…when the power goes out. People reach out, everyone comes together. I’m not hearing about uncivil behavior but the opposite. Not much of a blackout because it’s still dusky outside. Okay, it’s getting darker now. 40 years to the day after the ’77 blackout. The outage of ’65 happened on 11.9.65.
I guess this is what they call a New York moment. After being trapped on the F for an hour because of the power outage I emerged to see dark restaurants & traffic lights, civilians directing traffic, & an evacuated Carnegie Hall concert happening in the street. #nyc #Blackout pic.twitter.com/3p9UWtRrel
— Briallen Hopper (@briallenhopper) July 14, 2019
— wilkssc (@wilkssc) July 13, 2019
In a 7.12 opinion piece, USA Today contributor Chris Truax urges Democrats to be wary of choosing a candidate who primarily appeals to urban wokesters and focus instead on which candidate will seem like a decent alternative to voters in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Joe Biden, he seems to be saying, and not Kamala Harris, whom he seems to feel might be too left for middle-aged Erie residents by virtue of being a POC from Oakland. Truax might even be saying that Elizabeth Warren is too left, although that notion seems silly. Warren is entirely sensible, practical, level-headed and no lefty loony. So is Harris, if you ask me, but I’m talking about shorthand perceptions.
Truax believes that Erie voters understand that Trump is bad news and are ready to cast their vote for a Democratic candidate who seems modest, well-mannered and reasonable. And yet he doesn’t address the fact that Biden is an Obama nostalgia candidate — a guy who’s much more about the mindset of the ’80s and ’90s than the 21st Century.
You know who really fits the “modest, well-mannered and reasonable” bill? Mayor Pete. Because he’s brilliant and Christian and relatively conservative within the liberal Democratic realm, and not necessarily beholden to the woke fruitcake cabal.
Truax: “The people you really have to motivate aren’t the Democratic base, they’re the people in the middle who have been unsettled by Trump’s presidency. They can see what Trump is and will happily vote for a reasonable alternative. But if Democrats offer what appears to them as a choice between death by hanging and death by firing squad, a lot of them will just give up and not vote at all.
“There are four states that matter in 2020: Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida. Win three out of four of those states and Trump is a one-term president. No matter how popular something might be with activists in Los Angeles or donors in Manhattan, it’s dead weight or worse if it isn’t a winner with Rotary Club members in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“Want to put Minnesota, Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire in play? Easy. Just run on policies like eliminating private health insurance, reparations for slavery, legalizing drugs and decriminalizing prostitution.
…I don’t want to be right.
A friend insists that yesterday’s post about Little Women and other fall hotties (“Gerwig’s Little Women Avoiding Festival Circuit?”) is “hogwash.” If he’s referring to the Little Women part, he needs to complain to Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson and not me.
“I know several titles locked for Telluride,” he says, “and I don’t think you mention any of them, not even the right Netflix one. Actually there may be two.”
“Wait a minute, wait a minute,” I said. “You’re telling me that none of the hotties I listed are going to Telluride as far as you know?”
I don’t care what this guy is saying — at least two or three of the films I mentioned (Ed Norton‘s Motherless Brooklyn, Jay Roach‘s Fair and Balanced, Kasi Lemmons‘ Harriet, Dee Rees‘ The Last Thing He Wanted, Steven Soderbergh‘s The Laundromat, Gavin O’Connor‘s Torrance, Roger Michell‘s Blackbird, Rupert Goold‘s Judy, Tom Harper‘s The Aeronauts) have to be Telluride-bound…c’mon.
He also commented about Jeff Sneider‘s prediction tweet about Melina Matsoukas‘ Queen & Slim and Destin Daniel Cretton‘s Just Mercy being possible Best Picture favorites, along with my inference that admirers of these films will represent “an anti-Green Book, authentic-black-experience pushback vote.”
“The Academy is not looking to ‘make up’ for Green Book,” he says. “They strongly endorsed it and still do. Queen & Slim sounds interesting but it’s about a black couple (played by Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith) killing a white policeman and going on the lam. Universal plans to [try to] cover that up largely by selling it as a love story.”
“Warner Bros. is considering Just Mercy for an awards run but it is aimed more directly at MLK weekend. WB has so many possibilities, most notably Joker, so we’ll see. Like Green Book it’s an inspiring true story.”
Just Mercy is a variation on Call Northside 777** — a “get a convict out of jail because he’s innocent” drama. The director is Destin Daniel Cretton; the costars are Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx and Eva Ansley.
** Yeah, I know — Call Northside 777 who? It’s a 1948 James Stewart docudrama, based on a true story about a Chicago reporter who got an innocent guy out of jail.
I’ve been hearing about Benh Zetlin‘s Wendy for quite a while now. I asked about the situation 16 months ago, and the general impression is that it was going through a difficult journey. I heard today that the Fox Searchlight release will be test-screening soon, and that it might (I say “might”) be ready for the fall festivals. It’s been eight and a half years since Zeitlin’s debut film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Here’s hoping.
Apollo 11 is truly great within its own realm — an immersive, suspenseful, larger-than-life, clean-as-a-hound’s-tooth revisiting of a momentous moment in world history. It’s moving and majesterial and as tightly wound as a Swiss watch — i.e., all the boring parts of an eight-day voyage removed for viewing pleasure.
And Ryan Gosling should be advised that while Neil Armstrong was allegedly aloof and not the joshiest of fellows, he was not a chronic gloomhead — shot after shot in Miller’s doc shows him smiling, grinning and otherwise beaming like a prep schooler.
Apollo 11 gets you emotionally in at least a couple of ways. In hindsight it’s almost sad to watch when you consider how good and unified everyone in the U.S. felt when the Eagle landed on the moon on 7.20.69 vs. how tens of millions of center-left types are currently depressed, despairing and mortified over the degradation of American values and standards by the ongoing Trump clown show.
True, things were anything but peaceful in the summer of ’69 — the Vietnam War raging, the “silent majority” discomforted by anti-war demonstrations and a general loathing of President Richard Nixon plus counter-culture upheavals (pot, LSD, hippies, the Weathermen, Black Panthers, “whitey on the moon”, Woodstock, breakup of the Beatles). So life is never peaceful and strife and discomfort are often the orders of the day.
But the sick-brain world of Trump, his Fox enablers and the meatball redhats is a realm beyond. Trump is a beast, a liar, a con man destroyer, a short-fused fool. For all his dark currents and venal determinations Nixon at least understood and respected the system of checks and balances for the most part and, apart from “the plumbers”, generally operated within constitutional restraints. And he did push for environmental laws, a national health care system and the raising of labor wages. Five years ago Noam Chomsky opined that Nixon was “the last liberal president.”
As disturbing and discordant as 1969 was, it was a comparative garden of eden compared to what’s happening now. Richard M. wasn’t anywhere near as appalling as Donald J.
Side observation: Watching all those dozens upon dozens of NASA guys with their identical short-sleeved white dress shirts and ties and almost every of them wearing white-walled crew cuts (a few wore their hair with a bit of length and a part) is to observe a species that truly no longer exists. Not one of these NASA drones wore even a hint of longish sideburns…not one! And sideburns were all over the place in 1969.
And to go by Apollo 11 not one of them was even a little bit overweight, much less fat and forget obese. Because the American diet was different 50 years ago and middle-aged people were generally in better shape.
Late yesterday afternoon Kanye West and some pallies showed up at IMAX headquarters to watch what may have been a “James Turrell Sunday service concert experience” doc inside the largest screening room. (IMAX also has a second smaller screening room for overflows.) Did anyone know that Kanye has produced a Turrell IMAX doc? News to me but this is what a Kanye website guy has tweeted. There are plans, he says, to “premiere it across the country”.
In any event the screening schedules of Kanye and a bunch of film journalists and industry savants collided yesterday at said headquarters in Playa Vista.
Who knows what time Kanye’s screening was booked for, but when I arrived at the IMAX facility for a 7pm screening of Todd Douglas Miller‘s Apollo 11, I was directed to an outdoor patio where 70 or 80 tastemakers were gathered. The Apollo 11 showing was being delayed, I was told, because the Kanye crowd was still watching what I later inferred was the Turrell doc, and who knew when it would end?
Kanye West, artist James Turrell.
No worries as the patio vibe was cool and convivial and the libations were free. We finally wound up going inside around 7:30 pm (I saw Kanye and pallies exiting as we went in), and after a brief introduction by Miller Apollo 11 started around 7:45 pm. The screening ended at 9:18 pm. An after-party with drinks and hors d’oeuvres followed.
The likeliest reason for the delay was that Kanye, known for his occasionally flaky and eccentric behavior, was late to his Turrell doc screening. (What are the odds of the screening being delayed if a friend of Kanye’s had been late?) Many top-tier celebrities, even those not known for their flaky and eccentric behavior, are often late for this or that appointment. They gradually learn that they don’t have to live by a strict clock and others will always adapt to their whims. (In the late ’90s Robert Redford chaired a small Sundance Film Festival press conference at his Sundance resort, and year after year he was always 15 minutes late.)
If I was the person who agreed to rent the main IMAX theatre to Kanye prior to a major industry screening, I would have factored this shit in. If the Turrell IMAX doc had a running time of, say, 90 minutes, I would have told Kanye that the screening would have to begin at 4 pm, knowing that the screening would most likely begin closer to 4:30 pm or perhaps even a bit later. Even if it started 45 minutes late, it would still be over at 6:15 pm with plenty of time for the Kanye crowd to evacuate before the Apollo 11 crowd arrived.
If I was the IMAX rep in charge of greeting the Kanye crowd and seeing to their comfort yesterday afternoon, I would have told them when they arrived 30 or 45 minutes late that their screening would have to happen in the smaller IMAX theatre because the larger screening room had to be free at 6:30 pm to accomodate an industry crowd that would be arriving around then.