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As I wrote on January 15:

I saw “Birdman” a couple of months ago, but have never thought of anything very interesting to write about it. In brief, Michael Keaton, who played Batman for Tim Burton a quarter of a century ago, plays a washed-up movie star of three “Birdman” superhero blockbusters who is trying to regain credibility by mounting a worthy Broadway drama based on that Raymond Carver short story that everybody studies in creative writing class. We peek in on backstage drama and comedy as Keaton tries to keep his sanity together on the rocky road to opening night.

It’s pretty good but repeatedly fails to be brilliant. It’s worthy of one of the eight Best Picture nods, but it’s kind of disappointing. One problem is that the bravura bar is awfully high for backstage plays and movies, such as “All About Eve,” “Kiss Me, Kate,” “All That Jazz,” “Show Boat,” “Cabaret,” “The Producers,” “Noises Off,” “Moulin Rouge,” “The Real Thing,” and “The Real Inspector Hound.” A movie about putting on a show isn’t like a movie about baseball statistics where you get a degree of difficulty bonus. Putting on a show is what people who make movies do, so you need to stand out in some fashion, such as in witty dialogue or song and dance numbers.

The main gimmick in “Birdman” is that super cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (“Gravity,” “Tree of Life,” “Children of Men”) shoots each scene in one long handheld take. (There are claims that the entire movie is in one long take, but the screenplay drags out over a week or so, so what’s the point of that?) Enormous amounts of effort must have been devoted to planning each long take, but at what opportunity cost? What if some of that effort had instead been devoted to the story, characters, dialogue, acting, and look of the movie? D.W. Griffith invented the modern system of cuts a century ago and, you know, it probably doesn’t really need to be dis-invented.

And to the extent that the long takes succeed, which they largely do (this is not at all a bad movie), you end up thinking this material might work better as a play.

I’d add that while there’s nothing particularly wrong with the screenplay by the four guys, but having three out of four be English as a Second Language types puts the movie at a disadvantage in the backstage genre, which famously features verbal talents in English like Cole Porter, Michael Frayn, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Tom Stoppard, and the like.

Look at the official title of the movie: “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).” We’re not dealing with masters of vernacular English here.

In contrast, here’s a scene from another backstage story, Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate, which is about a production of Taming of the Shrew. Two gangsters who have been hanging around backstage to collect a debt from the director inadvertently find themselves onstage in front of the audience … and start to enjoy the spotlight:

What’s the first backstage play in English? Hamlet, perhaps?

This is the easiest genre to make scintillating because it’s automatically about comparing and contrasting two levels of artifice. “Birdman” does not rise to the occasion. Indeed, some of the big superhero blockbusters, such as “The Avengers,” that “Birdman” is sort of, mildly, vaguely making fun of are more intellectually challenging.

Still, it’s a better than okay movie; just don’t get your hopes too high.

 
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  1. I would like to dedicate this award to my nanny, my Gardner and the guys who make my Ferarri sparkle!

  2. I’m so surprised that a movie about an actor won best picture from what is little more than a trade show about movies and acting.

  3. I watched the show because my adult son had it on in his home and we texted while it was underway.

    It had all the piety of a mass but it was four times longer and had no snacks.

    I suppose it gets points for bucking up the spirits of at least half a dozen oppressed groups. It was pretty extreme.

  4. Birdman falls under TL:DW

  5. You’re right about the gimmick. It made the movie seem a lot better than it was because it introduced a very voyeuristic aspect to that whole backstage stuff. But the plot and dialogue aren’t very interesting. If it was shot normally, it would have been very boring.

    • Replies: @LemmusLemmus
    Does that mean the best director award was deserved?
  6. Usually don’t care much about these dumb things, but if ever a movie deserved it, it was Birdman. I underestimated the Academy. Yay.

  7. What’s the first thing you would do if you came back? Freddy: Shoot all the crapping birds.

  8. I’m surprised that Michael Keaton didn’t get the Best Actor award, even if it would’ve been one of the “career well done”variety. I haven’t seen Bradley Cooper’s performance but the other nominees weren’t particularly strong and I still maintain the strongest performance of the year was by the non-nominated Ralph Fiennes in Grand Budapest Hotel.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Bradley Cooper was very good in American Sniper. He even did pretty well on the Texan accent. In an interview with the director, Clint praised him by saying, "I never caught him acting".
  9. Well, at least Alejandro Iñárritu is a vibrant Latino.

    • Replies: @slumber_j
    With a name like Iñárritu, that dude's Basque as the day is long--patrilineally speaking, at least.
  10. @Anonymous
    You're right about the gimmick. It made the movie seem a lot better than it was because it introduced a very voyeuristic aspect to that whole backstage stuff. But the plot and dialogue aren't very interesting. If it was shot normally, it would have been very boring.

    Does that mean the best director award was deserved?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    It's okay.

    The real standout talent among the Three Amigos is the Fourth Amigo, the cinematographer Lubezki. But they are all pretty good.

  11. @LemmusLemmus
    Does that mean the best director award was deserved?

    It’s okay.

    The real standout talent among the Three Amigos is the Fourth Amigo, the cinematographer Lubezki. But they are all pretty good.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Right, the cinematography was good and the most noteworthy aspect of the film. It made the movie decent and watchable at least.

    The premise seems interesting, but the drama and dialogue just isn't there or very strong.
  12. http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/2015/02/22/326395a2-baeb-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html

    Best song was the only Oscar won by the civil rights drama, which was nominated for best picture, along with seven other movies. When “Selma” director Ava DuVernay was overlooked in the best director race, many observers saw the snub as symptomatic of persistent racism and sexism in an industry — and motion picture academy — that is dominated by white male filmmakers and white male stories.

    Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris acknowledged those criticisms right off the bat in his opening number, when he called the Oscars a chance to recognize “the best and the whitest — er, brightest” in Hollywood. Later, the evening’s most galvanizing moment occurred when Arquette accepted her award and ended her speech with a call to end wage discrimination against women, at which point Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez stood up and whooped their approval from the audience.

    Yeah, there! They showed the Man!

    Arquette’s speech crystallized strong feelings that emerged this year regarding diversity in race and gender in the movie industry. When Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win an Oscar for best director in 2010, many observers thought the victory signaled progress in employing more women behind the camera. But according to Martha Lauzen of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, women comprised only 17 percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers in 2014, the same percentage as in 1998. [Bold face mine.]

    It’s either a perfectly-organized, industry-wide quota or… some kind of “nature of women” type of a thing, but that’d be, you know, sexist… like life.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Rush Limbaugh had a different interpretation of Meryl Streep standing up and applauding.
  13. ” the backstage genre, which famously features verbal talents in English like Cole Porter, Michael Frayn, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Tom Stoppard, and the like.”

    Like P. G. Wodehouse – Anything Goes.

  14. I will use the mention of Cole Porter to segue into an OT discussion featuring several iSteve themes and topics such as homosexuals, music, lyrics, and the esoteric. One thing I have noticed with homosexual singers and lyricists is that many if not most will feel compelled to have at least one song in their repertoire that is basically a homosexual in-joke, an excuse to slip in a double entendre. This will be obvious to someone in the know, but someone outside will be largely oblivious.

    Cole Porter:
    You’re the top (I’m the bottom, you’re the top)
    http://www.lyricsfreak.com/c/cole+porter/youre+the+top_20354838.html

    Elton John
    Don’t let the sun go down on me
    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/eltonjohn/dontletthesungodownonme.html

    Queen:
    Misfire (Don’t you misfire… Fill me up)
    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/queen/misfire.html

    • Replies: @Greenstalk
    You're projecting. "Misfire" was written by the hetrosexual John Deacon. People always assume that every word Freddie sung, he also wrote. By the same token I've seen people scoffing at "Fat Bottomed Girls" - but that was written by the hetrosexual Brian May. Contrary to what some seem to think Queen were not a particularly gay band.
  15. Blacks were more grossly over-represented in this year’s Oscar broadcast than they have been at any Democratic National Convention! (The sole exception– besides the acting nominations that already had drawn such widespread condemnation– was in the orchestra that they had tucked away in the Capitol Tower– ironically nicknamed, back in the day, “The House that Nat [‘King’ Cole] Built.”) Of course, there was no shortage of homosexuals, this year; but, what really surprised me, as someone who stopped going to the movies in the 1990s, was the outsize number of Brits!?! Is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences thinking of merging with BAFTA?!?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Pretty much. And British toffs, in particular. The Best Actor winner Eddie Redmayne is an Old Etonian and another nominee, Benedict Cumberbatch, is an Old Harrovian.
  16. @D. K.
    Blacks were more grossly over-represented in this year's Oscar broadcast than they have been at any Democratic National Convention! (The sole exception-- besides the acting nominations that already had drawn such widespread condemnation-- was in the orchestra that they had tucked away in the Capitol Tower-- ironically nicknamed, back in the day, "The House that Nat ['King' Cole] Built.") Of course, there was no shortage of homosexuals, this year; but, what really surprised me, as someone who stopped going to the movies in the 1990s, was the outsize number of Brits!?! Is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences thinking of merging with BAFTA?!?

    Pretty much. And British toffs, in particular. The Best Actor winner Eddie Redmayne is an Old Etonian and another nominee, Benedict Cumberbatch, is an Old Harrovian.

  17. so the movie has nothing to do with big bird

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
    Or Alcatraz. Or James Audobon. :^(
  18. @tokugawa
    Well, at least Alejandro Iñárritu is a vibrant Latino.

    With a name like Iñárritu, that dude’s Basque as the day is long–patrilineally speaking, at least.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    With a name like Iñárritu, that dude’s Basque as the day is long–patrilineally speaking, at least.
     
    matrilineally:

    Alejandro González Iñárritu was born in Mexico City, the son of Luz María Iñárritu and Hector González Gama.
     
  19. I can’t find an example of theater within theater before Shakespeare. Homer has characters within stories telling stories and people inside those stories telling stories. Within his poetry, he depicts the poet reciting poetry. He has characters, like Odysseus, hear poems being sung about themselves, just as we are hearing one. But I don’t see this happening on the stage until Shakespeare. Any prior examples?

    • Replies: @David
    On second thought, I guess the Chorus in a Greek play is sort of like a theater meta-audience.
  20. @juswonderinaboutbaseball
    I'm surprised that Michael Keaton didn't get the Best Actor award, even if it would've been one of the "career well done"variety. I haven't seen Bradley Cooper's performance but the other nominees weren't particularly strong and I still maintain the strongest performance of the year was by the non-nominated Ralph Fiennes in Grand Budapest Hotel.

    Bradley Cooper was very good in American Sniper. He even did pretty well on the Texan accent. In an interview with the director, Clint praised him by saying, “I never caught him acting”.

  21. Conquistador-Mexican Alejandro G. Inarritu made a pro-immigration acceptance speech.

    http://news.asiaone.com/news/showbiz/birdman-directors-flight-fancy-may-reap-oscar-reward
    Alejandro G. Iñárritu killed the Oscars 2015! “Birdman,” the movie he directed, took home some major awards, including Best Picture, which saw Iñárritu go up on stage and deliver a heart-felt speech that targeted immigration rules and his dream of seeing a better Mexico, with authorities they deserve. “I want to dedicate this awards for my fellow Mexicans, the ones who live in Mexico,” the director said.

    “I pray that we can find and build the government that we deserve. And the ones that live in this country, who are part of the latest generation of immigrants, I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect of the ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation.” Watch the video above and relieve this incredible moment.

    ________________________

    During last night’s Oscar show, actor Sean Penn handed the Independent Spirit Award to Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu, but not before a joke about “green cards.” The gag aimed at the Mexican director has not gone down well, according to The Guardian, with some accusing Penn of being, “racist and offensive.”

    During the award, Penn opened the envelope to reveal the winner of Best Picture and announced, “who gave this son of a b***h his green card?” The director didn’t seem phased by the joke and instead, used it as a jumping-off point to talk about the plight of Mexicans in the US, reminding the audience that the United States was founded by immigrants, CTV News reports.

    To my Mexicans back home, I hope we can build the government we deserve, to Mexicans here, may we be treated with the dignity and respect we deserve.

    Iñárritu said backstage that he found the joke “hilarious,” and that he has a very strong friendship with Penn, with whom he has worked in the past.

    Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1867235/sean-penn-green-card-joke-causes-outrage/#zVAH2brgKfPSP8MA.99

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    It seems kind of vulgar to thank an entire ethnicity.
  22. From the Financial Times:

    REVEL WITH A CAUSE
    by Nigel Andrews

    It used to be the revel without a cause. A glittering night of industry self-congratulation compèred by a flavour-of-the-year funny person. That was then. Last night’s 87th Oscars ceremony was now.

    Causes were backed up bumper-to-bumper, honking to get attention. Engines boiled over with pent-up do-goodery. Big winners on the night dedicated their statuettes to sufferers of Alzheimer’s (Best Actress winner Julianne Moore) and ALS (Best Actor Eddie Redmayne), immigrant amnesty (Best Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, whose Birdman also won Best Picture), female equal rights (Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette) and even “Be kind to your parents”. Best Supporting Actor JK Simmons, winning for Whiplash, brandished his Oscar while exhorting, “Call your mom and dad!”

    Moore and Redmayne had been hot and warm favourites, respectively, for Still Alice and The Theory of Everything . While doing traditional overcome-with-surprise routines, and thanking everyone in the universe, both urged good causes and good works. Mexico-born Iñárritu discovered lavish opportunities for stump speaking. His commuter pass to the podium allowed three trips: first for Best Original Screenplay, finally as one of the multiple Birdman producers after Sean Penn, opening the envelope, had produced the only joke of his Oscars career with a pseudo-indignant aside about Iñárritu: “Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?”

    Gay equality went naked and unashamed as compère Neil Patrick Harris — the gender-balancing choice after last year’s Ellen DeGeneres — strode on stage stripped to white underpants. It was one of several popular tributes to Birdman’s Michael-Keaton-in-the-buff scene. In the evening’s other rabble-rousing moment the audience response to the playing of Selma’s “Glory”, Best Original Song Oscar winner, proved you didn’t need ceiling sprinklers during this year’s Academy Awards. Just turn on an audience ready to weep for truth, justice and virtue, led by a David Oyelowo (the film’s Martin Luther King) positively cataracting tears.

    In Hollywood, liberalism never rains but it pours. For those previously convinced that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was a guild of grumpy old white folk frozen in time, the night of picking up jaws from floors climaxed with the Best Documentary Oscar. Citizenfour ??? Isn’t that the film about a guy who was lambasted for going too far, liberty-wise, by a black liberal president? But if Edward Snowden had been here he would have been hugged to death. When Harris punned that Snowden couldn’t be here “for some treason”, the audience almost hissed. It wasn’t a night for being reactionary.

    It does the heart good even while risking coronaries of astonishment. Maybe our movie business is in enlightened hands. Meanwhile there was enough standard kitsch to prove that history and certainty have not entirely disintegrated. The set was an Aladdin’s cave of gilded frou-frou, this year bombarded with digital transformation effects. “The Hills Are Alive” was sung in celebration of The Sound of Music’s 50th birthday, albeit by Lady Gaga (followed by a Julie Andrews personal appearance). And in keeping with custom, a favoured film passed over for big honours scooped all the small ones. This year Grand Budapest Hotel picked up the gongs for production design, costume design, make-up and score
    .
    It was the best of evenings, it was the worst of evenings. Worst included thank-you lists that seemed longer than ever, often taking in entire families and threatening to go back up ancestral generations. Best included one of those rare Best Foreign Language Film Oscar years in which the statuette goes to the best foreign film, at least among those nominated.

    Pawel Pawlikowski, winning for the austere yet radiant Ida , made a funny, likeable speech. A Pole who has mostly lived and worked in the UK, he also helps to prove that Britain has started sending other movie contingents to the US — including a Best Actor and the entire principal cast of Selma — than villains schooled in lip-curling and good diction; though Old Harrovian audience member Benedict Cumberbatch put in a quiet plea for them too, stage-evilly mouthing “Go away” to the camera when caught swigging from a hip flask.

  23. Thoughts overall:

    1.Pro-Hispanic Immigration boilerplate:

    From Alejandro González Iñárritu

    “I just pray they can be treated with the same dignity and respect of the ones that came before and built this incredible, immigrant nation.”

    America was created by the Anglos.The immigrants who came later were add-ons

    Sidepoint:The guy seems to favor his mother’s surname (“Iñárritu”) over his father’s (“González”). Of course, Iñárritu is much more distinctive

    2.Yeah, these guys are totally not White.See, we’re not racists, etc:

    Gotta love how the PC press tries to convince itself that Alejandro González Iñárritu and Emmanuel Lubezki Morgenstern aren’t White guys

    Sidepoint: Of course, Hollywood shows that they think that they are White, what with all the jokes about how White the nominees (“Best and Whitest, uhh, brightest”) are.You can be damn sure that that joke wouldn’t have happened if the BirdMan boys were Black.

    Sidepoint: Gotta wonder about Black vs Hispanic tension.Here are White Hispanic guys getting feted by Hollywood, while Blacks hover in the margins….Well, as many people have stated, in the USA, the central dichotomy has been Blacks on one side, everybody else on the other.

    3.Turing Cult goes down: Interesting to see how The Imitation Game lost steam as the Oscars neared.Plus, the best actor award went to the guy in the other biopic about a British scientist with problems.

    Sidepoint: And both Brit-films were “meh.” Keaton in BirdMan was clearly better than Cumberbatch (perhaps the most boring actor around) and Redmayne (whose camptastic turn in Jupiter Ascending has to be seen to be believed)

    4.Most Deserved Win: JK Simmons.The guy has been gold in everything that he’s been in.Really hope that they get him back on as J Jonah Jameson.

    5.Grand Budapest Hotel: Not surprised that its wins came in costume design, makeup-hair, and production design (plus one for music).As Steve has said, the film is the greatest cinematic tribute to frosting ever made.

    Sidepoint: On the other hand, Fiennes was really good, and he should have been nominated.Just swap out Cumberbatch for Fiennes.

  24. @slumber_j
    With a name like Iñárritu, that dude's Basque as the day is long--patrilineally speaking, at least.

    With a name like Iñárritu, that dude’s Basque as the day is long–patrilineally speaking, at least.

    matrilineally:

    Alejandro González Iñárritu was born in Mexico City, the son of Luz María Iñárritu and Hector González Gama.

  25. Did you see Berkeley-grad and very-white Chris Pine crying to Common and Legend’s performance of “Glory” from Selma at the Oscars? Talk about embarrassing. I wonder if black people fall for this white patronizing phoniness?

  26. @David
    I can't find an example of theater within theater before Shakespeare. Homer has characters within stories telling stories and people inside those stories telling stories. Within his poetry, he depicts the poet reciting poetry. He has characters, like Odysseus, hear poems being sung about themselves, just as we are hearing one. But I don't see this happening on the stage until Shakespeare. Any prior examples?

    On second thought, I guess the Chorus in a Greek play is sort of like a theater meta-audience.

    • Replies: @keypusher
    Aristophanes is your man. He includes a parody of a Euripidean tragedy in Lysistrata and in The Clouds one character tells another "be serious, you're not on stage!" or something similar. He has Euripides play a series of characters from his own plays in "The Poet and the Women." I'm sure there are other examples.

    I'd be amazed if there weren't plays within plays in New Comedy, but I just don't know.

    It's funny, but there isn't a lot of drama in the West before Shakespeare. There's the Greeks and the Romans, and then nothing until the mystery plays in the late middle ages. The Italians began reviving classical drama in the late 1400s. Professional drama in England got started in the 1560s, I believe, right around Shakespeare's birth.
  27. Lope de Aguirre (c. 1510 – 27 October 1561) was a Basque Spanish conquistador in South America. Nicknamed El Loco (‘the Madman’), he styled himself ‘”Wrath of God, Prince of Freedom, King of Tierra Firme”.[1] Aguirre is best known for his final expedition down the Amazon river in search of the mythical golden King El Dorado. In 1561 Aguirre sent a letter which defied the Spanish monarch Philip II by declaring an independent state of Peru. Aguirre’s expedition ended with his death. Since his death, Aguirre has come to be considered a symbol of cruelty and treachery in colonial Spanish America,[2][3] and has become an antihero in literature, cinema and other arts.[4]

    There were some Basque conquistador so Inarritu’s conquistador-ness is intact.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    I watched quite a few German films while studying German as a young man. One of the most memorable of the bunch was Werner Herzog's "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" with Klaus Kinski.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_nFmx__VxM
  28. • Replies: @syonredux

    Off-topic (you don’t have to publish this): http://www.returnofkings.com/57034/why-are-feminists-ignoring-the-violent-gang-rape-of-porn-star-cytherea
     
    Quite appalling, but not unheard of.Fran Drescher was raped at gun point by a Black man:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/12/fran-drescher-talks-rape-black-man-pedophilia-vs-homosexuality_n_1340291.html

    And Kelly McGillis was raped by two Black men:

    http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20100476,00.html
  29. >America was created by the Anglos.The immigrants who came later were add-ons

    Yes, that’s why the Oscars are held in Angelville. No, wait, they are in Los Angeles.

    >Sidepoint:The guy seems to favor his mother’s surname (“Iñárritu”) over his father’s (“González”). Of course, Iñárritu is much more distinctive

    It is indeed common among Hispanics to be known by their second (mother’s) last name if their father’s name is a common one. For example, Pablo Ruiz Picasso was known by his mother’s family name, Picasso. Also because Anglos assume that the last name that appears is your real surname and the one in the middle (your father’s) is just a middle name.

    >2.Yeah, these guys are totally not White.See, we’re not racists, etc:

    Here is a picture of Iñárritu next to someone who is 100% white (but also Hispanic, the conductor Dudamel):

    I’m pretty sure that like most Mexicans, Iñárritu is of mixed blood. He has European features but Amerindian pigmentation. If you got rid of the tux and the Hollywood hairdo, you wouldn’t look twice if you saw him on the landscaping crew cutting your lawn.

    Iñárritu is sort of the exception that proves the rule. There have always been a few Latinos in Hollywood (most of them, especially the ones on screen, whiter than Iñárritu) but not a lot, certainly not compared to the current ethnic composition of LA (about 1/2 Hispanic).

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Cary "Tall, Dark, and Handsome" Grant was darker than Iñárritu at Oscar time.
    , @syonredux

    >America was created by the Anglos.The immigrants who came later were add-ons

    Yes, that’s why the Oscars are held in Angelville. No, wait, they are in Los Angeles.
     
    Actually, Los Angeles is an Anglo creation, dear fellow; the Hispanic contribution was, shall we say, nominal.

    >2.Yeah, these guys are totally not White.See, we’re not racists, etc:

    Here is a picture of Iñárritu next to someone who is 100% white (but also Hispanic, the conductor Dudamel):

    http://www1.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Alejandro+Gonzalez+Inarritu+Stars+Celebrate+W3C7nULRH0Tl.jpg

    I’m pretty sure that like most Mexicans, Iñárritu is of mixed blood. He has European features but Amerindian pigmentation.
     
    Well, as Steve already pointed out with his reference to the heavily tanned Cary Grant (cf, in particular, how he looked in To Catch a Thief), Iñárritu is well within the European complexion range.Heck, when I visited Italy, I saw more than a few Italians who were darker still.
    , @Twinkie

    Yes, that’s why the Oscars are held in Angelville. No, wait, they are in Los Angeles.
     
    Non Angli sed Angeli.
  30. Selma wound up winning a minor Oscar (original song). In the acceptance speech, actor John Legend and rapper Common claimed that there are more black men in prison today than there were black people that were ever enslaved in the United States.

    Any one with brain can pick that argument apart. That was just a matter of two fools saying something to a crowd of even bigger fools, and everyone in the room thought that something brilliant was just uttered. There are around 40 million black people today, so it stands to reason that there’s a chance that the number of black men incarcerated right now is more than the number of black people that were ever slaves between 1776 and 1865.

    Unfortunately for dumb and dumber, the 1860 Census listed 3.9 million black slaves. The total American prison population at the moment is 2.3 million, and not all of those are black men. So, as a matter of fact, frick and frack were wrong. But then again, I don’t think of a (c)rapper and an actor as authoritative sources on American history.

    • Replies: @res
    My guess is they are including parole and probation which roughly triples the numbers. See table 3 on page 4 of http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cpus13.pdf
    Also, this page gives roughly 3.2 million slaves in 1850 (not 1860): http://www.blackenterprise.com/news/are-there-really-more-blacks-in-prison-than-were-in-slavery/
    The statement said "correctional control" so I believe it. Just make sure to correct people who are equating that to prison.
  31. Coincidentally, we just watched that movie yesterday. We got a big kick out of the line from those guys, “Going away is such sweet sorrow.”

    I was struck by how musical theater took such a detour to try and be as black as possible in any aspect from rhythm, vocal style, and dance. And I wondered how far it could have evolved if it would have stayed the course and improved on what was. Both the male lead and the two female singers had sort of a singing style that was “opera light”. And the dancing was “Modern Ballet” and was athletic in its own right.

    I have this question sometimes, “What if there never were blacks in America?”‘

    Or if there was some genie that popped and offered to just make them go away, and there was a secret ballot, then ???

    I found this article somewhere where a black pro athlete levied a charge of a racial slur against a Boston police officer.

    He said the guy used the term “Monday”.

    I looked it up and it apparently is quite common in Boston,

    “Nobody likes Mondays.”

  32. (The Reply button is not working right)

    Anonym:

    I will use the mention of Cole Porter to segue into an OT discussion featuring several iSteve themes and topics such as homosexuals, music, lyrics, and the esoteric. One thing I have noticed with homosexual singers and lyricists is that many if not most will feel compelled to have at least one song in their repertoire that is basically a homosexual in-joke, an excuse to slip in a double entendre. This will be obvious to someone in the know, but someone outside will be largely oblivious.

    Cole Porter:
    You’re the top (I’m the bottom, you’re the top)

    Porter’s musical play Kiss Me Kate includes the song Tom, Dick or Harry, which ends with these lyrics:

    I’m a maid who would marry
    And would no longer tarry
    I’m a maid who would marry
    May my hopes not miscarry

    I’m a maid mad to marry
    And will take double quick
    Any Tom, Dick or Harry
    Any Tom, Harry or Dick

    A dicka dick
    A dicka dick
    A dicka dick
    A dicka dick

    A dicka dick
    A dicka dick
    A dicka dick
    A dicka dick

    Any Tom, Dick or Harry
    Any Tom, Harry or Dick

  33. @countenance
    Selma wound up winning a minor Oscar (original song). In the acceptance speech, actor John Legend and rapper Common claimed that there are more black men in prison today than there were black people that were ever enslaved in the United States.

    Any one with brain can pick that argument apart. That was just a matter of two fools saying something to a crowd of even bigger fools, and everyone in the room thought that something brilliant was just uttered. There are around 40 million black people today, so it stands to reason that there's a chance that the number of black men incarcerated right now is more than the number of black people that were ever slaves between 1776 and 1865.

    Unfortunately for dumb and dumber, the 1860 Census listed 3.9 million black slaves. The total American prison population at the moment is 2.3 million, and not all of those are black men. So, as a matter of fact, frick and frack were wrong. But then again, I don't think of a (c)rapper and an actor as authoritative sources on American history.

    My guess is they are including parole and probation which roughly triples the numbers. See table 3 on page 4 of http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cpus13.pdf
    Also, this page gives roughly 3.2 million slaves in 1850 (not 1860): http://www.blackenterprise.com/news/are-there-really-more-blacks-in-prison-than-were-in-slavery/
    The statement said “correctional control” so I believe it. Just make sure to correct people who are equating that to prison.

  34. I didn’t see Birdman but I enjoyed Ed Norton’s Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross, who showed her prickly side. They were talking about a comically inept fistfight between Norton’s character and Keaton’s:

    GROSS: They were not good at this (laughter).

    NORTON: I – you know, they’re actors. I mean, it’s like the Dorothy Parker line, scratch an actor, you’ll find an actress. I mean, I think this is….

    GROSS [obviously pissed]: Can you explain that to me? I don’t get that. Honestly I don’t get it.

    NORTON: I think that…

    GROSS [continuing in pissy tone]: Is that that actors are effeminate? Is that the joke?

    NORTON: (Laughter) I think it’s that there is – I can only guess what she meant, but I don’t think that Mike Scheiner and Reagan are, you know, out of touch with their feminine side or their vanity or their concern for appearances.

    GROSS [even more pissed]: Oh, so we’re equating women with vanity, are we? This is a slippery slope.

    NORTON: No, not women. Just actresses.

    GROSS [yet MORE pissed]: OK, and that’s better – OK.

    NORTON: It was a woman that said it. It wasn’t me. I think neither of these guys is a good fighter particularly, and they have – the typically messy fight of untrained brawlers.

    GROSS [calmer, reining it in]: Yeah. And you’re doing like a real, like, put-up-your-dukes kind of pose. It’s very funny.

  35. WhatEvvs [AKA "Bemused"] says:

    Neil Patrick Harris’ strip routine embarrassed me. I could hear the lights going out all over the Muslim world!

    I turned off at 11 PM, during the SELMA song. Enough was enough!

    It was kinda cute that Jared Leto presented the Oscar to Patricia Arquette, given the gossip about Leto and the pre-“transition” Alexis Arquette!

  36. I didn’t see Birdman but I enjoyed Ed Norton’s Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross, who showed her prickly side.

    Just classic. Thanks for the transcript.

  37. NORTON: I – you know, they’re actors. I mean, it’s like the Dorothy Parker line, scratch an actor, you’ll find an actress.

    Good old Dorothy Parker:

    Brevity is the soul of lingerie

    Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves

    I don’t care what is written about me so long as it isn’t true

    GROSS [obviously pissed]: Can you explain that to me? I don’t get that. Honestly I don’t get it.

    Actors are kinda Gay, dear lady.Is her internal Crimethink censor that good?

    • Replies: @Jimbo
    I just looked her up and found a few gems I'd never heard:

    “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”

    “It serves me right for putting all my eggs in one bastard.”

    “Tell him I was too fucking busy-- or vice versa.”
    , @Harry Baldwin
    I'm sure Terry Gross got it, saying "I don't get that" was her feminist way of saying, "What you are implying is so objectionable that I'm going to pretend it's unfathomable to me and make you spell it out so you can dig yourself deeper."

    SJWs remind each other that when someone says something racist, sexist, or homophobic you must "call them on it," and that's what Gross was doing.
  38. I remember Hitchcock’s uncutted-up stunt: Rope, or (How We Tried to Hide a Murder in Unedited Scenes). It too was great, sort of.

    I also remember from film history class (easy A) how the first filmmakers knew nothing and therefore made movies with long, continuous shots of people acting out scenes like in a play. That was before D.W. Griffith taught the world how to make a movie.

    Hey, did you know that black people are still struggling?

  39. @Steve Sailer
    It's okay.

    The real standout talent among the Three Amigos is the Fourth Amigo, the cinematographer Lubezki. But they are all pretty good.

    Right, the cinematography was good and the most noteworthy aspect of the film. It made the movie decent and watchable at least.

    The premise seems interesting, but the drama and dialogue just isn’t there or very strong.

  40. @syonredux

    NORTON: I – you know, they’re actors. I mean, it’s like the Dorothy Parker line, scratch an actor, you’ll find an actress.
     
    Good old Dorothy Parker:

    Brevity is the soul of lingerie

    Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves

    I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true

    GROSS [obviously pissed]: Can you explain that to me? I don’t get that. Honestly I don’t get it.
     
    Actors are kinda Gay, dear lady.Is her internal Crimethink censor that good?

    I just looked her up and found a few gems I’d never heard:

    “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”

    “It serves me right for putting all my eggs in one bastard.”

    “Tell him I was too fucking busy– or vice versa.”

  41. It seems to me that this is another milestone in the death of cinema – at least in suburban malls.

    Cinema is a group activity. You watch movies as part of a group but it’s not like other group activities. If you attend a party or a nightclub you expect to interact with others. At movies you hope and pray that you will not interact with anyone else. If you go to a play or an opera you expect to interact with others at intermission. You dress up. But people dress down for movies and they avoid other patrons. So as a social activity it’s very defective. If you feel the need to be more social – going to the movies is a poor activity.

    Sometime about forty years ago it became economically sensible for businessmen to cluster movie theater auditoria together in malls. But that pattern may be changing. In the last year there has been a spate of black mob violence focused on the mall movie theater. The media has tried to keep it under wraps but the word is leaking out. Go to the strip mall movie theater and you may be a part of a mindless riot by black teenagers.

    I imagine that these riots will accelerate the Home Theater movement. It is possible to see a movie at home on a big screen with big sound and avoid the prospect of black violence. There is a parallel trend to avoid going to the mall to shop. You can buy the same items on Amazon and have them delivered to your door.

    It seems likely to me that malls will die and along with them, mall movie theaters. One consequence of this is that the Academy Awards show will become ever more irrelevant. The way things are currently structured new movies are available for home viewing only a couple months after they have been nominally released. This means that I haven’t seen any of the movies that got awards last night. I will see all of them probably but it will be a couple months. So the people who follow along with the evenings presentations are those who have ventured out to see this new crop of films at increasingly dangerous traditional movie theaters.

    • Replies: @marty
    I guess I'm something of a pioneer in this area. I stopped going to movie theaters where black youth might possibly be found in 1987, after black teens in a Berkeley theater threatened me. I had asked them to be quiet.
    , @SPMoore8
    I am in my '60's so -- of course -- I used to attend movies in theaters.

    In those days, a film would have an initial run, then sometime later a second run, and if it won an Oscar or two yet another run, and then it would go into the double feature graveyard, where it would linger for awhile before it fell off the face of the earth, until it showed up on TV. And that was it!

    Also in those days, even double features would begin with 1-2 Warner Brothers cartoons and sometimes even a Three Stooges short. But then, the quality of TV was low, so this was pretty high class stuff.

    Anyway. The most memorable screenings I ever attended were memorable because there was an audience, and I caught the films in question right away or close to it. "Lawrence of Arabia" (1963): the climaxes brought drowning shouts and applause, "Sleeper" (1973) and "Blazing Saddles" (1975): the laughter was so loud that you couldn't hear half the jokes, "Indiana Jones", "The Graduate", "The Sting" (! palpable gasps at the climax), "Jaws", which I saw in Hong Kong with Chinese subtitles also a very memorable experience -- just a few off the top of my head -- the audience participation was so intense it really added to the experience, and, also, tended to detract from any flaws. It is something you miss: I think film, like drama, is definitely something where the audience is a participant in a way. (I wouldn't say the same thing about most musical performances, however.)
  42. @syonredux

    NORTON: I – you know, they’re actors. I mean, it’s like the Dorothy Parker line, scratch an actor, you’ll find an actress.
     
    Good old Dorothy Parker:

    Brevity is the soul of lingerie

    Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves

    I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true

    GROSS [obviously pissed]: Can you explain that to me? I don’t get that. Honestly I don’t get it.
     
    Actors are kinda Gay, dear lady.Is her internal Crimethink censor that good?

    I’m sure Terry Gross got it, saying “I don’t get that” was her feminist way of saying, “What you are implying is so objectionable that I’m going to pretend it’s unfathomable to me and make you spell it out so you can dig yourself deeper.”

    SJWs remind each other that when someone says something racist, sexist, or homophobic you must “call them on it,” and that’s what Gross was doing.

  43. @Jack D
    >America was created by the Anglos.The immigrants who came later were add-ons

    Yes, that's why the Oscars are held in Angelville. No, wait, they are in Los Angeles.

    >Sidepoint:The guy seems to favor his mother’s surname (“Iñárritu”) over his father’s (“González”). Of course, Iñárritu is much more distinctive

    It is indeed common among Hispanics to be known by their second (mother's) last name if their father's name is a common one. For example, Pablo Ruiz Picasso was known by his mother's family name, Picasso. Also because Anglos assume that the last name that appears is your real surname and the one in the middle (your father's) is just a middle name.


    >2.Yeah, these guys are totally not White.See, we’re not racists, etc:

    Here is a picture of Iñárritu next to someone who is 100% white (but also Hispanic, the conductor Dudamel):

    http://www1.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Alejandro+Gonzalez+Inarritu+Stars+Celebrate+W3C7nULRH0Tl.jpg

    I'm pretty sure that like most Mexicans, Iñárritu is of mixed blood. He has European features but Amerindian pigmentation. If you got rid of the tux and the Hollywood hairdo, you wouldn't look twice if you saw him on the landscaping crew cutting your lawn.

    Iñárritu is sort of the exception that proves the rule. There have always been a few Latinos in Hollywood (most of them, especially the ones on screen, whiter than Iñárritu) but not a lot, certainly not compared to the current ethnic composition of LA (about 1/2 Hispanic).

    Cary “Tall, Dark, and Handsome” Grant was darker than Iñárritu at Oscar time.

    • Replies: @donut
    How do you get the Youtube videos to play from a certain point rather than the whole video ? And can you select a section in the middle or just from a certain point to the end ?
    , @Jack D
    Here is Grant next to the extremely fair Grace Kelly, in To Catch a Thief. I don't think he is five shades darker, the way Iñárritu looks next to Dudamel.

    http://image.motortrend.com/f/classic/features/1311_1955_sunbeam_alpine_classic_drive/67834281/to-catch-a-thief-grace-kelly-and-cary-grant.jpg

    Photography is very bad at capturing true colors and TV screens and monitors even worse, but I'll bet that if you saw Iñárritu and Grant in person, you'd have no problem figuring out who was the Mexican.

    Speaking of Dudamel, he is the product of Venezuela's excellent musical education system, El Sistema. Just like Castro produced a lot of doctors (and not much else good), Venezuelan socialism produces a lot of high quality classically trained musicians. I have a friend who is Lithuanian and he felt that when the Soviet system ended in Lithuania, they threw out the baby with the bathwater in many respects, just because people hated anything that reminded them of the Russians or of Communism. Now, probably 90% of the stuff that they got rid of, it was the right thing to do, but there should have been some mechanism for saving a few good things.

    I'll bet that when socialism ends in Venezuela (it is hopefully in its final death throes - either that or they will impose a hard core dictatorship), the musical education system is one of those things that will get tossed that should have been kept.
  44. @grey enlightenment
    so the movie has nothing to do with big bird

    Or Alcatraz. Or James Audobon. :^(

  45. @Steve Sailer
    Cary "Tall, Dark, and Handsome" Grant was darker than Iñárritu at Oscar time.

    How do you get the Youtube videos to play from a certain point rather than the whole video ? And can you select a section in the middle or just from a certain point to the end ?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    On the Youtube site, click on Share, then put a check in the box about start from a certain point. This adds the time to start to the end of the URL that you post into the comment. It's a good way of getting to the point.
  46. @donut
    How do you get the Youtube videos to play from a certain point rather than the whole video ? And can you select a section in the middle or just from a certain point to the end ?

    On the Youtube site, click on Share, then put a check in the box about start from a certain point. This adds the time to start to the end of the URL that you post into the comment. It’s a good way of getting to the point.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    When you approve comments with youtube videos, do you watch the videos or just look at the titles?
  47. @Steve Sailer
    Cary "Tall, Dark, and Handsome" Grant was darker than Iñárritu at Oscar time.

    Here is Grant next to the extremely fair Grace Kelly, in To Catch a Thief. I don’t think he is five shades darker, the way Iñárritu looks next to Dudamel.

    Photography is very bad at capturing true colors and TV screens and monitors even worse, but I’ll bet that if you saw Iñárritu and Grant in person, you’d have no problem figuring out who was the Mexican.

    Speaking of Dudamel, he is the product of Venezuela’s excellent musical education system, El Sistema. Just like Castro produced a lot of doctors (and not much else good), Venezuelan socialism produces a lot of high quality classically trained musicians. I have a friend who is Lithuanian and he felt that when the Soviet system ended in Lithuania, they threw out the baby with the bathwater in many respects, just because people hated anything that reminded them of the Russians or of Communism. Now, probably 90% of the stuff that they got rid of, it was the right thing to do, but there should have been some mechanism for saving a few good things.

    I’ll bet that when socialism ends in Venezuela (it is hopefully in its final death throes – either that or they will impose a hard core dictatorship), the musical education system is one of those things that will get tossed that should have been kept.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Here is Grant next to the extremely fair Grace Kelly, in To Catch a Thief. I don’t think he is five shades darker, the way Iñárritu looks next to Dudamel.

    http://image.motortrend.com/f/classic/features/1311_1955_sunbeam_alpine_classic_drive/67834281/to-catch-a-thief-grace-kelly-and-cary-grant.jpg
     
    Grant vs Kelly looks about the same as Iñárritu vs Dudamel, complexion wise.

    I think that you just need to travel around Europe a bit more. Iñárritu would fit right in in Sardinia, Sicily, Crete, etc
  48. @Jack D
    >America was created by the Anglos.The immigrants who came later were add-ons

    Yes, that's why the Oscars are held in Angelville. No, wait, they are in Los Angeles.

    >Sidepoint:The guy seems to favor his mother’s surname (“Iñárritu”) over his father’s (“González”). Of course, Iñárritu is much more distinctive

    It is indeed common among Hispanics to be known by their second (mother's) last name if their father's name is a common one. For example, Pablo Ruiz Picasso was known by his mother's family name, Picasso. Also because Anglos assume that the last name that appears is your real surname and the one in the middle (your father's) is just a middle name.


    >2.Yeah, these guys are totally not White.See, we’re not racists, etc:

    Here is a picture of Iñárritu next to someone who is 100% white (but also Hispanic, the conductor Dudamel):

    http://www1.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Alejandro+Gonzalez+Inarritu+Stars+Celebrate+W3C7nULRH0Tl.jpg

    I'm pretty sure that like most Mexicans, Iñárritu is of mixed blood. He has European features but Amerindian pigmentation. If you got rid of the tux and the Hollywood hairdo, you wouldn't look twice if you saw him on the landscaping crew cutting your lawn.

    Iñárritu is sort of the exception that proves the rule. There have always been a few Latinos in Hollywood (most of them, especially the ones on screen, whiter than Iñárritu) but not a lot, certainly not compared to the current ethnic composition of LA (about 1/2 Hispanic).

    >America was created by the Anglos.The immigrants who came later were add-ons

    Yes, that’s why the Oscars are held in Angelville. No, wait, they are in Los Angeles.

    Actually, Los Angeles is an Anglo creation, dear fellow; the Hispanic contribution was, shall we say, nominal.

    >2.Yeah, these guys are totally not White.See, we’re not racists, etc:

    Here is a picture of Iñárritu next to someone who is 100% white (but also Hispanic, the conductor Dudamel):

    I’m pretty sure that like most Mexicans, Iñárritu is of mixed blood. He has European features but Amerindian pigmentation.

    Well, as Steve already pointed out with his reference to the heavily tanned Cary Grant (cf, in particular, how he looked in To Catch a Thief), Iñárritu is well within the European complexion range.Heck, when I visited Italy, I saw more than a few Italians who were darker still.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Iñárritu looks like he could pass as a member of a Mexican landscaping or contracting crew, or a more upper class Mexican depending on how he's dressed and made up.

    Grant on the other hand looks like a really tanned British guy. He doesn't really look like any kind of Mexican.
    , @Jack D
    Sure, there are some Italians who can tan very heavily if their occupation requires them to work outdoors or if they are intentionally trying for a very dark tan and roast themselves on the beach or in the tanning salon. I would bet that Iñárritu doesn't spend any time in the tanning salon.
  49. @Steve Sailer
    On the Youtube site, click on Share, then put a check in the box about start from a certain point. This adds the time to start to the end of the URL that you post into the comment. It's a good way of getting to the point.

    When you approve comments with youtube videos, do you watch the videos or just look at the titles?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    What exactly are you planning?
  50. @David
    On second thought, I guess the Chorus in a Greek play is sort of like a theater meta-audience.

    Aristophanes is your man. He includes a parody of a Euripidean tragedy in Lysistrata and in The Clouds one character tells another “be serious, you’re not on stage!” or something similar. He has Euripides play a series of characters from his own plays in “The Poet and the Women.” I’m sure there are other examples.

    I’d be amazed if there weren’t plays within plays in New Comedy, but I just don’t know.

    It’s funny, but there isn’t a lot of drama in the West before Shakespeare. There’s the Greeks and the Romans, and then nothing until the mystery plays in the late middle ages. The Italians began reviving classical drama in the late 1400s. Professional drama in England got started in the 1560s, I believe, right around Shakespeare’s birth.

  51. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @syonredux

    >America was created by the Anglos.The immigrants who came later were add-ons

    Yes, that’s why the Oscars are held in Angelville. No, wait, they are in Los Angeles.
     
    Actually, Los Angeles is an Anglo creation, dear fellow; the Hispanic contribution was, shall we say, nominal.

    >2.Yeah, these guys are totally not White.See, we’re not racists, etc:

    Here is a picture of Iñárritu next to someone who is 100% white (but also Hispanic, the conductor Dudamel):

    http://www1.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Alejandro+Gonzalez+Inarritu+Stars+Celebrate+W3C7nULRH0Tl.jpg

    I’m pretty sure that like most Mexicans, Iñárritu is of mixed blood. He has European features but Amerindian pigmentation.
     
    Well, as Steve already pointed out with his reference to the heavily tanned Cary Grant (cf, in particular, how he looked in To Catch a Thief), Iñárritu is well within the European complexion range.Heck, when I visited Italy, I saw more than a few Italians who were darker still.

    Iñárritu looks like he could pass as a member of a Mexican landscaping or contracting crew, or a more upper class Mexican depending on how he’s dressed and made up.

    Grant on the other hand looks like a really tanned British guy. He doesn’t really look like any kind of Mexican.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Exactly.
    , @syonredux

    Iñárritu looks like he could pass as a member of a Mexican landscaping or contracting crew,
     
    Well, he doesn't look much like the Mexican landscapers and contracting crew guys that I see in California.They're much more Amerind in appearance

    or a more upper class Mexican depending on how he’s dressed and made up.
     
    Seeing as how the Mexican upper class is much more European than the heavily Mestizo masses, yeah

    Grant on the other hand looks like a really tanned British guy.
     
    Well, he is a British guy....

    He doesn’t really look like any kind of Mexican.
     
    If you mean that he doesn't look like a White guy from Spain, yeah.Of course, Grant doesn't look like a White guy from Finland, either
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Around here, at least, no Mexican or Central American laborer would be that tall.
  52. @Jack D
    Here is Grant next to the extremely fair Grace Kelly, in To Catch a Thief. I don't think he is five shades darker, the way Iñárritu looks next to Dudamel.

    http://image.motortrend.com/f/classic/features/1311_1955_sunbeam_alpine_classic_drive/67834281/to-catch-a-thief-grace-kelly-and-cary-grant.jpg

    Photography is very bad at capturing true colors and TV screens and monitors even worse, but I'll bet that if you saw Iñárritu and Grant in person, you'd have no problem figuring out who was the Mexican.

    Speaking of Dudamel, he is the product of Venezuela's excellent musical education system, El Sistema. Just like Castro produced a lot of doctors (and not much else good), Venezuelan socialism produces a lot of high quality classically trained musicians. I have a friend who is Lithuanian and he felt that when the Soviet system ended in Lithuania, they threw out the baby with the bathwater in many respects, just because people hated anything that reminded them of the Russians or of Communism. Now, probably 90% of the stuff that they got rid of, it was the right thing to do, but there should have been some mechanism for saving a few good things.

    I'll bet that when socialism ends in Venezuela (it is hopefully in its final death throes - either that or they will impose a hard core dictatorship), the musical education system is one of those things that will get tossed that should have been kept.

    Here is Grant next to the extremely fair Grace Kelly, in To Catch a Thief. I don’t think he is five shades darker, the way Iñárritu looks next to Dudamel.

    http://image.motortrend.com/f/classic/features/1311_1955_sunbeam_alpine_classic_drive/67834281/to-catch-a-thief-grace-kelly-and-cary-grant.jpg

    Grant vs Kelly looks about the same as Iñárritu vs Dudamel, complexion wise.

    I think that you just need to travel around Europe a bit more. Iñárritu would fit right in in Sardinia, Sicily, Crete, etc

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Too bad Iñárritu is a Basque name and not Sardinian. European Basques are generally very fair skinned. Iñárritu would stick out like a sore thumb in Basque country.
  53. @syonredux

    Here is Grant next to the extremely fair Grace Kelly, in To Catch a Thief. I don’t think he is five shades darker, the way Iñárritu looks next to Dudamel.

    http://image.motortrend.com/f/classic/features/1311_1955_sunbeam_alpine_classic_drive/67834281/to-catch-a-thief-grace-kelly-and-cary-grant.jpg
     
    Grant vs Kelly looks about the same as Iñárritu vs Dudamel, complexion wise.

    I think that you just need to travel around Europe a bit more. Iñárritu would fit right in in Sardinia, Sicily, Crete, etc

    Too bad Iñárritu is a Basque name and not Sardinian. European Basques are generally very fair skinned. Iñárritu would stick out like a sore thumb in Basque country.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Too bad Iñárritu is a Basque name and not Sardinian. European Basques are generally very fair skinned. Iñárritu would stick out like a sore thumb in Basque country.
     
    Depends on how one defines "very," dear fellow.The Basque that I've met in Spain have all been olive-skinned.Plus, Iñárritu is hardly pure Basque:

    Alejandro González Iñárritu was born in Mexico City, the son of Luz María Iñárritu and Hector González Gama.
     
    Last time I checked, González was pretty common in the non-Basque parts of Spain....And Gama is pretty common in Portugal.

    Sure, there are some Italians who can tan very heavily if their occupation requires them to work outdoors or if they are intentionally trying for a very dark tan and roast themselves on the beach or in the tanning salon.
     
    I've met some stuck-in-library grad students from Greece who are quite dark.

    I would bet that Iñárritu doesn’t spend any time in the tanning salon.
     
    Golf? Swimming? Hiking? Plus, a quick scan shows that Iñárritu's complexion was lighter while he was filming BirdMan; maybe being on set keeps him away from the links and he catches up once filming wraps...
  54. @Anonymous
    Iñárritu looks like he could pass as a member of a Mexican landscaping or contracting crew, or a more upper class Mexican depending on how he's dressed and made up.

    Grant on the other hand looks like a really tanned British guy. He doesn't really look like any kind of Mexican.

    Exactly.

  55. @syonredux

    >America was created by the Anglos.The immigrants who came later were add-ons

    Yes, that’s why the Oscars are held in Angelville. No, wait, they are in Los Angeles.
     
    Actually, Los Angeles is an Anglo creation, dear fellow; the Hispanic contribution was, shall we say, nominal.

    >2.Yeah, these guys are totally not White.See, we’re not racists, etc:

    Here is a picture of Iñárritu next to someone who is 100% white (but also Hispanic, the conductor Dudamel):

    http://www1.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Alejandro+Gonzalez+Inarritu+Stars+Celebrate+W3C7nULRH0Tl.jpg

    I’m pretty sure that like most Mexicans, Iñárritu is of mixed blood. He has European features but Amerindian pigmentation.
     
    Well, as Steve already pointed out with his reference to the heavily tanned Cary Grant (cf, in particular, how he looked in To Catch a Thief), Iñárritu is well within the European complexion range.Heck, when I visited Italy, I saw more than a few Italians who were darker still.

    Sure, there are some Italians who can tan very heavily if their occupation requires them to work outdoors or if they are intentionally trying for a very dark tan and roast themselves on the beach or in the tanning salon. I would bet that Iñárritu doesn’t spend any time in the tanning salon.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    His features are almost identical to those of my Italian-American lawyer friend Tommy L.

    Movie directors have been known to play tennis, golf, sail, swim, ski and other activities that don't involve tanning booths.

  56. @Anonym
    I will use the mention of Cole Porter to segue into an OT discussion featuring several iSteve themes and topics such as homosexuals, music, lyrics, and the esoteric. One thing I have noticed with homosexual singers and lyricists is that many if not most will feel compelled to have at least one song in their repertoire that is basically a homosexual in-joke, an excuse to slip in a double entendre. This will be obvious to someone in the know, but someone outside will be largely oblivious.

    Cole Porter:
    You're the top (I'm the bottom, you're the top)
    http://www.lyricsfreak.com/c/cole+porter/youre+the+top_20354838.html

    Elton John
    Don't let the sun go down on me
    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/eltonjohn/dontletthesungodownonme.html

    Queen:
    Misfire (Don't you misfire... Fill me up)
    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/queen/misfire.html

    You’re projecting. “Misfire” was written by the hetrosexual John Deacon. People always assume that every word Freddie sung, he also wrote. By the same token I’ve seen people scoffing at “Fat Bottomed Girls” – but that was written by the hetrosexual Brian May. Contrary to what some seem to think Queen were not a particularly gay band.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    Yeah?

    "I suck your mind
    You blow my head."

    Get Down, Make Love
    Lyrics by Freddie Mercury
  57. @Jack D
    Sure, there are some Italians who can tan very heavily if their occupation requires them to work outdoors or if they are intentionally trying for a very dark tan and roast themselves on the beach or in the tanning salon. I would bet that Iñárritu doesn't spend any time in the tanning salon.

    His features are almost identical to those of my Italian-American lawyer friend Tommy L.

    Movie directors have been known to play tennis, golf, sail, swim, ski and other activities that don’t involve tanning booths.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    He doesn't look very Italian in general though. Italians tend to have more gracile features, regardless of complexion.
  58. @Steve Sailer
    His features are almost identical to those of my Italian-American lawyer friend Tommy L.

    Movie directors have been known to play tennis, golf, sail, swim, ski and other activities that don't involve tanning booths.

    He doesn’t look very Italian in general though. Italians tend to have more gracile features, regardless of complexion.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    He doesn’t look very Italian in general though. Italians tend to have more gracile features, regardless of complexion.
     
    I've encountered more than a few....robust featured Italians in my time....
  59. Iñárritu looks like he could have stepped off an airplane from Madrid. The lawn crews in my neighborhood are more indio and darker than him. Some darker due to working outside but Iñárritu would be the lightest man on my local crews. Similar looking guys work as roofing crews and hot summer days don’t bother them much as far I can tell. Working as a crew is great way to dodge taxes. The big roofing contractor who might be Anglo hires el jefe and he pays his crew in cash

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Mexico City is at 7300 feet. I got badly burned there in 1974. MaintainING a tan is a good precaution.
  60. @Pat Boyle
    It seems to me that this is another milestone in the death of cinema - at least in suburban malls.

    Cinema is a group activity. You watch movies as part of a group but it's not like other group activities. If you attend a party or a nightclub you expect to interact with others. At movies you hope and pray that you will not interact with anyone else. If you go to a play or an opera you expect to interact with others at intermission. You dress up. But people dress down for movies and they avoid other patrons. So as a social activity it's very defective. If you feel the need to be more social - going to the movies is a poor activity.

    Sometime about forty years ago it became economically sensible for businessmen to cluster movie theater auditoria together in malls. But that pattern may be changing. In the last year there has been a spate of black mob violence focused on the mall movie theater. The media has tried to keep it under wraps but the word is leaking out. Go to the strip mall movie theater and you may be a part of a mindless riot by black teenagers.

    I imagine that these riots will accelerate the Home Theater movement. It is possible to see a movie at home on a big screen with big sound and avoid the prospect of black violence. There is a parallel trend to avoid going to the mall to shop. You can buy the same items on Amazon and have them delivered to your door.

    It seems likely to me that malls will die and along with them, mall movie theaters. One consequence of this is that the Academy Awards show will become ever more irrelevant. The way things are currently structured new movies are available for home viewing only a couple months after they have been nominally released. This means that I haven't seen any of the movies that got awards last night. I will see all of them probably but it will be a couple months. So the people who follow along with the evenings presentations are those who have ventured out to see this new crop of films at increasingly dangerous traditional movie theaters.

    I guess I’m something of a pioneer in this area. I stopped going to movie theaters where black youth might possibly be found in 1987, after black teens in a Berkeley theater threatened me. I had asked them to be quiet.

  61. @Anonymous
    Iñárritu looks like he could pass as a member of a Mexican landscaping or contracting crew, or a more upper class Mexican depending on how he's dressed and made up.

    Grant on the other hand looks like a really tanned British guy. He doesn't really look like any kind of Mexican.

    Iñárritu looks like he could pass as a member of a Mexican landscaping or contracting crew,

    Well, he doesn’t look much like the Mexican landscapers and contracting crew guys that I see in California.They’re much more Amerind in appearance

    or a more upper class Mexican depending on how he’s dressed and made up.

    Seeing as how the Mexican upper class is much more European than the heavily Mestizo masses, yeah

    Grant on the other hand looks like a really tanned British guy.

    Well, he is a British guy….

    He doesn’t really look like any kind of Mexican.

    If you mean that he doesn’t look like a White guy from Spain, yeah.Of course, Grant doesn’t look like a White guy from Finland, either

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    He looks pretty Hispanic to me. If I saw him in public I'd think he was some Hispanic guy, not white. Most of the landscaping and contracting in northern Virginia is Hispanic, and if he was working on one of those crews here, I'd think nothing of it.

    If he shaved and took a shower, he'd definitely look more upper middle class, but even in pictures where he's relatively clean shaven, he looks pretty Hispanic:

    http://quenpompo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/alejandro-gonzalez-inarritu.jpg

    If he wants to look less Hispanic, he should be clean shaven, cut his hair, and lose more weight. In this picture, it looks like he was a bit heavier, and the extra meat on his face makes him look even more Hispanic:

    http://img.filmsactu.net/datas/personnes/a/l/alejandro-gonzalez-inarritu/xl/46f91b4fe8ceb.jpg
  62. @Greenstalk
    You're projecting. "Misfire" was written by the hetrosexual John Deacon. People always assume that every word Freddie sung, he also wrote. By the same token I've seen people scoffing at "Fat Bottomed Girls" - but that was written by the hetrosexual Brian May. Contrary to what some seem to think Queen were not a particularly gay band.

    Yeah?

    “I suck your mind
    You blow my head.”

    Get Down, Make Love
    Lyrics by Freddie Mercury

  63. @Jack D
    Too bad Iñárritu is a Basque name and not Sardinian. European Basques are generally very fair skinned. Iñárritu would stick out like a sore thumb in Basque country.

    Too bad Iñárritu is a Basque name and not Sardinian. European Basques are generally very fair skinned. Iñárritu would stick out like a sore thumb in Basque country.

    Depends on how one defines “very,” dear fellow.The Basque that I’ve met in Spain have all been olive-skinned.Plus, Iñárritu is hardly pure Basque:

    Alejandro González Iñárritu was born in Mexico City, the son of Luz María Iñárritu and Hector González Gama.

    Last time I checked, González was pretty common in the non-Basque parts of Spain….And Gama is pretty common in Portugal.

    Sure, there are some Italians who can tan very heavily if their occupation requires them to work outdoors or if they are intentionally trying for a very dark tan and roast themselves on the beach or in the tanning salon.

    I’ve met some stuck-in-library grad students from Greece who are quite dark.

    I would bet that Iñárritu doesn’t spend any time in the tanning salon.

    Golf? Swimming? Hiking? Plus, a quick scan shows that Iñárritu’s complexion was lighter while he was filming BirdMan; maybe being on set keeps him away from the links and he catches up once filming wraps…

  64. @Clyde
    Iñárritu looks like he could have stepped off an airplane from Madrid. The lawn crews in my neighborhood are more indio and darker than him. Some darker due to working outside but Iñárritu would be the lightest man on my local crews. Similar looking guys work as roofing crews and hot summer days don't bother them much as far I can tell. Working as a crew is great way to dodge taxes. The big roofing contractor who might be Anglo hires el jefe and he pays his crew in cash

    Mexico City is at 7300 feet. I got badly burned there in 1974. MaintainING a tan is a good precaution.

    • Replies: @Curle
    "Mexico City is at 7300 feet. I got badly burned there" -------------------------

    What about altitude sickness?
  65. @Anonymous
    He doesn't look very Italian in general though. Italians tend to have more gracile features, regardless of complexion.

    He doesn’t look very Italian in general though. Italians tend to have more gracile features, regardless of complexion.

    I’ve encountered more than a few….robust featured Italians in my time….

  66. @Pat Boyle
    It seems to me that this is another milestone in the death of cinema - at least in suburban malls.

    Cinema is a group activity. You watch movies as part of a group but it's not like other group activities. If you attend a party or a nightclub you expect to interact with others. At movies you hope and pray that you will not interact with anyone else. If you go to a play or an opera you expect to interact with others at intermission. You dress up. But people dress down for movies and they avoid other patrons. So as a social activity it's very defective. If you feel the need to be more social - going to the movies is a poor activity.

    Sometime about forty years ago it became economically sensible for businessmen to cluster movie theater auditoria together in malls. But that pattern may be changing. In the last year there has been a spate of black mob violence focused on the mall movie theater. The media has tried to keep it under wraps but the word is leaking out. Go to the strip mall movie theater and you may be a part of a mindless riot by black teenagers.

    I imagine that these riots will accelerate the Home Theater movement. It is possible to see a movie at home on a big screen with big sound and avoid the prospect of black violence. There is a parallel trend to avoid going to the mall to shop. You can buy the same items on Amazon and have them delivered to your door.

    It seems likely to me that malls will die and along with them, mall movie theaters. One consequence of this is that the Academy Awards show will become ever more irrelevant. The way things are currently structured new movies are available for home viewing only a couple months after they have been nominally released. This means that I haven't seen any of the movies that got awards last night. I will see all of them probably but it will be a couple months. So the people who follow along with the evenings presentations are those who have ventured out to see this new crop of films at increasingly dangerous traditional movie theaters.

    I am in my ’60’s so — of course — I used to attend movies in theaters.

    In those days, a film would have an initial run, then sometime later a second run, and if it won an Oscar or two yet another run, and then it would go into the double feature graveyard, where it would linger for awhile before it fell off the face of the earth, until it showed up on TV. And that was it!

    Also in those days, even double features would begin with 1-2 Warner Brothers cartoons and sometimes even a Three Stooges short. But then, the quality of TV was low, so this was pretty high class stuff.

    Anyway. The most memorable screenings I ever attended were memorable because there was an audience, and I caught the films in question right away or close to it. “Lawrence of Arabia” (1963): the climaxes brought drowning shouts and applause, “Sleeper” (1973) and “Blazing Saddles” (1975): the laughter was so loud that you couldn’t hear half the jokes, “Indiana Jones”, “The Graduate”, “The Sting” (! palpable gasps at the climax), “Jaws”, which I saw in Hong Kong with Chinese subtitles also a very memorable experience — just a few off the top of my head — the audience participation was so intense it really added to the experience, and, also, tended to detract from any flaws. It is something you miss: I think film, like drama, is definitely something where the audience is a participant in a way. (I wouldn’t say the same thing about most musical performances, however.)

  67. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @syonredux

    Iñárritu looks like he could pass as a member of a Mexican landscaping or contracting crew,
     
    Well, he doesn't look much like the Mexican landscapers and contracting crew guys that I see in California.They're much more Amerind in appearance

    or a more upper class Mexican depending on how he’s dressed and made up.
     
    Seeing as how the Mexican upper class is much more European than the heavily Mestizo masses, yeah

    Grant on the other hand looks like a really tanned British guy.
     
    Well, he is a British guy....

    He doesn’t really look like any kind of Mexican.
     
    If you mean that he doesn't look like a White guy from Spain, yeah.Of course, Grant doesn't look like a White guy from Finland, either

    He looks pretty Hispanic to me. If I saw him in public I’d think he was some Hispanic guy, not white. Most of the landscaping and contracting in northern Virginia is Hispanic, and if he was working on one of those crews here, I’d think nothing of it.

    If he shaved and took a shower, he’d definitely look more upper middle class, but even in pictures where he’s relatively clean shaven, he looks pretty Hispanic:

    If he wants to look less Hispanic, he should be clean shaven, cut his hair, and lose more weight. In this picture, it looks like he was a bit heavier, and the extra meat on his face makes him look even more Hispanic:

    • Replies: @syonredux

    He looks pretty Hispanic to me.
     
    Which means what? Do you mean that he looks like a White guy from the Southern Med? Or do you mean that he looks Amerind?

    If I saw him in public I’d think he was some Hispanic guy, not white.
     
    So, Hispanic means Amerind?

    Most of the landscaping and contracting in northern Virginia is Hispanic, and if he was working on one of those crews here, I’d think nothing of it.
     
    The ones in CA that I've seen look very Amerind.Inarritu doesn't look Amerind

    If he shaved
     
    I rather like the beard; it makes him look like a Cervantes scholar from Madrid that I know

    and took a shower,
     
    Why do you think that he hasn't had a shower? Are there rumors about Inarritu's personal hygiene that I haven't heard?

    he’d definitely look more upper middle class, but even in pictures where he’s relatively clean shaven, he looks pretty Hispanic:
     
    Again, if you mean Amerind, no.He looks like a pretty standard Southern European guy to me.

    If he wants to look less Hispanic, he should be clean shaven, cut his hair, and lose more weight.
     
    So, looking "Hispanic" is a grooming thing?

    In this picture, it looks like he was a bit heavier, and the extra meat on his face makes him look even more Hispanic:
     
    Well, obesity rates are very high in Mexico....There's a thought.Are anti-obesity campaigns implicitly anti-Mexican?
  68. I think Lady Gaga put the tranny rumors to rest once and for all. But the trumpet tattoo doesn’t fit her new persona.

  69. @Lawrence
    Off-topic (you don't have to publish this): http://www.returnofkings.com/57034/why-are-feminists-ignoring-the-violent-gang-rape-of-porn-star-cytherea

    Off-topic (you don’t have to publish this): http://www.returnofkings.com/57034/why-are-feminists-ignoring-the-violent-gang-rape-of-porn-star-cytherea

    Quite appalling, but not unheard of.Fran Drescher was raped at gun point by a Black man:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/12/fran-drescher-talks-rape-black-man-pedophilia-vs-homosexuality_n_1340291.html

    And Kelly McGillis was raped by two Black men:

    http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20100476,00.html

    • Replies: @Malcolm X-Lax
    Susan Estrich, first female editor of the Harvard Law Review and Michael Dukakis's presidential campaign manager, was also raped by black men.
  70. Also, he’s got that permanent scowl on his face that Hispanics seem to have which makes them look surly all the time. He should relax his brows, smile more, and adopt a more cheerful disposition to look less Hispanic. He looks angry all the time.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Also, he’s got that permanent scowl on his face that Hispanics seem to have which makes them look surly all the time. He should relax his brows, smile more, and adopt a more cheerful disposition to look less Hispanic. He looks angry all the time.
     
    So, facial expression defines race?Amerinds who smile look less Amerind? Whites who scowl look more Amerind?
  71. @Anonymous
    He looks pretty Hispanic to me. If I saw him in public I'd think he was some Hispanic guy, not white. Most of the landscaping and contracting in northern Virginia is Hispanic, and if he was working on one of those crews here, I'd think nothing of it.

    If he shaved and took a shower, he'd definitely look more upper middle class, but even in pictures where he's relatively clean shaven, he looks pretty Hispanic:

    http://quenpompo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/alejandro-gonzalez-inarritu.jpg

    If he wants to look less Hispanic, he should be clean shaven, cut his hair, and lose more weight. In this picture, it looks like he was a bit heavier, and the extra meat on his face makes him look even more Hispanic:

    http://img.filmsactu.net/datas/personnes/a/l/alejandro-gonzalez-inarritu/xl/46f91b4fe8ceb.jpg

    He looks pretty Hispanic to me.

    Which means what? Do you mean that he looks like a White guy from the Southern Med? Or do you mean that he looks Amerind?

    If I saw him in public I’d think he was some Hispanic guy, not white.

    So, Hispanic means Amerind?

    Most of the landscaping and contracting in northern Virginia is Hispanic, and if he was working on one of those crews here, I’d think nothing of it.

    The ones in CA that I’ve seen look very Amerind.Inarritu doesn’t look Amerind

    If he shaved

    I rather like the beard; it makes him look like a Cervantes scholar from Madrid that I know

    and took a shower,

    Why do you think that he hasn’t had a shower? Are there rumors about Inarritu’s personal hygiene that I haven’t heard?

    he’d definitely look more upper middle class, but even in pictures where he’s relatively clean shaven, he looks pretty Hispanic:

    Again, if you mean Amerind, no.He looks like a pretty standard Southern European guy to me.

    If he wants to look less Hispanic, he should be clean shaven, cut his hair, and lose more weight.

    So, looking “Hispanic” is a grooming thing?

    In this picture, it looks like he was a bit heavier, and the extra meat on his face makes him look even more Hispanic:

    Well, obesity rates are very high in Mexico….There’s a thought.Are anti-obesity campaigns implicitly anti-Mexican?

  72. 50 shades of Mexican directors:
    That in the middle, I believe, is known as Allahandro al-Cuaroun.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    That's a good example. Del Toro and the guy on the left look white. Inarritu in the middle looks Hispanic.
    , @Dr. Atl
    Guillermo looks Nordic or Scandinavian. Alfonso looks like he's from northern Europe - Germany, Holland or Poland. Alejandro looks like he's from Southern Europe - Spain, Italy or Greece.

    Anyone who says Alejandro has one ounce of AmerIndian blood has never been to Mexico or Central America. Or S.W. USA.

    I think there's a real possibility that González Iñárritu intentionally darkened himself through tanning in preparation for the Oscars, aware of the "White Euro Mexican" problem found in the ruling class there. He's a bright guy, and it's a serious problem - the white ruling class down there screwing everything up.

  73. @Clyde

    Lope de Aguirre (c. 1510 – 27 October 1561) was a Basque Spanish conquistador in South America. Nicknamed El Loco ('the Madman'), he styled himself '"Wrath of God, Prince of Freedom, King of Tierra Firme".[1] Aguirre is best known for his final expedition down the Amazon river in search of the mythical golden King El Dorado. In 1561 Aguirre sent a letter which defied the Spanish monarch Philip II by declaring an independent state of Peru. Aguirre's expedition ended with his death. Since his death, Aguirre has come to be considered a symbol of cruelty and treachery in colonial Spanish America,[2][3] and has become an antihero in literature, cinema and other arts.[4]
     
    There were some Basque conquistador so Inarritu's conquistador-ness is intact.

    I watched quite a few German films while studying German as a young man. One of the most memorable of the bunch was Werner Herzog’s “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” with Klaus Kinski.

  74. @Jack D
    >America was created by the Anglos.The immigrants who came later were add-ons

    Yes, that's why the Oscars are held in Angelville. No, wait, they are in Los Angeles.

    >Sidepoint:The guy seems to favor his mother’s surname (“Iñárritu”) over his father’s (“González”). Of course, Iñárritu is much more distinctive

    It is indeed common among Hispanics to be known by their second (mother's) last name if their father's name is a common one. For example, Pablo Ruiz Picasso was known by his mother's family name, Picasso. Also because Anglos assume that the last name that appears is your real surname and the one in the middle (your father's) is just a middle name.


    >2.Yeah, these guys are totally not White.See, we’re not racists, etc:

    Here is a picture of Iñárritu next to someone who is 100% white (but also Hispanic, the conductor Dudamel):

    http://www1.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Alejandro+Gonzalez+Inarritu+Stars+Celebrate+W3C7nULRH0Tl.jpg

    I'm pretty sure that like most Mexicans, Iñárritu is of mixed blood. He has European features but Amerindian pigmentation. If you got rid of the tux and the Hollywood hairdo, you wouldn't look twice if you saw him on the landscaping crew cutting your lawn.

    Iñárritu is sort of the exception that proves the rule. There have always been a few Latinos in Hollywood (most of them, especially the ones on screen, whiter than Iñárritu) but not a lot, certainly not compared to the current ethnic composition of LA (about 1/2 Hispanic).

    Yes, that’s why the Oscars are held in Angelville. No, wait, they are in Los Angeles.

    Non Angli sed Angeli.

  75. @Lex
    50 shades of Mexican directors: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/04/26/arts/26roht600.jpg

    That in the middle, I believe, is known as Allahandro al-Cuaroun.

    That’s a good example. Del Toro and the guy on the left look white. Inarritu in the middle looks Hispanic.

  76. @Anonymous
    Also, he's got that permanent scowl on his face that Hispanics seem to have which makes them look surly all the time. He should relax his brows, smile more, and adopt a more cheerful disposition to look less Hispanic. He looks angry all the time.

    Also, he’s got that permanent scowl on his face that Hispanics seem to have which makes them look surly all the time. He should relax his brows, smile more, and adopt a more cheerful disposition to look less Hispanic. He looks angry all the time.

    So, facial expression defines race?Amerinds who smile look less Amerind? Whites who scowl look more Amerind?

  77. @Clyde
    Conquistador-Mexican Alejandro G. Inarritu made a pro-immigration acceptance speech.

    http://news.asiaone.com/news/showbiz/birdman-directors-flight-fancy-may-reap-oscar-reward
    Alejandro G. Iñárritu killed the Oscars 2015! “Birdman,” the movie he directed, took home some major awards, including Best Picture, which saw Iñárritu go up on stage and deliver a heart-felt speech that targeted immigration rules and his dream of seeing a better Mexico, with authorities they deserve. “I want to dedicate this awards for my fellow Mexicans, the ones who live in Mexico,” the director said.

    “I pray that we can find and build the government that we deserve. And the ones that live in this country, who are part of the latest generation of immigrants, I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect of the ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation.” Watch the video above and relieve this incredible moment.

    ________________________

    During last night’s Oscar show, actor Sean Penn handed the Independent Spirit Award to Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu, but not before a joke about “green cards.” The gag aimed at the Mexican director has not gone down well, according to The Guardian, with some accusing Penn of being, “racist and offensive.”

    During the award, Penn opened the envelope to reveal the winner of Best Picture and announced, “who gave this son of a b***h his green card?” The director didn’t seem phased by the joke and instead, used it as a jumping-off point to talk about the plight of Mexicans in the US, reminding the audience that the United States was founded by immigrants, CTV News reports.

    To my Mexicans back home, I hope we can build the government we deserve, to Mexicans here, may we be treated with the dignity and respect we deserve.

    Iñárritu said backstage that he found the joke “hilarious,” and that he has a very strong friendship with Penn, with whom he has worked in the past.

    Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1867235/sean-penn-green-card-joke-causes-outrage/#zVAH2brgKfPSP8MA.99

    It seems kind of vulgar to thank an entire ethnicity.

  78. @syonredux

    Off-topic (you don’t have to publish this): http://www.returnofkings.com/57034/why-are-feminists-ignoring-the-violent-gang-rape-of-porn-star-cytherea
     
    Quite appalling, but not unheard of.Fran Drescher was raped at gun point by a Black man:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/12/fran-drescher-talks-rape-black-man-pedophilia-vs-homosexuality_n_1340291.html

    And Kelly McGillis was raped by two Black men:

    http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20100476,00.html

    Susan Estrich, first female editor of the Harvard Law Review and Michael Dukakis’s presidential campaign manager, was also raped by black men.

  79. @Lex
    50 shades of Mexican directors: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/04/26/arts/26roht600.jpg

    That in the middle, I believe, is known as Allahandro al-Cuaroun.

    Guillermo looks Nordic or Scandinavian. Alfonso looks like he’s from northern Europe – Germany, Holland or Poland. Alejandro looks like he’s from Southern Europe – Spain, Italy or Greece.

    Anyone who says Alejandro has one ounce of AmerIndian blood has never been to Mexico or Central America. Or S.W. USA.

    I think there’s a real possibility that González Iñárritu intentionally darkened himself through tanning in preparation for the Oscars, aware of the “White Euro Mexican” problem found in the ruling class there. He’s a bright guy, and it’s a serious problem – the white ruling class down there screwing everything up.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    He looks like a cross between two old friends of mine from Boy Scout days: an Italian and a Hungarian. But then my Hungarian friend has a tiny bit of an Asian steppe nomad look to him, so I could believe the director is, say, 1/8th Amerindian. But not likely more than that.

    I think the director's father was a banker, but then his dad went broke so he grew up without too much money.

    Del Toro's father is a very wealthy industrialist.

    , @Anonymous
    Guillermo doesn't look Nordic or Scandinavian. He looks Northwestern or Central European.

    Alfonso doesn't look Northern European. He looks Southern European or French.

    Alejandro looks like he could be Southern European, but he also looks like he could be Hispanic. Most Americans walking past him on the street would assume first that he was Hispanic. If they were told later that he was Southern European they probably wouldn't be shocked or anything, but without knowing anything about him and just passing him in the street, they'd assume he was Hispanic.
  80. @Dr. Atl
    Guillermo looks Nordic or Scandinavian. Alfonso looks like he's from northern Europe - Germany, Holland or Poland. Alejandro looks like he's from Southern Europe - Spain, Italy or Greece.

    Anyone who says Alejandro has one ounce of AmerIndian blood has never been to Mexico or Central America. Or S.W. USA.

    I think there's a real possibility that González Iñárritu intentionally darkened himself through tanning in preparation for the Oscars, aware of the "White Euro Mexican" problem found in the ruling class there. He's a bright guy, and it's a serious problem - the white ruling class down there screwing everything up.

    He looks like a cross between two old friends of mine from Boy Scout days: an Italian and a Hungarian. But then my Hungarian friend has a tiny bit of an Asian steppe nomad look to him, so I could believe the director is, say, 1/8th Amerindian. But not likely more than that.

    I think the director’s father was a banker, but then his dad went broke so he grew up without too much money.

    Del Toro’s father is a very wealthy industrialist.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    He looks like a cross between two old friends of mine from Boy Scout days: an Italian and a Hungarian. But then my Hungarian friend has a tiny bit of an Asian steppe nomad look to him, so I could believe the director is, say, 1/8th Amerindian. But not likely more than that.
     
    One eighth sounds right.Here's his father:

    http://www.sancadilla.net/2014/02/fallecio-padre-de-hector-gonzalez.html

    He looks European to me

    Has anybody anywhere had anything interesting to say about “Birdman?” I’m pretty good at coming up with something to say about movies, but “Birdman” has just stumped me over the last dozen or so weeks. I’m left saying things like: Uh, not bad, could have been better …
     
    It looks like a film made by a director who thought that the big problem with Touch of Evil was that the opening long take only lasted for three minutes and twenty seconds, and that the whole film should have been shot like that.Of course, Welles was a gifted film-maker, and he knew that that kind of thing works best as a brief tour de force.Extend it over the length of a whole film, and the audience will grow a bit tired of it.

    Here's an excellent example of the proper use of the long take.It's from HBO's True Detective:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_HuFuKiq8U
  81. Few care about strange art house films like Birdman made by a strange little man and viewed by snobs, which is what this AA was mostly – sanctioning the taste of the Hollywood elite.

    Then they wonder why their audience dropped off by almost a fifth of viewership. Whites are getting tired it.

    I prefer Tucker and Dell vs. evil, They Live or Repoman and a bottle of beer.

    And can forget “Street Trash” aka: Viper(it’s original title back in the 80’s when I viewed it). On par with bum fights but dealt with booze that dissolved homeless and vagrants people.

  82. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Dr. Atl
    Guillermo looks Nordic or Scandinavian. Alfonso looks like he's from northern Europe - Germany, Holland or Poland. Alejandro looks like he's from Southern Europe - Spain, Italy or Greece.

    Anyone who says Alejandro has one ounce of AmerIndian blood has never been to Mexico or Central America. Or S.W. USA.

    I think there's a real possibility that González Iñárritu intentionally darkened himself through tanning in preparation for the Oscars, aware of the "White Euro Mexican" problem found in the ruling class there. He's a bright guy, and it's a serious problem - the white ruling class down there screwing everything up.

    Guillermo doesn’t look Nordic or Scandinavian. He looks Northwestern or Central European.

    Alfonso doesn’t look Northern European. He looks Southern European or French.

    Alejandro looks like he could be Southern European, but he also looks like he could be Hispanic. Most Americans walking past him on the street would assume first that he was Hispanic. If they were told later that he was Southern European they probably wouldn’t be shocked or anything, but without knowing anything about him and just passing him in the street, they’d assume he was Hispanic.

  83. I thought it was good, well done. Not amazing, but not too bad either. The alter ego fantasy character thing has been done many times before, so that’s not new. And even films shot “in one take” are not new. “Russian Ark” did it (for real) 10 years ago. Hitchcock did it 60 years ago.

    How would this “material work better as a play”?? It would be a terrible play, as the dialogue is just barely above mediocre, and it has no structure. As a current Hollywood film, however, it works. It’s on the same level of almost any other recent movie, we’re not in the thirties anymore. It’s not “All About Eve”, but what is these days?

    I kinda liked the randomness of it, except for the ending, which was silly, and Naomi Watts lesbian kiss, which I guess was put there to pander to current cultural mores.

    Anyway, it’s better than “21 grams” and “Babel”. It’s better than “12 years a slave” and the dreadful “Argo”, didn’t those win the Oscar as well?

    As for me, the film I most enjoyed from those in the Oscar’s competition was the Argentinean “Wild Tales” (Foreign Film nomination, but did not win because they had to give it to yet another Holocaust-themed movie.) Go watch it, it’s much more fun.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I think that's a pretty fair judgment about the movie. The dialogue and drama aren't very good, but it's gimmicky and voyeuristic enough to be interesting enough as a contemporary Hollywood movie.

    The drama and dialogue between the father and daughter, which seemed to dominate the film, were especially stale and hackneyed. The fact that he doesn't use social media, wasn't "there for her growing up", etc., is supposed to drive the conflict between them.
  84. You know you’re in a Stevesailer thread when people spend more time discussing the director’s complexion and whether he looks Basque, Spanish or Amerindian than the actual movie. It gets a bit retarded boring after a while.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Has anybody anywhere had anything interesting to say about "Birdman?" I'm pretty good at coming up with something to say about movies, but "Birdman" has just stumped me over the last dozen or so weeks. I'm left saying things like: Uh, not bad, could have been better ...
  85. @Twinkie
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/2015/02/22/326395a2-baeb-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html

    Best song was the only Oscar won by the civil rights drama, which was nominated for best picture, along with seven other movies. When “Selma” director Ava DuVernay was overlooked in the best director race, many observers saw the snub as symptomatic of persistent racism and sexism in an industry — and motion picture academy — that is dominated by white male filmmakers and white male stories.

    Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris acknowledged those criticisms right off the bat in his opening number, when he called the Oscars a chance to recognize “the best and the whitest — er, brightest” in Hollywood. Later, the evening’s most galvanizing moment occurred when Arquette accepted her award and ended her speech with a call to end wage discrimination against women, at which point Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez stood up and whooped their approval from the audience.
     
    Yeah, there! They showed the Man!

    Arquette’s speech crystallized strong feelings that emerged this year regarding diversity in race and gender in the movie industry. When Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win an Oscar for best director in 2010, many observers thought the victory signaled progress in employing more women behind the camera. But according to Martha Lauzen of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, women comprised only 17 percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers in 2014, the same percentage as in 1998. [Bold face mine.]
     
    It's either a perfectly-organized, industry-wide quota or... some kind of "nature of women" type of a thing, but that'd be, you know, sexist... like life.

    Rush Limbaugh had a different interpretation of Meryl Streep standing up and applauding.

  86. @Anonymous
    Iñárritu looks like he could pass as a member of a Mexican landscaping or contracting crew, or a more upper class Mexican depending on how he's dressed and made up.

    Grant on the other hand looks like a really tanned British guy. He doesn't really look like any kind of Mexican.

    Around here, at least, no Mexican or Central American laborer would be that tall.

  87. Could it be three years in a row for Mexican directors? I’m hearing good things about Del Toro’s next film Crimson Peak.

    • Replies: @MartianObserver
    Have you seen the trailer? It looks awful.
  88. @emilio zapata
    Could it be three years in a row for Mexican directors? I'm hearing good things about Del Toro's next film Crimson Peak.

    Have you seen the trailer? It looks awful.

    • Replies: @Kevin O'Keeffe
    "Have you seen the trailer? It looks awful."


    I agree. I saw the "Crimson Peak" trailer on YouTube, and thought it looked downright horrendous.
  89. Iñárritu is a big time TV commercial director in Mexico. I haven’t been that impressed by his overall films, but minute by minute he’s extremely gifted.

    My guess is that just about every country in the world has talented TV commercial directors by now. When I was in Turkey in 2009 I was struck by how the locally made TV commercials were 98% as spectacular as American commercials.

    What keeps America on top of the global feature film business, however, isn’t the talent of individual American directors, it’s a bunch of network effects that make it hard for non-English movie makers to compete at the blockbuster level without coming to America.

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    American movies aren't all that American anymore ... it seems that at least half of the "American" characters appearing in films and on television these days are played by Brits, Canadians, Aussies, New Zealanders, and South Africans, among others. It's getting harder and harder to find productions that feature exclusively U.S.-born talent.

    So we can add acting to the list of jobs that Americans won't do, I guess.

    My preference, as an American, is to watch Americans portray Americans. When I learn that an American character is portrayed by a non-American actor, it tends to ruin the illusion for me - the next time I watch the movie, I can no longer see the performance as anything other than a put-on.

    It never occurs to most people that Hollywood is yet another "American" industry that seeks to replace U.S.-born workers with cheaper, allegedly better-trained foreigners. And yet that is precisely what is happening.
  90. @Anonymous
    When you approve comments with youtube videos, do you watch the videos or just look at the titles?

    What exactly are you planning?

  91. @Dumbo
    You know you're in a Stevesailer thread when people spend more time discussing the director's complexion and whether he looks Basque, Spanish or Amerindian than the actual movie. It gets a bit retarded boring after a while.

    Has anybody anywhere had anything interesting to say about “Birdman?” I’m pretty good at coming up with something to say about movies, but “Birdman” has just stumped me over the last dozen or so weeks. I’m left saying things like: Uh, not bad, could have been better …

  92. @Steve Sailer
    Iñárritu is a big time TV commercial director in Mexico. I haven't been that impressed by his overall films, but minute by minute he's extremely gifted.

    My guess is that just about every country in the world has talented TV commercial directors by now. When I was in Turkey in 2009 I was struck by how the locally made TV commercials were 98% as spectacular as American commercials.

    What keeps America on top of the global feature film business, however, isn't the talent of individual American directors, it's a bunch of network effects that make it hard for non-English movie makers to compete at the blockbuster level without coming to America.

    American movies aren’t all that American anymore … it seems that at least half of the “American” characters appearing in films and on television these days are played by Brits, Canadians, Aussies, New Zealanders, and South Africans, among others. It’s getting harder and harder to find productions that feature exclusively U.S.-born talent.

    So we can add acting to the list of jobs that Americans won’t do, I guess.

    My preference, as an American, is to watch Americans portray Americans. When I learn that an American character is portrayed by a non-American actor, it tends to ruin the illusion for me – the next time I watch the movie, I can no longer see the performance as anything other than a put-on.

    It never occurs to most people that Hollywood is yet another “American” industry that seeks to replace U.S.-born workers with cheaper, allegedly better-trained foreigners. And yet that is precisely what is happening.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    It never occurs to most people that Hollywood is yet another “American” industry that seeks to replace U.S.-born workers with cheaper, allegedly better-trained foreigners. And yet that is precisely what is happening.
     
    Hollywood has always cherry-picked talent from abroad: Fritz Lang, Hitchcock, Chaplin, George Sanders, Ingrid Bergman, etc

    Of course, Hollywood, in contrast to, say, every other industry in America, does it the right way.The teeming masses aren't invited in, just the the tiny sliver at the top that will actually benefit the industry.
  93. >>Brits, Canadians, Aussies, New Zealanders, and South Africans

    Second tier white settlement colonies benefit from American cultural capital. These countries (including now, Britain) would be as inconsequential as any Middle European or South American backwater without the American cultural complex and the general awe Americans have for “foreign” English accents. It’s incredible how many working class British mediocrities manage to rise up to celebrity status in America.

    Also, this is the second time in a row a Mexican from Mexico City has won the Best Director award. Karmic revenge against Sailer, who has been insisting for years that Mexicans are not Special and Creative enough for Hollywood.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I've been reviewing the Three Amigos movies for over a dozen years. I've always pointed out that the Academy hadn't nominated anybody since Edward James Olmos in the 1980s any Mexican Americans -- defined as somebody who was in America by high school. Mexico City's cultural elite like Del Toro, Cuaron, Innaritu and the great Lubezki are not the product of mass immigration. They got here after establishing themselves as stars in Mexico City.
  94. @Hyderabad Secularist
    >>Brits, Canadians, Aussies, New Zealanders, and South Africans

    Second tier white settlement colonies benefit from American cultural capital. These countries (including now, Britain) would be as inconsequential as any Middle European or South American backwater without the American cultural complex and the general awe Americans have for "foreign" English accents. It's incredible how many working class British mediocrities manage to rise up to celebrity status in America.

    Also, this is the second time in a row a Mexican from Mexico City has won the Best Director award. Karmic revenge against Sailer, who has been insisting for years that Mexicans are not Special and Creative enough for Hollywood.

    I’ve been reviewing the Three Amigos movies for over a dozen years. I’ve always pointed out that the Academy hadn’t nominated anybody since Edward James Olmos in the 1980s any Mexican Americans — defined as somebody who was in America by high school. Mexico City’s cultural elite like Del Toro, Cuaron, Innaritu and the great Lubezki are not the product of mass immigration. They got here after establishing themselves as stars in Mexico City.

  95. @Steve Sailer
    He looks like a cross between two old friends of mine from Boy Scout days: an Italian and a Hungarian. But then my Hungarian friend has a tiny bit of an Asian steppe nomad look to him, so I could believe the director is, say, 1/8th Amerindian. But not likely more than that.

    I think the director's father was a banker, but then his dad went broke so he grew up without too much money.

    Del Toro's father is a very wealthy industrialist.

    He looks like a cross between two old friends of mine from Boy Scout days: an Italian and a Hungarian. But then my Hungarian friend has a tiny bit of an Asian steppe nomad look to him, so I could believe the director is, say, 1/8th Amerindian. But not likely more than that.

    One eighth sounds right.Here’s his father:

    http://www.sancadilla.net/2014/02/fallecio-padre-de-hector-gonzalez.html

    He looks European to me

    Has anybody anywhere had anything interesting to say about “Birdman?” I’m pretty good at coming up with something to say about movies, but “Birdman” has just stumped me over the last dozen or so weeks. I’m left saying things like: Uh, not bad, could have been better …

    It looks like a film made by a director who thought that the big problem with Touch of Evil was that the opening long take only lasted for three minutes and twenty seconds, and that the whole film should have been shot like that.Of course, Welles was a gifted film-maker, and he knew that that kind of thing works best as a brief tour de force.Extend it over the length of a whole film, and the audience will grow a bit tired of it.

    Here’s an excellent example of the proper use of the long take.It’s from HBO’s True Detective:

    • Replies: @syonredux

    One eighth sounds right.Here’s his father:

    http://www.sancadilla.net/2014/02/fallecio-padre-de-hector-gonzalez.html

    He looks European to me
     
    Should have read the article.That's his older brother.On the other hand, he still looks European,and he is his older brother.Here's a piece on the father:

    http://www.tiemporeal.mx/opinion/20794/

    Looks like a White guy to me
  96. @syonredux

    He looks like a cross between two old friends of mine from Boy Scout days: an Italian and a Hungarian. But then my Hungarian friend has a tiny bit of an Asian steppe nomad look to him, so I could believe the director is, say, 1/8th Amerindian. But not likely more than that.
     
    One eighth sounds right.Here's his father:

    http://www.sancadilla.net/2014/02/fallecio-padre-de-hector-gonzalez.html

    He looks European to me

    Has anybody anywhere had anything interesting to say about “Birdman?” I’m pretty good at coming up with something to say about movies, but “Birdman” has just stumped me over the last dozen or so weeks. I’m left saying things like: Uh, not bad, could have been better …
     
    It looks like a film made by a director who thought that the big problem with Touch of Evil was that the opening long take only lasted for three minutes and twenty seconds, and that the whole film should have been shot like that.Of course, Welles was a gifted film-maker, and he knew that that kind of thing works best as a brief tour de force.Extend it over the length of a whole film, and the audience will grow a bit tired of it.

    Here's an excellent example of the proper use of the long take.It's from HBO's True Detective:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_HuFuKiq8U

    One eighth sounds right.Here’s his father:

    http://www.sancadilla.net/2014/02/fallecio-padre-de-hector-gonzalez.html

    He looks European to me

    Should have read the article.That’s his older brother.On the other hand, he still looks European,and he is his older brother.Here’s a piece on the father:

    http://www.tiemporeal.mx/opinion/20794/

    Looks like a White guy to me

  97. Here’s a better clip of the True Detective long take:

  98. @Stan Adams
    American movies aren't all that American anymore ... it seems that at least half of the "American" characters appearing in films and on television these days are played by Brits, Canadians, Aussies, New Zealanders, and South Africans, among others. It's getting harder and harder to find productions that feature exclusively U.S.-born talent.

    So we can add acting to the list of jobs that Americans won't do, I guess.

    My preference, as an American, is to watch Americans portray Americans. When I learn that an American character is portrayed by a non-American actor, it tends to ruin the illusion for me - the next time I watch the movie, I can no longer see the performance as anything other than a put-on.

    It never occurs to most people that Hollywood is yet another "American" industry that seeks to replace U.S.-born workers with cheaper, allegedly better-trained foreigners. And yet that is precisely what is happening.

    It never occurs to most people that Hollywood is yet another “American” industry that seeks to replace U.S.-born workers with cheaper, allegedly better-trained foreigners. And yet that is precisely what is happening.

    Hollywood has always cherry-picked talent from abroad: Fritz Lang, Hitchcock, Chaplin, George Sanders, Ingrid Bergman, etc

    Of course, Hollywood, in contrast to, say, every other industry in America, does it the right way.The teeming masses aren’t invited in, just the the tiny sliver at the top that will actually benefit the industry.

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    Yes, Hollywood has always cast a wide net, but not to the degree that it does now.

    And nowadays it seems that only actors from English-speaking countries are being imported. Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman were Swedish; Marlene Dietrich was German. Where are their counterparts in today's Movieland?

    Hell, where are today's counterparts to Arnold Schwarzenegger, or even Dolph Lundgren? Teutons have a certain badass quality that Anglos lack.

    British accents seem to be cropping up all over the States these days. Not too long ago I visited a large city and was surprised to hear a British woman making the announcements on the public-transit system. (The voice had a computer-generated quality to it, but still.)

    I guess you can tell I'm not overly Anglophilic.
  99. Sorry Steve, I loved Birdman. Maybe it doesn’t rise to “some high level” in screen writing, dialogue, acting, emoting, etc. But I loved it and was very involved in the movie as it played out, a notable difference to most movies I painfully sit though. But how to quantify a worthy movie? A simple check list? No. Perhaps one with a numerical rank of 1 to 5 for each question. Maybe, but as you well know, the selection of questions can severely bias a survey. If there are many questions on arcane things like “Did the movie address hypergeometric distributions?” and only one on cinematography and being pulled into the action, even a 5 on the latter can render a respondent’s opinion null.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I mostly just want to manage expectations for readers about "Birdman." Don't expect too much and you'll be pleasantly surprised.
    , @Anonymous

    But I loved it and was very involved in the movie as it played out, a notable difference to most movies I painfully sit though.
     
    Right, the cinematography produced an interesting voyeuristic aspect to the movie that made it interesting enough and watchable. It was critical to making it a pretty decent movie.
  100. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Dumbo
    I thought it was good, well done. Not amazing, but not too bad either. The alter ego fantasy character thing has been done many times before, so that's not new. And even films shot "in one take" are not new. "Russian Ark" did it (for real) 10 years ago. Hitchcock did it 60 years ago.

    How would this "material work better as a play"?? It would be a terrible play, as the dialogue is just barely above mediocre, and it has no structure. As a current Hollywood film, however, it works. It's on the same level of almost any other recent movie, we're not in the thirties anymore. It's not "All About Eve", but what is these days?

    I kinda liked the randomness of it, except for the ending, which was silly, and Naomi Watts lesbian kiss, which I guess was put there to pander to current cultural mores.

    Anyway, it's better than "21 grams" and "Babel". It's better than "12 years a slave" and the dreadful "Argo", didn't those win the Oscar as well?

    As for me, the film I most enjoyed from those in the Oscar's competition was the Argentinean "Wild Tales" (Foreign Film nomination, but did not win because they had to give it to yet another Holocaust-themed movie.) Go watch it, it's much more fun.

    I think that’s a pretty fair judgment about the movie. The dialogue and drama aren’t very good, but it’s gimmicky and voyeuristic enough to be interesting enough as a contemporary Hollywood movie.

    The drama and dialogue between the father and daughter, which seemed to dominate the film, were especially stale and hackneyed. The fact that he doesn’t use social media, wasn’t “there for her growing up”, etc., is supposed to drive the conflict between them.

    • Replies: @Dumbo
    Yes, the whole discussion about social media, and her rehab, and that "he wasn't there for her", all the father/daughter conflict seemed fake to me. I liked Keaton's conflict with Norton, and Naomi Watts. And, while I am not a fan of long shots for the sake of being long (they tend to work better in specific sequences), in the end they are what made the film more interesting than it would otherwise be.
  101. He should stay out of the sun and slim down a bit and stay slim. When he’s fatter his cheeks swell and coupled with the deep tan he looks hispanic-ish.

  102. I haven’t yet sat down to work it out, but upon watching ‘Birdman’ I got the distinct sense it was – like ‘Breaking Bad’ in a different sort of way — a tragic-comic metaphor for the white man’s eclipse in America. Then again, I might be reading way too much into things.

    That the ‘Birdman’ script is the product of Hispanic scribes would, it seems, provide an outsider perspective on said decline of the white male.

    You’ve got Michael Keaton, a guy who in real life lives on a ranch in Montana, and whose own tenuous history of a ‘Batman’ persona has obvious parallels here, playing a character named ‘Riggan’ (which, when pronounced, sounds an awful lot like ‘Reagan’).

    Within the context of Hollywood as a capitalist industry, the giant blockbuster superhero movies being churned out represent the giant economies-of-scale capitalism, the ‘too big to fail’ entities within that sector. Riggan, then, was in his natural space here for a while, a captain of industry, but then has (or had) an existential crisis, one which now drives him towards a concern with authenticity and ‘meaning’. This is where the relevance of Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” comes in, that author’s Hemingway-esque minimalism pointing a static Hopper lighting on the existentialist horror show that is white middle aged ennui.

    Cue the faux-NYT culture critic (Can one think of a more anti-white beat than a NYT culture critic?) vowing to destroy Riggan’s play before she has even seen it. Her narrative about the ‘white guy’ is already written. She only does a turnabout, however, when Riggan actually attempts suicide during a performance; she praises Riggan’s attempted self-annihilation as a new art-form she calls ‘super-realism’. (Imagine a reality TV show following an average boring white guy’s life, a Carver character whose telos is suicide.)

    While the film doesn’t necessarily unify all of the following in any grand aesthetic way, it does touch upon and pivot around several poignant dichotomies:

    • Art vs. commerce
    • Actors vs. celebrities
    • Idealism (supernatural powers) vs. depressive realism (Riggan’s insanity)
    • Youth vs. Non-Youth (A profound generation gap is apparent when Riggan’s daughter, Sam, tells him he doesn’t matter anymore, that he “doesn’t even have a Facebook page.”)

    The ego trappings and vanity associated with our culture’s obsession with celebrity (whether at the level of Riggan complaining about George Clooney to the level of instant-celebrity awarded to subjects of viral videos, the latter often rewarded for increasingly crude behavior.)

    Might Riggan parading himself nearly-naked through Times Square, one of the twin epicenters of Culture, Inc, be where Culture, Inc. wants to see the aging white male: stripped down, humiliated, and made a superficial viral sensation? Might there be something symbolic with Riggan shooting off his nose (e.g., Birdman’s beak) or with the subsequent cast around his new nose, one that resembles the shape of the Birdman mask itself? What to make of the way Edward Norton’s character unceremoniously fades from the script? And what to make of the memorable but ambiguous ending, where Riggan’s daughter looks out the window, down toward the sidewalk momentarily, then turns her head to the sky before smiling?

    ‘Birdman’ is a consummate ‘insider’ film, both in terms of Hollywood and Broadway, and such types love to gaze at their navel, which is why the film got buzz and had legs. It’s also ironic that while the film garnered Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography, maybe it’s not surprising that the Academy voters did not grant Keaton the Best Actor statue, choosing instead a conventional biopic performance (and movie) that will very quickly be forgotten about.

    SIDENOTE: Stylistically, I loved and greatly appreciated the intense choreography involved in the single-shot presentation, as well as the increasingly layered jazz drums of the soundtrack which seemed to mirror the increasingly fractured and confused psyche of Riggan, and the film’s artful touches of magic realism.

    • Replies: @Dumbo
    You make the film sound more interesting than it really was. :D

    However, thinking back, I think many things you mention are there in the film in fact, maybe not as clear cut. Perhaps a few things had been just a little bit more thought out, it would have been a really great film, who knows.

    While Carver's story relation to the whole was, I felt, underused (sometimes it seems it could have been any other author), the bungling of the gunshot at the end, I now realize, was foreshadowed by a line of Carver mentioned at the beginning. Maybe there are other details that I missed.
  103. I was very impressed by this Mexican movie,, Bajo la sal, that I saw on Netflix. Good direction, plot, acting, cinematography. Highly recommended.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1110207/?ref_=ttmd_md_nm

  104. It seems strange to me that Eddie Redmayne won Best Actor. I guess it really goes to show how much the Academy loves it when you play someone with a physical (or mental) disability. While I (like everyone else), hasn’t actually seen “The Theory of Everything,” I would have picked Redmayne for the nominee least likely to actually win the award, as well as the one I personally would be least happy to see win it.

    Oh well. The whole exercise was kinda academic, when they didn’t even bother to nominate Jake Gyllenhal for “Nightcrawler.”

    And seriously, Julianne Moore over Rosamund Pike? What a rip-off!

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Right, he played a retard scientist, so of course he had to win. Hollywood loves that - as long as you don't go Full Retard.
  105. @MartianObserver
    Have you seen the trailer? It looks awful.

    “Have you seen the trailer? It looks awful.”

    I agree. I saw the “Crimson Peak” trailer on YouTube, and thought it looked downright horrendous.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Have you seen the trailer? It looks awful.”

    I agree. I saw the “Crimson Peak” trailer on YouTube, and thought it looked downright horrendous.
     
    I thought that it looked OK. Of course, I wouldn't mind seeing an OTT riff on "The Fall of the House of Usher"
  106. @Joe Farnsworth
    Sorry Steve, I loved Birdman. Maybe it doesn't rise to "some high level" in screen writing, dialogue, acting, emoting, etc. But I loved it and was very involved in the movie as it played out, a notable difference to most movies I painfully sit though. But how to quantify a worthy movie? A simple check list? No. Perhaps one with a numerical rank of 1 to 5 for each question. Maybe, but as you well know, the selection of questions can severely bias a survey. If there are many questions on arcane things like "Did the movie address hypergeometric distributions?" and only one on cinematography and being pulled into the action, even a 5 on the latter can render a respondent's opinion null.

    I mostly just want to manage expectations for readers about “Birdman.” Don’t expect too much and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  107. @Kevin O'Keeffe
    "Have you seen the trailer? It looks awful."


    I agree. I saw the "Crimson Peak" trailer on YouTube, and thought it looked downright horrendous.

    Have you seen the trailer? It looks awful.”

    I agree. I saw the “Crimson Peak” trailer on YouTube, and thought it looked downright horrendous.

    I thought that it looked OK. Of course, I wouldn’t mind seeing an OTT riff on “The Fall of the House of Usher”

  108. @syonredux

    It never occurs to most people that Hollywood is yet another “American” industry that seeks to replace U.S.-born workers with cheaper, allegedly better-trained foreigners. And yet that is precisely what is happening.
     
    Hollywood has always cherry-picked talent from abroad: Fritz Lang, Hitchcock, Chaplin, George Sanders, Ingrid Bergman, etc

    Of course, Hollywood, in contrast to, say, every other industry in America, does it the right way.The teeming masses aren't invited in, just the the tiny sliver at the top that will actually benefit the industry.

    Yes, Hollywood has always cast a wide net, but not to the degree that it does now.

    And nowadays it seems that only actors from English-speaking countries are being imported. Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman were Swedish; Marlene Dietrich was German. Where are their counterparts in today’s Movieland?

    Hell, where are today’s counterparts to Arnold Schwarzenegger, or even Dolph Lundgren? Teutons have a certain badass quality that Anglos lack.

    British accents seem to be cropping up all over the States these days. Not too long ago I visited a large city and was surprised to hear a British woman making the announcements on the public-transit system. (The voice had a computer-generated quality to it, but still.)

    I guess you can tell I’m not overly Anglophilic.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Yes, Hollywood has always cast a wide net, but not to the degree that it does now.
     
    I don't know; the list of foreign talent that Hollywood imported during the period 1915-45 was massive

    And nowadays it seems that only actors from English-speaking countries are being imported. Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman were Swedish; Marlene Dietrich was German. Where are their counterparts in today’s Movieland?
     
    Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, Jean Reno, Marion Cotillard, Javier Bardem, Ken Watanabe, Christoph Waltz, etc

    Hell, where are today’s counterparts to Arnold Schwarzenegger, or even Dolph Lundgren? Teutons have a certain badass quality that Anglos lack.
     
    Schwarzenegger is sui generis, so I don't think that we will see his like again.As for Germanic actors from Continental Europe: Christoph Waltz, Thomas Kretschmann , Diane Kruger, Alexander Skarsgard, Stellan Skarsgard, etc
  109. @Kevin O'Keeffe
    It seems strange to me that Eddie Redmayne won Best Actor. I guess it really goes to show how much the Academy loves it when you play someone with a physical (or mental) disability. While I (like everyone else), hasn't actually seen "The Theory of Everything," I would have picked Redmayne for the nominee least likely to actually win the award, as well as the one I personally would be least happy to see win it.

    Oh well. The whole exercise was kinda academic, when they didn't even bother to nominate Jake Gyllenhal for "Nightcrawler."

    And seriously, Julianne Moore over Rosamund Pike? What a rip-off!

    Right, he played a retard scientist, so of course he had to win. Hollywood loves that – as long as you don’t go Full Retard.

  110. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Joe Farnsworth
    Sorry Steve, I loved Birdman. Maybe it doesn't rise to "some high level" in screen writing, dialogue, acting, emoting, etc. But I loved it and was very involved in the movie as it played out, a notable difference to most movies I painfully sit though. But how to quantify a worthy movie? A simple check list? No. Perhaps one with a numerical rank of 1 to 5 for each question. Maybe, but as you well know, the selection of questions can severely bias a survey. If there are many questions on arcane things like "Did the movie address hypergeometric distributions?" and only one on cinematography and being pulled into the action, even a 5 on the latter can render a respondent's opinion null.

    But I loved it and was very involved in the movie as it played out, a notable difference to most movies I painfully sit though.

    Right, the cinematography produced an interesting voyeuristic aspect to the movie that made it interesting enough and watchable. It was critical to making it a pretty decent movie.

  111. @Stan Adams
    Yes, Hollywood has always cast a wide net, but not to the degree that it does now.

    And nowadays it seems that only actors from English-speaking countries are being imported. Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman were Swedish; Marlene Dietrich was German. Where are their counterparts in today's Movieland?

    Hell, where are today's counterparts to Arnold Schwarzenegger, or even Dolph Lundgren? Teutons have a certain badass quality that Anglos lack.

    British accents seem to be cropping up all over the States these days. Not too long ago I visited a large city and was surprised to hear a British woman making the announcements on the public-transit system. (The voice had a computer-generated quality to it, but still.)

    I guess you can tell I'm not overly Anglophilic.

    Yes, Hollywood has always cast a wide net, but not to the degree that it does now.

    I don’t know; the list of foreign talent that Hollywood imported during the period 1915-45 was massive

    And nowadays it seems that only actors from English-speaking countries are being imported. Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman were Swedish; Marlene Dietrich was German. Where are their counterparts in today’s Movieland?

    Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, Jean Reno, Marion Cotillard, Javier Bardem, Ken Watanabe, Christoph Waltz, etc

    Hell, where are today’s counterparts to Arnold Schwarzenegger, or even Dolph Lundgren? Teutons have a certain badass quality that Anglos lack.

    Schwarzenegger is sui generis, so I don’t think that we will see his like again.As for Germanic actors from Continental Europe: Christoph Waltz, Thomas Kretschmann , Diane Kruger, Alexander Skarsgard, Stellan Skarsgard, etc

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    Yes, Schwarzenegger was something else.

    I was eight years old when Terminator 2 came out. Every kid my age knew his name, and could quote all of his classic lines. We weren't supposed to be watching R-rated movies, but we watched them.

    Do eight-year-old kids today know who Alexander Skarsgard is? They probably know who The Rock is - but even he's past his prime now, isn't he?

    Pauline Kael wrote that "everyone's 'golden age of movies' is the period of his first moviegoing and just before--what he just missed or wasn't allowed to see."

    In my case, that period was the late '80s and early '90s - Ahh-nold's prime. Even now, when I idly flip through the movie channels and see that, say, Commando is playing, I put it on. Even if I don't have time to sit and watch it, I revel in the idea that a wonderful piece of crap cinema - a movie perfectly devoid of any artistic or social value, other than its ability to induce side-splitting laughter - is available to provide an antidote to the castrated PC sludge that passes for popular entertainment in our barren, constipated age.

    Some of the flicks that I most enjoyed seeing (illicitly) in my youth belonged to Paul Verhoeven's Hollywood oeuvre - RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, and, yes, the reviled Showgirls.

    (Keep in mind that I'm talking about *illicit* thrills. By the time Starship Troopers came out, I was old enough to watch R-rated movies more-or-less openly. I didn't see his other works until I was older.)

    It wasn't so much the explicit content - arms severed, jugulars pierced, crotches bared, nipples iced - that I enjoyed as it was the matter-of-factness with which Verhoven rubbed our noses in it. Even then, I could tell that he was willing to show us things that other directors weren't. I perceived (rightly or wrongly) that most directors of commercial Hollywood movies, even those that dared to portray graphic sex and violence, tried to build up to their "objectionable" content, to signal the audience that certain boundaries were about to be breached, to give the viewer time to prepare. Verhoeven didn't bother with such pleasantries. When he wanted to pummel us with his explicitness, he simply whipped it out, without any tedious foreplay, and shoved the camera - along with our eyes, and by extension our minds - wherever he wanted it to go. When he was done, he pulled it out and moved on to the next atrocity.

    I'd like to think that watching those kinds of movies at an impressionable age helped me to adopt a more open, honest attitude toward life. When other boys my age snickered over certain scenes in certain films, I sat serenely with a smug expression on my face and said, "Ah, there's nothing there I haven't seen before."

    I don't think it's an accident that it took a Dutchman to make those kinds of movies. The Brits working in Hollywood today aren't making them. The Dutch are not like the Brits - they are, to a degree, a bunch of assholes.

    The Brits are not necessarily "nicer" than the Dutch, but they tend to mask their hostility behind elaborate social rituals of passive-aggressive politeness. When interacting with them in a professional capacity, I often find myself wondering whether an idea that is "not bad" is, indeed, better than one that is "quite good." (I have been assured that it is.)

    The Dutch leave no room for speculation - they let it all hang out. A bad idea is never "quite good," or even "quite bad" - it's fucking stupid, you are wasting their time by even suggesting it, and if that's the best you can do, then you have no business even being in the same room with them. They're blunt and rude and nasty, and they say more in ten words than the Brits say in a hundred. Bruised ego aside, I prefer the latter type of expression to the former - I like to know where I stand.

    Still being American, I tend to hold my tongue in most situations - like I said in another post, I'm not in the habit of pissing off people in whose good graces I must remain.
  112. @syonredux

    Yes, Hollywood has always cast a wide net, but not to the degree that it does now.
     
    I don't know; the list of foreign talent that Hollywood imported during the period 1915-45 was massive

    And nowadays it seems that only actors from English-speaking countries are being imported. Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman were Swedish; Marlene Dietrich was German. Where are their counterparts in today’s Movieland?
     
    Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, Jean Reno, Marion Cotillard, Javier Bardem, Ken Watanabe, Christoph Waltz, etc

    Hell, where are today’s counterparts to Arnold Schwarzenegger, or even Dolph Lundgren? Teutons have a certain badass quality that Anglos lack.
     
    Schwarzenegger is sui generis, so I don't think that we will see his like again.As for Germanic actors from Continental Europe: Christoph Waltz, Thomas Kretschmann , Diane Kruger, Alexander Skarsgard, Stellan Skarsgard, etc

    Yes, Schwarzenegger was something else.

    I was eight years old when Terminator 2 came out. Every kid my age knew his name, and could quote all of his classic lines. We weren’t supposed to be watching R-rated movies, but we watched them.

    Do eight-year-old kids today know who Alexander Skarsgard is? They probably know who The Rock is – but even he’s past his prime now, isn’t he?

    Pauline Kael wrote that “everyone’s ‘golden age of movies’ is the period of his first moviegoing and just before–what he just missed or wasn’t allowed to see.”

    In my case, that period was the late ’80s and early ’90s – Ahh-nold’s prime. Even now, when I idly flip through the movie channels and see that, say, Commando is playing, I put it on. Even if I don’t have time to sit and watch it, I revel in the idea that a wonderful piece of crap cinema – a movie perfectly devoid of any artistic or social value, other than its ability to induce side-splitting laughter – is available to provide an antidote to the castrated PC sludge that passes for popular entertainment in our barren, constipated age.

    Some of the flicks that I most enjoyed seeing (illicitly) in my youth belonged to Paul Verhoeven’s Hollywood oeuvre – RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, and, yes, the reviled Showgirls.

    (Keep in mind that I’m talking about *illicit* thrills. By the time Starship Troopers came out, I was old enough to watch R-rated movies more-or-less openly. I didn’t see his other works until I was older.)

    It wasn’t so much the explicit content – arms severed, jugulars pierced, crotches bared, nipples iced – that I enjoyed as it was the matter-of-factness with which Verhoven rubbed our noses in it. Even then, I could tell that he was willing to show us things that other directors weren’t. I perceived (rightly or wrongly) that most directors of commercial Hollywood movies, even those that dared to portray graphic sex and violence, tried to build up to their “objectionable” content, to signal the audience that certain boundaries were about to be breached, to give the viewer time to prepare. Verhoeven didn’t bother with such pleasantries. When he wanted to pummel us with his explicitness, he simply whipped it out, without any tedious foreplay, and shoved the camera – along with our eyes, and by extension our minds – wherever he wanted it to go. When he was done, he pulled it out and moved on to the next atrocity.

    I’d like to think that watching those kinds of movies at an impressionable age helped me to adopt a more open, honest attitude toward life. When other boys my age snickered over certain scenes in certain films, I sat serenely with a smug expression on my face and said, “Ah, there’s nothing there I haven’t seen before.”

    I don’t think it’s an accident that it took a Dutchman to make those kinds of movies. The Brits working in Hollywood today aren’t making them. The Dutch are not like the Brits – they are, to a degree, a bunch of assholes.

    The Brits are not necessarily “nicer” than the Dutch, but they tend to mask their hostility behind elaborate social rituals of passive-aggressive politeness. When interacting with them in a professional capacity, I often find myself wondering whether an idea that is “not bad” is, indeed, better than one that is “quite good.” (I have been assured that it is.)

    The Dutch leave no room for speculation – they let it all hang out. A bad idea is never “quite good,” or even “quite bad” – it’s fucking stupid, you are wasting their time by even suggesting it, and if that’s the best you can do, then you have no business even being in the same room with them. They’re blunt and rude and nasty, and they say more in ten words than the Brits say in a hundred. Bruised ego aside, I prefer the latter type of expression to the former – I like to know where I stand.

    Still being American, I tend to hold my tongue in most situations – like I said in another post, I’m not in the habit of pissing off people in whose good graces I must remain.

    • Replies: @Anonym
    The British fondness for understatement seems to be inexplicable and somewhat infuriating for Americans, with their directness. It's an acquired taste. It is considered humorous to employ either incredible understatement or overstatement in the description of something, especially in occasions necessitating grace under fire. And it is appreciated by others of the same culture.

    Perhaps this is one reason that the British are known for their comedy... their culture rewards the practice of understatement as a kind of art.

    Here is an iStevey discussion featuring John Cleese exhibiting some understatement in a humorous manner.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ULvKtcmWgo
    , @syonredux

    Do eight-year-old kids today know who Alexander Skarsgard is?
     
    Probably not.The number of eight-year old True Blood fans must be vanishingly small.He does, though, have a Tarzan movie coming out in 2016.Depending on its quality, it might raise his Kid-Q quite a bit.Of course, Stellan Skarsgard is , thanks to Thor , Thor: The Dark World, and The Avengers, quite well-known to eight-year olds all over the world
  113. @Anonymous
    I think that's a pretty fair judgment about the movie. The dialogue and drama aren't very good, but it's gimmicky and voyeuristic enough to be interesting enough as a contemporary Hollywood movie.

    The drama and dialogue between the father and daughter, which seemed to dominate the film, were especially stale and hackneyed. The fact that he doesn't use social media, wasn't "there for her growing up", etc., is supposed to drive the conflict between them.

    Yes, the whole discussion about social media, and her rehab, and that “he wasn’t there for her”, all the father/daughter conflict seemed fake to me. I liked Keaton’s conflict with Norton, and Naomi Watts. And, while I am not a fan of long shots for the sake of being long (they tend to work better in specific sequences), in the end they are what made the film more interesting than it would otherwise be.

  114. @Logical Meme
    I haven’t yet sat down to work it out, but upon watching ‘Birdman’ I got the distinct sense it was – like ‘Breaking Bad’ in a different sort of way -- a tragic-comic metaphor for the white man’s eclipse in America. Then again, I might be reading way too much into things.

    That the ‘Birdman’ script is the product of Hispanic scribes would, it seems, provide an outsider perspective on said decline of the white male.

    You’ve got Michael Keaton, a guy who in real life lives on a ranch in Montana, and whose own tenuous history of a ‘Batman’ persona has obvious parallels here, playing a character named ‘Riggan’ (which, when pronounced, sounds an awful lot like ‘Reagan’).

    Within the context of Hollywood as a capitalist industry, the giant blockbuster superhero movies being churned out represent the giant economies-of-scale capitalism, the ‘too big to fail’ entities within that sector. Riggan, then, was in his natural space here for a while, a captain of industry, but then has (or had) an existential crisis, one which now drives him towards a concern with authenticity and ‘meaning’. This is where the relevance of Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” comes in, that author’s Hemingway-esque minimalism pointing a static Hopper lighting on the existentialist horror show that is white middle aged ennui.

    Cue the faux-NYT culture critic (Can one think of a more anti-white beat than a NYT culture critic?) vowing to destroy Riggan’s play before she has even seen it. Her narrative about the ‘white guy’ is already written. She only does a turnabout, however, when Riggan actually attempts suicide during a performance; she praises Riggan’s attempted self-annihilation as a new art-form she calls ‘super-realism’. (Imagine a reality TV show following an average boring white guy’s life, a Carver character whose telos is suicide.)

    While the film doesn’t necessarily unify all of the following in any grand aesthetic way, it does touch upon and pivot around several poignant dichotomies:

    • Art vs. commerce
    • Actors vs. celebrities
    • Idealism (supernatural powers) vs. depressive realism (Riggan’s insanity)
    • Youth vs. Non-Youth (A profound generation gap is apparent when Riggan’s daughter, Sam, tells him he doesn’t matter anymore, that he “doesn’t even have a Facebook page.”)

    The ego trappings and vanity associated with our culture’s obsession with celebrity (whether at the level of Riggan complaining about George Clooney to the level of instant-celebrity awarded to subjects of viral videos, the latter often rewarded for increasingly crude behavior.)

    Might Riggan parading himself nearly-naked through Times Square, one of the twin epicenters of Culture, Inc, be where Culture, Inc. wants to see the aging white male: stripped down, humiliated, and made a superficial viral sensation? Might there be something symbolic with Riggan shooting off his nose (e.g., Birdman’s beak) or with the subsequent cast around his new nose, one that resembles the shape of the Birdman mask itself? What to make of the way Edward Norton’s character unceremoniously fades from the script? And what to make of the memorable but ambiguous ending, where Riggan’s daughter looks out the window, down toward the sidewalk momentarily, then turns her head to the sky before smiling?

    ‘Birdman’ is a consummate ‘insider’ film, both in terms of Hollywood and Broadway, and such types love to gaze at their navel, which is why the film got buzz and had legs. It’s also ironic that while the film garnered Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography, maybe it’s not surprising that the Academy voters did not grant Keaton the Best Actor statue, choosing instead a conventional biopic performance (and movie) that will very quickly be forgotten about.

    SIDENOTE: Stylistically, I loved and greatly appreciated the intense choreography involved in the single-shot presentation, as well as the increasingly layered jazz drums of the soundtrack which seemed to mirror the increasingly fractured and confused psyche of Riggan, and the film’s artful touches of magic realism.

    You make the film sound more interesting than it really was. 😀

    However, thinking back, I think many things you mention are there in the film in fact, maybe not as clear cut. Perhaps a few things had been just a little bit more thought out, it would have been a really great film, who knows.

    While Carver’s story relation to the whole was, I felt, underused (sometimes it seems it could have been any other author), the bungling of the gunshot at the end, I now realize, was foreshadowed by a line of Carver mentioned at the beginning. Maybe there are other details that I missed.

  115. @Steve Sailer
    Mexico City is at 7300 feet. I got badly burned there in 1974. MaintainING a tan is a good precaution.

    “Mexico City is at 7300 feet. I got badly burned there” ————————-

    What about altitude sickness?

  116. @Stan Adams
    Yes, Schwarzenegger was something else.

    I was eight years old when Terminator 2 came out. Every kid my age knew his name, and could quote all of his classic lines. We weren't supposed to be watching R-rated movies, but we watched them.

    Do eight-year-old kids today know who Alexander Skarsgard is? They probably know who The Rock is - but even he's past his prime now, isn't he?

    Pauline Kael wrote that "everyone's 'golden age of movies' is the period of his first moviegoing and just before--what he just missed or wasn't allowed to see."

    In my case, that period was the late '80s and early '90s - Ahh-nold's prime. Even now, when I idly flip through the movie channels and see that, say, Commando is playing, I put it on. Even if I don't have time to sit and watch it, I revel in the idea that a wonderful piece of crap cinema - a movie perfectly devoid of any artistic or social value, other than its ability to induce side-splitting laughter - is available to provide an antidote to the castrated PC sludge that passes for popular entertainment in our barren, constipated age.

    Some of the flicks that I most enjoyed seeing (illicitly) in my youth belonged to Paul Verhoeven's Hollywood oeuvre - RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, and, yes, the reviled Showgirls.

    (Keep in mind that I'm talking about *illicit* thrills. By the time Starship Troopers came out, I was old enough to watch R-rated movies more-or-less openly. I didn't see his other works until I was older.)

    It wasn't so much the explicit content - arms severed, jugulars pierced, crotches bared, nipples iced - that I enjoyed as it was the matter-of-factness with which Verhoven rubbed our noses in it. Even then, I could tell that he was willing to show us things that other directors weren't. I perceived (rightly or wrongly) that most directors of commercial Hollywood movies, even those that dared to portray graphic sex and violence, tried to build up to their "objectionable" content, to signal the audience that certain boundaries were about to be breached, to give the viewer time to prepare. Verhoeven didn't bother with such pleasantries. When he wanted to pummel us with his explicitness, he simply whipped it out, without any tedious foreplay, and shoved the camera - along with our eyes, and by extension our minds - wherever he wanted it to go. When he was done, he pulled it out and moved on to the next atrocity.

    I'd like to think that watching those kinds of movies at an impressionable age helped me to adopt a more open, honest attitude toward life. When other boys my age snickered over certain scenes in certain films, I sat serenely with a smug expression on my face and said, "Ah, there's nothing there I haven't seen before."

    I don't think it's an accident that it took a Dutchman to make those kinds of movies. The Brits working in Hollywood today aren't making them. The Dutch are not like the Brits - they are, to a degree, a bunch of assholes.

    The Brits are not necessarily "nicer" than the Dutch, but they tend to mask their hostility behind elaborate social rituals of passive-aggressive politeness. When interacting with them in a professional capacity, I often find myself wondering whether an idea that is "not bad" is, indeed, better than one that is "quite good." (I have been assured that it is.)

    The Dutch leave no room for speculation - they let it all hang out. A bad idea is never "quite good," or even "quite bad" - it's fucking stupid, you are wasting their time by even suggesting it, and if that's the best you can do, then you have no business even being in the same room with them. They're blunt and rude and nasty, and they say more in ten words than the Brits say in a hundred. Bruised ego aside, I prefer the latter type of expression to the former - I like to know where I stand.

    Still being American, I tend to hold my tongue in most situations - like I said in another post, I'm not in the habit of pissing off people in whose good graces I must remain.

    The British fondness for understatement seems to be inexplicable and somewhat infuriating for Americans, with their directness. It’s an acquired taste. It is considered humorous to employ either incredible understatement or overstatement in the description of something, especially in occasions necessitating grace under fire. And it is appreciated by others of the same culture.

    Perhaps this is one reason that the British are known for their comedy… their culture rewards the practice of understatement as a kind of art.

    Here is an iStevey discussion featuring John Cleese exhibiting some understatement in a humorous manner.

  117. @Stan Adams
    Yes, Schwarzenegger was something else.

    I was eight years old when Terminator 2 came out. Every kid my age knew his name, and could quote all of his classic lines. We weren't supposed to be watching R-rated movies, but we watched them.

    Do eight-year-old kids today know who Alexander Skarsgard is? They probably know who The Rock is - but even he's past his prime now, isn't he?

    Pauline Kael wrote that "everyone's 'golden age of movies' is the period of his first moviegoing and just before--what he just missed or wasn't allowed to see."

    In my case, that period was the late '80s and early '90s - Ahh-nold's prime. Even now, when I idly flip through the movie channels and see that, say, Commando is playing, I put it on. Even if I don't have time to sit and watch it, I revel in the idea that a wonderful piece of crap cinema - a movie perfectly devoid of any artistic or social value, other than its ability to induce side-splitting laughter - is available to provide an antidote to the castrated PC sludge that passes for popular entertainment in our barren, constipated age.

    Some of the flicks that I most enjoyed seeing (illicitly) in my youth belonged to Paul Verhoeven's Hollywood oeuvre - RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, and, yes, the reviled Showgirls.

    (Keep in mind that I'm talking about *illicit* thrills. By the time Starship Troopers came out, I was old enough to watch R-rated movies more-or-less openly. I didn't see his other works until I was older.)

    It wasn't so much the explicit content - arms severed, jugulars pierced, crotches bared, nipples iced - that I enjoyed as it was the matter-of-factness with which Verhoven rubbed our noses in it. Even then, I could tell that he was willing to show us things that other directors weren't. I perceived (rightly or wrongly) that most directors of commercial Hollywood movies, even those that dared to portray graphic sex and violence, tried to build up to their "objectionable" content, to signal the audience that certain boundaries were about to be breached, to give the viewer time to prepare. Verhoeven didn't bother with such pleasantries. When he wanted to pummel us with his explicitness, he simply whipped it out, without any tedious foreplay, and shoved the camera - along with our eyes, and by extension our minds - wherever he wanted it to go. When he was done, he pulled it out and moved on to the next atrocity.

    I'd like to think that watching those kinds of movies at an impressionable age helped me to adopt a more open, honest attitude toward life. When other boys my age snickered over certain scenes in certain films, I sat serenely with a smug expression on my face and said, "Ah, there's nothing there I haven't seen before."

    I don't think it's an accident that it took a Dutchman to make those kinds of movies. The Brits working in Hollywood today aren't making them. The Dutch are not like the Brits - they are, to a degree, a bunch of assholes.

    The Brits are not necessarily "nicer" than the Dutch, but they tend to mask their hostility behind elaborate social rituals of passive-aggressive politeness. When interacting with them in a professional capacity, I often find myself wondering whether an idea that is "not bad" is, indeed, better than one that is "quite good." (I have been assured that it is.)

    The Dutch leave no room for speculation - they let it all hang out. A bad idea is never "quite good," or even "quite bad" - it's fucking stupid, you are wasting their time by even suggesting it, and if that's the best you can do, then you have no business even being in the same room with them. They're blunt and rude and nasty, and they say more in ten words than the Brits say in a hundred. Bruised ego aside, I prefer the latter type of expression to the former - I like to know where I stand.

    Still being American, I tend to hold my tongue in most situations - like I said in another post, I'm not in the habit of pissing off people in whose good graces I must remain.

    Do eight-year-old kids today know who Alexander Skarsgard is?

    Probably not.The number of eight-year old True Blood fans must be vanishingly small.He does, though, have a Tarzan movie coming out in 2016.Depending on its quality, it might raise his Kid-Q quite a bit.Of course, Stellan Skarsgard is , thanks to Thor , Thor: The Dark World, and The Avengers, quite well-known to eight-year olds all over the world

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    Yeah, but kids don't know all of Stellan Skarsgard's classic lines by heart, do they? That's because he hasn't said any.

    If there is even one memorable quote (aside from the yell) or scene in Tarzan, I'll be surprised.

    Thirty years from now, will anyone be listening to something like this, with sound clips taken from Thor, Thor: The Dark World, and/or The Avengers?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUyT2HVL60A

    I doubt it.

    I saw the first Thor in the theater - someone dragged me to it. I've seen maybe ten movies in the theater in as many years. (The last one was Star Trek Into Darkness - and that was almost two years ago now, wasn't it? Before that, the last one was ... Super 8, I think.) I haven't seen it since then, and I'm struggling to remember anything about it.
  118. @syonredux

    Do eight-year-old kids today know who Alexander Skarsgard is?
     
    Probably not.The number of eight-year old True Blood fans must be vanishingly small.He does, though, have a Tarzan movie coming out in 2016.Depending on its quality, it might raise his Kid-Q quite a bit.Of course, Stellan Skarsgard is , thanks to Thor , Thor: The Dark World, and The Avengers, quite well-known to eight-year olds all over the world

    Yeah, but kids don’t know all of Stellan Skarsgard’s classic lines by heart, do they? That’s because he hasn’t said any.

    If there is even one memorable quote (aside from the yell) or scene in Tarzan, I’ll be surprised.

    Thirty years from now, will anyone be listening to something like this, with sound clips taken from Thor, Thor: The Dark World, and/or The Avengers?

    I doubt it.

    I saw the first Thor in the theater – someone dragged me to it. I’ve seen maybe ten movies in the theater in as many years. (The last one was Star Trek Into Darkness – and that was almost two years ago now, wasn’t it? Before that, the last one was … Super 8, I think.) I haven’t seen it since then, and I’m struggling to remember anything about it.

  119. “Stan Adams says:

    American movies aren’t all that American anymore … it seems that at least half of the “American” characters appearing in films and on television these days are played by Brits, Canadians, Aussies, New Zealanders, and South Africans, among others. It’s getting harder and harder to find productions that feature exclusively U.S.-born talent.”

    I recently saw “Unbroken”. About half of the Americans in the film were portrayed by English, Irish, or Australian actors. They did a good job, by the way, and I thought it was a quite good movie. Also in HBO’s “Band of Brothers”, a lot of the American GIs were played by actors from the UK.

  120. “Jack D says:

    >America was created by the Anglos.The immigrants who came later were add-ons

    Yes, that’s why the Oscars are held in Angelville. No, wait, they are in Los Angeles.”

    Other than it’s name and the odd tile-roof, Los Angeles is almost entirely the product of white, old-stock Americans.

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