Sunday evening, the highly controversial series, “The Kennedys”, debuted on the Reelz Channel. This 8-part miniseries, starring Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes, and Barry Pepper, premiered on the little-known basic cable network over the span of 3-hours, including a half hour premiere party special and behind-the-scenes special immediately before and after the first part of the series.
The series, which was filmed throughout the summer last year in Toronto, came under a tremendous amount of scrutiny earlier this year when The History Channel decided to pass on airing the project on their network, siting its seemingly slanted perspective in regards to the personal lives and conversations of these American figures. After searching for a subsequent home, the Reelz Channel agreed to air it, being mostly known for airing movies and syndicated reruns of mid-90s TV shows.
Advance critical perception of the miniseries has not been kind, with most reviewers panning Holmes’s performance in particular as the iconic Jackie Kennedy. Furthermore, its salacious point-of-view on one of the most heralded presidencies in our history seems rather unfair. Presenting conversations and interactions between people who are long ago passed leave them without the benefit of contradiction, correction, or rebuttal.
Among the many critical reviews, the Boston Globe’s seemed to be the most succinct:
“The only reason to watch The Kennedys’? To find out how to flatten a few of the 20th century’s most dramatic historical moments and best-known figures into a slow week of One Life to Live. — Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe.
Sunday’s premiere seemed intent on setting a tone for a focus on the tawdry–John’s affairs, Joe senior’s philandering chauvinism, Rose’s harried fragility, and Jackie’s frequent pouting, all while showcasing particularly poor Massachusetts accents.
An encore showing of the opening part also took place on Monday evening, with the second part of the 8-part miniseries being shown on Tuesday night.
★ Jessica Simpson gets engaged to Needham, MA born, Yale University educated NFL star Eric Johnson.
★ TLC’s “Cake Boss” comes to Connecticut.
★ On a recent interview for E News regarding her successes on “Dancing With the Stars”, Bristol Palin confirms the story that first broke early last year; that she was named in part for the town in Connecticut ESPN is based in.
★ New Englander Tom Bergeron appears on “Chelsea Lately.”
★ A first look at the promotional poster for the Kennedy biopic, starring Katie Holmes and Greg Kinnear.
★ Concord, Massachusett’s Steve Carell purchases a new home in California.
★ Another peak at Katie Holmes as Jackie O in the new Kennedy miniseries.
★ Marshfield, Massachusetts resident and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler is officially named a new judge on “American Idol”.
★ Dorchester, Massachusett’s Mark Wahlberg recounts an incident involving one of his sons and an octopus during a recent appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
★ Fairfield, Connecticut born actor Justin Long talks about his awkward experience with co-star Christina Applegate in his new film.
While it’s no secret Boston has become the unofficial capital of Hollywood East, with numerous films and TV shows shooting here each year, it’s been hard not to stumble across camera crews and make-shift sets, despite sometimes very well-guarded production details. What has been kept slightly more hush hush has been the hotspots in the Hub that the stars of these projects hit when they’re not on the clock.
Boston’s restaurant scene has caught the Hollywood wave and starting offering more upscale options. Not surprisingly, many of the celeb favorites are centered around the Back Bay/Newbury Street area. Long-time favorite Sonsie has played host to Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Hulk Hogan, Roger Clinton, and Donnie Wahlberg.
For dessert, it seems that everyone in fact does scream for ice cream. The Newbury Street location of Ben & Jerry’s posts pictures on their walls of the famous faces that often stop by their store. Alec Baldwin, John Mayer, Jane Fonda, Ellen Pompeo, and players from the Celtics have all grabbed a cone recently.
In order to keep in shape (and perhaps work off the pounds from all that ice cream) the Sports Club/LA, adjacent to the Ritz Carlton hotel is arguably one of the most upscale gyms in town. That’s why it’s not surprising that The Rock, Justin Timberlake, Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, and Emilio Estevez, Reese Witherspoon, and Britney Spears have all been spotted working out there at one time or another.
To blow off a little steam in a different sense, Felt Nightclub is a big favorite with the glitterati. Stars like Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and Chris Rock have all made a presence there in the past year or so while they’ve been in town for projects. Other stars like Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon, and Ben and Casey Affleck frequent the hip spot whenever their roots call them home again.
Speaking of Mark Wahlberg, he and Will Farrell will be at his restaurant, Alma Nove, in Hingham, MA celebrating the premiere of their new flic, The Other Guys, showing at the Patriot Cinemas in Hangham. The Alma Nove restaurant is owned by three Wahlberg brothers, including chef Paul Wahlberg, and family friend Ed St. Croix.
There’s a plethora of other places HEC has spotted celebs during their off hours. Singer Seal was seen in Boston’s Public Garden last spring while he was in town to sing the national anthem at Fenway Park. Actress Natalie Portman was in Cambridge in February for a friend’s wedding. Brooke Shields was spotted in her off-time from shooting Furry Vengeance at South Boston eateries Flour2 and Sportello. Funnymen Denis Leary and Lenny Clark grabbed lunch at the Four Seasons last spring while Leary was in town for his son’s graduation from Emerson College. Grown Ups costars David Spade and Colin Quinn were seen last summer grabbing a weekend bite at Sel De La Terre on Boylston Street.
★ Actor Michael Weatherly, who grew up in Connecticut and attended Brooks Academy in Andover, MA, just signed an “NCIS” deal.
★ Executive producer and Dorchester native Mark Wahlberg appears at the premier of season 7 of “Entourage”.
★ Cast of the Bay State film, Fury Vengeance talk about real life animal encounters at the premiere (above).
★ Two-time Tony Award winning actress Frances Sternhagen, also known as Cliff’s mom on Cheers and Bunny MacDougal on Sex and the City, performs at the Salem Theatre Company.
★ Katie Holmes to star as Jackie Kennedy in HBO miniseries.
★ Scott Brown’s daughter, and former “American Idol” contestant, Ayla, gets job on CBS’s “The Early Show”.
★ “Project Runway” contestant, designer Kara Janx, to appear at the May 12th and 13th Stylefixx event in Boston, previewing her spring 2010 line.
★ The New England Patriot Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen drop $20 million to build the their ideal home in Brentwood, California.
★ Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise talk to “Entertainment Tonight” on the docks at Boston Harbor.
★ Twilight dreamboat Kellan Lutz stops by Boston just before his new film, New Moon, does $140.7M in its opening weekend.
★ Tom Cruise thanks the city of Boston for their hospitality in his blog.
★ Knight And Day crews wrap up filming at the build crew site in Woburn this week. Then it’s off to Europe to continue filming. Check out Tom Cruise during his final days of filming in Hollywood East after spending a weekend around Boston with Katie Holmes.
★ Comics Come Home in Boston raises money for the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer and featured Denis Leary and Lenny Clarke, among others.
★ The Boston Jewish Film Festival coasts through the Coolidge Corner Theater in Boston.
★ The Food Network’s Guy Fieri launches his roadshow in Lowell on November 17.
★ Actor James Woods returns to his childhood home state of Rhode Island for a lawsuit he brought against the hospital where his brother died.
★ Suri Cruise with mom Katie Holmes goes Halloween costume shopping in Natick, dressed in her finest princess attire.
★ Patrick Dempsey talks about his cancer wellness center in Maine on “Good Morning America”.
★ Kim Kardashian comes to Boston for Gypsy Bar’s anniversary party.
★ Tom Cruise goes back to school, makes a surprise visit to Harvard.
★ A Tribute to Elton John by Yellow Brick Road at the Regent Theater features “American Idol Finalist” and Wrentham, MA native Ayla Brown.
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