I want to savor this film so badly I can taste it. I want to see it so badly that I don’t want any more lines or moments spoiled by trailers. This is enough. Really. I know I’m dreaming. 20th Century Fox marketing is going to saturate the world with at least one more full-boat trailer during September. Which is why I wish I could see Gone Girl this week (i.e., tomorrow or Wednesday), the whole thing in a quiet Fox lot screening room during the late afternoon. God, I love that “Labor Day is right around the corner” feeling.
According to a 8.25 Yahoo Movies piece by Gwynne Watkins, director-writer Tyler Perry had never heard of Gone Girl director David Fincher before signing to play a costarring role as Tanner Bolt, the attorney of Ben Affleck‘s suspected wife-killer Nick Dunne. Honestly — that’s what he says in the article.
Tyler Perry, Ben Affleck in David Fincher’s Gone Girl (20th Century Fox, 10.3).
“If I had known who David Fincher was and his body of work, or if I’d known the book was so popular, I would have said no…I probably would have walked away from it,” Tyler tells Watkins. “And my agent knew that! He didn’t tell me until after I signed on!”
On one hand you almost have to admire Perry’s nerve. That’s almost like admitting he’s never heard of James Cameron or Stanley Kubrick or David Lean. Does he live at the bottom of a mine shaft? Hey, Tyler…ever heard of Paul Thomas Anderson? How about Samuel Fuller or Ida Lupino? Could it be that Perry only pays attention to black directors…something like that? This might help some of us to understand a little more why Perry’s movies are so bad. He lives entirely in his own little cave.
Earlier today Rope of Silicon‘s Brad Brevet tapped out a sharp, open-hearted assessment of Jacques Tourneur‘s Out of the Past (’47), which he’s brave enough to admit he’d never seen until the Bluray came along. This is what younger film guys are supposed to do now and then. They’re supposed to say “oh, wow…there’s a whole realm of satisfaction to be had if you can get past the idea of only seeing the latest megaplex crap.” “Seeing films like Out of the Past [makes me] thankful for the position I have,” Brevet writes. “but it’s a matter of convincing others. Remember, if you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you and if you’re interested you can own this film noir gem right now.”
Last night’s episode of The Leftovers (“The Garveys At Their Best”) was one of the most intriguing, although in the context of this show that almost means “it’s less irritating than the other episodes.” The whole thing was a flashback showing all the major characters living their normal lives and coping with their issues two or three days before the Big Departure, when 2% of the world’s population vaporized. It was certainly the best episode since “Guest”, which was strongly dominated by Carrie Coon‘s Nora Durst and pretty much put that actress on the map.
But I was also reminded last night what my big stumbling block with this series is, and the reason why I’m always half-frowning and sometimes even scowling when I watch it. I’m talking about Justin Theroux‘s Kevin Garvey, Mapleton’s chief of police and easily the weakest, most unstable asshole I’ve ever come to know over the course of a dramatic series, especially given that he’s the central figure and, in Theroux’s own words, “the symbolic center of the town as far as trying to keep his arms around it and hold it together.”
Hold it together? Garvey is a wreck. He looks scared all the time, and when he’s not scared he looks befuddled. Everything throws him. That stupid two-week beard makes it look like he’s been on a bender. He’s always struggling to find words. He can’t hold his temper and is always swearing…”fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.” He’s short. He can’t seem to hang on to his white cop shirts. That lost bagel…what was that about? Always banging into walls and stumbling around. Always going “whoa, I don’t get it…do you know what’s going on?” 90% of the time his mouth is hanging open. Whenever he’s outside you’re always expecting birdshit to land in his hair. He’s that kind of guy.
The politically correct brigade has struck again. This time it’s over an errant phrase in an 8.24 N.Y. Times profile of the late Michael Brown, the 18 year-old who was killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on August 9th, which set off days of protesting in that city and torrents of anger nationwide. The inflammatory wrongo, in the eyes of vigilant watchdogs, is reporter John Eligon‘s description of Brown as “no angel” at the top of the fifth paragraph. To the goose-steppers this indicates a slightly racist undercurrent. To them it implies that Eligon is obliquely characterizing Brown as a kind of troublemaker who may have exacerbated matters and perhaps even hastened his own doom when he and a friend were told by Wilson to “get the fuck on the sidewalk.”
They’re basically saying that journalists aren’t allowed to describe an African-American victim of police violence as “no angel,” even if the victim had a somewhat checkered history. Eligon was required to portray Brown in more neutral-ish terms, even if the sum of the observations and anecdotes about Brown may have allowed for the use of that term. That’s a no-no, reporters, and if the rest of you slip into this attitudinal realm you’re going to get slammed on Twitter.
Eligon and his editors may be closet racists, but his piece struck me as a result of simple shoe-leather reporting. It offers a mixed but not unduly negative portrayal of Brown, who is described in roughly the same kind of terms that I could have been portrayed with when I was 18. Or that the young Robin Williams or Sam Kinison or Elvis Costello might have been described with. Or that almost any contrarian kid with any fire in his veins could have been described with.