10 items from 2016
There’s a lingering perception in pop culture that drug use is glamorous and au courant, something that builds character and renders a person sexy and intriguing, like an advanced degree in comp lit or the ability to acquire foreign languages easily. See Don Draper with a martini in one hand and a beautiful mistress in the other. Or Jessa on “Girls,” whose bohemian clothes and Rapunzel hair perpetuate the illusion that cocaine-cum-heroin junkies forever maintain the appearance of a Free People catalogue model. In real life, heroin junkies develop abscesses and hacking coughs, sores on their lips and acne. They look like ghosts. Even on “Nurse Jackie,” one of the decade’s most convincing portraits of drug addiction, there were just so many episodes where you had to suspend your disbelief — Jackie should have been dead by season two. Of course, then we would have missed out on five more seasons and Edie Falco’s most dynamic career performance, for which she won the 2010 Emmy for lead actress in a drama.
Because of addiction’s prevalence in our society — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014 there were 10,574 heroin overdose deaths in the U.S. — TV is teeming with characters struggling with drugs and alcohol, from “Shameless” to “Mr. Robot” to IFC’s “Maron” and the sobriety sitcom “Mom.” And some shows do it well; if ever a series unflinchingly — if, occasionally, satirically — captured the gory violence of the crystal meth trade it’s “Breaking Bad,” for which Bryan Cranston pretty much monopolized the actor in a drama series category, winning the Emmy an astounding four times.
The Television Academy, in fact, has a history of rewarding small-screen lushes. For his iconic turn as the perpetually soused Hawkeye on “Mash,” Alan Alda won two actor Emmys. Candice Bergen won the Emmy for actress in a comedy series five times for playing a recovering alcoholic on “Murphy Brown,” and Ted Danson scored two Emmys for playing sobered-up baseball player-turned-bar proprietor Sam Malone on “Cheers.” Even Jim Parsons, who plays socially challenged theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper on the “The Big Bang Theory,” nabbed his first Emmy win for an episode in which he gets sloppy drunk. Hollywood, it seems, loves a character who can’t handle his booze.
But rare is the series that deals with addiction in a way that accurately depicts the frustrating, oft fatal, and sometimes even boring reality of what it is — a disease. There’s a general tendency among critics to assess shows on the strength of their entertainment value, and not how truthfully they convey what it’s actually like to be an addict — or live with one. “Ray Donovan” tackles heady addiction-adjacent subject matter like molestation and Irish-Catholic broods, and “Orange Is the New Black” features a cast of addict convicts, but there isn’t a small-screen counterpart examining, say, the lives of depressed, college-educated worker bees quietly dependent on benzodiazepines. And there are millions of those people.
Granted, most facets of addiction probably wouldn’t make for good television. Comedies like “Broad City” and “Freaks and Geeks” aside, in the real world there is nothing less interesting than watching potheads get stoned.
A life of abstinence, however, can be hilarious, which is why comedies like “Mom” and “Catastrophe,” with all of their off-color, self-effacing wit, so successfully chronicle the journey of the addict in recovery. On “Mom,” Emmy-winner Allison Janney and Anna Faris play a sober mother-daughter team coping with booze cravings, romantic dysfunction, and the daily challenges of being sober physically — but not necessarily emotionally. On Amazon’s “Catastrophe,” Rob Delaney nails the part of an affectionate and loving but also conventionally narcissistic man-child who quit drinking after he “shit at [his] sister’s wedding.”
What’s especially refreshing about both of these shows is that they debunk the myth that once you get clean you’re suddenly “fixed.” Instead, they’re predicated on the fact that addiction is a disease that people live with for their entire lives, whether or not they’re actively getting wasted. What’s so commendable about “Mom” especially is that it examines what most people do not understand — that sobriety can be the most difficult aspect of alcoholism.
On the flip side, Freeform’s now-canceled “Recovery Road” was a show that missed the mark entirely, serving up a candy-coated rendering of rehab that belies most everything we know to be true. The series’ collective flaws are best summed up in one line, said by a high school guidance counselor to Maddie (Jessica Sula), a strung-out party girl she’s threatening with expulsion unless she moves into a sober living facility: “You can go to school by day and spend your evenings getting sober.” As if sobriety is a part-time job. Maddie tries to keep her situation a secret, and the surrounding adults seem Ok with that — even though honesty is one of the primary tenets of recovery. You can tell what the network was trying to do — create a show about addiction that parents could watch with their kids. But that’s a pointless task if it doesn’t ring true.
“Shameless,” for all of its outlandishness — patriarchal drunk Frank Gallagher (Emmy-nominated William H. Macy) has survived liver failure, a kitchen fire, and being tossed over a bridge into a river — is the series that perhaps most accurately captures the pervasiveness with which alcoholism wreaks havoc on a family. Everybody suffers. Everybody is powerless. Denial rips through the family line. Whether they are using or not, all of the Gallagher kids are living with the –ism.
When it comes down to it, no fictional TV series can definitively capture the brutal truth of how drugs and alcohol destroy people’s lives. Rather, it’s documentaries like Steven Okazaki’s brilliant and harrowing “Heroin: Cape Cod” — which focuses on eight young addicts — that paint the starkest, most blistering, and most realistic portrait of addiction. Because addiction isn’t pretty, and it’s often not something that you want to tune in to watch.
- Malina Saval
When nuclear war threatens to obliterate life on Earth, an eclectic group of people are taken below the surface to preserve the human race. Things get complicated when they realize their shelter is under siege by bats… very hungry bats. An underground showdown ensues in 1974’s Chosen Survivors, which Kino Lorber will release on Blu-ray this October.
From Kino Lorber: “Coming October 4th on Blu-ray!
Synopsis (via Blu-ray.com): “A group of diverse individuals are suddenly taken from their homes and flown via helicopter to a futuristic bomb shelter in the desert, nearly two miles below the surface of the Earth. There they learn that a nuclear holocaust is taking place and that they’ve been “chosen” by computer to survive in the »
- Derek Anderson
Looks like Pink might have to pull quite a few strings to make her daughter's birthday wish come true. The "Just Like Fire" singer opened up to the Kyle and Jackie O Show on Australian radio station Kiis-fm 1065 Thursday about all things music and motherhood. When asked if her recent single for Disney's upcoming film Alice Through the Looking Glass came with any free passes to the happiest place on Earth, Pink said that although it hadn't, she "wished I could have Disneyland shut down just for me." Pink's little girl, Willow Sage Hart, however, has since moved on from her own Disney obsession, 2013's animated blockbuster Frozen, for something a little more »
Continuing our lead up to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which opens on March 25th, Scott J. Davis looks back at the ill-fated Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, the final film to star Christopher Reeve as the true Man of Steel…
Back in 1983, the Superman franchise was in full swing, despite the tense and fractured on-set fights and fallouts which saw original director Richard Donner leave after Superman: The Movie before he was able to finish Superman II, released almost three years later under the new direction of Richard Lester. Both films were huge financial successes with Superman: The Movie 1978’s second highest-grossing film behind Grease.
A third film was inevitable, with Lester again directing the returning Christopher Reeve alongside legendary comedian Richard Pryor, who had made a joke on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson at the time saying how he would love to been in a Superman film. »
- Scott J. Davis
Last week, a report surfaced that NBC's upcoming comedy series Powerless will feature the little-known DC Comics character Crimson Fox. The character is a key part of the pilot script, which was obtained by Bleeding Cool. Production has already started on the pilot, with Yvr Shoots obtaining the first photos from the set. These images confirm that Justice League member Crimson Fox will be showing up on the small screen soon.
It isn't known who's playing Crimson Fox, since her face is almost completely covered by a mask and a hood, but this character is seen catching a large blue box, which drops out of the sky. No details were released about the scene in question, and it isn't known if any of the other cast members such as Vanessa Hudgens, Danny Pudi or Alan Tudyk were present for the shoot. The show's IMDb page lists another actress, Christina Kirk, »
With the Oscars quickly approaching, here are some fun facts about the Academy Awards throughout the years.
Q) Which films have won the most academy awards?
A) It was a three-way draw between Ben Hur, Titanic and Lord of Rings: Return of the King at 11 each.
Q) Which films have the most Oscar nominations?
A) All About Eve and Titanic are tied for the most nominations, with 14 each.
Q) What was the longest film to ever win the Best Picture Oscar?
A) Gone With the Wind at 3 hours and 56 minutes.
Q) Which was the shortest Best Picture winner?
A) Marty at 90 minutes.
Q) Which sequels have won Best Picture?
A) The Godfather Part 2, and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.
Q) Which movies won best picture but were not nominated for Best Director?
Q) What was the »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Young)
With such a crowded field for this year’s Oscars race, there were bound to be big curveballs from the Academy Awards nominations on Thursday morning.
But the most disappointing outcome is that, for the second consecutive year, all 20 of the acting nominees are white. No Michael B. Jordan or Tessa Thompson for “Creed”? No Idris Elba or Abraham Attah for “Beasts of No Nation”? No Will Smith for “Concussion”? And the cast of “Straight Outta Compton” was also shut out. There’s no doubt that yet another year of an all-white Oscars, which is being widely criticized on Twitter, will be addressed by host Chris Rock at the Feb. 28 telecast.
The Academy also managed to omit “Carol” from this year’s best picture race, marking the first time since 2008 that a movie backed by Harvey Weinstein isn’t competing in the top Oscars category. “The Revenant” led all films with 12 nominations, »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Recently Scott Feinberg added Jacob Tremblay to his actual predictions for Best Actor nominations. Yes, Best Actor. While Tremblay is obviously the leading man of Room (he co-leads the first half and essentially takes over in the second) he's been campaigned as supporting because he is a kid and that's how kids are campaigned invariably -- remember when they tried to pretend that Keisha Castle Hughes (Whale Rider) was supporting even though her movie had no other leads. Lol. Not so good times.
Tremblay in Best Actor would be a surprise but it maybe isn't a bad call given the seemingly passion-free zone that is the presumed leaders in that particular race. Though I think we'll only see that "promotion" happening if Room is strong enough to nab a Best Picture nomination (I think it is --see the updated Best Picture chart). On the other hand the actors branch, like most organizations, »
- NATHANIEL R
Time takes its toll on all of us … even Jackie
Jackie Chan is arguably one of the most important action /martial arts stars to ever grace our screens. As happens to us all … time takes it’s toll and sadly over the years the quality of his films has degraded.
But whilst the quality of his output my have decreased , it’s not difficult to spot moments of brilliance in even his most recent movies (i.e final fight scene in Chinese Zodiac ).
2016 is a very busy year for Jackie Chan
This year is going to be a very busy one of Jackie Chan, soon we will see the release of Skiptrace followed by another 3 confirmed releases (Railroad Tigers, The Foreigner, Kung Fu Yoga) and even more films which have either been announced or are currently in production (Rush Hour 4, The Karate Kid 2, Shanghai Noon Sequel).
Unfortunately none »
- The Tiger
If ordering a “Florrick 2016” campaign poster is on your 2016 to-do list, I’ve got some good news and some bad news.
There should be steep discounts on said banners (in the fictional world of The Good Wife, anyhow) come Monday morning. Problem is — as most of us could’ve predicted the minute the never-impressive-as-her-credentials Ruth Eastman started thinking her man could actually be Potus — they’ve already passed their expiration date.
RelatedGood Wife Boss Teases Voicemail Fallout, Resurrection of ‘Willicia’
Indeed, on this week’s installment, Peter manages to visit every single county in Iowa, but after two last-minute snafus »
10 items from 2016
IMDb.com, Inc. takes no responsibility for the content or accuracy of the above news articles, Tweets, or blog posts. This content is published for the entertainment of our users only. The news articles, Tweets, and blog posts do not represent IMDb's opinions nor can we guarantee that the reporting therein is completely factual. Please visit the source responsible for the item in question to report any concerns you may have regarding content or accuracy.See our NewsDesk partners