By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Film Critic Adam Nayman

“When I first wrote about Ben Wheatley in that piece on Kill List for Cinema Scope, I just remember finishing it and thinking that I can’t wait to see this guy’s next film and to write on it. The book in some ways was born there, just by thinking, ‘What an interesting career to keep tabs on.’ To your question about why write a book, timing has a lot to do with it. Let’s put it this way: there are no two films that I’ve had more anxiety to sit and watch than High-Rise and Free Fire. When I started writing it I hadn’t even seen High-Rise. When I finished I’d just barely seen Free Fire. Now there’s this rumor that Wheatley may be doing a Frank Miller adaptation for Warner Bros. But when the opportunity came about, I thought it was exciting to write about a young director whose career is still in formation. This is not to compare Wheatley to Godard or me to Richard Roud, but Roud wrote book-length texts on directors like Godard in the mid-60s. There’s something to be said about an early career overview, getting in on the ground floor. It’s a matter of deciding that the subject is worth it. If Wheatley’s body of work remains interesting and he becomes as major a figure as I suspect he could, it’s the satisfaction of becoming part of the received wisdom. Whereas the Showgirls book was the inverse of that, an attempt to overcome the received wisdom by taking a long, hard look in the rearview mirror at something.”
~ Film Critic Adam Nayman

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“Last night’s Oscar bizarreness was not just bizarre but bizarre in a way that is typical of this entirely bizarre time. The rhythm of the yes-they-won-oh-my-God-no-they-didn’t event, with La La Land replaced by Moonlight as Best Picture, was weirdly like that of… Election Night. First, a more or less expected, if “safe,” result was on its way—though Hillary Clinton never got all the way to the stage, so to speak, the result did seem safely in hand at 7pm., according to the polling—and the expected and safe people were ready to deliver their touching but obviously polished pieces. Then the sudden confusion and visible near-panic of people running around in the backgroun, with the same slightly horrified spirit that one felt on Election Night as shocking results began emerging from exurban counties in Florida. Then, yes—can this be happening?—the revised and unexpected result.

“In this case, obviously, the result was positive to all but the poor La La Land producers, with their earnest and spouse-approved speeches already delivered. Moonlight was no Donald Trump of cinema, and obviously a popular favorite. But the rhythm of the night was disconcertingly the same, and the sheer improbability of the happenstance scarily alike. Nothing like this has remotely happened before. This wasn’t just a minor kerfuffle. This was a major malfunction. Trump cannot be President. People don’t say “Grab ’em by the pussy” and get elected President. Can’t happen. In the same way, while there have been Oscar controversies before—tie votes and rejected trophies—never before has there been an occasion when the entirely wrong movie was given the award, the speeches delivered, and then another movie put in its place. That doesn’t happen. Ever.

“And so both of these bizarre events put one in mind of a simple but arresting thesis: that we are living in the Matrix, and something has gone wrong with the controllers. This idea was, I’m told, put forward first and most forcibly by the NYU philosopher David Chalmers: what is happening lately, he says, is proof that we are living in a computer simulation and that something has recently gone haywire within it. The people or machines or aliens who are supposed to be running our lives are having some kind of breakdown. There’s a glitch, and we are in it. There may be not merely a glitch in the Matrix. There may be a Loki, a prankster, suddenly running it.”
~ Adam Gopnik

“I think they were focused so hard on politics that they didn’t get the act together at the end,” President Trump said. “It was a little sad. It took away from the glamour of the Oscars. It didn’t feel like a very glamorous evening. I’ve been to the Oscars. There was something very special missing, and then to end that way was sad.”
~ Trump Offers Breitbart Exclusive On His Thinking About Oscar