“Gay roles can win Oscars,” explains Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neil, “but only if portrayed by straight people who die hideous deaths.” Do they really have to go hideously? I think that simple dying (as Christopher Plummer‘s gay character does in Beginners) is sufficient. O’Neil has included a photo gallery.
Every now and then I have to explain the rules about saving seats. There are thousands upon thousands who still don’t understand the one absolute rule that applies in theatres and food courts, which is that you have to mark something to save something. It doesn’t matter how or what you mark it with as long as you mark it. A napkin, a jacket, a scarf, a newspaper…anything.
Once that’s done, the seat is absolutely effing saved and no one questions it…least of all myself. But you can’t just point to a couple of seats (or three or four or six) and say, “Oh, those are saved.” Doesn’t work that way. Ask any animal in any jungle. If you want to mark your territory, you have to urinate upon it. Every animal in the world gets this. No argument, it’s law.
The incident happened two nights ago in the Century City food court adjacent to the AMC movie plex. I had some Chinese on the tray and was looking for a seat at a table. It was very crowded — no separate, unoccupied tables. So I chose one next to a table that a woman and her young son were sitting down at. As I was about to sit down the woman looked at me and said, “Uhhm, that table’s saved…two others are coming.” No markings on either seat but I let it go.
So I went over to another table that was kissing a table that a young couple were sitting at. “Sorry,” the guy said, shrugging and smiling sweetly, placing his hand on one of the white plastic seats. “We’re holding this for friends.”
So I went over to another unmarked table that was next to one that a 40ish woman was sitting at with a son or daughter…I forget which. “Uhhm, this is for the rest of our family,” she said. “Actually, no…I don’t think it is,” I said, sitting down with my tray. “As far as I can tell every empty table in this food court is being held for someone else, and as this one isn’t marked, I’m sitting in it. No offense.”
“But my husband is sitting there,” she said.
“No, actually…I am,” I said. “You have to mark the seat, you see. If you don’t mark it, it’s fair game. Sorry.”
“Why don’t you sit somewhere else?,” she said.
“I’d be delighted to,” I answered, “but every last seat in this food court is being saved for someone.”
The husband came over with his tray. His face was pained, anguished. “You’re going to break up a family?,” he said. I repeated the basic rule: “Look, man…you can’t legitimately save a seat unless you mark it. It’s very simple. Mark it and you’re fine. This seat wasn’t marked so that’s that. I have the same rights as you.”
“I can’t believe you, you’re such an asshole!,” the woman said. “This is why you’re sitting alone!”
I agreed with her. “Yes, you’re right. I’m absolutely an asshole and that’s why I’m alone. No argument with that. But you didn’t mark the seat and that’s a fact.”
“God…asshole!,” the woman repeated. Her child was not enjoying this.
“Yes, ma’am,” I said again. “I am that. Definitely, no argument. Just try marking the seat next time.”
So they went somewhere else and sat down and ate their food, and I ate mine and then I left. Will they think about marking their seats next time? Of course not. Assholes don’t change their spots.
It hit me as I was watching the M.A.S.H. Bluray the other night that a nice plotless comedy would be agreeable right about now. “Plotless” is crucial — a film that forgoes the usual story mechanics and just ambles along on flip irreverence and attitude, and then ends about 105 minutes later when one or two of the original trio get new jobs or whatever.
I don’t know what this plotless comedy would be about, but a lot of people have forgotten that the original M.A.S.H. guys (Elliot Gould, Donald Sutherland, Tom Skerritt) were a tiny bit smug and even arrogant, and that they threw their weight around when they could, and that they didn’t tolerate officious fools or kneejerk authority-worshippers or goodie-goodies of any kind. They enjoyed humiliating people they didn’t like. And they certainly weren’t smooth sweethearts like the TV M.A.S.H. crew (Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, etc.).
There’s no telling what Yogi Berra really thinks of Moneyball, to go by Jason Gay‘s 11.7 Wall Street Journal article. Berra is a national treasure, but aging’s definitely a bitch. Your ears and nose get larger, your eyes turn pink and bloodshotty, and your teeth either turn yellow or get smaller, or both.
During this morning’s Oscar Poker chat (to be posted later tonight or tomorrow morning), Boxoffice.com’s Phil Contrino voiced a data-based hunch that The Artist (Weinstein Co., 11.23) is going to do “Hurt Locker-level business,” or a domestic gross south of $15 million. Which is what it’ll probably make if every over-40 film Catholic buys a ticket. Which is what I’ve been urging this crowd to do all along. But if it stops at $12 million or so, what will this mean in terms of a potential Best Picture nom…if anything?
I’m a little surprised that Cameron Crowe‘s We Bought A Zoo (20th Century Fox, 12.23) runs only 90 minutes. (Or so says the Wiki page.) That feels a little slender. Substantial films need to run 100 to 110 minutes and beyond, no? On top of which the poster gives me pause. It feels so Dean Jones, so family-friendly, so sunshine-smiley, so Paul Simon Kodachrome-d.
Crowe has had his ups and downs, but he’s an ambitious director-writer of depth. Or at least he was the last time I checked. Why is Fox marketing his latest film as the kind of thing that people like me are going to scowl and crack wise about?
** Obviously there are exceptions — Days of Heaven, Zelig, etc.