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Winter Is Coming

‘Thrones’: Best Fantasy Show Ever

Don’t like fantasy shows? Get over it. Game of Thrones has transcended its genre to become one of the best dramas on TV. Season 4 starts Sunday. Here’s why you should tune in.

Breaking Bad unsettled me. Freaks and Geeks warmed my heart. The Sopranos floored me. True Detective made me think. Friday Night Lights made me swoon.

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Emilia Clarke in HBO's "Game of Thrones." (Macall B. Polay/HBO)

But of all my favorite series, none has made me as happy—week after week, episode after episode—as Game of Thrones. It is, simply put, the most pleasurable television show I’ve ever seen.

The editor who invented high/low media says the Vogue cover is no scandal but, on the eve of the Women in the World Summit, she has a few ideas about women who really are cool.

It was fun watching the festival of media umbrage over April’s Vogue cover—you know, that Annie Leibovitz portrait of a sloe-eyed Kim Kardashian in a white ruched wedding bustier, nuzzled by her equally spiffy baby daddy, Kanye West.

Cool Women

Getty

It’s not entirely clear why a fashion shot of the reigning queen of trash television—whose 2007 “leaked“ sex tape lifted her from the status of Paris Hilton’s B-list BFF to the star of her own little reality-TV empire—should prompt so much punditry bewailing the decline of Western civilization. True, Anna Wintour may have gone a little overboard when she celebrated Kim’s “courage” in her editor’s letter. But come on. The cover of Vogue is not exactly the Nobel Peace Prize, and Kim Kardashian isn’t exactly Pol Pot.

JUST KIDDING

Greatest April Fools Pranks

Behold! Here are the top six April Fools stunts of all time. (Got ya! There’s only five.) But really, these heroes of hilarity past put the oof in “spoof.”

Back in the more innocent, easily-duped days of 2004, I wrote a feature on a hot new trend called “gancing”, aka (guy-on-guy dancing) for the April issue of Stuff magazine, (RIP). The gist: heterosexual men, throughout the clubs of Manhattan were engaging in performance-art like choreography so as to garner the favor of the opposite, and totally impressed, sex. There was Birth (one dude squats and begins to squeal, while his buddy, with back on the ground, pretends to push himself through his “mother’s” mangina) and Bull, (the “matador” uses his cape as a coat while his toro partner fashions two empty beer bottles into horns and charges) to name two. Of course, the entire piece was less an exclusive and more a bold-faced lie. And as gratifying as it was to watch hundreds of media outlets report a made-up-fad as fact, (Jay Leno chided gancing on The Tonight Show, and Ryan Seacrest actually claimed he was a pioneer of the practice on his radio program).  I also realize that the whole idiotic enterprise doesn’t hold a candle to some of the more storied holiday scams of all time. Herein lie my five favorite from The Museum Of Hoaxes.

April Fools Day

The Daily Beast

Top 100 April Fools Pranks Of All Time…

Head-Scratcher

Why Did Halle’s Movie Disappear?

Halle Berry earned a Golden Globe nod in 2011 for her turn as a ‘70s go-go dancer battling with a white supremacist in her head. So why is ‘Frankie & Alice' only hitting theaters now?

Halle Berry was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2011 for the movie Frankie & Alice. You probably don’t remember the film itself, though, since you wouldn't have been able to see it. Frankie & Alice, shot way back in the winter of 2008, was never released in theaters—it only enjoyed a “qualifying run” for awards consideration on one screen in Los Angeles for one week. Why is this worth mentioning now? Well, because in a rare move, the film is being released this week by Codeblack Entertainment, a small offshoot of Lionsgate. And so far, it isn’t that clear what the hell took so long.

Frankie & Alice

Codeblack Films

The film, starring Oscar winner and X-Woman Berry and directed by Geoffrey Sax, tells the true tale of a 1970s Los Angeles go-go dancer named Frankie who suffers from dissociative identity disorder. And because truth is always more f*@!ed up than fiction, one of the personalities rolling around in her head is a white supremacist from Texas named Alice. (Now that’s what it means to battle demons.) After screening in Cannes in 2010, the film received some positive reviews, with The Hollywood Reporter even joking of its potential marketability with male viewers (Berry as stripper!) and female viewers (Berry as victim of mental disorder!) alike. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone also shared his approval, referring to Berry as “a mesmerizer who makes every moment count.”

It’s What’s For Dinner

What’s Next for ‘Walking Dead’

Put a little meat on the grill and people go crazy with speculation about cannibals. ‘Walking Dead’ showrunner Scott Gimple tells us that it’s total fair play—but Mary, the grill, and Terminus weren’t in the comics.

The Walking Dead’s showrunner, Scott M. Gimple, knows about your crazy Terminus cannibal theories—and he’s a little confused.

The Walking Dead

Gene Page/AMC

To hear Gimple tell it, the mysterious residents of Terminus—who opened fire at Rick’s group in Sunday night’s Season 4 finale and locked them in a cargo container—might just be … misunderstood? They’re “maybe not the worst guys in the world,” he says. (After all, main hero Rick Grimes is now the guy who bites people’s throats out.)

GOTTA HAVE FAITH

Why Christians Now Rule Hollywood

This Holy Week sees an unprecedented four faith-based films bringing in the box office bucks. Next up? God gets a star on the Hollywood walk of fame.

When last weekend’s box office numbers were revealed one superstar came out on top. It wasn’t Denzel Washington, Robert Downey, Jr. or any of the other usual names from Hollywood’s A-list. In fact, this A-lister did not even appear in any film credits at all, but may have just become Hollywood’s hottest commodity. The new power player: God, or more specifically God and his many Christian followers. For the first time, two Christian themed films appeared in two of the top box office slots.

Son of God

Casey Crafford/LightWorkers Media/Hearst

Russell Crowe’s Noah, inspired by the Bible story, was number one raking in a hefty $44 million. Its box office dominance inspired a flood (no pun intended) of pun-ny headlines, among them “Noah Floats, Sabotage Drowns” from Forbes. But what’s more shocking to Hollywood insiders is the appearance of Gods Not Dead on the box office power list. The fifth most popular film in America for the second week in a row tells the story of a Christian college student locked in a battle of wills against a professor who is an atheist. Despite a tiny budget and its lack of marquee stars (TV actors Kevin Sorbo and Dean Cain appear) the film has pulled in more than $20 million at the box office so far.

Blue French Horn

How I Met Your Meh

Ted ends his tale, but the kids look a little pissed off. It turns out the love story of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ wasn’t really about their mother. But we knew that.

If it feels like How I Met Your Mother has been airing for decades, that's because it has. Well, more like a year under one decade, but still. The first episode of the beloved sitcom hit the small screen in 2005, back when George W. Bush was still president and Miley Cyrus was still Hannah Montana. A lot has changed since 2005, but How I Met Your Mother is not one of those things.

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Ron P. Jaffe/Fox

The show has managed to stay true to its initial premise: one man sitting his children down and telling them the story of how he met their mother. The narrative arc of the story is relayed through flashbacks and narration, but the real draw of the series has always been the ensemble cast. Marshall, Lily, Barney, Robin, and Ted, with their eccentric personalities and never ending supply of elaborate inside jokes, made an entire nation of viewers want to quit their jobs and hang out in a bar all day with their own co-ed clique.

POW-ERFUL PICS

Chief Keef: The Neighbor from Hell

The teenage rapper who once got booted from Instagram for explicitly sexual content is back with a bang and causing ruckus in his quiet Chicago suburb.

When the rising rap star Chief Keef posted a photo of himself having oral sex in 2012, he was immediately booted off Instagram.

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via Instagram

Now, the 18-year-old Keef is back on the photo sharing web site positing photos of himself and a friend brandishing semi-automatic weapons in a ritzy marble bathroom.

LEGENDARY

A Primer on 'HIMYM’

How did Ted Mosby meet the mother of his children? After nine seasons on air, we’ll finally get some closure.

Someone once called How I Met Your Mother “the Lost of sitcoms.” That’s exactly it. Like the cult drama that drove us all crazy (a polar bear?!) HIMYM revolves around a series-long mystery, constant use of flashback and flashforwards, a comprehensive mythology, polarizing seasons towards the end of its run, and even time travel.

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER

Ron P. Jaffe/Fox

For diehards of the show, staying abreast of everything that happens to Ted and the gang is moderately difficult. For those who tune in for the first time to the series finale, is damn near impossible.

What Cannibals?

Bloody Bloody Andrew Lincoln

The star of ‘The Walking Dead’ talks to The Daily Beast about Terminus and how much he knows about the cannibals theory. Spoiler alert!

Andrew Lincoln is minutes away from finding out what happens at Terminus.

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Gene Page/AMC

The British actor, who plays former Atlanta police officer Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead, is just about to step into the writer’s room of the AMC zombie drama and get a “general sketch” of what’s going down in Season 5. (“It’s an incredibly exciting day,” he says.) Meanwhile, the rest of us are still reeling from the Season 4 finale that aired last night. “A” debuted the most vicious version of Rick Grimes we’ve ever seen, who’d rip through a man’s jugular with his bare teeth, then repeatedly stab a man to death for attacking his son.  Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Carl reunited with Glenn, Maggie, and the others at Terminus, but there was no “sanctuary” awaiting them there. With snipers’ rifles aimed at their heads, the group was herded into a cargo container and locked inside—which actually made Rick smile. “They’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out,” he says. “They’re screwing with the wrong people.” 

'Frozen' is now the highest-grossing animated film in history, earning $1.072 billion worldwide. Here’s how it happened.

Statistically speaking, Frozen is the best animated film. Ever.

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Disney

Buoyed by a strong debut in Japan, the movie is now the highest-grossing animated film in history, earning $1.072 billion worldwide. (That’s just more than Toy Story 3, which grossed $1.063 billion.) Here’s how it happened:

1) Inflation! In domestic sales it's still technically behind (in ascending order): Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Toy Story 3, Aladdin, Lady and the Tramp, Finding Nemo, Bambi, Pinocchio, Shrek 2, The Jungle Book, Fantasia, The Lion King, 101 Dalmatians, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

2) That being said, the film received excellent reviews and has an 89 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. The Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon was early on the Frozen bandwagon, anointing the flick “the best Disney film since The Lion King.” Melissa Leon agreed, saying that the film debunked outdated tropes like love at first sight and damsels in distress, slyly showing us how not to make a princess movie. The film won Oscars for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (more on this later) and a Golden Globe for Best Animated Film.

3) Hitting theaters on November 27, 2013, the film capitalized on the Thanksgiving box-office rush. It banked a Disney-record $67.4 million over the three-day weekend, and $93.9 million for the five-day holiday. These hauls shattered the previous Disney records, held by Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled, respectively. Big weekend, right?  Frozen didn’t even open at no.1 at the box office. It was second, behind The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

4) Of its total gross, $398 million (37.2 percent) is from domestic sales, while $674 million (62.8 percent) is from international audiences.

5) One of these nations was South Korea, where Frozen demolished records and crossed the $75 million mark in early March.

6) When it comes to 2013 worldwide grosses, Frozen sits comfortably at no.2 on the list, behind Iron Man 3 and above Catching Fire.

7) At the all-time box office, that puts Frozen at no.10, within striking distance of The Dark Knight Rises. (Transformers: Dark of the Moon is on that list, so that’s something to think about.)

8) The top grossing animated film, in order: Frozen, Toy Story 3, The Lion King (which came out in 1994!), Despicable Me 2, Finding Nemo.

9) The movie’s soundtrack has spent a seventh week at no.1 on the Billboard 200. This is partially because of the release of the film on DVD and Blu-ray. It’s only the fourth animated film soundtrack to do this.

10) Director Jennifer Lee is the first female director of a Disney animated feature film.

11) “LET IT GO.” John Travolta. Adele Dazeem.

The notorious vixen has been in her share of controversies before—and had even supported the occasional dictator. But nothing like this.

On Sunday, sex tape vixen/reality TV starlet/entrepreneur Kim Kardashian took a break from the #belfies to wade into geopolitics—specifically, the ethically murky territory of the Syrian civil war.

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Karwai Tang/WireImage

On Twitter, she made what seemed like a simple cry to save the citizens of Kessab, a town in Syria that’s been the scene of intense fighting in recent days. The tweet was even welcomed by one of the country's main rebel groups. But, as with all things Syria, the reality is far more complicated. Kessab was, until recently, part of a stronghold for Damascus dictator Bashar al-Assad. Some are accusing the campaign to “save” the place of using fake images as part of a possible stealth movement to support the Assad regime.

Brooklyn

Spike Lee Vs. 'The NY Times'

Whose Brooklyn is it, anyway? Spike Lee and The New York Times' A.O. Scott disagree on this.

On Sunday, The New York Times ran a front-page story titled “Whose Brooklyn Is It, Anyway?” The piece, written by Times film critic A.O. Scott, looked at the changing faces and places of the New York City borough through the prism of pop culture—shows like Welcome Back, Kotter and Girls to films like Saturday Night Fever and The Squid and the Whale.

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Spike Lee attends Michael Jackson's 51st birthday celebration in Prospect Park on August 29, 2009 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Neilson Barnard/Getty)

The piece was crafted in response to statements made by acclaimed Brooklyn-born filmmaker Spike Lee who, at an event celebrating Black History Month in Brooklyn last month, unleashed an epic rant aimed at white gentrifiers for perpetuating “Christopher Columbus syndrome”—interlopers who claimed the artsy, edgy borough as their own while booting out those that had previously laid claim to it.

All Talked Out

Has Handler Had Enough?

Is Chelsea Handler really planning on leaving E!, or is she after a better deal from the network she calls a “sad, sad place to live.”

Apparently Chelsea Handler isn’t kidding this time.

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Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

The 39-year-old comic, whose latest book Uganda Be Kidding Me is No. 3 on the New York Times Bestseller List, is making noises about leaving her E! channel late-night show, Chelsea Lately, when her contract is up nine months from now.

The Real Villain

‘Blacklist’ Is Dead Without Red

NBC’s agonizingly schizophrenic drama is almost unwatchable in the absence of the mesmerizing James Spader. How to fix it? Kill Agent Keen, a flimsy version of Clarice Starling.

Rookie FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) tracked a suspect to a building, not realizing she was actually at a “watch post” manned by her husband Tom (Ryan Eggold), who appeared to be a mild-mannered schoolteacher but unbeknownst to Keen, is actually an baddie hired to marry and spy on her. As Keen investigates (without first drawing her gun or calling for backup, but we’ll get to that in a moment), at one point she is just inches away from her cornered husband, whose secret is seemingly about to be revealed.

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Will Hart/NBC, via Getty

This moment in last Monday’s episode of The Blacklist should have been one of the most harrowing moments of the year, but instead, the near-showdown was almost completely devoid of tension. It highlights the biggest problem with The Blacklist as the show barrels towards the conclusion of its debut season. The NBC drama is one of this year’s few true breakout hits: it regularly draws 11 million viewers each Monday night, and adds another 7 million when Live + 7 ratings (which include seven days of DVR and video on demand viewings) are factored in. But the agonizingly schizophrenic show has failed to even marginally develop its characters aside from James Spader’s mesmerizing central turn as Raymond “Red” Reddington, who after spending 20 years brokering deals for the world’s most sinister criminals, now helps the FBI catch them.

Kate Upton Beats a Serial Cheater

In a given year, 4 percent of married people have extramarital affairs. Find out more stats about infidelity tied to the new comedy ‘The Other Woman,’ with Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton.

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