1. The Fugitive
And so after more than 30 years, we have captured Roman Polanski, 76, at the Zurich Film Festival because, after all, artists have always felt that his crime was less important than his stunning examinations of such things as pirates, fearless vampire killers and Devil babies; to say nothing of his uncredited, tour de force performance in Rush Hour 3 , in 2007. Polanski admits to having had sex with a 13-year-old girl in Jack Nicholson's hot tub, and pleaded guilty at the time to having sex with a minor; in exchange, five other criminal charges, including rape and sodomy and giving drugs to a minor, were dropped.
Although he bitterly acknowledges he is widely regarded as an "evil profligate dwarf," in the appalling doc, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired , the unregenerate Humbert Humbert blithely declares that all men like younger women. Younger than 15? His victim Samantha Geimer has been vocal a long time now, never denying what transpired in that filthy water, but asserting that Polanski has served his sentence by means of his long exile.
Sorry, Geimer, it's not up to you. Are you trying to curry his favour? Is this a by-product of trauma? Thirty years of living as a millionaire in Europe with a succession of teenage girlfriends is not the hard, murdering time Oscar Wilde did for having sex with willing partners, or rather, for being a "sodomite." Michael Jackson was hounded to his death by unfounded accusations of child molestation involving boys the same age as Geimer - a certain, swish, intellectual understanding of Polanski occludes the homophobia and racism others face and have faced; occludes the simple fact that a 13-year-old girl, even if drugged, does not want to get it on with an ugly little pervert, and that is why porn exists: to pretend such Lolitas exist. Even Nabokov's Lolita wanted none of her depraved sexual mentor; that is, rapist.
We have captured le cafard : Now we must decide whether he is Dr. Richard Kimble, the righteous runaway, or the elusive one-armed man, the real criminal. Either way, one expects him to stand up, like a man, after all these years, and take responsibility for what he has done. And by "what he has done," I mean Rush Hour 3 .
2. Gimme More
Renée Zellweger is making another instalment in the Bridget Jones's Diary series, which one assumed was, at last, merely a vague and unpleasant memory. In the new film, the slovenly, near-idiotic Jones will get pregnant and eat the baby, I think. I know that Zellweger has been reported recently as not wanting to gain the 30 pounds required for the role, wishing to wear the "fat suit" instead, as so many pretty actresses enjoy doing. (One Friends bit involved Courteney Cox shakin' that fat-suit ass, to the delight of the audience, none of whom yelled, at the gaunt hag, "I want to see something really funny. Take the suit off!") Is gaining 30 pounds such a crisis for a woman who is so overtoned and underweight, whose skin is so smoke-damaged, her face looks like a creased paper bag containing a single piece of licorice (her body)?
I watched the TV reality show More to Love this summer. I saw a room filled with huge, gorgeous girls vying for the love of a 300-pound, bland-looking male subcontractor/real-estate investor with firm, perky breasts. Are these the available options, ladies? Starve one's self into a fat-free stick of beef jerky, or balloon up and try to hog-tie the only obese single man in town? Most disturbing is the fact that Zellweger wants to wear an ME suit (a suit that makes her look like me, and my friends). Time to convince a fanatical Muslim, one still listlessly looking for Salmon Rushdie, that Bridget Jones's Diary is about the perverse sexual practices of Allah, then offer up author Helen Fielding's home address.
3. Higher Than Hell
Some time ago, when it was leaked that Mackenzie Phillips's new book, High on Arrival was going to declare that she was molested by her father, John Phillips, of the Mamas and the Papas, I wrote that I thought she was lying. And a very nice woman and friend of hers wrote to me and said her story was true, and I felt ashamed.
Yet I had no idea the book, which is a smash and which has divided the family, would also describe a 10-year consensual sexual relationship between father and daughter. Michelle Phillips (John's ex-wife and the last surviving member of the band) has pronounced the book the ravings of a junkie; Mackenzie's half-sisters Bijou and Chynna have been more supportive and more willing to consider her account credible. Her half-brother Tamerlane, a charming young man in obvious possession of his mental faculties commented, "My family is and always will be a decrepit bowl of dog urine compared to Nityananda of Ganeshpuri [an Indian guru]"
Whether true or not, Mackenzie's disquieting accusation, in its sheer repulsiveness, might as well be true. Because she and her siblings were monstrously neglected by an addict father with no boundaries, they must remember their entire childhoods as so unsafe and chaotic that the soothing word "consensual" sounds heavenly? Still. Oh, and by the way. Gross.
4. After the methadone clinic that is summer TV, the good junk has arrived
I watched it all, most saddened by the Law & Order franchise. What has happened to these shows? Can a television program be considered suicidal? To be guilty of depraved indifference? L&O: Criminal Intent is not worth mentioning; SVU was enlivened by a new cop, who spent the whole opening episode pushing the overpaid, enervated stars (Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni) out of his way so he could slap, punch and drive his car into irritating perps. And Law & Order ! Aiming for topicality, for newsy novelty, the penis-headed Linus Roache yelled about Abu Ghraib for most of the show, and yelled "Gitmo!" for good measure. What was wrong with the show's original and amazing attributes: dead hooker in an alley; rectal swabs; petechial hemorrhaging; "a white loner, in his mid-30s;" Chad Lowe, curled up in a ball, fingering his mouth and drawling, "I've been a baaaad boy, Mommmie!" That's what I call good TV.
5. Dakota Fanning: 80 Years To Live!
Ever since the National Enquirer, via Ian Halperin, eerily predicted Michael Jackson's death within a day, the tabs have been anxious to play Nostradamus again. This week, Burt Reynolds has, according to the Globe, "One Year to Love!" The campier, more self-referential Enquirer predicted last week that Kirstie Allie has "Six Years to Live!" So many taco stands, so much time!
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