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GoDaddy.com parody of Budweiser puppy commercial an advertising misfire

Written by Maria Sciullo on .

GoDaddy.com has topped itself this time, offending thousands of people online days before the Super Bowl.

GoDaddy, an Internet domain registrar and Web hosting company, created a mean-spirited parody of Budweiser's feel-good Super Bowl spot that was sure to rankle viewers and keep the brand name trending.

It generated media buzz, all right, but now is dealing with the fallout.

A little background here: Budweiser debuted its 2015 ad on NBC's "Today" Tuesday morning. It featured a cute little puppy that winds up far from home when accidentally locked in the back of a truck (anyone here remember that episode of "Timmy and Lassie"?)

The puppy perseveres through storms and dark of night, and finally makes it home with the help of some horsey friends. Melted hearts all around.

In the GoDaddy version, the little fellow also bounds joyfully home. But "Buddy" is quickly shipped off as merchandise -- it's tough to tell if the owner is running a puppy mill or just your average backyard breeder. She used GoDaddy, of course, to build her business's web site.

No one can accuse GoDaddy of good taste in its previous Super Bowl attempts. Its commercials have been sexist and not particularly original, but they got people talking. This time, however, its ads made the mistake of underestimating how much we care for pets. 

"The Budweiser ad is adorable and builds on the Americana approach Bud has been using so successfully," said John Elisco of Pittsburgh-based Elisco Advertising's Creative Cafe. "GoDaddy’s parody is a massive miscalculation on how much people love animals and their pets. It made me wonder if GoDaddy remembered the public reaction to Michael Vick’s dog fighting."
 
After a Pennsylvania woman created an online petition to pull the ad online, more than 42,000 people responded. The decision by GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving was also hailed by PETA. "We underestimated the emotional response," Irving wrote on GoDaddy site. "And we heard that loud and clear."

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Kevin Hart finishes up weekend of movie opening and 'SNL' hosting with four shows in Pittsburgh

Written by Sharon Eberson on .

2015KevinHartNBC

If you saw Kevin Hart’s opening monologue on “Saturday Night Live” Jan. 17, you saw the PG-13 version — his words — of the first 10 minutes or so of his stand-up routine at in Pittsburgh last night. You may also have noted the shout out to Heinz Hall in a sketch about him having an appearance there, and that’s where he made those self-preservation jokes pay off.

On Sunday, we heard the R-rated version of the opening about being afraid of the wild animals in his neighborhood (in particular one menacing raccoon), not trusting his contractor and making his son take the trash out in the dark that faded into what seemed like a long, winding path of observations about ordering at Starbucks and his daughter’s patience when it comes to getting a good scream out of him and sorry, but he wouldn’t want to be with someone who had lost a shoulder in a mountain lion attack or lost his or her knees to a nasty orangutan.

The latter lead to his favorite and oft repeated joke of the night — the black woman who reacts to such farfetched stories with, “Orangutan? Reeeeally?” That one got a workout, but it didn’t get old, mostly because of his joy in delivering it.

Hart, the star of “The Wedding Ringer” with Josh Gad, out Friday, had a big weekend that continues today. He was the second half of the What Now? Tour — after three opening acts — here for four shows. I was at the first at 7; then they were on at 10 Sunday and again at 7 and 10 tonight.

The three openers whose names went by quickly got about the initial reaction you’d expect when unannounced acts delay a headliner’s appearance. I say unannounced because, well, try to Google “Kevin Hart” and the tour name and even opening acts and let me know what you find. They were not interchangeable although sex, race and parenthood were through themes, and yes, Bill Cosby was mentioned to groans and a few chuckles. 

A couple of the comedians, Hart included, commented on the cold in Pittsburgh, as if they were surprised there was a chill here in January. Hart had just come from New York so I wasn’t buying that, but the audience went along and laughed politely or heartily throughout the night.

The one constant before Hart’s appearance was warnings about cell phone usage and it was odd to see yellow-shirted security guards with flashlights moving alongside tuxedoed ushers up and down the Heinz Hall aisles.

The emcee may have gotten his biggest laughs when explaining how people of different races and ethnicities should not react if tapped to leave because they were caught using their cell phones during the act.

When Hart finally strode out in a black and white striped jersey emblazoned with “HBA” (hot by association, I take it?), it was to a movie star’s welcome.

Hart’s star is shining bright these days on screen, but he obviously thrives in the glow of a live spotlight. When he left the stage a little before 9 p.m., he made a point to thank Pittsburgh audiences for their support throughout his career, including early appearances at local clubs, and said he would always include us on any tour. We’ll keep the welcome mat out, I’m sure.

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'Boyhood' cover for Entertainment Weekly: Boy oh boys

Written by Maria Sciullo on .

Entertainment Weekly readers will be surprised by this week's cover, which honors Golden Globes best drama winner "Boyhood."

ellarcoltraneThanks to the everyday magic of photo manipulation, the film's star, Ellar Coltrane, appears as three versions of, well, Ellar Coltrane. His 20-year-old self stands smiling, casually draping his arms around the shoulders of 11- and 12-year-old Ellars. 

"We wanted it to look like Ellar was really interacting with his younger selves," said Lisa Berman, EW photography director.

Richard Phibbs, who shot the cover for EW, employed stand-ins. 

"Boyhood" will soon discover if there's Oscars love for an innovative film shot over the course of 12 years.

 

Beside earning best picture last Sunday, Richard Linklater won a Golden Globe award for best director and Patricia Arquette took home best supporting actress.

Nominations for the 87th Academy Awards will be announced around 8:30 a.m. EST Thursday. The event will be televised from Los Angeles' Dolby Theatre February 22.

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'The Interview' filmmakers get their wish: It's being seen, even by me

Written by Sharon Eberson on .

I was personally offended by the movie I saw on Christmas Eve. It took aim at broadcast journalists who are depicted as either being stuck in ivory towers or idiots.

Nah, not really. I'm not easily offended.

2014JamesFranco1225For my $5.99 at www.seetheinterview.com and the twinge of nervousness spending it, I got the gross, irreverent "The Interview," which like other movies by Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg (they directed and are credited with the concept; the screenplay is by Dan Sterling) is designed to get as many laughs as possible out of sex or bodily-function jokes with a maximum of obscenities and pop-culture references (I enjoyed the latter, by the way). As parodies go, the much-ballyhooed plot to assassinate the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and how the country is depicted falls somewhere between a Quentin Tarantino historical fantasy and a bumbling Austin Powers' caper. 

"The Interview" is as much centered on the Rogen-Franco bromance as what a few comedians have to say about North Korea and how our government deals with scary dictators. It's ridiculous, it has some heart; your expectations are likely spot-on. The threats against and digital invasion of Sony by, well, someone, have had the opposite of the intended reaction: They have made "The Interview" a must-see for USA first-amendment patriots, if you believe the Twitter-verse. I would likely have waited for the movie to hit a cable channel if not for my curiosity giving in to all the fuss. "Into the Woods" is more my speed.

There is a high-concept plot -- Rogen plays Aaron, the producer of a popular talk show that has hit its 1,000th episode and seems to be soaring. The host, Dave Skylark, is played by James Franco, a supposedly charismatic talking head who makes lots of goofy faces and is fed questions by Rogen as guests share their secrets. It opens with perhaps my favorite bit: a renowned rapper (playing himself) revealing he is gay on camera. Franco mugs beyond belief (beyond belief being the key here).

At the after party, a "60 Minutes" producer and Aaron's J-school classmate looks down his nose at his talk-show counterpart. He may as well have  "You call that journalism?" tattooed on his forehead. The confrontation sends Aaron into a contemplative mood when suddenly Dave rushes in to say they have been invited to North Korea for the biggest get in talkshowdom. Soon Agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan) arrives and pops the question: Since you are going to North Korea and have access to its leader, how about you guys kill Kim for us?

All I'll say about the rest of it is that I now have a new word in my vocabulary: honey-potting, a synonym for seducing. I like it, guys, even in the context of:

Aaron: "You are being honey-potted." Dave: "No. Women are smart in 2014." (That's from memory, but you get the idea.)

Geek that I am, I also enjoyed it every time Dave tells Aaron that he's Samwise Gamgee to Dave's Frodo. Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) is portrayed as a fan of Skylark's (sitting in for Dennis Rodman?) who is a caring and conniving one minute and psychotic and petulant the next. Although events play out on a grand scale, here he is seen mostly as a threat to the Aaron-Dave bromance. If you've seen the Rogen-Franco just-because "Bound" video, it's more of the same. Interesting that the note on the front end of the YouTube video for "Bound" says they were inspired to make it on the set of "The Interview."

I got on Twitter for a little while during the movie, just to see if anyone was watching before the movie opened in movie theaters today. Of course they were. As I write, at 8 a.m. on Christmas Day, it's the third highest trending topic, behind Merry Xmas and Santa and ahead of Happy Christmas. The tweets were heavily on the thumb's up side, although at the Rotten Tomatoes website, it has a 50 percent rating among critics and 73 percent among the audience. 

I should add that there were many reports and tweets about the site to download "The Interview" being "slow and glitchy." I had no problems at all paying and getting the film immediately.

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Jitters in Shadyside v Central City Jitters in 'The Flash'

Written by Sharon Eberson on .

Has anyone seen a red streak in Shadyside? Compare Jitters coffee shops ...

2014JittersFlashShadyside1222Shadyside Jitters/Josh Axelrod

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