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It must be said that “Best Years of My Life” is one of my favourite songs of the year!! The entire album is great!!

Miranda Lambert’s Pistol Annies have never been more important than they are right now

For the Pistol Annies, sometimes a song arrives whether or not all three members of this country-music supergroup are ready for it.

One example? “Best Years of My Life,” a casually devastating account of adult-onset disappointment that begins with Ashley Monroe delivering this instant classic of an opener: “I picked a good day for a recreational Percocet.”

“That was her line, and she likes to get up real early in the morning and start writing songs, which we hate,” Monroe’s bandmate Angaleena Presley said with a laugh, recalling a sleepover writing session at the home of the group’s third member, Miranda Lambert. “But she was sitting out on the balcony and woke us up with that, and we were both like — ”

“‘Damn it,’” Lambert chimed in.

“We had to get up,” Presley added. “We knew immediately.”

Commitment to the tune — that’s what has defined the Pistol Annies since 2010, when Lambert briefly paused her hugely successful solo career to form the trio with her old friend Monroe, herself an acclaimed singer, and a then-struggling Nashville songwriter whose work had impressed her.

You could hear it on the band’s hit debut, 2011’s “Hell on Heels,” with its clever ditties about struggling to make ends meet. And it was there on “Annie Up,” from 2013, in a perfectly realized lament like “Unhappily Married.” (“You’re going bald and I’m getting fat,” it goes, “I hate your mom and you hate my dad.”)

Yet the Pistol Annies’ craft has never run deeper, nor felt more important, than it does on their latest album, “Interstate Gospel,” which debuted this week atop Billboard’s country chart.

On Wednesday night the trio will celebrate with a performance at the Country Music Assn. Awards, where Lambert is also up for several prizes, including female vocalist of the year and single of the year for “Drowns the Whiskey,” her No. 1 duet with Jason Aldean.

Like the earlier records, “Interstate Gospel” has some great laughs, as in the cheeky “Sugar Daddy” and the rowdy (and self-explanatory) “Stop, Drop and Roll One.”

But the record is also full of poignant, unsparing dispatches from women’s lives at a moment when male artists outnumber female on country radio by about 10 to 1.

“Milkman” explores the complicated relationship between a daughter and a mother who disapproves of her lifestyle. “Commissary” recounts an older sister’s visit to a younger brother behind bars.

Then there’s the handful of tunes seemingly inspired by Lambert’s widely publicized divorce from fellow country star Blake Shelton. In the anguished “Masterpiece,” the singer compares a failing marriage to a painting “up there on the wall for all to see,” then wonders, “Who’s brave enough to take it down?”

And though “Got My Name Changed Back” is funnier and more revved up, it’s still giving voice to an underrepresented perspective in rhymes as expertly phrased as “Spent an afternoon at the DMV” and “Now who I was ain’t who I be.”

Over lunch by their hotel pool during a recent trip to Los Angeles, the women — Presley is 42, Lambert is 35 and Monroe is 32 — told me they hadn’t gone into making “Interstate Gospel” with an eye toward correcting country music’s gender imbalance.

“I don’t ever want to come across as preachy,” Presley said.

But Monroe acknowledged she takes pride in fans telling her they can relate to songs not delivered from the point of view of a dude in a beat-up ball cap.

“I think it’s about people feeling understood,” Lambert said. “This song’s about your day sucking or divorce or somebody you love being put in prison. We’re not preaching to you — we’re talking to you because it happened to us too.”

“It’s the honesty,” Monroe said, a familiar talking point among country stars that nonetheless rings true with an act as frank as this one.

Asked whether the tabloid scrutiny of her marriage tempted her to put her guard up this time, Lambert scoffed.

“I don’t care what they write,” she said, adding that once you’re famous, “you could walk down the street and pick up a piece of trash and they’re gonna talk about it.”

If anything, she went on, the mistruths in gossip columns only made her double down on record.

“We sing the truth. Take from it what you will,” she said.
Lambert’s overall attitude toward her own celebrity is refreshingly unimpressed. And yet she admits to playing the game when necessary, as when she puts on a smile when the camera finds her in her seat at an awards show.

“That’s hard,” Presley said, “especially when you already suffer from resting bitch face, which I do.”

“Oh, me too,” Lambert agreed. “But I’ve gotten better at it.”

With the CMA Awards in mind — along with Nashville’s persistent man problem — I wondered aloud what the Pistol Annies thought of one tune nominated for song of the year: Chris Janson’s very iffy “Drunk Girl,” in which the singer is basically asking to be congratulated for not assaulting a woman he takes home from a bar.

“Leave her keys on the counter, your number by the phone / Pick up her life she threw on the floor,” Janson sings, “Leave the hall lights on, walk out and lock the door / That’s how she knows the difference between a boy and a man.”

At first the women said they didn’t know the song. Then Monroe began shaking her head silently.

“Well, clearly Ashley doesn’t want to talk about it,” Lambert said, which seemed to change Presley’s mind on the subject.

“I’m lying. I do know the song, and I’ll say one thing about it,” she said. “We don’t need to be rescued. We can get as drunk as we want, and we can get cabs.”

Lambert, who insisted again that she hadn’t heard “Drunk Girl,” asked if that’s really what the song is about.

“Seriously?” she said. “Everyone should try harder. There’s better ways to write songs.”

Are we living in something of a low-effort era?

“Uh-huh,” Lambert replied, nodding. “It’s a cop-out, all of it.”

At that, Monroe flashed a pained-looking expression. “I don’t care,” Lambert told her. “Why are you worried about it?”

“I’m not,” Monroe said. “I just don’t want to talk about Chris Janson. It’s not relevant to our music.”

Yet “Drunk Girl” is relevant, I said, as a demonstration of the blinkered thinking that the Pistol Annies are working against. As happened earlier, the women seemed to back away from a position of protest.

“We’re not on a soapbox,” Presley said. “We’re doing dishes and writing songs about it.”

Lambert said there’s room for all kinds in Nashville, even if most current country music leaves her cold compared with the “timeless” stuff she was raised on.

Some of the veterans she reveres — Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire — are admirers of the Pistol Annies, which Lambert said means “everything” to her and her bandmates.

Indeed, Presley said she was blown away when Yearwood — whose music she “used to sing so hard into my hairbrush that I knocked my tooth out one time” — visited the group backstage after a recent taping for a CMT special.

But then that was just one of many places Presley can’t believe her songwriting has taken her over the past eight years.

“My house was getting repossessed when this band started,” she said, adding that “Housewife’s Prayer,” from the Pistol Annies’ debut, was “literally me thinking about burning it down so I could get the insurance money before they took it away from me.”

“That’s why we love her,” Lambert said.

“How you like me now?” Presley went on, waving at her glossy surroundings. “Sitting by a coffin-shaped pool in California, eating manchego cheese.”

It sounded like the first line of a new song.

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So…hurry up April!!!!

‘Game of Thrones’ reveals final season air date

It’s official: The end of “Game of Thrones” is coming in April.

On Tuesday, the show’s official Twitter account posted a video announcing that the eighth and final season will air in April 2019.

The season will contain just six episodes, although they will reportedly be supersized — some as long as feature films.

The video teases, “Every battle. Every betrayal. Every risk. Every fight. Every sacrifice. Every death. All #ForTheThrone.”

It’s not a trailer with new footage, but it sure beats that time “Game of Thrones” made everyone spend an hour watching a block of ice melt, in order to find out the Season 7 air date.

It emphasizes the impending conflict between Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), who is currently Queen, Daenerys Targaryen (Emila Clarke), who’s come to Westeros to stake her own claim on the Iron Throne, and the current King in the North Jon Snow (Kit Harington), who doesn’t even know that he also has a claim to the throne — since nobody’s told him who his real parents are, yet.

HBO didn’t specify the exact date in April, but if the show continues the pattern of airing on Sundays, the choices are April 7, 14, 21 or 28.

And now our watch begins.

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I know that the first AVATAR is still the highest grossing film of all time, but I honestly could care less about these sequels.

James Cameron: The ‘Avatar’ Sequels Have Wrapped Production

This just in from Pandora: James Cameron says the Avatar sequels have reached a major milestone with the completion of all principal photography involving main cast members.

In a video message, the director of the two highest-grossing films of all time (Avatar and Titanic) praised the ensemble of actors who have been filming Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 since September 2017.

“Hi, James Cameron here and today I’m coming to you from the set of the Avatar sequels — and behind me you can see our performance-capture stage. Today we’re capturing some stunt scenes filming some stunt scenes but our principal cast are all wrapped: Sam [Worthington], Zoe [Saldana], Sigourney [Weaver], Stephen Lang, Kate Winslet.”

The Oscar-winning filmmaker added: “They’re done now but they gave us incredible performances. And I can’t tell you how proud I am of the work that they did on these films.”

Avatar 2 is due in theaters on December 18, 2020, and will be followed by Avatar 3 on December 17, 2021. Two additional sequels are planned after that if the first pair deliver the kind of box-office success that Fox and Cameron are expecting.

In the video message, Cameron then turned to a different project as he explained the ambition and artistry of Alita: Battle Angel , which reaches theaters in February.

Cameron fell in love with the namesake source material, the cyberpunk saga created by Yukito Kishiro in the 1990s, and flirted with making it into a movie in the mid-2000s but ultimately set it aside in favor of making the first Avatar.

In 2015, director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Spy Kids) came on board as director for Alita with Cameron producing (along with his longtime partner, Jon Landau). The film’s approach — a dreamy futuristic setting yet with photorealistic anime visuals — is being billed as a game-changer (not unlike Cameron’s Terminator 2 and Avatar) but that could be an elusive sell to moviegoers.

Which explains why Cameron was using his Avatar publicity and social media megaphone to tether the two franchises and boost the fledgling Alita.

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“Who Year’s Day”, I like that!!

‘Doctor Who’ Will Have A New Year’s Day Special Instead Of Christmas Night

BBC America is going to ring in 2019 with Doctor Who. Breaking away from the traditional Christmas Day timeslot, the popular series will have its first-ever “Who Year’s Day” which will include a marathon of all the Christmas specials that will pave the way to the aforementioned New Year’s Day special

The marathon will begin 12pm ET/PT on December 24 and lead into Christmas Day. After that, it will be a celebratory marathon of all the Doctors tarting with Peter Capaldi, followed by Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith, leading straight into the New Year’s special on January 1.

The all-new episode is written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Wayne Yip (Preacher, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency). As the New Year begins, a terrifying evil is stirring from across the centuries of Earth’s history. Will the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Ryan (Tosin Cole), Graham (Bradley Walsh) and Yaz (Mandip Gill) be able to overcome this threat to Planet Earth?

Showrunner Chris Chibnall said, “We’re thrilled to be starting the New Year with a bang, as Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor and friends face a terrifying alien threat in an action-packed, hour-long special adventure for all the family.”

Whittaker made history as the first female Doctor in the franchise. It has since become a hit with viewers. The current season of Doctor Who is averaging nearly one million viewers per episode, up 54 percent from the previous season and ranking as the fastest-growing scripted series of the year across all key demos.

The finale of the current season will air on December 9th.

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He has given me – and many of my friends – so much. Thank you, Stan The Man and may you Rest In Piece.

Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee dead at 95

Stan Lee, who dreamed up Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk and a cavalcade of other Marvel Comics superheroes that became mythic figures in pop culture with soaring success at the movie box office, died at the age of 95, his daughter said Monday.

As a writer and editor, Lee was key to the ascension of Marvel into a comic book titan in the 1960s when, in collaboration with artists such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, he created superheroes who would thrill generations of young readers.

Lee’s daughter C.J. Lee confirmed the death to Reuters. Lee is survived by his daughter and his younger brother, Larry Lieber, who also worked in comics.

Americans were familiar with superheroes before Lee, in part thanks to the 1938 launch of Superman by Detective Comics, the company that would become DC Comics, Marvel’s archrival.

Lee was widely credited with adding a new layer of complexity and humanity to superheroes. His characters were not made of stone — even if they appeared to have been chiseled from granite. They had love and money worries and endured tragic flaws or feelings of insecurity.

“I felt it would be fun to learn a little about their private lives, about their personalities and show that they are human as well as super,” Lee told NPR News in 2010.

He had help in designing the superheroes but he took full ownership of promoting them.

His creations included web-slinging teenager Spider-Man, the muscle-bound Hulk, mutant outsiders The X-Men, the close-knit Fantastic Four and the playboy-inventor Tony Stark, better known as Iron Man.

Dozens of Marvel Comics movies, with nearly all the major characters Lee created, were produced in the first decades of the 21st century, grossing over $20 billion US at theatres worldwide, according to box office analysts.

Spider-Man is one of the most successfully licensed characters ever, and he has soared through the New York skyline as a giant inflatable in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Lee, as a hired hand at Marvel, received limited payback on the windfall from his characters.

In a 1998 contract, he wrestled a clause for 10 per cent of profits from movies and TV shows with Marvel characters. In 2002, he sued to claim his share, months after Spider-Man conquered movie theatres, saying the company cheated him out of millions in profits. In a legal settlement three years later, he received a $10 million one-time payment.

Hollywood studios made superheroes the cornerstone of their strategy of producing fewer films and relying on big profits from blockbusters. Some people assumed that, as a result, Lee’s wealth had soared. He disputed that.

“I don’t have $200 million. I don’t have $150 million. I don’t have $100 million or anywhere near that,” Lee told Playboy magazine in 2014. Having grown up in the Great Depression, Lee added that he was “happy enough to get a nice pay cheque and be treated well.”

In 2008, Lee was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the highest government award for creative artists.

Captain America actor Chris Evans was among those who mourned the loss on Twitter: “There will never be another Stan Lee. For decades he provided both young and old with adventure, escape, comfort, confidence, inspiration, strength, friendship and joy. He exuded love and kindness and will leave an indelible mark on so, so, so many lives. Excelsior!!”

Black Panther actor Winston Duke also took to Twitter to pay his respects: “You gave us characters that continue to stand the test of time and evolve with our consciousness. You taught us that there are no limits to our future as long as we have access to our imagination. Rest in power!”

Lee was born as Stanley Martin Lieber in New York on Dec. 28, 1922, the son of Jewish immigrants from Romania. At age 17, he became an errand boy at Timely Comics, the company that would evolve into Marvel. He got the job with help from an inside connection, his uncle, according to Lee’s autobiography Excelsior!

Lee soon earned writing duties and promotions. He penned Western stories and romances, as well as superhero tales, and often wrote standing on the porch of the Long Island, N.Y., home he shared with his wife, actress Joan Lee, whom he married in 1947 and who died in 2017.

Last August, he won a three-year extension of a restraining order against a former business manager accused of subjecting him to elder abuse after taking charge of his affairs earlier in the year.

Lee and his wife had two children, Joan Celia born in 1950 and Jan Lee who died within three days of her birth in 1953.

In 1961, Lee’s boss saw a rival publisher’s success with caped crusaders and told Lee to dream up a superhero team.

Lee at the time felt comics were a dead-end career. But his wife urged him to give it one more shot and create the complex characters he wanted to, even if it led to his firing.

The result was the Fantastic Four. There was stretchable Mr. Fantastic, his future wife Invisible Woman, her brother the Human Torch and strongman The Thing. They were like a devoted but dysfunctional family.

“Stan’s characters were always superheroes that had a certain amount of humanity about them or a flaw,” said Shirrel Rhoades, a former executive vice-president of Marvel and its publisher in the mid-1990s.

“As iconic as Superman may be, he’s considered a boy scout. He doesn’t have any real flaws,” Rhoades said. “Whereas you take a Spider-Man, kids identify with him because he had his problems like they did. He suffered from great angst.”

Lee involved his artists in the process of creating the story and even the characters themselves, in what would come to be known as the “Marvel Method.” It sometimes led critics to fault Lee for taking credit for ideas not entirely his own.

He described his creative process to Reuters in outlining how he came up with his character Thor, the god of thunder borrowed from Norse mythology.

“I was trying to think of something that would be totally different,” he said. “What could be bigger and even more powerful than the Hulk? And I figured why not a legendary god?”

To give Thor more rhetorical punch, Lee gave him dialogue styled after the Bible and Shakespeare.

As for Tony Stark-Iron Man, he was based on industrialist Howard Hughes, Lee told interviewers.

Lee became Marvel’s publisher in 1972. He went on the lecture circuit, moved to Los Angeles in 1980 and pursued opportunities for his characters in movies and television.

Through it all, he kept connected with fans, writing a column called Stan’s Soapbox in which he often slipped in his catchphrase “‘Nuff Said” or the signoff “Excelsior!” In his later years, he gave constant updates via Twitter.

“Stan was a character. He was a character as much as any he ever created,” Rhoades said. “He created himself, in a way.”

He also made cameos in most Marvel films, pulling a girl away from falling debris in 2002’s Spider-Man and serving as an emcee at a strip club in 2016’s Deadpool.

The Walt Disney Co. bought Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for $4 billion in a deal to expand Disney’s roster of characters, with the most iconic ones having been Lee’s handiwork.

By that point, Lee had all but parted ways with Marvel after being made a chairman emeritus of the company. But even in his 80s and 90s, Lee was a wellspring of new projects, running a company called POW! Entertainment.

“His greatest legacy will be not only the co-creation of his characters but the way he helped to build the culture that comics have become, which is a pretty significant one,” said Robert Thompson, a pop culture expert at Syracuse University.

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So far there’s no one – and no film – I’m rooting for.

Top movie and acting contenders for the 2019 Oscars

The 91st Academy Awards is still a few months away, but there are already a number of films and performances receiving Oscar buzz.

From star turns by Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born and Timothée Chalamet in Beautiful Boy, to larger studio films like Black Panther and The Hate U Give, there are some clear frontrunners for the upcoming awards season. Naturally, EW has compiled a list of the films that will most likely be competing for the coveted gold statue.

Both Barry Jenkins and Damien Chazelle are back in the awards conversation after the Best Picture debacle at the 2017 Oscars that launched a thousand jokes, with If Beale Street Could Talk and First Man, respectively.

If Beale Street Could Talk, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel of the same name, could be in the running for Best Picture and Best Director, while Regina King’s portrayal of matriarch Sharon Rivers in the film could find the actress in the race for Best Supporting Actress.

Chazelle’s ambitious First Man could result in nominations for two-time collaborator Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy, as well as a nomination for Adapted Screenplay.

Female-focused films are also at the forefront, with The Favourite, Destroyer, and Widows all featuring stellar performances by the likes of Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicole Kidman, and Viola Davis.

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Every film on this list is worth seeing!!

‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ Wins Top Honors At Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards

The winners for the third annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards were announced Saturday with Morgan Neville’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor? taking the top honor of Best Documentary. The winners were determined by members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA).

The Mr. Rogers documentary also nabbed Best Director for Neville as well as Best Editing. The nail-biting rock climbing documentary directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi also won three awards including Best Sports Documentary, Most Innovative Documentary, and Best Cinematography.

Hosted by Bill Nye at BRIC in Brooklyn, the ceremony also honored Michael Moore with the Critics’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by Robert De Niro. In addition, Joe Berlinger renowned documentarian Stanley Nelson was honored with the Critics’ Choice Impact Award. Berlinger earned the same honor last year.

Other winners of the evening included the Ruth Bader Ginsbug pic RBG, Rashida Jones’ Netflix docu Quincy, chronicling the life of her legendary father Quincy Jones as well as Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown for Best Ongoing Documentary Series. There was also a tie for Best First Time Director between Bing Liu for Minding the Gap and Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster for Science Fair. The Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards also introduced the Catalyst Sponsorship, a program for industry leaders to support the event.

Here’s the complete list of winners:

Best Documentary: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Best Limited Documentary Series: The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling

Best Ongoing Documentary Series: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Best Director: Morgan Neville for Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Best First Time Director: TIE: Bing Liu for Minding the Gap, and Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster for Science Fair

Best Political Documentary: RBG

Best Sports Documentary: Free Solo

Best Music Documentary: Quincy

Most Innovative Documentary: Free Solo

Best Cinematography: Free Solo

Best Editing: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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Get well soon, Joe!!

Joe Perry recovering in hospital after collapsing following performance with Billy Joel

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry is recovering after he collapsed backstage following a performance with Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden.

Perry surprised the crowd when he joined Joel for a cover of “Walk This Way” during the Saturday evening show and later needed medical assistance in his dressing room. Paramedics worked on the 68-year-old at the venue, putting in a tracheal tube, before rushing him to the hospital.

“Following a guest performance during Billy Joel’s show last night at Madison Square Garden, Joe Perry experienced shortness of breath and was treated backstage by paramedics who gave the guitarist oxygen and used a tracheal tube to clear his airway before taking him to a hospital,” representatives for Perry said in a statement to EW. “This morning Perry remains in the hospital where he is alert and responsive.”

The incident has forced him to cancel a planned appearance today in Florida at Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp.

Perry recently released his new single “Quake” and announced he is embarking on a solo tour alongside Aerosmith member Brad Whitford and Gary Cherone of Extreme. The musician is also slated to join his bandmates when they begin their Las Vegas residency in April 2019.

According to his reps, the concert dates, which are set to kick off in Iowa on Nov. 30, will not be affected by Perry’s medical emergency as he is “expected to return to the road later this month.”

On Sunday, radio host Eddie Trunk sent his well wishes to Perry in a Twitter post — noting he had learned the rocker is “doing well.”

Perry previously suffered a medical emergency while onstage at a New York Hollywood Vampires show in 2016 as a result of “dehydration and exhaustion.”

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I may see THE GRINCH one day, but I’m in no rush. Need to see BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY first.

The Grinch makes off with $66 million at the box office

A dragon-tattooed hacker heroine and a horde of Nazi zombies have nothing on The Grinch this weekend.

Universal Pictures and Illumination’s animated take on the beloved Dr. Seuss holiday tale is on track to sell an estimated $66 million in tickets at 4,141 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday, outpacing fellow new releases The Girl in the Spider’s Web and Overlord and topping the box office.

Heading into the weekend, The Grinch had been expected to debut in the $55 million to $65 million range. The film, which cost about $75 million to make, is off to a solid start, although its opening trails Illumination’s previous Seuss adaptation The Lorax ($81 million, adjusting for inflation) and Universal’s 2000 live-action film How the Grinch Stole Christmas ($85.1 million, adjusting for inflation). Overseas, The Grinch will add about $12.7 million this weekend, for a global total of $78.7 million.

Directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier, The Grinch stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the eponymous yuletide thief, who schemes to ruin Christmas in Whoville because his heart is a few sizes too small. Critics’ reviews have been mixed, but audiences gave it an A-minus CinemaScore.

Faring less well in their opening frames are Paramount’s World War II-themed splatterfest Overlord, which will take in about $10.1 million at 2,859 theaters, good for third place, and Sony’s Dragon Tattoo sequel/reboot The Girl in the Spider’s Web, which will earn about $8 million on 2,929 screens, giving it a tenuous hold on the No. 5 spot.

Directed by Julius Avery and produced by J.J. Abrams, Overlord stars Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, and John Magaro as American paratroopers who are sent on a mission to destroy a German radio tower on the eve of D-Day, only to run afoul of secret Nazi experiments. Reviews were solid, while moviegoers gave it a so-so B CinemaScore.

Girl in the Spider’s Web also earned a B CinemaScore, though unlike Overlord it failed to make an impression on critics. Fede Alvarez directed the movie, which finds Claire Foy taking up the mantle of Lisbeth Salander in a cat-and-mouse thriller involving a stolen computer program that controls the world’s nuclear arsenal.

Rounding out the top five this weekend are Fox’s Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, in second place with an estimated $30.9 million, and Disney’s live-action fantasy Nutcracker and the Four Realms, in fourth with an estimated $9.6 million. Both films opened last week.

In limited release, Sony’s biographical drama The Front Runner, about the rise and fall of senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart (played by Hugh Jackman), opened Tuesday, coinciding with the midterm elections. But the awards hopeful will take in just $56,000 at four theaters this weekend, which works out a lackluster per-screen average of $14,000.

Overall box office is up 10.4 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore. See the Nov. 9-11 figures below.

1. The Grinch — $66 million
2. Bohemian Rhapsody — $30.9 million
3. Overlord — $10.1 million
4. Nutcracker and the Four Realms — $9.6 million
5. Girl in the Spider’s Web — $8 million
6. A Star Is Born — $8 million
7. Nobody’s Fool — $6.5 million
8. Venom — $4.9 million
9. Halloween — $3.8 million
10. The Hate U Give — $2.1 million

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Any way the wind blows…

How ‘Wayne’s World’ made ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ a phenomenon again

Bohemian Rhapsody was such an unlikely song that became an even more unlikely hit.

The Queen biopic of the same name, now in theatres, depicts the original story of how the rock-operatic single came to be, with a cameo from none other than Mike Myers.

In the film, Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) threatens to walk out on the label if the record executive – played by Myers – refuses to release Bohemian Rhapsody as the first single off its album A Night at the Opera.

Including Myers makes sense, especially since, in real life, he did just the opposite of the character he plays.

In 1975, Bohemian Rhapsody became Queen’s first No. 1 hit on U.K. singles chart, where it remained for nine weeks, a record for a British band. And it returned to that position in December 1991 after Bohemian Rhapsody was rereleased in the wake of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury’s death.

Bohemian Rhapsody had never been as big of a hit in North America. It reached only the No. 9 position on Billboard’s Hot 100 when it first came out. That is, until Myers’ Wayne’s World.

The movie, released in February 1992, featured Bohemian Rhapsody in what’s become one of comedy’s most iconic scenes. The film based on the Myers-created Saturday Night Live sketch opens with Wayne, the rock-obsessed host of a public access show, getting picked up in a 1970s beat-up AMC Pacer.

“I think I’ll go with a little Bohemian Rhapsody, gentlemen,” Wayne tells his buddies. “Good call,” responds Garth.

In goes the cassette, and the song begins at its midway point. They sing along, each taking their own “Galileo” parts, and when the break comes, they headbang like crazy.

Just like that, a whole new generation was introduced to Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time. It shot to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, surpassing its original high point,

Bohemian Rhapsody didn’t just randomly end up Wayne’s World.

“At that time, Queen had –not by me of course and by true hardcore music fans – but the public had sort of forgotten about them a little bit,” Myers said during a 2014 episode of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. “Freddie had gotten sick. The last time we had seen them was on Live Aid, and then there was a few albums afterward where they were sort of straying away from their arena rock roots. But I always loved Bohemian Rhapsody. It was a masterpiece, and so I fought really, really hard for it.”

It was Myers’ first movie, and he found inspiration in his Toronto adolescence, when he, his brother and their friends would drive around and sing the Queen classic.

“If I took somebody else’s ‘Galileo!’ or somebody took mine, a fight would ensue,” Myers told Rolling Stone. “It’s just something that I always back-pocketed. Wayne’s World was my childhood. I knew only to write what I knew.”

The song also conveyed a sort of silly abandon Meyers wanted for his characters; plus, it would help make the movie feel as if you were not exactly sure what year it was, he told Maron.

But producer Lorne Michaels “was suggesting Guns N’ Roses … because at the time, Guns N’ Roses had a No. 1 song,” Myers told Rolling Stone. “I said, ‘I hear you. I think that’s really smart,’ but I didn’t have any jokes for a Guns N’ Roses song. I had lots of jokes for Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s just inherently comedic.”

Director Penelope Spheeris told Rolling Stone she did not “personally remember a big argument about the placement of Bohemian Rhapsody, but my guess is that I was probably pushing for Guns N’ Roses.”

Then, at some point, Myers threatened to walk out of the movie altogether. “I said to everybody, ‘Well I’m out. I don’t want to make this movie if it’s not Bohemian Rhapsody, and they were like, who the F are you?” Myers told Maron. “And I said, ‘I’m somebody that wants to do that movie, that’s the movie I want to do.”

Myers eventually won out, and they shot the cruising scene throughout an entire night.

Queen guitarist Brian May told Rolling Stone that Myers gave him a tape of the scene and that he took to Mercury, who was sick at the time. “Freddie loved it,” May said. “He just laughed and thought it was great, this little video. The funny thing was, we always regarded the song as tongue in cheek ourselves. If it would come on the radio, we would all be headbanging when it came to the heavy bit as well, us as a group. It was very close to our sense of humor.”

The scene does not last for very long. But it is seared into the consciousness of entire generations. You cannot help but want to headbang when the song reaches its climactic point.

Bohemian Rhapsody was included on the Wayne’s World soundtrack and a new Queen anthology collection. A Los Angeles Times story at the time noted the song enjoyed a resurgence especially on Top 40 radio “where Queen has not been played regularly for years.”

KIIS-FM music director Michael Martin told the newspaper, “We’re getting kids calling up and asking for Bohemian Rap City. It’s a totally different audience than when it first came out.”

For his part, Myers said he never stuck to his vision because he thought the song would once again become a big hit.

“That’s not me being Nostradamus,” Myers told Maron in 2014. “That’s just me going, ‘Well, what I do want to see? What movie do I want to see?’ I would want to see the movie where it’s Bohemian Rhapsody.”