Friday, September 5

Rambling Reporter I

A while ago a good friend, a regular reader of this thing, said he quite liked it (purr...!) but proffered you're soooo nice about everything.  I know I gush a bit (!) but this is, after all, called My Romance with Movies not My War with Movies.  I guess he was suggesting I get snarky once in awhile.  Well, ok, I can channel a witchy-bitchy side if I really have to so I am responding to my friend with this... a new idea... a monthly (or so) column where I'll just let my hair down a little.  But don't get too used to it.  I'll be back to gushing real soon.  You heah?
 The movies are suffering. Summer attendance is down some 30% (and the rest of the year's movies don't look so hot either) and the suits are scrambling around like cockroaches in your kitchen after the lights go off. They aren't sure of the reason why but don't mind taking a stab at the galling interference of streaming movies and other such concoctions out there today. No mention, of course, is made of the high cost of tickets, the out-of-this-world salaries, the obnoxious remakes or the non-movie corporations behind the studios  rather than talented movie people. So how's that hokey only-interested-in-making-money thingy working out for you? Well, I know the answer. It ain't.  Sure streaming has something to do with it, too, and all technology but you surely need to smarten up. You can't beat technology so why not do what you should be doing anyway... making good movies. Be more concerned with good writing, directing, acting and good technicians. Be happy with the bucks you make from your main business... cable TV or oil or whatever you gouge us on. Tell you what... give us six very good-to-great movies a year and you can have four really stupid ones. Jennifer and Sly and Ahnold are just a phone call away.
And in all good conscience, let's be candid that Adam Sandler needs to be included with the aforementioned trio.  Truthfully, he is one of the reasons movies are in the state they are.  He's been dumbing them down for years now.  This non-actor has sucked in folks who have not a scintilla of gray matter or discerning taste.  I don't mean YOU, of course, because obviously you are oceans apart from the great unwashed, but I might suggest movie rehab to get you back on track.   And Adam?  You go count your money and leave the rest of us alone.

Let's put my movie doldrums aside and share that I am looking forward to just a few movies before year's end. Angelina Jolie is in the news a lot, although she's never exactly out of the news for long, is she?  First is her latest directorial effort, Unbroken, the compelling life story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who became a prisoner of war during WWII. The previews look exciting. You may have seen on the news that the actress accidentally discovered that the real Zamperini was her neighbor. Sadly, he recently passed away.  I hope he got to see the film.  Moving along, of course, there's her long-awaited, breath-robbing wedding to Brad Pitt with the brood handling many of the chores. Then there's the story of her ex-lesbian girlfriend, Jenny Shimizu, also getting hitched.   I guess now all's well.

And I am damp over Foxcatcher starring Steve Carrel, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. It also has an Olympic twist, here about a wrestler who gets caught in some undesirable situations involving his brother and his sponsor. Pre-press would have you believe it's the one to see.

Ben Affleck' s new one, the David Fincher-directed Gone Girl, also has me bubbling over. What doesn't sound fun about a man becoming the chief suspect in his wife's disappearance? Hello...?!?! An unusual but talented cast includes the enchanting Rosamund Pike, Neal Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry and an actress I've always quite enjoyed but who's never worked much, Sela Ward.

I think I may get a little worked up over Into the Woods, too. Well, um, ok, you caught me... it's true I don't exactly go running out to see movies about children's classics like Jack in the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and such (I used to get fidgety in Granny's lap listening to that stuff). But, hey, I am always lured by who's in a film and here we have Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, Christine Baranski, Tracey Ullmann and Frances de la Tour. And for God's sake, I gotta see something...!!!

Dilemma:  One of my favorite new actors, Chiwetel Ejiofor, star of last year's Academy Award-winning best picture, 12 Years a Slave, and TV's yummy Dancing on the Edge, is currently making The Secret in Their Eyes.  It is a thriller about a retired attorney who is writing a novel in an attempt to better understand one of his unresolved homicides.  Right up my alley.  So what's the problem?  It will also star two actresses with whom I always have hot and cold issues, Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Roberts.  The latter assumed the role after her character was changed from a man to a woman.  Oh, what to do?

I get tired of hearing about Kristen Stewart, don't you?  I wish she and Adam Sandler would go on a long trip together.  She's sorry about cheating on Robert Pattinson. She's changed her hairstyle.  She's filthy rich.  She's pumping her own gas.  She has gas. Whointhehell cares? She has got to be the most boring actress in many a year.  In Twilight who could tell the difference between her and the vampires?  She was as lifeless as they were.  Miscast in most of her films, if the Sandler trip doesn't make her smile (Kristen Stewart smiles?) why doesn't she just stay home, play with her credit cards, look at herself in her ruby-and-diamond-encrusted hand-held mirror, brush her new hairstyle, and fire her publicist?  Oh, I am liking this snarky thing.

On the other hand, there's news of old flames Angelica Huston and Jack Nicholson noshing at a party which makes me wonder if a redux is in the making.  I wonder if he caught the CBS News Sunday Morning segment some months back where she provided some tender words about him.  Each has been married and divorced (him) or widowed (her) and had other FWB but maybe the twilight years have given the relationship some fresh paint.  I hope so.  I'm always a sucker for a good love story.

Speaking of Hustons. Did anyone else notice that when my adored Jessica Lange won her Emmy for American Horror Story, she was with her costar, Danny Huston (son of esteemed director John and half-sib to Anjelica), and gave him a big smooch before leaving for the stage?  Why, I had no idea.  You go Danny boy.

Speaking of Lange and Streep, I have always wished they would work together. Boy, that'd be a lot of acting clout and estrogen in one film.   I'm suggesting a remake of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?  It's been 52 years since the original.  Probably Lange as Jane and Streep as Blanche. Don't I have the best ideas?

I saw that 87-year old Gina Lollobrigida is dating a guy in his 20s and she got huffy at someone who sneered at the extreme age difference.  You go Girl.

Speaking of lesbians (wasn't I?), I continue to hear allegations that Ireland Baldwin, only child of Alec and his ex Kim Basinger, may be that way.  Wonder how ol' Dad's handling that possibility... or do we know? 

It's poignant that James Garner and Lauren Bacall died less than a month from one another.  They were devoted friends. They also made three films together... oddly, none particularly successful... Health (1980), The Fan (1981) and My Fellow Americans (1996).  Both actors were mentioned in my piece, In Their Nineties, and Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Eli Wallach and Richard Attenborough have also passed away.  I am saddened.

I heard that Joanne Woodward is ill. We've heard nothing of her since Paul Newman's passing six years ago. Hang in there, M'lady.

Robert Downey Jr. is Hollywood's highest-paid actor.  No sh... kidding?

Helen Mirren says that she wanted A Hundred-Foot Journey to be made in French but that Americans don't like films with subtitles.  Well, duh...!  Dame Helen, is it your opinion that there are people who actually like films with subtitles or is it that there are those who simply put up with them?

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel gets a sequel with Richard Gere joining Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and the rest of the impressive cast.

Movie star Halle Berry has to pay child support to ex-boyfriend model Gabriel Aubry to the tune of $16,000 a month.  Dayum...!  Why?  Doesn't she have custody of the kid?  Maybe that led to her decision to take on a television series.

Do you like good interviews with show biz types? The longtime industry trade paper, The Hollywood Reporter (add a .com to that... a link is on the first page of this blog) has a series called Roundtable that is such fun when you have about an hour to kill. Usually a group of six joins a moderator or two with a lively, informal session. It may be all actors or directors or writers. The last one I watched had Josh Brolin, Matthew McConaughey, Forrest Whitaker, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jared Leto and Fruitvale Station star Michael B. Jordan. It's a hoot.

It's a Wrap.

A Notable 60s Film


  1. I like this....a nice change from the normal blog postings & reviews.....please do again! Sarah

  2. So glad you liked it, S. It was a change of pace. I will do more. Thanks.