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In his new memoir, Barack Obama relishes taunting Trump: 'He was a spectacle'

Former President Obama doesn't mention President Trump in his new memoir, "A Promised Land," until page 672. That's out of 706 pages in the book, minus the footnotes.

But when he does talk Trump, it's memorable, revolving around the current president's "birther" rumblings back in 2011, when the real-estate developer questioned whether Obama had...Read more

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America has an 'unsettling' love affair with gangsters. 'Fargo's' cast is no different

LOS ANGELES — The latest edition of the Los Angeles Times Dinner Series features a reunion of the creator of the anthology series "Fargo" and three cast members from the fourth installment, currently airing Sundays on FX.

Noah Hawley, who has also written and directed several episodes of the Emmy-winning series, joined Jason Schwartzman, ...Read more

Television Q&A: How long have the Hershey Kisses Christmas ads been running?

You have questions. I have some answers.

Q: My question is about the delightful Hershey Kisses Christmas commercial where the Kisses jingle while the melody "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" is heard. When did it make its debut? I am thinking several years ago. It is one of the few ads that never gets old.

A: Would you believe it is more than 30...Read more

Redbox's Top 10 DVD rentals

The top 10 DVD rentals at Redbox kiosks for the week of Nov. 16:

1. Unhinged (2020) — Solstice

2. Mulan (2020) — Disney

3. The New Mutants — Fox

4. Bill & Ted Face the Music — Warner

5. Antebellum — Lionsgate

6. Chick Fight — Redbox Entertainment

7. Relic (2020) — Shout Factory

8. Death Of Me — Lionsgate

9. Friendsgiving...Read more

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'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' review: In 1927 Chicago, Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis and August Wilson play glorious three-part harmony

The late Chadwick Boseman took on many Black men of honor, integrity and nobility in his too-brief career.

When the material allowed him some interpretive leeway, he infused those men — some real, like Jackie Robinson and Thurgood Marshall, others mythic, such as T'Challa in "Black Panther" — with the stuff of life and of recognizable, off-...Read more

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How do we cope without the soaring melodies and communal experience of Handel's 'Messiah'?

CHICAGO — Imagine a Christmas season without Santa.

Or Christmas trees.

Or mistletoe.

The vicious coronavirus pandemic can't stop any of these. But, unfortunately, it's robbing us of something similarly essential to the holiday season: live performances of George Frideric Handel's "Messiah."

Normally at this time of year, "Messiahs" would ...Read more

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Why TV's next Golden Age might come thanks to adult animation

LOS ANGELES — "M.O.D.O.K." executive producer Jordan Blum describes the upcoming stop-motion series as "a midlife crisis story about a supervillain."

Co-created with Patton Oswalt, the show follows the uniquely shaped Marvel villain as he struggles with his responsibilities as a husband and father as well as his declining career as the head ...Read more

Heidi Stevens: Finally, a gay couple in a Hallmark Christmas movie. And the bigots never seemed less relevant.

Two men kissed during a Hallmark Christmas movie this week, and the Earth continued to spin on its axis.

What a difference a year makes.

"The Christmas House," which premiered Sunday night, is a sweet story of two grown sons returning home to help their parents transform their house into an epic winter wonderland, just as they used to do when ...Read more

Review: 'Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War': Patriot games

The United States of America: Boy, we sure are exhausting.

This was the conclusion I reached after finishing the single-player campaign in the latest "Call of Duty," a realization that I don't believe was entirely unintentional. These are games designed by global teams of hundreds of people, crafted largely as multiplayer powerhouses that ...Read more

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The Weeknd calls Grammys 'corrupt' after receiving no nominations

The Weeknd is not accepting his Grammys shutout without a fight.

Hours after the Recording Academy announced the nominations for the 63rd annual Grammy Awards — and revealed that the Canadian pop-soul auteur hadn't earned a single one — the Weeknd responded on Twitter late Tuesday, telling his 13.5 million followers, "The Grammys remain ...Read more

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Who is Jacob Collier, Grammy album of the year nominee?

Pop artists like Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber have turned YouTube attention into major Grammy nominations. Jazz artists like Herbie Hancock and Esperanza Spalding have unexpectedly brought home top prizes amidst stiff pop competition.

But the little-known Jacob Collier's route to a nod for the Grammys' album of the year is a rare combination ...Read more

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Grammys nominations 2021: Nods for Gustavo Dudamel, L.A. Phil and a UCLA choir

LOS ANGELES — Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic brought the symphonies of American composer Charles Ives to vivid life this year with performances that Times music critic Mark Swed called "a milestone ... for both the conductor and the startlingly great orchestra."

On Tuesday the Recording Academy signaled its agreement by ...Read more

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Forget the Oscars. Renée Zellweger and Meryl Streep are nominated for Grammys

Who needs the Oscars? This year Hollywood actors — namely Meryl Streep and Renee Zellweger — have invaded the Grammys.

When the nominations for next year's ceremony were announced Tuesday morning, Streep got a nod in the spoken-word category for her recording of "Charlotte's Web," written by E.B. White. She is up against Red Hot Chili ...Read more

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From reality TV to the Grammys, 5 things to know about D Smoke

LOS ANGELES — You can now officially call him "Grammy-nominated D Smoke."

The nominations for the 2021 Grammy Awards were announced Tuesday morning, and the L.A.-based rapper is among those in the running for best new artist, alongside Ingrid Andress, Phoebe Bridgers, Chika, Noah Cyrus, Doja Cat, Kaytranada and Megan Thee Stallion.

D Smoke's...Read more

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Did BTS get robbed at the 2021 Grammy nominations?

BTS finally landed its first Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper this year, with the effervescent single "Dynamite." The seven-piece South Korean pop band — it's probably not fully accurate to call them K-pop anymore — had one of the two top-selling albums of the year in 2020 (and might have another one in last week's "Be"), and the disco-driven,...Read more

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Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa top 2021 Grammy nominations

LOS ANGELES — A Beyonce song inspired by Black Lives Matter and a Taylor Swift album created in quarantine are among the recordings that will compete for the top-line prizes at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards, nominations for which were announced Tuesday morning by the Recording Academy.

"Black Parade," Beyonce's sweeping yet fine-grained ...Read more

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Trevor Noah will host next year's Grammys, but he's 'not trying to catch Corona'

From host of "The Daily Show" to host of the 63rd Grammy Awards: Trevor Noah has officially been tapped to emcee music's biggest night.

Hours before the 2021 Grammy nominees were set to be unveiled, the Recording Academy revealed Tuesday morning that Noah will helm next year's awards ceremony for the first time.

"Despite the fact that I am ...Read more

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7 head-scratching Grammy nomination snubs and surprises

Surprises in 2020? Get in line. Given ... everything, should we have expected anything less when it comes to the Grammy Awards? Below, some of the many stumpers in an overwhelming year.

1. No Weeknd, at all. It's not just the notion of weekends that were dealt a mortal blow in 2020. The artist born Abel Tesfaye, whose memorable performances ...Read more

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Beyoncé, Taylor, Dua Lipa, Megan: Women dominate the 2021 Grammy nominations

In January 2018, gender parity at the Grammys hit a new low.

In the 86 categories, only 17 women (or female-fronted acts) won the Grammy award. SZA, the most-nominated woman of the night, went home without a single statue. The year's best new artist, Alessia Cara, became the only woman that year to win a general field category.

In a year when ...Read more

New on DVD: Nostalgic picks for holiday gifts

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, nostalgia continues to be essential pop culture comfort food. Consider these DVD picks, all out Dec. 1, for anyone on your gift-giving list (or yourself).

"Beverly Hills Cop": 1984 comedy starring Eddie Murphy as a police officer avenging his best friend's murder has been remastered in 4K.

"Blade": The 1998 ...Read more