HE is duly impressed by (a) “You’re a damn liar, man”, (b) “Get your facts straight, Jack!” and (c) “let’s do push-ups together.” For the first time in a long time, Biden sounded sharp, strong and flinty. He challenged his questioner to a push-up contest, but that was because the guy is fat and Biden knew he’d win. But the mere mention of push-ups was impressive. It suddenly occured to me that Biden might be better at push-ups than me, and if he is, who the hell am I to call him “Droolin’ Joe”? Biden knows how to vent anger in the right way. That’s a good quality. Call this an HE attitude adjustment.
Once upon a time a certain kind of producer made modestly-budgeted films that weren’t aimed at lowest-common-denominator morons. These films were made for semi-cultivated, marginally educated, upmarket audiences who were…oh, 30 years of age and older, let’s say, and a certain kind of distributor would endeavor to distribute these films.
This was a few years before Amazon and Netflix and other streamers were routinely delivering films in 1080p and 4K to home theatres, and audiences, arcane as it may sound, would get into their cars, drive into garages and pay money to see these films in places called “theatres” or, if you will, “multiplexes,” where they would show films on large-sized screens with the aid of complex, SUV-sized devices called “projectors.”
This was more or less the way things were done in the mid teens and before. But even in this progressive-minded, sometimes adult-friendly age, audience viewing habits would sometimes disappoint certain erudite columnists. Enterprising fellows, for example, like Hollywood Elsewhere’s Jeffrey Wells. I’m mentioning this because earlier today a team of researchers came upon a portion of a column written by Wells many years ago, or way back in 2015. It’s only a portion of the column, apparently, but the tone indicates he was suffering from pique and irritation.
Here’s what it says: “The public, bless’ em, sometimes shows curious inclinations as far as which films they want to see. This is a roundabout way of saying that ticket-buyers only occasionally exhibit what used to be know as ‘taste‘ in choosing what they like, and that their moviegoing habits often indicate preferences of a lazy, ignorant and ineducable bent.
“On top of which narrative complexity (i.e., a deliberate, creative choice on the part of filmmakers to avoid black-and-white, dumbshit simplicity) seems to scare them to death.”
Clint Eastwood‘s Richard Jewell (Warner Bros., 12.13) may or may not connect with Joe Popcorn. I’m not sensing any kind of populist interest among ticket-buyers, certainly not along the lines of ticket-buyer enthusiasm for Eastwood’s American Sniper (’14), which wound up earning nearly $350 million domestic. But who knows?
Two days ago the National Board of Review announced that Bates had won their Best Supporting Actress award; they also gave a Best Breakthrough Performance trophy to Hauser. This may or may not translate into the Golden Globes and Oscar realm. It might.
But despite generally favorable reviews thus far, the film may run into opposition in certain journalistic quarters because of its negative depiction of the news media (particularly the early coverage of the Jewell case by the Atlanta Constitution).
James Vanderbilt‘s Truth (’15) and Jason Reitman‘s The Front Runner (’18), which presented similarly critical instances of rash or intemperate reporting about subjects of national political interest, suffered lower-than-average reviews and went bust at the domestic box-office.
Truth earned a lousy $5,568,765. The Front Runner fared even worse, taking in $2,000,105.
Two days ago a tough Daily Beast piece by Nick Schager suggested that at least some critics and journalists (and possibly some guild and Academy members) are going to give Richard Jewell another chilly reception. Because it walks and talks like a kind of Trump fantasy.
Excerpt: “Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell wants to be a gripping, outrage-inciting drama about an innocent victim persecuted by — and driven to fight back against — institutional power. Unfortunately, what it turns out to be is a MAGA screed calibrated to court favor with the red hat-wearing faithful by vilifying the president’s two favorite enemies: the FBI and the media.”
Excerpt from 11.20 HE piece (“Clint’s Big Night“) about first major Richard Jewell screening for Los Angeles critics:
“After the q & a ended I went to the edge of the stage and reached up to shake Clint’s hand.
“I said something along the lines of ‘I can think of a certain guy in Washington who’s going to see this film about sloppy reporters who spin lies and hound an innocent man, and about an equally sloppy and unreliable FBI that isn’t on the side of truth, and he’ll say to himself ‘this is my movie, my viewpoint…it shares my beliefs about journalists and certain FBI guys.”
“And in that gentle and reflective tone of voice that he’s so well known for, Clint said that ‘we’re living in crazy times’ and that some people are going to see crazy things in Jewell’s story, but perhaps they shouldn’t. Or words to that effect.”
- 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 »