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A true legend. May he rest in peace.

Dick Dale, pioneer of the surf guitar, dies at 81

Nearly 60 years ago, surfers flocked to the waves along Newport Beach to try mastering the new craze. When the sun set, they needed someplace to dance and Dick Dale delivered it at Rendezvous Ballroom on the Balboa Peninsula. Nearly every week for two years, Dale and his band packed over 3,000 people into the ballroom.

“The energy between the Del-Tones and all those surfers stomping on the hardwood floor in their sandals was extremely intense. The tone of Dale’s guitar was bigger than any I had ever heard,” recalled Del-Tones bandmate Paul Johnson.

Dale, whose death was confirmed Sunday, manifested a quintessentially Southern California story, forged in surf, sand and rock ’n’ roll. They called him the Pied Piper of Balboa Beach, but his musical instrument of choice was defiantly not a flute. Rather, the electric-guitar playing son of a Lebanese father melded elements of the music of his ancestral homeland with roaring instrumental rock sounds emerging in the late-1950s, and helped pioneer an iconic American genre known as surf music.

“When I got that feeling from surfing,’” he told the writer Barney Hoskyns, “‘the whitewater coming over my head was the high notes going dikidikidiki, and then the dungundungun on the bottom was the waves, and I started double-picking faster and faster, like a locomotive, to feel the power of the waves.”

Those rushing guitar lines energized generations across the Southland and reverberated around the world.

Dale, who was 81, died Saturday after a long bout with rectal cancer, longtime friend and former bassist Steve Soest said Sunday.

That guitar tone arrived via a blindingly fast picking technique, one of the centerpiece elements of his breakthrough hits “Let’s Go Trippin’” in 1961 and “Misirlou” the following year, that caused guitar picks to melt in his hand. A few decades later, director Quentin Tarantino tapped “Misirlou” to serve as the theme to “Pulp Fiction.”

The sound featured a liberal use of electronic reverb with his signature Fender Stratocaster guitar, cranked to wall-rattling volume through juiced up Fender amplifiers. Other rock instrumentalists charted wordless hits before Dale came to the fore in the early days of the electric guitar, among them Link Wray’s “Rumble” and Duane Eddy’s “Rebel Rouser,” but Dale helped push surf music into the mainstream through those high-energy performances, supplying a sound that paired perfectly with that growing surf craze.

It began as a regional phenomenon in Southern California and soon spread around the world influencing the likes of the Beatles and Rolling Stones in England, and a high-school aged Canadian named Neil Young long before he found fame. According to Hoskyns’ “Waiting for the Sun,” a young Jimi Hendrix was said to have seen Dale and his band play. Echoes of Dale’s fiery guitar runs and showmanship can be heard in Hendrix’s style.

Dale was born Richard Anthony Monsour May 4, 1937, in Boston to a father who had emigrated from Lebanon and a mother who was Polish Belarusian. Growing up in a Lebanese neighborhood in Quincy, Mass., outside of Boston, exposed him to the sounds of Arabic music, which became a signature of his musical amalgam.

His musical training started with his childhood interest in piano. Early on, he studied trumpet and also acquired a ukulele before eventually picking up a guitar and trying his best to emulate one of his heroes, country music titan Hank Williams. A friend suggested he call himself “Dick Dale,” rather than Richard Monsour, because it sounded more fitting for a would-be country singer.

The Monsour family moved to Southern California in 1954, when his father landed a job at Hughes Aircraft Co. in El Segundo, near the beach. Dale became a regular at the weekly live country music television show “Town Hall Party.”

“I wanted to be a cowboy singer, so I went on ‘Town Hall Party’ and entered their talent contest every week,” he told the Glendale News-Press in 2015. “And I did, every week.”

The confluence of Dale’s ethnic heritage and newfound geographic proximity to the beach and to the flourishing factory in Fullerton, Calif., where electric guitar innovator Leo Fender worked, all blended into the music Dale would soon bring to listeners.

“Misirlou” represented a cross-cultural blend, coupling minor key motifs and Middle Eastern musical scale with pounding drums and throbbing bass, all fueling Dale’s stinging “wet” electric guitar pyrotechnics. A section of the song featuring trumpet also brought in an element of the mariachi music that was prevalent around Southern California.

In interviews he would often overstate his role in the development of Fender products, but he was an important early adopter of instruments and amplifiers that would change the sound and content of popular music beginning in the 1950s. Dale liked to consider himself one of Fender’s favorite guinea pigs, and he did push guitars and amplifiers to the limits in his live performances.

“Playing guitar was only a window in my life,” he said in 2015. “I never practiced the guitar and when I’m done playing I just put it down. Music is like building a house. It’s like going out deep into the desert to see what nature is doing. It’s like painting, like Salvador Dali. I try to do that with my music, make it like a Salvador Dali painting.”

A freak accident, when hot oil exploded while he was cooking popcorn in 1983 left second-degree burns over much of his body, put him out of commission as a musician for months.

“With every problem comes a gift in hand,” he told The Times in 1985. “For instance, when I do shows to raise money for burn victims, now I can talk to them and know what they are going through. And I can tell their family and friends that when the doctor says the recovery has begun, that’s really the time they need your concern and love.”

As a celebrity, he capitalized on quirky passions. At one point he kept live tigers at his Balboa Peninsula mansion, which had previously belonged to Gillette shaving company magnate King Gillette, and titled an early-‘80s live album “The Tigers Loose.” That was his first album in 18 years after surf music fell out of favor in the mid-1960s with the rise of the Beatles, the British Invasion, psychedelic music and other genres.

A decade ago Dale battled back from cancer, even playing a show in south Orange County shortly after being released from a nine-day stay at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for treatment of an infection.

“I thought, ‘I cannot cause this [club owner] to lose thousands of dollars,’” he said at the time.

That’s when he started trying to promote a new moniker to substitute for the “King of the Surf Guitar” label often applied to him: he wanted to be referred to as “Dick Dale-Cancer Warrior.”

With characteristic bravado, he told The Times, he would soon return to the hospital because “everything is messed up, and if it continues that way, I will die. But I’m not ready to leave my son, not ready to leave [his wife] Lana, I’m not ready to leave all the Dick Dale music lovers. They’ve been my medicine.”

Although he has not been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he was elected to the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville a decade ago. He experienced recurring brushes with widespread popularity, notably in 1994 when Tarantino used “Misirlou” in “Pulp Fiction.”

In 2010, a career retrospective album “Guitar Legend: The Very Best of Dick Dale” also helped introduce his music to a new generation.

Through his life Dale practiced martial arts and explored eastern philosophy, which he often quoted in interviews.

“There are four sentences [taken from Eastern philosophy] in my life that I go by: ‘To experience is to know. To know is to understand. To understand is to tolerate. To tolerate is to have peace’,” he told The Times in 1985. “It took me 17 years and [training with] masters of the martial arts to make me understand what that means. But I understand it and that’s how I can put up with all the stuff that goes on.

“That’s one of the reasons I like working with tigers and lions. If you can understand animals like that, then you can really put up with the reasons why people are the way they are and love them.”

Dale’s survivors include his wife, Lana, and his musician son, Jimmy. Information on services was not immediately available.

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Well done, Disney!! This was a smart move!!

Holy Rocket Raccoon! James Gunn Is Back on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Months after a manufactured controversy about crude tweets saw Disney eject Gunn from the third movie in his Marvel cosmic series, Marvel Studios has confirmed that, shockingly, the director will return after all.

Deadline reports that Gunn and Marvel have now confirmed that he will helm production on the third Guardians movie, and that the actual decision made to re-hire Gunn—brought about by Gunn’s apology over his prior tweets and through extensive talks between the director and Walt Disney Studios president Alan Horn—occurred months ago, despite allegations at the time that Disney was still not ready to bring the director back on board. io9 has confirmed with Disney that the details of Deadline’s report are accurate.

Gunn was removed from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in July of last year, after right-wing commentators resurfaced years-old crude commentary Gunn had made on social media, targeting the director for his outspoken disapproval of Donald Trump as part of what became a pattern of bad-faith harassment campaigns by internet trolls over the last year. Gunn immediately apologized for the tweets, but at the time, the apology was not enough for Disney.

Furor from both fans and members of Guardians cast in the months that followed led to production on the third movie in the saga—always rumored to be Gunn’s last with the current iteration of the cosmic superhero team that first ventured out in 2014’s surprise smash hit movie—being put on hold, allegedly while a replacement for Gunn was sought out.

According to Deadline however, Marvel never actually met with another director for Guardians, despite rumors that Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi or Ant-Man’s Adam McKay could step in. Although complications arose when Gunn was snapped up by Warner Bros. to write and direct the DC Comics sequel The Suicide Squad last October, Kevin Feige’s team at Marvel Studio and Horn’s at Disney were willing to wait for Gunn to become available again before bringing him back to the fold.

Production on Guardians for Gunn will begin after production has concluded on The Suicide Squad, which is currently expected to hit theaters in August 2021.

James Gunn has now weighed in, with his first tweet since July 19, 2018:

I am tremendously grateful to every person out there who has supported me over the past few months. I am always learning and will continue to work at being the best human being I can be. I deeply appreciate Disney’s decision and I am excited to continue making films that investigate the ties of love that bind us all. I have been, and continue to be incredibly humbled by your love and support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Love to you all.

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I saw CAPTAIN MARVEL again this week and enjoyed it just as much. Bring on AVENGERS: ENDGAME!!!

Captain Marvel soars to second weekend atop the box office

Captain Marvel is proving to be just as super as her name.

The standalone entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to pulverize the competition at the box office, topping it for the second week running with an estimated haul of $69.3 million in ticket sales at 4,310 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday. With a decline of 55 percent, it becomes the 18th highest second weekend for a film of all time, bumping Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 from that spot.

While franchises have dominated the box office of late, two new original titles land at second and third place. Paramount’s animated Wonder Park takes in an estimated $16 million across 3,838 theaters for the second place spot, while weepy teen drama Five Feet Apart rounds out the top three with an estimated $13.2 million across 2,803 theaters.

As the first female-driven superhero film for Disney and Marvel, Captain Marvel continues to be a feather in their cap. The film introduces audiences to the titular character in the form of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), a part human, part Kree warrior who retains flashes of her life on earth as she fights a member of the Kree strike team known as Starforce. When Danvers crash lands on earth during the 1990s, she attempts to uncover the truth about her past and the origin of her cosmic powers, all the while facing down trouble from the shape-shifting Skrulls infiltrating the planet. Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the film also stars Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Jude Law, and Goose the cat (aka Reggie). Larson will reprise the role in this summer’s Avengers: Endgame.

With an impressive cumulative total of $266.2 domestically, Captain Marvel also expanded its reach internationally, opening to number one in Japan with $5.6 million as the highest stand-along MCU character opening weekend ever there. It raked in another $119.7 million at the international box office, helping to bump its worldwide total to an impressive $760.2 million. Like many superhero films and popular franchise properties, it seems poised to cross the $1 billion mark in the coming weeks.

Animation continues to be a winner at the box office, with Paramount’s family-friendly flick Wonder Park taking second place with $16 million. The film follows the story of a fantastical amusement park where the imagination of the wildly creative young girl, June, comes to life. The voice cast is bursting with top-flight talent including Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Garner, Mila Kunis, Jeffrey Tambor, Kenan Thompson, Norbert Leo Butz, Ken Jeong, John Oliver and is directed by David Feiss.

Though it lands a second-place victory and outperformed expectations by nearly $6 million, the film still falls far below its estimated budget of $100 million. Originally titled Amusement Park, it was in development since 2014 and suffered a setback in January 2018 when director Dylan Brown was fired for “inappropriate and unwanted conduct.” Now, Wonder Park lists no credited director. It snagged a B+ CinemaScore from audiences so perhaps it can continue to recoup some of its pricey budget through word-of-mouth in the weeks to come.

Lionsgate has roared to a prominent position at the box office this weekend, nabbing three spots in the top ten. Most notably, its young adult romantic drama Five Feet Apart takes third place in its first weekend with $13.2 million across 2,803 theaters. With only a modest reported budget of $7 million, the drama has already nearly doubled its costs.

Lionsgate has roared to a prominent position at the box office this weekend, nabbing three spots in the top ten. Most notably, its young adult romantic drama Five Feet Apart takes third place in its first weekend with $13.2 million across 2,803 theaters. With only a modest reported budget of $7 million, the drama has already nearly doubled its costs.

Holdover franchise titles round out the top five with How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World taking the fourth spot in its fourth week with an estimated total of $9.3 million across 3,727 theaters. It’s now taken in $466.5 million globally, approaching the trilogy’s original film’s overall worldwide gross of $494.8 million. The fifth spot goes to Tyler Perry and his final Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, with an estimated $8.1 million across 2,350 theaters. This marks Lionsgate’s second film in the top ten this weekend.

The weekend’s other two new releases take sixth and seventh place. Lionsgate’s third top ten film is No Manchas Frida 2 in sixth place, a new release that secured a debut of $3.9 million. The Mexican film is a sequel to the 2016 film No Manchas Frida and features returning cast members Omar Chaparro and Martha Higareda. Other new release this weekend, Focus Features’ sci-fi suspense thriller Captive State falls flat with a debut of $3.2 million. It stars John Goodman, Vera Farmiga, Alan Ruck, James Ransone, D.B. Sweeney and is directed by Rupert Wyatt. Its prospects don’t seem bright with a dismal C-CinemaScore.

Overall box office is down 18.9 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore, a number that’s steadily improving with the addition of Captain Marvel to the year’s box office. Check out the March 15-17 numbers below.

1. Captain Marvel— $69.3 million
2. Wonder Park— $16 million
3. Five Feet Apart— $13.2 million
4. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World— $9.3 million
5. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral— $8.1 million
6. No Manches Frida 2— $3.9 million
7. Captive State— $3.2 million
8. Lego Movie 2: The Second Part— $2.1 million
9. Alita: Battle Angel— $1.9 million
10. Green Book— $1.3 million

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Congratulations to all the winners!!

Shawn Mendes the biggest winner as bulk of Juno Awards handed out

He wasn’t actually in the room, but it was all about Shawn Mendes at the Junos gala Saturday night in London, Ont.

The pop star — nominated for the most awards this year — was also the night’s biggest winner, picking up four prizes: artist, songwriter and pop album of the year, plus single of the year for In My Blood.

And he’s still up for two more Sunday: fan choice and album.

His wins made for a predictable pattern on what gala host Ben Kowalewicz called “music’s longest night.” (The actual runtime was just over three hours.)

Thirty-eight prizes, the bulk of the Junos hardware, were handed out, given to a healthy mix of industry veterans like Michael Bublé (adult contemporary album) and Colin James (blues album) and newcomers like Oshawa, Ont.’s Dizzy (alternative album) and London’s own Loud Luxury (dance recording).

The DJ duo, who now live in Los Angeles, met at Western University and will perform on Sunday’s big show. The group’s Joe Depace talked about being born at a hospital not far from the gala site.

“This is an extremely crazy full-circle moment for us,” he told reporters.

“We wouldn’t be able to do it if we didn’t have such a beautiful and incredible scene [here] available to us. That’s what pushed us forward,” added Andrew Fedyk, the duo’s other half.

Bublé made a surprise appearance to present David Foster with the humanitarian award for his foundation’s charitable efforts. The two goofed around and laid on the love for each other, with Foster retelling reporters how the two met while Bublé was singing at the wedding of Ontario MPP Caroline Mulroney.

Foster seemed to be genuinely humbled by the honour.

“It’s like a funeral when I’m alive.”

In one of the evening’s most passionate speeches, winner Jeremy Dutcher honoured his fellow Indigenous album nominees and scolded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He told music industry members gathered in the room they could do better when it comes to reconciliation.

“Our music is not niche, our music is saying something,” he said.

Those thoughts were then cut-off by his own music. Dutcher was allowed to finish his speech an hour later after a chance run-in with Arkells, who won best rock album for Rally Cry.

As the band mounted the stage to accept the night’s final prize, they brought along Dutcher, who capped off the evening.

“This is what holding space looks like,” he told the band.

Frontman Max Kerman explained backstage how it happened. He was going to the washroom and ran into Dutcher, who told him what table he was sitting at.

“When our name was called, I found him and I just grabbed him. He was a little startled,” he said. “He said something that we could only dream of relaying.”

The night’s other prominent winners included:

Breakthrough group: The Washboard Union.
Adult alternative album: Bahamas, Earthtones.
Metal/hard music album: Voivod, The Wake.
Rap recording: Tory Lanez, LoVE me NOw.
Electronic album: Milk & Bone, Deception Bay.
Producer of the year: Eric Ratz for Arkells’ Rally Cry.
Video of the year: Ali Eisner for Bahamas’ No Depression.
The return of Corey Hart
The gala set the stage for the Sunday’s Juno Awards, the week’s marquee event at London’s sold-out Budweiser Gardens.

With the bulk of the awards already handed out, Sunday’s show largely consists of musical performances, including the return of Corey Hart, who has not performed on television in more than 20 years. He will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

It marks a monumental moment for the ’80s heartthrob, who met his wife while presenting together at a previous Junos. She will be in the audience Sunday.

Host Sarah McLachlan, Dutcher, Arkells, Bahamas, Coeur de Pirate and The Reklaws will also perform, though Canada’s most popular talent, such as Mendes, The Weeknd and Alessia Cara — all nominated multiple times this year — are not expected to attend. Mendes will perform via video from Europe, where he’s on tour.

And then, there’s the six remaining awards to hand out: group, album, breakthrough artist, R&B/soul recording, country album and fan choice.

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I saw CAPTAIN MARVEL twice this weekend and really enjoyed it both times. Can’t wait to see it again soon!!

Captain Marvel shatters box office ceiling with $153 million opening weekend

Captain Marvel is going higher, further, faster at the box office.

The Marvel film easily soared past its competition for the biggest opening weekend of 2019 and the first title of the year to open to more than $100 million. It won the box office with an estimated opening total of $153 million in ticket sales at 4,310 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday. It marks the seventh biggest opening for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the second-biggest debut of a new Marvel character on the big-screen, behind only last year’s record-breaking Black Panther.

Holdovers How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral take second and third place respectively. In its third week at the box office, the final film in the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy continues to hover near the top of the box office, taking in an estimated $14.7 million across 4,042 theaters. A Madea Family Funeral also marks the end of an era as Tyler Perry’s final Madea film, and it firmly takes third place in its second week with an estimated $12 million across 2,442 theaters.

Captain Marvel introduces audiences to the titular character in the form of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), a part human, part Kree warrior who retains flashes of her life on earth as she fights a member of the Kree strike team known as Starforce. When Danvers crash lands on earth during the 1990s, she attempts to uncover the truth about her past and the origin of her cosmic powers, all the while facing down trouble from the shape-shifting Skrulls infiltrating the planet.

The film marked a major milestone for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as their first female-led superhero film, as well as the first to boast a female director with Anna Boden co-directing with creative partner Ryan Fleck. Captain Marvel had a lot riding on its shoulders, but it smashed every expectation this weekend taking in $302 million internationally for a staggering $455 million global debut. This marks the fifth highest international opening weekend of all-time and the second biggest super-hero weekend behind only Avengers: Infinity War. Notably, it also is the third highest MCU opening weekend in China ever (behind Avengers: Infinity War and Captain America: Civil War) quieting doubts that a female-led film could perform well overseas.

Many have waited with bated breath to see how Captain Marvel performed in comparison to DC’s first female-led superhero outing, 2017’s Wonder Woman. Marvel continues to win the comic book battle between the two major brands, with Captain Marvel’s $153 million surpassing Wonder Woman’s solid $103 million opening weekend. In fact, Captain Marvel’s $455 million global debut makes it the most successful launch for a female-led film ever, surpassing the previous record holder, 2017’s Beauty and the Beast, which took in $357 million globally.

The superhero film is resonating with audiences and critics alike. Despite attempts from internet trolls to tank the Audience Rating score on Rotten Tomatoes, critic reviews have been largely positive and audiences agree — giving the film an A CinemaScore (Marvel Studios’ fourteenth such high mark). The film also stars Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Jude Law, and Goose the cat (aka Reggie) . Larson will reprise the role in this summer’s Avengers: Endgame.

Franchises big and small dominate the box office this March. Second-place title How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World adds $14.7 million in its third weekend, bringing its cumulative domestic total to $119.7 million. This tracks just below the original film in the trilogy, which boasted a three weekend $133.4 million haul.

Third place entry Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral brings its domestic total to $45.9 million with an addition of $12 million in its second weekend, continuing to hold strong as the third best performing Madea film behind 2009’s Madea Goes to Jail and 2006’s Madea’s Family Reunion.

Another cosmic adventure, this time in documentary form, also made impressive moves this weekend. Neon’s documentary about the moon landing Apollo 11 lands in tenth place in its second weekend out across only 405 theaters for an estimated total of $1.3 million of IMAX driven-dollars. The film features never before seen large format footage of the Apollo 11 mission, focusing on the efforts of commander Neil Armstrong and pilots Buzz Aldrin & Michael Collins.

Rounding out the top five is another franchise entry and a still-struggling new sci-fi epic. Lego Movie 2: The Second Part takes fourth place with an estimated total of $3.8 million across 2,930 theaters. Its $97.1 million domestic total across five weekends falls far short of its 2014 predecessor The Lego Movie, which had taken in $224.9 million by its fifth weekend in theaters. Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel closes out the top five with an estimated $3.2 million across 2,374 theaters, bringing its domestic total to a disappointing $78.3 million.

Overall box office is down 21.3 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore, a slight rise from previous weeks boosted by the explosive success of Captain Marvel. Check out the March 8-10 numbers below.

1. Captain Marvel— $153 million
2. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World— $14.7 million
3. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral— $12 million
4. Lego Movie 2: The Second Part— $3.8 million
5. Alita: Battle Angel— $3.2 million
6. Green Book— $2.5 million
7. Isn’t It Romantic— $2.4 million
8. Fighting with my Family— $2.2 million
9. Greta— $2.2 million
10. Apollo 11— $1.3 million

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Such sad news. She was always amazing, in everything. May she rest in peace.

‘Who’s the Boss?’ star Katherine Helmond dead at 89

LOS ANGELES — Actress Katherine Helmond, an Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actress who played two very different matriarchs on the ABC sitcoms “Who’s the Boss?” and “Soap,” has died, her talent agency said Friday. She was 89.

Helmond died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease last Saturday at her home in Los Angeles, talent agency APA said in a statement.

A native of Galveston, Texas, Helmond’s credits date back to the 1950s and she worked steadily in small roles through the decades. But her real fame, and all seven of her Emmy nominations, didn’t start arriving until she was nearly 50.

She was probably best known for playing Mona Robinson, Judith Light’s mother on “Who’s the Boss?,” which also starred Tony Danza and a young Alyssa Milano.

She won a best supporting Golden Globe for her work in 1989.

“My beautiful, kind, funny, gracious, compassionate, rock,” Milano mourned on Twitter. “You were an instrumental part of my life. You taught me to hold my head above the marsh! You taught me to do anything for a laugh! What an example you were!”

On the show, Light was an uptight single mother who hired the 1980s heartthrob Danza to be her live-in housekeeper, and Helmond was her foil, a lover of nightlife, pursuer of men and flaunter of sexuality who would have been at home on “The Golden Girls,” which ran during the same years.

“We all lost a national treasure today,” Danza tweeted. “No words can measure my love.”

An only child raised by her mother and grandmother who began acting while a girl in Catholic school, Helmond began her professional career in theatre and returned to it often, earning a Tony Award nomination in 1973 for her Broadway role in Eugene O’Neill’s “The Great God Brown.”

She was a favourite of director Terry Gilliam, who put her in his films “Brazil,” ”Time Bandits,“ and ”Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.“

In “Brazil” a dystopian comedy from 1985, she played a surgery-addicted woman whose elastic face became the most memorable images from the cult film.

Her major break came with “Soap,” a parody of soap operas that aired from 1977 to 1981. She played wealthy matriarch Jessica Tate, one of two main characters on the show which co-starred Robert Guillaume and was also a breakthrough for Billy Crystal, who played her nephew.

She was nominated for Emmys for all four seasons of the show and won a best actress in a comedy Golden Globe in 1981.

Helmond kept working into her 80s doing mostly voice work most notably as the Model T Lizzie in the Pixar “Cars” films.

She had a recurring role on “Everybody Loves Raymond” from 1996 to 2004 as the title character’s mother-in-law.

“Katherine Helmond was such a class act and incredibly down to earth,” tweeted actress Patricia Heaton, who co-starred with Ray Romano on the show. “She was terrific as my mother on ’Everybody Loves Raymond’ and I looked up to her as a role model.”

A memorial is being planned.

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It truly is an amazing video, full of performances by an amazing man!!

Ryan Reynolds pays tribute to fellow Canadian John Candy on 25th anniversary of his death

From one Canadian to another…

On Sunday afternoon, actor Ryan Reynolds shared a video tribute to his fellow countryman John Candy commemorating the 25th anniversary of Candy’s passing. “It’s the 25th anniversary of John Candy’s passing. We cooked up a small tribute to a comedic genius and Canadian hero,” he wrote. “If you haven’t seen much of his work, take a look at his films. He was a treasure.”

Alongside this caption, Reynolds shared a nearly two-minute video tribute to Candy, which he compiled with the help of Candy’s children Chris and Jen. The video includes clips from some of the late comic’s most iconic projects, including Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Uncle Buck, Spaceballs, and The Great Outdoors.

Beloved as a comedian and character actor, Candy was well-known for playing the big-hearted buffoon in films throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. He got his start on SCTV, which stands for Second City Television Network — a variety sketch show that was the Canadian equivalent of Saturday Night Live.

Candy died of a heart attack on March 4, 1994 while working on the movie Wagons East in Durango, Mexico. He was only 43 years old.

Reynolds is a big fan of Candy’s and one astute Reddit user pointed out that in Deadpool 2, Reynolds’ character Wade Wilson can be seen reading The Canadian Mounted, the same book Candy reads in Planes, Trains & Automobiles.

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It’s almost time for CAPTAIN MARVEL!!!!

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World flies to second weekend box office victory

Universal’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is far from draggin’ at the box office.

The final entry in the animated franchise continues to soar past the competition, winning the box office for the second weekend in a row with an estimated opening total of $30 million in ticket sales at 4,286 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday. It has now earned an impressive $97.7 million in domestic ticket sales boosting its global total to an estimated $375.4 million, far surpassing the previous titles in the franchise at this stage.

New release Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral takes second place with an estimated $27 million in ticket sales across 2,442 theaters, while the weekend’s other debut title, Isabelle Huppert-led thriller Greta, faltered with a $4.6 million haul across 2,411 theaters for a disappointing eighth place slot.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World continues the Dreamworks animation franchise for the third and final entry in the trilogy. It debuted last week with the biggest opening of the year to date, knocking both the first film’s 2010 opening of $43.7 million and the sequel’s $49.5 million 2014 debut out of the sky. It should hold strong in coming weeks due to positive reviews and a glowing A CinemaScore from audiences.

This conclusion follows young Viking Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his Night Fury dragon Toothless as they seek out the “Hidden World,” a secret dragon utopia home to other Night Furies. The team must find the secret world before hired tyrant Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) does and uses it for nefarious purposes. Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, Cate Blanchett, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, and Kristen Wiig also lend their vocal talents to the film. Dean DeBlois continues his directing duties from the first two films.

While The Hidden World signals the end to the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy, second place this week goes to another final cinematic chapter, Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral. The film marks the end of Tyler Perry’s Madea franchise, which kicked off with 2005’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman. Perry has enjoyed a long partnership with Lionsgate, releasing 21 films with them, but this also closes the door on that relationship for the time being.

A Madea Family Funeral exceeded expectations with its $27 million release, which puts the film in third place overall in the franchise behind 2009’s Madea Goes to Jail $41 million opening and 2006’s Madea’s Family Reunion $30 million opening. In this final Madea tale, Tyler Perry stars as the titular matriarch in a story that finds a family reunion going awry when a trip to backwoods Georgia results in the planning of an unexpected funeral that threatens to unveil unsavory family secrets.

Mike Tyson, Cassi Davis, Patrice Lovely also star, while Perry dons the directing hat to close out this conclusion to a franchise that shot him to superstardom. Audiences gave the film a warm A- CinemaScore. Madea continues to resonate with women, pulling in a 67% female audience.

Other new release Greta fared more poorly, taking in $4.6 million for an eighth place debut. The Focus Features thriller stars Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert as the title character, an eccentric and lonely French piano teacher who lures a young woman named Frances (Chloe Gracce Moretz) to her with a lost handbag she left on the subway. Frances soon discovers there might be more to Greta than meets the eye in this sinister tale. Maika Monroe, Colm Feore, Stephen Rea, Jeff Hiller, and Parker Sawyers also star in the Neil Jordan (Interview With The Vampire) helmed film.

Robert Rodriguez’s sci-fi epic Alita: Battle Angel fell to third place with an estimated $7 million across 3,096 theaters, bringing its domestic total to a paltry $72.2 after three weekends. The story of a female cyborg has reportedly taken in $350.4 million worldwide, which does little to make a dent in the rumored $200 million production budget.

Fourth place goes to another animated sequel Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, with an estimated $6.6 million haul across 3,458 theaters in its fourth week out. The latest entry in the Lego franchise now has a domestic cumulative total of $91.7 million, only coming in ahead of 2017’s The Lego Ninjago Movie in four week totals. Despite its all-star voice cast, which includes Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, and Will Arnett, the sequel pales in comparison to its smash-hit predecessor.

Following its Oscar Best Picture victory, Green Book rounds out the top five with an estimated $4.7 million across 2,641 theaters in its sixteenth week at the box office. The film added 1,388 locations on the heels of its Oscar success, which also included wins for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali.

The film follows driver Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) and pianist Don Shirley (Ali) on a 1962 trip through the American South, where the pair forge an unlikely friendship as they encounter virulent racism, homophobia, and more. Peter Farrelly directed the award-winning film. It now boasts a $75.9 million total, putting it ahead of last year’s Best Picture winner The Shape of Water, which ended its theatrical run with a $63.9 million domestic gross.

Overall box office is down 25.8 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore, still lagging behind the juggernaut success of last year’s Black Panther release. Check out the Feb. 22-24 numbers below.

1. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World— $30 million
2. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral— $27 million
3. Alita: Battle Angel— $7 million
4. Lego Movie 2: The Second Part— $6.6 million
5. Green Book— $4.7 million
6. Fighting With My Family— $4.7 million
7. Isn’t It Romantic— $4.6 million
8. Greta— $4.6 million
9. What Men Want— $2.7 million
10. Happy Death Day 2U — $2.5 million

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It had a few nice moments, and that Olivia Coleman win was an amazing surprise!!! Overall, it needed to have a host!!

Oscars: ‘Green Book’ Overcomes Backlash to Win Best Picture

Peter Farrelly’s film nabbed three wins on Sunday night, including the top honor at the 91st Academy Awards.
Green Book won best picture at the 2019 Oscars on Sunday, beating out frontrunner Roma and robbing Netflix of its first-ever win in the coveted Academy Awards category.

“This is like a dream,” said producer Jim Burke while accepting the trophy with the Green Book cast and team, including Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga, on Sunday night. “We made this film with love, and we made it with tenderness and we made it with respect.”

Farrelly added, “This whole story is about love. It’s about loving each other despite our differences and finding the truth about who we are; we’re the same people.”

The director then thanked the film’s star Viggo Mortensen and co-star Mahershala Ali, who, earlier in the night, won his second best supporting actor award. He becomes the second black actor to win more than one Oscar for acting.

Wessler then dedicated the win to the late Carrie Fisher before presenter Julia Roberts signed off on behalf of the Academy and its hostless show.

The win marks a somewhat surprising development for what was anticipated to be an unpredictable Oscar year. The 2019 best picture category was considered one of the toughest to predict going into Sunday night. For one, both presumptive fronrunners Roma and Green Book have proven to be divisive among Academy members — the former because of box-office rival Netflix, the latter because of awards season missteps.

The best picture race also included box-office hits favored by viewers — Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born — and the Hollywood guilds, which usually settle on a consensus by Oscar night, had not agreed during the 2019 Oscars season. The Directors Guild feted Roma, the Producers Guild picked Green Book and the Screen Actors Guild awarded the cast of Black Panther.

Farrelly’s Green Book tells the story of Tony Lip (Mortensen), a bigoted Italian-American who was hired as a driver and bodyguard by pianist Don Shirley (Ali) for a tour through the civil rights-era South.

Universal’s Green Book was an early Oscar favorite, until passionate debate about the racial dramedy grew along with its awards season rise. Some of Shirley’s family members criticized the film’s portrayal. Then Vallelonga, Lip’s son and screenwriter, had to apologize for a resurfaced anti-Muslim tweet. Farrelly, who did not earn a best director nom, also had to apologize for exposing himself in the past.

Green Book earned five nominations, including a best actor nom for Mortensen. Brian Hayes Currie and Farrelly claimed the award for best original screenplay.

A win for Roma would have nabbed Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white autobiographical drama a number of firsts, including the first non-English film to win best picture. Roma had several strikes against it going into the Oscars. Many Academy members resented that the film comes from rival streaming giant Netflix.

Roma did earn Netflix its first-ever noms for best director, actress in a leading role — for first-time actress Yalitza Aparicio — original screenplay, foreign-language film, production design, sound editing and sound mixing. Of those categories, Roma won best director for Cuaron and best foreign-language film, a first for Mexico, on Sunday. Cuaron also won best cinematography.

In taking home the best picture trophy, Green Book also beat out the timely BlacKkKlansman, fan-favorite A Star Is Born, groundbreaking Black Panther, global box-office hit Bohemian Rhapsody, female-fronted The Favourite and the politically charged Vice.

Roma and The Favourite were tied for a total of 10 nominations going into Sunday. Roma also tied the record for most noms received by a foreign-language film. Netflix nabbed 15 nods in all.

Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody walked away with the most wins of the night with four.

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“I want these people to like me to a degree I find embarrassing.”

Here are the best jokes of the 2019 Oscars

Without a host, the Oscars ceremony this year was a little short on jokes. Instead of an opening monologue, we had Adam Lambert singing with Queen, and though we did get Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph giving a slightly lengthened presentation for Best Supporting Actress, most of the laughs in the ceremony were more of the “polite chuckles during awkward celebrity banter” variety.

That said, here are the best zingers from show:

“Just a quick update, in case you’re confused: There is no host tonight, there won’t be a popular movie category, and Mexico is not paying for the wall.” (Maya Rudolph)

“We will be presenting commercials during the awards… Say, ‘Hellman’s Mayonnaise, we are on the side of food,’ instead of your speeches.” (Amy Poehler)

“Buster Scruggs, I hardly know her!” (Tina Fey)

[Sarcastically:] “Roma’s on Netflix, what’s next my microwave makes a movie?!” (Tina Fey)

“Don’t worry, Bradley — after four kids, I too have peed myself at the Grammys.” (Maya Rudolph)

“Justice Ginsburg, if you ever want to borrow the dragons, ring me.” (Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke)

“Even backstage, Mel Gibson came up to me and said, ‘Wakanda forever.’ He said another word after that, but ‘Wakanda’ was nice.” (Trevor Noah)

“I want these people to like me to a degree I find embarrassing.” (John Mulaney)

“I can’t believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar!” (Best Documentary Short winner Rayka Zehtabchi)

“The same kind of magic that allows audiences to believe that I am an actor.” (Paul Rudd, presenting the award for Best Visual Effects)

“We were both raised in Brooklyn… and we both love hats!” (Barbra Streisand, on her similarities with BlacKkKlansman director Spike Lee)

“This is hilarious.” (Olivia Colman, winning Best Actress)