Earlier today yours truly, Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone and Boxoffice.com‘s Phil Contrino recorded a final bitch-and-moan about last night’s King’s Speech triumph, and asked whether or not James Franco was actually baked or not and so on. (Contrino, an “experienced” observer, is all but certain he was.) Here’s a stand-alone link. Oscar Poker will not be folding its tent. We’ll continue to record every weekend.
The legendary Jane Russell passed earlier today at age 89. I spoke to her in July ’97 for a People story about the death of Robert Mitchum ; she seemed like a bright, sharp and collected lady. Russell and Mitchum made His Kind of Woman and Macao together. Both were minor noirs, at best, but she and Mitchum had a vibe — they seemed to really amuse and enjoy each other.
So my default image of Jane Russell isn’t the big-boobed hottie-in-the-hayloft in The Outlaw or even her singing and dancing with Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but sparring or toying with Mitchum in some monochrome bamboo bar in some glistening, okay-but-not-that-great Josef von Sternberg film about martinis, guns, smuggling, waterfronts, smart patter and guys in panama hats.
Russell was everyone’s idea of a beguiling presence (terrific smile and dark eyes, great rack, above-average singer) but she was never anyone’s idea of a world-class actress. She had a five-year career as the mythical Outlaw girl (from ’41 when the Howard Hughes -produced western was shot, to ’46 when it was finally released). This was followed by roughly eight years as a big-name star in The Paleface (’48), His Kind of Woman (’51), Double Dynamite (’51), Macao (’52), Son of Paleface (’52), Montana Belle (’52), Road to Bali (’52), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (’53) and Underwater! (’55).
Russell had another 13 or 14 years of gainful employment from the mid ’50 to late ’60s — a gentle downswirl phase.
It doesn’t seem like the Crimson Tide junket, held at the Marina del Rey Ritz Carlton, happened nearly 16 years ago. But it did. Sometimes you’ll turn around and realize something that happened not that long ago happened a good while ago. A kid born in ’95 could be six-foot-four and driving a Harley and writing screenplays and making big money as a model.
This Quentin Tarantino/Roger Avary riff about the gay subtext in Top Gun (from Sleep With Me, a 1994 relationship film) reminded me of a goof idea I threw at Crimson Tide producers Jerry Bruckheimer and the late Don Simpson during an interview. I told them, “Guys, you’re missing out on a whole marketing angle here. You need to do an Advocate cover story and talk about the gay metaphors in all your films, starting with the submarine in Crimson Tide.”
Sharply increased Oscar traffic last night caused Hollywood Elsewhere to slow to a crawl and then crash this morning. It was my fault, of course, and I’m apologizing up and down. The staffers at the recently merged Softlayer/Orbit-The Planet, HE’s Texas-based server, failed to cope with the situation to my satisfaction. All they did was speak Martian Klaatu. And when the site crashed early this morning, they did nothing until I called up and hammered and brought hell. They could have simply re-booted the server but it took them forever to do this, and even now it’s loading too slowly.
Finally a senior level person came on the line and, for the first and only time since the troubles began last night, offered a solution, which was to double the memory . Which I immediately agreed to pay for.
But in the meantime please, please avoid doing business with these guys — I’m warning the world. They’re Texas nerds, they operate at a snail’s pace, and their refusal to speak simply and plainly, in the manner of, say, Andy Griffith or Clem Kadiddlehopper jest a sittin’ on the front porch and talkin’ about how to fix these goldurned dadblasted server issues, prolongs the conversation time and again because I always have to stop them in the middle of one of their Martian Obscura sentences and say, “I’m sorry, but could you re-phrase what you just said in plain, front-porch, tattered-overalls English?”
I am going to sever my relationship with these bozos at the first opportunity. Klaatu Barada Seeyalater.