The exact same cosmic or celestial shift in the cathedral of the soul was experienced by Joseph Goebbels, Moses, Mouse (my Siamese cat who died of pancreatic cancer over 20 years ago), Amelia Earhart and Mother Teresa. Ascended or descended…the soup is hot, the soup is cold.
He was quite the influential diplomatic maestro during the Nixon and Ford administrations, but his bottom-line reputation has been disdained or at least debated for many decades, particularly by aged and post-traumatic residents of Cambodia and Chile and their descendants.
My own brusque opinion is that Kissinger was a brilliant, audacious, cold-blooded chess player whose initiatives and achievements were generally unaffected by humanitarian concerns.
A chat with No Country for Old Men co-director and co-writer Ethan Coen at a Miramax press luncheon — Sunday, 5.20.07, 1:55 pm:
HE to Ethan: “The only speed bump for mainstream audiences in No Country for Old Men, as you know, is your decision to not allow audiences to share in Josh Brolin‘s final fate, as it were.”
Ethan to HE: “And that’s a perverse decision, isn’t it?”
HE: “Well, that’s one of the things that give the film artistic authority and distinction, and it either makes people respect it or…”
Ethan: “Or dislike it.”
HE: “Well, we all know that there’s a certain expectation [out there], that when you’ve spent the entire movie with a guy, you wanna…but for me, this is what makes the film extra-special.”
Ethan: “And for us too. I mean, it’s just from the novel and [garbled]. But when you get to this point you say, ‘Okay, the movie’s not ultimately about this guy…so what is it about?'”
HE: “About the end of the world, about the good old stuff really coming to an end, about being engulfed by waste and annihilation.”
Every HE regular who has instinctually, blithely and thoughtlessly dismissed Gavin Newsom as a credible presidential contender. Tomorrow night’s debate between Newsom and Gov. Ron DeSantis (who is wasting his time running for the Republican presidential nomination) will almost certainly be an eye-opener. We all understand that President Joe Biden hasn’t the stamina or quickness of mind to match Newsom’s debating skills. It’s a fact.
Tens of millions of serious movie fans swear by No Country For Old Men (’07), and I’ll bet there are less than 25 humans in the entire cinematic universe who approve of Joel and Ethan Coen’s non-depiction of the death of Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin).
Yes, this is how Moss’s shooting death was handled in Cormac McCarthy’s novel– the Coen’s were simply being loyal to McCarthy’s dramatic choice. The difference, of course, was that McCarthy could easily convey what happened to the reader but in the film it isn’t clear that it’s Brolin lying on that motel-carpet rug. No matter how you slice it, it’s a huge cheat….a WTF! for the ages.
This aside, here’s a repost of “Dying With Style,” which appeared on 9.30.20 — smack dab in the soul-suffocating depths of the pandemic:
Yesterday (9.29) Widescreen‘s Anthony Francis posted on Facebook about some of his favorite death scenes.
1. Marlon Brando‘s hacking cough death in Act Three of The Godfather (’72). Francis comment: “The man dies a monster — a mirror image of his true self.” HE comment: Vito Corleone does not “die as a monster” but as a kindly, animated old guy playing with his grandson. The scene in which Vito scares young Anthony by putting a piece of orange skin in his mouth is one of the most heartwarming moments in American cinema.
2. Christopher Walken shoots himself in the head in The Deer Hunter (’78). Francis comment: “One shot and with a smile, [Walken] becomes another casualty of war.” HE comment: I hated Cimino’s idiotic Russian roulette gimmick from the get-go, and have always refused to read anything into it. No lead character in a serious film has ever died for a dumber reason than Walken did in The Deer Hunter. Which I haven’t seen, by the way, since ’78 or thereabouts.”
3. John Hurt chest-burst death in Alien (’79). Francis comment: “The death that shocked audiences all over the world.” HE comment: Well, okay but people weren’t reacting to Hurt’s death as much as the realistic physical effects that made the chest-fever scene seem so vivid and traumatic. It wasn’t a death thing but a ‘holy shit, how did they do that?'”
4. Rutger Hauer‘s wings-of-a-dove death scene in Blade Runner (’82). Francis comment: “All those moments will be lost in time like tears…in the rain. Time…to die.” HE comment: “One of the saddest, gentlest and most beautiful death scenes in movie history.”
5. Josh Brolin‘s off-screen death in No Country For Old Men (’07). HE comment: “One of the strangest directorial cheats of all time…almost on a fuck-you level…you spend a whole film with a guy and then he gets blown away by some crazy Mexicans and we don’t get to witness it in real time?”
6. James Cagney‘s blown-to-kingdom-come death in Raoul Walsh‘s White Heat (’49). HE comment: “Better to go out with a big glorious bang than whimpering and anesthetized inside some padded cell.”
7. A lovesick, house-sized ape plummets 86 stories to his death in King Kong (’33). HE comment: “20 or 30 seconds before he lets go and falls there’s an expression on Kong’s face as he looks up at the planes. The look says “you fucking assholes…I’m in love and all you want to do is kill me…you’re such pricks, all of you…why didn’t you just leave me alone with Faye Wray back on the island? I would’ve taken care of her.”
8. Each and every electric-chair death in The Green Mile elicits HE contempt. As God is my witness I’ll never see that godawful film again.
9. William Holden‘s pointless and easily avoidable death in Sunset Boulevard. HE comment: Joe Gillis knows that Norma Desmond tends to react over-dramatically about everything, and he knows that she’s obsessively in love with him, and that the odds of her doing something rash if he announces he’s leaving her are high. If Gillis was smart he’d play it cool, leave her a sensible note, take the nice wardrobe and escape while she’s sleeping. And then go to the cops and say, “There’s an eccentric wealthy woman who may do something violent.”
…and which will never manifest again. CD and cassette players are gone forever…obviously. No more ashtrays…no problem. No more triangular vents at the front of the driver’s side and front passsenger windows, which were great for flicking ashes out of. Large backseat areas that offered ample leg room…gone and too bad.
But the yesteryear perk that I’m truly sorry has disappeared are those old, padded, well-upholstered, couch-like seats with the mohair velvet seat coverings. And the soothing old car aroma that resulted. (Which was occasionally mixed with the after-aroma of pipe or cigar smoke.) I’m talking about a grandfather-car aroma that I vaguely recall from way back. I visited a classic car show in Long Beach in the late ’80s or early ’90s — I might remember it from that.
Classic car buffs know what I’m talking about. It’s an entire culture unto itself.
I’ve never once sat in, much less driven, a 1920s-era Stutz Bearcat or anything resembling that swanky Norman Desmond car from Sunset Boulevard (a 1929 Isotta Fraschini — ee-ZOH-tah frah-SKEE-nee for morons), and I probably never will be. The luxury levels back then (i.e., Mollie Burkhart‘s era) were off the charts.
Car interiors have been almost all plastic and cheap metal for the last…what, 50 or 60 years? The padding in dashboards and trim is most commonly polyurethane foam, while the surface can be a mix of polyvinyl chloride and thermoplastic olefin. The most common plastic in cars is polypropylene, “a highly durable polymer produced from propylene.”
I’ve been complaining all along that Killers of the Flower Moon doesn’t deliver a satisfying catharsis in the matter of Lily Gladstone‘s Mollie Burkhart character. She never slaps or even scolds her slow-on-the-pickup husband Ernest, (Leonardo DiCaprio) after learning he’d injected her with poison. And she never says boo to arch-villain William Hale (Robert DeNiro) for his complicity in murdering various Osage brethren.
This photo suggests that if push ever came to shove, the stout Mollie could have easily beaten Hale up (she’s almost twice his size) and could even give Ernest a bruise or a black eye or at least give as good as she gets in a wrestling match. The skillfully manipulative Scorsese never allowed viewers to contemplate Mollie’s size advantage, of course.
But if I’d been in Marty’s shoes, I would have insisted on a Mississippi Burning-style payoff in which Mollie gets Hale in a headlock and forces a confession. Or maybe just slaps him around for pleasure. You can call this a crude Charles Bronson scenario, but the heart wants what it wants. The heart of Joe Popcorn. I mean.
Remember Little Big Horn!
Or at least, you know, treated more fairly and respectfully?
Unless you subscribe to the extreme view that Robert DeNiro is an unreliable or unhinged narrator (which I doubt), there seemed to be an element of doubt or suspicion in that month-old financial grievance lawsuit with former employee Graham Chase Robinson. On the plaintiff’s part, I mean.
I’m presuming that DeNiro treated Robinson with insufficient respect or a lack of sensitivity from time to time, but many bosses are guilty of this. Not all but many. But you take your lumps and move on.
The term “abuse” or “abusive behavior” is thrown about fairly liberally these days. By today’s Millennial or Zoomer snowflake standards, it’s a very rare exception to the rule when a wealthy boss (celebrated or otherwise) doesn’t treat his or her veteran assistant with a certain degree of disregard or callousness. It’s not a desirable state of affairs, but it does seem to go with the rough and tumble.
By typical wokester sensitivity standards I, Jeffrey Wells, have been abused my whole life in one way or another, starting with my ostensibly brutal parents (when I was young I used to carry on internal debates about which one, mom or dad, was worse) and brusque grade school teachers and moving on from there. I’m not being facetious. I have been. I have the emotional scars and bruises to prove it.
On the other hand once you adopt the Everly Bros. or Linda Ronstadt attitude of “I’ve been cheated, been mistreated…I’ve been put down, I’ve been turned ‘round,” there’s no end to it.
Life is often abusive or hurtful in one way or another, at least to some degree. Do I wish that “abuse” was never visited upon poor poor pitiful me? Yes, I do wish that, but what else is new?
Another Nosferatu/Orlok/Dracula yarn? Again? How many have there been?
The original 1922 F.W. Murnau film with Max Schreck as Count Orlok. Tod Browning‘s Dracula (’31). Those Hammer Dracula films of the ’50s and ’60s with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Followed by Werner Herzog‘s Nosferatu the Vampyre (’79), Francis Coppola‘s Dracula (’92) and E. Elias Merhige‘s Shadow of the Vampire (’00) with Willem Dafoe as Max Schreck himself. What am I forgetting?
But technique aside, what could Eggers be expected to add to the lore? The saga has been beaten to death, and Eggers, it’s fair to say, suffered his first semi-failure when he released The Northman in April ’22. If Nosferatu works, it’ll almost be considered a comeback.
Eggers’ film costars Nicholas Hoult, Lily-Rose Depp, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Emma Corrin, Willem Dafoe and Simon McBurney.