Brad Friedman‘s “double bubble trouble” report, filed late last night, says that (1) California independent voters “who thought they were registering as non-partisan independents [later learned] they’d in fact registered instead as members of the American Independent party, and thus, were not allowed to vote in [yesterday’s] open Democratic primary,” and that (2) “those independent non-partisan voters who did successfully manage to get registered as ‘Decline to State’ (or DTS, or Non-Partisan), were allowed to vote in the Democratic Presidential Primary if they requested to do so when voting. However, without filling in a certain bubble on the ballot, specifying they wanted it to be counted in the Dem Primary, their vote for President, according to LA County’s Registrar of Voters, will not be counted.”
Vanity Fair Oscar blogger Stu Van Airsdale mildly rips into Diving Bell and the Butterfly director Julian Schnabel. He’s not trying to kill or discredit — just admonish the guy for being a tad resentful, a little thin-skinned, too bearded and barrel-chested. (Kidding about the last one.)
The Weinstein Co. paid for thousands of DVD screeners of Todd Haynes’ Cate Blanchett reel (i.e., an artful presentation of just the Cate/Jude sections of I’m Not There) to be delivered inside a plastic envelope in today’s print issue of Variety. The Envelope prognosticators are predicting an Amy Ryan win in the Best Supporting Actress category, but you know how these things go.
As they were in New Hampshire, the polls were wildly off in gauging the thinking of California Democrats and independent voters. Virtually every one reported a day-to-day Obama surge and a neck-and-neck race between Clinton and Obama. One Reuters-Zogby-CSPAN poll published yesterday morning even had Barack ahead by 13 points. And yet Hillary wound up beating Barack 52 to 42. How could the pollsters have been so titanically wrong? What were they smoking?
Absentee ballots that reflected the Hillary-favoring situation two or three weeks ago played a part, I’m guessing. And race-gender Balkanization was undoubtedly a major factor. (“Beware over-40 Hispanics and Asian Americans!,” says the old soothsayer to the Obama team.) But still, on some level people had to have been fantasizing or flat-out lying to the pollsters. That or the old Bradley effect kicked in (i.e., voters got into the voting booth and just couldn’t quite pull the lever for a black guy). Pollsters aren’t making these numbers up so there has to be an explanation. Somebody needs to really study this and figure it out.
Talk about a misleading headline fronting a thin item. Slate‘s Kim Masters posted a short political story around noon titled “Hollywood Likes Obama” with a subtitle reading “But that could change.” It begins by saying that big Barack Obama supporter David Geffen must be disappointed by his candidate’s loss in last night’s California primary. Then it reports that Steven Spielberg, Geffen’s DreamWorks partner, is “isolated” in his support of Hillary Clinton “not only at the office but to some degree at home. ” Either the kids or Kate Capshaw are Barack supporters…whatever.
Masters then writes that “an associate says even Spielberg’s support for Hillary seems a bit dutiful at this point.” Then comes the subhead raison d’etre: “If [Clinton] emerges as the nominee, of course, industry enthusiasm will follow.” Yes, very true — kowtowing to power would be in keeping with the character of the big players in this town. And if Obama pulls ahead in March or April or next summer Hollywood will kneel before the conqueror. So the headline could have just as easily read “Hollywood Likes Obama” with a subtitle reading “And Clinton Support Is…Well, Not Exactly Surging.”
In my early-bird review of Paul Haggis‘s In The Valley of Elah (posted on 7.11.07), I pointed out that Haggis’s screenplay “is based on a true story that happened in the summer of ’03, and was first reported a year later in a Playboy magazine article by Mark Boal, called ‘Death and Dishonor.’
“It came from Boal interviewing Lanny Davis, a former U.S. Army M.P., about the death of his son, who had been reported AWOL following a tour of duty in Baghdad. Haggis bought the rights and created a somewhat fictionalized version, although he stuck to the basic bones.” I later provided various real-story links.
Here it is almost seven months later and Johnny-on-the-spot Movie City News is running a link called “The True Story of In The Valley of Elah.”
What this story needs is an ending. If we were all watching the movie (which we are) and we’d come to the third act (which we have), the lead character would need to do the final thing. I’m just saying….if.
I wouldn’t end it this way if I was the screenwriter, of course. I’d have the lead character and two loyal friends sucker the paparazzi into a Hollywood hills cul-de-sac, block their exit and then move in with flamethrowers and torch every one of ’em. And then the three perps would plead temporary insanity and get off with a suspended sentence and the jurors would carry them out, cheering.
Here’s a bold thought from CHUD’s Devin Faraci, by the way: “If, before she was committed, Britney Spears had been found dead with ‘oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine’ (better known as OxyContin, Vicodin, Valium, Xanax, Restoril and Unisom) in her system, the media would be full of talk about a druggie ODing. When Heath Ledger‘s toxicology report turns up the same drugs, it’s a tragic accident, and everybody makes sure to mention that he was prescribed these drugs. But what’s the difference, really? None, as far as I can see.”
Urgent message to Josh Brolin (who reads Hollywood Elsewhere): McG, whose direction of We Are Marshall only partly mitigated his longstanding rep as a mindless energizer bunny and one of Hollywood’s leading usurpers of the art of narrative cinema, has told 213’s Jason Coleman that he wants to cast you as the “dream Terminator” in Warner Bros.’ Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins.
Josh Brolin; McG
Your ship came in this year, Josh, and I’m sure your agent is telling you that right now is the time to strike the hot iron and take a couple of big-studio, hold-your- nose, straight-paycheck jobs to fortify your net worth. But not the third (technically the fourth) Terminator movie, man. And not with a spawn-of-Satan like fucking McG…please.
If you do this, in one fell swoop you’ll wipe out all the high-toned cred you accumulated last year from Robert Rodriguez, Ridley Scott and the Coen Brothers. It’s your life and your move. I’m just tellin’ ya man — not with McG. The fleas you’ll get from working with him will stay with you for years, I swear.
New York’s medical examiner report was predictably dry and succinct and non-judgmental, but the implication is that Heath Ledger didn’t care to calculate or remember which prescription drugs he’d taken, much less assess their combined effect upon his body. You can say “accident” over and over but the blunt answer is that Heath did it to himself. Like I wrote the day he died. A tree didn’t fall on him. Actions have consequences.
The pharma-names of the drugs found in his system are “oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine.” The common names are OxyContin, Vicodin, Valium, Xanax, Restoril and Unisom.
Everyone presumably knows that OxyContin — “hillbilly heroin” — isn’t a painkiller as much as a recreational drug that serious stoners take in order to experience a nice opiate-like high. Hydrocodone is found in Vicodin. Diazepam and alprazolam = Valium and Xanax. Alprazolam and doxylamine are sleeping aids commonly known as Restoril and Unisom. In other words, Heath loaded himself down with one heavyweight floater-downer, a fairly heavy-duty pain killer and four relatively mild drugs for alleviating anxiety, settling down, feeling loose and catching zees.
Do you think he said to himself, “Let’s see…I’ve got five or six downer meds in my system. I still don’t feel completely relaxed though. Maybe if I popped another Oxy? I wonder what Mary Kate would say…?”
The report didn’t mention the apparent amounts of each drug that Ledger had in his system. It would help to know this.
“The exit polls in the 16 primary states in which they were taken showed that the contours of the race as we’ve come to know them are still in place. Obama did well with African-Americans, men, the wealthy, those with college degrees, and liberal voters. Clinton continues to do well with women, older voters, Latinos, and those with less education and lower incomes.” — Slate political columnist John Dickerson writing this morning about yesterday’s voting.
The only place in the world in which people repeatedly dispute the claim that Hillary is supported by “those with less education and lower incomes” is the Hollywood Elsewhere reader-comments section. Starting this morning, will those who’ve resisted this generally accepted deduction (you know who you are) please shut the fuck up and stay that way — buttoned, zipped, mute — until further notice?
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who was briefly the Beatles’ spiritual guru in late ’67 and early ’68 until the bloom fell off with allegations of sexual impropriety, died in Holland yesterday. He was nonetheless a seminal figure in the Eastern-following spiritual movement of the late ’60s — psychedelic Godhead breakthroughs leading to dog-eared copies of the “Baghavad Gita” in college dorms leading, three or four years later, to the “Me Generation” personal fulfillment movement of the ’70s.
Say what you will about bedroom shenanigans but MMY spoke of immaculate and eternal truths, and at a crucial moment in history he prompted tens of thousands to turn a significant spiritual page.
Many sensed there was something less than magical (I almost wrote “vaguely deceptive”) about the assertions that transcendental meditation, if practiced devoutly, would drastically improve followers’ lives, but the outgrowth of all that energy and fascination was that hundreds of thousands of American-born spiritual seekers began to know what “satori” is and grasp the intimations of revelation in…well, loads of stuff but I’m thinking right now of the lyrics in “The Wind Cries Mary,” the Jimi Hendrix song. (“Jets” in their boxes, “clowns” gone to bed…seriously.)
My key Maharishi memory will always be John Lennon‘s Rolling Stone recollection about how the Beatles quit the ashram “after he confronted the guru about sex allegations. He said: ‘There was a hullabaloo about him trying to rape Mia Farrow and a few other women, and things like that.
‘The whole gang charged down to his hut. I was the spokesman, as usual, and said: ‘We’re leaving!’ He asked why and I said, ‘Well, if you’re so cosmic, you’ll know why.’ He and his right-hand men were always intimating that he did miracles.The Maharishi gave me a look that said, ‘I’ll kill you, you bastard!'”