Hollywood Elsewhere’s emotional definers are (1) Stanley Kubrick‘s Paths of Glory (’57) because it reminds that life is unfair and in fact horrid for the grunts, and when the shit hits the fan it’s better to be Kirk Douglas than Ralph Meeker, Joe Turkel or Timothy Carey, and (2) Fred Zinneman‘s High Noon, which says that fair-weather friends are a dime a dozen, that most people are cowards or at the very least don’t mean what they say, and that when the chips are down there’s only person you can really count on — yourself. And even then you’ll need a certain amount of luck to make it through the gauntlet.
HE’s wishful thinking movies are (3) Billy Wilder‘s The Spirit of St. Louis (’57) because it says that life is about the big challenge and the long haul, and that despite all indications that God is an empty myth, a caring, compassionate entity can nonetheless lend a hand at a crucial moment, and (4) the first half of David Lean‘s Lawrence of Arabia (’62) because it reminds that intrepid adventurers can manage the near-impossible if determination is truly with them.
Adams’ best role was opposite James Stewart in Anthony Mann‘s Bend of the River (’52), but after that she was stuck in mostly B movies — The Lawless Breed, The Mississippi Gambler, The Man from the Alamo, The Private War of Major Benson, The Gun. She also costarred in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (’57), a semi-respectable, late-period film noir with Richard Egan.
I realize that red is often used as a design element in black-and-white films as it photographs well, but Gill Man looks fairly ridiculous with bright red lips.
I’ve woken up with my glasses on…I can’t say exactly but at least 15 or 20 times. It’s not a good thing. I sleep deeply as a rule (i.e., bottom of the pond) but reading glasses naturally interfere with true slumber. Especially my bright red reading glasses, which are a bit too small and therefore apply a slight pressure to my temples. This happens because I have a habit of twittering myself to sleep with my iPhone. I sleep with the damn thing like it’s my pet cat. I’ll be reading a story and suddenly drop off. I’ll awake the next morning at 6:30 am and…damn, never took my glasses of. I don’t know what to do about this.
A veteran film critic and I were discussing Sundance ’19 and the general wokester atmosphere. At one point I offered my usual-usual, which boils down to (a) “I really and truly believe we are in the midst of a kind of woke McCarthyism,” (b) “The current political-cultural revolution is good and necessary and overdue, but there has also been spillage and over-reach, just as their was during the Robespierre ‘terror’ following the French revolution,” and (c) “My press pass withdrawal was blacklisting, plain and simple, and for what? For having passionate opinions?”
In response to which he wrote, “Oh, absolutely. During the festival I overheard someone talking about your situation, saying that some female honcho at Sundance gave a speech recently in which she forcefully endorsed dropping journos who weren’t on board with the program. It would be easy to find out who that was.”
My guess would be Sundance exec director Keri Putnam, who announced at the festival’s opening press conference that she had noticed “a disturbing blind spot” in the press credential process, which resulted in admitting “mostly white male critics.” Which she and her colleagues then “decided to do something about.”
Veteran critic: “I’ve been reading all your stuff about your predicament and feel that the Robespierre comparison is dead-on. I have no doubt at all that the denial of your pass is a direct result of all this. I also have a suspicion that this is why Redford has basically kicked himself upstairs, so as not to have to address or deal with this stuff. He’s above and beyond at this point.”
Hollywood Elsewhere had to drive back to Los Angeles late last night. 95 minutes from Santa Barbara, and partly in the rain while sipping lemonade-flavored Monster and listening to loud music. I’m sitting in the West H’wood abode as we speak and heading back up…I’m not sure. Possibly tonight. More likely tomorrow morning. I’m shocked to discover it’s 4 pm already.
But before leaving yesterday I sat through the Glenn Close and Melissa McCarthy tributes, which happened at 3 pm and 8 pm respectively.
We all regard Close as a serious, magnetic, world-class actress whose long-awaited Oscar triumph is finally at hand. She’s therefore a known and settled entity, which makes her, unfairly, a somewhat less interesting person than McCarthy, at least from my perspective.
McCarthy began brilliantly as an edgy TV comedienne. She broke into features in 2011 with Bridesmaids (’11) and thereafter became hugely popular with the cheap-seats crowd by mostly playing angry, mouthy, low-rent characters. After playing the coarse card for seven-plus years she shifted into serious drama with her Lee Israel performance in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and in so doing saved herself from being regarded as a one-trick pony — rich and successful but with a limited repertoire.
Almost three years ago I posted a piece titled “McCarthy’s Game.” The fact that she scored big-time with Can You Ever Forgive Me? means that she and husband-partner Ben Falcone decided sometime early last year or sometime in late ’17 that she had to switch gears.
My basic conclusion was that “with the exception of her concerned-mom character in St. Vincent and to some extent her character in Spy, McCarthy has more or less been playing the same gal.
“I’m talking about an angry, immature, neurotic, sociopathic obsessive who acts out her anger or indifference to social norms more and more until the world pushes back at the end of Act Two (or the beginning of Act Three) and says “whoa, girl…you can’t keep doing this, you have to take a look in the mirror and admit your issues,” etc.
“In response to which a chastened McCarthy takes a look, feels sad, takes a step or two in the right direction and rebounds with a better, stronger game.
Last weekend Peter Jackson‘s They Shall Not Grow Old had a general release in 735 theatres, and posted a gross of $2,438,575. It now has a grand tally of $10.7 million in the U.S. and Canada plus $1.5 million in other territories for a total worldwide haul of $12.2 million.
The other big documentaries over the last year are Morgan Neville‘s Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, which is now at $22,835,787 and Betsy West and Julie Cohen‘s RBG, which has a current tally of $14,017,361.
Jackson’s film was initially launched as a one-day presentation through Fathom Events on 12.17.18, from which it grossed $2.3 million. Encore showings happened on 12.27.18, which brought in an addition $3.4 million from 1122 theatres.