The French title of Long Shot is Seduis-moi si tu peux, which means “seduce me if you can.” Which is what Charlize Theron is presumably saying to Seth Rogen, according to French marketers. I haven’t seen the film, but the trailer and the SXSW reviews suggest that Theron, the U.S. Secretary of State, doesn’t play especially hard to get with Rogen’s character, a nervy journalist. So what the slogan is really about is the French marketing team’s inability to handle the idea of Theron and Rogen doing each other. They’re putting themselves in the mind of Theron’s character and saying, “Seth Rogen? A guy who licks his fingers while eating a burrito? No way!”
HE agrees with each and every observation made by New York‘s Andrew Sullivan about Pete Buttigieg (“Is Pete Buttigieg a Transformational Candidate?”). But Sullivan has forgotten one thing — size. Buttigieg is not a very tall guy (my guess is somewhere between 5’9″ and 5’10”) and Donald Trump is 6’2″. On a primitive gut caveman level Trump is going to look more dominant than Buttigeg if they meet on a debate stage. Which is why I feel better about Beto O’Rourke, who’s about the same as Buttigieg ideologically but is 6’5″ — three inches taller than Trump. I’m sorry but this shit matters.
Sullivan: “Donald Trump would be the oldest president in history at 74; Pete Buttigieg would be the youngest at 39. Trump landed in politics via his money and celebrity after years in the limelight; Buttigieg is the mayor of a midsize midwestern town, unknown until a few weeks ago. Trump is a pathological, malevolent narcissist from New York, breaking all sorts of norms. Buttigieg is a modest, reasonable pragmatist, and a near parody of normality. Trump thrives on a retro heterosexual persona; Buttigieg appears to be a rather conservative, married homosexual. Trump is a coward and draft dodger; Buttigieg served his country. Trump does not read; Buttigieg does. Trump’s genius is demonic demagoguery. Buttigieg’s gig is careful reasoning. Trump is a pagan; Buttigieg is a Christian. Trump vandalizes government; Buttigieg nurtures it.
What 98% of directors and screenwriters don’t understand is that professional assassins like to be covert. Certainly the corporate kind. They don’t like to make noise or draw attention from onlookers or do anything that might result in any kind of whiff or trail. The best way to ice someone, obviously, is to make it look like they didn’t get iced. Give them a heart attack, stage an accident of some kind — anything but an outright murder.
Respect for departed editor Barry Malkin, primarily known for his long professional association with Francis Coppola, and condolences to friends, family and fans.
Malkin edited (either partly or wholly) The Rain People, Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?, The Godfather Part II (with Richard Marks and Peter Zinner), Apocalypse Now, Somebody Killed Her Husband, Last Embrace, One Trick Pony, Four Friends, Hammett, Rumble Fish, The Cotton Club (with Robert Q. Lovett), Peggy Sue Got Married, Gardens of Stone, Big, Coppola’s segment of New York Stories, The Godfather Part III (with Lisa Fruchtman and Walter Murch), The Freshman, Honeymoon in Vegas, Jack, The Rainmaker.
But my favorite Malkin cutting job was on The Godfather Saga (’77), a sequential blend of The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II that ran 434 minutes. Coppola reportedly sold this project to raise money for Apocalypse Now, which was heavily over-budget at the time. The Godfather Saga originally aired on NBC over four consecutive nights (one three-hour segment and three two-hour segments including commercials). On 3.3.12 AMC re-broadcast The Godfather Saga in HD. This version also reinstated violent sequences that had previously been removed for its original broadcast. To my knowledge The Godfather Saga has never gone to Bluray, and you can’t stream it either.
The classic ’50s beatnik had exactly one mode of appearance — (a) a trim Van Dyke beard or chin whiskers, (b) shortish hair, (c) sandals or lace-up construction boots, (d) baggy chinos, and (e) a loose-fitting sweater, sweatshirt or flannel shirt. Famed drawing instructor Jon Gnagy, Bob Denver‘s Maynard G. Krebs and “Irving Mallion” (the Frank Sinatra-resembling character in the MAD magazine parody “My Fair Ad-Man“) were interchangeable in this respect.
Then that whole appearance went away for…what, a half century or so? And then it returned, starting around 2010, among urban Millennials. Not across the board but to some extent.
Gnagy’s open-collared lumberjack shirt is what triggered this observation. That and the fact that Millennial males (a) worship ugly, big-collared shirts but (b) have never heard of Gnagy (and why should they?).
Remember how Green Book was piddling along after opening on 11.16.18? How box-office analysts were all saying “weak pulse” and “doesn’t look good”? Well, the word-of-mouth (which I’d presumed would manifest a couple of weeks after it opened) finally kicked in. And then winning the Best Picture Oscar delivered another bump. And then it really took off overseas. So far Green Book has made $70.7 million in China, $14.6 million in Japan, $14 million in France, $13.5 million in Germany and $12.9 million in the UK.
What does this say about the influence of the wokester haters (Justin Chang, Guy Lodge, Kevin Maher, Richard Brody, Barry Hertz, et. al.) who wouldn’t stop pissing on this harmlessly humanist period film? It obviously means that they live in their own little hermetic world and that they’re fundamentally unable to recognize the value of a film that emotionally delivers, however lacking it may be in other respects.
If I was among them I wouldn’t fold my tent. I would reach out to fellow haters and try to organize a kind of Wokester Peace Corps to help spread the gospel. The idea is that Lodge, Chang and the others would journey around Europe, Asia and the U.S. on what could be called a Green Book Re-Education Tour — renting theatres and explaining to the rubes what they’ve failed to comprehend about how inauthentic and retrograde Farrelly’s film actually is. The WPC could raise travel and hotel funds through GoFundMe.
Matthew Vaughn‘s Kick-Ass opened almost exactly nine years ago, and two years after the launch of the big-time MCU with Jon Favreau‘s Iron Man. The superhero virus had been spreading and growing for a couple of years, but was still at a relatively nascent stage. But something happened when I sat down with Kick-Ass. I enjoyed the panache, but at the same experienced a primal WTF response.
I got and “enjoyed” it as much as my sensibilities allowed, but at the same time it seemed obvious that the action-movie realm was suffering more and more from a basic erosion of building-block craft. Kick-Ass told me that a fundamental indifference was manifesting on the part of screenwriters, directors and producers to properly setting things up and thereby allowing people like me to enjoy superhero crap.
Last night I re-read “Geek Apocalypse,” a Kickass review that ran on 4.1.10. And I almost chuckled as I said to myself, “Yep, that was the concern back then, and you were right, of course. But if only you knew how things would manifest over the next nine years. And how completely beside the point and almost sentimental your complaints would sound in the context of 2019.”
Key paragraphs: “So I loved Chloe Moretz in Kick-Ass and the audacity of having an 11 year-old midget-sized girl murder dozens of bad guys with pistols and knives and swords, and I was also able to half-enjoy, at times, the suspended idiocy and self-referential absurdity that director Matthew Vaughn uses to explain away all the stuff that wouldn’t otherwise work and in fact would choke a horse.
“We’ve come to a point in which the comic-book sensibility that allows Moretz’s Hit-Girl to rule and bust all kinds of heads is ruining action films. It’s been doing this for years, of course, but I was really fuming about this last night. ‘Where does this crap end?,’ I was asking myself. ‘What’s next — a five-year-old action hero? How about a cat — not a cartoon cat Felix but an actual Siamese or Abyssinian or Tabby who shoots Glocks and beats the shit out of human hitmen and drug-dealers who are ten times his size and outweigh him by over 200 pounds? Why not?’
“It’s gotten to the point that I’d like to arrest and incarcerate every last geek-pandering filmmaker and every last pudgy-bodied, ComicCon-attending comic-book fan and truck them all out to re-education camps in the desert and make them do calisthenics in the morning and swear off junk food and straighten their heads out about the real value of great action movies, and how their stupid allegiance to comic-book values is poisoning the well.
Sometime in ’99 or ’00, I posted an an idea (which was re-posted on 5.1.12) for one big super-parody of all CG superhero disaster monster zombie films. A movie that would hit you with everything imaginable in the realm of horror and catastrophe, but piled on to the point of comic absurdity. Tidal waves and earthquakes and a rogue asteroid slamming into earth, and thousand-year-old zombies being awoken by the rumbling as well as dinosaurs — dinosaurs battling zombies! — and vampires and wolf men and slithering CG serpents, and eventually each and every world-famous landmark being destroyed (Burj Khalifa, Eiffel tower, Grand Canyon) while zombies eat Frankenstein alive and Dracula has his head bitten off by a T-Rex. And then a second meteor hits and further onslaughts of super tidal waves and earthquakes ensue, and by the end everything and everyone is buried and burned all to hell or drowned in sea water.
Don’t tell me someone hasn’t pitched this. The problem is that the corporate whore machine is way too invested in maintaining and fortifying existing revenue streams. If they were truly free of heart and spirit they might go in my direction and just pull out all the stops and go full whacko.