Quoted

Boo!

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We are big. It’s the Advertising that got small.


“With 100 million daily readers, newspapers are a tremendous scoring opportunity”
– A group called the “Newspaper Project” making the case that news on the printed page is not on the verge of extinction.

I will find you. And I will Kill You.

“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”
– Liam Neeson in Taken, opening January 30, 2009

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Science and men

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

We were never special …

“For years I thought we’ve shared this secret that we would be wonderful in the world. I don’t know exactly how, but just the possibility kept me hoping. How pathetic is that? So stupid. To put all your hopes in a promise that was never made. Frank knows what he wants, he found his place, he’s just fine. Married, two kids, it should be enough. It is for him. And he’s right; we were never special or destined for anything at all.”
– Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road – opening wide, January 23, 2009

Reactions to Just Being Nominated


I was in my living room (at his home in Rhode Island) having a cup of coffee, and my son’s father-in-law called me. … He said, ‘Way to go.’ And I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘You not watch it?’ I said, ‘Really?’ I was truly floored.
— Richard Jenkins, best-actor nominee for The Visitor
It feels surreal. I just got a call from [onetime costar] Javier Bardem in Spain, and he was flipping out and screaming. The reality is I got up at 5:55 here in Utah and looked at the clock and figured the nominations were announced and it didn’t happen. I said to myself, ‘That’s OK, I can deal with it.’ Then I realized there’s a one-hour time difference.
— Josh Brolin, supporting-actor nominee for Milk

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Economics

“Did you ever think that making a speech on economics is a lot like pissing down your leg? It seems hot to you, but it never does to anyone else.”
– President Lyndon Johnson

Smarting

Well, you’ve done your job, so I don’t suppose I can kill your wife Zenat. Although frankly I’d be doing the sighted world a favor.
– Siegfried

The last page

I always read the last page of a book first so that if I die before I finish I’ll know how it turned out.
– Nora Ephron

An Army of Ideas

A stand can be made against invasion by an army; no stand can be made against invasion by an idea.
– Victor Hugo

Hulking

We got a case of gamma poisoning in Milwaukee. A man drank one of those health soda drinks – guess it had a bit more kick than he was looking for…
– The Incredible Hulk

Heroism

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.
It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,
but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.
~ Arthur Ashe

Lofty Ideas from a Master

A lofty idea must be had,
not of what one is doing, but of what one may some day do.
Otherwise there is no point in working on.
– Degas (at age 70)

Wonder

Wonder, rather than doubt, is the root of knowledge.
~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

The universe …

The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
– Eden Phillpots

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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