Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neill, Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson, Variety‘s Tim Gray and Deadline‘s Pete Hammond deliver their final Oscar predictions. Nobody cares, nobody wants to care, it’s an asterisk year, a shoulder-shrugger, smallest all-time audience, etc.
Significant quotes: (a) “There are so many reasons why Nomadland is secure, and Chicago 7 is not…I think it’s possible that The Trial of the Chicago 7 could go down winning nothing, or only one Oscar for Best Editing”; (b) “Vanessa Kirkby isn’t in the running…I would also suggest that Andra Day isn’t either…I completely discount the Globes”; (c) “We’ve heard that in Academy polling Viola Davis and Andra Day are tied, and could therefore be splitting the vote”; (d) “Moods change, time passes…a month ago I would’ve predicted Carey Mulligan winning [the Best Actress Oscar]… but that momentum is gone…the heat is off her.”
HE comment about Viola Davis possibly winning: Her performance is a fatsuit lipsynch exercise…it simply isn’t good enough…it’s all bluster and “don’t fuck with me”…If she wins (which appears likely) everyone knows Chadwick Boseman will win Best Actor, and that Ma Rainey will probably win for Best Costume and Makeup. Perhaps some will rationalize that it’s better to spread it around and give the Oscar to someone other than Viola.
In a 4.22 Kim Masters piece for the Hollywood Reporter titled “Why Some Hollywood Execs Are Hoping for Scott Rudin to Return,” “reps and executives” who have worked with Rudin offer four arguments or rationalizations in favor of not ripping his stripes off.
Here they are with HE commentary following each one:
(a) “I’m not condoning the behavior, but it’s hardly news that Rudin is a horrendous bully and if you worked for him, it’s on you.”
HE response: Honestly? He/she is right. Nobody looking to work for Rudin could possibly do so blind — everyone knows what his reputation is, and Rudin would never hire anyone dumb enough (or babe-in-the-woods enough) not to know.
(b) “I’m not condoning it, but there are very few people with [Rudin’s] level of taste and access to material.”
HE response: He/she is not wrong. In today’s Taika Waititi-level world, there are very few upmarket, aspirational, Tiffany-level producers left in this business.
(c) “I’m not condoning it, but he trained a lot of people who went on to have successful careers.”
HE response: True.
(d) “What are we going to do, cancel everyone?”
HE response: No, of course not — only the seemingly guilty will be tried, convicted and forced to walk the plank.
Masters kicker: “A source who has been in touch with Rudin says he’s ‘genuinely sorry the talent will have to answer for him.’ There’s good reason for that beyond whatever empathy he may be capable of mustering. Rudin knows where he’s vulnerable; if talent feels compelled to flee, that’s the final curtain.”
Posted on 6.24.17: I’ve said this two or three times, but the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve come to realize that Franc Roddam‘s Quadrophenia — loosely based on the Who rock opera and basically the story of Jimmy Cooper (Phil Daniels) and his identity, friendship and girlfriend issues — belongs in the near-great category.
Hands down it delivers one of the craziest, most live-wire recreations of mad generational fervor and ’60s mayhem.
“Quadrophenia is the closest thing England has produced to its own Mean Streets” — from “Quadrophenia: Jimmy vs. World” by Howard Hampton.
I first saw Quadropehnia at Manhattan’s 8th Street Playhouse when it opened in November ’79, at the height of my often unemployed “am I even good enough to attempt to be a journalist?” weltschmerz.
For me, Quadrophenia supplied my first encounter with Sting. Dandied up in flashy threads, his hair dyed platinum blonde, Sting played a kind of celebrity mod figure called “Ace Face.” I knew of The Police in ’79, of course, but I didn’t really tune into them until ’80.
During a 3.31.15 interview with Police guitarist Andy Summers (the subject was Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police), it killed me to learn that The Police performed a CBGBs gig one night in the fall of ’78. Two shows in fact, and that not many people attended the second show, Summers said. I was living at 143 Sullivan Street at the time, and I could have just walked over and seen them up close. Kick me.
I’ve reminded once or twice how Roddam forgot to change the letters on a movie marquee while shooting a crowd scene, and so we read, however briefly, that Warren Beatty‘s Heaven Can Wait and Randal Kleiser‘s Grease — both released in the summer of ’78, when Quadrophenia was shooting — are the current attractions.
4.22 Variety excerpt: “An original musical, Fascinating Rhythm will draw creative influence from the life and music of Gershwin. However, the film is not expected to be a biopic. Instead, the story is centering on a young woman’s magical journey through past and present New York City. The Gershwin estate is on board and the movie will feature his music throughout.”
Excuse me but I always thought the famed Gershwin tune (written in 1924, when Gershwin was 25 or so) was called “Fascinatin’ Rhythmn.”
How many Millennials and Zoomers have even heard of Gershwin? You know the state of education in this country. What would be the point of learning about him anyway? MZs were born toward the end of the 20th Century and into the early 21st — why should they know or care about some Russian-Jewish musician (born Jacob Bruskin Gershowitz) who was born in Brooklyn in 1898? Some guy who never went online in his life, not once.
I’d like it understood that I hand-wrote an essay about the life and music of George Gershwin when I was nine years old. I included my own drawing of him. I’d been instructed by my third-grade teacher (Mrs. Phaff) to compose a paper on a classical musician. I complained to my mother that I was bored by the usual stuffy composers (I hadn’t yet discovered Peter Tchaikovsky), and so she turned me on to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” When I came back with my Gershwin essay Mrs. Phaff frowned and even scolded me somewhat. Gershwin, she said, was “too pop, too modern” — she’d been expecting a paper on Schumer or Handl or Mahler. My mother was enraged when I told her this.
I was going to title this article “Cancel Sam Peckinpah,” but that might sound too extreme. Then again why not? The idea (one that I’m sure the “safeties” would agree with) is that by posthumously cancelling the late, impassioned, gifted-in-the-’60s, booze-addled, cocaine-snorting, notoriously abusive director and keeping him jailed in perpetuity, it would send a message to current industry abusers that they’d better clean up their act or else.
And let’s not stop at Peckinpah‘s memory alone — let’s also cast suspicious eyes upon his film critic admirers, his biographers, his fans, the Criterion Collection execs who approved the Bluray of Straw Dogs, director Rod Lurie for his Straw Dogs remake, anyone who owns Blurays of Ride The High Country, Major Dundee, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, The Wild Bunch…you get the idea. Round ’em all up.
You can’t just cancel the residue of this horrible man — you have to erode and possibly even destroy the lives of those who’ve sought to keep his memory alive. Have you ever gotten down on your knees and tried to remove crab grass from your front lawn? You can’t fuck around. You have to be merciless.
It goes without saying that if Peckinpah was somehow time-throttled out of the ’60s and ’70s and into the present environment that he wouldn’t last five minutes. So why not pretend that he’s still here and act accordingly? Why not send a clear and thundering message that Peckinpah-like behavior will never, ever be tolerated in this industry again? What does the fact that Peckinpah died 36 and 1/2 years ago have to do with anything? In a way he’s still “here”, still among us.
Okay, I’m partly kidding. Peckinpah was definitely a drunken, sexist, coked-up beast (particularly in the ’70s and early ’80s), but he did make a few brilliant films and if you know anything about the movie-making craft you know it’s damn hard to make even a decently mediocre one. Plus the annoying fact that life has never been especially tidy in the corresponding or delineation of great art vs. gentle people and vice versa. But if I was serious you know that a significant percentage of Twitter jackals would approve.
Huisache: “With the exception of Straw Dogs all of Sam Peckinpah’s films are messes of one magnitude or another, with Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia the biggest mess of all.
“The Getaway is enjoyable but the Slim Pickens ending is emblematic of Peckinpah’s resort to just saying ‘screw it, how do I get out of this mess? It was just nailed on. Sam had a mess and he called Pickens for help and the old feller bailed him out with a glorious good-ole-boy bit.
“I saw the film when it came out and was living in the area where it was filmed in central Texas. I thought it a very enjoyable mess and the Pickens ending a hoot. But that’s all the film is — an enjoyable hoot. Acting like it’s some kind of worthy project is a bridge too far.