Culture Feature

12 of Jessica Walter's Greatest Contributions to Television

With nearly 60 years in film and television, Walter's most iconic roles came in her later years.

This week, actor Jessica Walter passed away at her Manhattan home.

At 80 years old, Walter had spent most of her entire adult life — nearly 60 years — taking on prominent roles in TV and movies, from Dinosaurs, The Love Boat, and Flipper to The Alfred Hitchcock Story Hour, Clint Eastwood's Play Misty for Me, and the 1966 classic Grand Prix.

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Gerard Butler in Angel Has Fallen

Simon Varsano/Lionsgate

It is rather remarkable that _____ Has Fallen has become a franchise.

Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is certainly no Indiana Jones or John McClane. Olympus Has Fallen is best remembered as the more successful of two dueling White House-themed action movies (the other was White House Down). London Has Fallen felt like an obligatory sequel. Apparently, it was still successful enough to continue the franchise, so now "Angel Has Fallen," too.

Now that he's died hard twice, our hero is starting to crib from another franchise, Lethal Weapon. Banning doesn't say he's "too old for this," but he is feeling the effects of a life in the Secret Service, including the two previous times he rescued a president. He's having migraines and dizzy spells, so he's considering taking a promotion to Director. President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), having ascended from Secretary of State and VP, thinks Banning is right for the job, but he isn't sure Banning is ready to leave active duty.

Angel Has Fallen Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman in Angel Has FallenJack English/Lionsgate

When Trumbull gets attacked by drones, Banning is the only agent on the detail to survive. It's going to be difficult to find out who planned the attack, because whoever it was also framed Banning for it. FBI Special Agent Helen Thompson (Jada Pinkett Smith) investigates, immediately convinced this is an open-and-shut case of a Secret Service agent trying to assassinate the president and leaving a blatant digital paper trail.

The opening is an intense sequence as the drone strike decimates the Secret Service and blows up their boats and aircraft, although it's still hard to see those explosions through the jiggling shakycam. But Angel Has Fallen soon becomes a truly joyless exercise in going through the motions. The threequel has ambitions to break the "Die Hard" formula of the first two films, only to trade it for an even more mundane formula. After all, the Die Hard scenario can only be as inventive as the setting allows. The "framed hero has to prove his innocence" narrative is even more generic. With the frame-up being so flimsy, the whole movie becomes frustrating.

Capture Banning, ask questions laterJack English/Lionsgate


Banning has proven himself capable of single-handedly defeating terrorist armies twice. Why would he sloppily attempt to assassinate the president and leave himself as the only possible suspect? The conspirators left a trove of evidence for Thompson to find, and she never questions the convenience of it. Her character operates entirely on bad movie logic.

Most of the action occurs on backwoods roads at night or in the barely lit forest. You already can't see when the camera starts shaking to obscure everything else. When you compare this to the action in a movie like John Wick, where every detail is labored over and choreographed, Angel Has Fallen just looks sloppy. Good guys and bad guys basically shoot guns ad nauseum, while extras and stuntmen fall down randomly. It lacks even the most basic sense of flow, let alone stakes. Not every film can be John Wick, but can we at least expect clear lighting and a functional steady camera?

Angel Has Fallen "Would you accept a collect call from a Mr. McClane?Simon Varsano/Lionsgate


The superficial patriotism of the franchise has been updated to reflect current fears of Russian collusion and dark web meddling, but the screenwriters don't really understand what those fears are about. Angel Has Fallen even lacks the conviction of the first two films' jingoism.

I still hope Angel Has Fallen doesn't kill the franchise. I like Gerard Butler in Die Hard scenarios, but they can do better than Angel Has Fallen. Let's hope they get another chance to rectify this mistake.

Michael Moore has slammed Clint Eastwood over death threats the actor-turned-director made against him back in January 2005.

The 60-year-old took to Facebook to express his dismay over Eastwood’s “bothersome” remarks, branding him—along with other longtime Michael Moore detractors, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck—the “American ISIS.”

The Eastwood-Moore feud was reignited last week, after the Canadian-born documentary maker criticized Clint’s latest Oscar contender, American Sniper, in a series of scathing tweets.

 

 

Not surprisingly, Moore’s critics were quick to strike back—with Tea Party darling and former Vice-Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, leading the charge.

After attacking Moore for his “disrespect” of American troops, Palin, was quick to jump on a press opportunity—holding up a sign that read “Fuc you Michael Moore” whilst posing with Medal of Honor recipient, Dakota Meyer, during the Iowa Freedom Summit last Saturday.

In yesterday's Facebook tirade, Moore revisited Eastwood’s decade old threat, explaining that at a National Board of Review Awards dinner, the 84-year-old announced “to me and to the crowd that he would 'kill' me if I ever came to his house with my camera for an interview. 'I'll kill you,' he declared.”

Moore continued:

Having just experienced a half-dozen assaults in the previous year from crazies upset at Fahrenheit 9/11 and my anti-war Oscar speech, plus the attempt by a right wing extremist to blow up my house (he was caught in time and went to prison), I was a bit stunned to hear Eastwood, out of the blue, make such a violent statement.

But I instantly decided he was just trying to be funny, so I laughed the same nervous laugh everyone else did. Clint, though, didn't seem to like all that laughter. ’I mean it,' he barked, and the audience grew more quiet. 'I'll shoot you.'

I tried to keep that fake smile on my face so as to appear as if he hadn't 'gotten' to me. But he had. I then mumbled to those sitting at my table. 'I think Dirty Harry just said, ‘Make my day, punk.’

After conceding Eastwood is a “great filmmaker” Moore opined, “something started to go haywire with Clint in the last decade” before going on to criticize American Sniper yet further, calling it “a mess of a film that rewrites history” and claiming the movie perpetuates “racist sentiment to Arabs.”

Moore finished off by admitting what he found most “bothersome” about Eastwood’s menacing warning, was that it backed up similar death threats that had previously been made against him by Beck and O’Reilly... Concluding:

This past week or so of hysterical attacks on me only proves that the American lovers of violence and the issuers of fatwas in OUR society haven't gone away.

They are our American Isis—Criticize or mock those whom we deify, like our sainted sniper, and we will harm you most assuredly.

 

Are you #TeamEastwood or #TeamMoore?

Vote in Popdust's poll and sound off in comments below!

Stay tuned for more pop culture news updates. Be sure to follow @Popdust and @maxinepage on Twitter!

 

With all the fuss about Renee Zellweger's face, has anyone stopped to wonder how Hugh Grant has aged?

Zellweger's Bridget Jones co-star was a legendary loverboy back in the day, but no one is giving him shit for looking like a saggy old couch in 2014.

If there's one place that sexism can't be overstated, it's showbiz. Women are not allowed to show their age, while men are only criticized for a truly egregious facelift. Women are said to have 'aged gracefully' if their facial procedures are top-notch, like Demi Moore or Cindy Crawford.

If their plastic surgery is a mess, women are mercilessly ridiculed. Kim Novak, Cher, Meg Ryan, Lil' Kim, ugh, how dare they try to look young and beautiful instead of allowing nature to take its course?

But when an actress does accept the natural process of aging, she's ridiculed for that choice as well. Jamie Lee Curtis, Diane Keaton, Brigitte Bardot...they had the temerity to grow old naturally, and most of us are offended by the grey hair and wrinkles. We can't handle the truth!

Male entertainers can look their age or even older, and they won't make headlines like poor Renee Zellweger. Mick Jagger, Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, Bruce Willis, Sting, even Matt Damon looks a little weathered, but it's viewed as their right. It's a male right.

And that's wrong.

Despite a longstanding attachment to a project that would give her fresh talking points to share with Barbra Streisand, Beyoncé has pulled out of Clint Eastwood's A Start Is Born. Did she see Trouble with the Curve? According to Variety, the Queen's busy schedule, which currently includes recording a new album, directing a documentary and being mom to Blue Ivy, was ultimately too packed to find room for filming. No word on whether or not Eastwood's appearance at the Republican National Convention, and increasingly curmudgeonly public persona had anything to do with Bey's decision.

 

Eastwood's long-gestating remake of the movie musical, whose last iteration starred none other than Babs, has already experienced production delays, with Warner Bros. still in search for a male lead. Rumor has it the Oscar-winning director has approached the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper for the role, with Beyonce's departure making room for the studio to pursue Esperanza Spalding in her place. Who? And with that, Lea Michele has been overlooked once again.