To this day I’ve never read Jim Bouton‘s “Ball Four.” I meant to a long time ago but I never did. With Bouton having just passed I’m thinking maybe I will. [Update: I just bought a Kindle version for ten bills.] To me Bouton was always Terry Lennox and vice versa. That’s how I saw it, channelled it. In The Long Goodbye, Marlowe shooting his old pal Terry was a striking, decisive ending. It wasn’t really believable — Elliot Gould‘s Marlowe wasn’t the type to plug anyone in cold blood, much less an ex-friend — but it more or less “worked” in movie terms.
Let’s say you’re the new boyfriend of a recently divorced woman (Sarah Jessica Parker), and you’ve both been invited to dinner with her ex- (Thomas Haden Church) and his current live-in girlfriend or wife.
Question: Would you sit on your side of the dinner table with your arm protectively draped over the back of your girlfriend’s chair and perhaps with your hand resting between her shoulder blades? Isn’t that a bit much? Wouldn’t this fall under the heading of “overly protective” or “needlessly defensive body language”?
If I’d invited my ex to my home and her new fella pulled this arm-draping shit, I wouldn’t say anything but inwardly I’d be thinking “dude, what is your issue?”
I’ve had a reasonably engrossing time with Divorce over the past couple of seasons. It’s very well directed, written, acted…it moves right along without any false or cloying steps. It’s been running since 7.1.19 but for some reason I haven’t yet tuned in, but I will this weekend.
Side comment: Thomas Haden Church, whom I still look upon as the randy Jack Cole in Sideways, is suddenly looking really lined and gray. Is this for the part or…? As recently as eight or nine years ago he was dark haired. I don’t like to think of Jack as a getting-older guy. I want him to hang in there and keep it up.
Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim‘s The Great Hack (Netflix, 7.24) “exists as a giant contradiction sure to evoke strong responses from anyone impacted by its drama, which is basically everyone,” wrote Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn last January. “As a Netflix production, it has a puzzling identity in the marketplace: Audiences for this revealing movie are poised to discover it through the very same process of hidden algorithms at the center of its alarming narrative. That’s either a bitter irony or exactly right.”
“For the sake of cinema, Disney needs to be broken up“…yeah! Rousing headline! Sounds like a mission statement or a call to arms. Except that Observer columnist Guy Lodge doesn’t precisely urge this course of action. Well, in a roundabout way by inserting the word “might.”
What he mainly says is that the Disney dominance or “box-office stranglehold” of the last five or six years translates into the fact that Disney has become a kind of engulfing Hollywood colossus — “the principal architect of an ever more uniform and homogeneous popular cinema.”
In other words, the studio that Walt and Roy Disney worked and struggled so hard to build has is no longer about creativity but corporate rubber-stamping and the serving of familiar stories, characters and formulas. Obviously nothing radical or new in this observation,
Lodge’s central thought is that “this kind of Hollywood imperialism is not encouraging news if you fear that reduced competition begets reduced creativity,” which of course it has. “What other acquisitions are on [Disney’s] wishlist?,” Lodge asks. “Are we seeing a return to the rigidly controlled Hollywood studio system of the 1940s and 1950s — only with one studio effectively as the system? If so, a movement not dissimilar to the demands to break up big tech currently rippling towards Silicon Valley might be in order.”
An attorney friend said this morning that he’s starting to think that Trump will be re-elected. Because the Democratic primary echo chamber is one thing, and mainstream voters are another. Biden is too old and too yesteryear, he feels, and that reality will sink in more and more as the months wear on. And he fears that average voters will be reluctant to support someone perceived as overly owned by or indebted to the leftist-outrage woke camp.
I love the idea of Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren winning, but I’m also scared. Harris will kick Trump all over the stage in a debate and will almost certainly win the blue states and city voters, but how will she do with the same Middle American slowboats who couldn’t stand Hillary? I can imagine Warren snagging the Democratic nomination but I’m extremely fearful of her being out-tweeted and out-bludgeoned by Trump. I’m heartened by the polls that show Biden leading Trump by a large margin and I’ll vote for him , of course, if it comes to that, but he’s the wrong guy for the 2020s. We all know this in our gut, but many, like myself, are also afraid of what might happen with Harris or Warren.
Mayor Pete is the guy, but African American voters are apparently dead-set against him (or so I’m reading) along with what I’m guessing are millions of closet homophobes.
I forgot to attend last night’s Lion King all-media screening. Apologies. We all understand that “forgetting” to do something is usually a result of a lack of interest in same. I know it’ll be slick and “satisfying” to the serfs and make a lot of money, but what’s the point, really, of sitting through another CGI reboot of another Disney animated feature from 15 or 20 years ago? I felt so Lion King-ed out back in the mid to late ’90s (two viewings of the 1994 original, a viewing of the Broadway musical in the fall of ’97) that 20-plus years later I’m still reluctant to revisit any further permutation. Make that deeply reluctant.
It has always struck me as ludicrous that the dominant predators of Africa could somehow be re-imagined as possessors of royal blood. Not to mention the idea of various species of prey bowing their heads in respect to the lordly Simba…please!
Every day on YouTube I watch at least one African wildlife killing **, and each one is cruel and horrific. The poor victim cries and howls in terrible agony and death is never quick. In my humble opinion the daily YouTube murder channel (which of course didn’t exist in the mid ’90s) has not only desanitized but fundamentally altered our understanding of what predators actually do and how they operate. Predators are part of the nature’s natural order, of course, but try watching hundreds of these videos and see how it affects your basic outlook. A quarter-century ago I found myself half-investing in the Lion King mythology, largely out of deference to the kids. But no longer.
My lack of interest is such that I wasn’t even interested in reading Lion King reviews. But now I feel differently. Because I’ve been revived and rejuvenated by what Indiewire‘s David Ehrlich has written:
“Unfolding like the world’s longest and least convincing deepfake, Jon Favreau’s (almost) photorealistic remake of The Lion King is meant to represent the next step in Disney’s circle of life. Instead, this soulless chimera of a film comes off as little more than a glorified tech demo from a greedy conglomerate — a well-rendered but creatively bankrupt self-portrait of a movie studio eating its own tail.
“With the possible exception of 2015’s Cinderella, which was touched with just enough magic to feel like a new wrinkle on an old fairy tale, all of Disney’s live-action rehashes have been faint echoes of their animated predecessors. But The Lion King isn’t an echo, it’s a stain. This zombified digital clone of the studio’s first original cartoon feature is the Disney equivalent of Gus Van Sant’s Psycho.”