Around 6:20 pm I moseyed over to a nearby picnic-type area with food trucks, shaded by pine trees and decorated with strings of little white lights. Families, couples. I ordered a pasta dish and settled into the dusky mellow. The air was nice and warm. After the pasta I felt like napping. I stretched out on a bench. When I awoke 30 or 40 minutes later it was dark out. I don’t think I’ve ever done this in Los Angeles.
It’s the end of the world! Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have tested positive for COVID-19. Why, I’m asking myself, would this horrible dead-bat Chinese virus pick on the ultimate Mr. Nice Guy? How come Sean Hannity doesn’t have it? Why not Trump? We all need to watch Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion. Or, better yet, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.
Another Disney CG fakeathon about the natural wild elements — fake rapids, fake tigers, fake-sounding dialogue. Boilerplate: “Set during the early 20th century” — i.e., around the time of the original African Queen, during the early years of World War I — “a riverboat captain named Frank takes a scientist and her brother on a mission into a jungle to find the Tree of Life which is believed to possess healing powers. All the while, the trio must fight against dangerous wild animals and a competing German expedition.”
I for one love that Peter Jackson is out of narrative filmmaking these days and focusing on documentaries. He’s done an excellent job in this realm, and I’m definitely looking forward to the Beatles Get Back doc in September. I’ve been off the narrative Jackson boat for so long it was looking like up to me — The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the overlong King Kong, The Lovely Bones, the three Hobbit films. They all felt like chores — each one an oppressive sit in its own way.
All Trump cares about is the stock market, and right now he’s obviously freaking about the big COV-19 downturn. If the economy tanks he’s a dead man and knows it. That’s why he’s going on the air tonight. To try and restore his electoral prospects.
CNN's Jim Acosta: "What do you say to Americans who are concerned that you're not taking this seriously enough and that some of your statements don't match what your health experts are saying?"
President Trump: "That’s CNN. Fake news." pic.twitter.com/c9T3ZhRIcP
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) March 11, 2020
“Last night was obviously not a good night for our campaign, from a delegate point of view. We lost in the biggest state up for grabs yesterday, the state of Michigan. We lost in Mississippi, Missouri and Idaho. On the other hand we won in North Dakota and we lead in the latest vote count in the state of Washington — the second largest state contested yesterday.
“We are, however, winning the generational debate, and I say to the Democratic establishment that in order to win in the future, you need to win the voters who represent the future of our country, and you must speak to the issues [that] concern them. You cannot simply be satisfied from winning the votes of people who are older.
“While our campaign has won the ideological debate, we are losing the debate over electability. I cannot tell you how many people our campaign has spoken to, who have said and I quote, ‘I like what your campaign stands for, and I agree with that also, but I’m gonna vote for Joe Biden, because I think he’s the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump.
“Tragically we have a President today who is a pathological liar, and who is running a corrupt administration. He clearly does not understand the Constitution of the United States and think that he is a President who is above the law. In my view he is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe and a religious bigot. He must be defeated [next November] and I will do everything in my power to make that happen.”
My 3.9 flight to Austin meant missing the Los Angeles all-media for The Hunt. I’ll post a review of this Craig Zobel-Damon Lindelof collaboration after catching it locally tomorrow night. Here’s a response from veteran movie guy and L.A. Times contributor Lewis Beale:
“I just saw this supposedly controversial movie. The main costars are Betty Gilpin and Hillary Swank. It’s basically a straight-to-video exploitation picture — very bloody — given a thin veneer of relevance with some political content. Featuring a bunch of TV actors and other folk — Sturgill Simpson as a rapper! — who obviously did it for the paycheck (a small one, since most are onscreen for only a short period before they’re knocked off).
“It’s about how a bad joke on the part of some wokester liberals about killing Trumpsters metastasizes into a ‘thing’ with deplorable conspiracy types. This forces the liberals to act on their joke and hunt the rightwingers a la The Most Dangerous Game.
“I found it watchable but nothing more, aided in no small part by a 90-minute running time. It portrays both sides of the political equation as jerks, but any controversial content is basically non-existent. The reviews will most likely be brutal.”
“A gory, hard-R exploitation movie masquerading as political satire, one that takes unseemly delight in dispatching yahoos on both ends of the spectrum via shotgun, crossbow, hand grenade and all manner of hastily improvised weapons.
“The words ‘trigger warning’ may not have been invented with The Hunt in mind, but they’ve seldom seemed more apt in describing a film that stops just shy of fomenting civil war as it pits Left against Right, Blue (bloods) against Red (necks) in a bloody battle royale that reduces both sides to ridiculous caricatures.
“As the umpteenth variation on Richard Connell’s ‘The Most Dangerous Game,’ The Hunt is [nonetheless] one of the most effective executions yet (it surpasses the Cannes-laureled Bacarau, but drags along too much baggage to best last year’s Ready or Not).
“Regardless of one’s personal political affiliations, it’s hard not to root for the victims here, and one quickly distinguishes herself from the pack of Deliverance-style caricatures: Crystal May Creesy (Gilpin), a MacGyver-skilled veteran who served in Afghanistan and whose distrust of any and everyone makes her uniquely suited for a final showdown with Athena.
Having been found guilty of one count of criminal sexual assault in the first degree and one count of rape in the third degree, Harvey Weinstein was sentenced today to 23 years behind bars. His wealth and political connections suggest that he probably won’t wind up serving the full term. (Not to mention the ailing-health card.) But he’ll almost certainly do serious time.
I don’t know the calculus in these matters, but I would think he’ll wind up doing…what, 8 to 10 years? A bit more? In the unlikely event that his lawyers are unable to appeal his sentence down and Harvey serves the full 23, the once-powerful movie mogul, who turns 68 on 3.19, would be in stir until age 91. But the sentence almost certainly will be whittled down by appeal, and if not he’ll certainly be granted parole after a few years.
And of course, Harvey still has to face similar sexual assault charges in Los Angeles, stemming from two incidents (one involving an alleged rape of model-actress Lauren Young) that happened in 2013.