Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Friday Buzzkills: End of New Line; have fun in Cleveland; sadly, Bret Michaels didn't forget to write

"Winter slumbering in the open air / Wears on his smiling face a dream of spring." Sure he does, Sammy. And Friday wears on his slack-jawed, drooling mug a week's worth of disappointment, schadenfreude, and otherwise bad news. In this stately pleasure-dome did a Friday Buzzkills we decree.

- The House That Freddy Krueger Built has finally crumpled (and for once, it has nothing to do with Michael Bay): New Line Cinema has been swallowed whole by Time Warner, costing the jobs of more than 600 staffers and ousting overseers Michael Lynne and Bob Shaye, who started the studio in his apartment more than 40 years ago. After evolving from an upstart home for slashers and John Waters into one of filmdom's heaviest hitters thanks to a string of hits culminating in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, New Line has been kicked back to the minors, reduced to its roots as a mere "genre arm" for Warner's comedy, horror, and "urban" pics. Ironically, the studio's long, expensive legal wrangling with Peter Jackson over The Hobbit is partly to blame, meaning that its hard-won victory there is as bittersweet as it was short-lived; the films will now be folded under Warner's leathery wings. Of course, if there's an upside to the end of the Line, it's that Brett Ratner is sad. "They are family," he told The Hollywood Reporter, "and it's like seeing your family fall apart." (Hey Brett: So maybe you shouldn't have milked your "family" over those back-end deals on Rush Hour 3, eh? Just sayin'.)

- Bad news, you naïve, Obama-supporting liberals who believe in American "surrender" in Iraq: Angelina Jolie thinks the troop surge is a good thing, meaning from now on all of your Jolie-related sexual fantasies will be interrupted by boner-killing ideological squabbling. In a Washington Post op-ed piece entitled "A Reason To Stay In Iraq," Jolie writes that the presence of U.S. armed forces has created an opportunity for humanitarian groups to aid Iraqi refugees, and says of the troops she spoke to: "They miss home but feel invested in Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian progress they now feel is possible." (And we're sure the troops' sudden interest in refugee suffering had nothing whatsoever to do with their proximity to Angelina Jolie.)

- Of course, why would the troops want to go home when they have March 10's Operation MySpace to look forward to? As a tribute to the hardworking men and women stationed in Kuwait, the social networking site is saying "Thanks for the add–and all the killing!" with a live concert featuring performances from Jessica Simpson, The Pussycat Dolls, and Disturbed, all hosted by Carlos Mencia. (Wait, are we sure this isn't the torture playlist?)

- "Spin-off!" Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul? Family Guy fans/detractors should have plenty of reason to rejoice/bitch endlessly in the comments today over the recently announced Cleveland, a new spin-off focusing on The Griffins' eponymous, slow-talking neighbor. Not much is known about the show other than Seth MacFarlane is already writing it along with Family Guy writer/producer (and voice of Cleveland), Mike Henry, so you can be sure that it's going to suck. Or rule. Whatever. Slug it out amongst yourselves.

- Toby Keith–country singer, amateur proctologist, dog daddy–recently announced he is hard at work on his second film, Beer For My Horses. What? Yes. Huh? Exactly. After the apparent success of Keith's debut drama Broken Bridges (Netflix it!), CMT offered to bankroll Horses, a comedy based on the hit single of the same name that finds Keith and Rodney "Dear Penis" Carrington (both of whom are co-writers) starring as "small-town deputies who embark on a wacky road trip to rescue their girlfriends from comically evil drug lords." Somewhere in there Ted Nugent probably blows some shit up, Willie Nelson makes a none-too-subtle weed joke, and Tom Skerritt stands around looking embarrassed. By the way, anybody remember when Claire Forlani was supposed to become a big star? No? Just checking.

- Speaking of musicians dipping their quills in ill-advised inkwells: Bret Michaels is taking the second wind he's earned from being the D-list meat in a pen of desperate skanks and learning to fly, baby, announcing plans to release his "much-anticipated" autobiography this fall. We hope whoever ghostwrites it for him has a better thesaurus than we do; ours only has eight synonyms for "breasts." (And one of them is "udder.") No official word on the title yet, but we'll bet every fucking penny in the Friday Buzzkills petty cash drawer that it's some play on "Every Rose Has Its Thorn."

- If nothing else, at least Michaels proves that there are still second acts in the music biz–which may not be much consolation to disgraced former boy band guru Lou Perlman, who's currently awaiting trial on federal bank fraud charges and facing the possibility of more than 25 years in prison. The upside is you can turn his destitution into your personal schadenfreude-y gain by bidding on one of the world's saddest eBay auctions: A former associate of Perlman's who snapped up everything he could at last year's bankruptcy auction has put it all up for sale in a collection comprising a veritable museum of Perlman's heyday, wistfully evoking a halcyon era of whitewashed R&B; and non-threatening sexuality. At last glance, the actual 1997 MTV Europe Music Video Award given to the Backstreet Boys was going for the bargain price of $31. Sure, it's a little expensive for a gag gift, but just imagine the look on their face.

- And speaking of the Backstreet Boys, their former publicist, Jonathan Jaxson, has obviously not suffered enough indignity for one lifetime: He recently went to ABC News with some exclusive "dirt" on gossip blogger, newly minted music mogul, and Day-Glo death knell for the concept of "celebrity" Perez Hilton and inadvertently outed himself as one of the worst Faustian bargainers of all time. Apparently Jaxson's thirst for his own pathetically small crumb of fame led him to make a deal with Hilton, agreeing to trade several homemade sex tapes of himself in exchange for Perez's "promise to alert him to breaking celebrity news" for his own blog. When Perez failed to provide his pliable new competitor with story ideas (Hey Jonathan: ap.org. No, no. No need to thank us with a sex tape), Jaxson went crying to ABC, who published Jaxson's complaint–followed by a heartfelt declaration of wanting to "leave the blogosphere" and "do stories that matter"–with absolutely no trace of sarcasm. By the way ABC, Perez is revolting enough as it is. Do we really need to know what he jerks it to?

- The wrongful-death lawsuit against the doctors who treated John Ritter has already stirred up more than enough sadness–including confirming that no matter how many guest shots he did on Arrested Development, Henry Winkler will go to his grave as "The Fonz"–but today it kicked out one of the week's most depressing quotes: A voicemail message Ritter left for his widow, Amy Yasbeck, shortly before he died of a torn aorta. In it, Ritter says that he believes he has food poisoning, before calling back and complaining of chest pains shortly before he collapsed on set. Even more disquieting: Yasbeck is seeking $67 million in damages–a figure mostly based on the opinion of a "forensic economist," who speculates that had Ritter lived and 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter continued for seven more years, he would have earned nearly $41.9 million. Yeah, that's not ghoulish in the least.

Have a super weekend!

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