Naked & Afraid is an actual reality show that just began its fifth season on the Discovery Channel, but it sounds so much like something that was cooked up in the SNL writers’ room that you can be forgiven for thinking it’s entirely a gag. The premise is patently ridiculous: two strangers are thrown into the wild without clothing or supplies and must survive for 21 days. But SNL has devised a “celebrity” edition of the show and they tossed guest host Peter Dinklage and the incredible Leslie Jones into it.
In news that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone with a child in their life, Zootopia held on to the number one spot at the box office this weekend and made it look effortless. And yet, 10 Cloverfield Lane’s second place opening is nothing to scoff at, especially for a modestly budged, small-scale thriller (although the “Cloverfield” in the title certainly helped).
That sound you hear is the folks over at Disney popping a couple dozen bottles of champagne — Zootopia didn’t just open at number one at the box office, it had the biggest opening of any film in the history of Walt Disney Animation Studios, beating out 2014’s Frozen. Unfortunately, the rest of the newcomers didn’t fare quite as well, with London Has Fallen and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot limping into second and fourth place, respectively.
Deadpool ruled the box office for the second weekend in a row, following up its record-breaking opening with with a strong sophomore weekend that proved its initial success was no fluke. In fact, the three newcomers didn’t even stand a chance against this red-suited menace, as Risen, The Witch, and Race all found themselves punted further down the top 10.
Around this time last year, SNL presented a commercial parody centering around Totino’s Pizza Rolls, just in time for the Super Bowl. And it was a nasty piece of business, tearing apart the image of the NFL’s biggest game as a day for men and imprisoning Vanessa Bayer’s indefatigable housewife in the kitchen, where she was simply tasked with warming up more disgusting food. So when SNL aired another Totino’s sketch in last night’s episode, we simply assumed it would be a carbon copy of the first one. Boy, were we wrong.
If you're going to have the great Larry David host a full episode of SNL, there are two obvious areas of parody. First, you simply have to give him more to do as Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, whose unlikely showing in the recent Democratic presidential primaries have made David a regular guest star this season. Second, you need to riff on Curb Your Enthusiasm, his (possibly) late, great HBO sitcom that redefined cringe comedy. And in this case, SNL found a a way to combine the two.
It wasn’t that surprising last week when Ride Along 2 officially dethroned Star Wars: The Force Awakens as reigning champion of the box office. However, what is surprising is how fast and far it plummeted in its second weekend. As the comedy sequel’s legs instantly shattered, The Revenant was finally able to claim the top spot after several weeks of playing box office bridesmaid.
When the 2016 Oscar nominations were announced nearly two weeks ago, the response to the overwhelmingly white line-up of talent proved instantly controversial. Film fans and industry veterans alike gathered around the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag to make their voices heard, especially decrying how films starring black actors and directed by black filmmakers — like Creed and Straight Outta Compton — somehow managed to only receive nominations for the white people involved in making them. With material this ripe, of course SNL was going to take a swipe at the Academy Awards this week.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t going to reign atop the box office forever. Something was going to take it down sooner or later and we’ll just be honest — we expected it would take a little longer than this. At the same time, anyone who thought that Ride Along 2 wouldn’t perform well has a short-term or poor memory, as the first film was a gigantic hit this time last year. An Ice Cube and Kevin Hart buddy cop comedy dethroned the biggest movie in the history of the U.S. box office from the top of the charts and it’s not that surprising.
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Adam Driver hosting 2016’s first episode of SNL, a Kylo Ren sketch of some kind was inevitable. After all, you don't get the actor who plays the villain in one of the biggest movies of all time to appear on your comedy variety show and not have him reprise that character. And we'll give the show this much: we never would have predicted a faux episode of Undercover Boss set on Starkiller Base, with the angry, murderous Kylo Ren going undercover amongst his troops as a radar technician named Matt.
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