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What are the Fantastic Debates?
Last year, I attended the Debates but didn't write them up. It was just a fun evening out at the end of a long string of movies I saw and reviewed. In the year since then, though, every time I've told someone about the Debates and the fight between Michelle Rodriguez and Tim League, they've been captivated. They are fascinated that this event exists. They want to know more.
And so this year, I'm dedicated to bringing you the same sort of breathless blow-by-blow account of the Debates that I could have expected to read in the papers the morning after an Ali-Frazier match-up as a kid.
Because these are not just about entertainment. Oh, no. No, these are battles over the most important ideas in our current cultural conversation. These are life and death struggles, fought verbally first and physically second. There is no more significant event during the week of Fantastic Fest.
And this year, we were ringside for every single punch that was thrown.
Sunday (September 25) marks the premiere of Season 23 of "The Simpsons."
1) R.E.M.: Sometimes magnificent, often inscrutable, but always interesting, the durable Athens, Ga. purveyors of jangle pop call it quits after 31 years. It’s not the end of the world as we know it, it just feels that way.
2) Lady Antebellum: Country trio lands its second No. 1 album as “Own The Night” opens with sales of close to 350,000 copies. They own the charts too.
3) Universal Music Group and Live Nation: The two powerhouses partner up to blend their artist management companies, but the pact hardly ends there. The deal has potential for an amazing array of synergies (or conflicts of interest, depending upon whom you ask). How much larger does Live Nation Entertainment have to get before it is officially too big to fail?
4) Tony Bennett: This week Bennett became the oldest living artist to chart on the Hot 100. The 85-year old may very well land the first No. 1 album of his career and may very well possibly land the first No. 1 album of his career with “Duets ll.” Hey, he may have a future in this business we call show.
[More after the jump...]
In Friday's Oscar Talk podcast I told Anne I thought "Moneyball" would struggle to beat out "The Lion King 3D" at the box office this weekend. I thought it would pull it out, but I just expected it to be a struggle. Well, turns out it was a struggle indeed, as Disney's re-release took the top spot ($22.1 million) for a second weekend in a row, inching past Bennett Miller's debuting Oscar hopeful ($20.6 million) in the process.
"Moneyball" was tops on Friday, but kid-friendly movies tend to get a big bump on Saturdays, so that's what happened for "The Lion King 3D." It'll be interesting to see if Brad Pitt -- who always does well overseas -- can make baseball play in foreign markets.
Also opening this weekend were "Dolphin Tale" ($20.2 million) and "Abduction." ($11.2 million) The former actually almost dropped "Moneyball" to third place. I haven't seen either (and likely won't), so, I won't comment.
“Saturday Night Live” is back, ladies and gentleman. And so am I, for my second year of “SNL” coverage here at HitFix. On tap for tonight’s premiere: one of the show’s favorite hosts and one of my favorite bands: Alec Baldwin and Radiohead, together at last. It is Baldwin’s 16th time hosting, which breaks Steve Martin’s all-time record. Look for Martin to show up in tonight’s broadcast, and look for a slew of “SNL” alums and big-named stars to drop by as well. No new faces in the cast this year, and no one was fired. Meet the new cast. Same as the old cast. This year, maybe they’ll remember Jay Pharaoh is actually IN said cast.
Let’s keep that continuity going here on Monkeys as Critics as well. I’ll assign relatively arbitrary grades to each sketch, you will get arbitrarily mad at those grades, and then we do it all again next week. Sound good? Good. Onto the 37th season of “SNL”!
A quick review of tonight's "Doctor Who" coming up just as soon as I excrete a gas that makes people love me...
Well, that's one week in the books here at HitFix. I wanted to take a second to thank everyone for coming along with us on this huge change and for sticking with us through the growing pains. It's been a crazy week for all of this, with Guy on leave for much of it, a screening every day (including two on Friday plus an interview), four hours of sleep a night, etc. But I think we're roaring loud and strong here at the new digs.
And with that, I'm taking the rest of the day off! But I thought I'd get the weekend Cinejabber posts going first. This Saturday feature -- for the uninitiated -- is simply a chance for you to discuss whatever is on your mind that hasn't really had a place elsewhere. Caught a movie that was released some time back and want to comment? Let us know here. Playing some awesome video game and you're dying to share? Let us know -- well, maybe don't let us know. The last thing I need is an excuse to go buy something else to eat up my time! Basically, it's an open thread and the floor is yours.
Usually I try to get things moving by offering up something that's on my mind as of late. Today, that would be last night's American Cinemateque double feature screening of Tim Burton's "Batman" and "Batman Returns" at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.
Nirvana thrived in contradiction: quiet and loud, passion and disassociation, melody and dissonance, clarity and obliqueness, pop-unfriendly and radio-baiting. Like their breakthrough single “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the grunge pioneers headed a revolution and simultaneously made a cruel farce of it.
Every TV season brings with it a pair of somehow unrelated twins: shows developed at different networks, by different people, that are remarkably similar in subject matter and/or style, no matter how weirdly specific those things get. One year, the twins may be hospital dramas set in Chicago; another, it may be middle-aged men traveling back in time to relive their adolescence. Don't ask how/why this happens. It just does, always and always and always, and this year's unlikely twins are a pair of dramas set in the "Mad Men" era about women who have jobs that seemed glamorous at the time, that have seemed more demeaning through a modern lens, but are now the subject of shows that argue for them being liberating.
The first of those was NBC's "The Playboy Club," which debuted Monday night, was both terrible and terribly unconvincing in its feminist arguments, and which bombed royally. (Not that anyone should be shocked; the ratings "Mad Men" gets on AMC would get it canceled in a heartbeat by a network.) The second is ABC's "Pan Am," which debuts Sunday night at 10. It may not do any better commercially than "Playboy," but it's both a much better show and makes a much better case for women's lib.