45 minutes hence Hollywood Elsewhere will head east to the Chinese for the big Joker premiere. Given the heavy security I’m feeling relatively safe about catching Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix‘s film this evening, but I’m not sure I’ll feel the same about a public screening. A publicist recently told a journalist pal that he doesn’t plan on seeing Joker in a theatre for this reason. Remember that 2014 Chris Rock joke about the Freedom Tower (“I ain’t never goin’ in there”)? Same difference.
I’m referring, of course, to Joker‘s incel wacko factor. Just as James Holmes slaughtered 12 and wounded 58 during the 7.20.12 massacre during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, there is suppressed but genuine concern out there that something similar could happen after Joker opens on 10.4. Because Joker has been described in some quarters as a kind of incel anthem flick.
Yes, I used these same photos to illustrate a 9.20 HE piece about the same general topic.
You may have read that Warner Bros. publicity has prohibited red-carpet journalists from attending tonight’s Joker premiere, obviously because they don’t want the talent to be asked the same question that the Telegraph‘s Robbie Collin asked Joaquin Pheonix a few days ago: ‘Aren’t you worried that this film might perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it’s about, with potentially tragic results?’
Variety reported yesterday that the Landmark theatre chain is prohibiting costume play based on Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck, and that the Los Angeles Police Department “would increase its visibility at area theaters…the department said it has not received any specific threats about the movie, but encouraged moviegoers to be vigilant.”
Scott Feinberg has posted a 9.28 Hollywood Reporter assessment of The Irishman‘s chances of landing a Best Picture Oscar as well as other honors. Feinberg is correct in saying that the chances are excellent, but he also mentions four uh-oh factors as far as your generically older, less-than-fully-engaged, “we’re from Missouri” Academy members are concerned.
Here they are with HE replies following each:
Feinberg uh-oh factor #1: “As the awards season progresses, The Irishman will face a number of challenges. For one thing, its runtime could deter some from even checking it out.”
HE reply: Any Academy member who avoids catching The Irishman because it runs 209 minutes needs to turn in his/her membership card…period. Because you have no sense of professional respect for your fellow craftspersons, and no sense of solemn spiritual devotion to the cinematic arts. If you can’t bring yourself to see what I believe is one of the greatest crime films ever and easily the best of the year so far, you need to resign and move to Fresno. It’s really that simple.
By the way: Unless you’re dying or paralyzed, you have to catch The Irishman in a theatre. You need to focus on it the way all the in-crowd, cool-cat critics and columnists did yesterday morning during our 10 am screening. It will be privately screened a lot during October and then for three weeks in theatres before streaming on Netflix. This is the way to go, not streaming. Or at least not initially.
Feinberg uh-oh factor #2: “[The Irishman] was financed (reportedly for $159 million) and will be distributed by Netflix, which remains a divisive company — although the streamer is giving this film a fairly substantial theatrical release (starting Nov. 1) before dropping it on the service in time for Thanksgiving.”
HE reply: Get over your Ma and Pa Kettle way of looking at the way the industry is right now, and stop demonizing Netflix for being in the forefront of the streaming revolution. Everybody’s doing it. Resistance is futile. Way of the world.
Feinberg uh-oh factor #3: “For yet another, the Academy has never really embraced crime movies [except] for Scorsese’s The Departed (’06), which some suspected at the time was his crime-genre swan song.”
HE reply: Anyone who comes out of The Irishman saying “yeah, that was just another crime movie, and why did it take so long for De Niro’s character to ice Jimmy Hoffa?”…anyone who emerges from The Irishman without realizing they’ve just seen a devastating personal statement from a veteran filmmaker who’s been at this racket for 50 years…a film about a man (De Niro’s Frank Sheeran or Scorsese himself) facing the end of life and the sum of his works, and what he’s done and become…anyone who says this is just a crime movie and therefore outside of the standard realm of Best Picture contention is a blithering idiot.
Criterion’s Local Hero Bluray is so lovely, so sad, so fucking perfect in every way. Except for that tingly jingly phone ring in the last shot, which is just a notch too quiet.
This morning I watched this otherwise sublime Bluray with the sound all the way up on my set, and I’m sorry but I didn’t like what I heard. The jingle is not inaudible and I realize that the rings get a bit louder toward the end of the shot, but I own a big, fat 65″ Sony HDR 4K with good speakers and a sub-woofer on the floor, and I’m telling you (as I did on 6.17.19) that the phone jingles don’t really pop like they should.
Watch the below video capture. When Peter Reigert slides open his glass door we hear the churning, indistinct sound mix of nighttime Houston, except for a wailing cop siren in the distance. All Criterion had to do was make sure that the Ferness phone booth ring is as distinct as that cop siren. Because with Mark Knopfler‘s reverb guitar competing like a sonofabitch, those jingles are just a little too subtle and mixed down. Criterion needed to turn them up just a bit.
But they refused. They could have tweaked the mix during this one ten-second passage, but Criterion is too purist. I told them three months ago that they needed to address this and in fact begged them not to screw it up. They could’ve done the right thing but they declined. Thanks!
Strange occurence: I can hear the last two jingles more clearly on my YouTube capture than I can hear them on my TV with the sound all the way up. Weird.
Boiled down, Calvin favorably profiled a much-admired local guy, but then researched his subject’s social-media history and found some offensive [read: racist, crude, asshole-ian] tweets that the guy posted when he was 16 or thereabouts. When Calvin aired these tweets, he was hate-stormed by the right for unfairly dredging up what they regarded as immaterial sentiments from an unfortunate, ill-nurtured past. Then Calvin’s enemies doxxed him by posting some of his own asshole-ian tweets [one was anti-gay] from his teenaged years.
And so Calvin’s Des Moines Register editors canned him. Cowards!
Some would say, “Tough shit, Calvin, but you started it” or “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.”
I say pass a nationwide law stating that the hostile posting of a person’s idiotic teenage tweets should be off-limits, totally verboten and punishable by a stiff fine. Everything that a person tweets from his/her 20th birthday on can and should be fair game, but not before. Get it?
Young women are generally more mature than their male counterparts, but it’s a very rare fellow who hasn’t had a few crude, idiotic, gorillian thoughts in his mid-teen years. That shit should be left there. By the time you’re in your junior year of college you’re on your own and will have to suffer slings and arrows if you fuck up. But teenaged tweets? C’mon.
No, this doesn’t apply to Brett Kavanaugh‘s high-school and college situations. Hostile sexual fratboy aggression when you’re all beered up is a much more serious thing that sending out idiot tweets. It’s a whole ‘nother realm because it involves bringing hurt, brutality and lasting trauma into another person’s life.
The face on the campaign button obviously doesn’t resemble a somewhat younger Jimmy Hoffa as much as CG-youthied Al Pacino with Hoffa hair. But the face isn’t really Pacino’s either. It’s more like a manipulated Hoffa-face hybrid — a wider, squarer face with a smile (and a mouth) totally unlike Pacino’s. When I think of Pacino, I think of “because she has a GREAT ASS! And you got your head all the way up it!” The guy on the Hoffa button would have never been capable of such a moment.
9:04 am Update: The Irishman screening happens in 55 minutes. Leaving on the rumble hog in ten.
“All surviving sources, except Pliny the Elder, characterize Caligula as insane. However, it is not known whether they are speaking figuratively or literally. Philo of Alexandria, Josephus and Seneca state that Caligula was insane, but describe this madness as a personality trait that came through experience. Seneca states that Caligula became arrogant, angry and insulting once he became emperor and uses his personality flaws as examples his readers can learn from. According to Josephus, power made Caligula incredibly conceited and led him to think he was a god.” — from Wikipage of Caligula, Roman emperor from 37 to 41 AD.
Marielle Heller‘s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony, 11.22) is all about the art and impulse (and to some extent the discipline) of being gentle and kind, however and whenever possible and even when it’s not. There’s no resisting the caressing vibe of this thing, and who would want to? It’s going to make a ton of money, and Tom Hanks‘ performance as the beloved Fred Rogers will snag a Best Supporting Actor nom. It’s not a brilliant film, but it’s an awfully nice one.
The gentle scheme is to present a mostly factual, real-life story — all about an evolving relationship that actually happened 21 years ago between a somewhat testy and suspicious writer and his serene-minded subject, and how it turned out for the better.
The trick is that the film actually feels like — is — an episode of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. It deals with angry adult workaholic stuff (i.e., mostly Vogel’s issues with his father, played by Chris Cooper) but adheres to the emotional tone and terms of this fanciful, tender-hearted kids show.
Hanks obviously owns this film, but it’s a little curious that Heller and screenwriters Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster decided to only portray the Fred Rogers of legend. I’m not saying Rogers was someone else deep down, but he’s so gently mannered and all. Did he ever swear or fart or snap at anyone…ever? And the film is soooo slowly paced and extra-double-triple gentle and quiet. There are sooo many close-ups and MCUs. So many actor-ish expressions of rage, surprise and buried anger on Rhys’ face. And that three-week beard…yeesh.
I don’t believe that the actual Tom Junod slugged his father during a wedding reception. Angry sons do this in movies; not so much in real life. Critic friend: “I think the slugging-the-father scene rings false even as a movie scene; but then, I think, A Beautiful Day recovers. There was a lot of criticism in Toronto about how the Matthew Rhys parts aren’t as strong as the Tom Hanks parts. I get that criticism, but what I think it misses is the way the whole film works together.”