New Foreword to the Revised, Expanded, and Updated version of this blog post:
Well now the Coen Brothers have gone and done it. Not content to simply make the most problematic movies in all of filmdom, they have stuck a finger in the eye of the #OscarsSoWhite crowd. While giving interviews for their new film, Hail, Caesar! (reviewed here), they said that questions about diversity in their movies are, more or less, idiotic.
This is, obviously, deeply problematic.
So much so that I’ve decided to update and re-run this column in order to highlight the problematic nature of Hail, Caesar! and place it within the context of the rest of their horrifyingly troubling work. If you cannot even with this I don’t blame you. But stay strong! We’ll get through this together!
End of new foreword.
Hail, Caesar! is a hilarious romp through Hollywood’s Golden Age, a critical-yet-loving look at a bygone era that nevertheless has something to say about our own day and is filled with familiar farcical flourishes from the Coen Brothers.
As I’ve noted elsewhere, I’m not entirely unsympathetic to the #OscarsSoWhite campaign in that it helps expose a very real problem with the Academy Awards: the remarkably limited nature of what is considered “Oscar-worthy.”
Think back to the before time, the long long ago, prior to Donald Trump being defeated in Iowa and his mantra about being a winner proven false. In those dark days there was a beacon of light, a sort of Establishment Bat Signal:
Fun times last night! Let’s get right to it, shall we?
People finally—finally—start voting in the primaries today. Well, they start caucusing, which is kind of like voting, but dumber. Anyway, there’s lots of news as we head into the actual, real, magical period where, you know, the voting public makes up its mind. Allow me to offer a few headline suggestions for reporters trying to figure out how to put a slightly unique spin on the same news that everyone else is writing up.
One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about writing movie reviews for y’all—aside from being told on the reg how wrong I am, naturally—is having the ability to commission the occasional piece of art to illustrate the pieces. It’s always nice to have something original (as opposed to a production still or a screenshot from a trailer) at the top of these reviews.
The guy who does these illustrations for us is Jeff Victor, and he’s publishing his second collection of pieces in the summer. His work bears a pleasantly cartoony hallmark; think of him as a caricaturist of nerd culture, kinda. Check out his Kickstarter here; looks like he’s fully funded and he’s hit his stretch goals. I myself am in at the $50 tier.
There’s a great piece by Tucker Carlson* in Politico about the roots of the Trump insurgency.
While Oscar season is generally an annoying period during which films and performances of questionable merit get lavished with praise or brusquely dismissed for all the wrong reasons, there is one thing I really love about this time of year: It’s pretty much the only period you’ll find short films in theaters.
News came this morning that the Landmark chain of theaters, which recently opened an amazing new venue called Atlantic Plumbing, is suing Regal Cinemas because, they claim, Regal has a monopoly in showing first runs of major motion pictures in Washington, D.C.’s “core.” Matt D. Cohen has the details here.