There was something so soulful and sensual (at least in my head) about Christine McVie‘s singing voice. And I always sensed something randy about her nature. She was hot and heavy with Dennis Wilson in ’73 or ’74…something like that. I used to fantasize about her now and then…sorry.
Of all the Fleetwood Mac hits McVie crooned, my all-time favorite is the melancholy “Did I Ever Love You?.” (Or “Did You Ever Love Me?” — one of those.) Co-written by McVie and Bob Weston, it’s about a relationship that’s no longer working, largely due to the guy behaving like an aloof dick for too much of the time.
Released as a single in ’73, the song didn’t track. “Did I Ever Love You?” is Fleetwood Mac’s only flirtation with steel drums, which obviously makes it sound kind of Jamaican.
McVie passed today at age 79. I’m very sorry.
I’ve been working on launching a special industry-friendly film series at the renowned Bedford Playhouse, which is run by Dan Friedman. The program is called Bedford Marquee, and a 12.5 screening of Damien Chazelle’s Babylon will kick things off.
I’ll be offering a few observations (including some historical footnotes) a few minutes before the show begins at 7 pm.
Located within the Clive Davis Arts Center, the BP is one of the finest commercial screening facilities I’ve ever settled into — easily the technical equal of any upscale industry screening facility (including the Academy Museum theatre and/or the classic AMPAS theatre in Beverly Hills) in the U.S., Paris, Cannes or anywhere.
Esteemed restoration guru Robert Harris supervised the BP’s upgrade.
We’re also planning a special mid-January screening of the recently restored Invaders From Mars (‘53). The film was painstakingly restored by Scott MacQueen, who will present a master class about the film’s history and cultural influence.
A sprawling three-hour epic of 1920s Hollywood, Babylon opens nationwide on 12.23.
From “Avatar and the Mystery of the Vanishing Blockbuster,” a N.Y. Times Sunday Magazine piece by Jamie Lauren Keiles (11.30.22):
“The history of recorded images might be described as an incremental quest to master the building blocks of consciousness — first sight, then motion, then sound, then color. With Avatar (’09), Cameron revealed that human ingenuity could marshal even more: physics, light, dimensionality; the ineffable sense of an object being real; the life force that makes a thing feel alive.
“This is not to say that Avatar is good. The movie is basically a demo tape, each plot point reverse-engineered to show off some new feat of technology. The awe it inspires was not just about itself but rather the hope of new possibilities. It was easy to imagine someone in 2009 leaving the theater and asking: ‘What if we made more movies like this? What if we made good movies like this?’
“The year 2009 was a relatively optimistic one: Obama had just won on the audacity of ‘hope.’ Climate change still felt far away. The forever wars were going to end. Surely we would fix whatever caused the recession. Avatar pointed toward a widening horizon — better effects, new cinematic worlds, new innovations in 3-D technology. It did not yet seem incongruous to wrap a project based in infinite progress around a story about the perils of infinite growth.
“Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century, 12.16) will emerge into an almost total deferment of that dream. Today, 3-D is niche (at best); digital effects are used to cut costs; home streaming is threatening the theater; and projects of ambitious world-building are overlooked in favor of stories with existing fanbases.”
Owen Gleiberman’s 11.29 review of the apparently loathsome Violent Night (Universal, 12.2) acknowledges the same dynamic — on top of 2022 award-season films exuding a curious “meh” lethargy, Joe and Jane Popcorn (especially the 40-plus crowd) have mostly shined the notion of seeing these films in theatres:
One key reason is that there’s zero overlap between elite industry sensibilities and the generally coarse, cynical and fed-up attitudes of popcorn inhalers.
The introduction to that brilliant 11.28 video essay on the Oscars’ 94 year history reminds that over the last decade award-season films have become their own separate and myopic genre — and with the pernicious SJW factor the vast majority has simply tuned them out.
Posted on 8.1.22: In November 1985, a dead black bear was discovered in Chattahoochee National Forest. Nearby was a torn-open duffel bag that had apparently contained 75 pounds of Bolivian marching powder, and which had apparently fallen out of a smuggler’s plane. (Flown by Tom Cruise’s Barry Seal?) The clueless bear had eaten a good portion of the coke and overdosed.
The guy who found the bear’s ruined body didn’t alert authorities (one guess why) and it wasn’t until 12.20.85 when authorities discovered the carcass. A medical examiner at the Georgia State Crime Lab said that that the bear’s stomach was “literally packed to the brim with cocaine.”
Elizabeth Banks has directed a “character-driven thriller” about the poor bear’s misfortune as well as, one presumes, certain humans who quickly developed an interest in the free cocaine. It’s called Cocaine Bear (Universal, 2.24.23). The film costars Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and the late Ray Liotta.
The title alone suggests that Banks and her producers see the story as an opportunity for bear thrills, or at least partly that.
The body of this poor, poisoned animal eventually found its way to a taxidermist, and is now on display inside the Kentucky for Kentucky Fun Mall (720 Bryan Ave., Lexington, Kentucky). There’s a sign around the bear’s neck that refers to him as “Pablo Escobear.”
In short Kentucky bumblefucks regard the idea of a furry beast dying of a cocaine overdose as a hoot.
HE to Banks and Universal marketing: HE believes that the death of an innocent animal who died of cocaine ingestion is not in itself an opportunity to do “funny” or “thrilling”. It sounds to me like a metaphorical tale about our casual greed and cruelty and indifference to the natural order of things — about the fact that forest animals have a certain nobility while we have none.
I’m still deeply uncomfortable about Mike White‘s anal fixations (analingus, suitcase pooping), but last night I marched through episodes $2, #3, #4 and #5 of season #2 of The White Lotus, and I was impressed. I was vaguely irked by the wealth porn (alright already!), and Tanya McQuoid-Hunt (the wide-faced, buffalo-shaped Jennifer Coolidge, who looks like a dude in a blonde wig) is still pathetic and her husband Greg (Jon Gries) is still cruel and aloof, but otherwise I found the randy characters mostly appealing and compelling. And I thought “what a pleasure to take the measure of all these wealthy travellers…what great adult stuff.”
The 30something Ethan and Harper Spoiler (Will Sharpe, Aubrey Plaza) are easily the most miserable couple — hung-up, uptight, haunted. And their opposite number — the morally unconstrained Cameron and Daphne Sullivan (Theo James, Meghann Fahy) are the most accepting of their basic natures and seemingly happier for it. Poor Bert Di Grasso (F. Murray Abraham) laments that he’ll never see a naked woman again. His grandson Albie Di Grasso (Adam DiMarco) has a passonate fling with Lucia (Simona Tabasco), a local sex worker. Lucia’s friend Mia (Beatrice Granno), who has a great lounge-singing voice, winds up accidentally dosing the hotel’s resident piano player (a 50ish dude) with “Molly.” And the hobbit-sized Quentin (Tom Hollander) turns out to be the kindest and wisest of the bunch. It’s all good, (almost) every bit of it, and I can’t wait for the remaining episodes.