He praises the beauty of the venue without saying anything else about why the special’s filmed there. It’s a jump start to a whole long stretch of jokes about his age, his health, and the fact that getting older means going to endless specialists. Related

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Tags: He lingers for a long time on pit orchestras — why is it called a pit? The giraffe throat, throat, and throat doctors?” He pauses; it’s a clap-and-whistle line. Filmed in an outdoor arena filled with a huge, mask-wearing audience, Regan’s special is an hour that attempts to travel to another time and place entirely. Who wants to be reminded of why this whole thing takes place at an outdoor arena? Then comes the big, fun goofy capper. Escapism is a luxury Regan is clearly hoping to gift his audience. Except, this isn’t an hour that was produced in a magical place beyond the dire circumstances of the rest of the world. Why do they have to dress up to go down into a pit? The straightness of his delivery is set against what he knows is the over-the-top absurdity of his thought process. He skims near a few potentially dark territory topics like his own OCD diagnosis or online comment culture. His one tiny reference to the general state of the world is to point out his new gray hair. He throws in neat, efficient loops back to earlier stretches of material, little bits of returning joke spurs that create a neat, taut pattern. The implication of that line is that COVID is a thing that happened, and has now ended. Brian Regan in On the Rocks. It’s like a hermetically sealed world apart from the one we’re currently living in, something I’m sure lots of people want. Sure, this performance for this one special may have been relatively safe. And there’s no doubt some appeal in that approach. Animals are a rich vein for him. A woman (an idiot, it’s clear by how he performs her) insists that animals are smarter than people, and Regan takes some delight in how stupid he finds that idea. Regan’s proposal, though, is that we’d all prefer to ignore it.

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French Actor Gérard Depardieu Charged in 2018 Rape

In 2018, a then-22-year-old actress filed a formal complaint with French police alleging that the actor sexually assaulted her twice that August in his Paris apartment. According to an AFP source close to the case, she was reportedly receiving career advice from the onetime Oscar nominee, a friend of her family’s. A lawyer for Depardieu, Hervé Temime, told AFP the actor is currently under judicial supervision and “completely rejects the accusations.” Elodie Tuaillon-Hibon, the counsel for the woman, said she hopes her client’s “private sphere will be respected” throughout the case. Durand/Getty Images

French actor Gérard Depardieu, 72, has been charged in a rape and sexual assault case, according to reports from French wire service Agence France-Presse. Photo: Francois G. Sources

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Tags: The source also denied reports that they were rehearsing a scene of a play, stating “there was nothing professional about the encounter.” The Paris public prosecutor’s office initially dropped the accuser’s claim nine months into the investigation, citing lack of evidence, but it was reopened late last year after the woman refiled. Gérard Depardieu.

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Rachel Lindsay Criticizes Rachael Kirkconnell’s ‘Vapid’ Attempts at Anti-Racism

There’s a lot of people who don’t necessarily understand what Chris said in the interview or why people are so upset, so this is an opportunity for you to explain that.” Tenured Bachelor and Bachelorette host Chris Harrison, as Lindsay noted, is also embroiled in his own scandal: He initially defended Kirkconnell’s racist past. “I don’t think it could get any worse, unless he chooses Rachael.” As of Monday’s Bachelor episode, three contestants remain to compete for James’s heart: Kirkconnell, Bri Springs, and Michelle Young. Photo-Illustration: Vulture, Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios and ABC

Remember when the most dramatic part of a Bachelor season was, like, a virgin jumping a fence in Portugal and running away from production? Her apology was well-written, it was pretty, and it was sincere. Harrison temporarily stepped down from hosting the franchise as a result, and he apologized for “excusing historical racism.”

“Vapid is the word that comes to mind,” Lindsay added about Kirkconnell’s choice to Instagram-ify her anti-racist education. “The fact that that’s what she decided to do. Two of these women are far too good for him. But then the next step is to take action. Speaking on Tuesday’s Bachelor Party podcast, Lindsay noted how Kirkconnell recently posted a meticulously staged Instagram Story with a copy of Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, a photo of which gave equal space to a cup of matcha tea and a fresh manicure. I’m not going to knock anyone’s apology. Several people sent me that Story. Simpler times. The 24-year-old contestant previously stated in her apology that she hoped she could “earn your forgiveness through my future actions.”

“You almost feel like you know everything you need to know about her in that picture,” Lindsay explained. More than a week after Rachael Kirkconnell, the presumed winner of Matt James’s current Bachelor season, apologized for her history of “offensive and racist” behavior, former Bachelorette lead Rachel Lindsay believes that Kirkconnell’s subsequent call to action is disingenuous. Taking action to me isn’t showing everybody that you’re reading the book. Related

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Tags: You have such a big platform.

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Every Movie Should End in Song and Dance

It’s an effect worth remembering, especially in the face of all the tacked-on finales that have been left so far unmentioned here — the kind that have the Minions dancing to “Y.M.C.A.,” the characters in the Shrek movies getting down to “I’m a Believer” (twice!) and “Livin’ la Vida Loca,” and add up to a playlist worthy of a wedding reception in hell. sequel closes with the last of its many musical numbers, one taking place on a stage somewhere outside the bounds of space and time where its ensemble, including characters who’ve died and some younger selves, can join together for a buoyantly costumed performance. The main character, played by Graham Chapman, is among the crucified after multiple attempts at rescue have come to nothing. By
Vulture Staff

Illustration: by James Clapham

Dive into the ranking here. At the end of Ella Enchanted, before the film goes out with all its characters singing a deeply unnecessary rendition of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” Eric Idle informs the camera that “you just can’t go wrong if you follow your heart and end with a song.” Obviously, you can, but Idle put it better back in 1979 when, strapped to a cross, he sang, “Forget about your sin, give the audience a grin, enjoy it, it’s your last chance anyhow.”

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Tags: 2 and 8½, there’s infinitely more space for variations between climactic music moments that unfurl within the scope of a fictional universe and ones that come from outside it. The song’s couched in an ebullient irony, everyone joining in on an ode to keeping a stiff upper lip as they await a painful death — but it’s also simply exuberant, the dark context making the irresistible nature of the song even better, the figures onscreen attempting whatever minimal choreography they can manage while strapped to the crosses. The best deny us closure altogether. The way that it floats apart from the rest of the film and yet remains so central to it underscores the power of a musical number to convey emotions that can’t be articulated in straight scenes. Some movies build their use of music toward a powerful finale, and others include it only as a coda. There’s more there, in Beau Travail’s ambiguous yet intensely eloquent finale, than can be put into words. The dance between Julia Roberts and Rupert Everett at the end of My Best Friend’s Wedding manages to offer some rom-com standard swooniness while also not being at all rom-com standard, bubbling over with a bittersweet satisfaction while also subverting the expectations of the genre. The movie answers this opening scene with an ending one that takes place within the world of the story, and that’s just brutal in its implication of maternal ties as this monstrous burden, its heroine trying to shimmy away from what she’s learned about herself and the child she’s devoted her life to. To watch the finest of musical finales is to become convinced, however briefly, that every movie should resolve this way. Mads Mikkelsen’s cathartic closing dance number in Another Round is perfect because it exists in-universe, with his character, a depressive teacher, calling on the jazz-ballet lessons of his younger days for a sequence of celebratory abandon while his friends and students look on in delight. The Art of Ending Things

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Good finales offer catharsis. These finales are absolutely of a kind, splitting open their respective worlds for an impossible, ecstatic musical number. They’re worth enduring for the unmatchable satisfaction that comes with a musical ending that’s earned. You don’t always need that break, though. Robert Altman’s Nashville is a diegetic musical that arranges for most of its characters to intersect at a gala concert that’s interrupted by a shooting, and what follows — Henry Gibson beseeching the crowd to sing, Barbara Harris being handed the mic — is a sharp-edged satire of the act of rallying together in song, summoning the flip side of the feeling at the end of Life of Brian. They’re the perfect way to end a movie, except when they’re hackneyed and cynical, which they frequently are. Here We Go Again inarguably owes something to 8½. But then there’s a cut and magically everyone in the car starts dancing, and out on the platform too, and it’s just so joyous. It ends with Matt Keeslar doing a little shuffle for a laughing Chloë Sevigny on the subway, as though the two can hear “Love Train,” by the O’Jays, ​playing on the soundtrack, while in true New York fashion, no one else pays them any mind. Take The Last Days of Disco, which is devoted to the petty dramas and minor humiliations weathered by a group of 20-somethings in the early ’80s. Admittedly, though, only one of them involves Cher kicking off a cover of “Super Trouper.”

Musical sequences are one of those things that cinema feels like it was invented to showcase — alongside explosions, hot people, and trains coming terrifyingly at the screen. Still, to watch the finest of musical finales is to become convinced, however briefly, that every movie should end with a song and/or dance. The moment in which a movie’s established reality splits open and gives way to something grander or more stylized can be electric. Or consider the giddiness of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” at the end of Life of Brian. It’s actually not nearly as narrow a choice as it might sound. Bong Joon Ho’s Mother opens with an absurdist dance number, with Kim Hye-ja giving a deadpan performance alone in a field as the credits roll. Some of the greatest musical endings find themselves somewhere in between the real and unreal worlds. Meanwhile, the sublime conclusion to Claire Denis’s Beau Travail is a scene that could be a fantasy or a flashback, or the death dream of a man in the process of killing himself. For all the distance there is between Mamma Mia! It’s part of the movie and yet it’s untethered, with the French Foreign Legion soldier played by Denis Lavant alone in a mirrored nightclub, flinging himself around to “The Rhythm of the Night.” His character, so locked down for so much of the run time, and so seemingly disconnected from his own desires, suddenly appears liberated, and yet the sequence carries with it tremendous sadness. The Mamma Mia! Hear me out: Fellini’s 1963 masterpiece concludes with all of its layers of reality, memory, and fantasy collapsing into a circus, with everyone from its main character’s past and present — including his childhood self — pouring into a circus ring and joining hands for a messy, sunny promenade. Photo-Illustration: by Vulture; Photo by Pyramide Distribution

Federico Fellini may not be the obvious touch-point for an ABBA jukebox musical, but the finale of Mamma Mia! Sometimes that’s even better — as a spectacle, musical numbers are capable of a purity that makes them even more piquant outside the genre for which they’re best known. The Art of Ending Things

How great entertainment sticks the landing.

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Drake Finally Collaborates With Drakeo the Ruler on ‘Talk to Me’

“Ain’t get a letter, I was strugglin’ and fightin’,” he raps. It had to happen. Photo-Illustration: Vulture, Getty Images and Drakeo The Ruler/YouTube

It’s Mr. Along with Drake, the project features Drakeo’s fellow Stinc Team member Ketchy the Great on multiple songs, after the rapper’s death last week. Drakeo the Ruler has finally linked up with Drake, a hip-hop collaboration that felt practically fated from the start. “With these peoples, they was demons / Tried to put me in a cage, was sayin’ ‘Free me.’” The song is part of Drakeo’s upcoming mixtape, The Truth Hurts, out tonight. The Stinc Team meets October’s Very Own. Mosely meets Mr. Related

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Tags: Drake takes the hook, showing his moody side as he croons, “’Cause I know you want me, girl.” Drakeo, meanwhile, touches on his time in prison. The Ruler meets the 6 God. Drake guests on Drakeo’s new song, “Talk to Me,” a collaboration Drakeo began teasing shortly after his November 2020 release from prison in Los Angeles. Graham.

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The Bachelor Recap: This Stinks

Rachael tells her mom that she hasn’t seen any red flags with Matt, and her mom says, “Well, everyone has a bad day.” True, but you’re less likely to see him on a bad day when you only see him every three days and, in between, he’s making out with other hot 23-year-olds. They say that Michelle looks really happy, and her dad asks her what she sees in Matt, and we’re all fucking waiting for the answer on that one, too. Everyone was born out of their parents’ skulls like Athena. Name one more thing about any of these women. is Canadian, Bri gave up her job, and Rachael was born in 1845 on her family’s plantation, Tara. That is a clear example of a thing he actually does and why she likes it. Matt is all in on Serena P. Let’s fucking do this. She was completely sure when she had no contact with the outside world, but now that she’s looking at other people, she’s not so ready. It’s hard to imagine anyone is ready to get married when they can’t even manage to say “Tell me more about that.” Instead, Matt sits down with each family and tells them that their daughters are human women with whom he’s had fun. The Bachelor
Week Eight

Season 25

Episode 8

Editor’s Rating

3 stars

***

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Photo: Courtesy of ABC

Ladies and gentlemen, hurry, hurry! Are you going to marry her?” I was waiting for a kid to ask, “After participating in a show that is racist and exerts undue pressure and stress on contestants and leads of color, has this radicalized you, and if not, why?” Matt tells the kids that he’ll call them if he’s going to propose to Ms. Everything is upside down for this man right now. Matt heads to the Rose Ceremony and tells everyone that they have to like him because Serena P. Okay, let’s get to the damning. She sits down with her parents and tells each of them she might be making a huge mistake. See The Woman Who is a Teacher, I Guess? She has decided that the best way to show Matt that she loves and trusts him is to ask him to jump out of a plane. I certainly don’t remember hearing any specifics about anyone’s past relationships. This will be excruciating! He also claims that he’s willing to move to Minnesota, and that’s rich. It’s time to sit down with Michelle’s parents, who are the most Minnesota-looking people I have ever seen. They head to meet Bri’s mom and her best friend Bri and a BABY!!!! lays it out as simply as she can and tells him that she doesn’t think he’s her person. Or is it just more likely that Matt hasn’t really processed what an engagement really means and he’s just trying to get through these dates with as little turmoil as possible so he can get to the fantasy suite? Next week, the women tell all! I’m a little surprised Matt doesn’t try to ask each woman’s father for their blessing or permission to propose, since he’s been sold to the audience as a bit of a traditional guy. It would have been cool to see Matt James entering the Elemental Realm to place the gem in its proper spot, but you gotta edit something out! Step right up, folks! Set your eyes on our wonders! Can anyone name more than one fact about any of these women? Maybe he did! See The Woman Who Drives a Jeep! Matt is working out at the Apartments at Fat Bird when he’s visited by a formless, shapeless ghost, undetectable to the human eye, who leads him through the week. Step right up! Please, someone listen. Be prepared to witness the whimsical, the romantic, and the utterly baffling. Bri tells Matt she’s falling in love with him but she knows her head and her heart still need to align. Matt tries to scramble to say “Yeah yeah, I felt something was off with you. It’s time for Bri’s date, and she takes him off-roading to pay him back for that time they were on an ATV and he flipped it over. Young and, honestly, I would prefer the “Did you ask my father for his blessing?” segment to be replaced with the lead having to face a tribunal of the children in the women’s lives. has been feeling weird since her tantric yoga session, but Matt decided that he liked her too much to ask her any follow-up questions. I’m about to damn this episode, so let me first give the faintest of praise: It began with a shot of the beautiful scenery of the Nemacolin Resort, and it ended with a rose ceremony. The unknowable ghost then goes to visit the ladytestants, who now have a lot of room on that big sectional, and lets them know exactly who is going to be visiting them. Gaze in awe at a grown man who has absolutely no idea what to do when someone says they don’t want to go out with him anymore! She also says if that happens, they’ll mend a broken heart together. Rachael says that seeing him care so much that she wasn’t dead is what a marriage is all about and that she can’t imagine life without Matt. Michelle is able to tell Matt she’s falling in love with him. It’s time for Rachael’s hometown date! This is cute as hell and the most emotion I’ve felt all season. Bri’s mom asks Matt the hard questions like, “How do you feel about my daughter?” and Matt says they both have single parents, so he can see it working. Serena realizes she doesn’t want to end up in a situation where Matt is proposing and she’s realizing she fucked up. Just listing outfits that they’ve worn doesn’t count as a “fact.” In this episode, multiple women talk about devastating break-ups that bring them to tears and are the reason for them to either doubt their relationship with Matt or serve as a reminder about what they’re looking for. Serena’s mom, dad, and sister will be visiting. Oh man, this got me. They’re wearing the same baby-blue color, and people who can pull off pastels should be feared. How will you inspire her everyday like she inspires us? The man with no face tells him to find answers. At the end of the night, they play a little basketball like all families do while meeting their daughter’s new boyfriend and wearing dress shoes. Michelle introduces Mr. Praise be to the Eon Gem and the powers that it wields. So Matt heads off to Serena’s room while the other women are getting ready for the rose ceremony and he says he wants to help her work through her doubts. Just hold it together for like 12 more hours and then we can bang, please.”

The next day, a man with no face asks Matt how the hometown dates went, and Matt says he had three great visits but he’s still confused about his interaction with Serena P. Rachael sits down with her dad, and he basically says, “What is he telling these other women? Michelle’s parents will be there for her hometown date, and Bri’s best friend, Bri, her mom, and her baby sister. All the women are crying. It’s time to meet Rachael’s parents, who look exactly like you would expect them to. Again, she was in some nebulous last relationship that is giving her doubts of whether she can move forward. This is what you get when you date a white person, and if Matt wants to be a thrill-seeker, can’t he just walk around her actual hometown after sundown? immediately crumbles. So step right up and see The Man Who Has Never Been Dumped! Her mom is also not impressed with the Bachelor parlance of “I’m falling for your daughter” and tells him that Bri is a realist. Matt, please pick Michelle. Email

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Terms of Service apply. The editors keep including clips of Rachael saying, “What could go wrong?” and, “If I die, at least I died with you, Matt.”

When they finally get up in the airplane, Rachael jumps first and manages to land incredibly hard and bust herself up, and I had the same thought I did when I hate-watched the first five minutes of There’s No I in Threesome: “Boy, this sure feels like a metaphor.” Matt pulls Rachael up to a sitting position after she just crashed her whole entire face into the grass, which doesn’t feel like a medically sound move. James to her students, and the kids immediately launch into deeper and more probing questions than Matt has asked all season, including, “What have you learned from Miss Young? Okay. Did he imagine the whole relationship in his head? Finally, it’s time for Serena P.’s date, and she has prepared him a completely non-romantic, non-sexual Canada quiz day! He’s given her the most time and the most reassurance so, like, what gives? Bri tries to stop her baby sister from crying, and Matt looks fucking terrified but ultimately lets the baby hold his finger. to walk him out. Behold a 28-year-old dude who has just never had to deal with this before! Oh, no. Serena P. The universe is telling these women that romance with Matt means being thrown onto the ground at a high speed. Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. At one point, Matt just says “Geography!” when presented with a map. What relationships are these? If he dies today, at least he’ll die with Serena P. Michelle wants to take him on a special day of Minnesota fun and they bike ride to a lecture hall that exists at this hotel to see HER STUDENTS ON ZOOM. Serena P. Rachael’s dad’s line of questioning is a figurative shotgun above the fireplace, and Matt tells her father that he’s falling in love with Rachael. They also eat poutine that looks like it was prepared by someone who saw a drawing of poutine and made their best guess. Rachael, Bri, and Michelle all get roses. So where do we begin? Sure would have loved to hear about that in great detail! But the scariest, freakiest, most outrageous attraction of all is The Man Who Has Never Been Dumped! He’s more interested in having each woman tell him that they gave up something in their life for him than asking about the possible hurdles or negatives that could stand in the way. So Matt asks Serena P. Let’s get to it. She has had a difficult relationship that we know nothing about other than that her parents had to pick her back up afterwards. She’s the only one that seems to moderately know you. Meanwhile, Matt tells her father that Michelle has strong convictions, the things that are important to her are important to her, and those match his values. Honey, no.” Her sister says “Umm … he’s a cool guy and everything, but do you love him?” and Serena P. And now it’s time to watch Matt’s face struggle to hide the feelings of shock, indignation, and utter confusion. Seeing Rachael get her shit rocked makes Matt realize just how much he cares for her, and they cradle each other in the grass while a medic makes sure she doesn’t have a concussion or whiplash. He could be telling them the exact same thing,” and Rachael says, “Maybe I’m a little naïve, but I’m different.” Ah, to be that young again, to say that and really mean it. We have returned the Eon Gem to its rightful place in the Temporal Throne, and have righted the timeline. When her mom sits down with Bri, Bri says she’s scared of her feelings for Matt because she could end up with a broken heart. She says that his charity where he has kids grow their own food in hydroponic gardens is an example of him walking the walk. The first date of the week goes to Michelle! I don’t know if Matt knows exactly what questions to ask to find what he needs in a relationship, and if he does, the show isn’t showing us that. How is this possible? Lay your eyes on a tall boy who has to process with his feelings of rejection on national television for the first time! didn’t like him and that made him feel feelings. Serena P.’s family is immediately like, “Oh. and she’s just watching him eat cold poutine. You’re tall and wear turtlenecks, this isn’t supposed to happen to you! The fact that an infant will be meeting Matt James is a delightful prospect, and I’m ready to meet this baby. Michelle is a teacher, Serena P. Time to learn all the amazing things about Canada, like what a hat is called (Matt thinks it’s called a toboggan)! He’s only interested in giving roses to the women if they’re also willing to get engaged to a man with no significant romantic history and little ability to show interest in them. Bachelor Nation Newsletter
It’s the most dramatic season ever! See The Woman Who Falls from the Sky! Matt does everything he can to basically tell her, “I want to give you a rose. The most profound thing he can say is, “This stinks.” Imagine if you were in the middle of a break-up and the other person said “This stinks” and neither of you were in the eighth grade. Finally, the natural order of The Bachelor episodes has returned. To see the greatest, most amazing, biggest and most fuckboy-ish sights and sounds! Rachael’s mom, dad, and her sister, Trinity, will be stopping by. Tags: How did he get this far without knowing how to react to a woman breaking up with him? I felt that too.” You didn’t feel shit, dummy. Y’know what? You had no idea this was coming because you’ve clearly never had someone break up with you before. But Rachael leaves the day feeling a little insecure because Matt didn’t ask for her father’s blessing, but he promises to call him up and do it if that’s going to happen. She tells Matt at the end of their date that she has a lot to think about and it’s her stuff to sort through. That’s a big ol’ yikes for someone who is about to get engaged! No one’s parents or family is a surprise on this episode.

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Everything Bobby Shmurda Has Done So far Post-Prison

View this post on Instagram A post shared by @biggz_locain

Biggz Locain gave fans a behind-the-scenes of the jet on Instagram Live and posted the first pic celebrating his release. Rowdy Rebel appeared in her hometown interview series back in January. His release reunites him with his collaborator Rowdy Rebel (Chad Marshall), who was freed from state prison two months ago. “I am so overwhelmed,” his mom, Leslie Pollard, wrote on Instagram. “Did Six And Didn’t Switch,” Quavo wrote. Photo: Bennett Raglin/BET/Getty Images for BET

After spending nearly seven years in prison, Brooklyn rapper Bobby Shmurda is heading home. View this post on Instagram A post shared by QuavoHuncho (@quavohuncho)

Quavo came through on his promise. “And in 6 years 2 months and 5 days and 5.5hrs, I finally feel like myself again” Here’s what Bobby Shmurda has been up to since his release him from prison. Bobby Shmurda has already met up with Quavo of the Migos, who took a private jet to pick him up, and made sure to FaceTime his family. In this video, he, Shmurda, and what looks like Karen Civil, host of “Welcome to My Neighborhood,” and a documentary crew step out of the jet. Pollard will still serve out the rest of his term under parole supervision. “Welcome Home!”

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Bobby Shmurda Has Been Released From Prison

Tags: Bobby Shmurda, legally Ackquille Pollard. The two men, along with Nicholas “Flea Montana” McCoy pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and fourth-degree conspiracy. Legal name Ackquille Pollard, the viral artist was freed on February 23, 2021, after prison officials determined that he was eligible for a conditional release. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Mamashhh (@ma_ma_shhh)

First thing, Bobby Shmurda FaceTimed his mom, who adorably goes by @ma_ma_shhh online. Prosecutors argued that the group of burgeoning hip-hop musicians, who called themselves GS9, were engaged in gang violence with several other crews in Brooklyn.

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HBO Rolls Out a Teaser for Tina Documentary

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Tags: In the teaser, Turner talks about her mother leaving her family when she was young. “It’s all right. The documentary is set to take a wide look at the musician’s career, from her beginnings in the late 1950s to her second act in the ’80s, promising new footage and interviews, including with the woman herself. Martin and rides the news of Turner’s current solo nomination for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Like they’re on a river, HBO is rollin’ the first teaser for its Tina Turner documentary, Tina. You know why?” Turner says over a slow-building, dramatic rendition of “Proud Mary.” “I’m a girl from a cotton field that pulled myself above the destruction and the mistakes. And I’m here for you.” The documentary comes from Oscar- and Emmy-winning directors Dan Lindsay and T.J. (She was already inducted, with her ex-husband, as a member of Ike & Tina Turner.) Tina premieres on HBO on March 27 at 8 p.m. ET.

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David Letterman Pranked Drew Barrymore on Her Birthday and Made Her Weep

She said:

“I had no plan of doing that. I hope that I could be half the man Dave is right now, and just let something innocent and spontaneous be innocent and spontaneous.” As the show cycled through visuals of Barrymore on Letterman over the years, she continued, “You compelled me to take a risk, and you allowed it to be paid off with kindness and reciprocity and goodness and humor, which is my ultimate, honestly — I think that’s the greatest award and reward that people can give each other in life.” What sweeties, the both of ’em. I don’t know how this happened.”

After the commercial break, Barrymore decided to retaliate with a surprise of her own, hopping up on the studio table and dancing in a not-quite-complete re-creation of the time she got up on Letterman’s late-night desk and flashed him in 1995 on his birthday. “You’re actually crying! And I almost was like, Should I be embarrassed? It meant a great deal then, and this means a great deal as well. God bless you!” Letterman told her. On February 22, or “Two Twenty-Two,” as Drew Barrymore calls it (or “Drew Twenty-Drew,” as we call it), The Drew Barrymore Show celebrated its benevolent ruler’s birthday with a very special episode including some surprise guests. It’s a funny moment that turns heartfelt when Barrymore recalled the way Letterman graciously handled her well-intentioned bit of youthful late-night theater. Then, Letterman pretended that his Zoom wasn’t working and that he couldn’t hear anything, walking away from his screen in mock “frustration.” Then, Letterman walked into the studio, and Drew Barrymore lost her dang mind, weeping happy surprise birthday tears. And I knew in that moment that, with one turn, you could have gone, ‘Why did you do that? Thank you for — or did I invite myself? And it was all very playful and well intended, and I just had no idea where it was going. “I can’t thank you enough for everything, and the friendship you demonstrated for us when we were on the show. Savannah Guthrie hosted the “Barrymore Bash” and colluded with kindly mythical woodland man David Letterman to surprise the heck out of Drew. Did I do something bad? What’s wrong with you?’ And instead, you had that smile, and you said to everyone, This moment is okay. Related

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Tags: It was one of those moments in my life where I felt like a magnet was pulling me. First, Guthrie introduced Letterman as a surprise Zoom guest, which seemed to already make Drew excited enough. Oh, that breaks my heart. Am I in trouble? Happy belated birthday, Drew!

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For No Reason at All, Here’s the Greatest Emma Thompson Acceptance Speech

This was also the year that Fox’s family drama Party of Five took the Best Drama Series trophy, a typically Globes-ian decision to reward the fun new show over critically acclaimed prestige series like NYPD Blue and ER. Then there was Thompson, recognized for adapting Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility for the Ang Lee–directed film version that she also starred in. The Globes, in their typical stargazing way, ended up being the first real awards show to put Pitt and Kidman into that echelon. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will host from opposite coasts as an array of nominees and winners will either accept their trophies or clap politely from various remote locations, such as “home.” Obviously, while we’re gaining a lot from this responsible arrangement (safety!), we’re losing too: namely, the spontaneous electricity that comes from having an in-person awards show, and that goes double for the Globes, whose title in the vast awards-show landscape tends to be “the fun one” compared to its stuffy cousin, Oscar. Thompson had won the Oscar for 1992’s Howards End and was nominated twice the next year for The Remains of the Day as well as for the Irish political courtroom drama In the Name of the Father. She thanked producer Ismail Merchant for facilitating her payday in her Howards End Oscar speech, and when she ended up winning the Oscar as well for Sense and Sensibility, she said she has gone to pay her respects to Jane Austen’s grave “and tell her about the grosses.”)

Up until ’96, Thompson was, at least to American audiences, known as a pretty stuffy British actress. An incredibly talented and accomplished stuffy British actress, of course, but after a decade or more of Merchant Ivory films and costume dramas at the Oscars, a stereotype had formed around the corset class. (Stone’s “Okay, it’s a miracle” reaction underlines just how much of a surprise that win was.) Also winners that night: Brad Pitt (Best Supporting Actor for 12 Monkeys) and Nicole Kidman (Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical for To Die For), two huge movie stars who hadn’t yet begun to be recognized for their skills as actors. The Gold Rush

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The 2021 Globes ceremony might be a mess, but we’ll always have this ghostly moment. Even when Thompson ended up crossing the pond to be in the Arnold Schwarzenegger male-pregnancy comedy, Junior, her effect on the audience was more profound cognitive dissonance than any kind of reimagining of Thompson’s persona. The Oscars have a sense of occasion that would probably preclude you from making a speech in character, and that’s too bad, since we’d all probably love to hear what Jane Austen would have thought about the Academy Awards. Taking the stage with a folded-up piece of paper in her hand, the international symbol for “boring laundry list of names to thank,” Thompson seemed like she was about to deliver a standard speech. And she won. More From This Series

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Tags: really knew about how she came up via the comedy troupe the Footlights with her university pals Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, or how she had always wanted to be Lily Tomlin growing up. Despite being one of the very few Golden Globe categories that doesn’t honor a performer, it managed to showcase some boldface names: Aaron Sorkin, who hadn’t yet been elevated by The West Wing, was nominated for The American President, and Tim Robbins was nominated for Dead Man Walking. What came out of her mouth will go down in history as one of the most creative and funny awards-show speeches, and you can hear the in-room audience brighten up when they catch on to what Thompson is doing. The latter happened in 1996, when the Golden Globes — presented in January of ’96 but honoring the best film and TV of ’95 — surprisingly toasted Sharon Stone’s performance in Casino over the likes of Susan Sarandon and Meryl Streep, vaulting her toward what would become her only Oscar nomination to date. Photo: YouTube

The 2021 Golden Globe Awards will be, like all awards shows that forged ahead in the past year, a virtual affair. In her posh accent, Thompson-as-Austen recounts her night at the “Golden Spheres” with a detached amusement at the garish goings-on, peppered with delicate little digs like “the gowns were middling.” As Austen, Thompson managed to compliment the people she’d have thanked in a normal speech, including composer Patrick Doyle, “a Scot who displayed the kind of wild behavior one has come to expect of that race,” and producer Mark Kenton, “who, as I understand it, owes me a great amount of money.” (Getting paid is actually a consistent through line in Thompson’s awards speeches. No one in the U.S. It’s pretty unusual for the star of a film to also handle the screenplay adaptation, especially if they’re not also directing, so Thompson’s contributions naturally stood out from the pack. And it’s because she gave the kind of speech that’s so particular to this awards ceremony: looser and lower stakes. Until she didn’t. (Yes, it also tends to be “the corrupt one.”)

Take, for example, the Globes behavior of Emma Thompson, who at various times at the ceremony has kicked off her heels to present an award, brought her cocktail onstage with her, and delivered an acceptance speech in the persona of Jane Austen. The night’s best entertainment value, however, came from a generally unlikely spot: the Best Screenplay category. The kind of clever, cheeky version of Emma Thompson that revealed herself at the Globes that year is a lot more like the version of Emma Thompson we love and appreciate today. All three are great films, but they don’t exactly offer a ton of laughs.

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