As previously noted, tonight I’m catching an 8:30 pm screening (which almost never happens — screenings are usually at 7 or 7:30 pm) of a major November release. And then an early wake-up tomorrow so I can attend a 9 am Ang Lee press breakfast for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Then comes a 12:30 pm NYFF press screening of Paul Verhoeven‘s Elle, followed by a press conference with Verhoeven and star Isabelle Huppert. And then I’ll attend a 6 pm New York Film Festival screening of Billy Lynn at the AMC Lincoln Square. (Another follows at 9 pm.)
Two days ago a new Lionsgate Bluray of James Foley‘s Glengarry Glen Ross (’92) went on sale. As good as the performances are (particularly Al Pacino and Alec Baldwin‘s), I was never able to really sink into this thing because it wasn’t the play, and the play, I’m telling you, really was the thing. The play was way better. It got you high it was so good.
The Foley film? Not bad, decently rendered, respectable but too noirish and rainy — the glum mood is too on-the-nose. And for me it has no serious current except for Baldwin’s steak-knives speech, which wasn’t in the play.
Sometime around 3.25.84 I attended a Broadway pre-opening performance of the original Gregory Mosher-directed play with all the big-gun critics (Frank Rich, etc.) in the orchestra. Joe Mantegna‘s Tony Award-winning performance as Ricky Roma ruled — a performance as seminal and historic as Humphrey Bogart‘s Duke Mantee in the B’way stage version of The Petrified Forest. Not to mention Mike Nussbaum, Robert Prosky (a brilliant Shelley Levine), Lane Smith, James Tolkan, Jack Wallace and J.T. Walsh.
Today Michelle Obama very possibly delivered the strongest, most on-target speech ever given by a FLOTUS, about dignity and decency and human values: “I can’t believe that I’m saying that a candidate for President of the United States has bragged about assaulting women…it has shaken me to the core [and] this is not something we can ignore, not just another disturbing footnote…this was a powerful individual speaking openly about sexually predatory behavior…the shameful comments about bodies, the belief that you can do anything you want to a woman…it is cruel, it is frightening and it hurts…that feeling of terror and violation…something that happens every single day…none of us deserve this kind of abuse…not for another minute, and not for another four years. This has got to stop right now.”
I’m posting this clip to remind the readership of two things: (1) Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Wolf of Wall Street performance as Jordan Belfort was, is and probably always will be his all-time greatest — way above his remarkably immersive performance in The Revenant; and (2) this speech is both a brilliant lampoon of the drooling predatory aesthetic of your average Wall Street killer and an inspirational motivator for anyone stuck in failure and a loser attitude. It’s neither one nor the other, but both simultaneously. And now it’s a third thing — an echo of a certain imploding Presidential candidate and the Genghis Khan conquering rationale he almost certainly believes in.
This morning Joe Scarborough questioned the sudden torrent of news stories about Donald Trump‘s alleged sexual shenanigans. He tweeted later than he’s “disappointed but not surprised by those twisting my words…I have no reason to doubt any of these accusations whatsoever.” These stories broke because of (a) fear of reprisal and the old safety-in-numbers calculation — victims keeping silent until they realize they’re not alone (which is what happened with the sudden outpouring of testimony against Bill Cosby), (b) the Access Hollywood/Donald Trump/Billy Bush “pussy” tape, (c) Trump’s statement during last Sunday night’s debate that he’s never been an assaultive masher, and (d) numerous women Trump allegedly made moves on got angry when they heard him say that. Simple.
Credible-sounding, first-person, journalist-vetted stories about various instances of sexually aggressive moves by Donald Trump have been pouring out since yesterday, and I think we all understand that Trump’s “it’s all fabrication, all bullshit” defense is itself bullshit. Multiple torpedo gashes, water pouring in, the ship sinking, man the lifeboats, etc.
The Presidential campaign of the 70 year-old mogul was toast before; now it’s burnt toast. He’s not only finished, but will probably take the Republican Senatorial majority over the side with him. It’s not likely that the Congressional Republican majority will be overturned also, but I can dream, can’t I?
How could Trump have figured this stuff wouldn’t come out if he ran for President? One, he never figured he’d get this far when he first announced his candidacy. Two, he’s so encased in his hermetically-sealed reality that he figured he could just deny and bluster his way past any allegations that might surface.
Trump began his campaign by denigrating Mexicans, but in the end he was destroyed by his arrogant, Napoleon-the-conqueror attitude towards women. Eat shit, mogul. Enjoy the sensation as your lungs fill with sea water and screaming is worthless as you begin to black out from a lack of oxygen.
The man is alive and thriving and chugging like a train at 75, but he peaked 50, 51 years ago. Glorified in song, fable, movies, CDs and iTunes for decades. There isn’t a corner in the world where Dylan’s prose isn’t quoted, where his reach and eloquence as a poet-troubadour isn’t bowed down to, and Team Nobel waits a half-century to say “hmmm, yeah, okay…let’s honor the most influential and magnetic poet of the 20th Century”?
From today’s N.Y. Times story: “[Dylan] is the first American to win since the novelist Toni Morrison, in 1993. The announcement, in Stockholm, came as something of a surprise. Although Mr. Dylan, 75, has been mentioned often as having an outside shot at the prize, his work does not fit into the literary canons of novels, poetry and short stories that the prize has traditionally recognized.
“’Mr. Dylan’s work remains utterly lacking in conventionality, moral sleight of hand, pop pabulum or sops to his audience,’ critic Bill Wyman wrote in a 2013 Op-Ed essay in the N.Y. Times arguing for Mr. Dylan to get the award. ‘His lyricism is exquisite; his concerns and subjects are demonstrably timeless; and few poets of any era have seen their work bear more influence.’
HE riff #1: “A new manifestation of the ‘Surreal or Misheard Song Lyrics‘ riff I bring out from time to time. Last night I was listening to Bob Dylan‘s She Belongs To Me and decided that ‘the law can’t touch her at all’ isn’t as good and certainly not as primal as ‘Ma can’t touch her at all.’
“You can define ‘Ma’ as the proverbial family authority figure or some kind of tough, cigar-chomping butch boss in the tradition of Ma Barker or Maureen Dowd‘s “Ma Clinton.” I only know that ‘Ma’ rules while ‘the law’ litigates. If representatives of ‘the law’ can’t think of some way to mess with her mind and slow her down then so what? But if she stands up to Ma while wearing her sparkling Egyptian ring, that’s something else.”
Disney corporate wants that Star Wars cow milked to the max, and that’s what we intend to do…milk it! All hail the huge paychecks earned by director Gareth Edwards, co-director and screenwriter Tony Gilroy, screenwriter Chris Weitz and costars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn (who is Mendelsohn without the glistening sweat and the cigarettes?), Donnie Yen (Chinese market!), Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker (how slurry will his line readings be?). Rogue One: The Cousins pops on 12.16.