I’ve been walking around Washington, D.C. for the last three and 1/2 hours, mostly near the Dupont Circle area and along K Street and N Street and that general thing, and I’m just not feeling that old pin-striped, power-elite, uptown-and-connected vibration that I recall from my visit here in ’94. There are too many tourist-schlub types, and most of them are poorly-dressed with ordinary faces and (I’ll bet) not all that much to say. It doesn’t feel right. Being here has made me want to fly to Vienna or Paris.
Friday, 10.29, 8:25 pm.
Friday, 10.29, 7:10 pm.
There used to be a kind of hush all over Washington — a vibe that told you “like it or not, this is where the power is, and where the best minds and the great statesmen and the slickest hustlers and wheeler-dealers live and operate.” Now the vibe says, “Haw! Yo, dude, three Blue Moons and two Jack Daniels neat!”
This is Washington D.C. — a place that used to stand for something. Now it looks like a town that Senator John Blutarsky took over and remade in his own image. America has largely become a nation of mallbilly pudge-bottoms and commoners with meager educations, and dressed in ugly-ass T-shirts and man-shorts and bad pigtails and grotesque Foot Locker cross-training shoes.
A barrel-chested guy got out of a taxi on Pennsvlvania Avenue and he looked like Akim Tamiroff with a Van Dyke beard, and the woman with him looked like a Las Vegas slut with too much make-up. Even the storied Tabard Inn felt just a tiny bit downmarketed. Pudgy middle-aged people were hanging out in the bar and going “blah, blah, blah, blah” — they looked and sounded like real-estate agents from Trenton.
If you’re not “in” with the connected government crowd (like me), Washington, D.C. is basically a hick town with large boulevards and big government buildings and tens of thousands of beefy-bodied, T-shirt-wearing, under-dressed dorks walking around and slurping beers. It’s not cool. It’s turned into Fairfax, Virginia or…whatever, Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Where’s the Washington of lore and legend? If the ghost of Jack Kennedy was to return here for one day in the manner of Billy Bigelow, he would say, “This is what America has come to? Get me out of here. I want to be dead again.”
You can’t be rude and coarsely sexual with women. It’s vulgar and insensitive, and it never works. But I dearly loved — love — this moment. Lightning usually strikes only once, but filmmakers haven’t even tried to make this sort of guy — raunchy, paunchy, borderline infantile but civilized — into a cliche.
We reached the outskirts of Baltimore (spiritual home of John Waters, Barry Levinson and The Wire) around 5 pm, after leaving midtown Manhattan around 1:13 pm. The Megabus schedule pledged a four-hour, 30-minute journey, or an approximate 5:30 pm arrival in Washington, D.C. It’s now 5:40 pm, traffic on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway is crawling in fits and starts, and we’re looking at 40 to 45 minutes more, bare minimum.
London Boulevard, director-writer William Monahan‘s romantic crime drama with Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley costarring, finally has a trailer. I’ve been writing about this groaning wounded bear of a film for months, tracking how it went from being a high-expectation British noir (based on Monahan’s exalted Departed rep + his very good screenplay) to a “what happened?” disappointment looking for a way out of hell.
Rope of Silicon‘s Brad Brevet posted it earlier today.
London Boulevard will presumably be released stateside sometime next spring, or perhaps during the dumping ground of late August, by FilmDistrict, a “multi-faceted acquisition, distribution, production, and financing company” co-run by GK Films chief Graham King, former Apparition leader Bob Berney and GK Films president Peter Schlessel.
On 8.22 I ventured a guess “that Monahan’s superb screenwriting talent hasn’t fully translated over to directing, and that his inexperience combined with anal tendencies caused problems on the set (or so says a London source), and that reactions to the unfinished film were such that extra shooting was deemed necessary (ditto), and that King has decided to pull the plug on a fall awards-campaign release and punt instead for 2011. Again, some reporting but I’m mainly guessing.”
London Boulevard is a London-based crime drama about an ex-con named Mitchell (Colin Farrell), just out of the slammer, who falls in love with Charlotte (Keira Knightley), an actress who’s fallen into a odd kind of career slumber, while running afoul of some gangster guys (Eddie Marsan or Ray Winstone or both). Costars include David Thewlis, Anna Friel, Ophelia Lovibond, Ben Chaplin, Sanjeev Baskhar and Jamie Campbell Bower.
“We’re in hell, gentlemen…that’s where we are. In hell.”
Yesterday I wondered aloud why a screening of Peter Weir‘s The Way Back had happened in Los Angeles on Tuesday, 10.216, but no options to see it in NYC had been offered by the film’s p.r. reps. Well, it turns out that the screening was arranged independently by Deadline‘s Pete Hammond for his KCET Cinema Series.
“It wasn’t set up by 42 West as an official screening but directly with the producers by me,” Hammond explains. “In fact the publicists wanted it to be shown much later [in the season] but it was the only date I had available as my series is way overbooked and the producers were terrific in letting me make it happen so early since the film doesn’t even open for Oscar consideration until Dec. 29th.
“In fact when I initially set it up that opening date wasn’t even set and it was still expected to open wide Jan. 21st. It played extremely well for my group, and we had exec producer and writer Keith Clarke, producer Joni Levin, exec producer John Ptak and star Ed Harris for the q & a.”
So how’s the film?
“It was second time I’d seen it,” Hammond replies. “I think it’s a great epic in the David Lean tradition, the kind they don’t make anymore. Weir did a remarkable job considering it was made on an indie budget ($29 million) which is amazing for a film of this scope and ambition. Stunning and challenging. fine Russell Boyd cinematography and a great, spare score too.”
Today is everyone’s Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert Sanity/Fear Rally travel day. My Washington, D.C.-bound Megabus leaves midtown Manhattan at 1 pm. I’ll be arriving around 5:30 pm. And I’ve just downloaded the Sanity/Fear App on my iPhone.
I’ll have wifi on the bus, but I’ll probably spend a good part of this evening sitting in a cafe somewhere and posting. Okay, and maybe wandering around and taking pictures. I’m determined to relax and socialize for at least an hour or two later tonight, although I know not where as I speak.
All this time I’ve been assuming that the rally will take place on the National Mall in front of the picturesque Lincoln Memorial, which is where the Glen Beck rally happened. But no — the Sanity rally is happening on the eastern end of the National Mall near Seaton Park, which is next to the National Museum of the American Indian and not that far from the Capitol building.
Yesterday a film-critic friend told me he’d be going down with his wife. But today he said nope. “It looks like we’re not making the trek tomorrow after all. I have to spend the day unpacking the contents of a moving van full of stuff that arrived from my late mother-in-law’s house.”
“That sounds a very amiable and helpful and cooperative-husband thing to do,” I responded. “You have my respect and understanding. But it’s a capitulation to the mundane.
“What if someone offered that excuse not to attend Martin Luther King‘s 1963 ‘I Have A Dream’ speech on the National Mall in 1963?
“Son: “Hey, dad, what was Martin Luther King’ s speech like? You went to that rally, right?” Dad: “I actually didn’t go to the rally, son. I stayed home and spent the day unpacking the contents of a moving van full of stuff that arrived from my late mother-in-law’s house.”
There are always boxes of stuff from your late mother-on-law’s house to unpack. There have always been boxes of stuff from your late mother-on-law’s house to unpack. There always will be boxes of stuff from your late mother-on-law’s house to unpack. But moments in history happen only once.
They’re bad people, the Movable Type crew. Trying to communicate with them is slower and less efficient than trying to communicate via Morse code with British solders in India during Rudyard Kipling‘s day. They’re slow, their operation is covered in molasses, and they hide behind walls. Their refusal to install an instant-chat function or charge extra for certain customers to have phone support if needed is intolerable. This is the end of Movable Type. I can’t wait to get rolling with WordPress.