I don’t think these photos need explaining or captioning. It’s fairly obvious. Four of us (myself, Svetlana Cvetko, Graemm McGavin, Rhiannon McGavin) visited this morning between 10:30 and 12-something. Greatest horror-fantasy environment I’ll ever walk through. I needed at least a couple of more hours, but we were on a clock. Grateful.
In 2912 situations, Judd Apatow‘s This Is Forty did about $4 million yesterday with $12 million projected by Sunday night. I had estimated right off the top that it would do about as well as Apatow’s Funny People, which I rather liked. But a $12 million weekend in nearly 3000 theatres is a soft opening. I’m assuming that the current Rotten Tomatoes score of 50% reflects the general sentiment among first responders, but maybe not. Reactions?
From a 12.12 HE post: “Somehow the issues and speedbumps that I felt or sensed when I first saw This Is 40 in late October dissipated when I saw it again [at the premiere]. So this is one of those ‘it’s pretty good but it works a lot better if you see it twice‘ movies.
A 12.22 N.Y. Times story by Scott Shane calls into question a statement by Acting CIA director Michael J. Morell that Zero Dark Thirty “exaggerates” the role of coercive interrogations — torture — in obtaining information about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. “While Mr. Morell’s account is close to that given last year by Leon E. Panetta when he was C.I.A. director,” Shane writes, “other agency officials who served under President George W. Bush have put greater emphasis on the usefulness of the harsh interrogation methods.
“This year, Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., who oversaw the agency’s counterterrorism operations when the methods were in use, wrote in The Washington Post that the hunt for Bin Laden “stemmed from information obtained from hardened terrorists who agreed to tell us some (but not all) of what they knew after undergoing harsh but legal interrogation methods.”
“And Mr. Bush’s last C.I.A. director, Michael V. Hayden, wrote last year in The Wall Street Journal that “a crucial component” of the information that led to Bin Laden “was information provided by three C.I.A. detainees, all of whom had been subjected to some form of enhanced interrogation.”
The failure to accept ZD30‘s clearly ambiguous portrayal of torture — i.e., it was possibly effective but perhaps not — is mostly a politically correct, liberal-circle-jerk phenomenon. The film simply says that torture was in play during the Bush era and that maybe it helped in some slight or residual way. Rodriguez and Hayden were invested in the Bush-era applications of torture and so they’re looking to justify it, but how likely is it that they’re flat-out lying?
Joe and Jane Popcorn won’t give a damn about this issue, I can tell you that much.
If Ben Affleck were to take leave of his senses and declare a serious interest in running for John Kerry‘s soon-to-be-vacated Massachusetts Senate seat and really go for it, he’d probably land the Democratic nomination. He’s up on the issues, talks a good game and has an obvious brand-level magnetism (i.e., that Robert Redford-as-Bill McKay quality) that no other Massachusetts Democrat could compete with. And he’d probably beat presumed Republican candidate Scott Brown.
But with Affleck’s directing career (Argo, The Town, Gone Baby Gone) in a boom cycle, running for the Senate would be a step down. He’s obviously well positioned to remain a top-ranked hyphenate (and perhaps even move beyond his current status as the new Sydney Pollack) for the next 25 to 30 years. So why lower himself into the swamp of politics, especially given the fact that even if Affleck wins this year he’ll have to re-run in 2014 to keep the Senate seat?
“There was one time where somebody who I respected said ‘come do this right now, I think you can win.’ And I just realized when I got asked that question that it was the last thing I wanted to do. Plus, I kind of felt like I just got past all this bile in my own life” — a reference to his Bennifer period — “and then you’re going to just jump back into this ugliness? I mean, talk about long knives. It’s horrendous way to live. You know, your family and blah blah blah. I guess I lost a little bit of that idealism. I don’t know.
“So, no, the answer is: I don’t want to run for office. And I don’t even like working in partisan politics. People get so wound up and so ugly now. I find that doing things that are independent where you can really actually make a difference, where you can affect policy, you can affect change, means more than doing the partisan political thing.”
Then again in a less than 48-hours-old interview with CBS News‘ Bob Schieffer, Affleck said he was too busy at the moment to really consider the Massschusetts situation, but he didn’t issue a Shermanesque denial either. “I do have a great fondness and admiration for the political process in this country,” Affleck said, “but I’m not going to get into speculation about my political future. One never knows. I’m not one to get into conjecture.”
In other words, Affleck been a political-issues junkie for much of his life and is no doubt flattered to hear such talk being kicked around, and so he’s kind of half-winking for the time being. But it’ll probably go no further than that.