Every so often I get really sick of looking at all these lying, smiling, happy–as–a–clam faces on social media…too many damn blissful photos in too many flush locations, I’m tellin’ ya…well-heeled older folks using Hawaii and Paris and Sicily and Turks and Caicos or some midtown Manhattan restaurant as backdrop statements or general affirmations of comfort and contentment…happy and beaming and seemingly overjoyed…time of our lives!
These are presentations, of course, and naturally they’re not truthful. Advertisements For Ourselves. We all understand this, of course, but this doesn’t stop the infinite ecstasy people from posting these ads 24/7. Every Instagram day is a deluge of feigned fucking delight.
Do I blame people for trying to flood my feed with relentless happyface messaging? I guess not but on the other hand and to be perfectly honest I’m feeling more and more resentful, ya wealthy, well-fed, nicely tanned and well-dressed pricks ya.
If I was hanging today in Turks and Caicos would I take the same kind of “hah!..look at how wonderful my life is!” selfies and post them all over? No, I wouldn’t — I would post handsome photos, sure, but of anyone or anything other than myself because I no longer look like the handsome glammy guy of yore** and I don’t particularly want to advertise this fact.
** Even though I look half-decent for a “seasoned” guy with my Prague touch-ups, relatively trim physique for a guy who sits and writes every damn day, CVS whitened teeth and dark Prague hair.
We all recall last summer’s French Connection deleted-footage brouhaha, which involved the deletion of nine seconds of footage from a police-preinct scene featuring Gene Hackkman and Roy Scheider.
It was presumably deleted because Hackman’s detective character, Popeye Doyle, blurts out the N-word.
Perhaps some Woke Central pearl-clutcher complained and director William Friedkin acquiesced for some reason. I only know that on Friday, 6.9, HE commenter “The Multiplex” reported that “in Disney’s DCP asset list the currently-streaming [censored] version of The French Connection is listed as ‘2021 William Friedkin v2.’” He also sent visual proof of this.
The absence of the footage first became apparent during a 5.12.23 screening of The French Connection at Santa Monica’s Aero theatre. It was soon after apparent that the edited version was streaming on all the major services, including Criterion, iTunes, Apple, MAX, Amazon and (I think) Netflix. Nobody could get a statement from the ailing 87-year-old Freidkin. He died a couple of months later — 8.7.23. It was thereafter presumed that the mystery of the nonsensical edit would never be solved, and that the censored version would continue to be streamed on all the platforms.
Not true, as it turns out.
Earlier this evening “bentrane” reported that he recently watched The French Connection on MAX, and that the missing N-word scene has been restored. I immediately went to my Sony 65-incher and watched the scene in question on MAX. “Bentrane” is correct — the nine-second N-word excerpt is back, baby! The uncensored version is also showing on Apple TV — great. The film isn’t streaming on Netflix or Criterion as we speak, but the censored version is still streaming on Amazon.
Apparently Disney, which licenses and provides The French Connection to the streamers, dumped the censored version, possibly or presumably because of all the negative press. Maybe Disney felt free to switch it out after Friedkin’s passing. Maybe a Friedkin rep stepped in after he died and asked that the original version be restored. Who knows? No one said jack last May and June, and apparently no one has announced anything about the original.version being back in action.
Below are clips of the raw version vs. the edited version.
The idea is that both men, known throughout their decades-long careers for investing in headstrong, tough-nut stories about edgy characters, abandoned their traditional approaches by sanding the edges off and generating compassionate moods and social improvement vibes.
Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon is obviously an outlier in his oeuvre — a tragic tale that emphasizes compassion for the Osage victims (personified by Lily Gladstone) and condemnation for the white-guy murderers (chiefly Robert DeNiro and Leonardo DiCaporio).
Scorsese chose to ignore the dramatically compelling “birth of the FBI” saga that David Grann used in his 2017 same-titled book, and went instead for a dramatically unsatisfying (not to mention bizarre) embrace of a woke Native American perspective that basically leads nowhere until Jesse Plemons‘ Tom White character shows up at the two-thirds mark, and even then it doesn’t really pay off.
Scorsese’s goal, it seemed, was to earn social approval and atonement points from the guardians of (woke) morality. Rather than focus on anti-social criminals and rebellious oddballs, which he’d done his whole life, Scorsese seemed to be saying “okay, this time I’m going to hold the hands of the victims….instead of my usual identification with rogue sociopaths, I’m now showing what I have in my heart for the unfortunate good guys.”
Friedkin also switched up in a sense with his inexplicable removal of an N-word scene between Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider in a 2021 “director’s cut” of The French Connection. Eliminating an offensive racial slur made no dramatic sense in terms of portraying narcotics detective Popeye Doyle, a brutish racist who had no subtle or gentle sides, and it represented a betrayal of the coarse tone and hard-edged realism that led to Friedkin’s 1971 film winning the Best Picture Oscar.
And yet Friedkin approved the bizarre edit in question. Why? He may have been seized by the same impulse that led Scorsese to deliver a sympathetic or compassionate version of a murder saga. Friedkin may have thought to himself, “okay, this time I’m going to ease up on the rough-and-tumble Friedkin aesthetic….enough with identifying with tough cops and bold criminals…I’ve decided at this late stage of life to convey an understanding of the pain and harm that the N-word can generate, and so I’ve decided to accept the here-and-now and show the wokesters that even Hurricane Billy has a heart…I want to show that I understand that it’s better at this stage in our country’s social development to eliminate a painful word rather than hold on to the ethos of the gritty ’70s.”
In short, two 80something, white-haired, nearing-the-end-of-the-road directors decided to open the proverbial door and invite a little kindness and compassion into their lives and motion pictures.
What do you think my friend’s theory?
Diverse characters created for the sole reason of being diverse and box-checking woke points for their own sake.
Since premiering last Friday, South Park: Joining the Panderverse (Paramount +, 10.27) has become known as the first mainstream TV show to acknowledge and satirize woke-diverse-box check insanity.
Critical Drinker: “South Park’s Joining The Panderverse episode is a win for the silent majority of normal people caught up in the middle.,..people who are tired of this endless culture-war bullshit, and who just want some devcent entertainment…South Park is the first mainstream production to openly acknowledge that yes, here is an actual problemn with how we’re making entertainment these days…yes, Hollywood is relying far too much [in the way of] lazy and tokenized diversity without any artistic integrity to back it up…yes, this is creating an increasingly antagonized relationship [between Disney] and their own customers…and yes, whatever their intentions might have been at first, Disney executives like Kathy Kennedy and Bob Iger haver played a big part in this.”
In the latest South Park special “Joining the Pandaverse”, Eric Cartman asks his mother to check under his bed to make sure “Kathleen Kennedy and Disney executives are not hiding under his bed”. pic.twitter.com/7rPNAfg7jx
— Burnouts3 (@Burnouts3s3) October 27, 2023
Last night a friend wrote to complain about a line in the intro copy for the latest Oscar Poker podcast, to wit: “Sasha admits that Donald Trump MAY be a sociopath, but still thinks democrats are worse.”
My friend was mostly enraged by the “may” qualification apparently. Sasha and I have long agreed about many, many things, but not about The Beast. When she mentions him I usually just sidestep or change the subject. Yesterday, however, was a breakthrough moment when she acknowledged that he’s a sociopath.
I don’t dictate opinions to Sasha, I replied. I can only say what I think, which generally falls in the realm of sensible center-left territory. I thought it was a significant thing, however, when Sasha allowed that Trump is a sociopath, which she’s never admitted to before. The next step is admitting that he’s basically a crime-family felon — an authoritarian, uncivilized, intolerant, anti-Democratic ruffian.
She added the “and Democrats are worse” part to the intro copy. I’ve never tried to instruct Sasha about what to think or write. It’s not my style. Anyway…
“Sasha was a progressive pro-Hillary lefty before the pandemic,” I explained. “And it’s fair to say, I think, that not all right-of-the-spectrum types are necessarily evil. Position-wise and sensibility-wise Sasha isn’t all that different than Bill Maher or Dave Chappelle. Recently the pro-Israel Sasha has also express disgust about some of the more adamant pro-Hamas sentiments on the left, but who isn’t on that page?
“And you know what else? She hates it when Hollywood wokesters gang up and vote to purge and destroy iconoclasts like me, and for the last few years she’s long been an excellent friend and devoted ally in this regard.
“All in all I’m guilty of nothing worse than being an alleged ‘asshole’ of sorts…of venting opinions that the Stalinists don’t approve of…being a nervy, big-mouthed devotee of a certain late 20th Century and early 21st Century liberal aesthetic, and of being devoted to hundreds upon hundreds of great films. But there’s a whole Millennial-Zoomer gender-pronoun sector out there that wants me shunned and dismembered because they want anyone who doesn’t parrot basic woke-think doctrine…not that bad if you don’t listen to guys with H.R. Geiger Alien acid in their bloodstream like Glenn Kenny.
“Part of this animus, I’m imagining, is due to my admiration of Woody Allen and Roman Polanski.
“You should try being un-person-ed by the woke crazies and go-along cowards. It’ll have an effect upon your thinking, trust me.
I’ve said hi or bumped into Al Pacino 10 or 12 times over the decades, and he’s never been anything but calm, gracious, open-hearted and generally accomodating. Key quote regarding his occasionally florid acting style, which kicked into gear after Scent of a Woman: “I don’t mind ham as long as it ain’t spam.”
@ringwalkmedia12 Pay $25 and get to see Al Pacino! Boom! Beverly Hills tour produced! #moviestar #alpacino #hollywood #beverlyhills #usa #fyp #viral #viralvideo #viraltiktok ♬ original sound – Ringwalkmedia12