Tuesday, August 15, 2017

LIZ SMITH: Amusing our friends and foes

 Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man.
by Liz Smith & Denis Ferrara

Leonardo Di as Leonardo da? Why Not? Also — Jane Fonda ... Bruno Mars ... and Jack Kesy, the hot number from “Claws.” 

“THE GREATEST deception men suffer is from their own opinions,” said Leonardo da Vinci.

Considering all the opinion we offer here, I thought this might amuse our friends, and especially our foes.
SPEAKING of Italy’s genius painter, sculptor, inventor, scientist and all around superhuman, what interesting news that Leonardo DiCaprio — America’s famous movie star and perennial playboy bachelor — will tackle the life, or some aspect of the life of da Vinci. (At 42, and long past his brief flirtation with hotness, Leo will surely play Leonardo in mid-life.)

The movie will be based on Walter Isaacson’s bio on da Vinci, which arrives in October, via Simon & Schuster. (Isaacson has written compellingly on Benjamin Franklin, Einstein, Henry Kissinger and Steve Jobs.  He knows his way around the lives of accomplished, complicated men.) 
Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover.
This will be one more true-life tale Leo has tackled.  He’s played J. Edgar Hoover, Howard Hughes, Frank Abagnale, Jr. (the con man of “Catch Me if You Can”), Jordan Belfort (crooked stockbroker, in “The Wolf of Wall Street”) and next year he’ll be seen as police officer Joe Petrosino, battling the Mafia in “The Black Hand.”  Oh, yes, Leo also played King Louis XIV in “The Man in the Iron Mask” but let’s not linger there.  That was Alexander Dumas’ fiction, anyway.  Or was it? 
As Howard Hughes.
As Jordan Belfort.
I think it will be fascinating to see DiCaprio as da Vinci, drenched in Renaissance creativity, vegetarianism, and — certainly something Leo can understand — lifelong bachelorhood. 

In da Vinci’s case, it is now commonly thought the artist was gay.  But maybe DiCaprio’s da Vinci will have more to do with his pals, Beatrice and Isabella Este.  Or perhaps Cecilia Gallerani, who was the subject of da Vinci’s “The Lady With an Ermine.”  And there’s always La Gioconda, aka Mona Lisa, aka Lisa Gherardini, to fool around with. 
Sure, there was that tricky incident with the male hustler in 1476, but Leonardo was a renaissance man, after all.  Perhaps in 21st century phrasing he was “fluid.”  I’m sure the Oscar-winning Mr. DiCaprio can play fluid. 

No director or co-stars have been announced as yet. But the movie will be produced by Leo’s own company, Appian Way, for Paramount, which badly needs a hit.
St. John the Baptist,  Leonardo da Vinci's final painting.

... I love this, from “Grace and Frankie’s” Jane Fonda, answering questions for The Hollywood Reporter: “There ought to be an Emmy for Director of Photography, and our D.P. should win. Lily Tomlin and I have talked about how we should put up images of ourselves before D.P Gale Tattersall, and his lighting, and after. Believe me, he would win an Emmy!”
“Grace and Frankie’s” D.P. Gale Tattersall.
... NICE when artists really put their money where their mouth is, and use their fame to do good deeds in a naughty world.  I do mean Bruno Mars, on tour with his “24K Magic World” tour. He recently donated a million dollars to aid the victims of the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan.  Mars and Live Nation directed proceeds from his Detroit show to The Community Foundation of Greater Flint. Good work, Mr. Mars!   By the way, visit www.cfgf.org if you want info on Flint situation. 
... Reader Yvonne Price recently emailed with praise for our work in general, and raves in particular for TNT’s “Claws,” which we here have come to love.  (A terrific season finale last Sunday.)  Ms. Price is wild for star Niecy Nash, along with Jenn Lyon, Carrie Preston, Judy Reyes, Karruche Tran, Harold Perrineau and Dean Norris as the volatile “Uncle Daddy.”  But Yvonne wondered about “the guy who plays Roller. OMG!  Where has he been hiding?” 

Well, Yvonne, he’s Jack Kesy, working since 2009.  He has been on “The Strain” TV series, has had roles in a lot of films, including the recent “Baywatch” and has six, count ‘em, six features upcoming, including “Deadpool 2” with Ryan Reynolds, now filming.   So you see, Yvonne, he hasn’t been hiding.  But aren’t you glad you found him? 
Jack Kesy's Roller in "Claws."
“DIS·in·gen·u·ous.”  Adjective
1. Not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does. Synonyms: insincere, dishonest, untruthful, false, deceitful, ... More: duplicitous, lying, mendacious, hypocritical.
THE above Oxford Dictionary definition of disingenuous rang through my head last week, as many Republicans chastised the president for not uttering the words “white supremacist” or “neo Nazi” after the terrible events in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The commander in chief was also spanked by his own party for not separating himself definitively from the praise heaped upon him by the likes of David Duke and other proponents of racism and anti-Semitism. 

Give. Me. A. Break. Did these men sleep through the campaign?  No, they did not.  Did they all come around to support him?  Yes, they did.  And is he actually saying (or not saying) something that truly disturbs them?  I don’t think so.
He is simply making the Republican Party’s stance on these issues all-too-crystal clear.  And nobody wants that kind of clarity writ large, writ vulgar, writ deeply and obviously disturbed. 

The GOP has been courting extremists for years, long before Donald Trump.  So there’s no genuine shock at what appears to be Trump’s obvious embrace of the ugliest aspects of American life — only some slight discomfort that it’s so obvious. (The GOP reaction is analogous to the famous “Shocked, shocked!” from “Casablanca.”) But they’ll get over it.  After all, despite the GOP and Trump’s — talk of victimization by the Left, they rule the country now.  How victimized can they be?!  (Even if the president is forced to make a truly declarative statement, we all know it will be uttered in his usual surly reluctant child mode — as when he sullenly and very unconvincingly conceded that Barack Obama was indeed born in the USA.)

P.S. So, he did utter the Nazi, KKK, white supremacist  words, yesterday.  Forced into it, essentially. Are we supposed to take solace in that?  
As for Democrats who get all excited every time Trump seemingly missteps — like, every day! — you guys better get over it too. His base loves this. Just as they love his “manly” bluster over North Korea, a non-event, as all North Korean crises have been for years.

The best that Dems seem to be able to do is hang onto the Russian scandal which will likely take down a few in Trump’s circle, but not him.  Or run absurd stories, such as Rolling Stone’s on Canada’s Justin Trudeau, “Why Can’t He Be Our President?” Because he’s Canadian and he can’t be — what a waste of cover space.  Or Michael Moore on Broadway, preaching to the converted.  And not very funnily, either.
Instead of concentrating on the carnival that is Trump, Democrats ought to be paying more attention to the incremental and mostly ignored moves of the likes of Paul Ryan and Mike Pence.  And for heaven’s sake do something about the people at the top of your party who are, for the most part, weak and hopeless.

Oh, and for Democrats, here’s a word and definition for you to ponder — smug.  After all that has happened and continues to happen, I see it and hear it every day.  Lessons have not been learned.
Contact Liz here.