The Movie of the Week

There is a searing, harrowing horror in watching a sexual assault survivor recall live what happened to her when she was 15 and her attacker was 17.

Still, this is nothing compared to what the survivor experiences.

So we were riveted when clinical psychologist Dr. Christine Blasey Ford expertly described the encoded memory of her 15 year old self being thrown unwilling into a tiny bedroom where a 17 year old version of US Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh ground his body into her as he laid on top of her young body and tried to remove her clothes in a drunken stupor.

When this story feels like too much, remember to VOTE.

It got even more horrific when she tried to scream, his hands covered her mouth and another drunken 17 year old in the room, his best bud, jumped on the bed in gleeful excitement at the spectacle and caused them all to roll onto the floor.

Still, what put it over the top and made it a peak experience never to be forgotten was their incessant laughter, at her and her powerlessness, reverberating almost 40 years later in her mind.

She recalls it as the irremovable primary memory, one that makes us wonder how a girl that young was ever able to move out from under him, run out the door and lock herself in a nearby bathroom until the sound of that drunken teenage boy laughter stumbled down a winding, skinny set of stairs and out of earshot.

If there is something TV movie sounding-ish about all of this, it’s because there is.

This is real. And it feels more real than ever.

This all might easily be mistaken for a TV-movie done by one of the Big 3 networks in the 1970s or perhaps Lifetime in the early aughts, had so many of us not just seen it live in a US Senate Judiciary Hearing this week.

And perhaps it will be.  Meaning, of course it will, all that’s missing is the grotesquery of the date.

Real-life couple Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy could easily play Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh.   Really think about it.  They both look the parts and they have the acting chops!  He even plays an alcoholic Dad on Showtime’s Shameless, albeit one who makes no bones about it.  Well, her riveting appearances on American Crime and so many other series and feature films will make up for that, if we’re at all worried about appealing to Red State America, which of course we are.

Though SNL’s choice of Matt Damon was oddly inspired. #ilovebeer

And who to play Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, sputtering with rage at the gall of these forces conspiring to derail what felt like a fait accompli for the married, straight white judge?  Is Tommy Lee Jones too old?  What about Sean Penn, is he just too…Sean Penn to play, as Mr. Graham referred to himself as during the hearings, a single white, Southern male?   Well, few of us could have ever pictured, much less thought we’d buy, Penn as gay icon Harvey Milk, if you think about it.  And you should about now.  (Note:  Oh yes, I DID write/bold that).

Oh, Chairy. #hehe

It seems certain if we could get big stars to appear as supporting cast, a la the classic Judgment at Nuremberg, Meryl Streep could manage Dianne Feinstein, Scarlett Johansson might make a fine Amy Klobuchar and Tracey Ellis Ross could evoke Kamala Harris.  Of course, no one could top Frances McDormand or Angela Bassett as the California senator who in any just world (Note: Hah!) will one day be president.  Still, all would-be producers these days are already terrified of being non-PC on this kind of project, at least publicly, so we can’t even go THERE.

Oh wait, we can stay within the TV realm and still get a great actress for Kamala.  What about…Sarah Paulson!!!!   Oh, again, not PC enough?  Yikes.

Well we know Sarah has range. #neverforget

Of course, the octogenarian men are even tougher to pull off…in so many ways. (Note:  Get it?)  For TV viewers we could age Chris Cooper for 85-year old Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and Bruce Dern would need no makeup, just his awesome talent, to make 84 year old Orrin Hatch seem real.  Except it might be a mistake to make him too real when he refers to a sexual assault survivor in her early fifties as an attractive woman.  On the other hand, maybe we want reality?  Maybe that IS the point?

Now, who for amiable Chris Coons, the Democratic senator from Delaware who helped broker the handshake deal with Jeff Flake, his telegenic friend and soon to be early retired Republican senator from Arizona, to acquiesce into asking the committee to have the FBI spend one week further investigating the now multiple allegations against Judge Kavanaugh?

People are saying this, not to mention the herculean efforts of the two rape survivors who cornered Flake in the elevator, were key, especially since Sen. Flake had just one hour before committed to voting YES on the Kavanaugh confirmation.

Hell. Yes.

Don’t laugh but it’s more than possible Jason Alexander could play Sen. Coons.  Even Howie Mandel.   He’s amiable, right?  They both are.  (Note:  Stop the chuckling, this is serious).

Ahh, but who for Flake, the guy we’re scripting to be the reluctant hero who rises to the occasion, key word in that being reluctant…or perhaps hero?  Hmmm.

Ya gotta admit, Flake’s a good-looking guy at 55 with great hair and a big toothy smile in the mode of Ronald Reagan but without the Hollywood/California baggage.  Maybe…gosh I’d like to say John Malkovich with makeup but clearly no one is buying that.  Anyway, it’s probably just because someone who worked in my periodontist’s office told me this week that I reminded them of sexy Malkovich in Dangerous Liaisons, which at first seemed insulting but is now kind of growing on me.

But back to Flake.  Okay, let’s go with the obvious of Hugh Jackman since they’re both really tall, Flake is a devout Mormon and none of Mitt Romney’s sons have any acting experience as far as we know.  Though wait, how about Scott Eastwood???  He would certainly cost a lot less than Hugh and has a great pedigree to evoke reluctant hero.

If he wasn’t so damn British, Hugh Grant would nail the “about to cry at any second” Flake look. #boohoo

Not that we are all not ALOT more than our heritages.  Especially white, straight men cause, well, let’s be fair to EVERYONE.

If this all seems to trivialize the events of this week, the searing, harrowing horror of it all, it wasn’t INTENTIONAL.  It was NEVER MEANT to have THAT EFFECT.  It was only meant to sound angry and bitter.

Actually, it wasn’t.  It was meant to make a point.

Nothing could trivialize what happened this week, or be any more bitter, than the reactions of half the Senate Judiciary Committee to it.

This will forever be seared into my memory. #DidIMentionVOTE

We all know which half and exactly who they are.   But whether they will ever be willing to change, or even partially admit their culpability, remains a far different story.

It is one that pales in comparison to the REAL STORY in every possible way.

Kelly Clarkson – Because of You 

 

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And the Winner Isn’t…

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Much will be made about the 2017 Academy Awards broadcast where La La Land enjoyed a full two minutes as best picture only to have its Oscars literally yanked out of its producers hands so they could be given to the real winner, Moonlight.

But for all the wrong reasons.

LALALAND.... MOONLIGHT... LALALAND... MOONLIGHT #couldntresist

LALALAND…. MOONLIGHT… LALALAND… MOONLIGHT #couldntresist

The issue is not at all about whether La La Land or Moonlight was truly deserving of the ultimate Hollywood honor (Note: Other than box-office grosses, that is) but just how interested all of us spectators are in having our feelings publicly validated in the matter. And how little it all means in the long run.

Is there a best picture of 2016? Of course there is. Isn’t. Is there?

As I posted last night:

If only every one of my actions supported that statement 100% of the time.

I certainly BELIEVE there is no real best picture winner. But that still hasn’t prevented me from rooting for one every year since 1968 – when Oliver! snatched the trophy right out of the hands of my beloved Funny Girl.   But at least the playing field was a bit more leveled back then. They were BOTH musicals.

Truth be told, I did think Moonlight and La La Land were wonderful.

And…I was on team La La Land.

Ya don't say!! #fakeshock

Ya don’t say!! #fakeshock

La La Land moved me in a way no other movie did this year. I related to it. I thought it struck an extraordinarily tone between the real and surreal that seemed, while I was watching it, and even now on reflection, pretty much impossible to achieve. It also spoke to me about artistry, and love, and the price we pay for each with our fantasies. And in our real lives.

Moonlight also spoke to me, especially as a gay man of a certain age. As did Hidden Figures – a treasure of mainstream Hollywood movie making – by showcasing true historical injustice as only great Hollywood films can.

Three VERY different films

Three VERY different films

But neither in the same way as La La Land.

This does not make me right or wrong on the subject of what is the best picture of the year. Nor does it belie character defects of anti-intellectualism, superficiality or an anti-indie, anti-IMPORTANT motion picture belief system.

It just means I liked the damn film more than perhaps you did.

And as time went on I grew SO tired of defending it to those of you on the other TEAM that I began to love it even more — as I slowly and perhaps unknowingly even began to figure out ways to out-argue the rest of the world about why YOUR CHOICE didn’t deserve the BEST trophy over MY DATE.

Did someone say date? #heygurl

Did someone say date? #heygurl

I mean, who even knew I was playing that game. Did you know you were? Okay, maybe you weren’t. But some of you were (are?). Because I know I am not the only one of us Americans weighing in here.

It’s really such an American game, the Oscars. We just love our winners and losers. And this was well before our current technical POTUS.   There’s just something about being #1 that is so totally Us. Until it’s not.

And that is what the Sunday night’s big Oscar screw-up leaves Us with. The hollowness of being thought of as #1 instead of settling for living a life where you truly exude classic #1 behavior.

I am still trying to wrap my head around having this much composure and grace in the moment. #realclass

I am still trying to wrap my head around having this much composure and grace in the moment. #realclass

The producer of La La Land had it when he graciously proclaimed Moonlight the true winner and said he was proud to be able to hand his Oscar over to his “friends” (Note: That four-month awards circuit creates lots of lasting Hollywood friendships). Team Moonlight had it in countless post-Oscar interviews where it threw the respect right back at La La Land. Meryl Streep had it when she led the applause for best actress winner Emma Stone. And Matt Damon has it every time he allowed Jimmy Kimmel to mercilessly and very personally insult him and his past work in their many years long public faux feud.

Let's be real: you would totally watch We Bought a Zoo on a plane #andyoudlikeit

Let’s be real: you would totally watch We Bought a Zoo on a plane #andyoudlikeit

Well, what does it cost them when they are the beneficiaries of such good press for being such good sports, you might say. Well, as much as it costs us when we don’t get our due, our validation, when it comes to our tastes, opinions or choice of award winners.   We, who are really all just a bunch of onlookers, sitting on a really, really, really long bench of public opinion rabidly addressing our…prey.

Sure, this is a thin and perhaps too superficial argument from which to make a grand statement on tolerance and understanding and benevolence, especially since statistically speaking there is little to none of any of that in the entertainment industry to begin with. Though no more or less than there now is through the rest of the country, or the world, or in any other industry inhabited inside any of the aforementioned for that matter.

And when in doubt... LaLaLand comes out on DVD in May

And when in doubt… LaLaLand comes out on DVD in May

What #OscarsSoScrewedUp (#OscarSoWhoops?) showed us so beautifully and so specifically is that, in the end, perhaps the BEST use of our time is to save our energies for the upcoming battles that will be required fighting – and not from the bench but in the arena.

And…..for all of you haters to watch La La Land.

Again and again till you get it right.

Oh wait, I mean…MOONLIGHT. Watch Moonlight!

Make Lemonade (Not Orange-ade)

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How do you comprehend what on the surface feels incomprehensible? Well, the first thing you do is start with the facts.

Fact: The election of Donald Trump to president elect is NOT a MANDATE. It is shocking, disappointing to many of us, an upset (in more ways than one) and, and, and… But mandate – um, NO.

POPULAR VOTE TALLY – 2016 Presidential Election (as of 11/10, 8:00EST)

Hillary Clinton – 59,923,027

Donald Trump – 59,692,974

I am not a person who lives in denial. Decades of personal psychotherapy and watching Oprah have taught me one important lesson – OWN who you are and live in the truth, and your truth.

And here is THE TRUTH.

More people in the U.S. voted for Hillary Clinton to be president than voted for Donald Trump to be president.

Speechless

Speechless

House speaker Paul Ryan can go on television all he wants and talk about the “mandate.” Trump campaign manager Kelly Anne Conway can snidely gloat on CNN and MSNBC, as I saw her doing last night and this morning. The “crooked media” can continue to feed into the narrative of the upset (Note: And upset, it was – remember, truth) and the mass rejection of Hillary Clinton and her policies (Note: mass rejection, it was not – remember, the truth cuts both ways). But you cannot live in DENIAL. Well, of course you can – this is America, for now – but for argument’s sake (and our collective sakes), let’s not for now.

Our country’s president is determined by an Electoral College vote based on the popular vote but somewhat weighted to give a bit more balance of power to people who live outside major populated and/or geographical areas. Perhaps this needs to change or perhaps not. But the TRUTH is, math is math and numbers don’t lie.

Therefore –

TRUTH #1 – Donald Trump has won the electoral college vote to be president.

TRUTH #2 – Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote to be president.

Do we need to bring in Matt Damon for an assist here?

Do we need to bring in Matt Damon for an assist here?

Truth #2 is no small thing, no matter how the media or your Republican uncle, or frenemy next door neighbor, or contentious spouse or racist, sexist, homophobic social media troll, spins it.

It is no small thing because it means MORE PEOPLE in the U.S. preferred the direction Hillary Clinton wanted to lead the country than did in the road Donald Trump promised to lead us down. Again, REAL numbers DO NOT lie.

I am a liberal Democrat. I’m gay. I’m Jewish. I am a writer and a college professor. I guess what I’m saying is that I am technically the elite that the rural, working class voters have rallied against behind Trump.   Well, they can choose to believe that Pres. Elect Trump, a billionaire who freely admits he doesn’t always pay his bills to the working class people who do work for him, will improve their lives more than Hillary Clinton would have. They can believe many things about him. But what is  patently, factually true is that THEY ARE OUTNUMBERED.  More PEOPLE believe in Hillary Clinton’s policies. When the final tally is in it could be up to 500,000 – 1,000,000 more (for a live count, click here)

Every little bit helps

Every little bit helps

That should be more than heartening for those of us who are now claiming to be every form of devastated because it means the NUMBERS ARE ON OUR SIDE. No, seriously, this is the TRUTH. Retort all you want with but we lost, that’s not how it works, we’re screwed, maybe I can really move to Canada, what if there’s a nuclear war…but, once again, we need to live in truth. And the truth is that, good or bad, you have to accept what is before you can make changes for the better in your life – and the lives of others.

So here’s my conclusion – we losers, we deluded Hillary/Bernie supporters – actually have an advantage. There are more of US than there are of THEM. We just have to figure out a way to harness that and work within the system to elect other national leaders that share our points of view. This is the task of every election cycle and every generation. Consider the electoral map of just millennial voters

 

If only millennials voted (18-25)

If only millennials voted (18-25)

Now what does that tell you about our electoral futures???

So buck up, have a drink or two (or ten) this weekend. Or your vice of choice.   And tell someone off. Like I just did when a telemarketer called and asked:

Telemarketer: How are you today, Chair?

And I answered…

Chair: Awful, Donald Trump is president.

And he then paused for 10 seconds and replied:

Telemarketer: Well, maybe he has some positive thing to offer

And I then said:

Chair: No, he’s a racist, sexist, mentally ill homophobe who shouldn’t be trusted with the nuclear codes.

Upon which there was more silence. Until I hung up.

aftermath

aftermath

Lest you think I’m always this even-handed and perfect in real life.

That being said, we all fall off the wagon from time to time. Hell, two paragraphs ago I pretty much said US vs. THEM when I really do believe in STRONGER TOGETHER. But when you fall as my parents taught me long ago – and Hillary Clinton, a true patriot and brilliant woman, reiterated – you just have to brush yourself off and get back up again.

we will honor you hillary

we will honor you hillary

Consider this a fall.

But not a permanent injury.

And certainly not the end.

Not by a long shot.

 

Global Warnings

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Why does one write about anything as silly and meaningless as an award show – especially the Golden Globe Awards – which are chosen by a bizarre group of international critics who have the collective credibility of, well – a blogger?

The correct answer is not – because you are a blogger.

Rather, it is the same answer I give my students and friends when they ask, Why does fill in name of a good or favorite actor do so many bad movies?

Answer: Look at all the choices available to them at the time. Which one do you think they should have picked?

In my case, I just can’t spend another week on The Republican Apprentice, Hils, the Bern or Grandpa Munster (Note: Oh please, you know who I mean).

I'm back!

I’m back!

Plus, our president has guns covered at the moment, there doesn’t seem much of a debate left on climate change and do you really need to read another 10 best/worst list of 2015 or a preview of your top choices or potential losses for 2016? No, you do not.

So here are my GG predictions. We’ll weigh in on Monday for a post mortem of the show. The commercials have host Ricky Gervais teasing us that he might make a celebrity cry. Don’t dress. And take that as seriously as any tease you encounter on television – or anywhere else for that matter.

BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

globes_best-motion_3523189k

CAROL Number 9 Films; The Weinstein Company

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Warner Bros. Pictures / Village Roadshow Pictures / Kennedy Miller Mitchell

THE REVENANT Regency Enterprises; Twentieth Century Fox

ROOM Element Pictures / No Trace Camping; A24 

SPOTLIGHT Anonymous Content / Participant Media / First Look; Open Road Films

Winner: SPOTLIGHT

It’s got the heat, as they say. And it’s a really good film. CAROL is too rarified for this group, MAD MAX is too forward-thinking, THE REVENANT is too gross and ROOM is too small. If you are thinking a possible upset for your betting pool, remember this is an international consortium – so perhaps, REVENANT or MAD MAX. But, uh…no

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

the-danish-girl

CATE BLANCHETTCarol

BRIE LARSONRoom

ROONEY MARACarol

SAOIRSE RONANBrooklyn

ALICIA VIKANDERThe Danish Girl

Winner: ALICIA VIKANDER

This is one of the trickiest categories so don’t wager the house. Brie Larson should win and will probably be awarded the Oscar because it is likely Ms. Vikander will be put up for supporting actress. But given these nominations, the international appeal of THE DANISH GIRL should do it along with AV’s universal raves. The CAROL women will split. Possible spoiler is Saorise Ronan but that’s doubtful since the film is small and likely has not been seen by all the voters, “critics” though they may be.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 10.01.08 AM

BRYAN CRANSTON, Trumbo

LEONARDO DICAPRIO, The Revenant

MICHAEL FASSBENDERSteve Jobs

EDDIE REDMAYNEThe Danish Girl

WILL SMITHConcussion

Winner: LEONARDO DICAPRIO

FYI, I think Bryan Cranston will win the Oscar. But again – international voting is a big element here and Mr. DiCaprio seldom, if ever, wins awards. The true winner should be Michael Fassbinder who couldn’t grunt, bleed, accent or costume his way through the nearly impossible role of a somewhat unlikeable icon. But that won’t happen. Nor will Mr. Smith go to the stage.

BEST MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY

globescomedycrop

THE BIG SHORT    Paramount Pictures / Regency Enterprises

JOY     Fox 2000 Pictures; Twentieth Century Fox

THE MARTIAN    Twentieth Century Fox

SPY     Twentieth Century Fox

TRAINWRECK    Universal Pictures / Apatow Productions

WINNER: THE MARTIAN

How much do you want to see Amy Schumer up there? Well, (NOTES SPOILER!) you’re going to have to wait for a category. And the true winner should be THE BIG SHORT. But I’m not entirely sure this group will go for the latter. The international market ADORES Ridley Scott and he’s another perennial non-winner. Not to mention, there are a group of critics who see the overly long, overly optimistic for humanity theme of THE MARTIAN irresistible. Well, no one can accuse we here at notes of any of that!

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY

BFFs

BFFs

JENNIFER LAWRENCE, Joy

MELISSA MCCARTHYSpy

AMY SCHUMERTrainwreck

MAGGIE SMITH, The Lady in the Van

LILY TOMLINGrandma

WINNER: AMY SCHUMER. And no, you didn’t read that wrong.

It’s a comedy and this group also likes to feel both hip and out-of-the-box from time to time. Not to mention – the Hollywood Foreign Press’ main source of revenue (meaning how they stay afloat) is the broadcast of this show (which means ratings).

Lest we forget who won big at the 2010 Globes!

Lest we forget who won big at the 2010 Globes!

Not to say Ms. Schumer doesn’t deserve best comic (and even musical!) performance by an actress this year. Though my vote would go to Lily Tomlin. Why? Because how often do we get the treat of seeing Lily Tomlin playing a snide lesbian…in the movies, that is?

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY

The world saves Matt Damon... again

The world saves Matt Damon… again

CHRISTIAN BALE, The Big Short 

STEVE CARELL, The Big Short 

MATT DAMONThe Martian

AL PACINODanny Collins

MARK RUFFALOInfinitely Polar Bear

WINNER: MATT DAMON

Sure, this feels ridiculous. Is ‘THE MARTIAN a comedy? As much as it’s a musical. Nevertheless, it’s Damon in a walk. My vote is for Bale or Carrell. Or Mark Ruffalo. Or Al Pacino, even though I haven’t seen that movie.

BEST MOTION PICTURE – ANIMATED

inside-out1

ANOMALISA    Starburns Industries; Paramount Pictures

THE GOOD DINOSAUR    Pixar Animation Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

INSIDE OUT    Pixar Animation Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

THE PEANUTS MOVIE     Blue Sky Studios; Twentieth Century Fox

SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE    Aardman; Lionsgate / Studiocanal

WINNER: Um, INSIDE OUT. Seriously.   (For my thoughts on the truly bizarre Anomalisa, check out last week’s post)

BEST MOTION PICTURE – FOREIGN LANGUAGE

#honesty

#honesty

THE BRAND NEW TESTAMENT (BELGIUM / FRANCE / LUXEMBOURG)

THE CLUB (CHILE)

THE FENCER (FINLAND / GERMANY / ESTONIA)

MUSTANG (FRANCE)

SON OF SAUL (HUNGARY)

I have no business weighing in here since I haven’t seen any of the nominees. The talk is for SON OF SAUL. Few Hollywood groups or award contests can resist a Holocaust film.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN ANY MOTION PICTURE

Whatever Chairy, you know I'm fabulous!

Whatever Chairy, you know I’m fabulous!

JANE FONDA, Youth

JENNIFER JASON LEIGHThe Hateful Eight

HELEN MIRRENTrumbo

ALICIA VIKANDEREx Machina

KATE WINSLET,  Steve Jobs

WINNER: JENNIFER JASON LEIGH

I gotta say Jennifer Jason Leigh even though THE HATEFUL EIGHT is the one big film this year I still haven’t seen. Why? It’s only early January. Why JJ Leigh? Because she should have won years ago for GEORGIA and I’m still annoyed. Look it up. #SadieFlood4Ever

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN ANY MOTION PICTURE

Not a knockout for Sly

Not a knockout for Sly

PAUL DANO, Love & Mercy

IDRIS ELBABeasts of No Nation

MARK RYLANCE, Bridge of Spies

MICHAEL SHANNON99 Homes

SYLVESTER STALLONECreed

WINNER: MARK RYLANCE

Mark Rylance has the edge. Watching his performance is an acting master class in less is more. It should be required viewing for anyone serious about the craft.

BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE

Le sigh

Le sigh

TODD HAYNES, Carol

ALEJANDRO G. IÑÁRRITU, The Revenant

TOM MCCARTHYSpotlight

GEORGE MILLERMad Max: Fury Road

RIDLEY SCOTT, The Martian

WINNER: TODD HAYNES

This is one of the toughest categories. The winner SHOULD be Tom McCarthy for not showing off and telling a story in a compelling way without all the bells and whistles. But likely it’s between Todd Haynes and Ridley Scott. Hmmmmmm. Okay, it’s Todd Haynes. It’s just the kind of film that would feel arty to these voters.

BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE

Is that my office?

Is that my office? #hotmess

EMMA DONOGHUE, Room

TOM MCCARTHY, JOSH SINGER,  Spotlight

CHARLES RANDOLPH, ADAM MCKAYThe Big Short

AARON SORKINSteve Jobs

QUENTIN TARANTINO, The Hateful Eight

WINNER: TOM MCCARTHY, JOSH SINGER, Spotlight

It’s hard to imagine they won’t win for making journalism heroic, dramatic and noble once again. The writers of THE BIG SHORT could be the spoilers here simply for originality. Though let’s not get carried away on that score.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MOTION PICTURE

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CARTER BURWELL, Carol

ALEXANDRE DESPLAT, The Danish Girl

ENNIO MORRICONE, The Hateful Eight

DANIEL PEMBERTON, Steve Jobs

RYUICHI SAKAMOTO, ALVA NOTO, The Revenant

WINNER: ENNIO MORRICONE but…

…really no one has ANY idea, including the members of the Foreign Press.

Is this the tie-breaker in your pool? Then go for Ennio Morricone. Otherwise, drink every time someone onstage says original.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG – MOTION PICTURE

Betting against the sentimental choice

Betting against the sentimental choice

“LOVE ME LIKE YOU DO” (Fifty Shades of Grey)  Music & Lyrics by: Max Martin, Savan Kotecha, Ali Payami, Ilya Salmanzadeh

“ONE KIND OF LOVE” (Love & Mercy)  Music & Lyrics by: Brian Wilson, Scott Bennett

“SEE YOU AGAIN” (Furious 7)   Music & Lyrics by: Justin Franks, Andrew Cedar, Charlie Puth, Cameron Thomaz

“SIMPLE SONG #3”  (Youth)   Music & Lyrics by: David Lang

“WRITING’S ON THE WALL” (Spectre)   Music & Lyrics by: Sam Smith, Jimmy Napes

WINNER: ONE KIND OF LOVE 

Since the entire movie of YOUTH depends on and leads up to the performance of the haunting SIMPLE SONG #3, you’d think this was a lock. But I don’t believe this group can resist giving the much-loved Brian Wilson biopic, LOVE AND MERCY, some love. Or the much-admired Brian Wilson some long overdue awards attention.

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA

globes-tv-drama_3523203k

EMPIRE (Fox)

GAME OF THRONES (HBO)

MR. ROBOT (USA Network)

NARCOS (Netflix)

OUTLANDER (Starz)

WINNER: MR. ROBOT

I’m going out on a limb here though it could easily be GAME OF THRONES. But the Foreign Press loves to be the FIRST to discover a show around awards time. I remember at the turn of the century when they SHOCKED the crowd on hand and at home and gave Fox’s PARTY OF FIVE best drama series. Again, look it up. As for MR. ROBOT – I’m in the middle of binge-watching it and I have to say I’m sort of hooked. Sort of? Huh?

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA

Friendly competition

Friendly competition

CAITRIONA BALFE, Outlander

VIOLA DAVIS, How to Get Away with Murder

EVA GREENPenny Dreadful

TARAJI P. HENSONEmpire

ROBIN WRIGHTHouse of Cards

WINNER: VIOLA DAVIS

Take it to the bank. She’s crazy good. Literally.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA

JON HAMM! JON HAMM! JON HAMM!

JON HAMM! JON HAMM! JON HAMM!

JON HAMM, Mad Men

RAMI MALEKMr. Robot

WAGNER MOURANarcos

BOB ODENKIRK, Better Call Saul

LIEV SCHREIBER, Ray Donovan

WINNER: JON HAMM

That’s the sound of me cheering.

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Still riveted

Still riveted

CASUAL (Hulu)

MOZART IN THE JUNGLE (Amazon)

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK (Netflix)

SILICON VALLEY (HBO)

TRANSPARENT (Amazon)

VEEP (HBO)

WINNER: TRANSPARENT

It’s the show of the moment. It just is. I suppose VEEP could sneak in it but it’s doubtful.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – MUSICAL OR COMEDY

You know you love me Chairy

You know you love me Chairy

RACHEL BLOOM, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

JAMIE LEE CURTIS, Scream Queens

JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS, Veep

GINA RODRIGUEZJane the Virgin

LILY TOMLINGrace and Frankie

WINNER: JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS

Has Julia Louis-Dreyfus ever lost an awards competition? Who does she know? Still, there is a slim chance for Gina Rodriguez. Yeah, the international factor again. But I’ve learned my lesson betting against the Walt Disney of comedy actresses. (Note: I didn’t really just write that, did I?)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Is there a Globe for failure to age?

Is there a Globe for failure to age?

AZIZ ANSARI, Master of None

GAEL GARCÍA BERNAL, Mozart in the Jungle 

ROB LOWEThe Grinder

PATRICK STEWART, Blunt Talk

JEFFREY TAMBORTransparent

WINNER: JEFFREY TAMBOR

The closest there is to a sure thing. A brilliant portrayal of a trans woman because he plays her very simply – as a person.

BEST TELEVISION LIMITED SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

A winner dontcha know

A winner dontcha know

AMERICAN CRIME (ABC)

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL (FX)

FARGO (FX)

FLESH & BONE (Starz)

WOLF HALL (PBS)

WINNER: FARGO

It’s the most talked about drama this year. If one more person looks at me wide-eyed and says – What do you mean you don’t watch Fargo – you must! – I’M GONNA SCREAM. Ahhhhhhhhhh

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TV

Oh Chairy, you betray me!!!

Oh Chairy, you betray me!!!

KIRSTEN DUNST, Fargo

LADY GAGA, American Horror Story: Hotel 

SARAH HAY, Flesh & Bone

FELICITY HUFFMAN,  American Crime

QUEEN LATIFAH, Bessie

WINNER: KIRSTEN DUNST….

….Because c’mon, you HAVE to watch FARGO. Then you’d understand. Though remember when she burst on the seen as a young girl in INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE? I do. Again, look it up.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TV

pg-6-wolf-hall-bbc

IDRIS ELBA, Luther

OSCAR ISAAC, Show Me a Hero

DAVID OYELOWONightingale

MARK RYLANCEWolf Hall

PATRICK WILSONFargo

WINNER: MARK RYLANCE

Because FARGO has to lose in some category and Mr. Rylance is that good in everything he does.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, LIMITED SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

You crazy, Chairy??

You crazy, Chairy??

UZO ADUBA, Orange is the New Black

JOANNE FROGGATT, Downton Abbey

REGINA KINGAmerican Crime

JUDITH LIGHTTransparent

MAURA TIERNEY, The Affair

WINNER: JOANNE FROGGATT

How do you not give DOWNTON ABBEY something? Talk about international appeal. Not to mention – it’s Anna.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, LIMITED SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

What about my comeback?

What about my comeback?

ALAN CUMMING, The Good Wife

DAMIAN LEWISWolf Hall

BEN MENDELSOHNBloodline

TOBIAS MENZIESOutlander

CHRISTIAN SLATER, Mr. Robot

WINNER: BEN MENDELSOHN

I actually saw all of Bloodline. If there ever were an award-winning type of role, Mr. Mendelsohn had it – and delivered. The others will have to make do being in his company this year.

OKAY – SEE YOU ONLINE where I’ll be live tweeting at: @NOTESFROMACHAIR. Tune in!!!

An Experiment

mad_scientist

As a teenager I remember standing on line in the cold for two hours to see The Exorcist in Manhattan during its first week of release.  It was a thrilling, scary and overall fantastically fun experience.  I met a group of slightly older, cool people I got to hang out with, the movie was that rare combination of smart AND frightening, and I drank wine from a bottle someone had bought at the liquor store down the street so we could all stay warm.  All of this then added to the major buzz that I already had for being so in the know.

Never mind that news reports of several members of the nationwide audience suffering heart attacks at the sight of Linda Blair’s 360-degree head revolve turned out to be false. I felt like the hippest person on my block in Flushing, Queens for the next day (or was it month?) because, let’s face it – after that evening I was.

Clearly, times have changed.

Do we all really enjoy going to movie theatres anymore?  Or better question – do we really all still enjoy movies, at least the way we used to?  Well, the answer to that is, I guess it depends.

Clearly, we don’t enjoy waiting in/on line.  Okay, maybe the latter is just me getting older but I’m not entirely convinced.  This is partly because of how popular it’s become to buy your tickets in advance and print out a reserved seating bar code you can just scan at the door, and partly because of the new subset of people who actually make a modest to decent living being paid to wait in line for all sorts of things by those wealthy or clever enough to avoid any form of human interaction they deem to be unnecessary.

See: The Cronut black market

See: The Cronut black market

Of course, both movies and movie theatres are far different today than they were in the early 1970s – a time period that is now looked on as a bit of a cinematic golden age.  And even if we ARE excited at the anticipation of going out to see a new film, forty years ago we didn’t have the option of watching it at home via a decent size screen of our own on exactly the same day the rest of those poor suckas or cooler than cool Manhatttanites (take your pick) were braving,  well – the cold.  Not to mention their fellow man.

All of this being the case, I decided to try a little experiment this weekend.

  1. Take two films I was looking forward to seeing that were BOTH opening theatrically on Friday (Yes, I know upfront neither one will come close to The Exorcist)
  2. Watch one at a movie theatre where I buy a ticket, wait in line at the entrance and the snack stand, and view it with strangers sitting next to me in the dark.
  3. Watch the other at home upstairs on my own 52-inch screen (yes, size DOES matter), sprawled across my big red couch and munching an array of my own snacks as loudly as I please.
  4. And try to determine which experience is more enjoyable.

THE FILMS:

AT THE MOVIE THEATRE

Elysium – Starring Matt Damon & Jodie Foster, Written and Directed by Neill Blomkamp.

Elysium – Starring Matt Damon & Jodie Foster, Written and Directed by Neill Blomkamp.

Pre-movie assessment: A big action movie with smarts and a story by the filmmaker who did the superb District 9.  It promises to be what we now commonly call a real movie movie, employing all the bells and whistles of today’s technology.  Also, both of its stars lean towards playing real characters involved in at least a semblance of a story.  It demands leaving your crib.

AT HOME

Lovelace – Starring Amanda Seyfried & Peter Sarsgaard.  Directed by Jeffrey Friedman & Rob Epstein.  Written by Andy Bellin.

Lovelace – Starring Amanda Seyfried & Peter Sarsgaard. Directed by Jeffrey Friedman & Rob Epstein. Written by Andy Bellin.

Pre-movie assessment: A small character film directed by two guys who made the Oscar-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk (among others), but this time about another aspect of that changing time in the seventies they both lived through and understand.  A period movie about the star of the most famous porn film ever made that is set in my youth and co-stars Sharon Stone as the uptight mother of a porn queen who grew up in not too far away Yonkers, NYI am soooo on my red couch for this one.

Here’s what happened:

Elysium at the Movies

I’d like to report that theatrical filmgoing is alive and well and not going anywhere but I can’t.  Not that this was an awful experience and not that the movie, itself was awful.  But they weren’t particularly special either.

Elysium is one of those films that should be great but isn’t.  It’s better than average, which is far preferable to being bad.  Technically it delivers well, the acting is all around very good, and for an original screenplay the story is fairly original.   It has some depth as it explores a particularly dystopic future world of the have and have-nots, plus, in the tradition of the best of sci-fi films, it attempts to be politically relevant (its issue is immigration) even though it doesn’t entirely succeed.  Okay, points for trying and bigger points for not bowing to the ridiculous and laughable in order to shoot off a few more special effects (are you listening Man of Steel?).

Looking at you Mr. Cavill

Looking at you Mr. Cavill

So why am I not at least a little excited?  Because that’s not enough to pry people out of their pods these days.  Sorry, it just isn’t.  District 9 was a bizarre alien story done documentary style that came out of nowhere and seemed to be accidentally relevant – a discovery.  Elysium screams big movie, teases us with a story, and then never delivers with enough clever twists and turns/depth of character or – and I hate that I’m saying this – particularly spectacular special effects.  Not to mention, Man of Steel has grossed more than a third of a billion (that’s with a “B”) dollars worldwide being mediocre.  In order to dissuade studios from giving us more than movie theatre mediocrity, bigger original movies have to exceed the bar of just sort of good.

As for the movie theatre experience itself, here’s what I got.  No line to buy a seat and only one couple ahead of me on a line inside to scan my credit card and print out my reserved seat.  The theatre lobby was huge – huge enough for groups of people to talk amongst themselves and to no one else they didn’t know.

Not too shabby.

Not too shabby.

The theatre itself was fairly clean, though not spotless.   It was mostly full but not sold out, probably due to the fact that Elysium was also playing on two of its other 12 screens just a handful of yards away.  Excitement in the air?  Not really, especially after watching eight trailers (yes, 8!).  The biggest in-theatre audience reaction trailer– Jackass presents Bad Grandpa. (Note:  I didn’t laugh once).  Only film even mildly interesting-looking to me:  George Clooney’s Monuments Men, though I can’t say it’s a must-see.

My seat was comfortable, no one near me was on their cell phone or felt the need to talk to their neighbor and raked seating plus a polite crowd guaranteed I had a full view of the show.  The sound was excellent, the screen was big and my popcorn was stale.  Was it worth venturing out of the house?  Eh.  I don’t regret it but I wouldn’t run to do it again if I can’t get even a contact high of crowd excitement on opening night.

Final Verdict:  I wasn’t expecting anything close to The Exorcist yet it wasn’t even close to the fun level I was expecting.

Final Grade: B or B minus – depending on how generous I’m feeling at the moment.

Lovelace At Home

3a

Perhaps Boogie Nights has forever set the bar too high for films about players in the porn industry or maybe fiction is, indeed, stranger and more interesting than the truth.  Whatever the case, the creation and travails of Linda Lovelace as a sort of lens into the changing social mores of the seventies is a ripe idea that never quite…blossoms?  Explodes?  The metaphors are endless.  Still, it’s another case of okay to good but not great.

Amanda Seyfried is convincing, Peter Sarsgaard as her awful husband is sleazy enough to make you want to take three showers (and you can, because you’re at home), while James Franco (the original choice for the part of the husband) has thankfully been bumped down to a brief bit playing Hugh Heffner that doesn’t do much.  Sharon Stone in a sexless black wig as the somewhat sexless bleak mother of the decade’s biggest star of sex is believable – which I suppose is some sort of achievement since Sharon Stone was a bit of a legitimate sex goddess herself two decades later.  But is what we’re believing all that interesting?  Not particularly, or perhaps not particularly enough.

The filmmakers capture the time period perfectly; the movie’s well made on a fairly low budget and it’s never boring.  But neither is it ever exhilarating or exciting or frightening enough.  You get the feeling you’re watching a cable movie not because you’re viewing it at home on television but due to the fact that its style, substance and/or storytelling doesn’t grab you in the way a theatrical feature about porn – say Boogie Nights  – needs to.  Lovelace is amply watchable but it never compels you – most certainly it isn’t compelling enough to view outside the comfort of your own home on the big screen.  Which is a shame.

* Not my living room, but can't beat a movie night with Bette.

* Not my living room, but how could I not post a movie night with Bette?

I had some frozen yogurt early on, paused the TV to go to the bathroom once, and then concluded towards the end of the film with some green tea and a power bar.  The sound and picture at home very good – not as great as the movie theatre and not as big (hey, we’re talkin’ porn here!) but still very good.  Especially for a film that is not big on visual effects but merely big on visuals.

Note:  It’s about as easy as it can be to watch a film VOD (video on demand).  I mean, seriously – you type in your choice of film on the search function of pay movies, it comes up, you push the button and, for $7.99 you get it for two days.  How much would it cost in a movie theatre?  Double that price, plus add for refreshments, parking and combat pay if you’ve got noisy neighbors.

VOD oh yeah!

VOD oh yeah!

Final Verdict:  For a movie about sex, I got more thrills, albeit of a different kind, from The Exorcist than from Lovelace.  I don’t think it’s unfair to say that somehow I expected more.  Though it was sort of fun to relive the seedy seventies and, the more that I think about it, the more I want to say that Sarsgaard plays a superb scuzzbucket, if you can stand it.

Final Grade:  B or B minus, depending on how generous I’m feeling at the moment.  Yes, that’s the same grade as the previous film and no, that’s not a typo.

Conclusion:

It’s not that the screens that are getting smaller and more private, it’s the films that are getting more undemanding, less exciting and to a whole new level of oddly generic.  A lot is made about the circumference of your tablet or the quality, sight and sound of you and your venue.  Yet it’s not about that at all.  The only thing this experiment has taught me is what I’ve always known.  In the end it’s all about what you’re watching – not how you’re watching it.  In deference to Marshall McLuhan – the medium is not the message – the message still is.   At least to me and a few select others who remember a time when that wasn’t the case and long for a time when it will be again.  But perhaps we’re dinosaurs.

Gay is the Old Black

Emmy bait.

Emmy bait.

One wonders if Michael Douglas would play the part of the homophobic father of Jonathan Allen, the 20 year-old from Tennessee who, after being thrown out of the house by his parents two years ago for being gay, wowed the judges on America’s Got Talent this past week.  Or, better yet, if Steven Soderbergh would even choose to direct a movie about it.  Or if Jerry Weintraub would ever decide to produce it.  The way all three did with the continuously lauded and now award-winning HBO film about Liberace’s later years and prurient love life, Behind the Candelabra.

My guess:  probably not.  Most movie stars of Mr. Douglas’ generation dislike playing roles they deem too unsympathetic.  And don’t use the example of Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.  That film was made in and about the 1980s – a time when the general population actually agreed that “greed was good” and that ole Gordy was not so much a villain but a slightly tainted ideal many aspired to.

Of course, the majority of critics, audiences, and the cast and crew have not deemed the cable TV portrait of uber-gay Liberace unsympathetic either.  That would require that the real-life tale of the entertainer and his former lover Scott Thorson had been truly told.   The one about a 16-year old boy who was lured into the Las Vegas home of a fifty something mega-millionaire star with promises of wealth and family.  The one where the star repeatedly had sex with the boy for several years before he turned 18 (as well as any number of years after) with full knowledge said star was breaking the law. The same one where, when the older man got bored with the boy and the boy started taking too many drugs, as many young boys do, found a replacement and tossed him onto the street as he had so many others before him that were of age, with a little bit of money and a couple of fur coats – all the while publicly denying to his dying day that they ever had that kind of relationship or that said entertainer was even gay.

Eyeroll

Eyeroll

I’ve resisted writing anything but a few paragraphs about Behind the Candelabra up to this point because it seemed like the kind of film that would get some recognition for the circus stunt of Michael Douglas in sequins and a blonde-tressed Matt Damon screwing him from behind, and then disappear.

Such is not the case.  The cable film just won best drama and best actor from the Broadcast Critics Association.  It played to large and enthusiastic crowds at the Cannes Film Festival.  And mostly straight audiences (and some gay) seem to have embraced it as bold and groundbreaking.  Even those few writers who have dared to write critical pieces about the movie are often skewered, lacerated and told to get over themselves in the comments sections (even in respected places like Salon).   Also, Behind the Candelabra is likely to get nominated and win a slew of Emmy Awards, and go down in the books as “the courageous film all of the studios passed on with that director and that cast (can you believe it!) because they were too afraid of the gay subject matter.”  The latter is the meme that Mr. Soderbergh and Mr. Weintraub have been tirelessly and successfully peddling during the last six months.

Which is why, at this point, I’m weighing in.

Frankly – this film disgusts me.  Not as much as the lies about the war in Iraq, gay bullying or the right wing trying to take away a woman’s rights to choose.  That’s a different level of disgust – maybe more like infuriation.   But disgust – yeah, that about covers this.

I’ve thought a lot about other words to use to describe my feelings – queasy, nauseated, annoyed or even…jealous?  But finally, after much consternation, I decided that the perfect world is, indeed….

dis·gust  A feeling of revulsion or profound disapproval aroused by something unpleasant or offensive.

It is worth noting it’s not the people attached to this film that signal disgust to me – I respect them all (professionally that is, I don’t know them personally).  It’s the film itself and everything it tells us about where the industry is today vis-à-vis movies about gay people – or about most minorities – that makes me want to run to the toilet and be sick.

Someone tell that to the Emmys!

Someone tell that to the Emmys!

This is also not to say that the life of Liberace might not make an interesting movie.  That story – the one about how a young Midwestern piano prodigy invented (and for years carried off) the flamboyantly effeminate (some would say homosexual) persona of a character named Liberace and became the world’s greatest entertainer while still managing to convince his mostly gay intolerant world of fans he was anything but homosexual, would indeed be fascinating and almost certainly would not have caused me to write any of this.  And, even if it wasn’t particularly good, I doubt it would actually have made me feel disgusted.

Of course,  we will never know for sure since that tale was far from the one HBO and this prestigious group of A-list film professionals chose to tell in 2013 – a time when gay marriage is not only favored by the majority of people in the US (and an overwhelming majority under 25) but where its difficult to read any daily print or online news source where a major story about something homosexual is not featured on the front page.  I mean, even me – a middle aged guy who was “born that way”- sometimes gets gay fatigue.

geyyyyy

Still, true change in the movies, and the world, is not solely about the amount of ink you get or the measure of RAM you occupy on someone’s computer or website.  True change not only moves at a glacial pace but is often a one step forward, two steps back deal.  And this is where Behind the Candelabra comes in.  And me.  And my disgust.  The kind that I’m feeling right now as I compose this.

Writers are told all the time that their movies need a reason to be made. So are producers, directors, actors and studio executives.  But since writers are, by definition, the inventors of the first tangible version of a project, perhaps it is best to start with us.  As a writer one asks oneself:  What is the reason for this story?  Why make it?  What compels it to be told?  What would interest an audience?  Why will anyone care?  Why do I care?

I feel you Neil.

I feel you Neil.

I teach my writing students to ask these questions early on because I don’t want them to waste their time working on anything they are not fully invested in.  Even if it is the silliest, most exploitative story in the world, the author must find a way to imbue some kind of personal feelings of – well, something – into it.  Because if it doesn’t mean much to us, how can we expect it to mean anything to you?

I’ve watched Behind the Candelabra twice and have been looking for meaning, or even relevance, to today’s audiences.   Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • The story of a May-December relationship told from a gay perspective could be fair diversion, one supposes.  But that would seem only fair (and not exploitative) if we had a bunch of films about other, less prurient (and more successful) same sex relationships to compare it to – which we don’t.
  • The emotional journey of a relationship can sometimes be enough to override a lack of story.  In essence, the ride you get having a front row seat to the ups and downs of human interaction between two people over a period of time can substitute for a paucity of plot points.  There are some emotions here – for instance, shock and sadness that an older person could actually convince a younger person to have extensive plastic surgery to remake their face to that of their “mentor.”  But certainly not ever sadness or shock that this relationship will end badly – or interest in how it does – which knocks out most of the tension throughout the film and causes the last hour (and more) to be deadly dull.

    A sharp contrast to this knee-knudge heard 'round the world.

    A sharp contrast to this knee-nudge heard ’round the world.

  • Maybe it’s the spectacle??  Ahh, now we’re getting somewhere.  The sequins, the clothes, the excess of a hidden lifestyle and time period in show business that no longer exists is lots of fun.  And those gays – who better than them to do this up in style!  (Though note: there is not a single gay person in the principal above-the-line talent or crew).
  • Another attraction could be the over-the-top characters themselves, who are at the very least entertaining in a very broad, stereotypical manner compared to what else was going on in the world at that time.  The homosexuals have always done this well since time began and it makes audiences quite comfortable to view them this way, thank you very much.   And certainly, why make any movie that is not at least fun!!??
  • Juicy parts for actors who can be cast against type.  The old Hollywood joke: Every time a straight man puts on a dress they give him an Oscar?  Well, not anymore.  (Note: Even James Franco’s Marilyn Monroe drag as Oscar host fell flat a few years ago).  So, you have to find new ways for them to do it.  How about a happy recipient of anal sex who dies tragically that can’t be X-rated?  It’s Oscar/Emmy bait for Michael Douglas.  (He even gets to have AIDS, but we can downplay that ‘cause the real life Liberace did!). Plus, what about an enjoyment of Speedos, suntans and Las Vegas?  It’s the flip side of Ocean’s 11 for Matt Damon and he’ll jump at that!   What actor wouldn’t want to play younger than they are, get fat and then skinny and then fat and skinny again as they age, become addicted to drugs and then recover?  No one, that’s who.
Yeah, I'm exhausted too.

Yeah, I’m exhausted too.

But please, please, please, please – do not tell me this movie is groundbreaking or even something different.  And if you’re a high-powered A-lister, don’t keep spreading your tales of woe about how the heads of movie studios are ruining the business by not taking chances on this kind of film.   They might be ruining the business by not taking chances but NOT taking a chance on this film was exactly the right choice.  It has no relevance to 2013.  It had relevance in 1983, and in 1993 – at the height of the AIDS epidemic – when it might have meant something other than an easy way to make some money, get some attention and garner a few awards for “courage.”

The people who made it should know better.  And might benefit from watching Jonathan Allen tell another all too familiar, yet far more commercially relevant and compelling story for today.  This story was  indeed shown last week not on the big screen or on cable television but on, of all things,  network reality TV  – America’s Got Talent, to be exact.

It is indeed the golden age of television.  In some circles, at least.