The problem, of course, is that Dustin Hoffman‘s scenes are almost certainly going to feel somewhat artificially tacked on because he came into the shoot at the very end. I fear that his scenes are going to feel like Frank Sinatra‘s in The Cannonball Run II. If they don’t feel tacked-on it’ll be a miracle — put it that way.
“‘The power of the teenage females of thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, when they’re in a gang, has never left me. They nearly killed me. I was never more in fear for my life than I was from teenage girls. The ones that choked me, tore me to shreds, if you got caught in a frenzied crowd of them — it’s hard to express how frightening they could be. You’d rather be in a trench fighting the enemy than be faced with this unstoppable, killer wave of lust and desire, or whatever it is — it’s unknown even to them.
“This echoes something our first rock critic, Ellen Willis, wrote in a 1969 review of the Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet and The Beatles’ White Album:
“It’s my theory that rock and roll happens between fans and stars, rather than between listeners and musicians — that you have to be a screaming teenager, at least in your heart, to know what’s going on.
“Willis goes on to say that though she never identified emotionally with Elvis, she learned to appreciate the Stones: ‘I became a true Stones fan — i.e., an inward screamer — and I’ve been one ever since.’
“The review is instructive for those of us who have trouble remembering a time when the Stones’ songs weren’t being licensed by Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, and E*Trade, a time when the band had been together less than a decade. Willis found Beggars Banquet to be ‘something of an anticlimax,’ though she argues that the album’s best song, Street Fighting Man, is ‘infinitely more intelligent’ than the Beatles’ Revolution. (Willis also wrote about the Stones in 1972, 1974, and 1975.)
“More recently — in 2000 — John Seabrook published a Talk story about cover versions of the Stones anthem (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by Britney Spears and Cat Power. In the story, he relates how Richards came up with the song’s immortal riff:
“The origins of Satisfaction are appropriately Romantic — it is the ‘Kubla Khan’ of pop tunes. According to one legend about the song, in 1965 Keith Richards, the Stones’ lead guitarist, woke up in the middle of the night in a hotel room in Florida with the song’s famous riff — dunt dunt, da-da-dahh — ringing in his head. Richards, who was in the habit of keeping a tape recorder beside his bed to capture such moments, grabbed a guitar and taped the riff, then fell asleep again, leaving the machine running.
“‘In the morning, he forgot about the incident, and later, listening to the tape, he thought it was blank and was about to record over it when he stumbled on the riff and quickly figured out the rest of the song.'”
Seabrook notes that in her cover of the song, Spears changes the ‘how white my shirts can be’ line to ‘how tight my skirts should be.’ The Stones themselves have taken such liberties with their own lyrics. In a 1995 Talk story, Hendrik Hertzberg described how they adjusted the words to their song “The Spider and the Fly” for an album of acoustic reinterpretations of their classics:
“The Spider and the Fly tells the story of a touring rock and roller getting picked up by a slightly used female fan in a bar after a show. Fans will recall one of the original song’s growly couplets:
“She was common, flirty, she looked about thirty…she said she liked the way I held the microphone.”
This, more or less, is how the lyric is rendered on the liner notes of the new album, too. But obsessive listening to the record itself reveals a sly alteration:
“‘She was shifty, nifty, she looked about fifty…she said she liked the way I held the microphone.’
“And, no doubt, she was also much less frightening than a gang of teen-age girls.”
“If you’re feeling woozy, just cover your eyes. There’s nothing wrong with covering your eyes. It took 40 minutes [for Aron to cut his arm off], so what Danny showed is mercifully short. It’s visceral, but it’s about the exhilaration of getting free and leaving in the end.” — 127 Hours star James Franco speaking to Vulture‘s Jada Yuan about getting through the tough part. And he’s not lying about the exhilaration at the end. It really does kick in. (I was mentioning this yesterday during Oscar Poker #5.)
The forthcoming Bluray of The Bridge on the River Kwai looks significantly better than a digitally projected version that I saw last weekend at Suffern’s Lafayette. (I thought it looked a bit too dark.) The Bluray Kwai seems about as perfect-looking as it could get. It’s a life-like, vibrantly colored, finely-tuned celluloid experience, and a very gratifying enhancement over the 2000 DVD.
Canon capture of scene from Sony Home Entertainment’s Bluray of The Bridge on the River Kwai, as played on my Panasonic 42-inch plasma.
Same shot rendered by the 2000 Kwai DVD, as seen on my iMac desktop
In short, the Bluray hasn’t been Spartacus-ed (i.e., turned into a digitally-reconstituted android). It looks like an exceptionally handsome 1957 film straight out of the lab. It looks and sounds absolutely perfect. It might be slightly darker and just a teeny bit browner than the DVD, and yet the jungle greens are lush and full and almost 3D radiant at times. William Holden‘s eyes have never looked so fiercely blue. And more distinctly than ever you can see bloody gashes on the top of Alec Guinness‘s head after he’s knocked over by that grenade fired by Jack Hawkins.
I have two strategic logic issues with the very last portion of Kwai that I’ve never expressed, so here goes.
1. Why do they have to blow up the bridge at the precise moment when the train’s about to cross? Who cares about the train? Wouldn’t this action guarantee that Japanese troops not killed in the blast would hunt the commandos down and almost certainly kill them? How could they expect to escape when they’re positioned so closely? It’s a hopeless suicide mission. The more sensible approach would be to blow up the bridge in the dead of night and then hightail it into the jungle while the Japanese are still waking up. Not getting killed in the aftermath of the explosion isn’t against the rules, is it? Isn’t it better to complete the mission, escape and live to fight another day?
2. Jack Hawkins tells Geoffrey Horne to set up the detonation plunger on the far side of the river and then “swim back” after the explosion. Swim back? He’ll get shot. The smarter thing would be for Horne to scamper into the jungle on his side of the river and then meet up with Hawkins and the others at a rendezvous point a few miles away.
I don’t care if Ernest Hemingway and his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, actually dyed their hair albino while vacationing in the late 1920s along the Cote d’Azur, or if Hemingway invented this idiocy for his novel, The Garden of Eden. I do know that Jack Huston (grandson of director John Huston) looks absurd with white hair in John Irvin‘s film version (Roadside, 12.10).
Hemingway’s Garden of Eden debuted at Rome Cinemafest in 2008. Mena Suvari, Caterina Murino, Richard E. Grant and Matthew Modine costar.
For what it’s worth, HE’s Sean Jacobs (i.e., formidable ad exec) has persuaded me to launch a Hollywood Elsewhere Facebook page. I already have my own Facebook page so I’m not sure I get it, but whatever. As Elliott Gould says to Jim Bouton while pointing to several half-naked, lotus-position girls in the opening minutes of The Long Goodbye, “I don’t know what it is, but it’s yoga.”
Yesterday’s post about the leading Best Actress contenders resulted in a follow-up comment about whether Kids Are All Right costars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore should receive 100% even-steven support from Focus Features, or whether a majority of the energy should be expended in Bening’s favor. Here’s how I explained it:
“People don’t just vote for the performance but also — and perhaps primarily — for the character, and at the end of the day people always feel more empathy and support for the committed-relationship character who gets emotionally betrayed (Bening) rather than the betrayer (Moore). So that favors Bening, and there’s also a little carry-over factor from Bening’s lead performance in Mother and Child. So there you have it.
“Trying to wangle two Best Actress nominees from the same film is simply too much to reasonably expect this year. It’s too much of a feat. There are too many other strong contenders. You have to get real, and Focus knows that. So while the official position is one of equality and “we love them both”, the political hints and whispers say otherwise.
“You have to be hard. You have to be cruel. You have to be unfair by choosing one and cutting the other loose. It’s like being in charge of an over-crowded lifeboat and choosing which people have to go over the side. (I’m referring to a 1957 Tyrone Power film called Abandon Ship.) It’s a terrible choice to make, it’s Sophie’s Choice, but you have to do it. And in their own delicate, hard-to-spot way, I think the Focus Features guys have made their choice.
“Julianne Moore may have gone to the 2010 Berlin Film Festival to accept honors for The Kids Are All Right and is doing the London Film Festival this year, but as far as this fall’s awards race is concerned my sense of the situation is that she’s sorta kinda been handed a life jacket and told “we really love you and no offense, but you’re going to have to do for yourself as best you can.”
Here’s Scott Feinberg’s take on this dilemma.