This is a dated topic, but I just got back into things today. Early this morning I wrote the following about Bernie Sanders and the little bird on Facebook: “I honestly believe that the little Bernie bird was ‘a sign from God.’ Do I believe in a moralistic rooting-for-humanity God? No, of course not. So what am I saying? I’m saying that no matter what you believe or don’t believe in, that little bird was some kind of a spirit vessel or symbol of goodness, compassion, serendipity and bonne chance. I think the bird sensed the right kind of vibes. There’s zero chance this would’ve happened at a Trump or Cruz rally. Here’s the Facebook thread.
Criterion’s Odd Man Out Bluray popped last April. “This is one of the saddest and most tragic noirs of all time. I saw it a couple of times on laser disc in the mid ’90s, and I have indelible memories of a sweating, barely conscious James Mason (as IRA combatant Johnny McQueen) and of constantly falling snow in a darkened Belfast. The exquisite photography is by Robert Krasker, who also shot Reed’s The Third Man. The harbor finale with Mason and Kathleen Ryan leaning against the iron fence with the cops slowly approaching in the snow…wow. And Robert Newton‘s performance as the gesticulating alcoholic painter…forget about it.” — from a 5.22.12 HE post.
Odd Man Out was Mason’s breakout film. What isn’t widely known is that he’d been acting since 1933 or thereabouts, when he turned 24. He was 37 — no spring chicken — when Reed’s film was shot in mid ’46.
Almost exactly 20 years ago I hung for two or three hours with novelist-poet Jim Harrison, who at the time was 58 and in the absolute prime of his life, or so it seemed to me. The occasion was the Century City premiere of Bruno Barreto‘s Carried Away, which was based on Harrison’s “Farmer.” I had arranged with a Fine Line publicist to speak with him. 40 minutes before the film began I approached the marquee area and saw Harrison standing outside with some admirer or whomever, and I went up and introduced myself. He sensed my smart-ass attitude fairly quickly and we were fine from then on. Most of the talking happened at the after-party. A great fellow. He had this elegant, heavy-cat way of speaking (he would say “I think not” rather than “I don’t agree”) and had that slightly weird false eye and always with the lit cigarette…I just felt honored to share space with the guy. I so loved those Russell Chatham watercolors that always adorned the covers of the trade paperback editions of his books. Harrison was and still is one of my all-time favorite writers and a major stylistic influence (the others being Milan Kundera, Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, William Faulkner, Norman Mailer, William Safire, Russell Baker). His prose can be so clean and clear and monumentally beautiful. I remember a line from “Dalva” about some none-too-bright guy being so in love with a woman that “he sometimes felt as if her ass was aimed at him, like some people from the lower end of the gene pool believe that TV shows are made for them personally.” I filed an L.A. Times Syndicate piece called “Riffing with Jim Harrison: The Brawny Poet-Novelist on Hollywood and Carried Away.” And now Harrison is dead of a heart attack at age 78. I can’t think of anything more to say except that he had a great 40-year run. It would have been nice to chat with him one more time but that Century City encounter was pretty special. Cheers.
Huffpost‘s Cole Delbyck is asserting that a deleted Batman v Superman scene (titled “Communion”) that appeared on YouTube today “might help clear up some confusion.” Does it? I still haven’t seen this Godforsaken thing so I wouldn’t know, but now that I’m back in Los Angeles I intend to man up and submit early this evening. God help me. This is like dreading a visit to the dentist x 1000. Incidentally: Batman v Superman rated a B from CinemaScore, which is more or less a failing grade. So that assertion by Variety‘s Brent Lang that BvS‘s opening $166 million domestic haul ($420 million worldwide) is some kind of stinging rebuke to critics is bunk. “When people want to pay to see a reputed piece of shit, you can’t stop ’em.” — Samuel Goldwyn. Besides, as noted in Forbes, Batman v Superman “set a new record [last weekend] for the worst Friday-to-Sunday drop for a superhero movie release in modern North American box office history.” Plus the public has agreed that it’s not very good or they wouldn’t have given it a Cinemascore B.
I got three hours’ sleep on yesterday’s Seoul-to-Los Angeles flight. I felt more or less okay when I got home around 5 pm, but my Hanoi body clock thought the time might be 7 am the next day. I was up until 1 am last night and then awoke at 3 am (5 pm Hanoi time) and then crashed again until just before 12 noon. Then I discovered that the sound-synch issues that have bedeviled me for weeks still haven’t gone away, even with the new Sony 65″ 4K which arrived two days before I left (on 3.14). An actor says “cat” or “culpable” or “have a glass of wine,” and his/her lips are just a little bit behind of the voice. (Or ahead of it.) It’s just half a beat but once you notice this problem you can’t do anything else but study lips. Infuriating. Digital sound synch wasn’t a problem for decades — it’s only manifested within the last five or six years.
These are two reasons why I haven’t filed anything. In Vietnam I wasn’t thinking about this crap at all. Now I’m in back in it. This is my life.