Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Here are some things to read while you’re digesting stuffing and look at sale ads online…
On the 16th, Rebecca Keegan gave readers the scoop on the Popular-Oscar mess for Vanity Fair:
“Though the announcement caught the wider Academy by surprise, the notion of an award somehow linked to the general public followed years of dialogue and research within the organization about how to broaden its audience, a topic that took on a new urgency after record-low ratings for the March telecast, where Fox Searchlight’s ‘The Shape of Water’ took the best-picture prize. Viewership for awards shows of all types are down, and the Oscars remain, effectively, the most dominant in a shrinking group. While high compared with, say, this year’s Emmys, which drew just over 10 million people, the 26.5 million viewers who watched the 2018 Oscars live represented a 19 percent decline from 2017, and a 39 percent drop from the show’s recent height in 2014, when popular studio films like ‘Gravity’ and ‘American Hustle’ were in the best-picture race.”
On the 20th, Simon Abrams interviewed Mystery Science Theater 3000 hosts Joel Hodgson and Jonah Ray in honor of the show’s 30th anniversary for the New York Times:
“A schlub and some robots riffing on bad movies didn’t necessarily sound like a recipe for longevity when ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ debuted on Minneapolis-St. Paul’s KTMA in 1988.
But 30 years later, that ingenious B-movie spoof is still going strong, with its latest season set to arrive on Netflix on Thursday. Affection for ‘MST3K,’ as fans know it, remains sufficiently robust to support a 29-city live tour featuring Joel Hodgson, the creator and original host, and Jonah Ray, the current host. The Netflix version, which debuted last year, updates the classic ‘MST3K’ formula, following the happy-go-lucky movie buff Jonah Heston (Ray) and his two robot puppet companions, Tom Servo (Baron Vaughn) and Crow T. Robot (Hampton Yount), as they riff on campy older films.”
Sonia Rao at The Washington Post discussed the things Twilight has given us in the 10 years since it’s release, on the 21st:
“Nothing reminds us of our mortality quite like the rapid passage of time, especially when regarding the anniversary of a pop-culture phenomenon — in this case, the moment tweens and teens became even more obsessed with a certain set of brooding immortals. Wednesday marks a full decade since the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s ‘Twilight’ hit theaters, launching a multibillion-dollar vampire movie franchise and practically flinging its stars into the spotlight.”
On the 22nd, Justine Smith made a case for Mark Ruffalo as a “stealth sex symbol” on Fandor:
“He did full frontal nudity as the mysterious and dangerous cop in ‘Into the Cut,’ Jane Campion’s 2003 dreamy erotic thriller. Campion, who has also cast actors like John Malkovich and Harvey Keitel as sex objects, has an innate understanding that a male executive’s idea of sex appeal often has little reference to the reality of what most women (or gay men) find sexy. Ruffalo is twitchy, insistent, and mustached in In the Cut and it is one of the sexiest performances committed to film. It’s not just his physical essence, but his gaze, which is a mirror to how women want to be seen. The power in Mark Ruffalo’s acting is rarely in what he says or how he says it, but how he commands his point of view.”
Morgan Enos over at Billboard ranked every song on The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society from worst to best on the 22nd:
“For their sixth album, frontman Ray Davies was determined to dig deeper into his roots, writing about a rapidly changing England through a personal lens. And guitarist Dave Davies, bassist Pete Quaife and drummer Mick Avory stretched out from their garage-rock beginnings, exploring a myriad of 20th century forms in the process.
The Kinks began as the quintessential British Invasion rockers — with a few twists. For garage-R&B singles ‘You Really Got Me’ and ‘All Day and All of the Night,’ Ray’s younger brother, Dave, achieved a rattling, overdriven sound by slicing the speaker cone of his amplifier with a knife. ”
Also on the 22nd, Stephanie Webber ranked all of the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends for Us Weekly:
“The one with the turkey! The ‘Friends’ gang is known for its messy Thanksgivings — secrets come out, Chandler’s bad childhood memories resurface and Joey eats way too much meat.
The NBC series, which ran for 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004, included plenty of football and famous guest stars in its holiday episodes. (Ahem, Brad Pitt!) Here, Us Weekly ranks the beloved show’s 10 Thanksgiving episodes from worst to best and even built the ultimate ‘Friends’ mashup for your viewing pleasure…”
Finally, on the 22nd, uncredited author or authors, gave us a list of films that people forget take place on Thanksgiving over at Vogue:
“Whether you go home for Thanksgiving or camp out with your circle of friends, you’ll probably spend at least a couple of hours flipping through the channels or scrolling through Netflix looking for the perfect movie to get into the holiday spirit. While the brilliance of classics like ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,’ ‘Miracle on 34th Street,’ and ‘Trains, Planes & Automobiles’ should never be understated, it can often feel like you’re stuck in a vortex of movies you’ve seen before.
But fear not! We’ve gone through the vast, endless selections of movies available to watch on the web and on your TV and created a list of films that you’ve most likely forgotten were set on, around, or at the very least around the idea of Thanksgiving.”