Sean Spicer distracts, while “Handmaid’s Tale” and “SNL” win big at politically charged Emmys

If you tuned into the Emmys last night to escape the political hellscape currently dominating social media and the news, tough luck. The most talked-about moment at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards wasn’t Donald Glover’s or “The Handmaid’s Tale’s” historical wins but Sean Spicer, who made a surprise appearance during host Stephen Colbert’s monologue. The former press secretary scooted onstage behind a podium similar to the one Melissa McCarthy used to parody him on “Saturday Night Live,” and cracked a joke about the award show’s crowd size. He later told The Hollywood Reporter that he thought the Emmys stunt...

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What to watch this weekend

Here’s what’s worth watching, streaming and procrastinating with this weekend. “The Deuce” (HBO, Sept. 10) HBO nixed its last 1970s-set series, “Vinyl,” after just one season. But “The Deuce,” starring a delightfully slimy James Franco and a blonde-permed Maggie Gyllenhaal, will explore a very different aspect of the decade — porn. It’s been widely praised so far and was crafted by HBO veteran David Simon (“The Wire,” “Treme”); this isn’t a definitive gauge on the show’s quality (“Vinyl” was brought to you by Martin Scorsese), but we could all use some sepia-toned escapism this weekend. “It” (in theaters Sept. 8)...

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‘Leap!’ goes from ‘Swan Lake’ to swan dive

Just about everything you might expect to be annoying about an animated, 19th-century film about dueling Parisian child ballerinas cripples “Leap!” It’s essentially a Barbie movie with twice the budget, worse characters and even less plausibility (but better pop songs.) Theoretically, the film should soar; aside from “Dance Moms” sensation Maddie Ziegler, the cast features Elle Fanning, Mel Brooks and even Kate McKinnon. It’s also not lacking visually; “Leap!” offers a stunning reimagining of Paris 100 years ago. But the film, beyond a surface level, is a frenzied mess. Fanning voices Félicie, a young girl living in an 1880s...

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Editors’ summer 2017 pop culture picks

Film: “Mommy Dead and Dearest” (Kirby) This twisted story, about a Louisiana woman who claimed her daughter was suffering from numerous life-threatening diseases to gain public sympathy and charity money, first caught my attention with a 2016 BuzzFeed story. The documentary, directed by Erin Lee Carr, offers an even more intimate window into the fraught relationship between Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blancharde, that culminated in Dee Dee’s violent death.   Music: “The Man” by The Killers (Ceili) The Killers’ lead single from their new album, “Wonderful, Wonderful” (debuting Sept. 22), is a refreshing twist from their previous hits...

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The Best — and Worst — Films of the Summer

Film-wise, this was the best summer in recent memory (no thanks to “The Emoji Movie”). Here are the top five films worth watching if you didn’t manage to catch them in the last few months, plus the ones you should steer clear of. The Best: “The Big Sick”: On a surface level, “The Big Sick” seems to contend with too many rom-com cliches (debilitating illness, cultural crosshairs and disapproving parents, to name a few). But the film, which tells the real-life love story of writer/star Kumail Nanjiani and his now-wife, Emily Gordon, never lags or feels derivative. Everything topical, from...

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