April 16, 2014

If you haven’t watched Sunday’s paradigm shifting episode of Game of Thrones but are planning to, then stop reading now. If you have, and want to be reminded that Westeros is not a real place and its denizens are merely regular humans doing paid work, then behold this photo of Jack Gleeson posing goofily in front of his character’s poisoned face. That character is of course King Joffrey, one of those most reviled villains in the history of TV, who last Sunday finally, finally got his by a mysterious murderer. Gleeson, an intellect who might never act again, got silly at a recent private screening and decided to remind everyone that “guys, it’s just a stupid TV show!!!!”

[via Vulture]

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April 15, 2014

The success of the recent Fox series Cosmos, in which Neil Degrasse Tyson explains the mysteries of the universe, has led to a predictable series of whines from creationists, saying they deserve equal time to have their views explained. Tyson, to his credit, has called bullshit on that. ”You don’t talk about the spherical earth with NASA and then say let’s give equal time to the flat-earthers,” he said.

But recognizing a demand when they see it — dumb people watch tv too, or, rather, dumb people watch tv especially, a new series called Creationist Cosmos has arrived to fill the void. The series, narrated by Timothy Simons, the sort of lovable idiot from Veep, explains things like “What do we know about black holes? What are they really?” in a way that readers of the Bible will feel comfortable with:

“They don’t exist.”

h/t Mediaite

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April 10, 2014

If you’re a fan of watching super successful, insanely talented, unfairly beautiful people beam with unbridled joy, then boy do we have the video for you! Noted Spice Girls fangirl Emma Stone, deep in the weeds on her The Amazing Spider-Man 2 press tour, was surprised by a British radio station when the disc jockeys informed her that Sporty Spice herself Mel C was at her mum’s house ready to chat via Facetime. The results are a good way to waste 2 minutes of your life. Thank you Steve Jobs, for making this possible.

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April 10, 2014

Following the news last week that David Letterman would be retiring in the next year, there was much speculation about who would best fill his cranky shoes. Much of it pointed to Stephen Colbert, noted racist. Now it’s official, as CBS has announced Colbert will in fact takeover, according to Variety.

But wait, Colbert as Colbert, or as “Colbert”? How will that even work? At least one guy who should know thinks he can do the job. Jon Stewart sang his colleague’s praises this week to Vulture.

“He’s done an amazing job with just that very narrow cast of character, but he’s got a lot more he can show,” Stewart said. “He’s got some skill sets that are really applicable, interviewing-wise, but also he’s a really, really good actor and also an excellent improvisational comedian. He’s also got great writing skills. He’s got a lot of the different capacities. Being able to expand upon [those] would be exciting.”

It will be indeed, or it would be, if anyone watched late night television anymore. At least we’ll get to see the shareable clips on the internet the next day.

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April 8, 2014

That headline up there pretty much tells the whole story of this video below, in which yelling guy Billy Eichner of Parks and Recreation hustles goddamn American treasure Paul Rudd down the streets of New York asking passersby if they would have sex with him for a dollar. Most, unsurprisingly, would do it for free.

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April 7, 2014

It’s a firmly established truth that the folks over at HBO know good TV. They have proven this to us many, many times, by airing TV shows that are very good. Now, it looks like they will prove it again with The Leftovers, an upcoming TV show that, based on this brand new teaser, looks very, very good. It comes to us from Lost executive producer Damon Lindelof and Tom Perotta, who wrote the book the series is based on. The plot is a familiar one—people mysteriously vanish from earth with no explanation—but it comes with an ingenious twist. Only 2% of the world’s population is gone. The rest are the “leftovers of the title. 2% doesn’t seem like a lot, but as the teaser’s ominous voiceover reminds us, that’s 140 million people. The series stars Justin Theroux as a small-town police officer, and Liv Tyler as a woman who becomes ”a target for recruitment by members of an enigmatic cult.” The Leftovers premiers on June 15th.

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April 4, 2014

Proving that you should always say yes to every man that ever offers you a weird foot massage, because you never know if he’s going to go on to become the sex symbol of a generation, this clip from something called The Big Date from 1996, shows the biggest mistake a woman named Mary Carter ever made.

“Well, we’d start off with some fabulous food,” Hamm explained of the date he’d take her on. “A little fabulous conversation, end it with a fabulous foot massage for an evening of total fabulosity.”

Ok, never mind, I can see why she didn’t choose him now.

In a related note, you guys can stop fetishizing the 90s now, because this is what it was actually like. Bungee jumping references, giant oversized suit jackets, and waiters named Jon with Jordan Catalano hair using words like fabulousity. (h/t E)

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April 2, 2014

Jennette McCurdy, who stars in the hit Nickelodeon series Sam & Cat alongside Ariana Grande, did not attend the network’s Kid’s Choice Awards on Saturday night, leading to speculation that there was a rift between the 21 year old star and the peddler’s of pedo-friendly, and kid-focused entertainment. McCurdy, who has been in the midst of a selfie “scandal” after some fairly innocuous pictures she took of herself in lingerie were leaked recently, explained her reasoning on Twitter:

A lot of you guys are asking why I didn’t attend the KCAs…. I wish I could explain everything as thoroughly as I would like to, but unfortunately a simpler explanation is all I can write. I was put in an uncomfortable, compromising, unfair situation (many of you have guessed what it is) and I had to look out for me. I chose to not go because sticking up for what is right and what is fair is what my mom taught me is ALWAYS the most important thing. I want to thank those of you who have reached out with kind words of support, McCurdians and Arianators alike. No matter who or what you support, I believe in supporting fairness first. If you have done that, thank you.

She later clarified that the statement had nothing to do with the leaking of the pictures. Given that Sam & Cat won for best show at the awards, and has a huge star in Grande, the fact that it has not been renewed for a second season has led to speculation that the selfie situation has something to do with its impending, but still rumored, cancelation, some headlines to the contrary.

“The photos caused no issues between McCurdy and the network, and we have the utmost respect for her,” a Nickelodeon rep told the Daily News.

It wouldn’t be a shock to anyone if the photos did have something to do with McCurdy’s rumored spat with the network. As a reminder to young women in show business everywhere:While you have to live up to an almost impossible standard of beauty in order to remain employed, your sexuality is still the property of the people you work for, so don’t do anything with it that they don’t sign off on. She could probably use some of this advice from Meryl Streep right about now.

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April 2, 2014

Meryl Streep, nominated for 18 Oscars, and winner of three, is without a doubt one of our greatest actors ever. She’s also a goddamn national treasure, and has forgotten more about show business, and the creative life in general, than most of us will ever know. So when she decides to drop pearls of knowledge on an audience, as she did last night at an event at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, we should listen. (h/t Vanity Fair)

The school’s Twitter feed was live-streaming the appearance. Here are a few of the best takeaways.

On experience

“I think I know more about all the bumps and the mess of life; things I didn’t really know when I was coming up.”

On fame

“People will listen to you, and sometimes you’re mystified as to why.”

On writing

“I’m a real writing snob…having said that, some of the most eloquent & powerful roles have had nothing to do with the words I say.”

On women in movies

“My advice is: don’t let the bastards get ya down!”

On the glamour of fame

“This morning before I came, I cleaned the cat litter, because that’s my job for some reason.”

On individuality

“Your difference – your thing that’s unique to you – is the most valuable thing you have.”

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April 1, 2014

Good stories make you wonder if things are a product of fate or luck, an otherworldly intuition, or just coincidence. In 2007, John Maloof bought a box a negatives at a Chicago auction for $400 and happened upon the work of maybe the most important undiscovered American photographer of the 20th century, Vivian Maier. Without Maloof’s dedication, Maier’s work would almost certainly have stayed forgotten, and largely undeveloped, packed away in boxes in storage units and attics. “Finding it was coincidence because everything was coming into alignment at the perfect time,” says Maloof, who explains that he had just left a job in real estate and had the time to devote to archiving this woman’s work posthumously and co-directing the film, Finding Vivian Maier, in theaters now.

You’ve probably seen Maier’s work, her classic black and white street photography from the streets of Chicago in the fifties and sixties, or her fragmented reflection in her haunting self-portraits. When Maloof first posted it online, the photos went viral. He then started to track down more boxes of negatives and undeveloped rolls, and the other miscellaneous things she left behind: receipts, hats, coats, 8mm film, and audio recordings. “There was one little canister of teeth. I found a lock of hair in a bag,” notes Maloof. “It’s hard to put into words but going through somebody’s stuff, all the little things she made the decision to save, these are all things that tell a lot about her.”

The documentary plays like a mystery, piecing together Maier’s life from these relics and interviews with her former employers and the children she babysat. Maloof and his co-director, Charlie Siskel, paint a measured portrait of a talented artist and idiosyncratic character, whose compulsive photography bled into obsessive hoarding, and whose fierce independence veered on isolation. The more we find out about Maier, the more we find out how private she was. The children once in her care recount never being able to enter her locked attic bedroom. And Maloof faces the ethical dilemma of whether or not she would appreciate this documentary prying into her personal life. Though he notes, there was a letter suggesting some intention to show her work, and adds, “she always clipped stories out of newspapers. She loved a good story, and this is a good story, so I think she would understand. If this wasn’t her story and she saw it in the paper, we think she would clip it out.”

When I asked Maloof if he saw a parallel between his own obsession with Maier and her obsessive nature, he laughed. “I didn’t at first, but people pointed it out.” The parallels don’t stop there. Maloof actually became inspired by Maier and took up street photography himself, even using the same Rolleiflex camera.

Street photography depends on a voyeuristic relationship. One sees without being seen. “You don’t want to connect with them,” Maloof says of the subjects. “You want to document without breaking that barrier.” The tragic part of Vivian’s story is she had these barriers not just as a photographer but in her personal life too. And as cliche as the idea might be, as you watch the documentary you wonder if the genius of her work depended on that sacrifice. “She had nobody close to her. She was always on the outside,” says Maloof. “She was observing in these homes she worked as a nanny in as much as she was when she went out on the street. She was in the perfect mindset to be an observer.”

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