- Grey’s Anatomy becomes the longest-running medical drama on TV.
- The spectacular Apollo 11 documentary in IMAX.
- Netflix’s hilarious The Notebook snafu
- Cate Blanchett’s instantly iconic interview answer.
- Emma Thompson’s letter shaming Skydance over John Lasseter.
- The best Oscars speeches.
A Moment to Appreciate ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
If you want to see an entertainment writer snap into a blind rage, quip, “That’s still on?” when someone mentions a show like Grey’s Anatomy. Yes, it’s still on, and in fact is still one of the most popular dramas on television. On Thursday night, it also became the longest-running primetime medical drama in history. Sorry, ER!
I used to be obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy. The show was out of its damn mind—car crashes, ferry crashes, plane crashes, serial killers, ghost sex, literal bombs in bodies—but the emotion was so high-octane, the relationships so sexy, the friendships so real, and the monologues so perfect that you were happy to go along for the ride. (Even with the knowledge that the ride was probably going to crash into a truck filled with goats or something and you’d probably end up at Seattle Grace impaled on a horn and needing Sandra Oh to save the day.)
It heralded the arrival of Shonda Rhimes, one of the most important people in entertainment, constructing TV’s blissful Shondaland, where scandals are handled, murders are gotten away with it, and dreams are McDreamed. (And people actually looked and loved like we do.) Characters have come and gone, obviously, but it’s fitting that Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith Grey is still holding down the fort.
I love Meredith Grey. I love how complicated and messy and smart and impulsive and selfish and in love she was. It got some flack when it first aired, but especially watching this scene back now, I love this speech even more: “Pick me. Choose me. Love me.” I cringed at the desperation, but I felt it, too: the bravery, the vulnerability. You cringe a lot when you watch a Shonda Rhimes show. But the power is in the way she jolts your eyes open: to the world that’s really outside, not just the one we normally see on our TVs, and maybe even to yourself.
332 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy! Whoa!
The Moon Landing! In IMAX!
Remember when we went to the moon? Us? The same garbage people responsible for the tragic hootenanny that is our country right now? It’s a thing we’ve all seen, in history books, in clip reels, in meditative movies starring Ryan Gosling that definitely had American flags in them. But it’s not something that many of us have, like, seen seen. The actual footage, longer than Neil Armstrong planting the flag or goofily bouncing around the surface. Enter Apollo 11.
The new documentary is crafted using a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings. Unlike so many other depictions of the historic trip, it doesn’t set out to be some dramatic recreation or moody character study or “what it all means!” documentary cobbled together with pithy talking heads. It’s cinema by historical record, and it’s thrilling. You see people land on the moon!
Starting March 1, Apollo 11 will be released exclusively on IMAX for one week, which is how I saw it. It turns out watching outer space on IMAX is the way to do it. Who’d have known? The visuals! The drama! The booming sound, so that you don’t notice the people in front, behind, and on either side of you talking through the entire film. (Like I said, garbage people!) The grainy footage is strangely beautiful and mysterious—am I watching a sonogram from 1987, or the world’s bravest men land on the moon?—and it is genuinely impressive how much exists, considering it’s all original from 50 years ago.
You’ve heard them say, “The eagle has landed” before, but it feels different in this context. See this in IMAX! Anyway, the landing is a hoax, the moon is made of cheese, Elvis is still alive, Bigfoot lives in my backyard, and I have a 12-inch penis.
Netflix UK Has Been Showing the Wrong Ending of ‘The Notebook’
British couch potatoes—excuse me, couch potahhtoes—are irate because they’ve been cueing up Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook on the streaming service all ready for a good cry, only to discover the ending is completely different from the one we all know and weep to. No one knows how or why this happened, not Nicholas Sparks nor Netflix. That’s all. I just think it’s hilarious.
Cate Blanchett Does the Most
It’s pretty commonplace these days for big Hollywood stars to interview other big Hollywood stars for major magazines, so the Interview magazine cover in which Julia Roberts interviews Cate Blanchett is, at face value, hardly a novelty—especially since the stars-on-stars format is Interview’s schtick. But then I got to this exchange, and I literally screamed. Julia Roberts innocuously asks Cate Blanchett what she’s up to right now. Nothing could prepare you for her answer.
And while we’re on the subject of stars not here for your small talk, thank you very much, there’s this gem, flagged on Twitter by Buzzfeed’s Bobby Caruso. An Australian reporter asked Lady Gaga in the press room at the Oscars if she had any message for people going to Sydney Mardis Gras. She replies by fully outlining her vision for world peace. Watch it here.
Emma Thompson Is a Hero (Always)
Emma Thompson made headlines when she quit her voice role in the upcoming Skydance Animation film, Luck, after Skydance appointed John Lasseter, who left Pixar last year after he was accused of a pattern of sexual misconduct. This week, she released a letter that she sent to Skydance, expressing her “discomfort” working for Lasseter and eloquently, pragmatically, and effectively explaining why she had no choice but to quit the production and the various ways in which Skydance is being unfair to its employees of lesser privilege by hiring Lasseter in the first place.
“It feels very odd to me that you and your company would consider hiring someone with Mr. Lasseter’s pattern of misconduct given the present climate in which people with the kind of power that you have can reasonably be expected to step up to the plate,” she opens the letter, which then proceeds to a bulleted list of questions she would like to ask the company to justify themselves against.
“If a man has been touching women inappropriately for decades, why would a woman want to work for him if the only reason he’s not touching them inappropriately now is that it says in his contract that he must behave ‘professionally’?” reads one.
But it is this point, in particular, that I found astounding in the way it points out a hypocrisy that we’ve all felt but perhaps haven’t been able to articulate when comes to the conversation about #MeToo, redemption, and responsibility. “Much has been said about giving John Lasseter a ‘second chance,’” Thompson wrote. “But he is presumably being paid millions of dollars to receive that second chance. How much money are the employees at Skydance being paid to GIVE him that second chance?”
Read the whole letter. It’s sensational, and hopefully acts as a rallying cry. And, if you happen to be an animation studio bigwig, give Thompson another voice acting job. It’s time for the question to stop being, “How will their career take a hit?” every time a person makes the bold move of speaking out, but instead, “How can we protect and encourage them?”
The Best Oscars Speeches
The Oscars should have a host! The Oscars should be long! The Oscars should say something, be a bit messy, and definitely not give Best Picture to Green Book. Those gripes aside, if anything worked about this year’s ceremony, it was the speeches. They were so good.
Olivia Colman’s adorable, shell-shocked tide of emotion and British charm. Regina King’s grace and humility, launching the ceremony with a good collective cry—as it should always open. The history and power of Black Panther’s Ruth Carter and Hannah Bleacher, the gobsmacked eloquence of Rami Malek...even Lady Gaga’s usual histrionics seemed touched and genuinely earnest. I can’t wait to add them to my rotation of wine-fueled YouTube rabbit holes for years to come.
What to see this week:
- Free Solo: The Oscar-winning documentary now ready to give you vertigo from the comfort of your couch, premiering on NatGeo this week.
- Climax: This movie was described to me as “Fame meets the Marquis de Sade,” and to my surprise it is exactly that.
- The Real Housewives of New York City: The best reality series on TV and I’ll fight you on that. I’ll lose, on account of not having much arm strength. But I will fight!
- Leaving Neverland: The documentary that nobody “wants” to watch, but everybody needs to see.
What to skip this week:
- American Idol: What a travesty that they brought this show back.
- Greta: Shaping up to be one of those depressing “great trailer, bad movie” situations.