Monday, January 21, 2008

Heather Graham; H'wood nepotism

Probably everybody except Dick Cheney has sexual fantasies (he prefers killing). Remmber when movie critic David Thomson got lampooned for writing a book about Nicole Kidman that was a revery of lust and devotion (few bothered to note how well written it was)? A few days ago, mentioning David Mamet's play in NYC, the always elegant James Wolcott mentions reviewers Mannion and Cassavetes and how they perceived Heather Graham's presence in the Mamet satire. I'd say Heather is high on his list of fetching young ladies. As well she should be.

"Lance Mannion finds entrancement in Heather Graham's eyes, and Cassavetes candor in the desperate abandon of her behind. It's true that whatever end of Heather Graham you're gazing at, there's something to reward your attention. I happened to see an early cut of James Toback's Two Girls and a Guy in which Robert Downey Jr. buried his face between Graham's butt cheeks and seemed to disappear for a few minutes, perhaps breathing through his nose to prevent blacking out from lack of oxygen. I wasn't sure where this scene fit in the film's arc of character development and thematic advance but I decided to set my rational mind aside and simply "go" with the experience, figuring Toback would fill me in later if he happened to be hanging around outside the screening room afterwards. Anyway, I like Heather Graham; she's sweet, vulnerable, gifted, natural, unabashed, with a plaintive quality that fills in the blanks when the dialogue she's given is insufficient."

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Hwood nepotism

When screenwriter Dalton Trumbo moved to Los Angeles in the late Thirties he noted: "Hollywood is a town of nephews." John Patterson recently expanded on that notion in the UK's Guardian newspaper:

"I see that nepotism is alive and well in Hollywood. In Tinseltown terms that means that God is in his heaven and all's right with the world, especially if you're the son, daughter, nephew, niece, brother-in-law or bastard offspring of said God or one of his major cronies.

"Check the recent releases. We've had Chromophobia, directed by Martha Fiennes with room for an eye-catching role for her backer-bait brother Ralph. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, directed by Jake Kasdan, son of Lawrence. No Country For Old Men stars Josh Brolin, son of James, and, perhaps more crucially in getting-ahead terms, the stepson of Barbra Streisand. And this week sees the UK release of The Good Night, starring Gwyneth Paltrow (offspring of actors Bruce Paltrow and Blythe Danner) and directed by her brother Jake, whose previous achievements have been in the heavily nepotistic arena of directing episodic TV.


"Elsewhere we've had movies from pointless hack Nick Cassavetes, son of John (Alpha Dog), and from Jason Reitman, son of Ivan (Juno). Hell, even man of the moment Daniel Day-Lewis, for all his talent, started out with one of the legendary producers of British cinema, Michael Balcon, for a grandfather. We hardly need add such names as Gyllenhaal, Hudson, Spelling or Barrymore.

"....in truth, Kasdan and Sofia Coppola and the Gyllenhaal kids are not without their talents; their elevation is no more harmful to the world than installing Jason Bonham behind his late father's drumkit.

Now, if only we could confine all nepotism to Los Angeles. Surely this industry could have found safe and comfy berths (safe for us, that is) for the likes of failed sons like George W Bush or the myriad second-generation neo-cons who cheerled the stupid Iraq war. Dubya, the archetypal useless-wastrel rich kid, might have found his true metier in press-junket party management or PR mendacity (spin and bullshit being truly his thang), and think what that might have spared us. The junior fantasists of the pro-war right would have been much more useful, and far less dangerous, as script-doctors to warmongering crap like 300 or the xenophobic The Kingdom."

2 comments:

Todd Mason said...

Graham is both remarkably cute and talented, even if she only intermittently gets to demonstrate the latter (I remember her best from BOOGIE NIGHTS and her appearances on SCRUBS).

The period in which she was popping up on SCRUBS at 9:00 or 9:30p on Tuesday nights, after Laurel Graham on GILMORE GIRLS at 8p, was a night full of easy cracker/flour puns.

Mario Caldera said...

Hollywood would be more productive and certainly more creative and inventive if it weren't for the rampant nepotism. This can't even be argued.