Today's News: Our Take


STILL THE BOSS

Bruce Springsteen was 2003's top concert act with $115.9 million in ticket sales. Celine Dion ranked second with $80.5 million. read more

Insider


Mickey Mouse is now three quarters of a century old, but whatever you do, don't tell him that. As animated as ever, the adorable rodent has filled up his schedule with more photo ops and marketing meetings than the cast of Friends. But, even as he looks forward to the summer '04 video release of The Three Musketeers — believe it or not, his first full-length feature with Donald, Goofy, et al — he kindly allowed TV Guide Online to bend his ear long enough to ask him Seven Silly Questions.

TV Guide Online: Mickey, how is it that after 75 years, you still look as young and spry as you did when we first met you — or rather, when our parents did? Plastic surgery? Botox? Clean living? What's your secret?
Mickey Mouse:
Aw, gee, thanks, pal. Let's see... I try to eat right, and I mousercise. Oh, and for the occasional wrinkle? A good old-fashioned eraser. Works every time!

TVGO: Think fast &# read more

Jon Cryer Still Thinks Pink


You'd think Jon Cryer would be in a celebratory mood. After starring in four failed sitcoms, he has finally landed a prime-time hit with Two and a Half Men (Mondays at 9:30 pm/ET). But the 38-year-old former brat packer — he was Duckie in Pretty in Pink — won't break out the champagne just yet. Heck, he won't even settle into his trailer. "Let's just say, I don't decorate my dressing rooms," he winks. "Not until the second season."

TV Guide Online: Love you on Two & a Half Men. But love you more in Pretty in Pink. It's one of my favorite movies ever!
Cryer:
Thank you.

TVGO: So, I've got to ask. Duckie — a blessing or a curse?
Cryer:
Oh, definitely a blessing. A lot of people have a lot of affection for him. And his predilection for mismatched prints has allowed me to wear mismatched clothing for the rest of my life and say, "It's an homage!"

TVGO: Speaking of clothes, do you st read more

MYSTERY DEATH

Was the demise of singer-songwriter Elliott Smith a suicide or not? The Los Angeles County Coroner remains unsure, saying his two fatal stab wounds "could have been inflicted by him or by another." Last October, Smith — an Oscar nominee for his 1997 single "Miss Misery" from the movie Good Will Hunting — was found dead at home by his live-in girlfriend. The unsolved case is still open. read more

BIG FAT PRACTICAL JOKE

Fox has unveiled its latest reality series, and it sounds just dumb enough to work. In My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé (debuting Jan. 19), a beautiful "bride-to-be" named Randi plays a practical joke on her family and friends when she announces her engagement to Steve — an individual so loathsome he makes Bob Guiney look like Prince Charming. Randi must continue the charade all the way through to the wedding ceremony in order to win a million dollars. But the joke is also on Randi, who is under the impression that Steve is just a reality show contestant like herself. In reality, he and his family are professional actors. read more

Sean Astin: From Hobbit to He-Man


A funny thing happened after Sean Astin wrapped his grueling two-year Lord of the Rings tour of duty: He lightened up — mentally and physically — for his role in the Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore comedy 50 First Dates (due out in February).

"I lost a lot of weight and am in much better shape," he tells TV Guide Online of his Dates gig, which has him playing Barrymore's gym-rat brother. "[My character's] doing splits all the time and push-ups and jumping jacks and lifting things. He's supposed to be this incredibly muscle-bound guy, but I'm not really that muscle-bound, so it is a joke on that level, too."

After spending so much time wearing dusty cloaks and donning hairy foot prosthetics for Rings, Astin also relished the opportunity to go completely over-the-top with his character's look. "He wears workout clothes with silly parachute pants," the 32-year-old says with a laugh. "And the tan that [ read more

MORE KUDOS

The Southeastern Film Critics Assn. — huh? — has named The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King as the best film of the year. Lead acting kudos went to Bill Murray for Lost in Translation and Naomi Watts for 21 Grams. The Online Film Critics Society, meanwhile, showered LOTR with a leading 10 nominations, including best picture, director Peter Jackson and supporting actor for Sean Astin. read more

DADDY DEAREST

CBS has tapped Paul Sorvino to play Bill's (Mark Addy) ultra-macho dad on Still Standing. He'll show up in early '04. read more

BABY NEW YEAR

Marlee Matlin is a mom again. On December 26, the sometime West Wing co-star gave birth to her and husband Kevin Grandalski's second daughter, Isabelle Jane. They also have two boys and, we imagine, very dark circles under their eyes. read more

FISHY LITIGATION

A French author is suing Disney and Pixar Animation, alleging that Finding Nemo is a rip-off of his book, Pierrot the Clown Fish. Like Nemo, Franck Le Calvez's tale follows a striped orange fish who's been separated from his family. A Parisian court will hear the case in February. read more

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