Stephen Colbert: Super Bowl Fumble, Sanders Touchdown

Colbert Ball.jpg

On Sunday night, Stephen Colbert became the first host in the history of late-night TV to do a show immediately after the Super Bowl. That he and his team fumbled the gig should come as little surprise.

The post-Super Bowl slot has been a mixed blessing of late. Ratings for whatever show follows the nation’s most-watched television event of each year inevitably spike on that Sunday night, but the bump for subsequent episodes is far less substantial, even non-existent. Creatively speaking, most Super Bowl episodes are burdened with such high expectations from audiences and network executives that they’re more concerned with being big and loud than being good. By the end of an exhausting Super Bowl game and halftime show, the last thing most people want to do is keep their brain turned on for one to two more hours of programming, even if they keep their televisions on in an act of sheer inertia.

On top of all those built-in obstacles, Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show is uniquely unsuited to the task of following up the most expensive, expansive spectacle in American pop culture. Continue reading

SAG Awards 2016: My Predictions

SAG.jpgHere’s the latest installment of my new tradition: hastily assembled predictions for the winners of tonight’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, broadcast at 8pm on TNT and TBS, and streaming here. (These predictions don’t reflect my preferences, except when they do.)

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The M&M Report: “The Big Short” and Celebrity Deaths

Big Short.jpgMark and Devin review Adam McKay’s political comedy The Big Short, which features noisy performances and bad hairdos from Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell and Brad Pitt. Then they look back on a particularly painful week for celebrity deaths to analyze how people respond to the news that their favorite Hollywood stars have passed.

The Big Short discussion starts at 0:45. Celebrity deaths begins at 24:47.

Don’t forget, you can now subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and download the feed directly into the podcast app of your choice. New episodes should show up on your feed immediately and on iTunes within a day or two of release. Subscribe away!

Peruse the M&M Report category page for previous episodes of the podcast. Thanks for listening.

“The Big Short”: Big Swings, Short Fuse

Everything in The Big Short is a little off. Scenes end a beat or two before one of the characters finishes his sentence. Brief snippets of unrelated events creep into the spaces between sequences. The movie’s central foursome – Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt — don’t look their glamorous best. Celebrity cameos and profane outbursts punctuate what seems at first like a standard ripped-from-the-headlines drama. Funny bits and striking melancholy appear hand-in-hand, not clashing, but not quite fusing either.

The “directed by” credit accounts for some of the movie’s unusual energy. Adam McKay, who also co-scripted this adaptation Michael Lewis’ novel of the same name with Charles Randolph (Love & Other Drugs), is best known for his big-budget, big-hit studio comedies. Most of them star Will Ferrell and a cadre of assorted funny people improvising until their ears turn blue. McKay is not the first person you’d think of to direct a politically charged account of the year leading up to the 2008 financial meltdown. But his outsider’s approach actually fits the story, which is about the sloppy-looking but sharp-thinking Wall Street outsiders who saw the crash coming. That they did nothing to stop it is the specter that hangs over even the movie’s funniest bits like a dense fog. McKay mines this rinky-dink bunch for the comedy of their absurd behavior. If you pay close enough attention, though, you see him seeding the ground for a slow-burning gut punch. These are the men who could have saved millions of livelihoods – and didn’t.

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The M&M Report: 2015 in Review

On this episode of The M&M Report, Devin Mitchell and I look back on our favorite movies, TV, music, cultural moments and more from the past year. Listen for Devin’s passionate-ish defense of Ballers and my emotional reaction to the triumphant rise of Oscar Isaac, as well as our choices for favorite movie, SNL episode and late-night TV development.


Don’t forget, you can now subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and download the feed directly into the podcast app of your choice. New episodes should show up on your feed immediately and on iTunes within a day or two of release. Subscribe away!

Peruse the M&M Report category page for previous episodes of the podcast. Thanks for listening!

Golden Globes 2016: My Slapdash Predictions

Each year, a collection of fewer than 100 international journalists known as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association choose their favorites in film and television from the past year. The awards are delivered at a raucous, booze-infused ceremony televised on NBC in January. This year, they’re coming just four days before the Oscar nominations.

Precedent suggests the HFPA doesn’t put a ton of rigorous thought or intellectual judgment into its decisions for the winners, so I’ve followed suit and cobbled together a list of predictions based entirely on instinct. Any time I wavered or waffled, I forced myself to pick a nominee and move on. Take this list as seriously as you do the average Golden Globe choice — which is to say, not much at all. Check back tonight to see how well I did.

MOVIES

Best Motion Picture, DramaSpotlight

Best Actress in a Drama: Brie Larson, Room

Best Actor in a Drama: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Best Motion Picture, ComedyThe Big Short

Best Actress in a Comedy: Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Best Actor in a Comedy: Matt Damon, The Martian

Best Animated Motion PictureInside Out

Best Foreign Language Motion PictureSon of Saul

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Director: Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant

Best Screenplay: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, The Big Short

Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat, The Danish Girl

Best Original Song: “See You Again,” Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, Furious 7

TELEVISION

Best Drama SeriesEmpire

Best Actress, Drama: Taraji P. Henson, Empire

Best Actor, Drama: Wagner Moura, Narcos

Best Comedy SeriesCasual

Best Actress, Comedy: Jamie Lee Curtis, Scream Queens

Best Actor, Comedy: Rob Lowe, The Grinder

Best Limited SeriesFargo

Best Actress in a Limited Series: Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel

Best Actor in a Limited Series: Oscar Isaac, Show Me a Hero

Best Supporting Actress: Judith Light, Transparent

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Slater, Mr. Robot

2015 in Review: Top 10 Top 40 Songs

Some of the year’s most popular songs were also some of the best. Below, I’ve listed my ten favorite Top 40 songs of 2015. All of these songs appeared on the Billboard year-end Hot 100 for 2015.

That self-imposed rules means I can’t include what I consider the cream of this year’s pop crop: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Boy Problems” and “I Didn’t Just Come Here to Dance” and “Run Away With Me” and “All That” and “Let’s Get Lost.” This woman had her 1989 moment this year and America paid no attention. Her manager Scooter Braun now admits something went wrong on his end. Too little, too late. It’s a crime.

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