Here’s a podcast chat I did the day after the Oscars with The Envelope‘s Tom O’Neil. It won’t make your underpants fly off, but it plays okay.
I haven’t seen Chris Rock‘s I Think I Love My Wife (Fox Searchlight, 3.16), but there’s a fundamental problem with the basic premise. Rock, who directed, co-wrote and stars, plays a bespectacled, suit-wearing husband (Gina Torres is the wife) who develops an extra- marital itch for a hot lady (Kerry Washington). The problem is that I don’t believe Rock could get worked up about anything other than some matter that immediately affects the business fortunes of Chris Rock.
Some actors project empathy, vulnerability…a regular-guyness. At best, Rock projects the vibe of a whip-smart, slap-happy alien.
I don’t believe that Rock (or any permutation of him) could ever really be in any kind of recognizable marriage — to me, he always seemed totally married to his act. I’m not even sure I can believe Rock as a guy who has sex. With anyone. It’s even a struggle to imagine him jerking off. Rock is about being on-stage and kicking ass — energy, nerve, focus…how to deliver a joke in exactly the right way. This combined with his obvious intelligence is why he’s so good.
I believe Rock as a guy bristling at the conventions of marriage, which is partly what his character seems to be about. But I don’t believe him as an regular shmoe capable of being committed to a wife , and definitely not a guy who would care enough about sex (extra-marital or otherwise) to go after it with any effort. I don’t know Rock at all — I’ve had exactly one 12-second discussion with him at a party. But I honestly feel that HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey projects more humanity.
A smart salute for Mark Ruffalo, an actor with a solid-gold attitude who shudders at the idea of ever going “waah, waah, waah” over anything. CHUD’s Devin Faraci asked him about the tension that reportedly kicked in when fellow Zodiac costar Jake Gyllenhaalwas asked by director David Fincher to do dozens of takes for certain scenes. Here’s an excerpt:
Ruffalo as Det. Dave Toschi in David Fincher‘s Zodiac
Faraci: “Some of your strongest scenes in the movie are with Jake Gyllenhaal. What’s he like to work with?”
Ruffalo: “He was good. I’ve known Jake for a long time, and it was good to work with him. It was fun to see him really kind of stretch his wings with somebody like Dave Fincher. They were tough scenes, and they took a lot of building, but I’m happy the way they ended up. It’s a good performance, and I think it’s one of his best. As much as he talks about being put through the wringers, it paid off for him.
Faraci: “Was that your experience with Fincher as well? Jake talked to the New York Times about how difficult the process was for him, and Fincher is known for being very exacting. Was your experience similar to his?”
Ruffalo: “I can only respect an artist like Fincher. I can only respect somebody who puts that kind of demands on himself and the people around him. I can only respect a man who doesn’t think good enough is good enough. So I didn’t see it the way some people saw it — to me that’s ‘waah waah waah.’
“I mean, to me, we get paid a lot of money and there are people who work a lot frickin’ harder…most everyone on the set. If you had to do a few extra takes…to hear that makes me cringe. Please, God…don’t think we’re all like this.”
Here’s an Eddie Murphy observation from someone who was at the Kodak. I’m not trying to beat a dead horse — it’s just that this person doesn’t agree with the descriptions about Murphy bolting in some kind of fuming, petulant fashion.
“I was at the Oscars, sitting towards the front in the orchestra, and I watched Eddie Murphy leave the auditorium. He passed less than twenty feet away from me and I watched him very carefully because I knew the loss for Best Supporting Actor had to sting and was hoping he was just taking a short break and would return soon.
“For the record, he did not ‘storm out’. He did not ‘leave in a huff’. Those phrases imply a mien of anger and agitation that were simply not present. To the contrary, Eddie was composed and polite and waited patiently for those in front of him to exit the theater first. He was as cool and gentlemanly as a person could be under those circumstances.
“The phrases ‘storm out’ or ‘leave in a huff’ may be figuratively true (it’s arguable), but they are absolutely false in any literal sense. Anyone who repeats those phrases is misrepresenting what actually happened at the moment when Mr. Murphy left the auditorium, and perpetuating a falsehood. There are enough lies in Hollywood. Let’s not add one more to the pile.”
A long ways down the road is The Long Play, a movie driven by the re-teaming of Martin Scorsese and Departed screen- writer William Monahan. Paramount Pictures is funding the development of the script, which reportedly follows two guys “through 40 years in the music business, from the early days of R&B to contemporary hip-hop.”
What’s that…the late ’50s to the late ’90s? No way…no way in hell. Two friends getting older, grayer and fatter as the years roll on and the music gets shittier? The evolution of great pop music from the early ’60s to the present (which would obviously be seen as a history of the changes in U.S. culture from the time of late Eisenhower/early Kennedy to post 9/11 George Bush) it its own epic. A six-hour documentary would have trouble making sense of it. A single narrative 120 or 140-minute drama can’t hope to capture or encompass such a saga.
The Long Play is a good title, though.
Monahan is also working with Leonardo DiCaprio on an adaptation of a late ’06 Hong Kong thriller called Confessions of Pain, with Warner Bros. cutting the checks. The IMDB says the Hong Kong original is about a detective helping a friend to investigate the mysterious death of his father.”
If you were studying Peter O’Toole just before Forest Whitaker was named the winner of the Best Actor Oscar, and then at the precise moment that it happens, it’s clear O’Toole wanted to hear his own name very badly (who wouldn’t?) and that he was pretty much primally shattered when he didn’t. It’s a look of “oh dear God, it’s happened again.”
O’Tooler recovers quickly and applauds Whitaker like a gentleman, but those facial spasms got to me. He wore that same haunted look in 1980 during the curtain call for a critically-despised Old Vic production of Macbeth that O’Toole was starring in. (Some in the audience were booing; others were half-clapping at best — the rudest crowd I’ve ever been a part of.)
The sly old goat should have won on Sunday night. The reason he did (apart from his enervated campaigning and the fact that he started too late) is that Venus didn’t deliver any lump-in-the-throat moments and wasn’t that widely liked.
Hilary Clinton‘s main problem is that she appears too cautious, too calculating and over-scripted. If you ask me she’s demonstrated this in an unmistakable way by having recently told CNN’s Bill Schneider and Douglas Hyde that her favorite all-time movie is Casablanca.
Anyone who says Casablanca is their all-time favorite film is deliberately trying to sound bland and unsophisticated
What a totally softball, timid-ass thing to say…Casablanca! A perfect film of its type (I still enjoy it from time to time), but way too sanctified and high-pedestal-ed. All you can say is, “That’s the best film she could think of?” Casablanca is on the level of The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind and The Sound of Music, for God’s sake..
If I were Hilary and I wanted to choose a film that would reflect something a little about myself but also wouldn’t offend potential supporters, I’d go for Network or Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison or From Here to Eternity…something smart and tight but not so oppressively bronzed. Anything but Casablanca. This totally settles it — I’m voting for Barack Obama. Wait, I’ve already indicated that.
Sen. John McCain has lost his mind over supporting the Iraqi troop surges, but I totally respect his best-film choice — Elia Kazan‘s Viva Zapata (’52), about Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata (Marlon Brando) and his rebellion against the dictatorship of president Porfirio Diaz in the early 1900s. (Isn’t Zapata supposed to come out on DVD via Fox Home Video sometiime this year?)
This is mildly disturbing only because the global-warming deniers and the reactionaries are going to use stories like this to justify careless consumption across the board. That said, Al Gore, no matter what his individual carbon footprint might be, needs to reconsider how such stories will affect the overall green effort. He probably needs to live in a much more spartan fashion. Besides, he’ll lose weight that way.
A perfect confirmation about Eddie Murphy having left the Kodak auditorium after he didn’t win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar has arrived by way of L.A. Times columnist Joel Stein, who spent last Sunday night hanging at the Hollywood Bowl parking lot with all the top celebrity limo drivers, one of them being Murphy’s driver, Karlo Ateinza, who’s been hauling Murphy around for the last seven years.
“Karlo wasn’t having a great night because Murphy lost early,” writes Stein. “I”m really sad. I feel sorry. He should have won it,’ Karlo said. ‘But Alan Arkin is good.’
“Karlo, who drives Murphy only when he isn’t needed by Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock or Colin Farrell (Reeves and Bullock both needed him last year, so they rode together), said he figured he’d be home by midnight. ‘He’s not a party animal,’ Karlo said. ‘Last night, he went to two parties, stayed for 45 minutes and went back home.’ After the Golden Globes, Murphy went straight home. Even though he won.
“Though he was worried about Murphy’s mood, Karlo tried to convince himself that the boss wouldn’t be ornery. ‘When he got the Golden Globe, he just put it in the car and he was the same Eddie Murphy. So maybe he won’t care.’
“Right then, at 6:52 p.m., long before Jennifer Hudson would win her Oscar, Karlo’s cellphone rang. ‘I have to go right now,’ he said. ‘I have to pick him up.'”
There’s also this report from the Daily Mail‘s Baz Bamigboye: “If there was an award for worst loser, Eddie Murphy would surely have nailed it.
“He was tipped to take the best supporting actor Oscar for his role in Dreamgirls but lost out to 72-year-old Alan Arkin, who played a drug-addicted grandfather in Little Miss Sunshine. Minutes later Murphy stormed out of the venue and went home — breaking an Oscars taboo of being ungracious in defeat.”
Theres also this “Celebrity News” report by Us magazine’s Noelle Hancock: “Is Eddie Murphy a sore loser? After failing to nab the award for Best Supporting Actor to Little Miss Sunshine√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢s Alan Arkin, Murphy tried to brush off the loss, telling Us, ‘It’s fine. It happens. It’s OK.’
“But clearly it wasn’t. Shortly thereafter Murphy, 45, and girlfriend Tracey Edmonds left the show in a huff and didn√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢t return. Thanks to the early exit, the actor didn√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢t see any of his Dreamgirls castmates perform and missed out on costar Jennifer Hudson√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢s win for Best Supporting Actress.”
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