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<p>Poor Bopper!</p>

Poor Bopper!

Credit: CBS

Interview: Bopper discusses his 'Amazing Race: All-Stars' medical exit

Why is Mallory his 'perfect double'?

"The Amazing Race" has had twists that sent teams home before leaving Los Angeles, but no Racer has ever gone less distance than William "Bopper" Minton.

 

Sunday (February 23) night's "Amazing Race: All-Stars" premiere began with a sad twist for Team Kentucky. 

 

Bopper, a fan favorite who cheered for partner Mark through an arduous, health-testing Bollywood challenge in their first season, began experiencing internal pain the night before the Race was set to begin, was diagnosed with an inflamed pancreas and was told he shouldn't Race. Instead, Mark was paired, seemingly out of nowhere, with fellow Kentuckian Mallory, making her third appearance on the show, but her first without father Gary.

 

That's the narrative as presented by "The Amazing Race" on Sunday.

 

On Monday morning, I talked with Bopper about his medical condition, how he handled it and how the show handled it. Bopper explained his recent perfect storm of catastrophes and his relief that Mark was able to continue without him. He also noted why Mallory was the closest the show could find to another Bopper.

 

Click through for the full conversation.

 

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Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Sound Editing - 'Gravity' will fend off 'All is Lost' and 'Lone Survivor'

Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Sound Editing - 'Gravity' will fend off 'All is Lost' and 'Lone Survivor'

Chalk another one up for Alfonso Cuarón's craft juggernaut

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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"The Bachelor"

 "The Bachelor"

Credit: ABC

'The Bachelor' recap: Juan Pablo heads to hometowns with mixed results

Does the wrong woman go home this week?

It's time for hometowns! Yay! We can always count on a meltdown, as it turns out families tend not to cotton to relationships formed on television shows through lack of contact with the outside world, unrealistically fabulous first dates (You, me, Vietnam! Go!) and a false sense of limited resources. Or, they're just crazy and overprotective. Tomato, tomahto!

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CBS gets Jamie Lee Curtis to star in a drama pilot


CBS gets Jamie Lee Curtis to star in a drama pilot
In her first regular series role since “Anything But Love” in 1989, Curtis will star in a soapy medical show, playing the mother of three kids who grew up on a reality show. PLUS: Skeet Ulrich joins NBC’s “Babylon Fields."


Watch a preview of Seth Meyers' couch-less "Late Night"

Here is Meyers interviewing Joe Biden with Amy Poehler at the vice president's side. PLUS: Anna Wintour's daughter is a "Late Night" producer.

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<p>I&nbsp;would totally give someone an award for both of those dresses.</p>

I would totally give someone an award for both of those dresses.

Credit: Sony Pictures

A full rundown of my picks if I had an Oscar ballot

From 'Gravity' to 'Get A Horse!', here's the way I'd vote if I could

2013 was an unusually rich year for movies. I felt strongly about both my top ten choices of the year and the runners-up, and I still left off a ton of movies that I enjoyed completely and that I'd recommend to audiences. One of the things that is hardest for me to get my head around when contemplating the Oscars is the idea of picking one thing to represent the year in each of these categories.

Still, if I were told today that I had an Oscar ballot and I was asked to vote, the only way I could do it would be operating from pure gut feeling. I wouldn't worry about trying to predict anyone else's response. This was an annual exercise for Siskel and Ebert for years, and they always seemed to use the opportunity to champion what they felt were the underdogs of the nominations.

We'll run down every category here. If you want a list of all the nominees and in-depth writing about the entire race, you should be on In Contention, where Guy Lodge, Greg Ellwood, and Kris Tapley eat and breathe this stuff. What I'm doing here is what I imagine many Academy voters do… I'm going to run down the list and just pick what I pick, the thing that I think speaks the most to me about last year.

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Jimmy Kimmel to become a dad for the 3rd time


Jimmy Kimmel to become a dad for the 3rd time

Kimmel, who has a 22-year-old daughter and a 20-year-old son, tells Ellen he's expecting with his new wife Molly McNearney, the co-head writer of “Jimmy Kimmel Live."


Revisiting Harold Ramis’ “SCTV” past

Here are some parodies featuring the future “Ghostbusters” star.


Tim Daly to play the “Madam Secretary’s” husband

He’ll co-star opposite Tea Leoni in the CBS pilot about a female secretary of state. More pilot castings: Mykelti Williamson for “Clementine,” Leslie Bibb for “Love is Relative,” and Lily Rabe for “The Visitors."


Seth Meyers gets congrats John Kerry, whom Meyers played on “SNL"
"You’ve come a long way since 2004,” says the secretary of state. PLUS: Jimmy Kimmel also offers best wishes, watch Meyers on “Say Yes to Dress.


Comedy Central renews “Broad City”
The Amy Poehler comedy will be back for a 2nd season.


How “Dallas” plans to fill the J.R. Ewing void in Season 3

There will be new mischief, despite Larry Hagman’s death.


Piers Morgan was “rubbish” as a TV host
Were there any actual Piers Morgan fans?


Why “True Detective” is shallow “macho nonsense"
“Frankly, says Emily Nussbaum, 'True Detective' reeks of the stuff. The series, for all its good looks and its movie-star charisma, isn’t just using dorm-room deep talk as a come-on: it has fallen for its own sales pitch.” PLUS: Does “True Detective” make you feel dumb?, and “True Detective’s” opening with cats, and why Maggie is not a lame character.

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<p>On &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother,&quot;&nbsp;Robin and Lily try to cure Barney's hangover.</p>

On "How I Met Your Mother," Robin and Lily try to cure Barney's hangover.

Credit: CBS

Talkback: 'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Rally'

The gang tries to get Barney over his wedding day hangover

Tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" kicked off the final six-episode stretch of the series' run, and did so in a way that focused as much on the gang's past and future as their present at the Farhampton Inn, including glimpses of Marshall's campaign for New York Supreme Court justice, young Marvin's first day of college and a big night for Ted and the Mother. And, if nothing else, the stuff in the present had a lot of bacon.

So what did you guys think? An entertaining trip through time, or more of the same dopiness of this final season? Did the kiss and/or the Weekend at Barney's gags live up to the years of build-up? Have at it.

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<p>Chiwetel Ejiofor after winning the BAFTA for Best Actor.</p>

Chiwetel Ejiofor after winning the BAFTA for Best Actor.

Credit: AP Photo/Jonathan Short

Chiwetel Ejiofor on responsibility and the necessity of violence in '12 Years a Slave'

The BAFTA-winning actor is looking to spoil in the Best Actor race

Chiwetel Ejiofor's recent BAFTA win for Best Actor was a sweet victory for the 36-year-old actor, and not just because it came on home turf. Eight years previously, the Londoner scored (and lost) his first BAFTA nod in the Rising Star category. Last Sunday's win, atop a slew of recent honors for his imposing turn as freeman-turned-slave Solomon Northup in "12 Years a Slave" -- including, of course, his first Oscar nomination -- underlined the fact that his star has now risen. Long a promising standout in films as diverse as "Dirty Pretty Things," "Kinky Boots" and "Redbelt," the stage-trained star has now asserted himself as a leading man of formidable presence and intelligence.

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Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Supporting Actress - Nyong'o vs. Lawrence in a tale of two ingenues

Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Supporting Actress - Nyong'o vs. Lawrence in a tale of two ingenues

84-year-old June Squibb looks on from the sidelines

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!

Read Full Post
Album review: Beck's melancholy, gorgeous 'Morning Phase'
Credit: Capitol Records

Album review: Beck's melancholy, gorgeous 'Morning Phase'

Has he made 2014's first great album?

Beck hasn’t been particularly prolific lately when it comes to new studio music.  Sure, he’s been busy recording cover albums, producing artists like Thurston Moore and Charlotte Gainsbourg, and collaborating with McSweeney’s on the “Song Reader” sheet-music project, but it’s been more than five years since the release of 2008’s “Modern Guilt.” That break ends tomorrow (24)  with “Morning Phase” tomorrow.

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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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