I’m sorry but every so often you need to downshift and settle your ass down and just eyeball the scenery. I took one of these photos with an iPhone 7 Plus; the other with an 8 Plus. The Monument Valley one was snapped about a year ago, and the Tuscany landscape (Radda in Chianti) was taken in late May of ’17.
Imagine that you’re 28 years younger and that Gold Derby is a popular weekly print publication (a Los Angeles Times supplement) in 1991, and you, the editor, are printing your first issue of “the season” in late September. Insiders and ticket-buyers alike raved about The Silence of the Lambs earlier this year, and in your mind there’s no question that Anthony Hopkins‘ riveting portrayal as Hannibal Lecter will be a leading contender for Best Actor.
But then comes word that strategists for Orion Pictures, the distributor, don’t think Hopkins can reasonably compete for the Best Actor Oscar — that his screen time only amounts to 15 minutes or less, and that his proper designation is as a Best Supporting Actor nominee. Hopkins, in their view, has delivered menace and flair and a vivid personality, but not a lead performance.
Being a man of the people and a guy of excellent instincts as far as Oscar prospects are concerned, you’re naturally flabbergasted that Orion is thinking this way. The question is “what do you do?” Do you meekly go along with Orion’s curious assessment, or do you challenge them in the court of public opinion by saying “wait, hold on…Hopkins is galvanizing in The Silence of the Lambs…he owns that film, regardless of how much screen time he has…due respect but you guys really need to re-think this.”
The exact same situation is manifesting right now in the matter of Tom Hanks‘ performance in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. The question is, what will Tom O’Neill do? Because everyone in Toronto has said the same thing, which is that regardless of whether Fred Rogers is a lead or supporting role, Hanks owns that film completely. When he’s off-screen, the movie sags. In other words, Fred Rogers is the new Hannibal Lecter.
Right now Gold Derby is only allowing Oscar experts to vote for Hanks in the Best Supporting Actor category. Does it make any sense to anyone that Sony would want to push both Hanks and Once Upon A Time in Hollywood‘s Brad Pitt for the same Supporting Actor Oscar? Against each other under the same studio shingle? In my book the trophy is Pitt’s to lose.
I saw John Crowley‘s The Goldfinch (Warner Bros., 9.13) last week. Due respect to fans of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2013 novel, but I immediately sensed a lack of cinematic oxygen — no allure, intrigue or fascination. I immediately wanted to leave the theatre, see something else. Maybe get some hot food on Venice Blvd. or hike around Benedict Canyon. Or maybe just leap on the motorcycle and go.
I certainly wanted to escape the presence of Oakes Fegley, whose “cute little boy with glasses” routine rubbed me the wrong way and then some.
It’s been mentioned that Tartt’s 784-page book, which is about a young boy’s meandering, years-long adventures on the antique and art-theft circuit after suffering through a Manhattan museum bombing and the resultant death of his mother, should have been adapted into a Netflix or Amazon miniseries (six or seven hours, say) rather than a 149-minute theatrical film. Maybe.
All I knew is, I didn’t want to watch it. The movie felt flat, dull, inert. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I tend to have difficulty with trauma-recovery dramas, especially those involving terrorism. But I also have difficulty with movies in which Nicole Kidman plays a Manhattan woman of wealth and sensitivity who cares…oh, forget it. Kidman’s practiced “sensitivity” annoys like a dripping bathtub faucet at 3 am, or like a jackhammer.
Ansel Elgort plays the 20something version of Fegley’s Theo Decker character. I’m sorry but the 25 year-old actor made a mistake in agreeing to star in this thing. It will do nothing but detract from his reputation. Then again he’ll star next year as “Tony” in Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story. So there’s that.
“The other thing that still works in The Vikings‘ favor is the film’s refusal to dramatically amplify the fact that Kirk Douglas‘s Einar and Tony Curtis‘s Eric, mortal enemies throughout the film, are in fact brothers, having both been sired by Ernest Borgnine‘s Ragnar.
“Ten minutes from the conclusion Janet Leigh‘s Princess Morgana begs Douglas to consider this fraternity, and he angrily brushes her off. But when his sword is raised above a defenseless Curtis at the very end, Douglas hesitates. And then Curtis stabs Douglas in the stomach with a shard of a broken sword, and Douglas is finished.
“The way he leans back, screams ‘Odin!’ and then rolls over dead is pretty hammy, but that earlier moment of hesitation is spellbinding — one of the most touching pieces of acting Douglas ever delivered.
“I’m not trying to build The Vikings up beyond what it was — a primitive sex-and-swordfight film for Eisenhower-era Eloi. But it did invest in that submerged through-line of ‘brothers not realizing they’re brothers while despising each other’, and the subtlety does pay off.” — originally posted on 3.27.06, on the occasion of Richard Fleischer‘s passing.
[1:46] “It’s got a rhythm, got a musicality, and it’s a challenge because it’s so poetic and [there are so many] expressions to play on your mind and accomplish so much. But at the same time it’s elevated so you have to root it…you have to know exactly why you’re saying it. But, like all good text, once you jump on it and you jump on it in a pure way, it’s like a freight train…it just takes you.”
From 2019 Toronto Film Festival discussion of Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse (A24, 10.18) — Eggers, Willem Dafoe and RBatz.
Or, to put it another way, is Joaquin Phoenix too honorably eccentric to play the old Academy kiss-ass game during the season? He obviously hates it already and it hasn’t even begun.
[3:37 mark] “I don’t know who’s really giving me this award or why. In fact, I don’t care. My publicist said somebody wants to give me an award and I said, ‘I’m in, let’s do it.’ Honestly, I thought I was gonna come out and just make a lot of tasteless jokes at my expense and yours, but watching those clips — I’m so embarrassed to admit this, but — I feel overwhelmed with emotion, because I just think about all the people that had such a profound influence on me throughout my career.”
One of the reasons Brad Pitt is going to win Best Supporting Actor for his Cliff Booth performance is because the Academy membership knows that it needs to offer a make-up for not giving him the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in Moneyball. Nudging ahead of George Clooney‘s honorable turn in The Descendants, Pitt’s performance as Billy Beane was the best of the five nominated performances from 2011. Jean Dujardin winning for his silent but exceedingly broad performance in The Artist was (a) effing ridiculous and (b) deeply embarassing in hindsight. The simpletons voted for Dujardin while those who recognize and appreciate real, charismatic movie-star performing voted for Pitt, and the simpletons won.
Uncut Gems is a full-barrelled, deep dive into the realm of a manic, crazy-fuck gambler (Adam Sandler), and yes, it “feels like being locked inside the pinwheeling brain of a lunatic for more than two hours,” as Peter Debruge wrote. And guess what? It’ll make your head explode and drive you fucking nuts. By the time it’s over you’ll be drooling and jabbering and gasping for air.
And yet Uncut Gems has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In other words not one person so far feels as I do. And I’m telling you the truth, mon freres. Which is why you can’t trust “critics”, per se. Because they’re all living in their own little fickle cubbyholes while Hollywood Elsewhere is standing tall and firm with its feet planted on the sidewalk and looking dead smack at cosmic reality each and every minute of every day…no let-up.