I’m a day late on this but was there any Oscar-telecast viewer in the entire world who didn’t assume that Imitation Game screenwriter Graham Moore was gay after that moving acceptance speech? Anyone? After the Oscars Moore told reporters he’s straight. Okay, fine…but he had to know how his words would be interpreted, especially after referencing the sadness of Alan Turing as he began. The important thing, of course, is that he said a good thing. Kids who feel weird or strange or different (as I definitely felt when I was 15 and 16) should own that and not worry. But Moore’s speech was a bit odd itself.
Five days ago I booked my Cannes Film Festival flights. Fares go up and down all the time but I had a vague suspicion that the Charlie Hebdo massacre plus general fears of ISIS might bring them down. (One of the first things I did after 9/11 was purchase a dirt-cheap RT to Paris.) On 2.19 I went on Expedia and bought a triangulated trip — New York to Paris on Thursday, May 7th (I like hanging in Paris for two or three days before taking the train to Cannes) and then Prague-to-New York on June 1st. The whole thing only cost $1050 — pretty good. I’ve definitely paid more in the past. That’s not counting my Virgin America LAX to NYC RT, of course, or the train fare or the flight from Nice to Prague so I’m not getting away with murder, but you have to watch fares like the stock market. I just went online to re-check prices and the same trip now costs $1300.
It would appear that Ryan Gosling and Guillermo del Toro recently visited Disneyland as a way of cementing their bond. Based on what exactly? Well, Guillermo is a fan of Gosling’s Lost River, which I understand and agree with, and they’ll be doing a panel discussion of Lost River together at South by Southwest (3.13 to 3.21). But why Disneyland of all infernal places? Why not drive out to the desert or fly to Italy or something? I haven’t been to Disneyland since taking the kids there 17 or 18 years ago. Never again.
This morning The Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth reported that Lee Daniels‘ Richard Pryor biopic is a distinct (though far from guaranteed) possibility as far being a late 2015 release. Yes…another biopic of a genius whose life was destroyed by drugs and then died too soon. How many times has this story been told? Pryor’s widow Jennifer Lee has said during an “Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend” podcast that the biopic will roll in July. Mike Epps as Pryor, Kate Hudson as Jennifer and Oprah Winfrey “so far” attached as Pryor’s grandmother. Daniels rewriting Bill Condon‘s script. Jennifer says that Harvey Weinstein “would like it to be released for the Oscars…because, you know, Harvey is good at that shit.” Selma shot last June and couldn’t punch the screeners out in time. It sounds as if the Pryor pic would work out better as a 2016 release. Flashback: I met Pryor at a Comedy Store press event sometime in the mid ’90s, when he was in a wheelchair and a thin, frail remnant of his former self. Mixed feelings, to say the least. We spoke for a few minutes but I could barely hear his voice.
I’ve kind of settled into Togetherness. It’s well written and appealingly acted for the most part, and I’ve gradually come to feel relaxed and easy with Mark Duplass‘s Brett, Amanda Peet‘s Tina and Steve Zissis‘ Alex. The problem is Melanie Lynskey‘s Michelle, who is generally morose and draggy to hang with. (The exception to this rule has been the “Kick The Can” episode.) Brett and Michelle’s sex life is all but toast along with the marriage itself, but neither wants a divorce. On top of which Michelle has been falling for Jon Ortiz‘s David. I’ve read the synopsis of the latest episode, “Ghost in Chains,” with plans to see it later today or tonight, but Lynskey’s enervated let-me-out-of-here vibe makes me want to run for the hills. I’ve been there. Things can sexually flatten out in a committed relationship after a year or two, and unless that spark is truly crackling from the get-go getting things going can sometimes feel like an uphill hike. It’s very difficult for a longterm couple to open up and work through stuff and find new ways of trusting. Hard work. I’m basically saying that hanging with Lynskey brings all that failed-marriage stuff back, and I’d rather leave that shit in a box under the bed. Brett and Michelle should probably just cut the cord and figure out a custody arrangement with the kids. It all works out in the end.
Average Joes don’t care who’s running the big studios, but I do. Especially if the studio honcho isn’t some mushy corporate toadie but someone with a little passion and gumption and force of personality. In this sense Tom Rothman, who’s just been appointed Sony’s Motion Picture Group Chairman, or in layman’s terms the successor to Amy Pascal, is an intriguing fellow. The other contenders were Doug Belgrad and Mike Deluca. Rothman had been working as TriStar chairman. Before that he more or less ran 20th Century Fox’s film division with changing, increasingly powerful titles from ’96 through ’12, mostly as chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment. True story: I vaguely knew Rothman back in the early ’80s through actor friends, all of whom seemed to live on the Upper West Side. I was also glancingly familiar with his actor brother, John. One night Tom, myself and a few others sat around and played a speak-along dialogue game as we watched Gone With The Wind. I can recite GWTW dialogue any hour of the day. Scarlett: “Sir, you should have made your presence known. You are not a gentleman!” Rhett: “And you, miss, are no lady.”
Wait…did I just make a mistake? In politically correct Stalinist circles and particularly in the wake of 12 Years A Slave, saying you’re down with GWTW can almost be interpreted as a tacit endorsement of its patronizing attitudes towards blacks and absurd characterizations of plantation slave life. It’s almost like saying you admire Birth of a Nation. Sorry! I hate GWTW! Not really. GWTW has always been a racist joke, except it’s really a film about the hard deprivations of life during the early years of the Depression and how gumption and survival instincts are what really matter in life. And the last hour of the first half (attending to dying men in Atlanta hospital to “I’ll never be hungry again!” in Tara) is about as good as old-school Hollywood filmmaking gets.