In today’s fire-breathing Movie News Rundown: House of the Dragon ratings are a major win for HBO Max; Nathan Fielder tries to clean up after The Rehearsal; a joke about cleavage in Bodies, Bodies, Bodies sets off a social-media flame war.
Out Today: Top Gun: Maverick, which you should really see in a theater, is now available for digital home viewing for $20. Here’s director Joseph Kosinski addressing a very dark fan theory about the film.
House of the Dragon Ratings: Amid all the drama around HBO Max, it enjoyed an unqualified success with the premiere of the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon: It scored nearly 10 million viewers across all platforms for the biggest debut in HBO’s history.
Does This Mean I Have to Keep Track of All These Characters? Yes, but we wrote this survival guide to make it easier.
The Rehearsal: Has everyone seen the extremely sad and upsetting Season 1 finale of Nathan Fielder’s The Rehearsal, also on HBO Max? If not, don’t. The show involves Fielder hiring child actors to pretend to be his son at different ages so he can imagine fatherhood. But things take an awful turn when one little boy, who has no father of his own, begins to call Fielder “Daddy” on-camera and off, and cries when separated from him. It’s beyond sloppy that no one involved in the production realized how confusing and upsetting it might be for a 6-year-old fatherless boy to have to pretend to have a loving father, only to be separated from him. And it’s disappointing that the episode focuses more on Fielder’s feelings about the huge mistake he’s made than on the well-being of the child, though perhaps Fielder calculated that it was best, after a certain point, to just get out of the boy’s life. In case you think we’re dumping on Nathan Fielder without getting his side, we tried, but he declined an interview. Anyway, here’s a funny tweet.
The season finale of the rehearsal just fully convinced me that child actors should be illegal and that Nathan Fielder deserves both jail time and an Emmy
— Massey (parodeez) (@massefras) August 20, 2022
Yes: I did previously praise Nathan Fielder for the show, but that was before all this.
Bodies, Bodies, Bodies: New York Times freelance critic Lena Wilson made a joking aside in her negative review of the horror film Bodies, Bodies, Bodies that the film “doubles as a 95-minute advertisement for cleavage.” One of the film’s stars, Amandla Stenberg, later DMed Wilson, “Maybe if you had gotten your eyes of my t—, you could have watched the movie.” Stenberg subsequently explained in an Instagram story: “I thought it was hilarious. I thought that because Lena is gay — I’m also gay — I thought that as gay people we would both find this comment funny.”
Did Lena Find It Funny? No. Wilson shared Stenberg’s DM on TikTok and tweeted “always weird when the homophobia is coming from inside the house but this is something.” Wilson also said on TikTok that she didn’t “want this person who has more social power than me to think that it’s f—ing okay to do something like this.” And of course lots of people weighed in, taking sides with Wilson or Stenberg. Stenberg attempted to resolve things by saying in her Instagram story: “You are allowed to make criticisms of my work, and I am allowed to have my criticisms of your work, and that is A-OK with me… Thanks to anyone who has gone to see our 95-minute advertisement for cleavage.”
Any Other Social Media Platforms Wanna Jump in Here? Snapchat? You good? Facebook? You’re gonna sit this one out? Me too, because sometimes you just don’t need to say anything. Which brings us to our new segment…
Today in Bad Takes: A writer at TheWrap takes issue with so many celebrities taking mental health breaks, because they are circus animals who are supposed to dance for us no matter what. The story is a fun study in bifurcated audiences: It went up on The Drudge Report, resulting in lots of comments from conservative-leaning readers who think these celebrities should get over themselves. But on Twitter, which leans left, the response was basically a collective nope.
May I Editorialize: If people want to take a break, that’s really none of our business, is it? I guess one could make the case that by publicly announcing the break, they’re making it our business, but it’s probably easier to issue one blanket release than to turn down dozens or hundreds of interview requests by explaining that you need some time to yourself. Anyway, I support mental health breaks and think it’s healthy for everyone if celebrities can help de-stigmatize mental illness. I worked at TheWrap years ago and like lots of people there, but this was a mean-spirited piece. Also, it reminds me of a very accurate journalism joke.
How Does a Journalist Count to Three? One… two… trend!
Goodbye Horses: Thank you for reading.
Main image: Syrax and a friend in House of the Dragons