The last day at Cannes is a bonanza for moviegoing. The festival screens every film in the main competition for the ticketed public and, later in the evening, stages the closing ceremonies, which culminate with the Palme d'Or. The screenings allow the world's remaining movie press to catch up with whatever it was they missed in the previous 11 days. For the civilian filmgoer, it's the last chance to experience a film before it's beset by the vagaries of the distribution and exhibition process, while it's still relatively pure. For me, that meant finally seeing La Vie d'Adèle, Chapitres 1 & 2, a.k.a. Blue Is the Warmest Color (that's the English title), a.k.a. The Movie Everyone Adores Except for Everyone Who Hates It.
Sunday morning, hundreds of people sprinted into the Debussy Theater and jostled for seats. The movie screened Wednesday and word had spread that this was the one to see. I'd seen the queues for a couple of the other films, and, by far, those of us in or near the holding pens for Adèle looked the most desperate to get in. It took less than 15 minutes to reach capacity.
There's always an element of fatalism with making Oscar predictions. You actually hope you're wrong. You want to be right because people conflate educated awards-guessing with expertise. But when you have to sit and watch more than 190 minutes of the Academy Awards, you really don't want a predicted outcome. You want to be wrong about who the majority of 6,000 or so people will say was the best supporting actor of 2013. You want to go in with a little conventional wisdom and know that Tommy Lee Jones will win so that when Octavia Spencer opens her envelope and says Christoph Waltz's name, you can stare at the television and just say, "Wow."
Waltz was a surprise in a season of surprises. This was the year voters decided to pee into millions of Oscar pools. It was the year that everything started to seem refreshingly upside down: no Tarantino or Paul Thomas Anderson or Kathryn Bigelow or Wes Anderson up for Best Director, but Benh Zeitlin?
Buuuuuuurn. Patrick Carney of The Black Keys dissed Grammy-snubbed Justin Bieber, saying that "he's making a lot of money. He should be happy." You know what's better than a million dollars? A billion dollars. You know what's better than a billion dollars? A billion dollars and a Grammy. You know what's better than a billion dollars and a Grammy? The artistic freedom to Instagram pictures of yourself all sweat-drippy in a lace bra, otherwise known as being Madonna. In other Grammy drama news, here is Adele disapproving of Chris Brown.
Scarlett Johansson Is Depressed: "She was totally out of control in Moscow recently" at a champagne brand's promo event. "She was drinking nonstop and barely slept. It was obvious that she was trying to numb her feelings." She's sad about her breakup with ad exec Nate Naylor. "She's not used to going home alone — it's a shock to her system. The fact that Ryan Reynolds is happily married while she's single again has done a number on her. And the drinking is taking its toll — she's been crying because she feels so fat." She got a lucky horseshoe tattooed on her ribcage "because she's feeling a bit unlucky." A rebound with ex-boyfriend Jared Leto quickly went south. "She thought a fling with Jared would make her feel better, but since it was only a hookup, it only made things worse." Time for Lost in Translation 2? I know I'd pay good money to watch Scarlett be sad in Russia.
These days, most of the time, there's not much in the way of good news in the music industry. The powers that be — up there in their executive-dining-room-equipped ivory towers, with their Lobster Taco Tuesdays and Filet Mignon Fridays — have resolved themselves to chopping up pieces of an increasingly teeny-tiny and not-that-delicious pie; meanwhile, the lowly artists avoid any activity that may inadvertently result in them requiring medical attention while praying all those one-hundredths of a cent they're getting per Spotify play will, one day, add up to most of the price of a one-way reduced-fee Southwest flight to Panama City Beach. But wait! Hot on the heels of Taylor Swift pushing a cool milly in her first week, we get a few more crumbs of industry optimism. Presented in no particular order:
Kirstie Alley's Juicy Memoir Is All About Men: She dated Tim 'Otter' Matheson in the early '80s "until one fateful night when his secret fiancée's unexpected visit forced Kirstie to escape out the window." It was then that she learned, "don't trust actors, no matter how many éclairs they offer you." She and Patrick Swayze had an emotional affair during '85 miniseries North and South while they were both married to other people. "Patrick told Kirstie that he was falling in love with her and she, in turn, begged him, unsuccessfully, to have sex." As in she begged him unsuccessfully or the sex was unsuccessful in some way? "This man and I never had sex or did sexual things, but I consider what we did more dangerous and a betrayal to our spouses." Does they mean they played, like, really steamy games of Connect Four?
Alley fantasized about Ted Danson and his "big dick" during her time on Cheers, although she never got to sample the merchandise. The cast once conspired to photograph Danson in the shower, but "things didn't go according to plan." Kirstie says, "George Wendt kicked the door open. I snapped the photo of the naked Ted. I swear to God he was well endowed. I would show you the picture, but my hands were shaky." She calls handsome Dancing With the Stars Maksim Chmerkovskiy pro "mysterious" as well as "capricious, rude, thoughtless, and bossy. He is also gentle, childlike, fragile, and sensitive." Be sure to take Alley's revelations with a lot of salt. She also claims she and John Travolta fell in love during Look Who's Talking, although they never hooked up. It's possible some of these passionate love affairs may have taken place mainly in her imagination. I wanna see the receipts.
A friend of mine has dubbed this genre "suspenders rock," but I have also heard it called "beard rock." Mumford & Sons are a folky boy band from England that make warm woolen songs and wear vests. They come off here a bit like a steampunk Coldplay playing this uplifting dirge to an adoring crowd at Red Rocks.
Best YouTube Comment: "There's nothing quite like watching thousands of people moshing to well-played acoustic instruments and folk music :D" — PhoenixFlynn
John Mayer & Katy Perry & Adam Levine: Katy Perry went to Adam Levine's annual Halloween party and the two were flirting nonstop. "Adam was touching and hugging Katy affectionately while they did shots together for a half hour, even though his girlfriend model Behati Prinsloo was at the party too. It was kind of uncomfortable." Perry is show-business buddies with Levine, who is also BFF with Katy's rumored beau, John Mayer. Mayer once dated Jessica Simpson, whom Levine was once said to have tooted and booted.
"Adam texted Jess that he 'needed space.'" WHAT? "Then he avoided her calls. She phoned him several times, but he didn't answer." While Katy and Adam's flirtation is probably innocent, there's no doubt that she knows a potential fling with Levine is her ace in the hole should John Mayer's wandering eye and life-ruining dick get the best of John and Katy's relationship.
Grantland's DIVAWATCHologist Jay Kang writes, "There's a level of Divadom where the public stops seeking out contrarian profiles or "shocking" revelations about your character. As long as you don't say something horrifically bigoted, everyone will still line up to buy your albums. (Only R. Kelly Status is higher.)" Good news: This new Bond theme from Adele contains not one bit of racism.
Just like with the Opening Ceremony — which rode a wave of geese and sheep and horses and cows and chickens and ducks to critical acclaim — the exact details of the Olympics Closing Ceremony are being kept under wraps. But some idea of what we'll be seeing on Sunday night has now been unveiled. And it sounds like what the Closing Ceremony will lack in farm animals, it'll make up for in famous musicians from throughout British history.
Chris Brown/Rihanna/Drake: "Chris Brown was soaking in the revelry" at W.I.P. with his girlfriend Karrueche Tran. He "sent a bottle of Ace of Spades champagne to Drake," who sent it it back with a note reading "I am fucking the love of your life." Thus began a bottle fight, which ended with Brown's cutting his chin and Tony Parker scratching his cornea. "They tore the club apart" and started "a bloody melee" fighting about Rihanna, who is on her Cleopatra shit. She even got a new ankle tattoo of an Egyptian falcon shaped like a gun. Rihanna heard about it and "was cracking up. Men fighting over her? Please. She loves the drama!" A friend of Brown's says, "These guys are fighting over Rihanna. She is the dude in this sitch and they are acting like girls." Yes, because men never have petty catfights (LOL).
Grantland’s complete reaction to last night’s Grammy Awards is forthcoming later today, but for now, below, here’s a partial list of the winners. As you may have heard, Adele dominated, both through her widely praised performance of “Rolling in the Deep” and through her uncanny ability to mind-meld her name into basically every envelope that was opened. The other story of the night was, of course, the tributes to Whitney Houston, most notably Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” But if there’s one other thing that people will be talking about, it’s Justin Vernon’s acceptance speech.
At some point, it was decided that in order for a song to be great, it has to “stand the test of time.” This has since become a problematic cliché, but initially it must’ve seemed like a bright idea, and not just something that Jethro Tull fans use to dismiss Justin Bieber.
The “test of time” typically rewards iconic artists who produce capital-C Classic work; which is why over the course of decades, certain songs lose their original meanings and become statements about the legacies of their creators. It’s been 40 years since “Imagine” was a hit, and if people still care about that song 400 years from now, it likely will be tied up in the altruistic saintliness that John Lennon (theoretically) still signifies. Similarly, listeners no longer notice the jokey reference to a brand of kiddie underarm deodorant in the title of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”; 20 years later, the song has been drained of its irreverence. “Teen Spirit” now tells us what Nirvana is supposed to represent about ’90s culture (namely shooting heroin and hating yourself). And while it’s been only five years since Amy Winehouse released “Rehab,” people from here on out will no doubt focus on the song’s tragic irony, not Mark Ronson’s brassy production.
These songs belong to everybody, which means they belong to no one. We all recognize their greatness, but they don’t really fit into our daily lives. There’s no room for us; the legend is too expansive. When we hear these songs, we think about the singer, not ourselves. It’s hard to talk about them without sounding like a VH1 retrospective.
There’s another type of song that endures but in a completely different way. These songs do make us think about our own lives. We carry them in our subconscious like our hands harbor germs; we don’t always see them but they infect us all the same, and there’s seemingly millions of them. (Actually, it’s more like 200.) It has nothing to do with liking these songs; they become characters in our memories, which makes them as personal as family photographs. They’re so deeply embedded in our pasts that we don’t notice they’re there — and then somebody points one of them out, and this makes us laugh.
The hottest trend in music in 2011? Throat surgery! Following the recent lead of John Mayer, Adele, R. Kelly, and KISS’s Paul Stanley, Keith Urban — the Australian country music star and Nicole Kidman spouse — will go under the knife later this month. The details of these surgeries vary, but they’re all pretty gnarly-sounding: polyp-removals, hemorrhage treatments, and abscess-drainings, etc. So — why? Our five best guesses, after the jump.
On Sunday night at the Video Music Awards, Adele walked onto a bare stage, stood next to a piano, and sang what was supposed to be a stirring rendition of “Someone Like You.” The Internet immediately declared the performance the victory of the night — our new favorite songbird had finally taken the roost she deserves. And for the most part, the Internet was right. Adele did deliver on what the public has grown to want out of her — a sleepy pigeon affect, dark, heavy eyelashes, a downturned gaze, subtle (but earnest!) hand motions, Fructis’d hair, and that throaty, searching contralto. But while Adele fulfilled her end of the deal, she did precious little else. There was no ambition in that performance, no sense of danger or discovery. And in the end, it was hard to see it as anything more than a wasted opportunity.