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“Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.”—Fred Rogers.
Prince Charles’s Vision for the Future of the Royal Family
The Crown’s third season seems quaint compared to the drama currently ensnaring the House of Windsor.
The friendship between Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, and Jeffrey Epstein has hounded the royal family throughout the year. In what was reportedly a shock to some family members, the prince addressed the situation in a television interview; he was widely judged to have come off as cold, unconvincing, and generally indifferent to Epstein’s victims. Andrew faced consequences from his connection to Epstein almost a decade ago, when he stood down from his lucrative official duty as Trade Envoy, but renewed interest in the case has turned up the heat. Now the prince has announced that he’s stepping back from all royal duties for “the foreseeable future.” (Incidentally, the announcement came on the same date as his parent’s 73rd wedding anniversary.)
The fact that Andrew says he’ll commit fully to helping with any investigations into Epstein’s exploits seems to have done little to help him save face.
The announcement might have far-reaching implications for the future of the monarchy; it might also signal the final battle in a long-running spat between Prince Andrew and his brother Prince Charles. The future king has reportedly sought to scale back the roles of some members of the royal family, to decrease not only the expense to the public but also the opportunity for further embarrassment and scandal.
It was Charles who apparently lobbied to have Andrew’s children, princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, seek outside employment as opposed to living as fully supported royalty. And the fact that Prince Harry’s son, Master Archie, has no official title might also be a reflection of Charles’s new vision for the monarchy.
The embarrassment caused by Andrew’s various exploits over the years supports Charles’s position. And this latest situation might be the final straw.
Taylor Swift’s AMA Moments
Taylor Swift's Grammy Nominations
This year’s Grammy nominations were announced yesterday, and Taylor Swift didn’t quite get the windfall of recognition she has previously received.
While “Lover” (the song) received a marquee category nomination for Song of the Year, Lover (the album) was snubbed in Album of the Year and was relegated to the Best Pop Vocal Album category. “You Need to Calm Down” also got just a single pop genre nod.
In the grand scheme of things, though, Swift is doing just fine when it comes to awards: She’ll receive the Artist of the Decade recognition at this Sunday’s American Music Awards (where she’s up for five competitive prizes as well).
Her performance during the awards will also underscore that she has bigger things to worry about.
Since June, Swift has been in an increasingly public battle with Scooter Braun, colloquially known as “Justin Bieber’s manager.” Though his name is increasingly being linked with Swift’s.
Braun bought Swift’s former record label and, with that purchase, the masters of the singer’s first six records—assets Swift herself had been attempting to buy.
Last week, Swift claimed that Braun was blocking her from performing her old material at the AMAs and urged other artists to speak out. But even if she’s unable to perform from her pre-sale catalog, we wouldn’t be surprised if she uses the performance to make a statement.
Movies to Make Your Entire Family Cry
It’s a particularly wholesome weekend at the wide-release box office, with two very different films perfectly engineered to guarantee shared family cries.
The first is A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, director Marielle Heller’s take on Fred “Mister” Rogers and a cynical journalist’s assignment to profile him. Universally beloved Tom Hanks plays the universally beloved Rogers, in a case of perfect if not cosmically necessary casting, and critics are appropriately charmed by the final product.
Elsewhere, Disney’s animated arm has apparently caught the sequel/prequel/spin-off fever of its Marvel and Star Wars wings, and has made the rare decision to theatrically release a follow-up film. Indeed, Frozen II is the first of its princess movies to ever receive a theatrical sequel (as opposed to those direct-to-video next chapters of questionable quality of yore).
The official story is that Disney CEO Bob Iger didn’t want to mandate a sequel and would move ahead with one only if the original creative team felt they had another story to tell in regard to Elsa, Anna, and company. However, critics have viewed the film mostly as an exercise in commerce and franchise expansion. That’s not to say that they think it’s bad. In fact, most agree that it’s a perfectly acceptable follow-up—even if it doesn’t quite live up to the original.
Limited release finds the curious case of a well-reviewed new film (Dark Water) from a critically beloved director (Todd Haynes) with two well-known stars (Mark Ruffalo and Anne Hathaway). The weird thing is that it has zero buzz whatsoever. That may be because, while the film seems sound (it’s based on the real-life story of an attorney who took on a chemical company over deadly pollution), it’s a bit more of a straightforward affair than what most have come to expect from Haynes, the man who brought us Velvet Goldmine and Carol.
Television this weekend starts to slip into Thanksgiving vibes. Netflix’s big offering is Dolly Parton's Heartstrings, an anthology series in which each episode dramatizes one of the singer’s classics (yes, there’s a “Jolene” episode).
Hulu and Amazon Prime, meanwhile, are going the English-import route. The former has The Accident, a drama about a tragedy in a small Welsh town (British Twitter seems to hate it), while the latter has The Feed, a sci-fi drama about a Facebook-like technology that has been directly installed into people’s heads.
After seven years of releasing only singles in the PC Music scene, conceptual pop star Hannah Diamond finally issues her debut album, Reflections, this week.