I don't know about you, but I think the Michael Jackson tribute was spot-on. The performances were heartfelt, the presentation appropriate, the eulogies funny and feisty, and the sentiments well expressed (though I think MLK's daughter Bernice dwelled a little too much on her own family rather than the Jacksons, but that's just my take...) Watch the entire thing here. Perhaps the most touching part of it was when his daughter Paris made that heartbreaking statement about her dad at the end. How wonderful that up until now, Michael's masks and veils, which we all thought were so odd, allowed them to have a childhood free of being hounded by fans and paparazzi, since few knew who they were. As the AP put it:
For all the hasty preparations, hand-wringing over security, breathless media competition to scoop details and soul-wrenching performances, the essence of Michael Jackson’s memorial service came down to 20 poignant, powerful seconds: the moment when 11-year-old Paris-Michael Jackson inched up to the microphone and, in a statement no one saw coming, referred to the late pop superstar as “Daddy.”
... And all at once, Jackson wasn’t the larger-than-life “King of Pop,” or Wacko Jacko the tabloid freak. He was a doting father who had left three adoring young children behind.
Perhaps the second most moving tribute came from Brooke Shields, who explained her lifelong friendship with Jackson, borne out of the common experience of childhood stardom. Having never really thought of Brooke Shields in that light, it was a stark reminder of what a strange, charmed life she, Jackson and other child stars live.
Meeanwhile, here are two pieces of proof that at the end of the day, what Michael Jackson was principally, was a very, very gifted performer. Cheers.
Here's Michael and the Jackson 5, performing "Ben," live (1975):
The mother of all televised dance performances: Michael performing "Billie Jean" at the Motown 25 special, back in 1983 (when I was in junior high school. Damn, I can still remember watching the special with my sister, my brother and my mom, and trying -- and failing -- to do those moves! The next day at school, everybody was trying to do them...)
And last but not least: links to my favorite "version" of Michael (the FINE version!) -- from his best album, in my opinion, "Off the Wall," here are "Rock With You" and my 12-year-old son's new favorite Youtube video: "Don't Stop till You Get Enough" (or as he calls it: the three Michael Jacksons video.) Enjoy!
News One vents their outrage at what was, if it proceeded as described, a truly disgraceful performance -- rapper Lil Wayne and some other guy performing the clean version of a porno song with a bunch of little girls dancing around on stage at the BET Awards. ... and then at the bottom of the post: 42 pictures of scantily clad starlets at the BET Awards! ... by the way, does anyone over 16 even watch BET anymore? And isn't NewsOne long-awaited online arm of Radio One, a company which operates mostly hip-hop and urban radio stations that traffic in the same musical pornography that's damaging the same children they're so very outraged on behalf of...? Just sayin ...
I ain't sayin' she's a gold digger... Debbie Rowe wants the kids
The lady with the Jay Leno Chin, who has alternately described herself as merely a "vessel" and a "thoroughbred," for the production of Michael Jackson's progeny; who said she merely "offered her womb to Michael as a gift" (and for the gift of money for herself,) and who has said that she has no relationship with the children she served as surrogate mother for, and that she doesn't want to see them, now says, totally coincidentally a day after Jackson's will was released, and perhaps after figuring out exactly how much money is on the table, says she wants "her" children. Debbie Rowe is apparently willing to separate Paris and Prince Jackson from their younger brother and the only family they know, and take them from their grandmother ... because...?
Rowe would apparently have a strong legal case, if not a moral one, even though she may be no more the biological mother of those children than Jackson was the biological father (though he actually was a parent to them, unlike, say ... her...) and we could even see the surrogate mother of the third child, "Blanket," come forward for her piece of the action ... I mean the love of her child ... too. Well, if it's headed to court, here are a few alleged Debbie Rowe statements the court might want to take into consideration:
"I offered him my womb - it was a gift. It was something I did to keep him happy."
"I got paid for it, and I've moved on. I know I will never see my children again."
"I was never a good mother, I never felt any attachment to them. It was a better feeling giving them to him than it was keeping them as my own.
So what changed, Debbie dear? Well ... maybe it's this, as reported by TMZ:
We've learned who's getting what in Michael Jackson's trust. Here's how it breaks down.
Katherine Jackson will get 40% of the assets. Michael's 3 kids will get another 40%. And the remaining 20% goes to several children's charities. We're told the charities have not been designated yet and are not specified in the trust.
What's 40% of $1 billion? I'll bet Debbie's done the math ... and would it be too much to create a charity called The Deborah Jean Rowe Foundation, like, yesteray???
Care to vote on whether she should get custody of the money ... I mean the kids? Here you go!
Flashback: Debbie before she gave birth to their second child, pretends to be really married to Michael, but admits their "friendship is more important." Now, of course, she's blabbing to anyone who'll talk to her that their marriage was a sham (not to mention outing Jackson as not the kids' bio father.)
Flashback 2: Debbie defends giving up custody of her kids back in 2003, adding: "my kids don't call me mom because I don't want them to." Watch:
Plus: will the nanny also enter the custody sweepstakes?
Would you pay $500,000 for a Michael Jackson photo?
OK Magazine did, in the latest sign of old media desperation. Says MediaBistro:
Money-hemorrhaging OK!, on the verge of being closed by owner Richard Desmond, reportedly paid $500,000 for a photo of Michael Jackson being whisked to the hospital. The decision was the head honcho's call, so he only has himself to blame if the strategy to sell more magazines backfires...
If this is the photo, somebody better tell Desmond it has already leaked ... for free ... all over the net
According to The Wall Street Journal, that version of his will might not include any provisions for his father. He did, however, leave about $1 billion to his mother, Katherine Jackson, his three children and a few charities.
The lawyer representing Michael’s parents, L. Londell McMillan, said the Jacksons thought Michael had died without a valid will. Two earlier drafts of the letter have surfaced since his passing on June 25.
Michael‘s lawyer, John Branca, uncovered the document from 2002, and he may file it with the Los Angeles Superior Court as soon as Thursday. This would effectively end any dispute over what document counts as his last will and testament. Say the folks at Bossip.com (probably speaking for the Entire World):
Joe Jackson is the main reason Michael’s life was so tragic. The fact that he left his father out of the will comes as no surprise since Joe helped create the troubled man we all watched change before our very eyes. Pops is doin’ too much right now anyways. He doesn’t deserve a dime of Michael’s money.
Amen. Now, if Katherine can just keep Jackson's kids away from him...
Meanwhile, in ghastly news, there will apparently be a public viewing:
Celebrity website TMZ.com claims the Jacksons will take the body to Neverland, his fantasy ranch in southern California, on Thursday.
They will hold a wake on Friday or Saturday ahead of a burial at an undecided time and place, according to TMZ.
Law enforcement sources tell TMZ upwards of a 30 car motorcade -- including Jackson's body -- will be traveling from Los Angeles to Neverland at 10 AM on Thursday.
TMZ also has what it calls exclusives about the search warrants issued for Jackson's rented house, and an alleged search for needles... And then there's this: TMZ claims the LAPD wants to talk to another Jackson doc about drugs he may have supplied the King of Pop. And this isn't just any doctor: it's the same guy Us Magazine claims is the father of Michael's two oldest children. Says TMZ:
We've learned the LAPD wants to talk to Michael Jackson's longtime dermatologist Arnold Klein about drugs he may have prescribed or given Michael Jackson.
We're told Klein has already gotten a lawyer but as far as we know the LAPD has not spoken with him.
Jackson apparently had been frequenting Klein's office. Maybe he was sharing parenting stories???
The Michael Jackson saga just gets weirder and weirder. From TMZ and Us Weekly comes the not exactly shocking allegation that Jackson was not the biological father of his children. But the new, kind of shocking allegation is that Debbie Rowe, who was Michael's second wife, is not the mother, either (which would explain why she seems to have no interest in getting custody of the kids.) Firt, TMZ:
We've learned Michael Jackson was not the biological father of any of his children. And Debbie Rowe is not the biological mother of the two kids she bore for Michael. All three children were conceived in vitro -- outside the womb.
Multiple sources deeply connected to the births tell us Michael was not the sperm donor for any of his kids. Debbie's eggs were not used. She was merely the surrogate, and paid well for her services in the births of Michael Jr. and Paris.
In the case of Prince Michael II (the youngest), we're told the surrogate was never told of the identity of the "receiving parent" -- Michael Jackson. Three days after Prince was born at Grossmont Hospital in San Diego County, Jackson's lawyer came to the hospital to pick the baby up and deliver him to Michael.
We do not know if Jackson chose the sperm or egg donors or if he even knew who they were.
TMZ goes on to add that under California law, Rowe could still be the presumed parent of the two oldest kids. Meanwhile, Us Magazine takes it even further, saying they know the real father of the oldest children, Paris and Prince, is:
Though Michael Jackson was wed to Prince and Paris' mother, Debbie Rowe, their biological father is Arnold Klein, Jackson's L.A.-based dermatologist and Rowe's former boss, multiple sources confirm to the new issue of Us Weekly.
"He is the dad," says a Jackson insider. "He and Debbie signed an agreement saying they would never reveal the truth."
That would explain this rather bizarre statement attributed to Ms. Rowe, who gushed about volunteering to carry Jackson's children years ago:
In an astonishing interview Debbie - mother of Prince, 12, and Paris, 11 - said she was artificially inseminated by an anonymous donor.
And she told how, despite Jackson's death, she does not WANT custody of the children and NEVER expects to see them again.
EXCERPTS: Debbie (who lives on a farm surrounded by animals) said, ""I was just the vessel. It wasn't Michael's sperm. Just like I stick the sperm up my horse, this is what they did to me. I was his thoroughbred."....
After Debbie gave birth to second child Paris, she couldn't have kids again, "The delivery was so hard. My insides were all torn up and I was barren. When he knew I couldn't have any more babies he didn't want anything to do with me."
Debbie says she will not fight for custody of Prince Michael or Paris, "I know I will never see them again. I was never cut out to be a mother - I was no good. I don't want these children in my life. My children are my animals now."
The interview, with "News of the World" was supposedly done in 2004. However, the link to the supposed story is not working as of this post (and the one on the Huffpo.) The reporter who says he conducted the interview reminds readers at Showbiz411.com that Rose is also the person credited with providing the testimony in 2005 that probably kept Michael Jackson out of jail.
According to one British tabloid writer, Michael Jackson was schizophrenic, bulimic, anorexic, drug-addicted, suicidal, paranoid, lung diseased, unable to sing, unable to dance, thin-haired, enabled, broke and gay. All at once (and all according to unnamed sources.) He reports, you decide.
The London Daily Mail is just dripping with unsourced stories, including allegations from Jackson's fired nanny that his kids feared him, and lots of details about Jackson's alleged addictions, his fears that he wouldn't be able to pull off that 50 concert extravaganza, and an alleged prior overdose (plus a completely contradictory story quoting a friend of Jackson's -- on the record -- saying the singer couldn't wait to hit the stage ... hmmmm... more contradictions here...) The second Daily Mail story raises fresh questions about Jackson's "personal doctor." On a harder news front, the Jackson family has requested a second autopsy. And apparently, Jackson's will says his kids should go to his mother, and the children have requested as much, but Debbie Rowe may beg to differ...
Where will the kids live? Michael Jackson with Prince and Paris.
"Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician who was with Michael Jackson at the time of his collapse, voluntarily contacted the Los Angeles Police Department. Detectives assigned to Robbery-Homicide Division met with Dr. Murray and conducted an extensive interview. Dr. Murray was cooperative and provided information which will aid the investigation."
Perez Hilton has officially jumped the shark. Buh-bye, now!
Is it wrong that I'm really, really glad the Black Eyed Peas manager belted Perez Hilton, and that I wish to God I could move to Toronto and become a Canadian citizen just long enough to be on that jury, solely for nullification purposes? If it is, consider this my apology. Or not.
To recap: it all started when Hilton, real name something Lavandera, or something, blasted through his 15 minutes of fame by getting into a fight -- literal and Twitteral -- with the entire population of the Black Eyed Peas (whom my son informed me today actually consists of FOUR people. Who knew!? I thought it was just Will.I.Am, Fergie and that Latino guy with the long hair...! But I digress...) So rather than call 911 himself, Perez, for whom EVERYTHING is done mostly for publicity, Twitters his followers to do it for him. And they being the lefty-celeb-hating equivalent of Dittoheads, proceeded to do so, probably clogging up 911 for people with real problems. Per @perezhilton on the night of "the incident..."
--" I'm in shock. I need the police ASAP. Please come to the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel now. Please."
-- "I was assaulted by will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas and his security guards. I am bleeding. Please, I need to file a police report. No joke."
--" Still waiting for the police. The bleeding has stopped. I need to document this. Please, can the police come to the SoHo Met Hotel."
--" I spoke to my lawyer. I really need to talk to the authorities. Please come to the SoHo Met Hotel. Have called the police. Need them here."
-- "The Toronto police are here now. Thank you. Please stop calling them."
Well, at least he told them to stop.
Meanwhile, Perez's claims that Will.I.Am had beaten him up, went viral, causing Will.I.Am to feel the need to make his own video denying he'd touched a pink hair on Perez's head. ... oh, and Perez called Will a "faggot." To which Hilton responded with a 12-minute rant about what a bad person Will.I.Am is. Dude -- you're a blogger fighting with a pop group after you've just finished fighting with a beauty pageant contestant ... Which leads us to two conclusions. First, Perez Hilton is an idiot. He Twitted that Will.I.Am assaulted him, which it turns out, he didn't actually believe, since it's the BIP's bodyguard who has been charged with assault (presumably, Perez is the one who pressed the charges.) Second, Perez Hilton is an idiot. A gay guy calling someone a "faggot?" Does that even make sense??? Gay activists are not amused (and neither is John Mayer, which is a whoooole nother level of Perez jumping the shark-dom.) The story makes its way all the way to ABC News:
The openly gay blogger, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, caught heat from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, Monday for his use of the anti-gay slur.
"These are vulgar anti-gay slurs that feed a climate of hatred and intolerance toward our community," Rashad Robinson, GLAAD's senior director of media programs, said in a statement, adding that the organization had reached out to Hilton for an apology.
In response to Hilton's latest statement, Robinson said, "Perez Hilton's acknowledgement that words can hurt is an important step in the right direction, and while his change of tone is welcome, he still seems to be justifying the use of the slurs. ... Now that Perez Hilton has acknowledged that words can hurt, GLAAD calls on him to take this opportunity to reflect on his use of demeaning and defamatory language against many different communities on PerezHilton.com."
And now, of course, Perez is suing ... although he can't sue the Black Eyed Peas and make soem REAL money, because despite his initial Twittering, none of the members of that group hit him. So, he's down to suing the bodyguard. Sure hate it! And as for that 12-minute rant? Breckin's is funnier.
Prescription: somebody else famous could belt Perez in the other eye so he can stay famous? Or ... let's just pretend he isn't there...
UPDATE: For the love of God make it stop! There's video of the alleged "confrontation":
No, I really did tell you Adam Lambert could be the new Freddie Mercury. (BTW it's raining in Miami on the Saturday before Memorial Day, which is why I'm here fooling around instead of at the beach. We head to the movies in 15 minutes... Just saying I'm not THAT big a blog nerd...)
Okay, so I didn't watch "American Idol" this season -- or last -- okay I'm totally bored with it. But I just watched several performances on the show's website, and um ... you mean this guy didn't win???
Okay, I'm I going to have to cry at every episode of Britain's Got Talent??? First came Susan Boyle, and now another fabulous performance, this time by a 12-year-old boy named Shaheen Jafargholi. Another must-see out of the UK, which apparently has more entertaining talent programs than we do. Also talented, last week's "Flawless."
Today the unruly hair, bushy eyebrows and spinster image that for so long attracted cruel teasing, especially from young children, are set to be the passport to her undoubted future success. "Why should I change?" she told Larry King on his US chat show, when asked about her image. But she does expect life to be very, very different. "Well, I certainly won't be lonely any more," said the church volunteer, who has admitted she has never been kissed.
Certainly not, Ms. Boyle. Certainly not. Maybe it's just the times we're in, but I love this woman, and I love this story.
Filed under: "never, ever jump onto the hood of someone's car". Check out the opening sentence of the Sun Sentinel story:
Fearful that he had rear-ended drug dealers in a "duded out" 1966 Cadillac DeVille with whitewall tires, Abdelaziz Bilal Hamze didn't stop, his attorney told jurors Wednesday.
Duded out??? Who wrote this story, Michael Steele? We continue...
The Cadillac's owner, Sandra Hall, 44, was dragged two miles to her death after confronting Hamze at a stop light, jumping spread-eagled onto the hood of his minivan and clutching the windshield wipers as he drove away.
It gets worse: (the descriptions, I mean...)
Hamze, a native of Lebanon, acted out of "absolute fear and self-defense," Jeffrey Voluck said. "They've got him surrounded like a crazy mob. Fearing that eventually they will break the windows and drag him out of the car and either beat him unmercifully or kill him, he takes off."
Hall,"a big woman," and her boyfriend, Michael Hall, "a big, scary guy with dreadlocks," intimidated Hamze, a quiet, diminutive young man, Voluck said.
Holden, the prosecutor, conceded Hall was upset, screaming and cursing. While pursuing Hamze through a residential neighborhood, Holden said, Hall called 911 to report the hit-and-run and told the operator: "I'm gonna kill that s-- of a b----."
But once faced with Hall clinging to the hood of his minivan, Hamze drove, swerving "as if to get the lady ... off the van," Holden said.
"The van kept going, folks," Holden told jurors. "The van never stopped, it kept going."
"Fear of a giant black woman who with one other person forms a "crazy mob." It's a defense...
TALLAHASSEE -- The act of bestiality is a step closer to becoming illegal in Florida now that a Senate agriculture committee voted to slap a third-degree felony charge on anyone who has sex with animals.
Florida is one of only 16 states that still permit bestiality -- a fact that animal-rights activist and Sen. Nan Rich learned to her horror three years ago when a Panhandle man was suspected of accidentally asphyxiating a family goat that he held by the collar during a sex act.
... Rich's legislation would target only those who derived or helped others derive ''sexual gratification'' from an animal, specifying that conventional dog-judging contests and animal-husbandry practices are permissible.
That last provision tripped up Miami Democratic Sen. Larcenia Bullard.
''People are taking these animals as their husbands? What's husbandry?'' she asked. Some senators stifled their laughter as Sen. Charlie Dean, an Inverness Republican, explained that husbandry is raising and caring for animals. Bullard didn't get it.
''So that maybe was the reason the lady was so upset about that monkey?'' Bullard asked, referring to a Connecticut case where a woman's suburban chimpanzee went mad and was shot.
The poverty stricken child stars of Slumdog Millionaire are set to be property tycoons after being promised new homes by the film’s Oscar winning director Danny Boyle and by Mumbai officials.
Boyle and producer Christian Colson told the Daily Mail that Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and Rubina Ali and their families will be moved to apartments worth £20,000 each in the coming months.
But in an astonishing turn of events, officials from the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority - a Mumbai housing association - have now also said they want to gift the children a new flat each.
There was a public outcry after pictures emerged of the child stars living in squalor, despite the fact the film had grossed £70million worldwide.
One showed ten year-old Azharuddin sleeping on a rotting makeshift mat - a bed he shared with his parents - while another featured him crouched down by rubbish, washing in dirty water.
The shack that Rubina, who plays the young heroine Letika, calls home is just yards from an open sewer.
Not anymore... Question: didn't the kids get paid for the film? I should hope so!
Lingering questions from last night's Grammy Awards:
Is Rihanna the "unnnamed woman" Chris Brown was arrested for throttling, and is that why BOTH of them failed to show for the awards, rather than just him? Signs point to yes... and it gets worse, according to TMZ:
TMZ has confirmed Rihanna is the named alleged victim in the Chris Brown case and the allegation is that she was assaulted with a deadly weapon.
Law enforcement sources tell us the crime report calls the incident assault with a deadly weapon -- we do not yet know the nature of the weapon.
The crime report gives the victim's name as Robyn Fenty -- that's Rihanna's real name.
Another Q: what's with the Brit phenom M.I.A. performing on her freaking due date? And that polka dot outfit! WTF was that all about??? (BTW one of the funniest moments of the night was when the camera caught our friend M.I.A. scratching the bejeezus out of her wig ... er ... hair ... during the nominations for best new artist. Adele was chewing gum. She won.)
Worse, what the HELL was up with Kanye West's HAIR??? Was he trying to channel Rockwell from the 1980s with that mullet or what? I sure hope that was for a part in a movie...
And while we're on the hip hop tip, how in the name of God did the turtle-like Lil Wayne beat Jay Z (and Nas, for that matter) out of one Grammy, let alone THREE???
Jay Z had one of the best performances of the night, both with the "Rap pack" and with Chris Martin of Coldplay. Another good collaboration: Justin Timberlake and both Al Green and T.I.
All in all, I disagree with those who called it a horrible show, though it was a bit all over the place. But again, I could have done without the polka dot belly.
UPDATE: Chris Brown has been dropped as a spokesman for Doublemint Gum pending the outcome of the investiga... oh, hell, he's not getting that back.
Meanwhile, TMZ has updated their reporting to say that despite the police report, there was no weapon involved in the alleged assault, but that according to the law, a deadly weapon doesn't necessarily have to be a gun or knife (there may be an umbrella involved..) And get this:
One law enforcement source who has been dead-on so far claims Rihanna suffered contusions and bite marks.
Not since Soul II Soul took over my musical youth have I seen so many British acts rocking the U.S. charts! I hadn't realized that I was sharing my taste for British pop with like, the whole freaking world, or at least, with the Grammy voters. On the show tonight, there were no fewer than half a dozen British acts up for awards, performing, etc., including:
Sir Paul McCartney (who just about everyone bigged up onstage) Coldplay (who won everything Robert Plant didn't get) Robert Plant (who has a hit duet album with bluegrass singer Alison Krauss) Adele (still chasing pavements ... great song btw) Keith Urban (Okay, he's Australian, but close enough!) Duffy (who won for something given off camera, apparently) RadioHead (who just performed)
... and I know I'm forgetting others. So far, it's been a very British night (which the UK papers have of course noticed,) and a very eclectic one. I have to say I'm enjoying the show more than I thought I might, back when I was dubious about watching for fear of three hours of Miley Cyrus-level entertainment... Oh, and speaking of "chasing pavements"...
In a sign of the massive upheaval within the record business since the introduction of the iPod and iTunes, the record label with the most British nominees is not a big company, such as EMI, but a small independent outfit named XL Recordings. Its artists include Adele and MIA, and the label was also chosen by Radiohead to release the CD of In Rainbows.
Love that! MTV is liveblogging and has great pics. BTW the audio quality is TERRIBLE!!!! Not cute, CBS.
BTW, from what I could hear via the muffled audio, JHud did a great performance, and beat Al Green and Boyz II Men for best R&B album. Good for her!
Jennifer Anniston's "Marley and Me" is tops at the box office, followed by her ex, Brad Pitt's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Both films set records for Christmas Day openers, but really, it's not that close, says Nikki Finke:
Christmas Day was "enormous" for the movie industry with the top two pics setting all-time records for the holiday, studios are telling me. Even the weather cooperated. Good thing too because, for weeks now, Hollywood has been hotly anticipating today's opening of five high-profile movies with potential to be blockbusters (because Christmas releases on average have a 6.9 multiple). Latest estimates for Thursday box office nationally are: No. 1 Fox's Marley And Me $14.6M in 3,480 theaters, No. 2 Paramount's The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button $11.8M from 2,988 venues, No. 3 Disney'sBedtime Stories $10.5M for 3,681 runs, and No. 4 MGM/UA's Valkyrie $8.3M from 2,711 plays, No. 5 Warner Bros' Yes Man $5.8M for 3,434 theaters, No. 6 Sony's Seven Pounds $4.8M in 2,758 dates, and No. 7 Lionsgate's The Spirit $3.8M from 2,509 venues.
When it comes to North American moviegoing habits, this rule is primo -- don't ever bet against a pooch. So my info is that 20th Century Fox's Marley And Me based on the bestselling book is beating the competition "by a mile". Driven by women moviegoers, the Owen Wilson tearjerker about a man and his dog did twice what was expected -- as did No. 2, Paramount's Oscar buzzed The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button starring Brad Pitt. "It's a classic dovetail: Marley's strength is smack in the middle of the country and the south, while Button is strong on both coasts," one studio insider tells me. I also hear Benjamin Button is rapidly selling out today because of demand and a long running time.
I finally read the short story "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" last night, which is by the great F. Scott Fitzgerald (you can too, here.) Apparently, the film departs markedly from the simple story, and though it has been nominated for multiple Golden Globes and has tremendous Oscar buzz, not everyone is in love with the Pitt film. I want to see it, though I'm no particular fan of Mr. Pitt. And my kids want to see "Marley and Me." The way things work around here, my kids, and "Marley," will win the day.
By the way, Jen, be careful: now that you and Owen Wilson have a hit, Angelina will probably try to steal him for her next movie. (hehe)
On another note, did you notice that most of the significant characters in this great American classic are played by Brits? Bale -- British. The late Heath Ledger -- British. Michael Caine -- British. The Americans include Maggie Gylenhall (she and her brother both did star turns with the late Ledger), the great Morgan Freeman, and "two face" himself, Aaron Eckhart, who I think is a Yankee. Just sayin...
Meanwhile, some cheeky bastard at the LA Times has an eye gouging casting suggestion for the next flick. Kick her man stealing ass, Batgirl!!!
In a decision that clears CBS of any wrongdoing for airing the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that featured Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction,” a federal appeals court overturned the $550,000 fine that the Federal Communications Commission levied against the station, calling the fine arbitrary and capricious.
The decision was handed down early Monday by a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which found that the fine was unfair because the commission, in imposing it, deliberately strayed from its practice of exempting fleeting indecency in broadcast programming from punishment. The commission also erred, the judges ruled, by holding CBS responsible for the actions of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, who were characterized by the judges as “independent contractors hired for the limited purposed of the Halftime Show.”
“Like any agency, the F.C.C. may change its policies without judicial second-guessing,” the court said. “But it cannot change a well-established course of action without supplying notice of and a reasoned explanation for its policy departure.”
Whew! What a relief. Now, where can Janet Jackson go to get her career back?
Okay, yes, I know it's obsessive and a bit lame, but I was just perusing the Lost site, and reading some of the theories about who is in that coffin that Jack alone visited. All we know is that it's a man with a teenaged son, whom the Oceanic Six know, but don't care to visit in at his final hour. My theory: it's Michael. He escaped from the island without the other castaways, betraying them, and he's the only character with a son who would be a teenager by then (Walt.)
Update: This person agrees with me. And if you scroll down in comments, someone called U2FL speculates that Michael is also the "spy" that Ben has on the "rescuers'" boat.
The nation's new attorney general gets something right, finally giving up the security clearances needed for the Justice Department to investigate his predecessor's -- and those he was lacky to -- domestic surveillance. We await word on whether the Dems will cave on immunity for the telcos that helped out with the government's giant information shovel.
Bush's GOP lackeys on the Hill (I make the distinction to separate them from the Democrat and Independent lackeys on the Hill) demand that the Dems retract their Iraq war cost report putting the cost at $1.5 billion. After all, that report might turn Americans against the war ... HA!!!
And Kanye West's mother's death following plastic surgery is sad ... and should sober people up about how dangerous plastic surgery can be. Earth to ladies: it's not your mother's Botox brunch. Meanwhile, Kanye issues a statement. ... and the doctor who says he refused to operate on Donda West says she ignored medical advice and that doing so may have led to her death.
The Writer's Strike is in its first full day (it started on Monday), with WGA members walking the picket line in New York and L.A. for the first time since 1988. Back then, it cost the industry $500 million. This time, some experts are putting the potential price tag at $1 billion.
What's behind it? In a nut shell, you know when you miss your favorite primetime show (like I very rarely did with "Lost" or "Prison Break," when the damned Tivo failed to record...?) Well you can normally go online to the network's website and download an episode (or stream it) ... but before you get to watch, you have to watch an interstitial advert. In most cases, trying to skip the ad will only cause the whole bloody thing to start over again, until you relent. Writers who work on those shows feel that if the studios are making money on those ads, then they should get a cut. In principal, I think they're right. Also at stake, writers (there are about 12,000 in the Writers Guild, of whom 7,000 work regularly,) want to re-open the DVD contracts. Alex Strachan of Canada.com explains:
- The [studios] want the already negotiated DVD formula - 0.3 per cent of sales, or roughly four cents for each DVD sold - to apply to new media like online downloads and Web streaming. The writers say that is unacceptable. Furthermore, they want to re-open the DVD clause, noting that consumers spent more than $16 billion on DVDs last year.
- The [studios] want status quo for at least two years, while they analyze the economic effects of a changing media landscape. The entire economic model is changing, they say, and they don't want to be locked into a long-term deal until they know how the future will play out. Costs are rising faster than new revenue streams are coming in, they say. The writers, for their part, want what they consider to be a fair percentage of any profits from new revenue streams, regardless of the overall picture.
The site has a great explanation of the strike and the potential fall-out here. A clip:
Moviemaking and TV production is a cutthroat business at the best of times. And if the dispute turns nasty - and there are indications it will - all bets are off as to how it will play out in the end.
An extended strike will have lingering after-effects, too, as it will take the writers several weeks at least to pen new scripts once a new deal is reached.
Until then, the striking members of the Writers Guild of America, which represents some 12,000 writers on the U.S. east and west coasts, will be without a paycheque.
And because the actors, directors and production crews - the people who actually make the TV shows and movies - are obligated to report to work until their own contracts expire next June, the show will go on. For now, anyway.
Here's why: The networks and movie studios, anticipating today's crisis, have been stockpiling scripts for the past six months. Moviegoers won't notice a shortage of new big-budget studio movies at their local theatre for at least a year.
TV viewers won't be affected until the beginning of the February sweeps period, except for those late-night talk shows and weekly sketch-comedy programs like Saturday Night Live and MADtv.
Nothing will happen, in other words, until the actors and directors join the writers on the picket line.
More on the specific implications from Sunday's Variety:
NBC's "Tonight Show" and "Late Night," along with CBS' "Late Show" and "Late, Late Show" are all expected to go dark today. Ditto Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" and "Colbert Report." ... ABC still wasn't saying what would happen with "Jimmy Kimmel Live," though odds suggest it'll shut down, too.
Robert Morton, the former Letterman producer who was at the helm of NBC's "Late Night With David Letterman" during the 1988 WGA strike, said Letterman and Leno feel compelled to back their union --even though, as performers, they could still be on the air Monday if they wanted.
"I think they have to show support for their writing staffs," said the producer, who now heads Panamort Prods. ("The Mind of Mencia"). "Even if they want to go back, they have to give their writers due respect."
It's widely expected the major latenight skeins eventually will return to the air, as they did in 1988.
"You want to be supportive of your guild, but when you have people making $600 a week possibly losing their jobs, you have to think of them, too," Morton said.
Current TV series:
Right now, studio execs say they've got a month of production left to go on single-camera dramas and comedies -- that is, if scripts are in tip-top shape and can shoot without any changes.
Most have a backlog of completed episodes and scripts that should keep viewers in a lather through year's end. After that, it's possible network execs and producers could use existing story outlines to write scripts themselves, as happened in 1988.
Most shows don't have WGA scribes or can get along without them. Exceptions: syndie powerhouse "Jeopardy" and the daytime version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" are WGA shows. However, as with many quizzers, both shows tape episodes far in advance.
It's understood producer Sony has enough segs in the can to keep the show in originals through April. And "Millionaire" will tape its final seg of the current season this week, ensuring no repeats this season.
... well, let's just say you're going to be seeing a lot of them.
The other interesting twist is the impact the strike could have on the political season. As we lead up to Iowa and New Hampshire in January, many of the Democratic candidates in particular, but also Republicans like John McCain, are making the rounds of the late night comedy shows, including Leno, Letterman, and the must-do Comedy Central duo of Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert. With the writers on strike, there'll be no doing that. That could be particularly bad for candidates like Obama, who just did SNL this past week, and who is counting on younger voters to put him over the top. It probably won't affect frontrunners like Hillary and Rudy as much, since they take more incoming from the late night talkers than anything.
Meanwhile, the powerhouse producers of hits like Fox's "The Shield" and ABC's "Desperate Housewives" -- the so-called "show runners" who both produce and write their hot series, are in a bind, and Variety reports most of them will respect the picket line, meaning that if the strike runs long, and the networks run out of their stockpiles of shows, viewers of some of the most popular shows on television could be in jeopardy.
Who is Sanjaya Malakar sleeping with ... and how can we get him ... or perhaps her ... deported...?
No, seriously, it helps to remember that 'American Idol' isn't really a singing competition, it's a reality show, and every year, the producers assemble a cast of 'Real World' worthy characters (typically short-handed as, "the fat guy," "the punk rock chick," "the rock guy," "the teen idol," "the black girl who really can sing but gets voted off way to early" etc.) This year, they just happened to get lucky and find two really great singers to go along with the pack. Lakisha and Melinda ARE this year's show. All the rest, is pure Sanjaya.