Latest Blog Posts

<p>&nbsp;Willie Nelson</p>

 Willie Nelson

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Willie Nelson covers Pearl Jam's 'Just Breathe'

How does it compare to his version of Coldplay's 'The Scientist?'

Willie Nelson can seldom do wrong in our book. Today, he released his cover of Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe,” which is featured on his May 15 album, “Heroes” (listen here, via Rolling Stone).  We already heard his interpretation of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” on a Chipotle commercial during the Super Bowl.

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<p>&nbsp;Nicki Minaj</p>

 Nicki Minaj

Watch: Nicki Minaj sleepwalks through 'Starships' performance on 'Today'

She debuts new song, 'Right By Your Side'

It is very clear that Nicki Minaj is not a morning person. Just watch this tremendously lethargic lip-synching performance of her top 10 hit “Starships” on this morning’s “Today” show. She is totally phoning it in. Quite honestly, it’s almost as bad as Britney Spears’ horrible MTV Video Music Awards performance from a few years ago and the outfit is nearly as unflattering.

“Is that too much for early in the morning, you guys?,” she asks as she moves around with the clunky moves of a really rusty aerobics instructor.  The answer is a resounding yes, for Minaj, if no one else.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Kanye West</p>

Kanye West

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Pusha T and Big Sean's showing 'Mercy'

G.O.O.D. Music kicks off on Good Friday... are you excited for more?

Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Pusha T and Big Sean all showed up for the first-showing of "G.O.O.D. Music," Ye's label collection of original tracks from its artists. "Mercy" is a taking-turns kind of tune, as you'd expect, but of course Kanye made sure to write in a little something special for himself.

Listen to the song at Kanye West's website (re-done for very high resolution screens, apparently).

The straight-forward beat gives way to an Other World dark dance, led by a rip from the "Scarface" score. There's no guns or drugs here, though, with exception to his mention of "Molly," the same substance name-drop that put Madonna in time out, albeit briefly, a couple weeks ago.

After another weird diversion into suicide (which figured prominently into his "Power" single), Yeezy's all sorts of chest-puffery: "I step in the Def Jam building like I'm the sh*t / tell them give me $50 million or I'm going to quit / Most rappers taste level ain't even at my waist level / Turn up the bass level till it's at your face level." Good to know that his ability to divulge his talents has a price tag.

Meanwhile, 2 Chainz ups his profile with a verse that follows in the same vein. But it was Big Sean who opened up the door on this decent track, putting his "swerve" on the sort of rhymes he loves the best: extolling the virtues of strip clubs and their inhabitants.

The song, overall, isn't much of a conversation piece, but a conversation starter. The "G.O.O.D. Music" comp is guaranteed to be bursting with big names, let's just hope they're not all showing up, on every track, all at once.

No word yet if there will be new track every single Friday, but Ye has never been shy about that gimmick.

Yesterday, his track with DJ Khaled, "Theraflu," also broke out. Check out The Beat Goes On's thoughts on that here.

 

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<p>David Simon.</p>

David Simon.

Credit: AP

Interview: David Simon doesn't want to tell you how to watch 'The Wire'

Though he'd probably still prefer you get to the end of a season before passing judgment

As you know if you've been reading me for more than five seconds, I think "The Wire" is the best drama to ever air on television. I'm also an enormous fan of the rest of David Simon's oeuvre, all the way from his book "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets," all the way up through "Tremé," which will be back on HBO this fall.

 
But I was very disheartened to read yesterday's New York Times interview with Simon, in which he seemed to suggest there was a right and a wrong way to watch his shows, and he disapproved of anyone doing it the wrong way. This passage seemed particularly contentious, to both myself and a lot of people I follow in Twitter, be they fellow TV critics or other TV showrunners who are fans of "The Wire."
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<p>&quot;Nurse Jackie&quot;&nbsp;(Edie Falco)&nbsp;is on the defensive to start season 4.</p>

"Nurse Jackie" (Edie Falco) is on the defensive to start season 4.

Credit: Showtime

Review: Showtime's 'Nurse Jackie' faces consequences in season 4

Edie Falco dramedy much improved after shaking things up
For the two-plus seasons I watched "Nurse Jackie," it was a show with a tremendous lead performance by Edie Falco, a bunch of well-etched supporting characters played by Merritt Wever, Anna Deavere Smith and Peter Facinelli (among others) and a reliably black comic sensibility that could deftly turn on a dime for more serious moment. But it was also a show that, like Jackie — a painkiller addict concealing her addiction, an extramarital affair and any number of other secrets — stubbornly, proudly in denial of the need to change things up even a little. Consequences seemed to hurtle at Jackie with regularity, but they were always quickly dodged.
 
After a while, that refusal to shake things up and force Jackie to deal with the wreck her life had become forced me to quit the show cold turkey. After I left, things got even worse on the no-consequences front, as last season's finale (which I later watched on a "Even you won't believe they did this" recommendation from a friend) went out of its way to tease anyone who thought comeuppance was coming. On the personal front, right when Jackie was on the verge of confessing her adultery to husband Kevin (Dominic Fumusa), he admitted an affair to her, allowing her to hypocritically reclaim the moral high ground, while at work, Ms. Akalitus (Smith) threw Jackie's drug test in the trash to protect her.
 
But sometime between that finale and the fourth season premiere (Sunday at 9 p.m.), "Jackie" co-creators Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem appear to have had a moment of clarity and realized that if their show kept running in place, it would suffer a slow, mediocre death. "Nurse Jackie" season 4 is all consequences, all the time — and is much, much more satisfying overall as a result.
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<p>Scott Adsit as Pete Hornberger in &quot;30 Rock.&quot;</p>

Scott Adsit as Pete Hornberger in "30 Rock."

Credit: NBC

'30 Rock' - 'Nothing Left to Lose': Smell the love

Tracy regains his sense of smell, Jenna pranks the writers and Jack mentors Pete

A quick review of last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I quote myself talking to Bruce Willis...

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<p>Kerry Washington in &quot;Scandal.&quot;</p>

Kerry Washington in "Scandal."

Credit: ABC

'Scandal' - 'Sweet Baby': Gladiators in suits

What did everybody think of the new ABC drama?

Okay, I've already published my review of ABC's "Scandal" and interviewed producers Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think of the new drama? Do you truly understand what it means to be a gladiator in a suit, or do you think the client of the week should've just hired a traditional law firm? Did you enjoy Rhimes' trademark dialogue in a non-medical context? (And did Josh Malina and Liza Weil — both veterans of other rapid-fire banter-loving writers — work well with Rhimes' rhythms?) Are you happy to see Tony Goldwyn acting again, or did the stuff in the White House seem too much? Were you distracted by Henry Ian Cusick's true "wandering accent," or would it have been more distracting if he'd sounded mega-Scottish and called everyone "brutha"? And how about that Kerry Washington

Have at it. Don't think I'm going to do weekly write-ups. I learned my lesson after a while with "Grey's Anatomy" that Rhimes' shows and I get along much better when I'm not reviewing every episode of them.

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<p>Jennifer Lopez gets metallic in the new video for &quot;Dance Again.&quot;&nbsp; Is it another &quot;On the Floor&quot;?</p>

Jennifer Lopez gets metallic in the new video for "Dance Again."  Is it another "On the Floor"?

Watch: Jennifer Lopez writhes her way through video for 'Dance Again'

She and Casper Smart show off some private moves

When Jennifer Lopez and current boyfriend Casper Smart’s inevitable break up comes, he’ll have a lovely souvenir in the form of the video for “Dance Again” featuring Pitbull.

The video for pop dance tune. which premiered Thursday night on “American Idol”  has got a lot of moving parts, literally, so let’s examine a few.

The video opens with Pitbull in a white tux (with a few separate shots of Lopez). His date would appear to Voli, the Vodka brand for which is he is constantly shilling. He and Jennifer Lopez never appear together (although there’s a fake J-Lo dancing around him at one point). He never does much interesting in his appearances, though he looks dapper — Lopez gets all the action, literally.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Pete Farrelly (left) and his brother and co-director Bobby work together on a scene from their updated version of 'The Three Stooges'</p>

Pete Farrelly (left) and his brother and co-director Bobby work together on a scene from their updated version of 'The Three Stooges'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Peter Farrelly talks about renewed 'Stooges' and returning to 'Dumb and Dumber'

A short chat with one of the film's directors

"How's Beegee?"

Peter Farrelly caught me at home making lunch for my kids.  I'd been expecting his call, had the recorder set up by the speaker phone, which was charged.  Good to go.  And of course, when he called, I was right in the middle of lunch.  There's something appropriate about the chaos of the conversation we ended up having for the next half-hour, because as long as I've known the Farrellys, they've been at the center of some storm or the other.

This time around, the storm is of their own making.  Specifically, they've stepped out onto holy ground for many film fans, and they've made a Three Stooges movie.  It's not a biography.  It's not a behind-the-scenes story.  It's just a movie starring The Three Stooges.  The characters, not the people.

And since the Three Stooges were really people (a whole lot more than three of them over the years, to be fair), there are film fans who feel that no one else has the right to play them.  That's certainly a fair position to take.  I have no idea what I'll make of the film itself, which I'll see soon.  But in the thirteen years since I first met Peter and Bobby Farrelly, there are a few things they've always been passionate about.  Family.  These are big family guys from Rhode Island, and as set in their family roots as possible.  Big silly comedy.  And a few titles in particular.  "The Heartbreak Kid" and The Three Stooges.

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<p>Sean Bean and Ashley Judd in a &quot;Missing&quot;&nbsp;flashback.</p>

Sean Bean and Ashley Judd in a "Missing" flashback.

Credit: ABC

'Missing' - 'Tell Me No Lies': Dead or alive, you're coming with me

Figures from Becca's past return to cause tension in the present

I haven't written about "Missing" since the series debuted. Based on your comments at the time, and on the show's dwindling ratings, I'm guessing most of you haven't been watching it. But I did have one thing I wanted to discuss about tonight's episode, and how it ties back to something from the pilot, coming up just as soon as I have a butler... 

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<p>Donald Glover as Troy in &quot;Community.&quot;</p>

Donald Glover as Troy in "Community."

Credit: NBC

'Community' - 'Pillows and Blankets': Civil war stories

A Ken Burns parody turns into a poignant Troy and Abed friendship story

A review of tonight's "Community" coming up just as soon as I buy a thumb icon at the app store...

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<p>Phillip Phillips of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>
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Phillip Phillips of "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Top 8 Results

Who did America reject after '80s Night?

Hello, Eastern Time Zone. I am in you.

It's Passover Season, which must mean that I'm temporarily on the Right Coast, with my family watching hockey in the other room as I attempt to concentrate on which "American Idol" singer the voters decided to send home. 

As I mentioned last night, I sense that we're getting very close to Judges' Save time on "American Idol." I think the number of contestants who could be voted out tonight without being saved by the judges is relatively small. 

Let's find out...

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