1973: Pictures of a Counterrevolution

Supporting Actress Smackdown reviews the nominees for 1973, the year of The Exorcist, American Graffiti, and The Sting. What made my eyebrows arch was how the vaunted New Hollywood bore no influence over this set of nominations, and even the nominations for Candy Clark, Tatum O’Neal, and Madeline Kahn were in films in which theirContinue reading “1973: Pictures of a Counterrevolution”

The collapse of animus towards homosexuals

When I came out in the summer of ’99 the reactions from friends ranged from mild elation to indifference. They’d understood the truth months before I did (only one friend, a mild and quasi-closeted bisexual, got indignant). My family came later. But the animus that newly out homosexuals face was not my experience. I respondedContinue reading “The collapse of animus towards homosexuals”

On My Way

In French film, families resolve differences over a shout and a smoke. On My Way has some shouting but a lot of cigarettes. Violating in glorious fashion unspoken rules about acceptable behavior for aging actresses, Catherine Denueve wears no makeup and spends almost two hours begging for smokes without losing savoir faire. Deneuve’s calm isn’tContinue reading “On My Way”

“I have to find doctors who will treat me out of charity.”

I hear about this a lot: When Angel Cardenas, a single mother with a modest income, was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago, she struggled to pay for her treatment, which ultimately involved a double mastectomy. Although Cardenas initially qualified for Medicaid, that coverage was withdrawn after her 16-year-old daughter moved out ofContinue reading ““I have to find doctors who will treat me out of charity.””

Ralph Nader and the collapse of the Democratic left

Every few weeks one of these gets commissioned and an editor publishes it: the sick soul of the Democratic Party gets exorcised from its suppurating host. Bill Curry’s piece has incoherences: traditional populists of both parties didn’t believe in raising taxes, according to him, yet Elizabeth Warren probably does but can’t say so unless sheContinue reading “Ralph Nader and the collapse of the Democratic left”

Suspicious of a shape: Jenny Lewis and Shabazz Palaces

Jenny Lewis – The Voyager Intelligence, terrific interview subject, humor – I understand the fascination. On the first album released under her name since 2008, Jenny Lewis enlists Ryan Adams to produce a series of stop-motion comics about partying and aging in the Los Angeles sunlight. Song after song is intelligent, funny, and she canContinue reading “Suspicious of a shape: Jenny Lewis and Shabazz Palaces”

Under The Skin: high-toned schlock

The film opens in Tarkovsky-indebted darkness, which lasts as long as it takes a dot to grow bigger and absorb it, then metamorphose into rings and what look like space ships. Mica Levi’s score buzzes like angry wasps. Cut to a man on a motorbike seen in extreme long shot picking up the body ofContinue reading “Under The Skin: high-toned schlock”

Norm Ornstein: “”What flipped me over was the debt ceiling hostage-taking”

In 2012 Norm Ornstein co-wrote a book tracing how batshit the right wing has become in the last quarter century. Guess what — no Sunday morning talk shows wanted to host him or collaborator Thomas E. Mann. I can only speculate. Perhaps their conclusions contradicted several decades of political journalism whereby Both Sides Make MistakesContinue reading “Norm Ornstein: “”What flipped me over was the debt ceiling hostage-taking””

Singles 7/25

The year’s best writing appeared in Friday’s blurbs on Maddie & Tae, Kira Isabella, and Maggie Rose. Three responses to being characters in songs by male singer-songwriters in which they figure as legs or nostalgia pieces, and in “Quarterback” the pathological result of amounting to no more than legs or nostalgia. We weren’t fooled byContinue reading “Singles 7/25”

Rick Scott: I’m not a scientist

Charlie Crist may have blown his lede, but these polls at least acknowledge that Florida’s goin’ under: Nearly eight in 10 likely Florida voters want limits on carbon pollution from power plants and as many as 71 percent say they’re concerned about climate change, according to a new poll conducted for an environmental group duringContinue reading “Rick Scott: I’m not a scientist”

Boyhood: Aging at a glance

Instead of a review of Boyhood with synopsis in the conventional way, a couple of points: 1. I hadn’t expected Mason (Ellar Coltrane) to be such a fascinating camera subject as a teenager. Of thin waist, legs as long as pipe cleaners, pug nose, and small mouth with puckered lips, his body is still signalingContinue reading “Boyhood: Aging at a glance”