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<p>A&nbsp;scene featuring the original song &quot;Fake I.D.&quot;&nbsp;in Craig Brewer's remake &quot;Footloose&quot;</p>

A scene featuring the original song "Fake I.D." in Craig Brewer's remake "Footloose"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Could a pair of original 'Footloose' tracks figure into the Best Original Song race...again?

The remake aims to walk in the footsteps of Kenny Loggins and Deniece Williams

When Herbert Ross's "Footloose" hit theaters 27 years ago, the film managed a brush with Oscar in the form of a pair of nominations for Best Original Song. Kenny Loggins's titular track blew up radio request lines and haunts Kevin Bacon to this day: The actor actually pays bands NOT to play the song when he attends weddings. (My colleague, Melinda Newman, recently posted the video for Blake Shelton's country re-do of the track.)

Deniece Williams's "Let's Hear It for the Boy," meanwhile, was a staple of junior high school dances for years after the film hit. Both songs lost the Oscar to Stevie Wonder's inarguable "I Just Called to Say I Love You" from Gene Wilder's "The Woman in Red," but Craig Brewer's remake of Ross's film could swing around for some retribution.

As it turns out, another pair of original songs were written this time around, though considerably different from the poppy jams of 1984. The first, "Fake I.D.," is a twangy country track performed by Big & Rich featuring Gretchen Wilson. It's used during a big dance sequence in the film. The second, Zac Brown's "Where the River Goes," is a soulful little tune from the country/southern rocker. It's used early on to establish the main character's journey to his new home in the south, before the story really begins to take off.

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<p>Sam Shepard stars as James Blackthorn who may or may not be the legendary Butch Cassidy in the new film 'Blackthorn'</p>

Sam Shepard stars as James Blackthorn who may or may not be the legendary Butch Cassidy in the new film 'Blackthorn'

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Review: 'Blackthorn' features Sam Shepard as a Western icon in decline

Film uses the mystery of Butch Cassidy's final days as jumping off point

I think my dad would have made a badass cowboy.

You know who the toughest men in the West were?  Old men.  You know why?  BECAUSE THEY MANAGED TO GET OLD.  No easy trick back then, no matter how you made your living.  It was a frontier, and they had to carve a living out of that land.  I think my dad would have done that very well, and I think he would have enjoyed it on an existential level.  He would have been in his element in every way.

After watching "Blackthorn," the new western starring Sam Shepard, I feel like I've got a much more specific idea of what kind of old cowboy my dad would have been.  If I didn't know better, I'd say Shepard spent time with him at some point and studied him a bit.  He is a weathered, wise, but still vital man in this film, a guy who has found his place in the world, his role in things, and who is mostly at peace with it.

"Mostly" is the key word, since Shepard's James Blackthorn is a man haunted by something or someone that he ran from at some point, and in flashbacks, we are given pieces of his past that eventually add up to a pretty spectacular reimagining of a real-life Western legend.

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<p>You'll have &quot;The Simpsons&quot;&nbsp;to kick around for at least two more seasons now that FOX has renewed it again.</p>

You'll have "The Simpsons" to kick around for at least two more seasons now that FOX has renewed it again.

Credit: FOX

Woo-hoo! FOX renews 'The Simpsons' for two Moe seasons

A quarter-century of Homer and company feels very good indeed.

I know I've told this story before, but in the wake of FOX ordering two more seasons of "The Simpsons" - which will bring the show through its 24th and 25th seasons, continuing its stretch as the longest-running primetime scripted show in American TV history(*) - it's worth repeating again:

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Mo'Nique and Tom Sherak announcing the 2010 Academy Award nominations earlier this year</p>
Mo'Nique and Tom Sherak announcing the 2010 Academy Award nominations earlier this year

AMPAS president Sherak promises a younger, more diverse Academy

Academy also pledges to embrace new media

Last week, Sasha Stone held one of her Oscar Roundtable discussions at Awards Daily, where one of the issues raised was the Academy's recent flurry of rule changes, particularly in the Best Picture category.

I responded as follows: "What concerns me is that the frantic adjustment and re-adjustment of the rules in the last two years alone indicates an organisation with no sense of consistency or confidence in itself. Solid, well-run, influential institutions don’t keep shifting the goalposts like this. This is supposedly the most senior, prestigious collective of film professionals in the world — they should be calling the shots, but instead they look desperately concerned about how they’re perceived."

Mark Harris put it more tartly: "They’ve been throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks, and all it’s gotten them is a shit-covered wall."

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<p>&quot;The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn&quot; is less than three weeks from its world premiere in Europe.</p>

"The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" is less than three weeks from its world premiere in Europe.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Britain braces quietly for 'Tintin'

Spielberg's return only weeks away for UK audiences

While Americans have to hold tight until December, it's less than three weeks until "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" hits UK screens. If I'm being honest, however, it hardly feels that way. Given what a rare treat it is to have a two-month head start on the US with a big-league blockbuster -- and Steven Spielberg's first film in three years, at that -- you'd expect the British marketing to have gone into overdrive for a project in which many comic-book sentimentalists have a rooting interest, and yet I'm surprised at how low the film's profile is, this near to its unveiling.

A fleshed-out UK trailer only dropped two days ago, leaving rather a tight window in which to whip up public anticipation. Looking around London over the past week, the film's outdoor advertising presence is surprisingly low-key, while it's less than ubiquitous on the local blogosphere. I find myself wondering what proportion of regular moviegoers have the film on their short-term radar.

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Exclusive Song Of The Day: NewVillager remix Metronomy, talk tour

'Some Written' gets a redux from the arty (but dancey!) Brooklyn-based band

NewVillager have not only managed to put out one of the more thrilling and melody-loving new releases this fall, they also put on one hell of a show. The Brooklyn-based troupe typically plays as a trio, with a "human sculpture" bursting from Ben Bromley and Ross Simonini's performance. There's costumes and fort-building, visual art being constantly made in the middle of their audio art. They've held down gallery appearances as much as basement shows, their own "mythology" changing with each gig and conceptually at the center of their setlist. 

That doesn't mean their 2011 self-titled album is all artwork and no play. From its opening, "NewVillager" is a head-nodding dance party: textural,  playful, dancey, self-assured. Look for the same at their performances, as the band has just kicked off the autumn leg of their tour, with U.K.'s Metronomy.

Below, we debut NewVillager's remix of their Mercury Prize-nominated tourmates' breezy song "Some Written" and hold down an email chat with Simonini.

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<p>Britney Spears is now an RCA artist, not Jive</p>

Britney Spears is now an RCA artist, not Jive

Credit: AP Photo

Arista, Jive and J Records fold as artists ushered under RCA name

Sony shutters decades-old labels in order to 'refresh' the RCA brand

What's in a name? Ask the common consumer which artists are -- or, rather, were -- on Arista, Jive or J records recently and you might get just a couple answers, if any. Those names may not carry much weight or the weight that they used to with music fans.

RCA Records CEO Peter Edge and COO Tom Corson agree, at least in part. Sony Music is retaining the artists under those three labels and putting them under the larger RCA umbrella. So now acts like Usher, Britney Spears, Pink, Foo Fighters, previous "American Idol" stars like Jennifer Hudson and more will all be officially RCA artists. This, after months of blood-letting on a staffer level and dropping acts like "AI's" Lee DeWyze and Britain's "X Factor" contestant Diana Vickers.

Arista was established in 1974 by Clive Davis; he also started J in 2000. Barry Weiss' Jive was perhaps best know for its pop signings around the turn of the millennium with entertainers like Spears and Justin Timberlake (and his former band N*Sync).

"The path we've taken is to refresh RCA, so we're going to retire those brands," Corson told The Hollywood Reporter. "There may be a reason down the line to bring them back, but it's a clean slate here."

Where I get a little confused is Corson's insistence that RCA will be defined by its artists... and by itself simultaneously.

"The concept is that there is value in branding RCA and not having it confused or diluted by other labels," he said. But then, "The artists have all been supportive. We didn't make this move without consulting our artists, and we haven't had any push-back. Frankly, they're the brand. We're defined by our artists."

So Jive, J and Arista diluted the RCA brand, but what is the RCA brand anyway except a roster of names?

Consumers don't buy based on what an RCA artist is, or what a Jive artist was, because those label groups put out a variety of genres and big-name artists. Certainly, there are independent labels or genre-focused labels that fans trust to lead them to new artists (think Sub Pop, or Def Jam) but giant labels like Columbia (also owned by Sony) host artists from Kreayshawn to Tony Bennett. How can one "brand" a giant umbrella group like RCA, other than make it bigger?

This move just looks like another way to trim the fat in a still-slender music economy, even with album sales up 3%. Remember when Sony still had BMG in its name? Is this like Clear Channel trying to align itself with why you "heart" radio? Talk about dillution.

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"Our America with Lisa Ling"

 "Our America with Lisa Ling"

Credit: OWN

Lisa Ling talks 'Our America,' Oprah, PTSD, polygamy and porn

The former "The View" co-host is grateful to be taking on real issues

As you might imagine, it's good to have Oprah Winfrey in your corner. With her show "Our America with Lisa Ling," former "The View" co-host Lisa Ling has been able to explore a wide variety of challenging topics in-depth without network pressure to condense material to snippets. Most importantly, Ling has scored a high profile timeslot for her show on OWN, following Oprah's own "Oprah's Lifeclass" ("Our America"'s second season debuts Sun. Oct. 16 at 10 p.m. on OWN). Still, the intrepid journalists acknowledges that the fledgling network hasn't exactly taken over basic cable, even with the Oprah stamp of approval. "OWN has gone through it's challenges," Ling admitted in a conference call with reporters. "it's a brand new network. It's looking to find its voice, but I actually feel more strongly about it now than ever."

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Meryl Streep's performance as Margaret Thatcher in &quot;The Iron Lady&quot; is &quot;spine-chilling,&quot; according to co-star Olivia Colman.</p>
Meryl Streep's performance as Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady" is "spine-chilling," according to co-star Olivia Colman.

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Olivia Colman bigs up 'Iron Lady' co-star Streep

Meanwhile, British actress earns UK raves for 'Tyrannosaur'

In a perfect world, Olivia Colman would be as heavily tipped for the Best Actress Oscar as Meryl Streep -- sight unseen in the latter star's case, while the little-known Brit's stunning breakout performance in "Tyrannosaur" has been wowing critics since her film's Sundance debut. 

Of course, this is no perfect world, and Colman, together with her tiny, downbeat film will have to fight tooth and nail for even a percentage point of the media attention given to Streep -- though in a curious twist of the season, it's the American megastar who could give this darkest of horses her biggest boost in the race. For Colman will next be seen opposite Streep herself, playing Margaret Thatcher's daughter Carol in "The Iron Lady" -- an appearance that should raise her profile immensely going into awards season.

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<p>Hot Chelle Rae</p>

Hot Chelle Rae

Watch: Hot Chelle Rae takes us backstage for 'I Like It Like That' video

Hot Chelle Rae aims straight for the middle of the road with its own party anthem for folks for whom LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” is too “edgy.”  “I Like It Like That”  is a formulaic pop effort  with the requisite “Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh” singalongs and a rap from the New Boyz meant to make the little girls scream.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>George Clooney in &quot;The Ides of March&quot;</p>

George Clooney in "The Ides of March"

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'The Ides of March'

George Clooney's political drama hits theaters today

We've said about all we can say about George Clooney's "The Ides of March" around these parts. Guy was reserved about the film in Venice and used the occasion of the film's release to launch a list of the top 10 films about politics. I was over the moon about it in Los Angeles and am willing to stake plenty on its Oscar chances, despite naysayers. And Anne and I had plenty to say about it and the film's critical reception this morning. But today, the film is opening wide across the country. So many of you will get a load of it yourself this weekend. I'm eager to hear what you have to say, so hurry on back here when/if you get around to seeing it and give us your thoughts.

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Oscar Talk: Ep. 64 -- Digging into the lead categories

Oscar Talk: Ep. 64 -- Digging into the lead categories

Also: Talking NYFF opener 'Carnage' and critical reaction to 'The Ides of March

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

Anne is calling in today from New York where she's on hand for the New York Film Festival. Much of what's there she (and I) have already seen, but there are one or two treats for folks like her who hit just about every major festival, including the big premiere of "My Week with Marilyn" (and whatever Monday's super secret work-in-progress secret screening might be). But there's plenty to talk about otherwise, so let's see what's on the docket today...

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