I began to be bored by tonight’s Presidential debate very early on. I was sitting in a bar and half listening, but mostly talking to a girl. All I know is that I listened out of the corner of my ear and I was soon bored and depressed. I don’t know if Romney won or not, but he looked and sounded okay, and Obama definitely underperformed. He clearly hadn’t prepared. I know what it’s like to half-prepare for something and then go out there and just blow it. That’s what Barack did tonight. Way to go, guy.
In a 9.19 post called “Mild To A Fault,” I wrote the following: “My concern is that Barack Obama, convinced as everyone else is by now that Mitt Romney is going to lose, is going to do his usual courtly, combat-averse, close-to-genuflecting routine when he debates Romney on 10.3, 10.16 and 10.22. He’s figuring Romney has already dug his own grave to why box a dead horse? Obama doesn’t like to scrap, much less take off the gloves. I’ve always seen that as a failing.”
Sasha Stone and Glenn Kenny called me dead wrong and clueless, but I was right, wasn’t I?
It was almost as if Obama sat down with his team this afternoon and said, “I don’t want to commit hari-kiri opposite Romney…I want to hold my own as best I can and maintain my dignity…but I think I kinda might want to lose, strange as that sounds.”
Adviser #1: “You want to lose?”
Obama: “Yeah, I do a little. Because, for me, anything is better than manning up and scoring points against Romney because, as you guys know, I’m deathly afraid of looking or sounding too aggressive. Now, can I lose by just being mild and unruffled or…?”
Adviser #1: “Well, I think you might want to try to pretend that you’re not the President and that you’re just some history professor at Andover. Try to seem as wonky as possible. Lots of stats and policy jargon. That’ll bore the piss out of everyone and people will stop listening. That’ll get the ball rolling.”
Obama: “Okay. Then what?”
Adviser #2: “No matter where the debate goes, don’t bring up Romney’s 47% gaffe. Pretend like it didn’t happen. Don’t bring up Bain, don’t mention offshore tax shelters, don’t mention his history as a company killer and a job outsourcer, don’t mention his disastrous European trip. Everything that makes him look bad or clumsy or mercenary, don’t mention. And if he lies about your record, let him get away with it.”
Obama: “Got it. Anything else?”
Adviser #1: “That’s enough for now, I think. You’ll be seen as a loser by the liberal pundits if you do what we’ve just suggested, and then we can talk later on how to lose the second debate.”
Obama: “Fine. Thanks, guys.”
Oh, and Jim Lehrer is finished. He’s too old, not sharp enough, his voice is too high-pitched, he’s over. He’ll never moderate a Presidential debate again.
You can forget trailer #1 and trailer #2. This is the film — the first good taste of Silver Linings Playbook since the Toronto Film Festival. And I agree, by the way, with Jennifer Lawrence‘s response to Julia Stiles and John Ortiz‘s disapproving glumness. Do I respond this way in real life? No. I sit there and suck it in and smile.
One day after the appearance of the new Killing Them Softly one-sheet, which looks to me like the most excitingly designed poster of 2012, another goodie has arrived. The only problem is that the guy doesn’t look like Sessions star John Hawkes. He looks like a cross between Michael Shannon and Roger Rees when he starred in Nicholas Nickelby or Hapgood on Broadway.
On 8.17, or 45 days ago, I posted an open letter to Academy president Hawk Koch, asking him to arrange a special Academy screening of Keanu Reeves and Chris Kenneally‘s Side by Side. (I also sent Koch a direct letter and gave Kenneally a heads-up.) I don’t know if this effort had anything to do with the Academy deciding to screen the doc on Sunday, 10.7, at 2:30 pm (which will be followed by a q & a with Reeves). But I suspect they’re related. Wouldn’t you?
The Academy listing says that Side by Side is about “filmmakers discussing the pros and cons of digital ‘film.'” Not really. The film very simply but intelligently explains how and why the industry has changed over from film to digital over the last 14 years or so. The disappearance of celluloid and the dominance of digital is the most earth-shaking and to some extent traumatic change that Hollywood has undergone since the advent of sound, , and it would benefit everybody to sink into this history and understand it as fully as possible.
Side by Side tells an important tale. This plus the fact that it’s very intelligently assembled means it ought to be a Best Feature Documentary nominee.
I can feel a mousey indie attitude, a lowballness, a lack of thunder and swagger coming out of Indomina‘s pre-release campaign for Leos Carax‘s Holy Motors (10.17 in NYC). This is one of 2012’s great films, the L’Age d’Or of our time, a landmark madhouse flick. It can’t just be another indie sparkler that opens and closes and goes straight to VOD and Netflix…please. Attention must be paid. Trumpets must be sounded.
Holy Motors is so much bolder and more inventive than Argo or Silver Linings Playbook or Life of Pi it makes me sick to think of the likely disparity in terms of reception and box-office. Les Miserables may wind up as the most popular broad-consensus Best Picture winner of 2012, but Holy Motors is an unhinged free-for-all for the ages.
You should have been in the Grand Lumiere when I saw it during Cannes Film Festival, and to be among a crowd clapping and cheering on their feet when it ended. This. trust me, is what Holy Motors deserved. It doesn’t deserve to just open in a small theatre or two like a church mouse and then just dribble away and end up on VOD, and Netflix.
From my 5.23.12 review:
“I got out of the noon showing of Leos Carax’s Holy Motors about 100 minutes ago…holy moley! Holy Paris, holy Trip City, holy nocturne, holy inferno, holy freedom, holy holy, roly poly, put on the wackazoid. Holy white stretch limo. Holy wigs and fake beards and long nails and spirit gum. And holy Denis Lavant, Eva Mendez, Kylie Minogue and Michel Piccoli! Dali/Bunuel/Lynch/Carax live large. Welcome to Holy Nuttervile in the best, most spirit-releasing sense of that term.
“It’s basically a dreamscape movie about a possibly wealthy guy named Oscar (Lavant) whose job it is to tool around Paris in a big white limo and pretend to be other people, complete with first-rate makeup and latex and wigs and you-name-it. It’s the inner life of a mad director (i.e., Carax) who’s letting his imagination run wild.
“Who pays Oscar or why he would be rich doing this kind of thing, or why he goes home to a small white condo and has two chimpanzees for children instead of the two or three human kids he waves goodbye to in the beginning…forget all that. This movie is about playtime. Anything can, will and does happen, and reality has nothing to do with it. And yet it feels grounded in the stuff. It’s ‘loony’ but believable. And very handsomely shot.
“If only an American filmmaker was this mad, this imaginative, this unchained, this willing to leap. I wonder if any American has it in him or her to create something like this. If he or she did, Americans would probably say ‘what the fuck?’ and stay away in droves. It’s in the realm but well beyond anything David Lynch has ever done.”
Jim Lehrer‘s response to Lawrence ODonnell‘s idea of a real, free-swinging debate was a surprise, O’Donnell says. When he called Lehrer and explained the idea, “There was a long silence at the end of the phone. I was sure he was searching for a polite way of saying that ‘this is absolutely ridiculous, that would never happen, that’s such a Hollywood idea.’ But he said, ‘I’ve been sitting up there, waiting for that to happen for years.'”
I haven’t seen the final version of the Vertigo Bluray, which will be part of the Hitchcock Masterpiece Bluray Collection (10.30). But I’m told that James Stewart‘s suit, which was an aubergine-tinted brown in the DCP I saw in late August, is still sort of eggplant colored. I hope that the original earth brown is restored, but if it isn’t…mon Dieu! To think that several movie generations to come have been condemned to accept Peter Schade and Mike Daruty‘s aubergine revisionism!
Thanks and cheers to Mike Frenden for delivering the Vertigo: Aubergine poster in record time.
I still say there’s something vaguely offensive in a Mitt Romney-ish way about a western costing $200-million plus. Nikki O’Finke is mentioning $215 million but the Lone Ranger Wiki page says $260 million. (Is that a typo?) Three years ago this was an Indian spirituality werewolf movie, but that was shelved in favor of….trains!
HE correspondent Lewis Beale has noted the atmospheric production-design similarities to Sergio Leone‘s Once Upon A Time in the West.