I loved A STAR IS BORN, and it made me nostalgic for a time when movies like this — dramas about the creative process featuring adults dealing with real shit — were in the mix of movies that you could expect to see at the multiplex.
Kudos to Bradley Cooper for seemingly building his awareness that he’s not 1/10 of the artist Lady Gaga is right into the script of the movie. Don’t get me wrong, he’s special in its own way, but she’s clearly a giant. A lot of the movie is just him staring in awe at her.
I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel to this version of A STAR IS BORN about whatever happens to Ally next. If there can be six movies about Rocky Balboa, I don’t see why we can’t have one more about her.
1. This week I’m thinking a lot about Jen, who I met in college, dated for five years, and was married to for 12 years, until her death in 2006. She was a rape survivor. Attacked two weeks before I met her, by a guy who followed her home from the school library.
2. The guy was a pest, said he just wanted to talk to her. She was too polite to tell him to fuck off, and he walked with her for a while. She sat on a bench and talk with him for about 10 minutes and then said she had to go. When she stood up, he grabbed her.
3. It happened in the bushes behind what is now the communications building at SMU, August, 1989. She told me about it a few weeks after we started going out. I was the first person she told. I convince her to report it, even though there was no physical evidence at that point.
You guys, Trump isn't trying to distract anyone from anything. He's just one of those domestic abusers who causes continual large- and small-scale panic in the house. It's instinctive. A reptilian brain thing. Stop looking for intentionality.
Trump is the seemingly dumbass street grifter who convinces a person who fancies themselves smart to go to an ATM and get money out even though they know they're being played. His gift is, he's playing checkers when everyone else is looking for his chess strategy.
Pay attention to what the people AROUND Trump are doing while he's whirling through this era like a funnel cloud tearing shit up. THAT's where the intentionality is.
I’m sick unto death of Republicans blaming blue cities for creating homelessness. Imperfect as they are, at least they give a damn. Republican run cities do not.
Republican-run suburbs and small towns make sure to let damaged and ostracized people know they are not welcome. Often they go to big cities run by Democrats. And then Republicans have the gall to claim the cities are what caused their misfortune.
The normalization of cruelty is the grand unifying legacy of the Trump years. Even during the Reagan era there was at least sometimes a semblance of shame in admitting that you didn’t give a damn about your fellow human beings. Even Reagan pretended.
Just emerged from SORRY TO BOTHER YOU and I’m thinking about going right back in for a second viewing. Reminds me of seeing REPO MAN for the first time.
Still buzzed from SORRY TO BOTHER YOU. Definite Spike vibes (Jonze and Lee both) and PUTNEY SWOPE but also Vonnegut and counterculture comix from the 60s/70s. Mainly I'm impressed that it keeps topping itself in weirdness from one section to the next.
The private, intensely strange touches are what make me most excited to see more films by Boots Riley: stuff like the extruded gags that go on and on (like the bit with the elevator code & Cassius' rap) and the fact that any time people have sex, you hear faint slapping sounds.
It's been established that past statements on social media can be a fireable offense, regardless of the context in which they were originally made. If nobody raises a ruckus, there will be no consequences. If somebody does raise a ruckus, there might be.
Cernovich found a way to take out the director of one of the most popular film franchises as retaliation for his constant anti-Trump Tweeting to hundreds of thousands of followers. A Death Star exhaust port.
I interviewed Harlan Ellison 20 years ago for a piece about the popularity of THE X-FILES, which he credited to the mainstreaming of the conspiratorial fringe. He made me swear to send him a tear sheet, because “you fuckers always forget.”
“Ordinarily I’d demand money, ignore you or tell you to fuck off, but something about your pitch intrigued me,” was how Ellison began. “You get 30 minutes.”
I didn’t get to ask too many questions. Ellison was a monologist. I wish the piece were online somewhere, but I don’t have access to my files and The Star-Ledger has very little online content prior to 2005.
Speaking only for journalism, the take below isn't accurate. The only way to get a real raise is to leave for greener pastures and hope the first employer realizes how valuable you were and offers you more to return. Otherwise, keep moving on and up.
The above was true when I was first starting out in journalism 25+ years ago, maybe the industry's last semi-healthy period. If you stayed in one place, you might make incrementally more money. If you left to go somewhere else, your earnings were sure to increase more sharply.
Longest I stayed anywhere professionally was The Star-Ledger (11 years) but I was simultaneously working other jobs. Longest after that was 6 years (NYMag). After that, 4 years, 18 months, 24 months, 6 months, etc.
2. Woody Allen was important to me as a movie-struck Texas kid in the 80s. Saw HANNAH AND HER SISTERS multiple times in the theater. Watched TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN when they aired it locally on PBS and laughed along with my parents.
3. I still think Allen is a great director (a less great writer, though that has always been a minority opinion) . There are bad-faith takes going around now, retroactively trying to dismiss his importance. It's not necessary to do that. Really, it's not.
Michael Haneke is making a TV series now, a dystopian drama called KELVIN’S BOOK. Most of the really interesting filmmakers have figured out that TV is more likely to allow them to be themselves than theatrical features, and that people might actually watch in large numbers.
How did we get to this point, where theatrical is almost completely inhospitable to anyone but tentpole blockbuster directors, most of who are doing glorified work-for-hire? It's immensely complicated and a lot of factors are to blame, but this is the reality now.
There are a lot of filmmakers who want to work in the feature format, 90 minutes to three hours' length, shown on a large (or largish) screen, to paying customers. But the film industry and exhibitors are increasingly not interested in that, with some specific exceptions.
[THREAD] 1. My daughter is having a situation with her new landlord, who is charging her slightly more for a room than the guy next door to who has a better room that she was told was more expensive. She found this out by talking to him. Landlord will cut the price back, but:
2. This gave me a chance to talk with her about dealing with other people and contracts/leases, and it was a good discussion that I wish my own parents had with me when I was their age. They were bad with money and I've usually been bad with it.
3. The most important thing I learned as I got older is that contracts are suggestions. You don't have to sign what's put in front of you, though until I was about 38 I thought otherwise. I was intimidated by legalese and by money.
There's no sense of history in entertainment reporting right now. I've lost track of the number of pieces that claim a staggering insight that was actually moldy in the 90s. Posts get green-lit when somebody learns an established fact for the first time. It's depressing.
This became achingly clear to me when I started teaching an arts criticism class for the first time. The readings ranged back in time to the 1920s, and there were a few from the 19th century. The students were often stunned by all the ideas they thought were new that weren't.
I want to tell anybody who's thinking of presenting a hot take on class or race in popular culture as if it's stunningly new, "make sure bell hooks didn't say this in 1990." Because she almost certainly did.
THREAD: 1. Believe me, I'm aware that David Lynch said he's making an 18-hour movie. But I got news for folks who don't write about TV regularly: every single person of any ambition who's ever worked in series TV says they're making "a long movie" or "a bunch of little movies."
2. What Lynch and Frost made owes a lot to cinema. A LOT. But it owes just as much to television, which is where the original TWIN PEAKS appeared. And where MULHOLLAND DRIVE, which started out as a TV pilot, was supposed to appear.
3. I get that David Lynch is a god to y'all. He is to me, too. But he's also more than 70 years old, and I think some part of him still feels that TV is a step down, no matter how much success he's had in it, and despite all he's done to expand its language.