I actually didn’t convey my true, deep-down feelings, which is that in the realm of stories about young girls dealing with predatory relationships and the sexual issues that always come with that, Dack’s film is one of the most shocking and upsetting that I’ve ever seen — period.
I’ve already reported that it’s about a hugely creepy relationship between a fatherless 17 year-old (Lily McInerney) and a 34 year-old opportunist and latent scumbag (Jonathan Tucker), and that what happens would make any decent person gag. Without divulging specifics I should add that the film contains what I regard as the most odious and grotesque sex scene in motion picture history. And the ending is completely shattering.
A friend doesn’t believe the ending, which again I can’t be specific about. But I can at least state that each and every dude in this film is either a dog or a beast. We’re talking implications of sexual cruelty, brutality and animality in every scene featuring a male of any age.
I recently described the plot to a female friend with a 20something daughter, and she said, “This is basically how younger Millennials and GenZ see all white cis men…they think they are all rapists and assaulters.”
I’m not disputing that many if not most younger males (late teens to mid 30s) are animals in terms of their sexual behavior. This view or judgement is certainly out there, so it wouldn’t be the craziest thing in the world for Dack to share this opinion.
The shocking part of Palm Trees and Power Lines is the degree to which McInerney’s character is seemingly off-balance and emotionally starved for paternal attention and affection. Because right away you’re wondering how and why McInerney would go out with Tucker in the first place (and there were all kinds of major red flags). By the end of the film you’re left with an even more perplexing question. I thought McInerney might be safe at the end, and then she does something that made me go “oh my God!”
You can argue that what she does is not entirely believable, but for me the dramatized horror outweighs the credibility.
Friendo to HE: “I could totally buy that [McInerney] is damaged and would get seduced by this guy’s tricks…all of it. But as the movie portrays it, what she goes through in that motel room is so horrific, and in both that scene and the aftermath she is so filled with fear, that I just thought: The fact that she’s got daddy issues is going to transcend that?
“Her mother” — a good performance by Gretchen Mol — “seemed nice enough, not perfect but loving. Why would she be so alienated from that home situation?”
Is there some reason other than virtue-signaling that the organizers of this Zoom chat have a sign-language person while they also have subtitles, which YouTube puts on automatically?
Why does this feel like a meeting of super-loyal Stalinist apparatchiks in the 1930s? The “safe” alpha woke-think vibes coming out of this thing are sorta kinda suffocating.
This Guillermo del Toro snap was taken in the hallowed aisles of Laser Blazer — the Pico Blvd. location, I mean — sometime in ’00, possibly in ’01. Guillermo had either just finished shooting The Devil’s Backbone or was preparing to do that or…oh, hell, I can’t specifically recall. I could be off by a couple of years. It could have been ’04 or ’05.
Laser Blazer was where my heart was…it was my home, my soul haven. It began in ’88 just as laser discs were starting to happen; it finally died in ’11.
Speaking as a Joe Biden supporter, it has to be acknowledged that if he can’t get his approval numbers to significantly improve by, say, the spring of 2023 or certainly by the summer, he has to consider the option of cutting bait.
Biden saved our country from a second Trump term, but God help us all if he runs again and Trump somehow wins. Or if the Trump forces manage to cheat or coup d’etat their way back into the White House. Plus, as was noted earlier today, no one is really cool with the idea of a U.S. President being only four years shy of 90, which is what Biden would be by late ’28.
And what if, God forbid, Biden gets re-elected in ’24 but doesn’t live out the full term? (This is a reasonable question to ask.) Nobody but nobody wants Kamala Harris moving into the Oval Office. The fall-out would be catastrophic.
Bret Stephens, from “Joe Biden Would Like to Know What Your Problem Is,” posted on 1.24.22: “If the fourth year of the Biden administration resembles the first, particularly when it comes to inflation, I’ll be hard-pressed to vote for him. And so, I suspect, will many of the people who supported him last time.
“Which brings me to my latest hobby horse, which is to get Biden to announce early that he won’t run again so other Democrats can start exploring a run. Critics of the idea think it turns him into a lame duck, but I think it would look statesmanlike and actually strengthen his hand.
“Isn’t every re-elected president an automatic lame duck, because they can’t run for a third term? Biden can still get a lot done in 35 months, without sitting on the rest of the Democratic Party like a wet blanket on a cold day. And we can all stop pretending that we’re totally okay with the idea of an 86-year-old president, which is what Biden would be at the end of a second term.”
Few things throw me out of a film more than bad backdrops or wrong-looking topography. A location has to more or less look the part or forget it.
I’ve no problem with the Philippine jungle standing in for Vietnam in Apocalypse Now, or Spain’s Almeria section subbing for the Old Southwest in those Sergio Leone westerns, or David Lean building a temporary set at Spain’s Playa del Algarrobico as a stand-in for World War I-era Aqaba. The locations seemed right plus I didn’t know any better so no worries. But if I do know better, watch out.
The “Florida” setting of the Seminole Ritz hotel in Some Like It Hot, for example, is impossible. Southern Florida is flat as a pancake, and yet we can see the hills of San Diego’s Point Loma in the distance during the “Cary Grant in a sailor hat meets Sugar” beach scene.
I hated it when Robert DeNiro, John Cazale, John Savage and those other factory-mill goons went hunting in rural Pennsylvania, and they wound up near the rocky peaks of Mount Baker in the state of Washington. I immediately checked out of that awful film when I saw those effing mountains.
One of the worst all-time offenders is Franklin Schaffner‘s Planet of the Apes. Charlton Heston‘s rocket ship crash lands in what might be Lake Mead or maybe somewhere in the Mexican Sonoran desert. And then we’re at the Fox ranch in Malibu Canyon, and then we journey to the high-cliff California coast and suddenly we’re in what remains of New York City…adjacent to Zuma State Beach at Point Dume.
As Evelyn Mulwray‘s Japanese gardener says about her salt-water pond and how it affects nearby plants, “Velly velly bad.”
And yet I don’t go out of my way to be a hard-ass. If a film is set in Oklahoma, the scenery only has to resemble Oklahoma. Which is why Fred Zinneman‘s Oklahoma! (’55), which was actually shot in the green-grass sections of Arizona, passes muster.
I didn’t watch season #4 of The Crown (the one with Emma Corrin as Lady Diana Spencer) until last summer, but once I’d gotten through it I felt sated and satisfied. My basic attitude was “that was pretty good…actually very good, but I think that’ll do.”
But then I was obliged to sit through the big Spencer screening at Telluride and endure all the subsequent hype and hoopla (Kristen Stewart for Best Actress). And then came the Diana doc, “The Princess,” at Sundance ’22.
And it’s still not over. Sometime later this year we’ll have to sink into The Crown‘s fifth and sixth season with Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic west as Diana and Prince Charles.
You’re richer than Croesus and famous, and have lived a large, swaggering life for 15, 20 years now…you’re a kind of
lunatic eccentric and everyone sees that…you turned into a Trump homey in ’17 and then ran for President in ’20, all the time flirting with mental instability.
Now, post-Kim Kardashian, you’re hopping around with Julia Fox, and have announced that your new, legally-changed name is “Ye” (pronounced “yay“). You’re such a moody, impulsive shape-shifter that you can’t even settle into your own name upon hitting your mid 40s? You’re still flirting, wondering…still not sure?
This isn’t Cassius Clay becoming Muhammud Ali, which signified a religious conversion. At age 35 in 1993, the late Prince changed his name to a love symbol but that was part of a legal dispute with Warner Bros. No, this your own thing. If it had been my call? I would’ve become “Ye–Ye” — sounds cooler somehow.
The MPAA’s rating system is about protecting sensitive and/or under-age viewers from disturbing film content (violence, sexuality). But protection from ideological propaganda should also be a matter of concern.
Friendo: “We need some kind of a ‘woke’ database (along the lines of the Bechdel Test) that lets people know if a movie is pushing doctrine or whether it’s not. A ‘W’ rating label at the beginning of each appropriately-labeled film might also work.”
I’ve forked over $20 for a Sunday Sundance viewing of Oliver Hermanus’ Living, a British period remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru (‘52). Watching it as we speak. The great Bill Nighy inhabits the terminally ill public works bureaucrat, who was played 70 years ago by Takashi Shimura.
The descriptive terms so far are “low-key,” “no hurry,” “tonally and visually accurate” (it’s set in 1952 London) and “quietly affecting emotional undertow.”
One quibble: Whenever old-school British bureaucrats of yore sat down in their first-class train compartments and unfolded their newspapers, they took their bowler hats off. Not so in Hermanus’ film.
I’m pleased to report that Living is framed in a 1.37 aspect ratio.
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