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Links for the Day: Keanu Reeves Interview, “Douchebag” Is the White Racial Slur We’ve All Been Waiting For, Zach Galifianakis Interviews Brad Pitt, & More

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Links for the Day: Keanu Reeves Interview, “Douchebag” Is the White Racial Slur We’ve All Been Waiting For, Zach Galifianakis Interviews Brad Pitt, & More

1. “Keanu Reeves on Not Receiving More Offers from Hollywood: ’It Sucks.’” Keanu Reeves continues to star in fun new action movies. But he still wishes there were more offers on the table.

“No, it sucks, but it’s just the way it is. You can have positive and negative experiences, but what I like about studios are the resources and the worlds that they can create. Obviously, a lot of good filmmakers work on studio movies. Even when I was working on studio movies more often, I was always doing independent movies. So for me, that was just not happening, but I want to keep going, making things, and telling stories. I want to be able to do that—to be an actor, a director, to produce, you know? If we’re going to do a delineation between studio and independent [films], I was always hoping to do both.”

2. “By Noon They’d Both Be in Heaven.” Kelli Stapleton, whose teenage daughter was autistic and prone to violent rages, had come to fear for her life. So she made a decision that perhaps only she could justify.

“Issy’s story is, among other things, a battle for media optics. In certain ways, it always had been, given that during Issy’s difficult years, Kelli had started her blog and began to do local TV interviews, hoping to bring awareness to parents who lived with severely aggressive children. Attractive and charismatic, Kelli would straight­forwardly explain to the television audience that her daughter was going to kill her. More recently, Dr. Phil interviewed her in jail and aired a two-part special about her case. He included a picture or two of Issy with her family or tap-dancing with her mom, but it was a video of Kelli sobbing and screaming he returned to over and over.”

3. “Getting with the Program.” For Reverse Shot, Eric Hynes surveys the nonfiction landscape of the 2014 Toronto and New York film festivals.

“I love that there’s a privileged Main Slate, and that its moniker doesn’t distinguish between nonfiction and narrative, but the implications of its programming in light of its two doc outliers, and the separate Spotlight section, are hard to deny and to square. Having the Broomfield and Poitras docs as outliers in the Main Slate simultaneously asserts that these are the two superlative docs in the Festival, and that these are only two such docs worthy of the company of 29 narrative films. Is it that the Poitras and Broomfield films are perceived as having greater appeal because of their U.S. subjects, or greater newsworthiness because they touch on domestic issues? It would be unfortunate if so, given that these distinctions have nothing to do with the art or power of nonfiction films—surely of interest to a festival of festivals that offers a pulse-check on the state of the cinematic art—and also that it’s a standard that’s hardly applied to far-flung nonfiction titles like The Wonders, Timbuktu, Horse Money, or Hill of Freedom.”

4. “The Shonda Rhimes Revolution.” Mark Harris on how Rhimes is finishing what The Sopranos Started.

“That Old Testament truthbomb begat a decade of TV drama: Skyler White’s transformation from oblivion to suspicion to devastated knowledge to unsentimental participation; Joan Holloway’s decision to sell herself, and thus purchase a seat in the boardroom with the only currency she feels she has; Alicia Florrick’s now-weekly downward-defining of what ’good’ means. More than anyone else in television, Rhimes has taken that struggle off the back burner and made it the subject of her work. One thing none of her heroines can say is that they haven’t been told; in fact, they’ve told themselves. Both Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder could be retitled Complicity. They’re shows that explore how much you can know, or tacitly consent to, before you’re part of the disease. In Shondaland, knowledge is sin, and all of her heroines have taken a bite of the apple.”

5. “Douchebag: The White Racial Slur We’ve All Been Waiting For.” For Medium, white dude Michael Mark Cohen invites you to call him a douche.

“As far as white identities go, the douchebag stands in opposition to another growing white identity that, I believe, is getting a bad rap: the Hipster. We may be familiar with the personal style of the hipster, but in terms of their social position, the hipster represents a distinct generational / economic class of the over-educated and under-employed. From this position, on the cool edge of the class division, the hipster adopts an ironic stance towards white privilege. Rather than affect the corporate privilege position of the douchebag, the hipster adopts the ethos of craft labor, whether digital or manual, productive or service, while appropriating the identifying self markings (tattoos, piercings, beards, inexplicably tight pants, track bikes, etc.) of those communities traditionally ostracized by middle class and elite white communities (criminals, bohemians, sailors, lumberjacks, miners, immigrants, homosexuals, bike messengers etc). The hipster not only rejects her privilege through the strategic use of lip piercings and neck tattoos, but she stands with sneering disdain at the world’s underutilization of her own cultural capital.”

Video of the Day: Zach Galifianakis interviews Brad Pitt:

Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to ed@slantmagazine.com and to converse in the comments section.

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

When it rains, it pours.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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