Yahoo Movies’ article about Lincoln has some interesting info about it — like the fact that Lincoln’s voice was much higher than most actors have played him. Here’s crossing my fingers for Day-Lewis and the other principals in the film, most of whom I admire very much. As RuPaul would say, “Don’t fuck it up.”
Sadly, I find myself wishing I could say that to Hollywood far too often in recent years. What the hell happened to movies?
You see, I love movies, but Hollywood makes so many pretentious, godawful monsterpieces and eighth-rate comic book knockoffs nowadays that I find myself actually (gasp!) reading books instead of watching movies. I love big, sprawling epics, and while they seem like, sure, they’d be hella hard to make, the boners Hollywood productions pull are usually simple matters of plot and story, whereupon neither Syd Field nor Lawrence Block have been consulted. This trend started as the ’90s indie boom petered out. Storytelling has become anathema to Hollywood productions.
My hopes for Lincoln would be high if I didn’t feel like I’d been burned so many times by hoping movies wouldn’t be shit. Now, I just can’t bear t hope anymore. Unfortunately, historical films often go horribly awry, and films about the Civil War still more so.
From this trailer, the upcoming Lincoln looks like it could easily go more than just awry…it could go horribly awry. To my mind, the quality of the pacing is going to determine that, and pacing is part of the batch of story fundamentals that Hollywood seems to be forgetting about in its desperate quest to make huger movies. Whether it’s Academy-worshipped self-satisifed garbage or cynical comic book adaptations, the pacing is so often all wrong. Say what you want about Die Hard — it’s shit on a whole ‘nother level. But it follows a well-defined path that storytellers have mapped out since the Golden Age, and perfected in the ’70s. Too many contemporary films respect that.
Unfortunately, I feel like some years shit movies get drooled over by the Academy for no good reason. Daniel Day Lewis himself was in one of th emost egregious examples a few years back — the inexplicably lauded There Will Be Blood, in my opinion a piece of shit if ever there was one. His performance was impressive, as most of his performances down the years have been, but the film overall had nothing to recommend it in my mind, other than the line “I Drink Your Milkshake,” which has long since entered my personal lexicon (and often serves to enliven otherwise boring conversations).
This did not prevent the Academy from throwing itself at the feet of that film, the same year that it bypassed that film and selected the (perhaps) even more (or at least as) godawful No Country For Old Men, a pathetic waste of celluloid that bore no hint of the genius that created Miller’s Crossing and Raising Arizona. Seriously!!! That shit came from the Coen brothers. Duh-WHA!!???!!!!
Day-Lewis is unquestionably a genius of sorts. But, bewilderingly, he shows a grotesque tendency to be a great actor in shit films. The quintessential example in his career is his brilliantly delivered Bill the Butcher in the hugely disappointing Scorsese atrocity Gangs of New York, in which Scorsese crawled into my steampunk childhood gangster dreams and personally urinated on them. Read Herbert Asbury’s brilliantly macabre, comic, and bizarre work of yellow journalism it was based on to understand just how wrong Scorsese went. Sometimes genius follows a crooked path. Other times, it’s not genius at all, just self-satisifed delusion.