Last October, between the Tarantinos and the Spielbergs, the Hanekes and the Bigelows, the first glimmer of another little auteurist movie trickled out. Over Keith Richards's bending guitar strings on "Parachute Woman," a curled-lip kid from Jersey whines about leaving home. "I think we should all move to the East Village," the kid says to his bandmate. "There's a music scene there — not here!" It was for David Chase's first film, Not Fade Away. This is the trailer:
Derek Cianfrance's new movie, The Place Beyond the Pines, is a winding local epic about two generations of men failing at life in the rural-suburban sprawl of Schenectady, New York. Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and their screen sons are at the center of things, but there's another guy tucked into the story who steals every moment he can. His name is Ben Mendelsohn. You've seen him before. He's a That Guy.
"The melancholy of the blues and the immediacy of jazz his characters are hard-hearted and hardheaded, so I thought Women can do that." That was how critic and curator of the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series Elvis Mitchell wryly described David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross before introducing the conceit of last night's Live Read. Mamet's terse, rhythmic story tracks four real estate salesmen (and scam artists) desperately working through the night on the eve of a robbery. The Live Read, a semi-regular event at LACMA, is a quiet, clever, only-in-L.A. happening where the city's access to celebrity and artists is actually used for good. Here's the layout: Typically, Film Independent's artist-in-residence and director, Jason Reitman, reads the stage direction, a screen behind the cast projects scenes from the movie but with the characters erased from the mise-en-scène, and the cast simply read from scripts placed in front of them on easels. Mitchell's idea, shepherded and executed by Reitman, was to subvert the sulking machismo and grandiloquent gutter talk of Mamet's characters with a gender swap. It basically worked in that way, but mostly because the cast Reitman assembled was a shockingly accurate rebuttal to the 1992 film adaptation directed by James Foley. Here was the lineup:
In the epic, contentious, slanderous 40-person e-mail chain that kickstarted this endeavor a few weeks back, I slavishly recalled more than 20 perceived Oscar Travesties" occurring before 1972, our cutoff year in this arbitrary contest. (Here's one: Paul Lukas in Watch on the Rhine beat Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca for Best Actor in 1942. Think about that.) I never thought we would vote on these ancient mistakes, no matter how deeply I believe Dr. Strangelove deserves that shine over My Fair Lady. I was merely trying to point out that the Oscars, before we were watching them, before we were born, hell, before our parents were born, have been blowing it. And though the voting procedures have changed over the years (revisit Mark Harris's essential Oscarmetrics coverage from 2012 for more details on the evolving voting body), the fact has remained: Getting it wrong is the only way Oscar can be right.
It has been 2,342 days since Justin Timberlake released FutureSex/LoveSounds. There's a case for it as the century's best album. It's of its time (Three 6 Mafia cameos, beloved Timbaland productions, that horrifying faux-futurism title) and it lives beyond. In the terrifying world of nightmarish wedding DJ scenarios, there are three Timberlake songs any guest can rely on: "SexyBack," an embarrassing but OK, let's go dance staple; "My Love," which goes hard forevermore; and "Until the End of Time," a sleeper slow dance favorite. There are not many millennial jams you'll hear at a bad wedding that won't make you want to renounce the day's holy congregation. But these three songs are probably wedged into the musical consciousness for at least another 10 years.
Yesterday, eight new inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced: Rush, Donna Summer, Heart, Randy Newman, Public Enemy, and Albert King, as well as two Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement inductees in producer/promoter Lou Adler and arranger/producer Quincy Jones. What does this mean? Effectively, not much. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has been around since 1983, inducting artists and industry shakers since 1986, and it’s been an actual building you can visit in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1993. It’s a fine place, designed by I.M. Pei and everything, but it’s not much more than a shrine to particular artists deemed worthy by a shadow group responsible for the voting. Every year, there's mild consternation over that year’s nominees — all of whom become eligible exactly 25 years since first becoming active — but this is nothing like the Baseball Hall of Fame. There is no Internet community driven mad by a Tim Raines–style fascination with, say, Jethro Tull. Wonderful as it might be, there is no Rock VORP in play though Tull’s Flute-Solo-Per-Song (FSPS) average is Gehrig-esque. To honor and examine this moment, Grantland’s resident music critic Steven Hyden and editor Sean Fennessey, a Rock Hall voter, discussed this year’s lineup, some methodology, and asked: Why do we need this thing?