"DENNIS RODMAN, the off-key Charles Lindbergh of North Korea!" goes the quote from New York magazine's Approval Matrix.
I wonder how many young would-be historians got this remark?
The Times' columnist Manohla Dargis had a great column last week in which she discussed the plethora of independent films being released to the amazement of the general movie-going audience -- for instance, 117 features, and then at least 66 short subjects at the Sundance Film Festival, with all of them looking "for the next big thing."
Reading just Arts & Leisure in the daily papers and The Hollywood Reporter each day leaves me dizzy. Now and then I get invited to something interesting, as with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in "August: Osage County," and I really don't want to miss it. But come awards season, I know that the average person hasn't even had time or the opportunity to see this movie yet. So the pros that cover all of entertainment must be dancing as fast as they can for an "audience" that can never see things fast enough.
The films the Academy has already voted on as competing for the Oscars do get passed around, but this year the Golden Globes happened to kick-start it all. There were about six major movies and great actors that I was lucky enough to have heard of, three days before the Globes. And some I had never heard of and didn't have a clue how I could possibly have seen them.
All this costs a fortune in money and energy to cover. The freebies of yesteryear have disappeared, along with the reliable press itself. It makes one long for the leisurely time of yesterday when MGM, Columbia, Warner Bros., Paramount, 20th Century Fox, screened films weeks before release and then they played for a long time and developed their audience in various theaters.
Pumping product into theaters week after week and then discarding them almost instantly for a questionable future on DVD or TV, damages an already fragile cinematic ecosystem, reports the Times. I'll say!
I wonder how many people out there still want the chance to see Woody Allen's latest "Blue Jasmine." (It's all so "old hat" already, even though Woody was given the Cecile B. DeMille Award ably accepted by a brilliant looking and speaking Diane Keaton.) The movie boasted Cate Blanchett as best actress at the Golden Globes. Thousands of people must still be hoping to find the movie and see it somewhere!
It's all too much too quickly. The Sundance situation is particularly painful. This instant happening and over-saturation and discarding overnight seems to be part of the curse of the Internet generation.
"IT'S a sin to be ashamed of what you are. It's even worse to lie, to pretend," so advised the late Juanita Moore in 1959's super soap opera, "Imitation of Life." (Moore played a black woman whose only daughter, very light-skinned, was determined to pass for white.)
The movie quote came to me via one of my constant readers Leo Marinello. Leo also included this info: "I watched a fairly recent interview with Miss Moore in which she discussed her nervousness on set and flubbing take after take on her close-ups. She revealed that the most supportive person of all was ... Lana Turner. Miss Turner stayed with her take after take until Miss Moore's close-up was finished -- not every star stays for the 'reverse.' I was enchanted by Miss Moore's tale about Lana Turner's heartfelt generosity toward a fellow actress, quite the opposite of the self-absorbed actress Miss Turner portrayed so skillfully on screen."
I'm not surprised. Lana was always "one of the guys" on set and, along with Ava Gardner, not known to put on airs. These glittery movie queens were adored by the technicians and the entourage that made them glitter even more, on the big screen.
Oh, Leo included one more quote from "Imitation of Life." There is a scene where Lana's little girl and Moore's discuss whether Jesus is black or white? Turner's character says: "It doesn't matter. It's what you imagine him to be."
Memo to conservative TV pundit, Megyn Kelly, put "Imitation of Life" on your movie bucket list. (We all recall Megyn's remark: "...for all you kids watching at home, Santa just IS white ... Jesus was a white man, too.")
DON'T FORGET TO put New York's "Winter Antiques Show" on your calendar for Jan. 24 to Feb. 2 at the Park Avenue Amory. You can call 718-665-5250 about tickets benefiting the East Side House Settlement charity.
This is a big blowout starting with its nifty opening where everybody who loves antiques comes to compare. General tickets are about $175 a person.
HERE'S a date to stay home for -- January 17. That's when "Real Time with Bill Maher" starts up again on HBO Fridays at 10 p.m. His slogan is "Truth be Told." I love this guy, though he is sometimes unpopular for telling it like he sees it. He's a rare voice in these times.
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)
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