Clea DuVall‘s Happiest Season (Hulu, 11.25) seems cheery and harmless enough, but a gay couple hiding the truth from their parents and in-laws seems kinda Birdcage-y…no? I don’t know why exactly but the trailer also vaguely reminds me of the tone of Frank Oz‘s In & Out.
It’s okay to rework or refresh a certain kind of comic situation (the script was written by DuVall and Mary Holland) that was first explored nearly a quarter-century ago. You can always make a familiar idea feel like something new if you do it well enough, I suppose. It’s just that certain kinds of family comedies work best when they hit at exactly the right cultural moment, which is to say slightly ahead of the curve.
The ever-fickle Tatiana had never seen Roman Polanski‘s Repulsion, so we watched it the night before last. It was like seeing it for the first time in a way as she was hooked from the start, despite the increasingly unsettled jagged-edge quality.
For like all great films, Repulsion isn’t so much about the destination as the ride…about a brilliant, increasingly disturbing blend of sharp observational details of mid ’60s Londön + Catherine Deneuve‘s blond hair and vacant eyes + an acute dread of sexuality + a gathering psychosis leading to a psychological meltdown (ticking clock, rape nightmares, cracks in a wall, a punctured cuticle, a rotting rabbit, arms pushing through walls, two male victims).
Shot in Löndon’s South Kensington district and at Twickenham Studios in the summer or early fall of ’64, Repulsion premiered at Cannes ’65 and opened stateside in late ’65 and early ’66.
Polanski has always been a highly exacting and demanding director, but because of Repulsion‘s extra-scrimpy budget (65,000 British pounds or roughly 1.5 million pounds today) he regards it as his “shoddiest” film, and the special effects as “sloppy.” And yet everyone regards Repulsion as a pantheon effort. It still holds me every time.
For whatever reason I’d never watched the making-of doc, David Gregory‘s A British Horror Film (’03), but I finally did on Saturday. A candid, penetrating, wholly fascinating look at a landmark slasher flick, the doc was featured on the Criterion Bluray, which popped on 7.28.09.
Small quibble: The world has confirmed over and over that Repulsion was projected in 1.66, and yet the Criterion web page says the aspect ratio is 1.85.
Polanski quote at the very beginning: “You can [interpret the film] as you want — it’s a free country. But don’t ask me to explain any of my pictures.”
Mitch McConnell is going along with Trump’s theatrical refusal to accept Biden’s electoral victory, which is basically a show for the cult. McConnell isn’t stupid. He knows there’s nothing of substance to look into, but is saying nonetheless that Trump is entitled to humiliate himself and look like an obstinate fool.
With 97% of the Arizona votes counted, Joe Biden is only 15,000 votes ahead of Donald Trump — 1,645,000 vs. 1,630,339. It’s possible, I suppose, that Trump will very slightly nudge ahead as the last 3% is counted. Georgia is even tighter with Biden ahead of Trump by only 11K votes — 2,467,870 (49.5%) vs. 2,456,275 (49.3%). It won’t actually matter, of course, if Biden loses both states. I doubt that he will. Okay, maybe Arizona but not Georgia.
I was a Cub Scout but never a Boy Scout…no thanks! Even in my tweener years I had vaguely sensed that the BSA was a kind of Hitler Youth for middle-class, white-picket-fence American values and autocratic paternalism. Old-fashioned judgments, tough requirements, strict regimentation.
I didn’t have the sharpness of mind or powers of articulation that I have now, but even when I was ten I’d come to suspect that the BSA didn’t get the American bop-shoo-wop thing — an idea that the viewpoints and lifestyles of kids and parents who weren’t rigid straight-arrow types and who were open to a slightly less conventional or even a more subversive approach to American life could be afforded a certain lattitude and respect.
Things have changed, to put it mildly. The last time I checked the Boy Scouts of America had filed for bankruptcy protection after being hit by a deluge of sexual assault lawsuits. Because, according to evidence, adult Scoutmasters had apparently been fiddling around in the manner of Catholic priests.
And now I’m reading that the BSA’s opposite number, the Girl Scouts of the USA, has gone full woke in terms of gender identity issues.
The institutional instinct is obviously to protect girls or girl-identified youths from any kind of negative social climate, and that’s obviously a good thing. Why, then, am I detecting the same kind of Hitler Youth mindset that I sensed decades ago, only this time by way of a whiff of forced woke regimentation?
I’m guessing or presuming that a significant portion of those who didn’t vote for Biden-Harris on 11.3 feel a bit unsettled about wokester mandates, and that this is the kind of thing they felt (however ignorantly) they were voting against.
It was reported three and a half years ago that Boy Scouts would allow transgender children into programs — cool. And I’ve just come upon GSA guidelines for respecting and accepting gender non-conforming, gender creative or non-binary norms, and which apparently have been recently announced.
It follows that what’s good for the goose is presumably good for the gander, and so there should be, I gather, a corresponding policy endorsed by the Boy Scouts of America. Meaning that it would read like the GSA statement, but with adjustments:
“Our Boy Scout program is for any boy-identified youth, including cisgender boys and transgender boys. Each child and family is in charge of how they identify and their genders may change over time. For example, if a boy who has previously been a Boy Scout begins to identify as gender non-conforming, gender creative or non-binary, he/she will continue to be welcomed by the Boy Scouts of America.”
It’s not only unfair but vaguely repressive to mention this, I realize, but a certain question is hovering in the back of my mind — what would Fred MacMurray say?
In the wake of Pfizer’s announcement that their experimental COVID-19 vaccine (co-developed with the German drugmaker BioNTech) is 90% effective and will be distributed in early ’21, Donald Trump, Jr. has tweeted a suspicion that Pfizer deliberately withheld the good news so as not to benefit the Trump administration before the 11.3 election.
A consensus among certain reporters and Big Pharma sources is that Don Jr.’s theory is highly questionable if not rooted in out-and-out fantasy. And yet if (and I say “if”) it can be eventually proven or verified that Pfizer did hold back the news in order to benefit Biden-Harris…good! Smart chess move! Hollywood Elsewhere approves! Whoo-hoo!
President-elect Biden pledged last month that the vaccine (which requires a double dose for effectiveness) will be free to everyone. The U.S. has so far paid $1.95 billion for 100 million initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Pfizer expects to have up to 50 million doses available by the end of 2020. Hollywood Elsewhere expects to be double-dosed by January or February.
“Wide distribution of Pfizer’s vaccine will be a logistical challenge. Because it is made with mRNA, the doses will need to be kept at ultra cold temperatures. While Pfizer has developed a special cooler to transport the vaccine, equipped with GPS-enabled thermal sensors, it remains unclear where people will receive the shots, and what role the government will play in distribution.
“Adding to the challenge, people will need to return three weeks later for a second dose to complete the immunization.
“Most experts say the world will need many treatments and vaccines to bring an end to the pandemic.”
In other words a double dose of the Pfizer vaccine isn’t expected to last more than a year or two…is that it? That in order to really vanquish Covid everyone will have to keep getting re-vaccinated for years on end?