POLL: Elaine May

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A more consistent filmmaker than her erstwhile partner Mike Nichols, yet blackballed by the industry after Ishtar (which is better than the best movies of many hack directors).

Poll Results

OptionVotes
A New Leaf 4
The Heartbreak Kid 2
Ishtar2
Mikey & Nicky 1


Dr Morbius, Tuesday, 26 June 2007 17:12 (twelve years ago) link

Oh, the humanity!

C. Grisso/McCain, Tuesday, 26 June 2007 22:05 (twelve years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

ILX System, Saturday, 7 July 2007 23:01 (twelve years ago) link

Telling the truth is a bitter herb.

kingkongvsgodzilla, Sunday, 8 July 2007 00:21 (twelve years ago) link

Telling the truth can be dangerous business.

kingkongvsgodzilla, Sunday, 8 July 2007 00:23 (twelve years ago) link

Honest and popular don't go hand-in-hand.

kingkongvsgodzilla, Sunday, 8 July 2007 00:23 (twelve years ago) link

Mikey and Nickey is now on my Netflix queue. What else should I know about it?

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Sunday, 8 July 2007 00:31 (twelve years ago) link

nothing til u see it, of course. shot in Philly. went spectacularly over budget, EM wound up hiding reels from the studio in her shrink's garage.

Dr Morbius, Sunday, 8 July 2007 13:23 (twelve years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

ILX System, Sunday, 8 July 2007 23:01 (twelve years ago) link

wow, at least 5 ppl have seen A New Leaf! (I voted for M&N)

Dr Morbius, Monday, 9 July 2007 13:15 (twelve years ago) link

two years pass...

I really don't think Walter Matthau has been funnier than in ANL. And Elaine nearly matched her club/LP work w/ Nichols.

kind of shrill and very self-righteous (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 25 April 2010 08:24 (nine years ago) link

one year passes...

The lady herself to discuss Ishtar after a 92nd St Y screening:

http://www.92y.org/shop/event_detail.asp?productid=T%2DLC5AE33

Also imminent on BluRay.

your generation appalls me (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 27 April 2011 14:50 (eight years ago) link

i watched a new leaf for the first time recently and was fairly underwhelmed. it really was not funny and matthaus character is just too mean to ever be sympathetic imo. actually, i think the same thing abt grodin in heartbreak kid so hm

johnny crunch, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 14:54 (eight years ago) link

Being played by Matthau is enough to get sympathy from me. "NO, don't take them OUT!!!"

your generation appalls me (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 27 April 2011 15:09 (eight years ago) link

I saw "A new leaf" a couple of weeks ago for the nth time and I still found it immensely enjoyable. I didn't remember the line about the Boston Hitlers - it made us laugh hard.

Marco Damiani, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 16:01 (eight years ago) link

I've never seen A New Leaf, but I definitely want to. I recently listed The Heartbreak Kid #50 on a Facebook countdown of my favourite films.

clemenza, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 20:59 (eight years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Tix still available for her Ishtar event tonight

resistance does not require a firearm (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 17 May 2011 15:18 (eight years ago) link

Elaine May is really good at making me squirm in terror of society. I haven't seen Ishtar, though. I semi-recently got a comedy record of hers and Nichols', the one where the pianist improvises and the duo improvises characters to go along with the piano, and the first bit about the boss taking his young employee to dinner, trying to get in her pants and later trying to conceal his bitterness when she makes her rejection clear, made my friend go through a few sympathetic saucer eyeballs and oh-no-he-di-ents. It's a really subtly played bit; they have these extraordinary psychic undercurrents working together.

The Heartbreak Kid made me so disgusted sometimes I couldn't laugh. Mikey & Nickey reminded me of a Cassavetes movie, a less sloppy one, but that's probably just the cast. The extras on the dvd are actually pretty interesting. The blues and blacks and oranges of the nighttime street scenes were really pretty. Haven't seen A New Leaf since I was a teenager going through a brief late-60s/early-70s comedy phase. I remember the movie being ambivalent and cruel. Is there a biography of May? What makes her so cruel?

bamcquern, Tuesday, 17 May 2011 15:56 (eight years ago) link

i have ishtar on my dvr now, not sure when ill get round 2 it

johnny crunch, Tuesday, 17 May 2011 16:03 (eight years ago) link

What makes her so cruel?

Telling the truth can be dangerous business.

― kingkongvsgodzilla, Saturday, July 7, 2007 8:23 PM

resistance does not require a firearm (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 17 May 2011 16:08 (eight years ago) link

“At that time, Reagan was president, and I met him,” May said. “And he’s an amazingly naïve, innocent, charming guy who really, really cared about show business! In the nicest way, really. He knew Mike’s and my albums. He could quote them — he memorized them! He did our ‘Telephone’ routine. So he was the president. And nobody really knew what was going on, actually. I thought, ‘Really, there’s something very endearing, if terrifying, about this kind of innocence, this kind of naïvete.”

http://www.movieline.com/2011/05/ishtar-revelations-from-director-elaine-may.php

the gay bloggers are onto the faggot tweets (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 19 May 2011 21:16 (eight years ago) link

three weeks pass...

ishtar kinda reminded me of dumb & dumber, w/o nearly enough jokes. i can def understand it being a flop.

i actually liked the setup & them in ny more than the meat of the plot in ishtar/morroco -- their agent saying most ppl would kill for a booking in northern africa was pretty good; also the bitter herb line lol

johnny crunch, Friday, 10 June 2011 22:43 (eight years ago) link

four months pass...

She sat in the row behind me tonight at a Lincoln Center screening of The Heartbreak Kid!

I managed to avoid asking her for the Information supervisor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LjmG4qtkO0&feature=related

Dr Morbois de Bologne (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 5 November 2011 03:57 (seven years ago) link

Are you seeing her Broadway one-act, Morbs?

your way better (Eazy), Saturday, 5 November 2011 14:38 (seven years ago) link

dunno, I saw the last one. Also I know one of the cast members, need to see if I can get a comp.

Charles Grodin and Jeannie Berlin did the Q&A last night, but Elaine stayed in her seat. When some questioner said it was a crime that THK was no longer on DVD, she piped up "Well then, everyone hear tonight should--" and she turned to a companion to ask, "Who owns it?" He said, "Bristol-Myers." She repeated, "Bristol-Myers."

http://www.hometheaterforum.com/t/315469/who-now-has-control-of-the-palomar-library

Grodin said that Neil Simon was a controlling schmuck (nicely) who left rehearsals after a few days because the actors were doing improv. "Where does it say they sing?"

Dr Morbois de Bologne (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 5 November 2011 16:05 (seven years ago) link

What did you think of it? One of my favourite movies ever. "I'm not dying...I want out of the goddamned marriage!"

clemenza, Saturday, 5 November 2011 16:11 (seven years ago) link

I'd seen it once before, maybe 20 years ago. Eddie Albert is pretty scary in it, a great role for him right after finishing Green Acres.

I love J Berlin's honeymoon stuff: "Lenny, that's us, 50 years from now."

Dr Morbois de Bologne (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 5 November 2011 16:23 (seven years ago) link

"there's no deceit in this cauliflower"

Dr Morbois de Bologne (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 5 November 2011 16:24 (seven years ago) link

The cauliflower line's great. To cross over to another thread, I think it exemplifies a kind of early-'70s gossamer that Kael was much more attuned to than Simon, Kauffmann, and Sarris (Made for Each Other, [/i]The Sterile Cuckoo[/i], etc.). I love Grodin giving his spiel to the group of kids right at the end.

clemenza, Saturday, 5 November 2011 16:35 (seven years ago) link

The one scene that doesn't come off is Lenny scaring off Kelly's bf at U.Minn by playing a narc, cuz Grodin really doesn't have the authority to do it.

Dr Morbois de Bologne (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 5 November 2011 16:41 (seven years ago) link

xp Grodin's insistence that much of the film was improved without Simon's approval sorta confirms Kael's review, which if i recall correctly is half about how good elaine may's direction is and half about how bad simon's writing usually is

/\/K/\/\, Saturday, 5 November 2011 19:22 (seven years ago) link

think i will order myself up a full-on lovefilm may-fest when i get back to london, i always liked the sound of her but i never heard or saw a lick of her work

mark s, Saturday, 5 November 2011 19:27 (seven years ago) link

Grodin also said Eddie Albert asked him during the reception finale scene "Why are they shooting this? It isn't going to be in the film," bcz everything was so casually non-choreographed.

Anyone ever see this comedy she acted in w/ Lemmon and Falk?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6tzxo_BaVQ

Dr Morbois de Bologne (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 5 November 2011 21:49 (seven years ago) link

five months pass...

80 today

World Congress of Itch (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 21 April 2012 18:14 (seven years ago) link

HBD to you both.

Aimless, Saturday, 21 April 2012 18:38 (seven years ago) link

one month passes...

A New Leaf is coming to DVD & BluRay from Olive Films on 9/4/12.

Hare Kinsey (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 6 June 2012 23:13 (seven years ago) link

six months pass...

Edmund Wilson was infatuated w/ Elaine:

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/wolcott/2012/12/May-in-December

saltwater incursion (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 11 December 2012 15:17 (six years ago) link

seven months pass...
one month passes...

I'll finally get to see A New Leaf this Sunday. Strange feeling: it's going to be introduced by someone who had film classes with me almost 35 years ago. I know her brother a bit, so I knew she ended up teaching in Colorado where Stan Brakhage taught. She made an impression back then, I'll say that.

clemenza, Friday, 4 October 2013 03:38 (five years ago) link

ohhhhh man you're in for a treat, such a great movie.

(also, Mikey & Nickey pretty underrated itt!)

papa smango (fadanuf4erybody), Friday, 4 October 2013 03:53 (five years ago) link

I liked A New Leaf okay, but I much prefer The Heartbreak Kid. I thought it got better once May appeared. My biggest problem was probably the very thing people love most about the film: Matthau seemed wrong to me. I think he's great as a disheveled grump, great as a wry intellectual (A Face in the Crowd, Fail Safe), and great in The Fortune Cookie; I couldn't connect with him as a spoiled scion, though. The nightgown scene was great ("Where are you right now?" "Same place I was as before..."), and May is fetching. And I liked spotting all the '70s character actors. Not just the well known ones like David Doyle and Doris Roberts, but also Graham Jarvis (he plays a con artist in The Out of Towners--turns out he was from Toronto) and a guy, possibly uncredited (he's got like one line), who I'm sure played the FBI guy in All the President's Men who has a hallway conversation with Redford. "Close your eyes and let go" makes a for a good metaphor for what it's supposed to be a metaphor for. I think a three-hour cut of this would be a tough slog.

clemenza, Monday, 7 October 2013 23:28 (five years ago) link

I think Matthau's miscasting is brilliant. Like Groucho as the president of a country.

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Monday, 7 October 2013 23:36 (five years ago) link

Melinda Barlow, the woman I mentioned in the previous post, said beforehand that the three-hour version involved an excised subplot with Matthau also plotting the murder of Jack Weston, and that it was intended by May to be even more of a black comedy than it is now.

There were some clear affinities between May's character and Jeannie Berlin in The Heartbreak Kid, with May's being the much gentler version.

clemenza, Monday, 7 October 2013 23:43 (five years ago) link

one year passes...

Nichols and May discuss Ishtar and moviemaking in general circa 2006:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShLPGHoXJFY#t=1639

You could read the transcript, but they cut some of the jokes and the video is funnier.

http://www.filmcomment.com/article/elaine-may-in-conversation-with-mike-nichols

The "This is shit" film Nichols talks about pulling the plug on after 5 days of shooting was Bogart Slept Here, an early version of The Goodbye Girl that starred de Niro.

things lose meaning over time (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 22 November 2014 14:38 (four years ago) link

I've a Netflix disc of A New Leaf on top of the pile at home.

Don A Henley And Get Over It (C. Grisso/McCain), Saturday, 22 November 2014 16:37 (four years ago) link

two weeks pass...

^^Which after finishing an intense period of work and a comedown period of watching music stuff on dvd (ie: stuff I can just soak in and not have to think about too much), I got on with A New Leaf. I have an odd criticism: It feels like it should have been a British film, with, I dunno, Peter Cook and Eleanor Bron or somebody in the leads. Much of the class stuff would--to me anyway--work better with genuine British voices. But the film we have is very interesting. I can see why it wasn't successful. The humor is very dry--particularly in the context of other "Zany" films of the period-- and as a director May really makes the audience look and listen for the gags. Take the "Boston Hitlers" line, which is just thrown out there in a wide shot. A lot of the funniest things May's character does are little detail things, usually tied to her clumsiness. She gives a wonderful, endearing performance, and I think my biggest takeaway form this screening is that the tragedy of Elaine May was not that she didn't get to direct enough, or even that she didn't get to write enough--it's that she didn't get to act enough.

Don A Henley And Get Over It (C. Grisso/McCain), Sunday, 7 December 2014 20:53 (four years ago) link

Apparently she played that role as a last resort, cuz the studio was truculent about all her choices for it.

things lose meaning over time (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 7 December 2014 21:46 (four years ago) link

nine months pass...

A New Leaf, unavailable on DVD in the UK, has now turned up on British Netflix

sʌxihɔːl (Ward Fowler), Wednesday, 23 September 2015 13:13 (three years ago) link

five months pass...

A New Leaf is uneven but wonderful.

HENRY: From now on, Henrietta, I'll cook.

HENRIETTA: What will I do, Henry?

HENRY: You'll eat.

or

Henry: Madam, I have seen many examples of perversion in my time, but your erotic obsession with your carpet is probably the most grotesque and certainly the most boring I have ever encountered. You're more to be scorned than pitied. Good day, Mrs. Cunliffe.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 17 March 2016 21:04 (three years ago) link

four months pass...
five months pass...

for that special someone who reminds you of Mikey and Nicky

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1398326469/written-and-directed-by-elaine-may-t-shirts

Supercreditor (Dr Morbius), Monday, 9 January 2017 19:18 (two years ago) link

five months pass...

Joe McElhaney on that good Elaine May detail spotting: pic.twitter.com/rMIdepYDFm

— Peter Labuza (@labuzamovies) June 14, 2017

Supercreditor (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 15 June 2017 16:43 (two years ago) link

five months pass...

new New Leaf Blu

https://www.slantmagazine.com/dvd/review/a-new-leaf-2017

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 12 December 2017 18:43 (one year ago) link

the tragedy of Elaine May was not that she didn't get to direct enough, or even that she didn't get to write enough--it's that she didn't get to act enough.

Her role as Henrietta in A New Leaf was a rare delight, an article of perfection.

A is for (Aimless), Tuesday, 12 December 2017 18:56 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

Mike Nichols on Elaine May and his decision to not direct THE EXORCIST https://t.co/7PQEWlBcZm pic.twitter.com/WdDtDb0DxC

— Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (@suspirialex) March 9, 2018

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Monday, 12 March 2018 18:21 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

will trod the stage again at 86

NEW LONERGAN ALERT. And wow, this CAST! pic.twitter.com/8Vkt240dRD

— Louis Peitzman (@LouisPeitzman) April 11, 2018

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Friday, 13 April 2018 06:44 (one year ago) link

Watched The Heartbreak Kid tonight for the first time in at least a decade. (Instead of playing my old home-taped VHS, I lifted it off YouTube.) One of those things where you watch it, smile at all the stuff you used to love, feel a bit sad because you know you'll never love it that way again. Not that I was never aware (or at least not since I left 20 behind) that it was far-fetched and gimmicky fluff and rather cruel to Jeannie Berlin (maternal director notwithstanding...). But there were things in there that were part of me, going back to first seeing it as a teenager. They're still there--but tonight, less so.

clemenza, Wednesday, 18 April 2018 03:33 (one year ago) link

I really don't think Walter Matthau has been funnier than in ANL.

he's terrific. the miscasting, such as it is, is hilarious. somehow that gap heightens the sense of a man totally, defiantly oblivious to his own situation. all those early scenes with him refusing to accept the facts in dealing with his accountant, his butler... terrific. the last act is a mess and a flop (no matter whose fault that was) and yet it's still delightful to watch this guy carry on with all his pretensions and selfishness, plus you get may's big costume gag scene.

explosion from DOOM courtesy of id software (Doctor Casino), Wednesday, 18 April 2018 03:50 (one year ago) link

also even though in the current version it's really abruptly set up, watching matthau tell off the crooked household staff was oddly satisfying.

explosion from DOOM courtesy of id software (Doctor Casino), Wednesday, 18 April 2018 13:20 (one year ago) link

"Henrietta, where's your left arm?"

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 21 April 2018 11:43 (one year ago) link

e's terrific. the miscasting, such as it is, is hilarious. somehow that gap heightens the sense of a man totally, defiantly oblivious to his own situation. all those early scenes with him refusing to accept the facts in dealing with his accountant, his butler... terrific

Albert Brooks obv looked at these protracted studies in embarrassment when writing and filming Lost in America.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 21 April 2018 11:44 (one year ago) link

happy birthday to the Information Supervisor

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 21 April 2018 12:26 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

retro in Toronto coming up soon

Simon H., Thursday, 24 May 2018 01:32 (one year ago) link

def seeing Mikey and Nicky, mulling the others

Simon H., Thursday, 24 May 2018 01:42 (one year ago) link

i wish m&n was better

kurt schwitterz, Thursday, 24 May 2018 02:33 (one year ago) link

how could it be??

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 24 May 2018 04:09 (one year ago) link

The Heartbreak Kid on Friday! Don't miss it, Simon (my seen-it-too-many-times misgivings above aside).

clemenza, Sunday, 3 June 2018 13:27 (one year ago) link

I have a conflict that night, alas

Simon H., Sunday, 3 June 2018 13:44 (one year ago) link

Obviously would not have watched The Heartbreak Kid at home a couple of months ago had I known it would turn up on the Lightbox schedule. Anyway, full house, some appreciative applause at the end. How hard it is to see? Their print had Swedish subtitles.

clemenza, Saturday, 16 June 2018 04:47 (one year ago) link

well, the print they showed in NY 3-4 years ago did not (she was in the audience, so maybe it was hers).

btw tix are on sale for her return to Broadway in the Lonergan play.

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 16 June 2018 11:31 (one year ago) link

Mikey and Nicky tonight!

Simon H., Saturday, 16 June 2018 14:12 (one year ago) link

One of the best rabbit holes I've gone down, on discovering Elaine May through A New Leaf, was finding out that: she was still alive and married to Stanley Donen, and that her daughter Jeannie Berlin was the one in Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret who had been a big wow in a film of wows. How great that May's now appearing in a Longeran play.

Alba, Sunday, 17 June 2018 14:28 (one year ago) link

did not know she and Donen have been a couple for close to 20 years. however, she seems to have refused to marry him.

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Monday, 18 June 2018 00:57 (one year ago) link

Oh yes: whoops.

Alba, Monday, 18 June 2018 01:19 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

Coming to Criterion in January:

https://www.criterion.com/films/27895-mikey-and-nicky

Also, I'll be seeing her on Broadway in 3 weeks. Stay healthy, Elaine!

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 18:06 (eleven months ago) link

she's getting great reviews (the NYT liked the play more than Vulture)

http://www.vulture.com/2018/10/theater-review-elaine-may-in-the-waverly-gallery.html

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 26 October 2018 16:22 (ten months ago) link

She is heartbreaking in this; it's a good play. (Michael Cera plays a clueless Masshole aspiring artist.) She has the funniest line of the night, in response to her son-in-law's "It's hard getting old."

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 9 November 2018 03:45 (ten months ago) link

two months pass...

Elaine is almost off in her own project in Enter Laughing (1967), the first film Carl Reiner directed (about a Jewish kid in the '30s -- him -- deciding to be an actor). She's the actress daughter of a pretentious ham (Jose Ferrer) way off Broadway, but she'll settle for encouraging him to cast younger men she can make out with onstage. She gets 80% of the laughs in the picture.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2FFyA8Qpkc

(yes, that's Rob Reiner as a schlub)

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 23 January 2019 16:50 (seven months ago) link

Mikey and Nicky was personal for May. She grew up in a mob-connected family, and the film’s characters are based on low-echelon gangsters she knew from that time. In fact, this was a project that she had been thinking about since the 1950s, when she was living in Chicago and working with the improvisational group the Compass Players. Friends such as Alan Arkin and Mike Nichols remembered scraps of paper strewn around her apartment with references to the title characters. It was her first totally original screenplay.

https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/6160-10-things-i-learned-mikey-and-nicky

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 1 February 2019 21:17 (seven months ago) link

Watched it last night and was a little (or a lot) dubious that Nicky had been that much of a loathsome fuckup and made it into his 40s alive; I was certainly glad when he finally got it.

One Thing All ILXors Have In Common, Brace Yourself (WmC), Friday, 1 February 2019 22:00 (seven months ago) link

damn, cold

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 1 February 2019 22:08 (seven months ago) link

saw it on tuesday having forgotten i'd heard it wasn't a comedy; took me a while to find its groove but it's a good movie with some really interesting things on its mind re: jealousy and unaddressed resentments in male-male friendships etc. very "actory" movie in that so much has to be unsaid. last scene really landed hard.

|Restore| |Restart| |Quit| (Doctor Casino), Friday, 1 February 2019 22:13 (seven months ago) link

^^Probably one of the darkest '70s movie endings.

a large tuna called “Justice” (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 1 February 2019 22:20 (seven months ago) link

The film's original .8 million budget had grown to nearly $4.3 million (6.6 million in contemporary dollars[1]) by the time May turned the film over to Paramount. She shot 1.4 million feet of film, almost three times as much as was shot for Gone with the Wind. By using three cameras that she sometimes left running for hours, May captured spontaneous interaction between Falk and Cassavetes. At one point, Cassavetes and Falk had both left the set and the cameras remained rolling for several minutes. A new camera operator said "Cut!" only to be immediately rebuked by May for usurping what is traditionally a director's command. He protested that the two actors had left the set. "Yes", replied May, "but they might come back".[2]

I mean, come the fuck on.

One Thing All ILXors Have In Common, Brace Yourself (WmC), Friday, 1 February 2019 22:28 (seven months ago) link

Michael Cimino: "Hold my beer..."

a large tuna called “Justice” (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 1 February 2019 22:34 (seven months ago) link

legendary anecdote, plus the reels in her garage

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 1 February 2019 23:03 (seven months ago) link

i wanna know how her numbers stack up to kubrick's wastage....

the screening the other night was introduced by producer john hausman, and he told the "they might come back" anecdote, but then drifted into musing about how with digital, young filmmakers are just shooting constantly, creating editing hells for themselves but just not even having to worry about these issues. made me think, all may was really doing was arguably wasting other people's money, right? can't say it strikes me as crazier than, like, warner brothers spending tens or maybe hundreds of millions of dollars on post-wrap *reshoots* for "justice league" because they didn't know what they wanted, and were retooling their whole lineup's vibe on the fly, strikes me as far more absurd and stupid. tho obviously in may's case the relevant thing is that it was self-defeating since it severely curtailed her opportunities to make more films. feel like a man in the same position would get more chances to redeem, idk.

|Restore| |Restart| |Quit| (Doctor Casino), Saturday, 2 February 2019 01:17 (seven months ago) link

Kind of. Much of it depends on the film being made. In Steven Bach's Final Cut (the book about the Heaven's Gate debacle), he makes sure to illustrate the Heaven's Gate wasn't even United Artists' most expensive and trouble/overbudget production of 1979--Moonraker was. But Moonraker was a franchise film that they felt would ultimately payoff whatever money was sunk into it (and did, becoming the biggest Bond film up to that point at the box office), and Heaven's Gate was a fast-tracked prestige film that went wayward in directions not yet imagined by the industry.

The digital thing seems like sort of a false equivalency--sure, theoretically you can shoot more stuff, but at the same time you're still running up against other same old same old budgetary restraints (paying crew, renting gear, union requirements, insurance etc.), plus there are only so many hours in the day.

a large tuna called “Justice” (C. Grisso/McCain), Saturday, 2 February 2019 02:30 (seven months ago) link

But yeah, the film did May no favors re:her directing career. Ishtar only happened because Beatty went to bat for her.

a large tuna called “Justice” (C. Grisso/McCain), Saturday, 2 February 2019 02:36 (seven months ago) link

Yeah, I wasn't sure but I got the sense he was maybe talking about students or w/e, where there's much less of a crew and so on, and he's just startled to see people leaving the camera rolling between takes or while everyone's moving lights around. Versus a lifetime of feet of film === $$$.

|Restore| |Restart| |Quit| (Doctor Casino), Saturday, 2 February 2019 16:01 (seven months ago) link

Saw it yesterday (thanks Criterion Channel)...hmm a bit. It seems like half a remarkable film; I don't want to take away from May's clearly intentional development of the characters over the years, and the relatively circular dialogue at points and other lacunae similarly are part of the whole point, but my attention kept drifting at points. I suspect I'll like it better on a second watch, though. Absolutely a great in medias res start to the whole thing, and I loved Ned Beatty just being sick of this shit.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 3 February 2019 18:14 (seven months ago) link

I think most complaints i'm seeing about it are ones I reserve for Cassavetes-directed films.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 3 February 2019 18:59 (seven months ago) link

Mikey and Nicky is such an odd duck: Mean Streets filtered through Husbands by the woman who made The Heartbreak Kid. It makes more sense than it should; The Heartbreak Kid already showed that May understands toxic masculinity as well as Scorsese or Cassavetes. A few too many of the scenes between Cassavetes and Falk are allowed to ramble on too long, a Cassavetes tactic that doesn't always play as well here (a recent rewatch of Husbands confirmed for me that Cassavetes exerted more control over the shape of his films than appears). I can see it growing on me with later viewings, but for now I file it as more of a curio (albeit a successful one) than a legit 70s Classic.

That ending, though.

Timothée Charalambides (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 12 February 2019 20:06 (seven months ago) link

seeing Ishtar on the big screen tonight, woohoo!

|Restore| |Restart| |Quit| (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 12 February 2019 21:08 (seven months ago) link

a dangerous business...

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 12 February 2019 22:43 (seven months ago) link

Watched the Criterion of M&N last night, which I'd last seen only four years ago. A 5-star film.

The alleged "loose" woman who bites Falk is played by Walter Matthau's wife Carol Grace. She'd also been married to William Saroyan... twice. Hadn't had a film credit since '59, never had another.

Very brief but amusing roles for M Emmett Walsh and Bill Hickey.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 14 February 2019 18:58 (seven months ago) link

three months pass...

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