After my Ellen Barkin encounter I went to Lucy Walker‘s Countdown to Zero, a doc about the proliferation of armed nuclear devices, but didn’t see it due to the flu-like thing that’s been taking hold within. I promptly went under. Sharon Waxman will confirm this as she was sitting right beside me.
Being too shagged to write and needing a late afternoon time-filler, I went to a second showing of Charles Ferguson‘s Inside Job, and it was no less crisp or brilliant or urgent for that. I was allowed to sit in an elite reserved row, five or six seats down from Sony Classics co-honchos Michael Barker and Tom Bernard. And then Oliver Stone arrived at the last minute and sat right next to me.
I was in that same depleted mode, of course, but I didn’t nod off — a credit to the quality of the film, I suppose.
I tried to write a bit more and failed. And then I bought some groceries, and stumbled back to the apartment. I flopped down on the couch and promptly went out. I woke up shivering at 2 am — no blanket, lying there in my clothes, shoes still on — and grabbed the blanket, which is heavy and slightly itchy, and went back out.
For me, Ellen Barkin, the star of Cam Archer‘s fairly dreadful Shit Year, is movie-star material. Which is why I sat in the front row with my camera and my computer and my touch of a fever at the American Pavillion’s panel area and waited to see her, even though she kept everyone waiting for nearly 40 minutes.
Having missed yesterday’s 4 pm market showing of Taylor Hackford‘s long-delayed Love Ranch, I tried to get into this morning’s 10 am follow-up screening at the Olympia. But no dice — a publicist stopped me, explaining there was a “no press” policy. Even though they’ve begun to screen it for journalists back in Los Angeles, according to what an L.A. Times guy told me.
This morning’s interference obviously doesn’t prove that Love Ranch is a problem movie. It may not be. But if you were repping a really good film, would you tell your publicist to keep guys like me from seeing it in Cannes?
There is nothing lower than a third-act plot twist. I’m not saying they don’t work from time to time (obviously they do) but putting in an “aha!…didn’t see that one coming!” turnaround is the most tedious dramatic device imaginable. Because everyone uses them, and it’s gotten to the point that we know some kind of third-act twist is coming. If they weren’t so prolific it might be interesting to use one occasionally, but they’ve become an absolute requirement. And that has made them deadly.
It’s my sixth day of humping around Cannes, having arrived last Tuesday, and my system is starting to succumb to the 18-hour work days, as it’s done before at previous film festivals at this stage of the game. I don’t have a fever, but I’m on the cusp of succumbing to one. My body is telling me that it wants to do as little as possible and get, for the first time, a decent night’s sleep. (I’ve been making do with 5 1/2 to 6 hours so far.) So maybe I’ll do that.
After doing a few things, I mean. The American Pavillion Shit Year press conference at noon, Lucy Walker‘s Countdown to Zero at 1:30 pm, the Countdown press conference at 3:15 pm, and then a 5:45 pm screening of Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff. And then a quiet dinner and back to the pad. That’ll work.
Getting older is “a lousy deal,” Woody Allen said during yesterday’s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger press conference (which I missed because I chose to see Inside Job instead, which began at the same time). “There is no advantage in getting older. I’m 74 now. You don’t get smarter, you don’t get wiser, you don’t get more mellow, you don’t get more kindly…nothing good happens.
“Your back hurts more, you get indigestion, your eyesight isn’t as good and you need a hearing aid. It’s a bad business getting older, and I would advise you not to do it if you can.”
And don’t believe what you see in the movies, he added. “[Getting older] doesn’t have a romantic quality. You know, elderly characters in movies like ‘Gramps’ or ‘Pop’ or ‘the backstage doorman’ or something. Better to be younger and get the girl.”
I was reminding myself this morning that it’s a sign of weak character to take long showers. Anyone who does this is a soft sister — a person looking to hide inside the warm amniotic fluid of his mother’s womb, which is what a nice hot shower feels like. This realization goes back to when I was in my early 20s. If I happened to notice that a roommate or some guy or girl who was staying over was taking ten- or twelve-minute showers (or worse), I would instantly write them off.
Those who take extra-long hot showers are the same people who take extra-long breaks or lunches in order to get away from office drudgery, or who hide away inside an alcoholic or nicotine or drug cave. Your average enterprising, disciplined, hard-working types take four- or five-minute showers, at the longest. If you’re really hard-core you’ve finished in less than three. No exceptions, no excuses — either you get it or you don’t.