Customer: “I’ll take both pairs, I guess.” Salesperson: “And would you like us to raise the cuffs a bit?” Customer: “No, two inches of exposed sock is fine.” Salesperson: “Very well.” Customer: “Are you saying the cuffs should be higher? Is that where things are heading? I don’t want to look like some guy stuck in 2014.” Salesperson: “Two inches is fine.” Customer: “Those guys who wear their pants lower than the boot line…those are the ones I feel for.” Salesperson: “There’s no hard rule. To each his own.”
Banana Republic fashion, snapped the night before last in the Grove.
In the old days epic movies had a standardized accent system — American accents for the good guys, cultured British or mid-Atlantic accents for the bad guys. This was how it worked in many ’50s and ’60s sword-and-sandal epics (Spartacus being one, except when it came to John Gavin‘s Julius Caesar). It was also how it worked in 1977’s Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Uncle Owen all sounded like they’d grown up in Montana or Oregon or Southern California, and Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, Peter Cushing‘s Grand Moff Tarkin and other officers of the Empire all spoke with Cambridge accents or…you know, some kind of crisp upper-crusty diction.
Audiences accepted this symbolic system without complaint because it was more or less uniform. Everyone understood that the accents meant something in terms of character and allegiance, and that was fine.
But in Star Wars: The Force Awakens the system is no longer in place. It sounds like a crazy accent salad. Daisy Ridley‘s Rey speaks with an English accent that’s part university and part Soho retail (and most definitely not Cary Grant-ish), and John Boyega‘s Finn, a south-of-the-river guy, speaks with an “acted” American accent. And yet Adam Driver‘s Kylo Ren has an American accent so what the eff?
Initially posted on 2.26.13, re-posted today over something that happened last night: There are three kinds of pain-in-the-ass parking-lot drivers out there. I hate them with every drop of blood in my heart, and I’m just trying to decide which is the worst.
Is it (a) the person who eases into a space and yet doesn’t turn their car off for some reason and just sits there idling, which indicates to others that he/she may be pulling out and which sometimes creates parking-lot jams because people stop and wait when they see a car just sitting there with the effing tail lights on? These stationary idlers are perfectly aware of the trouble they’re creating, and they do it anyway.
Is it (b) the person who walks up to their car, gets in, turns it on and does absolutely dead fricking nothing for two, three or four minutes? Just sitting there endlessly, pondering life and death and the whereabouts of Godot as they try to remember if they need to buy more cat litter?
Or is it (c) the person who parks in a space and then, instead of turning the car off, just chills like a department-store dummy and then, after sitting there for 45 or 60 or 120 seconds, very slowly backs out about six to eight feet — ahhh, they’re leaving! — and then drives back into the space again because — ohh, I see! — they wanted to park a bit more precisely parallel to the white lines.
Once you’ve parked your car, turn it the hell off. And if you’re getting into your car to leave, turn on the ignition and then carefully but expeditiously pull the hell out without any of that “middle-aged lady sitting there and checking her phone messages for two or three minutes” crap. I swear to God people should be given tickets for pulling this stuff.
Two days ago I did a 20-minute sitdown with Hateful Eight director-writer Quentin Tarantino at the Four Seasons. Just a mild little lunch chat. I’d decided in the wake of Saturday’s Kurt Russell contretemps (his, not mine) to not voice any criticism and just cruise along as it were. If you want to characterize my end of the conversation as “obsequious” or “ass-kissing,” go right ahead. But when you’re sitting down to lunch you don’t want to start any shit. Life is good, enjoy the vibe.
Quentin Tarantino — Sunday, 11.6, 12:40 pm during Four Seasons restaurant patio lunch.
We talked about Quentin’s New Beverly and particularly his love for 35mm viewing vs. my concerns about same. I mentioned how Pete Hammond told me that a recently screened print of The Bravados was totally spotless, and Quentin mentioned how he’s been getting mint-condition archival prints. Quentin says he’s down with 35m even when prints have a certain degree of wear and tear (scratches, skips, dirt marks) because, he feels, old prints carry a certain residue of all the performances they’ve given, and therefore a residue of all the emotions they generated.
I mentioned the vague kinship I feel over Tarantino having admitted to not paying parking tickets when he was young and poor, as I’ve also done.
I dreamt last night that I was re-watching The Hateful Eight, or more particularly the closing credits. And that I suddenly perked up when instead of Ennio Morricone‘s music Elton John and Bernie Taupin‘s “Captain Fantastic and the Brown-Dirt Cowboy” (the single, not the album) began playing. All I can relate is how right this musical choice felt in the dream — a perfect, fuck-it counterweight to the 175-minute film that preceded it. Critics like David Erlich, Drew McWeeny and Kris Tapley would probably throw up at this notion, but I’m telling you it worked in my head.
I do the same kind of easy-default Sundance Film Festival spitballing every December. I checkmark the titles, directors and actors I know or trust on some level and work outward from there. Per longstanding tradition, I’ll be able to see around 20 to 25 films during my nine days in Park City, depending on stamina and whatnot. (The festival runs from 1.21 to 1.31.) I’m naturally looking for tips from anyone who knows anything about potentially cool obscuros. So here goes with the boldfacing primes vs. shoulder-shruggers — so far I’ve got 20 prime titles, and that’s not including any Dramatic Competition titles:
Ali & Nino / United Kingdom (Director: Asif Kapadia, Screenwriter: Christopher Hampton) — Muslim prince Ali and Georgian aristocrat Nino have grown up in the Russian province of Azerbaijan. Their tragic love story sees the outbreak of the First World War and the world’s struggle for Baku’s oil. Ultimately they must choose to fight for their country’s independence or for each other. Cast: Adam Bakri, Maria Valverde, Mandy Patinkin, Connie Nielsen, Riccardo Scamarcio, Homayoun Ershadi. World Premiere.
Certain Women / U.S.A. (Director: Kelly Reichardt, Screenwriter: Kelly Reichardt based on stories by Maile Meloy) — The lives of three woman intersect in small-town America, where each is imperfectly blazing a trail. Cast: Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams, James Le Gros, Jared Harris, Lily Gladstone. World Premiere.
Complete Unknown / U.S.A. (Director: Joshua Marston, Screenwriters: Joshua Marston, Julian Sheppard) — When Tom and his wife host a dinner party to celebrate his birthday, one of their friends brings a date named Alice. Tom is convinced he knows her, but she’s going by a different name and a different biography—and she’s not acknowledging that she knows him. Cast: Rachel Weisz, Michael Shannon, Kathy Bates, Danny Glover. World Premiere.
Frank & Lola / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Matthew Ross) — A psychosexual noir love story—set in Las Vegas and Paris—about love, obsession, sex, betrayal, revenge and, ultimately, the search for redemption. Cast: Michael Shannon, Imogen Poots, Michael Nyqvist, Justin Long, Emmanuelle Devos, Rosanna Arquette. World Premiere.