I’ve never been a Hillary Clinton fan but I totally sympathize with those snippy comments she made yesterday in Kinshasa, Congo. When a questioner asked her “Mr. Clinton’s” view of World Bank concerns about a multi-billion-dollar Chinese loan offer to the Congo, she got her back up and then some. “You want me to tell you what my husband thinks?” she said. “My husband is not secretary of state, I am. If you want my opinion, I’ll tell you my opinion. I am not going to be channeling my husband.” She could have ignored the implication but it’s fine that she didn’t. I feel her irritation, which makes the first time I’ve felt supportive of her in many a moon.
Initially posted by People and In Contention. The real Amelia Earhart was so egoistic that she had her initials painted on her aviator jumpsuit, like some present-day bling-bling football player? Find me the photograph that proves this because I don’t believe it. The Earhart I’ve read about didn’t see herself as a rock star. She was brave, dedicated, modest, hardcore, etc. Yes, I could be wrong.
Without saying anything I need to say something else about Aaron Sorkin‘s The Social Network screenplay. On top of my previous observation that some may be inspired down the road to compare the finished film to The Treasure of Sierra Madre. What I’m saying is, I believed each and every line without reservation. It didn’t feel written but creatively transcribed and pruned in the highest interpretation or understanding of that term.
Here’s a well-written, unusually candid-sounding recollection of the late John Hughes by Molly Ringwald, posted in today’s N.Y. Times. I can’t recall reading anything like this by any actor or actress about a just-passed director. Usually it’s all hearts and flowers.
“None of the films that Hughes made [after The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles] had the same kind of personal feeling to me. They were funny, yes, wildly successful, to be sure, but I recognized very little of the John I knew in them, of his youthful, urgent, unmistakable vulnerability. It was like his heart had closed, or at least was no longer open for public view.
“A darker spin can be gleaned from the words John put into the mouth of Allison in The Breakfast Club: ‘When you grow up…your heart dies.’
“I’m speaking metaphorically, of course. Though it does seem sadly poignant that physically, at least, John’s heart really did die. It also seems undeniably meaningful: His was a heavy heart, deeply sensitive, prone to injury — easily broken.
Yesterday Hitfix’s Drew McWeeny tried to dispute the indisputable, statistically fortified and hardly radical concern (recently voiced in rant-form by myself, Bill Maher, Roger Ebert and N.Y. Times critic A.O. Scott) that a significant sector of the under-25s out there haven’t exactly shown themselves to be paragons of intellectual vigor and spiritual curiosity, and that their enthusiastic support for boon-to-humanity movies like G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Transformers 2 along with their corresponding disinterest in hardcore gems like The Hurt Locker (because Summit hasn’t bought enough TV and print spots to remind them that it’s playing as part of a specific youth-market campaign) is a fairly depressing and deplorable thing.
McWeeny has argued against this, primarily, by playing the age card and describing what’s been written as the result of generational bias and illusion. The age-old “damn these kids!” phenomenon that every older generation has bitched about since the hey-hey day of the Greeks and the Romans, etc. Older farts do this so pay them no mind, etc. The title of the article is “Why do older movie critics suddenly want everyone off their lawn?” and the lead image is that of Clint Eastwood snarling in Gran Torino.
Playing the age card is easy, of course. Just point or allude to the ages of the people you’re disagreeing with and go “wow, crankheads!” and “these guys need to flush out their arteries” and so on. Throw in some patronizing attitude for emphasis and people your age and younger will buy it. The filmgoing world is fine. People my age (especially the bulky geek types wearing corporate-brand T-shirts and cutoffs and ugly sneakers) are a lot smarter and wiser than these guys realize. Kids who wouldn’t pay to see a well-reviewed film with a gun at their head unless their peer group said it was okay can’t be blamed if the ad guys don’t try and target them specifically. These old guys basically need to grow some fresh perspective by jumping into Rod Taylor‘s time machine and becoming 33 years old again.
So go for it. Read McWeeny and buy into the generational bullshit he’s selling. Ignore everything your mind tells you when you go to the mall on a Friday night and watch the wildebeests and grapple with those kneejerk thoughts about how they seem to be from a genetically separate planet. Purge your head of all the signs and hints and indications and statistics about how things are getting more and more putrid and common and corporate and de-individualized. Forget the whole cultural downswirl notion that’s been obvious to anyone with a smidgen of observational acumen for at least the last 20 to 30 years.
I have two sons, 21 and 19, who aren’t representative of the above-described tendencies among the under-25s and who inform me by word and deed and implication what’s going on (and not going on) out there. They know what goes, I know what goes and I’m not Lionel Barrymore in Key Largo so don’t tell me. I’m an X-factor guy with an obsessive lifestyle and a taste for edge experience and the freedom of mind to buy a pair of dorky-looking yellow sneakers if the mood strikes. Three computers, a motorcycle, no property, a thriving business, nothing settled.
Whatever. Be my guest. I’m played out on this topic for now. The batteries are drained. Maybe I can jump into it later. But McWeeny needs to be fair and link to my “Morlocks Are Feasting” piece and not just the “Eloi” thing, which is strictly an Ebert-quote thing with a tiny little closing-graph riff about how I briefly surrendered to vague feelings of disgust when surrounded by a herd of three-toed sloths from Fairfax High School during my last L.A. visit
Some Came Running‘s Glenn Kenny has also weighed in along these lines. I don’t know what to say about this except that I understand how it’s much easier to write a stark contrarian piece than to respond to things in some curlicued or tap-dancy middle-ground way. Whatever.
I meant to run a comparison of these two posters for An Education last week but I couldn’t convert a PDF image of the Australian version (r.) with my Corel photo manipulation program…don’t ask. And then In Contention‘s Guy Lodge ran with it yesterday. Sony Classics’ domestic poster (a) conveys a neutral romantic vibe and (b) conceals/Photoshops the fact that Peter Sarsgaard‘s character in the film is much older than Carey Mulligan‘s, which of course is a major plot point.
Sony Classics’ An Education poster, intended for U.S. audiences (l.); the Australian version (r.).
The Aussie poster doesn’t focus on their faces in order to include the romantic ambiance of Paris, which I personally find much more appealing than the two-shot. Oh, wait…I get it. The Sony Classics ad guys figured that under-25 American Eloi/moron class would feel alienated by a shot of Paris (“eewww…is this movie in French?”) and decided to go generically “romantic”. Both posters conceal the fact that the story takes place in 1961, which would probably be a problem for a certain Eloi percentage as well.
I was thrown a few weeks ago when I read a statement from Freestyle Releasing’s publicist that My One and Only (8.21) that it’s based on the life and times of George Hamilton ( Love at First Bite, Godfather III, Viva Maria, A Thunder of Drums). It’s actually about Hamilton’s indefatigable gold-digging mom, Ann Devereaux (Renee Zellweger) and blah, blah. Zellweger is a problem but let’s keep an open mind until next week’s premiere screening. The young Hamilton is played by Logan Lerman , and Mark Rendall plays his red-haired brother Robbie. Hamilton exec produced, Richard Loncraine directed and Blame It On Rio ‘s Charlie Peters wrote the screenplay.
The on-camera manner and seemingly balanced personality of anti-heath care protester William Kostric, who stood outside President Obama‘s town-hall meeting yesterday with a gun strapped to his leg, isn’t all that crazy-seeming. As right-wing extremists go, I’d rather listen to him than mouth-foamers like Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh. But for every Kostric out there, there are probably nine others who are more rabid and wild-eyed and hair-trigger. If it were only possible to just clap our hands three times and get rid of these guys, painlessly and untraumatically…