I’ve only seen three of the eight episodes that constitute Fosse/Verdon (FX, 4.9) so I’m obliged to restrain myself. But I know it when all the main elements (editing/montage, screenwriting, pitch-perfect performances, exactly the right rhythm and tone, cinematography) have come together in just the right away.
I’m telling you that Fosse/Verdon — the decades-spanning story of legendary director, choreogrqpher and more-than-slightly-flawed human being Bob Fosse (Sam Rockwell) and his longtime wife, lover, best friend and trusted creative colleague Gwen Verdon (Michelle Williams) — is really, really top-drawer.
I actually think it’s masterful.
In All That Jazz, Roy Scheider‘s Joe Gideon was all this and more. The difference between Jazz, which presented a Verdon-like character (played by Ann Reinking) as a peripheral figure, and Fosse/Verdon is that Verdon is just as essential and deeply-dug-in as Fosse, if not more so. This may be the best performance Williams has ever given. Seriously.
Largely directed by Keaton Kail (five of the eight episodes) and written by Steven Levenson (and based upon Sam Wasson‘s “Fosse“), this is one pizazzy, well-seasoned, theatrically-staged saga of a louche genius who was touched by the dancing godz and who also knew how to direct films, and a wonderfully gifted, spirited and emotionally buoyant dancer-singer who put up with a ton of shit until she left him (even though they never divorced), and the truly great stuff they created for the Broadway stage (as well as their collaboration on the Oscar-winning Cabaret).
I’ve been unpacking boxes and moving things around, and a couple of days ago I came across this birth announcement. I sent it out to 40 or 50 friends nearly 31 years ago. I forget where I had it assembled, pasted down and duplicated but it was a bit of a project. Something like this today would take two or three hours to write and design on a Macbook Pro, and copies on any kind of paper stock could be handled at any Kinkos. In an odd sort of way it was more satisfying to do stuff like this when it was harder and took more of your time.
Jett became an excellent fellow all around. He’s smarter than me in some ways, and generally more of an adult. He got married a year and a half ago; he and Cait live in Jersey City with Joey (a pit bull) and Luna (a kind of beagle). I don’t see enough of him, but I’m probably not the only father who feels this way.
I became acquainted with actor-director Demian Bichir during the 2011-’12 Oscar season, or roughly seven and a half years ago. I was one of the more passionate supporters of his lead performance in Chris Weitz‘s A Better Life. Bichir wound up being Oscar-nominated for same. We became friendly acquaintances during this period (saw each other at a few Oscar-season events, exchanged messages) and have kept in occasional touch since.
In 2011 Bichir was going with model-actress Stefanie Sherk, who at the time was 37 years old. I never spoke with her outside the usual party chatter. She and Demian later married, although I’m not sure exactly when. They lived together in Sherman Oaks.
Yesterday Bichir announced on Instagram that Sherk, 43, had died on 4.20. It’s been reported that Sherk was found dead at the bottom of the couple’s swimming pool on 4.12. It was reported today that Sherk died by her own hand. The Daily Mail‘s Lauren Freun and Jabeen Waheed reported that the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner has ruled her death a suicidal drowning.
I’ve been in touch with Demian; I hope and trust he’ll get through this horrible, impossibly sad episode.
Netflix will begin streaming Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese on 6.12. I’m naturally presuming that the concert-tour doc will be more or less in the vein of Scorsese’s The Last Waltz or Shine A Light. Netflix copy: “Part documentary, part concert film and part fever dream, Scorsese’s film captures the troubled spirit of America in 1975 and the joyous music that Dylan performed during the fall of that year” and describes it as “part documentary, part concert film, part fever dream.” The night before the official release (or on 6.11), Netflix will screen the film around the globe on a one-night-only basis — London, Paris, Washington, D.C., Nashville, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Portland, Tulsa, Tempe, Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Bologna and Sydney. The film will also screen in New York and Los Angeles, but on an extended basis.
In the comment thread of my 4.24 Long Shot review, “AuggieBenDoggie” noted the basic premise — dorky, blunt-spoken journalist (Seth Rogen) falls for a dishy Secretary of State (Charlize Theron) who’s way, way out of his league — and asked if it isn’t the same basic idea behind Continental Divide (’81), in which John Belushi played a stocky reporter who tumbled for Blair Brown‘s Rocky Mountain scientist.
In both films the women reciprocate the feelings of the male journalists and actually invite them into their beds. Except that the Belushi-Brown pairing is a lot less of a stretch than the Rogen-Theron romance, which has struck some as fairly ridiculous.
HE reply: Yes, there’s a rough similarity between Long Shot and Continental Divide, but the latter — directed by Michael Apted, written by Lawrence Kasdan — is a much more grown-up, more emotionally earnest comedy — a galaxy apart from Long Shot. As in “actually tethered to a semblance of the real world.” Compared to Long Shot, Continental Divide is a Lubitsch film. And Belushi isn’t half bad as the tough, Mike Royko-like Chicago journalist.
By the way: Here’s a striking photo of Belushi’s sheet-wrapped body being rolled out of the Chateau Marmont in front of a journalist wolf-pack. It kind of reminds me of the last moments of Sunset Boulevard — the same mix of pity, sadness and lurid headlines. The photo is part of a Hollywood Reporter excerpt from Shawn Levy‘s “The Castle on Sunset” (Doubleday, 5.7), which I’ve read and highly approve of.
The unofficial new title of Bond 25 is Jamaica, Mon…Dig It. Daniel Craig vs. Rami Malek as the bad guy. Caretaker producer Barbara Broccoli: “Bond is not on active service when the film starts. He is enjoying himself in Jamaica. We consider Jamaica Bond’s spiritual home. He starts his journey here.” Director Cary Fukunaga is saying with an apparently straight face that “Daniel is my favorite Bond”….bullshit! The 1962 model of Sean Connery is everyone’s favorite Bond, and I don’t want to hear any more about this. Back for more are costars Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomi Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Rory Kinnear and Lea Seydoux.
Jamaica, Mon…Dig It will open in theaters on 4.8.20.
There is, I believe, one overriding reason why Joe Biden is polling really well among registered, likely-to-vote Democrats: the Democrats being polled are older and backwards-gazing and lazy as fuck. They don’t like new; they like tried and true. And the sum total of their Biden thinking is more or less “smilin’, mellow Joe was Barack’s vp and best bruh…let’s have more of that.”
Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are good, wise and reasonably principled fellows, but they both need to be shut down. It sounds harsh to say that, I realize, but it’s true. They won’t go away on their own determinations so they both need to be toppled from their trusty steeds and slain with terrible swift swords. For the good of the country and the hopefully vibrant future of the Democratic party, they must be sent on their way. Because they’re both too old. Yes, it’s that simple.
From “The Case For and Against Joe Biden’s 2020 Chances“, by CNN’s Harry Enten: “A lot of the attacks on Biden are, from an electoral angle, silly. Going after Biden for his lack of liberal wokeness, for example, seems destined to fail, given that the polling shows that Democrats want the party to move in a more moderate direction.
“Biden’s age is more likely to derail his candidacy. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll taken in late February showed that only 33% of Democrats would feel enthusiastic or comfortable nominating someone older than 75. A 2013 study by political scientists Jens Hainmueller, Daniel J. Hopkins and Teppei Yamamoto came to a similar conclusion. Candidates older than 75 were penalized compared to younger candidates.
Biden, of course, would be 78 years old on Inauguration Day 2021.
“[Could] Democrats be opposed to an older candidate in the abstract? Sure. The yearning for a younger candidate may be a weak preference that could be overturned based on who is running. After all, Biden and the even older Sanders are doing well in the polls right now.
“Still, it’s important to note how low 33%, the percentage of people who would feel comfortable or enthusiastic supporting someone over the age of 75, is. It’s about equal to the percentage of Democrats who would be enthusiastic or comfortable backing an evangelical Christian or businessman. I’ve pointed out before that Democrats seemed to be penalizing candidates in early polls who were mainly known as businessmen.
“The fact that Biden is called ‘Sleepy Joe’ by Trump and is known to make gaffes may open the age question more than polling indicates right now.
“I’ve written previously on how the Democratic Party is more moderate and older than you probably think it is. About 50% of Democratic voters call themselves moderate or conservative, which is about the same percentage that are at least 50 years old. Most Democratic candidates running this year don’t seem to recognize that fact.