DID YOU READ

Ryan Gosling weighing early retirement from acting

Ryan Gosling weighing early retirement from acting (photo)

Posted by on

He may be tearing up the screen in “Drive,” easily one of the coolest action movies of the year. And he may be about to dive into the Oscar race with the buzzy prestige picture “The Ides of March,” directed and co-starring George Clooney. But even as his already impressive career is hitting another high water mark, Ryan Gosling is apparently contemplating hanging it all up. He told the UK newspaper The Times (which I would link to if their article wasn’t behind a paywall):

“I’ve been doing this since I was 12… I don’t want to act much longer; I can’t do one thing my whole life. I know there are only so many characters I’ll be able to play. It will be over whenever the inspiration dries up.”

Fuck no, Ryan Gosling! Retiring at the age of 30? Who does he think he is, Steven Soderbergh? Come to think of it, there were reports last week that Soderbergh was looking at Gosling as a potential star of his upcoming movie version of “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” Has Soderbergh been whispering in Gosling’s ear? If so, it could be disastrous. Stop tainting Ryan Gosling with your wide-ranging intellectual curiosity, Steven Soderbergh!

I’m not worried about Gosling going anywhere in the short term; his “Drive” director, Nicolas Winding Refn, told me he’s collaborating with Gosling on two more movies — a Bangkok-set action film called “Only God Forgives” and a remake of “Logan’s Run” — and he’s also signed on for a period cop thriller called “The Gangster Squad” and another movie with “Blue Valentine” director Derek Cianfrance. After that, well let’s just hope nothing out there drives Gosling away from acting. We need him to use his oh so handsome star power to get more commercially questionable projects made.

Would you be upset if Ryan Gosling retired from acting? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

[H/T Bleeding Cool]

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

maryhartman

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

ikea heights

IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

fresno

When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

soap

Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

cooks2

Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

darkplace

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

attitudes

Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

peaks

Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

invitation

Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

stomach

The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

joey

Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

acorn

First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

pointplace

In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

spoils

Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

spoilsdying


15. All My Children Finale, SNL

allmychildren

SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

Netflix splits DVD and streaming businesses further, launches Qwikster

Netflix splits DVD and streaming businesses further, launches Qwikster (photo)

Posted by on

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings posted some major news over on Qwikster.com.

Here is part of Hastings’ explanation for the change:

“Many members love our DVD service, as I do, because nearly every movie ever made is published on DVD, plus lots of TV series. We want to advertise the breadth of our incredible DVD offering so that as many people as possible know it still exists, and it is a great option for those who want the huge and comprehensive selection on DVD. DVD by mail may not last forever, but we want it to last as long as possible.

I also love our streaming service because it is integrated into my TV, and I can watch anytime I want. The benefits of our streaming service are really quite different from the benefits of DVD by mail. We feel we need to focus on rapid improvement as streaming technology and the market evolve, without having to maintain compatibility with our DVD by mail service.

So we realized that streaming and DVD by mail are becoming two quite different businesses, with very different cost structures, different benefits that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently. It’s hard for me to write this after over 10 years of mailing DVDs with pride, but we think it is necessary and best: In a few weeks, we will rename our DVD by mail service to ‘Qwikster.'”

Qwikster’s service will remain basically the same as Netflix’s DVD-by-mail service. They’ll even mail the discs in little red envelopes, though the name on the back will be different. There won’t be any additional changes to the monthly pricing plans (at least for now). But the company will be split into two different, non-integrated websites. Hastings says in his post that separate websites means “simplicity for our members.” I hope that’s true. I thought the existing system of one site and two queues was very simple, and I liked the way that my DVD queue alerted me when a movie in it was available for instant streaming. According to Hastings’ blog post, that will no longer be the case. I’ll have to maintain and cross-check two different queues on two different websites. At least at first glance, that doesn’t sound simpler.

On the plus side, Qwikster will add video game rentals at an extra (as-yet unannounced) cost. Lord help us if you can start streaming video games in the near future. We’ll have three websites and three queues and my brain will explode.

Will you change your Netflix plan as a result of Qwikster? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

“Drive,” reviewed

“Drive,” reviewed (photo)

Posted by on

You can compare “Drive” to a lot of other movies. In my interview with its director, Nicolas Winding Refn, he referenced Grimms’ fairy tales. I’ve read star Ryan Gosling refer to it as a violent John Hughes movie. Others have liken it to the poetic yet masculine works of Walter Hill and Michael Mann. All of these comparisons are apt, but what’s great about “Drive” is the way it bears so many obvious inspirations without really feeling like any of them. It is its own unique blend of classical tropes and modern filmmaking.

Gosling stars as a man known only as Driver. He’s not much of a talker but he’s a hell of a wheelman. “You put this kid behind the wheel,” his boss Shannon (Bryan Cranston) says “and there’s nothing he can’t do.” By day, Driver works for Shannon as a mechanic and occasional stuntman for Hollywood movies. By night, he works as a wheelman for robberies. His spartan, uncomplicated lifestyle is complicated — as the spartan, uncomplicated lifestyles of lonely, brooding action heroes always are — by the introduction of a woman. That would be Driver’s neighbor Irene, played by Carey Mulligan. The two strike up a tentative, flirtatious friendship. Driver clearly has feelings for Irene and for her young son Benicio (Kaden Leos). But any possibility of romance is shattered by the return of someone from Irene’s past, and by Driver’s increasingly complicated relationship with Shannon’s shady business associates, Nino (Ron Perlman) and Bernie (Albert Brooks).

The plot of “Drive” is as familiar as the films that helped inspired its style and tone. But the execution by Refn, Gosling, and screenwriter Hossein Amini feels fresh. The Driver character himself is particularly intriguing. Introduced as the strong, silent type, he’s soon revealed as a gentle soul with a sweet smile. Later, after his relationships with Irene and Shannon begin to crumble yet another side emerges, one that’s prone to bouts of disturbing violence. It is to Gosling’s credit that he’s convincing in every second, and that he makes all these disparate elements feel like the twisted facets of one believable human being. Driver feels complete, if completely nuts.

The action sequences are fairly nuts, too. As he proved in previous movies like “Bronson” and “Valhalla Rising,” Refn is not one to shy away from the more graphic aspects of onscreen violence. Likewise, “Drive” is not for the faint of heart, and I suspect some audiences drawn in by the promise of car chases and romance between Gosling and Mulligan will be shocked and put-off by the amount of blood depicted onscreen. The film’s structure mimics a car repeatedly going from zero to 60 and back to zero again: scenes begin quietly, explode with gunfire, then return to silence. Refn rejects the shaky, hand-held style most popular in contemporary American action pictures for crisp, precise camerawork and editing. When Driver gets into a scrape the film slows down, aping the perspective of a man who remains clear-headed even in the midst of a high-speed chase. When he loses control and his violent urges take over, the film speed ramps back up. “Drive” doesn’t get inside this man’s head much, but it does an impressive job of getting inside his perspective.

With an electronic pop score out of the 1980s, strong chemistry between Gosling and Mulligan, and a bleak but inevitable finale, “Drive” is one moody action film. Or maybe it’s really a romantic drama that’s punctuated by moments of intense, bloody action. Or it’s an underworld morality tale. A fable. Maybe even a very dark comedy. It’s easy to compare “Drive” to other movies, and a lot harder to describe.

“Drive” is now playing. If you see it, we want to know what you think. Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Powered by ZergNet