If a film is a classic, I know it almost immediately and certainly before it ends. I knew The Silence of the Lambs was a classic as soon as the first meeting between Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter had begun. I knew No Country For Old Men was a classic when Javier Bardem told that store proprietor to “call it.” I knew The Wolf of Wall Street was a classic when the quaalude scene had gotten underway.
I also know right away if a film is a pat-on-the-back-but-no-cigar. I knew that Moonlight was an approvable non-classic the instant that Barry Jenkins‘ film tried to convince me that Trevante Rhodes was the grown-up version of the wimpy little kid played by Alex Hibbert and Ashton Sanders. One look at Rhodes and I heard the penalty buzzer. I will never, ever see Moonlight again, by the way, and that goes double for If Beale Street Could Talk.
The “do you have any hobbies?” bit lasts exactly eight seconds — 1:19 through 1.26. The idea isn’t to make you “laugh” but feel a slight ripple of a chuckle about sexual perversity, or John Lennon‘s cavalier sharing of same as a way of tweaking social propriety. Here’s the thing: If Richard Lester had cut on the female journalist’s shocked expression at 1:27 instead of 1:26, the bit wouldn’t land. 1:27 would have been an ounce too much — 1.26 is just right. It’s very, very hard to make a comedic bit work just so. Timing is everything.
Or, worse, understand but won’t address. Most critics tend to be dweeby, cerebral, analytical-to-a-fault types. You can tell that by just looking at some of them. Guys who never got the girl in high school…portraits worth a thousand words. And for the most part they process films in cerebral, academic terms…as objects of study rather than journeys. They know who they are, and so do some of you. Hollywood Elsewhere has always gotten the feeling thang, of course, along with a relative handful of top-dog critics — Ann Hornaday, Owen Gleiberman and Todd McCarthy, not to mention the late Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris. If you suppress or sidestep the emotional current, you’re missing the essence of a film or certainly a good portion of it.
A two-day-old N.Y. Times story reported about President Trump‘s sudden, arbitrary announcement to deliver a commencement address at West Point in June. This will mean two things. One, West Point seniors, who’ve been studying from home due to COVID-19, will have to return to the military academy for the Trump address. And two, they won’t be able to sit six feet apart because Trump wants the seating to be “nice and tight.”
WOW. Just received. A powerful video message from Alec Baldwin to @NYGovCuomo: "As the pandemic spreads, public health, safety, & basic moral decency demand you use your power to issue clemency to the most vulnerable & reduce the overall population of state jails & prisons.” pic.twitter.com/knTzAgZqca
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) April 26, 2020
The general consensus is that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un — five foot seven, 300 pounds, heavy smoker — has died and gone to hell. Or that he may be a comatose vegetable. But why settle for half measures?
Nehandaradio.com, posted today: “Shijian Xingzou, a vice director of HKSTV Hong Kong Satellite Television, a Beijing-backed broadcast network in Hong Kong, claimed that Kim is dead, citing a ‘very solid source.'”
The Nehandaradio headline says that “multiple sources claim North Korean dictator died Saturday night.”
“[Shijian Xingzou‘s] post on the Chinese messaging app Weibo has been shared widely on social media, according to a report in the International Business Times.
“It was being reported as fact by media outlets in China and Japan that the 36-year-old dictator was dead. Because of the nature of the ultra secret regime in North Korea claims of Kim Jong-un’s death are very difficult to verify before an official state announcement.”
Speculation says that Kim Jong Un’s 31 year-old sister, Kim Yo Jong, could take his place, when and if the North Korean regime finally decides to acknowledge that Kim Fattycakes, 36, is indeed down for the count.
Aljazeera.com: “In the last two years, Kim Jong Un’s younger sister has been the most visible presence around the leader, serving formally as a vice director of the ruling Workers’ Party’s powerful Central Committee but unofficially as her brother’s chief of staff.
“Kim Yo Jong was named an alternate member of the party’s Central Committee Politburo this month, continuing her climb through the leadership hierarchy.
“The leader’s sister, believed to be 31, has firm control of key party functions, setting herself to be the main source of power behind a collective leadership.”