Windows 95 popped exactly 20 years and one day ago, or 8.24.95. It was no snap thing, that program. I remember hanging out at a computer retail place on Pico Blvd. back then and asking advice from guys who worked there about some of the snarlier Windows 95 issues. I remember one of them saying, “Windows 95, man! Better men than I have been beaten down by it. Do not take that operating system lightly!” I’ve been a Mac guy for only six and a half years. I struggled and sweated within the Microsoft realm for the better part of 15 years or more. I don’t want to think back on those times, but it was rough going. The viruses alone.
Not that I find anything likable or defensible about Donald Trump‘s brusque, blustery personality, but as far as I can tell he didn’t call on Univision’s Jorge Ramos before Ramos went into his question. Journalists are obliged to observe a certain protocol at press conferences. You raise your hand, you eventually get called upon and then you ask your question. Right? Am I missing something?
A second poll is showing Bernie Sanders substantially ahead of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, according to Public Policy Polling. The findings have Sanders with 42 percent to Clinton’s 35 percent. A Franklin Pierce-Boston University poll conducted earlier in the month also found Sanders leading Clinton by 7 points.
Sanders would probably be happening country-wide if it wasn’t for stubborn Clinton support among women, white moderate-conservatives, African Americans and Hispanics. The latter three groups apparently view him, somewhat resentfully, as the candidate of elite educated whites.
The question is whether these mule-headed blacks, Hispanics and bubbas will shift allegiances if Joe Biden jumps in, especially if Barack Obama endorses him.
One of these weeks or months or years, the nominally hip crowd is going to wake up to Mistress America and realize it’s a knockout — fleet and motor-mouthed in a way that Howard Hawks used to dream about. And a nimble character-driven dramedy that keep shifting gears and re-loading and turning the wheel sharply. New Yorker essayist and film cardinal Richard Brody (a.k.a. “tinyfrontrow“) doesn’t need months or years — he gets it right now. His 8.24 piece about Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig‘s film, “Mistress America and the Art of Making A Living As An Artist,” is probably a little too dense and gymnastic and whirling-dervishy for a cheese-brain like myself but it’s probably the inspiring impression of this film that I’ve read since it played at Sundance last January. Boiled down, Brody is calling Mistress America an M3 — a masterwork of “entrepreneurial cinema,” a masterwork of “literary cinema” and a masterwork of “literary cinema in the other, qualitative sense: it isn’t merely about literature [but] a work of brilliant writing.” A review certainly worth reading, and a film definitely worth seeing if you’re still dragging your feet.
In a 2.2.15 article related to See You In My Dreams, I wrote about a certain metaphor that applied to Blythe Danner and septuagenarian sexuality. I wrote that it seemed a bit…well, a tiny bit curious that unlike her widowed character in the film, who falls in love with and has gentle sex with Sam Elliott, Danner herself hasn’t done the deed in over 13 years, or since the death of her husband Bruce Paltrow in ’02. This, in any event, is what Danner told Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson in a Sundance Film Festival interview that appeared just before my piece.
Danner’s sex life (or a lack of one) is, of course, none of my damn business. Except, due respect, when Danner is doing award-season interviews about her performance as a woman very much like herself who decides to take a lover after 20 years of abstinence. The film is obviously mirroring her own life to some extent and vice versa, and she’s presumably agreed to make herself available to some extent as part of a Bleecker Street effort to put her name into the conversation for Best Actress.
I heard last night from a guy who attended a Manhattan research screening of Gaby Dellal and Nicole Beckwith‘s About Ray, a drama about a teenaged girl (Elle Fanning) looking to transgender into dude-ness. This is not about my guy’s opinion of the film but the opinion of an outraged transgender person who posted on Tumblr. [See below.] His/her view is that it’s “transphobic” for Dellal to have cast Fanning as the transitioning teen. That’s because Fanning is cisgender, a term that basically means being comfortable with how you were naturally born. It also means anyone who hails from a slightly larger group than the 96.2% of the U.S. population that doesn’t identify as LGBT. Apparently the only acceptable casting would have been a transgender boy. In Tumblr guy/girl’s eyes, the Fanning casting is equivalent to John Ford having chosen Henry Brandon to play “Scar” in The Searchers. He/she also mocks Dellal’s explanations for why she cast an actress and why she cast Fanning, and states that “this movie is not for trans people but for cis people who pretend to care.”
Respect and compassion for the LGBT community is, of course, de rigeur for anyone with a heart and a brain, but identifying every non-transgender straight person in the world (i.e., everyone except for an undetermined fraction of 3.8% of the population that identifies as LGBT) as “cisgender” strikes me as a bit forced. A certain militancy or hyper-sensitivity from anyone representing a discriminated minority is to be expected and is totally cool and understood, but you also have to take a breath from time to time. There’s a special kind of oxygen on the planet Transneptune that’s a little different from the oxygen on planet Earth.
“I like clean sheets, fresh fruit, steaming hot showers, purring cats, Kooples T-shirts, nice-smelling soaps, Blurays and streaming high-def movies on Amazon and Vudu, motorcycles and scooters with full tanks of gas, Italian-made brown lace-ups, deodorants, Crew hair mold, electric toothbrushes, colorful socks right out of the dryer, Levi 511s, strong cappuccino, Aqua Velva after-shave lotion…that line of country. I don’t even want to look at a homeless person, much less watch a movie about one. Due respect for Maggie Smith but I’m just being honest here, which is more than can be said for many critics out there.” — a just-posted comment in a thread following yesterday’s riff about Nicholas Hytner and Alan Bennett‘s The Lady In The Van.
In a compilation of “out-takes” from Lane Brown‘s Vulture q & a with Quentin Tarantino, the director-writer says that Grantland‘s Mark Harris “may be the best film writer ever, when it comes to these historical, slightly critical books that he does.” In other words, Harris is very good at assessing not just films and filmmakers but their impact and importance in a broader social-historical context.
But if Harris is so admired and accomplished at this particular thing, why did he totally ignore the malignant 75-ton elephant in Tom Cruise’s living room when he recently wrote about the 53 year-old superstar in a Grantland career-assessment piece? As I remarked on 7.29, “How can Harris write a here-and-now assessment of Cruise and not even mention Alex Gibney‘s Scientology doc and the portrayal of Cruise as an enabler/promoter of an unmistakably venal, predatory and vicious-minded organization? Particularly with Gibney’s doc having aired only a few months ago? How can Harris ignore that and just say ‘ah, well, too bad Cruise isn’t interested in the meaty acting roles any more’?”
Director-writer Paul Haggis (Show Me A Hero) conveyed a similar complaint about the press in general in an 8.23 interview with The Daily Beast‘s Marlow Stern.
When Stern pointed out that the “conversation” about Cruise’s Scientology connection has “petered out”, largely due to Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation‘s huge box-office success, Haggis said that “we forgive anybody anything if they’re a movie star, I guess!” Stern added that Cruise didn’t even address Going Clear or Scientology during the press tour for Rogue Nation.