The boys and I were standing in front of the Eiffel Tower nine
years ago this evening, as ’99 gave way to ’00. This was easily the
most dazzling New Year’s Eve fireworks display of my life. It began
three minutes before midnight (“Wait…it’s only 11:57…who cares!”)
and continued to erupt like some Krakatoa volcano three minutes
The metro shut down an hour later and tens of thousands had to
walk home. It took us the better part of two hours to get back to
our Montmartre studio, but the...
A friend and a p.r. guy who works in midtown Manhattan offered an interesting Milk post earlier today:
“After recently seeing Milk last weekend i was struck by its thematic/plot similarities to Braveheart, to wit: (a) both are about a revolutionary figure who finds his calling mid-life; (b) this figure unites a previously persecuted group to fight for change (gays and Scots; (c) in so doing, said figure naturally upsets certain status quo political place-holders (Anita Bryant and John Briggs in Milk, the monarchy in Braveheart); (d) said figure is a great motivator and public speaker, leads troops into battle/marches and protests; (e) said figure is ultimately killed but his legacy lives on and inspires a new generation to challenge ruling authority
“I realize that these themes are common to a lot of Hollywood biopic inspirational pics,” he concluded, “but this comparison really leapt out at me.”
It appears that the comparison between Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Wile E. Coyote has come from author Eric Dezenhall (“Damage Control“) in a 12.31 piece on Medio. “The people who get themselves into these messes are like Wile E. Coyote…people who are in love with their own cunning who end up driving themselves off a cliff,” Dezenhall says.
I need to stay in the city until sometime in the early morning, despite the intense cold and wind. I live below a family of animals — Hispanic party elephants — who stomp around and play music so loud that the building throbs and the plaster cracks. It’s a fairly safe bet they’re going to lose their minds tonight so I may as well just huddle down in the city and bounce around from bar to bar.
I won’t go near Times Square, of course. New Year’s Eve is the emptiest holiday ritual of the year, and an opportunity for shallow under-30s to act like assholes.
Joaquin Phoenix and Brett
Ratner the night before last at a Miami hotspot called
Liv. I just sense a great caption waiting to
impressionistic Daily Mail story by Mark
Coleman, more or less based on this and other pics,
describes Pheonix’s appearance as “bloated” and “disshevelled.” I
think it may just be, in part, an attempt to look like
Joaquin-the-musician instead of Joaqin-the-former-actor. Still, he
does look a little polluted for a 34 year-old. The beard, of
course, is identical to the one Bruce Willis wore
in Barry Levinson‘s What Just
In France Revolutionary Road is called La Noces Rebelles, which translates as Rebellious Weddings. If you’ve seen the film you’re aware the person who approved this title is a moron. HE pop quiz: come up with a better substitute title for Sam Mendes‘ film (i.e, one that relates to the movie in a way that makes a modicum of sense), go to Babelfish and translate it into French, and report back here. Not in English.
Here’s one I just came up with: Egouttement lent d’enfer suburbain.
I honestly think that Hotel for Dogs (DreamWorks, 1.16) is a truly great title for a (presumably) cheesy movie — the best since Snakes on a Plane. Because as soon as I heard it I wanted to see this stupid-looking thing. On top of which it’s got Don Cheadle and Kevin Dillon in it. It obviously fits right into the besieged economic depression mentality that led to the success of Marley & Me, minus the death element. If I don’t get a screening invite I’m going to pay to see this.
The director of Hotel for Dogs is a guy named Thor Freudenthal.
Possible ways for Jeremy Piven to redeem himself: (a) return to
Broadway in a sharp, well-reviewed play (not a revival) and stay
with it to the end of his contact; (b) swear off poon by way of a
Leonard Cohen celibacy at an ashram in eastern
Oregon, (c) deliver a strong performance in a first-rate film that
expands his range (i.e., nowhere near Ari Gold );
(d) buy some work boots, strap on a utility belt and help build
low-income housing in some economically hurting area, a la
Jimmy Carter, or do a Sean Penn
and go to Iran/Iraq, braving bullets and shrapnel.
Matt Dillon was pulled over and arrested last night in Vermont for driving 106 mph on Interstate 91 near Newbury. The only people who drive this fast are (a) so late for something they’ve lost their minds, (b) sociopathic or rage-filled or (c) drunk. But the story doesn’t mention a DUI so that’s out. This is Vermont, remember — trees and hills and dips and curves. It’s not the Utah salt flats. There’s a huge difference between driving 90 mph and 106 mph. The first is “wow, look how fast I’m going…I didn’t realize”; the second is “fuck this, fuck me, fuck the rules.”
The four best-written, most on-target paragraphs I’ve read
anywhere about the performances by Revolutionary Road‘s
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate
by New York‘s David Edelstein:
“Unlike many child actors who’ve made the successful transition
to grown-up roles, DiCaprio hasn’t evolved in predictable ways —
there are no clear lines of demarcation. His boys were unusually
centered, his adults unusually boyish. His wide face still carries
some insulating baby-fat, like Elvis Presley‘s and
Bill Clinton‘s (before the latest weight loss),
and Mendes uses that insulation against him, sometimes cruelly:
What was self-assured and spring-heeled in Titanic now
In this 12.30 posting, The Envelope‘s Tom
O’Neil and Village Voice columnist
Michael Musto dish on the likely Best Actress
nominees. These guys are great at this because
they’re glib and superficial and perceptive and blunt (at times to
the point of being merciless) — surrender one of these qualities
and it all falls apart! — and because Musto’s droll downtown
urbanity meshes well with O’Neil’s eager-beaverness.
“A survey of sex therapists concluded the optimal amount of time
for sexual intercourse was 3 to 13 minutes,”
according to a
4.08 AP story by Megan K. Scott. “The
findings, to be published in the May issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, strike at
the notion that endurance is the key to a great sex life. If that
sounds like good news to you, don’t cheer too loudly. The time does
not count foreplay, and the therapists did rate sexual intercourse
that lasts from 1 to 2 minutes as ‘too short.”
I wonder what the editors of the Journal of Sexual Medicine would have
to say about Kate Winslet‘s two coupling scenes in
Revolutionary Road — one with Leonardo
DiCaprio, the other with costar
It’s just a premise and a thin one at that, but this story from Poland contains the seed of a possibly interesting marital relationship movie. Americanized, I mean, but not in a dumb way. Have it be about some red-state redneck couple, perhaps, but as a straight drama. It begins at the brothel moment and then moves on from there. An economic downturn movie, I’m thinking. Maybe not. Maybe it’s a bad idea. But when I first read it, I perked up.
You think some journalists and columnists are mean and critical
and dismissive of this or that actor or filmmaker? You should hear
what the big-studio suits say about their interest in hiring some
of them. A filmmaker friend I had dinner with the other night ran
down a list of actors who would be a good choices to fill certain
roles in a certain film that’s preparing to foll film in ’09, and
one after another, he said, have been turned down by the studio
guys. Mainly, he said, because their names don’t sell
“Nope…don’t want him…fuck her…no way…somebody else….her last
movie died…nobody likes him…he’s red ink,” etc.
I know the project in question and almost every one of of the
rejected actors sounded like pretty good choices in terms of how
they’d fit the part and how good they might be. Of course, it isn’t
my job to worry about overseas...
Lee Siegel, writing for the Wall Street
Journal‘s real estate section, takes a
poke at Hollywood’s long tradition of of claiming
spiritual death by station wagon in a piece called
“Why Does Hollywood Hate the Suburbs?”
Siegel basically thinks that the industry’s view of suburbs as
sedate soul-killing gulags, advanced in such films
as Revolutionary Road, The Ice Storm, Far From Heaven, The
Stepford Wives (both versions), No Down Payment, Strangers
When We Meet and American Beauty, is somehow
undeserved and over-baked.
The piece leads you to conclude that Siegel either (a) never
grew up in a suburb as a teenager or (b) is kowtowing to the
Journal‘s advertising interests. I grew up in the suburbs
and I’m telling you they’re hell for young guys who hunger
Tom Arnold is starring in this
basketball-related CBS Interactive web series called
Heckle-U, which will begin in February and run for ten
episodes…fine. I met Arnold back in ’99 or ’00 at one of
Jonathan Kaufer ‘s chinese-food-and-DVD parties,
and I liked him right away for something that happened before we
shook hands or said hello.
I had parked my car down the road and was approaching Kaufer’s
home, which was located up in the hills inside this gated McMansion
community, in the darkness. I saw a group of three or four people
standing outside the black-iron gate. Usually you just push the
intercom button and the owner buzzes you through and that’s that,
but this group, which Arnold was a part of, was just standing
around and murmuring to each other. (I had noticed them as I drove
In Leslie Bennett‘s Vanity Fair profile of Cate
Blanchett, the actress talks about the Benjamin
Button grim-reaper factor. Director David
Fincher told her it would be “about death,” she says, “and
I think that’s great.” And so do most of us, I believe. We alI
think it’s pretty darn cool when a movie comes along and tries to
get us to confront our mortality.
“We’ve enshrined the purity, sanctity, value, and importance of
bringing children into the world,” says Blanchett, “[and] yet we
don’t discuss death. There used to be an enshrined period where
mourning was a necessary part of going through the process of
grieving; death wasn’t...
The Envelope‘s Tom O’Neil is taken aback that Village Voice columnist Michael Musto doesn’t see Leonardo DiCaprio being Best Actor nominated for Revolutionary Road, especially since Leo was nominated the year before last for Blood Diamond “of all things…c’mon!” And Musto says Leo was better in Blood Diamond. No, he wasn’t. And he was nominated for that Ed Zwick film because he used a South African accent. That was it. That was the whole thing.
The Star hotel is a b & b — not a hotel. I stayed there in
’07 and ’08 and was very content to do so. Carol
Rixey, who’s been managing until this year (when her son
took over), runs it quietly and efficiently but with a kind of
personal touch. She makes you feel as if you’re staying in
someone’s home back in 1962 or something. My mother would love it
if she was still getting around. So would have Gary
Cooper , I suspect, if he...
“Out of all the guys who could be nominated, don’t we all want to see Mickey Rourke win? How great would that be to see this guy shamble up to the stage, tears flowing — it’d be amazing. And I’m not even a huge fan. I like the ‘idea’ of Rourke maybe more than the man himself. But the way he really puts it all out there in this film is pretty great. I don’t even think he was acting. So maybe, somehow, he doesn’t deserve it over some other guy who really is ‘acting,’ but it’s still a performance, and it might be the best thing anyone’s done this year (except for Ledger, of course).” — HE reader “Mindless Obamaton,” posted at 5:53 am.
Updated with comment added: Daily
Beast contributor Gerald Posner
reported today that yesterday (12.28) “a Los Angeles
entertainment honcho shared a text message with [him] that
Mickey Rourke had sent him about Sean
Penn: ‘Look seans an old friend of mine [but] i didnt buy
his performance at all — thought he did an average pretend acting
like he was gay besides hes one of the most homophobic people i
Needless to say, it’s extremely scummy of Posner’s anonymous
“Los Angeles entertainment honcho” to pass along a privately-sent
text message with the idea that it might possibly turn up in a
Daily Beast story. It’s craven and low. I posted the item
because Posner is a highly...
Two Lovers (2929 Prods., 2.13.09) is a very decent…no, better-than-decent blue-collar drama from director-writer James Gray. It plays in the vein of Paddy Chayefsky‘s Marty, and has very fine performances from the entire cast, but especially from Joaquin Phoenix, Gwynneth Paltrow and Vinessa Shaw.
The ten biggest-grossing films of the year, two of which — WALL*E and The Dark Knight — were serious knockouts. A third — Jon Favreau‘s Ironman — was a very satisfying commercial fanboy flick. The other seven represented varying grades of muck and disappointment.
“If you’re looking for definitive proof of how our culture (and particularly our film culture) is steadily devolving and dumbing itself down, check out the Ben Lyons-Ben Mankiewicz version of At The Movies, which premiered a few days ago. This is not a TV show about how good or bad the latest movies are. It’s a show about the End of Civilization as some of us have known it. If the Eloi of George Pal‘s The Time Machine were to produce their own movie-review show, this is how it would play.” — originally posted on 9.16.08 in a piece called “Forget These Guys,” and re-posted to contribute to the current pile-on, as evidenced by today’s riff by Mark Graham of New York/Vulture.
Two weeks ago I met Revolutionary Road costar Michael
Shannon, whose brief but quite breathtaking
performance in that film ought to win him the Best Supporting Actor
Oscar. It happened in Tribeca. I was told by his publicist that
photography couldn’t happen, and then we sat down in a restaurant
that was too noisy for the recording of our chat to be of any
Michael Shannon, snapped at a Revolutionary Road party
last month at 21.
Not having anything to work with prompted a bit of a delay in
writing this piece, but at least I’ve gotten around to it. It
certainly wasn’t for a lack of enthusiasm or fascination with
Shannon, who’s a very intriguing piece of
I’m a bit angry that none of the critics groups or kiss-ass
groups (BFCA, HFPA, NBR) have...
The reasons for the disappearance of Jennifer
Seitz, the 36 year-old Florida woman who
went over the side of a cruise ship off the coast of Cancun
last Friday night, were speculated upon by an MSNBC guest
commentator a few minutes ago.
The one that got me was the Titanic scenario — i.e., an
allegation that lots and lots of drunken cruise ship passengers
over the years have gotten bombed and then staggered out to the bow
section and done Leonardo DiCaprio’s “I’m the king
of the world!” routine (standing on the rails, beating their chests
and screaming) and then lost their balance and fallen over.
If I had done that in a state of total drunkenness and fallen
into the sea and been fished out and lived, I would’ve called my