Pop Culture

Cruise gets emotional about Jett Travolta

Tom Cruise’s Jan. 8 appearance on “The View” won't air until Jan. 9, so the prescient nature of Cruise’s remarks about the death of Jett Travolta could be lost somewhat. A visibly shaken Cruise said, “It’s horrific. Here you have a man, both of them doting parents, they’re wonderful people, and….”

Cruise also reiterated the Church of Scientology’s stance on seeking medical attention, one pointed out in this column by Tommy Davis earlier this week. Rumors that the church discourages followers from seeking medical care are false, the actor and longtime Scientologist said.

Cruise’s appearance was pegged to the release of his film “Valkyrie,” which opened Dec. 25. While most press doesn’t go on this long, his visit to the show afforded him the opportunity to do what Cruise does best, interact with fans.

According to one person who attended the show, “he was so nice, so gracious. He stayed for a long time after the show to take pictures and sign autographs with the entire studio audience.”

‘SNL’ Obama parody to hit the airwaves “Solid as Barack” was among the best musical parodies of the 2008 “Saturday Night Live” season, so it’s not surprising that Ashford & Simpson, the artists behind the song “Solid (As a Rock)” took notice.

That might be an understatement — the group actually plans to re-record its 1984 hit in the iteration penned by Seth Myers and performed by Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen.

The tune will be available for digital download on inauguration day, of course.

Sean Penn’s unlikely friend of ’09

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There’s something about Sean Penn and awards season.

Last year, at the Elton John Oscar viewing party, Sean Penn was spotted hanging out with unlikely pal Petra Nemcova, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model.

Now, just days before the Golden Globes, Penn was spotted with Lindsay Lohan.

Celebuzz reports that Penn joined Lohan and a table full of her friends at Nobu in West Hollywood. Sushi and chain-smoking was reportedly enjoyed by all.

Weekend box office This week begins the new box-office prediction tally for 2009. This weekend we’ve got the much-publicized “Bride Wars,” starring Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson; “Gran Torino,” starring Clint Eastwood; and the horror flick “The Unborn.”

Although I think it’s in everyone’s best interest to convince Hathaway to break away from the wedding-flick franchise, I do think “Bride Wars” will take first place. If there’s something Tom Cruise has taught us in the past year, it’s that near-constant publicity really can do your movie good, and Hathaway and Hudson have certainly been doing their part.

“Gran Torino,” I suspect, won’t do better than second place.

More on Tom Cruise | Jett Travolta

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com.

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