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Topics/Questions/Exercises of the Week — 10 July 2009

Exercise: What If We're All Wrong: On the street the other day, I was having a chat with a friend, a critic of exceptional perception and passion, and a person of no small clout in New York's film world. Puzzling over some of the ecstatic reviews of Michael Mann's Public Enemies, a picture I took to somewhat more than he did. "Maybe the thing is, aside from the fact that there are so many passionate Mann adherents out there, is that this is it for the summer—there really isn't, nor is there going to be, another film out there worth talking about for a while."

He just grinned and shook his head, as the song says. "No, no, no, not at all. The movie of the summer: Year One."

The exercise: Imagine he wasn't joking.

Teh Gay: As is customary, J. Hoberman at the Village Voice offers up the most astute perspective yet on Sacha Baron Cohen's Brüno, linking it to the work of the Playhouse of the Ridiculous and calling the picture "a vulgar vaudeville." Exactly. Which brings up the question: Vaudeville, yes, but is it cinema?

Meantime, in the same issue, Melissa Anderson cites some intriguing filmic precedents for Baron Cohen's portrayal.

David Poland Talks It Out Of His System: As if someone had challenged him to best Our Hero Armond White in the realm of incoherent rumination, the proprieter of The Hot Blog alights on Transformers, makes the absolutely insupportable asserion that some in "'the art world'" dug Memoirs of a Geisha, explains to us dummies why audiences are willing to ignore the plot holes in The Hangover, and then allows as he's "just trying to work it out" as he leaps to his next set of non-sequiters, at which point he really goes to town: "Men are happy - though we pretend not to be - seeing Demi Moore not only willing to be pulled away from her loving hubby for a bit of cash, but kinda digging it. 'We' are The Redford. When someone gets smart and makes a Taming of The Shrew knock-off with Lindsay Lohan - flipping her Mean Girls good girl - she will be a star again. And Adam Sandler playing with Ms Biel's boobs is hotter for men than her showing them to us all and rubbing them herself...because 'we' are The Sandler."

Sing it with me, people: "We are the world/we are the Sandler..."

Speaking strictly for myself, I, as a man, am not happy to see Demi Moore do anything. As for his Biel assertions, well, he's absolutely right—and it's for precisely the reasons he articulates that Sora Aoi is such a miserable failure in Japan.

As some other dudes on the internet like to say, read the whole thing.

Total Disaster: Over at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, Dennis Cozzalio posts, and considers, a fake trailer for 2012, the certain-to-be-not-very-good apocalypse flick from Roland Emmerich. (I imagine John Cusack rationalizes his participation in this by reminding himself that Paul Newman once did similar duty for Irwin Allen in When Time Ran Out.) He then discusses a real trailer for a film that we're probably all gonna wish was fake, the Diablo-Cody-scripted Jennifer's Body. I loved The Waitresses, didn't you? Did you know the original tile of that song was "Wait Here, I'll Be Right Back?" Which is way funnier...

Armond White-ism Of The Week: Like any good contrarian, our man at The New York Press understands that it's not enough to merely hate that which is embraced by the conventional wisdom; one must sometimes also love that which the conventional wisdom pukes at. Thus, yes, White disapproves of both Bruno and Humpday...and he kind of adores Nia Vardalos' directorial debut, I Hate Valentine's Day, from the review of which comes our weekly pearl: "[Vardalos'] only error is not letting co-star John Corbett use his own good singing voice when serenading Genevieve; embracing Demyesque movie-musical convention would have transcended rom-com banality." Her only error? That can't be right, can it?

The Wails Of Augusto: Over at alicublog, an invaluable source of Weird News On The Cultural Proclivities Of The Right and other such matters, Roy Edroso directs us to the weirdest non-review of Tony Manero you will ever read.

Just thought of her…Sweet Quebec girl
i paid to see bruno at midnight,and i loved it,i never stopped laughing.i didnt expect much from it artisticly,but it really is cinema,i would even venture to call it “cinema verite”
Men who love men can’t catch a break…thanks SBC
Thank God I love women too
ich bin bruno….

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