Ken Jennings

Message Boards

2014: The Year in Trivia

The place to talk. "On topic"? "Off topic"? We make no such petty distinctions here.

2014: The Year in Trivia

Postby Neel Mehta » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:07 pm

Hey, remember 2014? Here are 12 pop culture questions, one for each month.

1. In January 2014, 1970s relics Nile Rodgers and Paul Williams spoke on stage to accept the Grammy Award for Album of the Year on behalf of what act?

2. Billboard's 4th biggest song of the year, "Fancy," was released in February 2014. Its official music video pays a tribute of sorts to what deceased celebrity, who was also portrayed later in the year in a Lifetime TV movie?

3. Actresses Lucy Hale and Ashley Benson are probably best known for playing high school classmates on the TV series Pretty Little Liars. But they also both appeared on a different TV show, and in March 2014 viewers learned their characters became related by marriage -- at least briefly. What was that show?

4. What movie released in April 2014 quotes the beginning of Ezekiel 25:17 on a character's tombstone, a jokey reference to the 1994 film Pulp Fiction?

5. Fifteen years after their televised interview attracted 74 million viewers, two women made headlines again in May 2014. One wrote an essay entitled "Shame and Survival" that was published in Vanity Fair magazine; the other retired from daily work after more than 50 years in the business. Who are they?

6. In June 2014, Taylor Swift introduced her newest family member on Instagram, a kitten named after what NBC television character?

7. What group (mostly) reunited in July 2014 for ten sold-out shows in London, in a performance morbidly subtitled "One Down, Five to Go"?

8. What previously cancelled TV series, produced by Fox Television Studios, was resurrected for a fourth season that started streaming on Netflix in August 2014?

9. Published in September 2014 was Mike Thomas' biography You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman, which provides a detailed account of the late improvisational performer (with the Groundlings) and TV and film actor (best known for Saturday Night Live and NewsRadio). Some questions:

a) Phil Hartman was credited as a writer for exactly one feature-length film, a 1985 hit comedy starring a fellow Groundling who is still best known for playing that film's title character. It featured Hartman in a small role, and also future SNL co-star Jan Hooks. What was the film?

b) Lorne Michaels visited Los Angeles to cast players for the 1985-1986 season of Saturday Night Live, his first since leaving the show in 1980. He saw Phil Hartman performing with the Groundlings but hired another Groundling instead. (Al Franken, then an SNL writer, revealed they were looking for a Tom Hanks everyman but ended up selecting someone who was the opposite of that.) Who did Michaels hire?

c) NewsRadio cast member Vicki Lewis (who played unmotivated receptionist Beth) commiserated with Phil Hartman over the addiction problems of their significant others. At the time she had a live-in boyfriend, a very famous actor who has been nominated for three Academy Awards and was once People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive. Who is he?

10. Two San Francisco radio stations announced in October 2014 that, as a matter of community support and solidarity, they would temporarily stop playing what pop song?

11. What actress is name-checked in Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' November 2014 single "Uptown Funk," one year after being name-checked in Vance Joy's single "Riptide"?

12. What 2015 film was heavily promoted during ABC's December 2014 telecast of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, with the tagline "Share your #midnight"?
Neel Mehta
 
Posts: 1216
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:45 pm
Location: New Orleans, LA

Re: 2014: The Year in Trivia

Postby rockgolf » Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:55 am

Hmm... I have a few.
Spoiler: show
1. Daft Punk. An educated guess.
3. How I Met Your Mother
5. Monica Lewinsky & Barbara Walters
7. Monty Python
10. Royals, due to the World Series.
11. Michelle Pfeiffer
rockgolf
 
Posts: 2218
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 8:31 am
Location: Brampton

Re: 2014: The Year in Trivia

Postby Neel Mehta » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:48 am

rockgolf is correct and has completed 6 months of work. (I'm half-joking. I started writing that March question in fall 2013, so things have been percolating for a while.)

Still unanswered are February, April, June, August, September, and December.

Hints:

Spoiler: show
2. Lifetime TV has made three recent unauthorized biopics, two about singers who also occasionally acted, and one about an actress. I'm asking about the actress.

4. The 2014 movie featured an actor who was in Pulp Fiction.

6. Taylor Swift has said she binge watches that NBC show, and according to IMDb, its character has appeared in 357 episodes... and counting.

8. Despite deliberately cruel phrasing, the answer is not Arrested Development. This show was on basic cable and was cancelled, revived, cancelled a second time, and then reborn on Netflix.

9. a) The star of the 1985 movie was famously arrested in 1991 for embarrassing reasons.

9. b) The anti-Tom Hanks ended up doing a recurring skit on SNL with the real Tom Hanks, playing a couple of terrible pick-up artists.

9. c) The famous actor cohabited with Vicki Lewis from 1994-2003. He received one Oscar nomination before, during, and after that period.

12. The 2015 film will be released this March and benefits from corporate synergy with ABC.
Neel Mehta
 
Posts: 1216
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:45 pm
Location: New Orleans, LA

Re: 2014: The Year in Trivia

Postby Theone36952s » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:28 pm

I can give you a few more.

Spoiler: show
2. Brittany Murphy. (Azalea's video is an ode to the movie Clueless, which Murphy appeared in.)
4. Captain America Winter Soldier. (Samuel L. Jackson is the actor.)
6. Olivia Benson. (The show is Law and Order: SVU.)
12. Cinderella.
Theone36952s
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:44 pm

Re: 2014: The Year in Trivia

Postby marpocky » Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:19 pm

I didn't check, but I'm pretty sure August is
Spoiler: show
The Killing
marpocky
 
Posts: 1623
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:39 pm
Location: Suzhou, China

Re: 2014: The Year in Trivia

Postby Neel Mehta » Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:26 pm

All correct. Very nice. This just leaves the September multi-part question, which isn't about 2014 at all, but continues my short tradition of including recently published biographies of dead entertainers (River Phoenix in 2013, Phil Hartman in 2014).

Hints for September provided in my first reply above. I'll post the complete answers and some followup curiosities sometime this weekend.
Neel Mehta
 
Posts: 1216
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:45 pm
Location: New Orleans, LA

Re: 2014: The Year in Trivia

Postby Neel Mehta » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:46 pm

It's been over a week, so complete answers are in order.

1. In January 2014, 1970s relics Nile Rodgers and Paul Williams spoke on stage to accept the Grammy Award for Album of the Year on behalf of what act?

Daft Punk, a pair of French robots that are human shaped, won Album of the Year for Random Access Memories. They do not talk very much, and were unlikely to give an acceptance speech. Nile Rodgers and Paul Williams were among the many contributors to their album.

2. Billboard's 4th biggest song of the year, "Fancy," was released in February 2014. Its official music video pays a tribute of sorts to what deceased celebrity, who was also portrayed later in the year in a Lifetime TV movie?

The music video for "Fancy" re-enacts the 1995 movie Clueless, with hip-hop artist Iggy Azalea as Alicia Silverstone and featured singer Charli XCX dressed like the late Brittany Murphy. (Lifetime aired The Brittany Murphy Story in September.)

3. Actresses Lucy Hale and Ashley Benson are probably best known for playing high school classmates on the TV series Pretty Little Liars. But they also both appeared on a different TV show, and in March 2014 viewers learned their characters became related by marriage -- at least briefly. What was that show?

In earlier episodes of How I Met Your Mother, Lucy Hale played Robin's sister, and Ashley Benson played Barney's half-sister. Robin and Barney were married in the penultimate episode, and divorced during the intervening years depicted in the divisive series finale.

4. What movie released in April 2014 quotes the beginning of Ezekiel 25:17 on a character's tombstone, a jokey reference to the 1994 film Pulp Fiction?

It was fairly impressive that a big Marvel movie like Captain America: The Winter Soldier attempted such a weird sight gag for the tombstone of Samuel L. Jackson's not-really-dead Nick Fury. (Jackson was also in Pulp Fiction, playing a hitman who took to reciting Ezekiel 25:17 when he worked.)

Slashfilm has an image of the tombstone, and asks the movie's directors about it here. If you're averse to third party sites, the tombstone reads:

COL. NICHOLAS J. FURY
"The path of the righteous man..." - Ezekiel 25:17
1951-2014

5. Fifteen years after their televised interview attracted 74 million viewers, two women made headlines again in May 2014. One wrote an essay entitled "Shame and Survival" that was published in Vanity Fair magazine; the other retired from daily work after more than 50 years in the business. Who are they?

Barbara Walters interviewed Monica Lewinsky for ABC News in March 1999. Interestingly, Hillary Clinton dropped by for Barbara Walters' final episode of "The View".

Ratings clarification: 49 million viewers saw the whole thing, 74 million saw at least part of it. Ratings speculation: every straight man who watched silently took notice of Monica's mouth as she spoke, and filed that piece of information away in his brain.

6. In June 2014, Taylor Swift introduced her newest family member on Instagram, a kitten named after what NBC television character?

"Meet Olivia Benson," wrote the self-professed Law and Order: SVU fan in her caption. Taylor Swift already has a cat named for ABC television character Meredith Grey. So... cat #3 should be CBS, right? Alicia Florrick?

7. What group (mostly) reunited in July 2014 for ten sold-out shows in London, in a performance morbidly subtitled "One Down, Five to Go"?

This sounds like a question about a rock band, but it's about Monty Python. The five surviving members needed money to pay legal fees in a case they lost over royalties for the Broadway show Spamalot, so they put on a series of shows entitled "Monty Python Live (Mostly)" with clips of the late Graham Chapman.

8. What previously cancelled TV series, produced by Fox Television Studios, was resurrected for a fourth season that started streaming on Netflix in August 2014?

This could have described Arrested Development if the date were May 2013. But the correct answer is The Killing, cancelled by AMC, revived by AMC, cancelled a second time by AMC, and unkilled by Netflix.

9. Published in September 2014 was Mike Thomas' biography You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman, which provides a detailed account of the late improvisational performer (with the Groundlings) and TV and film actor (best known for Saturday Night Live and NewsRadio). Some questions:

a) Phil Hartman was credited as a writer for exactly one feature-length film, a 1985 hit comedy starring a fellow Groundling who is still best known for playing that film's title character. It featured Hartman in a small role, and also future SNL co-star Jan Hooks. What was the film?

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. Phil Hartman was an early contributor to Paul Reubens' Pee-Wee character, as it evolved from stage to an HBO special to the big screen to a CBS series, but they had a falling out. The book details some confusion about how much of the movie is Paul Reubens and how much is Phil Hartman, but the third screenwriter, Michael Varhol, is quick to share which of Phil's ideas made it to screen.

b) Lorne Michaels visited Los Angeles to cast players for the 1985-1986 season of Saturday Night Live, his first since leaving the show in 1980. He saw Phil Hartman performing with the Groundlings but hired another Groundling instead. (Al Franken, then an SNL writer, revealed they were looking for a Tom Hanks everyman but ended up selecting someone who was the opposite of that.) Who did Michaels hire?

Jon Lovitz, and even he was surprised Phil Hartman wasn't hired instead. (Phil was hired the following year.)

c) NewsRadio cast member Vicki Lewis (who played unmotivated receptionist Beth) commiserated with Phil Hartman over the addiction problems of their significant others. At the time she had a live-in boyfriend, a very famous actor who has been nominated for three Academy Awards and was once People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive. Who is he?

Nick Nolte. How did that happen? Do they even travel in the same circles? I'm as perplexed as you.

10. Two San Francisco radio stations announced in October 2014 that, as a matter of community support and solidarity, they would temporarily stop playing what pop song?

This is written like a social justice question, but it's actually about baseball. When the San Francisco Giants faced the Kansas City Royals in the World Series, two local stations removed the Lorde song "Royals" from their rotation.

11. What actress is name-checked in Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' November 2014 single "Uptown Funk," one year after being name-checked in Vance Joy's single "Riptide"?

56-year-old Michelle Pfeiffer treated my radio like her own personal piano last year, sprawling herself all over it. "Riptide" was released in 2013, but its airplay peaked in 2014.

12. What 2015 film was heavily promoted during ABC's December 2014 telecast of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, with the tagline "Share your #midnight"?

ABC/Disney corporate synergy was in full effect in Times Square for about 30 minutes that night, with multiple lighted signs, an extended trailer, and topical campaign promoting Kenneth Branagh's upcoming live-action Cinderella.
Neel Mehta
 
Posts: 1216
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:45 pm
Location: New Orleans, LA

Re: 2014: The Year in Trivia

Postby Neel Mehta » Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:52 pm

As promised, I have a few open-ended followup curiosities before we close the book on 2014. Feel free to contribute and add your own.

2. Here's a bit of math in our music. You may recall the reflexive, symmetric, and transitive properties.

"Fancy" started a trend showing us the transitive property is alive and well:

Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX, "Fancy" (February 2014)
Iggy Azalea featuring Rita Ora, "Black Widow" (July 2014)
Charli XCX featuring Rita Ora, "Doing It" (January 2015)

This is very reminiscent of the symmetric property used over a decade ago:

Eve featuring Gwen Stefani, "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" (May 2001)
Gwen Stefani featuring Eve, "Rich Girl" (December 2004)

Can you think of any other musical examples of the transitive or symmetric property? And what about the reflexive property? Does "Talk Talk" by Talk Talk (1982) count?

3. Let's ignore the half-sister and divorce elements of How I Met Your Mother for a moment. Is there a label for the relationship between Robin's sister and Barney's sister once Robin and Barney are married?

The term "sister-in-law" extends to the relationship between the bride and the groom's sister, and the groom and the bride's sister, but not necessarily to the bride's sister and groom's sister. Or does it? I spent some time looking into this, and did not find a definitive answer, so in my question I went with the vague phrase "related by marriage".

5. The question was about May, but who published a book titled Hard Choices in June 2014?

a) Bill Clinton
b) Gennifer Flowers
c) Monica Lewinsky
d) Hillary Clinton

And was this title a good idea?

11. Without getting too deep in generalities about race or gender or age, I've long wondered who African-American men would select as their favorite white movie actress. For obvious reasons, that survey never gets conducted, but I think the answers would say a lot about how popular movies are regarded by all audiences.

Do they simply mirror the most popular white actresses in general, like Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock? Do they lean toward action actresses, like Scarlett Johansson or Milla Jovovich? Or do they tend to favor lesser-known actresses who have worked with African-American casts, like Ali Larter or Brittany Daniel?

Until someone makes that survey, I think the default answer is Michelle Pfeiffer, with Sandra Bullock a close second and someone else a distant third. To the extent that African-American culture incorporates hip-hop, the film Scarface is part of the film canon. As is Dangerous Minds, to a lesser degree. Then there's Batman Returns. Asking an African-American man about his favorite Catwomen would mostly say a lot about his age, but if enough men of various ages were surveyed, Michelle Pfeiffer is a safe bet for the Top 3.
Neel Mehta
 
Posts: 1216
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:45 pm
Location: New Orleans, LA

Re: 2014: The Year in Trivia

Postby Bill » Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:41 pm

I believe your sibling's spouse's sister is your "co-sister-in-law."

As I understand it, the term "co-sister-in-law" may also apply to your spouse's sibling's wife.
Bill
 
Posts: 1930
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:32 am
Location: New York City

Re: 2014: The Year in Trivia

Postby Bill » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:26 am

For no reason, here's an Arrested Development reference:

Wife: I'm in love with your brother-in-law.
GOB: You're in love with your own brother? The one in the army?
Wife: No, your sister's husband.
GOB: Michael? Michael!
Wife: No, that's your sister's brother.
GOB: No, I'm my sister's brother. You're in love with me. Me!
Wife: I'm in love with Tobias.
GOB: My brother-in-law?
Wife: I know it can never be. So I'm leaving and enlisting in the army.
GOB: To be with your brother!
Wife: No.

She also could have said, "I'm in love with my co-brother-in-law."
Bill
 
Posts: 1930
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:32 am
Location: New York City


Return to Main Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron