Culture Clips: The Red Carpet (and Red Sparrow) Edition

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red carpet

And the Oscar goes to … Jennifer Lawrence!

No, no, that can’t be right. The actress isn’t even nominated for anything this year. But, as last year’s Oscar telecast taught us, sometimes mistakes can be made, even on moviedom’s biggest night and on its biggest stage. So in light of last year’s oopsie—when La La Land was mistakenly named Best Picture instead of Moonlight—Oscar’s showrunners are trying really, really hard to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Oh, they’re also trying to keep the show from turning overtly political, too. (The actual telecast will be this Sunday.)

But controversy is never far away when it comes to the Oscars. Many of the nominees entering the Dolby Theater, for instance, will be greeted by omnipresent host Ryan Seacrest again, even though he’s been accused of sexual harassment by his former stylist. He’s denied the allegations, but not everyone is happy that Seacrest is keeping his red carpet gig.

While Jennifer Lawrence won’t be leaving the Dolby Theatre with a shiny new Academy Award this year, that doesn’t stop her from hoping for next year. She recently spoke with 60 Minutes about her nude scenes in her upcoming flick Red Sparrow. She said she felt “empowered” by the sultry scenes, and added to Entertainment Tonight that she was so comfortable being naked that “probably at a certain point I started making everybody else uncomfortable.”  Oh, she also confessed on 60 Minutes that she dropped out of school at age 14, and told E! News that she’s working on a TV series based on the #MeToo movement. Apparently, when Lawrence isn’t nominated for an Oscar, she’s got plenty of time to kill.

Lawrence may have felt empowered by her nude scenes, but Dakota Johnson said she needed to take a “shot of whiskey” before filming her explicit sex scenes with Jamie Dornan for their Fifty Shades of Grey movies. Each, apparently, has a pre-scene routine they follow. “He does pushups and I just lay there and drink whiskey,” she says.

‘Course, sex and nudity in movies is fairly acceptable in mainstream society these days. What’s not? Praying for anyone who just had a heart attack, apparently. Chris Pratt, star of Jurassic World and the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, tweeted out well-wishes to director Kevin Smith after Smith admitted to suffering a massive heart attack. “Praying for you,” he wrote in part. “I will continue to.” The tweet triggered scads of blowback, equating Pratt’s well-wishes with the backlash against the “thoughts and prayers,” that some labeled as “empty,” offered to victims of the recent school shooting in Florida. And while Pratt didn’t respond, writer and producer James Gunn did.

“If you’re offering Parkland shooting survivors prayers, but are unwilling to deal with the problems of gun violence in this country in a practical way, those prayers are empty,” Gunn wrote. “But no one expects Chris Pratt to shoulder doctors out of the way and perform heart surgery on Kevin Smith. Nor does Kevin need Chris to pay his medical bills. So I think his prayers are appreciated, and about all he can do.”

Meanwhile, researchers in the United Kingdom are finding that the younger you are, the more time you’re likely to spend consuming media on smartphones and other devices. While Millennials spend an impressive 8.5 hours a day reading, watching, tweeting and whatnot, members the next generation—Generation Z—spends on average 10.6 hours a day on their devices. That’s a lot. And according to a study by Barna, all that media consumption, particularly when it comes to social media, is making these youngest of users feel pretty bad. Oh, and sexting is on the rise, as well, and some experts calling on parents to start having serious conversations about porn with their tweenage kids.

Maybe those worried about youth spending too much time with social media should enlist Kylie Jenner to the cause. When Jenner mentioned in a tweet that she just doesn’t use Snapchat much anymore, shares of the company plummeted 6.1%. That’s about $1.3 billion worth of value that Jenner destroyed with just one little tweet.

Meanwhile, her half-sister Kim Kardashian is less concerned with Snapchat and more with the perks of being a celebrity: The free “stuff” (though she used a slightly different word). “Free trips, free planes, free everything!”

Of  course, some of the best things in life aren’t actually free. They require work. Take Olympic medals, for instance, which we’d all agree take a lot of work to win—and at the most recent Winter Olympics, Norway won more than any other country. But turns out, Norwegians credit their success not just to hard work, but to teamwork, too—and balance and happiness and from treating promising young athletic kids like, y’know, kids.

“We want to leave the kids alone,” says Tore Ovrebo who heads a sports-focused Norwegian organization called the Olympiatoppen, which helps groom young athletes for the biggest of stages. “We want them to play. We want them to develop, and be focused on social skills. They learn a lot from sports. They learn a lot from playing. They learn a lot from not being anxious. They learn a lot from not being counted. They learn a lot from not being judged. And they feel better. And they tend to stay [with a sport] for longer.”

There may be a few lessons in there for us somewhere, methinks.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Joshua Kroeger More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Lawrence seriously needs to take a break from the limelight for a while, God help her.  It's like she can't seem to get enough attention, and even worse, she comes across as rude to her fans.  Additionally, her liberal and extreme anti-Christian views make it difficult for me to appreciate this talented actress in her less severe films (The Hunger Games, X-men).  I really do appreciate Jen in these films, but there's a wall there because she's always so difficult as an actress.
Julienne Dy More than 1 year ago
So, I read the PluggedIn review for Red Sparrow, and I'm confused by how Lawrence found working on it empowering.  I mean, it's a movie about a girl who is essentially forced to sell her body to the country.  How is that empowering?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had high hopes for Red Sparrow because I loved the novel by Jason Matthews that it's based on. But the trailers haven't been encouraging. The author is former CIA so the book was heavy on very realistic tradecraft, but in the previews the movie comes off as a lot more sensationalized.

However, Jennifer Lawrence is a terrific actress, so I'll reserve final judgment until I see it. Trailers can be deceptive.

-- The Kenosha Kid
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have you seen Winter's Bone? She can act, seriously. She shows a lot of range even in her more flamboyant roles (like Silver Linings Playbook).

-- The Kenosha Kid