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.

TIME animals

Here’s a Shih Tzu Walking on a Treadmill in a Teddy Bear Costume

Add this video to your list of things to be thankful for.

Today in just because why not, here is a video of a shih tzu named Munchkin walking on a treadmill in a teddy bear costume. The world is a difficult place to live in, and that is why there are dogs like Munchkin and benevolent fairy dog parents who record them doing ridiculous (or ridiculously cute) things.

Munchkin is an established YouTube celebrity, as millions have watched her alias “Munchkin the Teddy Bear” exhibit her talent of looking cute in a teddy bear costume that makes her appear to be walking upright.

It’s been a rough week, tomorrow’s a holiday, the weather’s disgusting, and this video is only 30 seconds long. You’re welcome.

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 politics

Watch John Boehner Tell You How To Cook Your Turkey

House Speaker reveals the secret to the perfect turkey brine, and it actually sounds pretty good

Nothing could be a more soothing—and more bizarre—than listening to Speaker of the House John Boehner explain in his resonant bass voice how he cooks his turkey for Thanksgiving.

The most powerful Republican in Congress revealed “The Boehner Brine,” the perfect Thanksgiving turkey in a video released Tuesday.

Like a besuited Martha Stewart, Boehner tells the camera with a roguish cock of the head, “Now, I only cook my bird to about 160, max.” He adds, “And then I take it out and I put foil over it and let it sit for at least an hour,” punctuating his culinary strategy with a subtle finger point like a scat singer acknowledging a fan on the Las Vegas strip.

The video also includes footage of Boehner in what is presumably his kitchen, wearing a flattering green apron over a crisp shirt far too white for messy cooking. But what’s the real secret to the turkey brine? “Sixteen ounces of pure maple syrup,” Boehner says.

TIME Holidays

Good News! 5 Things to Be Grateful For This Thanksgiving

Triplet panda cubs rest in an incubator at the Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou in south China's Guangdong province, Aug. 12, 2014. AP

It's been a dismal month, but you can give thanks for these tidbits of good news

This November has been a serious bummer. The midterm elections were a depressing snoozefest. The sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby have made ‘America’s Dad‘ seem more like a creepy uncle. Protests have erupted across the country after a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown. American aid worker Peter Kassig was beheaded by ISIS. We lost Mike Nichols.

With all that bad news, it’s hard to find anything to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. But you better come up with something quick, because sooner or later somebody is going to ask, “so what are you grateful for?” with a schmaltzy smirk. So here are five pieces of good news to celebrate as you make small talk with your aunt’s new weirdo boyfriend.

1) The baby panda triplets in China have stayed alive for 100 days: The “miracle” panda cubs were born in August, and they’ve all survived longer than zookeepers anticipated. Now they’re reportedly healthy enough that visitors can see them. Who to tell: Your niece (but leave out the fact that they’re in China.)

2) The human race has issues, but we landed a probe on a comet this month: On Nov. 13, the European Space Agency’s Philae lander touched down on a comet after a 10-year, 4-billion mile journey. Since comets are made of space’s most primitive materials, scientists hope that the probe will collect valuable information that could help explain the origins of our solar system. Who to tell: Your grandparents who watched the Moon Landing (don’t mention the Virgin Galactic crash.)

3) The Canadians are pretty nice neighbors: After a microphone failure at the Toronto Maple Leaf’s game on Nov. 18 left our national anthem inaudible, Canadian hockey fans filled in to sing the rest of the Star Spangled Banner before the game began. Who to tell: Your neighbor, duh.

4) Taylor Swift ‘s 1989 happened: If you hate Taylor, stop reading now (and maybe do some soul searching.) Anyone with ears should admit they’re thankful for 1989. Who to tell: Play Shake It Off for your grandma, play Blank Space for your cousin who just dumped her boyfriend, play the rest of the album for anyone who will listen.

5) We reached a historic climate change agreement with China: Since the U.S. and China make up 40% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, it’s a big deal that the two biggest polluters are committing to cleaning up the planet, especially since China has previously been unwilling to cooperate on this issue. The fact that China is willing to work with the U.S. to curb climate change is great news for the planet. Who to tell: This one’s good news for the whole table.

So cheer up and eat up. The bad news can wait till Black Friday.

TIME Thailand

Thai Children Break World Record for Dressing as Christmas Elves

Students gather to break the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of Christmas elves outside a shopping mall in Bangkok on Nov. 25, 2014 Chaiwat Subprasom—Reuters

Largest gathering ever of Santa's little helpers near Bangkok

Santa’s little helpers are getting busy in Thailand’s capital Bangkok.

On Tuesday, 1,792 children dressed in matching red, green and white hats and T-shirts and pointy plastic ears to break the Guinness World Record for the largest Christmas elves gathering, Reuters reports.

The previous record was set when 1,110 little elves got together in Wetherby, England.

“I’m happy to have helped break the world record and steal the title from England,” said 11-year-old Theerathep Noonkao, who attended the event in his wheelchair.

While predominantly Buddhist, Thailand breaks out the holiday sheen every year, as shops and hotels widely decorate for Christmas.

[Reuters]

TIME Family

7 Thanksgiving Mishaps That Will Make Your Turkey Time Look Good

Even Mayor Bloomberg doesn't have the best Thanksgiving luck

While Thanksgiving is often touted as a bright, warm time full of family, food, and friendship, not everyone has an Instagram-perfect holiday. To give you that extra bit of Turkey Day ego boost (or schadenfreude), here are 7 Thanksgiving mishaps that we think rank up there as some of the all-time biggest turkeys:

The Bloomberg Family Had a Crappy Thanksgiving — Literally
Georgiana Bloomberg, daughter of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, explained her family’s less-than-ideal Thanksgiving, at the Humane Society’s gala Friday. Bloomberg recounted her first Thanksgiving with her 10-year-old adopted Chihuahua, at the New York City Animal Care & Control center. “For Thanksgiving, she got to come to Gracie Mansion,” NYMag reports Bloomberg said. “And she proceeded to have explosive diarrhea all over the front hall of Gracie Mansion. And we always joke it was her way of thanking the city for deeming her unadoptable.”

Thief Takes Turkey
A Connecticut man was on his way to a friend’s house on Thanksgiving 2013, turkey and stuffing in-hand, when he got held up at gunpoint, a local Fox affiliate reported. Not only did the thief take Jimmy Mulligan’s wallet, but he took the turkey and fixings to boot. After police officers learned that the 911 call was not, in fact, a joke, they felt so bad that they bought Mulligan two Thanksgiving dinners from Boston Market.

Turkey Takes Down Thief
In 2008, a North Carolina carjacker was served his Thanksgiving turkey early. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, bystanders witnessed a man trying to steal a woman’s keys outside of a grocery store. When he started attacking his resistant victim, onlookers decided to take action and started hitting the thief over the head with a frozen Thanksgiving turkey. WRAL News reported that police later arrested the carjacker.

That’s a Big Carving Knife
Police told NJ.com that a Montclair man was arrested after threatening a group of people, who had “excluded” him from their Thanksgiving festivities, with a machete. He was arrested and no one was injured.

Speaking of Utensils…
Thanksgiving dinner conversations can get heated, but a Maryland woman might have taken the pie in 2012 when an argument ended by her stabbing her half-brother with a serving fork. He was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and she was arrested for first-degree assault.

Catching Fire
Of course, one of the most common holiday disasters is house fires. According to the American Red Cross, cooking-related infernos occur twice as often on Thanksgiving than on any other day.

Deep Fried Disaster
On that note, here’s someone who almost lit himself on fire when he tried to deep fry his Thanksgiving Day turkey:

Bon appetite!

TIME viral

YouTube Stars Destroy Things You Hate in New Web Series SmashUp

“If you could destroy anything, just smash it to bits, what would it be?”

If your id had a Web series, SmashUp would be it. The YouTube show, created by Astronauts Wanted, will feature Vine and YouTube stars smashing things to smithereens. The items to be demolished will be crowdsourced via Twitter, where viewers can suggest their most detested objects with the hashtag #SmashUp.

Scotty Sire, The Gabbie Show, Vincent Cyr and Kaitlin Witcher — whose names will only mean something to you if you follow social media celebrities — will star in the series, channeling their inner vandals to destroy such divisive items as Crocs and a Furby. Presumably, the objects they destroy will be physical, although smashing up intangible concepts (intolerance, the wage gap) would be even more impressive.

It’s unlikely to hold viewers’ attention for very long, assuming the smashing of objects won’t be connected by any kind of narrative thread. But a vicarious bout of wreaking rageful havoc, without actually destroying any of your possessions, could be a nice way to unwind from a stressful day.

The destruction begins on Dec. 1.

TIME Advertising

No, Budweiser Isn’t Ditching Its Tear-Jerker Clydesdales Ads for ‘Jay Z and Zombies’

"Straight from the horse’s mouth: The Budweiser Clydesdales are here to stay"

What’s the only thing that will make you cry harder than Budweiser’s tear-jerker “Puppy Love” ad, in which a golden retriever and a Clydesdale horse form an interspecies friendship, set to a bittersweet Fleetwood Mac song? Reports that the beer titan is ditching its heartwarming Clydesdale campaign for Jay-Z, zombies, and other millennial-grabbing ephemera.

In a Monday piece about Budweiser’s reported millennial problem — 44% of 21-27 year-olds have never tried a Budthe Wall Street Journal reported that the company’s iconic “Clydesdales are out” and that “February’s Super Bowl ads will feature something more current than last year’s Fleetwood Mac.”

Luckily for you nostalgia lovers, that is actually not the case.

“Let me be clear,” Budweiser VP Brian Perkins said in a statement emailed to TIME. “Straight from the horse’s mouth: The Budweiser Clydesdales are here to stay and will continue to play a central role in our campaigns, including holidays and Super Bowl.”

Budweiser sent TIME its new holiday ad, which melds millennials and Clydesdales, which can be viewed above.

This isn’t just good news for puppy lovers. It benefits Budweiser, as well.

Currently clocking 53 million YouTube views and counting, “Puppy Love,” made by ad agency Anomaly, was a the most viral ad of the Super Bowl. And according to Unruly Media’s measurements, three of the four most shared Super Bowl ads of all time starred the Budweiser Clydesdale’s. (This includes “Puppy Love,” “Brotherhood,” and its 9/11 tribute.)

Co-founder and chief operating officer of Unruly Media, Sarah Wood, told TIME that when it comes to driving sharing and brand metrics, “It’s the strength of emotional connection, and the goal for all savvy advertisers in 2015 should be valuable virality.”

But if millennials aren’t drinking Budweiser, does the fact that the ads get shared even matter?

Let’s look at it this way. According to a 2014 Unruly report analyzing Super Bowl ad statistics, not only didn’t ads with celebrities drive online sharing, but they also didn’t provide for brand recall.

You might remember that Ben Kingsley was in a Super Bowl spot, but do you remember that he was selling a Jaguar? Chrysler might have made a beautiful ad starring Bob Dylan, but according to Unruly, only 7% of people who watched the ad realized that it was for Chrysler.

Budweiser’s Clydesdales, on the other hand, boasted 89% consumer recall.

“We are excited to see exactly how much the Clydesdales can still touch the hearts and minds of our passionate fan base,” Budweiser’s Perkins says. “There have never been any plans to remove our beloved Budweiser Clydesdales from our brand identity. In fact, we can confirm they will return to the Super Bowl in 2015.”

Of course, if Budweiser wanted to have Jay-Z and Beyoncé come in riding the Clydesdales in an upcoming tear-jerker Super Bowl ad, we won’t complain.

Here are some past Clydesdale Super Bowl ads:

TIME celebrity

Nick Offerman Stars in Decemberists’ Heartbreaking New Music Video

Brief performance exists at the intersection of humor and pain

We know Nick Offerman best as a man’s man, a man of few words whose stoicism rarely betrays the emotions within. And that’s why the times when he does express an ounce of sadness or regret cut a little bit deeper. In this video for the Decemberists’ “Make You Better,” Offerman gets laughs as a fumbling German talk show host interviewing lead singer Colin Meloy. But it’s his portrayal of longing and insecurity that makes the performance memorable.

Though he’s all moustache and bravado on the outside, Offerman’s character faces that familiar pain of unrequited love, and a nerve too weak to proclaim it. As he struggles to find the right words, the Decemberists play a song of need and regret to match the shape of his wound. The premise is funny, but the execution, a little bit heartbreaking.

“Make You Better” appears on the forthcoming album What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World, which drops on Jan. 20.

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