Friday, April 20, 2007

Mitchum Blog

Robert Mitchum
From James Wolcott’s blog:
“…it is difficult imagining Mitchum exerting himself much in bed, given how lax he often was on screen (his stellar performance in Night of the Hunter excepted, of course).”

I enjoy Wolcott’s blog. He exudes a gleeful and literate malificence towards people who deserve it. But hey, this is Robert Mitchum he’s talking about.

One of my comedy partners, Dan Coffey, was once at a party where he happened to be chatting up a woman. Elvis Presley had just passed, and Elvis-obsessed Dan, upon discovering that the woman he was chatting up was an Elvis fan, began to hold forth on the various bizarre stories connected with that icon’s sadly abbreviated life – you know – trying to give a gun to Nixon, the eating habits, the giving away of cars, etc.

Suddenly the woman said, “I don’t want to hear anything bad about Elvis.”

I feel the same way about Robert Mitchum. What Wolcott calls “lax” I call laconic. His was a deadpan acceptance of certain doom. BLOOD ON THE MOON? Hello? HIS KIND OF WOMAN? THE SUNDOWNERS? CROSSFIRE?

OUT OF THE PAST? One of the best noirs ever. I don’t want to hear anything bad about Mitchum. And MACAO (the movie Wolcott references in his sneer at Mitchum) is actually a lot of fun. Flawed of course, but what isn’t?

Keep in mind that I rented SNAKES ON A PLANE last night, and thought it was the best movie I’d seen in months. It was like a disaster movie from the seventies, only getting away with more. It delivered. If you see a movie called SNAKES ON A PLANE, you want to see snakes biting people in every way you can imagine. SOAP did that. Snakes bit people on penises, on breasts; they swallowed a head, they swallowed a chihuahua whole… And you got to hear Samuel L. Jackson declare, “I have had it with the motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane.” Nobody says “motherfucking” like Samuel L. Jackson. On some level, what more do you want from a movie? Oh, art. That.

I liked it so much I have even forgiven the creepy viral marketing/internet crap that surrounded its launch.

On another note….
I’m not complaining, but I have NEVER had so much activity from readers as I had from the (surprisingly bland!) Imus commentary I posted last week. I’m not sure that people were actually “reading” what I wrote, but rather were seizing the opportunity to hold forth on their own agendas. What’s that all about? As I wrote, I’m not that familiar with Imus (having never actually, you know, listened to his program), but there are odd elements to this.

“Insiders” liked to go on his show, because he had actually read their books (believe me: this is rare), and was familiar with their work, and who they were. Moreover, he gave them the opportunity to be “looser” than they would be on the Sunday morning/Charlie Rose/NPR type of shows. Many of these folks rose to his support. They have since disappeared. James Wolcott has defended him, but these other folks have vanished.

Many of the people who posted here seemed to blame Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson/whoever for the demise of Don Imus. This puzzled me. Admittedly, my understanding of capitalism is incomplete, but it seems to me that the dread Sharpton/Jackson juggernaut had only a tangential connection to the (temporary?) doom of Don Imus. It was a corporate decision to drop the guy. Because he acted like an asshole.

Who actually listened to his show? What’s the attraction?

Imus helped children with cancer. Good on him. All the more reason for him to put a sock in it. After all, he has kids depending on him for their survival.

And I am still left with the bone-headed, tin-eared stuff that Imus actually said. Okay, he wasn’t racist. I will accept that as a given. But still, he said it. And if there’s one thing I believe it’s this: what you say has consequences. Some pay those consequences, depending on who’s paying attention, and who doesn’t. Imus did pay the consequences. He assumed that nobody was listening except his fans, but it turned out that- in this new Internet world - Rutgers fans got wind of it, black activists got wind of it, liberals got wind of it, CONSERVATIVES got wind of it. He's a victim of the culture wars. But who cares? He’ll be on satellite radio soon anyway. Rejoice. To quote Dr. Dre: Fuck y’all. Fuck all of y’all. Imus equals Dr. Dre? Dunno.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, it's difficult imagining Mitchum exerting himself in bed, REGARDLESS OF ANYTHING ELSE. Maybe it's easier for women to do this sort of imagining....

P.S. Vitriolic monologists make better lovers?

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I certainly think so!

--Mrs. Kessler

9:19 AM  
Blogger James Killus said...

Okay, he wasn’t racist. I will accept that as a given.

I don't. His show featured racist assholes saying racist things for the entertainment of other racists. Usually he let proxies spew, but sometimes he did it himself.

You know how to tell when a racist tells a racist joke? It isn't funny. You know how to tell who the racists are when they hear said racist joke? They laugh.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Merle Kessler said...

As I said, I've never actually heard his show. I was accepting his word that he was trying to be "hip" or something. "Jaw-droppingly inappropriate" is probably giving his remarks more credit than they're due.

2:57 PM  
Blogger James Killus said...

Well, I would accept an argument to the effect that there are realtive degrees of racism, and Imus is less racist than Rush or Michael Savage.

God spare us from old rich white guys trying to be hip. A non-racist example would be Hugh Hefner during Gilbert Gottfried's performance in "The Aristocrats."

4:38 PM  
Blogger Merle Kessler said...

Weird. Hugh Hefner now harks back to a more innocent America. Can you imagine him saying what Imus said? He would never.

4:50 PM  
Blogger James Killus said...

Weird. Hugh Hefner now harks back to a more innocent America. Can you imagine him saying what Imus said? He would never.

Indeed. But remember, Barry Goldwater would now be classified as a liberal.

8:19 PM  
Blogger James Killus said...

By the bye (BTB?), I hadn't read over the comments on your Imus posting until just now. That guy anonymous just can't seem to make up his mind about anything.

10:10 AM  

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