Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

May 26 2015 10:49 AM

This Week’s Worst Person in Westeros: Cersei Lannister

After each episode in Game of Thrones Season 5, we’ll be discussing a crucial question: Who is currently the worst person in Westeros? This week, Slate assistant editor Miriam Krule is joined by Slate contributor Chris Wade.

Miriam Krule: Chris! Thanks for joining me to chat about “The Gift.” We got payoff for two big things this episode—the multiseason wait for Gilly and Sam to FINALLY just do it is over (with the added bonus of the oh so perfect “oh my” from Sam) and Cersei, no stranger to worstness in Westeros, got what we all knew was coming—aka being bested by the Sparrows (even if she did get the last, threatening word in this episode). Before we jump into who takes the crown this week, can I posit that the Gilly and Sam story is turning very Bran-ish. I care so very little about them, even if this baby, Little Sam, is clearly destined for ... something? Ameon calling him “Egg” because he’s reminded of his brother Aegon is pretty wonderful (is there a better nickname on Game of Thrones?), and obviously there’s a reason he’s being compared to a former king. But I hope we find that out why sooner rather than later—I’d much prefer some Brienne and Pod.

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May 26 2015 8:32 AM

Leading Men Age, But Their Love Interests Don’t

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Yesterday, Kristen Stewart fell out of the con-artist comedy Focus after Will Smith replaced Ben Affleck as the male lead; according to Variety, she was nagged by "the feeling that the age difference between the two would be too large a gap." For the record, Smith is a mere four years older than the 40-year-old Affleck, and if it seems a little odd that either of them would be considered a romantic partner for the 23-year-old Stewart in the first place … well, welcome to Hollywood. It seems like time and time again, male movie stars are allowed to age into their forties, fifties, and even sixties while the ages of their female love interests remain firmly on one side of the big 4-0, but is this a perception borne out of reality? To find out for sure, Vulture has analyzed the data of ten middle-aged leading men and the ages of the women they've wooed onscreen; you'll see the results in the charts below.

How'd we arrive at our conclusions? For each of our leading men, we tried to pick a representative sample of films — usually ten — where that A-lister had a notable love interest or wife, then we plotted the age gaps on our charts over the course of that star's career. (Because production dates for older movies can be hard to come by, we measured the stars' ages on the day the film in question was released.) The results confirmed our suspicions: As leading men age, their love interests stay the same, and even the oldest men on our list have had few romantic pairings with a woman their own age (or even one out of her mid-thirties). If our actor was sharing the screen with an A-lister of commensurate star power like Julia Roberts or Angelina Jolie, the age difference would drop somewhat, but in movies that relied solely on our guy's big name, the lesser-known love interests would nearly always be decades younger.

Scroll down to check out our findings in-depth.

May 26 2015 8:02 AM

When Did Sidewalk Café Chalkboards Start Trying So Hard to Make Jokes?

“There is alcohol in this establishment. You love alcohol!”

These words recently greeted me from a chalkboard sign at a bar a few blocks away from my apartment. The sheer cheekiness nearly knocked me over. If I’d been about to enter that bar, I might have turned on my heels and walked away. The commercialism mixed with annoying solicitousness mixed with elbow-in-ribcage jokiness—it all felt so familiar. When did bar and café chalkboards start reading like some kind of cross between a pick-up line, “neg,” and Internet meme?

Long after the printing press rendered town criers obsolete, that other ancient form of information dissemination, the sidewalk sandwich board, quietly persists. Sometimes these chalkboards—you can find them standing outside certain not-corporate-and-proud-of-it businesses like bars, coffee shops, and boutiques—list the day’s specials or when happy hour is. But perhaps you too have lately noticed a certain creep away from the practical toward a softer sell: jokes, puns, quotations, drawings, and other creative expressions of branding. Too often, the results are cringeworthy.

May 25 2015 2:16 PM

Veep’s Most Creative, Profane, Flat-Out Hilarious Insults

There are many praiseworthy aspects to Veep’s comedy, but the easiest to admire are the insults. Much like In the Loop, or really anything departing showrunner Armando Ianucci has made, the series is a pioneer in profanity, with characters routinely blurting ingenious slurs, wacky put-downs, and maledictions of bracing hilarity.

Many have attempted to showcase the best of these insults, but the folks at Fast Company, I think, have done an especially good job with their compilation. My personal favorite: Selina Meyer responding to some inane advice with “I’d rather set fire to my vulva, so that’s a no.”


May 25 2015 9:32 AM

Are Daenerys Targaryen and Tyrion Lannister Finally a Game of Thrones Power Couple?

Daenerys Targaryen’s ancestors are getting mentioned more and more frequently on Game of Thrones, suggesting that there are parts of her family’s past that Dany could stand to learn from. Who was Baelor the Blessed? Who was “Egg” that Maester Aemon called out to from his death bed? On this week’s House Slate, Amanda Marcotte and Marc Faletti dig into two of Daenerys’ ancestors to decide whether she’s reliving their mistakes.

Also, Tyrion Lannister seems awfully sure that Dany will be happy to see him. But her family and his have a lot of bad blood between them. Will she be able to get over that to give her would-be friend a chance?  

May 24 2015 1:05 PM

Sting Joined Jimmy Fallon’s Ragtime Gals for a Barbershop Rendition of “Roxanne”

Sting made the late night rounds last week, and the highlight was his performance with Jimmy Fallon’s barbershop quartet, the Ragtime Gals, who regularly churn out hilarious, old-timey covers of modern classics.

This time around, they gave the a cappella treatment to “Roxanne,” with Sting’s inimitable wail tamped down to a velvet croon.

May 24 2015 12:24 PM

The Avengers Unleash Their Inner Rednecks in Bad Lip Reading’s Latest Masterpiece

The Avengers movies often deal with the various rifts that can arise between some proud, tightly-costumed superheroes—but what if that discord was rooted in some misplaced beef jerky? Enter Bad Lip Reading’s Avengers: Tulsa Nights, a hilarious dubbing that reimagines Marvel’s super-team as some rednecks “protecting the red, white, and blue, and even some non-Americans too.”

This is worth the watch just for country bumpkin Loki, whose intimidation tactics include demanding Black Widow “run to Piggly Wiggly and get some Skittles, cigarettes, and a big pouch of Big League Chew.”

May 23 2015 4:24 PM

The Cardigans’ “Lovefool” Sounds Pretty Great as a Vintage Jazz Tune

Despite excelling in all genres, it’s become clear that the folks of Postmodern Jukebox are at their best in a sultry jazz mode. As such, the quality of their latest cover is no surprise: They’ve taken the Cardigans’ ’90s classic “Lovefool” and given it a ’40s lounge feel, replete with gentle brass flourishes and a lilting piano counter-melody. Haley Reinhart supplies the smoky vocal and the band cooks as usual.

May 23 2015 1:40 PM

Quentin Tarantino’s Best Visual References, in Three Minutes

To state the obvious: Quentin Tarantino loves movies, and loves referencing them in his own. Usually, that love manifests in general ways, like his use of Western films’ revenge narratives. Sometimes, though, it means Tarantino replicates a beloved shot or scene wholesale, co-opting the compositions of another movie to lend energy and depth to his own.

Jacob T. Swinney has compiled the best examples of this method, showing how Tarantino’s cinephilia goes beyond mere allusion.

May 22 2015 7:05 PM

All the Disney References Hidden Around Tomorrowland    

Brad Bird’s new Disney movie Tomorrowland shares its name and logo with one of the many themed “lands” at the company’s theme parks, but it borrows from much more than just that one section. Those who’ve been to Disney World dozens of times, as I have, will also notice elements of Space Mountain, Cinderella’s castle, Epcot’s Spaceship Earth, and more. Below, we break down what we noticed.