“As pervasive as the internet has become, so has the notion that free content must be free for others to take,” read the tag line. The “Blogger Centipede” panel, which began at 5 pm in the Austin Convention Center, was about a general lack of ethics in certain corners of the web, and what, if anything, can be done about it. The panelists were (l. to r.) William Goss, Pajiba’s Dustin Rowles, Gordon and the Whale‘s Kate Erbland, Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson and the well-regarded Matt Patches.
Knowing full well that very few movie stars have a more toxic image than The Beaver star Mel Gibson, Summit Entertainment and Participant Media are trying to spin the South by Southwest premiere of Jodie Foster‘s new film (which will screen here on Wednesday night) with a “social action” campaign meant to highlight the various pitfalls and possible remedies for mental illness. What, Mad Mel’s? No — mental illness in general.
The press release reads, “As [The Beaver] depicts the devastating effects of mental illness on one family, Participant designed the Social Action Campaign to provide audiences with tools, resources and opportunities to heal the pain of those suffering from mental illnesses and their families and friends,” and blah blah.
It also promises that “on 3.17 at Lambert’s Downtown Barbecue in Austin, an afternoon celebration of the Social Action Campaign for The Beaver will take place,” and that musical headliners will include Pepper Rabbit and Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers. The Beaver director/star Jodie Foster and co-star Anton Yelchin will also take the stage.
So Gibson isn’t going to show up in Austin, or has Summit/Participant simply decided not to announce his intention to do so in their press release? If he appears, it’ll be a circus. If he doesn’t appear, it’ll be a bigger circus.
The Beaver will open on May 6th.
Augustus Owsley Stanley III, by any yardstick one of the key promoters and launchers of LSD use in the mid to late ’60s (equal to the influence of Timothy Leary, Jimi Hendrix‘s ‘Are You Experienced?‘ album and the Beatles), died yesterday in a car crash in Australia at the age of 76.
If you accept, as I do, that spiritual satori by way of LSD in the ’60s triggered the spiritual revolution of the ’70s and introduced a whole new level of comprehension about mystical enlightenment (the concept of which, before the mid ’60s, hadn’t even penetrated U.S. culture, given the general tendency to regard spiritual matters in terms handed down in Sunday church services), then the death of Stanley is, in a sense, like the passing of John the Baptist, St. Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther or any other major spiritual figure of the past.
Stanley’s Wiki bio says he was “probably the first private individual to manufacture LSD. Between 1965 and 1967 he produced more than 1.25 million doses of LSD — a catalyst for the emergence of the hippie movement during the Summer of Love in the Haight-Ashbury area, which one historian of that movement, Charles Perry, has described as ‘one big LSD party.’ Stanley was also an accomplished sound engineer, and the longtime sound man and financier for psychedelic rock band the Grateful Dead.”
“‘[Stanley] made acid so pure and wonderful that people like Jimi Hendrix wrote hit songs about it and others named their band in its honor,’ former rock ‘n’ roll tour manager Sam Cutler wrote in his 2008 memoir ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want.’
“Hendrix’s song ‘Purple Haze’ was reputedly inspired by a batch of Stanley’s product. The ear-splitting blues-psychedelic combo Blue Cheer took its named from another batch.”
Last night /Film‘s Peter Sciretta caught Paul Feig‘s Bridesmaids (Universal, 5.13) as part of a double-feature presentation following a 10 pm showing of Greg Mottola‘s Paul. Sciretta says that while Feig’s film might technically be called a chick flick or romantic comedy, it “reaches levels of hilarity and heart that these types of films haven’t reached in over a decade.”
Sciretta also says (and this is significant, I think) that last night’s film- and tech-geek crowd, which he guesstimates was at least 80% male, “walked out praising [this] Judd Apatow-produced chick flick over Paul, the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost nerd-serviced sci-fi alien comedy,” which by any measure would have to called “a major achievement.”
Written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids is about feuding bridesmaids played by Wiig and Rose Byrne (Damages). Maya Rudolph plays the bride. Melissa McCarthy, Jon Hamm, Matt Lucas, Ellie Kemper, Dianne Wiestand, the late Jill Clayburgh and Chris O’Dowd costar.
“Wiig delivers a career-best performance that proves she can do much more [than] sketch comedy and funny characters. I’d be shocked if Wiig isn’t nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical at next year’s Golden Globes (a la Emma Stone/Easy A). McCarthy also kills in every scene she’s in.
Bridesmaids “takes the Apatow formula and applies it to a film populated by funny women,” Sciretta notes. “I’m sure it will be criticized for being misogynistic, even though it is much less so than his other films, on top of being much, much less misandristic than most romantic comedies.
“I’ve also heard a couple complaints that it’s overly long, [but this] might be due to the movie not having begun until a half-hour past midnight.
“The movie has some great set pieces, the centerpiece of which is not afraid to mix women with potty humor, and does so not just for the gross-out laughs, but at the service the story and in a way which escalates to a brilliant crescendo.”
During last week’s initial (and most likely only) viewing of Battle Los Angeles, I kept wondering what those canvas or cloth flaps on the front of U.S. troop helmets were for. I did a little poking around this morning with various search terms, but uncovered no hints or clues. All military gear is about functionality, but I can’t imagine what these effing things would be for. “Hey, soldier…where’s your rolled-up cloth helmet ornament?” Somebody must know.