Trailer Thursday – Annie

Hollywood seems to be on something of a reboot kick lately; it seems for every new movie that they release, they also release a rehashed version of a movie that was popular 20 years ago. Perhaps this always happens and we’ve just hit the timing where the movies that I grew up with are now ripe for a fresh take. If so, I think that means that I’m old. Oddly, many of the films that have recently received the reboot treatment are films that I missed the first time around. I have never seen the original Red Dawn, Robocop or Total Recall, so my interest in their updated versions has been tepid at best.

I did see Annie, however, so when I heard that Will Smith had it in his head to remake the film I was a little skeptical. A lot of that concern originated from the alleged original plan of Willow Smith (daughter of Will and his wife Jada) plating the title role; that smacked to me as pure nepotism and I wasn’t convinced that a girl best known for one annoying single (“Whip My Hair”) was the best choice to star in the beloved musical. Whether Willow simply aged out of the project because it took so long to be developed or Will had second thoughts after a less than well received project with his son Jaden (the abysmal After Earth), I was relieved when the role of Annie was filled by Quvenzhané Wallis. Wallis, the youngest person ever nominated for an Academy Award, proved that she had acting chops in Beasts of the Southern Wild; I didn’t particularly dig that movie, but I thought she was quite good in it and that she had a real screen presence. Whether she could actually sing was yet to be determined, but the Annie reboot now seemed like less of a vanity project and more like a legitimate movie. While I don’t like Jamie Foxx personally, I can’t argue that he was kind of perfect for the new version of Daddy Warbucks. I found the casting of Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan a little curious, but my affinity for Carol Burnett meant that whoever was cast in that role was going to be less than ideal in my eyes. With Jay Z on board as a producer, my main emotion related to this reboot was curiosity – how exactly was this all going to come together and what changes were they going to make to update the story for a new generation.

We got out first clues as to what the 2014 Annie will look like with the release of the first trailer for the film.


The most obvious change is that the character of Daddy Warbucks has been changed to Benjamin Stacks. Stacks’ interest in Annie is now about furthering his political career. There are clips of some familiar songs in the trailer, so at a minimum it appears that “A Hard Knock Life” will be included in the film (not unspringing, given Mr. Carter’s history with the song). The orphans have nice clothes than in the original film, but Miss Hannigan appears to still be pretty terrible (though I will be interested to see if they tone down her affinity for booze). I’m skeptical that the character of Punjab will be in the film, at least as originally depicted, since that characterization probably wouldn’t fly with today’s audiences and political climate. I’m also not sure how they could include Rooster in this new story line as originally conceptualized; he may still be in the movie, but I’m guessing he’ll no longer be Miss Hannigan’s brother. Changing the racial makeup of the film doesn’t have much impact other than on that particular storyline. It’s not impossible, but it’s a tougher sell to some segments of the population that the brother of Cameron Diaz is also the father of Quvenzhané Wallis.

My gut reaction after watching the trailer is that this film might not be terrible; I’m not sure that I’ll be running out to see it immediately, but I think it will be a respectable take on the original story. I don’t think that this will be a critical smash, but the 1982 film wasn’t either – it was met with mixed reviews at best. I haven’t seen the 1982 version of Annie since I was a kid and I have no idea how it holds up. My guess is that I wouldn’t think it was all that great and that it is only nostalgia that would gloss over its faults. I’ll be interested to see how a new generation of kids feels about this update; if nothing else, I’m just glad to see Quvenzhané Wallis get more work. The trailer, at the very least, gives me hope that this was a good career choice for her.

Annie will be released Christmas 2014.

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – May Day Edition

Happy first day of May! While this date used to be commemorated with festivals and May baskets, now it just means that I need to pay my rent, which is decidedly less glamorous. I think we should bring all those celebrations back, if for no other reason I could use a day off from work and it is a gorgeous day outside. I’d even be willing to dance around a Maypole if need be.

While I try to convince my boss that we should be observing this ancient spring festival, kick back and enjoy your bi-weekly roundup of pop culture stories that you might have missed. If you see a story that you think should be included in this feature, please feel free to hit me up on the blog’s Facebook page or tweet me (@AsHeathersWorld). And don’t forget to vote to decide what my summer viewing project will be; the polling sample is small at the moment, but The Good Wife is off to a narrow lead. Finally, a very special welcome to all the new people following the blog – your readership is much appreciated!

Now let’s get our pop culture on!

  • Seth Rogen and FX are teaming up for an animated program about Bigfoot.
  • Check out this jazzy cover version of Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” that will be in The Great Gatsby:


  • However, the soundtrack also features this horrific cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.” Beyoncé is fine, but Andre 3000 ruins it:


  • Johnny Depp is in talks to star in the big screen adaption of the Broadway musical Into the Woods.
  • The Madonna/Elton John feud has been squashed. This has really been going on a decade?
  • A woman recreated the opening of a bunch of TV shows for her hubby’s birthday:


  • More pop culture birthday: a How I Met Your Mother themed party.
  • Mad Men has gone to the dogs:


  • After the success of Veronica Mars, Zach Braff has also turned to Kickstarter to fund his new movie. For some reason, this has people all worked up into a tizzy. I know it’s not cool to say, but I actually really liked Garden State, so I’m eager to see this new film.
  • All My Children and One Life to Live have been revived; the soaps started an on-line only run o Monday.

Renewal news:

  • The CW has renewed The Vampire Diaries, Heart of Dixie and Beauty and the Beast. They also picked up The Vampire Diaries spinoff, The Originals.
  • NBC has renewed Parenthood (yay!), Chicago Fire, Revolution, Grimm and Law & Order: SVU.
  • Two and a Half Men will be back, short a half man; Angus T. Jones will not be a regular.
  • Comedy Central has renewed The Jeselnik Offensive and Nathan for You.
  • MTV has renewed Snooki and JWoww and is reviving Nick Cannon Presents Wild n Out.


  • Paul Scheer and Will Arnett decided, for unknown reasons, to recreate the Bill Clinton/Arsenio Hall interview (with some creative license):


  • Armie Hammer and Tom Cruise are slated to co-star in Guy Richie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E film remake.
  • Neil Diamond is donating the profits from “Sweet Caroline” the week of the Boston bombings to a charity for the victims.
  • Quentin Tarantino’s car – driven by John Travolta in Pulp Fictionhas been recovered 17 years after it was stolen.
  • This guy nails his Louis CK impression (NSFW):


  • This is kind of spectacular: Norman Reedus (Daryl from The Walking Dead) photobombed a Game of Thrones fan picture:



  • The Tony nominations were announced. Tom Hanks is closer to getting an EGOT.
  • In honor of the Red Headed Stranger’s 80th birthday, watch Willie Nelson’s “audition tape” for The Hobbit:


  • I haven’t played in years, but I was interested to hear a new Grand Theft Auto game is coming out in September. I always enjoyed that game, though I mostly just drove around and wrecked stuff.
  • Watch SNL’s Kate McKinnon do her Ellen DeGeneres impression for Ellen on Ellen:


  • Fans of The Simpsons may want to check out this website that encourages artists to reinterpret Homer Simpson.
  • Supervillian speed dating:


  • This is hilarious – E.L. James, author of the Fifty Shades of Grey series – is releasing a writing advice journal. Those books were a lot of things, but well written wasn’t one of them.
  • NBC will allegedly be burning off the remaining episodes of the dreadful Do No Harm over the summer.
  • Watch a short film directed by Michael Cera:


  • I didn’t make it again this year, but the winners of the Tribeca Film Festival have been announced.
  • Michael Bublé put on an impromptu show in the NYC subway:


  • House of Card’s Corey Stoll is attached to a vampire pilot for FX from Carlton Cuse and Guillermo del Toro, based on the del Toro’s book The Strain.
  • A musical Dowton Abbey spoof? Why thank you! (contains spoilers)


  • Uproxx created a power ranking of Ted’s girlfriends on How I Met Your Mother. Zoey should have been much lower – she was the worst.

As always, we end with the mashups and supercuts:

  • It’s a quip off between Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess and Game of Throne’s Lady Olenna
  • Here’s a mashup of trailers for summer 2013 movies:


  • The Game of Thrones/Friends mashup (contains GoT spoilers):


  • MineKart 64 – Minecraft and Mario Kart 64:


  • Statler, Waldorf, & Inglourious Basterds


  • This Taylor Swift/Demi Lovto mashup (“I Knew You Had a Heartattack”) is pretty catchy:


  • Mad Men and The Simpsons both have done episodes involving Planet of the Apes, so it was only a matter of time before someone put them together:


  • An Arnold Schwarzenegger supercut:


  • And finally, here is Cookie Monster singing Tom Waits (NSFW). I am embarrassed to say how many times I have watched this: