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Oscar season is upon us and I haven't seen most of the movies nominated. Sundance is here and at least offers some things I would like to see ... if they ever get a distribution deal. Apple evidently offers a number of short-films from Sundance via iTunes; what would be interesting (from both a business and cinephile perspective) is if Apple could sign iTunes distribution agreements with film-festival films that do not find other venues. Art-House flick that might never make it to DVD? On iTunes. Small foreign film in need of a distributor? On iTunes. You hear that, Apple? You heard it here first.
The mainstream press cares little for Sundance, but they always like a good story, a good controversy. This year it revolves around Dakota Fanning playing a 12-year-old rape victim in the Southern Gothic Hounddog. Catholic and other conservative Christian groups have called for the director to be brought up on child pornography charges; Fanning herself, upset at the abuse heaped upon not only herself but her family and manager, spoke out to remind people, “It's called acting”—this is a movie, not real life we're talking about, something beyond the comprehension of many.
Alas, as Andrew Leonard reports, the movie itself would have served as a better of example art tackling difficult subjects if it were actually any good: “But it turns out the defenders of my ancestral faith are correct, if only by accident: ‘Hounddog’ should be boycotted. Not because it depicts the sexual exploitation of children but because it's a turgid, overripe mess.” Not an ounce of creativity in the movie it seems, just cliches about southern life and a waste of good performances by the leads.
If the Catholic League and Republicans want to get upset, perhaps they should focus on factual not fictional abuse—Girl, 6, embodies Cambodia's sex industry: “At an age when most children might be preparing for their first day of school, Srey, 6, already has undergone trauma that is almost unspeakable. She was sold to a brothel by her parents when she was 5. It is not known how much her family got for Srey, but other girls talk of being sold for $100; one was sold for $10. Before she was rescued, Srey endured months of abuse at the hands of pimps and sex tourists.”
In related news, 29-year-old pervert Neil Havens Rodreick II, a convicted sex offender, posed as 7th grader at two schools. It was already known that he was posing as a 12-year-old; I wasn't sure at the time whether that meant 6th or 7th grade. The two older men he was sleeping with though he was a preteen ... idiots. On top of that our fake 7th grader had [a] child-sex tape, police say (note the police say bit, like the use of Konjunktiv I in German, to avoid libel/slander—there is an implied it is said involved in all my statements about the honorable Mr. Rodreick): “Authorities investigating a 29-year-old sex offender suspected of repeatedly enrolling in schools as a 12-year-old boy said Thursday they seized a video showing him engaging in sex acts with a child.” An even more interesting statement is the last line: “He spent a total of 50 days in class, and apparently did not raise concerns.”
More Movies I Haven't Seen:
Andrew Leonard has more Sundance coverage, including discussion of a film by Sara Polley (The Sweet Hereafter, eXistenz) and Andrea Arnold's interesting sounding Red Road.
When it comes to the Oscar race it is interesting to compare Tom Charity's nomination predictions with the actual nominations. In Best Picture the surprise was that Dreamgirls (which has been panned by serious reviewers in any case) was left out; Charity called it a shoo-in. Babel and Pan's Labyrinth each received nominations, but Children of Men appears to have been locked out. In the best supporting actress category Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) did make it after all.
Also worth comparing is an article entitled “ The year that ‘Rocky’ won (but why?)”—I've always had a soft spot for the first Rocky movie, but in retrospect to think that it beat All the President's Men, Network and Taxi Driver ... well, the question is simple: “What the f**k were they thinking?”
The other day I was rewatching season 1 of Alias—seasons 3–5 are very good, but once you've watched them all and start over from the beginning, then you realize just how good 1 & 2 are—on a whim and shortly after the two-part Quentin Tarantino bash I got to “The Prophecy,” which introduces the DSR, or Department of Special Research, the X-Files-esque group within the Alias world.
One of the head honchos, a middle-aged blonde woman, seemed familiar, more than just vaguely familiar, and I knew I had seen her recently in some other show or movie, but I could not place her. Perhaps it was just déjà vu, I told myself. When I was done viewing the season I hit Wikipedia but the episode summaries did not list guest stars. A little googling, however, led me to a series of summaries with such information, and I was quickly informed that the actress under consideration was Linsay Crouse, a former wife of David Mamet. She played Professor Maggie Walsh in season 4 of BtVS, sporting slightly shorter hair than in Alias.
—January 25 2007