Devin Gordon

Stories by Devin Gordon

  • NEWSMAKERS

    The rumor mill has long been unkind to pop power couple Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake--last June, a radio station claimed that they had died in a car crash--but now it's getting downright vicious. Britney and Justin might be, could be, we don't really know, to tell you the truth, broken up. Here's what we do know: Justin was spotted last week at a club (not the Mickey Mouse Club) gyrating with a comely female. Shortly after, Britney was seen crying in an L.A. cafe. (Say, how come stars always cry in public places?) Spears quickly hit MTV to deny the split; Justin's reps didn't return calls seeking comment. But if everything's peachy, then why the tears? Who knows? A bad BLT, perhaps? Because we're pretty sure Justin's slinky dance partner was just 'N Sync-mate Lance Bass.No Goods on WinonanotThe Child Who Wasn't ThereDon't Touch That Dialbreathe
  • Hbo's Boldest Thoroughbred

    In 1973, the same year HBO was born, the man who has built a home for tough, critically adored dramas "The Sopranos" and "Six Feet Under" was bombing onstage at the Improv in New York. Back then, Chris Albrecht was performing with Bob Zmuda (Andy Kaufman's longtime sidekick), and right there was the first problem. Albrecht and Zmuda. Doesn't exactly sing, does it? And the routine, well... "It was more like vaudeville, less like stand-up," says Albrecht, now a 49-year-old divorced dad. "It was very prop-based." You mean like Carrot Top? "Well," he says, laughing, "let's just say we were ahead of our time."Albrecht still is. In 1995 HBO was primarily a movie channel "hanging on by a fingernail" to its lead over rival Showtime, says chairman Jeff Bewkes. Then Albrecht, already a 10-year veteran of HBO after a stint as a Hollywood agent, was named president of original programming. Today HBO is the hottest number on the dial, winning Golden Globes for best TV series--comedy and drama-...
  • And The Loser Is... Us

    For nominees, Oscar season is a lot like being pregnant. (Am I qualified to make this claim? Heck no, but I'm comfortable with that.) The waiting period is all nervous excitement, months of tingly ups, queasy downs and one call after another from jealous friends who are just thrilled for you. Then the big night comes, and it's pure, undiluted hell. Beyond that, the analogy starts to break down. Because whereas childbirth is like a gory horror movie, the Oscar broadcast is like, well, "Gosford Park." Snoozing and polite, with an ending you can spot a mile away.There are so many dead spots in the Oscar broadcast that complaining about them stopped being fun a long time ago. It's way too easy. The most common complaint is that everything goes on too long--the speeches, the tributes, Nicholson's leering gaze at Kirsten Dunst. But honestly, would three hours of junk really be that much better than four hours of junk? At least the long version affords you the sensation of witnessing truly...
  • A Sort-Of Diary

    Let me tell you about my shower. For three weeks now, I have lived at the Anniversary Inn, a Salt Lake City bed and breakfast distinguished by outrageously decorated theme rooms. My room is the Jungle Safari room, and my shower head is an elephant trunk. Because in the jungle, people shower with elephants. The water in my elephant shower comes out of at least three, possibly seven, nozzles located along the trunk's length. Sorry to be so imprecise, but once the shower's on, I vanish in a cloud of mist and I can't tell where I'm taking fire from. But there is one nozzle I've pinpointed, chiefly because it shoots straight ahead and is positioned at, let's say, a rather dangerous coordinate on the Y-axis. This problem has two solutions: showering on tippy-toes or with a 20-degree bend in the knees. ...
  • The Ballad Of Trey Wingo

    I cry for you, Trey Wingo. "SportsCenter" is my favorite show, my touchstone in the morning and my bedtime story at night, and you, Trey Wingo, with your easy wit and your silly name, have always been one of my favorite anchors. ...
  • Slip Sliding Away

    Here's how it was supposed to go: the United States, having assembled its finest cast of sliding-sport athletes ever, wins a handful of Olympic medals in Salt Lake. We take one or two in skeleton--the daredevil new kid on the block--a pair of golds in bobsled and maybe, just maybe, a silver or a bronze in luge, a sport in which the United States is 0-for-infinity. Viewers fall in love with them. We find a hero in skeleton star Jim Shea Jr. (the first-ever third-generation Winter Olympian), a star in powerful bobsled driver Todd Hays and a pair of all-American cutie-pies in skeleton's Tristan Gale and bobsled's Jean Racine. ...
  • Slide-Enfreude

    Let's make this clear up front: It is not right to root for athletes to crash. That's beer-raised-in-the-air NASCAR stuff and I, for one, am firmly on the record with my disapproval. ...
  • Grizzly Skiers Gamble On Guts And Glory

    Among athletes at the Winter Games, there is a polite--and uncharacteristically modest--dispute about what sport is the most white-knuckle terrifying. Pull aside a skeleton slider, a freestyle aerialist and a ski jumper and they'll each make a compelling case for the other guy. But this ain't afternoon tea, so let's cut through the diplomatic bull. Out here in the cold, there's crazy, and then there's the Alpine downhill. ...
  • Safety In Checkpoints

    Rest assured, Mom, it's very safe here. The NEWSWEEK Olympic team can't vouch for all of Salt Lake City just yet, but if the security out there is anything close to the lockdown here at the Main Media Center, located in the old Salt Palace where the Utah Jazz used to play, the only thing we have to worry about is burning ourselves on McDonald's coffee. ...
  • A Soldier's Story

    If one were so inclined, it would be easy to persuade people not to see "No Man's Land," this year's Golden Globe winner for best foreign film and, suddenly, the Oscar favorite in the same category. ...
  • Newsmakers

    Queen for a DayThrown For a Toe Loop'Blue's Clues' New Hue
  • True Believer

    Malcolm X was in the next room, just a closed door away, when the Champ made up his mind to cut him off. Hours earlier, 22-year-old Cassius Clay "shook up the world," taking the heavyweight title from Sonny Liston, a snarling bull of a man. Then he skipped the post-fight party thrown in his honor. Along with just a few close friends, Clay retreated to the Hampton House motel on the rough side of Miami. He played with Malcolm's little girls for a while, then moved to the bedroom with Jim Brown, the legendary NFL running back. It was the greatest night of his young life--Feb. 25, 1964--but Clay was in a somber mood. The feud between his mentor, Malcolm, and his spiritual leader, the Nation of Islam's Elijah Muhammad, was boiling over. Now, as a wealthy, influential Muslim, he would have to make his choice. For two hours, Ali talked. "It was difficult. I know he would've liked things to be different, but they weren't different," Brown says today. "You can't serve two masters." Malcolm...
  • Best Sex Scene, Most Pointless Tv Cliffhanger, Worst Line In A Movie

    The only thing that approaches the fun of getting an award is giving a few out. And seeing as how I failed to write, direct, produce, edit, appear in or compose the score for any movies this past year, it looks as if I'm going home empty-handed on Oscar night again.Fortunately, NEWSWEEK provides us with this cyberpulpit from which to pay homage to the Year in Entertainment. My problem is this: top 10 lists are, to me, kind of boring, particularly when my name's not David Ansen and nobody gives a Shrek what I would put on mine. Sure, I could throw "One Night at McCool's" on there, just so my mother can buy the DVD and beam with pride when she flips it over and reads that her son--and only her son--called it "One of the Best Movies of the Year!" But for the time being, I'm still above that.So here's my solution: no top 10 list, just a smattering of awards (covering all genres) of my design. Some little things were particularly great in 2001, and this is the only forum where they'll...
  • The Return Of Alt-Rock

    Three scenes from the alternative-rock nation, circa 2001: Two members of Saves The Day, a New Jersey pop-punk quartet, pick at their vegetarian platter at a restaurant in New York's West Village. They're trying to name the radio stations playing their new single. "KROQ in L.A.," says singer Chris Conley, 20. "Two in San Diego, Q101 in Chicago." "There's a Philly one, too, isn't there?" asks bassist Eben D'Amico, 21. But no stations in New York. So even though their new CD, "Stay What You Are," has sold 95,000 copies, they haven't had that moment when they first hear themselves on the radio. "I want to hear it once," says D'Amico, "so I can tell my kids someday."Doug MartschOUG MARTSCH, leader of the Boise, Idaho, trio Built to Spill, is sitting on Irving Plaza's empty floor five hours before the first of three New York shows. It's 5 p.m. and Martsch, a bearded-and-balding 31, is just getting around to lunch: $4.89 for a cheese sandwich, Coke and peanut M&M's. "People think...
  • Camcorder Confusion

    Would it kill electronics manufacturers to use actual words when naming their products? In the digital-camcorder market, each of the big boys--Canon, Sony, Panasonic, JVC--offers an affordable, first-rate model. Here are their names: ZR25 MC, DCR-TRV130, PV-DV101 and (this one really sings) the GR-DVL310U. I may be a techno-dumbo, but if you explain "optical stabilization," then slowly repeat yourself, I'll get it. It's hard, though, if I can't remember which camcorder you're talking about. One JVC comes with a built-in digital still camera--fine, I get that... but was it the GR-DVL310U or the GR-DVL510U? At moments like this, you wonder why JVC can't be more like, say, Volkswagen. Jetta. Cabriolet. Passat. Simple!The point of this piece, then, is to chart how an ignoramus (that would be me) transforms himself into an informed shopper. Does the Internet deliver on its early promise of providing vast information? Or will you get farther the old-fashioned way--going to the store and...
  • A Phatty Boom Batty Flick

    The first person you meet on the set of Kevin Smith's new movie, "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," is a guy named Ratface. He is Smith's production designer, a job usually held by extravagant Italians or tasteful women. Ratface, ne Robert Holtzman, is just an old buddy of Smith's. Like everybody else here. In today's scene our heroes, played by Smith ("Chasing Amy," "Dogma") and childhood pal Jason Mewes, learn that a comic book based on their lives is being made into a movie--and the boys aren't seeing a dime. At the moment, the crew is on a break. Producer Scott Mosier (a film-school classmate) sips coffee while Smith smokes a cigarette and gripes about a nasty post he got on his Web site. Some guy blasted him for failing to include an actress from "Clerks," his cult-classic debut, in the cameo-heavy new film. Smith, his accuser claimed, was forgetting his roots. "Come on," says the director, 31. "You can say a lot of s--t about me, but that's gotta be the last thing. I mean, look...
  • Coming Distractions

    When was the last time you came out of the movie theater and said, "Wow, that was really good"--and you weren't talking about the popcorn? It's been a disgraceful summer so far. By my count, I've seen 30 movies since May and I would strongly recommend ... wait, lemme count again ... four. (I'd tell you which four, but since I had to sit through the other 26, you should at least have to guess.)Here's some more bad news: the worst is yet to come. Late August and early September is a cinematic Sahara rivaled only by April, which is all post-Oscar, presummer junk. This time of year, everyone's in transit--returning to school, on family vacation, passing into the hereafter after too many terrible summer movies.There is, however, one redeeming feature about strolling into the local cineplex this weekend. Well, two: the air conditioning is nice. The other is the trailers--those brief, teasing snips that movie studios provide of the (hopefully) really good movies they've got coming out this...
  • The Age Of Navel Gazing

    Close your eyes and try to picture Britney Spears with her navel covered. Can't do it, right? That's because you've never seen it covered. That's because it never has been. Say this much for the young siren, though: she has helped liberate that six-inch swath of skin below the bra and above the belt for every X-chromosomal American, no matter how old, no matter what shape.Navels are nothing new--scientists say we've had them at least since Madonna's "Like a Virgin" world tour--but this summer they're everywhere. On billboards. In the workplace. Singing in a commercial for Levi's. "Isn't it nice?" says Daniella Clark, founder of the high-end Los Angeles boutique Frankie B., whose "low-cut" jeans sales have jumped from $1.5 million last year to $7 million so far in 2001. "We get tons of e-mails from boyfriends and husbands thanking us." There's even a hot accessory called the Bel-ly Light that blinks red or green, depending on your mood. High schools are starting to institute "no...
  • She's Getting The Royal Treatment

    Shy, frizzy-haired Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) is struggling through teendom in San Francisco when her grandmother (Julie Andrews) shows up and spills a family secret: Mia is the princess of a tiny country named Genovia. ("Shut up!" cries Mia.) Should she inherit the throne or stay in school? Mia's happy being a nothingburger, and she's not sure she's ready for royalty. "I'm still waiting for normal body parts to arrive," she moans.Hathaway, the buoyant star of "The Princess Diaries," felt Mia's pain. Growing up in New Jersey, the 18-year-old didn't exactly tear through adolescence. "It wasn't quite so dramatic for me, but it was definitely a low point," she says, laughing. At 16, Hathaway landed a part on Fox's short-lived series "Get Real." "If you watch that show, I go through so many physical changes it's ridiculous." Now an assured college student, Hathaway hardly says hello before zooming into opinions on early American Gothicism (love it) and her state's environmental...
  • High Infidelity

    Katie Carr is a good person. She's a doctor--she cures people--and that should count for something. Yes, she's having an affair. Yes, this could wreck her family. And yes, that's very bad. But, listen, her husband David's an ogre: he writes a column titled "The Angriest Man in Holloway," and blasts old people for paying too slowly on the bus. Katie just wants a nice guy. So David visits a loopy faith healer, and suddenly he's an ultra-do-gooder. But Katie's still miserable. Now she's wondering if maybe she's the awful one."How to Be Good" is British author Nick Hornby's third novel and, like his best work, "High Fidelity," it's stuffed with the kind of relationship nuance that can make him such a zip to read. But "How to Be Good" is a joyless book, and it's the protagonists who drag it down. Katie is just a rewrite of Hornby's charmingly adrift men--she's the earner, she has the affair, she moves out--only without the charm. David, meanwhile, is just a prop to set Katie's identity...
  • Movies: Vin-Dicated

    Vin Diesel is a very large man with several amusing little tics. When he answers a question he mashes his eyes shut, looking almost pained, as though if he doesn't get this sentence out, it'll eat his brain. He has 17 different laughs, including one growling, bombastic laugh-kind of like Gomez Addams-that comes out not when something is funny but rather when the time seems right for a loud noise.He also can't sit still. Diesel has chosen a chair in the back corner of a Manhattan hotel restaurant (in part, he confesses, so he can survey the area and take note of any attractive women who might enter the room), and during our 60-minute interview, he will explore every possible way to sit in this chair. Arms splayed out against wall. Right arm cradling large, bald head against wall. One leg up, braced by wall. Leg crossed over knee. Leaning forward, elbow resting on knee. Repeat.All of this is a long way of explaining that Vin Diesel, the muscular star of the summer's first true sleeper...
  • The Dominator

    The world's greatest golfer seems to get better and better. How does he do it? Newsweek asked other greats like Montana, Gretzky, Navratilova and Jordan about what it takes to be on top of the world.
  • Arts Extra: Big In Japan

    I am a proud, arrogant New Yorker. I am the kind of New Yorker you probably hate-you know, the kind that believes the world plunges into a rocky, smoky abyss at the borders of Manhattan (and, OK, four or five neighborhoods in Brooklyn). By virtue of my comfort here, I have always considered myself impossible to overwhelm. Bring on your puny city, with its puny buildings and easily navigable streets, for I am from New York!And then I went to Tokyo.I don't have the exact figures on hand, but something like seven zillion people live in Tokyo, and they all cross the street at the same time. Since I returned home, I've been telling all my friends that the single most astounding thing I saw in Japan was-seriously-the sight of Japanese people crossing the street in Tokyo's Shibuya district at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. Like two marathons starting simultaneously on opposite sides of the block. Like Moses putting the sea back together. It ain't like Times Square, where jaywalkers break rank...
  • Questions &Amp; Answers: Wayne Gretzky

    Wayne Gretzky was hockey's most legendary scorer. He won four Stanley Cups in the 1980s with the Edmonton Oilers and retired in 1999 holding nearly every scoring record the NHL keeps track of. Gretzky is the league's all-time leader in points, goals and assists-in the regular season and in the playoffs. No wonder he's known as "The Great One." NEWSWEEK's Devin Gordon spoke with Gretzky:NEWSWEEK: Did you get nervous in big-game situations?Wayne Gretzky: No. I never did. It's amazing now, because as a player, of course I'd be excited, but I never got nervous. But now as an owner [of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes], I sit up there, and I sweat every game, every minute. I'm truly nervous now. Because you really don't have a lot of control over what happens on the ice. But when you're playing, when they drop the puck, that's right where you want to be. I never got nervous.Did you simply not get nervous or did you get even more calm?I got more calm, believe it or not. I remember the very first...
  • Questions &Amp; Answers: Martina Navratilova

    For almost a decade, no tennis player, male or female, dominated the sport as thoroughly as Martina Navratilova. Powerful and relentless, Navratilova peaked in pressure situations, winning a record nine Wimbledon singles titles as part of her 167 career wins. At one point in her career, she spent nearly seven straight years ranked as the No. 1 tennis player in the world. Navratilova spoke with NEWSWEEK's Devin Gordon about hard work, being clueless to her own intimidation tactics-and the one match that got away.NEWSWEEK: How much of dominance is a mental thing as opposed to a talent thing?Martina Navratilova: Well, at this level, talent is a given. But I know Tiger [Woods] works harder than anyone out there, and that's why he's kicking butt. It's not an accident when you hit a great shot, because you've done it in practice. You've put in the work. It doesn't just happen. Every great shot you hit, you've already hit a bunch of times in practice. That's how it works.There are a lot of...
  • Questions &Amp; Answers: Bob Gibson

    Bob Gibson was one of the most intimidating starting pitchers in baseball history. He won two Cy Young Awards and two World Series tiles with the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1960s, and, in 1968, he had what many consider to be the most dominant season ever by a pitcher: 23 wins, 7 losses, with a 1.12 earned-run average. He was so overpowering that the league lowered the pitcher's mound the following year in an attempt to slow him down. It didn't work. NEWSWEEK's Devin Gordon spoke with Gibson:NEWSWEEK: Did you develop your level of intensity or was it something you were born with?Bob Gibson: Pretty much from the time I was a kid, I've been very intense. I never had peaks and valleys. I was always on the same line. I was intense, and today I'm still intense, and I don't even play.How does it come out now? Do you play golf?Oh I try to play golf. Golf pisses me off. I don't play it that much.Were you ever satisfied with what you accomplished in the major leagues?No, I always thought I...
  • Questions &Amp; Answers: Michael Johnson

    Of all his accomplishments-Olympic wins, world records and so on-sprinter Michael Johnson is most proud of one thing: "All gold," he likes to say, his shorthand for the fact that he has never finished anywhere but first in a major competition. Johnson won the gold medal in the 200- and 400-meter dashes at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, then successfully defended the 400-meters-his favorite event-at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. He spoke with NEWSWEEK's Devin Gordon about his toughest competitor: himself.NEWSWEEK: How did you motivate yourself when you were so far above the competition?Michael Johnson: For myself, knowing that I'm physically gifted, I never wanted that to go to waste. The only way to do that is to go out and use it. The other thing is, once you become great or you show the potential to be great, that pressure is there to continue that. So I would never accept anything less. I know I'm capable of running 43 seconds every time I run 400 meters. So running a 44.2 and still...
  • Ten Reasons To Stay Inside

    Watch closely during the jousting scenes in Sony's medieval fantasy starring Heath Ledger, and you'll notice something odd amid all that wood from the shattering lances. "Linguine," says writer-director Brian Helgeland. "It looked good." After an awful experience directing "Payback" for Mel Gibson, Helgeland itched for some big-screen payback. So he wrote a flick about knocking a guy off his (high) horse. Anyone in particular? Helgeland laughs. "Oh, you know. The Man." Very diplomatic, good sir. MAY 11Another "X-File" for David Duchovny? Nope. This one's a sci-fi comedy from Ivan Reitman ("Ghostbusters"), starring Duchovny and Orlando Jones (Mr. 7Up) as professors who meet some way-out-of-towners. The aliens start as amebas. In two weeks they're eight feet tall and, uh, oddly equipped. "We were taken with their genitalia," Duchovny says. "It looked hermaphroditic. So [costar] Julianne [Moore] came up with the wonderful nomenclature of 'testina'." JUNE 8In auto-racing scenes, cameras...
  • Arts Extra: Digital Dependency

    It is a terrible thing when a suggestion you make ends the lives of three decent, hard-working people. In my case, it is particularly awful because one of those lives happens to be my own. "Gentlemen," I said to my two roommates about a month ago, when everything was so much simpler, "I think it's time for us to get digital cable." The living room fell silent. Excitement lapped up against dread. It was as if I'd said I thought we should adopt a child. Jesse looked down and nodded. Adam said softly, "I just don't know if I'm ready for this." This was going to require a Big Talk. ...