Parisian church bells allegedly celebrating Donald Trump‘s defeat at the hands of Biden-Harris — that’s a fairly startling reaction when you think about it. Trump is truly reviled worldwide. Anyway, the person who took this panning shot was somewhere in Montmartre. Wouldn’t you think someone closer to one of the churches or cathedrals might have captured some better smartphone footage? Searching around as we speak.
I never suspected that a majority of homes in the Beverly Hills “flats” (north of Santa Monica Blvd. up to Sunset Blvd.) are owned by rightwing Trump supporters. I always thought the Southern California loonies mainly lived down in Orange County. But according to data compiled by the Los Angeles Times, Beverly Hills is indeed a red stronghold.
“The largest concentration of Trump support in central Los Angeles is located in the affluent residential areas of Beverly Hills and Trousdale Estates.
“Beverly Hills precincts that voted for Trump start directly across Santa Monica Boulevard from the Rodeo Drive shopping district, which has been the site of frequent pro-Trump demonstrations in recent months. Many businesses in that district had closed and boarded up in advance of Election Day as a precaution against potential unrest.”
Deranged and self-deluding as Trump has always been, you’d think that with the election called and the odds of a miracle turnaround virtually nil that a dignity impulse would kick in. That would mean summoning at least an attempt to behave in a classy manner. He wouldn’t have to mean it, and he could always revert to his natural default self after he leaves Washington for New York and Mar a Lago in late January. He must realize deep down that he’ll never pull off a reversal of fortune. And yet he continues to fret and whine and accuse the deep state of manipulating the vote, etc.
We all understand how quaint the idea of physical media has become. I’m nonetheless indebted to Tatiana for having insisted last night that I alphabetize my 450 Blurays. A paltry-sized library by some standards, I realize, but I’ve been slowing down on purchases over the last three or four years. I’ve been buying Blurays since ’06, but until last night I hadn’t alphabetized. Strange as it sounds, I enjoyed searching for five or ten minutes in order to find a given title.
We now have a special row of Region 2 Blurays, two rows of Criterion, and sections devoted to Kubrick, Polanski, Hitchcock, etc.
Did you know, incidentally, that American movie fanatics aren’t allowed to even stream Polanski’s latest film, the utterly brilliant J’Accuse (aka An Officer and a Spy), because of some reprehensible personal behavior on Polanski’s part that happened 40-plus years ago? I’ve suggested that his personal history shouldn’t be confused with his artistic accomplishments, that they exist on separate planes. J’Accuse is indisputably one of the finest films of 2020 (not exaggerating) but that don’t cut no ice with a certain segment.
I was inspired to do so, however, by last night’s appearance of Tristan Harris on Real Time with Bill Maher. A prominent talking head in Orlowski’s doc, Harris is a former “design ethicist” at Google and currently president of the Center for Humane Technology. And his message is basically that we’re all being fucked and fiddled with by social media technology.
“The compelling feature about The Social Dilemma is helplessness, like a man on a beach watching the wave of a tsunami approach and realizes immediately that there is nowhere to run, nowhere to go, and nothing to do, as his fate is already sealed, that in point of fact he is actually lucky as he has been given the time — a moment really, simply by looking up — to consider his approaching demise.
“So it is that The Social Dilemma paints a clear picture of capitalism taken to its nth degree…of a soulless artificial intelligence, a Frankenstein automaton designed to simply give us what we want, [and] that puts us on the road to an impersonal doom. But it doesn’t matter anymore what we want as the wave of the tsunami is already breaking.” — Rotten Tomatoes super-reviewer “Kevin M.W.”
This Big Country gun duel scene is about courage and character, or the lack of. I’m not saying Joe Biden is 100% analogous to Gregory Peck‘s character in terms of behaving in a sane, sensible and steadfast way, but he’s close enough. It’s also fair to say that right now Donald Trump‘s behavior is at least somewhat similar to that of Chuck Connors, as the no-good scurvy varmint son of Burl Ives.
What well-known, present-tense figure is somewhat similar to the stern and disdainful Ives? I’d say Ives represents the attitude of nearly everyone right now…everyone except for hardcore Trump friendos, the ranks of which are slightly thinning as we speak.
In a coordinated, all-together-now announcement at the same exact time (11:30 am eastern), CNN, AP, The NY Times, NBC, Politico and PBS announced that Biden-Harris are the victors, due to their Pennsylvania plurality. And Indiewire also! Indiewire hands it to Biden-Harris!
I don’t know how many top-tier city street and freeway chase scenes I’ve seen in action films, but there’ve certainly been a few. For me, the last big stand-out was in Chris Nolan‘s Tenet. I don’t know if this amazing fence-leap stunt is CG-augmented or not, or even if it’s from a film. My eyes tell me it’s an actual physical stunt, but what a feat of stunt driving! Brilliantly choreographed.
I found it on a GIF site and couldn’t for the life of me convert it to video so I just shot it off my Macbook Pro screen.
Reviews of David Fincher‘s Mank broke today so here’s a rehash of two recent HE Mank posts, compressed and crammed together:
Mank is quite the smarthouse thing — gently or obliquely emotional but mostly a Hollywood lore head-trip movie, And it’s aimed almost solely at seasoned, well-educated film sophistos. Which is one reason why guys like San Francisco Chronicle critic Bob Strauss are doing cartwheels.
Brilliant and specific and steeped in a glorious monochrome vibe, Mank is mostly about the ways of genius mixed with the rigorous discipline of writing, the slow ways of alcohol poisoning and the complexities of studio politics.
As such it’s obviously a brilliant, highly accomplished virtuoso act, and totally locked for several Oscar noms — Picture, Director (Fincher), Best Actor (Gary Oldman), Best Supporting Actress (Amanda Seyfried), Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, etc.
It hopscotches all around in a non-linear way, which of course is a tribute to the Citizen Kane scheme. I adored the use of clackety-clack scene descriptions dropping into the frame. And I loved re-hearing the line “it’s not the heat, it’s the humanity.” (Which apparently wasn’t written by Herman J. Mankiewicz but Alan Jay Lerner for Brigadoon.)
The nutritional value of the dialogue alone (written by Fincher’s late dad, Jack, in the mid ’90s, and then rewritten by his son and Eric Roth) should not be under-celebrated. Altogether the film didn’t quite levitate me off the ground, it did put me into a kind of subdued swoon mode — a certain form of aesthetic rapture that leaves you quietly stirred and pacified. That’s a fairly rare thing.
What’s the Mank arc? Basically that even for a self-destructive boozer like Herman J. Mankiewicz, life took a turn for the better when Orson Welles came calling. And that despite the political intrigues and whatnot, things worked out very nicely for an all-too-brief period. And at the end of the path came a Best Original Screenplay Oscar.
Boozing issues aside, Mank is depicted in each and every scene as a humanist and a good guy — a man who sides with the weak and unlucky, with the less fortunate and downtrodden. He’s good company.
Oldman is wonderful. I was initially not looking forward to spending over two hours with a pot-bellied drunk, and the fact that he looks like a bloated 62 year old rather than a plump, dessicated 43 year-old didn’t thrill me. But Oldman’s charm and particularly that thin, raspy little voice tossing off one witticism after another…he simply won me over. I just fell for the whirling patter and verbal derring-do.
According to a recently posted N.Y. Times story by Katie Glueck, Mark Landler, Marc Santora and Michael Cooper, Joe Biden‘s flip of Pennsylvania and Georgia is decisive and growing. As of Friday evening his Keystone State lead over Trump was higher than 14,500. His Georgia advantage had been whisper thin, but by Friday evening Biden had tallied 4000 more votes than Trump.
In Arizona, the Times reported, Biden’s advantage shrank slightly “but not by as much as Republicans had hoped.” In Nevada today, Biden “nearly doubled his lead” over Trump to roughly 20,000 votes.
The trends aren’t going to change. The data overwhelmingly indicates that Biden’s leads back east are going to increase; ditto Nevada and Arizona. So why is the Times refusing to admit the obvious by declaring it for Biden-Harris?
And why are they continuing to post that infuriating electoral map in which Biden is still at 253 electoral votes and Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania are still color coded as undecided — and I mean not even leaning toward Biden-Harris with light blue tints.
If you didn’t know better you’d think it’s still a “who knows?” situation.
And why are the major networks refusing to call it? They know exactly what’s going on, but — I don’t want to sound rash or intemperate but there’s no other way to put it — they seem to be afraid of what the Trump loonies might say or do.
Another way of putting it is that they’re chickenshit.
“Looking at the bigger picture, Democrats were done in by extreme voices that Mr. Trump was able to link to their party. Defunding the police will never be popular outside a few lefty precincts. The whiff of socialism helped kill Democrats in Florida.
“In California, voters rejected ballot measures that would have delivered a return of affirmative action and a bill to expand rent control. The result was a wake-up call for the overly woke.
“In battered Portland, Ore., where violent clashes between protesters and law enforcement have brought terror to the streets, a candidate who embraced Antifa lost to the more moderate mayor, Ted Wheeler.
“The violent fringe on the left helped Mr. Trump. The violent fringe on the right, sadly, did not appear to hurt him.” — from Timothy Egan’s “American Democracy Survives Its Brush With Death“, N.Y. Times, 11.6.