Posted on 10.6.17: “Blade Runner 2049 lasts an eternity — I checked my watch at least five or six times, and my muttered mantra all through it was ‘I don’t give a shit about any of this, I don’t give a shit about any of this, I don’t give a shit about any of this’ — but it’s certainly a major vision thing. Pay your $16 dollars and sink into a thoroughly gloomy realm of super-holograms (including ones of Frank Sinatra and Vegas-era Elvis Presley), rot, ruin and industrial scrap, a toxic shithole populated with grim-faced characters you would just as soon squash as look at, a world of hair-grease and sprayed sweat and impassive, cold-death expressions, and all of it blanketed with rain, snow, sludge and chemical mud-glop.
“And oh, yeah, for a story that you won’t give two shits about. A dingleberry doodle plot involving memory implants and obscured lineage and a secret no one must know (no one! just ask Jared Leto!) and a little wooden horse with a date (6.10.21) carved into the base, and some shit-hooey about original replicant creator Eldon Tyrell having given Rachael, the experimental replicant played by Sean Young in the ’82 original, the organic potential to reproduce and blah blah. And a narrative pace that will slow your own pulse and make your eyelids flutter and descend, and a growing need to escape into the outer lobby so you can order a hot dog and check your messages.
“BR49 should have run two hours, not two hours and 44 minutes.
“Do yourself a favor…seriously. Before seeing it this weekend, read the Wikipedia synopsis. Doing so will remove the irritating, hard-to-follow story tease and allow you to just concentrate on the visuals, which is all this thing is about anyway. It doesn’t matter anyway — nothing does, it’s all shit and distraction, you’re all just contributing to the Warner Bros. bottom line, to Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford‘s wealth while you subtract from your own. We’re all punks, fools, suckers, knaves. Warner Bros. pours a little whiskey onto the plastic floor, and like Ford’s Blade Runner wolf dog we lick it right up.
“Fuck the story, fuck the lineage factor, fuck it all. Just sink into the chilly murderous vibe and Gosling’s impassive, glazed-over robot eyes, and Ford’s subtle emotional delivery (has he ever cried before on-screen?). Nobody cares and it doesn’t fucking matter if RG or Ford or Kevin Tsujihara are replicants. I’m a replicant with the capability of siring children and writing a daily column. What difference does it make if I’m an android or not, or if I dream of electric sheep? Nobody cares, nothing matters, it’s all bullshit.
“What of the virtual-reality prostitute, the homicidal super-bitch and the brittle, tough-cookie supervisor played by Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks and Robin Wright? Smart women will not be pleased. (After the show a friend was listening to a whipsmart feminist deploring these characters and the phony, piss-poor writing.) For these are cardboard, non-dimensional figures (women acting like men or fulfilling men’s fantasies) who would never be hatched by a woman screenwriter. Grow some soul and awareness, Hampton Fancher and Michael Green.
“How important is Gosling’s little wooden horse, and how does it feed into everything else? I’m still scratching my head about that, but I’m sure someone will explain it later today. Is Gosling’s “Joe” the replicant son of you-know-who? I didn’t give a shit. Is there any kind of emotionally satisfying undercurrent in any of this? Fuck no.
“There’s one moment — one! — that made me sit up in my seat and say to myself ‘wait, hold on, this is semi-poignant.’ But the spoiler whiners will kill me if I get specific. It involves Ford and a younger woman — I’ll leave it at that.
“I knew this wouldn’t be a glorious, all-around triumph. I knew it would be brilliant but problematic. I knew not to trust those rave reviews written by balding, bespectacled, heavyset dweebs. If they’d written ‘it’s a bear to sit through and it makes you feel like shit, but it’s a masterpiece,’ okay, but too many of them just wrote “it’s a masterpiece!’ This is why people don’t trust critics. They live in their own world.
Remember that bitchy hospital administrator in Little Miss Sunshine, the one who told the family (Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin) that they couldn’t take Alan Arkin‘s body with them because of all the rules and regulations? Well, four years ago in Telluride I ran into the same kind of person. Let’s call her Ilsa, and describe her as the most reptilian and cold-blooded Airbnb host I’ve ever exchanged words with.
Posted on 9.4.17: During the just-concluded Telluride Film Festival, Tatyana and I stayed in a second-floor unit at the Mountainside Inn. The MI is a simple, clean, unpretentious operation, and not too pricey, at least by Telluride standards — just under a grand for four nights and a wake-up. For years it’s been known as the poor man’s solution to lodging during this excellent, world-class festival.
Our unit was fine. Okay, the shower nozzle wasn’t working very well but you can’t have everything. Well located (333 South Davis street), comfortable, no major concerns. The wifi was surprisingly excellent, and that obviously matters a lot.
I do think, however, that it was dishonest of the owner, a local attorney named Jerry, to not state in the Airbnb posting that he wasn’t subletting a presumably attractive stand-alone condo but a down-at-the-heels Mountainside Inn unit. There was no indication of this on the Airbnb profile page. Again, I wasn’t especially displeased by our stay, but Jerry should have laid his cards face-up.
A pretty local named Ilsa greeted us when we arrived. Pretty but, to be honest, a bit brittle and bitchy. After showing me the place and giving me a single room key (the MI manager graciously offered a second), Ilsa asked if I was happy with the place. I said I was feeling a bit underwhelmed, to be perfectly honest, as I’d been under an impression that the unit would be some kind of upscale condo. I said it would have to do, but that I wasn’t thrilled.
Ilsa didn’t care for the candor. Adopting an icy, officious tone, she said that if I felt that way maybe it would be a good idea if I stayed somewhere else. No fooling, she actually said that. My jaw dropped. I had just driven six hours from Albuquerque, I told her, and so I was rather tired and stressed. Plus I had paid for this unit a few months earlier and everything was set. And yet Ilsa actually suggested what she suggested.
Sensing danger, I pleaded with Ilsa not to be punitive. I all but dropped to my knees and begged. She finally took pity and agreed to honor the Airbnb contract. Thank you, I said. You’re so kind and considerate.
I am hereby nominating Ilsa for the Telluride Chamber of Commerce Hospitality award. But there’s no need to harp on this. I’ve stayed at the MI before. The sheets are clean and every unit has a little refrigerator and stove. The TV wasn’t of this era (probably made during the George W. Bush administration) but there was no time to watch it anyway.
Later today I’ll be watching Kira Kovalenko‘s Unclenching the Fists, which won the Un Certain Regard award at last month’s Cannes Film Festival. I’m told it will screen at Telluride ’21.
Directed and written by Kovalenko and produced by HE’s own Alexander Rodnyansky, pic is about the life of Ada (Milana Aguzarova), an Ossetian girl planning an escape from her life in a small town of Mizur in Northern Ossetia, Russia. Located in the general region of Georgia, north of Armenia, southeast of Ukraine. Alik Karaev and Soslan Khugaev costar.
LA-to-Gallup begins tomorrow at 6 am, give or take.
In order to convincingly play the fiendish Linda Tripp in American Crime Story: Impeachment (FX, 9.7), Sarah Paulson gained 30 pounds and wore a modest fat suit. (She also donned a blonde wig and wore prosthetic teeth.) Photos show that Paulson and the show’s makeup specialist did it right. She looks a lot like Tripp (who passed last year from cancer) did in the late ’90s.
And that’s not cool, according to certain complainers. The producers should have hired an actual fat actress instead of Paulson because fat suits are “incredibly anti-fat and perpetuate anti-fat bias,” as one person tweeted. Former Buzzfeed journalist Kristin Chirico wrote that “this could have been a fat actor. This could have been their big breakout role. This could have been their Golden Globe or their Emmy nod. This could have been their paid off student loans or their first house. Instead it’s Sarah Paulson in a fat suit.”
And so Paulson, not wanting to seem dismissive of or disrespectful towards persons of weight, is saying that she’s sorry for the realism, but not entirely. Half sorry, half proud. She regrets “not thinking about it more fully,” whatever that means. She’s also said that “I wouldn’t make the same choice going forward.” Meaning what? That she won’t wear a fat suit again?
Paulson quoted on 8.26 by L.A. Times interviewer Yvonne Villarreal: “There’s a lot of controversy around actors and fat suits, and I think that controversy is a legitimate one. I think fat phobia is real. I think to pretend otherwise causes further harm. And it is a very important conversation to be had. But that entire responsibility I don’t think falls on the actor for choosing to do something that is arguably — and I’m talking about from the inside out — the challenge of a lifetime.
“I do think to imagine that the only thing any actor called upon to play this part would have to offer is their physical self is a real reduction of the offering the actor has to make. I would like to believe that there is something in my being that makes me right to play this part. And that the magic of hair and makeup departments and costumers and cinematographers that has been part of moviemaking, and suspension of belief, since the invention of cinema. Was I supposed to say no [to the part]? This is the question.
“I think the thing I think about the most is that I regret not thinking about it more fully. And that is an important thing for me to think about and reflect on. I also know it’s a privileged place to be sitting and thinking about it and reflecting on it, having already gotten to do it, and having had an opportunity that someone else didn’t have. You can only learn what you learn when you learn it. Should I have known? Abso-fucking-lutely. But I do now. And I wouldn’t make the same choice going forward.”