Parents always ask me whether certain movies are appropriate for certain kids. I know where they're coming from. Who wants to have to sit up all night because someone saw The Wizard of Oz before she was ready? Who wants to have that argument with a spouse who told you 60 times The Birds was a bad idea? But there's often no good answer for that question. You might as well pick up a shirt off the rack at Gymboree and ask me if that will fit your daughter. With all due respect: How would I know? You'll just have to take it home and hope for the best.
In my experience, different films and television shows freak out different children differently. Most standards of appropriateness are a joke: I found Jim Henson movies scary. Ask concerned parents what they watched when they were kids and when did they watch it. That's a more useful bar. The experience of fear is an important cultural rite. The dread that knots your stomach is an amazing feeling that, as an adult, you neither forget nor top.
Mommie Dearest was the first movie that completely scared me. Brian De Palma's Carrie was the second. I was too young for both, which means I was the perfect age. Parental betrayal fuels the great horror tales — even the camp ones. The horrors of Mommie Dearest lasted long enough to find them laughable. They could be conquered through performance and quoted at recess. Carrie was less theatrical. It used cinema to cast its pall.
One night, I found it on television and watched the whole thing.
It’s Friday night, and we’re in a mansion high atop a mountain somewhere in nearby Deer Valley, the kind of place that doesn’t have an address. A cab driver takes me over. He reminisces about the old days at Sundance. “I’ve had some crazy times, man.” I ask him what he means. “Oh, you know: big parties, hot tubs, cougars.” He’s a local, remembers sending the yellow cabs that drive up from Salt Lake City during Sundance on wild goose chases around town. But GPS put an end to that, he says, sadly.
Which I’m grateful for tonight, actually: It’s all we can do to find the hotel at the base of the mountain, where in the lobby I give my name to a waiting factotum, who dispatches another factotum, who brings another car around. I get in and we drive for a while, heading up the hill. There is no address because this road is private: We pass through one gate manned by a security guard, and then another, pairs of leaping deer glinting off the ironwork. Up the mountain we go, making lefts and rights at seeming random, speeding up in the dark.
Scarlett Johansson Is Depressed: "She was totally out of control in Moscow recently" at a champagne brand's promo event. "She was drinking nonstop and barely slept. It was obvious that she was trying to numb her feelings." She's sad about her breakup with ad exec Nate Naylor. "She's not used to going home alone — it's a shock to her system. The fact that Ryan Reynolds is happily married while she's single again has done a number on her. And the drinking is taking its toll — she's been crying because she feels so fat." She got a lucky horseshoe tattooed on her ribcage "because she's feeling a bit unlucky." A rebound with ex-boyfriend Jared Leto quickly went south. "She thought a fling with Jared would make her feel better, but since it was only a hookup, it only made things worse." Time for Lost in Translation 2? I know I'd pay good money to watch Scarlett be sad in Russia.
Russell Crowe will join Mark Wahlberg in Allen Hughes' Broken City as a mayor who hires a private detective (Wahlberg) to spy on his wife, whom he rightfully suspects of cheating. The role of Crowe's wife has not yet been cast, but we have a suggestion. Grade: B [Deadline]
In other Russell-related news, Warner Bros. has given foppish flop peddlerRussell Brand a first-look development deal and his own production company, which the Arthur star has christened Branded Films, possibly because Tax Write-Down Productions was taken. Grade: D [Deadline]
It was 1993’s Short Cuts that made Julianne Moore famous — both for her acting chops and the definitive proof she’s as naturally red as Che Guevara. But her role in that film — as the saucy, pants-averse Marian Wyman — was also a clue. The gist of Moore’s memorable scene was a pre-party fight with husband Matthew Modine. The argument? That Moore had potentially kissed another man. And thus began in earnest Moore’s two-tracked career: critically acclaimed performer and Hollywood’s go-to, gold star adulteress.