DID YOU READ

Anthony Hopkins is grumbling about mumbling.

Anthony Hopkins is grumbling about mumbling. (photo)

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In a predictably contentious interview with The Guardian, Anthony Hopkins caps off an eminently readable series of straightforward admissions about his alcoholic past, estranged daughter and disdain for the British tabloids by denouncing what’s going down in the UCLA acting classes he teaches. “There are a lot of young kids, good actors, but they are so macho they think it’s sexy to whisper. I don’t know what the hell they are talking about. They may as well put subtitles on them. I teach acting classes at UCLA, and I stand there and say: ‘I can’t understand one word you’re saying, so how d’you expect me to sit in the audience?'”

Now, I don’t know what Hopkins is talking about, if he’s teaching theatrical or film acting, nor could I find evidence of said acting classes online. And I don’t remember a swarm of recent Hollywood performances specializing in whispering. The tentative, awkward shuffle, sure — I used to want to slap some decisiveness into Tobey Maguire until he snapped out of it, Jake Gyllenhaal has run with it pretty well, and Paul Dano’s brilliant turn in “There Will Be Blood” pretty much took it into the realm of self-parody. But I don’t think that’s what Hopkins is talking about, nor, I suspect, is he being inundated with a new breed of mumblecore actors.

01212010_nixon.jpgHopkins’ complaint, nonetheless, seems curiously anachronistic. He began stage-acting in the early ’60s and was on film by 1967, making him probably the most successful British screen actor of his generation. His compatriots included the largely now-forgotten Nicol Williamson and John Hurt, both of whom he acted against, but Hopkins eclipsed them both for sheer fame. (Michael Caine’s of the same generation, but his insistence on keeping his own accent rather than the Queen’s English makes him a whole other story.) Hurt has proven himself adept at sinking into characters; Williamson, primarily a stage actor praised by the likes of Samuel Beckett, never could tone it down for film.

Hopkins gets to have it both ways, as pretty much every profile notes. He’s overwhelmingly associated with either his quiet Merchant Ivory turns (“The Remains of the Day,” “Howard’s End”) or scenery-chewing on a massive scale (Hannibal Lecter, his enjoyable hammy tête-à-tête with Ryan Gosling in “Fracture,” being Richard Nixon). But if you look at his overall body of work, it’s clear Hopkins is kind of an anomaly, splitting the difference between the old-school theatrical training he had while learning to adapt to new screen conventions. Which makes his grumbling about mumbling even more puzzling. He had to learn to take it down a notch to continue a successful screen career; surely, he doesn’t expect the new generation of kids to start from where he started 40 years ago? Besides, his turn in the underrated “The World’s Fastest Indian” is as mumbly as it gets.

[Photos: “Hannibal,” MGM/UA, 2001; “Nixon,” Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 1995.]

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Holiday Extra Special

Make The Holidays ’80s Again

Enjoy the holiday cheer Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Whatever happened to the kind of crazy-yet-cozy holiday specials that blanketed the early winter airwaves of the 1980s? Unceremoniously killed by infectious ’90s jadedness? Slow fade out at the hands of early-onset millennial ennui? Whatever the reason, nixing the tradition was a huge mistake.

A huge mistake that we’re about to fix.

Announcing IFC’s Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special, starring Tony Hale. It’s a celeb-studded extravaganza in the glorious tradition of yesteryear featuring Bridget Everett, Jo Firestone, Nick Thune, Jen Kirkman, house band The Dap-Kings, and many more. And it’s at Joe’s Pub, everyone’s favorite home away from home in the Big Apple.

The yuletide cheer explodes Wednesday December 21 at 10P. But if you were born after 1989 and have no idea what void this spectacular special is going to fill, sample from this vintage selection of holiday hits:

Andy Williams and The NBC Kids Search For Santa

The quintessential holiday special. Get snuggly and turn off your brain. You won’t need it.

A Muppet Family Christmas

The Fraggles. The Muppets. The Sesame Street gang. Fate. The Jim Henson multiverse merges in this warm and fuzzy Holiday gathering.

Julie Andrews: The Sound Of Christmas

To this day a foolproof antidote to holiday cynicism. It’s cheesy, but a good cheese. In this case an Alpine Gruyère.

Star Wars Holiday Special

Okay, busted. This one was released in 1978. Still totally ’80s though. And yes that’s Bea Arthur.

Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special

Pass the eggnog, and make sure it’s loaded. This special is everything you’d expect it to be and much, much more.

Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special premieres Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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It Ain't Over Yet

A Guide to Coping with the End of Comedy Bang! Bang!

Watch the final episodes tonight at 11 and 11:30P on IFC.

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After five seasons and 110 halved-hour episodes, Scott Aukerman’s hipster comedy opus, Comedy Bang! Bang!, has come to an end. Fridays at 11 and 11:30P will never be the same. We know it can be hard for fans to adjust after the series finale of their favorite TV show. That’s why we’ve prepared this step-by-step guide to managing your grief.

Step One: Cry it out

It’s just natural. We’re sad too.
Scott crying GIF

Step Two: Read the CB!B! IMDB Trivia Page

The show is over and it feels like you’ve lost a friend. But how well did you really know this friend? Head over to Comedy Bang! Bang!’s IMDB page to find out some things you may not have known…like that it’s “based on a Civil War battle of the same name” or that “Reggie Watts was actually born with the name Theodore Leopold The Third.”

Step Three: Listen to the podcast

One fascinating piece of CB!B! trivia that you might not learn from IMDB is that there’s a podcast that shares the same name as the TV show. It’s even hosted by Scott Aukerman! It’s not exactly like watching the TV show on a Friday night, but that’s only because each episode is released Monday morning. If you close your eyes, the podcast is just like watching the show with your eyes closed!

Step Four: Watch brand new CB!B! clips?!

The best way to cope with the end of Comedy Bang! Bang! is to completely ignore that it’s over — because it’s not. In an unprecedented move, IFC is opening up the bonus CB!B! content vault. There are four brand new, never-before-seen sketches featuring Scott Aukerman, Kid Cudi, and “Weird Al” Yankovic ready for you to view on the IFC App. There’s also one right here, below this paragraph! Watch all four b-b-bonus clips and feel better.

Binge the entire final season, plus exclusive sketches, right now on the IFC app.

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Everybody Sweats Now

The Four-Day Sweatsgiving Weekend On IFC

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This long holiday weekend is your time to gobble gobble gobble and give heartfelt thanks—thanks for the comfort and forgiveness of sweatpants. Because when it comes right down to it, there’s nothing more wholesome and American than stuffing yourself stupid and spending endless hours in front of the TV in your softest of softests.

So get the sweats, grab the remote and join IFC for four perfect days of entertainment.

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It all starts with a 24-hour T-day marathon of Rocky Horror Picture Show, then continues Friday with an all-day binge of Stan Against Evil.

By Saturday, the couch will have molded to your shape. Which is good, because you’ll be nestled in for back-to-back Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

Finally, come Sunday it’s time to put the sweat back in your sweatpants with The Shining, The Exorcist, The Chronicles of Riddick, Terminator 2, and Blade: Trinity. They totally count as cardio.

As if you need more convincing, here’s Martha Wash and the IFC&C Music Factory to hammer the point home.

The Sweatsgiving Weekend starts Thursday on IFC

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