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<p>Harold Ramis and a Twinkie = comedy gold</p>

Harold Ramis and a Twinkie = comedy gold

Credit: Columbia Pictures

How meeting comedy giant Harold Ramis exceeded any expectations I had

He was one of the greats, both on-screen and off

There are very few perfect films.

Part of what makes films so beautiful and rich and rewarding is that they are the result of a sort of mass insanity that happens when you have all of these people all pushing to create something tangible, something that moves us to some sort of real emotional place. It's easy to forget that movies are ultimately a bunch of people standing around playing make-believe, but with a crew there to capture it all. Considering how many moving pieces there are in any film, it's almost miraculous when they actually come together coherently, much less in a way that manages to make us genuinely lose ourselves in what we're watching.

Harold Ramis made a perfect movie. "Groundhog Day" is one of the few mainstream comedies that I think actually grows and gets richer and more wonderful the more you revisit it, something which seems especially apt considering how the film is structured. The original Danny Rubin script was a damn fine starting point, but it was Ramis who polished that script into the gem it is, as great a piece of commercial movie writing as "Back To The Future," and in scene after scene, Ramis is so on-point as a director that it's sort of humbling. "Groundhog Day" is what it looks like when someone is so in the zone that they can't get it wrong, when everything clicks on every level, and it may be the best of Bill Murray's big comedy performance. Again, that's apt considering the history Murray shares with Ramis, and while the collaboration they had on this evidently ended their personal and professional relationships, at least we'll always have this moment, this particular high point for both of them, and we can cherish that.

When I got the news via phone call this morning that Ramis had passed away, it hit me much harder than most celebrity deaths do, and I'm still struggling to fully articulate why that is.

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<p>George Clooney, Sandra Bullock and Alfonso Cuaron at the October screening of &quot;Gravity&quot;&nbsp;in New York.</p>

George Clooney, Sandra Bullock and Alfonso Cuaron at the October screening of "Gravity" in New York.

Credit: AP Photo

Alfonso Cuarón on the global 'emotional' appeal of 'Gravity' and the 'Believe' break

Plus: What's he doing after Oscar Sunday?

Alfonso Cuarón is on top of the world. Granted, he's not literally on top or above it like his characters in "Gravity," but when I spoke to him after the Oscars luncheon a little over a week ago, he was awash in the moment. In many ways, the long journey of his Oscar-nominated blockbuster is finally coming to a close, and like a marathon runner nearing the finish line, he's got his second wind.

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'The Walking Dead' destroys NBC’s Olympic coverage for 3rd straight week


“The Walking Dead” destroys NBC’s Olympic coverage for 3rd straight week
About 13.1 million tuned in for last night’s episode. PLUS: 12.7 million watched “Nancy & Tonya."


Jimmy Fallon plans to do the Chicago Polar Plunge this weekend

“The Tonight Show” host and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in plunging into Lake Michigan.


“NCIS” will address the death of Ralph Waite’s character
The CBS drama wants to do something to "honor both the memory of Ralph, as well as the character of Jackson Gibbs,” a CBS spokesperson says of the former “Waltons” patriarch.


Janet McTeer joins Vince Gilligan’s “Battle Creek”
She’ll play a police commander in the drama series created by the “Breaking Bad” creator, which will be run by “House” creator David Shore. PLUS: More pilot castings: Hope Davis and Margarita Levieva for NBC’s “Coercion,” and Amanda Detmer for “Sea of Fire."


Alec Baldwin & Piers Morgan trade sympathies on Twitter
"I want to say to @piersmorgan I hope you are back on the air very soon, wherever that may be…” Baldwin tweeted to Morgan, who responded: “Thanks Alec, ditto.”

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Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Makeup and Hairstyling - 'Dallas' squares off with 'Grandpa' and 'Ranger'

Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Makeup and Hairstyling - 'Dallas' squares off with 'Grandpa' and 'Ranger'

When it doubt, pick the one nominated for Best Picture

In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool!

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Aaron Paul on the grieving process over the end of 'Breaking Bad'

Aaron Paul on the grieving process over the end of 'Breaking Bad'

How would you feel after wrapping up something that special?

Aaron Paul is in an enviable position for any actor. He's just wrapped up a major artistic accomplishment with the conclusion of "Breaking Bad," and now he's got room to choose what it is he wants to do next, and how he wants to further define himself. No matter what he does, Jesse Pinkman will always be one of the key things we know him for, and as defining roles go, that's a winner.

By now, it's clear that Paul is particularly gifted at playing a sort of weepy rage. He does this sort of shaky fury better than anyone working right now, and the writers of "Breaking Bad" took full advantage of that over the years. Part of the reason that show was so good is because they really understood the strengths of their cast and how to play to them.

In "Need For Speed," there are a few key scenes where that weepy rage comes into play, and in those moments, it's hard not to see the shadow of Jesse Pinkman.

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<p>Oscar Isaac in &quot;Inside Llewyn Davis.&quot;</p>

Oscar Isaac in "Inside Llewyn Davis."

Credit: CBS Films

International Cinephile Society names 'Inside Llewyn Davis' the year's best

Runner-up 'Blue is the Warmest Color' nabs wins for its two stars

It may have been largely shut out of the Academy Awards, but the Coen Brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis" got at least one more Best Picture honor to round out its awards season, as the International Cinephile Society today named it the best of 2013. The group of over 80 film journalists, academics and industry professionals -- of which yours truly is a member -- also handed the film wins for Best Original Screenplay, Best Ensemble and Best Actor for Oscar Isaac, who tied with "The Wolf of Wall Street" star Leonardo DiCaprio.

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<p>U2 performs &quot;Ordinary Love&quot; on &quot;The&nbsp;Tonight Show&quot;&nbsp;as Will Smith and Jimmy Fallon look on.</p>

U2 performs "Ordinary Love" on "The Tonight Show" as Will Smith and Jimmy Fallon look on.

Credit: NBC

Off the Carpet: A most competitive, campaign-heavy season heads into the final turn

Nominees are all over the place as it looks to be a photo finish

It's almost over. Voting for the 86th annual Academy Awards ends tomorrow at 5pm PT. Most ballots have already been turned in, of course, and many were probably coming in early, as paper ballots somehow again hit mailboxes a week ahead of the official opening of online polls on Feb. 14. What will one of the most competitive seasons on record have to show for itself on Sunday night?

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Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Film Editing - 'Captain Phillips' looks to sink 'Gravity'

Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Film Editing - 'Captain Phillips' looks to sink 'Gravity'

How indicative is this category of the Best Picture standings?

In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool!

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<p>Steve Zahn in &quot;Mind Games.&quot;</p>

Steve Zahn in "Mind Games."

Credit: ABC

Review: ABC's 'Mind Games'

In which 'Lone Star' and 'Awake' creator Kyle Killen tries to do something more commercial

"Mind Games," the new ABC drama that debuts tomorrow night at 10, opens with a scene where brilliant psychologist Clark (Steve Zahn) tells his brother Ross (Christian Slater) that when they pitch their new business idea to an investor, they should lead with their weaknesses.

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<p>Miley Cyrus</p>

Miley Cyrus

Credit: AP Photo

The truth about Miley Cyrus' Bangerz tour: Is it in trouble?

We take a wrecking ball to the rumors

For the last few days, various outlets have been running pieces about the supposed scandal surrounding Miley Cyrus’  38-city Bangerz tour:  “Irate parents are demanding arenas cancel shows because the concert is too raunchy!” “Ticket are showing up on the secondary market like crazy!” “Arenas are threatening to cancel shows!”

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'Ray Donovan' adds Ann-Margaret


“Ray Donovan” adds Ann-Margaret
The Hollywood legend will recur as a woman from Elliott Gould’s past.


A&E will try out a “Bates Motel” after-show

The 30-minute “Bates Motel: After Hours” will be shown one hour after the Season 2 premiere next week. If all goes well, A&E could bring it back as a regular series.


RIP Harold Ramis: The comedy legend directed 4 episodes of “The Office”
Ramis, who began his career on “SCTV,” directed Pam’s childbirth. And, as producer Michael Schur tweeted, "Harold Ramis directed The Office Christmas episode S3, and it was so good we just made it an hour long so we wouldn't have to cut anything.”


“It’s ugly, it’s sweaty, it’s painful,” “Jeopardy!’s” Arthur Chu says of his strategy
"But it worked,” he says. "For thousands and thousands of dollars at stake, for me, that’s what I had to do. PLUS: Chu returns to “Jeopardy!” tonight.


Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony down sharply “The Amazing Race” has its lowest-rated premiere
The Sochi closer was the lowest-rated Closing Ceremonies ever in the 18-49 demo.


There are too many reasons why “Piers Morgan Tonight” failed
Was it his staunch Britishness? Or was it his abrasive personality? PLUS: Clearly, CNN made a serious misjudgment with Morgan.


“True Detective” is mistreating its women on purpose
The women of “True Detective” are presented as a "parade of scolds, sluts, and the strung-out,” says Willa Paskin. But that’s the point creator Nic Pizzolatto is trying to get across. "Ignoring women may be the show’s blind spot, but it is also one of its major themes,” she says. PLUS: This was the first disappointing episode, in defense of last night’s plot twists, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson did some tango or salsa dancing before last night’s big scene, and Michelle Monaghan defends the show’s treatment of its female characters.


Paula Deen rides Food Network’s Robert Irvine, says: “I’m back in the saddle”
Deen made her declaration Sunday at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.


“Downton Abbey” creator addresses this season’s criticism, and the rape storyline

Says Julian Fellowes: "So many women have had to conceal things that have happened to them, because if they reveal them, they went down, too. It was very important that it should be completely clear that it is not the victim’s fault at all. This was a chance to make the argument for the innocent rape victim who has done nothing to deserve it.” PLUS: Why was this season so disappointing?


Jason Alexander took the “Which ‘Seinfeld’ character Are You?” quiz
And he got Jerry.


“Party Down South” star arrested for allegedly burglarizing a car
Lyle Boudreaux stole a cred it card, police say.


Look back at the last 3 “Late Night” launches
David Letterman in 1982, Conan O’Brien in 1993 and Jimmy Fallon 2009.

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<p>Emma Watson is one of 46 presenters confirmed for Sunday's Oscar ceremony.</p>

Emma Watson is one of 46 presenters confirmed for Sunday's Oscar ceremony.

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Oscar presenters run the gamut from Emma Watson to Robert De Niro to Tyler Perry

Academy has revealed the names of all 46 presenters at Sunday's ceremony

I don't think I remember the Academy doing this before -- or perhaps I simply haven't paid enough attention in years past -- but the names of all 46 presenters at this Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony have been revealed. And a deep and varied list it is too. 29 of them are Oscar nominees. 14 of them are Oscar winners. One of them is Jason Sudeikis.

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