In a 3.26 Esquire piece called “War Against Youth,” David Marche explains how the degree to which Boomers (and, to some extent, older GenXers) have stuck it to GenY is really without historical precdent. No generation has ever robbed and undermined another generation quite like this. In fact, when has an American generation ever made things worse for a younger one?
“Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, human potential has been consistently growing, generating greater material wealth, more education, wider opportunities — a vast and glorious liberation of human potential,” Marche begins. “In all that time, everyone, even followers of the most corrupt or most evil of ideologies, believed they were working for a better tomorrow. Not now. The angel of progress has suddenly vanished from the scene. Or rather, the angel of progress has been sent away.
“Nobody ever talks about generational conflict. Who wants to bring up that the old are eating the young at the dinner table? How are you going to mention that to your boss? If you’re a politician, how are you going to tell your donors? Even the Occupy Wall Street crowd, while rejecting the modes and rhetoric and institutional support of Boomer progressives, shied away from articulating the fundamental distinction that fills their spaces with crowds: young against old.
“David Frum, former George W. Bush speechwriter, had the guts to acknowledge that the Tea Party’s combination of expensive entitlement programs and tax cuts is something entirely different from a traditional political program: “This isn’t conservatism: It’s a going-out-of-business sale for the Baby Boom generation.” The economic motive is growing ever more naked, and has nothing to do with any principle that could be articulated by Goldwater or Reagan, or indeed with any principle at all. The political imperative is to preserve the economic cloak of unreality that the Boomers have wrapped themselves in.”
So Woody Allen‘s To Rome With Love will open theatrically in Italy 22 days from now. Which apparently means Allen’s film is a no-go for the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Update: To Rome With Love “is definitely not going to Cannes,” a friend confides. “It never was.”
Idea: I arrive in Cannes around noon on Tuesday, 5,15. If Allen’s film is still playing three weeks after opening (which it should be), maybe I could rent a car at Nice Airport and drive to San Remo, Italy — roughly 30 minutes east of Nice — and catch it at a local cinema. It would be nice if Sony Classics would consider showing To Rome With Love to Cannes-bound journalists in order to spare guys like me the cost of renting a car and all that. Maybe a screening in NY/LA concurrent with the Italian debut?
In Contention‘s Kris Tapley and his wife April Smith, married last weekend, flew to Rome a couple of days ago for their honeymoon. They’re staying in a historic district apartment provided by Giuseppe Amorisi, a guy I know who sublets cool pads to me and certain friends. Yesterday afternoon I sent Giuseppe an email: “Did Kris and April arrive in Rome yet? Are they okay?” Giuseppe back to me: “Kris arrived and everything was fine for them. They are nice people. I’m sure they’ll enjoy Rome and the apartment.”
When a lead character in a big-studio franchise has a longer hair style in the second film it’s because the actor happened to grow his hair and didn’t feel like making it short again, and because the director and the producers didn’t give a shit either about hair continuity. Hence Sam Worthington‘s “Danny McBride perm” in Wrath of the Titans.
Eff the audience if they don’t like my longer hair. I wore it short for Clash of the Titans because my Avatar character had short hair and it hadn’t grown out. Or because I was in a short-hair groove at the time. Or whatever. Deal with it.
Tom Cruise‘s Ethan Hunt has a Marine-style buzz cut in the first Mission: Impossible, and then he returned in the sequel (the Notorious-style one with Thandie Newton) with longish rock-star hair. It didn’t matter. Nobody cared.
Mark Hamill‘s Luke Skywalker had longish mid ’70s hair when he made Star Wars. When he returned for The Empire Strikes Back three years later his hair was slightly shorter. Why? Because men’s hair stylings in ’79 or ’80 were slightly shorter — no other reason. Hamill had a still shorter, vaguely combed-down executive cut in 1983’s Return of the Jedi.
Mcworthingbride (thanks to HE reader Dennis Pagoulatos — a.k.a. “Padre la Tiempo”)
You have to hand it to the designers and distributors of these one-sheets. They’ve made it clear which film is worthwhile, and which is the toss-away. The characters played by Robert Pattinson in Bel Ami and Cosmopolis are not dissimilar. Alone, aloof, not overly concerned with ethical behavior, etc.
Tarsem Singh‘s Mirror Mirror (Relativity, 4.4) is a visually appealing but low-energy comic farce that never leaves the ground. I didn’t laugh once. I didn’t guffaw. I didn’t titter. The pacing is too relaxed or something. It plays a bit like the medieval chapter in Woody Allen‘s Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Sex…and that wasn’t funny either. I didn’t hate it exactly, and I was charmed by Armie Hammer‘s performance as the hunky prince, but I was checking my watch every 15 minutes or so.
The best part, as I noted last night, is a Bollywood-style song-and-dance sequence during the closing credits.
The main story points in the classic Snow White tale are kept, but with lots of satirical tweaking. (The script is by Melissa Wallack and Jason Keller.) The basic strategy is to start with classical trappings and characters and then devolve or downshift into 21st Century cultural-colloquial. On a certain level Mirror Mirror plays as a metaphor about the arrogant 1% — represented by Julia Roberts‘Queen Clementianna — hogging all the money and wallowing in splendor, and causing the 99% to suffer and struggle.
The mean queen wants to stay beautiful forever but has serious cash-flow problems due to her squandering, and so she wants to marry the much younger Prince Andrew Alcott (Hammer) because his kingdom is flush. He’s initially smitten with the beautiful Snow White (Lily Collins, the daughter of Phil Collins) but the queen slips him a special puppy-love potion that makes him pant and wag his tail and slobber all over her. I’m forgetting why Snow White leaves the castle…either she was banished or wanted to commune with her subjects…but she eventually hooks up with the seven dwarves and…and…and…I’m losing interest in this. As I was last night in my seat.
Collins does pick up a sword a couple of times and engages in acrobatic derring-do near the end, which synchs up with the Snow White-as-warrior concept in the other film with Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron. And instead of Snow White succumbing to a poisoned apple and going into a coma and the prince bringing her back to life with a kiss…well, imagine a twist.
The bottom line is that Tarsem (a.k.a. Tarsem Singh or Tarsem Singh Dhandwar) doesn’t have a knack for comic farce, His specialty is making everything look like dessert and blending animation with live action and providing a sense of visual unity and panache, which he does here. But the energy never picks up and the “funny stuff” isn’t funny.
Last night Mirror Mirror‘s Rotten Tomatoes rating was at 80-something percent. Now it’s at 56%. It’s melting…it’s melting!
Everything about this trailer for Take This Waltz (Magnolia, 6.29) persuades that Sarah Polley‘s film is a stand-out — a perceptive, intelligent romantic drama for youngish adults. The narration is especially fine. I caught this in Toronto last September. I was okay with it. I respected it. Why didn’t I really like it? Because a couple of aspects didn’t feel quite right.
The basic shot is that Michelle Williams, married to a highly subdued (i.e., muffled) Seth Rogen, falls in love with a cute guy who lives across the street (Luke Kirby). It’s obvious that Williams is bored with Rogen from the start, and that she could do better. But the main fact is that we’re a little bored by Rogen when he can’t be Rogen. The bottom line is that he’s stuck playing a nice-guy sap who’s getting cheated on, and that’s not a lot of fun for him or us. I kept waiting for him to get all snarky and sarcastic and Rogen-y, but Polley didn’t want that.
The other oddity is that Kirby is a talented artist who makes ends meet by working as a rickshaw guy — he pulls people around in a two-wheeled cart like a coolie. It’s one thing for a hot wife to shag a hunky guy on the side, but women generally don’t tend to leave their husbands and give up hearth and home for rickshaw drivers. The world is chock full of bored, vaguely unsatisfied wives who stay with their vaguely boring, shlumpy, nice-guy husbands year after year because they’d rather not risk the unknown. Chemistry and hot hormones aren’t enough. Most women won’t take the leap unless the lover is financially secure and can offer them a better deal.
I was also slightly bothered by Kirby running around in gray cross-training shoes.
The conversational stand-out is a full-frontal nude shower scene featuring Williams and costar Sarah Silverman and some older women inaside a health club. It’s not erotic. It’s just plain and matter-of-fact. The kind of thing that a male director would be hesitant to shoot for fear of being called an ogler.
Non-adventurous, cautious-minded ComicCon journos were fretting today about missing today’s noon deadline for the ComicCon hotels form. “Convinced it’s too late, will sleep on the street,” one said. It’s always preferable to plan ahead and feel secure, of course, but people with gumption can always improvise and make do.
The last time I attended ComicCon I just drove around and found the most attractive (or at least tolerable) down-at-the-heels flophouses in the northern regions. Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach…that line of country. Fleabag motels are always cheaper and almost never filled to capacity. Because the vast majority of cautious-minded travelers refuse to stay in them.
The only way I’ll ever attend ComicCon again is if a major, must-see film has its first-ever showing there. Otherwise forget it. ComicCon is Ground Zero for the CGI jizz, comic-book jail cell, moronic videogame flip-flop mentality that has all but ruined action films, and has made fantasy films as predictable as fast-food menus at Wendy’s. Almost everything I hate about movies today seems to have originated there. The less Hollywood caters to the ComicCon mentality, the better off movies in general will be.
The esteemed James Rocchi, Drew McWeeny, Katey Rich and Ed Douglas are ComicCon swoonies and more power to them, but I am God’s Lonely Man. I see the ComicCon crowd the way Travis Bickle regarded the “whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, junkies…sick, venal.”
What keeps me going, of course, are the exceptions to the rule, which always pop through, thank fortune.
Laziness and cowardice are the primary causes of bad, spirit-deflating movies. The ComicCon factor isn’t entirely to blame.