During the final episode of season #2 of The Sopranos, Tony (James Gandolfini) tells his sister Janice (Aida Turturro) that they were both emotionally scarred by their mother Livia (Nancy Marchand). One of her most malignant traits, Tony says, was her inability to experience joy. The psychoanalytic term is anhedonia, which of course was the original title of Woody Allen‘s Annie Hall.
The other day somebody called me a Livia-like grump, and that I’m always scowling and complaining and whatnot.
My stock response is to remind people of a riff I wrote five years ago, and reposted in ’17. It was called “Like, Want, Need.”
“I’ll tell you what I want,” I began. “I want to walk around New York City at a fairly vigorous clip. I want to love and support my wife Tatyana and my sons every way I can. I want to sail into the mystic. I want to stay in touch with everyone and offer as much offer affection, trust, intellectual engagement and friendship as I reasonably can. I want to live forever. I want good health, and to me that also means good spiritual health. I want to keep most of my hair and never grow breasts or a pot belly. I want Japanese or South Korean-level wifi wherever I go. I want to read and know everything. I want to bask in love, family, friendship and the purring of my cats until the end of time.
“I also want several pairs of slim ass-hugging jeans, and I want to be clean shaven. I want well-made shoes, preferably Italian suede or Bruno Magli or John Varvatos. I want to keep all my Blurays forever. I want color, aromas, travel. I want challenging hiking trails in high Swiss places. I know it’s not possible, but I’d prefer to always be in the company of slender people. I want to zoom around on my Majesty and use the Mini Cooper only when it rains or when I need to buy a lot of groceries. I want mobility and adaptability and the smell of great humming, rumbling cities. I want European-style subways, buses, trains, rental cars. I want a long Norman Lloyd-type life, and I insist that my mental faculties stay electric and crackling forever.” And so on and so forth.
You can say these are the words of a hopeless sourpuss, but they’re not. You can say I’m being dishonest or otherwise covering up, but I’m not. I’m no Livia and no Woody. Life is nothing without joy, and joy is nothing unless you embrace it…unless you jump into the pool with your clothes on.
A colleague has heard good things about The Aeronauts (Amazon, 10.25), an historical adventure flick about real-life scientist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) and the fictional Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) on an epic fight for survival during an 1862 gas-balloon voyage. The colleague has heard it’s “a heavy-hitter spectacle”, and that Jones might emerge as a Best Actress frontrunner. Maybe. His source insists it’s also a contender for Best Picture and Best Score.
The colleague says he’s been told that “around 80% of the movie takes place in the air.” Does anyone believe that? Maybe 40% or 50%.
The colleague also says that Taika Waititi‘s Jojo Rabbit (Disney, 10.18) is “screening very well.” Set in World War II-era Vienna and focused on Nazi persecution of Jews, the dark antiwar satire could emerge as “one of the Best Pic frontrunners after all is said and done.” Or so he’s been told. Because it’s an instructive piece about racism and prejudice.
(l. to r.) Jojo Rabbitt‘s Roman Griffin Davis, Taika Waititi, Scarlett Johansson.
Based on Christine Leunens‘ “Caging Skies,” the story is about Johannes Betzler (called “Jojo Rabbit” Betzler in the film and played by Roman Griffin Davis), an avid member of the Hitler Youth. The plot kicks in when JoJo learns that his parents are hiding a Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) behind a false wall in their home.
Pop quiz: Who in HE Land believes that a kid in 1940s Vienna would be called by the English nickname “Jojo“? The first time I heard “Jojo” was in the 1969 Beatles song “Get Back”; the second time was when Richard Pryor‘s Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling was released in ’86. “Jojo Rabbitt” sounds like it was pulled out of the same name hat as “Jiminy Cricket” and “Foghorn Leghorn.”
My reply to colleague: Your friend, I suspect, is overly impressionable. I definitely don’t trust him/her…sorry.
The Aeronauts is fact-based, yes, but appears to be a family-friendly period adventure tale a la Around the World in Eighty Days, Up, Night Crossing, Mysterious Island, et. al. As noted, Glaisher’s balloon flight happened in 1862 — Jules Verne‘s Around The World in Eighty Days was published in 1872.
Aeronauts director Tom Harper (Wild Rose, BBC’s 2016 six-part War and Peace miniseries) is apparently one of those highly competent, proficient fellows who haven’t yet developed an especially strong imprint or creative style. I intend to see his just-opened Wild Rose (RT 93% Metacritic 78%) today or tomorrow.
Since peaking with 2014’s The Theory of Everything, Eddie Redmayne starred in a highly problematic Wachowski Brothers film (Jupiter Ascending), gave a gimmicky Oscar-bait performance in The Danish Girl and then did two Fantastic Beasts movies — a family-friendly, Harry Potter-like franchise.
Nine days ago World of Reel‘s Jordan Ruimy passed along scuttlebutt that both Woody Allen‘s A Rainy Day in Manhattan and Roman Polanski‘s An Officer and a Spy will premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Two days ago Showbiz 411‘s Roger Friedman passed along the same info.
For me the head-turner in Friedman’s story (i.e., what I hadn’t read before) is that the 2019 Venice Film Festival “will not have” Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman. Where did that come from?
If Friedman is correct this is a shocker. Who bypasses the Venice Film Festival? I know nothing at all but “no Venice” sounds to me like “no Telluride” and “no Toronto” in the same breath. Could this be true?
If so the likely world premiere destination would be the New York Film Festival, which is run by Scorsese’s friend and colleague Kent Jones (who also distinguished himself early this year as the director of Diane). On top of which much of The Irishman was shot in the New York City area, and the story more or less happens in the New York-to-Boston corridor.
HE to Jones: Will I have to fly to NYC to attend the world premiere of The Irishman at the NYFF? I usually go there anyway but I need to know in advance so I can find the right Airbnb and figure out out the best airfare, etc.
In a 10.13.18 N.Y. Times profile of Soloway called “They Live in Public — Jill Soloway is building a gender-free empire“, writer Penelope Green stated for the record that “for the last few years, Mx. Soloway has identified as non-binary and prefers the third-person plural pronoun.” One presumes that in some way, shape or form Soloway’s Red Sonja will reflect this mindset or persuasion.
The last time Red Sonja occupied big screens was 34 years ago, when Brigitte Neilsen played the role. Richard Fleischer directed.
Honest question, no attitude implied: Within the last five years how many HE readers have written a letter or otherwise addressed a non-binary person as “Mx.”? It sounds like you’re saying the person in question has something to do with Mexico. That or he/she represents some sort of mixed gender (Neil Diamond‘s “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You”). I wish I knew a non-binary person well enough to write them a parchment letter so I could seriously and earnestly type “Mx.” for the very first time in my life (apart from this posting).
How many times has Eric Kohn addressed a non-binary pally as “Mx.” whomever? Or Kyle Buchanan? HE to J.J. Abrams — Yo, bruh, have you ever signed a formal letter on Bad Robot stationery that was addressed to a non-binary colleague or collaborator?
Seriously, I love the “Mx.” but at the same time I’m kind of scratching my head. I just need to acclimate.