Timur Bekmambetov‘s inability or refusal to restrain himself in the making of Wanted suggests that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (20th Century Fox, 6.22), which he’s directing and co-producing with Tim Burton, will also be lurid and excessive. It would be nice if otherwise. I want to like or at least be amused by this thing, but a voice is telling me that Bekmambetov will do everything he can to prevent that.
An idea just popped into my head that I’m not sure about, but I’ll run it up the flagpole. We’re still in the holiday season with thoughts of providing for the afflicted, so what about an HE fundraiser to pay for a couple of rounds at the Alien Cathouse (due to open sometime in early ’12) for LexG? If and when the cash is raised and LexG accepts, he’d agree to never again complain about anything personal.
I for one would gladly chip in $20 or $25 bucks. I’ve never patronized a brothel, but $600 to $700 should cover it. $1000 including car rental, gas, meals and two nights at a nearby motel.
It’s always a pleasure when a family drama has a cranky older guy or a crazy guy hanging around. Someone who will blurt out what’s really going on (and has gone on) without any restraint or regard for subtlety. Michael Shannon‘s crazy truth-teller in Revolutionary Road, Alan Arkin‘s drug-dabbling, blunt-spoken granddad in Little Miss Sunshine and Robert Forster‘s cranky gramps in The Descendants.
Descendants costar Robert Forster at West Hollywood’s Silver Spoon cafe.
Forster’s character (the father of George Clooney‘s comatose wife, called Scott Thorson), bawls out Shailene Woodley‘s Alexandra for giving her mom a rough time (“shame on you!”), and then he cold-cocks her friend Sid (Nick Krause), and then says “there you are again” to Sid when he returns in Act Three, and then he chews out Clooney for not giving enough to his “faithful, loyal wife”, and then he has a tender moment at his daughter’s bedside, kissing her goodbye.
These are all stick-to-the-ribs moments, and Forster brings each one home.
I don’t just love characters like this in films; I love them in real life. My father started to be like this when he got into his ’60s, but he really turned it on in his ’70s and ’80s.
Significnt signpost: Oscar Talk‘s Kris Tapley and Anne Thompson acknowledge in their latest podcast that some kind of blowback reaction to The Artist is manifesting “out there.” For what it’s worth a filmmaker friend told me last night that he sees The Descendants pushing past The Artist and War Horse at the end of the day. “I’m glad to hear you say that,” I said, “but I don’t know.”
The audience at Royce Hall began clapping along to a number performed by Woody Allen’s New Orleans Jazz Band the other night, and it was obvious right away that many couldn’t hit the exact beat to save their lives. But then clapping in a metronomically perfect way is hard even for experienced drummers. I used to drum for a couple of bands in my early 20s and I learned that hitting the snare drum at exactly the right instant, 75 or 100 times during a song, was actually kind of hard.
In a mathematical sense the perfect whap of a drumstick upon a snare drum happens within a very tiny realm, and the truth is that many drummers hit the snare slightly outside this perfect instant — a millisecond before or after. Most people don’t realize and couldn’t care less, but once your ear and your sense of timing is attuned to the variations, you can tell when a drum beat is missing the sweet spot and when it’s precisely dead on (or damn close to it).
If you were to look at a sound wave chart that identified the exact sweet spot for a snare drum hit and wanted to assign numerical digits to the area just before and just after this, you could blow the chart up and use a ruler and calculate as many as 100 marks in the general area of a true beat. Or theoretically 1,000 or 10,000. But let’s deal with a more comprehensible 100. In theory there would be only one truly perfect hit among 100 marks, obviously at the 50 mark. Many if not most drummers hit on the 40 or 45 mark, or on the 55 or 60 mark. I know that during my brief history as a drummer I would get tired late in a set and I would start to be “late” or sometimes “early” as a way of compensating for this.
No one else would hear it, but I knew I was missing the perfect beat over and over, and it would bother the shit out of me.
For me, one of the greatest snare-hit kings of major classic rock bands was Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones. It was amazing how close to the perfect mark he would come, time and again, over and over. I also love the perfect snap of those session drummers on ’60s Motown songs. I know I feel an amazing electric thrill every time I hear a drummer who’s exactly on it.
I say the same two things every year. One, I haven’t been to a New Year’s Eve party in ages. And two, my last really cool New Year’s Eve celebration happened 12 years ago in Paris. But as I have nothing new to say, it couldn’t hurt to post the best-written humbug rants from the last four or five years.
The most beautiful Xmas gift I’ve received over the holiday…cheers! I was away in NYC until three or four days ago so I only received it last night from a Los Angeles friend.
Posted last year: “There’s nothing fills me with such spiritual satisfaction as my annual naysaying of this idiotic celebration of absolutely nothing.
“I love clinking glasses with cool people at cool parties, but celebrating renewal by way of the hands of a clock and especially in the company of party animals making a big whoop-dee-doo has always felt like a huge humiliation.
“Only idiots believe in the idea of a of a midnight renewal. Renewal is a constant. Every morning…hell, every minute marks the potential start of something beautiful and cleansing, and perhaps even transforming. So why hang back and celebrate a rite that denies this 24/7 theology, and in a kind of idiot-monkey way with party hats and noisemakers?
“I would feel differently if I was in Paris or Prague or Rome. It’s another thing over there.”
Posted four years ago: “My all-time best New Year’s Eve happened in Paris on the 1999-into-2000 Millenium year — standing about two city blocks in front of the Eiffel Tower and watching the greatest fireworks display ever orchestrated in human history. And then walking all the way back to Montmartre with thousands on the streets after the civil servants shut the subway down at 1 a.m.”
Posted three years ago: “I need to stay in the city until sometime in the early morning, despite the intense cold and wind. I live below a family of animals — Hispanic party elephants — who stomp around and play music so loud that the building throbs and the plaster cracks. It’s a fairly safe bet they’re going to lose their minds tonight so I may as well just huddle down in the city and bounce around from bar to bar. New Year’s Eve is the emptiest holiday ritual of the year, and an opportunity for shallow under-30s to act like assholes.”
Posted five years ago: “I’d say ‘Happy New Year’ to everyone, but…all right, ‘Happy New Year.’ But I’ve always hated saying those words. Nothing’s ‘happy’ by way of hope. Happy is discovered, earned, lucked into, found. At best, people are content, joyously turned on for the moment, laughing or telling a funny story or a good joke, placated, relaxed, energetic, enthused, full of dreams, generous of heart, intellectually alive…but ‘happy’? The word itself has always struck me as one that only simple minds would use.
“I’m only drinking Monster and Perrier tonight, and I’m not forking over $14 to any bartenders for a drink. Anywhere. I don’t care who I’m with or what anyone thinks of this policy/attitude. I’ll give $14 to a homeless person first. I won’t give my hard-earned money to anyone or anything that rubs me the wrong way tonight. I hate everything about New Year’s Eve, especially young guys going ‘ooowwwoooaaagghh!’ in animal bars as midnight approaches.
“We all know the same mistakes are going to be made over the next twelve months, and that the only thing certain is that everything will be more expensive twelve months from now. The only comfort I have is this: the morons who believe global warming is a myth are going to meet each other at parties and get married and have kids and try to teach their children that global warming is a myth, but a significant number of these people are going to fail in this effort because kids always see through their parents’ bullshit.”
From the Wiki page: “‘Auld Lang Syne=’ is a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. The title may be translated into English literally as “old long since”, or more idiomatically, ‘long long ago’, ‘days gone by’ or ‘old times.'”
Dennis Lim‘s Brad Pitt interview in the 1.1.12 edition of the New York Times reads like a slightly sheepish confession of a guy (i.e., Lim) who went out on a blind date and…well, had an okay time but not a great one either. Lim is an intensely scholastic monk-dweeb and Pitt is obviously Pitt, and the twains just didn’t have a chance, man.
Lim sat down with Pitt at the Waldorf Astoria in early December. “Many of his answers had the vague, scripted ring of someone determined not to say more than necessary,” Lim writes. On top of which Pitt was “slightly awkward and distractible when facing questions,” and “seemed self-conscious about his pro forma responses.”
Blunter Lim: “I couldn’t get going with this guy…Jesus! Why couldn’t he relax into the groove of my Manhattan film-dweeb consciousness and just open up and let loose and kick the ball around? Scott Foundas and I can talk for hours about anything. This was a chore!”
Best passage: “Like any seasoned pro on the Oscar circuit, Pitt was careful to sound appreciative without stooping to the vulgarity of campaigning. ‘I’ve been around long enough to know it’s very fickle and it’s a cyclical wheel,’ he said. ‘But I will say this: It is surprisingly fun when your number comes up.'”
Second best passage: “Having just flown in from France for the premiere of Angelina Jolie‘s directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, dressed down in a long-sleeve V-neck and casual pants, Mr. Pitt was fighting fatigue and jet lag. (He downed two Starbucks cappuccinos, delivered by a Waldorf employee.) He gamely endured a photo shoot and a 90-minute conversation but lost his train of thought several times (‘I’m sorry, man, I am so upside down right now’), and after a mid-interview bathroom break, he made a sheepish confession: ‘I did the whole photo shoot with my fly undone.'”
The broken-mirror moment in The Apartment (starting at 4:10) is a great bit because it shows a major character absorbing a major plot point (and realizing where a significant secondary character is coming from) without dialogue. Of course, the linkage between Shirley MacLaine‘s character and the broken mirror has been set up a couple of scenes previously. What 21st Century films have conveyed something strong and surprising about a major character in a similar way? I’m asking.