At an early age, most are taught that success equals happiness, but in the end, what is success? Money? Adoration? Love?

Aside from the few hopeless romantics, success is power. With power, you get the money, you get the fans, you can even get the girl – but most importantly, power gives you the green-light to do whatever you want, or so it would seem. The struggle for power is a central theme in our world, so it makes sense that it’s also a central theme in Hollywood…and not just behind the scenes. In fact, two of today’s most popular shows, HBO’s Game of Thrones and Netflix’s House of Cards, are so strongly grounded in this theme that I would venture to declare that the ultimate geek’s wet dream that is Thrones and the heartless ego-fest that is Cards are essentially the same thrillingly addictive show.

House of Cards is a remake of a U.K. show based on a book of the same name by Michael Dobbs. The hour-long drama follows one man’s rise to power in present day Washington DC. After watching even just one episode, or simply listening to a few minutes of Kevin Spacey’s voice-over, it is entirely clear that the lead character is obsessed with power. The core of the show follows the various tactics that Spacey’s character, Francis Underwood, and those in his inner circle (his wife, his mistress, his former protege, his present protege) use in the pursuit of this insatiable endgame.

Similarly, Game of Thrones is an hour-long drama based on a book of the same name by George R. R. Martin. Set in a mythical ancient world, the show follows the simultaneous stories of various “houses” in their rise to power. From those who feel power is rightfully theirs (due to their royal bloodline) to those who feel their wealth and wits gives them the right to rule, each schemes and manipulates in their crusade for the throne.

Now, some might argue that one basic difference is that Cards follows one lead character in one city, where as Thrones follows the story of multiple characters spread across the globe. However, I would argue that the supposed secondary characters in Cards, all chess pieces in Francis’ game, are crucial to the plot and are therefore equal players.

Furthermore, each of these additional characters enter the story with their own agenda – each uses Francis just as much as he uses them, and all are equally on a similar quest for…you guessed it, POWER (just like Thrones!). With regards to Cards taking place in one city, I would actually argue that although the majority of characters represented reside in a similar area, each come from backgrounds as diverse as the characters in Thrones.

Now on to the most fascinating part of each of these shows: the characters. Some we love, some we love to hate, some we’d love to love. I would say that the U.S. President in Cards is presented as a powerless pawn, identical to Thrones’ King Joffrey. Sure, each might have powerful titles and a large audience at their disposal to pad their egos whenever needed; however, deep down, neither are in control of their own fate.

Then, to the royal beyatches – Thrones’ Queen Cersei Lannister and Cards’ Claire Underwood – both extremely unhappy individuals who use their family’s clout to gain a false sense of power, both insecure underneath their tough exteriors and extremely reliant on the men in their lives.

Next, the tie for this generation’s Samantha Micelli (who didn’t want her in the 80s…am I right?!) – Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen and Cards’ Zoe Barnes. Although neither is viewed with much respect at the start, both exemplify the strong, independent women that Cersei and Claire strive to be. While both require external assistance in their rise (Daenerys is given the gift of dragon’s eggs, while Zoe is given the gift of insider info – and I would argue that insider information is the equivalent to the power of three dragons by your side when it comes to DC politics), both combine this aid with their sexuality, strong guttural instincts and surprising loyalty to become self-made successes. Plus, both have the cojones to stomp on anyone who crosses them.

True, Thrones is gruesome with its castrations and red weddings, but it’s set in a different time where violence is, shall we say, a bit more socially acceptable. In modern day society, its intriguingly considered more socially acceptable to do a smear-campaign and destroy another’s career, family and life, rather than a public beheading, but in many ways, they serve the same purpose. Both shows present backstabbing at its worst: do not forget that Cards’ Francis Underwood also commits murder while climbing his ladder to power… he simply does it in a more cowardly way. So yes, the battles presented in Cards are fought with words instead of swords, but in both, regardless of physical strength, the best chess player wins.

And now to one of the only glaringly apparent differences between these two Emmy-nominated masterpieces – the lack of “good guys” in Cards. The Stark clan is all over Thrones, flaunting their morality at every turn. They seem to be only fighting for power in order to “keep it out of the hands of the bad guys.” However, I would argue that power went to the head of Thrones’ young stud, Robb, and ultimately brought about his end.

More importantly though, Thrones is based on a fictional time of sorcery and dragons where the good guy could truly have a heart of gold. Some may say that is simply not how the “real world” works, but being the ultimate idealist, I remind you that Thrones is entering into its fourth season, whereas Cards is only entering its second; therefore, I believe there’s still hope for a Stark or two, with genuine intentions, to pop up in DC when Cards season 2 premieres this Friday. CHECKMATE.

Kevin Seldon is a writer and producer, born & raised in Los Angeles. He is also a leading cause-marketing consultant and branding strategist through KELDOF Marketing, an LA-based activation agency he founded in 2004. After graduation from Northwestern University, Kevin began his illustrious career in entertainment as a mechanic bull operator at Saddle Ranch Chop House. He loves the color orange and his wife.

Quiz: How well do you remember the 2007 Oscars?

3:32 pm EST, January 18, 2017

As the 89th Academy Awards approach, we take a trip back to 2007 to see how memorable the ceremony really was 10 years ago.

Ah, the Oscars. What a night. Glitz and glamour, lots of rich and beautiful people crying and thanking each other. What’s not to like?

Related: 2016 Oscars: Leo finally wins, Mad Max: Fury Road cleans up

Read full article

As the 89th Academy Awards approach, we take a trip back to 2007 to see how memorable the ceremony really was 10 years ago.

Ah, the Oscars. What a night. Glitz and glamour, lots of rich and beautiful people crying and thanking each other. What’s not to like?

Related: 2016 Oscars: Leo finally wins, Mad Max: Fury Road cleans up

In 10 years, will we look back at the 2017 Oscars and remember every detail of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling awkwardly accepting award after award for La La Land while the other nominees politely clap and try not to grit their teeth? Or will the event fade into distant memory?

Maybe we can get an answer to that question by dialling back the clock to 2007 and see just how clearly we remember the 79th Academy Awards.

How did you do? Tell us how well you remember the 79th Academy Awards in the comments!

The nominations for the 89th Academy Awards will be unveiled Tuesday, January 24.

You may know that one of those dogs-are-so-great-and-warm-our-hearts movies, A Dog’s Purpose, is hitting theaters very soon. Unfortunately, it’s now embroiled in controversy.

TMZ has released a video from the film’s Canadian set depicting a German Shepherd being forced into a fast-moving stream of water. As you can tell, the dog clearly does not want to go in it.

The most upsetting part of the video comes at the very end when we see the dog finally in the fake river but having trouble staying above water. The crew calls cut to rescue him/her.

Read full article

You may know that one of those dogs-are-so-great-and-warm-our-hearts movies, A Dog’s Purpose, is hitting theaters very soon. Unfortunately, it’s now embroiled in controversy.

TMZ has released a video from the film’s Canadian set depicting a German Shepherd being forced into a fast-moving stream of water. As you can tell, the dog clearly does not want to go in it.

The most upsetting part of the video comes at the very end when we see the dog finally in the fake river but having trouble staying above water. The crew calls cut to rescue him/her.

“Sources connected to production tell us eight outboard motors were used to churn the water and recreate a rushing river,” says TMZ. “The dog eventually got in the water — or was forced in — but was quickly submerged.”

At 1:28 in the below trailer you can see a scene that looks similar to what was being filmed in TMZ’s video:

Universal and their partners at Amblin told TMZ in a statement, “Fostering a safe environment and ensuring the ethical treatment of our animal actors was of the utmost importance to those involved in making this film and we will look into the circumstances surrounding this video.”

A Dog’s Purpose stars Dennis Quaid and Britt Robertson. It opens next Friday, January 27.

Update: Josh Gad, who voices a dog in the movie, issued the following statement on Instagram. He speaks highly of the film but says he finds the leaked video “disturbing.”

“While I do not know all of the details and cannot speak to the level of care and caution that went into this moment (as I was never on set for the marking of this film), I am shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will.”

Since apparently some of you did not see the statement I issued last night, here it is again.

A photo posted by Josh Gad (@joshgad) on

We’re suddenly way less interested in seeing this.

Moviegoers may be getting the Spidey we’ve all been hoping for! A new report reveals that Sony’s animated Spider-Man movie, set to hit theaters in 2018, will focus on the Miles Morales Spidey.

Update (January 18, 2017): Sony Animation confirmed on Wednesday, January 18 that their animated Spider-Man movie will star Miles Morales!

Read full article

Moviegoers may be getting the Spidey we’ve all been hoping for! A new report reveals that Sony’s animated Spider-Man movie, set to hit theaters in 2018, will focus on the Miles Morales Spidey.

Update (January 18, 2017): Sony Animation confirmed on Wednesday, January 18 that their animated Spider-Man movie will star Miles Morales!

Original story (May 2016): Heroic Hollywood, who has a good record of breaking superhero news, is the source behind the exciting development. As was previously announced, the animated Spider-Man movie will be produced by LEGO Movie helmers Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The duo are also set to direct the Star Wars Han Solo spinoff for Lucasfilm.

Who is Miles Morales? As we wrote in a lengthy tell-all about the character last year:

Miles Morales is the current Spider-Man in Marvel’s Ultimate Comics series. Introduced in 2011, Miles is a black-hispanic young man who, like Peter Parker, is a talented scientist and self-proclaimed nerd. However, unlike his predecessor, Morales steps into the superhero’s shoes at the surprisingly young age of 13.

Raised in Brooklyn, Miles was born into a family plagued by criminal activity. Before settling down with his wife Rio, Miles’s father Jefferson used to be crime partners with his brother Aaron (Miles’s uncle). However, where Jefferson tried to shrink away from the lifestyle, Aaron continues to embrace it — assuming the role of classic Marvel villain the Prowler. After pulling off a heist on Oscorp, Aaron unknowingly takes a genetically modified spider home with him. It is at Aaron’s house that Miles is bit by the spider and starts the transformation into Spider-Man.

Where Peter Parker relished the opportunity to become spidey, Miles is reluctant to enter the world of vigilantism. What’s more, his family’s criminal history causes him to question whether or not he can ever be a hero, or if evil is hardwired into him.

Oh, and one other cool thing about him: The guy is immortal, unlike the Peter Parker version of Spider-Man.

Related: Who is Miles Morales? We explain everything

The rumor mill was alive with chatter about the MCU’s Spidey being the Miles Morales version last year, but obviously those reports never panned out. The Peter Parker version of Spider-Man was introduced in Captain America: Civil War, played by Tom Holland. He’s getting his own spinoff film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, next year.

Telling the Miles Morales story on screen may be just the thing the animated Spider-Man movie needs in order for it to draw people into the theaters in December 2018. We’ve had enough Peter Parker stories!

2018 will be a great year for super hero diversity: Marvel’s Black Panther starring Chadwick Boseman will be released a few months earlier.