Lancelot Links postsSunday March 17, 2013
Sunday March 10, 2013
- How Groucho Marx's son Andy helped save “You Bet Your Life” from death.
- Going Fonzie: Imgur imagines guns in famous movie scenes replaced by a thumbs up. I think my favorite might be from “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”
- Nine of the 10 “saddest” states in the U.S. vote Republican. Coincidence?
- Nathaniel Rogers has a series, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” in which he and other critics choose their favorite still shot from the same film. Then he puts them in narrative order. Here are the results for “The Wizard of Oz.” More recently, everyone took screen shots of “Barbarella.” Kind of points up the superiority of “Wizard of Oz,” doesn't it?
- Richard Sandomir with a piece in The New York Times about the fall and fall of the New York Yankees in 1965 and '66. Glory days. Will they return?
- Remember Barbara Hershey in “The Natural”? The woman she was based on, Ruth Steinhagen, who shot former Cubs first baseman Eddie Waittkus in her motel room in 1949, died recently in Chicago. Key line: “When he went to the Phillies, that's when she decided to kill him.”
- Alex Pareene eviscerates the Sunday morning political shows. They should all be running for cover but they have no shame. They are teflon.
- Webmaster and slinger Tim Harrison's comic strip “Cloud Five” has recently focused on clinical depression. You know how hard it is to do that and be true and funny? Tim pulls it off.
- A.O. Scott on “Philip Roth: Unmasked.” I am so there. Which is apparently in front of my TV set, tuned to PBS, on March 29.
- Adam Gopnik celebrates Roth's 80th birthday with words. But no one mentions Roth's best, “The Ghost Writer”? Are they all mad? Am I? Is Zuckerman? Am I Zuckerman? I was once, you know.
- I'm 50 years old, not a bad writer and editor, but only one man has ever hired me full-time for those talents: Steve Kaplan, a true mensch. Kevin Featherly captures the man, the mensch, the Minnesota Law & Politics legend.
“I turn sentences around. That's my life. I write a sentence and then I turn it around.” — E.I. Lonoff
Thursday February 07, 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.
Friday February 01, 2013
- 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.
Tuesday January 29, 2013
- 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.
All previous entries
- 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?