Celebritology 2.0: Pop Culture

Posted at 04:40 PM ET, 12/15/2010

'Home Alone,' reenacted on Twitter

So here's a weird coincidence. There's a kid named Kevin McAllister (Twitter handle: KevinM_GS) whose recent Tweets sound an awful lot like the events that occur in the movie "Home Alone" ... which also features a character named Kevin McAllister. Earlier today, he tweeted this: .bbpBox15142801075343364 {background:url(http://s.twimg.com/a/1291849542/images/themes/theme14/bg.gif) #131516;padding:20px;} p.bbpTweet{background:#fff;padding:10px 12px 10px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:#000;font-size:18px !important;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata{display:block;width:100%;clear:both;margin-top:8px;padding-top:12px;height:40px;border-top:1px solid #fff;border-top:1px solid #e6e6e6} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author{line-height:19px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author img{float:left;margin:0 7px 0 0px;width:38px;height:38px} p.bbpTweet a:hover{text-decoration:underline}p.bbpTweet span.timestamp{font-size:12px;display:block} Overheard the robber saying that they're coming back at 9pm tonight. Where's @KevinsMom_GS?!less than a minute ago via HootSuiteKevin McCallisterKevinM_GS Later, this: .bbpBox15145162111979520 {background:url(http://a2.twimg.com/a/1292439619/images/themes/theme14/bg.gif) #131516;padding:20px;} p.bbpTweet{background:#fff;padding:10px 12px 10px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:#000;font-size:18px !important;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata{display:block;width:100%;clear:both;margin-top:8px;padding-top:12px;height:40px;border-top:1px solid #fff;border-top:1px solid #e6e6e6} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author{line-height:19px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author img{float:left;margin:0 7px 0 0px;width:38px;height:38px} p.bbpTweet a:hover{text-decoration:underline}p.bbpTweet span.timestamp{font-size:12px;display:block} Oh No! It's getting late. I need to protect my house against those robbers!less than a minute ago via HootSuiteKevin McCallisterKevinM_GS And most recently, this: .bbpBox15153234268127232 {background:url(http://a2.twimg.com/a/1292439619/images/themes/theme14/bg.gif) #131516;padding:20px;} p.bbpTweet{background:#fff;padding:10px...

By Jen Chaney  |  04:40 PM ET, 12/15/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 10:02 AM ET, 12/09/2010

Howard Stern to stick with SiriusXM for five more years

Howard Stern. (AP) Fans of fart jokes and stripper quiz shows, rejoice: The world's last remaining shock jock, Howard Stern, has re-upped with SiriusXM to remain on the air -- the satellite air, that is -- for the next five years. "I came to the conclusion after speaking to everyone that the real innovators and the real geniuses are the people here, that our home should be at Sirius satellite radio," said Stern on his Thursday morning show. "My answer is that I will be here for the next five years." Earlier this week, it was rumored that Stern was close to a $600 million deal to jump ship and take his eclectic show to iTunes. But, as TheWrap.com reported, Stern seemed like an unlikely fit for the notoriously conservative Apple. According to the Associated Press, Stern had been "locked for months in stormy negotiations" as his original five-year...

By Liz Kelly  |  10:02 AM ET, 12/09/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 12:23 PM ET, 11/30/2010

Ahead of Thursday's NASA announcement, what has pop culture already taught us about aliens?

No, silly, that's not an alien. It's 'The Simpsons's' Mr. Burns after undergoing a series of medical treatments. (Photo courtesy Fox) Contact with extra-terrestrial life. It's never-ending fodder for countless movies, books and long-running TV shows. And remakes of those TV shows. And movies based on the remakes of those TV shows. And TV shows spun-off of those remakes. Because, until now, there's been no real proof of alien life elsewhere in the known universe (no matter what Mick Jagger says). Come Thursday, that may change. That's when NASA will hold a news conference "to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life." (Full press release) Cryptic, tantalizing and seemingly ripped right from the script of a Hollywood blockbuster. Have we made contact with little green martians? E.T.? Tribbles? Body snatchers? Or, is this just NASA's splashy way of announcing the discovery of...

By Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly  |  12:23 PM ET, 11/30/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 12:30 AM ET, 11/25/2010

The five pieces of Thanksgiving pop culture that make every Turkey Day complete

This Thanksgiving, we at Celebritology are thankful for so much. We are thankful that Jennifer Grey won "Dancing With the Stars" and once again emerged from that famous corner in which people perpetually put her. We are thankful that (fingers crossed) conversation this Thanksgiving weekend will be focused on gossip about the royal wedding instead of gossip about Tiger Woods's adultery-related car accident. We're thankful for Gwyneth Paltrow, now available in both insouciant and irresistible editions. But above all, as we are every year, we are thankful for the enduring Thanksgiving pop culture traditions that get more delicious with each passing year. What are they? Stop brining and basting for a second and we'll share our five favorites....

By Jen Chaney  |  12:30 AM ET, 11/25/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 01:25 PM ET, 10/28/2010

'The Office's' John Krasinski, also a time traveler?

Update: I've just heard back from the assistant curator from the Statens Museum for Kunst and apparently I misidentified the Carl Adolf Feilberg depicted in the painting. He is not, as it turns out, the Danish-born Australian journalist but a soap and candle maker. "Carl Adolf Feilberg was also born in 1810 and was Købke's brother-in-law," writes assistant curator Line Marie Thorsen. "Feilberg established Falkonergaardens Fabrikker (The Factories of Falkonergaarden) in 1842, where soap and candles were produced and as far as we know, he died in 1896." So there you have it. Still beats beet farming. -- Friday, Oct. 29, 9:44 a.m. ET ---- Karl Adolf Feilberg or "The Office's" John Krasinski? (Courtesy of Statens Museum for Kunst) Speaking of time travelers, here's another report from the flux capacitor department. When Ann Arbor, Mich., student Johanna Franzen and her boyfriend sought shelter from the rain in a Copenhagen museum,...

By Liz Kelly  |  01:25 PM ET, 10/28/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 12:52 PM ET, 10/26/2010

As promised, 'Walking Dead' zombies in D.C.

As we warned yesterday, zombies did indeed "attack" this morning in D.C., as part of a global promotional push for AMC's "Walking Dead," which premieres Sunday night on the cable network. Okay, so zombies didn't attack so much as meander around. Still, watch the video above to see the undead traipse through the nation's capital, semi-scaring the natives and hanging out in front of a Dress Barn. (I always knew that's where zombies would shop!) Happily -- or sadly, depending on your perspective -- no brains were consumed as a result of this publicity stunt....

By Jen Chaney  |  12:52 PM ET, 10/26/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 11:33 AM ET, 10/25/2010

'Walking Dead' zombies to invade D.C. and other cities

Zombies may invade your Tuesday morning commute. And not just the regular-people-who-haven't-had-their-coffee-yet kind.

By Jen Chaney  |  11:33 AM ET, 10/25/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 12:20 PM ET, 10/06/2010

Snickers satisfies ... or terrifies?

The latest Snickers commercial wants to make consumers remember to buy those tasty candy bars in time for trick-or-treating for this year. But what it actually makes us remember is how freaky it is for a super-tall old lady to force bags of candy into our shopping carts. The new Halloween commercial from the people at Mars (see above) has gone semi-viral in the past couple of days. And the consensus online is that it's definitely a little creepy. Maybe not a childhood wrecker, but certainly a potential nightmare-inducer for younger kids. Something about that costume reminds me of a giant, falsetto-voiced, more disturbing version of Dot Jones. Which doesn't exactly make me hunger for a delicious mix of chocolate, caramel and crunchy peanuts ... although it is lunchtime, and I do love some caramel ... Seriously, while you recover from the above viewing experience, check out a few...

By Jen Chaney  |  12:20 PM ET, 10/06/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 06:44 AM ET, 10/03/2010

'The Andy Griffith Show' turns 50. We pick our favorite clips

Don Knotts, Ron Howard and show namesake Andy Griffith. (AP/Viacom) If it isn't already crystal clear, Jen and I spent way too much time watching TV during our formative years. Which is why I can't remember my times tables, but can sum up the plot of most "Brady Bunch" episodes in a matter of seconds. And, like "The Flintstones," "The Andy Griffith Show" -- another fave for both of us -- is celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend. The show, a career-maker for Andy Griffith and launching pad for little Ronnie Howard, centered around a small-town North Carolina sheriff and his family and led a wave of country-fied sitcoms: "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Green Acres," "Petticoat Junction" and "Mr. Ed." Not to mention the spin-offs "Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C." and "Mayberry R.F.D." But it was "Andy Griffith" that stood tall as the top-rated sitcom of the 1960s, according to Variety.com, and...

By Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney  |  06:44 AM ET, 10/03/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 04:15 PM ET, 09/01/2010

Sean Penn on 'Between Two Ferns'

Sean Penn appears on the latest installment of the Zach Galifianakis interview program "Between Two Ferns," where he engages in a serious discussion about the issues currently facing the Haitian community. Just kidding! Actually, Penn just sits there and does his Academy Award-winning best to maintain a straight face while Galifianakis -- playing the role of Zach's twin brother Seth -- asks important questions, like whether Penn and Jack Nicholson frequent Long John Silver's and whether there's a Six Flags in Haiti. Enjoy. Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: Sean Penn from Between Two Ferns...

By Jen Chaney  |  04:15 PM ET, 09/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 01:25 PM ET, 08/26/2010

'Scott Pilgrim' vs. YouTube

Posted by Sarah Anne Hughes Not a lot of people went to see "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World." The film debuted in the No. 5 position at the box office, taking in only $10.5 million despite generally positive reviews. The colorful comic book film fell to 10th place the next weekend, raising the cumulative gross to just $20.7 million. Maybe the film is too comic-booky or too focused at young people. Maybe people just don't like Michael Cera. While "Scott Pilgrim" was not a box office success, it is a surprisingly good vehicle for YouTube mashups....

By Sarah Anne Hughes  |  01:25 PM ET, 08/26/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 02:50 PM ET, 08/03/2010

Was Adam Lambert snubbed by the MTV Video Music Award nominations?

The nominees for this year's MTV Video Music Awards were announced earlier today and featured a record-setting number of nominations for Lady Gaga (13), as well as nods for Eminem (eight), Florence + The Machine (five) and Justin Bieber (one ... wait, one? That kid's getting his own 3D biopic and he gets just one measly nomination?). Here's who didn't get nominated: Adam Lambert. Members of the former "American Idol" contender's Glam Nation are ticked off that he didn't get recognized in at least one category for videos like "If I Had You," in which he sports a mullet ponytail while rocking out on what appears to be the set for the "Twilight" movies, accompanied by cast members from "Moulin Rouge" and "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome." (I mean that as a compliment, by the way): Of course, Lambert fans aren't the only ones irked by the VMA nominations. Lovers of...

By Jen Chaney  |  02:50 PM ET, 08/03/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 03:45 PM ET, 06/30/2010

Is the media fair to fans of the 'Twilight' franchise?

During Jimmy Kimmel's special devoted to "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," which aired on ABC last week, the host invited audience members to ask questions of the cast members assembled on stage. A teenage girl who looked as sweet and innocent as a newborn Care Bear immediately stepped up to the mic and kicked off the Q&A by asking Taylor Lautner, very politely but with no apparent sense of shame, if he could take off his shirt so the crowd could verify that his abs are real. The request prompted a chorus of whoops and screams from the Twi-hards around her. For the record, Lautner did not comply with the request. In fact, he looked a little embarassed. And, perhaps, so were many of the "Twilight" fans watching at home. There's a reason the mainstream media often depicts the admirers of the "Twilight" franchise as a bunch of screaming teen and...

By Jen Chaney  |  03:45 PM ET, 06/30/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture | Tags:  Twilight

Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 05/17/2010

Our six favorite peripheral Muppet characters

Everyone loves Betty White. We've more than established that at this point. But you know who else people love, unconditionally and unequivocally? The Muppets. Seriously, find a person who honestly, deep in their soul, loathes the foam-and-felt ambassadors of family comedy delight. It can't be done. And if such a person can be found, I strongly suggest that said person immediately begin some intense psychotherapy. Those who keep close tabs on Muppet-related happenings already know that yesterday was a significant day: May 16 marked the 20th anniversary of the death of Muppet creator Jim Henson, a man for whom those of us in the Washington, D.C. area harbor particular fondness. Henson not only spent part of his childhood here and attended the University of Maryland, he also unveiled the first, primitive Muppets on our local airwaves. As a small tribute to Henson and those Muppets that everyone -- that's right,...

By Jen Chaney  |  12:35 PM ET, 05/17/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture | Tags:  Pop Culture

Posted at 01:53 PM ET, 05/14/2010

Profiles in 'Lost' Fandom: Danny Simonzad

Some "Lost" fans have been hardcore, Smoke Monster-obsessives from the minute the show debuted back in 2004. Others didn't fall head-over-Hurley heels until a little later in the game. Danny Simonzad, the man who made "Obsession." (Photo provided by Danny Simonzad) Such is the case for Danny Simonzad, the man responsible for "Obsession," the video entry in ABC's recent "Lost" promo contest that -- at least in my opinion -- did the best job of capturing the bittersweet feelings "Lost" followers feel as they approach the big farewell. Watch it below. (For the record, the winner -- "Convergence," which aired during Wednesday's episode -- also is quite well-done.) I spoke to Danny about he became a "Lost" fan and what inspired him to capture our collective sense of Sawyer mourning in Web video form; read all about it in the Q&A that follows....

By Jen Chaney  |  01:53 PM ET, 05/14/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture, Pop Culture | Tags:  Lost

Posted at 02:08 PM ET, 05/13/2010

Battle of the movie trailers: 'Inception' vs. 'Adjustment Bureau'

In what may be the hottest psychological-thriller battle of 2010, new previews for both Christopher Nolan's much-anticipated "Inception" and the Matt Damon drama "The Adjustment Bureau" recently debuted online. And weirdly, though the films are clearly different, their trailers share a number of things in common. In this corner, we have the latest, lengthiest trailer for "Inception" (in theaters July 16), which gives us quick-cut glimpses of a super-stressed-out Leonardo DiCaprio; a possibly doomed romance between DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard; vaguely sci-fi themes about stealing from the subconscious of others; a glass-smashing car crash and an epic building collapse; Joseph Gordon-Levitt doing some pseudo-"Matrix"y stuff with a bunch of levitating guys; and a pervasive paranoid vibe that's been cranked up to 11. And in the other corner, there's "The Adjustment Bureau" (coming Sept. 17), which shows us images of a super-stressed-out Matt Damon; a possibly doomed romance between Damon and...

By Jen Chaney  |  02:08 PM ET, 05/13/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture | Tags:  Movie Trailers, Movies, Summer Movies

Posted at 01:55 PM ET, 05/07/2010

Friday list: The best summer movie seasons ever

With "Iron Man 2" banging and clanging into theaters today, the summer movie season of 2010 has officially begun. It's a season that happens to mark an important anniversary: the 35th birthday of the summer blockbuster, which was officially born when 1975's "Jaws" dominated the box office and the collective cultural conversation. In the years that have followed, the months of May, June, July and August have gotten more and more crowded, as movies -- both of the massive, Spielbergian variety, as well as comedies, indies and even documentaries -- compete to capture our attention during the time of year when everyone is eager to enjoy blissful escapism beneath the chilly blast of cineplex air-conditioning vents. Luke Skywalker and Yoda, using the summer blockbuster force. (Lucasfilm) But since "Jaws" ushered in the era of the summer movie, which hot-and-humid years have given us the very best flicks? After careful consideration,...

By Jen Chaney  |  01:55 PM ET, 05/07/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture | Tags:  Iron Man, Movies, Summer Movies

Posted at 01:50 PM ET, 05/06/2010

Talking with Jon Favreau, director of 'Iron Man 2'

As soon as I hear Jon Favreau's voice on the telephone, I immediately have a flashback to that scene in "Swingers." You know the scene I mean. Jon Favreau at the L.A. premiere of "Iron Man 2." (Reuters) As a consequence, I am very tempted to begin our conversation by saying, "Hi, this is Nikki. Leave a message!" But I don't, because Favreau isn't calling from Los Angeles to discuss his "so money" 1996 movie. He's calling to talk "Iron Man 2," his soon-to-debut sequel to the enormously successful "Iron Man," both of which he directed. Our conversation ping-pongs all over the place, from the subject of whether there will be an Easter egg at the end of the "Iron Man 2" credits, to Favreau's feelings about Twitter, to that all-important question I also posed to "Iron Man 2" screenwriter Justin Theroux: if Iron Man could fight anyone, dead or...

By Jen Chaney  |  01:50 PM ET, 05/06/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture | Tags:  Iron Man, Movies

Posted at 12:45 PM ET, 05/05/2010

Talking with Justin Theroux, writer of 'Iron Man 2'

Justin Theroux arrives at the 'Iron Man 2' world premiere on Monday, April 26 in Los Angeles. (AP) You probably know Justin Theroux best as an actor. During his 15 years in the movie business, he's popped up in films as varied as "Zoolander," "Mulholland Drive" and "Miami Vice," and on an equally wide range of TV series ("Six Feet Under," "The District" and "Parks and Recreation" among them). You may not realize that Theroux also is a screenwriter who co-penned "Tropic Thunder" and wrote a little film due to debut in theaters this weekend: "Iron Man 2." I recently got Theroux on the phone for a quick chat, during which we discussed his time growing up in Washington, D.C., his childhood fixation on Iron Man and an important question that "Iron Man 2" director Jon Favreau also will address in a Q&A slated to appear in Celebritology tomorrow:...

By Jen Chaney  |  12:45 PM ET, 05/05/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture | Tags:  Iron Man, Movies

Posted at 01:10 PM ET, 04/23/2010

Friday list: The most surprisingly funny SNL hosts

Gabourey Sidibe is scheduled to host "Saturday Night Live" this week. Yes, that Gabourey Sidibe, the Oscar-nominated actress who played the mumbly, perpetually downcast, abused teen in "Precious," a movie now officially listed as a synonym in Roget's Thesaurus for the words "serious" and "depressing." Can Sidibe show us an unexpectedly funny side? Considering that she's actually pretty sunny and giggly in real life, we think it's entirely possible. And we're rooting for her to rock it tomorrow night. Our hope that Sidibe finds her place in the SNL Host Hall of Fame got us thinking about past hosts who surprised with their graceful, hilarious ability to slip into sketch-comedy mode. Which brings us to today's Friday List: our top 10 most surprisingly funny "Saturday Night Live" hosts from the past decade. Which guest hosts surprised you with their comic stylings? Share your picks below......

By Jen Chaney  |  01:10 PM ET, 04/23/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture, Pop Culture | Tags:  SNL, Saturday Night Live

Posted at 05:10 PM ET, 04/19/2010

Box office update: Actually, 'Kick-Ass' wins

We should have known better than to discount Hit-Girl. Final studio figures now indicate that "Kick-Ass" -- not "How to Train Your Dragon" -- was the No. 1 movie in North America this weekend, earning $19.8 million to "Dragon's" $19.6. This is the second weekend in a row that early studio projections have been incorrect, and the top movie has not been accurately determined until more solid figures were released Monday. Executives at Lionsgate and comic-book-movie lovers? Consider this your moment of vindication....

By Jen Chaney  |  05:10 PM ET, 04/19/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture | Tags:  movies, weekend box office

Posted at 02:01 PM ET, 04/19/2010

Profiles in 'Lost' Fandom: Meet Morgan McPhearson

We bring you Profiles in "Lost" Fandom, a series in which we chat up some of the more hardcore "Lost" obsessives on the planet in an effort to make you feel less ridiculous for Googling "Desmond Hume, time travel" or pausing the DVR to figure out the name of the Russian book Hurley snagged from Ilana.

By Jen Chaney  |  02:01 PM ET, 04/19/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture, Pop Culture, Pop Culture | Tags:  Lost, Profiles in Lost Fandom

Posted at 11:38 AM ET, 03/30/2010

Stephenie Meyer keeps the 'Twilight' stories coming

Here's the reason why we refer to "Twilight" as a saga. Because it's never going to end. Stephenie Meyer is releasing "The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner," a novella that centers around one of the newborn vamps from "Eclipse." Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will release the book on June 5. And hey, did we mention that "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" just happens to arrive in theaters a few short weeks later, on June 30? Total coincidence, P.S. In a statement on her Web site, Meyer says she intended to write the 200-page tale as part of "The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide." But it wound up being too lengthy to include; hence, now it stands as its own, nicely bound entity. To Meyer's credit, she says the work will be available online for free "as a gift" to the Twi-hards. Also to Meyer's (and the publisher's) credit:...

By Jen Chaney  |  11:38 AM ET, 03/30/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 02:04 PM ET, 03/24/2010

'Laverne & Shirley': They're going to do it?

A couple of weeks ago, Liz and I wrote about movie remakes, noting that, in some rare cases, they might not be a bad idea. This is not one of those cases. In case you missed the news, which has been percolating for a while, but was first confirmed last week by TV Guide and reiterated today on ComingSoon.net, producer Garry Marshall plans to move "Laverne & Shirley" to the big screen, courtesy of a screenplay written by one of the 85 million (note: number approximate) people who starred in his "Valentine's Day": Jamie Foxx. Who would play Laverne and Shirley? Two more "Valentine's" vets: Jennifer Garner and Jessica Biel. But here, why don't I let Mr. Marshall explain it, courtesy of a quote from that TV Guide story: "It’s a whole different modern day take on how they came up on the streets during difficult times. Laverne would be...

By Jen Chaney  |  02:04 PM ET, 03/24/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 09/14/2009

Diablo Cody Talks Scary Movies

A Jen Chaney dispatch -- with video -- from the Toronto Film Festival. If anyone was planning to ask Diablo Cody to write the script for the upcoming remake of "Poltergeist," they shouldn't bother. As a hardcore horror fan, she knows all about the "Poltergeist" curse and says she wants nothing to do with an (allegedly) lethal franchise. "If they offered me $5 million, I still wouldn't do it," she told me during an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Cody has been promoting her own shocker-comedy effort "Jennifer's Body." But "Poltergeist" was just one of the scary movies Cody and I discussed. I asked the "Juno" scribe to tell me about her five favorite horror flicks and her favorite female characters in that same genre. Want to know which films and characters she mentioned? Watch the following video, home skillet, and find out....

By Jen Chaney  |  12:30 PM ET, 09/14/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 02:25 PM ET, 09/11/2009

Weekend Update: Live Tweeting the Toronto Film Festival

All weekend, washingtonpost.com Movies editor Jen Chaney will be live tweeting the latest news live from the Toronto International Film Festival -- including tidbits from interviews with festival-featured actors Viggo Mortensen ("The Road"), Jeff Bridges ("The Men Who Stare at Goats") and screenwriter Diablo Cody ("Jennifer's Body"). Bookmark this post to keep up.   MultiTweetUsers = "chaneyj"; MultiTweetMask = ""; TweetsPerUser = 5; getUserTweet(MultiTweetUsers, TweetsPerUser);...

By Liz Kelly  |  02:25 PM ET, 09/11/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 11:10 PM ET, 08/07/2009

A Q&A With John Hughes's Pen Pal

At the age of 15, when most Gen Xers desperately coveted an exclusive membership in "The Breakfast Club," Alison Byrne Fields became friends with the man who founded it. Fields, 39, was pen pals with writer-director John Hughes for two years, exchanging roughly 20 to 25 personal letters with him from 1985 to 1987. When the filmmaker died suddenly on Thursday at the age of 59, she wrote a touching personal essay -- entitled "Sincerely, John Hughes" -- that described all the details about their exchange of letters and the relationship they developed. She then posted it to her personal blog, "We'll Know When We Get There." The movie that launched a beautiful letter-writing friendship. (Universal Studios) By Friday morning, the blog post was being Tweeted, Facebooked and passed along via e-mail in electronic droves by Hughes fans moved by her story. By mid-afternoon that same day, she was receiving...

By Jen Chaney  |  11:10 PM ET, 08/07/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture | Tags:  Alison Byrne Fields, John Hughes, The Breakfast Club

Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 08/07/2009

Clip Show: Breaking Down the Best (and Worst) Movie Trailers

"Marie Antoinette": Fab trailer, so-so movie. (Columbia Pictures) "In a world where Liz Kelly is taking a well-deserved vacation, Jen Chaney dared to write a Friday post. But before she could find a pop culture-related topic to riff on, she had to find herself." Did you read that in your best Don LaFontaine voice? Excellent. Because today we're talking movie trailers. Earlier this summer, IFC posted a list of the 50 Greatest Trailers of All Time, one of those massive, time-sucking rundowns sure to invite debate (and pageviews) on the Web. Most of the selections were strong because the smarties at IFC chose coming attractions that dared to be different, didn't reveal their films' entire plots in two minutes and were wise enough to avoid most of the usual trailer tropes. (Translation: I don't think one of these sets an uplifting montage to the tune of Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury...

By Jen Chaney  |  11:30 AM ET, 08/07/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 05:30 PM ET, 08/06/2009

Remembering the Teen Movies of John Hughes

The members of John Hughes's "Breakfast Club." (Universal) The AP and other news outlets have reported that John Hughes -- the man who essentially invented the teen movie as we now know it -- has died at the age of 59. The writer/director behind "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club," "Pretty in Pink," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and many, many others evidently had a heart attack while taking a morning walk in Manhattan. For any child of the '80s, this is a tremendously sad moment. His movies may not have been Academy Award winners, but they resonated enormously with anyone trying to navigate adolescence during the MTV decade. When we felt alone, he let us join a breakfast club. When we needed a girlfriend with a flair for thrift shop fashion, he gave us Molly Ringwald. And when we craved a rebellious role model, he provided us with Bueller, Ferris...

By Jen Chaney  |  05:30 PM ET, 08/06/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 10:39 AM ET, 05/29/2008

Books: Studying Steven Seagal

(Titan Books) It's time we put away childish things and talked about a real celebrity. Someone who truly walks on air miles above our tragically un-famous heads; who redefined the very ideal of super-stardom by his mere existence and who makes other pretenders to the highest realms of celebrity (sorry Angelina) resemble Bronson Pinchot or that girl who played the cheesy robot daughter in '80s syndicated sitcom "Small Wonder." That's right. I'm talking about Steven Seagal, a real star. A guy who is so famous and so enlightened that even he is awed by his prowess. A guy who doesn't need hordes of paparazzi following his every move to validate his relevance. A man so dang good at what he does that we are sometimes afraid to look upon his rightness and recognize his preeminence as the star of all stars. Well, all of us except this guy named...

By Liz Kelly  |  10:39 AM ET, 05/29/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 05/13/2008

Rant: Leave 'Donnie Darko' Alone

Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone and freaky bunny in 2001's 'Donnie Darko.' (Dale Robinette/Courtesy NewMar) [Begin Rant] Today we take a break from our usual fare of celeb-circumspection to consider (again) Hollywood's annoying addiction to the sequel. Sure, I'm as hesitantly expectant as the next girl about the imminent release of "Indiana Jones's" fourth installment, but from the moment Harrison Ford cracked that whip back in 1981, "Indiana Jones" had franchise practically tattooed on his forehead. And we were okay with that. Despite its setting during World War II, the movie was a lighthearted, vicarious romp through bug-filled caves where daredevil narrow escapes were tempered by pithy dialogue (The grody "om nom shiva" scene not withstanding.) It was "Goonies" for grown-ups. But, never content to let a good thing remain untarnished by the stank of greed, Hollywood has aimed its indiscriminate money-making steamroller at "Donnie Darko," a movie that --...

By Liz Kelly  |  10:43 AM ET, 05/13/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 04/16/2008

Brenda Dickson: Welcome to Her Nightmare

Brenda Dickson has advice on just about everything. (YouTube) Never having watched "The Young and the Restless," I can't say I was familiar with Brenda Dickson's work until the video linked below found its way to my inbox yesterday afternoon. Perhaps because Dickson in effect disappeared from the entertainment world after being fired from "The Young and the Restless" in 1988. Though, as evidenced by these pix, she is still making the Hollywood rounds -- or, rather, the bizarro world Hollywood that is populated by Fabio and "American Idol" rejects. The video is neither new -- it was produced, directed and written by Dickson in 1987 -- or new to the Internet. Mr. Liz happened upon it while perusing Dan Savage's blog. But what it is is a study in the egomaniacal tendencies that afflict several who dare to call themselves celebrities. More akin to Elizabeth Berkley than Elizabeth...

By Liz Kelly  |  10:42 AM ET, 04/16/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 11/16/2007

The Great 'Star Wars' Debate

Modern mythology: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in the original 'Star Wars.' (Twentieth Century Fox) Today we depart from our regularly scheduled programming to continue a debate that began in yesterday afternoon's Celebritology Live chat. If you weren't in on the initial flare up, here's the gist: Last week, one of the Onion's pop culture writers reportedly (though we can't seem to find the piece online and it might've just been another Onion-flavored ruse.) admitted that she'd never seen the original "Star Wars" trilogy and, furthermore, didn't plan to see the movies since she got plenty of the references from parodies and the like. On the level or not, a heated debate about the relevancy of Lucas's movies was ignited. Many chatters, like me, consider the original "Star Wars" must-see viewing for any self-respecting student of pop culture, film or science fiction. But a small, vocal band...

By Liz Kelly  |  10:43 AM ET, 11/16/2007 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 06/06/2007

Hitting That Softsational Rock Spot

Orleans may have produced the quintessential soft rock album cover, but they're still no LRB. (Photo Courtesy of Orleans) Here's a question: Has your life hit rock bottom when you find yourself at home on a Friday night, watching VH1's "40 Most Softsational Soft Rock Songs"? Or does the nadir not come until you almost yell at the TV because the countdown fails to include even a single song by the Little River Band? Tough call, really. But at least the experience gave me fodder for a blog post. VH1, a network whose programming focuses on pop culture list-making almost as much as it does on anything Flava Flav-related, charted newly wimpy territory with this show, which celebrates Velveeta pop of the Starland Vocal Band variety. (Read the complete list here). Part of me has to wonder why the listmakers didn't just steal every track from this Time-Life collection...

By Jen Chaney  |  11:18 AM ET, 06/06/2007 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 10:44 AM ET, 10/31/2006

The Horror, the Horror: Before They Were Stars

I've pretty much done Halloween-themed posts to death here, but since today is actually Oct. 31 and all, I was hoping we could carry the theme for one more day. Jamie Lee Curtis hoists her weapon in 1978's 'Halloween.' (AP) I had been planning a long dissection of exactly what went wrong between Reese and Ryan, but then I saw this Radar list of the 10 Best Horror Villains of All Time, which -- in a roundabout kind of way -- got me thinking about stars who appeared in cheesy horror pics before their careers took off. See, I was thinking about whether or not I agreed with Radar's pick of Freddy Krueger as the top villain which of course got me thinking about a young Johnny Depp, who starred in "Nightmare on Elm Street's" first installment lo these 22 years ago. And from Johnny, it was just a quick...

By Liz Kelly  |  10:44 AM ET, 10/31/2006 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 10/20/2006

Nobody Bothers Me, Either

A special afternoon update for anyone who grew up in the D.C./Baltimore metropolitan area. It's enough to bring a tear to the eye: (Via Hustler of Culture)...

By Liz Kelly  |  01:00 PM ET, 10/20/2006 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 10/11/2006

Hump Day Helper: NotStarring.com

Can you imagine an "American Beauty" without Kevin Spacey? Imagine, instead of Spacey, Chevy Chase pumping iron in his garage and taunting Annette Bening as Lester Burnham in the 1999 Academy Award-winning Best Picture. Luckily, we never had to find out if Chase was up to the task. Thanks to the U.K.'s Guardian, though, for publishing this list of stars who almost starred in some of the biggest movies of the last century. Shudder at the thought of Kevin Costner as "The Matrix's" Neo or Julia Roberts trying to hobble her way through an English accent (again) in "Shakespeare in Love." (Kate Winslet also apparently turned down the role that won Gwyneth Paltrow an Oscar, according to a recent EW interview.) Look over the Guardian's list and check out the new site notstarring.com for more near-misses (like O.J. Simpson as the Terminator). This site is good for at least 30...

By Liz Kelly  |  10:45 AM ET, 10/11/2006 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 11:49 AM ET, 09/29/2006

Be a Virtual Celebrity Stylist

Beefcake Jake and Naughty Camilla. (Courtesy Stardoll.com) I spent much of this morning playing with dolls. Virtual celebrity paperdolls, so I was working, you see. The fruit of my ground-breaking research is Jake Gyllenhaal dressed like one of the Village People, a tarted-up Camilla Parker Bowles and an amusing (to me) tableau of Tom Cruise coming out of the closet as Katie langorously looks on from a nearby couch. This morning of mischeviousness was made possible by Stardoll.com, a site that claims to target the 7- to 17-year-old set of budding celebrity worshippers. I freely admit that I took what seems to be a pretty neat fan/social networking site for building mindless brand loyalty in younguns and used its slick tools to satisfy my own offbeat sense of humor. It's addictive. You can spend a significant amount of time here dressing up -- or down -- caricatures of Dolly...

By Liz Kelly  |  11:49 AM ET, 09/29/2006 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 09/05/2006

Sizing Up Movie Musicals

Today is a momentous day in the history of television, what with Rosie and Katie's big debuts. That's why I thought it would be a good idea to turn our attention to something completely different and of much more pressing import: movie musicals. Judy Garland warbles a little song about rainbows in 1939's "The Wizard of Oz." (AP/Warner Bros. Pictures) The American Film Institute (AFI) has been up to its old tricks again, releasing yet another list created, it would seem, solely to vex the movie-loving public. This time the group has listed what it deems to be the "25 Greatest Movie Musicals of All Time." AFI's list is topped by "Singin' in the Rain," which is a fine film, but no "Sound of Music" (which surprisingly only rated as fourth best). The top five is rounded out by "West Side Story," "The Wizard of Oz" and "Cabaret." (Full List)...

By Liz Kelly  |  10:45 AM ET, 09/05/2006 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 08/22/2006

Tom & Jerry, Bad Influences?

Today we take a step back from the world of celebrity to pay a visit to the world of cartoons. It's okay, you'll be comfortable here. There's not much difference: a cast of exaggerated characters all clamoring for your attention span. The only difference? The cartoons are one-dimensional. Oh, wait. Well, at least they're not smoking. (Courtesy Hanna-Barbera) In particular, yesterday afternoon I ran across a story about Turner Broadcasting which is currently scouring its catalog of 1,500 hours of Hanna-Barbera cartoons to remove scenes that "glamorize" smoking. The move is in response to one viewer's complaint about an episode of "Tom and Jerry." A Turner spokesperson said the viewer complained about a cartoon in which Tom lights a cigarette in an attempt to impress a female cat and that only cartoons "where smoking could be deemed to be cool or glamorized," would be cut and that scenes in which...

By Liz Kelly  |  10:45 AM ET, 08/22/2006 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 10:19 AM ET, 08/17/2006

10 Things You Should Know About 'Snakes on a Plane'

In our lifetimes, an event of epic proportions is about to unfold. It has been foretold. As we speak, pilgrimages are being made to greet its arrival. Although not yet among us, it is already famous and it promises to change the course of... this weekend, if not cinema history. Samuel L. Jackson. Snake. Plane. (Photo courtesy New Line Cinema) I'm talking about "Snakes on a Plane" (SoaP) and, based on the hype surrounding this movie, the above paragraph is an understatement. But. If you're anything like me you have been cautiously monitoring this "SoaP" hullabaloo from afar, casually bemused by the posters, the promise of Samuel L. Jackson portraying yet another bad ass (he's just so good at it) and the prospect of over-the-top fake critter violence not seen since "Anaconda" or "Piranha." But, again, if you're like me, that's where your knowledge ends. Help is at hand. Your...

By Liz Kelly  |  10:19 AM ET, 08/17/2006 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 08/11/2006

Friday List: Movie Jerks We Love to Hate

James Spader: I'm not a jerk, but I play one on TV -- and on the big screen. (ABC) GQ recently published a list of Movie Jerks. Well, their title is a bit saltier, but this being The Washington Post Web site, we don't go in for slang. Ahem. What constitutes a movie jerk? Think James Spader in "Pretty in Pink" or Craig Sheffer in "Some Kind of Wonderful" -- the smug, assured pretty boy who delights in crushing the dreams of friends and foes alike. GQ's list, below, concentrates mainly on '80s movies: 1. Billy Zabka as Johnny Lawrence "The Karate Kid", 1984 2. Bradley Cooper as Zachary "Sack" Lodge "Wedding Crashers", 2005 3. James Daughton as Greg Marmalard "National Lampoon's Animal House", 1978 4. Eriq La Salle as Darryl Jenks "Coming to America", 1988 5. Robert Prescott as Cole Whittier "Bachelor Party", 1984 6. Ted McGinley as...

By Liz Kelly  |  10:30 AM ET, 08/11/2006 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 08/08/2006

Aging Action Heroes: The Perfect Vintage

With Sylvester Stallone resurrecting both the Rocky and Rambo franchises and Harrison Ford on tap to reprise his role as Indiana Jones one more time, it isn't that much of a stretch to imagine other action heroes of yesteryear eagerly queuing up to reanimate characters ripe for some boomer-style butt kicking. Bruce Willis. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images) The latest addition to this buffet of "mature" hams is Bruce Willis, who is on tap to make a fourth "Die Hard" movie as detective John McClane in "Live Free or Die Hard," tentatively planned for an Independence Day 2007 release. The flavor of the millennium thus far has cast most of our big budget action stars as superheroes -- with no old reliable opponent (i.e. The Cold War and the Soviet threat), Hollywood has turned its action agenda over to comic book heroism. We have Batman, X-Men (and women), Superman, Electra, etc., but...

By Liz Kelly  |  10:45 AM ET, 08/08/2006 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 08/04/2006

Friday List: The Uncoolest Cuts

Anyone ever heard of Q magazine? Hunh. Me either, but thanks to Q anyway for providing us with fodder for another Friday List. Q recently published a list of "Uncool Songs It's Okay to Admit You Love." Although Q published an "official" list, I contend that the list is a very personal experience, different for all of us. Perhaps more than anything, this list reveals much about our personalities and desires. I think we can all admit that we have an ideal "me" we try to project to the world -- depending on who you are, that ideal me may wear a Motorhead T-shirt and drive a Prius or wear Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B. line of clothes and ride comfortably in a Porsche. Either way, we are saying this is who I want to be and I want the world to know it. But, when you admit to liking an uncool...

By Liz Kelly  |  10:42 AM ET, 08/04/2006 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 10:44 AM ET, 07/12/2006

A Communal '80s Mix Tape

Was "Billie Jean" the greatest song released in the '80s? Run DMC's "Raising Hell". (Courtesy of Arista Records) According to British magazine Q it is, but we know better: that you can't really choose one best '80s song because there were so many. Hence the recent uptick in '80s oldies stations, the bulk of VH1 Classic's programming and revival bands like D.C.'s fabulous Legwarmers. Although Q listed its version of a top five list, why stop there? Use the comments area to add your own top five or 10 '80s songs. By the end of the day we should have the makings of a great iTunes playlist (or "mix tape" to stick to the '80s vernacular), suitable for mid-summer hi-fi blasting. Q's Top Five: 1. "Billie Jean" (Michael Jackson) 2. "Blue Monday" (New Order) 3. "Kiss" (Prince) 4. "Walk This Way" (Aerosmith/Run DMC) 5. "Sweet Child O' Mine" (Guns n'...

By Liz Kelly  |  10:44 AM ET, 07/12/2006 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture, Pop Culture

Posted at 10:52 AM ET, 06/06/2006

The Best Scare Fare

Let's take a break from celebrity gossip today to discuss something really important. In case you hadn't realized, today is in fact the number of the beast. My name is little creep boy. (AP/20th Century Fox) I'm not the only one sacrilegiously calling attention to the fact -- the day has been proclaimed the "National Day of Slayer" (though neither washingtonpost.com nor Celebritology endorse any of the suggested festivities) and 20th Century Fox has cleverly chosen today to open the Liev Shreiber/Julia Stiles remake of "The Omen." (There are also plenty of innocuous non-Lucifer-related associations with June 6, as well. For instance, National Yo-Yo day). Sure, "666" and horror films are the stuff that idiotic urban legends and a gazillion conspiracy theories are made of, but hey, who doesn't appreciate a good scary movie from time to time? Okay, I can name at least five people in my circle of...

By Liz Kelly  |  10:52 AM ET, 06/06/2006 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture

Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 04/24/2006

The Results: Greatest Stories Ever Filmed

On Friday, we turned our attention to a list compiled by a select set of British critics -- a list purporting to inventory the 50 greatest film adaptations of novels (and some short stories). To recap, the list -- though a good start and inclusive of some true greats -- seemed to come up a bit short. Is the Guardian's list the wrong mix or is 50 just too small a number to narrow down what is proving to be a particularly fertile field? No one seemed as miffed as me at the "Lord of the Rings" snub, but plenty were surprised that E.M. Forster and Edith Wharton were categorically shut out. Kurosawaguy also reminded us of another venue for adaptations we might want to include: "Although it is a TV mini series, I think that 'Lonesome Dove' is perhaps the best novel to film translation I've seen." Without further...

By Liz Kelly  |  10:43 AM ET, 04/24/2006 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Pop Culture