“What I am thinking about is, I am not thinking. I am tremendously focused. I have reduced the universe to the state of non-existence. Only me and the wire. Except my concentration carries no horse blinders. I have to feel, see, taste, hear, touch, and smell everything to the utmost, so I can catch any sign of threat before any threat appears.” — Man on Wire star Phillipe Petit speaking to Roger Ebert about wire-walking between the World Trade Center towers eight times in 1974.
I’m sorry, but I have a problem with these plastic shoes. Just like I had a problem with clogs, Birkenstocks, etc. The fact that outdoor wagon vendors sell them at the Grove (along with their cheap cell-phone covers and cheap-ass watches) says it all. They seems to be favored by women. I haven’t seen any real men wearing them, but there’s always the first time.
Some people live in perpetual ecstasy over box-office numbers, to the extent that they sometimes get so fired up about the rightness of their readings that they summon the wrath of the God of Abraham to punish those they disagree with. I read their stuff with some interest, but not all that much. At root, it’s a dweeb thing.
Five days ago Washington Times reporter Amy Fagan posted a piece about Friends of Abe, a group of “politically conservative and centrist Hollywood figures organized by actor Gary Sinise and others who’ve been meeting quietly in restaurants and private homes, forming a loose-knit network of entertainers who share common beliefs like supporting U.S. troops and traditional American values.”
Gary Sinise, eh? Other members include Jon Voight, Pat Boone, Lionel Chetwynd and producer Craig Haffner, Fagan reports. Friends of Abe is “not a political action group,” Haffner tells her. “People are gravitating to it because they love their country.” And Barack Obama doesn’t love this country? What a bunch of prissy, sanctimonious pricks these guys must be. They love an idea of this country that lives in their heads, I think they mean.
“Some of those involved are taking…public steps to counter the entertainment industry’s tilt toward liberalism and Democratic politics,” Fagan reports, “such as campaigning for Republican Sen. John McCain or crafting projects to portray America in a more positive light.
I wrote a similar (if much longer) piece for Los Angeles magazine in 1994 called “Right Face.” The basic thrust was that Hollywood conservatives felt obliged to play their philosophical cards close to their chests, knowing full well they were a small minority in an overwhelmingly liberal town.
I need to be fair and pass along this AP Anthony McCartney report that says Shia Lebeouf wasn’t at fault in last weekend’s flip-over accident. The article quotes Sheriff spokesperson Steve Whitmore as saying it was the other guy’s fault — ran a red light, slammed into Bebeouf’s truck. Was the other guy bombed also?
In a Barbara Streisand e-mail interview by Politico‘s Jeff Ressner, the aging actress-singer is asked if race will continue to be a factor in the presidential election. Streisand, who took three full weeks to respond to Ressner’s questions (one week to read them, one week to formulate rough-draft responses, one week to polish and finalize), says she “want[s] to believe that our country can see beyond race as a factor in voting for a Presidential candidate.
“But on some level,” she adds, “it would be naive to think that race will not be a factor. I do believe, however, that there is much less racism, sexism and homophobia among the younger generation and that we have come a very long way.”
Thank fortune, that observation seems to be true. I wonder, however, if the impact of non-racist under-25 voters may be counter-balanced by the under-25 donkey element in rural America (the intellectual kin of those two American Teen guys who don’t want to know from politics) who don’t plan to vote at all. If Obama loses, it’ll be time to once again paddle the backsides of the under-25s. I was hoping I’d never have to use the term “Generation of Shame” ever again. GenY had better watch its ass.
Word around the campfire is that Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is very high on the list of Democratic vice-presidential hopefuls. I’ve read a bit about him and he seems like a bright fellow with his feet on the ground, but Kaine just ain’t rock ‘n’ roll on a mike. And he has the face of a second-tier ward politician. There’s a slight old-school puffiness in his face that suggests he’s into taking a nip every now and then. His voice feels anxious and a bit shrill — slightly hoarse, high-pitched. His delivery really and truly lacks that “musical” element.
Kaine reminds me of either an Irish street cop from old-time Boston or a frazzled high-school principal from Marblehead, Mass. or suburban Maryland or southern New Jersey. He looks “regional” and doesn’t have that special sense of uptown schwing that national-level candidates need to have these days. He doesn’t sound eloquent or commanding or even centered, really. His thin voice strains for effect.
Please, BHO…no offense but not this guy. Joe Biden, please. Biden would be very cool, in fact.
Pretty good earthquake just now! (Two minutes ago.) Without checking the Richter scale readings from Pasadena, I would say it was a good 5.5, at least. Do I hear six? Re-Re-Update: MSNBC just said it was a 5.4, centered in Chino. Two books fell off my bookcase and that’s all. No paintings or framed photos on the floor. Nothing to squawk about. I kind of enjoyed it on a certain level. Better than Sensurround. Chuck Heston, you are missed.
If I could afford to go to the Venice Film Festival a few days before attending the Toronto Film Festival, I’d be looking forward to ten or eleven of the films that were announced earlier today. Not that I know anything, but the names of Demme, Bigelow, Arriaga, Coen, Aronofsky, Schroeder, Schroter, Kitano and Miyazaki offer feelings of comfort and continuity. It’s also good to know most of these films will be playing in Toronto a few days later.
I’m frankly scared of Darren Aronofsky‘s The Wrestler because (a) wrestling has been a coarse, low-rent joke for decades, and (b) the wrestler is played by Mickey Rourke. But I shouldn’t admit to that prejudice. I just need to grim up and see it and go from there.
We all know the ups, downs and inside-outs of Joel and Ethan Coen‘s Burn After Reading. I’ve written about it so much I feel as if I’ve almost seen it.
Guillermo Arriaga‘s The Burning Plain…of course, of course. Charlize Theron, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Lawrence, Jose Maria Yazpik, Joaquim de Almeida.
Kathryn Bigelow‘s Hurt Locker — Iraqi bullets and IEDs, insurgents, and another go-round with a squad of hyperventilating, morally compromised U.S. soldiers with sweaty faces and coarse personalities. Remember that terrific one-sheet?
Jonathan Demme‘s Rachel Getting Married with Anne Hathaway, Debra Winger, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mather Zickel, Bill Irwin, Anna Deavere Smith, Anisa George.
Plus Takeshi Kitano‘s Achilles and the Tortoise, Hayao Miyazaki‘s Ponyo on Cliff by the Sea, Asmir Naderi‘s Vegas: Based on a True Story, Barbet Schroder’s Inju (shot in Japan), Werner Schroeter‘s Night of the Dog (Nuit de chien), Claire Denis‘s 35 Rhums, a short by Manoel de Oliveira called Do Visivel ao Invisivel, and a new version of Pier Palo Pasolini‘s La rabbia (’63).
Am I overlooking something exceptional that somebody actually knows something about?
I’ve never thought of Jon Voight as intellectually challenged, but it’s hard not to at least consider the possibility after reading his 7.28 Washington Times op-ed piece slamming Barack Obama. “The Democratic party, in its quest for power, has managed a propaganda campaign with subliminal messages, creating a God-like figure in a man who falls short in every way,” Voight wrote. “It seems to me that if Mr. Obama wins the presidential election, then Messrs. Farrakhan, Wright, Ayers and Pfleger will gain power for their need to demoralize this country and help create a socialist America.”
I finally get what Angelina Jolie has been on about all these years. (I think.) Most people reading the Voight piece will say, “Okay, the Times gave him the rope and he hung himself.” But you’d think an arch conservative working in an overwhelmingly liberal town would think about restraining himself for expediency’s sake, if nothing else.
My honest deep-down reaction is that I now have a reason to feel negatively about the guy. I’m not saying Voight is on the HE shit list (although the idea certainly feels good — just as it felt good to imagine the same thing last spring about Tina Fey when she became a rabid Hillary person on SNL), and I certainly don’t think a symbolic condemnation along these lines would matter much to anyone. Nonetheless, it’s going to be hard henceforth not to think of Voight as some kind of diseased wingnut.
I’ll always admire and respect Voight’s better performances (Luke in Coming Home, Reynolds in Enemy of the State, Ed in Deliverance, Howard Cosell in Ali, Manny in Runaway Train, FDR in Pearl Harbor, Jack in Desert Bloom, Paul Serone in Anaconda). And he’s obviously entitled to say and write whatever he wants. But it’s only natural that industry-based Obama supporters will henceforth regard him askance. Honestly? If I were a producer and I had to make a casting decision about hiring Voight or some older actor who hadn’t pissed me off with an idiotic Washington Times op-ed piece, I might very well say to myself, “Voight? Let him eat cake.”
- All Hail Tom White, Taciturn Hero of “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Roughly two months ago a very early draft of Eric Roth‘s screenplay for Killers of the Flower Moon (dated 2.20.17,...More »