The M&M Report: “The Shallows”

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Blake Lively befriends a seagull and fends off a rabid shark in Jaume Collet-Serra’s The Shallows. On this episode, Devin and I get to the bottom of this sea-based thriller with our friend Erin Vail, returning for her second M&M Report of the last three.


Don’t forget, you can now subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and download the feed directly into the podcast app of your choice. If you have the time, rate and review us on iTunes as well. We’d greatly appreciate your support.

Taylor Swift Always Wins

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Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston are dating. Perhaps you know about this from the The Sun. Perhaps you know about this from Taylor’s Instagram. Perhaps you know about this from three sentences ago.

But they’re not just dating. They are a Thing. An Item. A Couple. (They might even get married.) They’ve been plastering PDA photos of their romantic travails across the Internet, in what seems like a desperate attempt to convince people of something they probably would have believed anyway. A few weeks ago, Hiddleston’s parents joined the movement. On the Fourth of July, a cadre of famous people like Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds got in on the action.

And over July 4 weekend, so did the conspiracy theorists, of which I now consider myself one. (Much credit to Ellie Woodward of Buzzfeed UK for leading the charge on this important coverage.) The breaking point appeared to be the picture of Hiddleston sporting a gaudy “I Love T.S.” shirt that would be embarrassing if he were in middle school. It’s not a great look for the man who allegedly wants to parlay his T-Swift courtship into the dapper threads of 007. And, on the surface, none of this is a great look for Taylor Swift either. The charges frequently and often unfairly leveled against her — she fakes relationships for attention, she thrives on romantic drama with famous people, she perpetuates antiquated love fantasies and deludes her impressionable fans — don’t seem quite as unfair anymore.

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The M&M Report: Summer Movie Amalgamation

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On our latest episode, Devin and I break down a bunch of movies they’ve seen in the last few weeks: Maggie’s Plan (1:10-7:40); Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (7:40-13:15); Money Monster (13:15-19:30); Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (19:30-25:30) and Weiner (25:30-end).


Don’t forget, you can now subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and download the feed directly into the podcast app of your choice. If you have the time, rate and review us on iTunes as well. We’d greatly appreciate your support.

The M&M Report: “Veep,” “BrainDead” and D.C. TV

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Devin and I welcomed returning guest Erin Vail for a discussion of D.C. TV shows, prompted by the series premiere of BrainDead and the excellent fifth season of Veep, which wraps up on Sunday.

Don’t forget, you can now subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and download the feed directly into the podcast app of your choice. If you have the time, rate and review us on iTunes as well. We’d greatly appreciate your support.

“Orange is the New Black”: The More, The Merrier

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Starting a season of Orange is the New Black a week after it drops on Netflix is like traveling back in time to an indeterminate date in March 1912 and boarding the Titanic. You know bad things are going to happen — it’s just a matter of where and when.

I haven’t been spoiled on any major developments yet, but I’ve seen enough references to plot developments and general story directions to have a clue about a few very unfortunate events to come. I also know which characters will play a prominent or notable role in the season, at least to the degree that they’re worth tweeting about.

A little bit of foresight helps with an episode like “Work That Body for Me,” which bounces in manic fashion around the Litchfield women’s prison, in an effort to pick up as many of last season’s dangling plot threads as possible. For the first time in the show’s history, the new season picks up in media res, immediately after the events of last season’s closing scene, in which most of the prisoners escape through a hole in the fence and revel in a nearby lake. They didn’t say it, for fear of spoiling the moment, but even the prisoners knew the ecstasy of their brief escape couldn’t last long.

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I’d Watch Anna Kendrick Host a Late-Night Show

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I’ve never met Anna Kendrick. I don’t know what she wants out of life. Maybe she’s content with what she’s doing now. But as a pop culture consumer and general appreciator of her output, I want more.

My proposal: next time a late-night talk show host departs, Anna Kendrick should (at least be in talks to) replace him. (Or her…but Samantha Bee just started this year and has been killing it on TBS. Leave her bee.)

This proposal is far-fetched and unlikely for several reasons. None of the late-night hosts appear close to the end of their respective tenures. Kendrick is a Movie Star settled somewhere between the A- and B-lists, and to the best of my knowledge, she’s never expressed interest in a full-time, nightly gig. And, most unfortunately, television networks, presently and historically, don’t have a great history, or much of a history at all, of hiring women for such positions.

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Drop a Pin on Sunday’s “Veep”

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This season of Veep has been outstanding from minute one, but Sunday’s penultimate episode “Kissing Your Sister” rose to the top of an impressive heap. Eagle-eyed fans of the show know that the ninth episode of each season takes an experimental left turn. Last year’s ninth episode “Testimony” marked the left-est turn of them all, with a full episode of the characters’ hearings in front of Congress presented C-SPAN-style.

It’s early, but I’m confident that “Kissing Your Sister” at least matches that all-time outing, and maybe even exceeds it. It had a higher bar to clear, for one — Catherine Meyer’s fly-on-the-wall documentary has been a throwaway gag since the season premiere, and the juicy combination of the Meyer administration’s antics and a video camera appeared too fruitful not to re-emerge at the season’s climax. “Testimony” extended directly from the events of the episode that preceded it, but “Kissing Your Sister” wove a more complex and intricate narrative that extended back into the events of the entire season, occasionally replaying scenes from previous episodes from different angles or with additional context. The clever conceit of “Testimony” relegated most of the fast-paced action to the background or offscreen, but “Kissing Your Sister” gunned the plot engine even as the jokes flew fast and furious.

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