Politics Archive for March, 2009

Not Even Remotely Surprising

So, I’m just catching up with this whole non-issue of an initial NC-17 smackdown for Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno; sorry, but this is A) not news and B) not even remotely surprising to anyone who saw Borat, and certainly not to those of us who saw the 22-minute preview clips at SXSW recently. What we saw there was shocking and subversive and completely brilliant, and I have no idea how Cohen has managed to avoid being killed by some pissed-off redneck yet. He’s pushing the envelope far harder with Bruno (at least based on what we saw in the clips — I have no idea what he’s up to in the rest of the film we haven’t seen yet) than he did even with Borat, and I can’t wait to cringe through the entire thing.
Also, the studio folks are probably not completely stupid, and they know it’s going to have to be trimmed down to get it to an R. I want to see the uncut version eventually though, to see what gets excised out make way for the politics of the R rating.

Who Wants to Go to North Korea for Spring Break? I do, I do!

I love things that make me laugh, especially if they make fun of countries led by crazy evil dictators. Heck, who doesn’t?
And if you love evil dictators who, among other things, kidnap filmmakers to force them to make bad movies, this article, titled, “6 Reasons North Korea is the Funniest Evil Dictatorship Ever” is a must read:
“A film buff himself, Kim Jong-il has actually authored a text-book on the subject, a title that is required reading for all film students who are actually CIA agents. Thus, Kim decided that he was just going to have to create great North Korean cinema himself. . .
The Ridiculous Solution:
. . .By kidnapping a famous director and his recently estranged actress wife from South Korea, and forcing them to make, amongst other things, the communist version of Godzilla.”

I once had a chance to see Pulgasari at some film festival (Seattle, maybe?) and missed it. Still kicking myself over that.
Go on, read the rest of the article, it’s all funny as hell … so long as you don’t have to live in North Korea. And don’t forget to go check out the official North Korea website, where, in addition to being dazzled by the amazing web design, you can learn all about how North Korea does not, in fact, oppress homosexuals and join the Korean Friendship Association!
All you need is 50 Euros … and a photocopy of your passport, so they know where to find you. Ahem. And don’t think you can beat the system by just printing your own membership card, either. You can’t fool them.
Oh, and hat tip to Ann Arbor Film Fest‘s Christen McArdle who, in spite of running an awesome fest that kicks off in two days, still found time to light up our gloomy lives by sharing this link.

The Few, the Proud … the Movie Previews?

I’m spending a couple days in Oklahoma City visiting my dad on my way to Austin for SXSW. So tonight we went to see Taken with (more on that later), and when the previews started, we were treated to not one, but two ads for the military — one Air Force Reserves, one Marines. I can’t recall ever seeing military ads during previews for films in Seattle … am I just blocking here? Or is this a regional thing?


Where the Girls Are

Remember the controversial Annie Liebovitz Vanity Fair cover from March 2006? You know, the one with a nude Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley artfully arranged on black velvet, while fully clothed male fashion designer Tom Ford leaned behind Knightley, looking as though he’s whispering naughty nothings in Knightley’s ear. Yes, that one.
In the current issue of Vanity Fair, as a part of a larger piece on comedy’s role during the recession, Liebovitz contributed a photograph of Seth Rogen, Jason Segal, Jonah Hill and Paul Rudd, posed in parody shot of the March 2006 cover, with Rogen, Segal and Hill in nude bodysuits while Rudd plays the role of a leering Tom Ford.
A couple days ago MaryAnn Johanson, Writing for Alliance of Women Film Journalists, raised some interesting points (full disclaimer: the same article includes a mention of a recent Voynaristic column) about how the two photos highlight the difference in the way male versus female nudity is treated by the media.
Specifically, says Johanson, “Well, Vanity Fair has apparently decided that it wasn’t enough to treat women like meat. Now, it’s highlighting Hollywood’s deeply and ridiculously unfair double standard about men’s and women’s bodies with a new “naked” photo shoot.” Johanson has an interesting take, and you should check out what she has to say.
However, you might find it surprising that I’m going to disagree with her — not about Hollywood’s double standard, but about whether these specific photos are, in fact, reflective of it.

Read the full article »


The Collections Biz is Going to be Mighty Rough the Next Few Years …

I’m betting people who work as “debt collectors” are going to be more loathed than lawyers and financial advisors over the next few years, as more and more families are forced to let medical bills and other debts slide to keep a roof over their kids’ heads and food on the table. Not that it’s a job I’d want to have in any circumstance, but I sure wouldn’t want it right now.
Right now Jay and I are both still employed (knock wood) and socking back what we can. We’re planning to grow a “Victory Over the Recession Garden” with the kids over the spring and summer, to save on our grocery bill. We haven’t yet had to tell any bill collectors to “take it out of our ass” yet, but in this economy? No promises.
And so, from Daily Kos … your laugh of the day:

I owe your client money? Mr. Debt Collection Agency Guy for the child delivery doctors office / health insurance whatever.
Of course you can collect it. You can come collect it right now from My Ass.

Read the entire article right here.

The Daily Show vs CNBC

Who wins? Please. Not even a contest ….

1 Comment »


Quote Unquotesee all »

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