Are Tabloids Too Conservative to Understand Queer Celebrity Relationships?
Netflix and Amazon Prime battle for our fantasy attention.
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“What you’re willing to sacrifice is the measurement of how you love.”—Jada Pinkett Smith
Kristen Stewart, Doing Whatever She Wants
Socially Conservative Tabloids
People say that the mainstream media tends to lean toward the liberal side, but that really doesn’t apply to some of the biggest tabloid players. Not only are the hottest sources of gossip literally owned by conservative-leaning organizations (Page Six and The Daily Mail are Rupert Murdoch–owned corporate cousins of Fox News, while In Touch, Us Weekly, Star, and Life & Style are all owned by American Media, Inc., which has quite literally aligned itself with Donald Trump in the past), but they also project socially conservative morals on celebrities’ personal lives. You either live the dream in tabloid land with an “adorable” courtship, “fairytale” engagement and wedding, and a bunch of cute kids, or you get banished to a land where the tabloids (wrongly) declare you “betrayed” or “pregnant and alone” a million times until they basically brand you an old spinster that no one wants anymore. The brain trusts behind your favorite gossip columns literally can’t seem to comprehend anything else, let alone either queer, open, or otherwise untraditional relationships. Take coverage of Kristen Stewart’s recent relationships. The actress still seems to have something going on with the model Stella Maxwell, but has been spotted exhibiting PDA with other women over the summer. Any Gen Zer probably could take a guess at what exactly is going on, and would shrug it off. Tabloids, meanwhile, are beside themselves. They also seem, frankly, perplexed that Katie Holmes isn’t hiding away after the supposed dissolution of her relationship with Jamie Foxx, even if they never knew what was going on in the relationship to begin with. Of course, these are the same publications that consider it absolutely shocking news should Jennifer Aniston ever even so much as talk to an ex, as if every relationship must end in deep, mutual hatred. Tabloid guys, it’s 2019. Everyone else’s understanding of relationships have moved on, maybe yours should too.
The Start of Oscar Season, Already
Do you feel that? Yes, somewhere in Italy right at this very moment, Oscars season is officially kicking off. At least, for keen-eyed awards watchers it is. The Venice Film Festival serves as one of the major fall festivals, where Hollywood goes to premiere it’s trophy hopefuls, and it’s the earliest one. This year, it should also answer some of our biggest questions about awards season, like: “Is Renée Zellweger’s Judy Garland biopic her ticket back to the Dolby Theater’s red carpet, or was it material best left to Lifetime?”; “Will the Joaquin Phoenix–starring Joker be the first superhero flick taken fully seriously by awards bodies, or is this just a weird, ill-advised excess of our comic book hero–saturated age of entertainment?”; and “What, exactly, is Brad Pitt’s Ad Astra even about?” All will be revealed by the time the festival wraps up next week. Plus, with Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman, Kristen Stewart, and Timothée Chalamet all premiering new films during the fest, we should get a pretty stacked red carpet as well.
Fantasy Muppets With Famous Voices
Cara Delevingne’s Elf Ears
It’s Labor Day weekend, and most of us will at least try to be outdoors in some fashion enjoying the last of our summer. That includes Hollywood, which isn’t making much of an effort this weekend either. And whatever is being released in theaters on Friday seems like an absolute chore to even bother writing up. Bennett’s War is, at a glance, about a young veteran who must save his family’s home from repossession by winning a BMX race. Don’t Let Go is a horror flick that has received a cool critical reception. David Oyelowo plays a guy who has to solve the murder of his dead niece with the help of his dead niece (played by Storm Reid). Time travel is involved, it seems, but it might be best to save your own time and travel elsewhere this weekend.
The TV streamers, meanwhile, go to war with big fantasy plays in an attempt to fill that Game of Thrones–shaped hole in your heart. Remember when The Muppets creator Jim Henson went dark with his cult classic The Dark Crystal? Yeah, well, Netflix has given it a full-on prequel series, and the voice cast features a trio of Thrones vets (Lena Headey, Natalie Dormer, and Nathalie Emmanuel). They’re joined by everyone from Helena Bonham Carter and Taron Egerton to Andy Samberg and Awkwafina. Critical reviews seem to indicate that the fact that half of Hollywood decided to get involved is no fluke. The consensus is stellar. Unfortunately, Amazon Prime can’t say the same for its Carnival Row. This is the one where Cara Delevingne plays a refugee fairy opposite Orlando Bloom’s steampunk police detective. “This new series reaches for credibility with gruesomeness and exaggeration, falling flat at every turn,” writes Variety. “It’s painful proof that a genre success cannot be reverse-engineered.” Other critics admit it could be dumb fun for fantasy enthusiasts, but ultimately the show’s pained attempt at political allegory was far too much for it to bother taking on. Of course, if you’re not into fantasy at the moment, you can always check out our guide to the most recent must-watch shows from the United Kingdom.
Alyson Stoner first shot to fame at nine years old by performing in Missy Elliott’s “Work It” video. At Monday’s MTV VMAs, she jumped onstage to prove she still had it (even if she had no time to rehearse). Of course, if you follow her on Instagram, you’ll see she’s done a lot in the intervening years as well.