TIME movies

Watch Vin Diesel Say His Only Line in Guardians of the Galaxy in 4 Different Languages

"Yo soy Groot"

Vin Diesel’s character Groot may play an integral role in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but the tree-creature superhero he plays is only capable of saying three words: “I am Groot.”

So when the actor provided the voice for his character, he did so not just for the English version of the film but for various dubbed versions for foreign audiences. Diesel also voiced Groot in Russian, Portuguese, French, and Spanish, all of which were filmed as part of behind-the-scenes footage for the film.

Guardians of The Galaxy is now playing in theaters nationwide.

TIME

Julia Roberts Can Still Recite Her Lines From Pretty Woman and Notting Hill

"The Normal Heart" New York Screening
Actress Julia Roberts attends "The Normal Heart" New York Screening at Ziegfeld Theater on May 12, 2014 in New York City. Jim Spellman—WireImage

Julia Roberts is still "just a girl"

Julia Roberts reminisced about her most famous roles in an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show Friday morning.

When people approach the uber-famous star in public, they typically reach far back in her repertoire, Roberts said. “I hear Pretty Woman more than any other movie,” Roberts said. She said she asks if they know anything more recent, but fans love her 1990s roles.

Lauer shared that his favorite scene from the hit rom-com is when Roberts’ character returns to a shop after her makeover and tells the sales girl she made a “Big mistake! Big! Huge!” Roberts recited the famous line before it could play on the screen behind her.

When Lauer brought up another of Roberts’ career-making ’90s films, Notting Hill, she started in on the iconic line from that as well: “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.”

The actress also talked about balancing motherhood with her career as a movie star. “I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished in my career and what I had done in the 18 years of my career before I had kids,” the star said. “By then I felt I had really earned staying home and raising my kids and being with my family.”

As for her kids, they may be getting a new present in the near future. Roberts’ Oscar statue, which she won for her lead role in Erin Brokovitch in 2000, is still in her sister’s apartment, she told Lauer. “I’m going to go get it. I’m going to go get it and take it home,” Roberts said. “It can be Ken’s competition for Barbie’s affection.”

TIME Marvel

Guardians of the Galaxy Has Already Made More Than $11 Million

Guardians of the Galaxy 2014
Marvel

Marvel unleashes its new summer blockbuster

Updated August 1 at 5:12 p.m. ET

Guardians of the Galaxy earned $11.2 million in late-night screenings on Thursday, Variety reports, for the year’s largest preview opening, and is on track to rake in an estimated $90 million from weekend showings, according to Friday estimates.

The comic book adaption will have the largest screening in August history—showing at 4,080 threatres on Friday. It surpassed recent forecasts that predicted $70 million in weekend earnings, and will unseat previous August record holder, The Bourne Ultimatum ($69.3 million).

Amidst the popularity of Marvel’s The Avengers and its prequel and sequel films, it’s no surprise that this intergalactic team is gaining fans. Actor Chris Pratt—among the only human characters in the film—is flanked by a quirky talking raccoon, a CGI tree, a hulk-ish green brute and a female alien assassin.

The film already boasts a 91% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes — read TIME’s review by Richard Corliss here.

 

TIME movies

Yes, Guardians of the Galaxy Has an After-Credits Scene

Marvel's Guardians Of The GalaxyL to R: Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista)Ph: Film Frame©Marvel 2014
Marvel

Stick around after the credits roll

Going to see Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, starring Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana this weekend? Then be sure to stick around for the after-credits scene, which the film indeed has.

There was some talk earlier this week that Guardians skipped that oh-so-well-known of Marvel Studios traditions, but those rumors only came about because the post-credits scene wasn’t included in most pre-screenings of the film. Despite those early rumors, a leaked video that’s zipping around the web (we won’t link to it here) is all but proof that you should stick around after the credits roll.

Want to know more about Guardians of the Galaxy before heading to theaters? Here’s 10 things you should know, and be sure to read TIME’s review by Richard Corliss.

SEMI-SPOILER BELOW…

That Guardians has a post-credits scene makes plenty of sense. Thanos, a perennial Big Bad in the Marvel Universe, was first introduced to moviegoers in a brief post-credits scene for 2012’s The Avengers. Thanos plays a pretty major role in Guardians of the Galaxy, including his first lines of any real substance. It’s clear by the end of the movie that while they may be lesser-known, the fate of the Guardians characters do and will continue to intertwine with that of the more recognizable Avengers.

TIME controversy

Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz Backtrack on Israel and Gaza Letter

"The Counselor" - Photocall
Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz attend a photocall for 'The Counselor' at The Dorchester on October 5, 2013 in London, England. Dave J Hogan--Getty Images

The Oscar-winning actors issue clarifying statements on the Israel-Hamas conflict, after being heavily criticized for co-signing an open letter lamenting Israel's actions in Gaza

Spanish actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz have each released statements clarifying their position on the war in Gaza after the married couple were heavily criticized for co-signing an open letter in a Spanish newspaper which condemned Israel’s actions.

The letter, published by El Diario earlier this week, included the signatures of many heavyweights in the Spanish film industry and called on the European Union to “condemn the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip.”

Since the letter was published, the Oscar-winning couple has faced fierce criticism and accusations of anti-Semitism in Israel and beyond. The response has been so hostile that both actors issued statements in order to clarify their personal intentions. The No Country for Old Men star released a statement titled “Plea for Peace” on Thursday, which read:

“My signature was solely meant as a plea for peace. Destruction and hatred only generate more hatred and destruction.

While I was critical of the Israeli military response, I have great respect for the people of Israel and deep compassion for their losses. I am now being labeled by some as anti-Semitic, as is my wife – which is the antithesis of who we are as human beings. We detest anti-Semitism as much as we detest the horrible and painful consequences of war.

I was raised to be against any act of violence, and the consequent suffering of humanity for it, regardless of religions, ethnicities and borders. Too many innocent Palestinian mothers have lost their children to this conflict. Too many innocent Israeli mothers share the same grief. There should not be any political reason that can justify such enormous pain on both sides. It’s my hope that leaders involved in this complicated struggle will heed the call of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, ‘In the name of humanity, the violence must stop.’

Palestinians and Israelis in the region deserve to have their safety and human rights recognized and respected so in the near future they may find peace and co-existence, for themselves and their innocent children. So generations to come could bring hope, forgiveness and compassion for each other. This is the most basic and necessary way to peace for all of us.”

Bardem’s statement came hot on the heels of his wife’s own public clarification, as Cruz released a statement to USA Today on Wednesday, which said:

“I don’t want to be misunderstood on this important subject. I’m not an expert on the situation and I’m aware of the complexity of it. My only wish and intention in signing that group letter is the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza. I am hopeful all parties can agree to a cease fire and there are no more innocent victims on either side of the border. I wish for unity, and peace.”

Earlier this week, TIME’s Lily Rothman wrote about the backlash that often follows when celebrities wade into the thorny issue of Middle East politics. Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and Scarlett Johansson have all faced blow-back in recent years after expressing opinions on the situation in Israel, whether on social media or in interviews about endorsements. The public ire is often harsh enough that these celebrities are quick to walk back on — or delete — their original statements.

In the case of Bardem and Cruz, the pair appear to be attempting to neutralize the backlash by expanding on their sympathies for civilians on both sides of the border and emphasizing their wish for peace.

TIME Television

Disney’s Gravity Falls Creator on How to Create a Show for All Ages

ALEX HIRSCH SKETCH
Creator and executive producer Alex Hirsch animates himself in the style of his "Gravity Falls" characters. Alex Hirsch for TIME

Why you 'ackin so cray cray?

After a year off, Disney’s Gravity Falls is finally coming back to television for a second season on Aug. 1 on the Disney Channel. The brainchild of wunderkind Alex Hirsch, Gravity Falls follows the supernatural misadventures of twins Dipper and Mabel Pines as they spend their summer vacation with their Grunkle (Great Uncle) Stan in the fictional town of Gravity Falls, Oregon. So far, they’ve encountered everything from a gaggle of gnomes to geriatric ghosts in this cartoon that’s part Simpsons, X-Files and Twin Peaks, but pure fun for all ages.

We caught up with Hirsch to talk about all things Gravity Falls.

When did you first know you wanted to make cartoons?

As long as I can recall I’ve always wanted to make cartoons. When I went to California Institute of the Arts, I was classmates with a lot of like-minded weirdoes, some of who have gone on to create other cartoon shows—J.G. Quintel, Regular Show; Pen Ward, Adventure Time. We were all friends in school and pushed each other and made each other laugh. It’s been a direct progression from elementary school kid watching Disney cartoons to kid-at-heart currently making cartoons for kids, for Disney.

What was your favorite cartoon growing up?

The Simpsons. I loved The Simpsons because it didn’t talk down to its audience. A lot of kids shows limit themselves. They are kids shows first and shows second. The Simpsons was something that, growing up, I could tell it was smarter than I was. I could tell there were layers and hidden jokes and references that I didn’t understand, but I understood the characters. Great shows have those kinds of layers and have that sort of broader appeal not just to kids, but to adults.

You talked about wanting to create a show for all ages. How have you gone about that?

There’s one way to do that and that’s to not think about anybody when you make the show. The best way to make a show that’s going to resonate is to make a show that you’d love. It’s to trust yourself, because there’s really no way to test a hypothetical. Do I think this is funny? Do I like it? And if you like it and you think it’s funny, then you just need to trust that others will. I am maybe blessed with the fact that I am a very immature adult. I am sort of a man-child, so if I like something, chances are it’ll appeal to men and children both because I am somewhere in-between.

Gravity Falls
Dipper, Mabel, Soos and Wendy from Gravity Falls Disney XD

Your show’s darker than most kids shows. Now that it’s on Disney XD, will the tone remain the same?

We were told that the show was going to be moved to Disney XD halfway through making the season, so there was no coordinated conversation about tone. There’s not a lot of discussion between the creative and programming ends. In terms of the tone of the second season, we’re experimenting a lot more. Season 1 was just about getting to know the characters, about trying to give a hint of the mythology and just trying to be as funny and fun as possible. In Season 2, we’re digging much more heavily into the mythology and our characters are experiencing higher stakes, tenser situations and, in a few instances, more menacing villains. As a result, the conspiracy/X-Files/spookiness aspect of the series definitely gets a stronger highlight in Season 2 than it did in Season 1, but we still hope to balance that out with some traditionally silly Gravity Fallsy-episodes.

What was the first character you ever created?

In second grade I drew a face on a paper bag and I gave him a cape and called him Super Paper Bag Man because my creativity was pretty limited at that stage. Thankfully Super Paper Bag Man got recycled, forcing me to come up with better ideas.

Who is your favorite character in Gravity Falls?

In the penultimate episode of our first season we introduced this villainous, mischievous, triangle, who sort of resembles the eye of providence on the back of the one dollar bill. He’s a pyramid with one eye and a bow tie named Bill. He’s a character we conceived early on in the series that it might be fun to sort of have a Mxyzptlk kind of jerk character who can just pop in and screw things up for our main characters. It seems funny to me to take the most ominous, illuminati-looking symbol and slap Mr. Peanut arms and legs onto him and throw him into the mix. It’s something that always struck me as hilarious. The amount of physical letters I’ve gotten in the mail and the amount of pictures on Twitter I’ve seen of people getting tattoos—yes, tattoos—of this goofy character has given me an affection for this odd thing because whatever I find hilarious about it, clearly the warped children of America feel the same way.

Since Dipper and Mabel are modeled on you and your sister, are there any other characters on the show modeled after relatives or acquaintances?

The handyman Soos, often mistaken for being pronounced “Zeus,” is 100% inspired by my friend named Jesus from college who was this just friendly, lovable and deeply strange human being. He was the kind of guy who gravitated to sticking around college even after he had graduated, just this sort of dude that wanted to help everyone out. I definitely wanted to put a character like him in the series. The reason Mabel has a pet pig named Waddles is because my twin sister always dreamed of having a pet pig when we were growing up, and made a pig shrine of pig objects in her room.

How does it feel to have the voice of Olmec from Legends of the Hidden Temple voice Waddles?

You know, I had no idea. Most of these big top ten voice actors in town, they’ve done everything and I should IMDB all of them and harass them by making them do voices from my childhood. The next time I see Dee I will ask him where the jade monkey is located behind the stone stair and see if he’s got an answer for me.

WADDLES
Waddles Disney Channel

You voice two characters on your show, Grunkle Stan and Soos. What were your inspirations for those voices?

The inspirations for those voices is primarily the characters they were inspired by. Great Uncle Stan is conceptually loosely based on my Grandpa Stan on my father’s side, who I didn’t know very well. But he was a big, gruff guy, who wore his top button open with gold chains and gold watches and was kind of a pathological “free of truth teller.” I remember him speaking with sort of a gruff lower register. While the character is inspired by my Grandpa Stan, the voice is more inspired by my other grandpa, Grandpa Bill. Every time I see him for Thanksgiving, he always says, “Roll out the red carpet, Mr. Hollywood finally decides to pay us a visit.” He’s always busting my chops, so there’s some of that voice as well.

Soos is inspired by Jesus, my college buddy. The real Jesus is impossible to properly imitate. He has a way of speaking that can’t really be put into words, but there’s a sort of blunt-like consonance to the way he speaks that I try to emulate in spirit with the voice that I do for Soos.

Dipper’s modeled after your own misadventures. Do you have any you’d like to share?

The unsoundbyte-worthy truth of it is that my summers were astonishingly boring. Dipper’s adventures for the most part represent a checklist of all the things I wished for. When I was a kid I would spend these long, long summers out in the woods with my great aunt out in a cabin with my sister, and my great aunt would say, “Alright, three hours of reading time,” and lock us in a room with a window. Because there was so much sensory deprivation, my imagination had to grow to fill the empty space. I imagined that I was beating gnomes or fighting aliens or searching for the Loch Ness monster. With this series, there’s a chance to give a fictionalized version of myself all of those wishes I wished would come true.

Do you have any advice for people who want to make their own TV series?

It’s all about the characters. Regardless of how your series looks, regardless of its high concept, regardless of its celebrity voices or budget or whatever, all of that is secondary to your characters. Are they funny? Do they have personalities that pop and are memorable and are interesting next to each other? And my main advice to any aspiring show creators for finding good characters is to write what you know and to look at your real life. I think the most successful element to the characters in Gravity Falls comes from me writing about my sister or my grandpa–caricaturing them for comedic effect obviously, but if you can take the most outlandish people you know and put them into one series, you’re gonna have a lot better luck than if you focus on “how can I make the most complicated mythology possible.” At the end of the day, that’s why people tune in—to hang out with characters that they love, and that’s the most important part.

Are there any ideas that you’ve had that never make it into the show?

For every one episode that you see, there’s at least 10 broad concepts that were discarded for either being too silly or not silly enough or so hilarious that Disney’s standards team was infuriated by them.

What’s the most challenging part of having your own show?

To try to create something of consistent quality over the duration of 20 episodes all being simultaneously produced, written, directed, designed and voiced, all on top of each other. When you’re in college just making one film in a year, or one film over the course of four years, you have the luxury of making everything perfect, dotting every “i” and crossing every “t.” When you’re in TV, you’re very much working on a conveyor belt. Not every episode can be an A+ as much as I desperately try to make each thing as good as it can be.

Why you ‘ackin so cray cray?

Deadlines. Deadlines are why I’m ‘ackin so cray cray.

Season 2 of Gravity Falls premieres Aug. 1 at 9 p.m. on the Disney Channel.

TIME The Cranky Guy

How Weird Al’s ‘Word Crimes’ Is Saving Grammar for the Future

RCA Records

In the first in a series of columns taking a caustic look at modern mores, our writer considers how Weird Al's No. 1 album has revived a debate on the proper use of language

The plaque commemorating pitcher Greg Maddux’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame this week testifies that he is the “only hurler with 300 wins, 3,000 strikeouts and less than 1,000 walks.” If you winced, or for that matter hurled, at the use of less instead of fewer, you may be a careful reader, a grammar snob — or Weird Al Yankovic.

At 56, after nearly 40 years of musical burlesques, the accordion-grinding pop satirist has scored his first top-of-the-pops CD with the album Mandatory Fun. It’s (not its) the first comedy album to reach No. 1 since 1963, when Allan Sherman’s My Son, the Nut reigned on the Billboard charts, propelled by its (not it’s) hit single “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah” (insert commas). The Yankovic number that has attracted more than (not over) 12 million listens on YouTube — and which (not that) everyone is sending to his or her (never their) friends — is “Word Crimes,” a “Blurred Lines” parody that (not which) itemizes crimes against the language. English teachers, on realizing that Weird Al has become the arbiter for proper grammar, may figuratively (not literally) look for the nearest bridge to jump off. And yes, it’s O.K. to end a sentence with a preposition, and to use the word O.K.

(WATCH: Weird Al Yankovic’s “Word Crimes” video)

Aside from dry-cleaning the smut from last summer’s Robin Thicke–Pharrell Williams smash, “Word Crimes” serves as an instant anthem for any language maven (Hebrew for expert) or alter kocker (senior citizen, from the Yiddish for old poop) who has mourned the slippage of good grammar over the years, especially with the rise of social media. (And aren’t all media social?). In 1990, if you had told Weird Al that young people would soon be communicating as much by writing as by telephoning, he might have dared hope that the return of literacy would wipe out a generation of slang mumblings: “I mean, like, you know?” Texting has reduced the number of waste words, but it has also exposed a black hole of ignorance about traditional — what a cranky guy would call correct — grammar.

Or maybe the texters could care less, which for Yankovic is another word crime: “That means you do care/ At least a little.” The texters might explain gently to Al, as to a grandparent from the old country, that “I could care less” is an example of irony; and Al would snap back, “Irony is not coincidence.” The exact meaning of irony is so narrow that the word is hardly worth using; in its broad, current definition, it’s a euphemism for sarcasm. “I’m not being sarcastic; I’m being ironic.” No, you’re not. You’re evading the responsibility for being sarcastic. You’re also being a sloppy thinker — just as someone using literally (in Yankovic’s example “You ‘literally couldn’t get out of bed'”) almost always means figuratively, and a sentence beginning “With all due respect” almost always presages an insult.

(READ: Lily Rothman on the no-longer-so-weird Al)

Yankovic decries the texters’ shorthanding of words into letters: be into B, see to C, are to R, you to U. Given that Twitter permits only 140 characters for a message, the truncation is really thrift. Besides, as Yankovic notes in the song, Prince is probably the prime culprit, having slapped such titles as “I Would Die 4 U” and “Take Me With U” on his ’80s hits. The trope goes back further, to the 1955 novelty tune “I-M-4-U (I Am for You),” written for TV host Jack Paar by Sev F. Marino and José Melis and consisting entirely of letters and numbers. So who do we blame? No. Whom?

RCA Records

“Pronoun trouble!” — as Daffy Duck quacked to Bugs Bunny in the 1952 Chuck Jones cartoon Rabbit Seasoning — is rampant these days, and probably always has been. Though I try to avoid it in writing, I wouldn’t guillotine those who use who colloquially for whom, particularly when whom masquerades as the subject of a sentence, as in Who Do You Trust? (a ’50s game show hosted by Paar’s successor as The Tonight Show host, Johnny Carson) or Ray Parker Jr.’s No. 1 1984 movie theme “Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!” I do agree with the “Word Crimes” proscription: “Always say ‘to whom.’ Don’t ever say ‘to who.'” And don’t fall for the fake gentility of I as an object. “Between Weird Al and I” may sound elegant, swellegant (in Cole Porter’s phrase), but grammatically it’s smellegant.

(SEE: A career-long gallery of Weird Al Yankovic photos)

I also sympathize with neophyte writers (neophiters) who confuse its the possessive adjective and it’s the contraction for it is — a mistake to which Yankovic devotes an entire verse. In the phrase “a dog’s life,” the dog is it, so it’s life can seem logical. Logical but wrong. To distinguish between the two, think of the dog as a boy: you wouldn’t spell his as hi’s. So a boy’s life = his life, and a dog’s life = its life.

RCA Records

Weird Al raps: “You should know/ It’s ‘less’ or it’s ‘fewer,’/ Like people who were/ Never raised in a sewer.” Less should refer to collective nouns (less knowledge), fewer to plurals of individual things (fewer brain cells). But that distinction may be a lost cause; I’ll bet that not even Whole Foods has a “10 Items or Fewer” checkout line. And what about doing well (achieving success) vs. doing good (performing benevolent deeds)? In “The Old Dope Peddler,” musical satirist supreme Tom Lehrer paid sarcastic (not ironic) tribute to a drug dealer who was “doing well by doing good.” But that song is more than 60 years old, so the two words may no longer be different from (not different than) each other. And with marijuana legally available in some states, the song may have outlived its comic point.

(READ: A Richard Corliss tribute to Tom Lehrer)

Yankovic commits a couple of his own crimes — as in “Here’s some notes,” which should be “Here are some notes,” for the subject to agree with the verb — and quite a few rhyme crimes. Broadway songwriters Stephen Sondheim (rhymes with rhyme) and Leonard Bernstein (doesn’t) would never approve of pairing proper way with conjugate, or find with online. These are false rhymes, lazy rhymes, blurred rhymes. Virtually every pop songwriter employs them today, but in a comedy song arguing for traditional grammar, they dull the precision of the wit.

Yankovic also stoked a ruckus with this quatrain: “Saw your blog post/ It’s really fantastic/ That was sarcastic,/ ’Cause

RCA Records

you write like a spastic” — an insult word that also can refer cruelly to those afflicted with cerebral palsy. Yankovic quickly posted: “If you thought I didn’t know that ‘spastic’ is considered a highly offensive slur by some people … you’re right, I didn’t,” he wrote. “Deeply sorry.” Apparently no one has complained about his use in the song of moron, which psychologists once used to describe an adult with the mental capacity of a child. Like idiot, moron has probably passed its sell-by date as an offensive term.

That’s the sticking point about language: it keeps changing. Each person’s sense of grammar probably came from his or her teachers or parents. My mother, a first-grade schoolteacher, instructed her two sons that “between you and I” was wrong, and that the proper way to answer the phone was to say, “This is he.” But she was born in 1907 — for the edification of mathematicians in the room, I was a very late baby — and may have taken syntax cues from her mother, born in the 1860s. One hundred fifty years later, no one speaks or writes like Abraham Lincoln. In Mad magazine in 1956, Doodles Weaver copyedited the Gettysburg Address, amending “Fourscore and seven years” to “Eighty-seven: Be explicit!” Yet today’s teachers indoctrinate their pupils with many rules from Lincoln’s time and long before.

(READ: the complete parody of the Gettysburg Address by scrolling down this webpage)

Those who think we should go with the flow of evolution in syntax — welcome to the 21st century, word codgers — balk at the usage traditions of their very elder elders. I confess that I long avoided the split infinitive (“To boldly go where no man has gone before”), until I learned it was an 18th century codification by an obscure grammarian who thought English should be more like Latin. In that language, infinitives were an unsplittable single word: to split is dilaminare. (Then again, few poets in preceding centuries split their infinitives. Shakespeare didn’t write “To be or to not be?”) Another Latin-derived no-no was ending a sentence with a preposition, which everyone sensibly ignores today. As Winston Churchill, one of the last century’s most powerful writers, wryly observed, “This is the kind of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.”

Modern grammar has also efforted (one of my favorite faux verbs) to free itself from sexism. Mankind is now humankind, and Gene Roddenberry would surely have rewritten his Star Trek intro as “To boldly go where no human has gone before.” In the ’70s, during the first flush of grammatical feminism, the generic he got modified into s/he. That didn’t take, but the pluralizing of everyone did. The singular pronoun turns plural midway through the sentence “Everyone has their reasons.” I can’t bring myself to write that, so I usually perform pretzel exercises to make the subject plural: “All people have their reasons.”

In my experience, copy editors, like the stalwart staff I’ve worked with and learned from in my 34 years at TIME, are linguistic conservatives — the keepers of the flame ignited by the Strunk-White Elements of Style, published in full in 1957 and chosen by TIME as one of the 100 most influential nonfiction books of the past century. And grammarians tend to be liberal, willing and often eager to promote common usage into acceptable speech.

On a fascinating episode of the Judge John Hodgman Podcast, in which a man brought a complaint against his wife for correcting his grammar, Merriam-Webster associate editor Emily Brewster derided The Elements of Style, saying, “They even break their own rules. They say no split infinitives, and there are split infinitives [in the book].” For adjudication, I turn to TIME deputy copy chief Elissa Englund, who notes, “This isn’t actually true. The Elements of Style discourages it generally but actually says there are times when it is preferable to split an infinitive. (See Chapter V, reminder 2: ‘Write in a way that comes naturally.’)”

(FIND: The Elements of Style among the all-TIME 100 nonfiction books)

Among the bugbears of Kira, the persnickety wife in the Hodgman case, were irregardless (instead of regardless or irrespective) and most importantly (instead of most important). Brewster, as the expert witness on the episode, ruled that the first was now common and the second was new to her. Hodgman then asked Brewster if “I feel badly” was an acceptable equivalent to “I feel bad.” Again, Brewster pleaded ignorance of the distinction, adding, “Those don’t even sound funny to my ear.” (She meant they didn’t sound funny even to her trained ear.) But they should have sounded funny (not funnily). You feel bad, not badly, just as you feel good, not goodly. James Brown didn’t sing “I Feel Goodly,” and a grammar scholar shouldn’t say “I feel badly.” Quick hint: If it doesn’t sound goodly to you, don’t use it.

Liberal grammarians would tell us we live in a democracy, not a kingdom of antiquated rules. I’m a grateful subject of that kingdom, and I’m sure I’ve broken a few of my own rules, which readers are welcome to comment on. TIME’s spell-check always admonishes me whenever I compose a sentence in the passive voice, a warning that is often ignored by me. And the copy editor of a book I wrote for Simon & Schuster corrected my frequent use of years as adjectives (“the 1955 novelty tune …”). I didn’t know that was a word crime, and, between you and I, I keep breaking it.

Nothing in a living language is written in stone. Over the decades, words go from wrong to right. Speak as you will; others will understand you, whatever offenses you utter against hoary tradition. Just realize that the people in a position to hire you, mark your exams or fall in love with you may have stricter standards of written and spoken English. Like Weird Al Yankovic, or the reporters who noted the less and fewer mistake on Greg Maddux’s Hall of Fame plaque, we grammar snobs are listening.

* * *

This is the first in a series of columns in which Richard Corliss drops his usually genial demeanor and assumes the stern tone of the Cranky Guy.

TIME Television

Spike Jonze Will Appear on Girls Next Season

The Her writer and director will make a guest appearance in the upcoming fourth season of HBO's Girls

Biiig Marnie & Desi concert. Mad merch and special guests!

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

Lena Dunham offered the world a peek behind the scenes of the upcoming fourth season of Girls on Thursday night via Instagram. And included in that peek was the one and only director/writer/producer Spike Jonze.

The Wrap reports that Jonze is set to appear on the fourth season the HBO show, which will air in 2015. Though information is scant at this point, an HBO rep did reveal that Jonze would be playing a character called Marcos. That tidbit — along with the Marnie and Desi “merch” buttons that Dunham and Jonze wear in the Instagram snap — are the only details out there so far.

However, it’s safe to say that Jonze will be in good company as a guest star on new season, as Natasha Lyonne, Jason Ritter, Gillian Jacobs, Zachary Quinto, Marc Maron and Maude Apatow (executive producer Judd’s teenage daughter) will also be popping up.

[The Wrap]

TIME celebrity

Emma Watson Laughs In The Face of Turkish Politician’s Sexism

2014 Tribeca Film Festival - "Boulevard"
-Actress Emma Watson attends the premiere of "Boulevard" during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC Tribeca PAC on April 20, 2014 in New York City. Steve Mack--FilmMagic

The Harry Potter actress and newly named Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women laughs in the face of sexism

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc sparked outrage earlier this week when he addressed a crowd celebrating the end of Ramadan and then launched into a lament about the erosion of traditional values. The politician noted that “A woman should be chaste. She should know the difference between public and private. She should not laugh in public.”

Public backlash was swift, and it seems Arinc has even annoyed Hermione with his comments. On Thursday, Emma Watson joined the online protest — where women have been defiantly tweeting and posting photos of themselves laughing — by sharing a photo of herself doubled over. And on the street, no less!

https://twitter.com/EmWatson/status/494888155079008256

The Harry Potter star and newly named Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women is just one of thousands of women who have been protesting the politician’s remarks and even included the hashtage #direnkahkaha, which translates to “resist laughter.” Enough people have joined in on the backlash against Arinc’s remarks that both the hashtags ‎#direnkahkaha and #direnkadin (“resist woman”) have become trending topics on Twitter.

So far, more than 16,000 people have retweeted Watson’s photo.

TIME movies

Here Comes the Manic Pixie Hot Mess

Anna Kendrick in Happy Christmas
Anna Kendrick in 'Happy Christmas' Magnolia Pictures

Move aside, dream girls--female characters' problems are no longer charming accoutrements. And that's a good thing

Even the creator of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl wants her to go away. The movie archetype, as first defined by Nathan Rabin in a 2007 A.V. Club piece about the film Elizabethtown, “exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” Though the MPDG has had a long reign as one of moviedom’s favorite female types, alongside the “Damsel in Distress” and the “Strong Female Character,” Rabin made news this month by apologizing, in Salon, for ever inventing the phrase in the first place. The concept, he wrote, had been diluted as it became more popular, becoming a cliché about any slightly quirky woman and losing its critical power.

But, with apologies to Rabin, who also decries the permutations of Manic Pixie Something or Other that have proliferated in his creation’s wake, there’s perhaps another reason for the term to go away: the Dream Girl’s place in the zeitgeist has been taken over by the Hot Mess.

Exhibit A: Anna Kendrick’s starring role in Happy Christmas, the new Joe Swanberg movie arriving in theaters Aug. 1. (It’s also available on VOD.) Kendrick plays Jenny, a young woman who moves in with her brother and sister-in-law and their baby after a bad breakup; though her life is pretty much falling apart — she sleeps in the basement, is an unreliable babysitter and gets so wasted that she’s essentially another child in the house — having her there isn’t all bad for her hosts. She’s got that young, unhinged energy that they seem to have lost.

So, at least at first, Jenny has the hallmarks of someone who might be lumped under the MPDG umbrella by those overusing the term. She’s pretty; she’s quirky; she shows up suddenly and helps people out.

Except that’s not the only thing she does. For one thing, though “pixie” types — Natalie Portman in Garden State for example — can have their own problems, their movies aren’t really about their problems. Their problems are, rather, charming accoutrements. In Happy Christmas, however, Jenny’s problems are solid. They’re actually dangerous, to herself and others — this is way beyond Cute Clumsy Girl territory — and they’re things you might actually worry about if you had a screw-up sister. She may be sweet, but her sweetness isn’t enough to make her a good house guest. Still, she’s not a traditional Damsel in Distress. Though she does need help, she doesn’t need to be rescued, at least not by another person. As Rabin points out in his Salon essay, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope “is a fundamentally sexist one”: the MPDG exists only in relation to the (male) lead. As soon as the character becomes the lead herself, as soon as her problems really matter, she’s out. Furthermore, the person who’s really helped by Jenny in Happy Christmas is her sister-in-law, not her love interest; even her use as a foil for another character is sisterly, not sexist.

And who else appears in Happy Christmas? Lena Dunham. Though Dunham’s character — a friend of Jenny’s — is actually pretty put together, the actress and writer can get a lot of credit for making young women with messy lives a subject of pop-culture fascination. That messiness is the focus of Girls, a show that exposes the ways in which even the most “with-it” person is inevitably hiding a crack underneath her veneer. The women on Girls don’t float down to use their quirkiness to help dudes out, because they need all their energy to help themselves. (If anything, the guys on the show, Adam especially, are the ones who use their weirdness in mystical, healing ways.)

So messiness is having a moment. In April, Katy Steinmetz explained for TIME how “hot mess,” A phrase now associated with Amy Schumer and her Comedy Central show, has come to denote someone who is “in obvious disarray” and yet remains attractive, a meaning that’s been in use for only about 10 years. Inside Amy Schumer and Girls are very different shows, but both have made it clear that audiences are eager for a type of female character who’s neither magical nor in need of rescuing nor heroically strong. (Schumer’s persona, however, isn’t exactly “manic pixie” anything — she remains attractive despite her disorder, but her attractiveness isn’t usually of the indie-twee-offbeat variety, which is what differentiates the protagonists of Happy Christmas and Girls from your garden-variety hot mess.)

Even New Girl, despite the fact that its star Zooey Deschanel is often held up as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl exemplar, fits the bill: protagonist Jess drops into the lives of four men and adds a touch of fun, but she’s got problems and back story of her own, as well as the focus of the show’s creators. Just as Deschanel has made sure that her real-life detractors know that the bit of pixie in her personality doesn’t mean they can’t take her seriously, New Girl is best when Jess is messing things up and capable of getting herself together, all at once. That balancing act is true of all the best examples of the trope: the woman in question often has an Anthropologie-inflected, Brooklyn-in-quotes appeal that lots of real-life women strive for, she’s struggling to figure things out, she wouldn’t say no to a hand but in the end she’ll probably figure it out on her own.

There are hints that the type is sticking around. Happy Christmas was preceded by the prime example that was Obvious Child, and this fall’s Laggies — which stars Keira Knightley as a woman struggling so much with growing up that she tries to pass herself off as a teenager — looks to continue the trend. And it’s notable that even shows like New Girl, which don’t strive for the grittiness of Swanberg’s films, are giving their female leads such imperfections. Because “messy,” of course, can also be shorthand for “real.” So, if the Manic Pixie Dream Girl’s creator wants the world to stop using that formula, here’s another way to sum up the archetype in question: human.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser