John Lee Hancock‘s The Highwaymen is a decent enough thing — a gruff, flavorful period procedural about how the notorious Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and cut to pieces by ex-Texas Rangers Frank Hamer (Kevin Costner) and Maney Gault (Woody Harrelson)…oh, Maney! On a quiet woodsy Louisiana road on 5.23.34, way down in Bienville Parish.
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Everyone thinks Randy Newman‘s “Short People” or “I Love L.A.” were his biggest hit singles. Maybe they were culturally or deep down in the common memory pool, but the self-loathing “It’s Money That Matters” (from 1988’s Land of Dreams album) was Newman’s only #1 hit on any U.S. chart.
Dear God, how I worshipped Mark Knopfler‘s guitar playing on this track — how I still love it. And his Local Hero soundtrack, which I recently re-purchased.
I also have a soft spot in my heart for “It’s Money That I Love,” and especially the line about the 16 year-old girl and the half pound of cocaine — “now, that may not be love, but it is alright.” Anyone writing or performing this song today would be skinned on Twitter and forced to leave the country.
The below frame capture is from a new trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters (Warner Bros., 5.3). I’ve posted two or three times previously about the fat Godzilla factor (the last one, “Reptilian Sumo Wrestler“, appeared on 12.10.18) but this is the first time I’ve seen a profile shot of the titular character in which you can literally spot a huge beer gut on the guy.
In the long history of monster movies, reaching all the way back to Harry Hoyt and Willis O’Brien‘s The Lost World, there’s never been a monster with a massive pot belly…never.
So I have to spell it out? On some level Godzilla: King of the Monsters is self-portraiture. Somebody on the team is projecting about contemporary American culture and how a significant portion of Millennials have become huge over the last 10, 15 years. Look at the original 1954 Godzilla — a monster who ate right and worked out.
John Ford‘s The Informer was my first wake-up film — the first adult drama that showed me movies could reach right inside and get you where it hurts or haunts, and could be about more, a lot more, than just laughs, excitement, color and spectacle.
It was my first heavy-duty, moral-undertow drama, all about grimness and guilt and poverty and downish atmospheres — the very first that presented a pathetic main character (Victor McLaglen‘s Gypo Nolan) and said, “Yes, obviously this guy’s a child, a drunk, a blunderer, not in the least bit clever…but can you find it in your heart to forgive him? Or are you the hard, judgmental type?”
I was nine or ten when I first saw The Informer, and my response was pretty much “well, yeah, I feel sorry for Gypo, I guess…but forgiveness is a bridge too far. How do you forgive a guy for betraying Frankie McPhillip, a friend, in exchange for a lousy 20 pounds?”
Even then I was having trouble with Gypo or more precisely drunks, and I barely knew anything. Well, my paternal grandfather had a mild drinking problem, but it wasn’t that noticable until his wife died.
I saw The Informer again sometime in the early aughts, and this time I felt even more annoyed by Gypo’s behavior. He doesn’t even have the discipline to hide his shame. Instead he goes straight into a pub and starts buying drinks for everyone, which immediately ignites the suspicions of the Irish Republican Army guys (Joe Sawyer, Preston Foster).
Eventually he’s found out, tried and marked for execution, and I’m telling you I agreed with the IRA. There’s no room for a big dumb oaf in an urban warfare situation. Gypo’s too much of a stumbling-around lush to be trusted. Kill him and be done with it.
But that final scene after he’s been shot in the gut, bleeding to death…that scene still gets me. When Gypo stumbles into a church and finds Frankie’s mother and says with that pleading, wounded-ox voice, “Twas I who informed on your son, Mrs. McPhillip…forgive me.” And the poor woman does for some reason, and then comforts him with “you didn’t know what you were doin’.” Gypo clutches his side, calls out to the dead Frankie, drops to the church floor and dies.
If I’d been Mrs. McPhillip I would have said, “You’ll get no forgiveness from me, Gypo. And from the looks of you, you won’t be needing any soon. Just let go…just let go. There’s nothin’ more for it, Gypo. Just go to sleep.”
I’m totally serious about Beto O’Rourke having to Pete Buttigieg up and totally shape-shift into that mentality and attitude within 30 to 60 days, and preferably 30.
I love Buttigieg — I just decided this morning that he’s my second favorite candidate after Beto, with Kamala Harris running a close third. But you know that while PB has everyone’s respect and admiration, he’ll never pass muster with the hinterland bumblefuck pudgeballs. I hate even touching this, but I fear that the combination of his sexual orientation plus the first syllable in his unspellable, unpronounceable last name…I’m sorry but this is how older, beer-gutty straight males think. That plus a lack of a commanding alpha-male vibe — Buttigieg is 37 but looks 30, and hasn’t a gray hair on his head, and looks school-kiddy. Plus his head is too small. Plus he’s not quite tall enough — only around 5′ 9″, if that. And don’t get me started on the last-name pronunciation.
PB would clearly be an excellent vice-presidential running mate. In fact, the prospect of his debating the staunchly Christian and notoriously homophobic Mike Pence is too delicious for words. But if Beto or Biden land the nomination you know they’ll have to choose Kamala as vp. Not much choice in the matter.
Beto O’Rourke, who obviously needs to take straight-shooter lessons from Pete Buttigieg, has clearly calculated that “America does not want another player in the outrage industrial complex. And he knows that for a Democrat to beat Donald Trump, he/she has to basically be nice, normal and not weird. And that’s what he’s trying to do.
“The problem is that he has to backpedal all the time…he’s had to apologize. He says ‘yeah, I’m out of town a lot and my wife has to take care of the kids when I’m gone’ — a pretty normal joke. But then he has to apologize, which I think is a mistake. I actually believe that the brand of being normal and nice…to not fire people up so they hate others and treat them with contempt..can really work. Now, [obviously] he’s got to have some more substance going forward, and we’ll see.” — Arthur Brooks, columnist, The Washington Post.
Now that Triple Frontier is on Netflix, could the HE commentariat please kick it around?
I gave it a pass because of how it plays out during the second half. Here’s how I put it a few days ago. Key passage: “Does Triple Frontier stand up to the famous Howard Hawks standard — ‘three great scenes and no bad ones’? Perhaps not, but it has at least two great scenes (the chopper crash and the donkey), and that’s something.”
HE regards Peter Hyams as an absolute dog of a director. I’ve hated every fibre of his “creative” being for as long as I can remember. The Movie Godz will never forgive him for the 1984 abomination that was 2010…never.
Two of the finest bare-bones, no-bullshit violent noirs ever made, John Boorman‘s Point Blank (’67) and John Flynn‘s The Outfit (’73), will play at the New Beverly on Wednesday, 3.27 and Thursday, 3.28. When I’ll be out of town…perfect!
I’ve seen Point Blank at least a dozen times and I own the Bluray, of course, but a friend is saying “oh, no…it’s a much bigger deal to see it projected with a mint-condition 35mm celluloid print.” Plus there’s no Bluray or HD streaming version of The Outfit so catching a decent print of it will be something.
But of course, there’s no depending on the New Beverly in this regard, as every so often they’ll show faded “pink” prints of this or that ’60s or ’70s film. The Aero (which has recently been favoring DCPs over prints) has done this also from time to time. I certainly don’t trust the New Bev to screen only non-faded prints — does anyone? I wish it were otherwise.
If I wasn’t going to be back east I would probably risk it and attend out of love for these films, but you can’t trust celluloid prints of 50-year-old films to look mint. The format is inherently untrustworthy in this day and age.
HE to Eric Kohn: “You said on your most recent Indiewire podcast that Booksmart (UA Releasing, 5.24) is Oscar-worthy. I thought it was supposed to be the new Superbad…fine. I can’t wait to see it. But why bring Oscars into it?” Kohn to HE: “The enthusiasm for Beanie Feldstein could very well have legs. People are gonna come out of this film and say ‘she’s really arrived.'” HE to Kohn: “Oh, I see…Beanie’s cool. She punched through in Lady Bird.”