A flattering quote from Slate critic David Edelstein on behalf of Universal’s more-or-less dreadful White Noise ran in a full-page ad in last Friday’s Los Angeles Times. It says, “I screamed louder than I’ve ever screamed before”…which seems odd. Knowing the film’s “scary” moments to be on the cheap and hackneyed side, and knowing Edelstein to be fairly sharp and all, it seemed bizarre that he would have said this…unless, of course, he was being insincere. Then I found the original quote and discovered Edelstein more or less meant it. He called White Noise “an otherwise lousy horror movie,” and besides the screaming louder than he’s ever screamed, etc., he said, “[I] buried myself in Stephanie [Zacharek’s]’s lap, and literally wet my pants — by which I mean I spilled my Diet Coke all over them.”
Much of Southern California has been taking a shower for the last several days, and it won’t be toweling off until at least Tuesday or thereabouts. What this is is a kind of metaphorical cleansing, or perhaps even a metaphysical comment of some kind. It is, to me, almost the same thing as the raining frogs in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia. L.A. will be, for a few days at least, a slightly less soiled and shallow place because of the rain. Tens of thousands are experiencing similar epiphanies and reviewing their lives as they stare out the window and lie in their beds at 1:30 ayem and listen to the downpour, and I’ll bet everyone will be sleeping better also. The day-to-day sounds of distant sirens and car alarms and overhead choppers are gone.
The story wasn’t about Paul Newman’s being unhurt after the engine of his race car caught fire during a test run at Daytona on Saturday,1.8 — the story is that a 79 year-old guy is driving race cars. I know people who are 39 or 29, even, who would choke at the thought of testing or pushing themselves, and will never know what it is to step outside their comfort zone and put it on the line. Winston Churchill once said of his experience in the Boer War that “there is nothing so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.” I’ll bet Newman was feeling a little bit of that after Saturday’s incident.
I’m shocked, shocked to read that Michael Moore has allegedly been tipped off in advance that Fahrenheit 9/11 has been named the People’s Choice Favorite Film of 2004, according to Gold Derby.com’s Tom O’Neill. Big deal — it’s not like it’s the Oscars or anything. O’Neill admitted in an e-mail announcing his exclusive about Moore’s early information that “even though People’s Choice Award winners usually pretend to be surprised when their names are announced as champs, the fact that CBS really tips them off early has always been a poorly kept secret in the media world and, strangely, has never become controversial.” So…?
Son of Enchilada
I guess √¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢05 isn√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t going to be such a bad year after all.
I asked readers to suggest upcoming film titles to complement Wednesday√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s piece about the year√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s most promising features (√¢‚Ç¨≈ìWhole √¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢05 Enchilada√¢‚Ç¨¬ù), and I was reminded of a few good ones. The overall list of probable good√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s to very good√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s is now up to 23, and the list of maybe√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s and wait-and-see√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s is up to 10, for a grand total of 33.
I√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ve broken the whole list down into three seasonal sections in an article that follows this one.
I√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ve added six films to the √¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢05 first-rate list (The Fountain, In Her Shoes, Lords of Dogtown, A Scanner Darkly, Shopgirl, Syriana) and seven to the second-tier.
Darren Aronofsky√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s The Fountain (Warner Bros., mid tolate √¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢05) A searching sci-fi thriller about a search for immortality via a mystical “tree of life” in Central America. Situation is explored in three different centuries, √¢‚Ç¨≈ìthe ultimate lesson being that death, as part of the process of rebirth, is to be embraced, not feared.√¢‚Ç¨¬ù (Those aren√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t my words.) Directed and written by Aronofsky. Cast : Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn, Sean Gullette, Sean Patrick Thomas, Donna Murphy.
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Curtis Hanson√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s In Her Shoes (20th Century Fox, fall √¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢05) Said to be a √¢‚Ç¨≈ìcomedy drama,√¢‚Ç¨¬ù directed by Hanson and written by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich), but it sure sounds like a chick flick to me. (Hanson- level, I mean.) Two motherless sisters (Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette) with a history of conflict stop speaking to each other when the more carefree and irresponsible one seduces the other√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s boyfriend, but they eventually reconcile with the help of a grandmother Shirley Maclaine) they never knew they had. Cast: Diaz, Collette, Maclaine, Mark Fuerstein, Eric Balfour, Francine Beers.
Catherine Hardwicke√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Lords of Dogtown (Columbia, 6.10) A big studio√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s token stab at street cred. Stacey Peralta wrote the script for this dramatization of his award-winning doc Dogtown and Z Boys, which told the story of the birth and growth of skateboarding, largely in southern California. Cast: Emiel Hirsch, Victor Rasuk, Heath Ledger, Nikki Reed, Rebecca de Mornay, Johnny Knoxville.
Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly (Warner Independent, 9.16) Another Waking Life-type animated thing from Richard Linklater, but this time with a futuristic sci-fi thriller plot. Based on a Philip K. Dick short story about an undercover cop (Keanu Reeves) who gets addicted to a split personality-inducing drug called Substance D. This leads to Reeve√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s good side sets up a sting operation with his superiors to catch his drug-dealer dark side. Cast : Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Wynona Ryder.
Steve Martin and Anand Ticker√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Shopgirl (Touchstone, fall √¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢05) Based on Martin’s best-selling “Shopgirl,” about a fifty-something guy (Martin) falling in love with 20-something Mirabelle (Claire Danes), and the various turns and difficulties of the relationship that follows. Eventually, of course, a younger suitor (Jason Schwartzman) winnows his way into the picture. Cast: Martin, Danes, Schwartzman, Sam Bottoms, Frances Conroy, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras.
Stephen Gaghan√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Syriana (Warner Bros, 7.29) A first-person account of the CIA’s false confidence concerning the future of Middle East after the end of the Cold War, based on Robert Baer√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s book See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism, with George Clooney as Baer. Screenplay by Gaghan. Cast: Clooney, Chris Cooper, Matt Damon, Michelle Monaghan, David Clennon, Gina Gershon.
And seven possible√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s, maybe√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s, wait-and-see√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s√¢‚Ç¨¬¶.
Oliver Assayas√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ Clean (Palm Pictures, 9.05) Woman struggling to survive after her boyfriend dies from drug overdose, eventually hooks up with his dad. Didn√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t hear much about this during Cannes √¢‚Ç¨Àú04. Cast: Maggie Cheung, Don McKellar, Nick Nolte, Beatrice Dalle.
Steven Soderbergh, Michelangelo Antonioni and Wong Kar Wai√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Eros (Warner Independent, 4.8.05) Three-part anthology pic about love, lust, longing. Wong√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s is about a high-end prostitute having it off with her tailor, Soderbergh√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s is about ad exec Robert Downey exploring an erotic dream with psychiatrist Alan Arkin, and Antonioni√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s is about a m√É¬©nage-a-trois between a couple and a young woman on the coast of Tuscany. (Soderbergh stepped into project when pedro Almodovar dropped out.)
Liev Schreiber’s Everything Is Illuminated (Warner Independent, 8.12.05) I am struggling to suppress my negatives feelings about star Elijah Wood, whose moist-eyed Frodo performance in the Rings will live in infamy for decades. He plays a Jewish kid who goes to the Ukraine to find the woman who saved his granddad from the Nazis during WWII. √¢‚Ç¨≈ìNot your standard Holocaust tale,√¢‚Ç¨¬ù a reader informs, √¢‚Ç¨≈ìbut a complex story-within-a-story type deal, and I wonder if a first-time director like Liev Schreiber can pull it off.”
David Cronenberg√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s A History of Violence (New Line, fall √¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢05) Said to be a thriller, but you never know with Cronenberg. Viggo Mortensen is a small-town family guy dealing with something really bad and having to consequently save his family from peril, blah, blah. Cast Ed Harris, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ashton Holmes.
Atom Egoyan’s Where the Truth Lies (Thinkfilm, fall √¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢05) Based on Rupert Holme’s novel about the breakup of a 50’s comedy team (sort of Martin and Lewis-y, I gather) after a girl is found dead in their hotel room. A young female journalist goes after the truth, even though both comedians were off the hook with alibis. Cast: Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth, Alison Lohman. (The only problem is that while I√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ll buy Alison Lohman as Nick Cage√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s pretend daughter in Matchstick Men, I can√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t buy her as a journalist — she looks and behaves too much like an actress. Her eyes are too dewy, too open to emotion. Female journalists I√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ve known all have faces that say √¢‚Ç¨≈ìenough with the mushy stuff√¢‚Ç¨¬ù and √¢‚Ç¨≈ìlet√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s get down to it.√¢‚Ç¨¬ù)
Out of dark curiosity if nothing else, I was going to put Rob Reiner√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Rumor Has It (Warner Bros., 4.15) down as a √¢‚Ç¨≈ìmaybe,√¢‚Ç¨¬ù but despite the intriguing cast and all (Jennifer Aniston, Mark Ruffalo, Shirley MacLaine, Kevin Costner) this project has a bad-vibe, damaged-goods feeling. This is due to the guillotining of one-time director Ted Griffin early in the shoot (an act aided and abetted by producer Steven Soderbergh, Griffin√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s former friend and supporter who turned against him or at least didn√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t protect him when push came to shove) over issues of slowness and alleged bickering between Griffin and the stars.
Griffin√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s replacement by Rob Reiner, who brought in his own writers to tweak the script and in so doing imposing what I expect will be a mainstream-meathead imprint upon Griffin’s original script, added insult to injury.
All Together Now
I think I√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ll start a Good Vibrations box at the bottom of the column with the following titles, and then start to put together a separate Oscar Balloon √¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢05 box as it all starts to coagulate. Which means, of course, that some titles will be added and some will be dropped, etc.
Like I said in Wednesday√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s piece, with a few exceptions I√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢m ignoring all the broad, big-budget, mass-appeal studio films on the assumption that they√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ll offend or disappoint in one way or another.
BEST OF JANUARY TO APRIL: Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s Inside Deep Throat (Universal, 2.11); Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker’s Gunner Palace (Palm Pictures, 3.4); Mike Binder’s The Upside of Anger (New Line, 3.11); Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda (Fox Searchlight, 3.18); Jonathan Nossiter’s Mondovino (Thinkfilm, 3.23); Gore Verbinski’s The Weather Man (Paramount, 4.1). Sydney Pollack’s The Interpreter (Universal, 4.22); Paul Haggis’s Crash (Lions Gate, 4.29). MAYBE√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢S: Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Sin City (Dimension, 4.1); Steven Soderbergh, Michelangelo Antonioni and Wong Kar Wai√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Eros (Warner Independent, 4.8.05). (10)
BEST OF MAY TO AUGUST: Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven (20th Century Fox, 5.6); Ron Howard’s Cinderella Man (Universal, 6.3.05); Catherine Hardwicke√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Lords of Dogtown (Columbia, 6.10); Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown (Paramount, 7.29); Stephen Gaghan√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Syriana (Warner Bros, 7.29); Tony Scott’s Domino (New Line, August); Darren Aronofsky√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s The Fountain (Warner Bros., mid to late √¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢05). MAYBE√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢S: Doug Liman’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith (20th Century Fox, 6.10); John Stockwell√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Into the Blue (MGM, 7.15); Liev Schreiber’s Everything Is Illuminated (Warner Independent, 8.12.05) (10)
BEST OF SEPTEMBER TO DECEMBER: Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly (Warner Independent, 9.16); Terry Zwigoff’s Art School Confidential (UA, mid-fall); Robert Towne’s Ask the Dust (Paramount Classics, mid to late fall); Curtis Hanson√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s In Her Shoes (20th Century Fox, fall √¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢05); Steve Martin and Anand Ticker√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Shopgirl (Touchstone, fall √¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢05) ; Sam Mendes’ Jarhead (DreamWorks, 11.11); Terrence Malick’s The New World (New Line, 11.9); Steven Zallian’s All The King’s Men (Columbia, November-December). MAYBE√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢S: Oliver Assayas√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ Clean (Palm Pictures, 9.05); Bennett Miller’s Capote (United Artists, fall); David Cronenberg√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s A History of Violence (New Line, fall √¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢05) ; Atom Egoyan’s Where the Truth Lies (Thinkfilm, fall √¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢05); Terry Gilliam’s The Brothers Grimm (Miramax, 11.23). (13)
Man Near London
I was looking yesterday at the VHS trailer for Ron Howard√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Cinderella Man (Universal, 6.3) and agreeing with the general consensus that it looks solid — well-acted, well-organized — and enjoying the vague sepia-tone shadings in the color photography, when this letter from a London reader I√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ve heard from before, Poly Giannaba, came through.
Now, she could be a studio √¢‚Ç¨≈ìplant√¢‚Ç¨¬ù (it happens) but it would be awfully tricky and rather elaborate of some Universal/Imagine guy to try and send along a rave from way over there. Plus a planted review would probably be more explicit that what Poly has provided in terms of plot and scene descriptions.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìI just saw Cinderella Man in a test screening a couple of weeks ago, and in my opinion the online trailer doesn’t do it justice. The trailer looks a bit soft, and the film feels leaner and more confident, and is very involving.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìIt’s hard to tell with these things but I think that all three actors (Russell Crowe, Renee Zellweger, Paul Giamatti) will get Oscar nominations. It has gorgeous photography and almost a kind of documentary feel in places. The boxing action is exciting and brutal, but also emotionally relevant to the story.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìThe film literally starts with a punch near the end of the 1920s, when Jim Braddock’s (Crowe) star is ascending. And so the scene is set, both in the ring and in his domestic life. Things are looking very good and then there is a very nice, simple and effective transition to a few years later, when things are totally different.√¢‚Ç¨¬ù
Poly doesn√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t spill, but any Braddock website will tell you he lost a fifteen-round decision to Tommy Loughran in 1929, and that the combination of this and the 1929 stock market crash made things tough for Braddock and his family over the next two or three years.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìThat first scene, when we first see the change of fortune, is a different kind of punch, all the more upsetting because there is a sense of normality about it. The whole film is like that — neither the direction nor the acting tries to emphasize that what we√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢re seeing is extraordinary or appalling. Things speak for themselves.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìThe first part of the film is mostly about Braddock√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s day-to-day struggle and keeping his head above water. My stomach felt cold, like lead — it really hits you. That first part might need some trimming — not to lose any one scene but to make it all play tighter.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìWhen Braddock starts to win, it’s still about the day-to-day struggle. At no point does he want to win in order to celebrate himself. It’s still about keeping the family together and the children fed and warm. It’s great seeing a film hero who isn’t self involved.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìThen the interest shifts a bit, and you want to know why Braddock keeps fighting when the consequences are potentially devastating. Max Baer, his final opponent, had killed two men in the ring. When Braddock articulates the reasons for wanting to fight, it’s a great moment, both simple and powerful.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìThe final fight is long and brutal. I heard some people say that it’s too long but I didn’t think so. That’s the whole point — the beating isn’t over quickly and you have to feel it. The result of the fight is almost irrelevant, but it’s not flashy and it feels very good. Ron Howard doesn’t overstay the moment and the final sequence of brief scenes, each one freezing to create a photograph, is aesthetically fantastic and genuinely sweet.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìThe version we saw was 2 hours and 20 minutes, with no credits. It seemed to me like 90 minutes.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìThe boxing scenes are thrilling — directed, played and edited to perfection. I can’t remember boxing in any other film being both so physical and so integral to the emotional life of what it’s about.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìThe film has a great sense of time and place, which has, in part, something to do with the color. Thinking back, I remember it as black and white.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìCrowe plays Braddock like the everyday man, very quiet but direct. Very few actors can inhabit characters with such inner conviction. I don√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t always like Zellweger, but she√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s very earthy here, doesn’t try too hard and looks great as a brunette.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìIt’s great to see Giamatti with a really good role in a mainstream film. The part is big, he doesn’t play a loser and his relationship with Braddock is at least as vital as Zellweger’s. He has great chemistry with Crowe. His explosiveness works great with Crowe’s stillness — kind of a yin-yang thing.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìThe test screening was at Kingston upon Thames, a little town outside London, on 12.16.
“The company that organized it was First Movies (www.firstmovies.com). I was surprised that they had a test screening in the U.K. but I wasn’t going to complain.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìThe cinema was full, about 300 people. Very diverse crowd. The fact that several rows were filled with teenagers didn’t make me happy before the film started, as I didn’t think they would sit still for the whole film. I was wrong — they seemed as involved as everyone else.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìI wasn’t part of the discussion group but all the people around me seemed to enjoy the film immensely. All the boxes I saw checked were √¢‚Ç¨Àúvery good√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ and √¢‚Ç¨Àúexcellent.√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ I can√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t wait to see it again.√¢‚Ç¨¬ù
I like the name Poly, which alludes in a left-field way to “poly-sci.”
There are two Truman Capote movies coming — one from Warner Independent called Every Word is True that√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s just starting to shoot, and another from United Artists called Capote that√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ll be out sometime in the fall.
The big draw of Bennett Miller√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Capote is Phillip Seymour Hoffman. You just know that performance will cook. Miller√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s last film was the totally delightful Speed Levitch doc The Cruise. Capote√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s script, based on Gerald Clarke√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s √¢‚Ç¨≈ìCapote,√¢‚Ç¨¬ù was written by actor Dan Futterman, who√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s a friend of Miller√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s from high school.
Every Word is True, which will have to race to be in theatres by year√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s end, is being directed by Douglas McGrath, whose script is based upon George Plimpton√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s bio √¢‚Ç¨≈ìTruman Capote.√¢‚Ç¨¬ù McGrath√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s best-known credit is his co-authoring of Woody Allen√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Bullets Over Broadway. Toby Jones plays Capote, with support from Alan Cummings, Anjelica Huston and Sandra Bullock.
Capote has been dead since 1984. Clarke and Plimpton√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s books came out in √¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢88 and √¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢97-√¢‚Ç¨Àú98. Why is there a horse race between two filmed biopics now? Why do these same-subject duels always happen?
Or why didn√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t the warring Capote teams simply merge assets? Jean Francois Allaire, who knows from good writing (as we√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ve corresponded about this and that screenplay for years), has read McGrath√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s and Futterman√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s scripts, and has this to say:
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìCapote has a really good cast but the screenplay isn’t great. Every Word is True√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s screenplay is far superior. It’s a shame they couldn’t combine the projects together, as in taking Capote√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s A-List cast and folding it into Every Word is True.√¢‚Ç¨¬ù
One of Netflix critic James Rocchi√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s slams against Million Dollar Baby is that it leans on Morgan Freeman√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s narration, which he says is usually a sign of weakness. In response to this, a guy who forgot to put his name at the bottom of his e-mail wrote me and said√¢‚Ç¨¬¶.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìThe only thing more tired than narration is movie critics complaining about narration. It’s a shame Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity ), Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve), Terrence Malick (Badlands), Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now) and Alexander Payne (Election) didn’t trust their audiences. They might’ve made decent movies.√¢‚Ç¨¬ù
Bum Tsunami Pics
I just got back in this evening and everyone has written to tell me the tsunami pics I ran earlier today weren’t taken during the recent Asian tsunami, but happened some two years ago. Checking with www.snopes.com before putting them up would have been easy enough. And a decent money shot of the tsunami still hasn’t surfaced.
For what it’s worth, this column humbly salutes War of the Worlds director Steven Spielberg for donating $1.5 million to the post-tsunami humanitarian effort, and Sandra Bullock for putting $1 million into the same bucket. Spielberg announced it because he’d like other moneybags to follow suit.
Has everyone heard? After two and a half decades of being a Grand Technological Poobah whose interest in ars gratia artis was totally nil, George Lucas now wants to be Gregg Araki. In the new Hollywood-Oscar issue of Vanity Fair, next to a big photo of the Star Wars cast members, Lucas is quoted as saying that the finishing of Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith marks the end of an era in his career, and that he now plans to stop making overtly commercial films, which has been his basic program since the mid ’70s. Lucas tells the magazine, “I’m going to make movies nobody wants to see. I’ve earned the right to fail.” It’s encouraging to hear Darth Vader say he wants to be Annakin Skywalker again, but it sure took him a while. Lucas had earned the “right to fail” 22 years ago after the completion of the first trilogy.
Whole ’05 Enchilada
Honestly? Right now? The ’05 films I’m seriously excited about number exactly 22. And that’s pushing it. Make it 17 picks and 5 toothpicks. And I didn’t just toss this list off out of boredom. I thought hard about my quirks and prejudices and sorted ’em all out.
There are at least five or six winners I’m overlooking or haven’t even heard of yet. That always happens. They’ll surface soon enough. In alphabetical order…
Steven Zallian’s All The King’s Men (Columbia, no release date but probably fall/holiday) Following in the trail of Robert Rossen’s 1949 original, based on Robert Penn Warren’s novel about a demagogue-ish Southern 1930s politician inspired by Huey Long. Being shot in and around New Orleans by writer-director Zallian (A Civil Action). Cast : Sean Penn as Broderick Crawford, plus Patricia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, Jude Law, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslet.
Terry Zwigoff’s Art School Confidential (UA, mid-fall) Probably destined to open at Toronto Film Festival, based on Dan Clowes’ satirical graphic novel of the same name. Yup, that old Ghost World chemistry again. Satirizing the cult of celebrity, the story follows an undercover cop who poses as an artist until he realizes that being a pretend felon or, better still, a supposed killer, will get him even more heft and attention. (I don’t get it either.) Cast: John Malkovich, Matt Keeslar, Anjelica Huston, Steve Buscemi.
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Robert Towne’s Ask the Dust (Paramount Classics, mid to late fall) A story of creative struggle and unlikely colliding love, set in 1930s L.A. but filmed in South Africa, where Towne’s artisans pretty much re-built Bunker Hill. Cast: Colin Farrell, Salma Hayek, Justin Kirk, Donald Sutherland.
Ron Howard’s Cinderella Man (Universal, 6.3.05) Semi-fabled story of Depression-era slugger and “folk hero” Jim Braddock, who defeated heavyweight champ Max Baer in a fifteen-round bout in 1935. Crowe’s weight seems down to where it was in the Romper Stomper days. Cast: Russell Crowe, Renee Zellwegger, Paul Giamatti, Paddy Considine.
Paul Haggis’s Crash (Lions Gate, 4.29) An L.A. freeway pile-up brings a group of strangers together. Showed at Toronto Film Festival ’04, allegedly strengthened by several top-tier performances. Cast: Matt Dillon, Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Brendan Fraser, Ryan Phillipe, Thandie Newton, Jennifer Esposito, William Fichtner.
Edgar Ramirez, Mickey Rourke, Kera Knightley in Tony Scott’s Domino.
Tony Scott’s Domino (New Line, August), which only just wrapped a few weeks ago, having begun in October. The real-life story of Domino Harvey (daughter of actor Laurence Harvey, played by Keira Knightley), who blew off a Beverly Hills lifestyle and a career as a Ford model to become a bounty hunter. A non-vested guy wrote me later this afternoon claiming it’s “going to be an absolute masterpiece” and that the script by Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) is “one of the best scripts to come out of Hollywood in years. It’s the best material Tony Scott has ever had, and I am an avid fan of Last Boy Scout and True Romance. It’s thoroughly crazy, unpredictable, funny, and clever. Just as out there and trippy as Donnie Darko, but a lot of shit blows up.” Costars Mickey Rourke, Edgar Ramirez, Delroy Lindo, Chris Walken, Jacqueline Bisset, Mena Suvari.
Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown (Paramount, 7.29) Failed suicidal shoe designer goes home to Kentucky to bury his just-deceased dad, falls in love with plucky airline stewardess, sorts out the kind of stuff that guys in their late 20s/early 30s need to sort out. A nicely rounded emotional piece that touches bottom at the right moments, in just the right way…but that’s standard stuff for writer-director Crowe. Cast : Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Alec Baldwin, Bruce McGill, Susan Sarandon.
Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s Inside Deep Throat (Universal, 2.11) Smart nervy doc examines the legacy and cultural impact of the most profitable film in world history. Interview subjects: Erica Jong, Linda Lovelace, Norman Mailer, John Waters, Gore Vidal.
Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker’s Gunner Palace (Palm Pictures, 3.4) Purportedly first-rate doc about the experience of a group of U.S. soldiers’ from the 1st Armored Division in post-takeover Iraq, bunking for a year and half at Uday Hussein’s palace, renamed Gunner Palace. Said to be “a very emotional documentary that shows what these good men and women serving our country are truly like.”
Sydney Pollack’s The Interpreter (Universal, 4.22) A moody, politically sophisticated thriller set within the United Nations community, with a exotic-accented Nicole Kidman and a straight-ahead Sean Penn in the leads. Pollack at the helm means this one will be intelligently assembled and that the characters will have (I√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢m assuming) unusual angles, if Pollack’s past work (like his last New York-based thriller, Three Days of the Condor) is any indication.
Sam Mendes’ Jarhead (DreamWorks, 11.11) William Broyles’ script is based on Anthony Swofford’s best-selling 2003 book about his pre-Desert Storm experiences in Saudi Arabia and about his experiences fighting in Kuwait. A Gulf War Platoon or…? Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx, Peter Sarsgaard, Sam Rockwell, Lucas Black.
Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven (20th Century Fox, 5.6) Aside from the distinction of being an expensive Scott film in the big-canvas Gladiator mode, this is an intelligent 12th Century armies-on-horseback movie about Eastern vs. Western forces. Or, as I said a couple of columns ago, “one of those Muslim vs. Christian, olive-skinned natives vs. white-guy invader type deals, taking place during the Crusades and set in war-torn Jerusalem.” Cast: Orlando Blooom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson.
Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda (Fox Searchlight, 3.18) Acclaimed by Screen International as Woody√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s best in a long while. A discussion between playwrights about the nature of comedy and drama leads to the story of a woman named Melinda (Radha Mitchell), and a look at her life as a piece of tragedy and comedy. As a character in the movie puts it, a certain character is “despondent, desperate, suicidal…all the comic elements are in place.” Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Johnny Lee Miller, Josh Brolin, Will Ferrell, Wallace Shawn, Amanda Peet.
Jonathan Nossiter’s Mondovino (Thinkfilm, 3.23) A longish (135 minuntes), highly cultivated rant against globalism as manifested in the wine industry. Very smart, interesting…somewhat sprawling but in a good way. Wine culture has never been more fashionable and mainstream, and if you’re on the side of the small vinters and against the sippers of Robert Mondavi White Zinfandel and the flattening influence of the big combines, here’s a film to rally ’round.
Terrence Malick’s The New World (New Line, 11.9) Malick wrote this 17th Century drama based on the old Captain John Smith and Pocahontas legend, which focuses on the clash between Native Americans and British settlers. Emanuel Lubezki’s photography looks killer in the trailer. Cast: Colin Farell, Christian Bale, Christopher Plummer, Roger Rees, Q’Orianka Kilcher.
Mike Binder’s The Upside of Anger (New Line, 3.11) Described by a friend as Terms of Endearment with four daughters and without the cancer. Joan Allen’s feisty, middle-aged, less-than-totally-likable mom is the centerpiece. Rated R for language, sexual situations, brief comic violence, some drug use. Cast: Kevin Costner, Erika Christensen, Evan Rachel Wood, Keri Russell, Alicia Witt.
Gore Verbinski’s The Weather Man (Paramount, 4.1) At least partially, it would seem, about the slightly opulent toupee worn by star Nicolas Cage. Director Gore Verbinski√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s direction of The Ring has given him newfound respect, and word around the campfire is that this one√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s okay…maybe better than okay. Cage is a Chicago weatherman named Dave Spritz with an extremely chaotic personal life. The well-regarded screenplay is by Steve Conrad (Wrestling Ernest Hemingway). Cast: Michael Caine, Hope Davis.
And the five probable-hopefuls…
Based on the expectation alone of what I’m sensing will be a great Phillip Seymour Hoffman performance, I’m keen to see Bennett Miller’s Capote (United Artists, fall), a biopic about the once-great flamboyant writer who reportedly had a thing for Clutter murderer Perry Smith (allegedly expressed in his visits to death row), and whose suicide, in the view of Gore Vidal, was “a very wise career move.”
I don’t trust co-directors Robert Rodriguez or Frank Miller (the graphic artist) to dramatize a well-jiggered story, but the look of Sin City (Dimension, 4.1) is too cool to dismiss. Any genre movie shot in black-and-white gets my vote sight unseen, and I love the straight-from-a-comic-book visual style of this thing, and the Dick Tracy-like prosthetics worn by some of the actors (Mickey Rourke, Benicio del Toro). Based on three stories taken from Miller√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s graphic novels, the likely emphasis will be on “look” over story and character.
Because of the awesome job director John Stockwell did with Blue Crush, I’ve got my hopes up (somewhat) over his latest mer de bleu excursion, called Into the Blue (MGM, 7.15).
Ditto Doug Liman’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith (20th Century Fox, 6.10), the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie thriller, because Liman kicked ass with The Bourne Identity and Go.
And despite the mixed word and horrific set stories, I’m still very interested in Terry Gilliam’s The Brothers Grimm (Miramax, 11.23). A Gilliam is a Gilliam.
I’m repeating myself, but I know there must be a whopper of an omission out there somewhere. Maybe a few of them.
I have next to no interest in seeing Rob Marshall’s Memoirs of a Geisha (Columbia, possibly December) or James Ivory’s White Countess (Columbia, fall/holiday). Too genteel, too decorous, too Asian.
The openings of John Madden’s Proof and Lasse Hallstrom’s An Unfinished Life , both from Miramax, have been delayed over this and that concern, which I haven’t explored or even questioned. Tomorrow is another day.
I’m sure it’ll be well assembled and a class act, but I don’t expect Roman Polanski’s Oliver Twist (Columbia, 9.30) to be much more than marginally diverting. What can anyone get out of a Dickens film at this stage of our decline?
And like always, it’s hard to feel any excitement about the hot-ticket summer movies — Steven Spielberg’s The War of the Worlds (Paramount, 6.29), Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (20th Century Fox, 5.6), Bewitched (Columbia, 7.8), Batman Begins (Warner Bros., 6.17), Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Warner Bros. 7.15).
The broad comedies — The Wedding Crashers (New Line, 7.22), The Dukes of Hazzard (Warner Bros. 7.29)– aren’t doing much for me either. 96% or 97% of the time they aim straight for the ape cage. Why mince words?
I’m highly skeptical about Peter Jackson’s King Kong (Universal, 12.14), but that dead horse needs a breather.
And we can definitely, absolutely forget about Mike Newell’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Warner Bros., 11.28). Alfonso Cuaron’s, such as it was, was the high-water mark, and no one really wants to sit through another one. Not me anyway.
I’ve said all this because, fairly or unfairly…
Terry Zwigoff can do no wrong right now, especially with John Malkovich as a partner.
Roman Polanski did it with The Pianist and I wish it were otherwise, but the odds of his being pretty much tapped out at this stage are probably 70-30, his being 71 and all. But maybe not.
Paul Haggis, screenwriter of Million Dollar Baby is happening…the wind-of-the-moment is filling his sails.
Spielberg is over — too rich, too boomer-ed, nothing more to say or explore, going through the motions.
Mike Binder (now wrapping Man About Town with Ben Affleck) is starting to happen now….the grease is boiling in the pan.
Woody Allen has been on the ropes lately, but he could be on the brink of something profound, like what Bunuel was accomplishing when he passed 65. But he needs to hook up with a GenX writing partner to juice up the jokes.
Sam Mendes is either at the summit of his powers, or approaching it.
Peter Jackson’s Return of the King Oscars were not good for him, as they wildly applauded and will henceforth encourage his worst instincts as a director, which are to emphasize visual grandiosity above all other elements and emotionally underline scenes so as to drive people to drink.
Tim Burton may be in a great spiritual place, but to me he seems to be dithering, wandering, overpampered, lost. A remake of Willy Wonka ? Maybe, but I can’t even watch the Gene Wilder version.
George Lucas is a nice guy, a devoted dad and a genuine Darth Vader for our times.
No matter how good it looks, Chris Nolan is paychecking with Batman Begins. How the cool and the mighty have fallen.
Sydney Pollack has always been a solid craftsman, always “sweats” his movies. Even when they’re not so great (Random Hearts, Havana), they’re mildly satisfying.
Bailey and Barbato’s Tammy Faye doc was shrewd, sharp, satirical. How can they possibly miss with a serious-minded blowjob doc?
Robert Towne and Jon Fante have some kind of shared Los Angeles 1930s connection. In telling Fante’s story, Towne is drawing water from a deep dark well.
I don’t know about Zallian (A Civil Action wasn’t bad), but Sean Penn can’t miss as Willie Stark.
Everyone loves the idea of Terrence Malick continuing on his rebound, and at least there’s the painterly look of his films.
Ron Howard continues to deepen and improve, and the Cinderella trailer cooks.
Gore Verbinksi is gathering and climbing, and the word is good on The Weather Man .
I guess I can use some of this for the basis of an ’05 Oscar Balloon.
Again, please point out the films I’ve overlooked…as long as they’re not based on any Jane Austen novels or about closeted gay cowboys.
“Just to talk about pop art and boxing on a positive note, allow me to offer that Warren Zevon’s song `Boom Boom Mancini’ on Sentimental Hygiene says more about life, loss, boxing, death and choices in 3:17 than Haggis, Eastwood and company do in the two-plus dark, saxophone-heavy hours of Million Dollar Baby.
“Your 12/31 entry about my dislike of Million Dollar Baby reads, “I’m assuming, naturally, that he [Rocchi] almost called Million Dollar Baby the worst film of ’04 because it got to him on a very primal level. It’s a startling call….”
Well, Jeff, Million Dollar Baby did get to me on a primal level because it was bad in a very real, very conspicuous fashion. All I can do is call ’em like I see ’em, literally. The only thing startling to me about Million Dollar Baby is how many other critics are doing back-flips over it… but, all they can do is call ’em like they…you get the idea.
“And I’m hardly Kevin McCarthy yelling about the Body Snatchers on this one. David Edelstein, Charles Taylor and Armond White have all written great stuff about this bad movie.
“A few explanatory points about not liking Million Dollar Baby above and beyond my review at Netflix. [Editor: spoilers edited out]:
“Narration is almost always a sign that the director doesn’t trust the audience — or that he’s fallen in love with some other writer’s language and has gone blind. Leave aside how you have Freeman’s character narrating events he wasn’t there for. The problem is that the narration sounds like Narration — it’s got that dry, dead, book-on-tape feel to it. It’s not human language; it’s literary language, and (like in, say, White Oleander ) it sounds like blocks of text, not what people would say.
“Manipulation: When I go to the movies, I’m going to feel manipulated. It’s part of the experience. It’s a bargain we make with the filmmakers. The cost of it, for them, is that they have to earn it. I recall the fable-legend-history of how after THX-1138, George Lucas’s wife told him he needed to make a film people had an emotional reaction to, and he blew up. Anyone can elicit an emotional reaction from an audience, he said: All you have to do is show the audience a kitten and put a gun to its head.
“In Million Dollar Baby, Hilary Swank stars as The Kitten. And have it all happen in such a way so we can see what a great guy Clint’s lead character is.
“When Eastwood’s films work, it’s because they’re anti-clich√É¬©: Unforgiven, Mystic River, Bird, The Gauntlet, High Plains Drifter. When they don’t work, it’s because they’re nothing but clich√É¬©s: Blood Work, Absolute Power, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (not coincidentally, these are also all literary adaptations.)
“ Million Dollar Baby is nothing but clich√É¬©, and it shows.
“A lot of people are calling it ‘magical realist.’ But if there’s magic in Million Dollar Baby, it’s dime-store stuff — hey, watch me pull a tragedy out of my hat! If there’s realism in Million Dollar Baby, I can’t see it.
“I also have to say one thing about a digression you make about one of my least favorite docs of the year and some of the TV I’ve done: ‘Let’s see…hated The Hunting of the President, supplied guest commentary on the conservative-leaning Scarborough Country. Wait a minute, let’s not jump to conclusions.’
“Jeff, for someone who doesn’t want to jump to conclusions, you’re making a bit of a leap. If I appeared on Sesame Street, would that make me a Muppet? The transcripts from my two appearances on Scarborough Country are on the web.” — James Rocchi, film critic, Netflix, Inc.
“After absorbing all the hype for Million Dollar Baby on your site, I made a great effort to see it while back on the east coast for the holidays, as my show at the Angelika in NYC was sold out.
“My verdict? Solid film, but hardly the year’s best.
“Some of the things that bothered me: Morgan Freeman playing his umpteenth saintly, omniscient narrator role. A very obvious reluctant hero first-act-structure that ended, surprise, with Clint taking on the young female fighter. Also, the femme fighter…could the girl have been more of a saint? Sexless, viceless…it’s easy to mourn the loss of a saint. But it cuts deeper when a good, but flawed character goes down. And for some people, the whole third act is not going to sit well no matter what.
“Those are my two-cent thoughts. I don’t expect this movie to blow up at all.” — Melvin Dummar, Winslow, Arizona.
Editor’s Note: Melvin Dummar is a nom de plume because the real guy didn’t sign his name, and I really haven’t the time or the energy to go back and search for it. I’m asking once again that all letter-writers please sign your name at the bottom of your e-mail. Thanks!
“I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and I can’t go ten feet lately without a neighbor, acquaintance, or a random other person who knows I’m tangentially connected to the movie industry, etc., asking me about Million Dollar Baby and when they’ll get to see it.
“It’s absolutely bewildering the way Warners is handling it. I’m not sure this even counts as a ‘platform release’ unless we’re talking about some very, very long and shallow platforms. I think it’s finally opening here on Friday, which I assumed was the wide-release date — I can’t believe they’re going to be dribbling it out all the way through January.
“The other thing that sucks about the Million Dollar Baby situation
is that by now I’ve been hearing buzz for two months and I feel like I’m almost bound to be disappointed by the actual movie. It’s grueling to be both inundated with hype and in a second-tier market, where even the press screenings come late!” — Kristi Coulter, Director of Content, Movies All Media Guide.
“I’ve been obsessed with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas since I got back from China. It’s violent, to be sure, but there is an extensive storyline about crooked cops and discovering who killed your character’s mom.
“There are also hundreds of challenges and games-within-the-game, to the point of overwhelming anyone who tries to wrap their head around it all. You can play arcade games and pool, bet on horse races, buy property, drive a cab, be a truck driver, paramedic, firefighter, or pimp, valet park cars, and eliminate crime as a vigilante. You can change clothes, eat at restaurants, date women, and work out. All this happens outside of the storyline.
“This is a complete world, where you can bathe yourself in fantasy for as long as you like. It’s like the Holodeck, or the Shore Leave planet from Star Trek; people can live out their fantasies with no repercussions. The game accommodates the violent and the mundane, the linear and the sporadic. Maybe it says something about character in how one chooses to play it, and the storyline is definitely skewed violent, but it can be whatever you want it to be.
“That said, whenever I drive and see a car on the road that I’ve seen in the game, I, for a split-second, imagine stealing it and speeding away. Space Invaders never had that effect. ” — Jon Rahoi, top Team Elsewhere dog, San Francisco, CA.
“Good take on Grand Theft Auto. I’ve been teaching young people for 33 years. They all are affected, whether subliminally or consciously, by games like this. The only thing good about it is that it is a ‘game.’ But to have kids with a game that kills people in this day and age is, I feel, very questionable, even with the best of parents.
“If kids hit each other over the head as they did when I was growing up as a result of watching Moe, Larry and Curly do it, kids are that much closer to acting out out the same thing with lethal weapons as a result of getting a feel for the activity in a video game . ” — T. H., Los Angeles.
“You wrote in last Friday’s column that `the ESRB `M’ rating for the previous Grand Theft Auto game, called Vice City, was described as having only “violence” (the `intense’ adjective wasn’t used) and didn’t mention `use of drugs.’ Obviously the creators, Rock Star Games, are upping the ante.’
“What you’re suggesting would seem obvious from the change in descriptions for these warnings, but what is funny is that Vice City actually contained more of a drug subplot than San Andreas does (up to this point in my play at least), and even the contrast in drugs featured is pretty drastic.
“Rockstar has said in the past that Grand Theft Auto 3 was modelled more after movies like Good Fellas, where a virtual unknown gets on the mafia inside by running errands and performing hits for key mafia moguls.
“Vice City was a change in theme creatively, and significantly structured after drug films, mainly Scarface in which a virtual unknown moves product and usurps a drug empire out from underneath key players.
“San Andreas is pretty much a send up of Boyz `n the Hood and Menace II Society, so the drugs of choice featured are both marijuana and crack cocaine. Ironically, the game takes a more negative look at drug use in reference to crack, as the gang bangers look at the drug as a disease and push to keep their fellow bangers off the rock, so to speak. Marijuana, however, is another story.
“So in essence, I find it interesting that the game that promotes a negative vibe towards crack, but yet gives the thumbs-up to marijuana gets a harsher description than its predecessor, which pretty much incorporated the use and distribution of narcotics as a major plot point to complete the game’s missions.” — Mario Anima.
A week and a half since the big tsunami and this is the “money shot”…the best color snap of what it was like to actually be there as the wave was on its way in?
With all the tens of thousands of tourists in the impact areas, with their thousands upon thousands of digital cameras?
If we can get past the ninny-nannies who might be offended by my interest in locating a better photo, is there anyone out there who’s seen one somewhere? If so, please get in touch. Thanks.
Jeff Leeds’ weekend box-office story in today’s (1.3) New York Times quotes Box Office Mojo’s Brandon Gray saying something rather odd. The crop of Oscar-buzz films “is somewhat anemic this season, and that’s something the Academy needs to be aware of,” Gray says, referring to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, whose membership votes on the Oscars. He adds, “If they nominate only pictures that people are not going to see, they can expect lower ratings” for the 2.27 Oscar broadcast. Hear that, fellas? If the film or filmmaker you admire the most hasn’t delivered (or isn’t on the way to delivering) a handsome profit, deny him/her your vote.
Two similar-sounding, three-syllable, young-guy-with-a-problem movies are playing at Sundance ’05 — The Chumscrubber and Thumbsucker. And are both about suburban ennui and that line of country. Not to sound harsh or dismissive, but I really don’t want to see a movie about a guy who sucks his thumb. Arie Posin’s Chumscrubber, a Premiere selection about, yes, despair and alienation in an idyllic California ‘burb (is there any other kind?), costars Jamie Bell, Ralph Fiennes, Carrie-Ann Moss, Glenn Close, Allison Janey. Mike Mills’ Thumbsucker, playing in the Dramatic Competition section, is a portrait of addiction but is presumably about something else besides. (Please.) It costars Lou Pucci, Tilda Swinton, Keanu Reeves, Vincent D’Onofrio, Bemjamin Bratt, Vince Vaughn.
Snipers are taking shots at Million Dollar Baby (and not just the Paulettes), and now New York Times critic A.O. Scott has given voice to the one I’ve been hearing for weeks about critics liking Sideways because they relate to Paul Giamatti’s Myles character — they look like him, think like him, he’s a critic type, etc. And because he winds up with a hot soulful lady (Virginia Madsen) who gets what he’s about. Well, yeah…partly…nice fantasy. But if a movie has three good scenes that touch bottom, it’s a movie that stands up on its own despite what admiring critics say. And Sideways has (1) the back porch pinot noir scene between Giamatti and Madsen, (2) Giamatti’s heart breaking when he meets his ex-wife and her new husband after Jack’s wedding, and (3) Giamatti listening to Madsen’s phone message about his book at the very end.
In a TV clip, Don Cheadle said about the real-life story behind Hotel Rwanda: “It’s Africa’s holocaust, and it’s still happening, and people…don’t know about it.” Cheadle paused between saying the words “people” and “don’t,” and I’m sure he briefly considered saying “don’t want to know about it”…until thinking better of it.