It’s about time Abigail Ratchford got back into the sports world by dating an athlete. They all follow her, she can basically hand pick whoever she wants. I guess she’s slowly but surely getting there. She was linked to Manziel a while back, Kristaps Porzingis slid into those DMs a couple of times, and she was partying with Chandler ‘Chancun’ Parsons a couple of weeks ago. But I want a power couple. You pair her with *insert name of superstar athlete* and they can dominate some headlines.
Anyways, now that I got that little rant out of the way, let’s just enjoy this IG story of Abigail’s mini vacay in some tropical locale by the pool. It’s a slow sports week, nothing is really going on, so here’s a little something to get you through the day.
It’s not easy to be likeable. Too often, suspicious people write it off as «trying too hard» or a sign of unnatural goings-on — but if you could bottle it and sell it by the cartload, everyone would buy a lifetime’s supply. It’s taken too long for us to enter an age of acceptable unlikeability, particularly for women, as our society still views an ability to please as being of primary importance. Yet there are still limits on how unruly a woman can be in the public eye, as noted by Anne Helen Petersen in her latest book, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman. You can be outspoken, but only to the extent that the balance of power is never truly challenged; you can push back against the demand to be «ladylike», but go too gross and society revolts; You don’t have to fit our culture’s ever-narrow definitions of beauty, but step outside your boundaries and people can’t help but question why you’re there. Do all of these things at once, while remaining effervescent and showing your vulnerabilities to the world, and you’re a goddamn genius. Some people are just easy to love, and that’s where we come to Jenny Slate.
When Slate made her debut on SNL, it was notable for all the wrong reasons. It would be facetious to call it «the F-bomb heard around the world», but going by the overblown level of press coverage it received, you would think it had done just that. The clip itself, which is part of a pretty mediocre sketch, passes by quickly, and many may not have noticed it if it hadn’t been for DVR rewinds to note Slate’s own reaction to the slip-up. She puffs out her cheeks in a moment of cringe, then gets back to work. Maybe if the sketch was funnier, people wouldn’t have minded as much. Slate herself never watched the clip, comparing it to being «like watching yourself fall down the aisle at your wedding! I feel like it happened to somebody else, and I want to tell her, «Oh, girl. I’m so sorry, but you need to move on.»»
Being good on SNL is hard: Lorne Michaels has his obvious favourites, and countless talents have been shunted to the background of middling sketches while the handful of major stars are made in the spotlight. For Slate (and another alum of that year, Casey Wilson), the opportunities to prove herself on-screen were thin, and people just kept coming back to the F-bomb. Slate, in a piece with Glamour where she gives advice on surviving a workplace screw-up, was open about the fallout. «People tweeted that I was «ugly» and «not funny,» and it really stung. But even in those awful moments, I always tried to find a little bit of pleasure: I was still alive. I liked my lunch.» Slate takes no shame in the incident either, and nor should she. It was just one «fuck», she noted to the LA Times: «But I don’t care that I swore. No one will ever convince me that what I did was wrong or hurtful — especially when there are shows like Two and a Half Men on TV that are just, like, sexist.» After one season, she was fired from SNL, let go from the job she had so desperately wanted and without a word from Michaels. She found out online.
In the Glamour column, Slate admits the firing hit her hard and led to a bout of stage fright, but she also gives damn good advice on working through tough times: Be nice to yourself, have people you love in your corner, wallow for a while if you need to but remember the importance of perspective and be proud of your talents. So much of Slate the star is defined by what Scout Tafoya calls «empathetic messiness». She struggles, but you know that feeling all too well yourself, and that makes her all the easier to love. The bright star became the underdog, doomed by many to be nothing but a footnote in SNL history. Watching her prove those doubters wrong proved immensely satisfying to every girl who had screwed up.
Slate became familiar to comedy fans through her regular appearances on everything from Parks and Recreation to Kroll Show to myriad podcasts like Comedy Bang Bang. She could be brash yet warm; abrasive but quick to embrace. The sweetest, and most inimitably Slate-esque example of this would come with a stop-motion animated short called Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, co-written by Slate with her then-husband Dean Fleischer-Camp, who also directed. The film takes the form of an interview with the eponymous Marcel, a tiny conch shell with one googly eye and a pair of pink and white shoes, guiding an unseen documentarian through his house while providing commentary. It’s lo-fi, surreal, imbued with melancholy, and incredibly funny, with the laughs increasing as the child-like voice of Slate describes ever more bizarre exploits, like using a Dorito to handglide or using a man’s toenails for skis. It’s clearly a thing Slate and Fleischer-Camp made for themselves, or at the very most a handful of friends, but it’s so charming and committed to its uniqueness that it’s no surprise it went viral. It spawned a few follow-ups and a children’s picture book, with the pair planning a feature length film she says will be «a character portrait much like Billy the Kid or Grey Gardens.» Like Calvin and Hobbes, Marcel is all about the limitlessness of creativity and the bittersweet awareness of how quickly that imagination can end. Slate knows that all too well.
Her next moment of glory came in the form of the critically acclaimed comedy Obvious Child. Beginning as a short film, Slate and writer-director Gillian Robespierre expanded the story to feature length, premiering to widespread acclaim at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. It grossed three times its budget, received top reviews from the New York Times and received two Independent Spirit Award nominations. You may know it best as «the abortion rom-com», a glib tagline that still captures the banal honesty of the story. It’s a sweet, very funny and sharply constructed film that happens to take on a major societal taboo, and with the casual truth that, for some women, an abortion is not a defining moment in their life. This is another key Slate feature — the willingness to be emotionally honest at any given moment, be it in her politics or in detailing a bout of diarrhoea on her Twitter account.
While she had previously described herself as «not very Internet-y», Slate has become one of the sharpest celebrity users of social media. Her Twitter page is part overshare therapy session, part best-friend rabble-rouser, while her Instagram account allows her to share her love of literature (she enjoys Virginia Woolf, Tamora Pierce and Anita Brookner — lots of women writers) and her family alongside the usual promotional fare. She’s unabashedly political, unafraid to use her fame to support the causes that mean the most to her, like Planned Parenthood, and seems aware of the price of silence, particularly during our current climate. There’s no reason she can’t go from jokes about vomit in her iced coffee to criticising the gender stereotypes in comedy to taking on Ivanka Trump in the space of six tweets.
Since Obvious Child, Slate’s film and TV career has been varied and non-stop, particularly her voice-over work. Between Zootopia and The Secret Life of Pets in 2016 alone, Slate’s voice was part of a $ 1.9bn box office sweep. This year, she’s in Landline, Robespierre’s follow-up to Obvious Child, another Sundance hit, The Polka King, and her voices appears in both The Lego Batman Movie and the third film in the Despicable Me franchise.
And then there’s Gifted. We could talk about its box office success as one of 2017’s most successful indie films, or we could discuss Slate’s acclaimed work in a more serious role that’s outside her usual wheelhouse. But let’s be honest, that’s not what you want to talk about. You want to hear about Chris Evans: Captain America, beloved sensitive beefcake, and very briefly, the man lucky enough to call Jenny Slate his girlfriend.
We love celebrity relationships. It’s part fantasy, part cultural introspection. If we can’t stop thinking about the history of Brangelina, or why so many are irritated by Kimye, what does that say about us as a society? Celebrities are an exaggerated mirror for us to examine the anxieties of our culture, from gender to race to class and much more, so when they start pairing off, we can’t help but have all sorts of feelings about the entire process. Jenny Slate being with Chris Evans made sense: They’re both Boston natives, they’re funny and sweet, they both light up a room by walking into it, and they each inspire devotion from complete strangers, albeit for different reasons. For some, myself included, their pairing was just right; for others, it beggared belief, and they weren’t shy about letting everyone know how ill-fitting they found them together.
For many months, the comments on Slate’s wonderful Instagram page became unreadable, chock to the brim with vitriol from Evans fans who refused to believe someone like her could be with someone like him. It was always easy to love Slate, but now the need to protect her swelled amongst her largely female fanbase. How could you not celebrate her landing the prized bachelor of Hollywood? It felt like a mass victory for the screwed over woman, and it was about damn time guys like Evans saw how valuable women like Slate were. When half the click-bait buttons on every website you visit are toxic gawking spectacles over «child stars who got ugly» or «former babes who let themselves go» or «hot Hollywood stars with unattractive wives», it’s no wonder Slate and Evans’s love inspired such excitement. Never mind that Slate is very beautiful; by the standards of an industry that only rates skinny white 25-year-old women with the same interchangeable faces, she was average. Slate noted in a Vulture profile that, «I’m considered some sort of alternative option, even though I know I’m a majorly vibrant sexual being.» Yet, while we couldn’t help but celebrate her seeming prowess with the business’s sexiest singleton, the focus began to feel fetishistic. Even those who adored Slate, and I include myself in this, shared our proclamations in ways that felt a tad condescending towards the woman herself.
The relationship lasted about a year, breaking up before the pair began their promotional campaign for Gifted together. In that time, Slate was interviewed for Vulture in what would be her most candid profile yet. Even the perennially honest star still had a few things to share. She’s honest — sometimes sweetly, other times brutally — about everything, from her divorce from Fleischer-Camp to the relationship with Evans and all the feelings it inspired, to the split and dealing with the fallout. For someone who has never had qualms about telling all, it’s a remarkably generous interview. This is a woman aware that, for many years to follow and for a sizable chunk of people, she’ll be known simply as Chris Evans’s ex-girlfriend, with all the faux-tragic, Jennifer Aniston-style narratives that entails. There’s no regret in that for her, as she says, regarding any future relationships, «Whoever is the next person is going to have to respect that I had a husband who I loved and this boyfriend who I loved so much, and I don’t want to have to act like they weren’t important.»
Now, we’ve seen photographs of Slate hanging out with co-star Jon Hamm, which has inevitably led to more dating rumours. Nothing has been confirmed, but it’s easy to dream, and once again, the celebration of Slate’s apparent dating powers have been brought to the forefront. Another sex symbol, an eligible bachelor with immense talents and a strong funny bone (and apparently casual relation to underpants) who presents a top catch for Jenny Slate. As argued by Anna Leszkiewicz in the New Statesman, «It’s like your best friend just turned around and told you she’s dating Jon Hamm. You love your best friend. You think anyone would be lucky to date her… But you’re still shocked and excited to learn she’s dating Jon fucking Hamm.» Even when we love them, we still struggle to see women like Slate, like ourselves, as worthy of «the best». Either that or our projections become too big to deal with.
We want Jenny Slate to live her best life because she’s easy to love, easy to see ourselves in, and it’s good to see the underdog win. Of course, Slate’s been far beyond that point for a long time now. SNL‘s loss is everyone else’s gain.
If you found yourself turning to Google to learn more about the actor who plays Josh on Orange Is the New Black, you’re not alone. As you binge-watched season five, the guard who stripped during the talent show probably caught your eye for obvious reasons, but let’s not forget about the guy who actually won that talent show simply because he’s hot. Actor John Palladino plays Josh, a PR rep for the company that owns Litchfield, and thanks to some interesting plot lines, we’ve already been blessed with a few shirtless scenes. Learn more about the handsome Orange Is the New Black actor, then check out fun pictures of the cast hanging out in real life.
Jonah Hill dropped a substantial amount of weight recently and hasn’t been shy about showing off his slimmer figure from coast to coast. Last week, the Wolf of Wall Street actor looked damn near unrecognizable while hitting the streets in a fitted t-shirt in NYC, and on Friday, Jonah was spotted putting his biceps on display in a blue tank top while picking up a smoothie before hitting the gym in LA. Jonah reportedly hired a nutritionist and kept a food journal to lose weight after gaining 40 pounds for his role in the 2015 crime film War Dogs, and also got some fitness advice from his 21 Jump Street costar Channing Tatum.
On October 23rd 2016, Khaled Mohamed Khaled—also known as Dj Khaled—became a father. Khaled and his fiancée Nicole Tuck, the most patient woman on Earth, welcomed a bright-eyed baby boy named Asahd Tuck Khaled into the world and my expectations for babies will never be the same.
As it turns out, the LA County courts absurdly do not recognize my judgeship and time serving this illustrious court. However, as soon as I started opening my mouth, neither the plaintiff nor the defendant wanted anything to do with me, so here we are. The scales of justice, folks!
Do I think McGregor is going to beat Mayweather on August 26th? No, but way too many people out here are giving him literally zero chance. No, he’s not a great boxer and yes, he’s going to have a lot of trouble touching Floyd. BUT (and it’s a giant but) if he catches Floyd, he’s going down. Now the chances of that happening are very low, but that’s not stopping people from throwing money down on Conor just in case. From the LV Review Journal:Money has already come in on the inexperienced underdog. The Westgate Las Vegas sports book opened Mayweather as a minus-2500 favorite in February with McGregor bettors fetching a plus-1100 return on their investment. A sampling of oddsmakers indicates the true line for the fight should have Mayweather as an even bigger favorite. It’s difficult to post such a number, however, because all of the underdog action would leave a sports book exposed too much to a fluke result. According to Westgate sports book manager Jeff Sherman, steady support for McGregor at the opening number as it was drove the price as low as minus-800, with McGregor at plus-550.
Thursday's scores broke the U.S. Open record for most players under par after the 1st round (Previously 39 set at Medinah in 1990). pic.twitter.com/L6BGUvBcnc
There is plenty to love about comedian Hasan Minhaj. He’s whip-smart; he’s super funny; he totally has Jon Stewart‘s approval. And while it’s true that those traits are all attractive in their own right, I’d like to turn your attention to one of his other (far more important) attributes: his damn good looks.
I’ll just get straight to it: Hasan is hot as hell. And he’s been looking especially fine lately while out and about promoting his new special on Netflix, Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King (it’s as moving as it is funny, and if you haven’t seen it already, go watch right now), and latest movie, Rough Night. Maybe it’s the beard, or maybe it’s his A+ style game, but DAMN, dude just looks good these days. So if you didn’t already know Hasan was totally droolworthy, let these photos introduce you to your newest crush. And if you did, high-five yourself for having stellar taste in dudes.
When I sent out a tweet asking my followers to share their favourite examples of the Female Gaze in film and television, the responses were as varied as they were revealing. The usual suspects came up — Outlander, the Magic Mike movies, basically every Hollywood Chris — and a deeper discussion evolved on how to define the gaze as well as unconventional ways it could be implemented. Everyone got a look in, from Harvey Keitel in The Piano to the Amazons in Wonder Woman, but there was one name who kept coming up in huge numbers from my followers that surprised me.
A Tumblr post gained popularity a couple of years ago for arguing in favour of George of the Jungle being the perfect example of the Female Gaze in film. It’s a convincing piece that lays out a detailed case, and it reminded a lot of women of this generation of how potent a figure actor Brendan Fraser was as a leading man for the short burst of time he dominated the big screen. Now, with Universal rebooting The Mummy yet again simultaneously as fresh franchise bait and a star vehicle for one of the industry’s most ubiquitous stars, audiences are returning to the Fraser films, remembering, free of the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia, just how good he could be.
The first thing to remember about the Stephen Sommers action-adventure take on the classic horror story is that it’s fun. The Mummy prides itself on its old-school approach to the genre, lifting elements from the same source material that inspired Indiana Jones. Sure, the special effects are ropey and the sequels offered diminishing returns, but a film that many critics wrote off at the time as a misfire has retained much of its audience enthusiasm by merit of being unabashedly enjoyable. It embraces the silliness, throws in a convincing romance, has a few genuine scares, and revels in its retro appeal. It’s an ideal vehicle for Fraser, and much of the film’s success can be traced back to his performance. Fraser’s Rick O’Connell is a hero who knows he’s the hero of an adventure romp: Cocky without being off-putting, charming yet not above getting messy, a gleam in his eye and a gun in his hand. Fraser seems keenly influenced by old Errol Flynn movies, but with a slapstick edge. Imagine if Robin Hood were ready to take a pie in the face at any moment. He’s also an immensely appealing partner in an equally balanced romantic pairing, something that’s depressingly rare in popcorn fare.
Fraser as O’Connell shares many qualities with his performance in George of the Jungle, as well as several of his earlier comedic roles. The willingness to wholeheartedly delve into goofball territory is instantly endearing, and he does it so well. Tom Cruise may run, but Brendan Fraser pratfalls on a whole new level of skill. As the eponymous George, his physicality balances a fine line between Tarzan and Jim Carrey. He slams into trees, trips into the dirt, and has one particularly memorable post-shower scene that sent Tumblr ablaze a decade and a half later. His comedic styling seems out of time, a call-back to classic slapstick that is best exemplified in non-modern stories like George of the Jungle, as well as Blast From the Past and even Dudley Do-Right. It’s a performance that could so easily have come across as infantilized or too guileless, but there’s always a self-knowing smile on standby. Like a cartoon, it’s fun to see stupid things happen to him, but even more satisfying when he secretly has the upper hand. Fraser never seems to give anything less than 100%, even in mediocre fare like Bedazzled and the catastrophic flop Monkeybone, which grossed a mere $ 7.6m on a $ 75m budget.
His dramatic chops were nothing to be sneezed at either, with standout performances in Gods and Monsters, where he played the Marine turned gardener who forms a tentative friendship with director James Whale (Ian McKellen), and The Quiet American, alongside Michael Caine, as a CIA agent sent to 1950s Vietnam to take care of America’s interests, which may be his most striking role. While his range is not expansive, he works well within those limitations and harnesses that sardonic sweetness so well used in comedy to great effect in roles like James Whale’s pseudo-companion or the idealistic American who views the turmoil of invasion and war in blindly black and white terms. Hell, he’s even pretty good in Crash.
There’s a line in Roger Ebert’s review of Gods and Monsters, where he says, «Fraser is subtle and attuned to the role, but doesn’t project strong sexuality». That’s something that I would argue only adds to his appeal — in his prime, he was undoubtedly sexy, but never overbearing in his physicality or condescending in his personality. With Rachel Weisz in The Mummy and Leslie Mann in George of the Jungle, you completely buy that this man sees these women as his equals, or possibly even his superiors, and he respects that. The default mode of the romantic subplot in modern blockbusters is that of a less interesting and more combative Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, where un-witty hostilities suddenly make way for male dominance and a happy ending. Fraser worked best as the romantic hero in an equally balanced game, giving the women a stronger dynamic to work with and for the ultimate final kiss to feel wholly earned. No wonder so many women see the Female Gaze in his most famous works.
Fraser’s career went into decline around the time The Mummy trilogy ended. He worked consistently but never in a film as high-profile as the series that crowned him as a proper leading man. 2010’s Furry Vengeance, a film Fraser also executive produced, was a low-point, although he completely threw himself into 90 minutes of being attacked by wild animals. Maybe the roles weren’t there for him anymore, or maybe his contentious divorce got in the way (in 2013, Fraser petitioned the courts to reduce his alimony and child support payments, asserting he could no longer meet the high costs). Perhaps his greatest crime was simply to visibly age. In an industry where such a thing is an affront and Tom Cruise is forced to be distractingly ageless in the new take on The Mummy, there’s a strange kind of dignity in Fraser refusing to conceal how time actually impacts the body. No nips, tucks or laughable dye-jobs: Fraser just got older, and that seemed unforgivable to the industry, who have an assembly line of leading men waiting to be shipped for maximum efficiency. He’s a 48 year old father of three who looks like one — larger, a bit balder, his face softened at the edges — and that’s meant to be a bad thing.
It does seem as though Fraser is on the up once again. He appeared in season 3 of The Affair as a menacing prison guard and received many positive reviews for his work. Apparently, creepiness is the accepted alternative to faded beauty. Next, he’ll take a leading role in Danny Boyle’s FX anthology series Trust, as the eccentric private investigator hired to return the kidnapped heir John Paul Getty III to his family, and then join the TV remake of Three Days of the Condor. It seems that Peak TV could be good for Brendan Fraser.
In a recent TV interview, Fraser was asked about the new version of The Mummy, and while his answer was diplomatic, one couldn’t help but feel rather sad for Fraser. Fortunately, he can sleep soundly knowing that everyone likes his hero better than they like Tom Cruise.
— Sessions looks like he could use some of that medical marijuana he’s trying to criminalize.
— I see that John McCain is here again today, who gets to sit in and ask questions by virtue of a technicality (as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he gets to hang out). Democrats should be allowed to send someone, too. Like, oh, I dunno: Al Franken.
— While we are waiting, The Daily Caller is reporting that Cindy McCain, the wife of one of Donald Trump’s few Republican critics, John McCain, has taken an as yet unspecified ambassadorship in the Trump administration. I guess that’s how you wear down an opponent, huh? Nothing suspicious about that.
We did this last week with the James Comey hearing, and while I don’t expect as much engagement from the Sessions hearing, my guess is that many of you will be watching and there’s nothing else going on at the moment, so let’s settle in and watch together. I’ll update here periodically, but check the comments for the blow-by-blow, which our readers will almost certainly provide (with plenty of insightful commentary).
Ahead of the hearing, a couple of notes:
This morning, in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that he’s the only person that could fire Bob Mueller, and that he wouldn’t do so without cause, and he has seen no cause to justify such an action. Meanwhile, Paul Ryan doesn’t think Mueller should be fired, either. «I think the best thing to do is to let Robert Mueller do his job,» he said today.
It may not matter anyway.
A source close to Trump's legal team tells me there is no truth to the notion that he is considering terminating the special counsel.