Monthly Archives

December 2017

Jay Z’s Family Feud Video Stars Beyonce, Michael B Jordan, Jessica Chastain and More

Jay Z dropped his “Family Feud” video today, which was directed by Ava DuVernay, costars Beyonce and Blue Ivy and details his infidelity. The video includes cameos by Jessica Chastain, Mindy Kaling, Michael B Jordan, Thandie Newton, Brie Larson, Rashida Jones, Rosario Dawson, Constance Wu, Niecy Nash and David Oyelowo, but you can only watch the full thing on Tidal (for now).

Zac Efron recalls the time he cried while talking to Michael Jackson, which then in turn made Jackson cry.

-When Survivor winner Todd Herzog appeared on Dr. Phil in 2013 to talk about his addictions, his alcohol level was .263. Now he’s alleging it’s because of the vodka and Xanax supplied to him by the show. A new Boston Globe/STAT story also quotes people who were encouraged by staffers to go to L.A.’s Skid Row in order to buy heroin.

-Wait, people actually think The Last Jedi is a box office failure? In what world?!

-Oh god, Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt are circling a Mad About You revival. Stop trying to reboot things, Hollywood! (Unless it’s Happy Endings or Selfie.)

-Speaking of TV, here’s our picks for the best TV shows of 2017, ICYMI.

-Ugh, Meghan Markle‘s relatives are coming out of the woodwork in full force.

-I kind of love Ridley Scott. He’s 80, he just reshot an entire movie in 9 days, and he gives interviews in which he clearly does not give af. His chat with Vulture is refreshingly candid, and even offers an opinion of Blade Runner 2049: “It was f**king way too long. F**k me! And most of that script’s mine…I shouldn’t talk…I’m being a bitch.”

-According to critics who screened the first 5 of the 10 new episodes of The X Files, it’s still wildly inconsistent but there’s more flirting/banter and “another dazzling Darin Morgan standalone.”

Minnie Driver revealed that Harvey Weinstein wanted Ashley Judd for Good Will Hunting instead of her, telling her “You’re just not f**kable.”

-Meanwhile, according to Buzzfeed Weinstein will not go quietly.

-Also, it’s great to see these women gather to talk about life after speaking out about Weinstein, but where’s Lupita Nyong’o in all this?

John Oliver makes a good point concerning the backlash of him confronting Dustin Hoffman over sexual harassment: “It became about my questions rather than his answers.”

-Uh, so male stars are also planning to wear black to the Golden Globes to protest sexual misconduct in Hollywood? Except don’t they almost always wear black anyway? For the love of god, someone design a ribbon or something! I really hope the winners pull a Fiona Apple and use their acceptance speech to say “this world is bullshit.”

-What kind of person nabs Tatiana Maslany for their new TV show and then ends up recasting her part??! Ryan Murphy, wyd?

Will Smith got very excited over Jamie Oliver’s Christmas negroni.

-Also, Will Smith has only been on Instagram for a month but already it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

-Speaking of Smith, was Bright actually worth the $90 million Netflix spent on it? Nielsen is reporting that 11 million people watched it  over its first three days . (I’m skeptical about that number, though. On the one hand, the real figure is probably higher since Nielsen only measures people watching on actual TVs, not tablets and computers. On the other hand, “views” don’t tell the story of how many people watched ’till the end.)

-In any case, if that number is accurate it adds up to a $99 million debut at the box office — roughly what The Fate of the Furious did in April, and a win that Smith desperately needs.  (Bright’s numbers are still smaller than Stranger Things 2, which pulled in 15.8 million by Nielsen’s measure.)

-Can Lena Dunham learn from the high-profile mistakes she made in 2017?

-I really liked this list of the 50 greatest moments from this year’s movies.  As much as I had mixed feelings about Molly’s Game, the “on tilt” poker scene is a fave.

-Wait, Eartha Kitt had a threesome with Paul Newman and James Dean?!  (Also, check out this clip of Newman and Dean flirting during a screen test for East of Eden.)

-This clip of Celine Dion twirling a baton is just what I needed to bid goodbye to 2017.

-Here’s the trailer for The Open House with the kid from 13 Reasons Why. Netflix is really going all in with him, huh?

-Here’s the first trailer for Selma Blair and Nicolas CageMom and Dad, which people went NUTS for at TIFF’s Midnight Madness. It’s a horror movie in which all the parents in the world are suddenly overcome by the urge to murder their kids.

-Every Day, one of my favorite YA books of all time, is now a movie coming in Feb and I CANNOT WAIT!

Best TV Shows of 2017


Another year, another pile of time spent watching way, way too much TV. With streaming services making big inroads and networks stepping up their game, audiences had more choice than ever before. We’ve sifted through the hours of television we watched to narrow down the shows that had the most impact on us this year.

The Good Place
I love that I have a network show on my list! We talk a lot about “prestige” cable dramas during this era of peak TV, but it was an NBC sitcom that left me wowed this year. The best part: it was a puzzle box series all along — we just didn’t know it! The season one finale (which aired in January) dropped a big twist (SPOILER ALERT): our beloved characters weren’t in the good place after all. Even more impressive than the shocking reveal: the second season has maintained the momentum by constantly re-inventing the show’s premise. Who would of ever thought that network that brought you Fear Factor would also air a show that regularly dives into deep existential and moral dilemmas? They even had a whole episode devoted to the trolley problem this year! –Jen

Big Little Lies
I found that this year was a return to appointment viewing. I watched each episode of Big Little Lies as it aired and found myself captivated. I read the novel several years ago and found it so unremarkable that I didn’t even remember who the “bad guy” was. But I thought that Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgard were equally amazing in bringing these flawed characters to life. Reese with her daughters was especially powerful. Director Jean Marc Vallee’s vision for this beautiful town full of gorgeous people made for a strong contrast between surface and reality. The darkness hidden behind closed doors ran deep on this show and it made me wonder more than once what I might be missing when I look around my own life. There were a dozen amazing moments in this series but none as captivating for me as the first episode with Reese and her daughters sitting at the piano. I’m not sure why they’re bringing a second season to life as I’m fully satisfied with Season 1. —Nicole

The Leftovers
This show ended up on my Worst TV list during it’s first season, so imagine my surprise when it was far and away the best drama I watched in 2017. It was audacious, surreal and moving — not to mention it delivered one of the most stunning shots I’ve ever seen on the small screen. For a show that I once complained was too bleak and dour, the end of the The Leftovers was surprisingly life-affirming. There wasn’t one episode in its 8-episode final stretch that I didn’t like — which is a weird thing to say about a season that featured everything from an orgy boat to a penis scanner to a heartbreaking cameo by Perfect Strangers sitcom star Mark Linn-Baker as himself. —Jen

Master of None
I really enjoyed Season 1 of Master of None and was delighted at how different Season 2 was. I’ll admit to also overusing “allora” while in Italy much like Dev to charming effect (though I’m pretty sure we were far less charming than we thought we were). What I loved about this season was the balls-out chances Aziz Ansari took with some of the episodes. Some worked so well like “New York, I Love You” which was so different from anything I’ve ever seen on TV before and yet so amazing. I also thought that the way he integrated the romance with Francesca throughout the season while gifting us with episodes like “Thanksgiving” was lovely and less inwardly-focused than Season 1. I’ve rewatched several of these episodes and expect to come back to them many times more. —Nicole

Better Things
Being a pop culture fan in 2017 meant struggling to reconcile one’s viewing tastes with the involvement of Hollywood’s sucktastic men. I really considered throwing away Better Things due to Louis CK’s participation in it, but the truth is this season, directed entirely by its co-writer and star Pamela Aldon, spoke to me like no other show had. The episode about her mom’s rapidly worsening dementia broke me, the speech about being a “super single” felt like it was speaking to my soul, and the scene where she rejects a male friend who tries to kiss her made me howl. Like the BTS drama surrounding the show itself, season two was messy, complicated and challenging. —Jen

You’re the Worst
Yeah, I know, it wasn’t a great season for You’re The Worst but even a mediocre season of this show brings laughs, darkness and entertainment. My feelings on the entire season can be encapsulated in one episode: “Dad-Not-Dad.” I loved the Sunday Funday brunch re-creation where Jimmy is out-snobbed, and found the La Bamba dad moment for Lindsay charming and funny. This episode also had the worst, cringe-y moment when Gretchen makes sweet, sweet love to her boyfriend’s ex-wife. Yuck – I hated that for her character. The leading pair continues to live up to the show’s name and are as-ever The Worst and although it seemed more aimless than other seasons, I appreciated that the scope of the show was more focused on the main characters. —Nicole

People talk a lot about shows that aired “before their time” like My So-Called Life or Freaks and Geeks, both of which probably would have thrived had they premiered a few years later than they had. But Sweet/Vicious has the bittersweet tradition of not being years ahead of its time, but mere months. Just before the Weinstein scandal upended Hollywood, MTV canceled this smart, zeitgeisty teen drama that was the embodiment of the #MeToo movement. Though the premise of the show (two college girls take justice into their own hands by becoming vigilantes who track down sex offenders) sounds like it could be a downer, Sweet/Vicious was filled with a surprising amount humour and warmth. I miss it a lot. —Jen

Handmaid’s Tale
I had so much anticipation built up for one of my favourite books from a favourite author that I devoured this series in real time. The occasional night where my better half wasn’t around to watch live forced me to pretend during a second viewing that I was seeing the episode for the first time. (I even set up an elaborate second recording so that the PVR wouldn’t reveal my duplicity!) The season delivered everything I hoped for and I came to appreciate the second viewing each week. The episodes were tense and I walked away each week terrified and furious. I kept looking at what was happening in the real world and thinking that the Handmaid’s Tale made it feel sickeningly relevant. I didn’t mind the slight deviations from the book in the interest of building in a lead in to the second season. While Elizabeth Moss was utterly convincing as Offred, I found Alexis Bledel as Ofglen devastating. “The Bridge” is the episode that I come back to when I think of the series. It carried all of the emotions of the series and that tiny bit of hope that we need to keep us coming back. —Nicole

Jen’s Honorable Mentions: Orphan Black, The Bold Type, Review, Chewing Gum, iZombie

Nicole’s Honourable Mentions: The Good Fight, Girls, The Americans

Cardi B Is Delightful on The Tonight Show

Cardi B explaining how she got her name is adorable. She keeps making weird little sounds that Jimmy Fallon clearly doesn’t know how to respond to. Someone on Twitter suggested she star in a remake of The Nanny and now that’s all I want.

Katy Perry’s alleged stalker was arrested after rushing the stage last night at her concert. “I will do whatever it takes to be with Katy Perry,” he reportedly told a cop.

-Nothing makes me happier than the glee that Twitter is feeling over the bad reviews of Max Landis’s Bright on Netflix. I still can’t believe Netflix spent $90 million on this thing…

Rian Johnson very nicely responded to fan question about how “polarizing” The Last Jedi is by tweeting “The goal is never to divide or make people upset, but I do think the conversations that are happening were going to have to happen at some point if sw is going to grow, move forward and stay vital.”

-I don’t believe that Robert Pattinson and Emma Watson are dating because a) the source is In Touch Weekly and b) I don’t want them to.

Jennifer Lawrence and Darren Aronofsky are spending time together and “seeing what happens.”

-This is fascinating: what should the next Bechdel test look like?

-A lifelong Taylor Swift fan shared a story about Swift helping her out once she found out she was pregnant and homeless.

Beyonce is perfect at everything, including the electric slide.

Princess Michael has conceded that maybe she shouldn’t have worn that wildly racist broach to Meghan Markle‘s lunch.

-Royal watchers are predicting Harry & Meghan’s wedding will be “brought down a notch or two from William and Kate’s.” No! I want all the notches!

-In a new essay for EW, Olivia Munn responded to Woody Allen‘s “witch hunt” claim by saying “The possibility of an overcorrection is much less worrisome than all of the injustices that led us to this moment.”

-I really like this piece on why Matt Damon should think before he speaks again.

-The fact that so many of the men outed as sexual predators have issued non-apologies is no coincidence.

-Oof, the Overboard trailer with Anna Faris looks bad. How could they screw this up? And this is coming from someone who loves cheesy movies (as evidenced by the fact that I went to a 10pm screening of Pitch Perfect 3 yesterday and kinda liked it).