At a recent Planned Parenthood convention in South Carolina, “several groups of chanting supporters marched their candidates into the auditorium. On Saturday morning, Kamala Harris came down an escalator accompanied by a cheering throng and a high school drum line. Later, boisterous backers of Cory Booker streamed in behind him from one end of the convention center, only to meet dozens of raucous Beto O’Rourke fans coming from the other. They came together in the middle, attempting to drown each other out with chants like rival gangs in a good-natured musical.
“Shortly after that, a group of Joe Biden supporters gathered to march into the main hall. Biden wasn’t with them, but they planned to enter as he appeared onstage. There were 20 or 30 people, a smaller group than those accompanying Harris, Booker or O’Rourke, and despite a few earnest woo-hoos, they weren’t nearly as loud as the others.
“An ability to draw crowds isn’t everything — a tepid vote counts the same as a passionate one. Biden’s supporters are older than those of other Democrats, which gives his campaign less visible energy but a more reliable voting base. Still, as recent elections have shown, enthusiasm matters. Anyone convinced that Biden is the safe choice should go see him for themselves.” — from Michelle Goldberg‘s “Joe Biden Doesn’t Look So Electable in Person,” posted on 6.24.19.
…the industry takes note. But this sounds a bit curious. Everything I’ve heard and read about James Gray‘s Ad Astra (Disney/Fox, 9.20), a father-son, space-travel, Heart of Darkness-like drama with Brad Pitt and Tommy Lee Jones, has indicated it’s a hard-luck project. Gray wanted it to go to Cannes, but the FX couldn’t be finished in time. The release date was bumped twice (slated for 1.11.19 and then 5.24.19). Remember that for a film of this scope (space adventure, other realms and universes, etc.), $50 million is a nickle-and-dime budget. So what is it that Tapley has heard about Ad Astra? Specifically, I mean. What’s special about it, what stands out? It’s not enough to say “whoa, I’m very excited!” If you’ve heard something solid, great — pass it along. If you haven’t heard any specifics or don’t want to share them, stand down.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg is allegedly in big trouble with African American voters (not just in South Bend but all over) because he didn’t personally step into the 6.16 confrontation between South Bend Police Sgt. Ryan O’Neill and the late Eric J. Logan. Or because he’s had the temerity to run for President and therefore wasn’t home in South Bend where he should have been at the time of the shooting.
The O’Neill-Logan shooting happened around 3 am, which suggests that if Buttigieg had been in South Bend he probably would have been home sleeping. Nonetheless, the African-American community mantra is “dilletante Mayor Pete has to face the music!”
O’Neill’s account of the shooting of Logan is admittedly curious. Logan, who apparently had been breaking into cars, either came at O’Neill with a knife or “threw” it at him. What kind of a drooling idiot threatens a cop with a knife when the cop is holding a loaded gun and saying “drop it!”? It’s obviously problematic that O’Neill didn’t turn on his bodycam, and so the African American community is assuming O’Neill is flat-out lying, and that he may have plugged Logan without reasonable cause.
But I’ve also read that (a) today’s high-end bodycams can be automatically activated when a police offer removes his/her weapon from his/her holster, and that (b) South Bend chose instead to purchase manually-operated bodycams, which are cheaper.
I know I’m just a typically smug and clueless white guy sitting in West Hollywood, but how likely is it that a 19-year veteran of a big-city police force who rose in the ranks…hired in 2000, promoted to sergeant in 2015…how likely is it that O’Neill would just shoot Logan in cold blood? It’s possible, sure, but how likely?
A 6.18 account of the incident by South Bend Tribune reporters Greg Swiercz and Christian Sheckler states the following:
(a) “Investigators…found six vehicles [that] had been broken into — two on William [Street], two on Taylor Street and two in the Central High parking lot. A purse, a wallet and a knife — the same knife that was found at the scene of the shooting — were stolen from the various vehicles, according to South Bend prosecutor Ken Cotter .”
(b) Cotter and Metro Homicide commander Michael Grzegorek said that “shortly after O’Neill drove into the Central High Apartments parking lot, he saw a person’s legs sticking out of a Honda Civic. O’Neill stopped his cruiser, stepped out and asked the man if the car was his. The man said ‘yes’ but O’Neill spotted a purse wedged in his clothing. The man then emerged from the car with knife in his right hand.”
(c) “Logan is said to have ignored multiple orders to ‘drop the knife’ and then approached O’Neill with the knife raised. O’Neill, backing up toward his vehicle, fired two shots. One shot struck Logan in the right side of his abdomen, while the other struck the opened door of the car. Logan ‘was coming toward (O’Neill) at roughly the same speed that Sgt. O’Neill was retreating,’ Cotter said.”
It’s not a rumor: Ari Aster‘s Midsommar (A24, 7.3) is brilliantly made right up until the final 15 or 20 minutes, which don’t quite work. But this doesn’t matter, or certainly shouldn’t. Because Aster, born 31 or 32 years ago, is such a gifted and masterful filmmaker. He’s way, way up there, and I don’t want to hear any dissenting bullshit about this.
Midsommar is a 100% essential summer freakout flick no matter how you feel about elevated horror, chilling Swedish pagan rituals, shitty boyfriends or Florence Pugh. The 23 year-old actress (recently in The Outlaw King and The Little Drummer Girl) is quite good in the lead role of Dani, a 20something who’s recently been devastated by a ghastly family trauma and by the less-than-fully-engaged, close to aloof vibes she’s been getting from her brooding boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor).
Yes, Midsommar is a breakup film — David Edelstein called it “a woman’s fantasy of revenge against a man who didn’t meet her emotional needs” as well as “a male director’s masochistic fantasy of emasculation at the hands of a matriarchal cult.” That’s about as concise and on-target as a capsule description could be.
Downmarket meat-and-potatoes horror fans will probably speak ill of Midsommar, as they did to some extent about Aster’s Hereditary. But if watching a sublimely creepy (and even occasionally hilarious) film made by a phenomenally talented craftsman means anything to you, you simply have no choice in the matter — you have to see this puppy, and I mean the first weekend. Aster is so good, so sharp, so fully in command.
Did I read somewhere that he’s declared that Midsommar is his last horror film (at least for a while)? Whether Aster said it or not, it’s a very smart decision. No exaggeration, Aster is Martin Scorsese, Ruben Ostlund, Alfred Hitchcock, David Fincher and Val Lewton rolled into one. He’s way too genius-level (and I mean better than Tarantino) to plant his flag in the realm of a single genre.
Midsommar director-writer Ari Aster (l.) and Eighth Grade direcot Bo Burnham (photo stolen from Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson).