- When the Manhattan bound 3 train stops at Clark Street, women with diamond engagement rings step in. You can bet on it. Sometimes the ring’s band will clink against the pole—one woman steadying herself as the train jerks forward, another woman, flipping her hair as she readjusts her purse, eyes darting once to survey the other passengers. These women are the last ones to get on before the train leaves Brooklyn.
- During last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, I interviewed Taylor Kitsch. Before the interview, me and three other writers, all female, were asked to wait in a tiny hotel room at the end of a long hallway. As I walked in, the three women were excitedly talking. But not about Kitsch. Or the movie. Or the weather. All three of them, recently engaged, were sharing details about their wedding plans. Each woman got up from her seat to show the others and myself, the ring. Diamonds. A band. Shiny. New. There was a sense of ritual to how they spoke, a patience to how they listened to one and other, and an excitement that seemed to fizz like soda bubbling out of a bottle as each woman showed hers off. Out of politeness, or because it would be extraordinary that all four of us were recently engaged, one asked me if I too was, soon to be married. I smiled and said no. They smiled back and went silent, and I briefly felt a tinge of guilt—Why? Who knows—that I may have interrupted their “me too” moment of bliss. Seconds later, the PR girl would come in and call my name. But not before one woman turned to me and said, “You’re excited to meet Taylor, right?”
From above, it’s easy to imagine Wes Anderson’s production of Moonrise Kingdom resembling a fine scale model railroad: coastal New England homes landscaped with ferns and red cedars, with nearby inlets and a pebble beach, and flanked of course by a series of rails for tracking shots. As per Anderson’s request, trailers were not allowed on set and actors were expected to show up camera-ready. The effect? Dioramic. The opening sequence? A dolly shot through a dollhouse. And the director? In a manner, Gulliver-sized. Picture Anderson poking one eye through a window as his finger pokes through another, readjusting the needle on a miniature record player or using tweezers to fill a runaway girl’s picnic basket with books. His airtight world shaped by the romance of expressing first-time feelings with a hobbyist’s delicate, near-crazed hand.
Wrote about Moonrise Kingdom for TR—as well as Sally Draper & Suzy Bishop, Manny Farber, Joan Didion, and childhood
The most Mad Men moment of Friday Night Lights is when Julie Taylor crashes her Chevrolet Aveo into the neighbor’s mailbox so that she doesn’t have to return to college and face humiliation.
“From the very start, Adam was involved and excited to weigh in on all things. He’d offer up ideas and be extremely cool about letting those ideas go if I had something else in mind. I basically had my way with all the artwork, the trailer, I got to put the emphasis on a theatrical run and even chose the theater I wanted to open in. What film company lets a filmmaker do all that? Adam, having somewhere back in time strived for those same artist controls, was used to not following all the prescribed rules. In fact, often I would end up being the square in the room — worrying about the re-styled TOHO-SCOPE, DayGlo green bumper (it’s an oscilloscope screen, which is a cathode ray tube, showing waveforms), or when in Oscilloscope’s first press release for “Wendy and Lucy,” Adam, the co-president of the company, referred to me and Michelle Williams hooking up as a real “Wu Banger” (it’s a joint sprinkled with crack).”
“Adam brought his scene-making skills to Oscilloscope’s headquarters, located way west on Canal Street. You take the elevator up to the 6th floor and the doors open onto a paneled wall full of oddball art. Make a left to the recording studio and straight ahead is the film office — a large loft, all wood and old glass — nothing extravagant. Kind of utilitarian with its desks full of young people in their suits and skirts (O’Scope dress code) in a semi-communal space. People working there know they are part of something special.”
I was at the Oscilloscope offices last year to interview Lynne Ramsay. And it’s exactly as Reichardt describes: oddball art, toys, figurines everywhere, posters everywhere, all wood like the wood that’s only found on desks in high school or in libraries, and old glass that makes the entire space feel especially scholastic or what you might imagine the Daily Bugle to look like. As if John Jonah Jameson, Jr. is yelling from his office, Peter Parker, nearby. The “dress code” is pretty terrific too. I remember texting my editor that everyone looked like a Beastie, a red carpet Beastie that is. The office is way down on Canal, so far down that you wonder if you’ve made a wrong turn or walked past it. Intentional or not, once you find it and ride the elevator up, the space does, as Reichardt says, feel very special—near bootleg and brave.
“Later in 2009, when my colleague A.O. Scott and I asked him about the momentous change that were rocking this world, and whether independent cinema had any kind of future to speak of, Mr. Yauch wrote another e-mail: “I believe that there is some middle ground. That you can make interesting, creative, informative films that will appeal to a wide audience. Maybe I’m an idealist, but I don’t think you need to feed people these lowest common denominator films to get them out of the house. There are people who are interested in going out to the movie theater to see ‘Moon’ or ‘Wendy and Lucy.’
CH-CHECK IT OUT’
One Goat, on Account
To the Editor:
I had the great pleasure of reading your unsolicited critique of the “Ch-Check It Out” music video [“Licensed to Stand Still” by Stephanie Zacharek, May 16]. It took some time to get to me, as it had to be curried (sp?) on goatback through the fjords of my homeland, the Oppenzell. And in the process the goat died, and then I had to give the mailman one of my goats, so remember, you owe me a goat.
Anyway, that video is big time good. Pauline Kael is spinning over in her grave. My film technique is clearly too advanced for your small way of looking at it. Someday you will be yelling out to the streets below your windows: “He is the chancellor of all the big ones! I love his genius! I am the most his close personal friend!”
You journalists are ever lying. I remember people like you laughing at me at the university, and now they are all eating off of my feet. You make this same unkind laughter at the Jerry Lewis for his Das Verruckte Professor and now look, he is respected as a French-clown. And you so-call New York Times smarties are giving love to the U2 because they are dressing as the Amish and singing songs about America? (Must I dress as the Leprechaun to sing songs about Ireland so that you will love me? You know the point I make here is true!)
In concluding, “Ch-Check It Out” is the always best music film and you will be realizing this too far passing. As ever I now wrap my dead goat carcass in the soiled New York Times — and you are not forgetting to buy me a replacement! Please send that one more goat to me now!
Like Kate Upton, “Stretch Armstrong was in the shape of a well-muscled blonde…wearing a pair of swimming trunks.”
Like Kate Upton, “Stretch Armstrong is made of latex rubber filled with gelled corn syrup.”