Orange Plague “must be remembered as the worst, if only for [not signing the Covid relief bill and flying down to Florida to play golf] alone. This has to be a bottom. He must be seen as the worst, and we must run away from him and this type of behavior as fast as we ever collectively as a country before.” — Chris Cuomo during last night’s broadcast.
CNN: “Dominion Voting Systems executive Eric Coomer says he’s been forced into hiding after being harassed and threatened following baseless claims made by President Trump’s legal team and conservative media outlets that his company defrauded Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Coomer is suing the Trump campaign, included Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, for slander.”
Orange Plague has pardoned a whole lotta bad guys recently, and today granted clemency to 26 skunks and assorted scumbags.
The best known is Paul Manafort, that slippery eel of a double-dealing international operator who lied and finagled on Trump’s behalf while serving as his campaign chairman from June to August 2016, and who was investigated, prosecuted and jailed by Robert Mueller and his team.
Charles Kushner, the father of Jared Kushner, was also pardoned. Ditto Roger J. Stone Jr., Trump’s longtime adviser, fixer and pally-wally.
The key question, of course, is how will Trump manage to pardon himself?
Three days ago Outpost director Rod Lurie asked industry-connected Facebook followers for their Ten Greatest Films of All Time lists. Five years ago I posted a list of 160 of my all-time greatest films, and even that omitted a shitload that I regard quite highly. So the idea of boiling that list down to ten…forget it.
Let’s use a more specific standard for inclusion, to wit: which films on your greatest of all time list seem to echo some aspect of the way things are today or reveal or reflect something about human nature as most of us are assessing it in late 2020? Certain great films like Mike Nichols‘ The Graduate, for example, seem to address life and/or the human condition as it was in the mid to late ’60s, and perhaps not as much today.
I’m told that many if not most of the lists that have come in so far have Jaws at the very top. I’m sorry but that’s pretty close to ridiculous. It’s just a popular, well-jiggered summer monster beach flick…come on!
HE’s Top Ten Greatest American Films (and this could all change five minutes from now): (1) A Serious Man, (2) Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, (3 & 4) The Godfather & The Godfather, Part II (5) 12 Angry Men, (6) Election, (7) Paths of Glory, (8) Rushmore, (9) Manchester By The Sea, (10) On The Waterfront.
HE’s Top 11 to 20 Films: (11) Lawrence of Arabia, (12) Moneyball, (13) Groundhog Day, (14) Goodfellas, (15) Out Of The Past, (16) Children of Men, (17) Zero Dark Thirty, (18) Heat, (19) The Best Years of Our Lives, (20) Shane.
Chris Nolan‘s Tenet has been streaming and on 4k Bluray for eight days now. I’ve watched it with subtitles one and a half times so far, and there’s no question it plays much more coherently (and certainly less problematically) this way. But you know what? It tickles and taunts more than it adds up. It still doesn’t make a whole lot of basic sense. I’m sorry but that’s a fact.
I loved the audacious, ahead-of-the-curve, first-time-ever freshness of Tenet when I saw it on a big screen in Flagstaff on Friday, 9.4, but maybe I was extra-enthused because I was so happy to watch a film in a theatre again.
I still love the inverted/backwards shit (especially during that dazzling 747 airport sequence) but the charm of that gimmick has fallen away pretty sharply, you bet.
I only know that subtitles doesn’t really solve the basic Tenet problem, which is the arrogant Nolan himself. I loved Dunkirk but now I’m back to thinking he’s an infuriating filmmaker — a guy whose films will always tax my patience (unless he makes another based-on-history film). It’s a tragedy to know deep down that Nolan will never make a film as engaging as Memento again.
I didn’t realize how badly Tenet was flunking across the board until I read a 12.18 Facebook review by Nick “Action Man” Clement, who is easily the kindest, most obliging, most turn-the-other-cheek reviewer of mainstream commercial films on the planet earth, and certainly since the 2.25.20 death of the big-hearted F.X. Feeney.
Clement’s basic deal is to bend over backwards in order to give a generous coo-coo tongue bath to almost any popcorn flick out there, past or present. It’s not that Clement has no taste, but that he’s unable to suppress the primal love he has for “guy” movies.
In this sense Clement is a dependable brand, just as Hollywood Elsewhere is a dependable place for cranky drillbit truth-telling.
So when Clement panned Tenet a few days ago, I went “holy shit….this means something! Nolan has overplayed his ‘too tricky for school’ routine and wound up shoving a cold banana up his ass….if he’s lost Nick Clement, he’s definitely done something wrong.”
1. Overall I thought this was okay – certainly entertaining in the moment but in the end, not up to my expectations. And it makes me sad to report this fact, as I’ve pretty much loved all of Christopher Nolan’s output up until this point. Merely “okay” is not what I expect from this filmmaker. The Prestige and Interstellar remain my two favorites, Dunkirk was exceptional, and massive The Dark Knight Rises and Inception POWER. But this felt miscalculated.
“Mississippi Queen “has just everything you need to make it a winner. You’ve got the Chris Walken cowbell**, the riff is pretty damn good, and it sounds incredible. It feels like it wants to jump out of your car radio. To me, it sounds like a big, thick milkshake. It’s rich and chocolatey. Who doesn’t love that?” — The late Leslie West to Guitar Player‘s Joe Bosso, posted on 8.31.20.
Mountain (West, bassist and vocalist Felix Pappalardi, keyboardist Steve Knight, drummer N. D. Smart) lasted from ’70 to ’72. It wasn’t about metal but old-style hard rock. Metal didn’t really kick in until ’73 or thereabouts. It was fully established by the mid ’70s.
Quarters are still worth carrying around, but nickles and dimes are almost like pennies now. It was sometime in the mid ’70s or certainly the early ’80s when I resolved to never put another penny in my pocket. If a merchant gives me a dime or a nickel I’ll throw them into this pewter cup that my mother bequeathed. Five, tens, twenties, fifties and hundreds will probably hang in there another decade or two, but it won’t be long before $1 dollar notes will be retired.
My grandfather once showed me a $500 bill — let me hold it and everything. I like carrying Kennedy half dollars around. I always have eight or ten of them in my front pockets.
Today feels like Saturday. Or like Friday, 12.25, will probably feel. What’s the difference? There are no weekends, no holidays…life is an eternal flatline. Okay, sorry, too downerish…it’s not an eternal flatline. Life is a festival of joy. Seriously, at least Orange Plague is history.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has respectfully declined to go along with Focus Features’ suggestion that Emerald Fennell and Carey Mulligan‘s Promising Young Woman (12.25) should be classified as a comedy or musical as far as the Golden Globe awards are concerned. It will instead compete as a drama.
Eight days ago (12.14) Variety‘s Clayton Davis reported that Promising Young Woman had been “submitted by Focus Features to the Golden Globes in the comedy or musical categories.” In a 12.15 piece called “Loosely Defined,” I wrote that “there’s nothing the least bit amusing about Promising Young Woman, and I mean not ‘ironically’, not darkly comedic or comedy of horrors…trust me, swear to God, take it to the bank, none of that.”
Promising Young Woman is a sharp and boldly drawn film that doesn’t pussyfoot or pull punches, and that’s why it’s a stand-out. If there’s any 2020 film that expresses the saying “revenge is a dish best served cold,” it’s this one. But just because it exudes a certain dry, arch and frosty attitude doesn’t make it “funny”. Macabre wit, yes, but no snickers, titters or guffaws.
The HFPA and Hollywood Elsewhere feel one way; others disagree. In his 12.14 article Davis called Promising Young Woman “darkly comical”, and the headline of a 12.17 Carina Chocano N.Y. Times‘ profile of Fennell read as follows: “Emerald Fennell’s Dark, Jaded, Funny, Furious Fables of Female Revenge.”
Please watch Promising Young Woman when it begins streaming on 12.25, and if you agree with Davis and Chocano, please write and tell me what aspects of the film you honestly believe are funny or amusing or anything in that realm.
The Little Things is a grade-A, bucks-up, all-star movie for smart people…obviously. You can tell right off the top. Denzel means take-it-to-the-bank assurance — Denzel plus Rami Malek means that plus intrigue. Directed and written by John Lee Hancock…another assurance. Produced by Mark Johnson…ditto. Jared Leto as the psycho-wacko bad guy…the Kevin Spacey-level “John Doe” fruitcake hippie-hair douchebag fucktard. Plus music by the great Thomas Newman. Plus cinematography by John Schwartzman.
“Clashes between a Kern County deputy (Denzel) and a Los Angeles detective (Rami) occur during the investigation of a murder”…perfect.
From Friendo #5: There actually is something of a history of foreign/international “TV movies” being released as theatrical features in the U.S. and then going on to Oscar success. I did some research on this a few years ago so here goes.
Ingmar Bergman did this several times (i.e. SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE, FANNY AND ALEXANDER), where a made-for-Swedish-TV “series” was cut down into an internationally released “theatrical” feature. Stephen Frears’ MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDRETTE was originally made for Channel 4 in the U.K., but was so acclaimed in its early festival appearances that it went on to garner a theatrical release even there (and, eventually, an Oscar nom for Best Original Screenplay). ENCHANTED APRIL was also made and released as a TV film in the UK but shown theatrically in other territories, and it wound up with three Oscar noms. And I’m sure there are more.
The catch, in all cases, is that these movies were released theatrically in the U.S. before they were shown on television or any other medium there (what happened internationally didn’t matter). The Academy has a longstanding rule about this. This year, the rule was supposed to be altered due to COVID. You were supposed to be able to qualify with a streaming-only release IF the movie in question was ORIGINALLY intended for theatrical release. The Academy then further modified those rules in October to state as follows:
“With the gradual re-opening of theaters, there are two methods of qualification for awards consideration in Best Picture and general entry categories through the remainder of the 93rd Academy Awards year (February 28, 2021):
“(1) Films which are intended for theatrical release, but are initially made available through commercial streaming, VOD service or other broadcast may qualify under these provisions; that the film be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member site within 60 days of the film’s streaming/VOD release or broadcast; or that it meets all other eligibility requirements”
“(2) Films that open in theaters in at least one of the six qualifying U.S. cities, depending on theater availability, may qualify under these provisions; that the film completes a qualifying run of at least seven consecutive days in the same commercial venue, during which period screenings must occur at least three times daily, with at least one screening beginning between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. daily; that it meets all other eligibility requirements; Six qualifying U.S. cities include: Los Angeles County; City of New York [Five Boroughs]; the Bay Area [counties of San Francisco, Marin, Alameda, San Mateo and Contra Costa]; Chicago [Cook County, Illinois]; Miami [Miami-Dade County, Florida]; and Atlanta [Fulton County, Georgia]; Drive-in theaters are included as a qualifying commercial venue in the above cities; an Academy Screening Room would be optional.”
Given that Amazon never intended the Small Axe McQueen movies for theatrical release AND failed to do a qualifying run as described above prior to (or on the same day as) launching the movies online, I really don’t see how the cat can be put back in the bag at this point. But perhaps Clayton Davis understands these rules differently.”