I hate to start this off with a comparison between Lorde and her female contemporaries illustrating why she is so [gasp] different and refreshing and authentic because that's exactly the kind of rhetoric that is starting to dig her backlash grave among both tweens and contrarian critics. But if nothing else, the one interesting thing about Lorde's rise to fame over these past few months has been its inverse curve to her pop peers with whom she shares a crowded fall release schedule. Months before their albums have dropped, Lady Gaga (whose long-awaited Artpop debuts tomorrow), Katy Perry, and Miley Cyrus have waged a multi-platform assault on our attention spans, not only in the form of singles and music videos but well-timed controversial comments and publicity stunts that conveniently end up fueling the media machine for weeks while bringing their name further to the front of the pop cultural conversation. But once the album arrives? Radio silence, as if to emphasize the ultimately utilitarian nature of such campaigns. Meanwhile, Lorde dropped her album Pure Heroine on September 27, when her single "Royals" was no. 1 but her profile was still at a simmer, and she has drawn increasingly more attention to herself since then.
Because, you see, Lorde likes to talk. She likes to talk critically about the industry that has helped to lift her up, and about the peers she shares a market (and honestly, very little else) with. A recent in-depth and enlightening profile by Duncan Greive on Faster Louder paints Ella Yelich-O'Connor as a gifted kid with loving parents who host lively debates at the dinner table and made a point of never insulting her intelligence, even at age 2. Everybody grew up with one or two of those kids; maybe you even were one of those kids. Many times they are homeschooled, but sometimes they are unleashed on a public education system, where they bust in, thinking they know everything, only to quickly be made to feel like an outsider by their classmates. They often befriend their teachers before they befriend kids their age, because they never learned that there was any practical difference between the two. The teachers call them "precocious," which is secretly a synonym for "obnoxious," because their parents, out of love and respect, never taught them to self-edit.
It is currently 83 degrees in New York, 450 degrees in Los Angeles, and 800 in many parts of the Midwest. It's either too hot to breathe or about to thunderstorm until Tuesday. I can't think of a better place to be this weekend than in a cold movie theater with a bunch of strangers, alongside of whom you can revel in hate-watching one of the worst-reviewed movies in recent memory, Getaway. Yesterday The Wrap reported that the Ethan Hawke–Selena Gomez flick might be a rare dud, one that hangs onto its perfect 0 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, but then some kindhearted soul praised Ethan Hawke's performance (in contrast to Gomez's alternating "petulance and indifference") and Getaway can now boast a 2 percent rating with 87 reviews. Here's Peter Travers dropping the mic: "Selena Gomez, looking like a Munchkin in a hoodie [Editor's note: like a GIRL in a Hoodie? I thought so. Join us, Selena], tries to steal the car at gunpoint. Why? Because the dumbass script told her to. Why does she keep calling Brent and everyone else in the movie an asshole? Because she's right. For 89 minutes that feel like 89 hours, cars speed out of control and crash doing only PG-13 damage. The damage to your brain while watching it is incalculable."
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.
Not that it matters at all, but the ACTUAL WORDS to this song: "If you want me, I'm accepting applications / So long as we can keep this record on rotation / You know I'm good with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation / Breath me in, breathe me out / So amazing." Maybe Selena can get Harmony Korine to write not just her dialogue but her lyrics, too?
As of this weekend, Ethan Hawke will have two movies in theaters: the lovely, pensive Before Midnight, and The Purge, set in a dystopian future in which one day of the year all laws cease to exist and everyone can do as much murderin' as they want. To say this man's career has developed in, uh, unforeseen directions would be an understatement. Now here comes Getaway, which may have already won the special distinction of being the nuttiest Ethan Hawke trailer of all time. A kidnapped wife, à la Taken, with a mysterious voice on the phone (that sounds somewhat like Taken 2’s Rade Serbedzija but is actually British actor Paul Freeman). Instructions from the evil voice, just like that phone-booth classic Phone Booth. Then a reveal: Hawke can drive like the wind, and his skills are in need (NOTE THE DRIVE TOOTHPICK). Boom: Selena Gomez, dressed like mid-2000s Eminem, with a leftover gun from Spring Breakers, is a carjacker, and now she's in this shit as well. I mean — I wish I could see this RIGHT NOW. By the way, the trailers have been getting pulled down, so if it's still up by the time you get here, go ahead and consider this top-secret information.
The Rock Had a Tough Childhood: "Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson has a reputation for being the ultimate showman, playing badass tough guys in movies like G.I. Joe Retaliation and The Scorpion King, and winning over WWE wrestling fans with his charisma, sarcasm and million-dollar smile. But behind his confident facade, it turns out the 41-year-old actor has been hiding the truth about his heartbreaking past — one in which he's had to overcome the pain of an alcoholic, unfaithful father and his run-in with the law." I love The Rock so much. "Dewey had a really hard time as a child growing up because he never saw his dad," according to Luan Crable, who had a "25-year-long romantic affair with Dwayne's father, former pro wrestler Rocky Johnson." Oh, my god, his father was a wrestler??? "Rocky was on the road 12 out of every 14 days" and "Dwayne must have worshipped his father, having followed Rocky into pro wrestling after a severe back injury ended his early football career." Man, this is Shakespearean.
After our Ryan Seacrest–on-a-budget "premiere" of Miley Cyrus's new Snoop Lion–assisted single, "Ashtrays and Heartbreaks," last week, the Girls in Hoodies decided to conduct a general survey of how the tween stars of the aughts are holding up these days. We're feeling pretty good about the future of the former Miss Montana (and no longer future Mrs. Hemsworth) — which made Lindsay Lohan's disastrous Letterman appearance on Tuesday all the more sad-making. But first things first: We had a Mad Men season premiere and Stan Rizzo's beard to obsess over. The two-hour episode was weird, morbid, death-obsessed — and that's why it was so great! Finally, Tess and Molly helped Emily mentally prepare for Coachella this weekend, and we all discuss the pros and cons of the modern music festival. If only we could still see things through Huell's eyes.
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."
For 10 days, Grantland staff writer Rembert Browne is at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, collecting stories while trying not to die.
Writing about a festival is always a difficult task, because if you're there, you care, and if you're not, there's nothing worse than absorbing the coverage. Because you're not there. This is especially true about South by Southwest, because instead of being a simple weekend, it clocks in at an aggressive 10 days.
Knowing this, and actively trying to not be the worst, I know it's crucial that only the most important things be reported on. The things that don't just matter to those of us currently in Austin. The things that matter to the entire world.
Things like the red carpet of the North American premiere of Spring Breakers.
Just when it was safe to open your mouth without "it is what it is" escaping like a weary cliché-genie from a lamp, "blessed" came along and infected humanity. It is the zombie of buzzwords, making anyone who uses it into a swirly-eyed, beatific drone person who probably sits with his or her hands folded staring at an imaginary sunset through dusty Venetian blinds. Recently infected: Kate Bosworth, Kim Kardashian, a Big Loser (not the Biggest), Selena Gomez (blessed but frustrated — she might survive), and Dennis Rodman. Grab some cynical idol, lock your doors and windows, and wait until it passes.
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!
Miranda Lambert & Blake Shelton: Splitting up is not on the table for the country supercouple. Lambert says she's questioned whether her marriage to Shelton will last "a million" times. "Divorce is not an option," Lambert said. "I will fight to the death. I am a ninja." That seems like a weird thing to say about your relationship. In order to keep communication open, Lambert and Shelton "are allowed to snoop through each other's phones." Has she never heard of a burner? They never spend longer than two weeks away from each other. "We text a lot. Even if it's just sending a picture of the onion rings we're eating!" OK, that seems less weird. They bond at home, "hang out on the porch, drink beer and cook burgers." Lambert says "I think it's important as a married couple to be friends." This all feels strangely defensive. I'm rooting for Lambert (how could I not be?), so I hope things work out.