I’m disappointed. Make that damn disappointed. What semi-intelligent, fair-minded person wouldn’t be?
It seems to me that in observing the precise letter of the law and drilling only into possible proof of an actual, real-deal conspiracy to undermine the 2016 election by colluding with Russian operatives, Robert Mueller has seemingly sidestepped the basic overall, which is that President Trump is a malignant narcissist, an amoral sociopath and the head of a New York crime family, and that he doesn’t give a shit about anyone or anything other than his own empowerment and/or his mushroom dick being sucked. And that before and after 1.20.17 he’s acted this way to the detriment of the country and that portion of the population (i.e., a two-thirds majority) that respects the law and various concepts of human decency.
Michael, a N.Y. Times commenter, posted a few minutes ago: “I’m not surprised absent a written directive from Trump, a recorded phone call, or someone close to the president willing to tell the truth under oath, that Mueller could not prove obstruction of justice or criminal conspiracy inside the campaign.
“However, as Barr and Mueller state, this does not exonerate him. There is too much circumstantial and incriminating evidence surrounding the president’s firing of Comey, the many meetings between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, to say ‘no collusion, no obstruction.’
“It was a huge mistake not to interview Trump under oath. I believe after the full report is issued, Congress needs to continue its oversight role that has only just barely begun. Important facts are waiting to be uncovered.
“This isn’t about optics — it’s about determining the integrity and/or duplicity of the man holding the highest office in the land.”
Laura, another Times commenter: “I’m just shocked. There’s no other word for it. As an avid follower of this whole sprawling Russia story over the last 2 years, I just don’t see how this is possible.
“There is just so much wrongdoing is plain sight — how can this be the outcome?
What about the Trump Tower meeting? And Kushner wanting to establish a back channel to Russia so US intelligence couldn’t listen to their conversations? And Trump trying to fire Sessions for not recusing himself? And the dozens of other examples of things just as corrupt, suspicious, and possibly illegal??
“Is Barr covering up for Trump? I don’t really think that, but it’s sort of the best idea I can come up with at the moment of why this is happening.
Hollywood Elsewhere offers sorrow and condolences to the friends, fans and colleagues of the great Larry Cohen, who died last night at age 77.
I first heard that Larry’s health was declining about three years ago, maybe four. I felt badly but when your number’s up, that’s it. All hail one of the nerviest screenwriters and greatest indie lowball exploitation filmmakers of the late 20th Century.
All aspiring Cohen-heads who haven’t yet seen Steve Mitchell‘s King Cohen need to do so right away.
I’m one of many critics and journalists who had a kind of chummy party-schmooze friend-o thing going with Cohen all through the ’80s, ’90s, aughts and teens…call it 35 years. Larry was on the screening-and-after-party circuit, and every time I ran into him it was always Larry and Laurene Landon, whom he’d had cast and directed in Full Moon High, I, the Jury and The Stuff. Larry and Laurene, Larry and Laurene, Larry and Laurene…years on end.
I called Laurene a couple of hours ago, looking to offer condolences. Her message box was at capacity.
I first met Cohen back in ’81, when I did a Film Journal article about how he’d been fired as director of I, The Jury, which starred Armand Assante. Written by Cohen, pic was a Manhattan-based adaptation of the famous Mickey Spillane novel. The story went that Cohen had openly questioned whether the producers (including Robert Solo) had the dough to finish the film; they apparently canned him out of anger and revenge.
A few weeks later Cohen was back at work on Q: The Winged Serpent, which turned out to be one of his loosest and most amusing…what, genre satires?
I became an arms-length admirer of Cohen in the mid ’70s. I didn’t get him at first. My first impression was that he was making low-budget exploitation schlock, It’s Alive (’74) and God Told Me To (’76) being my first two samplings. Clever stuff but not what anyone would call “serious.”
I finally got him after seeing Q, The Winged Serpent. It suddenly hit me that Cohen might be making dry exploitation film satires — that he might be playing it straight for the sake of his investors but was also “in on the joke.” Or something like that. Michael Moriarty descending into fits of giddy giggling as the serpent eats one of the bad guys….”Eat ‘um, eat’ um, eat ‘um!”.
Posted less than a year ago — 6.6.18:
Last night I tried to catch a 7 pm all-media screening of Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom (Universal, 6.22) at the AMC Century City, but I almost didn’t make it. It happened in theatre #2, where two previous screenings had occured at 10 am and 3 pm. I arrived around…oh, 6:50 pm but all the seats seemed to be taken. I asked a Universal staffer if I should leave and she said, “No, no…we’ll figure it out.” Things didn’t look at all hopeful.
On top of which the crowd looked kind of mongrelish to me — overweight, T-shirts, jeans and sweat pants. There were a lot of kids there, and they all seemed to be wolfing down popcorn, candy and super-size soft drinks. A typical mall mob, the kind you’d see at Magic Mountain or Disneyland or Knotts Berry Farm. A thought went through me — “Do I want to sit with these awful-looking people? I don’t see any of my critic friends here. This is not my kind of scene.”
I shook myself out of that mindset, manned up and decided to do my job, even without a seat. After a while I walked up the left-side aisle and sat down on the steps.
Ten seconds later a nice 30ish woman said, “We have a seat here.” It was five or six in from the aisle. “Oh…thank you so much!,” I said. I shuffled my way in and sat down, and right away felt a twinge of concern. On my right was a 20something woman of no particular distinction, but to my left…good God…was a Jabba-sized Latina who was sitting with a similar-sized friend. And Jabba #1 was eating, eating and eating. The movie began and she kept chowing down like someone who hadn’t eaten in days.
Her first course was some kind of chicken salad, tomato and cucumber dish inside a deep plastic container. Then came the second course — a butter-soaked tub of popcorn and a big slurpy drink. Then she opened up a bag of Doritos.
I didn’t say a word. I didn’t give her the HE stink-eye. I just sat there like a sphinx and tried to concentrate on the film. But every now and then I snuck a peek.
I couldn’t ignore the fact that Jabba #1’s reactions were extremely coarse and downmarket. I was reminded of those close-ups of Collisseum cheap-seat serfs watching Christians get eaten in Cecil B. DeMille‘s The Sign of the Cross. Every time a person got eaten by a dinosaur, Jabba #1 went “Oooh, hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo!” Movies like Fallen Kingdom are obviously made with this kind of person in mind. And she really loved the huge alligator-like dino that leapt out of the sea to eat a squealing 20something guy who was trying to climb into a hovering helicopter — “Eeeeee-hee-hah-hah!” Anything and everything that happened of a stupid or low-rent or pandering nature, Jabba #1 was in movie heaven.
Yes, I focused on the film and took mental notes all through it, but I couldn’t completely divorce myself from the Jabba #1 factor. I mostly pushed it aside but I kept twitching when she laughed. I’ve said this dozens of times over the years, but hell is truly other people.
“The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui,” posted on 11.28.16: “What’s the difference between Donald Trump and President Mark Hollenbach in Fletcher Knebel‘s “Night of Camp David,” a 1965 thriller about a first-term Senator, Jim MacVeagh, who comes to believe that Hollenbach has mentally gone around the bend and needs to somehow be relieved of his duties? They seem similar to me.
Six months ago The New Yorker‘s Adam Gopnik wrote that “the American Republic stands threatened by the first overtly anti-democratic leader of a large party in its modern history — an authoritarian with no grasp of history, no impulse control, and no apparent barriers on his will to power.”
“And he’s not wrong,” I wrote on 5.31. “And the bubbas don’t care. They feel they’ve been fucked so badly that all bets are off. They’re determined to shoot the place up before dying.”
- All Hail Tom White, Taciturn Hero of “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Roughly two months ago a very early draft of Eric Roth‘s screenplay for Killers of the Flower Moon (dated 2.20.17,...More »