TIME Music

Bing Christmas: ‘Tis the Season to Be Crosby

A top star of records, radio and movies, and one of the most influential performers of the 20th century, Crosby pretty much invented the Christmas music industry

On Dec. 25, 1941, 73 years ago today, Bing Crosby introduced “White Christmas” on his CBS radio show. Written a few years earlier by Irving Berlin, and dusted off for the Crosby–Fred Astaire musical Holiday Inn, the song came out on July 30, 1942, to coincide with the film’s Aug. 4 release. It topped the record charts by October and remained there until January. Reissued each year thereafter, it reached No. 1 again in 1945 and 1946, and was in the top 15 eight other years. With more than 50 million in sales, “White Christmas” is the best-selling single of all time.

Who would rival Crosby as the most popular, influential and enduring entertainer of the 20th century? Perhaps only his pal Bob Hope and, let’s say, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. As detailed in Bing Crosby Rediscovered, receiving a holiday encore this weekend on PBS’s American Masters series, he revolutionized pop singing by crooning, not belting, his songs into a microphone, creating an instant and erotic intimacy with his listeners. His 1935 radio show on CBS saved the struggling network and made it a rival to mighty NBC. In films his image as the easy-going bon vivant put him among the leading stars of his era, and his pairing with Hope in Road to Singapore and its sequels accounted for the top-grossing movie series before the James Bond era. He won an Oscar as the singing priest in the 1944 Going My Way and probably deserved another one a decade later as the alcoholic actor in The Country Girl.

Bing, according to producer Ken Barnes on the PBS show, “rolled uphill to success.” He missed some early gigs, including his CBS radio debut, because of heavy drinking. (“He wasn’t hard to work with,” recalled Al Rinker, his partner in the late-’20s trio The Rhythm Boys. “He was hard to find sometimes.”) Devoted less to hard work than to golf, he found a way to spend more time on the links by prerecording his broadcasts; another first. The only star of early talkies with no prior experience in movies or on the legit or vaudeville stage, Crosby made acting look as natural as singing. Like Astaire, he was both an innovator and a classic, a species of utterly American elegance. That’s how he earned tens of millions (much of which he lost on the horses — raising his own and betting on others). As Hope wise-cracked, “No one has ever done so much with so little for so long, for so much.”

Crosby was a star for all media and all seasons. But this is the season he still owns. Bing pretty much invented the Christmas music industry. He’d been hosting Christmas specials on radio since 1936. “White Christmas,” which expressed the ache of nostalgia for World War II soldiers an ocean away from their families, certified his primacy as the pop-music Santa Claus. In 1943 he went to No. 3 with “I’ll Be Home for Christmas (If Only in My Dreams),” another ballad for homesick GIs.

Two years later came Merry Christmas: eight Crosby songs on four 78s in a hard-back format (why they were called “albums”). Later expanded to 12 songs for the 1954 LP edition, Merry Christmas has flourished in vinyl, tape, CD and downloads. It has been continuously in print longer than any U.S. album except for the original-cast recording of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 Broadway musical Oklahoma!

Assembled before the golden age of secular Christmas songs (Nat King Cole’s “A Christmas Song,” Gene Autry’s “Here Comes Santa Claus,” Hope’s “Silver Bells”). Merry Christmas mixes the solemn (a robust “Adeste Fidelis”) and the swingin’ (the vamps of “Jing—jing—jing—jingle bells” that he swaps with the Andrews Sisters). Bing does a little globetrotting here, adding songs with Irish and Hawaiian settings, but it’s basically that warm Crosby baritone making merry and bright. Among holiday LPs, this is the all-time champ.

Long resisting TV because he believed that weekly visual exposure would dilute his popularity, Crosby eventually starred in specials a few times a year, including an annual Christmas show that often featured Gary, Philip, Dennis and Lindsay, his four singing sons from his first marriage to Dixie Lee. In Bing Crosby Rediscovered, producer-writer-director Robert Trachtenberg (who did the excellent Gene Kelly doc Anatomy of a Dancer) offers a balanced tribute to a man more complex and haunted than the public Bing; this is Crosby with his toupée off (literally, in two clips from 1945).

He sent platoons of psychiatrists to help Dixie give up drinking, without success; he was making a movie in England when she died at 40 of ovarian cancer. He tried disciplining his sons with tough love — “I laid in a big leather belt,” he said in his autobiography — but they rebelled by getting in trouble. Gary, who wrote a book accusing his father of sadistic strappings, died at 62 of lung cancer. Dennis and Lindsay were gunshot suicides, at 56 and 61 respectively. Only Philip survived into this century, dead at 70 of a heart attack.

Three of the boys were along for their dad’s last TV special, the 1977 “A Merry Olde Christmas,” with guest star David Bowie. Asked to duet with Crosby on “The Little Drummer Boy,” Bowie at first refused; so Ian Fraser, the show’s musical director, teamed with composer Larry Grossman and producer Buz Kohan and created an instant carol, “Peace on Earth,” for Bowie to sing in counterpoint to Bing’s “Drummer Boy.” Recorded on Sept. 11, the song was in the program when it aired Nov. 30, and reached No. 3 on the U.K. charts when it was released as a single in 1982. But Crosby had died Oct. 14, at 74, suffering a heart attack at the conclusion of a foursome on a Madrid course. His last words: “That was a great game of golf, fellas.”

The year before, when asked for a quick self-description by Barbara Walters, Crosby replied: “I’d say he sang a fair song, in tune most of the time; that he could read lines pretty good; had a good sense of comedy timing, a fair vocabulary; and not a bad fella all around. That’s about it.” Irving Berlin couldn’t have written a finer, fairer obit of Bing Christmas.

TIME celebrities

Melissa Rivers’s Christmas Wish: I Want My Son to Laugh Again

Melissa Rivers attends the Hollywood Reporter's Women In Entertainment breakfast at Milk Studios on Dec. 10, 2014 in Los Angeles.
Melissa Rivers attends the Hollywood Reporter's Women In Entertainment breakfast at Milk Studios on Dec. 10, 2014 in Los Angeles. Jason LaVeris—FilmMagic/Getty Images

Her 13-year-old son jokingly called Joan Rivers 'Nana New Face'

The holidays are a hard time for anyone who has lost a loved one.

And Melissa Rivers is finding it hard as she faces the festive season without her mother, Joan, who died in September at the age of 81 after complications from a surgical procedure.

The TV star was asked about her Christmas wish by photographers as she left Craig’s restaurant in West Hollywood earlier this week, and her response was heartbreaking.

“My Christmas wish is that my son starts laughing again,” she said in a video posted on TMZ.

Wishing the photographers “a great New Year and a Merry Christmas,” Melissa added, “I think everything’s going to be all good in the new year.”

Her 13-year-old son, Cooper Endicott, was very close to his beloved grandmother, who he jokingly called Nana New Face.

The comedian said in an interview two years ago with Grandparents.com that her grandson had “a great sense of humor,” adding, “I don’t know if it’s mine but that was how we first connected.”

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME movies

How You Can Watch The Interview on Christmas Day

Stream it online or find it in theaters

Sony Pictures released its beleaguered Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy The Interview on several streaming sites Wednesday afternoon, in a move that sidesteps concerns about online threats made against theaters that show the film.

The Interview is available in high-definition for digital rental ($5.99) or purchase ($14.99) on Google Play, YouTube, Xbox and seetheinterview.com.

The move marks another turn in the studio’s handling of the film’s release. Sony Pictures scrapped a widespread theatrical release of The Interview earlier this month after several major theater chains backed out in the wake of threats against the movie. Those messages were believed to have come from the same group responsible for a massive cyberattack against Sony, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation has linked to North Korea. (Some cybersecurity experts remain unconvinced of that link.)

Sony’s first backtrack came Tuesday, when small theaters across the country said they would go ahead with plans to screen The Interview on its planned Christmas Day release date. The studio later officially announced it would allow a limited release of the controversial film starting Christmas Day. Only a few hundred theaters are offering the film, as opposed to the thousands that were originally planning to show it. But releasing The Interview online could help Sony reduce losses from such a dramatic cut in the number of theaters showing the movie.

The real winners here, though, could be YouTube and the other streaming services. It’s extremely rare to offer a simultaneous in-theater/streaming release of such a major film. Americans are already going to movie theaters less often, opting for the often cheaper experience of staying in and watching videos online or on demand instead.

But, if you do want to head to the theaters on Christmas Day to watch the movie, Entertainment Weekly has the latest updated list of about 300 theaters where it’s showing starting Thursday:

Alamo Lakeline – Austin, Tex.
Alamo Slaughter – Austin, Tex.
Alamo South Lamar – Austin, Tex.
Alamo Ritz – Austin, Tex.
Alamo – Richardson, Tex.
Alamo Vintage Park – Houston, Tex.
Alamo Mason Park – Katy, Tex.
Alamo – Lubbock, Tex.
Alamo Marketplace – New Braunfels, Tex.
Alamo Park North – San Antonio, Tex.
Alamo Westlakes – San Antonio, Tex.
Alamo 6 Stone Oaks – San Antonio, Tex.
Rialto Bistro 9 – San Antonio, Tex.
Look Cinemas – Dallas, Tex.
Texas Theatre – Dallas, Tex.
City Base Cinemas – San Antonio, Tex.
Mayan Palace 13 – San Antonio, Tex.
Town and Country – Abilene, Tex.
Venetian 8 – Carrollton, Tex.
Pine Hollow 6 – Conroe, Tex.
Galaxy – Ennis, Tex.
D-Max – Gainesville, Tex.
Star Cinema Grill – Missouri City, Tex.
Mt. Pleasant Southside 6 – Mt. Pleasant, Tex.
North Shore Cinema 8 – Portland, Tex.
Silverado 19 - Tomball, Tex.
Star Cinema 6 – Webster, Tex.

Laemmle Theatre – North Hollywood, Calif.
Agoura Hills Stadium 8, Agoura Hills, Calif.
Los Feliz 3 - Los Angeles, Calif.
Crest Westwood – Los Angeles, Calif.
Mission Grove Theater – Riverside, Calif.
Tristone Jurupa 14 Cinemas – Riverside, Calif.
Perris 10, - Perris, Calif.
East Hills Mall – Bakersfield, Calif.
Foothill Cinema Stadium 10- Azusa, Calif.
Fontana 8- Fontana, Calif.
Rialto Cinemas – Berkeley, Calif.
The Frida Cinema – Santa Ana, Calif.
Santa Paula 7 -Santa Paula, Calif.
Sterling 6 – San Bernadino, Calif.
Granada Hills 9 – Granada Hills, Calif.
Van Nuys Plant 16, -Van Nuys, Calif.
Janss Marketplace 9 - Thousand Oaks, Calif.
University Village 10 – Riverside, Calif.
Westminster 10 – Westminster, Calif.
Cinémas Palme D’Or – Coachella Valley
Rialto Cinemas – Berkeley, Calif.
Prime Cinemas - Red Bluff, Calif.
Commerce 14 - City of Commerce, Calif.
Angel Cinema Six – Angels Camp, Calif.
Avenal Theatre – Avenal, Calif.
Maya Bakersfield 16 – Bakersfield, Calif.
Barstow Station 6 - Barstow, Calif.
Elmwood 3 Theatres – Berkeley, Calif.
Mary Pickford Theatre – Cathedral City, Calif.
Fairfax 6 – Fairfax, Calif.
Palladio 16 – Folsom, Calif.
Fortuna 6 – Fortuna, Calif.
4 Star Cinemas – Garden Grove, Calif.
Civic Plaza 12 – Hesperia, Calif.
Blvd. Cinemas 3 – Lancaster, Calif.
Livermore Cinemas - Livermore, Calif.
Contra Costa Cinemas 8 – Martinez, Calif.
Osio Plaza Theatre 6 – Monterey, Calif.
Tennant Station Stadium Cinemas – Morgan Hill, Calif.
Camelot 3 – Palm Springs, Calif.
Boulevard Cinemas 14, Petaluma, Calif.
Maya Century Plaza 16 – Pittsburg, Calif.
Maya Salinas 14 – Salinas, Calif.
Almaden Seven - San Jose, Calif.
Camera Three Cinemas – San Jose, Calif.
Arlington - Santa Barbara, Calif.
Del Mar Theatre 3 – Santa Cruz, Calif.
Scotts Valley 10 – Scotts Valley, Calif.
Sebastopol 9 - Sebastopol, Calif.
Sonoma 9 – Sonoma, Calif.
Regency Westminster 10 – Westminster, Calif.

Edge 12 – Birmingham, Ala.
Clark Theatre 3 – Andalusia, Ala.
Boaz Cinema 9 – Boaz, Ala.
Clark Cinema 1&2 – Enterprise, Ala.
Fort Payne Cinemas 6 – Fort Payne, Ala.
Edge Cinema 8 – Greenville, Ala.
Madison Square Stadium 8 – Huntsville, Ala.
Continental Cinema 6 – Troy, Ala.

Harkins Theaters Tempe, Ariz., Phoenix, Ariz.
Lake Havasu Cinema 10, Lake Havasu, Ariz.
Ak-Chin 12 – Maricopa, Ariz.
Sawmill Theatres – Payson, Ariz.
Ultraluxe Scottsdale Pavillions 11 – Scottsdale, Ariz.
WME Theatre – Show Low, Ariz.
Uptown 3 Theatre – Sierra Vista, Ariz.
Valley Art - Tempe, Ariz.

Riverdale 10Little Rock, Ark.
Silver Screen Cinemas 8 – Cabot, Ark.
Stars Cinema 6 – El Dorado, Ark.
Behind the Mall Cinema 5 – Hot Springs, Ark.
Cinema 8 - Searcy, Ark.

Alamo – Littleton, Colo.
Sie FilmCenter – Denver, Colo.

Spotlight Theatres Front Street Stadium – Hartford, Conn.
Apple Cinemas Waterbury 10 – Waterbury, Conn.

Penn Cinemas Waterfront – Wilmington, Delaware
Westown Movies – Middleton, Delaware
Movies at Midway 14 – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

The Lake Worth Drive-In – Sunrise, Fla.
The Swap Shop - Sunrise, Fla.
Sun-Ray Cinema – Jacksonville, Fla.
Prado Stadium 12 – Bonita Springs, Fla.
T-Bird 14 – Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Edison Park 8 – Ft. Myers, Fla.
Tropic 4 Cinema – Key West, Fla.
Lake Worth 2 – Lake Worth, Fla.
Touchstar Cinemas Southchase 7 – Orlando, Fla.
Nova Cinemas of Palm Bay – Palm Bay, Fla.
Robinson Center – Shreveport, Fla.
Funlan 4 – Tampa, Fla.
Satellite Cinema 10 – Titusville, Fla.
Treehouse Cinema – Gulf Breeze, Fla.

The Plaza Atlanta — Atlanta, Ga.
Cordele Stadium 5 Cinemas – Cordele, Ga.
Parkside Main Stadium 8 – Greensboro, Ga.
Royal 13 – Pooler, Ga.
Aurora Cineplex 10 - Roswell, Ga.
Eisenhower Cinema 6 – Savannah, Ga.

Village Cinema – Meridian, Idaho
Bonner Mall Cinemas 6 – Ponderay, Idaho
Magic Valley Cinema 13 – Twin Falls, Idaho

Hollywood Boulevard Cinema – Woodridge, Illinois
Arlington Heights – Arlington Heights, Illinois
Bloomington Galaxy 14 – Bloomington, Illinois
Buffalo Grove Theatre 5 – Buffalo Grove, Illinois
O’Fallon 15 – O’Fallon, Illinois
Roxy Cinemas 6 – Ottawa, Illinois
Willow Knolls – Peoria, Illinois
Reynolds Landmark 10 – Peoria, Illinois
Savoy 16 – Savoy, Illinois

Jasper 8 Theatre - Jasper, Indiana
Bones Theatre 4 – Columbia City, Indiana
Greendale Cinema 10 – Greendale, Indiana
Wolf 10 Theatres – Greensburg, Indiana
Georgetown 14 - Indianapolis, Indiana
Portage 16 IMAX - Portage, Indiana

Cedar Rapids Galaxy 16 – Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cinetopia 17 – Overland Park, Kansas

Theatres of Georgetown 7 – Georgetown, Kentucky
Village 8 Theatre – Louisville, Kentucky
Riverfill Cinemas 10 – Pikeville, Kentucky

Chalmette Movies – Chalmette, Louisiana
Robinson Film Center – Shreveport, Louisiana
Hollywood Cinemas 7 – LA Place, Louisiana

Hollywood Cinemas – Bangor, Maine
Caribou Cinema 4 – Caribou, Maine

Eastpoint Movies 10 – Baltimore, Maryland
Xscape 14 – Brandyine, Maryland
Leitersburg Cinemas – Hagerstown, Maryland

Apple CinemasCambridge, Mass.
Hollywood Hits – Danvers, Mass.
Cinema Pub – North Attleboro, Mass.
Cinema 95 – Salisbury, Mass.

Quality 16 – Ann Arbor, Mich.
Cloverland 4 Cinema – Ironwood, Mich.
Michigan Theater – Ann Arbor, Mich.
Alamo – Kalamazoo, Mich.
The Bijou Art Cinemas - Traverse City, Mich.
Wayne Theatre 4 - Wayne State, Mich.

Cambridge 5 – Cambridge, Minn.
Premiere 6 – Cloquet, Minn.
Quarry Cold Spring 5 – Cold Spring, Minn.
Fairmont 5 – Fairmont, Minn.
Cine 5 – Int’l Falls, Minn.
St. Anthony 5 – Minneapolis, Minn.
North Branch 7 – North Branch, Minn.
Grand Makwa 4 – Onamia, Minn.
Rochester Galaxy 14 – Rochester, Minn.
Main Street 6 – Sauk Centre, Minn.

MX MoviesSt. Louis, Mo.
Alamo Main Street – Kansas City, Mo.
Arnold 14 – Arnold, Mo.
Blue Springs 8 – Arnold, Mo.
Cape West 14 – Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Chesterfield Galaxy 14 – Chesterfield, Mo.
Pharaoh Cinema 4 – Independence, Mo.
Screenland Armour – N. Kansas City, Mo.
Chase Park Plaza Cinemas 5 – St. Louis, Mo.
Galleria 6 – St. Louis, Mo.
Des Peres 14, St. Louis, Mo.
Warrenton 8 – Warrenton, Mo.
Glass Sword 6 – West Plains, Mo.

Pharaohplex 6 – Hamilton, Montana

Northgate Stadium 10 – Durham, N.C.
Neuse Theatre – New Bern, N.C.
Palace Pointe 8 – Roxboro, N.C.
Smithfield 10 – Smithfield, N.C.
Quin Theatre 4 – Sylva, N.C.
Carousel Cinemas 15 – Greensboro, N.C.

Fargo Theatre 2 – Fargo, N.D.
Grand Theatre 6 – Williston, N.D.

Mesquite 6 – Mesquite, Nevada
Ironwood Stadium 8 – Minden, Nevada

Keene Cinemas – Keene, N.H.

Allwood Cinemas 6 – Clifton, N.J.
Hudson 7 – Jersey City, N.J.
City Plex 12 – Newark, N.J.
Columbia Park 12 – North Bergen, N.J.
Middlebrook 10 – Ocean Township, N.J.
Fabian 8 — Paterson, N.J.

Alamo – Yonkers – N.Y.
Cinema Arts Centre
Huntington, N.Y.
Dipson Flix 10 Stadium
Lancaster, N.Y.
Dipson Lakewood Cinema 8
Lakewood, N.Y.
Island Cinemas
Mastic, N.Y.
Movieplex 10 – Auburn, N.Y.
Movietime Cinemas 10 – Canandaigua, N.Y.
American 5 – Canton, N.Y.
Cortland Plaza Theatre – Cortland, N.Y.
Movieplex 59 Dunkirk – Dunkirk, N.Y.
Main Street 6 – Flushing, N.Y.
Movieplex 8 – Hudson, N.Y.
Kew Gardens Cinema – Kew Gardens, N.Y.
Massena Movieplex 8 - Massena, N.Y.
Merrick Cinemas, Merrick, N.Y.
New Windsor 12 – New Windsor, N.Y.
Quad Cinema 4 – New York, N.Y.
Cinema Village – New York, N.Y.
Crystal Cinema 8 – Painted Post, N.Y.
Orpheum Triples – Saugerties, N.Y.
Center Fiveplex - Sunnyside, N.Y.

Starmax – Deming, N.M.
Jean Cocteau Cinema – Santa Fe, N.M.
Icon Cinemas Roswell, N.M.

The Fox TheaterDallas, Oregon
Academy Theater – Portland, Oregon
Cinetopia Progress Ridge 14 – Beaverton, Oregon
Darkside Cinema 4 – Corvallis, Oregon
Bijou Art Cinemas 2 – Eugene, Oregon
Hollywood Theatre 3 – Portland, Oregon

Terrace TheaterCharleston, S.C.
Nickelodeon Theater – Columbia, S.C.
Crown 2 – Lancaster, S.C.

Tower City CinemaCleveland, Ohio
Esquire Theatere – Cincinnatti, Ohio
Gateway Film Center
& Grandview Theatre — Columbus, Ohio
Grandview Theatre – Columbus, Ohio
Movies 10 – Nelsonville, Ohio

Heritage Park 7 – Atlus, Ok.
Valley View Cinema 6 – Chickasha, Ok.
Riverwalk Movies 8 – Jenks, Ok.
Circle – Tulsa, Ok.
Showest 4 – Weatherford, Ok.

Southside Works CinemaPittsburgh, Penn.
Dependable - Coraopolis, Penn.
Pocono Community Theater - East Stroudsburg, Penn.
Movie Town Cinemas 8 - Elizabethtown, Penn.
Richland Cinemas – Johnstown, Penn.
Mahoning Valley 8 – Lehighton, Penn.
Miller 6 – Lewistown, Penn.
Pocono Movieplex – Marshalls Creek, Penn.
Majestic 7 – Matamoras, Penn.

Cable Car Cinema – Providence, R.I.

Belcourt Theatre – Nashville, Tenn.
Franklin Theatre – Franklin, Tenn.
Montana 3 – Estill Springs, Tenn.
Premiere 6 – Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Brewvies Cinema Pub – Salt Lake City, Utah
Megaplex Theatre- South Jordan, Utah
Historic Cedar Theatre – Cedar City, Utah
Moviegrille – Ogden, Utah
Library/Attn: Film Series – Park City, Utah
Walker Cinema 8 – Perry, Utah
Main Street Cinema 6 – St. George, Utah

Merril’s RoxyBurlington, Vt.

Alamo Loudoun – Ashburn, Virginia
21st Century Cinemas 12 – Abingdon, Virginia
Sunchase Cinema 8 – Farmville, Virginia
York River Crossing Cinema – Hays, Virginia
Manassas 4 Cinemas – Manassas, Virginia
Hollywood Cinema – Martinsville, Virginia
Cinema City Stadium 9 – Nortin, Virginia

Bainbridge Cinemas 5 – Bainbridge Island, Washington
Olympic Cinemas – Bremerton, Washington
Grand Meridian – Ellensburg, Washington
Plaza Three Cinemas – Oak Harbor, Washington
Stanwood Cinemas 5 – Standwood, Washington
Cinetopia 8 – Vancouver, Washington
Cinetopia Vancouver Mall 23 – Vancouver, Washington
Yelm Cinemas 8 – Yelm, Washington
Ark Lodge Cinemas – Seattle, Washington
Grand Tacoma 4 – Tacoma, Washington

West End Cinema – Washington, D.C.
Angelika Pop-up – Washington, D.C.

Tygart Valley Cinemas – Fairmont, West Virgina
Elkins Cinema 8 – Elkins, West Virginia

Grand Cinema Theatres New London, Wisconsin
Bay 6 Theatre – Ashland, Wisconsin
Beloit Luxury 10 - Beloit, Wisconsin
Vilas Cinemas 4 – Eagle River, Wisconsin
Fond Du Lac Theatre 8 – Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin
Hartford Cinemas 6 – Hartford, Wisconsin
Hayward Cinema 4 – Hayward, Wisconsin
Movies 16 Theatre – Janesville, Wisconsin
Millenium 6 Cinema - Platteville, Wisconsin
Shawnow Theatres 4 – Shawno, Wisconsin
Sparta Cinema 6 – Sparta, Wisconsin
Sturgeon Bay Cinemas 6 – Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Jackson Hole Cinema 2 – Jackson, Wyoming
The Movies 3 – Rawlins, Wyoming
Gem Theatres – Riverton, Wyoming

Read next: Obama Applauds Release of The Interview

TIME celebrities

See How Celebrities Are Spending Christmas

Rihanna arrives at the 1st Annual Diamond Ball on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2015 in Los Angeles. Jordan Strauss—Invision/AP

Justin Bieber played beer pong and Britney Spears put her family in matching pajamas

It’s the time of year for big trees, a sneaky kiss with Santa, and Christmas traditions that prove celebrities are just, but also not at all, like us.

Some celebs were generous to the wee ones:

And to those in need:

And to themselves:

It’s the time of year for a bit of nostalgia:

And family bonding:

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Christmas!

A photo posted by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on

Yeeeeaaaaahh! #godaddy #gopats ❤️❤️❤️❤️

A photo posted by Gisele Bündchen (@giseleofficial) on


Don’t forget canine bonding:

Fa la la la la, la la la la! #MerryChristmas #Chaplin #carols

A photo posted by Jessica Chastain (@chastainiac) on

Plus some endearing family cooky-ness:


A photo posted by Cara Delevingne (@caradelevingne) on

Some did the sexy Christmas thing

All I want for Christmas ❤️😘❤️#itsthattimeoftheyear #christmas #holiday

A photo posted by alessandraambrosio (@alessandraambrosio) on

Some did it cute:

Merry Christmas Eve. Oh the things I find online.

A photo posted by Lucy Hale (@lucyhale) on

Or silly:


Others just mystified us:

turnt up elfie

A photo posted by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on

Some had trees:

A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

Others had bigger trees:

Uh oh Look what I did.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

There were those who reminded us that they are celebrities for a reason: they have superior decorating abilities:

smurfette couture @mdollas11

A photo posted by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

And that fame has a nice perk: a personal audience with Santa:

A very personal one:

Santa….I have been naughty !! Heidi….Me too !! 🙀🙀

A photo posted by Heidi Klum (@heidiklum) on

With more than one Santa:

🎅🎅🎅 I guess I'm getting lots of gifts this year !!! #hohoho #FelizNatal #MerryChristmas #Erechim

A photo posted by alessandraambrosio (@alessandraambrosio) on

Some caught up on their reading:

Christmas morning, Rossum style. Mom always gets me books. #JamesEllroy #MyDarkPlaces #RobynObrien #UnhealthyTruth

A photo posted by Emmy Rossum (@emmyrossum) on

Others were feeling the Christmas spirit:

The theme of our Christmas. #parksandrec #donna #wisdom #christmas

A photo posted by John Green (@johngreenwritesbooks) on

Celebrities, they’re just like us — they help clear the snow:

Valiant effort Dad. #justletitsnow #christmasissues Merry Christmas peeps!🎄

A photo posted by January Jones (@januaryjones) on


TIME Music

Second Batch of Madonna Songs Leaks Online

Madonna arrives on the red carpet for the 56th Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 26, 2014. Robyn Beck—AFP/Getty Images

Without her permission

Fourteen more Madonna tracks have leaked, following the 13 demos that appeared online without the performer’s permission last week.

The new leak first appeared on Dec. 23 and includes 14 songs. According to Idolator, the tracks, including a collaboration with Pharrell, are: “Veni Vidi Vici,” “Beautiful Scars,” “Freedom,” “God Is Love,” “Hold Tight,” “Best Night,” “Inside Out,” “Tragic Girl,” “Nothing Lasts Forever,” “Holy Water,” “Graffiti Heart,” “Body Shop,” and “Back That Up (Do It) feat. Pharrell.”

Madonna posted the upcoming album to her Instagram last night, writing, “Real Rebels think for themselves! Real Rebels respect ART! Real Rebels are Rebels in their #rebelheart.” After the last leak, she also posted to her Instagram account and thanked those fans who have not listened to the leaked tracks.

This article was originally published on EW.com

TIME movies

Watch a ‘Let It Go’ Flashmob Surprise Schoolchildren

The overplayed song can be wearying, but it's best to enjoy it where you can

Need some Christmas cheer? Just watch these delighted British schoolchildren as the staff of the Baden-Powell and St Peter’s Church of England Junior School surprises them with a flashmob rendition of “Let It Go” at the end of their Christmas service.

The number begins as a spoken word rendition, then mounts into a full scale production number. Yes, the persistence of “Let It Go” can be wearying, but it’s best to just ride this cultural phenomenon out and enjoy it where you can.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME movies

You Can Watch The Interview Here

The controversial film will now screen online

Sony Pictures will release its beleaguered Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy The Interview on several streaming sites Wednesday afternoon, in a move that sidesteps concerns about online threats made against theaters that show the film.

The Interview will be available for digital rental or purchase on Google Play, YouTube, Xbox and seetheinterview.com starting at 1 p.m. ET Wednesday. It will cost $5.99 to rent or $14.99 to purchase, both in high-definition.

The move marks another turn in Sony’s handling of the film’s release. Sony Pictures scrapped a widespread theatrical release of The Interview earlier this month after several major theater chains backed out in the wake of threats against the movie. Those messages were believed to have come from the same group responsible for a massive cyberattack against Sony Pictures, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation has linked to North Korea. (Some cybersecurity experts remain unconvinced of that link.)

Sony’s first backtrack came Tuesday, when small theaters across the country said they would go ahead with plans to show The Interview on its planned Christmas Day release date. At this point, only a few hundred theaters are planning on showing the film, as opposed to thousands that were originally planning to screen the movie. Offering The Interview online could help Sony reduce losses from such a dramatic cut in the number of theaters showing the movie.

The real winners here, though, could be YouTube and the other streaming services. It’s extremely rare to offer a simultaneous in-theater/streaming release of such a major film. Americans are already going to movie theaters less often, opting for the often cheaper experience of staying in and watching videos online or on demand instead.

READ NEXT Watch a ‘Let It Go’ Flashmob Surprise Schoolchildren

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TIME celebrities

Adam Sandler Named Most Overpaid Hollywood Actor

Actor Adam Sandler at the premiere of "Men, Women and Children" in Los Angeles, Ca. on Sep. 30, 2014.
Actor Adam Sandler at the premiere of "Men, Women and Children" in Los Angeles, Ca. on Sep. 30, 2014. Jason LaVeris—FilmMagic

Sandler was followed by Johnny Depp, Ben Stiller, Ryan Reynolds, and Tom Hanks

The bigger the flop, the more overpaid the actor or actress, according to Forbes. And this year’s actor who earned the biggest salary for the smallest box office returns is a repeat winner—or loser, depending on how you look at it.

Forbes has deduced the ten stars who are taking in the most money personally while making the smallest comparative dent at the box office. For the second year in a row, Adam Sandler is the most overpaid actor according to Forbes‘ annual “Most Overpaid Actors in Hollywood” list.

Sandler ranked as the most overpaid actor. According to Forbes‘ metrics, for every $1 he was paid, his films brought in an average of $3.20.

For its list, Forbes compared earning estimates from the outlet’s “Celebrity 100″ list, taking into account the last three major films made by each actor before the cutoff date (June 2014, in this case), as well as the production budget and revenue for those films as tallied by Box Office Mojo. Forbes then divided the star’s total haul by the operating income of each film to come up with each one’s determining number.

Animated films, as well as small cameos or films released on less than 2,000 screens, were not taken into account—so don’t expect to find out whether the raccoon that served as the inspiration for Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy is the most overpaid animal in Hollywood.

Sandler was followed by Johnny Depp, who, despite his general success over the last decade in franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean and Alice in Wonderland, has recently starred in a number of underwhelming films, like The Lone Ranger and Dark Shadows. Depp’s movies brought in $4.10 for every $1 he earned. Ben Stiller, Ryan Reynolds, and Tom Hanks filled out the top five.

The list is almost entirely made up of male actors, with Sandra Bullock coming in at #10 as the only woman to appear. Forbes makes a note of Bullock, and Channing Tatum’s placement on the list, saying that, traditionally, the two would not be considered overpaid. It’s due to Forbes‘ specific calculations that they show up.

Bullock and Tatum earned huge paydays because of the profits garnered by well-performing films like Gravity and Magic Mike, respectively. Their upfront payments were not nearly as large as those of other actors on the list—but because of deals that allow Bullock and Tatum to profit off films’ box office hauls, Forbes‘ method earned them spots on the list.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME movies

The True Story Behind Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken

Film Title: Unbroken
The Bird (Miyavi) torments Louis "Louie" Zamperini (Jack O'Connell) in Unbroken. Universal

Louis Zamperini's life was even wilder than the film shows

The Angelina Jolie-directed film Unbroken is generating buzz on the basis of its two outsized personas: Jolie’s, and the late Louis Zamperini (played onscreen by Jack O’Connell). The story of the Olympian-turned-prisoner of war became widely known when Laura Hillenbrand published her biography of him, which served as the source material for Jolie’s film; it’s a remarkable story of survival.

Jolie’s film takes some departures from what’s been documented, though none too dramatic. In general, where Jolie’s film diverges from history are in junctures that make the action more traditionally cinematic.

Here’s the breakdown of what’s true, false and somewhere in between:

As a young man, Louis Zamperini was a target for bullies who learned to defend himself.

Ruling: Sort of. On film, Zamperini is targeted by bullies and ends up on the ground, though his father later encourages him to defend himself; in real life, per Hillenbrand, Zamperini learned to fight back, leaving his classmates with “fat lips.” We also miss out on his later pastime of breaking into homes and outrunning the police; the film’s Zamperini is more of a misguided good kid than the book’s juvenile delinquent.

Zamperini got into running because his brother notices how good he is at running away from trouble.

Ruling: Not entirely. Jolie’s film leaves out that also he wanted to impress girls in school. Women, other than Zamperini’s mother, play no role in this film’s proscribed vision of the world.

Zamperini was a stunning standout at the Olympics.

Ruling: True. Zamperini placed eighth in the 5,000 meters at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, with an impressive 56-second final lap. It’s an artistic choice that the film omits Zamperini shaking an impressed Hitler’s hand, instead dwelling on just how amazing that final lap was.

After his plane was downed over the Pacific, Zamperini and his fellow survivors sustained themselves by eating albatrosses.

Ruling: True. And nauseating.

In Japanese P.O.W. camps, Zamperini’s main problem was the physical abuse he was taking, including getting repeatedly punched in the face.

Ruling: Hmm… The whole ordeal is awful, but Jolie tends to soften life for Zamperini, focusing on his relationship with a single guard rather than, say, his untreated beriberi. It’s a question of degree, but Zamperini seems to mostly have the malady of being treated poorly.

Zamperini talked to his fellow prisoners, including John Fitzgerald (Garrett Hedlund), in the cell block.

Ruling: False. Speaking amongst prisoners at Ofuna camp was strictly forbidden.

After his release from prison, Zamperini went on to carry the Olympic torch in Nagano in 1998 and to get married.

Ruling: True. But counting this is cheating: A series of titles onscreen list the facts about Zamperini’s later life.

TIME movies

Brie Larson: Why The Gambler Is Actually the Perfect Christmas Day Movie

Brie Larson in The Gambler
Brie Larson in The Gambler. Claire Folger—AP

The Short Term 12 star talks about the competitive audition process, her aversion to mirrors and becoming part of Amy Schumer’s family

If musicals and inspirational World War II epics aren’t your pick for holiday theater-going, The Gambler is your antidote. In this dark, gritty drama — a remake of the 1974 film of the same name, out this Christmas Day — Mark Wahlberg stars as Jim Bennett, a college professor by day and a gambler by night in Los Angeles’ seedy underworld. When his self-destructive tendencies get the best of him, Jim has seven days to make things right or lose it all.

On the sidelines the whole time is his most promising student and love interest Amy, played by Brie Larson, who wowed critics in last year’s deeply moving Short Term 12. Where Jim’s creditors see a man hell-bent on his own ruin, Amy sees a man exorcising his demons and rebuilding his life from scratch. TIME caught up with the actress to talk about working with Wahlberg and why the life of a wealthy, high-stakes gambler is actually more relatable than it seems.

TIME: This is kind of a downer of a Christmas movie.
Brie Larson: Yeah, it’s about someone trying to get rid of material possessions — an odd choice for Christmas day!

Well, when you put it like that, maybe there’s no better day to do it.

Mark said that the audition process for this role was unusually lengthy. How extensive and competitive was it?
Instead of your typical 30-minute audition where you go in and you read and you leave and you get a phone call with notes, this was far more in-depth. It wasn’t so much about me arriving and having it all figured out, it was about being willing to be open and play and work on it. It was about an hour or two. We just worked on it. It felt more like a rehearsal than an audition. It was really fascinating because Mark Wahlberg was working on Transformers at the time and had flown out just to audition people. I assumed, stupidly, because he was working on another film, that he didn’t have his lines memorized. He was one foot in and one foot out at this point because he was working on something else.

But I was completely wrong, because when I arrived he sprung on me that he wanted to do the scene from the beginning of the movie — the 15-page monologue where he speaks to the classroom. And I thought, “Sure! If you want to do that!” It’s kind of easy for me. I say very little during that. It’s more about me observing him. I think it’s a great representation of the relationship, but it’s a lot for him. He had the whole thing memorized already. It was six months before the movie was about to shoot, and he told me at that point that he had already been reading the script everyday. That’s just what he does. When he agrees to sign on to something, he reads it every morning.

Do you have a sense of what you brought out of the character that no one else did?
I never knew that — that’s kind of how it works. They position it so that none of us see each other. I don’t know who’s going in or who they like or even why. I’m not sure. It’s a bunch of different flavors, and they liked mine, I guess.

I ask because [director] Rupert Wyatt said that if he didn’t get a great actress in an admittedly “underwritten” role, the character of Amy would just serve the protagonist like a 2-D sidekick. How do you prevent her from becoming prop?
We spoke a lot about it. Rupert, Mark and myself had so many conversations about it, because we were trying to say a lot in very little. How do you condense something to get just the actual thing that it is? That’s something I really enjoy. I think you can say for more in a glance or a smirk than you can in a 10-page monologue. That’s a huge part of what I believe the movie is about. We’re dealing with Jim, who is using these lectures to use these grandiose words. He’s highly articulate and everything is psychoanalyzed. And Amy is also, we can assume, incredibly gifted with words as well, being a writer and one that he considers to be a genius. And yet, when the two of them are together, there are actually very few words spoken. The thing that they have together isn’t something you can use words for.

For all those little moments, then, the smirks and the glances — is that the kind of thing you spend hours perfecting in front of a mirror?
No, I don’t really look at myself. I never look at myself. I have a hard time watching myself on film. I avoid mirrors because it just makes me feel really self conscious. I just trust that if I feel it, then you can see it.

Wait, but what about movie premieres? Are you watching with your hands in front of your eyes?
I usually don’t watch it. I’ll watch it before I do things like press because I have to know what the movie is. My favorite part about making movies — one part is the process, and the other part is having conversations about it and trying to understand what it is. This film in particular deals with so many fascinating things to talk about it. But the hardest part, and one that I’m trying to work on, is the bizarreness of seeing yourself that big. A theater is a very big screen to see a closeup of your face. I don’t think a human being is supposed to see that. Your brain will go to a place of judgment, which is not what a human being should be doing. It’s just a face! It’s just my hair. It’s just my legs. It’s nothing. It’s just a body. There’s so much more happening. But it’s bizarre because, if I do catch myself in the mirror, I’m like, “That’s not what I look like!”

So with a script like this, are you having long conversations deep into the night like freshmen philosophy majors in a college dorm?
Kind of! That’s when I think filmmaking is at its best — when you have a bunch of highly intelligent people. The whole pre-production process is fascinating, and then as the movie starts to unfold, it becomes something different as you start making it because you can’t anticipate what’s there on the day. I can think about it all I want. We create a schedule and shoot out of order — how could I ever anticipate what is emotionally available to me four months later at two o’clock on a Wednesday right before I’m about to eat lunch? And it’s freezing out, or I have a parking ticket, or I had a great call with my best friend. There’s just so many factors that go on, it’s impossible to really grasp onto it. The beauty of it is, you let go of it and you just see what’s available every day and what’s true. Through that, it becomes a conversation everyday. We’re surprised by each other and the things that we do, whether it’s a camera angle or the way that someone raised an eyebrow. It becomes this microcosm that we all start to analyze.

Did you at least hit up the casinos between scenes?
We did not gamble, but we had a great time. I had so much fun. Amy is such a clear light. I think she has gone through what we see with Jim and these seven days. I imagine these seven days from Greek mythology — the gates of hell. He has to give up something each day to get town to his innocence, to get down to his true self. I imagine that Amy went through those seven days before this movie started. We’re seeing a person who has let go of everything, battled all her demons and is now available to experience life and find all of these complications that people create for themselves rather amusing.

There was a lot of debate this year about the likeability of female characters and how that factors into criticism, at times unfairly. Has being in a movie where the main male character can be so frustrating given you any insight into those questions?
I think that the likeability just means that the movie is a little harder to digest. We know that side of it. I think we expect movies sometimes to just give us this nice feeling, this nice imagery, a happy ending. I’ve always loved films that are difficult to watch, difficult to stomach — [movies] that show us things that we don’t necessarily want to see but should. And I know what you mean — did you see The Comedy? It’s from a couple of years ago.

I haven’t.
That’s a more extreme example. He’s just a despicable character. I was so traumatized by the end of it. That is a horrible character! But by the end of it, I got home and was like, “That’s a brilliant movie.” I loved it because it’s not someone we think to focus our attention on for a film. But I don’t see why not. We’ve got plenty of films exploring these other ways of life, why shouldn’t we explore this way? I think if it bothers us, it’s because it rings so true. Making the movie, reading the script, watching the film — I didn’t dislike [Jim] at all. I really relate to him and understand that struggle. We live in this world where we strive for riches, we strive for luxury, we strive for extravagance, we work all year for a week of vacation. At a certain point, I feel like you’ve got to a hit a point where you go, “Is this my life? Is this happiness? Is this real? Is this true? Why am I working for this?” And everyone will have their own way of dealing with it, some maybe not as extreme as him. But he’s not really having a gambling addiction — I think he’s kicking a luxury habit. He’s kicking all the inventions that humans have created.

What occurred to me later was that the question he’s asking — who am I if you take everything away? — is actually a little terrifying for most people to confront. I think part of writing him off as a selfish jerk could also self-defensive — you don’t have to ask those hard questions about yourself if you do.
Yeah. You don’t want to let go. [I’ve been asked] a lot of questions about how [Amy] could just sit by and watch him blow $250,000? How could that happen? That’s the point of the movie! You can’t change people. She believes that. You can just support and kindly guide them to the other side. She doesn’t believe in that invention either. She’s already gone through it and gotten to the point where she lives this very simple existence of writing and living frugally — and is fairly happy, I imagine.

Do you fill in all the blanks of her backstory?
I love creating the story! That’s the most fun part — creating her life and her imagination. Once I sign on and start working on a job, I see it everywhere. I feel like I run into things and see things. I see the perfect painting, or I watch a strange interaction on the street corner that is exactly what I needed, and it all starts to fit together for me into this tapestry of what the movie is. Whether that’s fully clear to an audience member doesn’t really matter. Those are all of the things that fuel something as small as a raised eyebrow.

I’m very excited about your role in Trainwreck, the upcoming movie from Amy Schumer, whom we just profiled in TIME. Tell me everything — or, at least, as much as you can without getting in trouble with Amy.
The film is loosely based off her life — loosely based, like, there are certain major plot points that are based off her life. But it’s transformed into a film, so there are other aspects that are very different. I play her sister Kim. She has an actual sister Kim. A lot of the names are real, and there’s a lot of us reenacting moments from her life. I had to reenact a bunch of old photos she has with her sister, like bad vacation photos with disposable cameras. We re-did all of them. It was fun.

Have you spent time with the real Kim?
The real Kim is with her all the time! The real Kim came to the premiere of this movie!

So you’re intimately part of the family now.
Yeah, yeah — I’m kind of a Schumer.

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