During the 1980s, which was probably one of the most repressive times in Hollywood cinema, there seemed to be so many rules — heroes can’t be this and can’t be that and can’t be unlikeable. One of my favourite scenes of all time is the opening scene of Pedro Almodovar’s Matador: the guy getting off on slasher films. That is a touched-by-God, genius moment. I remember talking to some of the guys I worked with at the Video Archives store and saying, “Man, I’d love to do an opening to a movie like that.” And someone said: “Yeah, they wouldn’t let you.”
People have said little things like that all my life. But who’s “they”? I’ve given nobody the authority over me to say I can’t do anything — I can do anything I want or can achieve. I don’t ask permission. I might ask forgiveness, but I won’t ask permission. There is no “they”.
Here’s the thing: they can write a mean letter, they can write a mean memo, but these guys don’t have any real fight in them. If you’re an artist, as opposed to a careerist, and your movie is more important to you than a career in this town, they can never beat you. You have a loaded gun, and you know you’ve got what it takes to put it in their faces and blow their heads off. It’s about never taking the gun out. It’s about never touching the gun, never raising it, never pulling the trigger, never blowing their heads off. It’s about not going there — but knowing you can. So, if you have to flash it, it means something.
“I’ve found that your chances for happiness are increased if you wind up doing something that is a reflection of what you loved most when you were somewhere between nine and eleven years old. At that age, you know enough of the world to have opinions about things, but you’re not old enough yet to be overly influenced by the crowd or by what other people are doing or what you think you “should” be doing. If what you do later on ties into that reservoir in some way, then you are nurturing some essential part of yourself.”—Walter Murch in The Conversations, via fenced lot, clusterflock (via somethingchanged) (via unicornology)
The interview is 10 years old, but I recently got interested in her after watching a clip in which she discusses intercutting in the sex scene for Out of Sight. Here’s an excerpt:
MURCH: When you were growing up, did film interest you in a particular way, and if it didn’t, then how did you get involved in film?
COATES: I didn’t go to the cinema very much as a child. When my parents divorced, my father used to take us to the cinema for his treat. I remember seeing films like “Lost Horizon,” which I thought was magic, “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights.” I fell madly in love with Laurence Olivier. When I saw the magic on the screen, what it could do, it suddenly came alive to me. It held my imagination in a way that made me become interested in films. When I had my first job, I had never seen a piece of 35mm film in my life.
COATES: No. I was a projectionist and sound recordist. I sent the films out, and when they came back, they were nitrate-filled. I learned how you do those lovely patches, things like that. And it was kind of fun. Then I got into the real world of film.
MURCH: How did that happen?
COATES: Well, they unionized us, and nobody wanted to go into the union except me. Then I heard there was this job at Pinewood Studios for a second assistant, so I applied.
But I was not qualified, so I wasn’t truthful in my interview. I said I could make tracks and order opticals and do all these things which I had never done in my life. Then I had a crash course for a week with a friend of mine in the editing booth.
The first film I did was for Michael Powell, who was making “The Red Shoes” at the same time. Reggie Mills, who was his top editor, took the picture over to recut it. Reggie Mills didn’t want the first assistant to go up with the film, so I went up. And he was wonderful. I mean, he never actually taught me anything as such, but watching him and the discipline were so good for me. And, you know, he never spoke. I just used to hand him the trims and ask for the trims. Then I got into working on “The Red Shoes” for a little bit, helping out on that, and was able to go on the set to watch, so it was an interesting time.
It’s about William Holden character and it’s on the order of “if the devil came back don’t you think he’d disguise himself as a great guy…”
I think you mean Broadcast News? Is this what you’re looking for? It’s said by Aaron Altman (played by Albert Brooks):
"What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he’s around? Nobody is going to be taken in if he has a long, red, pointy tail. No. I’m semi-serious here. He will look attractive and he will be nice and helpful and he will get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation and he will never do an evil thing… he will just bit by little bit lower standards where they are important. Just coax along flash over substance… Just a tiny bit. And he will talk about all of us really being salesmen. And he’ll get all the great women. "
“I had all kinds of ideas for what to do with this cat, and I was told, ‘Just be yourself.’ Oh, alright…You hear my voice, and you think “suck up”, I guess.”—Andy Richter, on doing the voice of Natoru, the Cat King’s servant for The Cat Returns.
@stayforthecredits: I’m an idiot my dear, and I owe you an apology.
I wrote this Tumblr Tuesday post and for some reason I typed the words “adamngoodshot” in the link name where *your name* should have been. All fixed now.
So, world, you should know that stayforthecredits also gets the “byron thinks you’re awesome” seal of approval. The girl is a star.
Oh! Haha, that’s not a problem, and the apology is unnecessary. Thank you for the mention! I’m honored to have your seal of approval. It should be said that byronic is also one of my fave tumblrs around on film (among other things), and though I rarely re-blog her, it’s only because I think you follow her already and I don’t want to be redundant.
And no disrespect to adamngoodshot—a tumblr I enjoy—though it hasn’t been updated in a while.
First thing’s first: There are many Irish-Americans in this country who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a quiet and sober manner, perhaps heading off to work with a muted-olive tie or a small emerald pin as their nod to the day’s events. There are also those who go to the 7 A.M. mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and consider the day a prayerful tribute to the patron saint of all things green. There are still others who awaken the morning of March 17 and carry on as if it were just another 24 hours - no drinking, no fighting, no puking.
I don’t know any of these people. Therefore, this piece will be about the red-blooded, hard-boiled, hammerheaded souls who patrol the St. Patrick’s Day arena as if it were life’s last call.
If you consider the image of a working-class Mick named Fitzy caterwauling down Fifth Avenue wearing a kelly-green plastic derby, well oiled on whiskey and slurring his words, an offensive and demeaning stereotype, then call the Irish Anti-Defamation League (IDLE) right now. I think the number is 1-800-NO-FITZY.
I’ve spent several hundred official and unofficial St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in New York City over the years, and the calm, bespectacled intellectual Irishman clutching his copy of Finnegans Wake is a rare sight indeed. Unless he’s passed out around 3:15 A.M. in the back booth at McQuigan’s Pub.
No, March 17 is not for the squeamish. It’s for the thirsty masses. Those young rebels willing to shout and scream about their Irish blood, the chosen few who will toss raw eggs into open cab windows, the banshees who only want (as House of Pain so eloquently put it) to “get off their feet and jump around.” That’s what St. Patrick’s Day is all about. Doing incredibly stupid things while under the influence of alcohol and wearing neon-green clothing.
Herewith, a guide to spending the day in the Big Apple. This is what I’ll probably be doing this year.
9:00 A.M. Meet best friend Sully at Greek diner for traditional Irish-American breakfast of wet toast, runny eggs, cold home fries, bitter black coffee, three cigarettes, and the sports page. Curse the Knicks. Marvel at pat Riley’s hair.
9:30 A.M. Corner of Ninth and 39th. Ring Fitzy’s buzzer 23 times. On the twenty-fourth try, he buzzes us up. Find him naked on the living-room floor surrounded by empty Bud Tall Boys and an open can of paint. His entire body, including his hair, is green.
10:00 A.M. Arrive at the corner of 51st and Fifth and take our places for the parade. Sully steals three cans of Molson out of some Italian guy’s cooler. Fitzy tosses a half-eaten green hot dog into the middle of the Staten Island Marching Men’s Choir.
10:14 A.M. Fitzy gives Mayor Giuliani the finger. Mayor waves back. “fuckin’ typical,” Sully says. Fitzy steals three more beers from the Italian guy.
11:05 A.M. The Francis Mulcahy School of Irish Step Dancing pauses right in front of us and runs through a rigmarole of jigs and reels. Fitzy bops out into the street and joins them by doing a variation on the twist. Two cops promptly escorts him back to the curb. Ends up one of them (Blaney) is Sully’s second cousin. All charges dropped. I steal a few more beers out of the cooler. We toast the NYPD.
12:02 P.M. The Italian guy accuses us of raiding his stash. Waves his fists in the air. Sully punches him on the neck. Fitzy pulls out a lighter and starts to melt the cooler. Two more cops show up. So happens, one of them (O’Keefe) is Fitzy’s dad’s old neighbor from Brooklyn. Tells the Italian guy to “Move it along, pal, this ain’t Columbus Day.” Brawl breaks out between Irish and Italian bystanders. We throw several punches, grab the cooler, and split.
12:06 P.M. Drop into St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a quick gander at the Lord. Crack open a couple of beers. Sully and I debate the merits of a short confession. Sully’s argument-“In a half hour, at the bar at Paddy Reilly’s it’s gonna be standin’-room only”-wins out over mine, which involves Eternal Damnation. We opt for a fast Our Father, five bucks in the poor box, and a brief round of candle-lighting. Fitzy, meanwhile, steals a sip of Holy Water.
12:17 P.M. In the cab downtown, our driver, on Adjid Sakeel, expresses his opinion that the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization should be allowed to march in the parade. Fitzy-his large green mug plugged right into the pay slot-begs to differ: “They awready got their own parade downtown inna Village. We don’t go down there, so why should they come uptown ta ours?” Adjid says, “Because this is America.” “No it ain’t,” counters Fitzy. “This is New York City. It’s a whole different ball game.” The argument ends with Fitzy barking like a dog and Adjid veering all over Second Avenue. We get out at 29th Street. I give Adjid a $3 tip and the cooler.
12:22 P.M. Stop in at Paddy Reilly’s for a few pops. Several rounds of green beer and whiskey. Rogues March-a local band made up of guys who used to know members of the Pogues-bash through a loud, boisterous show. The lead singer-Joe Hurley-stretches his voice to the point of aneurysm. We toast the IRA. We toast the cease-fire. We toast the pope. Fitzy pukes.
4:27 P.M. Stop in a Molly Malone’s Pub for a few more pops. Eat several slices of green pizza made by Sweeney the bartender’s wife. She’s Italian. We drink green champagne and vodka. Sweeney calls JFK the greatest man who ever lived. Fitzy calls Mario Cuomo a fag. Mrs. Sweeney kicks Fitzy. Sully pukes.
About a Quarter Past Eight Over at the Emerald Inn, we drink green Guinness and recite dialogue from The Quiet Man verbatim. The Stogues-a local band made up of guys who used to know the mother of one of the guys in the Pogues-play “Danny Boy,” and Fitzy starts to cry, green tears streaming down his puffy green cheeks. As Sully and I pat Fitzy on the back, the lead singer passes out.
Sometime After Ten Head over to a Blarney Stone, where we order a drink called the Shane MacGowan-three ounces of vodka, four ounces of gin, six ounces of Irish whiskey, a teaspoon of something that smells like turpentine, and half a beer. You gotta down it in two slugs. Makes you spout poetic musings with a tongue so thick only Shane could understand. The Problem is-he ain’t here. Fitzy stuffs an entire green bagel in his mouth, swallows it almost whole, downs his MacGowan, and says, “Now this is the life!”
That Same Night Stop in at Sin-é. Place holds only 75 people, 72 of whom look like they just stepped off the boat. People without green cards drinking green beer. We’re in time to see another local band (really local, since they live in the cellar) take the stage. Call themselves the Fogues. Made up of guys who used to be friends with guys who once bought a round for the guys who used to roadie for the Stogues. During “Thousands Are Sailing,” the guitar player leaps up into the air and stays there. For what seems like a long time. His head is stuck in the ceiling; he gets a standing ovation. The lead singer asks there’s a carpenter in the house. There is. Thirty-three of them, to be exact.
Later The fact that we’re in the Dublin House is news to all three of us. But it’s printed right there on the matches. And the wall. And the back of the bouncer’s T-shirt. As my old man used to say: “Wherever the hell you go, there you fuckin’ are.”
Later Still The thing about painting yourself green is this: It’s a great symbolic way to show your support of the Old Country and your family tree, but it” a terrible way to go our drinking. Mostly because your friends can’t tell when you’re about to puke. The point is, we didn’t see it coming when Fitzy leaned over an Englishman named Trevor-who was explaining his support of the peace process in Ireland-and let blow. The hot dog, the pizza, the bagel-they made a comeback even Travolta woulda been proud of. And set off a brawl the likes of which we may never see again. Seventeen Englishmen, 27 Micks, and a side order of Hispanic, African-American, and Polish guys. When the cops show up (Carelli, Tiveiros, Jackson, etc.) none of them is related to Fitzy or Sully, so they just pack the whole melting pot in the back of a couple of paddy wagons (just for the sake of historical irony, I guess) and drop us off downtown. I share a cell with Fitzy and a Puerto Rican plumber named Bob. He says the cell gives him “déja-vu” because he had the same one after the Puerto Rican Day Parade last year.
The Next Morning I wake up to the sound of Mickey mantle repeatedly pounding a Louisville Slugger across the side of my face. I make a count of my few remaining brain cells-eight and holding. Bob’s droning on about pipe wrenches and putty knives when they come to take us to court. Ends up the judge (McSwiggin) is not only a fifth cousin of Fitzy’s mom but also happened to be in Dublin House last night when the hot dog hit the fan. He thinks theEnglishman, the queen, and the United Kingdom had it coming. All charges dropped. (That should be the motto above the entrance to the Irish Embassy.) We tell the judge about Sully, and fifteen minutes later, me, Sully, Fitzy, and Bob are sitting in P.J. Clarke’s chugging Bloody Marys and discussing the merits of indoor plumbing-copper pipe vs. plastic. Fitzy says he likes plastic: “It’s more modern. And it don’t look shiny.” Sully and I make our minds. Bob turning a light shade of burnt sienna-pukes.