“Attention, passengers: we have a very full train today so please don’t block the doors. We will be moving shortly.
Attention, passengers: we cannot move the train unless you keep out of the way of the closing doors. Stand clear.
Will the passenger holding the train doors open in the second-to-last car please step on or off the train so that we can continue.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a passenger holding the doors of the train open, and we cannot move until the woman he is speaking to either gathers her suitcases and steps off the train with him, or convinces him that it is really over and he should just let her go. We apologize for the delay.
Attention, passengers: this is your conductor speaking. The train is being delayed while the woman with the suitcases tells the man holding the doors that she just wants to go back to Chicago and try and remember who she used to be before he convinced her to give up on her dreams to watch him follow through on his. She makes a fair point so we will be delayed until the gentleman holding the doors accepts that it’s time to move on…”
In LA, I stayed at what can only be described as a Snow White and the Seven Dwarves tiny house at Chateau Marmont. It even had a tiny kitchen.
Lou Noble took this photo.
The episode of Last Call with Carson Daly that I’m on airs on the 16th
Oh how I would love to do one a them Strobist diagrams for this shot:
“On the left I had a lamp I found in the bedroom. It had…um, some kind of bulb in it? Next to that, just to the left of me, I had another lamp, also found in the bedroom, same bulb mabye. My assistant, Emily, was holding that, pointing it at Molly. Then I had ANOTHER lamp, found that one in the living room, that was off to the right. Ooh, then there were the lights in the kitchen walls, those were on. And everything was kinda pointed at Molly?”
And oy vey, a challenge getting all that just right. There was a food tray on that table on the left, that had to go, had to get that red…what is that, a sari? That had to be just right.
See, usually I just shoot, kibbitz, keep it loose. But once we had Molly up on the counter, there was a specific shot that slowly formed in my head, and once it appeared, it had to be Just Right.
Molly was a real trooper about it, my butt probably would’ve falled asleep, up on that counter. Tons of fun shooting her.
I came out satisfied, but that’s because I went in drunk.
Drunk and with a head filled with a bad NPR review.
All that going on, all I wanted was some Boom Boom and some Yuck Yuck. Which I got, and was happy about.
Then I sobered up and started thinking about it. More I think about it, the worse it gets. I was John the Baptist on the way out of the theater that this was the best of the three Iron Man films, the action’s loud and crazy, it’s got Don Cheadle instead of Hustle & Flow guy (who I never care for, Ever. Fuck Hustle & Flow), Gweyneth Paltrow actually gets to do some action stuff, I’ve always liked Rebecca Hall, and how can you not like something Ben Kingsley’s in.
But the more I think about it, the more I find it’s not all that difficult to not like something Ben Kingsley’s in. The motivations are supermodel-thin, I’m rather sure Guy Pearce’s character actually had No Reason Whatsoever to be a bad guy (had he just given it some time, he’d have gotten everything he wanted through entirely legal means), Tony Stark gets some vague Anxiety disorder that’s fixed Because and that, apparently, is his entire character arc this time around? AND WHY IS THERE A BUDDY COP MOVIE WITH TONY STARK AND A KID IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS FILM? The kid did just fine, but what? Why? The entire movie is a series of Because The Plot Demands It, rather than things springing organically from each other.
More I think about it, more it turns to dust in my hand. Thinking about this movie is the wave, and the movie itself is a shitty sand castle made by your brother, who you love deeply, but who was never very…you know, good at anything.
Damn movie swallowed Shane Black whole, while we’re at it. Not as bad as Branagh with Thor (which I consider the worst of the Marvel Studio films, just everyone involved on autopilot), but bad enough. This one reeks of Lethal Weapon 2, where the serious/comedy balance was all out of whack, and it’s similar here, where folks are cracking wise at all the weirdest times. You can tell he polished the dialogue, it’s smarter than anything it’s referring to in the actual film, but the story itself, the plot and characters? Either he didn’t bother working on ‘em, or he realized it just wasn’t necessary. It was enough to not mess anything up.
I’m sure, as always, that the cast & crew worked hard on this film, and it is a big success, they should take pride in that.
But as cinema? It is a machine and nothing more. Which may be all they’re after for the “we are here to keep Marvel in your thoughts until Avengers 2” films, but damn, that’s some pathetic shit. ”Let’s go make us a placeholder! And remember, we just have to make it not awful, gang!”
That should not be the rallying cry each day they begin filming. And yet that’s exactly what it feels like.
Lou O’ Bedlam came by my studio last week to do a little shoot. We walked around the charming neighborhood of the fashion district and he eased me into taking some portraits.
I wasn’t worried about Adi’s unease with having her picture taken, mainly because I was wondering which of the downtown folk we were walking by I’d have to stab.
Downtown LA, sure sure, they’ve got it all gentrified, got all the hipsters living in the fancy converted lofts, dropped a Ralph’s supermarket and a new-fangled Targe right in the middle of it, but I know, I know the REAL downtown.
I know that even though all we got were grins and the occasional odd glance, behind every charming piñata store is a town seething with violence. I remember the downtown of old, where Skid Row was miles long, and you never went near the joint unless you had diamonds to sell or a transexual prostitute you wanted to buy.
Hell, my dad still goes down there for $50 suits. YOU CAN’T TRUST A NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE YOU CAN BUY AN ALL-WHITE SUIT FOR $50, DON’T YOU SEE?
With all that on my mind, it was easy to shoot Adi. She’s lovely and free baked cookies can’t give you as warm a feeling as chatting with her for an hour. Her slight discomfort in front of a camera is nothing compared to sizing up every stereo salesman for that glint in the eye that tips you off to his imminent attack.
I was sure it was the last article I was ever going to do for anybody,” Thompson said in a 1974 interview with Playboy. “Then when it came out, there were massive numbers of letters, phone calls, congratulations, people calling it a ‘great breakthrough in journalism.’ And I thought, ‘Holy shit, if I can write like this and get away with it, why should I keep trying to write like the New York Times?’ It was like falling down an elevator shaft and landing in a pool full of mermaids.