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Betty White opens up about loneliness while in quarantine

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in element-type-p"> <p>Betty White's agent Jeff Witjas has said that White is ready for some face-to-face interaction after a safe year at home.</p> <p>White, 99, has been isolating at home due to the coronavirus pandemic and keeping busy by "reading, watching TV and doing crossword puzzles at home", according to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tmz.com/2021/05/11/betty-white-keeps-busy-quarantine-covid-update-summer/" target="_blank"><em>TMZ</em></a>.</p> <p>This doesn't mean White isn't counting down the days until she's able to safely interact with friends.</p> <p>Witjas confirmed that White's "ability to regularly interact with friends face to face," during the pandemic has "severely affected in her life," explaining that like many, she's "looking forward to summer when she can safely enjoy the outdoors and regain her freedom."</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CLSXVN2nVmF/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CLSXVN2nVmF/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Betty White (@bettymwhite)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Despite being an animal lover, White hasn't had any furry friends to keep her company but has said there are a few ducks that keep her company that "walk up to her door every day to say hello".</p> <p>Wijtas declined on commenting whether or not White had been vaccinated.</p> </div> </div> </div>

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Thor or Gladiator? Race to play Steve Irwin tightens

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rumours are continuing to grow as a </span><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/entertainment/movies/biopic-rumours-about-steve-irwin-run-wild"><span style="font-weight: 400;">new Steve Irwin biopic</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> gains momentum in the big studios.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to movie insiders, the feature-length dramatised film about the Wildlife Warrior’s life has big names like Chris Hemsworth and Russell Crowe vying for the chance to play Steve.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Woman’s Day</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has been told that Terri Irwin is considering lesser-known actors such as Lincoln Lewis too.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CJa5G8oFiJ8/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CJa5G8oFiJ8/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Lincoln Lewis (@linc_lewis)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Steve’s international appeal, particularly to American audiences, is helping fuel enthusiasm for the project, while friends of the family say the arrival of Bindi Irwin’s baby Grace has given them “a real sense of closure” in terms of losing Steve.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The timing’s right to honour Grace’s grandad,” the insider added.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The family will want Aussie actors for the film, which will pretty much tell Steve’s life story.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The film is also expected to include “real footage of the family as they are now”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The insider said, “It’s a project they’ve considered before, but now they’re finally ready to give it the green light.”</span></p>

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Matt Damon stops off in small Aussie town

<p>The very small town of Jugiong had a very special surprise when Hollywood A-lister Matt Damon dropped into a local café for some coffee.</p> <p>The actor ducked into the Long Track Pantry in NSW’s South West Slopes for a quick stop, but one lucky fan managed to snaggle a photo with the actor.</p> <p>The Hilltops Council released its monthly tourism newsletter, and announced that Matt was visiting with his family and good friend Chris Hemsworth.</p> <p>“We hope they enjoyed their visit to our beautiful region,” council said in its newsletter.</p> <p>Since April, tourism has been incredibly strong in the small town.</p> <p>“It is great to see good numbers in all Hilltops information centres and hear reports of strong accommodation numbers across the region. We look forward to welcoming more visitors as the seasons change and people continue to explore New South Wales,” the council said.</p> <p>Matt Damon had no choice but to quarantine in Australia in February, in preparation for filming the upcoming Marvel movie<span> </span><em>Thor: Love and Thunder.</em></p> <p>The 50-year-old US actor, along with his wife Luciana Barroso and their three children, reportedly spent 14 days at a breathtaking European-style home in Knockrow, NSW.</p> <p>The latest<span> </span><em>Thor<span> </span></em>movie is being filmed in Sydney and will have an A-list cast including Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Chris Pratt and Christian Bale.</p> <p>The film is being directed by New Zealand director Taika Waititi.</p> <p>Damon arrived in Sydney via private jet on January 17, admitting he was “so excited” to be heading Down Under for work.</p> <p>“I’m so excited that my family and I will be able to call Australia home for the next few months,” he said.</p> <p>“Australian film crews are world-renowned for their professionalism and are a joy to work with so the 14 days of quarantine will be well worth it.”</p>

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Biopic rumours about Steve Irwin run wild

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>A biopic about the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin is rumoured to be in the works.</p> <p>According to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nowtolove.com.au/celebrity/celeb-news/steve-irwin-movie-67552" target="_blank"><em>Woman's Day</em></a>, the untitled project is said to be "gaining momentum" in Hollywood, with movie executives drawn to Irwin's appeal in America.</p> <p>"There's no way this project can go ahead without Terri and Bindi Irwin being involved every step of the way," says a well-placed insider.</p> <p>"Steve's international appeal, particularly to Americans, can't be ignored and this isn't the first time a project like this has been presented to them."</p> <p>"This time, however, any script that can be filmed Down Under is automatically top of the pile right now – and Hollywood bosses love Steve's life story. He was saving lizards when he was six! And while his story may have ended too soon, there's a real sense of closure now with how Bindi and Bob have taken up his legacy."</p> <p>Steve died in 2006 at the age of 44 after being pierced in the heart by a stingray barb, but was involved in several Hollywood films while he was alive.</p> <p>Steve appeared in Happy Feet (2006), Dr Dolittle 2 (2001) and appeared alongside his wife in the 2002 film<span> </span><em>The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course.</em></p> <p>"The timing's right to honour Grace's grandad," adds the insider.</p> <p>"The family will want Aussie actors for the film, which will pretty much tell Steve's life story."</p> <p>"And the end will include real footage of the family as they are now. It's a project they've considered before, but now they're finally ready to give it the green light."</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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How Tom Cruise saved Elisabeth Shue's life

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The behind-the-scenes story has been shared by a camera operator from the 1988 film </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cocktail</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, claiming that Tom Cruise prevented a freak accident while in his mid-twenties.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to Bill Bennett, Cruise tackled co-star Elisabeth Shue to the ground, saving her moments before she was about to walk into a “deadly” spinning helicopter blade.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the incident happened 33 years ago, details of the story were revealed when the aerial camera operator shared it in a Facebook group called Crew Stories.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to </span><em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/14777696/tom-cruise-saved-elisabeth-shues-life-helicopter-blade/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Sun</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>,</em> Cruise confirmed the details as true.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now a top TV and commercial cinematographer, Bennett said the crew were “shaken up” by the “close call” as he explained how dangerous the situation actually was.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I witnessed Tom Cruise save Elisabeth Shue’s life, for real,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We were filming the scene from a helicopter, where Tom and Elisabeth are riding horses along the beach. We were shooting film, but I had a video recorder in the helicopter to record the camera’s video tap images.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“After a couple takes, the pilot would land the helicopter on the beach, and Tom and Elisabeth would come over to watch the shot recordings and get notes from the director. The only monitor was at my operating position in the left front seat of the helicopter.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In his recount of the event, Bennett explained they only intended to land for a few minutes so the pilot would leave the engine running and the blades still turning</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It was also quite loud, and you had to shout to be heard over the noise of the engine,” he added.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“You have to know, when you are working around helicopters, that the area at the back of the helicopter, where the tail rotor is spinning is deadly.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The rotor is invisible when it is spinning, and if you walk into it, it will kill you instantly. It is a totally ‘no go’ area when working around helicopters.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“So, after we landed for the second or third time, Tom and Elisabeth came over, I opened the side door of the helicopter and they leaned in to watch the shot on the monitor.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The director gave them a couple notes, and Elisabeth, getting quite excited, took off suddenly, running towards the back of the helicopter.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since Bennett was strapped in a harness, he explained that he could not reach out after her and instead leaned over and screamed “stop”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though his screams were drowned out by the helicopter noise, it was “just at that same moment that Tom saw where Elisabeth was going”, he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“He lunged after her, but was only able to grab her legs, tackling her to the ground.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“He rolled her over, dragging her at the same time, and you could see the momentary anger on her face while she was yelling ‘Why did you do that?’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“But by that time he is pointing at the tail rotor which is now a couple feet away, screaming at her that she almost died.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“At that point she turned white, and he pulled her back towards the front of the helicopter and they walked away.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though everyone in the helicopter was “quite shaken by the close call”, Bennett knew that Cruise had, “in that instant, truly saved her life.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The incident occurred in 1987,  meaning that “mandatory safety meetings were not commonly done”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the post gaining traction on social media, writer Mike Timm passed it onto </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mission Impossible</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> director Christopher McQuarrie - who is currently working with Cruise on the seventh instalment.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CK69alvFr2M/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CK69alvFr2M/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Mission: Impossible (@missionimpossible)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to <em>The Sun</em>, Timm told Bennett, “[McQuarrie] loved the story and, of course, Tom confirmed it.”</span></p>

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Frances McDormand comes out on top

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Frances McDormand is officially the greatest living actress as determined by Oscar wins, even beating Meryl Streep.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With three Oscar wins at Best Actress, McDormand is ahead of the pack that includes Streep’s win for a supporting role.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Two-time winners of the Best Actress award include Jane Fonda, Maggie Smith, Glenda Jackson, Jodie Foster, Sally Field, and Hilary Swank.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The only one to beat McDormand was Katharine Hepburn, who claimed four prizes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">McDormand won Best Actress in 1997 for </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fargo</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and for </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in 2018.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 2021 Oscars saw McDormand win the award for her role in </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nomadland</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Chloe Zhao’s </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nomadland</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> also won Best Picture, and had been a strong contender for the award following wins at the Venice and Toronto film festivals more than six months ago.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CMKpOr2BnVT/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CMKpOr2BnVT/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Nomadland (@nomadlandfilm)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nomadland </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">sees McDormand play a retired woman struggling to make ends meet following the 2008 crash, travelling through America’s west.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zhao, who is Chinese-American, also took home the award for Best Director, becoming the second woman and first woman of colour to win.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Frances McDormand won two Oscars tonight, one for Best Actress (her third win in the category) and one for Best Picture as a producer on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Nomadland?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Nomadland</a>. More here: <a href="https://t.co/QGwDlmpx6l">https://t.co/QGwDlmpx6l</a> <a href="https://t.co/POcXXH3azT">pic.twitter.com/POcXXH3azT</a></p> — IndieWire (@IndieWire) <a href="https://twitter.com/IndieWire/status/1386556898464333827?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 26, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">McDormand’s competition included actresses Viola Davis for </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and Carey Mulligan for </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Promising Young Woman</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Following on from her win, the actress will soon appear opposite Denzel Washington in a </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Macbeth</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> film.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Quoting the play in her acceptance speech, she said, “I have no words. My voice is in my sword.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We know the sword is our work. And I like work. Thanks for knowing that, and thanks for this.”</span></p>

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Why James Bond would make a terrible spy in real life

<p>James Bond may have more than 60 years of experience saving the world from notorious villains, but he’d have a tough time getting a job in MI6 today, says Alex Younger, chief of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, in the <em>Guardian</em>. Apparently, there’s more to being an SIS officer than expensive cars, martinis and tuxedos.</p> <p>Even if Bond’s appreciation for the finer things in life were qualification enough, his recklessness on the job would likely cut his career short. “The violence, mayhem and death that seem to follow Bond wherever he goes are certainly one thing that would have gotten him early retirement from any reputable intelligence service long ago,” says Alexis Albion, the International Spy Museum‘s lead curator. “Also, his tendency to use his own name, lack of communication with headquarters, wanton waste of government resources, lack of discretion in his sexual dalliances … the list goes on.”</p> <p>In other words, James Bond would make a terrible spy.</p> <p>Think about it. It’s hard to be effective at espionage when everybody knows who you are. Agent 007 is the most famous spy in the world, yet he rarely wears a disguise and almost always uses his real name. Even if “Bond, James Bond” is actually a code name, why use it over and over again?</p> <p>Finally, 007 has a pretty terrible track record of getting captured by his enemies. Alec Trevelyan – aka Janus, from <em>GoldenEye</em> – even captured him twice! And how many times do you have to drink a poisoned beverage to learn that you shouldn’t consume anything given to you by your enemy? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool Bond twice, shame on 007.</p> <p>There’s also Bond’s inability to stay under the radar. Real-life spies go out of their way not to draw attention to themselves. Bond, meanwhile, is a magnet for attention. Just look at the types of luxury vehicles he drives: Aston Martins, Audis, Bentleys, Rolls-Royces. They’re way too eye-catching, and probably too fast; Bond’s need for speed is yet another problem. To quote Q in <em>GoldenEye</em>, “Need I remind you, 007, that you have a license to kill, not to break the traffic laws.”</p> <p>Then there’s the simple fact that Bond is an alcoholic. British researchers report that 007’s weekly alcohol consumption is over four times the recommended limit for an adult male. They also suspect that Bond suffers from alcohol-induced hand tremors as a result of all that drinking. That could explain his preference that his vodka martinis be “shaken, not stirred,” when, in fact, they should be stirred, not shaken.</p> <p><em>Written by PJ Feinstein. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/why-james-bond-would-make-a-terrible-spy-in-real-life">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best <a href="https://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">subscription offer.</a></em></p> <p><em>Written by PJ Feinstein. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/why-james-bond-would-make-a-terrible-spy-in-real-life">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best <a href="https://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V">subscription offer.</a></em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

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How the Oscars finally made it less lonely for women at the top of their game

<p>This year, with the nomination of both Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell in the Academy Awards’ Best Director category — and their films in Best Picture — it seems at last the Oscars powerbrokers have learned to count, putting more than one woman in the category for the first time. Women have been nominated for awards in the past, but it’s been lonely at the top.</p> <p>When Lina Wertmuller was nominated for Seven Beauties in 1977, her co-nominees were all male; fast forward to Kathryn Bigelow 33 years later when she became the first and only woman to win Best Director, and the same rules applied. Women, it seems, take up such space in the cultural psyche, perhaps two can’t fit. This affects the field in two ways.</p> <p>On the one hand, as we’ve seen with Bigelow and the Oscars, and Jane Campion as the only woman ever to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes (in 1993 for The Piano), being the singular nominee of your gender, makes these women “exceptional” and “iconoclastic”. They are mould smashers and rule breakers whose talent appears to strike out of nowhere and is singularly responsible for their individual success.</p> <p>While there is no disputing the “talent” part, the blinding light generated by Bigelow or Campion on these occasions hides the tall barriers women face in the resource-intensive world of commercial filmmaking. When viewed as singular successes, Campion and Bigelow are subjects of excellence and objects of isolation.</p> <p>Now two women have received Oscars nods for directing in the award’s 93rd year, and it’s noteworthy — both in terms of behind-the-scenes factors and the films they’ve created: Nomadland and Promising Young Woman.</p> <p><strong>Changing the rules</strong><br />Several factors have been credited for diversification of the Oscars and other award events this year, including subtle shifts in membership and eligibility criteria to unfold over the next few years and the holding off of some larger budget productions due to pandemic cinema closures.</p> <p>The contribution of big streamers like Netflix is also a matter of debate. The needle-moving role of each of these factors may not be known for a little while; after all, some changes aren’t due to bear fruit until 2025 or later.</p> <p>Regardless of the cause, there is no doubt this year the door has opened to more nominations for women and people of colour across all categories in all major ceremonies (the BAFTAs, Golden Globes, and Oscars).</p> <p>A number of things unite the female-helmed Best Picture and Best Director nominees this year: both Nomandland and Promising Young Woman centre their stories around a female protagonist; both are low-budget, independent films, with flashes of innovation in cinematic style.</p> <p>Both are about the dashing of dreams, due (in Nomadland) to the economic collapse experienced by itinerant workers in Trump’s America, or (in Promising Young Woman) to the scourge of sexual violence against women and the persistently unfair rules that privilege young male professionals over their female counterparts.</p> <p><strong>Films that speak to their times</strong><br />Along with a third female-directed film many believe should have been nominated — Kitty Green’s remarkable The Assistant — all these movies are uncannily topical. Green’s film depicts, in micro-detail, the demoralising experiences of a young female entertainment industry worker under a boss seemingly based on sexual predator Harvey Weinstein.</p> <p>The Amazon warehouse work that Nomadland protagonist Fern must resort to anticipates the unionising struggles of real-life Amazon workers in current-day Alabama.</p> <p>The sexual assault at the centre of Fennell’s movie, that takes place at a medical school party, could just as easily have come to pass among students at esteemed Australian schools and universities or, indeed, in the corridors of political and industrial power.</p> <p>Meticulously depicting disenfranchisement and gendered violence from the inside, these female-led films make a pitch for group solidarity. In Nomadland, the occasional visits Fern enjoys with fellow nomads bring welcome, though temporary, solace.</p> <p>In Promising Young Woman, Carrie’s difficulty with processing the rape and subsequent death of her best friend Nina, the eponymous woman of the film’s title, are compounded by the fact Carrie is isolated and, audiences are repeatedly told, “has no friends”.</p> <p>The film’s opening shots of masses of men’s bodies (gyrating on the dance floor) contrast sharply with the subsequent framing of Carrie on her own and vulnerable. In the logic of this movie, boys go out in groups and girls do not. This is considered a bad thing, whether you’re a student in med school or law school or, perhaps until now, a film director.</p> <p>There is no doubt Promising Young Woman contains a message for men. In the post-#MeToo era, phrases like “educate your sons” remind us that women’s safety is men’s responsibility and has nothing to do with women’s dress or behaviour. But the film has further insight to offer: women are stronger when we’re together. This year’s Oscars will give women at the top of their filmmaking game their first chance to live that message.</p> <p class="p1"><em>Written by Julia Erhart. This article first appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-the-oscars-finally-made-it-less-lonely-for-women-at-the-top-of-their-game-157240">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

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After Disney closed one of its major studios, animation is under pressure in pandemic Hollywood

<p>Last year’s computer-animated feature Trolls World Tour served as an early test case for movie releases during the pandemic. The film appeared on video-on-demand streaming services the same day as its limited theatrical run in April 2020. And the industry was keen to know whether audiences would be eager to stump up rental fees to watch new releases online when they couldn’t get out to the cinema.</p> <p>As it turned out, the movie quickly made over US$200 million (£142 million) in rentals. Its distributors Universal began doing deals with cinema chains for more films to be released online just weeks after their theatrical launches.</p> <p>The success of Trolls World Tour coincided with a supposed revolution in “remote” animation production, brought on by the pandemic. As on-location casts and crews continue to adjust to navigating new safety precautions and guidelines, feature-length cartoons by comparison appear well suited to remote working. Initially, there was even talk of an upsurge in the production of animated media that appeared somewhat pandemic-proof.</p> <p>Fast forward 12 months, however, and the situation looks a little more tricky. Economic pressures mean that the animated movie industry might just be starting to shrink even if they’re more viable to produce in a pandemic landscape. A case in point is the Walt Disney Company’s recent announcement of plans to shut its computer animation division Blue Sky Studios. Its sudden demise after 34 years will undoubtedly rob popular cinema of one of its most creative and imaginative studios.</p> <p>Blue Sky has made significant contributions to the shape and direction of US animation. Amid the late-1990s tussle for power between Pixar Animation Studios and its rival DreamWorks, Blue Sky came onto the scene somewhat under the radar compared with its larger competitors.</p> <p>Formed in February 1987 by animator Chris Wedge, the studio started out in software design and animated adverts before later shifting focus towards visual effects and character animation, providing CGI for a number of blockbusters like Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) and Fight Club (1999).</p> <p>Meanwhile, Wedge’s computer-animated short film Bunny (1998) won the Academy Award for best animated short film. This was quickly followed by Blue Sky’s debut digital feature Ice Age (2002), which led to a highly successful franchise spanning two decades. In the years that followed, Blue Sky produced 13 feature films and a host of short cartoons, spin-offs and television specials, balancing original franchises with imaginative re-tellings of a number of popular media products.</p> <p><strong>The future of animation</strong><br />While many animation studios have come and gone, the unforeseen closure of a such a leading player as Blue Sky will lead to hundreds of layoffs and the cancellation of its animated films already in production. Warnings about Blue Sky’s future were immediately sounded once it was acquired by the Walt Disney Company as part of its broader acquisition of previous owners 20th Century Fox in 2019. This meant Disney now owned two of the three major players in US animated production, following its earlier US$7.4 billion acquisition of Pixar back in 2006.</p> <p>Disney’s growing monopoly of the entertainment industry over the last two decades has certainly caused widespread alarm. Don’t forget, the Mouse House also bought Marvel for US$4 billion in August 2009. In the face of the success of animation during the pandemic, the demise of Blue Sky might appear part of a broader Disney corporate strategy to gain market advantage by purchasing and then closing competitors.</p> <p>The loss of a major animation studio in such circumstances could hardly be seen as good news for the sector. But Blue Sky’s sudden closure could also be interpreted as a signal that Hollywood animation more generally is under real pressure for the first time since Toy Story started a new era. Indeed Disney itself cited the “current economic realities” as the reason for Blue Sky’s termination.</p> <p>Blockbuster releases from Disney and Pixar are still to come this summer, of course, but these animated films started life years ago. We’ve yet to see how the pipeline of newly green-lit films will be affected.</p> <p>Meanwhile Universal’s Paris-based Illumination Mac Guff studio (creators of the Despicable Me franchise) temporarily closed down last year over coronavirus, leading to knock-on effects for its animated feature films. Release dates at all the major Hollywood cartoon studios have also seen shifts. In some cases theatrical releases have been skipped entirely (as was the case with Pixar’s Soul) because of slow production, tight delivery schedules and the pressures of domestic animation.</p> <p>Questions also remain over how sustainable remote working is for the industry, especially as Hollywood studios often outsource work to off-site facilities around the world, and consistently strong and stable global internet connections can’t be guaranteed.</p> <p>Whichever way you look at it, Blue Sky’s high-profile demise is momentous. Even if Disney decides to maintain some of the studio’s output – more Ice Age films for example – the unexpected end of Blue Sky ultimately points to the instability post-pandemic Hollywood is facing. It would be safe to assume that there are going to be several further cracks in the ice before too long.</p> <p class="p1"><em>Written by Christopher Holliday. This article first appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/after-disney-closed-one-of-its-major-studios-animation-is-under-pressure-in-pandemic-hollywood-155164">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

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George Clooney singles out Aussie as "best actress of her generation"

<p><span>George Clooney has paid tribute to Aussie starlet Cate Blanchett during the virtual G’Day USA American Australian Association Arts Gala which was held on Friday.</span><br /><br /><span>Blanchett is a critically acclaimed actress who has won two Oscars and three Golden Globes, along with a Lifetime Achievement Award.</span><br /><br /><span>The award was introduced by Clooney who kicked off the segment by joking: “Hi, I’m Brad Pitt. I know I don’t look so good. After I won the Oscar I just said, ‘To hell with it!’ I stopped taking care of myself.”</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CLujRLiLWYW/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CLujRLiLWYW/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by cate blanchett (@cate_blanchett_page)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><br /><span>He then went on to praise Blanchett.</span><br /><br /><span>“I’ve been asked to say a few words about Cate who is winning a Lifetime Achievement award,” he said.</span><br /><br /><span>“I have to tell you what an honour it is to talk about someone of her calibre.</span><br /><br /><span>“I’ve worked with her as a director, I’ve worked with her as an actor, and when I say calibre I’m not just talking about her obvious talent as an actress,” Clooney went on to say.</span><br /><br /><span>“She’s easily the best actress of her generation. She is a consummate professional. She solves problem on a set all the time.</span><br /><br /><span>“And more than that, is how she solves problems in the rest of the world. It’s what she does in trying to bring justice and hope to all the people who don’t have justice and don’t have hope.”</span><br /><br /><span>Orange Is The New Black star Uzo Aduba and American Horror Story star Sarah Paulson also honoured Blanchett in the segment, saying: “There’s not a single time that I’ve worked with Cate where I haven’t had the eye-opening experience of watching real magic happen.”</span><br /><br /><span>When accepting the award, Blanchett thanked “all the trailblazers who paved the way for actors like myself”.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CLrt6Alrfzq/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CLrt6Alrfzq/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by cate blanchett (@cate_blanchett_page)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><br /><span>“Australia is such an extraordinary country with a plethora of talent both in front and behind the camera and I do hope that as the cultural connection between Australia and America enters yet another exciting chapter, that we do find genuine and concrete ways to honour and to value the contribution of crews, creatives and casts on the ground in Australia,” Blanchett said.</span><br /><br /><span>“My career would not be anything without the extraordinary connection between these countries, so thank you.”</span><br /><br /><span>The Arts Gala was hosted by David Campbell and featured performances from Guy Sebastian, Delta Goodrem, Chris Sebastian, Dami Im and Johnny Manuel.</span></p>

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Kristen Stewart stuns fans as Princess Diana in new film Spencer

<p>Actress Kristen Stewart has made her debut at Princess Diana, much to the delight of royal fans.</p> <p>Although fans were slightly apprehensive of Stewart filling the role, the latest photo released from production has left fans in awe.</p> <p>The new film<span> </span><em>Spencer</em><span> </span>focuses on one weekend in the life of Princess Diana as she spends the Christmas holidays with the Royal family at the Sandringham estate where she decides to leave her marriage to Prince Charles.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Can we all take a moment for this first look at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/KristenStewart?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#KristenStewart</a> as <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PrincessDiana?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PrincessDiana</a> in Pablo Larraín’s film, Spencer? <a href="https://t.co/Iww466Q8bx">pic.twitter.com/Iww466Q8bx</a></p> — Sunday Times Style (@TheSTStyle) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheSTStyle/status/1354450349650808836?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 27, 2021</a></blockquote> <p>Filming will take place in Germany and the UK with a fall 2021 launch anticipated for the film.</p> <p>"'Spencer is a dive inside an emotional imagining of who Diana was at a pivotal turning point in her life," said Stewart. "It is a physical assertion of the sum of her parts, which starts with her given name: Spencer. It is a harrowing effort for her to return to herself, as Diana strives to hold onto what the name Spencer means to her."</p> <p>Producers are also excited about the film.</p> <p>"We are extremely grateful for the support of our distributors worldwide, our partners and funders who have shown tremendous commitment to us in these extraordinary times. With Kristen Stewart, Steven Knight and the rest of our fantastic team both in front and behind the camera, we are bringing 'Spencer' to the world.</p> <p>"It is an independently produced film made for the big screen about an iconic woman's own declaration of independence. We couldn't be more excited," said producers Jonas Dornbach, Janine Jackowski, Juan de Dios Larraín, Paul Webster and Pablo Larraín.</p>

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Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster reunite after 30 years

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>Movie legends Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster reunited via Zoom to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of<span> </span><em>The Silence of the Lambs</em>.</p> <p>The pair were happy to see each other and reminisced about their experiences during and after filming.</p> <p>"It's a life-changing adventure, that movie, for both of us," Foster said during a one-hour remote conversation for<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://variety.com/2021/film/news/jodie-foster-anthony-hopkins-silence-of-the-lambs-30th-anniversary-1234887496/" target="_blank">Variety's Actors on Actors</a>.</p> <p>"I'm sure you still get people who come up to you and say, 'Would you like a nice Chianti?'" she joked to Hopkins.</p> <p>"Oh yeah, they do!" he agreed.</p> <p>Hopkins also revealed the real-life inspiration behind his iconic character, the manipulative killer known as Dr. Hannibal Lector.</p> <p>"He's like a machine. He's like HAL, the computer in 2001: 'Good evening, Dave.' He just comes in like a silent shark," Hopkins explained.</p> <p>"I remember there was a teacher at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and his name was Christopher Fettes. He was a movement teacher. He had a cutting voice, and he would slice you to pieces. His analysis of what you were doing was so precise; it's a method that stayed with me for all my life.</p> <p>"When I was doing it, I thought, 'This is Chris Fettes. This is the voice. This man is merciless.' I remember the cage scene, when I said, 'No!' Wrong, try it again. That, to anyone, to the observer, the recipient of that, is lethal and charismatic."</p> <p>He also recalled one of his favourite scenes involving Foster, which is where her character FBI cadet Clarice Starling gets into a Quantico elevator with her much taller male colleagues.</p> <p>"I'm like, 'This is brilliant, because you are a smaller person in this big, macho male world, coming in as the hero,'" Hopkins noted.</p> <p>Foster then shared the most important part of her character was nailing her rural West Virginia accent.</p> <p>"She had this quietness. There was almost a shame that she wasn't bigger, that she wasn't stronger, this person trying to overcome the failure of the body they were born in,' she explained.</p> <p>"I understood that was her strength. In some ways, she was just like the victims - another girl in another town. The fact that she could relate to those victims made her the hero."</p> <p>The classic film went on to win the five big Academy Awards, which are best picture, best director (Jonathan Demme, best actor (Hopkins), best actress (Foster) and best adapted screenplay (Ted Tally).</p> </div> </div> </div>

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Guide to the classics: My Brilliant Career and its uncompromising message for girls today

<p>Growing up in Australia in the 1970s, I much preferred the hijinks of Han Solo and Chewie to Princess Leia’s sexualised damsel in distress. My sister and I spent an entire summer pigging out on Choc Wedges and Barney Bananas so we could collect the men’s cricket team on specially marked sticks. Feminism seemed a world “far, far away”. Yet what Australian girls could and couldn’t do was being explored through a glut of screen adaptations of classic novels.</p> <p>These included Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), The Getting of Wisdom (1977), Seven Little Australians (1973) and My Brilliant Career (1979). Many revealed a depressing picture of what happened if you were different, clever or outspoken. You could be: left behind while other girls are led through a mysterious rock portal, the subject of school bullying, or crushed more literally by a falling tree in an act of sacrificial redemption.</p> <p>My Brilliant Career offered an alternative. Sybylla Melvyn, its “little bush commoner,” remains untamed and unapologetic. She would be modelled on author Miles Franklin herself, who mailed the manuscript to her literary idol, Henry Lawson. He subsequently provided a rousing endorsement and saw through its publication.</p> <p>My Brilliant Career emerged in 1901, the same year as Federation, and aligned women’s independence with national independence through a symbolic coming-of-age narrative.</p> <p>While Australian women received the right to vote the following year, My Brilliant Career voiced an irrepressible desire to be heard. Addressed to “My dear fellow Australians,” Melvyn (or Franklin) argues the story seeks to improve on other autobiographies by telling a collective truth: “This is not a romance … neither is it a novel, but simply a yarn — a real yarn”.</p> <p>As such, My Brilliant Career blends the intimacy of life writing with the broader scope of a story being retold. My Brilliant Career is everywoman’s career as much as it is the career of Australia.</p> <p><strong>A hoydenish tomboy</strong><br />Sybylla is a highly likeable but flawed heroine, kicking around a crowded home and lamenting the “agonizing monotony, narrowness, and absolute uncongeniality” of teenage life.</p> <p>The family has fallen on hard times, shifting from three stations and 200,000 acres to the small and “stagnant” Possum Gully. Dick Melvyn, once his daughter’s “hero, confidant, encyclopedia, mate, and even religion”, reneges all paternal responsibility by turning to drink after a series of failed speculations.</p> <p>Franklin captures the resulting strain between Sybylla’s hardworking mother and her eldest daughter. As Sybylla knocks about as a hoydenish tomboy and dreams of joining the ranks of poets like Gordon, Lawson and Paterson, her mother sees only domestic uselessness and self-centredness.</p> <p>Sent with her siblings to the local school, mingling with the Italian migrants at nearby diggings, and absorbing pub slang when retrieving her father, Sybylla has a democratic outlook:</p> <p><em>To me the Prince of Wales will be no more than a shearer, unless when I meet him he displays some personality apart from his princeship — otherwise he can go hang.</em></p> <p>Such colourful vernacular underscores how Franklin mobilises a living language, as much as a bush landscape, to generate national distinctiveness.</p> <p>Packed off to her grandmother’s to be transformed into more marriageable material, Sybylla soon navigates a class-bound squattocracy with limited options. Besides her mother’s descent into drudgery, her Aunt Helen has been forced to return to the family home after her husband’s desertion. Sybylla realises with</p> <p><em>a great blow that it was only men who could take the world by its ears and conquer their fate, while women, metaphorically speaking, were forced to sit with tied hands and patiently suffer as the waves of fate tossed them hither and thither.</em></p> <p>She is critical of women’s value being reduced to an index of their beauty but also internalises it to think herself plain and unappealing. In this, she is proved wrong, for her unpretentious liveliness attracts a number of possible suitors, including neighbouring hunk, Harry Beecham.</p> <p>For the 1979 film, Gillian Armstrong perfectly cast then little-known Judy Davis as the pimply, unkempt Sybylla, a far cry from the Chiko Roll or Big M girls then gracing Australian billboards and TV.</p> <p>My mother, now in her 80s, still raves about Sam Neill’s blue eyes as the dashing Beecham. Both Franklin and Armstrong build the chemistry in Sybylla and Harry’s courtship, emphasising an equality of energy and wit.</p> <p><strong>A higher love</strong><br />Distinguishing between sexual passion and friendship love, Aunt Helen advises Sybylla she might receive and find real love in the latter. Yet Sybylla seeks a higher love.</p> <p>Having “learnt them by heart”, the “men I loved” are the poets and she continues her “hope that one day I would clasp hands with them, and feel and know the unspeakable comfort and heart rest of congenial companionship”.</p> <p>Sybylla holds to a Romantic view of the poet as both bard of the people and transcendent. The poet must be “Alone because his soul is as far above common mortals as common mortals are above monkeys.” This drives her sense there is something more than her appointed lot in life.</p> <p>While Harry is prepared to “give” Sybylla “a study” and “truckload of writing gear” so she can pursue her career, Sybylla refuses his marriage proposal. She reflects, “He offered me everything — but control.”</p> <p>Realising she needs an unfettered life, she knows she would ultimately destroy Harry’s “honest heart”. At the same time, there is little possibility of finding an ideal mate, who would be someone who has similarly “suffered” for their dreams.</p> <p>My Brilliant Career not only captured the frustration of women at the turn of the century; it refused to end happily. Whereas the novel ends with Sybylla stuck and wearisome at Possum Gully, the film has her hopeful at the fence-line sending off her finished manuscript. Even in the 1970s, a choice between career and love seemed harsh.</p> <p>Whereas Franklin suggests that women’s path to success requires lonely self-determination, second-wave feminism emphasised collective consciousness-raising, even if that forum of voices remained faultily selective in its whiteness.</p> <p><strong>A social divide</strong><br />While representing the “rope of class distinction” drawing “tighter” around Australian working men and women, My Brilliant Career revealed a social divide marked as much by race as class and gender. The Irish M’Swats, for whom Sybylla is forced to become a governess to repay her father’s debt, are depicted as uncivilised in their dirtiness.</p> <p>The Aborigines exist as unnamed servants, their culture similarly dismissed. Servant girl Jane Haizelip tells Sybylla of her disdain for the men at Possum Gully: “They let the women work too hard. It puts me in mind er the time wen the black fellows made the gins do all the work.”</p> <p>While Franklin occasionally employs a slave rhetoric to emphasise female oppression, one is struck by the novel’s racial inequities.</p> <p>Many of the problems in My Brilliant Career remain prescient: drought, bushfire, economic depression and social precarity. Whereas second-wave feminists advocated having it all, too often the message today is that women can’t expect to have love, family and career simultaneously.</p> <p>Franklin achieved fame and showed women as central to Australian literature. I hope my daughter’s generation keep her spirit but that the yarn becomes one of shared, all-round fulfilment.</p> <p><em>An adaptation of My Brilliant Career is at Sydney’s Belvoir St Theatre until January 31.</em></p> <p><em>Written by Ann Vickery. This article first appeared on The Conversation.</em></p>

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“You’re f***ing gone”: Furious Tom Cruise lashes out on set of Mission Impossible

<p>Furious Tom Cruise has ripped into workers who broke COVID rules on the set of Mission: Impossible, screaming: “If I see you doing it again, you’re f***ing gone.”</p> <p>The Hollywood superstar has gone the extra mile to make sure tight social-distancing rules were being implemented during the filming, which is taking place in Britain.</p> <p>And after coming across two of the crew members standing within two metres of each other, he quickly flew into a rage.</p> <p>The Sun published the audio recording, which heard Cruise shouting: “If I see you do it again, you’re f***ing gone. And if anyone in this crew does it, that’s it — and you too and you too. And you, don’t you ever f***ing do it again.”</p> <p>50 staff members at Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, Herts, were left shocked by the angry outburst.</p> <p>The 58-year-old was furious that his efforts to keep filming going during a pandemic could be at risk.</p> <p>He went on: “They’re back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us. “We are creating thousands of jobs, you motherf***ers.</p> <p>“That’s it. No apologies. You can tell it to the people that are losing their f***ing homes because our industry is shut down. “</p> <p>“We are not shutting this f***ing movie down. Is it understood? If I see it again, you’re f***ing gone.”</p> <p>A source said: “Tom has taken it upon himself, along with the health and safety department, to try to force the safety precautions, with a view to keeping the film running.</p> <p>“He does daily rounds to make sure that everything is set up appropriately, that people are behaving and working as safely as they can. He is very proactive when it comes to safety.”</p> <p>They added: “Everyone was wearing masks. It was purely that these people were standing under a metre away from each other.</p> <p>“It isn’t known whether he saw those guys breaking the rules before or whether this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.</p> <p>“People make mistakes and they slip up, but Tom is just on it.”</p> <p><strong>Tom’s rant, in full:</strong></p> <p>“We want the gold standard. They’re back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us! Because they believe in us and what we’re doing!</p> <p>I’m on the phone with every f***ing studio at night, insurance companies, producers, and they’re looking at us and using us to make their movies. We are creating thousands of jobs you motherf***ers.</p> <p>I don’t ever want to see it again, ever! And if you don’t do it you’re fired, if I see you do it again you’re f***ing gone. And if anyone in this crew does it – that’s it, and you too and you too. And you, don’t you ever f***ing do it again.</p> <p>That’s it! No apologies. You can tell it to the people that are losing their f***ing homes because our industry is shut down. It’s not going to put food on their table or pay for their college education.</p> <p>That’s what I sleep with every night. The future of this f***ing industry! So I’m sorry I am beyond your apologies. I have told you and now I want it and if you don’t do it you’re out. We are not shutting this f***ing movie down! Is it understood?</p> <p>If I see it again you’re f***ing gone — and you are — so you’re going to cost him his job, if I see it on the set you’re gone and you’re gone.</p> <p>That’s it. Am I clear?</p> <p>Do you understand what I want? Do you understand the responsibility that you have? Because I will deal with your reason. And if you can’t be reasonable and I can’t deal with your logic, you’re fired. That’s it. That is it.</p> <p>I trust you guys to be here. That’s it. That’s it guys. Have a little think about it …[inaudible].</p> <p>That’s what I think of Universal and Paramount. Warner Brothers. Movies are going because of us. If we shut down it’s going to cost people f***ing jobs, their home, their family. That’s what’s happening.</p> <p>All the way down the line. And I care about you guys, but if you’re not going to help me you’re gone. OK? Do you see that stick? How many metres is that?</p> <p>When people are standing around a f***ing computer and hanging out around here, what are you doing? And if they don’t comply then send their names to Matt Spooner. That’s it.”</p>

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“Awful”: Steve Price slams upcoming Port Arthur movie

<p>The film about the 1996 Port Arthur massacre has proven to be a massive controversy, with many saying it should not be made.</p> <p>On Wednesday night’s episode of The Project, Lisa Wilkinson asked Steve Price his opinion on the upcoming film.</p> <p>“A controversial new film about the 1996 Port Arthur massacre has been widely condemned. It is due for release next year. Survivors have branded it ‘tasteless and inappropriate,’” Lisa stated.</p> <p>“The film focuses on the gunman who killed 32 people and injured 23 others in what became one of Australia’s worst mass shootings.”</p> <p>“Steve Price was at the scene after that horrific event unfolded in 1996.</p> <p>“There are films made about 9/11, World War II and here in Australia about Snowtown. What is different about this one?” Lisa asks.</p> <p>“Well, Lisa, I think it is probably too soon and too close to home. I mean, the 35 people who were killed there, their relatives today I would think would be having flashbacks,” Price said.</p> <p>“The 21 people injured by that gunman would be feeling uncomfortable. I saw an interview back with Walter who did it from the ABC, where he was talking about how he lost his wife and his two children and he described how the gunman had left the cafe and was driving back down the road. He saw his wife. He jumped out of the car. He killed her. He then shot one of the daughters. The other was hiding behind a tree. He turned around the side of that tree and gunned her down as well. I stood in front of that tree the day after that happened and I can tell you, and I wasn’t there on the day but I was there the next day, it still haunts me. It was an awful feeling and awful place and it would be an awful movie.”</p> <p>“Is it fair to protest a film – we don’t know what is in the film. Is it fair to protest a film which has not been made yet?” asked co-host Joel Creasey.</p> <p>“We all know how it ends and the end is grim and awful. I don’t know what sort of job this filmmaker will make of this movie. I won’t see it. I am sure anyone there on the day will avoid it at all costs. I agree it should not be made,” he said.</p> <p>“I don’t see the point in making something which was an awful stain on our history.”</p> <p>Waleed Aly asked him whether the film could be seen as a crucial way to learn lessons from the tragedy, as there was no trial.</p> <p>“It sounds like an important story to tell. Isn’t this a way to do that?” Waleed asked.</p> <p>But Price didn’t think so.</p> <p>“The big lesson we learn is there’s no place in Australian homes for automatic and semiautomatic weapons. We learnt that John Howard took guns off people after that. A lot of people turned weapons in and we’ve not had as may a mass shooting as that ever since. That is the lesson we learnt. What did we learn about the gunman? What we have learnt today is we’re not using his name. That is a good lesson. I don’t though how a movie can be made without using the person it is about and saying their name.”</p> <p>The movie based around the events leading up to the horrible tragedy will make its cinematic debut in 2021.</p>

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Sean Connery: his five best Bond movies rated

<p>Obituaries for <a href="https://theconversation.com/sean-connery-bond-james-bond-but-so-much-more-149238">Sean Connery</a> all over the world remind us of what a versatile actor he was, starring in films as diverse as Alfred Hitchcock’s 1964 <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058329/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Marnie</a> and Brian de Palma’s 1987 <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094226/">The Untouchables</a>. But it is the character of James Bond, <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/sean-connery-death-cause-james-bond-007-michael-caine-hated-b1478316.html">which he allegedly came to hate</a>, that film fans will inevitably associate with the rugged features of the Scottish actor who first played the role in Dr. No in 1962.</p> <p>Connery’s Bond embodied the postwar ideal of masculinity, a complex mix of old-fashioned charm and tough virility, loyalty to “Queen and Country”, and relaxed sexual mores. <a href="http://jamesbondmemes.blogspot.com/2012/04/women-want-to-be-with-him-men-want-to.html">Raymond Mortimer</a> wrote at the time, in his review of Fleming’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963): “James Bond is what every man would like to be, and what every woman would like between her sheets.”</p> <p>Like his literary incarnation, the cinematic Bond launched by Connery caused disdain and thrilled audiences of both sexes in equal measures. Reviewing Goldfinger, film critic <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=oXxZAAAAMAAJ&amp;q=%E2%80%98The+constantly+lurking+viciousness,+and+the+glamorisation+of+violence+%E2%80%A6+the+carefully+timed+peaks+of+titillation+and+the+skilfully+contrived+sensationalism%E2%80%99&amp;dq=%E2%80%98The+constantly+lurking+viciousness,+and+the+glamorisation+of+violence+%E2%80%A6+the+carefully+timed+peaks+of+titillation+and+the+skilfully+contrived+sensationalism%E2%80%99&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=2ahUKEwieiu6wjOHsAhUlQUEAHey1C34Q6AEwAHoECAAQAg">Nina Hibbin</a> remained unimpressed by the Bond formula of “constantly lurking viciousness, and the glamorisation of violence … the carefully timed peaks of titillation and the skilfully contrived sensationalism”. Meantime, the late <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/apr/06/honor-blackman-obituary">Honor Blackman</a>, who played alongside him in <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058150/">Goldfinger</a>, described working with Connery as “<a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=dbijDwAAQBAJ&amp;pg=PT13&amp;dq=romping+about+on+international+locations+with+the+sexiest+man+ever+seen+on+screen&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=2ahUKEwiBn_zsiuHsAhVVilwKHe6NAYQQ6AEwAHoECAYQAg#v=onepage&amp;q=romping%20about%20on%20international%20locations%20with%20the%20sexiest%20man%20ever%20seen%20on%20screen&amp;f=false">romping about on international locations with the sexiest man ever seen on screen</a>”.</p> <p>Connery’s Bond may get his Savile Row suit dirty, but he never loses his cool. Ruthless with his enemies, he’s not afraid of hurting many a female villain who threatens the success of his missions. He’s also, of course, an irresistible lover, able to seduce even those, like Pussy Galore, who claim “immunity” to his charms.</p> <p>But is there more to Connery’s Bond than backward machismo and dubious race politics? Here are my top five Connery Bond films, and why you may want to watch them again:</p> <p><strong>1. Goldfinger (Guy Hamilton, 1964)</strong></p> <p>A beautiful woman whose spectacular death, and gold-painted lifeless body – remains, for better or worse, one of the most iconic images in the history of the franchise. A squad of female pilots is led by the talented Pussy Galore, whose name is an ironic reference to her sexuality. <em>Goldfinger</em> is a criminal genius, whose plan to make the US gold reserves radioactive in order to increase the value of his own is nothing short of brilliant, and whose laser beam poses a literal threat to <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/The_James_Bond_Phenomenon.html?id=x9-1QY5boUsC&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;source=kp_read_button&amp;redir_esc=y#v=onepage&amp;q=laser&amp;f=false">Bond’s virility</a>.</p> <p>A Korean henchman in a lethal bowler hat is a parody of the quintessential Englishness, which trilby-wearing Connery – a proud Scotsman – also “performs”. These manifestations of ambivalent gender and race politics, more recently picked up in Anthony Horowitz’s sequel Bond novel, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/may/28/new-james-bond-novel-trigger-mortis-pussy-galore-anthony-horowitz">Trigger Mortis</a>, make it, if anything, even more relevant to watch today.</p> <p><strong>2. Dr No (Terence Young, 1962)</strong></p> <p>Set in Ian Fleming’s beloved Jamaica, hints of Sinophobia lurk in the figure of Dr. No, whose Chinese ethnicity is conveyed through the Asian style of the clothes he wears. The first cinematic “Bond Girl” makes a memorable entrance wearing an equally memorable <a href="https://www.tatler.com/article/ursula-andress-dr-no-honey-ryder-bikini-auction-los-angeles">white bikini</a>. But the fact that Honey Ryder also wears a knife around her waist suggests that she’s more than eye-candy.</p> <p>We’re also told she has used a black widow spider to kill an abusive landlord in the past. Just like Dr. No threatens the authority of white British Bond, so Honey represents a challenge to the patriarchal order he represents. She is a new kind of woman, as <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2hC8Frhicg&amp;list=PLGiXHXUUO-jMHt4O8nAslNZ5UBHd_cZZ7&amp;index=10">Andress claims</a>, physically strong and ready to take part in the action.</p> <p><strong>3. From Russia with Love (Terence Young, 1963)</strong></p> <p>The romantic settings – Istanbul, the Orient Express train journey – and the beautiful co-star, Daniela Bianchi, who plays defecting Soviet spy Tania Romanova, may fool us into thinking that this may be a Cold War “Romeo and Juliet” love story. Tania is, however, less interested in Bond and more attracted to the other tempting luxuries of the West that he may help her achieve.</p> <p>The poisoned blade concealed in the toe of villain Rosa Klebb’s shoe, provides another unforgettable moment in the film franchise, and one that insinuates further doubts about Bond’s invulnerable masculinity. And while at the end of Fleming’s novel, Bond is left for dead, in the film, it is Tania’s quick thinking and good aim that saves his life.</p> <p><strong>4. Thunderball (Terence Young, 1965)</strong></p> <p>Still, according to <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbean/2020/04/18/all-26-james-bond-films-ranked-at-the-box-office/">Forbes</a>, the highest grossing film of the franchise, <em>Thunderball</em> sees Bond in action in the Bahamas, a place which would remain close to Connery’s heart until his death in Nassau on October 31 2020.</p> <p>As the action unfolds around the beautiful island setting, and its treacherous coastline, Bond’s life is threatened by SPECTRE operative Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi), and especially Fiona Volpe (Luciana Paluzzi), one of the many phenomenal female drivers in the film franchise – and a woman who is confident enough to ridicule his alleged sexual prowess. But it is the leading Bond Girl, Domino Derval (Claudine Auger), who, again, saves Bond’s life by shooting a harpoon at Largo.</p> <p><strong>5. You Only Live Twice (Lewis Gilbert, 1967)</strong></p> <p>We may raise an eyebrow at Bond’s dubious transformation into a Japanese man, the patriarchal attitudes towards women presented as traditional of Japan, not helped by the lukewarm performance by Mie Hama, who plays what has been described as “<a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=auaECgAAQBAJ&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=lisa+funnel+lotus+blossom&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=2ahUKEwjHgOmKkOHsAhUJZcAKHf8ZAowQ6AEwAXoECAYQAg#v=onepage&amp;q=lotus&amp;f=false">servile Lotus Blossom</a>” Kissy Suzuki, but there is enough charisma between the other female roles in the film, Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi) and Helga Brandt (Karin Dor), to make up for Kissy’s submissiveness.</p> <p>Both die, the latter in a spectacularly sadistic execution in a piranha pool. But Helga also very nearly mutilates Bond with a surgical scalpel and chucks a lipstick bomb at him before parachuting herself out of the plane she has been flying. A “bombshell” she may be, but not on the terms set by the men who try to control her.</p> <p>Most of us will cringe, today, at the bottom-slapping, the “man-talk” and the colonial attitudes that we see in the early Bond movies. But Connery’s Bond is more nuanced than we think and his white British masculinity is rarely left unchallenged. He was a Bond for his time.</p> <p><em>Written by <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/monica-germana-415866">Monica Germanà</a>, University of Westminster. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/sean-connery-his-five-best-bond-movies-rated-149240">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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“Things were different”: Olivia Newton-John hits back at Grease sexism claims

<p>Olivia Newton-John had addressed backlash surrounding her classic 1979 movie Grease.</p> <p>In the smash hit musical, the Aussie actress plays goody-two-shoes Sandy Olsson who changes who she is at the end of the movie to impress her bad-boy boyfriend, Danny Zuko (played by John Travolta).</p> <p>Despite the final scene being hailed as one of the most iconic movie screen moments, in recent times it’s been classified as sexist.</p> <p>Speaking to The Guardian, Newton-John said critics need to take into account that the movie was filmed during a very different time period.</p> <p>"It's a movie," the 72-year-old told the publication. "It's a story from the Fifties where things were different. Everyone forgets that, at the end, he changes for her, too. There's nothing deep in there about the #MeToo movement.</p> <p>"It's just a girl who loves a guy, and she thinks if she does that, he'll like her. And he thinks if he does that, she'll like him. I think that's pretty real. People do that for each other. It was a fun love story."</p> <p>Back in 2018, when the film celebrated its 40th birthday, Travolta also said he was proud of the film and how it remains a fan favourite with audiences both new and old.</p> <p>"This is a film that's so timeless that keeps on giving to each new generation," he told <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.etonline.com/john-travolta-shares-his-most-vivid-memories-from-filming-grease-exclusive-104277" target="_blank">ET</a> at the time. "When people watch this, they just get happy. They want to become the characters they're watching. They want to sing along with it, they want to dance, they want to be part of this film. When mutual enthusiasm comes together and creates an environment you can create almost anything and we created Grease."</p>

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My best worst film: Pink Flamingos – “one of the most vile, stupid and repulsive films ever made”?

<p><em>In a new series by The Conversation, writers explore their best worst film. They’ll tell you what the critics got wrong – and why it’s time to give these movies another chance.</em></p> <p>While some may know John Waters through his family friendly <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095270/">Hairspray</a> (1988) – adapted into a stage musical <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hairspray_(musical)">in 2002</a> and back to the screen <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0427327/">in 2007</a> – many know him as the Prince of Puke, the King of Bad Taste or the Pope of Trash.</p> <p>Perhaps his most notorious film is the exploitation comedy <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069089/">Pink Flamingos</a> (1972), the first in his “Trash Trilogy”, which also includes <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072979/">Female Trouble</a> (1974) and <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075936/">Desperate Living</a> (1977).</p> <p>Pink Flamingos is emblematic of Waters’ camp aesthetic, juxtaposing grotesque subject matter against pastel colours, kitsch props and bubblegum pop music.</p> <p>Waters’ muse <a href="https://www.them.us/story/drag-herstory-divine">Divine</a> is Babs Johnson, the “filthiest person alive.” She lives with her mother Edie (Edith Massey), who dresses as a baby, sits in a crib and screams for eggs; her ghoulish lover Cotton (Mary Vivian Pearce); and her son Crackers (Danny Mills), who, in a particularly gruesome moment, has sex with a woman while a live chicken is crushed to death between their two bodies.</p> <p>But Babs’ title of “filthiest person alive” is at stake, and she must rival Raymond (David Lochary) and Connie Marble (Mink Stole), who kidnap women, imprison and forcefully impregnate them, and sell their babies to lesbian couples.</p> <p>Variety’s <a href="https://variety.com/1973/film/reviews/pink-flamingos-1200423192/amp/">first review</a> is now famous, calling it “one of the most vile, stupid and repulsive films ever made.”</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7838450/evergreen-5-movie-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/34ba8ffdcdd84d0ab84e873fdc198af3" /></p> <p><strong>Banned for indecency</strong></p> <p>It wasn’t just the critics who were unimpressed. When distributors tried to bring the film to Australia in 1976, it was <a href="https://www.refused-classification.com/censorship/films/p.html">banned</a> for “indecency”. A cut version was given an R rating and released that year theatrically.</p> <p>The film’s full version was eventually granted an X18+ rating, for pornographic, non-simulated sexual activity, restricting sale and hire of the film to the ACT and some regions of the NT.</p> <p>In 1997, for a 25th anniversary cinematic re-release, the uncut film was again refused. The classification board <a href="https://www.refused-classification.com/censorship/films/p.html">said</a> films could receive an R rating when sexual activity was “realistically simulated” – but not when it was “the real thing”.</p> <p>Films with unsimulated sexual activity, such as Catherine Breillat’s <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0194314/">Romance</a> (1999) and John Cameron Mitchell’s <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0367027/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Shortbus</a> (2006) have since been awarded R18+ classification, allowing the category to include them.</p> <p>But the full version of Pink Flamingos maintains an X18+ rating. Even the National Film and Sound Archive’s 2017 <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-12/the-banned-and-the-beautiful-films-government-censored/8702692">screenings of banned films</a> showed a cut version rated R18+.</p> <p><strong>Stupid? No: it was groundbreaking</strong></p> <p>Despite this reception, Pink Flamingos is now heralded as groundbreaking. It shaped the boundaries of bad taste and gross out humour.</p> <p>There are several shocking scenes in the film. One sees Divine and Crackers break into the Marbles’ home where, after licking all the furniture, Divine fellates her son. Another sees a shot of a man flexing his prolapsed anus so it looks like it’s miming the words to “Surfin’ Bird”.</p> <p>But perhaps the most notorious is where, in the final scene, Divine eats dog faeces to the song “How Much is the Doggy in the Window?”.</p> <p>Just how much can you stomach when watching something disgusting?</p> <p>The characters in Pink Flamingos challenge normative ideas around sexuality, gender and family. Confronting perceptions of “good taste”, Pink Flamingos attacked an elitist culture that excluded many communities, such as queer folk and punks.</p> <p>Unlike the respectable queer characters palatable to a broad audience in <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5164432/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2">Love, Simon</a> (2018) or <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0157246/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Will &amp; Grace</a> (1998–2005, 2017–), Pink Flamingos allows us pleasure in others’ disgust at these mad characters.</p> <p>The film draws on a queer rage that channelled the discontent many viewers felt with assimilationist politics. Babs Johnson and her family were disgusting and broke the law – and the audience loved her for it.</p> <p>Pink Flamingos contributed to a camp aesthetic that is imbued in many popular queer films, such as <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0179116/">But I’m a Cheerleader</a> (1999) and <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390418/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Raspberry Reich</a> (2004), and Waters’ rage became a key part of queer cinema, seen elsewhere in the <a href="https://www.vulture.com/article/new-queer-cinema-movies.html">New Queer Cinema</a> movement of the early 90s and beyond.</p> <p>In an era when films depicted queer folk as painfully banal, such as <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065488/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_10">The Boys in the Band</a> (1970), or offensive, such as <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080569/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0">Cruising</a> (1980), Waters’ films were a funny and crude counterpoint.</p> <p>They were a promise of a brighter and queerer future.</p> <p>As I have argued <a href="http://www.sensesofcinema.com/2019/20-years-of-senses/divine-dog-shit-john-waters-and-disruptive-queer-humour-in-film-issue-80-september-2016/">elsewhere</a>, Waters’ films do not make explicit political statements. His ideology is conveyed through humour.</p> <p>Through co-opting the plastic, pink flamingo lawn ornament, Waters makes fun of middle class respectability. Before carrying out the punishment of the Marbles (for “asshole-ism”, no less), Babs Johnson proclaims:</p> <p><em>Kill everyone now! Condone first degree murder! Advocate cannibalism! Eat shit! Filth is my politics! Filth is my life!</em></p> <p>The humour lies in the absurdity of the situation.</p> <p>When Variety dubbed the film “one of the most vile, stupid and repulsive films ever made”, Waters used this on the posters promoting it. Waters wanted to offend people with Pink Flamingos – and if you can stomach to look past the offence, you will find a biting and hilarious film, as shocking and politically relevant as ever.</p> <p>But in revisiting Pink Flamingos, there is one scene that still doesn’t sit right with me. The on-screen deaths of the chicken (purely for the sake of comedy) are a cruelty and grotesquery that goes beyond my own sense of good taste. Everyone has their limits.</p> <p><em>Written by <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stuart-richards-9983">Stuart Richards</a>, University of South Australia. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/my-best-worst-film-pink-flamingos-one-of-the-most-vile-stupid-and-repulsive-films-ever-made-147358">The Conversation.</a></em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

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