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Dirty Divas

The Pornification of Pop

When actress Rashida Jones admonished female pop stars for ‘acting like whores,’ she set off a firestorm of criticism—and started a conversation about the pornification of everything.

Rashida Jones bristles at the suggestion that she’s a prude.

“I love sex,” the 37-year-old actress and writer declared recently in Glamour magazine. “Hell, I’ve even posed in my underwear.” But Jones also bristles at an instinct so common among young female pop stars to showcase their private parts, à la Miley Cyrus gyrating on stage in latex scanties. Last October, Jones created a mini-furor when she tweeted, “This week’s celeb news takeaway: she who comes closest to showing the actual inside of her vagina is most popular #stopactinglikewhores.”


Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/AFP/Getty


When Celebs #Fail

James Franco has apologized for ‘using bad judgment’ in courting a 17-year-old girl on Instagram. But he’s not the only famous face to fall victim to a screw-up online.

According to 17-year-old Scottish tourist Lucy Clode, 35-year-old actor James Franco tried to pick her up via Instagram. Clode apparently took an Instagram video with the star, and tagged him, which allegedly set off a night of flirting. Unfortunately for the star, this is all documented in screenshots.


via Instagram

Franco responded to the kerfuffle by tweeting the following:

Best & Worst

The Art of Saying Goodbye

David Letterman’s retirement announcement was short, sweet, and classy. But how did it compare to goodbyes from Barbara Walters, Regis Philbin, Jay Leno, and more?

It’s hard to say goodbye, sure. But it’s also literally hard to say goodbye.

As more and more TV personalities are learning, it’s difficult to strike the right balance of eloquence and breeziness, so that when you actually do depart, the reaction is more “parting is such sweet sorrow” and less “don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.”


Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

Different Stories

Jon Stewart Leans In

Women who lived through the Arab Spring give the Daily Show host an earful about their experiences—there were many disparate Arab Springs—when they testified at the Women in the World Summit’s ‘World on Fire’ panel in New York City.

One doesn’t automatically associate Jon Stewart, the king of cable news comedy, with a topic like the role of women after the Arab Spring, but after listening to him expertly moderate a panel surrounded by four Arab spring activists—three of whom were draped in hijab head covers—it made perfect sense.


Marc Bryan-Brown/Women in the World

The Daily Show host opened the Women in the World panel discussion this morning with a lighthearted joke: “The first challenge with any conversation about the Arab spring is pronunciation.” Then he aptly introduced all the panelists joining him on stage at New York City’s Lincoln Center—Zainab Salbi, the Iraqi producer of Awakening; Dalia Ziadi of the Ibn Khaldun Center; Nadia Al-Sakkaf, editor-in-chief of the Yemen Times; and Dr. Alaa Murabit, 24-year-old founder of The Voice of Libyan Women, who Stewart playfully called the “Doogie Howser of Libya.” 


He’s the Worst (But You Love Him)

What’s it like to play a stain of a human being on TV? Timothy Simons on being the lovably “jolly green jizzface” Jonah Ryan on ‘Veep.’

In Washington, D.C., the power players inside the Beltway (or at least those who consider themselves as such) have started categorizing themselves and their colleagues based on what character from Veep they are most like. And they’re all praying that no one thinks they’re a Jonah.


Paul Schiraldi/HBO

They are, of course, referring Jonah Ryan, the prodigiously insufferable liaison to the president on HBO’s whiz-bang brilliant political farce. An unparalleled ego manifested as a human, who accessorizes his frat-boy privileged personality with excessive delusion and obliviousness, Jonah is absolutely the worst human you’ll ever meet, in D.C. or otherwise. And my god is he great to watch on TV.

The Master

Dave’s Late-Night Nation

There’s been no comedy voice more influential to our generation of Americans than David Letterman. The master of ‘found comedy’ leaves television forever changed.

A strange shocked silence from the studio audience followed David Letterman’s announcement, on his Thursday Late Show, that he is retiring from television and has “a year or so” to go. And yet was it that much of a surprise? Many of his fans have long been harboring fears that any night now, he’d be making just such a statement.  The old clock on the wall ticked with a deafening vengeance.


Craig Warga/NY Daily News, via Getty

Letterman will turn 67 on April 12; talented Jimmy Fallon, whose radically reconstituted Tonight Show has been a runaway ratings hit on NBC, is 40. The networks’ desirable demographic is 18-49. In the light of Dave’s announcement, media savants spoke of it as “completing the generational transformation in late-night,” its control passing from baby boomers and the middle-aged to Generation Xers and younger, and much of the culture with it.

Valar Morghulis

Game of Thrones' Sexy New Cast

HBO’s sprawling fantasy epic returns for its fourth season on Sunday, April 6, and there will be plenty of new faces gracing Westeros.

All Men Must Die. In High Valyrian, it translates to valar morghulis, and serves as the ominous tagline to the highly anticipated fourth season of Game of Thrones.


The Daily Beast

Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and adapted from A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin’s series of epic fantasy novels, the HBO show boasts hundreds of characters spread out across numerous continents, all of whom engage in a surfeit of sex and swordfights to determine who will secure the Iron Throne and control the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.


Why Late Night Needs a Woman

With David Letterman retiring, it’s time to break comedy’s glass ceiling. And Chelsea Handler is just the woman to break up network television’s vaunted boy’s club.

David Letterman announced Thursday that he will retire next year after more than two decades of hosting CBS’s Late Show. As one of the most revered hosts in late-night television history, he will be leaving some very large shoes for the next host to fill in 2015.


It’s high time that they be a pair of heels.


Letterman’s Surprise Sign-Off

The ‘Late Night’ host phoned his boss then walked on stage Thursday to tell the audience—and the world—he’s quitting next year.

David Letterman is retiring next year from his late-night show on CBS—ending more than three decades on two networks as a television comic and talk show host.


John Paul Filo/CBS

“We don’t have the timetable for this precisely down,” the 66-year-old Letterman told his studio audience in a surprise announcement during the Thursday afternoon taping of the Late Show With David Letterman. “I think it will be at least a year or so, but sometime in the not too distant future, 2015 for the love of God, in fact, Paul and I will be wrapping things up,” he added, referring to his longtime bandleader Paul Shaffer.

Happy Anniversary

Dave's Wildest Interviews

Drew Barrymore flashed him. Madonna shocked him. He made Lindsay Lohan cry. Watch his most memorable interviews.

Jay Leno has his man-on-street bits. Jimmy Fallon has his viral songs, and Jimmy Kimmel has his star-studded sketches. But David Letterman has always been, and still is, the best interviewer on late-night TV.

Late Show Host David Letterman

Actor Joaquin Phoenix waves to the audience during his interview with the host of ‘The Late Show With David Letterman’ on February 11, 2009. (John Paul Filo/CBS, via Getty)

Last August, Letterman celebrated a two-decade reign as the genre’s king of the tongue-in-cheek cross-examination. Through the years, Letterman has shown an unflappable ability to crack through the most polished celebrity veneers, catching his guests off-guard with biting, provocative, and playful inquisition. The result: great TV.

Smell of Napalm

Morning Show ‘Hunger Games’

ABC is furious that Josh Elliott has walked out to join NBC Sports. Many insiders believe a deal with the Today show is behind the dramatic switch.

For all the happy talk, gleaming smiles, and warm vibes of familial affection, the network morning shows--specifically NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America—are savagely Darwinian behind the cameras.

140402-Grove- Morning-TV-Machinations-tease

The Daily Beast

The abrupt departure this week of GMA newsreader Josh Elliott for NBC Sports is a case in point, revealing the rich irony that  trash-talking and personal invective are a behind-the-scenes staple of the network news divisions' traditionally friendliest, mushiest programming. Elliott's move has inspired some network spinners to argue that his sudden disappearance will throw a monkey wrench into GMA’s 19-month juggernaut at No.1—and has encouraged others to argue, conversely, that he will, in due course, join a fierce and wounding rivalry at 30 Rock to succeed Matt Lauer as Today’s reigning alpha male.


ScarJo’s Alien Seductress

Under the Skin

The ‘Sexiest Woman Alive’ plays an otherworldly being who lures men to a dark room with the promise of kiss kiss bang bang. Is there a better metaphor for movie-going?

My advice is, don’t arrive late for Lost in Translation, or you’ll miss what most men dutifully forked over the price of admission for. The first thing we see is Scarlett Johansson’s rear end, laid sideways on a bed, the full, unhindered view of it only just sheathed, hurtfully, by the thinnest pink underpants known to man, in an overt act of provocation against man. Come now to the new movie Under the Skin, and what do we have? Scarlett Johansson’s behind, in a scene where she struts through a mall in tight jeans, the camera trailing her at an eye level so low there is no mistaking what we are made to gawk at. What has Johansson done to deserve this?

The same question can be asked of all movie stars. Fame really is a pain. Professional celebrities, those gods among us (to borrow from the title of Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr’s zesty history of stardom), are made to slip into a new skin for every new role, all the while exhibiting their bodies before us and staging their most private and vulnerable emotions, all in the name of enticing us into a dark room for a couple of hours. And we don’t leave it at that, either. Once we get out into the real world, we continue to follow their every step, hounding them everywhere. It’s no way to live.

Burr’s book, a survey “on movie stardom and modern fame,” as the subtitle put it, was such a welcomed entry because performance is often the least discussed part of cinema. As Matt Zoller Seitz wrote recently in an essay, critics always talk too much about plot and not enough about the mise-en-scène, the camera placements, and the rest of the nuts and bolts of visual storytelling. But there’s even less quality analysis of acting, of what makes a performance work and what doesn’t. We say someone’s turn was “powerful” or “disappointing,” but really not much else. It’s the hardest thing to do in film criticism. Writing on stars are mostly about gossip and scandal, a degeneration into lifestyle reporting.


The Witty Genius of CinemaSins

Ding! YouTube sensation CinemaSins systematically reveals mistakes, inconsistencies, and grievances in movies like ‘Batman & Robin.’ Spoiler: No film is perfect.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the only perfect films in the history of cinema are the ones which everyone praises and through some fault or another, no one can ever watch. The missing reels of Erich von Stroheim’s Greed. Orson Welles’s Don Quixote. Victor Fleming’s The Way of All Flesh. Those that remain, even the most beloved classics, eventually show their age as the fads of one age become fodder for the next.

Cinema Sins


Yet the distinction between good, bad, and likeable remains one of the most difficult mysteries to unravel. The most beloved movies (Star Wars, The Godfather, The Harry Potter series) are often far from the best, while the most technically proficient films (2001: A Space Odyssey, Last Year at Marienbad) can be as boring as the day is long.

Listen Up!

Rock’s Most Magnetic Frontman

Future Islands’s achingly sincere rendition of ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’ on ‘Late Show with David Letterman'—replete with jaw-dropping dance moves—blew up the Internet. Get acquainted with indie rock’s next big thing.

The dreaded late-night talk show performance.


Josh Brasted/Getty

With its sanitized setting, roving cameras, zillion-watt lights, and wonky acoustics, it’s reduced many a musical act to a pathetic shell of themselves.


‘Silicon Valley’s’ Nerd King

The man behind ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ and ‘Office Space’ skewers incubators and venture capitalists and programmers and billionaires—simply by ripping real details from the headlines.

“I love Goolybib’s integrated multi-platform functionality. Yeah!”

Silicon Valley

Isabella Vosmikova/HBO

If you think that line is hilarious—especially when it’s the first thing a newly-minted twentysomething tech millionaire shouts after grabbing the mic from an unimpressed Kid Rock at Goolybib’s lame launch party—then you are going to get a huge kick out of Silicon Valley.

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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