You can never trust a trailer, but I want to trust this one. Against all suspicions it convinced me that Destin Daniel Cretton‘s Just Mercy (Warner Bros., 12.25) might be an above-average drama in the tradition of Call Northside 777. The cutting and the acting feel restrained, balanced, sincere. Based on Bryan Stevenson‘s “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption“, about the case of Walter McMillian. Starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson, Rafe Spall and Brie Larson. Pic will debut at the Toronto Film Festival on Friday, 9.6.
The Maple Street Monsters are raking poor Scarlett Johansson over the hot coals of wokedom for saying she believes Woody Allen‘s longstanding claim of innocence regarding Dylan Farrow’s molestation allegation, and adding that she’d “work with him anytime.”
Actually Johansson could have expressed her views about Allen with more conviction if she’d added that she not only believes Woody but his son Moses Farrow, a 41 year-old therapist who was at the Farrow home in Bridgewater on the day in question — 8.4.92 — at age 14.
Before her comments appeared in a Rebecca Keegan interview in The Hollywood Reporter, Johansson’s open and unaffected Marriage Story performance was a top-ranked contender for a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Now she double deserves that honor for exhibiting political courage on top of her acting achievement.
L.A. Times writer Christi Carras posted a lament this morning that began with these words: “And now a moment of silence for Scarlett Johansson’s publicist.”
Allow me to suggest a moment of silence for the zealots who insist, despite mountains of non-damning evidence and abundant indications to the contrary, that Woody, Moses, Robert Weide and Woody’s daughter Bechet Dumaine Allen, who has stated a belief in his innocence, are lying or deluded.
Posted on 2.7.19: “If after reading Moses Farrow’s 5.23.18 essay as well as Robert Weide’s “Q & A with Dylan Farrow” (12.13.17) and Daphne Merkin’s 9.16.18 Soon-Yi Previn interview…if after reading these personal testimonies along with the Wikipedia summary of the case you’re still an unmitigated Dylan ally…if you haven’t at least concluded there’s a highly significant amount of ambiguity and uncertainty in this whole mishegoss, then I don’t know what to say to you. There’s probably nothing that can be said to you.”
“I see Woody whenever I can, and I have had a lot of conversations with him about it,” Johansson told Keegan. “I have been very direct with him, and he’s very direct with me. He maintains his innocence, and I believe him.”
Although the legendary Dustin Hoffman is costarring in Into The Labyrinth, a forthcoming Italian-made film, he hasn’t been in any U.S.-produced films since The Meyerowitz Stories (’17). Allegations about Hoffman having been a sexual harasser in the ’80s surfaced that same year, and then came the infamous John Oliver incident in 12.3.17. So at age 82 he may be done.
I was watching the below clip from Kramer vs. Kramer last night, and thinking about his best performances. When I say “best” I mean the most engaging and likable as opposed to the most fiercely committed or energetic.
Hoffman’s glory decade was the ’70s, of course. He actually had a pretty great run between The Graduate and Death of a Salesman in ’85 — a span of roughly 18 to 19 years.
I have to be upfront and admit that I always felt removed from his Rain Man performance, which was technically adept but struck me as too mannered and tricky. And I’ve always really disliked his Lenny Bruce in Lenny — too much practiced charm, too hungry for affection. I hated him in Hook (along with the whole film), and I never liked his slightly dazed, open-mouthed Papillon performance either.
My top 15 are as follows: (1) The Graduate, (2) Marathon Man, (3) Kramer vs. Kramer, (4) Straight Time, (5) All the President’s Men, (6) Tootsie, (7) Straw Dogs, (8) Midnight Cowboy, (9) Death of a Salesman, (10) Dick Tracy, (11) Ishtar, (12) Wag The Dog, (13) I Heart Huckabees, (14) Meet the Fockers and (15) The Meyerowitz Stories.
What am I overlooking?
I should’ve watched Dave Chapelle: Sticks & Stones before going to Telluride, but I didn’t. Napping, shopping, watching a comfort film, distracted, caught up in this or that. And then Telluride happened. Then I returned Monday night (actually around 1:30 am) and worked yesterday. Then I finally watched it last night.
And I LQTM’ed all through it. Or at least, you know, smirked. I actually laughed out loud (not loudly but vocally) during the Jussie Smollet bit. But mostly I happily smirked. Partly at the material itself (although not at the “I don’t believe Michael Jackson‘s HBO accusers, and even if he did molest them he was still Michael Jackson” riff…I didn’t believe a single word of that) and partly in celebration of his skillful tweaking of the Outrage Police. Right now and for the foreseeable future, anyone and anything that riles cancel culture is good. And this, bless him, is what Chapelle does with casual but wonderful expertise.
“All The Worst White People Love Dave Chappelle’s Sticks & Stones“…really? I disagreed with a good 50% or perhaps even 60% of what Chappelle said during the show, and I loved it anyway. Because he agitates and aggravates the honorable descendants of Maximilien Robespierre.
Thank you, dearest Dave, for your snowflake imitation: “‘Duhhh…hey, duhhh…if you do anything wrong in your life, and I find out about it, I’m gonna try and take everything away from you….if I find out, you’re fucking finished.’ (To audience) Who’s that? That’s you. That’s what the audience sounds like to me. You are the worst motherfuckers I’ve ever tried to entertain in my fucking life.”
Old Chapelle: “I give all married men the same advice, gay or straight. Get a dog. A dog will love you all the time, but she’s not going to.”
Ten years ago I wrote a similar-sounding sentence — “life would be heavenly and rhapsodic if women had the personality and temperament of dogs” — and I’ve been paying in spilt arterial blood for that ever since. All I meant was that constant, non-judgmental love (which is what dogs and cats will give you if you show them tender love from the get-go) is a very soothing and comforting thing. My mistake was implying that I wanted to control women like some owners control their dogs. I’ve only had one dog in my entire life, and I never trained her to do a damn thing. I never said “sit” or “heel” or “roll over” to her…never. What I should have said was cats, not dogs. Because I’ve been a cat man all my life. Cats do whatever they want, but if you’re kind and loving they’ll always reciprocate in kind. And it’s wonderful to be loved without being judged and scolded and side-eyed half the time.
Chapelle is wonderful because he says risky stuff despite the risks. We’re all living through The Terror right now, and most people are saying “showflake twitter terror is wonderful because only the bad people are paying the price!” Chapelle knows this and says what he says anyway. I didn’t agree with half of what he says in Stick & Stones, but I love him for being who he is.