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Celebritology 2.0: August 2, 2009 - August 8, 2009

A Q&A With John Hughes's Pen Pal

At the age of 15, when most Gen Xers desperately coveted an exclusive membership in "The Breakfast Club," Alison Byrne Fields became friends with the man who founded it. Fields, 39, was pen pals with writer-director John Hughes for two years, exchanging roughly 20 to 25 personal letters with him from 1985 to 1987. When the filmmaker died suddenly on Thursday at the age of 59, she wrote a touching personal essay -- entitled "Sincerely, John Hughes" -- that described all the details about their exchange of letters and the relationship they developed. She then posted it to her personal blog, "We'll Know When We Get There." The movie that launched a beautiful letter-writing friendship. (Universal Studios) By Friday morning, the blog post was being Tweeted, Facebooked and passed along via e-mail in electronic droves by Hughes fans moved by her story. By mid-afternoon that same day, she was receiving...

By Jen Chaney  | August 7, 2009; 11:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Obits, Pop Culture  | Tags:  Alison Byrne Fields, John Hughes, The Breakfast Club  
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Clip Show: Breaking Down the Best (and Worst) Movie Trailers

"Marie Antoinette": Fab trailer, so-so movie. (Columbia Pictures) "In a world where Liz Kelly is taking a well-deserved vacation, Jen Chaney dared to write a Friday post. But before she could find a pop culture-related topic to riff on, she had to find herself." Did you read that in your best Don LaFontaine voice? Excellent. Because today we're talking movie trailers. Earlier this summer, IFC posted a list of the 50 Greatest Trailers of All Time, one of those massive, time-sucking rundowns sure to invite debate (and pageviews) on the Web. Most of the selections were strong because the smarties at IFC chose coming attractions that dared to be different, didn't reveal their films' entire plots in two minutes and were wise enough to avoid most of the usual trailer tropes. (Translation: I don't think one of these sets an uplifting montage to the tune of Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury...

By Jen Chaney  | August 7, 2009; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Pop Culture  
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Trial Date for Freeman; R.I.P., John Hughes

John Hughes, hanging at a locker circa 1984. (AP) Headlines: Trial date set for Morgan Freeman in car wreck case ... Victoria Beckham and Katy Perry to serve as guest judges on "American Idol" ... Madonna cancels Slovenia gig ... Airplane of Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore makes emergency landing ... Miley Cyrus granted temporary restraining order against man arrested earlier this week for allegedly stalking her; meanwhile, police search accused stalker's home... New York prosecutors say Michael Douglas's son has dealt large quantities of meth since 2006 ... Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West to kick off Jay Leno's new show... Tom Sizemore arrested for alleged domestic violence ... Has production stopped on "Spider-Man" musical? RIP, John Hughes: The king of '80s teen movies dies at the age of 59... Molly Ringwald pays tribute to the man who made her his muse ... More celebs say goodbye, including Jon...

By Jen Chaney  | August 7, 2009; 8:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Daily Mix  
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Remembering the Teen Movies of John Hughes

The members of John Hughes's "Breakfast Club." (Universal) The AP and other news outlets have reported that John Hughes -- the man who essentially invented the teen movie as we now know it -- has died at the age of 59. The writer/director behind "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club," "Pretty in Pink," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and many, many others evidently had a heart attack while taking a morning walk in Manhattan. For any child of the '80s, this is a tremendously sad moment. His movies may not have been Academy Award winners, but they resonated enormously with anyone trying to navigate adolescence during the MTV decade. When we felt alone, he let us join a breakfast club. When we needed a girlfriend with a flair for thrift shop fashion, he gave us Molly Ringwald. And when we craved a rebellious role model, he provided us with Bueller, Ferris...

By Jen Chaney  | August 6, 2009; 5:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
Categories:  Pop Culture  
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Comic Book Characters Who Are Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Recently, the Morning Mix has been awash with news about casting for comic book movies -- Ryan Reynolds is getting a solo Deadpool movie! And he's going to be Green Lantern! Natalie Portman is the love interest for Thor! Because of the success of relatively obscure heroes like Blade and Hellboy, other characters most comic book fans probably never dreamed would get their own movie are now hot commodities. When even Ant-Man has a movie in the pipeline -- because nothing says dynamic visuals like the powers of shrinking and ant telepathy -- it's fair to ask if any character is safe. The answer is yes. I would argue that these five characters are the least likely to ever see the light of celluloid. But if they ever do, I've offered suggestions on who should play them. Negative Man: When his plane exploded, test pilot Larry Trainor was left horribly...

By Nancy Kerr  | August 6, 2009; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
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Steven Tyler Injured After Stage Fall

Headlines: Steven Tyler taken to hospital after falling off stage in South Dakota. ... Judge delays Chris Brown sentencing...Jude Law's latest baby mama (that we know of) Samantha Burke is a former Hooters girl ... Method Man explains that BB gun target practice on a tour bus can be dangerous ... "True Blood's" Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer engaged ... Ashley Olsen surprised she didn't end up like Britney (don't worry, there's still time). Reality TV Roundup: Susan Boyle gets Harper's Bazaar makeover...Is Paula Adbul headed to "So You Think You Can Dance"? ... Randy Jackson "shocked" by Paua Abdul's departure from "Idol"... Will Victoria Beckham replace Paula? Rumor Mill: Ed Swiderski cheating on "Bachelorette" Jillian Harris...Leighton Meester says she was never in a sex tape ... More racy pics of possibly clothes-phobic Vanessa Hudgens surface ... Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem expecting ... Jon Gosselin also dating nanny? Bonus:...

By Nancy Kerr  | August 6, 2009; 8:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
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Introducing: 'The Unclickables'

"Octomom" (AP/Nick Ut); Chris Brown (Getty Images/Jason Merritt); Trista and Ryan Sutter (AP/Nam Y. Huh) Omarosa (Reuters/Phil McCarten); Katherine Heigl (AP/Mark J. Terrill) In the business of online content production, journalists like myself aim to make the articles that we edit as attractive as possible to users. Sometimes that means creating a photo gallery to accompany a piece. Other times it's writing an interesting headline to grab a reader's attention. But for some subjects, it means engaging in a Sisyphean task: Drumming up interest in some celebrities that people just do not care about. To many, these (loosely-categorized) stars buzz in and out of the public eye, mere annoyances in their day. At home, they act as visual kryptonite, for when they appear on television, a Pavlovian-like response is initiated with viewers reaching for the remotes like Luke Skywalker grasping for his lightsaber. Online, I've come to view these...

By Christian Pelusi  | August 5, 2009; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
Categories:  Celebrities, Pop Culture  | Tags:  chris brown, katherine heigl, octomom, omarosa, trista sutter  
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Paula Abdul Bids Adieu to 'Idol'

Headlines: Paula Abdul calls it quits after eight years on "American Idol"... Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears rake in MTV Video Music Awards noms... "Criminal Minds" actor Shemar Moore breaks his leg... CBS Films is set to a big-screen version of "Gunsmoke"... Jason Segel and Jonah Hill reunite for a new comedy project... Jennifer Aniston gets her groove on in a new film project... In light of recent personal issues, Mischa Barton is not in danger of losing her role on upcoming CW series, says executive producer Ashton Kutcher... Jessica Simpson wheels out her own line of lingerie... Joe Jackson pledges not to help in raising Michael's children.... "Jon & Kate Plus 8" draws sold, not spectacular, numbers. Rumor Mill: Dustin DIamond aka "Screech" left out of "Saved by the Bell" reunion photo shoot... Is there a Michael Jackson film in the works?... Method Man accused of shooting a...

By Christian Pelusi  | August 5, 2009; 8:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
Categories:  Daily Mix  | Tags:  american idol, bradley cooper, jennifer aniston, jillian harris, method man, mtv video music awards, paula abdul, shemar moore, tom cruise  
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Welcome to the Jungle

I recently relocated from the orbit of D.C./Charlottesville to the very different galaxy of Los Angeles, where my husband is a reporter covering television. Talk about an armchair Celebritologist’s dream – an opportunity to stop relying on Us Weekly to show me that stars are just like me, and to see them wandering around in their natural habitat. Awesome. Actor Jon Hamm attends the 25th Annual Television Critics Association Awards in Pasadena, California August 1, 2009 (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) Except for one thing. Stars are not just like us. They are mythologically blessed – with good genes, talent, agents who help them show off that talent, and the good fortune to get a lot of freebies. And hey, good for them. But once in a while they do have to do some kind of normal thing, like run to Target – which is where I ran into my...

By Nancy Kerr  | August 4, 2009; 10:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
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Kara DioGuardi Returning as 'Idol' Judge

Headlines: Katherine Jackson wins custody of Michael's three kids ... Kara DioGuardi returning as "American Idol" judge ... Wayne Brady to host "Let's Make a Deal" revival ... Dennis "Mr. Belding" Haskins left out of "Saved By the Bell" reunion ... Mary Lynn Rajskub of "24" (whose role in "Julie & Julia" is too small) marries a personal trainer in Vegas ... Reserve your Kate Gosselin wig early, lest it sell out before Halloween ... Get ready to celebrate Megan Fox Day, courtesy of E! ... Lestat leads Entertainment Weekly's vampire list. Police blotter: Michael Douglas's son arrested in New York meth bust. Pix: Jennifer Love Hewitt and her impractical footwear play tennis in Hawaii ... Nicolette Sheridan looks amazing in a bathing suit ... Jack Nicholson, not so much. Rumor Mill: "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer accused of ripping off plot ... Arnold Schwarzenegger allegedly planning post-gubernatorial movie comeback ......

By Nancy Kerr  | August 4, 2009; 8:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
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Heidi, We've Got Your Back!

Guest blogger Delece Smith-Barrow helps Heidi Montag prepare for her big day. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) Okay, folks. We've only got 20 days until the Miss Universe Pageant, but I think that's enough time to help newlywed Heidi Montag Pratt. As you all know, she'll be belting out her latest song at the pageant on Aug. 23, but there's an elephant in the room that could stand in front of her success: She can't sing (as evidenced here and here)! As an avid fan of "The Hills," I do not want to see my favorite bimbo blonde bombshell crash and burn as she tries to pursue other opportunities. And since Heidi's skills as an entertainer lie more in the realm of reality TV villain than songstress, I've decided to give her some words of wisdom to prepare for her big day. No matter how challenging the performance may be:...

By Delece Smith-Barrow  | August 3, 2009; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Celebrity Life Lessons  | Tags:  Britney Spears, Heidi Montag, Heidi Pratt, Heidiwood, Jessica Simpson, Miss Universe Pageant  
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Ryan O'Neal Hits on Daughter; Katherine Jackson Returns to Court

Headlines: Mark Wahlberg marries longtime girlfriend Rhea Durham…Tyra Banks, Hillary Duff to appear on Gossip Girl...Jessica Biel breaks into musical theater...Jaime Pressly engaged...Ryan O'Neal admits he mistakenly hit on daughter Tatum at Farrah Fawcett’s funeral...Katherine Jackson in court today for control of son's estate... Former Paris Hilton manager shopping tell-all book. Crime Watch: Nicolas Cage owes IRS $6.2 million. TV Watch: Jon & Kate Plus 8 returns tonight. Pix: Jennifer Lopez vacations in Italy with husband Marc Anthony and twins...Russell Brand dons interesting workout gear. Video:: Jude Law's possible baby mama gives press conference: Rumor Mill: Tony Romo’s wandering eye to blame for split with Jessica Simpson…Naomi Campbell attacks and hospitalizes photographer. Coming up today: Producer Paul interviews Ashton Kutcher and Anne Heche via Skype today at 2:05 p.m. Anything you want him to ask? Leave a message for him in the comments section. And check back here later...

By Delece Smith-Barrow  | August 3, 2009; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (70)
Categories:  Daily Mix  | Tags:  Farah Fawcett, Gossip Girl, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Katherine Jackson, Mark Walhberg, Nicolas Cage, Ryan O'Neal, Tony Romo  
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