July 31, 2006



1. Does the reign of Bush II have something to do with the rise in Oedipal adventure movies? "Superman Returns," where Brando finally gets to say "Go, get 'em, Tiger"; "Pirates II"—Turner père and fils, one more barnacled than the other but both piratical in their conflicted ways; and the forthcoming "Lucky You," where Robert Duvall and the terrifyingly overmatched Eric Bana play two generations of card sharks who eventually face each other in the final. (Imagine Bush I rising from his bed to denounce Condi in Beirut, whispering "Shimon....Shimon....")

2. Is Orlando Bloom just Keanu Reeves for the Merchant Ivory set? Basic but not overhwhelming cuteness—no punctum—an inability to establish any chemistry with the female lead, and that one saving quality: the ability to look about him and realize, ten seconds after the audience has, that "There...is...something...afoot," which announcement is usually followed by another commonplace of the anti-hero: "We've got to get out of here." An actual hero's line is, of course, silence. He can't talk—he is holding an entire freight train up with his teeth.

3. How do you cast a young starlet as yourself? Well, you just do it, and then cover your tracks, almost as ineptly as villain Hugh Jackman. First, you sexualize the starlet by putting her in a red bathing suit (best I could do), and have someone comment on this—"I couldn't get the image of you in that red bathing suit out of my mind." Her woman-ness established, you ignore it, and then further desexualize the character in an array of bad clothing and towels. This gives Scarlett license, as a kind of semi-gendered figure, to deliver the Woody 2.0 lines about "admiring your enamel" and suffering nasal congestion when sad, minus the stuttering.

Johansson and Allen don't present in "Scoop" as lovers, or comic partners, or even foils. Allen hints at what is actually afoot when he drops the one-liner about converting from "the Hebraic faith to narcissism." "Scoop" is a mirror game, a reflexive, flexible dream of Woody The Stand Up Comic hitting the road again, getting the girls, or maybe being the girl, or maybe being their father or...well, these are all fine lines in Allentown. "Scoop" also looks like it took three days to shoot, and this flimsiness is enjoyable. I mean—the dude from "Deadwood" plays a ghost.

Posted by Sasha at July 31, 2006 08:17 AM | TrackBack