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August 20: Happy Birthday Robert Plant and Demi Lovato


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A pair of singers from different eras headline today’s article.

Robert Plant is turning 69 today.  He grew up in the Midlands of England and became very involved in the blues music scene in that area in his teens.  In 1968, when Jimmy Page was trying to assemble a new band in the wake of the Yardbirds’ dissolution, he heard Plant sing at a concert and recruited him as the lead singer of what became known as Led Zeppelin.  Plant in turn brought drummer John Bonham on board, and they were then joined by bass and keyboard player John Paul Jones.

Over the next dozen years, Plant became one of the main creative forces within the band.  He emerged as their primary lyricist, sharing songwriting credits with Page and sometimes Jones.  Led Zeppelin had some successful singles, but their great success was from albums and touring.  The band’s signature song was one that they never released as an official single until it came out in digital form.

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Worst to First: Ranking the Spider-Man Movies


We’re looking forward to tonight’s release of the new Spider-Man movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming with another of our “Worst to First” articles. I’m not sure I’ll offer too many surprises on the top end here, but there might be a little bit of suspense in the lower half. Since most of us will not have seen the new film, we’ll only be ranking the existing five for the time being. If you have seen the newest solo Spider-Man flick already, feel free to share your non-spoiler thoughts here in the comments section.
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Franchise Killers: The Amazing Spider-Man 2


It may seem counter-intuitive to discuss the death of the Spider-Man franchise pending the release of a new movie starring the comic book hero.  These days, studios are unable or unwilling to let their movie franchises die.  It doesn’t matter how well or how poorly Spider-Man: Homecoming performs this weekend, Sony cannot afford to stop making movies about Marvel’s famous wall-crawling, web-spinner.  But just three short years ago, the studio released a Spider-Man movie that was received so poorly that the studio put the brakes on all future Spider-Man-related projects and turned to a competitor for assistance.

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Why’d it bomb? The Amazing Spider Man 2 (2014)


Last summer, Spider-Man made his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU for short). This summer, the web-slinger will be headlining his own movie. But before his “homecoming”, Spidey was the star of two of Sony’s franchises. First, Sam Raimi a trilogy starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Then Marc Webb rebooted the series in 2012 with Andrew Garfield taking over the mantle. In both cases, the franchise’s started off well but then, through executive meddling, things didn’t go so well.

Then came The Amazing Spider Man 2, which had the lowest grossing domestic gross of any Spider Man film, grossing $202 million domestically. That being said, it was technically a hit at the box office, making $709 million worldwide. However, while that wasn’t much different from the first movie’s worldwide gross of $757 million, Sony was expecting the movie to make more money and, when it didn’t, they ended up firing Garfield (though the fact that he had a falling out with the head of Sony didn’t help matters either), they cancelled their plans for an Amazing Spider-Man franchise, and decided to reboot the whole thing all over again. But why wasn’t it the huge hit Sony was hoping for? Let’s find out!

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Best Actor Oscar Nominees (89th Academy Awards)


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In most years, the Best Actor category is one of the major flash points of Oscars evening. Last year’s win for Leonardo DiCaprio was seen by some as the rightful end to a long-standing wrong (I wasn’t one of those people, but we’re not talking about me here). Both 2009 and 2010 featured Jeff Bridges and Colin Firth as top nominees with each man eventually taking home one statuette. Longtime favorites, unexpected darkhorses, and actual movie stars have made the walk to the stage to be honored over the years and there’s usually a lot of suspense or anticipation over a tight race or a coronation. Despite some uncertainty over who the actual winner will be, I’m not quite getting the same sense of excitement over this race as I have in many other years. No matter who wins, that performance will be seen by most as deserving, but I’m not sure there are a ton of people outside of the productions themselves who are emotionally invested in the outcome. Join me below as i discuss each nominee and maybe offer some hints as to why people might feel this way. Then help us vote for our own favorite to take home Oscar gold in this category!
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Aug 20: Happy Birthday Amy Adams and Andrew Garfield


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Amy Adams celebrates her 42nd birthday today.  In 1999, she was working in dinner theater in Minnesota when she had the chance to audition for a role in Drop Dead Gorgeous.  Although her role was small she won critical praise, and she moved to Southern California.  For the next several years her film career had ups and downs—a significant supporting role in Spielberg’s Catch Me if You Can was followed by a year where she got no work at all.  But things began looking up for her in 2004 when she was sent the script for an indie film, a bittersweet comedy called Junebug, and was cast as the role of Ashley Johnston.

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