1. “Ridin’ Dirty.” Richard Brody on Mad Max: Fury Road.
“[George] Miller and his co-writers, Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris, lend the story a quasi-bibilical starkness as well as a visionary mythology involving a band of older biker women, the Vuvalini, who are refugees from the ’green place’ as well as the last bearers of witness to those bygone green times. The revolutionary fervor that rises toward the end of the film is rousing and gratifying. But it’s precisely in these satisfactions that Miller’s vision turns from stark to thin. Furiosa’s place in the Citadel’s regime is left unexplored; what she knew and when she knew it—the use of women as breeders and men as blood tanks—is never made clear. Her place in the hierarchy, the place of other women of similar martial talent, the means by which Immortan Joe holds sway over the Citadel’s insiders and dominion over the huddled masses below, the passions that rise up—bloodlessly and cheerfully—when Furiosa and Max make their assault (such as it is) on the Citadel, all of these matters, which would render the world-making thicker and the characters more substantial, are left aside.”
2. “The Star on the Sidewalk.” Arielle Holmes was a homeless junkie when she was “discovered.” Now she’s the lead in a movie based on her own life, and thinking maybe she’ll give this acting thing a go.
“Slowly, over salt-baked shrimp, her story began to take shape. She didn’t really live in Chinatown. She lived mostly in Central Park or on the steps of churches on the Upper West Side. Her methadone clinic was down here, and so for the past two weeks, she’d leave the Diamond District ’apprenticeship’ she’d gotten after a jeweler saw her sketching on the street and go to Chinatown for her daily dose. Then she’d catch another train to Chelsea, where she worked nights as a dominatrix named Siouxsie (’The French spelling,’ she explained) at a club called Pandora’s Box. When [Josh] Safdie remarked that she looked really well dressed and put-together that day on the train, she explained that she’d washed her hair in the sink of a public bathroom and spent all of her money on that, her only dress.”
3. “David Letterman: The Man Who Changed TV Forever.” The comedy legend signs off from US TV after 33 years on the air this week. Without him there would be no Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, writes Keith Uhlich.
“From the start, Letterman took a much more unabashed, ’anything goes’ approach: the first person on screen in the initial episode isn’t even Dave himself but helium-voiced Late Night staple Larry ’Bud’ Melman, riffing on Boris Karloff’s version of Frankenstein as he offers ’a word of friendly warning’ about what we’re about to see. Then the image dissolves to a bevy of girls in peacock headdresses (the peacock being the mascot of Late Night’s home network, NBC) dancing to a disco rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1. Eventually, they pause and introduce, in endearingly awkward fashion, ’a man who shouldn’t be up this late… David Letterman!’ It feels like an eternity before Dave emerges through that sea of feathers, and he already emanates the to-hell-with-it-all demeanor that would become his stock in trade. Is he laughing to himself or just plain irritated? Part of the fun is never knowing which.”
4. “A double feature from playwright Pamatmat.” For The Boston Globe, Patti Hartigan profiles my very talented playwright friend Rey Pamatmat and two of his most recent works, After All the Terrible Things I Do and Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them.
“The two plays are quite different in style, structure, and story, but Pamatmat hopes they complement each other. ’Instead of a jarring split, I hope people will see them as two ends of the spectrum, rather than two completely unrelated experiences,’ he says. He was inspired to write ’terrible things,’ which premiered at Milwaukee Rep last fall, after reading repeated stories about the tragic effects of bullying on gay teenagers and hearing about Dan Savage’s ’It Gets Better’ campaign to empower young gay people. In the play, a recent college graduate returns to his unremarkable Midwestern hometown and takes a job at a mom-and-pop bookstore run by a Filipino-American woman named Linda. He is a struggling gay fiction writer, and she harbors deep secrets about her life with her son. Things get heated when they discuss cruelty inside and outside the gay community, and the details of bullying they recount are painful and raw. One scene is particularly harrowing, even for the man who wrote it. ’It is painful to watch,’ he says. ’It is like smashing your head against the wall repeatedly.’”
5. “Creating Bob Seger’s ’Night Moves.’” Bob Seger took six months to write ’Night Moves,’ the song that made him a star
“There are two references to ’points’ in the first verse: shoes and bosom. Back then we wore Ban-Lon shirts, tight jeans and pointed boots like the black musicians wore on stage. And I did have a dark-haired girlfriend, Italian. We were using each other. Trying things out. What can I say? Night moves! The song was sexy, but in a subtle way. I really liked the title because it was two-edged. It had a duality to it. ’Workin’ on our night moves’—our moves with girls—and ’Ain’t it funny how the night moves’—what you remember as you’re getting older. I had taken some time off the road to write. I had some money from ’Live Bullet’ so I bought a nice house. Nothing spectacular, but it had a huge basement so the band could play. I wrote my brains out. The one that got me stuck was ’Night Moves.’ It took me six months to write. I had the ending [’I woke last night to the sound of thunder, how far off I sat and wondered’] but I didn’t know how to get there.”
Video of the Day: The trailer for Cooties:
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