Until today I hadn’t noticed that John Turturro’s remake of Bertrand Blier‘s Going Places (’74) and the Big Lebowski sequel (aka The Jesus Rolls) are one and the same. Screen Media will distribute Turturro’s three-year-old film next year. Great title, but I’ve never understood how a flick about an older trio of “sexually depraved misfits” (played by Turturro, Bobby Cannavale and Audrey Tautou) could work. The French-made original was about reckless youth frolicking in counter-culture upheaval — a couple of amoral hooligans (Gerard Depardieu, Patrick Dewaere) and the various adventures that befall them. Substitute these guys with 40something actors in the 21st Century and it’s…I don’t know what but on some level it feels out of time. Especially with today’s #MeToo scrutiny. Pic costars Pete Davidson, Jon Hamm. Susan Sarandon (in the Jeanne Moreau role) and Sonia Braga.
The exalted Rip Torn has passed at age 88. A fine, intense, occasionally snarly actor who was gifted (and seemingly afflicted from time to time) with just a slight touch of madness.
Born in ’31, raised in Texas, professionally and creatively shaped in the ’50s, drawling and cruising through thick and thin for over half a century. And Rip Torn wasn’t a screen name. For some reason I’ve long thought of Torn as being spiritually related to the equally moody and sometimes surly Warren Oates and Timothy Carey — outliers, all.
All the obits will lead with Torn’s Henry Miller in Joseph Strick‘s Tropic of Cancer, his rural Southerner in Martin Ritt‘s Cross Creek (’83) and the ongoing “Artie” role on HBO’s The Larry Sanders Show.
But for me Torn became lightning with a pair of performances released two years apart — the eccentric Raoul Rey O’Houlihan in Norman Mailer’s Maidstone (released in ’70 and infamous for that improvised fight that began with Torn charging Mailer with a hammer) and as country music star Maury Dann in Daryl Duke‘s Payday (’72). Dann was a minor-leaguer who snarled and mistreated and generally out-nastied Paul Newman in Hud.
I don’t even remember Torn’s uncredited role in A Face in the Crowd, but he was certainly interesting as a laid-back officer Lewis Milestone‘s Pork Chop Hill, as Judas Iscariot in Nicholas Ray‘s King of Kings (’61), and as a sinister, to-the-manor-born Southerner in Sweet Bird of Youth (’62).
The Maidstone fight scene [after the jump] is astonishing still.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m suddenly feeling a mixture of super-negative emotions — bummed out and trembling with anger — after reading a 7.9 Variety story that says Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds will score “massive paydays” (i.e., $20 million each) to costar in Red Notice, a Netflix thriller about art thievery.
Matt Donnelly and Brent Lang are reporting that Reynolds will be paid $20 million with Johnson making that plus “millions more” from a producer’s fee. Gadot is “expected to make the same after salary and the streamer’s practice of buying out typical ‘back end’ profits stars would make from a theatrical release.”
I felt even worse when I read that director-writer Rawson Marshall Thurber (the Mysteries of Pittsburgh + Skyscraper guy whose six-syllable name makes me twitch with discomfort) will be paid $10 million.
On the surface Red Notice sounds like just another slick escapist package, this one about an “Interpol agent tracking the world’s most wanted art thief.” Apparently another reworking of a familiar genre. Entrapment, Ocean’s Twelve, William Wyler‘s How to Steal A Million, the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair…there are only so many ways you can slice this kind of pie.
When I read this story my very first thought was “eff you guys and your huge effing paychecks.” Not that I want Netflix to take a bath (I don’t), but I won’t be unhappy if these actors have a harder time landing a super payday when they negotiate their next deal.
I’ve been accustomed to the idea of life being unfair since I was 11 or 12, but the idea of these three plus Thurber being paid $70-million plus to deliver an art heist movie? My blood boils.
Due respect and apologies to Netflix, but I now have an attitude about Red Notice.
Earlier today I was sent a decade-old draft of Steven Zallian‘s The Irishman. 134 pages, dated 9.15.09. I read the last ten pages, and then the first ten pages. And then a ten-page passage somewhere in the middle. I’m presuming it’s been intensively developed (refined, added to) over the last few years, and that the odds of it bearing a substantial resemblance to Martin Scorsese’s finished film version are…who knows? But they could be slight.
I’m not sure I want to read all of it, but I may not be able to help myself. Because Zallian’s Obama-era script is so spare and direct and absorbing, such a page-turner, so seemingly familiar with the behavior, rituals and language of 20th Century northeastern criminals, and so meditative and authentic and “final.”
Remember the ending of Goodfellas with the sound of a jail cell slamming shut? I got a similar feeling from this, but in a withered old man vein. It also made me think of the last few minutes of The Godfather, Part II. It really does seem to be a melancholy summing-up of the whole Scorsese criminal culture exploration that began 46 years ago with Mean Streets. A fascinating assessment of what this kind of life amounts to, and what it costs in the end.
A $200 million, decades-spanning saga of the life and times of Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. Presumably coming to your local cinema in a few months’ time.
In a national poll of average American voters (7.6 thru 7.8), Emerson has found — are you sitting down? — that Donald Trump nudges out Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, 51% to 49%.
This isn’t a dream — it’s a nightmare. 51% of the respondents actually stated that it’s better to stick with the compulsively lying, amoral, raping, racist, criminal, traitorous, climate-change-denying, ADD-afflicted authoritarian fraud that they know than three liberal accomplished Dems whom they don’t know so well.
That’s it…between this and the climate disaster that will be lapping at our shores within 70 or 80 years, this country is officially finished. A slight majority of voters actually prefers the most odious, incompetent and self-deluding U.S. president in the nation’s history because they don’t like the idea of a woman of color from Oakland, a progressive bespectacled schoolmarm or a brilliant, 37 year-old gay teenager taking his place. These are their actual persuasions.
It crushes my spirit to acknowledge this, but “Typewriter Joe” Biden is the only one who has Trump beaten by a significant margin (53% to 47%).
Emerson quote #1: “Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters said they followed the Democratic debates. A plurality of viewers, 30%, said Harris had the best debate performance. Eighteen percent (18%) of voters said Biden performed the best, 13% said Warren, and 10% chose Sanders. Conversely, when asked which candidate had the worst performance, 19% of voters said Biden, 15% said Sanders, and 13% said O’Rourke performed the worst. ”
Emerson quote #2: “President Trump’s approval has ticked up one point from the June national poll, with 44% approval and 48% disapproval. In June, the President’s approval was at 43% to 48% disapproval. Trump continues to hold a strong lead in the Republican primary with 91% of the vote against former Gov. Bill Weld at 9%.”
Emerson quote #3: “The most important issue for voters in deciding their vote for President is the economy at 26%. Healthcare is the second most important issue for voters at 21%, followed by immigration at 17%, and social issues at 16%. There is a party divide however, as among Democratic primary voters, 29% chose healthcare as the most important issue, followed by social issues at 22% and the economy at 14%. With Republican primary voters, 42% chose the economy as the most important issue followed by immigration at 25%.”