Trump’s military response in Syria may dominate most of the weekend, so maybe he won’t whack Rod Rosenstein until early next week, or perhaps even later. When and if this much-predicted dismissal happens, it’ll be the most Augusto Pinochet-like thing to happen in this country since Richard Nixon‘s firing of Archibald Cox. Only one thing to do.
Incredibles 2 is obviously going to be sharp, funny and witty, swiftly paced, adult-friendly, visually exciting…the kind of family-friendly animated feature that I can actually watch and enjoy. Movies of this sort are few and far between, but then you knew that. Disney will release this burst of Brad Bird energy on 6.15.18. For the record: Hollywood Elsewhere totally loved Bird’s original Incredibles, which is now 14 years old.
With Steven Spielberg‘s The Post about to appear on Bluray in a few days, it’s an opportune time to recall just how decisively this journalism drama, which almost everyone admired, was ignored to death in the 2017 Oscar race.
Every Gold Derby and Gurus ‘o’ Gold spitballer predicted that The Post would be a hot Best Picture contender, at least among the 50-plus set. Indeed, it gathered a Best Picture Oscar nomination along with a Best Actress nomination for the formidable Meryl Streep. On top of which the National Board of Review honored The Post as 2017’s Best Film, and it received six Golden Globe noms including Best Motion Picture, Drama.
But the real story, unknown at the time by business-as-usual critics and prognosticators, is that the New Academy Kidz were determined to deep-six The Post because it was too Oscar-baity, too boomer-friendly and too “who cares?”
Hollywood Elsewhere has just learned that a secret NAK meeting was held at a private residence in Burbank last November, and that the NAK leadership used this occasion to explain and ratify its basic agenda.
“The Post is exactly the kind of lofty, self-important, high-toned Best Picture contender that we don’t want to give Oscars to any more,” the NAK chairman said in a speech to approximately 175 members, according to one witness. “And perhaps not even nominate. The old white farts who used to run things are being put out to pasture, and we’re the new crew…younger and more diversified and trying to tip the vote in our direction, however and whenever we can.
“From here on we’re going to do what we can to undermine high-dignity movies and support films that we like, and that might mean horror films, cheeseball genre movies, Creature From The Love Lagoon fantasias…anything that doesn’t walk or talk like traditional, Kris Tapley– or Tom O’Neill-sanctified Oscar bait material…the kind of film that those National Board of Review geezers will salivate over sign unseen.
“That kind of movie represented by The Post may not be completely over and done with as far as the Oscars concerned, but it sure as hell won’t get any more carte blanche Best Picture nominations from here on in. Not from us, it won’t. Because we’re the New Academy Kidz, and this is our moment.”
Jewell was asking him to respond to criticism from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s Abed Ayoub that Beirut is racist, and to answer why the film has no Lebanese characters. Jewell, who spent time in Lebanon, seems to be on the same page as film critic, cultural protectionist and ethnic representation advocate Jen Yamato.
Gilroy kept himself in check, but his eyes start blinking like an Al Capone machine gun around the 2:20 mark. The REM is fucking fantastic. Watch the video for this aspect alone. Wells to Gilroy: Don’t be angry, brah. I’m glad I saw this, by the way, because I’ll know in the future to cool my jets if I ever provoke this kind of blinking during a chat with you.
Gilroy: “To anyone who spent time in Beirut in its heyday, it has really become Paradise Lost. I understand the sorrow but there are no Lebanese characters in the film. There’s nobody in this film who is Lebanese. Everyone is an interloper. The PLO are invaders, the Americans are invaders, the Israelis are invaders. The movie’s about Jon Hamm‘s character. He’s an Arabist, he’s married to a Lebanese woman, sponsoring a Lebanese boy.”
Jewell: “Why is it called Beirut then?” Gilroy: “Because it’s a good title, and it takes place there. Nobody speaks Mandarin in Chinatown.”
“We are experiencing a dangerous time in our country with a political environment where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded.” — Former FBI director James Comey in his just-released book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.”
A 4.13 interview with Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux was posted this morning by The Playlist‘s Charles Barfield. Fremaux says he was not only “heavily criticized” by his superiors but was almost fired for programming two Netflix films, Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories, during last year’s festival. Because Netflix hadn’t agreed to that ridiculous French law of having to wait three years to stream these films after booking them into French theatres.
Fremaux says he pleaded with Netflix this year to submit to the French system in order to allow Alfonso Cuaron‘s Roma and Orson Welles‘ The Other Side of the Wind to play at next month’s festival. Netflix declined, of course.
“I am asking them to accept that rule,” Fremaux relates. “They show dozens and dozens of films each year on Netflix. Could they not release just one film a year theatrically in France in order for it to come to Cannes?”
This reminds me of a tearful plea heard in The Godfather, Part II, conveyed by Talia Shire‘s Connie Corleone to Al Pacino‘s Michael Corleone:
“Michael, I hated you for so many years. I think that I did things to myself, to hurt myself so that you’d know…that I could hurt you. You were just being strong for all of us the way Papa was. And I forgive you. Can’t you forgive Fredo? He’s so sweet and helpless without you.” We all know what Michael’s ultimate response was — a bullet in Fredo’s head while he was fishing on Lake Tahoe with Al Neri.
“The consequence of the chronology means [Roma and The Other Side of the Wind would] come out three years later,” Fremaux explains. “Sure, it’s absurd. On a personal level, I think it’s time to change it, but for now, in 2018, we are where we are. If they accepted to bring out the film, to give it to a distributor and to say, ‘Look, we also financed Orson Welles’s The Other Side Of The Wind, they would be heroes and it would be fabulous for their image.”
The other night Amy Schumer described the basic I Feel Pretty drill: “I play Renee Barrett [and] she has really low self-esteem. She feels really bad about herself. When the trailer came out they were saying I wasn’t disgusting enough to play that role, and thank you. But it’s not about an ugly monster. She just has low self-esteem. She just hits her head in a [workout salon], and all of a sudden she sees herself as a super-model.”
Stephen Colbert: “So you do the pasta and the wine?” Schumer: “Very much so…kind of almost every night…I’m what you look like if you have pasta and wine.”
You understand the system out there, right? You can’t share your honest reaction to Schumer’s appearance, which is that she looked decidedly different in Judd Apatow‘s Trainwreck, which she went on a serious weight-loss program for. Now she seems a good 15 pounds heavier, and — hello? — doesn’t look as attractive. But Schumer can smile at Colbert and say in a matter-of-fact way that she’s what people look like “if they have pasta and wine.” And we’re all allowed to laugh, but only if she says it.
A couple of months ago I explained that Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein‘s I Feel Pretty (STX, 6.20) is basically about the power of a positive self-image. It’s about a plump, bordering-on-fat woman who discovers a wildly positive view of herself after being hit on the head during a workout session. She suddenly sees a total knockout in the mirror. If she thinks she’s beautiful then she is, etc.
The premise, I added, “is similar to that of John Cromwell‘s The Enchanted Cottage (’45). It was about a disfigured Air Force pilot (Robert Young) falling in love with a shy, homely maid (Dorothy Maguire), and how their feelings for each other transform them into handsome/beautiful, at least in their own eyes. The audience saw them as highly attractive also but the supporting characters in the film didn’t.”