TIME movies

James Franco, Zachary Quinto and Charlie Carver Will Share a Sex Scene in the Upcoming Drama Michael

From left: James Franco, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Carver Getty Images (3)

Franco will play a gay rights activist turned anti-gay activist

A forthcoming movie starring James Franco is making headlines today because, according to The Wrap, it will feature a sex scene between Franco and co-stars Zachary Quinto and Charlie Carver. The film, called Michael, is directed by Justin Kelly, a protégé of Gus Van Sant’s, with Van Sant executive producing.

The movie is, of course, about much more than a sex scene. The story derives from a 2011 New York Times article by Benoit Denizet-Lewis called “My Ex-Gay Friend,” about a gay activist turned fundamentalist anti-gay Christian. Franco plays the title character, Quinto his boyfriend Ben, and Carver, an acquaintance with whom the pair ends up in bed.

Van Sant, who is gay and has directed several films about gay characters (Mala Noche, My Own Private Idaho, Elephant, Milk), said in a 1993 interview that when he was getting his start in the early ‘80s, gay audiences “would see anything that related to them” because there was so little in the way of gay cinema. Since the overwhelming popularity of Brokeback Mountain, movies about gay characters are seen more and more by wider audiences, and images of gay people in love — and in lust — are transitioning from niche to mainstream. Perhaps one day they won’t even be newsworthy — beyond the usual salaciousness of seeing a famous actor’s backside, that is.

TIME movies

14 Thanksgiving Movies and TV Shows You Can Stream Right Now

Rocky
United Artists

Remember when Mr. Bean and Monica from Friends got their heads stuck in turkeys? We do, too

If you don’t want Thanksgiving to end, then grab a turkey drumstick for a snack and feast your eyes on these holiday-themed movies and TV shows that we’ve drummed up — highlights of what’s available to stream online via Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, or Amazon’s Instant Video section.

Movies

Bean (1997): In what’s arguably the best depiction of stuffing a turkey in recent movie history, the hapless Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) looks for his misplaced watch in a turkey that has already been stuffed, and is then found bumbling around the kitchen with the bird stuck over his head.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973): The gang gathers around a ping-pong table as Snoopy carves the turkey for the Peanuts version of this tradition. Charlie Brown keeps up the tradition of missing the football.

Rocky (1976): Paulie (Burt Young) throws the Thanksgiving turkey out the window in a rage, so Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) and Adrian (Talia Shire) bust out of there and go to a nearby ice skating rink where they start to get to know each other.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947): The film features footage shot during the 1946 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. According to Turner Classic Movies, Santa Claus, played by Edmund Gwenn, “was given the task of riding in the actual Santa Claus float during the parade and climbing to the top of the Macy’s marquee. The crowds were not aware at the time that it was Gwenn waving to them.”

Brokeback Mountain (2005): Tense Thanksgiving dinner scenes spark fights over carving the turkey and watching football — acts that have been analyzed (here and here) as symbols of masculinity.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987): Steve Martin is a businessman scrambling to get home for Thanksgiving after a snowstorm delays his flight in this John Hughes farce. John Candy plays a pesky salesman who tags along for the ride.

The Ice Storm (1997): Another film that involves a storm hitting around Thanksgiving, this family drama stars Kevin Kline, Tobey Maguire, and Christina Ricci.

Home for the Holidays (1995): Fun fact: It supposedly took 64 turkeys to shoot this Thanksgiving flick, directed by Jodie Foster.

House of Yes (1997): Guy introduces fiancée to his eccentric family over the holiday, including a sister who reenacts JFK’s assassination with pasta and sauce.

ThanksKilling (2009, 2012): Sometimes watching a movie that’s so bad it’s funny can be a great way to bond. For instance, consider these two films, one about a homicidal turkey that hunts college kids, and another that features characters described as “Flowis the rapping grandma” and “Rhonda the bisexual space worm.”

TV

(In case you can’t stand to be sitting with your relatives for the length of a feature film)

The West Wing (“Shibboleth,” Season 2, Episode 8): White House press secretary C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney) has to figure out which of the two live Thanksgiving turkeys left in her office is more photogenic for the president to pardon.

How I Met Your Mother (“Slapsgiving,” Seasons 3, 5, 9): This day of thanks is also a day of getting slapped in the face for Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris). However, the HIMYM team apologized for the martial arts-themed “Slapsgiving 3,” because it was considered racist.

Gilmore Girls (“A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving,” Season 3, Episode 9): Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) have four Thanksgiving dinners to attend — and there’s some college admissions drama thrown in the mix.

Friends (“The One with the Thanksgiving Flashbacks,” Season 5, Episode 8): The cast reminisces on the time Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Monica (Courtney Cox) both got their heads stuck in turkeys in dramatic ways — memorably, Monica’s is even wearing sunglasses.

TIME movies

Watch Jennifer Aniston Get Unglamorous in the Trailer for Cake

“Do you want to get better, really?”

The first thing people talk about when they talk about Jennifer Aniston’s role in Cake is her ugliness — or at least, her lack of characteristic prettiness. Playing a woman who suffers from chronic pain and an addiction to the painkillers meant to numb it, her face is scarred and shiny, her gait pained and graceless. For this reason, many are calling this Aniston’s Monster, the film for which Charlize Theron’s portrayal of a very un-made-up serial killer earned her an Oscar.

But the role is noteworthy for more than just a lack of lipstick. To prepare to play Claire, Aniston spent six weeks talking to people who suffer from chronic pain, seeking not only to understand the emotional hardship the condition presents, but also the movement of a person for whom movement brings about great pain. Aniston told an audience that she accepted the role without hesitation. “I thought the character was such a beautiful, complex, layered, tortured character,” she said. “I just tapped into something with Claire I felt instantly connected to.

Cake, which was received warmly at the Toronto International Film Festival, co-stars Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington, Adriana Barraza, Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy. It will be released for a limited, one-week pre-Oscar run in December, and for wide release in January.

TIME celebrity

Ellen DeGeneres Plays Anastasia Steele in Hilarious Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Parody

Christian Grey has finally found his soul mate.

Sultry, sexy, steamy. Those are all adjectives people use to describe mega-hit Fifty Shades of Grey. But those are not words normally associated with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres — until now.

DeGeneres just unveiled her own part in the erotic bestseller turned Hollywood film on her show Ellen, and it’s a winner. While Fifty Shades claims to have cast Dakota Johnson as the film’s wide-eyed lead, Anastasia Steele, DeGeneres revealed that it’s all been a ruse, and she is actually the star of the film and has the trailer to prove it.

In the clip, DeGeneres stares balefully at the film’s charismatic and chiseled male protagonist, Christian Grey (played by Jamie Dornan), as she interviews him in his austere offices, watches him play piano and kisses him on the streets of Seattle. With just one glance at DeGeneres as Anastasia Steele, it’s clear that poor, troubled Christian Grey has finally met his true soul mate—as long as she gets the popcorn off her face.

MORE:

Check Out the New Photo From the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie

Here’s the Frozen and Fifty Shades of Grey Mashup Nobody Asked For

TIME Video Games

13 Reasons I’d Still Pick Nintendo’s Wii U Over the PS4 and Xbox One

The case for Nintendo's flagship console in 2014.

A year ago, the argument over which game console to buy went something like this: The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were shiny black spec-troves of next-gen performance assurances glossed with wishful gameplay hypotheticals wrapped around the reality of comparably anemic launch titles, whereas the Wii U had Super Mario 3D World, LEGO City Undercover, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Pikmin 3 and The Wonderful 101. The best PS4/X1 launch game, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, was on the Wii U, too, and so the choice seemed obvious, at least through December 2013.

But 2014 turned out to be a weird year. People actually bought the new consoles, despite much morbid prophesying in the years leading up to their arrival about the death of set-tops. The PlayStation 4 went on to sell so many units worldwide that by August even Sony was scratching its head in bewilderment. And while the Xbox One appears to be selling at lower volumes (Microsoft’s been reticent about its performance), it’s still outpacing life-to-date sales of its predecessor. Both companies are performing at levels they weren’t supposed to, in other words.

Nintendo, too. Pundits prematurely mourned the Wii U (including yours truly) after gloomy fiscal 2013 figures in early May, as Wii U sales slowed to a trickle. But the Wii U rebounded a week later off the arrival of Mario Kart 8, and the company on the whole rebounded in October (thanks to indefatigable Mario Kart 8 sales) when Nintendo announced a surprising fiscal course reversal. Nintendo’s Wii U has at last check sold over 7 million units, and that’s before Hyrule Warriors, Bayonetta 2, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U or the forthcoming Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker hit the books.

MORE: This Is Why Nintendo Is Crushing It All of a Sudden

So 2014 basically wants to plunder your bank account (and probably already has). And the looting’s just started: we’re now looking at a console triumvirate in 2015, each system staking out sustainable turf, and each now boasting a bevy of unmissable existing games and anticipated upcoming ones. What to do?

You could buy them all, of course, but that’s a hardcore move and financially impractical for most. You could pick two, and even if you’re dead set on owning gaming with a PC, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, there’s a powerful argument here for the Wii U as a must-have secondary system, given the caliber of its exclusive content.

But let’s assume you have none of the above, and that you’re finally ready to pull the trigger on something that isn’t a smartphone, tablet or PC. Were that my circle to square, and if I didn’t do this for a living…

I’d still pick the Wii U…

1. Because it still has the first- and second-party games I most want to play now

It’s been a good year for third-party games you won’t find on Nintendo’s Wii U. Alien: Isolation, Far Cry 4, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Dragon Age: Inquisition are terrific. But you could also argue the rest of 2014’s triple-A darlings are basically recycling bin material: Diablo III, Grand Theft Auto V, Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, The Last of Us and Halo: The Master Chief Collection look tremendous in their new digs, but they’re still remakes of games we already played, however compellingly wrinkled.

As far as standout exclusive new-IP goes, the Xbox One has Sunset Overdrive and Forza Horizon 2 (and maybe Titanfall), while Sony has Final Fantasy XIV and Velocity 2X. But that’s it. And, not that I’m complaining, the PS4 and Xbox One are basically cheap midrange PCs, parleying the lingua franca of a decades-old gaming paradigm interface-wise. Any notion of inventive holism pretty much died when Microsoft unbundled Kinect from Xbox One.

Nintendo’s playing a very different game with its very different-looking console, where, absent robust third-party support, it’s doubled down on first- and second-party properties, as well as banking on the fact that no one else (on consoles, handhelds, computers, or mobile devices) has the sort of franchise cross-demographic appeal it does. You could call that requirement to self-propel a liability — or an opportunity.

Thus on Wii U, you now have a small library of standouts, like: Bayonetta 2, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Hyrule Warriors, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, LEGO City Undercover, Mario Kart 8, New Super Mario Bros. U, Pikmin 3, Pushmo World, Super Mario 3D World, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and The Wonderful 101. It’s an enviable exclusive lineup by any measure.

Nintendo’s also been making something of the fact that on Metacritic, eight Wii U games (Super Mario 3D World, Rayman Legends, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Bayonetta, Bayonetta 2, Mario Kart 8, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD and Pikmin 3) currently hold critic scores of 85 or higher and user scores of 8.5 or better, compared with just two games all told across rival consoles. I’m ambivalent about score aggregation sites (and scores in general) as quality arbiters, but it is interesting to note that rare confluence of critical and public appraisal.

2. Nintendo doesn’t need third parties the way Microsoft and Sony do

The point in any for-profit business is, by definition, to be profitable. If Nintendo can figure out how to stay in the black, given the company’s first- and second-party software attach rates, I’m not sure how much unit sales matter in terms of who’s first, second or third, so long as there’s steady growth.

No, you’ll never see crazy Grand Theft Auto V figures on the Wii U, where you’re selling tens of millions of copies of a game across platforms with a combined install footprint of over 150 million units (for that matter, it’s hard to conceive of Mario Kart Wii sales levels). But at 2 or 3 or 4 million units a piece, the bestselling Wii U titles are selling at perfectly respectable levels given the number of systems in the wild.

And if the Wii U continues to make install base inroads and its first/second party attach rates remain high, Nintendo may be all the support Nintendo needs to make good on its platform for at least the next several years, while at the same time being able to plausibly brag that the Wii U has the best games per capita.

It’s a shame Nintendo hasn’t been able to lure more third-party bigwigs, but whether that’s the development environment (the Wii U lacks processing headroom, contrasted with its peers) or the chicken-egg install base conundrum, it’s also ironically turning out to be a bootstraps referendum on a company’s ability to singlehandedly revitalize its flagship platform.

3. Nintendo just opened a massive new game development center in Kyoto

An addendum to the last point, Nintendo of America president and CEO Reggie Fils-Aime confirmed in a phone interview that the company’s focus is now squarely on Nintendo-delivered content.

“We have to use our first-party and increasingly second-party content to grow our install base, that’s our mission,” Fils-Aime told me, then qualified this by noting Nintendo just opened a research and development facility in Kyoto, right next to the company’s global headquarters.

“This R&D center will be the home to 1,500 game developers,” Fils-Aime said. “Companies would be thrilled to have that many game developers working on their business. We have these game developers creating content exclusive to our platforms.”

Again, the key phrase here is doubling down. It guarantees nothing, but to the extent educated guesses matter when making buying choices, I’d say it means we’ll see a lot more Nintendo-led content emerge from Kyoto in the years to come–content designed to justify the kinds of idiosyncratic holistic experiences that Nintendo specializes in.

4. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is already buoying the system (as Mario Kart 8 before it)

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U sold just shy of half a million copies in the U.S. alone from November 21 to 23, making it the fastest selling Wii U game to date. That’s not a surprise, given the franchise’s appeal and the game’s unanimous critical plaudits. But looking at how much Mario Kart 8 alone did for the platform, it also undergirds the argument that Nintendo may be able to sustain the Wii U simply by delivering compelling Nintendo-incubated experiences rolling forward.

5. Speaking of, the Wii U’s 2015 lineup looks terrific

Some of the games I’ve personally been waiting for longest on any platform arrive next year: Splatoon (a cooperative anti-shooter in which teams attempt to slime swathes of a base with paint-guns for points), Yoshi’s Wooly World (the followup to Kirby’s Epic Yarn for Wii), Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (the followup to Kirby: Canvas Curse for the Nintendo DS), Xenoblade Chronicles X (a spiritual sequel to the best open-world roleplaying game I’ve ever played), Star Fox (the behind-the-scenes E3 demo I played was a little shaky, but some of the ideas and related “Project” mini-games were intriguing) and of course the enigmatic new The Legend of Zelda (you can take “enormous high-def world” for granted–producer Eiji Aonuma’s plans to subvert classic Zelda tropes is far more interesting).

6. Off-TV gaming still rules

Yes, Nintendo hasn’t made the second screen as novel and vital an interface as the Wii Remote and Nunchuk were for the Wii, and yes, the system’s meager wireless range (about two dozen feet) can be prohibitive. But if you want to yield control of your TV to someone else, the Wii U GamePad is the perfect size and interface to game off-screen, and an indulgence I’ll miss if the Wii U’s successor nixes the option.

7. It’s the only portable game console

The Wii U remains the only game system you can readily shlep around like a handheld, and one with friendlier ergonomics for longterm sessions than either Sony’s PS Vita or Nintendo’s own 3DS. The PS4’s slender enough, but you’d need to lug a screen with you, and it’s the screen that’s probably the biggest hurdle here. By folding the screen into the gamepad, Nintendo has essentially designed the first portable gaming platform that doesn’t in some fundamental way (think the tiny thumbsticks on the Vita) compromise the interface to said platform.

8. It’s powerful enough…

No, the Wii U can’t run games like Far Cry 4 or Assassin’s Creed Unity (looking as good as they do on PS4 or Xbox One, anyway), but that’s also the wrong reason to buy a Wii U. Look at the right reason–the system’s unmatchable first/second-party lineup–and the Wii U shines as a high-def platform in its own right.

For the record, several Wii U games on the system run at native 1080p (including Super Smash Bros. for Wii U). But even the ones that don’t–those running at 720p or some sub-1080p variant, say Mario Kart 8–look fantastic on a 1080p screen.

9. …while not at all power-hungry

Relative to the PlayStation 4 (137 watts) and Xbox One (112 watts), the Wii U sips just 34 watts of power on average when playing games, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. When streaming video, it employs less than half as much power (29 watts) as the next-worst console (the Xbox One at 74 watts). Its standby power is less than 1 watt (versus 8.5 watts for the PS4 and 15.7 watts for the Xbox One), and in annual energy use, it rates 37 kWh/y, versus 181 kWh/y (PS4) and 233 kWh/y (Xbox One).

10. It has the Virtual Console plus Wii backward-compatiblity

The PS4 still plays PS4 games and the Xbox One, only Xbox One games. The Wii U plays Wii U games, but also the entire Wii library (over 1,000 and counting), as well as NES and Super NES classics via the Virtual Console, from Super Metroid to F-Zero and Earthbound to Super Mario Bros. 3.

Sony is tinkering with its PlayStation Now streaming service, now in open beta, but the service forces you to make compromises, chiefly visual ones related to streaming inconsistencies derived from the intrinsic fickleness of the Internet.

11. It’s an unabashed games console, not a media player

Nintendo makes no bones about this, and that’s actually kind of nice. The PS4 and Xbox One are either too cumbersome or thermally challenged to nestle in cramped entertainment centers, nor are they as versatile as something like an Amazon Fire TV or Roku (or even an Apple TV, if you’re after iTunes library streaming).

You can access basic streaming services like Amazon, Hulu, Netflix and YouTube on the Wii U, and I’ll grant that Nintendo would benefit from adding music alternates like Spotify or Pandora. But I don’t miss Blu-ray or DVD or music CD support, because I don’t use physical media in set-top boxes anymore (and haven’t for years). That’s just a way-the-wind’s-a-blowin’ thing.

12. Amiibo adds gameplay wrinkles no one else has

Amiibo–Nintendo’s take on the toy-game market dominated by Skylanders and Disney Infinity–was designed from the get-go to work with each Nintendo game uniquely. And while current Hyrule Warriors and Mario Kart 8 functionality seems superficial (either daily bonuses or costume unlocks), its integration with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is all but essential.

In the latter game, your amiibo becomes your sparring partner, leveling up as you train it and “feed” it stat boosts and mold it into something that’s uniquely your own. You can then use it in battles against other players’ amiibos, or–and this is a crucial idea-seller for me–as a way to study your own strengths and weaknesses: if you’re great at a certain maneuver, your amiibo will be too, but if you’re not doing something you ought to be, say raising your character’s shield, neither will your amiibo.

13. It’s still the cheapest current-gen console

$300 plus two pack-in games (Super Mario 3D World & Nintendo Land), versus $400 for Sony’s PlayStation 4 and $350 for Microsoft’s Xbox One (until $50 off deal expires in early January). That $50 to $100 differential adds up to additional games and accessories.

There’s also no annual subscription fee to access Nintendo’s online services, which, contrasted with Sony and Microsoft’s all but mandatory fees, saves you another $50 to $60 per year.

And while games like Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Hyrule Warriors and Mario Kart 8 have made the leap to $60, the Wii U still has the most non-indie sub-$60 games today, from Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, New Super Luigi U and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD to LEGO City: Undercover, Nintendo Land and Wii Party U.

Vote Now: Who Should Be TIME’s Person of the Year?

TIME Television

Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman to Star in Suburban Murder Miniseries Big Little Lies

Left: Reese Witherspoon; Right: Nicole Kidman Getty Images (2)

Hollywood continues its takeover of the small screen

It didn’t take long for Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty’s best-selling novel released this past July, to get snatched up for a TV adaptation. And considering the trio at the helm — Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and David E. Kelley, who among them have 10 Emmys and two Oscars — there’s ample reason to anticipate the end result.

Witherspoon’s and Kidman’s production companies optioned both the film and TV rights to the book, initially considering a feature and later deciding on a miniseries. The story, which Entertainment Weekly dubbed “suburban noir,” revolves around three women with children in the same kindergarten class and a suspicious murder that shakes their community. Kelley, who co-created and wrote Chicago Hope, Ally McBeal and Boston Legal, among many other shows, will adapt the novel for the screen.

The New York Times described Moriarty’s writing as “girlfriendy,” but conceded, “a low-level bitchiness thrums throughout the narrative, becoming one of its indispensable pleasures.” Hopefully Kidman and Witherspoon will capture both that bitchiness and the darkness that lingers beneath it. The series is not yet attached to a network — but then, with this pedigree, it’s not likely to be a hard sell.

TIME celebrities

Bette Midler (Kind of) Apologizes for Calling Ariana Grande a ‘Whore’

86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
From Left: Bette Midler and Ariana Grande Getty Images (2)

Midler calls herself a 'reformed whore'

Bette Midler and Ariana Grande seem to have settled their puzzling feud via Twitter. The squabble began Monday when Midler, 68, complained in an interview with the Telegraph about today’s young female talent depending too much on their sex appeal. Since complaining about 22-year-old Miley Cyrus’ twerking is apparently so last year, Midler pointed instead to 21-year-old Ariana Grande:

It’s terrible! It’s always surprising to see someone like Ariana Grande with that silly high voice, a very wholesome voice, slithering around on a couch looking so ridiculous. I mean, it’s silly beyond belief, and I don’t know who’s telling her to do it. I wish they’d stop. But it’s not my business, I’m not her mother. Or her manager. Maybe they tell them that’s what you’ve got to do. Sex sells. Sex has always sold.

Her advice to stars like Grande? “Trust your talent. You don’t have to make a whore out of yourself to get ahead. You really don’t.”

Grande took a break from promoting her new Christmas song “Santa Tell Me” to respond. In a tweet, she questioned Midler’s feminism:

“Bette was always a feminist who stood for women being able to do whatever the F they wanted without judgement! not sure where that Bette went but i want that sexy mermaid back!!! always a fan no matter what my love,” she tweeted. Perhaps in the spirit of the holiday, Grande tweeted later that she harbors no ill will towards Midler:

Midler tweeted back a pseudo-apology:

Now everyone can enjoy their Thanksgiving turkey in peace.

MORE: Listen to Ariana Grande’s New Christmas Single, “Santa Tell Me”

TIME movies

Horrible Bosses 2 Has Nothing to Say About Bosses, and That’s Okay

Horrible Bosses 2
Warner Bros.

The comedy sequel ditches social commentary in favor of straight-up laughs

Horrible Bosses, released in 2011, was the most aptly-timed comedy in years; coming as it did in the aftermath of an economic recession, the movie’s central conceit, of working stiffs practically forced to take revenge against their employers after a series of indignities, had a special sort of bite. The three protagonists weren’t perfect — after all, they found themselves in the midst of a murder plot — but their struggles at their jobs were an exaggerated vision of what felt possible in a climate that had never been worse for the American worker.

Horrible Bosses 2, out Wednesday, keeps the wild slapstick of its predecessor and subtracts the social commentary. Maybe things have wildly improved for workers in the past three years; more likely, comedy sequels are extremely difficult to execute. In the new film, Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day), and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) carelessly enter into a business deal with an unscrupulous retail executive (Christoph Waltz). There’s an extra level of thinking-through required, on the audience’s part, to relate to the central characters’ plight. Everyone’s had a horrible boss. Screwing oneself out of money through a poorly-planned business deal is a bit rarer an experience, for all Waltz bites off lines about how “wealth creates wealth.”

The first Horrible Bosses was such a surprise in part for how uniquely terrible its three central employers were: Jennifer Aniston’s nymphomaniac was different from Kevin Spacey’s hard-driving monster, and from Colin Farrell’s pigheaded addict. Christoph Waltz is blandly avaricious, and his just-as-greedy son, played by Chris Pine, is noisily avaricious. They’re types, just as our central characters have become; in order to carry across the plot mechanics in play, Kurt and Dale in particular have gone from inept to flat-out buffoonish.

Which is not to say that it’s not fun. Indeed, Horrible Bosses 2 has far spikier, odder moments than most comedies of its ilk, to say nothing of sequels. Gay-panic jokes in big-budget comedies are nothing new, but the weirdly pleased and proud reaction Kurt and Dale share when they think Nick is coming out — after all, isn’t having a gay friend an asset? — is something the producers of The Hangover or The 40-Year-Old Virgin would never have considered. There’s an uncomfortable moment of racial caricature, but it’s followed by a running joke about the three characters, wanting to go incognito but unable to inhabit racial stereotypes in good conscience, pretending to be old West prospectors, or Foghorn Leghorn. Horrible Bosses 2 has ditched its predecessor’s universality, but kept its amiable good will.

The cast is across-the-board good, even when, as in Waltz’s case, they’re given little to do, or, as in Aniston’s, there’s no real reason for them to be there beyond continuing an element of the first film while sucking out the underpinning idea. Last time, Aniston’s performance drew its sick charge from the fact that she was in control of her employee’s fate; now, she’s just a random free radical. And the fact that the central characters have been wildly dumbed down isn’t all bad; Charlie Day, in particular, is completely in his element, turning up the volume and going into characteristic rages in order to sell every one of the bad decisions required to make the baroque plot unwind.

For all that it’s not about too much, Horrible Bosses 2 finds moments of real insight. Early in the film, before their deal with Waltz’s nefarious businessman falls through, the three central characters are in a position to hire new employees, and are inept, consumed by ulterior motives, driven by their libidos: In a word, horrible. The moment passes, and the characters get caught up in all sorts of lunacy, but it’s a nice, nasty piece of business. A downtrodden employee is just one stroke of luck from being a bad boss. Isn’t that the American dream?

TIME society

5 Famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Scenes in Film and TV

From Miracle on 34th Street to Seinfeld

Over the years, various film and television directors have made the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade part of a plot, which usually involves shooting the parade live.

Anyone who wants to film the parade for commercial use must work with the company to obtain permissions, Macy’s tells TIME. Upon securing a permit, sections aren’t roped off for filming, and production crews can’t interrupt the line of the march.

Here are some notable examples of films and TV shows that have featured the iconic American tradition:

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

'Miracle on 34th Street'
‘Miracle on 34th Street’ 20th Century Fox

It’s perhaps one of the most iconic representations of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in film, and arguably helped put the event on the map, for few knew of the parade outside of New York prior to the film, according to Turner Classic Movies. And although it started in 1924, the event wasn’t nationally broadcasted until 1947, concurrent with the movie’s release. Twentieth Century Fox positioned cameras throughout the parade route and from a third-floor apartment.

Tower Heist (2011)

'Tower Heist'
‘Tower Heist’ Wilson Webb—Universal

Film crews shot during the parade itself — which included an actual cameo of Joan Rivers on a float. Although the crew also had to recreate part of the parade for additional footage.

Sweet Charity (1969)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9_kA-j_1Ek
Shirley McClaine created her own parade marching band.

Seinfeld (1994)

Elaine gets her boss a gig as a coveted “balloon handler” for the parade.

Friends (1994)

The gang gets locked out of Monica’s and Rachel’s apartment after watching the parade on the terrace. Watch a clip from the episode above.

TIME Television

Game of Thrones Launches Website For Its New Season

HBO's fantasy series has a brand new website, which promises fans "visions of the future"

It looks like Game of Thrones has launched an entire website in the lead-up to its upcoming fifth season.

The official Twitter account for the HBO fantasy show directed followers to the website ThreeEyedRaven.com on Tuesday which promises visitors they’ll receive “visions of the future” if they sign up via Twitter or SMS. Fans of the series will recall that Bran Stark (played by Isaac Hempstead Wright) has been after the Three-Eyed Raven for some time, though previous announcements have revealed that the boy won’t be appearing in the series’ fifth season.

The site itself offers few clues about the cryptic “visions” or the Three-Eyed Raven, but The Hollywood Reporter speculates that the site will be the future home to teasers and trailers for the series next season.

The Game of Thrones account also tweeted a teaser video featuring Melisandre (played by Carice van Houten) telling Arya Stark (played by Maisie Williams), “I see a darkness in you.”

Though the next season of Game of Thrones has no official premiere date, it is expected sometime in spring 2015.

[THR]

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