Also, there’s this:
There is a massive new biography out on Barbara Stanwyck. And it’s only Volume One. Still, it looks appealing.
Tomorrow night at 7 out in Queens gives one of the great movies of them all. Even if you have a big HD TV you should treat yourself and see this on the big screen.
There is a good profile of George Clooney in the latest issue of Esquire. Tom Junod is an expert at this kind of celebrity writing and Clooney is a gracious, professional subject. A lot of insights in this piece but this one stands apart:
You must love him.
For one thing, he’s lovable, professionally so. For another, he leaves nothing to chance. If he can’t win you over with his fame, his charm, and his good looks, he will win you over with preparation. It’s not that he’s needy, like an actor; it’s that he’s competitive, like an athlete. He’s always been good at making people love him; he’s not about to give up his edge now.
Of course, he is not often challenged, and risks the fate of a fighter whose dominance is tainted by a lack of worthy opponents. A few years ago, however, he lost one of his dogs to a rattlesnake. He is a dog guy—a little sign about men and dogs adorns a living-room wall otherwise dominated by signed photographs of dignitaries—and he set about to get another, preferably hypoallergenic. He saw a black cocker-spaniel mix on the Web site of a rescue organization and called the number. The woman who answered said she’d be happy to bring the dog to his house, but then she explained that the dog had been abandoned and picked up malnourished off the street. “He has to love you,” she told George Clooney, “or else I have to take him back.”
At first, he found himself getting nervous—“freaking out.” What if the dog didn’t love him? Then he responded. “I had some turkey bacon in the refrigerator,” he says. “I rubbed it on me. I’m not kidding. When she came over, the dog went crazy. He was all over me. The woman said, ‘Oh, my God, he’s never like this. He loves you.’ ”
He has told this story before. He has even told it to Esquire before. That he tells it again—that it’s the first story he tells—serves to announce what is essential about himself: that he’s a man who will do what it takes to win you over, even applying bacon as an unguent.
I’m seduced and repulsed by charming people. I’m sure Clooney would charm the pants off me like he does with most people. But the turkey bacon story is revealing because it doesn’t just suggest that he’ll do whatever it takes to win you over but that he’s willing to cheat to get there. Beneath the surface there is something desperate about it (“You really like me!”. He wanted that dog and the trainer to like him so much that it was more important than giving the dog the home it needed. What we don’t know is how the dog got along with him after the stunt. Maybe he did give him a good home. Did Clooney bring the dog with him on location? Did a house sitter look after the dog most of time?
We don’t know. The seduction is the thing here not necessarily the reality.
[Photo Credit: Nigel Parry]
More on Short Cuts. Dig this excellent documentary.
Tonight on HBO.
Nice group of Big Lebowski links over at the consistently rewarding movie site, Cinephilia and Beyond. Includes this picture of Steve Buscemi and John Turturro taken by Jeff Bridges (the guy in the middle is Bridges’ longtime stand-in). Ah, my Zelig moment. You’ll see in the background right near Buscemi’s head, a blurry figure wearing a Clippers jersey. That would be me.
Stephen Rodrick profiles Robert Redford in Men’s Journal. Redford is supposed to be wonderful in the new movie, All is Lost:
It’s hard to watch “All Is Lost” and not focus on Redford’s mortality – or, hell, your own mortality. It’s the type of unvarnished role his advisers had been urging him to take for years, but he’d become encased in his own dilemma. He’d spent his entire career rebelling against just being another good-looking guy but only partially leaving his comfort zone. Every film Redford has been involved in for the past half-century has him playing a hero; it might be subverting the cliché – like in ‘The Candidate’ – but it’s still the hero. In ‘All Is Lost,’ Redford doesn’t play a hero; just an old man trying to survive.
Robert Redford turned 77 a few weeks before Telluride. He still carves turns on his own mountain, but it is now easier for J.C. Chandor to raise money for his next film than it is for Redford. In a grand irony, the actor’s next role is the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the sequel to Captain America, the type of blockbuster that led Redford to flee Hollywood for Sundance.
“This is the new deal,” Redford explains. “This is the way the film business is going, with high-tech, high-budget, high things. So many parts of it were not recognizable to me. I thought it’d be interesting to have the experience.”
While he now claims he’s trying harder to stay in touch with his past, there is little evidence. I mention that I’d recently interviewed James Salter, a former Redford confidant who wrote ‘Downhill Racer.’ His face lights up. “I’ve read his new book twice. My daughter asked me who from my past I’d like to reconnect with, and I said ‘Salter.’ ” What is left unsaid is that he never called him.