by James Killough
I know, PFC being a filmed content company and all, I should kick off the weekly recap with something about the Golden Globes. I wrote a few paragraphs about the noms, but then I fell asleep on the delete button or something because when I woke up all those forced snarky paragraphs were blank.
While I was sparing you a tirade about how bored I am with what’s on the screen these days, I believe I dreamed about the funniest thing I read this week: Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut, The Man From Tai Chi, is a go with Chinese financing. This is presumably because no studio in town would touch it.
Indeed, there’s no way any exec made it past hearing the title without coughing into his hand to mask a giggle. I can’t get beyond the image of Reeves sitting there at Warners with his manager looking at the exec with that blinkered serious gaze and intoning in his sonorous, pseudo-masculine voice, “It’s called The Man From Tai Chi. And I’m going to direct.”
In the comments section of Deadline.com, some wag wrote, “Oh no! I hope this doesn’t roadblock my film, The Man From Chai Tea.” It was unfortunate that I happened to be eating fat-free Greek-style yogurt mixed with nuts and raisins when I read it because a mouthful ended up spluttered across my lap.
I suddenly realized that Reeves has been stalking Clint Eastwood’s career for decades. It began with that fake deadpan Eastwood-ish delivery, which I can’t help but think he affects to cover up the fact he’s reputedly more than a wee bit light in his loafers, and that is not from all the aerial martial arts training. Then it was the revenge films, if you can call the Matrix series that. Now in his late 40s, he’s making a move into directing, just as Eastwood did.
The biggest difference is Eastwood has great taste. He began by directing simple, meditative films like Bird, about jazz player Charlie Parker, and then progressed to become one of the more solid directors working today. He has always kept the scale of his films reined in; even the weakest of his movies, Hereafter, which was ironically one of his most complex in terms of production because of the tsunami scene, was contained and well crafted.
How much do you bet that the title of Reeves’ movie will get changed before release? Either that or the film itself is going to be sillier than Snakes on a Plane.
One actor who is definitely not light in his loafers, damn it, is my buddy Anson Mount, whose film Cook County opens in New York and LA this weekend. I’ve seen it a couple of times and it’s an impressive performance. Anson is completely convincing as a meth addict-cook-dealer in Texas, which is amazing considering he’s never touched the drug; he’s one of those crunchy raw food organic vegan health nuts. As the self-described gay Hunter S. Thompson, I know my speed and speed freaks well, and I give his portrayal my seal of approval.
Anson also produced this passion project with first-time director David Pomes, who likewise did a great job and likewise denies he’s ever done meth. If David weren’t, like Anson, a genuine, earnest sweetheart, I would call them both liars.
With the alarming amount of crap in the theaters this awards season, I encourage everyone to go see this little gem playing on two screens each in LA and New York.
Memo To: Steve McQueen
From: James Killough
Re: Shame Premiere Outfit
Further to my taped review with Tyler Kimball earlier this week of your wank-fest, Shame, attached please find for your explanation a photo of you on the red carpet at the film’s premiere. This was forwarded to me by one of my producers, Ayanna Hart, to whom I had sung your praises in unnecessarily lengthy text messages only a couple of months ago. At the time I felt incredibly smug and oh-so-connected with the African-American community when Ayanna, a black woman, said she had never heard of you.
I am now embarrassed. Yes, you have shamed me, Steve McQueen. I was a huge fan who was willing to be mildly disappointed by your literally sophomoric feature film, but that outfit is unforgivable, not to mention confusing: I don’t understand how such a stylish director can have such bad judgment when it comes to getting dressed.
Of course, I will entirely forgive you all transgressions, both cinematic and sartorial, if you would do me the pleasure of knocking your next movie, My Twelve Years as a Slave, out of the ballpark.
If Tina Brown gave me my own web-TV show, as she has Andrew Sullivan, it would be called “Ask James Anything (At Your Peril).” I’d start taping one here at PFC, but our readers seem for the most part too terrified to ask me for feedback. So I’ll imagine that one of the more pressing questions—other than why I use ‘Ghey’ and ‘gay’ seemingly at random*—would be:
What does a fat-bitch burger look like?
Trembling in Tacoma
To which I would refer Trembling to the pastrami burger with cheese, with a side order of fries and a large real Coke, from that Promised Land for late-night, post-club drunks: Astro Burger on Santa Monica Boulevard in Weho.
This is mandatory eating when you have a five-alarm hangover, as I do right now after our new contributor Kimball’s wonderful Christmas party last night. As I staggered into the kitchen late this morning, I remarked to my roommate, the spiritual guide and medium Gil Alan, “I believe I drank a whole bottle of vodka last night.”
“I think it was more like two. If I’d had that much to drink, I would have been hospitalized.” Gil isn’t as large as I am, or as loud.
I would like to commend myself for not having tried to make out with the straight twenty-something writer-director, whose earnest queries about filmmaking I momentarily mistook for sexual attraction.
* = ‘Ghey’ is the noun, ‘gay’ the adjective.
I regret to say that despite cycling around Hollywood the past couple of days in search of a Schizo of the Week like street-fashion snapper Bill Cunningham looking for trends, I found nobody suitable. I did run across a favorite “uncanny tranny,” as our other contributor-at-large Chris Cramer calls the homeless drag queens who haunt the streets of Weho and Hollywood. I have seen this light-skinned mulatto in many places, including the West Hollywood Public Library, retouching her makeup in the bathroom.
It would appear that Miss Caramel Mocha-Latte, as I’ll call her until I chat her up one day and find out her real name, has had the same sort of psychotic break that Michael Jackson suffered when he made himself white and miraculously ‘fathered’ Caucassian children. Yesterday on Sunset Boulevard and Wilcox, I spotted her wearing whiteface—a perfect mask of super-pale foundation a quarter-of-an-inch thick—and a long Veronica Lake blond wig. She is such the epitome of glamour that, if I had the money, I’d change out the suitcases she hauls around town with vintage Vuitton steamer trunks.
I would say “rest in peace Christopher Hitchens,” but he was an atheist who didn’t believe in an afterlife, so there’s neither peace nor unrest, he’s just plain dead. An inspiringly outspoken man, he was also a misogynist, a conservative, a warmonger, an alcoholic and an all-around pretty nasty cunt at times. He is the main reason I stopped reading Vanity Fair, but he redeemed himself in my eyes with his book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. I read a little bit of it, but there’s nothing more irritating than being a member of a choir being preached to, and Hitchens had a strident voice.
If you want to appreciate what I pussycat I am compared to other opinionators out there, go here to read some of Hitchens’ more barbed zingers.