Quote of the Day: Three O'Clock in the Afternoon
Jerry: Don't you find the afternoon depressing?
Bill: Jean-Paul Sartre once said, “Three o'clock in the afternoon is always too early or too late to do anything.”
Jerry [Laughs]: He should've done more stand-up.
-- postprandial conversation between Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, S6 E4.
The Battle for the Biggest Non-James Cameron Movie Ever
Earlier this month, I wondered which of the two spring blockbusters would be the first to surpass the original “Avengers” ($1.518 billion) for third place on the worldwide box office chart.
Would it be “Furious 7” (currently at $1.511 billion) or “Avengers/Ultron” (currently at $1. 371 billion)?
The answer is “Jurassic World,” which, after 10 days, is at $1.245 billion. The others have pretty much stopped making much progress, particularly “F7,” but “Jurassic” is roaring up the charts like a T-Rex coming after us in the rearview mirror.
More Quotes on SCOTUS' Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
“I think of the gay kids in the future who, when they figure out they are different, will never know the deep psychic wound my generation – and every one before mine – lived through: the pain of knowing they could never be fully part of their own family, never be fully a citizen of their own country. I think, more acutely, of the decades and centuries of human shame and darkness and waste and terror that defined gay people's lives for so long. And I think of all those who supported this movement who never lived to see this day...”
-- Andrew Sullivan, “It Is Accomplished,” The Daily Dish
“Ultimately, though, the case is pretty simple. The government confers a bundle of rights on individuals who choose to marry. The constitution's guarantee of equal protection forbids any state from withholding those rights from the class of people who happen to be gay. End of story.”
-- Jeffrey Toobin, “God and Marriage Equality,” The New Yorker.
“Abbott, Jindal, and their allies are positing a right to discriminate—for local officials to refuse to conduct same-sex weddings, for photographers and bakers to refuse to do business with gay people, for wedding planners to advertise that no gay couples need apply. Their actions are the linear descendants of the Virginia officials who claimed divine guidance for their prohibition on interracial marriage. The First Amendment allows individuals to believe anything they want, but it does not allow them to use their beliefs as a license to discriminate in ways that would otherwise be limited by law. No one, at this late date, would claim a religious inspiration for a florist to refuse to sell flowers to an interracial wedding or for a magistrate to perform one; they should not have the right to refuse to do business for a same-sex wedding, either.”
-- Jeffrey Toobin, “God and Marriage Equality,” The New Yorker.
“I think the main issue now will be protection of religious liberty. Many of us have no problem allowing religious institutions to run their own organizations as they see fit, as long as they are sincere and in good faith. I don't think they have anything to fear. What we need to express at this point is magnanimity. We've got to let people who genuinely find [same-sex marriage] disconcerting the space and time to deal with it. That's what I would caution and urge.”
-- Andrew Sullivan, “A Word With: Andrew Sullivan,” The New York Times
The week that was: This made the rounds early on Friday after the Obergefell decision was announced. I wish you could see the artist's name more prominently.
Box Office: 'Jurassic' Tears Stuffing Out of 'Ted'
Just a second, Pixar. Yeah right, Ted.
“Jurassic World” won the weekend for the third straight time, grossing $54.2 million for a tidy domestic total of $500.1 million. That makes it, after only 17 days, the fifth-highest grossing movie of all time, behind only the Camerons, “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight.”
Adjust for inflation, by the way, and “J-Dub” drops to 54th place, just below “Finding Nemo” and just ahead of “The Towering Inferno.” But that ain’t bad. The latter was, after all, the No. 1 box-office hit of 1974.
Speaking of: “J-Dub” has now passed Avengers/Ultron to become this year’s No. 1 box-office hit. And climbing.
I thought “Inside Out” took a hit for a Pixar movie, dropping 42.4% in its second weekend and finishing second with $52 million; but that’s actually the lowest second-weekend Pixar drop since Pete Docter’s previous film, “Up,” which fell 35% in 2009.
Another by-the-way: Every Pixar movie but “Cars 2” in 2011 has earned more than three times its opening weekend tally, which puts “Inside Out” at least at a $270 million domestic gross. More likely it’ll gross between $320 and $360, which would make it the second or third highest-grossing Pixar movie of all time. (“Toy Story 3” is tops at $415.)
Who didn’t have a good weekend? “Ted 2.” The original opened at $54.4 million in June 2012 on its way to $218 million domestic and $549 worldwide, and sequels should open better; but “Ted 2” opened with just $33 million. Why? Who knows? I don’t get why is opened so big three years ago and why it opened so relatively small this weekend. Maybe Seth MacFarlane fans figured he only had one really good talking teddy bear movie in him. Maybe they were put off by “A Million Ways to Die in the West” or “We Saw Your Boobs.” Maybe his 15 years are up. No clue.
“Spy” finished the weekend fourth ($7.8 million), then “San Andreas” ($5.2), then “Dope” ($2.8).
Quote of the Day: 'Scalia also took issue...'
“Scalia also took issue with the majority's view that marriage is about free expression, grumbling, 'Expression, sure enough, is a freedom, but anyone in a long-lasting marriage will attest that that happy state constricts, rather than expands, what one can prudently say.' Which is both a fiery dissent and the world's longest 'Lockhorns' comic.”
-- Stephen Colbert, “June Is a Lovely Time for a Wedding,” on SCOTUS' 5-4 decision yesterday making same-sex marriage a constitutional right.
Movie Poster of the Year
It's Paolo Sorrentino's follow-up to “La Grande Bellezza,” which was Patricia's favorite movie of 2013. It played Cannes and got mostly raves. It's certainly got a great cast. You can see the trailer here.
I'm reminded of the wise old man in Richard Linklater's “Slacker”: “When young, we mourn for one woman... as we grow old, for women in general.” Although, yes, that's hardly a woman in general.
FWIW, Sorrentino is still a young punk of 45 (he was born in May 1970). The movies opens in the U.S. in December.
Tweet of the Day (So Far)
Clarence Thomas is an embarrassment to America, and his opinions on race are deficient and dull, like those of someone who has never lived.— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) June 26, 2015
How Same-Sex Marriage Went from Being Banned to a Constitutional Right in 10 Short Years
Seattle, December 9, 2012: Ahead of the curve, but not by much.
Q: The shift [to supporting marriage equality] is rather startling, isn’t it? States are approving or refusing to defend something that they banned less than 10 years ago.
Boies: I don’t think either one of us has ever seen, in our lifetime, where an issue as contentious as this, as much of a wedge issue as this, has changed as rapidly. When we started the case, there were two or three states, [representing] less than 5 percent of the population of the United States, that permitted marriage equality. Now, more than half of all American citizens live in a state that permits marriage equality. When we started, a substantial majority of American citizens opposed marriage equality; today, less than five years later, a substantial majority of American citizens favor marriage equality.
Q: So why now? What caused the change?
Boies: I think the single most important factor is that, starting in the ‘60s and ‘70s, gay and lesbian couples and individuals began to come out and be honest about their sexuality and their sexual orientation.
When I grew up, I didn’t know anybody who I knew was gay. I’m certain that I knew a lot of people who were gay, but you didn’t know they were gay because the extent of discrimination and hostility caused people—just as a matter of protectiveness—to try to deny, at least openly, their sexual orientation. What that meant was the field was wide open to caricature. [But] as more and more people had the courage, and it really took courage in those days, to acknowledge their sexual orientation openly, everybody else began to know people—members of their family, teachers, students, doctors, lawyers, engineers—who were gay. They realized that the myths they had grown up with just weren’t true. I think that as a whole new generation of people grew up knowing, sometimes from a fairly early age, people of differing sexual orientations, it became harder and harder, and for most people impossible, to use that as a basis for discrimination.
We’re both good at what we do, in part because we’re good at figuring out the argument the other side’s going to make so we can rebut them. This is a case in which we can’t figure out what the good argument is on the other side. The other side doesn’t have an argument.
Q: When you argued Prop 8 before the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Scalia asked you, “When did this become a federal constitutional right?” Is that still a legitimate question?
Olson: It’s a question. I said, “When did it become unconstitutional to prohibit people from different races of getting married? When did it become unconstitutional to make children go to different schools based upon their race?” Well, the Supreme Court decides cases when they get there, and when they understand the damage that discrimination does when it’s against classes of our citizens based upon their characteristics—the color of their skin or, in this case, their sexual orientation—then the Supreme Court decides it. But it’s because we realize that there are a class of people that are distinguished because of who they are—their immutable characteristics.
We accepted slavery and we accepted discrimination and we accepted putting Japanese citizens in concentration camps in California. When did that become unconstitutional? That’s a rhetorical question that gets asked in Supreme Court arguments, and Justice Scalia, and I admire him enormously, is very good at it. But I think the answer is that it’s right now, here before your eyes, and you can declare it for the United States.
Q: Do you think your Virginia case, or another of the marriage equality cases, is going to wind up with this court? They seem to not want to decide the matter.
Olson: You never can predict which case the Supreme Court is going to take. We don’t know when it will come. But it’s going to come.
-- from my conversation with David Boies and Ted Olson in January 2014. Posted after today's momentous decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health. The Q&A also includes the following, which, yes, is still true today:
Q: And Justice Scalia? Can you win him over?
Olson: We try to win over everybody.
Boies: Some are harder than others.