1. “Lisa Kudrow’s Comeback Is A Rare Second Chance.” In 2005, Kudrow and Michael Patrick King created The Comeback for HBO, but, ahead of its time in its critique of celebrity, reality TV, and narcissism, it lasted only one season. Nine years later, they reveal the story behind the now-beloved cult comedy’s unlikely return.
“Kudrow had a different—and delayed—reaction to the show’s cancellation. ’I was sad, because I wouldn’t get to do it anymore,’ she said. ’I didn’t feel insulted. I felt—still—I was so proud of what we had done, honestly. And Michael was so angry. I thought, I’m not angry. Is that a problem?’ Years later, though, she was watching HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher alone in her house, and Maher made a joke about how you can make fun of a white man, because they have power, but, Kudrow remembered him saying, ’You don’t make fun of the victim. It’s not funny.’ Maher’s comment had nothing to do with The Comeback, but ’the penny dropped,’ she said.”
2. “The 100 Best Action Movies.” The world’s leading action stars, directors and critics pick the best action movies ever, including martial-arts movies, explosive stunts and the best action thrillers.
“Well-armed and bulging at the biceps, action movies often get a bad rap. Sure, they prioritize brawn over brains, but the best ones speak to something primal about our attachment to cinema: our need for physically agile heroes, ferocious villains and ticking-time-bomb plots (or, at the very least, things exploding). As we researched the 100 best action movies of all time, the richness of the genre snuck up on us like a swarthy henchman with a knife clenched between his teeth. Some of the earliest silent classics, from Buster Keaton’s The General (1926) to the first short film itself, ’Arrival of Train at La Ciotat’ (1896), explode with action. The genre has been with us since the beginning. And while it was a joy to return to action’s ’80s heyday, when Hollywood stars ruled the roost—all those classic metal-etched surnames, from Eastwood and McQueen to Stallone and Schwarzenegger—we were also happy to quantify the global impact of Asia’s martial-arts movies, the massive influence of John Woo’s gun fu and the world-shaking cottage industry of Hong Kong’s stunt cinema. We’ve polled over 50 experts in the field, from essential directors like Die Hard’s John McTiernan to the actual folks in the line of fire, such as Tarantino favorite Zoë Bell (the fearless stuntwoman behind Uma Thurman in the Kill Bill movies). Critics and experts have weighed in—have a look at their individual ballots for inspiration. And if we’ve missed something, let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter. Barring that, we could take a punch in the face, provided it was expertly timed and served up with a pithy catchphrase.”
3. “Lena Dunham Threatens To Sue Truth Revolt For Quoting Her.” Lena Dunham may not like our interpretation of her book, but unfortunately for her and her attorneys, she wrote that book.
“We refuse. We refuse to withdraw our story or apologize for running it, because quoting a woman’s book does not constitute a ’false’ story, even if she is a prominent actress and left-wing activist. Lena Dunham may not like our interpretation of her book, but unfortunately for her and her attorneys, she wrote that book—and the First Amendment covers a good deal of material she may not like. In particular, the letter from Ms. Dunham’s lawyers labeled as ’false and defamatory’ our claims that she ’experiment[ed] sexually with her younger sister Grace,’ ’experimented with her six-year younger sister’s vagina,’ and ’use[d] her little sister at times essentially as a sexual outlet.’ In her desire to curb First Amendment freedoms, Dunham’s attorneys threatened legal action seeking ’millions of dollars; punitive damages which can be a multiple of up to ten times actual damages; and injunctive relief.’”
4. “The Actor as Intellectual Artist.” Richard Brody on one of our most distinctive American actors, Jason Schwartzman.
“Like Léaud, Schwartzman, while being entirely himself, seems to perform for his own benefit, declaiming for his audience of one and thus lending an inescapable air of comedy to his serious actions. This intrinsic joie de parler renders all the more particular the range of filmmakers for whom Schwartzman is a ready fit. That’s why, when the part clicks, Schwartzman almost seems like the director’s co-auteur—the role in question inevitably involves the depiction of creative command and artistic imagination, and the performance inevitably suggests a metaphorical representation of the director’s own role.”
5. “When Purple Rain Came Falling Down.” At the apex of his success, Prince made a high-profile decision that damaged his reputation for years.
“Prince had, of course, been approached to participate, but he passed and proposed a different kind of contribution to the project. ’I was with Prince one day at his home studio, just the two of us,’ says Susan Rogers, who engineered Purple Rain and Prince’s next few albums, ’and he got a call from Quincy Jones asking him to come be part of ’We Are the World.’ I only hear Prince’s side of the conversation—I was in the control room waiting—but he declined it. It was a long conversation, and Prince said, ’Can I play guitar on it?’ And they said no, and he ultimately said, ’Okay, well, can I send Sheila?’ And he sent Sheila. Then he said, ’If there’s going to be an album, can I do a song for the album?’ And evidently they said yes.’”
Video of the Day: A Most Violent Year gets a new trailer:
Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and to converse in the comments section.