Yom Kippur is the holiday where one abstains from worldly pleasures of all kinds, including eating and drinking, and reflects on spiritual and moral values, atoning for one’s sins, and becoming a better person. In other words, just another day in Hollywood!
* The big news right now is the bombshell, but not unexpected, admission to the New York Times by Casey Affleck that “I’m Still Here” is a fictional film. Moreover, Affleck still may not have come completely clean because he stated that David Letterman wasn’t in on the truth during the notorious interview with star/co-conspirator Joaquin Phoenix. Via Company Town, we learn that Letterman writer Bill Scheft is comparing what went on to Andy Kaufman stunts and even took credit for one of the lines.
A lot of people apparently think that Affleck, perhaps more than Phoenix, has some atoning to do, including Anne Thompson. I guess I can understand her frustration at being manipulated and lied to, but ultimately, it’s only a movie and we in the show biz press have all the credibility of car salesmen. Also it is, after all, a movie. From everything I’ve heard about the film, the far greater sin would have been if it had actually been real.
* Orthodox Jewish-bred Israeli-Brit Sacha Baron Cohen seems to be well on his way to a Shana Tova (good year). He’ll be moving into the world of “serious” acting in a planned biopic about the late multitalented Queen singer/songwriter/pianist Freddie Mercury to be written by the exceedingly busy docu-drama specialist Peter Morgan. I’ve read some ethnic quibbles somewhere (sorry, lost the link) since Mercury’s family hailed from parts of Asia. It seems to me the physical resemblance tells the tale and is no more offensive than the multi-ethnic Asian-Caucasian-Native American Lou Diamond Phillips playing a Mexican-American teen in “Stand and Deliver,” despite having not a drop of Latino blood in his veins. All ethnicities are really ethnic mixes anyhow. I can’t count the number of times I assumed someone was Jewish only to find out they were actually a mix of other groups that just came out looking all Jewy or people who look Latino who are actually Eurasian, etc.
No one seems to know whether Cohen, who can sing a little, will sing his own part. Considering Mercury’s remarkable voice, I wouldn’t complain if they simply used the old recordings. If it was good enough for “The Jolson Story” it’s good enough for this.
Posting over the next few days is going to probably be news-free, so we’ll make hay while the cinema news sun shines. We start off with casting news.
* Jeremy Renner of “The Hurt Locker” is “near a deal” to play Hawkeye in the Avengers film to be (theoretically) directed by Joss Whedon, who hasn’t said a word officially to anyone in months, as far as I can tell. Renner is a smart choice. Playing a character who hasn’t previously been introduced is going to be a special challenge in this movie and actors without real ability and charisma probably need not apply.
* So, if the Wrap is correct, Brad Pitt likely won’t end up staring in the U.S. remake of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” It looks like that will be Daniel Craig, instead. Having seen the Swedish film, it seems to me he’s a much better fit for the part of the male lead. The character has a bit of a hang-dog, defeated quality to him that just doesn’t fit Pitt. I think Craig can pull that off easily. He should probably gain or lose a bit of weight for the part. This guy might do okay with woman, but he’s a coffee-and-cigarette addicted journalist, not a perfectly exercised super-spy.
* Speaking of matters Bondian, as per the Playlist, Christopher Nolan is describing his very highly anticipated “Inception” as his Bond film, in a way. I’m personally not a fan of “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” but it’s an interesting model, nonetheless.
It’s a little sad that what appears to be a really entertaining social comedy with two genuine superstars, a leading man who deserves to be one, and another possible emerging young superstar or two is considered an “indie” flick. Anyhow, “The Kids Are All Right” brings us staid and affluent same-sex parents Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. They find their peace interrupted when Mark Ruffalo turns up as the fun-loving, ne’er do well biological father of their teenage children, played by Mia Wasikowska of “Alice in Wonderland” and Josh Hutcherson of “The Bridge to Terabithia” and the upcoming “Red Dawn” remake.
Except for the lesbian part and the artificial insemination part, this could easily have been an “A” Paramount production in 1951 with, say, Jean Arthur and Rosalind Russell as the two mommies, Robert Mitchum as the bio-dad, and Liz Taylor and maybe Dean Stockwell as the kids. Oh, well.
A big h/t to Dustin Knowles of Pajiba. And, yeah, if I was going to have two mommies, Ms. Bening and Ms. Moore would work for me, too.
Also, of course, this isn’t the first movie with this title, give or take and “L” and a space.
Those who read Premium Hollywood know that I have a tendency to discuss the deaths of celebrities by remembering what they meant to me, and when I heard that Patrick Swayze died, my mind immediately went back to January 2009. Obviously, Swayze’s cancer diagnosis had led everyone to fear the worst about him, but I think I’m safe in saying that most of were rooting for him to beat the disease, and when it was announced that he was going to be starring in A&E’s new crime drama, “The Beast,” I don’t know about you, but that was a moment where I was, like, “Yeah! That’s so Swayze of him to say, ‘Screw the cancer, it’s time to get to work.”
I’d hoped to get a phoner with him in the midst of the press blitz for “The Beast,” but due to his treatment, he’d limited the majority of his media time to E-mail interviews and the one-off Barbara Walters conversation, so I immediately sat down and tried to come up with a list of 15 thoughtful, intelligent questions which covered his entire career rather than just shit like, “Could Dalton kick Bodhi’s ass?” I was damned proud of what I came up with, and I promptly sent them off to the publicist. Not long after that, I learned that Swayze was going to be attending the TCA press tour in order to help promote the show, and since I still hadn’t gotten my responses back, I found myself venturing into my usual naive optimism, thinking, “Hey, maybe I can get the answers to these questions in person!” Instead, we arrived at the panel to find ourselves with an unfortunate scoop: Swayze would not be in attendance, owing to the fact that he had checked himself into the hospital for observation after having contracted pneumonia. Rumors immediately circulated that Swayze was on death’s door, that the end was nigh. Me, I immediately felt like an asshole, because – for better or worse – the first thought that came to my mind was the incredibly selfish, “Oh, man, now I’ll never get those questions answered…”
And I didn’t. But it’s a testament to Swayze’s reputation as a tough guy that he managed to battle back from the pneumonia and fight the cancer for another nine months, and anyone who’s lost someone to cancer knows that, after a fight that long and hard, his departure was one well earned.
As I looked back over Swayze’s work to put together this piece, I realized that the reason I’d had that selfish thought upon learning that he wouldn’t be making it to the TCA panel was that I really, really liked Patrick Swayze. I didn’t necessarily love every movie he ever made, but there was just something about the guy that was cool and likable and yet still pretty damned bad-ass, but…well, I don’t believe that the term “big-brothery” actually appears in the dictionary, but that’s how I saw the guy. (It probably stems back to my having seen “The Outsiders” during my formative years.) And if truth be told, I don’t think Swayze ever actually saw my questions. He always seemed like the kind of guy who, if he had read them, would’ve written back and said, “Say, buddy, you actually put a lot of thought into these, didn’t you? You know, I really appreciate that!”
Damn, now I’m starting to get depressed…and if you’re a Swayze fan, too, then you’re probably already there with me, so let’s look back at ten classic quotes from ten of the man’s most memorable films and just think about the legacy he left us.
10.“Boy, you just discovered the oldest sexual position in the book: the foolish position. You just got to remember, your brains are between your ears and not your legs.” – Ernie “Slam” Webster, “Grandview U.S.A.”
9.“I don’t give a shit where I play as long as I go number one in the draft and I sign the biggest contract I can. I’ve been busting my ass in this league for four years, and I’m gonna get what’s coming to me.” – Derek Sutton, “Youngblood”
8.“Son, it breaks my heart to say this, but I believe you are a very troubled and confused young man. I believe you are searching for the answers in all the wrong places.” – Jim Cunningham, “Donnie Darko”
7.“Well, pumpkins, it comes down to that age-old decision: style…or substance?” – Veda Boheme, “To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar”
6.“I love you, Molly. I’ve always loved you.” – Sam Wheat, “Ghost”
5.“It’s kind of strange, isn’t it? How the mountains pay us no attention at all. You laugh or you cry, the wind just keeps on blowing.” – Jed Eckert, “Red Dawn”
4.“Listen, with your brains and grades, you could get a scholarship, and we could put you through college, ain’t that right, Soda? But you’re livin’ in a vaccuum, Pony, and you’re gonna have to cut it out. You just don’t stop living because you lose somebody. I thought you knew that. And anytime you don’t like the way I’m running things around here, you can just get out, all right?” – Darrel Curtis, “The Outsiders”
3. “I’m gonna do my kind of dancin’ with a great partner, who’s not only a terrific dancer; somebody who’s taught me that there are people willing to stand up for other people no matter what it costs them; somebody who’s taught me about the kind of person I wanna be.” – Johnny Castle, “Dirty Dancing”
2.“All you have to do is follow three simple rules. One, never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected. Two, take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar unless it’s absolutely necessary. And three, be nice.” – Dalton, “Road House”
1. “If you want the ultimate, you’ve got to be willing to pay the ultimate price. It’s not tragic to die doing what you love.” – Bodhi, “Point Break”
We’ve only got news on one remake, one sequel, and few odd cultural jeremiads on the same theme.
* I’ve just barely finished my decades-long personal boycott of the original, and now there they’re talking about a remake of John Milius’s “Red Dawn”. The 1984 film may seem a bit quaint now that it’s old enough to be ready to finish grad school but at the time it seemed to me an irresponsible act of cultural provocation with potentially catastrophic impact if people took it too seriously. Fortunately, few did and most took its absurd plot about a Soviet land invasion as the balderdash that it was. Back then, Republicans and Democrats alike knew that World War III would last about 90 minutes and result in the destruction of most everyone and everything. (This was before the tinfoil hate hat era of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.)