All My Stars (23)
June 9, 2016
One in a weekly series in which Joanne McNeil recommends books, films, exhibitions, and more. You can also subscribe to the All My Stars newsletter here.
I watched Klute last night, a film I’ve been meaning to see for ages. I love The Parallax View (who doesn’t?) but part of the reason I was eager to see it is, the time this film came out in Jane Fonda’s career. I knew of her only as a fitness video host as a kid, and later for Barbarella in my teen years where I burned through every film in my neighborhood video store’s tiny “cult” section. But in recent years, I adored her in Barefoot in the Park, Tout Va Bien, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (my favorite film… sometimes), and Nine to Five, and reviewing Wikipedia’s vast “Jane Fonda filmography” page, the directors she worked with up until her semi-retirement in the ’80s are unbeatably impressive: Otto Preminger, Haskell Wexler, Federico Fellini, Louis Malle, George Cukor, and Godard.
I often wonder about the latitude and taste actors reveal in selecting roles. Like Scarlett Johansson, who, between Her and Under the Skin and Lucy, is making very interesting choices in low-key, low-budget sci-fi-ish films while also appearing in big splashy Marvel movies. Does she read Kelly Link and China Miéville in her downtime? She’s at a level of celebrity and power that I would imagine allows greater autonomy in script selection. Whiteness is also a factor here (Johansson was regrettably cast in Ghost in the Shell). I read somewhere that Eva Mendes was a huge fan of Leos Carax and approached him about working together, which is how she ended up in the great Holy Motors. Perhaps if Eva Mendes had leverage to choose, her “filmography” wikipedia page might rival Fonda’s.
The actor-auteur I will watch in anything is Kristen Wiig. In the five years since Bridesmaids, she’s appeared in a dozen strange little character-driven parts in indie movies. Welcome to Me is brilliant, The Skeleton Twins and Girl Most Likely are odd but interesting, her voice is in Her too, and then there’s Nasty Baby, Hateship Loveship, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, and two, too long, but conceptually hilarious The Spoils miniseries for IFC. A number of these films were directed by women. In thirty, forty years, I expect I’ll remember some of these films as representing what it was like to be a white woman in 2010s America.
Thinking of Hateship Loveship, I read the Alice Munro story it was based on just the other week: “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage.” Somehow I’ve gone this long without Munro before. It’s only about 50 pages, but I felt like I knew each of the several characters in and out by the time I was through.
CURATED SERIES at HILOBROW: UNBORED CANON by Josh Glenn | CARPE PHALLUM by Patrick Cates | MS. K by Heather Kasunick | HERE BE MONSTERS by Mister Reusch | DOWNTOWNE by Bradley Peterson | #FX by Michael Lewy | PINNED PANELS by Zack Smith | TANK UP by Tony Leone | OUTBOUND TO MONTEVIDEO by Mimi Lipson | TAKING LIBERTIES by Douglas Wolk | STERANKOISMS by Douglas Wolk | MARVEL vs. MUSEUM by Douglas Wolk | NEVER BEGIN TO SING by Damon Krukowski | WTC WTF by Douglas Wolk | COOLING OFF THE COMMOTION by Chenjerai Kumanyika | THAT’S GREAT MARVEL by Douglas Wolk | LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE by Chris Spurgeon | IMAGINARY FRIENDS by Alexandra Molotkow | UNFLOWN by Jacob Covey | ADEQUATED by Franklin Bruno | QUALITY JOE by Joe Alterio | CHICKEN LIT by Lisa Jane Persky | PINAKOTHEK by Luc Sante | ALL MY STARS by Joanne McNeil | BIGFOOT ISLAND by Michael Lewy | NOT OF THIS EARTH by Michael Lewy | ANIMAL MAGNETISM by Colin Dickey | KEEPERS by Steph Burt | AMERICA OBSCURA by Andrew Hultkrans | HEATHCLIFF, FOR WHY? by Brandi Brown | DAILY DRUMPF by Rick Pinchera | BEDROOM AIRPORT by “Parson Edwards” | INTO THE VOID by Charlie Jane Anders | WE REABSORB & ENLIVEN by Matthew Battles | BRAINIAC by Joshua Glenn | COMICALLY VINTAGE by Comically Vintage | BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh | WINDS OF MAGIC by James Parker | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA by Lynn Peril | ROBOTS + MONSTERS by Joe Alterio | MONSTOBER by Rick Pinchera | POP WITH A SHOTGUN by Devin McKinney | FEEDBACK by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern | BOOKFUTURISM by James Bridle | NOMADBROW by Erik Davis | SCREEN TIME by Jacob Mikanowski | FALSE MACHINE by Patrick Stuart | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE (AGAIN) | ANOTHER 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | UNBORED MANIFESTO by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen | H IS FOR HOBO by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FRIDAY by guest curators