1. “Arnaud Desplechin Remembers Misty Upham.” A tribute to the actress he directed in Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian.
“The death of Misty Upham is bottomless sorrow. I loved this woman as if she were my younger sister. The press talk about her fragility; I know Misty had that rare gift of being able to offer fragility to the camera, and it gave her a force without limit. Misty had a great soul, and she gave that soul to the film. I don’t know why tonight, I think about Marilyn Monroe. Probably because in these two actresses, I see a sense of tragedy and how their wounds turned into gifts—joy, pain, innocence, wildness mixed. Each of them trembling upsets us. And it is hard work that transforms fears and uncertainties into art. I remember our first meeting. I told her about my unreserved admiration for Frozen River. I had been dazzled: Lila was invulnerable as she was almost blind. With glasses, healed, the woman suddenly became very shy. It was her blindness that protected her from the world! When I told her this, Misty jumped on my neck! She could not believe that a European film buff had been able to see what she had done so secretly and subtly.”
2. “Alan Bean Plus Four.” The New Yorker publishes Tom Hanks’s debut work of fiction.
“The Americans who went to the moon before us had computers so primitive that they couldn’t get e-mail or use Google to settle arguments. The iPads we took had something like seventy billion times the capacity of those Apollo-era dial-ups and were mucho handy, especially during all the downtime on our long haul. MDash used his to watch Season Four of Breaking Bad. We took hundreds of selfies with the Earth in the window and, plinking a Ping-Pong ball off the center seat, played a tableless table-tennis tournament, which was won by Anna. I worked the attitude jets in pulse mode, yawing and pitching the Alan Bean for views of some of the few stars that were visible in the naked sunlight: Antares, Nunki, the globular cluster NGC 6333—none of which twinkle when you’re up there among ’em.”
3. “Where the Action Is: Justified Men.” Chuck Bowen, for Fandor, on why people watch Liam Neeson and Denzel Washington movies.
“Audiences don’t want heroes to learn a lesson, however trivial and obviously de rigueur it may be. They want already actualized heroes to unwaveringly teach someone else a lesson. Audiences have grown less interested in the chaos of the action film (Mel Gibson’s cinema is impossible now); they want the stability of that first-act older-dude retirement package, which shows, first hand, the fruits of the self-actualization that so many movies (of any genre) imply to be ripe for the hero’s (read: our) picking at the end of a picture. The older-dude retirement movie allows us to enjoy that end, right at the beginning, and then return to it after a perfunctory endurance test has been passed in the form of thwarting a bad guy’s invasion.”
4. “Bombast: Fan Club.” Nick Pinkerton on the culture of fandom.
“I’ve been thinking about the role of fandom in the economy of film culture and criticism for some time, thanks in part to a series of conversations that I’ve had with fellow critic Eric Hynes. (We are mutual fans.) Ignoring for a moment any talk of ’changing media landscape,’ let us presume for a moment that now, as ever, all critics began their engagement with their medium of choice as fans—all enthusiasm and hero-worship and so on—and presumably remain so up to a degree befitting professional decorum and dignity. In a moment when professionals and nonprofessionals alike commingle their scrawl on the bathroom wall that is the comments section, and everyone will be heard in the ’conversation’ (a/k/a Twitter dogpile) one way or another, what now distinguishes criticism from fandom?”
5. ”Twin Peaks and the Return From ’Meanwhile.’” Niles Schwartz on what’s happened to television in the 25 years since David Lynch’s show went off the air.
“The ending to Twin Peaks, directed by Lynch (reportedly on the fly, rewriting much of the given teleplay by other writers) is perhaps one of the most unnerving pieces of television that’s ever aired. It feels bigger than a season ending cliffhanger. Even if we compare it to serialized shows of recent years—Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men etc—or the tight spots of the first Twin Peaks season’s finale, the hopeless devastation is so overwhelming that one could believe that Lynch, knowing the show was doomed, sadistically decided to burn it all. The price of being forced to answer the question of ’Who Killed Laura Palmer?’, solved in the second season’s first quadrant of episodes, was the paralyzing frustration of not knowing any of these subsequent scattered outcomes. Laura Palmer simply consigned us to ’Meanwhile’ for 25 years. What little warmth we got was the resolution of dopey Andy (Harry Goaz) and police receptionist Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) to raise a baby together, and the loving snuggles of reforming bad boy Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) and waitress Shelly Johnson (Madchen Amick). The last 48 minutes are wrought with overbearing anxiety as Lynch takes his time, displaying resolute patience against network TV running time while stuffing in beloved character cameos (Grace Zabriskie’s Sarah Palmer, Russ Tamblyn’s Dr. Jacoby, Don Davis’ Major Briggs, and of course, Catherine Coulson’s Log Lady) as if to give a modicum of closure, even including the giggling German waitress from the pilot.”
Video of the Day: Watch the Hannibal panel discussion at the Paley Center for Media’s annual ultimate TV fan festival, PaleyFest NY:
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