Who Will Be on Hollywood’s Next A-list?

We’re starting to kick around ideas for a PopRox podcast — or what we’re going to call the “Popcast.” Get it? Great. Just a 15-20 minute audio or video file of me bitching about the latest Avengers rumor, extrapolating the reasons why Mad Men is the best show on TV or talking about the best places around here for happy hour. You also get the added bonus of it coming to you in my coal miner NEPA twang! Lucky you.

You won’t have to deal with me just talking for 15 minutes — I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. There already are some people around here at the Pocono Record who are going to pitch in with what I think are some pretty funny ideas. I’ve been wrong before about this kind of stuff, but it’s material that appeals to my sense of humor. So if you like this blog at all, you’ll probably find the material in the podcast at least moderately amusing.

It’s too soon yet to know if it will be a monthly, weekly or, heck, even daily thing. And the way I work, who knows if it will ever see the light of day. I just know we’ve had some reader requests to do one and PR Web guru John Misinco and I have been talking about putting one together for a while. Yesterday we came up with a framework we think can work, and I just wanted to keep readers updates.

It’s completely a work in progress right now, so I’ll welcome any ideas any readers might have or think they would like to see or hear. Just send ’em in through one of the 11 million ways to contact me, like Facebook or Twitter.

Also, the PopRox blogging schedule has been completely effed lately, sorry about that. It should be back closer to the Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule starting next week, but I can’t even guarantee that. One thing for sure is there will be no blog Friday, I’m off.

On to the links:

if these two are the future of hollywood, it's gonna be a boring future

if these two are the future of hollywood, it's gonna be a boring future

It could be that one of the reasons Knight and Day may have failed this summer is because people are just tired of seeing Tom Cruise and/or Cameron Diaz. With Nicolas Cage’s recent track record— including the predictable flop of Sorcerer’s Apprentice last weekend — we can start saying that about him too. It’s the obvious progression into a new generation of actors, a generation where the A-list is going to look about 75 percent different in 2015 than it looks now. But who’s going to be on that list five years from now? It’s a very exclusive list of actors who can guarantee a $100 million movie just because their name is above the title. Leonardo DiCaprio is on it now and will be five years from now. Will Smith probably will be too, but he’ll be on the downside of his career. So who’s there waiting in young Hollywood to grab those spots on that A-list? Anyone? Someone please tell me it’s not going to be someone like Zac Efron. Or Shia LaBeouf. Who’s out there, anyone? Bueller? It was a pretty discouraging list at this year’s Young Hollywood Awards in April — but I have a better idea of who the next big stars are than I do about what the Young Hollywood Awards are.

Robert Downey Jr. probably is going to be 50 in 2015, but his future is solidified with Sherlock Holmes and Iron Man. Book him. Ryan Reynolds is an easy choice since he’s got two potential blockbuster superhero franchises on his slate, has showed he can do comedy, and has the blessing and backing of Hollywood to become the Next Big Thing.

After that and in the 20-something crowd? Good luck. Jake Gyllenhaal would have been a lock five years ago after Brokeback, but he’s had five box office disappointments in a row since then. Andrew Garfield now has instant name recognition as the next Spider-Man, but that’s the only kind of recognition he’s got since only about 10 people have seen his other movies. Jesse Eisenberg might be a pretty good actor (he is) but there’s a better chance of Mel Gibson getting a spot in the Next Big Action Franchise than Eisenberg. If he’s lucky, he might get to lead a Scorsese movie or something, but that’s just about it. Same for Michael Cera, who already has talked about retiring. That’s right, people are actually taking their names out of the running in this race.

a much better bet than anyone else for the A-list five years from now

a much better bet than anyone else for the A-list five years from now

The only sure thing might be Scarlett Johansson taking over the Julia Roberts-Sandra Bullock-Reese Witherspoon mantle of highest-paid actress. She’s only 26 — which made her just an astounding 19 when she made Lost in Translation — she’s got instant name recognition, she’s smoking hot, men andwomen like her (a huuuuuge key) and she’s already nailed comedy, drama and action. Plus, she’s married to Reynolds, which makes them the next in the line of Cruise-Kidman and Pitt-Jolie. So you can almost guarantee she’ll be on the list.

Other than that? Your guess is as good as mine, or any studio executive’s for that matter. They’re all scratching their heads the same way we are. People are interested in franchises now more than they are actors. Look at this list of the top grossing movies of this year so far. In the top 20, there are two non-franchise/major adaptation movies carried by members of young Hollywood — Channing Tatum and Allentown’s own Amanda Seyfried in Dear John and Miley Cyrus in Last Song. Seyfried also turns up at #32 in Letters to Juliet. That is not a list I’m excited about at all. AT ALL. Yeah, I saw GI Joe, so Tatum actually does the opposite of excite me. I think we’ve just nailed down the first topic to talk about in Popcast.

And this is why Leonardo DiCaprio is on the A-list — because he could turn a mind-bending movie about dream intrusion that probably wouldn’t get made without his name on the project into a $62.1 million hit. The fact that the weekend estimate Monday was almost $2 million lower than the actual gross means more people than expected went to see the movie on Sunday. The word is out, and it’s because of DiCaprio. Hands down, he’s your #1 box office draw right now.

Two big TV premieres this weekend. Well, they’re big in the PopRox world, but seeing as Mad Men turns off 90 percent of the American population and Being Human on BBC America can only be seen by about a quarter of the country, they’re not exactly mark-the-calendar material for most people. But that’s why you’re reading! You’re not most people and you care about good TV. Supernatural cult hit Being Human kicks off first on BBC America at 10 p.m. Saturday. We got just six episodes last summer, but that was enough to vault it to the top of the TV sci-fi genre. The story of a vampire, werewolf and ghost isn’t perfect — especially the ghost portions — but it’s got a very good escapist quality that brings you into the universal theme of wanting to belong to society. Last season is on BBC America’s OnDemand right now, and it’s a pretty easy watch if you can get the chance to burn through them this week to catch up if you need to. Then you can come back and check out the first seven minutes of this week’s season 2 premiere episode right here:

When it comes to Mad Men, by this point, Sunday’s season 4 premiere shouldn’t need the hard sell. I’m perfectly comfortable knowing there are two types of people in the world — those that get Mad Men, and those that don’t. Those of us who do can plead with those of you who don’t about why it’s the best show on TV, but we’d just be wasting our breath. One side isn’t better than the other, they’re just … different. I fully understand why some people don’t, won’t and never will get the show. It’s slow, it’s a little too real and it doesn’t have much to offer on a weekly basis in terms of payoff. If you’re looking for the big payoff, it could be three or four episodes away, and some people just don’t have that kind of time or attention span. And if you missed the first three seasons, forget it. You’ll be lost with no chance of catching up unless you plow through the DVDs. For those of us who are fans, I consider us lucky to be in on one of the smartest shows that’s ever been aired. We invest in these characters like none other on TV, hoping Don Draper finally will turn his life around and the new version of Sterling-Cooper comes to life. If you are a fan, you might wanna take a trip into New York City on Sunday for a premiere party and costume contest. How does anyone even win one of those? Everybody is going to be dressed the same way int he slick 60s businessman/woman style. I’d suggest wearing a radiation suit or something to try and win.

no longer DOA

no longer DOA

People looking for their favorite canceled shows to get rescued now have another alternative to cling to hope with — DirecTV. After the satellite company picked up the thought-to-be-canceled Friday Night Lights to keep it on the air for three extra seasons of pure Dillon delight, now DirecTV is picking up FX’s former critical darling Damagesfor two more seasons of 10 episodes each. The important part of that news is that both Glenn Glose as Patty Hewes and Rose Byrne as Ellen Parsons are both signed and on board for the new seasons. Since those are the only two people that didn’t die last season, that’s probably all they’ll need before they assemble a new cast. As long as we get something that resembles season 3 Damages (solid B+) and less of season 2 (easy C-), then it will be worth bringing it back from the almost dead. The fact that there only will be 10 episodes per season has to help. No TV show of the last few years had so much extraneous material than Damages, cutting the useless parts out can’t do anything but help. As for DirecTV, it’s quickly becoming the place where semi-popular, critically acclaimed TV shows go to die. That’s good and bad news for the company, since they’re going to get letters from every yahoo on the planet hoping it will save their favorite show, no matter how stupid the request is. The good news is they’ll be getting those requests and people might think it would be a good idea to get DirecTV just in case they decide to save whatever low-rated show needs saving this season.

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