As we come to the close of another year, I've been counting down the best in entertainment from over the past 12 months. But let's not forget that we're also celebrating the end of the decade, so you know what that means — a recap of the top music, movies, and TV from 2000-2009! There have been so many creative, smart, and fun choices to keep me busy that it's hard to decide which ones deserve top honors. So beginning with films, here are my favorites, in no particular order. (If you don't agree — or if you'd like to submit your own top five, 10, or 20 — you can do so in the Buzz Best of the Decade Group)!
You might see the word "Woodstock" and feel like we've seen enough about the famous music festival, but this trailer for Ang Lee's first English-language film since Brokeback Mountain actually looks like it might have something new to add to the story. Taking Woodstock is kind of hilariously hard to figure out: In the lead role there's comedian Demetri Martin (who you may know from his TV show Important Things With Demetri Martin) — and then people like Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Emile Hirsch, Liev Schreiber, and Eugene Levy pop up throughout the trailer and it's like, whaaa?
The movie is based on a memoir about a motel owner and his parents who are instrumental in helping the hippies pull off the seminal 1969 rock concert. This description from the book makes the movie all the more fascinating: "Hounded by the guilt that he can't live up to his parents' standards and riven by his own covert homosexuality, Tiber pokes fun at what he calls the Teichberg Curse, a scourge that won't allow the family to escape financial ruin." I wonder if that stuff is explored in the movie? We'll have to wait until Aug. 14 to find out.
I'm still wrapping my head around this trailer, but I'm optimistic. To see for yourself, read more
They had a space mission together for five years, going "boldly where no man had gone before." Only, lots of men, even in ancient Greece, had in fact gone there long ago, if you know what I mean. What the hell am I talking about? This awesome Star Trek and Brokeback Mountain mashup, revealing that although Spock seemed asexual, and Captain Kirk was a ladies man, they only had eyes for each other.
First there was the odd news that an Italian composer is turning the Al Gore power point presentation about global warming into an opera. Now there's news that Brokeback Mountain will get similar treatment. The New York City Opera has commissioned a composer to turn the short story that inspired the popular film into an opera.
Of course, the documentary-turned-opera is more difficult to envision than a well-received love story but I still think this is a bizarre trend, and I wonder what's behind this momentum. Presumably the folks behind these shows think they're more likely to attract a broader audience with operas based on well-known titles.
So I ask you: would you consider seeing these operas?
All of the new DVD releases hit stores (and Netflix) on Tuesdays. So each week in What to Netflix: New DVD Tuesday, I sort through the best of the batch and tell you what to add to your queue. In addition to the titles below, wartime movies Rendition and In the Valley of Elah are also out this week. If you missed Noah Baumbach's Margot at the Wedding starring Nicole Kidman, you can add that to your queue as well.
Great timing for this stirring drama to be released on DVD if you're trying to view Oscar nominees before the big ceremony. Director Ridley Scott recreates 1960s and 1970s Harlem to bring the true-life story of Frank Lucas to the silver screen. Played to eerie perfection by Denzel Washington, American Gangster follows Lucas as he comes to power in New York via a heroin drug ring. His savvy business instincts eventually put Lucas' business on par with that of the Italians, and catches the attention of one of the only non-corrupt law enforcement officials in town, Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe).
This film earned Rudy Dee an Oscar nod for her role as Lucas' mother, and has been nominated for Best Achievement in Art Direction. Special features include a taping of the still-living Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts discussing the film and their roles in making it.
Two more interesting films, so read more
EW just put out an article lamenting the lack of movies with strong gay lead characters, musing that with the success of Brokeback Mountain, many people thought the way would be paved for more gay-centric films. The article goes on to state that perhaps the movies could take their cues from TV, where there are more and more storylines involving gay characters on even mainstream shows, like Ugly Betty and Brothers and Sisters.
Then again, as certain studio heads point out, it's easier to have a gay character in an ongoing series and have that be just one aspect of the character's life, while in movies it always seems to be The Big Issue for the character, their one defining characteristic.
One of the reasons suggested for this is that many movie studio execs are older and less comfortable with homosexuality in general, whereas TV execs tend to be younger, part of a "Will and Grace generation."
What do you think? Is Hollywood stodgy and out of touch? Or does it make sense that there aren't more gay-centric stories out there?
We were led to believe that the ongoing tension between Zack Morris and A.C. Slater on "Saved By The Bell" was because of their mutual crush on Kelly Kapowski. Think again, my friends! The following video exposes the love the two boys shared behind the scenes. C'mon, how could Zack not lust after Slater's muscles and smooth moves? And was Slater's pet name for Zack ("Preppy") really a secret expression of his ongoing love and affection? Watch and see.
12-year-old Jessica Turner and her grandparents are suing the Chicago Board of Education because her 8th grade substitute teacher played Brokeback Mountain for her class. From various news reports, it looks like the family is seeking between $400,000 to $500,000 in damages. Here's more:
Richardson said his granddaughter was traumatized by the movie and had to undergo psychological treatment and counseling.
In 2005, Richardson complained to school administrators about reading material that he said included curse words.
"This was the last straw," he said. "I feel the lawsuit was necessary because of the warning I had already given them on the literature they were giving out to children to read. I told them it was against our faith."
Wow. I knew Brokeback Mountain was controversial but "traumatizing"? Really?