Monday, February 3, 2014

Links and a remembrance

Wow, what a weekend, huh?

The first time I recall really noticing Philip Seymour Hoffman was in Happiness, a mind-blowing movie that shows ordinary, everyday people at their most depraved. This was during the period when I was beginning to get a taste for independent cinema, so you can imagine how disturbing it was to see a character like Hoffman's on screen for the first time. I had studied acting in college for a semester, and I had taken classes outside school as well. I thought I was on my way to fully understanding what great acting required, but after seeing Hoffman in that role, it was clear I knew absolutely nothing.

It wasn't long before I starting seeing this guy in other movies, like Boogie Nights and Magnolia, and I was amazed at how he could make so many different kinds of... shall we say... left-of-center-type characters so human. Even his character in Happiness, as sleazy and depraved as he was, provoked feelings of disgust mixed with sympathy. Hoffman was a throwback to the kind of actors that sprung out of the New Hollywood era of the late 60s-mid 70s. We had every reason to believe that he would go on making great movies, especially after he won the Oscar for Capote.

But now that's gone. We'll never know what kinds of demons he must have been grappling with that led to his life being taken as a result of drugs. I myself had no idea this was a problem for him, but then, he wasn't the kind of actor who's a paparazzi darling. I'm sad at his loss, yet I'm also frustrated that it was drugs that did it, like it has done in so many talented artists before their time.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Moving on... I'm in the beginning stages of my Spoiler Experiment, which you can follow on my Twitter feed under the hashtag [#spoilerxpmt], and I've made a few early observations which may come across as obvious to some, but they're worth taking note of, I think. For instance, in following the story about Quentin Tarantino's leaked screenplay, I've wondered about the position the person (usually a fan of some sort, but not always) with inside knowledge of a movie is put in, especially when it's exclusive knowledge. 

Does that person ever stop to weigh the actual responsibility to the creator versus the perceived responsibility to others? Just because one can share inside knowledge, does it necessarily follow that they should? Especially when the creator has personally entrusted one with this knowledge? It's common these days for certain scripts, especially scripts for popular genre movies, to be heavily guarded and protected from leaks because some people simply can't keep this information to themselves. A by-product of living in the information age? Or has this problem always been with us?

This Wired article from 2011 argues that spoilers don't severely impact one's viewing experience. While there are some good points brought up in this piece, I still think there's something more to the problem... maybe it's something that has to do with human nature. Not sure.

Anyway, regarding my specific experiment, I've learned that Million Dollar Arm is based on a true story, however, I fully anticipate liberties to be taken in the telling of this story, especially since it's a Disney movie. That said, it does have a decent pedigree; the director and writer have both made quality indie films in the recent past (Lars and the Real Girl for the former, The Visitor and The Station Agent for the latter), so this might not suck. Meanwhile, Draft Day comes out in April and I still know next to nothing about it, as planned.

Your links:

Page went to Atlanta recently and visited a historic hotel that has its share of film history.

Alex had an art show featuring her movie-related illustrations.

Dorian compares [all] [three] [versions] of The Maltese Falcon.

There's been a new rash of annoying character quizzes popping up all over my Facebook feed lately. Leave it to John to provide one that requires a minimum of brainpower.

One of the most disturbing old movies I've seen since starting WSW is the Ruth Roman semi-suspense movie The Baby. Monstergirl goes into her usual level of depth in talking about it.

Courtney ponders modern movie masculinity.

At long last: an in-depth study of the evolution of Joan Crawford's eyebrows!

In my Hollywood Canteen story from last month, one of my characters was actress Marsha Hunt. She's had a remarkable life and career, and now someone's making a documentary about her.

Chaz Ebert discusses her late husband Roger's legacy.

Here's a cleverly-written piece about one fan's love-hate relationship with the Oscars.


  1. Rich, you did a fine job with your remembrance of Philip Seymour Hoffman. It both saddens and infuriates me that this talented man couldn't tame his demons, with all the help he could have gotten to get back on his feet, and instead he's dead and he's left young children to mourn him, damn it.

    On a more upbeat note, I enjoyed all everyone's great links, and I especially thank you and everyone who enjoyed my 3-part series about THE MALTESE FALCON! Thanks a million for your kind kudos! :-)

  2. What amazes me most about all those 'Falcon' movies is how relatively close together they are chronologically. People complain about remakes today,but back then it may have been worse!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.