Introducing Say Whaaaa?: The Week in Pop Culture Muffs, Missteps and Absurdities


Often, the Movieline staff is struck with awe, surprise and/or bafflement over things that actually happen on this beat in any given week. Assuming we can fully process these nuggets of hilarity, audacity, mendacity, judgment lapses and other pop-culture currency, there really is only appropriate response worth summoning at the end of it all: Say whaaaa? With this in mind, welcome to, well, Say Whaaaa?, your weekly catalog of head-scratching developments and other incredulity worth remembering. (Complete with the Say Whaaaa? Singers, of course. Welcome them!) Enjoy, and comment away with your own suggestions as well.

5. Sony loses the plot

After the director of Moon Twitter-ranted about Sony not supporting Sam Rockwell's putative Oscar campaign with Academy screeners, a representative for Sony Worldwide Acquisitions Group told Movieline that the studio was concerned about piracy issues. After all, the DVD is only coming out next week, and "The thing about Moon is that its particular genre is very predisposed toward being uploaded onto the Web," he explained. Say whaaaa? As our readers rightly pointed out, Moon is already on the Web after months of video release in Europe. (And a secondary Say whaaaa? to me for not blowing the punk's lie open on the spot.)

4. J-Lo's Oscar fantasy

Look, everyone in Hollywood wants an Oscar. That's why they're there. (If you didn't, you'd be Mo'Nique and live in Atlanta.) So you can't hold too much of Jennifer Lopez's hubris against her when she lamented the collapse of her Academy Award hopes after El Cantante fizzled in 2006. But there's something... different about any vision of Oscar that involves newborn twins, a hospital bed, and mild finger-wagging:

"I feel like I had that [Oscar-worthy role] in El Cantante, but I don't even think the Academy members saw it. I feel like it's their responsibility to do that, to see everything that's out there, everything that could be great. [...] It is a little bit frustrating. It was funny; when the Oscars were on, I had just given birth on the 22nd, and the Oscars, I think, were a day or two later. I was sitting there with my twins--I couldn't have been happier--but I was like, 'How dope would it have been if I would've won the Oscar and been here in my hospital bed accepting the award?'"

Say whaaaa? Not very dope, J-Lo. You and the kids come to Oscar, not the other way around. Nevertheless, the Academy has taken your frustration under advisement and is quite looking forward to The Back-Up Plan.


3. Yes, the man to the left is Gerard Butler

[Reattaches jaw] Say whaaaa? Enh, whatever, I'm not much better.

2. NBC's late-night lab explodes

NBC supposedly had the best of intentions in Dec. 2008 when it nudged Jay Leno from The Tonight Show into its 10 p.m. slot, five nights a week. Most everything that followed in NBC late-night has gone a million ways of wrong (Fallon keeps improving, though, no?), culminating in this week's bloody Leno-O'Brien-affiliates pile-up. Which apparently... is Conan's fault? And now he's faced with a choice of moving to midnight or hitting the road? And NBC needs five new series to replace Leno? Say whaaaa? The Leaning Tower of Zucker is unsalvageable. Evacuate the building.

1. On second thought, maybe we won't have what Mariah's having

Mariah Carey joined her Precious director Lee Daniels onstage at the Palm Springs Film Festival's swanky, star-studded opening-night gala. The purpose: To accept the event's Breakthrough Actress award for her role in Precious. The result: A meandering, woozy, champagne-fueled stream of half-sentences including, "Please forgive me because I'm a little bit um, yeah." The excuse: You just don't understand her! To wit: "If people don't understand me and they just think I'm this girl that stands by a microphone and sings 'Hero,' then they're definitely not gonna get me. But if people knew me they'd understand and have a sense of humor. And basically that's what gets me through life." All together now: Say whaaaa?