Lancelot Links postsSunday March 10, 2013
- The Chuck Hagel confirmation was a while back but I never saw this post on the 538 site until a few days ago. Generally, Defense Secretaries get 90 or more votes in their confirmation; Hagel got 58. Put it this way: the most amount of “Nay” votes for a confirmed Defense Secretary (John Tower didn't make the cut) was for Casper Weinberger back in 1981. Just two. Hagel got 41. All Republicans. It's a partisan vote but the naysayers are from Hagel's own party.
- My friend Ben had his head operated on in late January to relieve a facial convulsion. There were complications. Now he's blogging about it. Please read.
- Linda Greenhouse in the New York Times assumes the U.S. Supreme Court will rule a major provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. “Years from now,” she writes, “when the Supreme Court has come to its senses, justices then sitting will look back on the spring of 2013 in bewilderment. On what basis, they will wonder, did five conservative justices, professed believers in judicial restraint, reach out to grab the authority that the framers of the post-Civil War 14th and 15th Amendments had vested in Congress ...” (Emphasis mine.) She also takes to task Justices Scalia (for his sarcasm) and Roberts (for his suspect statistics).
- This is pretty damn funny: The comic strip “Unshelved.”
- One of my favorite actors is joining the cast of one of my favorite shows. So nice when that happens.
- That Chris Stark interview of Mila Kunis that everyone loves? Most love Kunis. The New Yorker applauds Stark.
- I've ragged on Jeff Wells in the past—he has a tendency to prejudge movies, then sticks to his guns to sometimes-absurd lengths—but he's right about “The Searchers.” It's not that great.
- Wells also directed me to this Economist article on the economic state of the movie industry. It's not all “Avengers.” I'm particularly intrigued by the graph showing rentals and sales in home entertainment switching positions since 1998: sales dominated the market back then; now it's rentals. We're not an ownership society anymore. This has its advantages. Less stuff to take to the dump, for one.
- Did you know there's a tumblr site that displays screenshots before the special effects were added? It's called BeforeFX (appropriately) and it's got some cool ones, such as Harvey Dent acting Two-Face but with a full face. Mostly, though, it's got a lot of green: the green screen that leads to green. P.S. Shouldn't they juxtapose the BeforeFX shot with the AfterFX shot? Or is that a different Tumblr site?
- In the interest of full disclosure: that screen crush post from earlier in the week? I realized I left out two recent crushes: Carey Mulligan and Mia Wasikowska. Here they are (third from left, fourth from right) on that annual “hot actresses” Vanity Fair cover, this one from 2010:
Third from left, fourth from right.
- Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing? Say it's so. Make it so. The problem with i09's article? They contrast the role with Cumberbatch's turn as Sherlock Holmes when they should compare it to the work he did on “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” That's the role where the movie's producers probably went, “Hey, why not him?”
- The website Scouting New York goes back to all the locations in Woody Allen's “Annie Hall.” Which reminds me: I need some eggs.
- There were a lot of dudes when I was growing up but Joe Namath was the dudeiest of the dudes: professional athlete, B-movie star (not that we differentiated), sex symbol, fumanchu-moustache wearer. Plus he got to hang with Farrah. For the Wall Street Journal, of all papers, Namath recalls his 1960s Manhattan bachelor pad.
- Ed Koch, movie critic.
- We've found our Sharon Carter for the next Captain America movie: Emily VanCamp. Nice belt, darling. Now don't fuck this up, everybody. The story is in the time lost. And it's not 18 years (1945-63) as it was in the comics. It's nearly 60 years. You've got a superpowered 20-year-old virgin, born in 1925 but living in 2013. Don't forget any aspect of this.
- I actually applied for this job but it's nice that it went to a great writer and critic.
- The Florida doc PED scandal continues. With Jesus Montero? Man, if that's how he hits with PEDs, I cringe to think how he does without them.
- The New Yorker's John Cassidy on how what we're doing with the fiscal crisis (austerity; cutting the budget; raising payroll taxes) is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. To quote Joe Henry in the song “Dirty Magazine”: “Just tell me everything I've heard before. Like it was news. Like it was news.”
Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing? Make it so.
- I vaguely remember this song, “I Love Onions,” from when I was a kid. It was a popular kitschy, mid-60s song. Was it riding the wave of “When I'm 64” or was Paul riding its wave? The startling info here is that the singer is Jacki Weaver, who plays Bradley Cooper's mom, and Robert De Niro's wife, in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Originally Australian. She's cute. That's the point. A few years ago, she got an Oscar nonination for “Animal Kingdom”? I don't remember that. Also nom'ed for “SLP,” of course. She and everyone. Shame.
- Rick Perlstein reports on a libertarian who comes in from the cold. What turned him? Working at a bookstore, of course. In my mind, everyone should work a year of customer service. I think it would eliminate a lot of dickish behavior in our society. I don't think libertarians are dickish, necessarily; I just think most of them are hopelessly naive about corporate life and human nature.
- In a recent column, Thomas Friedman told us that the world wasn't just connected but “hyper-connected.” He said it as if it was news. Gawker then gave us 14 examples of Friedman using “hyper-connected” in a similar context during the last two years, before following with, “We get it.”
- Chris Nolan is forgiven: He likes “The Thin Red Line.”
- I really wish the Danish version of “The Killing” was available on Netflix, Netflix.
- Eighteen days until the Blu-Ray release of Michael Mann's “The Insider,” one of the best movies of the last 20 years. I'm so there. I might even have to update this paltry review.
- The main Talk of the Town piece a few weeks ago was by Jeffrey Toobin and about voting rights and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and what the Roberts court might do to it. Toobin calls it “the most effective law of its kind in the history of the United States” but knows John, Antonin, Clarence and Samuel aren't fans of Section Five. Necessary reading.
- NY Times headline: 'That Cuddy Kitty of Yours is a Killer.' Not to get all first grade about this, but no duh. Sure, the number of kills is impressive (Yearly: 2.4 billion birds, 12.3 billion mammals) but the headline itself won't be news, and is in fact insulting, to anyone who owns a cat. We named ours Jellybean, which is a cute name, and Jellybean is a cute cat. She's an indoors cat, too. We live on a busy thoroughfare, second floor. She prowls the hallway and hangs out on the overhang about the front doorway. But we're not fooled. Birds show up in the trees outside the living room and her mouth trembles and quivers. She can taste blood.
- And I thought I wrote long reviews. And I thought I disliked the Clint Eastwood movie “Trouble with the Curve,” which was No. 1 on my Five Worst Movies of the Year list. Then I read Joe Posnanski's takedown. Ouch.
- I was always a fan of “The Andy Griffith Show.” I thought it was generally underrated when talking about good, early sitcoms. So I was tickled when I saw this on Facebook the other day. It also happens to be true. I followed the name along the side, Mojopo, and I'm now following her on Twitter.
- Interesting juxtapositon of baseball articles in the Sunday New York Times the other day. On page 8, there was a short memoir piece by Joseph Burgess on finding, and then losing, the Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card. It's all about a love of Junior.
- On page 7, meanwhile, an investigative piece by Michael S. Schmidt and David Waldstein suggests Junior's old teammate, Alex Rodriguez, who passed Junior in career homeruns last year for fifth place, is seeing a doctor in Florida who may be associated with administering human growth hormone. Are the Yankees trying to cut A-Rod loose? Is A-Rod just clumsy? Is the article a misunderstanding? He's had injuries, sure. But wouldn't steroid use and HGH make A-Rod less likely to be injured, rather than more? Either way, we've come a long way since A-Rod and Junior, both so young, hit 2nd and 3rd in the M's lineup. A-Rod's tarnished and still suspect; Junior, beloved, is a baseball card.
- In that same day's New York Times Book Review, a great Q&A with author Alain de Botton. Quote: “It’s a mistaken prejudice of our times to think that the only way to cheer someone up is to tell them something cheerful. Exaggerated tragic pronouncements work far better.”
- Here are the 2013 Cesar nominees. Let's go “De Rouille et d'os”! 19 fevrier a Paris.
- Here's a fun memoir piece from Ken Levine on laughing too hard as a newbie writer on “The Tony Randall Show,” the one where he played a Philadelphia judge. I think that was my heyday of TV watching. Double lesson: fear is a great motivation; and never laugh when you find something really funny.
- Wow, that was quick. Two days after the Times story, David Schoenfield suggests A-Rod's career is over.
His last at-bat?
- OK, this is fun: Paul Giamatti reenacts romantic scenes from “Magic Mike, ”Twilight,“ and ”You've Got Mail“ with Julie Klausner. I would've liked to have seen the entire scene from Channing, Robert and Tom, just to compare, but it's still great fun. Oddly, P.G. may be best at ”Magic Mike,“ when he's at least PG-13.
- Joe Reid gives the Razzies a Razzie in ”13 Really Good Movies Nominated for a Razzie.“ And save him the aisle seat.
- Then there's Joe Posnanski on Stan ”the Man“ Musial: on how he got called ”the Man“; on how he was signed in the middle of the Depression; on how he hurt his shoulder and became a hitter instead of a pitcher; on the stats, the lovely stats; and on what lovely man he was.
- From last month: a profile of Adam Posen, only the second American economist to serve on the Monetary Policy Committee, the custodian of the British pound. He's spent several years encouraging stimulus rather than austerity. To no avail. Do Keynesians need to focus on the reaction rather than the action? ”Creating economic demand“ through stimulus feels smart and grounded. ”Inspiring confidence“ through austerity sounds like so much voodoo. It's the kind of feel-good narrative the right usually mocks.
- This made a quote of the day but it bears repeating. Musician Mike Doughty on how he knows Beyonce was actually singing ”The Star-Spangled Banner“ live during the inauguration. He explains it so well even a music doofus like me can understand.
- BTW, make sure you check out Doughty's music, particulary ”American Car.“ I have more Doughty in my collection than Beyonce: 24-2.
- Apparently they've made a documentary on Tim Hetherington, co-creator of ”Restrepo,“ the best American movie of 2010, who died in Libya in April 2011. Called ”Which Way is the Front From Here.“ I'm already there. ”There“ being Sundance, which I'm not. So I guess ”there“ will have to be HBO on April 18, when the doc will premiere for the rest of us.
- Damn, this is sad. Peter Robbins, 56, the first voice-actor to play Charlie Brown in memorable TV specials such as ”A Boy Named Charlie Brown,“ ”A Charlie Brown Christmas, and “It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” has been arrested on 12 felony counts, including stalking and making criminal threats. Apparently no little red-haired girl was involved. I know, I know. Too sad to joke about. Rats.
- This is sadder. Beek's Pizza on 53rd and Lyndale in South Minneapolis, one of my favorite spots as a kid, was ravaged by fire late Thursday. I mentioned the joint in this piece, “A Walk Through the Old Neighborhood in South Minneapolis.” It's the last line: Beek's lives.
- Have you seen Philippe Dubost's resume? Maybe “Fight Club” was wrong. Maybe clever works sometime. One hopes anyway.
- Finally, Bill Maher recently suggested that birther Donald Trump is close cousin to the orangutans, since, he says, their hair color only naturally appears on either of them. This led to a column by Frank Cerebino of The Palm Beach Post, which begins, beautifully, “Somebody needs to speak up for the orangutans.” And this has led to Trump wishing the newspaper dead, which, in this age of dying newspapers, is like wishing death at an assisted living facility. Now if we can only get Paul Giamatti to reenact it all.
“We all disappointed someone from time to time,” the Hall of Famer Robin Roberts said when we talked about kids and autographs. “Well, all of us but one.” “Who was that?” I asked. “Musial,” he said in a voice that indicated I should have already known. — Joe Posnanski