Mad Men producer-creator Matthew Weiner has written a letter that requests all journalists reviewing the two-hour premiere of season #6 to stay clear of five spoiler topics, which I will not name here. But I get it. And I will somehow navigate my way around these restrictions. I’m about to pop it in.
I finally saw Harmony Korine‘s Spring Breakers last night. I didn’t believe a frame of it but then I’m not supposed to, right? It’s such a thoroughly cliched erotic fantasia about crazy-ass hot-bod chicks (three Tarantino-dream-fantasy sluts and one half-sensible lapsed Christian) and gun-fellating and orgiastic Fellini Satyricon boning and snorting around and Florida gangstas flashing their guns and braggin’ ’bout their “sheeyit”…I mean, like, uhhm…why? Oh, I get it. Don’t ask.
I was imagining a Godzilla-sized Charlton Heston dressed as Moses, rising hundreds of feet out of the ocean and blotting out the sun and pointing at these skanky, well-toned scumbags and bellowing “whoa unto thee…!!!” Or maybe Jim Hutton as Moses.
I wasn’t bored but I was wondering if Korine had anything in mind other than trying to create fantasies about where college-age kids are at these days in order to…I don’t know, imply something about how slippery and nihilistic it’s all become out there and or to vaguely get himself off in the vein of Larry Clark?
He clearly hasn’t the slightest interest in trying to assemble a film that might reflect how it would really be if four sociopathic lassies in their late teens or early 20s were to somehow scrape some dough together and drive down to Florida, etc. Most women I know like to pick and choose and not just drop to their knees in front of their first ape they see. As best I can tell Korine is having himself a whimsical wank, and we’re meant to get off as best we can or at least laugh along the way or whatever.
James Franco is clearly laughing at the asshole he’s playing (his character is named Anus or Asswipe or something like that), especially during that scene in which he sings a Britney Spears song. Scarface playin’ on his flatscreen in a continual loop…”mah sheeyit!” I was kidding about the name — he’s called “Alien.”
If there’s some kind of subliminal, half-sincere social commentary woven into this thing it’s suspended between “look at these impossibly stupid empty chicks and the things that really matter to them” and “look at the bods on these girls and how they’re into standing on their heads in motel hallways and how they’re all ready to swallow salami at the drop of a hat.” Or something like that.
Spring breakin’ as a lifestyle, a constancy, a never-ending place in your head, a philosophy…somewhere between a duel and a place in the sun.
At least it has one great sequence — two masked girls going into a diner and screeching and waving a gun around and taking everyone’s money, but shot from the POV of the getaway driver as the camera watches the action through windows and with the sound muted as the car slowly drives around.
Remember when 15 or 20 Columbians attacked Tony Montana‘s Miami fortress with automatics and shotguns? It was quite a battle but eventually the Montana forces lost. These days you don’t need 15 or 20 Columbians to wipe out a drug gang. All you need are two college girls with two big-ass pistols and super-size magazines just blastin’ away, expending hundreds of rounds and never catching a bullet themselves.
Pacific Electric’s Red Car trolley system “was the largest electric railway system in the world in the 1920s,” as anyone who’s seen Who Framed Roger Rabbit? can tell you. The western district alone connected Hollywood, Burbank/Glendale, San Fernando Valley, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Venice, Playa Del Rey, etc.
West Hollywood’s Red Car terminal was located where the Pacific Design Center is today.
Somewhere near the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Fairfax Ave., facing northeast.
A little while ago Glenn Kenny tweeted that “while I wanna do what’s actually right (support a 1.37 aspect ratio for Shane) I’m concerned about being mistaken for a Lyndon Larouche supporter.” I swore and knocked over a chair and punched the refrigerator. That’s ugly slander, dammit. I wrote right back and said “I’m getting really sick of this, Glenn!” and for the 637th time explained my aspect-ratio theology.
“Being a proponent of headroom and ‘boxy is beautiful‘ and saying to hell with 1950s and ’60s theatrical aspect-ratio mandates is hardly a case of Larouche-ian extremism. It’s an aesthetic preference based on the bedrock principle that cleavering visual information captured for a ’50s or ’60s film is fundamentally vile as it destroys information rather than allows it into the film. And for no sensible reason at all except to pay homage to the fearful impulses of theatrical distributors of the ’50s and ’60s who were afraid of television.
“The principle, therefore, is that if you must cleaver a film from that era so it looks better on a 16 x 9 screen it should be done at 1.66 (as those Larouche-ian nutters at Criterion did with On The Waterfront) and not the reprehensible & oppressive 1.85. Where the double-triple-fuck do you get Lyndon Larouche out of that?”
Kenny replied that I was making up my aspect ratio theology as I went along and I said “nope — it’s a clear, consistent standard. More height is better, cleavering is bad, multi-a.r. Blurays are best, 1.66 > 1.85.”
He then said okay, maybe not Larouche but certainly not Andre Bazin. And I said if he needs an appropriate analogy to a venerated old-time film critic he should try Otis Ferguson.
This snarky little quiz appears on page 46 of the current Esquire. They’ve done this kind of “do you want to see this?” thing before, and when they do it’s always because the advance word is a little “uh-oh”-ish. Which appears to be the case here. I shouldn’t say anything because I don’t really know anything. But I’ve learned that these Esquire quizzes are usually an omen. More telling than defaced New York subway posters.
This is routinely facetious Onion-style humor and fairly funny, but it owes a little something to the Hollywood Elsewhere playbook. At least in an attitudinal sense. The reference, of course, is to Paramount’s hugely successful GI Joe: Retaliation. For whatever reason the Onion guys don’t mention the title.
“Those dumbasses over there will go see this crap, right?,” said Steve Siskind, the studio’s executive vice president for worldwide marketing, who predicted “the dipshits in Asia or somewhere” could be counted on to boost box-office receipts for the fucking unbearable $200 million production.
“Transformers 3 was huge in China, so why wouldn’t those morons go apeshit over this movie, too? It has tons of CGI, not to mention a car flying through a helicopter and landing on the roof of a building.”
This ten-day-old video clip may be the most inspiring thing I’ve heard an American CEO say to anyone about anything in a long time. At a Starbucks annual shareholder meeting in Seattle on 3.20, a possibly homophobic shareholder questioned Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz about the company’s public support of gay marriage in view of a resulting boycott having been partly responsible for disappointing first-quarter numbers.
“Not every decision is an economic decision,” Schultz responded. “Despite the fact that you recite statistics that are narrow in time, we did provide a 38% shareholder return over the last year. I don’t know how many things you invest in, but I would suspect not many things, companies, products, investments have returned 38% over the last 12 months.
“Having said that, it is not an economic decision to me. The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity. Of all kinds.
“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company.”
The perfect thing would be for Steven Soderbergh‘s final movie (i.e., the last one to be seen prior to his Frank Sinatra-style retirement from filmmaking) to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off about nine days before the 5.25 HBO premiere. Otherwise I probably won’t get to see it as I’ll be in Germany starting in early May, and you can’t get HBO Go in Europe…terrific.
The use of boogie-woogie (presumably one of the tracks recorded by Marvin Hamlisch before his death last August) is inspired as Liberace is primarily associated with tinkly, square-sounding Mantovani music.
Michael Douglas looks great as Liberace, and it’s helpful that Scott Thorson wore eyeliner and whatnot as makeup enables Matt Damon, who’s well out of his young and dishy phase, to look a bit younger. Thorson was either 16 or 18 when he met Liberace in ’76, and his palimony lawsuit was filed in ’82. Damon is 42.
With the dry and (let’s be candid) almost prudish Soderbergh at the helm, Behind The Candelabra will not be Taxi Zum Klo in any way, shape or form. The screenplay is by Richard LaGravenese based on Thorson’s book, “Behind The Candelabra: My Life With Liberace.”