Today's been a mean reds sort of day, perhaps because I started it by reading through photographer Lauren Greenfield's Thin. So I think I need to click click click click close the million tabs I have open and bike to the kayak rental place.
- Koresky on Cartlidge: "With her downcast, darting glances and inward-directed nasal voice (often when she’s delivering her lines, her mouth seems barely to move, like a ventriloquist’s), Cartlidge makes Sophie Naked’s most baleful creature. She’s swathed in gothlike clothes (holey fishnets and black leather jacket) that she uses as both shield and tool for sexual flirtation. Look at the way she stealthily pulls on her sleeves, shortly after she meets Johnny—who shows up on her doorstep looking for his ex—baring her shoulders to the stranger in a passive-aggressive come-hither manner. It’s nearly a reflex: in the presence of a man, even this rotter, her instant impulse is to make herself vulnerable rather than to steel herself. Sophie will make the worst possible decision in any scenario, but Cartlidge presents these choices as the natural processes of a complex mind, even if it’s one defeated by circumstances, economic and otherwise. Sophie is no mere drip."
- Errol Morris's High Life Man and the Changing Idea of Masculinity: "But the High Life Man so thoroughly captures the aesthetic of a certain kind of idealized American male, that Morris’s work also addresses issues related to the so-called crisis of contemporary American masculinity. The High Life Man is played by roughly interchangeable middle-aged, able-but-perhaps-a-little-soft-bodied, usually white men, most of whom boast of either receding or non-existent hairlines. A voiceover reminiscent of History Channel WWII documentary narrators laments the decline of manly virtues over scenes of barbecues, homemaintenance, bowling, and lawn care. The High Life Man begrudgingly accepts the few cultural achievements of the French, has an outright hatred for fancy coffee, loves his grandmother's food, and knows a million uses for duct tape."
- Josh Glenn's latest Shocking Blocking: "I don’t care what the American Film Institute says: despite Clark Gable’s (and Hattie McDaniel’s) charm, Gone With the Wind is a middlebrow, boring, Southern-fried mess. But I do admire the blocking in this scene—which is set at Twelve Oaks, during a barbecue party. The assembled belles are taking a rather cramped siesta, while the menfolk downstairs argue about the coming war. The idealistic, romantic plantationers insist that the war will be short and glorious; Rhett Butler (Gable) suspects otherwise. In fact, the war will be devastating and grisly. Bodies will be stacked together on battlefields like so much cordwood… or like so many napping belles."
- A No Longer Even Remotely Topical Observation About the Remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still: "It was atrociously bad, obviously, but now that Hollywood is probably trying to remake Casablanca so they can find a new role for Will Smith's children (Peter Lorre becomes two plucky youngsters with anxiety disorders? Rick becomes two plucky youngsters who want to save Ilsa, now a basketball-playing Golden Retriever, from German-occupied Morocco? Willow is the woman who really belts out "La Marseillaise," Jaden is a younger Louis Renault with a heart-warming gambling addiction?), it is very, very important to remember that the only good part of The Day the Earth Stood Still was the totally-believable suggestion that Keanu Reeves spared our planet because he was amazed at the kindness and fortitude Jennifer Connolly displayed by not hurling her annoying stepkid, Jaden Smith, into the Hudson River."
- "Now why would this Auburn ornament from 1993 be hung in the bedroom of a home in the Missouri Ozarks? Who knows. But I like to think that this was an easy way to indicate that this was one of the more successful families in the community, what with them owning trucks, stereos, and motorcycles and all (compared to the Crimson Tide-ish meth addicts and tree poisoners living 12 to a shack in the rest of the neighborhood). But, whatever the reason was, it was good."
- That's just, like, your opinion, man: "The Venice Beach bungalow the Coen brothers made famous in The Big Lebowski is on the market, along with the five other one-bedroom houses that make up the compound on which it sits. Hollywood history isn't all you'd be getting with this place, either. It comes with "spacious side-yards and a lushly landscaped gated courtyard," along with a bunch of tenants who couldn't be less like the Dude (some are interior decorators). More important, though: It comes with a built-in fan base. What could be better than living in a house that compels people to pee on your rug?"
- “I pull the curtain over, I go, ‘Hey!’ He looks over and I go, ‘Shut the fuck up!’ He goes like this [does a double take.] And I said, ‘Yeah, shut the fuck up! I would never do this to you. I would never come to one of your screenings and act like an asshole. Shut the fuck up!’ He looked like he was going to come over and punch me. I closed the curtain and I sat back down. I was terrified because it was a huge fuckin’ moment. I was like here it comes, repercussions, the other shoe is going to drop, and nothin’. No curtain. I looked and he just left, took off.”
- The reason I didn't see "Captain America" (and this is movie-critic inside baseball, so you can skip it if you want) was that its only press screening was Wednesday night, scheduled at the same time as the press screening of "Friends with Benefits." ...most newspapers/TV and radio stations/blogs have only one critic and they were kept from doing their jobs by the unnecessarily punitive practices of the studios' publicity offices. I know, big deal, but I'm still scratching my head over the decision by Screen Gems (a Sony company) to have multiple public promotional screenings for "Friends" while keeping the press from seeing it until the last possible moment before deadline. Did they think that "normal moviegoers" would like it but that critics wouldn't?
- The saddest movie in the world? "The final scene of The Champ has become a must-see in psychology laboratories around the world when scientists want to make people sad." The full list of 16 short film clips and the emotions they evoked? Amusement: When Harry Met Sally and Robin Williams Live; anger: My Bodyguard and Cry Freedom; contentment: footage of waves and a beach scene; disgust: Pink Flamingos and an amputation scene; fear: The Shining and Silence of the Lambs; neutral: abstract shapes and color bars; sadness: The Champ and Bambi; surprise: Capricorn One and Sea of Love
- What's a script supervisor? "For example I track wounds and blood if someone gets hurt. I’ll ask the director how long it should take for the person to heal. We shoot out of order so I need to make sure makeup creates the exact same scratch, or, if it’s four days later in the script, the wound should be less visible. I make notes to myself throughout the film to make sure it’s all consistent."
- In praise of Hermione Granger: "Hermione is not Chosen. That’s the best thing about her. Hermione is a hero because she decides to be a hero; she’s brave, she’s principled, she works hard, and she never apologizes for the fact that her goal is to be very, extremely good at this whole “wizard” deal. Just as Hermione’s origins are nothing special, we’re left with the impression that her much-vaunted intelligence might not be anything special, on its own. But Hermione is never comfortable with relying on her “gifts” to get by. There’s no prophecy assuring her importance; the only way for Hermione to have the life she wants is to work for it. So Hermione Granger, generation-defining role model, works her adorable British ass off"
- Domestic melodrama as "the other noir": "Mildred’s journey from spurned house wife to working woman to businesswoman is depicted through the domestic spaces she inhabits. Happiest in the beginning as a housewife in a modest suburban home, Mildred moves to more modern-looking spaces when she grows rich from her business and marries Monty, the worthless son of old Pasadena money. Monty’s family home is Victorian in style, suggesting the idea of “old money” is an outdated one in an era when a working-class woman can become rich and powerful through her own efforts. In contrast, the home that Monty and Mildred inhabit is bright, clean, and free of the old-fashioned curios and ornaments of his family home. Most modern is their beach house, where the murder takes place; it’s the epitome of contemporary style, with its open spaces, white walls, and lack of bric-a-brac."
- It started on the first day. I wasn’t going to play music during the actual takes. I usually do that a lot. But I’m standing out there for a scene in a junior high hallway with Matt Damon and Colin Ford. The way Matt was looking, I kept thinking about the Tom Petty song, “Don’t Come Around Here No More”. I just said, “I’ve got to play it!” (laughs) So I played the song during the next take. Matt Damon immediately soaked it up and turned to me and said, “That was amazing. You’ve got to play that again. And what else do you have?” I don’t think he’d ever acted with music playing during the take. So we started going down the road with records again. It really is exciting when you pick the right song out of the blue and you play it while you’re filming. Then it becomes part of the texture of the movie."
- Finally, oh for fuck's sweet sake: "House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the party’s vote counter, began his talk by showing a clip from the movie, The Town, trying to forge a sense of unity among the independent-minded caucus. One character asks his friend: 'I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later.' 'Whose car are we gonna take,' the character says. After showing the clip, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), one of the most outspoken critics of leadership among the 87 freshmen, stood up to speak, according to GOP aides. 'I’m ready to drive the car.' ...House Republicans: ready, in the name of this great country, to metaphorically drive a car somewhere in order to shoot a person in the thigh." Elsewhere, seven other Ben Affleck scenes the Republicans can watch for inspiration.