The Brown Tweed Society is pleased to host Jai Sen, contributor to The Clyde Fitch Report, the nexus of art and politics.
Superman is to Clark Kent as Spider-Man is to Peter Parker.
And lots more. The mighty Thor (in his various comic book incarnations, silly; surely you didn’t think I was talking about the Norse god?) has an alter ego as Dr. Donald Blake. As Blake, the superhero looks like a meek, disabled physician whose walking cane turns into the supernatural hammer Mjölnir.
Scientist Bruce Banner, irradiated by one of his experiments, is a twentieth century Dr. Jekyll, the gamma rays stripping him of his ivory tower dignity and turning him (when he gets angry—you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry) into a green, mindless, raging beast with a good heart and a tendency to rescue kittens and other helpless things. Leave alone that gamma rays are pretty much good for only one transformation upon mammals: frying them to an inert crisp.
Nerdy Diana Prince is secretly the Amazon princess known to the world as Wonder Woman, starting out her career by aiding the allies in World War II. I always thought it odd that someone following Greek ideals, and answering to an ancient monarch, Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazons, should be so go-go-America, but hey, Superman isn’t even from this planet, and he’s here to protect “truth, justice, and the American way.”
Aniston, Jennifer – The Friends actress says that in her younger days she ate terribly and was “a lot rounder.” Young Jennifer Aniston responded that current Jennifer Aniston is “a bitter old hen whose best days are behind her. And she’s had, like, how many boyfriends?”
Link: Aniston on Aniston (L.A. Times)
Bryant, Kobe – The NBA superstar issued a cease-and-desist letter to keep his mom from auctioning off items from his past, including a team-issued Bryant 2000 Lakers championship ring. He reportedly wants to keep all his old championship gear because the Lakers don’t look like they’re gonna win anything anytime soon.
Link: Kobe v. Mom (People)
Minaj, Nicki – The “Starships” singer and American Idol judge has rekindled a rumored feud with fellow AI judge Mariah Carey with a few sharp tweets. Good news: this is the only entertainment American Idol has provided in about 5 years. Bad news: AI is still getting destroyed ratings-wise by Duck Dynasty.
Link: Minaj-Carey Feud Back On? (Inquisitr)
Perry, Katy – The singer’s fundamentalist father says he weeps and prays for his “devil child” daughter when watching her performances because the audiences are “loving and worshipping the wrong thing.” Katy has assured fans that they are not worshipping false idols.
Link: Perry’s Pop (The Sun)
Pregnant Husband – OK, so I find this more relevant given the recent birth of my daughter, but it’s catching fire all over the internet and is pretty funny anyway. Be sure to let the pages load to get the best effect.
Link: Pregnancy in GIFs (Pregnant Husband)
Swift, Taylor – Tomlin informed us of Swift’s purchase of a $17.5 million, 11000 sqft mansion in RI. Now we learn from Gawker that not only does the house have a person-sized birdcage, but that the singer has moved in her favorite chair, in which she supposedly sits to compose her songs. Reports of Swift’s eternal youth, as well as young virgins entering her estate but never leaving, are unconfirmed.
Link: Swift’s Lucky Chair (Gawker)
Brown, Danny – During a recent Minneapolis concert, famously racy rapper Danny Brown appeared to receive oral sex from a fan who leapt onto the stage while Brown was rapping — and later seemed to confirm the public encounter on Twitter via a conversation with fellow rapper Kendrick Lamar. Fans say it was unclear if Brown reached climax during the act or if Brown was just succumbing to a massive “twerking” fit.
Link: Rapper Danny Brown Received Oral While Performing On Stage (Philly.com)
Development, Arrested — As the new Netflix season four of Arrested Development looms near, Yahoo broke news the other day that The Office’s John Krasinski may have been fingered for a small role in the upcoming season. Nice scoop. The only problem was that they ran a photo of another, drastically different-looking John — director John Singleton — as a photo of Krasinski. Sorry if you got your hopes up for Boyz n the Nana Stand, it’s not happening.
Link: Yahoo Has Trouble Telling John Krasinski and John Singleton Apart (Gawker)
Henley, Don — A recent interview with the reunited Eagles in the UK’s Telegraph saw drummer Don Henley stating that even if the band went back into the studio and put a “kick-ass” song together, it probably still wouldn’t be played on today’s radio. Henley went on to say that rock music has become “shallow and trite” and he isn’t even sure “you can change the world with music anymore.” Henley then said goodbye to the reporter, put on his coat and drove to a ceremony where he personally received a Pulitzer Prize for “All She Wants to do is Dance.”
Link: The Eagles Interview – “Rock’s Become Very Shallow and Trite” (Telegraph)
Hooker, Top — Television network Animal Planet has ordered an unscripted reality competition called Top Hooker, which will feature ten contestants trying to best each other for the titular accolade. Unfortunately, it’s not what you’re thinking; Top Hooker is a show about fishing. If you want to see actual people prostituting themselves, please feel free to watch any other reality competition on television.
Link: “Top Hooker” Reality Show Ordered (EW)
Shake, Harlem — For your Thursday enjoyment, please see what is perhaps the greatest of all the “Harlem Shake” videos to be posted online. Oh, the price of being trendy. Can somebody do this to everyone who won’t shut up about Vine, please?
Link: The Very Last Harlem Shake Video Ends the Way You Wished All the Others Would (Gawker)
Swift, Taylor — Pop-country darling and blonde beanpole Taylor Swift has, according to TMZ, purchased an 11,000 square foot Rhode Island mansion for $17.5 million dollars, and Swift reportedly paid for the new pad in straight cash. I know what you’re thinking, and you’re probably right: paying $17.5 million for a new home probably doesn’t leave a lot of money in the budget for decorating the inside with handpainted unicorns, a milkshake bar, a replica princess castle and other things that fourteen year-old girls enjoy. And you’re probably right. Should’ve thought that one through, Taylor. On the other hand, your slumber parties with your girlfriends are going to be off the chain.
Link: Taylor Swift Buys $17 Million Mansion…With Cash! (TMZ)
Lots of goodies in the pipe for moviegoers this summer. Let me count the ways…
Iron Man 3
Oh, please. You know you’re going to see this. Don’t even front. The first one was great. The second… okay, slightly less great. Despite the director’s chair being occupied by Shane Black (all of the Lethal Weapons, plus the grossly underrated Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) instead of Jon Favreau this time around, Iron Man 3 promises to be an Avengers-level blockbuster. Early international reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. The trailer looks amazing. And it’s got Sir Ben Kingsley as the baddie. (I love the way he says, “you’ll neverrrr sssseee meee coming!”) There’s pretty much no way this one will not be awesome and not make a poop-ton of money. Studios call these “tentpole” movies because they make enough money to allow the studio to prop up other, lesser films. But also because they make a tentpole in m’pants…
Star Trek: Into Darkness
Speaking of tentpoles in m’pants… JJ Abrams’ reboot of the Star Trek franchise turns another page with a brand new adventure for Kirk, Spock, Shaggy, and Scooby as they all pile into the Mystery Machine and… wait… never mind. The first post-reboot movie was damn good, despite a script that was a teensy bit confused. But what’s a plot hole or two between old friends? The new blood all manage to embody these old characters and everything feels familiar, if a little shinier. Our good guys have to defeat a mass-destructive terrorist who seeks to destroy the Federation from the inside. Add a Whedonesque hyper-charismatic bad guy played by Benedict Horatio Smootington Cumberbatch III (who my wife assures me is “totes hot”) and baby, you’ve got a stew going!
Much Ado About Nothing
Speaking of Whedon… Apparently, when you’re friends with Joss Whedon, you get to go over to his house regularly, hang out, drink lots of wine, and then do impromptu Shakespeare in his living room. That’s basically how this crazy, under-the-radar project came about. All the Whedon Regulars are there: Fillion, Acker, Gregg, Kranz, among others. Personally financed and filmed under a shroud of secrecy… in black and white… over a period of 12 days… at Whedon’s home in California, Much Ado has received gushing praise from all who have seen it. Whedon fans should see it because Joss Whedon is awesome. Non-fans should see it because Joss Whedon is awesome.
Speaking of awesome… I imagine the “elevator pitch” for Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim was a mere 7 words: “giant frickin’ robots fighting giant frickin’ aliens.” Instant green-light! Get this man a cigar! Put aside the fact that del Toro’s production and directorial work is utterly above reproach, that his visual style and insistence on practical effects (as opposed to CGI) in films like Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth made those movies memorable, and that the trailer will make your nipples hard… it’s giant frickin’ robots fighting giant frickin’ aliens!
Man of Steel
Speaking of aliens… Ordinarily I would scoff at reboots of reboots. Even if the 2nd Ghost Rider movie had been any good (it wasn’t), I would still be leery of any attempt at a mulligan. And maybe this summer’s iteration of Superman, brought to us by the misunderstood king of slicker’n snot action movies, Zack Snyder, isn’t a reboot of 2006′s disappointing Superman Returns (cue The Price is Right failure music) per se. It certainly doesn’t look like one, and from what I’ve been able to glean of the story it doesn’t read like one either. This time around, ol’ Supes struggles with his identity as an actual alien on Earth. (Possible spoilers follow… Also I may be totally wrong, this is just how I interpret the few details I’ve read about the script. You have been warned!) It seems his Kryptonian father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe), and mother are somewhat radical and chose to conceive their son naturally, eschewing the genetic manipulations dictated by Kryptonian law. This effectively makes them heretics and social outcasts, and makes their offspring an abomination in the eyes of Krypton’s leaders who send General Zod to retrieve him, dead or alive. If I’m right, this is a narrative with all kinds of possibilities: Superman is special in a bad way on Krypton, but special in a good way on Earth; he has powers he’s discouraged from using because they’ll identify him as alien; how far will a society (in this case, Kryptonian society) go to erase that which offends their mores and sensibilities and which they see as a threat to their way of life? I’m not a Snyder-hater, but I see the potential pitfalls and, assuming the screenplay is of decent quality, I hope he handles everything properly. Regardless, I’ll be there opening weekend.
This is a Top Five, but there are certainly to be more than 5 great summer blockbusters this year. For now I’ll merely give an “honorable mention” nod to Elysium, Despicable Me 2, and Kick-Ass 2. Elysium is Neill Blomkamp’s first directorial effort since 2009′s excellent District 9, and features Matt Damon kicking Jodie Foster’s ass… or something. 2010′ s Despicable Me is perhaps the best non-Pixar CGI animated feature in recent memory. It was hilarious and had a lot of heart. Here’s hoping its sequel will be equally entertaining. (Also, I like to walk around my house singing “POH-TAY-TOH-OH-OH!” at the top of my lungs. The wife loves it.) Kick-Ass 2 features a nearly-unrecognizable Jim Carrey. ‘Nuff said.
TBTS Reviews: Fitz and the Tantrums, “Out of My League/Spark” 10” single (Record Store Day limited edition)
Fitz and the Tantrums’ first album, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, was one of my favorite albums of 2010, and I’ve continued to play it consistently over the last three years. I also love that they’re a smoking hot live band that can whip a crowd into a frenzy, as evidenced in numerous Youtube clips and especially the beautifully done Live at the Metro show that pops up occasionally on Palladia.
For a while now, I’ve been looking forward to the May 7 release of the band’s second album, More Than Just a Dream. In advance of the album, a 10” vinyl pressing of the first single, “Out of My League” (b/w “Spark”), dropped first as a Record Store Day exclusive and is now available in the band’s Elektra web store. I was at a local shop for Record Store Day this year and decided to add “Out of My League/Spark” to my haul.
The item looks fabulous. Black front cover featuring only the pink neon heart graphic that seems to be a design motif for the new album and its marketing. Pink back cover with black and white text. Clear vinyl and the same pink/white/black color scheme on the label. It’s very nicely done in terms of design.
Unfortunately, I’m struggling to come up with many positive things to say about the two songs themselves. From the opening seconds of “Out of My League,” I hear a band that seems to have lost the warmth, groove, and swagger that made Pickin’ Up the Pieces an instant classic. The sound is now heavily synthetic and compressed to the extent that no single instrument is discernible. Forget about the delightful horn, flute, and organ work that once sizzled in every Fitz song. Perhaps worst of all, second vocalist Noelle Scaggs, such an integral presence on the first album, is inaudible except for a few “ooh-oohs” that just as easily could be coming from a manipulated version of lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick’s voice.
If anything, “Spark” is even worse because in a few spots, especially in the verses and the bridge, it feints at a bit of gritty soulfulness and tricks me into thinking that maybe not all is lost. But then that chorus and those “whoa-whoa-whoas” kick in, surely the most obnoxious things that Fitz and the Tantrums have yet committed to tape (or a hard drive), and it’s all I can do not to break my lovely clear vinyl single in half. That chorus and those whoas are such a lousy, pandering play to our particular Top 40 moment’s notion of catchiness, and both songs are a clear grab at some pop radio airplay and greater attention from general audiences. Read more…
Bieber, Justin – Stockholm police raided Bieber’s bus during a Swedish tour stop when an officer detected a strong odor of drugs. A search turned up only a small amount of what appeared to be marijuana, pending test results. Police were so disappointed that they gave Bieber two dozen Ecstasy pills, a pound of top-shelf weed, and a stack of porn “so weird you can’t get it in the States.”
Link: Bieber’s Bus Busted (The Local)
Braff, Zach – The Scrubs actor raised $2 million in three days through Kickstarter to help fund a follow-up to his film Garden State. $1.75 million of that is thought to have come from The Shins with the note, “please, please get us on the radar again!”
Link: Braff’s Follow-Up (Huffington Post)
Fiction, Pulp – Director Quentin Tarantino’s cherry red 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu, stolen during the 1994’s Pulp Fiction, was recently found and returned. This is a reminder that Pulp Fiction came out almost 20 years ago. God, I feel old.
Link: Tarantino’s Car Returned (SB Times)
Jones, George – The best-selling country singer raised enough hell to last three lifetimes, but charmed his way into heaven last week. R.I.P., George.
Link: George Jones Dies (L.A. Times)
Men, Two and A Half – With Sheen gone and Angus T. Jones out as a regular character, Two and A Half Men has ditched several of its original members and has lost nearly all cultural relevance. It is being renamed, Lynyrd Skynyrd: The TV Show.
Link: Jones Probably Not Returning To Show As Regular (EW)
West, Kanye – NBC has confirmed that Kanye will be the musical guest for Saturday Night Live’s Season 38 finale, hosted by Ben Affleck. It is not yet clear whether West will commandeer the opening mic and, in fact, host SNL’s Season 38 finale.
Link: West/Affleck on SNL Season 38 Finale (Twitter)
Affleck, Ben — Actor and Argo director Ben Affleck has attached himself to the Global Poverty Project’s “Live Below the Line” campaign wherein he will eat for less than $1.50 for five days straight. Affleck’s people commented on his commitment to the cause, reportedly stating that Affleck “wants to show the world how difficult it is to be hungry in the roughly five days before Hollywood producers realize a person is incredibly handsome and yank him off the streets and put him in movies.”
Link: Ben Affleck to Eat on $1.50 a Day (EW)
Bay, Michael — The internet went wild this week after word that action film director Michael Bay “apologized” for 1998′s Armageddon appeared in the Miami Herald. Alas, it was allegedly not true; Bay took to his own site on Tuesday claiming he was misquoted by the Herald reporter and that “I’m not in the slightest going to apologize for the third movie in my movie career.” He allegedly went on to admit that “I’m only sorry for two things in this world: that I didn’t get to sleep with Megan Fox before she met Brian Austin Green, and that Transformers: Dark of the Moon didn’t have more explosions. Period.”
LInk: Michael Bay Hits Back in Armageddon Apology Flap (Deadline)
Kimmel, Jimmy — For your Thursday fun: Jimmy Kimmel recently aired a production piece on Jimmy Kimmel Live in which he asked Coachella-going hipsters what they thought of bands which didn’t exist, like “The Obesity Epidemic” and “Regis and the Philbins.” Just enjoy.
Link: Lie Witness News – Coachella 2013 (YouTube)
Lewis, Huey — Sentencing is about to begin in the trial of a northern California woman stole Huey Lewis’ rented Toyota Corolla in Feburary as Lewis left it idling. The woman led police on a high speed chase until the Corolla hit 88 miles per hour and disappeared, forcing the woman to harness enough lightning forty years ago to power the Corolla and return to 2013, where police were waiting on her. I’ll admit I went an awfully long way for that joke. Sorry.
Link: Woman Convicted in Huey Lewis Car Theft in California (SF Gate)
Paltrow, Gwyneth — You can stop campaigning now, all other ladies on the planet Earth: The current issue of People magazine bears the headline that actress Gwyneth Paltrow has been named the “World’s Most Beautiful Woman.” Inside the issue, Paltrow tells People that when she first heard the news she “honestly someone was playing a joke on me.” Nope, Gwyneth. No joke. You are beautiful. But the joke is that anyone thinks what’s printed in People actually means anything.
Link: Gwyneth Paltrow Named World’s Most Beautiful Woman (CNN)
will.i.am — Black Eyed Peas frontman and notable producer will.i.am has admitted to borrowing a beat for his new single “Let’s Go” without first receiving permission from producer Arty (you all know Arty, right?). No word yet, however, on whether will.i.am and the rest of the Black Eyed Peas plan to admit to borrowing the wardrobe from the 2010 film Tron: Legacy for the last three years.
Link: Will.i.am Admits to Borrowing “Let’s Go” Beat Without Permission (Rolling Stone)