WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2021
Astonishing middle-aged person: We were happy to see that Promising Young Woman did well in today's Golden Globe nominations. According to the New York Times report, its inclusion was a surprise:
BARNES AND SPERLING (2/3/21): Golden Globe nominators pulled David Fincher’s sleepy “Mank” and the revenge-driven “Promising Young Woman” deeper into the Oscar race on Wednesday, while embracing female directors, reacting somewhat coolly to Black ensemble films and, as ever, sprinkling honors on a wide range of stars, from first-timers to living legends.
Almost every film in contention has been released online or is still awaiting release. Many cinemas have now been closed for 11 months.
The black-and-white “Mank,” a tale of Old Hollywood, led the nominations with six, including one for best drama. It will compete against “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “Nomadland,” “The Father” and, in a surprise, “Promising Young Woman.”
"In a surprise," the promising film was nominated for the Best Drama award. Also, Emerald Fennell was nominated as Best Director, and Carey Mulligan received a Best Actress nom.
We're happy to see the film get these nominations. Its unusual rumination had generated some unfriendly reviews, including the one which appeared in the New York Times.
(Note: No one is required to like any particular film.)
To our eye and ear, the film is a fascinating dreamscape exploration of moral experience in a world where nobody else really cares. Its heroine was promising—once. Now, her behavior may make us recall the Woody Guthrie lyrics, as sung by Bruce Springsteen:
Well now, I just ramble round to see what I can see.
It's a wide, wicked world, sure a funny place to be...
The film is an irregular, jangly dreamscape. We're glad it got those noms.
Meanwhile, over in Moscow. an astonishing middle-aged person is on his way to one of Vladimir's prisons.
Having been poisoned and nearly killed, Aleksei Navalny came back from Berlin for more. It's worth recording some of what he said at this week's trial:
NAVALNY: The explanation [for the court case] is one man's hatred and fear—one man hiding in a bunker. I mortally offended him by surviving. I survived thanks to good people, thanks to pilots and doctors. And then I committed an even more serious offense: I didn't run and hide.
Then something truly terrifying happened: I participated in the investigation of my own poisoning, and we proved, in fact, that Putin, using Russia's Federal Security Service, was responsible for this attempted murder. And that's driving this thieving little man in his bunker out of his mind. He's simply going insane as a result.
There's no popularity ratings. No massive support. There's none of that. Because it turns out that dealing with a political opponent who has no access to television and no political party merely requires trying to kill him with a chemical weapon. So, of course, he's losing his mind over this. Because everyone was convinced that he's just a bureaucrat who was accidentally appointed to his position.
He's never participated in any debates or campaigned in an election. Murder is the only way he knows how to fight. He'll go down in history as nothing but a poisoner. We all remember Alexander the Liberator and Yaroslav the Wise. Well, now we'll have Vladimir the Underpants Poisoner.
I'm standing here, guarded by the police, and the National Guard is out there with half of Moscow cordoned off. All this because that small man in a bunker is losing his mind. He's losing his mind because we proved and demonstrated that he isn't buried in geopolitics; he's busy holding meetings where he decides how to steal politicians' underpants and smear them with chemical weapons to try to kill them.
So Navalny was willing to speak, standing in one of Vladimir's courts, having returned from Germany on his own volition. When astonishing people stand and speak, attention should be paid.
Springsteen's superb rendition: The Guthrie lyrics come from his song, Ain't Got No Home In This World Anymore.
Springsteen recorded a version of the song for a Folkways tribute album. The lyrics emerged from the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, but they aren't archaic today:
I've mined in your mines and I've gathered in your corn.
I've been working, Mister, since the day that I was born...
This morning, Slate presents a first-person observation piece concerning one part of the way our own modern upper end lives. Its author, Moe Tkacik, is a long-time journalist as well as an upper-end restaurant employee.
Tkacik offers a snapshot of one of the ways our modern swells unburden themselves of their money and distract themselves from their boredom. Concerning the people you see on "cable news," which side are they on in this tableau? And why aren't we allowed to know how many millions of dollars they're paid to keep us entertained and stoked in the narrow, approved tribal ways?
Whose side are our cable stars on? We don't think the answer is obvious.