WEIRDLAND: February 2014

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Black-Eyed Blonde, Heartbreak and Vine, Broken City, True Detective

“It was one of those summer Tuesday afternoons when you begin to wonder if the earth has stopped revolving. The telephone on my desk had the look of something that knows it’s being watched. Traffic trickled by in the street below, and there were a few pedestrians, too, men in hats going nowhere.” So begins The Black-Eyed Blonde, a new novel featuring Philip Marlowe. Soon he is tangling with one of Bay City’s richest families and developing a singular appreciation for how far they will go to protect their fortune.

"Despite Robert B. Parker’s lengthy experience in the PI genre, his sequel to The Big Sleep, Perchance to Dream, pales in comparison with Black’s pitch-perfect recreation of the character and his time and place. As for the language, Black nails Chandler’s creative and memorable similes and metaphors... While the mystery is well-plotted, Black elevates it beyond mere thoughtful homage with a plausible injection of emotion in his wounded lead." —Publishers Weekly

"Somewhere Raymond Chandler is smiling, because this is a beautifully rendered hardboiled novel that echoes Chandler's melancholy at perfect pitch. The story is great, but what amazed me is how John Banville caught the cumulative effect Chandler's prose had on readers. It's hard to quantify, but it's also what separated the Marlowe novels from the general run of noir. The sadness runs deep. I loved this book. It was like having an old friend, one you assumed was dead, walk into the room. Kind of like Terry Lennox, hiding behind those drapes." —Stephen King

"Hollywood has always been willing to invite noirists - Raymond Chandler, Horace McCoy, James M. Cain, Elmore Leonard or Donald Westlake - into their midst, co-opting their talent in the hope of enhancing studio profits. Some hardboilers have been able to adapt to the strictures of scriptwriting and the Hollywood lifestyle, while others have been destroyed by it. In earlier days those best able to adapt to the industry’s demands often came from the deadline-oriented world of journalism (Ben Hecht, John Bright, James M. Cain, Niven Busch). Significantly, the original film script-story, which has since become a Hollywood staple, was only to become a full-fledged commodity after World War II. Hollywood’s hostile treatment of screenwriters is legendary. Because they were in a position to disseminate ideas, screenwriters were distrusted, not allowed to control their product, and constantly fired by studios. Nevertheless, noir screenwriters have recently gained a more respectable position, some becoming, at least in the imagination of film aficionados, figures of romance. Yet however one regards the process, screenwriting remains an art that many novelists are unable to execute, and that many producers and directors are unable to appreciate.

Robert Towne may be a formidable screenwriter, but he is not a formidable novelist. In fact, he is not a novelist at all. Likewise, Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett were not great screenwriters. No wonder Ernest Hemingway and, for many years, James Ellroy, would have nothing to do with Hollywood. In the hierarchy of writers, the novelist is considered the superior creature, but that quickly changes when he or she begins to work in an industry that caters to the lowest common denominator.

The image of screenwriters as grovelling hacks willing to sell themselves at any price was always a convenient one for Hollywood to perpetuate. But in 1939, prior to the formation of the Writers Guild, studios were hiring junior writers for $85 a week or less and also had them write scripts on speculation. These days, when much of Tinseltown proper is a semi-slum, writers are likely to be freelancers who, as in Bruce Wagner’s novel Force Majeure, spend their time hustling to get someone even to read their scripts. Likewise, few writers are tied to studio payrolls. This is partly to keep writers on a short leash, and partly because, compared to earlier eras, fewer Hollywood films are being made — 477 films were made in 1940, but, with the growing popularity of TV, the number dropped to 154 in 1960, rising again with the advent of the video age in the early 1990s. With Hollywood not quite so desperate for stories and original material, Tinseltown remains a fool’s paradise, in which the market dictates taste, and monetary reward has become greater than ever... a specific aspect of transnational corporate power, part American Dream and part American Nightmare. As A.P. Giannini of the Bank of America, one of the industry’s prime founders, prophetically observed during the early days of Hollywood, ‘Those who control the cinema can control the thought of the world.’ Writers should be forewarned; engage with Hollywood at your peril. -"Heartbreak and Vine: The Fate of Hardboiled Writers in Hollywood" (2014) by Woody Haut

“The only thing better than getting out of the damn city is going back to it.” —Paul Andrews (Kyle Chandler) in "Broken City" (2013)

The detective begins to wise up after something bad happens to Valliant's campaign manager (Kyle Chandler), and like all the best noir protagonists, he doesn't like being played for a fool. Billy would rather blow up his own life than let the mayor's apparently corrupt secret deal succeed.

If Broken City is more notable for attitude and ambiance than plotting, it does pose some lingering mysteries. But these may have less to do with Brian Tucker's script than with last-minute edits: While the conflict between Billy and the mayor resolves neatly — too neatly, in fact — other characters and storylines just evaporate. It might take a smarter gumshoe than Billy Taggart to uncover everything that was originally supposed to happen in Broken City. Source:

To state the obvious: while the male detectives of “True Detective” are avenging women and children, and bro-bonding over “crazy pussy,” every live woman they meet is paper-thin. Wives and sluts and daughters —none with any interior life. Instead of an ensemble, “True Detective” has just two characters, the family-man adulterer Marty (a reasonably interesting asshole, in Harrelson’s strong performance), and Rust, who is a macho fantasy straight out of Carlos Castaneda. A sinewy weirdo with a tragic past, Rust delivers arias of philosophy, a mash-up of Nietzsche, Lovecraft, and the nihilist horror writer Thomas Ligotti. McConaughey gives an exciting performance (“a rubber band wrapped tight around a razor blade”), but his rap is premium baloney. Marty’s wife, Maggie—played by Michelle Monaghan, she is the only prominent female character on the show—is an utter nothing-burger, all fuming prettiness with zero insides. Source:

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Shirley Temple, Kyle Chandler: "Homefront", FNL (Connie Britton) & "Wolf of Wall Street"

Shirley Temple died recently at the age of 85. Her film career began when she was about 4 years of age, and she starred in motion pictures with phenomenal success through the age of 21. During the mid-late 1930s, her box office power outdid the power of such stars as Clark Gable and Joan Crawford. At that time, when much of the population of the United States was struggling through the Great Depression, little Shirley Temple was dancing, singing, and genuinely charming her way into the hearts of a nation.

There never has been another child star like her. Here golden curls were bouncy and cute, her smile was heartwarming, and her little girl body was cherubic. She was an on-screen symbol of confidence in the future, all that is wholesome and beautiful. In one of her many films, STAND UP AND CHEER!, from 1934, the character she plays actually contributes to ending the Great Depression! Source:

Connie Britton as Gertrude Temple and Ashley Rose as Shirley Temple in "Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story" (2001) TV show

The promarriage ethic so prominent among the Depression-bruised youth who went to war cast a long shadow into the next decade. William Levitt had learned large-scale construction methods building airfields for the Navy during the war and was able to profitably adapt these techniques to large-scale homebuilding. In 1946 he started buying up Long Island potato fields and laying out suburban developments. There were other amenities, including plantings of apple and cherry trees, curved roads, swimming pools, playgrounds, and baseball fields: the Great American Suburban Dream, subsidized by federally guaranteed mortgages and accessible by federally financed highways. The basic model sold for $7,990 (about $90,000 in 2010), nearly $3,000 more than the $5,000 at which Americans ideally priced their dream houses in a 1945 poll, showing how inflation was already outstripping victory dreams. -"The Noir Forties: The American People From Victory to Cold War" (2012) by Richard Lingeman

Kyle Chandler as Coach Taylor and Connie Britton as Tammy Taylor in "Friday Night Lights" (2006-2011) TV show

Big Break - Kyle Chandler's first major television role was as baseball player, Jeff Metcalf, on the widely acclaimed ABC drama "Homefront" (1991-1993). It was on this quality television program that the world was first introduced to the vast talent and charm of Kyle Chandler.

Kyle Chandler turned out such consistently good work on "Homefront," it is unbelievable that this actor's star did not immediately rise to the stratosphere. Source:

Kyle Chandler & Tammy Lauren - "Homefront"´s Postwar Sweethearts: Ginger (Tammy Lauren), an aspiring actress, was all set to marry her G.I. boyfriend. But when she met his train at the station (in her wedding dress), she ran into his Italian war bride first. Jeff (Kyle Chandler), an aspiring baseball player, had just wrenched his way out of the arms of the woman he loved (who, unfortunately, was engaged to his brother, another returning G.I.). Shellshocked, Jeff and Ginger spent an evening together, recoiled, then acknowledged their mutual attraction and regrouped to sort out their differences. Catholics both, they've vowed to abstain from sex before marriage. Amid mounting waves of temptation, they've endured Ginger's failed screen test, Jeff's agonizing slump during spring training, gossip about the fact that she is two years older than he is, and heated arguments over such subjects as sports superstitions, rumba lessons and china patterns. Jeff is coping with the difficulties of small-town stardom. As for Ginger, she has gotten a job singing a tomato-juice jingle on radio.

The dark-haired and baby-faced Mr. Chandler, a bit shy around interviewers, began studying acting ("I'd exhausted all my other options") at the University of Georgia. He was signed to a nine-month development deal with ABC, but the time ran out without any job offer having materialized. After 18 months of auditioning, he won a recurring role as a Vietnam-era soldier on the CBS series "Tour of Duty." Source:

Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in the movie resembles the real-life character he played in “Catch Me If You Can,” another con artist living a lavish lifestyle. Both men were trying to stay one step ahead of the law while being pursued by FBI agents. In “The Wolf of Wall Street,” the FBI agent is played by Kyle Chandler, who is one of the few voices of reason in the film and also one of the few actors to play his role completely serious.

He gives a good, realistic performance and as Belfort’s behavior gets more and more outrageous and dishonest, we hope that the FBI agent can take him down. Along with the FBI agent, Belfort’s dad played by director Rob Reiner, are probably the only characters we can sympathize with. Source:

There is simply no denying that Kyle Chandler is a DILF. When the term was created, surely Chandler’s brooding eyes, tousled coif and rugged voice came to mind. When he opens his mouth to speak, you hope it’s for a lecture about something you need to be punished for — or at least a motivational pick-me-up. “I think out of all the awards and accolades that I have received out of my 22 to 24 years of work on screen and stage, that no greater thing has touched the cockles of my heart than to be called one of the biggest DILFs in America,” he tells The Post, grinning. “Thank you.”

For his latest role, as an FBI agent in “The Wolf of Wall Street”, Chandler attempts to nail down crooked stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio). To play the part, Chandler worked with Greg Coleman, the real-life 20-year FBI veteran who spent six years chasing Belfort. “The biggest key for me into this role was [when Coleman] said to me, ‘Listen, I’ve got no animosity, no ill will toward any of these people that I arrest,’ ” says Chandler. That nuance shows in Chandler’s performance, but it’s nothing new for him. He’s been covertly stealing the spotlight with rounded characters for more than two decades.

Born in Buffalo and raised primarily in rural Georgia, Chandler first started appearing in TV movies in 1988. After a number of shows, including leading roles in “Homefront” and “Early Edition” and a splashy guest gig on “Grey’s Anatomy,” Chandler finally became a household name as coach Eric Taylor on “Friday Night Lights” in 2006.

After years in LA, Chandler now calls the Austin area home with his wife, Kathryn, and their daughters, Sydney, 18, and Sawyer, 12. So what does the successful father have planned for his family this Christmas? “Going to Disneyland,” he says. Oh neat, for real? “No,” he says, laughing. “I’m not going to tell you what I’m doing for Christmas. This is my life. I already gave you the DILF line.” Source:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Happy 33rd birthday, Joseph Gordon-Levitt!

Happy 33rd birthday, Joseph Gordon-Levitt!!

You starred in and directed Don Jon – what is it about?

How the media leads us to form unrealistic expectations about love, sex and relationships. Real life is richer and more beautiful; real people are way more complicated and sexy. If you’re too busy comparing your life to media images then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Don Jon is poking fun at this.

You play Jon, a porn-obsessed, chauvinistic ladies’ man. Presumably you’re not like that in your own life?

No. I wouldn’t want to see my girlfriend as a possession. But I do use the language convention ‘my girlfriend’. It’s like saying, ‘my body, my arms, my legs’. But such things do have an impact on how we form our perspectives of ourselves.

I imagine you’re a perfect boyfriend.

Absolutely. Of course I am! [laughs]

Why did you cast Scarlett Johansson as your romantic-comedy-fixated love interest Barbara in Don Jon?

Because she’s a really smart person and a talented artist, yet most of what gets talked about is her looks and her sex appeal.

You’ve been acting since childhood – how come fame hasn’t gone to your head?

My parents were smart in how they raised us. My dad instilled a work ethic. I remember once playing a computer game while waiting to go on set. I was called to work and I said, ‘I just want to save my game.’ My dad closed the computer, but I didn’t save the game and I felt really upset. Dad said, ‘You are working. You have to go.’ When I think back, I see he was teaching me a valuable lesson.

I hear you are a big fan of London…

I love the fact that it’s more acceptable in the UK to be into the arts. In the US it’s considered snobby to care. And there’s nothing like the British Film Institute that’s government funded.

You seem very private. How do you deal with celebrity?

It is a double-edged sword. I’d compare this kind of fame to royalty. In the US, overthrowing royalty was the foundation of our nation. So we’ve invented a new kind of royalty – celebrity.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Kyle Chandler: a nice fellow

I`d give anything to meet: Jimmy Stewart. I`d like to say thank you.

Favorite childhood memory: My father used to pick me up from school, and I`d ask him 10 times to take me to the ice cream parlor. He`d say no nine times, and then we`d end up there.

People who knew me in high school thought I was: Really weird. I was very, very, very shy.

I knew I was a grownup when I: Left home at 22 to come out to Los Angeles.

If I`ve learned one thing in life, it`s: That I don`t know anything.

Major accomplishment: Being able to support myself and help out my mother.

My most humbling experience: Moving to Los Angeles. It`s a tough city, especially when you grew up in Georgia.

When people first meet me, they think: ``He`s a nice fella.``

The words that best describe me: Quiet, loves to laugh, non-judgmental. Source:

Kyle Chandler is that kind of guy, a throwback to a classic, Jimmy Stewart breed of celebrity. "I'm not expecting I'll be a megastar," says Kyle Chandler, in his Georgia drawl. "I just love what I do, and I can't believe I get paid to do it. I'm the luckiest guy in the world."

Q: What's the number one way you and your wife have kept your marriage strong all these years?

We trust each other — absolutely, 100 percent. We run into some pretty tough arguments sometimes, but the idea is that at the end of the day, my wife and I realize that we'll always be holding each other's hand. This is a lifelong relationship, and she hasn't gotten rid of me yet. My grandparents got married at a very young age, and a lot of what I think about marriage is based on their relationship. I watched them over the years and saw how they dealt with everything together, as a team. I love the institution of marriage, and I love my marriage.

Q: Does anything about your wife drive you nuts?

Let me word this delicately. My wife, she likes to have things uncluttered, and if something is missing, then one has to be very careful not to ask her if it was thrown out — you have to ask her simply where it might be. But really, there's not much about her that isn't amazing. There, that ought to win me some points.

Q: Are you particularly helpful around the house?

I do like to cook; I'm sort of a mad scientist in the kitchen. My father always made breakfast in the morning, before we went to school. Whether we wanted to or not, us kids had to sit down and eat. So now I'm doing that with my kids, and I'm the one standing there while they grunt, saying, "Eat your breakfast now, come on." And on the show, my character's home is an actual house that we film in, so I've started cooking breakfast for the crew in the house's kitchen. It started out where it was just bacon, but now there's pancakes and eggs and toast and butter. Most days, I start by cooking up around 15 bacon strips, and handing that out, and then usually someone will come up and say, "Can I have a pancake?" I take all requests. Because believe me, it's important to keep people fed. You don't mess around with your film crew.

Q: What is one thing you couldn't live without?

My family. But in terms of material things: We went through all those forest fires out here in California, and at one point my family and I thought about what we'd take if we had to evacuate. You learn real quick that there's not much. Photographs, maybe, but even those you could learn to live without.

Q: Do you think there's something to be said for having become famous later in life, rather than when you were younger?

Well, you know, I've had brushes with fame at various points. I've been famous, then not famous, then famous, then not famous — I always looked at the acting as something that was its own reward. And now, especially, this show that I'm on, where I get to play a real adult in a real world — just getting to do that feels like the reward.

Q: How do you feel about having female fans swoon over you, at this stage of your career?

Honestly, no one has really mentioned it much to me, so I guess I haven't noticed it. But it's certainly not anything that I'm going to complain about. If there's anything that's more appealing about me to women now, at this age as opposed to when I was younger, it's probably the fact that this is the first time I'm playing a husband and father — someone who is real, and grown-up, and grounded. I think that's what's most appealing. So, see, it's not me — it's my character. Source:

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Coach & Cheerleaders: FNL & Dare Me

"There's not a person in the world that could do this except for you. This is what you do. I've seen you do it with my own eyes. I believe in you. I believe in you with every cell of my being." -Tami Taylor (Coach's wife) in "Friday Night Lights" (Eyes Wide Open)

Kyle Chandler (Baby Be Mine) video, featuring photos and stills from films and TV shows starring by Kyle Chandler: Homefront, Early Edition, Friday Night Lights (with Connie Britton), King Kong, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Super 8, Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, The Wolf of Wall Street, etc. Soundtrack: "Baby Be Mine" by The Jelly Beans, "Bewildered" by Richard Berry, "You're the Reason" by Hank Snow, "Ooh Wee Baby" by Jeff Barry, and "Little Baby" by Buddy Holly.

It was a dog on a motorcycle that caught Kathryn Chandler’s eyes. The guy with the dog was Kyle Chandler, star of CBS’ “Early Edition” (which is filmed in Chicago). But back in 1993, there was no “Early Edition.” And Kathryn hadn’t seen Kyle in any of his other roles. All she knew was that any man giving a big dog a ride on his motorcycle was a little eccentric. And she liked that.

“There’s a place in Los Angeles called Dog Park,” says Kathryn. “I would take my little terrier there, and sometimes I’d run into Kyle and his dog. So we would kind of smile at each other and do the triple take, but we wouldn’t really do anything about it. “Then one day I was there on one side of the park with my dog, and he was on the other side. No one else was there. So I said to (my dog) Otis`Go over and jump on that guy.’ And he did! He went over and just pounced on Kyle, who said, `Whoa, friendly dog you got here.’” The two didn’t go out until six months later. “I saw a moving van in front of his house, and I thought, `Ohmigod! It’s never going to happen!’ ” she remembers. “So I took my dog and slowly strolled by his house. I said, `Hey, are you moving?’ And he said his neighbors were.” Then he asked her out to a movie.

Which leads to the question: Why did it take so long for Kyle to ask Kathryn out? She is a former model with an outgoing personality. “I had lots of other girls to ask out first,” he teases. “He’s lying!” she says, laughing. Married since 1995, the couple live in Chicago with their daughter, Sydney. But she says she wants to write an independent film starring a certain shy guy who knows how to ride a mean motorcycle. And by the way, Kathryn still has the ticket stub from “Scent of a Woman” – the movie they went to on their first date. -Chicago Sun Times (Jae-Ha Kim, 1999)

“Welcome, guys” were the words Coach Gary Gaines used to begin the 1988 season. Gary Gaines was a strikingly handsome man with a soft smile and rows of pearly white teeth somehow unstained, as if by divine intervention, from the toxic-looking thumbfuls of tobacco snuff that he snuck between front lip and gum when his wife wasn’t around to catch him. He had beautiful eyes, not quite gray, not quite blue, filled with softness and reassurance. His message was short and sincere: “Nobody rest a play, men. Don’t coast on any play. You’re on that field, you give it everything you got.” They were players like Joe Bob Bizzell, the Golden Boy of golden boys, the one against whom all others were measured. Said one former classmate of him with dreamy reverence as he remembered Joe Bob’s place and time in high school in the early seventies, “You couldn’t touch ’im.” He had been All-State three years, making it as a sophomore, as a junior, and then both ways at receiver and defensive back as a senior. No one else at Permian had ever done that and no one had an instinct for the ball like Joe Bob Bizzell, something that rose beyond a rare gift, a natural talent, and had become a very part of him. “Before they even snapped the ball, I knew what play they were going to run,” he said. “It was weird, but that’s how it was done.” -"Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream" by H. G. Bissinger, H.G. (2004)

"An increasingly addictive noir set in the world of high school cheerleading." (Joe Gross, Austin American-Statesman)

"I’m listening, but I don’t know what I’m hearing. I wonder how many beers Will has had, or if this is what mourning can look like, diffuse and mysterious. “Addy, I think…” He pauses, his beer bottle tilting in his hand. “She knew things I never told anyone,” he says. “Like about my wife. Six years we were together, I never bought her a Valentine’s Day card.” [...] “I felt sorry for Coach. And then when the Sarge died, I felt rotten. I thought maybe Beth used that picture in some evil way. And that Sarge killed himself on account of it. Is that what happened, Addy?”, Tacy says sighing."

"There is Beth at the diamond tip, her face streaked indigo and, from afar, never looking more like the savage princess she is. Seeing her, I feel all kinds of things I can’t name. Her face is so lovely, a perfect spritely smile carved there, lightning bolt tattoo streaked across one high cheekbone. It feels as if we’re on our knees, like prayerful Southern football players... We are all bowing inside, to her. Coach, you’ve not forsaken us. The quiet among us, the devotional silence starts to break apart as we feel ourselves lifted. But not me—me who wants to bathe in the moment’s sacredness forever. The gasp from the bleachers lashes through the air. The force with which she twists her body, spinning it, and then kicking backwards —and all our hands grabbing for her, and the will with which Beth pitches her body, legs kicking so far back. Then the sickening crack and seeing her head click backwards, like a doll’s. But you must see: She never really wanted anything but this." -"Dare Me" (2012) by Megan Abbott

Monday, February 10, 2014

Kyle Chandler (You're the Reason) video

Kyle Chandler (You're the Reason) video

-"It may have been wrapped in the arena of high school football, but it's really about mentoring, about people helping people." ~Kyle Chandler on Friday Night Lights

"Being a fair honest person is my best quality... and if I have a worst quality it is that I am indecisive when answering questions."

Mr. Chandler has brought to the role a mature sex appeal that is muted by a certain lugheadedness, portraying Coach Taylor as someone who doesn’t quite understand how it is that relationships have become so complicated, or why teenage girls don’t just want to dress like Pilgrims. Dialogue doesn’t coax him there. He conveys this all in his recurring look of dismay, one that suggests a man living on the outskirts of modernity but full of enough compassion to deal respectfully with the ones he loves when he’s overwhelmed. Mr. Chandler makes Taylor frustrating, kind, goofy, appealing, occasionally quick to temper and provocatively real. And amid all that, he’s found his own pulse. Source:

When Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton decided to drive from LA to Austin together to begin filming, producer Peter Berg was worried. “Connie and Kyle developed a very flirtatious, precocious relationship right off the bat. And Kyle, of course, is married,” he explained. “I was convinced they would be having some torrid affair by the time they reached Santa Fe and Kyle’s marriage would be over by the time they got to Austin. I was wrong about that, thank God.” Source:

On FNL, Britton and Kyle Chandler, who portrayed her husband, Coach Eric Taylor, created what may be both the best and the most realistic marriage ever seen on TV. Tami and Eric were a team, and so, professionally, were Britton and Chandler. Several times the two caravanned together, she in her car and he on his motorcycle, making a road trip of the drive to Austin, Texas, where FNL filmed, from their homes in L.A.

“Kyle and I shared the same point of view on how we wanted that marriage portrayed,” says Britton. “We said early on, ‘Don’t even try to write one of us having an affair because we’re not going to do it. We want to portray what most people who live in small towns do: They get together, live together, have good days and bad days. They make it work.’ ” Source:

"Listen honey, I don't know what to tell you," Britton told E! News' Kristin Dos Santos about the scrapped [FNL] movie. "At this point, I only have to defer to Pete Berg." But come on, Britton must have some form of blackmail to use on Berg, Chandler and the rest of the FNL gang in order to force them to gift the world with an FNL film, right?! "I have blackmail information on all of them," the Nashville star admitted. "I am just choosing the right moment to use it." Source: