1. “Why Leonardo DiCaprio Didn’t Win the Oscar.” James S. Murphy believes cool guys don’t win Oscars.
“Although modern coolness emerged out of jazz and spread through popular music, the movies brought cool to the masses by giving audiences unparalleled access to it. Where else can you sit and stare at cool people for hours? The movies have been good to cool, and cool has been good to the movies. So why is it that so few of the actors who have embodied cool have ever won the Academy Award for best actor? Consider these icons of cool, all of them non-winners: Cary Grant, Richard Burton, Robert Mitchum, James Dean, Steve McQueen, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, and Tom Cruise. Paul Newman and Humphrey Bogart won late in their careers, after age had worn away some of their cool. Two other cool winners, Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson, each received one of their two awards in their fifties.”
2. “Why Hollywood Thinks Atheism Is Bad for Business.” In this country we still care more about catering to religious sensibilities, even in liberal Hollywood, than we do about encouraging the open questioning of the claims of the faithful.
“But Matthew McConaughey’s words of gratitude are far from the only sign that God is, in fact, alive and well in Hollywood. This month, major movie studios are doing more evangelizing than Pat Robertson, with the release of two bibilical blockbusters. Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, which arrives in theatres at the end of March, dramatizes the famously incredible story of a man and his ark, while the unambiguously titled Son of God, released last week, provides the umpteenth dramatization of the bibilical story of Jesus. For those that like their religion more saccharine, April will bring Heaven Is for Real, the film adaptation of the best-seller about a young boy who, after nearly dying on the operating table, convinces his family that he actually visited heaven during surgery. The evidence? He describes his experience in terms that bear a remarkable resemblance to the visions of heaven he had likely been exposed to at home.”
3. “Critical Condition.” From the Politique des Auteurs to the Auteur Theory to plain old auteurism, how clear a picture of actual movies are we receiving?
“I think that Farber’s passionate involvement in the actual practice of criticism precluded any genuine investment in partisanship or polemics, and that’s doubly true of Bazin. Paradoxically, this means that the cinema’s two greatest critics are outliers in what we now call film culture, a by-product of the Politique des Auteurs, streamlined for American use into the Auteur Theory, and finally trodden down and flattened over the decades into plain old auteurism. Their names are constantly mentioned and their most famous pieces are frequently cited and invoked, but rarely in terms of their relevance to contemporary affairs, least of all the lucid objections they raised to the auteurist idea at its inception.”
4. “Trigger Happy.” The “trigger warning” has spread from blogs to college classes. Can it be stopped?
“The headline above would, if some readers had their way, include a ’trigger warning’—a disclaimer to alert you that this article contains potentially traumatic subject matter. Such warnings, which are most commonly applied to discussions about rape, sexual abuse, and mental illness, have appeared on message boards since the early days of the Web. Some consider them an irksome tic of the blogosphere’s most hypersensitive fringes, and yet they’ve spread from feminist forums and social media to sites as large as the The Huffington Post. Now, the trigger warning is gaining momentum beyond the Internet—at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities.”
5. “A Train, a Narrow Trestle and 60 Seconds to Escape.” How Midnight Rider Victim Sarah Jones Lost Her Life.
“Before Gilliard knew it, the train was upon her. She found herself clinging to one of the girders. But the blast of pressure and wind from the train’s passing ripped Gilliard’s left arm away from her body and straight into the train. It snapped like a stick. With one hand still on the girder, Gilliard looked down and saw bone sticking out of her sweater. And then she saw blood. She grabbed a sheet that had come loose from the mattress and wrapped her bleeding arm inside it. With the train howling past just inches behind her, Gilliard threw herself onto two metal wires that stretched between the girders and along the gangplank, thrust her head out over the river below and shut her eyes. ’I saw my life, my kids, my family, all of it before me,’ she says. ’I was sure I was going to die.’”
Video of the Day: Odie Henderson interviews Rosie Perez about her memoir Unpredictable Life:
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 email@example.com and to converse in the comments section.