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Sunset Gun
Los Angeles
Playboy, Los Angeles Review of Books, Criterion and more.
Recent Activity
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From my expansive three-part interview with Elliott Gould, George Segal and Joseph Walsh at the Los Angeles Review of Books. Here is all of it, in one post. Take a break, and read on... WE’VE ALL AGREED to meet at Canter’s Deli. George Segal, Joseph Walsh, and Elliott Gould. It’s mid-September, one of those absurdly hot Los Angeles days, and I’m there early, cooling off... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Sunset Gun
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Criterion's two-disc edition of Monte Hellman's experimental, beautiful, seminal westerns, Ride in the Whirlwind and The Shooting is out today. I wrote and narrated the visually rich video essay about Warren Oates as an extra on the disc -- an ode to Oates and specifically his work with Hellman. Here's my extended written piece on Mr. Oates (from the video essay) to accompany the release.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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Early in my writing career when I was a film critic for the Oregonian I interviewed William Friedkin while he was making The Hunted in our city of bridges and frequent gloom. It was a beautiful spring day in Portland, nice for Portlanders, not so nice for Friedkin. For his new, moody movie he was promised rainy, overcast weather. He said to me, bemused: "As... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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We’re driving around Palm Springs and Udo Kier is asking me to check on his ball. Has it arrived? I’m not certain what he’s talking about. A ball has not been mentioned yet today, but as we slowly creep past his block, I check for a ball as if this is the most normal thing to do. “It’s enormous, you can’t miss it,” Udo tells... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2014 at Sunset Gun
Sublime moments in cinema: Lightnin' Hopkins & these little girls dancing. From Les Blank's documentary, The Blue According to Lightin' Hopkins. Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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Today Brigitte Bardot turns 80-years old. To celebrate, I've dipped into my archives and voilà! Bardot as Don Juan. Happy Birthday Brigitte Bardot. In 1973, French director and provocateur Roger Vadim said "The Don Juan of our day is a woman -- Brigitte Bardot in real life." Vadim was addressing his past muse, indeed one of the very reasons he became famous, as one of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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BY TODD MCCARTHY Former Telluride tributee Guy Maddin, creator of fantastical film including The Saddest Music in the World, Careful and Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, and film noir specialist Kim Morgan ("one of the best writers on the Internet," according to Roger Ebert) met and married four years ago. They are Telluride's first Guest Director Duo. TODD MCCARTHY: You are the first couple to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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The title is deceptive because, really, Beverly Michaels isn’t wicked, she’s just sick of it all. That whole bit about being a woman in this life, unmarried, down on your luck and, oh, sure, gorgeous, but how far will that lead you? And how you’ve heard and seen it all. The thrill or disgust of a cat call (depending on the day, or the man),... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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"I was friends with Steven Spielberg, and Steven and I were going to do California Split. I worked in Steven's home for about eight months. MGM said yes, and suddenly everything changed. Jim Aubrey, head of the studio, was the smiling cobra -- and the snake struck. He said, 'I want it changed. I don't want what's going on here. I want a straight movie.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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How to remake one of Fritz Lang's greatest pictures? Joseph Losey found a way. But many, including Lang, did not embrace Losey's vision. I had longed to see this film for years in an at least semi-decent print. I could never find anything but the murkiest of copies but I managed to track down a muddy, barely watchable version and I took it in --... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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The plane leaves this morning and I'm excited, nervous, prepared and ready for anything. I also have a cold. Out! Devil Cold! The Telluride Film Festival begins Friday, and I, along with Guy Maddin have been chosen at Guest Directors of this year's festival. We programmed six films -- no easy task. We've been sworn to secrecy but the cat's out of the bag today... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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Ten years. August 13th marked ten years of Sunset Gun. Of course I forgot the actual day. I've been prepping for Telluride, my mind focused on what occurs a week from now. And I'm not good with birthdays or anniversaries or certain holidays and when it comes to myself, I don't like fuss. It makes me nervous. It's my birthday. Great. Let's move on. The... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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I haven't done one of these in a while. Three obsessions. Here's some recent ones... 1. Heat Lightning (1934) Just rewatched Mervyn LeRoy’s Heat Lightning. A 1934 Pre-code desert drama and sweaty, in the-middle-of-nowhere lust and intrigue with Aline MacMahon and Ann Dvorak as sisters working in the Cal desert. The auto garage, diner and road side motel are a literal hot spot for all... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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Mel Brooks once described David Lynch as “Jimmy Stewart on Mars.” I get that. But I also hear a lot of Ned Sparks in Lynch, albeit a less crankier one. That deadpan delivery creating strange, almost-aphorisms and random, absurd insults, Sparks and Lynch could split the same cherry pie. And insult the same special agents. “COOPER, YOU REMIND ME TODAY OF A SMALL MEXICAN CHIHUAHUA.”... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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I wasn’t certain what to except when I ventured up to Winnipeg with Bing Crosby and Bela Lugosi on my mind. I did know that I would be working on a short film with Guy Maddin, something both exciting and anxiety-inducing. We had been hatching an idea together. Since we both love Crosby and Lugosi, we were intrigued that these two titans had been buried... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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My pop, the pugilist. Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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“A sex symbol becomes a thing. I just hate to be a thing. But if I’m going to be a symbol of something I’d rather have it sex than some other things they’ve got symbols of.” -- Marilyn Monroe Jack Garfein vividly remembers first seeing Marilyn Monroe in person. She was almost overwhelming to him. It wasn't just that she was gorgeous, there was something... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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Marilyn. Return of the Silve Witch. On the eve of her birthday, here's my piece from last year for the LA Review of Books. Happy Birthday, Marilyn. One of the most arresting images I’ve ever seen of Marilyn Monroe came not from a movie or newsreel footage or one of her many photographs. It came from a blanket. Driving through Death Valley on a long... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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“Starting to see pictures, ain’t ya?” -- Major Marquis Warren Without seeing a shot of it, not one spectacular sweeping frame, not one lovely snow-covered panorama, not one majestic vision of horses, “rip snorting through the bottom of the landscape,” I got it. I got it on stage with chairs and actors and pantomimed guns and imagined stagecoaches and blue coffee pots laced with poison.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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Here's an excerpt from my piece, "The Endless Push and Pull of Lindsay Lohan's Reality Show" at Vulture. Happy Easter. I love watching Lindsay Lohan sort through clothes. It's strangely soothing, like sitting on the bed watching your older sister prepare for a date. Lindsay sorts through boxes of things, her ciggie dangling, stopping once in a while to put on a jacket, moving her... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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I asked the easy, but often hard to answer: "Who was the greatest director you ever worked with?" He answered, without hesitation, "John Huston." That was Michael Caine and this was 2009, when I sped up from an away-from-LA respite in Joshua Tree to talk to the legendary actor among a small (surprisingly small) roundtable of film writers. When he walked into the suite, he... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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2014. Oscars. I've been behind here for over a month. Apologies to those who read me and who believe I should post, at the very least, twice a month. I should! But I've been working on other projects, keeping me away and in some cases, ridiculously stressed. To relax reading has trumped extra writing and so I've devoured seven books in less than two months.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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Happy Jack Benny's Birthday! Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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Mike Tyson has been a long standing fascination for me. From first seeing his explosive power in the ring to this new kind of palpable excitement (he was so electrifying, so young, so real...) to witnessing his terrible downfall (and downfalls, and then, revivals, good and bad), to me, he's one of the most intriguing American figures of the last thirty years. I've just read... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2014 at Sunset Gun
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It's often those little moments. What happens while waiting for the train, walking with a girl, sitting at the desk, working your tedious job. Those little things -- they work so beautifullly in Italian filmmaker Ermanno Olmi's maserpiece Il Posto (1961), a film that observes work (“Il Posto" means "The Job") through the orbs of a teenager (the saucer-eyed and touchingly languid non-professional actor Sandro... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2013 at Sunset Gun