Jacob Hall Biography
Kung Fu Panda 3 once again led the box office this weekend, but like its lower-than-expected opening weekend, it’s not as impressive as anyone was hoping or expecting. DreamWorks Animation’s sequel managed to fend off a trio of newcomers, but each of those films disappointed in their own ways, leading to a shrug-worthy top 10 that feels like Hollywood just accepting that everyone is going to be watching the Super Bowl instead of going to the movies.
Around this time last year, SNL presented a commercial parody centering around Totino’s Pizza Rolls, just in time for the Super Bowl. And it was a nasty piece of business, tearing apart the image of the NFL’s biggest game as a day for men and imprisoning Vanessa Bayer’s indefatigable housewife in the kitchen, where she was simply tasked with warming up more disgusting food. So when SNL aired another Totino’s sketch in last night’s episode, we simply assumed it would be a carbon copy of the first one. Boy, were we wrong.
And like that, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders became the third presidential hopeful to appear on SNL this season. While Donald Trump hosted an entire episode last year and Hillary Clinton put in a brief appearance as a bartender counseling Kate McKinnon’s version of her, Sanders’ cameo is a bit more disconnected and bit weirder. Most importantly though, it puts him right next to guest host Larry David, who has been playing him in the show’s political sketches this season.
If you're going to have the great Larry David host a full episode of SNL, there are two obvious areas of parody. First, you simply have to give him more to do as Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, whose unlikely showing in the recent Democratic presidential primaries have made David a regular guest star this season. Second, you need to riff on Curb Your Enthusiasm, his (possibly) late, great HBO sitcom that redefined cringe comedy. And in this case, SNL found a a way to combine the two.
The victory of of Kung Fu Panda 3 at the box office this weekend conjures one of the most common questions you have to ask yourself when keeping a constant eye on the charts: when is a hit not a hit? Sure, the third film in DreamWorks Animation’s series did open at number one and its numbers are very good, but they’re lower than you’d think. In any case, it still fared significantly better than the rest of the competition this week — all of the other new releases simply flopped.
It wasn’t that surprising last week when Ride Along 2 officially dethroned Star Wars: The Force Awakens as reigning champion of the box office. However, what is surprising is how fast and far it plummeted in its second weekend. As the comedy sequel’s legs instantly shattered, The Revenant was finally able to claim the top spot after several weeks of playing box office bridesmaid.
When the 2016 Oscar nominations were announced nearly two weeks ago, the response to the overwhelmingly white line-up of talent proved instantly controversial. Film fans and industry veterans alike gathered around the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag to make their voices heard, especially decrying how films starring black actors and directed by black filmmakers — like Creed and Straight Outta Compton — somehow managed to only receive nominations for the white people involved in making them. With material this ripe, of course SNL was going to take a swipe at the Academy Awards this week.
The moment former Alaskan governor and 2008 Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump for President of the United States, you know the producers at SNL hurried to get Tina Fey on the phone. The beloved former cast member, who just hosted the show last month, famously took on the role of Palin eight years ago and many people believe that her scathing imitation actually did lasting harm to the real Palin’s political chances. In any case, this event allowed SNL to pair Fey’s Palin with Darrell Hammond‘s Trump. Thanks, reality!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t going to reign atop the box office forever. Something was going to take it down sooner or later and we’ll just be honest — we expected it would take a little longer than this. At the same time, anyone who thought that Ride Along 2 wouldn’t perform well has a short-term or poor memory, as the first film was a gigantic hit this time last year. An Ice Cube and Kevin Hart buddy cop comedy dethroned the biggest movie in the history of the U.S. box office from the top of the charts and it’s not that surprising.
The late, great David Bowie inspired countless artists of all stripes during his time on planet Earth. As a musician, an actor, a personality, and an encapsulation of all things odd, weird and wonderful, he touched countless lives...including former SNL star Fred Armisen, who returned to the stage during last night's episode to pay homage to Bowie in the most appropriate way possible: by sharing a clip from his appearance on the show back in 1979.