No, you probably didn’t. Not until I mentioned it. But 1.66:1 was totally standard in England and Europe back in the day. Which is why I’ve long claimed to have seen a 1.66 version of Rosemary’s Baby in Paris back in the mid ’70s. Like Dr. No and Goldfinger, From Russia With Love was shot at 1.37:1 It was projected at 1.66:1 in Europe and 1.85:1 in the U.S.
In 2016 the honest Hillary Clinton argument went something like “look, we get it, she’s Ma Clinton…not your favorite person…isn’t naturally charismatic and probably too flush, too aloof, too establishment, too mainstream…but she’s brilliant and well seasoned and will steer a steady course…I mean, you can’t be thinking of voting for that bully, that blowhard, that fact-averse sociopath…c’mon, there’s no choice here…Hillary may rub you the wrong way but you’ll be cutting off your nose to spite your face if you vote for Trump…please don’t do that.”
Hollywood Elsewhere voted for the only sane major-party candidate that year….there was no other choice.
2020 is a different deal. At the very least no one is saying “hold your nose and vote for Biden.” They’re saying “for God’s sake, get rid of that asshole by electing a better alternative…choose a decent man, please.”
How much of a juggernaut or a chugging locomotive is David Fincher‘s Mank? N.Y. Times “Carpetbagger” columnist Kyle Buchanan has posted an assessment of the situation.
Mank is a comer, he says. It even has “the look of a potential juggernaut.” Yeah, it does — I agree. I said this two or three days ago, but one mark of an excellent film is immediately wanting to see it another couple of times. That’s how I felt after last Thursday’s viewing.
Except it’s quite the smarthouse thing — gently or obliquely emotional but mostly a Hollywood lore head-trip movie, And it’s aimed almost solely at seasoned, well-educated film sophistos. Which is one reason why guys like San Francisco Chronicle critic Bob Strauss are doing cartwheels.
Brilliant and savory as it is, Mank is mostly about the ways of genius mixed with the rigorous discipline of writing, the slow ways of alcohol poisoning and the complexities of studio politics.
It could be argued that a deeper, sadder emotional current can be found in Chloe Zhao‘s Nomadland, which is probably Mank‘s strongest Best Picture competitor as we speak.
Yes, there’s something inscrutable about Frances McDormand‘s lead character — a woman who declines a third-act offer of love, companionship and financial security. It’s a head scratcher that leaves you with an inescapable conclusion — i.e., that she’s finally a tragic character.
There’s a “fake news” subplot in Mank (about a pre-scripted, Louis B. Mayer-funded newsreel hit job against California gubernatorial candidate Upton Sinclair) that injects a certain offer present-day relevance. And yet Nomadland is more rooted in 21st Century angst and anxiety. It comes from the Great Recession of ten years ago. It’s Grapes of Wrath-y.
And yet, speaking as the son of an alcoholic who entered AA in his mid 50s and a sober person myself for the last 8 1/2 years, I thought it was significant that I gradually relaxed and grew fond of Oldman and his performance. I haven’t much room for boozing characters as a rule (hanging with Albert Finney‘s drunk in Under The Volcano was a chore for me), but I came to feel for Gary’s Mankiewicz, for who he was deep down.
Buchanan: “In a year bereft of major action spectaculars and blockbuster theatrical releases, Mank has the opportunity to cut a wide swath through the technical categories, notching nods for its high-end production design, editing and costumes.” HE: No argument whatsoever.
But of course, he doesn’t mention the elephant in the room, which is the climate of woke terror that has all but completely taken hold (i.e., been submitted to) in progressive circles, and which faintly haunts every conversation.
It’s not written on parchment or carved in stone that the Academy can no longer give a Best Picture Oscar to a movie that’s entirely about elite, old-school cisgender white guys, but you know that a certain portion of the Academy believes this is a dicey porposition.
This is partly, I believe, why Martin Scorsese‘s masterful The Irishman was so widely dismissed last year. Nobody wanted to embrace another white guy movie, not to mention another Scorsese goombah gangster story. It didn’t fit the vision of the New Academy Kidz. They preferred to celebrate an overlong, good-but-not-great Bong Joon-ho social-portraiture flick with a massive second-act plothole and a prolonged, vaguely shitty ending.
I’m speaking of a general mindset among younger, fringier, multicultural and international Academy voters — those who became members over the last three years after Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Dawn Hudson sought to change the character of the Academy by diminishing the influence of 60-plus white guys.
So basically…what? Fincher wins Best Director and Nomadland wins Best Picture? Or vice versa?
Remember that mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania, Michigan and and Wisconsin probably won’t be fully counted until Wednesday (11.4), Thursday (11.5) or even Friday (11.6). As Covid-resistant conservative Republicans are expected to live-vote on Tuesday in greater numbers than Democrats and Independents, it’s possible that Trump tallies will initially be higher than Biden’s in these three states…maybe.
So the drama will begin on Tuesday night, but it’s unlikely to conclude. Perhaps the numbers will favor Biden anyway. but the count may not be statistically conclusive until Friday, or five days hence.
I only wish there could be a nationwide referendum on wokeness on Tuesday. On every ballot in every state, an optional supplemental questionaire would read “on a scale of one to ten how much do you hate wokester shithead protestors, especially those from the northwest and double especially those who trash local retail storefronts whenever there’s another horrible, unwarranted shooting by trigger-happy cops?” It would be deeply gratifying to just punch in a response. Just to say this and be heard.
Remember that Atlantic poll from almost exactly two years ago? 79 percent of whites hate wokesters. Ditto Asians (82 percent), Hispanics (87 percent), American Indians (88 percent) and African Americans (75%).
Vote for the longtime vice-presidential partner of the guy who yesterday made a three-point swish shot in Flint, Michigan, and who made two similar shots in the Middle East in July 2016. All my life I’ve bowed down to beautiful basketball players and elegant pianists. I say this as someone who’s somewhat lacking in physical grace and coordination (I certainly don’t have the natural athletic prowess of my older son Jett), although my dance moves are definitely better than Trump’s.