It’s hard to imagine Hollywood without Steven Spielberg. Spielberg’s career as a filmmaker serves as a perfect parallel for contemporary film history. From his humble beginnings outside the collection of University of Southern California wunderkinds to his commercial dominance at the multiplex, Spielberg did more than just make movies that wowed millions of people around the world: he also disrupted an entire industry, changing the way Hollywood approached filmmaking and establishing the format for blockbuster films that persists to this day.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a middle-aged white comedian sits down for an interview and starts complaining about the things he can’t say onstage. This isn’t exactly a new complaint in the stand-up industry. For years, the old guard of legendary comedians have argued that modern audiences are too sensitive these days to the detriment of comedy; and sure, while there are certainly those who look for offense in any commentary — no matter how benign — it’s more than a little frustrating to hear some comedians claim that their decades-old material isn’t funny anymore.
Today the world of comedy lost one of its brightest stars. Jerry Lewis was no stranger to controversy during his decades-long career, but his impact on both Hollywood and comedy in general cannot be denied. From his early days as Dean Martin’s partner-in-crime to his career-capping turn in Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy — and countless box office success in the interim — Lewis’s impact on Hollywood will be a source of much discussion for years to come.
They say the flame that burns brightest also burns quickest, which might explain America’s short-lived fascination with Anthony Scaramucci. Scaramucci was a singular political figure: from his methodical recreation of Donald Trump hand gestures to his, ah, poorly conceived late night phone calls, Scaramucci was immediately the most colorful character in an administration that already featured a surplus of memorable individuals. So when Scaramucci was fired from his official position as White House spokesperson, there was a half-ironic sense of loss, a feeling that we’d only begun to scratch the surface of Mooch madness.
If you’re like me, you probably watched the first trailer for The Layover and thought, “Huh, they’re doing comedy?” The movie offers a strange mix of talent both behind and in front of the camera. William H. Macy isn’t exactly the first name that comes to mind when you think of raunchy sex comedy directors, nor are Lance Krall and David Hornsby household names as writers, but when you look at their combined track records the past few years - a whole bunch of Shameless and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia - the pieces for humor are most definitely there.
The next time you scroll through the Netflix menu and skip over an Adam Sandler comedy, just know that you’re not exactly in the majority there. You’ll probably remember Netflix’s numbers from earlier this year suggesting that their viewers have spent more than 500 million hours watching Sandler comedies, meaning that the average user has watched 2.86 of his movies on Netflix alone. We can argue about the merits of Sandler as a filmmaker or Netflix as a distribution model, but when it comes the marriage of Sandler and Netflix, the results are hard to deny. There’s oil in them-there sophomoric jokes.
Let me make this perfectly clear: I’m less of a Top Gun fan and more of a fan of putting Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer in more blockbuster movies, but the end result is pretty much the same: I am ready for a little Top Gun 2 action. The long-rumored film — or perhaps just long-desired film — was finally confirmed by Cruise earlier this year, and now Paramount Pictures is cranking up the movie-making machine to deliver on the promise of more midair dogfights and subtle homoeroticism. With Cruise back, and Kilmer hopefully soon to follow, this could be the perfect throwback to the heydays of studio filmmaking of the late ’80s and early ’90s.
Look, I’m no stranger to college acapella groups. When I was an undergraduate, a ragtag group of choir kids — myself most definitely included — organized the first men’s acapella group in the modern history of the university, and a quick Google search shows that the group is still alive and well to this day (no, I won’t tell you the name of the university or the name of the ensemble, so don’t bother asking). So am I pretty much as cool and influential as the Bellas in the Pitch Perfect movie series? Why, yes. I’d like to think so, yes.
This has been a good weekend for Planet of the Apes fans. Not only did we get our first look at some of the early buzz for the final film in the trilogy — buzz that suggest that War for the Planet of the Apes might just be the best and bleakest movie in the series yet — we’ve also been treated to a special Father’s Day trailer that explores the universal truths of fathers, sons, and legacy. Sentient apes or human, we’re all just trying to leave behind a better world for our children.
For years now, America has been struggling with the allegations that Bill Cosby — once a beloved television father and comedian — may have used his position in Hollywood to commit a series of violent sexual assaults. For those unfamiliar with the timeline involved in the Cosby case, I would encourage you to check out ABC’s detailed recap of everything that led up to this past month’s trial, including the civil cases brought against the actor-comedian and the Hannibal Burgess joke that is widely regarded as the instigating event in bringing these accusations to the public. And today, as noted by Deadline, a Norristown, PA jury has forced the judge to declare a mistrial in Andrea Costand’s case against Cosby.
Look, I’m a pretty simple guy. I don’t ask for a lot out of life. Life doesn’t ask for a lot out of me. But I do have one very small goal, and that’s to eventually do something well enough that a bunch of colleges around the United States decide to praise me with honorary doctorate degrees. A pretty modest aim, right? One pithy news article about Star Wars rumors, and suddenly, the University of Southern California and UCLA are competing to see who can give me the most pieces of paper with my name on it. In the immortal words of Cannibal! The Musical, that’s all I’m asking for.
While I’m sure Broadway purists probably turn their nose up at the musical adaptations of Hollywood films, I have to admit, I’ve always enjoyed seeing some of my favorite films get the musical treatment. Right this very moment, you can fly to New York City and catch a diverse group of stage adaptations like Groundhog Day, Kinky Boots, Waitress, Amelie, School of Rock, and A Bronx Tale, not to mention the predictable number of classic Disney animated movies. So the news that another movie adaptation is getting the musical treatment is not at all surprising, even if its source material is a little less traditional than most.
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