Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

Dec. 8 2016 12:18 AM

Tina Fey Knows Why Hillary Lost: “Not Enough Celebrity Music Videos”

Tina Fey spoke Wednesday morning at The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Women In Entertainment breakfast, where she received the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award. Her wide-ranging remarks covered everything from her experiences working for Lansing on Mean Girls, her preference for John Slattery over Jon Hamm (who introduced her), and what the future holds for her and her cohort of female Saturday Night Live alums, a question she phrased as, “What is my role in this business gonna be once nobody wants to grab me by the pussy anymore?”

Besides referencing our President-elect’s favorite kind of sexual assault, Fey spoke more generally about the election and its aftermath. “What an amazing year it’s been for women!” she proclaimed, before collapsing face down on the podium in a gale of sad laughter. “What a year for women!” Fey went on to offer a post-election analysis (at 15:00 in the video):

Dec. 7 2016 10:26 PM

Kate McKinnon Will Play a Witch Forced to Work as a Lunch Lady in 2018 Best Picture Front-Runner The Lunch Witch

Kate McKinnon, everyone’s favorite veteran of Saturday Night Live and ensemble comedies from Ghostbusters to Office Christmas Party, is finally getting a starring role, Deadline reports. She’ll play the title character in Amblin Entertainment’s film adaptation of The Lunch Witch, a series of children’s comics written and illustrated by Deb Lucke. The film will be directed by Clay Katis, who co-directed Angry Birds with Fergal Reilly.

The Lunch Witch and its sequel The Lunch Witch: Knee-Deep in Niceness tell the story of Grunhilda, a witch from a long line of witches (her great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother invented the recipe for Hansel and Gretel Pie). As the inheritor of all of her family’s potion recipes, she thinks she’s got it made, but the decline of belief in witchcraft means her potion shop goes under. After an unhappy stint playing a fake witch for tourists at the Salem Haunted Museum, she finds a new life in the one place her talent at cooking horrible tasting things is appreciated: a school cafeteria. Once there, she’s promptly blackmailed by an underachieving kid who figures out she’s a witch. The plot suggests Roald Dahl, the illustrations suggest Quentin Blake’s illustrations of Roald Dahl, and if we’re lucky, the film will suggest Danny DeVito or Mel Stuart’s adaptations of Roald Dahl.


This sounds like a perfect role for McKinnon, who has always been at her best when things get silly, weird, and a little gross. Will Grunhilda have a change of heart about the students at her school? Will Kate McKinnon manage to bring her genius timing to a children’s movie? Will President Trump mistakenly serve Hansel and Gretel Pie at a state dinner? All we can do is wait and hope.

Dec. 7 2016 4:00 PM

Yas, Queen! Broad City Is Coming Back for Season 4 in August 2017.

Consistently one of TV’s best comedies, Comedy Central’s Broad City has finally settled on a return date. The show’s creators and stars, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, announced via Twitter that Season 4 is set to premiere sometime in August 2017:

Dec. 7 2016 1:09 PM

New Fifty Shades Darker Trailer Has Fewer Masks, More Flagrant Disregard for Indecent Exposure Laws

The last trailer we saw for Fifty Shades Darker, sequel to the blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey, notably featured lots and lots of masks. In the new trailer, Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey remove those masks—and several other articles of clothing along with them, proving that Fifty Shades is actually the story of two people who terrorize Seattle with their inability to keep it in their pants in public. (There’s also a love story and a stalker or something, but it’s a little hard to focus on those given everything else going on in this trailer.)

Dec. 7 2016 12:41 PM

Lee Daniels Thinks Having a “Fabulous White Girl” as the Lead in His New Show Will Help America “Heal”

Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels (Precious) appeared Tuesday on the daytime talk show The Real to speak about his new television series Star, which centers on a young, burgeoning girl group. When asked why he considered it “important” to feature a “white girl” in the lead role, he answered with a somewhat unusual explanation:

In the beginning, [Star] is told through a white girl’s perspective because I felt that the country—instinctively, I thought—needed to heal. I think that this white girl is so fabulous that black people will embrace her and white people will embrace her.

The obvious implication here—seeing as Daniels also described racial tensions in America as equivalent to “a civil war”—is he felt that leading with a white face was necessary in the effort to bridge racial divides.

Dec. 7 2016 12:03 PM

Let This Moving Polish Christmas Ad Warm Your Cold, Cynical Heart

A Polish auction website called Allegro recently released a holiday ad called “English for Beginners” that has racked up more than 4 million views and counting on YouTube. You’re about to find out why. In the commercial, an elderly Polish man is learning English for some unknown purpose with the help of guidebooks, Post-it notes, action movies, and an inexcusably cute dog. Then he takes his newfound knowledge to the U.K., and when the reason for his second-language excursion is finally revealed, it will make your small heart grow three sizes today.

Dec. 7 2016 11:18 AM

The Honest Trailer for Suicide Squad Makes Perfectly Clear Why Everyone Mocked This Overblown Mess of a Movie


Critics weren’t exactly crazy about Suicide Squad, DC’s star-studded follow-up to the maligned Batman v Superman—and if you were a little mystified as to why, Screen Junkies has rendered the movie’s (obvious) flaws bitingly clear in its latest Honest Trailer.



As expected, the trailer spends plenty of time going after the movie’s thin characterization, hackneyed dialogue—“Warner Bros. probably regrets spending just six weeks on the script of this one”—and excessive soundtrack. But the most savage commentary is reserved for what was once the movie’s most anticipated element: Jared Leto as the Joker.


Dec. 7 2016 9:10 AM

2017 Grammy Nominations: The Snubs and Surprises

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

The 2017 Grammy nominations are out, and it’s clear that next February will be a heavyweight bout between Beyoncé and Adele, who are both nominated for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year and netted nine and five noms, respectively. Unsurprisingly, they’re both up for Album of the Year alongside Justin Bieber, Drake, and (slightly more surprisingly) Sturgill Simpson. And while the Big Four categories will likely dominate the conversation from now until the ceremony on Feb. 12, there were plenty of shocks of both the good and bad variety in the very large field of nominees. Let’s take a closer look at all the biggest wins and most glaring missteps from this year’s Grammy noms.

Dec. 7 2016 7:33 AM

All the Disney Predecessors Behind the Characters in Moana, in One Chart

You’d be hard-pressed to find a review of Moana that doesn’t point out how it gives off strong nostalgic vibes from Disney’s renaissance era—the late-’80s–mid-’90s period that saw a wave of critical and commercial hits that drew heavily from Broadway musicals. The most obvious throwback within the studio’s latest film is the demigod Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson, who feels like Robin Williams’ memorable Genie character refitted for the modern age. They two characters only share an ability to shape-shift but also a very similar send-off in their films’ respective finales—bidding their newly acquired friend and partner in adventure a fond goodbye, then flying away joyously, drawing circles in the sky.

Moana's characters, as it turns out, share a lot of DNA with their Disney forebears. Even more than Frozen, which took seemingly deliberate cues from its predecessors while updating them for modern sensibilities, this latest film traces shamelessly over the Disney blueprint. (This is not surprising seeing as Moana's directors, Ron Clements and John Musker, were also responsible for The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.)

So here’s a breakdown of the many ancestors of Moana.

Dec. 7 2016 12:17 AM

The Women of Ocean’s Eight Will Face Off Against Damian Lewis

Ocean’s Eight, the all-female Ocean’s Eleven spinoff, has its villain, and it’s Homeland’s Damian Lewis. Variety reports that Lewis, who’s been seen on set, is playing Sandra Bullock’s ex-lover and the target of the film’s central robbery.

Ocean’s Eight, opening on June 8, 2018, follows Steven Soderbergh’s trilogy Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, and Ocean’s Thirteen, each of which centered on a complicated heist executed by Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and a gang of A-list con artists. (Ocean’s Eleven was itself a very loose remake of Ocean’s 11, a 1960 Rat Pack vehicle.) This time around, Gary Ross is taking over directorial duties from Soderbergh; the screenplay is by Ross and Olivia Milch. Lewis’ backstory marks at least one change in the series template: The villains of the Soderbergh films were Andy Garcia, Vincent Cassel, and Al Pacino, none of whom played George Clooney’s ex-lovers.


For the female version, the team has been cut down to eight: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, and Sarah Paulson. Bullock will play Danny Ocean’s sister, leaving the door open for cameos from the earlier films. That’s a great lineup, but honestly, it seems like Rihanna would be more than capable of pulling this off on her own.