Saturday, September 15, 2007

You just can't make a tasteful upscale film about vigilantism.

Here's a comment I left on the Hollywood Elsewhere blog, expanded here:

I'm sorry to say this but THE BRAVE ONE is the worst film Neil Jordan (best known for MONA LISA and THE CRYING GAME) has made to date--even worse than WE'RE NO ANGELS (the now-mostly-forgotten "escaped convicts on the run" period comedy/drama with Robert De Niro, Sean Penn and Demi Moore).

And Jodie Foster needs to get off her ass and work in a film each and every year--even if it's a five-minute role in a nonstudio indie (or even as a voluntary PA for AFI student video projects). This might rid her of the "I'm prestigious" curse that can sometimes mar her acting--plus the carefully-choreographed press she does with each film.

If Jodie Foster has to do a commercial film to pay the bills for herself, her significant other and the kids, far better it be something like PANIC ROOM or FLIGHT PLAN--unapologetic genre films that don't try to make Important Social Statements while being tippy-toe cautious about avoiding the risk of causing the "unsophisticated" (Jodie's description of some potential audience members in at least two THE BRAVE ONE junket interviews) to cheer for the death of one-dimensional "bad guy" characters.

Basically, THE BRAVE ONE was, in terms of pretentiousness, NELL with guns:
chick-a-pea bang bang.

Sarah Silverman on Paris and MTV Movie Awards.

From a sort-of-edgy kiss-kiss exchange between Sarah Silverman and George Wayne in the current VANITY FAIR--Sarah offers insight into her future fang-and-talon attack for laughs re Britney Spears' subpar appearance on the MTV VMAs.

George Wayne: Everything I read about you seems to call you "the hostile comedienne."

Sarah Silverman: I am not hostile or mean.  You made a good point about the MTV [movie] awards.  I was great, but I was out of my element.  You are forced to talk about pop culture and make jokes about specific people and things.  My comedy is a lot more general. [keep in mind that THE SARAH SILVERMAN PROGRAM airs on Viacom property Comedy Central and MTV is another Viacom property]

George Wayne:  I was upset that you so took on the poor hapless victim Paris Hilton.  Not that I am a fan of Paris Hilton's, but it wasn't in good karma.

Sarah Silverman-If I had gone out there and not done a joke about Paris Hilton right before she was to go to prison, then I would have been considered a cop-out.  Whether you like it or not, she is an icon of pop culture.  I had to do the strongest joke, and I had no idea she would go to the MTV Movie Awards two days before prison.  When I did the setup, the crowd went insane.  My heart just sank for her, and when I looked in the audience and saw some guy with a camera right up in her face, it was sad but I couldn't not move on.  I went on with the joke.  And she is a tough cookie, too.

Update (10/3/07): Sarah, on THE VIEW, repeated the above defense, saying that she didn't do jokes re Britney not done on late-night comedy series.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What's your favorite recent Deja Vu moment?

While the corporate media wants you to pay attention to Britney's alleged subpar performance at MTV's VMA awards show (plus the Kid Rock/Tommy Lee smackdown), these Deja Vu moments have been occurring in plain sight:

a. George Butch Jr. in emulation of dad George Butch Sr. uses a phrase involving the words "kick ass".  But Jr. went Sr. one better by attaching the phrase to the Endless Iraq War rather than a mere Presidential campaign.

b. General Petraeus offers what will be just a small withdrawal (required by law) amid a big dose of WE CAN'T LEAVE propaganda--shades indeed of Vietnam.

c. People protest the Administration-orchestrated Petraeus appearance and get arrested (and subjected to mockery on cable news) for their too-spontaneous free speech--more shades of Vietnam.

Feel free to add to this list.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Owen Wilson--why he might be where he is now.

Having been out of state recently, I'm only now getting to write about the attempted suicide of Owen Wilson--which, as irony would have it--propelled his visage onto various celeb magazine and tabloid covers 4-5 days after the Incident occurred.

To me, Owen Wilson is another in the line of people who go to Hollywood hoping for some degree of control over career (remember Owen made his name as a screenwriter/actor in quirky Wes Anderson films) and found that Hollywood was only interested in a minor portion of his prodiguous talents (i.e. amiable leading man in broad, mass-appeal comedies, with maximum star wattage only when paired with Ben Stiller, Jackie Chan, Vince Vaughn, etc. etc.).

An educated guess: when Show Business only wants you to be a profitable one-trick pony and not "fuck with the formula" (in the immortal words of Beach Boy Mike Love), a cocktail of depression and creative inertia sets in (see also the last decade of Billy Joel's career---where the only real productivity was the FANTASIES AND DELUSIONS classical album and allowing Twyla Tharp to use his old music to create the dance show MOVIN' OUT).

It would have been good if Owen avoided alleged heroin and cocaine use and spent time writing plays, novels and more screenplays.  But perhaps he strolled along the Third Street Promenade in his hometown and wandered into, say, the Barnes and Noble or Borders Bookstores.  There, he would have discovered that novels by film directors as diverse as Gus Van Sant, Oliver Stone and Barry Levinson were being outsold by more "popular" fare---and soon to be bound for the dreaded "remainder" section.

Shallow showbiz writers have bleated the "why would a happy-go-lucky guy who had it all do such a thing" groupthink about Owen Wilson.

But the real question is this:

Can you get up each morning and live with yourself if you're not able to achieve everything you've dreamed for as an artist and a human being?

Hopefully, Owen Wilson can find away to live with himself and combat depression with help of family and friends before he climbs back inside the hamster wheel to crank out the entertaining-but-unchallenging movies that Hollywood execs and most of the public only want to see him in.

Rick Lupert-He's All That!

For those who wish to study Los Angeles poetry and its poets in a sort of anthropological fashion, here's a link to a profile of one of its most influential poets, longest running hosts and "behind the scenes" shapers of the L.A. community past and present.

Ladies and gentlemen, here's Rick Lupert--as interviewed by the Poetry LA site recently: