Author Archive

Aloha to the Longest Ad Campaign Ever

April 7th, 2016 No comments


This downtown Chicago billboard has been advertising the movie Aloha for the last two years, and still no one has seen it.

Categories: Movies

Howard Stern Blasts Alejandro González Iñárritu

March 7th, 2016 No comments

Last year Howard Stern announced he was not a fan of Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s Birdman. On his Sirius radio show, he said:

I thought Birdman was the biggest piece of shit… I thought it was pretentious. Listen, I’ve seen movies about acting, especially about Broadway — A Chorus LineAll That Jazz — that handled this subject so much better. I think it gets these accolades because actors love to see shit about actors.

After the Oscar telecast last week, he again expressed his dislike for Birdman and its director.

Categories: Movies

‘Through The Looking Glass’ Trailer Stays On Trend

March 6th, 2016 No comments

When it was released in the spring of 2010, Tim Burton‘s Alice in Wonderland was at the forefront of the 3D trend, and the first major Hollywood release to utilize the technology following Avatar‘s global success.  Now for the sequel, Through the Looking Glass, the filmmaker’s are on board with another trend in the cinema; using slowed down cover songs in movie trailers. Making use of the classic Jefferson Airplane song, “White Rabbit,” Disney is clearly hoping that the amped up version of the 60s classic will help it gross the billion dollars, that the original did, when it opens in theaters on May 27th.

Categories: Movies

Denise Matthews’ Life As Vanity: Sex, Drugs & Salvation

February 17th, 2016 No comments

vanity_header_2 Denise Matthews came up with her stage name after beginning to collaborate with Prince in 1982. According to the April 28, 1983 Rolling Stone cover story “Prince’s Hot Rock,” Mathews explained the process of creating her persona and forming the girl group Vanity 6:

vanity_6She picked her nickname because “a girl’s best friend is her pride,” she says. Like her cohorts, Brenda and Susan, Vanity gave a demo tape of her songs to Prince a year ago. “He said there were a couple other girls whose minds seemed to run alongside mine,” she says. Prince then arranged to bring Vanity, a twenty-two-year-old former model from Toronto, to Minneapolis to meet the other two, flying Brenda in from Boston. Soon, the three were writing songs like “Drive Me Wild” and “Nasty Girls,” in which Vanity coos, “I can’t control it/I need seven inches or more.”

Posted below is a clip of Vanity 6 opening for Prince in Bloomington, Minnesota during his tour to support his breakthrough album 1999.

After this early success, Vanity was successfully lured away from Prince by music mogul Berry Gordy, and signed a deal with MoTown Records in 1984. Posted below is a press clipping from a 1985 appearance in Canada to promote her debut solo album, “Wild Animal.”


purple_rain_xlgVanity left to embark on a solo career before the filming of the movie Purple Rain, in which she was originally supposed to star as Prince’s love interest. William Blinn, the executive producer of the TV series Fame, wrote the first draft of the script with her in mind. In another Rolling Stone cover story, from August, 30th, 1984, titled, “Prince Scores: A Hit Album, A Hot Movie,” they describe the writing process and Vanity’s mysterious departure from the project:

Blinn began pounding out a script called Dreams, a dark story in which the parents of the Kid — the character to be played by prince — were both dead, the mother dispatched by the father who in turn killed himself,. Prince’s Minneapolis music scene was in here too and so was the beautiful Vanity, lead crumpet with Vanity 6. Born in Ontario of Scottish and Eurasian parents (her original name was Denise Matthews). Vanity had been a model and sometime nudie actress who, under the name D.D. Winters, appeared in such Canadian-made films of the early Eighties as Terror Train and Tanya’s Island. Vanity was also Prince’s girlfriend – or one of the them – and in Dreams she was to play the stabilizing influence in the Kid’s otherwise chaotic life.

No one will say why she left – rumors range around money, ego and a faded relationship with the film’s diminutive star.


The parting was not amicable. Vanity told People magazine in 1984:

 I needed one person to love me, and he needed more,” she says of Prince, conceding that she hasn’t even seen Purple Rain, because “it would bring back old memories, and I don’t want to cry.

vanity_1984Vanity released two  albums and starred in a string of feature films and movies for television throughout the rest of the 80s. Her film debut was in the MoTown produced, big budget, Kung Fu feature, The Last Dragon in 1985. Her performance was well received. In his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, film critic Roger Ebert said:

Of Vanity, let it be said that she has the sort of rapport with the camera that makes us like her instantly; she has a sunny smile, and what can only be described as a sort of inner happiness, and in the middle of this plot about gangsters and night clubs and bloody fights, she floats serenely, a joy to behold. In less than 12 months, Prince has introduced two electrifying actresses, Appolonia Kotero from “Purple Rain” and now Vanity.

The Last Dragon Trailer (1985):

52 Pick-Up Trailer (1986):

Never Too Young To Die TV spot (1986):

Deadly Illusion Trailer (1987):

Action Jackson Trailer and clip, featuring Vanity singing the song, “Undress.” which was also released as a single (1988):

By 1992, Vanity had overcome some of her struggles and appeared on the The Joan Rivers Show to talk about her renewed faith in Christianity.

During a 2007 appearance on The Howard Stern Show to promote his book The Heroin Diaries, which detailed his excessive partying and use of illicit drugs, Nikki Six, the bassist for the band Mötley Crüe, talked about his relationship with Vanity at the height of her drug addiction:

In 2010, she appeared on the Trinity Broadcasting Network to promote her autobiography, “Blame it On Vanity.” In the clip below she says:

I was so miserable the entire time that I was Vanity. I spent so many days and nights crying, hating who I’d become. I knew I needed to get out, but I didn’t know how to get out.

Categories: Movies, Music, TV

Slow Songs (Say So Much): Advertising Trends At the Movies

January 26th, 2016 No comments


Recognizable pop hits have always been used in TV commercials and movie trailers as a shortcut to form an instant connection with the audience. In 1987, The Beatles‘ Apple Records label famously sued Nike for their use of the Lennon-McCartney song “Revolution” in a popular TV spot for the Nike Air sneaker.

When it comes to film and television advertising, the stakes are very high to create a sense of familiarity that leads to a money-making opening weekend at the box office or high ratings. If a hit song is perceived as a successful marketing tool, it’s likely to be used and re-used many times over. Last year Bruno Mars‘ “Uptown Funk” was featured in countless movie trailers, TV spots and commercials such as this one for Propel Electrolyte Water:

So far this year, two recently released trailers for the films, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, starring Tina Fey and How to Be Single, starring Rebel Wilson and Dakota Johnson, feature Elle King’s “Ex’s & Oh’s.”

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Trailer:


How to Be Single Trailer:

Another popular trend in TV and movie advertising is the use of cover versions of famous songs, sometimes slowed down for a more dramatic effect. Posted below is a video montage of some of the most prominent examples. Featured in chronogical order is “Sweet Child of Mine” in The Last House on Left (2009), “Happy Together” in The Great Gatsby (2013), “Addicted to Love” in Endless Love (2014), “Crazy in Love” in Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), “Landslide” in Suffragette (2015), “California Dreamin'” in San Andreas (2015), and “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016).

My brother Alejandro (the other writer of Hollywood Vulture) and I, parodied the use of slowed down songs in a mock trailer for the Paranormal Activity parody, Bearanormal Activity 2. It begins with an ominous sounding version of “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

Categories: Movies

Hot Trailer: Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’

October 7th, 2014 No comments

The trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Inherent Vice looks like a step up from his last movie, The Master, during which I mastered taking a siesta.

Categories: Movies

Howard Stern Talks With Lady Gaqa About Madonna, Perez Hilton And Quitting Weed

November 13th, 2013 No comments

During his chat with Lady Gaga, Howard Stern discussed her feuds with Madonna and Perez Hilton, who, apparently, after one too many whiskey sours, turns into a mean drunk who insults Born This Way.

Categories: Etc., Music

Twerk It, B*tch: Lilly Allen’s Back With A Message For The Music Industry

November 13th, 2013 No comments

Back in 2009, Lilly Allen declared that she had enough of being a super successful pop star and was finished with the music business. At the time she said:

I have not renegotiated my record contract and have no plans to make another record.

Luckily for fans of sarcastic pop music and hardcore twerking (which should be almost everyone) Allen is back with a new single and video, “Hard Out Here.” Last time out, with her album It’s Not Me, It’s You, most of Allen’s songs were about how annoyed she was with all the guys she dated. Now, after a hiatus during which she got married and had two kids, she’s annoyed with the music industry, singers that shake their ass (aka Miley Cyrus and her foam finger) and people telling her to get in better shape.

At the beginning of the video, Allen is layed out on the operating table, while her agent expresses his disgust at her body.

Agent: Jesus, how does somebody let themselves get like this, huh?

Surgeon: Lack of self-discipline I supppose.

Lilly Allen: Um, I had two babies.


This is followed by a twerk-a-thon, during which Allen sings about being too smart to use her sex appeal.

Don’t need to shake my ass for you cause I’ve got a brain.


Allen gets to have her cake and eat it too. She calls out the sexism in the music industry while looking as hot as possible. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it and then be ready to pose for the cover of Vogue. Good to have Allen back and, as her creepy agent says in the video, “in fighting shape,” to take on that responsibility.

Categories: Vulture News

HV Article About Shelley Duvall Mentioned On “How Was Your Week” Podcast

July 19th, 2013 No comments

Thanks to Jen. J. Walker for sending author, podcaster and performer Julie Klausner a link to our article about actress Shelley Duvall. The article is titled “Shelley Duvall: The Update You Didn’t Want” and based on Klausner’s reaction to to it, on the latest episode of her podcast “How Was Your Week,” she clearly didn’t want to find out that, as of 2009, the actress was living in Texas and claming that there were, “aliens living in her body.” The link was sent to Klausner after she and Rachel Lichtman revealed “their mutual desire to be pals with Shelley Duvall,” during a recent segment on “How Was Your Week.”


Categories: Movies

Trailer For ‘Before Midnight’ Released: Delpy and Hawke Are Older But None The Wiser

April 5th, 2013 No comments


Before Sunset, the sequel to Before Sunrise, was the rare followup that was even better than the original.  That movie ended with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in the middle of a flirtatious moment where they seemed to be on the verge of rekindling their lost love.

before_mdnight_posterTurns out they did, and the recently released trailer for the third film in the trilogy, Before Midnight, shows that they not only rediscovered the spark between them, but ended up getting married and having kids. At this point this series is starting to feel like a reunion for the class of 1994 (when the original movie came out). Is it possible to recapture the magic of the first two movies? Hard to say, although after watching the trailer it’s clear that Delpy’s character still loves to wax philosophical about the state of their lives and relationship. That could get irritating after awhile, even for the most patient among us. What’s always made them a good match is that Hawke’s character has always been good at knowing when to shutup and listen, even when she says stuff like, “I still feel close to you, but I don’t know some I feel like you’re breathing helium and I’m breathing oxygen.” As was the case when Before Sunset was released in 2004, the latest addition of the series will be a breath of fresh air at the multiplex, which has been bombarded lately with lackluster 3D blockbusters.


Categories: Movies