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Tribune News Service

Entertainment Budget for Friday, September 11, 2020

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Updated at 4 p.m. EDT (2000 UTC).

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^When Jimmy Carter's White House was a tour stop for long-haired, 'torpedo'-smoking rock outlaws<

^MOVIE-CARTER-ROCK-ROLL-PRESIDENT:LA—<Near the beginning of "Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President," the new documentary that explores the 39th president's connection to the music community during his four-year term, President Carter offers a revelation involving one of his children, country singer Willie Nelson and what Nelson once described as "a big fat Austin torpedo."

Asked about Nelson's account of smoking marijuana on the roof of the White House at the tail end of Carter's term in 1980, the former president lets out a chuckle.

Nelson, Carter explains in the film, "says that his companion that shared the pot with him was one of the servants at the White House. That is not exactly true. It actually was one of my sons."

It's a brief exchange, but the coy interaction sets the tone for this affectionate, revelatory film about the ways in which a Georgia peanut farmer, on a mission in 1976 to upend American politics, tapped a kind of political action committee of artists, stoned or otherwise, to make his long-shot run at the presidency.

1550 by Randall Roberts. MOVED

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^'Such depth of love': Directors of 'The Vow' want you to know NXIVM was not just a 'sex cult'<

^TV-VOW:LA—<Jehane Noujaim understands better than most why so many intelligent, accomplished people were drawn to NXIVM, the self-help group, multi-level marketing company and supposed "sex cult" whose leader, Keith Raniere, was convicted last year of sex trafficking.

She was one of them.

Before she and Karim Amer directed the HBO documentary series "The Vow," which chronicles the rise and fall of the group, Noujaim had taken some of NXIVM's self-improvement classes.

It began in 2007, when Noujaim — a filmmaking talent who'd directed the noteworthy documentaries "Control Room" and " Startup.com " — met Sara Bronfman, daughter of billionaire Edgar Bronfman, at a conference on Necker Island, Richard Branson's private retreat in the Virgin Islands.

1750 by Meredith Blake. MOVED

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^'Medium Cool' blended fact and fiction while capturing the '68 riots in Chicago. Could a filmmaker today — should a filmmaker today — do the same?<

^MOVIE-MEDIUM-COOL:TB—<When thousands of anti-war protesters came to Chicago in the summer of 1968 during the Democratic National Convention, filmmaker Haskell Wexler was there on the ground with his camera, shooting his narrative feature "Medium Cool" for Paramount.

The movie is fiction (mostly) with actors and a script. But a chunk near the end was shot like a documentary, when Wexler sent his lead actress — in character — out into the very real, very combustible goings on at Grant Park and the downtown streets nearby. For long stretches, we see her threading her way through police lines and crowds of protestors alike. At one point the police set off tear gas and Wexler and his crew are caught in the fray.

Here's how Wexler's methods are described in an essay about the movie commissioned by the Criterion Collection: "What if a riot doubled as a film set?"

That stopped me cold when I read it.

1700 by Nina Metz in Chicago. MOVED

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^Appreciation: For the brilliant Diana Rigg, playing the smartest person in the room was second nature<

^RIGG-APPRECIATION:LA—<It is the rare artist who is known for and cherished, equally and by substantially different audiences, for the first and last big things in her career. Diana Rigg — Dame Diana, if you please — who died Thursday at the age of 82, was that rare artist.

In between "The Avengers," which made her famous at the age of 27, and "Game of Thrones," which made her famous at the age of 75 — and before and after, as well — there were many other jobs, from a straight-ahead American multi-camera sitcom, "Diana," to hosting the PBS series "Mystery!" But there is a point where an actor's own essence aligns and informs her characters' in a way that you can't talk about one without talking about the other.

1150 by Robert Lloyd. MOVED

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^As the Toronto International Film Festival goes virtual, these directors are just happy to be seen<

^MOVIE-TORONTO:LA—<The season of fall film festivals is typically one of year-in, year-out rituals and repetition. This year, thanks to a global pandemic and international travel restrictions, all of that has changed.

Having started on Thursday night, the 2020 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival is a drastically different version of the event that is a key component of the festival circuit and launching pad for movies with awards season ambitions.

"Where do I start?" said Joana Vicente, executive director and co-head of TIFF, when asked about the struggles of putting on the festival amidst the pandemic. "It's been just an incredible challenge."

1950 by Mark Olsen. MOVED

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^Karla Peterson: New Helen Reddy biopic is timely, watchable and frustrating<

^MOVIE-PETERSON-COLUMN:SD—<Within the first 15 minutes of "I Am Woman," the new biopic on the Grammy-winning singer Helen Reddy, our heroine is harassed and belittled by a record company executive ("I can't do anything with a female singer," he says, after offering her a cocktail and invading her personal space); harassed and underpaid by a nightclub owner ("They're men, they've got families," he says, when she wonders why the guys in her backup band are being paid more than she is); and haunted by her own worries that she is being a terrible mum to daughter Traci.

Sexual harassment. Income inequality. Working-mother guilt. Greetings from 1966, which looks enough like 2020 to make a Helen Reddy biopic seem like essential viewing. And if "I Am Woman" was as pithy and rousing as the smash-hit song it is named after, it might have been.

1150 by Karla Peterson. MOVED

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^From 'Clueless' to 'Sixteen Candles,' check out the best back-to-school films<

^MOVIE-ROUNDUP-BACKTOSCHOOL:MS—<Thinking about back-to-school season, I compiled a list of favorite classroom movies and realized that almost all of them have female protagonists.

That could be a symptom of Hollywood misogyny — money men have always been willing to toss aside women of experience for new blood. But an unintended benefit is that the movies have given us a lot of compelling female students (along with a few dandy male ones, such as "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" hero Greg Heffley). Just as girls mature faster than boys, maybe there are more good high school movies featuring girls because girls get better faster.

850 by Chris Hewitt. MOVED

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^Claiming her dumb-blonde persona was just an act, Hilton tries to show 'the real Paris'<

^MOVIE-THIS-IS-PARIS:MS—<When "The Simple Life" debuted in 2003, I described it as a new low in reality TV with "bubble-headed party girls who wouldn't know which end of the champagne bottle to chug from if their bodyguards weren't there to help."

Turns out the joke might have been on me.

"This Is Paris," a new documentary by director Alexandra Dean, makes the case that hotel heiress Paris Hilton is actually a genius.

600 by Neal Justin. MOVED

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^'Wonder Woman 1984' release date pushed back to December<

^MOVIE-WONDERWOMAN-1984:LA—<Warner Bros. has pushed back the release of "Wonder Woman 1984."

As Hollywood continues to make adjustments in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was announced Friday the theatrical release date of the DC superhero sequel starring Gal Gadot has shifted once again — this time from Oct 2. to Dec. 25.

350 by Tracy Brown. MOVED

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^David Zurawik: Showtime's 'Surge' — How good documentaries explain the world to us in this revolutionary moment<

^MOVIE-ZURAWIK-COLUMN:BZ—<I have long been a fan of documentaries. But in the last few years, I find myself watching and enjoying them more than ever.

Last week as I screened the Showtime documentary "Surge," I came to better understand one of the primary reasons for why I was watching and enjoying documentaries so much more. They explain, sometimes in as little as 60 minutes, parts of this revolutionary moment in which we are living like almost nothing else in media. They help us connect the dots of the vast societal change taking place in our lives. They offer some clarity amid the chaos.

1300 by David Zurawik. MOVED

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^Bruce Springsteen has a new song out and new album with the E Street Band is coming in October<

^MUS-SPRINGSTEEN:PH—<Finally, some good news to come out of 2020.

Bruce Springsteen will release his 20th studio album, "Letter to You," on Oct. 23. It's a 12 song set recorded with the E Street Band at Springsteen's home studio in Colts Neck, New Jersey.

The album contains nine newly written songs, including the title track that was released Thursday morning, plus new recordings of three that date back to the 1970s.

600 by Dan DeLuca. MOVED

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^Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard and singer-songwriter Mason Jennings discuss new Painted Shield project<

^MUS-GOSSARD:SE—<Their relationship may have started six years ago, but as Stone Gossard tells it, he and Minnesota singer-songwriter Mason Jennings are still very much in "the honeymoon" phase. Back in 2014, Jennings was feeling collaborative and his manager reached out to the Pearl Jam guitarist, a longtime acquaintance, who was also working on material apart from his stadium-filling main band.

The two hooked up for a low-stakes 7-inch record — highlighted by groovy '70s rock rumbler "Knife Fight" — leaving several other sketches on the table. At least until now.

"We realized to finish more songs it was going to have to be a little bit more back and forth," Gossard said. "Sometimes when you set stuff down for a few years and then re-listen, it's like you can hear it differently and you get energized by the history of it a little bit."

On Wednesday, Gossard and Jennings announced that partnership has produced a full-length album under the name Painted Shield. The self-titled record arrives Nov. 27 through Gossard's newly rebooted Loosegroove label.

950 by Michael Rietmulder. MOVED

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^MUS-BLUEGRASS:OW—<Not moving this week.

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^Backstreet Boys' AJ McLean discusses 'Dancing with the Stars,' coronavirus, more<

^TV-DANCING-STARS-MCLEAN:OS—<Backstreet Boys member and Florida native AJ McLean will compete for the Mirrorball Trophy during Season 29 of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," which airs on Sept. 14.

McLean said nothing can prepare you for "Dancing with the Stars," but his time in Orlando and South Florida — he was born in West Palm Beach but moved to Kissimmee at a young age to pursue an acting and singing career — helped him understand the entertainment industry.

"That's where everything really started for me as far as acting, theater, dancing and singing," he said, noting his 30-plus years of dance experience includes ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary and, once he joined the Backstreet Boys in 1993, urban.

McLean surmises being a part of the group gives him an edge, but it also has its downsides.

1200 by Kathleen Christiansen in Orlando, Fla. MOVED

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^Casey Anthony trial featured in premiere of new Court TV show<

^TV-JUDGMENT-BANFIELD:OS—<A new Court TV series hosted by former CNN and MSNBC legal analyst Ashleigh Banfield takes viewers on deep dives into intriguing cases that once captured the public's attention. And the Sept. 13 premiere episode focuses on the Casey Anthony trial in Orlando.

"Judgment with Ashleigh Banfield" offers looks at new interviews and exclusive reveals, while taking audiences inside the courtroom by utilizing Court TV's "trove of archive material."

700 by Kathleen Christiansen in Orlando, Fla. MOVED

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^Review: Harry Belafonte hosted 'The Tonight Show.' NBC erased the 'revolutionary' footage<

^VID-SIT-IN-BELAFONTE-TONIGHTSHOW-REVIEW:LA—<Harry Belafonte was in the news recently, when portions of a video posted online by White House social media director Dan Scavino — meant to make it look as though Joe Biden were falling asleep in an interview — were recognized as having been pulled from a 2011 interview with Belafonte instead. Twitter branded it as "manipulated media."

This revelation prompted Belafonte, 93, to release a statement: "They keep stooping lower and lower. A technical glitch in an interview I did nine years ago now becomes another one of their lies, more of their fake news." And he encouraged people to vote.

Now the singer-actor-activist and 20th century superstar has come into view again, as the subject of "The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show," an arresting if somewhat wayward documentary, that premiered Thursday on Peacock.

1350 by Robert Lloyd. MOVED

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^Ivanka Trump accepts 'View' host Joy Behar's vaccine challenge<

^TV-VIEW-BEHAR-IVANKA-TRUMP:NY—<Line up the shots!

First daughter Ivanka Trump accepted a flippant challenge by "The View" host Joy Behar to take the first COVID-19 vaccine that legally hits the market.

The 38-year-old adviser to the president even said she'd come onto Behar's ABC talk show to do it, though there's no word of an invite.

550 by Brian Niemietz. MOVED

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^TV-QUESTIONS:MCT—<Television Q&A: What's 'Filthy Rich'?

700 by Rich Heldenfels. MOVED

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^VID-NEWONDVD:MCT—<New on DVD: 'Succession: The Second Season' makes chaos fun

600 by Katie Foran-McHale. MOVED

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^TV-REMOTE-ADV13:CC—<Around the remote: Chuck Barney's TV picks for Sept. 13-19

600 by Chuck Barney. MOVED

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