John Waters on Multiple Maniacs, Transgender Bathroom Laws, and the Potential End of His Film Career

Rich Juzwiak · 08/05/16 12:25PM

Yesterday, the Gawker office was graced with the presence of legendary director John Waters, who’s promoting the rerelease of his 1970 movie Multiple Maniacs. The delirious movie, which features Divine being raped by a giant lobster as its centerpiece, has been restored by the Criterion Collection and is being distributed by the illustrious Janus Films. Thus, the king of bad taste meets the epitome of cinematic refinement. Waters told me the seemingly unholy union made sense.

Ira Sachs on Little Men, Gentrification, and the Value of a Movie That "Doesn't Work Economically”

Rich Juzwiak · 08/05/16 11:32AM

I have begun to think of this film as a metaphor for the place of personal cinema in our culture,” Ira Sachs (Love Is Strange, Keep the Lights On) told me one recent morning over coffee in New York’s Marlton Hotel. He was referring to his new movie, Little Men, which includes gentrification among its themes. When white married couple Brian (Greg Kinnear) and Kathy (Jennifer Ehle) inherit Brian’s father’s house in Brooklyn, they move there from Manhattan and face a tough decision: Should they allow the Chilean owner of the dress shop downstairs, Leonor (Paulina García) to remain and continue to pay rent that’s thousands of dollars below market value or kick her out? Since Brian’s an unsuccessful actor, his family could use the boost in salary that another tenant would provide. Complicating the plot is the quick bond Brian and Kathy’s 13-year-old son Jake (Theo Taplitz) forms with Leonor’s similarly aged son Tony (Michael Barbieri). The ensuing drama carefully props up each character’s situation on another’s, deliberately transmitting everyone’s motivation and dilemma to the viewer. To describe his movie succinctly in interviews, Sachs has been borrowing a quote from Jean Renoir: “The awful thing about life is this: Everyone has their reasons.”

Nothing Can Convince Me That Blake Lively's Life Is Worth More Than a Great White Shark's

Rich Juzwiak · 07/06/16 10:35AM

This weekend, I caught up on a movie I had been meaning to see because it’s about a shark, was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (who directed one of my favorite trashy movies of the 21st century, Orphan), is certified “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes, and came recommended by people whose opinions I trust. A scrappy little B-movie that, after just two weekends in theaters, has already grossed about $20 million more than its $17 million budget, The Shallows is a single-setting thriller along the lines of 127 Hours, The Ruins, Frozen (the ski-lift one, not the Disney one whose songs continue to fill our ears and haunt our lives), and Buried (which starred Ryan Reynolds, the husband of Shallows star Blake Lively). More than anything, though, The Shallows is a giant crock of shit.

At Last a Horror Flick for Woke Baes and Bros: The Purge: Election Year

Rich Juzwiak · 07/01/16 12:56PM

Watching The Purge: Election Year is like listening to an explanation of American politics from your high-school aged brother who goes to class sometimes. The third entry in James DeMonaco’s cheap and profitable horror franchise centered around an annual 12-hour nighttime period in which Americans are permitted to indulge in “any and all crime” is as wannabe woke as ever. The movie vaguely gestures at Black Lives Matter-style activism responding to the disproportionate effect the Purge has on minorities (it’s hard to determine if the movie is referencing the theory of fundamental cause or just tripping over it), women in office, and conservatives whose hunger for money and power amounts to blood thirst. These things exist, says The Purge: Election Year. These things...are things. This movie is a deep dive into a shallow pool and watching it is slightly less pleasurable than breaking your neck (I’m guessing). Election Year’s social consciousness reads more like a coma.

Social Taboos Like Farts and Boners Explode Via Daniel Radcliffe's Corpse: Swiss Army Man

Rich Juzwiak · 06/23/16 03:04PM

The Sundance sensation Swiss Army Man essentially wonders what Cast Away would have been like if Wilson weren’t a volleyball but a corpse named Manny (played by Daniel Radcliffe) whose bodily functions like farting and boners helped our stranded protagonist Hank find his way home (the farts propel Manny over ocean like a jet ski, and his boner works as a compass). What flourishes is what one of the movie’s directors, Daniel Scheinert, deems a “gray love story.” Swiss Army Man is, in a word, insane.

"I Look at Every Assault on Me as an Opportunity": Todd Solondz on Provoking, Directing, and Resurrecting Dawn Wiener

Rich Juzwiak · 06/23/16 09:35AM

For over 20 years, filmmaker Todd Solondz has confronted audiences and what they hold true with brutal satires of human interaction and the politeness that convolutes it. His subject matter has probed, often with a sense of humor, taboos like child abuse, rape, and exploitation. His 1998 movie Happiness offered a glimpse into the interior lives of a pedophile and an obscene phone caller. He has also challenged the truths we hold about filmmaking—by now his cinematic universe is connected tenuously via partial sequels, alternate lives for his characters, and multiple actors’ interpretations of the same characters. It’s gotten twisty: A quarter of his latest movie, Wiener-Dog, is a sideways sequel to his 1995 breakthrough Welcome to the Dollhouse, imagining the adult life of Dawn Wiener, the Dollhouse protagonist that he previously killed off in 2004's Palindromes. In Wiener-Dog, Dawn is played not by Heather Matarazzo, who made that role iconic, but by Greta Gerwig—Solondz says Matarazzo’s lack of interest in ever reprising the role “freed” him.

Is Hollywood's Sugarcoating of Violence a Good or Bad Thing for Moviegoers?

Rich Juzwiak · 05/27/16 11:45AM

A throat is slit, heads are lopped off, buildings crumble, bodies dissolve, Wolverine’s metal claws plunge into multiple living bodies, and little more than a spritz of blood is shed during the two-and-a-half-hour running time of Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse. The latest entry in 20th Century Fox’s 16-year-old franchise is its worst, as it manages to be both overstuffed with characters yet empty in its depiction of them. It’s a low-to-no-stakes narrative in an ever-unfolding franchise, and Apocalypse seems mostly to exist because, well, it’s time for a new X-Men movie.

AMC Almost Ruined the Movies 

Marina Galperina · 04/15/16 12:19PM

In an interview with Variety earlier this week, AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron seemed to submit to the imaginary collective will of “Millennials — who live on social media,” by teasing a pretty bad idea: Allowing people to text during the movie. Many people got very mad and AMC immediately backed down, tweeting this morning: “NO TEXTING AT AMC. Won’t happen. You spoke. We listened.”

"It's More Relevant Than It Should Be": Green Room Director Jeremy Saulnier on His Skinhead Horror Bloodbath in Backwater Oregon

Rich Juzwiak · 04/14/16 03:07PM

Director Jeremy Saulnier wasn’t trying to reflect today’s political climate when he set out to make Green Room—it just kind of happened. The gruesome horror thriller—in which a down-and-out punk band plays a Nazi skinhead venue in backwoods Oregon and finds themselves fighting for their lives—opened last year at Cannes. Since then, much has happened to breathe relevancy into a throwback punks vs. skins narrative. Namely: Donald Trump and his legion of racist supporters.

This Is a Morally Bankrupt Way To Market Your Movie, But an OK Way To Get Your Name Out There

Rich Juzwiak · 03/10/16 10:50AM

Last week, Gawker received an anonymous tip attempting to stoke moral outrage within at least one of us, in hopes that we’d share it with the world. We receive quite a few tips of this nature, but the difference here was that the outrage was so obviously counterfeit, and so clearly calculated to get us to promote the object of that counterfeit outrage.

I Watched Michael Bay's Benghazi Movie at Cowboys Stadium With 30,000 Pissed-Off Patriots

Christopher Hooks · 01/15/16 03:51PM

“Why didn’t we bomb the shit out of them?” a man asked me. “Why aren’t we bombing the shit out of ‘em? Give me a B-52 and I’ll go over there right now.” It was a chilly night in Texas, but his mind was more than 6,000 miles away, in Libya. He and I and some 30,000 other people had come to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas—home of the Dallas Cowboys—for the outsized world premiere of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.

The Year in Gay

Rich Juzwiak · 12/29/15 03:42PM

In the early 1950s, writer Patricia Highsmith had every reason to hide her pride, and quite a few to hate herself. Living under the tyranny of McCarthyism was devastating for those with same-sex attraction—if homosexuality was acknowledged in public at all, it was condemned. And yet, Highsmith transcended.

Twenty Years of Quentin Tarantino Characters Saying "Nigger" in Twenty Minutes

Alex Pareene · 12/24/15 01:00PM

Earlier this week, Rich Juzwiak published a deeply-researched history of director Quentin Tarantino’s love affair with the word “nigger,” a word he has always used liberally in his screenplays. Juzwiak unearthed and examined twenty years worth of Tarantino’s varied and contradictory defenses of his use of the word. He also produced this video, a supercut of every instance of a character in a Tarantino-written film (through 2012’s Django Unchained) saying it. It’s a very long supercut.

The Complete History of Quentin Tarantino Saying "Nigger"

Rich Juzwiak · 12/21/15 02:00PM

No contemporary white public figure has a more involved relationship to the word “nigger” than Quentin Tarantino. He’s used it in screenplays since the beginning of his directing career, he’s been criticized (and defended) by black peers for it, and he’s explained his rationale for it several times in a variety of ways. Americans are obsessed with the word “nigger,” a semantic memento of our country’s shameful founding legacy. But few white artists seem to me more obsessed than Tarantino.

Don't Underestimate the Black Box Office

Jason Parham · 09/14/15 04:05PM

The new David M. Rosenthal thriller, The Perfect Guy, follows the story of a young, accomplished lobbyist named Leah, who has arrived at a crossroads in her love life: David, her longterm boyfriend, begins to doubt their future together. Leah is distraught—that is, until Carter comes along. Carter is, at first, the consummate gentleman: kind, good-looking, affectionate. But as these stories often go, he turns out to be the opposite of Leah’s dreams; he’s a psychopath who begins to obsessively stalk her. The Perfect Guy is a typical Hollywood thriller—except for two things: it features a majority-black cast and, perhaps even more surprisingly, it features a black woman in the lead role.

Here's What's Missing From Straight Outta Compton: Me and the Other Women Dr. Dre Beat Up

Dee Barnes · 08/18/15 03:00PM

On January 27, 1991, at a record-release party for the rap duo Bytches With Problems in Hollywood, producer/rapper/then-N.W.A. member Dr. Dre brutally attacked Dee Barnes, the host of a well-known Fox show about hip-hop called Pump It Up! Dre was reportedly angry about a Pump It Up! segment hosted by Barnes that aired in November 1990. The report focused on N.W.A., and concluded with a clip of Ice Cube, who had recently left the group, insulting his former colleagues. Soon after the attack, Barnes described it in interviews: She said Dre attempted to throw her down a flight of stairs, slammed her head against a wall, kicked her, and stomped on her fingers. Dre later told Rolling Stone, “It ain’t no big thing – I just threw her through a door.” He pleaded no contest to assault charges. Barnes’s civil suit against Dre was settled out of court.

Spider-Man Can't Be Gay or Black

Sam Biddle · 06/19/15 10:42AM

Why are the Spider-Man movies so bad? Maybe it’s because the character has become stale, locked down by arbitrary contractual definitions? A leaked agreement between Marvel and Sony shows us why Peter Parker always looks like Peter Parker.