It’s a near-certainty that the majority of Friday articles are going to look backwards for a time. Sadly some of this will be due to retrospectives of victims of the pandemic, but also because many things in the world – and particularly in the world of entertainment – have come to a halt, so that we haven’t much choice but to think on things created before. It’s a potentially downbeat predicament that has the silver lining of a chance to pause, relive and discuss the best of the past.
Here’s just a few of the week’s articles looking backward:
The AV Club collects all of its many pieces on Adam Schlesinger to mark his death of coronavirus-related complications, including the tour diary he wrote for the site many years ago:
The nice folks at The A.V. Club have asked me to write an occasional few paragraphs describing what our life ‘on the road’ is like. I suggested they just watch the Mötley Crüe Behind The Music and imagine us instead of Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, etc. But they knew that was bullshit. So I guess I’m actually gonna have to spend at least five minutes writing something.
Racial caricature—blackface—pays. Until it doesn’t. Lee’s strange but energizing movie, which is still a riotous, pungent ride 20 years on, isn’t simply about the crushing reality of the American public’s long affection for black degradation—though that would be enough. Its subject cuts closer to home for Lee: the damage this does, the limits and humiliations it all but promises, for black artists in particular.
[JACK] BLACK: If I’m really being honest with myself, I was terrified of failing. I was terrified of being bad in this movie and also terrified of working with Stephen Frears. I had seen Dangerous Liaisons like 12 times, mainly because I was obsessed with John Malkovich. I really wanted to be John Malkovich. But he was clearly a master, and I was intimidated that I wasn’t good enough as an actor to pull it off. So I said, “I’m gonna pass.”
I can recall precisely what films I saw and which theaters I saw them in; I even have a foggy sense of the general spots where I sat for each film, as my distance from the screen is an essential ingredient for the formulation of the memory. The movie itself is only part of a totalizing experience, of willing submission, of communal idolatry.
Curious, I clicked through to find a Twitch stream where a number of sports bettors were cash-apping money to a streamer to “buy” marbles in a virtual marble race. He was affable and amusing, soliciting customers like a carnival flat store man, barking out ballyhoo to his viewers and asking the winners to please tweet about their good fortune. “Twenty dollars a marble!” he called out. “Only nine marbles left!” Impulsively, I pulled out my phone and fired off $20 to him before I even understood how many marbles were in a race or what the winner was paid.