This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.
- The two biggest Sundance movies.
- Is Taylor Swift engaged?
- Dula Peep!
- A crucial Kelly Clarkson Show update.
- Hillary has taste.
She finally dissed Trump, railed against “Trump in a wig” Marsha Blackburn, spoke out about an eating disorder, revealed how traumatized she really was by the Kanye West controversies, and talked intimately about how her romance with Joe Alwyn and her mother’s cancer diagnosis have seismically changed her life.
But wee-oo, wee-oo: Hottie alert! The real news to come out of the film was that she’s been working with a new producer, Joel Little, and he is a bonafide babe. Hi, Joel!
In any case, it also came out, thanks to eagle-eyed reporter Claire Stern, that Swift might be officially engaged to Alwyn, a milestone that’s been rumored for a while now. She’s seen talking in one scene with an unmistakable, huge rock on her ring finger. Is this how Taylor Swift announced her (still very much unconfirmed) engagement?
My theory is that, if she really is betrothed, Swift was hoping someone would catch the blink-or-miss-it glimpse of her ring. It brings up what has been one of the most common critiques of the film out of Sundance, but one that I don’t necessarily buy: That the movie is just Swift, once again, being excessively calculating, that she’s still stage-managing her image.
First of all, duh. This is a film about her life that she collaborated with Netflix on, she chose the director for, and she is out promoting. Of course she thought the entire time about what she was or was not going to reveal. Watching it and expecting anything less is a fool’s errand. Unfortunately for Taylor, we’re a nation of fools!
As I wrote in my review of the movie (read that here!!!), Miss Americana is, thanks to the access Swift granted, a revelatory look at one of the most famous people in the world navigating in real time the effect that fame has had on every aspect of her life, from the superficial to the psychological, looking back at how she got here and the mistakes she regrets along the way. It’s also quite funny!
I generally find the whole “Taylor Swift” conundrum that has a stranglehold on just, you know, listening to Taylor Swift’s music to be endlessly exasperating. Miss Americana, while engaging directly with that, somehow manages to be a respite from it, too.
In May 2018, the funniest thing to ever happen in daytime television occurred. During a segment, Wendy Williams was trying to say the name of pop star Dua Lipa. After squinting at the teleprompter and stuttering a bit, she finally gets out a rough bungling of the name: Dula Peep. It wasn’t shade; Williams simply didn’t know who Lipa was. It was an innocent mistake, and the clip of it made me laugh for roughly 25 minutes.
Sometimes I will be walking down the street and for some inexplicable reason, “Dula Peep” will pop into my head again, and I will start loudly guffawing aloud to myself out of nowhere while walking between 8th and 9th Avenue, as startled ladies with push carts speedwalk hurriedly away from the crazy person.
I don’t know why it’s so funny. “Dula Peep.” I’m cracking up over here typing this.
The reason for bringing this up is that this week, the name left Williams’ lips again, and the moment was as glorious as the first. The host was doing another segment in which she had to see Lipa’s name. And it was Groundhog Day—or Palm Springs—all over again.
She tries so hard. She knows she messed it up the first time around and it became a whole thing. She clearly can’t remember which version of the name—the real one, or her botched one—is correct. Out comes “Dula Peep.” I died.
I don’t *think* I’m producing The Kelly Clarkson Show. Like, I know I do not live in Los Angeles. I know I do not drive into a studio on the Universal lot four days a week and book celebrities for a talk show. I know my life doesn’t involve daily interactions with Kelly Clarkson.
Yet without fail, at least once a week something will happen on the singer’s daytime hit and I will have an eerie, almost confused thought: Did I...make this happen?
While the jury is still out over whether Clarkson producers are incepting my dreams, this week Annie Murphy from Schitt’s Creek did stop by the show. She performed a live version of the song “A Little Bit Alexis,” a send-up of a reality star’s pop single, which itself is a major moment in the world of Ole K. Fal. But then Clarkson joined her with an original verse that she wrote!!!
The two British lads from 1917 (I love them), also guests on the show, watch the whole thing from the couch in utter bafflement. What a moment.
Hillary Clinton was at Sundance to promote the four-part Hulu documentary series about her life. (If you couldn’t get her to the White House, you could at least read the two stories I wrote about her doc.) She was in a Fun Hillary mode while in Park City. “I’m so happy to be here with you all at Sundance,” she said before one screening. “Well, I can think of one place I’d rather be right now.” Hilz got jokes!
In any case, during an interview with Vulture, she talked about the year in film—on topic!—and revealed that some of her favorites from the year were Little Women, Knives Out, and The Report. We stan a former secretary of state with taste!
What to watch this week:
The Assistant: The first great movie to engage with the Weinstein scandal. (Obviously, it’s a horror film.)
J. Lo’s Super Bowl Halftime Show: Let us gather to bear witness to greatness.
McMillions: A documentary version of one of The Daily Beast’s all-time great stories.
What to skip this week:
The Rhythm Section: But the gays will eventually claim it as camp.
The Masked Singer: How do we make this stop?