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Nashville Recap: They Fall to Pieces

Okay, new rule, Nashville: You don’t get to show us a scene where Deacon and Maddie are sitting with their guitars about to jam, and then not show the jam session. I’m serious here. I will create a petition and take it all the way to the White House if I must. Never. Again.

So Deacon is super sad (understandably), but at least he’s not drinking, because real talk: If Nashville were going to having him fall off the wagon every time his life went to hell, they’d have to set up an IV drip. But he is moping around quite a bit, prompting Scarlett to “helpfully” suggests a shave and a shower. Nooo! Look, I’m fine with the shower part — in my fantasies, Deacon always smells delicious. But Scarlett, honey, never ever tell the Scruffed One to shave. (Luckily, “shaving” for Deacon means changing the setting on his razor from “mopey sex god” to “slightly less-mopey sex god.” So we’re good.)

A father-daughter outing to a sucky furniture store. »

Matthew McConaughey’s Speech to the University of Texas Football Team Is So Very Matthew McConaughey

Boy, Matthew McConaughey can give a speech. Here, he was asked to talk to the University of Texas (his alma mater) football team. Despite explicitly setting out not to give a rousing speech, he does just that. He also lead the team in a round of his Wolf of Wall Street chant because he felt like making some kids' dreams come true that day. UT won the following game, of course. The other team was so busy asking what McConaughey was like every play that they constantly forgot to snap the ball and kept on getting Delay of Games until the referee was like, "Okay, that's enough. Game over. Texas wins!" But that's just because he really just wanted to ask about McConaughey, too.

  • Posted 10/2/14 at 9:45 AM
  • Profile

Viola Davis Finally Gets the Lead Role She’s Been Waiting for in How to Get Away With Murder

Viola Davis thought she was ready. After all, she’s been acting for 34 years, has won a Tony, has been nominated for two Oscars, and had Meryl Streep serve as her personal cheering squad after they did Doubt together in 2008. (“Someone get her a movie!” Streep once shouted at reporters on the red carpet.) But none of that prepared her for having her picture plastered on billboards across the country.

“People are always sending me pictures of the poster that’s everywhere,” Davis says of the ads for How to Get Away With Murder, the latest addition to ABC’s hugely popular, all–Shonda Rhimes–produced Thursday-night lineup, which, shockingly, affords Davis her first starring role in film or television, at age 49. She’s talking to me between bites of a takeout salad in a nondescript Los Angeles greenroom during her only break before being due back on set. “I see responsibility when I see those posters,” she says. “I see pressure. I’m aware that my booty is on the line.”

“I was ready to be the show. I was ready to step into my power as an actress.” »

Watch Jennifer Garner and John Mulaney Play Catchphrase

On Thursday’s Tonight Show, Jennifer Garner and Jimmy Fallon faced off against Questlove and John Mulaney in a game of Catchphrase. These sorts of rapid-fire brain games always teach us something about the minds of the participants, and today we learned the following: John Mulaney is overconfident in his gaming abilities, Questlove has probably never watched Catfish, and Jennifer Garner isn’t great at counting. Until next time!

Adam Sandler Inks Exclusive Four-Film Deal With Netflix

A few days after announcing their unusual plan to release the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel the same day it premieres in select IMAX theaters, Netflix is shaking things up in the film world yet again: On Thursday, the streaming-video service announced it has inked a deal with Adam Sandler to have him produce and star in four films to be made available exclusively on Netflix. “When these fine people came to me with an offer to make four movies for them, I immediately said ‘yes’ for one reason and one reason only … Netflix rhymes with ‘wet chicks,'” Sandler said in a statement. "Let the Streaming begin!" To his credit, Sandler seems to recognize that a lot of his recent films might have been better off going straight to VOD. (Pour one out for Blended, guys.)

Affleck’s Next Role May Be a Killer Accountant

Now for some Ben Affleck news not related to the man’s penis: Variety reports that he is in negotiations to star in Warner Bros.’ The Accountant, a long-in-development thriller that formerly had Will Smith attached and follows a "mild-mannered accountant who moonlights as a lethal assassin.” What with Batman and Gone Girl, Affleck really seems to have found his niche with this whole men-who-are-not-what-they-seem thing.

Century-Old Sherlock Holmes Film Discovered

French-film archive Cinémathèque Française announced today that it has uncovered a lost, silent film version of Sherlock Holmes from 1916 in its archives. The film is the only surviving footage of actor William Gillette — the first to don Holmes's iconic deerstalker hat — in a role that he made famous in stage portrayals. It is currently being restored and will make its U.S. debut at the the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in May 2015. "William Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes has ranked among the holy grails of lost film and my first glimpse of the footage confirms Gillette’s magnetism,” said Robert Byrne, board president of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. "Audiences are going to be blown away when they see the real Sherlock Holmes on screen for the first time.” Um, the real Sherlock Holmes? Mr. Byrne should be glad the Cumberbitches don’t have some sort of Beygency-type enforcement organization (Cumberbeygency?).

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis Welcome Baby Girl

On Tuesday night, That '70s couple Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher welcomed their first child into the world. It's a girl, according to TMZ. The name has yet to be released to the public, so it's unclear whether they'll opt for a regular-person name or go the Blue/Apple/North route. Congrats to Mila and Ashton! Hope the shredding wasn't too bad.

  • Posted 10/1/14 at 8:00 PM
  • Theater

Theater Review: In Tail! Spin!, the Straight Lines Are the Funniest

Tail! Spin! describes itself as a political comedy, and though it features politicians and is often very funny, I’m not sure the phrase really applies. “Political comedy” suggests something that’s fundamentally about government and ultimately happy, neither of which is the case in Mario Correa’s cleverly constructed sound-bite mash-up of recent sex scandals. You might wonder whether fact-based political comedy can even exist now, when governance is little more than psychopathology, and the whole thing is just plain sad.

"Astonishingly stupid sex stories and their pathetic attempts at exculpation." »

How Monty Python and Mel Brooks Helped Christian Bale Play Moses

After Ridley Scott offered Christian Bale the part of Moses in his forthcoming Biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings, the famously prepared actor indulged in a bit of inventional research. “Whilst I was still trying to get my head wrapped around it, I went and rented The Life of Brian, which is a real favorite film of mine,” Bale told journalists in Los Angeles yesterday, after screening nearly 30 minutes of footage from Exodus. “Beautifully made film! Wonderful film … It was sort of a guiding light for me, and I must confess that ‘Always Look On the Bright Side of Life’ was sort of always humming through my head on set.”

Why the actor isn't afraid to don mascara, if needed. »

Willem Dafoe on Playing Pier Paolo Pasolini and How Hollywood Can Be the Devil

In 1979, a 22-year-old fledgling actor from Appleton, Wisconsin, was given a minor, ultimately uncredited role in Michael Cimino’s infamously troubled epic Heaven’s Gate. Over the next 35 years, Willem Dafoe has emerged as one of cinema’s most versatile performers. From a duplicitous green goblin to Jesus Christ to Lars von Trier’s tortured muse, the soft-spoken artist seems bound by no character. At this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, we talked to Dafoe about assuming the role of Italian aesthete Pier Paolo Pasolini in Abel Ferrara’s latest film Pasolini, which is also screening at the New York Film Festival, subverting the modern (oft-hagiographic) biopic, and whether Hollywood really is the Devil.

"Sometimes the thing is nothing." »

CBS Is in the Fear Business, and Stalker Is the Network’s Latest Sadistic Product

CBS is in the fear business. Terror is one of their most reliable profit centers. For over a decade, the network's primetime lineup has been dominated by shows that call themselves procedurals (and that often have a bit of creative merit) but which are also (not coincidentally) devoted to stimulating viewers' fear centers and releasing those good, old paranoia endorphins. Though other networks air jeopardy-driven series (see NBC's Law & Order variants and Fox's The Following), only the Eye network has managed to treat them like products and crank them out like cars or laptops, always looking ahead to unveiling a new model. This tendency may have ebbed a bit since the days when multiple CSIs and Without a Trace and Cold Case all shared a grid, but it's still present, as the new series Stalker vividly confirms. 

We shouldn't mistake what Kevin Williamson is doing on TV for horror. »

  • Posted 10/1/14 at 3:30 PM
  • Jokes

A Brief History of Gwyneth Paltrow, Pop-Culture Punch Line

In the middle of last night's Selfie premiere, John Cho's Henry told the social-media-obsessed Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) that it was very possible "to be beautiful on the outside, but 'butt' on the inside." Eliza's reply: "Like Gwyneth Paltrow." It was one of the more tolerable jokes on the Selfie premiere — and also the latest instance of one of the most enduring pop-culture punch lines of our time.

It all adds up to a name that's been a steady source of laughs for writers since the late '90s. »

What Kind of Girl Reads Not That Kind of Girl?

Lena Dunham's hotly anticipated memoir Not That Kind of Girl hit shelves less than 48 hours ago. It's exciting. People have been waiting for this for a while. I bet you've already bought it. (I absolutely already bought it.) I bet you've bought it, taken a reading selfie, and already posted it to Instagram, haven't you, sheeple? 

It's okay, the latest selfie trend, Woman With Lena Dunham's Memoir, is actually quite helpful in answering the question: What kind of girl is reading Not That Kind of Girl?

Read More  »

Early Fall 2014 TV Ratings Report: The Good, the Bad, and the Utopia-Level

Back in 1997, ABC tried to sell viewers on the notion that broadcast television was still a vibrant form, launching a multi-million-dollar marketing campaign powered by a Coldplay song and the three-word slogan “TV Is Good.” Nearly two decades latter, ABC and its Big Four compatriots, battered by a now-familiar list of enemies — DVRs! streaming! — would probably settle for selling audiences on a much less ambitious message: “TV Is Here.” And on that front, early ratings for the ten-day-old 2014–15 TV season suggest the networks are having at least some success. ABC, CBS, and NBC all increased their audience versus premiere week last fall (albeit modestly), with only Fox headed south (by double digits). This glimmer of hope hardly erases the myriad problems broadcasters face, but last week’s solid ratings at least demonstrated they still have the ability to get audiences to check out their wares at least once a year. Indeed, nearly two dozen network shows pulled in more than 10 million viewers last week, even before DVR replays were added in — a particularly impressive stat when you realize a big cable hit such as Sons of Anarchy draws about 7.5 million viewers (with DVR replays).

Reasons to hope, reasons to cry. »

What Are the Stages of TV Grief? Your Pressing TV Questions, Answered

Welcome back to Stay Tuned, Vulture's TV advice column. Each Wednesday, Margaret Lyons will answer your questions about all of your television-adjacent issues and emotions. To submit your own questions, you can email staytuned@nymag.com, leave a comment, or tweet @margeincharge with the hashtag #staytuned.

My husband and I spent the last three years slowly going through all 11 seasons of Cheers and we are now sadly at the end. It was the perfect show for us to put on after watching some heavier episode of something like Breaking Bad, when we wanted to go to bed on a lighter note (like a palate cleanser). Now that we are done, do you recommend anything similar? Is Frasier worth it? —Claire

Three years! That is an incredible feat, to diligently catch up on a show for that long. »

The Opening Credits for American Horror Story: Freak Show Are Definitely Scary

Just in time for the beginning of Halloween season, American Horror Story: Freak Show's opening credits continue the show's tradition of keeping things very scary upfront. Everything's here: evil clowns, creepy dolls, a moment of incest (!), and the awful, awful sound of balloons being twisted into what is likely the scariest balloon animal in existence.

How to See Ben Affleck’s Penis in Gone Girl

David Fincher’s marital thriller Gone Girl offers up a twisty game of “he said, she said,” a series of shifting alliances, and one memorably stunning reveal … and yes, this entire sentence was about the internet furor over Ben Affleck’s penis. Some people (including Affleck himself!) think the Oscar winner’s dong makes a surprise appearance in the film, but some other people are like, “Wait, I didn’t see a penis, was there even any nudity, was Ben Affleck in this film, did I accidentally see The Boxtrolls instead?” Those people are nice people — maybe even your friends, family, or co-workers — but they are also wrong people. Ben Affleck’s penis is in Gone Girl, and I will make like Detective Boney and prove it to you by explaining exactly under what conditions it can be spotted. (Detective Boney is the name of a crucial character in Gone Girl. It is not another one of my bad dick jokes.)

Here is a step-by-step guide. »

8 Books You Need to Read This October

Each month, Boris Kachka will offer nonfiction and fiction book recommendations, and you should read as many of them as possible.

In a landscape littered with rock stars’ literary larks, the Mountain Goats front man stands out. »

24 Outrageous Prince Stories

Prince is one of those rare and wonderful humans who's surrounded by so much mystery and lore that you're willing to believe almost anything you hear about him. Prince had doves sing backup on one of his albums? Sure. Prince doesn't believe in time? Time is an illusion, anyway.

Read More  »

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