She was not, we’ll grant you, a feature player in the independent film scene, but she did have that smidgen of a role in "The Hudsucker Proxy." We’re unexpectedly saddened and also somewhat creeped out by her Monroe-esque death, which may be either a tragic coincidence or the end point of cosmic dedication to a lifestyle metaphor that wasn’t really working out to begin with.
"For Eddie to follow what he did with ‘Dreamgirls’ with this just doesn’t make sense," said Robert M. Entman, author of "The Black Image in the White Mind: Media and Race in America." "There’s no excuse for him to lend his prestige to something like this…. There has to be a point where African American stars of his stature have to take some responsibility for their actions and just say no."
Norbit isn’t farce–it’s a thoughtless, cancerous, viral, irresponsible pollution whose existence speaks ill of the society that produced it and of any society that would endorse or defend it. It’s not the end of civilization, just symptomatic of how easy it is to get laughs on the backs of the disenfranchised–and of how African-American actors get awards for singing and acting like criminals (or bright children and athletes) but generally get paid for acting the fool.
The visual arts have traditionally been a refuge for marginal people: queers and misfits, fragile and disobedient people, the flamboyant and the terminally shy, some brilliant people, some shallow people, and quite a few con artists; and Warhol’s Factory was open to all of them. There’s a great deal more to art than that, of course; there’s hard work and scholarship and as much to think about as there is in poetry or novels or philosophy. But many of us first came to the art world because decades earlier Warhol had made it seem like a wonderful place to be, and besides that, a home. So Factory Girl isn’t just a bad movie, it’s a 90-minute insult to the culture it pretends to be capturing, and what I really want to sayâ€”as I would almost never say of anything I see or read or listen toâ€”is that I hated it.
Is there a place for the non-thinking, non-sensing movie? Of course. Every piece of art cannot be a didactic trip into social science. But it helps to know when youâ€™re watching a real B-movie, rather than a blockbuster posing as a B-movie. What happens when artists use lies to lie? Nothing very special, and a special kind of nothing.
[O]ne might look at Ofelia’s fantasies and unnecessary death as commentary on the Marxist rebels. After all, their politics were ultimately as useless as Ofelia’s fantasies were: Franco was not deposed, and the leftist resistance was crushed. Did the Marxists die in vain? Were their hopes for justice in Spain just as fantastical as Ofelia’s hopes for peace among the fairies? I don’t think so. This film, with its vivid realization of the fairy world, wants us to believe in the power of fantasy to transform the world. Sometimes those fantasies ease the pain of an abused little girl, and sometimes they suggest a way to end the suffering of an entire people.
And at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Michelle Devereaux, Cheryl Eddy, Max Goldberg and Johnny Ray Huston offer an exquisite corpse-style review of "Inland Empire" that ends up being about as opaque as the film itself.
+ Anna Nicole Smith dies in Florida at 39 (AP)
+ NORBIT (2007) (Film Freak Central)
+ Face of a future Oscar winner? (LA Times)
+ A Very Nasty Portrait of the Artist (Slate)
+ WHERE NO FAN HAS GONE BEFORE (NY Press)
+ INSIDE THE GRINDHOUSE (NY Press)
+ Pan’s Labyrinth â€“ Can Fantasies Rescue Us from Fascism? (Wired)
+ Brutal fucking movie (SF Bay Guardian)