Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas


He was an unhinged, crazy bastard but people loved him.

Rolling Stone has put the original essay from Hunter S. Thompson online so people can read what became Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Yes, Thompson lost the plot with an eventual crash that left him in the mountains, paranoid but unbroken. But he could write very, very well.

Lori Loughlin Has Figured Out How to Get Away With It


If you give someone enough time to wriggle out of trouble, that's exactly what they're going to do:
Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, might have caught a big break in their college admissions bribery case. The two were first implicated when the scandal broke last year, alongside Felicity Huffman, and have been accused of bribing the University of Southern California with $500,000 to secure their daughters’ admission. (They pleaded not guilty.) But the couple’s defense claims that notes from the scam’s mastermind proves they believed the money they’d handed over was a legitimate donation.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Loughlin’s defense team said in a legal filing that the prosecution had provided notes from college admissions consultant Rick Singer, who pleaded guilty last March to orchestrating the scheme.

“Singer’s notes indicate that FBI agents yelled at him and instructed him to lie by saying that he told his clients who participated in the alleged ‘side door’ scheme that their payments were bribes, rather than legitimate donations that went to the schools,” the filing says, per People.
The filing also quotes Singer writing, “They continue to ask me to tell a fib and not restate what I told my clients as to where there [sic] money was going—to the program not the coach and that it was a donation and they want it to be a payment.”
You have to give Loughlin, her husband, and their legal team props for figuring out how to escape accountability. Their peers are going to prison, their own freedom is in jeopardy, and they knew that all they needed was time.

Minitel


It was slow and clunky, but it worked and that's all that mattered:
Combining a monitor, keyboard, and modem all in one beige plastic package, the Minitel terminal — known as the "Little French Box" — was once a common sight in French households. With it, writes Julien Mailland in the Atlantic, "one could read the news, engage in multi-player interactive gaming, grocery shop for same-day delivery, submit natural language requests like 'reserve theater tickets in Paris,' purchase said tickets using a credit card, remotely control thermostats and other home appliances, manage a bank account, chat, and date." All this at a time when, as Schofield puts it, "the rest of us were being put on hold by the bank manager or queueing for tickets at the station." And what's more, the French got their Minitel terminals for free.
In order for regular Americans to get on the Internet in the 1990s, they had to have a computer with a modem and a phone line. By the time you got all of that lined up, you had to pay for access and that meant about $25 a month to someone like America Online.

I kind of like the French idea better.

The Jesus Rolls


Everything about this film looks wonderful:
Riding Off Into the Sunset: The Jesus Rolls feels less like an update of Blier’s blithe style and more like the kind of comedic whatsits of Italian directors Dino Risi, Mario Monicelli, Pietro Germi, and Alberto Lattuada. But this isn’t the first time the Italian Turturro has dipped a toe in the sandbox of Italian film: His 2005 musical Romance and Cigarettes has sincere Germi-influenced anarchy in its DNA; his 2010 historical drama Passione is all about the songs and dances found in Naples; he’s adapted a play set in pre-industrial Rome (Illuminata); and he’s acted for Palme d’Or winning Italian director Nanni Moretti among others of his fellow countrymen. 
That cultural affection is all over this film. Turturro manages to make upstate New York look like the Italian countryside, the dance breaks and wine on every table are snagged from a midcentury Italian romp, and the film liberally breathes between the gags. Scenes of Turturro and Cannavale riding innumerable trains to flee police are downright soothing, as is an extended detour at a beach house. This is a movie all about the weird pleasures of hanging out with friends who never say no to sensation, and the only time the fun threatens to come to an end are when they get close to death, which, thanks to the sweet and mournful tone, feels almost welcome.
It may not be the film you want, and there might only be a handful of super heroes in it, but this is the film America needs right now.

Paranoia and Fear Grip the Entire World


Please do not take public health advice from this person.

You're welcome.

He's Not Having It


The In-Betweeners was one of those shows that I binge-watched when I discovered it, and I was always amazed that they were able to capture the pathos of being a teenager so effortlessly. The success of the show turned out to be a nightmare for Simon Bird:
Simon Bird has once again ruled out the possibility of a future reunion of The Inbetweeners.
The hugely popular sitcom ran for three seasons between 2008 and 2010 before two movies were released in 2011 and 2014.
The four primary castmembers reunited in January 2019 for the widely-derided non-scripted special Fwends Reunited, and Bird — who played Will MacKenzie in the series — later said that a future Inbetweeners reboot would “be a bit depressing for everyone”.
This is what kills good art. The negative reaction to their reunion special ought to be kept in mind by everyone who plans to watch the cast of Friends do roughly the exact same thing.

The Horror of This Man's Actions


I hope Harvey Weinstein is held accountable for every single heinous thing he ever did.
Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape and a felony sex crime Monday, marking a climactic end to a high-profile case that in some ways serves as vindication of the #MeToo movement.
Those two counts were connected to individual allegations made by Mimi Haley, a former Weinstein Co. production assistant, and Jessica Mann, a once-aspiring actress. Weinstein was acquitted on the two most serious charges of predatory sexual assault, which each carried a potential life sentence.

Weinstein, 69, appeared to be staring ahead while a half-dozen court officers surrounded him just after the verdict was delivered. The movie producer struggled to get up from his seat as he was handcuffed and escorted out of the courtroom.

Judge James Burke ordered Weinstein to be held in custody until his sentencing March 11.
It is a good thing that he is not free to live at home and continue out and about in public. As recently as October he was heckled at a comedy club. Now that he has had his due process, he should not be allowed in polite society ever again.

Community


This is great news:
The return of hit sitcom Community is looking much more likely now, as cast member Alison Brie has taken to Reddit to reveal discussions around a potential film are ongoing. 
Brie played Annie Edison in all six seasons of the NBC comedy, which told the story of an eclectic group of students at a community college in the fictional town of Greendale, Colorado. Now, five years after the final episodes aired, Brie has commented on continued fan speculation about a movie. 
Asked whether there was “any news about the Community movie” during a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) Q&A session, Brie responded: “[I’ve] actually got an interesting call about it this week…stay tuned…”
I'm not a purist, but I want Dan Harmon to run this thing if it happens. I want Paget Brewster and Keith David to be a part of it, too. I will mourn Leonard, of course because Richard Erdman was pitch perfect every chance he got to deliver a line.

If, for some reason, it does not involve Chevy Chase, I am not going to be upset.

Blockbuster



The Blockbuster Video Chain was a horrific company, a blight upon the American retain landscape. It was easily the worst company of the 1990s and early 2000s (says me).

Who is nostalgic for anything related to Blockbuster? This is a picture of a game you can play in your home. Why would you want anything with the blue and yellow logo of eternal evil on it? I see the Blockbuster logo and I see red.

Get rid of this shit, man. There should not be any of it left. When they closed those stores, think of all the Blockbuster bullshit that was thrown away. The signs, the bags, the bins, the display cases, the shelves on the wall. Think of all the stores they once had. A lot of them are now Panera Bread stores or places where you can get vaping crap. There should not be any of this, it should all be gone. They should set all of their remaining merchandise and mementos on fire and disappear into the sordid annals of history, going the way of those stores where people sold belly slaps and gum that didn't work.

I'm still mad about having to pay late fees. All of America should still be angry. I'm still giving Netflix money because that's what killed Blockbuster.

Why would you play a game like this? You should fling this goddamned thing into the rafters. It's not safe to start fires in stores, so don't do that. But, shit. Where was this considered a good idea? In a pitch meeting attended by people who didn't have to live in a country where there were no good movie stores and where a Blockbuster video store was just there, like a blight?

Don't you remember going there and being forced to wait to get movies? You'd have to sweep in and try to get a new release. You might have to move up and down the aisles like a shark and wait for a dopey kid to put a just-returned copy on the shelf. Then you would have to wait in line to rent it. Oh. I can't rent it until I pay late fees? Well, goddamn.

Don't get me started on what it was like to rent a movie and find out some idiot had put the wrong movie in the wrong box. Or that they had failed to rewind the damned thing.

Fucking late fees. When am I getting over them?

Never.


The Oscars


What the hell happened to the Oscars?
The US live TV audience for the Oscars fell to an all-time low on Sunday.Roughly 23.6 million viewers tuned into the awards ceremony, according to the US broadcaster ABC, citing Nielsen. 
The ratings fell sharply from last year when 29.5 million people watched, amid an industry-wide decline in linear TV viewing. 
South Korea's Parasite made history, becoming the first non-English language film to win best picture since the awards began 92 years ago. 
Renee Zellweger won best actress for playing Judy Garland in Judy. Joaquin Phoenix was named best actor for Joker. 
Despite the ratings slump, the Oscars, which had no host for the second year running, remains the most-watched awards show. 
In 2019 the ceremony managed to buck a four-year trend in declining viewers and increased its audience by 11% to 26.5 million.
Both of these things can be true:

1. The movies aren't as important as they once were, and you can certainly find great art on television in long form series and through streaming services that produce great content.

2. People are tired of an endless broadcast that kisses the asses of people who are ridiculously biased against certain types of performers and anyone who ever made a successful comedy.

Hollywood realizes it has a diversity problem. The answer is thus - "if we have to give awards to people of color, then they have to still be men." Hollywood is already very diverse, as long as you don't count the fact that they ignore women. You can't honestly say that Bong Joon-Ho would have won if he was a woman because there were five other women that made films that were just as good if not better than the one he made. There, I said it. Cancel me.

Beyond that, I thought the whole thing was a turgid mess. Without a host to explain things, the show lurched from one non-sequitur to another. They made a feeble attempt to keep everything in line, and they tried their best to get the technical awards over in a hurry, but they failed. If the thing were entirely limited to seven awards - best supporting actor and actress, best actor and actress, best film, best director, and a lifetime achievement award, then you could get the thing over in an hour. Want to see who wins all the other awards? Go watch it on cable tomorrow night.

No one cares what I think and why should they? This has been a problem since forever and they're never going to fix it. The power of "the academy" is such that there will not be meaningful change until someone wises up and realizes what needs to be done.


Parasite


The South Korean film Parasite is going to make a lot of heads explode. It is the work of a true auteur, depicts a culture that is entirely separate and unique, and it covers themes that are universal in size and scope. There is a version of this film that you could make in any language, any time, any culture.

Watching people go nuts because this film won multiple Oscars is worth the price of admission.

John le Carré


John le Carré on how far we have fallen from grace.
I try to imagine how it was for Palme in those times: the shuttle diplomacy, the tireless reasoning with people locked into their positions and scared of their superiors. I was the lowest form of spy life, but even I got wind of contingency plans for outright nuclear war. If you are in Berlin or Bonn when the Russian tanks sweep over you, be sure to destroy your files first. First? What was second? And I doubt whether your chances would have been much rosier in Stockholm. 
In Berlin, in August 1961, I look on as coils of Russian barbed wire are unrolled across the Friedrichstrasse checkpoint, otherwise known as Checkpoint Charlie. Intermittently, in the days that follow, I watch the Wall go up, one concrete block at a time. Do I lift a finger? No one did. And maybe that was the worst part of it: the oppressive sense of your own irrelevance. 
But Palme refused to be irrelevant. He would make himself heard if it killed him, and perhaps in the end it did. 
It’s October 1962 and Cuban crisis time. I am a junior diplomat at the British embassy in Bonn and I have just moved into a new hiring beside the river Rhine. German decorators are painting the walls. It’s a sunny autumn and I think I must have been on leave because I am sitting in the garden writing.

James Corden is Right


James Corden is taking a stand against bias in Hollywood:
James Corden’s acting career was filled with major ups and downs — soap opera bit roles, hit British sitcoms and Broadway shows — but one constant he’s seen is a lack of quality parts for people his size. 
Corden now has a massive career as the host of The Late Late Show, but earlier in his acting days, despite starring in the hit play The History Boys, he struggled to get substantial roles while his costars earned major movie parts. 
“I was good for playing a bubbly judge in a courtroom, or I’d be the guy who drops off a TV to Hugh Grant in a movie,” he told The New Yorker. 
Corden said it’s a problem that stems from how society treats overweight people.
“If someone came from another planet and put on the television, you would think that people who are big or overweight don’t have sex,” he said. “They don’t fall in love.
 They’re friends of people who fall in love. They’re probably not that bright, but they’re a good time, and they’re not as valuable as people who are really good-looking.”
I'm glad he is speaking up because this bias is a very real thing. It goes against anyone who isn't perfect looking, and it skews heavily against older people as well. One of the best antidotes to this would be to see an actress like Rebel Wilson really make it in Hollywood. Another would be to see movies and TV shows that treat everyone the same damned way.