Now more than ever, pop culture is about the small stuff — an obscure TV show, a few notes in a pop song, a tweet. To celebrate a year of micro moments, every day a new Grantland writer will highlight one specific thing — a Big Little Thing — that we won't soon forget.
Warning: The next few paragraphs contain major spoilers for Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy's film The Counselor. But so, for that matter, did the excerpt from McCarthy's screenplay published in The New Yorker’s summer fiction issue, months before the film came out, because apparently positioning this movie as literature-with-pictures by a Pulitzer-winning novelist took precedence over not revealing ahead of time whose head gets sliced off. The front cover of the trade-paperback edition of the script says "Now a Major Motion Picture," which is a curious thing for the publishers of a screenplay to feel obligated to advertise. Why else would the book exist?
The American Music Awards have gone down for four decades now. Four decades! That's a remarkable run for an event that, let's be honest, we all totally forget exists unless we're within 36 hours on either side of its broadcast. Which is to say this: The AMAs were on last night. Were they any good? Were they any good? They were the American Music Awards!
Taylor Swift won Artist of the Year (here's your full list of winners), but the night was actually carried by Timberlake. He got to run up for a bunch of awards early on, and each time was game enough to offer us his best Studio 8H shtick: correctly complimenting the cuteness of Rihanna's mother (more on that later); making consciously dumb "I can't believe I won this award, whatever this award is!" faces; in general carrying the correct amount of playful, respectable disdain for every single thing happening. (Let's give him points for bantering with Sarah Silverman, too, even though the sentence "This is the first time I have ever been racially profiled by a white lady" actually makes no sense. Bro bro, white people are usually the ones doing the racial profiling.) But JT's greatest accomplishment popped up early: It came during Pitbull's opening monologue's Olympic-level inanity, and it was making this face for a good 43 seconds.
This is real, this is not a viral vid, this is a thing that happened. According to The Hollywood Reporter, some spoilsport Fox execs demanded that Cameron Diaz's originally recorded dialogue in Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy's The Counselor be dubbed over with something a little more sane-sounding, because lines like "The hunter has a purity of heart that exists nowhere else" should definitely be said in as normal a voice as possible.
Harrison Ford is 71 now, and he's just so over trying to be cordial when he doesn't want to be. For example, take erstwhile Grantlander and current GQ-er Zach Baron's attempt to highlight Ford's apparent interest in the sci-fi genre, on the eve of Ender's Game. "If you say so," Ford said/likely growled. Quizzed on our national interest in Hunger Games–style narratives, Ford offers the flat, "Beats the shit out of me." Old Harrison Ford just cracked the top three for Harrison Ford roles.
One fun thing about the epic pop stan wars of Q4 2013 has been how every time a new single drops into the arena, everyone has to reevaluate the existing standings. Miley Cyrus got an early lead with "We Can't Stop," which gave her an entire summer free from major pop star competition to build anticipation for Bangerz. In mid-August, Katy Perry premiered "Roar," her first single from Prism, the follow-up to record-breaking smash album Teenage Dream. Reviews of "Roar" were extremely mixed, but it shot to the top of the charts immediately. "Roar" and "We Can't Stop" were both unexpectedly mid-tempo, perhaps a reaction to EDM oversaturation over the course of the last year, but some pop fans still clamored for more aggressively beat-driven songs. Two days after "Roar" leaked, Lady Gaga leaked her own new single "Applause."
Gaga had been talking a huge game about her album Artpop for months, so it was with a lot of fanfare that "Applause" hit the Internet, where it fizzled without any warning. "Applause," with its Kurt Weill theatricality and general "that weird lady's doing it again" vibe, spawned a thousand think pieces speculating about whether Gaga's hot streak was over for good. Meanwhile, the safe and cozy "Roar," which is the pop song equivalent of hot milk with honey, shot up through the ranks and easily elephant-stomped "Applause."
AMC's Mad Men and Breaking Bad will always be remembered as cornerstones of Television's Great New Age Characterized by the Shiny Mineral of Your Choice, but The Walking Dead, like it or not, is going to be remembered as the cable series that delivered the hardest punch to network TV. The Hollywood Reporter writes that 16.1 million viewers tuned in for Sunday night's Season 4 premiere on AMC, setting a new record and earning an 8.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic, "making it bigger than any broadcast series this fall and even stronger than last night's competition from Sunday Night Football." These zombies have been TV's top scripted draw for a full year now, with TWD’s Season 3 premiere pulling 12.4 million viewers. It's a merry time to be AMC, with BrBa’s finale setting a series record just a couple weeks ago.
Duke Dumont is a British DJ and producer who runs a label called Blasé Boys Club. He's a protégé of Switch and has his own volume of the FabricLive series. He's remixed artists like Lily Allen, Santigold, and Bat for Lashes. The '90s house music revival continues with "Need U (100%)," which recalls Crystal Waters's 1994 classic "100% Pure Love." The vocals are by singer Aminata Kabba, better known by her stage name A*M*E.
Best YouTube Comment: "why didnt he just press the stop button whilst it was inside him?" — Dr00pysp00n
Lamar Odom Caught Cheating on Khloe Kardashian: After his affair with Jennifer Richardson was exposed, "Lamar has continued to self-destruct, as Khloe, 29, has continued to profess her love and support for her philandering husabnd — even though they've been living apart for the better part of two months. Friends and fans alike begin to wonder: How can a woman as smart, beautiful, and successful as Khloe stay with a cheater? Doesn't she know about his affairs?" Turns out she does "and she's furious." And there has been more than one. "Another woman has now come forward, claiming that she recently spent six intimate weeks with Lamar … and Khloe tracked them down in a hotel and tried to assault her!" Self-described criminal defense attorney Polina Polonsky "passed a polygraph as she told her story" to Star. Polina says "I am seriously scared for my life! Khloe has followed me and she has other people trailing me. I can't even go home, because I'm scared that something bad will happen. I want my story to be made public, because if something bad happens to me, I want people to know the truth." Oh my lord, what kind of bad thing? Are the Kardashians like the Sopranos?
Simon Cowell Knocks Up His Best Friend's Wife: Cowell, 53, once said "God, no, I couldn't have children. With kids, you've got a routine you can't escape from." Looks like he had an accidental change of heart/affair with his best friend's wife! Cowell is unexpectedly "expecting a baby with NYC socialite Lauren Silverman! She's 10 weeks along." Trickily enough, the 36-year-old mom-to-be is "still married to Cowell's close friend, NYC real estate mogul Andrew Silverman — but plans to leave him to be with the Brit." Good luck with that.
George Clooney & Eva Longoria: "Back in March — while he was still dating Stacy Keibler, 33 — Clooney, 52, connected with Eva Longoria, 38, in Berlin." Oh shit! "George told her that he was still with Stacy, but had plans to break up with her — and was interested in being with Eva. Then he pursued Eva with texts and calls, though they never hooked up."
Lindsay Lohan has announced her first post-rehab plans. She'll be doing an eight-part inspirational docu-reality series for Oprah on OWN! It'll only cost Oprah's fledgling network a paltry two million dollars, from a deal Lohan signed while still in rehab. After a rocky start, OWN just had its best quarter ever, having settled comfortably into its niche: tear-jerking interviews with troubled celebs like Lohan and Rihanna, documentaries about unfair media portrayals of women like Miss Representation and Dark Girls, and two shows from Tyler Perry (one comedy, one drama).
By comparison, Lohan got paid $300,000 for Liz & Dick, $200,000 for Scary Movie V, a million dollars for Playboy, and did The Canyons for scale ($6,480).
Don Draper's childhood whorehouse home has been located in the Angelino Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, just a hop and a skip from Dodger Stadium. The 1968 scenes of the house were CGI-uglified, with apartment buildings added in on either side; the actual home looks to be in pretty good condition. In the eternity between this season and the next and final one, we'll just have to haunt the show's filming locations and hum songs of deep yearning. That's all we have now.
You know those accusatory, ticking-time-bomb questions two married people aren't supposed to ask each other? Well, after two previous installments of complicated bliss (in 1995's Before Sunrise and 2004's Before Sunset), Celine (Julie Delpy) is going there on Jesse (Ethan Hawke). "What's the name of the pediatrician?" "Would you notice me on a train now — like, right now?" Tell me you managed not to fuck the girl you met on your book tour!
That last one wasn't a question. None of them truly are. But one of the glories of this movie is the way Celine expertly corners the slick man she's now married, and how Jesse's become an expert at evading capture. Another is the way Delpy, Hawke, and Linklater have managed to build a comedy around the creep of middle age and the way familiarity breeds not only contempt, but also security and insecurity. I've seen this movie three times, and each time I'm struck at the suspense in the film's long, complete conversations, at how you're able to laugh at the truth of what these two are still trying to do after meeting 18 years ago on a train, having an affair, and marrying.
Hey, put it on my Grimes. The new Walking Dead prepaid debit cards are billed as "an exciting way for fans to incorporate the series' art into their daily lives," but I think they're probably best saved for special occasions, like when you want to join other zombie enthusiasts in an abandoned mall for a nice, leisurely stroll, or those times when you're browsing brains and don't want to pay for gray matter with a boring old MasterCard.
Grantland takes a ride on the Dearly Departed Tour, where owner Scott Michaels and tour guide Brian Donnelly offer us an intimate look at the sites of the most infamous murders, overdoses, and scandals in Hollywood history, including the Menendez brothers, the Black Dahlia, Janis Joplin, River Phoenix, and more. For more information about the tour, go to DearlyDepartedTours.com.