Tuesday, February 02, 2021

TV: The lack of self-awareness

We watch and so often wonder, "Do they not get what they're actually doing?"





That's especially true of RISING, the public affairs program THE HILL offers.  Go back to May and watch the episode where hosts Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti pretend to respect citizens and how they vote including those who choose not to vote.  Watch them pretend that for about 30 seconds before informing you of their moral superiority and how that means that they would never do that -- the same moral superiority that they're calling someone else out for in the same segment.  You watch and you get their intent -- or at least their stated intent -- while you marvel over their inability to see their own actions.  

We were reminded of that last week when, on Monday, Krystal wanted to insist that, as President Joe Biden was breaking one promise already ($2,000 stimulus checks), she was going to wait to render judgement.  

Makes sense, right, he's a neophyte who's just joined the world of politics and needs some time --

Oh, wait.  It's Joe Biden.  He was elected to the US Senate in 1972 and he didn't leave the Senate until January 15, 2009.  Equally true, he only left to become Vice President of the United States on January 20, 2009 -- a post he held until January 20, 2017.

Joe Biden began officially campaigning for the presidency in 2019.  And he was portrayed by the press as most electable not because he was a great thinker, not because he was a great communicator, not because he was running on a great platform and not because he was a great beauty.  They said he was most electable because of all of his years in public office.

He ran for president during a pandemic and an economic collapse.  These were not new conditions that sprung up after the election or after he was sworn in.  So Krystal's ridiculous attempts to rescue him and claim that she was going to hold off on judgment spoke to her own hypocrisy and stupidity.

Somehow, even she grasped that which is why, the very next day, she did a twelve minute segment entitled "How I Will Judge The Biden Administration."  Twelve minutes.  And not a one of them made sense.  She was eager to castigate the press for not holding Joe accountable -- forgetting both that she was part of the press and that she had cut Joe plenty of slack for Joe on Monday.  As she went on and on, serving up a tasteless soup of words that rivaled Rachel Maddow for the use of so many words to say so little,


"We are way beyond the point where incremental is remotely good enough," she huffed at one point, apparently forgetting her remarks on Monday.  24 hours took the country "way beyond the point where incremental is remotely good enough?"

Krystal's happy with his executive orders.  But it's not enough, she says while insisting she doesn't want to be a "hater."

How about just being an "honest broker."  The executive orders that she waffled over are useless.  Take the one on abortion.  It's useless.  As long as he's in the White House, it's in effect.  That's all.  As BBC NEWS pointed out, "The Mexico City Policy was first enacted by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and has been repeatedly renewed by Republicans and cancelled by Democrats. For decades, the US has barred money from being spent on overseas abortions but the Mexico City policy takes that a step further. It prevents federal funds from going to organisations that provide abortions, abortion counselling or advocate for the legal right to abortion."  

What's needed, if you really care about the issue, is a law.  And guess what?  He has a Democratic Congress -- House and Senate.  A law is possible, easily possible.  But instead, he's doing an executive order that will be overturned when a Republican comes into the White House, the overturning will be overturned when a Democratic comes into the White House, and on and on and on.

That's not helping women.  A law on this would help women.  


Again, worry less about being a "hater," Krystal, and more about being an honest broker.


"Butt boy."  Do they realize how they sound?  John Lee Hancock is a mediocre director of pedestrian films -- SAVING MR. BANKS, THE HIGHWAY MAN, THE BLIND SIDE (wonderful performance by Sandra Bullock but it's a dull and plodding film).  The only thing more pathetic than Hancock is what his agency has done to his WIKIPEDIA page -- injecting howlers like this one:


Next up for Hancock is another highly anticipated Netflix release that will be a film written and directed by Hancock and based on a short story by Stephen King: Mr. Harrigan's Phone. The story, which appears in the collection If It Bleeds, which hit bookshelves earlier this year, follows a young boy who befriends an older billionaire who lives in his small-town neighborhood. They bond over the man’s first iPhone. But when the man dies, the boy discovers that not everything dead is gone and finds himself able to communicate with his friend from the grave by leaving voicemails on the iPhone that was buried with him.[10]

Another highly anticipated NETFLIX release?  We're laughing too.  We'll also note that there is no source for that claim -- because no source exists.  

THE LITTLE THINGS.  That's why we bring it up.  He wrote that screenplay.  Back in 1993.  And various people were attached over the years but they all walked away -- Steven Spielberg, Warren Beatty, Danny De Vito and Clint Eastwood among them.  "It's pretty much the same," Hancock told DEADLINE when asked how much the script filmed was like the 1993 version.

And it shows.  It shows because it's lifeless and dead on arrival and that's why so many walked away.  Beatty wanted extensive rewrites, for example, he wanted to see the parts eventually played by Denzel Washington and Rami Malek beefed up to something other than the happenstance with which they encounter one another.  If they're going to work together -- especially if Rami's playing a glory hog -- there has to be a reason other than the script tosses them together in scenes.  Danny De Vito's big problem was he felt the tone was flat.  He wanted the script to be reworked with some point of view.  He felt it was on the sidelines throughout.  He could take an ambiguous ending.  He just couldn't take the detached characterization and plot line.

But Hancock got to take the helm and why work on anything.  That shows, by the way, that nothing was worked on.  

"Butt boy."  Jared Leto says it to Rami about Denzel.  


What was the point?  Homophobia?  Was it supposed to be humor?




Nice Guy Eddie: Did you see that daddy? Guy got me on the ground and he tried to f**k me.

Vic Vega : You wish.

Nice Guy Eddie: Listen Vic, I don't mind what you do, but don't try to f**k me in my father's office, I don't think of you that way. I like you a lot man, but I don't think of you that way.

Vic Vega: Eddie, if I was a butt cowboy, I wouldn't even throw you to the posse.

Nice Guy Eddie: Of course not, you'd keep me for yourself, you sick bastard. Four years of  f**kin' punks up the ass you'd appreciate a piece of prime rib when you see one.



That's Chris Penn and Michael Madsen in Quentin Tarantino's RESERVOIR DOGS.  That film was released in 1992, a year before Hanock wrote THE LITTLE THINGS.


He's that out of touch -- then and now -- to think spewing "butt boy" was daring and inventive.  


It wasn't and he's never been daring -- nor inventive.


Natalie Morales is sadly in the film.  What will she be remembered for out of this?  Playing a female subordinate of Rami's who he slaps on the back of the head when he's angry with her -- and does this in front of a police witness.  


The film never makes sense and, no, the performances do not solve the film, fix the film or save the film.


Denzel looks awful in the uniform they put him in.  Not just overweight, he looks awful.  Rami belongs on TV.  He can't fill a screen.  On TV, an actor doesn't.  We're not just talking about the size, we're talking the cinematography.  TV camera work doesn't tell a story, it merely records.  And Rami can handle that.  When he's supposed to fill a screen, when a look is really needed, he can't do it.  


Rami doesn't give a bad performance because it's not a performance.  He recites his lines.  He tries not to be so weird and lurching -- the way he is on TV -- but he just seems constrained, straight-jacketed.  


Jared Leto?  He falls back on past moves which is fine for this role -- there's no point in investing in a role that has no levels.  Jared floods it with his personality and past performances and comes out better than anyone else in the film as a result.


THE LITTLE THINGS seems to think it's a celebration of the brotherhood of officers.  We're sure Hancock thinks that's what he's written.  You can think that too and stop reading here before the spoiler -- there's never any proof that Jared Leto is the killer.  Rami kills him -- with a shovel -- but he may have killed an innocent man -- a creepy man, yes, but a possibly innocent man.


This is a piece of garbage.  It started out a piece of garbage and anytime someone wanted to work on improving it, Hancock accused them of not understanding what he was doing.  


In the end, it appears that he's the only one who didn't understand.


We also question  Rightor Doyle's comprehension ability after NETFLIX served up the second season of BONDING.  It's not that there aren't some grace notes in the eight episodes.  Theo Stockman is great as Josh and Micah Stock finds new levels in Doug.  But the show's like a diet cola, it leaves a sour after taste.

Near the end of the season, Tiffany decides to comfort a woman who has miscarried.  She tells her that she and Pete had sex in high school, once, and in a car.  She laughs about it and about the fact that she got pregnant.  She never told him, she had an abortion.  The whole thing was just too ridiculous.  

Guess what?  Pete overhears the conversation and is naturally hurt.

Pete then shatters and it's right before he's got to go onstage and deliver his comedy act because word has been building on Pete and now an agent is present.  Pete does what comics do, what columnists do, what everyone does, he uses his own life.  As Phoebe Ephron used to tell her daughter Nora, everything is copy.  

And he's funny as he riffs on what a child of his and Tiffany's might have been like.  But Tiffany shows up and she is hurt and she savages him afterward in his dressing room.  The crowd roared.  But Tiff wants him to know it wasn't his story.  Oh, but it was.  Especially when she was getting laughs out of the story when she shared it.  He's a comic.  By her own words, she's more offended that he mocked the dom lifestyle that she makes her money at.  He doesn't have a right.  But he does.  She brought him into that life.  And, in addition, there's this little thing called free speech.

Tiffany comes off very unappealing which would apparently shock Rightor Doyle.  He's unable to see how the characters he's writing and directing actually come off.  He also falls into the usual gay Hollywood garbage.  For Tiffany, the season ends with her friendship with Pete damaged but her career solid (she's dropping out of college to be a full time dom) and finally able to tell Doug that she loves him.  Pete?  He's lost his friendship with Tiff.  The agent is a bit of a jerk but maybe he'll really try to represent Pete -- maybe he won't.  Worst of all?

He's gay and by the rules of Outdated Hollywood, he can't have happiness in a relationship.  Which is why the only real relationship on display breaks up.  Josh and Pete had chemistry.  You like Doug but there's no chemistry between him and Tiff -- the character and the actress are too closed off.  Josh dumps Pete in a clumsy plot point.  Pete reveals that Josh is gay to Josh's father -- a rich client you knew had to be Josh's father when he popped up, neither foreshadowing or originality are strong points for Rightor Doyle.  Would Josh really dump Pete for that?  The past doesn't indicate that.

But Pete is rendered the stereotypical homosexual in TV -- the stereotypical 1990s homosexual.  He's so regressive, he's not even gay.  He's homosexual and just as all the quacks told you for years and years, they can never find love.  That a gay man, Rightor Doyle, is responsible for this nonsense is appalling.

Where is the self-awareness?  Again, we have to ask, do they not get what they're actually doing?

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