I don’t need to remind everybody that there’s some unusual things going on out there. Unless we have some lurkers from the Big Brother cast, you’ve probably read a decent amount about those unusual things. So while nothing this week was free from the touch of the pandemic, rather than rundown of all the murmured guesses and laments about the fate of the movie industry after COVID, the FAR-U has decided to seek out nuggets of movie engagement (and one other):
At the AV Club, Katie Rife interviewed a playful Kelly Reichardt about the (delayed but) upcoming First Cow, covering the dirty working conditions, her love of the Academy aspect ratio, the adaptation of the book (which did not feature a cow!) and a shout-out to Solute reclamation project Blue Collar.
The place actually had a nice lawn, so Anthony Gasparro, the production designer, and his whole team rolled up the lawn and brought in just tons of mud. So it could be nothing but mud. We had some good rain days, which made it a total mess. Sometimes, the worse things are for shooting, the better it looks on film.
For the Ringer, Adam Nayman has started a multi-part series looking at the representation of US presidential administrations in the movies, starting with the heady days of Camelot and the Kennedy administration in 1960.
Although ostensibly a cautionary tale about television’s power, A Face in the Crowd is, finally, a movie awash in optimism about the new medium: TV may have made Lonesome into a messiah, but it also exposes him as a fraud. The cold, brilliance of Kazan’s movie—which was cited many times during Trump’s candidacy and election, including by The Ringer’s Ben Lindbergh—is offset by its conviction that, if given half a chance, the public will see through false prophets, thus implying that if somebody legitimately heroic were to be placed in front of the camera, the technology would amplify their better qualities.
Anya Stanley revisits the strange and strangely overlooked combination of Scorsese and Cage in 1999’s Bringing Out the Dead over at Crooked Marquee.
Stephen King’s biggest beef with Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining was that Jack Nicholson already had an air of sinister instability about him which, to the Shining’s author, stripped any believable, gradual volatility from Jack Torrance. But as with Nicholson, Cage’s balls-to-the-wall honesty lends itself to the role. For both protagonists, all work and no play did a real number on their psyches.
And finally, the lack of sports has sent gamblers and bookies alike into a tailspin, as several outlets including Yahoo! Sports report. Reportedly betting is now available for such entertainment moments as what song will end the American Idol finale and what characters will survive the current season of Westworld. You can also bet on the weather in major cities, a fact notable here only because it provides the opportunity for an Uncut Gems/Twister crossover that must happen no matter what plot gymnastics have to be used to set it up.
Among the only options now available to online bettors are Turkish top-division basketball, Australian rules football, second-tier South American soccer and minor-league women’s golf. Playoff hockey from Russia had also been a staple of wagering menus the past few days until the Kontinental Hockey League on Tuesday became that sport’s last professional league to suspend action.
Please feel free to post articles from this week below for discussion! And you can send articles during the next week to ploughmanplods [at] gmail to suggest them for the following Friday roundup post. Included articles will be at my discretion but anything pertaining to entertainment or culture is welcome, especially articles from outside my regular rounds of reading.