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Rip Joe Cocker: 7 Unbelievable Live Performances

48 minutes ago

The legendary vocalist Joe Cocker, whose renditions of "With a Little Help from My Friends" and "You Are So Beautiful" have become searing classics, has died at age 70. His rumbling, scorching instrument is peerless, even if it was famously imitated to comic effect by the late John Belushi. We've compiled a handful of Cocker's great live performances here. We begin at Woodstock, where he scintillated with "Something's Coming On." Naturally he also blew Woodstock away with his version of "With a Little Help from My Friends." Cue the opening credits of "The Wonder Years." This performance of "The Letter" from Cocker's live album "Mad Dogs & Englishmen" is explosive. In one of the first instances of a celebrity crashing 'SNL' to perform alongside his impersonator, Joe Cocker joined John Belushi live on air. Priceless. It's hard to pick a best rendition of "You Are So Beautiful," but the hushed urgency here is fabulous. »


- Louis Virtel

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Riding 'Selma' praise, PGA will honor Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment with Visionary Award

1 hour ago

Brad Pitt uses his power for good. The A-lister could easily hang his hat on a cavalcade of franchise films and call it a day. Instead, he throws himself on the occasional blockbuster sword (see: Troy" or "World War Z") for the cred to make movies that strive for something beyond pure entertainment. His Plan B Entertainment, run by Pitt, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner, has produced a number of highly acclaimed films over the years, including "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," "The Tree of Life," "Moneyball," the Best Picture-winning "12 Years a Slave," HBO's "The Normal Heart" and next year's "True Story." This December will see the release of Plan B's "Selma," which prompted the PGA to pay its respects to Pitt’s company in the form of the organization’s Visionary Award. The Producers Guild Visionary Award recognizes "television, film or new media »


- Matt Patches

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Finally, a Christmas Song for Marijuana Lovers

1 hour ago

Daniel Franzese does it again with a jam for the holidays: The "Mean Girls" actor is in a sentimental Christmas mood and wants you to kick back, put up your feet, and toke. Is that too much to ask? "Just Bring You (and Maybe Some Weed)" is his heartwarming carol. Can't you picture Nat King Cole or Bing Crosby crooning it? »


- Louis Virtel

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Garth Brooks totally crashed Justin Timberlake's Nashville concert

1 hour ago

On December 19, Justin Timberlake was playing to a sold-out crowd at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena when something magical happened. You can’t play a live show in the Country Music Capitol of the World™ without covering at least one country classic. It’s in the rules*. So Timberlake decided to regale the crowd with iconic bar song “Friends in Low Places.”  But you can’t sing a Garth Brooks song without the legend himself, obviously. Out of blue, Timberlake takes a step back to introduce Brooks to the stage, and the crowd goes (understandably) wild. *Totally not a real rule...but it should be. »


- Donna Dickens

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TV Ratings: Seahawks-Cardinals rout leads NBC Sunday domination

3 hours ago

Fast National ratings for Sunday, December 21, 2014. A snoozer between the Seattle Seahawks and the Qb-depleted Arizona Cardinals delivered relatively weak numbers for NBC, but Sunday Night Football still dominated primetime anyway. NFL-inflated CBS finished second for the night, followed by ABC, which finished third thanks to "The Sound of Music: Sing-a-Long." NFL helped inflate Fox's "Mulaney" ratings as well, with some sad, frustrated markets missing "Mulaney" entirely. The CBS overrun was roughly 50 minutes in most marked on the right side of the country, so adjust accordingly. On to the numbers... Among adults 18-49, NBC averaged a 4.4 rating for Sunday night, easily beating CBS' 2.2 rating in the key demographic. ABC's 1.2 key demo rating and the 1.1 key demo rating for Fox trailed. Overall, NBC averaged an estimated 14.01 million viewers and an 8.4 rating/14 share for Sunday night. CBS was a respectable second with 11.145 million viewers and 6.9/12, far ahead of the 5.58 million viewers and 3.3/6 for ABC. »


- Daniel Fienberg

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Mind-blowing "Marvel vs. DC" fan trailer will make you weep for what will never be

3 hours ago

Can’t we all just get along, Marvel? Think of the fans, DC. Let’s put aside the rivalry and the red tape bureaucracy so fans can watch Superman and the Hulk smash the ever-living snot out of each other. Call it an early Christmas present miracle? Oh, who am I kidding? Nothing as bad ass as this fan trailer could ever happen. Damn you, licensing rights! »

- Donna Dickens

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25 Worst Movies of 2014: 'Transformers 4,' 'Transcendence,' 'Winter's Tale' and more

5 hours ago

Over the past few weeks we've celebrated the best movies of 2014 and now, inevitably, it's time to celebrate the worst. The HitFix staff has chosen 25 films that disappointed, frustrated and often found us wanting to run from the theater screaming in disbelief. And while many of the selections are from the Hollywood studio factory, a surprising number are not. The 25 on our list include two Toronto world premieres, a film in competition (!) at Cannes, two Sundance selections, a Meryl Streep flick and an epic from arguably one of the greatest directors of all-time. Notable misfires that didn't make it included "That Awkward Moment," "Need for Speed," "The November Man," "Annie," "Gimme Shelter," "God's Pocket," "The Signal" and "Non-Stop," among others. Has that piqued your interest? Check out which movies made the top 25 in the embedded gallery below. Then vote for the films you think were the worst five of the year in the poll. »


- Gregory Ellwood, Drew McWeeny, Dan Fienberg, Donna Dickens, Louis Virtel, Chris Eggertsen

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Striving for legitimacy, 'Fifty Shades of Grey' books Berlin Film Festival premiere

5 hours ago

Sam Taylor-Johnson’s "Fifty Shades of Grey" will arrive to theaters in February 2015 with a handicap. Even if it’s artfully crafted, sensual and romantic, and joins "Basic Instinct," "Eyes Wide Shut," "Body Double," "Little Children," "9 1/2 Weeks" in the pantheon of Hollywood kink, it’ll still carry a burden: E.L. James’ e-book source material. "Fifty Shades" that swept a nation and embarrassed the lit-savvy.  The book has an audience, selling over 100 million copies since its 2011 release. But it’s also the butt of many a joke; When rumors leaked that Emma Watson was up for the film adaptation’s lead role, Anastasia Steele, she tweeted "'Who here actually thinks I would do 50 Shades of Grey as a movie? Like really. For real. In real life.'" Salman Rushdie thought "Fifty Shades" made "'Twilight' look like 'War and Peace.'" Half-baked material can be mined for transcendent film experiences, so »


- Matt Patches

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14 things we learned from Madonna about the 'Rebel Heart' surprise

10 hours ago

In case you missed it, Madonna pulled off a holiday surprise late Friday night and released six new singles from her upcoming album "Rebel Heart."  This was in response to the entire album being leaked by hackers on Wednesday, Dec. 17.  And, earlier in December, three other unfinished tracks found their way onto the net. In truth, those were unfinished demo tracks, but  it forced Madonna and her label into action in what can only be described as a "partial Beyonce." No, the entire album with accompanying music videos wasn't released out of the blue, but six "finished" tracks were and, in some corners, the internet exploded. Unlike Madonna's previous albums, these tracks immediately made an impact on iTunes.  Within 12 hours it was the no. 1 album in the Us and in 40 other countries.  And, late Sunday night, it was still no. 1.  Now naysayers can say it was a busy holiday weekend »


- Gregory Ellwood

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Interview: Missy Payne talks 'Survivor: San Juan del Sur'

14 hours ago

For only the third time since "Survivor" switched over to a Final 3, all three remaining castaways received votes at the Final Tribal Council. So kudos to Missy Payne, even if her lone vote came from her daughter Baylor.  In retrospect, it's pretty impressive that Missy was even able to stand at the Final 3 at all. The owner of a Dallas-based cheerleading gym hurt her ankle in a late-season Reward Challenge and resisted Jeff Probst's insinuations that she might want to leave the game. Told by the "Survivor" medic that she could stick around if she could stand the pain, Missy refused to quit, even if it meant sitting out several of the season's most important challenges. Perhaps that injury explains why the Jury took Missy so lightly, even though she tried to emphasize her importance in many key early votes.  In her exit interview, the season's third place finisher »


- Daniel Fienberg

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The 30 best film performances of 2014

15 hours ago

With 2014 winding down, HitFix has been dabbling in all corners of the "year-in-review" game. Hopefully you've enjoyed the trip down recent memory lane. Now it's time for a thorough assessment of the year in film performances, and for a 12-month stretch marked in some quarters as "weak," there sure was a lot of stand-out work in front of the camera. One curious note on the year's best portrayals, as we see them, is how many of the characters seen on screen this year were broken or damaged, desperate to show a forthright side, or to earn love or respect. Or to just be who they are. As well and otherwise, there are brilliant examples of outward showmanship, and plenty others of internalized drama. The resulting cross-section is as varied as ever. It was tough to narrow it down even to 30, of course, so at the end of the day, great work didn't make the cut. »


- Matt Patches, Kristopher Tapley

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Recap: 'The Comeback' - 'Valerie Faces the Critics'

15 hours ago

Two months have passed in "The Comeback" time: Valerie has been nominated for an Emmy for "Seeing Red," Mickey has been undergoing radiation, Jane has been editing the documentary so her camera crews have been absent, and Valerie and Mark are living apart and in therapy. There's a lot of weight in the penultimate episode of "The Comeback," and it  builds to two rough scenes. In one, there's an incredibly tense moment when Valerie shows up at Mickey's apartment, since he hasn't shown up to do her hair, and it seems like she's going to discover his dead body. Instead, he's there, drunk, passed out, and naked, as is his hookup, a guy who doesn't hesitate to advertise his hook-up web site. But Mickey waves all of this off; he doesn't seem to care if it'll be in the documentary or not. One person does care: Mark, Valerie's now-estranged husband, »


- Andy Dehnart

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Season finale review: 'The Affair' - 'Episode 10'

16 hours ago

A review of "The Affair" season finale — and a few thoughts from co-creator Sarah Treem — coming up just as soon as I'm alone and need a kidney... When I spoke with Sarah Treem before this season began, she said of the show's split-pov device, and the way details would change from one account to the other, "And the memory is tricky — that you remember things through your own prism." That, for the most part, is how I've chosen to look at the way "The Affair" depicts the two halves of the story. Noah remembers Alison being in a pristine white dress when he and Helen come to fetch Whitney, because she's his angelic savior from the life he no longer wants, while Alison remembers a less striking outfit (albeit one where the skirt was still white). And the business with the pregnancy test in the trash can last week isn't »


- Alan Sepinwall

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Season finale review: 'Homeland' - 'Long Time Coming'

16 hours ago

A quick review of tonight's "Homeland" season finale coming up just as soon as I want lasagna at 10 at night... "I know how this goes. It ends badly." -Carrie What she said, I'm afraid. I started watching "Long Time Coming" about 20 minutes behind the live telecast, and kept seeing two sentiments on Twitter as I tried to catch up: 1)It was awfully quiet so far, and 2)Did this mean some horrible shoe was about to drop? Instead, "quiet" remained the watchword throughout the very slow, emotionally muted finale, which played less as a conclusion to the events of season 4 than an extended tribute to the late James Rebhorn, and as a biographical character on a character the show had long since snuffed my interest in for any non-professional capacity. If Carrie was someone I still cared about — and/or if I bought into the idea of Carrie and Quinn having »


- Alan Sepinwall

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