Category: Entertainment News

The Real Housewives of Orange County Season-Finale Recap: Apology Whiz

The only good parts of the whole party are both thanks to Kelly Dodd. Okkkkrrrr.)

This is all just a prelude to everyone attending Meghan’s big unveiling for her King Collection line of candles. Next year, the cast of this show should just be Kelly, Shannon, and Linda the office manager. Is there only one Men’s Warehouse in all of Orange County and do they only sell things that are too ugly for the taste-free, color-blind tech bros of the Bay Area? Then Tamra apologizes to Diko about calling him a “little bitch,” which is really the world’s meanest short joke in disguise. Then Shannon ends up looking crazy for losing her cool when she was right all along. The party is not so much of a party as it is a world tour of apologies. Their relationship is clearly over (which we know because they are filing for divorce), but there is something that I love about watching the interactions of two people who are just so clearly over each other. What is wrong with Vicki that she’s forcing everyone to have a headset and wandering around the office like they’re at a Night of a Thousand Judy the Time Life Operators? Later, we see someone taking a drink from the luge, and she had to slurp it up with a straw. Just ask Bethenny Frankel, whose Skinny Girl–branded ice luge is probably taking up all the room in her freezer where the Skinny Girl TV dinners used to be before they were discontinued. Peggy just looks at her, dismissively, and says, “Are you okay?” Ugh, Peggy is the worst. I have no idea if that product ever existed, but doesn’t it feel like it did?)

We see everyone getting ready for the event. I was so excited for these queer angels to use their powers for good, because Bobbi’s hair always looks like she’s wearing a hockey goalie’s helmet backwards. Kelly had forgotten that because she was drunk. Need someone to magically pause your DVR every time that shirtless Christiano Ronaldo commercial comes on? Then Peggy told Tamra that never happened and Tamra threw Shannon in front of that train like she was Kevin Spacey on House of Cards and Shannon was That Other Mara Sister. It will be called In Sickness and it will win Emmys. This party is a sorority girl’s idea of what a rich person’s party looks like. If any network development executives want this, come at me. If I had to guess, Meghan’s candles smell like daffodils, baby powder, and lowered expectations. I’d love to see a sitcom about a couple like this, where they just can’t tolerate each other any more so they just talk shit about the other right in front of them. Kelly uses her Priv magic to get her mother Bobbi a makeover while she sits in what appears to be the world’s most flimsy director’s chair. (Kris Jenner is already very upset about the lack of K’s in that previous sentence.) Yes, after the success of Jim Edmond’s line of candles with K. There is a bit of product placement for Priv, which apparently is a phone app that allows one to magically conjure gay fairies into your living room any time you want. They certainly improve it, but you can’t make a purse out of a sow’s ear. Peggy is so sad. Shannon is helping David pick out an outfit and he says, “I can wear this jacket if I want to look hip.” This blazer is so ugly that it is, essentially, a war crime. David should not have said, “I can wear this if I want to look hip.” He should have said, “I can wear this if you want me to look like a 50-year-old in the advertising industry going to a Barenaked Ladies reunion concert.”

The saddest part is that Doug, Lydia’s husband, wears a suit the same color and Diko, the jingle-jangle of change under your couch cushions, wears a jacket with a similar zipper lapel. The party is held in what appears to be the courtyard of a very fancy hotel and I has extreme déjà vu the whole time we were looking at it. The fabric appears to be some sort of faux-velvet and there are buttons not only too high up the front, but also on the pockets on the side of the jacket. These six smoldering lumps of coal in reality TV’s coldest fire raise their shot glasses to the heavens and choke down one last bit of cheer as the cameras pan out and the drone takes over, showing them all from overhead as the bar fades away to a dot, the hotel fades away to a slash next to the beach, the ocean fades away to a vast expanse of darkness that looks roiled with confusion as its surface churns and puckers to look a little bit like fainting feels, as if the end of everything would be a sighing relief. They have a signature cocktail that is the exact same hue as Cool Blue Gatorade and there is an ice luge in the shape of the King Kollection (you’re welcome, Kris) logo. Oh, hunty, is there ever a Priv for that. At the end of the episode, when everyone gets their freeze frame and two sentences about what they’re up to now, Peggy just says, “Um, sorry guys. We got to see a few little splashes of Kelly and Shannon making fun of each other and playing off each other’s really cheesy senses of humor and I loved it. (I made that up. Shannon freaks out, of course, because that is all that Shannon ever does. She won’t be back next year.” The whole thing with her and Shannon is absolutely insane, as Shannon points out. Photo: Dale Berman/Bravo

The Real Housewives of Orange County

Candle Wicks and Lunatics
Season 12

Episode 19

Editor’s Rating

3 stars

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Waiting for the end of this season of The Real Housewives of Orange County was sort of like finishing a course of antibiotics: You don’t really think you need to do it, but you’re doing it just in case. Shannon told Tamra that Peggy had told her that David hurt her multiple times and that she was crying. There also appears to be one side of a zipper running up the lapels. (Or, as we say in the gay world, you can’t remix the Chainsmokers into a Latrice Royale. Need someone to watch Paris Is Burning with? I am casting Jason Bateman and Judy Greer. Then Diko apologizes to David for saying he was grilling him about Peggy’s health. There’s a Priv for that. It’s like the color between red-wine-stained teeth and a carpet burn. I’m sorry, if you’re going to have an ice luge at your party, at least know that you have to take the shot directly out of the block of ice. Lydia’s mother, Judy, apologizes for bringing Lydia into the world and Lydia’s hairstylist apologizes to all of us for creating a braid so petrifying that even Pennywise wouldn’t go within four blocks of it. There’s a Priv for that. I would love that. Need someone to show up with a bottle of poppers and a shady attitude to discuss the new Carly Rae Jepsen album and how fat your ex has gotten in his Instagram pictures? Well, we could have stopped that Z-Pak months ago because we didn’t miss anything by tuning into this finale episode. Hall Designs, his wife now has her own line, too. I only bring this up to let the very handsome Ali know that if he is ever in the New York area and really into making out with reality-television-program recappers to let me know, because he is exactly RHONJ recapper Molly Fitzpatrick’s type. Tags: In Kelly’s defense, that is basically her excuse every time something bad happens. Finally, Peggy goes over to apologize to Shannon, but she can’t really apologize, so Tamra actually has to show her how to do it. She then tries to get her boss, Victoria Cream Cheese Gunvalson III, to get her $500 headset to work but she can’t. On the flip side, I relished watching the deterioration of Kelly’s relationship with her husband, Michael, a rack of 50-percent-off Jerry Garcia ties at Macy’s. The highlight of the entire hour is Linda, the office manager at Coto Insurance, who can’t get her headset to work when she wanders away from her phone. It’s like she’s too good for this show, she’s too good to raise her voice, she’s too good to care, she’s too good to buy some damn V05 Hot Oil and just smooth all those freaking fly-aways down. As this candle party is winding down, all of the women and the amorphous lump creature known as Vicki gather around the bar to take a shot and glower into each other’s eyes. Kelly apologizes to Peggy about making a joke about her dad, who had just passed away. Next, Vicki and her partner Ali, a human delivery system for lapel pins, tell her son Michael that he is now on the board of directors of Coto Insurance, a position that carries slightly less responsibility than being the treasurer of a condo board’s home owner’s association. That’s because it is the same place where Tamra and Eddie got married by a Joan Collins impersonator.

Watch Country-Music Stars Read Mean Tweets With a Twang

“Little Big Town sounds like they threw a bunch of cats in a bag and beat them around with a tennis racquet,” sayeth one wise music critic. Country-music performers gathered for Jimmy Kimmel Live’s latest batch of Mean Tweets ahead of this year’s CMA Awards. Take it away, Kimberly Schlapman: “That is meanness!”

Tags: Zac Brown Band, Cassadee Pope, Blake Shelton, and Trace Adkins were just some of the musicians who sifted through the garbage Dumpster that is twitter.com. There are the usual barbs about scraggly beards and bad music, but the characterization of Little Big Town’s music (Taylor Swift writes for them!) feels especially caustic.

Third Woman Accuses Jeremy Piven of Sexual Assault

I would never force myself on a woman, ever. She says she decided to come forward after Piven denied previous allegations made against him. “It couldn’t have just happened to me and couldn’t have just happened to her,” she says. While waiting for his publicist, she says Piven then “jumped on top of me. Piven. Scourby says she was then able to push him off and escape the room. Brown/Getty Images

After one woman accused Jeremy Piven of sexually harassing her on the set of Entourage and another alluded to his misconduct, a third woman now claims the actor sexually assaulted her, in 2003. Piven has also denied Scourby’s allegations in a statement to People: “Let me be absolutely clear, this simply did not happen. I tried to push him off and he forced me to the ground.” She claims that Piven exposed himself to her and began rubbing his genitals against her body for 15 minutes, “held down [her] hands,” and proceeded to ejaculate on her shirt. I cannot speak as to why a person would create a story like this.” Reps for Piven told People that the actor is willing to take a polygraph test to prove his innocence and is looking into legal options. When she met him at his suite at the Trump Hotel to go to the taping, she says that’s when things allegedly turned ugly. “I cried the entire way back to my hotel,” she remembers, telling a friend who confirmed her story to People about the incident along the way. Sources

People

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HBO Releases Statement Regarding Jeremy Piven Allegations

Tags: Photo: Frederick M. Advertising executive Tiffany Bacon Scourby tells People that she met Piven at a nightclub where he asked for her number and invited her to be his guest to his Late Night With Conan O’Brien appearance the following day. She then took a train back to Washington, D.C., in tears.

Why Does South Park Think a Trump Rape Joke Is So Funny?

This episode offers us a glimpse into his paranoid imagination, which cross-cuts between archival footage of dancing Hasidim and Kyle as one of Dumbo’s pink elephants, gripping a menorah-styled trident. Like any abuser, Cartman’s entirely dependent on Heidi for his power; watch how he absolutely crumbles when she makes an early attempt to leave him. She’s receptive at first, but later abandons him with an anti-Semitic farewell. Chronicling the Trump base’s repeated foot-shooting may be righteous work, but Stone and Parker do so in the most wrongheaded way possible, using rape as a fulcrum for comedy. We’re supposed to take it as a funhouse version of bigotry, but the joke’s gone sour. Their inability to make any critical point without first establishing that they’re still their same ankle-biting selves has grown frustrating as America’s real-world stakes increase. Oftentimes, when a friend is dating someone horrible, all efforts to open the friend’s eyes to that fact only cause them to get defensive and commit even harder. It is not what comedy insiders would refer to as a “laugher.”

Stone and Parker trace another connecting line between Cartman and Trump by likening the president’s stranglehold on his Cabinet with Cartman and Heidi’s piteously dysfunctional relationship. She’s a ready avatar for Trump’s hostage Republican Party and their voting base, refusing on principle to get out of the bed they’ve made for themselves. A reporter asking Paul Ryan point-blank, “And is that semen on your black eye?” might get a chuckle, and McConnell admitting that “I don’t know anything, I’m just a turtle” definitely will, but the basic conceit still cracks its jokes at the expense of rape victims instead of in their defense. One of this season’s better-scored montages, to be sure. He should show it off a little more! Kyle is doing everything he can to get Heidi out of her toxic dynamic with Cartman, even if that means taking her for himself. • As the undercurrents of neo-Nazism in America grow more pronounced, Cartman’s strain of blithe Jew-hate has grown less and less funny. Trey Parker and Matt Stone set up another one of the easy micro-macro allegories that they’ve favored in the post-Trump episodes, where a hubbub with the kids in South Park can simply correspond to goings-on in Washington. They might be a match made in heaven. We don’t get to see that too often. Cartman gives Lindsay from You’re the Worst a run for her money in the race for TV’s worst significant other: Heidi’s a sweet girl, and Cartman punishes her for this by tricking the young vegan into eating KFC, making fun of her weight, and repeatedly freezing her out and then begging her to take him back. (This is part of why women in abusive relationships do not and cannot “just leave” their tormentors.) She fancies herself a reasonable, empathetic person, and readily gives Cartman another chance when he half-heartedly offers to try veganism because she wants him to be the person she wants him to be. It’s unclear whether we’re supposed to find this humorous, mostly because these scenes are just disturbing. “Ha ha, what if a kid thought all Jews were out to get him?” isn’t as remote a possibility as it once was. This show certainly isn’t the first to compare Trump’s dumbfounding rise to, and retention of, power with an unhealthy relationship, but it’s probably the first one to do so with such a flippant attitude, one that boils down to “Rape: What if it was funny?”

That’s the main gag informing the part of this episode taking place in the West Wing, where Donald Trump keeps raping Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Mike Pence. The episode concludes with a cake commemorating Trump’s first full year since his election to the office of president. The episode’s most daring suggestion comes in the final minutes, when Heidi turns on Kyle and it starts to look like she and Cartman might deserve each other. Most of these articles operate operate from the premise that voters shacked up with Trump in spite of his fundamental Trumpiness, that the motivators of money and security superseded the more hideous aspects of his personality. Photo: Comedy Central

South Park

Doubling Down
Season 21

Episode 7

Editor’s Rating

2 stars

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Human behavior is full of little system bugs, compelling us to make life more difficult for ourselves using cockeyed emotional rationales. People act against their own interest all the time, both consciously and in instinctive response to gut feelings and nagging mental voices. Tags: But Cartman is who he is: a boy who responds to generosity and kindness from Token’s family by asking them when they next plan on disrespecting the flag and flipping over cars. The half-hour’s “Gee, ain’t I a stinker?” moment comes from the implication that the rapings have only just begun. As is the show’s wont, “Doubling Down” goes several steps beyond that premise and trains its focus on the psychology of abuse, on the way domineering personalities thoroughly warp the minds of their targets to maintain control. Although they’re not wrong, Heidi still feels honor-bound to protect him, perhaps out of a misplaced lingering attachment. Assorted Notes

• You really only realize how many hit singles Rihanna has brought into the world when you spend five brow-furrowed minutes trying to remember the title of “Unfaithful” without Googling. There’s a tricky chicken-or-the-egg scenario in the question of whether Heidi’s off-color remarks are a consequence of her poisonous relationship with Cartman, or if that’s what got them together in the first place. Even so, it’s the lone point of reason in an otherwise catastrophically miscalculated episode. But in outing Heidi as marked by Cartman’s same brand of intolerance, “Doubling Down” posits that the ugliest parts of Trump are precisely why people flock to him. At a gals’ brunch, Heidi’s friends all pile on Cartman, gleefully laughing over how racist and piggish the boy is. All the same, he treats her like garbage and everyone except Heidi can see it. I am myself guilty of this folly and still don’t know why people do it; this week’s South Park hazards a couple of guesses, with a pointed episode that once again juxtaposes the personal against the political to varying levels of effectiveness. Waves upon waves of postmortem articles have probed the psyche of the frustrated white Trump voter, looking for the chemistry of socioeconomic factors — rising taxes, vanishing jobs, gridlock in Washington — that would drive people to cast their lot with a sociopath. Every time the major aides attempt to talk the sitting commander in chief down from his latest geopolitical tantrum (if you were concerned that South Park wouldn’t find an opportunity to drop a smirking mention of the N-word and the F-word, have no fear!), he brutalizes and sexually violates them. • Kyle’s got a beautiful head of red curly tresses hiding under that green hat. Are they really this afraid to stand for something?

All of Mindy Lahiri’s Offscreen Gags on The Mindy Project

Bush’s paintings

Infamy-Inducing and/or Shameful Incidents

-Hit on her Chinese delivery man on Valentine’s Day

-Bailed her own mugger out of jail and bought him a sport coat to go on job interviews

-Was profiled in the New York Post for finding a thumb in her taco

-Was banned from Lincoln Center because of their three strikes policy for falling in the fountain

-Had to be airlifted out of a five-k cancer fun run

-Is on the no-fly list

-Got banned from a frozen-yogurt store for committing sample fraud

-Looted during Hurricane Sandy

-Pretended to be in the armed forces so she could board planes early

-Ran for city council to get more trans fats allowed in foods

-Was banned from the Today show just after they lifted the last ban

-Was dubbed Knucklehead of the Week by Sue Simmons for getting her tongue stuck to a Tyrese billboard

-Hit a cyclist with her car and drove off

-Pretended to help out with Hurricane Katrina to get on the cover of her alumni magazine

-Was banned from Michael Jordan’s The Steak House for singing

-Was on the news for climaxing during a TSA patdown

-Was banned from Panera Bread for eating a long baguette in a “lewd manner”

-Streaked at her Princeton reunion

-Got banned from SeaWorld for fighting a penguin

-Got thrown out of a taping of The Nate Berkus Show for doing the “Arsenio”

-Burped so much in the audience of The Dr. Although she chiefly describes herself as a sedentary rom-com- and sour-straw enthusiast, she gets up to a surprising amount in her spare time. Oz Show, they had to throw out the episode

-Was banned from the Apollo by Katt Williams for laughing too hard

-Was featured in Cosmo’s “Fashion Fails” section for having a cameltoe in corduroy shorts

-Has to stay 400 feet away from Carmelo Anthony

-Got blocked by Jessica Chastain on Twitter

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Mindy’s Love Interests on The Mindy Project, Ranked From Worst to Best

Tags: Mindy Lahiri. Photo: Jordin Althaus/NBC Universal Television/Hulu

For the past five seasons, Mindy Lahiri has been busy working as a successful OB/GYN, completing a fellowship at Stanford, and starting her own fertility clinic. The following is a selection of Mindy’s best offscreen gags:

Hobbies and Business Ventures

-Played on an all-female OB/GYN bowling league, the “storks and stripes”

-Wrote a Jezebel article about how her boss “raped her weekend” in response to being scheduled to work on a Friday

-Sent raunchy horoscope emails to patients

-Had a podcast about her and Danny’s sex life

-Dreamt of starting a company called Delectable Desires, making slutty girdles for the sexually active obese

-Had an online business selling her toenail clippings to a pervert in Idaho

-Cyberbullied stay-at-home-moms on Pinterest

-Reviewed cereals on YouTube

-Wrote an erotic memoir called “Tussled Sheets,” which had the distinction of being printed out at a Kinko’s

-Also wrote a fanfiction version of Gone Girl

-Created a YouTube channel of her and Peter making prank calls to pizza places

-Had a wedding-cake review podcast called Oh No You Fondant

-Was in a steel drum band

-Always ordered bras to the office from “Little Miss Asymmetrical”

-Took a Harry Potter “Which Hogwarts House Are You In?” quiz and got “Dursley”

Celebrity Run-ins

-Snuck onto John Stamos’s party bus

-Sent Christian Slater letters containing her hair

-Broke into Mariah Carey’s penthouse and fell asleep

-Wrote a love letter to Mel Gibson, although to be fair this was in an alternate-reality timeline

-Met the Gyllenhaal siblings at their fictional book signing, prompting Peter Sarsgaard to say “Get the hell away from my wife”

-Tweeted sex and relationship advice at Lady Gaga several times per day

-Bought a drink for Wolf Blitzer; he threw it in her face

-Had a restraining order placed on her by Vera Wang

-Got through spin class by pretending she was running over the body of Michael Jackson’s doctor

-Tried to kiss Jon Hamm at Equinox; later threw herself in front of his car

-Blake Shelton stepped on her neck while auditioning for The Voice to get her to stop singing “Hello”

-Bought one of George W. In addition to being a doctor, Mindy is a patron of the arts, an artiste in her own right, and an enterprising businesswoman, with a string of shameful incidents in her past.

I Didn’t Give a Sh*t About Marvel Movies Till I Saw Tessa Thompson in Thor: Ragnarok

Valkyrie also has the best character entrance this side of Armie Hammer in Call Me by Your Name: She’s wasted, drunkenly stumbling out of her spacecraft to rescue Chris Hemsworth, who has been trapped and bound by a group of masked scavengers. Rigamarole, a film full of shenanigans and beautiful people fighting crime, and maybe a few one-liners or some gratuitous super-masculine shirtless scenes. She’s not trying to outdo the boys; she’s just trying to sip her drink and mind her own business, which is one whole 2017 mood. My ticket is already purchased. This is where, suddenly, I see what Marvel stans are so gassed up about: Valkyrie jumps from spaceship to spaceship like she’s leapfrogging across lily pads. Eventually he does, and the trio — Thor, Bruce Banner, and Valkyrie — steals one of the Grandmaster’s ships to make a break for it. Tags: And soon, I realized: This Marvel stuff is Hela tight! I like that she’s decidedly not in a sleek spandex jumpsuit or a leotard: You’re supposed to see her strength and admire her muscles. I’ve only seen two black women superheroes before: Halle Berry as Storm and Beyoncé as Storm. And, like, sure — Thor, go off! What if Valkyrie was the de facto black doll of my childhood, instead of the Addy, the black slavery-era American Girl doll? She delivers Blair Waldorf–level eye rolls when Thor tries to enlist her to help him escape back to Asgard. So, for a long time, I really thought the newest Thor installment was called Thor: Rigmarole, which, honestly, seemed like a pretty cool title to me. Here are two songs that perfectly describe what it’s like to watch Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok: “Independent Woman Part 1,” by Destiny’s Child, and “These Words,” by Natasha Bedingfield. She’s not white, blonde, and named Chris. Rigmarole, a big fuss over nothing, which is honestly what I’d expect from Thor’s golden (stringy) locks. That’s when Valkyrie springs into action, using guns on her spacecraft to zap the guards trying to stop them from leaving the planet. Every time Valkyrie took her sword out, ready to slice through the evil Hela’s (Cate Blanchett) minions, I was rapt with attention, throwing popcorn toward my face, missing my mouth. He’s the damsel in distress, and Valkyrie boots up her spacecraft’s machine guns to shoo away his captors. Maybe I saw the first and third Iron Man, but not the second? Actually, I definitely saw the first Iron Man, because I distinctly remember being surprised that Terrence Howard was playing something other than the light-skinned abusive boyfriend. But might I request that we get even more of a good thing? Imagine it: Valkyrie kicking ass and then striding off to some dive bar in Asgard for a pint. It can be Insecure meets Wonder Woman meets Waiting to Exhale. If memory serves, I saw Iron Man 2 with a boy I was seeing — but actually, maybe I saw Iron Man 2 with someone else, and that boy and I went on a three-on-one date Bachelor-style, and saw Hellboy? Not even Michelle Obama — the human with the most perfect biceps in American history — can pull off Valkyrie’s sleeveless armor in her opening scenes, which dares you to cross her. I have a hit-and-miss record with Marvel movies, meaning that they are all hits, and I have somehow missed seeing most of them. She could squeeze some money out of his capture herself. Also I can’t remember if I saw Guardians of the Galaxy or if I’m misremembering Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which I definitely saw because I could see it for free. I vote we keep Valkyrie in the Avengers posse, but also get 120 minutes of a Valkyrie stand-alone: a boozy adventure with midair fights and explosions, and maybe even a mink cape in a color worthy of Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards, just because that’d be really cool to see. Tessa is Valkyrie (no relation to the Tom Cruise movie), a warrior goddess on the downswing; her current gig is capturing potential players for the Grandmaster’s (Jeff Goldblum) gladiatorial contest, but in better days she was a defender of Asgard, Thor’s home planet. (But there’s certainly space for her to get the latter: Valkyrie is bisexual, which is important for mainstream representation, but the only explicit reference to her sexuality in the script was cut in the movie’s final edit.) Valkyrie usurps every meme’d comic-book movie stereotype. I haven’t seen a single Avengers movie, nor a Captain America movie; I avoided Doctor Strange and just realized this very second that there was an Ant-Man movie. Valkyrie is Afro-Latina, irritable, and a warrior goddess. No shade to Addy, of course — love you, wherever you are in Auntie’s attic — but I might have felt a little more confident, a little more sure during primary school show-and-tell, that black girls didn’t always have to be twice as good, or always enduring some kind of domestic tragedy. Like these inarguably perfect tunes, Tessa’s performance is euphoric and emboldening (please press play on them for the duration of this essay). The inner workings of the Marvel Cinematic Universe remain a mystery to me, but I have clicked on enough Abe Riesman explainers to know that it exists, and that Thompson could show up in a future Avengers movie. I had fun during Wonder Woman, and entertained fantasies about escaping to Themyscira like everyone else. But Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie performance genuinely seemed like a preview of what a feminist blockbuster could look like, without a body-invasion climax or a romantic arc. Thor is big and muscly, a perfect contender for the Grandmaster’s game. Consider her look: the slate and gold armor that looks like it was part of Beyoncé’s I Am … world tour, with an added lapis cape. For two hours and ten whole minutes, my time was devoted fully to the glorious machinations of Valkyrie. Upon closer inspection, I later realized the title was Ragnarok, which sounded like a garage emo rock band from 2007. It’s a stunning image, that’s only outdone in the climactic battle against Blanchett, when Tessa’s glowing like the human manifestation of Fenty Beauty’s Trophy Wife. Watching Tessa Thompson in Ragnarok was an exercise in reclaiming my time. This flips the usual gendered convention on its head: Valkyrie doesn’t rescue Thor because she’s lonely, or to win him over, or even out of the goodness of her heart. Considering the misogynoir launched at Serena Williams and Simone Biles for embracing their muscles and physicality as beautiful, this visual feels especially important. She’s rumored to be returning for Infinity War, and was spotted on the movie’s Edinburgh set. The Marvel actresses have already floated the idea of an all-ladies, Avengers-style ensemble. Photo: Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios. Tessa’s got the comedic timing to match Taika Waititi’s Thor humor, and the physicality to lead the movie’s pack of superheroes. Related Stories

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Then I saw Ragnarok, or, more specifically, then I saw Tessa Thompson in Ragnarok.

Larry David’s Bernie Sanders Goes Against All of His Moral Values to Compete on The Price Is Right

Consumerism disguised as entertainment!” he wailed. “We’re gonna win this thing the Bernie way. “This show is a travesty! Related
Larry David Returns As Bernie Sanders on SNL

Tags: The things people would do for a new dinette set, even if that means traveling across the country against their will to compete on America’s favorite daytime game-show. (It’s all about the Plinko, baby!) Larry David’s Bernie Sanders experienced this Price Is Right madness for the first time while attempting to help his buddy bid on a washing machine, even though he just couldn’t get past, sigh, his very complex thoughts on American consumerism. Which means if I lose, I’m gonna bring everyone else down with me.” If you’re curious, his bid of six cents actually won the washing machine.

SNL’s Donald Trump Imparts Some Wisdom to Harvey Weinstein: If He Wanted to Get Away With Everything, He Should’ve Been ‘Elected President’

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Tags: “He could’ve gotten away with all of it, if only he’d gotten himself elected president.” Takes one to know one. “What an idiot that Harvey Weinstein is,” the Orange One explains. Donald Trump might pay Paul Manafort a little visit for a shower bonding session in this week’s SNL cold open, but after the suds dry and Mike Pence gets blackmailed for being away from Jesus, the real drama begins to emerge: Mostly that Alec Baldwin’s Trump has a few thoughts about this disturbing Harvey Weinstein situation.

Uma Thurman Has Been Waiting ‘to Feel Less Angry’ When It Comes to Discussing Sexual Harassment in Hollywood

And when I’m ready, I’ll say what I have to say.” While Thurman did not say if she would be naming names when she chooses to speak out, the question directed to her was specifically about Harvey Weinstein, who served as a producer for all of the Quentin Tarantino films she’s starred in. “So I’ve been waiting to feel less angry. “I don’t have a tidy soundbite for you, because I’ve learned I’m not a child and I’ve learned that when I’ve spoken in anger I usually regret the way I express myself,” Thurman explained. Uma Thurman's response when asked about the flood of sexual misconduct allegations….wow. pic.twitter.com/Sw5Br1GwFg— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) November 4, 2017

Uma Thurman will eventually talk about her experiences with sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood, but it’s going to be on her terms and her terms only. In a recent interview with Access Hollywood — which occurred last month, but received particularly wide circulation on Twitter today due to journalist Yashar Ali — the actress responded to a question about women speaking out against inappropriate behavior in the workplace with a powerful, and even chilling, sentiment of her own. Related
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Tags:

The Battle of the Gloria Steinem Biopics Has Officially Begun

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Gloria Steinem on Hillary, Young Feminists

Tags: An Uncivil War will be joining the previously announced Steinem biopic My Life on the Road, which will star Julianne Moore and revolve around Steinem’s “growth from a reluctant spokesperson of a movement, into a galvanizing symbol for equality, with a focus on the encounters along the road that helped shaped her.” (It’s actually based on Steinem’s memoir of the same name.) The good news is that both films should be out by 2018, when we can then decide who rocked those signature bell-bottom jeans better. The first, titled An Uncivil War, will be starring Carey Mulligan as the feminist icon who, alongside her contemporaries, tries to “ratify the ERA, while conservative organizer Phyllis Schlafly advocates against it” in the 1970s. As reported by Variety, there are now two biopics in the works that revolve around the influential life and work of Steinem. Photo: NBC/NBC via Getty Images

It’s a a damn good time for feminists to take over the big screen, especially when it involves the living legend that is Gloria goddamn Steinem.

The Duffer Brothers Couldn’t Care Less If You Thought Stranger Things’ ‘Lost Sister’ Episode Was Bad

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Why So Much Went Wrong in the Worst Episode of Stranger Things 2

Tags: As the sophomore season’s seventh episode, the narrative focused on a standalone Eleven adventure in which she tracks down a fellow Hawkins Lab “sister” named Kali in Chicago, where Kali lives with a merry gang of vigilantes that murders everyone who has wronged her at the lab years prior. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, the duo explained they’re particularly proud of “Lost Sister” due to its experimental nature. It’s not going to end well.”

Eleven was even, as Russ Duffer reckoned, just like Luke Skywalker. “It’s important for Ross and I to try stuff and not feel like we’re doing the same thing over and over again,” Matt Duffer explained. She did up finding herself in the end, after all. So I was like, whether this works or not, we need this building block in here or the whole show is going to collapse. “It’s almost like doing a whole little other pilot episode in the middle of your season, which is kind of a crazy thing to do.” He also added it was necessary for the sake of the story: “Eleven’s journey kind of fell apart, like the ending didn’t work, without it. As a bottle episode, there was no action in Hawkins despite the mounting tension of the “Demodogs” wreaking havoc in the town, although Eleven gets a sweet makeover before she comes to her senses and leaves. Well, it seems Stranger Things’ creators, the Duffer Brothers, have heard the chorus of huhs and responded to the divisive episode. Photo: Tina Rowden/Netflix

If you ask a Stranger Things enthusiast what they thought of season two’s recently released “Lost Sister” outing, you’ll probably be met with a range of Oh, that was pretty neat to That was some pure punk trash.

Jimmy Fallon Considers His Favorite SNL Sketch to Be the One Where He Couldn’t Stop Laughing and Nearly Ruined It

I was the guy who laughed during sketches.” Some love it, some hate it, but at least Fallon seems chill with his giggles. (Perhaps one of the symptoms of too much cowbell.) Still, after all of these years, he has a good sense of humor about it and its Reaper-ness. Related
Post-Trump, Jimmy Fallon Continues to Lose Ground in the Late-Night Wars

Tags: “That was one of my first sketches ever and I was like, Don’t screw it up,” he explained to Andy Cohen this week. Few would disagree that “More Cowbell” was one of Saturday Night Live’s most memorable sketches throughout its run — and that also includes Jimmy Fallon, even though he couldn’t stop breaking the fourth wall as the Blue Oyster Cult’s drummer during the latter half of the sketch to save his life. “I started laughing and I screwed up my line and then that became my thing.

Damnit Bruno Mars, Michelle Pfeiffer’s Kids Can Never Enjoy ‘Uptown Funk’ for Obvious Reasons

Even more awkward exercise classes. Sure, being included in the song of the century seems cool, but have you ever thought about the effect it had on Michelle Pfeiffer’s children? Hot damn! So the actress jokingly lamented while stopping by The Graham Norton Show this week, when the conversation inevitably shifted to why exactly Pfeiffer was included in Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk” in the first place. Tags: The awkward word play between “ice cold” and “white gold” that leaves little to be desired. She has no idea, but is very flattered. Awkward carpools.

Zoe Kazan Has Learned to Love Robots and Stephen King

And I thought, I could put that object onstage. Have you read My Favorite Thing Is Monsters? You have to read it. The play follows a young woman named Anna struggling with depression and trying to have a child with her husband, Oliver, while both are living underground in the wake of an unnamed global catastrophe. The choice of plush fur on the robot is kind of genius in terms of making Arthur lovable. About seven years ago, right after I wrote Ruby Sparks, I went through a pretty bad little bout of depression and I really wanted to read — but I wanted to read the way I read when I was a kid: walking down halls, in the bath, in such a hungry way. The idea of putting this object onstage made it feel to me like this should specifically be told in the theater. I looked them up online and they kind of look like Muppets. Adam Sternbergh spoke to her about her induction into the dreaded genre-writer category, becoming a late-life Stephen King convert, and one of her unexpected favorite books of the year. Then I became fixated on how the plot should interact with that object, and how to create an anthropomorphic, empathetic reaction in the audience over time. But the biggest surprise to me are the ways in which the play is very personal and very emotional. So naturally you decided to write a post-apocalyptic play with a robot in it. I think it’s a great piece of literature. It’s a graphic novel. So, you’re a science-fiction writer now. And that opened all these doors in terms of what I read now. It’s amazing! I didn’t read a ton of genre fiction. Zoe Kazan, robot fan. You know, growing up, I was a real reading snob. I read this article about things you can buy in New Jersey, and one of them is robots for conventions that have speakers in them and hand out pamphlets. Are you ready to put that on your business card? It’s sort of a murder mystery and about this girl’s obsession with monster movies and it’s definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. He’s a writer himself, and he did a tremendous amount of thinking about future worlds and what we would have and what we won’t have. For Kazan — who’s previously written the plays We Live Here and Trudy and Max in Love, as well as the fantastical screenplay Ruby Sparks — After the Blast is her first foray into dystopia and robotic co-stars. Tags: I read Stephen King’s Carrie, looking for a little escape. The unsung hero in all of this is the props designer, Noah Nease. And horror. I read much more widely. But at some point, over the past four or five years, I started reading a lot more science fiction. So what did you read? I haven’t. Somehow, the English major in me had killed that. He came up with the plushiness of the robot. Frankly, I’d always thought Stephen King was airport reading and I was proven so wrong. He said, “If this object’s true function is to be a companion — it doesn’t need to be able to do anything, it just has to be something people want to have around.”

But why write a play about this dystopic future? The idea originated about four years ago with me wanting to put a robot onstage. Then I thought, If I did do that, what would I do with it? I was shocked at what an amazing book it is. Why not write, say, an episode of Black Mirror? When I was finished with the first draft, I sat back and I could see what I had written — and that’s when I thought, “Oh, I wrote something really personal.” That really snuck up on me. What kind of a design process was it to come to the final robot? Photo: Ray Tamarra/GC Images

This month, Zoe Kazan — who, this year, has already starred in The Big Sick with Kumail Nanjiani and made an appearance on HBO’s The Deuce — accomplished a personal first: She wrote a well-received post-apocalyptic play called After the Blast, starring Cristin Milioti and, not incidentally, a surprisingly adorable, partially fur-covered robot named Arthur.

Leah Remini Interviewed Women Who Say Danny Masterson Raped Them

So far, no charges have been filed — the case has been “slow rolled,” according to a source — and Masterson denies the accusations. Four women have accused Masterson of raping them in the early 2000s, and the case is currently sitting in the Los Angeles district attorney’s office. Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

On Thursday, HuffPost provided a crucial update on the case against Danny Masterson, the actor and Scientologist best known for That ’70s Show. “Remini, not wanting to jeopardize the investigation, asked A&E not to air the episode, and the network agreed.”

The Los Angeles Police Department began investigating Masterson in late 2016 and referred the case to the district attorney’s office in April 2017. According to Ortega, the episode has been shelved while the district attorney’s office continues to investigate. Masterson has hired power attorneys Thomas Mesereau (who defended Bill Cosby) and Marty Singer (who works with Brett Ratner, among others) to defend him. “We’re told that earlier this year, Remini and her co-star Mike Rinder met with the Los Angeles district attorney’s office, which expressed concerns about the episode airing while it is considering whether or not to file charges against Masterson,” Ortega reports. Tags: But the women who say Masterson raped them seem eager to be heard. Tony Ortega, a journalist who focuses on exposing abuses in the Church of Scientology, reported Friday morning that former Scientologist Leah Remini interviewed some, or all, of Masterson’s accusers for an episode of her A&E show, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. Per HuffPost, there is “overwhelming” evidence against Masterson, including “audiotapes, emails sent to and from Scientology officers at the time the alleged rapes happened, forensic computer evidence and a threatening handwritten letter Masterson sent to one of the alleged victims,” but charges have yet to be approved for filing.

Julianna Margulies Reveals Distressing Hotel Room Encounters With Harvey Weinstein and Stephen Seagal

And he was. “And he opened the door in a bathrobe. Alone. And I caught her in a shrug — like, ‘What could I do?’ And he looked at me, furious, and he took the door and he said, ‘Just wanted to say good audition.’ And he slammed the door. Related
Julianna Margulies: No Feud With Archie Panjabi

Tags: And, of course, I didn’t get the part.” Margulies hasn’t encountered either man since. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/2016 Getty Images

The Good Wife’s Julianna Margulies has become the latest actress to speak out against Hollywood’s rampant sexual-harassment problem. And he made sure that I saw his gun, which I had never seen a gun in real life. In a new interview on Sirius XM’s Just Jenny show, the actress revealed two separate instances in the 1990s involving Harvey Weinstein and Steven Seagal. Regarding Seagal, the actress explained that a casting agent sent her to Seagal’s hotel room in New York under the pretext of going over an audition scene one final time. And I’m here, a woman,’” Margulies recalled. And I got out of there unscathed … I don’t know how I got out of that hotel room. “I got to the hotel at 10:40, and she wasn’t there. I don’t have money for a cab.’ And I didn’t. I could see that there were candles lit in the room, and there was a dinner for two. And I saw him stare at her, daggers. And I said, ‘And I don’t take subways late at night.’ And she says, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll reimburse you. “She knocked on the door, and she was standing behind me,” Margulies explained. I sorta screamed my way out.”

A few years later, Margulies was invited to have a meeting with Weinstein in his hotel room to discuss a potential film career, using her experience with Seagal to insist that his female assistant join them in the room. I don’t travel. “I lived in Brooklyn, and I said, ‘Oh, I don’t do that.

One Series to Rule Them All: A Lord of the Rings TV Show May Be In the Works

Tolkien’s beloved fantasy novels. Sources

THR

Tags: It might be the next Game of Thrones. Of course, the actual development and creation of the series is a long, arduous journey Warner Bros. Meanwhile, Amazon Studios has reportedly expressed interest in the potential show based on J.R.R. has only just begun, hopefully with an absolute minimum of four hobbits and one wizard. THR reports Warner Bros. Television is considering a LOTR television series. Photo: New Line Cinema

In news that would wake a sweat-drenched Peter Jackson screaming out of a dead sleep, The Hollywood Reporter claims The Lord of the Rings might soon be more than just a beloved book series and a sprawling film trilogy.

Netflix Cuts Ties With Kevin Spacey

CNN subsequently published a report in which eight people alleged Spacey sexually harassed and assaulted young men on set. Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Netflix suspended production on the sixth season of House of Cards following allegations of sexual harassment and assault made against its star Kevin Spacey. “Netflix will not be involved with any further production of House of Cards that includes Kevin Spacey,” a Netflix spokesperson told Variety in a statement. Now, in the wake of more men stepping forward to accuse the actor of assault and harassment, Netflix has apparently decided that Kevin Spacey will have no part in any of the streaming platform’s upcoming productions. We have also decided we will not be moving forward with the release of the film Gore, which was in post-production, starring and produced by Kevin Spacey.” While Spacey has not been explicitly let go from the show, Netflix’s statement seemingly suggests House of Cards has two options going forward: Fire Spacey or find the series a new home. “We will continue to work with MRC during this hiatus time to evaluate our path forward as it relates to the show. Sources

Variety

Tags: House of Cards was in early production before public allegations against the actor started to mount earlier this week.

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Veronica Mars Actor Brad Bufanda Dies by Suicide at 34

I'm heartbroken to hear of Brad Bufanda's passing. #BradBufanda https://t.co/EdBHvaOi6R— Percy Daggs III (@PD3Official) November 3, 2017

Sources

THR

Tags: Praying God's comfort and love over his loved ones. He was reviving his career having just completed two movies, and we are shocked and saddened by his passing.” Veronica Mars fans know Bufanda as PCHer and friend of Weevil Felix Toombs; the death of the ill-fated teen biker launches the events of the show’s second season. I have no #'s to call, but if you can read this I love you Robin, I am so very sorry. On Friday, several of the actor’s Veronica Mars co-workers took to social media to remember him after news of his death became public. Bufanda also appeared on Days of Our Lives, Boston Public, A Cinderella Story, and Malcolm in the Middle. “There was a note,” says Winter. According to Ed Winter of the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office, Bufanda committed suicide by jumping from a building on the 300 block of Fuller Ave. He did great work on Veronica Mars. My heart goes out to his family.— Rob Thomas (@RobThomas) November 3, 2017

This is beyond heartbreaking.. #BradBufanda— Francis Capra (@franciscapra) November 3, 2017

His spirit and energy was endearing man. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Hollywood Reporter confirms Veronica Mars actor Brad Bufanda died Wednesday at the age of 34. Bufanda’s rep Kirsten Solem told THR, “We are completely devastated for he was an extremely talented young actor and wonderful, caring human being. Saddened by this.

Mark Halperin’s Publisher Shelves Book About the 2016 Election Amid Sexual-Harassment Allegations

Halperin. Without Halperin’s book on the 2016 election, you’re just going to have to get your political takes elsewhere. As a result, MSNBC said that he will no longer serve as a contributor “until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood.” Yesterday, HBO, the network that produced the 2012 adaptation of Halperin’s Game Change, announced that it would not be moving forward with its project tied to the book about the Clinton–Trump showdown. The publisher is the latest in a line of companies that has severed ties with the veteran political journalist after six women accused him of sexual harassment. Showtime, which produces the political documentary The Circus, co-hosted by Halperin, also commented on the allegations, though did not say definitively whether the show would receive another season nor Halperin’s status with the series. Tags: CNN reported that Halperin committed the alleged incidents while he was the political director of ABC News. Photo: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Showtime

Penguin Press will not be publishing Mark Halperin’s co-authored book about the 2016 presidential race.

Clea DuVall Will Play Alexis Bledel’s Wife In The Handmaid’s Tale, Where Gay Marriage Is Definitely Not Legal

Season two of the Outstanding Drama winner sees matters worsen as the Gilead government takes over all of America, forcing Emily, Sylvia, and their son to attempt to flee to Canada. DuVall will play Sylvia, the wife of Emily (Alexis Bledel), who was condemned in the first season as a “gender traitor” for having a relationship with another woman, a Martha. Not real life! Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

Clea DuVall, who has been doing recent television stints on Veep and Better Call Saul, is moving to Gilead as she joins the cast of The Handmaid’s Tale for its second season, per THR. Sources

THR

Tags: Don’t worry, it’s still a dystopia! DuVall.

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Mindhunter Recap: Private Eyes

Bill’s behavior toward Nancy is deplorably hostile, but McCallany plays it with such naked vulnerability that she (and the viewer) can recognize it as a fit of self-loathing. The rift between the men and Carr does get ironed out eventually, but these are early signs of how fraught their collaboration stands to be, worsened by the corrosive force of talking to deranged psychopaths all the time. As Bill tells Holden after a particularly brutal session with Brudos, “If what we’re doing doesn’t get under your skin, you’re either more screwed up than I thought or you’re kidding yourself.”

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Holden is probably more screwed up than Bill thought, but we’ll get to that later. So it turns out that some serial killers are jerks. He is eerily methodical. The pressure is particularly hard on Bill, who can’t look to home as a refuge. Episode director Andrew Douglas lays on the menace before they reach the prison in Salem, Oregon, filling the soundtrack with the clank of metal and the equally assaultive boom of Brudos’s voice as he launches on a nasty diatribe about Muhammad Ali. (The funniest part about their first encounter is Holden’s bruised reaction afterwards. That doesn’t sound like Ed to me.”)

Bill and Holden get more out of Brudos when they see him again and treat his evasions more aggressively, but that may not be the right approach. But certain cold facts do emerge about their subject: His fetish for high heels, his tortured relationship with his mother, the grisly photographs he took of his crimes. He’s particularly delighted by the confusion of Ali’s trainer over the mouthpiece coming out bloody while noting, from personal experience, how difficult a human being’s jaw is to break. He’s there to tease and belittle the agents for sport, to call them “fucking morons” and throw sand on the sessions they’ve had with Kemper, whom he claims to have chatted up. But it’s McCallany’s role in the short-lived, much loved FX series Lights Out, as an aging boxer with encroaching dementia, that really brought out the sensitive brute who’s on display in Mindhunter. Holden and Carr, for their part, are handling their downtime in quieter, if no less peculiar, fashion. “You have to deny yourself or keep a private space.”

“Episode 7” divides neatly along those lines. But Brudos also had a family, and had to keep them from knowing his prurient interests. Carr prefers the first session to the second, because Brudos’s denials are still giving them information, whereas the masculine tactics used to get him to talk are reckless and unscientific. Holden is the type of by-the-book guy who’d insist on sitting in his assigned seat, so razzing this stranger is a similar pleasure for Bill. He rejects the hippie-dippy music therapy advocated by his wife Nancy, but doesn’t seem interested in discussion alternative solutions, either. • In Fincher-land, the lighting is so artfully dreary that it suggests dangers that aren’t present. Brudos relishes Ali’s defeat at the hands of Ken Norton, who broke his jaw in the final round of their 1973 San Diego bout. “Episode 7” is the best showcase yet for Holt McCallany, whose immense physical frame has won him supporting parts as soldiers and tough guys in films like Casualties of War, Alien 3, Fight Club, and the HBO movie Tyson, where he played Mike Tyson’s one-time trainer, Teddy Atlas. Related
Mindhunter’s Holt McCallany on Why There Are Fewer Serial Killers Today

Tags: If he’s turned on, does that mean he shares the same fetishistic headspace as a mass murderer? What in the world is he learning about himself? Her methods mirror her M.O. It is about public faces and private spaces, the secrets people share with each other, share only with those they love, or keep cordoned off altogether — sometimes even from themselves. on the job: She wants to coax the creature patiently from the darkness, rather than risk grabbing for it. It’s a busy episode, dense with information and suggestion about all three characters, but also purposeful in showing how much the stresses (or “stressors,” to use Carr’s term) of their jobs is bleeding into the personal lives. But Brudos is a special kind of jerk, because he stridently denies even the most basic facts about himself, like the women whom he previously confessed to killing. After two straight episodes devoted heavily to the murder in Altoona, this hour is more diffuse, spending half its time in the field and the other half peeking in on Bill, Holden, and Carr when they’re off the clock. Bill and Holden are barely past their introductory boilerplate before Brudos knocks them off their prepared questions and leads them through a chaotic session of improvised inquiry and dishonest answers. Photo: Patrick Harbron/Netflix

Mindhunter

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Episode 7

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The skeleton key for unlocking the seventh episode of Mindhunter arrives in the second conversation Bill and Holden have with their latest subject, Jerry Brudos (Happy Anderson), who’s serving out a life sentence for killing and mutilating at least four women between 1968 and 1969. As his son’s behavior worsens in school, his instinct is to continue to deny the problem, hope in vain things improve over time, and escape to the golf course whenever possible. “It’s tricky when you’re married,” he says. Soon enough, his son’s discovery of a crime-scene photo in his desk rattles their long-time babysitter and symbolizes two serious problems creeping into his marriage: one, that Bill is literally and figuratively bringing his work home with him, and two, that his son wants to know him better and will enter the forbidden space of his office to learn more. Carr breaks her sad bachelorette routine of watching All in the Family and eating tuna from a can by trying to befriend a stray kitty. The big reason they’re all feeling so unmoored is Brudos, who the opposite of the personable oversharer that they have in Ed Kemper. As for Holden, the association between the high heels he picks up for Brudos and the same heels that Debbie breaks out for his benefit is too much for him to handle. It’s effective, but I’m not convinced that it’s done in the best taste. Dillingers

• The BTK Killer is seen laying out his jacket, gloves, tape, and pistol. When Carr slips down to the basement in a T-shirt and nothing else, it braces you for an assault that never materializes. To quote Bill Murray in Ghostbusters, “No human being would stack books like this.”

• Another highlight in an episode that benefits from comic relief: Bill punishing the guy who wants to claim the middle seat between him and Holden on the plane. “Do you really think Kemper called us idiots? Among Brudos’s notable possessions are his collective of high-heeled shoes, over 100 pairs in all, which he would use for his own sexual gratification. • Good of Carr to note that crossdressing is not an antecedent to homicidal behavior, especially during a period when attitudes about it might not be so enlightened. He’s a tough guy who’s cracking under the pressure.

In Novitiate, Catholicism and Eroticism Go Hand in Hand

There are many lines in Novitiate that are too on the nose, and the supporting performances are variable. Cathleen, like the other postulants and novitiates, must walk head down lest they commune with something besides the Holy Spirit. There are so many crosscurrents in Noviatiate that by the end I wasn’t quite sure if the film was pro- or anti-Vatican II. She pointedly ignores the new edicts until an archbishop (Denis O’Hare) pays a call and tells her to adapt or get out. A girl sticks up her hand and the mother superior says, “Put your hand down, sister. For one thing, the look is arresting: oppressive stonework, looming frescoes, and deep, medieval blacks that heighten the ripeness of the flesh tones. Arvo Pärt’s organ and countertenor setting of “My Heart’s in the Highlands” sounds as if it’s snaking its way down vast, echoing corridors. I rarely recognize Leo from film to film: She disappears into her characters. Which is not to say she’s doesn’t guard that power fiercely, and with a relish that borders on the sadistic. As Betts portrays it, the training is a sort of religious boot camp, requiring one to forswear human intimacy, live one’s life according to a set of bells, and, if required, self-flagellate with a cattail whip. Cathleen finds all that distracting, seeing no contradiction between a desire for human contact and the love of God. Will that connection hold as she begins to feel more human longings? There is, however, something concrete eating at the mother superior: Vatican II, that seismic shift in Church policy that threatens to unloose everything holding her world together. Margaret Qualley in Novitiate. (The actresses look more like a sorority than Catholic sisters, and it won’t take long for you to find the casts’ selfies in costume on the internet.) But Betts has succeeded in capturing a watershed moment in the life of the Catholic Church — a push to adapt that is, in important ways, at odds with its very origins. Writer-director Margaret Betts set herself a hell of a task in her first feature: putting us in the heads of young women who long to be “brides of Christ.” Novitiate is set in 1964, when the marriage metaphor for nuns was still potent and could even edge into eroticism. Mother superior takes Vatican II as badly as if Jesus had shown up in a leather jacket and shades. Plainly she hasn’t read much on the subject — God can be rather jealous. Postulants don’t have questions.” She tells them they are free to leave anytime and it’s a wonder more don’t given how she tortures them. The mother superior doesn’t need to expend the effort to move them — she’s too powerful, with too many centuries of Catholic law on her side. Pro, I guess, but with the proviso that some vital form of connection between women and Jesus has been jettisoned in the name of modernization. But for all kinds of reasons, Jesus plays hard to get. Here, her features are nearly immobile. Tags: She complains that the nuns were not allowed to give any input to the Second Ecumenical Council, which makes her something of a proto-feminist — though her input would likely consist of urging the pope to keep all those medieval restrictions on women firmly in place. Her irresolution makes for excellent drama. In the nastiest and/or sexiest scenes, Novitiate creeps up to the brink of “nunsploitation” but remains for the most part giggle-free. It would also take a great deal of courage to giggle at Melissa Leo’s reverend mother superior, even from the vantage of one’s theater seat. And she doesn’t seem to want to give up her private time with those cattails. In one scene, she orders a young woman to crawl around on her knees as penance for accidentally greeting her during “grand silence.” Other girls are merely directed to humiliate themselves in a confessional circle. It was the violent dissolution of her parents’ marriage that kindled her attraction, when she was only 7, to the Catholic Church, and that brought her to the order despite her mother’s mortification. After informing her postulants that she alone speaks for God and explaining the meaning of “grand silence” (i.e., don’t talk or else), she asks if they have any questions. But it’s the heroine, Cathleen, who must cast the drama’s deciding vote, and her soul seems too wandering to settle for a life behind the gates — particularly when she develops feelings for a quiet but intense novitiate played by Rebecca Dayan. The protagonist, 17-year-old Cathleen (Margaret Qualley), says in the opening voice-over, “People never understand why I want to give it all away to God.” She tells her mother, Nora (Julianne Nicholson), that she’s “in love” and embarks on the yearlong training, first as a postulant, then a novitiate, to see if she’ll have the strength to consummate her religious crush.

Alexander Skarsgård Is Too Beautiful for This Look

Spite at you. Why? Unlike most balding men, his hair does not taper into thinness, which makes the effect all the more unnerving. Bill Skarsgård, for instance, recently played It (though an It who could get it). Alexander Skarsgård, who already did his best to completely unnerve viewers of Big Little Lies, has now decided to shave a large portion of his head. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Here is another photo of the brother Skarsgård from another angle. Spite at the universe for making him beautiful. To be clear, he can still get it. He looks vaguely like a monk, the kind of monk that would sell chèvre and make good cider on the side. For a role, maybe — Skarsgård is shooting Wall Street drama The Hummingbird Project right now — but mostly he did it out of spite. Related
Alexander Skarsgard Looks Beautiful in Drag, of Course

Tags: Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

There must be something in the gene pool of the well-cheekboned Skarsgård family that predisposes them to try to hide it. Spite at his thick head of hair, which did not deserve this.

Jane Fonda On Weinstein Scandal: People Care Because The Victims Are ‘Famous And White’

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Jane Fonda first heard sexual-harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein one year ago, and now she’s making up for lost time. “It feels like something has shifted,” Fonda said. Steinem also suggested that the fallout from Weinstein’s scandal has revealed a “tipping point,” toward identifying racist and sexist bias. Fonda appeared with Gloria Steinem on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes Wednesday night as spokespeople for the Women’s Media Center, and pointed out the racial optics of Weinstein’s accusers. “It’s too bad that it’s probably because so many of the women that were assaulted by Harvey Weinstein are famous and white and everybody knows them. Weinstein, now in rehab, is under investigation by police departments in Los Angeles, London, and New York City, and has denied all allegations. Kelly’s alleged sexual-abuse victims). Jane Fonda. Of course, we should also take a moment to appreciate the irony that it requires two famous white women — Fonda and Steinem — to vocalize the inherent privilege in the Weinstein scandal on national television (which has elicited outcry and reform that hasn’t been extended to, say, R. This has been going on a long time to black women and other women of color and it doesn’t get out quite the same.” Of the over 60 women who have publicly accused the ex-mogul of sexual misconduct, only a handful have been women of color, including Lupita Nyong’o and Vu Thu Phuong. Sources

MSNBC

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The Profound, Enduring Legacy of The Craft

There is something delightfully unhinged about Nancy as the scene tips into horror: Her pointy-toed black boots scraping against the floor, her body moving with unnatural grace, her face split by a cheshire grin that communicates just how much vengeance she’s capable of. Each girl is electrified by the possibilities magic can bring, freeing them from a nexus of thorny issues that plague their adolescence — racism, poverty, physical scars, emotional wounds they’ve yet to heal from. That Bonnie and Rochelle easily fall into step with her, despite the kindness Sarah has shown them, may be cruel, but young girls typically don’t get access to the sort of joy that Nancy offers them, where rules feel inconsequential. One of its most memorable scenes in this regard is a sleepover at Bonnie’s home. Bonnie struggles with a heavily scarred body that others either avoid looking at or tease her for. Her step-father is an abusive creep. They can’t gloriously fuck up the way young men do and survive unscathed. After Chris rebuffs her attempt at seduction, pushing her off the bed, she curls into herself, looking like a wounded animal, until a the spark of realization crosses her face. As the only black girl at the school, Rochelle faces racism. These girls, each in their own way, is calling out for something women learn early and often is hard to attain: the power to control your own life. It effortlessly communicates the bliss that comes from the more simple, yet fiercely important friendships that bloom between young girls in high school. Each of the girls is weighed down by the expectations and prejudices the world beyond their coven burdens them with, particularly the three original members of the coven. For a brief moment in time, they find sanctuary in each other’s presence, until Nancy’s quest for power grows uncontrollable, warping the once precious, sisterly bonds they shared and sending them tumbling down a dangerous path. It taps into the primal American fear of female power, and what happens when women are alone together, forming hothouse bonds that seem to only occur in adolescence in ways that are both profound and contradictory, liberating and limiting. But since The Craft was released in 1996, it has become a cult classic, spawning fan art, fanfiction, Etsy merchandise, and cosplay; it holds a reputation as the kind of film best kept to slumber parties between wine-drunk girlfriends, not serious study. And for a brief, glimmering moment, The Craft depicts the wonder and joy that comes with such autonomy, which isn’t only possible, but worth the risk. Nancy’s greatest mistake isn’t the darkness that overtakes her, but that she refuses to play by the rules society lays out for her. Their faces are exuberant, bright with empowerment. She glamors herself to look like Sarah, and he’s easily won over. It’s a means to attain what at first glance appears unattainable: power, control, autonomy, the ability to live beyond the various oppressive forces that govern their lives. Witchcraft is more than mere teenage rebellion for these young girls. This single picture represents all the reasons why The Craft has such a fierce hold on the generation of young girls who discovered it in conversation with peers or at candlelit slumber parties in the late 1990s — the brand of adolescent bravado it displays and its sense of sisterhood. Their expressions are brimming with defiance and anger, as if they’re challenging you to a confrontation.  She’s a beguiling and fearsome portrait of female anger as she sends Chris hurtling to his death from a window. This is the peak of their sisterly bond before things go to rot. Whether they’re unhinged old women cackling into the night sky or alluring vixens, witches teach us the glory and risk that comes with power for a woman. I like to imagine a different ending, one in which the coven stays together, and Nancy finds hope within their sisterhood, and a better use for her abilities. They give voice to the darker desires you’re too young to name, and the anger swelling in your chest when the people in your orbit assume you lack the grit and intelligence necessary to make your desires a reality. Still, the film remains memorable for moments like the one where the young girls perform their beachside ritual during a thunderstorm, the camera spinning in dizzying circles, their arms outstretched. But Sarah’s presence disrupts the delicate balance of the coven. Sarah suggests a game that’s actually more of a ritual: Rochelle lays down while her friends chant “light as a feather, stiff as a board,” their fingers tucked underneath her as they close their eyes in concentration. The best showcase for Balk’s skills comes when Nancy decides to exact revenge on Chris for how callously he treated her, and his attempt to rape Sarah. She was poor, lonely as hell, and paranoid that what friendships she did have would be taken from her by someone more powerful and easier to love. In Entertainment Weekly’s oral history of the film, Tunney, who plays Sarah Bailey, touched on its legacy: “Somehow it still speaks to everybody’s inner teenage girl.  For many girls, witches are our first brush with any depiction of feminism and the price women pay in searching for control over our lives. Her status as a natural witch, who leans toward the light and aids the other girls, makes Nancy feel discarded. She becomes power-hungry and turns Sarah into her target. Of course Nancy revels in the darkness, and the others fall under its sway — it’s the first time they’ve felt any sort of liberation. They’re transformed. Her face is solemn and a bit yearning, revealing the tenderness the character hides under her stylized aggression. Nancy navigates being poor, an obvious bout of depression, and having no allies beyond the members of the coven she had an important hand in forming. The Craft, directed by Andrew Fleming and co-written by Peter Filardi, centers on Sarah Bailey (Tunney), who moves to Los Angeles for a fresh start with her father and stepmother after she attempts suicide. L-R: Neve Campbell, Fairuza Balk, Rachel True, Robin Tunney

Photo: Columbia Pictures

In TV, movies, and real life, women have been at the forefront of the year’s biggest stories — so this Halloween season, we’re looking at pop culture’s most wicked depiction of female power. She struggles to find a place for herself in her new Catholic high school and finds a surprising communion with three outsiders who believe she’s the natural witch meant to complete their coven — Bonnie (Campbell), Rochelle (True), and Nancy (Balk). That Nancy ends up crazed and strapped to a bed in a mental institution is a painful reminder that for women like her, who refuse to fit any mold of femininity society affords them, power is illusory, and second chances are an impossibility. The Craft earned a generation of devoted fans because of how it charts the friendship between these four girls — its tentative beginnings, the joys of its strength, and its ultimate downfall — in ways that ring true for any young woman who has had a sisterly connection grow painfully toxic. It’s a brutal, but understandable turn. It isn’t merely supernatural prowess they’re reaching their arms toward. Their school uniforms are a bit rumpled, some hidden by dark, oversize jackets or sweaters knotted at their waist. They aren’t looking for reason or safety or kindness — they want freedom. Many of The Craft’s strengths lie in how it charts the delicate bonds between these girls, but it is undoubtedly Fairuza Balk’s fierce performance that is perhaps The Craft’s greatest legacy. She’s tender yet terrifying, maniacally intense, yet resolutely focused on exploring the joys that have mostly been withheld from her. As they eat candy, smoke, and make lewd jokes, they grant the film its authenticity. There is no female equivalent of that troublesome “boys will be boys” adage. Everyone else is too afraid of Nancy to understand her, and it isn’t like she’d let them close enough to anyway. I fell for Nancy because she mirrored my own adolescent struggles. But The Craft is more complex than its status as a guilty-pleasure artifact of 1990s cool would indicate. Tags: When they open their eyes to see she’s levitating, their faces move from shock to delight as they realize the power that comes when they join together. It’s Balk’s performance that grants this story its potency. Her mother is too self-involved to notice Nancy’s cries for help. That Nancy’s fate is such a prosaic, retrograde handling of a mentally ill, intensely iconoclastic woman’s narrative undercuts the compassion of the rest of the film. It’s the way the film interrogates how such close connections form between teenage girls — and then easily dissolve under the weight of the world — that grants The Craft its power. The scene that follows is a montage of the girls that hits its apex with a classic teen-film trope: the slow-motion walk through school. Nancy Downs though (played with equal parts blistering anger and touching vulnerability by Fairuza Balk) is staring to the side as if something has caught her attention, her eyes trained on some distant horizon we aren’t privy to. I went to a bachelorette party where everybody had to bring their guilty-pleasure movies, and Natalie Portman brought The Craft.” When the film came out, the reviews were middling at best: It was described as “campy,” its imagination limited. Three of the young women — played by actresses Robin Tunney, Rachel True, and Neve Campbell — stare dead into the camera. The first picture that comes to mind of The Craft is of its four main cast members, leaning with vulgar elegance against a brightly colored mural somewhere in Los Angeles. But like how she approaches everything in life, she goes too far.

L.A. Times Reporter Says 193 Women Have Contacted Him About James Toback’s Alleged Sexual Misconduct Since Sunday

Toback has denied all claims made in Whipp’s article, asserting that the women’s account of his sexual harassment was “biologically impossible” due to a heart condition and diabetes. Often, Toback dry-humped the women, or ejaculated into his pants, according to the Times. According to the claims of 38 women, the Bugsy screenwriter has allegedly attempted for years to manipulate women into sexual scenarios, implying he could use his Hollywood clout to help their careers before masturbating in front of them. https://t.co/7jjbIwWqih— Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) October 26, 2017

Sources

LA Times

Related
Rachel McAdams and Selma Blair Accuse Director James Toback of Sexual Harassment

Tags: Many of the new accounts mirror the previous allegations: Toback approached a woman on the street in Manhattan, offered them the chance for a role in an upcoming movie, and then sexually harassed them. https://t.co/beVGHWpdmc— Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) October 23, 2017

Update, October 27: Los Angeles Times reporter Glenn Whipp claims that the number of allegations of sexual harassment against James Toback has reached 310. UPDATE: The number of women who have contacted me about their encounters with James Toback now stands at 310. On Monday evening, Whipp followed up on the outcome of his article on Twitter, revealing that nearly 200 additional women have contacted him over the last 24 hours with regards to the director’s sexual misconduct. Photo: TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images

On Sunday, Los Angeles Times reporter Glenn Whipp published an exposé revealing dozens of accusations of sexual harassment and coercion made against director James Toback. Updating again: Since this story published on Sunday, 193 additional women have contacted me to talk about Toback. “Updating again: Since this story published on Sunday, 193 additional women have contacted me to talk about Toback,” Whipp tweeted.

Jill Scott Says Harvey Weinstein Insulted Her for Being Pregnant

Who acts that way towards a pregnant woman?? I have my reasons and peace in those areas.— ⭐Jill Scott⭐ (@missjillscott) October 20, 2017

Tags: Power to all the women bullied by assholes. Scott wrote that she steered clear of Weinstein after that exchange, but called him out for being a bully. When one Twitter user replied that “Hollywood and the music industry both have predators but people still work with them I don’t understand it [sic],” Scott responded, “I do. It’s all about the dream. Power in general.— ⭐Jill Scott⭐ (@missjillscott) October 20, 2017

What’s true is there are stories I will never tell publicly. Some powerful assholes have the juice to crush them.”

1) When I met Harvey Weinstein, he was RUDE. In the NASTIEST tone he said “Who told you to get pregnant?!” And rolled his eyes in disgust.— ⭐Jill Scott⭐ (@missjillscott) October 20, 2017

2) I stayed away from him after. Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

As more sexual-assault and harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein continue to emerge, singer and actress Jill Scott took to Twitter on Friday to share her own “rude” encounter with the Hollywood producer, revealing that he insulted and demeaned her for being pregnant.

Not Even Calling All of the Living Presidents Could Get Hillary Clinton Out of Attending Donald Trump’s Inauguration

Donald Trump’s inauguration, to quote a certain ex-president, was some weird shit. Related
28 Things We Learned From Hillary Clinton’s New Campaign Memoir

Tags: So Bill and I looked at each other and said, We gotta go.” It was a weird day for all. “So we called the Bushes. The elder Bushes were in the hospital, which I think was legitimate. We called the Carters, they said they’re going. And to think Hillary Clinton would’ve never seen this weird shit unfold in person! Stopping by Britain’s finest The Graham Norton Show for a good gossip session, Clinton spilled the (political) beans on how she tried her best to get out of attending Donald Trump’s big day … and jokingly suggested that a former presidential couple faked some ailments to avoid the trek to D.C. “We thought, okay, maybe others aren’t going,” she explained. We called the younger Bushes, they said they’re going.

Report: Fox Settled $32 Million Harassment Case Against O’Reilly

This post originally stated that Fox News had paid the $32 million settlement, but the Times reported that it was O’Reilly personally. When the charges against him first appeared, O’Reilly also found an ally in fellow alleged groper President Trump, who said “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong. Wiehl claimed that she had been subject to a pattern of behavior that included “harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her,” according to people familiar with the settlement. The star anchor was dismissed in April amid widespread public outrage after the Times revealed that he and Fox News had paid about $13 million in settlements to bury numerous similar allegations over the years. O’Reilly said that Wiehl was one of his lawyers, and that he had forwarded explicit messages from viewers to her as part of an effort to vet threats against him. I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person.”

In the meantime, O’Reilly’s replacement, Tucker Carlson, has, without irony, embarked on a quest to expose Hollywood’s pervasive culture of sexual misconduct — conspicuously ignoring the lengthy trail of gross misbehavior at his own network. Tags: Since his dismissal, O’Reilly’s media profile has dimmed, though he continues to broadcast his hard-edged political opinions from home, and recently published the latest installment in his bestselling Killing series. O’Reilly hasn’t exactly been exiled from Fox News either — he recently appeared on Sean Hannity’s show, where he lamented not fighting harder to keep his job. O’Reilly. O’Reilly has dismissed all the charges as baseless, telling the Times that they are “politically and financially motivated.”

In a statement, O’Reilly spokesperson Mark Fabiani dismissed Saturday’s Times report as “false, defamatory, and obviously meant to embarrass Bill O’Reilly and to keep him from competing in the marketplace.”

The Times reports that the newly disclosed case centered around O’Reilly and Lis Wiehl, a former Fox legal analyst who periodically appeared as a guest on The O’Reilly Factor and co-hosted his radio show for a time. We regret the error. The money involved in O’Reilly’s case is also exceptional; the $32 million O’Reilly dished out eclipsed the $20 million paid to Gretchen Carlson in her settlement against Roger Ailes and singlehandedly dwarfed the amount of the five other publicly known settlements pertaining to claims against O’Reilly. According to the Times, the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, was aware of the allegations and settlement, but not the settlement amount. Photo: Ilya S. O’Reilly’s record-breaking contract came just months after the Murdochs pushed out Roger Ailes, who built the network into the cultural force it is today, over allegations of Ailes’s own longtime pattern of alleged sexual impropriety. Despite the lurid details — and the (at least) five other harassment claims that had been settled in previous years — Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan reportedly made a “business calculation” to retain O’Reilly, their biggest star at the time, in January. Savenok/Getty Images

The New York Times reported on Saturday that in January, Bill O’Reilly paid $32 million to settle a previously undisclosed allegation of sexual harassment, just weeks before he agreed to a new contract with Fox News that would pay him $25 million a year. He died in May. In 2006, Media Matters reported that O’Reilly routinely made inappropriate comments to and about Wiehl during their radio show, labeling her “eye candy” and calling for a “full body search” of his co-host.