A day or two ago Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen posted angry Twitter responses to a piece posted last weekend by Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday. It suggested that perhaps the resentful anti-social feelings of Isla Vista murderer Elliot Rodger were somehow exacerbated by “male fantasies of wish fulfillment and vigilante justice” generated by Hollywood downmarket filmmakers. She mentioned Neighbors in particular, presumably because it’s fairly recent and is chockablock with depictions of college-age bacchanalia, and that’s what set Rogen and Apatow off. Here’s Hornaday’s measured response:
Amat Escalante‘s Heli (6.13, NY & LA) “is a starkly drawn, no-frills, deeply ugly Mexican art film about the ravaging of Mexican society by drug traffickers and how poor people always take it in the neck,” I wrote on 5.13.13. “I respect Escalante (Sangre, Los Bastardos) and his austere mindset, but there would have to be something wrong with anyone who says they ‘liked’ this movie. It uncovered every dark and fatalistic thought I’ve had about my life and about life in general, and generally sent me into a black-dog mood pit.
“Heli is about a family of poor Mexican rurals living near the very lowest rung of everything — income, education, opportunity, consciousness. I would rather kill myself than live a life like this — no computers, no wifi, no Blurays, no film festivals, no love, no laughter to speak of. The movie is basically saying life for these guys goes from drab and depressing to flat-out ghastly due to the drug-dealing malevolence that’s plaguing much of Mexico.
Smelling flowers, staring at the stars and falling in love are delightful and free, yes, but if you haven’t found at least some financial comfort or stability in life you’re probably going to be so anxious and fretful that you’ll never even think to smell flowers or stare at the stars. And no woman is going to give you the time of day if you’re living hand-to-mouth, much less fall in love with you. You really do need dough to be happy. It takes the edge off things and allows you to smile every so often. It allows you to wear better socks and high-thread-count T-shirts and ride cool bicycles and belong to health clubs and afford an occasional dinner at a nice restaurant. They say that money can’t buy you love in this world, but it’ll get you a half-pound of cocaine and a 16 year-old girl in a great big long limousine on a warm September night. Now, that may not be love but it is all right.
I spoke earlier today to screenwriter, producer and novelist Terry Hayes, who was in Toronto plugging his new novel, I Am Pilgrim, a half Le Carre and half-Ludlum spy thriller about fierce conflict between a tortured western intelligence agent and a jihad-committed Islamic nutter. The cheerful Hayes, a steadfast HE reader who enjoys the general air of eccentricity (including, he says, the postings of LexG), is best known as the screenwriter of George Miller‘s The Road Warrior and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Phillip Noyce‘s Dead Calm, Brian Helgeland‘s Payback and Albert and Allen Hughes‘ From Hell. He didn’t work on George Miller‘s forthcoming Mad Max: Fury Road (5.15), the reboot with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron but he swears it’s a game-changer or words to that effect. We talked for about a half-hour and pledged to meet some day in Los Angeles, perhaps with Mr. Noyce making it three. Again, the mp3.
I Am Pilgrim author Terry Hayes.
Yesterday Indiewire asked me to contribute to their tabulation of favorite films and performances by Cannes-attending critics. They won’t be posting the final results until tomorrow (i.e., Wednesday), which feels a teensy bit drag-assy. The Cannes Film Festival has been over for four days now, Variety posted their critics’ faves yesterday and the world is moving on. So in the spirit of “time waits for no one” and “no dawdling,” here are the picks I sent along yesterday:
Best Film: 1. Leviathan, 2. Wild Tales, 3. Maps to the Stars, 4. Foxcatcher, 5. Lost River (A for effort, at least cribbing from the right people).
Complaint: Why have I been the only one to bluntly state the obvious after-fact that Leviathan was shafted by the jury? The 3D Godard film gets to share the jury prize and Leviathan gets a piddly screenplay award? Those who attended Cannes and saw all the films know what bullshit that was, and yet after the award ceremony they all said “oh, excellent, fine…the jury has spoken!” and “what a great year it was!” and other alpha-softball stuff.
Best Lead Performance (either gender): 1. Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Leviathan; 2. Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars; 3. Erica Rivas, the angry, vengeful bride in Wild Tales, 4. Anne Dorval, Mommy, 5. Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night.
Note: I couldn’t understand more than half of Timothy Spall‘s performance in Mr. Turner as he spoke from deep inside his throat with a lower-class accent. I might have voted for him if there were subtitles.
This Lacoste ad, directed by Seb Edwards, was first aired during the Sochi Winter Olympics. Exposing your emotional underbelly can result in feelings of fear and trepidation, but if you’re wearing a Lacoste polo shirt things might work out. Take a chance, right? You’ll notice that as Mr. Beardo leans over for a kiss, the woman’s expression and body language don’t indicate receptivity, much less enthusiasm. She just sits there with a vaguely quizzical expression as she waits for him to lean over far enough, and then she faintly responds. The levitating-above-the-coffee-table action is presumably happening in the guy’s head. So basically the guy is taking the risk (because he bought a Lacoste shirt earlier that day?) and the gal isn’t risking shit. This couple probably goes through the same routine every day. You might say “some relationships are like this” but almost all of them are. The one who loves more is always wondering where things are, and the one who loves less is always a bit less engaged and tends to skirt eye contact and is often checking texts.
Tunnel Bear is for Europeans who want to watch digital streaming that’s only accessible to U.S. viewers. It somehow tunnels under the coding restrictions. A director pal I’ve corresponded with (and whom I met in Paris last year) suggested it. $4.99 per month to watch HBO Go and Netflix — seemed like a good deal. So I downloaded and installed and paid the money and did everything right, and it didn’t work. I went “hmmmm” and installed a recent software update, and then re-started, re-jiggered, double-checked…nothing. Update: The trick or the point of Tunnel Bear is to LIE. It enables you to LIE convincingly about where you’re trying to watch streaming from. It is a FIB-ENABLING software — that’s the whole point. Rocket scientist that I am, I thought I was obliged to NOT LIE and say I was actually in France. I finally changed the location setting to United States and it worked.