Jon Hamm

Mad Men Season 7 Time Zones

Accutron: It’s not a time piece. It’s a conversation piece. The first Accutron hit the markets long before Freddy Rumsen was pitching it in such surprisingly elegant language. Actually, it had been selling for about ten years, debuting in October of 1960 (just around the time Mad Men‘s first season was drawing to a close). Watches of the time, and for several centuries previously, were built around a “balance wheel,” a little pendulum that shifts back and forth and keeps the watch’s hands moving. Watchmaking company Bulova did away with the balance wheel for their Accutron watch, inserting a fancy electric tuning fork and cementing Accutron as the first electronic watch in history. Those tiny metal forks also made the Accutron the most accurate wristwatch ever made, and a “horological revolution” (thanks, Wikipedia!). At least until 1969, when Astron debuted the quartz-powered Astron and Joel Murray, as Rumsen, sat down to do his best Don Draper impression in the offices of Sterling Cooper & Partners (technically, this episode was set in January of ’69 and the Astron didn’t come out until December, but who’s to say Bulova didn’t have a little insider knowledge about the competition?). But at the time of Rumsen’s pitch, the Accutron was the cutting edge, and hearing such a sharp pitch about such a sharp watch sounds so very peculiar from a character best known for peeing his pants and collapsing into a sad, drunken heap. Scott Hornbacher, the director of last night’s episode, knows this. […]

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Mad Men Season 7 Promo Peggy and Don

Some TV shows adhere to our thoughts, like glue, tape or that brand of putty known for extreme silliness. These are shows where half the cast might be killed off during a formal wedding feast or where the protagonist’s Great Big Secret is discovered by his brother-in-law while on the can. Mad Men is not one of those shows. It’s something slower, more prone to introspection and a slow simmering burn than graphic violence and CGI dragons. It’s no slight against Mad Men. It’s just a way of saying that a series that opened its sixth season with two hours of Dante’s Inferno allegory is not built for the same kind of cliffhanger anticipation that dragon shows are. Add in the ten(ish)-month gap between the last new episode of Mad Men and today, and you may be a little rusty on the comings and goings of Sterling Cooper & Partners (you may also have forgotten that the series’ ad firm is now called Sterling Cooper & Partners, which has been the case ever since Don Draper and Ted Chaough got drunk and decided to smoosh their two firms together). No worries, that’s why we’re all here: for a quick look back at the old Mad Men and one last look ahead at this year’s shiny new Mad Mens.

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Mad Men

It is a great and terrible irony that a show about ad executives has such awful tag lines. AMC just dropped a thirty-second tease of the upcoming last-ish season of Mad Men, a tease that’s mysterious, tantalizing, and also riddled with really, really un-Mad Men-like puns. In bright, saturated colors and hypnotic slow-mo, all the major Sterling Cooper & Partners players stand around an airport and do various things reminiscent of air travel. Pete buys his ticket. Betty stands by a small army’s worth of luggage and huffs impatiently. Roger ogles a passing woman (as is required at all times by John Slattery‘s contract). And as Don Draper gazes out at this new world around him, wherever that world may be, a brief piece of text appears on screen: “It’s All Up in the Air.” You know. Like an airplane. And as the audience reels from such furious punnage, the teaser winds up and delivers the knockout blow:

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Zach Galifianakis and Jon Hamm

Some may have thought Zach Galifianakis‘ star was on the wane (it’s been what, ten months since the last Hangover movie?), but that’s no longer the case after last week. One sitting President and six minutes of verbal abuse later, Galifianakis has awkwardly shuffled back into spotlight. And his newest move, post-Obama smackdown, involves another former Between Two Ferns guest: Jon Hamm. The two are negotiating to star in Keeping Up With the Joneses, a new comedy from Fox 2000. Details are scarce, but with a little creative sleuthing we can figure out the basics. Deadline‘s exclusive story has the logline as follows: “A quiet, suburban cul de sac is turned upside down when an unfulfilled married couple begins to suspect that there’s something nefarious afoot with their sexy and charismatic new neighbors.”

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Million Dollar Arm

Just like apple pie, McDonald’s, bald eagles and Beyoncé, baseball is the American way. Once upon a time (read: the 70s-90s, mostly), the Great American Pastime was routinely celebrated in movies like Major League, A League of Their Own, The Natural and, of course, Field of Dreams and Angels in the Outfield (people naturally love baseball ghosts). In the present day, the baseball craze has died down somewhat, possibly due to the fact that the sport hasn’t had a huge, Sammy Sosa/Mark Mcgwire-style showdown in years to get amped over. Recent, serious baseball-centric films like Moneyball and 42, which told the story of Jackie Robinson, have seen success, but there hasn’t been the same wave of feel-good sports flicks that Bobby and his Little League team could go catch after practice together. Now, there’s a film coming down the pipeline that is attempting to fill that void. Here we have Million Dollar Arm, a Disney concoction starring Jon Hamm that is somehow, regrettably, not about a bionic pitcher. Nor is it attached to a Million Dollar Baby. Hamm plays real-life sports agent J.B. Bernstein, who once saw huge career success with baseball greats but isn’t bringing in the talent anymore. His crazy scheme to rectify his career is to travel to India and create a reality show with young cricket players, the best of which come back with him to America to try out for the Majors. It’s like Trouble with the Curve, but with a game that lasts for a week.

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cong

When it comes to independent films and major releases, animation is fairly underutilized medium. There are exceptions, but for the most part, it’s generally used for kid-centric stories or to paint a lush, if slightly more adult, world. That’s why movies like A Scanner Darkly and The Congress are so special. They use animation for drama and to express ideas that go beyond a few pretty shots. Both films shouldn’t be compared past that point, but they are both emotional, visual, and mental exercises — rides that you either go along with from the start or don’t. If director Ari Folman‘s The Congress grabs you from its first frame, then expect a rich science-fiction film packed with commentary, ideas, laughs, tears, and beauty.  Speaking of beauty, Robin Wright (played conveniently by Robin Wright) has lost it, at least according to some slimy agist studio executive we meet working at Miramount. She’s now 44 years old. That usually means for actresses their careers are winding down, but after years of “bad” choices and choosing family over work, Robin isn’t the big deal that she once was. The offers aren’t coming in, at least not the offers she’s interested in — she wouldn’t ever dare to take part in a science-fiction film.

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franco

What is Casting Couch? It’s still got its ear to the RSS feeds looking for casting news, even though the studios are probably waiting until the holiday is over to release any more. Still, we were able to find out about some new jobs for child actors, as well as who John Stewart has been busy recruiting for Rosewater. When James Franco announced that he wanted to make a movie adaptation of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, pretty much everyone said it was a bad idea and shouldn’t be done. But he did it anyway, and now the film has played Cannes. Never being one to stop tempting fate, Franco’s success has led to him deciding he now wants to adapt another, even less structured for the cinema Faulkner story, The Sound and the Fury. Not only does he feel like he’s cobbled together enough sources of financing to get it done, but according to a report from the LA Times, he also feels like he can get Mad Men star Jon Hamm to appear in the film as the family it feature’s patriarch, Mr. Compson, his brother Dave Franco as Quentin Compson, and Danny McBride in a role that’s still undisclosed. Scheduling issues just need to be ironed out, and then it’s all a go. Franco himself intends on appearing in the film as well.

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Mad Men 6

While the sixth season of Mad Men wrapped up with a big, messy, chocolate-colored bow last Sunday, speculation about what we can expect from the final season of the best television series (on air now, and perhaps ever) has really only just begun. Though it’s become standard practice for Mad Men fans to theorize about creator Matthew Weiner fitting dramatic events on his show around actual historical events from the corresponding time periods (of note, the sixth season finale took place in November of 1968), that’s rarely panned out in a big way. Sure, this season included plenty of fallout from events like the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, more than enough discussions about the election of President Nixon, and even a bevy of references to cultural hot buttons like Rosemary’s Baby and Planet of the Apes, but it never placed its characters exactly inside them. Sure, Peggy’s boyfriend Abe zipped off to do some news photography post-MLK assassination and everyone sure was sad about America’s inability to hold on to good leaders, but none of our characters were ever really there. And, despite some truly brilliant theorizing, Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) didn’t end up “being” Sharon Tate in any way, shape, or form. Basically, Mad Men watchers love to create large-scale scenarios that involve their favorite (and, more often, their least favorite) characters within the actual confines of history, while Weiner and company continue to dance around (and even firmly reject) such scenarios. Will the […]

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mad men header

This week Mad Men ended a season that mainly focused on the increasingly degenerate Don Draper. He’s become a hopeless alcoholic. He barely phones it in at work, a place where he used to shine brightest of all. He is cheating on his wife with his neighbor, whom he sometimes makes his submissive. His daughter caught them mid-coitus. He purposely shamed his co-workers in a meeting. The list likely could go on for some time, so get comfortable. Though in this finale, “In Care Of,” written and directed by Matthew Weiner and co-written by Carly Wray, Don gets some much-needed comeuppance – and it’s pretty brutal. Don’s tale is hardly the only sad story in this episode, as Peggy, Ted, Pete, and Roger all meet somewhat sad fates by this season’s end. While there have certainly much better Mad Men finales – and much better Mad Men seasons, for that matter – this one was successful in tying up the ongoing plot lines, as well as putting forth some truly memorable scenes and some brilliant performances.

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Mad Men PR

With just one episode left in this year’s remarkable Mad Men season, AMC has cheerily released an “official” press release announcing the latest merger for the ad men, including a look at the new firm’s new logo and adorable comments from all of its partners. The memo was shared on Mad Men’s Facebook page after last night’s show (and subsequently shared by every person you know on social media), and while it’s certainly fun to gaze at, it’s even more fun to use as the jumping off point for some Mad Men activities (and, we’ll admit it now, to delve ever-deeper into the finely-tuned historical elements of the ever-accurate show). Let’s have some fun.

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Don Draper just keeps pulling out the dick moves. And with next week being the season six finale, who knows what he had in store for us? A lot of stuff happened on this week’s Mad Men installment, “The Quality of Mercy,” written by Andre and Maria Jacquemetton and directed by Phil Abraham. So much so that Ken Cosgrove gets shot in the face in the first few minutes and it’s barely a blip on the overall drama scale. Another great episode, this one really sets the stage for the impending finale. It also featured Roger Sterling’s proclamation that he “once held Lee Garner Jr.’s balls!” if that’s any indication. Well, not really. But that line sure tickles. As noted, Don behaved pretty poorly this week, which makes for great television, but not necessarily for making his character any more likable. Don is still pretty worked up over the Sally-caused coitus interruptus… to the point where he is acting like Kirsten Cohen from The O.C. and stealthily spiking his orange juice with vodka. And taking the day off work. He is also very peeved by the growing camaraderie between Peggy and Ted, to the point where he goes out of his way in a meeting to embarrass the hell out of Ted and rob Peggy of her idea for the St. Joseph aspirin campaign.

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portmangarb

What is Casting Couch? Maybe not more casting news than you can shake a stick at, but just enough so that you’ll feel comfortable shaking a stick at it. Today we have news of movie roles for TV stars Allison Williams and Jon Hamm. Get shakin’. Back a few months ago it was looking like Natalie Portman and Michael Fassbender were going to be working together on Jane Got a Gun, but we all saw what happened there. No dice. Those who were hot and bothered by the idea of a Portman/Fassbender pairing need not worry though, because not only will they both be appearing in Terrence Malick’s newest project in some form or another, but they’ll definitely be sharing serious screen time in Justin Kurzel’s new adaptation of Macbeth. Just two days ago we learned that Fassbender would be taking the title role of the stage-to-film adaptation, and now Screen Daily is reporting that Portman has signed on for the role of his scheming, murderous wife, Lady Macbeth. This should give her more of an opportunity to cultivate that creep factor she showed flashes of in Black Swan. Intriguing.

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mad men header

This week’s Mad Men, entitled “The Flood,” brings us to that pivotal point in history when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, viewing how the tragic event brought out the best and the worst in people. Some used the event to their gain or resented it for putting a stop to the normal routine. For others, it made them appreciate the important things in life, like family and friends. Written by showrunner Matthew Weiner and Tom Smuts and directed by Chris Manley, this week’s installment was hardly perfect – it had a few unusually cheesy moments – but it was thought-provoking and featured a powerhouse performance from Jon Hamm. The title of the episode comes from Ginsberg’s father saying, ”In the flood, the animals went two-by-two,” as he sets his son up on a surprise dinner date with a comely teacher, eventually passing off MLK Jr.’s assassination as a good time to play matchmaker. The date goes pretty well – though Ginsberg is apparently a virgin – and the girl admits that she is also just going along for the matchmaking ride. While Ginsberg’s father helps to enunciate the episode’s theme – the quest to find companionship in a scary, uncertain wolrd – the Ginsberg home life is somewhat corny and melodramatic. Ginsberg sews for his father on a sewing machine! They bicker about dinner! And matchmaking! This tale of a Jewish émigré and his son holed up in a small apartment reads like something out of The Jazz Singer, […]

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Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 8.53.14 PM

I am female. And because of that, I am quite happy that I didn’t have to experience the 1960s firsthand. Really glad, in fact. This week’s episode of Mad Men, “The Collaborators,” written by Matthew Weiner and Jonathan Igla and directed by none other than Don Draper himself, Jon Hamm, offers quite a powerful meditation on the rather hideous manner in which women were treated. Not since last season’s “The Other Woman,” in which Joan is offered as collateral for Jaguar rep Herb has a Mad Men episode created such a palpable unease as you watch female characters get pigeonholed as whores, belittled in the workplace, or deal with their tricky nature of their own bodies. “The Other Woman,” however, was a far superior episode. This one suffered from the heavy-handedness in which nascent director Hamm employed the use of flashback. Several times, he cut from scenes between Don and Sylvia to a tween Dick Whitman arriving with his pregnant mother to her sister’s brothel. These flashback scenes were problematic for many reasons – chiefly because they drove home the thread of “women as unfair sex object” way too hard. While it’s usually a good thing to get the rare glimpse into the man-that-became-Don-Draper, these scenes are largely unneeded. We get the point. Also, in terms of Hamm’s direction in these scenes… it’s obvious. The young bumpkin Dick Whitman looks not unlike Alfred E. Newman. The prostitutes act like stock characters from an old time-y movie, and all other characters look like they stepped out from an […]

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Mad Men Season 6

Now in its sixth season, Mad Men is probably one of the only shows on television that never jumped the shark – it remains as thoughtful and sophisticated a show since its first season. Sure, there have been some mistakes made along the way. But if I’m to judge from this two-hour premiere episode alone (sorry, this will likely therefore be on the long side), entitled “The Doorway,” I don’t think that there’s much to worry about in terms of the show not living up to expectations. In the premiere, a lot of recurring themes from seasons past are revisited – impending death, times that are a-changin’, infidelity, identity – though are these themes should be ever-present, as the show wouldn’t exist without them. Especially now since Vietnam looms even more heavily over the show’s landscape and harbingers of death become even more  pertinent. And, yes, the premiere was pretty damn good. Written by showrunner Matthew Weiner and directed by veteran Mad Men director Scott Hornbacher, it featured elegant, filmic non-linear structure, as well as the intelligent writing that we have all grown accustomed to in the many years of drinking in this show.

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Jon Hamm

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s mostly about smaller-name actors getting roles in upcoming projects, but that can be interesting too. Not everyone can be an old favorite coming back to an X-Men movie or getting hounded about the new Star Wars. It’s been known for a while that Mad Men’s Jon Hamm is a big fan of comedy—just look at how many lowly podcasts he’s appeared on, bit parts in comedies, and even his SNL host gigging for proof of that—but he’s yet to get his chance to take his love of the yuks further and actually star in a comedic feature. That might soon change though. Variety is reporting that he’s currently circling a project called Epic Fail that’s about a down-on-his-luck high school teacher who hires two students to kidnap his wife, in the hopes that if he swoops in and rescues her he might rekindle his marriage. The film has been written by Kevin Costello and will be directed by Mark Teitelman.

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The past few years have seen Adam Scott go from bit actor to actor in demand. It turns out the Parks and Recreation regular isn’t content to just be one of the most successful comic actors on the planet, however, he’s also got some filmmaking skills he wants to introduce to the world – so he and his writer wife, Naomi Scott, have started Gettin’ Rad Productions, a company whose main goal is to facilitate them in making cool stuff. Before you ask, yes, Scott knows how ridiculous that sounds. He calls GRP a name that’s “both stupid and aspirational.” What kind of stuff are the duo going to be working on? Well, it turns out you might have already seen their first project, that Adult Swim special that turned out to be a shot-for-shot remake of the Simon & Simon opening credits starring Adam and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm:

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Channel Guide - Large

Bunheads, back-to-back-to-back Law and Order: SVU and Big Bang Theory reruns—so far this month, I’ve really just been aimlessly watching TV, waiting for the Louie premiere (and spoiler alert/alert nerd, you’ll probably be reading about that here in the very near future) but Comedy Bang Bang, IFC’s new strange talk show-sketch show hybrid born of a podcast of the same name, has given my life purpose. That purpose: watch Comedy Bang Bang a lot.

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At a certain age, everyone has them – people they love, friends they’ve grown up with, beloved compatriots that have turned into frazzled, mewling monsters. Let’s call them what they are – Friends With Kids. In Jennifer Westfeldt‘s film, she stars as one half of a non-couple with no kids – her Julie Keller has a great apartment and a great job and a great pack of friends, but she’s nowhere near the stage of life when she’ll announce at a dinner that she’s pregnant, or move to Brooklyn to have more space for the rugrats, or to turn into a shell of herself after months of no sleep and no sex and a crying baby. Her best friend, Jason Fryman (Adam Scott) is in the same boat – a bit of a playboy, he’s loose with both his morals and his money, and in absolutely no state to settle down and have a kid. Which doesn’t quite explain how much they both secretly want to. When the other four members of their inner circle (including Bridesmaids veterans Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Jon Hamm, and Kristen Wiig), already paired off and married, start having children, Julie and Jason are both struck by two thoughts. One – they want kids. Two – they don’t want to have them the way their friends have them. All Julie and Jason can see is the disintegration of romance, beaten down by babies screaming for binkies, lack of sex, and abject exhaustion – which is why […]

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Perhaps you watched Bridesmaids and wondered to yourself, “self, I wonder what it would be like if Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm’s characters had a functional romantic relationship. And, perhaps what it would be like if Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd‘s characters were married with kids. And maybe Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt could be there, too.” Fine, if you wondered about any of that, it was probably just the first part – but, hey, bonus! Actress Westfeldt has already penned two romantic indies that she’s also starred in (Kissing Jessica Stein and Ira & Abby), and she’s pulling triple-duty on her next, the amply-titled Friends With Kids. The film follows just that – three very different couples who are all at different points in their lives, particularly when it comes to child-rearing. While Wiig and Hamm are newlyweds and Rudolph and O’Dowd are married parents, Scott and Westfeldt play best friends who decide to have a kid together, even though they’re not romantically involved. As the film’s first trailer shows, that kid comes – followed by a romantic interest for both of his parents. Stock up on your folic acid and check out the film’s first trailer after the break.

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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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