“Vivid images are like a beautiful melody that speaks to you on an emotional level. It bypasses your logic centers and even your intellect and goes to a different part of the brain.” —Steven Bochco
Spielberg’s Magic Touch
There was some fear amongst box office watchers that Steven Spielberg’s latest blockbuster may not prove to be a box office hit, but it seems all that worry was for nothing. Ready Player One pulled in a solid $53.2 million over its four-day opening weekend (with $41.2 million coming in Friday through Sunday). Spielberg flicks tend to stick around at the box office for a while, too, so the conversation around the pop culture reference–packed VR adventure quickly went from “Will this be a hit?” to “When will they announce the sequel?” Meanwhile, Tyler Perry’s Acrimony, a Taraji P. Henson–starring revenge flick, came in second with $17.1 million. That’s towards the lower end of Perry’s recent openings, but his fan base is decidedly still intact, and the film opened much better than Henson’s previous 2018 effort, Proud Mary. Critics ravaged it, but that’s to be expected, we suppose. Uplifting Christian rock drama I Can Only Imagine, though, continues to surprise. Its $10.75 million was good enough for fourth place in its third week, but this week’s third new wide-release God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness, which plays into the idea Christians are being persecuted here in America, did not fare as well. Despite (somehow) starring Tatum O’Neal, the film’s $2.6 million put in it 12th place. That’s even lower than Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, which was only in 165 theaters in select markets.
Steven Bochco’s Influence
Did you spend part of your weekend catching up on your favorite TV dramas or binging a new one? Well, there’s a good chance that whatever show it was, there’s a little bit of Steven Bochco in its DNA. The pioneering producer who changed the landscape of network television passed away yesterday at the age of 74 after a years-long battle with leukemia. The man pretty much paved the way for our current golden age of television beginning in 1981 with Hill Street Blues, and his golden touch continued as co-creator of L.A. Law and NYPD Blue. Rather than focus on just one or two main characters, he created expansive worlds with rich ensemble casts. His shows also always pushed buttons and boundaries while tackling then-taboo social issues. Law featured the first lesbian kiss between two series regulars on network TV; NYPD Blue rewrote the rules on onscreen nudity. Topics like abortion, HIV/AIDS, and domestic violence were all tackled ahead of their time. Though, that brought Bochco into frequent conflict with both network brass and conservative groups, his best shows were often awards magnets. Both Hill Street Blues and L.A. Law won the Best Drama Emmy four times, an all-time record they still share today with Mad Men and The West Wing. He also gave big breaks to several figures in the industry on both sides of the camera: Debra Messing, Blair Underwood, and Corbin Bernsen were just some of the actors who took to Twitter last night to remember the difference he made in their career, and fellow television creators paid homage to his influence. “As a kid, ‘Hill Street Blues’ and ‘L.A. Law’ were rituals in my house,” wrote House of Cards creator Beau Willimon. “All of us who grew up watching great TV and have benefited from the ground he broke owe pioneer Steven Bochco a debt of gratitude.”
New Music, Finally!
Royal Traditions…or Are They?
After a very slow start to the year that even a new Justin Timberlake album failed to liven up (though we did get a ginormous Migos album-cum-playlist), we’re finally getting some big music releases. Perhaps the most talked–about released on Friday was The Weeknd’s new EP, My Dear Melancholy, in which he appears to let his feelings be known about his breakups with both Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez. You can read a deeper dive about all of that here, but it turns out he thought about donating a kidney to Gomez but was pretty sure their relationship was completely done. Though, at least one song is the melodic equivalent of sending a “u up?” text to Hadid. Friday also brought us Golden Hour, the well-reviewed third album from libertarian outlaw country star Kacey Musgraves. She sticks mostly to her country roots, but there’s an undeniable dance influence on some songs that culminates in full-blown nu-disco bop “High Horse.” She’s not taking the full Taylor Swift–paved road to pop stardom yet, but she’s letting us know she could if she wanted. Incidentally, this week will bring the country music turn of dance-pop icon Kylie Minogue. Though, its similar genre description and album title (Golden) may make you think the pair accidentally made the same album. Turns out, that while Minogue worked with Nashville songwriters (many of them Swift vets), she still can’t help but be a dance floor queen. More notably, the 49-year-old directly addresses the taboo subject matter of aging as a pop star that few before her ever really did. Otherwise, this week will probably be dominated by Cardi B. Her first proper album, Invasion of Privacy, drops on Friday, and we can expect a new music video sometime before that.
Halle Berry isn’t just an Oscar winner, she’s also secretly one of the best fitness bloggers in Hollywood. For some of the star’s workout advice, check here.
Michael Fassbender, 41 (Newlywed)
Pedro Pascal, 43 (Just Signed on for Wonder Woman 2)
Chris Meloni, 57 (Your TV Cop Boyfriend)
Emmylou Harris, 71 (Original Kacey Musgraves)