Feb 24, 2006

Extra! Hear Jon's Stewart Oscar Jokes Here First!

Click on the dots next to the title, dears, and check out the LA Times outing what probably are going to be some of Stewart's jokes next Sunday. Why would they do that, beats me. What's worse, the jokes don't sound very promising, at least on paper. A bit between penguins and bears could be kind of an Uma/Oprah moment... ugh.
In any case, I searched for headlines today that would deserve a post and I couldn't find anything. For your information there are more dead in Iraq, Venezuela is limiting American airliners from flying there but that we had to learn from our British pals in the BBC because apparently no one in the American press gives a fuck. The BBC also reports that George Clooney accuses the US media of labeling him a traitor. Of course nobody here cares about that either, which is fine by me. George, even though I admire your politics, sometimes I wish you'd just look handsome and shut up.

Girls on Film

Today a friend sent me a petition to sign in which I'm supposed to ask Hollywood to include more women in their movies, their stories, etc. Boy, I've been hearing this complaint for as long as I can remember and what has been done about it? Charlize Theron uglifies herself in Monster and becomes a coal miner in North Country. I think that what the petition is really saying is that women want to see stories not only about gorgeous, subtly surgically enhanced women in their twenties, but also about more mature women, and women who don't look like inflatable dolls or kabuki masks or who have so much collagen on their lips they are starting to look like Amanda Lepore. But something about the "sisterhood" nature of the petition bothered me. Yes, I agree there should be more women directors, screenwriters and better roles for women of all ages, as long as that doesn't translate to chick flix or new agey sisterhood stuff, which I can't abide. I hate the notion of stories for women. If a story is good, it doesn't matter if it is about a woman or written by a woman or a man. I don't think there should be special genres for women. They are a disservice to our gender, because they tend to be formulaic. Every time Hollywood comes up with their notion of what a film for women is like, we get inane "romantic" clunkers with Diane Lane about dogs and/or Florence, both of which I'm not in love with.
Fargo, a movie that has one of the best female roles ever, was written by the Coen Brothers. In The 40 Year-Old Virgin, the best romantic comedy in a long time, the woman who plays the romantic interest is the interesting, older, more normal looking Catherine Keener. The movie was written and directed by a guy. I love the idea of more women directors, more women screenwriters, better roles for women. I just don't like the idea of petitioning for it, as if Hollywood needs to fill a politically correct quota. Hopefully, they will pay attention to good stories or concepts or movies directed by women, because of their merit and skill, not because it is pc to do it.
Still, this organization for women in the arts has a very useful list of organizations which provide grants for women artists in a broad range of disciplines. That should be more helpful.

Feb 22, 2006

Red Alert: Bond Fans Unhappy With Daniel Craig!

They are threatening to boycott the film. Run for your lives!
I got nothing against the very dapper Pierce Brosnan, but anybody who fails to see the dark, steely, juicy sexiness of Daniel Craig is a moron. They obviously haven't seen him in the powerful little film The Mother where he plays a housepainter who has an affair with the mistress of the house and with her sagging mom. Mr. Craig appears in some sex scenes in all his naked glory which is enough reason to adore him forever (and he's a damn fine actor too).
He's also excellent in the underrated Enduring Love, a chilling film that no one saw based on the novel by Ian McEwan.
He played Ted Hughes in the completely unnecessary biopic Sylvia about the insufferable, Sylvia Plath played by the increasingly intolerable Gwyneth Paltrow.
He was fabulous as a gangster in Layer Cake, one of those new British films a la Guy Ritchie that try to outviolence our violence.
He was underused in Munich but it was nice to see him wearing dramatic sideburns and very tight bellbottoms.
So what if he's short and has big ears. It's what's between the ears and what's between the top of his head to the floor that counts. Obviously Bond fans, who must have been asleep the last two years because the replacement was announced eons ago, have no clue of what makes a man suitable to play a spy in the house of love.
This is a transparent attempt by the Bond publicity department to drum up interest in a franchise that should have been mercykilled years ago. In fact, when I heard the news of Mr. Craig becoming Bond, I was crestfallen, because so far he had been doing interesting characters in interesting movies. But I was happy for him because he's gonna be rich. Sell-out.

Feb 7, 2006

The Scariest Guys In The Room

Man, yesterday I saw Enron: The Smartest Guys in The Room and I went to bed in such a state of outrage and anxiety that I had nightmares about Enron all night long. Yes or no: when people tell you their dreams it's always a WTF moment. You go: why exactly are you telling me this? Then you wonder if they are not certifiably insane.
Well, I had fabulous Technicolor nightmares about being trapped in an Enron compound in California. In short, a rollercoaster ride of angst triggered by one of the most abhorrent corporate crimes of all time.
I'm not surprised the documentary got an Academy Award nomination. Californians are probably still trying to get back at Enron for what it did to them, for which Ken Lay and Skilling should be slowly grilled, skewered on a spit over a huge bonfire. Not to mention the traders who were joking about the misfortunes they were creating for millions of people with the dispassion and cruelty that SS stormtroopers displayed in their brutal dealings with inferior races. What blows the mind is the acceptance of a corporate culture of such cutthroat competitiveness and unchecked greed, of absolutely no sense of human empathy or moral obligation. If you have bosses that nurture and foster such an environment, it's not surprising that people will turn into vipers, rats and vultures. They are given carte blanche by the bosses themselves. Which is why the defense that Lay and Skilling did not know what was happening is unacceptable. They created that monster and they should be made accountable. They not only gave permission to rape and plunder, they encouraged it. They both deserve unending punishment and shame.
As Sherron Watkins, the woman who blew the whistle at Ken Lay, says in the film, Enron is not an isolated incident. It is the messiest, but not by any means the only one. This is capitalism run rampant, (which is how that moron in the White House and ex best friend of Ken Lay wants it to be) and it is extremely frightening.
It happens in all kinds of companies: gross mismanagement by obscenely paid executives who are just looking to cash out and who are royally oblivious to the fate of their employees and the lives of hard work and dignity they destroy with their arrogance and their incompetence. CEO's and Who The Fuck's who are absurdly overcompensated, masters at bullshitting their way around but not much else, while their employees do all the grunt work and struggle with the bills. And then, when the shit hits the fan, workers are let go, entire groups of people demoralized if not worse, the solid reputation of a company destroyed, while these assholes are still cashing their salaries and no one holds them accountable for anything.
A feeling of revulsion in the pit of the stomach.