Ben is off to "magical" Switzerland, which I hope means he's going to turn Courtney into a frog while he's there, but probably not. But Ben is too busy feeling all sorts of emotions. He's felt happy and sad and vulnerable and... well, other stuff, but I'm so bored by this guy that I started sorting my sock drawer and stopped paying attention. Really, the only thing making Ben even passably interesting as the latest bachelor is his bizarre fixation on the baby-talking mean girl Courtney. Although i can't really say I care that much if he decides to run off into the sunset with this nightmare, I hate to see all these women who seem otherwise sane get kicked aside for Widdle Coohdney and her endless lower lip sucking, skirt twirling and weirdly immature behavior (that is, when she isn't trying to get Ben to rip off his clothing -- she really has just two speeds). I'm sure that's for the best, but still.
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And so, the Oscar madness has come to a close. Before moseying on into the new territory of 2012, one more time, here is The Circuit, your one-stop shop for all of the announcements from the 2011-2012 film awards season.
From AFI to the Washington D.C. Film Critics Association and everything in between, this list represents the most comprehensive cross-section of the year you're bound to find, all of it providing tea leaves and intrigue, building right up to the film industry's big moment: Oscar night.
Enjoy reliving the memories. And before you know it, we'll be putting together another one for the new season.
“Well I ain’t no troublemaker and I never meant her harm, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t make it hard to carry on.”
Hmmm. That line comes about a minute in to John Mayer’s new single, “Shadow Days.” Is he talking about Taylor Swift, who supposedly wrote the excoriating “Dear John” from “Speak Now” about him after he broke her heart? He could be talking about Jessica Simpson or Jennifer Aniston. Really, there’s not a shortage of potentials here.
(Listen to the track here)
Regardless, the track, the first single from Mayer’s forthcoming fifth album, “Born and Raised,” out May 22, is full of contrition. It’s an apology to the world at large, almost, as he sings, “I’m a good man with a good heart, had a tough time, got a rough start, but I finally learned to let it go.” Mayer starts a tour on April 9.
The Pitchfork Music Festival is back for a seventh year, and one of its headliners may be signalling new music on the way. Feist, Vampire Weekend and Godspeed You! Black Emperor are among the biggest names in this initial lineup announcement, in addition to Hot Chip, AraabMuzik, A$AP Rocky, The Field, Liturgy, Kendrick Lamar, Grimes, Cloud Nothings, Tim Hecker and Willis Earl Beal.
The Chicago-bound event runs July 13-15, with single-day and weekend tickets going up on March 9 at noon CST. Organizers' "goal has always been to create an affordable atmosphere with music at its focus," so ticket prices will not increase over last year's sum, with single-day going for $45 a piece and weekend at $110.
Pitchfork also says that 30 more acts are TBA, so we may not even be looking at the biggest names yet.
But confirming Vampire Weekend is at least somewhat informative: the band only scheduled five concerts in 2011, and the only U.S. stop, the Music To Know festival, was canceled. This new date may signal that the group has more U.S. touring action planned, if not offering ample opportunity for Ezra Koenig & Co. to bow some new material.
Also, interestingly, Lamar and A$AP Rocky are Drake's Club Paradise tour openers -- will they be bring any, uh, friends along?
Last year, I pointed out some of the Pitchfork batting averages of the artists that were performing at the fest, a parallel of what their rating on the site was prior to the lineup announcement. For this year:
FX announces June premiere dates for 'Louie,' 'Wilfred,' 'Anger Management' & Russell Brand talk show
FX has a bunch of new comedy inventory coming up this summer, including new seasons of "Louie" and "Wilfred," the debut of Charlie Sheen's "Anger Management" and Russell Brand's new talk show "Strangely Uplifting." Turns out the plan is to have them all air on the same night, starting Thursday, June 28.
PaleyFest — the Paley Center for Media's annual celebration of television — kicks off on Friday night with the first of two weeks of panels featuring some of TV's most notable comedies and dramas. (You can see thefull schedule here.) I've always wanted to go to PaleyFest and have never been able to make the logistics work, but this year things are very different. First, Livestream and Hulu will both be streaming a number of the panels live (Livestream's link is already live; not sure where Hulu will house all its streams). Second, I'll actually be in LA this weekend to moderate the "Community" panel on Saturday night.
As of now, the lineup for the panel includes Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Danny Pudi, Ken Jeong, Alison Brie and newly-minted Oscar winner/Angelina impersonator Jim Rash, plus Dan Harmon and several other producers. They'll be screening an upcoming episode, which is the one part of the panel that won't be available on the live streams (though East Coasters can attend a streamed event at the New York Paley Center that will feature the episode), followed by a lengthy session featuring questions from me and members of the audience.
Looking forward to it, and I'm glad that NBC already announced a return date, as the vibe would be very different if the show were still completely in limbo come Saturday night. I hope to see some of you there, and anyone who can't make it can watch it live from home that night. I have a good idea of what I want to ask the gang, but anyone who won't be there in person but has something they'd like to know can leave a comment here, and maybe I'll incorporate the best ones into my Q&A.
I must confess that I am fascinated by the new film "Project X." It's not a particularly complicated film, in either concept or execution, but maybe that simplicity is what I like about it. At heart, "Project X" is a John Hughes movie from the '80s, right down to its final shot, but it's wrapped in a level of chaos and decadence that sums up the career of producer Todd Phillips with a gleeful degree of anarchy.
This may be the biggest budget found-footage film I've seen so far, and this and "Chronicle" both suggest that the language of found-footage is finding its way into the mainstream in a very real way, and that there are ways to crank it up. This is the story of Thomas Kub (Thomas Mann) and his 17th birthday party, as thrown by him, his friend Costa (Oliver Cooper), and their friend JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown). It is strictly forbidden by Mom (Caitlin Dulany) and Dad (Peter Mackenzie) before they leave town, but Costa browbeats the much more pliant Thomas, convincing him that this is for his own good. Costa overplans this thing on a scale that is like mounting a full-sized D-Day to take control of a playground. This party isn't just big. This party isn't just crazy. This party is the end of the goddamn world.
Another season in the record books. It's been my eleventh. How has it been for you?
Customarily, after a quick Off the Carpet recap, I circle back to considering the film awards season at the end of this day. So here I am with a handful of such considerations.
I still find myself seeing the year as something it really wasn't in the eyes of Academy. I think of "Margaret." I think of "Martha Marcy May Marlene." I think of "Shame." I think of the films that popped for me but not for AMPAS and I think, wow, my year was better than theirs. And that's fine. That's the subjectivity of it all. That's what it's all about.
But I also think about the transition to HitFix, which happened five months and one week ago today and couldn't have been smoother.
A review of tonight's "Smash" coming up just as soon as my mother sets me up for a date at a steak house...
Time for the judges to snap up the last contestants! Given that they've been pretty picky along the way, they could be stuck with some pretty random crap in this episode, but as they've mostly filled up their teams, I guess they can suffer a few losers.
Whitney Myer is a performer from Reno. She's in a band with her dad and uncle. She just wants to make a living at music, which seems reasonable, as you just know she's going to be good. She performs "No One" very, very well. Adam spins. Next. Cee-Lo. Then, Blake. Finally, Christina. A fourpeat! Adam tells her she has the thing. And it's the thing that Mary J Blige has. Cee-Lo thinks she's energetic. Christina tells her that she kept it solid and made the Alicia Keys song her own. Blake tells her he's a fan, whether or not she picks him. Adam can help her win. But Christina is the best! She goes with Adam because he seemed the most genuine. Adam only has one spot left!
A quick review of tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as dessert has fireworks in it...
"The Artist" may have been the big winner last night, but for better or worse, Viola Davis's surprise Best Actress loss to Meryl Streep is set to remain the principal talking point of this year's Academy Awards -- and it's one that is already provoking a range of critical and political reactions. Jesse Washington studies conflicted reactions in the black community to Davis's defeat, and finds many dismayed for the actress while still unable to get completely behind the character she plays in "The Help." One response everyone should be able to agree with, however, comes from diversity consultant Monika Brooks: "The problem is not that Davis played a maid. The problem is there's not more black people in really good roles." [Associated Press]