You have to wait roughly 23 minutes before Michael Moore starts talking about how the country has changed (“81.5% of the country is either female, people of color or young people between 18 and 35…and the remaining 18.5% — conservative white men over the age of 35, the conservative base — is not the country any more”) and — finally — Where To Invade Next. And David Poland doesn’t do the bee-bee-beedle-bee-bee-bee-bup-duh-bee-bee thing too much either. And the conversation is fun, spirited, good-natured.
In my 9.11.15 review of Michael Moore‘s Where To Invade Next I called it “an amusing, alpha-wavey but factual love letter to the kind of European Democratic socialism that Bernie Sanders has been espousing for years. And it’s funny and illuminating and engaging in an alpha, up-with-people sense. It’s basically an argument in favor of ‘we’ values and policies over the ‘me and mine’ theology that lies of the heart of the American dream.”
Prior to my second viewing of Moore’s film, which happened a week ago at West Hollywood’s Sundance Cinemas, Moore stood up and acknowledged that some portions of Where To Invade Next are going to prompt people to say “no way,” and that he expects conservatives to claim that it presents a slanted view of things. So he urged the audience to check out a forthcoming fact sheet on his website that will help them argue with their conservative friends.
Except the sheet won’t be posted until sometime in December so I badgered marketing consultant Ryan Werner into giving me an advance look at a few rough portions of it. Ryan sent them along last Sunday. Hang on to the URL for this piece until the film comes out.
I hate it when people take forever to snap selfies. I can hold a smile for maybe two or three seconds, four at the outside. A smile isn’t made of chiselled wood — it’s a living, breathing, momentary thing that glows briefly and then fades, and if you can’t respect and work around that simple fact then fuck off. Because there’s nothing worse trying to hold a smile when you’ve got rigor mortis of the lips. When you see a celebrity coming and you want to take a picture, you need to set the camera app for reverse mode so it’s aimed at the selfie-posers, and then you hit the button in rapid succession…bang-bang-bang-bang. If you’re not a total moron the process is over in four or five seconds, tops. I was watching poor Jane Fonda pose with some locals in Santa Barbara three or four weeks ago, and the guy was holding the camera up and going “okay…just a second!…getting there…hold on!” and I heard Fonda say something along the lines of “any minute now!” Inwardly she seemed to be saying to herself “God, my lips are about to fall off!…what is this guy’s malfunction?”
Will Smith and the fans last night on Hollywood Boulevard prior to the AFI Fest screening of Concussion at the TCL Chinese./
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg is reaching when he claims that last night’s Concussion screening confirmed that Will Smith‘s performance as real-life NFL whistleblower Dr. Bennet Omalu is a serious Best Actor threat. Smith delivers a better-than-decent performance, nicely augmented by what sounded to my white-ass ears like a believable Nigerian accent, but at best he’s a mild Best Actor threat. If he gets nominated, fine…but the film won’t bounce him into contention. Smith will need “sell it” on his own. Can he? Does he care to?
Peter Landesman‘s NFL-related drama is smart and credible in many respects, but also inconclusive as one is left wondering two things at the conclusion: (a) why doesn’t Omalu accept a prestigious and influential Washington, D.C. job that he’s offered at the finale, as his revelations about CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) result in his being threatened and marginalized during the whole film, and so the D.C. job would refute all that while affirming his cultural standing, which the audience would take comfort in, and (b) what can be done to prevent football players from being afflicted by CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) short of quitting the game? No one in the film ever talks solutions — just the importance of getting the NFL to admit the problem exists.
The bottom line is that Concussion is interesting and well-ordered and nothing if not earnest, but it’s a little bit shy of riveting. The most it can hope for is to make a pile of dough. Award-season contention is out, trust me. In large part, I feel, because of James Newton Howard‘s overbearing score, which isn’t just bad but Amistad-bad.
My name is Billy Pilgrim, and I’ve become unstuck in time. I was just reading Anthony Breznican‘s EW interview with Harrison Ford about Han Solo, The Force Awakens, that golf-course plane crash, etc. Ten minutes later I was told that a Bluray of Peter Weir‘s Witness, in which Ford gave his first lead performance that really landed, will arrive on Thursday or Friday after a long delay. And then right after that I was reminded of Bernard Girard‘s Dead Heat on a Merry-Go Round (’66), in which Ford had his first speaking part, on 12.15. And then I went back to EW and noticed that Carrie Fisher has suddenly slimmed down (serious HE respect) and no longer looks like Elton John.