Monday, September 29, 2008

Web Radio Darling Pandora Breathes Easier, For Now

clint-noose.jpgWho says our elected officials can't get anything done? In addition to hammering out a $700 billion Wall Street bailout deal over the weekend, lawmakers extended a lifeline to Internet radio companies like Pandora, who are trying to lower the fees they're supposed to pay for streaming music rights.

Last night the House passed a bill that essentially gives Pandora and other Webcasters the ability to negotiate with the music business over royalty rates (see press release below). It's expected to clear the Senate in the next few days. Webcasters, led by Pandora's Tim Westergren, have warned that if the bill didn't pass, many of them would end up pulling the plug.

But the bill itself doesn't ensure that Internet radio will survive. Assuming it goes forward, it will simply give Webcasters the ability to continue haggling with the music industry over "performance royalties" -- the fees they're required to music owners each they stream a song. Tim and other Webcasters won't actually tell us what they're willing to pay, except that it's less than what Congress signed off on last year.

And the Internet radio business also has to resolve something that can't get fixed in Washington: How to generate real revenue from their services, since advertisers have so far shied away. If that doesn't happen, it won't matter what how much Internet radio pays the music business: The costs are always going to exceed the revenues.

UPDATE: We're stuck in 2005, says Tim. His full response:

We're going to generate over $20M of revenue in just our 3rd year. I think it's fair to say that we're rapidly solving the monetization issue. Advertisers love the medium, it just takes some time
to break through when you're still growing your comscore numbers.


Webcasters and Recording Industry Welcome
Passage of H.R. 7084

Bill Would Enable Implementation of Negotiated Agreements

Washington, DC – The House of Representatives last night approved by voice vote must-pass legislation that would benefit all webcasters -- large, small, non-commercial and simulcasters. The Digital Media Association (DiMA), SoundExchange, National Public Radio (NPR) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) all applauded the swift action taken by the House. It now moves to the Senate where supporters are hoping for quick passage.

The legislation (H.R. 7084) sponsored by Reps. Inslee, Berman, Smith, Conyers and Manzullo authorizes SoundExchange, on behalf of copyright owners and performers, to negotiate new royalty agreements for Internet radio through February 15, 2009 with Digital Media Association (DiMA), National Public Radio (NPR) and any other Internet radio service. It will benefit all webcasters, including broadcast simulcasters. This modification to existing law was introduced because Congress will be out of session as discussions between the parties continue, and it enables implementation of an agreement in the event the parties can reach an accord.

“Everyone is grateful to the sponsors of the bill and to Chairman Berman for getting this through the House last night,” said John Simson, Executive Director of SoundExchange. “This bill favors all webcasters and simulcasters – large and small. It paves the way for SoundExchange to use the coming months to pursue helpful solutions that allow all services to focus on business development. And, although there are no agreements yet, I am hopeful.”

Jonathan Potter, Executive Director of DiMA was also encouraged. “This is an important step. Hopefully the Senate will follow suit and we can return, energized, to negotiations.”

“This legislation benefits all music webcasters and excludes none," said Michael Riksen, NPR VP of Policy & Representation. “Passage will facilitate closure of an agreement to enable all public radio stations to continue their public service through the webcasting of music.”

Nothing in this bill affects the scope of sound recording performance rights or any underlying copyright law.

Supporters are hopeful the Senate will take up the bill prior to adjournment and it will be sent to President Bush for his signature. The parties expect negotiations to resume upon enactment of the bill.

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Wal-Mart Gives Consumers Number 1 Reason Why DRM is Not the Answer

Written by Corvida

The music industry is struggling to gain a foot-hold in the battle with online piracy. The options available for music lovers to grow their music collection digitally is tremendous and free. So much so that music companies and publishers have struck up agreements with some of biggest names offering digital music: iTunes, Last.FM., Amazon, Myspace, and Wal-Mart.

While the options are appreciated, a certain restriction that comes with the music files is not. To help music labels combat piracy, digital music providers such as iTunes and Yahoo introduced DRM restricted music files to consumers. Today, Wal-Mart has given consumers the number 1 reason as to why DRM was the worst thing ever.


Customers of Wal-Mart's digital music service will be in for a big shock very soon, just as Yahoo Music customers were. Wal-Mart has announced that they will shut down their DRM servers on October 9th. What does this mean for Wal-Mart digital music buyers?

If you have purchased protected WMA music files from our site prior to Feb 2008, we strongly recommend that you back up your songs by burning them to a recordable audio CD. By backing up your songs, you will be able to access them from any personal computer.
Beginning October 9, we will no longer be able to assist with digital rights management issues for protected WMA files purchased from If you do not back up your files before this date, you will no longer be able to transfer your songs to other computers or access your songs after changing or reinstalling your operating system or in the event of a system crash. Your music and video collections will still play on the originally authorized computer.

DRM restrictions ties all of your songs to your computer. To sum things up, customers will now have to back-up all of their downloads or risk losing them all. Because of the DRM restrictions on these files, you won't be able to transfer their music anywhere else. If you were to reinstall your operating system or simply purchase a new computer, Wal-Mart's shutdown of their DRM server would prevent you from taking your music somewhere else.

Talk About a Waste of Money

We're hoping Wal-Mart will do the right thing and refund customers a portion of the money spent, as Yahoo did when Yahoo Music shutdown. While the gaming community has been able to teach gaming publishers a lesson about DRM, we don't think anyone can provide a solution for the situation that Wal-Mart customers are going through.Will DRM-free music matter to consumers now?

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My Bloody Valentine to record new album

Kevin Shields and his band are to begin work on their first album in 17 years after he realised the material he abandoned in 1996 was pretty good after all

My Bloody Valentine, circa 1992. Photograph: Steve Jennings/Corbis

Kevin Shields ... 'I realised that the stuff I was doing in 1996 was a lot better than I thought' Photograph: Steve Jennings/Corbis

Seventeen years and hundreds of thousands of pounds later, Kevin Shields is again working on a My Bloody Valentine album.

Shields confirmed the rumours at the My Bloody Valentine-curated All Tomorrow's Parties festival this weekend, taking his earplugs out for long enough to talk to the New York Times. He will be returning to songs started over a decade ago, during abortive sessions for Island Records. "I realised that all that stuff I was doing in 1996 and 1997 was a lot better than I thought," he said.

The reunited My Bloody Valentine played several UK dates this summer and are now completing a North American tour. Shields hopes to begin recording new material with the band this autumn.

It has been 17 years since the release of Loveless, My Bloody Valentine's legendary album, which cost £250,000 to record, bringing Creation Records close to bankruptcy. "It was," Shields said this weekend, "a very, very damaged time for everybody."

My Bloody Valentine then signed to Island Records and Shields spent years in isolation, working in the studio until in 1997 Island finally cut him off, upset at the lack of progress. "That was it," Shields explained. "It was like the plug was pulled, 'No money for you anymore.'"

Revenue from the recent gigs have allowed the band to buy some £200,000 in equipment, and though the revitalised group has not yet been performing new songs, Shields seems enthusiastic for the future. He's not worried, either, that his outlook has improved from the "loveless" days of the early 90s.

"I definitely don't think you need to suffer to be creative," he insisted. "I've written some of my best songs when I've been happy."

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Friday The 13th Behind The Scenes Pictures

By George 'El Guapo' Roush

Jason's butt ugly face has been revealed in these behind the scenes pictures of the upcoming unnecessary why are they wasting the money remake of Friday the 13th. I guess this re imagining of the horror series' hook is that Jason runs after his victims instead of walks after them. Why does he need to run? His victims always tripped over their own stupidity at least twice when they decided to run off into the pitch black woods after skinny dipping by themselves with only the moonlight to guide them back to camp.

I'd like to see Jason end up at some Jesus camp or accidentally stumble across a bunch of LARPer's dicking around in the woods throwing imaginary magic missiles. Then we'd have a party.

Click the picture below to check out more shots of a man who is so tall (6'5) he probably plays hoops in between stupid teenager killing sessions.

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5 Upcoming Remakes of 80s Movies (That Must be Stopped)

By Cole Gamble, CRACKED Staff

Nothing from the 80s belongs in today's world. The themes we cared about then are sad reminders of how naive we once were, and the fashion trends that interested us are even sadder reminders of how idiotic we were.

Which makes it all the more ridiculous to see which 80s movies Hollywood wants to awkwardly jam into today's world. Movies like...


Communists invade America by paratrooping into a small, Colorado town. But they didn't count on running into a scrappy group of teens with a truckload of guns and everything to prove.

Why It Made Sense Then:

If you don't remember the 80s, just imagine listening to Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" playing on a boom box that at any moment could explode, killing you and everyone you know.

It was the peak of the Cold War, and America was basically standing around in parachute pants waiting for Armageddon to start. Back then, we all pretty much expected that one day we'd glance out the window during study hall and see a sky full of Communist paratroopers.

Now, how the bad guys in Red Dawn flew several thousand miles in hundreds of aircraft undetected until they suddenly landed on a high school football field in Colorado isn't really explained, but you couldn't put anything past those crafty Ruskies. Not a teenager who saw that movie at the time doubted it.

We also didn't doubt that our high school football team was badass enough to turn those fuckers back! WOLVERINES!

Why It Doesn't Now:

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, screenwriter Carls Ellsworth says the new Red Dawn will be an updated version, set in today's world. So, we're assuming that eliminates a contingency of Soviet and Cuban forces as the enemy. The producers have said they will update the threat to be more in keeping with a "post 9/11" mindset, which is just a nice way of saying all Middle Easterners and brown people in general.

There's the problem. Right now we're not in the heart of a massive arms race with another superpower, who at any moment could brazenly try to take over America despite the best efforts of Colorado's proudest high school football program. We know how the modern terrorist attacks. They're not the "paratrooping" type and they're not going knock over the government and set up re-education camps. So how in the hell is our band of teenagers hiding in the mountains going to make any sense?

And, uh, not to get all political here, but notice how all through Red Dawn the Commies refer to the kids as "insurgents?" Where else do you hear that term in the news these days? That's right, their movie is going to ask you to root for scrappy insurgents fighting with homemade weapons against an invading force, in a world where, in reality, we're the military superpower hunting down those kinds of people.

Okay, But Why ELSE Shouldn't They Remake It?

The original Red Dawn populated its cast with all the big teen celebrities of its day, which means there's at least a half chance we'll get a Red Dawn featuring some High School Musical bastards and at least two Jonas brothers.

Sick of being picked on, two scrawny nerds with everything to prove create the perfect woman using the strange and mystical power of computers. When the computer is struck by lightning, the woman comes to life because screenwriter John Hughes has never seen a computer.

Why It Made Sense Then:

Lightning + Technology = Magic was just a standard formula for the 80s. It worked in Weird Science, and it worked in Short Circuit, (Hey, they're remaking that, too! Fuck!).

How amazing it must have been in the 80s to not exactly know the limitations of computers. The newness of computers and the fact that the internet was just a distant fraction of a thought meant that technology could be whatever we wanted it to be. Two nerds take a computer, throw in a dash of lightning and create life? Sure, why the fuck not? We leave our toaster on the roof during every electrical storm because we desperately hold out hope for that very thing to happen in real life.


Why It Doesn't Now:

You're on the internet right now. Look around at all the options on your browser. Refresh. Stop. Home. Any "Create Life" buttons? No? Not one? Hm. Do you see anywhere at all that you can just feed cutout pictures from Playboy, automatically combine those pictures to form the perfect woman and then bestow sentience upon that woman? No? Get outta town!

You mean this isn't how technology works?

In 1985 you could treat the home computer as a god-like box of magic (movies today do the same with genetics and nanotechnology), but that pill is just a little bit harder to swallow now that most people own and work on several different computers. And none of them can even get Windows fucking Vista to work properly.

Okay, But Why ELSE Shouldn't We Remake It?

You may have heard that a shitty Sims movie is also in the works, but what you might not have heard is that it's going to be almost exactly like Weird Science. Somehow. So we basically have two remakes of movies that don't need to be remade in the first place with premises that will not work today. Why not be the bigger man, Actual Weird Science Remake, and politely bow out, and let The Sims Movie be the one to shit all over our childhood?

Sick of getting picked on, a scrawny kid with everything to prove stands up to bullies, wins the girl and saves the day using karate.

Why It Made Sense Then:

The 80s were a decade of fads, and this movie's titular ancient martial art was the fad of choice for teenagers who pictured themselves thrashing every bully in school at once with a blur of hands and feet.

Karate was so huge that hundreds of unsanctioned, unqualified dojos, dubbed "McDojos," quickly emerged all over the country to meet the shrieking demand for training. Of course, kids probably thought their local dojo was being compared to McDonalds because karate and fast food were the two most awesome things in the world. Or possibly because their sensei wore a clown suit during most lessons.

Knowing its audience to a degree that borders on cynical, The Karate Kid functioned as propaganda for nerds who wanted to believe they could basically learn to use the Force if they just met the right Asian custodian.

Why It Doesn't Now:

Of course, what the news really meant was that, like the meat at McDonald's, the karate at the McDojos was a bullshit imitation slowly poisoning an entire generation. And not in the badass way that bad dojos poisoned people in The Karate Kid - making you roam the night with your motorcycle gang kicking nerds off cliffs. McDojos fed them a much lamer poison: the mistaken belief that yelling "yah" when you slapped at someone gave you the ability to defend yourself.

Of course all that really did was make you look ridiculous in the moments immediately before getting your ass kicked. American kids eventually figured out that their sensei was the same guy that taught their mom's aerobics class, and karate fell off the continental shelf of cool and assumed its current slot next to boy scouting on the depth charts of awesome.

At best, kids today know karate as the reason Asian people could fly a long time ago, at worst, the 80s version of disco. The only possible sliver of hope for a remake would be giving it to an awesome director who understood that the only enjoyment anyone gets out of the original is the ironic, nostalgic kind.

Okay, But Why ELSE Shouldn't We Remake It?

The producers decided to go in another direction, and give it to a rapper-turned-actor-turned-inexperienced-director. Also, instead of having a proper audition process for the lead role, they decided to allow this director to put in his kid as the star.

That's right, Will Smith plans on putting this remake through his production company, Overbook Entertainment, directing it, and making his son, 9-year-old Jaden Smith, the star. How about getting your wife Jada a role, too, so no other family in Hollywood makes money off of this? Hell, just announce the casting of D.J. Jazzy Myagi already so we can get this whole abomination over with.

A chainsaw-wielding maniac with everything to prove murders a bunch of negligent camp counselors who just want to have sex with each other.

Why It Made Sense Then:

Friday the 13th got in on the slasher craze early and bothered to bring something new to the table. The movie leads you to believe that Jason's rotting corpse is stalking the camp killing everyone, only to pull the rug out from under you at the end by revealing that it was his angry mother all along. It told you a ghost story, and then made you feel retarded for believing in ghosts. This was all mind blowing before M. Night Shyamalan started jamming twist endings down your throat every chance he got.

It wasn't just a more innocent time at the movie theater. As a country, we just didn't really give a shit about anything in the 80s. Smoking laws were more relaxed, seat belts weren't mandatory, and a little up-and-comer named crack cocaine was poking its twitchy little head around the corner. It was a simpler time, when a woman could say "My son drowned because your counselors were off having sex " and the owners of the camp could respond "Yeah, I hear ya lady. But seriously, eat shit. Camp stays open."

Why It Doesn't Now:

First of all, negligent counselors let a kid drown and they didn't close the camp? Can you imagine that camp staying open today? Today's moms bitch so much that elementary schools across the nation are instituting separate tables and in some cases separate cafeterias to accommodate kids with peanut allergies. Jason's mom may as well be avenging a stage coach robbery.

Then there's the twist ending, the best part of the first movie. The one that asks us to believe that it was a thin middle aged woman who killed all those teenagers and tossed their bodies through a window. We suppose that made as little sense in the 80s as it does now (though modern audiences are just the sorts of assholes to point something like that out). But how about the fact that they're remaking a movie with a twist ending at all? How do you do that?

These people don't know either.

Is the twist ending this time going to be that it wasn't his mom? That there is no twist? Of course, it won't be the first time someone tried to remake a horror movie with a twist ending.

We didn't see Pyscho with Vince Vaughn, but we imagine it sucked.

Okay, But Why ELSE Shouldn't We Remake It?

We don't even know how many Friday the 13th movies have been made, but we know enough to know that they've broken every rule, tested the limits of every premise and retconned every death enough times that the series shouldn't technically exist anymore. Hasn't this franchise reached its boiling point as far as absurd plot holes by now? Seriously, take a brief look at some of the previous Fridays and see how things almost immediately start falling to shit.

Friday the 13th (original)

"Jason is revealed to be...Ma Voorhees, killing camp counselors as revenge for a couple of fornicating counselors that left her son to drown all those years ago."

Friday the 13th Part II

"OK, nevermind about the death of Jason. He's alive and wants to go on a murderous rampage to avenge the death of his mother who was killed avenging his death that never actually happened. "(???)

Friday the 13th Part III

"Let's do Part II again, but in a barn!"

Friday the 13th: Final Chapter

"Same, as the others, but with Corey Feldman now. Feldman hacks him to death with a machete."

Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives

"Okay, nevermind about the machete hacking, it was the kind that you can bounce back from with just a little old fashioned know-how. Also, there is murder."

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

"Let's do Part II again, but on a boat! Yeah we couldn't afford a set that looks like Manhattan."

Jason X

"Have we done space yet? Let's do space. Take the original script, replace 'teens' with 'astronauts,' 'machete' with 'liquid nitrogen' and 'plot' with 'space.' I'm taking lunch, I want this movie made by 5pm tomorrow."

You may notice the entire series consists of finding new places and ways for Jason to kill teenagers. You'll also notice they never brought back Ma Vorhees, probably because someone told them that a middle aged woman tossing teenagers around like beanbags didn't make any sense. If it's not about Ma Vorhees, that raises some even more mind boggling questions, such as: Won't it just be a remake of the shitty sequels that took place at Crystal Lake? Why not just call it a sequel then? Is there any possible scenario in which this film makes sense? Sadly only one of those questions has an answer.


Sick of being picked on, a scrawny America with everything to prove trains a squad of cocky, excitable navy flyboys who get shirtless with alarming regularity.

Why It Made Sense Then:

This is another Russia-related problem. Really, the overall calming-down of Russia has seriously negatively impacted our ability to remake 80s movies. The whole point of Top Gun was to train pilots to dogfight with Russians in an air-battlefield dubbed "the Danger Zone," which they reached by way of a complex air-highway.

At the end, they did engage in a dogfight with the Russians. And it was fucking awesome. Though for all we know it was that incident that spurned the Russians to retaliate in Red Dawn.

Why It Doesn't Now:

Lot of jet action in today's war going on? Big demand for skilled dogfighters for all those scary air skirmishes? No? Hm. I guess that leads us to the question: What the hell would we be training these pilots for? The Iraqis didn't even put their jets into the air, not wanting to waste the gas they would have burned in the fifteen seconds it would have taken all of them to get shot down. It's true they're trying to buy fighter jets now. From us.

"These dogfights would be a lot easier if they didn't also have planes.

So, are there a bunch of highly trained Al Qaeda fighter pilots that the news media bizarrely refuses to acknowledge? Are we training to fight the Chinese? That would be awkward, considering everything from their uniforms to the electronics in the planes are probably made there.

But beyond that, Top Gun was a chest beating, ultra patriotic movie with zero doubt in America's righteousness. Problems with Russia? No big deal, just pour some America on that sumbitch and watch the freedom come soaring in.

The political climate has changed slightly in the last couple of decades, to say the least. You may have noticed the war movies of today not only cast a critical eye on American foreign policy, but actually give names and faces to our enemies. We never saw the enemies that Maverick and Iceman so giddily shot down over the Indian Ocean (they politely covered their faces), but we couldn't get away with that today. Kenny Loggins just doesn't have a song for morally ambiguous wars with no easy solutions.

Okay, But Why ELSE Shouldn't We Remake It?

Every movie on this list is an awkward and misguided attempt to cash in on nostalgia, but Top Gun is probably the worst offender because it makes the least sense, like the producers printed out the Wikipedia page on popular 80s movies, threw a dart and greenlit a remake for wherever the dart landed.

To make matters worse, like a tiny, excitable moth to a flame, Tom Cruise is hoping to jump on this project to restore his current image by reminding people how not crazy he used to be. Cruise would be taking over the Tom Skeritt mentor role who teaches a rebellious, cocky young pilot how to straighten up and fly right.

That cocky young pilot? Katie Holmes. Perfect. No way that's going to be awkward and creepy.

We miss you, Hot Katie Holmes.

Replace Val Kilmer with a video of ALF getting sexually assaulted by a Ghostbuster and you'll have officially ruined everything that made growing up in the 80s wonderful.

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An Appreciation of Paul Newman: 1925-2008

One of the final living legends of movies passed away on Friday night and the world is a much sadder place. Paul Newman has died of cancer at the age of 83 at his home in Westport, Connecticut. Many, many outlets have already given the career of Paul Newman its due, and there will certainly be some of that in this off-the-cuff appreciation of a man who influenced this film critic as much as any that ever stepped in front of the camera, but I want to start with one thing that a lot of them seem to have missed – there will never be another actor like him.

He defied so many of the typical pitfalls of Hollywood, and his blend of humanitarian and consistent actor is likely to never come through the gates of Hollywood ever again. Newman made many clichés true but perhaps none more than that an actor could be "more than a pretty face." He was as handsome as they come but had unimaginable depth as well. And he did so off-screen as well. Actors are often portrayed as simple people, men who wouldn't be anything without the lines written for them, but Newman stood in consistent defiance of that stereotype on-screen and off. And he did so unerringly for decades. He changed lives with his charity work and the funds provided by his salad dressings and pasta sauces. He was a major player in the world of sports with Newman Racing. And he stayed married to the same woman, Joanne Woodward, for five decades. While actors of his generation had their ups and downs, Newman always stayed consistent. While De Niro, Pacino, Brando, and many others devolved into trash in the late years of their careers, Newman gave some of his best performances in his 60s and 70s. His track record on-screen and off is likely to never be matched. Not just cinema, but the world is a darker, sadder place without him.

Paul Newman was a man who influenced me personally a great, great deal. Ironically, the performance of his that first grabbed me was one of his more controversial - Fast Eddie in The Color of Money. When Scorsese's film was released in 1986, I was only eleven. I was a little too young to see it in theaters, but I was already into movies and I remember the hubbub surrounding his Oscar win for that role. Nearly everyone thought that it was more of a career achievement award than anything else, giving Newman the trophy he should have won at least once years earlier instead of sending him home empty-handed for an eighth time. I remember catching up with Color of Money on VHS a few years later and thinking to myself - "If this was one of his 'lesser' performances, I need to do some catching up." Basically, The Color of Money opened a door to a filmography that would become one of my absolute favorites and that is arguably unmatched in movie history. It's clichéd as hell for a film critic to say this, but Newman makes it true - he is one of the reasons that I do what I do.

What did Newman have that others didn't? How was he a star for five decades while others came and went? Some pundits have called it "cool," lazily playing off one of his most famous roles in Cool Hand Luke and pointing out how many women wanted to be with Paul and how many men wanted to be him. There's certainly some of that, but what Newman had was deeper than the traditional definition of cool. Newman was the cool guy that YOU could be. He was both the everyman and the coolest guy in the room at the exact same time. He seemed to gravitate towards flawed but relatable men like Eddie Felson, Hud Bannon, Luke, Butch Cassidy, Reg Dunlop, Frank Galvin, Sully Sullivan, and Max Roby. These were guys that you knew. If you didn't see yourself in them, you saw your dad, your grandfather, or your best friend. Newman was as iconic an actor as ever graced the screen, but, largely because of how well he embodied such believable characters, you felt like you knew him, like you could get a beer with him, go fishing, or watch a car race.

Whenever anyone important to me in the world of cinema passes away, I schedule my own personal film festival to commemorate the man. There are so many great films to choose from with Paul Newman that it's hard to set aside that much time. You could spend an entire weekend. But let me suggest that you get to the video store or look in your own collection for one from each era of his career. I've long marveled at the man's longevity with arguably a more consistent film resume than anyone in history, so it seems right to pick one from each decade.

I'm going to start with the breakthrough - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), in which Newman would play one of the first of many deeply flawed husbands, Brick Pollitt. That’s the clear choice. For many, it’s where it all began.

Picking only one role from the '60s, when Newman was one of the biggest stars in the world, is difficult, but the new Blu-Ray release of Cool Hand Luke (1967) is an absolute stunner and, in many ways, it's the role that people will think of first when they hear the sad news this weekend, if they know it or not. It's Newman in, at least, his physical prime. Of course, other great choices from that decade would be The Hustler (1961), Sweet Bird of Youth (1962), Hud (1963), Harper (1966), Torn Curtain (1966), and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), the last of which I may cheat and watch after my one-a-decade Newman festival is over. It never gets old.

In the '70s, Newman tended more towards blockbusters like The Towering Inferno (1974) and The Drowning Pool (1975), but he made a little Best Picture winner in 1973 that has truly stood the test of time, The Sting. Personally, it's a close call between that flick and the always-killer Slap Shot (1977). In the '80s, he would win the Oscar for The Color of Money (1986), but his best performance came four years earlier in The Verdict (1982), one of my personal faves. His age showing, Newman would give one of his most heartfelt performances and one that should have earned him a second Oscar in 1994's Nobody's Fool. It's one of his best.

As for the '00s, he would be nominated again for The Road to Perdition, but his final great performance would come in HBO's Empire Falls in 2005. That's the one to watch. Or you could always gather the whole family around the TV and watch Cars (2006), his final performance. It seems so appropriate that Paul Newman would end his career with a film that will be the first that most people see of his, considering the target age of the audience. Maybe even this weekend, someone will read about Newman's passing or check out one of his masterpieces sure to air on cable this weekend and, like what happened to me in the '80s, a door will open to an actor who transcended cinema. Parents, pull out your well-worn copy of Cars and tell your kids about Paul Newman. They’ll be better for it.

Paul Newman was an icon, an everyman, a devoted husband, a charitable hero, and one of the best actors that ever lived, all at the same time. He was both a legend and a guy who spent time working with seriously ill children and making the world a better place through philanthropy and salad dressing. He could walk the red carpet and still feel like he was one of the guys on the other side of the velvet rope. He was one of the biggest stars in the world who did SO much here on Earth. That will be his legacy. There will never be another like him.

- Brian Tallerico

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Heather Locklear Busted

TMZ has learned Heather Locklear was arrested yesterday on suspicion of driving while impaired.

Locklear was pulled over while driving in the Santa Barbara area.

Law enforcement officers tell us alcohol was not involved, but they are conducting tests to determine if Locklear was under the influence of drugs.

We're told she was released on her own recognizance, without having to post bail.

This could set up a bizarre custody battle given that Locklear and ex-hubby Richie Sambora have both been busted for similar charges.

Sambora pleaded no contest to DUI back in March -- his daughter Ava was in the car at the time he was popped. We're told Heather's kid was not in the car when she was arrested.

In June, Heather checked herself into an Arizona medical facility to fight anxiety and depression. Heather's reps have yet to get back to us.

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Plummer: 'My Sex Injury Made Shatner A Star'

Veteran actor Christopher Plummer is livid an injury he suffered during from a one-night stand meant that William Shatner played his part in Henry V - because it made the Star Trek actor a star.

Plummer was lined up to perform in the Shakespeare play in 1956 - but an unplanned romp left him unable to take to the stage, according to New York gossip column PageSix.

He says in his autobiography In Spite Of Myself: "I woke up alone the next morning... (pain) all around my groin and lower abdomen... I started to whimper like a whipped dog. 'So this is what syphilis is like?' I thought. 'I suppose I deserve it, but Christ, how the hell was I to know?'

But instead of being struck down by the disease, Plummer had dislodged a kidney stone and had to undergo a medical procedure with a surgical wire to resolve the problem.

He adds, "It began to sink in... Shatner, my understudy, would have to go on... (It) instantly brought back the pain. I screamed for a nurse who jabbed me with more morphine.

"I knew then that the Sob (son of a b**ch) was going to be a 'star.'"

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