An assessment of Los Angeles industry culture by HE regular LexG seems fairly sage. “I tend to think of Oscar movies as having to appeal to ‘LA Taste,'” he wrote last night. “Los Angelenos, particularly the voting denizens of Brentwood, Bel Air, and Beverly Hills, have a certain cinematic palate that isn’t just different from mass America, but from even NYC film fanatics or cineastes anywhere else. LA Taste is very milquetoast, very Clooney, very upscale. The kind of people who shop at the Grove and eat Whole Foods and prefer an intellectual barrier, an ironic remove.
“It’s sort of like how Scorsese and Spike are NYC directors who don’t get the same love in LA. LA people are removed, caustic, ironic, a little uncomfortable with that grimy, in-your-face intensity or crazy overkill. Someone like Altman or the Coens are an LA film geek’s director — that layer of taste, of commentary, of artistic remove and good-for-you propriety. Clint, of course, goes over like gangbusters at Oscar time because he reminds the Jack Gifford-looking old-time producers of the Old Classicism — extremely well put together movies that don’t make them personally uncomfortable.”
Mulling this over, George? You’re an actor-director-producer with talent, taste and marquee appeal on an excellent run and with all the right cool-director associations (Alexander Payne, Jason Reitman, Soderbergh, Coens, Wes Anderson, Anton Corbijn), and yet distant and muffled chants from the flatlands are equating the Clooney brand with “ironic remove” and the high-end offerings at Whole Foods.
I know — better to be the ironic remove guy than clunky-earnest and better Whole Foods than Ralph’s or that 1930s quonset-hut grocery store on Cahuenga, but you know what I’m saying. The intellectual streetcorner class is persuaded that the stuff you’re putting on the table is a little too sanctified and approved by the comfortables. Maybe you need to hit refresh, forge new alliances, talk to some scruffy young directors from Mexico or Israel or Iran…something. Live a little more dangerously while you can (i.e., before older-guy complacency takes over).