The truth is that I was able to understand maybe 25% of of Rachel McAdams‘ dialogue in season #2 of True Detective. I listened to her with earphones, with the sound turned up and down…every which way and her vocal-fry delivery was all but impenetrable. McAdams’ Ani Bezzerides spoke in an anguished, existentially weary tone of voice that was breathy and half-raspy — a speaking voice that I’ve been calling “True Detective fry.” I’m guessing that she’ll speak much more clearly for her reporter role in Spotlight — journalists have to be clear and concise — but I’m afraid that she might have fallen in love with being all but misunderstood. Here’s hoping I’m wrong and the issue is quickly forgotten.
How many months have I been hearing about Tab Hunter Confidential? It’s played at every gay-friendly film festival in the country not to mention SXSW and several others. So when do I finally get to see the damn thing? Nobody’s approached with any screeners or screening options…nothing. It’s been floating around for roughly five months but still doesn’t want to be viewed by columnists like myself. Not yet! In the words of Cliff Gorman‘s “Emory” in William Friedkin‘s politically incorrect The Boys in the Band, “Who do I have to fuck to get a drink around here?” Update: Someone sent me a link.
Things started out a little languidly when Sasha Stone and I recorded the latest Oscar Poker, but they eventually picked up. We discussed the changeover from physical media to streaming, and how my visits to Amoeba are getting less and less frequent. Bummer: “My daughter’s generation doesn’t seem to care as much about image quality.” We visited speedtest.net and learned how fast Sasha’s download speed is (lowish, slowish) vs. my own (84 Mpbs). We also discussed the likely Best Actress nominees and the reasons why. We discussed Waterworld then & now. We didn’t touch Telluride or Toronto. Again, the mp3.
Two days ago Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone posted a rundown of the likeliest Best Actress nominees. She mentioned 12 contenders but she’s just being nice. There are only four serious hotties: (1) Suffragette‘s Carey Mulligan (not to mention her arresting performance in Far from The Madding Crowd), (2) Brooklyn‘s Saoirse Ronan, (3) Joy‘s Jennifer Lawrence and (4) Carol‘s Cate Blanchett. I don’t know about the fifth slot but it’s up for grabs.
People may feel persuaded to give Blanchett her second Best Actress Oscar after she won In early ’14 for Blue Jasmine, but they’re probably going to want to spread the wealth by giving the Oscar to Ronan, Lawrence or Mulligan. Ronan’s Brooklyn performance (she plays a young Irish immigrant torn between two nice-guy suitors) is solemn and understated and quietly mesmerizing. And yet I’m sensing that Mulligan and Lawrence’s roles — a working-class campaigner for woman’s voting rights in early 20th Century England and a go-getter mom struggling to compete in a rough-and-tumble business environment — are showier and punchier than Ronan’s…right?
I’ve only seen Carol and Brooklyn and know nothing substantive about Joy and Suffragette. But insect antennae vibrations are the great forecasters.
The two top maybes are Sandra Bullock, who may or may not have “one of those roles” in David Gordon Green‘s Our Brand is Crisis (something feels a bit iffy and uncertain about this one…be careful), and Grandma‘s Lily Tomlin, who scores affectingly as a pissy, contentious 60ish woman who helps her granddaughter raise money for an abortion. Tomlin could land the fifth slot if she gets out there and campaigns like Hubert Horatio Humphrey in the 1960 Wisconsin primary
Sicario doesn’t give Emily Blunt enough to do except look emotionally drained and devastated by the horrors of the Mexican drug-dealing carnage…forget it. Watching Macbeth is like slowly sinking into a combination of cold oatmeal and hot quicksand, and while Marion Cotillard is “good” as Lady Macbeth, all you want to do is escape from the theatre so you can take a shower and get a manicure (because everyone in Macbeth has dirt under their fingernails) and go to an Indian restaurant…no action for Cotillard, trust me.
There’s room for only one award-calibre performance as a transgender character this year and that’s Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl, so Elle Fanning’s performance in About Ray, however good or brilliant or knockoutish, will have to step aside…sorry. Bel Polowy won’t even stir talk about a possible Best Actress nomination for her performance in Diary of a Teenage Girl…no way. And the star of Crimson Peak is Guillermo del Toro, I’m afraid, and not Mia Wasikowska.
Yesterday morning I read a 7.28 Yahoo piece by Oliver Lyttleton called ‘Waterworld‘ Turns 20: How Costner’s Apocalyptic Adventure Became One Of The Biggest-Budgeted Fiascos of All Time.” So I’m missing the 20th anniversary by a couple of weeks, but I played a part in trashing the film’s reputation when I was filing for Entertainment Weekly and the L.A. Times Syndicate, and I’m feeling a tiny bit guilty about that. And so I reached out to Costner as well as veteran publicist Bruce Feldman, who was p.r. chief at Universal from ’93 to ’95 (here’s a piece he wrote a few months back about fixing the Oscars), and they both gave me some quotes — Costner by text, Feldman on the phone.
Kevin Costner in Waterworld.
And then I re-watched Waterworld for the first time since catching it at a Los Angeles all-media screening just before the opening. And you know what? It seems to have “improved” slightly. It’s really not bad. It’ll always be indebted to George Miller‘s Mad Max films but that aside Waterworld has aged reasonably well. It’s not a great film but an urgently inventive spectacle, afflicted with logic plotholes here and there and certainly with a weak ending, and it still feels to some extent visually frustrating (why didn’t they shoot it in widescreen?). And I still maintain that Alfred Hitchcock‘s Lifeboat conveys a fuller sense of the moody, irascible energy of the ocean, despite having been shot in a studio tank with rear projection.
But Waterworld is certainly ambitious in its attempts to both excite and intrigue and provoke serious thought about climate change. And it’s mostly a real-deal practical thing except for a few obvious CG detours. And it wound up making a reasonable profit at the end of the day. (So Lyttleton was wrong in this sense.) And it’s not a fucking superhero film.
I began with Costner by texting the following: “As you know or may remember I was reporting and hammering pretty hard on Waterworld when I was writing for Entertainment Weekly in the mid ’90s. And it kinda seems better now than it did back then. The one-line review that I recall someone saying after the first screening was ‘it doesn’t suck.’ Which may have sounded cruel from your perspective but was actually an acknowledgment that for all the toil and trouble and headlines, the movie itself wasn’t half bad. Anything you want to say or reflect upon 20 years later?”
Kevin Costner, Jeanne Tripplehorn in Waterworld.