At today’s Los Angeles reception for the late Ronni Chasen, “Some were disturbed to see The Wrap‘s Sharon Waxman, in her trademark blunt style, grilling folks, notebook in hand, about Chasen’s murder,” writes Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson. “Finally, this cross-section of the film community not only mourned the loss of a friend but of a way of working, a civilized discourse, and the arrival of a more tabloid sensibility in Hollywood coverage, especially of Chasen’s violent death.”
Today’s Oscar Poker discussion felt a little sloppy, a little in and out as we recorded it, but it sounds okay now. A debate about The King’s Speech and how “the older audience” is more comfortable with this film, a brief discussion of the Ronni Chasen tragedy, the business rules of the Oscar season, etc. Hollywood & Fine‘s Marshall Fine took part, as did regular box-office stalwart Phil Contrino of boxoffice.com. Here’s an independent, non-iTunes link.
While driving to Philadelphia last night I tweeted the following: “No matter what else happens, 2010 will always be the year that saw the demise of Michael Cera. No, they can’t take that away from me.” Just a mild little in-between tweet on the New Jersey Turnpike. No! Not mild! In response to this HitFix’s Drew McWeeny tweeted, “You are cancer in human form, you know that? Pure misery, sent outwards in miserable waves. Does anything give you joy?”
In short, McWeeny is apparently a Cera fan or an Edgar Wright/Scott Pilgrim vs. The World fan or perhaps feels a slight generational kinship on some level with Wright or Cera, or a combination of all three. I don’t want to get into a whole Cera thing (I gave all I had to give last summer), but we’re coming to the end of the year and I was in a sum-up mood and I honestly felt that the failure of Scott Pilgrim was a pretty good deal for reasons I’ve already stated.
For me, the misery emanates not from within myself, but from watching Cera do his droning Toronto nerd-hipster thing, over and over and over and over. And I’ve been talking about Cera being on the road to over for two years now, remember. I would honestly like to see him removed from a position of influence in the film industry (or at least diminished) in the same sense that anyone creating material considered to be boring or tedious by way of repetition should have to pay the piper.
As for the joy part, I think I’ve got that pretty well covered. I could list several thousand things that have given me joy (many of them films, or at least aspects of same), but why should I expend a Herculean effort and hours of typing just to respond to an emotional scold (and Sherlock Holmes apologist) like Drew McWeeny?
It was revealed earlier today that Swedish-born, Canadian-raised Malin Akerman, 32, has stepped into Lindsay Lohan‘s Linda Lovelace role in Matthew Wilder‘s Inferno. Wilder revealed a few days ago he’d all but bailed on Lohan due to delays in her drug-rehab program. Pic will begin shooting in February. Muse Productions’ Chris Hanley and Jordan Gertner will produce.
Why play a role that will be mostly about sleazy humiliation and subjugation? Because Akerman has been kicking around for a while and has played almost nothing but girlfriends. Her role as Silk Spectre in Watchmen was the exception, but she’s had no lead roles, not even in shitty films, and Lovelace, at least, is a lead with tragic pathos.
Akerman has mostly co-starred in so-so, mostly not-so-hot comedies like 27 Dresses, Couples Retreat, The Proposal and The Heartbreak Kid (a decent Ben Stiller vehicle in which she played an obsessive nutcase), and the deplorable The Romantics, but nobody’s come out of these films saying, “Wow, exceptional Akerman performance!”
Akerman was in Josh Radnor‘s happythankyoumoreplease, a Sundance Audience Award winner that I called “a thoroughly artificial, Woody Allen-with-a-lobotomy 20something sitcom.” She also has a subordinate role in The Bang Bang Club, an apartheid drama that fizzled at Toronto. I don’t know anything about Catch .44, an “indie thriller” that she recently costarred in, but she probably has another so-so role in it.
Akerman can’t just skip along like this and she and her agent know it. She has to strike oil.
By honoring Rabbit Hole producer-star Nicole Kidman with a Cinema Vanguard Award at the 2011 Santa Barbara Film Festival (1.27 to 2.6), Roger Durling is saying the Best Actress Oscar race is now a three-way competition — Kidman vs. Natalie Portman vs. Annette Bening. I can buy into that. Becca Corbett, the grief-stricken wife in Rabbit Hole, is Kidman’s best role since her Oscar-winning Virginia Wolff in The Hours, which was eight years ago. And is arguably her most touching.
Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross speaking to Deadline‘s Pete Hammond: “The theory is pretty simple for us…It’s thrilling that there is a separate category for animation and that allows animated movies to be recognized but for some reason an animated film has never gotten Best Picture and I always wondered was there not an appetite? We decided this year we have the biggest and best reviewed film of the year. If not this year, and not this movie, when?”
HE answer: Never, that’s when. It’s not going to happen so forget it, Rich. Animation is its own realm, and a beautiful and transporting one it is. Toy Story 3 is unquestionably one of the the best films of the year, but it’s an animated thing and that puts it on the other side of the Rio Grande reality realm. And you, due respect, are denigrating your own thing by clamoring for a Best Picture Oscar, which obviously implies that you feel there’s something second-class about a Best Animated Feature Oscar. That’s in your mind, fella.
Best Picture Oscars are for movies that present biologically realistic images of flesh-and-blood people living and struggling in more or less recognizable real-world realms. And which generally don’t cater to family-style emotionality or try to excite children with cartoony tropes and extra-radiant, killer-diller digital imitations of real-world forms and textures. As tightly written and smartly structured and emotionally engaging as Michael Arndt‘s script is, what I’ve just described is the realm and the style of Toy Story 3. As on-target as the characters are and as spiritually complete as the film is, Toy Story 3 is a first-class, triple-A fucking cartoon. Deal with it, live in that territory, embrace that thing and shut up.
If a critics group gives TS3 a Best Picture award, cool. If several critics groups give it their Best Picture awards, cool. But winning the Best Picture Oscar is out. Stay on your side of the fence, be proud of your own thing, and be happy in your work.
I’ve tried to follow the example of Cary Grant in my life, and the effort that has gone into this has served me well. Always try to be gracious and gentlemanly. Stay as trim as you can. Be a cheapskate. Try to eat less. Enjoy good wine but stay away from the booze. LSD is good for the soul. Don’t go bald.
You must have good wifi everywhere, at all times, forever. Even after death.
It’s a good thing to own a baseball mitt, and to have a catch with someone on a big green lawn every so often. Preferably when the light is just starting to go down. And it’s okay to groan like John McEnroe when you throw the ball.
The more free food and drink you consume, the better you’re doing in life. Free movies, free trips, goodie bags, etc. Paying for things always feels bad.
You don’t need an education that will set you back $150,000 and keep you in debt for over 20 years if you have curiosity. That’s what John Huston used to say, and is what Owen Wilson believes right now.
You really do need to know everything about something and something about everything. And if you don’t know something you just have to be curious about it. Easy.
When all the right things are aligned (talent, tune, purpose, spirit), there are few things in life more transporting than electric guitar and bass and drums. Forget the vocals.
People have an unmistakable gleam in their eye when they’re 18 or 19 and about to start college. A gleam that says, “Holy shit, I can’t wait…all this stuff to savor, all these things to learn, all these places to see.” By the time most people have hit 43, that gleam has been diminished if not snuffed out. That’s what I saw at my 25th high-school reunion. No more adventures, thank you. I’ve got my deal more or less worked out and I love my wife and my kids and my weekend routine, and we go to Mexico or the Caribbean once a year. But about 5% of the people at that reunion still had that gleam. Thank God for that.
People spend way too much time sitting around with friends and blah-blahing about next to nothing in bars and restaurants. It feels good to do this — I get that — but the less time you spend shooting spurious shit with fair-weather friends, the better.
Life is nothing without travel to exotic places that other Americans don’t go to because the hotels aren’t swanky enough.
Woody Allen and Rod Stewart were right. Some people are just lucky and don’t have to sweat it all that much. Their genes and heritage have paved a path. Life is unfair. But if things go too easily or too well for anyone too early, they always seem to suffer on some level. It’s best to come into the really good stuff when you get a bit older.
Don Corleone had the kid thing all figured out. He said that “a man who doesn’t spend time with his children can never be a real man.” You also have to be able to roll around and laugh and play dopey kid games, especially with toddlers. If you can’t let that side of yourself out, or if you can’t find it, then you’re a kind of prisoner.
Women always let you know within seconds if you’re “in” — i.e., if they like you enough to want to go to bed with you. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. At all. There are 117 different things you can do or say that will change their mind, and if you can think of 75 of these things in advance you’re a genius. But women always flash that initial green light within seconds of meeting you. Not minutes. Seconds.
Sports-watching is obviously about spiritual nourishment, a ritual that feeds you with feelings and values that you believe are good for your soul. But guys who watch sports in a ritualistic way are essentially living in a secular and, to some extent, prohibitive realm. I’m not saying that realm isn’t a good place to dwell in many respects, but it does shut out some things. Remember how Ray Liotta talked in Goodfellas about how he and Robert De Niro and their wives always hung out and shared Sunday dinners and went on vacations together, year after year? That’s what sports guys are like. A sports guy hasn’t really turned the key in the lock of life until he can say to himself, “Yeah, I used to be an ESPN guy but now I [fill in the blank].”
“Bad luck. That’s all it is. I pray in your life you will never find it runs in streaks. Streaks. I pray it misses you. That’s all I want to say.”
People I knew who partied hard in their late teens and into their early to mid 20s — the real animals, I mean — have all tended to end up in bad and depleted places. Some of them are dead or close to it. You have to rein that shit in or it’ll take you down. I almost succumbed to it myself.
A computer is like a person. You have to turn it off two or three times a week and let it rest. I knew that instinctually when I first starting working with them, but then I talked to a tech guy who told me it’s better to just leave them on and let them “sleep.” Jerk.
People who are still hanging out with a posse by the time they hit 30 are emotional infants. And posse people who throw their heads back and laugh loudly in restaurants and bars to the point of obnoxious shrieking, over and over while others are sitting near them and having to listen to them bust a gut like jackals, are truly repellent.
Friends will not save you. Girlfriends and wives will not save you. Your mother and/or your father will not save you. You have to save you. I’ve known an awful lot of guys (myself included) who’ve spent their 20s looking for some form of salvation from some combination of the above.
But life without a few supportive friends (i.e., the ones who decided to embrace and accept you, asshole-ish tendencies and all, a long time ago and have never changed their minds) and quality-level girlfriends or wives isn’t much of a life. Dogs and cats also tend to round things out.
Oh, to live in a world without stupidity and ignorance and religions. I don’t believe that right-wing Christians should be thrown to the lions, but I certainly understand the thinking of the Romans who felt that way about their ancestors.
Woody Allen was also right about unstable kamikaze women being the best in bed. But nine times out of ten you’ll go crazy yourself if you settle down with them to any degree, so you have to be practical and choose someone sane and stable with good partnership qualities, and that, sad to say, tends to mean (and I truly wish it were otherwise) that sex with long-term partners never compares to insanity sex with nutty women in parking lots and whatnot.
You have to be able to know and sing all the harmonic parts in all the Beatles songs. You have to know them cold. If someone wakes you up at 4 am, you have to be able to sing the low-harmony stuff without thinking about it. “Sometimes when I’m lonely, wishing you weren’t so far away” and “we’ll go all night long,” etc.
When I was approaching 30 I remember feeling unnerved when I read this statement: “Whatever you are at 30, you’re going to be a lot more of.” Whoa. But the guy who said that was operating on the presumption that most 30 year-olds have come into themselves by tasting a certain amount of success and failure, and have more or less decided what they really want and how to play it, and that the remaining 40 or 50 or 60 years will involve occasional dips and turns and rainstorms but will basically be a matter of “steady as she goes.” Well, it’s not like that. Sometimes it doesn’t kick in until you’re 40-plus. Certainly the new threshold for maturity is 40 these days. That’s when you really have to stop exploring other realms besides living off your weekly poker game with your homies (not to mention video games and skiing trips and Sunday football parties).
Very few straight-male friendships last for more than a couple of decades. Sooner or later paths diverge. Guys don’t break up with each other. They just gradually diverge and call less and less and then stop calling except for special occasions, and then that starts to happen less and less. Actually, I take that back. I’ve known one straight guy who actually broke up with me.
People never tell the truth about themselves at parties.