Recently in Obituaries Without Pity Category
For obvious reasons, James Gandolfini's legacy will be forever tied to Tony Soprano. It's the role he played the longest and which left the deepest impact, both on viewers and within the industry at large. But the late actor, who died (too soon) of an apparent heart attack on Wednesday, had a gallery of memorable movie characters as well, particularly after The Sopranos transformed him from a struggling supporting player (he had small, but memorable turns in films like True Romance and Crimson Tide in the run-up to the 1999 debut of The Sopranos) into a sought-after character actor who appeared in a rich variety of films, from the sublime (Spike Jonze's lovely adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are) to the absurd (John Turturro's intriguing, but problematic musical Romance & Cigarettes). And even when the films themselves stank (Surviving Christmas anyone?) Gandolfini's mere presence made them less painful than they otherwise might have been. Here are five Gandolfini movie characters we'd place alongside his towering turn as a New Jersey don.
Season 3 of Downton Abbey claims its second big-name victim. Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Rather than write a second long piece in praise of 30 Rock, add yet another blog post to the world about how Tina Fey changed television (though, she did) or try to convince you how much the series transformed TV while glazing over the fact that the show was almost unwatchable for two seasons, let's just focus on the finale... the very satisfying and heartfelt finale.
What can I say about Desperate Housewives? Once a clever, black humor soap opera about life as a woman in the suburbs, Marc Cherry's series eventually became a Sunday-evening afterthought that only the most devoted of fans watched and even then, it was mostly to see it end. In Season 1, it averaged 23.69 million viewers -- in Season 8, it never quite reached the 10 million mark. Now, Desperate Housewives has left us... and against all odds, takes a tiny bit of each fan down with it.
With another regular television season coming to a close just in time for the Memorial Day weekend, we'd like to hold a memorial of our own for all of the characters and other elements that we'll miss the most from this year's ridiculously robust round of cancelled and concluded shows. Important note, however: This list is just about shows from the 2010-2011 season, so no putting, like, Firefly people or whatever in the comments, please. We know you'll want to, but just try to resist.
After a star-studded week of shows honoring the two-and-a-half decades of The Oprah Winfrey Show, its final hour aired today with just Oprah -- in a fabulous pink dress, dripping in diamonds -- alone on the stage, recalling the show's history and imparting some final words of wisdom and thanks to her unparalleled loyal audience. We joke a lot about Oprah, but I've loved the show since I was a kid, so I decided to watch and write a minute-by-minute account of the final hour of the most influential talk show of all time. Read and comment along, and we'll all get through this together.
The world has lost one of its most iconic actresses -- Elizabeth Taylor died this morning at the age of 79. While she wasn't the most prolific actress later in life, she worked from a young age, won two Oscars, and appeared in some of the most epic or acclaimed films of all time, although they usually weren't both. In case you only know about her abstractly, as that actress who was married a bunch of times, here's our list of the ten Liz Taylor films everyone should see, for better or worse, and in chronological order. They're not the best, they're just the ten we recommend.
After five seasons, Big Love bowed out for good last night with a shocking twist, a few final signature Bill Paxton bad acting moments (for good measure), and a mostly happy ending. The series finale was like this show has always been -- uneven, at times brilliant, other times overly wacky -- and though it wasn't perfect, it was at least a satisfying send-off for all in the Henrickson marriage. Actually, make that extremely satisfying for one member in particular.
During last Friday's Countdown with Keith Olbermann telecast, Olbermann abruptly announced that, after eight years his show was ending that night, as was his relationship with MSNBC. Nobody knows exactly what happened there or why (yet), and I'm in no position to speculate. I will, however, miss the show and Olbermann's over-the-top, ridiculously entertaining and yes, sometimes even insightful, comments on how horrifying all the people in this world are. So I've decided to eulogize Countdown the best way I know how -- with a look back at Ben Affleck's reactionary, egomaniacal, awesome cat-lover version on SNL.
Irvin Kershner, the director of The Empire Strikes Back, passed away over the weekend, and everyone is filled with kind words about the man who gave us the greatest Star Wars film. But Kershner directed other movies, as well, in a broad assortment of genres, from romances to thrillers to comedies, and he was apparently the go-to guy for sequels, having directed three besides Empire -- none of which featured his hand on the original. I haven't seen The Return of a Man Called Horse, but the other two are personal favorites, so I thought I'd shine a spotlight on them, since Empire has its own arsenal of spotlights.
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