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Universal Pictures

Cats -- the new feature film based on the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and starring James Cordon, Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, and others -- opened last weekend and grossed $6.6 million in the U.S. It is the 19th-worst opening for any movie in very wide release in history. The 18 movies that opened to less money on a similar number of screens are mostly a bunch of stuff that you don't remember ever existed: Hoot, The Seeker: Dark Rising, Fun Size, Hardcore Henry, Keeping Up with the Joneses, The Wild Thornberrys Movie, etc.

Oh, and I forgot to say: In addition to being a financial disaster, Cats is also... terrible. It earned a C+ CinemaScore from audiences (which is really bad). And it's at 18% on the Tomatometer (which is really rotten). It's so bad that Universal released an updated version to theaters early this week that has hopefully slightly less bad special effects.

Courtesy: WFSB

The death of longtime news anchor Denise D’Ascenzo is being felt across the state, and many of her colleagues continue to pay tribute to her work and her life. 

Courtesy of WFSB

Denise D'Ascenzo, who worked in Connecticut broadcast journalism for more than three decades, died unexpectedly on Saturday, according to WFSB television.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Last Thursday, Elon Musk unveiled Tesla's Cybertruck and Sacha Baron Cohen gave the keynote address at an Anti-Defamation League summit. Both performances have drawn mixed reactions.

And: The Mandalorian is the big, new, original, launch title for Disney's new streaming service, Disney+. It's a half(ish)-hour western set in the Star Wars universe, and three episodes have dropped so far.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The news comes fast in the world of the canceled these days. Louis CK is back out on tour. President Obama has a "very boomer view" of the whole thing. The New York Times reports on teens' takes.

Meanwhile, some celebrities, rather than getting themselves canceled, are getting themselves arrested. Jane Fonda, for instance. And Sam Waterston. And Ted Danson.

And: Bong Joon Ho's genre-defying new movie, Parasite, won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, and it's being called "a nearly perfect film" and "the best movie of the year."

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Watchmen is a limited series of comic books that became a graphic novel in 1987 and a feature film in 2009. And now it's an HBO series from Damon Lindelof that acts as a kind of sequel to the original comics, set 34 years later.

And: Today is John Dankosky's last day at Connecticut Public after 25 years. There is just no denying that WNPR wouldn't be what it is -- and The Colin McEnroe Show wouldn't be at all -- if it weren't for Mr. Dankosky. The Nose tries to begin to come to terms.

A24

Every year around this time, we like to take a look at just what's frightening us in the present moment. This year, we start with our present take on a past horror classic, Ridley Scott's Alien, which has its 40th anniversary this year.

Plus: Ari Aster's Hereditary follow-up, Midsommar, is set at a pagan retreat in rural Sweden. As such, it's seen as a bit of a reinvigoration of the folk horror genre, which includes classics like The Wicker Man and more contemporary titles like The VVitch.

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

This week, The Washington Post published "The 20 defining comedy sketches of the past 20 years" covering television sketch comedy of the 2000s. It includes a lot of what you'd expect it to include: SNL's "More Cowbell" and "Black Jeopardy with Tom Hanks," Inside Amy Schumer's "Last F---able Day," Chappelle's Show's "Frontline -- Clayton Bigsby."

Netflix

That headline is just a direct quote from James Poniewozik's Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America. I was torn between that line from the book and this one:

Donald Trump is not a person.

Poniewozik's take is that "Donald Trump" is really a character that Donald Trump has been playing on television since at least the early 1980s.

Netflix

Martin Scorsese is a grump. He doesn't like Marvel movies. He says they aren't "cinema." He says they aren't even narrative films, and "we shouldn't be invaded by it." The internet, as you can imagine, has takes.

And: The Eddie Murphy comeback is on. He appeared on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee this summer. He's hosting Saturday Night Live in December. He's got multiple standup comedy specials in the works. And right now he's starring in the briefly-in-theaters-but-hitting-Netflix-next-weekend biopic Dolemite Is My Name.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The Netflix limited series Unbelievable stars Toni Collette, Merritt Wever, and Kaitlyn Dever. It tells the true story of a serial rapist and the investigation that caught him, and it's based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Marshall Project and ProPublica article "An Unbelievable Story of Rape" and the This American Life episode based on that.

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

The Nose couldn't decide which of last weekend's two big new movies to go see, so it went to both.

Downton Abbey, the feature film continuation of the incredibly popular PBS series, is the number one movie in the country. Its $31 million opening was the biggest ever for the studio that made it, Focus Features. Not bad for a PG-rated, special effects-free drama made for grownups.

Bob Ross, Inc.

It's been 25 years since Bob Ross's The Joy of Painting went off the air (and 24 years since Ross died). But there are 52 episodes of the show available to stream on Netflix. Bob Ross and Chill is a thing. The 403 full episodes available on YouTube have accumulated something approaching 250 million views. And this summer, The New York Times did a big Bob Ross investigation.

This hour: a look at the undying force for permed hair and puffy little clouds and happy little trees that is Bob Ross.

Plus: Could we do a show about Bob Ross without also talking Thomas Kinkade? No we could not. And so no we do not.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Merriam-Webster has added 533 new words to its dictionary. Words like "deep state," "pickleball," "escape room," and "Bechdel test." My favorite is probably "fatberg." But there's a particular new dictionary entry that The Nose is specifically interested in: "dad joke."

Stefan / Flickr

Federal regulators have approved a merger involving media groups that run two local TV stations.

Columbia Pictures

Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, John Belushi, John Candy, Rick Moranis.

Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Beverly Hills Cop, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, ¡Three Amigos!, Funny Farm, Spaceballs, Stripes.

We maybe didn't properly appreciate it at the time, but the 1980s were one of the most fertile periods ever for screen comedies and screen comedians.

This hour, a look at the mavericks who shaped a whole comedy aesthetic and at some of the most popular movie comedies ever made.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Sticks & Stones is Dave Chappelle's fifth standup comedy special for Netflix in three years. All four previous specials won the Grammy for Best Comedy Album, and one of them won the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special. The critical response to this latest special, though, has been a bit more muted.

VHS Will Not Die

Aug 20, 2019
Carlos Mejia / Connecticut Public Radio

Tracking, rewinding, ejecting, collecting - VHS broke ground in home entertainment like never before. The culture of VHS and its enormous best friend, the VCR, were kings of consumer media for decades. Despite the last VCR and VHS being manufactured just three years ago, videotapes are still consumed, collected, and in some cases, sold(!) across the country. But why?

Amazon Studios

Everything's canceled, more or less. The movie The Hunt was canceled before anybody got to see it. People talked about canceling the movie Adam before anybody got to see it. Sarah Silverman was canceled, from a movie anyway, for something she did -- on television -- 12 years ago. The OA was canceled, but people maybe don't believe that it was canceled? And we're apparently on a path toward canceling... the Dewey decimal system?

dom fellowes / flickr creative commons

Shakespeare in the Park starts tonight in New Haven. Shakespeare & Company in the Berkshires has a new workshop production of Coriolanus opening next week. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens didn't think Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare's works. The BBC has a multi-camera, filmed-in-front-of-a-live-studio-audience Shakespeare sitcom.

This hour: lots of little looks at this summer's best Shakespeare stuff.

Bleecker Street Media

Last weekend, Marvel unveiled its plans for Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (along with a few hints and winks and nods about Phase Five -- which is mostly notable 'cause it means they're planning a Phase Five).

And we're currently in the middle of a year when, when it's all said and done, the top eight highest-grossing movies may well have all come from Disney or Marvel or both. The top eight. That's not a typo. Here, look:

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

There's kind of a lot going on this week: There's rumored to be a new 007. The Emmy nominations are out. There's a new dating trend called 'Caspering.' Farhad Manjoo thinks we should all use the singular 'they.' 1.7 million people want to raid Area 51. Anthony Fantano (or an animated version of Anthony Fantano, really) is in the new "Old Town Road" video. During the New York City blackout, Star Wars fans helped direct traffic... with their lightsabers. And: The Cats trailer is out, and it's maybe kind of, uh, horrifying?

Marco Verch / flickr creative commons

We live in an Everything Should Take Twenty Minutes world. Movies are too long. SundanceTV has a show that airs in ten-minute episodes. Tierra Whack has a fifteen-minute album made of fifteen sixty-second songs. Todd Rundgren's memoir has 183 one-page, three-paragraph chapters.

So today, we turn our hour over to five short, little shows about short, little things.

Columbia Pictures

Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, John Belushi, John Candy, Rick Moranis.

Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Beverly Hills Cop, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, ¡Three Amigos!, Funny Farm, Spaceballs, Stripes.

We maybe didn't properly appreciate it at the time, but the 1980s were one of the most fertile periods ever for screen comedies and screen comedians.

This hour, a look at the mavericks who shaped a whole comedy aesthetic and we'll look at some of the most popular movie comedies ever made.

Rip Torn, the eccentric and temperamental Texan actor who won an Emmy Award for his influential role in the 1990s sitcom The Larry Sanders Show, died Tuesday at the age of 88.

In a statement to NPR, Torn's publicist did not release a cause of death, but said he was at his home surrounded by family in Lakeville, Conn.

HBO

No one is surprised to hear that Disney is planning a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. Some people were surprised, though, at the announcement that Halle Bailey, who is African American, has been cast as the titular Ariel. And probably the least surprising part of the whole thing is that part of the internet (the racist part) is mad about it.

And: Rapper Lil Nas X came out on the last day of Pride month. Is this news?

JessicaHarper.com

Jessica Harper has starred in movies like Suspiria, Brian De Palma's Phantom of the Paradise, Woody Allen's Stardust Memories, and Steven Spielberg's Minority Report. And now she's publishing a memoir as a podcast.

Winnetka tells the story of growing up in a big family -- six kids, including two sets of twins -- in the 1950s and '60s in the midwest -- in Winnetka, Ill., you see -- and later in Connecticut.

Plus: An update on the podcast industry more generally. The "Netflix of podcasts" is here. A big new study on podcasting has just come out. And... is "podcaster burnout" becoming a thing?

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