Cranston and Paul. Sudeikis and Wilde. Will and Jada and Willow and Jaden.
These were some of the groupings that got their lives rocked by magician spirit David Blaine during his 90-minute ABC special, David Blaine: Real or Magic, which aired last night.
In any Blaine special, you know you're going to get a few things, always playing to his strengths. Some card tricks, a lot of calm talking, a hefty amount of glass eating, doing things with money, and magic done in the streets for groups of black people.
This is Blaine at his best: walking into a neighborhood and being a verifiable economic stimulus package, turning four teenage boys' 10 dollars into 100 dollars.
And then, because they are black, and he is David Blaine, and this is magic, you get this reaction:
That bit where Bugs Bunny takes a handsaw to the state of Florida, casting it forth into the sea? Will Smith and director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Real Steel, The Internship) are gonna do that to Manhattan in City That Sailed. (No way this movie's not getting a The before the title at some point.) When Smith began eyeing the project in 2009, it was about a street magician breaking the island off and guiding it to London to reunite with his daughter; the new description says it'll involve a father and daughter captaining the metropolis together. Either way, you're imagining 13-year-old Willow Smith for the part, even though she hasn't demonstrated as much love for the making-blockbusters-with-dad pastime as Jaden has. That's fine. Let's go straight to 10-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis, who honed her fantasy chops in 2012’s Beasts of the Southern Wild before scooping up the Annie remake's lead role from Willow.
Leonardo DiCaprio's Sad 39th Birthday Party: He threw a bash in New York, at the same place he would probably be anyway on any given weekend: Tao. Doesn't this guy ever get bored of clubbing and want to do something more relaxing, like direct? Leo's "39th birthday fete had champagne, models and Kanye West." Guests at Tao Downtown in NYC included Orlando Bloom, Kristen Wiig, and Leo's interchangeable young skinny blonde arm candy of the moment, Toni Garrn, 21. The party, which included a champagne charity auction and a half-hour concert by Kanye and 2 Chainz, went until 4 a.m. and sounds kind of depressing, right? Like for his 39th birthday Leo just threw himself the greatest My Super Sweet 16 party?
Will Smith Caught Cheating: "Will Smith stepped into a private photo booth in New Orleans on Oct. 25 with a gorgeous, young blonde and, once safely ensconced behind the protective curtain, began nuzzling and hugging her, even baring his toned chest and pressing it up against her back as she suggestively lifted her own shirt, exposing her bra." SCANDAL. Will is known as a jokester, but "the closeness he exuded with his stunning costar, Australian actress Margot Robbie, was clearly more than mere friendliness." Robbie is the female lead in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street and Smith's costar in the upcoming Focus. Big Will "wasn't acting like a married man; he gave no signs that he was in a committed relationship. What kind of married man would go into a photo booth with a sexy 23-year-old girl and start to undress?" One who is in an open marriage, as Will and Jada have frequently been rumored to be? "Jada Pinkett Smith, Will's wife of 15 years, was nowhere to be found." Jada has made plenty of veiled references to cheating or openness in the Pinkett Smith marriage, but can they survive proof in the form of photobooth pics? Shooting Focus in New Orleans, Smith's family accompanied him on "a day of sightseeing in the alligator swamps" but left quickly thereafter. Witnesses at the wrap party claim Robbie and Smith were "hanging all over each other, laughing like they were a new couple in love." Smith had just finished shooting, so supposedly he wasn't drunk — "he knew what he was doing." Then Robbie climbed on Smith "piggyback style" and headed off to his trailer. "After they left the party, they were gone all night." The source says, "This was absolutely cheating in my book." Pinkett Smith was speaking at a Baltimore charity event, where she gave a telling speech that went "When you are going through a storm with your spouse … stop thinking about what you 'believe' a husband or wife should be." Hmmmm.
With an Independence Day sequel, there's one way to feel if Will Smith is involved, and another way to feel if he isn't. Whatever those feeling-balls look like for you, keep juggling ’em another minute, because director Roland Emmerich isn't even close to done waffling on the subject. Deutschland's version of Michael Bay says his ID4ever script, rewritten by James Vanderbilt (White House Down, The Amazing Spider-Man), now has two distinct versions in play — one Smithy, one Smithless. "When we remarked that this plan was pretty nutty, Emmerich just laughed," The Playlist writes. "Somewhat optimistically, the director remarked that, 'It's looking good [for the version with Smith].'"
I'm not a parent. I don't have any pets. This past week, I house-sat a friend's place with no other responsibility but watering the plants, and I actually considered outsourcing the task to a botanist. That's where I am in my life.
If you dared go near Twitter, or the darker corners of MySpace, or, heaven forfend, accidentally tuned your television to MTV, the 2013 Video Music Awards is a thing that happened to you last night. But we're here to let you know it's OK; it also happened to us. It's a losing game to question whatever motives got us to this place — a desire to see if Lady Gaga would wear a blank pizza box on her face, an overwhelming curiosity about which members of 'N Sync are still alive, or the hope that you might be able to ensnare YouTube pixie Austin Mahone in your dream catcher should he escape your plasma TV, per the love-spell you cast — when we're all on the other side of it now. We're safe.
A little later today, Grantland's own Amos Barshad will be reporting on his experience from deep inside the belly of the VMA beast. (Live from Brooklyn, which now is a smoldering ruin.) But for the moment, let's all relive the VMAs through the faces. The glorious, glorious faces. Faces of Triumph. Faces of Defeat. (There were no Faces of Defeat; these are not real awards.) Faces of Just So Very Happy to Be Back Onstage With Justin Timberlake. Every face tells a story, one that ends in, "None of you people have any respect for your free time. Enjoy your bowl of microwave soup. By the time this image reaches you, I will be splashing around in a koi pond full of Ciroc with a Chechen warlord's second-favorite offspring."
The original Oldboy — Korean director Park Chan-wook's 2003 thriller — is brutal. A man is kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years for reasons he's never told, during which he's framed for his wife's murder; then, one day, he's just released. And that's when things get really messed up. I mean, seriously: It's been years since I saw it, and there are bits of the flick's famous mass-homicide-by-hammer scene that still have me waking up in cold sweats. Anyway, it's now been remade by Spike Lee, with Josh Brolin in the lead role and Elizabeth Olsen as his post-imprisonment accomplice, and it's looking like it might just be Spike's most mass-appealing flick since Kobe Doin' Work Inside Man. There is an interesting footnote, though: According to the Guardian, Lee only "took on the project after it found itself floundering in development hell following the demise of an abortive version by Steven Spielberg, which would have seen Will Smith take the main role." Which meant we would have seen Will Smith, like the original's star Choi Min-sik and Brolin, with beautifully flowing witch-hair?! Ah, what could have been.
Welcome to our series Rembert Explains the '90s. Unlike the source material for our previous, '80s-themed series, these videos have been seen countless times, with the result being an unparalleled, almost embarrassing level of expertise. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he's watching the video, then we'll post those thoughts here. This week's installment, selected by Hollywood Prospectus editor Mark Lisanti, is "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" by Will Smith (1998).
[Note: Rembert Explains the '90s will be on hiatus until after the summer.]
Twenty-seven million dollars. Flat. That's what After Earth, Will Smith's new science-fiction epic/offspring-stardom delivery system, grossed at the box office this weekend. Plainly, this is a disaster. Once upon a time, Will Smith wouldn't get out of one of the many mahogany beds in his 25,000-square-foot "sylvan Shangri-la" for that kind of money. Today, he may be left wondering what went wrong. To put the number in context, 16 films released this year have grossed more than $27 million in their opening weekend, and that includes the January thriller Mama, which starred Jessica Chastain and two feral moppets; 42, a period piece about a baseball player starring an actor you have never heard of; the long-shelved and mostly disliked fairy tale reboot Jack the Giant Slayer; and this weekend's no. 2 entry Now You See Me, a movie about magicians who rob banks. It is barely June.
Now, nearing 45 years old, Smith remains a massive movie star, a beloved icon of '90s nostalgia, and a purveyor of enjoyable "clean rap." But he may find himself at a crisis point.
Things were a little touch-and-go there for a while, but after last year's Men in Black 3, followed by this weekend's postapocalyptic Daddy and Me adventure After Earth, and the slate of big-budget projects with numbers in the title on his IMDb page, it's safe to say that Will Smith, Action Hero, is officially back. Let's take this moment to celebrate the dramatic, comedic, musical, and philosophical career of one Willard Christopher Smith Jr.
After Earth, Will Smith's second team-up with his kid Jaden — and his first with, um, M. Night Shyamalan — doesn't seem like a very good idea. But that's quickly becoming completely unimportant. Even if After Earth is the worst movie ever made, its promo campaign will have already justified its existence.
Last week, Will got Jazzy Jeff and Alfonso Ribeiro to come to London to do this:
This animated version of Patton Oswalt's Star Wars filibuster speech is worth a look, if only for the tiny baby Padawans floating in an anti-gravity classroom. Depending on your mood, you may also want to become involved in the predictably crazy comments section ("So then why not Photon who has power over energy would be more powerful than Moonknight also how is Moonknight any more powerful than Hawkeye or Blackwidow?" "Wolverine has a daughter so who is the mother?" "Patton Oswalt thinks that MoonKnight and Hercules are top tier? Hawk Eye and Black Widow might be 2nd string heroes but fucking MoonKnight... really? He is D list, down there with FireStar and ShatterStar"); at least a handful of the viewers seem to genuinely want an Actual Movie based on Oswalt's improvised Parks and Rec monologue. Didn't we just get a real movie for free? I mean, moving mouths would be nice, but aren't you people ever satisfied?
Spare a thought today for the horribly marginalized gluten-free children who suffer in our midst. "There were tears in my daughter's eyes, and my son's fist was clenched," says one mother, who compared her children's celiac disease diagnosis to death. There is no question that dietary restrictions suck but you guuuuuys.
1706: Benjamin Franklin is born. 1885: James Whitcomb Riley writes the poem "Little Orphant Annie." 1914: Benjamin Franklin's face makes first appearance on $100 bill. 1924: The New York Daily News begins running Harold Gray's comic strip "Little Orphan Annie." 1930: The comic strip is adapted into a popular radio show. 1932: The first film adaptation, Little Orphan Annie, is released and panned. 1938: The second film adaptation, Little Orphan Annie, is released and panned. 1969: Shawn Carter, younger brother of Andrea "Annie" Carter (frequent dresser and shampooer), is born. 1977: The Broadway phenomenon Annie opens, includes song "It's the Hard-Knock Life." 1982: The first film adaptation of Annie is released, nominated for an Oscar for "Best Adaptation Score." 1994: Jamie Foxx releases debut album, Peep This, which peaks at no. 78 on the Billboard 200. 1995: Will Smith lands his first executive producer credit, for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Season 6, Episode 1. 1997: Puff Daddy releases "It's All About the Benjamins." 1997: Jay-Z hears DJ Kid Capri play the instrumental to "It's the Hard-Knock Life" on the Puff Daddy and the Family World Tour, is reminded of childhood. 1998: Jay-Z releases "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)." 2000: Willow Smith is born to Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. 2000: Jay-Z releases "Anything," heavily reliant on a sample from Oliver! 2002: All About the Benjamins is released in theaters, starring Ice Cube and Mike Epps. 2003: "Caddy more trucks, it's Daddy Warbucks. And you orphan Annie" — Cam'ron, "I Really Mean It" (Roc-A-Fella Records). 2003: Quvenzhané Wallis is born. 2003: "From O's to opposite of Orphan Annie" — Jay-Z, "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" (Roc-A-Fella Records). 2007: André Benjamin refers to himself as "Three Stacks" three times in UGK's "International Players Anthem (I Choose You)." 2009: Jay-Z joins Will Smith to executive produce Fela! on Broadway, proving his love for Broadway shows with exclamation points in their titles. 2013: A$AP Rocky makes reference to "Benjamin 3 Stack" in song "Wild for the Night."
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 spotted on a blog post on Missinfo.tv: Will Smith rapping on Tim Westwood's N Sign Radio Night Network in 1989. If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the '80s, send snail mail to Rikers or e-mail us at email@example.com.