Connect with us

Blog

Links for the Day: Jamie Lee Curtis Interviews Sigourney Weaver, Your TV Small-Talk Is Ruining Dinner Parties, Madonna Is Superhuman, & More

Published

on

Links for the Day: Jamie Lee Curtis Interviews Sigourney Weaver, Your TV Small-Talk Is Ruining Dinner Parties, Madonna Is Superhuman, & More

1. “Sigourney Weaver Interview.” For Interview, Jamie Lee Curtis interviews her fellow actor.

“I work so hard, and out of the raw material that is the script and talks I have with the director, the writer, I create, I hope, a very specific person who wouldn’t have otherwise existed. However, do I then attach and hang on to the finished product? No. The experience of the creation of the character is what feeds me, what excites me, challenges me. I just finished this movie with J.A. Bayona, called A Monster Calls [co-starring Liam Neeson and Felicity Jones, expected in 2016], which was a challenging movie for all of us. It’s from a novel written by Patrick Ness. But, after the experience, I let it go, because I know the director’s going to go in; the alchemist will take over and do something else with it.”

2. “Your TV Small-Talk Is Ruining Dinner Parties.” I you ever have dinner with Vulture’s Daniel Engber, it’s best to not ask him what he’s watching on TV.

“The fact that everyone must be up to date provides another way for TV talk to rid itself of substance. Pretend you watched the first two episodes of Transparent, and found it overcute and politically correct. It would be nice if you could share this view at dinner, if only to inject a minor note of conflict. But, alas, when your friend declares the show is perfect, you don’t have standing to object. Since you haven’t forced yourself to watch a day shift’s worth of episodes, who are you to judge? ’Give it another try,’ a guest might say. ’You really have to get invested in the characters.’ (And what if I don’t? It’s a classic TV-talk tautology.) More often you’ll be told the show starts off a little slow, but wait, things pick up mid-season. You’ll have to take that claim on faith, since, well, no spoilers! It’s the grand-jury model of persuasion: no opposing counsel, and all the evidence is sealed.”

3. “Envious Moons.” Slant contributor Richard Larson publishes his latest short story in acclaimed literary magazine Joyland.

“I was the kind of boy who didn’t inspire a second glance, but everybody knew Callie. You must have known her too—why else would you have come? Her picture was always in the local paper, something about a beauty pageant she had won in the next county over, or a cheerleading competition where she had performed a particularly daring trick. She had even played Juliet in the school play, which everyone in town went to see. The production didn’t include Shakespeare’s original ending because a student had recently committed suicide in the high school gymnasium, so when Juliet woke up in the family crypt, Romeo was still alive, waiting for her there in the darkness.”

4. “Panpsychism’s Labyrinth.” Steven Shaviro’s new book teaches us how to navigate in a world where objects are peer.

“In The Universe of Things, [Steven] Shaviro empathizes with [Quentin] Meillassoux’s yearning for the ’great outdoors.’ But Shaviro reminds us that there is another portal to ’that outside.” This portal may be accessed via the writings of the British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead. Like Meillassoux, Whitehead’s metaphysics begins with a rejection of philosophy’s initiatory, constitutive binary split: the ’bifurcation of nature.’ Like Meillassoux, Whitehead is invigorated by recent research in science and mathematics. But, as Shaviro emphasizes, the similarities end there. For Whitehead, much of the recent work in Continental Realism would have been of limited interest, too static and atemporal, too sloppy in differentiating between different levels of abstraction and concreteness.”

5. “Madonna is superhuman. She has to be to survive the ugly abuse.” No wonder Madonna took her Brit awards fall in her stride—she deals with much worse just for being a 56-year-old woman.

“But she was brutally mocked in the reviews. And that laughter is growing louder and crueller and uglier, as the Twitter response to her fall illustrated. Madonna’s longevity was first admired and is now actively sabotaged by editorials which never fail to mention her age, as though it is something to be ashamed of. I am shocked by the uninflected scorn, the derision and foul-mouthed trashing she is dealt, and how much of it is grossly visceral: hatred of her flesh, physicality, sexual confidence, athleticism, ambition, her preference for Latin spunkbots, her alternating bossiness and vulnerability and romanticism and eroticism and playfulness, her performance ability and hunger. All the things which were once admired about her are now used to bash her and make her appear laughable or monstrous or desperate.”

Video of the Day: Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young gets a new trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgSQePbxLgQ
Advertisement
Comments

Blog

Watch: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Gets Teaser Trailer

When it rains, it pours.

Published

on

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Photo: Columbia Pictures

When it rains, it pours. Four days after Quentin Tarantino once more laid into John Ford in a piece written for his Beverly Cinema website that saw the filmmaker referring to Ford’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon as Tie a Yellow Ribbon, and two days after Columbia Pictures released poster art for QT’s ninth feature that wasn’t exactly of the highest order, the studio has released a teaser for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The film was announced early last year, with Tarantino describing it as “a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood.”

Set on the eve of the Manson family murders, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tells the story of TV actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as they try to get involved in the film industry. The film also stars Margot Robbie (as Sharon Tate), Al Pacino, the late Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, and Bruce Dern in a part originally intended for the late Burt Reynolds.

See the teaser below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scf8nIJCvs4

Columbia Pictures will release Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on July 26.

Continue Reading

Blog

Watch the Stranger Things 3 Trailer, and to the Tune of Mötley Crüe and the Who

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence.

Published

on

Stranger Things 3
Photo: Netflix

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence. On Friday, Jeff Tremaine’s The Dirt, a biopic about Mötley Crüe’s rise to fame, drops on Netflix. Today, the streaming service has released the trailer for the third season of Stranger Things. The clip opens with the strains of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home,” all the better to underline that the peace and quiet that returned to the fictional rural town of Hawkins, Indiana at the end of the show’s second season is just waiting to be upset again.

Little is known about the plot of the new season, and the trailer keeps things pretty vague, though the Duffer Brothers have suggested that the storyline will take place a year after the events of the last season—duh, we know when “Home Sweet Home” came out—and focus on the main characters’ puberty pangs. That said, according to Reddit sleuths who’ve obsessed over such details as the nuances of the new season’s poster art, it looks like Max and company are going to have to contend with demon rats no doubt released from the Upside Down.

See below for the new season’s trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEG3bmU_WaI

Stranger Things 3 premieres globally on July 4.

Continue Reading

Blog

Who Killed My Father Is Heartbreaking but Prone to Pat Sociological Analysis

Édouard Louis’s latest is strong as a portrait of a family unable to communicate through anything but volatile, toxic outbursts.

Published

on

Who Killed My Father

Author Édouard Louis’s father has been an important figure in each of his previous works, even when he’s never seen or mostly at the periphery (as in The History of Violence). With his latest, Who Killed My Father, Louis finally turns to directly examining his most important, damaged relationship. Both in his previous books and interviews, Louis has repeatedly acknowledged this broken relationship, largely stemming from the author’s open homosexuality. Alongside this, Louis’s prior works have circled around a number of themes to which he returns here: the French political and working classes, the small-town prejudices that surrounded his upbringing and drove a closeted homosexual boy to escape to more cosmopolitan Paris, and the role of state power in producing social and physical illness.

With Who Killed My Father, Louis invites inevitable comparisons to Abdellah Taïa, another talented French writer who’s also gay and largely estranged from his place of origin, and also primarily an autobiographical novelist. Like Louis, Taïa incorporates his complicated relationship with a parent into several of his books. Taïa also connects that relationship, his writing, and his experience with the society he left behind in Morocco and the one he found in France. But what distinguishes his writing in, for example, Infidels or Salvation Army from that of Édouard Louis in Who Killed My Father is a strong sense of meaning. Taïa incorporates his relationship with his mother, M’Barka, to convey something more meaningful and developed.

Louis begins down this same road before clumsily inserting a political tract at the end of Who Killed My Father that doesn’t knit as effortlessly with parts one and two. The book situates Louis’s relationship with his father front and center as compared to his previous work. It’s clear that he’s exposing the painfulness of their relationship for the purpose of speaking about political power and its physical and social toll on those who don’t possess it, but Who Killed My Father stumbles in conveying its message adequately.

Louis’s account of his father’s suffering and violence toward those around him is both painful and sharp. Who Killed My Father is strongest when Louis is demonstrating his father’s most private acts of kindness, as when the father gives Louis a copy of Titanic for his birthday after trying to convince him to ask for a more “masculine” gift. After Louis realizes that his carefully planned tribute to the pop band Aqua at a family dinner has embarrassed his father, the man reassures Louis that “it’s nothing.” In the book’s first and strongest part, Louis expounds not only on the relationship with his father, but also excavates what might have made his father the man he grew up with. At one point, he recounts finding a photograph of his father in women’s clothes—undoubtedly some adolescent joke, but also inconceivable from the man who insisted to his son that men should never act like girls.

Regrettably, part one ends with a trite conclusion that says everything and nothing at the same time. In part two, the story attempts to braid together all the malignant threads of Louis’s family narrative. Louis recalls igniting a violent outburst between his father and older brother as a result of his mother shaming him for acting too much like a girl (“faggot” is what some others in the neighborhood more precisely call him). The insinuation hurts and angers him so much that he betrays his mother’s confidence on another family secret, setting loose a new wave of violence. Part two is short and important to moving Who Killed My Father toward some wider evaluation of the questions Louis begins the book with, but it ultimately fails to find its footing by pivoting in part three to an unearned polemic against the political classes.

Who Killed My Father is strong as a portrait of a family unable to communicate (except in brief moments of tenderness) through anything but volatile, toxic outbursts, but the book at its weakest when trying to ham-handedly force this narrative into some broad theorizing about power and society and structural violence. Part one aligned beautifully with a narrative of meaning more comparable to Taïa at his best. Unfortunately, the story quickly falls apart when Jacques Chirac is indicted for destroying Louis’s father’s body through changes in health care coverage. It’s not that the questions Louis ends with aren’t necessary and important ones; it’s that there’s so little threading the narrative together into anything cohesive. What was the point of the first two-thirds of the book? His father was cruel, occasionally loving, but never mind because the state is killing him? The life of the poor is one of abject powerlessness against an unremittingly powerful and callous “ruling class”?

Louis deserves credit for the attempt to tie it all together into some grander commentary on the political class and its ambivalence, but the conclusion is simultaneously glib and condescending. Perhaps Louis didn’t intend it, but the book’s conclusion drains away responsibility for the cruelty and bigotry of those like his father, and patronizes them as with a quick How could we expect any better of the noble, working poor? Is it the state’s or the ruling class’s subjugation of his father’s body that’s somehow also responsible for his inability to sympathize with gays or immigrants? Of course, the poor are subjugated by the rich and Louis has written more meaningfully about the implications of that relationship elsewhere. But in Who Killed My Father, he inadvertently demonstrates that the answer isn’t to sanctify them any more than it is to demonize them.

Édouard Louis’s Who Killed My Father is now available from New Directions.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Donate

Slant is reaching more readers than ever, but as online advertising continues to evolve, independently operated publications like ours have struggled to adapt. We're committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, please consider becoming a Slant patron:

Patreon

You can also make a donation via PayPal.

Giveaways

Advertisement

Newsletter

Advertisement

Preview

Trending