Many of the most enduring films of the past few decades remain ungarlanded
When I was a kid, my parents had an amazingly impressive collection of video cassettes, from Bing Crosbys White Christmas to Shoah (nothing like a nine-hour Holocaust documentary to make these cosy nights in go with a swing). But my favourite tape was The 65th Anniversary Of The Academy Awards: Oscars Greatest Hits! I was not so much obsessed with this video as possessed by it, and to this day my go-to karaoke song is Billy Crystals opening number from the 1991 Oscars: Ghost! Can it win this lottery?/ Ghost! Made me take up pottery. Do you want to know when Cher took Val Kilmer to the Oscars as her date? How pissed off Barbra Streisand looked in 1992, not to be up for best director for The Prince Of Tides? Then you, my friend, have come to the right columnist.
I still love the Oscars, in all their ludicrous, self-regarding glory. But in recent years they have somehow become elevated from that show where Rob Lowe once sang a duet with Snow White to being a statement about Where America Is Now. On the left, the Oscars have been hammered for being so old, white and male; on the right, they have been criticised for becoming too worthy. An awards ceremony turning itself into a culture war is a makeover to rival Julia Roberts swapping thigh-high boots for twin sets in Pretty Woman (a performance which itself was nominated for an Oscar; as I said, I know all the important stuff).
Last week it looked like the Oscars had capitulated to the right, by announcing there will be a new category called outstanding achievement in popular film, AKA the We Know You Care More About Black Panther Than Whatever Won Best Picture Last Year award (it was The Shape Of Water, a title you will have forgotten again by the end of this sentence). This category will presumably favour movies that have made over $100m, and celebrities heretofore not known for an aversion to money were uniformly horrified. The film business passed away today with the announcement of the popular film Oscar, Rob Lowe tweeted, having apparently forgotten he and I might have mentioned this before literally sang with Snow White at the 1989 Oscars. Film critics were even more disgusted, with one arguing that the Oscars are about staying alive to excellence.
Um, are they? Because ever since Harvey Weinstein bullied the Academy in the 1990s into refashioning the awards criteria to fit his then company Miramaxs image, the Oscars have been about celebrating the indie-ish, the artsy-ish and the thuddingly middlebrow and for every Moonlight, there are about 17 The Kings Speeches. Action movies never get nominated any more, and nor do comedies; instead we have near self-parodic Oscars Movies Dramatic Films full of Actors doing Serious Acting.
Meanwhile, many of the most enduring films of the past few decades remain ungarlanded by what is allegedly the most significant film award in the world. Take the 1986 Oscars, where the big winners were Out Of Africa, Kiss Of The Spider Woman, Prizzis Honor. All solid movies, no question, none of which youve seen since 1986. And what little film was fobbed off with best sound effects editing? Back To The Future. Now, Im not saying Out Of Africa shouldnt have won. But I am saying Back To The Future should definitely have also won. And so should The Dark Knight, Batman, Alien, Dirty Dancing, Bridesmaids and Terminator 2, none of which even got a best film nomination.
Judging from the anger over the new category, youd think the Oscars had ruled that only films earning more than $100m qualify for best film. In fact, the popular Oscar will ensure that more smaller films qualify for an Oscar, as the bigger ones get siphoned off to their own new category. Some have argued that popular is a phoney award, and this year, a way of fobbing off Black Panther. Only film obsessives know (and care) that Toy Story 3 won for best animated film (a then relatively new category), and not best film. To everyone else, its a big Oscar winner.
This anger is not really about the Oscars, but an anxiety about how the movie business is changing. Studios no longer really make adult dramas like Out Of Africa, but instead rely on big-budget franchise movies. These have become, largely, junk, relying on CGI instead of quality scripts and direction. But that is also changing: Black Panther would clearly be a worthy winner, as Wonder Woman would have been and with the new category these mega movies wont hog the awards away from smaller films, as Titanic did in 1997.
The idea that the Oscars were ever about pure cinematic excellence could only be entertained by someone never blessed with an Oscars Greatest Hits! video. They are about the TV ratings, and if no one watches the show, then no one will get an award not Black Panther, nor any future Moonlights. Whether making the Oscars more inclusive or more populist will stop the shows plummeting ratings remains to be seen. Honestly, some of us would be happy just to hear another pottery/lottery rhyming couplet.
The Starry Night is an oil on canvas by Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh. Painted in June 1889, it depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint-RÃ©my-de-Provence.
It has been in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City since 1941, and is widely regarded as among Van Gogh’s finest works. The Starry Night is one of the most recognized paintings in the history of Western culture and as such, has been the source for mashups, remixes, and reinterpretations in a wide range of mediums and formats.
Below you will find what we believe to be the 10 best Starry Night mashups on the Web.
Starry Night x Stranger Things Mashup
Starry Night x Joker Mashup
3. Starry Night x Calvin & Hobbes Mashup
4. Starry Night (Ebru) Painted on Dark Water
A Houston boy named Max was absolutely devastated when only one of the 30 friends he invited to his birthday party showed up on June 30.
His mother, Susann, had planned the party for the 7-year-old and his friends at a nearby trampoline park, and had high hopes for her little man’s celebration.
However, when just one friend and his sister showed up, Max was totally heartbroken.
Susann said most people didn’t even RSVP, so she wrote a letter to the 94.5FM radio station, asking them to remind parents to RSVP.
But the discouraged mama never expected that the radio station would actually read her letter on the air AND that the Houston Cosplay for Charity would hear the broadcast.
Superheroes like Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Catwoman and more suited up to give max the “do-over” birthday celebration of a lifetime a month later. And this party couldn’t have been any more different than the last!
Forty people came to the second party, including the volunteer cosplayers and a few friends who couldn’t make it the first time.
Max was absolutely STUNNED when he walked in on the totally unexpected surprise.
The overwhelming expression of joy was written ALL over his face as he hugged each superhero who came into the room.
The woman who dressed as Wonder Woman, Brandi Coatsworth, had reached out to Susann after hearing about Max’s tear-jerking story, and the two planned the extravaganza together. The trampoline park even gave the second party for free!
“Anyone who knows Max and his story was just heartbroken for him,” said Susann. “He’s such a great, kind kid that it’s hard to hear something like that happened. When [the radio show] forwarded Brandi’s email, I was floored. I had no idea something like that would or could happen,” she added.
But the charity cosplayers couldn’t have been happier to see that huge smile plastered on Max’s face at the sight of his newfound friends.
“It only takes a moment to make a difference in someone’s life,” remarked Brandi. “Seeing the pure joy on his face is why we do what we do, and it really warmed our hearts to see such a sweet child so happy.”
Kudos to these kindhearted superheroes who went out of their way to make Max’s day by turning a birthday disaster into a birthday to remember!
Rachel Chu and Nick Young are like most millennial couples in New York City—at least millennial couples in which one is a brilliant economics professor and the other is heir to a real estate empire in Singapore. There’s a problem, though: Nick (Henry Golding) has kept Rachel (Constance Wu) in the dark about his circumstances back home. His plan to invite her to Singapore for the wedding of his best friend and to meet his family, he hopes, will remedy this. So begins director Jon M. Chu’s posh extravaganza, Crazy Rich Asians, a movie of necessary firsts and communal heart.
What Rachel doesn’t realize when she accepts Nick’s invitation is that he isn’t just from any family, but Singapore’s wealthiest and most influential (a fact that has lended him celebrity-bachelor status among locals). It doesn’t take long for the drama of home to reveal its sneer. Rachel—who is Chinese-American and thus considered an outsider—finds herself in an obstacle course for acceptance. The first series of hurdles are relatively painless. Nick’s cousin Astrid (Gemma Chan) is harboring secrets of her own; she’s discovered her husband is cheating and finds an unlikely confidant in Rachel. Next are Nick’s aunties and a former flame. With help from her college BFF Peik Lin (a rowdy and riotous Awkwafina) and cousin Oliver (Nico Santos), Rachel proves a resilient spark against their torrent of social exile.
The final hurdle turns out to be Nick’s mother, the matriarch of the clan. Deeply protective, Eleanor Sung-Young (a steely Michelle Yeoh) is a woman of familial duty and respect, and believes Rachel is the wrong woman for Nick. And so the women come to represent dueling ideals of tradition and freedom. Eleanor wants Nick to take control of the family business, but he’s become enthralled with the idea of carving out a life with Rachel, even if that happens to be in America. A mother’s wrath, though, is unforgiving and its reach endless. Eleanor’s last-ditch effort to torpedo the couple’s relationship—by exposing a long-buried secret about Rachel’s father—triggers the film’s most high-stakes moment.
Crazy Rich Asians culminates like a Singaporean Cinderella, illustrating the extent each character will go to for the people they love. It’s a film of big ambitions that doesn’t entirely upend the rom-com format, but instead infuses the genre with a tint of hope. And so, we are left with a movie about sprawl—and the lengths people travel to connect with others, to greet them where they are, to find peace on common ground. Between mother and son. Between partners and friends. Between America and Singapore. Between the known and the unknown. Between truth and fiction.
Based on the 2013 novel by Kevin Kwan, the film does vital work in demolishing certain Asian stereotypes that have found an unlikely lifeforce in American pop culture. Early on, Peik Lin’s father (a predictably bonkers Ken Jeong) instructs his two youngest children to finish their dinner; “Think of all the starving children in America,” he says. Other chasms the film attempts to cross prove less fruitful. Unfolding at a blistering pace, it never quite comes up for air to allow for enough nuance around characters that demand it. Astrid and Eleanor’s backstories, while convenient, feel microwaved and could have ultimately benefited from more substance and time.
These are important stories to tell. And we need to witness them on screen. But danger lurks in the collective narrative.
The marrow of the film, and its most crucial lesson, deals with the politics of comfort: how those on screen navigate the trappings of high society, and how we, the viewers, are cushioned into a specific characterization of Asian identity. The movie is full of humor and pluck, but nothing emotionally gut-wrenching. And deservedly so. It is a rom-com after all. But one gets the impression that Hollywood would have been less eager to greenlight a $30 million film that more closely resembled 1993’s The Joy Luck Club, which chronicled four struggling immigrant families in San Francisco. It was the last studio-backed feature to enlist a majority Asian and Asian-American cast until Crazy Rich Asians (which includes actors that span the diaspora—China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines).
The comfort nourishes us, but is it what we need? We only ever witness the splendor of Singapore, touring its most elite enclaves and never once getting a peek into its other, less affluent regions. Not that the film, its writers or director, have that particular obligation. But it does raise the question—who is this movie speaking for and speaking to? That is not to take away from its historic achievements. But a movie of such cultural immensity is bound to be viewed as representing for the whole, whether it intends to or not—a weight shouldered earlier this year by Black Panther.
These are important stories to tell. And we need to witness them on screen. But danger lurks in the collective narrative. It’s an onus routinely projected onto major films (or books, or TV shows, or even politicians): The first Asian this. The first black that. But no one movie can speak for the whole. Not entirely. The fault is ours, really. We are a culture that, in 2018, still revels in “firsts.” A culture that happily celebrates victories we so desperately need, but rarely investigates why it took us so long to get here.
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Brooklyn was a place residents worked to escape in Paul Levitzs day, which was decades before an influx of wealthy whites transformed it into something barely recognizable to its natives.
But its hold on its children can be felt in the bitterness, the contempt and the truth behind the opening lines of Levitzs newest comic book: I got Brooklyn in my blood. But it sure as hell isnt this Brooklyn.
The lines belong to Billy OConnor, a pissed-off Marine veteran of Afghanistan turned asshole cop whose struggle with PTSD fuels the engine of Brooklyn Blood, Levitzs first original comic in 40 years published outside DC Comics.
Levitz, an East Flatbush native raised in the shadow of Tilden High School, spent decades shaping DC Comics as a writer, editor and eventually publisher. But on Wednesday, the smaller-press Dark Horse Comics will publish a collected edition of Brooklyn Blood, Levitzs hybrid detective thriller/horror story, a collaboration with artist Tim Hamilton.
Its a creative stretch for Levitz, one of the first comics fans to turn professional, whos most widely known as the driving force behind DCs Legion of Super-Heroes, a 30th century intergalactic task force helmed by teen heroes Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy, and Lightning Lad. Brooklyn Blood riffs off Ed McBains detective fiction, he saysgreat procedurals and often structured to work around not developing too much detail about an adversaryand felt it was important to ground such a work in a familiar place.
OConnor is channeling my amazement at the borough changing. Not disgust, part joy, part amazement… and some worry that the working class transformative power of Brooklyn may get lost in the shift, Levitz tells The Daily Beast.
Brooklyn Blood, first serialized in the anthology series Dark Horse Presents, is a nervous tale driven by trauma. OConnors flashbacks to his armored personnel carrier running over an insurgent roadside bomb both complicate and help him unravel the case of a serial killer stalking Park Slope. With help from a psychic, OConnor and his Muslim partner, Nadira Hasan, get sucked ever deeper into a seemingly random spate of slayings that connect to something ancient and occult lurking within the fabric of the borough. Theres even a guest appearance by the borough of Queens.
Somehow, despite the supernatural elements of the story, the least realistic thing about the comic is the idea of a serial killer in Park Slope, the least distinct and interesting neighborhood in Brooklyn.
Well, Levitz says when I ask him about the Park Slope settingor, more accurately, vent my Park Slope antipathyI could argue the contradiction between a peaceful neighborhood and the manic crimes add texture…but mostly it was the history that led me there. To say more would probably spoil the story, but Levitz has a fair point.
He also has a secret weapon: his collaborator Hamilton, whose deep pools of black ink combine with smooth linework to look like a mix between Gahan Wilson and Sin City-era Frank Miller. Hamilton, a Brooklyn resident himself, renders a faithful, familiar 7th Avenue. His color palette is appropriately muted, full of mustards, soft blues and bursts of pink that feel somehow like a woozy borough at dusk, humid even in the fall when the story takes place. Levitzs friend, the comics artist Christine Norrie, connected him with Hamilton, whose adaptation of the Ray Bradbury classic Fahrenheit 451 had caught Levitzs eye.
Levitz is a crucial figure in comics history. His LOSH is the definitive version of a fixture franchise for DC that has fallen into eclipse in recent years, despite a recent televised depiction on the CW show Supergirl. But Levitzs work off the page has similar staying power. It was under Levitz and his similarly legendary publishing partner Jeanette Kahn that DC, ahead of rival Marvel, implemented a royalty system for writers and artists. With creators compensated more fairly than before, DC underwent something of a creative renaissance that stretched beyond revitalized Superman or Batman stories and into the launch of mature-readers imprint Vertigo and black superhero sub-universe Milestone Media.
Levitzs time as a DC executive ended in 2009. But in 2015, he and artist Sonny Liew revamped the Doctor Fate character. This version of the superhero mystic was an Egyptian-American living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
Though Levitz long ago decamped for Manhattan, his daughter lived in Boerum Hill and Williamsburg, making it not so easy to disentangle from a borough he hasnt lived in since he was 23. But the ghosts of his childhood linger: the zoo in Prospect Park, classes at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, taking in the Childrens Museum in Crown Heights or the majestic Brooklyn Museum on Eastern Parkway, where he later volunteered making up boxes for the gift shop.
Brooklyn was the place you worked to get out of in my day, Levitz remembered over email. It's long been a launching pad for immigrants and their families (I'm first generation American), and still is, but now there's this cool aspirational dimension for young people. I think that's unlike anything we've ever seen before…and amazing.
And in his blood.
Stormy Daniels husband filed for divorce last week, days after the porn star was arrested in a sting operation at a strip club in Columbus, Ohio.
Glendon Crain, who married Daniels in 2015, has accused the performer of cheating on him and requested a temporary restraining order. A hearing on the protective order is scheduled for Friday morning in Kaufman County, Texas, where the couple lives with their 7-year-old daughter.
On Monday, Daniels attorney tipped the media to his famous clients split from her third husband by posting a statement on Twitter.
My client Stormy Daniels and her husband Glen have decided to end their marriage. A petition for divorce was filed last week, the accuracy of which is vehemently disputed, Michael Avenatti wrote, without referring to the particulars.
Stormys daughter remains her number one priority, Avenatti added. She kindly asks for privacy for the sake of her family.
Crains attorney did not return messages Monday.
According to Crains petition, the couple wed on Nov. 25, 2015. They stopped living together as spouses on July 11, 2018, the document states.
The marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities, the petition, filed on July 18, stated in part.
Respondent has committed adultery, Crain added of Daniels, without elaborating further.
Crain is seeking full custody of their daughter and child support. He also wants to prohibit performers in the adult entertainment industry from being around the girl.
A judge granted Crains request for a temporary restraining order, which requires Daniels future visits with her daughter to be supervised, records show. The order also gives Crain exclusive use of their home and vehicles and denies Daniels unsupervised access to their child.
In a supporting affidavit, Crain stated that Daniels wanted to fly their daughter out of Texas so she could join Daniels strip tour in North Carolina.
She has purchased a ticket for my child … to fly out on July 20, 2018 and join Respondent on tour. This will involve the child being on her tour bus with other adult performers and producers, Crain stated in the affidavit, signed on July 17.
This will place my child in eminent threat of serious and immediate physical or emotional harm, he concluded.
An attached exhibit showed Daniels purchased a ticket for their daughter to travel from Dallas to Charlotte, North Carolina, on July 20. (Daniels had scheduled performances at the Mens Club in Charlotte on July 20 and 21.)
After Daniels was cuffed by vice cops in Ohio, her arrest report indicated she was unmarrieda small detail that didnt go unnoticed by TMZ. (Hours after her illegal motorboating of undercover cops made news, Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein dropped the charges.)
Crain has kept out of the public eye, despite Daniels high-profile strip tour and her lawsuit against President Trump and his former attorney, Michael Cohen, who is now facing a federal investigation over his business dealings on behalf of his boss.
The divorce petitionand attached request for a restraining orderincludes a multitude of requests from Crain.
Crain demands that Daniels be banned from falsifying any writing or record, including an electronic record, relating to the property of either party and from terminating or limiting credit cards in his name. The restraining order bars Daniels from causing bodily injury or threatening Crain or their daughter, too.
Child support would include health insurance, an equitable portion of the childs uninsured medical expenses, private school and day care while the divorce case is pending, the petition states. (An exhibit indicated that the family was not receiving private health insurance.)
Crain also wants to stop Daniels from entering their Forney, Texas residence and from using their 2016 BMW 3 Series and 2018 Cadillac XTS.
The petitionwhich requests attorneys' fees from Danielsseeks to prohibit the porn star or anyone on her behalf from removing their daughter from Texas without written consent.
Petitioner has insufficient income for support, the petition states, and it requests the court to order Daniels to make payments until a final decree is signed.
Crain is seeking a disproportionate share of the couples estate for reasons including fault in the breakup of the marriage and disparity of earning power of the spouses and their ability to support themselves.
Daniels became a household name early this year after the Wall Street Journal exposed her nondisclosure agreement with Cohen. The NDA was inked weeks before the 2016 election to ensure her silence about her alleged romp with Trump a decade before.
The porn star was paid $130,000 to keep quiet about the affair. But after the media reported on her secret deal, she sued Trump and Cohen to be released from the legal agreement. She and Avenatti have been ubiquitous in the news cycle ever since.
Crain is a fellow porn actor who performs under the moniker Brendon Miller. Hes starred in Daniels films including Happy Endings and The Perfect Partner, and in porn parodies like The Dark Knight XXX and Batman v Superman XXX. Hes also a drummer who has toured with Staind, Rammstein and Korn, according to his IMDb page.
In March, Daniels told Rolling Stone that her family was feeling the heat from her battle with Trump, which has become a national spectacle. My daughter didnt deserve any of this, Daniels told the magazine. [Crain] didnt deserve any of this. Dont get me wrong, Im not an angel. Im capitalizing on this.
Later that month, the Daily Mail reported that Crain was arrested for domestic violence against Daniels in 2015, but that the charges were dropped.
According to the Mail, Crain was cuffed for allegedly pushing Daniels to the ground during a disturbance at their home in July 2015.
A single count of assault causing injury to a family member was dismissed on March 15, after he completed a pretrial rehabilitation program, the Mail reported. The dismissal came 10 days before Daniels sat down for an interview with 60 Minutes.
There’s some serious bullying going on between rival superheroes.
Instead of saving the world, the Marvel gang is too busy picking on Conan O’Brien’s poor ole Batman in the cafeteria for the comedy lead-in from “Conan” Wednesday. The Caped Crusader was seeking out brighter company after leaving the bleak DC table ― but maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
“DC you later, nerd,” Thor (David Koechner) snickers.
Watch the cosplay goofiness above, as “Conan” celebrated the start of Comic-Con in San Diego. Special props to Keegan-Michael Key’s hilarious Black Panther.
NEW YORK – Steve Ditko, the Marvel Comics artist who gave the world the woven webs and soaring red-and-blue shape of Spider-Man and the other-worldly shimmer of Doctor Strange, has died, authorities said Friday. He was 90.
Ditko was found June 29 in his Manhattan apartment and was pronounced dead at the scene, police Lt. Paul Ng said. No further details were immediately available.
Ditko, along with writer Stan Lee, introduced the world to Peter Parker and his alter-ego Spider-Man in 1962 in an issue of “Amazing Fantasy.” A year later, Ditko introduced the world to surgeon-turned-metaphysical superhero Doctor Strange.
Ditko, along with writer Stan Lee, introduced the world to Peter Parker and his alter-ego Spider-Man in 1962 in an issue of “Amazing Fantasy.”
Spider-Man would go on to become arguably the most indispensable and recognizable character in the Marvel universe, and Doctor Strange a member of its permanent pantheon. The adventures of both have been turned into blockbuster films, and both had essential roles in the recent “Avengers: Infinity War.”
“Comics are unimaginable without his influence,” tweeted Patch Zircher, a comic-book artist who has worked on “Batman” and “Superman” for DC Comics. “He co-created Spider-man, which will be remembered as significant as Doyle creating Sherlock Holmes or Fleming creating James Bond. Spider-man may outlast them both.”
While Lee embraced his status as a creative god among comics fans, appearing at conventions and in constant cameos in Marvel’s films, Ditko was a recluse who won the worship of the most hardcore comic-book geeks.
They were quick to praise him and the massive influence he had on art, film and culture Friday.
“Thank you Steve Ditko, for making my childhood weirder,” fantasy author and graphic novel author Neil Gaiman said in a series of tweets to his 2.7 million followers. “He saw things his own way, and he gave us ways of seeing that were unique. Often copied. Never equalled. I know I’m a different person because he was in the world.”
Edgar Wright, director of movies including “Baby Driver” and “Shaun of the Dead,” said on Twitter that Ditko was “influential on countless planes of existence.”
English TV and radio host and comic books super-fan Jonathan Martin tweeted that Ditko was “the single greatest comic book artist and creator who ever lived.”
The son of a steel-mill worker, Ditko was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1927. He served in the army in Europe after World War II and began working in comics in the 1950s in New York, eventually landing a drawing job with Marvel forerunner Atlas Comics.
Jack Kirby, Lee’s artist on the Fantastic Four and many other Marvel characters, took a stab at creating Spider-Man in 1961, but Lee was unsatisfied and gave the gig to Ditko, who gave Spidey the essential look he still has today.
Ditko left Marvel in 1966, but returned in 1979. One of his later creations was Squirrel Girl, who after her debut in 1992 became a cult favorite among comics fans.
He maintained a writing studio in Manhattan until his death, but had no known surviving family members and was incredibly reclusive, turning down nearly all offers to do interviews, meet fans or appear at movie premieres.
“We didn’t approach him,” Scott Derrickson, director of the 2016 movie “Doctor Strange,” told The Hollywood Reporter. “He’s like J.D. Salinger. He is private and has intentionally stayed out of the spotlight. I hope he goes to see the movie wherever he is, because I think we paid homage to his work.”
Dalton reported from Los Angeles.