On the night of Sunday, September 29, millions of Americans tuned in to witness the beginning of an entitled narcissist's final act. This goateed sociopath had chosen drugs and glory over the more simple pleasures of family, and, along with a foul-mouthed associate, had created an alter ego whose name rang out on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border. The end of his blinkered, bumpy journey promised blood, stimulants and — if audiences were lucky — Jet Skis.
As it turned out, Heisenberg's return to suburbia was a lot more violent — and popular! — than La Flama Blanca's. But I'm not sure it was necessarily more successful. In its fourth and final season, HBO's Eastbound & Down hasn't so much found another level as it has reclaimed its glorious, tarnished crown. Kenny Powers's pilgrimages to Mexico and Myrtle Beach were plenty exotic and often deeply, appallingly funny. But neither matched the highs or the strangely affecting lows of that impeccable first season, when Kenny — a dim-witted, drug-hoovering buffoon, recently furloughed from his 10th and final major league baseball team — was forced to confront a fate worse than death: real life.
"For the third anniversary of Film Independent at LACMA's Live Read, we have a story about a boy and his pet." Critic and LACMA curator Elvis Mitchell typically introduces the semi-regular Live Read with a wry bon mot describing the film he and filmmaker Jason Reitman have selected, and this is how Mitchell prepared a packed house for the first film of the new season, Boogie Nights. (For more on how the unrecorded, one-night-only Live Read events work, see here.)
Boogie Nights, of course, has only grown in stature since it was first released 16 years ago. It is an uncommonly ambitious, devastating, absurd Scorsese-esque look at the rise and fall of a small enclave of pornographers living in the San Fernando Valley in the late '70s and early '80s. I've always thought of it as a hilarious tragedy. Last night may have inverted that idea.
Gather round, kids, it's time for Las Vegas Story Hour featuring Deadmau5, Bon Jovi, and $200,000. No, this isn't some kind of IRL celebrity Indecent Proposal, but it's just as bananas, and comes to us courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter.
Long ago, in February 2011, before most of the world even knew what a sick drop was, much less how to cure what ailed it, a young entrepreneurial disc jockey by the name of Joel Zimmerman donned a giant LED Mouse head and prepared for a lucrative night serenading the crowds of Las Vegas's XS nightclub under his stage name, Deadmau5. The gig had been booked by Zimmerman's agent at William Morris Endeavor — also named Joel Zimmerman; keep up, kids! — during a previous trip to Vegas. During the meeting with XS co-owner Joel Zimmerman (j/k, his name is Jesse Waits), Zimmerman (the agent) was introduced to Don Johnson — not Miami Vice/Nash Bridges/father to the future Anastasia Steele Don Johnson; keep up, kids! — but the high-stakes gambler Don Johnson, who was identified by Waits as one of the Wynn's most important clients, and, according to a 2012 article in The Atlantic, "The Man Who Broke Atlantic City."
Even the most celebrated thespians of our time need summer homes. This week on the HOF we're looking at talented actors in the most shameless money grabs of their careers — those moments when it's time to put on the lizard suit and fill that trust fund for your kids. Here are the Grantland staff's picks for most blatant paycheck movies.
Welcome back to our series Rembert Explains the '80s. Every so often, we'll e-mail 25-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn't seen. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he's watching the video, then we'll post those thoughts here. This week's installment was selected by Grantland reader Benjamin Ramm: Bill Russell on Miami Vice. If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the '80s, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome back to our series Rembert Explains the '80s. Every so often, we'll e-mail 25-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn't seen. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he's watching it, then we'll post those thoughts here. This week's installment was selected by Grantland reader Lee T. Guzofski: "Heartbeat" by Don Johnson. If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the '80s, e-mail us at email@example.com.
It's obvious that the team behind Eastbound & Down are fans of Michael Mann's '80s archetypal series Miami Vice — the casting of Don Johnson as Señor Powers Sr. is just one of many shout-outs to Mann's sweaty Southern neon noir. Herewith, a tribute to Don "Eduardo Sanchez" Johnson and all things Miami Vice.
"The cop show just graduated to the '80s." A reel of every NBC (old slogan: "Let's all be there!") promo commercial for Miami Vice. "Feel it coming this fall."
Editor's Note: Welcome to our series, Rembert Explains the '80s. Every so often, we'll e-mail 24-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn't seen. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he's watching it, then we'll post those thoughts here. This week's installment was selected by our editor-in-chief, Bill Simmons: a segment from the Miami Vice episode "Return Of Calderone." If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the '80s, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simmons Note: "Return of Calderone" is the greatest two-part episode of all time.
Rembert Note: Simmons has obviously never seen the hilarious two-part episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when Trevor proposes to Hilary via televised bungee jump and then, you know, dies.
Shia LaBeouf has joined an untitled indie project from new production house Lava Bear Films. Wait, ready for this? The movie revolves around a troubled girl who encounters a 20-foot-tall next-door neighbor, played by LaBeouf. Just that plot description has already entertained us more than Transformers, Transformers 2, and large swaths of Transformers 3. Grade: B+ [Showblitz]
Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace movie has been in the works for years, and now it’s got both a home and big-name lead actors. HBO has picked up Behind the Candelabra and set Michael Douglas to star as Liberace, with Matt Damon playing his live-in lover Scott Thorson; the movie will revolve around their relationship. This is great news and everything, but now we’re going to have to come up with a new title for our candelabra documentary. Grade: A [HR]
Or, rather, will it be a supporting vampire, or a supporting werewolf? With its plentiful stock of wolfcake and bloodsuckers, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 is a bonanza for a category that’s often among the Razzies’ most predictable. Due to a fluke of scheduling, though, the name-brand Supporting Actors the Razzies typically love — Burt Reynolds, Marlon Wayans, Verne Troyer, Jon Voight, and (of course) Rob Schneider — have zero movies due to be released in 2011. That means some fresh Razzie meat come January 23!
Will Jackson Rathbone follow up his shocking Razzie win last year with another nomination? Might Taylor Lautner have better luck in Supporting Actor than he did in Worst Actor last year, when he lost to Ashton Kutcher? What about Kellan Lutz as vampire Emmett, the most bloodless of the bunch? Or Michael Sheen as Aro, who seems prepared to devour the scenery like so many shrieking coeds? Or Jamie Campbell Bower, who … uh … we can’t remember who “Caius” is. At any rate, they’re all front-runners, so let’s put them there.