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Madonna and Sean Penn Are Back Together. Kinda. Sorta.

Posted by Scott Kearnan November 30, 2013 05:16 PM

In news that will surely make your National Enquirer circa 1989-reading head explode, ex-spouses Madonna and Sean Penn, who have gone down remarkably different paths with regard to their respective abilities for physical self-preservation (moisturize, Sean), are spending a lot of time together again. They've been divorced for nearly 25 years, but the couple have supposedly remained friends (to some degree, anyway) ever since. Then last year, Penn was spotted at Madonna's LA concert, his appearance accompanied by a bevy of paparazzi photos that showed him looking wistful and forlorn (or maybe just pensively compiling his grocery list for the week), and reports that he was audibly drooling over his ex-wife's MILF status. A couple months ago, Penn popped up again at the premiere of Madonna's Secret Project Revolution art film. And this week he invited Madonna to tour the work being done by J/P Haitian Relief Organization, the earthquake relief group he founded. Madonna obliged, and she and her son Rocco (by second husband, filmmaker Guy Ritchie) have been documenting their visit via Instagram.

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J/P Haitian Relief Organization included this photo of the exes in Haiti alongside a press release about the visit that is currently hosted on Madonna's official website.

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Madonna's 13-year old son Rocco shared on his Instagram this photo with Penn, the guy who, if things had worked out differently, could have been responsible for his Y chromosome. In like, a way.

Now on one hand, these recent rendezvous are the latest in a long line of small, slightly-more-than-civil gestures that the two have paid to each other over the years: from Madonna's admission in her tour documentary Truth or Dare that Penn was the "love of her life" (one of the few candid moments in what is otherwise an extraordinarily entertaining 110-minute performance of tongue-in-cheek imperiousness), to Penn's decision to make Madonna his first text after he "popped his cherry kissing a guy" (James Franco) while making the movie Milk. Earlier this year Madonna' BFF, actress Debi Mazar, also referred to Penn as Madonna's "true love" during an interview with Andy Cohen: which sort of felt like the celebrity version of asking your friend to "accidentally" spill in gym class who she hopes will ask her to prom. I'm not saying, I'm just saying.

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Black Friday Flicks: 5 Favorite Mall Movies

Posted by Scott Kearnan November 29, 2013 02:57 PM

Attention, Black Friday shoppers: go home.

No, seriously. What are you doing? It's the day after Thanksgiving. You should be enjoying a fabulous food coma with leftovers in the company of loved ones, not lining up like cattle to the slaughter for 10 percent off a cartload of gifts that your family would, frankly, probably trade in a heartbeat for a chance to spend a day off together. Besides, do you really want to be one more person encouraging a culture where stuff like this goes down, only to head home and post some hypocritical status message on your Facebook decrying "the commercialization of Christmas"? No, no you don't.

So get your mall fix the good old-fashioned way: Netflix.

There are a surprising number of films that take place (almost) entirely in the setting of the all-American shopping center. My suggestion: pull on your fat pants, prepare for a Round Two battle with green bean casserole and tryptophan, and skip the shopping spree in favor of a "classic" (I use the term incredibly loosely) mall-set flick from the '70s, '80s, '90s or '00s. Bonus: no buyer's remorse.

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

The different installments of writer/director George A. Romero's Living Dead series (which kicked off with 1968's classic Night of...) have been analyzed by many — including but not exclusively totally stoned film majors — as critiques of various aspects of American society. Honestly, you don't need a PhD or a bong to get the allegory in this installment, where a small, ragtag group of survivors attempt to stave off Zombie Armageddon by taking refuge in a shopping mall. If you're interested in a super academic take that includes phrases like "commodity fetishism," check this out. Otherwise, here's the abstract: it's a movie about hordes of empty-headed shells of humanity ambling through a mall and mindlessly devouring everything and everyone in their path. Happy Black Friday!

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Jon Gosselin to Oprah: Raising Kids Like Zoo Animals Might Have Been a Bad Idea

Posted by Scott Kearnan November 5, 2013 02:52 PM

Brace yourself.

Former Jon & Kate Plus 8 "star" Jon Gosselin dropped a bombshell in an interview with Oprah Winfrey released this week. He's not trying to jump to any conclusions, but he thinks (maybe, possibly, could be) that the seven TV seasons during which his children were filmed by a camera crew three-to-four days a week, and then had the (in theory, unguarded and honest) moments of their childhood broadcast to millions, may have negatively impacted their development and socialization.

Shocking. Let it sink in. Here he his with Queen O:

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Lady Gaga's "Artpop" leaks, Britney sprays "Perfume"

Posted by Scott Kearnan November 4, 2013 12:45 PM

It was a good weekend for lovers of pop divas. The new Lady Gaga album, Artpop, leaked in full. And the next Britney Spears single, "Perfume" was released last night.

They're complete opposites: one surprisingly restrained, the other throwing at your eardrums everything but the kitchen sink. Any guess which is which? Here's a quick look at both.

Lady Gaga's leaked Artpop.

The wait is over for all the Little Monsters who already decided three months ago anyway that Lady Gaga's new album, Artpop, is the most legendary work ever committed to record digital media, and slays all your faves and YASSSSS KWEEN and blah-blah-Internet-enthusiasm-blah. The album leaked over the weekend, over a week ahead of its intended November 11 release date. Though reviews are still rolling in, it seems to be achieving a certain love-it/hate-it polarization. Some fans are calling it her "best ever," some critics are calling it messy and muddled. (And occasionally receiving racist death threats for it. Because Stop Bullying, like, or something.) For what it's worth, I'd say both camps right: Artpop is Gaga at both her best and worst.


Gaga performed Artpop songs "Venus" and latest single "Do What U Want" on The X-Factor UK last week. Watch it with the sound off, because and it looks like a Charlie Chaplin movie on crack. FUNN-EE.

My opinion of Lady Gaga has, like a lot of people, veered wildly over the last couple years. With her debut album The Fame, I thought she was really cool, refreshing and talented. (Though uncomfortably "reminiscent" of early Madonna, her most obvious inspiration and yet one of the few she suspiciously didn't namecheck in our interview together. Which I'm pleased to say I pointed out well before the word "reductive" ever came into play.) With her padded-out reload The Fame Monster, the ratio of "artistic individuality" to "artistic derivation being passed off to unawares young fans as individuality" was becoming imbalanced. And by the time we were presented with Born This Way , Lady Gaga's pandering valentine to precious outcasts and gay people herself, she had become lazy and insulting: milking dry the successfully marketed idea that she was an interesting, challenging artist, rather than acting like one. I was done.

I like a great burger. I don't like when you sell me ground beef and tell me it's filet mignon.

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About this blog

Scott Kearnan (@thewritestuffSK) is a Boston-based writer, editor, and communications consultant focusing on lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment. He's also a part-time smart aleck and buffalo wing connoisseur. "Media Remix" is where couch potatoes meet pop culture criticism. More »

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