Posted Tuesday, June 18, 2013, at 5:15 AM
Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images
The following is an excerpt from Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Ben Greenman, out now from Grand Central Publishing.
I got a text from Prince’s assistant. That’s how things go in the Prince universe: You get a pre‑message saying that a phone message is coming later. But this time, the message said something different. It said that there was going to be a roller‑skating party that night, for Valentine’s Day, and that I should bring some cool people.
Posted Monday, June 17, 2013, at 4:16 PM
Ben Savage and Rider Strong in Boy Meets World
Photo by © Lions Gate Home Entertainment. All rights reserved.
Ever since plans were announced to make a spinoff of the ’90s TV staple Boy Meets World, young adults of a certain age have eagerly anticipated the latest attempt to feed their premature nostalgia. The original show—which premiered in 1993 on ABC’s once-successful programming block T.G.I.F. and ran for seven seasons—followed Cory Matthews (and his family, friends, and teachers) from his awkward middle school years right through college.
Almost 15 years after the main characters said goodbye, Cory and his middle -school-sweetheart-turned-wife, Topanga, have a daughter, according to the powers that don’t wish to leave the show be. That daughter will be at the heart of the series new incarnation, appropriately titled, Girl Meets World. And after months of updates regarding the premise and casting—including a recent reunion for several of the original cast members—Disney officially picked up the series; it’s set to air sometime in 2014.
I was squarely in the target age-range for Boy Meets World by the time the series hit its stride—and by now I have probably seen every episode at least three times. So I wasn’t surprised to see all the ecstatic reactions to Girl Meets World news in my Facebook newsfeed. Of course we all want to see what happened to Cory, Topanga, Eric, and Mr. Feeny. Or so the thinking goes.Read More »
Posted Monday, June 17, 2013, at 2:33 PM
Courtesy of AMC
Last night we learned that Bob Benson is not what he seemed. Of course, we already knew that—there has always been something so oddly chipper and mysteriously straightforward about the man. We just knew something was up.Read More »
Posted Monday, June 17, 2013, at 1:09 PM
David M. Russell/Showtime
During the fourth season, my Slate colleague June Thomas wrote that Nurse Jackie had become “surprisingly good,” in large part because of a well-crafted plot shakeup that placed a fragile Jackie in treatment for her painkiller addiction. It reinvigorated a show that had become rather predictable: Jackie gets loaded, screws up, lies, and then tries to get out of it.
In the fifth season, which wrapped up last night, Nurse Jackie made another smart change: allowing Jackie’s mentee nurse Zoey, played beautifully by Merritt Weaver, to come into her own. For most of Nurse Jackie’s run, Zoey has been earnest, devoted to her job and her patients, but she lacked the gravitas and authority that are so important in an E.R. nurse—and in a woman. Her immaturity was best illustrated by her love of cutesy scrubs. But in Season 5, even though she still showed up wearing pink flowers, she demonstrated new command of her job. When a woman went into labor on waiting room floor, she took control of the situation and, after receiving the OK from Jackie, delivered the baby right there.
In fact, her relationship with Jackie changed a great deal, becoming more that of equals than of boss and employee—both in the hospital and outside of it.Read More »
Posted Monday, June 17, 2013, at 11:58 AM
Still from YouTube
Well it certainly didn’t take long to get “Black Skinhead” into a movie trailer. That track is supposedly one of Kanye West’s “minimalist” new songs, but this ridiculously entertaining trailer, for Martin Scorsese’s latest movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, is all about excess.
Based on the memoir of the same name, The Wolf of Wall Street is, incredibly and despicably, a true story, “dwarf tossing” and all. DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, the man who presided over a brokerage firm that cheated investors for $200 million, before he confessed to money-laundering and securities fraud. In the meantime he managed to sink his 167 foot yacht, marry a beer commercial model, and idolize Gordon Gekko.Read More »
Posted Monday, June 17, 2013, at 11:28 AM
Did you know that Jay-Z’s releasing a new album in less than a month? Apparently no one did—that is, until last night during Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat, when a 3-minute Samsung commercial featuring the rapper and a few of his songwriting buddies aired across the country. As a ringing piano chord hovers over the video, the rapper also known as Hov plays around with beats for his forthcoming album, Magna Carta Holy Grail (Shawn Carter = Magna Carta, get it?), with the likes of Rick Rubin, Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, and Swizz Beats.Read More »
Posted Monday, June 17, 2013, at 11:04 AM
This Is the End breaks the fourth wall.
Photo by SMPSP – © 2012 Columbia Pictures.
“I’ve often been accused by the critics of being myself on the screen,” Cary Grant once said. “But being one’s self is more difficult than you’d suppose.” Grant was not, of course, talking about literally playing himself—that practice was far less common in his own day. Lately, it seems we never go more than a week or two without some reasonably famous actor popping up as himself or herself in an otherwise fictional film. This week, it’s the apocalypse comedy This is the End, which features everyone from James Franco to Emma Watson to Aziz Ansari in character as themselves.
But playing yourself this way has its own difficulties, and is prone to its own clichés. It’s been three decades now since the “and so-and-so as himself” flourish started to take hold, and even as the examples pile up, few films have gotten more of the technique than a handful of laughs.Read More »
Posted Monday, June 17, 2013, at 9:08 AM
Before his death in 1998, the great Phil Hartman provided voices for some of the funniest characters on The Simpsons. You might remember him from such roles as Lionel Hutz, Lyle Lanley, and Gladys, the Groovy Mule.
Actually, that last one is a fictional movie that starred Troy McClure, perhaps Hartman’s funniest and most memorable Simpsons part. Hearing Hartman say that ridiculous title again is just one of the highlights on the great supercut below, by Christopher Coleman.Read More »
Posted Friday, June 14, 2013, at 7:15 PM
Kanye West performs in October.
Photo by 13thWitness/Getty Images for Samsung
Just when it began to seem like Kanye West’s Yeezus would never leak—Yeezy has been known to take extraordinary precautions to prevent leaks, including moving mixes only in locked Pelican briefcases and on “hard drives that can only be accessed by biometric fingerprint readers“—the album made its way onto file-sharing services this afternoon, a few days ahead of its June 18 release date. Outside of previews of “Black Skinhead” and “New Slaves” on Saturday Night Live and on projections around the world (and, for a few friends and critics, at a private listening party on Monday), little had been heard or revealed about the album.
That all changed with the leak, with listeners discovering a dark and abrasive album more or less devoid of any commercial radio single. West is known for soaking up sounds from around the zeitgeist and elevating them to exciting new levels, and here he soaks up in particular the rise of electronic dance music in recent years, fusing industrial and trap music with the sounds he’s more traditionally known for. In “Blood on the Leaves” he sets “Strange Fruit,” boldly, over a trap beat, and ends with a vocoder solo familiar from 808s and Heartbreak and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy tracks like “Runaway.” “Bound 2” is the only track that could reasonably fit in on one of his first two or three albums, with Kanye making signature use of vintage vocal samples from soul and pop, this time from ’60s singer Brenda Lee (“Sweet Nothings”) and ’70s group the Ponderosa Twins Plus One (“Bound”).
Posted Friday, June 14, 2013, at 6:44 PM
Photo by 13thWitness/Getty Images for Samsung
Yeezus rose early: To the delight of many music lovers, Kanye West’s much-anticipated new album was leaked this afternoon prior to its upcoming Tuesday release date.
As expected, Yeezus as a whole is dark and rife with pathos, with West evoking everything from the anti-lynching song “Strange Fruit” to the violence in his hometown of Chicago. But if you were to simply extract a list of all the people, places, brands, and pop culture icons mentioned by the rapper on the album, the subject matter starts to look a little less intense. Michael Douglas, Deepak Chopra, and Chewbacca? All make appearances on in Kanye’s lyrics. And the rapper also finds time to give a shout-out to Bobby Boucher, Adam Sandler’s character in The Waterboy.
Unlike Watch the Throne, which featured West and Jay-Z rapping shamelessly about their lush lives, the proper nouns on Yeezus are more often used for punning or weaving together complex lines (“Your feelings like Zulu, then nothin’ is a Shaka”), rather than as an extravagant shopping list or sheer braggadocio. Nonetheless, seeing them all together does help sketch Kanye West’s endlessly fascinating cultural landscape—and, in a sense, ours. After all, Kanye understands culture. He is the nucleus.Read More »