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<p>Woody Allen and Mia Farrow in &quot;Hannah and Her Sisters.&quot;</p>

Woody Allen and Mia Farrow in "Hannah and Her Sisters."

Credit: MGM

What if Woody Allen and Mia Farrow had stayed together?

How they might have fared without one of Hollywood's most acrimonious breakups

This week HitFix is revisiting some of the key turning points in recent entertainment history and considering what would have happened if history had turned a bit differently. What if...?

In the long and luridly storied history of Hollywood breakups, you'd be hard pressed to find an uglier one than the nuclear meltdown that occurred between Woody Allen and his longest-serving muse, Mia Farrow, in 1992. The quintessential New York writer-director and the Beverly Hills-born actress -- an industry princess who had already been married to Frank Sinatra and Andre Previn -- were an unlikely match when they got together in 1980, but their relationship proved a fruitful one, producing three children and 13 films together. Allen's a director known for reusing favorite actors, but not even former partner Diane Keaton approaches Farrow for the title of his most frequent collaborator: between such films as "Zelig," "The Purple Rose of Cairo," "Hannah and Her Sisters," "Crimes and Misdemeanors," "Alice" and their brilliant parting effort "Husbands and Wives" -- a film released in the heat of their breakup, and a brutally close-to-the-bone blueprint thereof. 

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Album Review: John Mayer's 'Paradise Valley' features a mature Mayer, Katy Perry and Frank Ocean
Credit: Sony Music

Album Review: John Mayer's 'Paradise Valley' features a mature Mayer, Katy Perry and Frank Ocean

It's a graceful, heartfelt, musical ride

Whether it was life slapping him around a bit, his lengthy recovery from his vocal surgery, or just a general maturing, over the course of 2012’s excellent, underrated “Born and Raised” and “Paradise Valley,” John Mayer’s sturdy new album out today, Mayer has found his voice again. And a confidence that he never previously possessed.

Even though Mayer is only 35, he’s developed an old soul. He’s talked in interviews about not really fitting in at mainstream radio anymore and that may be true, but his former pop sheen has been replaced with something that sounds a lot like career longevity.

Almost everything on “Paradise Valley” has an unrushed, pleasing, timeless feel to it that never sounds forced. It’s tempting to use the word tasteful, if it weren’t now a polite synonym for boring and bland, which “Paradise Valley” is absolutely not.

Don Was, who produced “Born And Raised” and co-produces with Mayer here, has created an intimacy that feels as if Mayer is playing in your living room. His vocals and his guitars are closely miked and there’s a lot of air around the notes. Just as the recording sounds unhurried, it also sounds blessedly uncrowded, a rarity these days. Most songs have wide open spaces to let the notes breathe and let the excellent musicianship shine through. 

Mayer has always had a ear tuned toward country and he lets it flourish on “You’re No One ‘Til Someone Lets You Down,” a Randy Newman-like amusing, yet pointed, look at love gone sour with an extremely pliant pedal steel solo by the master, Paul Franklin, as well as Chet Atkins-type playing by Mayer.

Franklin returns for another of “Paradise Valley’s” finest tracks, “Dear Marie,” a swaying, chugging country cut about looking up a lost love. “From time to time, I go looking for your photograph online/some kind of judge in Ohio is all I find,” Mayer sings. There’s a simple beauty and truth to the track.

The piano ballad, “I Will Be Lost (At Sea),” has a sure touch, anchored by Chuck Leavell’s gorgeous keyboards, and lyrically, it speaks of a certain redemption no matter how rough the water. It feels like that redemption may be here now for Mayer.

If you need more proof that this is not your Mayer of yore, he’s looking for longtime love on “Waitin’ On The Day,” a gentle ode to fidelity that is as far from “Your Body Is A Wonderland” as possible. Similarly, on the lilting “Who You Love,” featuring his current girlfriend and co-writer Katy Perry, Mayer and Perry address the joy of falling in love with someone when you least expect it. It’s sweet and deliberately non-showy, although Perry's giggle at the end is a little twee. Perry’s not the only love interest referenced here: first single, “Paper Doll” (with its of-the-moment Prancercising video) is rumored to be about Taylor Swift.

Other than Perry, the other high-wattage guest is Frank Ocean on “Wildfire,” a 88-second emotional track with Ocean on lead about a suicidal friend. A second “Wildfire” serves as Mayer’s response to Ocean’s song.

Mayer wrote all the tracks here except for Ocean’s “Wildfire,” and a southern fried cover of  the late JJ Cale’s “Call Me The Breeze,” which just drops off as if it were a first take. Like most of the songs here, Mayer’s clean, crisp guitar playing is surrounded with the lightest of accompaniment: drums, bass and keyboard. When the players are as accomplished as these, no further embellishment is needed.

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'CSI' bringing back Marg Helgenberger for Episode 300


"CSI" bringing back Marg Helgenberger for Episode 300

Catherine Willows hasn't been on "CSI" since departing halfway through Season 12.


TV star salaries revealed: Jon Stewart is No. 1 in late-night

Stewart currently makes $25 to $30 million a year, which puts him ahead of Letterman and Leno. Meanwhile, Ashton Kutcher is tops in the sitcom world and Mark Harmon is the highest-paid dramatic actor.


Fox rejects Asian-American media watchdog's request to pull "Dads"

In a letter, Fox execs wrote, "This is a show that will be evocative and will poke fun at stereotypes and bigotries -- sometimes through over-the-top, ridiculous situations."


Bryan Cranston was a member of his high school's chemistry club
Check out yearbook pics of the future "Breaking Bad" star.


Report: Larry David is America's richest comedian, followed by Jerry Seinfeld
According to a new study by Wealth-X, David is worth $900 million to Seinfeld's $800 million. David Letterman, Bill Cosby and Adam Sandler are in 3rd, 4th and 5th place.


Bill Rancic to star in a "Dirty Jobs"-like reality show

"The Apprentice" champ will tackle the world's most dangerous jobs on "Training Day."


"90210" alum Jessica Stroup joining "The Following"

She'll play Kevin Bacon's niece.


"True Blood's" season finale is down from last year
About 4.1 million watched this week's episode, which is also down from the season premiere.


James Franco teases a "New TV series about art Duuuh"
"They don't want me to say the channel yet, don't know why," he wrote on Instagram. "But I guess you'll find out Wednesday."

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Elmore Leonard dies at 87


Elmore Leonard dies at 87
The legendary author's crime novels inspired TV shows from FX's "Justified," starring Timothy Olyphant, to ABC's "Karen Sisco," starring Carla Gugino.

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What If Radiohead never released a pay-what-you-want album?

What If Radiohead never released a pay-what-you-want album?

'In Rainbows' was a revolution... for better or for worse?

This week HitFix is revisiting some of the key turning points in recent entertainment history and considering what would have happened if history had turned a bit differently. What if...?

By the time Radiohead had prepared and released their October 2007 album “In Rainbows,” the band had released six albums prior. All but one reached platinum status and they’d earned three top 3 albums on The Billboard 200. Radiohead had split with their record home EMI after 2003’s “Hail to the Thief” and yet continued to dominate on tour. Various members including Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood had also released solo and soundtrack projects: it was prime time to realize their value as an indie, thus time for some independent thinking. The British band released their next album “In Rainbows” digitally through their own website via a “pay-what-you-want” scheme. Fans could buy for $0.00. And Radiohead announced it only 10 days ahead of time. They later sold the album by licensing it to various labels, after the world poured out critical acclaim for the pay model (oh, and for the sound of it, too).
 
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'N Sync will reunite and perform at VMAs


'N Sync will reunite and perform at VMAs
According to Page Six, when Justin Timberlake receives the Vanguard Award, he'll be joined on stage by his former bandmates.


Timothy Olyphant to romance "Mindy"
The "Justified" star will play a professional skateboarder on "The Mindy Project."


"Today" is starting an Oprah-like book club

Publishers hope the new "Today" book club, launching Tuesday, becomes the successor to Oprah's Book Club.


See the "Scandal" Season 3 poster

"The secret is out." PLUS: "Scandal" books Cynthia Stevenson.


Behind the scenes of the "Breaking Bad" burial

How much work went into digging that hole?


Watch the 3rd "Sons of Anarchy" Season 6 promo
"No more guns."

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Shonda Rhimes sending 'Grey's Anatomy' cast and crew on a Caribbean cruise


Shonda Rhimes sending "Grey's Anatomy" cast and crew on a Caribbean cruise
Ellen Pompeo says Rhimes made the announcement to mark the show's 200th episode. PLUS: See the cast slicing the 200th episode cake.


Kym Johnson taking a break from "Dancing with the Stars" after 14 seasons

The two-time "Dancing" champ says she's taking next season off to return to Australia.


Is "Breaking Bad" trying to pull a "Lost"?
"Lost" producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse couldn't help but appreciate last night's lottery numbers. PLUS: A Heisenberg mural goes up in England, Harvard man Dean Norris curses on Letterman, and why Skyler is one of least sympathetic characters on TV.


NBC buys a mermaid comedy

The project from "Sex and the City" writer Jenny Bicks follows a mermaid who washes ashore in Miami and gets a job at a bar.


"Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica" premiered 10 years ago today

Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey's MTV reality show famous for the chicken/tuna scene lasted for three seasons, ending in March 2005, one year before their divorce.


How to solve the deluge of quality TV: Pay showrunners to not make more shows
Presenting the "Television Adjustment Act."


Lee Daniels' next project: A Sammy David Jr. biopic for HBO?

The director of No. 1 movie "The Butler" is said to be interested in Sammy Davis Jr. film.


"Biggest Loser" dumps longtime trainer for one who isn't certified
Sandy Krum is out, and the much younger Ryan Applegate is in.


Screech for "Celebrity Big Brother"?

"Saved by the Bell" star Dustin Diamond is rumored to be among the housemates on the UK reality show, which returns on Thursday.


"Community" cast returns to work

Even Donald Glover was on set today for the first day of work on Season 5.


CNN responds to Alec Baldwin's rumored MSNBC show with "Rachel Nichols: Unguarded"
The former ESPN star will host a Friday night sports-themed show.


ABC buys another Shonda Rhimes TV project: "How to Get Away With Murder"
The legal thriller will follow a group of law school students and their brilliant professor.


Fox is betting on "Demi Lovato Thursdays"
Can putting Lovato on both "Glee" and "The X Factor" for six Thursdays deliver more viewers to both shows.


"NYPD Blue" alum James McDaniel joins "The Following"

He'll play a task force-leading FBI agent on the Fox drama.


"HIMYM" co-creator talks Robin's stepmom and a possible spinoff
Carter Bays isn't ruling out a relationship-based spinoff.


"Ravenswood" adds Henry Simmons
"The NYPD Blue" alum will be joined by his wife, "Numbers" alum Sophina Brown.


What if NBC never gave the 10 o'clock timeslot to Jay Leno?
The Peacock's 10 o'clock move had widespread ramifications, including freeing up Damian Lewis to do "Homeland" instead of sticking with "Life" on NBC.


Nick's "Instant Mom" gets 7 more episodes
The Tia Mowry comedy debuts on Sept. 29.


Male nudity on TV: Here's a brief survey
From "True Blood" to "Oz" to "Spartacus."


What if Larry David's golf outing with President Obama inspired a "Curb  Your Enthusiasm" episode?

How awkward would it get? PLUS: Egyptian propaganda rips off "Curb"


Maria Menounos tries some WWE Divas wrestling
The "Extra" host teamed with WWE star Natalya at WWE SummerSlam.


Does Aaron Sorkin have a "Newsroom" checklist?
Each week, Sorkin seems to check off a number of boxes.


Jason Stackhouse: "True Blood's" greatest creation

Ryan Kwanten's character came out the best after last night's season finale. PLUS: In defense of Season 6.


Bill Clinton thanks Stephen Colbert for helping him with Twitter
The former president is now at 1 million followers.


"The Writer's Room" tackles "New Girl's" big kiss

Watch Jake Johnson and creator Liz Meriwether discuss the first kiss between Nick and Jess.


Watch the "Bones" cast promote Season 9

In a "Gravely Humerus" new video.


"Drop Dead Diva's" Kate Levering becomes a mom

The actress gave birth earlier this month.

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<p>Lili Taylor and River Phoenix were heartbreaking in the lovely 'Dogfight,' but it's even more painful when we consider what else Phoenix might have accomplished.</p>

Lili Taylor and River Phoenix were heartbreaking in the lovely 'Dogfight,' but it's even more painful when we consider what else Phoenix might have accomplished.

Credit: Warner Bros.

What if River Phoenix had lived?

We examine a scenario we desperately wish was true

This week HitFix is revisiting some of the key turning points in recent entertainment history and considering what would have happened if history had turned a bit differently. What if...?

There's a question I've turned over in my head a thousand times, and while there are music fans who I'm sure have very strong feelings about the tragic deaths of artists whose work was cut short, as a film fan and as someone who got hooked on movies in the '70s, who came of age in the '80s, and who moved to Hollywood just as the '90s kicked off, there is one question that looms largest for me, one that I feel strongly about as my first pick. If we're trying to imagine a world we wish had happened, this is question number one for me…

What if River Phoenix had lived?

WHEN WAS IT?

The night of October 31, 1993 still seems unreal to me, especially the way the news spread that River Phoenix had collapsed on the sidewalk outside the Viper Room. Living in LA, that conjured such a specific image, and it seemed offensive to think of someone as gifted as Phoenix suddenly simply not being there anymore. As a fan of his work, I was excited by each new film, knowing full well that we were still just seeing the start of what he could do. He managed to be casually great in a series of films, and I felt like we were seeing the warm-up to a huge adult career. And then... suddenly... gone.

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Adrien Brody

 Adrien Brody

Adrien Brody, Kristen Connolly to turn a trick in 'Houdini'

Miniseries will chronicle magician's rise to fame
As a longtime magic freak (and a biopic sceptic), I was conversely thrilled and unnerved about the latest announcement of yet another biopic (but this one about a magician!) being added to the pantheon. HISTORY announced today that the network has green-lit production of a new four-hour scripted miniseries, "Houdini." The series is slated to start filming this fall with Oscar winner Adrien Brody ("The Pianist") in the title role. Kristen Connolly ("House of Cards," "The Cabin in the Woods") will play Houdini's wife, Bess. The story will trace the arc of Houdini’s life from desperate poverty to worldwide fame. 
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 197

Dan and Alan talk 'Breaking Bad,' 'Alias,' 'Felicity' and answer lots of mail

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls! Live from a spectacularly echo-y corridor of the new HitFix offices in Beverly Hills (and the normally echo-y conference room of Alan's office), it's time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast!
 
With nothing to review this week, we answered mail for a half-hour. Thanks for the mail! We also had a ton to say about this week's "Breaking Bad" episode and then we dedicated a half-hour to our Summer Pilot Rewatch J.J. Abrams double-bill of "Felicity" and "Alias." So it's a long podcast, even if we had nothing to talk about.
 
Our next Pilot Rewatch? "Miami Vice." [The link is to S.1 and you should watch the two-part opener.]
 
Here's today's breakdown:
Listener Mail: Hamm/Cranston Swap (00:01:45 - 00:07:50)
Listener Mail: Gilligan/Weiner Follow-ups (00:08:00 - 00:15:05)
Listener Mail: OnDemand (00:15:10 - 00:20:40)
Listener Mail: ABC Segmenting (00:20:45 - 00:27:45)
Listener Mail: Podcast Show Selection (00:27:55 - 00:34:00)
"Breaking Bad" (00:34:00 - 01:07:15)
Summer Pilot ReWatch: "Felicity"/"Alias" (01:07:30 - 01:38:20)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

 

 

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<p>It's exciting to think that audiences will get a chance to see 'Escape From Tomorrow' after all.</p>

It's exciting to think that audiences will get a chance to see 'Escape From Tomorrow' after all.

Credit: Cinetic Media/PDA

The shot-at-Disney Sundance sensation 'Escape From Tomorrow' will be released theatrically

Will the re-edited film pack the same punch?

By far, the most welcome surprise this year in terms of news is the word today that "Escape From Tomorrow" will be getting a theatrical release in October.

I'm going to be reaching out to the filmmakers to talk to them about the lengthy process they've gone through since Sundance as they've worked to get this film released in some form, and I give huge credit to Cinetic Media for never giving up.

The story broke today courtesy of Steven Zeitchik at The LA Times, and it looks like it's going to be handled through PDA, which is the distribution arm of Cinetic, which was the company handling sales for the film when it showed up at Sundance this year. I was at the film's first public screening, and fifteen minutes into it, I was already convinced that the film would never play a movie theater in commercial release. It just didn't seem like there was any way Disney would ever allow it to happen.

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 197: 'Breaking Bad,' 'Alias,' 'Felicity' & more

Dan and Alan also answer your mail

The

On last week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, we asked you for lots of reader mail questions, and you rose to the occasion, giving us many more good questions than we had time for, even in one of our longer shows to date — and the first one with Dan recording from the new HitFix offices in LA. Hopefully, we'll get some of the acoustic issues there licked, and soon. In the meantime, we answered lots of mail, discussed last night's "Breaking Bad" and did a J.J. Abrams pilot re-watch double bill with "Felicity" & "Alias."  (Up next, either next week or the week after: "Miami Vice," and watch both parts of "Brother's Keeper," please.) 

The rundown:

Listener Mail: Hamm/Cranston Swap (00:01:45 - 00:07:50)
Listener Mail: Gilligan/Weiner Follow-ups (00:08:00 - 00:15:05)
Listener Mail: OnDemand (00:15:10 - 00:20:40)
Listener Mail: ABC Segmenting (00:20:45 - 00:27:45)
Listener Mail: Podcast Show Selection (00:27:55 - 00:34:00)
"Breaking Bad" (00:34:00 - 01:07:15)
Summer Pilot ReWatch: "Felicity"/"Alias" (01:07:30 - 01:38:20)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.

 
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
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