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Ma’am, Summer’s Coming Fast; Have You Seen Any ART in these parts?


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45 Responses to “Ma’am, Summer’s Coming Fast; Have You Seen Any ART in these parts?”

  1. movieman says:

    Baby Terrence Malick in his one and only cameo from “Badlands”!

  2. movieman says:


    I’m a big Andrea “Arthouse” Arnold fan, but even Arnold’s best efforts may have been defeated in the second season of “Big Little Lies” thanks to the egregious overacting of Meryl Streep.
    At least on the basis of the first episode.
    I swear.
    Streep can chew scenery even when she’s (ostensibly) under-playing.
    Why oh why couldn’t they have cast Jessica Lange as Skarsgard’s mother?
    Or Glenn Close.
    Or, well, pretty much anyone this side of Roseanne Barr.
    It’s great having Reese, Nicole, Zoe, Laura and Shailene back, but Streep could single-handedly sink this reunion all by her lonesome.

  3. Hcat says:

    I was just about to write about how much I loved Arnold, Fish Tank is beyond fantastic, but that I didn’t think her style would translate to television. Then I looked it up and it appears she has done some of the high profile work in the last few years. This is how studios shoot themselves in the foot, Focus can’t toss 5 million her way and tell her she can do anything she wants?

  4. movieman says:

    Totally agree, Hcat.
    I’ve loved all of Arnold’s films (I may actually prefer her “Wuthering Heights” to the William Wyler version: high praise indeed).
    I feel the same way about Lynne Ramsay, another fantastic distaff helmer who doesn’t make nearly enough films.

    Glad HBO gave Arnold what I’m sure was a (relatively) high-paying gig.
    Just wish somebody other than Streep had been cast as Skarsgard’s mom.
    (Was David E. Kelley afraid he’d be accused of nepotism if Michelle Pfeiffer–who would’ve been great–had gotten the gig?)

  5. Hcat says:

    Haven’t seen it (don’t have HBO) but from what I’ve seen of the press surrounding it, it sounds like approaching Streep came directly from Witherspoon and Kidman. Also she sounds like a prim conservative, which is a thousand miles away from how I view Pfeiffer, who plays morally compromised damaged goods better than anyone but who I can’t see as the Nurse Ratchet next door type.

  6. movieman says:

    How about Glenn Close (as I suggested in an earlier post)?
    Or Jessica Lange?
    As “AHS” has proven, Lange can pretty much do anything.

  7. Hcat says:

    Both are super talented, Close sounds like she is closest to the role. But C’mon neither has the cultural cachet of adding STREEP! to the series. Half the reason for these series is simply for them to advertise how upscale their programs are. Based on the numbers, there is little chance that this, and other high profile projects like this act as much more than loss leaders, selling the glory of HBO even if people who subscribe aren’t watching.

    They generate a ton of clickbait articles designed to make people think they are missing out on something and get them to subscribe to the service. Meanwhile these are five leading actresses tying up their time with a television project because movies can’t keep them busy.

  8. movieman says:

    I just wish Streep–who’s been on automatic pilot this century (excepting in “Prada” and “Iron Lady”)–wouldn’t automatically get the pick of 95% of the roles available for 50+ actresses.
    Hate to say it, but she’s just not that good anymore.
    And I used to be Streep’s biggest fan/defender.
    I still remember how pissed Kael used to make me when she’d take potshots at “My Meryl.”
    But the cutesiness that’s marred so many of her performances over the past 20 years (e.g., “Prime,” “Mamma Mia,” “It’s Complicated,” “Ricki + the Flash,” even “Angels in America”) has made me actively dread the next Streep vehicle.

  9. Stella's Boy says:

    I could not possibly disagree more re: Streep and Big Little Lies 2. We must be watching different shows. Only explanation I can think of. Streep is fucking outstanding. The little necklace thing she does in episode two. Dear Lord. She is so, so good. Love the way she is playing the role and based on reactions you are in the minority on this one movieman. And season two is excellent. I was fine with it being one-and-done but it’s definitely justifying its existence thus far. I am greatly enjoying watching this cast doing stellar work on Sunday nights. I don’t see the problem.

  10. Christian says:

    Are we doing a Best of the Year So Far thread? Here are my choices, all seen theatrically, from finest to least interesting.

    High Life
    Amazing Grace
    Alita: Battle Angel
    Apollo 11
    Long Shot
    Long Day’s Journey Into Night
    Five Feet Apart
    The Souvenir
    Our Time

    2018 Releases Seen in 2019:

    Made for Cable:

  11. Hcat says:

    I would put Adaptation and Doubt in her win column for the decade as well. I agree that she is not always knocking it out of the park, but I can’t blame her for wanting to choose a goofy project or two. Mamma Mia would not have worked without her (barely works with her). Will forgive her for Ricki since why wouldn’t she want to do another project with Demme, plus she got to sing again. Same with working with Meyers on Complicated, or Ephron on Julia. Denzel doesn’t exactly do the heavy lifting every time out anymore, and I am always done to see him.

  12. movieman says:

    Christian- For reasons mentioned elsewhere, I haven’t seen “High Life,” “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” “Our Time,” “Amazing Grace,” “Transit” or “Diane” yet.
    Hope to see all before year’s end!
    My favorites (so far) this year (in chronological order):

    Never Look Away
    Under the Silver Lake
    Everybody Knows
    Birds of Passage
    The Image Book
    Gloria Bell
    The Souvenir
    Non Fiction
    Her Smell
    Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story
    The Eyes of Orson Welles

    Wish I could still live in my ’80s/’90s Streep bubble when I vigorously defended her work in “She-Devil” and “Falling in Love” (without irony, lol).
    Truth be told, I just can’t stand her anymore.
    Funny you should mention “Adaptation:” that’s the first Streep performance that annoyed me. (I like the movie although it’s my least favorite Spike Jonze.)
    Forgot “Julie and Julia,” Hcat; I actually enjoyed that Streep performance.

    Can’t disagree w/ you more about Streep in “BLL 2,” though, SB.
    It’s the most egregious showboat-y overacting I’ve seen in years.
    I’ve started doing what I do whenever Sarah Huckabee or Kellyanne Conway shows up on my TV screen (during Streep’s scenes): I cast my gaze elsewhere. The ceiling, the left side of the TV set, anywhere but…her.
    The horror.

  13. Hcat says:

    ” I vigorously defended her work in “She-Devil”

    That was you?

    I could never bring myself to actually sit down to watch it and I have a pretty high threshold for cheap looking crap (I recently watched half of UHF on Amazon) but She-Devil was a bridge too far. I still remember the critics cries of WHY?? when it was released. I don’t know how Streep was in the film, but am glad she got to redeem herself nearly immediately with the actually funny Postcards. And it sounds like you were still on board for Death Becomes Her, which I have always enjoyed despite it being a bit bloated.

  14. movieman says:

    Hcat- I adore “Death Becomes Her”!
    And “Postcards.”
    Like I said in an earlier post, me and Meryl didn’t part company until “Adaptation” (in late 2002).

  15. Stella's Boy says:

    The Dead Don’t Die is, well, a movie, I guess. Seemed like a better option than Shaft or MiB: International. That’s probably true, but I can’t say I liked it much. It is so leisurely paced and has so many superfluous characters and seems so pointless. I laughed a few times and the cast is good, but it’s a little too cutesy and ultimately adds up to not a whole lot. Paid $5 and got about $3.50 in entertainment value.

  16. Hcat says:

    Is it blasphemous to say I find Jarmusch hit and miss sometimes within the same film. Stranger Than Paradise is my favorite, but so many of the others seem to move by fits and starts. I still have no idea what the hell was going on with the Limits of Control. I feel creepy saying a movies one redeeming factor is its nudity…but really that was the only part that lifted my eyelids.

  17. movieman says:

    Looking forward to “Don’t Die.”
    Plan on seeing it this weekend on my road trip.
    Agree w/ Hcat that “Paradise” is Jarmusch’s career-high, but I dig all of his movies.
    “Broken Flowers” and his recent-ish Tilda vampire movie are 21st century favorites of mine.

    Note to Christian:
    My plans to see “Last Black Man…” during my vacation were canned when I discovered that its release date (in Durham, NC) was pushed back a week.
    Does that mean A24 is planning one of their wide-ish releases on the 29th?
    Doubtful, especially with “Midsommer” opening (genuinely) wide the following week.
    Probably another DVD for me.

  18. Stella's Boy says:

    I’d say keep expectations low for Dead Don’t Die. Milwaukee is getting Last Black Man in San Fran on the 28th. Looking forward to it.

  19. movieman says:

    Did anyone else watch the Sandler/Aniston “Murder Mystery”?
    Maybe because my expectations were low, but I found it pretty amiable.
    Definitely appreciated the brevity, too (it clocks in at 90 minutes before end credits)…especially in comparison with most streaming movies/series episodes which invariably feel wildly indulgent.

  20. Stella's Boy says:

    Haven’t seen it but I did see Netflix claim that more than 30 million accounts viewed it over the weekend which would translate into one hell of an opening weekend. Looks like they are getting their money’s worth from the Sandler deal.

    Is Anna essentially being dumped due to Besson allegations? I’ve seen the trailer once or twice but for a new wide release it’s hard to believe it’s coming out tomorrow night. And while I’ll see it the same could be said for Child’s Play. The entire marketing campaign consists of posters mocking Toy Story. The ad budget for these movies must be like a few grand at most.

  21. palmtree says:

    Speaking of Netflix, anyone else see I Am Mother? I wouldn’t call it fun, but I enjoyed it as sci-fi boilerplate. And Clara Rugaard seems like a star in the making.

  22. Dr Wally Rises says:

    I Am Mother was intriguing, yes, but to be honest you can feel the movie’s budget straining against its ambition throughout, especially in the last act. Mother it (her) self is clearly a design and software program created for a Neill Blomkamp movie.

    As for Sandler, could it be that he was actually the smartest guy in the room when he signed that Netflix deal? His last major theatrical vehicle was Blended a long five years ago. Yes, his star power had waned a bit from the late ’90’s but he almost always opened a Happy Madison comedy. Sandler was the first major contemporary movie star to go the streaming route in close to the prime of his career. Could it be that he saw the writing on the wall? And could it be that the road that has led Netflix to Scorsese, the Coens, Cuaron, Chandor etc. doesn’t happen if Sandler doesn’t say ‘Yes’ to streaming five years ago?

    Acorns and oaks and all that.

  23. palmtree says:

    I tend to think of Pixels as a Sandler movie too, although maybe you could argue the video games were the stars. But basically he’s the heroic lead. That was four years ago.

  24. movieman says:

    Yeah, “Anna” looks like a dump. Expecting a major omelette when it opens this weekend.

    Speaking of runtimes, a perfect example of the current confusion on precisely how long a movie runs is “Child’s Play.”
    I’ve (alternately) read both 90 minutes (sounds right) and 2 hrs. (much too long for a reboot of a 30-year-old horror franchise).
    What’s the frequency, Chucky?

    Re: Sandler. You could almost say he was responsible for bringing Noah Baumbach under the Netflix umbrella w/ “Meyerowitz Stories.”
    Baumbach’s next film–the untitled one w/ Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson–is Netflix, too.
    Another feather in the former Water Boy’s hat for me.

  25. Hcat says:

    I don’t know how calculated Sandler’s turn to Netflix was, he simply followed his wallet. When the studios wouldn’t kick down (I believe Ridiculous Six was shopped to the majors before landing at Streaming), he just went to Netflix who was willing to buy in bulk. It seems like a higher profile/ more lucrative version of whatever Travolta and Stallone do with Millennium or Willis and that Emmet/Oasis group.

    As for Baumbach, he has always been able to pull in decent size names for his projects, was well reviewed, and was never able to crack 8 million in box office. It is probably refreshing NOT to receive BO reports on your films in that circumstance. As long as he can bring that caliber of talent to a streaming service I am sure he will have a long relationship with Netflix.

  26. movieman says:

    The downside to Baumbach’s indentured servitude to Netflix:
    Probably no Oscars in his foreseeable future.

    Interestingly, Scorsese just struck a deal with Paramount for his next DiCaprio project.
    I love the book it’s based on (“Killers of the Flower Moon”), but it strikes me as less commercial than his DeNiro/Pacino mob movie streaming later this year on Netflix.
    Go figure.

  27. Stella's Boy says:

    That is a fantastic book. And it’s probably more awards friendly. Plus Leo and Scorsese have a pretty good track record.

  28. Hcat says:

    The De Niro Pacino film was up to 1$80 million at last count.It would be a debacle anywhere else. As would have Buster Scruggs and possibly Roma. Netflix is willing to write monster checks for prestige in exchange for these personal projects, that’s why they get the names.

  29. movieman says:

    $180-millon!?!? Egads.
    Why? How?
    Was it because of the CGI required to de-age DeNiro and Pacino for the flashback scenes?
    (That’s the big hook, right?)

    Yeah, Netflix has already spent several massive fortunes on their streaming content.
    No wonder there’s nothing left for the DVD side of their business anymore.

  30. Stella's Boy says:

    I think the CGI is part of it and it was sort of ominous recently when Scorsese admitted that they’re all pretty worried about how the de-aging is going to look. Almost like it could be a total debacle and they’re still not sure. Some people are probably feeling relieved they passed on it. But still, can’t wait to see it.

  31. Hcat says:

    So the recent history seems to be that it was originally set up at Paramount who seems to have been pretty good to Scorsese for the past few years, but once the budget started climbing over 100 and they couldn’t get a co-financier they put it in turnaround and Netflix swooped in. A straight theatrical release would have to do like 4-500 million WW to break even, and Scorsese has never topped 400 (and never topped 200 without Leo).

    I am glad he gets to make a passion project, just as I am glad the Coens and Cuaron got to make offbeat projects without having to worry about commercial viability.

  32. Bulldog68 says:

    Netflix certainly has its strongest potential Emmy chances with When They See Us. At this point in the year between that and HBO’s Chernobyl, I honestly don’t know which one I’d vote for. They are so tremendously effective at pushing different emotional buttons.

  33. leahnz says:

    will there be an i-told-you-so post thread about winter and the shortest day with a picture of a floofy cat

  34. leahnz says:

    the frog is boiled

  35. movieman says:

    This is still the arthouse post, right?
    I watched Jacques Rivette’s “The Nun” on Blu-Ray over the weekend and thought it was fantastic.
    Nothing about the movie says “1966.” (Which, by and large, isn’t something you can say about pretty much every other mid-’60s release.)
    I’m not sure whether that was because of the late 18th century period setting which automatically gives it a kind of timelessness, the gorgeous restoration job or something magical and less immediately definable.
    Although it premiered at the ’66 Cannes Film Festival, if you didn’t know better you’d have sworn it had its world premiere last month in Cannes.

    P.S.= It’s also one of Rivette’s most accessible movies.

  36. Christian says:

    MM: You bought that disc as part of the recent Kino Lorber sale, I take it? I had placed a few titles in my shopping cart, in hopes I might get some Father’s Day cash to put toward a purchase. I didn’t get Father’s Day cash – I look for hoped-for income where I can, although family cards and some K-cups from my kids make me happier than any Blu-ray ever could – and so I didn’t order. I think I had Kustirica’s “Underground” in my cart as well. I’m actually slated to see a recent restoration of “Underground” this month in Maryland with a friend, but the Blu-ray includes the original TV version, which has several hours of additional content. Anyway, I ended up not getting that one either.

  37. movieman says:

    Christian- Yep, “The Nun,” was the Kino-Lorber release.
    Highly recommended.
    I haven’t seen a restored print of a ’60s movie that looked as spring-time fresh (and felt damn near contemporary) since a (Paramount, I think) DVD of Attenborough’s “Oh! What a Lovely War” a decade or more ago.

    I hadn’t realized there was a (super) extended cut of Kusturica’s “Underground.”
    Loved the version that was released back in the ’90s.
    Speaking of which, it’s sad that “Black Cat, White Cat” was the last Kusturica released in the U.S.
    He’s still very much alive (I checked IMDB), and turning out films (and docs) at a furious clip.

  38. Christian says:

    That is odd! Although “Black Cat White Cat” is where I jumped off the Kustirica train that I’d only recently then boarded. (Saw “Underground” during its U.S. theatrical release, “Black Cat, White Cat” at Filmfest DC a few (?) years later.) In fact, when I watched Kustirica’s earlier stuff on video, I was underwhelmed by the acclaimed “When Father Was Away on Business” but rather enamored with “Time of the Gypsies,” likely because the latter had, if memory serves, the more robust visual style I had by then associated with the filmmaker.

  39. movieman says:

    A personal favorite is Kusturica’s American-made “Arizona Dream” w/ Johnny Depp, Jerry Lewis, Faye Dunaway, Lili Taylor, Vincent Gallo, et al.
    It was barely released by WB in 1994, and never picked up the cult following I assumed was its eventual fate (and due), if solely because of that wildly eclectic cast.
    That’s a shame because I remember loving it at the time.

    Pretty sure I saw “Black Cat” at the ’98 NYFF (it might have even been the “centerpiece” movie that year).
    I liked every Kusturica that I’ve seen (“Arizona,” “Underground” and “Gypsies” are probably my top picks).
    Weird how he’s been virtually forgotten after being a Smart Critic’s Mafia pet not that many years ago.

  40. Christian says:

    Yeah, MM, I remember renting “Arizona Dream” and liking it, though it was reviled at the time. I believe it went straight to video. But it was pretty good, if memory serves!

  41. movieman says:

    I remember seeing “Arizona Dream” in a theater (it had a very limited release, however so it was essentially dumped by WB who clearly had no idea how to market it).
    Would be interested in checking it out again; not sure whether it’s been released on DVD or not.

  42. movieman says:

    “Midsommar” is as much of a freakout as “Hereditary,” but JFC: did it REALLY
    have to be 145 minutes?
    There might be a small masterpiece buried somewhere underneath Aster’s hubris.
    But the run time wore me out (that and the lack of AC in the f***ing auditorium).
    Aster could have easily trimmed a good 45 minutes, and it would’ve only strengthened the movie.
    Pugh is dependably fine (of course), and it was nice to see that Reynor dropped the excess weight that made him look so unhealthy in “Detroit” and “Sing Street.”

  43. Stella's Boy says:

    Not surprised to hear that. I thought Hereditary was too long at 127 minutes. Looking forward to Crawl and its 87 minutes.

  44. movieman says:

    Agree about “Hereditary” being too long as well.
    But compared to “Midsommar,” it’s a hop and a skip in the park. (Is that even a thing? If not, sorry, but you get my point.)

  45. Christian says:

    Wow, yeah, “Midsommar” is, or at least becomes, a slog. The worst sin a movie like that can commit, I think, is to exhaust/frustrate its audience well before the story gets to its big final moment/sequence.

    I spent a good amount of time trying to focus on the few things about the film that I liked, or at least thought worked, but at some point around the 100-minute mark, I gave up. I had found the sickening violence gratuitous (I thought it might have a point by the end, but if so, it escaped me), and while I appreciated that the film becomes less about the men than about its female protagonist, I kept wondering why the male lead seemed like such a cold, uninteresting fish. I’ve read some arguments about the power dynamic in the central relationship, but it didn’t make watching the male lead any more interesting. And the movie is So. Very. Long.

    Also, I don’t expect supporting characters in horror films to fare well, but “Midsommar” invested a lot of time in developing people that don’t really factor into the development of the story. I don’t want to say too much about this for fear of spoilers, but even by the standards of genre fare, I felt like “Midsommar” cheated its viewers of some potential character arcs and possible plot developments. I might not make note of this were I not so disappointed by everything else in the film.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon