12 items from 2015
We’re fast approaching the festive season and pretty darned soon we’ll be breaking out the usual suspects, probably starting with Die Hard and then continuing on with films like Jingle All The Way, Home Alone and, of course, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Love this time of year.
Anyway, this is related. We’ve come across this fantastic nostalgic snippet of information today which actually involves the last two movies on that list. Chris Columbus, who went on to direct Mrs. Doubtfire and the first two Harry Potter movies, gave an interview with Chicago Magazine, and revealed he was down on his luck after his 1989 film Heartbreak Hotel bombed. It seems that Columbus was tied up with the Christmas Vacation movie, but ended up not doing it allegedly because of Mr. Chevy Chase. He didn;t get on too well with the funnyman and ended up leaving the project. »
- Paul Heath
James Hughes, son of the legendary writer and director John Hughes, put together an oral history of Home Alone for Chicago magazine. In it, he reveals how the film ultimately found its director, Chris Columbus. After directing the 1988 flop Heartbreak Hotel, Columbus was worried about finding a new directing gig. Which is part of why he was so excited when Hughes thought of him for the sequel to the wildly popular Vacation — Christmas Vacation. Also, "To do a Christmas comedy had been a dream," Columbus tells Chicago. So he met with the film's star, Chevy Chase ..."Chevy treated me like dirt," Columbus explains. Needing a job, he began working on the film, shooting establishing shots (some of which can still be seen in the movie). But then he had another meeting with Chase that went even worse. According to Columbus, he then called Hughes and said, "There’s no way I can do this movie. »
- Ira Madison III
Author Gabrielle Burton, known for her groundbreaking and award-winning novels and memoirs “I’m Running Away From Home but I’m Not Allowed to Cross the Street: A Primer of Women’s Liberation,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Impatient With Desire” and “Searching for Tamsen Donner” as well as the screenplay for the MGM film “Manna From Heaven” died in her home on September 3, 2015, after battling stage-four pancreatic cancer for 15 months. She was 76.
Burton decided to attend AFI film school at age 56, and went on to win AFI’s Mary Pickford Prize for top screenplay. Her subsequent honors include a Nicholl Fellowship through the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her 2003 film “Manna From Heaven” was invited to screen for Congress at the MPAA offices in Washington, D.C., hosted by Sen. Charles Schumer, Rep. Karen McCarthy and MPAA president Jack Valenti.
Burton’s articles, essays, and reviews appeared in national publications including the Los Angeles Times, »
- Variety Staff
When Jon Stewart exits “The Daily Show,” he will join a small group of elite hosts who changed the tone and importance of talkshows. Here are a dozen others (in chronological order) whose influence was long-lasting.
He created the template for late-night talk with “Tonight Starring Steve Allen,” which ran from 1954-57 on NBC. There was a desk, chatter with multiple guests, comedy, and music guests, including Elvis Presley — even though Allen hated rock ‘n’ roll. Allen did man-on-the-street interviews and had a gallery of comic players, including Tom Poston and Don Knotts.
As more TV sets were sold in the 1950s, more people tuned in for late-night TV. Jack Paar put late-night on the map when he took over “Tonight,” partly because he generated more publicity than anyone else at the time. He wept on the show, he broadcast from the new Berlin Wall, and »
- Tim Gray
Kelly Price, one of Whitney Houston’s longtime pals and collaborator on the Grammy-nominated “Heartbreak Hotel,” thinks Nick Gordon is worthy of suspect status in Bobbi Kristina's death. Price was at Lax on her way to Bk’s funeral, or rather “home going” -- she explains it in the video – when our photog asked her thoughts on Nick's possible involvement. Price was extremely tight with Bobbi Kristina and her late mom … Whitney’s last performance »
- TMZ Staff
Just because American Idol‘s Top 6 will cover “Arena Anthems” next Wednesday (8/7c on Fox) doesn’t mean we want a Jock Jams-type situation. (Not that there’s anything wrong with “Pump Up the Jam,” mind you.)
Thankfully, the parameters for the theme are a little broader than that — essentially “songs that can entertain a massive crowd and are performed by mega superstars.”
RelatedMay Sweeps Scorecard 2015: Weddings, Deaths, Breakups, Sex, Resurrections, Firings and More!
With that in mind, we’ve cooked up some dream suggestions for the six remaining finalists — the better to stop them from offering up the »
I — say — God — Damn!
The intravenous jab of callous madness, black comedy and strange unwholesome euphoria in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction hits me as hard now as when I first saw it 20 years ago. I sometimes think this is what it must have been like for record-buyers when Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel was released. It all first broke out at the Grand Théâtre Lumière at the Cannes film festival in 1994: Pulp Fiction was in competition, up against world cinema’s heavy-hitters: Nikita Mikhalkov’s Burnt By the Sun, Nanni Moretti’s Caro Diario, Edward Yang’s Confucian Confusion, and perhaps most prominently Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colours Red — widely tipped for the Palme D’Or. The jury president »
- Peter Bradshaw
Heartbreak Hotel advertises itself as a “rock and roll fantasy”; had it truly been that, it might have been something special. Most everything that happens in Hotel defies belief to some degree, but little of it truly feels fantastic. One can hardly blame Chris Columbus (in only his second film as director) for becoming enamored by the mythos of Elvis Presley, but his approach to king of rock and roll, like so many of them, feels minor compared to the man himself, and his legacy reduced to little more than a drawl and some cheesy catchphrases.
- Anders Nelson
The Voice UK is getting through those blind auditions - we had ten more today, with six acts making it onto a team. It's a surprise the coaches had time to press their button in between all their japes - from Sir Tom's impression of an impression of himself (confused?) to Ricky's uncanny impersonation of Orville the Duck and shocking admission that he's never had a cup of tea. And no-one even answered our burning question of just what is in will.i.am's backpack.
Still, Rita, Sir Tom and will.i.am managed to add one act each to their teams - while Ricky went and bagged three more (Will kind of scorned him by saying: "Ricky's turning for everything because he's afraid of missing out" - ouch! - while Sir Tom sighed of Ricky's success: "I'm not upset about it - I'm disgusted with it.") But who had the best audition? »
The Voice UK kicked off in style last weekend, and there are even more blind auditions to come! This weekend, ten more hopefuls take to the stage in an attempt to make those coaches turn.
If you want to know what to expect on Saturday, you're in luck - we've got info on all of the contestants (and their pictures, too!). Read on for all the details...
1. Jade Hewitt - 27, Sheffield
Song: 'Here for the Party ' - Gretchen Wilson
2. Marc Armstrong - 36, London
American Idol is determined to discover a Carrie Underwood-level superstar in 2015 — as the show’s promotional tour and ad campaign keep reminding us — but it probably wouldn’t be bad for ratings if it managed to land a fourth husband for Jennifer Lopez, either.
I’m not trying to besmirch the good name of the Artist Formerly Known as an In Living Color Fly Girl. After all, she’s the one who commanded flirty 20-year-old Michael Simeon to take their slow dance from middle-school chaste to senior-prom snuggly all while he crooned Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” during his Nashville audition. »
"American Idol" is back for Season 14 and it's important to remind you: The last two winners have been Candice Glover and Caleb Johnson. For the past few years, the ability to make stars has been the thing "Idol" has used to set it apart from the higher-rated "Voice." It's not like the coronation of Phillip Phillips, an artist with probably more album sales than every "Voice" winner combined, was that long ago, but in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business, "Idol" could use another breakout soon. [Note that ratings were Way down for "The Voice" this past season, as the NBC singing competition appears to have peaked and be heading into the predictable slide that almost all competition shows eventually go into. While pundits love to talk trash about the decline in "Idol" ratings, folks were oddly silent about "The Voice" in the fall. Shrug.] Expect more declines for "Idol" this season, but a breakout, incandescent star might help. So let's get down to the business of recapping Wednesday (January 7) night's premiere! With Fox sending out screeners, the live-blog times line up with episode time-code and not with any time from a real clock. Oh and Thursday's (January 8) two-hour »
- Daniel Fienberg
12 items from 2015
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