william steig drawing

Race in Film: Stormy Weather

**This video was made specially for Roger Ebert’s Far Flung Correspondents. That is why my mug is in it. Now you can see all the facial expressions you could only dream of before… and I apologize now for the state of my hair.** The first thing you must realize about Stormy Weather before anything else, is that it is not real. Of course it isn’t real in the sense that it is a narrative film and as such it is fiction, but it is unreal in another way. It is a  romanticization of African American life offering one-dimensional characters without nuance– in “response” to the one dimensional un-nuanced characters in other films. The movie opens as famous dancer Bill Williamson […]

Tempers: Close Encounters of the Third Kind

In 1977 Richard Dreyfuss was very angry in two fantastic films. Two movies that with Jaws top the list of his greatest performances: Herbert Ross’ The Goodbye Girl and Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Two completely different films with a similarly distressed Dreyfuss as the glue that holds them together in my heart. Like a earth toned mid 70’s ice cream sandwich. (I did intend for this post to be on both films, but I quickly discovered that Close Encounters needs a space of its own. Don’t fret Marsha Mason fans. The Goodbye Girl will have a turn in the near future). The first thing you may remember about Close Encounters is the Devil’s Tower mashed potatoes. You […]

The Social Network

You cannot see Mark Zuckerberg’s eyes. They are black and beady and surrounded by shadow. This is what I focused on for the better part of two hours. If David Fincher cast Jesse Eisenberg specifically for his brow bones, it would have been a genius move. His brows are always together. His lips are always pursed… or rather the bottom one is pursed and the top one pouts. This inbetweeness (an indecision of lips) is appropriate as Zuckerberg is always somewhere half way between emotions. He never fully displays any one. Showing emotion means showing your hand. Showing your hand makes you vulnerable, and Mark Zuckerberg hates vulnerability most of all. He is like a combination of Vito Corleone and […]