Sunday, 28 February 2016
Oscars 2016: Live coverage of the 88th Academy Awards; Chris Rock’s monologue; complete list of winners and nominees
This post will update throughout the night with winners, coverage of the show and instant analysis (refresh to update), so follow along below.
And the winner for best adapted screenplay is… “The Big Short,” Charles Randolph and Adam McKay.
It’s the first Oscar for both Randolph and McKay (who is also nominated for director). McKay thanks Michael Lewis for writing an amazing book and the studio for taking a risk for a movie that’s about financial esoterica. He advises everyone not to vote for candidates that take money from big banks, big oil… “or weirdo billionaires.”
And the winner for best original screenplay is… “Spotlight,” written by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy.
This is the first Oscar for Singer and McCarthy, the latter of whom is also nominated tonight for best director. The movie is up for six awards. The film is about the Boston Globe team of investigative reporters who uncovered sexual abuse in the Catholic church, and McCarthy dedicated the award to the survivors.
Chris Rock kicked off his monologue with this: “Man, I counted at least 15 black people in that montage!…
Rock says he didn’t think it was worth it to cancel since the show would go on regardless. “Last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart. I don’t need that.” (Cue Kevin Hart smiling in the audience.)…
“When your grandmother’s swinging from the tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary foreign short.”…
“It’s not fair that Will Smith was this good [in ‘Concussion’] and didn’t get nominated. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for ‘Wild Wild West!’”…
“This year, in the ‘in memoriam’ package, it’s just gonna be black people that was shot by the cops on their way to the movies. Yes, yes, I said it.”…
“What happened this year? Jada’s going to boycott the Oscars. Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited! It’s not an invitation I would turn down.”…
“If you want black nominees every year, you just need to have black categories.”…
“You already do it with men and women, think about it. There’s no real reason to have a men and a women category in acting. It’s not track and field, you don’t have to separate them.”…
“Is Hollywood racist?” Chris Rock asks. He talks about being at a Hollywood Obama fundraiser with four black people: “Me, Quincy Jones, Russell Simmons and Questlove, the usual suspects.” Looking out in the crowd, he realized that these white people are “the nicest white people on earth,” so he decided that Hollywood is “sorority racist”: “We like you, Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.”…
“Jamie Foxx is one of the best actors in the world. Jamie Foxx was so good in ‘Ra’y that they went to the hospital and unplugged the real Ray Charles — like, ‘We don’t need two of these!’ “…
“Not everything is racism. Not everything is sexism. If George Clooney shows up in lime green with a swan coming out of his a–, someone’s going to ask, what are you wearing?”…
“It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means this whole no black nominees thing has happened at least 71 other times.”…
“…Black people did not protest. Why? because we had real things to protest at the time. We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer.”…
“Things are changing. Things are changing. We got a black ‘Rocky.’ Some people call it ‘Creed.’ I call it black ‘Rocky.’ That’s an unbelievable statement. ‘Rocky’ takes place in a world where white athletes are as good as black athletes. ‘Rocky’s’ a science fiction movie.” …
“You want diversity? We got diversity. Please welcome Emily Blunt and somebody whiter, Charlize Theron.”
Earlier tonight, Geoff Edgers reported:
Here’s an amazing thing about Chris Rock’s most-eagerly-awaited-monologue on Earth. Turns out the comedian showed up about 10 times over the last two weeks at the famed Comedy Store to work through his material.
Some of Rock’s sets were as short as 15 minutes, others stretched into a half-hour. And the whole thing culminated Saturday night with a murderer’s row of comedy led by Louis C.K., Dave Chappelle, Dane Cook and Marc Maron.
Adam Eget, the Comedy Store’s booker, would not share any of the material out of courtesy to Rock. But he said it was fascinating to watch the jokes develop.
“He really trimmed the fat and made it real lean,” said Eget. “There were some, even after day four, he’d say, ‘I’m not going to be able to do this joke.’ But then, you’d hear him do it again and he’d have tweaked a word or two. Instead of saying ‘p—–,” he’s say bedroom.”
Montage time as the show kicks off: There are quick scenes from “The Revenant,” “Spotlight,” “Joy,” “The Big Short” and “Steve Jobs,” plus movies that missed out on nominations, like “Straight Outta Compton,” “Trainwreck,” “Jurassic World” and… “Ted 2”? Will Smith (also not nominated) shows up in a clip from “Concussion.”
Kevin Hart dreams of hosting the Oscars, but tonight he’s here to support his “brother, mentor and friend” Chris Rock. “I believe that everything happens when it’s supposed to,” the comedian told Lara Spencer. His advice for the Oscars host? “Address the elephant in the room. Make people feel uncomfortable.” Oh, and by the way, he’s wearing “Dolce and Gabbana from head to toe.” “And I’m shining!”
Leonardo DiCaprio brought his mom to the Oscars and tells Roberts he owes his parents everything — especially because they listened to him as a kid when he said he wanted to be an actor. He again brings up (hopefully for the last time?!) the “tough conditions” involved in filming “The Revenant.”
Don’t try to make Naomi Watts pick sides. Liev Schreiber is the father of her two kids, and his movie, “Spotlight” is up for best picture. But so is “The Revenant,” directed by Alejandro Inarritu, who directed her in last year’s winner, “Birdman.” So who’s she pulling for? She wants to just spread the love around. How diplomatic. Some of the presidential candidates could learn a thing or two from her.
One thing she’s sure of: She and Schreiber are going to hit up some parties after the ceremony. He’s less certain, having depleted his energy stores tying his bowtie. See? Fashion is a challenge for guys, too.
Lady Gaga is wearing a white dress-pants combo designed by her stylist Brandon Maxwell. The singer is nominated for “Til It Happens To You,” which she co-wrote with Diane Warren and will perform at tonight’s ceremony. “I am myself a survivor. Diane Warren is herself a survivor of sexual violence,” she told an interviewer. “I’m just really happy to be here. I feel very lucky and blessed.”
Roberts talked to Cate Blanchett, who is nominated for best actress in a leading role for “Carol,” her seventh Academy Award nomination. (She won best actress in 2014 for “Blue Jasmine” and best supporting actress for “The Aviator” in 2005.) The actress had nothing but kind words for “Carol” director Todd Haynes, who also directed Blanchett in the 2007 Bob Dylan biopic “I’m Not There.”
“Do you not understand how people feel about you?!” Roberts says whenSylvester Stallone appears shocked that he has fans. “I guess I don’t,” Sly replies. So humble.
Tina Fey and Steve Carell will present an award together. Michael Strahan asks if she gave Chris Rock any advice, given that she’s a pro at hosting award shows. “Chris Rock needs no advice from me,” Fey says, calling him the greatest living American stand-up comedian.
Kerry Washington is in the house. The “Scandal” star is at the Oscars to present one of the best-picture nominees. A lot of people have asked her why she’s there — not because she’s best known as a small-screen star, but because of the #OscarsSoWhite boycott. Washington has been an academy member for about three years and she says she thinks the best use of her time is to be “a voice at the table” so that “we never have a year like this again.” This is about recognizing movies about women, people of color and age, Washington says. “It’s about making sure our films represent humanity.”
Ryan Seacrest caught Jill Biden on the Oscars red carpet. Her husband, Vice President Joe Biden, is slated to introduce Lady Gaga. The pop star will perform “‘Till It Happens To You,” an Oscar nominee for best original song.
Bryan Cranston, nominated for actor in a leading role for “Trumbo,” showed up with a cookie that had his face on it — and promptly dropped it on the red carpet. Why would a bakery send Cranston a box of cookies with his own visage? “It’s the Oscars. It’s a Hollywood holiday,” he told Seacrest. Asked to name the person who had the biggest impact on his career, Cranston said Dick Van Dyke: “I’ve admired him since I was a boy.”
On Pop TV, the fashion experts rave over Jennifer Garner’s “revenge body” in the wake of her split from Ben Affleck. “Look at those arms! Girlfriend has been to the gym,” one exclaimed about Garner in a one-shoulder black gown. “She looks like she’s ready to date.”
Brie Larson showed up on the red carpet looking, according to Roberts, “incredibly relaxed.”
“Maybe it’s because I’m incredibly jetlagged,” she said. She just flew in from Vietnam. Larson, the best actress front-runner, talked a little bit about how playing the role of Ma in “Room” gave her a greater appreciation for her own mother, who raised Larson solo. “I would call her everyday and apologize all the time,” she said.
Over on E’s red carpet, Seacrest asked Larson, in a flowing blue Gucci gown, what her nomination means. “Everything,” the actress said, before explaining that Katy Perry basically saved the day at the Golden Globes, ordering L.A. fast food favorite, In-N-Out Burger, for their table.
Meanwhile, Strahan interviewed Rooney Mara, who brought along her father, Chris Mara (who works for the New York Giants). Strahan asked the actress which of her Oscar-nominated roles — this one for “Carol” or the titular “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” — was more challenging and he was met with the one response no interviewer ever wants to hear: “Um. They’re so different.” Silence. “I don’t know.”
Hmm, time for plan B. “So is it as easy to fall in love with Cate Blanchett as it looks?” he asked her.
“Yes, it’s very easy to fall in love with her,” Mara answered.
There you have it.
Over on Pop TV’s red carpet special, “ET” was able to do what Seacrest couldn’t — get an interview with Olivia Munn and her boyfriend, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. “I’m just trying to stay out of the way,” Rodgers says sheepishly. Determined to embarrass him as much as possible, anchors Kevin Frazier and Nancy O’Dell make him get on camera, as Munn details that he went out this morning and got coffee and croissants for her whole glam team.
Jennifer Jason Leigh, nominated for best supporting actress in Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” tells Seacrest that she’s “here with all of the fellow haters.” The actress said she prepped for the ceremony with her friends and family and says there were “lots of hugs” and “lots of champagne.”
ABC’s first awkward moment of the night comes when the interviewer askedSaoirse Ronan if the man she was waving to was her dad. “No! That’s Nick Hornby,” Ronan said of her fellow nominee. Hornby wrote the screenplay for “Brooklyn.”
Eddie Redmayne, nominated for lead actor in “The Danish Girl,” said he read the script in one sitting while he was on set filming “Les Miserables.” Redmayne, who won the same trophy last year for “The Theory of Everything” adds that he met with men and women from the trans community (all from different generations) while preparing for the role of painter Lili Elbe, the first person to undergo sex reassignment surgery.
The ABC red carpet show has kicked off and Strahan beat around the bush a little bit asking Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis questions about their recent and upcoming projects before asking the “most important question: How is baby Otis?” According to Wilde, he’s not really a baby any more. Really more of a little man, and he has “a strong, healthy obsession with Beyonce right now.” Join the club, kid.
Saoirse Ronan, up for best actress in a leading role for “Brooklyn,” is wearing an emerald green Calvin Klein gown, reportedly to represent her native Ireland. Ronan, 21, first appeared at the Oscars at age 13 when she was nominated for best actress in a supporting role for “Atonement.” “And you interviewed me then,” the actress told Seacrest.
In addition to her dress, the actress’s (purposely) mismatched earrings are getting some attention on the red carpet.
Get ready to see sooo many ABC stars tonight — including Priyanka Chopra of “Quantico.” The show comes back in March, so of course she landed an Oscar presenter spot.
Teeny tiny “Room” star Jacob Tremblay showed up — in Armani, no less — to induce some “awww”s from red carpet watchers. He regaled Ryan with tales of Oscars past, like last year when he was rooting for Eddie Redmayne. And guess what? The “Theory of Everything” star won. So clearly, this kid is a good luck charm. Tonight, he’s pulling for his “Room” co-star Brie Larson (who’s the front-runner already). He also explained that Instagram photo of him faux-punching Sly Stallone. “This is a joke,” he explained, before telling Ryan he wanted to punch out Stallone because Rocky beat him out for a best supporting actor spot.
Sofia Vergara, who is presenting an award tonight, recalled how quickly her surprise performance with Pitbull at the recent Grammy Awards came together. “It was not very planned. Like three days before, he asked ‘Do you want to dance with me at the Grammys?’” The rest is history. Vergara, who is wearing Marchesa, also shared something we want to see, stat. Apparently, her husband actor Joe Manganiello does a “great” impression of her. “He talks to me with my accent all the time,” the “Modern Family” actress told Seacrest.
“I’m at the Oscars!” says Alicia Vikander, still sounding surprised even though she’s considered a frontrunner to win best supporting actress for “The Danish Girl.” She’s already getting lots of raves (on Twitter, at least) for her yellow Louis Vuitton gown.
E!’s first head-scratcher of the night: offering black tea with British milk to best-song nominees Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes (for the Bond theme “The Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre”). Now the pair is walking down the red carpet with teacups. If we see them onstage later with stains on their white shirts, we know who to blame: Seacrest.
Louis Gossett Jr. still gets nervous at the Oscars. The 79-year-old actor spoke to Seacrest about winning an Academy Award in 1983 for his performance in “An Officer and a Gentleman.”
“I remember thinking I was not going to get it,” he told Seacrest.
Why is Mindy Kaling at the Oscars? “Inside Out,” of course! The Pixar hit is up for best animated film and Kaling was the voice of “disgust” (the green one).
“The Big Short” director Adam McKay told Seacrest that he tested the film’s somewhat complicated banking terminology on his daughters, 10-year-old Pearl (who some might remember as Funny Or Die’s “The Landlord”) and 16-year-old Lili Rose McKay. “The Big Short” is up for big picture and McKay is a best director nominee.
“Game of Thrones” star Sophie Turner (a.k.a. Sansa Stark) led the celebrity charge on the red carpet — just one of many stars showing that this year’s Oscars attendees aren’t just big-screen stars; they’re also small-screen famous. The actress was also making a (fashion) statement by wearing a sustainable gown as part of the “red carpet green dress” push.
COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS AND NOMINEES (winners inRED; will update as winners are announced)
Best original screenplay
“Spotlight,” written by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy
“Bridge of Spies,” written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
“Ex Machina,” written by Alex Garland
“Inside Out,” screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
“Straight Outta Compton,” screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; story by S. Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff
Best adapted screenplay
“The Big Short,” Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
“Brooklyn,” Nick Hornby
“Carol,” Phyllis Nagy
“The Martian,” Drew Goddard
“Room,” Emma Donoghue
“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
Actor in a leading role
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”
Actress in a leading role
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Brie Larson, “Room”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”
Alejandro Iñárritu, “The Revenant”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”
Adam McKay, “The Big Short”
Actor in a supporting role
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”
Actress in a supporting role
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”
Best animated feature film
“Boy and the World”
“Shaun the Sheep Movie”
“When Marnie Was There”
Best foreign language film
“Embrace of the Serpent”
“Son of Saul”
Best original score
“Bridge of Spies,” Thomas Newman
“Carol,” Carter Burwell
“The Hateful Eight,” Ennio Morricone
“Sicario,” Jóhann Jóhannsson
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” John Williams
“Carol,” Ed Lachman
“The Hateful Eight,” Robert Richardson
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” John Seale
“The Revenant,” Emmanuel Lubezki
“Sicario,” Roger Deakins
Best production design
“Bridge of Spies,” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
“The Danish Girl,” Production Design: Eve Stewart ; Set Decoration: Michael Standish
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson
“The Martian,” Production Design: Arthur Max ;Set Decoration: Celia Bobak
“The Revenant,” Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy
Best visual effects
“Ex Machina,” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
“The Martian,” Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
“The Revenant,” Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould
Best original song
“Earned It,” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
“Manta Ray,” “Racing Extinction,” Music by J. Ralph; Lyric by Antony Hegarty
“Simple Song 3,” “Youth,” Music and Lyric by David Lang
“Til it Happens to You,” “The Hunting Ground,” Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
“Writing’s on the Wall,” “Spectre,” Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith
Best documentary feature
“The Look of Silence”
“What Happened, Miss Simone?”
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”
Best costume design
“Carol,” Sandy Powell
“Cinderella,” Sandy Powell
“The Danish Girl,” Paco Delgado
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Jenny Beavan
“The Revenant,” Jacqueline West
Best makeup and hairstyling
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared,” Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
“The Revenant,” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini
Best live action short film
“Everything Will Be Okay”
Best animated short film
“Sanjay’s Super Team”
“We Can’t Live Without Cosmos”
“World of Tomorrow
Best documentary short subject
“Body Team 12”
“Chau, beyond the Lines”
“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”
“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”
“Lasy Day of Freedom”
Best film editing
“The Big Short,” Hank Corwin
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Margaret Sixel
“The Revenant,” Stephen Mirrione
“Spotlight,” Tom McArdle
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey
Best sound mixing
“Bridge of Spies,” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
“The Martian,” Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth
“The Revenant,” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson
Best sound editing
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Mark Mangini and David White
“The Martian,” Oliver Tarney
“The Revenant,” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
“Sicario,” Alan Robert Murray
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Matthew Wood and David Acord
WOODBRIDGE, Va. - A Virginia police officer's first day back on the job ended in tragedy as she was shot and killed Saturday just after being sworn in, and two of her colleagues were wounded in a confrontation stemming from a call about an argument.
A county leader said a civilian woman was also killed in the domestic dispute.
Officers received a call around 5:30 Saturday evening in Woodbridge, about 30 miles southwest of the nation's capital, about a "verbal argument," Sgt. Jonathan Perok, spokesman of the Prince William County Police Department, said. It's not clear how the altercation between the suspect and police began but the suspect, a military serviceman, is in custody and was not injured, he said. The condition of the other two officers is not known.
The department announced on its Facebook page that Officer Ashley Guindon had died from the injuries she sustained in the shooting.
A picture of Guindon was posted to the department's Twitter page on Friday with a tweet that read, "Welcome Officers Steven Kendall & Ashley Guindon who were sworn in today & begin their shifts this weekend. Be Safe!" It is not known if the other officer in the tweet was involved in the shooting incident.
Guindon had been a county police officer a few years ago and had left and returned to the force, Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, said in a phone interview with The Associated Press Saturday night. He did not know the exact dates of when she started and left, he said.
Another woman was killed in the domestic call and was dead before police arrived, Stewart said, but police declined to confirm that information. Stewart also said there was a child in the house during the incident who was not harmed.
Neighbors told CBS affiliate WUSA in Washington, D.C., that a violent scene unfolded as cops showed up.
Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney Paul Ebert told The Associated Press Saturday night that he has authorized a capital murder charge, along with other counts, against the suspect, who has not been identified.
At Inova Fairfax Hospital, where the three officers were flown by helicopter after the shooting, more than 100 patrol cars lined the roads outside early Sunday morning to stand vigil and escort Guindon's body to the medical examiner.
The shooting occurred in the Lake Ridge neighborhood, on a curving street with $500,000 suburban houses with brick and siding exteriors, manicured lawns and two-car garages about a five-minute drive from the county office building.
Until Saturday evening, the big news in the police department was the planned retirement of Chief Steve Hudson, who announced two weeks ago that he will step down at the end of March, and officers' plans to do a "polar bear" plunge on Saturday morning to raise money for Special Olympics.
Police said the incident is still being investigated.
Stephen Curry’s 3-pointer from beyond 30 feet with 0.6 of a second left in overtime gave the Golden State Warriors a 121-118 win over the Thunder on Saturday night in Oklahoma City.
Curry’s winning shot was his 12th 3-pointer, tying the N.B.A. single-game record. He also broke his own N.B.A. record for 3-pointers in a season, with the new mark at 288 with 24 games to play.
Curry has made a 3-pointer in an N.B.A.-record 129 straight games.
With the win, and with Houston’s loss to San Antonio, Golden State became the first team since the 1987-88 Los Angeles Lakers to wrap up a postseason berth by the end of February. More than six weeks remain in the regular season.
Curry, the league’s scoring leader, who finished with 46 points, missed about six minutes of the third quarter with a left ankle injury. He had driven to the basket and rolled the ankle before Thunder guard Russell Westbrook stepped on it.
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 37 points, but he fouled out in the first minute of overtime.
Oklahoma City led by 12 in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors rallied. Klay Thompson made a 3 from the left corner to cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 100-99. It was the first 3 of the game for any Warriors player other than Curry.
Durant responded with a 3-pointer with 14.5 seconds left to put the Thunder up, 103-99.
Thompson quickly scored a layup, and then the Thunder turned the ball over. Andre Iguodala was fouled with 0.7 of a second left and made both free throws to tie the score and force the extra period.
The Warriors won their previous meeting with the Thunder, 116-108, at home on Feb. 6. The teams play again Thursday at Golden State.
SPURS 104, ROCKETS 94 Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge added 26 to lead San Antonio to a win at Houston. The Spurs (50-9), who won their fifth straight, are tied as the seventh-fastest team in N.B.A. history to reach 50 wins. San Antonio has a double-digit lead in the Southwest Division and the second-best record in the N.B.A., behind Golden State.
CELTICS 101, HEAT 89 Marcus Smart had 15 points and 6 rebounds, and Boston held off Miami, giving the Celtics their 10th consecutive victory at home.
Boston took just a 2-point lead into the final quarter but seized control at 93-84 with 2 minutes 45 seconds to play after three free throws by Smart.
Goran Dragic led the Heat with 21 points but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter.
After the game, the Heat announced that they had signed Joe Johnson, who cleared waivers after being released by the Nets. Johnson gives Miami a much-needed scoring option.
PISTONS 102, BUCKS 91 Andre Drummond, with 15 points and 17 rebounds, posted his N.B.A.-leading 50th double-double, and Detroit built on a strong start from 3-point range to beat host Milwaukee. Reggie Jackson had 22 points and 8 assists for Detroit, which won its third straight.
Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 26 points.
TRAIL BLAZERS 103, BULLS 95 Damian Lillard scored 31 points, and visiting Portland won for the 16th time in 20 games, beating Chicago.
Lillard hit the 30-point mark for the sixth time in seven games, and Mason Plumlee added 16 points and 9 rebounds. The Bulls got a triple-double from Pau Gasol (22 points, 16 rebounds and a career-high 14 assists).
T’WOLVES 112, PELICANS 110 Karl-Anthony Towns had 30 points and 15 rebounds, Andrew Wiggins hit two free throws with 3.6 seconds left, and Minnesota rallied to beat host New Orleans.
Zach LaVine added 25 points, making a 3-pointer with 2:43 left that gave the Timberwolves their first lead since the first quarter.
Saturday, 27 February 2016
Pop singer Katy Perry is actually JonBenét Ramsey, whose death was faked.
In February 2016, an old internet conspiracy theory was revived when several media outlets picked up a YouTube video which asserted that JonBenét Ramsey (a six-year-old beauty pageant star who was killed in 1996, and whose murder remains unsolved) never actually died, and instead grew up to be singer Katy Perry:
The conspiracy theory is based on a variety of observations, but none of the claims are especially convincing. For example, one piece of "evidence" is that Katy Perry and JonBenét Ramsey have similar eyebrows. Another piece of incidental information cited as evidence is that the pop singer once mentioned Ramsey during an interview. The full quote, which can be found in Perry's biography, reads:
(Katy Perry) would appear on stage at church, at family functions and even for birthday meals in restaurants when she would serenade the table with the latest gospel tune. "Wherever I went, restaurants or whatever, I would get up and sing 'Amazing Grace,'" Katy later revealed to the Mail. "Not that I was one of those stage kids. There was no JonBenet Ramsey inside of me waiting to burst out. I just started.... writing little songs about God or this boy I liked, the two men in my life at the same time."
It's unclear how the above-displayed quote, in which Katy Perry says that she is not JonBenét Ramsey, proves that she is JonBenét Ramsey.
The creator of the conspiracy video, David Johnson, has produced dozens of similar pieces, each offering up "proof" that one person is really another. In addition to Katy Perry as JonBenét, Johnson also claims that Donald Trump is Joe Biden, Jimmy Hendrix is Lionel Ritchie, and Prince Charles is Sir Richard Branson:
Despite the video, Johnson isn't the first to subscribe to this particular theory. The idea was firstfloated on various internet forums after the pop singer shared a "glamour shot" of herself as a child in August 2010:
While most comments more or less jokingly pointed out the young Perry's (very slight) resemblance to JonBenét, this photo provided the seed for a new conspiracy theory.
This isn't even the first time that a pop singer has been accused of being an adult JonBenét. Before Katy Perry, it was Lady Gaga, but unlike Katy Perry's conspiracy theory, which centered on the singer's eyebrows, the "evidence" for Lady Gaga focused on her ears:
There are many logical flaws with these theories. First, Perry was born in 1984, six years before JonBenét (and Lady Gaga, née Stefani Germanotta, was born in 1986). Second, Perry's childhood is well-documented, as is Lady Gaga's:
Finally, while the tragic case of JonBenét Ramsey's murder remains unsolved, that doesn't mean that she is still alive. Police discovered Ramsey's body in her family's basement on 26 December 1996, and anautopsy was performed not long afterward.
Friday, 26 February 2016
Think Reservoir Dogs meets American Sniper meets Training Day meets just about any movie directed by Michael Mann and you have the recipe for Triple 9, a dark, gritty, terribly confusing but entertaining cops-and-robbers thriller that paints a very gray line between good and bad. In fact, if the movie has any kind of fatal flaw, it is that there is no one in this melting pot of criminal activity to really root for. But as I say in my video review above, it doesn’t really matter, as director John Hillcoat (Lawless) keeps up the action pace from opening frame to last.
The near-10 minute curtain-raiser introduces us to a group of what turns out to be Iraq veterans/bad cops who pull off a violent bank heist. The fact that this exceptionally well-chosen cast includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Clifton Collins Jr., Norman Reedus and Aaron Paul should be an indication of what movie fans are in for. But that’s just the beginning as this dubious gang goes about their business answering to the chillingly evil Mafia-connected Irina, who is running the Israeli-Russian Mob while her husband is locked up. No need for him anyway, as she’s the real deal and played to the hilt by Kate Winslet, who just steals more than the loot. She walks away with the picture and seems to be having a great time doing it.
Added to all this are the “good” guys led by Casey Affleck , a young cop partnered with the not-so-good cop played by Mackie. Woody Harrelson turns up as his Uncle Jeff, a veteran of the force who has clearly seen it all. Matt Cook’s complex screenplay weaves all these characters and their inter-relationships deftly in and out of a movie that has almost too much going for it. At times I got lost, but not for long as Hillcoat proves a master of this kind of noirish cinematic experience.
If this all sounds like the kind of genre thriller you like, you should check out this Open Road Fims release, which goes wide today. Producers are Marc Butan, Keith Redmon, Brad Dorros, Anthony Katagas, Christopher Woodrow and Hillcoat.
Thursday, 25 February 2016
Yasss, she’s back! Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson — the one who started it all — returned to the ‘American Idol’ stage to wow the audience as a performer and guest judge on the Feb. 25 episode, and even several months pregnant, she’s TOTALLY still got it!
Kelly Clarkson definitely hasn’t forgotten where she came from! 15 years after she was declared the first-ever winner of American Idol, the now-superstar singer returned to the Idol stage to guest judge and close the show with an epic performance. She sang her song “Piece By Piece,” and we absolutely loved it!
Even though Kelly admitted earlier in the show that she was beyond nervous to sing theemotional and personal song, she sounded better than ever on that stage. The song, about meeting a man who didn’t leave like her father did, was incredibly heart-wrenching, and Kelly expertly captured every emotion. She had us (and the judges) in tears as she began hysterically crying toward the end, too. Stream Kelly’s music completely unlimited and ad-free RIGHT HERE.
Singing competitions have taken over television, but there’s no doubt that American Idol is the one that started it all. From the very beginning, Kelly was a force to be reckoned with, and she never landed in the Bottom 2 once throughout the entire competition. In the end, it came down to Kelly and Justin Guarini, and the powerhouse singer from Texas came out on top. Who could forget her first post-Idol single, “A Moment Like This”?!
Along with Carrie Underwood, Kelly is one of the most successful Idol contestants of all-time. She’s won three Grammy Awards, had three No. 1 albums (and the other four didn’t do too shabby on the charts, either) and hasreleased hit after hit, blowing up airwaves each and every time. Things are going great in her personal life these days, too — she married Brandon Blackstock in Oct. 2013, and the couple welcomed their daughter, River, in June 2014. And by the looks of her belly during tonight’s live performance, it looks like their son could be coming any day now!
HollywoodLifers, did you love Kelly’s performance? Tell us what you thought!
A powerful line of thunderstorms triggered tornado warnings and widespread reports of damage across the Triangle Wednesday. In all, there were more than 20 tornado warnings for the Triangle area.
Duke Progress Energy reported many power outages.
On Trevor Circle and Chauncer in Durham, power was restored about 9 p.m
Several trees went down in this neighborhood, mostly doing minimal harm, but one fell on Jerry Dodd's car on Trevor Circle.
Dodd's wife had just pulled up to her home and hadn't been inside more than 10 minutes before the tree in the front yeard crashed right through the top of her car.
"Fortunately she was okay," Dodd said. "She was inside with the dogs and the wind became pretty ferocious so she climbed into the closet under the stairs with the dogs and she heard the actual crash."
As of 7 p.m., there were fewer than 120,000 power outages with most outages reported in Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Mecklenburg and Wake counties.
Wednesday night. the NC Department of Transportation warned that although the storms had moved through, strong winds persisted and downed power lines remained a danger, particularly in the Triad region of the state, but also in Orange, Caswell and Alamance counties.
In Granville County, a home was destroyed in the Huntsboro community near the Henderson-Oxford airport. Several more homes were damaged.
Residents described the loud noise and seeing things flying around. Amazingly, no one was hurt.
Gov. Pat McCrory urged North Carolinians to keep their mobile phones charged and weather radios on and close by Wednesday night so they could continue to receive tornado or severe storm warnings through the night.
"We've been fortunate so far with no reports of serious injuries or widespread damages, but we're not out of the woods yet," McCrory said. "We've seen before how deadly overnight storms can be. Please continue to stay tuned to the weather and heed directions from your local officials."
In Raleigh, a tree smashed through roof of Fruit of Labor World Cultural Center.
ABC11 viewers sent in photos of a funnel cloud on the ground in Henderson.
There are reports of trees down in northern Durham County and Chapel Hill.
Trees and power lines were ripped down around Mount Olive.
Huge hail stones were reported in Creedmoor.
Smaller hail covered the ground in Gray's Creek.
A funnel cloud was seen over Wake Forest.
In Chatham County, there are reports of trees down around Siler City.
Earlier, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Wayne County just after 1 p.m. The warning ended at 1:30 p.m. A mobile home was damaged along Sanderson Road in the Indian Springs community when its roof was torn off.
A family with several children in the home were not injured. The National Weather Service will determine if a twister caused the damage.
The good news is we're looking for just a windy and dry Thursday.
Tuesday, 23 February 2016
Rihanna has released two videos for the same song – but in truth, they’re both a bit boring – though there are some moments to savour thanks to dirty dancing
Pop stars love a long video these days. In fact, Rihanna’s last one – the MegaForce-directed, blood-soaked revenge fantasy for Bitch Better Have My Money – was more than seven minutes long. Most of Lady Gaga’s post-Bad Romance and pre-jazz videos were more like mini-movies than three minutes of product placement and a bit of a dance. So it’s hardly surprising that Rihanna’s new video for Work – the lead single from her eighth album Anti, featuring Drake – stretches out towards eight minutes. Rather than fill that time with unnecessary dialogue and some terrible acting, however, she’s simply just made two videos for the same song and plonked them back to back.
Unfortunately neither of them are terribly interesting – the first, directed by the handily-named Director X – finds Rihanna and some mates in a bar called the Real Jerk. It’s the sort of place where plastic cups are strewn on the floor, men open beer bottles with their teeth and there’s likely a long queue for the bathroom. Rihanna has a lovely time dancing to her own song in front of a mirror. Then she dances up against Drake, who doesn’t seem to mind at all. Then the song finishes and the second video starts, this time directed by Tim Erem, who loses points for not having his job title in his name. To be clear, it’s the same version of the song – there’s no remix, no guest features. Just Rihanna and Drake miming along again, this time in a venue decked out to look like your grandparents’ living room bleached under a pink strobe light.
If you were being charitable you could say the two videos were connected – the first one being the big night out and the second one being the post-club daze where you scramble around looking for come cereal before getting Uber delivery to bring you a pizza which you’ll eat cold the next morning. If you were being uncharitable, it’s as if the label commissioned two videos that both turned out a bit boring so they thought it might be a nice gimmick to have them play back to back.
Still, as with most pop videos there are some highlights. Five in fact.
In January 2014 rapper Cam’ron apparently sold his incredible pink fur coat – the one he nonchalantly wore while holding a matching pink flip phone in 2002 – for $75,000. The mystery of who brought it seems to have been solved, however, given that Rihanna sports a fairly similar one as she gets out of the car outside The Real Jerk. Disappointingly, Drake arrives wearing a grey hoodie.
In fact, Drake loves casual pants, doesn’t he? Not for him the restrictive denim of a new pair of jeans. No. He’d much rather let it all hang loose in a baggy sweater and some jogging bottoms, freeing him up for some rug-cutting that never quite matches the ridiculousness of his meme-ready Hotline Bling wedding moves (Director X also directed that video, so this is doubly disappointing).
The Real Jerk is a laid-back kind of place. Early on we see a flyer for tonight’s party which reads “call for reservations”. Unfortunately there’s no phone number. Basically, the vibe is “If people want to come that badly, they’ll find a way, you know what I mean.” They also don’t have a bottle opener, given that one poor man has to open his with his teeth (he makes it look easy, but I’ve seen people draw blood so think on). They also don’t insist on making you stand outside should you want to enjoy a nice menthol cigarette. At least that’s what I assume is being rolled by one of Rihanna’s good friends at the 40-second mark.
I don’t wish to be blunt here but Rihanna and Drake look as if they have had some pretty amazing sex. With each other, but also with other people. In the second video’s living room locale, they spend a lot of time looking at each other and smirking mischievously, like a couple waiting for the kids to drop off to sleep so they can have a kiss and a cuddle on the sofa. They also take turns to dance in front of each other, Drake sat in his cotton two-piece scratching his chin like he’s also wondering why a braless Rihanna’s been styled to look like Destiny’s Child circa Survivor.
If you look closely, there’s a bike parked next to one of the awful sofas. Concerned about theft, and perhaps without a small shed to keep it in, one of them has decided to risk the ire of the landlord and bring it inside. Fingers crossed it hadn’t been raining because that’s one carpet stain away from a lost deposit. Just looking out for you, multi-millionaires Rihanna and Drake!
Monday, 22 February 2016
EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan — A night of music in East Village turned into a brawl late Saturday night at a concert in Webster Hall.
Fans took to social media to post about a fight at the Skate Maloley concert. Sources say the fight began with an argument involving two women.
Security allegedly tried to break it up. The performer then got involved in the fight after thinking a security guard was choking a fan.
Although there is video proof of the fight, police say no arrests were made.
Now fans of rapper are battling Webster Hall on social media with an online petition to shut the venue down. According to their petition, it's an effort to avoid the next fight and crackdown on security.
But Webster Hall regulars say it's unfair and one fight shouldn't stop the music.
"It happens everywhere things like that," said Leo Carrera. "People don't know how to control themselves taking fight to the next level."
PIX11 reached out for comment from Webster Hall but did not hear back.
WWE Fastlane featured Roman Reigns beating Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar, AJ Styles defeating Chris Jeric
ho and Kevin Owens getting the win over Dolph Ziggler. In other words, the pay-per-view went almost exactly as expected.
Other than the Wyatt Family losing to the trio of Ryback, Big Show and Kane, this was an incredibly predictable show that played out much like your average WWE fan imagined it, but that’s not always a bad thing. Charlotte also retained the Divas title while rising stars like Kalisto, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch picked up some important victories themselves, meaning we’re one step closer to some up-and-comers getting a chance to shine at WrestleMania 32.
With the WWE missing a number of established stars, WWE Fastlane made it very clear that the company will focus on some different stars on the grandest stage of them all. The question is: Will it pay off?
According to The Texas Tribune (h/t WrestlingInc), the WWE wants WrestleMania 32, which is shaping up to be its biggest pay-per-view ever, to “have an economic impact on the (Arlington) area akin to an NFL Super Bowl and officials hope to draw a record crowd of over 90,0000 attendees to the event.”
Given that the WWE is still feeling the bite of the injury bug and many fans aren’t thrilled about Reigns’ spot in the main event, did WWE Fastlane do enough to help the company accomplish those goals?
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
The WWE has committed to getting as many superstars as possible on the WrestleMania 32 card. It was once the Money in the Bank match that featured a plethora of mostly directionless midcarders, but now, it’s the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal that gives midcard and lower card performers a chance to compete on the show.
Expect the same to happen this year, when anybody who’s had a consistent, albeit minor, spot on TV but isn’t in line for a big singles match finds himself in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
With a number of former main eventers, like Dolph Ziggler and The Miz, seemingly out of the loop when it comes to major singles matches at WrestleMania 32, this match should actually pack a nice star power punch and give a rising star the opportunity for a signature WrestleMania moment.
WWE Tag Team Championship: The League of Nations vs. The New Day
In a rather odd twist, the League of Nations seemed to kick off a feud with The New Day during the trio’s appearance on “The Cutting Edge Peep Show” at Fastlane, seemingly setting up a WrestleMania rivalry between the two stables and a face turn for The New Day.
While the expectation was that it would be NXT’s Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady making their main roster debut to set up a ‘Mania match with The New Day, the creative team pulled off a surprising twist by going with the League of Nations in that spot instead.
League of Nations has pretty much run its course at this point, and hardly anyone is buying into the group as a legitimate heel faction anymore. But with the growing popularity of the New Day and the team lacking many more options for a WrestleMania feud, perhaps we should have seen this coming.
Stardust vs. Stephen Amell
The WWE typically has some sort of celebrity involvement at WrestleMania, and it looks like this year’s celebrity will be Arrow’s Stephen Amell.
Though Amell isn’t as big of a name as some past ‘Mania celebs, like Floyd Mayweather, the Wrestling Observer (h/t WrestleZone) reports that Amell is expected to face Stardust at WrestleMania 32. While this match might be better saved for a B-level pay-per-view, Amell and Stardust have a long-running feud that has actually been fairly entertaining and even produced a surprisingly good in-ring performance from Amell in a tag team match at SummerSlam last year.
Amell may not have the drawing power that another celeb would have, but as far as the actual match goes, Stardust vs. Amell should be a decent bout, with the potential to bring in Arrow fans who wouldn’t normally watch WWE.
Divas Championship: Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks have recently developed an odd relationship in which they’re neither friends nor enemies but have simply joined forces in the fight against Naomi and Tamina. But we shouldn’t forget that they both have one other goal in common: To become Divas Champion.
That’s where Charlotte comes in. Charlotte has a long history with both Banks and Lynch, creating the ideal scenario for a Triple Threat match featuring three of the four Divas who revolutionized women’s wrestling with their performances in NXT.
After Charlotte retained her Divas title against Brie Bella at Fastlane, the stage is set for Lynch vs. Banks vs. Charlotte to take place at WrestleMania 32 in a match that could be one of the most intriguing bouts in the history of women’s wrestling.
And one of the very best, too.
At Fastlane, AJ Styles defeated Chris Jericho in their rubber match while Kevin Owens beat Dolph Ziggler in what seemed like their 50th match, meaning that these two feuds are likely finished.
That opens up the very real possibility that a diehard fan’s dream match pitting the former face of TNA, Styles, against the former ROH stalwart, Owens, could finally come to fruition, a scenario that’s actu
ally been rumored since Owens eliminated Styles from the Royal Rumble match.
The Intercontinental title has a long history of feuds and matches between incredible in-ring workers, and Styles vs. Owens could continue that tradition by giving WWE fans a highly anticipated midcard bout at WrestleMania 32, one that could be the most entertaining match on the show.
Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt vs. Brock Lesnar was all but confirmed when the Wyatt Family eliminated Lesnar from the Royal Rumble last month, and Lesnar’s loss at Sunday’s Fastlane pay-per-view likely cemented the bout as one of WrestleMania’s biggest.
Though there is the perception that this match is a “step down” for Lesnar and that Wyatt has virtually no shot of winning, it does have the potential to be one of the better matches on the card and it is a chance to finally elevate Wyatt to another level.
Lesnar is the biggest draw for WrestleMania 32, which means that this match could be treated as perhaps the No. 2 or No. 3 match on the card, even though, realistically speaking, it’s a midcard encounter that should be quite the brawl, especially if a stipulation is added down the road.
Update: Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer (h/t SEScoops) is reporting that Lesnar is now expected to face Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania 32, which would explain the Wyatt Family’s loss at Fastlane as well as the interaction between Lesnar and Ambrose over the last several weeks. Though this is the right call given how well Ambrose has performed lately, this likely leaves Wyatt without a major match and could relegate him to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho is probably done with AJ Styles while Dean Ambrose should probably face Brock Lesnar, but it seems doubtful that the WWE will go in that direction.
Still, Ambrose deserves a big WrestleMania match, and especially if Jericho turns heel like has been teased, this could be one of the bigger and better matches on the card. Y2J may not quite have the star power he once did, but a feud with Ambrose could be really good and could be used as a way to get Ambrose back on the winning side of things after he lost yet another big match at WWE Fastlane.
There’s a history between these two going back to Night of Champions last year, so perhaps the WWE plays that up to ignite this feud, which is really one of the few realistic options left for either guy if you look at the way the WrestleMania dominoes are continuing to fall.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H vs. Roman Reigns
Though there was hope that Ambrose would throw a wrench into creative’s plans, we all saw Triple H vs. Reigns coming from a mile away.
It’s been obvious that, despite resistance to Reigns and his monstrous push, the WWE has remained steadfast in its desire to push Reigns to the top of the mountain and to do so by having him beat Triple H for the WWE title at WrestleMania. It may not be what the hardcore WWE fan wants, but that doesn’t seem to matter.
Despite Reigns receiving heel reactions and the likelihood that the main event of ‘Mania will be booed out of the building, this is the only confirmed match for WrestleMania 32 so far. Will it be the draw that WWE wants it to be?
Most fans who are going to WrestleMania have probably already bought their tickets, but anyone on the fence about doing so will no longer be inclined to given that HHH vs. Reigns is shaping up to be one of the most poorly received main events in recent WrestleMania history.
Sunday, 21 February 2016
Samsung just took the wraps off its brand new Galaxy smartphones. The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge feature improved cameras, faster performance and longer battery life, among a myriad of other features. The highlight, however, has got to be the return of a microSD card slot and IP68 water-resistant rating, both of which were favorite features that didn't make it into the Galaxy S6.
The Galaxy S7 is equipped with a 5.1-inch display with a 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution and a 12-megapixel camera. The phone is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB of RAM and comes with either 32GB or 64GB of storage, along with a 3,000 mAh battery (a big step up from the 2,550 mAh of the Galaxy S6). The Galaxy S7 Edge adds adds a larger 5.5-inch display with curved edges and 3,600mAh battery.
This year there's an added incentive to preorder the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. Samsung will offer its Gear VR headset, which usually costs $100, for free for users who preorder either device. To sweeten the deal, Samsung will also be throwing in six virtual reality games with the headset.
When and where
The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge will be available on Friday, March 11, with preorders set to begin on Tuesday, February 23.
AT&T customers can pick up the 32GB model of the Galaxy S7 for $0 down and monthly payments of $23.17 for 30 months, or the Galaxy S7 Edge for $26.50 per month for 30 months. AT&T's pricing works out to $695 and $795, respectively.
T-Mobile is offering customers who preorder either the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge a free year of Netflix (in addition to the Gear VR headset). The carrier will also pay switching fees for customers who come from AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.
The Galaxy S7 (32GB model) will cost $27.92 per month for 24 months, while the S7 Edge will cost $32.50 over the same period. That works out to $670 and $780, respectively.
New and existing Sprint customers have the option to either buy or lease the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. For a limited time, customers who purchase either device can get a second one for half off. The carrier also announced a "Galaxy Forever" plan, which is similar to its iPhone For Life plan. The program lets Sprint customers upgrade to a new Samsung phone any time after making 12 payments on a Sprint lease.
The Galaxy S7 (32GB model) will cost $27.09 per month for 24 months, while the Galaxy S7 edge will cost $31.25 per month for 24 months. As part of the "Galaxy Forever" plan, the price of the Galaxy S7 drops to $25.99 per month for 24 months with an upgrade after 12 months, while the Galaxy S7 Edge drops to $30.50 over the same period of time.
Sprint has also extended its "Cut Your Bill in Half" promotion until March 31, and will pay early termination fees of up to $650 per line for customers switching from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.
Verizon hasn't announced any pricing information yet, although the carrier is highlighting two accessory bundles. As part of the Memory Bundle, you can get any case up to $39.99, any display protector up to $34.99, and a 32 GB microSD card (a $39.99 value) for $79.99. The Charging Bundle will get you a Samsung Wireless Fast Charging Stand (a $69.99 value), a car charger with Fast Charging (a $34.99 value), and a Samsung Fast Charging Portable Power Pack with 10,220 mAh (a $79.99 value) for only $100.
Verizon will also cover switching fees of up to $650 for customers coming from T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint. In addition, the carrier is also offering 2GB of additional data each month to customers that upgrade or activate a new phone (including the new Galaxy devices) on a Verizon Plan XL or larger and choose the device payment option.
US Cellular will offer the Galaxy S7 for $0 down and payments of $28 per month for 24 months. The Galaxy S7 edge will be available for $0 down and payments of $32.50 per month for 24 months. The total payment works out to $672 and $780, respectively. With a two-year agreement, the Galaxy S7 will be available for $199 and the Galaxy S7 Edge for $299.
You can check out both devices in Best Buy stores nationwide starting on February 24. The retailer is offering customers who preorder either device a free 64GB microSD card (in addition to the Gear VR headset). The Galaxy S7 will be available for $199 with a two-year contract for Verizon and Sprint customers, while the Galaxy S7 Edge will cost $299 with a two-year agreement.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Daytona 500 lends itself to nostalgia and redemption tales. That NASCAR’s grandest race occurs at the beginning of the season sometimes exaggerates both. So does the unrelentingly thankless nature of racing in the whirls of air within Daytona International Speedway.
But when Dale Earnhardt Jr. pauses after winning an otherwise mundane qualifying race and reflects, eloquently, as usual, on the memory of his late father and the way he played Daytona, the storyline isn’t understated.
That Earnhardt Jr. won for the 17th time in all races at Daytona and aims for a third Daytona 500 win in a Chevrolet named “Amelia” that won three restrictor plate races last season simply adds intrigue. His win in the first of two 150-mile qualifying races Thursday occurred on the 15th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s death on the final lap of the Daytona 500. Anniversaries always seem to become more poignant when viewed in comparison to a nice round number, and fifteen perhaps doesn’t ring as much as did a ten or as will a twenty. But a son’s memories flow where a father lived so large or died so traumatically, especially when that is your workplace for weeks every year.
“I was daydreaming a little bit,” Earnhardt Jr. admitted. “I'm guilty of daydreaming a little bit about winning this race tonight because of the day. That was special to me.”
Kyle Busch has his redemption tale half-written entering Sunday. The defending series champion won the second Duel on Thursday and is a member of a Joe Gibbs Racing contingent that has been speedy all week. And a year ago he was denied a chance at a first Daytona 500 win and the next 10 races of the season when he broke a leg and foot after crashing into an unpadded wall during the season-opening Xfinity Series race here. That he came back so quickly was astounding. That he won a championship was unthinkable when he languished in obvious pain outside his race car beside the track last February. Busch knows better than to hope too much for that perfect ending here.
“I think if I could end up in Victory Lane on Sunday, then I certainly think it would kind of come full circle, essentially,” he said. “I'd love to have that happen, but I'm not expecting anything from the racetrack or the racing gods to make that happen.”
Her name is Amelia, named after the first female aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, and she has been Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s pride and joy in the days leading into Sunday's Daytona 500. Like a gushing father, whenever she is mentioned a brimming smile streaks across the face of NASCAR's most popular driver.
Except Amelia isn't a living, breathing entity in the strictest sense. She is Earnhardt's car, chassis No. 872, which he will use Sunday to pursue a second Daytona 500 win in three years and third overall.
"The car is awesome," Earnhardt said. "I don't want to get overly confident in what I'm doing, but the car really does everything I ask it to do.
"This thing is special, so I'm real excited."
Earnhardt's affinity for Amelia is justified when you consider he used that car to record two wins, a second and a fourth in four restrictor-plate races last season. So while Hendrick Motorsports customarily builds a brand-new car over the offseason for Daytona, Earnhardt and crew chief Greg Ives elected to bring Amelia back to Daytona.
And really, there never was debate whether to utilize Amelia once more. Because if Earnhardt was going to get another win in NASCAR's signature event, he knew Amelia not only offered him the best chance, but she also provides an aura of invincibility.
That decision has thus far made them look all the wiser. On Thursday, Earnhardt and Amelia won their Duel qualifier for the second straight year by leading 43 of 60 laps and executing a nifty move on Denny Hamlin to take away the lead with six to go.
"You know he is going to be tough to beat," Kevin Harvick said. "... You knew he was going to be one of the cars to beat. I think it will stay that way."
Said Austin Dillon: "The No. 88 car is unreal fast."
Like a businessman who wears his favorite power suit to an important meeting, what Amelia gives Earnhardt is confidence. And considering his drafting prowess, no one is better at Daytona or Talladega, and Earnhardt having a chassis underneath that he believes can pull off any move he needs to make at any time only heightens that self-assurance.
"You're willing to take those gambles and risks to pull out and pass and not worry about getting shuffled to the back because you feel like the car is really capable of doing what you're going to ask it to do every time you make a move," Earnhardt said.
In car years, Amelia is rather old. She was constructed by Earnhardt's former crew chief, Steve Letarte, two months after their 2014 Daytona win together required the No. 88 team to forfeit the car to track officials, who then put it on display for a full year.
"There are no trade secrets (used to build that car)," Letarte told SB Nation. "Speedway racing is a culmination of a tremendous amount of effort by a tremendous amount of people and every nook and cranny of that car has been looked at and checked on. And sometimes, you just have one that runs good."
Amelia doesn't possess any unique characteristics found on other Hendrick superspeedway cars, Ives said. The fleet of cars built for Daytona and Talladega are nearly identical; the only difference is Amelia's shelf life. Because Earnhardt has not been involved in the "big one" commonly associated with restrictor-plate racing, it has allowed the No. 88 team to keep reusing her.
"Dale does such a good job of keeping the cars together through the past four races, which makes it easy on the guys," Ives told SB Nation. "Whenever you can bring a speedway car back and just massage on it rather than having to put a new body on it, you're going to keep finding a little bit more speed.
Although assembled nearly two years ago, Amelia didn't get her name until recently. Some teams bestow cars with names immediately, as an identifier beyond just chassis numbers.
"A car gets named when you drive it long enough to see a personality," Earnhardt said.
Other instances happen more organically. When Rusty Wallace won a 1993 night race at Richmond International Raceway, he did so close to midnight, which became the affectionate name for that car. Wallace, the 1989 Cup Series champion, won 13 races with Midnight and led more than 5,000 laps from 1992-94.
After the call was made to bring her to Daytona, Earnhardt realized chassis No. 872 was deserving of name after she carried him to a 1.75 average finish in four 2015 plate races.
"I said, ‘We've got to name it,'" Earnhardt said. "We were thinking of a woman who has accomplished something, that was an awesome person who was someone we could be proud of.
"Amelia Earhart was the first thing that came to my mind. She must have been the most daring. She sort of fits that mold of courage and determination that you need as a driver. She must have had that and more to be able to do the things she did in her lifetime."
A victory Sunday, however, would mean the end of chassis No. 872, as a spot in the Daytona International Speedway fan zone would await. But even if no Daytona 500 win materializes, Earnhardt wants team owner Rick Hendrick to honor Amelia properly.
"I told him, ‘Whatever happens to this thing from here on out, he needs to keep track of it,'" Earnhardt said. "Might be one he wants to put in a museum one day because it's done a lot of good things."
Saturday, 20 February 2016
NEW YORK — Harper Lee has died, but the conversation about her life and work has only begun.
“I think the retrospective will be more useful than what was said during her lifetime, because there are a lot of things we can get down to that were impossible before,” Lee’s friend Wayne Flynt, an Alabama-based historian, told The Associated Press.
Lee’s death Friday at age 89 comes almost exactly a year after her publisher, HarperCollins, stunned the world by announcing that a second novel by the author of “To Kill a Mockingbird” would be released, ending what many believed was a permanent and much-desired literary silence.
With Lee confined to a nursing home in her native Monroeville, Alabama, and communicating only through press releases that many wondered if she even knew about, the debate about her state of mind and about the second book, “Go Set a Watchman,” took off without her. It will likely grow as those close to her finally speak up and more is learned about what, if any, other writings she left behind.
“Everybody from the newspaper boy to the checkout girl to the local minister will be remembering Harper Lee with fondness or with an ax to grind, depending on how they were treated,” said Lee biographer Charles Shields, whose “Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee” was published in 2006 and will be reissued this year.
Flynt is among those thinking about a memoir.
Lee’s retreat from public life over the past half-century created one kind of mystery; last summer’s publication of “Go Set a Watchman” started another. Millions who thought they “knew” Atticus Finch, who named their children for him and became lawyers because of him were faced with a seemingly different man in the new book, which took place 20 years later but actually had been written before Lee turned to what became “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
The bold attorney who in the 1930s defended a black man accused of rape in “Mockingbird” had aged into a spiteful reactionary condemning the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision to outlaw segregation in public schools. Was the Atticus of “Mockingbird” a romanticized figure and the Atticus of “Watchman” closer to the truth? Did Atticus, based closely on Lee’s father, really change or was he simply a patrician more comfortable with the old rules, when all the powers belong to whites?
Ralph Eubanks, a former editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review and currently a visiting professor of Southern studies at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, said that the brilliance of “Mockingbird” was in how it could make anyone from the North or South identify with the issues and with the characters.
“For ‘Go Set a Watchman,” there was no one you were cheering for,” he said. “That for me changed the dynamic.”
In an email to The Associated Press, award-winning historian Isabel Wilkerson said that Lee had created two equally worthy legacies.
“Harper Lee has left us a great gift: a beloved vision of our better selves in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and a thornier reflection of what lies beneath in her earlier manuscript, ‘Go Set a Watchman,’” wrote Wilkerson, best known “The Warmth of Other Suns,” which traced black migration from the South in the 20th century.
“In both, she has bravely given us versions of our country for us to ponder for generations.”
James McBride, winner of the National Book Award in 2013 for the novel “Good Lord Bird” and author of the upcoming nonfiction “Kill ‘em and Leave” about James Brown, said reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” as a child made him want to become a writer and that it “crystallized” for him an awareness of racism that had been “floating around him.” Nobel laureate Toni Morrison and others have labeled the book a “white savior” novel, but McBride believes that “Mockingbird” is the best story that Lee could have told.
“Yes, I would have liked to see the black characters displayed with a lot more dimension,” he said. “But Harper Lee gave it all she had. She left nothing behind, and that’s all you can ask for.”
McBride has re-read “Mockingbird” a few times, catching new and important details with each reading, and has given the book to his kids, too.
He has not read “Go Set a Watchman.”
“I prefer to remember ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and Atticus Finch and all those characters as Harper Lee wanted us to remember them. I believe she wasn’t strong enough at the end of her life to make any informed decisions about her work,” he said.
“There is no question in my mind that Harper Lee is a great American writer with the best of intentions. You have to start the conversation about race somewhere, and Harper Lee is a great place to start it.”
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The sisters would typically come in for chicken salad and potato soup, arriving just before the Courthouse Cafe in Monroeville closed for lunch at 2 p.m., when there were few customers left.
“They just wanted privacy,” Janet Sawyer, the restaurant’s owner, recalled on Friday of Alice Lee and her sister, Harper, who became, by virtue of a single book, one of America’s most cherished authors and certainly the most celebrated resident of Monroeville, the small Alabama town of about 6,300 where she lived and where she set her masterpiece, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Ms. Lee’s death on Friday at 89 struck a chord around the world, but nowhere did it resonate as deeply as in the town where she grew up, writing and playing golf, and where she died in her sleep at the Meadows, an assisted-living facility, not far from the modest house where she had lived with her sister Alice, until she died in 2014 at age 103.
Ms. Lee drew attention to the town, with a little help from her friend and fellow writer Truman Capote, who also called it home, earning Monroeville the designation “Literary Capital of Alabama.”
Ms. Sawyer’s restaurant sits across a square from the courthouse that inspired the setting for the scenes in “To Kill a Mockingbird” where Atticus Finch, who was modeled on Ms. Lee’s father, became a fictional avatar for tolerance and justice.
A theatrical adaptation of “Mockingbird,” performed each spring at the old courthouse, which is now a museum, has long been the single biggest event in Monroeville, drawing enthusiasts from around the United States and the world.
And across the town, with its murals of mockingbirds and restaurants with names derived from the book, and its statues of children reading, there were constant reminders on Friday of the mark that Ms. Lee, known as Nelle, had left.
“She was our most famous citizen,” said Greg Norris, probate judge in Monroe County.
But also among its most private persons. Judge Norris remembered the special arrangements that were made years ago when Ms. Lee sought to renew her driver’s license. “We waited until the court house closed, and she slipped in,” he said.
Except for the middle years of her life, when she lived in New York City, where she wrote “Mockingbird,” southern Alabama was home for Harper Lee, and she wrote in it of the area’s culture of tea cakes, genial manners and racial segregation in the post-Depression era.
It was in Manhattan, though, where Ms. Lee met Joy Brown, who, with her husband, Michael, gave her financial help in the mid-1950s so she could write her famous novel.
“I remember her wit and laughter; she laughed a lot,” Ms. Brown said. “She was also one of the most observant people you ever met, and she did not suffer fools, by any means.”
Ms. Lee never married and had no children, so her closest relatives, who include several nephews, were preparing funeral arrangements, along with Tonja B. Carter, who is Ms. Lee’s lawyer and the executor of her estate.
The value of Ms. Lee’s estate remains a matter of conjecture, but certainly would appear to be in the tens of millions of dollars. More than 30 million copies of “Mockingbird” have been sold since its publication in 1960, and the novel continues to sell more than a million copies a year.
According to court documents, Ms. Lee earned as much as $1.6 million in royalties from the sale of “Mockingbird” over a single six-month period, and her second book, “Go Set a Watchman,” was the best-selling book of 2015 in the United States.
Also likely to be decided by the terms of her will is the question of where she decided to place her literary papers, at the University of Alabama, her alma mater, or another institution.
Hank Conner, Ms. Lee’s nephew, said he could not discuss the funeral arrangements, except to say they were private. Her sister and father are buried in a local cemetery in Monroeville.
Mr. Conner said he was fondly remembering the times he spent with his aunt. A trip to Yankee Stadium. A visit to see Peter Pan on Broadway. “I had the good luck to spend lots of time with Nelle Harper Lee, some of it in New York City, where I saw a world I had not seen before,” he said.
Ms. Lee returned to Monroeville after having a stroke in 2007. During her years at the Meadows, the circle of friends allowed to visit her shrank, a point of contention among some who felt that Ms. Carter, her lawyer, was being too strict a gatekeeper and isolating her.
But Ms. Lee had an ornery side as well. For instance, in 2013, she filed a trademark lawsuit against the museum in the old courthouse, challenging its ability to sell, among other things, “Mockingbird”-themed items. The suit was eventually settled.
Similarly divisive was the announcement last year that “Go Set a Watchman” had been found in a bank safe deposit box and would be published. While some in town supported the move, there was considerable consternation over whether Ms. Lee, who was nearly blind and almost deaf, had the mental capacity to sign off on publication and to understand the consequences that it might have for her legacy.
“Maybe Nelle’s death will bring the town together and the memorial will start a healing process,” said George Landegger, an industrialist and philanthropist who was friends with Ms. Lee.
“To me, Nelle always had Scout-like qualities,” Mr Landegger said, evoking the name of the child narrator of “Mockingbird.”
“She had a childlike twinkle in her eye,” he added, “and was not subject to conventional mores. She was iconoclastic and had a very determined attitude.”
The iconoclast was someone Charles Bryan Sellers met growing up on Lloyd Street across from the home of the Lee sisters, who attended the same church as his family and often ate dinner with them.
“Her prayer at dinner was ‘Good bread, good meat, good God, let’s eat,’ ” Mr. Sellers said, laughing. “My mom just rolled her eyes.”
Friday, 19 February 2016
LOS ANGELES -- They could have mentioned the challenges dumped along the path, but no San Antonio Spurs player uttered excuses Thursday night after a sloppy 105-86 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Fresh off the All-Star break, the Spurs are in the midst of a 6,500-mile road trip where additional mileage was tacked on for some -- coach Gregg Popovich flew to Oklahoma City with assistant James Borrego, general manager R.C. Buford and forwards Tim Duncan and David West to attend the funeral service for Monty Williams' wife, Ingrid, who died Feb. 10 after being in a car accident the night before.
San Antonio trudged through one strange, emotional day on Thursday, which should only make the club stronger.
"They had the same break we did," West snapped when asked whether the Spurs fought to shake off rust early in scoring 34 points in the first half, before scoring 29 in the third quarter alone.
"No excuses," power forward LaMarcus Aldridge said. "We just had one of those nights where guys didn't play as good as they should have. They definitely competed at a high level, and we never found our offensive rhythm."
San Antonio's contingent for Williams' funeral skipped practice on Wednesday to fly to Oklahoma City. In the hours leading into tipoff on Thursday, it was unclear whether Popovich and the rest of the Spurs attending the services would make it back in time. In fact, assistant Ettore Messina was the club's contingency plan at head coach.
The group landed in Los Angeles approximately two hours prior to tipoff and received a police escort to Staples Center, with Duncan making his way down a hallway to hit the locker room first, followed by West and eventually Popovich.
"We've just got to be that much more sharp," Aldridge said when asked about the team being short-handed. "We gave up some easy shots in the first half, and I thought that got them going for the second half. We didn't execute defensively on some plays, on some pick-and-rolls, and they got some easy shots. I thought they had some easy looks early."
If San Antonio received similar looks, it certainly failed to take advantage. Three Spurs scored in double figures, led by Tony Parker with 14, West with 12 and Aldridge with 10. But just three players shot better than 50 percent on the night (Kyle Anderson, West and Rasual Butler). Up until the 2:37 mark of the third quarter, Anderson was the only Spur shooting better than 50 percent.
"Guys have to play better," Popovich said. "David West had a pretty good game. Kyle Anderson had a pretty good game. Everybody else was pretty poor. That is not going to get it done in the NBA. More guys have to play well. That's the bottom line."
The loss to the Clippers goes down as San Antonio's first in this eight-game road trip after the team secured victories Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 at Miami and Orlando. Starting with the second of a back-to-back set Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Spurs close out the rodeo trip with five games over a span of eight days before heading back home March 2 to San Antonio, where they'll host theDetroit Pistons.
Leonard's potential return will be a game-time decision Friday, Popovich said, and the Spurs are still missing Manu Ginobili as he recovers from testicular surgery.
But even with the recent adversity, the team knows the rodeo trip strengthens the locker room bonds and fortitude necessary to burn the competition in the postseason. San Antonio owns a record of 77-35 over the past 13 seasons during its annual rodeo trip.
One loss on one strange night shouldn't change anything.
"We win together, we lose together," West said. "The group didn't play at a high enough level to win a road game against a good team in their building."
Sunday, 14 February 2016
It is a hard and fast rule that on The Walking Dead, big, insurmountable obstacles are always, always overcome by big, unrealistic actions. Kidnapped by cannibals? Carol will singlehandedly blow them all to smithereens. An enemy shows up with a tank? Don't worry a bunch of people with handguns have got this. Zombies attack your obscenely peaceful farm? Somehow solved by Rick declaring himself a dictator! A herd of thousands of zombies overruns a town? All you need is a truck that has some fuel and a bazooka onboard. Problem solved.
The parallels between Sunday's mid-season premiere, "No Way Out," and the season five opener of the show, "No Sanctuary," are pretty striking. Like when Carol and Tyrese saved our survivors from the clutches of Terminus, trapped characters were rescued by outsiders presumed to be dead or missing, explosions played a prominent role, as did the old walking-around-covered-in-zombie-guts trick, and a problem that got an entire season of build up is solved in the course of a single episode.
None of this is necessarily a bad thing, as the show very often likes to move on from one arc to the next, taking us from the CDC to the farm to the prison to Woodbury back to the prison to Terminus to the hospital to Alexandria. As the beginning of the episode proves, the train has very much departed for the Negan station. And clearly, there is no room for any of the Alexandria dreamers there. Only the ones strong enough to be part of our group.
Bazookas are officially the most effective weapon in the zombie apocalypse. "No Way Out" started exactly where those first four minutes that we got to see early left off, with Sasha, Abraham and Daryl at a standoff with a group of men who appear to follow someone named "Negan." Abraham's big mouth gets them into trouble (as per usual) and it looked like he and Sasha were done for. In, perhaps, the third-most-violent but second-coolest scene in the episode (that's a very technical ranking, mind you) Daryl finds a bazooka in that fuel truck they took (remember the fuel truck) and blasts the bikers to smithereens.Chekov's bazooka is ready to go for later.
We should have known when they got Judith out of the way.
In order for the very slow, very violent series of events to happen to take out all remaining members of the Anderson family, the baby had to be out of harm's way. So did Father Gabriel, to be entirely honest, since any zombie death that is entirely the result of a mixture of fear and stupidity would surely have taken him out, too. We should have been doubly sure that Sam was a goner when her refused the relative safety of the Father Gabriel exit to stay with his mom. We should have known Jessie wasn't long for this world when she let him. We should have known Ron couldn't survive too long in his game of chicken with Carl and Rick. We all should have known.
But let's break this down.
On the way to try to get to the cars, covered in zombie guts and walking arm in arm, Sam the scared child starts to get even more scared. And the terrifying words of the world's least-nurturing woman, Carol, come into his mind. And he freezes. Because he is surrounded by monsters who want to eat him alive. And that's truly terrifying. Paralyzed by his fear, Sam is the first to be taken by the walkers, exactly what Carol warned him of coming true right before his mother's eyes as she holds his hand. She screams, she sobs as her son is torn to pieces in front of her, and she is the second to go down, holding tight to Carl's hand. Rick, meanwhile, never one to freeze, never one to be trapped by his emotions or fear (not for awhile anyways), watches the woman he could have loved suffer in front of him, in danger of taking his own son with her, and so he does what he does: He reacts, chopping off Jessie's arm off to save Carl. That was not a sacrifice worth it to the already homicidal Ron, who points his gun straight for Rick and Carl. Just as he shoots, Michonne does what she does: She reacts, stabbing Ron clear through the chest, but not before the gun goes off and Carl loses an eye.
It was a horrific, mesmerizing scene that did a lot of what this show does best. It was violent, for sure, but there were emotional beats behind every single move made by every single character. And while the whole thing probably only lasted around two or three minutes, the bloodshed felt interminable. Even for this show, there was a lot of death. But, considering that he has Glenn-like powers of immortality in the face of gunshot wounds especially, we can all at least expect Carl to make a full recovery. And not just because a newly confident Denise was there in the nick of time to stitch him up. Because we are stuck with Carl forever.
Team Glenn and Enid, fresh off all their first-half-of-season-6 bonding, are ready and raring to take on the zombie herd all by themselves. First stop? Gun shopping in a chapel, where Enid gets to be moved by a handy Bible quote etched on the wall. Of course plan number one for these crazy kids is rescuing one miss Maggie Greene, stuck up in a literal high tower surrounded by monsters. Will her knight in shining armor and his cute kid sidekick save her? Well, they'll try in a plan that perhaps is stupider than anything Jessie and Sam do (more on them below) where Enid joins Maggie up there and Glenn distracts all the zombies by making a lot of noise until they all start coming after him?
But don't worry, it was actually a fool-proof plan since Glenn is an immortal being who will never die, and Sasha and Abraham were there in the clinch with very well-aimed machine guns. And don't you guys forget, someone has to tell Glenn that he's going to be a dad. What a great baby shower for those crazy kids.
If you thought that whole zombie-herd taking over Alexandria and Denise getting kidnapped by the Wolf dude would bring Carol and Morgan together despite their differences, you were very much wrong. Carol makes clear that she and Morgan are by no means on the same team, outright saying that she wished she had killed him when she had the chance. And while she may not have won the moral argument of the day, she did win in the actual sense by finally taking out the Wolf after he may or may not have changed into a good person when he saved Denise. Either way, the Wolf is gone, but surely he will not be the only source of conflict between two of our most powerful players. We can only hope for a common enemy (that they both think should die) will bring them together later this season.
Angry over Carl, grieving over Jessie and generally full of that Rick Grimes adrenaline, Rick leaves his bleeding son on the operating table and heads out to take on the whole herd of walkers all on his own. He inspires (for some reason) the rest of the people hiding (including quite a few Alexandrians and even Eugene) to join him. It's a 300-style last stand, and as stupid as it seems, it is a genuinely moving sequence only slightly undercut by how easy it was for Sasha, Abraham and Daryl to save the day. Regardless, as Rick says to an unconscious Carl at the episode's close, the last stand was what they needed for the Alexandrians to finally and fully bond with our survivors. A particularly telling moment was when the episode cut from character to character to character in the same frame, hacking and slashing as one united being. It was a powerful sequence, and a necessary moment if the show, as it seems to be doing, is going to move so quickly to a new enemy. There's no more time for infighting (you hear us, Carol and Morgan?). It's time to stand together, or nothing else is going to matter.
We mean, unless you have a bazooka. That helps.