Donald Trump hasn’t fallen into a deranged mental state. This is a permanent condition, or more precisely an ongoing ill-informed, brain-fart response to any and all topics. You can be dismissive by calling him an egoistic, know-nothing six year-old, but the Morning Joe guys are suggesting that he’s gotten worse lately, that he’s downswirling. He’s not. Trump is the exact same guy he’s always been — the same full-of-shit, living-in-his-own-realm blowhard who likes to swagger around and be nervy and impertinent. He listens to his swollen gut and improvises from moment to moment, unimpeded by facts that are not to his liking.
You’re an Anglo-Saxon girl going out with a Pakistani guy. A few weeks of increasing closeness and commitment lead to love. Then you discover that his demanding, traditionalist mom has been trying to set him up with a series of Muslim women over dinners. He’s not into this at all — he’s into you — but he’s been secretly going along with the charade to placate mom. So yes, he’s been lying to you but he hasn’t been unfaithful, or not really. He should have copped to the dinners, of course, but he was too chicken, too cowed.
Question: If you were the white girl, would you maybe cut your dishonest Pakistani boyfriend a little slack? You could tell him to fuck off for weeks on end just to make him sweat, but if he kept apologizing and trying to gently win you back…maybe? I’m no Middle-Eastern scholar, but even I know that Pakistani parents are very strict when it comes to their children staying within the Muslim flock. If I were the white girl, I doubt if I’d be completely destroyed when the truth was revealed. Rather than go nuclear I would probably ease up and try to “understand”, I think.
Initial Wells reaction: “The Big Sick was the second best film I saw at Sundance (Call Me By Your Name was #1) — a dry, diverting romantic saga that feels very authentic in a low-key way. You never really know where it’s going, and that’s just how I like it. Droll, low-key humor for smarties & hipsters. And it really does come together emotionally during the last 25% or 30%. I loved the ISIS and 9/11 terrorist jokes. Kumail Nanjiani embroiders with a unique tone and sensibility, certainly within the realm of a modern American love story. He and Zoe Kazan hold things together for the first 40%, but it’s Ray Romano and Holly Hunter (as Kazan’s parents) who bring it home.”
I don’t know how to put this exactly, but after an extremely spirited and turbulent eight days involved wedding bands, La Piedra State Beach, a disputed pre-nuptial agreement, green card assessments and whatnot, the SRO and I are on again. All the discord fell away the night before last. Off to Europe, planning to marry in June, pre-nup 100% agreed to, etc. This is the last relationship bulletin I will share. I just felt that having posted “High Dive” on 4.24 and then “Peter Weir’s Son of Green Card” on 4.30, I had to at least update the tale. I’m not going to offer any explanations, rationales or recountings of Douglas Sirk-like dialogue. Everything is just…well, trusting and right and full speed ahead.
A year ago I decided that I had to watch an HD streaming version of Breakout, the 1975 B-grade Charles Bronson actioner. For historical reasons if none other. For as dicey as it may seem by today’s standards, Breakout was the first Hollywood film to open via wide saturation booking, and not Jaws, which usually gets the credit/blame.
A region 2 Bluray recently popped, but I don’t think it warrants that level of purchase. An Amazon streaming rental will do. Honestly? I don’t really want to watch it, but I have to. Just once. I know what I’m in for but duty calls.
Posted on 4.15.16: “After Breakout opened on 3.6.75 in several hundred theatres (a radical, roll-the-dice move at the time) and took in a then-respectable $7.5 million domestic, Universal chairman Lew Wasserman and studio president Sid Sheinberg decided to ape this strategy by opening Jaws, which they knew would be a big hit, on 6.20.75 in a similar fashion. The initial Jaws plan was to open it in 900 theatres, but Wasserman cut that figure down to 464.
Film Independent will kick off the L.A. Film Festival on 6.14 with Colin Trevorrow’s The Book of Henry (Focus Features, 6.16). Written by Greg Hurwitz, pic costars Naomi Watts, Jacob Tremblay, Jaeden Lieberher, Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace, Maddie Ziegler and Dean Norris. Watts plays a single mom; Tremblay plays her genius-level son. The plot is about Henry’s decision to try and save a young girl he’s developed a crush on (Ziegler) from her stepdad (Norris), whom Henry regards as some kind of bothered, hell-bent figure. On 3.30 I reported on some general scuttlebutt, but don’t let that stop you.
There’s a certain Best Picture narrative that I don’t approve of, but which has apparently taken root. The thinking is that with Barry Jenkins‘ Moonlight, an African American gay film **, having won the 2016 Best Picture Oscar, Luca Guadagnino‘s Call Me By Your Name, which is about much, much more than just a gay relationship but will nonetheless be painted with that brush when it opens on 11.24, can’t hope to win the 2017 Best Picture Oscar because the Academy won’t “go gay” two years in a row.
If this is Call Me By Your Name‘s fate, so be it. Unfair but what else is new? The Oscar game is all about timing, politically correct theologies and the right narrative at the right time. The irony is that Call Me By Your Name isn’t just a better film than Moonlight — it’s 17 times better in just about every department. Moonlight was a striking breakout flick — Call Me By Your Name is flat-out masterful. Rave reviews are assured, and the nominations (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Timothy Chalumee, Best Supporting Actor for Michael Suthlbarg) are already all but locked in. The important thing, as always, is reaching as wide an audience as possible. I have a feeling it might really connect. For Guadagnino’s film is “gay” in a way than even Trump Nation bumblefucks can roll with. Or so I’m telling myself.
I wouldn’t see A Great Wall with a knife at my back. I wouldn’t attend any press screenings or see it in theatres, and I damn sure won’t watch it on Bluray or streaming or even on a plane. I wouldn’t sit through it if they threatened to kill my cats. Okay, I’d save the cats but I would watch it in a state of total, stomach-acid cynicism, repulsion and disconnection. Check the HE boxes: (a) Chinese director…85% likelihood of a problem outside of guys like Lou Ye; (b) CG-driven monster crap, (c) tailored for dumbshit Chinese fantasy-spectacle market. I hate what Chinese money has done to megaplex movies in general. Fuck all of you…fuckyoufuckyoufuckyou. No offense but suffer, die, rot in hell.
By any standard Stein — the daughter of MCA founder Jules Stein, the mother of Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel — lived an abundant, distinguished, fascinating life. Ran with the Hollywood elite of the late ’40s and ’50s, worked with Elia Kazan, became editor of Paris Review, had an affair with William Faulkner, wrote “Edie: American Girl” and “American Journey: The Times of Robert Kennedy.”
For whatever reason Stein killed herself today, “jumping [this morning] from the 15th floor of 10 Gracie Square at East End Ave. and 83rd St.,” according to the N.Y. Daily News. She actually fell seven stories as she landed on an eighth-floor balcony. I could never end things violently…never. Gives me the willies just to imagine it.
Here’s a re-posting of that “West of Eden” riff, titled “Tear-Assing Down To Rome Under A Night of a Thousand Stars“:
From Alan Spencer‘s Trailers From Hell riff on Peter Yates‘ Bullitt: “Bullitt is cool because it’s an educational movie. You can learn how to handle women from it. His girlfriend has lots of problems with him, but he doesn’t say anything — he just listens. And that’s the secret. Women just want to be heard. So if you’ve got a great-looking girlfriend, shut your mouth, let her talk and you can hit happy hour after.” One very small thing: It’s parlance (i.e., “in your parlance, you blew it”), not parlance. At least as far as Robert Vaughn‘s pronunication is concerned.
I became a serious Will Smith fan 24 1/2 years ago, after seeing Fred Schepisi and John Guare‘s Six Degrees of Separation. He was pulsing in that film, going for it; I sang his praises high and low. As it turned out Six Degrees was the only film he ever made that was aimed at people like me. 16 months later the first Will Smith popcorn movie — Michael Bay‘s Bad Boys — opened in plexes, and that was all she wrote. He thereafter became a showboater who was only in it for the popularity.
Posted on 12.6.08: “Beware of all Will Smith manifestations, now and forever. The man’s smile is too quick to appear. Smith is too engaging, too eager to charm, too emotional, too funny, too likable, too coddled and way too insulated. He seems incapable of simply ‘being’ because he’s too hungry for affection. He can’t not perform. Such men may not be dangerous in the Shakespearean sense of the term, but you sure as hell can’t trust or believe them.
“As Charles Bukwoski once wrote, “Beware of those constantly seeking love and approval from a crowd — they are nothing alone.”
“And double-beware any big-name actor who asks a film-series moderator for a hug, as Smith did a couple of days ago with Pete Hammond.
Eric Anderson‘s Awardswatch pallies have somehow divined (possibly by reaching in and exploring the recesses of their anal cavities) that Todd Haynes‘ Wonderstruck is the hottest Best Picture contender of 2017. The dual-era drama will play in competition later this month at the Cannes Film Festival.
The runner-ups are Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal‘s Detroit (Annapurna, 8.4), Untitled Steven Spielberg Pentagon Papers Project (20th Century Fox, 12.22), Joe Wright‘s Darkest Hour (Focus Features, 11.24), Chris Nolan‘s Dunkirk (Warner Bros, 7.21), Andrew Haigh‘s Lean on Pete (A24), Dan Gilroy‘s Inner City, Luca Guadagnino‘s Call Me By Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics, 11.27), Dee Rees‘ Mudbound (Netflix); and Alexander Payne‘s Downsizing (Paramount, 12.22).
Also highlighted are Denis Villenueve‘s Blade Runner 2049 (Warner Bros, 10.6), George Clooney‘s Suburbicon (Paramount, 11.3), Darren Aronofsky‘s mother! (Paramount. 10.13), Richard Linklater‘s Last Flag Flying (Amazon), Martin McDonagh‘s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox Searchlight, 10.13), The Current War (Weinstein Co, 12.22), Get Out (Universal, 2.24), The Greatest Showman (20th Century Fox, 12.25) and Michael Haneke‘s Happy End (Sony Pictures Classics)
HE’s Oscar Balloon projections are more or less in line with Awardswatch’s, save for the inclusion of Lean on Pete. So far I’m not getting the thing about that.
It Comes At Night (A24, 6.9) looks and sounds like a standard-issue backwoods creeper about a predator of some kind, but it’s presumed to be of a higher calibre because it was directed and written by Trisha‘s Trey Edward Shults. It just had a “secret” screening at the Overlook Film Festival. Joblo.com‘s Chris Bumbray says it left the audience “in a state of shock, but without resorting to cheap scares or gore. It does something more sinister [by putting] you right in the shoes of good people forced to do monstrous things in order to survive, [and thus] illustrating one of the great truths of genre cinema — the greatest threat comes from other people.”