Every time I read about an attractive female school teacher getting popped for predatory behavior with a teenage male student, I frown and shake my head and mutter to myself, “If only I’d been so fortunate.” I was miserable when I was 15 or 16, and would have dropped to my knees and thanked God if I’d been hit on by a hot 40 year-old blonde of this calibre. And if I wasn’t interested I certainly wouldn’t rat her out by sharing her provocative photos with my friends. The authorities obviously aren’t “wrong” to enforce the law, but…well, I’ve said it.
As I stated yesterday, the controversy about the half-Jewish Oliver Stone being an alleged anti-Semite is hysterical and anti-historical and petering out as we speak. It follows that reported attempts by action-cartoon schlockmeister Haim Saban (of Saban Entertainment) to persuade big-wheel pallies to try and suppress Stone’s “A Secret History of America” Showtime series are the actions of a thug.
A Wrap story says that Saban has urged CBS chief Leslie Moonves, WME chairman Ari Emanuel and CAA partner Bryan Lourd to pull the series. Saban “said he considers Stone to be ‘clearly an anti-Semite and an anti-American,'” the Wrap story reports. ‘He has been consistent in his anti-American and anti-Semitic remarks. Anyone who works with this guy, should be ashamed of him/herself, and shouldn’t share that fact with their neighbors, or kids for that matter.”
Showtime execs themselves seem skittish about the show. This is indicated by the fact that (a) numerous reports have said that Stone’s history series will air later this year and yet (b) nothing comes up when you go to the Showtime site and do a search for “Secret History of the United States.”
Vulture‘s Emma Rosenblum has called Cathy Horyn‘s Sunday Styles profile of Jersey Shore costar Snooki “a cheap shot.” Horyn’s descriptions of this elfin egomaniac are “shocking,” she writes, because one never reads anything negative at all about any celebrity these days, but at the same time the piece is “an unnecessarily nasty takedown of a somewhat oblivious target.”
Jersey Shore costar Snooki (as photographed by Michael Falco for the N.Y. Times).
Except honest observation is honest observation, and a profile writer who doesn’t dispense this probably isn’t worth reading. The better ones, of course, do more than offer sharp descriptions of an interview subject — they also convey their personal reactions. And if you’ve had any first-hand experience with the younger reps of New York and New Jersey’s Guido and Guidette culture, as I have, you’ll recognize immediately that all Horyn did was lay it on the line. It’s called being straight. Why would anyone have a problem with that?
In my eyes Horyn wrote a close-up variation on what I’ve been noticing and mentioning from time to time since I moved to the New York area in November ’08, which is that the Italian or Latino-descended Snooki types seem, from a certain distance, to be all of a cultural piece — coarse, loud-speaking, un-read, garishly dressed, decidedly un-curious, under-educated, seemingly indifferent to anything or anyone outside of their immediate ego-sphere.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Only a racist thinks this way (right, Devin?), get off my lawn, and all the rest of those knee-jerk p.c. spitballs that get thrown at me every time I unload along these lines. I can only repeat that it felt awfully nice and soothing to read an article that called a spade a spade.
In so doing Horyn is now a member of that small club of nervy writers that I profiled in a 1992 Movieline piece about the New Journalism glory days (mid ’60s to early ’80s) called “Ten Interviews That Shook Hollywood.”
The piece offered summaries of the juiciest celebrity interviews I could find at the time. Among them were Truman Capote vs. Marlon Brando (“The Duke in His Domain,” The New Yorker, November 1957), Rex Reed vs. Warren Beatty (“Will The Real Warren Beatty Please Shut Up?,” Esquire, October 1967), Robin Green vs. Dennis Hopper (“Confessions of a Lesbian Chick,” Rolling Stone, May 1971), Tom Burke vs. Ryan O’Neal (“The Shiek of Malibu,” Esquire, September 1973), and Julie Baumgold vs. David Geffen (“The Winning of Cher,” Esquire, February 1975).
I’m very sorry about Maury Chaykin‘s passing, which happened yesterday in Toronto. A seemingly kind and delicate fellow, Chaykin, 61, was best at conveying bottled-up rage. My two favorites in this vein are the software-programming beardo in War Games (with his rage directed at the Jerry Lewis-like Eddie Deezen) and his four appearances as Harvey Weingard (based on you-know-who) in Entourage.
He’s also quite good in George Hickenlooper‘s Casino Jack , which will play at the Toronto Film Festival. I know I’m supposed to rave about Chaykin’s Sam Blecher character in HBO’s Less Than Kind series, but I’ve never seen so much as an episode of that show.
Chaykin was a longtime Toronto resident, having moved there in the mid ’70s, and was a member in good standing of the Canadian club of filmmakers, actors, etc. Atom Egoyan cast Chaykin in The Sweet Hereafter, Exotica, Adoration, Where the Truth Lies , etc.
Aaron Aradillas and Matt Zoller Seitz have posted the fifth chapter in a six-part series called “Razzle Dazzle.” The focus is “a disreputable offshoot of the traditional hero: an eloquent, exuberant, often impolite figure who serves as a town crier or truth-teller figure (or seems to).” A very wise and well-cut piece, but who’s the female narrator?
I love the vaguely implied analogy between Lonesome Rhodes and Glenn Beck.
“Unlike the traditional hero, the maverick seems to take a more active role in shaping his image and connecting with the public,” the copy reads. “He’s an outsider who uses mass media to articulate the audience’s fears and yearnings, and whose charisma spurs them to action.”
What does Richard Donner‘s Maverick have to do with any of this? Nothing, but here’s the best review I ever heard of it: “A $75 million dollar Elvis Presley film.”
Stanley Kubrick would have turned 82 yesterday if he’d lived. He’d still be directing, of course, but considering that the periods between his films became longer and longer the older he got, he probably would have made only one more film after Eyes Wide Shut, and he’d still be cutting it now. His relationship with Warner Bros. wouldn’t be the same, needless to add. He probably would have jumped ship, now that I’m thinking it through, and gone over to Fox Searchlight.
So you’ve got Universal Home Video’s Psycho Blu-ray out on 10.19, and the British version of what I presume is the exact same disc, via Universal Pictures UK, released on August 9th, or 13 days from now. So I’m figuring I’ll order the latter and watch it way before. Except (and here’s where the dumb part comes in) I’m not 100% certain if British Bluray is playable on a US non-multi-region Bluray player. I’m really that clueless.
As we speak, Aaron Schneider‘s Get Low (Sony Classics, 7.30) has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score. Which it fully deserves, in my book. Except the review by Hollywood Reporter critic Kirk Honeycutt is a little sourpussy, so the film isn’t pulling a perfect score in the sense that Don Larsen pitched a perfect game. Metacritic has taken Honeycutt’s review into account and given Get Low an 81% score.
it’s early yet, of course. We haven’t yet heard from Armond White, I mean.
“I kept waiting for Jay Roach‘s Dinner for Schmucks to run out of steam or jokes — but it rarely did,” writes Marshall Fine. “Not that the laughs built to a big payoff. Nor did they evoke the kind of gasping-for-air quality that, say, The Hangover did. But director Roach, working from a script by David Guion and Michael Handelman, regularly jolts you with enough unexpected and wonderfully weird moments that you rarely grow impatient with this broad comedy.
“Indeed, I’d count this film as one of the rare — very rare — examples of a film adapted by Hollywood from one of those French farces that Francis Veber seems to toss off in his sleep that actually works (The Birdcage is one of the only other ones I can think of). Roach and his writers succeed because they turn the story into something uniquely their own, without losing the core of the original. Indeed, as I recall, the Veber original was one of his lamer efforts – which means that the Americans have improved upon it.”
I want to believe you, Marshall, but I can’t. I just can’t. Steve Carell‘s blonde goony-bird characterization just stops me in my tracks. It’s a character based on the desire of an actor to be funny in order to make people laugh in order to sell tickets in order to make money.
I feel moderately so-so about the 2010 Toronto Film Festival, based on the lineup announced so far. But I’m not, to be honest, feeling that old drooly-mouthed sensation. When I go to Toronto I want a nice ripe spotlight feeling — “this is it! right here! nowhere else!” — and all I’m getting from the current lineup is a kind of pretty-good, very-promising, B-plus (or possibly A-minus) response. All this means, I’m presuming, is that the light switch hasn’t been turned on yet.
I want to see William Monahan‘s London Boulevard there. I’ve said before that I want Terrence Malick to stop pissing around and show The Tree of Life there. I’d like Edward Zwick‘s Love and Other Drugs to make an appearance, at least for Anne Hathaway ‘s sake. I’d like to see David O. Russell‘s The Fighter show up. And now that you mention it I wouldn’t mind seeing Doug Liman‘s slightly re-edited Fair Game.
In my view the current power-groove submissons are (1) Robert Redford‘s The Conspirator (the script for which I’ve read and voiced admiration for), (2) John Cameron Mitchell‘s Rabbit Hole, although I’m a bit nervous about that title, (3) Julian Schnabael‘s Miral (which a friend is seeing this week in LA, by the way), (4) Alejandro Gonz√°lez Inarritu ‘s Biutiful, (5) Tony Goldwyn‘s Conviction , (6) Mark Romanek‘s Never Let Me Go, (7) Darren Aronofsky‘s Black Swan, (8) Ben Affleck‘s The Town, (9) John Madden‘s The Debt, (10) Tom Hooper‘s The King’s Speech, (11) Susanne Bier‘s A Better World, and (12) George Huckenlooper‘s Casino Jack, which I saw an early cut of last year, and quite liked.
I don’t believe that David Fincher‘s remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo can amount to very much unless screenwriter Steven Zallian somehow incorporates some form of thematic or emotional resonance that amounts to something. Because the Danish-Swedish original is about nothing except (a) an angry hot tough cyber chick, and (b) an endless unfolding of plot-clue, plot-clue, plot-clue, plot-clue, plot-clue and more plot-clue.
The original trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson is not an interesting or intriguing work. At best it’s an airport lounge page-turner. It’s just “popular,” especially among younger women, which of course means nothing to the Movie Godz. Take a look at the most popular films of any given year going back to whenever. They’re mostly garbage.
So yesterday’s news from Deadline‘s Michael Fleming about Daniel Craig being cast in the Mikael Blomkvist role of the journalist with the damaged reputation who hooks up with Lisabeth Salander , blah blah is of limited interest.
The big news, of course, is which young actress will get the Salander role. Why is it taking so long to decide this? Fleming is re-reporting that top candidates include Ellen Page (too elfin, no sexual component), Mia Wasikowska (can’t remember how to spell her name, too opaque), Emily Browning (who?), Sara Snook (i.e., not Snooki from Jersey Shore), Rooney Mara (who?) and Sophie Lowe (who?).
Sony will release Fincher’s Girl on 12.12.11.
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