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Saturday, April 19, 2014

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Entertainment Blog

Breaking down the MTV Movie Awards

By Ben Stram          Last updated: 04/15/14 4:18pm         

From Blake Griffin to Taylor Swift, the celebrities were in full force attending the MTV Movie Awards Monday night. Heck, even Internet celebrity Grumpy Cat was there as well!

Between Eminem & Rihanna, Twenty One Pilots and Conan O’Brien & Adam DeVine the performers gave the crowd entertainment all night long.

While it was a big night for celebrities and performers, it was even a bigger night for both “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” at the MTV Movie Awards.

Both movies, along with “American Hustle,” received eight nominations for awards. However, “American Hustle” did not win a single award. “We’re the Millers” also received six nominations.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” took home the most awards with three; the “Movie of the Year,” “Best Male Performance” and “Best Female Performance." 

The popular series won “Movie of the Year” over “12 Years a Slave,” “American Hustler,” “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

The film received “Best Male Performance” by Josh Hutcherson. He was able to edge out Bradley Cooper in “American Hustle,” Chiwetel Ejiofor in “12 Years a Slave,” Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

The final award “The Hunger Games” brought in was “Best Female Performance” by Jennifer Lawrence. She received four total nominations as well, leading the way for females.

She beat out Amy Adams in “American Hustle,” Jennifer Aniston in “We’re the Millers,” Sandra Bullock in “Gravity” and Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years a Slave” to win the award.

Three other movies were awarded two awards a piece; “We're the Millers,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “This Is the End.”

Leonardo DiCaprio also received five nominations altogether while winning the “#WTF Moment” award.

Other films that received multiple nominations were “12 Years a Slave,” “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and “This is the End” all received four.

“Identity Thief,” “Iron Man 3,” “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa,” “Ride Along,” “The Spectator Now” and “Thor: The Dark World” each received two.

Breaking down Academy of Country Music Awards winners

By Casey Holland          Last updated: 04/07/14 11:08pm         

Sunday night was dedicated to the country music industry at the 2014 Academy of Country Music Awards. The event was hosted by country music stars Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan and featured performances from both co-hosts.

Lee Brice, George Strait, The Band Perry and Miranda Lambert also took the stage, along with a special guest performance from Shakira when she performed with her co-star on "The Voice," Blake Shelton.

Here are the winners of the 2014 Academy of Country Music Awards.

George Strait beat Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift and Blake Shelton for "Entertainer of the Year."

"Album of the Year" was awarded to "Same Trailer Different Park" from Kacey Musgraves. The performer is well-known for her song, "Merry Go Round."

The Band Perry earned "Vocal Group of the Year," beating Eli Young Band, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town and Zac Brown Band.

Miranda Lambert earned herself a win with "Female Vocalist of the Year." Her sassy single, "Mama's Broken Heart," also took home "Single Record of the Year."

Jason Aldean later earned "Male Vocalist of the Year."

Lee Brice's emotional "I Drive Your Truck," a song about the narrator grieving over the loss of his brother, took home "Song of the Year."

Justin Moore earned "New Artist of the Year," beating Brett Eldredge and Kip Moore for the title.

Florida Georgia Line, the duo behind the upbeat song "Cruise," earned "Vocal Duo of the Year."

The music video for Tim McGraw's song "Highway Don't Care" won "Video of the Year." The song also features Keith Urban and Taylor Swift.

Miranda Lambert took home one more award with the help of Keith Urban. Their duet, "We Were Us," earned "Vocal Event of the Year" as an off-camera award.

Eminem releases new single about his mother

By Sergio Martínez-Beltrán          Last updated: 03/10/14 9:33pm         

After several unflattering songs directed at his mother, Slim Shady is back and now he is sorry.

Rapper Eminem’s new song “Headlights” is an apology to his mother, Debbie Mathers, whom he has previously insulted in his songs “Cleaning Out the Closet” and “My Mom.”

In “Headlights,” the rapper talks about how he was kicked out of his house on a Christmas Eve and how his father, who has been absent most of Eminem’s life, was responsible for his strained relationship with Mathers.

According to a Yahoo Music article, the song’s name refers to the rapper and Mathers’ last meeting. As she drove, he became fixated on the headlights of her car as he was overwhelmed with emotion.

In the song, Eminem recognized that he let his mom down as he raps, “you did your best to raise us both.”

Fun frontman Nate Russ is featured in this song.

The song is featured on the rapper’s new album, “The Marshall Mathers LP 2,” which was released in November of 2013. “Headlights” is the fifteenth song in the CD, and the single was released in February.

Throughout his career, Eminem has had a controversial relationship with his mom.

In the song “Cleaning Out the Closet”, the rapper confessed that his mom was always using drugs and he even said he hoped she’d “burn in hell.”

Eminem’s life has been a difficult one. From being bullied at school to having to deal with his mom and his own drug problems, he has found music as way to express himself.

Eminem’s first major album, “The Slim Shady LP,” was released in 1999.

Breaking down the Oscar nominations

By Casey Holland          Last updated: 02/24/14 8:59pm         

The 2014 Oscars are less than a week away, and audience members will be anxiously glued to their televisions as they watch to see whether their favorites will go home with an award. Here are some of the films and actors that have received the most nominations for this year’s awards:

“American Hustle” is one the leaders in nominations with 10. The film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor with Christian Bale, Best Actress with Amy Adams and Best Supporting Actor with Bradley Cooper.

Jennifer Lawrence also earned the movie a nominee as Best Supporting Actress. The film was also nominated for Best Director with David O. Russell, Best Original Screenplay, Film Editing, Costume Design and Production Design.

“Gravity” also roped in 10 nominations. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress with Sandra Bullock, Best Director with Alfonso Cuarón, Film Editing, Best Original Score from Steven Price and Best Cinematography with Emmanuel Lubezki.

The film was also nominated for Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects.

Another big contender is “12 Years a Slave” with nine nominations. The film was nominated for Best Picture, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Best Actor, Michael Fassbender as Best Supporting Actor, Lupita Nyong’o as Best Supporting Actress and Steve McQueen as Best Director.

It is also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing, Costume Design and Production Design.

The category of Best Picture has the most nominations this year. Along with those previously mentioned, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska, Philomena and The Wolf of Wall Street are up for the award.

Disney’s “Frozen” earned a handful of nominations as well, both for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song with Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go.”

With so many nominations under their belts, “American Hustle,” “Gravity,” and “12 Years a Slave,” are practically guaranteed to leave with awards.

Other big contenders are “The Great Gatsby” for their dazzling costume design and Leonardo DiCaprio as Best Actor for “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Keeping up with the Vatican

By Sierra Lay          Last updated: 02/18/14 11:05pm         

There’s an app for that.

Keeping up with the Vatican has become faster and simpler with the new availability and popularity of a mobile app called Papa Francesco News.

For many Roman Catholics and followers of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, or Pope Francis, being aware of the happenings in the Vatican is paramount to keeping in touch with their faith around the world. The news app, which came out in November 2013, is now available for purchase on both the Apple and Android markets.

Upon purchasing and opening the app, users are immediately greeted with the most recent news about Pope Francis. The app can be adjusted to deliver news in Italian, English, Spanish or Portuguese. Users also can access mounds of information including photos, analysis and the history of the Pope, the Vatican and the religion itself.

Kristen Walenta, a freshman in James Madison College, said the app appeals to her because she can find all the updates about Pope Francis in one place.

“You don’t have to search through newspapers and newscasts to find out what the Pope is doing,” Walenta said.

The app provides a swift and accessible news avenue for anyone who’s interested in what Pope Francis has been doing recently. For some students who find it difficult to attend mass due to the hectic combination of work, class and homework schedules, having the news they want at their fingertips is critical to staying up to date.

Applied engineering sciences freshman Jessica Totten said the accessibility of the app keeps her updated on what she misses when she has to miss church.

“I think it is good because most people have smartphones now, and it’s much easier if it’s on my phone, right in front of me,” Totten said.

The Beatles are still an iconic group

By Casey Holland          Last updated: 02/11/14 11:54am         

The Beatles celebrated a golden anniversary this past weekend — February 9 marked the beginning of a Beatles takeover with their performance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

A record-breaking 74 million people watched the show that night, and my grandparents were two of those people who were glued to their televisions as the British band performed.

To many, this was an iconic moment in music history. I myself wouldn’t know of the significance behind it, or The Beatles in general, until my grandparents unearthed their own piece of the band they loved.

I wasn’t really a big listener of The Beatles until I turned 13-years-old, and probably wouldn’t have become one if my grandparents weren’t such big fans. They used to own an Abbey Road vinyl, and my earliest Beatles memory was listening to it with them in their basement during the summer.

After that, I became hooked. “Hey Jude” is one of the most-played songs on my iTunes, though The Beatles are still associated with the sound of vinyl and the comfort of my grandparents’ basement for me.

50 years and three generations have gone by since the band was greeted by screaming girls as they first set foot in America. Even after the tragic deaths of John Lennon and George Harrison, their music has lived on.

Even after all this time, The Beatles are still a prominent name in music today, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I were to one day hear my own kids listening to them.

Super Bowl ads vary from funny to poignant

By Casey Holland          Last updated: 02/03/14 10:01pm         

Although Sunday’s Super Bowl game prompted many disappointed groans and frustrated Facebook statuses and tweets, the commercials that ran during the game were not all discouraging.

“Full House” fans were probably pleased when they saw John Stamos, aka “Uncle Jesse,” appear in a Dannon Oikos Greek yogurt commercial. Stamos was quickly joined by his former co-stars, Bob Saget and Dave Coulier, who played neat-freak Danny Tanner and the comedic Joey Gladstone. The trio’s reunion was a reminder of their sitcom days.

Microsoft decided to display the more appealing side of technology and show viewers all the good that it can provide. It might not have initiated laughter from its viewers, but it was a refreshing break from talks of technology takeovers and “Big Brother is watching.” The ad showcased a variety of Windows and Kinect products.

The Budweiser puppy commercial had the potential to melt hearts — it would be hard not to adore the sight of a floppy-eared puppy pursuing the horse he loves. MSU’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations ranked the commercial as number one within their top 10, according to an article by MSU Today.

Bud Light took viewers on a wild ride that depicted a scenario of what would happen if someone were to offer a random person a Bud Light. The man was taken on an adventure in a limo with Reggie Watts acting as his personal DJ and later was a part of a table tennis match with Arnold Schwarzenegger wearing a wig.

As the ads rolled on, they showed a fair balance between the comedic and more serious themes. From a self-mocking RadioShack commercial to a yellow M&M facing the mob and Esurance’s big giveaway at the end of the night, the Super Bowl’s ads were far from disappointing and provided more entertainment than the game itself.

Puppies tackle their own bowl

By April Jones          Last updated: 02/02/14 11:10pm         

This Sunday wasn’t only about beer and football.

Aside from drunken men and women yelling at the television set watching grown men physically battle it out on a 50-yard field, there was a much calmer game played by fluffy four-legged animals.

The Puppy Bowl.

The game is an annual event that brings in millions of animal-loving viewers to watch puppies — yes, puppies — play football.

All of the puppies involved come from shelters, making the game a worthy promotion.

This year, the tenth annual Puppy Bowl introduced 36 puppies ranging from 12-21 weeks old. The puppies played inside of a model stadium while announcers gave a play-by-play.

The Puppy Bowl is filmed inside of a miniature 19-feet long by 10 feet wide stadium where the pups carelessly jump on each other to get the football. When the pup crossed into the end-zone, a touchdown was scored.

Penguin cheerleaders celebrated the victories.

According to CNN, during the first Puppy Bowl in 2005, there were 5.58 million viewers who watched the puppies take on football. Each year, the Puppy Bowl gains more viewers and last year there were a whopping 12.4 million who watched Puppy Bowl IX.

The two-hour show was aired on Animal Planet and started at 3 p.m. and continued with hourly repeats after.

While Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers performed at the actual Super Bowl’s halftime show, the Puppy Bowl featured the Internet-famous Keyboard Cat who was joined by kitten back-up dancers.

The Puppy Bowl is one of those ridiculously cute shows that keep the tense Super Bowl Sunday light and fun.

Grammy awards show diversity, style

By Casey Holland          Last updated: 01/28/14 9:09am         

The 2014 Grammy Awards on Sunday was packed to the brim with flashy performances, awards and even a wedding ceremony for 33 diverse couples. Queen Latifah performed the ceremony as Ryan Lewis and Macklemore performed “Same Love” featuring Mary Lambert.

Eighty-two awards were given before the final performance by Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Lindsey Buckingham and David Grohl. Here is a list of some of the evening’s winners.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were the first to earn an award, winning Best New Artist.

Daft Punk was next with the award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their song “Get Lucky” with Pharrell Williams. The group also won Album of the Year and Best Dance/Electronica Album for “Random Access Memories” and Record of the Year for “Get Lucky.”

Best Rock Song went to Paul McCartney for his song, “Cut Me Some Slack.” Lorde’s award for Best Pop Solo Performance with “Royals” was next, the song also earning an award for Song of the Year.

The Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration went to Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake for their song “Holy Grail.” Bruno Mars was next to receive an award, his album “Unorthodox Jukebox” being recognized as the Best Pop Vocal Album.

The country awards came into play when Kacey Musgraves won Best Country Album for “Same Trailer Different Park.” Best Country Solo Performance went to Darius Rucker’s “Wagon Wheel.”

Imagine Dragons’ performance of “Radioactive” took the title of Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Album went to Led Zeppelin’s “Celebration Day.”

“Modern Vampires of the City” from the group Vampire Weekend won Best Alternative Music Album.

Best R&B Album went to “Girl on Fire” from Alicia Keys. Snarky Puppy with Lalah Hathaway won Best R&B Performance for their song “Something.”

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis earned an award for their song “Thrift Shop” with Wanz, the song winning Best Rap Performance. Their album “The Heist” also earned the Best Rap Album award.

Too cold to go out? Check out the new releases on Netflix

By Ben Stram          Last updated: 01/23/14 9:43pm         

Has it finally come to the point where it’s just too cold outside to do anything? Need something to watch that can get your mind off of school and work?

Netflix is offering even more shows for the coming months of snow and freezing temperatures.

The streaming service has added many new movies and TV shows for the new year. The list includes the final four seasons of “Dexter,” “Drinking Buddies” featuring Olivia Wilde and the movie “Jack Reacher” starring Tom Cruise.

This is all after a tremendous fourth quarter of 2013, a quarter where Netflix has seen its biggest growth since its first quarter in 2011.

Its subscriber growth has grown 2.3 million in the final quarter of 2013, and many more television enthusiasts continue to join the service daily.

This rapid growth has caused the stock to rise 16 percent from where it was projected to be by the end of the quarter. Part of this reason for the growth is due to “service improvements, marketing effectiveness, and sales of Internet-connected devices,” according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Chief Financial Officer David Wells.

The nice thing about the steady growth that they have had is that Netflix is stepping up its game for 2014. They are adding another season of “House of Cards” on Valentine’s Day and also adding the final eight episodes of “Breaking Bad” on Feb. 24.

Throughout the year, they will also be adding new seasons of “Orange is the New Black,” “Lilyhammer,” “Hemlock Grove,” “Derek,” and the exclusive final season of “The Killing.”

As Netflix continues to grow upon its 44 million subscriber base, be sure that they continue to push out exclusive content only for their subscribers.

As a Netflix subscriber, there will be something to obsess over this winter.