Ted

Mark-Wahlberg-and-Seth-MacFarlane-in-Ted

Copying and pasting Seth MacFarlane‘s Family Guy schtick into the mouth of a teddy bear was an idea worth a half-billion dollars at the box office. With that in mind, it’s not surprising in the slightest that MacFarlane would be at it again, and thanks to Twitter, we can put an official stamp on things. When asked about a Ted sequel, Macfarlane had this to say: RT @JohnnyMctardo: @SethMacFarlane when is Ted 2? // We’re aiming for a 2015 Passover release date. — Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) August 14, 2013 Knowing MacFarlane, it’s easy to assume this was just a cheap shot at members of the tribe, but Screen Crush has confirmed that this is the real release date (in 2015, the first night of Passover is April 3, so that seems to line up). Those who enjoy MacFarlane’s particular brand of mockery are probably high-fiving at this very moment. Those who don’t have surely learned to ignore him at this point, so unless Ted 2 goes on to win a wheelbarrow full of Oscars, this shouldn’t be too painful. Presumably Mark Wahlberg will return, along with a plethora of jokes aimed at every race, creed, and color under the sun.

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Best Original Song

Last year’s Best Original Song category had a dismal two (TWO!) nominations in a year that gave us such songs as the catchy “Hello Hello” from the piano man himself, Elton John (who has seen no love from the Academy since The Lion King in 1994) from Gnomeo and Juliet, a brand new (and beautifully haunting) song from The National, “Think You Can Wait,” from Win Win, and eleven new songs (any of which could have/should have been a contender) from Sigur Rós front-man Jónsi from We Bought a Zoo. Luckily this year the Academy decided on a much more respectable number of songs (five of them!) pulled from a variety of film genres including a documentary (Chasing Ice), comedy (Ted), musical (Les Misérables), action (Skyfall), and adventure (Life of Pi) performed by a range of singers, including chart topping artists and even one actress. An increased number of songs may be getting their moment in the spotlight this year, but only one will be left standing at the end of the big night. Read on as we turn up the volume on each of the nominees along with my prediction of the winner in red…

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ted_02037204

Once upon a time, the Oscar nominations were filled with titles unfamiliar to the regular Joe. Not unknown, necessarily, but at least not widely seen. But today, thanks to all kinds of home video platforms and theatrical distribution for even the short film nominees, it’s not always so impossible to see everything before the big night. To help those of you wishing to be completists, I’ve listed all of this year’s recently announced Oscar nominees and noted how and where you can see them, whether presently or soon enough. It may not be entirely doable, as some foreign films haven’t officially been released here, including one that doesn’t even yet have a date, and some titles are in the middle of their theatrical to DVD window. But there are a bunch that can be streamed right this moment on your computer via Amazon, Google, YouTube and other outlets, each of which I’ve marked accordingly courtesy of GoWatchIt. Only three are through Netflix Watch Instant, by the way (How to Survive a Plague, The Invisible War and Mirror Mirror). And one short has been embedded in the post. 

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Drinking Games

When you grew up, did you have that special toy that you believed was actually alive? We all did, but usually those toys didn’t follow us into adulthood, at least not for those of us who aren’t schizophrenic. Seth MacFarlane explores what would happen if that toy grew up like you did, probably having more sex and smoking way more pot than you do, in the film Ted. Available on DVD and Blu-ray this week, Ted pours raunchy jokes and inappropriate humor. Knock back a couple during the course of this film, and you might just believe that your teddy bear can talk. Knock back more than a couple, and you might just believe that you’re in the Flash Gordon film from the 1980s. Either way, it will be a magical night. (And if you feel up to it, you can watch that movie and play our Flash Gordon drinking game, too.)

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! Who wants a free DVD of one of this week’s new releases? As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Story of Film: An Odyssey There have been many documentaries about movies, but all of them can pretty much give up and go home now. This British production was six years in the making, filmed across four continents, covers eleven decades and nearly one thousand films in its quest to offer as complete as possible a look at and into the world of cinema. Film historian Mark Cousins begins his journey in the late 1800s and through fifteen hour-long episodes explores the innovators and the ways they helped the art form grow and transform into the films we have today. Filled with film clips, anecdotes, interviews and a deep knowledge of film history, this is a fascinating look at all aspects of cinema. The only criticism I can muster, and it’s a minor one, is that Cousins’ voice may not be the ideal choice for fifteen hours of narration. [Extras: Booklet]

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Seth MacFarlane

Even though Seth MacFarlane’s animated shows for Fox, Family Guy and American Dad, have been hugely successful, MacFarlane himself still gets a lot of guff from critics for his shows being too formulaic and his talent being overstated. He relies too much on pop culture references and absurdist asides, people say. All of his characters’ voices sound the same, people say. But, in the last year or so, we’ve really seen MacFarlane take the first few steps toward branching out and proving that he has more to offer the entertainment industry than his critics would suggest. The biggest step toward that goal was proving that he can write and direct a successful feature film with Ted. Despite a few dissenting voices complaining that MacFarlane’s voice for Ted’s CG teddy bear sounded too much like his voice for Peter Griffin, most everyone was in agreement that MacFarlane had directed one of the year’s best feature comedies, and the box office results more than backed its positive reviews up. Ted brought in about ten times the coin that it cost to make. Suddenly, MacFarlane finds himself in the elite club of being a money-making filmmaker, and a whole new world of possibilities has opened up for him. So what’s he going to do with his newfound clout? Not rest on his laurels, that’s for sure. Not only is he all set to host this year’s Academy Awards, which should boost his profile in the culture even higher, but now THR is reporting […]

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If there’s anything I hate most about the Oscars it’s the way the movie awards have the power to influence filmmaking. This time of year it’s more and more difficult to tell if certain films are even meant for us, the audience, or if they should solely be shown to the Academy in exchange for little gold men. Of course, one of the purposes of baiting for Oscars is to receive nominations and especially wins, which will presumably help earn more money at the box office (or, more likely, from the cable outlet). This still excludes satisfying the audience as the primary impulse and objective of making movies. In theory, accolades should indeed motivate Hollywood to make the best pictures they could possibly make. There’s still something to be said for art being the best when not aiming for praise and prizes, but in terms of studio product, which is more craft and entertainment than art and expression, such goals can be positive inspiration. Without the Oscars we probably still would have seen a profit-aiding progression of special effects technology and artistry, but surely some production values have improved over time as a result of sound recordists and costume designers and art directors and composers and songwriters striving to be known as the best in their field.

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“In a perfect world, ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ would be a lock for a Best Original Screenplay nomination.” – Joey Magidson, The Awards Circuit It must be frustrating to write for an awards blog (aka an Oscar blog, since the Academy Awards are always the main focus of these sites), and know that the best films of the year are not necessarily the ones that will be nominated. Magidson’s comment above, from his April review of The Cabin in the Woods, sort of sums that up. But at the same time I don’t know if the movie truly deserves the statement. Something to consider, semantically speaking, is that the Academy’s award is not for “Most Original Screenplay” but “Best Original Screenplay.” This isn’t to say that the script, by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, isn’t well-written, and you’re welcome to argue its case for a nomination. Is it the best-written original screenplay of the year, though? All my time as a movie lover and watcher of the Oscars, including the past few years of hate-watching, the original screenplay category is one I’ve constantly been excited about. It’s the place where you could find some of the more clever and creative efforts, including a number of films that might not get other nominations. You could find a good number of interesting foreign films outside of the foreign-language award ghetto (such as Bunuel‘s two nominations for writing), as well as an interesting showing of mainstream and blockbuster fare, especially in the […]

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Continuing a yearly tradition that began at the defunct movie blog Spout, this is my 5th annual list of mostly original yet highly unlikely Halloween costume ideas. You can take any of these suggestions if you want, especially if you want to avoid having the same outfit as another person at the party you attend, and particularly if you want something that needs a lot of explanation — these tend to be good conversation starters for people looking for excuses to hit on you. Mostly, though, the following ideas are not to be taken too seriously. Some are really just stupid jokes. But they’re primarily intended to visually remind us of some of the trends, criticisms, immediate icons and zeitgeist of the past year in film. For instance, last year‘s “Forrest Gump wearing an X-Men uniform” costume illustrated 2011’s penchant for Gump-like revisionist history in blockbuster movies. And back in 2008, there was a costume called “Nuke the Fridge.” Sadly, in looking over 2012 for this year’s ideas, I realized that it’s been a very weak year for movie references worth calling back. Where are this year’s “nuke the fridge,” Antichrist fox, “Why cookie Rocket?” and “Winklevi”? Before too long, I might need to spin-off a TV version of this tradition to make it easier on me and more interesting to readers. Because we all know film culture is dead anyway, right?  

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Seth Macfarlane Oscar host

The lead up to last year’s Oscar ceremony wasn’t an easy one for The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It started with their announcement that director Brett Ratner would be producing the show, with his Tower Heist star Eddie Murphy hosting. While most were interested enough in how Murphy would do in the hosting role, Ratner himself has built up a lot of hatred with the online press so there was much grumbling about how stupid his version of an awards show would look, and much celebrating when some off color comments got him fired from the job, leading to Murphy stepping down as host. The celebration didn’t last long, however, as the Academy ignored online campaigns to install Jim Henson’s felty creations, The Muppets, as hosts, and instead went with a tired old choice who we’ve all seen head the show a million times before in Billy Crystal. The criticisms that the Academy and the Oscars were old, out of touch, and unable to let go of past success poured in, and questions of how much longer the show would remain relevant were raised. Well, this year the Academy seems to have taken some of those criticisms to heart, because they’ve not only hired a fresh face to host the awards, they’ve hired the guy who directed probably the best-loved comedy of the summer, Ted, and is most famous for creating one of the raunchiest shows on television, Family Guy. In a press release sent out today, […]

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One of the biggest complaints people had coming out of Ridley Scott’s epic in scope sci-fi spectacle Prometheus was that it raised more questions than it answered. Well, today brings good news for those of you looking for closure. It turns out Scott knew what he was doing all along: he raised a bunch of questions about the origins of humanity, got us on the hook for wanting answers, and now he’s going to sell us all tickets to a sequel. Pretty clever, movie industry. Confirmation of a Prometheus 2 comes from THR, who have published a comprehensive look at which of the big movies from this summer are likely to spawn sequels. In addition to the Prometheus confirmation, they reveal that movies like Ted, Magic Mike, American Reunion, and Snow White and the Huntsman are all likely to be given follow-ups as well.

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Magic Mike

It feels more and more like we’re on the cusp of a cultural change in the types of movies that studios make. Or, at least, there are more signs that studios should be paying attention to. This week’s edition of Movies Aren’t Just For Teenage Boys comes in the form of a record-breaking R-rated feat. As the LA Times points out, Ted and Magic Mike (which sounds like a morning radio show duo) have become the first R-rated movies to open on the same weekend with more than $21m a piece. And they made a lot more than that. Ted scored $54.1m, and Magic Mike came in second with $39.2m. Seth MacFarlane‘s directorial debut featuring a totally ethical teddy bear had a near even split with 56% of its audience being men, but women dominated Magic Mike with 73%. So here it is, studios. Proof that adults go to movies, that they enjoy strippers, and that women buy tickets too. Maybe these aren’t the high-minded examples that everyone would have hoped for, but they display a challenge to the new-found wisdom that toys and comic book properties are the only way to make money with moving pictures.

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Seth MacFarlane is one of those hit-or-miss type guys who seems to have been missing a lot more than hitting lately. Though his big TV show, Family Guy, started off well, the most recent seasons have succumbed to format fatigue. The show’s penchant for cutting away to complete non sequiturs has worn out its welcome and, even worse, it’s committed the cardinal sin of comedy – it’s just not funny anymore. Add to that his attempts to recapture the original Family Guy magic with shows like American Dad and its spin-off The Cleveland Show, and it would be easy to say that MacFarlane is kind of stuck in a rut. So why not try a feature film? MacFarlane’s predominantly a TV guy, and one who’s been down on his laughs recently so, despite its hilarious trailers, the odds seemed to be stacked against his new film Ted. In case you happened to have missed the aforementioned hilarious trailers, Ted is a movie about a young boy who wishes for his teddy bear to come to life. John Bennett is not exactly the most popular kid on the block. Even the little Jewish kid who gets his ass kicked every day hates John Bennett. The poor kid just doesn’t have any friends. So when his parents give him a big stuffed teddy bear for Christmas, he names it Ted and wishes that Ted could come to life and be his best friend forever.

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Summertime at the cinema is most commonly associated with big budget action and adventure movies, and this summer is no exception. But amidst the bombastic blockbusters there are also a few big name comedies to look forward to including Dark Shadows, That’s My Boy and Neighborhood Watch. One of the most anticipated though just might be Seth MacFarlane’s feature directorial debut, Ted. The movie stars Mark Wahlberg as John, a man whose best friend is a walking and talking teddy bear named Ted. The furry beast originally came to life during tough times in John’s childhood, and now the pair are roommates. Others can see and hear Ted too, and when John starts to get serious with a cute girl (Mila Kunis) his relationship with the bear begins to complicate the romance. Check out the red-band trailer below.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of movie news and links that is quickly finding out that even though SXSW isn’t over, there is such a thing as an early SXSW hangover. A pre-hangover hangover, perhaps? We begin this evening with the coolest image of the day. Easily the coolest image of the day, from The Happytime Murders, a noir murder mystery set in a world where puppets are second class citizens. Henson Studios is putting the thing together, and there’s no end to my own personal excitement.

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Although the real question keeping Hollywood awake in 2012 is “Does Winston Wolf clean up dead hookers on Yom Kippur?”, the fine folks over at HitFix have put forth a handful of queries of varying importance which filmmakers, studios and fans might have on their minds this year. It’s their 15 Questions Keeping Hollywood Awake in 2012. With concerns from Lindsay Lohan’s possible last chance to Joss Whedon’s first real shot with The Avengers, it’s an intriguing list that might prove 2012 to be both an endlessly fascinating and completely irrelevant year in the stories behind the movies. Will Smith, Found Footage, Hunger Games, Dark Knight Rises and more. HitFix has questions, and here are the answers:

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It’s already the second day of 2012, which means we’ll all be sober within the next day or two. It also means that we can officially start looking (through blurry eyes) ahead to the future. A future of promise and potential. A future of hope. A future of tingling anticipation that the road stretched out in front of us that leads to the cinema will be paved with gold. Will there be piles of excrement along the way? Of course, but we don’t know how many or how badly they’ll tarnish our yellow-bricked roller coaster ride. All we can see from this far out is the shimmering wonder of movies to come – the vast unknown that looks wonderful (and might just live up to the hype). In past years (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), we’ve gone with a fairly arbitrary count of 20-30 movies. This year, we decided to prove that there were 52 movies worth prematurely celebrating (even though what we found were many more). That’s one for every week (even if there are some weeks with a few and some weeks with none at all). Regardless of the number, Rob Hunter, Neil Miller, Kate Erbland, Allison Loring, Landon Palmer, Brian Salisbury and Cole Abaius have joined forces to remind us all that there are a lot of great movies to hope for this year. Go grab a calendar and pencil in everything that gets your blood pressure up toward unsafe levels. It’s going to be a busy, flick-filled […]

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Seth McFarlane needs to run a tighter ship because details are starting to leak out about his upcoming feature film Ted. Flash Gordony details. Secret informants have told Flixist that Ted makes several references to the 1980 version of the intergalactic epic. They’ve even recreated one of the vehicles from that film and have gotten Sam J. Jones to sign on and make a cameo.  What does the 80s version of Flash Gordon have to do with a film about a Teddy Bear come to life? You’ve got me, but it sounds like this movie is going to have all sorts of crazy crap in it. For those uninitiated, Ted is the story of a young boy who wishes that his stuffed bear would come to life and be his friend for real. Though the wish is granted, the results are not what the kid expects. The boy grows up to be Mark Wahlberg, and the bear grows up to be still a living stuffed animal that just won’t go away. To make that situation sound even weirder, those anonymous tipsters have tipped that Ted also works in a convenience store. Filming was done recently on a scene where Ted takes a lady back into the storeroom and gives her the business end of his fluffy package. How the logistics of a stuffed bear working at a convenience store or sexing up a lady work out is a mystery to me, but then again this is a movie that has […]

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The Family Guy creator’s funny looking upcoming comedy Ted just got funnier looking. Joining such names as Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, and Giovanni Ribisi will be the star of the much lauded and loved NBC sitcom Community, Joel McHale. You might also know him as the handsome yet goofy host of The Soup. Or maybe you’ve seen him touring around out on the standup circuit. Look, point is that Joel McHale has a lot of jobs. He’s a funny man. McHale joins the cast playing the unsavory boss of Kunis’ character. He reportedly spends much of the film making inappropriately forward come-ons to Kunis. And who among us could blame him? Usually when we see McHale on screen he is playing some version of likable, or at the very least he is a cad with a whole lot of charm. It will be interesting to see him really sleaze it up playing a character that sounds like a villain and see what kind of humor he can create with that. Being a member in good standing of the Church of McHale, I have faith that he will produce good things. And while I haven’t bothered to watch The Family Guy in years, the more I’m hearing about this raunchy teddy bear movie, the more I’m starting to think that it could be something good. I just wonder who’s running all of McFarlane’s hundreds of Fox cartoons while he’s away. Source: Deadline Greendale

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The film, called Ted, sounds interesting for a few reasons. Firstly, it will be the first live action work that we get to see from the main brain behind Family Guy, which has become a boundary pushing institution over the last ten years that people mention in the same breath as other edgy animation like The Simpsons and South Park. Secondly, it will be the first time we get to see McFarlane create in the R rated realm of raunch. Family Guy has done everything it can to push the boundaries of what is acceptable to its audience since its very inception, but it is still just a prime time network show when you boil things down. We’ve maybe not even scraped the surface of the depravity that might be lying hidden inside McFarlane’s mind. Also, Mila Kunis is reportedly attached to the project as well. Any movie that I hear pitched instantly gets at least twice as intriguing when you tell me Mila Kunis is going to be in it. The film centers on a man, played by Mark Wahlberg, who made a childhood wish that his teddy bear would come to life. Several decades later, when he’s well into adulthood, having a living, breathing teddy bear following him around everywhere isn’t as great as it seemed when he was 7. As a matter of fact, it gets pretty annoying. Especially when the bear, Ted, is a drinking, smoking lout. The bear itself will be stop motion and voiced […]

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