8 items from 2015
It’s not all grumble and moan round here when TV networks decline to pick up pilots. Sometimes, we’re even grateful.
Hindsight teaches that every so often, passing on a particular show is the best thing a channel could have done. Not ordering one pilot to series spurs its creators on to start another, and frees up its cast to join new projects.
Had the failures below all thrived, there’s a chance we could now be living in a world with no Breaking Bad, Hannibal, or even South Park. Had these pilots gone on to enjoy healthy, lengthy lives, then Jack Bauer, Oberyn Martell, Chandler Bing and more might all be unrecognisable today.
Here then, are the TV pilots we’re grateful weren’t taken to series because their »
The Academy Awards offer a huge, guaranteed audience of both industry and civilian fans. That makes it a unique opportunity for stars and non-stars alike to act out with the assurance that someone, somewhere will be paying attention to them. And this has happened a lot. As we approach the 87th Academy Awards, let's take a look back at some of the strangest moments to grace Oscar night. Some Dude Steals Alice Brady's Oscar In 1938, as the story goes, an unidentified man strode onstage to accept Alice Brady's Best Supporting Actress Award (for In Old Chicago), because she »
- Alex Heigl, @alex_heigl
Here’s a confession: this writer isn’t exactly enamored with the overly-referential satire found in Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s long-running cartoon South Park, nor by the crass, classless humor that titillated Book Of Mormon’s Broadway audiences. There is, obviously, no shortage of admirers out there eager to chow down on another helping of Parker’s brand […] »
- Trevor Parker
Jon Stewart's announcement that he'll leave The Daily Show later this year after more than 15 years shocked his fans and leaves a gigantic void at Comedy Central. The news came during a taping of his show on Tuesday night, minutes before NBC News announced a six-month suspension for embattled anchor Brian Williams. If NBCUniversal will lose the face of its news division, Comedy Central is losing a personality of far more importance to the Viacom-owned channel. It was Stewart — along with Trey Parker and Matt Stone's South Park — who put Comedy Central on the pop
- Marisa Guthrie, Michael O'Connell
Director: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen; Screenwriter: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, Dan Sterling; Starring: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park, Diana Bang; Running time: 112 mins; Certificate: 15
Long before it sparked an international incident, all The Interview wanted to do was make people laugh. Of course, the scandal it provoked overshadowed the film itself somewhat, leading to debate around much bigger issues such as censorship of art, cyber-privacy and why exactly Hollywood is still bankrolling Adam Sandler.
The Interview quietly slips into UK cinemas this weekend (it's already been widely circulated online and available on Us Netflix), and now that the dust has settled it's easier to judge the film without the distraction of the baggage it carries.
The Interview, 2014
Dave Skylark and producer Aaron Rapoport run the celebrity tabloid show “Skylark Tonight.” When they land an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, they are recruited by the CIA to turn their trip to Pyongyang into an assassination mission.
Back in 1994, it was announced that Guns N’ Roses were working on a new album, the first with all-new material since 1991’s simultaneous release of Appetite for Destruction I & II. And as the years dragged by and members came and went, the hype and anticipation for Chinese Democracy only grew and grew. When it was released some 16 years later in 2008, the album was met with a tepid reaction. Chinese Democracy wasn’t terrible, but the problem was that it took too long to come out. »
- Luke Owen
For a moment there, it looked like The Interview was going to be the most important comedy of the 21st century. With hacks and terrorist threats obstructing its planned Christmas Day release in the United States, it was easily the most discussed movie of December 2014 and it finally reaches UK cinemas this Friday, after the fuss has died down.
In case you were pre-occupied during the festive season, it transpired that Us theatre chains refused to show the film in the wake of the threats, forcing Sony to pull their advertising and distribution plans. It eventually hit video on demand services on December 25th, after widespread calls for it from the press and President Barack Obama, no less.
But one of the more interesting and disappointing »
Duck Soup, 1933.
Directed by Leo McCarey.
Freedonia and Sylvania are forced into war due to the insults of Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) and the spies of Sylvania (Chico and Harpo Marx).
When told about the Marx brothers, I often think of Groucho. Until I watched Duck Soup, I didn’t know what his shtick even was. Were they silent comics, akin to Chaplin and Keaton? Did they transcend the talkie-divide like Laurel and Hardy? Were they lightning-fast talkers, in the same vein as Woody Allen or Henry Youngman? It turns out that the family of the Marx Brothers – Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo – are a bit of everything. Each sibling either prefiguring or directly influenced-by a specific comic of the past. Chico, the smart-talking but not-so-clever one. Harpo, the physical silent one. »
- Simon Columb
8 items from 2015
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