"Jane the Virgin is doing some of the most serious, most valuable work I’ve seen in a long time, and that work is rooted in a radically frank depiction of new motherhood." Links may contain spoilers, but also this show is very silly so knowing some things that happen will probably not ruin your enjoyment of the rest of it [more inside]
Every Philip Seymour Hoffman Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best By Nathan Rabin [Vulture.com]
“...we figured this would be a good time to delve deep into Hoffman’s filmography to determine what art of Hoffman’s is objectively, definitively better than his other art. In making our selection, we considered both the quality of the film as well as Hoffman’s performance. Though we strived to be as complete as possible, we were not able to see Mockingjay Part 2 ahead of this article, nor were we able to track down two of his most obscure early films, Szuler and Joey Breaker, left behind in VHS format. We still, however, had an awful lot to sift through, much of it awfully good.”
The 32 Greatest Talk-Show Hosts Ever, as ranked by Vulture
Frankly, sophisticated audiences are not a problem. Dumb audiences are a problem. But I think audiences are getting more sophisticated — that’s just a product of time. In the ’50s, audiences accepted a level of artifice that the audiences in 1966 would chuckle at. And the audiences of 1978 would chuckle at what the audience of 1966 said was okay, too. The trick is to try to be way ahead of that curve, so they’re not chuckling at your movies 20 years down the line.
"I’m not here, however, to adjudicate Cruise’s religious views or mental health or even, really, his public image, which seems to be a complicated one. I’m here to say: It’s time to start liking Tom Cruise, movie star and actor, again." - Bilge Ebiri, Vulture
Who first said Motherf$cker on TV? What was with Lesbian Kiss Episodes? Are Crossover Episodes ever a good idea? Why do Bottle Episodes make good television? What was Cousin Oliver Syndrome? [more inside]
Dayna Evans writes about Taylor Swift for Gawker: [T]he part of Taylor’s persona that doesn’t get talked about enough [is that] she is a ruthless, publicly capitalist pop star. To think of her as womanhood incarnate is to trick oneself into forgetting about “Bad Blood” and “Better Than Revenge.” Swift isn’t here to help women—she’s here to make bank… Her plan—to be as famous and as rich as she can possibly be—is working, and by using other women as tools of her self-promotion, she is distilling feminism for her own benefit. [more inside]
It's been a long winter, everyone's a little loopy, and that's probably as good a reason as any for the Internet to have delved into the 30th anniversary of "We Are the World" a bit more (and more entertainingly) than strictly necessary: [more inside]
Did Amazon Sink the Queen of Online Erotica? - Phoebe Reilly, Vulture
"Engler is an underappreciated pioneer, a self-proclaimed feminist in furry-cat slippers. To put her crowning achievement demurely, she challenged the book-publishing industry's denial of women's appetite for sexually explicit books. She wrote tawdry, lowbrow novels, and published hundreds of others, that freed romance from its lame euphemisms well before Fifty Shades of Grey, and she did so in a digital format long before the Kindle and the iPad allowed e-books to flourish.
"To put it less demurely: There were readers out there, lots of them, who didn't want to read about thick manroots. They wanted hard cocks. So that's what Ellora's Cave gave them. Easily and often."
The Complete Works: Ranking All 121 Billy Joel Songs Vulture.com music critic Cristopher Bonanos spent the last three months immersed in Billy Joel's back catalogue. Here are his observations, along with links to many of the songs. As he says in the article, "Let the arguments begin".
“I guess I don’t hate superheroes. I just hate the kind of superhero books that are usually out." The death and rebirth of Valiant Entertainment, superhero comics' strangest success story. [more inside]
There are 47 episodes of Scandal (so far). In advance of the start of season 4 on Thursday, Vulture runs down the 50 most shocking moments. [Spoilers within, naturally] [more inside]
The butt-shakingly over the top video for Nicki Minaj's Anaconda (Previously) was released recently and while there's been discussion if it re-claims the twerk or refuses the male gaze, video artist Jeff Osborne has put the song into its 90s "Baby's Got Back" pop culture context with appearances by Jessica Rabbit, Beavis And Butthead, and more. (all videos quite NSFW) [more inside]
Vulture feature that is weirdly sympathetic to the life of a billionaire popstar. (Bonus: no country for true beliebers, the real estate guide)
What that Louie episode got right and wrong about fat women. After Sunday night's airing of Louie, some thoughtful, angry, interesting articles about how the show dealt with the issue of female body-shaming have popped up. But should the issue of fat-shaming women really be brought up by men?
In January of 1979, ABC premiered a made-for-TV movie called Salvage, featuring Harry Broderick (Andy Griffith) as "the junkman with a dream," which he stated simply: "I want to build a ship, fly to the moon, salvage all the NASA stuff up there, bring it back to the earth, and sell it." His crazy idea isn't so crazy, thanks to the assistance of former astronaut Skip Carmichael (Joel Higgins) and fuel/tech expert Melanie Slozar (Trish Stewart). They managed to build their spaceship and get to the moon and back, thanks to Carmichael's ingenious "Trans-Linear Vector Principle." The movie did so well that the crew's adventures were extended into a total of 18 episodes, split into two seasons. [more inside]
After being successfully Kickstarted into existence by fans, the long-desired Veronica Mars movie (previously) finally has an actual official trailer.
As Thomas Pynchon's new novel Bleeding Edge's Sept. 17th release date approaches, New York Magazine's Vulture blog offers a capsule biography of the man. (SLVulture) [more inside]
DARPA has developed a 1800 megapixel sensor array for use on UAVs. It is capable of spotting something as small as 6-inches while covering an area half the size of Manhattan. [more inside]
The Mumbai Parsi community is hoping to return vultures to their traditional and religious role of eating the dead by building aviaries near the Towers of Silence where the Zoroastrian dead are laid out to be stripped clean by vultures. For the past fifteen years, there have been barely a dozen vultures in Mumbai, and members of the community have increasingly turned to cremation (especially during the rainy season), which the religion considers unclean. The community hopes to have vultures return to eating the dead by February 2014. [more inside]
Vulture's Top 25 Most Devoted Fan Bases: "Vulture has scanned the great plains of pop culture, weighing passion versus mere popularity to decide the 25 Most Devoted Fans of entertainment, which kicks off our weeklong exploration of all things Fandom. It's important to underscore that this list is not about mere numbers — it’s about fervency." [more inside]
The new film Ruby Sparks, written by actress Zoe Kazan, both deals with and argues against the concept of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. [more inside]
Linda Holmes, NPR: "It probably speaks to the complexity of Mad Men that the same episode can be a highlight of the series for some and a lowlight for others. Sunday night's episode, "The Other Woman," instantly became a favorite of a lot of observers and writers, but for me, it was a rarity on Mad Men: a serious and profound misstep." (spoilers in links) [more inside]
The Vulture ranks all of Stephen King's books from worst to best.
Mad Men is back. And so is Vulture with another of their always-enjoyable recaps.
Vulture is running a March Madness Drama Derby to determine the greatest TV Drama of the past 25 years. [more inside]
Celebrate "Buzzard Day" this weekend at Arizona's Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Too far away? You can always join the Turkey Vulture Society instead. They'll teach you how to attract vultures to your property (or if you prefer, how to discourage them).
I really have to ask, I don't mean to be rude, but would you gamblers please stop smoking vulture brains?. I mean, I know you think it brings you luck, but you're killing them, you know?
"With the holiday season almost upon us, the Picture Palace is in a familial, touchy-feely mood. Also, we thought it’d be kind of cool to turn you into a shivering puddle of tears. And so we present to you Michael Dudok de Wit’s Father and Daughter. It won the 2000 Best Animated Short Oscar, along with a whole crapload of other awards. There’s a reason for all those accolades: This wordless, minimalist, beautifully animated eight-minute fable, about a girl who watches her father leave and continues to wait for him, is one of the most powerful things we’ve ever seen. It’s also been a cult item among animation buffs for a long time now."
DARPA has announced the contractors for their "Vulture" UAV system. The plan is to build an aircraft that can stay aloft, uninterrupted, for five years. [more inside]