I’ve begun to read Sam Wasson’s “The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and The Last Years of Hollywood.” It’s the story of how four semi-legendary fellows in the prime of their lives — director Roman Polanski, Jack Nicholson, screenwriter Robert Towne, producer Robert Evans — lucked into one of the most charmed collaborations ever, aided by an especially fertile time in Hollywood. It produced one of the finest ‘70s films and arguably the greatest dark-underbelly-of-Los Angeles noir ever made.
I’ve only read three or four chapters, but man, it’s delicious. Wasson’s writing is so choice, so lean and clean, so wise and sharp and cultivated to a fare-thee-well. But I have to say that I’m having trouble remembering the title. Probably because it doesn’t sound right. What constitutes a “big” goodbye (or for that matter a small one)? Goodbyes can be sad, long, drawn-out, tearful, sudden, etc. But I’ve never once contemplated the idea of a big one.
As Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson noted yesterday, the 2020 Independent Spirit Awards “are really indie” this year. Translation: Joe and Jane Popcorn tend to pay scant attention to the day-before-the-Oscars Spirit Awards, but this year they’re really not going to care all that much.
As usual, Hollywood Elsewhere will be attending the Santa Monica Surfside Show under the Big White Tent, but my enthusiasm will be mitigated by the fact that the only Spirit Award nominee that really and truly knocked me out was A24 and Robert Eggers‘ The Lighthouse (and particularly Jarin Blaschke‘s black and white cinematography).
I’m also a serious fan of two other A24 nominees, Waves and The Farewell. And of course of Marriage Story, which will likely win the Best Picture trophy.
I also feel mixed about attending an event that will have a high percentage of Khmer Rouge wokester militants, as well as (I’m presuming) a fair amount of Pete Buttigieg dissers. But you have to try and get along or at least, you know, sidestep potential conflicts.
Here are some of Thompson’s predictions along with occasional HE comments:
BEST PICTURE / Will Win: Marriage Story / Spoiler: Uncut Gems / HE comment: Which of these two films is likely to linger more in the memory 10 or 20 years hence? Obviously Uncut Gems, despite the fact that it’s a deeply infuriating film to sit through, Adam Sandler‘s admirable performance aside.
BEST DIRECTOR / Will Win: Josh and Benny Safdie (Uncut Gems) / Spoiler: Alma Har’el (Honey Boy) / HE comment: The Safdies are frenzy junkies, fools for velocity, and definitely not that deep. Average popcorn inhalers felt the same about Uncut Gems as I did — it was a grueling endurance test. And I saw it twice. When a certain party got plugged at the very end, I said to myself “thank God.” Sandler’s performance was better than the film.
BEST MALE LEAD / Will Win: Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems) / Spoiler: Robert Pattinson (aka “RBatz”) (The Lighthouse) / HE comment: Agreed and approved.
BEST FEMALE LEAD / Will Win: Renée Zellweger (Judy) / Spoiler: Alfre Woodard (Clemency) / HE comment: Agreed and approved.
BEST SUPPORTING MALE / Will Win: Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse) / Spoiler: Shia LaBeouf (Honey Boy) / HE comment: Dafoe‘s salty dog bluster is brilliant. One of my absolute favorite ‘19 performances.
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE / Will Win: Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers) / HE comment: Those in the indie community who felt that Lopez’s failure to lasso an Oscar nomination was an unfair shafting will stand behind her today. My opinion is that her Hustlers performance was definitely decent but calm down.
Poor Orson Bean wasn’t struck and killed last night by “a car” in a Venice neighborhood. He was struck by two cars — one that “clipped” him and a second that finished him off **. (It’s called teamwork.)
The upside is that Bean lived a full life and enjoyed a vibrant career for the most part. An actor-comedian who arguably peaked in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s (he was a regular on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and its spin-off Fernwood 2Nite), Bean’s signature performance (IMHO) was as the spirited if deluded Dr. Lester in Spike Jonze‘s Being John Malkovich (’99).
** Bean was walking near Venice Boulevard and Shell Avenue. “The car coming westbound did not see him and clipped him and he went down,” said Los Angeles Police Department Captain Brian Wendling. “A second vehicle was coming up, was distracted by people trying to slow him down and then looked up and then a second traffic collision occurred and that one was fatal.”
Bannon to Maher: “You’ve had three years to solve this problem, and now you’re divided.”
For the second time Republicans and Russia are going to “play” the Bernie bruhs like violins, and when Bernie captures the Democratic nomination (which appears likely)…well, most of us understand what will happen.
Bernie voters “had a bellyful of Clinton” in ’16, and so a significant percentage wound up sitting on their hands and/or voting for Trump, etc.
HE lament: The nightmare that we’re currently entangled in just keeps getting worse…growing and spreading like cancer.
Bernie can’t win.