Gee, it only took me a month to answer your questions. So on top of it am I! But, silver lining, the Q&A column is back. We'll do it again soon. I asked you to ask me questions and I choose a handful or two to answer after chucking out all the top ten and ranking questions (those require entire posts). So, let me reload my coffee (so sleepy) and we're off...
JOEY: What "hotly-anticipated" movie of the summer are you anxious to see disappear?
I almost never wish for whole movies to disappear but I get advertising fatigue. I'm so happy to be done with The Amazing Spider-Man which already felt extranneous before its promotional onslaught. I'm anxious to get past The Dark Knight Rises too, both because of the bruising "you must love this or suffer death threats" weirdness that surrounded its predecessor and because then the marketing, however brilliant, will stop. I may not love Chris Nolan's movies as much as Composite American Moviegoer but I'd SO much rather be watching any of them than seeing them advertised incessantly. I also don't think I can take The Watch trailer even one more time; shouting is not comedy.
Mr W: Is there any way to donate a sum to you via Paypal without going for a monthly subscription? I'm not a fan of those, but I do feel generous at the moment...
Why yes there is, though considering it took me a month to do this column, your generous moment may have understandably passed. Donations help me pay basics like rent, groceries, movie tickets (I can't always get to screenings since I have to supplement my meager writing income with higher paying off-writing gigs), and travel expenses if I go to festivals (which I don't get to enough due to the costs). I've added a one time donation button under the subscription button.
JOHN T: A terrific actress that never gets discussed on Film Experience -- Whoopi Goldberg. What are your thoughts on her career? Do you have a fave role? And, most importantly, what would it take to get her a third nomination?
I like Whoopi but I've always viewed her as more of a celebrity than an actor. Maybe this is because she started as a comedienne and ended (well, you know what I mean) as a talk show host.
But for a celebrity first / actor second, she's pretty good at the part time gig. I like her best in Ghost. Doesn't everyone?
As for that third nomination, that would require really committing to acting again and I don't see it. Though if anyone ever decides to film August Wilson, I could see her nabbing a key role in one of them and winning a nomination.
TROY: Can u set me up with either Eddie Redmayne or Andrew Garfield?
I'm sure you're a catch but Andrew is just fine where he is! Although next time I see Eddie Redmayne smoking on the sidewalk in Hell's Kitchen (yes, he looks even better in person) I'll scream "Troy loves you!" as I pass by. Would that do?
RYAN T: If you had your wish, what would Joss Whedon's next project post-Avengers be (not including anything that's been confirmed already)?
This will sound like sacrilege to some but I'd much rather he went back to television with his newfound clout since he's so gifted with the longform narrative and that gift has no real place in the movies (franchises are the death of cinema - cinema is not big screen television!) I'd gladly take another Firefly movie but I'd rather see the series reborn. If he sticks with the movies, I guess the ship has sailed on his Wonder Woman ideas so I'd love to see him do a non-supernatural non-genre romantic comedy! We need a smart, romantic and funny one (they're weirdly usually none of those things) and Whedon can do all three.
CASH: I know you watched about half of the Best Picture Oscar winners for your "Best Pictures From the Outside In" series, but are there any others that you still haven't seen? If so, which films are they and do you ever plan to watch them?
I have four remaining: Hamlet (1948), A Man For All Seasons (1966), In the Heat of the Night (1967) and *gulp* The Godfather Part II (1974). And of course I plan to watch them. The question is always how to squeeze them in. I've found the best way to catch up on seminal films is a theme week or series or project that requires me to see them so I'll get to brainstorming.
STEVE: What current young TV star do you believe is most likely to become a breakout movie star in the next five to ten years?
I feel unequipped to answer this one as I only religiously watch about 8 scripted TV shows and none really have "young" casts apart from Teen Wolf (and I can't see any of them making it in the movies) and Bunheads (from the Gilmore Girls team so you know it's funny and motor mouthed but I'm watching it for my beloved Broadway star Sutton Foster who is perfection). But I'm curious what the TFE crowd thinks so have at it in the comments!
DAN: What did you think of Titanic 3D?
I only mentioned it in a parodic homage way because was quite annoyed by the revisionism. I love the original Titanic but the 3D just kept taking me out of the movie, separating me by layers from Jack and Rose. I'm getting more and more depressed that 3D looks like it's sticking around. I consciously avoid it, careful to only select theaters showing things in 2D. But for critics screenings I always have to put on the glasses because they don't give you a choice. Boo.
JORGE: Take your Mad Men main characters (Roger, Don, Peggy, Joan, Pete) and, playing to their strengths, cast each one in a 1950s classic movie role. For example, I've always kinda saw Don Draper as Cary Grant in 'North By Northwest': a cool, stoic, graceful man with just the right amount of desperation. And of course you can cast Joan Holloway as a Marilyn Monroe-type...
This question is way too big for a quick response but I would say straightaway that though I love your choice for Don Draper I can't agree on Joan as Marilyn despite her self-identification with the blonde bombshell. I think that's a faulty surface reading -- Roger Sterling even tells Joan so! Joan never plays dumb to please men... she's incapable. She's just too headstrong and capable. I think in spirit, she's much closer to an Elizabeth Taylor. I could totally see her doing BUtterfield 8 (she's got the anger and the sexuality) or Giant (Joan always reads as equal to men... which flummoxes the non-evolved among them.)
MDNA: What song of Madonna's would you like to see added to Madonna's current MDNA World Tour?
A break in the movie questions, eh? Of her new material it's baffling that she's skipping "Love Spent," easily her best new song, even though she's singing 70% of the new record. Of the older songs, I'm always hoping she'll pull out "Erotica" and "Into the Groove" but fwiw, here are my 10 favorite Madonna songs.
SOMEONE: Thelma Ritter vs. Agnes Moorehead vs. Celeste Holm?
God. Even Sophie couldn't make this Choice! With great apologies to Thelma Ritter who maybe I take for granted because she's such a fond presence in so many movies, today I might answer Celeste Holm. I'm in a totally Celeste mood. Tomorrow who knows. But if we had to narrow it down to one performance rather than entire filmographies, Moorehead in The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) trumps all.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
BRADY: I feel that there are a lot of people on this website who are really just starting to experiment with their actressexuality. What 5 movies would you recommend to someone who wanted a primer on being an actressexual?
2002 strikes me as this new millenium's landmark year in Actressexuality what with Mulholland Dr and Moulin Rouge on heavy rotation on DVD and Far From Heaven, 8 Women, Chicago and The Hours all hitting theaters. (How was I not whisked directly up into heaven? How am I still blogging a decade later?) But because you've all seen all of those (you have right?) let's take other essentials in (mostly) reverse chronological order. Some of these are obvious, but so what? We're talking primers.
Start with Pedro Almódovar's ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER (1999) which wears its actressexuality on its smartly costumed sleeves and ends with this perfect dedication.
To all the women who have played actresses... who can act... to men who act and become women... to all the people who want to be mothers... to my mother."
I think you need either BELLE DE JOUR (1967) or KLUTE (1971) or PANDORA'S BOX (1929) to understand the specificity of individual actress cults that spring up from time to time (Catherine Deneuve, Jane Fonda, and Louise Brooks in these cases... but other films would do as substitutes) and because all three films excel at showcasing cinema's eternal fascination with the oldest profession and the unknowable mysteries of sexuality. You need ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) because it's so perfect and witty and about actresses. You need HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE (1953...which we're covering soon in "Hit Me...") or NINE TO FIVE (1981) because three adorable women being memorable and funny together is such a better formula than the tired "buddy comedy" that Hollywood leans so hard on.
To end your 5 film mini festival, choose either STAGE DOOR (1937) a funny ensemble piece about would be theater actresses or THE WOMEN (1939), whichever you haven't seen, since both of them feature a cavalcade of important actresses of the 30s being their best gorgeous and funny selves. The Women is perfection because its got Norma Shearer at her most melancholy resilient, Joan Crawford acing archetypal gold-digger bitchiness and Rosalind Russell all frantic and silly as everyone's best frenemy. Everyone else in the cast has fun, too.
No actors appear in The Women, only actresses. Yes, it takes place in Heaven.
- Ritter, Moorehead or Holm? Can you even do it?
- Television's most cinema friendly young stars?
- Whoopi Goldberg's future... does she have one?