Lancelot Links postsTuesday January 27, 2015
Another American war movie? Nope, a Danish one: “A War” by Tobias Lindholm, the director of “A Hijacking,” and concerning Danish troops in Afghanistan. It's No. 18 on IndieWire's list but higher up on mine.
- IndieWire has a list of the 20 most anticipated foreign films of 2015. We'll see how many wind up in Seattle. No. 7, “Erran,” because it's Jacques Audiard. Much more so than their No. 1, “Flashmob,” by Michael Haneke. (WARNING: Lots of ads on the site make scrolling difficult.)
- Related: FilmStage has the 25 most anticipated movies at Sundance. Interestingly, none are the same movies. (WARNING: ditto.)
- David Simon is making an HBO miniseries about a battle over low-income housing in 1980s Yonkers, starring Oscar Isaac. He expects no one to watch. I'm there.
- I've always been fascinated with statues. Specifically: Who we choose to honor this way and why, and where. But never “And how big.” But French photographer Fabrice Foullet is interested in this last, and has created a series, Colesses, on the biggest statues in the world.
- What your friends with cancer want you to know.
- Via my father: A sharp review of “The Theory of Everything,” the Stephen Hawking biopic, by Stephen Bachman, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011.
- Via Adam: People reading books on subways. I like the woman in the hajib reading Tobias Wolff's “Barracks Thief.” Everyone else likes the Strunk & White dude.
- Nicholas Kristof on the early death of his high school buddy and the empathy gap in America. For me, that gap is tied to this question: What causes success? The FOX-News answer is hard work, which means that anyone who isn't successful (including, one can argue, most of FOX News' viewers) just didn't work hard enough and thus are undeserving of our empathy. But that answer ignores so much.
- Speaking of the empathy gap: The New York Times reports that the political network overseen by the Koch brothers plans to spend $900 million in the next election, putting them on par, moneywise, with the Republican party and the Democratic party. Thank you, Justice Kennedy.
- Long read of the week: Jill LePore (again) on attempts to archive this unruly, forever disappearing beast of the Internet. Follow-up: Do we blame Tim Berners-Lee?
- Warren Sharp gets into the New England Patriots deflation scandal “Ballghazi” by looking at the team's prevention-of-fumble ratio. Guess what? It's nearly impossible.
- Josh Wilker of “Cardboard Gods” fame is posting again. Here's one on the immortality of Mario Mendoza. Wilker also has a book coming out in May on newfound father. I'm already there.
- We have a new commissioner of Major League Baseball! Yay! And on his first day in office, he mentions banning defensive shifts! Wait, what?
- From Tim Egan: With Obama, and the Seahawks last Sunday, it's how you finish.
Lancelot Links: Special Oscar Nominations Edition
Nicest surprise? Marion Cotillard getting the call for “Deux Jours, Une Nuit.”
- Michael C. at Film Experience asks a good question: Why Wes, Why Now?
- Mark Harris at Grantland asks a different question: Why Not Selma? And no, he says, it's not that reason.
- Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere tells the other Oscar pundits, “Told ya so!” over Marion Cotillard's nomination.
- Don't forget to vote for your choice for best director.
- Same site: Nathaniel on his five stages of grief via the noms. Mostly, it's about “Selma.” I particularly like stage 2.
- “Life Itself” was one of the big snubs but Chaz Ebert, Roger's widow, who was also rooting on Ana DuVarnay for best director, is magnanimous.
- Director Phil Lord, whose “The LEGO Movie” was shockingly absent from best animated feature, gets a laugh out of it.
- Meanwhile “Force Majeure” director Ruben Ostlund, and his producer Erik Hemmendorf, are a little more emotional about being snubbed.
- Speaking of emotional, Sasha Stone of Awards Daily is a little so in her piece “Just Make Us Look Good,” playing the race and gender cards rather quickly and chastising the Academy for tepid choices as if it were new. She also needs an editor. (I know: pot, kettle.)
- Did you know there's a #OscarsSoWhite hashtag on Twitter? A lot of outrage out there. Misdirected I think. #OscarsSoOscar would be more apt. And if you're going to complain that the 20 nominees in acting are white, give us an idea (beyond David Oyelowo) who should replace whom.
- More and more, I'm in agreement with Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeff Wells on the subject. Well, a bit. “Mississippi Burning” still burns me. I've read too much about the civil rights movement and J. Edgar Hoover to go and make heroes of the FBI in Mississippi in 1964. Seriously: fuck that.
- Related: all the movies and filmmakers and artists and artisans that didn't get the nom I thought they deserved. Ah, but all of those that did.
- Tyler Kepner makes makes an interesting connection among the four members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Class of 2015: No one alive was hit by more pitches than Craig Biggo, and no one alive hit more batters than Randy Johnson.
- David Schoenfield has a nice piece on the 10 best games from RJ, Pedro, and Smoltz. 10 overall, so Smoltzie gets short shrift. It's mostly based upon Game Score but with great postseason relief appearances tossed in for good measure.
- The Associated Press Snodgrasses the obit headline of pitcher Stu Miller.
- Andrew Sullivan on toilet graffiti. I like the last joke in particular.
- Via Hollywood Elsewhere: Matt Bomer as Montgomery Clift? I'm there. And here's a little R.E.M. song for the kids who don't know Monty. Or R.E.M.
- My feelings about a movie version of Michael Lewis' “The Big Short” are pretty much Jeff Wells'. Starring Brad Pitt, Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling? Cool! Directed by Adam McKay (“Anchorman 2,” “Step Brothers”)? Um... Wells is a bit more emphatic.
- Via Mr. B: When Ayn Rand was almost on “The Dick Cavett Show.” And why she wasn't.
- A Stranger photo essay on the last night of the Harvard Exit theater. First film I saw there was a Taiwanese film when I was visiting my sister (and on my way to Taiwan). First film I saw there as a Seattle was “The Hours and the Times,” a short film imagining the Barcelona trip John Lennon and Brian Epstein took together in 1963. Both were SIFF films. The last? “The Imitation Game” last month with Patricia.
- Moira Macdonald has a nice piece on the history of the Harvard Exit.
- From the Star-Tribune: great snowsculptures (tortoise, shark) from three Minnesota brothers. Plus a Beatles-esque leap in the air.
- From the Seattle Times: Danny Westneat writes about economic eviction in the Emerald City, and why Seattle has become a place for the rich and the homeless.
- Via Ciam: What do crickets sound like if you slow down their chirping to put it on par with the lifespan of humans? They sound like a church choir.
- Via Colleen: Which celebrities make celebrities act like starstruck fans? Prince for one.
- Damn, what is it about police and fire chiefs taking on mayors? First Minneapolis, then NYC, now Atlanta.
- Potential future job application question: What is your cuddle quotient?
- Nice piece on Kam Chancellor, the Seahawks own, and the man who leaps offensive and defensive lines in a single bound. Twice.
- Finally, EL favorite Joe Posnanski gives us “48 Lessons from 48 Years.” I disagree with No.s 5, 12, 33 and agree the most with No.s 16, 18, 18 and 42.
The Harvard Exit on Capitol Hill for a show of “Perks of Being a Wallflower” in 2012.
- SCOTUS bobbleheads! My birthday's coming up if someone wants to buy me a John Paul Stevens.
- Phil Nobile Jr. (son of Phil Nobile) has a good piece on why Idris Elba can't play James Bond. And no, it's not why you think.
- Sam Raimi finally apologizes for “Spider-Man 3,” but both he and Hollywood Reporter don't know why he should. Yes, the Hitler strut is awful, but it's more than that. Much more.
- The NYPD's virtual work stoppage because of a tiff with Mayor De Blasio? Andrew Sullivan's NYC readers think it will backfire.
- The Onion lionizes 10 people who made no difference in 2014. Someday I hope to make the cut.
- Sylvester Stallone is making another Rambo movie? His fifth? “Rambo—Last Blood”? Oy.
- David Schoenfield celebrates Edgar Martinez's birthday by making another case (or the same one) for why Edgar should be in the Hall of Fame.
- He also makes an argument for the most underrated player in baseball history.
- Tim alerted me to this: “Star Trek” closing credits on “The Simpsons.” Technically no Ferengi in TOS but otherwise spot on—particularly Mr. Burns as Balok. Seriously, this bit took me back to 6 PM reruns on summer evenings in the 1970s.
- A black FOX News host disparages a black protest with a picture that isn't from the protest but is instead a photoshopped meme from white supremicist groups. No words.
- In Contention counts down the 25 Most Anticipated Prestige Films of 2015. Three of them star Michael Fassbender. Busy boy. Directors include Mann, del Toro, Scorsese, Spielberg, Tarantino, Haynes, Linklater, Howard, Vallée, Demme, Van Sant, Nichols and (fingers crossed!) Malick.
- Long read of the week: Paige Williams' New Yorker article, “Double Jeopardy,” about how Alabama judges can, and do, override jury sentences—usually for the harsher variety, often for death. Is it unconstitutional? Not yet. Is it dangerous? It seems to be. Are the sentences politically and/or racially motivated? Good question.
Burns as Balok. “I know Captain, a thousand questions. But first, the tranya!”
- Jonathan Chait on the GOP''s dictator envy.
- Sy Berger, who died recently at 91, had a huge influence on my childhood, since he created the modern baseball card. See: this. Also my review of Josh Wilker''s book, “Cardboard Gods.”
- Wilker''s thought is my thought in this Chicago Tribune article: “My childhood wouldn''t have been the same without Sy Berger. ... It became more of national identity of childhood.” How did Berger do it? Beginning in 1952, he made baseball cards bigger, in color, with team names and statistics. Also facsimilies of autographs. Also little cartoons on the back. He made them collectibles.
- Andrew Sullivan on that last Colbert show.
- Tom the Dancing Bug gives us KIMdb: the recommended movies of Kim Jong-un.
- From The Onion's Clickhole: “6 American Television Shows That Started in England.” The pic at the top is “The Office” but all six are fake. My favorite is the first: “Seinfeld” being based upon the 1970s BBC comedy, “Just a Moment Dear, I'll Buzz You In.” OK, maybe my favorite is “Breaking Bad.”
- Via the New Yorker's Shouts & Murmurs section (I presume): Ayn Rand reviews children's movies. “Willie Wonka” is probably my favorite.
- The New York Times on “The Lives They Lived” about a few of the names we lost in 2014: Harold Ramis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tony Gwynn, Ben Bradlee, Rudy Dee, Pete Seeger, Lauren Bacall, Jan Hooks, Mike Nichols, Robin Williams, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.