I’m sitting at a table in a Palm Springs Carrows, which is the same deal as an IHOP. And of course, a giggling woman is sitting one table over with her boyfriend. Giggling constantly and almost hysterically. And she refuses to tire or ease up. And is utterly indifferent to the possibility that others in the restaurant might not want to share in her merriment.
You can’t order people not to be gauche, and there’s really no point in asking them. They’ve either been taught the meaning of the word by their parents at a young age and have been mindful of it it all their life, or their parents were…whatever, common or coarse or didn’t think it was important, and figured that laughter in and of itself is a joy and a blessing and told their kids to always let it out, regardless of the social circumstances.
My theory is that the louder and more relentlessly a person laughs in an otherwise sedate and low-key environment (like a Carrows), the more pent-up and miserable they are with their day-to-day circumstances. I guarantee you that Pablo Picasso or James Joyce or Albert Einstein or George Gershwin never laughed like this in a quiet cafe.
I know one thing: there are more people like the happy giggling lady in today’s world than there are people like me.
Tonight’s screening of Lasse Hallstrom‘s Salmon Fishing in the Yemen at the Palm Springs Int’l Film Festival didn’t work out. I left at the one-hour mark, but it wasn’t the film’s fault. It was mine, or rather the fault of the circumstances.
Amr Waked, Ewan McGregor in Lasse Hallstrom’s Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
One, the drive from L.A. to Palm Springs took three hours rather than the usual two, and two of those hours were stop-and-go hell. So I was stressed and frazzled. Two, the sound in the Palm Springs High School auditorium echoed and bounced all over the fucking place, forcing me to to cup my ears to hear even half of the dialogue. There were whole scenes I was missing. And three, there were a couple of 20something girls sitting to my right who were constantly talking to each other. Not whispering — talking. I was so whipped I didn’t even admonish them.
So the hell with it. They won. The shitty sound and the girls and the fatigue, I mean.
The portion that I saw told me that Yemen is an lightly engaging, smartly written adult comedy with a dry, underplayed sense of humor — a bit like Local Hero. I’ll see it again sometime soon, and probably have a fine time with it.
21 and 1/2 months ago I saw Richard Press‘s Bill Cunningham New York, a likable, open-hearted, intensely New Yorkish doc about the legendary N.Y. Times “On The Street” fashion photographer. (The MOMA showing was the opening-night attraction for 2010’s “New Directors New Films.”) But it’s eligible for 2011’s Best Feature Doc Oscar so I’m revisiting.
The DVD came out last September. I was recently sent a copy by Karen Fried, the film’s publicist, and I watched it again last night. It’s likable, clean, sturdy, straight.
The 82 year-old, Manhattan-residing Cunningham has been shooting fashion and society pics for the last 45-odd years, and in the process has often been at the forefront of fashion trends. His photo collages in the Times are his claim to fame.
As the owner of a red Bridgestone bicycle I’m down with anyone who peddles all over New York. Press’s doc would have you believe that Cunningham never takes a cab or a subway. I don’t really believe that. There’s no way an older guy, even if he’s in terrific shape, would ride a bicycle around in sub-zero Manhattan temperatures with those Arctic winds howling and swooshing down…no way.
The other question mark is why does Cunningham still insist on shooting film? Anyone who’s been around for ages is going to stick with the tried-and-true — I get that — but for a guy who travels light and lives alone and lives in a small apartment there’s no reason in the world for a professional photographer to not shoot with a digital camera these days. Film has been extinct for…what, at least seven or eight years? Longer? Only eccentrics and sentimentalists are still shooting with the stuff.
I don’t blame Cunningham for being who he is, but I do blame Press for not asking about film vs. digital and making it part of the doc. It’s a huge topic to ignore. I tried reaching Press earlier today to make sure it;s not in the film, but he didn’t respond.
Bill Cunningham New York isn’t what you’d call a stunningly original doc, but it’s a very assured one, and not a frame longer than it needs to be.
The doc makes clear that Cunningham has a wonderfully radiant attitude about life. He lives healthily, stays lean and trim, is constantly on the go, constantly scanning the city for the next hint or clue and full of good cheer. This is how to live your life when you get older.
On Saturday, January 7th, Regen Projects is having an opening reception for “Daniel Richter: A Concert of Purpose and Action.” No, not “my” Dan Richter, the former mime and still-kickin’ businessman who played Moonwatcher in Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey (and whom I interviewed 19-plus years ago for the L.A. Times) but a German artist named Daniel Richter. Just sayin’.
With scripts for The Artist, Shame, Beginners, Drive, Martha Marcy May Marlene, My Week With Marilyn, The Iron Lady, Like Crazy, Margin Call, Take Shelter and Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy out of the running due to rules and regulations, the Writers Guild has announced five nominations each for their Best Original and Best Adapted Screenplay award…congrats to all. On the other hand the disqualifications are excessive so it’s not exactly a bellwether of anything else.
Original Screenplay: 50/50, w: Will Reiser; Bridesmaids, w: Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig; Midnight in Paris, w: Woody Allen; Win Win, w: Tom McCarthy; Story by McCarthy & Joe Tiboni; Young Adult, w: Diablo Cody. Suggested HE winners: 50/50 or Win Win.
Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants, w: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, w: Steven Zaillian; The Help, w: Tate Taylor; Hugo, w: John Logan; Moneyball, w: Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; story by Stan Chervin. Suggested HE winner: Moneyball or The Descendants.
I’ve often referred to Palm Springs as a place where actors and filmmakers go to hide out when their movie has bombed big-time or has otherwise proven an embarassment. They usually do so while wearing Ray-ban shades and a fishing hat with the brim pulled down. But I’m heading out there today (expected departure around 1 or 1:30 pm) to spend four days at the Palm Springs Film Festival. Salmon Fishing in Yemen, Super Classico, Elite Squad, Turn Me On Dammit, etc. Plus parties and dryness and gekkos and brunches.
I’ll be staying at the Palm Springs Travelodge on East Palm Canyon Drive. If I’d decided to go earlier I might have been comped by the festival. I’ve never attended before because it’s right before Sundance and the expense seemed too much to bear.
If you want to feel safe and secure and totally soothed and welcomed by a large friendly crowd of really, really nice people, read Dave Karger‘s Oscar predictions in the latest Entertainment Weekly in order to know which likely Oscar winners to see and vote for. Because whatever the safe default favorite of the moment may be (like The Artist or The Help or War Horse or whatever), “Safe Dave” is the man to listen to.
If you’re looking for trouble, throw down several drinks and then hang out at a bar at 4:30 am. Only the wildest and most nihilistic life forms are roaming around at that hour, so if you’re looking to get into something the odds are favoring. Either Jeremy Renner knew that and was saying “bring it on!” while sitting at the bar at the Rachada Pub in Phuket, Thailand, or he didn’t know or give a damn or whatever. But now he knows. Life has wised him up.
The rotor axe allegedly used on Jeremy Renner’s drinking buddy.
According to the Phuket Gazette, Renner and Vorasit Issara, a general manager at a nearby resort, were drunk as skunks…actually the Phuket Gazette story doesn’t say that. But it does say that Issara “dropped a glass on the floor at around 4:30am,” and that this led to a fight between Isssara and the pub owners, who violently “stabbed him in the stomach” and “chopped at his neck with a rotor axe,” according to the Phuket City Police.
“On Wednesday morning, the six staffers of the pub were charged with attempted murder.
“Issara survives but is in the hospital with serious wounds to his stomach and neck, while Renner and another associate suffered minor injuries. A reliable source told the Gazette that Mr Vorasit’s party [was comprised of] his driver and four foreign friends, two women and two men.
“The group went to the KorTorMor Pub near Nimit Circle, then another club near Royal Phuket City Hotel before they arrived at the Rachada Pub. The incident happened at around 4:30am, several hours past the mandatory closing time for bars.
“Major Genera; Chonasit therefore ordered the venue closed for the next six months.”
Fandango is reporting that Paramount’s The Devil Inside, a found-footage horror flick in the Paranormal Activity vein, is the top ticket-seller right now, representing 31% of all daily sales.
Dread Central‘s William Brent Bell says the film is “not perfect” but “[it] hits way more than it misses. The Devil Inside has moments that will shock, scare, disturb, and leave you gasping. It’s a trip to the dark side that’s well worth taking. No matter what you believe in…say your prayers.”
How many HE readers are willing to take Bell’s word on this thing?