Late Sunday afternoon: Drove northwest on Los Felix Blvd., took left on Catalina Street, parked the car at the corner of Catalina and Glencairn, hiked up to the top of the neighborhood and then onto the path to the Griffith Park Observatory. Spent 15 minutes looking at the view, taking pics, etc. Too crowded, too many commoners. And then back down the trail.
Offering a hearty Hollywood Elsewhere thanks to everyone who gave their support this year (spirited reader opinion, general visitorship, HE-plus, etc.). Plus all the words of support regarding the Sundance ’19 blacklisting by the p.c. comintern. Hoping that most of you will enjoy a healthy, prosperous, generally happy 2019; hoping also that good luck and good fortune will smile upon many of you from time to time. Here are some images that have stirred the soup in years past:
Forming an “exploratory committee” that will seek to determine or fortify what? We all know Senator Elizabeth Warren is running for president in 2020 so why doesn’t she just say “yeah, you’re right, I am”?
I love Warren’s progressive compassionate agenda but (a) I still resent her decision not to run against Hillary “my favorite all-time film is Casablanca” Clinton in ’16 — if she’d beaten Hillary in the primaries (Bernie Sanders wouldn’t have run if Warren had jumped in) we probably wouldn’t have President Trump now, and (b) I’m honestly worried about whether she’s scrappy and two-fisted enough to run against El Cheeto, who will campaign day in and day out on “Pocahantas, Pocahantas, Pocahantas.” Plus I’m concerned about her ability to win over rural independent-minded pudgebods. Plus she’s a boomer, and I think the anti-Trump majority generally wants someone younger — heir apparent Beto O’Rourke or maybe Kamala Harris.
Every person in America should be able to work hard, play by the same set of rules, & take care of themselves & the people they love. That’s what I’m fighting for, & that’s why I’m launching an exploratory committee for president. I need you with me: https://t.co/BNl2I1m8OX pic.twitter.com/uXXtp94EvY
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) December 31, 2018
From HE reader “Melendey”: I have an advanced copy of the new “Sopranos Sessions” book (out January 8th) written by Matt Seitz and Alan Sepinwall. It includes an extensive interview with series creator David Chase, who accidentally lets it slip that Tony dies and even curses at Alan and Matt for making him cough this up.
Chase is asked when he first thought about how he was going to end the show:
Chase: “I think I had that death scene around two years before the end. I remember talking with Mitch Burgess about it, but it was slightly different. Tony was going to get called to a meeting with Johnny Sack in Manhattan and it was going to black there, the theory being that something bad happens to him at the meeting. But we didn’t do that.”
Matt Seitz: “You realize you just referred to that as a death scene?” [a long pause follows]
Chase: “Fuck you guys” [Matt and Alan explode with laughter after a moment Chase joins in for a good thirty seconds]. But I changed my mind over time. I didn’t want to do a straight death scene. I didn’t want you to feel like ‘Oh, he’s meeting with Johnny Sack and he’s going to get killed.'”
From “Tony Soprano Still Dead,” posted on 8.27.14: “Tony Soprano sleeps with the fishes. He took one in the right temple and probably two more in the back of the head. He was clipped by that Italian-looking guy in that Members Only jacket…you know, that guy who was eyeballing him and then went into the bathroom and then came out. Thunk! Thunk, thunk!
“The cut to black was Tony’s abrupt loss of consciousness as the bullets slammed into his head. In my humble view Chase’s strategy would have worked better if he’d used a Tony-POV shot of Meadow entering the restaurant before the cut-to-black. Carmela freaked and screamed; Anthony, Jr. probably tried some kind of tough-guy shit which the Members Only guy…who knows, maybe he clipped Anthony also. Then he went out the back exit. That’s what happened, trust me.”
I couldn’t find that 48-minute YouTube audio recording of Louis C.K.’s 12.16 performance at Governor’s Comedy Club in Levittown. But I listened to that portion of his set that included a belittling of Parkland students who didn’t get shot. I never, ever would’ve gone there (good God), and yes, it does seem as if Louis is looking to be the new Dennis Miller or Milo Yiannopoulos — a nihilistic, fuck-all red-state provocateur.
Likely Louis C.K. rationale: “I’ll never be able to grovel and apologize my way into the good graces of the perpetually offended, I’ll never be able to deliver truly edgy comedy from a position of contrition and I obviously can’t be Hannah Gadsby, so why not go over to the Dark Side by double-downing on offense-giving? I’m dead either way so what do I have to lose?” Or something like that.
TheWrap‘s Jon Levine has spoken with Cameron Kasky, a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida, and said he believes that “comedy exists to be offensive.”
Kasky: “I don’t particularly like that Louis C.K. went after the idea of the movement we started, but comedy is comedy and I don’t think me being offended by it should dictate whether or not it should be allowed to exist. It’s not my job to tell a comedian they’re being offensive. I believe comedy exists to be offensive.”
George Carlin: “It’s a comedian’s duty to find the line and deliberately cross over it.”
im listening to the leaked louis set and its very clear hes just going to tour red states for the rest of his life to rapturous crowds, like trump
— jack allison (@jackallisonLOL) December 31, 2018
“Cristian — Greetings & salutations. Could I ask you to please explain the aspect-ratio situation on the Criterion Bluray of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days?’
What does the audience gain from the top half of Anamaria Marinca’s head being chopped off? What does it gain from Vlad Ivanov‘s forearms and hands being sliced off?
Quote: “The framing is slightly different than previous releases, with the image showing more on the top and left of the frame, with slightly less at the bottom (the right edge of the frame staying the same).”
“‘Slightly’ different? Tooze’s frame captures show that the Criterion version is MUCH wider than previous versions, and that significant amounts of visual information have been lopped off the tops and bottoms.
“I haven’t seen the Criterion Bluray but if Tooze’s description is correct, why would your film suddenly be presented in a different aspect ratio after so many years? Because once again, a Criterion Bluray has cleavered visual information for no discernible reason. I prefer the earlier versions, which felt more natural with ample breathing room. I generally deplore Criterion’s arbitrary aspect-ratio revisionism. Their recent slicing of Some Like It Hot (1.66 cleavered down to 1.85) was unforgivable.
“Hope you are well. — Jeffrey Wells, HE”
From Mark Smith: “Last night my wife and I caught a restored DCP of The Apartment at the Metrograph. I’d only seen this 1960 classic once or twice when I was younger, but have now watched it three times in the past six months. It just gets better and better.
“But last night was the first time I saw it with an audience.
“The crowd encompassed a wide age range. Some Millennials (20s), some middle-ish (35-45), some older (50s). My wife and I are 46.
“I was shocked — shocked, I tell you! — at how many people, old and young, were laughing during the scene where Jack Kruschen‘s Dr. Dreyfuss is trying to revive Fran Kubelik (Shirley Maclaine), particularly when he’s slapping her across the face. I guess it was nervous laughter, perhaps a ‘ha-ha, isn’t this part sooo dated?’ type of nervous laughter, but I was pretty put off by their reaction.
“The movie had been a sweet-but-scathing comedy up to that point, playing it broad-but-grounded with a sprinkling of genuine sadness that never veers into the Maudlinville.
“But that slap is a turning point: not only a literal slap to keep a character we really like from dying, but it’s a figurative slap in the face for Jack Lemmon‘s C.C. Baxter, the moment where he really begins his moral about-face; and it’s a slap to the audience, to wake them up and shout ‘Hey! Don’t you realize this whole situation — cheating husbands, drunken floozies, selling your soul for a window office — which we’ve presented up to now for laughs, is actually reeeeally fucked up and twisted?”
(Also: Was The Apartment the first film to allow an audience to hear a character vomiting off-screen?)
“But let’s say the audience was laughing out of shock that the doctor was slapping the girl in the face…well, what the fuck else was he supposed to do, given his limited resources? Being woken up in the middle of the night, his only supplies a black bag with a B12 cocktail, some instant coffee and an ineffectual schnook for an assistant? His mission was to keep the woman awake or else she’s DEAD.
“What the fuck is WRONG with you idiots??
“But the digital restoration looked really really nice. And the part where Fran is running down the street to Baxter’s apartment is one of the great romantic moments in cinema. What a great fucking movie.”
Could No Country For Old Men be made today? I can’t see why not. Last time I checked bleak fatalistic nihilism didn’t necessarily argue with the wokester party line.
Josh Brolin‘s out-of-focus footage of Woody Harrelson was almost certainly accidental, but I like flirting with the idea that it was half-intentional. When Harrelson asks if his mike is okay (3:51), the back-and-forth that ensues between he and Brolin is somewhere between surreal and mildly amusing. At 5:09 Brolin returns to out-of-focus Harrelson. At 5:17, Harrelson says, “I feel like I’m comin’ off a little bit strange.” And then at 5:30, Brolin initiates a hilarious fade-to-black while Harrelson is in mid-sentence.
All “making of” docs should be on this level…brilliant.