1. Kim Morgan talks to James Toback about Mike Tyson on the event of Toback's new documentary, Tyson. Perhaps unexpectedly, Morgan has something of a soft spot for the boxer.
["Mike Tyson has made me almost shockingly emotional. More than once. From discussing all the love he has to give, and how he can't receive it, to his genuine nostalgia for his former trainers, to all the women he mistreated, to the pigeons he's been raising since childhood and loves (a la Brando's On the Waterfront Terry Malloy), the man's troubles hit me to the core. And you can say I'm being conned or manipulated or white-washed by director James Toback (who clearly loves his friend)—say what you want. I don't care. Tyson moved me. Just like Gary Gilmore moved me in The Executioner's Song or Perry Smith moved me in In Cold Blood, two other works in which the writers (Norman Mailer and Truman Capote—who also were in love with their subjects) took on troubled, talented men turned criminals with a raw yet lyrical sensitivity and a deeper awareness of how, both the world and the man, can misdirect their power and passion to crush themselves—no matter how much potential they've got. With Mike Tyson, add the collective racism (by liberals and non-liberals alike) that view him as some sort of primal animal, and you've got multiple issues to contend with—personally and politically."]
["Iranian judicial authorities have suspended the remainder of the eight-year jail sentence given to Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi for alleged espionage and will release her Monday, her lawyer said. The abrupt turnaround in a case that has garnered significant international attention came as Saberi's legal team was awaiting word on whether its appeal of her closed-door trial would be successful."]
3. The latest issue of Undercurrent is full of love for John Ford, but it's also got Richard Corliss waxing rhapsodic about "the Birth of a Nation of porn." Yes, porn.
["Imagine that there was no feature film before The Birth of a Nation in 1915; no Western before Stagecoach in 1939; no musical, on stage or screen, before 42nd Street in 1933. Imagine that D. W. Griffith, John Ford, and the Lloyd Bacon–Busby Berkeley tandem had to invent, rather than perfect, the conventions that made their movies work. That, to overstate the case just slightly, was the challenge facing the makers of Mona, the first known feature-length film that integrated explicit sex into a fictional plot."]
4. In the latest Film Comment, Amy Taubin takes a look at The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow's much-anticipated (well, by ME, at least) return to theaters, out later this summer.
["Her new film, The Hurt Locker, is both a structuralist war movie—it could be titled 'Seven Instances of Dismantling an Improvised Explosive Device'—and a totally immersive, off-the-charts high-anxiety experience from beginning to end. Scripted by Mark Boal, who in 2004 was embedded in Baghdad with a U.S. Army bomb squad, the film focuses on a three-man team of Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians whose job is to find and dispose of IEDs. In the opening sequence, the squad's leader (Guy Pearce) is killed. His replacement, Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner), operates in a manner that immediately seems more reckless than his predecessor, and which his teammates, Sergeant J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), who are in the final 38 days of their rotation, fear will get them all killed. James refuses to use remote-controlled 'bots to uncover and disarm IEDs, preferring to get up close and personal. He tears off his protective suit, which isn't all that protective anyway, since it impedes his speed and mobility. He disconnects his communication gear when he doesn't want to heed warnings from Sanborn and Eldridge that they've attracted too many potential hostiles and need to get out now."]
5. Finally, Star Trek made approximately $17 trillion over the weekend, which means its time for one last Trek link. So here is a list of the Top 5 Jewish Moments in Star Trek. I hope you all like it better than that twist endings list! (Link courtesy of Matt Zoller Seitz, who says he was doing a Google search on Star Trek Jewish. Why? I don't know. I just pass these things on to you.)
["Jewish themes abound in such Trek novels as Well of Souls, The Wounded Sky and Spock's World. Biblical figures like Moses and David are mentioned explicitly while Jewish themes are intimated in the movie franchise and the various television series. But despite Jewish writers (David Gerrold, Harlan Ellison to name a few) and numerous Jewish stars (William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Walter Koenig, Brent Spiner, Armin Shimerman) Jewish imagery and mentions of Jews as a people tend to be fleeting or covered up in Trek films and shows. "]
Quote of the Day:
"Cat! who hast pass'd thy grand cliacteric, How many mice and rats hast in thy days Destroy'd? - How many tit bits stolen? Gaze With those bright languid segments green, and prick Those velvet ears - but pr'ythee do not stick Thy latent talons in me - and upraise Thy gentle mew - and tell me all thy frays Of fish and mice, and rats and tender chick. Nay, look not down, nor lick thy dainty wrists - For all the wheezy asthma, - and for all Thy tail's tip is nick'd off - and though the fists Of many a maid have given thee many a mail, Still is that fur as soft as when the lists In youth thou enter'dst on glass bottled wall." -John Keats (and I'll bet this is the only blog that features a post using the word "cliacteric" today)
Image of the Day (click to enlarge): 21 years ago today. Consider this your short story prompt. How do these people feel? Do any of them still remember this photo being taken? Do they still have 4-H Capital Days in Albany?
Clip of the Day: Kevin B. Lee has ANOTHER Focus Features video essay, this time on one of my favorites of the decade, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Also, some guy shows up and says a few things about it.
"Links for the Day": A selection of Links that will hopefully spark discussion. Comments encouraged. Suggestions for links are also welcome. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.