Axios’ Jonathan Swan: What happened here on January 6th…it wasn’t just a local event…it echoes well beyond American shores…Zelinsky is looking to defend his Democracy against Putin…here he is looking to American for leadership and seeing this horrific [assault]…it’s a really strong reminder that people are watching, the world is watching what’s happening here.”
Originally posted on 2.9.18 — roughly three years ago: I used to hitchhike everywhere in my mid to late teens, and people used to pick me up. There were times when I’d have to wait for 15 or 20 minutes but someone always pulled over eventually. Those were the days.
The last time I thumbed a ride was ten years ago in Park City, and the only reason anyone stopped was because the Sundance Film Festival was on and I was wearing a press badge and my cowboy hat and I looked reasonably sane. Otherwise hitchhiking died…what, sometime in the mid ’70s?
I was hitching north on Route 7 in Wilton, Connecticut. Nancy, an old platonic friend from New Jersey, was with me, and dusk was starting to settle into night. The cars were whizzing by (30 or 35 mph) but I was situated near a big gravel shoulder that made it easy to pull over.
So I’m standing there and all of a sudden I was hit in my right shoulder…thunk. Like some dude had walked up and punched me. It didn’t exactly “hurt” but felt like a blow of some kind. I grabbed my shoulder and felt something gooey. And tiny bits of something brittle, like potato chips or pieces of plaster.
That’s right — a guy riding shotgun in somebody’s car had hit me with an egg.
There was a traffic light about 100 feet in front of where I was standing, and that’s surely where he spotted me from. A friend was driving, of course. They must have been out shopping — how else to explain a carton of eggs at the ready?
Imagine how fast the egg-tosser had to react. “Look at that fucking guy!” He immediately dove over the back seat and reached into one of the grocery bags. He ripped open an egg carton, grabbed one, rolled down the passenger window and told the driver to slow down a tad.
It’s not that hard to hit something from a moving car but you can miss if you’re not careful. Did he throw the egg like a baseball or did he do an underhand lob? Was he aiming for my head?
“The fuck…somebody just hit me with an egg!” I yelled. Nancy found this hilarious. Gales of laughter. I was mystified. Why would anyone do that? I was scraping the yolk and the gooey clear fluid off my jacket and throwing tiny gobs of it to the ground. Nancy couldn’t stop laughing.
For whatever reason I’ve never forgotten this moment.
…that despite an easy, no-big-deal agreement with the “WELCOME ALL” portion of this sign…what if one of your beliefs is that people who put up signs declaring that they won’t serve “assholes” may be aspiring assholes themselves on some level?
And when’s the last time a customer at a hip West Hollywood cafe said or did anything that led everyone within earshot to suspect that he/she was a racist, a sexist or a homophobe?
World of Reel‘s Jordan Ruimy: “You know what’s even more disturbing [about the Dennis Harvey thing]? How absolutely nobody in film criticism is defending him. They’re all absolutely frightened to speak out. This is a guy who has been in the field for 30 years and not one of his former or current colleagues is going to bat for him. I’m just disturbed by the way things are going. You can’t defend a person who’s under attack [by the Khmer Rouge] without the risk of hurting your career. This is the result of ultra-progressive cleansing of wrongthink. The Democrats are just letting this shit happen everywhere. They need to start taking a stand against cancel culture. Trump is no longer at the eye of the storm.”
All my moviegoing life I’ve been slightly perplexed by Ernst Lubitsch. Not his excellent films (Trouble in Paradise, Design for Living, Ninotchka, The Shop Around the Corner, To Be or Not to Be, Heaven Can Wait) but the fact that he never looked the part. Not with that fat cigar, those intense beady eyes and those thick, thuggish features.
One look and people said “no offense but physically this guy is no personification of wit, sophistication and elegant understatement.” For he had the face of a brute, a mob boss, a Teamsters goon, one of Johnny Friendly‘s torpedos, the owner of an interstate trucking company, etc.
I’m sorry but you have to look like the person you are deep down. If you’re a comedian you have to look like Richard Pryor, John Belushi, Chris Rock, Lou Costello or Chris Farley. If you’re a prizefighter, you have to look like Mike Tyson, Joe Frazier, Rocky Graziano or Jake LaMotta. If you’re a poet, you have to look like Bob Dylan, Ezra Pound or James Joyce. If you’re a film critic you have to look a little dweeby and rumpled and bespectacled. If you’re a daily online columnist who does nothing but write all day and watch movies…well, several years ago LexG saw me at a screening and said, “He looks like he writes.”
Hollywood Elsewhere has just come up with the hottest and coolest award-season concept of 2021…and not just a promotion but an opportunity for a possibly profound meeting-of-the-minds discussion that everyone, and I mean every living soul in the entertainment industry will have to watch start to finish and then post tweets and articles about. The only question is, will Variety‘s stiff-necked editors go along with it?
Within the realm of the current Carey Mulligan / Dennis Harvey / Variety kerfuffle, each has a profile that could stand some tweaking.
Mulligan is the gifted actress and Promising Young Woman Best Actress contender who didn’t register her displeasure with Harvey’s Sundance assessment of her casting until Kyle Buchanan popped the question, and then, a few weeks later, expressed satisfaction when Variety apologized for a certain paragraph in Harvey’s review. One one hand she’s almost certain to win the Best Actress Oscar, but on another the whole “trade paper apologizes for an allegedly offensive paragraph in a review because an actress didn’t like it” thing is a matter of serious concern among every critic and editor in this industry, and Mulligan is at risk of seeming as if she’s enjoying this debacle a little too much.
Harvey is the veteran Variety reviewer who may or may not have expressed himself indelicately, but whom everyone feels sorry for now, especially with Variety having thrown the poor guy under the bus after not saying boo for 11 months (the Promising Young Woman review went up in mid January 2020). Certain #MeToo radicals have actually called for Harvey’s dismissal (ridiculous) but these are the Khmer Rouge-tainted times in which we live.
Variety is the unequivocal bad guy in this affair. As The Ankler‘s Richard Rushfield wrote this morning, “Variety has achieved the perfect trifecta that is the trademark of today’s trade coverage — that magic combination of woke grandstanding, kissing up to the powerful and mistreating your underlings.”
The solution? Arrange for Mulligan and Harvey to do a one-on-one Zoom discussion of the whole affair. Let their hair down, explain their respective positions, re-phrase if necessary and presumably arrive at some sort of mutual understanding. Present this historic discussion as an extra-special edition of Variety‘s Actors on Actors series. Instead of a typically toothless chit-chat with actors (forgive the Quentin Tarantino-esque description) sucking each other’s dicks, this could be something you’d actually want to watch and take notes on.
And everyone would come out ahead — Mulligan would be seen as slightly more supportive of journalistic integrity, Harvey would be seen as less of a sexist ogre (which he isn’t but once the #MeToo cadres have a notion between their teeth they never let go of it) and Variety would be seen as a little less deserving of Rushfield’s trifecta trophy. A win-win-win all around.
And if Variety wimps out and decides against this exciting idea, someone else should offer to Zoom it. TheWrap, the NYTimes, The Daily Beast….anyone with balls.
Does Anya have a preference among the current crop of Best Picture contenders? That’s not a facetious question as she does occasionally “watch” — pay a certain amount of attention to — films on our 65” Sony 4K HDR. The last feature she actually stared at was the Criterion Bluray of Martin Ritt’s The Spy Who Came In From The Cold.