Judge Judy: No one gets the best of her in court, in ratings

By Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — The defendant has stepped in it now.

"I never lie!" he says, raising his voice and a finger Judith Sheindlin's way.

The courtroom goes quiet as spectators realize the man is done for. Sheindlin —Judge Judy to anyone who owns a television set — stiffens in her seat, not sure what she just heard. "Excuse me?" she asks, raising an eyebrow, giving that look like you just interrupted her putt.

"I said I never ..."

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Tyler Perry holds on to his past

By Michael A. Schwarz, USA TODAYATLANTA — Tyler Perry is standing in the middle of what was once a life on the brink.

It's a postage stamp of a room. A 200-square-foot studio apartment that's more heap than home: a broken television set; a stained mattress piled with broken end tables and torn couch cushions; an overflowing toilet caked with waste.

Others stayed here after Perry moved out years ago. "But this is pretty much how I was living," the director says, stepping over newspapers and a roach trap. "This was my place, and I was glad to have it."

The apartment building, which sits near downtown Atlanta off historic Peachtree Street, is to be torn down this month. But Perry, 38, wants a final look at the place he called home before he became the most influential black filmmaker in the business today.

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Giving voice to the villain presents quite the acting challenge

Warner Bros. PicturesBy Scott Bowles, USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — Three weeks before shooting began on The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger called director Christopher Nolan to discuss an epiphany he had about his character, The Joker.

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'Blood,' 'Country' bring Hollywood to heart of Texas

Paramount VantageMARFA, Texas — Joel and Ethan Coen had just pulled into this one-stoplight town to scout shooting No Country for Old Men

when a drifter approached their limousine.

Unshaven and unsteady, he hobbled toward the car with a sign under his arm. When he reached the directors, he raised the board above his head.

"Repent, Hollywood scum," it read.

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Morgan Freeman remains at the helm in movies, personal life

By Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY
MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — On the night Morgan Freeman thought he might die, he figured he could go out one of two ways.

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