Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

Aug. 23 2016 11:39 PM

Cher: Donald Trump Is “A F---ing Idiot.”

Cher’s feelings about Donald Trump have not been a secret to anyone familiar with her Twitter feed. But on Sunday, at a Clinton campaign event in Provincetown, Massachusetts, the pop star took a more combative tone than one usually finds in political speeches, even from celebrity campaign surrogates. Specifically, she called Trump, the new face of the Republican Party, “a fucking idiot,” and compared him to the pigtailed sociopath played by Patty McCormack in The Bad Seed.

Cher told the audience that she feared for the LGBT community under a Trump presidency, “because I know what they will try to do: They will try to turn back every clock, they will try to take away every one of your rights.” About Trump’s success, she said, “No one’s more surprised than him. He wants the crowds, he wants the adulation—he doesn’t give a shit about the work.” Warming to her subject, she made a somewhat puzzling comparison to the 1977 George Segal and Jane Fonda movie Fun with Dick and Jane (or possibly its 2005 Jim Carrey/Téa Leoni remake):

I’ve been watching him speak, you know, with teleprompters, and it’s like, not many people are going to know this, but do you remember Fun With Dick and Jane? It’s like Racist Fun with Dick and Jane. “We’re going to build walls! We’re going to keep—” and he doesn’t mean, “We want to make America great again,” he means “We want to make America straight and white.”

She had kinder words for Hillary Clinton, telling the crowd, “I know she will work every moment of every day.” Watch her complete remarks, as filmed by an attendee, below.

Aug. 23 2016 10:04 PM

A Robert Durst Lifetime Movie Is on the Way, but Probably Not a Lifetime Christmas Movie

Lifetime is getting into the Bobby Durst business, Deadline reports. After a feature film, a documentary series, and a cameo on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the allegedly homicidal heir will get another chance to captivate the nation. Lifetime has optioned Matt Birkbeck’s book A Deadly Secret: The Bizarre and Chilling Story of Robert Durst, which, under its original title A Deadly Secret: The Strange Disappearance of Kathie Durst, was one of the books found at Durst’s Houston apartment when police searched it in 2015. (Actually, it was technically two of the books: Durst had both the 2002 hardcover edition and the 2003 paperback.)

Lifetime’s got the 2015 edition, which includes updates on Durst’s activities since 2003. Bettina Gilois, who co-wrote Glory Road, McFarland, USA, and Bessie, will write the script; Linda Berman is producing. According to Deadline, the film will “tell the troubling story of Robert Durst through the eyes and relationship of his wife, Kathy Durst,” which raises some narrative questions, since Kathy disappeared in 1982, and presumably has very little to say about post-1982 developments.


The film is as-yet untitled; A Deadly Secret would fit right in with the other Lifetime films, but has probably been ruled out because of Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell’s perfectly-titled Lifetime movie A Deadly Adoption. Will it ultimately be called The Burping Butcher? The Deadliest Durst? Not Without My Chicken Salad Sandwich? As the nation anxiously waits for the title, it’s reassuring to know that America’s favorite alleged multiple murderer has landed at Lifetime, a network that excels with this sort of bleak material: In 2014 they drove the entire nation to existential despair with the chilling docudrama Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.

Aug. 23 2016 5:39 PM

Michelle Obama Isn’t Just a Savvy Manipulator of Pop Culture. She’s a Pretty Sophisticated Culture Critic.

Whether chatting up Rory Gilmore, pushing Billy Eichner around in a shopping cart, or belting out “Single Ladies” with James Corden, Michelle Obama has long demonstrated a deft handling of the powers of popular entertainment. In her interactions with various celebrities on various platforms, the first lady has managed to relay information about healthy eating, college advancement, and girls’ education—all issues she’s promoted throughout her time in the White House—in a fashion that’s both accessible and innovative. Put simply, she has proven herself to be an incredibly sophisticated culture manipulator.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that a new Variety interview reveals Michelle Obama to also be an incredibly sophisticated culture critic. She has navigated the late-night circuit and viral culture effortlessly and proved to be extremely intelligent when it comes to the fluidity of activist engagement. But understanding culture’s function and being able to articulate the phenomena surrounding it are two very different things. More than any political figure in recent memory, Obama appears to understands this—as well as how she can play a part.

Aug. 23 2016 3:51 PM

The Very Funny First Episode of Dan Harmon’s HarmonQuest Is Online

A team of outcasts answers the call of destiny—or at least, the instructions of the Dungeon master—in the first episode of HarmonQuest, which NBC Seeso has made available for free online. The show’s premise is simple: Creator Dan Harmon, along with friends Jeff Davis, Erin McGathy, and Spencer Crittenden, play role-playing game Pathfinder in front of a live audience, and their dialogue is then animated to show their characters’ adventures.

Episode 1 sets the series in motion, introducing Harmon’s character, Fondue Zoobag, a half-orc who leads a team of outcasts to save their realm from the Heralds of Manticore. Since each episode was filmed live and in real time, there’s a certain amount of figuring out what, exactly, is happening at any given point (the players don’t have the benefit of the animation to guide them), but it’s at those moments that the show is at its funniest—like when Crittenden has to remind guest star Paul F. Tompkins that his head has been on fire for several turns.


You can watch the rest of the series, including episodes with Aubrey Plaza as a gnome with some unusual skills and Chelsea Peretti as a monk named Deepak Chopra, on Seeso.

Aug. 23 2016 12:52 PM

Emma Stone’s Bittersweet Crooning Sets the Tone for the New La La Land Trailer

Ryan Gosling’s crooning set the tone for the first trailer for Damien Chazelle’s musical romance La La Land. Now, Emma Stone takes a turn, showcasing a lovely singing voice of her own with the bittersweet tune “Audition” in a dreamy new teaser for the film, in which Stone plays an actress who meets a jazz pianist while struggling to make it in Los Angeles.

Despite the modern-day setting, the trailer has a classic musical look—that yellow dress!—as well as an ethereal atmosphere, something Chazelle has named as one of his goals for the film. “I’d like to make a contemporary musical about LA, starting with the LA we know but slowly building to a vision of the city as romantic metropolis—one that is actually worthy of the dreams it inspires,” Chazelle has said. “I’d like to make a musical about the way LA’s peculiar rhythms can push its residents to the edge of their emotions.”


The film co-stars John Legend, Finn Wittrock, Rosemarie DeWitt, and J.K. Simmons. La La Land will premiere at the Venice Film Festival before arriving in theaters Dec. 2.

Aug. 23 2016 12:23 PM

Colbert “Interviewed” Ryan Lochte, Asked Him the Tough Questions

The Late Show took the past couple of weeks off during the Olympics, but upon his return, Stephen Colbert talked about the games and took quite a few shots at U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte, whose claims to have been robbed at gunpoint turned out to be, as he would put it, “overexaggerated.” Colbert mocked Lochte’s interview with Today’s Matt Lauer by conducting an interview of his own in which he asked Lochte some tough questions, such as “Are you intoxicated right now?”

Lochte has since been dropped as a sponsor by four companies, including Speedo, but not to worry. Colbert is ready to step in.


However much the swimmer’s reputation might have suffered from the whole ordeal, Colbert can think of at least one career path might better suit Lochte. Foreigners now think of him as “that crazy American with the weird hair who keeps making stuff up and causing an international incident, which is not how an Olympian acts,” said Colbert. “That is how a presidential candidate acts.”

Aug. 23 2016 11:30 AM

Breaking Bad Writer Moira Walley-Beckett’s Anne of Green Gables Adaptation Is Coming to Netflix

Months after an initial pickup from the Canadian network CBC, Netflix has secured global distribution rights to the upcoming TV adaptation of Anne of Green Gables. The series, titled Anne, is spearheaded by Moira Walley-Beckett, the Emmy-winning Breaking Bad alum who most recently created the Starz miniseries Flesh and Bone, and will feature acclaimed filmmaker Niki Caro (Whale Rider) among its team of directors.

Based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved novel, Anne—set in 1890—tracks the experiences of an 11-year-old orphan after she is erroneously sent to live with an aging pair of siblings who were seeking to adopt a boy. As the years pass, Anne’s personality and imagination help to redefine the lives of her new guardians as well as the many other dwellers in her new small town.


The original book has been repeatedly adapted into films, series, and sequels, boasting a global popularity and a steady place in classroom discussions. But this new project, set to debut in 2017, is intriguing for its pedigree alone—as of now, an entirely female collection of award-winning writers, directors, and producers has been announced. Add to that the benefit of Netflix’s resources and prestige, and there may be even more to this Anne than meets the eye.

Previously in Slate:

Aug. 23 2016 8:32 AM

This Joke Was Off-Limits at Donald Trump’s Comedy Central Roast

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Remember the epic Comedy Central roast of Donald Trump back in 2011? Comics from Lisa Lampanelli to Snoop Dogg (!!) roasted the Orange One to a crisp, dogging him for his hair (“What do you say to a barber to get that type of haircut ... ‘I fucked your daughter?’ ” asked Lampanelli) to his creepy relationship with his daughter (“The Donald and I have a lot in common: We both live in New York, we both play golf, we both fantasize about his daughter,” joked Jeff Ross). According to Aaron Lee, who has written for almost every Comedy Central roast since Pamela Anderson’s in 2005, Trump said that there was only one topic that was off-limits for the show.* “Each year, the ‘roastee’ has certain topics they declare off-limits,” Lee writes on “It’s always interesting to learn what is ‘sacred’ for a celebrity.”

Aug. 23 2016 8:03 AM

On the Poetics—and Elusive Subtext—of Kanye West’s Poem About French Fries

Who knew that Kanye West’s feelings about McDonald’s French fries were so complicated they could only be expressed in verse? Over the weekend, West Published a poem in Frank Ocean’s zine Boys Don’t Cry, which came out in conjunction with Ocean’s new album, Blonde. The magazine is 360 pages long, flush with interviews and photography and poetry, but West’s stanzas are what push it to the edge of sanity. They are great, in their way. They go like this:

Aug. 23 2016 1:10 AM

Want to Hunt Bank Robbers in Your Spare Time? There’s an App For That

Back in the day, if you wanted to catch a bank robber, you had to put together a posse, call in Melvin Purvis, or hire a woman in a red dress: the stuff of drama. But these days not even vigilante justice is safe from the long, dull arm of Silicon Valley. On Friday, the FBI released a mobile app for iOS and Android called Bank Robbers. It promises to be the Uber of bank robbery investigations: It seems kind of  unsafe, and it doesn’t pay.

The app is a mobile version of the FBI’s bank robbers website, which provides a database of wanted bank robbers, complete with the locations of their crimes, photos, and videos, if any, information about rewards, and wanted posters. It’s searchable: You can sort the complete list of the FBI’s wanted bank robbers by category, date of most recent robbery, FBI field office, or state. It even allows push notifications to let you know about “FBI bank robber activity near you,” in case you’re Batman and want to rush into action whenever a bank is robbed. Although, to be honest, the search function doesn’t seem to be working as well as I’d hoped: