"You have to look in the mirror, too. I have to choose movies that aren't violent or as violent as they used to be," says influential producer and studio mogul Harvey Weinstein. "I know for me personally, you know, I can't continue to do that. The change starts here. It has already. For me, I can't do it. I can't make one movie and say this is what I want for my kids and then just go out and be a hypocrite." Among other credits, Weinstein has produced Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and Django Unchained.
In her article "Why Harvey Weinstein's Comments on Movie Violence Matter," deadline.com contributor Anita Busch writes, "The question is, of course, how Harvey is going to reconcile being in business with Tarantino. The filmmaker has made a lot of money for the company with violent fare. And therein lies the conundrum that all studio heads and TV executives face. I've interviewed several executives over the past few weeks and many have said privately that they think the gun violence—especially in video games—has gotten out of control. However, they also say they have an obligation to their shareholders to make a profit and violence sells. There will always be violence in movies, just as there is violence in the Bible and in the plays of William Shakespeare. But, Weinstein is trying to tip the scales; to shift Hollywood from glorifying violence in films, to showing the true human cost and destructiveness of it." [deadline.com, 1/17-20/14]
"It's so much easier [living in a small town in Michigan]. I'm just happier and the change of season has been heavenly even with the [polar] vortex. L.A. is just the same and it's the same people and they all have the same lips and noses and boobs and cheekbones. Here everybody's different, you know? They don't all look like they were stamped with a plastic surgeon's cookie cutter. My moving, Botox-free forehead is welcome here."
—actress Melissa Gilbert, enthusing about her recent move from Los Angeles to Michigan [foxnews.com, 1/22/14]
Bill Cosby and NBC have announced that the 76-year-old actor will reprise his familiar and family-oriented role as a sitcom's wise—and undoubtedly wisecracking—patriarch. (NBC has not yet released the name or premiere date for the forthcoming program.) "The Cosby Show" originally ran on NBC from 1984 to 1992, and was the No. 1 series on TV from 1985 to 1989. [today.com, 1/22/14]
The big winners at the 2014 Grammy Awards were a pair of French DJs in their signature robot garb (Daft Punk), an Australian teenager (Lorde) and a white Seattle rapper (Macklemore). But nobody's really talking about the winners. Nor are they even talking about Beyoncé and Jay Z's risqué opening number. That's because the show also included a marriage ceremony boasting 33 couples, gay and straight. It took place as Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performed their gospel-tinged, gay-marriage affirming "Same Love." They were eventually joined by Madonna, who added a truncated version of "Open Your Heart" as cameras panned down the line of couples embracing and celebrating. The festivities were introduced and "officiated" by Queen Latifa, who had been legally deputized to marry the couples by Los Angeles County. "This is not a song for some of us but for all of us," she said at the outset. And in an interview with The New York Times prior to the performance, Ryan Lewis said of the event's affirmation of gay marriage, "[The weddings] will be in our minds the ultimate statement of equality, that all couples are entitled to the same thing." [hollywoodreporter.com, 1/26/14; nytimes.com, 1/26/14; washingtonpost.com, 1/27/14; drudgereport.com, 1/27/14]
Justin Bieber was arrested around 4 a.m. Jan. 23 in Miami Beach, Fla., after being stopped for allegedly drag racing a rented Lamborghini against rapper Khalil, who was in a Ferrari (and who was also arrested). Bieber was booked on several charges, including DUI, resisting arrest and driving with a suspended license. Bieber reportedly admitted to police that he had been drinking, smoking marijuana and using prescription medication. The incident comes on the heels of Bieber allegedly egging his neighbor's house, causing thousands of dollars of damage and possibly triggering a felony charge in Los Angeles.
The Daily Beast entertainment writer Kevin Fallon said of Bieber's recent bad behavior, "The 19-year-old pop star, petulance personified, is acting out. … The laundry list is an endless scroll, really. Being carried up the Great Wall of China. Drinking. Drugs. Punching the [paparazzo] in London. The brothel visit in Brazil. Arguing with neighbors. Spitting in neighbors' faces. Threatening to kill his neighbors. (Mr. Rogers is rolling over in his grave, right about now.) After the Thursday morning drug-fueled Fast and Furious reenactment, Miami police spokesperson Bobby Hernandez made a succinct assessment: 'Kid needs help.'"
One day later, Bieber's Twitter count jumped 34,456 followers. [thedailybeast.com, 1/23-27/14; nbcmiami.com, 1/24/14; mtvnews.com, 1/23/14]
Last year, Teen Mom reality star Farrah Abraham garnered a great deal of publicity for releasing a staged sex tape for which she reportedly earned close to $1 million. Now, Abraham has admitted she regrets having released the explicit video. "It made it hard to have friends and a private life and to trust family, who I feel use me for money," Abraham said in an interview with InTouch Weekly. "If I went back in time, I would not have done it. The sex tape ruined my life!" [foxnews.com, 1/8/14]
"Tomorrow I have to put two pills on one side of my cheek, two pills on the other side of my cheek. Let them dissolve for an hour. And if they don't dissolve by an hour I have to swallow them. And they said my uterus would start contracting and releasing it like it's a miscarriage." So said Teen Mom 2 star Jenelle Evans in a conversation with her mother on a recent episode, regarding her choice to abort her second pregnancy.
Writing about the episode, The Daily Beast's Sujay Kumar said of her decision (and the show's depiction of it), "The abortion itself is a frank depiction of terminating a pregnancy, somehow reminiscent of the staggering Romanian film 4 Months, 3 weeks and 2 Days. Jenelle drives with her mom and son to a motel, and the next day she visits the doctor (though this is off camera). Here there's no illicit date with a shady man with a suitcase and no struggle to hide the fetus. Instead, it's just the reality of going through with the procedure." [thedailybeast.com, 1/21/14]
Grand Theft Auto V was the most popular video game in the United States in 2013, according to the NPD Group. The marketing research firm released its list of the year's best-selling titles, as well as its analysis of the video game hardware and software market overall. Following the latest Grand Theft installment, in descending order, were Call of Duty: Ghosts, Madden NFL 25, Battlefield 4, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, NBA 2K14, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Just Dance 2014, Minecraft and Disney Infinity. Despite brisk November and December sales of the new Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4 consoles, combined figures for hardware, software and video game accessories fell 2% compared to 2012, to $12.97 billion. [gameindustry.biz, 1/16/14; latimes.com, 1/16/14 stats]
"In The Wolf of Wall Street, the comedic high point is a drug overdose—or at least it's supposed to be funny. … It's hard not to get the feeling, from the close-up slow-motion shots of spinning prescription pills and the sensuous descriptions of the highs, that the film is saying drugs are hilarious and a lot of fun."
—Howard Meitiner, president and CEO of Phoenix House, a national drug and alcohol rehabilitation organization [huffingtonpost.com, 1/22/14]
With the return of Sherlock to PBS, we're reminded that, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Sherlock Holmes is the character most often portrayed in movies and television. More than 70 actors have fleshed out Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous creation in around 200 different projects. [time.com, 1/21/14 stats]