Even when it’s at its best, modern SNL is rarely shocking. Funny, strange, silly and clever, sure. But shocking? Nah. The show doesn’t seem to set out to offend every week. So when the show broke out a fake commercial that depicted 50 Shades of Grey star and guest host Dakota Johnson joining the radical terrorist group ISIS, jaws rightfully hit the ground. Who approved this? And could they start approving more sketches?
With Dakota Johnson guest hosting, last night’s SNL had no shortage of 50 Shades of Grey jokes. For her part, Johnson seemed equally bemused and embarrassed by her controversial new hit, rolling with whatever the show threw at her and always coming out looking far better than her naysayers expected. Her ability to make fun of herself and the film that has turned her into an overnight movie star really came together in the only sketch of the night that required her to play herself.
Modern SNL has one of the strongest female line-ups in the show’s history, so it’s always a pleasure when the writers give this group of extremely funny ladies a chance to shine together. This sketch is a weird one because it feels like such an odd and specific concept that must have been a real pain in the butt to pitch in the writer’s room, but the execution is simply sublime: a group of women start being brutally honest with the people in their lives and immediately celebrate to the impossibly catchy sounds of Sara Bareilles’ “Brave.”
In between all of the tributes and montages and musical performances, the SNL 40th Anniversary Special actually found time for some original content. Right after a montage celebrating the short films that have been featured on the show over the years, Zach Galifianakis took to the stage to introduce a new digital short from Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler. Unlike most of Samberg’s original shorts, which usually traded in genial silliness, this one looked inward and examined a subject that everyone who has ever been on the show should be familiar with: breaking character.
A few key members of the SNL cast and crew must love “The Californians” because the much-derided sketch was brought back to life for the show’s star-studded 40th anniversary special. For those of us who have always enjoyed this bizarre sketch (and there are about three of us), it’s a welcome return and we will greedily drink up the angry tears of everyone else.
We knew going in that the SNL 40th anniversary special would be chock-full of just about every famous person who has ever walked within spitting distance of 30 Rockefeller Plaza and the opening monologue was quick to make use of this genuinely insane temporary cast of stars. Things got started on the right foot when the always-welcome Steve Martin took the stage ... but then he was joined by Tom Hanks. And then things got really crazy.
In the midst of an otherwise dull (and occasionally painful) red carpet special that aired before the SNL 40th anniversary show, special guest Jim Carrey livened things up by by making Matt Lauer really uncomfortable. His comedic weapon of choice? The recently suspended/disgraced NBC newsman Brian Williams.
The massive success of the ‘Despicable Me’ films have created a monster. Monsters, actually. Well, cute, yellow, strange little monsters that countless children (and some adults) all over the world have fallen in love with. Yeah, ‘Minions’ is going to be huge and it’s all going to be thanks to those little guys. However, the presence of a major star like Sandra Bullock can’t hurt and Universal has released the first images of her supervillain character, Scarlet Overkill.
Forged in the fires of Mount Doom, the Ring of Power was stripped from the hand of Sauron following the final battle with the Last Alliance and became of a keepsake of Prince Isildur. Now corrupted by the One Ring, Isildur fell in battle, losing the ring to the river. From there, “Isildur’s Bane” fell into the hands of the creature known as Gollum and from there, into the hands of the Hobbit known as Bilbo Baggins. It was only through the efforts of the Fellowship of the Ring and the brave Frodo Baggins that the One Ring was destroyed forever ... or so we thought. Because the ring has fallen into the hands of a young Texas boy, who was suspended from school for wielding such an accursed tool.
In most years, January tends to be the most boring month of the year for the box office. This is where Hollywood typically sends the movies in which it has the least faith. This is the dumping ground, the place where movies go to die so the studios can concentrate on their Oscar campaigns. However, thanks to ‘American Sniper,’ this January has bucked every trend. It may technically be a 2014 release, but Clint Eastwood’s war film has made the first chunk of 2015 interesting, shattering expectations and threatening to become the highest grossing film of last year in only a few weeks.
Super Bowl commercials are still a big, huge, massive, crazy deal, with major corporations shelling out absurd amounts of money on ads designed to win over the most reliably large and receptive audience in all of televised sports. So of course ‘SNL’ was going to contribute its own commercial parody to the mix...but man, no one was expecting something this mean, scathing or on-point.
With the Super Bowl arriving this weekend, every corporation in the world is fighting for your attention, spending ludicrous amounts of cash on tiny advertisements for things that most people already like. The same goes for movies and the biggest sporting event in the United States is no stranger to premiering new trailers and TV spots for massively anticipated films. So, without further ado, let’s all take a moment to watch the new ad for ‘Minions’.
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