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BYO Elaine May Takes A Tony


20 Responses to “BYO Elaine May Takes A Tony”

  1. Glamourboy says:

    Thanks. The West Coast telecast doesn’t start until 8pm so good to know you are going to be revealing the winners early…

  2. Triple Option says:

    I can’t remember when it was but I believe it was AFI was giving a lifetime achievement award to Mike Nichols and of course Elaine May was one of the ones who spoke. She was nothing short of brilliant! She read a letter that was supposedly written by Einstein to Nichols that was not only scholarly brilliant (yes, that word again) but comic gold! I didn’t really her story, like if there were some personal reasons why we weren’t being constantly fed from her mind, but I just shook my head over what coulda or shoulda been.

  3. movieman says:

    Very happy about Sam Mendes’ “Ferryman” win.
    Mendes is this generation’s Mike Nichols: a master in both film and theater.

  4. palmtree says:

    Bryan Cranston seems like a shoo-in for an EGOT. The Grammy would come from reading an audio book. And unless he decides to quit films, an Oscar feels like a matter of time.

  5. Ray Pride says:


  6. Glamourboy says:

    movieman, have you ever read the Arthur Laurents biography where he trashes Sam Mendes, who directed the Bernadette Peter’s Gypsy? He goes in full hater mode calling him untalented and difficult.

  7. movieman says:

    Why not, Ray?
    I love “Day of the Dolphin” and “Away We Go.”

    Nope, haven’t read the Laurents book, Glamour.

  8. Hcat says:

    I absolutely love Away We Go, some of the supporting perfs are a little much, but Mendes has never shown that much warmth or humanity before or since. Krasinski was playing very much to his type at the time, but Rudolph was a delight, I had never really noticed her before then.

    (sideways glance) Mr. Pride, Pashaw.

  9. movieman says:

    I recently watched “Day of the Dolphin” again on TCM: hadn’t seen it since 1974.
    I’d avoided it for decades, fearing that it wouldn’t hold up to the warm and fuzzy memories I had for it as a 15-year-old.
    But it was every bit as good as I remembered.
    “Fa loves Pa” still gives my tear ducts a workout.

    As for Mendes, I don’t think he’s made a bad or uninteresting film yet.
    I always said the same thing about Nichols, although “Regarding Henry” IS a terrible movie. (I’ve always blamed J.J. Abrams’ horrible screenplay.)
    Curiously, “American Beauty” might be my least favorite Mendes.
    “Revolutionary Road” is definitely the most underrated. “Spectre” and (especially) “Skyfall” are hand’s down my favorite 007 movies.

  10. Hcat says:

    Day of the Dolphin might be his most notorious flop, but Nichols has certainly made worse or at least less interesting films. I hardly remember Dolphin, but I remember the laborious What Planet Are You From, or the lackluster Biloxi. When someone of Nichols stature fails he should fail BIG. Catch 22 big (not that 22 is a poor film, best that could be expected really).

    I agree that RR is underrated, its about time for Kate and Leo to find another project. Never liked Titanic but they are dynamite together.

  11. Hcat says:

    Looking over Nichols filmography you can easily point out the jobs taken to pay the bills.

    Regarding Henry
    What Planet are You From

    all of them feel sort of generic assembly line pictures. Heartburn is really not that distinctive of other Paramount movies of that time, same goes with Henry. Working Girl and Birdcage were certainly studio projects but they crackled with an energy that set them apart. Colors and Charlie Wilson were a little on the shaggy side but had a strong pulse underneath, while not perfect you could tell they had true talent in front and behind the cameras.

  12. movieman says:

    I could make a reasonable defense for all of those Nichols movies (excepting “Henry,” of course), Hcat.

    For my money, “Biloxi” is the most successful of Simon’s stage-to-stage adaptation because it’s the only one that actually feels like a movie rather than a filmed stage play.
    Nicholson, Beatty and a shoulda-made-her-a-star Stockard Channing performance? Priceless.
    Nicholson and Streep’s first pairing (at a time when Streep still could do no wrong)? Wouldn’t have missed it for the world. And the supporting cast is gold-plated.
    “What Planet?” had the post-HBO Shandling and a positively glowing Annette Benning: hardly a masterpiece, but pleasurable nonetheless.

    On paper, “Wolf” looked like a director-for-hire gig. It’s anything but. Probably in my top-tier of Nichols movies.

  13. Stella's Boy says:

    I like everything of Mendes that I’ve seen (haven’t seen Spectre), but Jarhead is the movie of his I’ve seen the least and the one I saw least recently. How does it hold up?

    Wolf is a fun flick. They don’t make them like that anymore.

  14. Hcat says:

    Benning carried Planet completely on her shoulders, she was fantastic in it. No matter how ill conceived a film she can always deliver a fantastic line reading (see Running With Scissors, or actually just take my word for it on that one).

    I found Heartburn rather choppy, and given the stellar cast and the heavyweight priciples behind the camera, I just expected something more. A Terms of Endearment or Children of a Lesser God type experience.

    I agree that Biloxi breaks its stagebound restraints admirably, much better and spoken more naturalistically than Brighton the previous year. But the material it delivered seemed routine.

    And it has been so long since I have seen The Fortune I should have left it out of my comments. It is possible that I am remembering it in one lump with Harry and Walter Go to New York and Nickelodeon.

    Its been decades since I have seen any of the films I am marking as routine so, grain of salt and all.

    “They don’t make them like that anymore”

    A big budget summer tentpole with a libido matured past the seventh grade? Imagine.

  15. Stella's Boy says:

    Concur re: Bening. Running With Scissors is a good example. Don’t like the movie or remember much about it, but I remember her and the way she delivers the line about giving her husband a medal.

  16. movieman says:

    Still holding out hope that Bening will receive an Oscar one day.
    Still can’t believe she wasn’t nominated for “20th Century Woman.”

    Hey, don’t knock “Nickelodeon” (another Bogdanovich masterpiece in my book) or “Harry and Walter,” Hcat.
    I spent 10 days in NYC in June 1976–it was my post-high school graduation trip (by myself!), ostensibly to check out NYU where I was enrolled for the fall–
    and saw “H&W” twice (yes, twice) at Radio City.
    Of course, I was head over heels in love w/ Diane Keaton at the time, and her “We’re robbing this bank in the name of decency!” line positively slayed me.
    Still chuckle thinking about it today. Although, truth be told, I haven’t seen it since then. Probably worried (pace “DOTD”) that it wouldn’t hold up to my rose-colored memories.
    Btw, that same trip I also saw “The Man Who Fell to Earth” twice. Still my favorite Nic Roeg.

    P.S.= I’ve always felt that “Mad Men” (which premiered six months beforehand) stole “Revolutionary Road”‘s thunder. Maybe if Mendes had rushed it out for Xmas 2007 (which was entirely possible: the film was shot in the summer of ’07) it would have made the impact it deserved to. Or perhaps it might have seemed unfinished/rushed. Who really knows?
    Haven’t seen “Jarhead” since its original release, but remember liking it very much at the time.

  17. Hcat says:

    Am a bit younger movieman, my love of Keaton came a bit later. Was wondering if you’ve seen I Do I Do for Now? Its Keaton and Gould I believe, I was thinking of trying to track it down somehow but want to know if it is worth it.

    It is entirely probable that your seeing these in the theater as opposed to my watching them on pan and scan encore on a rainy day years down the line contributes to the different level of enthusiasm we feel for these films. Jealous of your whole trip. That must have been extraordinary.

    Stella, that is exactly the line I was thinking about. The one I remember from Planet was the “I have to get myself in a better place emotionally before I have a child because I have seriously messed up my cat.” Delivered with that wonderfully subtle head nod that she does.
    Just perfection.

    And what do we do with that talent now? Supporting role in a comic book movie.

  18. movieman says:

    Not even my Keaton-worship could make me like “I Will! I Will!,” Hcat.
    Can’t recommend it unless you’re as much of a Keaton completist as I am. (Hence my seeing “Poms” at first-run admission prices last month. Yikes.)

    Recall seeing it–guess I’m on a memory lane trip today, lol–back to back w/ “Next Stop, Greenwich Village” on a Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon in March 1976.
    Loved the Mazursky; recoiled at the Gould/Keaton pairing.
    The thing that stood out to me at the time was how repulsed I was at the prospect of Keaton canoodling with Paul Sorvino.

  19. YancySkancy says:

    Re Biloxi Blues: Casting Christopher Walken as a drill sergeant was incredibly counter-intuitive, but it worked like gangbusters.

  20. spassky says:

    “The Fortune” is better than anything Mendes has ever made besides “RR”

    “Regarding Henry” is worth it for the Ritz crackers and awful JJ cameo.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin