As expected, Avengers: Age of Ultron dominated the box office for the second weekend in a row, pulling in numbers that would be the envy of most summer blockbusters’ opening three days. And while the only new release of the week faltered, it was a surprisingly strong week overall, with many of the films in the top 10 faring well despite facing one of the biggest movies of the year.
Last night’s generally unremarkable episode of SNL peaked early when it took advantage of its proximity to Mother’s Day to do something kind of remarkable. As part of her opening monologue, guest host Reese Witherspoon declared that the show was going to mark the occasion by bringing each cast member out with his or her mother...and then forcing them to apologize for their childhood transgressions.
The new Vacation may bear the same name as the old Vacation, but it’s actually a sequel, taking place a few decades after the first ill-fated Griswold family trip to Walley World. The first trailer for this new version has arrived and while it has the same title and premise as its predecessor, it bends over backwards to let you know that Ed Helms is the same Rusty Griswold from 32 years ago, all grown up. Can we call this a rebootquel?
It’s not coincidence that Scarlett Johansson guest hosted SNL on the same weekend that Avengers: Age of Ultron opened in theaters, so of course the show had to do a Marvel sketch of some kind. And unlike the previous Avengers sketches cooked up for Chris Hemsworth and Jeremy Renner, this one is actually a pretty effective dig at the Marvel movie machine. More importantly, it’s very funny.
When the SNL writers decided to craft a sketch mocking the boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, they had no idea that the “fight of the century” would turn out to be a huge bust that would leave sports fans enraged. This adds a level of meta-humor to an already funny sketch. In many ways, SNL’s very silly take on this fight is significantly more interesting than the real thing.
If there were any lingering doubts about the popularity of Star Wars in the year 2015, Star Wars Celebration killed them. Ruthlessly. When the the live-streamed panel for Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered the second trailer for J.J. Abrams’ wildly anticipated sequel, you could feel the internet quiver and shake underneath the weight of the hype. It was a staggering event that made the next few geek-friendly trailers released in the following days feel like small potatoes in comparison. And yes, this hyperbole is backed up by raw numbers: the second trailer for The Force Awakens shattered the record for most trailer views in 24 hours.
Vanessa Bayer’s Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy has been a regular character on SNL’s Weekend Update for quite some time now, so it was about time for us meet the family of everyone’s favorite awkward, overly prepared Jewish kid. Coinciding with the end of Passover, the show brought the great Billy Crystal onto the show as Jacob’s equally awkward father.
Prolific character actor James Best, most known for playing the bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on The Dukes of Hazzard, has passed away from complications following a battle with pneumonia. He was 88 years old.
Since The Walking Dead just ended its fifth season and it’s still one of the biggest shows in the history of television, it makes sense that SNL would pause to talk about it. After all, what good is the “Weekend Update” segment if the anchors don’t occasionally stop to talk about what’s big in popular culture? And what good is SNL if it can’t get one of the most popular actors from The Walking Dead to stop by for a minute-long cameo?
Most of the time, the SNL opening monologue is a formality and a tradition, a road bump on the way to the actual good parts of an episode. It feels like something the guest host does because he has to, not because anyone on the writing staff actually had a good idea. And that’s why last night’s monologue was such a joyous surprise: it was not only the best monologue of the season, but the best sketch of the whole night.
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