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Entries in Smash (40)


Remember Jesse L Martin's "I'll Cover You"

Ten years ago today the quickly forgotten film version of Rent (2005) premiered in movie theaters. At the time Rent had been a visceral sensation on stage for nearly a decade and was just a few years short of closing its nearly $300 million grossing Broadway run. Let's just say the movie didn't have a prayer of measuring up, even financially, grossing only $31 million worldwide in theaters. Rent (the movie!) was a dubiously near-perfect example of all the things that can go wrong with movie musicals and despite many other films teaching Hollywood the same exact not-all-that-complicated lessons, Hollywood is still having trouble learning.

You nearly always need these three things: visually stylish directors who also understand storytelling within the musical idiom (it's not an easy thing to move from the abstract friendly medium of the stage to the usually literal medium of the cinema); sly confident casting and gifted performers (transferring entire Broadway casts absolutely won't do. And neither will its opposite, replacing them all with "names" whether or not they can sing and dance. Why? Both strategies just reek of insecurity); and, finally, the right blend of zealous passion and merciless intelligence from the filmmaker since musicals are complicated and needy and fragile and they tend to come with a tricky but essential mix of artifice and sincerity. 

Of course Rent had it's own problems apart from failing to meet those three essentials. It is also a story wherein New York City is as much a leading character as Roger, Mark or Mimi. In the abstract friendly environments of the theater, a simple flourish like a fire escape can represent and entire teeming city with millions of stories in it with ease. If you try to fake New York City in the movies without a stylized visual approach, it just going to look cheap and weak.

But for all of its problems Rent (2005) did give us Jesse L Martin singing onscreen and for that we'll always be grateful. I mean, just listen to his superbly emotive instrument.

A couple of years ago Martin was supposed to headline a biopic about Marvin Gaye and though his casting was inspired financing fell through somewhere along the production phase so the movie seems like one of those phantom features now, caught somewhere between development hell and actual existence. Other roles for Martin just haven't satisfied his musical fans. The much missed Smash (RIP) did a lot of things wrong in its two seasons as a network musical but one of its true unforgiveable sins was actually giving Jesse L Martin a job IN A MUSICAL and then denying the audience that voice. (We keep waiting for The Flash to have a meta-human musical episode since a hefty percentage of its principle cast comes with gorgeous pipes and real musical theater cred.)

Did you ever see Rent on stage? If not do you have any strong memories of the movie?


News of the Century: "Bombshell" From Smash Is Happening. June 15th, 2015


That's right show queens, "Bombshell" is finally getting a stage production. [src] It's a one night only benefit event in NYC so who knows if it will be way above our pay grade but you have to start somewhere.

The Film Experience's troubled marriage to "Smash" the ill fated NBC series about the making of a Marilyn Monroe musical named "Bombshell" lives on! It's impossible to get a full divorce actually from that show and especially the show within the show because social media has guaranteed that all TV series with a devout following remain somehow in the pop culture conversation like they're still on the air.  I can't tell you how many times someone mentions Smash in my twitterfeed (#notcomplaining) and my eyes always flash a bit, like an ocular exclamation point. 

There's no word yet on casting but if Megan Hilty isn't playing Marilyn at this one night only event there's really no point in that day in the world's timeline even existing. This is our only mandatory requirement*. Otherwise proceed, producers. Our hearty gratitude and possible our dollars, depending on ticket prices, await you.

*Requirements are different than wants but we got a string of those too if you need 'em.


Linkers Dozen

TFE Mrs de Winters or Danvers? So little time to vote for these ladies without first names. It's Beauty vs. Beast
Google has Valentine's stories today, with simple line animations and audio, and they're just adorbs 
NY Times film restoration isn't only for old hollywood. They also do porn!
/Film Black Widow film still being considered by Marvel Studios. But then, what isn't?
Coming Soon Ron Howard replacing Alejandro González Iñárritu in the director's chair on a new Jungle Book. Because a) they're so interchangeable! and b) we need another Jungle Book for some reason I guess.
LA Times what are the most memorable clips for the lead nominees. How to choose a key moment?


Extension 765 features a must-read list by Steven Soderbergh of everything he's watched last year. All I can say about this is that I LOVE THAT HE WATCHED ALL THE EPISODES OF "SMASH"
All Things Considered on the friendship between Shirley Temple and Bojangles
Cinema Blend The Spencer Tracy & Katharine Hepburn romance may get its own biopic. Take that one millionth, Liz Taylor movie!
Variety with her remake of Murder She Wrote no longer happening, Octavia Spencer picks "Red Band Society" as her TV series
Awards Daily "Meet the Academy" a pie chart
VF Leonardo DiCaprio on why he didn't star in Moulin Rouge!

To be honest, I’m not really prepared to do a musical, simply because I think I have a pretty atrocious voice 



P.S. Right after I posted this news update, Ellen Page came out. What timing.


Stage Door: The ghost of Smash haunts First Date

In Stage Door we share our live theatre adventures here in NYC through our movie-mad filter…

Glenn here. The poster for the Longacre Theatre’s First Date makes it look, shall we say, rather interminable. An insipid, generic romantic comedy with an overdose of uber-quirk made by phony producers in West Hollywood as a tax write-off. Something along the lines of this. To be honest, I can see how many would find it to be exactly that, but it subverts its potential worst case scenario to win a few hearts the old fashioned way.

First Date is a rather modest original musical with a book by Austin Winsberg, plus music and lyrics by the team of Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner who have used their one-act show (no intermission in the roughly 100-minute musical) to show off a variety of music styles and a broad comedy style. Modest in size, but not pizzazz or laughs or heart. It’s got those in spades. There’s only one set – a cozy-looking New York City bistro with a flashing neon sign just off to stage left and a cabaret-singing bartender – although it frequently breaks out with fantasy sequences and a fair share of discotheque lighting to keep the eyes busy. That is when said eyes aren’t fixed on dreamboat Zachary Levi who stars alongside Krysta Rodriguez as Aaron and Casey, a pair of miss-matched (or are they…? I think you can figure that out on your own) blind-daters. Zachary Levi is 

The ghost of Smash returns after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Team Experience: (More) Emmy Reactions

Now that we've had a few days to process the Emmy award nominations, do we have any outrage left over?Though we’re a film site, it’s unwise to ignore proclaimed golden age of television we’re living in -- even if the arguments that TV is greater than film is wholly suspect --  especially when so many movie stars keep on crossing over. So we surveyed Team Experience with the following questions:

  • win you're most rooting for?
  • most baffling nomination?
  • most compelling category?
  • better luck next year?
  • which Oscar-winning actress?

Which Oscar Winner Are Your Rooting For For Emmy: Helen, Jane, Jessica, Maggie or Melissa?

Read our collective responses and answer the same questions after the jump. No small screen coverage is complete without your comments, TV being so communal.

Click to read more ...


I Guess That's Why They Call It The Link

Hotel Chatter Regina King shows us the best revenge when you're dumped and your tv show is cancelled: look fabulous and happy
Antagony & Ecstasy reviews all Star Trek movies for you because Tim is generous and completist like that
IndieWire Kon-Tiki directors get the next high seas Pirates of the Caribbean gig. Typecasting!  
Broadway World what's next for the stars of the now-departed Broadway tv series Smash

Variety Johnny Depp leave the Whitey Bulger biopic Black Mass... no reasons have been given but I'm guess playing real humans is too scary for him! 
Towleroad Joe Manganiello in the best shape of his life and filming Ten with childhood idol Arnold Schwarzenegger
Los Angeles Times Neil Patrick Harris to host the Emmys just a few months after hosting the Tonys. With him becoming a mainstay at both I guess he'll never get to host the Oscars. 
i09 7 bad storytelling habits taught to us by comic books (most of them are very evident in today's franchise culture... even the ones without superheroes) 

Today's Must Read
Self Styled Siren goes to the ATM, withdraws movie thoughts

Today's Must Watch
How it Should Have Ended take on Iron Man Three - really funny stuff. Gold stars to every moment in the Superman and Batman coffee break



R.I.P. "Smash"

Smash, age 2, passed away on Sunday May 26th, 2013 at an undisclosed location at NBC after airing its final two-part episode "The Nominations" and "The Tony Awards". Few were there to mark its passing due to its long and quite unamusing terminal illness. Smash's difficult short life was plagued by self-sabotage, and two unfortunately common showbiz ailments: Actress Dysmorphia Disorder, in which everyone pretends that a gifted actress is NOT awesome so as to place another lesser being on a pedestal, and the no less deadly Audience Prosopagnosia in which a piece of showbiz believes it is performing for a different audience entirely than the one it's got.

Smash, television's first and now only Broadway musical series, was born on February 6th, 2012 to stubborn scarf-aficionado Theresa Rebeck but wrestled away from her and placed in the care of foster parents who, from all filmed evidence, had never set foot inside a Broadway theater, never witnessed a Tony Awards telecast and prefer American Idol Results Shows to Broadway Musicals. 

In its final death rattle on Sunday night, Smash continued to exhibit all of its usual signs of self-loathing and  mental illness: oh look another "Cute" moment about leaving your cel phone on during live theater!; oh look a lame subplot suggesting the show's best actress should chuck aside her showbiz career the second she's earned it; oh look, more encouraging of absolutely unprofessional behavior to get your way in your profession as if everyone working in musical theater is a complete sociopath and everyone else is okay with this!). In its final two hours of life Smash drifted in and out of consciousness and lucidity forgetting it was a musical and then remembering and even breaking the fourth wall (during one bizarre gay flirtation) on the way to its "Big Finish", a cute reminder that McPhee & Hilty did always sound good singing together, despite all the rest.

In the tradition of all self-immolating entertainments, Smash will be buried with the careers of several of its participants though these names are as yet undisclosed and mourners are asked to withhold petitions calling for Katharine McPhee, Jeremy Jordan, and Joshua Safran's entombment. Smash is survived by Megan Hilty (aka "Ivy Lynn"), actress, Christian Borle & Debra Messing (aka "Will & Grace" "Tom & Julia"), actors, and presumably by Anjelica Huston, diva, who survived Jack Nicholson and is rumored to be indestructible.