WEIRDLAND: February 2018

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Jerry Lewis: "The Day the Clown Cried" clip

Jerry Lewis: "I have my own particular analogy for “mature” and “immature.” Immature applies to those who run around proclaiming what men they are. And a mature male is the one who is going to proclaim very proudly there’s a lot of little boy in him. People fear comedy. Because the truth of it is like a bone coming through the skin. Comedy is nothing more than a mirror we hold up to life. And people don’t want that."

Focus magazine: In The Nutty Professor, how much of the tension between the professor and Buddy Love derived from your teaming with Dean Martin?

Jerry Lewis: I wasn’t portraying the role of any one person; I was portraying about five people that are like that. A small portion of Dean’s arrogance might have been there—subconscious, again, I was not aware of it. But I can name the five or six people that character was—that just repelled me on a human level—their inability to be just respectful to another human being. And these are all theatrical people that I have seen that I felt desperately sorry for. I have no feelings of dislike or hate other than… they’re just terrifying what lives they must live. And it was the one time that I had trouble directing myself—that was the only time—when the objectivity and all of the science and everything I had expounded upon earlier really didn’t work for him. I really had trouble.


Jerry Lewis was recruited for the project of "The Day the Clown Cried" by the producer Nathan Wachsberger, who, as it turns out, “definitely didn’t have the rights to O’Brien’s material.” The producer also couldn’t afford to finance the film, and Lewis put $2,000,000  of his own money into the production. Although Lewis thought he’d have no trouble with financing, that wasn’t the case once cameras started rolling. Wachsberger suddenly disappeared. Film equipment went missing. Financing was gone. Lewis repeatedly expressed his desire to work matters out and release the film, shot in Sweden in the early ’70s. Joan O’Brien, who was unhappy with some of Lewis’s changes to the script, never authorized the release.

Lewis’s sentimental vision of a clown who sacrifices his life in the interest of the ultimate consolation of children is possibly one of his best solo films. For Lewis, comic performance is the definitive act of solidarity in the ending. A little girl goes up to Helmut (Lewis) and wordlessly holds out her hand in a silent request to enter with him.  In her eyes is the absolute certainty that he will. Shyly, she begins to withdraw her hand. Suddenly, Helmut reaches out and grabs her hand, clutching it desperately as he needs her innocence to control the panic that is tearing at him. After shooting wrapped, Wachsberger retaliated by threatening to file a lawsuit of breach of contract and stated that he had enough to finish the film without Lewis. Wanting to ensure the film would not be lost, Lewis took a rough cut of the film, while the studio retained the entire film negative. On August 5, 2015 the Los Angeles Times reported that Lewis had donated a copy of the film to the Library of Congress, under the stipulation that it not be screened before 2024.

The memorable and sadomasochistic mind games created by Jerry Lewis and his longtime partner Dean Martin in such gems as The Stooge, Living it Up, You’re Never Too Young and Frank Tashlin’s monumental Artists and Models Hollywood or Bust were always quite disturbing. One could sense that this unlikely partnership of a Rat Pack god and a bundle of neuroses was based on need and the spirit of the era, not on personal closeness – their perfect alliance was more a result of shared antipathies than spiritual kinship. Once Jerry went solo, the resulting pictures move beyond the sitcom-style safety of Martin and Lewis. Especially in the films directed by Lewis but even in his solo outings directed by cinema’s great live action cartoonist Frank Tashlin we find comedy verging on chaotic uncontainability, of unmotivated mania, of the uncontrolled and uncontrollable; in short, closer not in tone but in overarching theme to the post-May ’68 touch points of bleakness, searching, schizophrenia, nihilism, and the need for reinvention that are to be found in experimental films such as Out 1 (1971). One of his most important works, the sardonically perverse Jekyll & Hyde variation, The Nutty Professor, is often viewed as an intimate reflection about Lewis's years with Martin: malicious gloating, inextricably linked with a dull feeling of loss, a kind of phantom agony.

The Patsy, perhaps Jerry's greatest film, bares the closest similarity to The Nutty Professor, also resembling the loose-limbed paranoia, wandering attention, zany, anchorless humor. Yet it bares pointing out that these very characteristics Lewis also channels into a profound sweetness, of an overly-human (superhuman, even) vulnerability, of the magic of innocent-childish thinking; in short, channeled into a profound humanism that exists simultaneously within the same body which expresses and inspires so much craziness. Charming Ina Balin transcends the limitations of Lewis’ usual girlfriend-cum-surrogate mother role to emerge as one of his finest female foils. Her serene bemusement sells a lot of his zanier gags. The film has a beguiling philosophical undertone as Ellen argues the hardships we endure in life play a bigger part in shaping decent human beings than success does. After directing and starring in the dramatic story of a clown in a Nazi concentration camp, The Day the Clown Cried (1972), Lewis mostly retired from the cinema. Hardly Working (1980) and Smorgasbord (1983) were, in their aversion for the present day, not so much comeback attempts as grumpy signs of life. Source: www.filmmuseum.at

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin's romantic dynamic

Contrasting the romantic personae of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin in Frank Tashlin's 1956 satire, "Hollywood or Bust": Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin dynamic functions with Martin being charismatic and street-wise, and Lewis is the sympathetic goofball. This contrast is accentuated in Frank Tashlin’s Hollywood or Bust (1956), since the film is an emphatic and cartoonish erotic fantasy. By the end of the film, Lewis’s clumsy, childish protagonist ends up with his Hollywood crush, Anita Ekberg. If this, by itself, requires a great effort in suspending disbelief, it’s also worth mentioning that before the Martin & Lewis characters settle into their monogamous relationships, they get a lot of female attention. Literally dozens of women wave to them as Martin & Lewis drive through the USA smiling and singing, and in their every scene that’s set in a populated space (backstage, casino), they end up surrounded by fresh-faced female onlookers.

The Lewis/Ekberg romance is sparked by a ridiculous plot twist: his hound promptly seduces the actress’s lap dog, and their owners eventually follow their mating call. However, if we were to see the film as a satire of precisely this script-guaranteed female attainability of Hollywood cinema, it becomes a pretty interesting text. In this sense, Lewis’s romantic plot is the more progressive one—he certainly embarrasses himself often enough to let us conclude that he gets the girl through sheer, Forrest Gump-level dumb luck. Martin’s romantic plot remains more problematic throughout. He ends up seducing a chorus girl—a less glamorous, proletarian woman—and in spite of the jolting near-rape scene of his early attempt to get into her favors, her caution toward him inexplicably gives way to warmer feelings. By casting Martin—the presumed object of many female spectators’ fantasies—in the role, this development seems less troubling: after all, regardless of plot evolution, what woman would turn him down?!


To structure this video essay on the contrast in the two actors’ film personae. By giving a skewed reading of the visual evidence, I intend to suggest the complexity of consuming a a traditional Hollywood narrative—how the cognitive work of watching it (and evaluating it, for merit and plausibility) intertwines with personal biases and indulgence in wishful thinking.  Since infatuation and lucid observation are often antithetical, I needed a second line of discourse—a colder, crisper, written “voice”—to carry the commentary further than the voice-over could possibly take it. Hollywood or Bust is about the two men’s conquest of women, but also about the spectators’ privileged access to these two men—and it is due to Hollywood’s cunning exploitation of desire that it took so long to clear up the haze.

Money from Home (1953) directed by George Marshall, is neither a canonical work nor a philosophical treatise. It is, though, worth remarking on when a sweet-natured movie explores the gap between a transactional approach to social life and an altruistic, cooperative one. Honeytalk tries to get things on credit, Virgil does what he can to loan himself out. Virgil’s romantic transformation comes when he meets a veterinarian and fellow vegetarian, Autumn Claypool (Pat Crowley). A lovely scene involves the two of them visiting a vacant lot that will host their future clinic. They know that they are not at this place yet, but hope to get there. Someone calls Virgil “unusual” in Money from Home, and indeed he is. The promise of a place where Virgil, too, might receive as he gives makes for a wonderfully, disproportionately moving sentiment. Home, or bust. Source: mubi.com

Friday, February 16, 2018

Come and Get It, Get Out, Oscar Predictions

For moviegoers who enjoy spotting a filmmaker's personal trademarks, the 1936 comedy-drama Come and Get It is a special treat and a special challenge. It carries the signatures of two great auteurs from the studio era-Howard Hawks and William Wyler--and historians still haven't definitively figured out which director directed what. The film was nominated for two Oscars: Walter Brennan for Best Supporting Actor and Edward Curtis for Film Editing. Brennan earned the newly created supporting actor Oscar for this film.

The story would have been more appealing to Hawks than to Wyler, with its blend of rugged adventure and romance, and Hawks was certainly the first director to sign on. The tale begins in 19th-century Wisconsin, where Bernard "Barney" Glasgow, smoothly played by Edward Arnold, is a lumberman with corporate ambitions that involve marrying the boss's daughter. He falls in love with Lotta (Frances Farmer), a saloon singer with a lovely smile and a throaty voice, but leaves her when his marriage of convenience can't be postponed any longer. Lotta marries his best friend, a boisterous Swede named Swan (Walter Brennan), then dies a quiet off-screen death. Many years later, Barney meets their daughter, also named Lotta (and also played by Farmer), and falls in love all over again. Barney's son (Joel McCrea) also tumbles for Lotta Jr., setting up a struggle with Barney, who's still married to the boss's daughter.

The credits say Come and Get It is "based upon the famous novel by Edna Ferber," although Hawks claimed it was based on the story of his own grandfather. He may have meant he used his ancestor's experiences when he fleshed out the screenplay by Jane Murfin and Jules Furthman, trying to make the second half more physically exciting and psychologically compelling. Then trouble started, due less to Hawks's tinkering than to uncertainty over what exactly he wanted. His assistant later reported that "strain, indecision, and malevolence" stalked the production as Hawks fretted about the storyline and shot scenes before the actors felt prepared. Then Sam Goldwyn returned home to recuperate. Hawks biographer Todd McCarthy says Hawks was prepared for fireworks when Goldwyn, who idolized important writers, discovered he'd tampered with Ferber's plot. Hawks was right: Goldwyn hit the ceiling, and things got worse when he learned that new material he liked had been penned by Hawks himself. "Writers should write and directors should direct!" the producer allegedly yowled.

Hawks resigned in a huff, if you believe his account, or got fired by Goldwyn, if you believe his account. What's certain is that Hawks left the premises on the 42nd day of production, and that after an eight-day shutdown Goldwyn replaced him with William Wyler, who'd just finished Dodsworth (1936) and was still under contract. Wyler's grumpiness about the job alienated Farmer, but after 28 more days the picture was finished. It's ironic that Wyler used material written by Hawks for the ending, preferring this to the screenplay's own conclusion. Hawks told film critic Robin Wood that he shot all but 800 feet, or about ten minutes, of the completed film. McCarthy says Wyler contributed more than this, but less than Goldwyn implied when he told Ferber he "threw away most of what Hawks photographed." 

For viewers today, the fun begins when we try to determine which scenes came from which director. Wood says the beginning of the movie, with its exciting lumberjack footage, "clearly" has Hawks's touch-but to add one more complication, the credits say these scenes were directed by Richard Rosson, who'd co-directed Scarface (1932) and Today We Live (1933) with Hawks in the early 1930s. Aside from the logging material, there's no certain way of telling which scenes were directed by whom. Still, it's pretty obvious that some material in the film's first half contains patented Hawks touches-people bonding over cigarettes, finding togetherness in a sing-along, and working at a tough men-only job away from ordinary society. 

And it's equally obvious that Wyler influenced the off-kilter camera angles and striking use of a stairway setting in the last half hour-perhaps working with cinematographer Gregg Toland, whose deep-focus framings would later be crucial not only in Orson Welles's legendary Citizen Kane (1941) but also in Wyler's masterpieces The Little Foxes (1941) and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). Toland was only one of the Come and Get It cinematographers; the other was Rudolph Maté, fresh from DodsworthCome and Get It has at least three elements that hold up very well: the rough-and-tumble logging scenes; the complex characterization of Barney, who never becomes a clean-cut hero or a clear-cut villain; and Farmer's fascinating performance as both Lotta characters, who look alike but speak and sing in different tones and registers. 

The picture received strong reviews in 1936, largely because of the lumberjack material, and because critics felt a good balance had been struck. Admitting that it wasn't "a thoroughly Ferber work," the New York Times critic called it "genuinely satisfying" and "a vividly toned portrait of a man." Ferber agreed it wasn't thoroughly Ferber, turning down publicity requests because the movie underplayed the novel's environmental concerns. Yet she praised Goldwyn for "throwing out the finished Hawks picture" and starting again from scratch, which of course he hadn't done. In any case, the box-office returns were underwhelming despite a solid marketing push. Variety blamed Arnold, who didn't have "quite enough on the ball to pull 'em in alone," and the lack of female stars--true enough at the time, although today Come and Get It shines as arguably the finest achievement in Frances Farmer's troubled career. Source: www.tcm.com

Confessions of an Oscar Voter: I Loved ‘Three Billboards’ and Don’t Get ‘Get Out.’ We asked an anonymous Academy Awards voter for their honest thoughts on this year’s nominees. "It’s pretty much a tie for me between Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Shape of Water. Three Billboards is a beautifully crafted, excellently written piece that has such extreme drama with comedy that it’s a perfect combination. I saw The Shape of Water for a second time and really appreciated not only the visuals and the story, but the actual fairy tale aspects of it. At the moment, I am leaning toward The Shape of Water. It’s tough to say [which will win] because I think Three Billboards has more cachet as far as the type of film Academy members would normally vote for.

I’m a bit confused by ‘Get Out.’ Not by understanding the film—I understood the film fine—I’m just not 100% sure why they made that one the social statement of the year. I thought it was an intelligent, sophisticated psychological horror film. But I’m completely confused by why it got all that attention. I actually got more out of the Scream movies as far as intellectual twists on horror films, and they’re making Get Out as this huge statement, and I don’t quite see the depth of it that other people are seeing.

What about the supporting categories? For Best Supporting Actor, for me, it was a toss-up between Sam Rockwell [for Three Billboards] and Willem Dafoe [for The Florida Project]. I’m going for Sam Rockwell for the same reason as Frances McDormand. He was pitch-perfect. He had to straddle the line between monster and hero, and he did it perfectly. Unfortunately, because The Florida Project did not get nominated for Best Picture or screenplay, the chance of Dafoe has gone way down.

Will The Shape of Water win the most awards? Dunkirk? "I hope it’s not Dunkirk. I didn’t understand Dunkirk. It’s a fine battle picture, but it’s very, very confusing. They constantly switch between night and day. I wasn’t familiar with Dunkirk in my history, and I didn’t know it’s in France. And they never explained it. I liked The Post. I know that other people had issues with it because they compared it to the actual events and to All The President’s Men, but where I was not familiar with Dunkirk, I was also not familiar with the events from The Post, and unlike Dunkirk, I was not confused by The Post and I was very enthralled by the narrative. Source: www.thedailybeast.com

“Baby Driver” is riding in second place behind “Dunkirk” in all three of its Oscar races — Best Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing — in our combined odds. But Christopher Nolan‘s World War II epic should keep an eye on the rearview mirror because “Baby Driver” could very well speed past it all the way to the Kodak Theatre stage.

“Baby Driver” needs only to look to “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007) for inspiration. The third installment of Matt Damon‘s spy franchise went three-for-three in the exact same categories the Edgar Wright flick is up for. War films have historically ruled these categories, but every now and then, the Oscars go all in on popular action films that aren’t Best Picture contenders but are brimming with sharp cutting and audio work. “Baby Driver” is similar to “The Bourne Ultimatum” — Both feature frenetic, pulsating car chase sequences and both center on a protagonist with a medical ailment: Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has amnesia and Baby (Ansel Elgort) has tinnitus. 

“Baby Driver” lost SAG stunt to “Wonder Woman” and the comedy ACE Eddie to “I, Tonya,” while “Dunkirk” won the drama ACE Eddie. “Baby Driver” and “Dunkirk” will face off at BAFTA and MPSE on Feb. 18 and at CAS on Feb. 24. The difference is that “Bourne” didn’t have to compete against a behemoth of a war film like “Dunkirk.” If “Baby Driver” takes any of those, watch out on March 4. Be sure to make your Oscar predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on March 4. Source: www.goldderby.com

Monday, February 05, 2018

Blue Eyes and Ethics: Paul Newman, Matt Damon

Paul Newman, the fierce-faced punk at the Actors Studio in New York City in the early fifties, perched backward on a folding chair. The tough guy's wearing a white T-shirt tight enough to show the curve of his lats, his smoke cupped in one hand, his jaws clamped so hard that the muscles in his cheek quiver. No one in a room of sixty people could look more alone. You'd guess that he'll get laid: He's rock-hard, ice-cool, gorgeous. The first time he goes up in front of the class to do a scene in workshop, the tough guy gets slammed. Not that he doesn't know a few things. He knows that James Dean is out in Hollywood already. He knows that he's not so quick a study, that he has neither their emotional equipment nor their savvy, that he can't explode like Brando or melt down glistening like Dean. He knows that he is out of other options. He has made aimless failure look easy, which it's not -- not if you're from Shaker Heights. And this -- the sum of his feckless boyhood -- this he can use. He will use it. He has nothing left to lose or to hide, nothing and no one to hide from -- himself least of all.

An epiphany of sorts, and a paradox, because, in fact, he gives a fuck. He does not want to be a lightweight. He remembers his father during the Depression, when the store was out of cash, taking the train to Chicago and returning with the promise of hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of sporting goods from Spalding and Wilson, because he was a man of integrity. His father was not a lightweight and traded newspapering for the cold hell of retail to secure a future for his family. When his father died in 1950, Newman went back to Cleveland and took his place behind the counter, and he felt a stone in his chest where his heart had been. Behind the counter and in the account book, the tough guy found more shadows and ghosts than he could bear. He didn't last a year before deciding he's going to be an actor. He's going to pay the price of seeming not to give a fuck -- about the future, about success, about what anybody else thinks of him. He's going to pretend to care deeply about nothing, to be past caring, especially about the things he cares deeply about. He's going to act as if he's not acting.

He's going to be Hud. Cool Hand Luke. He's going to be a beautiful loser, a self-made orphan, adrift and misjudged, as scornful as he is scorned. He's going to be the adolescent fantasy of a man's man, cocky, gritty, tough inside and out, all smirk and sinew, opposed -- not by choice but by the helpless purity of his nature -- to the laws that govern everyone else. Freedom... he has no other choice. No past -- his father's shade floats dark behind him, knowing that his pretty boy couldn't cut the mustard. No future -- he looks a little like Dean, but without the sullen anguish. Newman was just a tough guy hidden, alone behind the curtain. "I don't know what I've learned," the old Paul Newman growls. Then comes a long pause, a vintage Actors-Studio pause, a quiet billowing like fog, a hush falling like the dark. You want him to open and spill himself? He won't. He doesn't think of himself like that, as a subject. Long ago, he decided that his inner life would stay that way ("This is the great age of candor," he said in 1983. "Fuck candor"), that celebrity was another, lesser role, and not to be trusted.

Newman was named Best Actor at Cannes for his work in The Long, Hot Summer (1958) but it wasn't that year's box-office sensation that would've been Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, for which Newman got the first of his eight Best Actor Oscar nominations. By 1963, with twenty films and three Oscar nominations for Best Actor, Newman had become the most versatile and bankable movie star on planet Earth; for God's sake, Newman lost Oscars to, among others, David Niven and Tom Hanks. The women mocked at fanning themselves when he turned his head, not because they were warm, but because it was… him. "It is luck," admits Newman, "I didn't think very much about the future. I never felt like a leading man. I never had that kind of confidence." James Dean had died and bequeathed to Newman his first plum role, as Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me.

Meeting Joanne Woodward, a great actress who was willing to set aside the meat of her career to raise their kids --that was lucky too. In 1953, while walking around Manhattan street on a scorching August afternoon, the 25-year-old Newman decided to escape the heat in his agent’s air conditioned office. How could he know that he was about to meet the love of his life? In that fateful office sat Joanne Woodward, a young, pretty and very talented actress, also hiding from the hot sun. “We really liked each other,” Woodward said about the secret to their long marriage. “We could talk to each other, we could tell each other anything without fear of ridicule or rejection. There was trust.” "I was shy and a bit conservative. It took me a long time to persuade her that I wasn't as dull as I looked," Shawn Levy quotes Newman in his biography Paul Newman: A Life (2009). On January 29, 1958, Joanne and Paul married in Las Vegas and went on a honeymoon in Europe. 

He's going to be another great good man -- the last of his kind -- gone.  Paul Newman had an odd sort of foul-mouthed dignity we simply don’t see in movies these days (if an actor is doing a blue routine, it’s always so damn obvious). "No complaints," Newman says. "I've had a pretty good run." Source: www.esquire.com

Matt Damon was not happy being compared to such matinee idols like Paul Newman. Matt Damon joined Paul Newman on stage to perform The World of Nick Adams during a November 2002 charity event. "The leading-man stuff doesn't come easily to me. I've always felt like a character actor,'' Damon said, telling of his unease when he found out that the role he was playing in Robert Redford's film The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000) was originally to have been played by the veteran star himself. Damon was the co-founder of Water.org to set up access to safe water and sanitation in the poorest parts of the world. His commitment to this and other more overtly political campaigns has caused Damon to be likened to ethically engaged stars of yesteryear, such as Paul Newman or Robert Redford.

Matt Damon famously had a 3 year relationship with Winona Ryder and even allegedly turned down Courtney Love's advances. Did Damon's marriage to Luciana develop from love at first sight? "I don't know if that's me revising the memory as I get older, imbuing it with all the subsequent emotion that I felt and all the experiences that we've had since then," Damon told Macleans Canada magazine in 2011. "I feel like if I'm honest, that there was a halo of light around her and I absolutely knew that moment had changed my life before I even spoke to her, but I don't know whether or not that's revisionism." However their relationship began, it's clear that they were meant to be together! Source: www.macleans.ca

According to the HD Room, Director Alexander Payne’s Downsizing starring Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig will get a simultaneous home video release on March 20th. Formats supported for the release include Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD. Downsizing had losses of over $20 million at the box office. The film’s star power combined with its premise about shrinking down to live in miniature communities should draw more interest on home video than it did theatrically. Despite tanking at the box office, Downsizing is getting some supplemental feature love from Paramount with a collection of bonus features. Here’s the breakdown of all the planned featurettes:


Working with Alexander
The cast
A visual journey
A matter of perspective
That smile
A global concern

Trustworthiness and altruism have a synergistic effect when combined with physical attractiveness. A new study, published in the British Journal of Psychology, has found that the combination of physical attractiveness and prosociality greatly boosts a person’s desirability as a romantic partner. “There has been some great research done by psychologists to help us understand human mating and in particular the individual traits that are valued by both men and women, however in reality these traits will be assessed as a whole when we make judgements of the desirability of a potential partner,” explained study author Daniel Farrelly, a senior lecturer at the University of Worcester. “Therefore we wanted to see how both men and women assess potential mates when the latter vary in levels of two characteristics that are well established in mate choice research; physical attractiveness and prosocial behaviours (e.g. altruism and trustworthiness).” 

The researchers found that both altruism and trustworthiness were preferred in long-term partners. But this was especially true for people who were already physically attractive. People with prosocial traits who were also physically attractive were preferred the most. But the effects of prosociality and physical attractiveness wasn’t simply additive. “In other words, as we found there were synergistic effects of being both physically attractive and prosocial, which meant that such individuals were viewed as more desirable than would be expected from just the sum of the two desirable traits,” Farrelly explained to PsyPost. “Also, this effect was most important for seeking long term partners, where having both traits will be much more valued and desired compared to short term partners for both men and women.”

“One of the intriguing findings of our study was how different forms of prosocial behaviours (altruism and trustworthiness) were valued in different ways by men and women that we predicted based on their potential adaptive value in mate choice,” Farrelly noted. The context had a much stronger impact for men than for women. For men, trustworthiness had very little influence in the context of short-term relationships, but a strong influence in the long-term context. “This research highlights how prosocial behaviours (such as fairness, heroism, and true altruism) may be viewed differently in human mate choice due to the different adaptive roles,” Farrelly added. The study, “The synergistic effect of prosociality and physical attractiveness on mate desirability“, was co-authored by Daniel Ehlebracht, Olga Stavrova, and Detlef Fetchenhauer.  Source: www.psypost.org

Thursday, February 01, 2018

'Bad' Girls, Romantic Partners, Matt Damon

Perhaps the more astonishing thing of I, Tonya is that this movie is a black comedy about domestic violence, parental abuse, and low self-esteem… and it works. It works in a way that does not diminish the horrors of those things, and is funny about them — in a dark, bitter way — only in how people rely on lying in often ridiculous ways to themselves and others about the realities of their lives. And even then, it’s not that we’re intended to laugh so much as we’re meant to see the deployment of bleak humor by the narrators of their own stories as a way to distance oneself from things too terrible to consider full on. Margot Robbie’s Tonya Harding is a complicated, contradictory woman as well, oozing massive self-delusion that is a challenge to us, and to our acceptance of her side of the story — nothing is ever her fault, even when it clearly is — and yet also adds to our empathy for her. Source: www.flickfilosopher.com

“Bad Girls” Say No and “Good Girls” Say Yes: Sexual Subjectivity and Participation in Undesired Sex During Heterosexual College Hookups. Young people’s sexuality is often discursively constructed within the confines of a masculine/feminine binary. Accordingly, young women who acknowledge themselves as sexual subjects are constructed as “bad girls” who incite males’ purportedly uncontrollable desire and, thus, invite undesired sexual attention. However, there is reason to hypothesize that young women who view themselves as sexual subjects may be less likely than other women to engage in undesired sexual activity. Logistic regression analyses suggest that pleasure prioritization and sexual agency are associated with lower odds of performing undesired sexual acts to please a partner—and sexual agency is associated with lower odds of succumbing to verbal pressure for intercourse. These findings point to the importance of sexuality education that includes discussions of women’s sexual subjectivity. This research was made possible by financial support from the Vanderbilt University College of Arts and Science Social Science Dissertation Fellowship. Source: link.springer.com

In an interview with Deadline, Matt Damon talked about the Harvey Weinstein's sexual misconduct allegations: "I just feel absolutely sick to my stomach. If Harvey was doing this kind of thing and I didn't see it, then I am so deeply sorry, because I would have stopped it." Emphatically, Damon stressed: "And I will peel my eyes back now, farther than I ever have, to look for this type of behavior. I feel horrible for these women and it's wonderful they have this incredible courage and are standing up now. We can all feel this change that’s happening, which is necessary and overdue. Men are a huge part of that change, and we have to be vigilant and we have to help protect and call this stuff out because we have our daughters, our sisters and mothers. This kind of stuff can’t happen." Source: deadline.com


At its core, Downsizing grapples head-on with the long-term viability of humanity's existence on this planet, but with no pretension or preachiness at all. It's also a science-fiction film that not for a second looks or feels like one. As such, this is a unique undertaking centered on an unexceptional Everyman character who unwittingly embarks upon an exceptional life journey; in that sense, Matt Damon's Paul Safranek is like the hero of a Frank Capra or Preston Sturges film of 75 years ago, an ordinary man who has a certain sort of greatness thrust upon him. Ngoc Lan is Paul’s tart-tongued angel of mercy. Her “what kind of fuck you give me?” monologue is some kind of cinematic nadir. Ngoc Lan sees her contribution to humanity not in helping to build a post-apocalyptic society of the small, but in helping others right now, even if humanity is doomed. Paul’s dilemma becomes the choice represented to Ngoc Lan—to stay in a dying world and alleviate suffering, however insignificant that impact might seem, or retreat from messy humanity, chasing a perfect future?

University of Alberta research states that the more your partner is depressed, the more love you should give. This study was published in Developmental Psychology. Matthew Johnson, a relationships researcher, states: “Efforts from a partner to help alleviate stress may prevent the development or worsening of mental health problems and, in fact, could help keep the relationship healthy.” Johnson, a professor in Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, said: “When we experience high levels of stress, we are particularly vulnerable and perhaps that’s why partner support in those times is so impactful and long-lasting.” Researchers have found that future feelings of self-worth and depression are linked with the support given when a mate was feeling stressed. Johnson said: “Giving to their partner made them feel better about themselves.” For example, men’s feelings of self-esteem got a boost from supporting a depressed partner. Women have increased self-esteem and reduced depression in the future if they are receiving support from their partner. Johnson added that supporting a partner who needs it most can be difficult. He added: “When someone is depressed or has low-self-worth, they may lash out.” Johnson suggested to give invisible support in the face of negative reaction. Studies revealed that helping your partner without getting her know can also be a helpful gesture like taking care of a sink full of dirty dishes they haven’t seen yet. You can offer support, just don’t draw attention to it. Source: cnbcmag.com