Big-time TV producer and briefly calamitous NBC honcho Fred Silverman has passed at age 82.
Wiki excerpt: “Although Silverman’s tenure at ABC was very successful, he left to become President and CEO of NBC in 1978. In stark contrast with his tenures at CBS and ABC, his three-year tenure at the network proved to be a difficult period, marked by several high-profile failures such as the sitcom Hello, Larry, the variety shows The Big Show and Pink Lady, the drama Supertrain (which also was, at the time, the most expensive TV series produced; its high production costs nearly bankrupted NBC), and the Jean Doumanian era of Saturday Night Live.
Silverman hired Doumanian after Al Franken, the planned successor for outgoing Lorne Michaels, castigated Silverman’s failures on-air in a way that Silverman took very personally.
John Belushi impersonated Silverman on Saturday Night Live at least once if not twice. One of the Silverman bits (a recurring bit, as I recall) happened in ’78, but I can’t find any video. A clip was on this imasportsphile.com page, but it’s been removed or blocked.
The most indelible moment from The Departed (1:10 to 1:16) arrives by way of Jack Nicholson‘s teeth. I saw Martin Scorsese‘s Best Picture winner four or five times in screenings and commercial showings (imagine that!) and people chuckled and tee-hee’d every time. 13 years ago — feels like eight or nine.
Originally posted on 9.30.06: “It’s amazing what can happen when the right song is laid onto the soundtrack of the right scene in the right film.
“This special chemistry happens for reasons I don’t yet fully understand when Martin Scorsese uses John Lennon‘s ‘Well, Well, Well’ in a scene in The Departed — a scene between Leonardo DiCaprio‘s frazzled cop-mole character and Jack Nicholson‘s grizzled mob boss.
“I haven’t listened to this song in a long time, but it popped through in some live-wire way the other night when I was watching The Departed for a second time. A couple of lines of dialogue about Lennon are heard around the same time. Nicholson asks DiCaprio, ‘Do you know who John Lennon was?’ and DiCaprio answers, ‘Yeah…he was the president right before Lincoln.’
“The musical ride that Scorsese takes you on in this film is great — a series of late ’60s/early ’70s rock tracks that fortify the scenes (or portions of scenes) they play under, but not in any literal ‘oh, the lyrics are commenting on what we’re seeing’ way. It’s more of a visceral-emotional thing, and it feels dead perfect.
“Scorsese achieved a similar connection when he used Mott the Hoople‘s ‘All The Way to Memphis’ at the very beginning of Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. I had never given much of a shit about Mott the Hoople before seeing that film, but I always felt a measure of respect for those guys (and certainly their song) after they were processed through the Scorsese grinder.”
HE to Awards Daily: Because Gerwig regarded Louisa May Alcott‘s “Little Women” as a sacred text in her heart, but in practical filmmaking terms she had to make it her own. Which meant creating a different ending that Alcott would have no doubt approved of, or so Gerwig believes. Who’s to say she’s wrong? Either way she didn’t really consider the text to be “sacred,” but a kind of launching pad.
Today, tomorrow, the weekend, Monday and most of the Tuesday work day. Voting closes on Tuesday, 2.4, at 5 pm. Keep in mind that giving the Best International Feature Oscar and the Best Picture Oscar to the same film is a bad idea. You can do this, of course, but you shouldn’t.
Will you look at the guy (i.e., Josh Safdie) on the left? His eyes in particular and that Three Stooges Curly Joe nyuk-nyuk goofball expression? One glance tells you why Uncut Gems is the film that it is. One glance tells you Josh is emotionally and psychologically incapable of making a film that isn’t push push crazy-fuck pedal to the metal hyper somersault manic…yeaagghhhhh! Benny (beardless, two years younger) is presumably the more moderate and political personality between them, but together they form a single rollicking aesthetic, a single hormonal urgency…fast on the draw, never slow down, never calm down, drive Hollywood Elsewhere up the wall. They’re in their mid 30s. They might start making interesting films when they hit their 50s. It’s going to take at least 15 or 20 years for these guys to settle down. They have a brand now, and so many enablers. There’s no turning back.
I’ll tell you right now that the flaming bowling-ball metaphor doesn’t work. It looks Ed Wood-y.
Until last summer I hadn’t realized that John Turturro’s remake of Bertrand Blier‘s Going Places (’74) and The Jesus Rolls (Screen Media, 2.28) are one and the same. Screen Media will distribute Turturro’s three-year-old film (which has no real connection to The Big Lebowski) late next month.
Great title, but I’ve never understood how a flick about an older trio of “sexually depraved misfits” (played by Turturro, Bobby Cannavale and Audrey Tautou) could work. The French-made original was about reckless youth frolicking in counter-culture upheaval — a couple of amoral hooligans (Gerard Depardieu, Patrick Dewaere) and the various adventures that befall them.
Substitute these guys with 40something actors in the 21st Century and it’s…I don’t know what but on some level it feels out of time. Especially with today’s #MeToo scrutiny. Pic costars Pete Davidson, Jon Hamm. Susan Sarandon (in the Jeanne Moreau role) and Sonia Braga.
You want it straight? Turturro, Cannavale and Tatou are simply too old to play Depardieu, Dewaere and Miou Miou. You have to be in your teens or 20s to play careless roustabouts. You can’t even get away with this kind of thing in your 30s.
Film critic pally: “This would seem to fit into your cultural Khmer Rouge narrative.”
HE: “In dumb person language, can you explain what this is about? Because I don’t get it. American Dirt is a sympathetic saga of an educated, middle-class Mexican mother and her son fleeing for their lives after her journalist husband has been murdered by a drug cartel. So what’s the rumpus?”
Film critic pally: “The Dirt haters are lefties who are accusing the book of cultural appropriation, and of basically using torture porn to dramatize the immigrant crisis. They are also objecting to the author, who, despite having a Puerto Rican grandmother, is a white woman by most classifications, and therefore, in some minds, incapable of grasping the nuances of the situation.”
HE: “Okay, check.”
“Citing ‘Peril,’ Flatiron Cancels ‘American Dirt’ Tour, Apologizes for ‘Serious Mistakes’“, posted by Claire Kirch for Publishers Weekly on 1.29.20:
“Flatiron Books, publisher of American Dirt, the much-hyped novel about a Mexican mother and her son trying to make their way to the U.S. to escape a drug cartel, announced today that it is canceling the rest of the 40-city national tour by the book’s author, Jeanine Cummins, which launched in Washington, D.C., on January 22.
“Cummins made only five stops, the last one on Saturday evening, before the tour was officially ended today. Besides Washington, D.C., the tour had already stopped in New York City, Boston, Madison, Conn. and Nashville.
“In a prepared statement announcing the tour’s cancelation, Bob Miller, Flatiron’s publisher, disclosed that the remainder of the tour was canceled due to ‘specific threats to booksellers and the author’ which in some cases included ‘threats of physical violence.’ Miller added that ‘we believe there exists real peril to their safety.'”