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Scott Wilson, Walking Dead’s Hershel, Dies at 76

Scott Wilson, who played popular character Hershel Greene on The Walking Dead, has passed away at the age of 76. Hershel memorably died on the show at the hands of The Governor, but since then, Wilson has appeared at a number of conventions – including Walker Stalker Con – and remained a favorite among fans.

Wilson started his Walking Dead journey back in 2011, when his character Hershel was introduced. His first appearance was in the episode “Bloodletting” in season 2, after Carl Grimes was accidentally shot. Hershel is able to save Carl’s life because of his experience as a veterinarian, and had been living a secluded life on his farm with his family since the outbreak. He always had a strict moral code, and cared deeply for his daughters Maggie and Beth. As the show went on, Hershel became a mentor of sorts to Rick Grimes, and provided wisdom and advice to other main characters. Wilson took part in 37 episodes of The Walking Dead, with his last appearance coming in season 4.

As first reported by Comic Book, Wilson passed away today at the age of 76. Reports of the actor’s death occurred after many people posted tributes honoring Wilson on social media, and those reports were later confirmed to be true. TMZ later revealed that Wilson “passed away peacefully at his home in L.A”. Dominic Mancini, who worked as Wilson’s rep, explained that the actor passed away as a result of complications from leukemia. Bizarrely, Wilson’s death was confirmed not too long after Hershel was confirmed to appear in season 9 of The Walking Dead.

Wilson had been a well-known actor long before his time on AMC’s hit show. Wilson started his acting career in 1967 with the film In the Heat of the Night, and later became known for roles in films like 1974’s The Great GatsbyThe Ninth Configuration, and A Year of the Quiet Sun. In the years after his time on The Walking Dead was up, Wilson appeared on the TV shows Bosch, Damien, and The OA. Most recently, he appeared in the movie Hostiles alongside Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike, as well as voiced his Walking Dead character in an episode of Robot Chicken.

Wilson’s character on The Walking Dead had a big impact on the other characters, and fans often credit Wilson’s casting as one of the stronger decisions made by the show. Many actors have come and gone during the show’s eight seasons, but none have been quite like Wilson. With season 9 looking to recapture the feel of earlier seasons,  one can’t help but look back and reminisce about Wilson’s journey on The Walking Deadand his career in general.

RIP Scott Wilson: March 29, 1942 – October 6, 2018

Source: Comic Book, TMZ



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2018-10-06 09:10:28 – Christopher Fiduccia

7 New Character Additions That Hurt Buffy The Vampire Slayer (And 13 That Saved It)

It’s been over twenty years since Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s groundbreaking pilot hit TV screens and it remains one the most beloved and influential shows of all time. The series subverted expectations, in the process shattering illusions of what people thought television was capable of. It forever altered the pop culture landscape, introducing audiences to a feminist icon they could truly identify with. The show popularized serialized storytelling at a time when TV programs were largely episodic and even changed the way that viewers talked by introducing them to “Buffy speak.”

By taking the idea that high school is Hell quite literally, Joss Whedon was able to use werewolves, witches, and vampires to explore themes of desire, female empowerment, and addiction. The writers personified feelings such as isolation, alienation and humiliation, using them to ground fantastical situations in those very real emotions.

Buffy was praised for a great many things, from snappy dialogue to clever plotting. However, one of the most vital elements of Whedon’s magnum opus was undoubtedly the amazing characters with which he chose to populate this world. These players were as lovable as they were relatable and the series continues to resonate with viewers of all ages. However, not all characters introduced to the series could be as awesome as Buffy, Willow, or Xander. While certain new additions had an undeniably positive effect on the series as a whole, there were also a few that BtVS would’ve been better off without.

Here are 7 New Character Additions That Hurt Buffy The Vampire Slayer (And 13 That Saved It).

20 Saved – Spike and Dru

Sunnydale got its very own Sid and Nancy when Spike and Drusilla showed up in season 2 episode “School Hard”, quickly establishing themselves as the new Big Bads in town. They were never meant to last as long as they did, but stellar performances from James Marsters and Juliet Landau gave both characters a stay of execution. These two didn’t just shake up Sunnydale, but the show’s entire mythology. They were living proof that vampires were capable of genuine emotion. Their intense bond and amazing chemistry made fans fall hard for the couple. 

Spike, of course, went on to play a much larger role in the series as a whole. Writers kept finding new ways to justify his continued existence and fans never complained, because no one wanted the vampire gone.

19 Hurt – Riley

Buffy needed to move on from Angel, but did she really have to take up with “Captain Cardboard”? Riley Finn (Mark Blucas) first appeared in the season 4 premiere, “The Freshman”, and went on to hurt the show in ways almost too numerous to list.

With him came the Initiative, which remains the storyline that most BtVS fans would rather forget.

Even after the organization was no longer part of the narrative, Riley continued to overstay his welcome. Viewers were forced to deal with his constant whining and eventually, his infidelity. These were all plot points that the show could’ve done without. It was sad when Riley helicoptered out of Buffy’s life, but only because we care about her feelings. Ultimately, no one really missed him.

18 Saved – Tara

Now this is how you create a new love interest. Oz and Willow had become one of the show’s most beloved couples and fans were as heartbroken as she was over his sudden departure. Replacing the werewolf was going to be just as difficult as finding a way for Buffy to get over Angel. However, the show chose to go in a new direction entirely with Tara Maclay, who debuted in season 4 episode “Hush”. Not only was she a woman, but she also complemented Willow in very different ways than Oz had.

Not all viewers embraced this storyline initially, but Amber Benson’s performance quickly won most of them over. Before long, fans became incredibly invested in Willow and Tara’s relationship. In many ways, they became the show’s central couple, as well as its emotional anchor.

17 Saved – Anya

Much like James Marsters, Emma Caulfield earned more time on the show through her impressive performance. Her arc wasn’t meant to last much past her first appearance in season 3 episode “The Wish”.  Anya Christina Emmanuella Jenkins went from human to vengeance demon and back again. She was over 1100 old, but had completely lost touch with her humanity before meeting the Scoobies.

It was more than Anya’s evolution that made her special, though. She was the character who posed the questions that most people want to ask but think that they shouldn’t. Whether ruminating on love, loss, or the simple cold truth of mortality, Anya always said exactly what she meant. Even her lack of tact was charming. The former demon brought a different perspective to the group, as well as some undeniable humor.

16 Hurt – Dawn

This is kind of a tough one, because the storyline surrounding Dawn’s existence was one of the show’s best. Her introduction in the season 5 premiere, “Buffy vs. Dracula”, was particularly genius. Dawn was dropped into the series as if she had always been there, leaving viewers wondering if they had missed earlier clues of Buffy having a sister.

Dawn herself was always little more than an annoyance to most fans.

It didn’t help that Michelle Trachtenberg played the character as younger than she was. This wasn’t all her fault, as Dawn was initially meant to be portrayed by a younger actress. The main problem wasn’t season 5 Dawn anyway. In later years, writers clearly weren’t sure what to do with her, giving Buffy’s sister one ludicrous plot line after another: “Dawn’s in trouble. Must be Tuesday.

15 Saved – Glory/Ben

Glory is one of the greatest Big Bads ever to appear on BtVS. Debuting in season 5 installment “There’s No Place Like Home”, she brought the season-long threat to a whole new level. Glory wasn’t just another demon. She was a literal god, just trying to get back to her home sweet Hell. However, it was more than just sheer power that made Glory such a great villain. Clare Kramer’s manic performance is what really set her apart.

Introduced an episode before Glory, Ben (Charlie Weber) was serviceable enough.

What really brought depth to the kind doctor was the revelation that he and Glorificus were sharing a body.

This was one of the show’s most successful twists. Seriously, no one saw it coming.

14 Saved – Wesley

While it can be argued that the character of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce was utilized far better on Angel, there’s no denying that the stuffy new Watcher was another great addition to the cast of BtVS. Debuting in season 3 installment “Bad Girls”, Alexis Denisof imbued Wesley with undeniable heart and humor, despite the character’s uptight personality.

Aside from Wesley himself, it was the dynamic between him and Giles that helped to elevate the series during season 3. We got to explore a whole new side Buffy’s Watcher. It was one thing to know about his “Ripper” past, but it was the juxtaposition of Rupert and Wesley that truly proved how awesome Giles actually was – not that we didn’t love him already.

13 Hurt – Warren

The Trio is kind of everyone’s least favorite Big Bad. However, while Jonathan and Andrew were both worthy additions to the series, Warren never had any redeeming qualities. He first appeared in season 5 episode “I Was Made to Love You” and proved himself a total creep immediately.

Although Warren started out as a punchline, he turned out to be a misogynistic monster.

Adam Busch did an excellent job of making the character incredibly unlikable, but it was Warren’s cruelty that brought season 6 to the lowest of places. “Dead Things” was one of the most brutal episodes of BtVS, and not in a good way. Plus, no Buffy fan will ever forgive him for firing the gun that took Tara’s life. Warren did a lot of damage and his character was never compelling or likable enough to outweigh that fact.

12 Saved – Oz

Fans fell in love with Daniel “Oz” Osbourne (Seth Green) around the same time that Willow did. From the moment he appeared in season 2 episode “Inca Mummy Girl”, he was pretty much smitten with her – even in her Hallowe’en costume. Unlike Xander, Oz actually realized how awesome Willow was and fans were overjoyed to see her finally properly appreciated.

Oz was so beloved, in fact, that even though he left under truly awful circumstances, many viewers were still torn when he came back for Willow. A lesser character could never have remained in fans’ hearts after such indiscretions. In the end, the writers found someone even better for Willow, but it speaks volumes that so many viewers were willing to forgive Oz after he locked himself in a cage with Veruca.

11 Hurt – Veruca

Veruca (Paige Moss) made her first appearance in season 4 episode “Living Conditions”. Oz may have thought that she was pretty cool, but viewers noticed that something was off about her.

Most Buffy fans are pretty protective of Willow and no one liked seeing her relationship with Oz threatened.

It’s not that it makes no sense that something would break up Willow and Oz. They dated in high school and many such relationships do not survive the transition to college. The main issue was the werewolf herself. Veruca was kind of over the top, from her musical performances to her evil machinations. Perhaps she was meant to be a two-dimensional mustache-twirling villain. Regardless, no one mourned Veruca after Oz ended her life.

10 Saved – Mayor Wilkins

Fans were introduced to Mayor Richard Wilkins in season 3 episode “Homecoming”. Sure, he was a major Big Bad whose ascension plans would’ve left the world in ruins, but he was also incredibly polite. BtVS has often excelled at creating villains that fans still kind of rooted for. The Mayor was one of the best, and not just because he was such a formidable opponent.

Richard’s relationship with Faith gave his character real depth. Much like the love that Spike and Dru shared with one another, the Mayor’s affections for his protégée made him much more human, which in turn made viewers care more about him. Plus, Harry Groener’s pitch-perfect performance made it impossible not to enjoy Mayor Wilkins.

9 Hurt – Kennedy

Kennedy was as much of an epic fail as Riley. The writers proved that they could craft more than one great love interest for Willow, so what happened with her? Introduced in season 7 episode “Bring on the Night”, Kennedy (Iyari Limon) was spoiled, argumentative and honestly, kind of bland. The key to a great TV relationship is making both characters compelling in their own right.

While fans came to love both Oz and Tara rather quickly, you’d be hard pressed to find many Kennedy fans out there.

There was nothing about Willow’s new girlfriend to even distinguish her from the other Potential Slayers, save her bad attitude. Willow deserved better and so did fans.

8 Saved – Faith

Shaking up things from the moment she arrived in season 3 installment “Faith, Hope and Trick”, Faith Lehane was Buffy’s dark reflection. The Slayers were incredibly different from one another and yet, undeniably two sides of the same coin. Eliza Dushku’s magnetic performance brought so much passion and energy to the role, and she had no trouble fitting in with the rest of the cast.

Faith provided new depth not only for the slayer line, but also to the idea of what it actually means to be Slayer. Before Faith’s arrival, fans had never seen a Slayer go rogue. However, it didn’t matter how far Faith went. Viewers were always hoping that she could somehow redeem herself. Thanks to her time on Angel, she was given that chance.

7 Saved – Robin

Robin Wood’s (D.B. Woodside) debut in season 7 premiere “Lessons” initially painted the new school principal as another villain lurking in the shadows. However, much like the rest of the characters on BtVS, appearances are often deceiving. Not only was Robin one of the good guys, but he was also the son of New York-based slayer, Nikki. The series teased this out slowly until fans realized the truth shortly before it was revealed.

It was a pretty genius move.

Although it’s easy to hate on Robin for his sneak attack on Spike, the vampire did off his mother, so his frustration can be understood. In the end, Robin turned out to be a great addition to the Scoobies, bringing both new perspective and an actual bag of tricks to the mix.

6 Hurt – Adam

Buffy almost always managed to deliver the goods when it came to the season-long Big Bad: compelling characters, with humor and even a bit of heart. The series excelled in that moral grey area, making viewers sympathize with villainous even as they committed unforgivable acts. Sadly, Adam (George Hertzberg) was a giant exception to this success.

The ersatz Frankenstein’s monster – or Walsh’s monster, as the case may have been – first appeared in season 4 episode “A New Man”. The only cool thing he ever really did was skewer his creator, Maggie, who was also not a great addition to the series. All in all, Adam was very powerful, but a boring villain. Defeating him required a major deus ex machina, which would’ve been fine if he had been a better character in the first place.

5 Saved – Andrew

Andrew Wells, aka Tucker’s brother, initially seemed as irredeemable as Warren Mears. When we met him in season 6 episode “Flooded”, he was a whiny coward with nothing even resembling a moral compass. After Andrew returned the following year, the first thing he did was take his best friend’s life.

Most fans weren’t happy to see him again, but somewhere over the course of season 7, this changed.

Like BtVS has done with the best of its characters – most of whom, let’s be real, have done some terrible things – the show found a way to endear him to viewers. Andrew may not have exactly been instrumental in Buffy’s battle with the First, but the former villain definitely brought some levity to a fairly dark season. He also provided an excellent example of the power of compassion.

4 Saved – Kendra

Interestingly, Bianca Lawson was originally cast in the role of Cordelia Chase. However, due to scheduling conflicts, the actress was forced to take a smaller part in BtVSIf we can all just put aside her painfully awful accent, everyone can probably admit that Kendra herself was a pretty cool addition to the series.

Fans were introduced to the other slayer in season 2 installment “What’s My Line Part 1”. She appeared initially to be another enemy, but instead proved vital in saving Angel’s life. Kendra’s existence answered important questions about the slayers and it was this new line, beginning with her, that later allowed for the introduction of Faith. The juxtaposition of Kendra and Buffy was also quite interesting, as they each approached their calling so differently. She also helped Buffy see that slaying was more than just a job.

3 Hurt – Forrest

Another irritating and useless season 4 addition, Forrest Gates (Leonard Roberts) was introduced in “The Initiative”.

He was little more than a foil for Riley and Buffy’s relationship.

Forrest’s feelings for his fellow soldier bordered on obsession and there was nothing interesting about him in his own right.Riley’s other pal Graham may have been boring, but at least he wasn’t so annoying. Forrest was self-righteous and obviously had very little going on in the way of an actual life. No one mourned him after he his passing. The worst part about Forrest’s demise was that it wasn’t even the last we saw of him, because Adam chose to reanimate his husk. Even then, he was still a total drag.

2 Saved – Jonathan

Jonathan Levinson (Danny Strong) had a continuing presence on Buffy the Vampire Slayer for years after his first appearance in season 2 installment “Inca Mummy Girl”. He was always on the periphery, being picked on, rescued or taken advantage of. Prior to joining the Trio, Jonathan was at the center of season 3 episode “Earshot” and season 4 installment “Superstar”. The former was incredibly poignant and the latter, a hilarious change of pace.

Many fans were surprised to see Jonathan pulled by the dark side, but he never fully committed like his cohorts did. Less obviously evil than Warren and not as easily manipulated as Andrew, he eventually saw the error of his ways. Sadly, by the time Jonathan made an effort to redeem himself, it was too late. That opportunity was stolen from him by his best friend.

1 Saved – Angelus

None of Buffy’s greatest Big Bads were quite as personal or painful to witness as Angelus. Aside from the unfortunate implications of essentially punishing Buffy for being intimate with her boyfriend, there is no denying that the second half of season 2 was the show at its best. This was due in large part to David Boreanaz’s villainous turn.

Two people who were so in love destroying each other was utterly brutal and completely gut-wrenching. It also led to some of BtVS’s most empowering moments. Buffy was just a teenage girl shouldering the weight of the entire world. Feeling as though she had lost everything led to the epiphany that she still possessed what mattered most. Much of the series is about surviving life on life’s terms. More than just enduring this pain, Buffy managed to recover from it.

What new characters do you feel hurt or saved Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-06 04:10:54 – Jamie Gerber

A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad (And Always Has Been)

WARNING: Major spoilers for A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born‘s ending undoes what could have been a Hollywood classic – but that’s not exactly Bradley Cooper’s fault. From its first version in 1937, A Star Is Born has always had a problematic resolution to its story, one that’s only got worse over the past century, and this latest version is no different.

A Star Is Born is a classic story that Hollywood loves so much it’s told it four times (with a suspiciously-similar earlier version, several failed attempts and many, many imitators). A top-of-his-game star (in 2018, Bradley Cooper’s rock star Jackson Maine) is suffering from alcoholism and in a stupor discovers a struggling artist (Lady Gaga as Ally, a waitress moonlighting in a drag bar), falling in love with both her and her talent. He provides her with a big break, sending her fame into the stratosphere just as his addictions begin to derail his career. The pair marry, but despite their love things begin to fray.

Related: Read Our A Star Is Born Review

It’s a tale of rags to riches, of falls from grace, of the power of love, and personal identity within all of that. And, for much of the runtime, A Star Is Born 2018 is genuinely a great version of all those stories. Gaga’s first major concert leaves you floating, Cooper shows mental affliction with grace, both perform their songs incredibly (to actual live crowds, no less), and are utterly believable as troubled lovers. It is, for much of its runtime, a very good film worthy of that deafening hype.

However, everything implodes into a black hole of pretentiousness as what could have been a great film its own right has to follow through on being called A Star Is Born

  • This Page: The Problem With A Star Is Born’s Ending
  • Page 2: A Star Is Born’s Ending Has Always Been Bad
  • Page 3: Why Bradley Cooper Couldn’t Fix A Star Is Born

What Happens In A Star Is Born’s Ending

We’ll stick with Cooper’s take for now before going deeper into the past. A Star Is Born‘s third act is kicked off by Ally winning the Grammy for Best New Artist – a major step for her career, undercut entirely by Jack drunkenly taking to the stage with her and relieving himself on live TV. He goes into rehab and she wrestles with where her focus should lie, eventually deciding to try and protect her recovering husband. She cancels her European tour when her agent, Rez, blocks the duo playing together.

As a result, Jack kills himself. He’s confronted by a seething Rez who has no sympathies or expectations of sobriety and states outright Jack’s ruining his wife’s career. When she matter-of-fact states the tour cancellation, he sees the impact of his actions and, while she plays a concert, he hangs himself in their garage.

Related: Every Song On A Star Is Born’s Soundtrack

This breaks Ally at first, leaving her emotionally distraught, before her understanding the meaning of Jack’s sacrifice – to enable her to truly become the star he always saw – helps her pull through. The film ends at a tribute concert in Jack’s memory. “My name is Ally Maine.” she declares before singing “I’ll Never Love Again”, a song based on their relationship they wrote together while he was recovering. A flashback shows the pair singing, she looks through the camera at the audience, the end.

Why A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad

Removing the ending of all presentation and self-imposed importance (a character looking into the camera at the end is an overused trope that Cooper simply doesn’t earn), in just writing down the events of A Star Is Born its problems should be obvious.

Jack decides to kill himself to save his wife, committing suicide because it’s the only way to set her free. This comes about two hours into a film which has slowly built up its numerous interpersonal relationships, and so comes as a drastic and rather unearned turn. Now, there is an argument to be made about accuracy to the unpredictability of mental illness, but given the intimacy audiences had with both Jack and Ally up until this moment, that doesn’t fit with the rest of the film. A Star Is Born, plainly, presents suicide as the only way out. It’s meant to come across as a selfless act but still values success as a true route to happiness, meaning anything emotional about the “gesture” is laced with hypocrisy.

But it’s what comes after and Ally’s coming to terms with her loss that’s so disquieting. For all her innate talent being the drive of the story and her freely made decision to step back what motivated Jack to kill himself, the final scene makes everything about Jack; the mononymous singer for the first time takes on her husband’s surname at his concert, where she performs a song that he helped her write in her original singer style. The suggestion is meant to be that Jack was holding her back, but in the shadow of the previous two hours the strange implication is that the act of a true star being born came from the adversity of Jack’s sacrifice. Making Ally’s success symbiotic to her dead husband is already heavily in the text of the film, but the final scene makes her final ascension even more indebted to his drastic act.

It’s hard to not read A Star Is Born‘s ending as trivializing suicide down to a plot point to give the fundamentally broken male lead the defining role in its female protagonist’s arc. It’s a weird move to make in 2018, although don’t believe this is just the product of an 80-year-old movie being remade. There’s something flawed at the heart of A Star Is Born.

Page 2: A Star Is Born’s Ending Has Always Been Bad

The True Story Behind A Star Is Born’s Ending Explains The Problem

There have been four versions of A Star Is Born: the 1937 Hollywood-skewering original starring Janet Gaynor and Frederick March, the 1954 musical starring Judy Garland and James Mason, the 1976 shift to the music industry with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, and the latest Cooper/Gaga release. Each one has its own quirks, but all endeavor to tell the same story of love and fame intertwined, and all have the same basic ending. But the 1937 version isn’t the start. While A Star Is Born‘s narrative is a fiction, it’s very much based on truth; each movie is rooted heavily in the entertainment industry of the time – Hollywood for the 1937 and 1954 versions, music for 1976 and 2018 – and aims to tell an encapsulating story. There are some real-life events that inspired it.

The established star falling for an unknown as she climbs to the top was seen in actors Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Fay’s relationship, with the pair marrying in 1928 when the former was an unknown after starring in a Broadway show together. Their marriage fell apart after she rose above him and he fell into alcoholism. They separated in 1935 after seven years of marriage, two years before A Star Is Born was released. This appears to have been composited with the death of silent film actor John Bowers, who died at sea in 1936 after failing to win a part (whether it was a suicide or not is unclear). There are others (as we’ll see) but these are regarded as the ones who powered the 1937 version.

Related: Lady Gaga Fans Are Trolling Venom With Fake Bad Reviews

Of course, there’s one key distinction between inspiration and movie: in real life, it was two unrelated stories. There are the famous lovers who piggyback success and the past-it star who takes his own life, but in all cases these two aspects are entirely independent; the woman goes on to greater success by cutting the man out, while elsewhere another man falls from grace. Both stories epitomize Hollywood together, and taken alongside each other rather than melded have an ingrained believability. A Star Is Born trades that for something more streamlined in having the suicide be the culmination of the romance, but it’s also idealistic and wistful, losing the real moral of either.

This is reflected in what is regarded as a proto-Star Is Born, the 1932 film What Price Hollywood? Released five years before the 1937 version and produced also by David O. Selznick (and directed by George Cukor, who was approached for the first A Star Is Born and directed the first remake), this is regarded as something of a dry run at the story. Obviously from the release year it can’t share the same real-life inspirations (although, because this is the Golden Age of Hollywood, there are others pointed to), but the core concept and even smaller story beats are there, albeit with one massive difference: the leads are not romantically involved. Lowell Sherman’s Max drunkenly finds Constance Bennett’s Mary and helps make her a star, eventually killing himself after he sees realizes how far he’s fallen and is hurting his friend, while Mary’s suffers an ill-fated marriage that breaks down due to her absences filming and is reconciled at the end.

Watched today, What Price Hollywood? has a cynicism about the film industry ahead of its time despite ultimately being a movie romanticizing Hollywood – and at the core of this is the tragic story of Max and its impact on Mary’s life. The title question is apt.

How The Remakes Have Tried To “Fix” The Ending

In contrast to What Price Hollywood?, A Star Is Born 1937 carries a self-awareness and charm, but in bridging the romantic and the career side of protagonist Esther creates the problematic suicide reading. It’s not helped by dated elements, including the defining part of Esther’s ascension being the actress known as Vicki Lester taking on her husband’s name with a declaration “This is Mrs. Norman Maine“. It works given the time period, but even 16 years later needed an update.

Related: Watch the Trailer For A Star Is Born

The 1954 version is, for the most part, a beat-for-beat remake, just with dance number expansion to make it a musical, but it does make some strides to justifying the ending. The toll that caring for a drunk has on Judy Garland’s Vicki Lester is shown gradually, most upsettingly in an off-stage breakdown she immediately returns to filming from: an unavoidable presentation of the line between art and performer. But, ultimately, it ends in the same way: Norman Maine overhears Vicki’s plans to quit acting to care for her husband, so he feigns going for a swim and drowns himself; after a traumatic period and being unmasked at her funeral (the invasion of the press), Vicki returns to the public eye where she declares herself “Mrs. Norman Maine“. Every issue discussed is here.

The 1976’s A Star Is Born is overall incredibly melodramatic, nowhere less than its handling of the ending. What it should be praised for is its attempts at giving the female lead a greater sense of autonomy: throughout Streisand’s Esther makes decisions that power the narrative, not just being led along by Kristoffersen as those who came before her, but that’s lost thuddingly in the finale. After his meltdown, John Howard has imposed isolation – not rehab – and when returning home immediately sleeps with a reporter wanting an interview for Esther. The couple tries to power past this, but John figures he’s still broken and crashes his car at high speeds. Again, Esther is sad before taking his name (and singing at a tribute event).

Like we’ve already explored with A Star Is Born 2018, all versions have tried to provide their own contemporary spin on the tale to iron out its kinks, yet all wind up having to repeat the same suicide-anger-name triple-tap that doesn’t belong. A degree can be accounted to the changing times, but that ignores that the original trio of movies released over nearly 40 years, and that Cooper wasn’t able to address it either.

Page 3: Why Bradley Cooper Couldn’t Fix A Star Is Born

Why Bradley Cooper Can’t Fix A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper certainly tries to bring a modern slant to the worn tale of A Star Is Born. He invests heavily in making Jack and Ally’s opposite trajectories operate independently – Jack is suffering from tinnitus before he’s heard a note of “La Vie En Rose”, while Ally’s SNL appearance is deemed to contradict his advice – while making the love story more immediate. It’s a bigger story, more personal and considerably more consummately paced.

But, like all the others, the ending hits a snag. And some of his decisions make it worse. The method of final descent is different, with the awards show upset and rehab undone not by Maine going off the rails again as in every other take, but rather by Ally’s agent calling his supposed bluff. It’s implied from the British Rez knowing when exactly Jackson first toured across the pond that he was once a fan, now disillusioned with his hero, making him a millennial scapegoat to any affronting reading.

Related: 2018 Fall Movie Preview: The 30 Films to See

This generational push and pull could have been what sent A Star Is Born to greatness. Sam Elliott’s speech about there only being twelve notes played over and over, with the majesty coming from how the artist uses them is a beautiful sentiment that sees Cooper self-justifying another remake and appears like a zen view on the entertainment business that birthed it. Except it isn’t, because this idea is also trying to explain the ending, claiming that the music industry is cyclical and that stars are born and then new stars are born later; Jack’s death is enabling that. What the film seems to miss is that for one state to ever enter another, a star must always die. Ally will fall too. The raw textual argument is that the failures are as eternal as the successes, raising the question of worth, yet the film provides no further exploration and presents it as somehow immediately uplifting.

And that’s the hump that A Star Is Born 2018, like its predecessors, can’t get over. The story thinks it’s a biting, self-aware take on itself, but it’s too close to the subject to see that it’s really just propagating a harsh cycle. This isn’t helped by the film being weighted by so much – the casting of Lady Gaga, his writer-director-producer-actor whammy, even Sam Elliott as the Sam Elliott-type – although those concerns are also the key explanation for what’s really going on.

A Star Is Born Only Exists Because Of Ego

Throughout this article, there’s been one question dangling unspoken. Why are there four versions of A Star Is Born anyway? It’s a story that is flawed and dated, on a topic which has been tackled in more films than any other. Yes, each movie got serious Oscar nominations and wins, but that alone isn’t enough to justify going back. The true answer is enlightening.

1954’s A Star Is Born was conceived as a bid to restart Judy Garland’s career after it stalled over the 1940s. 1976’s A Star Is Born was Barbra Streisand’s attempt (along with then-husband Jon Peters) to boost her standing in Hollywood. And 2018’s A Star Is Born is Bradley Cooper’s grand attempt to win the Oscar that he believes he deserves (his entire post-Hangover career is a carefully played game of chess with a Golden Baldie the King). There are studio concerns too (before Cooper, Warner Bros had been attempting to get a remake off the ground since the early 2010s, although as a Beyonce vehicle has the same career expansion goals), but those are the primary purposes of each version. A Star Is Born is a vanity project on repeat.

Related: A Star Is Born Is An Oscar Favorite – But Could An Infamous Producer Hurt Its Chances?

Now, vanity projects needn’t be bad, and indeed a lot of good comes from each of these attempts. Indeed, each was ultimately successful in both their primary and commercial goals: Garland’s career was rejuvenated; Streisand won her second Oscar; and Cooper’s currently the front-runner in multiple categories for next year’s Academy Awards.

But this aspect appears to be why each version of A Star Is Born struggles to understand the real meaning of its ending. Each powering force believes this movie will be what takes them being a Norman/Jack Maine to a new Esther/Ally while missing that it’s built into the story to be impossible. They believe so much in the two contradictory Hollywood legends wholesale, so don’t see that the story is almost warning against such a thing.

A Star Is Born Is No Longer Needed

In recent years, we’ve seen Hollywood’s reliable rotation of movies about itself take a genuinely incisive slant. 2015’s Best Picture Winner Birdman was an ostentatious exploration of ego that too ended with the protagonist committing suicide, but there it was with the wry critique that fame and adoration are fleeting and that such a bold act was the only way for the self-involved hero to reach the heights he dreamed of. Then there’s 2017’s almost-Best Picture Winner La La Land, which was a celebration of Hollywood-gone-by looking at love in a city of stars, eventually concluding that success required the sacrifice of the central relationship.

Together, these take on all the ideas that A Star Is Born is playing with and apply them in a more thoughtful way. The messages are more widely applicable and their endnotes have considerably less of the hypocrisy. Birdman and La La Land may find joy in the arts, but they also uncover the trials of creativity and fame, keeping the brutal truths in earshot while presenting from a position of success.

A Star Is Born 2018 is a good movie, an undeniable achievement for both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. But there is a flaw at the heart of the tale that just doesn’t ring true. Unless it’s made with a completely revisionist, ego-less eye, in twenty years we do not need another one.

More: Every Version Of A Star Is Born Ranked, From Garland To Gaga



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2018-10-06 01:10:52 – Alex Leadbeater

How To Watch UFC 229: McGregor vs Khabib Online

UFC 229: Khabib vs McGregor is set to begin later today at 9pm EST on Saturday, October 6, 2018, and if you’re not attending the fights in person at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, you’ll be joining the millions around the world watching to see McGregor’s first fight since Mayweather – against a fighter he hated enough to attack a bus, risking his career.

Pay-per-view pricing seems reasonable in comparison to paying a door charge at a sports bar. And with MMAFighting reporting paydays of $3 million and $2 million for McGregor and Khabib, respectively, in anticipation of the pay-per-view numbers they’ll bring in… it’ll be packed everywhere tonight. So here are a few options to watch the big fight at home and/or with family and friends!

Where can I order and watch UFC 229 Fights Online?

On Cable TV you can order McGregor vs. Khabib from a range of providers, so head to that link to find your own and order ahead of time. If you prefer to watch the fight on your computer, you can order UFC 229 directly through the company’s website, then choose to view it on a wide range of streaming devices – Xbox One, Apple TV, amazon Fire TV, iPod, iPod Touch, iPad, Roku, Android, Chromecast, and select Smart TVs. Check out UFC’s website for a full guide to supported devices.

How much does the fight cost to watch?

Purchasing UFC 229 will cost $54.99 for SD, and $64.99 for HD in the United States, and as usual, buyers have the option to buy the pay-per-view with an added 6-month trial of the UFC Fight Pass for $91.96. The Fight Pass grants access to the preliminary fights throughout the day.

When does the McGregor-Khabib Fight Actually Start?

There’s a full evening of fights in store for UFC fans, with the prelims beginning at 6:30pm EST through the Fight Pass, and local stations. With 7 fights planned in the prelims, followed by 5 more on the main card starting at 10pm EST, that puts the start of the Khabib-McGregor fight no earlier than 12am EST. Best get settled in to enjoy the other fights in store, which we’ll list here for convenience.

Fight Pass Exclusive Prelims

  • Ryan LaFlare vs Tony Martin (Welterweight)
  • Gray Maynard vs Nik Lentz (Lightweight)
  • Lina Lansberg vs Yana Kunitskaya (Women’s Bantamweight)

Prelims (Local Broadcasts)

  • Scott Holtzman vs Alan Patrick (Lightweight)
  • Aspen Ladd vs Tonya Evinger (Women’s Featherweight)
  • Vicente Luque vs Jalin Turner (Welterweight)
  • Sergio Pettis vs Jussier Formiga (Flyweight)

Main Card (PPV Only)

  • Michelle Waterson vs Felice Herrig (Women’s Strawweight)
  • Derrick Lewis vs Alexander Volkov (Heavyweight)
  • Ovince Saint Preux vs Dominick Reyes (Light Heavyweight)
  • Tony Ferguson vs Anthony Pettis (Lightweight)
  • ***Championship: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Conor McGregor***

Are there other ways to watch the Khabib v  s McGregor fight?

Absolutely. Since McGregor’s last fight against Floyd Mayweather racked up close to 3 million illegal viewers, searching social media for unauthorized livestreams will probably turn up a feed eventually. The other way is setting up a digital livestream through a program like Kodi, but that’s for the advanced, risk-seeking UFC fan – and will take some time to set up if you’re not familiar. Here are some tips to setting that up for online viewing. But remember: if you’re not paying for it, what you’re doing is probably illegal!

More: McGregor-Mayweather Fight Made Box Office’s Top 10

Source: UFC, MMAFighting



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2018-10-06 01:10:12 – Andrew Dyce

Tyrion Lannister Will Get a Beautiful GoT Ending, According to Peter Dinklage

Peter Dinklage promises that Tyrion Lannister will get a beautiful ending on Game of Thrones. Viewers will just have to wait to find out if it’s a happy one. Dinklage has been portraying the fan favorite character for the show’s entire run, beginning in 2011.

Based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, Game of Thrones is set to conclude when the show returns for its 8th season next year. The show originally hewed closely to the source material, but diverged in later seasons as it began to outpace Martin’s novels. With his sixth installment no closer to release, showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have decided that the upcoming six-episode season will also be the show’s last. Martin, certain Thrones could continue on for many years, was stunned by this revelation.

Related: Game of Thrones: Jon Snow’s Direwolf Is Returning For Final Season

According to ET, Peter Dinklage had only positive things to say about next year’s finale. He stated, “There are no better writers in television than Dan Weiss and David Benioff. They ended it brilliantly. Better than I could have imagined and you people are in for it. It ends beautifully for my character whether it be tragic or not.”

Martin wasn’t the only one surprised and saddened by the news that Thrones would be ending its run so soon. Fans are already going through withdrawal, counting the days until the show returns. Season 7 ended in August 2017 and all viewers know for certain is that “winter is coming” sometime in 2019.

Dinklage’s statement may not be entirely comforting, but it’s not exactly shocking either. Both the series and Martin’s novels have never been shy about killing off major characters, regardless of how beloved they may be. This is not to say that Tyrion won’t survive the finale, but Dinklage’s comments certainly leave room for that to be the case. Without Martin’s novels as a blueprint, little is known about how the series will wrap up. Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, feels that the ending may prove divisive among fans.

The show’s final details have been shrouded in secrecy, with the scripts disappearing as soon as the episodes are shot. Fans have been scouring the internet for clues and some feel that Turner’s direwolf tattoo and Maisie Williams’s cryptic Instagram post both point to the survival of at least some of the Starks. The rampant speculation is to be expected. Game of Thrones has become a worldwide phenomenon and most viewers will be sad to see it go, regardless of whether the ending is satisfying or not. At least a prequel series was ordered earlier this year, so audiences won’t have to completely bid farewell to Westeros just yet.

More: Emilia Clarke Commemorates Game Of Thrones Ending With New Dragon Tattoos

Game of Thrones season 8 premieres on HBO in 2019.

Source: ET



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2018-10-05 07:10:24 – Jamie Gerber

Is Venom Too Scary For Kids?

Venom may be rated PG-13, but given that it’s a movie about an alien parasite that forcibly takes over someone’s body and then starts threatening to bite heads and limbs off, parents may be wondering if the movie is too scary for younger children.

Though Sony claims that Venom was always intended to have a PG-13 rating, director Ruben Fleischer was uncertain in August whether or not the movie would ultimately earn an R-rating, and stated that he was agreeable to putting together an unrated director’s cut. Add to this Fleischer’s earlier comments on taking inspiration from the works of body-horror masters John Carpenter and David Cronenberg, and Venom certainly sounds like the kind of movie that could give you nightmares – even without the 40 minutes of deleted scenes.

Related: Venom Review: Tom Hardy’s Superhero Movie is a Weirdly Fun Monster

Ultimately, the MPAA rated Venom PG-13 for “intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for language.” The BBFC rated Venom 15 for “strong threat, horror, violence.” Here is a run down of what all that means.

How Violent Is Venom?

Venom‘s violent content makes up the majority of the reason for its rating. The movie contains a lot of intense action sequences, including falls from great heights and a chase through the streets of San Francisco with explosions. There are numerous fights, with guns and tasers being employed. However, many of the on-screen deaths (particularly those caused by the main villain Riot and the two instances of Venom biting someone’s head off) happen very quickly and bloodlessly, and in the case of the bitten-off heads it’s unclear what even happened until characters talk about it afterwards. Overall, the violence is fairly standard for a superhero movie.

The Body Horror Elements

The body horror elements of Venom are far more likely to unsettle younger audiences than its action sequences. Though often played for laughs as Eddie Brock argues with the voice in his head, the idea of having your body taken over against your wishes may be uncomfortable for some viewers. There are various sequences of the slimy symbiotes latching on to their victims and crawling across their struggling bodies, forcing their way in. There’s a further element of revulsion given some of the things Brock does while under the symbiote’s influence, which include biting into a live lobster, eating a chicken out of the garbage, and later throwing up into a clearly unclean toilet. If you have emetophobia, you may want to step out of the theater for a few minutes when Eddie starts raiding his freezer.

Language And Sexual Content

Venom contains several uses of the phrase “Oh s**t” as Eddie Brock is unwillingly dragged from one dangerous situation to the next by the symbiote. There is also one use of the F-word in the lead-up to the final battle. The movie is completely free of nudity and there is no real suggestion of sexual activity apart from one scene where Eddie and his fiancee, Anne Weying, are depicted in bed together, fully-clothed, and a passionate kiss between Eddie and Venom/Anne later in the movie, in which the symbiote transfers from her to him.

More: Venom: The 10 Biggest Spoilers



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2018-10-05 03:10:15 – Matt Morrison

Sonic the Hedgehog Movie & Terminator 6 Releasing 1 Week Earlier



Paramount Pictures has done some release date shuffling, moving both the Sonic the Hedgehog live-action/CGI movie and Terminator 6 up one week on the schedule. In addition, Paramount has pushed back the long-awaited sequel Top Gun: Maverick all the way to June 2020, one year later than the originally announced release date of July 12th, 2019. The Top Gun sequel will now share the summer with the sequel to A Quiet Place, which is targeted for release in May 2020.

Paramount has had a largely successful 2018 thanks to A Quiet Place, which grossed $332 million worldwide, and to Top Gun 2 star Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible – Fallout, with its $540 million worldwide tally. The studio is hoping to continue that momentum into 2019 and are counting on both Sonic the Hedgehog, an adaptation of the iconic video game, as well as the reboot Terminator 6, to be a big part of their box office plan for that year.

Related: Ben Schwartz to Voice Sonic the Hedgehog in Live-Action Movie

Deadline reports Sonic the Hedgehog will now release on November 8, 2019. Terminator 6, on the other hand, will move up to November 15, 2019. Like Top Gun: Maverick, Terminator 6 is a co-production with Skydance.

Thanks to the new release date, Sonic the Hedgehog will find itself going up against the second week of Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman 1984, which is set for November 1. Terminator 6, meanwhile, remains somewhat clear of the sure-to-be popular Wonder Woman sequel, while also moving off the release date currently claimed by Fox for an as-yet-unannounced Marvel movie. One guess is that the planned X-Force movie, to star Deadpool as well as Cable and Domino, will ultimately land in that November slot. Given the more mature subject matter of Deadpool/X-Force, Paramount may have thought it prudent to get the adult-targeted Terminator 6 out a week earlier to avoid the competition.

Without doubt, both Sonic and Terminator 6 figure to be big franchise plays for Paramount in 2019. With Sonic, the studio hopes to pull off the relatively rare feat of releasing a video-game-based movie that actually overcomes the dreaded video game movie curse. Jim Carrey has jumped aboard the endeavor to play the Sonic villain Dr. Robotnik, so the movie should definitely have some wild comedy mixed in with the super-charged Sonic antics. Meanwhile, on Terminator 6, James Cameron returns to the franchise as producer with hopes of cleaning the slate and kicking off a rebooted series built around the new characters of Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) and a brand new Terminator (Gabriel Luna), with Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger returning to bridge the gap with the original movies. It remains to be seen if Paramount will have a pair of winners on their hands when they drop Sonic the Hedgehog and Terminator 6 in November of 2019, on slightly different dates than originally planned.

More: Terminator 6: Every Update You Need To Know

Source: Deadline



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