…when “what are you, a wise guy?” was a phrase of serious confrontation and admonition. As in “what are you, a smart ass?” Or “you wanna start somethin’, asshole?” But that was a while back. Decades.
There’s a moment in 1948’s Key Largo when Harry Lewis‘s “Toots” Bass conveys that he’s angry at Thomas Gomez‘s “Curly” Hoff when he eyeballs him and mutters “wise guy.” There’s a moment in On The Waterfront when one of the big apes who work for Johnny Friendly, Tony Galento‘s “Truck” or Tami Mauriello‘s “Tillio”, delivers the old “what are you, a wise guy?” to Pat Henning‘s “Kayo” Dugan. When I interviewed Charles Durning in the early ’80s he casually mentioned the “glint of madness” in the eyes of wise guys he knew when he was young. And in 10th or 11th grade I was called a “wise guy” by a seriously angry gym teacher who was around my father’s age.
The lore of Nick Pileggi aside, the term is extinct now. It belonged to the gangsters of the ’30s and ’40s, and the tribal street bulls of the ’50s and ’60s.
…and I don’t have to as the photo speaks for itself. The fact is that next to Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Joe and Jill Biden seem at least 10 if not 15 years younger than their calendar years. The other thing is that people shrink when they get into their late ’80s and ’90s. Thinner, bent over, more frail, less color in their cheeks. It’s just normal biology when you get to that stage.
The Hollywood Reporter has undergone a redesign. Translation: Penske Media Corporation honchos have decided, based upon advice from web designers, that changing the headline font and adding acres of passive white space will make the THR experience more absorbing and attractive for the average industry reader.
From a 5.4 interview between Underground Railroad director-writer Barry Jenkins and Indiewire‘s Zack Sharf on the Best Picture presentation error at the conclusion of the 2.26.17 Oscar telecast, in which Jenkins’ Moonlight was announced as the winner rather than the briefly awarded La-La Land:
Sharf: “Perhaps Jenkins’ biggest issue with the gaffe all these years later is that it perpetuated a false narrative that Moonlight only won Best Picture because the Academy wanted to honor a Black film.”
Jenkins: “‘In a slightly sinister way, the fuck-up confirms or affirms some people’s unsavory thoughts about why the film was awarded Best Picture. If you did the blind taste test of films and wrote down all the accolades this film achieved that year, whether it be the ratings, the reviews, all of these things, [then Moonlight wins]. If we were at the NFL Combine, and I tell you, ‘This player has these measures and was drafted number one,’ you wouldn’t doubt it at all.
“And yet, when you get into ‘Oh, it’s because it was the Black film’…it’s like no, motherfucker. We ran a [4.2 second 40-yard dash], and we ran it barefoot because we didn’t have the benefits of all that private school Academy training.'”
Four years ago Spike Lee said the opposite — that Moonlight won not because “it was the Black film”, but because of an organizational need to refute #OscarsSoWhite:
Spike Lee to Variety, 6.21.17, starting at :37: “I will put my money on this. The reason why what happened at the Oscars this year [i.e., during the 2.26.17 Oscar telecast, when Moonlight was belatedly announced as the Best Picture Oscar] was because of the year before [with] #OscarsSoWhite. I mean, that was a bad look for the Academy, and they had to switch up with more inclusion, more diversity.”