Monday July 10, 2017

I watched 3 of the 4 parts of HBO's The Defiant Ones.  It's spectacular.  More below, but if you even remotely like music, you'll love this short series.

I also watched Tour de Pharmacy (more below as well).  It was ok.  Catch it when you can if you're so inclined.

ESPN runs the annual Home Run Derby tonight.

TNT premieres Will.  Here's a review.

Orphan Black IS too complicated for its own good.  I'm still 2 eps behind this season because focus is a must when hitting play on any episode.

Kesha talked about getting turned down for a hug by Jerry Seinfeld.

People are still into seeing the crazy $hit that Steve-O is doing?

I love dogs, but no I don't care about the saga of Lena Dunham and her rescue dog.  Go away.

Donal Logue's daughter is home, healthy and safe.

Linguists examine Kevin Spacey's southern accent in House of Cards.

Richard Dreyfuss has signed for a guest-starring role in Jason Alexander’s upcoming Audience Network comedy Hit the Road.

A car crashed through a Chip and Joanna Gaines renovated home.

TJ Miller's wife would like to be called by her real name.  I don't blame her.

BoJack Horseman returns on September 8.

An interview with Jane Lynch.  I'm reaching here, I know.

Mark Margolis (Breaking BadBetter Call Saul) is recovering from emergency brain surgery.

Vulture reviewed HBO's The Defiant Ones: "Documentaries about musicians, or any prominent cultural figure, for that matter, have a tendency to deify their subjects. The Defiant Ones — an HBO docuseries about musical pioneers and business partners Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine that airs for four consecutive nights beginning Sunday — certainly falls into that overly celebratory trap at times. But the careers of both men are so inherently interesting, and the incorporated footage of some of the most revered pop musicians in history doing their thing is so much fun to watch, that you may be willing to forgive the show’s overuse of words like visionary and genius.

"As a warts-and-all biography or character study, The Defiant Ones scratches some surfaces but never fully breaks the skin. A lot of the backstory involving Dre, the artist and producer who first rose to prominence as a founding member of N.W.A., will already be familiar to anyone who saw the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton or has ingested any of the many articles, books, or documentaries about that era in hip-hop history. That said, there is a certain authenticity that comes from seeing Dre, his colleagues, and family members speak directly here to the triumphs and controversies the group encountered in the late ’80s and ’90s, even though there are some subjects — the death of his brother Tyree, the degree to which violence began to escalate at Death Row Records — that he’s not willing to discuss at length on camera.

"Iovine, the accomplished producer, co-founder of Interscope Records, and partner with Dre in the Beats by Dre headphone-and-speaker business, is a bit more forthcoming about some of his darker moments. But the most candid insights into both men’s psyches come from the many accomplished musicians who have worked with them and appear in the series.

“'Jimmy has this brutal honesty,' says U2’s Bono. 'It can appear rude. Lots of people don’t like him. But brutal honesty is why you want him in the room.' Bono also says, at a later point: 'There’s something in him that’s attracted to rage.'

“'Of course it’s all driven by his low self-esteem,' adds Bruce Springsteen. 'But so are we all.'

"The underlying message in these comments and others like them is that the more maddening qualities Dre and Iovine may possess — stubbornness, a tendency to shut out loved ones to focus on work, that aforementioned rudeness — have also fueled their success in some way. Watching how that success evolved — and, more important, getting peeks into their creative processes — gives this series its lifeblood and is what ultimately makes it so compelling. In a way, The Defiant Ones functions as a broad-brush history of some of the key moments in rock and hip-hop over the last four decades. If you’re a sucker for music documentaries, and I am, that’s enough of a reason to watch.

"The behind-the-scenes footage that director Allen Hughes — best known for directing, with his brother Albert, such films as Menace II Society and From Hell — weaves into the narrative is wonderfully intimate. We get to see a 20-something Iovine, working as an engineer on Springsteen’s Born to Run; Dre guiding a frustrated Eazy-E through an early recording session; Iovine in the studio alongside then-girlfriend Stevie Nicks as she’s laying down the tracks on her first solo record, Bella Donna; and Dre helping Eminem discover the real Slim Shady. It’s a gift to witness all of these moments.

"At times, the directing and editing choices can tip a little over the top. The triumphant music laid over the moment when Dre and Iovine recall coming up with the idea for Beats, for example, makes it seem like the two of them have cured cancer while simultaneously inventing time travel. Other moments are more inspired, like a sequence in the third episode that deftly cuts between Dre’s recollections of speeding away from cops and imagery from the video of “Closer” by Interscope artist Nine Inch Nails. As a montage, it effectively captures the chaos and danger represented by the music Dre and Iovine were putting out in the ’90s.

"One of the most fascinating elements in The Defiant Ones emerges perhaps unintentionally, and that is the relationship that women have to these two men and their work. Over and over, wives, mothers, and sisters portray themselves as willing caretakers who understand that their needs have to take a backseat in order for Dre and Iovine to thrive.

"Dre’s history with abuse of women is touched on as well. Dee Barnes, the host of the hip-hop news show Pump It Up, who was assaulted by Dre in 1991 after incorporating footage of ex-N.W.A. member Ice Cube into a segment about the band, appears in the docuseries and talks about the incident, for which Dre apologizes on camera. She also makes the point that the success of the all-female rap group J.J. Fad, who recorded the hit Supersonic for Ruthless Records, N.W.A.’s initial label, paved the way for the band’s success. 'A female group opened the door for N.W.A.,' she says.

"It’s notable, too, to watch Nicks and Iovine interact in the studio during the Bella Donna days. After hearing about how important it was to indulge Springsteen’s hyper-detail-oriented approach to making Born to Run in the first episode, it’s revealing to see Iovine arguing with Nicks — then the primary voice in Fleetwood Mac, one of the most successful bands on the planet — because of issues she’s raising in the studio until she, as so many women do, backs down for the sake of keeping the peace.

"Iovine ultimately wrangled the song Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around from another one of his artists, Tom Petty, and convinced him to sing it with Nicks because he was convinced Bella Donna wouldn’t have a hit without it. 'You’re going to come out with this record with lace and veils and candles all over it,' Iovine remembers telling Nicks, 'and no one’s going to hear it.' The documentary fails to note that Edge of Seventeen and Leather and Lace, both written by Nicks, were significant hits off that same album with veils and candles all over it.

"Bottom line: The Defiant Ones is an absorbing look at two men — one white and raised in Brooklyn, the other black and straight outta Compton — who overcame a lot and have accomplished a great deal. But I guess what I’m also saying is that if HBO wants to green-light an incisive documentary series about the making of Nicks’s first solo album or the often overlooked role that women played in the early days of hip-hop, I am 100 percent here for it."

Per Yahoo!, "[w]e already knew a few important things about where Season 5 will find Ray Donovan and his family: a year ahead of where we left them in the Season 4 finale; Bunchy and Daryll both employed by Ray; papa Mickey trying his hand at Hollywood screenplay writing; Terry feeling quite a bit healthier after brain surgery; and Ray utilizing his many fixer skills in the employ of Hollywood studio honcho Samantha Winslow (Susan Sarandon).

"But in the new season preview video above, the Ray Donovan cast shares a few more tidbits that promise one of the Showtime drama’s best seasons yet.

“'Find the thing you love the most, and let it kill you,' Winslow tells Liev Schreiber’s Ray, after hiring him to protect a major secret that could bring a halt to her power-player status.

"But Schreiber suggests there could be another twist — one involving Ray and his family — that will trump anything Winslow’s got going.

“'There is one big, massive secret…' says Eddie Marsan, who portrays Terry.

“'Something I think is going to really shock a lot people,' adds Schreiber.

"Meanwhile, though the Donovans seem to be closer after the events of Season 4, we already know there’s probably not much chance of a peaceful family gathering ever happening. Like, say, when — also in the clip above — Ray clocks Mickey with a bottle of liquor.

"Showrunner David Hollander told Yahoo TV earlier this summer that Season 5 will also find Ray’s daughter Bridget in New York, attending college and in love with a new boyfriend (Quantico star Graham Rogers) who 'works in a bar in Brooklyn and has a very complicated situation. But it’s a very sweet and very complicated love story that breaks out.'

"Hollander said we can expect some lighter moments in Season 5, too — great moments of levity like Ray’s karaoke performance or the Donovan family’s videogame dance off — but stressed that Season 5 is going to focus on bigger moments of great emotional impact, for the Donovans and for viewers. And those moments may have fans feeling a different kind of vibe from the family.

“'I think the audience knows the Donovans. Our audience who watches and cares about these characters not only knows them, but owns them,' Hollander said. 'It’s just that the audience doesn’t know what’s about to happen.'

“'Everything’s handmade here, and we make it up from whole cloth. We love this show, and we love our audience, and we always know that in order to keep our audience invested in our show, we have to evolve and take risks and present variations on stuff that may be really exciting to them or may be really shocking to them or may be really strange. It’s definitely not your typical season of Ray Donovan, so I’ll be curious to see if people are with us.'"

Ray Donovan Season 5 premieres August 6.

From Uproxx: "Thanks to network television shows like The Office and Modern Family, the mockumentary had lately lost some of its connection to satire, a bond established by landmark films such as This Is Spinal Tap and Albert Brooks’ Real Life. But over the last few years, several former SNL cast members and writers have managed to re-establish that link. Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, and Fred Armisen created the brilliant Documentary Now for IFC and both the Andy Samberg/Lonely Island film Popstar and 7 Days In Hell, a tennis send-up written by Murray Miller and starring Samberg and Kit Harrington, parodied the documentary form to great effect. Now, Samberg and Miller are set to debut a 7 Days follow-up. Based in the world of ultra-competitive cycling, Tour de Pharmacy leans on an impressive cast and a strong dedication to silliness to poke at the use of PEDs in sports and to once again take aim at breathless sports documentaries.

"We spoke to Samberg about the film, what’s next for the Legends Of Sports series, the challenges of doing a mockumentary as a big studio release, and redefining how to gauge success for Popstar. We also touched on the prospect of him getting tatted up for the next season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which Nic Cage role he’d take on if given the chance, and the debate between whether a grower or a shower works better when it comes to making the perfect dick joke:

What is it about cycling and doping that felt right as a focus?

It was kind of an instinctual thing where we were like, “What sport to do next?” That one just felt funny as soon as we started talking about it. Obviously, the look of it has a lot of potential. Grown men in spandex, especially if you cast people who don’t look like your typical cyclist. It’s one of the earliest ideas that Murray Miller… he wrote it and is co-executive producer with me on this, and he was like, “If we got somebody like John Cena, who’s super jacked and it was all about PEDs, it would be really funny.” And we were all like, “Yeah, yeah.”

It felt like a fun world to play around with because there’s this long history of cheating in cycling, like all the way back to the very, very beginning. When we started researching, it was making us laugh. The earliest Tour de Frances, they designed a race that’s basically impossible, and all the cyclists were drinking booze and stuff to deal with the physical pain. Then a little later on, there was a guy who left the race and took a train and then rejoined the race. Stuff like that we were like, “Oh, this is already a comedy.” We kind of just leaned into that.

Are you interested in doing more?

100 percent yes. It’s sort of flying under the radar, but, 7 Days In Hell and with this one, Tour de Pharmacy, we’ve had a little Sid and Marty Krofft banner over them called Legends of Sports and it’s sort of our attempt to do a comedy 30 For 30. We’re already planning to do more, and HBO has been really supportive about it so that’s definitely the plan.

Are there any sports you really don’t have an interest in doing?

The big ones we’re finding are actually the hardest to do. There was a time where I was like, “Man, it’d be really fun to do basketball or something.” Then you start thinking about the logistics of it and how you achieve it.

A big part of our decision-making is budgetary as well. We somehow, through really awesome effects help, pulled off Wimbledon with 7 Days In Hell. And really kind of, I guess you could say pulled a Jaws in terms of showing very little of it to let your imagination fill in the rest. But there are some sports where I think we probably couldn’t cover it up without it looking really fake.

Yeah, I imagine trying to fill a big arena would be, you know, 50,000 people, it might be hard to pull off visually.

Exactly. And even just shooting… Let’s say we tried to do soccer, and the World Cup or something. Then, you have to get a ton of people out on the field and shoot it from super high and far away and coordinate it. It’s a lot harder to do. I think Murray also really likes leaning into things that are a little more niche in America, to get more creative leeway.

How did you get Lance Armstrong involved? That was a wild cameo.

Yeah.

More than a cameo.

Yeah, more than a cameo. He’s really in it. [Laughs.] There’s plenty that we cut out too. Not for any reason other than just time.

Basically, Murray wrote that on the script and we were laughing really hard, and we were like, “Would he ever do it?” I was like, “I don’t know. I knew him a little bit because he had done SNL when I was there.” So we just reached out and asked. We sent over the script and asked him to watch 7 Days In Hell if he wanted to sort of understand the tone, and he was into it. So we just had a quick phone call and kind of ran down what we would want him to do, and that’s pretty much the gist. Flew down to Austin, shot with him, and had some really delicious barbecue.

Was there anything he wouldn’t do? Anything he rejected?

There actually wasn’t. There are a few things we shot that we didn’t end up using, but there was nothing where we were like, “Try this” and he said, “No.” You know what I mean? We tried jokes about his being on Oprah and stuff, but they just didn’t play as well as the stuff we left in. There was really nothing brought up that he was like, “Oh I don’t know if I want to say that.” He was pretty game.

Jeff Goldblum plays you at an older age. Do you see a lot of similarities?

I mean, I would be very lucky to look as good as Goldblum. He’s holding up nicely. But yeah, as soon as his name came up, we all started laughing. I wouldn’t say that I’m a dead ringer for Goldblum. Like, no one ever goes, “He looks like a young Jeff Goldblum.” But it’s similar enough that it made it made us giggle a lot, and also, Jeff Goldblum’s hilarious. And we love him. And we’ve been watching him since we were kids and thinking he was the best. So, it’s one of those casting choices that definitely tickled all of us.

We were like, “Man, if he would do it, that would be really funny.” And once he said yes, then we got to have fun sort of retooling a lot of his lines and shaping them in ways that would be Goldblumian. And he did not disappoint. And he was so game. He came and he did a million takes of every line and really kind of chopped the whole thing up. He was really fun.

I’m sure you can’t go too far into what’s coming up with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but, at the end of this season, it seemed like not a great situation for Jake. Are you excited, as an actor, to kind of maybe play around with the idea of Jake in prison for a few episodes?

Yeah, absolutely.

Have you gotten those stories yet? Are you getting prison tats done? Anything like that?

I’m getting prison tats done just in case that’s the way that we take it.

Ultimate Method.

I leave no stone unturned. And if he ends up not going to jail, then I’ll just have some sweet tats. [Laughs.]

The best tattoo, you know, in my opinion, maybe ever, is on our show, the Hitchcock one where he’s got the gun in his own mouth and he’s blowing the smoke off. That episode made me laugh so fucking hard.

I won’t spoil anything, but I will say I’ve been talking with Dan Goor a lot and we’ve been talking about the beginning of the season and it sounds like it’s gonna be really good and interesting and funny.

You were briefly in Master of None doing a Nicolas Cage impression. I read that he turned that down. So, you come in and you do a great job with it. Which leads me to a dumb question: is there a Nic Cage movie you would jump into and play a Nic Cage character if they were making a sequel?

Any Nic Cage movie? God. I just recently re-watched Con Air and it was so fucking good."

This interview has been condensed.

Per Buzzfeed, "HEAR YE, HEAR YE, MY MEATHEADS AND MEATBALLS: it really fucking looks like Jersey Shore might actually, finally be coming back!!!???

"Nothing official has been released yet, and it seems like the production team is trying to keep things ~secret~ for now. But the evidence for a reunion seems pretty clear — so if you'll kindly join me over at the Customer Service desk, I'd like to show you MY RECEIPTS:

1. According to NJ.com, the cast has been spotted filming in two different New Jersey locales — Point Pleasant Beach and Asbury Park — both within the span of a month.

2. The mayor of Asbury Park, John Moor, confirmed that the filming took place.

“Oh well, they’ve been reading the paper and they know Asbury Park is the place to be,” Moor joked to the Asbury Park Press. “No, we did not know they were coming as they applied under ‘Roadtrip Reunion.’... They paid their fees and everything worked out fine.”

3. And a spokesperson for a club in Jersey, Langosta Lounge, claims that producers asked to film at his establishment, but he said no.

“They called 10 days before they wanted to film and we said no freaking way, it’ll be bad publicity,” he said.

Similarly, it looks like producers submitted an application to film in Seaside Heights — where the original series took place — but a Borough Administrator for the city told the Asbury Park Press that the request was denied.

4. Look at The Situation's Instagrams from this morning.

Caption: "We have a Situation 🇮🇹😉GTL"

5. The Jersey Shore ladies have been posting pics together on Instagram.

AND HER CAPTION SAYS: "REUNION TIME 💃🏽❤"

6. They haven't posted pics like this in a LONG TIME.

7. And look at the background — it kinda looks like they are in a production studio of some sort?

8. Like, look what JWoww posted on Snapchat today. Possibly filming confessionals?

I'm also reading ~rumors~ online that JWoww Snapchatted a pic of the gang with the caption, "We're back." First person to send me that screenshot, I will literally mail you a dollar.

9. Also, Snooki just maybe, possibly hinted to E! that a reunion is in the works.

When asked if she would ever consider a reboot, she said: "Yes! But not for a long time because I have kids. Like for a week."

So, is she basically saying a reunion is coming a week from now? IDK what else this could mean, Snooks?

10. People on Twitter have receipts, too.

11. Like this New Jersey native.

12. And this person who actually showed up and got Snooki's autograph.

13. Now, here's where things get interesting: MTV has denied any involvement in the filming, telling the Asbury Park Press that the production is not an "MTV project."

"So, what does it all mean??? Is MTV just trying to keep us in suspense? Or is the Jersey Shore crew working on a brand new thing???

"Well, whatever the hell those beautiful, orange kids are filming right now, I'm excited to watch it."