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New "Dancing with the Stars" cast: Ryan Lochte (ewww), Amber Rose, Marcia Marcia Marcia and more

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 30, 2016


The latest cast of 'Dancing with the Stars' has been announced. Here's the official word:

The celebrity cast of “Dancing with the Stars” are slipping on their dancing shoes and getting ready for their first dance on the ballroom floor, as the 23rd season kicks off on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. This season’s lineup of celebrity dancers includes two Gold medal-winning U.S. Olympians, a multi Grammy award-winning musician, a star of one of the most iconic television programs ever, one of the greatest wide receivers of all time, and the former governor of Texas, to name just a few.

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RIP, Gene Wilder

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 29, 2016

The actor, writer and director has passed away after a battle with Alzheimer's. He was 83. One obit is here.

I first remember seeing Wilder in "The Producers," with Zero Mostel. My dad and I saw it together, and it was one of the most stunningly hilarious moments of my young life. Wilder was a major reason for that, playing adroitly opposite Zero Mostel, unhinged. 

"Young Frankenstein." "Blazing Saddles." "Willy Wonka." Collaborating with Richard Pryor in "Silver Streak" and "Stir Crazy." A lot to celebrate. But there were misfires, too, such as "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother" and a '90s sitcom, "Something Wilder," that did not remotely live up to its title. After all, Wilder was at his best when  he was at his wildest; "Silver Streak" is mostly a bland bore until Pryor arrives and forces Wilder to up his crazy game.

Below, from the vault, is a 1994 piece I wrote about "Something Wilder." As is clear, I prized the earlier Gene.

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Two Guys Talkin': Lyin' Ryan Lochte, misleading movie trailers and more

By staff Published: August 19, 2016

In this edition of Two Guys Talkin' Rich Heldenfels and Malcolm Abram take on the Ryan Lochte scandal, more tricky trailers and other local news going on.  

Watch the guys sound off below: 

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Two Guys Talkin': Reboots, sequels and franchises... oh my!

By staff Published: August 12, 2016

Rich Heldenfels and Malcolm Abram are talkin’ reboots and sequels in the latest Two Guys Talkin.’  What do you think will come first: Audiences will get sick of the same old thing in new packaging or Hollywood will focus on developing new ideas?

Rich and Malcolm hash out which movies worked, which ones didn't and which films they want to see moving forward. (Hint: They're going 'Rogue.') Take a look below.  

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"Indignation": Not enough

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 11, 2016


If one thing has been evident in my reading of Philip Roth, it has been the constancy of rage. His writing style may have cooled, but the characters are so often in a fever, boiling with anger against the wrongs being committed against them, some real, some imagined. (In “The Great American Novel,” some of both.)

This was certainly true of "Indignation," Roth's 2008 novel about Marcus Messner, a young Jewish man from Newark who flees his suffocating father by going to the fictional Winesburg College in Ohio. That premise made me think of "Goodbye, Columbus," where Brenda's brother Ron has gone west to Ohio State and, after returning home, still plays a record recapping his college years and graduation, the tales of glory capped by the declaration, “Goodbye, Columbus.” No such record awaits Marcus; no long-lasting joy will come from his time at Winesburg. Instead, he will unleash his own furies, and others' – with horrible consequences, and not only for him.

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"TV (The Book)": Inside two critics' thinking

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 5, 2016

Critics (and my friends) Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz have created "TV (The Book)" -- officially published on Sept. 6 and available for preorder now -- in which they present a ranked list of what they consider the 100 best TV comedies and dramas of all time.

As you would expect with any such book, there will be arguments about their ranking, and I have a few myself. Nor will those arguments be muted because the writers have been so transparent about their methodology.

Not only were there ground rules -- such as only American shows, and mostly series that have completed their run (with a separate section considering some ongoing programs). They also developed a mathematically based system in which each writer gave a show a score between 1 and 10 in six categories (innovation, influence, consistency, performance, storytelling and peak) in which each writer assigned a show 1 to 10 points. Points then determined rank. There's even a chart of their scoring in the back.

Debating about the ranking may be fun for some. And, like some of the shows discussed, "TV (The Book)" is non-linear; try though I have to read the essays in order, I end up jumping around, one essay leading me to skip ahead to see what they thought of a comparable show.

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