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  • Posted 9/30/16 at 12:31 PM

What to Read Before Season Three of The Flash

The Flash has never been the kind of show that rigidly sticks to the canon of its titular hero. But with the third season premiering October 4, now is the best time to brush up on your comics history, especially since season three has found inspiration for the crux of its arc from one of the most pivotal, inventive story arcs from DC’s recent history — Flashpoint. Written by Geoff Johns, the president of DC Comics who has become an important architect for its extended universe, Flashpoint involves a lot of characters and themes that may veer a bit too dark for the overall optimistic universe of The Flash. But it holds many important clues for what exactly the consequences will be for Barry Allen, due to his selfish decision to travel back in time and save his mother — the same reason that kickstarted the events in the comic arc.

But Flashpoint isn’t the only comic from the Flash’s history that is worth checking out in anticipation of season three. With Wally West as the Flash this season and more obscure villains like Savitar joining the fold, now is the perfect time to dig into the bonkers history of the Fastest Man Alive. Some of these may be tricky to track down if you’re looking for hard copies, and others, like Mark Waid’s Born to Run line, are being rereleased in the very near future, likely due to the success of the show. So your best bet is to buy them digitally.

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Ungrateful Justin Theroux Thought His Sweatpants on The Leftovers Were ‘Mortifying’

While viewers of The Leftovers were uplifted by the sight of Justin Theroux jogging in sweatpants so many moons ago, the actor himself felt like he was hung out to dry by his wardrobe. "I don't want to say objectified, but it was embarrassing," Theroux outlined to Elle. "It's like having someone yank your shorts down in public. It doesn't feel great. Anyone who has an unflattering picture taken of them would probably say, 'Join the club.'" The interviewer suggested that it wasn't "unflattering," but Theroux stood firm: "It has the appearance of a compliment, but it's more mortifying than anything else." He's not horsing around!

The Late Show’s Rappin’ Cartoon Hillary Clinton Just Wants to Hang With Millennials

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert debuted rappin’ cartoon Hillary Clinton last night, both a cringeworthy parody of Clinton’s attempts to seem hip and with-it to young people, and a bone-chilling reminder that being hip and with-it might have potentially swayed voters more than, say, environmental-protection policies or a strategy for alleviating student-loan debt. Hopefully the youth of today will adjudicate Clinton slightly more bae than Donald Trump, who is deeply and irrevocably not bae. Neither of them as nearly as bae as Venmo, but for the love of God, let's keep the candidates in bae-spective here.

That Luke Cage Basketball Scene? Simone Missick Hit All the Shots Herself.

You know that old line about Ginger Rogers having to do everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels? One is reminded of it during the second episode of Marvel’s Luke Cage, when hero cop Misty Knight manages to own a bunch of dudes on a basketball court and sink some improbable shots, all while wearing a pantsuit and, yes, heels. You’d be forgiven for assuming actor Simone Missick had a professional ballplayer stand in for her — indeed, that’s what the studio intended to have happen. But Missick tells Vulture it was all her.

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The Best TV Couple of the Past 30 Years, Round One: Luke and Lorelai vs. Maddie and David

For the next three weeks, Vulture is holding its annual pop-culture bracket. In 2015, we battled it out for the best high-school TV show; this year, we're determining the greatest couple on television in the past 30 years. Each day, a different writer will be charged with picking the winner of a round of the bracket, until New York Magazine TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz judges the finals, on October 14. Today's round will decide whether Gilmore Girls' Luke and Lorelai or Moonlighting's Maddie and David move on to the next round. After you read, be sure to visit Vulture's Facebook page to vote on which couple you think should advance.

Gilmore Girls' Luke (Scott Patterson) and Lorelai (Lauren Graham) followed the socially compliant and sensible narrative of becoming friends, relying on each other, overcoming obstacles, and falling in love. Moonlighting's David (Bruce Willis) and Maddie (Cybill Shepherd) followed the most unwise path of fighting with relentless creativity (to the point where the show's scripts ran far longer than a typical hour-long drama), smoldering occasionally, and eventually falling on top of each other in the middle of an argument. One relationship was based on warm banter; the other was based on verbal warfare, mistrust, and insults.

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Stephen Glover on Writing Atlanta’s Black Justin Bieber: ‘Are We Crazy for Doing This?’

As a show about a trio of black men just trying to survive, FX's Atlanta hasn't shied away from taking risks in its first season. With its fifth episode, "Nobody Beats the Biebs," which aired this week, the already-groundbreaking show pushed the boundaries even further by constructing an episode around a racebent Justin Bieber. Specifically, a black Bieber. That parody has since become a meme — as most things involving the Biebs do — but it's also being discussed as the pinnacle of showrunner Donald Glover's canon. Interestingly, "Black Bieber" was largely the brainchild of Donald's younger brother, Stephen Glover (not to be confused with Steve-O), who wrote this and several of Atlanta's best episodes so far. (Those poignant jail scenes in episode two? All Stephen's writing.) Calling from his Atlanta number, Glover spoke with Vulture about writing Black Bieber, how even FX didn't quite get it, being a first-time TV writer, and why he thought Atlanta would get canceled.

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Luke Cage’s Breakout Star Simone Missick on Playing Misty Knight, the Politics of the Show, and Improv On Set

There’s a lot of great acting on Netflix’s latest Marvel show Luke Cage. While there is a lot of buzz about Mike Colter returning to the role he debuted on Jessica Jones, and Mahershala Ali’s fascinating turn as the villain Cottonmouth, there is one actor who steals nearly every scene she’s in: Simone Missick, in a star-making turn as the dynamic, tough, and highly intelligent detective Misty Knight. Primarily known to comic readers as a private detective with a bionic arm thanks to Tony Stark, Luke Cage shows Misty before then. She’s a deeply dedicated cop navigating a world full of cutthroat criminals and bulletproof men. We spoke to Missick about the politics of Luke Cage, black history, and improv on set.

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Daniel Craig Is ‘Absolutely’ the First Choice for the James Bond Producers, Who Seem to Think He’s Just Negging Them

In bad news for Tom Hiddleston and all other handsome British actors ages 18 to 34, the producers of the James Bond films can't get over Daniel Craig. Speaking with the BBC (via Variety), Callum McDougall, an executive producer on the last four Bond films, said that Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who run Bond production company Eon Productions, still view Craig as a "first choice" for future installments. "I wish I knew," he said when asked if Craig would return. "We love Daniel. We would love Daniel to return as Bond. Without any question he is absolutely Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli’s first choice. I know they’re hoping for him to come back." Daniel Craig, on the other hand, has said that he'd rather "break this glass and slash my wrists" than return to the franchise. When reached for comment on the latest developments, Craig responded, "New phone, who's this?"

What We Do in the Shadows Is Getting a TV Spinoff, So Start Putting Newspaper Down Over the Carpet Now

If Taika Waititi’s 2014 mockumentary is to be believed, you can’t walk between lamp posts in New Zealand without running into a socially inept vampire or an extremely considerate werewolf. So it’s good the Thor 3 director’s What We Do in the Shadows is getting its own TV spinoff, for the sake of the human population. Created by Waititi and Shadows co-star Jemaine Clement, Paranormal Event Response Unit will follow guileless Shadows police officers Karen and Mike as they attempt to monitor and control supernatural creatures in the New Zealand capital, Wellington. So, if you're lucky, it's basically Ghostbusters, minus the ghosts and with 400 percent more geysers of blood.

Star Trek Cast and Crew Warn Voting for Trump Would Go Against All Trekkie Principles

Set phasers to vote for Hillary Clinton. The cast and crew of Star Trek have signed an open letter endorsing Hillary Clinton for president and denouncing the candidacy of Donald Trump. Star Trek cast and crew members from the current movie franchise including J.J. Abrams, Justin Lin, Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, and John Cho joined Trekkies from the past like Kate Mulgrew, George Takei, and family members of the deceased Leonard Nimoy and creator Gene Roddenberry to urge people to vote for Clinton over Trump or even a third-party candidate. (The Borg-eyed among you will note that there are some notable absences including William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, and Avery Brooks.) In a Facebook group called "Trek Against Trump" they write:

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How Luke Cage Went from Cutting Edge to Caricature, and Then Back Again

It wasn't too long ago that Luke Cage, Marvel's heavily muscled, no-nonsense bruiser of a superhero, existed mainly as a punch line. Existing in the margins of the Marvel universe, many years removed from his own standalone title, the character at the turn of the millennium was a far cry from what he had been at the time of his creation in the early 1970s, when the blaxploitation phenomenon was at its zenith. He was something rare and revolutionary back then, an African-American man who was no one’s sidekick, starring in his own monthly series. Comics writer David F. Walker, who works on Marvel's current Luke Cage title Power Man & Iron Fist, remembers how exciting it was to be a black adolescent digging into those early, jaw-breaking adventures. “He was this big, black character who was just bringing it,” he recalls. “He was a dude we all knew: the baddest guy on the block.”

But as of early 2001, Luke had disappeared from the spotlight. He was regarded as a jive-talking relic of a long-gone era, a piece of intellectual property who hardly popped up in Marvel’s pages and certainly couldn’t sustain a starring role anywhere. For Walker and other readers of his generation, Luke was a fond but fading memory. Then, Walker received an unexpected recommendation.

“Someone told me, ‘If you like Luke Cage, you’ve gotta check out this book, Alias, because there’s this guy Brian Michael Bendis, who’s doing some crazy stuff with him.” Walker followed his friend’s advice and picked up an issue. There was Luke, still big and black, but somehow transformed. He wasn’t the star of the series, but he was the most prominent member of the supporting cast. He felt like Luke Cage, but a fresh and charismatic Luke Cage for a new century.

When viewers fire up Netflix’s original series Marvel’s Luke Cage today, they won’t see Luke as he was for the first three decades of his existence. They’ll see the one Walker discovered in the early aughts. The show owes its existence to an idiosyncratic, once-in-a-lifetime constellation of creative factors: a publishing house in the midst of a chaotic and foul-mouthed new era; a doughy Jewish guy named Bendis who had an unusual idea; and, bizarrely enough, the comedy of Damon Wayans. Soon, Luke became a star again, and his rocky and abrupt overhaul became one of the most successful reinventions in superhero fiction’s 78-year history.

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  • Posted 9/30/16 at 11:10 AM
  • Delays

Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote Delayed As God Smites Filmmaker Yet Again

The years-long Sisyphean ordeal that is Terry Gilliam's struggle to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote continued this week, as the director revealed that his latest attempt to get the film off the ground has been delayed due to a financing problem. "I was supposed to start to be shooting it starting next Monday. It’s been slightly delayed," Gilliam told Jonathan Ross Thursday night. "I had this producer, a Portuguese chap, who claimed he’d get all the money together in time. And a few weeks ago, he proved that he didn’t have the money." The director has been trying to make the film since the late 1990s, first with Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort (a failed attempt depicted in the documentary Lost in La Mancha), then with Ewan McGegor and Robert Duvall, and now with Adam Driver and Michael Palin. Still, Gilliam vows the movie will get made: "We are still marching forward. It is not dead. I will be dead before the film is."

FX Orders a First Season of Snowfall, a TV Series Set During the Crack-Cocaine Epidemic in 1980s L.A.

For those who enjoy the period trappings of The Get Down but wish it had the despairing verisimilitude of The Wire, FX has you covered. The network has ordered Snowfall, a period drama set during the early days of the 1980s crack-cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles, to series. The series centers on Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), a young street entrepreneur on a quest for power; Gustavo Zapata (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), a Mexican wrestler who's in the midst of a crime family's power struggle; Teddy McDonald (Carter Hudson), a CIA operative with a dark past who begins an off-book operation to fund the Nicaraguan Contras; and Luica Villanueva (Emily Rios), the self-possessed daughter of a Mexican crime lord. Dave Andron (Justified, Knight Rider) will be the showrunner and executive-produce the series, alongside a murderers' row of other executive producers: Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing, The Americans), John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood, Four Brothers, 2 Fast 2 Furious), Eric Amadio (After Sex, Stuntmen), Michael London (Sideways, House of Sand and Fog), and Trevor Engelson (Remember Me, All About Steve). Snowfall's ten-episode first season will debut in 2017.

  • Posted 9/30/16 at 10:58 AM
  • Jokes

Watch Zach Galifianakis and Kate McKinnon’s Sublime Physical Comedy in Masterminds

If you've listened to much WTF lately, you know that Marc Maron seems really into talking about physical comedy right now. As a comedian who, for the most part, sits onstage, he marvels at the people who just have the magical knack for it. If you want to see an example of that magic at work, watch this Zach Galifianakis and Kate McKinnon wedding photo scene from Masterminds. They are so good, and so funny, and they basically aren't even moving.

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Your Guide to 8 of the Most Exciting Movies at the New York Film Festival

While it doesn't have the glitz of Venice, the breadth of Toronto, or the Cannesiness of Cannes, the New York Film Festival is still a heavy-hitting stop in the fall-prestige cycle. In addition to a few major fall releases that have already screened in the United States — including Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea, Kelly Reichardt's Certain Women, and Barry Jenkins's Moonlight — the slate includes the U.S. premieres of some big-time movies, as well as two major worldwide debuts. Here are the highlights.

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American Honey Captivates With Its Amateur Actors (and a Remarkable Shia LaBeouf)

The vérité nonfiction director arrives on the scene as a visitor, allowing the subjects to determine the action, while the fiction director maps out parameters and shapes a story line. In the work of the British-born filmmaker Andrea Arnold, the two types of directing merge. Unprofessional actors anchor her projects. She discovered the leading lady of Fish Tank on a train platform screaming at an uncooperative boyfriend. She found the central actress, Sasha Lane, of her new film, American Honey, on a beach. This stuff makes a great publicity hook, but think of the risk of putting a film in the hands of untested performers and functioning in part as an observer on one’s own movie. In this case (as in Fish Tank), the payoff is so huge you feel the medium is expanding before your eyes.

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Lorne Michaels Says It Was Tina Fey’s Idea to Make Alec Baldwin SNL’s New Donald Trump

To be fair, once you work with Alec Baldwin, you probably suggest him for everything: “Oh, you need someone to play Chewbacca Mom? To KonMari your apartment? To father your child? Get Alec to do it.” In a new Hollywood Reporter interview, Lorne Michaels reveals that it was Tina Fey who suggested Alec Baldwin take over for Darrell Hammond as  Saturday Night Live's Donald Trump. "We were talking about who should do it. And she said, 'Well, the person that should really play it is Alec.' And I went, 'Yeah.' A light went on," he says. Despite a recent film commitment and the birth of his son Leo, the erstwhile 30 Rock star was game for the role. Says Michaels, “There were a lot of obstacles in the way to working it out. But I just thought he’d be brilliant doing it and I thought he and Kate [McKinnon, who plays Hillary Clinton] would be a match.” While other late-night shows are grappling with the social ramifications of a Trump candidacy, the SNL creator has no regrets about having the former Apprentice star host the show last November, a move some have claimed normalized Trump to voters. “I don’t want to rehash those things. He is the nominee of the Republican Party. We’ve always tried to be non-partisan. I think that he’s one of the most controversial candidates that’s ever happened. But you’ll see what we do this week,” Michaels said, hopefully alluding to a down-and-out street fight between the real Donald Trump and an enraged Baldwin in a guinea-pig wig.

4 Things Westworld Will Remind of You of (and One Thing It Won’t)

It’s a show that has ample helpings of its own distinct appeal and particular rhythms, but HBO’s Westworld is also a series that feels like it’s layered with familiar influences and previous stories. Some of that has to do with its style — it’s a big HBO Western full of saloons and cowboy hats and dust, and there are elements of that which will ping some dim recognition for longtime HBO viewers regardless of anything else in the show. But there are also familiar flavors in Westworld that will have important storytelling ramifications, and reveal potential pitfalls, for the long-term success of the series.

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Will Westworld Be the Big Win HBO Needs?

Sunday’s Westworld premiere is more than the launch of HBO’s latest big-budget drama series. The J.J. Abrams–produced sci-fi thriller arrives after what’s been a decidedly messy couple of years for the network. Even as profits have remained high and its subscriber base growing, a handful of high-profile creative failures (Vinyl, The Brink, season two of True Detective) and commercial disappointments (The Leftovers, Looking, Togetherness) —  coupled with the departure of veteran programming chief Michael Lombardo — have resulted in much media hand-wringing over “a network at the crossroads” that’s struggling with a “creative recession” and ferocious competition from rivals new (Netflix, Amazon) and old (Showtime, Starz). Overblown or not, the recent narrative surrounding HBO has not been kind. And that’s why Westworld is so important: If early positive reviews translate into decent ratings and online chatter, the network may get a much-needed opportunity to hit the reset button.

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Bruce Springsteen Signed a Fifth-Grader’s Absence Note So He Wouldn’t Get in Trouble

When Philadelphia fifth-grader Michael Fenerty missed school on Thursday to attend a meet-and-greet with Bruce Springsteen, he came prepared: According to Philly.com, Fenerty and his dad smuggled an absence note into Springsteen's appearance at the city's Central Library, asking his principal to please excuse him for missing class. As a friend to the downtrodden and vulnerable, Springsteen gladly signed the slip. "He said, 'I have to read it first, that's how I got in trouble with my first contract,'" Fenerty's father recalled. "He said, 'I hope you don't get in trouble.' My son was very starstruck — it was a very cool experience." Bruuuuuuuuce!

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