Deadline‘s Dominic Patten is reporting that “after weeks of speculation that Ashley Judd would challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his Kentucky seat next year, the actress announced today ‘after serious and thorough contemplation’ that she would not enter the race.” Translation: Judd became convinced that she would lose. But what pushed her over. Was it money, data? Who got to her? Is there something in her past that might have proved highly problematic if the McConnell forces had revealed it? A strong voice is telling me something happened. She didn’t just cave.
In an attempt to dodge a death sentence, attorneys for Aurora theatre shooter James Holmes are reportedly offering a guilty plea in exchange for life imprisonment. But why would prosecutors accept this? I’m no Judge Roy Bean but don’t most of us agree that exceptionally heinous killers ought to pay the ultimate price so that society feels that some kind of justice has been served?
If anyone deserves to be smoked it’s Holmes so I don’t get it. What’s the problem with going for the death penalty? Are prosecutors afraid he’ll get some kind of lesser sentence by claiming insanity? What kind of a system allows a fiend like this free room and board for the next 50-odd years as punishment for mass murder? Shoot him. Or better yet, chain him to a theatre seat and make him watch ten flicks in a row, knowing that during one of the screenings two or three guys will come in suddenly and blow him away with rifle fire. Or give him the guillotine. Or throw him into an alligator pit. But no coddling. Be severe and unforgiving.
Last night I saw Morgan Neville‘s Twenty Feet From Stardom for the second time, and got off on it just as much as I did at Sundance. It has highs, tears, sadnesses, ecstasies, golden oldies and unsuppressable emotional currents. But this portrait of insufficiently heralded backup singers throws a lot of faces, names, careers and personal histories into your lap. The film needs a one-stop-shopping, easy-reference website that tells you who everyone is but right now it only has a Facebook page and a Twitter handle.
The leading lights in 20 Feet From Stardom (l. to r.) Darlene Love, Tata Vega, Merry Clayton, Judith Hill, Lisa Fischer.
The doc focuses on six women — Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer, Merry Clayton, Judith Hill, Claudia Lennear and Tata Vega.
Just hang on to these six names, reference their faces above and their personal websites or Wiki pages — Love, Fischer, Clayton, Hill, Lennear (who mainly teaches for a living these days) and Vega.
From my 1.18.13 mini-riff: “Pic is a snappy, joyful, deeply emotional doc about the career agonies and ecstasies of soul-angel backup singers.
“These ladies have belted out every backup ‘ooh, yayuh-yaaaay!’ and ‘ooh-wah’ and ‘babaaay!’ you’ve ever heard, and — this is the main point of the film — have much more in their quiver. They’re all as rippin’ and soulful as any Aretha Franklin or Mariah Carey or whomever, but none has ever built a strong solo career.
“This is the melancholy that runs through Twenty Feet From Stardom, but Neville has crafted a killer tribute and brought back the spotlight. This is live-wire stuff, an audience film, a winner.
“Twenty Feet takes you back to every Motown and Phil Spector tune that ever mattered, to this and that Joe Cocker song, to David Bowie‘s ‘Young Americans’ (‘Aahhhhllll night!’) and especially to Clayton’s legendary solo on the Rolling Stones‘ “Gimme Shelter”…knockout stuff! The talking heads include Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler and Mick Jagger.”
I loved re-watching Andrew Dominik‘s Killing Me Softly on Bluray last week (for me that brilliant ending is almost the entire ball game), and I also kind of loved that Dominik was not especially gregarious during our phoner. By this I mean he wasn’t the least bit affected. He apparently doesn’t like interviews and after a fashion was simply being copping to this.
I was shocked by that unusually harsh Cinemascore grade that Killing Me Softly got when it opened last December. It deserved at least a little more love than it got, which amounted to $15,026,056 domestic and $35,583,240 worldwide.
And I apologize for either forgetting or being ignorant about Dominik’s possible next project, a Marilyn Monroe biopic “starting at age 7 and ending with her death,” as he put it. It would be an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates‘ Blonde, a script for which Dominik began writing in 2009 without locking down the rights.
Here, again, is our brief phoner.
At the end of the day I don’t think it’s very healthy or attractive to go around writing people off or downgrading them for certain behaviors or style choices. But I’ve mentioned a few. Anyone who giggles like a 13 year-old girl in a theatre lobby or a parking garage after watching a really good film. People who repeatedly laugh like hyenas in bars or cafes, shrieking with hideous gaiety. Anyone who wears gold-toe socks. Gay guys who insist on entertaining their neighbors at 7:30 am with repeated playings of “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.”
Now I feel obliged to mention a new one, although I need to make clear it’s not much of an issue. It’s a very minor thing at best, but people who stand with their feet spread outwards at angles of 35 or 45 degrees as opposed to roughly parallel, and who also walk or run this way have always vaguely bothered me. I’ve heard the term “duck feet” to describe this but maybe that’s an incorrect term. I know that outward-angled feet have always indicated that the owner is a bit of a yokel. I see someone standing in this fashion and it’s same thing as visiting their home and spotting an old car mounted on cinder blocks in the back yard.
Either way it’s no biggie and hardly worth mentioning. I’m only bringing it up because I’ve never brought it up in my life, under any circumstance. But as God as my witness I can distinctly remember having a problem with people who stand like this when I was eight or nine. So I’ve been carrying it around for decades.
I’d like to tick off five or six famous names who stand or walk like this, but only Tom Cruise comes to mind. Watch his legs and feet when he runs in Collateral. But again, it’s not a problem. Just a minor mood mosquito.
Richie Aprile was shot by Janice Soprano in “The Knight in White Satin Armour,” which aired on 4.2.00 as the twelfth show in the 2nd season — almost 11 years ago. Time sure flies along, doesn’t it? I dearly love the way Janice’s younger brother enters very cautiously, like an animal approaching sleeping prey, and then strokes his chin when he realizes what’s happened.
I swear to God this series made me feel so at home, like I was sitting in a suburban New Jersey diner somewhere with friends on a Friday evening or Saturday morning. It made me feel wise and comfortable and secure while fully reminding me in each episode of all the plagues and anxieties.
I understand and accept that you can’t call up and order great dramas like takeout. Profound art has no pre-set conditions and timetables. There’s no dependability — it happens when it happens and when it’s in the mood. (And when it’s not, like when David Chase made Not Fade Away, too effin’ bad.) It’s entirely possible there won’t be another bull’s-eye series quite like The Sopranos ever again. And that’s fine. The Next Big Thing will have its own flavor and rhyme and attitude. But I still miss The Sopranos from time to time. The heart grows fonder.
It ended almost six years ago, in June 2007.
The author of War of the Worlds, of course, is/was H.G. Wells. But way back in 1953 some wall-painter or poster-maker got the idea that his name was H.G. Well. Then the manager looked up and said one of two things: (a) “Lookin’ good!” or (b) “Jesus, some idiot got the name wrong. But you know what? I’m not paying some union guy to go up to the roof with a scaffold and then lower himself down and charge me a full daily rate just to change a single letter and the position of an apostrophe. Eff that.”