“The solution to our current divisiveness does not live in the White House. Instead, we will find unity only when we recognize that in our current president we have elected, perhaps for the first time in our history, an enemy of compassion. Indeed, we can be unified not only with each other but with Africa, El Salvador, Haiti, Mexico, the Middle East and beyond if we recognize President Donald Trump is an enemy of Americans, Republicans, Democrats, Independents and every new child born. An enemy of mankind. He is indeed an enemy of the state.” — from “Donald Trump Is the Enemy of Compassion,” a Time essay by Sean Penn.
In response to Rebecca Hall’s statement about Woody Allen as posted today by Indiewire‘s Zack Sharf, I’m repeating what I posted yesterday in a piece titled “They’re At it Again.” Robert Weide’s 12.13.17 summary of the debatable 25 year-old allegations against Allen speaks for itself. For anyone interested in this matter, it’s certainly worth the 15 minutes it’ll take to read it. It’s all here. Any fair assessment of the facts suggests that Dylan Farrow’s accusation is, at the very least, clouded by uncertainty.
The Looming Tower (Hulu, 2.28.18) is a ten-episode miniseries about the ineffective tracking of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, due in part to actual blocking of this effort by the Bush administration. It focuses on former FBI agent and late counter-terrorism expert John O’Neill (Jeff Daniels). After leaving the FBI in ’01 O’Neill become the head of security at the World Trade Center. He died from the collapse of the North Tower during the 9/11 attacks. The series is exec produced by Dan Futterman, Alex Gibney and Wright. Futterman also wrote the script. The costars are Peter Sarsgaard, Wrenn Schmidt, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bill Camp, Alec Baldwin, Ella Rae Peck and Jennifer Dundas.
The Wall Street Journal‘s Michael Rothfeld and Joe Palazzolo reported this afternoon that just before the November 2016 election Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen “arranged” a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels (actual name: Stephanie Clifford) in order to keep her from yappity-yap-yapping about a one-off sexual encounter with future President Trump ten years earlier, or in July 2006.
The Journal reports that Clifford had planned to spill the beans with Good Morning America not long before the 11.16 Presidential election, but Trump attorney Michael Cohen stepped in and euphemistically said, “Okay, honey, here’s the money so no more funny with the GMA guys,” or words to that effect.
Trump and Clifford apparently enjoyed each other’s company after meeting at a July 2006 celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe.
If late Full Metal Jacket screenwriter Michael Herr had written the Trump-Clifford golf-course scene, it would have gone something like “Hey, big fat billionaire…me so hohhrny…me do fucky sucky boom boom long time…you like me but you also pay $130K ten years later when I shake you down…me so hohhrny!”
Last month it looked like The Florida Project‘s Willem Dafoe had the Best Supporting Actor race all sewn up. Starting with the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and into early January, Dafoe’s performance as a harried motel manager couldn’t stop racking up wins. He took at least 13 trophies from the National Society of Film Critics, the National Board of Review, the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Chicago Film Critics Association, the Toronto Film Critics Association, the Indiewire Critics poll blah blah. Okay, enough already, he’s got it.
(l.) Florida Project‘s Willem Dafoe; (r.) Three Billboards‘ Sam Rockwell.
And then five days ago Dafoe suddenly lost…what happened? Sam Rockwell‘s performance as a none-too-bright local cop in Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri took the Best Supporting Actor prize at the Golden Globe awards, and out of the blue Dafoe’s mojo was no more. Last night Rockwell won again at the Critics Choice awards, and now people are wondering if Dafoe was strictly a finicky critics favorite but Rockwell is more of a rank-and-file industry guy. They’ve both been nominated for a SAG award in this category; we’ll see how this shakes out on 1.21.
Could Dafoe be the new Bob Hoskins? In late 1986 the likelihood of Hoskins winning the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as a lovesick chauffeur in Neil Jordan‘s Mona Lisa seemed guaranteed. After winning the Best Actor prize at the ’86 Cannes Film Festival, Hoskins — like Dafoe — won the same award from the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics. And then he won the Best Actor BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe…how could Hoskins lose?
The Florida Project‘s Brooklyn Prince delivered the most touching acceptance speech during yesterday’s Critics Choice award ceremony. Brooklyn was seven years old when this W interview was published three months ago, and six when Sean Baker‘s film was shot in Orlando.
Yesterday Guillermo del Toro‘s The Shape of Water won the Critics Choice award for Best Picture. CC picks don’t always mirror Academy preferences, but they have much of the time. That plus Shape‘s Golden Globe win last Sunday tells me that this erotically-tinged period fantasy fable is probably going to win the Best Picture Oscar.
A friend says “no way” because The Shape of Water has no SAG ensemble nomination, and is therefore a longer shot to win than Get Out. Okay but…but…but…Get Out can’t win the Best Picture Oscar…no! There’s also a possibility that both of these projections are wrong and that Martin McDonagh‘s Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri will take it instead.
Two days ago it was apparent that Shape, Three Billboards and Jordan Peele‘s Get Out had become the leading soft default picks across the board. But Shape is the apparent darling. It’s softer, smoother and more sumptuous than the well-written, very finely performed Billboards, its closest competitor, and it’s apparently fated to overtake the politically correct support enjoyed by Jordan Peele‘s Get Out, which is either tied with Billboards or in third place — you tell me.
Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water.
Accept it — a Best Picture Oscar for a very handsomely composed genre film about rapturous mercy sex with the Creature From the Love Lagoon might soon be placed alongside the statuettes for Birdman, Spotlight, The Hurt Locker, 12 Years A Slave, Platoon, The Godfather Part II, A Man For All Seasons and The Best Years of Our Lives in the Academy’s golden display case in the upstairs lobby. Probably. Maybe.
It will therefore cinch a hard-fought triumph over (a) one of the boldest, most avant garde and stunningly captured war films ever made, (b) the most emotionally affecting and transformational gay love story since Brokeback Mountain and probably of the 21st Century, and (c) one of the sharpest, punchiest and most fetchingly performed coming-of-age tales about a young woman at the start of her adult life, and in a year that obviously cries out for a top-tier woman-directed film and/or a female-centric story to be celebrated above all.
The reasons for Shape‘s possible victory: (a) it’s a lot warmer than Dunkirk and certainly warmer than the somewhat jagged-edged Three Billboards, (b) it isn’t dealing gay cards (which is a seeming disqualifier among older white male Academy members given that last year a meditative, under-stated gay movie won the Best Picture Oscar), (c) it’s an emotionally inviting fable with a Johnny Belinda-like lead performance from Sally Hawkins, and (d) you don’t have to believe in socially progressive largesse or be on the “woke” bandwagon — you just have to be susceptible.
Donald Trump‘s 2016 Presidential campaign (“Make America white again”) was blatantly racist from the get-go. Everyone knew that, said that. And yet the MSM is all riled and outraged about Trump’s “shithole countries” quote. Nobody wants to normalize this kind of talk or terminology, and we’d all like to think that the explicit nature of the quote will sway undecided voters later this year. But deep down, I suspect, a sizable sector of down-home Americans probably aren’t grossly offended, and a good percentage of the offendees are probably more repelled by a sitting U.S. president using the word “shit” than anything else.
Full video of Durbin's comments: pic.twitter.com/OMUwXqKJSA
— Axios (@axios) January 12, 2018
Have pity — that’s all I can say to myself. These 20something actors need the work and are doing their best, but the director[s] of these Coca Cola ads pushed them too hard. Are you guys really that aroused by the new slimmer and taller cans? Are you that delighted with the new fruity flavors? Which one “tastes like San Francisco” again? The actors will get through this, but I feel for them — that’s my main take-away. And I’m saying this as a fairly regular consumer of “poison water.”