“The only reason I had any success was because of you. And I was grateful for that at that time.” — the late Sue Lyon to Stanley Kubrick, written and presumably sent sometime around ’95.
Saying that she was grateful for her limited success as an actress “at that time” (i.e., the ’60s and ’70s) indicates that perhaps she wasn’t so grateful for this chapter as she got older. Maybe. And why would it be so difficult to locate Kubrick’s mailing address, what with their history and all? Her former agent or agency couldn’t help? She couldn’t reach out to Kubrick’s producing partner James B. Harris (who’s still with us)?
Friends of Richard Rudman, to whom Lyon was married in the mid ’90s and apparently had ties with her at the time of her passing, expressed condolences on Facebook. Lyon was married five times, which suggests she wasn’t exactly a day at the beach. Rudman wrote a day or two ago that “she’s in a better place now, finally at peace and rest…” The suggestion is that things were rather difficult for Lyon toward the end, possibly due to poor health.
Give Shia LaBeouf‘s Honey Boy an A for honesty, and an extra A for soul-baring. It warrants respect and admiration — for LaBeouf’s screenplay and lead performance (playing his own abusive dad), for the performances of Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges who play LeBeouf (called Otis Lort) at ages 12 and 22, respectively, and for the efforts of Israeli director Alma Har’el.
Honey Boy is a straight-up, take-it-or-leave-it thing — half cinematic therapy (LaBeouf wrote it in rehab) and half sordid family saga. It tells the truth about what Shia endured as a kid and what he’s grappling with now as a 33 year-old. And it’s no stroll in the park. But it doesn’t sidestep or shilly shally. It’s trustworthy.
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We’ve all come to know the LaBeouf saga over the last 13 or so years, and how reactive and turbulent and issue-laden it’s been all along. He became a successful child actor at age 9 or thereabouts (around ’95) and then a 21 year-old marquee name with his lead performance in Disturbia and then, starting in ’08 or thereabouts, an obviously troubled hotshot with standout performances in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (’10), Lawless and The Company You Keep (’12), Nymphomaniac (’13), Fury (’14), American Honey (’16), Borg vs McEnroe (’17) and The Peanut Butter Falcon (’19).
Not to mention the arrests, altercations, conflicts, provocations. Over the last decade LaBeouf has become far better known for his issues than his talent or achievements. By the term “issues” I’m alluding to what some have perceived as obnoxious, self-regarding behavior. But that’s a fair call, LaBeouf has said.
“I don’t think you were wrong for thinking I was a dick,” he told The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg a while back. Feinberg had confessed to feeling guilty for making dismissive assumptions about him in recent years as he repeatedly wound up in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons. “I think context is really important,” LaBeouf explained. “And I think what Honey Boy does is contextualize who I was publicly, and kind of plays on it. And I’m grateful it’s effective.”
Out of 31 Gold Derby experts, only four — Variety‘s Tim Gray, Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone, Decider‘s Chris Rosen and myself — have stood up for Dolomite Is My Name‘s Da’Vine Joy Randolph. Her performance as Lady Reed is arguably the most touching and open-hearted of the year. In any category.
And 27 GD know-it-alls have blown her off. Nice one, guys!
Three other contenders deliver the intrepid beating heart thing. The Farewell‘s Zhao Shuzhen, who plays the ailing grandmother, Nai Nai. Bombshell‘s Margot Robbie, who portrays a fictitious Fox News comployee, Kayla Pospisil**, but in a stunned and shattered victimhood mode. And Richard Jewell‘s Kathy Bates, in her most noteworthy feature film performance since…what, Gertude Stein in Midnight in Paris?
The performances of the other three highly-rated contenders — Marriage Story‘s Laura Dern, Hustlers‘ Jennifer Lopez and Little Women‘s Florence Pugh — are all about spunk and spirit and strutting around. (Pugh delivers all this plus impudence.)
I respected Robbie’s performance and felt sorry for Pospisil (that awful scene in Roger Aisles‘ office), but at no time did I feel any kind of profound or meaningful kinship with her (mainly due to the rightwing thing). The emotional currents that seep out of Randolph’s Lady Reed are far more affecting, and yet Robbie has been included on 25 out of 31 GD lists. She’s obviously a bigger name that Randolph, but her performance isn’t in Randolph’s league. At all. Seriously.
Dern and Lopez are on pretty much everyone’s list. Shuzhen is on 17. Pugh is on 20.
The last time I checked performances that make you feel something deep and poignant are the ones that result in acting nominations…no? I guess gutsy and ballsy have more clout these days.
** Pospisil is a very strange last name. A mixture of a prescription drug and an opossum.