Review: ‘The Addams Family 2,’ starring the voices of Oscar Issac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton, Nick Kroll, Bette Midler and Bill Hader

October 1, 2021

by Carla Hay

“The Addams Family 2”: Pictured in front row, from left to right: Gomez Addams (voiced by Oscar Isaac), Wednesday Addams (voiced by Chloë Grace Moretz), Morticia Addams (voiced by Charlize Theron), Pugsley Addams (voiced by Javon “Wanna” Walton) and It (voiced by Snoop Dogg). Pictured in back row, from left to right: Uncle Fester (voiced by Nick Kroll, Lurch (voiced by Conrad Vernon) and Grandma (voiced by Bette Midler). (Image courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures)

“The Addams Family 2”

Directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan

Culture Representation: Taking place in various parts of the U.S., the animated film “The Addams Family 2” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few African Americans and Latinos) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: The ghoulish Addams Family goes on a cross-country road trip, in an effort to create more family bonding, as adolescent daughter Wednesday Addams goes through an identity crisis about her biological origins. 

Culture Audience: Besides appealing to the obvious target audience of “Addams Family” fans, “The Addams Family 2” will appeal primarily to people who don’t mind watching overly cluttered animated films that have a very weak plot.

Wednesday Addams (voiced by Chloë Grace Moretz) and Cyrus Strange (voiced by Bill Hader) in “The Addams Family 2” (Image courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures)

In the animated film “The Addams Family 2,” the family goes on a road trip while being chased by a lawyer who wants Wednesday Addams’ DNA because he says he needs to prove she’s not biologically related to the Addams Family. That’s all you need to know about how bad this sequel is. You don’t even have to be a familiar with “The Addams Family” franchise to know that the members of this comedically ghoulish clan are supposed to be very tight-knit (despite the occasional inter-family squabbles) precisely because they’re misfits in the real world and have an “us against them” attitude about it. It’s the basis of the comedy of “The Addams Family” franchise, which has included movies and TV shows, both live-action and animated.

“The Addams Family 2” is directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, who both also helmed the 2019 animated film “The Addams Family.” Wednesday Addams (voiced by Chloë Grace Moretz) is the gloomy, sarcastic and intelligent daughter of cheerful Gomez Addams (voiced by Oscar Isaac) and somber Morticia Addams (voiced by Charlize Theron), who looks and acts like stereotypical witch. With their pale skin and long, straight black hair, Wednesday and Morticia clearly have a physical resemblance to each other and have similar personalities. And yet, “The Addams Family 2” has a very misguided idea to have Wednesday go through an identity crisis just because someone told her that she’s not a true biological member of the family.

Pugsley Addams, who is Wednesday’s goofy pre-teen younger brother, is more like his father Gomez. In “The Addams Family 2,” Pugsley is voiced by Javon “Wanna” Walton, who replaces Finn Wolfhard, who voiced Pugsley in “The Addams Family” 2019 animated movie. Wednesday is such a negative person that she likes to torture and taunt Pugsley with cruel pranks and insults.

Also in the Addams Family are Uncle Fester (voiced by Nick Kroll), who is Gomez’s oddball bachelor brother; Cousin It (voiced by Snoop Dogg), a hair-covered character who grunts and raps; and Grandma (voiced by Bette Midler), Gomez’s sassy and free-spirited mother. All of them except for Cousin It live together in the same foreboding mansion up on a hill in an unnamed U.S. city. Cousin It drops in occasionally to visit; he’s not a major character in this movie.

Also living in the household, but not biologically related to the Addams Family, are two servants: a disembodied hand called Thing and a butler named Lurch (voiced by Conrad Vernon), who resembles the Frankenstein monster and who doesn’t talk but makes other sounds to communicate. In the 2019 “The Addams Family” movie, Lurch came to live with the family after Morticia and Gomez got into a car accident with a car that was transporting Lurch to an institution for the criminally insane. Lurch was able to escape, and he was invited to live with the Addams Family as their butler. The Addams Family also has a pet lion named Kitty.

In the beginning of “The Addams Family 2,” the family is gathered to watch Wednesday participate in the Cyrus Strange Foundation Science Fair. She is demonstrating an invention that she created which is intended to have the ability to extract personalities and intelligence and implant them in other beings through DNA. Wednesday is so confident about her invention, she’s sure that she will be declared the science fair’s winner.

As a live experiment to demonstrate how the invention works, Wednesday shows how Uncle Fester can’t solve a Rubik’s cube puzzle, while a smart octopus can solve the puzzle. She then temporarily implants the octopus’ DNA into Uncle Fester, and he’s able to solve the puzzle. However, for the rest of the movie, Uncle Fester becomes a mutant with the physical characteristics of an octopus. It’s one of this movie’s many terrible ideas, in a failed attempt at making this story funny.

The audience is impressed with Wednesday’s experiment. However, Wednesday becomes furious when she finds out that this science fair isn’t going to name a winner, because everyone who participated will get a ribbon as a prize. Wednesday fumes, “How can you be a winner if no one is a loser? Is this the third grade? It does not count!”

Someone who has been watching this science fair from afar is founder Cyrus Strange (voiced by Bill Hader), who appears at the event as a hologram. Cyrus asks Wednesday if she would like to work with him to further develop her invention. Cyrus says he has the money and resources to help her, but she declines his offer.

At home, Wednesday has been showing typical signs of adolescent rebellion. She doesn’t want to join the family when they’re gathered for dinner. She’s been sulking more than usual. And she’s been expressing that she wants more independence from her family, because she thinks her parents are too supportive of her.

Gomez decides the best way to resolve this issue is for the entire family (with Lurch, Thing and Kitty in tow) to go on a road trip together. Grandma will stay behind to look after the house. In typical Addams Family fashion, the black automobile that they’re using for the road trip looks like a combination of a recreational vehicle and a hearse.

Just as the Addams Family is packing up to leave for the trip, an attorney named Mr. Mustela (voiced by Wallace Shawn) shows up to inform the Addams Family that he represents a family in Sausalito, California. Mr. Mustela says that his clients are convinced that their daughter was switched at birth with Wednesday, and Mr. Mustela has arrived to collect Wednesday’s DNA as proof. He wants Wednesday’s DNA, right then and there.

Morticia and Gomez scoff at the idea that Wednesday is not their biological child. They refuse Mr. Mustela’s request and tell him to leave. But is this the last they’ll see of Mr. Mustela? Of course not. With a mute, hulking goon named Pongo as his accomplice, Mr. Mustela follows the Addams Family as they go on their road trip, which takes them to Niagra Falls, Sleepy Hollow, Miami, San Antonio, the Grand Canyon, Death Valley and Sausalito.

Why in the world would Wednesday and anyone else in her family start to doubt her biological identity? It happens during the road trip, when Uncle Fester confesses that there was a time when he was all alone in the hospital nursery where Wednesday was placed, shortly after Wednesday was born. This story is shown in a flashback.

Even as a baby, Wednesday did not look like other kids. However, Uncle Fester says that he was goofing around in the nursery and he started juggling the babies. Looking back on it, he thinks it’s possible that he could have put some of the babies back in the wrong cribs. However, what’s dumb about this major plot hole of a story is that Wednesday looked so vastly different from the other babies that there’s no way that a seeing person could confuse her with any of the other babies in the room.

As her parents, Gomez and Morticia should know this too, but that doesn’t stop them from having doubts that maybe Wednesday isn’t their biological child. Uncle Fester’s story sends Wednesday into an even more angst-ridden emotional tailspin. For a girl who’s supposed to be scientifically smart, this awful movie suddenly dumbs her down, in service of a poorly conceived story.

“The Addams Family 2” does what a lot of animated sequels do: It takes the characters on a journey to different places, just so it’ll make the movie try to look more adventurous than its predecessor. Sometimes this idea works, and sometimes it doesn’t. In the case of “The Addams Family 2,” it doesn’t work because the entire basis of the “possibly switched at birth” plot is flawed and an insult to how the Addams Family characters are supposed to be.

“The Addams Family 2” also has a bizarre recurring joke of Uncle Fester trying to teach a pre-teen Pugsley how to charm and seduce women. It’s supposed to be funny because Uncle Fester is terrible at dating and has very little experience with romance. But he creepily pressures Pugsley to start looking for a girlfriend who’s close to Pugsley’s age, even though this kid is too young to be dating anyone.

Didn’t any of the filmmakers think how inappropriate and weird this subplot is, considering that Pugsley hasn’t even reached puberty yet? Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Ben Queen and Susanna Fogel are the four screenwriters for “The Addams Family 2,” so they’re largely to blame for coming up with the awful ideas that plague this movie. However, other chief decision makers (including directors Vernon and Tiernan) were involved in making this movie into a stinking mess, so there’s plenty of blame to go around.

The road trip is just an excuse for the Addams Family to go from location to location and get into various shenanigans along the way. Wednesday is crueler than ever to Pugsley in this movie. For example, in one scene at Niagra Falls, Wednesday has a cursed voodoo doll of Pugsley, which she callously throws into the waterfall, therby making Pugsley plunge into the deadly waterfall with the doll. The movie wants to make viewers laugh at all the physical abuse and attempted murder that’s inflicted on Pugsley, but it’s not slapstick comedy that’s genuinely funny. It’s just plain mean-spirited.

Meanwhile, Grandma is at the mansion, which she has turned into a nightclub-styled party house where she’s charging young people $500 per person for admission. It’s a half-baked idea that’s executed in a mediocre and predictable way. It just recycles a tired joke that an old person partying with young people is automatically supposed to be funny.

“The Addams Family 2” isn’t the worst animated movie you’ll ever see. But it’s offensively bad enough because it had so much potential to be a good movie, considering its generous budget and very talented voice cast. “The Addams Family” movie that preceded it wasn’t great either, but it didn’t wildly go off-track like “The Addams Family 2” does. “The Addams Family 2” is an example of what happens when filmmakers don’t respect a franchise’s characters, and come up with an ill-conceived story that doesn’t ring true to how fans know these characters.

Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures released “The Addams Family 2” in U.S. cinemas and on VOD on October 1, 2021.

Review: ‘The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2,’ starring Mike Epps and Katt Williams

June 19, 2021

by Carla Hay

Michael Blackson, Mike Epps, Zulay Henao, Bresha Webb and Lil Duval in “The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2” (Photo courtesy of Lionsgate)

“The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2”

Directed by Deon Taylor

Culture Representation: Taking place in Atlanta, the horror comedy film “The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2” features a predominantly African American cast of characters (with a few white people and Latinos) representing the middle-class.

Culture Clash: A married father and his bachelor cousin are convinced that their new next-door neighbor is a vampire.

Culture Audience: “The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2” will appeal primarily to people who don’t mind watching crass and unimaginative movies filled with derogatory name-calling of women and black people.

Shamea Morton, Katt Williams and Sisse Marie in “The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2” (Photo courtesy of Lionsgate)

The good news is that “The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2” knows that it’s a silly and vulgar comedy. The bad news is that this movie fails miserably at being funny. This idiotic film also has rampant sexism and thinks that black people calling each other the “n” word is automatically supposed to make people laugh. It’s just a pathetic excuse for a comedy film.

“The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2” is the follow-up to the 2016 horror comedy “Meet the Blacks,” both directed and co-written by Deon Taylor, a filmmaker who’s known for churning out low-quality movies with predominantly African American casts. In “Meet the Blacks,” which Taylor co-wrote with Nicole DeMasi, the Black family relocated from Chicago to Beverly Hills, California, where they encountered horror that was ripped off directly from 2013’s “The Purge,” a movie about a United States where all crime is legal, for a designated 12-hour period one day out of the year.

In “The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2,” which Taylor co-wrote with Corey Harrell, the Black family is now in a horror scenario that’s a direct ripoff of the 1985 movie “Fright Night.” Family patriarch Carl Black (played by Mike Epps) and his goofy cousin Cronut (played by Lil Duval), a bachelor who lives in Carl’s backyard, begin to suspect that their new next-door neighbor is a vampire, but no one believes them at first. The other members of the Black family are Carl’s wife Lorena (played by Zulay Henao); their college-age daughter Allie (played by Bresha Webb); and their underage teen son Carl Jr. (played by Alex Henderson). Allie and Carl Jr. are Carl’s kids from a previous marriage.

Carl has a shady past as a thief. As seen in “Meet the Blacks,” he’s been trying to leave his criminal life behind. In the beginning of “The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2,” it’s mentioned that Carl wrote a best-selling non-fiction book about the horror he experienced that was shown in the “Meet the Blacks” movie. However, irresponsible Carl blew all the money he made from the book, and the family has now been forced to downsize to a smaller home in Atlanta. Carl is currently unemployed, while Lorena is the family’s breadwinner—and she’s very unhappy that she has to carry all the financial weight for the family.

Meanwhile, Cronut (who is also unemployed) lives in an oversized camper in the family’s backyard. It’s a promotional camper that’s left over from a book tour that Carl did, and it still has images of Carl and the book emblazoned on the sides of the camper. Carl has some hard feelings toward Cronut, because Cronut talked Carl into some bad business deals that led to Carl losing his money.

The family’s financial problems have resulted in Allie dropping out of college, because Carl wrote a tuition check that bounced. Allie is dating a disabled man, who’s about the same age as Allie, named Freezee (played by Andrew Bachelor, also known as King Bach), who uses arm braces in order to walk. Carl is very prejudiced against Freezee because Carl doesn’t want Allie to date a disabled man. Carl gets even more upset when Allie says she wants to move away and live with Freezee.

Cronut is immediately suspicious of the new neighbor Dr. Mamuwalde (played by Katt Williams, who’s styled to look like Leon Russell from the 1970s) because Dr. Mamuwalde moved into the house next door well past midnight, and the only activity in the house seems to happen at night. During the first house party that Dr. Mamuwalde has at his home, it looks like a swingers party is going on in the backyard. Dr. Mamuwalde also seems to be avoiding meeting his new neighbors.

When Dr. Mamuwalde surfaces, he is almost always seen with two scantily clad women named Salt (played by Sisse Marie) and Pepper (played by Shamea Morton), who are both dressed in lingerie and are mute for most of the movie. Dr. Mamuwalde has a creepy servant named Monty (played by Cory Zooman Miller), who gives vague answers about Dr. Mamuwalde when nosy Cronut goes over to pay a visit. Carl eventually encounters Monty too, and Carl also thinks that something unusual is going on at Dr. Mamuwalde’s house.

At first, Carl thinks Cronut has a wild imagination about Dr. Mamuwalde being a vampire. Carl thinks that Dr. Mamuwalde is probably a pimp. It turns out that Dr. Mamuwalde is a vampire and a pimp. Later in the movie, Dr. Mamuwalde kidnaps Lorena and Allie because he wants them to be his sex slaves. In a lowbrow comedy like this, would you expect anything else?

Other neighbors who are in this story are wide-eyed and fearful Rico (played by Tyrin Turner), who disappears and has a fate that’s very easy to predict; tough guy Hugo (played by Danny Trejo), who doesn’t say much, but he observes more than he lets on to other people; and married couple Clive (played by Gary Owen) and Bunny (played by Jena Frumes), who are both completely useless to the movie’s plot. Owen was in “Meet the Blacks,” but playing a different character named Larry. In “The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2,” Owen plays the token white guy who’s supposed to be racist.

Clive is a military veteran who uses a wheelchair and is a proud supporter of Donald Trump. (Clive wears a red “Make America Great Again” baseball cap, in case it wasn’t clear what his politics are.) Meanwhile, Bunny’s only purpose in the movie is to look like a basic Instagram model—she wears a bikini top and Daisy Duke cutoff shorts that leave little to the imagination—so that Carl and some other men can ogle her.

In fact, all of the women with significant speaking roles in the movie are exploited as sex objects at some point. Mother and daughter Lorena and Allie are both stripped down to their underwear in separate scenes. Not surprisingly, they’re wearing the type of lingerie that makes it look like they’re trying to be like Victoria’s Secret models.

Meanwhile, the men are fully clothed, except for one not-very-funny scene where a shirtless Cronut tries to seduce Bunny. There’s also a disgusting incest joke where Cronut suggests to his second cousin Allie that they have sex. He tells her that because they’re second cousins, it would be legal for them to have sex in Georgia.

Snoop Dogg has a small role, portraying himself as a TV talk show host who interviewed Carl in the past when Carl was promoting his book. One day, when a depressed Carl is at home, watching TV, and feeling sorry for himself, he sees an African man named Mr. Wooky (played by Michael Blackson) being interviewed on the show. Mr. Wooky claims to be a supernatural expert who can get rid of ghosts, vampires and other unwanted paranormal entities. Guess who Carl ends up hiring to get rid of the vampire next door?

All the so-called “jokes” in the movie are forgettable, and most are awful. Many of the jokes are about perpetuating the despicable and negative stereotype that black men hate themselves and don’t respect women. The visual effects are cheap-looking and not scary at all.

And all of the cast members are unremarkable in their roles, although Williams seems to be having some fun with his campy Dr. Mamuwalde character. Carl Jr. is barely in the movie; his total screen time is about five minutes. Rick Ross has a cameo as Mr. Saturday Night, who’s enlisted to help Carl and Cronut battle Dr. Mamuwalde. Mr. Saturday Night is another unnecessary character that was created just so the filmmakers could put hip-hop star Ross in the movie.

And a mid-credits scene announces the third movie in this series will be called “Chapter 3: The Ghost Squad,” starring Carl, Cronut, Mr. Wooky, Snoop Dogg and Hugo as the Ghetto Ghostbusters. Whether are not this “Ghost Squad” movie is really going to happen, you’ve been warned.

Lionsgate released “The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2” in select U.S. cinemas on June 11, 2021. The movie will be released on digital and VOD on July 9, 2021, and on Blu-ray and DVD on August 10, 2021.

Review: ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run,’ starring the voices of Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Matt Berry, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass, Carolyn Lawrence and Mr. Lawrence

March 3, 2021

by Carla Hay

Pictured clockwise, from left to right: Sandy Cheeks (voiced by Carolyn Lawrence), Patrick Star (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke), Plankton (voiced by Doug Lawrence), SpongeBob (voiced by Tom Kenny), Gary (on top of SpongeBob’s head) and Mr. Krabs (voiced by Clancy Brown) in “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” (Image courtesy of Paramount Animation)

“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run”

Directed by Tim Hill

Culture Representation: Taking place in the fictional, underwater places of Bikini Bottom and the Lost City of Atlantic City, the live-action/animated film “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” features a predominantly white voice cast (with some African Americans, Asians and Latinos) in a comedic adventure story that’s part of the SpongeBob SquarePants franchise.

Culture Clash: SpongeBob SquarePants and his neighbor Patrick Star go on a mission to rescue SpongeBob’s best friend/pet snail Gary, which is being held captive by an egotistical overlord named King Poseidon.

Culture Audience: “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the SpongeBob SquarePants franchise and people who like family-friendly animation that can be enjoyed by various generations.

King Poseidon (voiced by Matt Berry) in “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” (Image courtesy of Paramount Animation

As the first computer-generated imagery (CGI) animated movie in the SpongeBob SquarePants franchise, “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” is an exuberant and eye-catching adventure that makes up for some predictable moments with just enough unexpected zaniness to make it worth watching for anyone who appreciates earnestly goofy animation. It’s not necessary to see any episodes of the long-running Nickelodeon animated series “SpongeBob SquarePants” or its spinoff movies (“Sponge on the Run” is the third one in the film series) to enjoy the movie, although it certainly provides some better context for some of the relationships in the movie.

“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” has several scenes that are flashbacks to some of the characters’ childhoods. It’s an obvious promotion for “Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years,” the prequel spinoff “SpongeBob” TV series that launches on Paramount+ (formerly known as CBS All Access) on the same day that “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” is available on the streaming service. “Kamp Koral” focuses on what some of the main characters did as children at Kamp Koral, and “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” gives a sense of what people can get expect from this spinoff TV series.

Written and directed by Tim Hill, “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” is the first “SpongeBob” movie to be released since the 2018 death of SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg, who died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 57. The movie has a dedication to Hillenburg before the end credits. Compared to 2004’s “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” and 2015’s “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water,” there’s a slightly wackier vibe to “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run,” thanks in large part to an amusing featured role from Keanu Reeves.

Things in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom are what SpongeBob fans can expect: SpongeBob SquarePants (voiced by Tom Kenny), the cheerfully upbeat sponge protagonist, is still working as a fry cook at a fast-food restaurant called the Krusty Krab, which is owned by his cranky Scottish boss Mr. Krabs (voiced by Clancy Brown). The pessimistic Squidward Tentacles (voiced by Rodger Bumpass) also works at the Krusty Krab. The tiny green copepod named Plankton (voiced by Mr. Lawrence) and his computer wife Karen (played by Jill Talley) are still scheming to get the secret recipe formula for the Kristy Krab’s Krabby Patty burgers, in order to boost Plankton and Karen’s failing rival restaurant the Chum Bucket.

This time, there’s a new challenge: SpongeBob’s best friend/pet snail Gary (also voiced by Kenny, who makes Gary sound like a cat) is stolen by Plankton, who gives Gary to the vain and tyrannical King Poseidon (voiced by Matt Berry) because the king uses snail slime to keep his face looking youthful. King Poseidon ran out of snails and offered a reward to anyone who could provide him with a useful snail. Plankton sees that offer as an opportunity to try to get in the king’s good graces and get revenge on SpongeBob. King Poseidon lives at Poseidon Palace, which is located in the Lost City of Atlantic City.

What follows is a madcap trek that involves SpongeBob and his amiable starfish neighbor Patrick Star (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke) going on a mission to find and rescue Gary. Along the way, they end up in a Western ghost town, where they have some off-the-wall encounters with flesh-eating zombie pirates (portrayed by live actors), a rapping gambler (played by Snoop Dogg) and a villainous zombie cowboy called El Diablo (played by Danny Trejo). But some of the funniest scenes in the movie are with a giant, advice-giving tumbleweed named Sage that rolls into SpongeBob and Patrick’s lives when they first arrive in the ghost town. Sage is a tumbleweed with a talking head of Reeves inside the center.

Also part of these antics is a new automated computer robot named Otto (voiced by Awkwafina), which the brainy squirrel Sandy Cheeks (voiced by Carolyn Lawrence) has given as a gift to Mr. Krabs. However, Mr. Krabs quickly gets annoyed with Otto and throws the robot away. Otto ends up becoming a crucial part of how the story develops.

The movie also has some cameos of celebrities playing a version of themselves as underwater animated characters that work at a nightclub in the Lost City of Atlantic City. Tiffany Haddish appears briefly on stage as a wisecracking fish that’s a stand-up comedian named Tiffany Haddock. Jazz saxophonist Kenny G plays a plant called Kelpy G, which does a smooth jazz version of “My Heart Will Go On,” the theme from the 1997 movie “Titanic.” It’s a somewhat subversive song choice, considering “Titanic” is a disaster movie where most of the characters end up drowning in the ocean.

There are some other endearingly oddball and unexpected choices in the movie, such as a criminal trial that takes place at the nightclub. The King Poseidon character plays with masculine and feminine stereotypes, by blurring the lines between obsessions with machismo and obsessions with beauty products. It’s why King Poseidon is not a typical villain in an animated film.

“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” clearly knows its audience well, since it’s made for kids as well as adults. “SpongeBob SquarePants” has been on the air since 1999; therefore, many of the kids who grew up watching the show now have children of their own. It explains the inclusion of Reeves, Snoop Dogg, Kenny G and Danny Trejo as cameos, since these stars’ pop culture significance have a different meaning to people who are old enough remember the 1990s and early 2000s.

The movie’s very retro music soundtrack is definitely geared more to adults, with rock and pop tunes from the late 20th century, such as Foghat’s “Slow Ride,” Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” and Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” Weezer has two songs on the soundtrack: “It’s Always Summer in Bikini Bottom” and a cover version of a-ha’s “Take on Me” and the original song Also on the soundtrack is the Flaming Lips’ “Snail: I’m Avail.”

Mikros did the movie’s vivid CGI and animation, which is not as outstanding as a Pixar movie, but it’s better than most CGI animated films. Writer/director Hill moves things along at a brisk-enough pace, even though it’s very easy to know how the movie is going to end. “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” imparts a lot of positive messages of self-acceptance, but the characters have enough foibles and flaws to make the jokes relatable to viewers. Watch this movie if you like animated films and you’re up for an energetic diversion that might make you want more “SpongeBob” movies, regardless of how familiar or unfamiliar you might be with the franchise.

Paramount Pictures’ Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Movies will release “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” on Paramount+ on March 4, 2021, the same date that Paramount Home Entertainment releases the movie on VOD. The movie was released in Canada in 2020.

2020 BET Hip-Hop Awards: Megan Thee Stallion is the top winner

October 27, 2020

Megan Thee Stallion (Photo by Zach Dilgard/HBO Max)

The following is a press release from BET:

This year’s 2020 BET “HIP HOP AWARDS” brought together some of the hottest names in music to celebrate Hip Hop’s biggest night. Comedians, actors, hosts of the “85 South Show” podcast and stars of “Wild N’ Out” – comedy supergroup 85 South (Karlous Miller, DC Young Fly and Chico Bean) co-hosted the annual show that premiered Tuesday, October 27, 2020, at 9:00 PM ET/PT.

Megan Thee Stallion ruled the night with three wins for Hustler of the Year, Hip Hop Artist of the Year and a shared Best Collaboration with Beyoncé for the “Savage (remix).” Beyoncé also took home an additional win for Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse for the track. Roddy Ricch was a double winner for Song of the Year and Album of the Year for “Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial.” Pop Smoke was posthumously crowned Best New Hip Hop Artist and UK rapper Stormzy took home the award for Best International Flow.

Cordae opened the show with a powerful freestyle about the importance of voting followed by Impact Track winner Lil Baby performing his hit single “We Paid” with 42 Dugg. The City Girls blazed the stage with anthems “Kitty Talk” and “Jobs” in their first televised performance since JT’s release last year. Taking the stage for her television debut, Mulatto treated viewers to a medley of “Youngest N Richest,” “B**** From Da Souf” and “Muwop” with an appearance from Gucci Mane. Quavo performed a special tribute to Pop Smoke that included “Shake the Room” and “Aim For the Moon.” Snoop Dogg honored the I Am Hip Hop Award recipient Master P. 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne closed out the show in a major way with their hit single “Money Maker.” With the election less than a week away, Vice Presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris made a surprise appearance with an impassioned plea urging viewers to let their voices be heard at the polls.

During the timely “Hip Hop Cares” segments, G Herbo and Trae Tha Truth were spotlighted for their tireless work giving back to their communities and the world at large through social justice, mental health and environmental activism. Rappers Reuben Vincent, Bobby Sessions and Pretty Yellow shared fiery voting freestyles throughout the show.

The much-anticipated cyphers were hosted by DJ Hed and featured a bevy of emcees, R&B songstresses and reggae stars dropping hot sixteens including Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Original Koffee, Shenseea, Skip Marley, ZJ Liquid, Adé, Buddy, Deanté Hitchcock, and Flo Milli.  Singers Brandy, Erykah Badu, H.E.R. and Teyana Taylor joined forces for a show stopping, all-female collaboration. Rappers Chika, Flawless Real Talk, Jack Harlow, Polo G and Rapsody let their voices be heard in the first ever “Social Justice” cypher.

Presenters for the evening included Hip Hop heavyweights Snoop Dogg and T.I. along with R&B superstar Monica.

See below for the complete list of the 2020 BET Hip Hop Awards nominees and winners:

*=winner

BEST HIP HOP VIDEO

  • DaBaby, “Bop”
  • DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch, “Rockstar”
  • Drake, “Toosie Slide”
  • Future featuring Drake, “Life Is Good”*
  • Lil Baby, “The Bigger Picture”
  • Roddy Ricch, “The Box”

BEST COLLABORATION

  • DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch, “Rockstar”
  • Future featuring Drake, “Life Is Good”
  • Jack Harlow featuring Tory Lanez, DaBaby and Lil Wayne, “What’s Poppin” (Remix)
  • Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé, “Savage” (Remix)*
  • Megan Thee Stallion featuring Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign, “Hot Girl Summer”
  • Mustard featuring Roddy Ricch, “Ballin’”

BEST DUO OR GROUP

  • Chris Brown and Young Thug*
  • City Girls
  • EarthGang
  • Jackboys
  • Migos
  • Run the Jewels

 BEST LIVE PERFORMER

  • Big Sean
  • DaBaby
  • Drake
  • Megan Thee Stallion
  • Roddy Ricch
  • Travis Scott*

LYRICIST OF THE YEAR

  • Big Sean
  • DaBaby
  • Drake
  • J. Cole
  • Megan Thee Stallion
  • Rapsody*

VIDEO DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR

  • Cactus Jack and White Trash Tyler
  • Cole Bennett
  • Colin Tilley
  • Dave Meyers
  • Director X
  • Teyana “Spike Tee” Taylor*

DJ OF THE YEAR

  • Chase B
  • D-Nice*
  • DJ Drama
  • DJ Envy
  • DJ Khaled
  • Mustard

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR

  • 9th Wonder
  • DJ Khaled
  • Hit-Boy*
  • JetsonMade
  • Mike Will Made-It
  • Mustard

HIP HOP ARTIST OF THE YEAR

  • DaBaby
  • Drake
  • Future
  • Lil Baby
  • Megan Thee Stallion*
  • Roddy Ricch

SONG OF THE YEAR

  • “Bop” – Produced by JetsonMade and Starboy (DaBaby)
  • “Life Is Good” – Produced by Ambezza, D. Hill & OZ (Future featuring Drake)
  • “Rockstar” – Produced by Seth in the Kitchen (DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch)
  • “Savage” (Remix) – Produced by J. White Did It (Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé)
  • “The Box” – Produced by 30 Roc and DatBoiSqueeze (Roddy Ricch)*
  • “Toosie Slide” – Produced by OZ (Drake)

HIP HOP ALBUM OF THE YEAR

  • DaBaby, “Blame It on Baby”  
  • DaBaby, “Kirk” 
  • Future, “High Off Life”                                   
  • Lil Baby, “My Turn”
  • Megan Thee Stallion – “Suga”
  • Roddy Ricch, “Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial”*

BEST NEW HIP HOP ARTIST

  • Flo Milli
  • Jack Harlow
  • Mulatto
  • NLE Choppa
  • Pop Smoke*
  • Rod Wave   

HUSTLER OF THE YEAR

  • Cardi B
  • DJ Khaled
  • Jay-Z
  • Megan Thee Stallion*
  • Rick Ross
  • Travis Scott

BEST HIP HOP PLATFORM

  • Complex
  • HipHopDX
  • Hot New Hip Hop
  • The Breakfast Club
  • The Joe Budden Podcast*
  • The Shade Room 
  • XXL

SWEET 16: BEST FEATURED VERSE

  • Beyoncé, “Savage” (Remix) (Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé)*
  • Bia, “Best on Earth” (Russ featuring Bia)
  • Cardi B, “Writing on the Wall” (French Montana featuring Post Malone, Cardi B and Rvssian)
  • Future, “Roses” (Remix) (Saint JHN featuring Future)
  • Roddy Ricch, “Rockstar” (DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch)
  • Travis Scott, “Hot” (Remix) (Young Thug featuring Gunna and Travis Scott)

IMPACT TRACK

  • Anderson .Paak and Jay Rock, “Lockdown”
  • DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch, “Rockstar” (BLM Remix)
  • J. Cole, “Snow on Tha Blufflil Baby”
  • Lil Baby, “The Bigger Picture”*
  • Rapsody featuring PJ Morton, “Afeni”
  • Wale featuring Kelly Price, “Sue Me”

BEST INTERNATIONAL FLOW

  • Meryl (France)
  • Kaaris (France)
  • Nasty C (South Africa)
  • Khaligraph Jones (Kenya)
  • Stormzy (UK)*
  • Ms Banks (UK)
  • Djonga (Brazil)

BET launched its first-ever consumer products line timed to the 2020 BET “HIP HOP AWARDS.” Collaborations with New Orleans based artist BMike and outerwear apparel company Chalkline headlined the launch. These items and more are available now exclusively on BET’s new e-commerce site store.BET.com.

Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET oversaw the annual show, with Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment, serving as Executive Producer of the 2020 BET “HIP HOP AWARDS” along with Jesse Collins Entertainment’s Jeannae Rouzan–Clay and Dionne Harmon.

Join the conversation on social media by logging on to BET’s multiple social media platforms:

On BET.com: http://www.bet.com/shows/hip-hop-awards.html 

On Twitter by using hashtag: #HipHopAwards; follow us @HipHopAwards and @BET

On Facebook by liking the fan page at facebook.com/HipHopAwards 

ABOUT BET

BET, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news, and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel is in 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa, and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.

ABOUT JESSE COLLINS ENTERTAINMENT

Jesse Collins Entertainment (JCE) is a full-service television and film production company and has played an integral role in producing many of television’s most memorable moments in music entertainment.  JCE has a multi-year overall agreement with ViacomCBS Cable Networks.  On the theatrical film side, the company also has a first look on JCE’s film development projects which could include Viacom’s film entities such as Paramount Players.  Jesse Collins, founder & CEO of the company, is the executive producer of award-winning and critically acclaimed television that JCE has produced including miniseries—The New Edition Story and The Bobby Brown Story; scripted series—American Soul and Real Husbands of Hollywood; children’s series—Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices; award shows—BET Awards, Black Girls Rock!, BET Honors, UNCF’s An Evening of Stars, BET Hip Hop Awards, ABFF Honors and Soul Train Awards; specials—John Lewis: Celebrating A Hero, Love & Happiness: An Obama Farewell, Change Together: From The March On Washington To Today, Dear Mama, Amanda Seales I Be Knowin’, Def Comedy Jam 25 and Leslie Jones: Time Machine; as well as competition/game shows—Sunday Best, Hip Hop Squares, Nashville Squares and Rhythm & Flow.  Collins is also a producer for the iconic Grammy Awards and will next executive produce The Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show.  Go to jessecollinsent.com for more information on the company.

ABOUT BET “HIP HOP AWARDS”

BET “Hip Hop Awards” is an annual celebration that pays homage to a culture that changed the world while highlighting the best in hip hop music.  Year after year, BET Networks delivers the best in hip-hop for an unforgettable night of performances, cyphers and tributes honoring hip-hop legends that have and continue to make hip-hop culture a global force.

New Year’s Eve specials ringing in 2019 will feature Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, Sting and more

December 27, 2018

by Carla Hay

Watching a New Year’s Eve special on TV is a tradition for millions of people around the world. After taking a break from a New Year’s Eve Special in 2017, NBC is back with its star-studded party in New York City’s Times Square. Here’s what is planned for the four biggest New Year’s TV specials in the United States:

Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2019 

Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC)

Celebrating its 47th year, “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” (which is produced by Dick Clark Productions and airs in the U.S. on ABC) is still the most high-profile televised New Year’s Eve event. Mariah Carey headlined the show from New York City’s Times Square in 2018 and 2017. In 2018, another Grammy-winning diva—Christina Aguilera—is taking the headlining spot. Ryan Seacrest will once again host the show, which begins airing from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET, followed by 11:30 p.m. to 2:13 a.m. ET. Jenny McCarthy will provide on-site reporting. Other performers in Times Square include Bastille, Dan + Shay and New Kids on the Block. Airing just after midnight Eastern Time, Post Malone will perform from a stop on his current tour in Brooklyn, New York, marking the first television performance of the new year. Meanwhile, the special has partnered with YouTube Music for the first time this year for cross-promotional programming.

Ciara will once again host the Los Angeles segments of the show that will feature performances that were mostly previously recorded. Artists in the show’s Los Angeles segments will include Lauren Alaina, Kelsea Ballerini, Bazzi, Kane Brown, Camila Cabello, The Chainsmokers, Ciara, Foster the People, Halsey, Dua Lipa, Ella Mai, Shawn Mendes, Charlie Puth and Weezer, as well as collaborations from Brown featuring Alaina; Macklemore with Skylar Grey; and The Chainsmokers featuring Ballerini.

Meanwhile, actress Lucy Hale (former star of “Pretty Little Liars”) will host the show’s second annual Central Time Zone celebration from New Orleans. Florida Georgia Line and Maren Morris will perform from the Allstate Fan Fest, leading up to the midnight countdown and fleur-de-lis drop near Jackson Square.  “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2019” is produced by Dick Clark Productions with Seacrest, Barry Adelman and Mark Bracco serving as executive producers. Larry Klein is producer.

Fox’s New Year’s Eve With Steve Harvey: Live From Times Square

Steve Harvey (Photo by Brian Bowen Smith/Fox)

After televising its New Year’s Eve show (hosted by Pitbull) in Miami from 2014 to 2016, Fox changed locations and hosts in 2017, with the show now taking place at New York City’s Times Square with comedian/talk-show host Steve Harvey and former E! News personality Maria Menounous. This year, Harvey and Menounous return to co-host the show, which airs on Fox from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET and 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET live; CT/MT/PT tape-delayed. Performers will include Sting, Snoop Dogg, Robin Thicke, Florence + the Machine, Jason Aldean, Juanes and Why Don’t We. Additionally, the special will include celebrity cameo appearances by comedians Ken Jeong and Kenan Thompson, as well as “Fox NFL Sunday” commentators Curt Menefee, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Michael Strahan and Jimmy Johnson. “Fox’s New Year’s Eve With Steve Harvey: Live From Times Square” is produced by IMG Original Content and Done + Dusted. Guy Carrington, Katy Mullan, Mike Antinoro, Dave Chamberlin and Orly Anderson serve as executive producers; and Eddie Delbridge serves as co-executive producer. IMG also produces Harvey’s self-titled talk show, as well as the Miss Universe Pageant and “It’s Showtime at the Apollo,” which have been hosted by Harvey over the past several years.

[December 30, 2018 UPDATE: Dierks Bentley has been added to the lineup performing in Times Square.]

NBC’s New Year’s Eve

Carson Daly, Chrissy Teigen, Leslie Jones, Keith Urban
(Photo courtesy of NBCUniversal)

Stars from NBC’s “The Voice” are all over “NBC’s New Year’s Eve” special, which begins airing at 10 p.m. ET from New York City’s Times Square. Not only is “The Voice” host Carson Daly hosting the New Year’s Eve show (with Chrissy Teigen and assistance from Leslie Jones), but “The Voice” coaches Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton and John Legend are also performing on the special. Other performers include Jennifer Lopez, Bebe Rexha, Diana Ross and Andy Grammer.  Keith Urban and  Brett Young will perform at Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight: New Year’s Eve in Nashville. “NBC Nightly News” and “Dateline NBC” anchor Lester Holt will also appear on stage before the iconic ball drop. “NBC’s New Year’s Eve” will be televised from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET, followed by the New Year’s countdown segment 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET. “NBC’s New Year’s Eve” is executive produced by Daly, Teigen and John Irwin through NBCUniversal Television Studio and Irwin Entertainment. It is co-executive produced by Casey Spira.

New Year’s Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen

Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper (Photo courtesy of CNN)

For the second year in a row, longtime friends Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen will co-host CNN’s New Year’s Eve celebration, which begins at 8 p.m. ET. CNN’s 11th annual New Year’s Eve Show, which is telecast live from New York City’s Times Square has a more star-studded lineup this year than in previous years. Gwen Stefani is scheduled to perform from her Las Vegas residency, while Keith Urban (who also appears on NBC’s New Year’s Eve Special), Dave Chappelle, Patti LaBelle and Jack Black also round out the show’s celebrity lineup.  New Year’s Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen will also spotlight Broadway musicals such as “The Band’s Visit,” “Wicked,” “Tootsie” and “Come From Away.” CNN’s New Year’s Eve Show begins at 8 p.m. ET, and will end at approximately 1:05 p.m. ET. CNN anchors Don Lemon and Brooke Baldwin will host a countdown from New Orleans at 12:30 a.m. ET. In 2017, Cohen replaced Kathy Griffin, who was notoriously fired from the show in May of that year for publicly posting a photo of herself holding up a fake bloody head of President Donald Trump. Griffin and Cooper had co-hosted CNN’s New Year’s Eve Show since 2007, but the Cooper/Cohen duo brought in the show’s highest ratings so far. Cooper and Cohen have an established rapport, since they have done numerous speaking engagements together.

Fox’s New Year’s Eve: Steve Harvey returns as host to ring in 2019; Sting, Robin Thicke, Florence + the Machine, Jason Aldean among musical performers

December 5, 2018

Steve Harvey
Steve Harvey (Photo by Brian Bowen Smith/Fox)

The following is a press release from Fox:

Emmy® Award-winning personality, producer and talk show host Steve Harvey returns this holiday season to host FOX’S NEW YEAR’S EVE WITH STEVE HARVEY: LIVE FROM TIMES SQUARE, once again alongside Emmy® Award-winning journalist and TV personality Maria Menounos. The second annual live broadcast special, airing from the heart of New York City’s famed Times Square, airs Monday, Dec. 31 (8:00-10:00 PM and 11:00 PM-12:30 AM ET LIVE CT/MT/PT tape-delayed), on FOX.

Harvey will count down to 2019 with an unmatched, star-studded three-and-a-half-hour primetime celebration, featuring an electrifying musical performance by 16-time Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Sting. The live event also will feature performances by hit artists Robin Thicke, Florence + the Machine, Jason Aldean, Juanes and Why Don’t We. Additionally, the special will include celebrity cameo appearances by THE MASKED SINGER’s Ken Jeong, comedian Kenan Thompson and FOX NFL SUNDAY commentators Curt Menefee, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Michael Strahan and Jimmy Johnson. Additional performers and celebrity guests to be announced.

[December 20, 2018 UPDATE: Snoop Dogg has been added to the lineup of performers.]

Last year, Harvey led an incredible countdown to the New Year, which included performances by music legends Neil Diamond and Celine Dion, hit artists Maroon 5, Macklemore with Skylar Grey, Backstreet Boys, Flo Rida and many more. Harvey also officiated a surprise live wedding for Menounos. The special marked an all-time high for a FOX New Year’s special, averaging 8.5 million total viewers.

FOX’S NEW YEAR’S EVE WITH STEVE HARVEY: LIVE FROM TIMES SQUARE is produced by IMG Original Content and Done + Dusted. Guy Carrington, Katy Mullan, Mike Antinoro, Dave Chamberlin and Orly Anderson serve as executive producers; and Eddie Delbridge serves as co-executive producer. Recent IMG productions that air on FOX include the annual MISS UNIVERSE® contests, currently hosted by Steve Harvey. IMG also produces Harvey’s daytime talk show, “Steve.” “Like” Steve Harvey at facebook.com/SteveHarvey and follow him on Twitter @IAmSteveHarvey or Instagram @IAmSteveHarveyTV.

About Steve Harvey

Steve Harvey is a TV personality, talk show host, actor and comedian who currently hosts several popular TV shows: Emmy® Award-winning daytime talk show “Steve”; breakout hit “Little Big Shots”; game show “Family Feud,” which has achieved the highest ratings in the franchise’s history since Harvey began to host; and “Celebrity Family Feud.” He also hosts the top-rated, nationally syndicated radio show “The Steve Harvey Morning Show.” Additionally, he hosts the MISS UNIVERSE® contests, which have aired on FOX since 2015.

Harvey began his career doing stand-up comedy in the mid-1980s. His success as a comedian eventually led to a long stint as host of “It’s Showtime at the Apollo,” as well as various acting, hosting, writing and producing roles. His entertainment credits include the extremely popular “Kings of Comedy” and “Think Like a Man.” In addition, Harvey is a New York Times No. 1 best-selling author and motivational speaker. Harvey’s business imprint, Steve Harvey Global, also successfully produces broadcast television projects, events/festivals and digital content.  Harvey’s philanthropic efforts, which include mentoring camps for boys and girls, are achieved through the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation. For more about Harvey, visit www.steveharvey.com.

About Maria Menounos

An Emmy® Award-winning journalist, TV personality, motivational speaker, New York Times best-selling author, host of the Noovie cinema pre-show and Founder/CEO of the AfterBuzz TV Networks, Maria Menounos has gained numerous achievements throughout her career in the news and entertainment industry. One of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful, Menounos holds the distinct honor of having conducted the only sit-down interview with the entire Obama family –

an interview ABC News heralded as a deciding factor in President Obama’s historic victory. Currently, Menounos hosts the Noovie cinema pre-show seen daily in 70% of America’s movie theaters. As one of the only female CEOs in the world of tech, Menounos heads the AfterBuzz TV digital broadcast network which produces over 150 hours of weekly programming for over 120 countries worldwide. Menounos’ AfterBuzz TV mentorship program has helped launch hundreds of Hollywood careers, including Eboni K. Williams, WWE superstars Sonia Deville and Cathy Kelly and “Entertainment Tonight’s” Courtney Tezano, Deidre Behart and Jason Carter.

About Sting

Composer, singer-songwriter, actor, author and activist Sting has sold close to 100 million albums from his combined work with The Police and as one of the world’s most distinctive solo artists. Throughout his illustrious career, he has received 16 Grammy Awards, two Brits, a Golden Globe, an Emmy, four Academy Award nominations, a Tony Award nomination, Billboard Magazine’s Century Award and the MusiCares 2004 Person of the Year Award. He also is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and he has been awarded the Kennedy Center Honors, The American Music Award of Merit and The Polar Music Prize. His film and stage work include appearances in more than 15 films, an executive producer credit on the critically acclaimed “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” and a starring role in “The Threepenny Opera” on Broadway in 1989. His most recent theater project is the Tony-nominated musical “The Last Ship,” for which he wrote both the music and lyrics, inspired by his memories of the shipbuilding community in northeast England where he was born and raised. In February and March 2019, he will star in the Toronto-based production of the show. Next summer, Sting will tour Europe with a rollicking, dynamic show, performing the most beloved and classic songs he’s written throughout his prolific career. Sting’s support for human rights organizations includes Amnesty International, Live Aid and The Rainforest Fund, which he co-founded with his wife, Trudie Styler in 1989.

About IMG

IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media, operating in more than 30 countries. The company manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is a leading independent producer and distributor of sports and entertainment media. IMG also specializes in sports training and league development, as well as marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions. IMG is part of the Endeavor network.

Hollywood Walk of Fame announces 2018 star recipients

June 22. 2017

The following is a press release from the Hollywood Walk of Fame:

A new group of entertainment professionals in the categories of Motion Pictures, Television, Live Theatre/Live Performance, Radio and Recording have been selected to receive stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it was announced today, Thursday, June 22, 2017 by the Walk of Fame Selection Committee of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. These honorees were chosen from among hundreds of nominations to the committee at a meeting held in June and ratified by the Hollywood Chamber’s Board of Directors. Television Producer and Walk of Famer Vin Di Bona, Chair of the Walk of Fame Selection Committee for 2017, announced the new honorees with Leron Gubler, President & CEO for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce who is also the emcee of the Walk of Fame ceremonies.

The new selections were revealed to the world via live stream exclusively on the official website www.walkoffame.com. The live stream began at 2:15 p.m. PDT and was held at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce offices.

“The Walk of Fame Selection Committee is pleased to announce our newest honorees to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Committee looked carefully at each nominee and we feel that we have selected an eclectic group of talent that will appeal to the tastes of many fans around the world,” said Di Bona. “As a Walk of Famer myself, I know these honorees will remember the dedication of their stars with great memories and will be proud that they are part of Hollywood’s history now and forever. We look forward to their big day as the Walk of Fame Class of 2018 becomes cemented one by one on the most famous sidewalk in the world!”

The Hollywood Walk of Fame Class of 2018 are:

In the category of MOTION PICTURES:   Jack Black, Kirsten Dunst, Jeff Goldblum, F. Gary Gray, Mark Hamill, Jennifer Lawrence, Gina Lollobrigida, Minnie Mouse, Nick Nolte and Zoe Saldana

In the category of TELEVISION:   Anthony Anderson, Gillian Anderson, Lynda Carter, Simon Cowell, RuPaul Charles, Taraji P. Henson, Eric McCormack, Ryan Murphy, Niecy Nash, Mandy Patinkin, Shonda Rhimes, and posthumous Steve Irwin

In the category of RECORDING:  Mary J. Blige, Sir Richard Branson, Petula Clark, Harry Connick, Jr., Ice T, Snoop Dogg, Carrie Underwood and “Weird Al” Yankovic

In the category of RADIO:   Steve Jones

In the category of LIVE THEATRE/LIVE PERFORMANCE:   Charles Aznavour, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and posthumous Bernie Mac

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and its Walk of Fame Selection Committee congratulate all the honorees. Dates have not been scheduled for these star ceremonies. Recipients have two years to schedule star ceremonies from the date of selection before they expire. Upcoming star ceremonies are usually announced ten days prior to dedication on the official website www.walkoffame.com.

2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Pearl Jam, Journey, Yes, Tupac Shakur, ELO, Joan Baez, Nile Rodgers inducted; Chuck Berry, Prince given tributes

April 8, 2017

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Eddie Vedder and Matt Cameron of Pearl Jam at the 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on April 7, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Kane/WireImage for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

by Carla Hay

The 32nd Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony—which took place April 7, 2017, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York—featured several on-stage reunions for inductees such as Journey, Yes and Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), which have all had numerous lineup changes over the years. Highlights of the show will be televised in a special that premieres on HBO on April 29, 2017, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. An exhibit for the 2017 inductees went on display March 31 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. More than 900 voters picked inductees, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Artists are eligible for inclusion 25 years after the release of their first recording.

Here’s a rundown of the ceremony:

ELO

Jeff Lynne of ELO at the 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on April 7, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Kane/WireImage for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

Band members inducted: Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan, Roy Wood, Richard Tandy. (Tandy and Bevan did not attend the ceremony for reasons that have not been publicly disclosed.)

Inducted by: Dhani Harrison, son of George Harrison. ELO leader Jeff Lynne worked with George Harrison several times as a producer and as a fellow member of the Traveling Wilburys.

Songs performed: “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Evil Woman,” “Mr.  Blue Sky”

One of ELO’s earliest hits was the band’s 1972 cover version of Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven,” so it was fitting that the band played the song as a tribute to Berry who died on March 18, 2017, at the age of 90.  Lynne accepted the induction award on stage with ELO co-founder Roy Wood, who quit the band in 1972, a year after the band’s first album was released. Wood and Lynne have not appeared on stage together in decades. Wood, however, did not perform at the ceremony.

Lynne has been recording and touring as the leader of Jeff Lynne’s ELO since 2014. Tandy is a member of Jeff Lynne’s ELO, while Bevan formed the spinoff band ELO Part II in the 1980s, after ELO’s most successful lineup disbanded. ELO has been revived off and on over the years; there was a short-lived revival in 2001 and the group was revived again in 2014, with Lynne and Tandy as the only original members.

Joan Baez

Joan Baez (center) with Mary Chapin Carpenter (left) and Amy Ray of Indigo Girls (right) at the 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on April 7, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Kane/WireImage for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

Inducted by: Jackson Browne

Songs performed: “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” “Deportee” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” For the latter two songs, Baez was joined on stage by Mary Chapin Carpenter and Indigo Girls guitarist Amy Ray.

Steve Howe of Yes at the 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on April 7, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Kane/WireImage for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

Members inducted: Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Steve Howe, Tony Kaye, Trevor Rabin, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman, Alan White

Inducted by: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush, a band heavily influenced by Yes’ brand of progressive rock.

Songs performed: “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” “Roundabout.” Yes was joined on stage for the performance by former lead singer Anderson and Rush’s Lee.

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