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Peanuts and Popcorn

Peanuts and Popcorn

Paula Dean and Gary Busey Join ‘Dancing with the Stars’

posted by jtotey
(R-L) Paula Deen, Tamar Braxton, Alex Skarlatos, Hayes Greer, Bindi Irwin, Chaka Khan, Kim Zolciak, Carolos Penavega, Alexa Penavega, Victor Expinoza (ABC/Ida Mae Astute)

(R-L) Paula Deen, Tamar Braxton, Alex Skarlatos, Hayes Greer, Bindi Irwin, Chaka Khan, Kim Zolciak, Carolos Penavega, Alexa Penavega, Victor Expinoza (ABC/Ida Mae Astute)

For the last few weeks, announcements have been made regarding some of the “stars” to be featured on the next season of Dancing with the Stars. As is the tradition, the entire cast was announced this morning on Good Morning America. Each year, DWTS seems to find one or two controversial celebrities. For this season, that distinction goes to celebrity cook, Paula Dean who nearly lost her empire due to racist comments she made a few years ago and wild card Gary Busey who makes headlines for just being himself. The two are also this season’s oldest contestants – Dean is 68 and Busey is 71. (Chaka Khan is only 62!) Season 21 will also usher in more younger dancers including actress and daughter of Steve Irwin the former “Crocodile Hunter,” Bindi Irwin (17) and internet star Hayes Grier (15).

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This season’s cast includes former child stars and married couple Carlos Penavega (Big Time Rush) and Alexa Penavega (Nashville, Spy Kids) who will be competing against each other. The show tried to do this before for season eight with singer Jewel and her husband Ty Murray, but Jewel had to bow out at the last minute.

Perhaps this season’s biggest stars are singers Andy Grammer (Known for “Honey I’m Good”), Chaka Khan (Who has released 22 albums and has ten #1 Billboard songs) and former Backstreet Boy, Nick Carter.

Rounding out the cast is National Guard Specialist and American hero, Alek Skarlotos, Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kim Zolciak Biermann, singer and reality star Tamar Braxton and professional jockey, Victor Espinoza.

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What you won’t see this season: Former football players, former Olympic champions, head judge Len Goodman (whose last season was season 20) and dancer Peta Murgatroyd who is undergoing orthopedic surgery.

And now, the complete cast for season 21 of Dancing with the Stars:

  • Alek Skarlatos partnered with Lindsay Arnold
  • Alexa PenaVega partnered with Mark Ballas
  • Andy Grammer partnered with Allison Holker
  • Bindi Irwin partnered with Derek Hough
  • Carlos PenaVega partnered with Witney Carson
  • Chaka Khan partnered with Keo Motsepe
  • Gary Busey partnered with Anna Trebunskaya
  • Hayes Grier partnered with Emma Slater
  • Kim Zolciak Biermann partnered with Tony Dovolani
  • Nick Carter partnered with Sharna Burgess
  • Paula Deen partnered with Louis van Amstel
  • Tamar Braxton partnered with Valentin Chmerkovskiy
  • Victor Espinoza partnered with Karina Smirnoff

Personal predictions for this season:
Gary Busy will be the worst dancer, but not the first to voted off the dance floor.
Paula Dean will make headlines again for saying something inappropriate that she didn’t mean to say.
Derk Hough will have another injury forcing him to not dance but ABC will keep him around because he is a big draw.

Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday, September 14 at 8:00 p.m. and Tuesday, September 15 at 9:00 p.m. on ABC.

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One Wes Craven Film Nobody Seems to Remember

posted by jtotey
Meryl Streep in 1999's Music of the Heart (Miramax)

Meryl Streep in 1999’s Music of the Heart (Miramax)

It’s sort of crazy to know that Wes Craven, who grew up in a strict Baptist family and wasn’t allowed to see any movies of any sort, later become known as one the great leaders in the horror genre. Craven has been credited for creating some of Hollywood’s scariest films and characters. He created Freddy Krueger and his nightmares, people living under the stairs and the entire Scream series.

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In 1972, Craven began his career in horror with The Last House on the Left with Sean Cunningham.
“It was totally coincidence. My mother wouldn’t even let me read DC Comics,” Craven said in an interview with AV Club. “It was just that Sean had some guys with some money who wanted to make a movie that was interesting, and it had to be scary. I literally remember a conversation along the lines of, ‘Sean, I don’t know anything about making a scary movie.’” Somehow he managed to do just fine.

But while many are familiar with Craven’s films, even if they have never seen any of them, there is one that they tend to forget, namely because it is unlike the others. In 1999, Craven directed the inspirational film, Music of the Heart. The true story was based on the life of Roberta Guaspari who at a crossroads in her life, began to teach violin classes in East Harlem with incredible results creating the Opus 118 program which is still operating today.

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Music of the Heart starred Meryl Streep who received nominations for an Oscar, a Golden Glboe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her role. The film’s original title, 50 Violins, was put aside since research showed that people who saw Streep’s name attached to a film with the word “violin” in the title, automatically assumed that it would be sad film. And while Streep was the first choice to play the part, she initially declined. Though Streep had never seen any of Craven’s films up to that point, she wasn’t sure about jumping into a film project with him. It is said that she did hear him in a radio interview and was impressed with what she heard, but her schedule wouldn’t allow for her to star in the film. The role was giving to Madonna who had a different perspective on how the story should play out and was later dropped from the production. Sandra Bullock and Meg Ryan were also considered briefly. After receiving a personal letter from Craven himself, Streep agreed to do the part.

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For four weeks before the start of production, Streep learn to play the violin by practicing six hours a day. The film featured many of the actual students involved in Guaspari’s program. The film also starred Angela Bassett, Gloria Estefan and Aidan Quinn.

Wes Craven (Wikipedia)

Wes Craven (Wikipedia)

In the end, the film was a modest hit. Craven himself said that it was difficult to market the film with his name attached to it. Not surprisingly, critics appreciated Streep’s portrayal of the teacher. While Rotten Tomatoes critics gave the film a 64% approval rating, audiences gave the film much higher marks.

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When asked by Movie Fone if Craven had any interest in producing another non-horror movie, he said, “Well, your question leads me to believe you don’t understand the harsh realities of being a director [laughs]. You don’t usually have a choice of changing genres. Once you do a film as hard-hitting as Last House, it’s the general assumption that that’s the kind of person you are. And so people don’t send you their comedies.” He then explained how he was approached by Bob and Harvey Weinstein to do two more Scream movies and then he could do a film out of the horror genre.”

Since Music of the Heart, Craven did get a chance to direct Red Eye, a psychological thriller in 2005 and a short romantic comedy segment for the 2006 compilation film, Paris, je t’aime. Below is the trailer for Music of the Heart.

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Are You Selfish?

posted by jtotey
(Pixabay)

(Pixabay)

Believe it or not, it wasn’t too long ago that when a couple decided to wed, they would send you an engagement photo with the big news in through the U.S. Postal System. (That’s that big box outside your home with the red flag). (“Hey! Bob is getting married. How nice.”) Imagine if you went to the mailbox and found another photo of the couple the next day. (“Hey! Bob is STILL getting married!”) And the next. (“Bob, come on. We know. You’re getting married.”) You get the idea. Pretty ridiculous right? However, in our “advanced” world, people, both men and women, will do just that in their Facebook feed. Why is that? Isn’t once enough?

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Then, there are the people who post selfies every other day of just their face. Nothing special. There was nothing wrong with their two-day-old picture they just posted. Still, you can be sure to find a list of comments from friends telling them how good they look. Then there are the others who post “duck face” shots or selfies with their tongues hanging out (thank you Miley Cyrus). I really wonder if these people think, “I really want to post another selfie, but I don’t want people to think I’m conceited, so I’ll stick my tongue out as if it’s joke.”

Parents boasting of their child’s achievements online is nothing new and most of the time it is welcome news. But then there are those, you know the ones, that think EVERYTHING that their child does is worth posting about. (“Today Johnny got out of bed before 11:00 a.m.! How did I get so lucky? My little ‘baby’ is growing up LOL!”)

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But are selfies a form of narcissism or self-documentation? Pamela B. Rutledge Phd. D. M.B.A. Wrote about this subject in 2013 for Psychology Today. In it, she states that selfies can “facilitate self and identity exploration” and can be more about context than the self. This can be in reference to the activities shown in the photo to even how the photo was taken. She stresses that not all selfies are about seeking external validation. “People often say that posters of selfies just want approval. We ALL seek approval. Humans are social animals, driven by the need for connection and social validation. We want to be valued, appreciated, and included in the groups that matter to us.” She also states that selfies “feel” more real than traditional portraits and can be normalizing. I guess if everybody is posting pictures of themselves, it has become pretty normal. But can it ever get to be too much?

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“Danny Bowman, who was diagnosed with a body dysmorphic disorder, explained that he grew suicidal due to his addiction taking pictures of himself. Bowman shared how he would shoot 200 pictures a day to get just the right look. In fact, the 19-year-old Englishman said that he might spend as much as 10 hours a day just taking selfies,” states an article in Science World Report.

Cover of "Selfish" (edited) (Universe Publishing)

Cover of “Selfish” (edited) (Universe Publishing)

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While he acknowledges that Danny’s case is very extreme, psychiatrist Dr. Davide Veale says, “This is a serious problem. It’s not a vanity issue. It’sa mental health one which has an extremely high suicide rate.”

In that same article, Dr. Ruteledge is also quoted saying, “put aside your anxieties over rampant narcissism and moral decline of the digital generation and exhale … like every trend, the behavior will recede when the excitement and newness wears off…” That was a couple of years ago.

Recent news suggests that Kim Kardashian has been “stressing out” about the sales of her new book, aptly titled, Selfish. That’s right, the reality TV star, famous for being famous, has blessed up with a coffee table book of some of her best selfies. Since May, the book has “only” sold 32,000 copies. That sounds like a lot to me, but I guess she and her publisher were thinking they would sell a lot more. In fact, she was recently a guest on the Live with Kelly and Michael TV show talking about the book and she gave away her secret to the perfect selfie. She takes about 100 or so photos and then picks the best one to post on Instagram. She says that the book is all about memories, but to judge the book by its cover, it looks a lot more than just a scrap book. But two questions come to mind: Why do so many people care and will we be seeing a lot more “selfish” books from other celebs in the coming months? One already did.

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Shellfish

(Universe Publishing)

A parody of Karadashian’s book is out called Shellfish by Kim Carr-Dachshund. Publicity for the book says the Carr-Dachshund is “forever being mistaken for that celebrity Kim with a similar-sounding last name. Not only has Kim Carr-Dachshund created a line of popular jewelry and a collection of super-cool sunglasses, she’s even been called a modern-day Marilyn Monroe. In her travels, Kim has found tributes to her popularity worldwide, such as toys, home decor, and even a postage stamp! And despite her very busy schedule, Kim has also recently developed an interest in shellfish.”

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Zoinks! Scooby-Doo and Gang Return to the Big Screen

posted by jtotey
The "traditional" Shaggy and Scooby-Doo! (Warner Bros.)

The “traditional” Shaggy and Scooby-Doo! (Warner Bros.)

News broke this week that Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma will all be featured in a new animated movie to be released in September 2018. The press release states the the “film marks a reintroduction of Hanna-Barbera animated favorites to moviegoers everywhere” which might make some fans nervous. The release doesn’t state if Warner Bros. would focus on the traditional-looking characters and personalities or the new version of the upcoming Be Cool Scooby-Doo! TV series that will debut on Boomerang this fall. (The style of the artwork and story-telling will be significantly different than what we are used to and looks similar to the animated Family Guy series, that is anything but family-friendly.) The Boomerang series was initially to be shown on Cartoon Network.

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The new film is said to reunite Oscar-nominated producers Charles Roven and Richard Suckle who worked on the last two Scooby-Doo movies which were live-action and CGI animated and became a disappointment to fans. But the good news is that the pair will be joined by producer Allison Abbate who worked on The Iron Giant and the Oscar-nominated Fantastic Mr. Fox. (She did also produce Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie, but we can let that slide for now.)

The new film will be directed by Tony Cervone, a multiple Emmy Award nominee and was fully involved in the previous Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated series, which is probably the best version of Scooby and his friends to date, so that’s good. However, the “visionary” Dan Povenmire (Phineas and Ferb and the aforementioned Family Guy) is said to bring his “creative sensibilities” to the film as well. Finally, the screenplay is written by Matt Lieberman who was responsible for Dr. Dolitle: Tail to the Chief, a film that nobody has ever heard of.

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The "Family Guy" version of Scooby and the gang. (Warner Bros./Boomerang)

The “Family Guy” version of Scooby and the gang. (Warner Bros./Boomerang)

So, does this movie have a change to be any good? Greg Silverman, President of Creative Development seems to thinks so. “Like countless fans, I have always loved the Hanna-Barbera cast of characters,” he acknowledges in the press release. “As one of their most famous brand ambassadors, Scooby-Doo will take the lead in re-introducing this pantheon of enduringly popular animated stars on a grand scale with an exciting new movie.” Dan Fellman, President of Domesic Distribution agreed saying, “It’s always a treat to see Scooby-Doo on the big screen and to share his larger-than-life adventures with audiences. As anticipation grows throughout production, the movie’s mid-September release date should start the fall season with a burst of fun.” Finally, Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, Preident of Worldwide Distribution had this to say: “Scooby-Doo and his friends have the kind of universal appeal that reaches across cultures as well as generations.  We expect this new take on the franchise to generate even more fans around the world.”

That last comment makes me the most nervous. Why do we need a “new take” of the Scooby-Doo brand? Still, I don’t want to judge book by its cover or a movie by its poster. This could be great. It could. We’ll see.

Previous Posts

Paula Dean and Gary Busey Join 'Dancing with the Stars'
[caption id="attachment_1109" align="alignleft" width="500"] (R-L) Paula Deen, Tamar Braxton, Alex Skarlatos, Hayes Greer, Bindi Irwin, Chaka Khan, Kim Zolciak, Carolos Penavega, Alexa Penavega, Victor Expinoza (ABC/Ida Mae ...

posted 5:20:52pm Sep. 02, 2015 | read full post »

One Wes Craven Film Nobody Seems to Remember
It's sort of crazy to know that Wes Craven, who grew up in a strict Baptist family and wasn't allowed to see any movies ...

posted 6:34:05pm Aug. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Are You Selfish?
Believe it or not, it wasn't too long ago that when a couple decided to wed, they would send you an engagement photo with the big news in through the U.S. Postal ...

posted 2:02:41am Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Zoinks! Scooby-Doo and Gang Return to the Big Screen
News broke this week that Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma will all be featured in a new animated movie to be ...

posted 9:22:59pm Aug. 20, 2015 | read full post »

'Mission Impossible 5' is Still a Fun Ride
In 1996 when Paramount created the first Mission Impossible ...

posted 6:21:32am Jul. 31, 2015 | read full post »

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