It's Halloween, a time for escaping the drudgery of the real world by slipping into a totally new guise, and in that spirit Friday Buzzkills has decided to dress up as "Column That Used To Be Much Longer, But Is Now Dramatically Reduced Because We Have Too Many Other Things To Worry About Right Now." (It's conceptual.) Some of you seemed to enjoy last week's leaner-and-meaner digest more anyway; hopefully you won't mind if we coast on that for a little while. Besides, like that old lady who's been grudgingly placating trick-or-treaters with the same bag of candy corn for the last four or five years, you should be glad you're getting anything at all. And if not, feel free to metaphorically egg our house in the comments.
- Special Friday Buzzkills Poll!: In a week filled with contenders, who best exploited the tragic murder of Jennifer Hudson's family by using it as a shameless excuse to promote themselves? Is it: A) The makers of The BackUp "bedside shotgun rack," who sent out this press release wondering aloud whether their amazing product "could have saved the Hudsons' lives" a mere 24 hours after the story broke? Or was it B), Tiffany "New York" Pollard, who took time out of her busy schedule of being awful to offer her heartfelt condolences to Hudson by way of the dramatically lit, attention-seeking YouTube missile seen below–which somehow manages to make a triple homicide all about her? Vote now!
- Speaking of exploitation, Larry Birkhead–who plugged the slot machine that was the late Anna Nicole Smith and came up a double-diamond winner with daughter Dannielynn–is putting his adorable little meal ticket under the soft-focus scope of a new reality show for E! Because it's never too early to set unrealistic expectations for your children and start them down the path of slow, public self-destruction. It took Mommy 40 years, Dannielynn, but kids today do everything twice as fast!
- Then again, the children of the famous never have it easy, with or without a second, talentless parent milking them in a desperate attempt to avoid having to find a real job. Just ask Bill Pullman's son Jack, who would just be another redneck teen getting busted for moonshine and roughing up a government officer were it not for the fact that his dad starred in Independence Day. Now his hopped-up mug is being plastered across celebrity tabloids and (if we're lucky) inspiring some last-minute Halloween costumes.
- As delightfully obscure as going as "Sleepless In Asheville" up there might be, however, we'd say it's better to stick to the classics–but then again, there's really no such thing anymore, is there? Not when Hollywood's Dr. Frankensteins are constantly reanimating dead flesh like Melrose Place or Hellraiser in hopes of creating the illusion of life. Still, neither of those projects have anything on one of the scariest "franchise" concepts we've heard in some time—and not coincidentally, one we're hoping to see become standard at every Halloween party next year and beyond: The Jonas Brothers with fat, farting dog. (Headline of the week, BTW.) If only they could somehow work in talking robots, we'd finally have a movie that combines everything that's great about American cinema!
- Lauren Dombrowski made her name in Boston's stand-up comedy scene, where she was one of the few female performers who held her own against friends Steven Wright and Denis Leary. Later she became one of the head writers and producers on the long-running (albeit critically reviled) MadTV. In 2001, Dombrowski learned she had cancer 10 days after her honeymoon; she lost her battle with the disease earlier this month, dying at the age of 51.
- There have been plenty of performers who have stolen entire movies with a single scene, but how many have done with it five words? As the mother of Rob Reiner (and wife of Carl Reiner), Estelle Reiner contributed a seconds-long cameo to his 1989 film When Harry Met Sally, where–after watching Meg Ryan fake an orgasm in a deli–she delivered the deadpan, "I'll have what she's having." (The line was eventually honored with a spot on the American Film Institute's Top 100 Quotes at a respectable number 33.) Reiner also had small roles in Fatso and The Man With Two Brains, as well as a moonlighting career as a cabaret singer in her 60s; the matriarch of one of the greatest families in comedy died this week at the age of 94.
- The rise of "porno chic" in the early '70s, the mainstreaming of pornography in general, the infamous name of the informant who helped bring down the White House in the Watergate scandal–all of these can be traced to one man: Gerard Damiano, writer and director of 1972's Deep Throat. The film became an overnight sensation that attracted celebrities like Truman Capote and Johnny Carson to screenings, launching a brief period in American history when watching porn was seen as a pastime of the culturally hip, and while this ended rather quickly–and the film was later accused of being everything from criminally obscene to mob-funded to a visual documentation of star Linda Lovelace being raped–it's long since cemented its reputation as the most famous porn film ever made. Damiano made over 50 films in a career that stretched into the 1990s–including other "classics" like The Devil In Miss Jones, The Story Of Joanna, and Splendor In The Ass–before eventually retiring after 1994's Naked Goddess 2. He died this week at the age of 80, giving you one last reason to bust out the tissues.
Have a super weekend!