‘Showgirls’ Director Thanks Brie Larson for Getting Salty with Rob Lowe

Oh, hey, a bunch of anonymous folks collected the numbers for White House staff where you can actually call and maybe leave a message with Kellyanne Conway or Jared Kushner now, since the official White House public comments line doesn’t seem to exist any longer, oddly starting this year… (Gothamist)

Azealia Banks causing draaaaahmmmma. Shocking. *yawn* — (Lainey)

When I was 20, I was a nanny for triplets, so this news makes me really happppyyy. Pharrell Williams and his wife Helen had triplets! — (DListed)

These Trump regret tweets are both delicious and sad. (Tumblr)

Word is Trump will throw a big ol’ titty baby fit if he has to meet with Prince Charles. Supreme Ruler Stubby Fingers only wants to meet with William, Kate, and Harry. I think the whole damn family should just put a sign on Buckingham Palace that says, «Gone Fishin'» and be mysteriously absent that day. (Celebitchy)

I have no segue for this, but look at this great dress Bryce Dallas Howard wore to the SAG Awards. Off the rack. Like, that dress cost less than my purse. I need to go shopping with her. I need to learn her ways. (Go Fug Yourself)

Here’s a look at the TV shows we may be seeing on our screens come this fall. Good news: There’s a show in the works about Alex Blumberg — always the no in the «Yes Yes No» segment on the «Reply All» podcast. The bad news: Zach Braff would be playing him. (But other goods news: Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey shows). (Uproxx)

I’m in a «FUCK EVERYONE» kind of mood today, so this trailer really appealed to me, because, man, I really want everyone to not be assholes too. Just, yeah, don’t be assholes, ok? — (oohlo)

A quick follow up to Rob Lowe’s insensitive remarks about the airport protests this weekend, which cast members of the West Wing and Brie Larson made fun of. Paul Verhoeven also weighed in, because Rob Lowe’s dickishness is the gift that keeps giving.

But this beautiful video from Danish TV is a bit of a healing balm. It’s worth three minutes of your time. You’re welcome!

And finally, how every afternoon should go — (The Daily Otter)

Lainey is filling in for Courtney today, so some links may go nowhere and some blurbs may have been reported before. You’ll live. Lainey is not THAT Lainey, but she is *that* Lainey.

Pajiba

Review: FX’s Marvel Series, ‘Legion’ and Fox’s ’24’ Reboot, ’24: Legacy’

If orange is the new black, then February is the new September. Forget Fall premieres: Winter premieres are where most of the heavy hitters now reside. There’s a metric ton of shows either premiering or returning, and I’ll be reviewing some in this space each week. For now, let’s look at two of the more highly-anticipated ones. Does FX’s Legion re-invent the Marvel small-screen universe? Does FOX’s 24: Legacy live up to its predecessor?

Read on and find out.

***

FX’s Legion, which debuts February 8th, is such a departure from everything else that Marvel has put on the small screen to date that it’s worth celebrating just for being unique. It doesn’t try to tie into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it doesn’t look visually flat, and it has no desire to adhere to the normal narrative patterns of a serialized television show. These are all wonderful qualities, which suggests that Marvel may finally realize there’s more than one way to bring its huge roster of characters into our living rooms.

But at least through the first three episodes made for review, there’s much more to admire than love. Is that due to the relatively obscure Marvel character at the center of this show? Not at all. That’s an excuse rather than a reason. Indeed, Dan Stevens goes a long way towards selling titular protagonist David Haller as a flesh-and-blood person rather than the potentially most-powerful mutant in the world. Nothing about Haller’s anonymity when compared to characters like Wolverine and Cyclops has anything to do with the short’s early (and honestly, minor) shortcomings.

If there’s a show that comes to mind during these episodes, it’s Hannibal. But while both shows use the visual iconography of dreams to frame each episode, Legion tends to be percussive while Hannibal stayed hypnotic. Both have signature rhythms, but those in Legion are intentionally designed to keep audiences on their toes rather than lull them into a sense of true displacement.

Now, that’s a conscious choice on behalf of creator Noah Hawley and the phenomenal production team that put together Legion. Other shows should probably stop thinking about winning Emmys for production design, editing, visual effects, and sound mixing, because this show pretty much blows everything else off the map at this point. It’s simply astounding to think what’s even possible on an episodic budget at this stage, but all the money in the world takes a backseat to the inventive ways Legion is shot, composed, framed, and then woven into a disorientating feverscape that nevertheless never completely alienates its audience. But the overall effect calls attention to itself in the moment, rather than in retrospect, which can have an unintended distancing effect while watching.

I have no problem envisioning a scenario in which such visual and aural mastery meets compelling character work. But having seen essentially a third of the first season of the show, the former overshadows the latter. The show is so busy setting up its world that it has little time to simply slow down and show two people express their hopes, fears, and desires. Haller is someone who can’t trust his own brain, and as such most of his scenes feature halting dialogue in which another figure is trying to work out what’s wrong with him. Again, this is by design: Haller can’t be fully-formed from the outset, otherwise there would be no show. Most of the early scenes with true dramatic meat on the bone come when Stevens interacts with Rachel Keller’s character Syd Barrett. Keller, so great on the second season of Fargo, proves here that performance was no fluke.

There’s a lot to like here, and I imagine this will be one of the few reviews that aren’t outright raves from the outset. This isn’t a «comic book television show» in any of the traditional senses, which demonstrates what comic book fans have known all along: There’s really no thing as a «comic book television show.» It’s a reductive way at looking at an infinitely malleable genre. Even if Legion doesn’t start off as an all-time classic show, it’s well worth watching all the same. Come the end of season one, it may have already made that leap. In the meantime, you’ll be able to watch a visually audacious show that has more on its mind that capes and tights.

***

Full disclosure: I’m a 24 buff. I’ve seen every episode, and endured the rollercoaster in quality than represented the show’s full run. For every amazing twist and killer setpiece, there were at least as many silly narrative detours and ill-advised moves. It’s a big, bold, messy, important, frustrating show that doesn’t get nearly enough credit for its importance in 21st-century television. Putting this in his book The Revolution Was Televised was one of the savviest things critic Alan Sepinwall did in that tome: It’s a show that’s usually overlooked but is a better reflection of both the medium and this country’s shifting politics than just about another show.

With that said, 24: Legacy (which returns in the plum post-Super Bowl slot on FOX this Sunday) is a show fueled by nostalgia rather than necessity. It’s a prime example of what I call Mad Lib TV: Simply insert a few locations, verbs, and adjectives into a pre-existing template and voila, you have new content within the same, rigid structure. You could argue that almost ALL of 24 has been Mad Lib TV, and even though I’m a huge fan I’ll admit there’s merit to that argument. There’s ALWAYS something that needs to be completed «within the hour.» There’s ALWAYS a mole inside CTU. There’s ALWAYS someone getting from point A to point B in less time than it would take to teleport there. Trust me, I’m with you.

And yet, the best seasons of this show demonstrated how iterations can alter based on small tweaks to the overall environment. 24 could (and did) offer up the best argument for and against using torture to obtain useful information. The show itself seemed to come around on its own use of this technique, and Kiefer Sutherland’s increasingly craggy face seemed to bear the accumulated weight of the decisions Jack Bauer made. He was our Sin Eater, and his final appearance in 24: Live Another Day offered up a surprisingly unheroic end for a man made to suffer so the rest of us could stay innocent.

In early episodes of 24: Legacy, the skeleton of the show is intact but the soul is absent. Corey Hawkins has something of a thankless task to fill Sutherland’s shoes here, but his character Eric Carter-an ex-Army Ranger whose missions overseas has come back to haunt him back home-is a real asset. His character hatches an absolutely ludicrous plan in episode two to solve a particular problem, but it makes sense that Carter would concoct it. That’s how well 24: Legacy and Hawkins establish this character in swift, bold strokes. What would have reeked of narrative desperation in a lesser season of the show feels like a character-specific choice that even the show realizes is symptomatic of a person that maybe enjoys danger a little too much.

If only the rest of the show lived up to that specificity. Everything else feels like bad fanfic rather than a new spin on a successful formula. Having the season only be twelve episodes reduces the need to extraneous subplots to pad out the narrative, but also means that any dull or ill-advised subplot that stays in stands out all the more for its uselessness. I audibly groaned each time certain people returned to my screen, and rubbed my temples each time I guessed the «twist» scenes before an onscreen character did. Spoiler alert: I’m horrific at guessing twists, mostly because the best shows are compelling enough that I’m living in the moment rather than trying to place bets on whodunit. 24: Legacy has many scenes in which I mentally projected myself into other, better parts of the same show. (Maybe that’s also the plot of an upcoming episode of Legion?)

Perhaps 24: Legacy isn’t so much Mad Libs TV as Member Berries TV, to borrow a concept from the latest season of South Park. It exists, not unlike the upcoming reboot of Prison Break, because it’s easier to bring back something executives know people like rather than try to impress them with new intellectual property. The same goes for film as well. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, there’s nothing inherently wrong with taking an existing property and revitalizing it. But when you’re taking that property and Weekend At Bernie’s-ing it … well, then the corpse reveals itself as such. Because I’m a 24 completist, I’ll probably watch every episode, but I’ll be looking for signs of life beyond Hawkins’ compelling lead performance to make it more than an obligatory act.

Ryan McGee currently covers SNL for Rolling Stone. He has previously written about television for Screencrush, The AV Club, and Hitfix, among others, and co-hosts a podcast with Maureen Ryan Follow him on Twitter.

Pajiba

Assouline Releases First Illustrated Novel

This month, luxury book publisher Assouline released its first illustrated novel. Known for their legendary and recognizable coffee table tomes like The Big Book of Chic, American Beauty and Dinner With Jackson Pollock, Assouline is taking it’s first dive into fiction. However, the new work is just as beautiful as previous titles, with an eye-catching cover and  illustrations by Rafael Alterio.                                                          

The novel, titled Manhattan’s Babe, tells a fictionalized tale based on the real-life romance of J.D. Salinger and Oona O’Neill. Their story starts before Salinger wrote The Catcher in the Rye, when he was just 21 years old and O’Neill only 15. Salinger met O’Neill in 1940s New York City, where O’Neill was a socialite who caroused with Truman Capote and Gloria Vanderbilt at landmarks like the Stork Club. Their relationship was cut short by the beginning of WWII. Salinger left for the Army, and O’Neill traveled to Hollywood. While O’Neill lived a glamorous life on the West Coast, eventually marrying Charlie Chaplin, Salinger survived D-Day and the battle in Hürtgen Forest, suffering PTSD after the war ended.

Frédéric Beigbeder and Lara Micheli

In Manhattan’s Babe, author Frédéric Beigbeder imagines what would unfold if the two crossed paths years later. Says Beigbeder, “I would have liked to have known if Salinger saw Oona again after the war. That’s obviously the starry-eyed teen in me. I think it was Oona who inspired the Catcher that would forbid us forever from growing old.” Beigbeder is a world renowned literary critic, writer, filmmaker, TV host and the Editorial Director at Lui magazine. In 2005, he won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for Windows on the World. Beigbeder is no stranger to the Assouline brand, having previously contributed to Le Caca’s Club in 2015.  

Manhattan’s Babe

See more of Manhattan’s Babe here.

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DuJour

Good to See Televisa Deportes’ Nahima Choura at the Super Bowl Again

During Super Bowl 50, we introduced you guys to Televisa Deportes reporter Nahima Choura — you might remember her taking a bunch of selfies with Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers players (and Ian Rapoport).

And if you were a fan of Nahima’s work last year, we’re happy to report she’s back on the scene for Super Bowl 51. In fact, she may have stolen the show on the Media Night floor dancing to MJ while everyone was busy asking meaningless questions:

We’ll be sure to keep you guys in the loop if Nahima drops selfies on selfies again.

[Nahima Choura- IG]


Sports Gossip, Sexy WAGs, NFL and Hot Cheerleaders: BustedCoverage

Kesha’s Lawyers Allege Dr. Luke ‘Vendetta’ Through Artistic Stifling, Withholding of Royalties

Being forced to work under the producer/label boss she accused of abusing her sexually and emotionally has had dire consequences on Kesha’s creative output, according to a new countersuit filed by Kesha’s lawyers. Last year, Kesha’s request for a release from Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe Records was repeatedly denied by judges.

Read more…


Jezebel

The Justin Timberlake Facts Every Die-Hard Fan Should Know

Justin Timberlake has been in the spotlight since he was a kid, but how well do you really know the singer? To celebrate the new dad who has started to share photos of his son, Silas, we’re taking a look at some of the must-know facts every die-hard fan should know. From his time on The Mickey Mouse Club to the *NSYNC years to the ups and downs of his love life, there have been more than a few memorable JT moments. Test your knowledge and get to know more about the singer with a look at these can’t-miss tidbits and quotes, then see his mom’s sweet reaction to her new grandson plus photos from his recent, headline-making appearance at the iHeartRadio Music Awards.

POPSUGAR Celebrity

Gronk Intentionally Missed A Free Throw In High School To Keep His Team’s Score At 69

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-1-27-02-pm

I saw this story making the Twitter rounds this afternoon and if we’re being completely honest here, I didn’t think anything of it. Of course Gronk missed a free throw on purpose to keep his team’s score at 69. Has there ever been a more Gronk story than this? I would’ve been more surprised if this didn’t happen at one time or another in his life.

The story comes from WPRI, a news station in Rhode Island. They did a whole big story on Patriots players when they were in high school and obviously, Gronk stole the show.

And that was far from the only time that Gronk made a high school gymnasium erupt.

“So we’re playing a home game and we have 68 points – now it’s not a blowout, but it’s not a particularly close game either. So he [Gronkowski] gets fouled and goes to the free throw line. He hits the first one to get us to 69 and the place goes nuts because he’s playing into it. On his next free throw, he purposely chucks the ball off the backboard and misses so the score would stay at 69 and then runs back on defense pointing at the scoreboard.”

Yup, pretty much how I would’ve pictured it. Pointing at the scoreboard, crowd going wild, Gronk definitely laughing his ass off.

The only thing less surprising is the hobbies he listed in his school’s media guide. “Working out, playing sports, chicks”. That about sums him up.

rob-gronkowski


Sports Gossip, Sexy WAGs, NFL and Hot Cheerleaders: BustedCoverage

Ben Affleck Has Bailed On Directing “The Batman”

Ben Affleck at the NY Premiere of 'Superman vs. Batman' at Radio City Music Hall

Hmmm…it’s almost like Warner Bros. doesn’t want another massive flop on their hands. No. That’s definitely not why this is happening. It’s just that Ben Affleck cares so much about Batman and wants to make the best gosh-darn Batman movie he can make. And apparently that means letting someone else do the job.

Ben was rumored to be doing it all for the next Batman movie, The Batman, but Variety says that he’s sticking to co-writing, producing, and acting now. Sources say that Ben’s decision has nothing to do Live By Night flopping. Ben released this statement about not directing The Batman.

“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions. Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world.”

Warner Bros. released a short statement too saying simply that they support Ben’s decision and are “committed to working with him” on The Batman. Variety says there’s currentlya shortlist for possible directors, but that the only one they know of is Matt Reeves, who directed the upcoming War for the Planet of the Apes.

Ben’s Razzie nomination for Batman v Superman was probably a real wake-up call. I know he loves directing, but it’s a good thing that he’s focusing on the acting part of it. If he want’s to avoid another Razzie nomination for The Batman, he’s got to get his ass to some acting classes. Ben’s Batman needs to work on emoting at a level beyond hard staring, intense standing, and grunting like an unfrozen caveman.

Pic: Splash

Dlisted

Dine Alone Together

There’s something to be said for celebrating Valentine’s Day with a simple date night—dinner for two by candlelight, with a single red rose on the table—but not so much for the inevitable presence of other diners. For a truly special experience, an intimate setting is key, and while plenty of restaurants offer a quiet ambiance and cozy booths, it’s rare to find a spot where you can truly be alone. The four dining concepts below are among the most private options on earth.

Mesa1: If you’re in Mexico staying at the W Punta de Mita hotel, you’re already doing Valentine’s Day right. Nestled in the lush jungle and overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it’s romantic without even trying to be. There are six restaurants on the property, but for a special date night, Mesa1 is a must. Comprised of a single table in the middle of an expansive pool which reflects the surrounding palm tree covered hills, you’ll dine on a seven course tasting menu in the privacy of a sky full of stars while waves crash in the background.

Mesa1

Solo Per Due: When in Rome, head north to the village of Vacone for the most romantic dinner of your life. “Just for Two” is a tiny restaurant with only one table built on the remains of an ancient Roman villa where you’ll enjoy an authentic, seasonal Italian meal and will call for your waiter with a silver bell. Before you go, be sure to leave a note in the restaurant’s “libro dei pensieri,” or book of thoughts, where couples from all over the world write down their love stories.

Moët Hennessy’s Ultimate Champagne Dinner: Champagne is a Valentine’s Day staple, so why not plan your whole evening around the stuff? For a romantic evening featuring lots of fine bubbly, Moët Hennessy will work with you to plan a totally bespoke gourmet menu to be paired with five fine champagnes from Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart, Dom Pérignon and Krug. The entire experience is customized, so you can raise your glass in the comfort of your own home—or anywhere else you choose.

Moët Hennessy’s Ultimate Champagne Dinner

Empire Steakhouse: Decked out in crystal chandeliers and velvet booths, the large dining room at this midtown steakhouse is elegant, but not intimate. To enjoy the indulgent Valentine’s Day menu (oysters, lobster tail, filet mignon and beyond) in a more private setting, reserve the wine room. Typically used for events of up to 20 people, the space can be set as a dining room just for two.

Empire Steakhouse

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