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Everyone Who Said ‘Joker’ Was Going to Get People Killed Owes Us an Apology

It’s been about a month since Joker opened and not one person has been killed because of it. In fact, it’s close to making a billion dollars worldwide and is already the highest-grossing R-Rated film of all time. This is somewhat surprising to me, because I was basically promised that dozens if not hundreds of people would be murdered if this movie about a children’s cartoon character was allowed to open in theaters. I would describe some media outlets as almost giddy at the prospect.

Here are a few examples of the sort of rhetoric surrounding Joker before it released. The Telegraph’s film critic Robbie Collin said he was afraid Joker was going to get someone killed.

Scott Feinberg from THR said the film “could incite real-world problems.”

Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson said “But from a step back, outside in the baking Venetian heat, it also may be irresponsible propaganda for the very men it pathologizes.”

And so on. Not every critic was wrong, and I particularly enjoyed Leslie Lee III’s deep dive into how Joker had an explicitly left-wing political message, but he was on of the few voices of sanity on this.

Joker is not even the first movie of its kind, it’s in the vein of Falling Down or Taxi Driver. Now, it is true that someone tried to shoot Ronald Reagan after seeing Taxi Driver, but that was just because he wanted to sleep with 13-year-old Jodie Foster, not to mention he was also all hopped on the hard stuff: The Catcher in the Rye. No single piece of media has had as many people carry out violent acts claiming they were inspired by it as The Catcher in the Rye, aside from every single religious text.

But really, no study has ever shown a link between media violence and real-world violence. People assume it must be related because of course someone who plays a game where they run around shooting people will actually start shooting people, it makes so much sense. Except 250 million people play Fortnite so even if media violence did cause real-world violence it would have to be at an absolutely minuscule rate or else we would have Fortnite players running around shooting each other or pickaxing each other or building stairs or whatever Fortnite players actually do. Seems like it’s mostly buying skins.

Knowing this, news organizations and people with large platforms still spread the idea that the character of the Joker was somehow uniquely capable of warping the minds of an audience even though the first guy to play the character did so with grease paint over his mustache because he refused to shave it.

The only thing irresponsible here is news organizations spreading this sort of insanity, mostly based on a long-debunked rumor about a mass shooter who targeted a movie theater that was coincidentally playing a Batman movie, one that the Joker wasn’t even in. The story that we were presented with never even made sense. We were told that the content of Joker made it likely that someone would be inspired to carry out a mass shooting, and that the time and place they would do it would be in a movie theater playing Joker on opening weekend. How does that even make sense?

What the media did with Joker was far more likely to cause a mass shooting than the content of the movie itself. You could practically see the drool on the corner of the mouths of some of the cultural critics champing at the bit to make the person who proves them right famous.

Think about the people who actually believed these stories for a second. Not only is it unethical to cause people that much undue stress for something with no basis in reality, it has to hurt the trust people have in these institutions. And if they had any decency at all, they’d apologize to us for it.

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David Benioff and D.B. Weiss Quit ‘Star Wars’ Because They Have Too Many Other Projects to Ruin

Star Wars fans, I have some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that Deadline reported David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are leaving the franchise and won’t be making the trilogy of Star Wars movies they had planned. The bad news is that the last good Star Wars movie was The Empire Strikes Back and Rian Johnson hasn’t actually announced his exit so you might have to sit through three more terrible movies by him.

“We love Star Wars,” the pair said in a statement to Deadline. “When George Lucas built it, he built us too. Getting to talk about Star Wars with him and the current Star Wars team was the thrill of a lifetime, and we will always be indebted to the saga that changed everything.”

The difference between these guys and George Lucas is that George Lucas wrote Star Wars and Benioff wrote X-Men Origins: Wolverine. These guys have never done anything good that wasn’t written by George R.R. Martin, including Game of Thrones. Yeah, we all noticed the giant nosedive in quality that show took after they ran out of material written by Martin and had to write their own scenarios and dialogue based on a loose outline Martin provided.

What does this mean for Star Wars? Well, Kevin Feige of Marvel fame is still developing a Star Wars film, so expect future installments to feature heroes who like to quip and even stricter black and white morality, which is saying a lot for a film series that gives people superpowers based on being good or evil as judged by little boogans in their blood. So basically more of the same.

Honestly, Star Wars is not a good film franchise at this point, it’s a film franchise that had two really good movies in it. Out of ten or eleven films, that’s a batting average that would get you sent back down to the minors. George Lucas around 15 years between releasing Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace, and right now 15 years with no new Star Wars movies sounds pretty good.

As for Benioff and Weiss, they’ve got an overall deal with Netflix to develop new properties. And since those properties will likely be original IP, they won’t get a chance to ruin them, they’ll just be terrible the whole time.

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James Gunn is Absolutely Losing Sleep Because Respected Directors Don’t Like Marvel Movies

Over the past week or so two of cinema’s greatest living directors, Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, have expressed their disdain for comic book movies. It’s not surprising to me, but it seems like a lot of people didn’t realize that genre fare is not generally considered serious art or literature. There are some crossover creators like Michael Chabon, Quentin Tarantino and Kenneth Branagh, but usually genre is genre.

Marvel director James Gunn apparently just cannot deal with this. I feel bad for him because as Marvel directors go, he’s the best. With the exception of Kenneth Branagh, that is. But he’s very, very good at making genre action-comedies. So good that everyone else has essentially just copied what he did to the point where it’s annoying and you start to see what Scorsese and Coppola are talking about.

When Scorsese said that comic book movies aren’t cinema but instead are “theme parks,” here’s what Gunn said.

Now, Scorsese said he “tried” to watch Marvel movies, so it’s not exactly the same, and even though Gunn goes on to say he’s not trying say he made anything remotely as brilliant as The Last Temptation of Christ, he may not want to invite the comparison.

But that was almost a month ago. More recently, Francis Ford Coppola weighed in and he was nowhere near as kind as Scorsese. After all, theme parks are fun. It’s a nice way to spend a vacation. Adult humans go to theme parks alone all the time. Weird adult humans but adults nonetheless.

Here’s what Coppola said when asked about it, via Fox News:

“When Martin Scorsese says that the Marvel pictures are not cinema, he’s right, because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration,” Coppola said while speaking to a journalist in Lyon. “I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same move over and over again. Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.”

Despicable. I don’t think I’d go that far, even though Disney is a pretty evil corporation.

Guess who didn’t like this? If you guessed Marvel fans, you’re right. Matt Oswalt, the brother of Patton Oswalt, had some advice for angry Marvel fans.

I rather like the comparison of Marvel films to Dane Cook.

But James Gunn, again, seems very hurt by this.

Gunn talks about the disrespect genre films have traditionally gotten and says how disappointed he is that comic book movies get the same disrespect but, James… you’re not Quentin Tarantino. You’re never going to be Quentin Tarantino.

I actually feel a little bad for James Gunn. He’s created the template for films at a studio that fired Edgar Wright for being too creative but he apparently is laboring under the delusion that he’s making art. James… you’re working for the McDonalds of cinema. It’s fine, everyone loves a quarter pounder with cheese and those fries and some nuggets sometimes. But McDonalds isn’t going to get a Michelin star and you’re not going to get an Oscar. Just do what the Russo brothers do and crap out seven hours of absolute mediocrity and cash your check.

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‘Deadpool’ to Remain R-Rated at Disney

There’s a lot of good news for Marvel fans today. You know, on top of basically every movie coming out being pushed into a mold to conform to the thing you already like.

Something that a lot of people, myself included, were worried about was what Deadpool would look like at Disney. The two Deadpool films were violent, raunchy action films that lovingly highlighted the absurdity of superheroes. They don’t really fit in with Disney’s current philosophy that every film should be Guardians of the Galaxy 2. But we got word today, via Entertainment Weekly, that future Deadpool films will remain gloriously R-Rated.

“We’re always in touch with Ryan,” Wernick said. “We’ve got several projects with him in addition to the Deadpool universe. I think the party line and truth is we’re all still figuring it out. Marvel has promised to continue to let us play in the R-rated Deadpool universe, and the hope is that they will also let us veer into the MCU a little bit as well and play in that sandbox. Our feeling and Ryan’s feeling is that it’s got to be the right idea, it’s got to be great… I think once we collectively agree what idea that great idea is we’ll be off to the races. Ryan’s super-busy, we’ve got a lot of projects lined up, but we wake up thinking about Deadpool, and we go to sleep thinking about Deadpool.”

This is good news. We all saw how terrible Once Upon a Deadpool was, even with the added Fred Savage scenes.

Look, I know Marvel movies aren’t up to the standard of, say, Scorsese or Tarantino or Kurosawa, and I give them a lot of shit that they absolutely deserve, but they’re also pretty good. I’ve seen every single one of them and none of them were like, really bad. Not like Inhumans was bad.

Speaking of Inhumans, the reason that show about Fantastic Four supporting characters even got made in the first place was that Ike Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel, had spent a decade trying to replace The X-Men, one of the most popular comic book properties of all time, with The Inhumans because Marvel had sold the movie rights to The X-Men to Fox. Perlmutter is also the guy who ran Edgar Wright off of Ant-Man by inundating him with notes from Brian Michael Bendis, a guy who was only ever good at writing Spider-Man comics but had read Save the Cat and wondered why Ant-Man wasn’t more like that book said it should be. Disney rightly took Marvel Studios away from him after Kevin Feige threatened to quit after similar treatment.

So you’ll be happy to hear that Disney reorganized once again, this time taking comic books, animation and television away from Perlmutter, basically leaving him charge of decisions about licensing and merchandise and giving all creative control of the company to Kevin Feige.

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People Have Been Inserting Other Iconic Laughs Into ‘Joker’ and I’m Here For It

Joker was the top movie in the country on its opening weekend and not a single person was shot, much to the chagrin of basically every media outlet in the country who had been salivating for this weekend to be Aurora 2: Electric Boogaloo.

But it has become a sort of pop culture phenomenon. Particularly Joaquin Phoenix’s laugh, sort of a plot point in the film.

Social media users have been replacing that laugh with other famous laughs and it’s amazing.

Remember Tidus’s disturbingly bad laugh from Final Fantasy X?

I saved the two best for last. The first one is Peter Griffin.

The second one is British comedian Jimmy Carr, who has a laugh that is charitably described as “fucked up.”

That is 100% the content I signed up to this hellsite to see.

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Brie Larson and Other Marvel Actresses Want an ‘All-Female Marvel Movie‘, Whatever That Means

Brie Larson has a knack for being controversial for saying some pretty uncontroversial things. The people who don’t like her really don’t like her, which is weird because she was in Scott Pilgrim vs The World and she played the perfect woman.

True, she’s never been sexier than when she was Envy Adams, but she’s also a great actress. She won a Golden Globe, and it’s not like you can just buy one of those with lavish bribes. Okay, but she also won an Oscar, and that’s the mark of real quality, like Crash and Green Book. Oh. Oh no. Okay, well, I like her anyway so shut up.

Larson recently caught the applause and ire of various people predisposed to either love or hate everything she says in a Variety interview where she said that she and other actresses have been pushing Disney to do an “all-female Marvel movie.”

“I will say that a lot of the female cast members from Marvel walked up to Kevin and we were like, ‘We are in this together, we want to do this,’” Larson explained. “What that means, I have no idea. You know, I’m not in charge of the future of Marvel, but it is something that we’re really passionate about and we love and I feel like if enough people out in the world talk about how much they want it, maybe it’ll happen.”

See, even Brie Larson doesn’t know what that even means. Marvel has made two female-led movies already, Captain Marvel and the upcoming Black Widow. Kind of weird how both female-led movies are set in the past, though. I assume they mean something like DC’s upcoming Birds of Prey film, but good.

I mean, it could work. Marvel had an all-female Avengers book called A-Force, and that lasted… oh, fifteen issues and it was cancelled twice. To be fair, people probably conflated it with X-Force, the terrible X-Men spin-off that was popular in the 90s despite everything about it being bad. Fox had enough sense to just make it and the characters from it into a throwaway gag in Deadpool 2, but it’s the sort of thing Disney would totally try to build into a franchise.

It would probably be a good movie, though. Marvel films are so formulaic that they can just plug whatever characters into them and make $500-$750 million easily, so why not all female heroes? Marvel already just tosses heroes together in films like Thor: Ragnarok, so why not throw a few female heroes together. You know, other than the fact that almost every interesting female Marvel character is from an X-Men title. Better get on those X-Men movies, Fiege.

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Lawsuit Says James Franco’s Acting School Was Just a Ploy to Hire Naked Extras

It’s been almost two years since we heard the first allegations the something untoward was going on at James Franco’s acting school. For starters, people were taking acting lessons from James Franco. I kid, Franco is actually a really good actor, which is lucky for him because he’s a terrible writer.

The New York Times reports Franco is now being sued by two of the women who attended his acting school who are basically claiming that it was just an excuse to find women to get naked in the background of Franco’s overindulgent indie films.

Ms. Tither-Kaplan said she went on to take the class, which provided a stepping stone to roles in Mr. Franco’s independent films, some of which remain unreleased. In these roles, Ms. Tither-Kaplan said, she was often asked to appear in nude scenes or sex scenes. During the making of an orgy scene for one of his films, Mr. Franco removed plastic guards that covered other actresses’ vaginas while he simulated oral sex on them, according to the lawsuit.

As far as I can tell, this is the most serious of the allegations, Franco removing the protective vagina covering during simulated sex scenes. Also, if you take the plastic cover off of a vagina then you won’t be able to tell if they’ve been tampered with. Little known fact.

Franco denies the allegations.

In a statement, Mr. Franco’s lawyer Michael Plonsker denied the accusations and called the lawsuit “ill-informed.”

“James will not only fully defend himself, but will also seek damages from the plaintiffs and their attorneys for filing this scurrilous publicity-seeking lawsuit,” Mr. Plonsker said.

I can’t take a man named Plonsker seriously, it’s one letter away from being a British penis.

James Franco is, by all accounts, a bit of a creep. Unfortunately, you can’t really sue someone for being a creep. And I doubt that James Franco’s acting lessons were actually worthless, he is a good actor. The fact that years later you haven’t heard any of these women’s names is probably a decent indicator of why Franco didn’t give them larger speaking roles in his films.

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Joaquin Phoenix Walked Out of an Interview After Being Asked the Dumbest Question Ever

As children, we’re told there are no stupid questions. Robbie Collin, a film critic for The Telegraph definitively proved this wrong when, during an interview for Joker, he asked Joaquin Phoenix “Aren’t you worried that this film might perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it’s about, with potentially tragic results?”

This movie isn’t out yet and I am so tired of hearing this bullshit already. I’m mad to begin with because this stupid movie is supposed to be so good that I actually want to see it, now I have to listen to these ridiculous theories on how movies cause real world violence.

Joaquin Phoenix, for what it’s worth, answered this question the exact right way, by standing up and walking out.

Phoenix actually did answer this question previously, as reported by IGN, and he gave the best answer you can give without leaving or slapping the person who asked it in the mouth.

“Well, I think that, for most of us, you’re able to tell the difference between right and wrong. And those that aren’t are capable of interpreting anything in the way that they may want to. People misinterpret lyrics from songs. They misinterpret passages from books. So I don’t think it’s the responsibility of a filmmaker to teach the audience morality or the difference between right or wrong. I mean, to me, I think that that’s obvious.”

Just so we’re clear, no study has ever established that media violence leads to real-world violence. Not movies, not music, not comic books, not even video games.

And Phoenix makes a good point about people who claim to be inspired to kill because of media, too. The guy who shot Ronald Reagan did it because he wanted to fuck Jodie Foster, Charles Manson at one point claimed to have been inspired by The Beatles and Mark David Chapman read Catcher in the Rye after he shot John Lennon.

The real funny thing here is no one has ever claimed to have killed someone because they were inspired by the Joker.

I know what you’re thinking. “But didn’t that guy in Colorado dress up like the Joker while he shot up a movie theater playing a movie with The Joker in it?”

Well, no and no. The Aurora shooter was wearing all black, had orange and not green hair, never once claimed to have been inspired by The Joker, and the movie that was playing, The Dark Knight Rises, features villains Bane and Talia al Ghul, not the Joker, so maybe those Aurora families should have waited for the Bane movie to write a letter about how they’re ‘concerned’. In fact, before the rumors about The Joker popped up, the rumors were he dressed as Bane, whose black Mexican wrestler costume looks much closer to the shooter’s black mask and tactical gear outfit.

Basically, Joker is just a movie, supposedly a really good one, but still just a movie. And people don’t kill people because of movies. Ever.

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Here’s the Trailer for ‘El Camino’ You May or May Not Have Been Waiting For

Much like the show, it’ll be 1/3 of the way through before you really get into it.

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Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner Got Laughed at During Their Emmys Presentation

Poor Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner. Once they step outside their carefully constructed reality TV bubble, that’s when the real reality hits them. And it’s not comfortable.

The two sisters presented the Emmy for Best Reality Competition Program. Kim started off their speech with “our family knows firsthand how truly compelling television comes from real people, just being themselves.” That’s when you could hear the unmistakable sound of derisive laughter from the audience.

How about another angle?

Yea, this family is fake and the idea of their reality show coming from “real people” is absurd, but do they really deserve our scorn? Ask yourself: How many prisoners did you get released today? How many domes that could possibly save civilization did you build? Did you turn your sex tape into a billion dollar enterprise?

We always laugh at the true geniuses who are way ahead of their time. I, for one, am waiting for the Kardashians to get their Lifetime Emmys award one day.

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The ‘Between Two Ferns’ Movie I Never Knew I Needed

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Kristen Stewart Says She Could Have Been Offered a Marvel Movie if She Wasn’t So Darn Gay

People like to think that Disney is woke. This belief is undertaken almost entirely on faith, because these people are constantly talking about how they’re boycotting Chick-Fil-A or Soul Cycle or whatever, but they do not want to face any reality that involves them not being able to watch Toy Story and Avengers and will not hear anything about how Marvel CEO and major Disney shareholder Ike Perlmutter is a huge donor and top advisor to Donald Trump.

There’s evidence all around that Disney, and specifically Marvel, aren’t woke. For starters, there have been stories for years about how Disney has meticulously cut any implication that a character might be anything less than 100% heterosexual from Marvel movies since they bought them. To date, the only openly LGBT character to appear in a Marvel movie doesn’t have a name. Also, you know, ask Ellen Degeneres how being a lesbian worked out for her ABC sitcom.

Which brings me to Kristen Stewart. Stewart is one of those people who is annoyingly coy about their sexuality when anyone in the world, when asked to describe it, would say it’s bisexuality. But she’s one of those “I don’t like labels” bisexuals. And she recently said in an interview that if she stopped doing that and just acted straight, she could be in a Marvel movie.

Here’s what she told Harper’s Bazaar:

She accepts that she has become a sort of standard-bearer for that ambiguity. But she doesn’t mind. If she can make the conversation about sexuality easier for anyone, she’s happy. She also couldn’t care less about the impact any of this might have on her career. In the past, she says, “I have fully been told, ‘If you just like do yourself a favour, and don’t go out holding your girlfriend’s hand in public, you might get a Marvel movie.'” She looks almost amused at the memory. “I don’t want to work with people like that.” Now, by contrast, people approach her, drawn to that undefined sexuality, wanting to make movies about it. Stewart shakes her head in mock despair. “Literally, life is a huge popularity contest.”

Now, to be fair, Stewart didn’t say that this came from anyone with the ability to hire her for a Marvel movie. It seems like something an agent might say.

But think about this: why wasn’t Kristen Stewart Captain Marvel? Brie Larson did a fine job and I like Brie, but Stewart was my choice for Captain Marvel for years. Don’t you think that Kristen Stewart’s sort of stereotypical schtick would have made her a great Captain Marvel?

No multinational corporation is woke. If they think an actress is going to scare off viewers by being gay, they’re not going to hire her. And if they think that there’s money to be made in having a gay character, then they’re going to make a third-string character you’ve never heard of from a D-List property that they’re hoping they can make into the next Guardians of the Galaxy gay. It’s not because they want to support you, it’s because they want your money.

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An Unbelievably High Number of People Think They’re Going to Die Because ‘Joker’ is Getting Rave Reviews

If I’m honest with you, Joker was never a movie with a concept that never much appealed to me. I’m not a huge fan of superhero origin stories and the Joker isn’t one of my favorite characters. Sure, he’s been in some really great stories, but you know what else those stories had? They had Batman. And no matter how good your Joker is, he’s not going to be better than Mark Hamill in Batman: The Animated Series. There’s just not a lot of compelling evidence that a Joker origin movie is going to be good.

But it shows what I know, because Joker is getting rave reviews. The movie received an eight minute long standing ovation after it’s premier at the Venice Film Festival and has so far been getting rave reviews. In fact, Joker has generated honest-to-God Oscar buzz for star Joaquin Phoenix, which as far as I can remember is a first for a comic book movie.

The reaction to this on social media has been absolutely insufferable. You know how sometimes people will write stories based on cherry-picked tweets from nobodies that don’t actually reflect a viewpoint held by any significant amount of people? This is not one of those times. Honest to god influential people are pooping their pants because they think someone is going to kill them because they saw a comic book movie.

That’s the Editor-in-Chief of Mother Jones, a once-respectable news magazine. She is not some Twitter rando. Also worth mentioning that the Aurora shooter was neither dressed like nor inspired by the Joker, that’s basically just an urban legend because the place he shot up was showing a Batman film at the time. A Batman film the Joker wasn’t even in.

So this is a Twitter rando, but he has thousands of retweets and tens of thousands of likes. The “review” he’s highlighting is also obviously, glaringly a joke. And the guy doubled down when people pointed it out.

No, shut up. You got fooled by a parody. It’s happened to the best of us, we all get taken in by a fake headline or a satire that isn’t all that obvious to us in the moment, just take the L and move on.

“Comic historian.” And Gail Simone isn’t at all calling the movie toxic. Because she’s smart.

In addition, there’s a clip from an interview Phoenix did saying he “nearly went mad” playing the Joker. This is a lie. He “nearly went mad” because he had to lose 50 pounds, not because playing the Joker is so psychologically damaging, he’s not a nutter like Jared Leto.

The Joker has been around since 1940, and the character has a lot of different facets and interpretations over the years. So far, I’m not aware anyone has actually killed anyone because of the character in the first 79 years he’s existed. The weird fear-mongering around this movie is just that. It sounds like it’s going to be a really good movie. Maybe just relax and watch it. It’s about a guy who dresses like a clown in a suit and kills people. It’s not that serious.

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The Joker… Again

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Stan Lee’s Daughter JC Blasts Marvel And Disney, Claims They Disrespected Stan the Man

Without Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, there would be no Marvel Comics, let alone a Marvel Cinematic Universe. The only Marvel characters most people have ever heard of that one of the three of them didn’t have a hand in creating is basically just Wolverine, Deadpool and some of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

With Disney possibly having to face the reality of a Marvel Cinematic Universe without their most popular character in light of Disney’s frankly insulting offer to Sony to share Spider-Man, everyone is taking sides, and Stan Lee’s daughter JC is siding with Sony over Marvel.

In a statement to TMZ, JC laid into Marvel over their treatment of her father and his legacy.

You might want to disagree with JC and side with Marvel and talk about how well Marvel treated their creators, but… not so fast.

Bill Mantlo, creator of Rocket Raccoon and the eponymous stars of Marvel TV series Cloak and Dagger, was left permanently disabled after being hit by a car while rollerblading in 1992. His family was forced to set up a GoFundMe (that didn’t meet its goal) to pay for his medical expenses despite the fact that Disney made roughly $6 billion dollars on movies that characters he created appeared in.

Jack Kirby’s family was involved in a legal battle with Marvel for years seeking to take back the rights to the characters he created under an arcane clause in the copyright law from the 1978 extension that allows for creators to terminate sales of copyrights made to companies when those copyrights would have originally entered the public domain. The basic gist was that Kirby wasn’t getting credit or royalties from Marvel for the use of characters he created. During the trial, John Romita, Sr., a contemporary of Kirby, Lee and Ditko and one of Marvel’s most prolific artists, testified to receiving about $7,000 a year in royalties from Marvel.

Now, Stan Lee made a lot of money. But he got millions for his creations while executives like Ike Perlmutter and Bob Iger got billions. And what he got he mainly got by becoming an executive himself, along with smartly marketing himself as the face of Marvel comics.

So what Marvel is trying to do in their fight with Sony should be no surprise, it’s what they do best: take as much money as they can for work someone else did.

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Sony Has Found an Enemy in Jeremy Renner

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Disney Could Lose Spider-Man, Putting World Domination Plans On Hold Until At Least 2021

When Spider-Man was created in 1962 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (with some contributions behind the scenes from Jack Kirby), the copyright term was 56 years, meaning Spider-Man should have entered into the public domain on January 1st, 2018. Mainly because of the actions of Disney in the late 70s, the copyright term was extended to “haha, fuck you, corporations own everything forever.”

Now Disney and Sony are having a public slapfight over a new agreement for Marvel to continue to use Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Sony rejecting Disney’s offer of a 50/50 split of costs and profits, a deal which former Spider-Man writer Sean McKeever pointed out would have made the studio less on the billion dollar Spider-Man Far From Home than they made on Venom, which turned in a much more modest performance.

Early reports suggested that the deal was off and Spider-Man was out of the MCU. This would leave Sony free to make their own Spider-Man movies with Tom Holland, but it would present certain problems based on how integrated into the Iron Man films he was. Like, we all know that the formative moment in Spider-Man’s journey as a hero was the death of his father figure, the man who mentored him and taught him the important lessons that would forever define his moral fabric: Tony Stark, international arms dealer and billionaire playboy. Without that important part of his backstory, Sony may have to create another character to take that role, perhaps giving Peter an uncle or something.

I joke, but Spider-Man felt much more like Iron Lad in the Marvel Cinematic Universe than Spider-Man. They removed pretty much every trace of his unique world and plopped him into a film that could have been Iron Man 4 with a few tweaks. Even his supporting cast feels more like Iron Man’s and less like Spider-Man’s. What this means is that had Disney not fought to extend copyright in the 70s (and a few times since then), they could simply continue using Spider-Man as basically nothing in the films comes from material that would still be copyrighted (aside from Mary Jane Watson, though one could argue Zendaya’s MJ is a new character).

Of course, a few hours after news broke that the studios hadn’t reached terms on continuing their arrangement, Variety reported that Sony and Disney are still negotiating, meaning it’s likely one or both parties leaked this information as a negotiating tactic. 

Personally, I think they’re going to reach an agreement. Disney isn’t going to want to not be able to use Marvel’s most recognizable character in the Marvel movies, it’s like doing Justice League without Superman. And nobody would be that stupid, right?

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Bella Thorne Is a Director Now, If Porn Counts as Directing

Usually when actors want to move into directing, they’ll do it by directing an episode of the show they’re on. It makes sense because they know they cast and crew and feel comfortable on the set.

Bella Thorne decided to go another way with it, making her directorial debut on Pornhub with the pornographic film Her & Him.

I’m more of a fan of porn movies with titles of the More Dirty Asian Debutantes or Lesbian Nymphomaniac Sorority Sleepover variety. I feel like making artsy porno movies with intricate plots just gets in the way of the reason people are watching. It feels pretty retro, like 70s porno except with no pubic hair or weird-shaped boobs.

EW reported that’s part of a new initiative for the site.

The film, titled Her & Him, is part of Pornhub’s Visionaries Director’s Series, which features debut films by unexpected directors in order to diversify porn production. Previous entries in the series were directed by rapper Young M.A. and singer-rapper Brooke Candy.

I mean, it is in line with her whole thing. Hey, I need to tell William we’ve found something Bella will probably succeed at.

“What inspired me to do this movie was thinking about this relationship between a male and a female and this fight over dominance and how much that relates to us in our general world, besides just a sexual scenario,” Thorne said in a behind-the-scenes video. “My vision behind the story was basically creating these two dynamic characters that could switch off between dominant and submissive.”

I think people just want to see them fuck, Bella. Don’t turn something beautiful like pornography into something cheap and tawdry like a Hollywood film.

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The Trailer for Bong Joon-ho’s ‘Parasite’ Is Here

And you should really watch it.

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Disney Sounds Like They’re Going to Axe Taika Waititi’s Anti-Nazi Comedy ‘Jojo Rabbit’, Anything Else Good or Interesting

Man, I wish someone had warned me that there might be negative consequences to Disney buying Fox and controlling like 50% of the American film industry. I just thought it would be really cool for Wolverine to be an Avenger.

Well, Marvel is making a Fantastic Four film and X-Men films, but it may have left fans feeling a bit like Thanos at the end of Infinity War.

Those chickens are coming home to roost as Disney has turned out to be much, much more risk-averse than Fox. Fox Searchlight has been distributing critically-acclaimed independent films for a long time, and many of them are the kind of thoughtful, small, emotional pictures Disney is smothering out with things like the “live-action” Lion King film that made a billion dollars in the widest opening for any film ever even though everyone agrees it’s visually terrible.

It could even impact Taika Waititi, who has been a studio guy for Disney and turned out a big hit tent pole film with Thor: Ragnarok and is giving them lady Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder because Disney doesn’t really understand what exactly it is that women like about the Thor movies.

It’s that.

But he’s at risk of having a film shelved as Variety reports Disney is looking to play it safe.

Disney is prioritizing making more broadly commercial projects, which includes ongoing work on sequels to James Cameron’s “Avatar” and starry safe bets like the on-screen reunion of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in the drama “The Last Duel.”

Normally the reward for being a studio guy and making the big tentpole movies is you get to make your less-profitable passion projects that are, let’s be honest, probably better movies. But Disney sounds like they really want to dump Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, in which the director plays Hitler.

The only bright spot for the film operation would seem to be Fox Searchlight, the long-operating darling of the indie film world, which will test Disney’s patience with the wacky Hitler drama “Jojo Rabbit,” from “Thor: Ragnarok” director Taika Waititi, this fall. The movie is expected to be a major awards contender.

The scathing takedown of Nazism may, however, prove a little too edgy for Disney brass accustomed to producing movies suitable for parents and kids. Searchlight has started to screen the film for its new parent company. Halfway through one recent viewing one executive grew audibly uncomfortable, worrying aloud that the material would alienate Disney fans. His unease may have been over the film’s cutting-edge satire, but it was also an expression of the culture clash taking place as the two studios embark on their new union.

Keep in mind Disney distributed Pulp Fiction and the world didn’t end. And don’t think that just because Deadpool has been consistently beloved by critics and audiences and has been the most profitable R-Rated film franchise ever that it’s safe.

The studio is also grappling with how to fit the very R-rated Deadpool into its PG-13-rated Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The goal is to find a way for the character to move seamlessly between “Avengers” spinoffs and bloody, profane stand-alone adventures.

Just do exactly that. Or don’t put Deadpool in the Avengers films because he’s a comedy character who constantly breaks the fourth wall and trying to play him straight never, ever works. He’s the Bugs Bunny of Marvel Comics.

It does make me think, though, that if any company other than Disney was as big as Disney, they’d be looking for a way to convince the public to take them seriously as a company that could produce memorable films with real artistry to them; instead, Disney is worried that the films it inherited from Fox that have artistry and nuance and appeal to adults who think and want to be challenged might hurt ticket sales for its baby films it’s convinced adults they can’t live without.

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Sarah Silverman Says She Lost A Movie Role Over a 2007 ‘The Sarah Silverman Program’ Skit

Remember The Sarah Silverman Program? It was a Comedy Central show back when The Daily Show was still funny and offering insightful commentary and it starred Sarah Silverman as an exaggerated version of herself who was incompetent and stupid and had be looked over by her sister Laura, played by her actual sister Laura Silverman.

It was a really funny show and Sarah was never afraid to push boundaries. And over a decade later, one of the bits she did on the show came back to bite her on the ass.

I am, of course, talking about the episode where Sarah wears blackface for basically the whole episode. The gist of the episode is she gets discriminated against for being Jewish, and wears blackface to prove being Jewish is harder than being black because again, she’s playing an idiot on this show. It wasn’t a bad episode, but 30 Rock did it better. Twice.

Unlike Jon Hamm, Sarah Silverman says that the blackface episode of her show cost her a movie role.

Via The Guardian:

Guesting on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Silverman said that she was let go the day before shooting on her scenes was due to start because of the photo, taken on the set of The Sarah Silverman Show.

“I recently was going to do a movie, a sweet part,” she said, “then, at 11pm the night before, they fired me because they saw a picture of me in blackface from that episode.

“I didn’t fight it. They hired someone else who is wonderful but who has never stuck their neck out. It was so disheartening. It just made me real, real sad, because I really kind of devoted my life to making it right.”

She also brought up cancel culture.

Silverman did not name the film but discussed “cancel culture” with Simmons, saying that the current climate had left her feeling fearful. “I think it’s really scary and it’s a very odd thing that it’s invaded the left primarily and the right will mimic it,” adding that she dubs it “righteousness porn”.

“It’s like, if you’re not on board, if you say the wrong thing, if you had a tweet once, everyone is, like, throwing the first stone,” she continued. “It’s so odd. It’s a perversion. It’s really, ‘Look how righteous I am and now I’m going to press refresh all day long to see how many likes I get in my righteousness.’”

She’s right, of course. People on the internet like to be bullies, and they like to be bullies to people in a way where they can say they’re in the right because someone didn’t live up to their perceived moral standards. It’s kind of like… Did you see the clip from the DSA meeting where the people were asking for “points of personal privilege”?

That’s what cancel culture is. We’re all talking about something important, and then people start making attacks because someone clapped or said “Guys”. Only on Twitter you get death threats for days because you said female. It’s dumb and it accomplishes nothing.

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Have You Ever Imagined Someone Making a Video About How Ugly You Are? 😭

Future Shang-Chi lead Simu Liu doesn’t have to imagine anymore. Roasted.

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Macaulay Culkin Will Reboot His Own ‘Home Alone’ Movie

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Constance Wu Insisted on Top Billing for ‘Hustlers’

Is Constance Wu really a big star? She was in Crazy Rich Asians, which was an okay movie, but if you replaced her with Lacey Chabert that shit would have been on the Hallmark Channel. That Netflix film her Fresh Off the Boat co-star Randall Park did with Ali Wong was way better, and the two of them co-wrote it in addition to starring in it. And he didn’t even have a meltdown on social media when Fresh Off the Boat got renewed.

Apparently Constance Wu is a bit of a diva. And by a bit of a diva I mean the type of person who would have a total meltdown about getting another year of steady, high-paid work on a high-profile TV show. She’s mentioned a few times how important the show is for having actual representation of Asian-Americans on television, but I guess she feels that isn’t quite as important as Constance Wu getting to be a movie star.

And not just a movie star, Page Six reported she insisted on being top-billed in her upcoming film Hustlers over Jennifer Lopez and Cardi B, both of whom are easily bigger draws than Wu.

While “Hustlers” premieres in September, select publications have been walloped with a warning from the studio that Wu must be named first in the press as the film’s biggest star. A source said Lopez and her production partners signed off on Wu’s top billing “a long time ago,” adding, “Constance is in the unique position of being a part of projects that are breaking through Asian-American representation in Hollywood.”

See, Constance Wu’s success is your success, Asian-American maid making minimum wage that had to clean up a room covered in rabbit shit after Wu absolutely destroyed it.

Remember when Constance Wu made those really long, thoughtful comments on Matt Damon being in The Great Wall or Casey Affleck’s Oscar nod? I’m starting to think she just though both of those things should have gone to Constance Wu, which is not out of step with what everyone is saying about her.

Then, on the NYC set of “Hustlers” this spring, Wu made enemies anew with her diva demands. One on-set source told Page Six that Wu was “a pain in the f–king ass. She just won’t agree to do anything … It’s like a cliché. She is very talented — but all signs are pointing to a difficult diva.” Another insider added, “She’s a total piece of work. She thinks it’s OK to treat people badly and say out loud whatever comes to her.”

One thing to keep in mind when you get famous like Constance Wu, or even actually famous like Matt Damon, is that you want to be really nice to your assistants and whatnot because they’re alone with your food every day.

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Senator Lindsey Graham Has Strong Feelings on Tom Cruise’s Wardrobe in ‘Top Gun’ Sequel

There’s a new Top Gun movie coming soon for some reason, was anyone really clamoring for this? Well, I guess Senator Lindsey Graham was, but I can’t imagine why.

That explains a lot of why Graham is interested in it, actually. But I want to make it clear then when I compare Senator Graham to Waylan Smithers, I’m not being homophobic, I just mean that he’s a snivelling, spineless toady.

How much sand do you think they had to pile in front of that net to make it some Tom Cruise could spike a ball over it, by the way? I mean, I guess they had it from the ditch they dug for Val Kilmer to walk in when the two were in frame together.

Unsurprisingly, in an impromptu conversation with TMZ, Graham was asked about Tom Cruise’s outfit in Top Gun: Maverick, specifically that it had been altered by the Chinese investors in the film to remove the Japanese and Taiwanese flags.

Graham says that it “sucks,” which I don’t think is appropriate language for a Senator. But he’s still going to watch it because of course he is, it glorifies the military and has shirtless men, Lindsey Graham is basically the entire target audience.

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Lana Del Rey Really Wants to Play Priscilla Presley

Baz Luhrmann is directing the upcoming Elvis Presley biopic starring Austin Butler and Lana Del Rey is begging to play Priscilla Presley. She’s been telling her agent to annoy Baz for months now in hopes of getting cast. Solely based on the fact they look similar.

Baz is reportedly hesitant to cast Del Rey, because, well, the closest she’s ever come to acting is looking like an emotionless doll in her music videos. And it seems she knows this because “she’s been driving her friend Kristen Stewart crazy, badgering her for method acting tips at every opportunity.” Which would help her out a lot. Kristen Stewart is a very good actor. Have you seen all the different ways she bites her lip in every movie? That’s versatility.

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The New Trailer for ‘It: Chapter Two’ Is Here 🤡

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Let’s All Calm Down, Nobody is Making James Bond a Woman

The big news in Hollywood today is that James Bond has been replaced by a woman! Take that, eight guys on an anonymous Internet forum who hate women, you’ve been pwned. Remember that? Pwned? Remember when that was a thing? From that Community episode?

Yes, social media exploded into a fury of laughing at people who are mad about the news that 007 will be a black woman in the next James Bond film, even though those people probably don’t exist. And James Bond isn’t going to be a woman, he’s still going to be Daniel Craig.

The Daily Mail broke the story that Lashana Lynch will co-star alongside Craig as Agent 007, the designation she took after Bond retired. 

The story begins with Bond retired in Jamaica. But spymaster M – played by Ralph Fiennes – calls him back in desperation to tackle a new global crisis.

A movie insider said: ‘There is a pivotal scene at the start of the film where M says ‘Come in 007’, and in walks Lashana who is black, beautiful and a woman.

‘It’s a popcorn-dropping moment. Bond is still Bond but he’s been replaced as 007 by this stunning woman.

While this is being reported as “they’re making James Bond a woman” all over the Internet, it sounds like Lynch’s character is going to be more like Felix Leiter. And while this is framed as Bond “passing the torch” to the new 007, if you’ve ever seen a movie, any movie at all, you probably realize that Bond will back as 007 by the end of the film.

Still, co-writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge sounds like she has a handle on James Bond.

‘There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not Bond is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women.

‘I think that’s bollocks. I think he’s absolutely relevant now. [The franchise] has just got to grow. It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesn’t have to. He needs to be true to his character.’

See? No lady Bond, no PC Bond, just a script with contributions by a talented woman that sees Bond team up with a strong, competent woman. Who might die. Pretty much every 00 agent in a Bond film other than Bond has been killed, so there’s a way better chance she dies than that she stays 007.

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ScarJo Tries to Backpedal on ‘I Can Play Anyone’ Comment After Backlash

Scarlett Johansson seems to be constantly embroiled in controversies over the roles she takes in films. There was Rub and Tug, where she was cast as a trans man and eventually left, Ghost in the Shell where she played a Japanese robot, the Avengers where people were very mad Black Widow wasn’t played by an actual Russian assassin/former child soldier and of course no one really believed her in Lucy as a woman who uses 100% of her brain.

While ScarJo has been somewhat contrite about these controversies in the past, it seems like being an internet punchline has caught up with her and she’s sick of it. TMZ reported Johansson is now defiant, saying she should play any role she wants. 

ScarJo opened up about politically correct casting to As If magazine (without directly mentioning her now-debunked role in “Rub and Tug”), saying … “You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job.”

She added, “I feel like it’s a trend in my business and it needs to happen for various social reasons, yet there are times it does get uncomfortable when it affects the art because I feel art should be free of restrictions,” going on to say … “I think society would be more connected if we just allowed others to have their own feelings and not expect everyone to feel the way we do.” 

That went over about as well as you’d think, and EW reported shortly after that Johansson issued another statement on the quote. 

“The question I was answering in my conversation with the contemporary artist, David Salle, was about the confrontation between political correctness and art,” she continues. “I personally feel that, in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody and Art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness. That is the point I was making, albeit didn’t come across that way. I recognize that in reality, there is a wide spread discrepancy amongst my industry that favors Caucasian, cis gendered actors and that not every actor has been given the same opportunities that I have been privileged to. I continue to support, and always have, diversity in every industry and will continue to fight for projects where everyone is included.”

Image Comics publisher and Savage Dragon creator Erik Larsen weighed in here with what I think is a really good and often overlooked point: these movies may not be made at all without ScarJo attached.

And there’s a point here, one we also made when first reporting on this story; who is starring in Rub and Tug after Johansson left? When is it going into production? When is it coming to theaters?

Johansson wants to walk this sort of tightrope where she’s saying “Well, of course I want more people of color to get more roles, but in a perfect world I would have been able to Al Jolson my way through Black Panther and I would have been the shuckingest, jivingest Wakandan ever.” She didn’t actually say that, by the way, this is a comedy website. I don’t want to end up on Snopes.

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