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Addison Rae And Charli D’Amelio’s Attempts To Build Upon Their TikTok Fame Mirrors The Rocky Transition Of Silent Film Stars To Talkies

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“We had faces,” sneers Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd., lamenting the dearth of bona fide stars in Hollywood circa 1950. I sometimes wonder how she’d feel about Addison Rae, whose questionable star power can be debated ad infinitum, but who definitely has a face. In terms of square inches occupied on the head, her mouth is the dominant feature, capable of splitting into a rictus smile wide enough to reveal both rows of fine-tuned pearly whites. If fully opened to unleash one of her Gen-Z Julia Roberts laughs, her grin squeezes her eyes into mascara-lined semicircles squinty enough to look closed, like a humanoid approximation of an emoji. Sometimes, she’ll stick her tongue between her bared teeth, like she’s going to chomp the tip off; others, she just does the classic Gene Simmons. Her forehead is creaseless, her lips plumped, her chin dimpled. When the New Yorker‘s Jia Tolentino wrote about the insidious phenomenon of “Instagram face,” this is what she meant.

But Instagram isn’t the home base for this overnight social media phenomenon, her rise to relative prominence instead centralized around her millions-strong fanbase on short-form video app TikTok. There, she’s climbed the rankings to be one of the most-followed content creators, teens around the globe gobbling up the brief clips in which she dances and lip-syncs to the latest viral hits. And like Norma Desmond, left behind by the industry’s transition from silent film to talkies, Rae now faces a similar make-or-break crossroads as she makes the jump from Internet-mime into acting. With her leading role in the gender-flipped Netflix rework of She’s All That called, naturally, He’s All That, she’s agreed to serve as the online canary in the coal mine of mainstream entertainment. Her unusual performance and its icy reception reiterate a lesson that Norma had to learn the hard way: when you can talk like a normal person, audiences expect you to behave like one, too.

Many big names of the silent era found themselves out of a job when the movies started to incorporate synced sound, their skill set not translating from one format to the next. Over-the-top facial emoting was part and parcel of silent film acting, the clear telegraphing of elated joy or mustache-twirling evil enough to convey narrative to audiences without the benefit of explanation beyond the occasional title card. In attempting to repurpose her TikTok-bred style for He’s All That, Rae lands in the same conundrum. Armchair anthropologists have already laid out a taxonomy of “TikTok faces,” unnatural mugging that users have repeated until they’ve reached a meme-like status. Just as the dances themselves reconfigure a small handful of modular moves (roll your hips, waggle your hands about, shake your ass), so too do the performances shuffle a finite number of looks with clear nonverbal meaning. Rae’s own work states that fans will ask her to do her signature “nose-scrunch” face in photos together, just one in a half-dozen-or-so options from which she chooses when making her videos.

She brings that limited yet effortful technique to her actions and reactions in He’s All That, which ultimately damns her range less than her ability to convincingly simulate human behavior. In the role of Padgett Sawyer, a high school-aged influencer with a thing or two to learn about living genuinely, Rae understands that her various scenes call for various moods. (The irony that her hyper-mediated onscreen manner is used to deliver a trite moral about being yourself is thick, like humid summer air.) As she goes about turning the class burnout Cameron (Tanner Buchanan) into prom king material — a hilariously minute makeover, a lateral move from rakish handsomeness to rakish handsomeness in a suit instead of flannel button-down — Padgett cycles through embarrassment, flirtation, dejection. In each case, however, she’s giving a facsimile of that feeling rather than the feeling itself.

ADDISON RAE HE'S ALL THAT FACE

Acting instructors warn against “indicating,” the baldly demonstrative bad habit in which a performer substitutes a broad physical gesture for the emotion they’re supposed to be feeling. This is Rae’s issue in a nut shell, but because her native platform boxes her in to a smartphone’s aspect ratio, most of her indicating takes place on her face. Her eyes open too wide to not register as acting, her eyebrows too animated. Underplayed moments come off as vacant, as in Padgett’s response to Cameron taking a bowl of chili to the face. Rae closes her eyes to mutter a sarcastic “great!” in the knowledge that that’s what people do when frustrated, but the combination of her faux-casual body language as she awkwardly leans against a wall with the complete lack of additional detail in her expression give her away. In idle moments, she sometimes smiles at nothing in particular, as if the director of her school’s play has instructed everyone to keep beaming if they don’t know what to do. However emphatic, it’s all words and motions, no soul behind it.

Rae is actually the third-most followed account on TikTok, trailing only a Senegalese-Italian guy who makes fun of convoluted do-it-yourself projects, and fellow dance sensation Charli D’Amelio. Rae, D’Amelio, and to a slightly lesser extent, her sister Dixie are the main characters of the app’s thriving subculture, a popularity put to the test in the new Hulu reality series The D’Amelio Show. It’s pretty much Keeping Up With the Kardashians for the tight-knit family of father Marc, mother Heidi, and the power duo of daughters, supporting one another as the pressures of fame bear down on the teenagers’ slight shoulders. (It’s kind of messed up that the show concentrates specifically on how detrimental this wild ride is to Charli and Dixie’s mental health, and yet no one does anything about it.) Fans will tune in for an up-close-and-personal glimpse into their idol’s private life, but that all-access quality also exposes an absence of interiority in her as well.

Charli’s the first one to admit that she doesn’t know why she’s gotten so huge. She does her dances and people watch, a simple self-assessment of her celebrity that’s supposed to make her sound like a relatable everygal, but hints at her thorough averageness. While she and Dixie are both well-schooled in the art of selfie face-making, during their supposedly unguarded time in front of the non-cell-phone cameras, they’re even more rehearsed than the given reality show participant. Charli has that same telltale smile, flipped on like a switch, more a pose than an articulation of happiness. When she hasn’t turned it on, she sounds tentative, almost lost. In her videos, she projects supreme ease and confidence; speaking for herself, it’s as if she’s intimidated by her own voice.

DAMELIO FACES

It’s not easy to tell which if any of these social-media upstarts will have staying power in the years to come, but based on murmurs of studios considering follower counts more and more in low-level casting processes, this faction is going to stick around in one form or another. They’ll likely be relegated to youth-geared streaming fun-tertainment in the vein of He’s All That, and yet their influence could very well seep into a generation of actors who spend more time watching 15-second loops than feature-length movies. Addison Rae, the sisters D’Amelio, their legions of imitators coming up from behind — they’ve got faces all right, but not much more.

Charles Bramesco (@intothecrevassse) is a film and television critic living in Brooklyn. In addition to Decider, his work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Newsweek, Nylon, Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vox, and plenty of other semi-reputable publications. His favorite film is Boogie Nights.

Watch He’s All That on Netflix

Watch The D’Amelio Show on Hulu

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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