"Like most evil masterminds, Michael Bay is an opportunist. He knows you've had a long week of work, and he knows there's nothing more attractive than being given a safe space to behave badly. … The first Transformers film was a bit vulgar and a bit sexist and a bit dumb, but it wore its Spielbergian influences on its sleeve. It wasn't an empty pit of nihilism the way this latest installment is. Transdumbers: Age of Excretions exists for one purpose and one purpose only—to give the world a space to indulge in its worst impulses and to pat its audience on the back for having those impulses in the first place. … Just try to think of Michael Bay as the Pied Piper of s‑‑‑, come with his pan pipe of explosions and unbearable metal screeches to lure away your children, steal their innocence, and collect his hundred million dollar paycheck before he moves on to the next town. And if he can, he'll steal your soul while he's at it. I know I know, it's just a movie. I should relax, just go with it. Have fun! Live a little! It's not the end of the world if some people like a big dumb movie like Transformers. But here's the thing. I can see vulgarity and ugliness anywhere I want to look, and I can see it for free. I want my movies to give me something to believe in. Michael Bay is just taking up space where our fantasies ought to be. Save the world. Don't see Transformers."
—The Daily Beast contributor Teo Bugbee, in his article "Transformers: Age of Extinction Is an Empty Pit of Nihilism." The fourth installment in the robot-rumble franchise raked in an estimated $100 million domestically and another $201 million internationally in its opening weekend. [thedailybeast.com, 6/30/14 stats]
"The whole fan thing is very strange to me, because I've never had anybody that I have gone crazy for, like whether it was an actor or a musician. And so it's a weird thing for me to relate to, especially the screaming sort of young fandom [that] the Twilight, Hunger Games, Divergent world caters to. … I've met people where I'm like, 'Hi, I'm Shai,' and they can't even see me because they're screaming, and I'm making eye contact with them, but they're not there. And that, to me, is weird."
—actress Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent), who also said, "There's this idea that actors and that musicians or models or whatever are better than the fans, and the fans look up to them because they're an actor. People that I look up to in life are people who make a difference, and brave, strong women." [vanityfair.com, 6/25/14]
"I think it was fame that just poisoned [Lady Gaga]. You know, what's funny is that she has this album called The Fame Monster, it's her second album, and she became consumed by that which she was fascinated about. Fame can be a very deadly drug and it has damaged her personally. … I think that she, unfortunately, has become a victim of this character that she created. Whereas instead of just being an artist, she became this freak, and this cartoon character, and so unrelatable to people. When she should be turning it down and being normal-ish and not dressing crazy, she just continued to do that. … She thinks that she's infallible and what has been proven these last 12 months now [is] she's very fallible."
—Internet gossip kingpin Perez Hilton [huffingtonpost.com, 6/25/14]
A new study states that Americans' fear of real-world violence is directly related to the amount of violence portrayed on broadcast television, while that fear level is not much affected by the amount of violence actually taking place around them. The Annenberg Public Policy Center correlated the amount of violence on TV from the 1970s through 2010 with how people responded to Gallup polls about their fear of violence. Despite the fact that crime rates in general have decreased over that time period, people's fear of crime rose and fell in a pattern similar to rising and falling crime rates on TV. Specifically, the number of violent sequences shown on broadcast TV per hour fell from a high of 6.5 in 1972 to a low of 1.4 in 1996. Since then, the number of violent incidents per hour has been on the rise again, increasing to 3.7 in 2010. Each additional violent sequence per hour correlated with a 1% increase in the number of people who told Gallup they feared walking alone at night in their neighborhood.
"We now have stronger evidence that the fictional treatment of crime on TV may influence the public's fears of crime," says Dan Romer, co-author of the study and an associate director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. Adds Patrick E. Jamieson, the lead author of the study and director of the organization's Adolescent Risk Communication Institute, "The findings are consistent with media scholarship in the 1960s and '70s that predicted effects of fictional TV violence on audiences. That prediction has been controversial, but with the present results, we have the best evidence to date that TV shows can affect how safe the public feels." [deadline.com, 6/18/14 c&e]
Warning: Watching sitcoms may make you more cynical about love. Researchers at the University of Michigan surveyed a pool of 625 undergraduate students about different types of media—including 93 romantically themed and sub-themed films, 17 sitcoms and four marriage-themed reality TV shows. They then asked survey respondents about their thoughts on love, finding that those who watched sarcastic and cynical comedies such as How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory tended to walk away with a much more pessimistic view of romance than those who didn't. Even if we aren't aware of it, the researchers argue, we internalize the messages we hear on TV or in films. [nymag.com, 6/23/14 c&e]
Forget watching a new episode of your favorite television series every week. These days, according to a survey sponsored by TiVo, more than 90% of Americans binge watch TV, defined as watching three or more episodes of a show in a row. And while a majority binge to "catch up," almost a third said they've purposely held off on watching their favorite shows until the whole season became available—giving them the opportunity to watch the whole thing in just a few sittings. In fact, 14% of respondents said they'd finished a whole season in a week or less. Americans' favorite binge series? AMC's Breaking Bad, which 35% of respondents reported bingeing on. That's followed by Netflix's House of Cards (29%) and HBO's Game of Thrones (25%). [foxnews.com, 6/19/14; time.com, 6/25/14]
"I'm a big advocate for young girls dressing their age. I mean, for me, I look around at a lot of young girls that are my age and they're always trying to dress older. Whether it's wearing revealing clothes or hardly wearing any clothes at all, I feel really bad for them. It kind of has the opposite effect in some ways … it kind of does the opposite where it makes you look younger and like you're trying too hard. … I almost wish I could tell young girls, 'Look, in 10 years when you look back at yourself, you'll cringe, honey, honestly.' … The way I choose to dress, I want to influence other people around me I suppose."
—15-year-old Bindi Irwin, youthful environmentalist and daughter of the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin [huffingtonpost.com, 6/25/14]
"The death of young musicians isn't something to romanticize. I'll never know my father because he died young & it becomes a desirable feat because ppl like u think it's 'cool.' Well, it's f‑‑‑ing not. Embrace life, because u only get one life. The ppl u mentioned wasted that life. Don't be 1 of those ppl."
—21-year-old Frances Bean Cobain, daughter of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, calling out indie chanteuse Lana Del Rey for recent comments in which she talked about wanting to die. Kurt Cobain committed suicide before Frances' second birthday in 1994. [rollingstone.comn, 6/23/14]