I never put on Halloween costumes, but these husky contacts are so cool I might buy a pair next year just for the fun of it. They were purchased at Abracadabra on West 21st Street for $99 and change. And they have all kinds of weird-looking ones, I’m told. Cat eyes, serpent eyes, Terminator eyes, etc.

Values Again

Every year I trot out the old saw about values and lessons being the main determining factor in the choosing of Best Picture winners by Academy voters. People recognize strong stories, first-rate artsy elements and high-level craft, but more often than not the tipping factor is a film “saying” something that the Academy recognizes as fundamentally true and close-to-home — a movie that reflects their lives and values in a way that feels agreeable.

Ordinary People beat Raging Bull because the values espoused by the former (suppressing trauma is bad, letting it out is good, wicked-witch moms are bad) touched people more deeply than the ones in Raging Bull. What values did Martin Scorsese‘s film espouse? Art-film values. Great goombah acting values. Black-and-white cinematography values. The only value that resulted in a big Oscar was Robert De Niro‘s commitment to...

Missed Best Part

I stood near the Sanity Rally stage with my leather computer bag slung over my shoulder for about five, five and a half hours. Standing, standing, standing. I just got hungry and tired and decided to shine it before Jon Stewart delivered his wrap-up speech. I finally listened to it this morning. Not bad.


‘See, you’ve got three faces. Your first face is the one you’re born with, the one in the mirror every morning. Your second face is the one you develop thanks to ego, ingenuity and sensitivity, the one people identify as you. And then there’s your third face. No one ever gets to see that one. It’ll never show up in any mirror nor be visible to the eyes of parents, lovers, or friends. It’s the face no one knows but you. It’s the real you. Always privy to your deepest fears, hopes and desires, your third face can’t lie or be lied to. I call it my mind mistress, guardian of my secret utopias, bitter disappointments, and noble visions.” — quote attributed to director Sam Fuller (and passed along last year by Steven Gaydos).

Hickenlooper in Quotes

It seems like a fair tribute to assemble some of the comments posted in this space by the late George Hickenlooper. I knew Hickenlooper well enough to hear some of his more pithy observations (he was a shrewd judge of character). Alas, none of these quotes are especially meditative or philosophical. Like all Hollywood Elsewhere commentary they’re about dispute. If anyone has found any further Hickenlooper quotes that would make this a more well-rounded portrait, please forward.

On the circumstances behind the photo of himself and Barack Obama, which happened in concert with the filming of Hicktown:

“It’s a funny picture. I’d just finished filming with Obama for all of the three minutes he had before speaking to 100,000 folks in Denver on October 26th. After I finished shooting a photographer was standing there and...

Stodgy Neo-Conservatives

The basic architectural layout of Washington was modelled on Paris with streets that acted as spokes to a wheel. It feels vaguely Parisian here and there, but let’s cut that baby off at the knees straight away. D.C. is Paris without the soul or the cool cafes. It’s a government town — regimented, regulated. Starbucks cafes close at 7 pm here despite their Manhattan cousins shuttering at 9 pm or later. Banks don’t seem to open on Saturday. To me D.C. women seem somewhat waspier and more conservative-looking than NYC women. There’s very little in the way of Manhattan “edge” here. If I had to live in D.C., I would fail. I would be forced to drive cab.

Sanity Shutdown

I wanted to live-blog from today’s Sanity rally, sho nuff. Or at least Twitter. But there were so many people (200,000?) and probably almost as many cell phones packed into Washington, D.C.’s National Mall, and the traffic simply overwhelmed the carriers. Or AT&T, at least. No Twitter, no texts, no emails, no saving to Movable Type, no nuthin’.

“I’ve been hanging out inside the so-called special guest area at the D.C. Stewart-Colbert Sanity/Fear rally,” I wrote to a friend this morning. “It’s about 11 am, and the show, such as it is, doesn’t start for another hour. I can see the stage from where I’m standing, about 150 yards away. Cool breezy weather. Most are standing, some sitting on grass.

“How many thousands are here? You tell me. I’m in the thick of a total liberal feel-good Woodstock happy zoo. It’s fun. Everyone’s in an easy, amiable mood. Mostly 20 and 30...

Hickenlooper Is Gone

Denver Post political editor Curtis Hubbard reported about 15 minutes ago that director George Hickenlooper, director of the forthcoming Casino Jack and co-director of the superb documentary Hearts of Darkness (as well as the very fine Factory Girl and The Mayor of Sunset Strip), was found dead this morning at age 47.

I considered George to be almost a personal friend. We spoke to each other often, trusted each other and discussed issues from time to time. The HE community knows how George has often posted comments about this and that, particularly when I reported a couple of months ago about...

Hold On

I need to walk back last night’s “Low Renters” rant. A good portion of the people I saw on the streets on Washington, D.C. alarmed…okay, bothered me by way of their appearance, manner, etc. Some looked related to the hillbillies in Deliverance. Naturally I was saying to myself, “What is this?” But all the cool, educated, well-groomed, tastefully dressed people came out for today’s Restore Sanity rally. I guess they hide in their homes and apartments unless otherwise motivated.

I must have spoken with a good 30 or 35 people at the rally over the last six or seven hours, and each one was cool, agreeable, nice to chat with, witty, good-humored and creme de la creme-ish. Parents, couples, singles, GW students, nutters, septugenarians, etc. I was proud to participate alongside them. “I don’t know what this really actually...

The Tall Guy

The problem, of course, with the forthcoming production of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is that while Tim Burton is producing (a good thing), the director is Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted). I don’t have to explain why if you’ve seen Wanted. Bekmambetov’s creative DNA is coarse, to put it mildly. His instincts are to go extreme comic-book steroid. He’s going to turn early 1860s Washington into a lurid pulp thing. It’s going to be bad, bad, worse than bad.

The way to do this film right is to shoot it in the style of John Ford‘s Young...


“There she was, thrown to the pavement by a Republican in a checkered shirt. Another Republican thrusts his foot in between her legs and presses down with all his weight to pin her to the curb. Then a Republican leader comes over and viciously stomps on her head with his foot. You hear her glasses crunch under the pressure. Holding her head down with his foot, he applies more force so she can’t move. Her skull and brain are now suffering a concussion.

“The young woman’s name is


I’ve been walking around Washington, D.C. for the last three and 1/2 hours, mostly near the Dupont Circle area and along K Street and N Street and that general thing, and I’m just not feeling that old pin-striped, power-elite, uptown-and-connected vibration that I recall from my visit here in ’94. There are too many tourist-schlub types, and most of them are poorly-dressed with ordinary faces and (I’ll bet) not all that much to say. It doesn’t feel right. Being here has made me want to fly to Vienna or Paris.

Friday, 10.29, 8:25 pm.

Friday, 10.29, 7:10 pm.

There used to be a kind of hush all over Washington — a vibe that told you “like it or not, this is where the power is, and where the best minds and the great statesmen and the slickest hustlers and...

Table Manners

You can’t be rude and coarsely sexual with women. It’s vulgar and insensitive, and it never works. But I dearly loved — love — this moment. Lightning usually strikes only once, but filmmakers haven’t even tried to make this sort of guy — raunchy, paunchy, borderline infantile but civilized — into a cliche.

They Lied

We reached the outskirts of Baltimore (spiritual home of John Waters, Barry Levinson and The Wire) around 5 pm, after leaving midtown Manhattan around 1:13 pm. The Megabus schedule pledged a four-hour, 30-minute journey, or an approximate 5:30 pm arrival in Washington, D.C. It’s now 5:40 pm, traffic on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway is crawling in fits and starts, and we’re looking at 40 to 45 minutes more, bare minimum.