Hollywood Turns Against Gwyneth Paltrow: Paltrow was the pink-dress princess of the ’90s, "earning rave reviews for her performances in Flesh and Bone and Sliding Doors." You mean Emma and Se7en. "She dated heartthrobs like Ben Affleck and Brad Pitt, who called her 'my angel' and even proposed to her. And she won an Oscar for 1998's Shakespeare in Love. She was the ultimate Hollywood golden girl." BUT. "But somewhere along the line, Gwyneth let all that success go to her head." That was at the beginning of the line. Now "she has gained more notoriety for her shamefully out-of-touch comments — often bashing the film industry and American culture or preaching about her over-the-top healthy lifestyle — than for her acting career." But that's what she wanted! Gwyn "has always been pretentious, but over the past few years she has gone from pretentious to just unbearable." Gwyneth was once a removed icy presence, but in 2008 she started "Goop, her lifestyle website and newsletter that regularly touts the merits of $800 designer leather iPad cases, impromptu trips to Morocco to stay in converted palaces, and all-natural organic everything, from food to skincare products." But people need to knowwwww! Goop has been called "too elitist," full of recommendations for frivolous items that are "way too expensive." Gwyneth "grew up privileged, after all" and doesn't understand that she's out of touch. Let them eat gluten-free cake! Goop has "more than a million subscribers" who love following Gwyneth on her journey to make "life interesting, finding the balance between cigarettes and tofu." Gwynnie says she is a study in contradictions. "I use organic products, but I get lasers." She means on her face, but how cool does it sound? SHE GETS LASERS.
Did you happen to wake up this morning thinking You know what would really get me through this week is if a buoyant IDGAF Beyoncé banger leaked? Good news, then! "Grown Woman" — the track that Miss Knowles has already been playing on her Mrs. Carter world tour, and that appeared, in snippet form, in her Pepsi commercial — has now entered the world in full.
There's still no official word on any thing to do with the fifth Beyoncé album, and so no certainty that "Grown Woman" is even on it. But what is a sure thing is that "Grown Woman" is here, right now, for you to rock with. Produced by Timbaland and co-written by The-Dream, it's a joyous little shoulder-shake affair, all chutzpah and freedom and sex-pace preferences. ("I can be bad if I want / I can say what I want / I can live fast if I want / I can go slow all night long.") When titans like Beyoncé release lead singles, they're supposed to be world-changing, face-melting, traditions-of-music-history-shattering affairs. And if "Grown Woman" does end up being that lead single, we'll have to scrutinize it as such. For now, though, we get to enjoy it in the fuzzy comforts of lowered expectations.
"Multiple sources" report that Beyoncé is pregnant with her second child. After canceling a performance in Belgium (and citing those old mythological maladies "dehydration and exhaustion" as the cause), rumors began to swirl, as rumors do. Beyoncé has said that Blue Ivy "needs some company" with whom to watch Nets games at her Barclays crib, so I guess they've decided to create their own playmates for her instead of adopting one of us (we offered). Have fun with that diaper pail, Bey. Adults come house-trained and won't try to put your diamonds in our mouths. I'm just saying.
Within one second of the public's first viewing of Baz Luhrmann's take on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, it's clear music will be a centerpiece.
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, saying "New York ... 1922 ..." over the Kanye–Jay–Frank Ocean track "No Church in the Wild." After first listen (and viewing), it didn't make any sense, and that hasn't really changed with subsequent viewings. The song, while quite effective as the backing for 2012's Safe House, seemed like an odd pick for our first impression of a film adapted from one of our most celebrated American novels.
We thought this whole kerfuffle over Jay-Z and Beyoncé's Cuba trip got good when White House press secretary Jay Carney was forced to respond. (We'll remember "I guess nothing rhymes with treasury" forever.) But we just got really spoiled. During an interview for the Today show that aired this morning, Savannah Guthrie had the cojones to ask the president about a certain bout of possibly extralegal celebrity Cuban tourism, and instead of Leo squinting at her in stone silence for 45 minutes, he actually responded. My god, this thing goes all the way to the top!
When photos of Jay-Z and Beyoncé celebrating their anniversary in Havana first popped up, the reaction was, of course, universally positive. (It was something along the lines of, Wow, what an amazing couple. May nothing ever happen to disrupt the Carter-Knowles union. That would surely shatter all belief in the possibility of true love forever.) Over the weekend, though, things got a little more complicated.
As you may or may not know, travel to Cuba for Americans is restricted. According to the State Department, "Each traveler must have a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that will result in meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba." So, technically, tourism trips to Cuba are not, you know, legal? But Jay and Bey just kind of seemed to be vibing?
Shia LaBeouf appeared on Letterman and spoke about his Broadway beouf with Alec Baldwin. "Now what did you do to him?" asked Letterman, a friend of Baldwin's. Short answer: two impulsive people clashing and creating "fireworks," tension between the two "as men — not as artists, but as men," and definitely not the PR-generated "creative differences" that were cited as the reason behind LaBeouf's departure. But we knew that already.
The Girls trade in their hoodies for ski masks this week for a chat about Spring Breakers. We all loved the film, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty to talk about: its success as what director Harmony Korine has called a "pop poem," the debatable empowerment/exploitation of its Disney-factory stars, Molly's inexplicable fascination with Southern men in cornrows. While we may diverge on our interpretations of the film's morality, there's no denying that James Franco's rendition of Britney Spears's "Everytime" will go down in history as one of the greatest cinematic moments of all time. But Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez weren't the only ones trying to catch some street cred this past week — Beyoncé's strange new single had us wondering where the de facto queen of pop can go from here — and if we really needed to be reminded to "Bow Down."
"Bow Down/I Been On," the probable first single(s) from Beyoncé's next album, has been as divisive and controversial as Spring Breakers, as audiences seem unsure how seriously to take it. After all, this is Beyoncé, queen of mixed messages. One thing comes across loud and clear: Beyoncé is not here for your expectations of her. Even if her most seemingly impromptu moves are incredibly calculated (ripping the earpiece out during the national anthem!), practiced to seem extemporary, we will never be able to prove it because she is just that good at faking being real.
Kim Kardashian Adjusts to Pregnancy: "Kim is well aware that she's famous for her amazing body and had no idea that pregnancy would change it so much." She probably thought she'd have a cute lil' pregnant belly, like her petite sister Kourtney did during her pregnancies. Kim has been "looking at old pictures of herself on her computer and phone for literally hours at a time, pining for her prepregnancy body. She is seriously melting down!" She's been posting even more photos of her old bod than usual for "Throwback Thursday" on her Instagram. A "celebrity weight coach and body expert" named Alicia Hunter says that Kim "looks like she's put on an insane amount of weight in such a short amount of time." She estimates that Kim has gained close to 70 pounds, instead of the 25-35 lbs. recommended. Kim knew that she would get bigger, but "she never expected such a drastic transformation so early on." Secretly she's "desperate to stop gaining so much weight" and it's making her depressed. "She cries every other day, and she's scared to see how big she'll get." While Kim is "grossed-out by her body, she's become obsessed with food." Her cravings take her to Pinkberry nearly every day. "She thinks it's healthy, but it's full of sugar." But, yogurt!
Beyoncé’s self-produced, self-directed, and self-spangled documentary Life is But a Dream aired on HBO this past Saturday night. We brought together our resident Diva scientists Jay Caspian Kang and Rembert Browne to discuss.
Jay Caspian Kang: Before we get into specifics, how do you feel about the general idea of a self-produced, self-directed documentary?
The Internet has allowed us to all become mini-memoirists — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the rest have turned anyone with a smartphone into the director and producer of a non-linear, yet ultimately self-serving narrative. There’s no reason Beyoncé shouldn’t be given the same opportunity to tell her life story through a montage of flattering photos, baby photos, and motivational platitudes. And that’s what Life is But a Dream ultimately felt like to me — a sleek, well-curated series of status updates.
Rembert Browne: It’s almost an exercise in allowing Beyoncé to be as tacky as the rest of us. The documentary felt like her Tumblr had magically come to life in the form of 90 minutes of GIFs accompanied by well-filtered Instagram Vine Pinterest Etsy Snapchats.
And I couldn’t have been more pleased. Because that’s the only way this could have happened.
After the Grammys it's the Grammys After-Party and after the Grammys After-Party it's the um, Post-Grammy News Roundup. One of these things is not as inherently scintillating as the others! But please, read on: It's been less than 48 hours since the big bash, and already all manner of mind-boggling music-biz news is brewing. Who'll be the big winner at next year's Grammys (if it wasn't for the fact that the Grammys' super-strange cut-off period means the big winners in 2014 will be people who put out music in 2012)? Let's find out!
So, Joe Frazier beat Muhammad Ali. The Grammys did their job. Order has been maintained. What happens next? Here are my predictions: Babel will return to the top of the albums chart next week. Jay Pharoah’s inevitable yellow suit-and-headband Frank Ocean parody will be relegated to “Weekend Update,” rather than get its own stand-alone sketch, on SNL. The guy from Fun. will regret wearing capris. A jingle that sounds like The Black Keys will appear in a Radio Shack commercial. Jack White will record a new 45 with three of the models from Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” video. And nothing that happened Sunday night will matter when it comes to how our culture ultimately judges the value (or lack thereof) of these artists, or the many other artists who made notable music that had no chance of being nominated.