Hollywood filmmakers are learning not to mess with LGBT activists, particularly the transgender wing. Ben Stiller‘s Zoolander 2 is being media-slapped as we speak over what some LGBTs regard as a demeaning satire of a possibly transgender guy, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. The trouble started when Cumberbatch’s character, a model named All (as in “all in”), appeared in a recently-popped trailer for the 2.12.16 Paramount release. A petition against the film has reportedly gathered 5800 signatures. The petition, apparently penned by activist Sarah Rose, claims that Cumberbatch’s character “is clearly portrayed as an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals. This is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority. The last thing the transgender community needs at this moment is another harmful, cartoonish portrayal of our lives.” Question #1: apparently LGBT is a dated acronym as the newbie is LGBTQ — lesbian gay bisexual transgender queer. I don’t mean to sound like a clueless asshole but what’s the difference between gay and queer again? Question #2: To the best of my knowledge minstrel-show actors wore blackface not to demeaningly simulate the appearance of “a minority” but precisely and intentionally to demean African-Americans…right?
HE Best Picture Dream Picks (i.e., in this order & to hell with tea-leaf-reading predictions with The Revenant and Joy put aside for the time being): Spotlight, Mad Max: Fury Road, Brooklyn, Beasts of No Nation, Love & Mercy, Son of Saul, Carol, Everest, The Martian, Asghar Farhadi‘s About Elly, the last 25 minutes of The Walk.
HE Hardball Best Picture Predictions (obviously without having seen The Revenant and Joy): Spotlight, The Revenant (because I can feel it), Joy (ditto), The Martian (popcorn), Room, Brooklyn, Carol. Mystifying Add-Ons: Bridge of Spies, Steve Jobs.
Quote #1: “The myth that movies are redeemed in ancillary markets is really not true. If they ignore it in the theater, they’re going to ignore it later. You’re dead, and then you’re deader.”
Quote #2: Rothman noted that “back when he was running production at 20th Century Fox, the ultimate risk inherent in James Cameron’s Avatar wasn’t the 3D or the blue-skinned characters with tails or any of the other things people fretted over. ‘The risk in Avatar was it was original,’ Rothman said. ‘It wasn’t based on anything with a core fan base.'” In other words, it was execution-dependent — said to be easily the most horrific term in the vocabulary of a 21st Century production executive.
Quote #3: “We made a film this fall, one of the films I’m most proud of in my career, a film that Robert Zemeckis made called The Walk. Got incredible reviews, it was incredibly experiential, it opened the New York Film Festival. And nobody alive gave a fuck.” Correction: the easy-lay crowd gave it a mixed-positive pass, but discerning critics thought it mostly sucked…except for the final 25 minutes, which were pretty great.
Last night I re-watched a good portion of Paul Verhoeven‘s Showgirls at the Key West Theatre & Community Stage. Adam Nayman’s revisionist book about this reviled cult film (which was selling at the KWTCS and at Key West Island Books) tries to resurrect the rep a la F.X. Feeney going to bat for Heaven’s Gate, but Showgirls is just as ghastly and indigestible as it seemed 20 years ago. Almost every line offends in some way, and some of the performances (like Kyle MacLachlan‘s) are somewhere between comically and demonically awful. But I love Verhoeven — easily one of the most likable and charming directors I’ve ever spoken with or listened to. (My first chat with him happened at a party in Cannes in ’92.) Hayman and Verhoeven did a 30-minute q & a following the screening, and everyone went home in a good mood. Verhoeven’s favorite memory: the audience anticipating en masse Peter Weller‘s response at the end of Robocop when the corporate chief says “nice shootin’, son….what’s your name?”
Critic-author Adam Nayman, director Paul Verhoeven following last night’s KWFF screening of Showgirls.
Key West Marina — Saturday, 11.21, 8:20 am.
It was so peaceful this morning inside Harpoon Harry’s around 7:20 am, when I strolled in for an omelette du fromage and some fruit. And then right around 8 am, the short and sandal-wearing tourist mob came in…chatter-chatter-chatter-yakkety-yakkety-yakkety-yak.
I’ll be hitting Pepe’s tomorrow morning…maybe. Come to think of it, maybe not because it doesn’t open until 8 am and you know what that means.
In yesterday’s (11.20) address about responding to the Paris terror attacks, Hillary Clinton said the following: “Islam is not our adversary…Muslims are peaceful and tolerant and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.” I’m somewhere between appalled and horrified at the post-Paris attitudes of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson about Muslims and Syrian refugees in particular, but Clinton was flat-out wrong. A small but significant percentage of Muslims have openly described themselves as not just intolerant but supporters of the psychopathic barbarism of ISIS
An 11.17 Pew poll states that a small but noteworthy percentage of Muslims in nations with significant Muslim populations support ISIS. 4% of the Arab population in Israel, or roughly 42,000 souls, have a favorable view of that fiendish organization. 5% and 8% of Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank are also pro-ISIS. Positive ISIS numbers among Nigerian Muslims is around 20%, and 12% of Malaysian Muslims feel the same way. And you know that a certain percentage of the “don’t know” crowd are also pro-ISIS — they just don’t want to lay their cards on the table.
The bottom line is that a small percentage of Muslims support ISIS, and that the possibility of a Muslim community harboring or shielding ISIS militants is not, at the very least, a crazy racist notion. This is the fear driving conservatives in this country. I don’t agree with pushing away moderate Muslims or fanning hateful attitudes (which will play right into the ISIS scheme) and I have nothing but compassion for Syrian refugees, but I doubt that the PEW statistics are wrong.