HE readers are sick and tired of hearing about how Luca Guadagnino‘s Call Me By Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics, 11.24) was regarded as a major grand slam by critics at last January’s Sundance Film Festival. Ecstatic raves, shifting tectonic plates, 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating, etc. Then came the first hint of an attitude when Variety‘s Kris Tapley complained of a CMBYN “mafia, which is already overbearing.” I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop ever since.
Now I’ve spoken to a savvy, somewhat older industry guy who gets around, and he’s offered to bet me any amount that CMBYN won’t be Best Picture nominated. He said “it really didn’t work for me”, and he knows a couple of other guys from his age-peer group (including a film festival honcho) who feel the same way. Dismissive, shaking their heads, nope.
Among this fellow’s observations: (a) Luca is unquestionably a skillful director, and the film is “very well made” and the locations are dreamy and beautiful, but (b) it’s “way too long” because he “looked at [his] watch four times”, (c) he “just didn’t buy the attraction between Armie Hammer and Timothy Chalamet,” partly because Chalamet was “too into” a local teenage girl and because Hammer was too aloof and uninterested for too long, and (d) he saw it as somewhat analogous to Robert Mulligan‘s Summer of ’42 with Armie in the Jennifer O’Neil role and Chalamet as Gary Grimes, but that he prefers Summer of ’42.
He said that the older crowd is going to have difficulty with some of the sexual intimacy scenes. When I replied “but Luca doesn’t really show anything…it’s mostly just a lot of kissing along with a simulated [sex act],” he said “the young guy takes the older guy’s underwear and puts it over his head and smells it? This is a perfect Outfest movie.”
He also said he wasn’t all that impressed by Michael Stuhlbarg‘s father-son moment with Chalamet at the end, partly because “[Stuhlbarg] says he’s never had that kind of passionate episode in his own past, the kind that Timothy has just had, and so right away Stuhlbarg is kind of pissing on his relationship with his wife, which seems pretty healthy.”
Bottom line: “Either you buy into a movie like this or you don’t,” he said. And he didn’t. And there you have it. I cover the waterfront, and it takes all sorts.
In response to the Orpheum Theatre’s recent decision to permanently shun Gone With The Wind, here’s an HE rebuttal to Lou Lumenick’s anti-GWTW rant, posted on 6.26.15:
“Lumenick is not wrong, but I feel misgivings. I don’t believe it’s right to throw Gone With The Wind under the bus just like that. Yes, it’s an icky and offensive film at times (Vivien Leigh‘s Scarlett O’Hara slapping Butterly McQueen‘s Prissy for being irresponsible in the handling of Melanie giving birth, the depiction of Everett Brown‘s Big Sam as a gentle, loyal and eternal defender of Scarlett when the chips are down) but every time I’ve watched GWTW I’ve always put that stuff in a box in order to focus on the real order of business.
“For Gone With The Wind is not a film about slavery or the antebellum South or even, really, the Civil War.
“It’s a movie about (a) a struggle to survive under ghastly conditions and (b) about how those with brass and gumption often get through the rough patches better than those who embrace goodness and generosity and playing by the rules. This is a fundamental human truth, and if you ask me the reason Gone With The Wind has resonated for so long is that generation after generation has recognized it as such. If you want to survive you have to be tough and scrappy and sometimes worry about the proprieties later on. Anyone who’s ever faced serious adversity understands the eloquence of that classic Scarlett O’Hara line, ‘I’ll never be hungry again.’
“I think GWTW particularly connected with 1939 audiences because they saw it as a parable of the deprivations that people had gone through during the Great Depression.
26 months ago former N.Y. Post film critic Lou Lumenick called for a shunning of Gone With The Wind because of “undeniably racist” attitudes embedded in its story and characters. And now that politically-correct projection has become a reality, at least as far as Memphis’ Orpheum theatre is concerned.
Earlier this month Orpheum management said it would no longer show Gone With The Wind as part of the Orpheum Movie Series due to complaints, presumably from African-American viewers and ultra-p.c. types. The theater’s board deemed the 1939 film “insensitive” after receiving “numerous comments” that stemmed from a screening on Friday, 8.11.17. The Clark Gable-Vivien Leigh film, once the most beloved Hollywood epic of all time, has been dropped from next year’s planned summer movie series.
“While title selections for the series are typically made in the spring of each year, the Orpheum has made this determination early in response to specific inquiries from patrons,” per a statement from The Orpheum Theatre Group. “The Orpheum appreciates feedback on its programming from all members of the mid-south community. The recent screening of Gone With the Wind at the Orpheum generated numerous comments. As an organization whose stated mission is to ‘entertain, educate and enlighten the communities it serves,’ the Orpheum cannot show a film that is insensitive to a large segment of its local population.”
The racism in GWTW is “no longer tolerable in our current socio-political climate,” Lumenick argued. While noting that GWTW “isn’t as blatantly and virulently racist as D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, which was considered one of the greatest American movies as late as the early 1960s, but is now rarely screened, even in museums,” Lumenick suggested that GWTW “may one day disappear from the cultural conversation and suffer a permanent downgrade when it comes to estimating the all-time great films.”
Posted on 10.6.16: “Hurricane Gloria came roaring across lower Fairfield County in the wee hours of 9.28.85, and I was there, man, standing in my parents’ front yard in Wilton, Connecticut, sometime around 1:30 or 2 am. That howling sound, 90 mph winds, huge trees bending. The full force of it ebbed after ten minutes or so, but I’ve never forgotten that feeling, that energy.” Posted this morning: Call me a hurricane junkie if you want, but if I’d been in Rockport, Texas last night I would’ve been looking to safely absorb what I could of Harvey’s raw ferocity.
What makes this shot great? The red light is on and glowing.
President Trump had no moral authority or credibility after his off-the-cuff Charlottesville comments, but now he’s in the minus realm after paroling former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe “pink underwear” Arpaio. The Arizona Republic called Trump’s pardon “a sign of pure contempt for every American who believes in justice, human dignity and the rule of law.” The pardon is a message, of course, to others who may be facing prosecution for Trump-associated crimes or misdemeanors down the road: “Man up, zip it, don’t roll over on me when prosecutors start applying pressure. Do this and I’ll pardon you if you get sentenced.”
From Arpaio’s Wikipage: “Arpaio claimed that his requirement that inmates wear pink underwear…saved the county $70,000 in the first year the rule was in effect. Arpaio subsequently sold customized pink boxers (with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s logo and ‘Go Joe’) as a fund-raiser for Sheriff’s Posse Association. Despite allegations of misuse of funds received from these sales, Arpaio declined to provide an accounting for the money. Arpaio’s success in gaining press coverage with the pink underwear resulted in his extending the use of the color. He introduced pink handcuffs, using the event to promote his book, ‘Joe’s Law: America’s Toughest Sheriff Takes on Illegal Immigration, Drugs and Everything Else That Threatens America.’ Arpaio has said ‘I can get elected on pink underwear… I’ve done it five times.'”