Music news for Monday: The CMT Awards nominations are in; Tan Mom drops some bronze beats into your reluctant ears (sample lyric: "It's Tan Mom, bitch / Are you ready? It's Patricia, bitch / [...] I want you to back away / get away from me every day"); Queens of the Stone Age join the rabbit hole video phenomenon; Simon Cowell gives up on celebrity judges; and, most importantly, Liam Gallagher was almost murdered by a blue peanut M&M and now carries an EpiPen ("I've got to carry a syringe about with me in case of emergencies. Proper Pete Doherty gear").
Well, this is certainly a surprise. THR reports that Dwayne Johnson is cashing in on his hard-earned box-office cred and nailing down a flashy HBO show with all kinds of big names involved. We're talking Peter Berg as director, Mark Wahlberg as producer, and, for better or worse, Entourage’s Stephen Levinson on script duties (but not as showrunner — the search for that is still on). It's a half-hour dramedy that'll take Johnson back to Miami, where he last sojourned, with Wahlberg and Michael Bay, for Pain & Gain. And all we know right now is that it's about "the lives of retired athletes."
Like everyone else on the Internet, Wesley and Alex wanted Michael Bay's Pain & Gain — his first film without Decepticons in a while — to be amazing. And it's amazing. But is it good? Is it funny? What does Michael Bay want from us? What does Michael Bay want from Michael Bay? And is there a Chekhov rule about introducing a warehouse full of sex toys in the first act? All this plus a defense of The Island! Get pumped.
The Miami Heat's epic winning streak may have ended, but the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles are the NCAA tournament's Cinderella story and Spring Breakers is a surprise hit. Here are five more reasons why Florida is the nation's current cultural capital.
1. Electronic Dance Music & Trap Rap
The EDM bubble has yet to burst (or um, drop), and while we may look back at this era one day with all the head-shaking fondness now reserved for hair metal, right now is a good time to be an arena rave DJ or electronic musician in Florida. Particularly this month, when the annual Winter Music Conference is held in Miami in tandem with the electrocentric Ultra Music Festival. Diplo, who set out to be a world-famous DJ like Paul Oakenfold as a goof and ended up succeeding, also as a goof (Paul Jokenfold), titled his debut full-length album Florida in homage to the state he spent some years growing up in. Also inescapable: Carol City native Rick Ross's lumbering trap rap, heard blasting in bottle service clubs and out of hulking cars, most recently encouraging you to slip Molly in your date's drink and date-rape her.
The Germans probably have a word for that feeling you experience when something you believed to be perfect is proven imperfect by the subsequent revelation of a seemingly more-perfect thing. Anyway: Whatever that word is, you're about to be crushed by it, because a red-band trailer for Pain and Gain has arrived, and it has obliterated the now-tainted memory of the mere appetizer Michael Bay served us back in December. (Remember how excited we all got? Seems silly now.)
Angelina Jolie is "Surprise! Boring in bed." Whaaaaaa? This alleged information comes from shade thrown by her ex, Billy Bob Thornton, who has said, "sometimes, with the model, the actress, the 'sexiest person in the world,' it may be literally like fucking the couch." FUCK YO COUCH, BILLY BOB!
There were titanic football games, the Presidential Inauguration, and a much-needed federal holiday. So how did Chris Ryan spend his weekend? Being one of the few Barry Pepper diehards to brave the loneliness of the multiplex to see the DOA Broken City. This brazen act seemed so noteworthy that we had to address it immediately on the pod, lingering only briefly on the specifics of this story of bad behavior in the Rotten Apple before asking the big questions: How do movies like this get made? What happened to the other Hughes brother? And: Is Mark Wahlberg even a good actor? (Answer to that one: Yes.) From there, we eviscerated the new Fox show The Following and unpacked Long.Live.A$AP, the debut album from A$AP Rocky. Pop culture, like the Grim Reaper and the guy who maintains Maggie Grace's IMDb page, never takes a day off.
Yesterday afternoon, Michael Bay debuted the trailer for Pain and Gain, his first non-Transformers movie since 2005, inspiring an internal Grantland e-mail chain every bit as over-the-top and exuberantly explosion-laden as his filmography. So we thought we'd share it. What has 16 thumbs and is way too excited about The Rock and Mark Wahlberg playing criminal bodybuilders? These guys.
Back in February, Grantland pointed your attention to the news that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was in talks for Brett Ratner's comeback flick: Hercules, a "big stomp-y sandals-and-swords flick [based on Steve Moore's Hercules: The Thracian War], a hyper-aggressive 300-style romp through mythology." Well, now it's official. Deadline reports that both Johnson and Ratner are signed on, and that production will start in 2013. Congratulations, The Rock: You now continue to have a multitude of professional reasons to look like this.
On Tuesday, TwitchFilm reported that "Michael Bay is having early conversations with Mark Wahlberg to star in the upcoming, Paramount backed Transformers 4." Not happening, says big Bay himself. "The Mark Wahlberg T4 rumor is just a rumor. Mark and I are talking about another film project." Even though the message was delivered via blog post on his personal website, MichaelBay.com, and even though he used the first person in the message delivered on MichaelBay.com, Bay signed it "—Michael," just to make sure everyone knew it was Michael Bay talking. And then, just to really make sure everyone knew it was Michael Bay talking, Michael Bay made that MichaelBay.com blog post engage another MichaelBay.com blog spot in an indecipherable, sensorially violent fight to the death on the roof of a skyscraper.
It can be argued that Paul Thomas Anderson is America's greatest living director. That particular argument is not one we're about to undertake, because we're not looking to incite a cineaste melee in which various Criterion Collection Blu-rays are hurled to and fro like so many phosphorescent Tron death-Frisbees, but here is the short yet significant filmography of the man a certain excitable segment of the population likes to shorthand as "PTA": Hard Eight. Boogie Nights. Magnolia. Punch-Drunk Love. There Will Be Blood. And now, arriving with roughly the same level of anticipation in the film-obsessed community as behind-the-scenes footage of a drunk Orson Welles test-sledding six dozen Rosebud prototypes, The Master.
Anderson's latest divisive masterpiece was released on a handful of screens in New York and Los Angeles last week, shattering per-theater records in the process. Today, it expands to 788 locations, giving moviegoers in the rest of the country their first opportunity to partake in the Mastermania gripping artisanal-torpedo-juice-sipping coastal elites. But should you part with your hard-earned entertainment dollar on a movie that, at this moment, is a mere nine points higher on the Tomatometer than Dredd 3D? We once again are committed to answering the questions that will guide our readers to the best possible ticket-buying decision.
So Seth MacFarlane made a risky move this weekend, leaving the cozy warmth of his Family Guy nest to venture out with his first movie, Ted. And everything went well — really, really well. As EW reports, Ted pulled in "$54.1 million ... the third-best debut ever for an R rated comedy behind the openings of The Hangover Part II ($85.9 million) and Sex and the City ($57 million) ... and the best debut ever for an original comedic storyline." The "best debut ever for an original comedic storyline"?! Clearly the built-in Family Guy audience mitigates that little factoid somewhat, but still — you wouldn't be able to fault MacFarlane for trotting that one out during dinner-table conversations for the next few years. Now, with positive reviews behind it (this one reviewer liked it so much, he wrote his piece from the point of a view of a bear) and A- Cinemascore grade, Ted could barrel toward a $200 million haul, in EW's estimation.
Seth MacFarlane doesn’t need your money, and he doesn’t need your respect. After nearly a decade of benevolent dictatorship over the Family Guy empire — TBS syndication residuals and belching Peter Griffin plush dolls as far as the eye can see! — MacFarlane has succeeded to the point where his children’s children’s children will be able to skip lines at douchey clubs. There is a vocal, highly influential minority, however, that shuns MacFarlane, his particular brand of aggressive humor, and all his minions like he was 2005 Dane Cook. And where that minority now comes into play is that, this week, MacFarlane steps out of his sheltered role as the reigning don of animation and into the dicier territory of the multiplex.