I was committed to being very cautious and budgetary during our Belize vacation, but Tatiana decided to splurge by staying solo at Francis and Eleanor Coppola‘s Turtle Inn in Placencia — $300 and change, and then they decided to let her stay at a $500-per-night super cottage (an elegant, handsomely furnished open-air hut with a raised ceiling and a peak roof covered by native grass).
Journo pally who’s stayed at Turtle Inn: “It really is something close to paradise there — so calm, lovely beach, great for getting out to the islands, fine food, etc. I don’t usually do ‘relaxed’ vacations like this — usually we’re on the move, seeing and doing stuff and we certainly checked out the nearby caves, jungle, etc. — but Turtle Inn was great.”
HE to Journo Pally: “It’s interesting that there’s no conspicuous signage announcing the word ‘turtle’ — there’s only some finely sculpted shrubbery in the front that spells it out, but the shrubbery certainly doesn’t announce itself to the passing motorist.
“I love the Balinese interior design…the deep, rich mahogany wood grain. Tasteful, non-Kardashian luxury of a very high order. It was sweltering hot during our two days in Placencia. Turtle Inn has no air conditioning, and yet it was pleasant inside Tatiana’s peak-roof cabana.
“Alas, I’m not wealthy or even temporarily flush enough to afford to stay there. Way beyond my pay grade. Tatiana’s decision to splurge and indulge was entirely her own.
“I found a perfectly satisfactory, air-conditioned upstairs apartment in town inside a complex called Cozy Corners, which had a delightful bar-restaurant on the beach.”
Some may not be familiar with typical HBO Max numbers, or the difference between strong, decent and shitty levels of viewership. It’s my understanding that 693K viewers of In The Heights last weekend is somewhere between disappointing and shitty. I do know that Godzilla vs. Kong did a hell of a lot better over the first five days.
I invite any and all comments, but the theatrical reality has apparently been reiterated by streaming figures — outside of progressive wokester types and the good friends of Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn, relatively few people were interested in seeing In The Heights. (Thanks to World of Reel‘s Jordan Ruimy.)
Last night I paid my respects to the late Ned Beatty by watching Friendly Fire, a 1979 TV docudrama about the increasing revulsion shared by the real-life Peg and Gene Mullen (Carol Burnett, Beatty) after the mystifying death of their son Michael (Dennis Erdman) while serving in Vietnam.
Army reps tell the Mullens that Michael’s death was a “friendly fire” accident, but they’re stingy with facts. This fudging of specifics annoys, irritates and then enrages the Mullens. Traditional patriotic Iowans at the start, they gradually evolve into antiwar activists.
There’s no big shocking twist at the end — we simply discover that Michael died from “friendly” shrapnel that exploded near his foxhole due to a miscalculation. So Friendly Fire is not Costa Gavras‘s Missing (’82) — there’s no satisfying “gotcha” moment in which the military “bad guys” are revealed as guilty super-shits, and are then punished or shamed. None of that happens.
The movie isn’t brilliant — it’s lean and direct but it lacks a certain elegance. It feels like a rough cut, or a second cut — certainly not like a polished final cut. But it’s a reasonably good film.
Burnett and Beatty are brilliant in every scene — Burnett in particular.
Friendly Fire wound up winning four Emmy awards. Fay Kanin‘s screenplay was adapted from C. D. B. Bryan‘s 1976 book of the same name, which began as a series of New Yorker magazine articles Bryan had written about the Mullens.
I really hated Erdman’s dialogue as well as his performance. We get to know him a bit during the first 15 minutes or so, and he’s presented as way too modest and dutiful…almost angelic. The movie is telling us that Michael was an all–but–perfect fellow — smart, reasonable, soft-spoken, inspired, modest. He feels like a cypher, and I was saying to myself early on that I was glad he’d be dead soon because I can’t stand characters who are this pure of heart, this pure-as-the-driven-snow.
This morning a scolding, legend-in-his-own-mind type sent me the following clip…
HE response: “Obviously a disreputable viewpoint…a delusional, racially-slanted view of Civil War-era history. What’s your point? P.S. — hooray for the slaves who took over the Texas plantation and moved into the bedrooms!”
Scolding guy: “The point is, contrary to your blinkered, ill-informed perspective on the topic, this is the sort of bullshit that Critical Race Theory — the actual material, not the Robin DiAngelo bullshit — seeks to correct. It’s not a ‘religion,’ it’s not ‘Marxism’…it’s a response to over 200 hundred years of lies and romanticization. And to the nonsense that complacent whites believe — like when a black business can’t get financing in a white neighborhood, it’s because they have a bad credit score.”
HE response: “Apart from correcting bad information, Critical Race Theory, as you well know, advances the side-door notion that there is an inherently evil, Satan’s spawn quality to whiteness. And that the only measure that can lift this stain of evil from Amrican Anglo Saxon culture is to submit to intense CRT training and study. You know this, I should say, but you won’t admit it.
“An army of fair-minded people…Bari Weiss, John McWhorter, Bill Maher, Joe Rogan and the entire left-centrist, centrist and conservative population and many, many sensible parents of grade-school children are appalled and horrified about kids being taught that whites are inherently evil. Everyone out there understands this bullshit plain as day….except for woke myopics and fanatics like yourself. Because of you and your brethren, we may be doomed to suffer under President Ron DeSantis for four or eight years, starting in January ’25. Historians of the future are going to despise wokesters like nothing before or since.”
Less than a month hence Oliver Stone’s JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, an in-depth documentary, will be screened and reviewed in Cannes, and we’ll all be obediently diving back into that Dealey Plaza sinkhole once again, for the umpteenth time.
The basic Stone view is that the JFK kill shot came from the grassy knoll, and that the back of his head was blown out with brain matter spilling onto a Parkland Hospital stretcher 10 or 15 minutes later. I’m not doubting what this or that Parkland doctor claimed he saw in emergency room #1, but Hollywood Elsewhere has never seen one glimmer of visual evidence to suggest that the back of JFK’s head was destroyed…nothing whatsoever.
In the Zapruder film it’s JFK’s right temple that explodes, not the rear of his head, plus a split second after the fatal shot Jackie Kennedy‘s white-gloved hand touches the back of his head — how come that glove wasn’t soaked with blood and brain matter?
Oliver Stone to Bloomberg News, 11.15.13 / 2:48: “The evidence in the case…you have to look at the evidence and apply common sense….in my mind the nub of JFK (’91) is that Kennedy was shot from two sides…he was shot from the back and he was shot from the front. And no matter how you fancy up the evidence and talk about gravitational physics and neuro effects and jet effects, it’s all blah-blah-blah.
“The man you see in the Zapruder film and [what] the autopsy revealed [along with] people who saw him right at that moment, right after the death…they all talk about the big shot, the kill shot was from the front. Shot in the front [actually the right temple] of his head, and it blew out the back of his head. It’s what people kept seeing, and they still see it to this day.
“People who were at the autopsy revealed to the assassination records review board that the autopsy photos that are now in the national archives have no resemblance to the head wound that they saw in Bethesda.”