When the season finale of SNL gets underway this weekend, there will be another member of the SNL ‘Five Timers Club’. Justin Timberlake joined the club earlier this season but this time it’s all about Mr. Argo himself, Ben Affleck.
While Ben Affleck is a host to certainly look forward to, this show will indeed be bittersweet. In addition to the confirmed departure of Bill Hader, this weekend will also be Fred Armisen’s last show and it is very likely that Jason Sudeikis is leaving as well. Add in Seth Meyers’ new gig at Late Night next winter and SNL is going to look quite differently when it returns in the fall.
Some things however, will always remain constant. Kanye West using his mouth to find his way into the news isn’t likely to go away any time soon. This time he’s dragged SNL into his headline making ways. While performing at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC this week it made it very clear that he has no interest in doing any skits on this weekend’s show.
(if you have an issue with profanity, probably best to skip this one)
Well Kanye, some might say the feeling is mutual. There are quite a few people who are puzzled at Lorne Michael’s decision to have you perform on the show and this just adds fuel to that fire. Nothing like someone being happy to be invited, sheesh.
But who cares about Kanye West and whatever crawled up his ass and died? We’ve got a season finale to send off to great SNL performers to look forward to and nothing can stop us from enjoying that!
Remember to find your way back here on Sunday when we’ll have a recap and review of the show. Until then SNL fans!
I had plans to wait until I got home from a weekend trip to New Orleans to watch this week’s SNL, but the power of the Timberlake would not let me and I am grateful, because it was fantastic. I’ll admit that there was a bit of reservation initially because my slightly inebriated state may have made the show funnier than it actually was. Any doubt was erased when watched by the harsh light of a sober morning. And if there was any doubt that the writers were taking an easy/lazy break last week to gear up for this episode, they are now erased because minus a few missteps, the writing was as good as it’s been all season to date.
It is really rare to see the host in the cold open, to the point that I can not think of the last time I’d seen it. Of course, this is Justin Timberlake and it is well known that he rises above normal conventions. So there he was, in all his Elton John glory, singing at the funeral of Hugo Chavez. Nothing like a reworked ‘Candle in the Wind’ to start the night off right.
To truly appreciate the greatness of Timberlake’s “Five-Timers Club” monologue, you’d have to watch Tom Hanks’ monologue from his fifth time hosting back in 1990.
You’ve got the very young SNL writer, Conan O’Brien greeting Hanks at the door vs. current SNL writer Mike O’Brien who happens to also be behind one of my favorite webseries, Seven Minutes in Heaven with Mike O’Brien. I’m of the belief that all celebrity interviews should be conducted in a closet and end in awkward kissing. Of course the similarities between the two monologues continue with Paul Simon and Steve Martin. I really enjoyed it, but oh boy does it put a bit of a spotlight on how much more often men are the host of SNL as opposed to women. Well at least, frequent hosts. Perhaps next episode’s host, Melissa McCarthy can bring up that number someday and join Candice Bergen and Drew Barrymore in the ‘Five-Timers Club’.
Even though the monologue ran a bit long, it was really fun to watch SNL living history all come together and watch Bobby Moynihan and Taran Killam fight to the death.
I’ll admit that when the dating show set was shown during the commercial break I groaned a bit. This has been the year of musical monologues and game shows, some have worked but there have been some that really did not. However when it became clear that this was just going to be a vehicle for the singing sleazebags known best for ‘Dick in a Box’, it became infinitely better. Of course I really wasn’t expecting the Festrunk brothers (as often cameos in the monologue stay in the monologue) so they were an awesome surprise. As much as I enjoyed both duos, Bobby Moynihan as the rejected bachelor was equally as funny. He usually plays the weird part of the joke so seeing him as the straight guy is always a refreshing change of pace.
It would not be a Justin Timberlake show without a costumed street singer promoting some random business. I have a feeling if it were anyone else, this sketch premise would have been old and tired by now. Luckily the writer’s have been able to keep the jokes and song parodies pretty fresh each time so it’s exciting to see Timberlake dressed as a big block of tofu as opposed to that “oh man, here we go again” feeling.
If you were wondering who on earth is still watching Harlem Shake videos and giving SNL the idea that it was still at all relevant and not beaten to death… it’s me. I love them in all their stupid glory and was downright giddy watching the cast do the “Vegan Shake”.
As great as Justin Timberlake is and how awesome his performances were, it was actually the “NuvaBling” fauxmercial that was the funniest to me. Probably because it was unexpected (unlike the rest of the episode, I mean we knew pretty much what sketches were going to be done) but it was hysterical. I mean come on, diamond encrusted birth control? Cool.
Diamond encrusted birth control that then becomes earrings? Perfect. Between that and the final line of “and yes, it does hurt”, easily my favorite commercial of the year. Birth control should all be “100% effective at getting dat swag on”.
So apparently there was some dust-up between Timberlake and Kanye West? I was unaware so I couldn’t have told you anything about the changed lyrics to “Suit and Tie”, but the internet quickly let me know of my ignorance. I guess we are all now just sitting and waiting to see what Kanye has to say in response.
Weekend Update was really short, likely due to the length of the monologue and the first few sketches, but it brought back Stefon who seems like he has been missing for quite a while (John Marbury who usually writes that character has been off working on his pilot for NBC). Bill Hader never fails to entertain as the ridiculous Stefon and this was no different. The club named “Your Mom and I are separating” located in a burnt out Red Lobster is sure to be the hotspot everyone is talking about.
“Sober Caligula” was the obvious low light of the episode. However, I do give them credit for trying a new sketch. If you’ve watched SNL with any regularity you know that when hosts make repeat appearances, they often will pull out the same characters that they know people like and have been successful (Veganville, Dick in a Box), so it was nice to see something new. Of course I wish it’d been a little bit more successful but A for effort and let’s not lie here, there’s nothing wrong with a sketch that features a half-naked Taran Killam.
I would never have thought that Maine Justice would be a recurring sketch. Ever. For good reason. It was great as a one time “this is really weird but oddly entertaining” kind of thing. Coming back? Eh, not so much. Unlike the later sketch with the “not porn stars anymore”, Maine Justice just needs to go ahead and call it a day.
You can sell all the albums in the world and you can star in as many movies as you want; hell, you can be a member of the SNL ‘Five-Timers Club’, but I think we can all agree, you haven’t really “made it” until the Three Amigos introduce you.
“She’s Got a D#*k” was all right. Not much to write home about but it was better than Maine Justice. I did like how Nasim didn’t have a name instead was billed as just an “adorable brunette”.
After a long day, I totally look forward to a glass of “Monica and Chandler” champagne and feel like it’s about time it got a chance to shine. Even though we have a general idea as to what the two idiot former porn stars are going to say, it still is funny as hell. I take that back because at no point did I ever think I’d hear someone tell a story of jerking off a horse on TV. That was a new one.
Overall? Great episode. I do wish they’d tried more original sketches but I understand they were trying to go for that typical cameo filled episode to try to drive up the ratings, and they were successful as more people watched this weekend than have since Charles Barkley hosted last January. I can see them getting close to those numbers with Melissa McCarthy hosting on April 6th because there might be people tuning in to see if Kristin Wiig or Maya Rudolph make cameos. Even if they don’t, McCarthy is a great sketch comedy actress so I’m very much looking forward to that episode.
Whenever Justin Timberlake has a new movie or album or new outlook on life, everyone starts wondering… “when will he be on SNL?” Well thankfully it’s this weekend! As is customary, they’ve filmed and released their promos and it does nothing but make me more excited for this weekend’s show. I’m really looking forward to seeing if they do anything to honor his membership into the “Five-Timers Club”.
I know I’m not alone, but I wish Timberlake would give up this whole music career thing he’s going for and just join the cast of SNL full time. Wouldn’t that make the world a better place? Solve the hunger problem in America? Stop all wars? No? Well okay then, but still, it would be pretty awesome because nothing makes me happy happy happy like Justin Timberlake on my TV on a Saturday night.
Sadly, there is a group of people that will likely not be partaking in the fun, as they are still really butt hurt over the “Djesus Uncrossed” sketch that aired during the February 16th episode, hosted by Christoph Waltz. I thought the outrage had calmed down, but apparently the people over at American Family Association have taken it upon themselves to alert SNL advertisers and call for them to pull their ads from the show. If Fox News is to be believed, JcPenney and Sears have done just that.
I find it hard to believe that JcP will bend to the AFA given their reaction to similar group’s response to their hiring of Ellen as their spokesperson but this is a crazy world we live in so, who knows? At the end of the day, none of this really matters because come Saturday night, it’ll be this guy and the ads run during the show won’t have any effect on how awesome it will be.
I enjoyed last week so much that when I saw it was Bruno Mars hosting this week I feared he would be the valley to Christina Applegate’s peak. I don’t know if it’s just due to the polyurethane fumes I’ve been huffing all week (I’m painting/sealing things, I don’t have a drug problem) but I was pleasantly surprised.
But screw Bruno Mars because this happened!
Aidy Bryant finally had more than one line! Then one of her lines was the “LIVE” announcement and I was just so excited! And then we didn’t hardly see her or frankly hardly any of the women folk of the cast but hey, it’s the little things in life.
The cold open was the most recent presidential debate and it was fabulous. The mic drop was definitely the highlight. I’ll admit that I actually never watch the real debates so in my world, this really could have happened. I usually prefer things in my world so that’s what I’m going with.
Of course it is always fun when some of the best SNL hosts make a random appearance, this week it was Tom Hanks, sporting his mustache for Saving Mr. Banks, a movie I am big time looking forward to.
Shock of the night was when Bruno Mars sang his opening monologue. Yea, I know, I was just as stunned as everyone else. I did like how he mentioned Justin Timberlake. I can’t imagine a double duty host that doesn’t immediately think of Justin Timberlake and their disappointment that they won’t be as good as him. I’m just waiting for the day that Timberlake announces that he has decided to abandon his movie career and become a full-time SNL cast member. That would be a nice day.
If you haven’t seen the Brad Pitt Chanel commercial, here you go.
Now you realize that Taran Killam’s recurring bit all night with the random Brad Pitt commercials was not that far off the mark. I mean seriously, that had to be filmed and edited and then someone had to see it and still give it the go ahead. I’m thinking there are a lot of drugs being used over in the Chanel advertising camp these days. If your perfume commercial stands out as particularly odd in a world of already extremely random and nonsensical perfume commercials, then congratulations, you have a non-winner.
Let’s not kid ourselves though- those Doritos tacos are rather good.
Haters with Sunny Taylor Tomkins featuring Bobby Moynihan’s legs was up next and I was forced to admit that perhaps Bruno Mars actually could make it through the show. The sketch itself was completely pointless but hey, they can’t all be high concept. It was fun for fun’s sake and spawned what might be new go to catchphrase. I like to switch them out every once in a while, keeps things fresh.
You know I’m just gonna say it- Bruno Mars doesn’t make an ugly lady/teenage girl. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he makes an attractive young woman but not ugly. Bravo sir, bravo.
Next was Pandora Intern and while it appears the rest of the internet loved this sketch, I thought it was a bit meh. Best parts for me was when Bruno Mars grabbed Jason Sudeikis’ hand to do the Michael Jackson lean and of course all three guys just happened to have a Michael Jackson glove on them.
The most the Pandora sketch accomplished was get this song stuck in my yet again. Love George Watsky but damn it this song drives me nuts when it’s stuck on a loop in my brain.
The prerecorded Sad Mouse was probably my favorite of the night. It was funny in that really sad kind of way. I did laugh at the sign behind Jason Sudeikis that read “Don’t get arrested, we won’t bail you out!” For the briefest moments of time I got a job wearing a Statue of Liberty outfit for a tax preparer’s office and they tell you that if you do something to get in trouble, you are on your own.
Thanks to my time in the Statue of Liberty outfit, I always wave to sign spinners, and mascots, and people in sandwich boards, and people in costumes. I would have surely waved to the Sad Mouse.
Hey surprise – Bruno Mars was the musical guest!
Weekend Update featured perhaps one of the best recurring characters in recent memory. It was none other than Stefon. The best part of Stefon is apparently they do not let him see the script until he sees it on the teleprompters which explains his reaction that often ends up in him breaking. This week was no different. To his defense though, I think a lot of people would have a hard time not laughing at the Jewish Dracula named Sidney Applebaum. I mean come on. And Slimer? Too funny.
We went from the hilarious Stefon to the sometimes laborious Maryville Brothers. Best part was when Tom Hanks with his Walt Disney mustache attempts to robot grope Vanessa McBrayer (after starting off the season in almost every sketch she has been persona non grata these last two weeks).
The Wilderness Lodge was just weird. That’s about all I can say. There’s just something about an ass raping Yeti that makes me not want to like a sketch, not sure what. As for the Under Underground Records “Donkey Punch the Ballot” well Ass Dan is back and then dead again and seriously that is all SNL is going to do with the comedy gold that is “Binders full of Women”? Come on, I expected a lot more than that. Of course as a former debate nerd I did get a hearty laugh out of the debate between Linkin Park and Buster Douglas. Heh, that’s good.
Overall, much better than I had expected. It certainly could have been better but hey, you can’t win ’em all.
Next week is a repeat of the premiere but then on November 3rd, get excited folks because holy crap funny man himself, Louie C.K. is hosting and I’m really hoping that means an appearance by Amy Poehler. Not gonna lie, that would make my day/week. Fun is entertaining as well so here’s hoping for an all around good episode.
When remakes are done correctly, they’re a beautiful, glorious thing, like a beautiful piece of art or the birth of a beautiful baby. When remakes are done correctly, it makes me shed a manly tear of joy, because seeing something done better the second time around makes me happy, just like a great sequel.
In David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, he takes what was a melodramatic and overall poorly made 2009 adaptation, and adds a new level of ferocity and stylishness to it that was otherwise lost on the original. I think this is due mostly to his familiarity with the source material, a novel of the same name by the late Stieg Larsson, and his unfamiliarity with the original Swedish film (he’s been quoted as saying that he’s never seen it).
By now the plot should be familiar to most, but I’ll run through it to give everyone a fighting chance. The story follows a journalist named Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) who’s been exiled by almost every news outlet and has been stripped of his credibility due to a story that he published that was “proven” false. On the other side of things, professional computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) has gathered information on Blomkvist for a large Swedish family that is interested in hiring him for a job.
The job is to investigate the murder of Harriet Vanger (Moa Garpendal), the 16-year old niece of Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), who is the head of a large corporation known as the Vanger Co. For the past forty years, Vanger has been investigating Harriet’s death with no luck at all. In his desperation, he hires Blomkvist, in the hopes that he might be able to crack the case. Blomkvist reluctantly agrees, but the only way that he can do it is to hire the same person who was hired to investigate him, Lisbeth. The two team up to solve the murder of what might have been the heir to the entire Vanger legacy.
David Fincher’s interpretation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is much better than the 2009 original, but in some respects it isn’t good enough. As a huge fan of the source material, the only way that this film could possibly live up to my expectations is by being four hours long, because that’s how long it would take to include everything that a film of this magnitude requires. But, from a strictly cinematic standpoint, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an extremely fascinating murder mystery.
At 158 minutes, the film is a lot to take in, but it’s unfortunate because the first 80 minutes require Lisbeth and Mikael to be apart until they finally meet to work together on the case, which is far too long in my opinion. I say that because they only spend about 45 minutes solving the mystery together, with the last 35 minutes being dedicated to the aftermath of the ordeal as well as Salander proving Blomkvist innocent.
Though the build-up seems unnecessarily long, once the two finally get working, the film ignites. Their chemistry is sheer beauty. Who knew that mixing such an “alternative” personality as that of Lisbeth Salander with straight man Mikael Blomkvist would create pure magic? It doesn’t hurt that the performances by both Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, especially the latter, are undeniably committed and mesmerizing. Similar to that of Justin Timberlake in The Social Network, I almost forgot that I was staring at two actors and not viewing the private exploits of such fascinating personalities. Lisbeth Salander is portrayed as much more personable and approachable to Blomkvist, turning their relationship from strictly physical and professional, to borderline romantic, an addition to her character that I’m actually glad they made.
David Fincher’s direction is undoubtedly stylish, but in comparison to The Social Network, which was steadily chaotic, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is chaotically steady. By this I mean that regardless of the amount of pulsating action that happens on the screen, the camera refuses to take the shaky cam route and is one of the few things in this movie that remains calm, which I’m thankful for. In keeping with the almost classy and dark style that the film seems to go for, remaining steady really helps set a tone rather than flopping all over the place, blurring everything out of view.
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Atticus Ross, who also did the music for The Social Network, again compose the soundtrack. Whereas the music in The Social Network seemed to be a crucial part of the look of the film, the music in this film serves more as background filler rather than a key aspect, sans a dazzling credit sequence set to a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”.
Overall, as a remake, and even as an adaption, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo succeeds, but its sometimes obvious representation of the killer, as well as the dangerously slow first half drags the film down from great to good, which I’m perfectly fine with. I didn’t expect another Social Network, and I definitely didn’t get one. I’ve never been a huge fan of the adaptations of the books, because there’s just too much to adapt into one film, regardless of its length, but Fincher makes it much more watchable than the 2009 Swedish version, and that in itself is quite the achievement.
Earlier this year, Ashton Kutcher and recent Oscar winner, Natalie Portman starred in a film about two friends who begin to have casual sex entitled No Strings Attached. The film itself received generally negative reviews despite its good cast and director (Ivan Reitman). Personally, I didn’t mind the film too much. It was a nice escape with some good jokes and likeable leads. Sure it was as cliché as it gets, but not every film can be The Deer Hunter, right?
Soon after I saw No Strings Attached, I heard of a film being released called Friends With Benefits. The premise was literally identical, and the female lead, Mila Kunis, co-starred with Natalie Portman earlier that year in Black Swan. I was, needless to say, quite skeptical. I didn’t let this get the best of me though, because the cast was equally as funny, if not more varied and interesting, than No Strings Attached.
Friends With Benefits follows two young professionals, Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis); one a successful internet blogger who is offered a job at GQ, the other is sent to recruit him. The two become very close friends over a short period of time. One day, Jamie claims, “I miss sex.” The rest is history. The two begin a strictly physical relationship with no emotions attached, which soon turn into something far different.
As much as I thought I wouldn’t like this movie, I’ll go ahead and admit that I really enjoyed it, a lot actually. With a more than 20% advantage on Rotten Tomatoes, Friends With Benefits actually deserves it. The two leads have way more chemistry than the stars of No Strings Attached. The story is very layered and involved, with just enough characterization to make you care, and possibly even cry. The supporting actors, which include Woody Harrelson, Bryan Greenberg, Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman, Richard Jenkins, and even guest appearances by Emma Stone and Andy Samberg, all hold their own and give a lot of meaning to why Dylan and Jamie are why they are.
Dylan’s father, who’s known only as Mr. Harper (Richard Jenkins) has moderately severe Alzheimer’s that gets worse with age. He’s the type of character that we all know is going to say something insightful at the end of the movie that gives Dylan the courage to do what he has to do, blah, blah. Fact of the matter is, Richard Jenkins is funny as hell in everything he does, and he’s a fantastic actor. These are two things that are extremely useful in Hollywood, and he plays the role perfectly, as usual.
Directed and co-written by Will Gluck who you may recognize as the director of Easy A, has a good eye for scenery and makes sure to create an acceptable distinction between Los Angeles and New York, which may seem like an unnecessary detail, but honestly, you don’t know how many times I thought a movie takes place in the Upper East Side but it turns out I’m actually in downtown LA.
Friends With Benefits also has a knack for both employing cliché while simultaneously mocking it. While mocking cliché has now become a cliché, this Inception of clichés has led me to just give up and be entertained by the gimmick, which can be somewhat pervasive, but never tiring.
The film’s soundtrack is also something to note. It includes popular songs, but not the annoying ones that you hear on the radio every two seconds. They’re the popular songs that come on the radio once in a while and you’re actually happy to hear them. Example: “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie.
If anything, Friends With Benefits is a great romantic comedy and an acceptable vehicle for both Timberlake and Kunis, who both have extremely bright futures in Hollywood. Despite being in the business since children, I feel like their careers have really started reaching their full potential only recently (yes I know, Kunis was on That 70’s Show, that doesn’t count). Also, besides its great leads, Friends With Benefits offers us three of the best cameos of the year, but I can’t tell you what they are. Also, miraculously, Friends With Benefits has somehow made “Hey Soul Sister” by Train a bearable song to listen to during a credits sequence.
With Comic Con over the weekend there were a lot of new trailers released. Here are a few of those…
“In the future people stop aging at 25 and must work to buy themselves more time, but when a young man finds himself with more time than he can imagine, he must run from the corrupt police force to save his life.”
I think this actually looks really good. I was wondering how long it’d take Justin Timberlake to start doing action movies considering the void in decent male stars…
“A Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong.”
Like before with Timberlake, here is another pretty boy (Ryan Gosling) making a run at a legit action role, and seemingly – nailing it. If In Time looks good, this looks f**king great! I calling it – MUST SEE.
It appears time for the Akira live action movie to be moving ahead, with SuperHero Hype’s report of the front-runners for the two main characters; Kaneda and Tetsuo. The villain of the story is Tetsuo, a young man with a big chip on his shoulder who begins to manifest immense psychic powers, and then use them with extreme prejudice. This guy was a total psycho in the animated movie and equally so in the graphic novels that movie was based on. He was a part of the same biker gang as his friend and rival of sorts, Kaneda. Kaneda is a bit of a jackass, but he’s a loveable jackass and the closest thing we get to a hero.
That being said let’s have a look at the contenders for the role of Tetsuo. It’s between Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy. Right off the bat I need to discount McAvoy because he seems a little too old for the role. If they’re following the story of the graphic novel, the two characters are teenagers and McAvoy is about to hit 32 in a month.
Maybe they’re going a different direction with the characters’ ages, but if not I don’t see a 32-year-old guy playing a kid still in a “home for boys”. This leaves Pattinson and Garfield. I think either one of them could pull it off, but it would be more refreshing to see Garfield in the role than having the Twilight star Pattinson thrown in our faces once again. If you can’t tell I’m a little burned out on Twilight.
On the Kaneda side of things we have a few more options. Up for the role are Garret Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake, and Joaquin Phoenix. I’m going to immediately discount Phoenix because of his age, and the fact that his moronic shenanigans over the past two years made me care less and less about him ever being in another movie. Fassbender, like McAvoy, is too old though it would be interesting to see them both in the roles of hero and villain this time in reverse. In case you haven’t heard Fassbender and McAvoy are both in X-men: First Class this year, starring as Magneto and Charles Xavier respectively.
Justin Timberlake: No. That’s all I can say about that one.
The role of Kaneda for me boils down to either Garrett Hedlund or Chris Pine.
They both have experience playing the troublesome, act without thinking young gun type. Pine’s James T. Kirk persona from the excellent Star Trek reboot is almost exactly how Kaneda acts in the Akira animated movie and graphic novel; overconfident, quick thinking and totally unable to impress the girl with his bravado. Garrett Hedlund played the mischievous young motorcyclist in the recent Tron: Legacy, and the light cycle he tore it up on definitely had a likeness to the bike Kaneda rides in Akira.
What other credentials do ya need? I really enjoy both actors and would be happy with either one, but I tend to lean toward Chris Pine on this one. He has the sort of charisma and humor needed to play Kaneda. And he rode a motorcycle in Star Trek and that’s the most important thing… right?
In case you didn’t notice, none of the actors are Asian like their character’s namesakes, but I’m trying to look past that. I’ll be satisfied as long as they yell one and others name as they try to kill each other. (Watch the Akira animated movie for more on that.)
I hope this movie is done right, because being based off of the six graphic novels it’s going to need at least two or three movies to do the story justice. I’d recommend the Akira animated movie and graphic novels to anyone who is a fan of sci-fi or cyber punk stories. The graphic novels are definitely better than the movie, but it’s still quite a ride either way.