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The Least Essential Tracks From 20 Now That’s What I Call Music! Albums

Since 1998, Epic has been pumping out the Now That’s What I Call Music! compilations of the biggest pop hits of the moment … and at least one song you skip past and immediately forget. Forecasting pop hits is hard, so it makes sense that there would always be one non-hit, a second single from what turned out to be a one-hit wonder, a comeback that failed to come together, a Next Big Thing That Didn’t Pan Out. Pop history is written by the winners, but this week’s installment of Somewhere in Time will be all about the losers. So let’s hop in my DeLorean GIF as I revisit each installment in the Now! series and pick out the least significant track on each one. We may unearth a pleasant, faded memory! Or we may spend some time with Aaron Carter. Time will tell.

Also discussed: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Robbie Williams, and Fefe Dobson. »

Allora and Calzadilla’s Fault Lines Borders on Plagiarism

After their atrocious 2012 Venice Biennale U.S. Pavilion — it included an upturned tank with a jogger atop, full-size wood reproductions of business-class airline seats with U.S. Olympic gymnasts doing tricks on them (ruining their feet on the terrazzo floor), and some sort of idiotic cash machine in a pipe organ (I think) — Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla have a lot to answer for. But the curatorial-darling duo’s current Gladstone show only alleviates those past bad judgments a little.

Fault Lines consists of ten large stone “sculptures,” all arranged tastefully about the spacious gallery. »

  • Posted 9/19/14 at 2:20 PM
  • Music

Dr. Dre’s Detox Is Not Called That Anymore

If you picked "Never" in your "When will Dr. Dre's Detox be released?" office pool, get ready to collect your winnings on a technicality: Dre is not going to put out an album by that name ... but only because he's chosen a different name. As producer Tayshaun Parker, who's working on the album, told the Shots Fired podcast, Dre abandoned the Detox title "a couple of years ago," possibly around the time of the 2008 Vulture post "Dr. Dre's Detox Finally Coming Out."

  • Posted 9/19/14 at 2:18 PM
  • Tv

There Are Just So Many Things Wrong With the New York Times’ Shonda Rhimes Article

New York Times television critic Alessandra Stanley has a long history of being wrong about a great many things. But her newest article, an ostensible paean to Shonda Rhimes, is inaccurate, tone-deaf, muddled, and racist. "Wrought in Their Creator’s Image: Viola Davis Plays Shonda Rhimes’s Latest Tough Heroine" is a mess. Let's take a look.

Good lord. »

  • Posted 9/19/14 at 2:15 PM

From Tracks to Lord of the Rings: Who’s Walked the Farthest in Movies?

Every so often, in a bizarre coincidence of release date timing, two movies that seem remarkably similar will arrive in theaters at the same time. Remember how Paul Blart and Observe and Report turned early 2009 into the year of the mall cop? It’s happening again this fall with Tracks, in which Mia Wasikowska treks 1,700 miles across the Australian outback, and Wild, in which Reese Witherspoon treks 1,100 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. These, of course, are not the first films to tag along with those traveling on foot. Nor are they the most ambitious. Even with an average distance walked of 1,400 miles, Wasikowska and Witherspoon aren’t among film history's top five when it comes to distance traveled using nothing but legs and feet. Here’s our list of Hollywood’s longest walkers:

Read More  »

Robert Forster on Sci-fi, Lucky Breaks, and Better Call Saul

Robert Forster knows a thing or two about reincarnation. The 73-year-old character actor has reinvented himself more than once, most notably with his Oscar-nominated 1997 role as bail bondsman Max Cherry in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown. Now he’s occupying a new body, as the shadowy hit man Frank Shepherd on the life-after-death sci-fi mystery Intruders, which BBC America is showcasing tomorrow from 4 to 8 p.m. with a marathon of the show’s first four episodes, leading up to the new episode featuring Forster at 10 p.m. “When I was 9 or 10 years old, I was sure reincarnation was how life progressed,” Forster says. “Why waste a whole life on one person if you don’t get another one? I haven’t been at all sure about the subject matter since.” Forster is sure about a few other things, however, like the fact that his legendary Breaking Bad character, the Disappearer, will return in the AMC spinoff Better Call Saul, as he exclusively revealed to Vulture in this wide-ranging chat.

“Suddenly people start pointing and saying, ‘Hey, how ya doin’?’ What a thrill at this point in my career!” »

5 Tips for Tina Fey on Becoming a Movie Star

The movies need Tina Fey more than she needs the movies, but when it comes to big-screen projects, Hollywood hasn't given the Emmy-winning 30 Rock star much to work with. Last year, as her sitcom went off the air, Fey starred in the wan romantic comedy Admission, and she followed that up this spring with a Russian-baddie turn in the underperforming Muppets sequel. On paper, her participation in this weekend's star-studded family dramedy This Is Where I Leave You might have seemed like a better bet; in actuality, though, the poorly reviewed film is getting clobbered on Rotten Tomatoes by a YA adaptation and the latest Liam Neeson action movie. Why hasn't Tina Fey's transition to the big screen gone as well as it could (and should)? Here are five tips for Fey that might turn her movie career around.

Write that follow-up to Mean Girls! »

A Comprehensive History of Jay Z and Beyoncé’s Relationship

This article originally ran on July 23, 2014. We are reposting it in anticipation of Saturday's HBO On the Run Concert.

With divorce rumors swirling around Jay Z and Beyoncé, it looks like the unthinkable might actually happen: Everybody’s favorite powerhouse duo may be headed for splitsville. Then again, it’s always been hard to tell what’s going on with the Carters. From the very start of their relationship, the two have been remarkably cryptic about their private life, managing to keep their most intimate aspects of their life sealed away despite being one of the world’s most talked-about couples. In honor of the epic saga that is Bey and Jay, Vulture takes a look back at the musical icons’ entertaining history together, beginning when she was Destiny’s Child’s front woman and Jay Z still had his hyphen, and charting their many collaborations (e.g., "Bonnie and Clyde," "Drunk in Love"), the birth of Blue, the infamous elevator video, and onward, toward their now-uncertain future.

Read More  »

  • Posted 9/19/14 at 1:05 PM

Buildings Aren’t Usually Funny. Filip Dujardin's Are — and Here’s Why.

The concept of the architectural folly is an old one. On English estates and in French gardens, landowners would occasionally put up an eccentric outbuilding that existed mostly for its looks. Most follies are overdone, wildly decorated, even ridiculous; one of the most famous is a hothouse that looks like a pineapple. In 20th-century America, they're echoed in the seemingly unserious buildings the architect Robert Venturi is known for taking seriously, like the L.A. hot-dog stand shaped like a giant hot dog, or Long Island's Big Duck.

Taking that idea into the digital realm. »

  • Posted 9/19/14 at 1:00 PM
  • Primers

Here’s What You Need to Know About The Maze Runner Before You See It

In the opening scene of The Maze Runner, our uniquely special protagonist Thomas wakes up on a zooming elevator with his mind wiped clean of memories. Understandably, he's pretty freaked out, and every time he asks one of the other boys what's going on, they just reply, "I don't know." The disorientation isn't necessarily bad, though: Our critic Bilge Ebiri wrote, "Not knowing anything about The Maze Runner... isn’t a bad way to see The Maze Runner." But for those of you who like to know what's in the pie before you eat it, I took the liberty of reading The Maze Runner, its prequel The Kill Order, and watching the movie to give you the lowdown on what to expect. (Mild spoilers in the service of trying to figure out what the hell is going on.)

Why is there only one girl? »

  • Posted 9/19/14 at 12:48 PM
  • Tv

CBS Is Making a New Version of Supergirl

CBS is joining the superhero arms race: The Eye network has commissioned Supergirl, partnering with producers Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Mysteries of Laura), Ali Adler (Chuck, Glee), and Sarah Schechter for a new take on the DC Comics character. Word of the project first leaked out a few weeks ago, with DC and Warner Bros. TV then pitching the idea to various networks around Hollywood. CBS landed it after agreeing to a so-called series commitment, which means the network will have to pay Warners a massive financial penalty if it opts to back out of Supergirl (This makes it very likely the show will end up on the air, though nothing’s ever for sure at CBS, as the producers of How I Met Your Dad can attest). 

All five English-language broadcast networks now have comic book-inspired projects on their rosters. »

14 TV and Movie Characters Whom Wilco Helped Grow Up

When we call Jeff Tweedy and Wilco "dad rock," we're speaking both literally — Tweedy's new album Sukirae features his son Spencer on drums — and figuratively. The music of Wilco has long been the reigning sound of "maturity" in pop culture, soundtracking the moments when countless fictional children and man-children had to learn to grow up and embrace responsibility. 

Read More  »

20,000 Days on Earth Is an Enthralling Journey Through the World of Rocker Nick Cave

What the heck do we call this one? British visual artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s film portrait of Australian rocker Nick Cave isn’t really a documentary; it’s too staged and composed, and too crazy, for that. It’s certainly not a concert movie; there’s surprisingly little music in it. It’s not fiction, either; not really. And yet I’m also hesitant to call it nonfiction — the obvious choice – because so much of it feels like a projection of Cave’s own rock-star persona. We’re not getting the real Nick Cave in this movie, but nobody’s really pretending we are.

20,000 Days on Earth is at its best when it lets others talk. »

  • Posted 9/19/14 at 11:45 AM
  • Books

Alison Bechdel: Winning a Genius Grant ‘Kicks Me Out of the League of Being an Everyday Schlub’

On Wednesday, Alison Bechdel became only the second graphic book writer to win a MacArthur “Genius” grant — worth $625,000 and a lifetime of bragging. Her graphic memoirs, Fun Home and Are You My Mother?, turned her tortured family history — she had OCD and liked girls, her mother showed little affection, her closeted father likely killed himself — into multidimensional art. Erudite and beautiful, they demonstrated just how intelligent and uncompromising comics (and coming-out memoirs) could be. We caught up with her via Skype yesterday in Italy, where she’s on a six-week artist’s residency, to talk about the big prize, her next work, and the irresistible charms of Orange Is the New Black.

One of the great things about winning this is I can get more work done. I tend to get paid more to go out and talk about my work than I get paid to actually do my work. »

  • Posted 9/19/14 at 11:30 AM
  • Tv

How I Met Your Mother Finally Explained ‘The Pineapple Incident’

It was the longest of all of HIMYM's long-running mysteries: How did that pineapple end up on Ted Mosby's bedside table in season one's "The Pineapple Incident"? As a new deleted scene from the show's last season reveals, like seemingly everything in HIMYM's later seasons, the solution revolves around the Captain.

Season nine's "Daisy" saw the show trying to answer as many of its lingering mysteries as possible. »

Which You’re the Worst Character Was the Worst in Season 1?

You’re the Worst — the FX comedy that wrapped up its stealthily fantastic first season last night — is replete with selfish sometimes-sociopaths who all, to varying degrees, do horrible things to each other and themselves. In an effort to put my power-ranking skills to good use during the Pretty Little Liars off-season, I have conducted a thorough investigation of everyone and everything that could potentially be the worst in the series and offer the results below. Of course, since there is an inverse relationship between how terrible these characters are at heart and how amazing they are to watch in action, this is also a ranking of the best things about You’re the Worst, arranged from least worst to the actual worst.

On You’re the Worst, the worst characters and things are also the best. »

Where Would Liam Neeson Hide a Body?

Liam Neeson’s "very specific set of skills" usually finds him killing bad guys, drug dealers, and anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path. But in his latest film, A Walk Among the Tombstones, Neeson’s working with drug dealers to keep the body count low. So Vulture caught up with the cast and fellow celebrities at the screening of Universal Pictures' A Walk Among the Tombstones hosted by the Cinema Society, and asked them: If they had to hide a body, where would they dispose it? Their answers:

"I’ve never been asked something like that. I guess dismemberment might be the way to go?" »

TV Review: CBS’s Madam Secretary Can’t Decide Whether It Wants to Be The West Wing or Scandal

In the not great but likable and intelligent Madam Secretary, Téa Leoni’s talent gets a deserving showcase. Throughout the early part of her career, the actress had a knack for playing kooks, and did so brilliantly, most notably on the 1995–98 NBC sitcom The Naked Truth, her most recent starring TV role. This CBS drama about Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA agent and college professor tapped to be secretary of state, gives her a vehicle comparable to Julianna Margulies’s in The Good Wife (only in the sense that she’s asked to act as the calm eye at the center of a storm of more colorful supporting players). Here, Leoni is mostly called on to project empathy, experience, and tactical smarts: to go full Margulies, as it were.

A good part of the pilot is about watching Elizabeth learning to function in the West Wing. »

  • Posted 9/19/14 at 10:10 AM
  • Primer

One Very Important Thing Is Missing From the New Cosby Biography: A Timeline of the Abuse Charges

Thirty years ago this weekend, The Cosby Show debuted on NBC, and its star was catapulted into the comedic stratosphere. The timing is prime, then, for the release of a sprawling biography. Written by former Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker, Cosby: His Life and Times documents the man’s rise from the Philadelphia projects, while also detailing the creation of his family sitcom and the murder of his son Ennis in 1997.

The book is notable, however, for its complete avoidance of sexual abuse allegations that have dogged Cosby for more than a decade. In a statement to Buzzfeed's Kate Aurthur, Whitaker says, "I didn’t want to print allegations that I couldn’t confirm independently." Regardless, their absence is glaring. Consider the following timeline an appendix to the book.

"Tamara Green, a lawyer, alleges that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in the 1970s." »

  • Posted 9/19/14 at 9:50 AM
  • Music

Listen to Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury’s Unreleased Early ’80s Duet

Before their untimely deaths, Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury recorded some songs together, as musicians often do. The songs were never released but became a popular bootleg for fans. (You used to be able to find them on YouTube, but now all those videos have been deleted!) The living members of Queen decided to clean the songs up and sell them as real music. Why leave money on the table? This one's called "There Must Be More to Life Than This," and the rest are coming soon.

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