While Hollywood is in the process of cleaning house in regards to Harvey Weinstein, recent actions taken by groups like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have raised a few eyebrows in terms of potential hypocrisy. The Academy expelling Weinstein does make a difference in some ways — for one, it removes many of his industry privileges and would make any inevitably ham-fisted attempt at a return near impossible, at least on the scale of power Harvey is used to — but it couldn’t help but draw further attention to the abusers and harassers who remain at the heart of the entertainment industry’s systemic misogyny. Bill Cosby is still a member, as is Oscar winner Roman Polanski. Mel Gibson made a triumphant return to the graces of Hollywood with a slew of nominations this year for Hacksaw Ridge and then there’s the Casey Affleck elephant in the room, as we all remember an accused sexual harasser will be giving a woman her Oscar next year, live in front of a billion people, where she’ll probably have to relent to a hug and a kiss from the man who leveraged his connections to a year long whitewash of an Oscar campaign. Nobody expects the industry to burn itself to the ground, as some of us have been craving over the past fortnight, but when the most obvious abusers remain darlings to the world of cinema, you can’t help but wonder if self-awareness comes into the equation.
Last week also saw Amazon cut ties with some planned Weinstein Company TV projects, the main one being a series to be helmed by noted bully David O. Russell. The multiple Oscar nominee behind American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook has one of the industry’s most visible reputations as a nasty piece of work, both as a bullying colleague and a sexual abuser off-screen. He’s made multiple people’s lives hell and never faced the consequences. It’s ironic that he only loses some of his privileges by proxy of another abuser. They say sunlight is the nest disinfectant so let’s remind the world of the disgusting behaviour of David O. Russell.
On the set of Three Kings, Russell was so aggressive that the second assistant director quit. He frequently screamed in people’s faces, seemingly delighting in humiliating him, and the pressure got to be so much that George Clooney, possibly the nicest man in Hollywood not named Tom Hanks, grabbed him by the throat when Russell started banging him on the head and said, ‘Hit me, you pussy, hit me.’ Clooney admitted he came close to killing him, and called the shoot the worst experience of his life.
There’s the infamous leaked footage of the set of I Heart Huckabees, where Russell further screams at Lily Tomlin. The video is below but be warned, it is supremely uncomfortable to watch. Tomlin has since been complimentary about Russell and referred to the incident as a ‘fracas’ but also said that following their making-up after the fight, she was ‘stoic in my silence’.
The I Heart Huckabees mess briefly put a dent in his career, but after the success of The Fighter, he was back in the good books, then began his three movie partnership with Jennifer Lawrence, who once rhapsodised that ‘I want us to be buried next to each other.’ She won her Oscar with Silver Linings Playbook and has been nominated for her other Russell films, but it is on American Hustle where on-set reports once again began to bubble upwards about his brutal temper. This time, Amy Adams faced the brunt of the action. In the now infamous leaked Sony emails, one exchanged detailed worries about the production.
Are you guys doing anything else with him? I know he’s brilliant but we have someone on our show who worked closely with him on ‘American Hustle’ and not only are the stories about him reforming himself total bullshit but the new stories of his abuse and lunatic behavior are extreme even by Hollywood standards… He grabbed one guy by the collar, cursed out people repeatedly in front of others and so abused Amy Adams that Christian Bale got in his face and told him to stop acting like an asshole.’
Yeah, think about that. Christian Bale thought he was being an arsehole. Christian ‘we are fucking done professionally Bale thought David O. Russell was being a prick.
In a 2015 Vogue profile, when Lawrence further raved working with Russell, she said, ‘Because I’m not so sensitive, we can really talk, like man-to-man. Sometimes he accidentally refers to me as he or him. But he really respects and understands women, and by that I mean he doesn’t treat a woman any differently than he’ll treat a man. He would never tiptoe around a woman.’ When the interviewer mentions this to Adams, she responded, ‘Well, if you mean he doesn’t treat people like a lady, I can agree with that.’
A 2004 New York Times piece by Sharon Waxman, entitled ‘The Nudist Buddhist Borderline-Abusive Love-In’, further details his reputation, including a moment on set where he took off his clothes on set, then where he PUT CHRISTOPHER NOLAN IN A HEADLOCK. At a fucking party! Russell is documented as meeting Nolan at a party, shortly after Jude Law had dropped out of I Heart Huckabees to take a role in The Prestige, and putting him in a goddamn headlock to ‘demand[s] that his fellow director show artistic solidarity and give up his star’. Law did end up working with Russell.
In December 2011, a report was filed by Russell’s transgender niece Nicole Peloquin, age 19, accusing him of groping her. She says the pair were working out at a gym together when he offered ‘to help… with ab exercises.’ When asked about her transition process, Peloquin responded by talking about her hormone regime. She then said Russell put his hands under her top ‘and felt both breasts’. Russell does not deny that these events took place. According to the Chicago Tribune, ‘For his part, Russell confirms that the incident happened, but told police that Peloquin was ‘acting very provocative toward him’ and invited him to feel her breasts. He also admitted to being ‘curious about the breast enhancement.» The case was later closed and no charges were pressed. This was later discussed in the Sony emails, which also say he brought Sally Field to tears at a party.
David O. Russell is a bully. He is someone who delights in intimidating and humiliating his colleagues, someone who sees violence as a way to get what he wants, and someone who saw the body of his niece as something he had right to touch. We don’t just have rumours of his behaviour: We have extensive documentation from a variety of legitimate sources, plus video. I used to joke morbidly that you had to make a movie as good as Chinatown for your abuse to be justified in Hollywood; really, you just need to make something as mediocre as Joy. I cannot fathom why anyone is willing to not only put up with him but consistently compensate his bullying and reward the efforts of his behaviour. Yes, some of his films have made money but there isn’t enough cash in the world to justify what he does. I don’t care how much Jennifer Lawrence loves him, I don’t care how much you liked I Heart Huckabees, and I don’t care how excited you were to see a TV series with Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore: If we want to truly learn from the mistakes of decades of covering up Harvey Weinstein’s abuse, we need to demand better across the board. The Academy says its policy of those who abuse their power will be zero tolerance from now on, so let’s keep them accountable.
I’ll end this post with a story. While making the first Twilight movie, Catherine Hardwicke admitted to going off-set for five minutes one day to have a quick cry. She got it out of her system and went back to work, where she has a reputation for her hard work, positivity and good cast and crew relations. Hardwicke did not get to make the sequel to the film she helped make a staggering success, with Deadline reporting sources saying the studio didn’t like her, allotting the success of the film to the male cinematographer, and calling her female agent hysterical. There was also talk that her brief moment of off-set crying was a sign of her being difficult. Later, Hardwicke pitched to direct a boxing drama called The Fighter. She was told a man had to direct it.
Former FOX-y lady Megyn Kelly is finding out that launching a career as a solo artist isn’t that easy. She probably thought that all of the goodwill she engendered from being Twitter-abused by POTUS during the election would propel her to Barbara Walters-heights of newswoman fame. Turns out that Megyn’s really not that popular. Plus, critics say her show sucks. This is why celebrity publicists are letting calls from the Megyn Kelly TODAY show booker go straight to voicemail. None of them want their clients on that shit show, according to Variety.
One high-powered publicist told Variety that she’s down with booking her clients on other parts of the Today show. Just not Meggy’s.
“I’m not booking anyone on her show. I literally haven’t pitched anyone even from right out the gate. The buzz that is out there is so bad.”
Megyn shouldn’t expect to be getting the kind of guests that Ellen, Kelly Ripa, and The View get. Because everyone thought her show was iffy from the get-go. The show’s producers took the show to the big publicity firms in L.A. last summer to sell it and a “lighter, more inspirational” Megyn Kelly. What they reportedly got in return were a lot of quizzical looks and bored glances at Apple watches.
However, according to an insider who attended one of the meetings, the team didn’t seem to have a clear direction of the show they were pitching. Kelly didn’t fit into a box like Ellen DeGeneres or Dr. Oz. And as a result, not too many celebrities jumped onboard.
One publicist who did have Debra Messing a client make an appearance now regrets it.
“I won’t plan to have others go on. None specifically have been offered or asked to, but it’ll be my preference not to.”
NBC says that their efforts to secure stars are doing just fine, thanks. They’ve got enormous d-bagMiles Teller on the way!
“We have celebrities booked for weeks and months to come,” a network rep said. When asked by Variety for specific names coming up, NBC listed Miles Teller, Goldie Hawn and “SNL’s” Alec Baldwin.
While nothing will ever compare to our love for Kit, we couldn’t help but notice that he looks so similar to American actor Christopher Abbott, who most notably played Charlie on Girls. Seriously, sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart. Since both actors have a few exciting projects coming up, our hearts will just have to split in two to be on both sides of the Atlantic.
In February 2001, however, Tom abruptly filed for divorce, citing «irreconcilable differences» and requesting joint custody of their kids. The reason for their split is still a little hazy, although there have long been rumors that Tom’s faith as a Scientologist played a part. The two also rarely spoke about what went wrong in the years following their split, but they (mostly Nicole) have revealed small details about their marriage in recent years. Here’s everything Tom and Nicole have said about their marriage since their split.
«I was so young when I got married. I look back now and I’m like, ‘What?’ You look at Taylor Swift, I mean how old is she? She’s 26. I had two kids by the time I was 27 and I’d been married for four years. But that’s what I wanted.»
«I fell madly, passionately in love. I was reeling with Tom. I would have gone to the ends of the earth for him.»
«I was so young. There is something about that sort of existence that, if you really focus on each other and you’re in that bubble, it’s very intoxicating, because it’s just the two of you. And there is only one other person that’s going through it. It brings you very close, and it’s deeply romantic.»
«Our life together was perfect. It took me a very long time to heal. It was a shock to my system.»
«That was a great relationship. I think it ran its course. I was really damaged and not sure whether [love and marriage] was ever going to happen again to me.»
«I was lucky at 22 that I met somebody who fascinated me, amazed me, who could keep me interested. I walked in [to the Days of Thunder audition] and [Tom] was the one that stood up and shook my hand. And I just remember electricity going through me.»
«I became famous very young. I became very famous because I was the wife of somebody. I felt I became a star only by association. I didn’t think (my early movies) were very good, which is why I would always cower in the background. I thought, I don’t deserve to be here. We would go to the Oscars and I would think, I’m here to support him. I felt it was my job to put on a beautiful dress and to be seen and not heard.»
«From the minute Tom and I were married, I wanted to have babies. And we lost a baby early on, so that was really very traumatic.»
«I don’t want to take away from 11 years with that man that were really important. Really, for our kids — they were amidst a lot of love. It wasn’t bad. And now we’re amidst a more evolved love.»
«I want to honor that marriage for what it was, and there is nothing I would go into about that. I have never discussed the intricacies of it and I never will.»
One of the most frustrating parts about being a fan of the horror genre is that it doesn’t allow for nuance. Many people, especially those who aren’t into scary movies, assume you either like them or you don’t. But there are all kinds of fans: some of us just want a good slasher movie while others just want to see Ryan Reynolds’s abs in Amityville Horror. Some of us are just wimps, but love something spooky. We’re turning our attention to another subsection of horror fans: those who hate blood. So, let’s strip away the torture porn and the grisly bloodbaths. These films will give you plenty of scares and minimal gore.
Will & Grace featured a very familiar face on Thursday. During the second episode of the rebooted series, appropriately titled «Who’s Your Daddy?,» Jack and Will get back into the dating game with a pool of much younger men. While Jack has a little trouble attracting a 20-something, Will quickly gains the attention of an over-the-top millennial named Blake. Seriously, if you didn’t laugh out loud when he hit on Will, you’re lying. So, who exactly is the 23-year-old swept away by Will’s «anchor man» good looks? None other than Broadway star Ben Platt.
While the actor is easily recognizable by moviegoers for his role as Benji in the Pitch Perfect franchise, he recently gained critical acclaim for his role in the Tony award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen. In fact, he actually took time off from playing the title character to make a quick cameo on Will & Grace. Even though things don’t exactly work out for his character and Will in the episode, we certainly wouldn’t mind another cameo in the future. Maybe next time with more singing?
I’m very much on record as enjoying the shit out of the first Pacific Rim film. Guillermo Del Toro’s mechs-vs-monsters extravaganza hit all of my nerdling g-spots, and I walked out of it thrilled and exhilarated, while simultaneously accepting its flaws and inherent silliness. Next year, we’re going back to this world and while it’s a bummer that we lost Idris Elba in the first one, gaining John Boyega is a definite plus. We’re also getting the returns of Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi, and Burn Gorman. Sure, there’s Scott Eastwood there to bland it up, but the trade off is the addition of Tian Jing (Kong: Skull Island and the best part of The Great Wall).
The trailer is here. And I am definitely digging it. It’s fun and crazy and ridiculous, amping up much of what made the original fun. Now we’ve got mechs with dual swords and whips and a giant robot version of that crazy-ass ball-and-chain thing that Gogo Yubari used in Kill Bill Vol. 1.
Watch for yourselves:
Not gonna lie, my pants are a little tighter than they were two and a half minutes ago.
PS: For those of you who are gonna lead with «this looks as dumb as the first one» or some variant thereof? No one likes you. Not even your mom.
First off, yes, You’re The Worst isn’t actually a rom-com. It only recently, in fact, became an anti-romcom. But it is currently in a position familiar to many a romcom plot. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy tries to get girl back. The point of this season was, theoretically, to show how much Jimmy and Gretchen belonged together. How they have their issues, but always choose to come back to each other. How even with all of the terrible things they do to one another, there’s some small piece of each of them that knows that the other is the only person who they can truly love, and who will truly love them.
And then they went and fucked it up.
I trust that Stephen Falk and company know what they’re doing, and will be able to write this plot successfully. But I’m also having a really hard time imagining a scenario where I want Gretchen to drop old D Boone, and return to Jimmy. Let’s discuss why via the main players themselves.
Jimmy This one is easy, right? Jimmy left Gretchen on a hillside after asking her to be his wife, and disappeared for three months. He ignored all contact from her during that time, and then tried to reconnect with a super casual «Hey . . . » Also, there’s that little bit where he was visibly pleased to hear that Gretchen had not, in fact, moved on from him, but had been hiding out in Lindsay’s apartment. That’s also commonly referred to as «emotional abuse.»
I’m not saying that Jimmy doesn’t get to be with Gretchen because he needs to be punished for the rest of his life. I’m saying that sometimes people commit acts that while forgivable (theoretically) cannot be forgotten within a relationship. Also he’s done literally nothing to address the underlying reasons he ditched the love of his life and enjoys her misery. The only reason he’s even trying to «win» her back now is because he’s jealous of the guy she brought home to rub in his face. Speaking of . . .
Boone Resist your first impulse. I know many of you are currently contemplating your «But Boone is too good for Gretchen» comment. But take a hot minute to consider: is he? Here are some facts we know about Boone:
1) He’s sleeping with Gretchen despite the fact that he’s best friends with Ty.
2) He’s best friends with Ty.
3) This guy has clearly cheated before, right? When his ex-wife walked in to find him in a towel, she knew what was up. And that whole «It better not be one of my friends» line is more than telling. I’m generally more understanding of infidelity than the average citizen, but we need to at least call Boone on his being judgmental of Gretchen for believing she was helping him cheat, and being cool with it. Right? You’re no angel, Boone. Cut it with the games.
4) His name is Boone. At least not a plus.
5) Seriously when did you even give Gretchen your phone number, Boone? Was it when you were chasing her out of the wine cellar at Ty’s house? Or being annoyed that you had to drive her home? Or when you were boning her in the back of your car? Or was it when you were telling her about how you definitely can’t bone her again because of your very close friendship with Ty? Could this be a simple oversight on the writers’ part? Possibly. But also people who swear they’re never going to do that one thing again don’t set up communication channels by which to totally do that thing again. Take some responsibility for yourself.
6) I cannot stress this enough, he’s best friends with Ty.
Despite those things, it’s entirely possibly that Boone still is too good for Gretchen. She is, after all, a bit of a hot mess. But let’s really delve in because . . .
Gretchen Is. A. Fucking. Boss.
I get it. She’s got lots to work on. There’s her commitment issue, her mostly untreated bipolar disorder issue, the fact that she mostly doesn’t seem to have the actual skills required to be a functioning adult issue, her very recent near nervous break down issue. She’s been busy. And it’s probably not a great idea to get into a relationship so soon after having your entire world destroyed by one blond-haired, British asshole. But she’s slowly making progress.
Think about it. Well before Jimmy bailed, Gretchen was actively seeing a therapist and taking medication. And she’d managed to make a few substantial breakthroughs. Not a «I now realize I have to refrain from social media stalking my therapist and crashing her brunch» breakthroughs, but girl was making progress. Also during her months long Howard Hughes experiment (where a very small amount of crack might have been ingested), she managed to continue seeing her therapist through Skype. Shit, she held down her job while not leaving the apartment for one hundred full days. I’ve known Secretaries of Health and Human Services who couldn’t keep their jobs even with access to private jets.
Most importantly? She stayed long enough to let Boone fight for her. It seems like a small thing, but the steps involved are actually a little complex. Gretchen had to recognize that she has an emotional need that wasn’t being met, acknowledged the role she might be playing in her own unhappiness, and then made herself vulnerable enough to allow someone else to step in and fill that need. That right there is growth, people. And while I think Boone is far from perfect, I think he’s comparatively stable, and can encourage Gretchen to keep growing and improving. Basically, if she’s tricked someone too good for her into being a part of her improvement, I say Gretchen gets it. Now you might argue that Jimmy made similar overtures, and therefore deserves to have Gretchen help him with his recovery. To that I would respond:
I LOVE GRETCHEN FOREVER AND WILL ALWAYS WANT HER TO GET WHATEVER SHE WANTS. FUCK JIMMY. Amen.
Eight or nine years ago, my college football team, the Arkansas Razorbacks, played the Auburn Tigers in what was a pretty big game at the time. The Razorbacks were good that year, but I didn’t realize until I saw Cam Newton that they didn’t have a chance in hell of winning that game. Cam Newton was a man among boys out there. I specifically remember one play in which Newton was running downfield and three Razorback players jumped on him and he carried them downfield on his back for a good 10 yards. It was unreal.
I don’t know why that endeared Newton to me, but it did, and I found him all the more endearing because every kid in my now home state of Maine who is not a Tom Brady fan is a Cam Newton fan. Kids love this guy, and up until yesterday, he never really gave them a reason not to.
But the biggest trend among social media reactions is, «But what about?» As in, «But what about the President, who grabs women by the p*ssy?» Or, «what about all the NFL players who have assaulted their wives?» Or, «What about Ray Lewis, who murdered someone (allegedly)»? What about Ben Roethlisberger? Or even «What about the racist comments the female reporter, Jourdan Rodriguez, made on Twitter four years ago?»
Why is Cam Newton being held to a higher moral standard than the President of the United States?
OK, and … ? What about those things? They’re terrible. Awful. Roethlisberger shouldn’t be playing in the NFL. Players who assault women should be kicked out of the league. President Trump should not be the leader of his country. Jourdan Rodriguez should not have made those comments (she has since apologized).
None of that changes the fact that Cam Newton shouldn’t have laughed at the idea of a female sports reporter asking about routes. Just because our President grabs women by the crotch doesn’t mean that the rest of us can make untoward sexual comments at our co-workers. One worser evil does not erase a lesser one.
Also, Dannon Yogurt doesn’t represent Trump. Dannon Yogurt doesn’t have Ben Roethlisberger as a spokesperson, and Dannon Yogurt does not employ Jourdan Rodriguez. But they do pay Cam Newton, and if they feel that his comments harm their brand, they have every right to cut ties with him, regardless of all the awful things other players and politicians have done.
Now, if the NFL had suspended Cam Newton for six games for making the shitty comments when players who beat up women also only got suspended for six games, well, yes: That’s a shitty double standard. But that’s not what happened. Here, the NFL wisely apologized and said that Newton’s comments did not reflect the values of the NFL. Newton is going to get a few bad days of press, and hopefully, he’ll learn to treat female reporters with more respect. In the meantime, he’s still gonna make millions of dollars under his contract with the Panthers.
Holding Newton accountable does not erase all those other terrible things. It also doesn’t make the NFL any less racist (in fact, many of the criticisms leveled at Newton on social media are less about what he said and more about who he is and the color of his skin). But you still can’t make a problem disappear with a bunch of «what abouts?» If my daughter kicked my son in the stomach because he called her a stupid head, I’m not going to ignore the fact that he called he a stupid head just because her reaction was to kick him in the stomach. I’m going to punish them accordingly by yelling at my son for calling his sister names and sending his sister to her room for being violent.
Of course, on the other hand, I couldn’t help the fact that social media would treat both sins equally — that’s just the nature of social media. It has one volume: Really fucking loud.