The jury on the second Bill Cosby-Andrea Costand trial (i.e., three charges of aggravated indecent assault) deliberated all day today without result. The trial happened in the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia.
Same racial composition as the jury for the first trial, which ended on 6.17.17 as a mistrial — all white except for one black man and one black woman. I’ve assumed from the get-go that an O.J. factor resulted in a reluctance to convict Dr. Cliff Huxtable. “This is the jury system, the social values of this country, the way people tend to see things,” I wrote when the mistrial was announced. “You’re rich and famous and played a nice guy on TV? A juror or two will find a way not to convict.”
I have an interest in this case because a friend, Joan Tarshis, told me several years ago that she became one of Cosby’s victims in 1969. Twice. I posted her account of the Cosby violations on 11.16.14. There are reportedly 45 women who have accused Cosby of mickey-finn rape. There are probably still more who haven’t yet spilled the beans.
I’m fairly certain I’ll never forget this video for the rest of my life. Posted nearly 17 months ago, 56,345,332 viewers so far. I’ll bet that’s a lot more than the total number of people who’ve seen or even heard of Joseph H. Lewis‘s Gun Crazy. A new Bluray of this 1950 classic pops on 5.8.18. This is the kind of subliterate world we live in.
It’s odd when you suddenly tune into an actor who’s been working all along but hasn’t been “in the conversation” for decades, but who was definitely happening when young. And you say to yourself, “Okay, he looks good and appears to have been taken care of himself, but what’s he been doing for the last 40 or 45 years?”
This happened a couple of hours ago when I watched a trailer for an apparently flawed film called Welcome To The Men’s Group (5.18), and I noticed that the lead, at least according to the publicity notes, is Timothy Bottoms. It’s always pleasing to notice that an older guy has come through rough times with his health and a sense of humor and a semblance of solvency, but I was taken back.
Now 66, married and living in Santa Barbara, Bottoms was really hot in his early 20s. His biggest role, of course, was Sonny Crawford in Peter Bogdanovich‘s The Last Picture Show (’71); he also starred that year in Johnny Got His Gun, in James Bridges‘ The Paper Chase (’73) and Phillip Kaufman‘s The White Dawn (’74).
And then he seemed to succumb to that early ’70s mindset and begin to behave in a kind of mystical, druggy, hippie-dippy way, and after a while became the guy who kind of flaked out and followed the path of Dennis Hopper and George Lazenby and other ’60s actors who said “whatever, man” to the idea of careerism and acting being about hard work, hunger, devotion and discipline.
There was a moment on a Merv Griffin Show appearance when Bottoms, wearing a kind of Indian sarong, led the audience in a sing-along of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Gently Down The Stream,” etc. It was the kind of thing that people did back then. People who had left the planet, I mean.
“In the late ’70s, Bottoms’s career came apart. By then, increasingly reclusive on a 340-acre Big Sur ranch he bought in 1974, he was hooked on a variety of drugs — ‘whatever anybody else was doing,’ he says.
“In 1979 a Jesuit friend took Bottoms under his wing and steered him away from the drugs. But his attempted 1981 comeback in Broadway’s The Fifth of July was disastrous. In the midst of a custody fight with Cory, ‘mentally I just wasn’t able to handle it,’ he says. Quitting the show in rehearsal, ‘I took a train home and called Marcia.’
Between today’s First Man, Boy Erased and BlackkKlansman previews, yesterday’s A Star Is Born first-anywhere trailer and Monday’s Quentin-and-Leo appearance to promote Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, it seems as if I picked the wrong Cinemacon to not attend. Over the last couple of years I’ve been dismayed by the big-studio tendency to only promote lowest-common-denominator, jizz-whizz, bass-thump, animal-level crap. Now, out of the blue, three adult-level, beyond-the-cheap-seats films are suddenly the big Cinemacon topics of discussion. Go figure. HE to Mitch Neuhauser: Is it okay if I attend next year?
“Perfect isn’t easy / some would say that it’s a dream / but comfortable is always and forever /
‘Cause when you’re being you and you don’t care what people think / you’ll find happiness in good or bad weather”
You know you’ve sunk to the bottom of the celebrity-endorsement barrel when you’re starring in a La-La Land-ish musical pitch for the lowest, most socially deplorable level of comfort shoe ever invented — Crocs. Poor Drew Barrymore….first her low-rent Santa Clarita Diet Netflix series, and now this.
The key lyric is “and you don’t care what people think.” Because we know what people think. Have you ever seen a person wearing Crocs who didn’t make you go “eewww” if not avert your eyes? Wearing Crocs is like draping a flashing electric sign around your heck that says “I am sartorially clueless…I have no shame, no taste…I may own a Bel-Air mansion, but my Crocs suggest that I’m a low-class donkey who eats onion rings for dinner and lives in a trailer park.”
On June 12 the negligible Dirty Grandpa will be available for viewing via a 4K Ultra HD Bluray. Presumably for a higher price than the currently available Bluray, which sells for $9.69. If you have Amazon Prime you can stream it for free. Who in their right mind would say to themselves, “Wow, in just a few weeks I can watch Dirty Grandpa in 4K…I can’t wait to savor those extra-luscious visual values that are only partially available with the Bluray and streaming versions.”
In his 9.18.17 review, Indiewire‘s David Ehrlich called Susanna White‘s Woman Walks Ahead (A24, 6.29) “a listless but lustrously shot biopic that suffers from its slippery grasp of history, all of its narrative thrust slipping through the cracks between fact and fiction.
“The scenes between Catherine Weldon (Jessica Chastain) and Chief Sitting Bull (Michael Greyeyes) are pleasant enough, as both actors have the charisma required to power through the many dull stretches of Steven Knight’s patchy script, which always feels a bit too much like a first draft.
“Would this have been a better film if it didn’t pretend that Sitting Bull didn’t have a wife, erasing her in favor of some unresolved sexual tension? It’s hard to say, but it certainly would have been a more interesting one. As it stands, the two characters form a tenuous bond that the movie doesn’t have the courage to test; we just take it for granted that Sitting Bull should care more for this wayward white lady than he does any of his own people.
Less than ten minutes into Anthony and Joe Russo‘s Avengers: Infinity War (Disney, 4.27), I felt as if Josh Brolin‘s Thanos had leapt out of the screen and was sitting on my chest and blowing his stinking breath into my face. I also felt like a little kitten about to be given a bath in the kitchen sink. “Mew, mew…I don’t want to endure this…nooooo!”
But I had to because I wanted to experience the latest big Marvel flick, and I was seriously excited about…well, who knew but the death of Robert Downey, Jr.‘s Tony Stark had been rumored, and I wanted to at least celebrate this. Please. I was down with Iron Man a decade ago, but then Downey became the Reigning Marvel Paycheck Whore and for that he must pay.
I promised yesterday that I wouldn’t spoil any deaths in this film, but can I at least say that (a) the wrong guys die, (b) not enough guys die, and (c) you can’t trust a Marvel film to deliver death with any finality because Kevin Feige doesn’t respect death any more than comic-book creators respect it, which is not at all? Or woundings, for that matter? The MCU mostly regards death and serious physical injury as a tease, a plot toy, something to fiddle or fuck with until the apparently dead character comes back to life, etc.
So fuck this movie in general for slamming and pounding and gouging the Avengers all to hell with next to no consequence, and for taking 150 minutes to deliver, and fuck Thanos (I prefer to call him Thermos or Thorax) and his stupid ugly alien henchmen for failing to simply rip the heads off their opponents. Wanna kill someone? Simple — separate their heads from their bodies and then eat their inner organs like African wild dogs. Do that and they’ll never come back to life.
The press people at my 10 am screening were laughing, whooping, giggling and occasionally even cooing. “Hoo-hoo…hah-hah…oooh! oooh!” I hated sitting near them. I hate that there’s this whole culture of people who live for this Marvel crap. Okay, not all Marvel films (I’m an Ant-Man fan) but this one’s a bear to sit through. Too many characters, and the sound system at the El Capitan obscured a good 60% of the dialogue, and I was cupping my ears left and right. I’m also dismayed to report that poor Chris Pratt looks fat again. Jesus God, this guy can’t fucking control himself. He looks like Mr. Cheeseburger and fries with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
Marvel superhero dialogue formula: (a) Announce recent occurence or plot turn in a serious, grim-faced way, (b) somebody replies to serious, grim-faced announcement with their own doleful, “this isn’t funny” assessment of the situation, (c) the first guy says that what’s happening is really fucking bad and maybe worse than that, (d) somebody who’s listening or who was speaking about the bad thing earlier drops a deadpan wisecrack of some kind, and (e) people at Los Angeles press screenings howl with laughter. Wash, rinse, repeat.
When I was 19 I was beaten up by three or four goons in a diner once. Punched, kicked, gouged. I took the first swing but I went down fast. There were three or four guys with me so it was the Jets vs. Sharks. I remember being on the floor and looking up at everyone punching and shoving as my head began to swell to twice its size. I was amazed how much it hurt. In the decades that followed I never felt so beaten to a pulp. Until this morning, that is.
That fucker Feige stomped on my ass. Feige, the Russos, Thorax, Downey, Chris Evans…they don’t fight fair, and they don’t know when to quit. I felt bruised, broken. Between blows I looked at my watch at least three if not four or five times. I felt as it I was dying of cancer. The sixth time I looked at my watch I realized there was another half-hour to go. “God help me!” I said out loud.
Last year’s Cinemacon wasn’t entirely about promoting the kind of entertainment that I call “generic superjizz” — the same assaultive, gutslamming, ear-splitting, cartoon-like, aimed-at-apes experience that constitutes 90% of movies these days. But that’s what most of the Las Vegas-based exhibitor convention was about — jackhammer, bass-thump, super-coarse, high-velocity idiot movies for lowest-common-denominator rubes and families.
I still like going to Cinemacon but it happened so late this year (right now rather than mid-to-late March), and I couldn’t see attending a week before leaving for New York, Paris and Cannes. The Ankler‘s Richard Rushfield went, however, and has filed a report. [I’ve pasted the whole thing below.] The highlight was reading about yesterday’s Quentin Tarantino and Leonardo DiCaprio visit to the Caesar’s Colosseum stage to promote Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, which won’t even begin filming until sometime in June.
After reading Rushfield’s report I sent him the following letter:
“Cinemacon is fantasy, denial and mass delusion. And they mostly show trailers and stage promotions for BIG CRAP CG SPRING & SUMMER MOVIES, often ignoring the quality-aspiring titles that will open in the fall and holiday seasons. Which, coupled with the decision to stage it in late April, is why I decided against going this year. Okay, I also wanted to save a few bucks.
“Cinemacon honcho Mitch Neuhauser and I used to work together at The Film Journal in NYC (1600 B’way) — ’81 to ’83.
“Quentin Tarantino‘s Once Upon A Time in Hollywood has been described by QT as ‘the closest thing to Pulp Fiction that I’ve made [since Pulp Fiction]” Or words close to that. Remember the mannered, at times offbeat comic and even metaphysical stuff in that 1994 film?
“DiCaprio, who will play a struggling actor, called it a film about Hollywood and then drew a vague analogy to Singin’ in the Rain. He seemed to be saying that on some level it’ll deliver a form of hooray-for-our-culture escapism.
“These were two strong hints that Once Upon A Time in Hollywood is going to deal fantasy cards along with the usual “hangin’ out with loquacious Quentin-styled bigmouth” cards. Which means, as I’ve written before, that Leo and Brad Pitt’s characters, who, as QT said several weeks ago, “live right near Sharon Tate” (although he didn’t mention that Sharon and Roman Polanski lived there together)…it means that the film is probably going to end in a fantasy way. Leo and Brad’s characters are going to save Tate (along with Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski and Jay Sebring) from the Manson gang.
“I’m not saying that Once Upon A Time in Hollywood will be about the Manson gang and their murder spree, but it will definitely intersect with the Manson gang and, most likely, the Tate home invasion on August 9, 1969.
“Your remark that ‘it’s not a Manson film in the least’ is almost certainly incorrect.
A first-rate cast — Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed — under Zombieland‘s Ruben Fleischer, and with grade-A production values. I’m just sorry they got together to make a Marvel flick. Actually a horror-action thing, “loosely set in the same world as Spider-Man: Homecoming, although not officially within the Marvel cinematic universe”…whatever that means. Sony will release Venom on 10.5.
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