I think it's safe to say that the film business is in a period of transition.
I think it's dangerous to pretend that anyone knows how that period of transition is going to resolve itself.
Steven Spielberg and George Lucas made headlines this week when they spoke at USC as part of the grand opening of the new Interactive Media Building, which is part of USC's School of Cinematic Arts. I think the reason the quotes ended up getting the sort of traction they did in the press is because there's something irresistible about hearing two of the men responsible for the age of the modern blockbuster talk about how blockbusters are ruining Hollywood. There have been a wide range of reactions to the quotes online, but by far, the leading sentiment seems to be a sort of gloating over the idea that these guys are finally realizing what they've done to the industry.
It's an easy claim to make, but it's a hard one to actually back up. By now, it's almost just accepted as a given that "Star Wars" and "Jaws" created the system that exists today, but there's a world of difference between the films that launched Lucas and Spielberg to the top of the business and the films that show up in our theaters week after week right now, and trying to claim that these guys were the ones who lowered the bar does a disservice to the films they made and to the conversation that's worth having about the way decisions are made at the studio level today.
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I think it's safe to say that the film business is in a period of transition.
Why can't "The Voice" find a successful winner?
So far, Season 1 winner Javier Colon has sold fewer albums than William Hung and "American Idol's" least successful winner, Lee DeWyze.
Gordon Ramsay hit with a class action lawsuit from his restaurant employees
The Fox chef is accused of not paying employees minimum wage at an L.A. restaurant.
Olive Garden lends Jimmy Fallon its slogan: "When you're here, you're family"
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"Arrested Development" teams with New Yorker for Emmy ads
Check out the "Arrested" characters, illustrated in classic Al Hirschfeld style.
Ryan Seacrest isn't leaving "Idol" anytime soon
"Every day of my life for the last 12 -- almost 13 -- years," he says. "I've gotten up to either host 'Idol' or go on the auditions. So I'd like to do it as long as they'd like to have me."
John Oliver's "too good" a job on "The Daily Show" -- is it all about the writers?
Is Oliver diminishing what made Jon Stewart so special?
How the "Game of Thrones" creators wound up writing an "It's Always Sunny" episode
Rob McElhenney says he first became friends with D.B. Weiss, then David Benioff. "We probably hung out three or four times socially," says McElhenney. "And one night we went out to dinner and they said, 'Hey, we want to pitch you an episode of the show.'"
Tim Allen celebrates his 60th birthday
The "Last Man Standing" star was greeted last night with a marching band.
Watch the trailer for Showtime's "Masters of Sex"
Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan play famed sex researchers Masters and Johnson.
Dean Cain reacts to "Man of Steel"
The former "Lois & Clark" star was anxious to wear his old Superman costume.
"Bachelorette" star talks about his domestic violence arrest, denies punching ex in face
Brad McKinzie addressed his domestic violence charge, which was later dismissed, on this week's episode and her accusation that he punched her in the face. PLUS: Why Brandon cried, and watch "The Baby Bachelor" make his home visits.
1 year ago, "SNL's" Cecily Strong was babysitting and "just being poor"
She was also touring with Second City and working the box office at Improv Olympics when she got the chance to audition for Lorne Michaels. "I cried a lot," she says of the audition process. "I cry all the time. Ask anyone. But I was so excited to be so close. It was something I’d dreamed about."
Dean Norris: I can talk about the "Breaking Bad" ending with only 8 people
"I can't trust my wife with it," he says. PLUS: Meet "Breaking Bad's" composer.
Study: Cable TV helped bring down India's birth rate
Researchers studied rural villages in five Indian states, and found that once a village got cable TV, fertility declined within a year.
"Vampire Diaries" fans help track down Ian Somerhalder's Twitter hacker
The result was a civil conversation between Somerhalder and his hacker.
Giuliana Rancic delivers the E! News naked for Joan Rivers' 80th birthday
Rivers dared Rancic to host in the buff.
Why is "Mistresses" getting the flak that "Scandal" never gets?
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Alec Baldwin: "I don't necessarily want to be a cable channel prestige documentary host"
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Bobby Flay recalls cooking for Obama and China's president
"I made an All-American meal," the Food Network star says of the meal he cooked last Friday.
European fast food chain launches a Homer Simpson-themed menu
Check out the "Donut Burgers" and cheesy doughnuts at the restaurant Quick.
"Toddlers & Tiaras" mom is creating an energy drink for kids
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"Game of Thrones" star Emilia Clarke has become Britain's hottest young actress
The HBO role is one of Clarke's first acting gigs.
Before "The Bling Ring," there was E!'s "Pretty Wild"
The short-lived 2010 reality show features two of the celebrity burglars who portrayed in Sofia Coppola's new movie.
Dennis Rodman's "Vice" trip to North Korea airs, looking like propaganda
Tonight's episode makes North Korea seem silly, not scary.
IFC airing 3 "Three Stooges" marathons, complete with on-screen facts
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"True Blood" is back for Season 6 -- and very naked
At this point, is nudity the only reason to watch the HBO series? PLUS: "True Blood's" showrunner previews Season 6, and does the new season get back on track?
Bear Grylls fan gets a bloody big tattoo
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"Veep" creator: Real life is mirroring our show
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TV stars reveal their fave shows
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Jeff Garlin tells Judd Apatow about losing his virginity to a heckler
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"Magic City" returns, still one of TV's best-looking shows
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For sale: "Suits" body wash, cufflinks
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"Kimmy Gibler" from "Full House" has been posting old pics on Instagram
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"Teen Mom" Farrah Abraham got D-cup breast implants
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Melinda Newman's been traveling all over the place, so this week I had a chance to interview a kick ass singer (and TV fan) Jenna Syde of Jenna Syde and the Watchers. If you haven't heard of her, she's an L.A. icon with great pipes -- and CulturePop is the first to broadcast the band's latest single, "Love Doll," from the new EP, "Pretty In Plastic." Hear it here first.
Plus, we talked about all of Jenna's favorite TV shows, including "Game of Thrones," "True Blood," and "Dexter" -- which you might recognize as the inspiration for the band's EP cover. But click through, because you'll want to see the band's entirely-shot-in-a-strip-club video. Yeah, that. Anyway, here's the rundown:
"Mad Men's" Matthew Weiner: "No one's going to die...this season"
"Thank God!" said Jessica Pare in response to learning that Megan Draper isn't being killed off. "It's just not part of the show. No one's going to die," says Weiner, adding "This season... I didn't say never!"
George Wendt to have a "Cheers" reunion with Kirstie Alley and Rhea Perlman
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Krysten Ritter will be back for the "Veronica Mars" movie
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Bruno Mars steps back to ‘70s for his video for the sparkly “Treasure.”
The song sounds like something straight out of a Shalamar, Michael Jackson or Prince disco album, so it stands to reason that the video similarly goes back to that time. In a look that Bruno and the boy first sported when they performed the song on the Billboard Music Awards, Mars and his band are all in matching red suits with gold chains and what we can only hope are polyester shirts.
[More after the jump...]
CBS cuts Obama audio from the "Under the Dome" pilot
The president's remarks from Hurricane Sandy were re-used in the pilot sent to critics, but CBS has opted to leave the presidents voice on the cutting room floor.
"Grey's Anatomy" promotes 4
Gaius Charles, Camilla Luddington, Tessa Ferrer and Jerrika Hinton will become series regulars next season.
"Breaking Amish" is L.A.-bound
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Vincent Kartheiser explains "Mad Men's" Pete and Bob moment
Kartheiser says, "Pete's not quite aware when it first happens that that's what it is. It’s not like Bob tried to kiss him, so he’s being subtle. He’s being slight with it, you know, because he doesn't quite know that that’s what it means." PLUS: Kiernan Shipka has noticed Sally Draper's shorter skirts.
"Scandal" promotes Scott Foley
He'll become a series regular in Season 3.
Jorge Garcia's "Lost" reunion: He'll appear on "Hawaii Five-0"
He's returning to Hawaii for a reunion with Daniel Dae Kim.
"Katie" stations are not impressed
The mostly ABC affiliates that air Katie Couric's talk show are hoping there's tweaks to next season because Season 1 didn't meet their ratings expectations.
Stephen Colbert's mom dies at 92
Lorna Colbert died on Wednesday. She had 11 children, including Stephen, the youngest, who paid tribute to her last year after taking a brief hiatus when his mom was ailing. Lorna Colbert lost her husband and two sons in a plane crash in 1974, when Stephen was 10.
50 Cent's drug kingpin drama gets series order at Starz
"Power" follows a nightclub owner who lives a double life working in the drug world.
NBC Entertainment boss: We have 2 years to turn things around
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Converse coming out with a "Simpsons" sneaker collection
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Jeff Probst: "Survivor's" final season might feature all winners
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Jimmy Kimmel invades Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" video
Kimmel's sidekick Guillermo also interfered with the video shoot.
Starz puts the "Magic City" Season 2 premiere online
Watch an edited version for free.
Lifetime's Lizzie Borden movie adds Billy Campbell and Clea Duvall
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Oprah Winfrey may have retired from her self-titled talk show after 25 years, but that doesn't mean she isn't pulling in the star power over at her OWN network. "Oprah's Master Class" (airing Sundays) features stars hand-picked by Oprah to share the lessons they've learned along the way, as well as their successes, failures, triumphs, disappointments and heartbreaks.
Yesterday's Variety story about "Despicable Me 2" receiving a standing ovation at its world premiere at the Annecy Animation Festival in France on Wednesday evening didn't seem especially noteworthy. At any film festival, a standing ovation is just as often a polite formality as it is an acknowledgement of exceptional achievement, and as reporter John Hopewell noted, the French-crafted film was always likely to be warmly received at a local fest.
HBO teases "True Detective" starring Woody Harrelson & Matthew McConaughey
Michelle Monaghan also stars in the serial killer drama debuting next year.
Discovery sued after a reality show's pyrotechnic disaster kills 1 woman
A rocket malfunctioned last year during filming of the military-themed "Brothers in Arms," killing Terry Flanell. Her family has filed suit against Discovery.
Charlie Sheen calls "Teen Mom" Farrah Abraham a "desperate guzzler of douche agua"
Sheen wasn't happy that Farrah leaked their private text conversations.
Eve Best exiting "Nurse Jackie"
It was her decision not to return for Season 7.
"Burn Notice" bringing back Garret Dillahunt
His character key in the Michael story will return in an episode this season.
"Real Housewives" wedding: Joanna Krupa ties the knot
The former "Dancing" star got married in a $1 million "Princess Wedding."
CBS moves "Brooklyn DA" to Saturdays
The first three episodes aired on Tuesdays.
NEW YORK—Sting sang a feisty “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” to Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Foreigner’s Mick Jones and Lou Gramm shared a stage together for the first time in a decade, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry delivered a spiky “Walk This Way” at the 2013 Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies here Thursday night (14).
Sure, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is great, but many musicians say the hall they really want to join is the Songwriters Hall of Fame. It’s much less glitzy and has no museum (yet) to show off its wares, but to be considered a songwriter in the same company as greats like Bacharach & David, Leiber & Stoller, Bob Dylan, Holland/Dozier/Holland and Jimmy Webb is what many songwriters consider to be a career pinnacle.
That spirit was evident at the ceremony at New York’s Marriott Marquis. In addition to Tyler and Perry and Jones and Gramm, other inductees included songwriters Holly Knight, JD Souther, and Tony Hatch.
“For all the awards we ever got, this is the one,” Tyler said, accepting with Perry by his side. He talked about the process of songwriting, and how Perry’s “licks and leads...would tell me what to sing. It’s been a crazy ride. Music is the strongest drug there is. This [award] is the one that means everything to us.”
Similarly, John and Taupin, who received the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award, an honor given to songwriters previously inducted in the Hall, acknowledged the giants who had come before them, who now sat right in front of them. “To be in the room with Jimmy Webb, he was our idol,” said John. “Smokey Robinson was our idol. To be in the same room fills me with humility, joy and pride. Songwriting takes you around the world. When you write a song, it’s like giving birth to a child.” He also joked that in their 46-year partnership, he and Taupin had never fought. “We may have had an argument about what I was wearing,” he said, “but not about songs...he’s one of the loves of my life.”
In one of the evening’s most humorous speeches, producer/songwriter Benny Blanco received the Hal David Starlight Award, which honors an up-and-coming talent. Blanco inducted by previous recipient Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas, has co-written a slew of hits, including Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” Maroon 5/Christina Aguilera’s “Moves Like Jagger,” Ke$ha’s “Die Young,” and Wiz Khalifa’s “Work Hard, Play Hard,” which Khalifa performed at the ceremony.
“I almost peed in my pants,” said Blanco, as he took the stage, joking that the award was far beyond anything he had ever aspired too. “All my life, I thought I was aiming high for McDonald’s employee of the month award.” He described songwriting as “about being yourself, spilling your guts and hoping no one locks you up for what you said. Songwriting’s a drug and I’m probably going to smoke it until the day I die.” He shook his head, looked around, at the songwriting royalty before him and remarked his incredulity about being “in a room [with people] I should probably be serving food to.”
The highlight of the evening was a reunion between Foreigner’s Mick Jones and Lou Gramm, which turned from slightly awkward at the acceptance podium, after being inducted by Billy Joel, to brotherly as the two performed together for the first time since Gramm left the band in 2003.
They warmed up with a well-received “Jukebox Hero,” but really hit their stride with a moving rendition, backed by a full choir, of “I Want To Know What Love Is.” Gramm, who suffered from a benign brain tumor years ago, sounded startlingly strong and clear, bringing the crowd to its feet during the song and for a long standing ovation.
Other standouts included Alison Krauss, who delivered an angelic, poignant version of Souther’s “Faithless Love,” a tune originally made famous by Linda Ronstadt, and Jordin Sparks’ moving rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” which received the Towering Song Award. President Bill Clinton inducted the civil rights tune via video.
For all their songwriting prowess, honoree after honoree tried to explain the unexplainable: the magical, inexplicable alchemy that creates a song. Perhaps Souther said it best when he described songwriting is like “trying to start a car on ice...you have no idea how you did it.”
NEW YORK—Piano men Billy Joel and Elton John, who have been bickering with each other through the press for the last two years after more than 15 years of successfully touring together on their Face to Face outings, goodnaturedly put their differences behind them at Thursday night’s Songwriters Hall of Fame 2013 induction ceremony in New York, even though they never spoke face to face.
“I didn't see you tonight Mr. Joel, but I love you dearly," John said from the stage, after he and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin accepted the Johnny Mercer Award, the highest honor bestowed upon songwriters previously inducted into the Hall of Fame.
John left after receiving the award, presented by Sting, but on the off chance that the “Your Song” singer was still in the crowded Marriott Marquis ballroom, Joel responded to the olive branch when he later took the stage to induct Foreigner’s Mick Jones and Lou Gramm.
“Is Elton still here,” he asked. “I tried to get over to his table [but] some girl came up and said ‘Remember when you threw me in the pool?’ If he’s still here, call me. It’s the same phone number. We’re fine. It’s probably just pianist envy.”
The pair’s history goes back almost 20 years. While still touring individually, the two also began playing together off and on again starting in 1995 in a series of tremendously popular and lucrative outings that featured them playing their own sets, as well as a set together. They last toured together in 2010.
In 2011, John complained to Rolling Stone about “so many canceled tours because of [Billy’s] illnesses and various other things, alcoholism...he’s going to hate me for this, but every time he’s gone to rehab, they’ve been rehab light. When I went to rehab, I had to clean the floors.”
More recently, John said that he thought Joel, who hasn’t put out an album of new rock songs in more than 20 years because he’s afraid or too lazy to write new material. In a profile in The New York Times last month, Joel responded by saying, “That’s his opinion. I don’t do it because I don’t wanna. He tends to shoot off his mouth...Maybe he’s trying to motivate me, to get me mad or something. He’s kind of like a mom.”
Maybe now the two will actually talk face to face soon, if not Face To Face.