Even when it’s at its best, modern SNL is rarely shocking. Funny, strange, silly and clever, sure. But shocking? Nah. The show doesn’t seem to set out to offend every week. So when the show broke out a fake commercial that depicted 50 Shades of Grey star and guest host Dakota Johnson joining the radical terrorist group ISIS, jaws rightfully hit the ground. Who approved this? And could they start approving more sketches?
With Dakota Johnson guest hosting, last night’s SNL had no shortage of 50 Shades of Grey jokes. For her part, Johnson seemed equally bemused and embarrassed by her controversial new hit, rolling with whatever the show threw at her and always coming out looking far better than her naysayers expected. Her ability to make fun of herself and the film that has turned her into an overnight movie star really came together in the only sketch of the night that required her to play herself.
Modern SNL has one of the strongest female line-ups in the show’s history, so it’s always a pleasure when the writers give this group of extremely funny ladies a chance to shine together. This sketch is a weird one because it feels like such an odd and specific concept that must have been a real pain in the butt to pitch in the writer’s room, but the execution is simply sublime: a group of women start being brutally honest with the people in their lives and immediately celebrate to the impossibly catchy sounds of Sara Bareilles’ “Brave.”
Every Oscar night has its fair share of dramatic and moving moments, but nothing ever comes close to the "In Memoriam" segment, which honors the actors, actresses, writers, directors, producers and technicians who passed away in the past year. Just when you think you've gotten over the death of a talent who truly mattered to you, this portion of the show rears its head and tears your heart open all over again.
As frustrating as it was for an already long ceremony to pause for a seemingly unnecessary musical number, all was immediately forgiven when Pink took to the 2014 Oscars stage to perform a rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as part of a 'Wizard of Oz' tribute. Sure, that iconic musical fantasy may have nothing to do with anything happening in or around the broadcast, but does anyone really need a reason to celebrate one of the greatest films ever made?
The 2014 Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, started off with a bang. The comedienne, who previously hosted seven years ago, took the stage and immediately made it her own. Like any host worth her salt, she took the material given to her and blended it with her own specific persona, giving the telecast a gentle and amusing start.
This weekend saw a brutal showdown between Liam Neeson, the current god of action cinema, and Jesus Christ, the current god of millions of human beings. Since the box office is a "two may enter, but only one may leave" type showdown, the victory ultimately went to Mr. Neeson and 'Non-Stop,' which edged out the son of God and his movie, uh, 'Son of God' to win the weekend.
Everyone can agree that child actors are generally unbearable and drag down otherwise good movies. So what happens when you recast this year's Oscar nominees with a bunch of wooden, smiling and occasionally barely coherent kids? You get the Spotlightz! acting camp, which recreates some of the past year's most acclaimed films in unspeakably awful ways. Thanks for that, 'SNL.'
Snarky movie reviews are nothing new (especially in the cruel world of internet journalism), but few people can deliver bitter sarcasm and loathing quite like Taran Killam in the guise of an 1860s newspaper reporter named Jebediah Atkinson. Inexplicably torn out of his century and thrust onto the 'SNL' stage, Atkinson appeared on the latest Weekend Update to talk about the Oscars and proceeded to tear cinematic history a new one.
When you make a movie as emotionally draining and difficult to watch as '12 Years a Slave,' you're bound to make the vast majority of the people watching uncomfortable. After all, if people aren't upset by a film that tracks a man being dehumanized and treated as property, you're obviously doing something wrong. But if a film is that hard to watch, what was it like to make? Thankfully, 'SNL' is here to show us all of the nitty gritty details.
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