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Links for the Day: Mickey Rooney Dead at 93, 47 Dead Films, Plane Search Shows World’s Oceans Are Full of Trash, Godzilla Extended Look, & More

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Links for the Day: Mickey Rooney Dead at 93, 47 Dead Films, Plane Search Shows World’s Oceans Are Full of Trash, Godzilla Extended Look, & More

1. “Mickey Rooney R.I.P.” The actor, master of putting on a show, dies at 93.

“Not including the Mickey Maguire shorts, Mr. Rooney made more than 200 movies, earning a total of four Academy Award nominations—he was nominated for best supporting actor as the fast-talking soldier who dies trying to protect $30,000 he won in a craps game in ’The Bold and the Brave’ (1956) and as the trainer of a wild Arabian horse in ’The Black Stallion’ (1979). (Because of his size, Mr. Rooney played a lot of jockeys and, as his waistline expanded, former jockeys who had become trainers. He was the vagabond who helps Elizabeth Taylor turn an unruly horse into a steeplechase champion in her breakthrough film, ’National Velvet,’ in 1944.)”

2. “47 Dead Films.” Films by Hitchcock, Polanski, Bresson, Fassbinder, and others that were never realized.

“At four o’clock one afternoon Luis Buñuel decided that he would make no more films. He was staying in the spa at San Jose Purua in southwest Mexico where, for more than twenty years, Buñuel had gone to write his scripts. It is a semitropical paradise set in a green canyon—a bit too hot, in truth, for Buñuel liked rain, fog, the north. The screenplay was for a film to be called A Sumptuous Ceremony, in homage to Andre Breton, who defined eroticism as ’a sumptuous ceremony in an underground passage.’ From the outset the watchwords were ’terror’ and ’eroticism.’ Bunuel imagined a young girl in a prison cell receiving a visit from a phantom bishop; a trap door led to an underground passageway and to a boat filled with explosives for blowing up the Louvre museum. The script was never finished. Buñuel had barely arrived in San Jose Purua when he felt unwell, ill at ease (this was 1979 and he was therefore seventy-nine years old). He spoke of some ’menace,’ and at four o’clock in the afternoon he announced that his life as a filmmaker was over.”

3. “Plane Search Shows World’s Oceans Are Full of Trash.” Search for missing Malaysian plane shines spotlight on giant ocean garbage patches.

“Because of its remoteness, the Indian Ocean garbage patch remains more of a mystery. It was discovered in 2010 by [Marcus] Eriksen and his crew, who sailed west from Perth, Australia, toward Africa to document it. Eriksen says it comprises a massive area, at least two million square miles (about five million square kilometers) in size, but with no clear boundaries. ’It’s very fluid and changes with the season,’ Eriksen says. ’You could drag nets in one spot and come back the next day and it’s different.’ It also has gaps near Indonesia with very little debris. Maximenko theorizes that much of the marine debris generated by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami has been salvaged by people living along the Indonesian coastline.”

4. “Tilda Swinton Is Not Quite of This World.” Carl Swanson on the iconic actress.

“Swinton shares with Bond and Jarmusch, among other friends and collaborators, an impeccably shod artist-as-revolutionary worldview. When she walked down the cabaret aisle, in a severe off-the-shoulder gray sheath, with her handsome younger boyfriend, Sandro Kopp, everyone, including Bond, skipped a beat. Swinton is hard to miss, and her ­presence can be, to those susceptible to her austere weirdo-ness, vaguely exalting. If she didn’t exist, there is no way anyone else could play the role, or roles.”

5. “From Washington to Westeros, how rape plays out on TV.” Alyssa Rosenberg on the rape storylines featured on your favorite dramas.

“While Cersei is freed from her abuser, she can do little to change the norms that made her rape, and so many others, permissible. Her own son begins to exhibit a streak of sexual sadism. And this season, Cersei must stand with her father when a prince from a neighboring kingdom reopens accusations that the Lannisters had his sister, Cersei’s predecessor, raped and murdered. Cersei, like other characters in ’Game of Thrones,’ rages against the idea that female life and female safety are cheap. The horror of the show is not just that sexual assault is commonplace but that women like Cersei often have little choice but to work with the people who are the authors of their misery. And even cooperation is no guarantee of protection. When Cersei’s father tries to arrange another marriage for her, her terror is obvious as she begs him, ’Don’t make me do it again, please.’”

Video of the Day: This extended look at Godzilla, beyond hilariously suggesting that Juliette Binoche actually becomes Godzilla, reveals too much about the film, and hints that it may be a lot more rote than its great teasers have suggested until now:

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 actress Sharon Tate, 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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