Even before launching her solo career, Hayley Williams ventured outside of Paramore for some collaborative efforts. Most notably, she featured on B.O.B.’s “Airplanes,” which was a No. 2 single in the US. She also had a big Zedd collab in 2013, “Stay The Night.” There are plenty of collaboration opportunities she has turned down, though, including one with Lil Uzi Vert. In an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, she gave her reasons for saying no the rapper, saying it was because she didn’t “want to be that famous.”
“This is so, so random, but I get asked to do features on country songs sometimes. I’m no hater of country music. I mean, I grew up very young in Mississippi on Shania Twain and Dixie Chicks. I’m pretty sure Jason Aldean asked me to sing on one of his songs. I remember too Uzi asking me to do some stuff with him, and I know that fans are going to be so pissed at me for saying this, but I literally wrote him back on Instagram and I was like, ‘Buddy, I love you so much, but I don’t want to be that famous.’ I told him like we were getting ready to take a break. I obviously had a lot of issues going on that no one really knew about and I was like, ‘Bro, I just need to disappear. I don’t want to be that kind of a famous person.’ Because that is… He’s like a big artist, man. My stepbrother is obsessed with them. He was pissed when I told him the story.”
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
This article contains spoilers for the Netflix docuseries Tiger King.
“Oh shit — have you watched Tiger King?”
The first text came a mere two days after Netflix gave birth to the now infamous documentary series on March 20th. A day later, another friend hit me up, “This Tiger King show is fucking wild. Also, your nightmare.” Movie stars started arguing over who would get which roles. Joe Exotic’s music videos resurfaced. An obscure Britney Spears VMAs connection was unearthed.
With so much intrigue, I had to watch Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness. I’m glad I did, too. Not because I was eager to tweet about the chaotic/ accidental humor of it all. But because — at the risk of Joe Exotic, the polygamist, gun-loving, self-righteous tiger hoarder in Oklahoma; or Jeff Lowe, the swinging Las Vegas financier who took over his zoo, coming after me in a poorly-produced attack video — we need to talk about the tigers. The only “good guys” in all this. Those huge, sleek, elegant, creatures that the docuseries seems all too willing to ignore.
Because while this bonkers-but-true seven-part profile on Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin, his equally inscrutable and possibly-mariticidal nemesis in Florida, is the exact tonic needed to distract Americans from the COVID-19 pandemic, it doesn’t offer much insight into the lives on the animals in the title. Even after watching Tiger King start to finish, it’s tough to get a bead on the living conditions and overall livelihood of the big cats themselves. Instead, it’s the wacky-yet-toxic personal dynamics between exotic animal owners that gets all the screen time.
That approach works fine as escapism but it isn’t particularly effective at condemning the industry that it profiles. An industry that absolutely deserves to be condemned.
To me, the poor quality of life experienced by the tigers in Tiger King was beyond obvious within the first minute of the first episode. I’ve dedicated a significant part of my career to exposing wildlife abuses in the travel industry. I’ve sat in the jungles of Central America, fighting off parrot poachers using only a machete. I became a World Wildlife Fund Ambassador to step up my advocacy against the exotic pet trade. I’ve been a veterinary tech, an animal behaviorist, and a wildlife journalist. And I feel 100% convinced that people who keep tigers, wolves, and other exotic animals as pets are a unique kind of human — forged in the melting pot of too much disposable income, a lack of education in animal physiology, and inherent selfishness.
That’s why Tiger King is my nightmare. Watching the show means having to put aside the mostly-unmentioned suffering of the animals featured. It means watching a slew of memes more compassionate to a known animal abuser than the tigers he visibly exploits. And, worst of all, it means knowing that certain viewers were going to start searching “how to buy a tiger cub” before even seeing the final episode.
When Joe Exotic insists Carole Baskin is the insane one for accusing him of committing animal abuse, the series doesn’t question him. Because he is the series. But it damn sure should have. Though we only hear a few passing mentions of it, Joe was sentenced to 22 years for “violence against tigers.” As far back as 2011, the Humane Society of the United States documented GW Zoo’s tiger cubs being punched, dragged, and hit with whips, all after being “pulled from their mothers immediately after birth for public handling,” according to their investigation. Shouldn’t that be at least the b-story in this series? Wasn’t there room for it between the various “blowing shit up” and “meth” segments?
Handled well, this series entering the zeitgeist could have been the moment when Americans collectively began to question the private ownership of tigers. Instead, we’re starting GoFundMe’s for Joe Exotic. Seriously?
More than 20 states currently have comprehensive bans on the ownership of exotic pets and another 13 have partial bans. Meaning over half of the United States recognizes the wide range of problems that comes with allowing literally anybody to cage whatever species makes them feel tough or wealthy or cool. Most of the 5,000-10,000 tigers we’ve trapped in captivity in the U.S (compared to 4,000 tigers living naturally in the wild) are concentrated in private zoos in less-stringent states like Texas or South Carolina. States where private zoo owners prioritize profit over animal wellbeing to a dramatic degree — whether they’re as attention-getting as Joe Exotic or not.
By failing to add some of this context, the directors of Tiger King veered into animal exploitation themselves. The health of these animals is so low on the list of priorities that the fact that white tigers are force-bred from incest isn’t even touched on. Imagine if Blackfish or The Cove, had taken a similar approach? “Sure, Shamu is being tortured but look at this trainer’s funny mullet!” The woke masses would have been furious. Sure, debating whether or not Carole Baskin fed her husband to tigers is more fun than debating the intricacies of animal abuse. But by ignoring the state of captive exotic animals in America in favor of drama, Tiger King has actually perpetuated the abuse of animals by making them serve solely as entertainment.
Let’s not allow the suffering of these animals — like the five tigers who got bullets to the head for being inconvenient to Joe Exotic — be for nothing. If you watch this show, have your laughs, share your “Carole Did It” memes, and then stand up against the system that allowed this nightmarish world to exist in the first place. Because the only true protagonists of Tiger King went through the series mostly ignored. And they undoubtedly deserve better.
With President Trump making it official that Americans will have to practice social distancing until at least the end of April, SyFy has added the hit sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica to the growing list of free content being dropped on entertainment-hungry audiences. The news comes from filmmaker Ery De Jong, who tweeted out the very helpful information.
#BattlestarGalactica has been made free to view on #Syfy‘s website. Every episode. Every season. Even the movies (yes there were straight-to-DVD movies). But most of you reading this already HAVE all of #BSG… right? #SoSayWeAll #scifi #space #cylonhttps://t.co/aTXpX5E6se
— Ery De Jong (@erydejong) March 30, 2020
If you’re not familiar with the series that lit genre audiences on fire in the 2000s, here’s the official synopsis:
Considered by many to be one of the best television series ever made, Battlestar Galactica picks up just as Cylons – intelligent robots designed by humankind – commit mass genocide against humanity. Only Battlestar Galactica, the last of the Colonial Fleet, survives the attack. Driven by prophetic visions and political necessity, the Galactica travels through uncharted space in hopes of finding the mythical, lost 13th colony – Earth.
As De Jong correctly notes, you can stream every single Battlestar Galactic episode for free on SyFy’s website along with the straight-to-DVD movies The Plan and Razor. The series joins its sci-fi brethren Picard, which essentially unlocked its first season after Patrick Stewart tweeted out a free month subscription for CBS All Access that will also allow audiences to binge-watch Star Trek: Discovery, The Twilight Zone, and The Good Fight.
It’s felt good to bring Picard back. I can’t wait to reunite with our cast and crew for Season 2. pic.twitter.com/lSmtMxgrN8
— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) March 24, 2020
As for animation fans, Adult Swim just made every season of Samurai Jack available for streaming on its website. And for parents strapped for cash and content, Deadline reports that Amazon has pushed several children programs outside of its Prime paywall. All you need is a free Amazon account to stream Just Add Magic, Tumble Leaf, Little Big Awesome, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Odd Squad, and Arthur, which should keep the little ones busy so you can watch Battlestar on your laptop, or hear yourself think for five minutes. Either one.
As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, the virus’ aftermath has disrupted the music industry. Nearly every summer festival has been canceled or postponed and musicians are pushing back the dates of their tours and album releases. In order to support musicians who have been financially affected by venue and festival closures, Newport Folk Festival’s parent foundation announced it is setting up a COVID-19 musician relief fund.
Newport Festivals Foundation, which operates the beloved Newport Folk and Jazz festivals, announced a COVID-19 musician relief fund Monday. While many festivals are being postponed, Newport Folk Festival is still scheduled for late July/early August and just announced its lineup last week, seeing headliners like Waxahatchee and Big Thief.
Festival executive producer Jay Sweet explained the foundation’s new relief fund in a statement:
“It is with utmost hope that the Newport Folk and Newport Jazz Festivals will go on this summer, but in the meantime we feel the call to do more. We are in a unique position with our foundation, where we can go above and beyond and help provide support for our musicians community while other tours and festivals are cancelling due to COVID-19. I want to be clear, this is not a fundraiser, these are funds that our Festivals Foundation already allocates to annual giving. In this dark time, we feel blessed to be able to provide some small comfort for those whose songs carry us through each day.”
The charity includes funding for small micro-grants of $300 or less for immediate and dire financial concerns, as well as full grants offered to help cover lost income related to the virus. The money will be divided on a case-by-case basis. Musicians can apply for relief here.
Read more of Uproxx’s coverage on the coronavirus here.
Jushin Thunder Liger wrapped up his three-decade pro wrestling career earlier this year, but he’s still a presence in the wrestling world. Since his retirement, he’s been a commentator for New Japan Pro Wrestling and a guest commentator for Stardom, and in March 2020, he joined the ranks of wrestlers with YouTube channels. The Beast God has a ways to go before he’s as legendary on YouTube as he is in the ring, but it seems like he’s already pretty great at the social media platform.
Liger launched his channel on March 13, and it already has several videos up. Two of them have English subtitles, one in which he talks about who he thinks are the top three “most lovable wrestlers” and the other a documentary-style video about his morning routine. In Liger’s opinion, the most adorable wrestlers are Masakatsu Funaki, who started training with New Japan when he was fifteen, Minoru Suzuki (“He can’t tell a lie,” and “Maybe this is bad for his reputation, but he has a good heart. I think his fans know that and that’s why they like him.”), and Hiroyoshi Tenzan, who Liger describes as “easily moved to tears” and easily pranked.
While that video is Liger sharing stories, vlog-style, the morning routine video is more visually interesting, and a very chill and soothing watch. It’s a little kayfabed (a sleeping Liger’s face is blurred, and he puts on his mask immediately after he wakes up) but seems like a mostly legitimate look at the how the man behind the mask lives his day-to-day life. We see him feed the dojo’s outside cat, make miso ramen for breakfast, work on his 25-year hobby of making very impressive clay models of kaiju, and train shoulders in the gym. The whole video is about eighteen minutes long and falls squarely in the genre of low-key YouTube videos to relax/quarantine to.
For some time now ESPN has been putting out commercials about the power of sports. The jubilation people feel during success, the pain in failure, and the powerful emotions it can bring out in the right moment are some of the biggest reasons we watch in the first place. You’ve probably seen one even if you didn’t realize it while watching a game of some kind on ESPN or one of its network channels. They’re nice little moments and the network has a long history of having fun with them.
Recently, ESPN released a new commercial despite there being no sports to watch. And because of it, there’s a bit more somber a tone at play. The entire world is paused at the moment while the impact of COVID-19 aka coronavirus is felt. There will one day be sports again, but right now the best thing for the world is no sports as we all continue to live with social distancing and self quarantining. Of course, we all miss sports and ESPN’s new commercial hits that feeling right on the head.
What’s particularly impactful about this commercial is that it’s full of moments we’re currently missing. There’s no March Madness, no NBA, no hockey, and opening day in baseball has been delayed indefinitely. It’s disappointing, but there will hopefully be brighter days ahead full of sports. When those days are here this will all be a distant memory, but it’s nice to know that the feeling for ESPN is mutual.
Nav looks like he’s ready for war in his video for “Turks.” The new song, which the Torontonian rapper-producer released four days ago, features guest verses from Gunna and Travis Scott, while the Amir “Cash” Esmailian and Zack Facts-directed video also has a cameo from Young Thug. The video is set in what looks like a military compound with XO flags flying over it (that’s The Weeknd’s label, to which Nav is signed), where Nav, Gunna, and Travis oversee a troop of scantily-clad women as they march in place with rifles at the ready. Throughout the video, Nav fires off his own rifle, while Travis raps from atop an armored personnel carrier.
Nav has become something of a go-to producer for some of rap’s top names over the past couple of years, popping up on releases from Young Thug, Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert, and more. Each of those appearances has increased his standing and allowed him to call in favors when he needs guest verses for his own projects. His latest project, Bad Habits, released a little over a year, so it’s not surprising he seems to be rolling out a new project with the release of “Turks.”
Watch the video for “Turks” above.
You may have heard that sports are canceled. Sure, there’s still iRacing and marble racing and horses occasionally casting off the chains of servitude, but the big name professional sports are on hold for the good of humanity and it’s a weird time for pretty much everyone out there.
As folks hunker down and try their best to stay safe and protect others through social distancing, movies have become a very reliable way to disconnect from reality and spend a few hours. Streaming services make this incredibly easy if you have the means and high-speed internet to make it happen, but for us in the sports department it was time to get nostalgic and talk about our favorite sports movies growing up.
If you’re looking for the best sports movies ever or the best available on Netflix, this list may not be for you. Not all of these are winners that stand the test of time, but they’re all winners in our hearts.
The thing I like best about The Sandlot is that it is, at heart, a movie about unsupervised rascals on bicycles. It is a sports movie, sure, there’s no denying that. Everything that happens, all of the action, revolves around a never ending baseball game. But it’s not really about that. It’s about the other stuff. It’s about being a kid.
Look at the scene with Phillips and the rich kids, with all the name-calling and subsequent baseball beatdown. Look at the scene where they’re chomping tobacco and puking at the carnival. Look at the scene where they all stop their game for a moment to stare up at July 4th fireworks in awe as the Ray Charles version of “America the Beautiful” plays. That’s what being a kid is, that combination of mischief and wonder, being unsupervised on a bicycle. It’s one of the reasons I like Stranger Things, too. Maybe it’s because I was a rascal on a bicycle at that age, too.
Good sports movies usually make you feel good. The good guys win, the underdogs take out the jerks, the schlubs get their moment. There’s a formula to it all. But, like, formulas can work. Sometimes you just have to stick to them. That’s the whole point of chemistry. And baking. I’ve gotten off-topic. This paragraph is very much the “a scene about puking at a carnival in the middle of a baseball movie” of my blurb. I stand by it. The Sandlot rules. — Brian Grubb
OK so, here’s the thing: Space Jam is a terrible movie. By any objective measure, it is extremely bad. Michael Jordan’s tenure as a baseball player (in which he hit .202 and had 88 hits to 114 strikeouts) was exponentially better than his attempt at being an actor, most of the voice acting was just a little off, the plot had more inexplicable nonsense in it than I can remember off the top of my head — the one that sticks out above all else is that Michael Jordan get sucked down a portal to hell and his friends keep golfing — it is essentially an 88-minute long ad for brands that sponsored Jordan, and a whole host of other things. Having said that, if you saw Space Jam around the time it came out and liked basketball, you just inherently have a certain emotional connection to it that no other movie can match. It is delightful, it is perfect, and I love it with my whole heart. Soundtrack is aces, too. — Bill DiFilippo
I would not go so far as to call Like Mike the best movie on this list. In fact, I would reckon it’s probably the worst. A young Shad Moss (Lil Bow Wow) in a sports comedy is already a bad idea in concept and in execution it’s even worse, but little kid me did not care because this movie had two things. Basketball and a young kid putting on a pair of magical Jordans that made him dominate the NBA. Is this not the dream of every eight year old kid growing up as they play NBA Live 03, watch Tracy McGrady, and dream of dominating the NBA themselves despite admittedly being pretty chunky.
OK, so maybe that’s a little too narrow, but I’m willing to bet multiple children watched this movie and thought to themselves that they could absolutely do that if they had a magical pair of shoes. I know after watching it I wanted to go buy a pair right at that moment but my Mom, the intelligent woman she was, told me they were too expensive and that never happened.
The movie itself is not really worth watching as an adult, but I do suggest going on YouTube and looking up the cameos. Allen Iverson, Jason Kidd, and Dirk Nowitzki all make appearances as well as a handful of other NBA stars. What will never not be funny to me, though, is while there’s a representation for almost all 29 teams at the time, the Clippers have been replaced by the Los Angeles Knights. They are clearly supposed to be a Clippers stand in with the color scheme and playing in Staples Center, but at no point are they mentioned in the movie. Probably for the best, because back in 2002 it was way more believable that a kid wearing a pair of magical shoes would dominate the NBA than the Clippers actually winning games. — Chris Barnewall
Is this a children’s movie? Absolutely not. Is it a movie that is important to me from my youth? Absolutely. Everyone always tells me I need to watch Friday Night Lights, but to be honest, I refuse to believe it can stack up to the original cinematic portrayal of Texas high school football that Varsity Blues provided. First, let’s talk about the cast. James Van Der Beek at the peak of his powers as backup QB turned star Jon Moxon, Paul Walker as starter whose gruesome knee injury might cost him a scholarship to Florida State Lance Harbor (an elite fake Texas QB name, I must add), and Jon goddamn Voight as Bud Kilmer in my personal favorite portrayal of an overly aggressive coach that cares too much about winning and not enough about his players. It’s a familiar trope in sports movies but one that has never been executed this well.
It manages to mix fun with serious topics without feeling like an afterschool special, pointing out the issues of concussions in football (in 1999!) and the rampant use of painkillers to get players back on the field too quickly. They also delve into racism (like Kilmer refusing to let his workhorse running back get touches once close to the end zone), battles between fathers and sons over the future (if you’ve never said, “I don’t want your life” like Mox then we just can’t relate), and the fleeting nature of fame (Harbor’s girlfriend suddenly throwing herself at Mox who is dating Harbor’s sister). They do all of this while being able to have a sequence where the team is too hungover on game day because they were at the strip club all night to cheer up Lance and found out their teacher strips there in the evenings resulting in this, a truly spectacular scene featuring Scott Caan and Ron Lester.
It also has reasonably good actual football sequences, which helps its case against other sports movies where the actual sports action tends to be, let’s just say, lacking. It all ends with Paul Walker taking over as coach after the player’s orchestrate a coup against Kilmer in the playoffs, running the “Oopty Oop,” where they sent five wide receivers onto the field to run a spread offense, quite literally, breaking the brain of one fan who begins counting the receivers on his fingers in the stands in one of my favorite moments in movie history.
Basically, Varsity Blues predicted the rise of the spread offense and brought to light issues of concussions and painkillers in football while also being a highly entertaining movie about high school hijinks. It should have won Oscars. — Robby Kalland
Rookie Of The Year
Two words: funky buttlovin.
Okay, here are more than two words. Until the Cubs actually won the World Series, this was the only realistic way the Cubs were ever going to win the World Series. A kid, who slips on a baseball and messes up his shoulder, finds his tendons have been fused together to make him now able to throw a fastball 100 miles an hour. After hurling one from the outfield right to the catcher, the Cubs — owned by the same dude who had that big toy store in Home Alone 2 — sign the guy, but some shady room deals have a coup brewing in the front office as one exec is focused on money and the original owner cares more about family. All the while, the kid is being groomed by Gary Busey and Marv from the Wet/Sticky Bandits who uses the term “hot ice” at one point.
If you aren’t already hooked please enjoy the fact that a gigantic steroid goon yells “MOMMY” a bunch in a climactic scene and later strikes out when our hero throws a slow pitch softball pitch at him. Ray Charles makes an appearance for a Pepsi ad. And the hidden ball trick is utilized to perfection. Also, Gary Busey’s character’s name is Chet Steadman and he communicates mostly through grunts in this film.
Five stars, you’ll love it. — Martin Rickman
The entire Disney Channel Original Sports Movie slate has been catalogued by this writer on this very website, and you may notice something amiss here: Brink is ranked above Johnny Tsunami and yet it doesn’t appear on this list. That’s because this about favorite movies, not best, and I will not be taking any more questions at this time.
Johnny Tsunami is a personal favorite in a lot of ways, including the fact that a rewatch of the movie as an adult makes it approximately 300 times funnier and more ridiculous. Budding surfer bro Johnny is ripped from Hawaii on a transcontinental move apparently planned in a matter of days. A bunch of prep school kids immediately try to murder him on a mountain that very clearly does not exist in New England. The rest of the movie plays out fairly predictably, and the action sequences are hilariously bad. Johnny, a small boy, yet his jacked as hell stunt double rides his surfboard to glory in his name. The ski/snowboard rivalry is inexplicable until loosely explained at the end, but the logistics just never really make any sense.
But here’s the thing: the show did a very good job of establishing villains and making the snowboarders actually seem cool. The public school kids are clearly the dudes you wanted to be friends with, and as a kid who made an awkward transition from public to parochial school (sans tropical shirt collection, mind you) I definitely identified with Johnny in a few ways. The child in me hates that I learned how to ski, but the rest of me understands that life isn’t black and white and everyone should get to ride the mountain together. — Ryan Nagelhout
As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe and the US expands its testing, new cases are being accounted for daily. Legendary songwriter John Prine is, unfortunately, one of many Americans who have contracted the virus. Prine became infected by the virus and was hospitalized due to prior health conditions. But the singer’s wife, who also tested positive for the virus, shared a hopeful message to fans Monday.
Fiona Prine took to social media to share an update about her and her husband’s health status. Prine announced that she has in fact recovered from the sickness after contracting it. “I have recovered from Covid-19,” she wrote. “We are humbled by the outpouring of love for me and John and our precious family. He is [stable]. Please continue to send your amazing Love and prayers.”
I have recovered from Covid-19. We are humbled by the outpouring of love for me and John and our precious family. He is stabile. Please continue to send your amazing Love and prayers. Sing his songs. Stay home and wash hands. John loves you. I love you
— Fiona Whelan Prine (@FionaPrine) March 30, 2020
The tweet is the latest update about Prine’s condition since his family said his health had worsened on Sunday. Prine was rushed to the hospital Thursday where he remains on a ventilator. Prine has miraculously beat cancer twice, which unfortunately puts him at greater risk with the virus.
After news of Prine’s condition broke, fans came together to show support. Most recently, Joan Baez dedicated a cover of Prine’s “Hello In There” to the singer in order to send her “best wishes and prayers” from afar.
Read more of Uproxx’s coverage on the coronavirus here.