Culture Feature

What to Do When Kylie Jenner Asks You for Money

Maybe when you've been on the cover of Forbes you lose your crowdfunding privileges?

When a young, single working mom reaches out for help, we all have a responsibility to dig deep and give what we can.

And if she's not even asking for herself but for a friend who's in need of some assistance, you know that it must be for an exceptionally good cause. But if you happen to be struggling at the time — maybe with the consequences of some sort of global health crisis that has brought on a major economic downturn — and don't happen to be the founder of your own billion-dollar cosmetics empire, what should you do when the 23-year-old cosmetics mogul and star of Keeping Up with the Kardashians asks you to pay for her makeup artist's medical bills?

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TV Lists

The 6 Best New Year's Eve TV Specials

Here to help ease our collective yearning for companionship are some of the best New Years' Eve parties on TV.

Friends

What are your plans for New Year's Eve this year?

It's likely you don't have any, which is okay, but obviously a little bit depressing. To help ease your sadness this NYE, why not ring it in vicariously through some of TV's best NYE shindigs?

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Culture Feature

Remembering 10 of Fred Willard's Most Iconic Roles

A master of improvisation, Fred Willard leaves a legacy of memorable performances

Modern Family

On Friday comedic actor Fred Willard died at the age of 86.

With a career in television and movies that spanned six decades—from the 1960s comedy scene where he developed a close friendship with Jerry Stiller to his most recent work on the forthcoming Netflix series Space Force—Willard is probably best known for improvisational work in the mockumentary films of Christopher Guest. While he almost always played an unflappable buffoon, his buoyant charm and genius for ad-libbed absurdity made him a perennial joy to watch in both his major film roles and his frequent guest appearances on shows like The Simpsons, Community, and Drunk History. Here's a look back at some of his most iconic roles.

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FILM

Will the Coronavirus Finally Settle the Streaming Movies vs. Theater Debate?

With COVID-19 now a full-blown pandemic, industries are struggling to adjust, but the film and TV industry may never be the same

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Less than a year ago, at the 2019 Cinemacon in Las Vegas, Oscar Winner Helen Mirren shared her opinion on streaming movies in no uncertain terms: "I love Netflix, but f*ck Netflix!"

The comment came amid controversy over the criteria by which a film qualifies for consideration for the Academy Awards and other major accolades. At the time, Netflix and other streaming platforms were pushing for their original productions to be included for consideration without the need for traditional theatrical releases, and many in the industry balked at the prospect. Yesterday, Regal and AMC—the largest cinema chains in the US—both announced that they will be closing all their theatres starting today. Together, the two companies operate nearly 50% of theater screens in the US. Other chains have restricted theater crowds, and more closures are certain to follow.

With no clear end in sight for the coronavirus pandemic, there is an open question about how the movie and television industries will cope. While social distancing is creating increased demand for streaming content, and numerous scheduled releases and production schedules have been delayed indefinitely, will studios be forced to release their existing projects online? Will selection criteria be adjusted for the 2021 award season? And will movie theaters ever recover?

Almost every aspect of our society is in the process of restructuring to adjust to the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. More and more people are working from home. Entire regions are shutting down their restaurants and bars. And citizens and politicians alike are calling for measures that would have been unthinkable a few weeks ago—on the left, many people are pushing for freezes on evictions, as well as rent and mortgage payments, and even some Republicans (normally shills for heartless capitalism) are suggesting universal income measures to help people get by. In the short term it's causing unprecedented turmoil in the stock market, but in the long term, some industries are likely to never fully bounce back.

In some of the most dire cases—movie theaters being a prime example—the change has been a long time coming. American theater attendance peaked in 2002 and has been on a slow decline ever since—with audiences increasingly preferring the convenience of television and streaming services. Independent theaters have been hit hardest, with many closing down in recent years. Likewise, brick and mortar retail has been hit hard by the convenience of online shopping—with many local stores and even some major retail chains forced out of business. The restrictions imposed by the coronavirus—the latest guidelines advise against gatherings of more than ten people—are only accelerating the rate of change that was already occurring.

While many industry insiders would decry the loss of the theater experience—the immersive scale and the communal environment—most Americans have gotten used to viewing even epic films on screens smaller than a sheet of paper. While directors like Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan will argue that movies are made to be viewed on the big screen, when your nose is six inches from the action, it hardly feels small. None of this is to say that there won't be something real lost if movie theaters disappear—just that it might be inevitable, and that the coronavirus pandemic has sped up the process. Empty movie theaters may soon join the suburban blight of empty malls and abandoned factories that dot the American landscape. They may go the way of the drive-in.

Abandoned Mall

With the narrow profit margins involved in the theater business, government intervention (as we've already seen with other industries) could help them stay afloat until things return to normal, but the more realistic scenario may be that things never return to normal. While AMC's closure is currently slated to last 6-12 weeks, there is no way of telling how long it will actually last, and it may end up consuming the rest of 2020 and beyond. Will the Hollywood Foreign Press and the Academy open consideration to streaming content and encourage studios to opt for Internet releases in the case of James Bond, Mulan, and others? Or will they cancel next year's award season entirely? Whatever the case, 2020 is looking increasingly likely to be the year that cements the supremacy of the Internet over going outside.

Meanwhile, with Stephen Colbert delivering his Late Show monologue from home (from his bathtub, to be specific), will we see other productions following suit—delivering much-needed entertainment to the isolated masses while limiting the spread of the virus? The term "bottle episode" refers to the trope—particularly common in 90s sitcoms—wherein a small number of characters are trapped together in a confined space. Will we see a resurgence of that concept with an influx of quarantine content? Or will television networks and studios take it to the next level and invest in concepts that allow performers to work remotely from the safety of home, either with animation, or with live-action shows that play with the fact that no one is in the same room (e.g. the episode of Modern Family that took place entirely on FaceTime) If not, TV may also be left behind by the vast array of independent content creators who are more than capable of working with the current conditions.

modern family

Whatever else happens in the coming months—and as much as this all feels like a throwback to a different era—we should all be thankful, for once, that culture has increasingly embraced isolation with streaming and delivery services that prevent the need to leave our homes. We all thought we were just being lazy. It turns out we were training for a pandemic.

Fortune

If you're looking to break into Hollywood as an agent, Stephen King, Patton Oswalt, and David Simon are among thousands of Hollywood writers who have just fired their agents in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America.

On Saturday, the union called for its members to send termination letters to their representatives through the Association of Talent Agents. The WGA has engaged in a long-standing battle against the widespread practice of agents negotiating "package fees" to their own benefit in lieu of fair salaries for their clients, as well as creating conflicts of interest by serving as producers on the TV shows and films their clients write.

In response, the WGA has ended their 43-year-old deal with the ATA. In its stead, the union's new code of conduct strictly forbids the practice of film packaging, a deeply divisive practice wherein agents negotiate a client's participation in a project's established team. The problem lies in the "packaging fees," whereby the agent waives their usual 10 percent commission fee taken from their clients' salaries. Instead, they're paid directly by the studio. Writers have long argued that this disincentivizes agents from negotiating better salaries for their clients and results in deals with high package fees to agents rather than higher salaries to writers. But the ATA has argued that writers fundamentally misunderstand the practice of packaging deals and that clients have statistically received higher wages with packaging deals than without them.

Ultimately, only a small number of agencies agreed to the WGA's new code of conduct, and none of them were major Hollywood agencies like William Morris, Creative Artists Agency, or ICM Partners. Instead, the WGA proposes that members "deputize" their lawyers to broker financial deals with studios. In theory, the two roles overlap enough to do the job. But legal technicalities, mostly in California and New York, have thus far forbidden lawyers from serving as agents. The California Talent Agencies Act states, "No person shall engage in or carry on the occupation of a talent agency without first procuring a license therefore from the Labor Commissioner."

Moreover, a number of Hollywood lawyers have sided with ATA, with one powerful attorney telling Deadline, "The WGA has no right to anoint anyone as a de facto agent to do anything for any of its members that an agent would do. If they want to take their members down the garden path, I suggest they re-read relevant New York and California law."

On Monday night, the president of WGA West, David A. Goodman, wrote to union members that "thousands" of termination letters to agents had been sent thus far, with more to be sent "later this week." Many writers have posted their letters to Twitter. While the union's standard letter is brief, formal, and direct, the tweets from professional writers breaking up with their agents alternate between hilarity and impassioned moves to action.

Emmy-winning writer David Simon posted, "Dammit. Just realized that the WGA-ATA midnight deadline is PST. So I have to stay up another three hours and one minute to send a pic of my naked ass to CAA. #WGA #UnionUnionUnion." Modern Family writer Danny Zuker posted his letter with the tweet, "Look, I love my agent. I mean, I'm not IN love with him… although there was this one time at The Palm where the light danced in his eyes and… anyway I 💯 support the stand my union is taking!" Meanwhile, Patton Oswalt was succinct and sincere, "I have an amazing agency that represents me. But I have an even better guild which stands for me."


Even Stephen King fired his Paradigm agent in solidarity, tweeting, "This is never what I wanted. My rep has been honest and diligent for over 40 years. Not his fault, but we're a union family. Come on, ATA. Come on, WGA. Solve this so we can go back to doing what we do."


Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher, and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.


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Ariel Winter's estranged mother really is a gift that keeps on giving in the life of her young daughter.

The Modern Family star famously emancipated herself from mommy dearest in 2015 when she was 17. It was a long battle and the courts agreed that her mother had been emotionally abusing her daughter—Ariel has been living with her sister since left the family home in 2012 when she was 14.

Modern Family Actor Was Addicted To Surgery

Winter underwent a breast reduction last June to reduce her breast size from 32F to 32D and the procedure has appeared to have had a positive affect on her self confidence with her able to wear lower cut dresses, happy to show off her new figure.

Her mom, Crystal Workman, isn't impressed however.  Despite not having spoken to her daughter in three years, she considers it appropriate to voice her opinion on her daughter's sugery.  She particularly commented on a picture of Winter on the red carpet at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January. She looked fantastic and at certain angles a teeny scar was visible at the side under her breast.  Big deal.

Crystal Workman

However Workman has given an interview to Inside Edition saying;

"I don't think anyone at that age should be cutting into their breasts.  I am surprised she did it so young and that the doctor did it for her so young.  I'm sorry, I just think this is inappropriate.

She should never be embarrassed of her scars but she shouldn't be flaunting them."

Britney Spears Gets All Star Struck And Shizz After Running Into Ed O’Neill

She then went on to show us exactly why her daughter felt the need to get as far away from her as possible when she tried to turn the claims of abuse against her own child;

"I have been abused physically and I believe all of this is emotional abuse.  Ariel should ask herself, "Has Ariel ever raised her hand to her mother? Has Ariel ever done anything that she's ashamed of to her mother?""

Ariel's rep, when asked for a comment;

"As we've stated previously, Ariel is happy and in a great place.  We will not comment any further."

Not seeing a tearful reconciliation on the cards any time in the near future.

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