March 29, 2017

If you heard talk about Russian dressing on Tuesday, this testy exchange between White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and April Ryan, the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, is probably why.

Ryan was reminding Spicer of all the Russia-related news the White House is dealing with — the scuttled Sally Yates testimony, President Trump's widely dismissed claims he was wiretapped at Trump Tower, the broader Russia investigation — and Spicer cut it, rejecting the premise. "No, we don't 'have' that," he said. "I've said it from the day that I got here until whenever that there's not a connection. You've got Russia. If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a Russian connection."

Nevertheless, Ryan persisted. Spicer selectively insisted that everyone has dismissed reports of Trump-Russia collusion, despite the ongoing FBI investigation, and told Ryan, "I'm sorry that that disgusts you. You're shaking your head." He accused her of pursuing an "agenda" and ignoring "facts," and when she changed subjects to ask about a White House visit by Condoleezza Rice, Spicer accused Ryan of being "hellbent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays," adding again: "Please, stop shaking your head again."

Even though he said "please," Spicer instructing a reporter — especially a black female reporter — on how she should gesture or behave rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, including Ryan.

Hillary Clinton, in a rare public speech Tuesday, said Ryan "was patronized and cut off as she tried to ask a question," threw in Bill O'Reilly's jab at Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and said: "Too many women, especially women of color, have had a lifetime of practice taking precisely these kinds of indignities in stride." At The Washington Post, Aaron Blake noted that Spicer has clashed with male reporters plenty of times, but this "seemed to venture into different territory." And oddly, he added, "the mere premise that Russia is an issue for the White House seemed to set Spicer off." Peter Weber

5:33 p.m.

If you love Keanu Reeves, clear your schedule on May 21, 2021, because Hollywood is treating you to a double feature.

Warner Bros. has announced that The Matrix 4 will arrive in theaters on that date, which also happens to be the date Lionsgate had previously scheduled for the fourth John Wick movie. Honestly: Just cut out the middleman and give us the John Wick vs. Neo movie of our collective dreams. Read more at The Wrap. Scott Meslow

5:22 p.m.

Let's hope Vacation is all you ever wanted, because you're about to get a lot more of it.

The Griswold family — immortalized on the big screen in the movies Vacation, European Vacation, Christmas Vacation, Vegas Vacation, and an Ed Helms-starring reboot you probably forgot about — is bound for the small screen, reports Deadline.

The new TV series, titled The Griswolds, will premiere on the upcoming streaming service HBO Max, and promises to explore the family's "daily lives in the suburbs of modern-day Chicago," because nothing says "Vacation adaptation" like a bunch of people sitting around at home. Read more at Deadline. Scott Meslow

4:55 p.m.

The upcoming Game of Thrones prequel spinoff House of the Dragon is set hundreds of years before the events of the original series, which makes it rather unlikely that fan favorites like Tyrion Lannister or Arya Stark will be popping in for cameos.

But one Game of Thrones actor who could actually, plausibly appear in House of the Dragon says she might be down to reprise her role: Carie van Houten, who played the "red witch" Melisandre.

Melisandre was eventually revealed to be very, very old in one of many Game of Thrones plot twists that didn't actually go anywhere — but hey, at least that gives the spinoff something to explore. Read more at Entertainment Weekly. Scott Meslow

4:52 p.m.

Between HBO's Big Little Lies and and Apple TV+'s The Morning Show, Reese Witherspoon has spent much of 2019 on the small screen. But there's one big-screen character she's keen to revive: Elle Woods, the protagonist of 2001's Legally Blonde and its sequel.

A third Legally Blonde hasn't formally been greenlit, but Witherspoon confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that it's on her list: "We discussed it and thought, maybe it's time to revisit" — and given that the last Legally Blonde movie ended with Elle Woods setting her sights on the White House, the 2020 election could be about to get very interesting.

Read more at The Hollywood Reporter. Scott Meslow

4:49 p.m.

Everything may be proceeding as some Star Wars fans had foreseen.

A wild new clip from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker released Thursday provided one last-minute bombshell reveal from the film, one that very strongly suggests a fan theory surrounding Emperor Palpatine will end up being true.

In the clip, Palpatine, who was thought dead in Return of the Jedi but has somehow returned in The Rise of Skywalker, communicates with Kylo Ren and tells him, "I have been every voice you have ever heard inside your head." The line starts in Palpatine's voice, then morphs into Supreme Leader Snoke's voice, and finally turns into the voice of Darth Vader.

The clip's implication seems to be that Palpatine isn't just suddenly back now but has actually been quietly manipulating Kylo for years. This immediately brings to mind Kylo speaking with Darth Vader's charred helmet in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and asking his grandfather to "show me again. The power of the darkness."

It wouldn't make sense for Anakin Skywalker to show his grandson visions of the darkness considering he turned from the Dark Side before he died. But ever since Palpatine's return was announced for The Rise of Skywalker, some fans speculated he was actually the one behind these visions all along, with Palpatine just tricking Kylo into thinking he was communicating with his grandfather. That certainly appears to be where The Rise of Skywalker is heading.

The addition of the Snoke voice could also imply he was merely a puppet of Palpatine or was even just Palpatine himself, which might explain why Palpatine's theme briefly popped up on Star Wars: The Last Jedi's score during a Snoke scene. Does this mean Palpatine alone was responsible for turning not one, but two members of the Skywalker bloodline to the Dark Side?

We'll find out for sure when The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on Dec. 20. Brendan Morrow

4:24 p.m.

President Trump's impeachment saga is just begging for an HBO adaptation.

There's foreign intrigue. There are talkative star witnesses. And there's the possibility of seeing Timothée Chalamet squeeze on a bald cap to play Rudy Giuliani once he's a few decades past his prime. All of that — but in the present day and shoved into the Senate floor — is what Trump wants out of his upcoming Senate trial, Politico reports via interviews with eight current and former senior administration officials, Trump campaign aides and Republicans close to the White House.

Trump used to be worried about impeachment, even angry, Politico says. Yet lately, Trump has started laughing the whole thing off, calling the charges against him "flimsy" and the whole thing "impeachment lite." The change in attitude comes as "White House and campaign officials" start to believe "impeachment could become politically advantageous" both for swing-state Republicans and those challenging vulnerable House Democrats, Politico reports. They've gotten their confidence from polling that has shown impeachment is "unpopular with Republicans" and questionable among independents, and also the fact that no Republicans on the Hill have defected to back the process, Politico continues.

But Trump and Senate Republicans aren't on the same page about everything. While the Senate reportedly just wants to get this whole thing over with, Trump "would prefer it become more of a TV spectacle with high-profile witnesses and smooth-talking attorneys to fully exonerate him," Politico writes. After all, an appearance from Alan Dershowitz would make the O.J. Simpson parallels just too much to handle. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:00 p.m.

It's not a good day to have push notifications for President Trump's Twitter feed turned on.

The president's Twitter account has exploded with an absurd amount of activity throughout the day on Thursday, as the House Judiciary Committee debated articles of impeachment against him. As of the mid-afternoon, he had overwhelmed followers with more than 100 tweets or retweets.

The day's not even over yet, and The Washington Post reports Trump has already sent more tweets and retweets than he has on any day since he announced his candidacy for president in 2015. The previous record came on Sunday, when he hit 105. The Post notes that Trump sent more tweets or retweets today alone than former President Obama sent on the @POTUS account from May 2016 through January 2017.

The vast majority of Trump's Thursday tweets have been related to the impeachment hearing, although not all; among his first was an attack on 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who he told to "chill" after she was named Time person of the year.

Trump during the impeachment inquiry has insisted he's "too busy" to watch the televised hearings, and he even described himself on Thursday as having a "very busy day," Vox points out. Too busy for more than 100 retweets by mid-afternoon, though? Certainly not. Brendan Morrow

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