From Hawking $15,000 Gold Vibrators to $8,600 Hiking Necklaces, Gwyneth Paltrow May Never Return To Acting

We’ve all heard of slut shaming. How about pandemic shaming? Yeah, gear up, this hiking expedition will cost you — plenty.

Most people — regular people like us and most of you, kind readers — are spending our time trying to work and survive the pandemic, hoping and praying life will return to normal. A lot of people, tragically, are out of work and doing what they can to find any sort of work to put food on the table and roof over the head.

And then there’s Hollywood. actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow, an early COVID survivor it seems, who has conquered virus recovery through a vexing series of affiliate-link driven products. No, can’t make this up.

To keep trekking, she endorses a $220 pair of hiking shoes, a $145 hiking tank top, and an $8,600 gold necklace. [Yes, you read that correctly.] Apparently, Paltrow has a thing for wearing necklaces, often several at once. “But for a hike, just this [$8,600] one is perfect,” she writes. When she’s not scaling mountains to combat her COVID fatigue, she focuses her foggy mind on making certain her skin looks good for her many Zoom meetings. She touts four products just for this part of her long-COVID regimen. They are a $500 infrared sauna blanket, a $98 oil, a $125 serum, and $125 overnight acid peel. And after all of that expensive exercising, the skin care regimen, and the video conferences, Paltrow unwinds in a $125 “Goop University” T-shirt and a $32 mocktail served in a $112 glass.

It took a year, but Gwyneth Paltrow figured out how to exploit the pandemic | Ars Technica

LOL to an $8,600 gold hiking necklace. Yeah, I think most people would rather spend those bones on a vehicle to get to and from work or food for a year, but hey, whatever. Who buys all these high end Goop products, anyway?

The $15,000 gold vibrator? Does that give some gold-plated orgasms or something? That’s from a different article, but perhaps equally hilarious. Don’t worry, Paltrow is pitching a more affordable $95 vibrator for us blue collar types.

And the Goop vibrator makes quite the pitch for battling boredom. With a massage ball on one side and a wand on the other — and eight pulsating patterns for each — that means 64 possible combinations (or a different daily sensation for two months of quarantine). At $95, it might even be called affordable, at least in comparison to the $15,000 gold dildo that Ms. Paltrow once recommended in a Goop newsletter.

Gwyneth Paltrow Is Selling Vibrators

This latter article seems hyper-focused on the shock factor of an A-list, or previously A-list actress rather, reduced to selling vibrators, but I don’t see that as the bigger story. Who cares if someone famous is selling vibrators in 2021? The bigger story is how expensive these products are she sells on Goop. Ridiculously expensive. It doesn’t cost $95 for an effective vibrator and on what planet does anybody need a hiking necklace that costs more than many used cars.

I’ve enjoyed some of Paltrow’s work as an actress, but am big time turning my nose up at her shilling activities. She clearly has a controversial personal side (see: LOL – Gwyneth Paltrow admits to having a “dirty sense of humor”) which I’ve admitted liking, but this shilling, especially using the pandemic for cover is horrifically poor-timed marketing. There is likely never a good time to hawk an $8,600 gold necklace under the guise of necessary hiking necessities but it sure staves off the possibility of returning for another MCU movie someday.

Pepper is rubbing salt in the potted, festering wounds of mankind with these obscenely expensive products. Caveat emptor.

Gina Carano Tells Her Side, Claiming Disney Bullying, in Interview With Ben Shapiro

There is such a thing as action and reaction. Everything we say and do will have some sort of reaction from somebody else. In the case of the saga involving Gina Carano and her choice to use her social media platforms to speak her mind (see: Disney Has Had Enough – Gina Carino Out From The Mandalorian over Social Media Activity), I’m curious how this becomes bullying?

Sure, Disney is this mega large corporation and small minor role in Mandalorian Gina Carano is s tiny fish in their great lakes of entertainment. That paints Disney as the bad guy for firing her … or rather not inviting her to star in any more episodes of The Mandalorian.

We have questioned before if actors are ever really fired when they aren’t offered future or returning roles. It’s not like Carano didn’t get paid for the work she already did. $25,000-50,000 per episode, reportedly. That’s a darn good paycheck for a limited amount of work. Most people reading this would be happy to accept that job. Give me some armor and put me in, coach, I’ll take that and you won’t hear a blip from me on social media about bullying, Nazis or jews (unless the story involves that and it’s purely promotional/marketing).

Will admit it seems like they’re going a bit too far making Hasbro stop making popular Cara Dune action figures, but this is likely because they contain Carano’s likeness don’t want to see her make any more $$ from The Mandalorian. They want to terminate all business dealings with her so as not to be seen as hypocritical over condemning her social media activity.

But is this bullying or a business decision?

Sunday night in an interview with Ben Shapiro, she’ll tell her side of the story. How she found out she was fired from The Mandalorian via the same social media she weaponized with her counter-opinions.

“I was prepared at any point to be let go, because I’ve seen this happen to so many people. I’ve seen the looks on their faces. I’ve seen the bullying that takes place, and so when this started, they point their guns at you, and you know it’s only a matter of time. I’ve seen it happen to so many people, and I just thought to myself (…) ‘you’re coming for me, I know you are.’ ” They’re making it very obvious through their employees who were coming for me, and so I was like, ‘I’m going to go down swinging and I’m going to stay true to myself.’ “

Gina Carano Talks ‘Mandalorian’ Exit & Disney In Ben Shapiro Interview – Deadline

Again, especially for those not familiar with our prior posts on this matter, we support free speech and Gina Carano can say whatever she wants on social media. Am not sure, however, she can claim she was bullied by Disney and/or the sycophants who blindly worship the house of mouse and its sometimes extreme left-leaning support structure.

Carano is right leaning, clearly, which puts her on the opposite political side. This is a conflict before any words are uttered on Twitter, Facebook, Insta, etc.

Two subjects we try and steer clear of at this site are politics and religion. That’s not to say we don’t post on either subjects, but usually only when they involve movie and TV entertainment. Live TV debates, for example, would be one area we’ve touched on (see: The Shocking, Viral Star of Last Night’s Vice Presidential Debate? The Fly!)

Not telling anybody else what they should or shouldn’t say online or elsewhere, but will state from experience being on the internet, having websites, blogs, etc, for the better part of 25+ years now, these are two red, red, red hot topics that divide people very fast. In the United States, this country politically is divided with most on either side and then there’s some folks in the middle that tend to decide elections. You have both sides trying to encourage these people at election time that their way is the best.

The problem with Gina Carano isn’t that she has opinions and her right to share them, it’s where she’s voicing them and when. There isn’t any need to voice these opinions on her social media. She’s an actor and former fighter. That’s her business. Focus on being the best at that and let the people who want to talk about politics ramble on. When she’s done in business, retired and doesn’t work any more for others, that’s the time to light up the world with her politics, if she wants. Or, hey, just become a politician and that becomes your job. Then you can go all Trump on Twitter if you want.

Look at Stephen King. Man is still working, but doesn’t need to. He got flamed pretty hard for his comments on the Texas power outages this past week. Will it cost him some readers? Probably a few, but he writes so darn good that nobody really cares if his political views are extreme. It’s not going to cost him movies being adapted, because Hollywood ultimately only sees one thing: the all mighty green.

Gina Carano was expendable in her minor role on The Mandalorian. She might be a martyr now, which could be worse publicity-wise for Disney in the long run, but I doubt this will lead anywhere except to Carano being unable to secure that much work in the business for awhile. That’s too bad if she would have been a great fit for casting. We might never know.

Then again, some studio might cast her because of all this negative light and promotion. Hard to say how this will work. I’m sticking by my former statements that she doesn’t need to make extreme comparisons involving Nazis and Jews, that’s just a landmine not worth stepping anywhere near, unless she’s in some film project involving this era.

Look at what Vince Vaughn, the Van Halen brothers and others have chosen to do. You can be plenty successful in life and business and avoid getting entrenched in social media controversy. Life might literally be too short to bother.

Velma Animated Series Greenlit for HBO Max – Any Chance For Crossover with Harley Quinn?

Mindy Kaling will provide the voice for Velma as she gets her own animated series

Back in July 2020, we commented on news that orange shirt, black-rimmed spectacle, Velma was finally coming out as gay (see: Velma “officially” a lesbian in Scooby-Doo is relevant to the show … how?). At the time, we were reviewing the original 1969 Scooby-Doo Where Are You? first season episode as part of our Saturday morning TV cartoon. What is interesting here is we thought at the time that a spinoff show could be the place to explore Velma’s personal life in more detail.

Well, that appears to be exactly what HBO Max is going to provide, announcing earlier this month the new series is in development.

HBO Max announced Wednesday that Mindy Kaling will executive produce and voice the lead in Velma, a comedic origin story about the “unsung and underappreciated brains” of the iconic mystery-solving squad. Velma is described as “an original and humorous spin that unmasks the complex and colorful past of one of America’s most beloved mystery solvers.”

Mindy Kaling to star in Velma animated series about Scooby-Doo character | EW.com

What is particularly fascinating is Harley Quinn, the animated series, is in a lesbian relationship with her friend Poison Ivy and that excellent series is also greenlit for a new season. That show almost certainly will explore the relationship between the two comic book antiheroes.

Here is the question: is there any possibility that both animated series will cross over? What if Velma comes into the Harley Quinn universe? Is this too far-fetched?

Sometimes the different animated universes collide. This happens in the comic books somewhat frequently. At least for one episode it would be cool to see Velma and Harley Quinn and company together in a mystery of some sort to solve.

Before saying this idea is completely implausible, just think how many thought we’d ever get a standlalone animated series featuring Velma?

China’s Record Setting New Year Box Office

If you’re looking for positive movie theater news, look no further than China. They are tearing it up over there, setting records that rival or beat those set in the United States.

The Chinese New Year box office achieved yet another milestone Wednesday, with grosses for the holiday period growing to an estimated RMB 7.78 billion ($1.2 billion). This beats the previous all-time high set during the comparable 2019 holiday (RMB 5.9B). China often outdoes itself, but the fact that 2021’s Lunar New Year frame came with Covid capacity restrictions makes the performance even more staggering.

China New Year Box Office Hits Record $1.2 Billion Over Holiday Period – Deadline

The pandemic has not had any long lasting effects on moviegoers in this country, at least. This just reinforces what we believe will happen domestically as well: moviegoers will return when they feel it’s safe enough to return and there are movies they want to see.

Add to this the opening weekend record which once belonged to Avengers: Endgame has now been surpassed by Detective Chinatown 3 in China:

Detective Chinatown 3 grossed $398 million in its opening weekend in China, which was timed to coincide with the Chinese New Year. That box office haul puts it ahead of the $357 million domestic opening weekend of Avengers: Endgame. $23.5 million of Detective Chinatown 3’s opening weekend came from IMAX showings, a record for IMAX opening weekend grosses in China. Ticket service Maoyan is projecting an eventual final gross of $750 million.

Avengers: Endgame’s Opening Box Office Record Has Been Crushed

Foreign movies this popular should be showing domestically. I’m not seeing this movie at AMC theaters playing anywhere. I realize it’s probably not dubbed, but at least it could be subtitled. A sequel this popular with Chinese moviegoers? I’m very curious. Get on it, AMC!

Libra and Sagittarius Among The Most Fun Couples To Hang Out With … Yes, At The Movies!

Now that the movie theaters are open again in our area as of Friday 2/5/2021 — well, 2 of the 3 big theater chains, anyway, as Regal is still closed — we’re making plans for what we’re going to see going forward.

Social distancing, we know, but if you’re in a couple it’s tons of fun enjoying activities with other couples. Movie watching is something someday, maybe we can do again with other couples. We’ve done it before, but haven’t really found another couple that enjoys watching as many movies in theaters as we do.

At the last half or so of 2019, we watched 68 movies in theaters and 44+ in 2020 in the pandemic era, and we watched zero in January 2021. We’ve seen six new movies since February 5, when theaters reopened the second time.

Is there such an online movie matchmaking service that pairs up couples to go to movies together? Why this was on my mind today, I don’t know, but saw this article and thought: we need some other couples friends for movie watching buddies.

Kara is a Sagittarius, I’m a Libra. And she doubles as a hair stylist in these current trying times when we have no hair salons or barbers open. Washington State just extended the stay at home until the end of May and we have a 4-phase requirement for reopening, so that explains my need for a haircut.

And who else would Libra seek out to cut his hair than Sagittarius?

Libra & Sagittarius The ideal couple for a night out on the town (or any social gathering, really) is Libra and Sagittarius. These two gregarious and fun-loving signs thrive in every social situation and tend to be the life of any party. They’re both natural social butterflies that can talk to anyone and bring lightness and breeziness to any interaction. This lighthearted vibe gets picked up on by anyone in their orbit, so you never know what new friends you’ll make when you’re together or what exciting doors will open. The night is full of possibilities and adventure when you’re hanging out with these two.

3 Zodiac Sign Pairings Who Are The Most Fun To Hang With

Married 30+ years, of course we’re among the most fun couples to hang out with 😉 Got any movie friends matchmaking websites to recommend? It’s not something, either of us have done a lot of research into, but go ahead and feed us with recommendations in the comments below.

Martin Scorsese Delivers Another Odd Rant About Cinema, This Time Dissing Streaming, Despite Making Deals With Them

The Irishman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Fasten your seatbelts, and prepare to ride the hypocrisy train.

And here I thought we wouldn’t be reading about any more dramatic, disappointing rants over the death of cinema as an art form thanks to the big bad wolf known as streaming from none other than legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese.

Last year, it’s hard to forget how he slayed superhero movies as theme parks and not cinema (see: Simply Dismissing Superhero Movies As ‘Not Art’ is Bad for Both Art and Business). Now he seems to be disgruntled over films being referred to as “content” and the movie business turning into, yes, the movie business.

There are too many quotes in the article linked from Scorsese to highlight, but here’s one of them.

“We can’t depend on the movie business, such as it is, to take care of cinema,” he wrote. “In the movie business, which is now the mass visual entertainment business, the emphasis is always on the word ‘business,’ and value is always determined by the amount of money to be made from any given property.”

Martin Scorsese trash talks streaming services

This is all so rich coming from a director that just signed up with Apple TV+ to make more movie content, cough, likely to debut exclusively on streaming. Also his last film, The Irishman, barely screened in theaters, thanks to movie theater elitism (see: Theater Group Crying Foul Over Netflix’s Limited Theatrical Run for Scorsese’s The Irishman).

Let’s also not forget that Scorsese couldn’t get his most recent film financed without a streaming company bailing him out (see: Scorsese’s Flower Moon rescheduled, if safe, to start filming in 2021)

Perhaps my favorite Scorsese-ism is him taking multiple years to decide he did not “have the time” to direct a superhero movie (see: WTF? Martin Scorsese Took Almost 1,500 Days To Decide He did not “have the time” To Direct Joker) lol!

Seriously, we don’t care for cinematic snobbery. We love watching movies and definitely see it as an artform — for some, anyway. For others, perhaps even for most filmmakers these days — who don’t even shoot on 35mm film anymore — it is a content factory. Guess we agree with Scorsese on that point, but just because most filmmakers bend the knee and Scorsese feels like he doesn’t have to (and he might be right to feel that way based on his awesome body of work), doesn’t mean his stature as an artist historically will be diminished.

In Scorsese’s defense, I remember being impressed by a director’s roundtable video involving current luminary directors (see: Current Movie Landscape Artistic Roundtable Featuring Scorsese, Gerwig, Phillips, Baumbach, Wang and Meirelles), where Scorsese in particular makes a compelling case for his concerns. I’m somewhat suspicious that the way the articles are being slanted, aren’t entirely making his point like he does himself.

But his quotes, my goodness, they need severe context to defend.

Regardless, if Scorsese is saying some bizarre things in his later years in interviews — or is being tragically misquoted, time and again to generate a salacious headline — his place in history is sound. Respectfully, I think he should work more on the business side of his movie-making (see: Martin Scorsese – Great Director Struggling Staying Within Budget), because making movies that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make — even if you’re the great Martin Scorsese — are not a great value proposition, art be damned, sorry, in the current cinematic universe.

FONO = Fear Of Negative Outlook or Toxic Positivity

Shaggy thinks he can blow out a lit dynamite fuse, that’s some pretty positive thinking!

Am a positive person, but apparently for mental health purposes, being too positive can be a bad thing?

Huh? What?

Call it FONO, or fear of a negative outlook. Also known as “dismissive positivity,” it’s expressed as an overbearing cheerfulness no matter how bad things are, a pep that denies emotional oxygen to anything but a rictus grin.

What Is FONO? Toxic Positivity Is Doing More Harm Than Good – Bloomberg

Perhaps it’s just going through life and comparing bad days to good days and it seems to me like the days you think positively turn out better than the ones when you’re feeling blue. I don’t trust most studies, so very skeptical on the accuracy here.

I do like the sound of a “rictus grin.” Word.

Pod Filming Safety Precautions Reduces Risk To Cast and Crew

Poison Ivy captured by worker in quarantine suit in an episode of Harley Quinn

A frequent concern we share on this site is movie budgets spiraling out of control. This might have appeared prophetic in light of the current pandemic. Budgets have been exacerbated by new safety protocols for filming to keep the cast and crew safe from COVID infection.

In addition, Alex Kurtzman also shared a tidbit about filming that I find intriguing, particularly given that this is how Hallmark holiday movie productions were filming earlier this year. Kurtzman says the Star Trek: Picard cast is using the pods method to make sure that if Covid reaches set it won’t infect the entire cast so that things can keep moving even if there are further setbacks.

Star Trek: Picard Season 2 Dealing With Setback As Patrick Stewart Super Bowl Ad Launches – CINEMABLEND

It’s fascinating to review these procedures, considering many non-film production environments have had any such changes. For example, grocery store and retail workers have had limited changes to operations. Essentially, it’s wear masks, keep social distance, shopping carts and work surfaces sanitized by workers.

The Star Trek The Next Generation Episode That Has Never Aired Unedited In Ireland

Season 3, Episode 12 “The High Ground” of TNG features Dr. Beverly Crusher taken hostage by a warring faction on a planet. It’s a pretty interesting episode, all things considered, and even features somewhat rare action scenes for Captain Picard.

There are some politics in it, however, that refer to a unification pact in 2024 that remain controversial, some 30 years after the episode originally aired in 1990.

According to a 2007 BBC report, at the time the episode had “never been shown on terrestrial TV in UK or in the Republic of Ireland and initial airings on Sky One were edited”. Entertainment.ie corroborates assertions that the episode was rarely broadcast in the United Kingdom and Ireland, noting: “the BBC specifically pulled the episode on its first-run transmission in 1990,” and that RTE, the broadcast organization in Ireland “reportedly never screened the episode”, even by 2020.

A Classic ‘Star Trek: TNG’ Episode Was Banned Overseas | Heavy.com

The title of this post is a bit deceptive considering streaming and physical media options are available to see the original episode uncut. At least, I think it can be purchased regionally without the editing. Please use the comments to tell me differently.

On our recent vacation, we encountered a full-size sit down Star Trek Next Generation slot machine, pictured atop this post. It was one of the first slot machines we saw when we exited the plane at the Vegas airport. It was also at South Point casino, the first casino we visited on our trip. Tight machine for us, anyway. We didn’t really care for it.

Star Trek has always been a little political, similar to how the original Twilight Zone commented on current events but in a fantasy and sometimes science fiction setting. Also some of the technology displayed on early Star Trek has become a reality. It’s part of what makes the property endearing through time that it was forward looking.

No idea if Ireland will ever do what Data said happened in 2024, nor do I really want to get into those politics here — I’m just not that informed on the conflict to discuss it intelligently or openly — but do find this element of Trek storytelling compelling. Alternate reality stories can be very interesting, especially if/when they come true.

Some episodes of the original series were also edited notes the article. “The High Ground” isn’t one of my most favorite STNG episodes, it’s probably somewhere in the middle, but the first three seasons of TNG are my most favorite and most watched, other than a few episodes from seasons 4-7 (the Borg cliffhanger conclusion, of course!). I liked “Relics” featuring Scotty and “The First Duty” in season 5.

Do you have any favorite Star Trek Next Generation episodes that you rewatch periodically?

Will Rocky IV Director Cut Be Worse Than The Original Cut?

Rocky IV ⭐️⭐️½ 

Before getting to the topic of this post, happy Valentine’s Day to all who celebrate. Hope you can spend at least some of it with the ones you love today.

Sylvester Stallone has been working on a director’s cut of Rocky IV for some time now, with the only real news is the minor controversial removal of Pauly’s robot (see: Sico The Robot’s Owner Cries Foul On Being Cut From Rocky IV Director Cut)

A spoiler alert. If you haven’t seen Rocky IV, yet, this post contains spoilers, so might want to exit at this point.

… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …

The original plan seemed to have been to have it ready in time for the 35th anniversary. Since that has come and gone, no release date has been announced. Cinemablend ponders a deeper question, that maybe the director’s cut will be worse than the original theatrical cut.

A Rocky IV new cut is most interesting because it’s something that i don’t think a lot of people were really looking for. Frequently, Director’s Cuts end up existing because the director had a problem with the final version of the film. The movie that we got was not the one that the director wanted to present. Yet, there’s been no indication that’s the case with Rocky IV. Everybody seems to love that movie, so the idea of changing could actually do more harm than good. We’ll find out very soon.

Sylvester Stallone Shares An Update On His Rocky IV Director’s Cut – CINEMABLEND

First off, have to take exception with the idea that “everybody seems to love that movie” — um, no. It’s one of the more mediocre Rocky movies in the series (see: Ranking Stallone’s Rocky and Creed Films). It’s full of 80s shlock and cold war politics stupidity. Ivan Drago is a comically, steroids-infused opponent and it’s got two very, very long training montages. That said, it has some great dramatic moments involving Apollo Creed, awesome music (Robert Tepper, see: Rocky 4 Director’s Cut Will Not Have Paulie’s Funky Robot) and an epic, if cartoonish final fight that leaves Rocky brain battered.

This all got me thinking again (see: Sylvester Stallone Confirms Rocky IV Director’s Cut will be “amazing” – What would make it better?), but instead of what would make it better, if anything Stallone could cut to make it better? Removing Pauly’s rather pointless robot, Sico, is a start, but the cutting doesn’t end there. Do we need the James Brown “Living In America” concert performance before the exhibition fight between Apollo and Drago? Do we need the Rocky flashback video to Robert Tepper’s “No Easy Way Out”? Do we need to have multiple training montages in Russia? If all of that were cut, the runtime would be less than hour.

The bottom line, the actual storyline for Rocky IV is pretty bare bones. If you take out the extraneous stuff that makes it almost like an MTV video movie — again, good music, not bashing that — what’s left? A story about Rocky in revenge mode in Russia? Yeah, that’s about it.

The more I think about a director’s cut of Rocky IV, the less interested it all seems. It’s a chance to refresh the movie for others to watch, but honestly in retrospect, it’s not a very good movie, except perhaps providing a dramatic arc to the evolving relationship between Apollo and Rocky. What does it do for Adrian and Rocky? Nothing. They have a fight about Russia and loss. Pauly is shoehorned into the story with no real purpose. No Mick, he’s already gone, but we get Apollo’s main trainer, Duke, that again doesn’t do much. In fact, he mostly steps aside so Rocky can mostly train himself.

It’s funny how rewatching some movies, revisiting them, can sometimes ruin the original viewing experience. This is a movie I thought was entertaining, but weak, in the 80s, now 35+ years later, it feels even weaker.

Can Stallone’s director’s cut make it worse? Maybe it can. What do you think?