'Descendants' director talks career, next film
Alexander Payne, right, poses with "The Descendants" star George Clooney.
March 15th, 2012
03:43 PM ET

'Descendants' director talks career, next film

Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" was one of the most-talked about films of the past awards season, and it indeed led to accolades for the director.

Adapted from the book of the same name, "The Descendants," now available on DVD and Blu-ray, was nominated for a total of five Academy Awards and won for best adapted screenplay, which Payne co-wrote with Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.

Starring George Clooney as Matt King, "The Descendants" follows theĀ  self-described "backup parent" after his wife's boating accident near their Hawaiian home leaves her in a coma.

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Filed under: George Clooney • movies • Oscars 2012
The Throwback: 'Soap' that's kind of 'dirty'
March 1st, 2012
05:33 PM ET

The Throwback: 'Soap' that's kind of 'dirty'

A woman and her daughter sleeping with a tennis pro who turns out to be a long-lost relative? A man afraid to tell his family he's gay? A woman who falls in love with her priest? Now throw a ventriloquist into the mix. Sound familiar? Well, except for the ventriloquist part, it sounds a lot like a TV soap opera.

But it's not a soap. It's "Soap."

Aaron Berman's new book, "Soap: The Inside Story of the Sitcom that Broke all the Rules," takes readers back to the ABC sitcom's beginnings - where it was plagued with controversy even before it premiered in 1977 - as well as the show's just-as-dramatic conclusion in 1981, a sudden cancellation that left "Soap's" star facing certain death by firing squad.

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Filed under: television • The Throwback
Happy 60th Birthday, Mr. Potato Head!
February 23rd, 2012
12:39 PM ET

The Throwback: Mr. Potato Head turns 60

This month marks 60 years of spud-tastic memories for an iconic toy industry staple that remains a household name.

Mr. Potato Head hit the market in 1952 and has been inspiring imaginative play ever since. For many preschool aged children, ownership of a Mr. Potato Head represents a rite of passage as well as the passing down of a tradition from generation to generation.

Mr. Potato Head was the first-ever toy to be advertised on television and remains one of Hasbro's most beloved characters.

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Filed under: The Throwback
'Return' actress says role lets 'audience fill in the blanks'
Linda Cardellini and John Slattery star in "Return."
February 10th, 2012
05:31 PM ET

'Return' actress says role lets 'audience fill in the blanks'

Director Liza Johnson's debut film, "Return" hits theaters in a limited release Friday.

The story of a woman who comes back to her Rust Belt Ohio hometown following a military tour of duty stars Linda Cardellini ("Freaks and Geeks" and "ER"), Michael Shannon ("Boardwalk Empire") and John Slattery ("Mad Men"). "Return" premiered in the Directors' Fortnight at last year's Cannes Film Festival.

In the film, Cardellini's character, Kelli, is having a hard time readjusting to civilian life. While she relishes being able to once again enjoy simple things, like pushing her baby in a store shopping cart, relaxing in the backyard and sipping a beer, she's simultaneously detached herself from her loved ones in many ways.

The factory job she held for 12 years is suddenly meaningless. She has trouble concentrating. When her friends prod her for details about her deployment, she non-descriptively tells them there are others who had it worse. And, in an immense credit to the director, the film contains no flashbacks. There is no political agenda.

Here's what Vieira and Cardellini told CNN about the film, produced in part by Meredith Vieira Productions:

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Filed under: movies
The Throwback: 'Troop Beverly Hills' goes 'Rocky Horror'
January 20th, 2012
11:05 AM ET

The Throwback: 'Troop Beverly Hills' goes 'Rocky Horror'

The start of Girl Scout cookie season has us thinking of two things: One, Samoas will always win in the Caramel deLite vs. Samoa debate, and two, the 1989 classic "Troop Beverly Hills."

Thanks to writer and pop culture guru Erika Brooks Adickman, "TBH" fans can enjoy the interactive "Troop Beverly Hills: The Experience," an event in which sold-out crowds flock to screening parties held in New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

And while Adickman tells CNN that she never imagined "Troop Beverly Hills: The Experience" would grow as it has, she did think that she couldn't be the only one who was still a fan of the retro classic.

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Filed under: movies • The Throwback
David Cross talks 'Todd Margaret'
January 10th, 2012
05:00 PM ET

David Cross talks 'Todd Margaret'

The best show you're not watching is back!

The second season of "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret" debuted Friday night on IFC, picking up right where the first season left off.

Created, produced, written by and starring David Cross ("Arrested Development," "Mr. Show") and Will Arnett, "Todd Margaret" focuses on Cross's Portland, Oregon office temp Todd. He's recruited by his boss Brent Wilts (Arnett) to head the London sales division of Thunder Muscle - an exciting new energy drink (Like drinking ten lightnings!) that just happens to be toxic.

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Filed under: television
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