Slate's Culture Blog

Aug. 27 2014 9:02 PM

David Chase Responds to Vox’s “Tony Soprano Didn’t Die” Article

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Tonight, in response to a Vox piece headlined, “Did Tony die at the end of The Sopranos?,” David Chase sent the following statement through his publicist:

“A journalist for Vox misconstrued what David Chase said in their interview. To simply quote David as saying, “Tony Soprano is not dead,” is inaccurate. There is a much larger context for that statement and as such, it is not true. As David Chase has said numerous times on the record, “Whether Tony Soprano is alive or dead is not the point.” To continue to search for this answer is fruitless. The final scene of The Sopranos raises a spiritual question that has no right or wrong answer.”

It’s a compliment to The Sopranos and its creator that the show’s final episode aired seven summers ago and we’re still arguing about the meaning of that cut-to-black ending in Holsten’s diner. I don’t think the Vox piece, or this piece, or any piece ends the discussion. And not to get all Death-of-the-Author on you, but I don’t think Chase’s statement ends it, either. And I say that without disappointment, even though I hate the chorus that keeps chanting “Tony died” over and over as if it were a mantra. 

I wish this question didn’t keep getting asked, because I think it’s the wrong thing to ask about The Sopranos. It may, in fact, be the last question anyone should ask about The Sopranos. The fact that a great many people keep asking it is depressing.

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Aug. 27 2014 8:24 PM

Here’s Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert Singing “The Obvious Song” in 1993

There’s something strangely satisfying about watching famous people before their heyday. That’s the appeal of Second City Archives, a Splitsider feature that unearths clips of comedy’s brightest stars when they were making their bones in Chicago's famous comedy club. Their latest find: a very funny video of Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert singing “The Obvious Song” in 1993.

Aug. 27 2014 5:59 PM

Zach Galifianakis Will Play a Clown in the TV Series He Wrote With Louis C.K.

Back in January we learned that Louis C.K. was writing a TV show for FX with Zach Galifianakis. The latter was set to star, but we knew nothing else about the show.

Good news: The network just ordered 10 episodes of the series, having apparently seen and loved the pilot.

Aug. 27 2014 4:40 PM

Watch the Trailer for Amazon’s Already Acclaimed New Show Transparent

Next month, Amazon will release the full first season of Jill Soloway’s new series Transparent, whose pilot debuted back in February to rave reviews—including from Slate TV critic Willa Paskin. On the surface, it’s a comedy about a seemingly normal Jewish family living in L.A. whom we’re introduced to character by character in the show’s new trailer: two divorced parents (played by Jeffrey Tambor and Judith Light), and their three adult children (played by Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, and Gaby Hoffmann). But, deeper than that, it’s a show that explores their individual “little private kinks” (as the mother puts it) and how they intertwine.

Aug. 27 2014 4:14 PM

Tyler Perry on Gone Girl's Ending and Not Knowing Who David Fincher Was  

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Tyler Perry doesn’t step in front of another director’s camera often, but he’s glad he did so for David Fincher. “He’s brilliant,” says Perry, who stars in the exacting filmmaker’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl as the magnificently named Tanner Bolt, lawyer for Ben Affleck’s character, a man accused of his missing wife’s murder. Perry spoke with Vulture about the process.

David Fincher showed Neil Patrick Harris a rough cut of the film around 1:30 a.m. after a Hedwig performance, so it sounded like he was just beginning to share it with all of you. Have you had a chance to see it yet?
I have! But David’s idea of a “rough cut” is pretty damn incredible. The only thing was there were still a couple of green-screen shots [that needed to be filled in], but I didn’t notice anything, to my eye. To me, it looked great. I was beyond impressed, blown away. I laughed and I was moved and I just thought the performances were amazing. It’s incredible. He’s brilliant. It’s pretty awesome. He nailed it. I didn’t read the entire book, because I didn’t want to take in a lot of the backstory of the characters if it wasn’t in the script for the film. I didn’t want to have a lot of that in my head. But I think he nailed it, though.

David originally courted you for the role of Tanner Bolt because of Alex Cross?
Yeah, isn’t that something? He called and said, “I’ve got this role that I’d love for you to do,” and I was like, “Are you sure?” And he was like, “Yeah, yeah, I really want you to do this.” We spoke about it, and I said, “I’d love to.”

Aug. 27 2014 3:11 PM

No, FXX’s Cropping Is Not Ruining the Simpsons Marathon

If you’ve been anywhere near the Internet in the last few days, you’ve probably heard of the Great Simpsons Cropping Scandal. When FXX, in its supreme beneficence, brought the world a 12-day marathon of #EverySimpsonsEver, it seemed like nothing could possib-lie go wrong. But lo, though the network gives, it also takes away. More specifically, it has taken away about 25 percent of every frame of the show’s first 19 seasons. By airing episodes originally created for standard definition 4:3 screens by zooming and cropping them into wider and higher-definition 16:9 frames (rather than presenting them with bars down each side of the screen), FXX committed what many media obsessives consider a cardinal sin: They altered the original content.

Since some of these technical changes—letterboxing vs. pillarboxing vs. panning and scanning—are easier to understand when you see them, I made a two-minute video to break it down:

Aug. 27 2014 11:16 AM

David Lynch’s Ice Bucket Challenge Video Is Very Lynchian

David Lynch is not like other people, and so it’s no surprise that his Ice Bucket Challenge video is not like other people’s either. Make sure you wait to hear his nominee.

And if that wasn’t Lynchian enough, here it is backwards:

Aug. 27 2014 8:47 AM

Classic First Lines of Novels in Emojis: A Quiz

We've rendered these 10 famous first lines from novels in emojis. Can you name the novels?

Aug. 26 2014 9:12 PM

Kawehi Shares the Voices in Her Disembodied Heads for the “Anthem” Music Video

Kawehi is a relative unknown who just made one of the best music videos of the summer. The video is for “Anthem,” and it features the Kansas-based artist singing at a bare table, removing her head at the end of each vocal track, and placing her disembodied cranium in a box where it continues its looped contribution to the song.

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