You’re a famous, relatively flush industry bisexual, and you figure “why hide it?” So you mention it in an interview…done. Congrats to Tessa Thompson for laying her cards face up. Janelle Monae (who described herself two months ago as pansexual) is Thompson’s significant other…cool. But I’m trying to imagine making any kind of effort to explain my emotional feelings in this regard to a journalist. The scribe in this instance is Porter‘s Jane Mulkerrins. I wouldn’t hide what’s going on if asked, but I certainly wouldn’t share in any kind of detailed, deep-down way. If pressed I would cut my descriptions down to an absolute bare minimum, and even then I’d probably feel funny about it. I’m trying to think of the last time a fairly well-known actor or actress said to a top-tier journalist, “I’ve really flipped for this person and so here’s an attempt to describe how passionately I feel about him/her.”
Eugene Jarecki‘s The King (Oscilloscope, now playing) “is a nonfiction chronicle of the life and career of Elvis Presley, but it’s really a documentary-meditation-essay-rhapsody, one that captures, as almost no film has, what’s happening, right now, to the American spirit. What’s new — and revelatory — about The King apart from the soulful dazzle of Jarecki’s filmmaking, is that it asks, at every turn, a haunting question: When you take a step back and really look at what happened to Elvis Presley, what does [that] say about the rest of us?
“The King says a tremendous amount. In a way that no film has before it, The King captures how Elvis, while he was blazing new trails as an entertainer, was being eaten alive by forces that were actually a rising series of postwar American addictions.
“The healthy desire to be successful, and even to stay on top, evolved into an over-the-top lust to break the bank. Elvis started as a true artist, but in Hollywood his movies made a spectacle — almost a debased ritual — of commercial compromise. (You could chortle at a cheese doodle like “Blue Hawaii,” but you couldn’t argue with it, because it was the earliest incarnation of The Blockbuster Mentality.) And as an individual, Elvis, even as he remained a superstar, became the ultimate consumer. He ate and drank and ate some more, and sat on his gold toilet throne, and sealed himself off from the real world, like Howard Hughes on a junk-food binge that never ended. High on Dilaudid (i.e., opioids), Elvis shot out his TV screen with a gun. Today, he’d be on an all-night video-game bender.
“[Early on we’re shown] an inky-haired young rebel, who may have been the most handsome man of the 20th century, bring a vibratory erotic-ecstatic energy into the world (he didn’t invent that energy, but he channeled it, blended with it, and redefined it), and in doing so he changes the world overnight. He tilts it on its axis.
I reached out yesterday to author and 2001 costar Dan Richter, whom I hadn’t spoken to since profiling him in the L.A. Times “Calendar” section some 26 years ago. I wanted to know if he agreed with my concerns about the yellow-teal Chris Nolan version of 2001 that’s been playing in theatres. Writing from Provincetown, Dan said he hasn’t yet caught it theatrically but he did examine a YouTube comparison video that I sent him. “Nolan’s version seems to have a yellow cast to it,” he noted, “and lacks the cold, clear look of what I recall as the original.”
As I mentioned yesterday, my late father became friendly with Dan in the late ’80s. In July ’92 I visited Dan at his home near Pasadena, and then wrote that piece a couple of weeks later. Dan has written two books — “Moonwatcher’s Memoir” (’02) and “The Dream Is Over” (’12)
Dan Richter as “Moonwatcher” in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The current jacket art for Warner Home Entertainment’s forthcoming 4K UHD Bluray of 2001: A Space Odyssey is muddy and noirish looking — an arterial red close-up image of Keir Dullea’s Dave Bowman. Which is almost an exact visual opposite of the previous jacket art design that appeared last March, an image of the red-suited Bowman walking through a bright white passageway aboard the Jupiter-bound Discovery.
Why did WHE change the jacket art? My guess (just a guess) is that the glarey white-and-red cover was deep-sixed because it doesn’t agree with the subdued yellow-ish image from the same scene in the Chris Nolan-approved 4K version of 2001, which will “street” on 10.30.
If you haven’t been keeping up, Nolan’s yellow-teal “nostalgia” version elbowed aside a previous 4K UHD version of Stanley Kubrick‘s 1968 classic. 70mm prints of Nolan’s version opened in theatres a while back. The gleaming white 4K jacket-art image speaks for itself. Directly below is a grab from the scene in question as found on WHE’s 2007 Bluray. Below that is the same scene in Nolan’s un-restored version, which is the basis for the new 4K Bluray. The subdued yellowish tint is obviously darker and more subdued than the 2007 Bluray image, and is dramatically darker than the gleaming bright image from the three-month-old 4K jacket image. Do the math.
Following a limited 6.8 debut, Morgan Neville‘s Won’t You Be My Neighbor (Focus Features), a beloved doc about Fred Rogers, opened in 654 theatres this weekend, and took in nearly $3 million. As we speak the total gross is $7,488.082. It’ll crest the $10 million mark soon, probably within less than two weeks. Likewise Betsy West and Julie Cohen‘s RBG (Magnolia), their acclaimed doc about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has grossed $11,522,362 after 59 days in theatres.
My iPhone 6Plus wasn’t charging a few weeks ago, so I went to a West Hollywood guy on Melrose. He fiddled with the charging unit…simple. He also said that my blue-plastic charging cord (one of those knock-off types you can buy at CVS and car washes) would eventually be a problem for me, and that I’d be better off with a $19 Apple charging cord. Unfortunately those white cords always crack apart and have to be taped up after three or four weeks of use.
“I hate those white Apple cords,” I told the guy. “They never last and the Apple stores charge about ten times what they’re worth.” The guy nodded and said, “Yeah, I know, but they’re the only kind that seem to give a really good connection.”
A few days ago a Quora guy wrote that “the 16 pins on the iPhone lightning connector are not soldered in place…they’e simply kept in place by the surrounding soft plastic/rubber. This makes it easier for these pins to bend out of place if the cable is twisted more often.”
If Apple would just manufacture a tough cord that works as well as those $19 rubber whiteys but doesn’t crack open, I’d buy it in a heartbeat. I’ve bought pricey non-Apple cords at Apple stores (the kind that are covered with striped threaded insulation) but they always seem to crap out also. I’ve probably bought 30 or 40 charging cords over the last five years.
Bill Maher, Michael Moore, Howard Stern…they’re all saying it or running it up the flagpole: Donald Trump, the worst sociopathic criminal to occupy the White House in the history of this country, stands a decent chance of being re-elected in 2020.
Not because he isn’t a malignant crime boss (that’s quite obvious), but because the left hasn’t generated any kind of strong, clearly articulated alternative in the form of, say, a new Bobby Kennedy or a consistent populist message that connects with the dumbshits. An awareness of Trump’s sociopathic gangsterism is enough for me to vote for someone else, but there’s no sense of progressive spirituality, of any kind of hopeful redemptive energy from the left. Bernie Sanders had his chance and, at 76 but 79 in 2020, is too old. It would be great if the likable, humanistic Joe Biden could run the table and snag the nomination and the White House, but the metaphor of that huge neck wattle will gnaw away at him. He has to become a 21st Century, forward-looking tactician, but he’s mainly about a vibe. In 2006 progressives were talking about Barack Obama. Right now there’s no one in the wings with Obama’s charisma, excitement or sense of promised transformation.
All the left really has right now is “Trump is a monster.” Which he is, of course, but “authentic leftism is populist,” as Camille Paglia says below. “It is based in working-class style, emotion, language, and not the fancy, contorted jargon of the pseudo-leftists of academia.”
That “fancy contorted jargon,” to continue her thought, is also manifested among the politically correct, offense-taking, finger-pointing left that seems much more invested in the mitigation of middle-class Anglo Saxon culture (“white male” is a total epithet these days) and the corresponding levelling of the playing field for the benefit of urban women, multiculturals and LGBTQs. I hate the anti-intellectual, know-nothing voting attitudes of rural bumblefucks but I also understand why they hate shrieking leftists, and unless something happens or someone comes along to bridge the gap between these poles I’m afraid that Trump might win again, God help us. Because the bumblefucks so despise the left, and because they feel their cultural survival — the idea of “serial immortality” or living in through your descendants — is at stake. We need a Bobby Kennedy, but there’s no one out there who appears to fit the paradigm.